NSA Whistleblower Ed Snowden: From My Desk I Could Wiretap Anyone: You, A Federal Judge Or The President Of The US

from the well-that's-comforting dept

Yesterday, it was revealed that Ed Snowden was the whistleblower, who exposed some details of NSA surveillance capabilities, often going far beyond what people expected. If you haven't yet, you should watch his video interview with Glenn Greenwald where he goes into more detail:
Here's a bit that caught my attention:
"I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you, or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President if I had a personal email.
The wording here is a little unclear, since "wiretap" generally means capturing voice conversations, but saying that he would need a personal email address from the President to wiretap him suggests he's talking specifically about access their emails. Either way, given that we keep being told that the NSA is only supposed to cover non-US persons, the fact that a 29-year-old computer guy working for the NSA claims he could get access to anyone's email just by having their email address suggests, certainly, that there isn't much (if any) oversight, and the NSA is clearly not careful about the data it's scooping up.

Later in the interview, he explains why the people who say "I don't care, because I've got nothing to hide" are complete and total idiots:
"Because even if you're not doing anything wrong, you're being watched and recorded. And the storage capability of these systems increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude to where it's getting to the point where you don't have to have done anything wrong, you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call. And then they can use the system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you've ever made. Every friend you've ever discussed something with. And attack you on that basis, to derive suspicion from an innocent life, and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer."
There's a lot more in the interview, which is absolutely worth watching. No one ever got to hear Bradley Manning speak before he got whisked away. Ed Snowden appears to have put a lot more thought and planning into what he was doing than Manning, and here we actually get to hear his thoughts.


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    wavettore, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 2:52am

    In regard to this surveillance program the public opinion is split once again between those who respect themselves and their freedom and those who instead live in fear, look for protection and welcome the leash of their master.

    It is also about a certain culture that had been slave since ancient Egypt.

    www.wavevolution.org

     

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    marak, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 3:07am

    Thanks ill check this out when im off the train.

     

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    Simon, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 3:08am

    William Hague (British Foreign Secretary) is an idiot then, he said "Only terrorists, criminals and spies should fear secret activities of the British and US intelligence agencies."

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 3:33am

      Re:

      No, he's just a lair.

       

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      The!23, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 5:59am

      Re:

      Yes, but there definition of a "terrorist" could be anything.

       

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      Gabe, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 7:30am

      Response to: Simon on Jun 10th, 2013 @ 3:08am

      An idiot or an enemy of free man. An enemy of civilization. Just as th NSA and the pentagon is now an enemy of humanity.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 7:35am

      Re:

      > Only terrorists, criminals and spies should fear secret activities of the British and US intelligence agencies.

      Who defines a "criminal"? What prevents for instance my religion from being declared illegal in the future?

      And even if it is something I could stop doing, what prevents it from being declared illegal retroactively?

       

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        TheLastCzarnian (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 10:05am

        Re: Re:

        Well, the Constitution prohibits retroactive criminal laws, but that doesn't seem to be standing in anyones way lately.

        Because Terrorism!TM

         

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          PRMan, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 10:13am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well, then go ahead and start copying Steamboat Willie onto DVDs and selling it on eBay for $2.99. I'm sure that your no "Ex Post Facto" argument will go really far when discussing the copyright implications of that.

           

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      Sam, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 7:49am

      Re:

      Yes William is an idiot. His statement was spoken from a position of power, a position that would abuse this type of power to keep said power. England is already becoming one of the most policed states in the first world.

       

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      Andreas, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 10:57am

      Re:

      That is indeed an idiotic statement.

       

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      MondoGordo (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 11:50am

      William Hague is correct!!!

      On the other hand considering the number of laws on the books, the probability that any single person has never committed a "crime" approaches zero ... therefore everyone is a criminal, and we should all be afraid. very afraid!

       

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      k-h, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 4:32pm

      Re:

      William Hague (British Foreign Secretary) is an idiot then, he said "Only terrorists, criminals and spies should fear secret activities of the British and US intelligence agencies."


      Well if the government isn't doing anything wrong, it shouldn't fear the public finding out what it's doing.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 3:11am

    He'll be spirited away and imprisoned for several years in conditions bordering on inhumane before actually being tried.

    And we'll wonder where are the Snowdens of yesteryear

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 3:35am

      Re:

      This is probably why he went to the media and outed himself before anything could happen. If something happens now, the media will make a shitstorm about it. Compare with Bradley Manning where the government was able to convince the media that he was a traitor to sent information to America's "enemies", coupled with the media's own campaign against WikiLeaks.

       

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      Hella good, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 11:22am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jun 10th, 2013 @ 3:11am

      I appreciate the catch-22 reference, that's what I was thinking :P

       

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    McCrea (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 3:34am

    What's with the fair use notice? "This video contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner".

