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Communications Encryption Government Privacy United States

Ask Slashdot: What Will It Take To End Mass Surveillance? 239

Nicola Hahn writes: Both the White House and the U.S. Intelligence Community have recently announced reforms to surveillance programs sanctioned under Section 215 of the Patriot Act and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But do these reforms represent significant restructuring or are they just bureaucratic gestures intended to create the perception that officials are responding to public pressure?

The Executive's own Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has written up an assessment (PDF) of reform measures implemented by the government. For those who want a quick summary the Board published a fact sheet (PDF) which includes a table listing recommendations made by the board almost a year ago and corresponding reforms. The fact sheet reveals that the Board's mandate to "end the NSA's bulk telephone records program" has not been implemented.

In other words, the physical infrastructure of the NSA's global panopticon is still in place. In fact, it's growing larger (PDF). So despite all of the press statements and associated media buzz very little has changed. There are people who view this as an unsettling indication of where society is headed. Ed Snowden claimed that he wanted to "trigger" a debate, but is that really enough? What will it take to tear down Big Brother?
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Ask Slashdot: What Will It Take To End Mass Surveillance?

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  • by bistromath007 ( 1253428 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2015 @01:07AM (#49023337)
    n/t
    • by thesupraman ( 179040 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2015 @01:39AM (#49023447)

      The ONE think they fear is effective encryption.

      It is a sad situation, because that will also get in the way of legitimate (and yes, it can exist) investigation, however that is the arms race they are forcing you in to.
      NOT encryption-when-you-have-something-to-hide, but encryption of EVERYTHING, as standard operating principle.

      Right now exception is a nice bold flag to them that you should be monitored, however if even 20% of the population are regularly using it, that no longer works.

      We are starting to see some very small movements in the encryption systems to escape from the over-complex not interoperable situation they let themselves
      be pushed in to, and THAT is a big part of the problem, but some people now get it, and in a few years we may well have a much better choice in the area of
      easy to use, interoperable, and open enough to be trustable encryption systems... and then the monitoring will work much less.

      They will of course still see who is 'communicating' with who for some forms of link, that will be the next step.. protect the content first.

      Like many things, the governments stupidity is going to make sensible law enforcement more difficult.
      Go USA! and all that.. sigh.

      • by TiggertheMad ( 556308 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2015 @02:05AM (#49023539) Homepage Journal
        Wide spread, end to end encryption would need to be implemented. In order to do that, you need one or two major providers to start advertising that they are completely encrypted, and that the competition is just handing your data to the government. That's one hell of a marketing 2x4 that the NSA is giving away for free to the first company to wants to step up and claim it.

        "The Banana Computer Corporation is proud to announce that our platform is completely encrypted from end to end, and will protect you and your loved ones from digital threats such as Eastern European Identity thieves, illegal government spying, and other data theft. And what about the other companies? They can't be bothered to protect your loved ones (shows cute little child playing ABC game on smart phone, with a superimposed image of what looks like a leering pedophile hacker Nazi rapist frantically typing to steal your data) so why give them your business? Switch to Banana Computer to protect your family today.

        Its like ten million new free subscribers to the first company to encrypt and give the NSA the finger, I am puzzled why nobody is pursuing this...
        • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2015 @02:29AM (#49023613) Homepage Journal

          Wide spread, end to end encryption would need to be implemented.

          Nice in theory. Not so much in practice. With crypto, the devil's in the details. Here are just a few of the hard problems:

          • Initial key exchange: How do you know whether that public key really belongs to the person you want to talk to? Physical exchange of a key? Key signature? Web of trust? Or just trust a service provider and hope for the best?
          • Key updates: Periodically, you'll need to upgrade to a longer key and a new cert. How do things work during that interim period?
          • Expired certs: At some point, those keys are going to be crackable. How long do you trust the expired certs for messages that have already been received?
          • Key revocation: How do handle it in a way that ensures that it can't be readily blocked without also blocking the main data channel?
          • Key revocation: How do you handle the inevitable situation where someone's device dies and they don't have a copy of the original key at all?
          • Key storage: What sort of protection is in place to minimize the risk of the key leaking?
          • New devices: How do you migrate the key to new devices securely?
          • Ability to audit: How do you know that things really are being encrypted end-to-end? What about after the software gets updated?

          If it were easy to do it properly, end-to-end crypto would be ubiquitous.

