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NSA Reform And Resistance

Reforming the NSA. The President prepares to speak. The whole world is waiting to hear. We’ll go to Washington, Silicon Valley and beyond.

The cover story of the February 2014 issue of “WIRED” (shown here) focuses on how NSA push back nearly “killed” public trust in technology. (courtesy WIRED Magazine)

The cover story of the February 2014 issue of “WIRED” (shown here) focuses on how NSA push back nearly “killed” public trust in technology. (courtesy WIRED Magazine)

Tomorrow, President Barack Obama gives a speech he never wanted to make.  On reforming the National Security Agency – the NSA.  If it weren’t for the storm of revelations from super-leaker Edward Snowden, the NSA’s massive surveillance programs at home and abroad would probably just be rolling on.  But it’s all out there now.  Challenging the constitution.  Challenging Silicon Valley.  Challenging privacy and security.  This hour On Point:  reforming the NSA.  Plus, we’ll look at cheating and drugs in the Air Force officer corps responsible for launching America’s nuclear missiles.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Phil Stewart, Pentagon correspondent for Reuters. (@phildstewart)

Siobhan Gorman, terrorism, counter-terrorism and intelligence reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@Gorman_Siobhan)

Steven Levy, senior staffwriter for Wired. Author of “In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Lives” and “Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government Saving Privacy In the Digital Age.” (@StevenLevy)

From Tom’s Reading List

Wired: How The N.S.A. Almost Killed The Internet — “If the net were seen as a means of widespread surveillance, the resulting paranoia might affect the way people used it. Nations outraged at US intelligence-gathering practices used the disclosures to justify a push to require data generated in their countries to remain there, where it could not easily be hoovered by American spies. Implementing such a scheme could balkanize the web, destroying its open essence and dramatically raising the cost of doing business. Silicon Valley was reeling, collateral damage in the war on terror. And it was only going to get worse.”

The Wall Street Journal: Lawmakers Debate Overhauls to NSA Spying Programs — “The divide Tuesday on Capitol Hill—over just how far changes should go—raises the stakes for President Barack Obama as he prepares a Friday morning speech on his response to a domestic and international furor over disclosures by former NSA contractorEdward Snowden about U.S. surveillance practices. While Mr. Obama isn’t obligated to accept any of his review panel’s recommendations, its report has defined the range of potential changes. Mr. Obama now is in the position of accepting or rejecting each of the recommendations and explaining his decisions to sharply opposed camps.”

National Journal: NSA Unleashed, Obama Tells Public, ‘Trust Me’ — “Nearly six months ago, President Obama sought to temper outrage over the nation’s mushrooming surveillance programs by pledging new steps to balance privacy and safety. ‘It’s not enough for me, as president, to have confidence in these programs,’ he said. ‘The American people need to have confidence in them as well.’ In other words, no government, not even one led by a liberal constitutional lawyer, can shield bad policies with empty promises. It’s not enough to say, ‘Trust us,’ while curbing sacred liberties — and yet that still appears to be Obama’s position.”

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  • tbphkm33

    “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    There is no reform of the NSA. Reform is a falsity being peddled by the oligarchy to retain the power the NSA affords the establishment. Reality is that the NSA is an outgrowth of the military industrial complex. It is the cumulation of what President Eisenhower, former General, warned the world about in his outgoing speech. The NSA is an abomination to the founding documents that forms the legal framework of the United States of America.

    History is rife with examples of governmental entities that have ultimately undermined the authority of the state – most notably, the Stasi of East Germany and the KGB of the USSR ultimately played pivotal roles in undermining those states that are now resigned to the dustbin of history.

    The NSA is propagated by a contingent of petite megalomaniacs, mini Napoleons. Who guide a mini army of drones filled with false propaganda that they are the bulwark of the Union, that they themselves are the front lines of what keeps the USA strong.

    Nothing is further from the truth. The NSA threatens the very survivability of the Union. It hastens a false USA, a fascist leaning Union of corporate oligarchy control.

