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posted by janrinok on Sunday February 15 2015, @06:27AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the surprise-surprise dept.

The New York Times reports that President Obama met yesterday with the nation’s top tech executives and company officials on a host of cybersecurity issues and the threats posed by increasingly sophisticated hackers amid a deepening estrangement between Silicon Valley and the government. “What has struck me is the enormous degree of hostility between Silicon Valley and the government,” says Herb Lin. “The relationship has been poisoned, and it’s not going to recover anytime soon.”

American firms are increasingly concerned about international competitiveness, and that means making a very public show of their efforts to defeat American intelligence-gathering by installing newer, harder-to-break encryption systems and demonstrating their distance from the United States government. “In some cases that is driving them to resistance to Washington,” says Obama’s cybersecurity coordinator, Michael Daniel. “But it’s not that simple. In other cases, with what’s going on in China,” where Beijing is insisting that companies turn over the software that is their lifeblood, “they are very interested in getting Washington’s help.”

Silicon Valley execs have also been fuming quietly over the government’s use of zero-day flaws. “The government is realizing they can’t just blow into town and let bygones be bygones,” says Eric Grosse, Google’s vice president of security and privacy. “Our business depends on trust. If you lose it, it takes years to regain.”

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Another Secretive Meeting Between Obama Administration Officials and Silicon Valley 49 comments

Top law enforcement officials and Silicon Valley leaders, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, met on Friday to discuss topics related to support for terrorism on social media, as well as encryption:

Media were not invited to the Silicon Valley meeting. NPR talked with spokespeople from several companies who were attending, and got a copy of the email invite. It's a powerhouse list: White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey and National Intelligence Director James Clapper.

Apple CEO Tim Cook was there. Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo were among the other companies that confirmed attendance.

The word "encryption" is mentioned in the invite. But companies who'd be very relevant to that conversation, like Cisco, were not invited. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said encryption was likely to come up at the meeting, but he described it as a "thornier" issue.

[...] A spokesperson from one company at the meeting, who didn't want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issues involved, said it's almost as if the administration wants a Madison Avenue ad campaign, only coming from tech geeks. Another criticized the event as a "bait and switch." Companies were told, more or less: "Hey, the government wants to brainstorm with the very best engineers about how technology can help fight terrorism," the second source said. It was similar in tone to the White House's call for tech support after the massive failure of Healthcare.gov.

But as the planning for Friday's meeting evolved, so did the tone. And in the 11th hour, companies fought to bring their lawyers, because it's clearly not just a technical conversation.

[More After the Break]

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by c0lo on Sunday February 15 2015, @06:40AM

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 15 2015, @06:40AM (#145197) Journal
    1. at the end, Obama signed an executive order [whitehouse.gov] "encouraging" companies to share data
    2. Larry Page, Marissa Mayer and Mark Zuckerberg gave Obama a cold shoulder [nbcnews.com], sending representatives instead
    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by frojack on Sunday February 15 2015, @07:46AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 15 2015, @07:46AM (#145209) Journal

      Each of those companies should just go home in implement encryption on their services, using only user-held keys. With no backdoors.

      It was their willingness to roll over without creating a huge legal battle in the courts that got them into this situation. Giving that foot in the door to the Feds just encouraged them to make further legal loop holes to drive trucks through.

      I suspect these companies will end up sending someone to all the meetings just to be ahead of the curve, and try to steer away from the most damaging federal access demands, but in the end everybody with a lick of sense has already lost trust in these companies.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by c0lo on Sunday February 15 2015, @08:04AM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 15 2015, @08:04AM (#145217) Journal

        Each of those companies should just go home in implement encryption on their services, using only user-held keys.

        Until they do, seem like mega [mega.co.nz] is extending the type of services: storage, collaboration and (soon) email/chat.
        I swear I'm inclined nowadays to trust a scoundrel more than the establishment (and certainly more than the govt).

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15 2015, @08:17PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15 2015, @08:17PM (#145365)

          > I swear I'm inclined nowadays to trust a scoundrel more than the establishment (and certainly more than the govt).

