Supporting EFF Means You're A Security Risk?

from the really-now? dept

As lots of folks keep trying to delve into the mind of Ed Snowden without really knowing him at all, Andrew Katz at Time has an article about the security clearance process that people go through to get into a job like that, discussing some of the "blind spots" in the process that might have let an Ed Snowden through. Apparently, the EFF sticker on his laptop should have been a warning sign:
In a photograph posted online after Snowden revealed himself, his laptop displays a sticker touting the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a longstanding advocate for online rights and staunch opponent of government surveillance. That would have been enough of a warning sign to make it into his file, Smith says, but investigators wouldn't have come across it because clearance interviews aren't performed at their homes: "You're not around that person's personal belongings to make any other additional observations about that person's characters."
It seems a bit extreme to suggest that merely supporting a group like EFF automatically makes you suspect for jobs in the intelligence world. After all, isn't EFF defending basic Constitutional freedoms that Americans hold dear, and which our government is supposed to be protecting? But, even more to the point, if having EFF paraphernalia makes you a potential security risk in the NSA, what does that say about NSA Director, General Keith Alexander who attended last year's Defcon in an EFF t-shirt:
Clearly, the NSA is doomed. Its boss is a huge security risk who never should have been given clearance!

More seriously though, it's getting fairly ridiculous when supporting basic Constitutional rights suddenly makes you a security risk. We're entering witch hunt territory, which is what happens when people get overly paranoid.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 5:44am

    More seriously though, it's getting fairly ridiculous when supporting basic Constitutional rights suddenly makes you a security risk.

    Terrorist, not a security risk. And if you actually protest you are just 1 level below Bin Laden in the "terroris-o-scale".

    We're entering witch hunt territory, which is what happens when people get overly paranoid.

    Actually, it's just coming to the surface. The witch hunt is on for a while now.

     

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

  2.  
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    Akari Mizunashi (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 6:06am

    Unless, of course, we start reading Keith Alexander is the next one on a plane to Moscow or Hong Kong.

    Here's hoping we do.

     

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

  3.  
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    Malor (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 7:44am

    After all, isn't EFF defending basic Constitutional freedoms that Americans hold dear, and which our government is supposed to be protecting?

    Of course not. That's what they say in public, but with secret laws and a secret interpretation of the Constitution, their real purpose is not known. It can't be known.

    You must derive what their goals must be from the actions they take, and I submit that mass surveillance is not about finding terrorists, it's about finding dissidents.

    These programs are not to protect you from terrorists, it's to protect them from you. And if you think otherwise, well, secret laws.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 7:46am

    Security risk if you support them, terrorist if you work for them.
    I imagine anyone who reads this site has all of their emails collected and read by the government, just to be safe.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 7:49am

    Keith Alexander is a hipster. He's wearing that shirt to be ironic, just like all those teens wearing merchandise of video games they've never played or even heard of.

     

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

  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 7:53am

    Sounds familiar...

    Reminds me of the line from the movie The American President where the President is criticized by the senator for being a member of the ACLU where his response is...

    "For the record: yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU. But the more important question is why aren't you, Bob? Now, this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question: Why would a senator, his party's most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the Constitution?"

    It's the same with the EFF.

     

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

  7.  
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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 7:54am

    After all, isn't EFF defending basic Constitutional freedoms that Americans hold dear, and which our government is supposed to be protecting?
    Only commies defend the Constitution.

    .....

    Sigh.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    Re:

    Next Alexander will be claiming in some sort of interview that he really doesn't know anything about the EFF because he doesn't really track them.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 8:06am

    I've come to realize lately that since I signed the White House petition asking Snowden to be pardoned, I can never get a security clearance in my government. Quite chilling.

     

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

  10.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 8:10am

    Re: Sounds familiar...

    I'll tell you what sounds familiar.

    Supporting the EFF makes you a security risk, that sounds familiar and similar to:

    Reading TechDirt makes you a pirate!

     

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

  11.  
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    Lord Binky, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 8:10am

    Come on guys, don't spook the spooks.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 8:12am

    Supporting EFF Means You're A Security Risk?

    Supporting EFF Means You're A Security Risk?

    Yes.

    More stupid questions?


    We're entering witch hunt territory

    Entering?

    Entering?

    “Entering?”   —Is that a stupid question?    Is it?    Is it really?    Maybe there are only stupid answers.

