Snowden says 'Not all spying is bad,' out-dated laws keep him in exile

By on January 24, 2014, 12:45 PM
edward snowden, snowden, exile, qa, privacy and civil liberties oversight board, not all spying bad, pclob

Whistleblower Edward Snowden took around 13 questions from Twitter users during yesterday's Q&A period. During the session Snowden discussed a number of things ranging from stuff like the reason he chose to leak information, his thoughts on how the public should move forward now that this information is so out in the open, his future plans, and how "not all spying is bad."

"I think a person should be able to dial a number, make a purchase, send an SMS, write an e-mail, or visit a Web site without having to think about what it's going to look like on their permanent record," said Snowden during yesterday's session.

On the same day the Q&A took place the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board presented what some consider to be an unprecedented report putting NSA spying under fire once again. As Snowden made note of in yesterday's session, the PCLOB said the group is "aware of no instance in which the program directly contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown terrorist plot or the disruption of a terrorist attack.” Snowden, agreeing with the PCLOB, said the "fact that these records are gathered without the government having any reasonable suspicion or probable cause justifying the seizure of data is so divorced from the domain of reason as to be incapable of ever being made lawful at all."

Snowden also wrote in his comments yesterday that he felt there was no good reason for the US intelligence community to conduct mass dragnet tactics like this on millions of American citizens. "The NSA and the rest of the US Intelligence Community is exceptionally well positioned to meet our intelligence requirements through targeted surveillance -- the same way we've always done it -- without resorting to the mass surveillance of entire populations," the former NSA contractor wrote.

He continued by saying that "Intelligence agencies do have a role to play…and the people at the working level at the NSA, CIA, or any other member of the [Intelligence Community] are not out to get you. They're good people trying to do the right thing, and I can tell you from personal experience that they were worried about the same things I was."

"Not all spying is bad," Snowden said. "The biggest problem we face right now is the new technique of indiscriminate mass surveillance, where governments are seizing billions and billions and billions of innocents' communication every single day. This is done not because it's necessary." He continued by saying that this kind of activity is "unprecedented in US history," and were in response "to a threat that kills fewer Americans every year than bathtub falls and police officers -- but because new technologies make it easy and cheap."

Snowden first hit Hong Kong and then Russia once his story made headlines, but his asylum there will end soon. In response to questions regarding what he will do next, Snowden feels that returning to the US is in everyone's best interest but that a move of this kind is impossible under current conditions. Here's what he had to say on the matter:

"Returning to the US, I think, is the best resolution for the government, the public, and myself, but it’s unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistleblower protection laws, which through a failure in law did not cover national security contractors like myself.

The hundred-year old law under which I’ve been charged, which was never intended to be used against people working in the public interest, and forbids a public interest defense. This is especially frustrating, because it means there’s no chance to have a fair trial, and no way I can come home and make my case to a jury."

Snowden hopes that pushes from the PCLOB and others will bring Congress together to reform the Whistleblower Protection Act, allowing him and other Americans in the future a chance at a fair trial "no matter who they work for."

(Image via The Guardian)




User Comments: 33

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MilwaukeeMike said:

Snowden, agreeing with the PCLOB, said the "fact that these records are gathered without the government having any reasonable suspicion or probable cause justifying the seizure of data is so divorced from the domain of reason as to be incapable of ever being made lawful at all."

Hey, Ed, every security camera in the world records data without 'any reasonable suspicion or probable cause.' Is that 'divorced from the domain of reason' (wow he sounds smart!) or is it just how it works when you record stuff?

He continued by saying that this kind of activity is "unprecedented in US history," and were in response "to a threat that kills fewer Americans every year than bathtub falls and police officers -- but because new technologies make it easy and cheap."

I think this was the same logic they used when they decided not to fix the levees in New Orleans in the years before Hurricane Katrina. 'Hardly anyone dies in floods in a year.... why should we fix the levees, right?' I think California should stop making buildings earthquake proof... after all, more people died last year from falling bathtubs, right?

I'm so sick of this guy....

1 person liked this | lipe123 said:

Snowden, agreeing with the PCLOB, said the "fact that these records are gathered without the government having any reasonable suspicion or probable cause justifying the seizure of data is so divorced from the domain of reason as to be incapable of ever being made lawful at all."

Hey, Ed, every security camera in the world records data without 'any reasonable suspicion or probable cause.' Is that 'divorced from the domain of reason' (wow he sounds smart!) or is it just how it works when you record stuff?

