Edward Snowden: Bigger Revelations About NSA Spying Are Coming

March 19, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor that is the source of a cache of leaked internal NSA documents who is now hiding out in Russia to avoid espionage charges promises that more revelations about the agency's vast international and domestic spying programs will be revealed. He calls these upcoming revelations "big" and notes that reporting these revelations is not a crime. Snowden made his comments remotely during a recent TED event.

While Snowden had a lot to say about specific NSA programs - detailed in this Ars Technica report - the thrust of his comments during the TED event were that the intelligence agencies have created entire systems in the name of fighting terrorism after 9/11.

Snowden told the audience that his work has exposed "one of the dangerous legacies we've seen in the post 9/11 era. They're making the Internet fundamentally less safe for Americans. Is it really terrorism we're stopping? Do these programs have any value at all? I say no. Three branches of the American government say no."

"The bottom line is terrorism has always been a cover for action—it provokes an emotional response," he added. "The NSA asked for these authorities back in the 1990s. But Congress and the American people said no, said it's not worth the risk to our economy. But in the post 9/11 era, they used secrecy and the justification of terrorism to start these programs in secret."

Tim Berners-Lee, who many consider the father of the Internet, was called on stage by TED curator Chris Anderson. He said that Snowden was a "hero." Snowden said that he supported Berners-Lee's call for an Internet "Magna Carta."

"I grew up in the Internet," Snowden said. "I believe a Magna Carta for the Internet is exactly what we need. We need to encode our values in the structure of the Internet. I invite everyone in the audience to join and participate.

You can learn more details about Snowden's interaction at TED here.


Comments

Re: Edward Snowden: Bigger Revelations About NSA Spying Are ...

Even though The Washington Post just recently revealed that the NSA is actually collecting less than 30% of American calls.  According to their article, it used to be 100% back in 2006.  But back then, we also used landlines a lot more.  But since then, the majority of phone use has shifted to wireless, and they didn't account for that.  So again, all these claims Snowden have made are exaggerated or based on inaccurate information.

Here's a link to the article...

NSA is Collecting Less Than 30 Percent of U.S. Call Data, Officials Say

And while it could all just be coincidence, the timing of these appearances by Snowden, both at SXSW, and now at this TED talk in Vancouver, seem odd, just at around the same time Putin is making his push to take Crimea.  I think Snowden has now become an unwitting tool by Putin, who is trying I think to make him into some sort of latter day Tokyo Rose; orchestrating his appearances and let him spout his fears of a totalitarian state to shake up morale and undermine the credibility of our government.  It's the kind of tactic Putin would use.

And am I only one who sees the irony in Snowden, a man who has made comparisons to the NSA's programs to something out of Orwell's 1984, making these appearances on a giant viewscreen a la Big Brother, looking bigger than life, with a copy of the Constitution behind him with the phrase "We the People" in prominent display?  For someone who doesn't claim to want the attention and claims to be modest, it looks like he's really soaking it up for all he's worth.  And it doesn't do much to dispel the belief that he's a narcissist.

Re: Edward Snowden: Bigger Revelations About NSA Spying Are ...

The US government is doing a fine enough job undermining itself.

Re: Edward Snowden: Bigger Revelations About NSA Spying Are ...

And am I only one who sees the irony in Snowden, a man who has made comparisons to the NSA's programs to something out of Orwell's 1984, making these appearances on a giant viewscreen a la Big Brother, looking bigger than life

It is kind of hard to do any public appearances in any other way considering the US has revoked his ability to travel freely. 

Even though The Washington Post just recently revealed that the NSA is actually collecting less than 30% of American calls.  According to their article, it used to be 100% back in 2006.

In that case, I guess it is perfectly okay to ignore the other actions of the NSA, such as their efforts to place backdoors in encryption tools, wireless networks, the internet backbone etc etc. 

Even still, 30% of all telephone calls is still a massive net. I doubt, 30% of the US population is a suspected terrorist. What if you were part of that 30%? Are you okay with the NSA collecting the time, place, length and the recipient of your every call? 

I think Snowden has now become an unwitting tool by Putin, who is trying I think to make him into some sort of latter day Tokyo Rose; orchestrating his appearances and let him spout his fears of a totalitarian state to shake up morale and undermine the credibility of our government.  It's the kind of tactic Putin would use.

Now that is some Grade A conspiracy talk there.

Re: Edward Snowden: Bigger Revelations About NSA Spying Are ...

 Are you okay with the NSA collecting the time, place, length and the recipient of your every call?

It's since been proven, and not by the NSA, that they aren't listening to the calls and not getting that much detail on it.  All they do is connect the dots.  There's a list of suspect phone numbers, and all that's done is that they see what other phone numbers called those.  They can't do anything else without getting further clearance.  It's pretty similar to wiretap programs the police used to catch drug dealers, only on a much larger scale.

Now, I don't like that the NSA may know the contents of what sort of porn I have on my hard drive.  But I take comfort in knowing that when our government tries to do evil, it tends to trip over itself.

I think that Ben Franklin's quote of, "They who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety," that often comes up in these discussions has been abused.  Back then, Ben could afford to be absolutist because the worst weapon that could be used against you then was a musket or a cannon.  But when we live in an age where a device like the suitcase nuke has been around since the 1950's, I'd say I'd be willing to give up a little bit of that if it means deterring something like that.

We actually negotiate our freedoms throughout our life.  It's called a social contract.  What do you think you're doing what you stop at a red light?  Or pay taxes?  It's also why we have drunk driving laws and airport security lines.