    There is no greater cause than that of the American people to stand up and dismantle the NSA and similar programs within the DOD (Pentagon).

    Empires rot from within and the NSA is the heart of the rot.

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      Interesting and I tend to agree. Yet, what if we dismantle the NSA and China constructs their version of the NSA? Do you see any threat and danger to US and world security if that scenario became the future reality?

      • alsordi

        Yes, then China would be engaged in more corporate espionage than NSA and its private contractors are now. The US would have to bar them from the stock market.

      • NrthOfTheBorder

        It’s the Cold War all over again. We fear them because they fear us. On both sides, interested parties – those who stand to make a lot of money selling us salves to calm this fear – will make sure we’re sold a lot of propaganda so we stay in a state of perpetual anxiety. Members of congress will abide by this because they understand what side their bread is buttered on.

        Expect only a courageous few among our so-called leaders to stand up to this madness. President Obama will not be one of them.

      • J__o__h__n

        We can still spy on China. The issue is the privacy rights of US citizens.

        • tbphkm33

          Yes, but lets not forget, privacy is a universal human right. The U.S. government has a moral imperative to protect the privacy of civilians worldwide.

          Otherwise you are back to to the Quantanamo Bay equation – is it morally right to torture and lock up non-US citizens for decades, but not US citizens. Timothy McWay committed way worse crimes than anyone who has illegally been imprisoned in Quantanamo Bay.

          • Labropotes

            We killed McVay.

    • John Cedar

      I commend you for recognizing the threat from government entities… AKA agencies. But it is not the authority of the state being undermined that we care about, it is the authority of the people.

      It makes little difference if it is an IRS harassing innocent Tea Party types,or a POTUS acting unilaterally, or nine jurists handing down arbitrary and capricious edicts, or one J Edgar hoover type blackmailing all of the above. They are all a threat to democracy.

      • Don_B1

        The IRS “harassed” liberal groups equally and, in fact, the only group denied tax-exempt status was a “liberal” group.

        But Rep. Darrell Issa (R, CA 49) requested that the IG only look at “conservative groups” so he could make a false claim.

        But by the original law, which the IRS, by itself, reinterpreted in 1959, none, repeat, none, of either “leaning,” would be eligible without that reinterpretation.

        • OnPointComments

          So you disagree with President Obama’s assessment of the IRS scandal?

          “I have now had the opportunity to review the Treasury Department watchdog’s report on its investigation of IRS personnel who improperly targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. And the report’s findings are intolerable and inexcusable. The federal government must conduct itself in a way that’s worthy of the public’s trust, and that’s especially true for the IRS. The IRS must apply the law in a fair and impartial way, and its employees must act with utmost integrity. This report shows that some of its employees failed that test. I’ve directed Secretary Lew to hold those responsible for these failures accountable, and to make sure that each of the Inspector General’s recommendations are implemented quickly, so that such conduct never happens again. But regardless of how this conduct was allowed to take place, the bottom line is, it was wrong.”

          • Don_B1

            I see you are trying to deflect the discussion from the heart of the matter, that none of these groups should have been tax exempt, to some statement from the president at the beginning of the investigation.

            This statement was made just after the initial (and incomplete so biased) reports from Rep. Issa’s committee were “leaked.” Also the IRS woman who made comments at some meeting/convention were woefully incomplete.

            The full story, of how the understaffed, low-level people tried to shortcut the approval process for hundreds of groups making applications was not understood at the time.

            But if President Obama had waited until the problem was more fully investigated then you would be complaining about that delay instead.

            Clearly the use of such shortcuts was not warranted, but they whole process should not have been going on because the law did not allow these groups to be tax exempt.

          • OnPointComments

            As clearly stated in the quote from President Obama, he was speaking after he read the Treasury Inspector General’s report, not after reading a “incomplete and so biased” report from Rep Issa’s committee.

            The targeting was not done by “understaffed, low-level people;” “Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved with investigating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear that the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.”

