No real surprise here

K: Ask me if I am shocked or surprised? UHHHH no.

Former Top NSA Official: “We Are Now In A Police State”

32-year NSA Veteran Who Created Mass Surveillance System Says Government Use of Data Gathered Through Spying “Is a Totalitarian Process”

Bill Binney is the high-level NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information. A 32-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency, Binney was the senior technical director within the agency and managed thousands of NSA employees.

Binney has been interviewed by virtually all of the mainstream media, including CBS, ABC, CNN, New York Times, USA Today, Fox News, PBS and many others.

Last year, Binney held his thumb and forefinger close together, and said:

We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.

But today, Binney told Washington’s Blog that the U.S. has already become a police state."

By way of background, the government is spying on virtually everything we do.

All of the information gained by the NSA through spying is then shared with federal, state and local agencies, and they are using that information to prosecute petty crimes such as drugs and taxes. The agencies are instructed to intentionally “launder” the information gained through spying, i.e. to pretend that they got the information in a more legitimate way … and to hide that from defense attorneys and judges.

This is a bigger deal than you may realize, as legal experts say that there are so many federal and state laws in the United States, that no one can keep track of them all … and everyone violates laws every day without even knowing it." … te/5362080


Big brother is watching you, it’s what tends to happen when you let bureaucracy run amock, and how much of a shock is it that some people in the last century predicted it, ok it’s not 1984 but they are getting there.

“The Bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the bureaucracy.”

Joseph Hellier, Catch-22.

Quite it’s a bigger deal than most realise, but most can do nothing about it.

It’s nice and rare to have an issue that can be approached with a nonpartisan perspective. When I see people arguing over the NSA thing, it doesn’t seem to break down along the usual lines. I’m pretty conflicted about it, myself. We need strong intelligence agencies with broad powers in order to fight the crimes and wars of the 21st century. But not only do we need to preserve our freedoms, but I’m not sure how you even police an intelligence agency without compromising it.

I agree with the first part, or really all of it, but my reaction to the last question is intelligence agencies should be compromised. Now that Word is negative - sort of like ‘ruined’. But it comes from compromise and that there would be a compromise seems clear in a democracy, especially when the intelligence is aimed at Citizens and systematically. In the Days after the revolution, the police would need to come into your home to get a look at your papers, and would need to have a very specific investigation to find out what you were talking about with your peers. They would also need to open physical mail. If the NSA was doing this to every American Citizen, there would be more than bipartisan opposition, nearly everyone would take to the streets. But now given technology, the government has the capability of doing this in what seems like a non-physical manner. But a right to privacy should not be changed by technological elegance and subtlety. Though my sense of the issue is not so much along privacy lines, at least as one might Think of the issue starting with privacy. Yes, I would dislike the idea of someone poring over my emails because I used a trigger Word in one of them, and thus have some nameless armchair anti-terrorist or whatever read my pathetic warbling over a lost love or the state of my colon, I am much more concerned about the incredible Power this gives the government. Conservatives, it would seem to me, would be concerned on political fundamentalist grounds, that the caution of the forfathers about centralized Power are being infringed upon. This is Stasi without the need for informers. Liberals can be concerned for any number of reasons, perhaps how this might be used against specific Groups or how industry and intelligence agencies - who do in fact already share information in ways that no one voted for - might create improper bonds with each other. Groups farther to the left and right will naturally need not the slightest prodding to freak out About this, and frankly, rightly so.

