Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Security Privacy Politics Your Rights Online

The CIA Does Las Vegas 124

Nicola Hahn (1482985) writes Despite the long line of covert operations that Ed Snowden's documents have exposed, public outcry hasn't come anywhere near the level of social unrest that characterized the 1960s. Journalists like Conor Friedersdorf have suggested that one explanation for this is that the public is "informed by a press that treats officials who get caught lying and misleading (e.g., James Clapper and Keith Alexander) as if they're credible."

Certainly there are a number of well-known popular venues which offer a stage for spies to broadcast their messages from while simultaneously claiming to "cultivate conversations among all members of the security community, both public and private." This year, for instance, Black Hat USA will host Dan Greer (the CISO of In-Q-Tel) as a keynote speaker.

But after all of the lies and subterfuge is it even constructive to give voice to the talking points of intelligence officials? Or are they just muddying the water? As one observer put it, "high-profile members of the intelligence community like Cofer Black, Shawn Henry, Keith Alexander, and Dan Greer are positioned front and center in keynote slots, as if they were glamorous Hollywood celebrities. While those who value their civil liberties might opine that they should more aptly be treated like pariahs."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The CIA Does Las Vegas

Comments Filter:
  • by Paul Fernhout ( 109597 ) on Friday August 01, 2014 @09:14AM (#47580729) Homepage

    As I suggested here: []
    "Now, there are many people out there (including computer scientists) who may raise legitimate concerns about privacy or other important issues in regards to any system that can support the intelligence community (as well as civilian needs). As I see it, there is a race going on. The race is between two trends. On the one hand, the internet can be used to profile and round up dissenters to the scarcity-based economic status quo (thus legitimate worries about privacy and something like TIA). On the other hand, the internet can be used to change the status quo in various ways (better designs, better science, stronger social networks advocating for some healthy mix of a basic income, a gift economy, democratic resource-based planning, improved local subsistence, etc., all supported by better structured arguments like with the Genoa II approach) to the point where there is abundance for all and rounding up dissenters to mainstream economics is a non-issue because material abundance is everywhere. So, as Bucky Fuller said, whether is will be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race to the very end. While I can't guarantee success at the second option of using the internet for abundance for all, I can guarantee that if we do nothing, the first option of using the internet to round up dissenters (or really, anybody who is different, like was done using IBM computers in WWII Germany) will probably prevail. So, I feel the global public really needs access to these sorts of sensemaking tools in an open source way, and the way to use them is not so much to "fight back" as to "transform and/or transcend the system". As Bucky Fuller said, you never change thing by fighting the old paradigm directly; you change things by inventing a new way that makes the old paradigm obsolete."

    Or here: []
    "The greatest threat facing the USA is the irony inherent in our current defense posture, like for example planning to use nuclear energy embodied in missiles to fight over oil fields that nuclear energy could replace. This irony arises in part because the USA's current security logic is still based on essentially 19th century and earlier (second millennium) thinking that becomes inappropriate applied to 21st century (third millennium) technological threats and opportunities. That situation represents a systematic intelligence failure of the highest magnitude. There remains time to correct this failure, but time grows short as various exponential trends continue.
    To address that pervasive threat from unrecognized irony, it would help to re-envision the CIA as a non-ironic post-scarcity institution. Then the CIA could help others (including in the White House) make more informed decisions to move past this irony as well.
    A first step towards that could be for IARPA to support better free software tools for "crowdsourced" public intelligence work involving using a social semantic desktop for sensemaking about open source data and building related open public action plans from that data to make local communities healthier, happier, more intrinsically secure, and also more mutually secure. Secure, healthy, prosperous, and happy local (and virtual) communities then can form together a secure, healthy, prosperous, and happy nation and planet in a non-ironic way. Details on that idea are publicly posted by me here in the form of a Proposal Abstract to the IARPA Incisive Analysis solicitation: "Social Semantic Desktop for Sensemaking on Threats and Opportunities" []

    Or various other places...

    Lately I've been thinking about such a system fo

  • Or maybe ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johnlcallaway ( 165670 ) on Friday August 01, 2014 @09:30AM (#47580805)

    ... most people really don't give a shit about what Snowden revealed. Most people already suspected it and didn't give a shit. A few privacy-fanatics cared and screamed a lot. I wasn't surprised by it, and understand how it's being used and am not terribly upset.

    It's funny .. 60 years ago, when people went to the store, people loved it when the store owner stocked their favorite things because he knew they bought them. Everyone in the neighborhood watched our kids, and if little Johnny did something wrong, they told his parents. We all knew everyone, and news spread through town like wildfire. We had party lines that people could listen into our conversations without us knowing it. It was considered rude, but people still did it.

    Sixty years later, everyone demands privacy. Google is evil if they scan our emails and provide ads for what we want. Cameras on the street corner are evil because we don't want to be watched. License plate scanners are an invasion of privacy and are just evil incarnate.

    I get it that it's because it's the government or a large businesses instead of our neighbors or the store down the street. And the ability to do bad things with all that data exists.

