The World Has Changed Since The First Snowden Revelation, But It's Only A Small Start

from the one-year-later dept

As noted earlier, today is the one year anniversary of the very first Snowden revelation, which revealed the FISA Court order to Verizon, ordering it to hand over every phone record it had. As such many sites, like us, are participating in Reset the Net (in case you missed it, we're now 100% SSL). However, many are also looking at what has happened in the last year -- and it's quite a lot, while at the same time, not nearly enough. Trevor Timm has a good look at four ways that Snowden has changed the world, including much more transparency into what's going on, more encryption, more awareness in the courts and a massive shift in public opinion. Furthermore, it's important that we're having this public debate. And yes, we've actually seen some real attempts at reform in Congress -- though so far those have mostly fallen flat.

Still, it's amazing how far we've already come because of Snowden. Much of what's happened in the last year never would have happened without him deciding to blow the whistle. And yet, it's not nearly far enough. The growing awareness is great, but real change needs to happen, and that's a process that's going to take a very long time.

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    zip, Jun 5th, 2014 @ 12:47pm

    change we can believe in?

    "The growing awareness is great, but real change needs to happen, and that's a process that's going to take a very long time."

    Real change would have already happened if the president we elected in 2008 had kept his promises -- instead of delivering the exact opposite.

     

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      Mason Wheeler (profile), Jun 5th, 2014 @ 12:56pm

      Re: change we can believe in?

      Have you heard of the parable of the scorpion? We knew (or had enough information to know, if we'd cared to look) exactly what he was when we re-elected him.

       

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        Mason Wheeler (profile), Jun 5th, 2014 @ 12:58pm

        Re: Re: change we can believe in?

        Argh. That should have been "we knew ... when we elected him, and even more so when we re-elected him." (Why does this comment system not have an Edit function like 99% of the Internet?)

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2014 @ 1:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: change we can believe in?

          I agree that one of the most basic functions of a commenting system isn't here to be used. It's lack is sorely noted as needed in the worst sort of way.
          --------------------

          The one thing Snowden did that was more important than exposure was to start the public questioning exactly why all this domestic spying is needed. That in no way, does the mandate of the NSA fit the US Constitution when it comes to domestic operations.

          I suspect that despite of all the attempts to derail any public discussion on this that this coming election will be about how agile a dancer both parties are. Neither is going to want to talk about what the public demands be done. This war is over. It is time to lose this war mentality of paranoia every minute of every day.

          Here's a clue for the USG. The terrorists are not on homeland ground. They are overseas. If the public continues to be treated like terrorists they may well become the USGs worst nightmare.

           

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            zip, Jun 5th, 2014 @ 1:35pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: change we can believe in?

            "If the public continues to be treated like terrorists they may well become the USGs worst nightmare."

            The government is already taking concrete steps to battle this *supposedly* growing threat of home-grown revolutionaries. And not just with the militarization of the police.

            http://www.storyleak.com/holder-to-create-homegrown-terrorism-task-force/

            A chilling reminder is the Army's new mockup town for combat training. Instead of looking like something out in the middle east (as was the previous standard) with mosques and mud-walled houses, this training ground looks just like a typical midwestern town, complete with baseball diamonds and Baptist churches. It's no wonder the US has such an interest in Ukraine: as if what's happening there right now could be happening right here in the future -- and the army will be prepared.

             

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          zip, Jun 5th, 2014 @ 1:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: change we can believe in?

          I assumed that registered users could edit their posts. If not, then I probably won't bother creating an account, as that would be my primary reason for doing so.

           

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            That One Guy (profile), Jun 5th, 2014 @ 1:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: change we can believe in?

            Nope, whether you've got an account here or not, you can't edit your posts after they go up, so make sure to use the 'Preview' function to spell-check before hitting 'Submit', and hope you catch most of the typos.

            I think the idea is to keep people from just pulling their posts after they've been refuted or gotten a reaction, so they can't just pretend that something was never said later on, or post something inflammatory and then once it's got a bunch of angry replies pulling it and suddenly making all the responses look like people having a fit over nothing.

             

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              John Fenderson (profile), Jun 5th, 2014 @ 1:44pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: change we can believe in?

              "I think the idea is to keep people from just pulling their posts after they've been refuted or gotten a reaction"

              Yes, but that's easily prevented. Just disallow editing after a set period of time (five or ten minutes) or if someone has already replied to the comment.

