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Kirn: "If You're Not Paranoid, You're Crazy"
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Rocky Mountains novelist Walter Kirn snoops around the Utah Data Center in “If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re Crazy.”

Have you ever noticed the sex scandals that tend to befall Republican Speakers of the House and would-be Speakers ever since the House impeached Bill Clinton in 1998? First Newt, then Bob Livingston, recently Denny Hastert, and now Kevin McCarthy. Just sayin’ …

 
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  1. I look forward to that. Kirn’s Blood Will Out, in which he recounts his off-and-on interaction with the man known as Clark Rockefeller, is a mesmerizing read.

  2. ‘befall Republican Speakers’

    From 1999 all speakers were Republican, except Pelosi.

  3. Fun to notice that, but it’s not like the leaders of the GOP (who’s main job it is, apparently, to squeeze money out of Wall Street and the cheap labor lobbies) are anti-NSA and clamoring for it to be shut down.

    If a bunch of sex scandals erupted from comfortably red districts (where you’re more apt to get a liberty lover like Justin Amash or Walter Jones), I’d be more receptive to the argument.

    (Charles Johnson had the McCarthy-Ellmers affair almost a year ago, and apparently it was common knowledge on the Hill.)

    • Replies: @ChrisZ

    (Charles Johnson had the McCarthy-Ellmers affair almost a year ago, and apparently it was common knowledge on the Hill.)
     
    My conjecture is that the most such affairs would be known in a matter-of-factly way by the congressmen and staffers on the Hill. How could it be otherwise, really, in such a cloistered, competitive, back-stabbing environment? Affairs are merely "secret" to the public--and kept that way by a "balance of terror" among the congressional aparatchniks, who essentially blackmail each other by threat of mutual public exposure.

    In a more speculative vein: When one of these things does come out into the light of day, there is usually a "coincidental" purpose behind it--that is, the revelation is rarely gratuitous, but serves a larger political end to disqualify a given person at a vulnerable time (e.g., during an attempted ascent in the hierarchy) or to bring discredit on the party overall (e.g., the revelations about that Florida Republican congressman in 2006, in the run-up to a midterm election).

    I imagine there must be a lot of backroom consultation going on just before one of these sacrificial lambs is exposed, to make sure any thoughts of retaliation are contained. With few exceptions, the "lambs" seem to do pretty well for themselves afterwards, so perhaps that's part of the deal, too.
    , @DCThrowback
    Sibel Edmonds has the scoop on the FBI's investigations in Hastert and other GOP reps...which was shifted to the NSA in 2002, after 9/11, after too many lower level agents were disgusted with no one being prosecuted.

    In essence, the history of spying on pols, members of the armed forces, judges and govt workers is laid bare. Very interesting.

    https://youtu.be/Urz-79upuLg?t=6m
  4. Live by the d*ck, die by the d*ck.

  5. @DCThrowback
    Fun to notice that, but it's not like the leaders of the GOP (who's main job it is, apparently, to squeeze money out of Wall Street and the cheap labor lobbies) are anti-NSA and clamoring for it to be shut down.

    If a bunch of sex scandals erupted from comfortably red districts (where you're more apt to get a liberty lover like Justin Amash or Walter Jones), I'd be more receptive to the argument.

    (Charles Johnson had the McCarthy-Ellmers affair almost a year ago, and apparently it was common knowledge on the Hill.)

    (Charles Johnson had the McCarthy-Ellmers affair almost a year ago, and apparently it was common knowledge on the Hill.)

    My conjecture is that the most such affairs would be known in a matter-of-factly way by the congressmen and staffers on the Hill. How could it be otherwise, really, in such a cloistered, competitive, back-stabbing environment? Affairs are merely “secret” to the public–and kept that way by a “balance of terror” among the congressional aparatchniks, who essentially blackmail each other by threat of mutual public exposure.

    In a more speculative vein: When one of these things does come out into the light of day, there is usually a “coincidental” purpose behind it–that is, the revelation is rarely gratuitous, but serves a larger political end to disqualify a given person at a vulnerable time (e.g., during an attempted ascent in the hierarchy) or to bring discredit on the party overall (e.g., the revelations about that Florida Republican congressman in 2006, in the run-up to a midterm election).

    I imagine there must be a lot of backroom consultation going on just before one of these sacrificial lambs is exposed, to make sure any thoughts of retaliation are contained. With few exceptions, the “lambs” seem to do pretty well for themselves afterwards, so perhaps that’s part of the deal, too.

  6. When I was teenage I dismissed “Conspiracy theories” but today with the Internet and knowing how the Elites actually think and act being paranoid and suspicious is a obligation.

    • Replies: @Chase
    I, too, once discounted conspiracy theories. Then the LIBOR-fix story came out. Literally hundreds to maybe a thousand people knew an index utilized to price countless trillions of dollars in assets is being regularly was regularly and systematically rigged. In 2007 if you posited that, you would have been labeled as a tin-foiler.

    I believe in conspiracy theories now.
    , @SFG
    Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
  7. Yeah, McCarthy doesn’t fit your insta-theory at all — the N.C. delegation all suspected it was true and his Benghazi gaffe was merely the final straw. Livingston hailed from a morally sub-par state IIRC.

  8. I spent a long time trying to write something about the homosexual elements of Watergate. I included some of that writing in this blog’s previous article titled Donald Trump, Norman Vincent Peale and Ned Flanders.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/donald-trump-norman-vincent-peale-and-ned-flanders/

    I’ll take this opportunity to recommend again a very interesting article, titled Crimson Rose and the Secret of the Two Keys, written by a homosexual lawyer named Douglas Caddy.

    Here is a teaser:

    On June 1, 1972, a week before the FBI discharged him, [Robert “Butch”] Merritt [a young homosexual collecting information for the Washington DC Police Department’s intelligence division] received a visit in his apartment from [drag queen and telephone-switchboard operator] Rita Reed who appeared visibly upset. Close friends, Merritt and Reed invariably chatted on a daily basis.

    This time Rita told Merritt that she had desperately urgent news but didn’t want to meet in Butch’s apartment. She knew of Butch’s sexual relationship with [Washington Police Detective Carl] Shoffler, and his CI [Counter-Intelligence] work for him, having found them together. She feared the apartment was wiretapped. She had also recently seen Shoffler at the Columbia Plaza Apartments where he and other cops used a trunk room to monitor the telephone traffic of the Nazis and a major prostitution ring, which was routed through her PBX switchboard.

    Rita insisted that they go outside to talk but even then was paranoid about speaking openly on the street. Instead they headed to P Street Beach, an area two blocks away, a grassy hill that sloped down into Rock Creek Park. Once they reached the bottom of the hill and began walking through the woods, Rita began to relax.

    She told Merritt that the day before, May 31, [1972,] she had indulged her habit of secretly listening to random conversations going through her switchboard. The switchboard had three unassigned holes held in reserve, though hole number two had been used to make calls out from an undetermined location within the building. She disclosed that the previous day a call had gone out using hole two and within minutes a call back came in for the same hole…the first time this had ever happened. So Rita, her curiosity piqued, listened in.

    She heard two men discussing a planned break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) office in the Watergate Complex scheduled for Sunday, June 18, 1972. The two men spoke venomously about Richard Nixon and referred to their project as “Crimson Rose,” which they boasted was about to bloom and could destroy the Nixon presidency.

    After Rita told Merritt what she’d overheard they continued on through the woods. They reached the end of the trail where an old gate spanned the waters of Rock Creek. Directly before them was the complex of buildings known as the Watergate. Rita raised her right arm, pointed to Watergate and ominously declared, “Butch, this will be the fate of the President of the United States.” She then again referred to “Crimson Rose” saying, “Butch, I think this rose stinks.”

    Rita swore Merritt to secrecy and asked that he not tell anyone of the telephone conversation she had overheard. However, the next day, June 2, true to his calling Merritt telephoned MPD Sergeant Dixie Gildon and started telling Rita’s secret. Gildon cut short his recital, saying she was rushing to a meeting but promised to meet him later at a safe location they regularly used for exchanges. For some reason Gildon failed to show up.

    The next day Shoffler returned to their apartment and Merritt told him Rita’s story. Shoffler became flushed with excitement and ordered Merritt not to talk to anyone about the subject, including Gildon. Shoffler left but returned later with two government agents, one a retired CIA employee. They asked Butch to retell the story. When he finished answering questions one of the agents remarked to Shoffler, “Carl, this is going to make you the most famous cop in the world.” The three men left after again swearing Merritt to secrecy.

    Rita disappeared that same evening. Merritt became alarmed. She was not at her apartment and had failed to show up for work at the Columbia Plaza Apartments. Several days later Merritt brought up Rita’s disappearance to Shoffler but Shoffler told him to “forget about that drag queen.” Butch never saw Rita again and felt that breaking his promise to keep her secret may have led to her death.

    Two days later (FBI agents) Tucker and O’Connor knocked on Merritt’s apartment door. They’d heard a rumor that Merritt knew something about burglars planning a break-in at an office building. They wanted the whole story. Merritt declined because he was still upset from being harassed by the homophobic agents and because of his emerging ethical concerns about his assignments. He also remembered Shoffler’s edict not to tell anyone Rita’s discovery. The agents left but not before telling Merritt that they found his attitude uncooperative and troublesome.

    http://www.watergateexposed.com/articles-menu/174-crimson-rose-and-the-secret-of-the-two-keys.html

  9. Since this thread is about Republican leaders’ sexuality, here is some more info that I have assembled about Richard Nixon’s homosexual leanings.

    —–

    The Nixon family had five sons (no daughters) – Harold, Richard, Frank, Arthur, and Edward. Arthur was born in 1918, when Richard was five years old. Since Hannah was longing for a daughter, she dressed, groomed and treated Arthur as a girl. When Richard was twelve and Arthur was seven, Arthur died suddenly.

    I speculate that the short life and sudden death of this feminized younger brother disturbed Richard’s gender self-confidence. When Richard had to help with the housework, he pulled down the blinds, fearing that neighbors might see him doing feminine tasks. At school, he was punished for stuffing raw garlic into girls’ mouths. One of his classmates remembered: “He used to dislike us girls so. He would make horrible faces at us. As a debater his main theme in grammar school and the first years of high school was why he hated girls.”

    ———-

    In Richard’s senior year of high school, he began dating the local police chief’s daughter, Ola Florence Welch. Richard’s female cousin Merle described Richard on his dates: “He talked not of romance, but about such things as what might have happened if Persia had conquered the Greeks or what might have happened if Plato had never lived.”

    Ola herself remembered that her six-year relationship with Richard: “No hanky-panky …. He was never comfortable with women”.

    When Richard was attending Whittier college, he founded a male social club, called the Orthogonians and comprising mostly members of the college’s football team. In the club’s initiation rite, the inductees were stripped naked and spanked with a wooden paddle.

    After Nixon graduated from Whittier, he attended law school at Duke University in North Carolina for two years. Half way though his second year, he learned that Ola had fallen in love with another man. Apparently trying to win her back, he wrote her a letter, trying to flatter her by comparing her with his mother.

    February 2nd, 1936

    Dear Ola Florence,

    Finally I have become wise! And although I regret having embarrassed you with my letters, I don’t regret the feeling I’ve had towards you for the past year. In the year and half I’ve been at Duke, I’ve realized more than ever the perfection, the splendor, the grandeur of my mother’s character. Incapable of selfishness, she is to me a supreme ideal.

    And you have taken your place with her in my heart – as an example for which all men should strive. Old memories are slowly fading away. New ones are taking their place. But I shall always remember the kindness, the beauty, the loveliness that was, that is, and shall forever be Ola Florence Welch.

