Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Austria

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Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Austria

Post by WienA » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:14 am

For those of you who have been following the Snowden case, the latest is that Bolivia's plane carrying its President has been forced to land in Austria as they suspected Snowden was on board.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/ju ... ane-vienna
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/ju ... sylum-live

Looks like the US is putting a lot of pressure on.

For interest have also read that www.prism-break.org is a site if you have concerns about the privacy aspects of www surveillance - although it also looks like it is everywhere from what I read!



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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by Tatt » Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:47 am

Personal privacy is very much a 20th Century concept, it doesn't exist today for anyone who is part of society. Assume that everything you write, buy, every communication you make and every location you take your phone is recorded, logged and monitored later for an indefinate period and you'll be close to the mark for standard universal survelence we are all under.
The revelations Snowden has made are not exactly revolutionary to anyone who knows how the world works, and one could argue the price of liberty is eternal vigilance of exactly this sort.

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by p87 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:14 am

There is a world of difference between having a vaguely uneasy feeling that some aspects of ones online life could possibly be tracked, and the revelation that there is in fact currently a secret mass effort by the world's most powerful government to do just that on an industrial scale.

Benjamin Franklin seems to be often quoted these days:

"Those who are prepared to sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither"

To shrug this off as 'the price of liberty' is to sleepwalk down the path to a dystopian future...

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by Tatt » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:52 am

p87 wrote:...
Benjamin Franklin seems to be often quoted these days:

"Those who are prepared to sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither"

To shrug this off as 'the price of liberty' is to sleepwalk down the path to a dystopian future...
Principally I do agree that no one should be systemactically reading everything ever written in private; however this argument is more nuanced.

In Europe and North American, and quite many other places, people DO live in a liberal environment with general freedom of expression and thought. Also the security agencies, despite massive resources, have a fairly tight remit. They're not looking for people who cheat on their missus or lie about parking tickets. They are looking for terrorist and organised criminal associations (something incressingly connected, as well). This is more important.

There is a long argument of course but I will try to summarise;
* As long as it is only the security services, and not the general police or god forbid civil servants who have access to the results, I am fine with it.
* It should not be secret evidence that can be used in a court of law, ever. It should be used to decide which bad guys to kill and which to keep alive for now and monitor further.
* It should tell the services who are the interlockers of terrorist and criminal networks, how do they work and communicate without missing a beat.
* And when the value of the data to the aims above is dimished it should be destroyed.

If you look at the actual details so far released these appear to be true.

I am not giving up my liberty, I retain my rights and responsibilities in the society I choose to live in. I am pleased that people make hard choices on my behalf about who lives and who dies in order to keep my society safe from those who would do it harm.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by tferg » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:44 pm

Very displeased at the US strongarming "allies", subordinates, and lesser nations in its manhunt.  Shameful bullying tactics

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by Luvbeers » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:00 pm

The government is spying on us with the help of media, so what else is new? And they call it an "intelligence" leak. If you're going to leak "secret" information then leak the Michelle Obama sex tape!
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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by WienA » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:06 pm

tferg wrote:Very displeased at the US strongarming "allies", subordinates, and lesser nations in its manhunt.  Shameful bullying tactics
And Obama said Snowden was small fry. Clearly his actions belie his words. Disappointing.

The Bolivian President has now left Vienna.
Article comments are sometimes amusing:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/ju ... f-comments

What I've learnt from this is that if you read the US news, they portray it differently.
Wasn't it someone who said the strongest propaganda is that where you think you are getting 'free press'? Sad.
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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by WienA » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:10 pm

Tatt wrote: If you look at the actual details so far released these appear to be true.
Tatt - with due respect - ???

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by Tatt » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:29 pm

WienA wrote:
Tatt wrote:* As long as it is only the security services, and not the general police or god forbid civil servants who have access to the results, I am fine with it.
* It should not be secret evidence that can be used in a court of law, ever. It should be used to decide which bad guys to kill and which to keep alive for now and monitor further.
* It should tell the services who are the interlockers of terrorist and criminal networks, how do they work and communicate without missing a beat.
* And when the value of the data to the aims above is dimished it should be destroyed...


