Under normal conditions I wouldn't keep talking to someone who has clearly pushed into the troll zone, but this is important stuff so I'll try one more time. If anyone is raging
it's you -- I suggest anyone who wants to understand more about the nuances of all this not depend on Twitter and G+ comments and dig through the long-form items on my blog (lauren.vortex.com
). Or not.
You seem to have a problem separating analysis from wishful thinking, and from recommendations. You will not find anywhere that I have suggested not complaining, not suing, not taking any and all legal actions that seem appropriate -- not just in the U.S. context, but against foreign intelligence agencies as well, who are equally complicit in these abuses.
But the history -- which it appears you have not studied -- of such legal/political efforts suggests that they will be of very limited effectiveness in the long run. This is not
the first intelligence blowup of this sort -- we've been through them before with telephony and even telegraph before that -- and the spooks/politicians behaved in exactly the same dissembling manner.
As I noted, when PATRIOT and HSA were being passed, I and others argued that they were enabling exactly these kinds of abuses. We were ignored, told to shut up for being unpatriotic -- by the same politicians who for political motives now have taken a 180. And they'll take another
180 when this quiets down. (It is instructive to read the entirety of PATRIOT and HSA by the way -- everyone needs a hobby and it's very illuminating).
The main legal areas where efforts have the best chance of being useful are in terms of oversight and transparency -- these are critical and sectors where there is some decent chance of positively moving the ball, though resistance is still very high, even to letting companies make substantive reports about natsec demands made of them. I continue (as I have all along) urged strong actions to try get real reforms in these areas.
But don't confuse that sector with actually getting surveillance to significantly stop. Like I said earlier, no matter what you're told, history is clear that the surveillance orgs always
drift back to their old ways. And since so much of it is black budget, from the outside it's impossible to effectively police. I hate that. It's awful. It's also the reality.
Now, that doesn't mean it's wrong to try change it. I support that. I just don't expect substantive real world cutbacks in actual surveillance.
So ... it becomes super important not only to push for the legal changes where they can do the most good, but most of all to use technical means like encryption to try mitigate mass surveillance abuses -- by making them as painful and expensive as possible.
Google (and other firms) are working both the legal and technical angles on this, as they should. My personal belief is that in the long run the technical side will have the most benefits, given the historical precedents of the agencies involved around the world.
I'll add that while I am a consultant to Google, I am speaking for myself, of course.