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BLOG: Pro-privacy folks likened to digital al-Qaida; feds want to 'blind' hackers

Network World | Aug. 12, 2013
The world is increasingly more dangerous for hackers and privacy advocates; the FBI allegedly would rather teach hackers a lesson, “blind them,” than hire them, and pro-privacy Snowden supporters have been likened to a digital al-Qaida.

Hayden summed up Snowden supporters as "folks who are very committed to transparency and global transparency and the global web, kind of ungoverned and free." He added, "I'm just trying to illustrate that you've got a group of people out there who make demands, whose demands may not be satisfiable, may not be rational, from other points of view, may not be the kinds of things that government can accommodate."

Clearly the government can't accommodate people who want digital privacy or government transparency, but the NSA says, hey, don't worry about your electronic privacy because the agency only "touches about 1.6%" of the "1,826 petabytes" of data flowing through the Internet daily. The NSA wrote, "Put another way, if a standard basketball court represented the global collection would be represented by an area smaller than a dime on that basketball court."

But "you should care about privacy because if the data says you've done something wrong, then the person reading the data will interpret everything else you do through that light,"wrote journalist, activist and author Cory Doctorow. "You should care about dragnet surveillance because it gives cops bigger haystacks with proportionately fewer needles. What we seek is for the authorities to do their jobs well, not simply suck up all the data they can in the hopes that it will be useful, someday."

It's not what you say today about digital privacy; it's what years and years' worth of your opinions, tweets, and online comments might add up to. About a year ago, it was potentially a terrorist indicator. Last week, pro-privacy Snowden supporters are labeled as digital al-Qaida. What will it be in a year or two?

Jennifer Hoelzer, who formerly worked as deputy chief of staff for Ron Wyden, wrote:

I think it's awfully hard for the American people to trust the President and his administration when their best response to the concerns Americans are raising is to denigrate the Americans raising those concerns. Because, you see, I have a hard time understanding why my wanting to stand up for democratic principles makes me unpatriotic, while the ones calling themselves patriots seem to think so little of the people and the principles that comprise the country they purport to love.



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