If you look at the actual details so far released these appear to be true.
Tatt - with due respect - ???
The first point is valid; there has been no suggestion that general police or civil servants have access to the raw data. Snowden worked for the CIA and NSA (actually he was a contractor at Booz Allen Hamilton, but never mind), if local bobbies had access it would not have taken a whistleblower to inform the world.
Second point; the government cannot use evidence it collected outside of legal channels in civil cases, so if they want to tap your phone for a lawsuit (like the Enron investigation, say) then there would have to be a judge who approves specifically that wiretap.
Third point is my assumption on what it is ultimately for, but granted mission creep is a valid concern.
Finally the AP reported that PRISM data is destroyed every five years; while this may or may not be true it seems like a specifically detailed point, and makes a lot of sense technically - you don't help your chances of finding a needle in a haystack by adding more hay!

So I stand by my original assessment. Let's not get too hecked up about it and move on.

On a separate topic; there should be more laws to protect whistlblowers, rather than treat them like the enemy.

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by p87 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:28 am

Tatt wrote:So I stand by my original assessment. Let's not get too hecked up about it and move on.
You essentially seem to be saying that you are prepared to trust the state to do whatever it deems necessary to protect you so long as it meets certain pre-conditions that you have set out. Well that is the point. It is secret. There is no transparency. The general public are not even supposed to know that such programs exist, never mind the extent to which they abide, or not, by the law - never mind your own personal requirements. Even if (and it's a big 'if') these program's aims are largely benevolent now, what happens when a more malign force takes over?

Where are the controls?

Regardless of your dubious assertion that this is all obvious to 'anyone who knows how the world works', we can only now have something like an informed debate about the correct balance between security and freedom, judicial oversight, and the permissible level of state intrusion into private lives resulting from this program because of Snowden's revelation of its scale, scope and actuality.

You have quoted Orwell: "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf".

Some of those 'rough men' were the soldiers who gave their lives in the Second World War so that future generations could enjoy the freedoms that seemingly you would now lightly surrender. Let us hope that neither we nor our children are called upon to be the 'rough men' who must claw them back.

You are undoubtedly aware that Orwell made a fuller treatment of the topic in his novel 'Nineteen Eighty-Four', which I would recommend reacquainting yourself with, particularly the role that surveillance plays.

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by Luvbeers » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:14 am

p87 wrote:Some of those 'rough men' were the soldiers who gave their lives in the Second World War so that future generations could enjoy the freedoms that seemingly you would now lightly surrender. Let us hope that neither we nor our children are called upon to be the 'rough men' who must claw them back.
I went to the American cemetery at Omaha beach in Normandy a few years ago and as I was gazing over the 100,000+ soldiers buried there I was sick to my stomach at the thought that these men were slaughtered on the beach to preserve our freedom only for America to become a Schnell Schnell Kartoffelsalat! empire 25 to 30 years later by their own hand.
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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by Tatt » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:09 am

p87 wrote:
Tatt wrote:So I stand by my original assessment. Let's not get too hecked up about it and move on.
You essentially seem to be saying that you are prepared to trust the state to do whatever it deems necessary to protect you so long as it meets certain pre-conditions that you have set out. Well that is the point. It is secret. There is no transparency. The general public are not even supposed to know that such programs exist, never mind the extent to which they abide, or not, by the law - never mind your own personal requirements. Even if (and it's a big 'if') these program's aims are largely benevolent now, what happens when a more malign force takes over?

Where are the controls?

Regardless of your dubious assertion that this is all obvious to 'anyone who knows how the world works', we can only now have something like an informed debate about the correct balance between security and freedom, judicial oversight, and the permissible level of state intrusion into private lives resulting from this program because of Snowden's revelation of its scale, scope and actuality.
All absolutely true and I completely agree! Secret programs and opaque intrusion have the scope ('mission creep') to become the tools of tyranny and the only way that society can protect themselves is open knowledge, debate and then the ballot box.
I am uncomfortable with the situation, but my point is let's put it in perspective: we don't live in tyranny now. We don't have a police state now. We are free to debate. Move. Work. Our rights, as such, are not materially infringed. (Right to privacy possibly, but if Google's computers reading every email to sell ads are not infringing then it's hard to see how NSA computers doing the same thing to find bad guys are).

Of course we have to be vigilent of our leaders, but so it has been for all civilisation, and so will it be for our Children. There is no perfect status quo to aspire to in my opinion, only the reasonableness of the now.
p87 wrote:You have quoted Orwell: "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf".

Some of those 'rough men' were the soldiers who gave their lives in the Second World War so that future generations could enjoy the freedoms that seemingly you would now lightly surrender. Let us hope that neither we nor our children are called upon to be the 'rough men' who must claw them back.
This analogy doesn't work for me; the information state is hundreds of years old. And we still have all the freedoms those men died for. I didn't grow up under Communism or Faschism, and I'm not worried about that for my kid. But I will still fight, and have done through my representation to the British parliament, for the things I believe in. One of the great things about our society now is you don't have to give your life to make a contribution to a cause.