    Is that a boiler plate anti-takedown statement, or what content are they talking about being copyrighted?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 4:03am

    He's just like that Peyton Manning!

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 4:28am

    And the double talk from the talking heads begins...
    They want to push the focus to the messenger rather than the message.
    It was nice to see Mike Rodgers droning on about how this is going to hurt us and we need to prosecute him, yet he was less forthcoming about how much money his support of the spy games earns for his wife and employer.

    They are now pulling out the he had an oath to not do this... I'd like to hear the answer to how their oath to defend the constitution doesn't seem to apply.

     

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    LivingInNavarre (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 4:53am

    traitor or hero?

    I'm on the fence about his situation. There are valid whistleblower channels he could have worked through before going public. On the other hand I can see how it looks like no one will be punished for the IRS scandal.

    This weekend a lot of talking heads from congress and various administrations have said he took an oath. The same kind of oath they took themselves yet seem to violate when it's convenient.

    I guess I disagree with how he went public yet I fully understand. This was the dark secret we all knew about but once it became open knowledge we will look at our government differently. Hopefully the dialog will be about how our government is running amok and not about the leak.

    And for Snowden, I hope he was smart enough to keep some secrets in a safe place to be exposed only if something happens to him.

     

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      Jay (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 5:15am

      Re: traitor or hero?

      Are you nuts? Have you not been paying attention? Everytime a whistleblower went through the proper channels, they were prosecuted from William Binney to Bradley Manning.

      It's time to recognize that the "proper channels" are severely limited and do nothing for the people showing and exposing the corrupting behavior.

       

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        Gabe, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 7:34am

        Re: Re: traitor or hero?

        "Proper channels" will get you killed. You ha e to go as public as possible as big as possible or they will make sure no one ever hears you. Congress,judicial and executive branch are all criminal violators of the constitution.

         

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      Michael, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 5:17am

      Re: traitor or hero?

      There are valid whistleblower channels he could have worked through

      Was this meant to be sarcastic? The US government has been prosecuting whistleblowers more than ever for the past few years. The president already said that this has been detrimental to the security of the country. Clearly, emailing or calling someone would not do anything except alert the people tapping all of the phone calls and emails being sent.

      Every "legal" channel he had available was being run by the people he was blowing the whistle on. What he did was courageous and will probably land him in jail or at least exiled from his country for the remainder of his life.

       

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        LivingInNavarre (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 5:32am

        Re: Re: traitor or hero?

        Not sarcastic. Part of me wanted to see the reaction from that statement.
        I wish we still had a government that functioned for the betterment of the people but I fear those days are gone forever. When there are no proper channels to effect change it really limits what we can do and the alternatives are scary.
        I realize I no longer have rights and my elected representatives don't listen to me. What options are left for us to create change?

         

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          MondoGordo (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 12:25pm

          When there are no proper channels to effect change it really limits what we can do

          Not so ... it only limits the legal options we have. We can always do what we choose ... it's the consequences of some of those choices that are scary. It's starting to look like it might be time to water the tree.

           

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      PRMan, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 10:17am

      Re: traitor or hero?

      "On the other hand I can see how it looks like no one will be punished for the IRS scandal."

      I guess you haven't been paying attention then:

      http://news.yahoo.com/irs-under-political-fire-must-help-overhaul-u-194455318.html

      "On May 15, Obama fired acting Commissioner Steve Miller after Cincinnati IRS agents applied extra scrutiny to tax-exempt status applications from groups with words such as 'Tea Party' in their names. Miller was replaced by White House budget official, Danny Werfel.

      On Wednesday the IRS suspended Fred Schindler, director of oversight for implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Congressional sources said Schindler faces allegations that he accepted free gifts and food at a costly 2010 IRS conference in California."

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/24/us/politics/irs-official-who-refused-to-testify-is -put-on-leave.html?_r=0

      "Lois Lerner, the head of the Internal Revenue Service’s division on tax-exempt organizations, was put on administrative leave Thursday, a day after she invoked the Fifth Amendment and declined to testify before a House committee investigating her division’s targeting of conservative groups.

      Lawmakers from both parties said Thursday that senior I.R.S. officials had requested Ms. Lerner’s resignation but that she refused, forcing them to put her on leave instead. Whether her suspension will lead to dismissal was unclear, given Civil Service rules that govern federal employment."

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 10:42am

        Re: Re: traitor or hero?

        Being fired is not exactly the same thing as being punished, is it? Obama is just trying to save face and shift the blame away from himself.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 4:31pm

        Re: Re: traitor or hero?

        trotting out a few scapegoats to "punish"

         

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    out_of_the_blue, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 5:36am

    BEWARE OF GEEKS BEARING GIFTS.

