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Discussion Starter #1
It’s funny, but the PRISM is much less of a divisive issue as I thought it would be. I’ve seen those on the right and the left that are completely okay with it. Then I’ve seen those on the right and the left who are outraged. I’m in the outraged column, but I’m not completely opposed to it. The technology exists, so you’re not going to put the Genie back in the bottle. But I’d sure like to see some truly meaningful controls to ensure it’s not abused. And when it’s abuses (and it will be), I want mandatory jail as a part of those controls.
 

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I'll do ya one better, Kevin... IF it's going to exist, I want its abuse treated as TREASON, right down to the Constitutionally prescribed penalty.

Frankly, I'd rather see NSA completely dismantled and its functions farmed out to more accountable agencies. Hell, I trust CIA more than them, and my usual bias is "the only good spook is a dead spook..." (Which I do admit there are exceptions to, like the fact that I consider disguise expert Antonio Mendez one of my heroes for a little rescue mission he put together in Iran.)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
After Enron and World Com they created Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) where publically traded companies had to put controls in place to ensure no fraud. Those controls involved separation of duties that made it very difficult to commit large scale fraud, and the company officers have to sign off on them, and can now go to jail if they are violated. If that’s good enough for public companies, then it’s good enough for the NSA…right up to the President. If there’s a law that says the president can do jail time for a PRISM abuse, then you can bet they’re going to make sure.
 

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I am not sure we know now, or will ever know, just exactly how deep the mining of information really is.

I fully understand the need to collect intelligence against persons who wish to do this country harm. But I also believe that NSA (or whatever alphabet organization is involved) needs to focus that intelligence gathering laser a bit more sharply.

Hell, if somebody listened to my phone calls or monitored my excursions on the web or what books I read and toilet paper I buy, they would be pretty damned bored. That doesn't mean I WANT them to.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am not sure we know now, or will ever know, just exactly how deep the mining of information really is.

I fully understand the need to collect intelligence against persons who wish to do this country harm. But I also believe that NSA (or whatever alphabet organization is involved) needs to focus that intelligence gathering laser a bit more sharply.

Hell, if somebody listened to my phone calls or monitored my excursions on the web or what books I read and toilet paper I buy, they would be pretty damned bored. That doesn't mean I WANT them to.
Agreed...I'd put them right to sleep; huge waste of time and money listening to me. But even if they were listening to what brand of toilet paper I buy, I'd want to get knee deep in their arse for listening in.
 

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The problem is after quietly gathering information over weeks, months and years... if your name ever does come up for something, they can go back and selectively mine a case for or against you, whatever supports their agenda at the time.

It brings to mind the 80s movie Absence of Malice, starring Paul Newman and Wilford Brimley, where the Paul Newman character manages to bring several people "down" by making a few carefully selected phone calls, and making a donation to someone's campaign, etc.
 

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The problem is after quietly gathering information over weeks, months and years... if your name ever does come up for something, they can go back and selectively mine a case for or against you, whatever supports their agenda at the time.

It brings to mind the 80s movie Absence of Malice, starring Paul Newman and Wilford Brimley, where the Paul Newman character manages to bring several people "down" by making a few carefully selected phone calls, and making a donation to someone's campaign, etc.
Oh, I fully agree that even absolutely innocuous information can be used against someone under the right circumstances (read "manipulation"). If I sounded flippant in my post, or that I wasn't concerned, that ain't the case. The old "power corrupts - absolute power corrupts absolutely" holds true for information. What the government has at it's fingertips can easily become a stranglehold. Look at the legacy of J. Edgar Hoover and his "secret files".

I just don't know what could possibly be put in place to absolutely assure us that (1) this will stop, and (2) it won't ever happen again. Black Ops are Black Ops. They can apologize, take their licking, and pull everything back to a deep dark hole and very few would ever be the wiser.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I just don't know what could possibly be put in place to absolutely assure us that (1) this will stop, and (2) it won't ever happen again. Black Ops are Black Ops. They can apologize, take their licking, and pull everything back to a deep dark hole and very few would ever be the wiser.
I think stopping it is just not going to happen, and probably not a real great idea. If we stop the US from doing it, then we're handicapping our intelligence operations because sooner or later China and Russia will have the same technology. What we need are processes to ensure that this system cannot be abused. Since I do a bit of process engineering in my current position, much around SOX controls for a publically traded company, I'm here to tell you it wouldn't be hard to do at all. Reasonable controls, that's all I ask…is that not reasonable?
 

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Very reasonable. And believe me, I know next to nothing about how computers, programs, servers etc REALLY operate. If there can be true limits set up, that another expert or experts can't get around, cool.

I just don't trust that those limits either will be followed or won't be compromised. Cynical old fart, that's me.:twisted:
 
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