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All they'll find on my internet is drugs and fantasy mage smut - Tactical Ninja

Jun. 11th, 2013

09:18 am - All they'll find on my internet is drugs and fantasy mage smut

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So some of you have probably heard of the NSA Prism thing. Those of you who haven't, probably should read this article, or better still, watch this video (warning, autoplay) from the whistleblower himself.

I don't clearly understand it myself, but the message I'm getting is that Prism collects information from the servers of certain large, high-traffic service providers or sites, and channels it to the NSA. Essentially, it spies on everyday internet use by people without any reason except that it can. The implications of this are pretty big, but one of the ones that makes me go "Hmm" is that it means that if someone does a thing the government doesn't like, they can then go have a look at all of that person's internet use, and see who they've talked to, what they've said, and what they've looked at. Retrospectively.


There are smarter people than me (like, you know, Edward Snowden up there) who are talking about this and its impact not only on people directly, but also for the general level of surveillance - you know, the slow creeping invasions of our right to privacy. I mean, one of the companies on the list is Microsoft, right? And Microsoft is about to release the XBox One, which requires permanent Kinect connection in order to work. It doesn't take a mental giant to decide that well, XBox One can kiss my arse, basically.

So yeah, Prism is a bit scary. It's not as if we didn't all suspect that we were approaching Big Brother levels of surveillance, but to have it confirmed is, well.. not really what I would have wanted to be honest.

"But Tats, that's the US! We all know the US government has gone paranoid and human-rights destroying and generally mistrustful of its own people. This is no less than we would expect! Everyone should move to New Zealand, the freest country in the world!"

Meanwhile in New Zealand...

Remember a couple of years ago when I ranted about how our government was using urgency to push through a law that allowed the police to spy on people by placing video surveillance equipment on their property without a warrant? Well, they did that. What happened, for those who weren't around back then, was that the cops had done this in the somewhat notorious Urewera case, and the defence for the accused brought up the fact that, um, that was illegal. So the goverment changed the law to make it legal. That article says it had public scrutiny, but as I recall we were given about 2 days to make submissions.

And just as an aside, those people who were such a danger to the security of average New Zealanders that it required a law change in breach of the Bill of Rights Act to allow warrantless spying? Were found guilty by the crown on minor firearms offences.

So, um, yeah. Cops can stick cameras in your house if they think you might be up to something, and we now have a precedent that the government's happy to change the law to make it legal if they overstep their mandate.

So what? That's got nothing to do with the internet!

Only, earlier this year, someone leaked a report from our national security agency (the GCSB), that showed they were illegally spying on New Zealanders too. And in this case, 'cyber-security' was very much in the centre of the spying. It was all tied up with the Kim Dotcom case - ooh look, that guy that the US wanted to extradite! - and again, was brought up in defence.

And our government's response? change the law to make it legal.

So in reality, it seems that New Zealand's so-called cyber-security/surveillance/whatever laws are actually more Big Brother-ish than the US's already, and also that our goverment is pretty blatant about changing the law to suit itself despite its effects on the freedom of its people. It would not surprise me if Prism, or something like it, is being used here already.

Just a thought.

Meanwhile, when a member of the public discovered a weakness in the Ministry of Justice website that allowed them to access a text file containing passwords, then reported the security issue, our Justice Minister jumped up and down and called the person a 'hacker' and a 'burglar' and refused to admit there was a problem. And then she set the police on the whistleblower.

I suspect Justice would not approve of Judith Collins.


Today is the E3 conference. EA just had its press conference, and I missed it. But I did find this - Dragon Age 3 trailer. It tells you little, except - Morrigan! In the role I suspected all along! Also, release window, fall 2014. In Southern Hemisphere anglophile speak, that equates to spring next year - August/Septemberish. Even though I'm partly going *gnng* SO.FAR.AWAY! I'm also glad they are taking their time with it. They have a few fans to win back, and although I'm on the side of having loved both DA2 and ME3, I'd rather they took their time and made a game that speaks to the concerns raised about the Bioware/EA collaboration. And that continues to justify my love for the world they've created.

So I can wait, but I can't wait! OMGOMGOMGOMG!

Comments:

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From:pombagira
Date:June 10th, 2013 09:38 pm (UTC)
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our govt and our society world wide scares the pants of me at an alarming regular rate, so i spend a bunch of time going O.O can i run away into a cave and hide somewhere and a bunch of other times going bring it f*&^kers we will show you.. *coughs*

and then yet a bunch of more time going where do you find the balance in all of this...

yeah..
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From:tatjna
Date:June 10th, 2013 09:43 pm (UTC)
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My thinking always ends up at "How much loss of lifestyle am I prepared to endure in order to withdraw my consent?"

