<< Back to Off-topic Forum   Search

Posts 1 - 23 of 23   
The Day We Fight Back: 2/11/2014 02:17:06


ps 
Level 60
Report
The Day We Fight Back: 2/11/2014 02:27:53


UnlimitedLawlz
Level 54
Report
FOR SNOWDEN!!!!!!
The Day We Fight Back: 2/11/2014 07:22:31

6
Level 49
Report
This has been going on for a while, and will continue regardless of any findings or laws. Do you really think our allies weren't spying on us as well? During the Cold War, everyone bugged everyone. This is just an upgrade in technology. A bit sad, but privacy is pretty much dead.
The Day We Fight Back: 2/11/2014 09:33:02


professor dead piggy 
Level 59
Report
The "The Day We Fight Back" website urges webpage owners to add a banner to their websites directing people to contact legislators by phone and email.


Right idea; wrong methods. Let me explain.

An email to your legislators may result in a form letter response and a phone call to the office may amount to a tally mark on an administrative assistant's notepad.

But, if you want to get their attention, a letter to the editor published in one of your state's 5-10 biggest newspapers that mentions them specifically BY NAME is the way to go.

That is the crucial thing to know--the rest of this comment is an explanation of why I know this is true.

I know this because, when I interned in the D.C. office of a senator one summer, one of the duties I shared was preparing a document that was distributed internally both online and in paper format. This document was made every day and comprised world news articles, national news, state news, and any letters to the editor in the 5-10 largest newspapers within the senator's home state that mentioned him by name. I was often the person who put that document on his desk, and it was the first thing he read every morning after arriving to the office.

I began to suspect that this was standard operating procedure because several other senators' offices share the same printer in the basement of the Russell Senate Office building, and I saw other interns doing the exact same procedures that I was involved in.

Since the internship, I've conferred with other Senate and House employees past and present and determined that most--if not all--offices use essentially the same procedure.

I stole this from reddit =D

Edited 2/11/2014 09:33:43
The Day We Fight Back: 2/11/2014 13:55:53


Taishō 
Level 57
Report
Darnit Piggy and I thought you were cool for a moment there ;P
The Day We Fight Back: 2/11/2014 17:38:28

RvW 
Level 46
Report
Do you really think our allies weren't spying on us as well?

The way I see it, there are three distinct issues.

First of, the USA spying in other countries. You see, there's no good reason for that. If the NSA suspects a Dutchman, living in the Netherlands from planning a bombing is the Netherlands, yes, it would be really nice of them to let our intelligence services know about it; but no, they have no business on taking it upon themselves to do it. If the Dutch intelligence service was not aware of that suspect already, they can take it from there. That's how you treat allies and cooperate with them. If, during that investigation, something with relevance towards the USA turns up, the NSA will be informed of that in turn. You know, because we're allies.

The second issue is a far bigger problem. That the USA decided to be a dinosaur in a china shop is bad, but if that was the entire problem, most people probably wouldn't have been all that upset. The real problem is they weren't just spying on terrorism suspects, they were performing economical espionage as well. (Unless, of course, you believe the NSA actually suspected the president of Brazil and/or the prime minister of Germany from planning a terrorist attack...?)

If you're unfamiliar with the concept of economical espionage, here's an example. The NSA spies on, for instance, Airbus and sees the prices they charge to airlines. Then they leak that information to, in this example, Boeing which can adjust its prices accordingly. That's unfair competition, which in a very real way costs European jobs.

When the Chinese or the Russians do something like that, we are offended and we try to prevent them from doing it again. But meh, stuff happens (and there's a good chance we try to do it to them too). But the USA is supposed to be our ally for crying out loud! Ever heard the expression "with friends like these, who needs enemies?"; that pretty much sums up why we're so furious.

For the record, yes, I really do believe Western European intelligence services were not spying on American businesses and politicians.

Finally there's a third problem, they way in which they did their spying. The NSA hacked European companies, which had not done anything wrong, so they would be able to backstab us. The "funny" thing is, a while ago the USA themselves proclaimed that a digital attack on vital infrastructure in the USA would be considered an act of war. They gave themselves the right to retaliate with military force if a foreign government would try to hack the USA. So, just so you know, pretty much every country in the world has a valid reason (according to your very own standards!) to invade the USA, courtesy of the NSA. (And no, that ain't gonna happen, of course not, luckily not. But please keep it in mind; that is who screwed up and skewed the relation between the USA and "the rest of the world" has become...)

During the Cold War, everyone bugged everyone.

Everyone spied on the enemy, which makes sense and can be understood. That's what they're enemies for. The core of the problem is that the USA spied on their supposed allies.

