Academics petition for end to 'blanket surveillance'

Jan 03, 2014

More than 250 academics from around the world signed an online petition this week calling for an end to "blanket mass surveillance" by intelligence agencies.

The petition said revelations of mass surveillance in documents leaked by former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden violate "a fundamental right" protected by international treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.

"This has to stop," said the petition (academicsagainstsurveillance.net), an initiative of four academics from the University of Amsterdam.

"Without privacy people cannot freely express their opinions or seek and receive information. Moreover, mass surveillance turns the presumption of innocence into a presumption of guilt... secret and unfettered surveillance practices violate fundamental rights and the rule of law, and undermine democracy.

"The signatories of this declaration call upon nation states to take action. Intelligence agencies must be subjected to transparency and accountability. People must be free from blanket mass surveillance conducted by from their own or foreign countries."

The signatories include academics in the Netherlands, Britain, Germany and the United States.

Among them are Oxford University's Joss Wright, Alessandro Acquisti of Carnegie Mellon University, Aleecia McDonald of the Center for Internet & Society at Stanford University and Bruce Schneier of the Berkman Institute for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.

Other signatories were from as far as Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

On Thursday, a report indicated that the NSA is making strides toward building a "quantum computer" that could break nearly any kind of encryption.

The Washington Post said leaked documents from Snowden indicate the computer would allow the secret intelligence agency to break encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world.

Quantum computing has been a goal among commercial firms such as IBM because it could harness the power of atoms and molecules, vastly increasing speed and security of computers and other devices.

Snowden leaked explosive details of the secret surveillance schemes to media including The Washington Post and The Guardian.

After fleeing the United States, he ultimately landed in Russia, where he has been granted temporary asylum. US federal prosecutors have filed a criminal complaint against Snowden, charging him with espionage and felony theft of government property.

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Returners
1 / 5 (6) Jan 03, 2014
"This has to stop," said the petition (academicsagainstsurveillance.net), an initiative of four academics from the University of Amsterdam.


Islamic and other extremists indiscriminently murdering unarmed people who have never harmed anyone MUST stop.

Since they obviously will not change their behavior, what do you guys honestly expect everyone to do? Sit on our hands and wait for "911" to happen any time the lunatics want to do it?

If I lived in an ideal world where there was no evil, I wouldn't want surveillance, but that isn't where we live.

I live in a world where several percent of people have committed violent acts in their lifetime, and a significant portion of the global population believes they have a God given right to murder anyone who disagrees with them.

I want more surveillance to protect us from all the murderers, rapists, child molesters, and terrorists and other lunatics, since we are the first generation with the technology to intercept and stop them.
btb101
1.5 / 5 (2) Jan 03, 2014
and now it is reported that over 1 million chidden in the UK have been fingerprinted by their schools and colleges it is showing, more and more, that this kind of surveillance is designed to monitor the population, not for 'crime prevention' but for surveillance sake.

the very idea of unknown people reading my 'personal messages' or other aspects to my life throws many questions about possible uses. not one use can i think of that is of benefit for me..
Returners
1.8 / 5 (6) Jan 03, 2014
Quantum computing has been a goal among commercial firms such as IBM because it could harness the power of atoms and molecules, vastly increasing speed and security of computers and other devices.


Of course you realize that eventually the lunatics will have access to Quantum Computers too, don't you?

You better hope somebody in the government figures out how to brink Quantum Encryption so they can stop the lunatics, and without accidentally giving that technology to those same lunatics.

You are naive if you think the door doesn't swing both ways. It's just like any other technology. We make bombs, now we have to keep them out of terrorist hands. We make nuclear power, not we have to keep the materials out of lunatics hands. We make Quantum Computers? Now we have to keep THAT out of the lunatics hands, else they too will have un-hackable communications.

Do you understand why your Holy Grail solution only creates bigger problems?
Returners
1 / 5 (4) Jan 03, 2014
and now it is reported that over 1 million chidden in the UK have been fingerprinted by their schools and colleges it is showing, more and more, that this kind of surveillance is designed to monitor the population, not for 'crime prevention' but for surveillance sake.

the very idea of unknown people reading my 'personal messages' or other aspects to my life throws many questions about possible uses. not one use can i think of that is of benefit for me..


