Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto is a policy analyst and part-time dungeon master. When not talking endlessly about matters of public policy, he is a dungeon master on the NWN World of Avlis

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15 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Sadly he was well meaning with a just cause and quite a bit of a moron.Report

  2. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    Well, if he’s limited to “countries which respect privacy” in his choices for asylum, that list’s going to start getting pretty short. The practical choice for priority 1 was “which countries won’t I be extradited from?”.

    I think the constant attempts to denigrate Snowdon are ridiculous. If he hadn’t done what he’d done, we wouldn’t even have the basis to be having this conversation, because we’d still be entirely ignorant of many of the things our governments are doing and they extent of their domestic and foreign spying operations. To say he was wrong is to say we prefer ignorance to knowledge.Report

    • I think he did some pretty substantial harm by making sure internal NSA documents are now in the hands of countries like Russia which are not, in any shape or fashion fathomably good for an open society.

      If his practical priority was “which countries won’t I be extradited from” then his priority in choosing to carry his documents was wrong.

      No amount of good intentions can change the fact that he’s given the FSB a treasure trove of documents with which to improve the capabilities of SORM. Just as say, setting fire to an empty tenament block in Detroit and ending up killing people isn’t excusable even if your intention was to bring to light how awful things are in Detroit.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        You can’t reveal information to the public without simultaneously revealing it to other nations. The question is whether freedom of information (in the sense of “knowing what our governments are doing”) is worth that. I absolutely believe it is.

        There are plenty of ways to draw public attention to the problems of Detroit. You can’t inform the public about government spying without, y’know, revealing actual information about government spying.Report

      • I’m not talking about simply revealing the existence of spying. Snowden made off with just about everything related to NSA’s internal operations. Now granted, I’m inclined to believe Greenwald and NSA both have incentive to exaggerate what Snowden took, but if even half of what they claim on the operational documents Snowden had in his possession is true, then he did more than blow the whistle and pretty much did what amounts to espionage when he chose to seek asylum in Russia.

        Now, you can believe the assurances that Snowden’s leaks storage is encrypted and proof from FSB or Chinese intel cracking. I don’t think that’s a reasonable position to take. If NSA can do something, FSB is likely capable of doing it, too.

        The fact of the matter is, Snowden chose badly both in the scope of documents he chose to take and where he chose to go with those documents in his possession. Taking operational NSA data to the FSB’s doorstep is not in any sense simply about “revealing the existence of spying to the public”.

        The disclosure in itself isn’t the damaging part. It’s the naively going to Russia and putting his fate and countless internal NSA documents NOT RELATED TO VIOLATIONS OF LAW into the hands of people who are many many times worse than the NSA ever could hope to be outside of dystopian fiction that’s the bad thing that shows horrendous judgment.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        if you use the encryption correctly, i.e. not to the NSA approved specs, it’s quite possible to keep everyone out.

        What Snowden has done is NOT sold his data to the highest bidder. As this is what EVERYONE ELSE was doing, can we please applaud this one’s altruism?

        Really, what’s the nuts and bolts cost here? Did we lose a year of “credit cards usable on the internet?”Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        Personally, I don’t buy in to the “Bu – bu – but THEY’RE NOT LIKE US ! ! !” argument.
        News is, we’re not like us either.
        There is no spoon.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        By no means has NSA’s mission been compromised. I think I’ve only said it about a jillion times, everything Snowden exposed has been a tool of government and approved by SCOTUS since friggin 1928 and again sustained by Congress with the supposed “reforms” of the CIA, creating the FISA court in 1978.

        If it’s secret, it’s probably illegal for you ‘n me to do it. But governments don’t have to worry about obeying their own laws, not when some secret court signs off on all this crap. Sure, Bush43 sorta forgot about notifying the FISA court — let’s not even bother with the mawkish little pretense of Mother May I, not with a spineless judge like Reggie Walton and his rubber stamp and Nerf Gavel approving these cases — what came of Bush43’s failure? Nothing.

        Why does anyone think NSA was damaged by all this? We already know the lengths these guys will go to in the Spy vs. Spy games they play. They’ll send submarines to the bottom of the ocean to tap into undersea cables. They’ll park satellites on tangent lines from each others’ microwave towers to listen in on phone traffik.

        What secrets were actually revealed? I don’t see anything of note here, anything surprising.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        Snowden didn’t run straight to Russia with the documents. He sent them to Glenn Greenwald, who is probably the best possible person in the media to send them to, being a committed journalist unbeholden to any political party and with a strong non-partisan (in the sense that he despises both parties) interest in civil liberties and government transparency. Glenn’s exactly the person I’d go to if I had that kind of intel.Report

      • Snowden didn’t run straight to Russia with the documents.

        He had a very substantial trove of unsorted, top secret operational documents that were on his person when he was granted asylum. The amount keeps growing each time Greenwald wants to puff up his ego, but at last count they’re at 58,000 documents.

        That’s not the number of documents you take with you if you’re looking to expose certain facets of say data collection. That’s a document heist meant to include some blackmail material.

        As for Greenwald’s alleged interest in civil liberties and government transparency…how many words has he spared for his beloved Brazil’s policies on say, oh I dunno, spying on its own judges? Moreover, what the hell do things like intelligence gathering on foreign leaders have to do with civil liberties? That’s just plain signals intelligence, plain and simple.

        Tu quoque’s not the strongest criticism to level against governments, but in this case it’s really myopic to view US sigint gathering in isolation. It’s a myopia that seems to infect everyone, you included. In terms of the actual malice of data collection, the US isn’t even in the worst 10 countries. And at times, there needs to be some perspective on that.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        In a country where a warrant may be issued, so secret it cannot even be taken to defense counsel, it’s very useful to be able to blackmail such a nation. A life-saving measure, truth to tell. The problem with secrets, Nob, is they never stay secret. Staying alive after confronting a nation with so little scruples as to lock people up in offshore camps, avoiding its own justice system — surviving an encounter requires more than skill. It requires a weapon that agency fears.

        That weapon is the truth. NSA has no more respect for you or me than ants on the sidewalk. This nation has enemies, serious enemies intent upon harming us. But never forget, Nob, that the truth is not the province of any one person and no enemy is so evil that bringing him down may exceed the bounds of justice. This nation refuses to bring its enemies to justice, rather it brings them to Guantanamo, so little does it trust its own judges and juries. Such a nation deserves what it gets. Nobody’s been harmed as a result of this, nobody that is, who lives in the light of day and the Fourth Amendment.Report

    • Avatar NotMe in reply to KatherineMW says:

      “I think the constant attempts to denigrate Snowdon are ridiculous.”

      Why, he broke the law and should be punished, just like his fellow criminal Bradly Manning. He ran to one of our enemies who would just love to get their hands on our secrets.

      And now he is accepting an award for his crimes. Some example of integrity.


      • Avatar Kim in reply to NotMe says:

        Why, do you include the REST of the fucking thieves, or only the ones who ran to Russia??? How about all the information sold to RUSSIA that the NSA was covering up???????
        May your credit card information be stolen, permanently.
        (newsflash: i give it five years).Report