          • And the low tech problems:

            - Lost passwords:
            user encrypts everything. user lose key/password. user is locked out of encrypted data.
            Today, with the help of some hacking (e.g.: wiring a vintage floppy reader) you can access any old data that you dig up from your basement. 25 year from now, you won't necessary be able to find the credential you might need to access data that you encrypted today. And no hardware hacking will help much (unless by that point quantum computing has progressed to the point where rigg

            • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

              None of the tech solutions bear any relationship to reality. What will it take to end mass surveillance, the elimination of corrupt politician because that is what mass surveillance is really all about. Getting dirt on every politician and potential politician as well as people of influence and this includes their families. The surveillance agencies and their controllers are all about gaining power for themselves via the control of corrupt individuals who wish to keep secret what mass surveillance has uncov

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

            Commercial VPN providers have largely solved those problems. They are not perfect, but we do know that they cause significant costs and delays for people doing illegal bulk surveillance, so are worth using. An ISP could partner with one of these companies, preferably one with an end-point in a different legal jurisdiction, and bundle it with their service.

        • "That's one hell of a marketing 2x4 that the NSA is giving away for free"

          I'm not so sure about that. To you, me and most of the people here on Slashdot I'm sure that would be a great marketing move. However, the other side has plenty of shills in the media. I can see them painting our new favorite company as enabling terrorists in the media. I don't have much faith in the population to see through that BS.

      • Right now exception[sic] is a nice bold flag to them that you should be monitored...

        I personally don't care, as I believe that to be FUD. However If it is true, then my response would be that it doesn't matter, as your data is protected. Anyone is free to monitor it all they like.

        There will always be bad actors scooping up as much data as they possibly can whether the data is encrypted or not. Use strong encryption for everything all the time and it obviates a whole slew of security concerns.

      • The ONE think they fear is effective encryption.

        Yeah. It's soooo tough to, just for example, go grab the information at Apple servers directly after Apple announces end to end encryption. They already know where to get the information in the clear, and that's assuming they don't already have a secret court order compelling Apple to turn that information over. They don't -say- it's safe from oversight, just that it's encrypted in transit.

        The public noise about encryption is more likely a ruse to get people to keep putting information in the cloud where i

        • You're correct, of course. But such a tiny portion of the population understands all of this and applies it that it's almost totally useless. If ten thousand people in a city of a million - and that's probably being generous - don't use public email hosting and encrypt all of their internet traffic with a VPN or something similar as a matter of routine, the NSA can just keep tabs on those ten thousand.

          What we need to do is build tools and services that make hosting your own information and encrypting
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        FALSE!!! The answer is not encryption because they will simply ban encryption. The TRUE answer is YOU engaging in direct POLITICAL action to bring the laws and candidates YOU want into place. Then you can encrypt all you want forever. You can even outlaw wiretaps.

        • FALSE!!! The answer is not encryption because they will simply ban encryption. The TRUE answer is YOU engaging in direct POLITICAL action to bring the laws and candidates YOU want into place. Then you can encrypt all you want forever. You can even outlaw wiretaps.

          The answer is not political action with candidates, because the people *don't care*.

          The answer is getting people to care.

          That means schools and media campaigns, and exposing abuses of the system. Right now the system works in secret, so misuses of it don't come to light much, but I doubt very much there are none. You're handing a bunch of well-meaning people something of a ring of power--a way to invisibly steal into everyone's life. Some of them are going to misuse that power, most trivially with simple

          • by rvw ( 755107 )

            FALSE!!! The answer is not encryption because they will simply ban encryption. The TRUE answer is YOU engaging in direct POLITICAL action to bring the laws and candidates YOU want into place. Then you can encrypt all you want forever. You can even outlaw wiretaps.

            The answer is not political action with candidates, because the people *don't care*.

            The answer is getting people to care.

            That means schools and media campaigns, and exposing abuses of the system.

            Spot on! But who is going to pay for those campaigns?

      • Start with attaching an encrypted picture of a cat to every email...

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        Encryption is not enough. It will stop what you say, not who you tolk to and when. It also does not stop telling where I am.

        Big brother is here. We can stop being paranoid, because we know we are being followed.

        The people with the alu foil hats were right and it is even worse then what ,ost of them thought.

      • Correct, encryption is essential. We need to get better at it too as shown by recent leaks. The unfortunate truth is though the bad guys have got way too good at signals intelligence. If they aren't screwing you by asking companies very nicely for your data, they are taking it through secret court orders, and if that fails, hell there is always the cable taps, oh, and the majority of our encryption is broken. Using a VPN/Tor/whatever? Yeap, we are interested in breaking that too.