            Liberals love to stick their heads in the ground and pretend the IRS targeting didn’t happen. The IRS confessed, the TIG said it happened in the IG report, and the President condemned the IRS for the practice. The only ones who don’t believe it happened are liberals.

            The IRS, by itself, reinterpreted the original law in 1959, and there were no problems with the reinterpretation for 50 years. Five decades. Then in 2009, after interpreting the law for fifty years, all of a sudden one group is targeted, just in time to help the president’s re-election campaign.

        • John Cedar

          With all due respect to you and Rachel Maddow, you are wrong on all counts.
          Your pointy headed librul brethren have not hijacked the Wikipedia entry on this topic yet, so you can go there and get the links to all the great sources.
          You are wrong to invoke a logical fallacy and bring up the 1959 decision. The fact is that bazillions of parallel organizations enjoy tax free status and to not grant it to new applicants is nothing short of harassment and a civil rights violations and a free speech violation.

          Your argument is akin to saying people weren’t supposed to have the right to vote in the first place, in response to someone having their voting rights trampled on.

          One of the more famous victims was a group formed to teach the constitution. Only you Hitler and Satan, could interpret that as not qualifying as a public service ,even before the ’59 ruling.

          The record is clear that the conservative groups were all harassed for months on end, while most of the mach smaller pool of liberal groups who were scrutinized were eventually given the tax free status.

    • alsordi

      Prior to 911 companies like Raytheon were going broke and were facing investigations and lawsuits for corruption. Amazingly the suspicious tragedy of 911 pushed Raytheon’s growth and profits through the stratisphere.

      Given the hundreds of thousands of well paid people that are employed by NSA, Raytheon, Gen. Dynamics etc. , through their lobbies and control of the government they have created a truly fascist state in the USA. Nothing short of a revolution will loosen their grip, These corporations along with those that support Israeli expansion will continue to push for perpetual war and invasion of civil rights.

    • Labropotes

      What about the responsibility of corrupt and ignorant voters? They are the ones who by bread and circuses are distracted from all other interests.

      • NrthOfTheBorder

        Yes. Ultimately, it is us “We the People” that are responsible for how we are governed. While I agree with tbphkm’s remarks what he describes is only a symptom..or a reflection of how much, or how little, we care for our destiny as a nation. Frankly, we sell our freedom cheap.

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

      Digital Robespierre, turning on those which gave it power.

  • John Cedar

    It is important to keep in mine that whenever the word “reform” is used concerning Obama, it means to make things worse than they otherwise were.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Always? You’re saying just because he’s Obama this is what happens?

  • HonestDebate1

    This is yet another example of Obama pretending he has no role in anything that happens under his watch. He’s the saviour trying his best to reign in the corruption.

    • alsordi

      Obama is just another guy in a suit. A sock puppet.

      • HonestDebate1

        That is the view of some, although the liberals won’t fess up. They’ll make the argument until they’re blue in the face that he’s a sock puppet but they won’t say it. And then there’s that bunch who are always talking about oligarchs, they’ll say it.

        But I disagree, I believe Obama does have a clue.

        • J__o__h__n

          I don’t think this is due to his often poor management skills. I believe that he has fully reviewed this but that he has made the wrong decision.

          • HonestDebate1

            I tend to agree with you except I don’t think he thinks it was the wrong decision.

          • J__o__h__n

            I don’t think he thinks it is wrong. He just is wrong.

          • Don_B1

            Maybe he was uncomfortable with what was being done, buy it also appears that he might not have been told the full extent of what was going on. [After all, Gov. Christie is being given -- maybe -- the possibility that in the middle of a campaign for reelection he was not told enough so he could answer questions that were sure to come up?]

            But to take up that issue in Congress without an upwelling interest from the public would not have been productive without disclosing classified information, maybe not to the extent that Snowden’s leaks did. And the argument that government spending to create jobs and a growing economy may be viewed more important, at least in the short term.

  • Labropotes

    Let’s execute James Clapper. He heads an agency that has actively subverted the constitution, that has disobeyed court orders, and he has lied to Congress. In short, he has broken the bonds that make our civilization possible. My guillotine is sooooo ready.