    All we really have for evidence here (specificaly the Google / Facebook sources) is some Powerpoint slides and this guy's line of patter.

    Reading that Snowden was in Special Forces and since at CIA and NSA (rising quickly) makes me uneasy because increases the odds that he's STILL actively working for those. Even if he genuinely thinks he's got the goods, it can still be a psyop. -- Just as Dan Rather at CBS was fed forged documents that had TRUE facts on them, then Rather was taken down as having fallen for it! -- His info could be absolutely true, but it can still be a meta-psyop that eventually discredits any more such leaks. Remember, Big Brother always has to have an internal enemy, a Goldstein character, to create yet more need for its surveillance.

    Americans are desperate for heroes these days, and the conspirators could easily give them one of their choosing rather than leave that to chance. The better this "millenial" seems in saying what I want to hear, the more doubts I have. Just keep it in mind, kids.

     

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    polly, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 5:50am

    Clarification about personal email

    He's not just talking about access to emails. Your gmail account, requires that you give them a phone number and/or a secondary email address should you need to recover your account. If he has the access he claims, he can look up that shit in a second and then access your phone records. Not just that though.

    Now, you probably created your facebook in 2006/7 with one of these emails so he has that. Your facebook, primary and secondary emails pretty much tie you to everything you do online. He doesn't have to even look through the contents of your emails. Your amazon, ebay purchases, what you google, what sites you register to, what comments and posts you make on those websites, every single thing you bought online, every message you sent on Facebook, every skype call, everything, you name it. He didn't even have to read your emails to get that access. Which he will. And he'll look at your passwords on Facebook and emails and because he knows that most people use the same passwords for everything, he's got you.

     

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    Michael, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 5:54am

    Snowden

    The NSA is not keeping all email and phone communications. This is ridiculous. This Snowden guy is a complete liar. The NSA doesn't even have the capabilities to be able to do what he is saying.

    To prove that he is a complete liar, let's take a look at his email and phone records for the past 15 years. Look at all of these places where he was lying! Oh, and look at his porn habits! Clearly this guy is making all of this up.

     

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      Gothenem (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 6:11am

      Re: Snowden

      You, sir, need to get your head out the sand.

       

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        That One Guy (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 6:15am

        Re: Re: Snowden

        You need to recalibrate your joke sensor, or more carefully read the second half of that comment.

         

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          Michael, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 7:36am

          Re: Re: Re: Snowden

          In his defense, the second half of that post may have been stuck for a few seconds in the PRISM system before it was sent to the TechDirt servers.

          It did require the system to pull and flag the last 15 years of email and phone records for anyone with the name Snowden as well as any email and phone records for me. That kind of processing takes time.

           

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        Gonzo, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 8:16am

        Re: Re: Snowden

        Re-read his comment. It was blatant sarcasm. The implication he was making was that the NSA would falsify records to make him look like a liar. Which, given what's been revealed, seems fairly plausible.

         

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 9:16am

      Re: Snowden

      The NSA is not keeping all email and phone communications. This is ridiculous. This Snowden guy is a complete liar. The NSA doesn't even have the capabilities to be able to do what he is saying.


      That the NSA does this was well established long before Snowden came around, from numerous people ranging from techs who installed and maintained the equipment, through senators accidentally speaking out of class, to people working at various law enforcements agencies.

       

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      nic, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 10:14am

      Re: Snowden

      What? You work for the NSA....

       

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      John, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 10:59am

      Re: Snowden

      The NSA doesn't even have the capabilities to be able to do what he is saying.

      You are a bit naive, and mistaken. Read this:

      http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 11:39am

        Re: Re: Snowden

        Wow. So many people missed the sarcasm of this comment. It better win this week's award for most insightful.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 6:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: Snowden

          I'm going to give you a funny for creating 'idiot bait', but not funny "haha, you made my laugh", more funny "haha, we're screwed". Best go out laughing.

           

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    scallywag, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 5:56am

    hero or traitor?

    What a shame Snowden is forced to do the job that used to be the domain of journalists before they resorted to tabloid heroics and pr masquerades, which is to ask and uncover whether it is better that the public decide for itself what it should tolerate or want perpetuated in the guise for freedom and freedom of expression, rather than allowing the state or a handle of individuals to make those vital concerns for us...

    http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2013/06/was-he-right-to-speak-out-edward-snowden-former-cia -operative-whistle-blower-now-on-the-run/

     

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    JoeBourgeois, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 6:13am

    I think by "even the President if I had a personal email" he doesn't mean "even the President if I had his personal email address," he means "even the President if I had an email written specifically to me from Authority Figure ???? authorizing same."