Edited 2/11/2014 17:39:11
The Day We Fight Back: 2/11/2014 18:42:48

6
Level 49
Report
Yay I got a response! Okay, lets do it. 1.) Countries HAVE to spy on other countries to do they're job of protecting their citizens. Virtually every other country, if not all of them, spy on other nations. Yes, you DO have to spy on your allies, because alliances change. From 1781 to WWII and arguably beyond, the United States viewed Canada as a potential military rival and had very detailed plan for a military conquest of Canada. Nowadays, a US invasion of Canada is unthinkable, but who knows what the future holds? 2.) Economic espionage is morally wrong, but it is necessary for some nations to get an edge, or break into an industry, or just be better than competitors. Don't get me wrong, it IS wrong, but, again. every country primarily looks after their own interests first, and economic espionage has been going on for ages. A good example is silk. First developed in ancient China, the Chinese fiercely help on to the secrets of silk manufacturing, with laws prohibiting the distribution of how to properly perform sericulture to other nations and peoples. 3.) The way spying is done is never the problem. The problem is that nations are spying in the first place. Digital bugging is NOT the same as a digital attack, like the UK did against groups relating to Anonymous. Even considering this, I have no doubt the US has engaged in digital attacks, regardless. That declaration, bluntly speaking was hot air. No, not my standards, the idiot who said that's standards. Lastly, during the Cold War, although spying was primarily done on "the enemy," with communist and democratic upheavals abounding, we didn't know who the enemy really was. Just look at what the US did in response to the Communist revolutions in Latin America, or what the Soviet Union did in Africa to support communist rebellions.

Finally I'd just like to say that I agree with you. spying is wrong, but I accept it as, sadly, part of the world we live in. When you go on searching recklessly on the Web, you can get a virus, or a visit from the FBI. I don't agree with it, but welcome the the New Age.
The Day We Fight Back: 2/11/2014 20:45:46

RvW 
Level 46
Report
Countries HAVE to spy on other countries to do they're job of protecting their citizens. Virtually every other country, if not all of them, spy on other nations.

Once upon a time Europe consisted of many, "completely independent" nations. Nowadays we're growing together more and more, with an eventual goal of one day getting to a, practically speaking, "United States of Europe" (I have no idea about the exact political structure, but that's less important). By then, spying on one another would be as ridiculous as California's intelligence service spying on New York (and having New York's counter-intelligence service trying to prevent that).

So no, I don't think "they have to" is the issue. And, if the chance of getting caught red-handed were a little higher, I think considerably less spying would be going on; if "they have to" were really the case, why is everybody so furious, better yet, why is the USA so embarrassed about it?

(btw: My focus was never on "spying to protect citizen". I pointed out that part of the problem to distinguish it from, what I think, is the major reason for the current outrage: economic espionage.)

Yes, you DO have to spy on your allies, because alliances change. From 1781 to WWII and arguably beyond, the United States viewed Canada as a potential military rival and had very detailed plan for a military conquest of Canada. Nowadays, a US invasion of Canada is unthinkable, but who knows what the future holds?

1) In recent history, by and large, only new alliances were formed; no former allies became enemies.
2) There's a difference between distrusting (spying) and actively harming (hacking) your friends. The first is bad, the second far worse.
3) I cannot predict what the future holds, but showing you're a bad friend is not the way to keep a friendship...!

Economic espionage is morally wrong, but it is necessary for some nations to get an edge, or break into an industry, or just be better than competitors.

Wait, did you just admit that American products are inferior to European products and it is "necessary" for American companies to play dirty because they have no other way to be competitive...? :)

A good example is silk. First developed in ancient China, the Chinese fiercely help on to the secrets of silk manufacturing, with laws prohibiting the distribution of how to properly perform sericulture to other nations and peoples.

The comparison is not perfect, but the source code to Windows, OS X, Google, Facebook, etc, etc, etc is secret. So I guess it would be okay for any European intelligence service to hack into MS's, Apple's, Google's and Facebook's corporate computer networks to obtain it?

Digital bugging is NOT the same as a digital attack, like the UK did against groups relating to Anonymous. Even considering this, I have no doubt the US has engaged in digital attacks, regardless. That declaration, bluntly speaking was hot air.

I think you missed something; here's a source for my hot air: http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/view/35558/how-gchq-hacked-belgacom . Sure, it was never proven the NSA was behind it (just like it was never proven the USA was behind Stuxnet), but realistically, can you expect anybody to really doubt it?

No, not my standards, the idiot who said that's standards.

