June 7, 2013

Paranoia

From the Washington Post:
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post. 
The program, code-named PRISM, has not been made public until now. It may be the first of its kind. The NSA prides itself on stealing secrets and breaking codes, and it is accustomed to corporate partnerships that help it divert data traffic or sidestep barriers. But there has never been a Google or Facebook before, and it is unlikely that there are richer troves of valuable intelligence than the ones in Silicon Valley.

If document requiring company to submit phone records for millions of Americans is authentic, it would be the broadest surveillance order known to date. 
Equally unusual is the way the NSA extracts what it wants, according to the document: “Collection directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.”

As I've been admitting for over a decade, I used to laugh back in the 1990s when the president of France would complain about the "Anglo-Saxon powers" listening in to his phone calls via Echelon. Of course, as it turns out, the president of France is seldom an idiot and employs people in his intelligence services who are indeed intelligent.

The Anglo-Saxon wiretapping cabal goes back to the famous Ultra project of WWII. It's been a big deal my whole lifetime. I have family relations in the Virginia suburbs of D.C. who periodically move to the dead center of the Australian Outback because it's the ideal quiet location for snooping on signal intelligence.

Tyler Cowen calls attention to this June 2, 2013 column in the Financial Times:
Obama’s faith in the geek elite who have your secrets 
By Edward Luce 
Self-interest guides the Big Data companies, and the same is often true of the White House 
... Mr Obama is no traitor to geek culture. His administration shares many of the faults and virtues of the Silicon Valley leaders to whom it is so closely allied. Mr Manning’s prosecution begins three days after the White House co-hosted its second “We the Geeks” conference with Google. This Thursday, Mr Obama will attend a fundraiser at the home of Vinod Khosla, one of Silicon Valley’s most celebrated venture capital geeks. And in the coming months the White House will be pushing for Congress to pass immigration reform – alongside a newly-created lobby group founded by Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook. This controversial outfit is called Forward (Fwd.us), which was also the slogan of Mr Obama’s 2012 campaign.
One of the geekocracy’s main characteristics is a serene faith in its own good motives. It is not hard to imagine how much greater the US left’s outrage would be over the drone programme were it carried out by George W. Bush or Mitt Romney. When Mr Obama asks Americans to trust that he evaluates every target on his “kill list”, most acquiesce. That pass is also extended to Mr Obama’s “signature strikes”, which select targets by probability based on often sketchy information. But there is a world of difference between zapping a known target and taking an educated guess. It is hard to avoid the suspicion that Mr Obama’s reputation for being a nerd shields him from tougher criticism. Call it geek exceptionalism. To his credit, Mr Obama conveyed last month that he shares much of this disquiet in a lapidary address on counterterrorism. 
If signature strikes – attacking suspected terrorists before they can act – are the stuff of the film Minority Report’s “pre-crimes”, the Obama campaign’s brilliant use of demographic data is about “pre-votes”. His data team has aggregated more detail about individual preferences than most voters know about themselves. Mr Obama is likely to use his database as a bargaining tool to help secure his legacy after 2016 (whoever is the Democratic nominee will need it to win). It is no coincidence this resembles the growing ingenuity with which Facebook, and other social media, cull their users’ personal information. Mr Obama’s operation was partly designed by Silicon Valley techies. The Obama administration is also a strong ally of Google, Facebook and others in pushing against Europe’s moves towards far stronger data privacy rights. France’s so-called “right to be forgotten” sparks as much derision in Washington as it does in San Francisco. “Trust us,” say the geeks. “We have noble motives.” 
The reality is more mundane. Self-interest, rather than virtue, guides the growing clout of these “Big Data” companies in Washington. The same is often true of Mr Obama. Big data’s agenda is not confined to immigration reform. Among other areas, it has a deep interest in shaping what Washington does on privacy, online education, the school system, the internet, corporate tax reform, cyber security and even cyber warfare..... 
For while big data brings innovation, it also has dangerous side effects. Culture is already pushing Americans towards “data nudism”. Such currents will only get more acute. Before long, it will be possible to map an individual’s genetic sequencing at an affordable price. No one will be forced to attach their genetic record to online dating profiles. But potential mates may assume that anyone who chooses not to is concealing a genetic disorder. ...
Mr Obama should pay closer heed to history. And he should become wary of geeks bearing gifts. 
edward.luce@ft.com

I worked in Big Data over 30 years ago, for a marketing research company that collected data on every supermarket or drug store item bought and commercial watched by tens of thousands of volunteer households in eight small town test markets. 

When privacy advocates objected, we asked, sincerely: What would we be interested in?

The best answer any privacy advocate came up with back in the early 1980s was that we might have records on file of a small town Protestant minister buying liquor at the grocery store, so we could then blackmail him.

Thirty years ago, this struck us as comic: Procter & Gamble wants us to provide them with representative samples, not with gossip about ministers hitting the bottle in Eau Claire, WI, and we want to satisfy P&G so we can satisfy Wall Street's profit expectations. What kind of chump change could we make off blackmailing preachers, anyway?

Our old logic is becoming less persuasive, however, as Big Data becomes less voluntary, more pervasive, and more powerful as computers advance. These days, Big Data has its hooks into people a lot more important than small town preachers.

Think about Watergate. My best guess about what the Watergate burglary was about is that President Richard Nixon had expressed an interest in knowing what Democratic National Chairman Larry O'Brien knew about the Nixon family's relationship with billionaire Howard Hughes. In 2013, however, why go to all the trouble of having plumbers break into the other party's headquarters when you can just have Big Data companies spy on them?

