Government Employees Suddenly Worried About Surveillance As New Plans To Stop The Next Snowden Strip All Privacy

from the surveillance-on-themselves dept

The Associated Press has a story about how the US intelligence community is ramping up efforts to stop the next Ed Snowden by basically monitoring nearly everything that government employees and contractors with security clearance do:

Stung by internal security lapses, U.S. intelligence officials plan to use a sweeping electronic system to continually monitor workers with secret clearances…. The system is intended to identify rogue agents, corrupt officials and leakers and draws on a Defense Department model under development for more than a decade…. Intelligence officials have long wanted a computerized system that could monitor employees, in part to foil leakers like former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden….

Of course, now that it’s about the intelligence community spying on the intelligence community, those government employees are suddenly feeling a bit uncomfortable about all of this:

Privacy advocates and government employee union officials expressed concerns that electronic monitoring could intrude into individuals’ private lives, prompt flawed investigations and put sensitive personal data at greater risk.

The officials backing the program claim this is no real risk because “the system would have safeguards.” Of course, that’s the excuse we’ve been hearing for ages about the bulk data collection programs that the NSA and FBI use — that supposedly they have “safeguards.” Considering that the government employees union doesn’t seem satisfied with that response indicates that the folks who actually work in the intelligence community know that such “safeguards” are pretty bogus and do little to actually protect privacy.

Of course, there seems to be no recognition from those who are complaining about this new system that it shows why the American public (and, well, the rest of the world) are so concerned about the other surveillance programs of the intelligence community.

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Comments on “Government Employees Suddenly Worried About Surveillance As New Plans To Stop The Next Snowden Strip All Privacy”

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Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Incentive to Hire

One presumes that the government, like any other employer, wants to hire the ‘bestest’. With a policy like this, the most circumspect, patriotic, loyal, well intentioned talent will ultimately ask themselves “Why would I want to work in an environment like that?”

Of course this fails to account for the power hungry Machiavellian in the making with those qualities who wants ‘control’ and has to start a career someplace.

Anonymoose says:

Two way mirror...

This is a perfect opportunity to achieve mutual transparency.

While the government is watching us (and the rest of the world), every activity by government employees should be published in real time to the internet for active crowdsourced public monitoring. Alerts roll up, but are also monitored by the crowd.

Answers the ‘who watches the watchers’ question, and provides more parity into the power balance between governments and the people.

Anonymous Coward says:

What's good for the goose is good for the gander

Gotta admit, I love the idea of the spooks suffering the same hell that they forced on everyone else years ago. Poetic justice, as it were.
Here’s hoping it lasts indefinitely, because any attempt they make to “restore Fourth Amendment privacy rights” will of course specifically restore their privacy rights and no one else’s. And as long as Big Brother’s going to be watching us no matter what, he might as well keep on watching them too.

shyra (profile) says:

Expanded gov't spying

You guys DO understand that practically *everyone* who works for the government has a “secret” clearance, right?

You also realize that this increased spying with a brand-new program is NOT just for NSA/FBI/CIA (and every other alphabet soup agency) contractor employees? Nor will it be limited to gov’t employees once its efficacy is known, as should be easily seen by now.

How many of us were stupid enough a decade+ ago to think we actually killed TIA? They killed the name; only.

I didn’t go into work today. I’m trying to decide (4 years from retirement with not enough $$$ to tide me over til then) whether or not to quit my *non-intel* job because of this.

This is actively monitoring and profiling all gov’t employees both on-the-job (expected) and OFF-the-job. How long before that monitoring grabs, hassles, fires, or disappears those of us protesting this and other political issues? (allowed [supposedly still] on our off-duty time) And how long before it morphs under a corp-religio-fascist-type gov’t to encompass those who hold the wrong religion. I’ve already lived thru the years when people in my religion were jailed, had kids taken away, etc. That was only 20 years ago. Think it can’t happen again?

Gov’t and corporations may no longer be able to look at the long term implications of what laws they put in place; surely WE are still able to do that. Or have we all been dumbed down by the “conform or else” curriculum of constant test taking?

As someone who has gone from punch cards to bench tech; from no hard drives to the cloud; I expected a much more enlightened series of comments from people on this site. Most of us ARE techs or in the biz somehow, and we’re all against this survellience. Tell me honestly — does some gov’t receptionist barely making $12k a year deserve to have both her online and offline life — as well as everyone 3-6 jumps from her, monitored constantly JUST because it’s a GS position?

