Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Passive resistance is still resistance

The NSA and the Surveillance State may have been in bed with Silicon Valley, but the world post-Snowden is a very different place.  Tech companies are finding that enthusiastic cooperation is not the ticket to lucrative government contracts, but rather puts the entire company at risk as customers start thinking about taking their business elsewhere.

And so the Valley resistance is starting:
Google has followed Apple's lead and published data on the secret orders it receives to hand over customer's information under the provisions of the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

According to the data, Google got between zero and 999 FISA requests every six months since 2009 for both content and non-content data.
This is a very wide range, as it appears that the law prohibits the release of precise numbers.  But we didn't use to see any numbers, or even acknowledgement that there was even cooperation.  That's changed for good.

And it's not just Apple and Google, either.
Facebook and Yahoo! have now also joined the disclosure party by releasing some data on the orders requests they received from investigators under FISA, although only for the past year.

Facebook said that it received between zero and 999 national security letter requests last year and the same number for non-content access to user accounts. When it comes to grabbing content, however, government agents got data on between 4,000 and 4,999 people in the second half of 2012 and between 5,000 and 5,999 people in the first half of last year.

"We believe that while governments have an important responsibility to keep people safe, it is possible to do so while also being transparent," said Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch.
This follows on the heels of Yahoo! turning on encryption as the default for their email service.  Little by little, the NSA is finding that cooperation that used to be theirs for the asking is now only available at a cost, or with a warrant.

To repeat: none of this would have happened without Edward Snowden showing the complete untrustworthiness of the Intelligence Community.  Like it or not, the shadows in which the Three Letter Agencies thrive are beginning - slowly, but seemingly surely - to recede before the light of day.


Comrade Misfit said...

Snowden, like those who burgled an FBI office and exposed the FBIs domestic spying, are heroes. They all took great personal risks to expose government fuckery.

They are true patriots.

Nosmo King said...

Either the dam breaks on this and everyone comes clean or those who don't will slowly find themselves on the outside looking in.

You're either with the enemy or against them. There is no DMZ on this.

Mark Philip Alger said...

The carriers don't have the right to disclose the information in the first place because IT'S NOT THEIR DATA! They're acting as fiduciary custodians of other peoples' stuff and the gubmint is REQUIRED by its charter to get a warrant for each specific instance.

Insert that old Franklinian chestnut about security and freedom.


R.K. Brumbelow said...

@Comrade Misfit The ends do not ever justify the means. Snowden is the worst kind of scum, a traitor and likely a beater of small mammals (ok likely not the last part). Snitching on other scum does not make one not scum.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Did Snowden betray America, or did America (in the form of its government) betray him (along with the rest of us)?

Oaths and loyalty work in both directions. Someone who has betrayed you has effectively released you from all pledges, and is owed nothing but wrath.

Arthur said...

"...Snowden is the worst kind of scum, a traitor..."

Traitor to *WHAT* exactly? you can't just be a traitor, you must betray something.

So, did he betray his oath to the constitution? What constitution?

The American people? Please.

A mafia thug who exposes his boss might not be an angel, but even scumbags can inadvertently do the world a ton of good by just trying to save their own necks.

R.K. Brumbelow said...

@Arthur His Oath, The US Constitution, and the Rule of Law

R.K. Brumbelow said...
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