NSA-Led Panel Says There's No Alternative To NSA Data Collection

Illustration for article titled NSA-Led Panel Says There's No Alternative To NSA Data Collection

Surprise! An academic advisory panel, chaired by director of national intelligence James Clapper — yup, the same guy who lied to Congress — has concluded that there's no alternative to bulk data collection. Sorry, citizens.


The panel was convened in response to a request from President Obama, and made up mostly of computer science experts from the National Academy of Sciences. Their mission was to examine the NSA's use of bulk data collection, and see if there was any viable alternative. Shocker: there isn't.

According to the panel, there's no "technological magic" that can completely replace bulk data collection. However, they found that through better use of targeting, viable alternatives that mostly replace bulk data collection could be achieved. Even if the NSA keeps its bulk-data dragnet going (which, let's be honest, it will), the panel suggests having more isolated data and tightly-restricted queries could at least allay some privacy concerns without impacting counter-terrorism operations. [Guardian, Reuters]



That particular TLA should go and fuck itself. If our society is to be based on the ideal of individual freedom, then it has to accept that individuals who disagree with the "majority" might be unable to express their viewpoint in a way that will be heard without resorting to violence. Thus it is impossible to eliminate terrorism.

That doesn't mean you can't make society safer. The biggest way that could happen is making sure that minorities do have valid and logical ways of expressing their concerns and participating in the social and economic systems we've engineered to keep life from being "simple". Data collection doesn't make that happen. People creating communities and encouraging cooperation and unity rather than segmentation and isolation create that kind of environment.

But empowering minorities means that some of the power concentrated at the top of the chain must be diluted in order to provide them with a voice. This concentration of power in the wealthy few is often relayed to the "majority" as an invasion of the "majority's" freedoms and potential to elevate their social standing to the "powerful". Its called the "American Dream". In reality, the American Dream is a lie. Social standing does not increase with money - it increases with property and resources. When a business man succeeds, his wealth is not measured in dollars... it is measured in the value of the property his business holds and in the value of the workers his business has gathered to support his operations. Money is just the medium of exchange used for the transfer of wealth from the people he employes to his own personal wealth.

That's why winning the lottery is mostly just a temporary state of enrichment that often vanishes very shortly after the money is obtained.