    Your friend, Richard Nixon

    ———-

    A few weeks later, Nixon and the two classmates broke into the office of the dean of Duke University. He climbed in through the window and then helped in the other two. They went through all the cabinets and desk drawers, apparently searching for specific papers. This burglary became known at the school, and years later Nixon confirmed he had done it, dismissing it as a prank. This incident – was it just a prank? what were they searching for? did they find and take it? what were the consequences? – remains murky.

    After he graduated from Duke, in 1937 when he was 24 years old, he applied for positions in several prestigious, East Coast law firms and also in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI official, J. H. Hanson, who conducted Nixon’s application wrote a report pointing out his qualities and achievements and recommended him for an FBI position. In particular, Hanson wrote that Nixon “appears to be possessed of sufficient force and aggressiveness”. Hanson gave Nixon written instructions to travel to FBI headquarters in Washington DC within the following ten days in order to continue the hiring procedures.

    Before Nixon departed, however, Hanson’s recommendation was overruled by another written report that (contrary to Hanson’s report) Nixon was “lacking in aggression”. The latter report was not included in the FBI file that years later was released to the public in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act. The “lacking in aggression” report was mentioned, however, in an autobiography, titled The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover’s FBI, written by former FBI Deputy Director William Sullivan, and published in 1979. Apparently Sullivan, because of his high position, had been able to read this separate report that was not included in the main file of Nixon’s 1937 application.

    Some people have speculated that the latter report rejected Nixon because of a late discovery of his involvement in the burglary of the dean’s office. However, it’s hard to imagine that a law student burglarizing his dean’s office would be characterized as “lacking in aggression”.

    I speculate that the expression “lacking in aggression” was an FBI euphemism for “homosexual”. Furthermore, Nixon and his fellow two burglars might have had some reason to believe that the dean had some papers incriminating them for their relationships with each other. I suppose that the law school’s administration was not able to figure out the perpetrators and purpose of the burglary but that some other students learned some information. Perhaps some such other student learned that Nixon was applying for an FBI position and belatedly informed an FBI official about the incident. This explanation is merely my own speculation.

    In any case, the “lacking in aggression” report was written and filed separately from Hanson’s main file of Nixon’s application. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover maintained separate, so-called “official and confidential” files of records alleging sexual misconduct. Nixon’s “lacking in aggression” report would have remained available to Hoover and to a few of his top deputies during Nixon’s entire rise through the political ranks – Congressman, Senator, Vice President, elite Republican, and President.

    Immediately after Hoover died in 1972, practically all these special files disappeared. Therefore the only extent evidence for Nixon’s “lacking in aggression” report is its mention by Sullivan in his 1979 autobiography.

  10. More about Richard Nixon’s sexuality.

    —–

    Having failed in all his efforts to be hired on the East Coast, Nixon returned to Whittier, California, in January 1938 and soon began dating Pat Ryan. She was a year older than him. When she had been 19 years old, she had left her own home and moved to New York, where she had worked in a variety of jobs and had dated various men. She had worked in a hospital, where she had been wooed by a doctor in his thirties. There even have been unconfirmed reports that she had been married briefly while in New York.

    She had returned to California and worked in a variety of jobs and dated various men. She had obtained a B.S. degree in merchandising from the University of Southern California. She had worked as an extra in several Hollywood movies. She had got a job in Whittier, teaching secretarial skills. She had joined the local amateur theater group, and that is where she met Nixon.

    She avoided or declined many of Nixon’s romantic advances, especially in the beginning. She tried to fix him up with her girlfriends. She preferred to spend every weekend in Los Angeles, where she dated other men. Nixon drove her to Los Angeles on many a weekend, knowing she would be dating another man. Sometimes he waited for her in Los Angeles and then drove her back to Whittier.

    His persistence against her resistance is puzzling. Journalist Gloria Steinem (later the famous feminist) spent much time traveling with Pat during the 1968 campaign and concluded that Richard and Pat shared an intense resentment toward people who had grown up in financially and socially elite families. Somehow Pat pushed Richard’s buttons. Perhaps he was perversely thrilled by her dating other men.

    After about 18 months, she began to return his affections. Then after another year, they married, in June 1940. He was 27 and she was 28 years old. Later, while serving in the US Navy, Nixon confided to one of his Navy buddies that his honeymoon with Pat was his first experience of sexual intercourse.

    —–

    His two daughters, Patricia and Julie, were born in 1946 and 1948. In 1951, soon after he began serving in the US Senate, he developed into a pattern of staying in his office working through the evenings and then sometimes sleeping overnight there. Even when he went home, he often slept on the couch. Such was the situation when he began visiting Dr. Hutschnecker. He continued these visits, while serving as Vice President under President Dwight Eisenhower, to the end of the 1950s.

    —–

    During the years following 1962 (according to the man who had served as his press secretary in the 1962 campaign), Nixon visited a New York psychiatrist for reasons that included sexual impotence. This psychiatrist might have been Hutschnecker or (according to rumors) might have been an unidentified female psychiatrist. If there was a female psychiatrist, perhaps she served as a marriage counselor for both Richard and Pat.

    At the Manhattan law firm, Nixon worked on its Pepsi Cola account. Since that company always was opening offices and factories throughout the USA and abroad, Nixon was able to travel on a Pepsi expense account to attend consultations, ceremonies and conferences. He took advantage of these trips to meet with current and former political officials in the USA and abroad. Pat usually stayed home with their daughters, but Richard often took along his male friend Bebe Rebozo.

    His meetings with prominent politicians – in particular Charles de Gaulle – convinced Nixon that history is made by “great men” who dominate their populations and who are able to make crucial agreements with their political “great men” peers. Nixon felt that he himself had the potential to become such a leader through his innate talent and improved self-discipline.

    Nevertheless, during this period Nixon fell back into some of his old bad habits, such as drinking and associating with high-stakes gamblers. His relationship with Rebozo might have been another bad habit. Nixon continued to visit Hutschnecker and resumed attending Norman Vincent Peale’s church.

  11. I always ask in threads like this, “What stops it?”

    The sensors are there. The sensors are dirt cheap. The storage is there now. The storage is dirt cheap.

    And all getting cheaper. Now we can move all that data around fast enough.

    When I say “data” I mean like where all cell phones are located every time they send a communication signal (many of which you don’t initiate yourself, the cell phone is constantly doing it). Who you called. How long the call was. Where it took place and when. The actual conversation.

    You know we could record every word everyone ever utters in their lives? Be a little of a storage hog with today’s technology (though not with tomorrow’s), unless you turned it into text.

    I could go on and on, and I’m sure others could add other examples like footage from all these surveillance cameras which have proliferated and don’t cost much at Lowe’s now.

    But it is something we are all just going to have to get used to. Because this is unstoppable by any force I could imagine.

    • Replies: @Sailer has an interesting life
    Ask and ye shall receive. :-)
    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2007/05/shaping_the_future.html

    The extremely talented Mr Charles Stross talked about this and I am linking to his LOOOOOONG speech that has his views and ideas on where this is going. Keep in mind that this was back in 2007 and you can see how many people are thinking about this and what the *experts* think are possible.

    I would like to recommend his magnum opus _Accelerando_ .

    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/fiction/accelerando/accelerando-intro.html

    It is one of the best stories ever written. I recommend the audiobook. But I imagine those who call them selves or think of themselves as 'Luddites' or Traditionalists (not using those terms as a pejorative) would find it distressing.

    Everything he has written in that has a Hard Science background and is in the realm of possibility. I don't want to spoil it or anything so please read it. :-)
    , @Deduction
    What stops it meaning anything to commenters on this site is the fact that analysts are expensive, hard to motivate and impossible to keep quiet.

    Without analysis data is irrelevant, and the amount of data collected would require hundreds of millions of analysts to understand.

    On the other hand, if you are one of the very few people with your head above the parapet, then you should be worried. But even then you have to be an individual whom a number of random analysts see as appropriate to target, and these guys are normal citizens...

  12. I think a great app or program would be one which makes random searches while the owner is not using it. It would create so much information and disparate information that it would render any analysis (marketing or intelligence) useless. It would have restrictive search parameters, e.g., no searches for anything illegal or red flagging.

    Look, you’re never too old to learn from the wisdom of James Michael Curley, the four-time mayor of Boston and later governor of Massachusetts. Curley won his first political victory in 1904 while in prison for fraud (his campaign slogan was, “He did it for a friend”). Curley taught his protégés that the first rule of politics is, “Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink.”

    Assume everything is being read and everything is being recorded and you’ll only have to worry about the stuff that will be fabricated against you.

    • Replies: @whorefinder
    That actually wasn't Curley's advice, it was Martin Lomasney, another Boston political figure.

    But the advice holds firm.
    , @Sailer has an interesting life

    I think a great app or program would be one which makes random searches while the owner is not using it. It would create so much information and disparate information that it would render any analysis (marketing or intelligence) useless. It would have restrictive search parameters, e.g., no searches for anything illegal or red flagging.
     
    I seem to recall hearing about a Firefox extension that did something similar. It was in the context of ad-blocking. Instead of just blocking all the ads, the extension both blocks them *and* randomly clicks on whatever ad is on the pages you visit. The idea is to add noise to the noise/signal ratio.

    The problem with such a program you describe would be that what constitutes random && acceptable searches may vary from person to person. Add to the fact that trackers used by search engines and ad networks would have that incorrect data about you on file. That may not seem like a problem right now. But if you extrapolate say ten years in the future, there may come a time where what your program searched for may cause you problems.

    Plus it may not actually do what you intended. The NSA prioritizes and flags those who search for anonymization software such as TOR, for example. And in order for a random search program to be both Trusted and Effective, a lot of eyeballs have to go over the code. That means it probably will be open source, and thus the network filters will have an idea of what roughly are your searches vs the extension.

    It's a hard problem and no solutions are apparent to my layman's POV.
    , @Reg Cæsar
    Sydney Biddle Barrows told her girls, "Never say anything over the phone that you wouldn't want your mother to hear in court."

    Timeless advice.
    , @Bill Jones
    Job 31:35

    "my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.
    "
    , @Chrisnonymous
    My guess is that any such program would be useless unless it could actually fabricate your own personal style of following link trees and also throw out searches and links that "balanced/cancelled" your actual searches. Otherwise distinguishing the "noise" from your searches would be about as hard as distinguishing static from a concerto.

    Cooking, ramzpaul, cars, stormfront, Kardashian, lawn care, immigration, Jewish influence, Bob Hope, alligators...

    Gee, what were you reading about in the last 5 minutes?
  13. Conspiracy theories are interesting to consider, but it seems that once you get in past a certain point, you can never come back; and then EVERYTHING is a conspiracy.

    • Replies: @Former Darfur
    Some people think
    That if they go too far
    They'll never get back
    To where the rest of
    Them are
    I might be crazy
    But there's one thing
    I know
    You might be surprised
    At what you find
    When ya go!

    Frank Zappa

    A Token Of My Extreme
  14. I thought Hastert’s resignation involved some, um, complicating factors regarding his enthusiastic mentoring of teenage boys.

  15. My go-to proof of this is the whole Petraeus affair.

    The official story: a local FBI agent is tasked to track down some kind of harassment/prestige abuse between civilian socialites at the local military base. In the process, he gets clearance to read the email of the HEAD OF THE CIA -unquestionably one of the 5 most classified individuals on the planet, and stumbles onto evidence of an affair.

    This is so preposterous it is simply unbelievable that it was even proposed as the official explanation. But the affair actually happened, so there was no interest in exploring how or why it was discovered in the first place.

    joeyjoe

    • Agree: NOTA
  16. Speaking of tinfoil hats, sorta:

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/611992/Scientists-experiment-magnets-immigrants-God-magnetic-waves

    Because science.