        It's going to be a slow may

      • Oh yeah ENCRYPTION that's the ticket! It's the answer because... we think encryption is cool and we like to talk about it. The extra cycles and massive overhead of it fit so well into our every day lifestyle, social conventions and habits already, it will be easy as butter to bread.

        Whenever the subject turns to Civil Liberties, privacy and especially Freedom of Association, and I hear CRITTERS MADE OF FUCKING MEAT flapping and squealing and wheezing about encryption being a solution, I wonder, have they rea

      • You really don't think Intel / AMD / Broadcom / et al have TLA-mandated backdoors, Pollyanna?
      • Bingo. Mass surveillance will never end as it has existed for as long as surveilance was possible. New technology just extended the reach.

        It is defence against surveilance that will make a difference, encryption as you suggest. This is similar to physical force. There was never a defense against attacks with bare hands, clubs or swords other than being able to fight back. It wasn't until guns allowed people without physical strength to effectively fight back that it was no longer just who had the best
      • The ONE think they fear is effective encryption.

        It is a sad situation, because that will also get in the way of legitimate (and yes, it can exist) investigation, however that is the arms race they are forcing you in to.
        NOT encryption-when-you-have-something-to-hide, but encryption of EVERYTHING, as standard operating principle.

        So my connection to my bank is encrypted? So what? They have access to my bank statements by just asking the banks.
        The little key fobs that stores give out that give you discounts are tracking all your purchases even if you pay in cash.
        Encryption is worthless when the endpoints are compromising. Your cell phone company knows where you are at all time
        and shares this information with the highest bidder. The only way to stop being tracking is to give up your credit card and your
        cell phone which no signific

      • No, this is a political problem and needs a political solution. You will never solve it with technology because Big Brother has more technology, near-limitless cash, and very smart people working 24/7 to spy on whatever you do, using any and all means, legal or not. If they can buy your information from private companies that collect data on people, they will. If they can ask for it and have it handed to them, they will. If they can threaten a company with an NSL or secret warrant, they will. If they can't

    • We should have a vote. Mine is Soylent Green or Planet of the Apes.

  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2015 @01:09AM (#49023349)

    An all out revolt is probably the only way this will change at this point. Society has been on a downward spiral for a while now. Historically the only way to recover was lots of bloodshed. People in power never want to relinquish power or money, which is essence is what the mass surveillance is all about. Squashing descent, getting a leg up on any one selling things you want to sell, putting competition out of business, etc..

    • after the revolution, you could basically use the same paperwork we used some 200+ years ago ;)

      except, update it to reflect the electronic age. keep the general ideas, though.

      and enforce THAT and stop the feature-creep!

      any system of laws that expands past a wall (like in a lawyer's office) is already too big. start small, put time-limits on everything and re-evaluate each one as its about to expire.

      this is what to do after the revolution. I'm not sure what to do from now until then, though..

      • by s.petry ( 762400 )

        The Constitution and Bill of Rights is in my opinion beautifully written with the exception of claiming some people are not full people. Take away that wording and it's worth trying again in just about identical fashion.

        The unfortunate side is that History is cyclical because no matter how good the design people corrupt the system for gain. So in a few hundred years we will be back to the same point again.

        • Do you understand why "some people are not full people" in the Constitution?

          • by s.petry ( 762400 )
            I sure do, but I have no confidence you understand my use of the term 'beautiful'. When in doubt ask questions instead of being supercilious.
            • You must not have realized that I did ask a question.

              And in counterpoint, I have no confidence in your understanding of the section under discussion. As the other response to my post shows, even well educated people misunderstand its meaning. Why should I assume you have not?

              Specifically, it would seem that if that is the only part of the Constitution that displeases you, you do misunderstand it.

              • by s.petry ( 762400 )

                Sure, you asked a question. Is Banana?

                See how that works? My question comes off as rude because I'm not asking for clarification on your statements. You did not apologize for your arrogance, you attempted to excuse it and deflect it. Thank you for the wonderful demonstration of your personality.

      • Lots of people want to mock the Constitution and claim that "it failed to stop oppressive government!". What they're ignoring though is that rules always mean nothing if people don't uphold them and Americans have grown incredibly lazy and allow politicians to do pretty much whatever they want without any consequences.
      • except, update it to reflect the electronic age. keep the general ideas, though.

        and enforce THAT and stop the feature-creep!

        JHFC, how many times do we have to do the same experiment before people will believe that a government, based on a monopoly on violence [youtube.com], will always end in abuse of the People. By definition, at its very core, inevitably, every single time it's been tried.

