Less privacy for more security?

LordQ

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Sep 22, 2012
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So I was wondering, with all this NSA stuff going on, do you guys (specially US people) really prefer less privacy on your phones and computers for "better security"?

We don't have that in Mexico yet (president Peña Nieto wants to introduce something like that here) but I really don't get why would people want the government to check their photos, read your mails and whatsapp texts in order to "improve" security. Most of us don't have nothing to hide but it's still annoying to think that they're seeing every move we do.

Just wanting to hear your thoughts as I read somewhere that most of North Americans actually agree to be spied on.
 

boast

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Nov 12, 2007
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Just wanting to hear your thoughts as I read somewhere that most of North Americans actually agree to be spied on.
Really? I always saw polls showing it was more of a 50/50 split. Some don't care ("I got nothing to hide"), while others do.

I, personally, do care about this "security theatre"
 

Ledgem

macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2008
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I don't actually believe less privacy automatically equals more security.
Agreed. There are some people who hear about what is going on and are okay with it, because they have a knee-jerk response and think that these efforts must be making them safe. The corollary is that without those efforts, we would be experiencing more attacks and killings. Thus, they aren't against those measures.

But there are also people who, when they have more time to think about it and examine the evidence, feel that this isn't really an effective use of resources. They don't feel that it makes them safer, but rather that it's an overstep.

I'd guess that the majority are apathetic. They either don't know much about the situation and don't care to learn more (pure apathy), or they disapprove but feel that they're hopeless to change the situation.

I think that it's a false dichotomy, claiming that privacy needs to be given up for security. I don't feel that we're any more secure with the NSA's activities than we were before them.
 

bradl

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2008
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So I was wondering, with all this NSA stuff going on, do you guys (specially US people) really prefer less privacy on your phones and computers for "better security"?

We don't have that in Mexico yet (president Peña Nieto wants to introduce something like that here) but I really don't get why would people want the government to check their photos, read your mails and whatsapp texts in order to "improve" security. Most of us don't have nothing to hide but it's still annoying to think that they're seeing every move we do.

Just wanting to hear your thoughts as I read somewhere that most of North Americans actually agree to be spied on.
I think that for the most, all of us here in the US pretty much agree with whatever version of the quote attributed to Ben Franklin:

Those who give up/sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither freedom nor security.

Now, various people throughout the 2000s who didn't say anything about it back then with the Patriot Act, FISA, etc., who happened to use the excuse of "if you don't have anything to hide, you don't have anything to worry about" who are now up in arms about the NSA have some hypocrisy questions to answer, but I seriously doubt that we want the government to do this. Though, what is hurting the government at this point is that we haven't seen any major concrete results from things like this to show that it is essential. If something has come out, it may have been severely redacted before being declassified. So we will never no.

But our first US Postmaster General had some really solid stuff to say about things like this, that a lot of people need to be reminded of.

BL.
 

samiwas

macrumors 68000
Aug 26, 2006
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Atlanta, GA
So I was wondering, with all this NSA stuff going on, do you guys (specially US people) really prefer less privacy on your phones and computers for "better security"?

We don't have that in Mexico yet (president Peña Nieto wants to introduce something like that here) but I really don't get why would people want the government to check their photos, read your mails and whatsapp texts in order to "improve" security. Most of us don't have nothing to hide but it's still annoying to think that they're seeing every move we do.

Just wanting to hear your thoughts as I read somewhere that most of North Americans actually agree to be spied on.
Some of us don't believe that any of this actually happens. Do I think there's some secret government agent reading my texts asking what kind of cheese I should get at the store? No.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
Some of us don't believe that any of this actually happens. Do I think there's some secret government agent reading my texts asking what kind of cheese I should get at the store? No.
Aged Swiss. It'll go great with the bacon cheeseburgers you're planning on grilling out with the family tonight.

