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Nederlog


  October
31, 2013
Crisis: Feinstein, Yahoo & Google, Jarvis, Johnson, Alexander, Dark Mail, collaboration etc.
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
"
   -- I.F. Stone.











Sections
Introduction
  1. Spying On Allies Opposed By Diane Feinstein, NRA,
       Many Others

  2. Yahoo and Google furious over reports NSA secretly
       intercepts data links

  3. Finally, the review of the NSA's powers we should have
       had already

  4. Boris Johnson defends Guardian over NSA revelations
  5. NSA director hints at scaling back some surveillance of
       foreign leaders

  6. Dark Mail Aims to Restore Privacy in the NSA Age
  7. How three news outlets collaborated on the NSA files
  8. Is Glenn Greenwald the Future of News?
  9. 'I Hope You Publish This': NSA Broke Into Google, Yahoo
       Data Centers

10. “You Can’t Have Your Privacy Violated If You Don’t
        KNOW Your Privacy Is Violated”
About ME/CFS

Introduction

I can't really say "I am over the loss of Stephanie Faulkner", since she was my first real and mutual love, and had the best mind I've met, and also I had hoped to clarify quite a lot of things once I had found her, that now have become forever impossible, but today there is a more or less regular Nederlog, with 10 items.

Altogether it is around 47 Kb, and there's too much to cram into my title.

1.  Spying On Allies Opposed By Diane Feinstein, NRA, Many Others

The first item today is a video by TYT aka The Young Turks:

It is 7 min 36 sec but it gives a decent summary. (And also, I like them: their news makes sense, unlike most of the rest that meets my eyes.)

2. Yahoo and Google furious over reports NSA secretly intercepts data links

Next, an article by Dominic Rush, Spencer Ackermann, and James Ball, in the Guardian - and
see item 9:
This starts as follows:

Google and Yahoo, two of the world's biggest tech companies, reacted angrily to a report on Wednesday that the National Security Agency has secretly intercepted the main communication links that carry their users' data around the world.

Citing documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with officials, the Washington Post claimed the agency could collect information "at will" from among hundreds of millions of user accounts.

The documents suggest that the NSA, in partnership with its British counterpart GCHQ, is copying large amounts of data as it flows across fiber-optic cables that carry information between the worldwide data centers of the Silicon Valley giants.
There is rather a lot more, and as you may have expected, the NSA denied this, though not very specifically. But here is one quote from a Google representative:

In a statement, Google's chief legal officer, David Drummond, said the company was "outraged" by the latest revelations.

"We have long been concerned about the possibility of this kind of snooping, which is why we have continued to extend encryption across more and more Google services and links, especially the links in the slide," he said.

"We do not provide any government, including the US government, with access to our systems. We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks, and it underscores the need for urgent reform."

Then again, this also may not be true. But it certainly shows that Google etc. must be allowed to speak freely, and not be threatened by classified documents issued by secret courts: That is Stalinist.

As I said: there's more on this in item 9.

3.
Finally, the review of the NSA's powers we should have had already

Next, an article by Jeff Jarvis in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

What are we, we citizens of the United States and nations of the world: chopped liver?  

As Edward Snowden's leaks revealed that millions of Americans and their metadata were ensnared in the National Security Agency's collect-it-all dragnet, the White House and most of Congress – Senator Dianne Feinstein leading the defense – would brook no reconsideration. Citizens of other nations were treated as if they simply had no rights to avoid the NSA's widening glare. 

But when German Chancellor Angela Merkel complained about reports that her mobile phone had been targeted for more than a decade … well, that is the moment when President Obama considers hitting the brakes on the NSA and stopping them from snooping on heads of state. That was the moment when Merkel herself stopped defending a policy of aiding the NSA and started questioning it. And that is the moment when Feinstein finally concedes that:"

A total review of all intelligence programs is necessary.

Well, yes, but it seems to me one really cannot trust any of the official players involved: Not the NSA, not senators like Feinstein, not the U.S. government, not the GCHQ, not the English government, and indeed also not Chancellor Merkel nor president Hollande.

The reasons are that they all have been lying a lot, and they all belong to the very top who may bring it about that they are not be spied upon by the NSA or the GCHQ.