In sentences as "your own standards" I mean "the USA's own standards"; I didn't mean your own personal standards, apologies if that was unclear. By the way, that "idiot" must've been either Bush or Obama (I didn't bother to look up in which year it was first proclaimed, but I do remember it was in some presidential speech).

(..) during the Cold War (..)

The Cold War is about as bad an example of what I want the world to be like as the Dark Ages were. Heck, you even had a witch hunt http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism . That something was done (and might even have seemed like a good idea at the time) in no way, shape or form means it is a good idea.

Finally I'd just like to say that I agree with you. spying is wrong, but I accept it as, sadly, part of the world we live in. When you go on searching recklessly on the Web, you can get a virus, or a visit from the FBI. I don't agree with it, but welcome the the New Age.

Let's change the goal of my post; let's not try to convince you I'm right, let's only try to convince you I feel I have a valid reason to be pissed. Not at you personally, but at the USA (in the form of it's political leaders and the way they act internationally). Me and quite a few other people.

Does that matter? Hard to say; only time will tell. Back when the Patriot Act was introduced, people were outraged... but in the end didn't do to much about it. Now it turns out you don't just have an unreasonable thirst for information domestically, and from non-US companies why trade with the USA on a regular basis (yes, that is how ridiculously far-reaching the Patriot Act is), even when somebody who has nothing to do with the USA but you want their data anyway... you're simply going to get it, come hell or high water and screw good manners, ethics, common decency, common sense and international treaties.

If MS and Google and all those other huge American companies with worldwide near-monopolies are ever going to fall, NSA-gate is as likely a reason as any. For a company which offers services to other (big) companies being able to claim "We are not subject to the Patriot Act" is a selling point nowadays. The EU is currently considering making it a legal requirement for various sectors. Read: in certain sensitive sectors (defence, finance, healthcare, some others) it would become illegal to use Google Docs, Outlook.com, Dropbox, etc, etc, etc. A second-rate wannabe file-sync hoster would quickly gain big customers (and with that, the capital to become first-rate and start competing with Dropbox) simply on account of not having ties with the USA. If such legislation is ever put into place it will take a very long time before it is ever repealed...
The Day We Fight Back: 2/11/2014 21:21:40

6
Level 49
Report
Geez man. Didn't want to get into a series of rants for arguments, so this will probably be my last post regarding this, but I'll try to answer what you said, but dang. That's a BIG block of text, so Im gonna respond as briefly as I can. Europe is way too divided (culturally, politically, economically, etc.) to have that grand unification any time soon. It's nice to dream about, but unless something extremely drastic happens, it won't happen in our lifetimes or our grandchildren's lives for that matter. The current mainstream outrage, from what I take it, is the fact that the NSA was spying on private peoples without just cause in an arbitrary manner. But, those are our individual opinions, and arguing about them will get pretty pointless. History repeats itself. Alliances and friendships always seem like they'll last forever when their formed, and 10 years after they end, people on both side wonder how on earth they were friends in the first place. Again, this is an opinion based on our individual research of history, and arguing about this is also pointless. I never said ANY nation is inferior or superior to any other nation's products as that is an opinion, which is pointless to argue about. I said a PARTIAL list of reasons why a country or company may resort to economic espionage. Please don't use a partial set of information to make judgments. I never said I agreed with it. I explicitly went out of my way to say how much I DISAGREE with espionage. But now that you bring it up, given the fact that economic espionage can help a nation/company increase their profits despite that it is illegal and morally questionable, yes it is justifiable, as long as you throw out morals and laws. The declaration I was referring to was NOT yours, but was the politician you mentioned's. At least it seems we can agree that was stupid on the part of whoever said that. :) There's another opinion: that we are out of the "dark ages" of international relationships. I think opinions formed a large part of both of our posts. You believe we're on the cusp of entering a golden age of international relations, and I believe we're still in the thick of it. Time will tell who is right, and I pray you are, but until then, it will be just that: an opinion. Lastly, you're preaching to the choir. I believe you have a right to, and should be mad at the NSA, but our reasons for being mad differ. I'm mad that these actions took and are taking place, but I am mad because I believe that's just the way the world works.*


*All prior words were the workings of a vastly uninformed, vastly opinionated gentleman. Grammatical, formatting, factual, and many other errors probably abound. Take these words as you please.
The Day We Fight Back: 2/11/2014 21:22:47

6
Level 49
Report
...And I realize you have caused me to post a big block of text. :P
The Day We Fight Back: 2/11/2014 22:03:26


Taishō 
Level 57
Report
By then, spying on one another would be as ridiculous as California's intelligence service spying on New York


Corporate espionage is big, bad and scary and it's happening all the time. Information is power and whether it's the NSA selling secrets on European consumerism to pay off government debts or Facebook trying to give its stocks a boost, it happens and it's more important than ever. Don't be the fool who thinks otherwise.


