Mike Rogers Says Google Is Unpatriotic For Not Wanting NSA To Spy On Its Users

from the because-mike-rogers-is-a-hypocrite dept

This past Wednesday, the CIA held its first ever Conference on National Security at Georgetown University. It included plenty of the usual talking heads spouting nonsense, but I wanted to focus in on one particular talking head spouting particularly ridiculous nonsense. It’s our old friend, Rep. Mike Rogers, who is retiring from Congress to try to become an even bigger blowhard on talk radio (as if that’s possible). Apparently, Rogers is using this conference to practice the classical blowhard strategy of making a variety of absolutely ridiculous claims that directly contradict each other.

So, for example, he kicked it off by attacking Silicon Valley tech companies for fighting back against NSA surveillance, and for arguing (accurately) that the NSA’s efforts have created a major business problem for them around the globe, as people outside the US no longer trust them. In Rogers’ mind, that means these companies are putting “European profits above national security.” This isn’t even close to true, but that’s what Rogers is claiming (at about 2 hours 10 minutes into the video, which is also embedded below):

While I’m on my soapbox, we should be really mad at Google and Facebook and Microsoft, because they’re doing a very interesting, and I think, very dangerous thing. They’ve decided to come out and say “we oppose this new FISA bill, because it doesn’t go far enough.” And when you peel that onion back a bit and say “Why are you doing this? This is a good bill, it’s safe, it’s bi-partisan, it’s rational. It meets all the requirements for 4th Amendment protections and privacy protection and allowing the system to work.”

And they say, “Well, we have to do this because we’re trying to make sure we don’t lose our European business.” I don’t know about the rest of you but that offends me from the words “European business.” Think about what they’re doing. They’re willing to, in their mind, justify the importance of their next quarter’s earnings in Europe versus the national security of the United States. Everybody on those boards should be embarrassed and their CEOs should be embarrassed and their stockholders should be embarrassed. That one quarter cannot be worth the national security of the United States for the next ten generations.”

This is wrong and ridiculous on so many levels, but let’s just jump to the biggest one and then circle back later to the rest. Less than 15 minutes later (at about 2 hours 25 minutes into the video), Rogers was arguing how important the internet is to our economy, and how a cyberattack might destroy it. He’s basically discussing his beloved CISPA and its “information sharing” components, which is really a backdoor way to “legalize” companies handing over all their data to the NSA without warrants.

One sixth of our economy now, is through the internet! One sixth! So this notion that we’re all going to say “well the government should do nothing and just completely keep away” — and I’m not for regulation, by the way, that’s not what I mean, but I mean in some way to… to help defend these private networks or allow them to defend themselves — if we don’t get it right, one-sixth of our economy is going to go away. Like that (*snaps*). If every time you turn it on, you lose money, how many times are you going to turn it on and use the internet for commerce? You’re not!

Right. Did you get that? If the NSA is violating all of your privacy, no big deal, and people will continue to use the internet and contributing to the economy — and if it hurts the economy, well that’s just the price we pay for national security. But, if those evil foreign governments violate your privacy, well, then all of you will stop using the internet and it will destroy our economy.

In short: if NSA hacking into Europeans eats into US companies’ profits: that’s patriotism. But if Europeans hack into US companies, then everyone will stop using the internet and it will destroy us all.

And then he goes even further:

If one financial institution — we have one particular financial institution that clears somewhere about $7 trillion in global financial transactions every single day. Imagine if tomorrow that place gets in there, and through an attack of which we know does exist — the potential does exist — where the information is destroyed and manipulated. Now you don’t know who owes what money. Some of that, they have lost transactions completely, forever. Imagine what that does to the economy? $7 trillion. Gone. Right? Gone! It’s that serious!

So, profits of Wall Street banks are patriotic. But profits of Silicon Valley companies… well, they can be sacrificed for national security.

Except, of course, the underlying assumption in all of this — which has been proven time and time again to be false, is that these efforts actually help with national security. Mike Rogers was one of the leading FUDspreaders, concerning the claim that the section 215 bulk phone records collection helped national security. Except that’s been proven to be false time and time again. Both judges and the President’s own task force have marvelled at the total lack of evidence that the bulk records provision was necessary.

The complaints from various tech companies (who Rogers himself admits makes up a huge part of our economy) is not about their “next quarter” of European profits, but about the very idea that he and his friends have more or less convinced the rest of the world that American internet companies are not trustworthy. That’s not about next quarter’s profits, it’s about violating the privacy of everyone around the globe — for no actual benefit.