Seriously what exactly am I willing to give up that was ever mine to give away? My privacy? That is up to me to keep, not to blindly trust others to. But my freedom and liberty are fully available - arguably more than any other generation in history.

p87 wrote:You are undoubtedly aware that Orwell made a fuller treatment of the topic in his novel 'Nineteen Eighty-Four', which I would recommend reacquainting yourself with, particularly the role that surveillance plays.
I've read it, and seen the movie and the play and the Apple advert (in my more idealistic youth) but find it slightly patronising these days. Now I'm more of a 'people are people everywhere, they all generally want the same things (Maslow's hierarchy of needs) and they get the government they deserve' kind of philosopher.

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by WienA » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:44 pm

Tatt wrote:All absolutely true and I completely agree! Secret programs and opaque intrusion have the scope ('mission creep') to become the tools of tyranny and the only way that society can protect themselves is open knowledge, debate and then the ballot box.
I am uncomfortable with the situation, but my point is let's put it in perspective: we don't live in tyranny now. We don't have a police state now. We are free to debate. Move. Work. Our rights, as such, are not materially infringed. (Right to privacy possibly, but if Google's computers reading every email to sell ads are not infringing then it's hard to see how NSA computers doing the same thing to find bad guys are).
Actually I think that if this was not 'leaked', the "Mass" would still be largely ignorant of its extent, mechanisms, and methodologies. Transparency is the last thing on the minds of the good people running these programmes, and it looks like it remains so.

Read the US press, the world press. They are either demonising Snowden, ignoring the topic, and/or focussing on the "capture" of this traitor/hero/whistleblower.

Anyway the Bolivian President made it home safely it seems now, minus his 14 hour detour to VIE Airport  :oops:

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by p87 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:30 am

Tatt wrote:if Google's computers reading every email to sell ads are not infringing then it's hard to see how NSA computers doing the same thing to find bad guys are
You seriously cannot see a difference between making an informed decision to accept the openly published limited terms associated with a commercial product, and the massive, illegal, secret, collation of data by a largely unaccountable state spying machine?

Overall though your disarmingly breezy argument seems to be that because the shit hasn't hit the fan just yet there's no point making a fuss about the shadowy figures setting up a giant jet turbine next to the open sewer. I'm not sure I see the wisdom in that approach.

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by Tatt » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:36 am

p87 wrote:
Tatt wrote:if Google's computers reading every email to sell ads are not infringing then it's hard to see how NSA computers doing the same thing to find bad guys are
You seriously cannot see a difference between making an informed decision to accept the openly published limited terms associated with a commercial product, and the massive, illegal, secret, collation of data by a largely unaccountable state spying machine?
Actually I was making a technology point; Google actually reads everybody's email which goes through their servers, even if you don't have a gmail address. We (most people) accept that because it is not a human who reads the emails, but a non-judgemental computer program. NSA are not actually reading emails, only metadata, and also by computer. The only ones they actually look closely at (according to reports some 300 persons in the last year) are the ones already flagged up as suspicious. My point was if you accept one the premise of allowing computers to read our emails then reviewing the metadata in a similar way is not much different.

p87 wrote:Overall though your disarmingly breezy argument seems to be that because the shit hasn't hit the fan just yet there's no point making a fuss about the shadowy figures setting up a giant jet turbine next to the open sewer. I'm not sure I see the wisdom in that approach.
Look, we all have to fight for what we believe is right; there are plenty of causes. Governments have been reading every communication they can systematically get hold of for centuries, literally. This is not new. Men did not fight in the 20th Century wars so your shopping list is secured from all assailants. They fought for liberty and freedom of opportunity; and now we have more of those things than at almost any point in human history.

Yes our leaders must be controlled and we may have to fight again for that - but so it is in human society, it never stands still.

Again; no one gave away anything they had. Privacy does not exist unless it is me who creates it.

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by Tatt » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:51 am

Here's a good, short article on the debate:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/05 ... rotection/
The only issue is not whether such surveillance occurs, but rather the authorisation and supervision of such surveillance as being a “necessary interference” in the context of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by WienA » Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:20 pm

Well it's undoubted that some are very willing to hand over all their rights and info to a benevolent Government force, unchecked by the usual checks and balances built up by years of judicial law and constitutional government.

