from the surveillance,-surveillance-everywhere dept
The elephant in this week's news has been Edward Snowden. While he's been quiet since ditching Hong Kong early in the week, the effects of his leaking of evidence of the NSA's spying on American citizens continue to reverberate.
Rep. Mike Rogers, head of the House Intelligence Committee (insert joke here), has twisted himself into logical knots in his attempts to condemn Snowden. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the NSA's former General Counsel went further and laid into the Washington Post's Bart Gellman for reporting on the NSA. Disappointingly, other journalists are lining up to smear The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald over trivialities. It makes you wonder if the FBI's undercover payroll is limited to WikiLeaks.
Despite the flagrant attempt at distraction, details continue to emerge. We finally have confirmation that the NSA has been bulk collecting email metadata. The NSA's general response has been to lie about the message and double down on messengers.
Aside from being blatantly unconstitutional, sifting massive data collections is unlikely to catch actual terrorists. Even a former East German Stasi officer recognizes the problems with the NSA's nearly limitless scope.
Fortunately, it hasn't been all bad news this week. The US Senate, at least, may have been belatedly woken to its oversight duties. In something of a surprise, the FCC has insisted that Telcos protect meta-data, which could alter the 'expectation of privacy' that we are afforded to something closer to that which we expect. Is it too much to hope that the Department of Justice will follow its own guidelines not to treat leaks as theft of government property?
Elsewhere, the Marrakech treaty managed to provide for the blind despite heavy lobbying, which seems to debunk the USTR's insistance that secrecy is necessary for treaty negotiations. The Kafkaesque No Fly List seems to have met with a skeptical judge, while across the pond the EU CoJ AG weighed in against the Orwellian "right to be forgotten." Finally, those attempts to smear Glenn Greenwald mentioned above ran into instant Internet mockery. No doubt it's his fault.