So, in the end, we see what hypocritical views Rogers has. It’s shameful and unpatriotic for Silicon Valley to be concerned about the privacy rights of their users, because that might lead to an attack on national security, and that attack on national security might harm the profits of Silicon Valley and (more importantly) Wall Street, and any attack on profits is unpatriotic (except, apparently, the profits he wanted them to give up first). Confused? Don’t be. What Rogers is really saying is he doesn’t give a shit, so long as the NSA gets to violate everyone’s privacy, and he’ll make any ridiculous argument to keep that happening. And, of course, to keep it secret, because if you don’t know about it, he still thinks your privacy hasn’t been violated.

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Companies: facebook, google, microsoft

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Comments on “Mike Rogers Says Google Is Unpatriotic For Not Wanting NSA To Spy On Its Users”

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observer says:

Re: Re:

And doesn’t seem to have any idea how corporations work, because this:

They’re willing to, in their mind, justify the importance of their next quarter’s earnings in Europe versus the national security of the United States.

… is working as intended: Google’s responsibility to its shareholders to secure their bottom line outweighs any responsibility it might have (I’d argue none, but even if you don’t) to national security.

ThatFatMan (profile) says:

1/6th of the Economy

I’d like to know if Mr. Rogers remembers the last time the US Gov’t tried to “fix” 1/6th of the US Economy in some way? I for one haven’t forgotten the train wreck that is the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare.

I’m pretty sure 1/6th of the US Economy can take good care of itself with the “good intentions” of our government.

Anonymous Coward says:

So the question becomes, are the steps Google is taking enough? I notice all around the internet, FOSS is being reexamined in security audits, questioning if it is still secure or if the NSA has managed to taint the end product.

Major corporations are finding out, if they don’t fix and take care of their vulnerabilities and repair the damage they have done to customer trust, that the NSA may become their biggest payday; hardly worth the effort when viewed globally.

Blowhard Rogers is getting out because the kitchen has become too hot. That’s a good thing. I wonder how long he keeps his radio spot? He ain’t no Limbaugh.

Anonymous Coward says:

Roger’s deserves an award of some sort from some group somewhere for the most boneheaded comment of the year for that remark on the violation of privacy. I remember hearing him say it in the live stream and literally couldn’t believe that crap came out of his mouth. I have yet to hear anyone in public say anything that dumb since Dan Quayle was in the public eye.

Anonymous Coward says:

Glad your leaving

First, Mike Rogers, you truly are a piece of garbage.

I dont usually rant on our societies older folks as most have a lot to contribute and of course I will be one soon, but where in the world do the Rogers and Feinsteins come from when they think they have any clue what the population needs? They have no relevance to todays world. Dinosaurs, the lot of them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Obvious troll.

You opt in to using googles ad networks when you signup for their services. To stop them ‘reading’ (its not actually reading you moron) your emails you stop using the service.

You cannot opt-out of the NSA viewing all your emails, browsing habits, phone records.

AricTheRed says:

Rep Mike Rodgers as a Sith Lord

Princess Google: Darth Rogers. Only you could be so bold. The People will not sit still for this. When they hear you want us at Goolge to help you do…

Darth Rogers: Don’t act so surprised, Your Highness. You weren’t on any mercy mission this time, we know you collect everything you can about your customers, just like we do. Several transmissions were beamed to this ship by rebel spies. I want to know what happened to the encryption keys for the data they sent you.

Princess Google: I don’t know what you’re talking about. I am a member of the free marketplace on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan…

Darth Rogers: You are part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor! Take her away!

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike Rogers is retiring from Congress, and says he’s going into talk radio? LoL, yeah right. If he’s retiring from congress, then he must have a lobbyist job lined up somewhere. I’m sure someone’s willing to hire him, seeing as he’s the most extreme police state maximalist in all of Congress. He even makes Dianne Feinstein look tame.

I bet he ends up as a lobbyist at Harris Corp, makers of the Hailstrom mobile phone tracking tools. Maybe he’ll lobby for law enforcement agencies so they can continue to militarize themselves with more mine resistant ambush tanks and UAV drones.

I have to give him credit. He didn’t even blink when it came to flushing his public career away, in order to be recognized as the most hardline pro surveillance Congressman in American history. He’ll go down in infamy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Isn’t that pretty much how every state works? I mean, sure, there is an old and worthless piece of paper giving some power to a court, but in the end politics has always been about fighting the heathens and helping the rightious, whether internally or externally. The court and constitution are there to keep it from escalating too far, but “the people” are not easily defined and the lack of exact definitions makes interpretation of the constitution fluid.

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

And spying via data collection

by scanning all traffic in a privacy-violating manner stops “cyber”attacks how?

And still, after all these years, critical infrastructure and core business logic is connected to the public internet directly why? This is not a new idea, yet organizations keep exposing more and more highly sensitive things to the public internet. And some of these financial and exchange institutions would also be the ones running 1970s hardware and software because it is far too complex to upgrade and replace. OK!

Mr. Oizo says:

Just consider...

