The better question may be, who are we to believe you, when we know for a fact that governments lie, not occasionally but pathologically, and that we know this only through the constant badgering of lying government officials by the press?
The persistence of the idea that if only we had more data we could catch bad guys before they act is a dream. Or more precisely, a dysfunctional application of a process hardwired into the human brain: pattern recognition.
Spymasters would have us believe that with a perfect, comprehensive dataset on every person on earth, the bad actors would have to stand out. They're looking for a signal in the noise. Like the people who swear they can hear dead people speaking in the static of their TV sets, pattern recognition is the process that leads them to know - in their guts - that if they just look hard enough, at a large enough sample, randomness can be resolved into something intelligible.
But the randomness of human existence is just that - random. Look at it hard enough, long enough, and you'll see what you want to see. A needle in a haystack? They're collecting a haystack of needles. And in the process, turning what was a pretty cool planet into a fucked up police state.
Well, I always have peace of mind after visiting my proctologist. But that doesn't mean I want to have the government's finger jammed up my ass 24/7, going "Yup, still good....no problemo buddy...wait, wait, oops false alarm, little gas there...oookay, still good..."
I'm trying to understand this distinction...this is something like the Chicago Transit Authority forming an IP Enforcement Unit? Or the Bumfuck, Kansas Police Department asserting extraordinary rendition powers over copyright pirates in Hong Kong? A joke, in other words...really, couldn't the MAFIAAs afford a scarier police force?
While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of any information or other material contained in or associated with this document, it is provided on the basis that PIPCU and its staff, either individually or collectively, accept no responsibility for any loss, damage, cost or expense of whatever kind arising directly or indirectly from or in connection with the use by any person, whomsoever, of any such information or material.
In other words, we're the law, do what we say or we'll file complaints with your licensing authority. Oh, and if we're wrong, you're on your own.
The only proper response to this letter is "Piss off."
A side note to the management of scientific papers - and one of the main arguments against open access ('OA') publishing - is peer-review: the process of weeding out 'junk' articles from 'good' articles.
Subscription-based publishers argue that OA publishers are merely check-cashing operations - no reviewing, just send 'em money and they'll post anything you send online. OA publishers claim subscription-based publishers game the peer-review process by sending potentially sensational articles to sympathetic reviewers. Michael Eisen writes about this scientific knife fight.
Peer-review seems to be a fractal of a larger issue online: believability and reputation. Perhaps the science community would benefit from looking at reputation systems built into online commerce (e.g., eBay) and personal reviewing of the reviewers (e.g., upvoting/downvoting).
Does the gym get a lot of non-real persons signing up for accounts, enough so they actually have a policy of checking? Are robots hogging all the good equipment? Why would a robot need exercise? Or maybe it's badgers. Who in their right mind would want to share a sauna with a soggy, overheated badger?
Coming soon: if the phone company allows you (a terrorist) to talk with your mom (another terrorist) then THEY must be terrorists. If the NSA doesn't act against the phone companies (potential terrorists) then they themselves must be terrorists.
I could go on, but the meds are kicking in. Ahhh......
This is so true. If you waterboard logic, it will tell you that not only is investigating investigative techniques illogical, you can make it put on a Shirley Temple dress and say - with an absolutely straight face - that the government cares for your rights.
It seems the government, and the DOJ in particular, is learning blowback assessment: if an investigation might turn up something bad, don't do the investigation. No investigation, no bad results, no need for a cover-up.
This is a rather remarkably frank admission from a senior DOJ official that there is a bias in disseminating public information, based on the publication and/or reporter (and note here that USA Today is a 'real newspaper' with 'real reporters', not some scruffy long-hair's blog).
I wonder what the exchange would be if the reporter said the story is now about the DOJ's refusal to give information specifically to USA Today, and would Mr. Fallon care to comment? I'd buy a paper to read THAT story.