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Thread: The American Politics thread

  1. #3376
    International Debutant ganeshran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion View Post
    So you are faulting the US for being better at spying than your country? Would the assault on privacy not be as concerning to you if they only spied at the same level as India, Pakistan, China etc?
    I am faulting the US for the scale of spying they are carrying out. Every nation targets each other's defense installations/strategic resources and that is fair game. Only one nation is indiscriminately listening to civilian calls at a scale which dwarfs everyone else.

    India's planned monitoring system is also of deep concern to me for the same reason. Any state surveillance which is carried out without a court ordered warrant against a specific suspect is intrusion of privacy regardless of who does it.
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  2. #3377
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    That's only because as far as we know, only one nation has that capability. I think if all snooping and other covert operations that violate privacy of the citizens of other nations came out, this would be nothing.

    There was a big deal about Merkel but if Pakistan had the capability to listen in on all the calls by Indian PM, you don't think they'd do it? Or if the Germans could listen to Obama, allies or not, you don't think they would?
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    Hall of Fame Member grecian's Avatar
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    So a High School shooting in Roswell. Blimey the conspiracy nuts must not know what bit of this to talk absolute bollox about
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    Eternal Optimist / Cricket Web Staff Member GIMH's Avatar
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    Bringing about the all too often occurrence of me agreeing with Piers Morgan. I hate to do that but it's the one thing he gets right and sadly it comes up ever so often


  5. #3380
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Or if the Germans could listen to Obama, allies or not, you don't think they would?
    I think probably not, firstly because Germany doesn't really do espionage, but secondly because it would be an atrocious decision. The potential gains are tiny compared to the consequences of getting caught. Given its history, Germany can't get away with as much as other countries. Britain mostly just shrugged about being spied on by the US, but it would take being spied on by Germany very personally.

    The US seriously underestimated how badly this would go down in Germany, because they were so ignorant to the political context. Not every country shares your "awk but sure everyone does it really" mindset.

    Handled better than Tony Abbott, though.
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  6. #3381
    International Debutant ohnoitsyou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    I'm sorry but people aren't being put into jail or arrested for their political beliefs. The comparison doesn't hold. If the regimes you mentioned had anywhere near the technical capabilities of the NSA, their level of intrusion would be 1984'esque. None of this metadata BS. I don't like what the NSA is doing but let's keep it in perspective.

    People aren't being arrested for their political beliefs? go say that to one of the hundreds arrested in the occupy wall street movement, coordinated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force. But yes in general you are right, people are only arrested for putting their political beliefs into action. As i said the comparison really only between the levels of surveillance. However THE top domestic terrorist threats, environmental and animal rights activists are closely watched and i just don't get why that data would be selected out unless it was going to be used, or was thought to have the potential for usage in the future.

    All this data is being collected to fight the war on terror, yet this surveillance is proving ineffectual and the war is being lost, so its not hard to conclude that the levels of surveillance are only going to increase 1984'esque levels and i don't trust anyone with that level of information to be benign.

  7. #3382
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Really? You're gonna use the OWS movement as an example? That's what you're going with?

  8. #3383
    Global Moderator Fusion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ohnoitsyou View Post
    People aren't being arrested for their political beliefs? go say that to one of the hundreds arrested in the occupy wall street movement, coordinated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force. But yes in general you are right, people are only arrested for putting their political beliefs into action.
    Haha, can you point us to a link where an OWS protester was arrested for simply voicing his beliefs? As opposed to where they were arrested for obstructing traffic, or you know, occupying a property that didn't belong to them. Even if they were arrested, are you seriously comparing being arrested on a misdemeanor charge and released the next day to what oppression under the Gestapo or other totalitarian regimes was like?

  9. #3384
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    I think probably not, firstly because Germany doesn't really do espionage, but secondly because it would be an atrocious decision. The potential gains are tiny compared to the consequences of getting caught. Given its history, Germany can't get away with as much as other countries. Britain mostly just shrugged about being spied on by the US, but it would take being spied on by Germany very personally.

    The US seriously underestimated how badly this would go down in Germany, because they were so ignorant to the political context. Not every country shares your "awk but sure everyone does it really" mindset.

    Handled better than Tony Abbott, though.
    To be honest, I reckon Britain would only shrug because they know it's not hurting them at the moment. Anyone notice how much the NSA and other agencies are constantly mentioning their 'successes'? That all the pertinent info about suspects/terrorists tends to come out after the fact? It's because what they do isn't spycraft, it's data collection and they have very few actual successes to thump their chests about (mentioning the metric arseload of info you had about a crook and all their activities you were 'monitoring' is sorta pointless when they've already acted). Analysis of the data to find genuine smoking guns before **** goes down isn't an easily solvable problem at all. Certainly it isn't solved by throwing a few hundred maths grads and software toys at the problem. Why? There's immense amounts of data they're collecting and they have no idea what the hell to do with it. In future they will likely stumble on some algorithmic approach which means they can actually stop Something Bad happening but, right now, they're doing a whole lot of analysing and collecting but not a whole lot of crime fighting.