He continued by saying that this kind of activity is "unprecedented in US history," and were in response "to a threat that kills fewer Americans every year than bathtub falls and police officers -- but because new technologies make it easy and cheap."

I think this was the same logic they used when they decided not to fix the levees in New Orleans in the years before Hurricane Katrina. 'Hardly anyone dies in floods in a year.... why should we fix the levees, right?' I think California should stop making buildings earthquake proof... after all, more people died last year from falling bathtubs, right?

I'm so sick of this guy....

Security cameras are in public, I'm pretty sure if I came and installed one watching you on the computer in your own home you'd feel fairly strong about the idea as well. That is exactly what the government has been doing.

As for your comment on natural disasters, I can't help but feel insulted for the people that's been affected by those. Comparing the threat of terrorism to a natural disaster is just plain wrong.

Since 9/11 there hasn't been any credible threats that anyone knows of other than the Boston marathon bombings. Which brings us to the next big question, what was the point of all that surveillance if it couldn't even prevent the Boston bombing thing.

Those guys were already on watch lists and if more attention was focused to where it was needed instead of everywhere at once...

MilwaukeeMike said:

"Returning to the US, I think, is the best resolution for the government, the public, and myself, but it's unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistleblower protection laws, which through a failure in law did not cover national security contractors like myself.

That's because he's not a whistleblower. No matter how many times he says he is, or the media calls him one, he isn't. Whistleblowers are, from wikipedia "a person who exposes misconduct, alleged dishonest or illegal activity occurring in an organization." Until a judge rules that what the NSA has been doing is illegal, he's not a whistleblower and he won't be protected by those laws. 'Misconduct' is also something that isn't up to a single person to decide, even though it's sorta common sense in this case.

The hundred-year old law under which I've been charged, which was never intended to be used against people working in the public interest, and forbids a public interest defense.

Yeah, Ed, that's because individual people don't get to decide what's in the public interest. it's why we have elections.

Guest said:

I think this was the same logic they used when they decided not to fix the levees in New Orleans in the years before Hurricane Katrina. 'Hardly anyone dies in floods in a year.... why should we fix the levees, right?' I think California should stop making buildings earthquake proof... after all, more people died last year from falling bathtubs, right?

You really don't get the concept of the people in the power (aka goverment) knowing everything from everyone, how much time do you guess a political system based on a democracy (even the "100% perfect" like the one in the usa) can take that kind of spying without suffering any concecuences?

Just imagine this kind of spying in a dictatorship, everyone in the usa would be very sad about a country with that kind of spying....... my point is just that there is no perfect democracy than can take this kind of power.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Security cameras are in public, I'm pretty sure if I came and installed one watching you on the computer in your own home you'd feel fairly strong about the idea as well. That is exactly what the government has been doing.

As for your comment on natural disasters, I can't help but feel insulted for the people that's been affected by those. Comparing the threat of terrorism to a natural disaster is just plain wrong.

Since 9/11 there hasn't been any credible threats that anyone knows of other than the Boston marathon bombings. Which brings us to the next big question, what was the point of all that surveillance if it couldn't even prevent the Boston bombing thing.

Those guys were already on watch lists and if more attention was focused to where it was needed instead of everywhere at once...

yes, but installing a camera in my home would be an invasion of privacy. As is what the NSA is doing. But Snowden's argument against spying isn't that it's an invasion of privacy, he says it's wrong because there's no suspicion of wrongdoing. Having no suspicion of wrongdoing hasn't stopped surveillance in the past, why would it now? He should be talking about privacy. He's right, but for the wrong reasons. I wonder if he even realizes that.

I compared terrorism to natural disasters because they have similar probabilities, and both are rare and terrible events affecting many people. Snowden compared terrorism to falling out of the bathtub, and you're offended by my analogy?

Don't assume I'm ok with the spying, I'm not. But Snowden is looking more and more like the patsy who was following someone's orders. Either he's not very smart, or thinks we're not very smart.

Guest said:

At least one Federal Judge has ruled this data collection is unconstitutional, it's being appealed of course but a judge has said it's illegal.

Guest said:

We US citizens have to remember how this all came about, An overreaction to 9/11. Collectively through congressional representation we said "Don't let it happen again". Now we have to decide through congress or the courts, how much privacy we are willing to give up for the sake of security.

I also believe we have to regulate how much data is collected by commercial interests like Google, Facebook, etc.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Until a judge rules that what the NSA has been doing is illegal, he's not a whistleblower and he won't be protected by those laws. 'Misconduct' is also something that isn't up to a single person to decide, even though it's sorta common sense in this case.
Chicken or the egg?

