Tuesday, December 01, 2015

NSA needs more EFF hoodies

A few months ago, many stories covered "intelexit.org", a group that bought billboards outside NSA buildings encouraging moderates to leave intelligence organizations. This is a stupidbad idea.

For one thing, it's already happening inside the intelligence community. Before Snowden, EFF hoodies were tolerated. From what I hear, they aren't anymore. Anybody who says anything nice about the EFF or Snowden quickly finds their promotion prospects reduced. And if you aren't being promoted, you are on track to be pushed out, to make room for new young blood.

The exit of moderates is radicalizing the intelligence community. More and more, those who stay want more surveillance.

In my own experience, the intelligence community is full of pro-EFF moderates. More than anybody, those inside the community can see the potential for abuse. For all that mass surveillance is unacceptable, the reality is that it's not really being abused. These people stop abuses. The NSA really is just focused on catching evil terrorists, not on tracking political activists in America. All this power is in the hands of people who use the power as intended.

A mass exodus of moderates, though, will change this, creating a more secretive and more abusive organization. The NSA is nowhere near how "Enemy of the State" imagines, but could easily become that bad when all the moderates leave.

Instead of encouraging moderates to leave, we should be encouraging them to stay. Not just stay, we should be encouraging them to speak out. We should have an organization supplying free EFF hoodies to everyone in intelligence.

4 comments:

SureThingBoss said...

> For all that mass surveillance is unacceptable, the reality is that it's not really being abused

* http://www.nbcnews.com/news/other/loveint-nsa-letter-discloses-employee-eavesdropping-girlfriends-spouses-f8C11271620

* http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/07/snowden-nsa-employees-routinely-pass-around-intercepted-nude-photos/

* https://theintercept.com/2014/05/19/data-pirates-caribbean-nsa-recording-every-cell-phone-call-bahamas/

SureThingBoss said...

> For all that mass surveillance is unacceptable, the reality is that it's not really being abused

* http://www.nbcnews.com/news/other/loveint-nsa-letter-discloses-employee-eavesdropping-girlfriends-spouses-f8C11271620

* http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/07/snowden-nsa-employees-routinely-pass-around-intercepted-nude-photos/

* https://theintercept.com/2014/05/19/data-pirates-caribbean-nsa-recording-every-cell-phone-call-bahamas/

Ivo Blaauw said...

"the reality is that it's not really being abused."
Oh, that makes mass surveillance just fine and dandy then, doesn't it? Would you please start sharing your credit card number, your wife's intimate pictures, your health issues, your child's handicap, your criminal records, and so on? Because as it turns out, both companies and governements are not doing a very good job of keeping all 'your' data from leaking. Time to loose the 'nothing-to-hide' and 'we-know-what-we're-doing' arguments.

"It really is just focused on catching evil terrorists".
So German chancellor Angela Merkel was linked to terrorists when the US decided to tap her phone?
Would any patriotic American stay silent if they found out the soviets bugged the White House, you know, for security and stuff? No, I think they'd dig up the hatchet and demand a war.
Also American agencies have been used for industrial espionage in the past (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/820758.stm) so again, who's going to believe anyone's data is save?

"evil terrorists"
Yeah, explain this one to us please. Which ones were the non-evil terrorists again? :)

"All this power is in the hands of people who use the power as intended."
Too much power is never good. Especially when intended.
Like when JFK was on meth during the cold war, while within arms reach of that nuclear button, just as mandated.
It is those kinds of mandates/intentions that allow abominations like Guantanamo bay to come into existence.

DrugstarCowboy said...

Really guys?

Obviously the author understands that the NSA overstepped their authority, broke the law, and violated the sanctity and the trust of the American people, along with the civil liberties and values that make the United States the greatest country in the world.

(An unforgivable offense that demands legal punishment for those principals within government who were involved in my opinion)

However, the article makes a separate and very legitimate point:

When measured against the overall potential for abuse, the number and intensity of the violations of American's rights could have been FAR, FAR WORSE.

And the reason it wasn't WORSE was not because those responsible didn't have the ability or the time to trample our liberties further, it was because of those moderate employees within the organization, who were/are genuine in their civil service duties and behave properly with the powers we've given to them to do their job,

If that group/mindset begin to leave the organization en mass, then Big Brother's infrastructure and equipment will be left for the remaining hardliners, and with no one around to temper/check their evil intentions and actions.

Excellent article. Excellent point. Well done....

I just had to say something due to being a bit disappointed by the reader response.

FYI: I've been a vocal critic of the NSA's actions, and think Snowden is a hero.

The argument the author makes was nuanced but important, let's all not allow our anger to prevent us from understanding a good point when it's made.