  • Coastghost

    Does any part of this discussion actually matter? Once one quantum computer is up and running, everything that transpires in the interim between now and the moment its debut is announced will become irrelevant.
    I mean: no one is proposing seriously outlawing the development or construction of anyone’s quantum computer, we have no prohibitions against building one: and once the quantum computer is up and running, “transparency” acquires a definition we will be in no position to impose.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Thoughtful comment.

    • hennorama

      Coastghost — is our only hope that someone from the future comes back to derail the development of the quantum computer?

      Or is SkyNet inevitable?

      • Coastghost

        hen: subscribing as I do to the “growing block universe” hypothesis (while also embracing the Fermi Paradox), I think the future does not exist in terms of baryonic matter, so “no” to any hope that our descendants will save us from ourselves.
        Sub-Messiah Obama is not equipped to save us (I expect him not to issue any fiat tomorrow prohibiting the NSA from work on building a quantum computer), so prospects for technological soteriology do not look at all promising.

        • hennorama

          Coastghost — then your conclusion is “We’re all doomed!” and by extension, “Don’t worry, be happy”?

          • Coastghost

            Ehhh, maybe an asteroid will save us. (I feel better already!)

  • J__o__h__n

    We are now having the debate that Obama always wanted but didn’t start until after he got caught.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    *Why* are nuclear armed missiles on *high* alert? This seems to be part of the morale problem, and certainly it is part of why this is so disturbing.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Obama has just called for the National Clown College to form an intelligence arm. Justification: CIA and NSA both have a clown department. The head clowns at these agencies are James Clapper.& Keith Alexander. Obama’s “thinking”: fair is fair.

  • Corey Mitchell

    So an option for change is to keep the data with providers, who in the recent past haven’t been able to keep even our credit card information safe? Seems ligit… please its just more of the same..

  • longfeather

    If they had to build power plant big enough to power a major city in Utah for their requirements, how could they have telecom companies acquire similar power consumption needs to hold onto this metadata.. I know cooling is a big requirement for computer centers. What is our power bill for this boondoggle!

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Remember: speed is heat. Thank you, thermodynamics.

      • Don_B1

        The mechanism is the clock cycle which synchronizes/controls the reading and writing of data. It takes a current for the clock pulse to go up and down, and that current generates heat. Each change in memory state takes a burst of current.

        That is why computer engineers have done a lot of work trying to control asynchronous circuits, but so far the results have not been good enough to replace synchronous circuits.

        • longfeather

          B.ut does it take power to store this info? Or save it, as in the freezer? Seems like communication firms would have to have more power if they are forced to keep this meta data for the NSA

  • http://www.laugh-eat.com/ kyron

    i voted for Obama the first time. i did not vote for him again due to his increased use of Bush-era powers — overseas torture, secret wiretaps, domestic spying, eliminating due process for suspected american hostiles, and citing “state secrets” clause in court. for shame.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Same history with me. Obama is so much worse than Bush: the enemy we DIDN’T see coming. Hoober Doober

      • J__o__h__n

        Obama is not worse than Bush. And he was better than Romney or McCain would have been. Hillary would likely have been worse on this issue too.

    • Euphoriologist

      Obama ended US torture practices. It was one of the very first laws he signed in his first term.

      • Labropotes

        And the criminal prosecutions, where are they? Torture was not legal under US law when Alberto Gonzales said it was. Why is he a free man with the right to practice law?

      • http://www.laugh-eat.com/ kyron

        look up renditions — the torturing still takes place overseas:

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/renditions-continue-under-obama-despite-due-process-concerns/2013/01/01/4e593aa0-5102-11e2-984e-f1de82a7c98a_story.html

        but that was only one of many anti-freedom offenses ive cited. he’s increased the others as well. by signing the NDAA he is the first US president in history to codify indefinite imprisonment for a US citizen merely suspected of “hostilities”:

        https://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/president-obama-signs-indefinite-detention-law

        this is unacceptable in a free nation w/ due process guaranteed.

