[linux-elitists] Political solutions to mass surveillance?

Ruben Safir ruben at mrbrklyn.com
Mon Aug 4 16:59:08 PDT 2014

On Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 01:25:27PM -0500, Tilghman Lesher wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 7:56 AM, Don Marti <dmarti at zgp.org> wrote:
> > Here's something I don't get.  Maybe somebody
> > else on the list gets it.  What's the point of a
> > ban/restriction/de-funding of mass surveillance in
> > the USA?  Why do people strain their precious carpal
> > tunnels discussing political action in this area?
> I think it's mainly referring to the Fourth Amendment of the
> Constitution.  If the courts won't rein in the NSA, perhaps ensuring
> that they're not allowed to spend any money doing that will.

This is the Ronald Reagan solution to bad government.  Just defund all
of it.

> > * No effect on foreign surveillance.
> Foreigners outside the US don't enjoy the same level of Constitutional
> protections.

No should they.  Foriegners are not invested citinzens of the country
and are frankly dangerous to our national interests.

> > * No effect on private sector surveillance. User
> >   data is still in company databases, where it can
> >   be compromised (as it regularly is) or acquired.
> Private corporations are not restricted by the Constitution in what
> they're permitted to do.

Actually, I'm not certain of that.  The principle for the most part is
true, but it is not a blanket truth, especially if they are contracted
with the government or act in behalf of the government.

> > * Affects "public secret surveillance" but not true
> >   "black programs."  You could put Bruce Schneier
> >   in charge of NSA, and reduce its function to just
> >   going to standards meetings and running the museum.
> >   But all the stuff that was secret pre-Snowden would
> >   just move to another budget, and the taxpayers
> >   would buy a new agency another office complex.
> A blanket law prohibiting the NSA from conducting surveillance within
> the United States and/or preventing them from spending money on it
> would, in fact, even stop legal black ops.  Those who conduct such
> operations in defiance of the law?  I'm sure they're out there, but
> it's a career-limiting move, as one corporation likes to say.
> Tilghman
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