As long as details remain hidden from the people, the judges will never have the opportunity to deem anything illegal. And the reasoning you are using to label this as not illegal is twisted governmental propaganda. That is what congress wants you to believe. It is not the judge who needs to deem it illegal, it is the people who need to deem it illegal. After all the judge is a single person who represents the peoples best interest by representing the majority. The peoples best interest is not being heard, when people like Snowden are not allowed to tell us the facts. How can we rule what is illegal and what is not, if we don't see the picture?

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

Chicken or the egg?

As long as details remain hidden from the people, the judges will never have the opportunity to deem anything illegal. And the reasoning you are using to label this as not illegal is twisted governmental propaganda. That is what congress wants you to believe. It is not the judge who needs to deem it illegal, it is the people who need to deem it illegal. After all the judge is a single person who represents the peoples best interest by representing the majority. The peoples best interest is not being heard, when people like Snowden are not allowed to tell us the facts. How can we rule what is illegal and what is not, if we don't see the picture?

I didn't say the spying isn't illegal, I said that when it comes to legality, only the opinion of a judge matters. That's why we have judges, to interpret the law. A judge does NOT represent the majority, a judge interprets the law. that's it, if the majority wants a law changed it needs to go through legislation via congress etc.

I'm not expressing opinions or reasoning. This is how it works.

Point is kinda moot now anyway, I think the guest above is right. A judge did call it illegal. That means the NSA will appeal and another ruling will be made. If it ends up that the NSA is in the wrong, then maybe Ed will be protected by Whistleblower laws. That's irrelevant too... Russia isn't going to let go of such a good intelligence source.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

A judge does NOT represent the majority, a judge interprets the law. that's it, if the majority wants a law changed it needs to go through legislation via congress etc.
That is my point, how would we know what needs to be changed? That is when everything is hidden from us.

2 people like this | MilwaukeeMike said:

That is my point, how would we know what needs to be changed? That is when everything is hidden from us.

Yeah, you're right. but that raises another question. If you don't know your rights are being violated, are they being violated? it's way to late on a Friday for philosophy, so I'll just cross my fingers a judge tells the NSA to turn off the microphones for now.

dms96960 said:

Snowden, agreeing with the PCLOB, said the "fact that these records are gathered without the government having any reasonable suspicion or probable cause justifying the seizure of data is so divorced from the domain of reason as to be incapable of ever being made lawful at all."

Hey, Ed, every security camera in the world records data without 'any reasonable suspicion or probable cause.' Is that 'divorced from the domain of reason' (wow he sounds smart!) or is it just how it works when you record stuff?

He continued by saying that this kind of activity is "unprecedented in US history," and were in response "to a threat that kills fewer Americans every year than bathtub falls and police officers -- but because new technologies make it easy and cheap."

I think this was the same logic they used when they decided not to fix the levees in New Orleans in the years before Hurricane Katrina. 'Hardly anyone dies in floods in a year.... why should we fix the levees, right?' I think California should stop making buildings earthquake proof... after all, more people died last year from falling bathtubs, right?

I'm so sick of this guy....

Mike, I find that I almost always agree with the positions you take on this site on various matters. However, I completely disagree with your position on Snowden. I just don't understand it.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Whether Edward Snowden is a traitor, theif, spook, or whistle blower, I think is a moot point. I don't think you get to defect to Russia, and then tell us how we need to enact special legislation to invite you back. This douche isn't Pompeii returning to Rome. There won't be a parade.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Taking isolated points. The point is the surveillance is abuse of power. It is taking knowledge on innocent people and that knowledge can be abused.

Just look at email spying on Brazilian oil companies. That is corporate espionage. There are thousands of similar examples.

What about the holes they have introduced to millions of internet devices? It's not like others haven't found those holes.

The NSA spying is a disaster for freedom and the internet.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

So the moral of the story is boys and girls, "two wrongs still don't make a right, but they do cause an international incident".

MilwaukeeMike said:

Mike, I find that I almost always agree with the positions you take on this site on various matters. However, I completely disagree with your position on Snowden. I just don't understand it.

This issue isn't black and white. I think both the govt and Snowden are in the wrong.

Yes, the NSA shouldn't be spying on us. I think our govt is getting too big and starting to push back on people with other political beliefs. The IRS Scandal being the biggest one, and I don't think our govt needs another tool to tempt any oppression. There are other examples too.