For years, I've been pointing to odd little data points of Google screwing with people like Pat Buchanan and Glenn Beck. I doubt if this is a giant conspiracy that goes all the way to the top, with Larry and Sergey sitting around deciding who to target. More likely it's just low level Google employees adding code to the giant Google hairball that harms people they don't like. But, nobody has been very interested in investigating these incidents, perhaps for fear that Google might unpersonize them.

I wouldn't be surprised if it were common for people to self-censor themselves these days when it comes to giant, mysterious entities like Google and Facebook. Who knows what they can do to you if you peeve them? (Similarly, a friend has suggested that the reason American politicians agree to pay so much to the medical industry is that they are terrified that if they don't, when they go under on the operating table, their surgeons will kill them. This seems insane, but, then, it's the things we're afraid to talk about that turn out to be most expensive to us.)

Are there any examples of Big Data biting anybody? 

I don't know. I can't think of too many suspicious examples. 

And yet ... I keep coming back to the weird cases of the three critics of the Wall Street-Washington axis who were suddenly arrested in sex scandals: Elliot Spitzer, Julian Assange, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Or, maybe I'm just being paranoid.

105 comments:

Anonymous said...

For most of us, our only defense is to stay below the radar with billions of other nameless, faceless rabble.

The protruding nail attracts the hammer.

Anonymous said...

Is Googles slogan "don't be evil" somehow supposed to make them immune from engaging in dubious practices ? These geeks seriously think that just because they mean well, we need to grant them our full trust and without question welcome a surveillance state that surpasses the worst in history in terms of its power.

sunbeam said...

You know I think you may be giving them too much credit.

These guys aren't that smart, not really. Sex scandals and whatnot is just the way they roll.

Remember that whistleblower about the Iraq weapons inspections? Scott something or other? He got the treatment too.

You never know, maybe some of them have some skeletons in the attic. But it is pretty easy to manufacture evidence on anyone.

Here is a theory: Say the Feds actually wanted to get rid of you. How hard would it be to to arrange things such that they did the whole nine yards on you? March you away in cuffs, seize your computers.

And I could guarantee you a master could go over your hard drives and put all kinds of interesting kiddie porn on there, with appropriate time/date stamps.

Now there would inevitably be some holes in the story somewhere. But even though you would retain first rate legal representation you would start out in the hole. After all an effective defense would require that the jury be totally cynical and believe that the government would manufacture evidence.

And that's just crazy talk.

Also you would have to subpoena some things that might be difficult to get, like isp records. Or google searches by you.

But in the end they could all be made to say whatever someone wanted them to say, assuming you could get the appropriate parties to play ball.

And I think they are playing ball. After all, to do otherwise would affect the bottom line. And we can't be having that.

There would no doubt be logical discrepancies in the manufactured evidence. But the government would have lawyers manufacturing logical sounding stories to pitch to the jury if it came up anyway.

Plus your defense would have to explain this whole thing to a jury, and convince them of it anyway. Not an easy assignment.

And at the same time, some pet journalists would go over your writing, or more likely be given pointers at what to look at to generate a juicy story: "White Supremacist Steve Sailer implicated in Child Porn case, Controversial Blogger Steve Sailer whose controversial views on race made him influential in ..."

The stuff just writes itself.

I guess we all should feel comforted that "they" feel it necessary to go through the whole Kabuki theater thing. In another time or place you just disappear one day, and no one talks about it. If you get lucky maybe you get mentioned on a news report by the German equivalent of 60 Minutes one day.

But cheer up! They don't really care. I say this, and not in a mocking tone: you are no threat to them. For you to be, we would have to have a different people in the US, and I'm not talking about ethnicity in any way.

I've been reading some Oswald Spengler lately, and just want to throw this quote at you:

"The press to-day is an army with carefully organized arms and branches, with journalists as officers, and readers as soldiers. But here, as in every army, the soldier obeys blindly, and war-aims and operation-plans change without his knowledge. The reader neither knows, nor is allowed to know, the purposes for which he is used, nor even the role that he is to play. A more appalling caricature of freedom of thought cannot be imagined. Formerly a man did not dare to think freely. Now he dares, but cannot; his will to think is only a willingness to think to order, and this is what he feels as his liberty."

See you don't really have to be smart to run this machine. You just have to use it. There is an effect called "suspension of disbelief" that fills in the holes.

culdesachero.com said...

You have hit on the real reason that privacy is important. Little people like me don't need to worry too much about being monitored.
But, we depend on opposition leaders in government and business leaders being free from coercive influence that may be wielded by big data. Maintaining their freedom is paramount

Anonymous said...

DSK case is a funny one, he would be now the first jewish President of France.

Cail Corishev said...

Thirty years ago, this struck us as comic

I've been watching the X-Files lately, and it occurred to me that the show came twenty years too early. When the Clintons were in power, they tried to do this kind of stuff, but they seemed too incompetent to be really scary, when it meant some drone like Craig Livingstone going through 900 FBI files manually. The show seems a lot more prescient now: massive amounts of data being stored in dark warehouses and used by organizations we've never heard of.

Son of Brock Landers said...

The great question is why, and the administration should do everything in its power to present a compelling case of why or that data is erased after X months. It is amazing that with this online dragnet, they couldn't use it to deny the Tsarnaev teen citizenship ore deport him.

That is my theory on Spitzer as well. Don't forget that the only GOP candidates in '12 to criticize the FED were marginalized (Paul) or mocked relentlessly for being stupid despite the man being on pain meds for back surgery (Perry).

Anonymous said...

you are the sage of our age, SS. you give me hope in humanity. god bless you and your tireless questing for truth.

p.s.
get rid of this making me type stuff to comment thing.

x said...

but obama was going to get rid of all of this?!

Anonymous said...

Anyone know if NSA could track anonymous comments?

Anonymous said...

