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Apple joins alliance of tech heavyweights to demand increased NSA transparency

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
A group of tech titans, including Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, threw their substantial weight behind a civil rights alliance that will reportedly demand greater transparency regarding the U.S. government's surveillance programs.

PRISM
Reportedly top-secret slide regarding the U.S. government's PRISM data mining program. | Source: The Washington Post


Coming one month after a leak revealed the existence of America's PRISM data mining initiative, in which Apple supposedly played a small role, an alliance of 63 public companies, non-profit and trade organizations, and investors are calling for the government to make its operations more transparent. According to AllThingsD, the group will send a letter asking as much on Thursday.

?Basic information about how the government uses its various law enforcement?related investigative authorities has been published for years without any apparent disruption to criminal investigations,? reads a copy of the letter obtained by the publication. ?We seek permission for the same information to be made available regarding the government?s national security?related authorities.?

In particular, the group is planning to ask President Barack Obama and select members of Congress to strip away restrictions that limit what information companies can divulge regarding government requests for sensitive data. Specifically, the alliance wants to have the option to issue disclosures about requests for user data made to Internet, phone, and Web service operators in the name of national security.

The alliance wants to be able to disclose the following: the number of government requests for user data; the number of individuals, accounts, or devices connected to said requests; and the number of requests looking for communications content, subscriber information, or other similar data.

Apple was reported to be a willing participant of PRISM in June, but the company released a public statement saying it had never heard of the program, denying that it grants server access to any U.S. agency.
post #2 of 41
Honestly, I don't even think that it means anything. I believe that they are all trying to save their face.

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post #3 of 41
Remember a couple years ago when Obama had all the tech leaders over for "dinner?"

And you thought that was innocent...
post #4 of 41
Ironic. Apple demanding transparency. The gander must have killed the goose.
post #5 of 41
On the bright side, Apple has only been part of the program for less than a year, while all of the others have been doing it for much longer. Microsoft since 2007!

This government does kind of suck though, when they are forcing all of those companies to lie to their customers.
post #6 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9secondko View Post

Remember a couple years ago when Obama had all the tech leaders over for "dinner?"

And you thought that was innocent...

Steve Jobs probably told him to piss off, or at least I hope that he did, because Apple only joined after he was no longer alive.
post #7 of 41
If the Washington Post got this graphic from someone other than Snowden, then there is another person who will be arrested. The classification information on this graphic means it can't be given to the Post and definitely can't be posted here. AI better get it's lawyers ready because this classification of document is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act so this site has no right to publish it.

I know what I'm talking about on this subject. I worked as a government contractor for over 30 years. This graphic is either a fake or several people are in trouble for posting it.
post #8 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enigmamatic View Post

The gander must have killed the goose.

 

Do you even know what you're writing?

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post #9 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

If the Washington Post got this graphic from someone other than Snowden, then there is another person who will be arrested. The classification information on this graphic means it can't be given to the Post and definitely can't be posted here. AI better get it's lawyers ready because this classification of document is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act so this site has no right to publish it.

I know what I'm talking about on this subject. I worked as a government contractor for over 30 years. This graphic is either a fake or several people are in trouble for posting it.

 

If the stories from discredited analysts and nonsensical speculation about non-existant products stop...we'll know someone has been sent to Guantanamo.

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post #10 of 41
That's rich, google and Facebook asking for such things when they are the worst ones for slyly collecting data.
post #11 of 41
If your mad at these tech companies... why? The ones that are suppose to be protecting your liberties are the ones asking for IT! Go to the source of the problem. And maybe you'll finally realize voting for individuals who support big government is a bad idea. Its cost more to sustain out of your paycheck and corruption becomes more rampant with size. You wanted a group that would take over leadership of yourself and children... what did you all actually think was gonna happen!?
post #12 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

That's rich, google and Facebook asking for such things when they are the worst ones for slyly collecting data.

 

Yes, but they are up front about it (more or less).

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post #13 of 41

The slide is obviously a fake. It says the Prism Program costs 20M per year.

 

Impossible!

 

That is just the cost for the toilet paper in the men's restroom at headquarters.

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post #14 of 41

Thank you Mr. Snowden 

post #15 of 41

These are some pretty big guys in this game. To say it is a sham doesn't hold.

 

Why would these companies go public, if there wasn't true intention behind their stand? Attention is drawn, expectations to be met, and good names to uphold to any who expect security by these companies.

