Someone responding to the story said 'real spies do not speak like that'. Well, I am a spy and that is how they talk. Whenever we had a debate in the office on how to handle crimes, they do not defend due process - they defend decisive action. They say it is better to kick someone out of a plane than let these people have a day in court. It is an authoritarian mindset in general.
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Custom developed digital weapons, cyber weapons nowadays typically chain together a number of zero-day exploits that are targeted against the specific site, the specific target that they want to hit. But it depends, this level of sophistication, on the budget and the quality of the actor who's instigating the attack. If it's a country that's less poor or less sophisticated, it'll be a less sophisticated attack.
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The way the United States intelligence community operates is it doesn't limit itself to the protection of the homeland. It doesn't limit itself to countering terrorist threats, countering nuclear proliferation. It's also used for economic espionage, for political spying to gain some knowledge of what other countries are doing.
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The community of technical experts who really manage the internet, who built the internet and maintain it, are becoming increasingly concerned about the activities of agencies like the NSA or Cyber Command, because what we see is that defense is becoming less of a priority than offense.
My case clearly demonstrates the need for comprehensive whistleblower protection act reform. If we had had a real process in place, and reports of wrongdoing could be taken to real, independent arbiters rather than captured officials, I might not have had to sacrifice so much to do what at this point even the President seems to agree needed to be done.
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I was right outside the NSA [on 9/11], so I remember the tension on that day. I remember hearing on the radio, 'the plane's hitting, ' and I remember thinking my grandfather, who worked for the FBI at the time, was in the Pentagon when the plane hit it... I take the threat of terrorism seriously, and I think we all do. And I think it's really disingenuous for the government to invoke and sort-of scandalize our memories to sort-of exploit the national trauma that we all suffered together and worked so hard to come through - and to justify programs that have never been shown to keep us safe, but cost us liberties and freedoms that we don't need to give up, and that our Constitution says we should not give up.
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The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. [People] won't be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things And in the months ahead, the years ahead, it's only going to get worse. [The NSA will] say that because of the crisis, the dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny.
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As a technologist, I see the trends, and I see that automation inevitably is going to mean fewer and fewer jobs. And if we do not find a way to provide a basic income for people who have no work, or no meaningful work, we're going to have social unrest that could get people killed. When we have increasing production - year after year after year - some of that needs to be reinvested in society.
Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say. Nobody needs to justify why they 'need' a right. The burden of justification falls on the one seeking to infringe upon the right. You can't give away the rights of others because they're not useful to you. More simply, the majority cannot vote away the natural rights of the minority.
A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They'll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves an unrecorded, unanalysed thought. And that's a problem because privacy matters, privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.
For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission's already accomplished. I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn't want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.
When Laura Poitras asked me if she could film our encounters, I was extremely reluctant. I'm grateful that I allowed her to persuade me. The result is a brave and brilliant film that deserves the honor and recognition it has received. My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together, can change the world.
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If the United States is promoting the development of exploits, of vulnerabilities, of insecurity in this critical infrastructure, and we're not fixing it when we find it, instead we put it on the shelf so we can use it the next time we want to launch an attack against some foreign country. We're leaving ourselves at risk.
The United States need to put internet processes, policies, and procedures in place with real laws that forbid going beyond the borders of what's reasonable to ensure that the only time that we and other countries around the world exercise these authorities are when it is absolutely necessary.
In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised - and it should be.
If I target for example an email address, for example under FAA 702, and that email address sent something to you, Joe America, the analyst gets it. All of it. IPs, raw data, content, headers, attachments, everything. And it gets saved for a very long time - and can be extended further with waivers rather than warrants.