I think, fundamentally, what the system in place has for it's role is regime control.

Sure, they all say "no it's all about terrorists" but I think it's more about preserving power. Any politician come up with, say, a stronger than usual set of opinions about - say, immigration - and the option becomes "assimilate into us or we have so much dirt on you that we'll destroy you".

We've seen this story in Europe where the so-called multiculti skeptics become part of the establishment, purely out of fear. I always wonder "what fear?" but maybe this has to do with it.

Second, just about everyone on this blog and who comments has a detailed profile.

People said that the Tea Party were nuts and paranoid, then came the IRS scandal. We know since before that groups with "Patriot" in them and similar words are targeted. The Homeland Security apparatus has done drills on civil war where groups which can be described as "right-wing militias" (read: white self-defence groups) were treated as enemies.

If something would happen, a lot of peopl commenting on iSteve or other sites would most likely be monitored and perhaps "pre-arrested" á la minority report to prevent "ethnic tension" or some other excuse.

Even if we had something like the LA riots, but nationally and more intense.

All this technology also makes it far easier to control a population overall. If you know everything about everyone, you can very easily predict where they'll be, what they'll do and so on.

And if worst come to worst, just send a drone in the sky and blow them out. The Obama-signed NDAA(which Romney supported, let's not forget) allows the U.S. Government to indefinitely detain any U.S. citizen for very vague reasons without any jury. So this is already on the books.

We also know that the government has killed U.S. citizens, which has strong support from just about everyone except a few lone far-left senators like Bernie Sanders or the libertarian ones(Rand Paul has been going wobbly lately on this issue).

The danger is not what happens now, but what could happen in a state of crisis. A former high-level NSA director turned whisteblower told democracy now that "we are a turnkey away from a facist surveillance state".

I would take him at his words. I don't think that turnkey will come anytime soon, but in a panic, in a crisis, it could easily do.

NOTA said...

Between watching small government conservatives go along with W's war on terror, and watching civil liberties liberals go along with Obama's war on terror, a cynical person might almost come to suspect that most of both groups don't really believe in anything more than their side winning.

The surveillance is widespread, and it would be shocking if it weren't occasionally being used to protect the interests of the eavesdropping agencies, the administration, etc. I think straight blackmail would be dangerous (too easy for it to backfire when the prominent person comes out and says he's been blackmailed, and while you might be able to turn the media against one person making such an allegation, after two or three, it would become impossible to kep quiet. But leaking secrets to the right people to end unfriendly peoples' careers is easier.

My guess is that journalists and media owners are a big target of this stuff. It would explain some of the pattern of weird blind spots and lack of critical thinking in the media.

Also, there is very likely a lot of private use of surveillance. Think of the leaked emails from Palantir, offering to wreck Greenwald's career in order to silence him about Wikileaks, on behalf of B of A.

Anonymous said...

"For most of us, our only defense is to stay below the radar with billions of other nameless, faceless rabble.

The protruding nail attracts the hammer."


That is probably also one of the reasons why this program exists. Even when it's not as effective, the pure fear of dissent keeps you a mental slave, constantly in fear of the ruling regime.

What was it the CIA used to call it? PsyOps, I think.

rightsaidfred said...

It used to be,

"He who has the gold, makes the rules."

Now it's,

"He who controls the data and its dissemination makes the rules."

hailtoyou said...

When was it that the entire membership list (with addresses, phone numbers, emails) of the BNP was put online?

pat said...

I realized a couple years ago that there were no more secrets. One consequence of that was that I exposed my sexual predilections. I would have preferred to keep my private life private but that was impossible. If you can't hide it effectively it's better to reveal it yourself.

Another consequence was that I have gradually shed my web pseudonyms. On YouTube where I post mostly music I used to go under the name Agorante - the black villain in Rossini's little known opera seria 'Ricciardo e Zoraido'. Now I post under my real name Patrick Boyle.

Similarly I stopped trying to hide behind the name Albertosaurus which I use on political blogs. I allowed my first name to appear.

In case anyone cares the reason for that name, it was effectively random. I once was impressed by a statue of an Albertosaurus outside of the Tyrell Museum.

I realized that Eric Holder almost certainly had my name on a list of people who had criticized President Obama. I wouldn't be on one of the important lists - like Steve or Rush Limbaugh is - but disk space is cheap. The technology to include everyone who ever posted any kind of criticism of the administration is easy enough to do.

I assume that everyone who has ever expressed an interest in 'race realism' has been targeted. I assume that the Justice Department knows that I have bought copies of Richard Lynn's books from Amazon. I'm a very little fish but I assume that just about everything I ever read or written is cross referenced and on file.

BTW Tom Clancy wrote years ago that the FBI had a backdoor into Microsoft Windows. I think he also claimed that the CIA had a backdoor into UNIX. Or maybe it was vice-versa. One of these access points did indeed go back to the WWII days of Ultra and OSS. I believed him.

Albertosaurus

peterike said...

Nothing to worry about. Once word gets out that behind all this cyber-snooping are almost no women or NAMs, then the whole thing will get shut down.

Cyber snooping is sexist and racist.

rob said...

I for one welcome our giant data overlords.

Munch said...

There are not many examples in history of corporations killing millions of their customers, or management arresting or killing corporate raiders.

People wielding the power of the State, however, have a long record of jailing or killing citizens who threaten the privilege of the elite.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

I have a 'mole' who works for Google in the Google building in Irvine. The stories she tells me about the nerdy, awkward Google executives there trying to hit on her are hilarious and enlightening.

Hacienda said...

This is why you fill the net with junk information. Use aliases, give out random information. Take positions you don't really believe. Degrade the data.

countenance said...