    But let's look at other things. Because of the government keeping private information, we now have a huge database of people convicted of sex crimes available telling anyone where they live. It doesn't make any difference how small their crime was, it's available for the rest of their life. No one seems to mind that invasion of privacy. We can go online and see what major contributions Bill Gates makes, or anyone that makes contributions over a certain amount. I can see how many times that house across the street has been sold, what they pay for property taxes, and what it's worth. License plate scanners routinely catch people without car insurance, I have been one of them (actually .. I did have it, it was a clerical error.) Everyone has a camera phone now, and anyone can have their picture taken with a time stamp and GPS location at any time.

    Oh wait .. that's all OK because it's for the 'common good'. And 'transparent government'. Or because people love to take selfies.

    We let the privacy genie out of the bottle decades ago, we've just gotten much better at it since then. The people whining are only whining about the lack of privacy for things they are sensitive about, and I'm sure take advantage of other aspects of loss of privacy and don't think twice about it because it doesn't affect them.

    Yawn .. nothing new to see here. Move along.

  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul ( 629286 ) on Friday August 01, 2014 @10:22AM (#47581139) Journal
    No, you completely misunderstood my post. Maybe it wasn't clear. I'm not saying that Snowden didn't do anything illegal. I'm saying that I don't think that the NSA did anything illegal. The whole point of my post is that people have different opinions on the legality of the NSA's operations, while this story assumed that they didn't.
  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Friday August 01, 2014 @10:27AM (#47581197)

    I don't agree that the only way to fix the issue is by the communist path. You don't need a complete re-distribution to fix things, you only need to dismantle a very small number of monopolies (including financial monopolies).

    Start with media, and break up the monopoly. Having 90% of all media owned by 4 people is why we lack rational discussion of issues and have a public that knows more about a celebrity than a political decision that could impact their lives for the rest of their lives. Deregulation broke this.

    Financially, our woes are not due to the 1% but rather the .01%. Lock this down and redistribute their wealth and every poor person in the country would be set for life. Bill Gates (easy yet deserving target) does not need 50 billion dollars. Simply knocking him down to 1 billion would return enough money to purchase 490,000 people houses valued at 100,000, and Mr. Gates would still be rich. Now imagine how many people could own a home and be out of poverty if you corrected all of the .01% (There are at least a few with way more wealth than him). Deregulation broke this.

    Banks need to be broken up and regulations put back in place to ensure that a bank can not operate in more than one state. Too big to fail should not exist, and deregulation broke this.

    Notice that deregulation broke each of these things, all starting around the 1970s. As more and more deregulation occurred, more and more corruption has happened.

    These three things are not the only things that need to be done, but each is a valid starting point. It should also be obvious that since deregulation caused failures, it does not require communism to "fix" things. Enforced regulation is all that's required.

  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Friday August 01, 2014 @12:20PM (#47582161)

    I don't agree that the only way to fix the issue is by the communist path. You don't need a complete re-distribution to fix things, you only need to dismantle a very small number of monopolies (including financial monopolies).

    But you do need to accept, once and for all, that economy can't be left to itself. Otherwise you'll get the same push to deregulate, followed by new monopolies and economic ruin. And that means that "communism" and "socialism" need to stop being boogeymen and become social and economic options that can be mixed with other options as needed, without this being a slippery slope to Stalinism and gulags.

  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Friday August 01, 2014 @01:00PM (#47582657)

    False claim much?

    But you do need to accept, once and for all, that economy can't be left to itself.

    Where exactly do I state or even imply that the economy can be left to itself? The fact that I state "Enforced regulation is all that's required." should make it abundantly clear that the economy can not be left to itself.

    Any claim you make that socialism and communism are required to fix issues are pure rubbish.

    Go read and comprehend what Socrates stated in the allegory of the artisan 2,500 years ago. Go read what Adam Smith stated repeatedly in his works defining "Capitalism". Read Milton Friedman's works and comprehend what he wrote. All three of those people were for a "FREE" Democratic Republic style of Government, not socialism or communism. All three tell you that the primary role of Government in an economy is to enforce regulations to stop monopolization.

    To claim that you need a particular form of government to achieve this ignores history, period.

  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Friday August 01, 2014 @02:43PM (#47583623)

    The problem is not mine, the problem is yours. You are attempting to conflate an economic system into a form of government, or trying to conflate a government into a form of economics. Either way is wrong!

    I'll go further and state that you know you are wrong, as evidenced by your overblown use of adjective in your second paragraph. No, it does not present the appearance of knowledge.

    There are countless others who wrote about economics and government, but to claim it is "cherry picked" is laughable. Why is it laughable? Simple, the United States of America, which we are discussing, was intended to have Capitalism as it's form of economics. Capitalism is derived from the works of one of those authors. The form of Government we have was defined by Socrates in "The Republic". Should I really assume a 3rd party interpretation (and possible corruption) of the original thoughts and writings over the original thoughts and writings? The answer to that is NO!

    You may be fair if you only claimed that the last member of the list as "cherry picked". I'd counter any such argument by stating that Milton Friedman was ignored by our politicians who carried on with Keynesian policies regardless of who was pointing out it's failures. Friedman's principles were never implemented or tried, even by the so called "great conservative" Reagan who dismantled numerous protections against monopoly during his two terms in office and started the massive shift of wealth in the hands of very few with "Trickle Down Economics".

We declare the names of all variables and functions. Yet the Tao has no type specifier.