I will neither confirm nor deny my involvement with any government programs or recognized entities. You did not see me, nor do you know me. This conversation did not take place.
 

mactastic

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Apr 24, 2003
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Some of us don't believe that any of this actually happens. Do I think there's some secret government agent reading my texts asking what kind of cheese I should get at the store? No.
No, but they quite possibly could have access to the information should they need it.

As of at least a couple years ago, the NSA had the capability to rewind the internet for 30 days for an entire nation. Basically a 30 day rolling DVR of the internet. I'm sure their capabilities have not decreased since then.

If they suddenly became curious about what cheese you bought at the store, it is entirely possible that information would be available for some time after the fact.
 

MacNut

macrumors Core
Jan 4, 2002
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CT
Do we feel safer with this lack of privacy. So now we have neither privacy or security.
 

mrsir2009

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Sep 17, 2009
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Melbourne, Australia
Some of us don't believe that any of this actually happens. Do I think there's some secret government agent reading my texts asking what kind of cheese I should get at the store? No.
Well due the to huge man-power involved, there wouldn't be a real person reading every one of your texts. However mass-spying is definitely going on, and if for any reason a government agent wanted to read your texts he would definitely be able to.
 

samiwas

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Aug 26, 2006
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Well due the to huge man-power involved, there wouldn't be a real person reading every one of your texts. However mass-spying is definitely going on, and if for any reason a government agent wanted to read your texts he would definitely be able to.
Probably true…but I don't lose any sleep over it.
 

ElectronGuru

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Sep 5, 2013
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Even with hundreds of thousands of people working to only review data, that's still 1200 observed for each observer. When Patriot Act etc where being passed, I was building email filters for a living. The only way to keep up with that much data is with filtering. Group people into high risk and low risk (priority), automate scanning for behaviors worthy of 'human scrutiny', do anything and everything that improves the concentration of data that people must sift through to find intel.

No, I think most Americans would like to turn off the scanners. We're just not willing to risk what happens when we do. There's just to many people out to get us. I just wish we were spending more time asking why.
 

Southern Dad

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May 23, 2010
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I'll be honest if the NSA ever decides to read my emails, listen in on my phone calls or bug my house… They are going to be really bored. I can see why some are worried about it but I guess I just don't have anything to hide any more.
 

jnpy!$4g3cwk

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Feb 11, 2010
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I'll be honest if the NSA ever decides to read my emails, listen in on my phone calls or bug my house… They are going to be really bored. I can see why some are worried about it but I guess I just don't have anything to hide any more.
It is easy to outsource your anxiety when talking about the NSA. The real question is how much of a surveillance society do you really want to live in? Before you answer, you should see the movie The Lives of Others
(if you haven't already).
 

Renzatic

Suspended
I'll be honest if the NSA ever decides to read my emails, listen in on my phone calls or bug my house… They are going to be really bored. I can see why some are worried about it but I guess I just don't have anything to hide any more.
Considering all the hinky, politically charged stuff I've had to google while arguing with people here, I'm sure PRSI has landed me on a government watchlist or two.
 

mactastic

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I'll be honest if the NSA ever decides to read my emails, listen in on my phone calls or bug my house… They are going to be really bored. I can see why some are worried about it but I guess I just don't have anything to hide any more.
What if they kept a list of your guns?
 

mactastic

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I'm pretty sure they already have that. We could always go to the extreme like the Truman Show but I think rating will suck if I'm the star.
Of course they do. But it's the one bit of info the government isn't supposed to be allowed to keep, right? If you have nothing to hide, why are all these gun fondlers so concerned?
 

Sydde

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Aug 17, 2009
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We need lots of security to defend our precious nation against terrorists. Because terrorists are nothing but plain badnasties. All they want to do is kill people, that is it. No reason at all, they just want to kill people, so we have to stop them.
 

MacNut

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Jan 4, 2002
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We need lots of security to defend our precious nation against terrorists. Because terrorists are nothing but plain badnasties. All they want to do is kill people, that is it. No reason at all, they just want to kill people, so we have to stop them.
You forgot the :p People might think you are being serious.
 

