political opinions, pop culture ephemera, philosophical ramblings, pictures of pretty things
U.S. intelligence agents have been hacking computer networks around the world for years, apparently targeting fat data pipes that push immense amounts of data around the Internet, NSA leaker Edward Snowden told the South China Morning Post on Wednesday.
Among some 61,000 reported targets of the National Security Agency, Snowden said, are thousands of computers in China — which U.S. officials have increasingly criticized as the source of thousands of attacks on U.S. military and commercial networks. China has denied such attacks.
Snowden just jumped the shark. It’s commendable to let Americans know that they’ve been lied to by their leaders with respect to domestic surveillance. It’s something closer to treason to let a foreign power know our government has breaking into their computer systems. I suspect Snowden thinks that these revelations will help him avoid extradition—that the Chinese government will protect him in gratitude for these disclosures. But if his goal was to change American domestic policy, he’s just made that change far less likely. A good portion of the American public was with him; now they won’t be. I find this incredibly sad. And I feel bad for Snowden, because he’s made a huge miscalculation that’s going to haunt him for the rest of his life.
I think Jeff has the right of it. I can respect the whistleblower who releases specific information in a targeted manner. As that looks less and less targeted, he looks less and less like the whistleblower and more and more like the guy who should never have been given a security clearance.
By revealing state secrets in regard to oversees spying operations, Snowden has really muddied the waters here, confusing two separate issues:
I, like many Americans, believe that the answer to the first question is an obvious “No.” The right to privacy is one of the most fundamental rights we have and should not be suspended because of the threat of terrorism. There are other ways we can gather information to prevent future attacks that don’t violate our constitutional rights and which are equally effective (One issue I think that gets lost in this debate is just how ineffective this massive data-gathering technique is— having more data points isn’t necessarily a good thing— sometimes it’s just more noise to have to sift through)
The second question is a bit trickier. The lefty in me sees the idealistic appeal of completely dismantling the entire military/intelligence complex, but I can’t really buy into that wholeheartedly, because I do believe in national sovereignty. I believe in the idea of America (though not our imperialist tendencies), and I believe that it is often necessary to engage in the “Great Game” of international espionage in order to preserve American sovereignty.
Maybe I’m short-sighted and selfish, but I don’t really have a problem with the gov’t spying on Chinese hackers who are trying to steal weapons blueprints. And I think most Americans probably feel the same way. If Snowden really wants to promote privacy rights, he needs to keep his focus narrow.
My generation got a cheap college education when we were young, and we’re getting good retirement benefits now that we’re old. Pretty nice. But now we’re turning around and telling today’s twentysomethings that they should pay through the nose for college, keep paying taxes for our retirements, and oh by the way, when it comes time for you to retire your benefits are going to have to be cut. So sorry. And all this despite the fact that the country is richer than it was 50 years ago, and will be richer still 50 years from now.
But at least today’s kids don’t have to worry about being drafted. That’s something, I suppose.
Tell me again which generation is coddled, narcissistic, and lazy…
Rep. Stephen Fincher, you are a horrible person who uses the Bible to selectively justify your greedy, selfish ways. Woe unto you. Repent, asshole.