The Solution to NSA Snooping? - Comments Page 3

Category: Privacy

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Posted by:

26 Aug 2014

>>Last time I checked both the USA and the UK were democracies.

Keep checking, Jon.

If a politician were to stand for election looking as though they might actually do something effective to curb the intrusions of the "security industry", is it inconceivable that something embarassing about this candidate might just happen to leak just prior to the election?

I hope my scenario is unduly paranoid, but this fast-growing potential should, nevertheless, give us all pause for thought. Knowledge is power; secret knowledge is secret power; the rapid erosion of our privacy has far-reaching implications...

Posted by:

Digital Artist
26 Aug 2014

I was in the US Air Force through four years of the Cold War (thus I am held in contempt by vets who served in Korea before service and Viet Nam after my discharge.) I had a top secret clearance with a crypto endorsement and I worked at HQ SAC in a vault, two stories underground, directly above the three story underground "war room." I operated and repaired crypto machines which linked the Pentagon, The White House, and air force bases all over the world. Anybody who says encryption is a myth is ignorant of the facts. You can be sure that contemporary encryption is far superior to the vacuum tube based stuff I worked on, but our "key" in those days was a pseudorandom string that had an estimated repetition rate of tens of thousands of years, yet we changed it every eight hours, just to be sure.

In that duty I could read anything that our crypto center was encrypting, and being intelligent and curious, I did a lot of reading. Hey, I was locked in a vault with a six digit combination lock on the bomb proof door with two other guys, and the machines were automatic. What else was there to do? I used to read the President's daily intelligence report. Yeah. Every day. Six days out of nine (our weird work week.) I concluded that it was the spies on both sides of the iron curtain that kept our countries from blowing up the world. They (the commies) knew what we had, we knew what they had, and we both knew the consequences of using it. So, we held our breath and got a red telephone and a few other things. Snowden and Julian Assange both pushed the spy business to a new level. The old cold war spies worked for a government that kept the "intelligence" a secret. This generation publishes it worldwide. Freedom of the press. The Founding Fathers are dancing gleefully up there in the cloud(s)!

Posted by:

27 Aug 2014

Incidentally, I would suggest that we should discriminate between the actions of Julian Assange whose motive seems to have been an indiscriminate dislike of secrets and a willingness to reveal them without real consideration of the consequences, and Edward Snowden whose intention seems to have been a desire to inform debate about the consequences of the unbridled and indiscriminate accumulation of power in our world. In this he seems to have succeeded without unnecessarily endangering individuals in the field. I would not deny the need for some secrecy, but we need to consider the implications for our society if we fail to define its limits.

Posted by:

27 Aug 2014

Too bad that Congress didn't get Snowden during the last Ice Age.

Posted by:

Andrew Hicks
30 Aug 2014

What is needed is a government-authorised, security cleared, independent organisation that whistleblowers can legally send top secret info. Said body could then evaluate the info on the basis of the public good and also communicate with the whistleblower to explain any decisions not to publish.

The communications would be confidential, and the whistleblower could remain anonymous, sending and receiving messages using asymmetric encryption on a website via onion router.

As the whistleblower retains the option of going public, it is in the government's interest to ensure that this organisation has a good reputation and communicates effectively with whistleblowers.

Such a system would improve transparency, whilst helping to protect information that is secret for a good reason.

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