          That's unsurprising. The more they treat everyone like a criminal, the more criminals will be indistinguishable from regular people.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15 2015, @03:49PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15 2015, @03:49PM (#145298)

        ... their willingness to roll over without creating a huge legal battle in the courts

        Yahoo tried. The government used a secret [slashdot.org] court [techdirt.com].

        With impossible penalties [theguardian.com]:

        The US government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day if it refused to hand over user data to the National Security Agency

        $250,000 daily fine over NSA data refusal was set to double 'every week'

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15 2015, @04:21PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15 2015, @04:21PM (#145304)

          If the environment in the united states is not good for business, relocate.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16 2015, @03:23AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16 2015, @03:23AM (#145456)

            We could also try restoring the rule of, and equality under, law...

            It's sort of akin to MS-13 setting up shop in your garage. It's your garage, and they're the criminals. You can move, sure, but should you have to? It may be easier to just move for a while, but the world is, unfortunately, not lacking in criminal gangs.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15 2015, @06:26PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15 2015, @06:26PM (#145328)

      Yeah, Page, Zuck and Meyer all sent the message, "All these petabytes of user data and content we've been collecting and analyzing? We do this is for OUR commercial advantage and for those we choose to share with, like Axciom. Government, keep your paws off! When you do it, that amounts to invasion of individual privacy!"

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Fauxlosopher on Sunday February 15 2015, @08:38AM

    by Fauxlosopher (4804) on Sunday February 15 2015, @08:38AM (#145221) Journal

    It should be no surprise that private businesses act threatened by the US federal government. Tech firms in particular have had to deal with a slew of increased costs imposed on them from the fedgov. While most businesses take the easy way out in regards to DMCA requests via safe harbor [cornell.edu] provisions, the costs of compliance (not all which are monetary) have caused some [schneier.com] businesses [mashable.com] to close down.

    When direct costs aren't being imposed, fedgov agencies have been criminally cracking into tech firms' data centers [washingtonpost.com] as well as actively and deceptively undermining security standards [schneier.com]. The latter practice is extremely dangerous beyond just enabling US fedgov agents to exploit intentionally-weakened security, particularly in that it is a cardinal display of hubris to believe that the US' best crackers are so smart that people in other nations' government or civilian circles can't figure out the intentionally-implanted weaknesses to exploit on their own.

    If it is not desirable for tech firms (as well as businesses in most all sectors) to view fedgov actors with mistrust and hostility, then perhaps fedgov agents should stop acting deceitfully and criminally. (Many fedgov actions are criminal to a further degree as recognized in the US' Supreme Court cases of Marbury vs Madison and Norton vs Shelby County [findlaw.com]: "An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.")

    • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Sunday February 15 2015, @09:00AM

      by aristarchus (2645) on Sunday February 15 2015, @09:00AM (#145225) Journal

      Norton v. Shelby County seems to be one of the only two court cases you are aware of. May I recommend Joe's Garage and Law School, where they will at least teach you to better hide your lack of legal knowledge?

      And I agree with your general point. Needs more cowbell.

      --
      Someone please explain to Hemo that my AC posts never get moderated because no one understands them. (Stolen AC sig. )
      • (Score: 2, Funny) by Fauxlosopher on Sunday February 15 2015, @09:12AM

        by Fauxlosopher (4804) on Sunday February 15 2015, @09:12AM (#145229) Journal

        The Marbury and Norton cases are merely two among a larger number of cases where US courts have acknowledged the principle that an unconstitutional law is invalid upon its inception. They also happen to be the simplest of the cases I've heard about. For those like myself, unburdened with an abundance of brains, it's helpful to be clear and direct; both cited cases are about as straightforward as can be expected from legal minds in high office.

        • (Score: 1) by mathinker on Monday February 16 2015, @10:14PM

          by mathinker (3463) on Monday February 16 2015, @10:14PM (#145852)

          both cited cases are about as straightforward as can be expected from legal minds in high office.

          I had always thought that "The parties are advised to chill" [wikipedia.org] was pretty straightforward. A pity it wasn't the whole opinion rather than just its last sentence....