In a way, I'm glad that Mark Sanford has been able to make a political comeback. And while my preferred candidate for New York Mayor is Joe Lohta (sp?), there's something in me that won't be too upset if Anthony Weiner winds up winning.

What it would mean is that data mining is essentially neutralized, because voters just don't care.

Anonymous said...

The main purpose of these data mining operations is not prevention of terrorist acts as they are described.

It's a permanent growing database of all transmitted electronic voice and data for them to subpoena, query, analyze, and use against whomever at a future date.

Skeptical Economist said...

"And yet ... I keep coming back to the weird cases of the three critics of the Wall Street-Washington axis who were suddenly arrested in sex scandals: Elliot Spitzer, Julian Assange, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn."

Elliot Spitzer was never arrested for anything. He was forced to resign. The movie documentary, Client 9, suggests that Spitzer's enemies on Wall Street used private investigators to find evidence against Spitzer. He provided plenty. Apparently Ashley Dupré was not his favorite girl, but the one that made the papers. The name of his preferred 'friend' was devulged when the scandal broke, but appears to have disappeared from the Internet.

Julian Assange has been accused of crimes in Sweden and their is a European arrest warrant out for him. However, his accusers are well known Swedish leftists and feminists, hardly agents of the 'Wall Street-Washington axis'. It's worth noting that even if Assange is guilty of every sexual act he is accused of, none of it amounts to any type of sexual assualt. Assange is an ass...., not a rapist.

Dominique Straus-Kahn (DSK) was indeed arrested and prosecuted for alleged rape. As everyone knows, the case against him collapsed after some details of a recorded conversation between the alleged victim, and her boyfriend were revealed. The boyfried was being held in detention for immigration charges at that point (small world). However, what did DSK ever do to offend the 'Wall Street-Washington axis'? As best I can tell he was a very faithful servant of the WWA. Indeed, his fall was celebrated by the opponents of the WWA.

Once again, there is evidence of a conspiracty against DSK. An American, Edward Jay Epstein, has written several articles and a book ("Three Days in May - Sex, Surveillance, and DSK") documenting the evidence of a conspiracy against DSK. By all accounts, DSK was very well aware of the forces opposing him. Indeed, he was specifically aware of efforts to use his personal conduct to bring him down. Even Epstein finds DSK's ongoing recklessness amazing in light of his circumstances.

It's worth noting that DSK's career was ultimately ended (his fellow socialists now shun him) by reports of misconduct in France, not his arrest in New York City. The Lille case is close to unknown over here. In France, it was big news. The Tristane Banon case against DSK fell apart for a number of reasons. However, her family was very close to the socialist party establishment making her charges all the more damaging (if legally of no consequence).

If DSK really was a victim of a conspiracy, DSK certainly made the work of the conspirators rather easy. Beyond that, while DSK had plenty of enemies in France, Wall Street and Washington were generally favorable. He was the quintessential member of the cosmopolitan elite. He supported the Euro and 2005 European Consitution (defeated by a referendum). In office, he was a neoliberal pusing privitization.

Portlander said...

Probably shouldn't forget mentioning Patraeus. The US has become like your comment about Russia. The question is no longer about who has done what. It is "why now."

NOTA said...

My prediction is that nothing will come of this politically. There will be a week or two of scandal talk, till some worthless heiress or actor gets drunk in public or something and the 24 hour cable channels change the subject.

At this point, there is no plausible way for either party to argue that they oppose this stuff. The democrats could pretend to oppose it before Obama got into office, but he owns these programs now. The republicans could have claimed to oppose it if not for their full-throated defense of every police state measure Bush did and most of the ones Obama has done, too. That means the political press, which is basically the PR wing of the two parties, have little incentive to push on this issue. Popular unhappiness with it will be marginalized in the prestige media, just like opposition to the Iraq war and the bank bailouts was. Expect to see a lot of sneering about the silly rednecks wearing tinfoil hats, America-hating peaceniks who don't want to keep us safe, etc. The smearing of Tea Party and Occupy protesters wasn't the least bit subtle, I cant imagine this will be either. Ownership of the megaphones means you don't have to be very subtle.

We're not going to enjoy living in the country we are building for ourselves.

Anonymous said...

If they can convince everyone to avoid being a nail that sticks up, then they have won.

Anonymous said...

http://youtu.be/cKAOF72pwIM?t=1m34s

Dahlia said...

I am not at all surprised at your connections... you've been trying to hint to readers that you know stuff. And I have watched some of the young guns here have your hints that you were conveying facts and not just opinions, on topics small and big, fly completely over their heads.
I guess it was a little frustrating for you, too :)

And that's before we even get into your marketing background that informs you very generally, and yet, deeply, about people...

I have no connections and only a story about myself, inconsequential, but nevertheless...
I avoid most store "savers" programs out of concern for privacy. A year ago at a drug store I bought a pregnancy test, and returned perhaps a few days or a week later to buy folic acid and iron. I always pay with my debit card, and again, I was not part of a saver's program so only my debit card was ever scanned. I ended up losing the child two months later. Immediately after my return from the hospital, I started receiving coupons and advertising for baby items. One I even remember saying I needed to start planning now for my baby's arrival...
It was devastating. Just remembering it is painful. Such an invasion and during such a sad time...

Aaron said...

Why be paranoid when you have nothing to hide comядde!

Anonymous said...

But, but....there IS no War on Terror according to Barry. Any
"war" in which we might have been engaged is over, he said.

Further, there is no enemy, at least he refuses to acknowledge there are these people whom others call Muslim jihadists and who don't like us. How can there be a war when there is no enemy?

So, I was very confused this morning when he said that, after all, he was just continuing a program begun, after all, by his predecessor (the man just can't let George off his back when he needs to deflect blame, the wuss).

