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Snowden's main beef with the NSA

Would you like to know Edward Snowden’s main beef against the NSA? Here it is–in two points–as delivered during his live Q&A last Thursday. And, I must say, I wholeheartedly agree. Here’s the original question followed by Snowden’s response.

What’s the worst and most realistic harm from bulk collection of data?

"The first is the chilling effect, which is well-understood. Study after study has show that human behavior changes when we know we’re being watched. Under observation, we act less free, which means we effectively *are* less free.

The second, less understood but far more sinister effect of these classified programs, is that they effectively create “permanent records” of our daily activities, even in the absence of any wrongdoing on our part. This enables a capability called “retroactive investigation,” where once you come to the government’s attention, they’ve got a very complete record of your daily activity going back, under current law, often as far as five years. You might not remember where you went to dinner on June 12th 2009, but the government does..." - Edward Snowden

I would add that–in order to understand this second point–it’s essential to have a grasp of human nature throughout recorded history. See the Bible (The heart is deceitful above all things (Yes, your heart.), and desperately wicked: who can know it? – Jeremiah 17:9) and films by Alfred Hitchcock (Good people are quite capable of doing bad things.). If you still don’t get it–listen up Rep. Peter King–It’s not a question of if NSA metadata will be abused, it’s simply a question of when...


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Cyril's picture

The tragedy of this century.

This is pure common sense - still, excellently put - from Edward Snowden, and for whoever cares about History and is able to exercise their memory about it.

The tragedy is almost nobody does, in this 21st century... STILL.

For, still, too few men and women really dare choosing liberty vs. obedience to their master shepherds, on this planet.

The lie is still winning over men's hearts and brains.

Maybe mankind needs another 1,000 years before REALLY getting that clue.


"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Beefy post. I will add casserole. :D

My expanding on his second point will actually associate it back to his first. People change and grow. We would exercise no worthy concept of freedom otherwise. We are always improving, even morally. Fear is our greatest obstacle, however natural and even beneficial at times. Fear of our past activity being revealed as such presents a magnified and unnatural obstacle of distraction to our improvement as moral beings.

Moral economy is pot luck and not a function of debt currency...

It is daily common jubilee that bears a little fruit...