Recent Important Articles about Surveillance

Posted Saturday, August 31, 2013 in Other by Patricia Seybold

Here are some articles that have been curated by Scott Jordan and discussed in Patty’s Pioneers’ group over the past few weeks. I have found them to be really informative and provocative. I hope you will too:

Good Articles on NSA Privacy Debate

  • How We Killed Privacy – in 4 Easy Steps; Stop blaming the NSA. We did this to ourselves, by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Kelsey D. Atherton, published in Foreign Policy on August 23, 2013:

    “Four distinct factors have interacted to kill electronic privacy: a legal framework that has remained largely static since the 1970s, significant changes in our use of rapidly evolving technology, commercial providers' increasingly intrusive tracking of our every online habit, and a growth in non-state threats that has made governments the world over obsess about uncovering these dangers. Only by understanding the interaction between these factors can we begin the necessary discussion about what privacy means in the 21st century — and how to forge a new social compact to address the issue.”

    What I found particularly interesting in this analysis was the authors’ discussion about “Pen Registers” — the data about whom you call on the phone. And the notion that:

    “In other words, when a third party [your phone company] is able to see what a person is doing in an electronic environment, no reasonable expectation of privacy exists.”

    This article does a good job of summarizing the slippery slope we’ve already gone down when it comes to protection of privacy and freedom from surveillance.

  • 1,000 Sys Admins Can Copy Any NSA Document Without Anyone Knowing About It; Think Only Snowden Did?By Mike Masnik, published August 26, 2013 in TechDirt. After quoting a recent report that audited NSA’s current practices, Mike writes:
    “So we're left with an agency that collects a ridiculous amount of info, and has around 1,000 employees (who are mostly actually employed by outside contractors) who can look through anything with no tracking, leaving no trace, and we're told that the data isn't abused. Really? … And, do they believe that none of the people whom those thousand sys admins are friends with haven't had their friend "check out" information on someone else? …

    Basically, it seems clear that the NSA has simply no idea how many abuses there were, and there are a very large number of people who had astounding levels of access and absolutely no controls or way to trace what they were doing.”
  • PRSM My Favorite is this “spoof” site: It positions the NSA’s Prism intelligence tool as a consumer service: A great service you can use to preserve and share all your information with everyone.


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