        • Euphoriologist

          I’m as disappointed as you that the lack of due rights will continue in cases like the ones described. But “rendition” and “torture” are worth distinguishing. President Obama outlawed harsh interrogation techniques in his first week as president. That means torture of captured detainees is no longer an official US military procedure and goal in its own right, as it was during the Bush administration. That’s a huge victory for human decency that shouldn’t be overlooked amongst the subsequent failings.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    Most electrical meters are digital now, with the data flowing over the power lines themselves. Is the NSA tapping into this “meta” data, too?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    My Internet security software comes from Finland. One day we’ll be able to access Finnish satellites & encrypted Internet service bypassing the scumbaggy American tech industry altogether. If the Finns don’t launch the satellites, the Chinese will sell them transponder space on theirs. Do it honest & honorable or get beaten by the Chinese: it’s all the same to the rest of the world.

  • Labropotes

    According to Obama and his administration global conditions make it impossible for Americans to enjoy their constitutional rights. But what Obama said in his first inaugural address was, “we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers — (applause) — our Founding Fathers, faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man.” I guess he changed his mind, but it sure sounded nice to me at the time.

    • http://www.laugh-eat.com/ kyron

      indeed.

  • tbphkm33

    At this point, the greatest threat to the United States comes not from Al-Qaeda, civil unrest in the Middle East or from China. The greatest threat comes from within. From agencies such as the NSA, DIA and Homeland Security – all “agencies” that have be cooped by the military industrial complex. The militant takeover of government by corporations. The mission is no longer the protection of The People, but the protection of the corporate bottom line.

    The USA should dismantle these agencies and stop all military and security contracting with corporations. Until that is done, the US will only continue to get involved in wars like Vietnam, Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan. Wars that are not moral, of little or no strategic interests to the safety of the Union, but of prime importance to the corporations of the military industrial complex continuing to peddle their weapons of death.

    This is an immoral Empire, if change does not happen from within, ultimately it will be imposed from external forces. Even the staunchest US allies will abandon it. Don’t think that is true, look at the fallout of the NSA debacle. Even allies are banning their companies from storing any electronic data with US companies.

  • Labropotes

    Why would companies challenge the NSA? Congress will pass a law retroactively absolving them of any crimes they commit at Govt request. Sadly, no CEO who puts principle ahead of profits will keep his job. Violence is the only way past this impasse.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Counter the efforts of the DemoRepo national police state. In 2016 vote for anyone but Hillary Clinton. She’ll make Obama look like a cub scout den mother re: constitutional mosh-pitting.

  • Potter

    What disturbs me a lot also ( beyond the loss of privacy) is that this makes the government suspicious of everyone and everyone suspicious of their government, a government supposedly of the people. This can very well morph into people alienating themselves further from their government and opposing it altogether.

  • etragedy

    The
    American public doesn’t care. They are perfectly happy to slip into a
    police state. Where was the outrage over the Patriot Act? Project TALON?
    The 2012 NDAA renewal? The lead story today in media will probably once
    again be about Chris Christie or as some Cable News stations are
    leading off with ‘Oscars debate’.

    • Maureen Roy

      Unfortunately even the npr hourly news doesn’t seem to offer much variance…

      • Coastghost

        It is possible that NPR’s practice of discourse management actually harms the public, as it shields its eyes from all the stories its editors and producers choose not to consider. (Id est: NPR coverage of the Oscar nominees thus far today has been only as thorough as it possibly can get until the “ATC” segments air later.)

  • Coastghost

    Not only is Obama himself not calling for any restrictions on development of quantum computing capability: no tech-devotee host or guest of this “On Point” discussion is on record opposing development of quantum computing capability.
    Quantum computing, we trust because we have been so assured, will actually solve all of our remaining problems. We can only look forward to the singularity! (Momentum is a terrible thing to waste.)