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by frojack on Sunday February 15 2015, @09:11AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 15 2015, @09:11AM (#145228) Journal

      "An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.")

      The problem is that a law is constitutional and therefore a LAW, until it is declared unconstitutional in court.

      If you think you can short circuit that process, by deciding for yourself which laws are constitutional and which aren't, you've abandoned ALL law. And then you can no longer claim protection of any law.

      And the government is very good at slowing down court challenges, or preventing them all together, long enough to bolster the bad laws with more laws. Defeat one bad law in the Supreme Court, and there are 5 more behind it.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anal Pumpernickel on Sunday February 15 2015, @09:16AM

        by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Sunday February 15 2015, @09:16AM (#145230)

        The problem is that a law is constitutional and therefore a LAW, until it is declared unconstitutional in court.

        That's just a legal fiction. If it violates the constitution, it's unconstitutional. Judges can't change reality no matter how much they wish they could; it's just that the system is set up as it is because it's merely a necessary evil to have someone try to ascertain the truth at the end of the day. The courts often fail, however.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Fauxlosopher on Sunday February 15 2015, @09:36AM

        by Fauxlosopher (4804) on Sunday February 15 2015, @09:36AM (#145236) Journal

        The problem is that a law is constitutional and therefore a LAW, until it is declared unconstitutional in court.

        The above quoted statement from you, frojack, stands in direct conflict with the phrase you yourself quoted - a phrase which came from a court case that US Supreme Court justices recognized as valid by letting the case appealed to them stand.

        The underlying assertion does radically challenge the standing mindset of the typical USian, but reading the English phrase for what it is reveals that an unconstitutional "law" is indeed not a law at all. I can agree that this does call for court involvement for laws that are not blatantly in conflict with the US federal government's founding law (that without, I might note, such government would not itself legally exist). For flagrant violations of law, however, such a law is void, no court decision needed; examples of flagrantly void "laws" include the 2012 NDAA's indefinite detainment of citizens without charge [aclu.org], NSA spying on citizens without probable cause [theguardian.com], illegal federal enforcement of a second Prohibition [wikipedia.org] without a Constitutional amendment to authorize it, and the Prohibition-related crimes of so-called civil forfeiture of property [aclu.org] where there is obvious "takings" going on without any sort of due process whatsoever.

        There is almost certain to be great personal risk in treating such non-laws as what they are, should a person be accosted by law enforcement over such matters. However, that risk does not change the legally-recognized fact that such flagrantly unconstitutional non-laws are void, and therefore that attempted enforcement of such is outside the scope of law and thus is illegal. There are also a few interesting federal statues that in many circumstances criminalize such illegal behavior, notably 18 USC 241 [cornell.edu] and 18 USC 242 [cornell.edu].

        • (Score: 3) by hemocyanin on Sunday February 15 2015, @12:20PM

          by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 15 2015, @12:20PM (#145261) Journal

          In a philosophical sense you are perfectly right -- an unconstitutional law is void. In a practical sense, this can be a huge gamble, as in a "your whole life and everything you own" gamble because in practice, you have to violate the law, get into a legal case, and get to the Supreme Court where you will find out if your interpretation is correct. Guess wrong on what turns out to be mostly a matter of opinion handed down by people hand picked for a political viewpoint, and you're fucked.

          Secondly, if you look at how the Supreme Court has steadily and consistently eroded the privacy protections of the Bill of Rights over the last 40 years, it's a lousy gamble. People tend to have a lot of respect for the SC. I don't. It seems mostly to see its job as finding strained and convoluted interpretations to undermine citizens' protections from abusive government. Sure, there are always a few dissenters but the trick is to keep them a small enough group so they can never prevail -- like how a politician will be totally willing to support a bill popular with the people when he/she knows it can't pass, and in the backroom explain to those who hate the law and fund elections, that it's all just for appearance's sake and a smart play with dead issue. The SC dissenters are there specifically to serve as a distraction from the concerted wholesale destruction of any value embodied by the Constitution.

