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Pots Call Kettle Black - Tech Giants v. NSA Data

     
5:59 am on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Tech Giants Issue Call for Limits on Government Surveillance of Users

Eight prominent technology companies, bruised by revelations of government spying on their customers’ data and scrambling to repair the damage to their reputations, are mounting a public campaign to urge President Obama and Congress to set new limits on government surveillance.

[nytimes.com...]
6:53 am on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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You cannot compare internet companies privacy breaches to govt ones. I can avoid using the services of any companies whose privacy policies I am not happy with, or who I do not trust. Can you please tell me where I can opt out of NSA/GCHQ/everyone else's surveillance?

Lets take the companies in question:

Google: I rarely sign in, so most of the time I am an anonymous user with a dynamic IP.

MS: Do not use their products, except a Bing search or Skype calls weeks apart. Never sign into Bing, so Skype is the only MS service that can identify me.

Apple: no one has to use them

You can use Twitter anonymously.

FB and Linked in are more difficult because they are so damn useful simply because everyone else uses them. You can choose what you put on them though.
9:43 am on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I've assumed everything has been "recorded" for some time... I just got a laugh out of seeing MSFT, GOOG et al squirming to paint a public perception that they advocate online privacy.
11:42 am on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Good thread title.........

As if any government would do other than what they please, regardless of what they, themselves, say.
Likewise for most large companies.
If they think they can get away with something, chances are, they will try to. Both companies and governments.
Until the next 'exposé'.
5:05 am on Dec 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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If they think they can get away with something, chances are, they will try to.

...and even if they know they can't get away with it, they still do it -- so long as "counsel" says that legal fees and fines (counting on adverse rulings) will still make that activity profitable.
4:00 pm on Dec 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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These tech giants are doing the same thing the government is doing - collecting, analyzing and profiling users. Why don't they want the government to do it? I think these tech giants would rather sell the information to the government for a profit.

If tech giants are going to lead a campaign of privacy, the founders should show the same respect for privacy with their users that they expect from the government.
6:18 pm on Dec 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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These tech giants are doing the same thing the government is doing - collecting, analyzing and profiling users.

I am not now, and have never been, an NSA user.

...
11:26 pm on Dec 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I have to agree with mrengine. These tech giants have been collecting and analyzing users for profiling purposes, and most grocery stores do the same thing for their shoppers with a "members card" or the like. I think that whether you're doing it for marketing purposes or surveillance, it is an invasion of privacy.
12:56 am on Dec 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I have to agree with mrengine. These tech giants have been collecting and analyzing users for profiling purposes, and most grocery stores do the same thing for their shoppers with a "members card" or the like.

The obvious difference is that their users sign up voluntarily - nobody has to have a store card or an account with Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc, they have to actively opt in.

With NSA surveillance, everyone who uses the internet or telephone system anywhere on Earth is apparently a "user" by default - and there is no opt-out.

To suggest that these are "the same thing" is simply absurd.

...
9:30 am on Dec 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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At least Google, Apple and the like can't inhibit my freedom to travel. Which apparently the NSA does when they find out you tweeted something stupid, or get hold on your medical records that say you suffer from depression - as a woman from Canada hat to find out recently.

And Google and Apple don't send drones to kill people because they suspect because of some email messages and a smartphone location that an alleged terrorist is in the vicinity.
1:36 pm on Dec 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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...maybe some people get favors for opening up a port or two for data collection...

Cheap Nasa fuel saves Google execs millions on private jet flights

Google may have to compensate Nasa after 'misunderstanding' led to search provider buying cut-price fuel
.
.
.
.
the company fuels all its planes for both private and Nasa-related flights with aviation fuel provided by the US Department of Defence (DoD).

[theguardian.com...]
3:03 pm on Dec 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I should have clarified, I mispoke/typed what I meant about the similarity between what the NSA is doing and the things that other merchants like grocery stores do. I meant to point out that our data is now collected every where it seems, not that that reading e-mails and looking to see what brand of cereal I buy most often are comparable.
3:10 pm on Dec 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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our data is now collected every where it seems


Indeed, it's a free for all. There's some recent research showing that the majority of net traffic is bot-based rather than human. Some is malicious but plenty are in the business of gathering information.

The only line in the sand I can see is whether it's legal or not, which in an ideal world applies to everyone and everything.
3:39 pm on Dec 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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our data is now collected every where it seems

Government and spooks aside, it is still a matter of personal choice.

Corporations collect the data that people choose to supply.

It is not the collecting that is remarkable, it is the giving.

...
1:25 am on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Corporations collect the data that people choose to supply.

Choosing to NOT provide personal data these days practically requires living off-grid with a well, a woodstove and grow or hunt food -- even then, you'd show up on some system if you actually owned the land -- basically you need to be homeless and own no electronic devices or give up your data.

...and on the government side:

Federal Judge Rules Against N.S.A. Phone Data Program
A Federal District Court judge ruled on Monday that the National Security Agency program that is systematically keeping records of all Americans’ phone calls most likely violates the Constitution, and he ordered the government to stop collecting data on two plaintiffs’ personal calls and destroy the records of their calling history.
[nytimes.com...]

...and:

Edward Snowden says judge's ruling vindicates NSA surveillance disclosures
NSA whistleblower welcomes Judge Richard Leon's ruling... 'Programs would not withstand constitutional challenge'... Judge: phone surveillance program likely unconstitutional...
[theguardian.com...]
3:00 am on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Choosing to NOT provide personal data these days practically requires living off-grid

The "pots" in your original post (Google, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, AOL and LinkedIn) love it when people voluntarily supply personal data, but nobody has to open an account and give it to them, or sign up for a store card at the supermarket.

And I wouldn't say that WebmasterWorld was off-grid.

The "kettle" is another matter.

...
2:27 pm on Dec 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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...and now-

Tech executives to Obama: NSA spying revelations are hurting business

...."Many of these companies say they are still trying to assess the damage caused by Edward Snowden’s leak of NSA documents showing their work with intelligence officials."....

[washingtonpost.com...]
Kind of funny wording, "caused by Edward Snowden’s leak".

Yes, blame it on Snowden -- not on the fact that the companies were (and likely still are) in bed with the NSA.

In the end, I'm actually more concerned with the data the "tech giants" are collecting (especially Google) -- they will sell us all out to the highest bidder.

IMO -- Edward Snowden is a hero who should be pardoned for any "leaks" he made under whistle-blower laws, and returned to the US as an adviser to the government on how to "ethically" handle private citizens' data.