Monday, June 24, 2013

More on Snowden

I think Phillip Bobbitt captured Snowden's job accurately (h/t Lawfare):

"Three thoughts on the Snowden matter.
First, Snowden’s strongest point: how can the government claim it closely monitors access to the information it collects when a person like him can steal a trove like this?  The answer, I suspect, is that Snowden is not quite the person he claims to be.  He is not an analyst and he could not, as he claims, task anyone to provide him with the content of anyone else’s messages (I believe he mentioned the president, among others, against whom he could collect on a whim).  He was a systems administrator charged with maintaining security, a kind of high-tech night watchman.  Janitors were a fruitful source of collection for us in the Cold War and I imagine this is an example in the wars that are emerging.
Second, it’s too soon to say how damaging this will prove to be, because the real damage isn’t state to state, but rather in the alienation democratic publics–including those of our allies–will feel towards their governments and ours.  I am in London and the big story here is the collaboration of GCHQ with NSA.  In one sense this is hardly news; in another, there is a understandable astonishment at the sheer capabilities that have been exposed.
Third, on the state to state level, the U.S. campaign to get China to stop its cyber penetrations is, for the time being anyway, finished."
That's about right.
Other observations since last post:

"Flexibility"
  • China said sorry team O, your paperwork isn't in order back of the line NEXT (stifled giggling).
  • Russia sardonically laughed in that way only Russians can.  Tells Obama "Let me get back to you.  Wait here."
  • The rest of the countries that hate us are forming a line just to give us the finger.  Also, they are high-fiving each other, passing around a bottle of liquor bought with our money, and passing out smokes.
  • The countries that tolerate us are giving the stink eye.
  • The precious few countries left that we haven't completely alienated are checking to see where the exits are located.  In case of fire, you know.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Thought(s) on Snowden

I just don't think he did it for patriotism.  Look:


The more and more I read about him it just seemed he did this out of ego.  I guess that's besides the point.

Hero or no, he did help shine the light on our government's behind the scenes activities.  Namely, secret courts providing blanket orders to harvest our personal data.

While Constitutionally dubious, I normally wouldn't have too much of a problem.  I was for the Patriot Act when it was passed.  Then around 2004 I started thinking like an adult and realize the awful standard that had been set.

But when one mashes the NSA scandal with the IRS scandal and AP/Fox News snooping, one can't block out the more sinister, tinfoil hat conspiracy thoughts.

The bottom line of all these scandals is that the government paints itself as an incompetent, vindictive, untrustworthy, unaccountable bureaucrat who might have a substance abuse problem.   But if you would just give them some more money, everything will be solved...