Just consider the possibility that Google is the techside of the NSA. If you look at Google that way, then _all_ their actions make sense. From the driving around in cares to take fotos, to the buying off spy satelites, to letting governments mark the buildings that should be hidden to the smoke and mirrors that they do not cooperate with the NSA.

Digger says:

NSA is unpatriotic

The U.S. should never have “lower” privacy standards than any nation, anywhere.

ie – The U.S. should be a bastion of security, citizen privacy, etc. Not a hell-hole where everyone watches everything everyone else does 24x7x365.25

The NSA/CIA/FBI, SCotUS and PotUS need to be bitch slapped into reality to understand that 9/11 did NOT change the constitution, and that legal-sleeze wording does not get around the intent behind the constitution.

When it says “congress may pass no law” – that cannot be contested, it cannot be hemmed and hawed around, it means no laws that do anything to midigate or undermine those rights, period.

Anyone attempting to do so should be arrested, tried for treason and summarily shot.

Unchosen One (profile) says:

You know how people who justify their views through the first amendment are basically claiming that the only defense they have is that it is not illegal to say them?

National security and patriotism are the government version of that. When you have absolutely no justification for your argument, that’s the way you go, with one minor difference.

See if you can spot it:
Case 1
Asshole: You are all sheeple who deserve to die.
You: Asshole, get the f**k out of my house.
Asshole: F**k you I can say whatever I want.
You: Say it somewhere else.

Case 2
Government asshole: You deserve to die for national security reasons
You: *brains splattered on floor*

Anonymous Coward says:

Which *ism is it really Mike Rogers belongs to?

*groan* It isn’t Patriotism to view your country above all else and see no faults…. that is just an extreme fanaticism.
Patriotism is to love your country enough to see the faults and then wanting to correct those faults, in order to make it better.

Maybe extremism is a better word… Like certain groups, these people have a “cause” and everyone else be damned in order for them to fulfill that cause.

Anonymous Coward says:

thank you Mr Oizo

it’s sad that only one commenter here seams to get it, or have the balls to even begin to say it.

This is a dog and pony show; A sensationalistic act to distract reporters and give them something to write about, something that shapes the propaganda narrative in a useful way- ie: google (the entity collecting far more info on you then anyone else) is your friend, and meaningfully resists government over-reach. That is utter bullshit.

Spying done for business purposes is no different then for NS interest- if anything it’s far worse, as google is under even less restrictions and oversight then the gov.

You cannot logically be against mass surveillance/ poisoning the security well, and be OK with what google does. It’s like being vehemently against cupcakes, but all for cake batter…

google analytic scripts are on the vast majority of webpages- they track you everywhere whether you choose to use google or not… The data they collect is a product!

worse still, goggle has… at least kept quite about the fact that ALL cell phones are effectively back-doored through insecure proprietary baseband processors that operate below the OS and have 100% access/control to the phones memory (research this please- it even effects the so-called secure phones that are coming out).

If google gave two shits about gov over-reach, or even genuine freedom and property rights, the first thing they’d do is give people real authoritative control over their own hardware. Instead, they are right with all the other tech giants in releasing and transitioning the public onto devices (phones and anything with cell based network, probably more then that- uefi..ect) which the gov/corporations have more control/authority of then the users. Google does this under the guise of “open source” which android is anything but when it comes down to the most important pieces of the system.

All retail phones have closed source mandatory app store, and several system processes which have root control access to your phone, even when you don’t. They’ve even managed to convince people it’s dangerous to be in control of their own hardware by having root… Only curious/paranoid hackers are able to see just how insanely abusive the system is with your data.

If you doubt me, check for yourself:
On android- Get root, install an AOSP rom, install titanium backup and use it to convert google sys apps into user apps, install LBE security, or xposed/xprivacy framework, or a similar privilege/permissions admin/monitor, install iptables based firewall- set everything to PROMPT so you can watch every permission/connection request. You’ll see then, there is often NO correlation to necessity of data and time it’s requested- your phone straight up spys on you, constantly, by design- even after you go “full” AOSP. Due to the baseband issue, even those willing to go through this PITA process of going ‘android with minimal (AOSP, userland restricted) google sys apps’ are not guaranteed full control of their hardware. …don’t even get me started on trying to eliminate hidden logging- the system just undoes your work and recreates them- even when you have root… I gave up. (Note: this all worked on froyo & early ICS- no clue if it still does or if they’ve since covered their tracks better)

This is the future(present) we’re headed to (and somewhat already in). This is bullrun- and so far, they’re getting away with it. You will not have final authority to control your own hardware in the future- you already don’t with allot of devices.

Wake up Techdirt. Stop falling for propaganda bait.