        We have nearly three hundred years of political, social, scientific, philosophical, psychological, and mathematical (e.g. game theo

    • by dnavid ( 2842431 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2015 @02:00AM (#49023525)

      An all out revolt is probably the only way this will change at this point. Society has been on a downward spiral for a while now. Historically the only way to recover was lots of bloodshed. People in power never want to relinquish power or money, which is essence is what the mass surveillance is all about. Squashing descent, getting a leg up on any one selling things you want to sell, putting competition out of business, etc..

      Its easy to paint the situation as the masses being dominated by the people in power but the truth is that a revolt is unlikely to work for the simple reason that the average person really isn't just a passive observer; they really want much of what they claim they don't want. In terms of the specifics, its easy to claim that one doesn't want mass surveillance but that's just a symptom of a more fundamental truth. The truth is that given the choice presented to the people in power, most people would choose the same thing: namely given a choice between using every means at one's disposal to stop terrorism or not, most people would in fact choose to use every means at one's disposal, even if it infringed on personal freedom.

      And the reason why a revolt is unlikely is the same reason why the Occupy Movement didn't generate lasting results in the same way many other movements did. Revolutions require people willing to do whatever it takes to achieve a result, often without the kinds of compromise that people normally engage in. A revolution to stop people from doing whatever it takes to achieve a goal is difficult to achieve when backed only by people unwilling to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal.

      George Washington famously assumed enormous military, and thus political power when he became the leader of the Continental Army, and his hands were not entirely clean when wielding it. But without him, there probably is no revolution that survives. When the war was over he surrendered that power by resigning his commission. The number of people both willing and able to exercise such vast power to achieve an end which results in surrendering that power entirely (even if only temporarily) is exceedingly small. Most people willing to do the latter have no capacity to do the former and vice versa.

      To put it another way, what you need is a leader willing to say "I would rather see Americans die than surrender their freedom" that is also so popular he isn't immediately driven out of the country by pitchforks the next day, and can convince the average American (or for that matter any other citizen of any other country) to accept those values. Until such a person arrives, all revolutions to change the situation will fail, because none will genuinely have the support of the people.

      Someone will probably come along and say that's a false choice, but that's missing the point. The point is that is the general perception: you either have the values that say "do everything you possibly can, pushing the envelope as far as you can" or you don't. If you don't, someone will always come along and say they would do more, and they would be correct, and because there's no way to prove it with certainty you'd always take the blame for the next person killed. That's just reality. You did everything possible, or you didn't. Leaders don't want to say they didn't, and citizens don't want excuses for why they didn't. That needs to change somehow, but most people I think don't really want that to change, deep down.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You do realize that the "War on Terrorism" is just creating more targets every day it persists, right? That if we actually grew a pair and cut Israel off from all the aid we give them (in spite of the horrific things they've done to the Palestinians) and stopped invading countries for our own benefit and not theirs we'd have a lot less international terrorism and could focus on the domestic terrorism (gangs, whacko militias and such) that really needs to get cleaned up in our own house.

        The only people to bl

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You do realize that the "War on Terrorism" is just creating more targets every day it persists, right?

          I hear guys and gals working military hardware production have caught on. Hard to say who else knows about this little secret.

          That if we actually grew a pair and cut Israel off from all the aid

          We can't do that... with signage around town reading "Support Israel" ... cutting them off isn't supporting them.

          in spite of the horrific things they've done to the Palestinians

          So they routinely kill more Palestinians in a single hour of shelling than a decade of "rocket attacks from Gaza" ... this isn't a bad thing...they are only defending themselves... only anti-Semites would think Israel is bad for killing people intentionally kept poor and

      • by fnj ( 64210 )

        the masses ... average person ... they really want

        This may be seen as quibbling, but I really don't believe there is any substance in attributing motivations and aspirations to masses of people or some statistical "average person" - except insofar as a mass of people may be organized to an agenda. Different people want different things to different degrees. Statistically you can posit that there is critical mass for certain changes and not for others. National elections are a good example of statistical con

        • by dnavid ( 2842431 )

          Be that as it may ... I submit a specific alternate to your postulate that a leader willing to put large forces under arms in harm's way is the only method to effect fundamental change. The alternate is a new Gandhi. The general principle worked well enough for Martin Luther King, Jr. This is not say we won't get our hair mussed a bit, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a 1775 style revolution with cannons mowing down rows of sons and would-be masters.

