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Eric is confusing two issues, probably purposefully.
The issue of illegal (at least against US citizens) mass surveillance by the NSA and the like is one problem - but as others have pointed out, its something that should be assumed to always be happening, and doesn't have any real impact on the internet. People make a fuss about it, particularly in the US, but I think most people assumed it was happening anyway and it hasn't really changed the way that people, businesses or governments operate. Just look at the recent Silk Road story as an example
The issue that has everyone jittery is the close cooperation that has been shown between the US Government and US based companies, and from a legal perspective the stance that the US government is taking on data stored by US companies, outside the US, for a non-US entity. This has a huge effect on Google's business in particular, not as an adverting company - I would be surprised if they are loosing a significant amount of their consumer business - but rather their growing enterprise / cloud business. No one outside the US will want to switch to Gmail if their email can be read, without their knowledge, by the US Government issuing a National Security Letter, or even just by any local judge issuing a subpoena.
This is what they are talking about when they say you have to start a data center in Germany just to serve customers there. Its not the NSA hacking your system, or even snooping on the wire people are worried about. Its the legal and risk issue that the US government can seize your data, without any notification, and you have no legal recourse to prevent it happening.
Its a great opportunity for companies in Europe, but if your a US headquartered company, as Google is, its going to break *your* small part of the internet
At my last programming job, the head of engineering took all my time estimates for a project and arbitrarily cut them in half, because "we're smarter than most companies".
I take all my developers estimates and arbitrarily double them,. In my experience even experienced developers will hit something they didn't forsee, or have requirements changes forced on them.
If you can be bothered here is the GAO Report and a much easier to read summary
Not saying the money isn't well spent, or that man-made climate change isn't happening - but its just plain wrong to say that Big Oil is outspending the poor universities when it comes to climate research.
Add to that the oil companies paying researchers tons of money to write anything that "disproves" global warming, and the complete lack of peer-reviewed research that disproves global warming probably means that there's not enough support for that position to stand up to any peer review at all.
This always drives me crazy... please show me any study, article or any bit of information that shows that oil companies are paying researchers any more money than companies that have a vested interested in climate change. You can't, because whilst you can find a lot of information on the Koch Brothers Funding Climate Denial, I bet you can't find anything talking about the funding that is provided from companies, institutions and individuals with a vested interested in finding climate change.
They have either a poor understanding or perhaps no concept at all that short term temperature fluctuations are merely data points in a longer term trend
Couldn't agree with you more..... http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2013/12/explaining-the-flaw-in-kevin-drums-and-apparently-science-magazines-climate-chart.html
Although I agree with you in the case of snap chat, normal people just don't think things through like that. I for one didn't know its not pushed to your phone until you read it.
The other thing is its not just police search warrants you have to look out for.
In many states a lawyer involved in a lawsuit (for example a divorce or child custody hearing) can issue their own subpoena for electronic records *without* law enforcement or the courts reviewing it. In this case its not evidence of a crime... but your ex wife might subpoena snap chat for all images sent to you and suddenly that secret picture your new girlfriend sent isn't so secret, and is being used in court against you. Its not illegal, but its not something you want to share.