That's effectively what local loop unbundling does, no?
I am routinely spammed by fake accounts on Facebook. It happened twice in the last week alone. So far I have never received any spam on WhatsApp, probably because they do phone verification for every user, so a spammer would need to control lots of phone numbers, which is possible but not trivial.
Literally everyone I know uses WhatsApp. Just because it didn't take off in the USA doesn't mean these numbers are wrong. It's pretty rapidly replaced SMS as the global mobile messaging standard. Half a billion users sounds about right to me. If you say there's about a billion people online (very rough), subtract a few hundred million for the USA, and WhatsApp is getting close to but hasn't yet saturated the international market, then half a billion is about where I'd expect them to be.
Facebook do not "farm out" people's private data. Go sign up to be an advertiser and try to obtain people's private data. You can't.
As to the second thing - wat? Do you expect any company that's the target of a class action lawsuit to simply not defend it? Also what's up with this "class action lawsuit brought by its userbase" nonsense? I'm a Facebook user and I never brought a class action suit against anyone. I think you mean, "class action lawsuit brought by lawyers who claim to represent Facebook users".
SNI is universal, unless you're running Windows XP
That's a pretty huge unless!
OTOH, power in the West is rotated between two different bands of crooks (or at least two factions of the same band of crooks).
I think if the Snowden affair has taught us anything, it's that real power in the west is not held by politicians but rather the executive branch (US) and civil service (UK). The bureaucrats appear to be able to do whatever they like, then repeatedly lie about it (USA) or simply refuse to turn up at all (UK) and politicians let them get away with it. What's more, the bureaucracy is now routinely blacklisting and even assassinating people based on no kind of formal process whatsoever, with no democratic oversight, and the people doing it are career government employees who are certainly not elected and in many cases their identities are themselves secret.
For background, in my former job I worked on one of the systems at Google that was compromised by GCHQ (they wrote wire sniffers to decode the login traffic). The root cause of this failure was the incorrect idea that western governments are "good" and the nasty Chinese/Russians/Iranians are "bad" thus internal encryption was only worth the cost when traffic transited wires controlled by "bad guys". But it turned out that they're all bad and the degree of badness appears limited only by their budget, so now Google all wire traffic all the time.
So please get out of this idea that the west is better than Russia. Democracy in the anglosphere has become so weak that lots of people simply refuse to vote at all, or are (at best) single issue voters for things like immigration. Anything national security related is uncontrollable by voting at this point.
Why? In the USA Facebook and Google+ are both run by people who could be described as "oligarchs" with strong ties to the White House.
By the way, if you believe this story is true then you should also believe that Putin's answer to Snowden was correct, given that it says:
Earlier this month, Durov claimed that Russia's intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), had pressured him to hand over personal data on VK users involved in anti-government protests in Ukraine. Durov said he refused to do so, though he's gradually ceded control of the company in recent months and has long butted heads with government authorities. Experts have speculated that the Kremlin is looking to tighten its grip over VK and other social networks in the same way it controls print and TV media. Many Russians used VK to organize widespread anti-Putin demonstrations in 2011 and 2012, when thousands took to the streets to protest allegedly rigged elections
i.e. they are/were not able to simply access that data in the same way the USA and UK were slurping internal Google/Facebook db replication traffic right off the wire. In which case Putin's assertion that the FSB doesn't monitor "millions of users" might be correct, though of course the rationale given is highly suspect.
Your post does not contradict mine.
Getting from Hong Kong to Ecuador (or wherever he was going) without flying over any US or allied territory requires strange routes - just go to a flight booking flight and notice that the returned results mostly involve changes in the USA.
Taking such a route was wise - look at how US allies forced down the presidential jet of a LatAm leader just to search for Snowden.
But I'm really not sure why you're arguing with me about this. What happened to Snowden is a matter of public record, it's not something that's up for debate. He got stuck in Russia because the USA revoked his passport and he then wasn't allowed to board his onward flight. But once it became clear that no plane was safe, not even those with diplomatic immunity, if it flew over any US allied territory, he would have been an idiot to leave anyway because that would have been a direct flight into a lifetime of solitary confinement.
Fox News is the last place anyone would turn to learn about abuses of power by the government, especially with anything related to national security. It is however VERY effective at making it look like there's real accountability and competition in governance, by turning everything into a personal popularity contest between two men who are little more than figureheads.