          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Fauxlosopher on Sunday February 15 2015, @12:51PM

            by Fauxlosopher (4804) on Sunday February 15 2015, @12:51PM (#145267) Journal

            Openly treating unconstitutional non-laws as the legally void entities that they are can indeed be very risky to private citizens. However, just that sort of thing is actively going on right now, today, in Conecticut [reason.com], New York [dcgazette.com], and in Washington [callmegav.com]. (It even occurred in Washington DC [youtube.com], though with the historically-expected results [washingtontimes.com].) Sometimes the results have been gobsmackingly unexpected [youtube.com], certainly considering the outcomes of somewhat similar past events [youtube.com].

            You may note that in multiple of the above examples, courts' opinions are not being sought. Individuals are refusing to submit the question to courts, since the non-laws' attempted violations of the Constitution are so blatant. While it remains to be seen how this sort of paradigm shift plays out, there is indeed change afoot.

            • (Score: 4, Interesting) by hemocyanin on Sunday February 15 2015, @07:25PM

              by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 15 2015, @07:25PM (#145349) Journal

              There is a pretty huge gap between the rights people think they have, and the rights the government thinks they have, and the sad part, because most people couldn't even afford a half day of Supreme Court representation while the government can afford all it wants on the tax payers' dimes, is that that fact isn't going to change.

              I'm very liberal (*). I don't like seeing people loading a shotgun on a public street and I definitely question the wisdom of doing so as a way to make point (seems like a great way to get most people to not support your cause). However, the Bill of Rights is what it is and I accept it wholeheartedly, including the 2nd amendment. What so many lefties seem to miss (and rightists but on different amendments like the 1st, 4th, and 5th), is that if you enable the government to skirt one amendment, you enable it skirt them all. The only way gun control would be appropriate is through an amendment. All of these statutes/ordinances chipping away at it just provide precedent for destroying everything else -- freedom of the press, freedom of (and from) religion, due process, privacy, etc., etc. The Bill of Rights is not a smorgasboard and if treated as such by mere statute (as contrasted with a constitutional amendment), then the government is empowered gobbled it all up, and shit it out into a meaningless pile of words.

              The sad reality though, is that the destruction of the BOR is a fait acompli at this point. Even so, my (worthless) opinion is that it should have been protected as a whole because as we can see today, when it isn't, everything goes by the wayside. I'd like to see a return to a respect for the BOR which is why, as a granola eating sandal and socks lefty, I support the 2nd Amendment.

              --
              (*) I view Democrats as the "New GOP", and such war happy, wall street loving, surveillance enthralled neo-cons that if Nixon could have done half what the DNC now supports, he'd have been debilitated with an unending 24/7 orgasm.

              • (Score: 1) by Fauxlosopher on Monday February 16 2015, @04:22AM

                by Fauxlosopher (4804) on Monday February 16 2015, @04:22AM (#145479) Journal

                We are likely to be much more in agreement than otherwise, and find that our disagreements ultimately rest on mere personal preferences that others have no standing to object to.

                Rights, freedoms, laws, and all the rest appear to rest upon one out of two conditions: governments rule over individuals either by sheer force, or by the delegated consent and authority of the individual. Slavery absolutely existed, and still exists today in both defacto and dejure form. If people living in the USA, like me, are either defacto or dejure slaves, then none of this noise over the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, or anything else matters beyond a simple means to obtain enough force to fight and win against the current masters.

                However... if the USA is a nation with a government put in place by the delegated authority of the individual, ah, now THAT has some interesting and massive consequences. This would mean that government has limits, and that those limits cannot - even at worst - exceed the authority of a single, lone individual. In otherwords, should this be the case, government cannot do anything that a single individual cannot also do. This might initially sound outlandish. I've written two short papers attempting to concisely detail this claim, posted to my journal, if they are of interest. The first is in regards to authority [soylentnews.org], and the second pertains to its limitations [soylentnews.org].

                • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Tuesday February 17 2015, @12:41PM

                  by cafebabe (894) on Tuesday February 17 2015, @12:41PM (#146080) Journal

                  I cannot support either part of your argument because it requires religious belief to extend beyond an individual. This is contradictory in addition to being an appeal to authority. This is a shame because I hoped it would provide sound reasoning for equal footing under law in addition to supporting https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?sid=6118&cid=145349 [soylentnews.org]

                  A more concise formulation would be that under absolute monarchy, nothing is permissible unless specifically enumerated and that in a free land, everything is permissible unless specifically enumerated. Students of computer science will recognize this as whitelisting and blacklisting respectively and understand the limitations of each technique.