But, but, who's our enemy? There IS no war. Just a few weeks ago he gave a big speech about wars having to end.

Kylie said...

Dahlia, you've always been one of my favorite commenters here.

I'm very sorry for your loss. I'm also sorry it revealed to you in the worst possible way that your privacy had been violated.

Truth said...

"For most of us, our only defense is to stay below the radar with billions of other nameless, faceless rabble."

For most of you, that's your ceiling in life anyway.

Anonymous said...

Back during the Sandra Fluke dustup, hundreds of Sandra Fluke memes (critical of her) were posted to Quickmeme. In short order, some admin started to start cutting them all out.

By the same token, an anti-feminist meme created by Roosh, called "Typical American Woman" was starting to get the same treatment. However, when the Jezebel crew started to take it over, it was all pretty much left untouched.

Make no mistake, SWPL technocrats will brook no opposition and do whatever it takes to control the message, including the creation of manufactured consent.

Traveller said...

2 things

1 First the post about programmers now this. You do not like tech people dont you? Unfortunately they are usually at the bottom of the ladder, hardly responsible about a thing.

2 All those who now cry outrage at privacy violated, were they really protesting the stealing of long names lists of foreign bank accounts? Or the blackmail of (the spineless) Switzerland by the USA gov? Or maybe "they are for sure tax evaders they deserve it"? Just asking.

Anonymous said...

The name of his preferred 'friend' was devulged when the scandal broke, but appears to have disappeared from the Internet.

What's really spooky was how the photos of Reggie Love disappeared from the internet after Obama was elected.

It used to be that a Google Image search brought them up immediately, but now they're just gone.

[For those who don't know, when Love was an undergraduate at Duke, in Durham, he ventured over to some frat parties at UNC, in Chapel Hill, and got so sh*t-faced drunk that he passed out on a fraternity house couch. Then some UNC frat brothers got out their El Markos and wrote grafitti all over his body, and they also got out there t*sticles, and tea-bagged him. Then they posted the photos of it all on the internet. Shortly thereafter, Krzyzewski suspended Love from the basketball team.

The really supreme irony is that Krzyzewski is a Republican.]

PS: The other really spook thing is that we STILL don't have a clue as to who murdered Donald Young.

You'd think that Rahm Emanuel would have at least framed some poor skid row bum for it by now.

hello to my new friends at the nsa said...

"Are there any examples of Big Data biting anybody?"

irs audits?

Anonymous said...

You have hit on the real reason that privacy is important. Little people like me don't need to worry too much about being monitored.


Yes, you do. You ARE being monitored. Every phone call, every email, every financial transaction, every "anonymous" comment left on a blog is stored in the governments database. For EVERY person in the country.

Anonymous said...

There are not many examples in history of corporations killing millions of their customers, or management arresting or killing corporate raiders.


People wielding the power of the State, however, have a long record of jailing or killing citizens who threaten the privilege of the elite.



There's a long history of corporations wielding the power of the state to do various bad things. Including killing millions of people.

Anonymous said...

DSK was a left-wing dirt-bag. It's a mystery to me why so many on the right are crying for him. What next, sympathy for Bill Clinton? For John Edwards?

Ex Submarine Officer said...

This is a big reason to keep the H1B floodgates open. Keep the big tech companies here in the U.S., where the maximum pressure to cooperate with the U.S. government can be applied.

Jeff W. said...

Two points: First is that we should remember J. Edgar Hoover and how the contents of his file cabinets kept him in power at the FBI for 48 years, from 1924 to 1972. Well today's surveillance state apparatus is like J. Edgar Hoover times one
million. No serious congressman will stand up to their demands for cash. Everybody in Washington fears them. They have first dibs on the contents of the U.S. Treasury. A Washington Post story from 2010 estimated that the surveillance state employed 854,000 people at that time. They probably employ over a million by now.

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/a-hidden-world-growing-beyond-control/1/

The second point is that elite American culture is heavily influenced by bankers, and bankers don't really care what you say
about them. Call them cold and greedy, heartless and dishonest, they don't care. Do something that costs them money, then they care. I say the surveillance state is similar. All they care about is money. They don't care about blah blah blah that has no effect on the bottom line. With all due respect to Steve, all the work he has done has not, so far, cost the surveillance state a dime. So it's just blah blah blah. They don't care.

Whiskey said...

Steve -- you've seen "Person of Interest" haven't you, based on the Nolan brothers obsession with surveillance?

This is just a step below that. And it comes from Big Data being used against Al Qaeda.

The US is no good recruiting human agents. We just don't have the ability to infiltrate for decades kin/criminal networks that form the basis for semi-state terrorist groups like AQ, or the Baader Meinhof gang, or Red Brigages, or any of that.

What we are very good at, is signals intel. Bush and Obama even more have used Whack-A-Drone-Jihadi methods. Not all AQ people are equally important. Kill or disable the key nodes, the important people, and you disable the network regionally and globally. Basically this has been the post-9/11 approach which Obama has done in spades. Even more than Bush.

The SAME THING can be applied to domestic opponents. Not EVERY tea party member is important, just key leaders in key states. So instead of drones, its the IRS, the FBI, OSHA, the EPA, etc. unleashed on opponents. You saw this with Gibson Guitar and a rival. Gibson had heavy Republican donations, got raided by the EPA over importation, legal, of Indian rosewood. Their rival, heavy Dem donors, imported MORE rosewood and had no action taken.

The problem with avoiding real action to deal with AQ (it is clear that this system was in place long before the bombing Chechen brothers) is that is narrowly focused by a Muslim loving President and cronies overseas; at home its PC/Multiculti time. And the technology is used against the political opposition. Not just a few elites like FDR, LBJ, Kennedy, Nixon, and Clinton: but ordinary people identified as key nodes in political opposition.

