No Matter Who's Elected, Surveillance Powers And Programs Unlikely To Be Scaled Back

from the sorry-constituents,-but-your-concerns-aren't-a-priority dept

The New York Times editorial board speculates on where we’re going from here following President Obama’s not-doing-much-until-forced-to approach to surveillance and surveillance reform. Two candidates — neither of them improvements — are roughly a month away from one of them taking the nation’s top office. As the Times’ board points out, there’s not much in it for anyone hoping the incoming White House will push forward with more reform efforts or better oversight.

The Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has not substantively addressed any of these issues. But he has proposed draconian, unconstitutional measures to keep the nation safe, including carrying out surveillance of mosques and creating a database of Muslims. This is offensive and outrageous. “We’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago,” he said last November.

Hillary Clinton has been more measured in discussing surveillance and encryption. Her campaign has suggested creating a national commission to explore legal and practical questions surrounding encryption. Mrs. Clinton has also said she would like to foster a more constructive relationship with Silicon Valley leaders, who have often been reluctant to collaborate with intelligence agencies. But she has been troublingly vague on specifics.

The Times is far too kind to Clinton. (No one really needs to rehash Trump’s inability to form coherent sentences when discussing policy…) Clinton may be more measured, but what she has discussed suggests a return to form when Obama exits office. A return to GEORGE W. BUSH form, really — basically another 4-8 years of post-2001 fear-based legislating, like her predecessor engaged in.

After the attack in Orlando, Clinton joined Trump in calling for expanded watchlists and denial of Constitutional rights to those placed on them. She has occasionally hinted at vague surveillance reform, but has also made it clear Snowden should hop on the next plane home and spend some time in prison. She has also suggested tech companies partner with the government to create backdoors in encryption — but in an imaginary “safe” way that won’t threaten their customers’ security. And she’s made it clear that deploying the military is a perfectly acceptable response to state-led cyberattacks.

Either way the election goes, the surveillance business will remain as usual. This is troubling, due to the fact that Section 702 — which authorizes the NSA’s internet backbone-based surveillance dragnet PRISM — is up for renewal at the end of next year. With recent revelations about Yahoo’s very proactive surveillance assistance generating some interesting questions about what the NSA can or can’t do under this authority, it would be nice to have someone in the White House that would amplify these concerns, rather than help drown them out.

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Comments on “No Matter Who's Elected, Surveillance Powers And Programs Unlikely To Be Scaled Back”

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I.T. Guy says:

Re: Re: Re: And THAT is what YOU are voting for!!!

I brought up Stein and Johnson in another post last week. 99% of voters have no idea who they are. IT’S A 2 PARTY SYSTEM, and you will never get to see the other parties. (Solutions?)

“Just don’t complain about the future you voted for.”
I have every right to complain. Even if I voted for the Douche bag. (Take your pick as to who that is.)

You (apparently)ASSume I am voting for The Hills or The Donald? And make a conclusion based on an ASSumption.

How about if I choose not to vote at all? Do I still have a right to complain? (Correct answer is: Yes, even more so.)

So AGAIN, I see no solutions brought to the table.

So Ill ask: How do we make sure all parties get equal air time? You first.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 And THAT is what YOU are voting for!!!

at IT guy-
1. instant runoff AKA ranked choice voting
2. trustworthy, non computer based voting system (paper ballots, hand counted, locally reported)
3. public financing of campaigns AND reversing insane legal proposition that fictitious legal entities called korporations have -in fact- superior rights to mere flesh and blood peoples…
that’ll do for starters…
oh, i forgot to mention step 0, it involves lots of rope and power poles, which is about the only way steps 1, 2 and 3 can happen…

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 And THAT is what YOU are voting for!!!

You need a sustained grassroots-driven campaign to make it happen. If we can kill SOPA we can get art guerilla’s reasonable proposals enacted. We need numebers, momentum, and someone to coordinate it. Is there any way to piggyback on an existing campaign? It’s better than splintering.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 And THAT is what YOU are voting for!!!

In addition to what art guerrilla said:

Remove money from politics

Get rid of political parties

Hold politicians immediately accountable for campaign promises

Force the Senate to approve justices based upon merit rather than ideology by whatever means necessary

There are probably more.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: And THAT is what YOU are voting for!!!