 

One can't move a government, but a large number with power, money, influence along with public awareness and support surely can. There is the possibility that many might also join the 'movement',  if that is what it is meant to become.

When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

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post #16 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by warheart777 View Post

If your mad at these tech companies... why? The ones that are suppose to be protecting your liberties are the ones asking for IT! Go to the source of the problem. And maybe you'll finally realize voting for individuals who support big government is a bad idea. Its cost more to sustain out of your paycheck and corruption becomes more rampant with size. You wanted a group that would take over leadership of yourself and children... what did you all actually think was gonna happen!?

The problem is not big government, whatever that is. When govt steps on toes, be they rich or poor, Big Govt is named Culprit  and discussion is closed.

 

It is big business that is centre to the lose of liberties and if you know your American history (not being an American, I know little but I do know a bit about Jefferson and a few other flawed, but great men) then you know this is an old tale that has traversed to reality, gangbusters.

 

Any step to bend the govt's ear is a step far better than a back turned which seems what some here are doing.

When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

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When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

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post #17 of 41
In response to Rob- it's a previously leaked document. Seen here

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/prism-collection-documents/m/
post #18 of 41

That's a really ugly powerpoint slide

post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enigmamatic View Post

Ironic. Apple demanding transparency. The gander must have killed the goose.

Apple takes privacy very seriously.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

That's rich, google and Facebook asking for such things when they are the worst ones for slyly collecting data.

Google doesn't like competitors in private info gathering.
post #20 of 41
Apple
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enigmamatic View Post

Ironic. Apple demanding transparency. The gander must have killed the goose.
Apple is not a government.
post #21 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enigmamatic View Post

Ironic. Apple demanding transparency. The gander must have killed the goose.

Do you even know what you're talking about?

Originally Posted by asdasd

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post #22 of 41
Why is google and youtube both on there?
post #23 of 41

Altogether now lads …  "Blame Someone Else!  Blame Someone Else!  Blame Someone Else!"  

post #24 of 41

That $20 million dollar figure is because PRISM is just the front-end service. Not the backend. They are building a massive data center in Utah that costs billions of dollars. The slides aren't fake or else the government would have said they're fake. Snowden has thousands of documents. There are dozens of programs that have yet to be revealed.

post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhikl View Post

These are some pretty big guys in this game. To say it is a sham doesn't hold.

Why would these companies go public, if there wasn't true intention behind their stand? Attention is drawn, expectations to be met, and good names to uphold to any who expect security by these companies.

One can't move a government, but a large number with power, money, influence along with public awareness and support surely can. There is the possibility that many might also join the 'movement',  if that is what it is meant to become.

Our government is controlled and answers to corporate interests and the biggest purse strings. If businesses insist that bad policies are ruining their reputation, and in turn their profitability, the puppets in Washington will dance to their master's tune.

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post #26 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhikl View Post

These are some pretty big guys in this game. To say it is a sham doesn't hold ...

 

I'd say this is a false or illogical argument.  All the players in this game are "big guys" as you put it.  The government is the biggest "guy" of all and all the signatories here who've gone along with it are the fat cats of the information industry.  Besides which, many of these players have been caught doing this exact thing before.  Arguably, the only thing really new thing here is Apple's involvement.  The fact that they are "big" means nothing. 

 

The greatest evidence that this is actually a sham is the fact that what they are asking for is not really much different from what they are already allowed to divulge, and not relevant to the core charge against them which is that they provide routine, unfettered, "full-time" access, and not just access based on individual requests.  That's really the substantial charge people like Snowden make, so this is really just a dodge of sorts in that it addresses a question that wasn't really being asked while at the same time side-stepping the really substantive question. 

 

I'm not saying it definitely is a sham, that remains to be determined.  But there is more evidence that it is, than there is evidence that it should be treated as an honourable group of companies trying to do the right thing. 


Edited by Gazoobee - 7/17/13 at 10:48pm
post #27 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

If the Washington Post got this graphic from someone other than Snowden, then there is another person who will be arrested. The classification information on this graphic means it can't be given to the Post and definitely can't be posted here. AI better get it's lawyers ready because this classification of document is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act so this site has no right to publish it.

I know what I'm talking about on this subject. I worked as a government contractor for over 30 years. This graphic is either a fake or several people are in trouble for posting it.

 

This might be true, but it's people like you that are the problem.  It's people who think like you that cause this exact kind of shit to go down.  

People who knuckle under to authority figures regardless of the fact that the authority figures are doing something that is categorically wrong itself.  

post #28 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleawesome View Post

That $20 million dollar figure is because PRISM is just the front-end service.

 

I thought the 20M was for the rights to use the cover of The Dark Side of the Moon! You know, Pink Floyd is making nickels on Spotify and Pandora. They need other sources of revenue.

 

Money... it's a gas...

post #29 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by warheart777 View Post

If your mad at these tech companies... why? The ones that are suppose to be protecting your liberties are the ones asking for IT! Go to the source of the problem. And maybe you'll finally realize voting for individuals who support big government is a bad idea. Its cost more to sustain out of your paycheck and corruption becomes more rampant with size. You wanted a group that would take over leadership of yourself and children... what did you all actually think was gonna happen!?

 

This is bullshit.  The people (supposedly) against "big government" are the Republicans, but the Republicans are the number one group of people in favour of this kind of violation of your civil liberties. They were the first group to suggest actually doing this kind of thing, just a few days after 911.  If you vote for the Republicans to get rid of "Big Government" you are voting for this exact kind of thing.  

 

What you need to wake up to is the fact that "Big Government" is just a buzz word.  It's a boogeyman set up by big business to get the government out of their hair.  The real issues are far more complicated than that.  

 

The 21st century requires more of us than just tired slogans from the Regan era.  Try thinking instead.  

post #30 of 41
guess "better late than never." These companies need to stand up against the New Gestapo. I didn't sign on for their cooperation to turn over info on me to the government.
post #31 of 41

The government needs to operate above board. They are making excuses for why they need secret laws with secret courts to prosecute and investigate a billion people. That just leads to too much information and nothing actionable. Look at the Boston Bombers they had criminal records and ties to criminal behavior yet they still couldn't see that coming. How about the FBI killing that guy who was under their custody recently when they were investigating the bombing? They have a million and one reasons as to why they did it yet none of the media is reporting on it accept MSNBC.

 

I prefer transparency over secrecy and so I can decide for myself if I agree with what the federal government is doing and can vote accordingly.

post #32 of 41

Until there are prosecutions of government employees for these criminal act, we must consider the US government to be a criminal organization... with no legitimate authority. 

 

When the "laws" are not legal- not constitutional- and they apply them to us, but not to them, then they are nothing better than the mafia and they belong in jail. 

post #33 of 41
German Federal Police alerted by US Military came knocking at this guy's door after he made a joke on Facebook about visiting an NSA facility.

Not giving any intel? Not so sure.

Companies have great PR department.

http://m.spiegel.de/international/germany/a-911451.html

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post #34 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The alliance wants to be able to disclose the following: the number of government requests for user data; the number of individuals, accounts, or devices connected to said requests; and the number of requests looking for communications content, subscriber information, or other similar data.

 

Good idea, but it would have to be something like a yearly report, to hide time blips related to target activity.  

 

Knowing changes in requests from month to month could give too much information to those being watched, who might notice a matchup in times.  E.g. if Al Qaeda did a lot of planning during a month and the reports of requests skyrocketed that month as well, it's a clue to them.

 

Quote:
Apple was reported to be a willing participant of PRISM in June, but the company released a public statement saying it had never heard of the program, denying that it grants server access to any U.S. agency.

 

Apple denied that it grants DIRECT server access... the same as all the other companies.

 

It's a wiggle statement.

post #35 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhikl View Post

These are some pretty big guys in this game. To say it is a sham doesn't hold ...
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

I'd say this is a false or illogical argument.  All the players in this game are "big guys" as you put it.  The government is the biggest "guy" of all and all the signatories here who've gone along with it are the fat cats of the information industry.  Besides which, many of these players have been caught doing this exact thing before.  Arguably, the only thing really new thing here is Apple's involvement.  The fact that they are "big" means nothing. 

 

The greatest evidence that this is actually a sham is the fact that what they are asking for is not really much different from what they are already allowed to divulge, and not relevant to the core charge against them which is that they provide routine, unfettered, "full-time" access, and not just access based on individual requests.  That's really the substantial charge people like Snowden make, so this is really just a dodge of sorts in that it addresses a question that wasn't really being asked while at the same time side-stepping the really substantive question. 

 

I'm not saying it definitely is a sham, that remains to be determined.  But there is more evidence that it is, than there is evidence that it should be treated as an honourable group of companies trying to do the right thing. 

