[linux-elitists] Political solutions to mass surveillance?

Tilghman Lesher zgp-org at the-tilghman.com
Fri Jul 25 11:25:27 PDT 2014


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.

> * No effect on foreign surveillance.

Foreigners outside the US don't enjoy the same level of Constitutional
protections.

> * 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.

> * 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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