And some folks lap it up. I don't buy the "If I don't have nothing to hide, you can watch me feed my cat videos" - no, there is a reason for social liberties and justice. And the answer is not a light one.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/us/in ... d=all&_r=0

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by Tatt » Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:17 pm

WienA wrote:Well it's undoubted that some are very willing to hand over all their rights and info to a benevolent Government force, unchecked by the usual checks and balances built up by years of judicial law and constitutional government.
What rights, exactly?? Perhaps I have not been clear but I am not willing to give away anything. One of the main things I am saying is that we do not have a right to privacy from the security services (it is exempted from the Human Rights Act). Basically no one, EVER, had any right of privacy from their government to give away.

However all my actual rights of justice, liberty and freedom are actually stronger than most other places in the world, and history.


WienA wrote:And some folks lap it up. I don't buy the "If I don't have nothing to hide, you can watch me feed my cat videos" - no, there is a reason for social liberties and justice. And the answer is not a light one.

I am not arguing in favour of the NSA, or supporting mass control of the population as some people seem to read. I am simply trying to explain it in the context of what it actually means to everyone who is not a terrorist. The debate is good, but don't twist my points for your argument.

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by p87 » Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:36 am

Tatt wrote:One of the main things I am saying is that we do not have a right to privacy from the security services (it is exempted from the Human Rights Act). Basically no one, EVER, had any right of privacy from their government to give away.
Which Human Rights Act are you referring to? Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is quite clear on the matter:

"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by Tatt » Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:18 am

p87 wrote:
Tatt wrote:One of the main things I am saying is that we do not have a right to privacy from the security services (it is exempted from the Human Rights Act). Basically no one, EVER, had any right of privacy from their government to give away.
Which Human Rights Act are you referring to? Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is quite clear on the matter:

"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."
I should have been more specific in referencing, my apologies: Article 8, section 2.
Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life
1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
This in my opinion is a huge hole you could wedge a super-computer into to read everyone's communications in the interests of national security alone, nevermind the prevention of disorder and crime, etc.

You may ask if Article 8 and Article 12 are compatible with each other - this has never been tested in court as far I know.

The real question is weather the government(s)' wholesale analysis of communication metadata is "arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence". In my opinion this would be a complex argument for and against.

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by p87 » Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:29 am

Tatt wrote:I should have been more specific in referencing, my apologies: Article 8, section 2.
No problem - thanks, but I was quoting from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), whereas you appear to be referencing the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Which brings us on to another problem. I'm a British person living in Austria commenting on an issue arising in the USA. I'm not sure which specific 'rights to privacy' we're actually talking about, but I think the spirit of the UDHR - from which most countries derive their own versions - probably hits the right note. However, I think we can now at least agree that such a thing does exist. In fact, I would say that it is an incontrovertible point that the right to privacy exists and is enshrined in international law.

Your remaining point would seem to be the 'right to privacy' is so loosely defined, or so regularly and routinely abused that Snowden's revelations should not concern us ("it's how the world works"), and anyway we lose this right if the secret service deem it necessary, because security trumps freedom.

Taking your preferred ECHR article: the key words here are 'in accordance with the law'. From the link you can see that actually there are some quite stringent tests that must be applied to determine whether this condition is met. There is a specific treatment for secret measures such as phone interceptions. A further cursory perusal reveals that the legal basis for such actions were certainly not met when the NSA (and others) went trawling.

So, should we care?

The UDHR was born out of the ashes of the Second World War, paid for in blood and destroyed lives. If you like, to some extent it sumarises the lessons we learned and gives us a path to follow to a brighter future. The bit about privacy wasn't added as an afterthought - it is an integral part, and of exactly the same value as all of the other rights.

In a functioning democracy, what Snowden has revealed would enrage the population, bring down governments and provoke sweeping reforms. The fact that it hasn't is a worrying sign of where our society is right now, and where it is heading.

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by Tatt » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:56 pm

p87 wrote:... I was quoting from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), whereas you appear to be referencing the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Actually I was quoting the Human Rights Act 1998 (UK), but as it implements the ECHR and incorporates the UDHR it doesn't matter - the get out clause for security services still applies because it is in the law in the UK, Europe and almost everywhere else. In the USA it is most recently the Patriot Act which gives the security services the right to survey communication data.

