Snowden-Greenwald-Poitras AMA

Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Edward Snowden did an "Ask Me Anything" on Reddit.

Point out anything interesting in the comments.

And note that Snowden mentioned my new book:

One of the arguments in a book I read recently (Bruce Schneier, "Data and Goliath"), is that perfect enforcement of the law sounds like a good thing, but that may not always be the case.

Posted on February 25, 2015 at 1:54 PM • 18 Comments

Comments

markFebruary 25, 2015 4:45 PM

Uh oh.. Both TAILS and Tor were mentioned within the AMA.

I guess we're all on a special list, now - especially those who link to the AMA!

Bong-smoking Primitive Monkey-Brained SockpuppeFebruary 25, 2015 9:09 PM

@MIX,

I would like to dedicate this to you as a farewell gift before @Moderator writes your "eulogy"

There was a blogger called MIX
Who responded to the warning with a nix
Dirk Praet rated on him
The moderator started VIM
And Vamoose, went one of the pricks

It's not the best, but under the circumstances, I think this will follow you as well...

BripFebruary 25, 2015 9:21 PM

Aside from a favorable SCOTUS ruling, is there anything meaningful we can actually do to oppose mass surveillance?

FigureitoutFebruary 25, 2015 10:33 PM

Moderator RE: MIX
--Agree w/ Dirk Praet & others, time to load up the shotgun and put him down, completely disregarded your warning.

Bruce
--Think most of it Snowden's said before just reiterating, I found it funny that he's up on his reddit memes lol. He enjoys his interwebs like all of us. Case in point: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2wwdep/we_are_edward_snowden_laura_poitras_and_glenn/couup79?context=3

With a nice quote for him lol: https://i.imgur.com/BiSkH5D.png

"This kills the ..." and "itshappening.gif" which is a ron paul gif lol. He also got 81 golds in a day, which most people are lucky to get 1.

Monkey See Monkey DoFebruary 25, 2015 11:29 PM

@Brip "Aside from a favorable SCOTUS ruling, is there anything meaningful we can actually do to oppose mass surveillance?"

Well, if the NSA forces the installation of backdoors into products, then freedom loving software engineers will have a motive for installing their own 0days for use by hackers. Imagine asymmetric warfare in corporate source code.

Perhaps the book "On Guerrilla Warfare" will see a rise in popularity.

wiredogFebruary 26, 2015 5:31 AM

I think anyone who thinks about it would agree that perfect justice is the last thing any of us wants.

BoppingAroundFebruary 26, 2015 12:11 PM

This transcript might be of interest: http://www.ted.com/talks/glenn_greenwald_why_privacy_matters/transcript?language=en

> 2:29 The people who are actually saying that are engaged in a very extreme act of self-deprecation. What they're really saying is, "I have agreed to make myself such a harmless and unthreatening and uninteresting person that I actually don't fear having the government know what it is that I'm doing."

I have to say, I see many people who are pretty much comfortable with that self-deprecation.

blaughwFebruary 26, 2015 3:06 PM

Perfect enforcement of the law would require perfect laws, which along with being not possible, is not the design of our legal system. "Perfect" enforcement would be a travesty, although on the plus side there would probably be far fewer lawyers.

...or would there be FAR MORE LAWYERS????

The End.

...OR IS IT???

KurtFebruary 26, 2015 8:32 PM

I seriously doubt HSA are only ones installing backdoors in products. That's one of biggest reasons security is such a fast growing premium industry.

until last man working fires himself, we cant reach 100% efficiency. same goes for security industry. in 100% secure ecology, security professionals cease to exist.

Jonathan WilsonFebruary 27, 2015 4:26 PM

I suspect ISIS and other groups have, if anything, made it harder to get any kind of political traction on doing something about the NSA and other spy agencies. Especially when you have various agencies talking (in public or in private) about just how important the spying is to stop terrorist attacks like the Ottawa Parliament shooting or the Sydney Cafe Siege.

If the politicians do something to wind back the spying (or e.g. abandon mandatory data retention requirements by providers) and an attack happens, the politicians who supported weakening things WILL be blamed (even if the things they got rid of wouldn't have done a thing to stop the attack had they been in place)

CallMeLateForSupperFebruary 28, 2015 3:17 PM

@Jonathan Wilson makes good points, and seeing them here propels me to state some observations along the same lines that have been on my mind and under my hat for some time.

There's a decades-old saw here in the U.S.: "Social Security is the third rail of politics; if you touch it, you die."[1] S.S., codified in law, is an entitlement, and woe be to he who even suggests that maybe its time is over or that its structure needs a touch-up.

Today, *national* security is the third rail of politics; if you touch it, you die. Jonathan put it this way: "If the politicians do something to [reign in spies] and an attack happens, the politicians who supported weakening things WILL be blamed." There would be howling and rending of garments by some, but that should not prevent us from probing, debating, and demanding answers to difficult or potentially embarassing questions.

I am impatient (to be kind) with those who would give NSA et al whatever they want just because they ask for it. And I have only derision for the arm-waving, shrill-voice mob who, straight-faced, hold up small-scale murders as proof that National Intelligence requires more leeway, more resources, more, more.

If the national security apparatus were a traditional service and each citizen could choose to buy or leave it on the shelf, I suspect "consumers" would exhibit more interest in traditional commerce metrics: costs; benefits; efficacy; efficiency.

Measuring efficacy in this context amounts to trying to prove a negative: the mind-bending resources and methods aimed at reading Every Damn Thing *must* be effective, because we haven't had a repeat of 9/11. Right? No, I think the reason that 9/11 hasn't been repeated is ......... wait for it ..............nobody has tried.

--------------------------------------------------------
[1] To aid understanding of non-U.S. persons, S.S. is the legislated, guaranteed dole for (ahem) older persons, which program dates back to... essentially ancient times. "Third rail" alludes to the center (third) rail that supplies massive quantities of direct-current electricity to subway cars, for propulsion.

epistemologyFebruary 28, 2015 9:01 PM

Snowden:

"One of the arguments in a book I read recently (Bruce Schneier, "Data and Goliath"), is that perfect enforcement of the law sounds like a good thing, but that may not always be the case. The end of crime sounds pretty compelling, right, so how can that be?"

Perfect law enforcement is a good idea in a perfect system. Else we need the laboratory of error.

Just as perfect copying of our genome would not be a good thing. Nobody wants a mutant child, but without mutations, we would all still be slime mold.

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