Monday, September 9, 2013

"The restrictions against this are policy based, not technically based"

OMG - the NSA can use your smartphone to spy on you! That's the latest revelation from the Snowden files anyway. But amidst all the scaremongering in the article comes this:
The material contains no indications of large-scale spying on smartphone users...
In other words, there's no indication that the NSA actually does use your smartphone to spy on you - but they could...technically!!!

This is a theme that runs through most of the Snowden revelations and its why I used a quote of his as the title for this piece. If you want to know what the NSA can do technically, these leaks have been a treasure trove of information. If you want to know what they actually do based on the policy proscriptions, not so much.

For those who are interested in informing themselves about the policies that limit this kind of thing, there hasn't been much reporting on that in the media. The only place that is happening is with the government's process of declassifying documents that outline those policies/procedures. But as long as the media ignore all that, the general public is simply left with the kind of hyperbole and distortion in the latest "revelation."


  1. Guess what, Snowden:

    The US Military could roll into an American city and round people up? The restrictions against this are policy based, not technically based.

    An American citizen could be arrested and held indefinitely without trial? The restrictions against this are policy based, not technically based.

    Meanwhile, American citizens are being searched and harassed for no reason except the color of their skin and their gender. The reason for this is policy based.

    Policy is how the work of government gets done. Snowden is snowdumb!

  2. Which to me means they'll give "I'm scared of the NSA" answers to pollsters, which allows for more hyperbole and scary headlines. Beyond that, the average person is still more concerned about paying their bills and educating their children and who is on American Idol. Football trumps NSA every single day except for these Libertarian bratpackers (AKA Russian Spy Ring™). And what we've learned is that isn't even their number one priority. Ultimately they're all a bunch of authoritarian anarchists who failed to escape adolescence. The only privacy they care about is their own. They're getting gigs on TV and lining their pocketbooks with this click bait and feeding their narcissism with the attention. For the most part, Americans have moved on. This is one of those times when the short attention span for anything other than sports is actually a bonus.