So, you don't think that a surveillance program intercepting a terrorist communication, or the rant of some murdering lunatic who would do a school yard shooting, can benefit you, even if the government were to say, prevent that would-be crime by intercepting and arresting them?

Are you truly that naive and blind to the actual needs of these programs?

The modern "evil bastard" is equipped with all of the same tools we have, and if we don't use them to our benefit THEY will.
shavera
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 03, 2014
I dunno, maybe instead of just labeling people as "evil bastards" maybe we could, you know, try to understand the underlying social and economic pressures on them that lead them to committing terrible acts, and try to prevent them from happening by making their lives better instead of our lives worse. Maybe try to fix the root problem instead of piling on bandaids on top of it.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 03, 2014
"Joss Wright's research interests - cryptography, privacy-enhancing technologies and anonymous communications. Current research focuses on data and context privacy in wireless sensor networks." [dude does look a little paranoid]

"Alessandro Acquisti is an Associate Professor of Information Technology and Public Policy at the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University... His work investigates the economic and social impact of IT, and in particular the economics and behavioral economics of privacy and information security, as well as privacy in online social networks" [sounds a little too much like a philo]

"Aleecia M. McDonald is the Director of Privacy at Stanford's Center for Internet & Society, Stanford Law School " [ah jeez, lawyers]

"Bruce Schneier of the Berkman Institute for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School" [ah jeez, more lawyers]

""This has to stop," said the petition" -Well of course. It threatens their jobs. Lets ask some who are a little less jaundiced.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 03, 2014
"Bruce Schneier... called a "security guru" by The Economist. He is the author of 12 books -- including Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust Society Needs to Survive"

-I bet nowhere in his books or papers will we find the phrase 'trust but verify' except perhaps in a derisive sense. Troubel is, the people we need to worry about are not a part of our society. They want to destroy our society and replace it with their own.

"Omar Hammami calls for establishment of global caliphate

"Omar Hammami, the American terrorist who has served as a Shabaab military commander, propagandist, recruiter, and fundraiser, recently released a statement calling for jihadists to declare a global Islamic caliphate

"the establishment of the global caliphate is critical to prevent the West from dividing and conquering the disparate jihadist movements and defeating them individually. He cited a RAND study from 2006 that said al Qaeda's ideology is its center of gravity..."
Protoplasmix
not rated yet Jan 03, 2014
Trouble is, the people we need to worry about are not a part of our society. They want to destroy our society and replace it with their own.

Ah, that explains why the NSA is so busy spying on our society. Or is that the point you're making?
He cited a RAND study from 2006 that said al Qaeda's ideology is its center of gravity

And who made al Qaeda what it is? The problem should be an easy fix for them—they specialize in that sort of thing, right?
Returners
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 03, 2014
Ah, that explains why the NSA is so busy spying on our society. Or is that the point you're making?


Naive aren't you?

Ever heard of the term "sleeper cell"?

The trouble with terrorists is gosh darn it, they aren't afilliated with any one nation, they blend in with OUR population, under the guise of so-called "moderates," (see the Tsarnaiev's family, which they were with,) not to mention "converts".

Though intelligence dropped the ball on that one, It was by intelligence and a bit of luck that the government stopped a few other recent bombing schemes by Islamics in the past few years.

And who made al Qaeda what it is? The problem should be an easy fix for them—they specialize in that sort of thing, right?


If you are trying to blame us for their actions, you've fallen far from the tree, buddy.

Islam has a specific agenda of literally eradicating all "infidels." The only difference between the "moderates" and terrorists is the terrorists are proactive about it.
Returners
1 / 5 (2) Jan 03, 2014
Now in defense of the Tsarnaiev's uncle, who apparently actually did not know what was going on, at least he denounced them publicly after finding out what happened, which is a hell of a lot more than we can say for the Muslims in the middle east, who celebrated 911.

Of course, like I said, our government dropped the ball there, because they were tipped off by Russian intelligence, however, I think the problem was a matter of the constitutionality even then. Because of some piece of paper written over 200 years ago, the Government couldn't legally do the prudent thing, which was to arrest them and investigate their actions. The Cost?