I don’t think you can avoid our right to privacy being compromised by technology. One thing that needs to be pointed out here is that private citizens and corporations can do just about everything the NSA is being accused of here with a little know-how, though not on quite such a wide scale, yet. I remember getting into an argument with SIATD before- you can’t cry about your right to privacy if you have a facebook account. Part of the problem here is that people live like they don’t want any privacy most of the time, then wonder why they don’t have it the rest of the time.
I’m not as worried about electronic surveillance because, call me old-fashioned, but I think it’s predicated on the assumption that we need these things to live, and I think the ‘internet’ bubble may one day burst- hacking or military spying or whatever may reach a point where it’s just accepted that you can’t do anything private on the internet, commerce is pulled from it, and email becomes a ‘fun’ thing, not a necessary thing. I’m not saying that’s likely, but it’s at least an intellectual position that’s possible, and takes the pressure off us somehow trying to make the internet private. Phones are likewise. If we reached a point where it was understood that the Government could spy on all of these things and that you shouldn’t say anything on them that you didn’t want the world to know, after a period of adjustment people’s privacy would be intact by living in response to that- just like how people’s right to privacy isn’t infringed by the fact that their neighbors can see into their backyards. It’s something you come to understand.
We can’t have a situation where people are inventing new types of communication specifically to say “Here is a thing the Government isn’t allowed to look at” to facilitate crime/treason/whatever, in other words. It seems to me a right to privacy doesn’t automatically carry over to any new means of communication we may conceive of.

 Drones, though, are another story.  You can't escape or choose not to participate in physical existence, and shouldn't be expected to try.
  1. you have to have incredible know how AND you can be convicted of crimes. 2) you have a hard time getting private industry to work with you. Even the NSA is meeting resistance from industry, which I have to say I am pleasantly surprised by, but they also already have relationships and may be able to negotiate or simply get their way with these relevent companies in ways no private person can.

To the extent that what you put there is public, sure. I would also Think there should be clear guidelines -some kind of contract - about how your information can be sold. That’s not quite a privacy issue, though it can be, but I consider it a property rights issue. If the contract is held, fine. If not, t hen that is a problem

I partially agree. I don’t have a facebook account, or a link in account or anything along those lines, very much out of privacy concerns. Not so much in relation to government or even industry - I don’t have any criminal activity to hide and would hardly post it on face book anyway, but more in relation to other Citizens. I also Think that a lot of people who are very focused on privacy rights and concerned about the expanding intelligence gathering aimed at private Citizens are very careful about what they put out.

But I do Think that people are getting used to being like Products and brands and celebrities. And I Think they are nuts.

It’s not just the internet, it is any technologically based Communication. Phones for example. There’s also black boxes in cars to GPS you, your phones do that even not in use. And there is a lot more.

What is the core, worst concern. Tyranny. let’s say that the country slides toward tyranny. Right now the ability of the government to monitor dissent, carefully target people who present the most danger, or in a crackdown give out lists of people to be separated out is pretty unbelievable. Not only can they find them, they can track most of them. they can even announce something - as a kind of sonar like probe - as see exactly who reacts, how, who they communicate with, etc. That is the core healthy fear, I Think. TEchnology obviously enhances private Power in relation to government, but I Think that steps toward universal surveillance, surveillance without Court approval should be resisted, just as their physical counterparts in terms of search and seizures would be. Not because of the specific unpleasance and harrassment this entails, but because of how a government or even a powerful faction of it could use it.

But that is not an OK situation. This would be a vast increase in centralized Power. The government could quickly and effectivelly use all forms of Communication, whereas any resistance or opposition would have to send people perhaps literally on horseback - given gps locaters.

if we go back to the origins of the US, imagine if England had been able to communicate with things like internet, gps locaters on horses, have access to roadside, street and storefront cameras, and be able to hear the kinds of conversations ALL CITIZENS would have. Now even if jefferson et al, themselves knew not to use ‘the internet’ and ‘phones’, neutral parties and loyalists would be blabbing about things they saw that day, that Ben and Thomas took a beer at this or that Inn and so on and this information would all have been in British access. Perhaps, the Brits, still stuck in earlier forms of warfare still would have put troops in lines and perhaps they would have lost. Though they sure as shit would have known where Washington was ALL THE TIME. They would almost never have been surprised by the troop movements of the rebels. Beyond that pretty huge advantage at that time, they could easily have forgone open war and used police actions to surgically cripple the revolutionaries once they took them seriously. Jews knew to avoid certain kinds of open movement and activity when the Nazis showed who they were and the Jews were on the run. But at least the germans did not have supercomputers running through the conversations of every European who was not running from the government.