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 8:57am

      Response to: JoeBourgeois on Jun 10th, 2013 @ 6:13am

      It means the presidential email communication is protected, even from the NSA. If Obama has a Gmail however, and this guy knows it, he can read it.

       

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    Lurker Keith, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 6:21am

    This won't help Microsoft any...

    I wonder how many Xbox fanboys are still going to defend the Xbox One, now that we know it isn't crazy to think it'll be giving the NSA direct audio/ visual access to your house?

    You have to wonder about the timing of all this, though...

     

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      Mike, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 11:25am

      Re: This won't help Microsoft any...

      It’s depressing when someone who is clearly pointing out some holes in people’s claims people just dismiss what he says but expect others to listen to them. Most of what people associate the Xbox one with and project prism is wrong. Microsoft signed prism back when they were beginning to push Bing, which makes much more sense from a data mining operation. The Xbox one has limitations on any information recorded or sent out of the console upon system setup. So when people are claiming the NSA can listen and watch every household with an Xbox one is sensationalism, it’s sad that people let others influence their judgement without going out and doing any base research of their own. I will not be checking back on this thread because I’m sure about 10 of you will claim I work for Microsoft and the NSA and also have an xobx tatoo or some horseshit. Enjoy your fear, ill be happily enjoying my Xbox one and ps4 without prejudice and ill let you know if the government ends up looking at my living room.

       

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    klsdjfs23rkdfd, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 6:28am

    Guy is a freaking contractor. A contractor! His company is also running or fully read to squawk like a chicken.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 6:46am

    Rabble Rabble Rabble

     

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    sjap, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 6:50am

    "president's personal email"

    "even the President if I had a personal email"

    I took this to mean 'I could even wiretap the president if *he* had a personal email address'.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 10:09am

      Re: "president's personal email"

      To clarify, since I think some people are being vague with their wording:

      There is a sea of information out there. Even if he has all the information, he still needs a general idea of where to look. He's probably not just going to type POTUS into his search field and come up with Obama's email.

      For example my name is Chris Mills irl. Pretty generic right? Even if he knew I lived around Niagara Falls, he still needs more info. I'm sure he could just start typing in chrismills1, 2, 3 @hotmail.com and so on and get into those accounts, but that's not enough to determine which Chris Mills it really is. With enough information he could cross reference and eventually find out, but that would still require going through a shit ton of data. Getting my email from a reliable source could allow him to skip all of that.

      That's my understanding at least.

       

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        PRMan, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 10:26am

        Re: Re: "president's personal email"

        I think that is extremely naïve on your part.

        He will enter Chris Mills in Western New York and he will get everything associated with that name along with IP addresses. He will then find the addresses that come from the Niagara Falls area and will filter for those. He will then figure out who your wife and kids are and add them to the search, everybody on that IP address.

        Then, he will get all the accounts ever accessed by that IP address and then add all the IP addresses that were used to access those accounts. Then he will get the phone numbers associated with those IP addresses if you ever used your phone to log into any account.

        And so on. And then system will do all this so automatically that he will do it faster than I just typed it.

         

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    Bal00ga, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 7:05am

    RE:

    I hate to admit when I'm wrong but this has opened up a whole new meaning to "the most transparent administration ever". I did not consider that it was the people whom were to be the most transparent. I honestly thought (at the time it was being touted) that He (Obama) meant that the government would be more transparent.

     

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      PRMan, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 10:28am

      Re: RE:

      It's very transparent. I've never known so much about the NSA's inner workings or what State Department cables looked like until the Obama Administration.

       

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    Alt0, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 7:08am

    Amnesty

    There's a petition right now on We the People for the Pres. to grant him Amnesty. Not that I think this would happen, but wouldn't it be nice if it received millions of votes?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    Geeks and Nerds

    I've said it before and I'll say it a again.

    If the geeks and nerds that made all this stuff possible had said "No Way", none of this would be possible.

    Now it's up to them to fix it.

    You listening, Zuckerberg,Brin,Cook,Gates and on and on.

    "You can trust us"...suuurrre we can.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 7:33am

      Re: Geeks and Nerds

      Let's do some more!

      If the lawyers and bureaucrats had said 'No Way' none of this would be possible.

      If the contractors had said 'No Way' none of this would be possible.

      If the middle managers and CEOs of the contracting companies had said 'No Way' none of this would be possible.

      If congress and the executives had said 'No Way' none of this would be possible.

      Seems silly to blame just 1 group of people who like to feel powerful and gets lots of money while they do it...

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 4:22pm

      Re: Geeks and Nerds

      Just like if they had never invented molding metal into parts to make guns with, we wouldn't have any murders.