And that varies from day to day depending on a number of factors. So I end up being subversive in probably pointless ways, and writing a lot of submissions to parliament, just to let them know that people are out there who disagree.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:June 10th, 2013 10:01 pm (UTC)
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It's all so John Key can sit there smugly and say "No laws were broken" http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/8780775/PM-guarantees-no-laws-broken
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From:pombagira
Date:June 10th, 2013 10:14 pm (UTC)
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like that one commentter said, just because it is 'legal' dosn't mean that it is right, and i am kinda over our currently govt doing things that are while 'legal' not actually right or in the best interest of people...

*gnashes of teeth*

so now i am wondering what to do, what can be done?
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From:tatjna
Date:June 10th, 2013 10:15 pm (UTC)
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Never mind that they blatantly take things that are illegal and make them legal so that they can keep doing them.
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From:t_c_da
Date:June 10th, 2013 10:33 pm (UTC)
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Exactly! Roll on 2014 and we can vote them out (hopefully!)...
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From:pombagira
Date:June 10th, 2013 10:46 pm (UTC)
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yeah there is that to.. *arrgghh*

so when does it become, get to a point where people yell enough? actually i believe that this is starting to happen, but unlike the movies, it is happening at a slow rate rather than a sudden realisation and uprising, so to speak.. which is good and bad all at the same time

while the govt is running around changing things to suite, people are finding ways around it just as fast, and i want to believe that as this is happening more and that more people are becomeing awear of what is going on, and that it is wrong.

and as another thought, someday's it is like waiting for the old guard to pop off, so that the new guard can replace them, and this again is not going to be an sudden thing but a slow progression..

err yeah...

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From:dreadbeard
Date:June 11th, 2013 12:30 am (UTC)
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I haven't been following the PRISM thing, but did find this article pretty interesting.
http://t.co/jhvs6hJgJD
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From:tatjna
Date:June 11th, 2013 01:42 am (UTC)
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Two things: First, that argument boils down to "Those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear" mixed with a dash of "It's inevitable." Second, it's already been shown that our government isn't above using this sort of information illegally.

And I feel a bit patronised by the guy's headpatting assurance that we need this because terrorism is real.

One thing I did take from it is the question of whether state security agencies should ignore data that exists. That's a fair enough point - but I think we need much stronger measures in place to prevent the misuse of that data. Because, at least in NZ, it's happening already.
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From:dreadbeard
Date:June 11th, 2013 03:48 am (UTC)
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It is by the guy who wrote The Wire. Yeah, the deep underlying right wing myopia of it was the low point.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 11th, 2013 03:50 am (UTC)
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Heh. That would explain the detailed knowledge of Baltimore drug surveillance that read like the plot of The Wire then. ;-)
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:June 11th, 2013 10:04 pm (UTC)
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At some point I want to write how this impacts Friendly AI. How do you make a system okay with being willingly ignorant to protect people's rights.
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From:richaarde
Date:June 11th, 2013 03:02 am (UTC)
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So it isn't just my gumminit here in the USA that pulls that kind of crap. Now I don't feel so bad.

Ugh.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 11th, 2013 03:51 am (UTC)
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I imagine all governments do, just yours is in the spotlight most of the time and ours likes to think nobody will notice because we're the backwater of the world and so Clean and Green!

(truth is, we do rate pretty well in levels of corruption but I suspect that's changing scarily fast right now)
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From:tatjna
Date:June 11th, 2013 04:34 am (UTC)
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Yes, I know.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:June 11th, 2013 10:02 pm (UTC)
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Corruption feels like only one among a number of important axes for assessing governments, some others being transparency, privacy, and authoritarianism.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 11th, 2013 10:06 pm (UTC)
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Also, corruption doesn't only mean a bribe-based public service.

And I note that the link up there talks only about *perceptions* of corruption.
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From:anna_en_route
Date:June 11th, 2013 04:52 am (UTC)
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Corruption we're ok at.

Incompetence on the other hand...I've heard some pretty hair raising stories* (to the point where I strongly suggested that the person involved leave a particular organisation as quickly as possible to avoid the almost inevitable horrific splashback....I really wish that they would listen to me).

*not about the department I work for, thank goodness (they take privacy quite seriously here).
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From:meathiel
Date:June 11th, 2013 07:06 am (UTC)
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All I can say is "Big Brother is watching you"!
Our chancellor wants to protest when Obama visits next week ... haha ... as if the German government wouldn't do this as well. :-(
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