In a time of shift to tyranny Another important issue is spread of information. If the government can easily and without fear spread disinformation and selected truths, but any use of technology by the opposition reveals them, you have a serious problem preventing that slide. The government labels Everything terrorism and coming from a very small Group.

Anyway, better go, but I Think, in general you are accepting a Power shift towards central government that should make a conservative very uneasy.

Heck I forgot the access to cellphones for images. Back in Colonial times, imagine half the colonists had camera phones which they used a lot of the time taking Pictures and films and of course most of this was harmless non-political use, but…
the Brits could rummage through this for intel - prerevolution - which they would have known about in incredible detail on every level well Before it came to pass - and then during whatever police or military actions they used to counter this. I mean, that intel would be overwhelming. And modern people would be forced back into Colonial level Communication options in a modern slide to tyranny. That is way out of balance.

The way I see it, people fuck up and make mistakes – human nature. So when I think about the NSA or any other singular organization having the power to track the general population by capturing and storing enormous volumes of metadata … data which can be used to extract personal tendencies, private relations, etc. … I feel uneasy. Knowing that abuses of power will happen (see: human nature), I don’t think this kind of massive secret intelligence apparatus is sustainable or available for the most essential examination of warranty. They may think they are more intelligent and more responsible than the general populace, but I don’t think that position is served well by history. Given a bit of power, even the most moderate and mild mannered of people can have the most consequential fuck ups. And I have no power or very little benefit of congressional oversight to protect myself, while the NSA has massive power and influence to advocate for its programs and contain information from public knowledge.

Today, yeah, but for how long is that the case? Let me present a hypothetical scenario. Suppose we pass some laws and methods of enforcement that guarantees the U.S. Government isn’t spying on it’s citizens illegally- no more collecting mass data, no more using it to make weird arrests., etc. Good good. But then suppose we find out that China, Russia, and North Korea all have the exact same technology, and THEY are spying on American citizens in the exact same way the NSA was. Well, what now? China doesn’t give a shit about the privacy of it’s own citizens, much less yours. You can’t pass a law to tell them to stop doing anything, and if you did they would ignore it. So now all that’s happened is you’ve reduced the effectiveness of U.S. intelligence, and your privacy is exactly as compromised as it was before.
So I guess what I’m saying is I’d like to make sure we’re preventing something that can actually BE prevented. I don’t want the U.S Government reading my emails. But that is preferable to me I don’t want to be in a situation where everybody EXCEPT the U.S. Government is reading my emails.

There are such guidelines. The issue I think we're facing now is that the NSA is breaking the law because they can't be caught doing it, not that there aren't laws.  At least, according to the accusations of the leaker cited in this thread, who may be full of shit. 


That’s true, there’s plenty of it we can’t get away from. But there’s some we can.

I agree with all of this. I just think the emphasis has to be on law enforcement and not the application of the technology. So for example, if we crack down on illegal wiretaps being used in court proceedings, and enforce laws about when a person can and can’t be detained, that’s where the fight is. I don’t think keeping the Government from snooping is a quest worth undertaking, because I think we’re approaching a point where EVERYBODY is going to be snooping, and preventing comparatively benevolent Governments from doing it will be moot.

It’s an awful situation, but give me an alternative.

Oh, I'm very uneasy about it, don't get me wrong.  I'm just seeing the Government's interaction with cutting edge tech as an inevitable extension of private citizen's interactions with it.  The way people live right now- the things we invent and embrace- makes it unavoidable that the State will be watching everything we do. You can't pass a law against staring at people's junk in a society that refuses to wear pants!

You simply make spying impossible within your own country. Then it won’t matter what other countries are doing with their spying technology. And if they don’t want for you to spy on them, they merely need to do as you do. That way no one gets to spy on anyone. Game over.

I assume you mean technologically impossible and not legally impossible. If there was a way to do that (and for people to actually know and believe that it was the case), I would be for it.

Make spying impossible, how James? Legally or technologically it is impossible. Ban spying legally are you going to ban your “eyes”.

