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Tim Cook will 'absolutely' press Congress for more transparency over surveillance

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
In a one-on-one interview with ABC News' David Muir, Apple CEO Tim Cook called for the U.S. government to be more open about its surveillance efforts after revealing his company is under a gag order regarding such matters.

Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaking to ABC on government surveillance. | Source: ABC News


While Cook and Muir joked about Apple's legendary secrecy and possible plans for sapphire glass, the executive was deadly serious about the U.S. government's surveillance policies.

"From my point of view -- number one -- we need to be significantly more transparent," Cook said. "We need to say what data is being given, how many people it affects, how many people are affected. We need to be clear."

Cook noted that Apple is currently under a gag order and was not able say more on the subject. What the executive could say, however, is that there is no back door to Apple's servers or customer database.

Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden suggested Apple was complicit in the agency's PRISM data mining program, while other revelations pointed to secret system exploits aimed at the iPhone. Apple vehemently denied any involvement in the initiative.

"They would have to cart us out in a box for that," Cook said, referring to future government efforts to tap into Apple's backend. "This would not happen, we feel that strongly about it."

When asked whether he would press Congress for more transparency, Cook said, "Yes, absolutely...absolutely."

In December, Cook, alongside other tech moguls, met with President Barack Obama to discuss the NSA's surveillance efforts. The meeting was also supposed to serve as a roundtable on how to fix the HealthCare.gov system, but most of the time was reportedly spent on snooping.

Aside from the teaser excerpts aired earlier today, which covered topics from the made-in-America Mac Pro to sapphire glass, not much else was revealed during the brief two-minute segment.
post #2 of 35
Unfortunately, people really don't want transparency. They want it to stop.

It's like the three R's of environmentalism, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Businesses ONLY focus on Recycle, because they don't make money from Reduce and Reuse.
Edited by whatisgoingon - 1/24/14 at 9:54pm
post #3 of 35
Originally Posted by whatisgoingon View Post
Unfortunately, people really don't want transparency. They want it to stop.

 

You realize we can’t know what we want stopped until we know what’s going on, right?

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #4 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

You realize we can’t know what we want stopped until we know what’s going on, right?


Puhlease.  Cook is ONLY doing pressing for transparency because Apple wants to keep doing business with the ROW.  Like the rest of the tech industry, this is only because Snowden dropped their pants in public.

 

If he believed it was a civil rights issue [that everyone's rights were being violated], that it is an actual problem, he would not be pushing for transparency.  He would  be pushing for STOPPING IT [well, hopefully, anyway], like he does for LGBT issues.

post #5 of 35
Originally Posted by whatisgoingon View Post
Puhlease.  Cook is ONLY doing pressing for transparency because Apple wants to keep doing business with the ROW. 

 

I have no idea what this is supposed to mean nor how it’s a reply to what I said.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #6 of 35

This is a compelling argument for the ROW to stop buying american products. Gag orders, secret courts, compromised cryptography .. Only when it puts a severe hurt on the profits will Americans wake up and put an end to it. By then it will in all probability be too late.

 

Once trust is lost, it is lost forever.

post #7 of 35
Where's the full video interview? (not the 3:21 segment) Link please??

P.S. Why has the American government gotten so scary/scared? What do you think the founders would think of all of this?
Edited by Ireland - 1/25/14 at 6:27am
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

What do you think the founders would think of all of this?

 

The founding fathers were no strangers to espionage. George Washington had a spy ring in New York called the Culper Ring that reported to him directly on British activity. 

post #9 of 35
Originally Posted by foregoneconclusion View Post

The founding fathers were no strangers to espionage. George Washington had a spy ring in New York called the Culper Ring that reported to him directly on British activity. 

 

Because during the war, the British were certainly American citizens and that example is absolutely relevant¡

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

Because during the war, the British were certainly American citizens and that example is absolutely relevant¡

Everyone were still technically British citizens until the war was over so it is rather relevant. Not to mention the fact that they did not limit their spy rings to NY or just to spying on Brits. Had the French not intervened with armaments, troops, and their navy George Washington would have likely been hanged as a British traitor and not an American hero. There were no American citizens until we won the war and started a country. Spying is nothing new and the Persian empire had an an extremely sophisticated spy network which covered a huge territory with many ethnicities. 