      What farm did you crawl off of?

       

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      Niall (profile), Jun 11th, 2013 @ 3:27am

      Re: Geeks and Nerds

      Riiiight, and they were beating paths to the government, demanding that it accept all their data that wsa going to waste and that all their customers needed spied upon.

       

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    Don, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 7:37am

    Wrong interpretation

    "The wording here is a little unclear, since "wiretap" generally means capturing voice conversations, but saying that he would need a personal email from the President to wiretap him suggests he's talking specifically about access their emails."

    You completely misunderstood. All he's saying is if he had their email address he could tap it. He's not talking about an authorization email.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 9:10am

      Re: Wrong interpretation

      You completely misunderstood. All he's saying is if he had their email address he could tap it. He's not talking about an authorization email.

      Actually that's what I meant too. I realized my own wording was a bit unclear, so I clarified, by adding "address" after email.

       

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    identicon
    Shon Gale, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 7:59am

    I am a child of the sixties and received my manhood helping execute one of the greatest crimes ever done to humanity, The Vietnam War. And I protested against it.
    As a result I expect to have my phone tapped, to be followed even to the grocery store and if I was protesting now I would treat email, tweets, fecebook or any other service including my cable TV to be used to spy on me, just like my phone. Only use prearranged code or just shut the hell up.
    Now maybe you "Joe Citizen" the common man in America will finally start to believe that we have become a communist country.
    Next comes censorship! All In the name of stopping Terrorists, Drugs, Guns and Child Porn. The holy rollers attack!
    This is the government you voted for. Trillions of dollars in debt just to spy on their own people. Will you vote for this crap again?

     

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    •  
      icon
      akp (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 9:30am

      Re:

      I don't vote often, and this is why. It doesn't matter who I vote for, *every single one of them* is on board with this stuff.

      I can vote out my Senator, but whoever comes in after her will be just as bad. Money and power corrupt. It doesn't matter how good a person I think someone is, they will not stay that person after being sent in to the Congress machine.

      There is no alternative. We're screwed.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      PRMan, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 10:30am

      Re:

      You lost me at the part where any of this is being done by "Holy Rollers"...

      Most of the fundamentalists Christians that I know are no fans of Obama and never have been.

       

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      •  
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        John Fenderson (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 11:26am

        Re: Re:

        But they were fans of Bush, so.. what's your point?

        My point is that who is President isn't actually terribly important in terms of these types of things. It's the system itself that has the problem.

         

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 5:27pm

        Re: Re:

        Dammit people, get it through your thick heads, this is not red vs blue. This is red AND blue vs the citizenry!

         

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    •  
      icon
      Ben S (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 10:56am

      Re:

      It sounds as though you don't understand communism. Communism is the government people were to implement after overthrowing the existing establishment in order to prevent the exploitation of the lower classes by the upper classes. It would do this by means of total control so that businesses couldn't push or force the government to give them excessive power over the lesser classes. Nothing about our current government is trying to do this. It's a police state for sure, and is exercising more and more power all the time, claiming it's in our interest, even though it isn't, but it's most definitely not communist.

       

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      •  
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        John Fenderson (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 11:28am

        Re: Re:

        "Communism", and the new version, "socialism" are just generic words that mean "people I hate".

        The fact that almost nobody who uses these terms knows what they really mean doesn't worry them.

         

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 5:29pm

        Re: Re:

        communism and socialism and capitalism are just other words for corruptionism

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 11:53am

      Response to: Shon Gale on Jun 10th, 2013 @ 7:59am

      So who the hell should I vote for than?

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Azurus, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 2:41pm

      Re:

      It's easy to get to thinking the government watches everything us little peons do, but the reality of it is (and anyone who has worked for government programs will understand): They don't have the resources, time, or reason to care about 99% of our piddly daily activities, including your porn sites, your purchases, or anything else. Privacy concerns? Some yes. False positive concerns? Sure. But I suggest you read some books and learn about the NSA and how they have shaped America's success, especially through the World Wars. We are in the Information Age now, and this type of thing unfortunately is becoming a reality and a necessity. These programs are used for cracking some serious encryption and rooting out communications that are critical in an age where 3 billion people use the internet for communication. The government didn't ask for the Information Age, we the people made it happen. I really do hope that there is adequate oversight on programs like this that root out and prevent abuse. We can only hope.

       

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      •  
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        Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jun 11th, 2013 @ 5:16pm

        Re: Re:

        It's easy to get to thinking the government watches everything us little peons do, but the reality of it is (and anyone who has worked for government programs will understand): They don't have the resources, time, or reason to care about 99% of our piddly daily activities, including your porn sites, your purchases, or anything else.

        That's how I feel. What most people do isn't of great concern to the government.

