Monday, June 10, 2013

Quote of the Day - John Gilmore

For those who aren't tech nerds, John Gilmore established his fame by starting the old Cypherpunks mailing list, and then went on to be one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  The pelt of his Wookie Suit is luxuriant indeed, but he's no idiot.  And he has a lot of perspective, like this:
We know what happened in the case of QWest before 9/11.  [NSA]
contacted the CEO/Chairman asking to wiretap all the customers.  After
he consulted with Legal, he refused.  As a result, NSA canceled a
bunch of unrelated billion dollar contracts that QWest was the top
bidder for.  And then the DoJ targeted him and prosecuted him and put
him in prison for insider trading -- on the theory that he knew of
anticipated income from secret programs that QWest was planning for
the government, while the public didn't because it was classified and
he couldn't legally tell them, and then he bought or sold QWest stock
knowing those things.

This CEO's name is Joseph P. Nacchio and TODAY he's still serving a
trumped-up 6-year federal prison sentence today for quietly refusing
an NSA demand to massively wiretap his customers.
Professor Jacobsen compresses this:

You can’t separate the data mining, the culture of intimidation, and criminalization of daily life.


Alan said...
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Alan said...

The danger of the government having its hands all over big data isn't that they will listen to any particular conversation or read any particular email. It's that when they decide to focus on you, they'll have enough data in this "everyone commits three felonies before breakfast" world to put you away forever unless you play their game.

cryptical said...

Just the call metadata can be damning with six degrees of separation between everyone on the planet. If they can't get you, they can find someone you know to put pressure on to make you toe the line. The war on drugs has taught them that lesson...

Old NFO said...

Alan's right, and sooner or later you come under scrutiny, they go back YEARS an lo and behold, you have a 'profile'... and away you go!!!

TOTWTYTR said...

What Professor Jacobsen says is the crux of the problem. Even with the best intent, so much data in the hands of people with ill intent is a potent weapon.

I think that the scope of this data collection has to be tightly controlled.