 

I can understand why Tim is pushing for more transparency. Once Americans know the full extent of the spying activities then we would be able to ask specifically for certain activities  to be stopped. Snowden has opened the genie's bottle and may not be such a bad guy as they first tried to make us believe he was. Everything in government is now classified, even files that should not be classified. They do this simply to prevent journalists from reporting on anything. Without a "deep throat " like Snowden spilling the beans we wouldn't have the slightest idea just how bad their spying on citizens has gone. There needs to be far more checks and balances on what documents can be classified as well since they have abused that simply to hide the evidence of overreach and to cover their asses. 


Edited by gwmac - 1/25/14 at 11:04am
post #11 of 35
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post
Everyone were still technically British citizens until the war was over so it is rather relevant.

 

No, sorry, wartime spying against the enemy is relevant to peacetime spying against your own citizens in no way whatsoever. Don’t even bother trying again. How pathetic your vendetta that you’re willing to express this nonsense publicly.

 

I can understand why Tim is pushing for more transparency. Once Americans know the full extent of the spying activities then we would be able to ask specifically for certain activities to be stopped. 

 

EXACTLY.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

No, sorry, wartime spying against the enemy is relevant to peacetime spying against your own citizens in no way whatsoever. Don’t even bother trying again. How pathetic your vendetta that you’re willing to express this nonsense publicly.

 

 

You are the one that seems to have a vendetta against anyone that points out your numerous fallacies.  I pointed out there were no American citizens during the revolutionary war since the United States did not yet exist as a country. As usual you are trying to change the subject now and pretend that is not what you meant. In any event there has been spying during peacetime as well long before the FBI, CIA or NSA existed so you are still wrong.  In the decades before the civil war spying was rampant. You made a factual error and as usual instead of just admitting that you claim people have a vendetta against you and become hostile. Maybe if you stopped with all the vitriol and using  "¡" on mosts of your posts people might take you more seriously. If you stopped  attacking people with your snark and sarcasm you might contribute something to the forum.  Sarcasm is rarely the best way to start a real debate so enough with the ¡ already.


Edited by gwmac - 1/25/14 at 12:14pm
post #13 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

No, sorry, wartime spying against the enemy is relevant to peacetime spying against your own citizens in no way whatsoever. Don’t even bother trying again. How pathetic your vendetta that you’re willing to express this nonsense publicly.

 

 

 

All of the NSA domestic surveillance in question per the Snowden classified documents is post 9/11, meaning it's specific to the "war on terror" and the Patriot Act passed by Congress. The most recent PCLOB review that deemed the bulk collection of telephone metadata to be illegal was specific to the language in Section 215 of the Patriot Act. However, the PCLOB also deemed the government's intent for collecting those records to have been in "good faith", i.e., they saw no evidence that it was collected for any reason other than counterterrorism purposes. There really aren't any examples of controversial NSA activity that involved domestic data that have been proven to be unrelated to counterterrorism. And quite a few of the documents that Glenn Greenwald wrote about were out of date legally...predating the 2008 FISA amendments that specifically ended certain types of NSA activity previously granted under the Patriot Act.

post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by foregoneconclusion View Post
 

 

All of the NSA domestic surveillance in question per the Snowden classified documents is post 9/11, meaning it's specific to the "war on terror" and the Patriot Act passed by Congress. The most recent PCLOB review that deemed the bulk collection of telephone metadata to be illegal was specific to the language in Section 215 of the Patriot Act. However, the PCLOB also deemed the government's intent for collecting those records to have been in "good faith", i.e., they saw no evidence that it was collected for any reason other than counterterrorism purposes. There really aren't any examples of controversial NSA activity that involved domestic data that have been proven to be unrelated to counterterrorism. And quite a few of the documents that Glenn Greenwald wrote about were out of date legally...predating the 2008 FISA amendments that specifically ended certain types of NSA activity previously granted under the Patriot Act.