                  Indeed, "whitelisting" got us to the Industrial Revolution and "blacklisting" got us to the Computer Revolution but with the increasing number of existential threats, perhaps another stint of "whitelisting" should be considered even if it is not desirable.

                  --
                  1702845791×2
                  • (Score: 1) by Fauxlosopher on Sunday March 08 2015, @01:45PM

                    by Fauxlosopher (4804) on Sunday March 08 2015, @01:45PM (#154434) Journal

                    Oops, I didn't see your reply until just now. While my writing shows that I obviously believe there to be a Creator of the universe who sets the standards of morality, I do not believe the reasoning of my assertions require the existence of a Creator.

                    John Locke wrote about the "state of nature", a situation where humans exist without an established or recognizable government, and used reason to form the assertion that, in essence, no one human has legitimate authority to exercise his/her power in a manner that conflicts with a different human's authority. Much of the reasoning centers around ownership of property, to specifically ask and answer the question of who owns a given human's body. The primary writing on this is, as I recall, contained in his Second Treatise of Government [constitution.org].

              • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Tuesday February 17 2015, @10:15AM

                by cafebabe (894) on Tuesday February 17 2015, @10:15AM (#146051) Journal

                as a granola eating sandal and socks lefty, I support the 2nd Amendment.

                Sandals aren't my style but I've been described as being to the left of Richard Stallman and I support the Second Amendment for the same reasons. Some people may think that the Second Amendment is quaint or dangerous but it is one axiom of a good foundation.

                --
                1702845791×2
            • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Sunday February 15 2015, @07:27PM

              by Joe Desertrat (2454) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 15 2015, @07:27PM (#145351)

              You may note that in multiple of the above examples, courts' opinions are not being sought. Individuals are refusing to submit the question to courts, since the non-laws' attempted violations of the Constitution are so blatant. While it remains to be seen how this sort of paradigm shift plays out, there is indeed change afoot.

              While it is nice to think the people have won a victory, it is more likely that this is just something else that will be used against particular individuals should they run afoul of the law.

          • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday February 15 2015, @04:03PM

            by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Sunday February 15 2015, @04:03PM (#145301) Homepage
            > in practice, you have to violate the law, get into a legal case, and get to the Supreme Court

            That's a tradition that's at least 118 years old - Plessy vs. Ferguson.

            However, I think your 2nd paragraph nails it perfectly.
            --
            I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by frojack on Sunday February 15 2015, @07:16PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 15 2015, @07:16PM (#145341) Journal

          The above quoted statement from you, frojack, stands in direct conflict with the phrase you yourself quoted - a phrase which came from a court case that US Supreme Court justices recognized as valid by letting the case appealed to them stand.

          So in letting the appealed case stand, the Supreme Court agreed WITH ME, and not with you. The law was declared unconstitutional by a lower court, and the Supreme Court agreed, and let that decision stand.

          A court had ruled. The law then, and only then became unconstitutional.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 1) by Fauxlosopher on Monday February 16 2015, @03:10AM

            by Fauxlosopher (4804) on Monday February 16 2015, @03:10AM (#145452) Journal

            If you sit down and read the Norton vs Shelby County [findlaw.com] case, it is made clear that the judges were stating that the unConstitutional law in question never was law. It wasn't valid law for the duration spanning its passage and the first (or final) court appeal and then afterwards was suddenly made illegal and void by the decision of the court. The court's core argument was that the offices established by the unConstitutional law in question never had legal force of law. The court wasn't taking action to cause a law to be rendered illegal, but merely made an observation of a pre-existing fact.

