Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News How far should the Dragnet reach.

  1. Jun 6, 2013 #1

    nsaspook

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    With the news leaking to the public of several surveillance programs targeting US citizens have we reached the limits of trust in what we allow our government to do when trying to stop the "bad guys".

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/inves...0c0da8-cebf-11e2-8845-d970ccb04497_story.html
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/prism-collection-documents/

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/07/us/nsa-verizon-calls.html?hp

    My main objection is not that these programs exist but their level of secrecy and scope invites abuse without real public oversight to decide if it's in the best interest of the people of this country.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2013 #2

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I'm not worried. If they monitored me they'd see recipes and gardening advice and pictures of dogs and kittens dressed up in funny costumes. Let them look all they want!
     
  4. Jun 6, 2013 #3

    Borg

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    I'm OK with it as long as it doesn't get out of hand.

    sticker,375x360.png
     
  5. Jun 6, 2013 #4

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I am against anything which makes it so hard to live because you are in fear that you may slip up and accidentally break some law. Hopefully it doesn't reach that point.
     
  6. Jun 6, 2013 #5

    jhae2.718

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    *looks at username*

    trap.jpg

    On a serious note, if the NSA is monitoring domestic communications they are breaking the law, and that's a problem.

    And by "if", I mean "they have the capability to do so so they are doing it".
     
  7. Jun 6, 2013 #6

    nsaspook

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

  8. Jun 7, 2013 #7

    D H

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I have qualms that these programs exist at all. The government needs a warrant to come into my house, a subpoena to look at my U.S. bank accounts. I don't have anything to hide now. That's irrelevant. Those protections exist to protect people who do have something to hide and to protect people from an overzealous government, which can manufacture a crime out of nothing. (Besides, I probably would have something to hide should an extreme left or extreme right political group get control of our government.) I'm glad those protections exist.

    Except they don't exist. The Patriot Act has severely eroded our individual rights. At some point we and our elected officials have to realize that security and freedom are inherently in conflict. IMO, we as a nation have gone overboard on security.
     
  9. Jun 7, 2013 #8

    jim mcnamara

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    @D H

    Were you around in the 1950's? My Dad (Washington Post) covered the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and Joseph McCarthy's actions on the Government Operations Committee in the Senate. Lots of people were in favor of this stuff.

    This new attempt at security is not different, just faster because of the speed of data access. IMO: anytime a politician can generate paranoia he/she can probably benefit from it. It is the rest of us who receive the detriment. As I understand this current bruhaha, it was engendered by court decisions rendered under sections of the Patriot Act. Hmm, name of that law sounds like something akin to what the name HUAC was trying to convey.
     
  10. Jun 7, 2013 #9
    Seriosly. I mean, has it been too long for people to remember the IRS targetting the Tea Party? (Note: I *don't* support the Tea Party. But I do support their right to exercise their rights. There's a big differece.) That is proof alone that the government has no qualms with violating (or chilling, in the case of the TP) rights of people/groups it doesn't like, whether they are protected under the Constitution or not. And you want me to trust you to read and listen to everything I *ever* say? How can anyone trust that? There's no guarentee of what is okay and what isn't. It's simply a function of who's in power.
     
  11. Jun 7, 2013 #10

    jim hardy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    well, I'm old enough to remember when they had Nixon on tape saying with glee: "We'll use the IRS [and other agencies] to harass our enemies!".
    That childish behavior is a symptom of a president who just isn't president material.
    If we are there again, well, the nation has survived it before.

    From spook's NYTimes link:
    What I want to know is if the NSA has all this information why don't they let some other agencies use it to go after these &^E#%M^><~F@##$ telemarketers.
    What with the $10,000 fine for each 'spoofed caller id' call they could pay off the debt in about a week.
     
  12. Jun 7, 2013 #11
    I was referring to the IRS targetting Tea Party organizations with harder reviews to grant them non-profit status (which came out a few weeks ago), which chills their right to freely associate and gather funds, by taxing the funds they raise for a protected reason.

    Lol. Okay, we can make an exception. Who needs rights when you can get rid of telemarketers? :P
     
  13. Jun 9, 2013 #12
    I have a big interest in history and world politics, and now when i look at the US they denounce other countries for monitoring and censoring the internet and right of others but are some of the worst offenders themselves. Sometimes I will end up worrying that just in a Google search that the government doesn't like could now get me arrested if things went far enough but most people don't seem to care now and it saddens me. I now always come to this quote when I more news on the issue:

    Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [i.e., securing inherent and inalienable rights, with powers derived from the consent of the governed], it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." --Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, 1776
     
  14. Jun 9, 2013 #13

    OmCheeto

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    That's the way I see it. Though if hackers break into the NSA, and get ahold of all the blasphemous things I say publicly on Facebook, and leak it to Monsanto, I'm screwed.