 

Yes, there is evidence of this.  Google "nsa daily tips to fbi".  They are using data acquired with a warrant to gather data for the "war on terror", and illegally giving some of this data to the FBI for non-terrorism related crimes.  They know it is illegal, because they explicitly tell the FBI they must NEVER tell the court about getting this information from the NSA, and to claim they found out about it some other way.  This has been going on for YEARS.

post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatisgoingon View Post
 

 

Yes, there is evidence of this.  Google "nsa daily tips to fbi".  They are using data acquired with a warrant to gather data for the "war on terror", and illegally giving some of this data to the FBI for non-terrorism related crimes.  They know it is illegal, because they explicitly tell the FBI they must NEVER tell the court about getting this information from the NSA, and to claim they found out about it some other way.  This has been going on for YEARS.

 

The information that I see coming up from that search is specific to declassified FISC court instructions. Obviously if the FISC is providing guidance, it's not going to be for something the court itself considers to be illegal. And again, this is an older document from 2007. 

post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by foregoneconclusion View Post
 

 

The information that I see coming up from that search is specific to declassified FISC court instructions. Obviously if the FISC is providing guidance, it's not going to be for something the court itself considers to be illegal. And again, this is an older document from 2007. 

I don't know if you are just slow, or don't understand the law, or have trouble reading the articles.

 

1.  The data the NSA is gathering about American citizens is illegal, without a warrant.  Nobody is arguing this, as the NSA has these FISC rubber-stamp warrants for the data.

2.  The warrants say "we need this data for this purpose [war on terror]".  That is what you can use the data for.  To use it for other things is illegal.

3.  The NSA perversely interpreted a judge telling them this as meaning "if the data is in one database, we can't give it to the FBI, but if the exact same data is in another database, we can".

4.  The FBI has been using this information to find, identify, and prosecute criminals, and lying to them about the basis of the prosecutions.

5.  The judge found out about it and stopped it in 2009 [well, there is no oversight, so nobody really knows if it has stopped or not].  Evidently, the only punishment the FISC judges are willing to hand out are stern talkings to, maybe a sternly worded letter.

6.  Everyone involved [employee's of the NSA, the FISC judges, the FBI] know it's illegal, but they also know that only the attorney general's office can prosecute them and that they won't do so.

 

Now, prosecutions based on this evidence are starting to unravel [as the investigations are all based on evidence that has been illegally obtained].

 

And it annoys me that before Snowden started releasing this information, people like you would say, "oh, no, our gov't would never do that", and now it's "oh, that stuff only happened years ago, it's totally different now".  It's not different today.  And it won't be different tomorrow until people like you stop blindly cowtowing to your gov't.

post #17 of 35
Does this mean Cook is for transparency about those famous off shore cash flows as well?
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatisgoingon View Post
 

I don't know if you are just slow, or don't understand the law, or have trouble reading the articles.

 

1.  The data the NSA is gathering about American citizens is illegal, without a warrant.  Nobody is arguing this, as the NSA has these FISC rubber-stamp warrants for the data.

2.  The warrants say "we need this data for this purpose [war on terror]".  That is what you can use the data for.  To use it for other things is illegal.

3.  The NSA perversely interpreted a judge telling them this as meaning "if the data is in one database, we can't give it to the FBI, but if the exact same data is in another database, we can".

4.  The FBI has been using this information to find, identify, and prosecute criminals, and lying to them about the basis of the prosecutions.

5.  The judge found out about it and stopped it in 2009 [well, there is no oversight, so nobody really knows if it has stopped or not].  Evidently, the only punishment the FISC judges are willing to hand out are stern talkings to, maybe a sternly worded letter.

6.  Everyone involved [employee's of the NSA, the FISC judges, the FBI] know it's illegal, but they also know that only the attorney general's office can prosecute them and that they won't do so.

 

Now, prosecutions based on this evidence are starting to unravel [as the investigations are all based on evidence that has been illegally obtained].

 

And it annoys me that before Snowden started releasing this information, people like you would say, "oh, no, our gov't would never do that", and now it's "oh, that stuff only happened years ago, it's totally different now".  It's not different today.  And it won't be different tomorrow until people like you stop blindly cowtowing to your gov't.

 

The NSA metadata collection was placed under the supervision of the FISC in 2006. The FISC itself has never ruled that collecting metadata was in itself illegal. In fact, it's the FISC ruling that metadata collection was legal that was called into question by the recent PCLOB review of Section 215. However, this is not even close to being an issue that "nobody is arguing". Two federal judges have already ruled that they consider the practice under Section 215 of the Patriot Act to be generally legal. Another federal judge disagreed. In other words, like many legal or constitutional issues in our country, it's not really settled. 