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      The singularity that occurs when you die? That is, the complete collapse of the universe when you expire your last breath? We can all look forward to that. Hoober Doober

      • Coastghost

        Opposition to quantum computing capability is thus not a subject fit for democratic consideration of any kind. The public’s glib acceptance of quantum computing capability need not, cannot be broached as a subject for political discourse? I hear all the arguments not being made, not by anyone.

  • hennorama

    This caller’s question is the exact reason no President will completely dismantle these programs.

    • Labropotes

      Let’s hear it for the infantilization of the American public. We have not always been sniveling pieces of imbecility, but now we understand that only Government can keep us safe!

      • hennorama

        Labropotes — the caller’s hypothetical question (paraphrasing here) was, “What would happen if there was an attack that might have been prevented by use of these surveillance programs?”

        Your infantilization premise may or may not be accurate, but the political reality is that there is some level of fear of attack present in the general populace, combined with an expectation of perfect protection.

        In addition, there is little tolerance of, or forgiveness of, what might be viewed as errors of judgment rather than intent.

        Politicians are damned if they do and damned if they don’t significantly alter or dismantle these NSA programs, since all it would take is one major incident that could have likely been prevented by current practices for public opinion to turn against them. On the other hand, as more time passes without major incidents, the more likely the pendulum will swing away from what some view as surveillance excesses.

        This still doesn’t change the political calculus for legislators and the executive, since no one wants to be remembered as the person who relaxed preventative measures if that relaxation results in a major attack.

        • Labropotes

          The way to prevent this harmful reaction to terrorism is to say constantly that no system can provide anything approaching perfect security even without freedom but especially while allowing the freedoms Americans expect. Our best security is adherence to limited government under law.

          The politics is not immutable. That’s why we converse.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Thank you, Edward Snowden. NOT TIME MAGAZINE’S MAN OF THE YEAR. Man of the Year honor went to someone who hasn’t DONE anything yet.

    • tbphkm33

      I think we place too much emphasis on Edward Snowden. He is only the carrier. If he had not spoken out, someone else would have. The immorality of the corporate military industrial complex is causing it to breakdown from within.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Gresham’s Law: the bad {the evil, the corrupt} drive out the good {the honest, the incorruptible}. Good point, caller.

  • longfeather

    More whistle blower protection, yes. Like the last caller at 11:55 said. Think of what the kids raised by cold war officers had to put up with. Paranoia and schizoid responses from their parents were common. They worked hard and played hard, chasing or being chased by subs. Their response if a child did anything different was “off with their heads.” They were only able to socialize amongst themselves, never with civilians.

  • Maureen Roy

    On a semi-related note, loving the fact that America’s CTO and Snowden were both contractors at BAH. Maybe this can neutralize the negative backlash against tech contractors….? Please….? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Todd_Park

  • John_Hamilton

    Looking at the NSA independent of its name and acronym, it is just another bureaucracy, and behaves like other bureaucracies – insular, focused on itself and its internal priorities, paranoid about “outsiders” interfering with its “mission,” taking its function to the limits of its capability, cloaking itself in secrecy.

    As with any other “issue,” the particular bureaucratic excesses of the NSA are taking place within the overall context of our unsustainable infinite growth economic system under conditions of global climate change.

    The NSA has no solution to climate change, and doesn’t even have a solution to its supposed reason for being – to keep us “safe.” All it can do is spy, and spy it will, as long as it exists. It will spy on anything and everything, anyone and everyone. It will not stop no matter what “guidelines” or “laws” constrain it.

    As for tomorrow, asking what the president “should” say is asking the wrong question. It doesn’t matter what he says. It isn’t going to change anything. We could start asking ourselves what it means to be “safe.” One definition is sliding into “home” before you get tagged out. What is the NSA’s definition? The likely bureaucratic answer won’t be as good.

    How about being “safe” from the melting Polar ice caps? Safe from drought, floods, Polar vortex, forest fire, tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, and rising seas? “Safe” from a collapsing economy? Let’s ask our guarantors of “safety.”

  • TheDailyBuzzherd

    If technology is to become the basis for our moral compass, then God help us all.