But none of that means Snowden gets to reveal national secrets and not be prosecuted. Who is Snowden to decide what's in the country's best interest? Believing you are in the right is not an excuse to break the law.

Part of me wants to admire this guy, but he comes out and says stuff like the spying is over the top because 'terrorism kills fewer people than bathtub falls every year.' If we made laws based on annual mortality numbers, we'd legalize pot and outlaw SALT. He's the posterboy for issues he doesn't even seem to understand. I'm waiting for him to admit he had help and/or was convinced by someone to do this.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

But none of that means Snowden gets to reveal national secrets and not be prosecuted. Who is Snowden to decide what's in the country's best interest? Believing you are in the right is not an excuse to break the law.
People have rights until they loose them over some illegal act. Whether that act was intentional or not is irrelevant. The picture is black and white. You either have rights or you don't. I don't see treating the governing body any differently. They either act accordingly to maintain their right or risk loosing their rights. Besides it is not as if Snowden is running around killing them all. He brought us information so that we could make an informed decision.

At this point I don't care about the information. I want to know why the government didn't want us to know. I'd be willing to bet, they knew it would be deemed as an act of illegal nature. Half of what they do would probably be seen this way. Why else would they call it treason if documents were to be released?

They are pissed at Snowden, plain and simply. They couldn't contain the situation and throw him behind bars, because he ran. Being angry and discontent with his flee, they tag the term traitor to his name. This is a term he was issued before he ever went to Russia. So if Russia ever lets him go or not is irrelevant to Snowden being classified as a traitor. Besides if Snowden was a traitor he likely wouldn't have made it to Russia as that was his second stop. Snowden was labeled a traitor before he found safe harbor. That invalidates the labeling as it was awarded before proven. Ohh wait, I'm still waiting on the proven part. I'm also still waiting on someone to prove how Snowden endangered all our lives. That is after all the main reason for awarding the label is it not?

MilwaukeeMike said:

At this point I don't care about the information. I want to know why the government didn't want us to know. I'd be willing to bet, they knew it would be deemed as an act of illegal nature. Half of what they do would probably be seen this way. Why else would they call it treason if documents were to be released?

You want to know why they didn't want us to know? It's because a) they knew we'd have reacted this way, and b) it gives away their strategies so the bad guys can avoid them. Now, the bad guys avoid them anyway, so that's not very relevant.

The govt will lie to us because they think we're too dumb to decide for ourselves what's good for us. This is why Obama lied about 'You like your plan, you can keep it. Period.' Back when Clinton tried healthcare reform they knew the only way to pay for it was to force people off their current plans and they made that known. Those reforms died in the drawing room because they knew it would never pass. This time around they knew enough to lie about keeping your plan in order to get it passed. Better to beg for forgiveness after all....

So in the case of heathcare and spying we are mad at the govt for deciding for us what's good for us. But Snowden is doing the same thing. He is also deciding what's good for us without asking us first. That's why I think they're both in the wrong.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

You want to know why they didn't want us to know? It's because a) they knew we'd have reacted this way, and b) it gives away their strategies so the bad guys can avoid them. Now, the bad guys avoid them anyway, so that's not very relevant.

The govt will lie to us because they think we're too dumb to decide for ourselves what's good for us. This is why Obama lied about 'You like your plan, you can keep it. Period.' Back when Clinton tried healthcare reform they knew the only way to pay for it was to force people off their current plans and they made that known. Those reforms died in the drawing room because they knew it would never pass. This time around they knew enough to lie about keeping your plan in order to get it passed. Better to beg for forgiveness after all....

So in the case of heathcare and spying we are mad at the govt for deciding for us what's good for us. But Snowden is doing the same thing. He is also deciding what's good for us without asking us first. That's why I think they're both in the wrong.

You're also wrong. It should be apparent to all concerned, it's not Eric Snowden, or, the US Government's job to decide what's right for us. It's @cliffordcooley 's.

Well that, and the fact if you read the context of any Snowden press release, you'd think he's been elected president of the US.

Personally, it sounds to me like he's discovered the grass really isn't greener in Siberia, and he won't be getting any security consulting jobs from Vladimir Putin. So, what have we learned? Life's a b**ch, when the only skills you have are pilfering documents from, and gossiping about, your former employer.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

He is also deciding what's good for us without asking us first. That's why I think they're both in the wrong.
Right! The citizen that was willing to throw their American rights away, so that we would learn the true. You know! Sometimes I think you are jealous, you were not man enough or at least had the opportunity to do so yourself. Tell me; if you had the exact same opportunity, when or how would you have made the documents known to everyone? Would you have been a good little solder and obeyed your oath to secrecy?