 

Also, the distribution of information to the FBI or CIA etc. by the NSA is not always illegal. Their are certain standards/procedures that the NSA is supposed to follow to legally share it. The situation that you're talking about happened between 2006 and 2009, and involved a procedural mistake by the NSA regarding the minimization of identifying data. The NSA had been following the correct minimization procedures for their own database, but failed to apply it to the separate database that the CIA and FBI etc. had access to. That activity was ended in 2009 by the FISC. It's a resolved issue.

 

I've always believed that it was possible for any organization, public or private, to break the law or violate constitutional rights. That just comes down to human nature. People are fallible and make mistakes, and some people are also unethical on top of that. However, as I've said before, there isn't any evidence that any of the NSA activity in question wasn't directed at counterterrorism efforts, and that is a KEY point. Why? Because Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald weren't just claiming that the NSA might have made mistakes with minimization procedures during terror investigations, they were claiming that the NSA activity wasn't really related to counterterrorism and suggested that it was part of a government conspiracy to turn the U.S. into an authoritarian surveillance state. And there is no evidence of that. None. So is their lack of evidence a fallibility issue or an ethical one? In my opinion, it's likely both.

post #19 of 35
Originally Posted by gwmac 
I pointed out there were no American citizens during the revolutionary war since the United States did not yet exist as a country.


You were wrong, but yeah, you “pointed it out”. Never mind that it’s completely unrelated to the point that is actually being made.

 

Originally Posted by gwmac 
As usual you are trying to change the subject now…


No, I’m explicitly replying to the subject. Here are links to the relevant posts:
 

The subject is the illegal spying upon of US citizens by their government.

A statement was made regarding spying done during the Revolutionary War between American and British forces.

I replied, pointing out that wartime spying between two hostile parties is in no way comparable to peacetime spying between a government and its people.


You could have replied with a post that drew parallels between peace and wartime spying, particularly the big one in that act of spying is taking place. You didn’t, though. If we take your statement as being true (it wasn’t), then the situation becomes citizens spying on their government, not the other way around, so you’re still wrong.

 
Originally Posted by gwmac 
In any event there has been spying during peacetime as well long before the FBI, CIA or NSA existed so you are still wrong.


I’ll say it again: Nowhere did I ever claim that the current bout of illegal spying on US citizens is the only instance thereof in the history of our government.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #20 of 35

 

Would you agree that hostility exists between the U.S. government and terrorists that threaten U.S. citizens or U.S. government property, both domestically and on foreign soil? And that the possibility exists that those terrorists could have contacts within the boundaries of the United States?

 

Those are exactly the reasons that the NSA uses for surveillance activity that might include domestic data, which means, like the George Washington example, there's ample evidence that it's hostility related. Even the most recent PCLOB review that deemed the bulk collection of domestic telephone metadata as being illegal specifically noted that they judged the government's intent behind the collection to be in line with counterterrorism efforts. They saw no evidence that the government was motivated by anything other than national security concerns.

post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luykx View Post

Does this mean Cook is for transparency about those famous off shore cash flows as well?

 

Like the breakdowns by region in Apple's quarterly reports which already exist.

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #22 of 35
The irony of this is Apple is asking for more transparency when they themselves as a company build themselves off of secrecy.
post #23 of 35
Originally Posted by Winter View Post
The irony of this is Apple is asking for more transparency when they themselves as a company build themselves off of secrecy.


Does Apple’s secrecy harm anyone, legally or otherwise?

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


Does Apple’s secrecy harm anyone, legally or otherwise?

No however Apple is a big corporation so who are they fighting for? The people? The so-called "little guy"? Are they themselves worried that they're being listened to and that maybe their secrets are at risk and it affects their bottom line? Are they worried they might be breaking the law and don't want any secret conversations recorded?

I don't buy that Cook is doing this without an ulterior motive. Your move.
post #25 of 35
Originally Posted by Winter View Post
No however Apple is a big corporation so who are they fighting for?

 

Great products.

 
Are they themselves worried that they're being listened to and that maybe their secrets are at risk and it affects their bottom line?

 

Well, yeah. Because that’s exactly what is happening.