               

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              zip, Jun 5th, 2014 @ 1:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: change we can believe in?

              Some sites won't let you edit comments after they have replies, and I think most software lets admins see old copies of edited comments anyway.

              Techdirt's preview has its shortcomings, such as non-ascii characters. But I hope Techdirt's comment software does NOT change, as it's very friendly to old computers (I can't use Disqus at all on my old pcs, and on newer ones, it still takes ages to do anything)

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 5:04am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: change we can believe in?

              I think Facebook's approach to this is good. You can edit your comment, but everyone gets to see an 'Edited' button which shows the previous versions

               

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2014 @ 2:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: change we can believe in?

          --Why does this comment system not have an Edit function like 99% of the Internet?

          To prevent this:

          Jan 1st
          OOTB: I hate patent trolls!
          Me: Wow, I agree with OOTB for once!

          Jan 2nd OOTB edits his comment....
          OOTB: kill all pirates and long live patent trolls!
          Me: Wow, I agree with OOTB for once!

           

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      Michael, Jun 5th, 2014 @ 1:27pm

      Re: change we can believe in?

      Given the current US electoral system devolves in to a two-party selection system at least one of the following should be true.

      * We could not have adequately known.
      * Even if we did know, we probably picked the 'lesser' of evils.
      * Something about the system (government/elections/etc) is corrupting to the degree that good actors turn bad when exposed to that same system.
      * We, the people, do not deserve to have a say in the system. (I do not believe this to be true, but I must conclude that it is a possibility to consider.)

       

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        That One Guy (profile), Jun 5th, 2014 @ 1:39pm

        Re: Re: change we can believe in?

        For the last election, and to a lesser extent the one before it, I'd say #2 in that list was the primary reason.

        Obama's first run at the presidency, people really, really didn't want Palin anywhere near the white house, so a lot of people who otherwise would have voted republican instead went democrat that time.

        During the second one, yeah, people knew he wasn't what he and his PR team tried to pass him off as, but the alternatives... it came down to 'the evil you know, or the evil you don't' basically, and people went with the 'safer' choice because of it.

         

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          zip, Jun 5th, 2014 @ 2:10pm

          Re: Re: Re: change we can believe in?

          Although in many ways I considered Obama the "lesser evil" I would have much preferred a John McCain presidency, because at least the opposition to the Bush-created wars and police state would have grown instead of dissolving -- as it did the instant Obama took office. It has annoyed me to no end to see many of Bush's fiercest critics on these issues strongly support Obama when he did nothing different from Bush (or in some cases -notably drone strikes- much worse).

          McCain campaigned as a pro-war/pro-police-state candidate, and as president, would likely have kept his promises.

          Obama campaigned as an anti-war/anti-police-state candidate, and as president, not only broke, but completely shattered his promises.

          Personally, I'd rather have an honest leader (that we can honestly hate) than a lying swindler that has so many people fooled.

           

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    michael, Jun 5th, 2014 @ 1:44pm

    nothing has changed

    The world hasn't changed at all. All the Snowden releases have done is prove that Americans will happily accept any abuses the government would like to saddle us with, and then ask for more.

    We've shown the government that they have nothing to fear from the citizenry, and that there is no need for checks and balances.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jun 5th, 2014 @ 1:47pm

      Re: nothing has changed

      I don't know. I see major societal attitude shifts happening as a result. I'm not sure what you expected to happen that hasn't, but if you were thinking that there'd be some sort of sea change that would cause everything to get fixed quickly and without a struggle, you were expecting the impossible.

      Fixing this mess will take years of active struggle, infighting, and agitation from all directions. But Snowden gave us a running start and a good chance of managing to do it.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2014 @ 2:12pm

    Decades ago - "NSA doesn't exist you conspiracy theorist!"

    Years ago - "Okay, NSA exists, but they don't spy on Americans, conspiracy theorist!"

    Now - "Okay, they spy on us... but it's for your own good. They want to protect you!"

     

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    Anon, Jun 5th, 2014 @ 2:16pm

    Techdirt Isn't 100% SSL - Yet

    Look at the screenshot below - Firefox states that TD is only partially encrypted and has some elements served through standard HTTP.

    https://i.imgur.com/u6eGnxO.png

     

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