But I am not much interested whether top politicians are spied upon, or more spied upon than they like: I am concerned about mass surveillance, and think that has to go, completely also. It is totalitarian and authoritarian, and it has no place in any political system that calls itself "a democracy".

4.
Boris Johnson defends Guardian over NSA revelations

Next, an article by Matthew Taylor in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

Boris Johnson has issued a staunch defence of the Guardian's "salient and interesting" revelations showing the extent of mass surveillance by US and UK intelligence agencies.

The mayor of London told an audience at the World Islamic Economic Forum on Wednesday that it was important that governments and their spies were held to account by a "beady-eyed" media.

"I think the public deserves to know," said Johnson. "The world is better for government being kept under the beady-eyed scrutiny of the media and for salient and interesting facts about public espionage being brought into the public domain."

Yes, indeed. The article continues with saying this opposes him to David Cameron, and also has some more information.

5.
NSA director hints at scaling back some surveillance of foreign leaders

Next, an article by Spencer Ackerman, in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

The director of the National Security Agency conceded on Wednesday that it may need to scale back some of its surveillance operations on foreign leaders, in the wake of an international outcry.

Launching a public defence of the NSA for the second time in as many days, Alexander acknowledged that limiting the program may be necessary in order to maintain diplomatic relations. “I think in some cases the partnerships are more important," he told an audience in Washington.

Partnerships between Washington and several European nations, particularly Germany, have come under extreme strain since chancellor Angela Merkel confronted the US about the NSA intercepting her phone calls.
Then again, I tend to disbelieve everything Keith Alexander says, and also, as I remarked above, I am not much concerned with spying on political leaders: what concerns me is the mass surveillance.

6.
Dark Mail Aims to Restore Privacy in the NSA Age

Next, a brief article by Peter Scheer on Truth Dig:
This starts as follows:

The founder of Lavabit, the secure email service provider that shut down rather than betray its customers—including Edward Snowden—to the U.S. government, is back with a new idea for private email.

Ladar Levison is collaborating with Silent Circle, the private company that counts encryption guru Phil Zimmermann among its top executives, to create something called Dark Mail.

This gets - somewhat - explained in the rest of the article. I have mentioned Lavabit and also Phil Zimmermann before, and all I take from the above is that it still is possible to send encrypted data that the NSA cannot decipher.

Then again, "restoring privacy" should happen by other means, viz. insisting that it is theft, it is spying, and it should not happen in democracies, except as regulated by the Fourth Amendment. And also, all spying should be properly overseen by qualified senators and congressmen, and should not be furthered by secret courts.


7.
How three news outlets collaborated on the NSA files

Next, an article by Sarah Marshall in Journalism:
This has as a subtitle:
How the Guardian, New York Times and ProPublica worked together to report on the documents leaked by Edward Snowden
It mostly clarifies that it involves a lot of research, and a lot of time and money, and it also says the collaboration went smoothly.

8.
Is Glenn Greenwald the Future of News?

Next, an article on AlterNet by Bill Keller and Glenn Greenwald:
This is from the beginning:

The far-ranging interview concluded on the central tenet of what motivates Greenwald to do investigative journalism: "The authoritarian response that at its core says when someone in power decrees something is secret we have to quiver in deference, and to challenge that decree is somehow a moral and legal crime. I reject that," Greenwald told Johnston. "My nature is that when I see abuses of power, I want to expose those abuses.” 

Earlier this month Greenwald announced he was joining a new journalistic venture, backed by eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar, who has promised to invest $250 million and to “throw out all the old rules.” That news item and David Cay Johnston's interview caught the eye of Bill Keller, former Executive Editor of The New York Times, now an occasionaly columnist for its op-ed pages, who invited Greenwald to participate in an exange on similar topics. What follows are some of the more important parts of their exchange, which can be read in full here.

I get nothing when I click the last link, either because I did not pay the NYT or because I do not have Javascript on, but in any case, what I read was part of the exchange between Keller and Greenwald.

But then that was quite an interesting read, although I also should say that (1) I do not know Keller from anything and (2) his arguments do not count for much.

