Tag Archives: surveillance

Anger Growing Among Allies Over U.S. Surveillance – NYTimes.com

24 Oct

You know, there’s a sense in which “WE” all knew that this was going on. But it’s one thing to strongly suspect – in a sophisticated, knowing – way that this is going on. It’s something else to put it out there. You know that old story about the Emperor’s new clothes? Imagine the moment when the Emperor struts out on the street, showing off his new finery, which is completely imaginary. Everyone can see he’s naked, but no one says anything until the boy blurts it out. Well, these days that little boy’s busy telling Truth to Power, and Power doesn’t like it, not one bit.

Ms. Merkel’s angry call to President Obama was the second time in 48 hours – after a similar furor in France prompted Mr. Obama to call President François Hollande — that the president found himself on the phone with a close European ally to argue that continuing revelations of invasive U.S. intelligence gathering should not undermine decades of hard-won trans-Atlantic trust.Both episodes illustrated the diplomatic challenge to the United States posed by the cache of documents that Mr. Snowden handed to the journalist Glenn Greenwald. Last week, Mr. Greenwald concluded a deal with the eBay founder Pierre Omidyar to build a new media platform that aims in part to publicize other revelations from the data Mr. Greenwald now possesses.

The damage to core American relationships continues to mount. Last month, President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil postponed a state visit to the United States after Brazilian news media reports — fed by material from Mr. Greenwald — that the N.S.A. had intercepted messages from Ms. Rousseff, her aides and the state oil company, Petrobras. Recently, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, which has said it has a stack of Snowden documents, suggested that United States intelligence had gained access to communications to and from President Felipe Calderón of Mexico while he was still in office.

via Anger Growing Among Allies Over U.S. Surveillance – NYTimes.com.

The benefits of a total surveillance state – Stuart Armstrong – Aeon

2 Oct

Hmmmm…this article almost makes a surveillance state seem tolerable. Read it and figure out what the author got wrong. Like the assumption that the people who conduct the surveillance will be benign. This is the kind of absolute power that corrupts absolutely.

The hidden assumption is that the world can be controlled from the top. It can’t. Ever. Or only at the  cost of ultimately self-defeating escalating surveillance.

If all goes well, there might be fewer laws for the police to enforce. Most countries currently have an excess of laws, criminalising all sorts of behaviour. This is only tolerated because of selective enforcement; the laws are enforced very rarely, or only against marginalised groups. But if everyone was suddenly subject to enforcement, there would have to be a mass legal repeal. When spliffs on private yachts are punished as severely as spliffs in the ghetto, you can expect the marijuana legalisation movement to gather steam. When it becomes glaringly obvious that most people simply can’t follow all the rules they’re supposed to, these rules will have to be reformed. In the end, there is a chance that mass surveillance could result in more personal freedom, not less.

via The benefits of a total surveillance state – Stuart Armstrong – Aeon.

NPR’s domestic drone commercial – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com

6 Dec

Coming to the sky near you:

Excitement over America’s use of drones in multiple Muslim countries is, predictably, causing those weapons to be imported onto U.S. soil. Federal law enforcement agencies and local police forces are buying more and more of them and putting them to increasingly diverse domestic uses, as well as patrolling the border, and even private corporations are now considering how to use them. One U.S. drone manufacturer advertises its product as ideal for “urban monitoring.”…

the use of drones for domestic surveillance raises all sorts of extremely serious privacy concerns and other issues of potential abuse. Their ability to hover in the air undetected for long periods of time along with their comparatively cheap cost enables a type of broad, sustained societal surveillance that is now impractical, while equipping them with infra-red or heat-seeking detectors and high-powered cameras can provide extremely invasive imagery. The holes eaten into the Fourth Amendment’s search and seizure protections by the Drug War and the War on Terror means there are few Constitutional limits on how this technology can be used, and there are no real statutory or regulatory restrictions limiting their use.

via NPR’s domestic drone commercial – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com.