 
Are they worried they might be breaking the law and don't want any secret conversations recorded?

 

No. They don’t want their IP stolen.

 
I don't buy that Cook is doing this without an ulterior motive.

 

Good for you. Give us proof.

 
 Your move.

 

I put on my robe and wizard hat.

 

Now take off yours of tinfoil.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #26 of 35
I don't support what the NSA is doing because I don't think at the end of the day it helps us as citizens however I see Edward Snowden as more of a hero than I do Tim Cook. Snowden knew what was being done was wrong and so he sacrificed a lot to stand up for what was right. I feel like Cook is getting involved with something he shouldn't be getting involved in. Just stick with keeping Apple a good company that makes good products.
post #27 of 35
Originally Posted by Winter View Post
I feel like Cook is getting involved with something he shouldn't be getting involved in. Just stick with keeping Apple a good company that makes good products.

 

We don’t differ there. I don’t see it wise to involve Apple in any argument against anything unrelated to their industry except in instances where it directly affects the company. If it’s just Tim Cook himself speaking only for himself, that’s another thing entirely.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

We don’t differ there. I don’t see it wise to involve Apple in any argument against anything unrelated to their industry except in instances where it directly affects the company. If it’s just Tim Cook himself speaking only for himself, that’s another thing entirely.

Now that could be possible. Oh I just thought of something (and maybe it's because I'm still wearing my tinfoil hat), maybe with the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh, which was released in 1984, maybe someone drew the conclusion of how the NSA is similar to Orwell's 1984.

The interview was definitely not just a product focus though.
post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Winter View Post
Oh I just thought of something (and maybe it's because I'm still wearing my tinfoil hat), maybe with the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh, which was released in 1984, maybe someone drew the conclusion of how the NSA is similar to Orwell's 1984.

 

Edward Snowden already beat you to that comparison, but it's a rather ridiculous one. It's the type of comparison that you might make if you had superficially skimmed through the 1984 Cliff Notes while in junior high.

post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by foregoneconclusion View Post

Edward Snowden already beat you to that comparison, but it's a rather ridiculous one. It's the type of comparison that you might make if you had superficially skimmed through the 1984 Cliff Notes while in junior high.

Ah my bad, I mistakenly stated the obvious. I meant someone in the interview brought it up and mentioned it to Cook or maybe Cook mentioned it because it was topical.
post #31 of 35
post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Winter View Post
Ah my bad, I mistakenly stated the obvious. I meant someone in the interview brought it up and mentioned it to Cook or maybe Cook mentioned it because it was topical.

 

Wouldn't be Cook bringing it up because he basically said that Snowden was full of it, but with more tactful wording.

post #33 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by foregoneconclusion View Post

Wouldn't be Cook bringing it up because he basically said that Snowden was full of it, but with more tactful wording.

Okay now it all makes sense. Again, my mistake.
post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 


You were wrong, but yeah, you “pointed it out”. Never mind that it’s completely unrelated to the point that is actually being made.

 


No, I’m explicitly replying to the subject. Here are links to the relevant posts:
 

The subject is the illegal spying upon of US citizens by their government.

A statement was made regarding spying done during the Revolutionary War between American and British forces.

I replied, pointing out that wartime spying between two hostile parties is in no way comparable to peacetime spying between a government and its people.


You could have replied with a post that drew parallels between peace and wartime spying, particularly the big one in that act of spying is taking place. You didn’t, though. If we take your statement as being true (it wasn’t), then the situation becomes citizens spying on their government, not the other way around, so you’re still wrong.


I’ll say it again: Nowhere did I ever claim that the current bout of illegal spying on US citizens is the only instance thereof in the history of our government.

 

You backed yourself in a corner and got called out and now you are doing your best to wiggle out. There has been spying on U.S. citizens both during wartime and during peacetime since the country was founded and indeed in all countries and time periods throughout history using the technology of the time. We are all entitled to our own opinions but not our own facts. 

post #35 of 35
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

You backed yourself in a corner

 

By not talking about anything you’re claiming I talked about? I don’t really see how.

 
There has been spying on U.S. citizens both during wartime and during peacetime since the country was founded…

 

Could you perhaps quote where I said there wasn’t? Or how anything you’re saying has any relevance whatsoever to what I or anyone else is talking about in this thread?

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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