Has anyone ever considered the idea, Snowden may have wanted to wiki-leak the documents? Things could have went sideways, if his identity was revealed during the process of obtaining the documents. Keep throwing stones at Snowden, instead of taking advantage of what he has revealed. When the documents speak for themselves, at least you can't say he is lying. Which is something that would have been done, if there were no documents.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

,Prima facia, it seems that Soviet intelligence has milked Snowden dry, and now he's whimpering to come home.

Mr. Snowden is absolutely delusional if he was under the impression the Russian government took him in out of the goodness of its cold, black, heart.

"Glasnost", is dead. It probably was at least partly fictional in the first place.

But then, nobody stole any Russian intelligence and gave it to us, so that's simple conjecture on my part....:oops:

Guest said:

Before the second world war the Dutch councils and government collected data about Dutch citizens. Information like birthday, sex, religion, profession, addresses etc were manually stored by the councils in well organized manual cards systems. The Dutch government had no intention of abusing this information and nobody raised the practice as unacceptable. When the Germans invaded they were happily surprised to find how easy it was to identify where Jews lived... Your current Government may have the best intentions with the data collection however one never knows what is around the corner.

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Before the second world war the Dutch councils and government collected data about Dutch citizens. Information like birthday, sex, religion, profession, addresses etc were manually stored by the councils in well organized manual cards systems. The Dutch government had no intention of abusing this information and nobody raised the practice as unacceptable. When the Germans invaded they were happily surprised to find how easy it was to identify where Jews lived... Your current Government may have the best intentions with the data collection however one never knows what is around the corner.
Yeah, who knows what World War Three may be like......:eek: Perhaps Muslims and Christians will slaughter each other over religious beliefs. Oh wait, that was done to death, (pun intended), during the crusades.

I appreciate that, "history ignored is destined to repeat itself". However, people could simply shut their yaps once in a while, and post less of their personal problems, political beliefs, and manifestos on "Facebook".

All things being considered, a lot of the surveillance being done is pointless, as well as yielding worthless results. At some point, the outrage should shift to amount of tax dollars being wasted on it.

And with that said, you can't determine which information is wasted tax dollars, until you gather it. Now there's the real conundrum.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Right! The citizen that was willing to throw their American rights away, so that we would learn the true. You know! Sometimes I think you are jealous, you were not man enough or at least had the opportunity to do so yourself. Tell me; if you had the exact same opportunity, when or how would you have made the documents known to everyone? Would you have been a good little solder and obeyed your oath to secrecy?

I would never have done what he did. I wonder if the choices I make for my own kid are the right things, I would never be so sure of myself as to make a decision that might affect the entire country. Would you?

Who knows, maybe Snowden has a crystal ball and he can see every future consequence of his actions. He sure acts like it.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I would never be so sure of myself as to make a decision that might affect the entire country. Would you?
They are not effects, they are counter effects to a government misusing its power. By your reasoning, no one would be able to fight for what they believe in, unless it was first approved by the government. You may not be so sure of yourself, but apparently Obama is. Snowden's goal was to bring evidence to our attention, not control our thoughts or bring harm to any of us.

And yes I would, if I felt everyone needed to know.

MilwaukeeMike said:

You may not be so sure of yourself, but apparently Obama is.

True that, and I'm not happy about that either.

Guest said:

I'm sure that mole on Snowden's neck keeps getting bigger and more cancerous. Oh wait, it's his head.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I'm sure that mole on Snowden's neck keeps getting bigger and more cancerous. Oh wait, it's his head.
I guess since there is no consensus to be reached about the right or wrong of Snowden's actions to be reached, juvenile insults do seem to be a logical recourse. (Well, I was being polite with that approach). What I really meant to say was, "that's really what this thread needed, some idi0t (*) posting as a guest to come in and act like a petulant 12 year old, without any worthwhile input, or for that matter, a discernible sense of humor".

Moving on, this whole affair seems to have Mr. Snowden wrongly convinced he's an international celebrity, a self proclaimed conquering hero. And it is getting tedious. I don't think anything comes out of his mouth, that isn't predicated on his changing circumstances, (predicament might be a more appropriate term), and patently transparent, self serving ulterior motivations.

(*) Now look what you've done, Ive resorted to name calling too....:oops:

Capaill said:

I'm sure he knows full well his time in Russia is coming to a close and he needs to keep people talking about the issues, if he is to have any hope of getting to another country afterwards, rather than ending up in an NSA-approved hole in the ground for the rest of his life.