     

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

  13.  
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    Dreddsnik, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 8:14am

    'We're entering witch hunt territory, which is what happens when people get overly paranoid.'

    Entering ?
    Heck, we're only inches away from doing what we did to Japanese Americans in 1942. We're already looking at
    MCCarthyism and the 'Red Scare' in the rear view mirror.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 8:18am

    Re:

    I agree. Witch hunts are the sole purpose of programs like the NSA are running. The witch hunt started long ago.

     

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

  15.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 8:26am

    After all, isn't EFF defending basic Constitutional freedoms that Americans hold dear, and which our government is supposed to be protecting?

    Do we still really believe that anymore? Its quite obvious the gov sees the Constitution as more of a hindrance, than something they need to protect.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 8:28am

    Re:

    Nah, the general is in disguise.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 8:39am

    Re: Sounds familiar...

    Imagine going to an employment interview at the NSA and this is how it goes:

    "So you are interested in working for us here at NSA?"
    "Sure am! Defending liberty in America is something I believe strongly in."
    "I see you're a member of EFF and ACLU. Care to explain that?"
    "Well... As I said, I believe in liberty and those organizations works to protect liberty and civil rights."
    "That's not the kind of liberty we defend here at NSA."
    "Eh... What kind of liberty do you defend then..."
    "That's classified. The exit is over there."

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 8:46am

    Thanks I am going to Join the EFF right away. If terrorism is the same as honest upstanding individual who will call people on their bullshit then yup I am in.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 8:49am

    Re: After all, isn't EFF defending basic Constitutional freedoms that Americans hold dear, and which our government is supposed to be protecting?

    The government has always and will always be supposed to support the Constitution. Whether or not it actually does is another mater entirely.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 8:50am

    Proud supporter of the EFF here. In fact, I think it may be time to upgrade my membership.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 8:58am

    Re:

    The big difference is that as opposed to back then, the government will have very little in the way of public support.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 9:10am

    The government is overly paranoid about its reputation and doesn't realize that being so hurts its reputation.

    The government is also abridging free speech if they screen you and discriminate based on the fact that you are expressing your free speech in support of the EFF.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    NSA Bot, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 9:12am

    Re:

    /initializing>
    ::Terror talk detected!:: _+EFF;+join;+individual_ >
    //
    /process target data>
    ..searching>
    ..matching profile>
    ..query thought crime database>
    ::Match found!::
    ..identify>
    ..target locked>
    //
    /drone dispatch commencing>
    /target marked for impending termination>
    //

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 9:13am

    Yet I can think of plenty of people who think that defending the Second Amendment makes you some kind of crazy person who can't be trusted around children. So?

     

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

  25.  
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    Jesse (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 9:14am

    It's really frustrating how law enforcement view civil liberties groups.

    A lot of times, most law enforcement people are very black and white on the law. "The law is the law is the law is the law etc." Pot itself may not be that bad, but it's against the law so therefore...

    But clearly, there are some laws cops and other law enforcement types find more important than others. Minor possession of marijuana is apparently more important than fundamental civil liberties, from what I can tell. I never understand why the constitution isn't black and white but other laws are, in their minds.

    It seems the key is whatever supports an authoritarian mindset is good, in their minds... eg. strict drug laws do, whereas not civil liberty laws because they undermine that mindset.

     

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

  26.  
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    Malor (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 9:16am

    Re:

    Argh, I completely misread the quote. Duh. Sorry.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 9:25am

    Re:

    Sad but true.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 9:32am

    Re:

    The answer to that is money. Law enforcement can seize property and assess fines over things like drugs. Not so easy to do over civil liberties violations. Furthermore, if they made a big deal over enforcing violations of the public's civil liberties, when THEY violate the public's civil liberties, it is really easy for the public to bring up the hypocrisy of it all. Not so much the case with things like drugs unless you have a scandalous story leaked with evidence of the Police Chief smoking pot in a public bathroom somewhere or something, but then those occurrences are rare compared to the stories of police violating civil liberties of the public.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 9:34am

    where the fuck are these idiots? what planet are they on? and they are supposed to be journalists? you must be kiddin' me! it's as bad as the statement from Obama about not doing anything to get Snowden back. he is only in this position because Obama back tracked on the promise he made to protect whistle blowers. rather than protect them, he has pissed all over them!!

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    EFF could get a patent for what they do.