The normal mode of political change is thus choked off in a technology driven "Lives of Others." Obama says people are not listening in on phone calls. That's not the point. Knowing who called when and whom, can identify leakers, key political grassroots leaders, etc.

Cail Corishev said...

The main purpose of these data mining operations is not prevention of terrorist acts as they are described.

It's a permanent growing database of all transmitted electronic voice and data for them to subpoena, query, analyze, and use against whomever at a future date.


Exactly. The "future" part is important too, because data mining will only get faster in the future, and a task that's unreasonable today may be trivial in a decade. When I first got online, there was no World Wide Web to speak of, but there was a sort of non-graphical web of links and files called gopher. You could search many of the gopher sites using a service called Veronica, which I usually did by email because it could take hours. Now you can search the web, which is exponentially larger several times over, in a split second. That was only 20 years ago; we have no idea where data mining will be in another 20 years.

I use a pseudonym for all my blog commenting these days. I'm not obsessive about it, but I figure it gives me some separation from my real life persona so I don't get people at church challenging me on my IQ statements or something. There's no immediate connection from it to me that a normal user could find, but anyone with logs of all IP traffic across my provider certainly could. An analysis of my writing under this name and my real one could probably match up the two, especially since I may have reused stories in both places.

That may not be possible now without having a hint where to look, but it could be in the future. Give every blog post and comment scores for different things: spelling mistakes, punctuation use, unusual words, word length, sentence length, paragraph length, places/people/dates mentioned, and look for others that match up. Unless you develop a different personality and writing style for each pseudonym, I don't think they'll have much trouble finding you if they want to.

Actually, I take it back: that's possible now, as long as you have the storage space and bandwidth to get and store the data.

Whiskey said...

You might also ask WHY are these scandals just now coming to light:

The Verizon and other phone companies meta-data collection?

The US collecting all internet data (Hi Eric Holder. Screw you!)

More details on Benghazi.

The IRS stuff and more and more abuse stories?

My sense is that people AROUND Obama, who would be the only ones that would know this, are scared. Scared that Obama is "over-reaching" or plans some sort of President for Life coup or more likely that some sort of PURGE is coming led by Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama.

Obama's weakness is his strength: being Black. It got him the Presidency, as most Whites ascribe magical goodness and wisdom and masculine strength to Black men. But it makes him fundamentally alien from Americans, and has him rely on a coterie of advisers smaller and less clued in that Nixons.

I would not be shocked if people around Obama have seen his disloyalty (he let both Chris Stevens and the SEALs die for politics and convenience, has thrown many non-cronies under the bus) and his capture by idiots like Jarrett who have openly threatened "payback."

Hence the leaks.

Holder would not even say if he'd spied on Congress. And every thoughtful Democrat can imagine a President Rand Paul using the same stuff against THEM if Obama is not made into an example.

anonyias said...


"Is Googles slogan "don't be evil" somehow supposed to make them immune from engaging in dubious practices ? These geeks seriously think that just because they mean well, we need to grant them our full trust and without question welcome a surveillance state that surpasses the worst in history in terms of its power."

Anonymous, that is assuming that they actually mean well. You're underestimating the superiority complexes of some of these types.

dearieme said...

"the reason American politicians agree to pay so much to the medical industry is that they are terrified that if they don't ... their surgeons will kill them": that would explain why politicians from countries that use government monopoly power to restrain doctors' ability to loot their patients might fly to the US for surgery.

Whiskey said...

Last add, the Geek Elite in Europe are facing privacy action and regulations, because the "trust us we are geeks" defense is wearing thin. That's true of Obama's "Trust me its OK I'm Black" defense.

The technology is going to be used, it is just so useful. BUT -- like everything else, cars, planes, drones, radio, tv, etc. it likely requires open and constant regulation. Privacy safeguards, the "right to be forgotten," and so on.

For those really concerned about privacy, you can wipe your computer completely, boot from something like Linux, Freebsd, OpenBSD, from a CD or USB flash drive, hide said drive or CD. That's probably not practical, and most people don't like handing over intimate details en-masse to guys who are not trustworthy. Even Jay Leno is making Holder/Obama Big Brother jokes now. Leno is hardly the profile in courage.

And like nukes, poison gas, bioweapons, the other side can use this stuff too. Imagine a President Rand Paul using the IRS, FBI, CIA, EPA, OSHA, etc. on oh, say the NAACP, Emily's List, various key Dem and Media (but I repeat myself) leaders. The idea being to keep them so busy fighting off government action they can't engage in voting activity. That probably scares the considerable Dem ecosystem not tied directly into Obama and not dependent on his patronage.

Politics can easily descend into the political equivalent of Western Front 1914-1918 mass slaughter, with politicians not killed but being forced to ... get a real job. That above all must be avoided for them.

Whiskey said...

OK, very very last add.

There is a class/elite thing to this whole debacle. That is, Obama, Hillary, their families, Eric Holder's, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg's, Warren Buffett's, etc. the "geek elite" and their protectors in high government, have privacy. Ultimate and exclusive privacy.

We peons don't.

Anytime you have privilege by class and position, it breaks down unless there is a downside: first to die in battle, noblesse oblige, etc.

We have an abusive political/elite/geek class that has hogged a whole set of privileges for itself not the least of which is their lives are private and ours are not. Dems OWN that sense of "some animals are more equal than others" and geek-political aristocracy.

I can see this breaking down on class sides, no one likes basically droit du seignor, Obama and his cronies being able to amuse themselves poking through anyone's life, while they themselves are immune.

Anonymous said...

