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Saturday, August 03, 2013


Laws are not enough: Stop telling us what the NSA can’t do to us legally. Show us real barriers to abuse.

In the two months since Edward Snowden began to expose the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, we’ve heard two different stories about them. Snowden and his collaborator, Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian, have claimed that the programs allow NSA analysts and contractors to spy indiscriminately on Americans. U.S. government officials have told us that the programs don’t allow this. Who’s telling the truth?

The answer, for the most part, is both. The two sides are using different definitions of allow. Snowden and Greenwald are telling us what’s technologically possible. The government is telling us what’s legally permitted. Our job is to put the two stories together. We must pressure the government to translate its legal restrictions into technological barriers, so that what’s impermissible becomes impossible.

Well, yes. The IRS isn't allowed to harass Conservative groups while giving Liberal groups a pass. But it does. And the ones committing the crimes get paid leave. Don't tell me what you're not allowed to do by your internal rules which someone like Snowden or Bradley Manning can ignore and make me thing that it can't be done. That's lying by omission, something the government and the press is very, very good at.

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