Except Stein and Johnson are terrible at most technology issues. Johnson’s policy is basically, If we just stop all government regulation in the broadband space, including all funding to encourage spending on low value areas, somehow the monopolistic practices of the last decade will just fade away and we will just be awash in a broadband utopia. In fact, that sums up gary Johnson’s entire plan.

And Jill stein has almost zero stated policy positions surrounding technology.

I useed to support Jill Stein, but as ive looked into policy platforms, I have found her policies on many issues that matter to me to be problematic. Shes got no directives on copyrights or patents, her website lists no position on the encryption debate, she recommends sweeping military cuts, her stance on common core is populist-it addresses the perception of why the standards are wrong rather then the reality, wants to enact scare labels on our food, and overall, makes broad, simple statements about complex goals. most of her proposals are about as specific as Trump.

Her website has a disturbing tendancy to repeat itself, like it felt the need to pad out her policies.

If I vote purely on surveilance, Clinton is not a good choice. But There are many other issues, and taken as a whole Clinton provides me with a better policy platform the either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. Go ahead and be a single issue voter if you wish, but I see a lot of issues that need handling.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 And THAT is what YOU are voting for!!!

while i appreciate your point, two cavils:
1. virtually NO ONE is either talking substantively about these issues, relative to the pres election, NOR their top priority, even if they are concerned about them…
2. REGARDLESS of their own personal kmowledge or interest in these issues, i would not trust the blah blah blah of either t-rump or killary, EVEN IF it comported 100% with my views… they WILL fuck us over, period…
for stein or johnson or whatever ‘alternate’ candidate you like, i would trust them INFINITELY MORE to ‘do the right thing’ on these issues when they arose…
in fact, THAT is the nub: i do NOT trust ANY mainstream candidate to ‘do the right thing’ on virtually anything but minor crap or bullshit done for the optics; conversely, i trust a stein to do yhe right thing on basically everything whicch concerns me…
really, their actual personal knowledge on tech issues is beside the point (that is what they have staff and advisors for), it is whether i trust them…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: And THAT is what YOU are voting for!!!

  1. Profile everyone like crazy.
    2. Arrest any “suspicious” looking people, regardless of probable cause.
    3. Realize you’ve filled the prison with autistic or socially challenged people with only 3-5% of them being ACTUAL criminals.
    4. ???
    5. PROFIT! (for the prisons at least)

    The big criminals, that do the most damage are usually sociopathic, charismatic and well capable of dissimulating most attention directed at them.

    What you’re left with is catching chickenshit, small-time dealers that have 5-10 grams of pot stuffed in their pockets.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t understand why a gay bar in Florida getting shot up by a nutjob means I need to lose more rights. Why must we all pay with our personal freedom and security from overbearing law enforcement and intelligence agencies in a quixotic effort to catch statistically anomalous crazies before they pull the trigger?

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Because profit! More wealth for government-contracted corporations and senior officials in the “revolving door” between them.

Booz Allen Hamilton for example, contracting for the NSA, Homeland Security and other agencies. (Edward Snowden’s leak was hardly their first recent major breach.) They make a fortune off those contracts, and senior intelligence officials like James Clapper, John McConnell and R. James Woolsey rotate between them and their government jobs.

They’re essentially looting the treasury through intelligence in the same way that Halliburton/KBR looted it through war. Former CEO and still stockholder Dick Cheney (there’s that revolving door again) and his friends made a fortune off the US treasury via Iraq. Small wonder it lasted longer than WWII.

That experience (backed by endorsements from those intelligence officials) can also be sold elsewhere. Like Booz helping the United Arab Emirates create an equivalent of the NSA for that country, and helping other Arab countries combat the Arab Spring.

As an American citizen you’re part of the sales demonstration. “See, our surveillance works! No uprisings!”

Hope This Helps!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Because it’s not just a nutjob shooting up a gay bar in Floridia. It’s a nutjob running people over in a truck in France. It’s a nutjob attacking people on a train with an axe in Germany. It’s a nutjob stabbing a mother and daughters for wearing clothing that he found offensive in France. It’s nutjobs stabbing people in Canada. It’s nutjobs attacking people for drinking alcohol in Britain. It’s large crowds of nutjobs throwing rocks at Christians in America.

And what do all these nutjobs have in common? Were they all Jews? Buddists? Hindus?

Sure, let’s pretend that the “religion of peace” has absolutely nothing to do with these supposedly peaceful, tolerant muslims acting like animals.