    Because religion and immigration restriction are mental illnesses, also because science.

  17. Have you ever noticed the sex scandals that tend to befall Republican Speakers of the House and would-be Speakers ever since the House impeached Bill Clinton in 1998? First Newt, then Bob Livingston, recently Denny Hastert, and now Kevin McCarthy.

    I think that’s more of a function of Democrats knowing that Republican sex scandals actually matter to Republican voters. Meanwhile, sex scandals for Democrats is a resume enhancement. The only reason that Gingrich and Livingston mattered to Democrats is that the Republicans at the time were trying to impeach and remove Clinton for felony perjury, which got Martha Stewart sent to Federal prison. Because Clinton’s felony perjury was tied up in his Lil’ Abner sex life, the Democrats had to throw tu quoque slop buckets back into Republican faces on the matter of personal indiscretions.

    • Replies: @NOTA
    If the picture Snowden portrays of the access to information and lax controls that NSA analysts have, it is inevitable that private information is being collected and used routinely by private actors--given the number of people with access, it couldn't be any other way. Lots of this is probably personal stuff, like getting dirt on an ex-wife to use in a custody hearing. Some is probably insider trading stuff, or checking up on people you want to do business with. Some is probably leaking embarrassing information about people whose politics you don't like.

    I strongly suspect it is also being used to influence policy related to the war on terror and domestic spying. Blackmail wouldn't work well for that--once three prominent politicians said they were being blackmailed on TV, there would be a big public scandal. But simply giving leads to opposition research types or reporters to knock out potentially problematic congressmen would work pretty well. And the unspoken threat of blackmail is probably pretty powerful--if you're on the oversight committee, every time you want to ask a hard question of the NSA director, you think about what happened last month in the hotel with the hot 19-year old campaign volunteer, and decide that maybe civil liberties are just less important than keeping us safe from terrorists.
    , @E. Rekshun
    Meanwhile, sex scandals for Democrats is a resume enhancement.

    Yes, true today, but back in 1987, Gary Hart learned otherwise.
  18. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The new NSA data center is huge and state of the art. So of course it will be used to store-archive all phones calls, emails, cc transactions, mortgages and so on. The capacity is there so it will be used no matter how much they _NSA_ lie about stopping due to new laws passed.

    Retrieval of this “archived” material will be as fast as you using google to find a recipe for NC style pulled pork. Ed Snowden went into the search engine the NSA uses internally. He said it gave instantaneous results. So this data is at an NSA operators fingertips. So calling it archived is BS, as if it takes a few days to retrieve data.

  19. I’ll just leave this here.
    https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2015/10/automatic_face_.html

    Combine this with the advances in databasing brought forth from the Global War on Terror, and you have a 101 course on moving the median popular opinion towards X by removing the important nodes of a rival social order.

    Have you read _Data and Goliath_? I’ll re-recommend it again. I think you would really like it. 🙂

    • Replies: @Drapetomaniac
    The problem with widespread acquisition of data is how it is going to be used: by a business trying to get you to drink their beer, or by government trying to keep you a docile slave on their plantation.

    Certainly governments will weaponize it and the dupes will be too stupid to resist. Nothing new there.
  20. The whole AM thing as well. Our commenting history here and elsewhere would be a concern but when my supposedly far right views are shared by NYT readers (!!!) I figure I have less to worry about than I used to think. I’m probably not even far right these days, just alt-right. Hell, given the way things are going my views will not change and I’ll be considered center left or something in a decade.

    I always was an early adopter… many of the things I get interested in go mainstream later on. Including iSteve. It’s just this alt-right thing is taking longer than usual. But it’s building.

    But on the topic, if JFK’ s assassination was indeed a coup by elements within the US govt, if the twin towers were brought down by controlled demolition (and I see no other reasonable explanation for WTC7), then it would stand to reason that whoever controls this sort of data collection will use it to their advantage. If that includes pushing the reset button on Republican speakers, sure. But I suspect that it’s more than just the US govt that can use technology to uncover this stuff. E.g. Democrats etc.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    The 'alt-right' is building... I read iStevie ideas/themes being thrown around in all sorts of comment sections.

    It's only slightly below the surface now. Those who are relatively informed and interested in staying on top of things know what's up already.

    Eventually, even the most average of average Janes will be forced confront this stuff.

    It's a strange phenomenon...there is just a wall of denial that needs to collapse.

    Some powerful person or people will air it out publicly and it will all start to crumble... Like Trump with the immigration issue.

    The only thing keeping the status quo afloat is the Jewish monopoly on the National conversation.
    , @Forbes
    Belief in the conspiracy theories cited seems to require belief in the competence of government bureaucracy for which there appears little evidence. Hell, I'd like to see any evidence.

    Technological capability exists, yes, to perform mundane tasks, e.g. data collection, storage, analysis, communication. Conspiracies that require human coordination of untold numbers, in fairly complex interactions, with conspirators keeping their mouths shut for all time beggars belief.
  21. I sometimes wonder what radar is triggered by reading and commenting on this site.

    • Replies: @anon
    I think it usually works the other way around. You have the target first--someone of some kind of usefulness or import-- and then you mine the archive over the past xx years.
  22. I wonder how our post-privacy world will affect the careers of future politicians that are growing up in it? Will the search histories, comments, facebook statuses, etc. prove to be goldmines for oppo research or will the ubiquity of it force candidates into a reciprocal respect/indifference for each others’ past? Of course, it will also likely be a goldmine for blackmailing special interest puppeteers…

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    My recently-evolved suggestion for those unfortunate souls who will live in a future without privacy is to follow my Glass House Strategy for Living in the Post-Privacy World: Do and say as much as you can out in the open, and assume that everything can be seen anyway.

    Post-Privacy reality should therefore mean more acceptance instead of more repression. It will have to be that way, or humanity will implode from its own hypocrisy.

    Pre-disaster yourself so there are no surprises. Speak your mind, and accept what others say -- it's their right too.

    Everyone does and says things they fear are not acceptable to the public. The obvious truth of this is that everyone therefore tries to hide parts of themselves from each other. Might as well just admit that we all have stuff others might not approve of.

    Nobody is politically correct, so let's stop pretending.

    "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone."
  23. Steve, any thoughts on Lamar Odom?

  24. Being able to not worry about surveillance is a privilege (really a status marker) of sorts, so those who are “paranoid” are signaling lower status. But often they have good reason to be paranoid. Not only – or primarily – because of law enforcement, but also because of the taxman and other assorted busybodies.

    There’s a town in the next county inhabited largely by tarheels, who arrived during the Depression for the timber jobs, and they’re notoriously averse to outside attention. I was driving through the backwoods around there a couple weeks ago taking in the beautiful scenery, which in addition to the peaks and glaciers included a mother bear and her cubs and a herd of elk, and I saw some chickens running around in a yard. I remarked to my local friend that those were gamecocks rather than your typical utility chicken, and he informed me that cock fighting was big in the area. I asked whether it was Mexicans, and he said “no, it’s the tarheels.” He added that there were some places those who weren’t from the town knew to avoid, because “if you go in you might not come out.” Later, when I saw a ruined building on a big concrete lot through the woods my friend told me that it had been a mandatory weigh station for logging trucks until someone blew it up with dynamite.

    Of course, he added that it’s all changing these days, because everyone’s losing community and local character due to the information age. He sounded as though he preferred the old, paranoid edgy past to the Brave New World growing up around us. I think I do, too.

  25. Mr. Unz:

    Would you please look into fixing the way Unz.org renders for kindle? Immediately after a search, the screen routinely freezes, and one cannot scroll the results. Been this way for months now. Thanks.

  26. Off Topic:

    Article about the TTIP in Europe:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/i-didn-t-think-ttip-could-get-any-scarier-but-then-i-spoke-to-the-eu-official-in-charge-of-it-a6690591.html

    When put to her, Malmström acknowledged that a trade deal has never inspired such passionate and widespread opposition. Yet when I asked the trade commissioner how she could continue her persistent promotion of the deal in the face of such massive public opposition, her response came back icy cold: “I do not take my mandate from the European people.”

  27. @Pat Gilligan
    I think a great app or program would be one which makes random searches while the owner is not using it. It would create so much information and disparate information that it would render any analysis (marketing or intelligence) useless. It would have restrictive search parameters, e.g., no searches for anything illegal or red flagging.

    Look, you're never too old to learn from the wisdom of James Michael Curley, the four-time mayor of Boston and later governor of Massachusetts. Curley won his first political victory in 1904 while in prison for fraud (his campaign slogan was, "He did it for a friend"). Curley taught his protégés that the first rule of politics is, "Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink."

    Assume everything is being read and everything is being recorded and you'll only have to worry about the stuff that will be fabricated against you.

    That actually wasn’t Curley’s advice, it was Martin Lomasney, another Boston political figure.

    But the advice holds firm.

  28. @countenance
    Have you ever noticed the sex scandals that tend to befall Republican Speakers of the House and would-be Speakers ever since the House impeached Bill Clinton in 1998? First Newt, then Bob Livingston, recently Denny Hastert, and now Kevin McCarthy.

    I think that's more of a function of Democrats knowing that Republican sex scandals actually matter to Republican voters. Meanwhile, sex scandals for Democrats is a resume enhancement. The only reason that Gingrich and Livingston mattered to Democrats is that the Republicans at the time were trying to impeach and remove Clinton for felony perjury, which got Martha Stewart sent to Federal prison. Because Clinton's felony perjury was tied up in his Lil' Abner sex life, the Democrats had to throw tu quoque slop buckets back into Republican faces on the matter of personal indiscretions.

    If the picture Snowden portrays of the access to information and lax controls that NSA analysts have, it is inevitable that private information is being collected and used routinely by private actors–given the number of people with access, it couldn’t be any other way. Lots of this is probably personal stuff, like getting dirt on an ex-wife to use in a custody hearing. Some is probably insider trading stuff, or checking up on people you want to do business with. Some is probably leaking embarrassing information about people whose politics you don’t like.

    I strongly suspect it is also being used to influence policy related to the war on terror and domestic spying. Blackmail wouldn’t work well for that–once three prominent politicians said they were being blackmailed on TV, there would be a big public scandal. But simply giving leads to opposition research types or reporters to knock out potentially problematic congressmen would work pretty well. And the unspoken threat of blackmail is probably pretty powerful–if you’re on the oversight committee, every time you want to ask a hard question of the NSA director, you think about what happened last month in the hotel with the hot 19-year old campaign volunteer, and decide that maybe civil liberties are just less important than keeping us safe from terrorists.

  29. @Sunbeam
    I always ask in threads like this, "What stops it?"

    The sensors are there. The sensors are dirt cheap. The storage is there now. The storage is dirt cheap.

    And all getting cheaper. Now we can move all that data around fast enough.

    When I say "data" I mean like where all cell phones are located every time they send a communication signal (many of which you don't initiate yourself, the cell phone is constantly doing it). Who you called. How long the call was. Where it took place and when. The actual conversation.

    You know we could record every word everyone ever utters in their lives? Be a little of a storage hog with today's technology (though not with tomorrow's), unless you turned it into text.

    I could go on and on, and I'm sure others could add other examples like footage from all these surveillance cameras which have proliferated and don't cost much at Lowe's now.

    But it is something we are all just going to have to get used to. Because this is unstoppable by any force I could imagine.

    Ask and ye shall receive. 🙂
    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2007/05/shaping_the_future.html

    The extremely talented Mr Charles Stross talked about this and I am linking to his LOOOOOONG speech that has his views and ideas on where this is going. Keep in mind that this was back in 2007 and you can see how many people are thinking about this and what the *experts* think are possible.