          I never said or implied that change required armed forces. What I said was it required someone willing to stick to their principles without compromising them even if it meant people had to die. Gandhi was in fact one such leader who preached non-violence to such an extent he told his own supporters they needed to be willing to die non-violently rather than kill or fight back to convince the British that they would never be able to break their resolve. That is entirely analogous to what I mentioned above

    • by shadowofwind ( 1209890 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2015 @02:27AM (#49023609)

      As I read it, things usually get better during long periods of difficult reform, but worse after a revolution. Sometimes when the balance between big powers changes there are opportunities for small nations to reassert their independence from an external tyrant, but that isn't a revolution in the same sense.

      The 1917 Russian revolution would be an example of things getting worse after a revolution. The French revolution results were more mixed, but some things got a lot worse for a while, and its debatable how much the revolution itself really helped. The 1989 Polish revolution would be an example of escaping from an external oppressor, where things got better because the society was already capable of supporting a much better order than had been imposed from without.

      The problem with revolutions, is that the a corrupt society is usually corrupt at more than just the top level - the people who abuse power at the top are able to do that in large part because of the corruption of those below them. When they are overthrown violently, even worse elements are commonly able to take advantage of the breakdown in civil institutions.

      I'm not defending the people at the top - I hate the 1%. And I'm not against violence where it makes sense. But if people had what it takes to make things better after overthrowing their moneyed overlords violently, in most places they have what it takes to do it better without the violence. We have a lot of power already. If we don't use it because we're lazy or busy or brainwashed, a revolution isn't going to help with that.

    • by Kirth ( 183 )

      A massive change in opinions regarding the core subject.

      Slavery was deemed acceptable for a long time.

      Surveillance still is. What's needed is that surveillance gets ostracized, by a large amount of people. So it becomes impossible to get elected as a surveillance-proponent.

  • by ebusinessmedia1 ( 561777 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2015 @01:11AM (#49023363)

    In an open society, the only solution to protecting oneself against mass surveillance is to permit anyone who has been surveilled by the system to enter the system, on demand, and ask when , why, for how long, and for reasons one has been surveilled. The Key problem yet tobe solved (it may be unsolvable) is how to limit access to the open system by those persons who are truly a danger to society.

    Mass surveillance WILL become universal, because just a few people can cause havoc -especially as those persons become more able to access deadly weapons of mass destruction. If we don't solve this problem, mass surveillance WILL be abused and used as a means of control, rather than a means of protection.

    • The answer is not to restore darkness so we won't be prey to those who can see clearly as we stumble about, but to bring everyone together into the light.

      • Pffft. the solution is simple. Shine the light on the politicians. Organize a group of people to start following around all of congress and the senate, paparazzi style, and record everything they do, and post everything. Record whats in their trash, which stall they took a dump in at the mall, what they buy at the grocery store and how much they pay for gas at the gas station. Follow them with video cameras rolling constantly.

        A week of that and you will get some nice strong privacy laws.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      In an open society, the only solution to protecting oneself against mass surveillance is to permit anyone who has been surveilled by the system to enter the system, on demand, and ask when , why, for how long, and for reasons one has been surveilled.

      And what will that give you? We're watching everyone, all the time, looking for terrorists or such. That's the whole point of this bulk surveillance program, they don't need to target it. They don't need an excuse for why they're looking at you. They aren't particularly looking at you. What do you want, every query they've run on the data to check for any suspicious pattern that's hit you? Everybody's probably given some kind of risk score.

    • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Tuesday February 10, 2015 @01:47AM (#49023473) Homepage Journal

      Eh, surveillance is a problem only because it creates an imbalance of power between the people who have information and those who do not. There are a few approaches that could create some sort of balance.

      1. Full transparency. With enough technological progress, eventually everyone will have universal access to essentially a God's eye view of everything that ever happens. Anyone would be able to reconstruct and playback a 3D model of any past event, perhaps even including the neural impulses in your brain and interpret your thoughts. This makes it impossible to lie or conceal things, and you can see everyone's actions and decisions simply as manifestations of their life's experiences.

      2. Legislated opacity. Everyone is guaranteed the right to privacy. But no one knows if anyone is secretly spying. Unless we secretly spy on them. If we openly spy on those in power, they'll just figure out how to hide their spying better. So maybe we need two competing government agencies always spying on each other, ready to go to the press if they find some misconduct on the other side. Oh wait, that sorta sounds like what we have.

      So if there's any mass surveillance that goes on, we ought to make sure it applies to those holding power in public office first. But if we really manage to achieve that, we'll see them legislating surveillance out immediately.

  • The surveillance has gotten so massive, I can honestly say I don't really care at this point.

    Being able to understand the technical implications, and yet still not really caring - how can you possibly make any headway?

    I would wish you good luck but it would be disingenuous.

