TED Conversations


This conversation is closed.

Should Microsoft and Google stand up and oppose the NSA publicly? Will doing nothing work?

The big Media Story today is about a Whistle-Blower who is hiding and
may soon to be captured and returned to the US for Arrest and Trial.

The exposure of NSA spying tactics of forcing Microsoft and Google,
as well as a number of other Internet Providers, both here and abroad, to provide User Records has put this nation's Internet Users on guard.

The NSA's current program PRISM has now been shown to have been
used to invade and capture information from friendly foreign nations.

We are Americans. We claim to be Free. However, in the
last 20 years things have been changing. Can we afford to stay
out of the mess?
What I wrote, although it sounds like an hyperbole, is anything but.

I refer to CNN's presentation on July 17th's video of the US Congress
having a hearing with the Deputy Director's of the Department's of Justice, DOJ, the DIA, the National Security Agency, NSA. and one other.

In the 3 .8 hour Congressional Committee's hearing, members asked pointed
questions and received evasive answers, with promises made that a secret
session would be more appropriate to answer their queries.

The queries by the Congressmen and Congresswomen were to the point
of why the NSA and other such agencies were conducting surveillances'
of US citizens, with partner corporations, collecting said US citizen's information from the telephone (cell phone) calls, email messages, and otherwise, that had been placed and received, and specifically without the knowledge and/or permission of said US citizens, in violation of two of the amendments to the US Constitution, plainly illegal acts.

Hyperbole, not hardly.

I found on my operating system, evidence of the NSA's Prism program.
Regardless of your opinion, please take a few minutes and
respond. ..Your input is necessary. ..Stand up, be fearless.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jul 19 2013: I just read in the BBC news that Google, Apple, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and other tech giants have written a letter to General Alexander of the NSA, as well as to President Obama and Congress, and "have urged US authorities to let them divulge more details about security requests. The companies want to be able to report regular statistics about the nature and scope of what data is being asked for."


    So is the question now more something like: Are they making enough of a public opposition?
    • thumb
      Jul 20 2013: Part of the backstory of this petition is a rumor that they are receiving something out of the USA PATRIOT Act called a National Security Letter:


      This comes with a gag order that means they aren't even allowed to say they got it, and is more off the record than the FISA court requests -- it's off the record entirely!

      So by petitioning very generically to be able to disclose "national security requests," they may be petitioning also to relax restrictions on NSL requests in the backroom with the government lawyers, as it were. I have actually set the WaPo investigative team to try to see if they can find anything out about this one, although legally I'm not sure if they can.

      This is the thing -- I really believe there are a great many people in all parts of this issue (military, bureaucracy, corporate) fed up with this process. But so long as the USA PATRIOT Act stands they are at a huge disadvantage. And that will not go down so long as the American public is passive, outside the political system. It has to be a savvy political engagement accountability movement from the grassroots up to get Congress to take that monstrosity down.

      It's so hard to dismantle those sorts of mechanisms once we've allowed them to get their teeth in our freedoms.
      • thumb
        Jul 20 2013: You continue to disillusion me. I can't even have an Early latte in the morning (that's a couple spoonfuls of instant coffee with hot tap water in whatever clean bowl I have) and decipher the BBC news through the cracked screen on my iPhone 3 without now thinking: 'How would Shava Nerad filter this into pure information?'
      • thumb
        Jul 20 2013: Can you tell me if I took the red pill or the blue pill? I can't remember, and I badly want to know if I'm in the Matrix or not.
        • thumb
          Jul 20 2013: Look at it this way, Daniel. It really SUCKS to be me sometimes. If you think this stuff is discouraging, imagine the days I have that it seems hopeless because I see into the heart of darkness of the stuff you don't get to see.. I live and breathe this stuff every day, and you're only seeing a little window into my world...:)

          Yet, most of the time, I remain positive, because I also see so many people working to make things better. It's a dynamic system -- an ecology. I also get to see the smartest, bravest, most amazing people you wouldn't believe -- people who you will never know about because they are lawyers for EFF or activists for some nonprofit you never heard of, or an intern for some congresscritter working on consumer privacy who is that office's person who's assigned to deal with the NSA data issues (!) and is only a sophomore in law school undergraduate and feeling overwhelmed but working 80 hours -- half of it in the Library of Congress trying to figure out the background of what she's fighting for (and who she's fighting against! :). Or, a young woman who's friends with a bunch of folks interested in Harry Potter fandom who wants to explain to her friends in simpler terms what's going on, and keeps asking smart questions for hours until she knows she can teach it to others. Young hackers arguing politics in Internet Relay Chat, working on an open source project, the Americans apologizing that their government is spying on their co-workers abroad, embarrassed, together trying to figure out what they should be doing about these issues, as friends across borders.

          We have to take this all as reason to keep going, and understand we're stronger together as a community and as a republic and democracy, than the people who assume power over their fiefdoms by pure assumption and expect us to put our tails between our legs and slink under the porch. I see it daily both ways.

          Good noodles. ;)

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.