Countries HAVE to spy on other countries to do they're job of protecting their citizens.Virtually every other country, if not all of them, spy on other nations.


Everyone is spying on everyone else, but honestly is that really news to us? The question is, how far are they going? Does the government have the ability to turn on the cam and microphone on my laptop whenever they want? Is that a form of protection?

I saw a documentary a year or two back claiming that there are 5 times as many spies as there were in the peak of the Cold War. Think about it.

In recent history, by and large, only new alliances were formed; no former allies became enemies.


Well that's just not true.

I don't agree with it, but welcome the the New Age


You and everyone else. Here's a quote I'd like you to ponder on, from a book I read not to long ago (and you've likely read or at least heard of, as well):

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever."
-George Orwell, 1984
The Day We Fight Back: 2/11/2014 22:31:46

RvW 
Level 46
Report
Europe is way too divided (culturally, politically, economically, etc.) to have that grand unification any time soon.

Not the point. It can happen someday. In a way it did happen to the (formerly independent) states which now make up the USA: at some point you grew so close you don't just say you trust each other, you actually start doing so (and hence, stop spying on one another). It was only a counter-example to your "countries have to spy on each other".

despite that it is illegal and morally questionable, yes it is justifiable, as long as you throw out morals and laws.

If you have to throw out morality and law to justify something... is it still a justification? "Yeah okay, murder is wrong, but if you throw out morals and laws, yes it is justifiable to kill somebody."...!?

You believe we're on the cusp of entering a golden age of international relations, and I believe we're still in the thick of it.

I don't think we're anywhere near world peace, but yeah, I had kinda hoped at least some parts of the world where making progress. When was the last time there was a war in North America? The number (and size) of wars in Europe has decreased enormously if you compare it to a century ago.
Isn't it a logical next step to see just how insanely rich our societies have become and realise backstabbing your best friend to steal a couple of bucks is simply not necessary any more? Can we please start living in a time where we don't have to send the most powerful leaders of our countries back to kindergarten for a few basic lessons in moral behaviour?
(Please keep in mind I'm only talking about international relations with allies or "friends"; if a negotiator has to backstab the hell out of the Syrian government in order for them to sign a treaty which destroy those chemical weapons one day sooner, good for them, please shower them in medals! But Bush and/or Obama thinking it's acceptable to wiretap Merkel's phone is ridiculous.)

Lastly, you're preaching to the choir.

No, not the choir, the (if my assumption is correct) American voter. The USA behaves as if they are the world's police force... just a very, very corrupt one. I have no direct influence to change that, but you do! It takes roughly 60 million votes to win the US Presidential Election; on a world population of 6 billion, that makes you the "one percent" with all the power; all I can do is try to convince you to consider a nominee's opinion about international politics when deciding whom to vote for.
Just for the record: yes, I'm completely serious about this. And yes, I know in the grand scheme of things it's probably futile, but that's no excuse not to try.
The Day We Fight Back: 2/11/2014 22:55:50


professor dead piggy 
Level 59
Report
all I can do is try to convince you to consider a nominee's opinion about international politics when deciding whom to vote for.


what should 5 do if all the nominees have the same opinion about international politics?
The Day We Fight Back: 2/11/2014 23:05:07

RvW 
Level 46
Report
Corporate espionage is big, bad and scary and it's happening all the time.

If one company wants to spy on another, sure, go ahead, have fun... and try not to get caught, because it's illegal. The NSA can do whatever they please, because there are no consequences. Almost all people handle situations where they know there'll be no consequences extremely poorly. Read up on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment

Does the government have the ability to turn on the cam and microphone on my laptop whenever they want?

Sorry for answering a rhetorical question, but: yes, they do. It depends a little on the exact brand and model, but in very many cases, they can. And without that little light next to your cam turning on.

Well that's just not true.

That statement would be much more convincing if you'd back it with an example...
I'm not sure how well you know contemporary European history, but a couple decades ago, we had to stop at each border to show our passports to customs. We're now working on something called "the Schengen Area" which (roughly) boils down to "no more internal borders". Not all of Europe is part of it yet, but very large parts are. And yes, it even extends across the old Iron Curtain; not just to "East Germany", but also to Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and the Baltic States as well. Before long, Romania and Bulgaria will also join. That only leaves Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.
Today, I can travel from Paris to Warsaw and never so much as show my passport (or to Bratislava and even pay with the same money!). Just a measly 25 years ago that would've been unthinkable. To make the trip at all you needed tons of paperwork, a good reason and all the customs checks would've taken forever.
(I left out former Yugoslavia since they were not part of the Warsaw Pact; Slovenija is already a member of Schengen, Croatia will join soon, the others ex-Yugoslavian republics (to the best of my knowledge) want to join as well, but it will take a little while longer.)

