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.

Filed Under: donald trump, mass surveillance, nsa, president obama, surveillance


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 9:51am

    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!

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

    • identicon
      I.T. Guy, 10 Nov 2016 @ 9:56am

      Re: Nail on the Head!

      Still no solutions huh AC?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 10:32am

        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?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 11:25am

          Re: Re: Re: Nail on the Head!

          You will find that most here refuse to do research on their own. I have even given them the search phrases to use and they still prefer to remain willfully ignorant. Ironic that they won't use technology to educate themselves considering this is a tech blog.

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

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 10 Nov 2016 @ 6:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 10 Nov 2016 @ 6:51pm

          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.

          Source

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

          • icon
            Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 11 Nov 2016 @ 7:13am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 11:01am

      Re: Nail on the Head!

      Frankly, I'd be just as afraid of what Hillary would have done too.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 11:16am

        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!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 1:11pm

        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.

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

    • icon
      Groaker (profile), 10 Nov 2016 @ 6:43pm

      Re: Nail on the Head!

      I seem to recall that AT&T has been selling mass data collection since 1987. Both parties have had more than 30 years to put an end to this practice, but they have only stimulated its growth.

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

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 10 Nov 2016 @ 9:54am

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 10:35am

      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.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 11:26am

        Re: Re:

        The first thing the turds did when Obama care was foisted on the peasants was vote themselves out of it. That should have been enough to tell people how bad that turd stunk. But no, they will cry like babies when it gets repealed.

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

      • identicon
        Monarch818, 10 Nov 2016 @ 4:02pm

        Re: Re:

        No, if he's serious about Term Limits, he will work with State Governors instead of Congress themselves. As 3/5 of the States can create and ratify a Constitutional Amendment to Congressional Term Limits.

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

  • icon
    beltorak (profile), 10 Nov 2016 @ 10:10am

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Dick Tracy, 10 Nov 2016 @ 10:17am

    No S... Dick Tracy

    So much for hope and change.

    So much for transparecy.

    So much for bye-bye Gitmo.

    Thanks for the $ grabbing cluster f.... called health care.

    Thanks for all the talk, talk, talk....

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 10:18am

    Obama doubled down on what Bush did. He would never shut it down since it would tarnish his already well tarnished legacy.

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

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 10 Nov 2016 @ 10:35am

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 10:43am

      Re:

      Post holds a fair bit of insight.

      To emphasis, the President does not control as much as people think they do.
      People are okay with Authoritarian power if they think it does not directly affect them.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 11:28am

        Re: Re:

        The President has the power of the pulpit and the only use of that pulpit this President did was to try to create a race war.

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

    • icon
      Eldakka (profile), 10 Nov 2016 @ 9:05pm

      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).

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

      • icon
        Eldakka (profile), 10 Nov 2016 @ 9:07pm

        Re: Re:

        OMG my spelling sucks and no way to edit it...

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

        • icon
          Bye Felicia! (profile), 11 Nov 2016 @ 12:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          This glorified blog has been a complete shit show for ten years now.

          How the fuck can you talk about technology and not have a fucking way to go back and edit your posts?!!?!?

          That's why I'm convinced this is an Army cointelpro operation. The NSA would have placed an edit option.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 10:59am

    Yeah... same ol' bullshit

    "We promise we'll only use this power for good!" - says every government ever

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 11:16am

    Obama trying to dismantle NSA surveillance would be a good symbolic move if nothing else.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 11:23am

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 12:19pm

      Re: Told you so!

      >Eventually a political party will get in power and have enough dirt on people to keep power.

      The real question is, will Trump control the spies, or will the spies control Trump and his cronies that he puts into office

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 12:04pm

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 12:25pm

      Re:

      He will just blame Bush!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 12:31pm

      Re:

      What good has he done? Drone strikes on citizens? Obamacare failing miserably as he goes out the door? Gitmo? 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?

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

      • icon
        Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 11 Nov 2016 @ 7:18am

        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.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 10 Nov 2016 @ 6:57pm

      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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 1:13pm

    Obama will not dismantle the NSA for the same reason he won't pardon Hillary. Both would admit that what was done was criminal.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 6:36pm

    Barack Obama is one of the worst presidents in the history of the United States.

    He expanded mass surveillance and did not shutdown Guantanamo.

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

  • icon
    Bye Felicia! (profile), 10 Nov 2016 @ 8:59pm

    LOLOLOLOLOL!

    Trump will need the system in order to drain the swamp of filthy lib garbage.

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

  • identicon
    Whatever, 10 Nov 2016 @ 9:00pm

    Yes! Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes YES!

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

  • identicon
    David, 11 Nov 2016 @ 12:46am

    In other news

    it's too late for the lion to return the fawn to its mother.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2016 @ 6:42am

    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
    .........

    ANYWAY

    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

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

    • identicon
      David, 12 Nov 2016 @ 12:07am

      Re:

      Oh come on, you cannot compare Trump to Hitler. Hitler did not campaign with tax breaks for the rich. And his Near East scare crows were Jews, not Muslims. Totally different platform.

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


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