[linux-elitists] Political solutions to mass surveillance?

Don Marti dmarti at zgp.org
Fri Jul 25 05:56:55 PDT 2014

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'm sure that there must be some reason, but I'm
having trouble understanding what it would be.

It seems like a political solution in this area would
do for privacy what cutting back on software testing
does for system stability.

* No effect on foreign surveillance. 

* No effect on private sector surveillance. User
  data is still in company databases, where it can
  be compromised (as it regularly is) or acquired.

* 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.

It's a positive step to say that "Pervasive Monitoring
is an Attack"...
...but jumping from there to "there ought to be a
law" seems counterproductive.  "Reform" that's just
enough to say, "see, we did something, now we can keep
selling the same surveillance-friendly services and
Builds of Questionable Provenance" might be worse than
no action at all.

(No, this isn't an "open source is the answer"
situation.  Open source, reviewed and/or signed off by
people in multiple juristictions, with deterministic
builds, maybe then you're starting to get somewhere.)

Don Marti                    
dmarti at zgp.org
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