Guest said:

You want to know why they didn't want us to know? It's because a) they knew we'd have reacted this way, and b) it gives away their strategies so the bad guys can avoid them. Now, the bad guys avoid them anyway, so that's not very relevant.

The govt will lie to us because they think we're too dumb to decide for ourselves what's good for us. This is why Obama lied about 'You like your plan, you can keep it. Period.' Back when Clinton tried healthcare reform they knew the only way to pay for it was to force people off their current plans and they made that known. Those reforms died in the drawing room because they knew it would never pass. This time around they knew enough to lie about keeping your plan in order to get it passed. Better to beg for forgiveness after all....

So in the case of heathcare and spying we are mad at the govt for deciding for us what's good for us. But Snowden is doing the same thing. He is also deciding what's good for us without asking us first. That's why I think they're both in the wrong.

Mike,

Stop defending NSA and US governments tactics. these are not changed since WWI. Today secret data mining and spying programs no difference than Lenin's 1917 Bolsheviks.

When you mention Obama lied about and Clinton (I am assuming you are the one agent work for the government and here to manipulate public opinion ) I remember Bush lied all world with false intelligence WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION have gone Iraq be involved to killed1.5 million innocent people and over 5000 of our servicemen. What happened to CIA director?

We learned our government warrior of the freedom, human rights, personal liberties did tortured and killed people in Abu Ghraib prison. we learned under go pills us pilots killed 11 Iraq civilians and who helped to us know these crimes we put Bradley Manning to next 30 years to prison Wikileaks Julian Assange is living in consulate prison almost a year.

At this point this track record is not giving me completely confidence and trust because I know right now they are processing my IP address.

please get real

Guest said:

"I appreciate that, "history ignored is destined to repeat itself". However, people could simply shut their yaps once in a while, and post less of their personal problems, political beliefs, and manifestos on "Facebook".

if only that was the only information the NSA has. But as far as social networking alone goes you have a point.

"All things being considered, a lot of the surveillance being done is pointless, as well as yielding worthless results. At some point, the outrage should shift to amount of tax dollars being wasted on it."

Actually, many of these NSA programs ran right through the recession. Even increased if I'm not mistaken.

"And with that said, you can't determine which information is wasted tax dollars, until you gather it. Now there's the real conundrum."

If it's something most people become aware of and oppose, it's probably wasted tax dollars. To have ONE entity have all that information, ONE entity to have all that knowledge, ONE ring to rule them.... sorry. But seriously there's no reason the NSA should NEED all this information. It's too much of a temptation especially for someone who might know how to take it without asking like snowden, but worse. Seeing as this isn't technically illegal yet you have to admit it would be hard to get public attention on the matter when you'll just get tried and labeled as a traitor instead. Especially when the government hides this from the public in the first place. We shouldn't need a controversial person like Snowden to expose something like this anyways....

There's no reason the government should have this level of information on so much. It can easily become more of a liability than anything and snowden is proving that.

I sure hope the NSA is better protected in cyber world than the FBI.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

if only that was the only information the NSA has. But as far as social networking alone goes you have a point.
It is not the data that they have collected, they don't want getting out. It is the immoral methods they use to collect data, they don't want getting out. They don't want us to know how sick, they have become.

People stand behind legality, with disregard for morality, which returns personal prosperity, all made possible by the masses lack of equality. It is a problem that has always been and always will be, because the guy at the top wants to set themselves apart from the rest. And as much as no one wants to admit, it is also that way at the bottom.

Guest said:

"It is not the data that they have collected, they don't want getting out. It is the immoral methods they use to collect data, they don't want getting out. They don't want us to know how sick, they have become."

I agree and disagree. I think most people are upset because nearly, if not all, their data is going to one place. For example, it's well known cell phone companies as well as online companies such as apple and google track certain information and sell it to advertisers (or used to). However, it was cell phone companies tracking cell phone data. Google selling overall statistical data over mainly their searches. Specific companies tracking specific data for their own specific purposes.

Now take what google does with websites, take out websites, and add people. But instead of a cache you have your own entire internet story written out (hopefully not in plain text!). But without all the (at least public) mass marketing behind so much data. Now all the NSA needs is a savvy hacker willing to take some risk to take whatever he/she pleases. It couldn't be better. All that info in one convenient place....

If only I knew how to hack.

"It is not the data that they have collected, they don't want getting out."

The problem is that there is already a risk. Snowden has proven that.

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