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Snowden OMG Moment During Interview
Old 05-29-2014, 10:15 AM   #1
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Snowden OMG Moment During Interview

I watched the Edward Snowden interview with Brian Williams and in it he mentions his OMG moment. That is, where he saw that the NSA could tap into anyone's communication and see, for example each eye stroke as the person is composing a document.

The technology I bet probably isn't so different then remote controlling a PC. I remember back while w*rking, tech support would do that all the time. Plus, there was the assumption of no privacy is expected (in other words, assume that what one does on the PC can be monitored).

If you watch "Criminal Minds" where the tech person of the FBI goes pulling up data of suspects at her fingertips, that idea isn't so far fetched after all.
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Old 05-29-2014, 10:23 AM   #2
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I watched the interview and thought for some kid without a high school diploma he comes across very polished. Don't know how much he embellishes his position but a comment he made that surprised me was how easy it is/was for about any contractor or NSA employee to make off with classified information due to lack of auditing procedures, checks/balances and the like. In light of the VA problems, I don't doubt for a minute what he says is true about how easy it is to access classified information.
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Old 05-29-2014, 10:31 AM   #3
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I think Snowden is a CIA agent whose unsuccessful act was
supposed to propel him into the good graces of Vladimir Putin.
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:45 PM   #4
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:47 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
The technology I bet probably isn't so different then remote controlling a PC. I remember back while w*rking, tech support would do that all the time. Plus, there was the assumption of no privacy is expected (in other words, assume that what one does on the PC can be monitored).
Exactly. Our tech support did that all the time, too.

I remember back in the early 90's seeing employment opportunities with one of the intelligence agencies that was looking for experts in creating and using new Trojan horses and other malware. I have forgotten which agency, but it might have been the NSA. These skills were specifically mentioned in these official, public, employment ads that (ironically!) were printed out and posted on our bulletin board. I would have been floored to find out that intelligence agencies DIDN'T perform this type of computer surveillance, and to me it was inconceivable that this possibility never occurred to Snowden, even before becoming a contract employee for the NSA.
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Old 05-29-2014, 02:29 PM   #6
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Frontline produced a 2 part program earlier this month of what changes took place at NSA after 9/11 called "United States of Secrets". The first part was excellent and a real eye opener for me. Haven't watched part 2 yet, recorded it on my DVR. Would highly recommend it for those wanting to get a better picture of what did/is going on with NSA's monitoring programs and the controversies surrounding it.
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Old 05-29-2014, 03:03 PM   #7
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I saw a preview of the discussion and he came across very credible to me. Since I have a distrust of upper management due to experience (i.e. his bosses), I could be convinced his management is lying to save themselves and looking for a scapegoat. I've seen upper management act unethically and lie easily so it's a possibility.
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:01 PM   #8
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Frontline produced a 2 part program earlier this month of what changes took place at NSA after 9/11 called "United States of Secrets". The first part was excellent and a real eye opener for me. Haven't watched part 2 yet, recorded it on my DVR. Would highly recommend it for those wanting to get a better picture of what did/is going on with NSA's monitoring programs and the controversies surrounding it.

I've watched both parts and I thought they were really well presented. Shocking to see that the NSA have inserted hardware in many/all of the switches and routers used by the ISP's without their knowledge so that essentially everyone's data passing through is copied and sent to NSA computers. Since data is streamed through fiber optic cables then placing a simple light splitter in all the key data networks gives them a complete copy of everything.
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:16 PM   #9
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I've watched both parts and I thought they were really well presented. Shocking to see that the NSA have inserted hardware in many/all of the switches and routers used by the ISP's without their knowledge so that essentially everyone's data passing through is copied and sent to NSA computers. Since data is streamed through fiber optic cables then placing a simple light splitter in all the key data networks gives them a complete copy of everything.
I only saw part two, but I had the same reaction to that episode as you describe. I still thought the NSA was only collecting metadata until then, that was a disturbing (but not entirely surprising) revelation to me at least.

There's really no such thing as privacy anymore, and I doubt that will change. And it's not unique to the USA either, and some other countries are probably as "good at it" as the US too.

I have the Snowden-Williams program on my DVR, haven't watched it yet. I am no fan of Snowden, but he has certainly forced some discussion that I don't believe would have happened any other way. If he'd chosen to be an internal whistleblower, I doubt anything would have changed, and for the most part I doubt much will change even with him going public...
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Old 05-29-2014, 05:01 PM   #10
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Snowden is absolutely no hero. I believe he has a personality disorder.

It is important to realize that we are hearing one side of the story, and those on the other side simply cannot effectively respond due to their obligations to defend various national interests.

There's a big difference between keeping call data (the "who called who" info that has always been available to telephone companies, and about which there is little expectation of privacy--any more than the outside of an envelope) and listening to the calls themselves. And when an event occurs (e.g Boston bombing) I think we can agree it might be important and relevant to know who the people may have been talking to--retrospectively. If that data is gone, or if it is not being kept by the phone companies (is it less subject to abuse there?), it might be a big problem.

Sure, there need to be safeguards.
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Old 05-29-2014, 05:17 PM   #11
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Why can't Snowden be both hero and traitor? He clearly betrayed the trust placed in him and damaged the organization for which he worked (traitor). Yet he also sacrificed his home and much of his freedom to bring an injustice to light and has very likely effected positive change in our civil liberties (hero).