For me it is pretty simple and it boils down to a moral argument. A democratic society ought not be a police state. Granted, I’m sympathetic to the ACAB line of thinking because cops ultimately serve the interests of capital and not those of citizens. Between the very real and on-going threat of systemic oppression and the possible threat of terrorism, I’ll take terrorism because I strongly believe the threat represented by terrorism has been overblown in order to further the interests of the police state.

That said, there needs to be some level of policing in order to ensure the state can maintain its monopoly on violence, thereby legitimizing what violence needs to occur in order to ensure a civilized society.

Police and military are pretty much the only areas where I could be described as a “minarchist” because, while I recognize their necessity, I hate their existence and want to ensure they have as small a role in society as humanly possible. Therefore, using technology to expand their role is perverse in the extreme.

For me it is pretty simple and it boils down to a moral argument. A democratic society ought not be a police state. Granted, I’m sympathetic to the ACAB line of thinking because cops ultimately serve the interests of capital and not those of citizens. Between the very real and on-going threat of systemic oppression and the possible threat of terrorism, I’ll take terrorism because I strongly believe the threat represented by terrorism has been overblown in order to further the interests of the police state.

That said, there needs to be some level of policing in order to ensure the state can maintain its monopoly on violence, thereby legitimizing what violence needs to occur in order to ensure a civilized society.

Police and military are pretty much the only areas where I could be described as a “minarchist” because, while I recognize their necessity, I hate their existence and want to ensure they have as small a role in society as humanly possible. Therefore, using technology to expand their role is perverse in the extreme.

I don’t disagree with any of this, but as a non-idealist, I see the world as being an endless series of necessary evils for the most part anyway, so this isn’t enough for me to decide on the right course of action. I’m still hung up on the idea that if our Government isn’t allowed to spy on us but everybody else in the world does, we’ve sacrificed some level of safety, but not gained any privacy.

I disagree, I think we’ve lost a great deal of safety, since the local government is actually in a position to do something with that information (like no fly lists, bullshit arrests and so on). If the Chinese are spying on me, so what? They aren’t really in a position to act on that information.

Of course they are.  If you're involved in the military, or law enforcement, or intelligence, or cutting edge tech, or any other kind of situation where China might want to get an edge over the U.S., then having China spying on your stuff might affect you or your career personally.  I realize that's not most people.... but that goes for what you're saying too: Most people don't have anything to fear from an intrusive Government either, if they aren't doing anything wrong. 
 I agree with you that I don't want no fly lists and bullshit arrests and stuff based on illegally obtained stuff like emails and phone records.  I'm just not convinced that saying our Government can't access these things is the best solution or even a feasible, enforceable solution.

I suspect you know this, but this is where politics come into play and what we value in terms of society.

As a class, I don’t value the military and the police. ACAB. They serve the interests of capital. If preventing them from having access to spying makes their lives harder, so much the better.

And intelligence? I mean, if I don’t value spies, doing things that makes spies jobs harder is pretty consistent. Fuck them.

That leaves industry. That is a little trickier. Is it the government’s job to support capital?


It is the government’s duty to protect citizens from capital. That is the “curse of bigness” and so be it.

I’m reminded of the 50s & 60s when the FBI was scrutinizing Mrs. Roosevelt and MLK. Big brother is here. The only difference between the 50s and now is that individuals who have no public recognition are being watched. It’s a natural outcome of believing we need to be watched for our own good.

The issue isn’t really that you are seen, but rather the idiocy of those judging what they see.
Those watching are no brighter than those you see here on this site.
And they form their condemnations just as presumptuously, without ever having to face their victim or even answer to each other, free reign for the accusers. If you are merely a member of the public, you are “the enemy”. And better to not give an enemy even a chance to possibly do something bad.

“Now that we can see that person U is having sex in manner X, we know to give him disease Y to protect US from Z.”

America has been a police state for quite some time now.
Just look at what happened to Occupy and to the way
protesters and dissenters are now considered terrorists.