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Monday, September 23, 2013

Weakening secured systems, creating enemies ─ USA’s mass surveillance practices

During U.S. President's visit
Berlin protesters compare 
U.S. intelligence agencies to 
East German Stasi 

Careless breach, far-reaching consequences
Excerpted, minor editing, brief comment by 
Carolyn Bennett

Veteran journalist and editor of The Guardian (UK) Alan Rusbridger was the featured interview on today’s edition of Democracy Now! This is some of what he had to say about U.S. intelligence snooping and its implications.

Delusion of being Islanded

“I think Americans haven’t quite understood the anger of other states” ─ anger, for example, of people living in Germany,” he said. “You say that Americans feel free to spy on anybody else in the world.”

But what if the reverse: “how would Americans feel if Germans were spying on them or ─ knowing how people feel about the Chinese ─ if the Chinese were spying on Americans…”
European Union reacts to
U.S. spying

Far-reaching implications: secured weakened 

“The weakening of the security of the Internet has international implications now beginning to be felt.… It appears that what the NSA [United States National Security Agency] has done is to weaken the systems under which everything is kept secret;

…banking transactions

Germany's Chancellor
responds to
U.S. spying
…medical transactions of ordinary Americans

But not only the secured weakened for Americans, also “for the rest of the world ─ by building so-called trapdoors” ─ trapdoors “that the NSA can get through; then, probably, so can the Chinese, and so can criminals.”

Missing from the American debate, Rusbridger says, is found in the U.S. president’s narrowed emphasis on “‘America not spying on Americans on American territory’ as if that were the only thing that mattered.”
Brazil responds to
U.S. spying 

Between Silicon Valley, telecom companies, and the intelligence agencies
Between American intelligence agencies’ sharing with other governments
Between states and press: governments and Fourth/Fifth estates

t seems to me that there is not only a gross wastefulness and ineffectiveness built in to intelligence agencies’ sweep of information together with its clear invitation to abuse; but there is also a willful carelessness and seeming determined ignorance which then begs the question, who really benefits from this breach. This is unclear but ─ even as irreparable damage is being done by governmental agencies ─ there seems also a built-in Internet check.

Intelligence agencies around the world collaborate “to snoop on a global intelligence network,” Rusbridger says. And “that same global network, the Internet, is also used by all of us (press and bloggers) to spread information.

“So the thing that makes the snooping possible is the thing, also, that makes it so hard for [intelligence agencies] to get a piece of information and snuff it out.”

Sources and notes

 “Spilling the NSA’s Secrets: Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger on the Inside Story of Snowden Leaks,” Monday, September 23, 2013, http://www.democracynow.org/2013/9/23/spilling_the_nsas_secrets_guardian_editor

Alan Rusbridger 

Since 1995, Alan Charles Rusbridger has been editor of British newspaper, The Guardian. Earlier in his career he had been a reporter and columnist.

Author of: Play It Again: Why Amateurs Should Attempt the Impossible (2012); The Smelliest Day at the Zoo (2007); The Wildest Day at the Zoo (2005); The Coldest Day in the Zoo (2004); The Guardian Year (1994, edited by Rusbridger)  

Rusbridger was born December 29, 1953, in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and educated at Lanesborough Prep School, Guildford; Cranleigh School, a boys’ independent school in Cranleigh, Surrey; and at Magdalene College (Cambridge). He is recipient of Honorary Doctorate(s) of Letters from the University of Lincoln (September 2009) and the University of Kingston (January 2010). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Rusbridger

Top image: Protesters in Berlin compare U.S. intelligence agencies to the East German Stasi during President Barack Obama's visit to the German capital, June 18, 2013. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)


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