We don't live in a simple black and white world and simple binary characterizations aren't necessarily valid.
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Old 05-29-2014, 05:43 PM   #12
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I think I will put some duct tape over all our computers' cameras; I would hate for some poor unsuspecting NSA flunky to be scarred for life while our electronics are under visual surveillance.
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Old 05-29-2014, 05:57 PM   #13
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Freedom fighter vs terrorist is another example of this relativity.
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Old 05-29-2014, 05:58 PM   #14
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There's a big difference between keeping call data (the "who called who" info that has always been available to telephone companies, and about which there is little expectation of privacy--any more than the outside of an envelope) and listening to the calls themselves. And when an even occurs (e.g Boston bombing) I think we can agree it might be important and relevant to know who the people may have been talking to--retrospectively. If that data is gone, or if it is not being kept by the phone companies (is it less subject to abuse there?), it might be a big problem.
I tended to agree when I thought it was just metadata (who talked to who, emailed who, etc.), but the PBS report very much stated otherwise using PRISM to include stored and live content.

United States of Secrets | FRONTLINE | PBS

Quote:
NARRATOR: The PRISM revelations reached beyond the collection of phone records.

NEWSCASTER: —spying on its own citizens—

NARRATOR: This was about the acquisition of content of tens of thousands of NSA targets.

NEWSCASTER: Did you check your account on Gmail?

NEWSCASTER: —secret spying program is entirely different—

BARTON GELLMAN: The PRISM program is not about metadata, it’s about content. It’s the photos and videos you send. It’s the words of your emails. It’s the sounds of your voice on a Skype call. It’s all the files you have stored on a cloud drive service. It’s content. It’s everything.
PRISM (surveillance program) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
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Old 05-29-2014, 06:00 PM   #15
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I think I will put some duct tape over all our computers' cameras; I would hate for some poor unsuspecting NSA flunky to be scarred for life while our electronics are under visual surveillance.
Actually you can go into the control panel on windows and disable the cameras, Likewise the mike. (laptops have a mike often).
Just like once the radio is off on a cellphone, it can't be activated. (there are posts that ask the cell phone company to do this to find a lost cell phone and they say they can not do so. Now of course if your cell phone is on and a smart phone it could be turned into a monitoring device. My idea if concerned is to turn it off except when you want to use it. (After all cell phones do come with voice mail), so you can check messages.
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Old 05-29-2014, 06:17 PM   #16
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There's a big difference between keeping call data (the "who called who" info that has always been available to telephone companies, and about which there is little expectation of privacy--any more than the outside of an envelope) and listening to the calls themselves. And when an even occurs (e.g Boston bombing) I think we can agree it might be important and relevant to know who the people may have been talking to--retrospectively. If that data is gone, or if it is not being kept by the phone companies (is it less subject to abuse there?), it might be a big problem.

Sure, there need to be safeguards.
That's what I thought until I saw the program Frontline did. There appears to be a lot more information (emails, phone calls, credit card records) being collected than what we've been told.
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Old 05-29-2014, 06:32 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by zinger1457 View Post
Frontline produced a 2 part program earlier this month of what changes took place at NSA after 9/11 called "United States of Secrets". The first part was excellent and a real eye opener for me. Haven't watched part 2 yet, recorded it on my DVR. Would highly recommend it for those wanting to get a better picture of what did/is going on with NSA's monitoring programs and the controversies surrounding it.
Thanks. I am listening to it now.

United States of Secrets | FRONTLINE | PBS
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Old 05-29-2014, 06:54 PM   #18
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Did not watch the interview, but the whole issue makes me wonder about the utility of this spying 'program' in preventing terror attacks. If NSA can monitor every call & tap into every keystroke, how in the Lord's green earth did these clowns miss the Boston bombers? These guys had been fairly openly posting radial Islamist and anti-American junk before the bombing & the Russians had already warned us about 'em. The London Telegraph reported that the younger brother, Dzhokhar, posted... "Later he would taunt America over al-Qaeda's most successful terror attack, "September 10th baby, you know what tomorrow is. Party at my house! £thingsyoudontyellwhenenteringaroom".
Boston bomber arrested: Tamerlan Tsarnaev's hateful rage behind American dream - Telegraph
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Old 05-29-2014, 07:15 PM   #19
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That's what I thought until I saw the program Frontline did. There appears to be a lot more information (emails, phone calls, credit card records) being collected than what we've been told.
Again, consider that all the info that has become public is from one perspective.

And nuance is very important. For instance, in your post: can we agree that there's a world of difference between "collected" and "analyzed" (or even) "listened to" ? These are the kinds of distinctions that need to be made and understood. Until the data becomes information, I'm not sure that anyone's privacy has truly been violated.

I have seen reported in open press that there were approx a dozen instances of improper use of the information that was collected. And they were discovered within channels and the people punished well before all of this became an issue. They were not instances of dark conspiracy (e.g. listening to political opponents and using "mud"), they were not cases of government malfeasance or official policy, they were the kind of picayune individual rulebreaking that flesh is heir to (e.g. an individual employee listening to someone who he/she suspected of having an affair with his/her spouse). Yes, egregious, and the cases were detected and punished. But if there were anything like the wholesale abuse of information that is being alleged, then there would be many more of these stories.
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Old 05-29-2014, 07:24 PM   #20
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And nuance is very important. For instance, in your post: can we agree that there's a world of difference between "collected" and "analyzed" (or even) "listened to" ? These are the kinds of distinctions that need to be made and understood. Until the data becomes information, I'm not sure that anyone's privacy has truly been violated.
I agree we need more information before drawing conclusions. But in the wake of the Snowden leaks numerous very high level "official spokespersons" told us in no uncertain terms the NSA was only collecting metadata. That appears to be false, to use a kind term, and there's no way no one knew otherwise...makes me wonder. YMMV
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