    I would like to recommend his magnum opus _Accelerando_ .

    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/fiction/accelerando/accelerando-intro.html

    It is one of the best stories ever written. I recommend the audiobook. But I imagine those who call them selves or think of themselves as ‘Luddites’ or Traditionalists (not using those terms as a pejorative) would find it distressing.

    Everything he has written in that has a Hard Science background and is in the realm of possibility. I don’t want to spoil it or anything so please read it. 🙂

  30. How many of the commenters lamenting the lack of privacy and ubiquitous surveillance here are going to take the 15 minutes and 5 dollars a month it costs to set up Tor behind a VPN?

    A lot of people freak about to others about privacy, but the numbers indicate that very few will take even minor inconveniences that drastically increase it.

    • Replies: @Sunbeam
    I wouldn't count too much on TOR. You know that started as a US Navy thing?

    And they have a website, say all the cool things.

    But in the end you are giving whoever runs the TOR server all your information. From a cynic's standpoint there are lots of people in the world. You just announced "Hey I am doing stuff I'd like to keep private."

    Of course TOR could be what it claims to be. But think about how it works. In the end you just have to say "I want to believe" to think that bearded hippy types that are against the Man are on the other side.

    As opposed to some chumpy metrosexual some alphabet soup intelligence agency hired to run a server farm.
  31. If the Petreus scandal had happened in another country, I would assume it had been some kind of internal power struggle within the intelligence community.

    Another similar story is the way Ted Stevens was pushed out of power by a politically motivated prosecution that was later shown to have had serious prosecutorial misconduct. This was pretty obviously a power struggle within the party.

  32. @Pat Gilligan
    I think a great app or program would be one which makes random searches while the owner is not using it. It would create so much information and disparate information that it would render any analysis (marketing or intelligence) useless. It would have restrictive search parameters, e.g., no searches for anything illegal or red flagging.

    Look, you're never too old to learn from the wisdom of James Michael Curley, the four-time mayor of Boston and later governor of Massachusetts. Curley won his first political victory in 1904 while in prison for fraud (his campaign slogan was, "He did it for a friend"). Curley taught his protégés that the first rule of politics is, "Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink."

    Assume everything is being read and everything is being recorded and you'll only have to worry about the stuff that will be fabricated against you.

    I think a great app or program would be one which makes random searches while the owner is not using it. It would create so much information and disparate information that it would render any analysis (marketing or intelligence) useless. It would have restrictive search parameters, e.g., no searches for anything illegal or red flagging.

    I seem to recall hearing about a Firefox extension that did something similar. It was in the context of ad-blocking. Instead of just blocking all the ads, the extension both blocks them *and* randomly clicks on whatever ad is on the pages you visit. The idea is to add noise to the noise/signal ratio.

    The problem with such a program you describe would be that what constitutes random && acceptable searches may vary from person to person. Add to the fact that trackers used by search engines and ad networks would have that incorrect data about you on file. That may not seem like a problem right now. But if you extrapolate say ten years in the future, there may come a time where what your program searched for may cause you problems.

    Plus it may not actually do what you intended. The NSA prioritizes and flags those who search for anonymization software such as TOR, for example. And in order for a random search program to be both Trusted and Effective, a lot of eyeballs have to go over the code. That means it probably will be open source, and thus the network filters will have an idea of what roughly are your searches vs the extension.

    It’s a hard problem and no solutions are apparent to my layman’s POV.

    • Replies: @Clyde

    The idea is to add noise to the noise/signal ratio.
     
    Program called track-me-not for Firefox and Chrome that sends out random searches. One or more per minute.
    , @Former Darfur
    Many GNU programs have modes built in to generate useless text designed specifically to trigger such systems.
  33. One question that hasn’t come up about Hilary using her separate server to hide her emails:

    Obama must have signed off on this.

    Why? Because at one point he and his staff had to have gotten emails from Hilary. Bearing the server address. And someone—his chief of staff, his computer security guys, the FBI, the secret service, or even Obama himself—had to have noticed this and brought it to his attention. And Obama overtly had to say this was OK to someone—because the FBI/computer tech dudes/Secret Service dudes would have had to have secured at least Obama’s emails from possible hacks/viruses, and so had to be authorized by the President himself that these non-U.S. government emails were secure.

    Remember when the “diplomatic cables” were exposed, causing embarrassment? Someone by then had to notice that Hilary’s email address wasn’t gov’t issued, especially after they were hacked.

    So the question is….why did Obama sign off on Hilary having this separate server??? And does he have his own??? does anyone else???

    • Replies: @Chase
    Yes, and yes.
    , @E. Rekshun
    Why is Obama still covering up GWB's involvement in the WTC bombings? /sarc
  34. @countenance
    Have you ever noticed the sex scandals that tend to befall Republican Speakers of the House and would-be Speakers ever since the House impeached Bill Clinton in 1998? First Newt, then Bob Livingston, recently Denny Hastert, and now Kevin McCarthy.

    I think that's more of a function of Democrats knowing that Republican sex scandals actually matter to Republican voters. Meanwhile, sex scandals for Democrats is a resume enhancement. The only reason that Gingrich and Livingston mattered to Democrats is that the Republicans at the time were trying to impeach and remove Clinton for felony perjury, which got Martha Stewart sent to Federal prison. Because Clinton's felony perjury was tied up in his Lil' Abner sex life, the Democrats had to throw tu quoque slop buckets back into Republican faces on the matter of personal indiscretions.

    Meanwhile, sex scandals for Democrats is a resume enhancement.

    Yes, true today, but back in 1987, Gary Hart learned otherwise.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    Clinton's scandals were ultimately consent scandals. That's what should have been hammered across.
    , @Reg Cæsar
    Walter Kirn grew up surrounded by a state park. That would induce in you the feeling of being watched.
    , @NOTA
    You might ask Anthony Weiner how sex scandals work out for democrats.
  35. Wouldn’t it be amusing if this site was simply a baited trap to capture the identity of dissidents from the conventional wisdom to make it easier to round them up when the proper time arrives?

    Could “Steve Sailer” be a fictional character?

    • Replies: @whorefinder

    Wouldn’t it be amusing if this site was simply a baited trap to capture the identity of dissidents from the conventional wisdom to make it easier to round them up when the proper time arrives?
     
    I assume the FBI and NSA are keeping close tabs on the people on this site just in case. Of course, as a result, they're not watching ISIS-cells, but hey, what harm could that cause, right, Pam Geller?
    , @wren
    Yes, I have often thought this myself.

    The tell is that he is just too darn nice.
  36. @Shouting Thomas
    Wouldn't it be amusing if this site was simply a baited trap to capture the identity of dissidents from the conventional wisdom to make it easier to round them up when the proper time arrives?

    Could "Steve Sailer" be a fictional character?

    Wouldn’t it be amusing if this site was simply a baited trap to capture the identity of dissidents from the conventional wisdom to make it easier to round them up when the proper time arrives?

    I assume the FBI and NSA are keeping close tabs on the people on this site just in case. Of course, as a result, they’re not watching ISIS-cells, but hey, what harm could that cause, right, Pam Geller?

  37. @Shouting Thomas
    Wouldn't it be amusing if this site was simply a baited trap to capture the identity of dissidents from the conventional wisdom to make it easier to round them up when the proper time arrives?

    Could "Steve Sailer" be a fictional character?

    Yes, I have often thought this myself.

    The tell is that he is just too darn nice.

  38. Can’t these guys keep it in their pants? Any of them? In order to be CAUGHT in a sex scandal, you first have to be involved in a sex scandal. Does the same ego which drives these guys to be politicians also drive them to screw around with women who are not their wives?

    • Replies: @SFG
    I always wondered that myself. Here's the thing.

    Most of us guys can be faithful, etc. But power is a huge aphrodisiac, and women are always throwing themselves at these guys. They have a lot more opportunities to fool around than we do. Compare a modern American and a hunter-gatherer: who has more opportunities to overeat? Who winds up fatter?

    Also, politicians have extroverted personalities that do well with people, and by extension women.

    You also do see these occasional good-government dorky types who don't fool around--Paul Wellstone comes to mind, I'm sure you can think of an equivalent on the right.

  39. An app like that could browse sites, but surely your own online activity could be detected by password-activated logins, messages you write, posts on forum threads, etc.

    By the way, I’m blocked from logging in with my usual username. It says the email address I’m using doesn’t match the one used by the person with that username. But it’s the email address I’ve been putting down for the last twenty or more comments I made here.

    • Replies: @Rob McX
    Forgot to mention, that comment is in reply to Pat Gilligan 4.59pm.
    , @fish

    By the way, I’m blocked from logging in with my usual username. It says the email address I’m using doesn’t match the one used by the person with that username. But it’s the email address I’ve been putting down for the last twenty or more comments I made here.

     

    We have no way of knowing this! What have you done with the real Rob McX?
  40. @Anonymous Nephew
    OT

    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/oct/14/former-laker-lamar-odom-in-critical-condition-after-being-found-unconscious

    http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/oct/14/refugee-rhetoric-echoes-1938-summit-before-holocaust-un-official-warns

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/13/your-credit-score-is-racist-heres-why

    Could have been worse for Lamar….I mean at least they only found him high as a kite in a Nevada brothel….it’s not like they caught him all dressed up in women clothes or something!

  41. Surely it’s not beyond these guys’ ability to buy an untraceable phone if they want to go messing about. But in any case, the biggest risk is that someone will see what they’re doing and talk about it.

    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    ...the biggest risk is that someone will see what they’re doing and talk about it.

    An even bigger risk is a vindictive or gold-digging paramour. (And aren't they all?)
  42. @Sailer has an interesting life
    I'll just leave this here.
    https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2015/10/automatic_face_.html

    Combine this with the advances in databasing brought forth from the Global War on Terror, and you have a 101 course on moving the median popular opinion towards X by removing the important nodes of a rival social order.

    Have you read _Data and Goliath_? I'll re-recommend it again. I think you would really like it. :-)

    The problem with widespread acquisition of data is how it is going to be used: by a business trying to get you to drink their beer, or by government trying to keep you a docile slave on their plantation.

    Certainly governments will weaponize it and the dupes will be too stupid to resist. Nothing new there.

  43. @Chiron
    When I was teenage I dismissed "Conspiracy theories" but today with the Internet and knowing how the Elites actually think and act being paranoid and suspicious is a obligation.

    I, too, once discounted conspiracy theories. Then the LIBOR-fix story came out. Literally hundreds to maybe a thousand people knew an index utilized to price countless trillions of dollars in assets is being regularly was regularly and systematically rigged. In 2007 if you posited that, you would have been labeled as a tin-foiler.

    I believe in conspiracy theories now.

    • Replies: @Hunsdon
    Whenever someone pulls the conspiracy theory card, I tend to say, "Yeah, the rich and powerful would never get together on the down low to do anything to keep themselves rich and powerful. That would be wrong."
    , @Sunbeam
    I know, right.

    I thought LIBOR was one of the most important stories, one of the biggest I ever read.

    The ramifications of that thing, how much money has been extracted by manipulating that thing...

    And nothing. Wasn't even a blip.

    Like the Jeff Gannon story. That thing should have blown up into a million fireworks in the sky. Had everything, photos, prurience, you name it, that story had it.

    But nothing.

    No conspiracies, right, got it.

    Oh yeah. Snowden. No one even remembers that story now. Well except for oddballs that congregate on sites like this.