    That “Wired” cover is truly awesome. Sums it up for me. Better conveyance than words attempt.

    • HonestDebate1

      Ethics and technology stay on a collision course on many levels.

      • Don_B1

        Technology provides methods for humans to accomplish things, both for good and evil.

        It is the task of humans to develop the ethical framework to prevent/hinder the actions for evil while allowing/encouraging those actions that benefit the public as a whole.

        It is not so much that ethics and technology are on a collision course as that they must develop together as new actions become possible.

        But you go for the easy jibe, not the considered response.

        • HonestDebate1

          It’s hardly a new concept. As medical technology makes strides we may one day be able to live 500 years, but should we? Back in the day all a mass murderer could do was throw rocks, now you can make a suitcase bomb. Eventually technology will allow one person to destroy civilization. It’s a collision course.

    • nj_v2

      Technology and science are amoral.

  • tbphkm33

    The premise that the NSA is free to spy on non-US citizens is a false one. Privacy is a universal human right and the United States of America is signatory to the Geneva Convention and countless treaties that forbid targeting civilian populations in war. I would make the argument that state sponsored spying is a form of warfare.

    Wish someone like the ACLU would sue the US government on this point within the US courts. More so, that foreign governments would pursue such an argument in one or more of the international courts.

  • Sy2502

    It always amazes me when Obama’s greatest concern is about foreign spying. Somebody should remind him that the NSA was in fact created to spy on other countries, and that it’s the spying on American citizens that is the problem here.

  • Fredlinskip

    Our “intelligence” community after learning of a possible attack, can apparently now after attaining warrant, access previously “data-mined” information in order to learn more about the perpetrators.

    THIS IS ABSOLUTE OUTRAGE!!!
    Americans should NEVER be protected from attacks in such a fashion!
    Franklin said “Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither“. Our forefathers were willing to DIE on our soil to protect our freedoms- should we expect to sacrifice less??
    THERE NEEDS BE a large-scale successful attack on innocent civilians on our soil now and again!
    Jefferson said: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots.”
    If a lot of Innocent Americans die, large new military investments will be justified- perhaps even more foreign occupations- THIS IS A BOON for defense contractors.
    Also if Americans die in a large scale attack, this should mean more jobs to go around!!
    And more construction jobs rebuilding!!
    Jobs, jobs, jobs- Good for economy all the way around!!!

    Plus more jobs should be commissioned for statues to be erected all across our nation in tribute to our country’s GREATEST MODERN PATRIOT:
    - the honorable Edward Snowden.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Aug 27, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, as Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, center, looks at them, prior to their talks after after posing for a photo in Minsk, Belarus, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP)

Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s leader meet. We’ll look at Russia and the high voltage chess game over Ukraine. Plus, we look at potential US military strikes in Syria and Iraq.

Aug 27, 2014
The cast of the new ABC comedy, "Black-ish." (Courtesy ABC)

This week the Emmys celebrate the best in television. We’ll look at what’s ahead for the Fall TV season.

RECENT
SHOWS
Aug 26, 2014
Matthew Triska, 13, center, helps Alex Fester, 10, to build code using an iPad at a youth workshop at the Apple store on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Stanford, Calif.  (AP)

Educational apps are all over these days. How are they working for the education of our children? Plus: why our kids need more sleep.

 
Aug 26, 2014
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, right, speaks with Ady Barkan of the Center for Popular Democracy as she arrives for a dinner during the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium at the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyo. Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014.  (AP)

Multi-millionaire Nick Hanauer says he and his fellow super-rich are killing the goose–the American middle class — that lays the golden eggs.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

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Why Facebook And Twitter Had Different Priorities This Week
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

There’s no hidden agenda to the difference between most people’s Facebook and Twitter feeds this week. Just a hidden type of emotional content and case use. Digiday’s John McDermott explains.

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Our Week In The Web: August 22, 2014
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

On mixed media messaging, Spotify serendipity and a view of Earth from the International Space Station.

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