Maybe I’ve lived too long, and there’s no longer any place in this world for me – a consideration I’m actually contemplating.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Expanded gov't spying

“You guys DO understand that practically everyone who works for the government has a “secret” clearance, right?”

Yup, which is one of the indications that there is something very, very wrong with the classification system.

“How many of us were stupid enough a decade+ ago to think we actually killed TIA?”

Ummm, I would guess very few, at least amongst the set of people who were concerned about it at the time — it was commonly accepted and discussed that “killing” TIA would mean it was going to be broken into parts and each part absorbed under a different program. Which is exactly what happened.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: What's good for the goose...

If it’s supposedly no big deal when the public has their data indiscriminately scooped up because it might be useful at some point, then the ones making that argument, or working for the ones making that argument, have no room to complain when they find themselves under the microscope as well.

Heck, considering the mass surveillance of the public is supposedly justified due to ‘security’ reason(and of course the always classic Because terrorists!), if anything those working in the ‘security’ agencies would have less room to complain, as they’re dealing with sensitive, potentially dangerous information/data on a regular basis.

So basically, if those in the government are going to argue that indiscriminate spying on the public isn’t something to get worked up over, then they have no right to turn around and demand that their privacy be respected. Respect the rights of the public, and then maybe the public will care about the rights of those spying on them.

ECA (profile) says:

HOW can..

HOW can the PEOPLE of a democracy/republic KNOW what to do, if there is no knowledge of what Government is DOING?

Its ridiculous, that ALL that is on the news is death and destruction INSIDE the USA, GLORIFIED.
To BYPASS the Right to bear arms they RAISE prices on Guns and AMMO.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH DONT WORK, As the only ones listened to, Since we dont know whats going on, are the CORPS who pay others to Stick a Worm in the Congress ears.
Trade agreements that ARENT from our Gov. being passed as LAW? in private bypassing event he law makers..

shyra says:

Re: If you have

I guess it depends on who’s asking — Dominionist much? I protest as much about the rampant spying as I do about the conflagration (and conflation) of religion and government. I’m against the rampant “mean-ness” I see present and read in remarks today – especially those who are suppose to be serving to “provide for the general welfare.” All of which is against the constitution and, even, the Federalist Papers. (Not that many of those holding those up high would understand or even have read them.)

I may… or may not… set off some snoop’s buttons today. Doesn’t mean I won’t tomorrow. We all KNOW how easy it is to get off a government list once we’re on there, right? 😉

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: If you have

That whole “provide for the general welfare” is WHY minarchists are working to undermine the Constitution and replace it with the Articles of Confederation. Basically, they hate America, which was created in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, all of which would vanish if we reverted to the Articles.

Now try getting even one of them to admit it. I must say, I find it entertaining that they whine about their Constitutional rights one minute and work to tear it up the next.

FM Hilton (profile) says:

Something's Rotten in Denmark

It occurs to me that this is a real-life scenario stolen from Orwell’s 1984.


The inhabitants of Oceania, particularly the Outer Party members, have no real privacy. Many of them live in apartments equipped with two-way telescreens, so that they may be watched or listened to at any time.

Similar telescreens are found at workstations and in public places, along with hidden microphones. Written correspondence is routinely opened and read by the government before it is delivered.

The Thought Police employ undercover agents, who pose as normal citizens and report any person with subversive tendencies.

Children are encouraged to report suspicious persons to the government, and some even denounce their parents. Surveillance controls the citizenry and the smallest sign of rebellion, even something so small as a facial expression, can result in immediate arrest and imprisonment.

Thus, citizens (and particularly party members) are compelled to obedience.”

Just a few more steps and we’ll be there.

Anonymous Coward says:

I support this idea completely

In fact, let’s make it proportional: the higher someone’s clearance, the more monitoring they must be subject to. For example, anyone at the level of deputy director of the CIA must be on live streaming video 24×7, including when at home, in the bathroom, in their car, etc. It must be hi-def with surround sound and must NEVER be turned off…because terrorism.

And since they might be conspiring with others, their family MUST also be subject to this, also 24×7. Their home must have surveillance video and audio deployed around it, and all their Internet traffic captured. All their physical mail must be monitored, along with their TV habits, their book purchases, their music preferences, even their grocery shopping. EVERYTHING about them must be captured and provided for review so that we can be sure that they’re not traitorous villains.

Let’s do this. I’m excited about this. I can’t wait.

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