    , @NOTA
    How about a story claiming that the CIA was running a network of secret prisons where they tortured prisoners who'd been kidnapped off the streets of cities around the world? Or one claiming that lots of big mortgage companies were routinely forging documents in foreclosure cases? Both sound as crazy as many a wild-eyed conspiracy theory, but they both also really happened and were widely covered in the mainstream press.
  44. @Pat Gilligan
    I think a great app or program would be one which makes random searches while the owner is not using it. It would create so much information and disparate information that it would render any analysis (marketing or intelligence) useless. It would have restrictive search parameters, e.g., no searches for anything illegal or red flagging.

    Look, you're never too old to learn from the wisdom of James Michael Curley, the four-time mayor of Boston and later governor of Massachusetts. Curley won his first political victory in 1904 while in prison for fraud (his campaign slogan was, "He did it for a friend"). Curley taught his protégés that the first rule of politics is, "Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink."

    Assume everything is being read and everything is being recorded and you'll only have to worry about the stuff that will be fabricated against you.

    Sydney Biddle Barrows told her girls, “Never say anything over the phone that you wouldn’t want your mother to hear in court.”

    Timeless advice.

  45. @E. Rekshun
    Meanwhile, sex scandals for Democrats is a resume enhancement.

    Yes, true today, but back in 1987, Gary Hart learned otherwise.

    Clinton’s scandals were ultimately consent scandals. That’s what should have been hammered across.

    • Replies: @Mike Sylwester

    Clinton’s scandals were ultimately consent scandals. That’s what should have been hammered across.
     
    The central event was that Paula Jones sued Bill Clinton for sexual harassment.
  46. @Doug
    How many of the commenters lamenting the lack of privacy and ubiquitous surveillance here are going to take the 15 minutes and 5 dollars a month it costs to set up Tor behind a VPN?

    A lot of people freak about to others about privacy, but the numbers indicate that very few will take even minor inconveniences that drastically increase it.

    I wouldn’t count too much on TOR. You know that started as a US Navy thing?

    And they have a website, say all the cool things.

    But in the end you are giving whoever runs the TOR server all your information. From a cynic’s standpoint there are lots of people in the world. You just announced “Hey I am doing stuff I’d like to keep private.”

    Of course TOR could be what it claims to be. But think about how it works. In the end you just have to say “I want to believe” to think that bearded hippy types that are against the Man are on the other side.

    As opposed to some chumpy metrosexual some alphabet soup intelligence agency hired to run a server farm.

    • Replies: @NOTA
    You don't know what you're talking about. When you use tor, there are at least three different tor nodes involved in your communications. The entry node knows who you are but not whom you're talking to or what you're saying; the exit node knows that someone is talking to your favorite goat-porn site, but not that it's you.

    There are serious issues with tor--someone able to monitor the whole internet can probably deanonymize you given enough time, and the whole system depends on independent volunteers putting up nodes, so a well funded adversary could "volunteer" enough nodes to be likely to be both your entry and exit node, which would let them deanonymize you with a little statistics. But it's the best we've got right now.

    The biggest practical problem with tor is that it's so slow that only people doing interesting stuff and crypto/security geeks use it much. It would provide much better anonymity if it were fast enough that lots of people used it by default.

    There are lots of commercial VPN services that do a decent job of giving you some protection against casual privacy violations, and since they get paid to provide the service!and don't need to route every packet through three nodes all over the world, they can give you decent performance. But I wouldn't trust them against really serious attackers.
  47. @E. Rekshun
    Meanwhile, sex scandals for Democrats is a resume enhancement.

    Yes, true today, but back in 1987, Gary Hart learned otherwise.

    Walter Kirn grew up surrounded by a state park. That would induce in you the feeling of being watched.

  48. @whorefinder
    One question that hasn't come up about Hilary using her separate server to hide her emails:

    Obama must have signed off on this.

    Why? Because at one point he and his staff had to have gotten emails from Hilary. Bearing the server address. And someone---his chief of staff, his computer security guys, the FBI, the secret service, or even Obama himself---had to have noticed this and brought it to his attention. And Obama overtly had to say this was OK to someone---because the FBI/computer tech dudes/Secret Service dudes would have had to have secured at least Obama's emails from possible hacks/viruses, and so had to be authorized by the President himself that these non-U.S. government emails were secure.

    Remember when the "diplomatic cables" were exposed, causing embarrassment? Someone by then had to notice that Hilary's email address wasn't gov't issued, especially after they were hacked.

    So the question is....why did Obama sign off on Hilary having this separate server??? And does he have his own??? does anyone else???

    Yes, and yes.

  49. @Pat Gilligan
    I think a great app or program would be one which makes random searches while the owner is not using it. It would create so much information and disparate information that it would render any analysis (marketing or intelligence) useless. It would have restrictive search parameters, e.g., no searches for anything illegal or red flagging.

    Look, you're never too old to learn from the wisdom of James Michael Curley, the four-time mayor of Boston and later governor of Massachusetts. Curley won his first political victory in 1904 while in prison for fraud (his campaign slogan was, "He did it for a friend"). Curley taught his protégés that the first rule of politics is, "Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink."

    Assume everything is being read and everything is being recorded and you'll only have to worry about the stuff that will be fabricated against you.

    Job 31:35

    “my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.

  50. @wren
    I sometimes wonder what radar is triggered by reading and commenting on this site.

    I think it usually works the other way around. You have the target first–someone of some kind of usefulness or import– and then you mine the archive over the past xx years.

    • Replies: @Deduction

    I think it usually works the other way around. You have the target first–someone of some kind of usefulness or import– and then you mine the archive over the past xx years.
     
    This is surely true, but if your issue is that you posted on this site under a pseudonym and they try to blackmail you or even expose you then they have to expose their whole illegitimate data gathering effort in order to succeed, and even then you could just deny it.

    Even if it was under your own name, I recommend you just deny it. What evidence could anyone possibly put forward?

    It's quite unlike an affair where there can be evidence other than an easily faked computer screenshot.

  51. @Rob McX
    An app like that could browse sites, but surely your own online activity could be detected by password-activated logins, messages you write, posts on forum threads, etc.

    By the way, I'm blocked from logging in with my usual username. It says the email address I'm using doesn't match the one used by the person with that username. But it's the email address I've been putting down for the last twenty or more comments I made here.

    Forgot to mention, that comment is in reply to Pat Gilligan 4.59pm.

  52. @Rob McX
    An app like that could browse sites, but surely your own online activity could be detected by password-activated logins, messages you write, posts on forum threads, etc.

    By the way, I'm blocked from logging in with my usual username. It says the email address I'm using doesn't match the one used by the person with that username. But it's the email address I've been putting down for the last twenty or more comments I made here.

    By the way, I’m blocked from logging in with my usual username. It says the email address I’m using doesn’t match the one used by the person with that username. But it’s the email address I’ve been putting down for the last twenty or more comments I made here.

    We have no way of knowing this! What have you done with the real Rob McX?

    • Replies: @Rob McX
    He tasted like chicken.
  53. @Sailer has an interesting life

    I think a great app or program would be one which makes random searches while the owner is not using it. It would create so much information and disparate information that it would render any analysis (marketing or intelligence) useless. It would have restrictive search parameters, e.g., no searches for anything illegal or red flagging.
     
    I seem to recall hearing about a Firefox extension that did something similar. It was in the context of ad-blocking. Instead of just blocking all the ads, the extension both blocks them *and* randomly clicks on whatever ad is on the pages you visit. The idea is to add noise to the noise/signal ratio.

    The problem with such a program you describe would be that what constitutes random && acceptable searches may vary from person to person. Add to the fact that trackers used by search engines and ad networks would have that incorrect data about you on file. That may not seem like a problem right now. But if you extrapolate say ten years in the future, there may come a time where what your program searched for may cause you problems.

    Plus it may not actually do what you intended. The NSA prioritizes and flags those who search for anonymization software such as TOR, for example. And in order for a random search program to be both Trusted and Effective, a lot of eyeballs have to go over the code. That means it probably will be open source, and thus the network filters will have an idea of what roughly are your searches vs the extension.

    It's a hard problem and no solutions are apparent to my layman's POV.

    The idea is to add noise to the noise/signal ratio.

    Program called track-me-not for Firefox and Chrome that sends out random searches. One or more per minute.

  54. @fish

    By the way, I’m blocked from logging in with my usual username. It says the email address I’m using doesn’t match the one used by the person with that username. But it’s the email address I’ve been putting down for the last twenty or more comments I made here.

     

    We have no way of knowing this! What have you done with the real Rob McX?

    He tasted like chicken.

    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson
    Damn you Formerly Rob McX! You made me spew my beer! And my abs will hurt for the next two days from the belly laugh you induced! :-) P.S. thanks fish.
  55. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonym
    The whole AM thing as well. Our commenting history here and elsewhere would be a concern but when my supposedly far right views are shared by NYT readers (!!!) I figure I have less to worry about than I used to think. I'm probably not even far right these days, just alt-right. Hell, given the way things are going my views will not change and I'll be considered center left or something in a decade.

    I always was an early adopter... many of the things I get interested in go mainstream later on. Including iSteve. It's just this alt-right thing is taking longer than usual. But it's building.

    But on the topic, if JFK' s assassination was indeed a coup by elements within the US govt, if the twin towers were brought down by controlled demolition (and I see no other reasonable explanation for WTC7), then it would stand to reason that whoever controls this sort of data collection will use it to their advantage. If that includes pushing the reset button on Republican speakers, sure. But I suspect that it's more than just the US govt that can use technology to uncover this stuff. E.g. Democrats etc.

    The ‘alt-right’ is building… I read iStevie ideas/themes being thrown around in all sorts of comment sections.

    It’s only slightly below the surface now. Those who are relatively informed and interested in staying on top of things know what’s up already.

    Eventually, even the most average of average Janes will be forced confront this stuff.

    It’s a strange phenomenon…there is just a wall of denial that needs to collapse.

    Some powerful person or people will air it out publicly and it will all start to crumble… Like Trump with the immigration issue.

    The only thing keeping the status quo afloat is the Jewish monopoly on the National conversation.

    • Replies: @Hare Krishna
    We've hit peak alt-right.
    It's too exclusionary of way too many different kinds of people to get any bigger than it is now. It would have to compromise and accept some of its enemies as allies/coalition members. It's going to have to either drop its obsession with immigration, its obsession with black crime, its obsession with HBD, maybe some combination of those things. The minute it does that it's no longer alt-right, but something else.
    But it's definitely reached the limits of its target market.
  56. @Anonym
    The whole AM thing as well. Our commenting history here and elsewhere would be a concern but when my supposedly far right views are shared by NYT readers (!!!) I figure I have less to worry about than I used to think. I'm probably not even far right these days, just alt-right. Hell, given the way things are going my views will not change and I'll be considered center left or something in a decade.

    I always was an early adopter... many of the things I get interested in go mainstream later on. Including iSteve. It's just this alt-right thing is taking longer than usual. But it's building.

    But on the topic, if JFK' s assassination was indeed a coup by elements within the US govt, if the twin towers were brought down by controlled demolition (and I see no other reasonable explanation for WTC7), then it would stand to reason that whoever controls this sort of data collection will use it to their advantage. If that includes pushing the reset button on Republican speakers, sure. But I suspect that it's more than just the US govt that can use technology to uncover this stuff. E.g. Democrats etc.

    Belief in the conspiracy theories cited seems to require belief in the competence of government bureaucracy for which there appears little evidence. Hell, I’d like to see any evidence.

