pervasive surveillance advocates and critics often argue over actual instances of terrorism stopped in terms of cases. This is unhelpful. The effectiveness of surveillance is in increasing the coordination and communication costs of complex organizations. It is no coincidence that we haven't seen a 9/11 style plot. Coordination the actions of multiple groups, international travel, money transfers, and timing require a lot of communication. Knowledge that you are potentially under such surveillance means that terrorists either devote more resources to security, or choose lesser attacks. This is a different kind of cost benefit analysis but one with which the DoD is well acquainted.
I have to disagree with many of the commenters here. The Economist is selling a valuable product but are not ignoring the Internet at all. They simply have a different strategy.
"So we sell the antidote to information overload — we sell a finite, finishable, very tightly curated bundle of content." -Tom Standage
Absolutely. The Economist is under no illusion that people won't go elsewhere.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the magazine, it does not publish under author names, it is organized into a series of well defined sections with well researched, well sourced, cogent writing. It does have a point of view but takes pains to present other points of view.
It takes a solid 3 hours (for me) of focused reading to get through a weekly edition. It's dense.
As a curated news source, I'm quite happy with it and have subscribed for many years. One big reason is that it inspires me to look outside many of the news sources I generally go to online. While half of the stories in a regional section "Asia" or "The Americas" might have hit my news feed, the other half probably have not but that makes them no less news worthy. It's not a dead end, but rather a road map pointing out sights I might have missed.
The Economist's practice of avoiding links is good. While linking can be helpful in terms of convenience (speed), searching for information yourself is thinking critically.
Reading it weekly is a useful exercise in thinking globally.
I agree that the Snowden revelations have changed the calculus. However, it remains to be seen how much the status quo has changed. There is a long history of pro-privacy services going bankrupt.
I disagree with the developing world/disenfranchised classes argument. Mobile banking (such as M-Pesa) is light years ahead in Africa and spreading into Asia. Moreover cultural privacy norms are different making the privacy advantage of cryptocurrency questionable. Cryptocurrency's best bet is to make itself (and its UI) look and feel just like any other currency rather than different for broad user adoption. Ideally, users should know that they are using cryptocurrency, but it shouldn't feel any different than using a credit card or e-payment.
Currency/money is about trust. That's why we still have people who think gold is special. It's intrinsic (industrial) value has little to do with its market price.
The bitcoin technology is fantastic and works, it still needs adopters while competing with traditional currency systems. National currencies are implicitly/explicitly backed by states or groups of states. Bitcoin is still an innovator's technology. Most people don't particularly see great value in impossible to trace transactions. On the other hand, lots of state foes do. The rhetoric is predictable.
Bitcoin will get better. The question is whether people beyond innovators and early adopters who place a high value on privacy are enough to drive adoption. Privacy has yet to be a successful baseline selling point.
I think this is less about innovation and more about monopoly. Bitcoin at its heart challenges currency and banks are the powerful gatekeepers of capital. Financial institutions have no interest in decentralized financial power and will lobby furiously to protect their position. This is not unlike the battle between uber and traditional taxi services except the stakes are much higher. Beyond the banks are governments which at some point will feel threatened by the potential loss of control over macroeconomic policy posed by bitcoin.
Clapper doesn't want to say that government programs use statistics to make is expensive and difficult for large conspiracies to succeed but do not defend against individual actors and uncoordinated groups. (See link)
This is why Fox so strongly and publicly retracted their story. Someone in their international legal department realized that they were potentially on the hook for a sizable libel or defamation legal action. The rules in Europe are different and it would be very bad for Fox's public image to be successfully prosecuted.
I disagree. It's not glib. It reflects an engineering mindset applied to statistical analysis. The NSA uses large statistical models to identify potential threats with a degree of liklihood. Association with a likely terrorist raises an individual's own liklihood.
History supports the NSA contention. Known examples of US economic espionage address issues such as foreign bribery. The NSA discovers illegal behavior by a foreign corporation in negotiations and then provides that information to US diplomatic personnel who reveal this knowledge to the contracting entity to compel them to take action to address the misconduct. The USTR may be a consumer of intelligence for good reason if the treaty addresses misconduct and the USTR wants to know to what degree it is occurring.
I've been thinking about this a lot recently and I think there may be a legitimate rationale. Draconian copyright laws are a brake on innovation. Continuous improvements in communication technology have catalyzed the acceleration of social and technological change. Most established entities (states & corporations) prefer the status quo over significant change, unless they have knowledge or control over the effect of a change. Given the fluidity of change right now, knowledge and control are hard to come by. Therefore, such entities support the status quo and draconian IP protections.
Essentially, change is scary and scarier for those with a lot to lose.
This brings us to legitimacy which is sort of in the eye of the beholder. We all know people who embrace change and reject change. Slowing down change may be good or bad depending on the point of view.
Completely missing the point people. Wikileaks contains still classified material. Yes I know that sounds silly but its true. People with security clearances such as General Alexander can and do lose their security clearances (it's a prosecutable crime) for reading classified material above their clearance. General Alexander probably has nothing to worry about...then again...
I'm pretty sure legally they can't because if they did they _would_ violate the law. As I understand it, the NSA gathers email (without looking at the content) and then conducts statistical tests on the legally unprotected metadata seeking to find suspiscious patterns of behaviour/network characteristics. It then takes those findings to the FISA court which issues warrants to allow them to look at the content of those emails. Citizenship is not reliably ascertained from metadata but from content. Therefore the NSA literally doesn't know how many Americans' emails it has collected and to ascertain that number it would have to violate individual privacy rights by viewing the content without a warrant.