The CONSTITUTION cost those Boston Marathoners their lives and limbs, because the modern interpretation of it castrated the government to the point they couldn't intervene until it was too late.

"Legal" =/= logical nor moral.

The constitution iss an out-dated document regarding certain aspects and applications of the 4th amendment.
Zephir_fan
Jan 03, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Returners
1 / 5 (2) Jan 03, 2014
Unfortunately, it will probably never be changed, because people like you will defend it no matter how impractical it becomes to try to both uphold the existing interpretation of the 4th amendment, and protect everybody from Islamists at the same time.

If we did what YOU want, what the author of this article wants, we'd all just sit on our hands, and the Muslims could just kill us at will.

You don't and should not have the moral right to make that call for me, or anybody else, regardless of what our law does or does not say.

If I have a choice between increased security to prevent more mass killings, vs decreased security for the sake of YOUR vain "freedoms", I'll take the increased security, and piss on your i'll conceived, vain "privacy".

If it's not a muslim, it's the next lunatic who snaps. There's nothing else to be "understood" about them. They are evil. You can blame mental illnesses if you want, but I never met an invalid that could pull off a theatre massacre.
Returners
1 / 5 (2) Jan 03, 2014
Well don't forget the 1st amendment Skippy. That part is kinda outdated too don't you think? Since it the 1st in line, I think we need to be tweaking that one first. Are with the Ira on that at least?


You're probably being sarcastic, but there are a couple things that are conceptually wrong with the first amendment.

For example, if the government cannot say anything for or against religion, then the courts should not have the power to remove religion from anything, just as they don't have the power to add it to anything. The amendment says "shall make no law prohibing...or preventing the free exercise thereof," but of course we know that the definition of the term "religion" has also changed since that was written, so the modern interpretation has been warped from what it was intended to say in at least two ways. For that reason, it no longer even does what it was intended to do, in fact it actually undermines what it was intended to do...
Zephir_fan
Jan 03, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Returners
1 / 5 (2) Jan 03, 2014
Shavero:

Now remember, psychologists want us to believe that all of these "home grown" lunatics who go on shooting sprees are "not guilty by reason of insanity, but if they are insane, then we cannot reason with them, as you would have us do. Remember, their defense when they appear in court is that they are insane, and therefore unable to make a moral decision, never mind the fact that in most cases their attacks required days of planning, including booby traps, multiple gun and ammo orders, etc.

But let's be consistent now. if they are insane, as their attorney's claim, then they should be treated as the criminally insane, and that should not involve letting them go 10 years after "treatment" either. If they couldn't be trusted "before" we knew they were insane, why trust them afterwards?

If you believe they are insane, they should be locked up and never see the light of day again.

If you believe they are just evil and faking insanity, they should be killed or locked up too...
Returners
1 / 5 (2) Jan 03, 2014
If we did what YOU want, what the author of this article wants, we'd all just sit on our hands, and the Muslims could just kill us at will.


Sit your silly self down there Skippy. How do YOU know what I want? Oh yeah, you can see the future and read the minds, I did forgot that yes. Well it's failing you this time. We don't have too very many Muslims down here. And I'd like to see you try to sit on my hands Skippy, I'd give you something to write home about.


The post you are responding to is the third part in a reply to Protoplasmix, though it understandably, appears as though it were directed to you, due to unfortunate timing.

In short, I have done no wrong to you. If you re-read it in that context, as a reply to him, which it was, I was not directing it at you.
Zephir_fan
Jan 03, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Zephir_fan
Jan 03, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 03, 2014
Ah, that explains why the NSA is so busy spying on our society. Or is that the point you're making?
BECAUSE we are an uncommonly free society it is easy for jihadis to come here and make trouble. Detroit has the largest Muslim population in the world outside the Middle East.

And you may admit if you are honest for just a moment that many of them do not consider themselves a part of our society, that the thought offends them, and that they strongly want to change it so that their children do not have to grow up being corrupted and defiled by Miley Cyrus and teletubbies.

And perhaps many even came here to fulfil the promise of jihadis like Omar Hammami, al Qaeda, the Muslim brotherhood or the Taliban, to assist in the establishment of the global caliphate they all want.