I.T. Guy says:

“But he has proposed draconian, unconstitutional measures to keep the nation safe, including carrying out surveillance of mosques and creating a database of Muslims.”
LOL… I guess the NY times is not familiar… with the Times in NY.

DOH!!! But ya know… it’s more fun to blame The Donald.

I.T. Guy says:

Re: Re: Re:

Really? The point is it was started under others but the MSM portrays it as it’s his idea but the program went on for 12 years. It was not until the lawsuits started rolling in, a new Commissioner took office, and the Associated Press story that things “changed.” Seeing what we’ve seen in the NYPD I doubt it has stopped.

Your article calls them The Demographics Unit and said it was disbanded, but that’s not true at all. They were renamed the Zone Assessment Unit.

The practice did not stop, just the name changed:

All that trouble and you think it just stopped?

Either way it is not a new idea to be attributed to The Donald as something new.

beltorak (profile) says:

Re: Gun bans for people on watchlists

Perhaps this might (initially) be a good thing. It would make a constitutional challenge to the watchlist processes much easier.

No it wouldn’t. You would try to buy a gun and get denied because “reasons”. You would have to sue to find out why and get “sealed because national security”. You would sue and argue you do not belong on a watch list and get “can neither confirm nor deny”. You would sue again and get “lack standing”. You would sue yet again and the response would come back “ok, I think you’re off; try to purchase a gun again – if you are still denied then you must be on some other watchlist”. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Ad infinitum.

Nothing short of explicitly opening up the process to review and challenge will make constitutional challenges any easier; and it’s arguable whether even that would be enough.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Hypocrits

TD does have a left wing bias, but I do not think I would call it extreme.

Here at TD regulatory laws are fucking king. Even when you point out that they are the cause of most of this trouble they just keep asking for more. Other than that TD is usually on target for most issues.

There was also the whole redskins issue too, and TD claiming that the Tech sector is not heavily influencing politics despite a revolving door at the whitehouse for certain tech sector executives.

The last person of any kind that should be giving technical advice is an exec, it does not matter if they work for Dell, Google, OR Microsoft! These guys have fucking terrible agenda’s, I have yet to see a good one!

David says:

Re: Re: Re: Hypocrits

TD does have a left wing bias, but I do not think I would call it extreme.

Well, most media writing articles rely on a desire of people for getting information for the sake of forming their own opinion rather than getting the authority-prescribed one.

While that is more a liberal/fascist dividing line or an intellectual/boor rather than a left/right one, those are not exactly orthogonal and the average American’s political education does not have the resolution for keeping those separate anyway.

So yes, if you are reading an article providing reasonably independent information sources and accurate details, the likelihood that you are getting a “left-wing bias” is pretty high.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Hypocrits

Has anybody noticed that any media outlet found not toeing the alt-right line is automatically leftist?

That’s what happens when extremism is characterised as orthodoxy.

For the record TD leans libertarian/classical liberal with a good dollop of concern for the public. None of that is in the least bit leftist. Can we have an end to boogeyman politics? That divisive crap doesn’t work here, you’re not going to change anyone’s opinions of points of view by crying leftist!wolf every time you see a comment or blog post you don’t like.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Except that we don’t. When the conspiritards excitedly circulated a map of them a decade ago, people went to check them out. And found that they didn’t exist. (A supposed FEMA camp was featured in the influential conspiritard film America Under Siege. In reality, the “FEMA camp” was an Amtrak repair facility.)

It’s like that “North American Union” and “Amero” that they were constantly nattering about. No evidence. No-one in government supporting the idea. Just endless half-truths and misrepresentations.

Anonymous Coward says:

I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!

You better watch out, you better not cry
Better not pout, I’m telling you why
Hillary Clinton’s is comin’ to town
She’s making a list and checking it twice
Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice
Hillary Clinton is comin’ to town
She sees you when you’re sleepin’
She knows when you’re a wake
She knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake
Oh! You better watch out, you better not cry
Better not pout, I’m telling you why
Hillary Clinton is comin’ to town

Wicked Witch of the West Wing
aka The Drone Crone

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

One party, two faces

A return to GEORGE W. BUSH form, really — basically another 4-8 years of post-2001 fear-based legislating, like her predecessor engaged in.

I’ve been saying it all along — Hillary is a neocon war hawk. She might throw a little cous couse to the Progressive base to get votes from time to time, but let’s face it, she’s Establishment at heart.

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