    The good news is that as the government surveils us, so now we surveil them - with a constant flow of leaks from within, with cameras on every citizen 24x7. That's why none of this really matters.

  • Public support (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2015 @01:26AM (#49023401) Homepage

    It would take a swing in public opinion such that the people overwhelmingly demand that it be dismantled (and vote accordingly).

    Of course, that would require that the public is willing to accept that some acts of terrorism will probably occur that might (at least theoretically) have been prevented via mass surveillance.

    Given that, I'm guessing it isn't too likely. (and even if it was dismantled, it would all be brought back by popular demand shortly after the next Very Bad Thing happened)

    • I wish that swing in public opinion was feasible. I fear it isn't. But I have hope.

      That's why i mention the two parties in my sig. They are far enough from the center that both want this to stop. Maybe they could make it happen, if given a chance.

      • I wish that swing in public opinion was feasible. I fear it isn't. But I have hope.

        Look no further than the NRA to find a lobby that politicians are scared of. Congress was unable to enact gun control legislation even after the horrific Sandy Hill shootings. We need a privacy lobby that strong.

        What gets me is that a lot more Americans are killed by guns than in terrorist attacks, but that's America for ya.

      • by fnj ( 64210 )

        I like and respect thinking, and I like and respect trying to solve intractable problems. However ...

        The suggestion in your signature fails to recognize the way things are structured. The Vice President has no power whatsoever; in fact no FUNCTION whatever save to attend state funerals and dinners, break exact ties in the Senate, and wait for something to happen to the President. There is close to a 100% guarantee that a sitting Vice President will never be elected President.

        The only thing that tapping some

        • Think about the situation a bit deeper.

          Obviously the Libertarian Party wouldn't accept this if their only contribution was a "bodyguard". It would be a coalition government, similar to how other countries' Parliaments occasionally have. There would be Cabinet positions chosen by Green Party officials, and Cabinet positions chosen by Libertarian Party officials. Whether it is random or specifically decided which party chooses which position would be up to them. E.g., it could be like boys picking two basebal

  • Standing on the Soap Box didn't work and the use of the Ballot Box has been corrupted by gerrymandering and at this point blatant bribery. The only question now is whether the people will have a chance to sit in the Jury Box or if they will be forced to turn to the last resort of all defenses of liberty, the Ammo Box.

  • In the ideograms of Laotzu -- "Do nothing. That way everything will get done."

    The Soviet-style surveillance state was disassembled when the Soviet Union imploded. This was due to various causes, including but not limited to a rising consumerist demand with a resulting balance-of-payment deficit, the cost of military "defense" against capitalism, mismanagement, corruption in high and low places, a failing currency and fiscal policy, and cynicism of the populace with respect to government's inability to pla

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      +1 for this. Divest from the tame brands that fooled generations with junk encryption.
      Teach about the one time pad, number stations and other good encryption that works.
      The whistleblowers over the decades have offered insights into how the telco networks work and how weak encryption standards are kept in place for generations.
      "So long as the tame brands pretend to encrypt for us, we will pretend to communicate."
      Get creative with local political issues and long emails to the local press. Fill the text
  • Info exhaust. You can take down big brother by creating info exhaust. Run bots accessing random web sites, generate other kinds of random traffic. Lie to corporate BB. Overwhelm their ability to gather and analyze. .
    • by DrEasy ( 559739 )
      Maybe the bad guys will do that to cover their tracks and in doing so help protect the privacy of the average Joe as well? That would be ironic, at least as far as Alanis is concerned.
  • super rich and powerful. If it ever does.

  • With all the snoops and thieves out there who aren't from the government, you should be encrypting everything of importance regardless of what happens to the government agencies.

    With encryption, the only thing the goobernmint can collect is what they claim is all they want: identification of the end points.

    Encryption forces them to approach the provider of the service with a valid warrant in their jurisdiction in order to obtain the data you've transmitted.

    Of course with US vs. Microsoft, it's clear

  • The limits on surveillance — both by fellow citizens and the government(s) — have never really been laws of men, but those of nature.

    How well can a human being see? With nice lenses? With a bunch of cameras? With a high-flying drone?

    How much could a human being remember? How much can he record on a piece of papyrus? A bound book? A magnetic tape? A computer?

    Our inventions expand our powers. We use them — and abuse them too.

    You may be able to push back on some fronts — like forcin

  • I don't think that they do. Universal surveillance can be valuable for all sorts of things. Used correctly it can almost eliminate crime (except of course crimes committed by the entity that controls the surveillance).

    So far it seems that the public is willing to accept almost unlimited surveillance. They may know that its a deal with the devil,but many people are willing to make those deals.