    I would hazard that MI6 has had more success stopping real terrorists than the NSA and that's with less than half the budget (the NSA's actual budget is classified, of course). A big difference is probably career progression. People in MI6 tend to be lifers whereas NSA has contractors or blokes who get in, learn just enough to build some fancy pants software who then leave and sell it back to the NSA at a massive premium. So far, accumulated experience and nous is winning the battle over machine learning. Of course, this won't always be the case but every algorithm has weaknesses or obvious limits which you can counter if you have the know-how (which anyone with, say, a Masters in IT does). The massive expenditure in the intelligence community post-9/11 has really only served to fatten the accounts of a bunch of insiders who were incompetently doing the job pre-9/11 but were smart enough to know a fearful government when they saw one.

    I can tell you know, if the NSA actually stopped something really bad from happening, they'd plaster it on every billboard. They're hiding behind the excuse of 'operational security' because they know they've nothing of serious consequence to report.

    EDIT: I tell a lie; Stuxnet almost counts as a success.
    Last edited by Top_Cat; 15-01-2014 at 05:03 PM.
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  10. #3385
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ohnoitsyou View Post
    All this data is being collected to fight the war on terror, yet this surveillance is proving ineffectual and the war is being lost, so its not hard to conclude that the levels of surveillance are only going to increase 1984'esque levels and i don't trust anyone with that level of information to be benign.
    Yes but the issue is more than malice, it's competence. No doubt, stock-piling of data on absolutely everyone's activities could be used for bad things (and, in pockets, most certainly is) and there would almost certainly exist amongst the 100K+ employees of the NSA those who'd love to do nasty things with it to broad swathes of people. But there doesn't exist a very easy way (yet) to do it. The NSA's biggest issue right now seems to be stopping their staff from spying on old girlfriends, the oldest problem in every intel environment....

  11. #3386
    International Debutant ohnoitsyou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion View Post
    Haha, can you point us to a link where an OWS protester was arrested for simply voicing his beliefs? As opposed to where they were arrested for obstructing traffic, or you know, occupying a property that didn't belong to them. Even if they were arrested, are you seriously comparing being arrested on a misdemeanor charge and released the next day to what oppression under the Gestapo or other totalitarian regimes was like?
    Yeah OWS is a pretty **** example but I'm out atm so I can't really trawl through bookmarks. I would believe that they were arrested for such incidences if it wasn't that most of the protestors made every effort to remain within the law and that homeland security was part of the eviction efforts. But no, i wasn't comparing that with the Gestapo at all, just stating how people have been arrested over the application of political views. Sure its not actual imprisonment, but then again it didn't need to be in order to be effective, the crackdown coupled with keeping media attention to a minimum sparked the end for the movement.

    Just because people seem to be confused over what i have been saying, domestically the NSA and other spy agencies are only comparable to the Gestapo in the depth of their surveillance. (sure the gestapo would have been far worse with modern day technology, but then again that same technology might make conditions inhospitable to their operations). Even though i think the US government tend to be more repressive then most western countries, it is not in the slightest anything compared to many totalitarian regimes (but the potential for such repression to occur is there). Foreign policy/involvement is a completely different story though.

  12. #3387
    International Debutant ohnoitsyou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Cat View Post
    Yes but the issue is more than malice, it's competence. No doubt, stock-piling of data on absolutely everyone's activities could be used for bad things (and, in pockets, most certainly is) and there would almost certainly exist amongst the 100K+ employees of the NSA those who'd love to do nasty things with it to broad swathes of people. But there doesn't exist a very easy way (yet) to do it. The NSA's biggest issue right now seems to be stopping their staff from spying on old girlfriends, the oldest problem in every intel environment....
    Yeah agree completely, i think it stands at over a million people with top level security clearance. I just wonder how much of this data ends up in the hands of the likes of google and apple, i've heard from a few techy types that they get targeted adds at home based on work metadata, when they are sure that they have kept the two completely isolated and vice versa.

  13. #3388
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Yeah I dunno, most people would find it really hard to keep their work and personal stuff separate. I'd venture to say it's impossible. You don't need to log on to your Gmail at work for Google to make the connection any more, anything which uses Google Analytics, for example (i.e. which is just about everyone), will assist in linking info to your ads without knowing or needing to know exactly who you are.
    Last edited by Top_Cat; 15-01-2014 at 08:53 PM.

  14. #3389
    International Debutant ganeshran's Avatar
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    The NSA and its australian counterpart spied on an American Law firm who was engaged by the Government of Indonesia to resolve a trade dispute

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/us...m.html?hp&_r=0

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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