The leftist and neocon answer to the terrorist threat is to carry on with the crazy immigration and invasion policy and treat every American as a terrorist suspect. Profiling is a greater crime than stripping Americans of their freedoms.

Anonymous said...

Yes, what they want is the ability to target political dissidents through non-political weak spots.

It's basically the ad hominem style of political argumentation taken to another level.

Anonymous said...

Worth reading the "Stainless Steel Rat" stories by Harry Harrison. Most of the western countries are going to become increasingly totalitarian as we enter the endgame.

Geoff Matthews said...

Alberosauras,

I'd assumed some connection with Alberta, though with the Tyrell museum (Drumheller, right?), that still sounds about right.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

This is what happens when government hires geeks to control everything.

Anonymous said...

"Anyone know if NSA could track anonymous comments?" - Absolutely, we are not anonymous here or anywhere else. blogger.com keeps an ip log(timestamps and everything), and your post will be on it. between 6 months and 1 year from now they may delete the data, though I think the feds want to up that to 2 years or such.

Anonymous said...

"Anyone know if NSA could track anonymous comments?"

Google own Steve's blog, know what country I'm reading it in, and know my IP address, which tells them who the ISP is and my geographical position to within a few miles. It wouldn't be terribly hard to join the dots - especially when I use gmail from the same IP address.

A few years ago I blogged about losing weight and started getting "lose 10lbs in a week!" ads following me about the web. Annoyed me so much I started turning off cookies when I wasn't signed into any sites, and using Ghostery, BetterPrivacy and Startpage as a search engine - though its not a very good one.

Went to a new job last year and sent a few mails from work to my gmail address. Now the same adverts triggered four or five years ago turn up when I use google at work. (and I just can't turn cookies off as that option's disabled - I have to remove them manually).

It makes me very nostalgic for the early-mid-90s, 28K modems, Netscape Navigator and Altavista - the Web was pretty unmonitored back in the day.

Elli said...

Dahlia, that happened to me also but I always assumed the marketers got my name from the obstetrician's office.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

If plastic surgery is a real medical practice, does it mean ugliness has been categorized as a disease?

If so, will someone say everyone has an equal right to be beautiful since ugliness is a physical disease?

Should plastic surgery be a 'human right' then?

Maxwell Power said...

This is why you fill the net with junk information. Use aliases, give out random information. Take positions you don't really believe. Degrade the data.

Sound advice. Dick Morris or Bob Shrum used to charge 500 large for that kind of expertise

Munch said...

"There's a long history of corporations wielding the power of the state to do various bad things. Including killing millions of people."

I remember the war against Japan when Toyota et. al. ousted GM as number 1. And how when BP, Standard Oil and Mobile built the entire oil infrastructure of the middle east only to have it stolen from them (nationalized), the USG went to get it back. US Steel and Bethlehem Steel ended steel imports and, oh yeah, how could I forget Boeing bombing Airbus. Apple sending assassins to off Samsung executives . . .

NOTA said...

The latest revelations involve the feds getting all kinds of information out of Google, so I assume what IP addresses show up on blogs of interest is part of that. Indeed, all kinds of news stories talk about how various terrorism suspects get watched because of their participation in jihadist internet sites. In a few years, when the bogeyman used to frighten the voters and media consumers changes from jihadis to white nationalists or Mexican drug gangs or environmentalists or pro-lifers, those same tools will be exactly as useful. (That is, they won't be very good at preventing attacks, but they'll be great at spying on people and heloing to build trumped up prosecutions for political reasons.)

Anonymous said...

"Big Data" for political application is just another buzzword in the pitchman's arsenal. This is the same networking & oldboy/backslapping ritualism that Washington has always relied upon, just in a different guise. In the end connections are all that counts so there will be further meritocratic jostling for them. See the column "How Microsoft learned its ABCs" by Mike Kinsley for another vantage to this ongoing stampede for hyper-oligarachy.

Anonymous said...

Disturbing, but not something "they" weren't doing a couple of decades ago. Remember when the names of contributors to Duke's attempt at Governorship of Louisiana were "outed" to the newspapers? Which were in turn printed? Also, there have been newspapers revealing names & addresses of owners of firearms. "They" will brook no opposition.

Dahlia said...

Elli,
I had not been to the ob, and my only contact with the medical establishment was the e.r. The timing was such that I could rule it out, too. My husband said "of course" they track you by your purchases and thought I was so naive to not know this.

Anonymous said...

"DSK case is a funny one, he would be now the first jewish President of France."

Leon Blum

hbd chick said...

@anonymous - "Google own Steve's blog, know what country I'm reading it in, and know my IP address, which tells them who the ISP is and my geographical position to within a few miles. It wouldn't be terribly hard to join the dots - especially when I use gmail from the same IP address."

and they probably know more than that, too. if you have something like sitemeter on your blog (like i do), for instance, you can see other info on readers like what sort of operating system they're using, type of monitor, internet service provider. must be really easy to nail someone down with all of that additional info, too -- if they wanted to.

we should all stock up on carbon paper. we're gonna need it one of these days. =/

Anonymous said...

"really spook thing" = really spooky thing

Sideways said...

If the blog operator (Google, in Steves case) and ISPs are working with them? Sure. That's trivial

Kibernetika said...

An ironic outcome of the digital age is that, now, everything is so discoverable. It has been a godsend to intel-gathering agencies worldwide. It was supposed to be Utopia, but instead it's quantifiable source data. Sigint types are doing quite well. As are commercial providers of data storage (stock tip!).

Nick Carr coined the idea of digital sharecropping, and Jaron Lanier defined digital Maoism. We're regressing a few SDs down to peasant status.

The emoticon that best describes our current age is a frown :(

The good news is that software systems are full of errors and humans are still much involved in decision making. So Krazy Ray Kurzweil ain't gonna achieve his dreams anytime soon ;)








David said...