    And they are going to take away my "Progressive Democrat" card if it is ever leaked that I referenced the following this morning:

    Logical progression:
    Roosevelt liked Mussolini
    Mussolini was a fascist
    Roosevelt was a fascist
    Roosevelt was a democrat
    OmCheeto is a democrat
    OmCheeto is a fascist
    Fascists are bad
    OmCheeto is bad
    Obama kills bad people with drones
    OmCheeto dies in a drone strike
    OmCheeto stupidly pushes the "Submit Reply" button

    :eek:
     
  15. Jun 22, 2013 #14

    nsaspook

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    The CGHQ dragnet:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/21/legal-loopholes-gchq-spy-world

    I'm impressed with the scope of information Snowden managed to steal about these operations.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013
  16. Jul 14, 2013 #15
    Prism is vastly ineffective and will never fully accomplish what it is intended to do, assuming that it is intended to intercept communications between "cyber criminals" and terrorists and the like by monitoring social media outlets and VOIP services. The truth is, the NSA is very competent and is monitoring these outlets for a reason. People really do pass sensitive information via Facebook and twitter- in plain sight- via steganography.

    Assuming you belonged to an anonymous sect "arch angle", for instance, you would pass information to other sect members by embedding messages like " OP Bank Of America- DDoS 0800 CST. IRC channel 145 password: Schema" into a picture of a cat or something that seems out of place and post it on your wall- post it on your sect members wall or in a private group and then hash tag it with # arch angle and broadcast it on twitter. The same applies to videos. Those pretentious videos of anonymous members dawning guy fawkes masks are laden with embedded messages designed to organize the various sects for ops. The NSA knows this, but they don't have the resources to monitor every single wonky photo or video on the Internet. They don't have the resources, the man power or the funding. And besides, even if they did, real hackers would find another way. They are the some of the craftiest people on the planet; hackers built the internet.

    You may think it is silly to monitor social media outlets, but make no mistake, the NSA is very competent and well informed. Never the less, PRISM isn't capable, and their simply isn't a mainframe big enough on the planet to analyze all the data that flows through T1 pipes per second.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
  17. Jul 14, 2013 #16

    nsaspook

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I don't think it's silly to monitor communications of any kind as long as there is due process under law with individual warrants to cover each unique case. I also think the Justice Dept. should be doing it domestically not a branch of the military sanctioned to operate extra-constitutional acts of war against foreign powers.
     
  18. Jul 14, 2013 #17
    I couldn't agree more. Although I don't feel any "safer" knowing that my gmail conversations are being stored on a database somewhere for "good measure", I am rooting for the government. Cyber Espionage is an arms race and I would like to hope that we remain at the forefront.. no matter how unethical it may be.
     
  19. Jul 24, 2013 #18

    nsaspook

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

  20. Jul 31, 2013 #19

    nsaspook

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/31/nsa-top-secret-program-online-data

     
  21. Jul 31, 2013 #20
    Do we trust agencies to act responsibly and ethically when conducting covert surveillance?

    I don't.

    In the UK uncover police have had sexual relations with, and even fathered children with some of the people they were conducting surveillance against. http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/jan/20/undercover-police-children-activists

    Why should I expect the intelligance analysts at GCHQ or NSA be any better?
     
  22. Aug 1, 2013 #21
  23. Aug 1, 2013 #22

    Office_Shredder

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    At the bottom of the article we get

    It was a private company reporting on their own employee. Nothing to do with internet spying by the government
     
  24. Aug 1, 2013 #23

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Oh, so she and her husband lied.

    Ah, what a difference the truth makes.

    Ok, people, from now on, please read ALL of the article before flying off the handle and making false accusations. Not you jesse, although you should have read it first so you wouldn't have posted it in the first place, there was another post after yours, just trying to keep as much misinformation off as possible so we have the correct story. Ever heard of "yellow journalism"?
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
  25. Aug 1, 2013 #24

    Cthugha

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I could not agree more.

    The article clearly ends with:
    "In a new post on her Tumblr on Thursday, Catalano said: "We found out through the Suffolk police department that the searches involved also things my husband looked up at his old job. We were not made aware of this at the time of questioning and were led to believe it was solely from searches from within our house."

    She was very obviously not aware of the circumstances that led to the police showing up at her home at the time she made the first statement. Still accusing her of lying seems odd to me.


    A different story: Not really a false positive involving spying - just a reaction to a simple post on Facebook - but a story too funny not to mention it:

    In Germany there are several well known "top-secret" (yes I am aware of the irony) NSA facilities like the dagger complex. One of the people living nearby tried to pull off a joke and invited others to a nature walk via Facebook for "joint research into the threatened habitat of NSA spies." hoping that "If we are really lucky, we might actually see a real NSA spy with our own eyes.". The next morning, the police investigated him - they were alarmed by the US military police. In the end, this of course even increased the attention his "nature walk" drew (http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/us-military-and-german-police-respond-to-facebook-post-about-nsa-walk-a-911451.html).

    Besides that: Inside the US it is solely the business of the US how much and whether they want to trade off security versus individual privacy. What is happening abroad is a different thing and while I understand the desire and maybe need for a certain level of surveillance - I would be surprised if no official "allowed" foreign espionage quotas exist - the US are really walking the line. Bugging the European Union offices and networks in Washington and at the UN (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/29/us-usa-eu-spying-idUSBRE95S0AQ20130629) is a completely different quality which cannot be explained with the desire for security and cannot be turned down with "others do the same"-like arguments. The line between anti-terror measures and industrial espionage is very narrow and in the long run, continuing such behavior will drive at least parts of Europe away from the US.
     
  26. Aug 1, 2013 #25

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Since she's lied before, I assume this is another lie. In other words, when you lie, you lose your credibility.
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook