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posted by NCommander on Tuesday April 01 2014, @06:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the wonder-how-long-until-the-staff-gets-wiretapped dept.

Cory Doctorow at bOing bOing reports Newly disclosed documents from the trove Edward Snowden provided to journalists reveal the existence of the Nymrod database that listed 122 world leaders, many from nations friendly to the USA, that were spied upon by the NSA. Included in the list is German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was already known to have been wiretapped by the NSA thanks to an earlier disclosure. Nymrod's "Target Knowledge Database" combed through the NSA's pool of global intercepts to amass dossiers of private communications emails, faxes, calls and Internet traffic related to the leaders.

 
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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:34PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:34PM (#24472)

    Why is this such a big deal? Isn't this the official purpose of the NSA? Sure, you can disagree with the details of whom should be spied on and for the most part I may agree with you. But I also disagree with many details of how the armed forces are run, the department of transportation, and foreign policy in general.

    What the NSA unquestionably did wrong was spy on American citizens. Spying on other countries is expected. (And of course that includes their leaders!) Spying on "friendly" countries is similarly unsurprising. This would be a problem only if the NSA did this spying against the orders of the U.S. government or if the U.S. had a "no-spy" treaty with any of these countries. This seems not to be the case because no one ever mentions it.

    Snowden was wrong to release this data. and unless it can be shown that it was inextricably tied to the data on domestic spying. He has lost my sympathy as apparently his good deed of informing the U.S. public was merely an accident of his greater desire for attention and/or influencing foreign relations.

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  • (Score: 2) by etherscythe on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:43PM

    by etherscythe (937) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:43PM (#24514) Journal

    Unsurprising is not the same as acceptable. MPAA or RIAA making another ridiculous claim of copyright damages is unsurprising - but definitely not acceptable.

    Here's the thing: do we presume that only Americans have rights? It might seem that the Constitution was written specifically to give rights to Americans, but the way it's set up, "inalienable" rights refers to those rights naturally owned by all persons, and in spirit aught to refer to people in other countries, because the Constitution actually does not give rights - it merely honors what is already there, by its own definition. So the Fourth Amendment is really in trouble by this measure - because we're searching and violating the innate privacy rights of people all over the world, by our own rules; and not just any people, but the heads of state. You could make an argument that you don't expect Saudi Arabia to respect those rights globally, but we Americans really have little excuse, since we're attempting to claim the moral high ground as world police and such.

    It's an egregious and fundamental failing and that's why it's important.

    --
    "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @11:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @11:29PM (#24521)

      Your position sounds absurd. You are suggesting that the U.S. do no spying because it violates the privacy rights of people in other countries. Are you under the impression that the U.S. is the only government that spies on others? Or do you think the U.S. should be the only country that doesn't spy on others?

      Do you honestly think the founders thought that spying on foreign nations is forbidden by the fourth amendment?

      • (Score: 1) by bill_mcgonigle on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:50AM

        by bill_mcgonigle (1105) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:50AM (#24621)

        Yes, that's what natural rights are about. Jefferson felt strongly about this, but he also did not support the Constitution nor did he do a great job following it.

        If Jefferson can't get it right, pretty much nobody else has a hope of doing so.

      • (Score: 2) by etherscythe on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:33PM

        by etherscythe (937) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:33PM (#24908) Journal

        No, I'm suggesting that we have a problem with being hypocritical - our foundational documents suggest we aught not to be spying on anybody. Realistically, it's a very useful thing to do, getting a heads-up on events and circumstances affecting our interests; this is why it is done. But maybe we shouldn't trumpet to the world that we have the greatest aspirations and are the most morally upstanding folks, whilst simultaneously spying not only in violation of our own core principles but on the symbolic figureheads of other nations, which by extension is kind of like simultaneously violating the rights of every single citizen in that country.

        If we want to be honest about our place in the world, maybe we should change our constitution to reflect it.

        --
        "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"