    Technological capability exists, yes, to perform mundane tasks, e.g. data collection, storage, analysis, communication. Conspiracies that require human coordination of untold numbers, in fairly complex interactions, with conspirators keeping their mouths shut for all time beggars belief.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    "Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead." - Benjamin Franklin
    , @NOTA
    So if there were a lot of abuse of these programs, we'd probably have seen lots of news stories from whistleblowers. Hell, some dude would probably have had to flee the country to avoid jail after leaking details of the surveillance by now.
    , @Anonym
    Those incompetent government bureaucracies... always doing inept things like building nuclear weapons, going to the moon, creating the internet, etc.
  57. In 2003, somebody got wind of the “Total Information Awareness” program and Congress made NSA shut it down. Only they didn’t – they went right ahead and kept doing it, and lying about it, until Snowden.

    I may be naive, but I think that’s the first time the government has done something in the face of an overwhelming consensus that they should stop doing it. I know that in the past, they did things they knew they shouldn’t have been doing, and had to stop doing it when they got caught, but continuing this NSA stuff in the face of a clear Congressional rebuke is a first.

    We’ve really turned a corner in the last 15 years or so. It really is like living in the Panopticon.

    • Replies: @Hapalong Cassidy
    That "Total Information Awareness" thing could not have been more ham-handed. Or maybe that was the point. First off, their logo seemed designed to rile up the Illuminati-watchers and every other conspiracy theorist under the sun. And second, they had to know that putting Iran-Contra figure John Poindexter in charge would not give anyone assurances that everything was on the up-and-up.
  58. @Chiron
    When I was teenage I dismissed "Conspiracy theories" but today with the Internet and knowing how the Elites actually think and act being paranoid and suspicious is a obligation.

    Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

  59. @Jack D
    Can't these guys keep it in their pants? Any of them? In order to be CAUGHT in a sex scandal, you first have to be involved in a sex scandal. Does the same ego which drives these guys to be politicians also drive them to screw around with women who are not their wives?

    I always wondered that myself. Here’s the thing.

    Most of us guys can be faithful, etc. But power is a huge aphrodisiac, and women are always throwing themselves at these guys. They have a lot more opportunities to fool around than we do. Compare a modern American and a hunter-gatherer: who has more opportunities to overeat? Who winds up fatter?

    Also, politicians have extroverted personalities that do well with people, and by extension women.

    You also do see these occasional good-government dorky types who don’t fool around–Paul Wellstone comes to mind, I’m sure you can think of an equivalent on the right.

    • Replies: @meh

    You also do see these occasional good-government dorky types who don’t fool around–Paul Wellstone comes to mind,
     
    Yes, yes: and look what happened to him.
  60. @Senator Brundlefly
    I wonder how our post-privacy world will affect the careers of future politicians that are growing up in it? Will the search histories, comments, facebook statuses, etc. prove to be goldmines for oppo research or will the ubiquity of it force candidates into a reciprocal respect/indifference for each others' past? Of course, it will also likely be a goldmine for blackmailing special interest puppeteers...

    My recently-evolved suggestion for those unfortunate souls who will live in a future without privacy is to follow my Glass House Strategy for Living in the Post-Privacy World: Do and say as much as you can out in the open, and assume that everything can be seen anyway.

    Post-Privacy reality should therefore mean more acceptance instead of more repression. It will have to be that way, or humanity will implode from its own hypocrisy.

    Pre-disaster yourself so there are no surprises. Speak your mind, and accept what others say — it’s their right too.

    Everyone does and says things they fear are not acceptable to the public. The obvious truth of this is that everyone therefore tries to hide parts of themselves from each other. Might as well just admit that we all have stuff others might not approve of.

    Nobody is politically correct, so let’s stop pretending.

    “Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone.”

  61. @bomag
    Conspiracy theories are interesting to consider, but it seems that once you get in past a certain point, you can never come back; and then EVERYTHING is a conspiracy.

    Some people think
    That if they go too far
    They’ll never get back
    To where the rest of
    Them are
    I might be crazy
    But there’s one thing
    I know
    You might be surprised
    At what you find
    When ya go!

    Frank Zappa

    A Token Of My Extreme

  62. @Sailer has an interesting life

    I think a great app or program would be one which makes random searches while the owner is not using it. It would create so much information and disparate information that it would render any analysis (marketing or intelligence) useless. It would have restrictive search parameters, e.g., no searches for anything illegal or red flagging.
     
    I seem to recall hearing about a Firefox extension that did something similar. It was in the context of ad-blocking. Instead of just blocking all the ads, the extension both blocks them *and* randomly clicks on whatever ad is on the pages you visit. The idea is to add noise to the noise/signal ratio.

    The problem with such a program you describe would be that what constitutes random && acceptable searches may vary from person to person. Add to the fact that trackers used by search engines and ad networks would have that incorrect data about you on file. That may not seem like a problem right now. But if you extrapolate say ten years in the future, there may come a time where what your program searched for may cause you problems.

    Plus it may not actually do what you intended. The NSA prioritizes and flags those who search for anonymization software such as TOR, for example. And in order for a random search program to be both Trusted and Effective, a lot of eyeballs have to go over the code. That means it probably will be open source, and thus the network filters will have an idea of what roughly are your searches vs the extension.

    It's a hard problem and no solutions are apparent to my layman's POV.

    Many GNU programs have modes built in to generate useless text designed specifically to trigger such systems.

  63. @Jean Cocteausten
    In 2003, somebody got wind of the "Total Information Awareness" program and Congress made NSA shut it down. Only they didn't - they went right ahead and kept doing it, and lying about it, until Snowden.

    I may be naive, but I think that's the first time the government has done something in the face of an overwhelming consensus that they should stop doing it. I know that in the past, they did things they knew they shouldn't have been doing, and had to stop doing it when they got caught, but continuing this NSA stuff in the face of a clear Congressional rebuke is a first.

    We've really turned a corner in the last 15 years or so. It really is like living in the Panopticon.

    That “Total Information Awareness” thing could not have been more ham-handed. Or maybe that was the point. First off, their logo seemed designed to rile up the Illuminati-watchers and every other conspiracy theorist under the sun. And second, they had to know that putting Iran-Contra figure John Poindexter in charge would not give anyone assurances that everything was on the up-and-up.

  64. @Chase
    I, too, once discounted conspiracy theories. Then the LIBOR-fix story came out. Literally hundreds to maybe a thousand people knew an index utilized to price countless trillions of dollars in assets is being regularly was regularly and systematically rigged. In 2007 if you posited that, you would have been labeled as a tin-foiler.

    I believe in conspiracy theories now.

    Whenever someone pulls the conspiracy theory card, I tend to say, “Yeah, the rich and powerful would never get together on the down low to do anything to keep themselves rich and powerful. That would be wrong.”

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The rich and powerful don't get together on the down low, they get together on the up high, in front of the cameras at Davos, Jackson Hole, and Aspen.
  65. @Rob McX
    He tasted like chicken.

    Damn you Formerly Rob McX! You made me spew my beer! And my abs will hurt for the next two days from the belly laugh you induced! 🙂 P.S. thanks fish.

  66. @Hunsdon
    Whenever someone pulls the conspiracy theory card, I tend to say, "Yeah, the rich and powerful would never get together on the down low to do anything to keep themselves rich and powerful. That would be wrong."

    The rich and powerful don’t get together on the down low, they get together on the up high, in front of the cameras at Davos, Jackson Hole, and Aspen.

  67. China’s new credit scores are tied to your friends’ (online) political positions.

    http://m.weeklystandard.com/articles/china-s-creepy-new-form-oppression_1042860.html

    I’m sure there are a lot of people in the US who would love to try something similar.

  68. @Chase
    I, too, once discounted conspiracy theories. Then the LIBOR-fix story came out. Literally hundreds to maybe a thousand people knew an index utilized to price countless trillions of dollars in assets is being regularly was regularly and systematically rigged. In 2007 if you posited that, you would have been labeled as a tin-foiler.

    I believe in conspiracy theories now.

    I know, right.

    I thought LIBOR was one of the most important stories, one of the biggest I ever read.

    The ramifications of that thing, how much money has been extracted by manipulating that thing…

    And nothing. Wasn’t even a blip.

    Like the Jeff Gannon story. That thing should have blown up into a million fireworks in the sky. Had everything, photos, prurience, you name it, that story had it.

    But nothing.

    No conspiracies, right, got it.

    Oh yeah. Snowden. No one even remembers that story now. Well except for oddballs that congregate on sites like this.

    • Replies: @wren
    I recently checked "The Snowden Reader" out of my local library.

    It feels like one of the most important things I ought to understand.

    And yet, a few pages into somewhat dense text and I doubt that I will read too much more.

    Bad news fatigue? Too depressing?

    I don't even know anymore.

    Sigh.


    http://www.amazon.com/The-Snowden-Reader-David-Fidler/dp/0253017378

    , @wren
    After I learned that the Chinese got ALL the info about everyone in the US government (due to the Obama admin's decision to hire based on inclusive diversity rather than competence) and noticed that nobody seemed to care, part of me gave up, too.

    Perhaps not a traditional conspiracy, but a conspiracy of dunces, nonetheless.
  69. @Sunbeam
    I know, right.

    I thought LIBOR was one of the most important stories, one of the biggest I ever read.

    The ramifications of that thing, how much money has been extracted by manipulating that thing...

    And nothing. Wasn't even a blip.

    Like the Jeff Gannon story. That thing should have blown up into a million fireworks in the sky. Had everything, photos, prurience, you name it, that story had it.

    But nothing.

    No conspiracies, right, got it.

    Oh yeah. Snowden. No one even remembers that story now. Well except for oddballs that congregate on sites like this.

    I recently checked “The Snowden Reader” out of my local library.

    It feels like one of the most important things I ought to understand.

    And yet, a few pages into somewhat dense text and I doubt that I will read too much more.

    Bad news fatigue? Too depressing?

    I don’t even know anymore.

    Sigh.

  70. @Sunbeam
    I know, right.

    I thought LIBOR was one of the most important stories, one of the biggest I ever read.

    The ramifications of that thing, how much money has been extracted by manipulating that thing...

    And nothing. Wasn't even a blip.

    Like the Jeff Gannon story. That thing should have blown up into a million fireworks in the sky. Had everything, photos, prurience, you name it, that story had it.

    But nothing.

    No conspiracies, right, got it.

    Oh yeah. Snowden. No one even remembers that story now. Well except for oddballs that congregate on sites like this.

    After I learned that the Chinese got ALL the info about everyone in the US government (due to the Obama admin’s decision to hire based on inclusive diversity rather than competence) and noticed that nobody seemed to care, part of me gave up, too.

    Perhaps not a traditional conspiracy, but a conspiracy of dunces, nonetheless.

    • Replies: @wren
    Conspiracy, confederacy...same diff here.
  71. @SFG
    I always wondered that myself. Here's the thing.

    Most of us guys can be faithful, etc. But power is a huge aphrodisiac, and women are always throwing themselves at these guys. They have a lot more opportunities to fool around than we do. Compare a modern American and a hunter-gatherer: who has more opportunities to overeat? Who winds up fatter?

    Also, politicians have extroverted personalities that do well with people, and by extension women.

    You also do see these occasional good-government dorky types who don't fool around--Paul Wellstone comes to mind, I'm sure you can think of an equivalent on the right.

    You also do see these occasional good-government dorky types who don’t fool around–Paul Wellstone comes to mind,

    Yes, yes: and look what happened to him.

  72. @wren
    After I learned that the Chinese got ALL the info about everyone in the US government (due to the Obama admin's decision to hire based on inclusive diversity rather than competence) and noticed that nobody seemed to care, part of me gave up, too.

    Perhaps not a traditional conspiracy, but a conspiracy of dunces, nonetheless.

    Conspiracy, confederacy…same diff here.