'By Islamic propagation or by the gun' is their promise. We can sit back and watch.

Of course it didn't work for the Catholics so who knows?
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (1) Jan 03, 2014
If you are trying to blame us for their actions, you've fallen far from the tree, buddy

Small world. Big tree. Tiny mind. I'm certainly not suggesting we 'radicalized' them. Did we need the domestic spying and spying on our allies by the NSA to prevent 9/11? Hardly! Look how easy it was: http://articles.l...e-ijaz05
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2014
Ever heard of the term "sleeper cell"?

That would be the one and only working neuron in your brain?.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2014
Small world. Big tree. Tiny mind. I'm certainly not suggesting we 'radicalized' them. Did we need the domestic spying and spying on our allies by the NSA to prevent 9/11?
What we are doing now may well have prevented 9/11. It is what we are doing to prevent another 9/11. It has prevented many such attacks and it is what we have to do to continue to prevent them. This was just reaffirmed by court decision.

"The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court agreed with the Obama administration that the controversial surveillance program is "lawful."

"It said it would allow the government to continue collecting metadata, or details about numbers people dial and the time and duration of their calls. The court does not allow the government to collect the content of the calls."

Did you know there were pacifists in this country who thought it was unnecessary to make war on Japan even after Pearl Harbor?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2014
It's hard to find news stories without spin words like 'vast' and 'snooping' and 'Orwellian'. Here's a shameless one from the Washington post:

"A secret court just let the NSA keep spying on your phone records. Again."

-Translation: They're still doing something dastardly and illegal! And you're still letting them get away with it!

Here are some facts so far:

"Only once has a federal court ever contested the legality of the program.... In addition to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, judges on two other courts have upheld the administration's collection of phone metadata."
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2014
Those tea party types are so extreme:
"Rand Paul to Lead Class-Action Lawsuit Against Obama over NSA Spying"
http://www.breitb...A-Spying
skippy_skippys
5 / 5 (1) Jan 05, 2014
The problem with the 1st amendment is it let's the smarty (they think of themselves like that) know-it-alls take up to many pages which the nice peoples at physorg put here for smart peoples.


It does not take up as many pages as the moron trolls, like the zerphir_fan troll, though, so why do you complain about it skippy.
Zephir_fan
Jan 05, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
cantdrive85
2 / 5 (2) Jan 05, 2014
It's really sickening all these scared bitches who don't understand what it means to be an adult.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Ben Franklin

These NSA programs did a lot to prevent 911, Boston, London, Spain...
skippy_skippys
5 / 5 (1) Jan 05, 2014
The problem with the 1st amendment is it let's the smarty (they think of themselves like that) know-it-alls take up to many pages which the nice peoples at physorg put here for smart peoples.


It does not take up as many pages as the moron trolls, like the zerphir_fan troll, though, so why do you complain about it skippy.


Sorry Skippy, I suppose I didn't word it very clearly. I'll try to do a better from here on out.

I appreciate the attention, but I have not enough time to keep answering all your notes every one. So I'll just give you the karma points to let you know I got them yes?


But i'm confused skippy, if you spend so much time trolling other peoples posts, then it appears you have nothing else in you life important that takes up time, so why not for me too. I am now sad that I don't have the attention of a half-wit skippy like the ira.
Zephir_fan
Jan 05, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
skippy_skippys
5 / 5 (1) Jan 05, 2014
It's because my prime dutys are for me to keep tabs on the stupid peoples,


Is it because of your stupidity and poor qualifications that you have such a job and not the job of talking to the smarties with facts and junk, for the reason that the nice poeples at physorg set up this comment part of the website at the start?

But be careful not to accidentally say a facts because then the smarties will make you a stupid.

So I'll keep giving you the good karma points. It looks like you got off to a good start you and keep up the good work.

Thank you for it be's true. I got off to a good start because I decided to go after the biggest stupid peoples which is you skippy ira.
discouragedinMI
Jan 31, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (1) Feb 01, 2014
Would these same 'academics' sign a petition opposed to socialism?
The surveillance state is the just one step on path to socialist tyranny as the socialist state MUST have control, even though such control inevitably fails to deliver the socialist promises the 'academics' believe in.

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