It's Too Late For President Obama To 'Dismantle' The NSA's Mass Surveillance

from the shoulda-done-it-earlier dept

I should say up front that I’m a big supporter of Fight for the Future and the work they do, and while some may take this post as a slam on them, it is anything but. We’re very much on the same page on nearly everything, but it caught my attention when FftF’s Evan Greer wrote a piece asking President Obama to “shut down” the NSA’s mass surveillance systems before Donald Trump gets control of it all. Specifically the article says “before it’s too late.” While I’d love to see Obama shut down the NSA’s mass surveillance system, it’s time to admit that it is too late. Anything the President does to that effect in this lame duck session can, and will, be reversed on day one of the Trump administration. Perhaps there’s some value in the symbolic gesture, but let’s face the facts: it’s too late.

This is why we’ve been calling out illegal and warrantless surveillance all along — from the Bush administration right through the Obama administration. And it’s why it’s been so damn frustrating to see people who flip flopped on these issues when “their guy” was in power (which, frankly, includes President Obama himself). Watching their expected flip flop back won’t be any consolation. As we’ve said before, laws should always be designed as if the people we distrust the most are in power. Because one day, they will be.

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Comments on “It's Too Late For President Obama To 'Dismantle' The NSA's Mass Surveillance”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Nail on the Head!

“Evan Greer wrote a piece asking President Obama to “shut down” the NSA’s mass surveillance systems before Donald Trump gets control of it all.”

I constantly tell everyone that when you vote for power to give to YOUR party you also give it to the OTHER party.

This right is exactly why George Washington was right in his farewell address telling us to stop with the political and geographic parties and divisions among us. Because the changes from one to the other, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, will only devolve into a despotism!

As I have always said, Every Nation gets the government it deserves, you reap what you sow, and if you voted for someone in a party then you are part of the problem!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Nail on the Head!

Go read history, you might find them.

I have found that people like you are more interested in bitching about the problem than finding out solutions.

If you go and read George Washtingon’s farewell address you will find the solution that I was alluding too. I know as a fellow IT worker you suffer under the illusion of self-importance because God knows that there are a lot of fucking worthless tools in our trade, but stop with the fucking stupidity. If someone quotes another person, chances are they are making a broad statement that they are supporting that quoted persons “offered solutions” to vast to put into a single sitting but claiming to be worth your time to read.

So the question… ‘RAYMOND’…

Are you going to go and read it or just sit here and tell everyone they are not offering solutions while refusing to hear or read them when given?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Nail on the Head!

Please, if you’re who I think you are you seem to think that just claiming X is true is good enough, when it’s anything but. The burden of proof lies on the one who makes the claim, if you make a claim it’s on you to back it up with evidence, you don’t just get to offload that to the other person and act like you were right until they prove you wrong.

Of course if you continue to think otherwise, then my rebuttal is simple: You’re wrong. On everything. For evidence of this see my claim that you’re wrong, and if you disagree do your own research and prove my assertion flawed.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Nail on the Head!

So your ‘solution’ is… go find a solution yourself? Very convincing, elegant yet simple, it’s a wonder people didn’t think of that before. ‘You want a solution? Go find it yourself, my job is just go blame you for doing things wrong, not tell you what you should have done!’

For someone chastising others for ‘bitching about the problem’ you sure seem to… bitch about people calling you out for blaming the public while offering no solution of your own. Funny that.

As for ‘the public getting the government it deserves’, as the US election just demonstrated what the people want, and what they get aren’t actually guaranteed to be the same thing. More people actually voted for Clinton(by 280,646 according to the page I’m looking at. .2% of the total votes, but that’s still a hefty number of people) than voted for Trump, which means the majority of voters got the candidate that they didn’t want thanks to our delightful voting system. But by all means continue to tell me how they had it coming.


Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Nail on the Head!

Here’s a solution: a sustained grass-roots campaign to effect proportional representation and comprehensive electoral reform.

Don’t look at me to implement this, I’m Irish and live in the UK. If it’s not a valid solution, at least let’s be talking about solutions instead of just bitching about the problem.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Nail on the Head!

I am definitely in that boat. I did not vote because no matter which way I looked I just could not find the better alternative.

I hated them both equally so I let those that ‘thought’ they knew better make the decision. It’s not like I could have stopped them. The people of this nation are trying to think and act like this a democracy. If they keep this stupidity up, it might eventually become one and then suicide it will be!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Nail on the Head!

True, but people would be just as accepting of her expansion of surveillance as people were of Obama’s. But there would be the added bonus of being called a sexist for opposing her policies.

The media has made opposing Trump to be more socially acceptable, so when he inevitably expands surveillance, there is a potential for a real movement.

I.T. Guy says:

The fuker had 8 years to defend what’s right. Now someone is going to plead he do the right thing. Moron. The time would have been since day one and every day after that.