  73. @Anonymous
    The 'alt-right' is building... I read iStevie ideas/themes being thrown around in all sorts of comment sections.

    It's only slightly below the surface now. Those who are relatively informed and interested in staying on top of things know what's up already.

    Eventually, even the most average of average Janes will be forced confront this stuff.

    It's a strange phenomenon...there is just a wall of denial that needs to collapse.

    Some powerful person or people will air it out publicly and it will all start to crumble... Like Trump with the immigration issue.

    The only thing keeping the status quo afloat is the Jewish monopoly on the National conversation.

    We’ve hit peak alt-right.
    It’s too exclusionary of way too many different kinds of people to get any bigger than it is now. It would have to compromise and accept some of its enemies as allies/coalition members. It’s going to have to either drop its obsession with immigration, its obsession with black crime, its obsession with HBD, maybe some combination of those things. The minute it does that it’s no longer alt-right, but something else.
    But it’s definitely reached the limits of its target market.

    • Replies: @Anonym
    You wish.
  74. @Rob McX
    Surely it's not beyond these guys' ability to buy an untraceable phone if they want to go messing about. But in any case, the biggest risk is that someone will see what they're doing and talk about it.

    …the biggest risk is that someone will see what they’re doing and talk about it.

    An even bigger risk is a vindictive or gold-digging paramour. (And aren’t they all?)

  75. @whorefinder
    One question that hasn't come up about Hilary using her separate server to hide her emails:

    Obama must have signed off on this.

    Why? Because at one point he and his staff had to have gotten emails from Hilary. Bearing the server address. And someone---his chief of staff, his computer security guys, the FBI, the secret service, or even Obama himself---had to have noticed this and brought it to his attention. And Obama overtly had to say this was OK to someone---because the FBI/computer tech dudes/Secret Service dudes would have had to have secured at least Obama's emails from possible hacks/viruses, and so had to be authorized by the President himself that these non-U.S. government emails were secure.

    Remember when the "diplomatic cables" were exposed, causing embarrassment? Someone by then had to notice that Hilary's email address wasn't gov't issued, especially after they were hacked.

    So the question is....why did Obama sign off on Hilary having this separate server??? And does he have his own??? does anyone else???

    Why is Obama still covering up GWB’s involvement in the WTC bombings? /sarc

  76. @Sunbeam
    I always ask in threads like this, "What stops it?"

    The sensors are there. The sensors are dirt cheap. The storage is there now. The storage is dirt cheap.

    And all getting cheaper. Now we can move all that data around fast enough.

    When I say "data" I mean like where all cell phones are located every time they send a communication signal (many of which you don't initiate yourself, the cell phone is constantly doing it). Who you called. How long the call was. Where it took place and when. The actual conversation.

    You know we could record every word everyone ever utters in their lives? Be a little of a storage hog with today's technology (though not with tomorrow's), unless you turned it into text.

    I could go on and on, and I'm sure others could add other examples like footage from all these surveillance cameras which have proliferated and don't cost much at Lowe's now.

    But it is something we are all just going to have to get used to. Because this is unstoppable by any force I could imagine.

    What stops it meaning anything to commenters on this site is the fact that analysts are expensive, hard to motivate and impossible to keep quiet.

    Without analysis data is irrelevant, and the amount of data collected would require hundreds of millions of analysts to understand.

    On the other hand, if you are one of the very few people with your head above the parapet, then you should be worried. But even then you have to be an individual whom a number of random analysts see as appropriate to target, and these guys are normal citizens…

    • Replies: @Sunbeam
    "What stops it meaning anything to commenters on this site is the fact that analysts are expensive, hard to motivate and impossible to keep quiet."

    Yeah but the gauge on my tinfoil is... my tinfoil is really thick.

    I'm one who thinks that relatively soon software will do the scutwork of combing conversations and mining data for - SUBVERSION!

    Heck for all we know data mining is already used for finding "persons of interest." Do they own guns - check, zip code - check, what primaries do they vote in - check, have they ever mentioned "revolution" in a phone conversation - check, do they frequent... HBD sites - check, and so on.

    And programs won't do anything silly like demand a salary (or blab - not that seems to matter).
  77. @anon
    I think it usually works the other way around. You have the target first--someone of some kind of usefulness or import-- and then you mine the archive over the past xx years.

    I think it usually works the other way around. You have the target first–someone of some kind of usefulness or import– and then you mine the archive over the past xx years.

    This is surely true, but if your issue is that you posted on this site under a pseudonym and they try to blackmail you or even expose you then they have to expose their whole illegitimate data gathering effort in order to succeed, and even then you could just deny it.

    Even if it was under your own name, I recommend you just deny it. What evidence could anyone possibly put forward?

    It’s quite unlike an affair where there can be evidence other than an easily faked computer screenshot.

  78. @Deduction
    What stops it meaning anything to commenters on this site is the fact that analysts are expensive, hard to motivate and impossible to keep quiet.

    Without analysis data is irrelevant, and the amount of data collected would require hundreds of millions of analysts to understand.

    On the other hand, if you are one of the very few people with your head above the parapet, then you should be worried. But even then you have to be an individual whom a number of random analysts see as appropriate to target, and these guys are normal citizens...

    “What stops it meaning anything to commenters on this site is the fact that analysts are expensive, hard to motivate and impossible to keep quiet.”

    Yeah but the gauge on my tinfoil is… my tinfoil is really thick.

    I’m one who thinks that relatively soon software will do the scutwork of combing conversations and mining data for – SUBVERSION!

    Heck for all we know data mining is already used for finding “persons of interest.” Do they own guns – check, zip code – check, what primaries do they vote in – check, have they ever mentioned “revolution” in a phone conversation – check, do they frequent… HBD sites – check, and so on.

    And programs won’t do anything silly like demand a salary (or blab – not that seems to matter).

    • Replies: @Deduction
    There's actually a pretty good case study of how possible this all is right now.

    The counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan became intelligence driven as it developed and it was well funded too.

    Helping the campaign was surely the fact that there was a lot less irrelevant data in the country to sift through and, I have no doubt, that ISAF was more than capable of capturing it all.

    Yet it did not work, and I have given you the reason, I think analysing more than a couple of percent of the data created in that small and technologically backwards country would have been beyond ISAF.


    I get that you think a lot of that analysis might be automated but that would be a task of obscene complexity.

    Google Ads, for example, have more expertise and money thrown at making them pinpoint the right people than almost anything else as they are Google's source of income. But even a small account requires constant management and input to be effective.
  79. @Sunbeam
    "What stops it meaning anything to commenters on this site is the fact that analysts are expensive, hard to motivate and impossible to keep quiet."

    Yeah but the gauge on my tinfoil is... my tinfoil is really thick.

    I'm one who thinks that relatively soon software will do the scutwork of combing conversations and mining data for - SUBVERSION!

    Heck for all we know data mining is already used for finding "persons of interest." Do they own guns - check, zip code - check, what primaries do they vote in - check, have they ever mentioned "revolution" in a phone conversation - check, do they frequent... HBD sites - check, and so on.

    And programs won't do anything silly like demand a salary (or blab - not that seems to matter).

    There’s actually a pretty good case study of how possible this all is right now.

    The counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan became intelligence driven as it developed and it was well funded too.

    Helping the campaign was surely the fact that there was a lot less irrelevant data in the country to sift through and, I have no doubt, that ISAF was more than capable of capturing it all.

    Yet it did not work, and I have given you the reason, I think analysing more than a couple of percent of the data created in that small and technologically backwards country would have been beyond ISAF.

    I get that you think a lot of that analysis might be automated but that would be a task of obscene complexity.

    Google Ads, for example, have more expertise and money thrown at making them pinpoint the right people than almost anything else as they are Google’s source of income. But even a small account requires constant management and input to be effective.

  80. Or say 2004 when a little known Illinois State Senator was running for the US Senate and suddenly there was a demand for the release of the sealed divorce documents of his Republican Rival. How did the press know there was something juicy in those papers?

    The Republican drops out. A carpetbagger Republican recruited from Maryland is offered up as a sacrificial lamb, the Democrat wins, and the rest is history.

  81. @DCThrowback
    Fun to notice that, but it's not like the leaders of the GOP (who's main job it is, apparently, to squeeze money out of Wall Street and the cheap labor lobbies) are anti-NSA and clamoring for it to be shut down.

    If a bunch of sex scandals erupted from comfortably red districts (where you're more apt to get a liberty lover like Justin Amash or Walter Jones), I'd be more receptive to the argument.

    (Charles Johnson had the McCarthy-Ellmers affair almost a year ago, and apparently it was common knowledge on the Hill.)

    Sibel Edmonds has the scoop on the FBI’s investigations in Hastert and other GOP reps…which was shifted to the NSA in 2002, after 9/11, after too many lower level agents were disgusted with no one being prosecuted.

    In essence, the history of spying on pols, members of the armed forces, judges and govt workers is laid bare. Very interesting.

    • Replies: @DCThrowback
    Just watch the whole thing from the beginning. It nails why the GOP had a rash of resignations - b/c Clinton wanted revenge on the GOP for the Lewinsky hearings. Crazy. COINTELPRO 2!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Urz-79upuLg
  82. @Forbes
    Belief in the conspiracy theories cited seems to require belief in the competence of government bureaucracy for which there appears little evidence. Hell, I'd like to see any evidence.

    Technological capability exists, yes, to perform mundane tasks, e.g. data collection, storage, analysis, communication. Conspiracies that require human coordination of untold numbers, in fairly complex interactions, with conspirators keeping their mouths shut for all time beggars belief.

    “Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.” – Benjamin Franklin

    • Replies: @Anonym
    Five can also keep a secret if two are dead "pour encourager les autres".
  83. @DCThrowback
    Sibel Edmonds has the scoop on the FBI's investigations in Hastert and other GOP reps...which was shifted to the NSA in 2002, after 9/11, after too many lower level agents were disgusted with no one being prosecuted.

    In essence, the history of spying on pols, members of the armed forces, judges and govt workers is laid bare. Very interesting.

    https://youtu.be/Urz-79upuLg?t=6m

    Just watch the whole thing from the beginning. It nails why the GOP had a rash of resignations – b/c Clinton wanted revenge on the GOP for the Lewinsky hearings. Crazy. COINTELPRO 2!

  84. @E. Rekshun
    Meanwhile, sex scandals for Democrats is a resume enhancement.

    Yes, true today, but back in 1987, Gary Hart learned otherwise.

    You might ask Anthony Weiner how sex scandals work out for democrats.

    • Agree: E. Rekshun
  85. @Chase
    I, too, once discounted conspiracy theories. Then the LIBOR-fix story came out. Literally hundreds to maybe a thousand people knew an index utilized to price countless trillions of dollars in assets is being regularly was regularly and systematically rigged. In 2007 if you posited that, you would have been labeled as a tin-foiler.

    I believe in conspiracy theories now.

    How about a story claiming that the CIA was running a network of secret prisons where they tortured prisoners who’d been kidnapped off the streets of cities around the world? Or one claiming that lots of big mortgage companies were routinely forging documents in foreclosure cases? Both sound as crazy as many a wild-eyed conspiracy theory, but they both also really happened and were widely covered in the mainstream press.

  86. @Sunbeam
    I wouldn't count too much on TOR. You know that started as a US Navy thing?

    And they have a website, say all the cool things.

    But in the end you are giving whoever runs the TOR server all your information. From a cynic's standpoint there are lots of people in the world. You just announced "Hey I am doing stuff I'd like to keep private."

    Of course TOR could be what it claims to be. But think about how it works. In the end you just have to say "I want to believe" to think that bearded hippy types that are against the Man are on the other side.

