[linux-elitists] Political solutions to mass surveillance?

Ruben Safir ruben at mrbrklyn.com
Fri Jul 25 08:14:17 PDT 2014

On Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 05:56:55AM -0700, Don Marti 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?

Clockwork Orange

> 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"...
>   https://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/201x/2014/05/13/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                    
> http://zgp.org/~dmarti/
> dmarti at zgp.org

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