            Here's another paragraph from the case to support my point:

            it is contended that if the act creating the board was void, and the commissioners were not officers de jure, they were nevertheless officers de facto, and that the acts of the board as a de facto court are binding upon the county. This contention is met by the fact that there can be no officer, either de jure or de facto, if there be no office to fill . As the act attempting to create the office of commissioner never became a law, the office never came into existence. Some persons pretended that they held the office, but the law never recognized their pretensions

            • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Tuesday February 17 2015, @12:32PM

              by cafebabe (894) on Tuesday February 17 2015, @12:32PM (#146077) Journal

              While it is reasonable for someone to be righted for illegal seizure or illegal imprisonment, an unconstitutional law which creates office is more contentious because it creates a situation where a person may be retrospectively found to be impersonating a public official and/or embezzling public funds. I suppose anyone taking office should do due diligence and read the law. However, the burden is quite high if an individual and the Supreme Court have differing interpretation.

              --
              1702845791×2
      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday February 15 2015, @07:08PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 15 2015, @07:08PM (#145338) Journal

        If you think you can short circuit that process, by deciding for yourself which laws are constitutional and which aren't, you've abandoned ALL law.

        Please elaborate on why you think that'll happen. Am I suddenly going to decide that murder and cannibalism is constitutional? Sounds a little like the fundamentalist Christians who think we'll abandon all morality just because we don't accept their exact flavor of Protestantism.

        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday February 15 2015, @07:30PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 15 2015, @07:30PM (#145353) Journal

          Am I suddenly going to decide that murder and cannibalism is constitutional?

          Neither murder or cannibalism are constitutional issues, so I reject your strawman and refuse to play your game.

          Besides, history if full of people who have decided murder and cannibalism is within their right. You should read a newspaper some time.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday February 15 2015, @10:55PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 15 2015, @10:55PM (#145393) Journal

            Neither murder or cannibalism are constitutional issues, so I reject your strawman and refuse to play your game.

            I looked just in case I might have misquoted you or something. But no, you wrote and I quoted:

            by deciding for yourself which laws are constitutional and which aren't, you've abandoned ALL law.

            It's not a straw man, it's what you wrote. Sure, murder and cannibalism aren't normally constitutional issues, but they are part of ALL law.

            • (Score: 1) by Fauxlosopher on Monday February 16 2015, @05:34AM

              by Fauxlosopher (4804) on Monday February 16 2015, @05:34AM (#145505) Journal

              Sure, murder and cannibalism aren't normally constitutional issues, but they are part of ALL law.

              Ah, now it is time to raise the question: what does all law rest upon? I'm only able to see two sources: sheer force, or by the delegated consent of each individual.

              If people are forcibly subject to their government, they're slaves. Slavery is a horrific reality that exists to this day. The question for me, though, is: "am I a slave?" If I am, well, it sucks to be me, but that's life. If I'm not a slave, hm, well, that has some very interesting consequences as I am in no better position absent force if I were to be a lone robber, or be the leader of a gang of a million robbers.

              So, is the USA of today a slave state? And if so, what moron let the 300 million or so slaves have 200 million firearms among them?

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday February 16 2015, @08:40AM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 16 2015, @08:40AM (#145543) Journal

                Ah, now it is time to raise the question: what does all law rest upon? I'm only able to see two sources: sheer force, or by the delegated consent of each individual.

                Both, obviously. Even most just laws wouldn't exist, if everyone was just. Some degree of force is required to curb the behavior of the unjust. Similarly, if the citizenry chooses to break the law, then there it is.

                So, is the USA of today a slave state?

                I don't believe it is. I also believe that because the US is at least nominally a democracy, then our responsibility to make sure our laws are just and relatively rational is more important than following laws that are not.

                • (Score: 1) by Fauxlosopher on Monday February 16 2015, @10:59AM

                  by Fauxlosopher (4804) on Monday February 16 2015, @10:59AM (#145565) Journal

                  It can't be had both ways. If force is the underlying authority for government, then there are NO limits to the exercise of power (beyond what can be gotten away with without provoking a revolt) and ordinary people under such a government are slaves. Force in response to force is otherwise known as "self-defense", and which is part of the individual's own authority stemming from his self-ownership of the human body. To quote Malcom Reynolds, "if someone tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back."

