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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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 12:07pm

    And THAT is what YOU are voting for!!!

    you are culpable for the policy and actions of those you elect.

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

    • identicon
      I.T. Guy, 13 Oct 2016 @ 12:13pm

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

      Solutions or STFU.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 12:37pm

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

        Stein and Johnson are both harsh critics and opponents of mass surveillance. Voting for Trump or Clinton is saying surveillance is not a top issue for you, which is fine to argue.

        Just don't complain about the future you voted for.

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

        • identicon
          I.T. Guy, 13 Oct 2016 @ 1:10pm

          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.

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

          • icon
            art guerrilla (profile), 13 Oct 2016 @ 1:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 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...

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

            • icon
              Wyrm (profile), 13 Oct 2016 @ 7:17pm

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

              Great, you've got your three wishes ready.
              Now, where is the genie to fulfill those wishes?

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

              • identicon
                Wendy Cockcroft, 17 Oct 2016 @ 5:06am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

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

          • icon
            Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Oct 2016 @ 2:05pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

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

            • icon
              art guerrilla (profile), 14 Oct 2016 @ 5:50am

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

              oh, another thing: media has to DONATE free air time to all candidates, AND shorten election cycles, AND make THE most important day in a small-dee democracy be a national holiday...

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

            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 17 Oct 2016 @ 5:08am

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

              @ Anonymous Anonymous Coward, politicians tend to caucus even when they're in different parties, so you'll never get rid of the practice of forming parties, just the name you give to the act of banding together to agree on policy.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 4:01pm

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

            They both suck bawls too!

            I sort of like Johnson but I have ZERO respect for any bastard okay with the TPP. Johnson is just a little johnson. He can be 3rd party as he wants but someone has him paid off, so screw that guy!

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

        • icon
          James Burkhardt (profile), 13 Oct 2016 @ 1:13pm

          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.

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

          • icon
            art guerrilla (profile), 13 Oct 2016 @ 1:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 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...

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 1:16pm

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

          Problem with a symbolic vote for either of them is that the purpose of the vote will not get across to the people who did win. It's a fairly meaningless symbolic vote to make to object to Mass Surveillance.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 1:57pm

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

            >fairly meaningless

            When the alternative is voting for it (and therefore condoning and consenting to it) maybe that's the best we can hope for.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 2:08pm

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

              A write-in vote seems more appropriate. At least then you put something witty that objects to Mass Surveillance.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 4:02pm

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

                Write in Snowden.

                He can't be president, but that would be just the message to send.

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

                • icon
                  Roger Strong (profile), 13 Oct 2016 @ 4:10pm

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

                  These days, don't most states refuse to even tally write-ins unless they're for an officially declared candidacy?

                  The days of seeing how many votes Mickey Mouse got are over.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2016 @ 12:16am

        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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 12:08pm

    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?

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 13 Oct 2016 @ 1:13pm

      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!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2016 @ 8:31pm

      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.

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

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 13 Oct 2016 @ 12:12pm

    "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.

    https://www.aclu.org/other/factsheet-nypd-muslim-surveillance-program

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

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 12:13pm

    because children

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 12:17pm

    Even a constitutional professor didn't care about the constitution

    Obama taught constitutional law and even he didn't appreciate and care for the constitution so there doesn't seem to be much hope these days of finding anyone who does. History is doomed to repeat itself.

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

    • identicon
      I.T. Guy, 13 Oct 2016 @ 12:22pm

      Re: Even a constitutional professor didn't care about the constitution

      He used the knowledge to get around the Constitution.

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

  • identicon
    Whoever, 13 Oct 2016 @ 12:38pm

    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.

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

    • icon
      beltorak (profile), 13 Oct 2016 @ 8:48pm

      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.

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

  • identicon
    David, 13 Oct 2016 @ 1:18pm

    Yeah, it's a bit sad

    Instead of a realistic voting option for getting America's shit cleaned up, the basic choice is between piling it on or letting it hit the fan, further paving the ground for the next megalomanic dictator waging war on the world or assuming the position.

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

  • identicon
    Mr Big Content, 13 Oct 2016 @ 2:14pm

    Donald Will Keep Us Safe From Terrorists, Crooked Hillary Will Infringe Our Privacy

    You know who too vote for!

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

    • identicon
      David, 13 Oct 2016 @ 2:24pm

      Re: Donald Will Keep Us Safe From Terrorists, Crooked Hillary Will Infringe Our Privacy

      Great impersonation of a propaganda regurgitating idiot. It would be funnier if the Americans did not have this habit of staying in character at the ballot boxes.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 2:27pm

        Re: Re: Donald Will Keep Us Safe From Terrorists, Crooked Hillary Will Infringe Our Privacy

        So which wars did Hillary end?

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

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 13 Oct 2016 @ 10:02pm

      Re: Donald Will Keep Us Safe From Terrorists, Crooked Hillary Will Infringe Our Privacy

      Keep dreaming, skin tube.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 2:22pm

    Hypocrits

    i love how TD attempts to hide their extreme left wing bias via tagging...yet reveals it at the same time.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 2:38pm

      Re: Hypocrits

      I'm confused. What left-wing bias was tagged in? Each of the tags used look objective and non-partisan to me.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 4:07pm

        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!

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 7:12pm

          Re: Re: Re: Hypocrits

          I do agree that occasionally writers here take the side of political correctness activists without attempting to verify whether those activists even vaguely represent the views of the group(s) they claim to represent, but that's more of an authority bias than a left-wing bias.

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

        • identicon
          David, 14 Oct 2016 @ 3:34am

          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.

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

          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 17 Oct 2016 @ 5:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2016 @ 8:42pm

    Unthinkable for whom I wonder.

    We already have concentration camps ie "FEMA detention centers" set up all over the country. That should be literally unthinkable, but yet it has been happening for close 15 years now.

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 13 Oct 2016 @ 8:52pm

      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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2016 @ 9:09am

    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

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2016 @ 2:02pm

    Without encryption people say goodbye to privacy, freedom and security.

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

  • identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 17 Oct 2016 @ 5:03am

    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.

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


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