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Frank Barry

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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?
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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.
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Regardless of your opinion, please take a few minutes and
respond. ..Your input is necessary. ..Stand up, be fearless.

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    Jul 20 2013: I do not think it possible for Google and Microsoft to stand up to the NSA essentially because the executive branch of the federal government has become too powerful, and I also think the NSA is so out of control that it can not be reigned back in. I think the responsibility is on us as citizens, individually, to use legal electronic counter measures that make such spying by the NSA impossible. Just to be explicit, the technical means do exist today to secure your communications against spying by the NSA, even with their massive computing resources.

    The biggest problem in achieving this is that the majority of Americans do not seem to care about this issue sufficiently, as they would prefer to give up their private information in exchange for the "free" services they get in return. Many other Americans feel they have nothing to hide and so don't see a problem. I find that rather sobering.

    Quick Poll: How many of you would give up using Facebook and Google/Bing if that was part of regaining our privacy? Looking for viable secure replacements? We have a few examples struggling for acceptance (for example, see startpage.com) but they are not well known and are nowhere near as full featured as their better known counterparts. Full solutions would take some time to emerge, and in the mean time, how would we stay in touch with people or find stuff on the web? That is the biggest problem.

    The next biggest problem is that securing our transmissions against the NSA is not practical today for the majority of people. Although the technical means to secure our communications exists, this is way beyond the reach of most people to do themselves. Part of the problem is that the other end of your communications (the person on the other side of the phone or email) also needs to practice secure transmission techniques.
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        Jul 20 2013: Thanks for the reply John.

        The countermeasures I am proposing would make it impossible for organizations to collection private information, such as you stated. While this would make it impossible for private organizations to target these countermeasures, the NSA would certainly take notice. Without the technical means to spy, they would likely try to outlaw such measures, making it a crime to use them. We saw our federal government launch a criminal investigation in 1993 against Phil Zimmermann for deploying similar measures.

        I think the reason for the Microsoft stock dropping was not related to this NSA privacy issue, but rather their inability to sell what has traditionally been their cash cow: The Windows operating system. They are trying to diversify into other form factors and the cloud, and Windows Mobile has been a huge mess for quite a few years now.
      • Jul 20 2013: John S. 10+ I think you are right.

        John you've won the HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award.
        Thank you.
        ===
        We all need to get busy today, tomorrow, and all next week.

        Everyone Please.
        Sit down and write out the most Dangerous Acts the NSA and DHS
        and other Domestic Spy Agencies are capable of doing to us all.

        It won't hurt any of us to take that First Step.
        Remember the KISS principal. ..Keep It Simple Stupid.

        Let's together with TED conversations provide a roadmap to safety.
        And Please - Please - Post it on this TED conversation.
    • Jul 20 2013: Danger Lampost 10+
      I rise in support of your statement

      "I do not think it possible for Google and Microsoft to stand up to the NSA
      essentially because the executive branch of the federal government
      has become too powerful, and I also think the NSA is so out of control
      that it can not be reigned back in."

      Individual State Governors are starting to hear from their voters on this very thing.
      My State of California has a Governor who may be in the running for President
      next election. Like Janet Napolitano, he has been mum on the topic.

      Janet Napolitano took flight from the Department of Homeland Security, the other day.
      Some one might say the first rat to leave the sinking ship. But I think maybe she
      just wants to crank up her campaign for the Presidency. She has a problem that has
      not gotten much press. A Big Problem, Napolitano's DHS has created it's own Domestic
      NSA of sorts, with a nationwide scope. The Atlanta GA based DHS Fusion Centers are
      in Partnership with the Major Military War Materials suppliers like Boeing, etc. Boeing
      and others provide their Employees to work and learn at the DHS Fusion Centers.
      So, when the NSA has been squelched, and we all breathe a sigh of relief, we will
      have to do it all over again. Plus if she runs for President, and wins, use your
      imagination.

      I don't mind being whelmed, but Over-whelmed, Arrrrrugh !!!
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        Jul 25 2013: That is such a scary reply you have that I really am stunned. If you're saying that by protecting our own privacy, we are helping terrorists, we are truly lost.

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