Anyway: I recommend you read all of it, and here are two quotes from it, both by Greenwald:

Worse still, this suffocating constraint on how reporters are permitted to express themselves produces a self-neutering form of journalism that becomes as ineffectual as it is boring. A failure to call torture “torture” because government officials demand that a more pleasant euphemism be used, or lazily equating a demonstrably true assertion with a demonstrably false one, drains journalism of its passion, vibrancy, vitality and soul.

Worst of all, this model rests on a false conceit. Human beings are not objectivity-driven machines. We all intrinsically perceive and process the world through subjective prisms. What is the value in pretending otherwise?

The relevant distinction is not between journalists who have opinions and those who do not, because the latter category is mythical. The relevant distinction is between journalists who honestly disclose their subjective assumptions and political values and those who dishonestly pretend they have none or conceal them from their readers.

Here I merely say that this is a reaction to points of Keller, that I found rather incredible, indeed for the reasons given by Greenwald.

Here from nearly the end:

So yes: along with new privacy-enhancing technologies, I do think that brave, innovative whistle-blowers like Manning and Snowden are crucial to opening up some of this darkness and providing some sunlight. It shouldn’t take extreme courage and a willingness to go to prison for decades or even life to blow the whistle on bad government acts done in secret. But it does. And that is an immense problem for democracy, one that all journalists should be united in fighting. Reclaiming basic press freedoms in the U.S. is an important impetus for our new venture

Yes, indeed - and I am not certain they will succeed.

9. 'I Hope You Publish This': NSA Broke Into Google, Yahoo Data Centers

Next, a piece by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Without their knowledge or permission, the National Security Agency has broken into the global data centers of Yahoo! and Google, the Washington Post is reporting on Wednesday.

In a report that terms the specific NSA surveillance program as "unusually aggressive," the newspaper claims that leaked documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden show how the operation, codenamed MUSCULAR, allowed the agency to access the "cloud networks" of the two internet giants and "collect at will from among hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans."

There is also this, a little later on:

When asked by the Post if they were aware of the program, both Yahoo! and Google adamantly said they did not know and expressed deep concern—anger, in fact—that the NSA had possibly infiltrated their private, highly secure, "cloud" networks.

For more, consult the last dotted link.

10.
Head of Congressional Intelligence Committee: “You Can’t Have Your Privacy Violated If You Don’t KNOW Your Privacy Is Violated”

Finally, a piece on Washington's Blog:
Here is a bit of a quoted exchange between Mike Rogers, who chairs (!) the House Intelligence Committee, and professor of law Stephen I. Vladek:

Rogers: I would argue the fact that we haven’t had any complaints come forward with any specificity arguing that their privacy has been violated, clearly indicates, in ten years, clearly indicates that something must be doing right. Somebody must be doing something exactly right.

Vladeck: But who would be complaining?

Rogers: Somebody who’s privacy was violated. You can’t have your privacy violated if you don’t know your privacy is violated.

Vladeck: I disagree with that. If a tree falls in the forest, it makes a noise whether you’re there to see it or not.

Rogers: Well that’s a new interesting standard in the law. We’re going to have this conversation… but we’re going to have wine, because that’s going to get a lot more interesting…

This is most of the comment on Washington's Blog:

What Rogers is really saying is that the government has the right to spy on everyone so long as it doesn’t get caught doing so.

How’s that different from arguing that it’s okay for a thief to takes $100 from your bank account as long as you don’t notice that the money is missing? Or that it’s okay to rape a woman while she’s passed out so long as she doesn’t realize what happened?

That’s beyond ridiculous.

It flies in the face of more than 200 years of American law.
I quite agree - and I also note that Rogers committed, probably intentionally, a fallacy: He confused "You don't know your privacy is violated if your privacy is not violated", which is perfectly OK, with the utterly invalid "Your privacy is not violated if you do not know your privacy is violated".

---------------------------------
Note

[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, thay the governors do not rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
It is more proper that law should govern than any of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servant of laws.
(And I note the whole file I quote from is quite pertinent.)

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to
facilitate search machine) which is a disease that I have since 1.1. 1979:

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



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