        However, private companies do zero in on what we do because there is money to be made.

        Big Data and Analytics: The Hero or the Villain ? | Innovation Insights | Wired.com: "If you think about all the hype generated about consumer privacy and enterprises collating and analyzing information for a more targeted and personal experience, customer segmentation and demographics, location-based and real-time marketing what the NSA exposure has taught us is that there really is no privacy in the 21st century and we should just get used to it. Our data is anonymized unless it’s being used specifically for our purpose and benefit but the fact is we are happily generating it for them to use in any case."

         

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  •  
    identicon
    TechDick, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 8:00am

    Facecrook

    Enjoy your facebook account Lol!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Drewzer 15, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 8:17am

    Complete and total idiot

    "Later in the interview, he explains why the people who say "I don't care, because I've got nothing to hide" are complete and total idiots."

    I'm an idiot then. They seriously have better things to worry about than the fact that I'm trying to get a co-worker to have sex with me. Or that I'm excited that Plants vs. Zombies 2 is coming out. Work, Eat, Watch TV, Sleep, Repeat, that is my life, and not necessarily in that order. You got questions about my activities. Bring it!

     

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    •  
      icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 8:49am

      Re: Complete and total idiot

      The point is that if they ever wanted to accuse you of something, they'll have a ton of information to use against you, which could easily be taken out of context. The goal would be to destroy your character, not find out what crimes you've committed. All they have to do is find something contradictory to make you look like a liar to get a jury to turn against you. And don't think in a dozen years of emails you've never contradicted yourself or made unsavory remarks.

      You've already admitted you're trying to get a co-worker to have sex with you. Thanks to that remark, someone on the jury has already sided against you.

      Basically, since everyone is capable of committing a crime, the government is collecting evidence as if everyone was a criminal.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 9:17am

      Re: Complete and total idiot

      You're a complete and total idiot

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Chuck, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 9:55am

      Re: Complete and total idiot

      @Drewzer: Okay, you have no problems with questions about your activities.... Please post your last six months of credit card statements to this forum. Also, I'd like to know who you've spoken to over the same period. No suspicion, mind you, I just want to see this stuff.

      Keep in mind that when people say "you've got nothing to fear if you're doing nothing wrong", that your intercepted information is stored forever while people in government service come and go- There's a real possiblity that someday, those people might define disagreeing with their policies, decisions and actions as "doing something wrong".

      What then?

       

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  •  
    identicon
    D, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 10:16am

    Snowden

    A Revolution is Coming

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 11:15am

    someone make a mime of the salute from the hunger games toward this guy.

    He's sacrificing everything so we know what's going on behind out backs. I can't think of a braver person

     

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  •  
    icon
    LJW (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 1:21pm

    The other big thing here is does this information and capability make its way into the hands of private corporations? I have to believe given the deep hooks corporate America has into our government, it's not far fetched to believe there are private citizens who have access to this power.

    It almost reminds me of the situation where an admin at a used car lot can run credit checks on boyfriends without
    much fear of being caught. It seems these people can pretty much do whatever they want without any fear of repercussions. There need to be clear repercussions of misusing this capability.

    How many of us would value an ISP these days that didn't just roll over and give into the US government!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 3:06pm

    You know how the politicians and members of the whole "security" industry always excuses the constant march towards ever more intrusive surveillance of the population with "If you got nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about".
    Well, every time there is a leak that exposes some inconvenient facts they always seem so worried.
    Like they have a lot of stuff they would like to hide.

    Seems to me that the people that really needs to be put under 24/7 surveillance is the politicians and their industry backers...

     

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  •  
    icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 7:18pm

    Your records ARE being checked -- by private companies

    "Because even if you're not doing anything wrong, you're being watched and recorded. And the storage capability of these systems increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude to where it's getting to the point where you don't have to have done anything wrong, you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call. And then they can use the system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you've ever made. Every friend you've ever discussed something with. And attack you on that basis, to derive suspicion from an innocent life, and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer."

    This is routinely being done by private companies. They run checks on people all the time. In fact, the only way to prevent them from doing it is by passing laws saying what info they can't use to deny people services, to deny renting to them, to deny selling to them, to deny insurance to them, etc.

    The vast data collection system is being used to monitor people. Get rid of government monitoring, but allow businesses to do it freely, and you will find people routinely treated differently depending on what businesses find out out them.

    Think of all the discrimination that has happened over the years to gays. All someone had to do was to suggest you were gay and you'd be treated differently.

