Whether I'm a slave or not, I am completely in favor of the assassination of such a monster. Law and order is worthless if it allows atrocities to happen.
Reading through this thread, I find your sense of ethics to be bizarre. It sounds to me like you're suggesting that if you don't agree with one law, everything else goes out the window. Given a large enough society, there will always be injustice. Justice is never perfect and it would be naive to assume that it can. A good society does its best to recognize injustices and and correct it where it exists...but there will always be different perspectives on what qualifies as injustice. Having a perspective that's different from the mainstream, or even being ahead of the historical curve on what qualifies as injustice that doesn't give one license to break every law. That would be stupid and that person would be an asshole - or at the very least, a criminal.
Excuse me, you're putting words in my mouth. I talked about the value of your communications versus the cost of capturing and decoding them as the metric by which the NSA chooses to decrypt or not. I didn't put a restriction about you having to be a terrorist for it to be valuable enough -- I used an example of terrorism as an example of high value communication.
My apologies. I was using your example of high value communication and terrorism interchangeably; especially with regard to the NSA supporting other agencies. However, it does little to diminish the point that I was trying to make. It's only a matter of time until it's cheap and easy enough to look at anyone for any reason - the phone call that the NSA was waiting for to have them mine our data will soon become an email, then a batch request, then they'll be helping any federal or state agency to look at everyone automatically. Over time, that cost:value curve changes - and the cost of analyzing the data drops to the point where an extremely low value target is worth looking at extensively...or am I still misunderstanding your point?
It does seem like you have an understanding of systems security, and I do agree with what you say about weighing the value of what you're securing versus your adversaries interest, resources, etc. (Not exactly what you said, I know; but please excuse my loose paraphrase).
I disagree with your assertion that since you're not a terrorist, the NSA has no interest in you and/or what you do. Law enforcement tools are always used to their fullest extent. I mean, it makes sense; law enforcement is a bit hamstrung by rights guaranteed under the constitution - they will use whatever tool is at their disposal to get their job done.
Whether or not you were investigated when the system was new is irrelevant to what law enforcement has started (or will start) using these systems. Also, to obtain a FISA warrant for an investigation related to terrorism is quite trivial and open to interpretation. Any evidence discovered of other crimes in that warrant is usable in court. I have seen it first-hand while siting on a federal jury last summer. A US khat-selling ring's sending money overseas was investigated by DHS due to concerns about possibly funding terrorism. It wasn't, but the multi-million dollar investigation had to net something - so I sat on a jury for 5 weeks and sifted through mountains of wiretap transcripts so the federal government could incarcerate a bunch of taxi cab drivers who wanted to chew some khat so they could work a little later and make a little bit more money.
I hate to be the slippery slope guy...but this is typical. It's only a matter of time until these law enforcement tools are used on a wholesale basis (if they aren't being already). After reading about the extremes that the Soviets would go to under Stalin (if you were being investigated, you must be guilty of something), I feel like I have a fair understanding for how far things can go. I'm not suggesting that America is going that way...but why give her the chance, especially when we can do something now? Why not start setting some limits on this stuff? I think that the risks of what's going on outweigh the benefits. Is it unreasonable to do an honest analysis of the real risks of terrorism against the security measures that our government is putting in place?
If you had cited a source, I would have read it and our discussion would have been framed around that rather than the lack of basis. My point was that I really had nothing to work with and any discussion was losing proposition from the start (for me).
I won't dismiss your suggestion out of hand. In fact, it's quite a reasonable hypothesis, and I actually think that it warrants serious consideration and/or study.
I was specifically referring to (among others) the second result using your search terms. This is exactly why I stated that you need to cite your own research. You're hung up on my reaching a different conclusion than you did - because you didn't cite your sources...even after I had asked for them. This is exactly why I said what I did - please go back and read it, and then please cite your sources next time.
With regard to the (summary of the) single scientific article that I read - the Cornell article, the authors specifically stated that the data was not sound and that it was a commentary on policy rather than actual science.
I have no idea what you're basing your opinion on. I prefer science - it's all I have. I still have no clue where you're coming from, and I don't have any definitive answers - I'm not trying to bullshit you, my friend. However, you've only offered presumption and Google search terms. I would be happy to discuss this with you when we're on even ground. Unfortunately, we're still not speaking the same language.