Ledgem

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Jan 18, 2008
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I'll be honest if the NSA ever decides to read my emails, listen in on my phone calls or bug my house… They are going to be really bored. I can see why some are worried about it but I guess I just don't have anything to hide any more.
You're not thinking creatively enough. Or perhaps you're just not paranoid enough.

Suppose you are somehow associated with someone who is deemed a terrorist for some of their activities. Your association with them is established through electronic communications. Now the government wants to build a case against you. They cull the internet for every email you've sent and every comment you've made on any forum, as well as any text message you've sent. You watch the news, so surely you understand how soundbites can be used to make or break a person by taking things out of context? The government gets to pick and choose from potentially years and years of all of your communications to make as many soundbites as it wants.

And how do you defend yourself against that? Do you explain away every single situation? You've probably forgotten most of them. You probably don't have the time to explain everything away. The court won't have the time or the patience to listen.

Put another way, I believe you when you say that you have nothing to hide. I think you would agree that there will always be someone who finds something about you to be offensive, and there may be someone who wants to punish you in some form. You know how it's commonly said not to talk to police - not because it has anything to do with the police, but because you'd be hanging yourself with your own words, no matter how honest you were? Your privacy is similar.

The other side of everything that I just said is that our loss of privacy isn't making us any safer. Attacks, while historically rare, still get through. Anyone who thinks it through should realize that it is impossible to prevent every single attack. Loss of privacy and freedoms aside, is it worth paying for this? It's a waste of money if you ask me - like paying for a procedure to implant cancer cells into your own body.
 

Southern Dad

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May 23, 2010
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You're not thinking creatively enough. Or perhaps you're just not paranoid enough.

Suppose you are somehow associated with someone who is deemed a terrorist for some of their activities. Your association with them is established through electronic communications. Now the government wants to build a case against you. They cull the internet for every email you've sent and every comment you've made on any forum, as well as any text message you've sent. You watch the news, so surely you understand how soundbites can be used to make or break a person by taking things out of context? The government gets to pick and choose from potentially years and years of all of your communications to make as many soundbites as it wants.

And how do you defend yourself against that? Do you explain away every single situation? You've probably forgotten most of them. You probably don't have the time to explain everything away. The court won't have the time or the patience to listen.

Put another way, I believe you when you say that you have nothing to hide. I think you would agree that there will always be someone who finds something about you to be offensive, and there may be someone who wants to punish you in some form. You know how it's commonly said not to talk to police - not because it has anything to do with the police, but because you'd be hanging yourself with your own words, no matter how honest you were? Your privacy is similar.

The other side of everything that I just said is that our loss of privacy isn't making us any safer. Attacks, while historically rare, still get through. Anyone who thinks it through should realize that it is impossible to prevent every single attack. Loss of privacy and freedoms aside, is it worth paying for this? It's a waste of money if you ask me - like paying for a procedure to implant cancer cells into your own body.
I guess I could become paranoid, move to a bunker, cut all outside lines... Then I could buy some tin foil and make a nice hat.
 

NT1440

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May 18, 2008
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I'll be honest if the NSA ever decides to read my emails, listen in on my phone calls or bug my house… They are going to be really bored. I can see why some are worried about it but I guess I just don't have anything to hide any more.
I thought you were a libertarian? Shouldn't the very principle of domestic spying be a direct conflict with that ideology?

Hell I'm "lefty" and I find the concept to be repugnant and against the very concepts of freedom that the country supposedly stands for. A great logic experiment to try is reading up a bit on the psychological implications of "The Panopticon" and cross it with the lessons from Plato's "Allegory of the Cave".

Blindness to your own surveillance (the royal we in this case), and an implicit trust of those doing the surveillance (in this case it's "our protectors"), doesn't bode well for a population when the good days peak.
 

mactastic

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Apr 24, 2003
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Or, say you were a journalist with information that could blow the lid off the secret Muslim agenda of B. Hussein Obama-Ayres.