     

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    •  
      icon
      Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 7:44pm

      Re: Your records ARE being checked -- by private companies

      When Your Data Is Currency, What Does Your Privacy Cost? : Monkey See : NPR: "Would the growing number of people who willingly share so much of what they do on Twitter and Facebook and Foursquare be horrified that the government could, in theory, look at a database of their phone calls? If you spend your time posting, 'Here's a map showing where I am, a list of people I'm with, a description of what I'm doing, a picture out my window, a list of the companies I buy from, a list of political causes I support, three articles I just read, and my review of the movie I just saw and where I saw it,' what are the odds that the existence of a database saying your phone called this other phone for 4 minutes and 19 seconds will shock your conscience?"

       

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    •  
      icon
      Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jun 10th, 2013 @ 7:52pm

      Re: Your records ARE being checked -- by private companies

      Data-Driven Tech Industry Is Shaken by Online Privacy Fears - NYTimes.com: "In 1999, Scott McNealy, the chief executive of Sun Microsystems, summed up the valley’s attitude toward personal data in what became a defining comment of the dot-com boom. 'You have zero privacy,' he said. 'Get over it.'”

       

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    •  
      icon
      Niall (profile), Jun 11th, 2013 @ 3:44am

      Re: Your records ARE being checked -- by private companies

      And the government needs to be held to at least the same standard.

      Laws protecting privacy should apply equally to the government and corporations.

      No-one is saying to allow business monitoring only, or let that be unlimited. People also understand government monitoring where actual reasonable suspicion exists, and the laws with full Constitutional safeguards are followed.

      Too much since 9/11 has been unconstitutional, from Guantanamo to the current shenanigans. Too much has been immoral, from foreign invasions for private company/military industrial benefit to the persecution of whistleblowers.

      America, you are supposed to set a positive example, not convince everyone you are hypocrites and give them ideas for their own repression.

       

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        Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jun 11th, 2013 @ 6:47am

        Re: Re: Your records ARE being checked -- by private companies

        Massive files are being collected on people -- by private companies.

        We don't really know what all is being collected and how that is being used. And when some privacy groups suggest that private companies be totally transparent, the private companies haven't been especially forthcoming. And when citizens want to see those files and be able to erase that data, they are often told how impractical that is for private companies.

        When the focus is only on government, it's a way for private companies to be dodgy about what they do. I'm not sure we're going to get rid of the data collection and surveillance by private companies, but we can at least all be aware of everything that is being done.

         

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  •  
    icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jun 11th, 2013 @ 7:26am

    The US government is a client with big money

    Private industry likes paying customers. Their stockholders like paying customers. The government has money to pay. Private industry works with government.

    Silicon Valley Doesn't Just Help the Surveillance State—It Built It - Michael Hirsh - The Atlantic

     

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    icon
    OldCurmudgeon (profile), Jun 11th, 2013 @ 4:10pm

    Bletchley Park

    It all started in Bletchley Park. The soon to be GCHQ and later NSA did such a good job that they have had carte-blanche ever since.

    If you really think "putting it all together" isn't the main function of the secret services you are living under a rock.

    And how will you do that without "getting it all" eh?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Ronnie, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 4:06pm

    From
    Casablanca 2013: Captain Snowden: "...I’m shocked, shocked to find that
    electronic data gathering is going on in here...."

    Mr. Snowden has revealed no new groundbreaking facts
    regarding electronic data gathering. There are numerous metadata mining algorithms floating around out there that the govt. and private industry use 24-7, not to mention RFIDs. Remember folks, those terms of agreement we never read??? By clicking/agreeing through those, you relinquish ownership of "your" information. It's not yours, its theirs.
    This data mining effort, its ancestors, and its progeny has been around for decades. Snowdon is obviously a fan of the
    Hollywood B movies "The Net" and "Enemy of the State". OK now make sure your tinhat Stetsons are on tight pardners. I
    truly believe he's been 1) co-opted by another govt. agency to embarrass another agency; 2) is an actor hired by the govt. to show what might happen to someone who leaks classified info; 3) more
    likely recruited by the Chicoms to embarrass the US; 4) just a disaffected nerd looking for fame and fortune; or 5)my personal favorite, is in a conspiracy with his "pole dancing " gf to drive traffic to her youtube channel. Take your pick.

    The real scandal is how a 29 y.o
    HS/jr college/US armed forces dropout, with limited professional technical
    experience, who reportedly worked as a security guard at the NSA and Dell(likely in customer service or tech support- Dell's not saying what he did), got a job at the CIA and Booz and Allen in the first place with ANY access to potentially classified info (at least according to his little "narrative"). I'd more believe his story if was said he was a janitor at B&A and he overheard some real tech guys or "spies" talking in the restroom. And don't give me a story about all the genious HS/college dropouts who are computer wizkids and get hired by major high tech corporations to make big bucks. I worked for the biggest one of those high tech corporations, and we did not hire guys without college degrees no matter how smart they might be or high they might have tested on an aptitude test. While brilliant non-degreed folks are out there, I sincerely believe that the Army would have learned about any potential braniac capabilities Snowden had back when he first joined up during his short stint in the service and put him on a track where he wouldn't have broken a leg or two (btw, the Army cannot substantiate that claim). Besides if he was such a bright guy on his own, he would have already come up with the next newest thing and IPOed already.