Congratulations. Your post wins the "who can represent the worst stereotypes about Americans" prize for this thread.
Let's recap. Snowden revealed gross abuses and illegality in your government. Doing this results in the same sort of punishments as it does in many other countries with overly authoritarian leadership: lifetime in jail, as you request. So to do the big reveal you admit is something you "really needed", he had to run. His first choice was Hong Kong, but when it appeared the Chinese might hand him over or keep him jailed for years in diplomatic limbo he decided to go to Latin America, probably Ecuador. He was en-route there when the US Govt revoked his passport, leaving him stranded in Russia which happened to be on the way.
Your post and general mentality have multiple failures, but don't worry, they are correctable.
- An absurdly strong "us vs them" complex.
- A garbled and factually incorrect belief about events in very recent history.
- A desire to see someone who did something "really needed" severely punished because he did it for "the wrong reasons", you of course don't elaborate on what those wrong reasons were. He has stated his reasons many times: he saw illegal behaviour and knew it had led to dangerous territory and serious abuses. He did not do it for personal fame or fortune, as evidenced by the fact that he is now broke and vanished from the scene almost entirely for months after he got let out of the Russian airport. Pretty hard to argue he had the wrong reasons.
- Finally, a strong quasi-religious belief that the USA is better than Russia, despite the fact that they are both remarkably aggressive and corrupt societies, run by oligarchies, in which democracy is barely functional and anyone who challenges the status quo has to run away lest they end up with a life sentence from a kangaroo court. In addition, the populations of both countries are easily manipulated by telling them how glorious and special they are. There are far more similarities than you dare imagine.
There's a simple fix for your predicament - never use the word "traitor" ever again. It describes a state of fevered flag-waving tribalism which allows your own government to blind you and switch off your critical thinking. The people in power are not better than you or anyone else, they are just
Once you get into this mentality, your recollection of historical events will probably improve.
He didn't choose Moscow. He chose Latin America and got stuck in Russia when the USA revoked his passport. It's the US governments fault he's now in Russia and yet they try and paint him as a traitor who ran to the Russians - yet more US hypocrisy and propaganda.
You wont be arrested for insulting or protesting Obama. You wont be arrested for reporting on his failings; there are huge websites dedicated to it.
Of course you will. The Obama administration has prosecuted journalists and leakers at a far higher rate than before. How is one supposed to report on his failings, if the act of revealing them triggers immediate accusations of being a traitor and guaranteed prosecution? The US based papers who reported the Snowden leaks took big risks to do so, and of course their source is now in exile
These propaganda sessions for Putin are pre-staged so Snowden has allowed himself to be used as a "propaganda tool". Considering how freedoms are curtailed in Russia, it seriously deminishes Snowden's reputation.
No it doesn't.
Snowden asked a simple and direct question, as is the norm at Putin's Q&A sessions (he does them with press corps too). Putin gave a simple and direct answer. Whether you believe the answer is a lie or not, it's a question that anyone could have asked and got the same response.
Also, do you actually know these sessions are entirely pre-staged? Can you give a cite for that? Putin had to ask for help with a translation of Snowden's question, why would he make himself look linguistically weak like that if it was all pre-staged and he already knew the question was coming? Far better for him to look fluent.
Are you kidding?
What's going on in places like Yemen and Afghanistan where lots of people are heavily armed is exactly the reason widespread gun ownership in the USA makes no sense. You can't beat modern governments by having lots of people own light weapons, it's a stupid idea. If one lone gunman decides the Feds have overstepped and takes them on, he ends up shot or committing suicide and being described as mentally ill (was he? hard to tell now he's dead). If a group of people try to build a conspiracy to attack government installations the NSA will find them and they'll be prosecuted for terrorism or simply vanished before they even make the first move.
The second amendment is obsolete and should just be deleted entirely. The USA is quite clearly not Switzerland, which has a notable absence of mass shootings. A heavily armed population has not stopped the US Govt sliding more and more towards full-blown authoritarianism, nor is it going to. So there are no benefits to this rule. Other countries that got serious about gun control have seen positive results over the long term (eg UK and Australia)
I think if James Clapper or Keith Alexander joined the board of DropBox you'd see the same issues. But they haven't.
Being a donor to one of two political choices (or often both) is one thing. That's very, very far removed from power. Actually having started wars whilst being Secretary of State is entirely different.