    "defend constitutional freedoms on the internet"

     

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

  31.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 10:01am

    EFF

    The NSA being suspicious of the EFF is no different than what Homeland Security did a few years ago, when they put out an advisory pamphlet for local law enforcement, listing the possible indicators to look for to tell if someone could be a domestic terrorist.

    Among other things, DHS noted that if a local cop comes across an individual who is unusually familiar with the Constitution and/or the Bill of Rights, or carries a copy of the Constitution on his person or in his vehicle, then that's a warning sign that the person could be a domestic terrorist. Other factors that DHS says indicate terrorism: refusal to grant consent for warrantless searches, current or prior military service, and people who are overly religious or believe in the "End Times".

    Also on the list of potential domestic terrorist organizations was a group known as The Oathkeepers, which is basically a loose affiliation of cops and soldiers who take a pledge never to obey an order from a superior that violates the guaranteed constitutional rights of the citizens of the USA.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 10:10am

    After all, isn't EFF defending basic Constitutional freedoms that Americans hold dear, and which our government is supposed to be protecting?

    LOL! Wow, really??

     

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

  33. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Sounds familiar...

    I read TD and I don't pirate, but I think it's fair to say that Mike draws in a large pirate audience. In fact, I bet a significant majority of TD readers are pirates. Mike caters to them.

     

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

  34.  
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    Bergman (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 11:08am

    Re: Sounds familiar...

    This reminds me of an article I read many months ago, where membership in The Oathkeepers was cited as a reason for being an unfit parent.

    How, precisely, does a police officer reaffirming his oath to the constitution, and refusing illegal orders make him an unfit parent?

     

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

  35.  
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    Bergman (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 11:12am

    Re:

    Exactly. Only bad people ever keep promises or sworn oaths.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 11:34am

    Re: Re: Sounds familiar...

    Everything, but is there an exit?

    No exit.

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Rob, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 11:35am

    Re: EFF

    Yes, the Oath Keepers. A group founded in March 2009 to pledge not to obey an order from a superior that appears to them to violate the Constitution.

    I wonder why such a group hadn't been founded long before early 2009? Surely there was always a risk of receiving an unconstitutional order, right?

    I wonder what sort of new development had them so concerned?

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 1:19pm

    Re: EFF

    You should've seen the videos the DHS spews out promoting drone surveillance (by going after gun dealers) and hostile lock down in ordinary suburban areas in order to go after "terrorists" (portrayed in video as your everyday white guy), looking more the order of an invading Gestapo. Then again, this is the same agency that purchased around 2 billion rounds of ammo and 'no-hesitation targets.' Pathetic really.

     

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

  39.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Sounds familiar...

    The catering is just a sideline business until this whole internet thing takes off. Pirates throw the best parties and know that skimping on the food turns a potentially memorable event into nothing more than half a frat doing kegstands on the lawn until the police show up.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Loki, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 1:51pm

    It seems a bit extreme to suggest that merely supporting a group like EFF automatically makes you suspect for jobs in the intelligence world. After all, isn't EFF defending basic Constitutional freedoms that Americans hold dear

    Well, since Constitutional freedom is pretty much the antithesis of the Federal government these days, I'd say an EFF sticker would, in fact, make you suspect for a government job.

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    VLD, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 3:45pm

    it was only a matter of time

    As soon as I read Snowden had a eff sticker on his laptop I wondered how long it would be before I read a headline like this. As a contracted IT admin with clearance for a much hated 3 letter agency, I have my eff sticker proudly on display in my cubicle. I also have a despair.com poster of Liberty: the price of freedom keeps going up but the quality keeps deteriorating. Surprisingly no one has commented on either.

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 4:45pm

    Considering how EFF defends the rights of citizens of the USA, and Snowden made possible the notification of those same citizens of their rights being disregarded and then was charged with aiding the enemy (of the USA government), that means the citizens are the enemies and anyone who supports them is also an enemy.

    So either you stand up for yourself directly or indirectly and become the enemy, or you act like that stupid twat Katz and surrender everything.

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2013 @ 1:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Sounds familiar...

    No, he caters to good people who are tired of being falsely labeled pirates by the dishonest media groups.

     

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

  44.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Jun 28th, 2013 @ 7:11am

    The real story is how badly the mainstream news media wants to discredit Snowden and others. And newspapers why readership is down?

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    slick8086, Jun 28th, 2013 @ 12:59pm

    what does that say about NSA Director, General Keith Alexander who attended last year's Defcon in an EFF t-shirt.


    That they are shitty at undercover work?

     

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


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