                  I had occasion to put some [soylentnews.org] entries [soylentnews.org] in my journal on this topic in another thread. The attempt is to cut straight to the underlying source of law's authority, and explore the resulting consequences of a nation that is not a slave nation ruled by mere force.

                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday February 16 2015, @11:20AM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 16 2015, @11:20AM (#145572) Journal

                    It can't be had both ways. If force is the underlying authority for government, then there are NO limits to the exercise of power (beyond what can be gotten away with without provoking a revolt) and ordinary people under such a government are slaves.

                    You can insist that is the case, but it's painfully obvious that some people will break even the most just of laws. They will never delegate their consent to the law because they will never consent to the law. Force by the state (even if it is the citizenry itself entirely enforcing the laws, they become the agents of the state) becomes the means of enforcing the law in those situations.

                    • (Score: 1) by Fauxlosopher on Monday February 16 2015, @12:12PM

                      by Fauxlosopher (4804) on Monday February 16 2015, @12:12PM (#145594) Journal

                      some people will break even the most just of laws. They will never delegate their consent to the law because they will never consent to the law.

                      Right, and that's not a problem. I believe the disconnect here is that I'm keeping in mind John Locke's observation that people willingly form governments as a means to improve their ability to defend their own bodies in a state of "nature" absent any society at all, of which all just laws reflect. Just laws cover things such as battery, theft, murder, fraud, and the like. Not consenting to laws that merely reflect a human's natural state outside of government is meaningless, as no one ever has justification to, say, murder or rob another person. Just laws most emphatically do NOT cover such things as illegal 21-ounce sodas in New York City or letting a policeman rape you and "let the courts take care of it later".

                      In a slave state, anything goes, and I'm not particularly interested in those, so I try to avoid discussing them except to point out that I'm generally not discussing them.

                      In a society based upon the consent of the individual, government is NOT a weapon that he who obtains elected office can use to bludeon his unlikeable neighbors with. Yes, that obviously happens, but doing so is completely outside of the scope of the delegated authority and thus outside the scope of law and THUS literally criminal.

                      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday February 16 2015, @12:22PM

                        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 16 2015, @12:22PM (#145596) Journal

                        In a society based upon the consent of the individual, government is NOT a weapon that he who obtains elected office can use to bludeon his unlikeable neighbors with. Yes, that obviously happens, but doing so is completely outside of the scope of the delegated authority and thus outside the scope of law and THUS literally criminal.

                        No, just "outside the law" which doesn't mean anything other than unintended behavior. Whether it is legal, illegal, or criminal depends on the laws in question. Normally, there are quite a number of legal ways to game a system of law.

                        • (Score: 1) by Fauxlosopher on Monday February 16 2015, @12:34PM

                          by Fauxlosopher (4804) on Monday February 16 2015, @12:34PM (#145599) Journal

                          "outside the law" which doesn't mean anything other than unintended behavior

                          Ah, another term I left undefined. Whoops. What I meant with that phrase is that while individual people obviously exist even where recognizable society, government, and resulting law does not, non-slave governments only exist because of law.

                          If non-slave governments pass and enforce void non-laws that are in conflict with their founding law, such enforcement is literally exceeding government's legitimate authority. As such government requires said law to even exist, such activity outside of its authorizing law and thus is illegal and criminal. Another way of saying this is that I am no more a morally-employed robber if I do my robbing solo than I am as the leader of a robbing gang made up of a thousand other people; adding more individuals in support of a crime against nature doesn't justify the crime, even if it does make the crime easier to accomplish.

                          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday February 16 2015, @01:03PM

                            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 16 2015, @01:03PM (#145612) Journal

                            If non-slave governments pass and enforce void non-laws that are in conflict with their founding law

                            There are plenty of other ways such as selective enforcement of law.

                            • (Score: 1) by Fauxlosopher on Monday February 16 2015, @01:19PM

                              by Fauxlosopher (4804) on Monday February 16 2015, @01:19PM (#145620) Journal

                              I think I see what you mean, but dereliction of duty, while bad, is not the same as government agents committing out-and-out crimes because they know few victims can or will stand up to them.