 

Again, thumbs icon screwed up my personal comment
It said: I know they're only watching bottom lines—they're making noise that draws attention 4 others 2c.
 
Everything you say, Gazoo, I agree whole heatedly. Govt is become the enemy, and I do not think I exaggerate. In my country, members of parliament and provincial legislatures were drawn from many walks of life: lawyers, farmers, education and medical professions, business and artists, etc. Today, business has become the predominate group with moneyed interests backing them I am sure. Democracies everywhere represent the people and their demands/expectations even less today than they did in the late forties to seventies.
 
 
This is but a step towards (not necessarily to or true as an arrow flies) the questioning of government surveillance of its citizenry. The public groups with concerns, and the individual, court little time with the elected officials until voting time and then the runners can and will say anything with no intention of ever raising the questions, is assured.
 
We all need to get off our duffs, encourage others on all voting sides to nominate reps that will fight to trim the tail of Big Corp on government grounds and use 'call-back' legislation, where possible to scare the bejeezus out of the buggers who fail in their electoral promises.
 
The issue is simple, the context complex but I suspect we agree on a lot of points in the path government is dragging us down.
 
Appreciate your response to my post.

When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

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post #36 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleawesome View Post

That $20 million dollar figure is because PRISM is just the front-end service. Not the backend. They are building a massive data center in Utah that costs billions of dollars. The slides aren't fake or else the government would have said they're fake. Snowden has thousands of documents. There are dozens of programs that have yet to be revealed.

There certainly are - and the documents are dispersed into various hands around the world....

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/06/snowden-distributed-encoded-copies-of-nsa-docs-around-the-world/

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

I'd say this is a false or illogical argument.  All the players in this game are "big guys" as you put it.  The government is the biggest "guy" of all and all the signatories here who've gone along with it are the fat cats of the information industry.  Besides which, many of these players have been caught doing this exact thing before.  Arguably, the only thing really new thing here is Apple's involvement.  The fact that they are "big" means nothing. 

 

The greatest evidence that this is actually a sham is the fact that what they are asking for is not really much different from what they are already allowed to divulge, and not relevant to the core charge against them which is that they provide routine, unfettered, "full-time" access, and not just access based on individual requests.  That's really the substantial charge people like Snowden make, so this is really just a dodge of sorts in that it addresses a question that wasn't really being asked while at the same time side-stepping the really substantive question. 

 

I'm not saying it definitely is a sham, that remains to be determined.  But there is more evidence that it is, than there is evidence that it should be treated as an honourable group of companies trying to do the right thing. 

 

The burgeoning shadow gov't based on the Surveillance State we're all increasingly living in is rapidly becoming the "biggest guy" of all - they've pwned all three branches of gov't and the tech megacorps - with massive dossiers on.all citizens.  
 

NSA/PRISM is all of a piece with the cell phone metadata collection, the snail mail metadata collection (the Postal Service has been scanning all first class mail by sender, receiver and date for over 10 years), along with access to every web search, every website visit, comment, post, email, photo you've ever made or been mentioned in - and recently revealed, Microsoft (under some unknown degree of duress) giving the gov't inside the gov't a back door - via Outlook - into every Fortune 1000 (and many smaller) companies' intranets.  

NTM, tapping the whole AP and targeting specific reporters as co-conspirators, corruption in the IRS,
DNA swabbing for any trumped up alleged minor infraction (in some states), collation of all street, store and apartment building camera recordings, etc., etc. 

And as for what the busy bee data collectors are after:

 

"The crux of the NSA story in one phrase: 'collect it all'

The actual story that matters is not hard to see: the NSA is attempting to collect, monitor and store all forms of human communication."

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/15/crux-nsa-collect-it-all

 

Which is why we're facing the prospect of a total loss of privacy and anonymity to a group of people I'll bet few if any of you can name (and whose connection to each other is unknown to all of us)....  

....but who have us all by the short ones... ....and depending on who fills those chairs....  ...are building the base for exercising utterly untrammeled power from that vast store of information.

The holocaust, for example was highly empowered by the Nazi's ability to gather and tabulate all the information about who was a Jew, a Romany, Communist, gay, etc. - relying notably on the then latest technology they were buying from IBM.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

This is bullshit.  The people (supposedly) against "big government" are the Republicans, but the Republicans are the number one group of people in favour of this kind of violation of your civil liberties. They were the first group to suggest actually doing this kind of thing, just a few days after 911.  If you vote for the Republicans to get rid of "Big Government" you are voting for this exact kind of thing.  