    As opposed to some chumpy metrosexual some alphabet soup intelligence agency hired to run a server farm.

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. When you use tor, there are at least three different tor nodes involved in your communications. The entry node knows who you are but not whom you’re talking to or what you’re saying; the exit node knows that someone is talking to your favorite goat-porn site, but not that it’s you.

    There are serious issues with tor–someone able to monitor the whole internet can probably deanonymize you given enough time, and the whole system depends on independent volunteers putting up nodes, so a well funded adversary could “volunteer” enough nodes to be likely to be both your entry and exit node, which would let them deanonymize you with a little statistics. But it’s the best we’ve got right now.

    The biggest practical problem with tor is that it’s so slow that only people doing interesting stuff and crypto/security geeks use it much. It would provide much better anonymity if it were fast enough that lots of people used it by default.

    There are lots of commercial VPN services that do a decent job of giving you some protection against casual privacy violations, and since they get paid to provide the service!and don’t need to route every packet through three nodes all over the world, they can give you decent performance. But I wouldn’t trust them against really serious attackers.

  87. @Forbes
    Belief in the conspiracy theories cited seems to require belief in the competence of government bureaucracy for which there appears little evidence. Hell, I'd like to see any evidence.

    Technological capability exists, yes, to perform mundane tasks, e.g. data collection, storage, analysis, communication. Conspiracies that require human coordination of untold numbers, in fairly complex interactions, with conspirators keeping their mouths shut for all time beggars belief.

    So if there were a lot of abuse of these programs, we’d probably have seen lots of news stories from whistleblowers. Hell, some dude would probably have had to flee the country to avoid jail after leaking details of the surveillance by now.

  88. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. When you use tor, there are at least three different tor nodes involved in your communications. The entry node knows who you are but not whom you’re talking to or what you’re saying; the exit node knows that someone is talking to your favorite goat-porn site, but not that it’s you. ”

    That’s nice. But say I gave you a budget and any hardware you could ever want.

    You really think this system couldn’t be designed to monitor everything and log it? Even if it performed as advertised to an outside observer?

    Or let’s say you are the NSA. Some reason you can’t join in, even if you aren’t running the whole show, and actually have your computers join the action?

    And what about the routing nodes?

    “In 2012, Tor co-founder Roger Dingledine revealed that the Tor Network is configured to prioritize speed and route traffic through through the fastest servers/nodes available. As a result, the vast bulk of Tor traffic runs through several dozen of the fastest and most dependable servers: “on today’s network, clients choose one of the fastest 5 exit relays around 25-30% of the time, and 80% of their choices come from a pool of 40-50 relays.”

    Dingledine was criticized by Tor community for the obvious reason that funneling traffic through a handful of fast nodes made surveilling and subverting Tor much easier. Anyone can run a Tor node — a research student in Germany, a guy with FIOS connection in Victorville (which is what I did for a few months), an NSA front out of Hawaii or a guy working for China’s Internet Police.

    There’s no way of knowing if the people running the fastest most stable nodes are doing it out of goodwill or because it’s the best way to listen in and subvert the Tor network. Particularly troubling was that Snowden’s leaks clearly showed the NSA and GCHQ run Tor nodes, and are interested in running more.”

    I did a quick google to look something up, and I found this article:

    https://pando.com/2014/07/16/tor-spooks/, article titled “Almost everyone involved in developing Tor was (or is) funded by the US government”

    Not sure what pando.com is (seem to find my links to info and articles from sites like this and google now), but this article is literate and supplies some history to go along with what I am saying. Whether you think I am full of crap or not, I’d recommend you read this article.

    • Replies: @Deduction
    The easiest way to have untraceable internet traffic is just to log on to someone else's wifi.

    With a decent antenna they could be quite far away and if you live in a city you are entirely untraceable.

    There is no chance that they'll get you with direction finding equipment if you live in a population dense area and you're not always switched on, especially if you vary the wifis you connect to.

    Of course I still don't believe they care or have the resources if they did, but supposedly I'm not paranoid enough...which is funny because I don't break any laws.

    Using the connection of a local bar or something like it would mean it's not illegal and there's no victim.

  89. @Forbes
    Belief in the conspiracy theories cited seems to require belief in the competence of government bureaucracy for which there appears little evidence. Hell, I'd like to see any evidence.

    Technological capability exists, yes, to perform mundane tasks, e.g. data collection, storage, analysis, communication. Conspiracies that require human coordination of untold numbers, in fairly complex interactions, with conspirators keeping their mouths shut for all time beggars belief.

    Those incompetent government bureaucracies… always doing inept things like building nuclear weapons, going to the moon, creating the internet, etc.

  90. @Hare Krishna
    We've hit peak alt-right.
    It's too exclusionary of way too many different kinds of people to get any bigger than it is now. It would have to compromise and accept some of its enemies as allies/coalition members. It's going to have to either drop its obsession with immigration, its obsession with black crime, its obsession with HBD, maybe some combination of those things. The minute it does that it's no longer alt-right, but something else.
    But it's definitely reached the limits of its target market.

    You wish.

  91. @Reg Cæsar
    Clinton's scandals were ultimately consent scandals. That's what should have been hammered across.

    Clinton’s scandals were ultimately consent scandals. That’s what should have been hammered across.

    The central event was that Paula Jones sued Bill Clinton for sexual harassment.

  92. I don’t know if Hastert counts as a scandal when his misdeeds were not revealed until a full sixteen years after he became Speaker and eight years after he left Congress. Unless he was being secretly blackmailed (which he was, but I mean by someone important), his sex life had no repercussions. He might as well have been Thomas Reed or Sam Rayburn for all he mattered politically at the time he was finally exposed.

  93. @Pat Gilligan
    I think a great app or program would be one which makes random searches while the owner is not using it. It would create so much information and disparate information that it would render any analysis (marketing or intelligence) useless. It would have restrictive search parameters, e.g., no searches for anything illegal or red flagging.

    Look, you're never too old to learn from the wisdom of James Michael Curley, the four-time mayor of Boston and later governor of Massachusetts. Curley won his first political victory in 1904 while in prison for fraud (his campaign slogan was, "He did it for a friend"). Curley taught his protégés that the first rule of politics is, "Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink."

    Assume everything is being read and everything is being recorded and you'll only have to worry about the stuff that will be fabricated against you.

    My guess is that any such program would be useless unless it could actually fabricate your own personal style of following link trees and also throw out searches and links that “balanced/cancelled” your actual searches. Otherwise distinguishing the “noise” from your searches would be about as hard as distinguishing static from a concerto.

    Cooking, ramzpaul, cars, stormfront, Kardashian, lawn care, immigration, Jewish influence, Bob Hope, alligators…

    Gee, what were you reading about in the last 5 minutes?

  94. One thing I’m suspicious about is all these hatchet jobs that some on the Left are trying to do on Bernie Sanders. E.g. some SJW on Slate called him “racist” for saying that Vermont doesn’t need gun control but other parts of the country might. Of course, Sanders is a good socialist and didn’t mention race at all, but simply suggesting that some parts of the country might need more gun control than others is apparently racist now. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hillary or big Democrat capitalist donors are behind these.

  95. @Jim Don Bob
    "Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead." - Benjamin Franklin

    Five can also keep a secret if two are dead “pour encourager les autres”.

  96. @Sunbeam
    "You don’t know what you’re talking about. When you use tor, there are at least three different tor nodes involved in your communications. The entry node knows who you are but not whom you’re talking to or what you’re saying; the exit node knows that someone is talking to your favorite goat-porn site, but not that it’s you. "

    That's nice. But say I gave you a budget and any hardware you could ever want.

    You really think this system couldn't be designed to monitor everything and log it? Even if it performed as advertised to an outside observer?

    Or let's say you are the NSA. Some reason you can't join in, even if you aren't running the whole show, and actually have your computers join the action?

    And what about the routing nodes?

    "In 2012, Tor co-founder Roger Dingledine revealed that the Tor Network is configured to prioritize speed and route traffic through through the fastest servers/nodes available. As a result, the vast bulk of Tor traffic runs through several dozen of the fastest and most dependable servers: “on today's network, clients choose one of the fastest 5 exit relays around 25-30% of the time, and 80% of their choices come from a pool of 40-50 relays.”

    Dingledine was criticized by Tor community for the obvious reason that funneling traffic through a handful of fast nodes made surveilling and subverting Tor much easier. Anyone can run a Tor node — a research student in Germany, a guy with FIOS connection in Victorville (which is what I did for a few months), an NSA front out of Hawaii or a guy working for China’s Internet Police.

    There’s no way of knowing if the people running the fastest most stable nodes are doing it out of goodwill or because it’s the best way to listen in and subvert the Tor network. Particularly troubling was that Snowden's leaks clearly showed the NSA and GCHQ run Tor nodes, and are interested in running more."

    I did a quick google to look something up, and I found this article:

    https://pando.com/2014/07/16/tor-spooks/, article titled "Almost everyone involved in developing Tor was (or is) funded by the US government"

    Not sure what pando.com is (seem to find my links to info and articles from sites like this and google now), but this article is literate and supplies some history to go along with what I am saying. Whether you think I am full of crap or not, I'd recommend you read this article.

    The easiest way to have untraceable internet traffic is just to log on to someone else’s wifi.

    With a decent antenna they could be quite far away and if you live in a city you are entirely untraceable.

    There is no chance that they’ll get you with direction finding equipment if you live in a population dense area and you’re not always switched on, especially if you vary the wifis you connect to.

    Of course I still don’t believe they care or have the resources if they did, but supposedly I’m not paranoid enough…which is funny because I don’t break any laws.

    Using the connection of a local bar or something like it would mean it’s not illegal and there’s no victim.

    • Replies: @NOTA
    It's not just a matter of whether you are guilty of anything, it's a matter of how the massive surveillance affects the whole society. If 10% of congressmen are too scared of their secrets being revealed to cross the NSA or FBI, that translates to both agencies being able to get away with a whole lot. If 10% of judges feel the same way, a lot of cases will go the spies' way. If 10% of your fellow citizens are afraid to speak their true beliefs for fear of getting fired, even if this does not directly affect you, it affects US politics pretty dramatically.

    Massive domestic surveillance is like massive immigration in that it represents a huge change in how the nation works, and yet the powerful people seem to all line up on one side of the issue and we're constantly told that we ought not to discuss the issue, and that the people bringing it up are bad people who ought not to be listened to.
  97. @Deduction
    The easiest way to have untraceable internet traffic is just to log on to someone else's wifi.

    With a decent antenna they could be quite far away and if you live in a city you are entirely untraceable.

    There is no chance that they'll get you with direction finding equipment if you live in a population dense area and you're not always switched on, especially if you vary the wifis you connect to.

    Of course I still don't believe they care or have the resources if they did, but supposedly I'm not paranoid enough...which is funny because I don't break any laws.

    Using the connection of a local bar or something like it would mean it's not illegal and there's no victim.

    It’s not just a matter of whether you are guilty of anything, it’s a matter of how the massive surveillance affects the whole society. If 10% of congressmen are too scared of their secrets being revealed to cross the NSA or FBI, that translates to both agencies being able to get away with a whole lot. If 10% of judges feel the same way, a lot of cases will go the spies’ way. If 10% of your fellow citizens are afraid to speak their true beliefs for fear of getting fired, even if this does not directly affect you, it affects US politics pretty dramatically.

    Massive domestic surveillance is like massive immigration in that it represents a huge change in how the nation works, and yet the powerful people seem to all line up on one side of the issue and we’re constantly told that we ought not to discuss the issue, and that the people bringing it up are bad people who ought not to be listened to.

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