Glenn Greenwald Debates Keith Alexander
Interesting debate, surprisingly civil.
Alexander seemed to have been okay with Snowden revealing surveillance based on Section 215:
"If he had taken the one court document and said, 'This is what I'm going to do'... I think this would be a whole different discussion," Alexander said. "I do think he had the opportunity [to be] what many could consider an American hero."
And he also spoke in favor of allowing adversarial proceedings in the FISA Court.
On the other hand, I am getting tired of this back-door/front-door nonsense. Alexander said that he's not in favor of back doors in security systems, but wants some kind of "front door." FBI Director Comey plays this wordgame too:
There is a misconception that building a lawful intercept solution into a system requires a so-called "back door," one that foreign adversaries and hackers may try to exploit.
But that isn't true. We aren't seeking a back-door approach. We want to use the front door, with clarity and transparency, and with clear guidance provided by law. We are completely comfortable with court orders and legal process--front doors that provide the evidence and information we need to investigate crime and prevent terrorist attacks.
They both see a difference here. A back door is a secret method of access, one that anyone can discover and use. A front door is a public method of access, one that -- somehow -- no one else can discover and use. But in reality, there's no difference. Technologically, they're the same: a method of third-party data access that works despite the intentions of the data owner.
In the beginning of the debate, I got the feeling that Alexander is trying to subtly shill his company. (Not that there's anything wrong with that -- I sometimes do the same thing. But realizing it helped me understand some of Alexander's comments better.) Later, the discussion turned into a recycling of common talking points from both sides.
Posted on September 7, 2015 at 9:14 AM • 83 Comments