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever."
-George Orwell, 1984

Not if I can help it.
The Day We Fight Back: 2/12/2014 00:25:49


x 
Level 58
Report
rvw <3

i never read any of your posts but i admire your dedication
The Day We Fight Back: 2/12/2014 01:41:58


Taishō 
Level 57
Report
RvW, you're right and if I had put another 15-20 minutes into the post I would have had a lot more to say and most wouldn't have given it the time of day.

Here in Germany we have the Grundgesetzt, one of the best things to come out of losing WWII and with that, Germans probably enjoy the widest range of rights and privileges of any European country (when we're not being spied on by America).

Politics, cultures and all the sub-categories that fall into that are my area of study, but this is the place where one puts politics on the back burner to ruthlessly destroy virtual online opponents, so I'd hate to rain on everyone's parade by being a downer ;P
The Day We Fight Back: 2/12/2014 02:22:58

6
Level 49
Report
RvW, you are selectively reading what I am typing, something I find very offensive as it is a molestation of my views. I said any time SOON. I believe eventually the world will be united, but the situation in Europe is very different than the Revolutionary US. On your 2nd point, you totally cut out where I said I didn't agree with espionage, and that it was wrong. On your third point, you went off an a tangent: your opinion that espionage is no longer necessary. On your final point, you revealed an, ever so slight bias against the US. It's okay to have biases, as they form your opinions, but you assumed that 1.) I can vote, which I can't and 2.) that I don't or won't take an active role in politics in my nation, which I of course will.

Look, this is beginning to feel as if it will degenerate into a flame war, so I'd like to sum it up rather bluntly: you believe the world has reached a point where espionage is no longer necessary, while I believe espionage IS still necessary. We'll never be able to change the other person's opinions, so let's just leave it as it is. I bid you good day.
The Day We Fight Back: 2/12/2014 06:14:51

RvW 
Level 46
Report
RvW, you are selectively reading what I am typing, something I find very offensive as it is a molestation of my views.

You started that post with:

That's a BIG block of text, so Im gonna respond as briefly as I can.

so I thought I'd only reply to the points I feel most strongly about. No offence (or taking things out of context) was intended.

On your final point, you revealed an, ever so slight bias against the US. It's okay to have biases, as they form your opinions

A bias is a double standard; I'm not biased against the USA, I'm unhappy with the way they chose to behave. I'd be just as offended and angry with any other country which is ostensibly an ally, but does not behave like one at all.

you assumed that 1.) I can vote, which I can't and 2.) that I don't or won't take an active role in politics in my nation, which I of course will.

Well, I did explicitly say "if my assumption is correct"...

When I wrote it I wasn't entirely sure whether you're from the USA (turns out that assumption / educated guess was correct). I never considered the possibility you're not old enough to vote (my bad, but that's not worth getting upset over, is it...?).

I agree the last part was poorly phrased; in my native language there are different words for "you" (singular; you personally) and "you" (plural; all American voters); in English it does read differently than I intended and I should have noticed that. Sorry, I never meant to accuse you of being passive or uninterested in politics.



To prevent misunderstandings, every part of your post I didn't respond to is because of your request to end the discussion. The parts I did reply to anyway are an attempt at correcting misunderstandings.
The Day We Fight Back: 2/12/2014 14:19:48


Taishō 
Level 57
Report
How did this become notable? O.o
The Day We Fight Back: 2/12/2014 14:35:20


Min34 
Level 60
Report
Large blocks of texts? RvW is back. :p
The Day We Fight Back: 2/12/2014 16:04:13


[WM] ᵀᴴᴱ𝓕𝓻𝓲𝓭𝓰𝓮 
Level 59
Report
Out of many "notable posts" - this one is really worth being on the list.. not to mention it's one of the first reasonable threads on the off-topic forum..
The Day We Fight Back: 2/12/2014 17:57:26


Belgian Gentleman 
Level 56
Report
Do you know that the minister of Financian of the European Union is a Greek :D
The Day We Fight Back: 2/13/2014 16:05:09


Wenyun 
Level 59
Report
^Considering the fact that Greece got in despite their economic problems, the man must be really good at manipulating finances >.>
Posts 1 - 23 of 23