Barry didnt give 2 fuks about protecting the Constitution. Just like he gave 2 shits about bringing the troops home.
Politics and the 2 party system have been rotted to the core. Let’s see how Trumpet does with limiting terms as it’s one of the things he wants to do in the first 100 days.

“from the Bush administration right through the Obama administration” Through the Trumpet admin, and so on, and so on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Let’s see how Trumpet does with limiting terms as it’s one of the things he wants to do in the first 100 days.”

I highly doubt he can make this promise, he has to get the turds to vote themselves out of a job. Would you? Likely not.

We will have to wait and hope that the Constitutional Convention is actually called by the states and THERE is where we can shove those limits into the Constitution.

beltorak (profile) says:

Perhaps there’s some value in the symbolic gesture

No, actually there’s negative value in that. It would merely grant the outgoing administration the illusion of standing up for privacy without actually doing anything. You think the NSA could could just "stop collecting" for 100 days? They already claimed they couldn’t shut it down in any time frame shorter than 6 months, and that was without the expectation of being able to turn it back on. But that wouldn’t stop the administration from claiming to care.

It would be "privacy theater". And all this theater does have a cost.

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

Well that’s a completely foolish request. All of it should have been killed ages ago, but Obama is still a huge disappointment whether he was convinced these things were good ideas or he was swallowed and stymied by the system. He seems to have enough bad behaviors all his own, though. Thing is, if presidents are ever serious about dismantling bad programs, they shouldn’t offer excuses or ignore demands, but should ask for help from the public.

Another part of the problem is presidents hardly control what people think they control, even when they are granted powers to start something, changing or stopping the entrenched unelected parts of government is not easy, particularly in the power-wielding bodies. Screwing up or repurposing beneficial parts seems a fair bit easier.

The bigger problem in particular here is that most people are ok with authoritarian behavior if they think it doesn’t directly affect them.

Eldakka (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Considering that the most intrusive mass surveillance is done under direct personal presedential authorisation, e.g. EO 12333 amongst others, then there are no impediements, such as the legislature, or committees, or the cabinet, in the way at all. It has mostly been authorised via direct personal presedential decree, therefore can be removed by the presedent personally withdrawing that decree (Executive Order).

Anonymous Coward says:

Told you so!

I have been saying here for a while that everyone should be scared of the spy powers. Eventually a political party will get in power and have enough dirt on people to keep power. Now you see what I mean and are running scared.

I am still for shutting it down though and do not wish to see it used for political gain though one day it will. Hillary would have done it for sure; all you have to do is see her manipulation of the electoral process this year to see proof of that.

Anonymous Coward says:

So let’s put this is perspective.

Everything good that emerged out the Obama presidency will now be undone on Day 1.

Everything bad about it though will be kept intact though.

This is your legacy President Obama. History will not look back kindly upon your tenure as president. You will be known as the man who handed a man like Trump the keys to tyranny because you lacked the spine to dismantle it when you had the chance.

That’s your legacy. Own it.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I agreed with the first two questions but this:

_Fostering a race war when he could have done so much to unite? Not once reaching across the isle for compromise but expecting compromise by doing things his way?_

Erm, no, that was t’other side.

Race war? How? The Birther conspiracy theories, murdered gay husband and other nutty stuff came from the alt-right side of the aisle.

As for compromise, the Right shut Congress down and see compromise as weakness. Obamacare IS compromise. That’s how it passed.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You will be known as the man who handed a man like Trump the keys to tyranny because you lacked the spine to dismantle it when you had the chance.

‘Spineless’ would actually be a significant improvement from how I currently see him and will remember him as a president. ‘Pro-torture’, ‘Pro-slavery’, ‘Pro-indiscriminate surveillance on US citizens’ are the big three that come to mind, and those make ‘spineless’ look downright flattering.

Anonymous Coward says:

Where were the calls when the nsa cat was let out of the bag.

ONE, of the damn reasons people have been opposing this MASSIVE violation, was the idea that this power may end up in the hands of those who may abuse it even further, whether trump does, i dont know……..the tired argument is, would you give hitler this power

Just now having a moment of clarity, ive just realised, the internet is BORDERLESS. What one nation does, the whole planet should be concerned, when numerous nations do it, well


Campaigning against the nsa just because trump is about to take over shows us that your quite happy to give it back when the “right” person comes along, which brings us full circle again.
This is too much power for any one entity like a government or corporation to have, i most certainly would not consider it ok for this system to be integrated, even IF “my guy/gal” had the big chair……in fact, that person would off had my vote, because he/she convincenly,, convinced me, that he/she would find that as much a disgusting violation as me.

Besides all that, one of the more important reasons for this is

Who the fuck gave them the right

Pardon my frenshhhh

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