    I think Slashdot is not a representative sample - the posters here tend to think more deeply about issues than does

    • The public would never have come up with (or voted for) The Bill of Rights on it's own. People are assholes.

      So now technology has outpaced freedom. And, mostly, people will day "yay! Those annoying other people will get theirs!"

  • I have no idea... but I'm sure it's a subject we will all be watching closely.

  • An excellent place to start would be to look to see what stopped Senator Joseph McCarthy and the equally insane House Un-American Activities Committee. Senator Joseph McCarthy couldn't have shown much better that people like him exist and the system shouldn't exist that enables them. The present day NSA insanity is a Senator Joseph McCarthy wet dream. He had to claw and scrape for the pittance of data he had which the NSA would now laugh at as a joke as they probably gather more data in millionths of a seco
    • Apparently none of the McCarthy apologists on /. have read or seen your post. You would be surprised how many there are. They would love to point out to you how there really were commies around every water cooler in government, and that all the evil McCarthy did was worth it to ferret out such an abomination.
  • ...they've already tasted the power, and they want more.

    It begins with your online accounts, back-door access to the data systems you know and "trust" (Yahoo, GMail, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), extending on to IoT monitoring (XBox Kinect sending your data to Microsoft nightly? Samsung TVs recording your room and sharing it with third parties?), license plate cameras everywhere, mailbox RFID monitoring, Stinger cells and much more.

    Nay, the only thing that will stop Mass Surveillance at this point, is two words

  • Like WW3 or fascism for a few decades. Unless mass-surveillance is made "unthinkable", it will continue. But do not worry, the governments of the world, lead by the US, are hard at work to arrange that decades of fascism. When humanity comes out of them, things will look a bit different.

  • The US citizens are afraid of so many things including Islam, terror, their neighbors, bees, black people, etc. Then stop electing those people. Why the fuck are you either elect crazy republicans which would first shoot and never ask, or the democrats who occasionally ask but also make politics for wall street combind d with gunboat diplomancy.

  • The Big Reveal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cowtamer ( 311087 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2015 @04:01AM (#49023909) Journal

    This is coming. I don't want it to come, and neither do you.

    But one day, there will be such a security breach that regular people for whom monitoring happens to other people will find every phone call they've made, every email/text/IM they've sent, every street camera picture that's been taken of them, every URL they've visited, and every nude airport scan available for searching, downloading, and scrutinizing going back at least a decade.

    Some will find surprisingly more.

    This will hurt you, me, the super-paranoid dude with the encrypted hard drive, the boring grandma, and the powerful politician.

    After the dust settles from the several million ruined marriages, the inevitable political scandals, and the rampant identity theft, things will change. For a while.

    New politicians will get elected. Privacy laws will be enacted. Watchers will be appointed to watch the other watchers. Whatever government surveillance exists will go further underground. Everyone will encrypt everything.

    And then people will relax and thighs will go back to some version of what we have now.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Yes all the paper files and audio tapes in the archives of Central and Eastern Europe from the early1990's should be a warning from history.
      The West likes to collect too ;)
  • Mass surveillance isn't always a bad thing: it's only bad if the means to surveil is restricted to a privileged class. What if the mass surveillance is ubiquitous, where the means to surveil is available to anyone with motive? In such a modified world of mass surveillance, there are strong potential benefits that can emerge, not universally bad ones. We can already see some of the benefits of such a shift in the ability of citizens to use mobile devices to surveil public police misbehavior. Now imagine

  • http://tweakers.net/nieuws/101... [tweakers.net]
    Totally going in the wrong direction.
    There's an upcoming vote, but it only affects provincial government. Although they can stop this from happening it's questionable that they will.
  • It will take a reboot of the universe.

  • by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2015 @08:06AM (#49024645)
    When the penal system overflows and we simply can not afford to arrest one more person they might as well stop spying. At some point we will be able to discover multiple thousands of felonies ever day. I suspect we already have reached the saturation point for arresting the multitudes. We might even become so wise as to see clearly that the justice system is actually creating crime these days. Somehow locking criminals up with other criminals simply does not make them all better people.
  • The 4th and 5th amendments are not enough to assure personal freedom from search in the digital & wireless age. Only an amendment to the constitution that spells out this freedom can prevent it's continued abuse.

    We must decide how much freedom we want to give up in order for law enforcement to investigate / prevent terrorism. We could draw a line between the enforcement agencies, preventing trickle down of personal info that is unrelated to terrorism. Or we could outlaw the gathering of this info ent

    • The 4th and 5th amendments are not enough to assure personal freedom from search in the digital & wireless age. Only an amendment to the constitution that spells out this freedom can prevent it's continued abuse.