 

What you need to wake up to is the fact that "Big Government" is just a buzz word.  It's a boogeyman set up by big business to get the government out of their hair.  The real issues are far more complicated than that.  

 

The 21st century requires more of us than just tired slogans from the Regan era.  Try thinking instead.  


Republicans vs Democrats and Liberal vs. Conservative is old paradigm stuff here.  Both parties - and both "ideologies" have been in bed with the extraconstitutional kudzu growing around the Bill of Rights for many decades.  

The only ones standing up are an odd (but not wholly unprecedented) coalition of libertarians and ACLU-type progressives.  The "mainstream" of both parties - fuhgeddaboudit.

 

And the media as whole is doing an utterly abysmal job of reporting the huge range of what's going on.  

The tech press, e.g., Wired, the Verge and CNet among others have actually been doing a better job than the networks most big news syndicates - who have taken the stance that a single trial about an unfortunate death in Florida is the only story in the world for weeks on end.  

With the notable exception of the UK Guardian, and to a slightly lesser extent the Washington Post. 

********************************************************

And before y'all write me off as a wild-eyed raver, a few sources (among many I can readily cite), so "I'm not the only one":
 

"How Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages

• Secret files show scale of Silicon Valley co-operation on Prism 
• Outlook.com encryption unlocked even before official launch
• Skype worked to enable Prism collection of video calls
• Company says it is legally compelled to comply"

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/11/microsoft-nsa-collaboration-user-data

****************************************************

 

 

"Your phone calls aren't the only communications that the US government is collecting "metadata" on. For decades now, a snail mail surveillance system has allowed law enforcement agencies to log every piece of first class mail by sender, recipient and date sent."

 

****************************************************

 

Why Metadata Matters

 

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/06/why-metadata-matters

 

****************************************************

 

"NSA slides explain the PRISM data-collection program

Published: June 6, 2013, Updated July 10, 2013

 

The top-secret PRISM program allows the U.S. intelligence community to gain access from nine Internet companies to a wide range of digital information, including e-mails and stored data, on foreign targets operating outside the United States. The program is court-approved but does not require individual warrants."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/prism-collection-documents/

****************************************************

Even your car license plates are getting some metadata love:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/07/17/license-plate-scanners-aclu-privacy/2524939/
 

****************************************************

 

As for all the "you have nothing to worry about if you're not doing anything "wrong" (which btw, includes nobody on the planet), sad but true.......

"Like it or not, we’re being transformed as citizens, neighbors and human beings."

An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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post #37 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

The slide is obviously a fake. It says the Prism Program costs 20M per year.

 

Impossible!

 

That is just the cost for the toilet paper in the men's restroom at headquarters.

 

The rest is from the forced donation of these giant tech companies.  The price to pay for doing business in this country. 

post #38 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enigmamatic View Post

Ironic. Apple demanding transparency. The gander must have killed the goose.

Haha! True, true.

post #39 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

Knowing changes in requests from month to month could give too much information to those being watched, who might notice a matchup in times.  E.g. if Al Qaeda did a lot of planning during a month and the reports of requests skyrocketed that month as well, it's a clue to them.

 

So? If they know they're being watched, and that US "Officials" know what they're doing, wouldn't that thwart the attempt? You don't steal a car when a cop's watching you.

post #40 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by warheart777 View Post

what did you all actually think was gonna happen!?

 

 

This nugget of naiveté brought to you by a man who chose to call himself "warheart." I guess we know where YOUR values lie, huh? Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out, right?

 

Ya wanna argue semantics and ideologies or do you wanna focus on the issue at hand which is that your government is spying on you and lying about it?

 

Collecting intel for law enforcement has been around forever. The difference between "traditional" surveillance and what we're seeing now is that the old way was subject to judicial oversight. Wanna spy on a suspect? Convince a judge he's a bad guy and bingo-bango you've got your warrant. Now spooks and cops can do whatever the hell they want and there's no one checking to make sure they're not persecuting innocent people. It's alarming, dangerous and unacceptable. Given human history, I don't think it's paranoid to wonder how many steps there are between illegal spying and gathering up people in camps. Oh wait, that's already happened, hasn't it?

 

I wanna live in the kind of country that celebrates Snowdens as heroes instead of prosecuting them for treason.

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