Also, they really need to take a closer look at the 4th Amendment.  How can something be a "search" when the data is collected in an automated manner and can't really be seen until someone looks at it?  And how can something be called a "seizure" when nothing's been physically taken, but just copied?  These are the real questions that need to be discussed.

Re: Edward Snowden: Bigger Revelations About NSA Spying Are ...

How can something be a "search" when the data is collected in an automated manner and can't really be seen until someone looks at it?

It takes a lot of naivety to put so much trust in an organization like the NSA, because you're relying on the assumption that there hasn't been any abuse. Explain this, then:

Some National Security Agency analysts deliberately ignored restrictions on their authority to spy on Americans multiple times in the past decade, contradicting Obama administration officials’ and lawmakers’ statements that no willful violations occurred.

“Over the past decade, very rare instances of willful violations of NSA’s authorities have been found,” the NSA said in a statement to Bloomberg News. “NSA takes very seriously allegations of misconduct, and cooperates fully with any investigations -- responding as appropriate. NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities.”

Source: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130823/11171424296/more-confirmation-nsa-analysts-willfully-abused-surveillance-powers.shtml (which links back to Bloomberg)

Re: Edward Snowden: Bigger Revelations About NSA Spying Are ...

Any entity, private or public, is going to have those individuals who abuse their station, by accident or design.  We're all human.  And so are the people who work for the NSA.  Contrary to what anyone believes about them, they're not infallible.

If you don't believe that sort of thing goes on everywhere, I've got a bridge I want to sell you.

Re: Edward Snowden: Bigger Revelations About NSA Spying Are ...

"Contrary to what anyone believes about them, they're not infallible."

You know what? I agree. So why then, are people - including you - defending the NSA's ability to act with virtually no real oversight, with a secret court who rubber stamps almost all NSA orders, and with the ability to collect unprecedented amounts of data with very little control? Especially considering that Alexander and Clapper have both gone on record as admitting that Snowden's leaks have done nothing to actually damage national security, before you play that card?

If you don't believe that lends itself to problems, I've got a smarmy, self-righteous quip of my own to make.

Re: Edward Snowden: Bigger Revelations About NSA Spying Are ...

Personally, I'm more concerned with what private entities like Facebook do with one's personal data, or hackers who hack into the customer databases of corporations like Target and Marshalls and what they do with it, than anything the NSA does.  Ultimately, agencies like the NSA have to hold themselves accountable to higher authorities.  Private corporations aren't quite as beholden to anyone else, except maybe their shareholders.  And the Securities Exchange Commission provided they're caught.

Re: Edward Snowden: Bigger Revelations About NSA Spying Are ...

Ultimately, agencies like the NSA have to hold themselves accountable to higher authorities.

I take it you haven't really been paying attention the last year. The NSA and other spy agencies are far from being held accountable. 

Re: Edward Snowden: Bigger Revelations About NSA Spying Are ...

Well then that blows a big hole in your and others' assertions that Obama is somehow responsible for them, isn't it?  Which also at the same time confirms my beliefs on it.  If they really are a rogue agency, then there's not much Obama could do to reign them in.  So any attempt to somehow pin all of this on him and somehow make this all his fault kind of falls flat.

Re: Edward Snowden: Bigger Revelations About NSA Spying Are ...

Well then that blows a big hole in your and others' assertions that Obama is somehow responsible for them, isn't it?

Not sure where you got the impression that I blame Obama for the NSA and its activities. I have never made that claim. I know very much that this started long before Obama. However, the fact remains that Obama, as well as Bush, is complacent with the NSA and its activities and has been actively defending the agency.

Re: Edward Snowden: Bigger Revelations About NSA Spying Are ...

Ok, maybe not yours, but I've heard others make that implication.  I personally think Obama's been misinformed or does not really understand what these agencies do, and is only defending them because he honestly doesn't know any different.  But that's not the same as saying he's somehow complicit in their activities, which is what I've heard from some people.

Re: Edward Snowden: Bigger Revelations About NSA Spying Are ...

Obama knows, at minimum, exactly what everyone else knows thanks to the Snowden leaks. Considering he is the President and has access to all the secret briefings from these agencies, he most assuredly knows far more. With the leaks being as damaging to the national trust of government as they are, his support for the NSA and their activities is a massive blow against his support base.

Re: Edward Snowden: Bigger Revelations About NSA Spying Are ...

It's since been proven, and not by the NSA, that they aren't listening to the calls and not getting that much detail on it.

Nice strawman there. I never said they were listening to the calls. But the amount of information they can get via the metadata is pretty astounding and frightening. 

They can't do anything else without getting further clearance.

From a secret court with secret interpretations which has almost never refused any request from the NSA.

Back then, Ben could afford to be absolutist because the worst weapon that could be used against you then was a musket or a cannon.

The principle idea in that quote are just as true today as they were then. When he made that quote, it was not in relation to physical threats but political threats, threats from tyranny, and such. When you give up liberty in exchange for freedom, what you are really doing is giving a few people the power to control your life. What happens when people amass too much power? They abuse it. The old saying of "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" comes to mind.

We actually negotiate our freedoms throughout our life.  It's called a social contract.

Yes. I have a "social contract" that I will not rummage through your stuff and you won't rummage through mine. That should apply to the government too.

Also, they really need to take a closer look at the 4th Amendment.

I completely agree. I think the 4th amendment's protections need to be expanded to cover such automatically collected data. I think it needs expanded to protect my information from being copied without reasonable cause and a warrant.

 
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