                              Don't get me wrong, as I'm not saying such government negligence doesn't matter. I am, however, saying that US government in particular has already made the claim that it won't be responsible for your safety, even in the face of its agents' own negligence. See court cases Castle Rock vs Gonzales and Warren vs DC.

                              Like it or not, an American is responsible for his own safety. That government services might not available to provide protection due to physics or selective enforcement is not something that registers strongly on my personal radar.

    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Sunday February 15 2015, @03:59PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Sunday February 15 2015, @03:59PM (#145299)

      It should be no surprise that private businesses act threatened by the US federal government.

      As a general principle, this is a good thing. I have no love of the federal government, but private businesses need to see the government as a threat, or they will have no motivation to obey the law. After all, a corporation is a legal fiction, and is thus supposed to be subservient to government.

      If you don't like government policy, you can vote and lobby accordingly. If you don't like the policies of a private business (assuming you even know about them, which often you don't because they're all confidential trade secrets), you can choose not to interact with that business, but that doesn't spare you from any policies that affect even those who don't interact with them. Even being a stockholder isn't necessarily going to get you what you want - if you own 100 shares, and George Soros owns 100,000 shares, who is management going to listen to?

      As far as regulatory compliance costs go, that's part of the cost of being in any business, and those in that business voluntarily chose to enter that industry. If you're not willing to pay it, then you shouldn't be in that business. The demise of a business in an otherwise strong industry is not all that big a deal - somebody else buys up the assets, those who became unemployed get re-hired, and life goes on.

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
    • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Tuesday February 17 2015, @11:03AM

      by cafebabe (894) on Tuesday February 17 2015, @11:03AM (#146063) Journal

      I think we took a wrong turn somewhere around Bernstein v. United States [wikipedia.org]. At the time, I thought it was advance for freedom. However, with hindsight, it appears that classifying cryptography as munitions may have been farsighted. Therefore, making cryptography a First Amendment issue rather than a Second Amendment issue has been somewhere between futile and counter-productive.

      As noted in the recent topic about the (de)militarization of police, we have a situation where people exercise their right to be armed against tyranny. Government feels obliged to keep ahead of undesirables. ("Something must be done!") Then, good guys and bad guys feel obliged to keep ahead of a real threat. This creates an escalation of arms.

      Now we have the same situation with cryptography. Citizens are *finally* seeing the benefit of cryptography but systems devised by corporations are being undermined by government for the purpose of catching terrorists/pedophiles/furries/baddie of the week. Unfortunately, government can trump any corporation based within its jurisdiction and therefore we find ourselves in a situation akin to a literal arms race: The well-grounded fear of tyranny is the catalyst which brings it forth.

      However, if Bernstein had lost his argument, we would possibly be in a better situation - or at least, with more rabid defenders of freedom. Specifically, we'd be in a situation where corporations are people and people have a right to bear arms (cryptography). This would sidestep the argument that it is acceptable to silence the speech of criminals. And we'd be in a situation where survivalists and Silicon Valley billionaires would be united against government tyranny.

      --
      1702845791×2
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15 2015, @04:10PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15 2015, @04:10PM (#145302)

    CEO's are angry about exploits? And nobody told them about the security and legal compromises being made in product design, almost universally for marketing reasons? Bullshit. This is just theater and positioning.

    Change is coming. Aristocrats are being dramatic because they want to prevent it or constrain it in some way, even though they aren't sure what it is going to look like. Your willingness to watch is what gives them power. If the tech bubble in the 90's proved one thing, it proved that they will abandon you. Return the favor.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by khallow on Sunday February 15 2015, @07:14PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 15 2015, @07:14PM (#145340) Journal

      Change is coming. Aristocrats are being dramatic because they want to prevent it or constrain it in some way, even though they aren't sure what it is going to look like. Your willingness to watch is what gives them power. If the tech bubble in the 90's proved one thing, it proved that they will abandon you. Return the favor.

      Don't be an idiot. Divide and conquer is the most common way to defeat an enemy. Politics doesn't have permanent enemies. Here is an issue on which you are in agreement with the so-called "aristocrats". Exploit the division between business and government rather than letting government exploit the division between business and public.