    Well, its all a moot point now anyway. By his own admission talking with the Chinese (the Chinese paper...rather) about cyber snooping by the US on the Chinese even through any real peripheral knowledge he may have picked at the water cooler from the real security guys, he has committed treason, regardless of his original "selfless" and "patriotic" intentions.

    " ...Move along, these aren't the droids we're looking for..."

     

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  •  
    identicon
    William H. Depperman, Jun 15th, 2013 @ 10:09pm

    Sniowden and Controled Release of Information

    National Security Agency Surveillance Programs, Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning:

    The subsequent revelation by all media on June 7, 2013 of GIGANTIC USA and UK phone and Internet surveillance programs rubber-stamped by Congress and “secret intelligence courts” documents this conclusively. It was revealed that the so-called National Security Agency (NSA) and MI6 British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have ALSO been tapping directly into servers of ALL social media websites, e.g. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc. to track Online communication in a program called “PRISM!” The capitalist dictatorship also controls the entire Internet by either permitting NO COMMENT WHATSOEVER or by requiring “sign-ins” and “passwords,” which the so-called “intelligence community” then immediately deletes (!) to prevent access to virtually ALL media websites, which block any political comments except occasional brainless “peanut gallery twitter-type” responses. “We are modifying comments” blocks the rest! The irrefutable fact that ALL “Terrorist Plots” from the 911 Trade Center Provocation Attack to the 2001 and Subsequent Anthrax Provocations to the Underpants Bomber to the Times Square Bomber to the Boston Marathon Bombers to the Buffalo New York High School Student “Terrorist Plot” to the Florida High School Student “Terrorist Plot” were ALL SET-UPS is proof the claim by “Gen.” Keith Alexander, director of the NSA, that “surveillance helped stop dozens of attacks” is a BIG LIE! (Even Democratic Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall said they had seen no evidence NSA programs had produced "uniquely valuable intelligence.” The surveillance described by Edward Snowden was partly used to locate Islamic Fundamentalists in the USA, who were then immediately contacted by deep-cover NSA/CIA agents sent in who pretend to support them and then set them up with explosives, pick targets, etc. Thus any supposed “terrorist plot” has already been reported in the media! There were not more than a half-dozen “plots!” The USA also spies on China, Russia, UK, EU and all 197 countries in the United Nations! There can be no exceptions! The USA is waging war against the entire world!

    There has been an enormous media build-up of Edward Snowden and also Bradley Manning comparing them to Daniel Ellsberg, who released the Pentagon Papers, who merely represented that faction of USA capitalism which wanted an end to the Vietnam War, Woodward and Bernstein who wrote a cover-up of the Watergate Bloodless Removal of Richard Nixon by Nelson Rockefeller—the real “Deep Throat,” and Phillip Agee (the CIA deep cover “limited hang-out” operative who specialized in “Covert Action” information who pretended he had “defected” in the 1980s in order to act as a supposed “authoritative source” for leftists unaware of his purpose, which was to try to monopolize conspiracies in order to cover up political assassinations, political policies from a supposed “left” position and keep genuine opposition loyal to capitalism by keeping them confused and by never ever proposing the solution—Socialism. Snowden and Manning, on the other hand both appear to be manipulee cutouts. There is no possible way that Bradley Manning or anyone anywhere could have accumulated 250,000 United States diplomatic state department cables; and 500,000 army reports (the Iraq War logs and Afghan War logs) on one computer (!), which were then serialized by Wikileaks! The Wikileaks revelations were also thus a total set-up: 1.) to popularize USA Statecraft and 2.) to excite patriotism at the same time by charging Manning and now Snowden as “traitors.” The enormous NSA surveillance is almost entirely useless from an intelligence point of view as explained above and as US Senators Wyden et al concur, so the decision was made to reveal the extent of the surveillance IN ORDER TO USE IT TO INTIMIDATE the entire USA and EU populations, which are already totally divided with no Communist representation and who are being set up for economic and biological extermination in order to reduce the “population demographic” as explained in the larger analysis .

    William H. Depperman, Coordinator
    United Front Against Racism
    And Capitalism-Imperialism
    New York, N.Y. 10003
    Revised June 16, 2013

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Ben, Jul 8th, 2013 @ 7:42pm

    Not so fast

    extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence...so far nothing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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