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by Leigh Beadon

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the secrets-and-stupidity dept

This week, the intelligence community carried on with its attempts to suppress information about CIA torture without acknowledging that the actions, not the information, are the real problem. After they claimed that terrorism was "surging", an anonymous commenter won first place for insightful by pointing out that this is yet another contradiction in their argument:

Wait, I thought these "advanced" integeration was done to reduce terrorism, so how is terrorism at an all time high, with the "SUCCESS" of these programs?

As for government secrets that have been revealed, this week we learned that Syria's 2012 internet blackout was caused by the NSA. Another anonymous commenter won second place for insightful by putting this in the favored terms of fearmongers:

One month previous to this outage, Defense Secretary Panetta was warning of a future "cyber Pearl Harbor". ( http://www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=5136 ). He forgot to mention that we'd be playing the part of the Japanese in this Pearl Harbor re-enactment.

Of course, the intelligence community doesn't have a monopoly on government secrecy — this week, the White House changed the rules to give lobbyists even more access to committees set up by the USTR, while ensuring they remain almost entirely impenetrable to the public. Our first editor's choice for insightful goes to Lonyo for turning around the free speech argument that so often accompanies the accommodation of lobbyists:

Ask to be on the committee. If they say no, then sue over your right to free speech.

For our second editor's choice, we head to our post about Intellectual Ventures looking to sue wind power producers. Given the infamous troll's history, Josh in CharlotteNC suggested taking a closer look at the patents in question:

Prior art from somewhere between 1900 years ago to as much as 3800 years ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windmill

Okay, on to the first place for funny, and back to the NSA. After Ed Snowden commented on his own surprise at the agency's inability to track all the clues he knows he left for them and figure out what he took, Violynne realized they might be forgetting about an extremely useful and informative source of information:

Here's a pro-tip to the NSA: look at the file's metadata.

Next, we've got another anonymous commenter, this time with a response to the recording industry executive who claimed that blocking sites he doesn't like isn't censorship:

I'm strongly against censorship and anyone who says otherwise should have their comments removed from the internet.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we head to our post about the NYPD wildly overreacting to a parody tweet and a prank, even suggesting the whole thing could have somehow been a dry-run for an attack. One anonymous commenter perfectly summed up how silly the whole thing was:

This time it was a parody tweet, next time it could be a TERRORIST THREAT!

Finally, we've got a comment from Michael musing on the future of filters and search algorithms online:

Dear Google,

My name is Missouri Ferguson. Recently, I have noticed a lot of links appearing relating to my name (well, my last name a comma and my first name) and these links appear to be very negative.

Since I am an EU citizen, I would like to invoke my right to be forgotten and have you suppress all of these links from your search results.

Thank you.

That's all for this week, folks!

Reader Comments

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 18 Aug 2014 @ 6:36am

    Ask to be on the committee. If they say no, then sue over your right to free speech.

    They will tell the courts it's too complex for mere peasants to grasp and it'll be left at that. Sadly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DNY, 18 Aug 2014 @ 7:21am

    Looking in the wrong haystack

    Plainly the NSA's scooping up of all sorts of data (meta and otherwise) about communications within the United States is not only a violation of Americans civil liberties and offensive as a war measure (signals intelligence) applied to the citizenry of the country purportedly being served -- tyrants conduct war against their own citizens -- but counterproductive in terms of its announced purpose of combating terrorism.

    Perhaps the NSA should go back to actually conducting signals intelligence against the foreign enemies of the United States (and maybe, just maybe helping the FBI with surveillance of people against whom an ordinary warrant could be obtained). Doing so would plainly preserve Americans' traditional civil liberties better than the current regime, and arguably might be more helpful in fighting terrorism.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Roger Barr, 18 Aug 2014 @ 12:31pm

    Tech in the Ukraine

    Maybe you guys could bring some tech insight to the Ukraine situation. Russia has apparently released a lot of tech data proving to them that the Ukraine pulled the trigger on MH17. The US, Ukraine and its allies have released a lot of allegations with not much data that Russia pulled the trigger. Who is right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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