NSA Review Board Now Accepting Public Comment On Policies NSA Won't Talk About
from the weirdest-definition-of-quid-pro-quo-ever dept
If you've got anything you'd like to say about the NSA's surveillance programs, now's your chance. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has announced via its official Tumblr (a sentence that no one could have predicted would ever be written),
I CON THE RECORD IC ON THE RECORD, that it is accepting public comments on a variety of subjects, which will be handled by the NSA Review Group.
The Review Group is seeking public comments on all matters that the President has directed it to examine, namely, how in light of advancements in communications technologies, the United States can employ its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while respecting our commitment to privacy and civil liberties, recognizing our need to maintain the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosure. Comments can be provided via firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for public submissions is October 4, 2013.There's no doubt that asking for public comment is a step in the right direction, but it asks more of the public than the NSA's willing to reciprocate. What the public is looking for is transparency. These programs have been shrouded in secrecy, governed by secret laws and regulated only by various ineffective forms of "oversight." People want to know what's actually happening and the DNI has responded by asking them to comment on policies and programs no one's officially provided any information on. What is out there is the result of Snowden's leaks and had nothing to do with the NSA (or the administration) looking for a public "debate" or "discussion." Asking for public comments is good, but it's of very limited usefulness if the agency continues to hold its cards to its chest.
The comments you provide to the Review Group will be used to inform the group’s deliberations.
With those limits in mind, here's an equally lengthy paragraph detailing what the NSA Review Group isn't interested in reading.
[Group] will review all comments prior to posting and will not post comments that contain vulgar or abusive language; personal attacks of any kind; offensive terms that target specific groups; spam or comments that are clearly “off topic”; commercial promotions; information that promotes or opposes any political party, person campaigning for elected office, or any ballot proposition; reports of criminal or suspicious activity - if you have information for law enforcement, please contact your local police agency; unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries; solicitations for contracting or commercial business; or any claims, demands, informal or formal complaints, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notices or processes.Presumably, the NSA has the ability to harvest comments like these during its regular collection efforts, and considering the amount of email its has archived, probably has enough penis enlargement/home business opportunities squirreled away to last several hundred lifetimes. Classy broadsides via social media ("F*** you in the face, NSA! #privacy") presumably have also been collected and are awaiting aggressive querying should a terrorism suspect suddenly be only a hop or three away from you thanks to a friend's careless misdialing of an overseas number.
Commenters also should keep in mind that the review board reserves the right to post your comment in full as part of the public record.
[T]he Review Group may determine it appropriate to the public debate to post your comments publicly. Accordingly, any personal information you provide in the comments, or in an address or signature block, may be disclosed. Providing a comment is voluntary, and implies your consent to publication of the comment and any personal information contained in it.How quaint. A privacy concern. In other words, while the NSA may find your inclusion of an address block extraneous, thousands of other internet users (mostly /b/ denizens) may find private info much more illuminating. So, be careful with that. Also keep in mind that this ultimately heads to James Clapper, as Obama has decided to place a confirmed liar in the "bottleneck" position. All roads lead to Clapper. Govern yourselves accordingly.