I would prefer that you back up your own claims. To rely on my doing so will invariably lead to me doing independent research that is likely different than yours; likely leading to a different opinion. A quick Google search using your terms points to a number of articles - some say that natural gas could release an increased amount of methane. There are many articles on politically charged sites that I tend to discount on principle. One more promising one summarizes a Cornell study linking natural gas to increased methane, and the authors state "We do not intend for you to accept what we reported on today as the definitive scientific study with regard to this question. It is clearly not. We have pointed out as many times as we could that we are basing this study on in some cases questionable data". The study was more a commentary on policy than actual science.
Anyway, I can only assume that this is the science that you're referring to. If this is the case, your claims sound (at best) presumptive.
While I appreciate your honest opinion, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that very little of this can be categorized into "black" or "white"; at least not yet. I not only respectfully disagree with the absolute premise that you offer, I also disagree with the absolute premise taken up by most of those who have replied to you. There are many questions that need to be answered before these kind of conclusions can be drawn.
It is clear that Snowden did violate his confidentiality agreement - there is no arguing this. He broke the law, and I'm not going to dispute it. The legality of the program at-large, however, has not been established. You are correct that the program was authorized by Congress. Suggesting that the program was deemed legal by the court system is dubious, at best. The existence of FISA courts, where federal judges review and grant surveillance warrants does not qualify as judicial review and does very little to validate that the program meets constitutional standards. If it is established that the program violated the constitution (the highest law of the land), it will be the government who violated the law, and covered it under a veil of secrecy. If this is the case, it is a serious violation of the trust of the American people; and whether or not it prevent terrorist attacks is irrelevant, as the ends don't justify the means (IMO). The government can't have it both ways - holding citizens accountable for following the law when it doesn't adhere to its own laws.
I'm also curious about you meant by Snowden doing this for his own gain. What did he have to gain? Notoriety? It seems to me that he had more to lose than he had to gain...but then again, I do not understand the desire for notoriety, and would prefer to avoid the public eye. Either way, until the program is understood and scrutinized, I don't think that it's fair to categorize Snowden is a whistle-blowing patriot or a traitor (yet).
I hope that we do the right thing here and analyze the program; asking the necessary questions to determine what is constitutionally acceptable. Further, I hope that my fellow Americans think long and hard about the implications of programs like this. I'm a bit uncomfortable with the government warehousing massive amounts of data about its citizens, even if mining it takes a warrant from a secret court. I understand the argument that companies are already doing this (to an extent)...but what differentiates them from our government is that they don't have the power to incarcerate or kill people. Now, I'm afraid that our government will sweep this under the rug, preventing any honest dialog in the name of national security. I honestly believe that even if this program is legitimate and legal, the ability to secretly monitor Americans will eventually be abused; if not by this government/administration, it will be by another one.
I suspect that this is the same resistance to a third party pushing content that nearly every IP owner has shown over the years. It has nothing to do with being compensated. It is likely easy to grab viewer metrics from Aereo and renegotiate the value of those viewer impressions with advertisers. I'm guessing that Fox just wants that control - they want to roll their own service, the same way that all of the music publishers wanted to roll their own streaming/subscription service, the same way that the cable companies want to roll their own VoD service, and the same way that the film studios want to roll their own VoD service.
It's no secret that these groups have all failed. The music industry tried and failed over and over again, with Apple dominating that marketspace now (and the IP owners are still managing to be compensated for this). The cable companies and film studios have also failed to run their own VoD services that are competitive with Netflix, yet they are all compensated for their IP streaming. This is just the same repeat behavior.
I'm no expert, but it would seem to me that content producers might want to stick to their core competencies, and excellence in broadcasting (or lack thereof) is showing to be unequal to excellence in developing a digital distribution model. They've failed over and over, while the third parties have succeeded almost exclusively...and in spite of lack of cooperation from "legacy" media. I know that the legacy IP owners want to maximize their profits and control by running their own digital distribution networks, but this seems akin to having their cake and eating it too - and it has proven to be historically risky.