TLDR: Amateur security researcher/enthusiast thinks this is all propaganda posturing, Techdirt is suspiciously blind of BULLRUN and completely full of crap when it comes to reporting anything related to google. google IS evil (technical proof and instructions to verify above).

nopainsnogaines (profile) says:

Re: thank you Mr Oizo

And your argument failed defacto when you claim there is no diffrnce in Google collecting our info and the government. We volunteer our info to Google who mainly uses it for annoying personalized advertising and technology that mostly makes life more enjoyable. Google does not write our laws or have the ability to throw us in prison and hold us without charge indefinitely m

rapnel (profile) says:

Re: Re: thank you Mr Oizo

I guarantee his post’s argument didn’t fail. Don’t be distracted with what’s patently obvious – yes, the government has guns, we know..

If you do what he asks and insert a prompt for every communication that your devices make (provided you can take control of your pc’s, phones, tablets, etc) and then if you come back and repeat “we volunteer our info to Google” you’d be wrong only you’d know it.


I think if you search for the words “industry partners” you might in a better position to fully understand the post. And the sense of urgency therein.

Kevin says:

NSA and industrial Espionage

When I say “You” , I mean a non-american. (Yes, I’m an evil canadian)

Would you buy a phone , knowing the manufacturer is legally required to assist the NSA in any way possible ?

Would you buy a computer with a certain operating system, knowing that the NSA can make them put a back door in it through an “update” , and that the NSA has a history of making sure american companies win contracts in foriegn countries (like brazil) and you’re bidding against an american company for some work ?

Given NSA has been stealing copyright stuff from other nations, how much of “American Innovation” do you think is american , and how much did the NSA hand to big US companies and say “copyright this quick , before they do” ?

Do you really think four billion chinese can’t come up with a single invention of their own ? Not even one ?

Do you trust the NSA not to use their gathered information to black mail politicians ? (non-american ones , I mean, which the USA would consider perfectly legal)

From the perspective of the non-american … the nightmare is only beginning here. Nothing is being solved unless we do it ourselves.

And that starts with a “do not buy american” policy. We have no choice.

anla (profile) says:

Circular logic

Isn’t there a circular logic in Mr. Mike Rogers’ reasoning?

If Google, Microsoft, Cisco, et.al. doesn’t act against NSA surveilance, then they will loose customers. Specifically – in Europe – to European based competitors. Thus, cutting off the NSA from that traffic.

So if they don’t act, NSA will loose the ability to snoop around, if they do act, then NSA has the hope of atleast snooping something?

Richard (profile) says:

Patriotic - Huh

You could not be more patriotic then Henry L Stimson – United States Secretary for war during WW2.

He once famously said (justifying the US disengagement from spying) “Gentlemen do no read each others’ mail”.

It is not “unpatriotic” to call out your country when it is behaving badly.
The most patriotic thing you can do is to try to make your country more worthy of respect.

Mike Rogers attitude shows how far US politicians have sunk into a moral mire.

anzablazer says:

The NSA is a NAZI’s WET DREAM. It has nothing to do with Democracy. Show me the man and I?ll find you the crime.There is no individual whose private calls, emails, postings, bank and credit card transactions, online activities, and even private conversations in the ?privacy? of your home, cannot be edited to paint the portrait of an enemy of the state. There is no such thing as privacy anymore. Unless you have a couple millions Dollars to spend and Two Dozen Lawyers to Seal your records like Obama did. Privacy is no more in America. Your a fool if you think you have Privacy anymore. The Government knows everything about you but they don’t want you to know what they are doing.

GEMont (profile) says:

Snowden Day

Snowden Day has come and gone – that’s a full year since you the People found out that your own government is spying and lying and trying to screw you up the backdoor.

That’s a full year that they’ve been baffle-gabbing all you Bozos on this bus, so ya’all won’t ask yerself “who the fuck is guarding the henhouse?”.

I have to wonder just how many gigabytes of YOUR data the Five Eyes have managed to scoop up during those 360 plus days, while they were grandstanding in the Truth Free Press and making lame excuses for everything they’ve been caught doing so far, and claiming they are doing no wrong.

I wonder – since their technology will only get better as corporations realize they can join forces and win immunity by assisting the government in its endeavors – how many terabytes of your data the Five Eyes will vacuum up during the next 365 days.

Every person in north america now has a book with their name on it – probably running some 2-3000 pages and growing by the hour – that lists your friends, your enemies, your hobbies, your fears, your likes and perversions, your address, your school grades, your passwords, your favorite everything, your daily routines, your food choices, your party places, your hopes and aspirations… and every tiny infraction you thought you got away with over the last decade or two.

But hey, you know how it is. Just too busy trying to make ends meet to actually give any of this weird shit much thought ye know…. and besides it can’t be all that important cuz they don’t even mention it on TV…

ooooooooooooooo – extremely loud and awful music just started playing on my computer, and I don’t have music stored on this computer.

Had to turn off my speakers!

How terribly silly!

Methinks I may have hit a nerve.
I can only hope.

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