      So what you're saying is that the federal government refuses to abide by the Constitution. Okay, I agree that is what they do. Your argument is that we will get them to stop breaking the rules by making a rule that says that they can't break the rules?

      The federal government has been wiping its ass with the Constitution ever since FDR. Trying to constrain or restrain the federal government via written law is a fool's errand.

  • It will take civil war and/or an successful invasion, I suspect.

    And in the final tally, the lives lost will not have been worth it an interruption the the surveillance state.

    And since the technology is likely to still exist after the bloodshed, it won't take long at all to set up a new surveillance state.

  • "Sir, we caught a bunch of our webcam surveillance employees passing around a certain video and...this is embarrassing, but it apparently got out on the internet too."

    "What webcam was this video from?"

    "Well, you see, that's the really bad part...."

  • People can't even be bothered to generate and exchange PGP keys with their own friends and family, and then someone talks as though those same people might be willing to vote or revolt.

    That's not laymen I'm talking about (they care even less); that's self-labeled geeks/nerds. Slashdot doesn't care enough, for it to ever get to a point as extreme as voting.

    • -----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE----- Version: GnuPG v1 jA0EAwMC7Sj+gcIakXhg0lsB8wjdE8egnjsyig+PMKYs5te5bogKO881RmGG6Vi1 f7loknsWFdCth4Me5kj3TjHRtGdPxcuaafkOrob5j8Euz4eD35kSWXAt/QP6Wsdf cQOKa4sOP6SHqtkC =E1Ce -----END PGP MESSAGE----- What is this PGP you speak of, my good man? I have a key and sign all my e-mail, but it is extremely rare for me to even recieve a signed e-mail, other than a few mailing lists. I think I can count the number of times I've actually encrypted a message to someone other than myself f
  • by cadeon ( 977561 )

    Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered with "No."

    Mass surveillance won't end. We have a new era of existence now, and that era includes easy access to anything you've ever communicated.

    The thing we'll need to keep in check is how the information collected is used, which is part of the reason why personal right and acceptance of others is so important.

  • A sufficient Coronal Mass Ejection / EMP event, similar to or greater than the Solar Storm of 1859 [wikipedia.org] could disable the electrical and digital means of surveillance, except for maybe those who live near 10-15 degrees of the equator.

    The way I see it, unless something like that happens, which essentially means bringing modern 21st century civilization down, nothing is going to change. It really is only a matter of time until ubiquitous and omniscient surveillance happens, probably sometime in the next 20-30
  • By and large, the public does not care. They certainly do not care enough to do anything about it.

    If people really cared, it would take self sacrifice. People would have to refuse to go to work, for weeks, if not months. We would have to stop working long enough to really throw a wrench into the system. Not only that, we would have to some how convince others not to take our jobs while we are out there doing whatever it is we would do when we were proving to the government that we are not there to perpe

  • With cameras, phone tabs, smart phone monitoring, and computer monitoring.

    Seriously. Let's turn it around. Make sure the watchers are watched, from the lowliest policemen to the president of the USA. I'd be in favor of monitoring all corporate transactions too, and banning cash or otherwise untraceable transactions for corporations.

    In a democracy, citizens need privacy. As a society, we can't afford to have it for politicians or corporations.

  • by ikhider ( 2837593 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @01:07AM (#49026857)
    The USA was the pinacle for all e-business, from e-mail to hosting to operating systems. With the snowden revelations and Wikileaks, people are now wising up to the inherent issues of digital hegemony. Now other countries host their own e-mails and websites, new methods of payment are cultivated (like Bitcoin), and non-US variants of operating systems are also getting developed. Once the US is no longer the only game in town and people have other options, then it will no longer matter how draconian the US wants to get. Sure, the US is powerful, but I see other places getting savvy about tech so that en masse, or as a collective, they can slow down the imperial hegemony and her 'five eyes'. I used to do all my e-business with the US, as they were the only game in town. Now, I can (and do) go elsewhere! So if America continues to behave this way, people will simply look for or create alternatives. The schoolyard bully can only dominate for so long. The age of empire is over.
  • by Reziac ( 43301 ) * on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @02:50AM (#49027097) Homepage Journal

    All it takes is surveillance of the Mighty. Congress, President, every police department and enforcement agency, and don't forget the IRS.

    Their laundry is a lot dirtier than ours.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary saftey deserve neither liberty not saftey." -- Benjamin Franklin, 1759

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