You can argue it but not easily in court; in the UK courts defer to the Home Secretary on National Security grounds by convention, and in the USA secret evidence is not allowed in the courts which makes it practically impossible to legally prove.
p87 wrote:Which brings us on to another problem. I'm a British person living in Austria commenting on an issue arising in the USA. I'm not sure which specific 'rights to privacy' we're actually talking about, but I think the spirit of the UDHR - from which most countries derive their own versions - probably hits the right note. However, I think we can now at least agree that such a thing does exist. In fact, I would say that it is an incontrovertible point that the right to privacy exists and is enshrined in international law.
Disagree; in every law of the land (with a possible exception of Germany) a right to privacy only exists between private citizens and civil bodies of Government. You have no right to privacy from the security services, and never had. And even if in some magic country there is enshrined in law a complete right to privacy from the security services; that does not exist in the US so what 'right' could you possibly enforce there??
p87 wrote:Your remaining point would seem to be the 'right to privacy' is so loosely defined, or so regularly and routinely abused that Snowden's revelations should not concern us ("it's how the world works"), and anyway we lose this right if the secret service deem it necessary, because security trumps freedom.
Not at all, I am saying that that right does not exist in this context, it is exempted. And always has been.
p87 wrote:Taking your preferred ECHR article: ... cursory perusal reveals that the legal basis for such actions were certainly not met when the NSA (and others) went trawling.
That's your opinion, but legally it has not been tested in court. See above.
p87 wrote:So, should we care?

The UDHR was born out of the ashes of the Second World War, paid for in blood and destroyed lives. If you like, to some extent it sumarises the lessons we learned and gives us a path to follow to a brighter future. The bit about privacy wasn't added as an afterthought - it is an integral part, and of exactly the same value as all of the other rights.

In a functioning democracy, what Snowden has revealed would enrage the population, bring down governments and provoke sweeping reforms. The fact that it hasn't is a worrying sign of where our society is right now, and where it is heading.
Well this at least we can agree on; I do care, and I think it is intrusive. But there are bigger fish to fry.
Society now is freer, more open and more challenging of official wrong-doing than ever before. I really do not see the doom mongering of how lazy and ineffective everyone is.

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by WienA » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:58 pm

Tatt wrote: The debate is good, but don't twist my points for your argument.
My last paragraph was a general one, and was not directed at you, per se.

I am not trying to win a debate, in fact I haven't bothered to engage in a debate with you as I don't see the point to do so.

However, if I change my mind, I will address you directly.

I think the general topic is kind of moot anyway because it seems the Government and whoever else will do what they like, and most people are too ill-informed, ignorant, busy, assuming of their actual rights etc. to actually care and change public policy.

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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by WienA » Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:15 pm

Tatt wrote: Well this at least we can agree on; I do care, and I think it is intrusive. But there are bigger fish to fry.
Society now is freer, more open and more challenging of official wrong-doing than ever before. I really do not see the doom mongering of how lazy and ineffective everyone is.
I wrote my statement before I read yours, but I disagree it is just "doom mongering". Words like this are pretty shallow actually - kind of like "bad person" or "enemy". Not to say they are not popular.

Also you might want to consider that in a comfortable state there is such a thing as apathy, but the world develops off certain paths. Your use of historical or current personal experience to measure future status is noted.

A quick Google search yields immediate results to some of your arguments:

Some have tried to minimize the import of the snooping exposed by Snowden on the grounds that the government is just storing the information it gathers, and has not yet searched it. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution prohibits "unreasonable searches and seizures.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130 ... tion.shtml

Anyway, who gives a **** - enjoy.

p87
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Re: Guardian: Snowden - Bolivian place forced to land in Aus

Post by p87 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:46 am

Tatt wrote:You have no right to privacy from the security services, and never had.

...it is exempted. And always has been
Well, that's just silly. Can you provide a single specific reference that clearly supports that assertion? Article 8 of the ECHR certainly does not say that. I don't dispute the fact that stress points can arise between the needs of the state and the rights of the individual, but such instances are ultimately governed by the rule of law, which in this particular example was subverted.

The right to privacy is an inalienable human right, acknowledged in a document recognised as one of the highest expressions of the human conscience of our time - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A living document that is recognised as a contract between a government and its people throughout the world. An expression of the values most dear to us, in some ways the UDHR defines what it means to be human. Something of a moral compass.

Ultimately you may be right that privacy (as opposed to the right to privacy) does not actually exist in the modern world de facto. But if true then it is this very acceptance that is the problem and we should be checking our moral compass to find another path, not bending its needle to make it look like we're still going in the right direction.

And so I must concede a point. The right to privacy - like all the other human rights - only 'exists' to the extent that it is acknowldeged and defended. So I suppose for you - and the growing mass of others of a like mind - it really does not exist. And perhaps, in time, for the rest of us it will not exist either. Well done - you win.

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