The US government has betrayed the Internet. We need to take it back

Royce Williams royce at
Fri Sep 6 14:55:39 UTC 2013

On Fri, Sep 6, 2013 at 6:27 AM, Naslund, Steve <SNaslund at> wrote:


> 1.  We vote in a new executive branch every four years.  They control and
appoint the NSA director.  Vote them out if you don't like how they run
things.  Do you think a President wants to maintain power?  Of course they
do and they will change a policy that will get them tossed out (if enough
people actually care).
> 2.  The Congress passes the laws that govern telecom and intelligence
gathering.  They also have the power to impeach and/or prosecute the
executive branch for misdeeds.  They will pass any law or do whatever it
takes to keep themselves in power.  Again this requires a lot of public

Historically speaking, I'm not convinced that a pure political solution
will ever work, other than on the surface.  The need for surveillance
transcends both administrations and political parties.  Once the newly
elected are presented with the intel available at that level, even their
approach to handling the flow of information and their social interaction
have to change in order to function.

Daniel Ellsberg's attempt to explain this to Kissinger is insightful.  It's
a pretty quick read, with many layers of important observations. (It's
Mother Jones, but this content is apolitical):

I think that Schneier's got it right.  The solution has to be both
technical and political, and must optimize for two functions: catch the bad
guys, while protecting the rights of the good guys.

When the time comes for the political choices to be made, the good
technical choices must be the only ones available.

Security engineering must pave the way to the high road -- so that it's the
only road to get there.


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