Apple's iPhoto will not allow you to turn off the face-recognition feature.

Users have screamed for years about the lack of a disable option, but, unusually, Apple will neither respond nor budge.

Face-recognition stays on, PERIOD.

On Facebook: Someone once said FB is merely a registry for the coming death camps. Couldn't be... could it?

the dude said...

What if you connect to the InterNet via WiFi at a Starbucks? How can "they" track you?

Anonymous said...

Dont make it easy for them, if you normally use Google, don't use gmail and so on. At least make them work for it.

Anonymous said...

So does it make sense now why the Romney campaign's ORCA failed probably due to sabotage?

Anonymous said...

"DSK case is a funny one, he would be now the first jewish President of France."

Leon Blum


Nicolas Sarkozy
Francois Hollande

Anonymous said...

I knew this would be a good thread from the quality of the first comment:
"For most of us, our only defense is to stay below the radar with billions of other nameless, faceless rabble.

The protruding nail attracts the hammer."

And then another commenter's very keen interpretation:

"That is probably also one of the reasons why this program exists. Even when it's not as effective, the pure fear of dissent keeps you a mental slave, constantly in fear of the ruling regime."

I once heard a radio caller describe how absurd his job at the post office was,"They were building a case to fire you from your first day on the job." Life in the US as one big post office isn't too appealing. Big Gov, with no clear defined purpose, building a case, just in case. Depressing.

Anonymous said...

What if you connect to the InterNet via WiFi at a Starbucks? How can "they" track you?


Your MAC address. (MAC in this case has nothing to do with Apple - every device which connects to the internet has a unique identifier called the MAC address)

Anonymous said...

I remember the war against Japan when Toyota et. al. ousted GM as number 1


Too bad you don't remember the East India Company. Or United Fruit. Or the DeBeers Mining Company.

I repeat, corporations have been sending countries to war for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Facebook CIA Project:

http://youtu.be/WJoEBRk_FfA

NOTA said...

The folks in control of the surveillance apparatus have politics, but I doubt they're the standard US Republican or Democratic variety. One clue about those politics is the large differences between what Obama said about the war on terror as a candidate, and what he did once he got some power. One plausible explanation is that he discovered, upon getting a lot closer to real power as a likely Democratic presidential candidate, that the national intelligence people are a whole lot more powerful than he'd thought.

So, disclosure of details about the misbehavior or failures of intelligence and military personnel became something Obama backed off from. Whistleblowers and leakers became targets for the Obama administration, especially guys like Drake who embarrassed the spies. Wikileaks was a huge threat for those people, and it got shut down. He put more forces into Afghanistan, with predictable results. He pushed for (and got) legal authority from Congress for indefinite detention of anyone, citizens included, on the president's say-so, He pushed for and got pretty substantial open buy-in from the powerful on a presidential power to assassinate Americans and foreigners anywhere, anytime, on his authority alone.

Perhaps all these were things he secretly wanted all along, but my guess is that they were instead things imposed on him by a combined military and intelligence bureacracy that turned out to be way too powerful to take on.

Anonymous said...

One plausible explanation is that he discovered, upon getting a lot closer to real power as a likely Democratic presidential candidate, that the national intelligence people are a whole lot more powerful than he'd thought.


The more plausible explanation is that power in his own hands, or in the hands of himself and his backers, turned out to be far too seductive for him to reject.

The US system of government was designed to try to deal with power hungry people. That's why power was dispersed into the different branches of government which it was hoped would counteract one another. That worked fairly well for a long time, but now for various reasons Congress, the courts, and the executive are all in cahoots against the people.

Louis Western said...

I used to read far left wing magazines in the late 1970's. In them way back then, there were stories about how the NSA used the telephone companies to spy on Americans. I suspect that this is nothing new, just that the scale of it has gotten much larger.

hbd chick said...

@anonymous & anonymous - "'What if you connect to the InterNet via WiFi at a Starbucks? How can 'they' track you?'

"Your MAC address. (MAC in this case has nothing to do with Apple - every device which connects to the internet has a unique identifier called the MAC address)"


yeah. i was gonna say: as long as you use a disposable computer each time you log on. (~_^) preferrably a laptop you've paid cash for somewhere. (also, obviously, don't go to the starbucks near your house/work/in your small town.) oh, and don't bring your cellphone with you at the same time.

Anonymous said...

This site loads rather slowly on my computer these days. It could be due to the fact that my computer is getting old, but I don't seem to encounter the issue as frequently with the ideologically acceptable sites that I visit, nor is it a problem with other lower traffic, less respectable alt-right/HBD/reactionary blogs. I can't tell if this is just a case of confirmation bias, but certainly hope so. A more paranoid interpretation: Perhaps some boys at Google are pulling something akin to China's program of slowing access to foreign sites.

-The Judean People's Front

Dr Van Nostrand said...

@Dahlia

Sorry to hear that. As a male, dont know what else to say as our gender's empathy is ill equipped for this sort of pain

Average Joe said...

Similarly, a friend has suggested that the reason American politicians agree to pay so much to the medical industry is that they are terrified that if they don't, when they go under on the operating table, their surgeons will kill them.

This may also be one reason why so many of our politicians are so afraid of antagonizing the Jews. Since so many doctors are Jewish they may be afraid that if Dr. Goldstein decides that they are anti-Semitic or not sufficiently pro-Zionist then the Jewish doctor might do something that is "good for the Jews."

Anonymous said...

"Truth"; a man who is older, lives alone and has no great income like yourself and tries to mask it up by reading self-help books into his late 30s is more than pathetic to lecture other people (especially those who are younger and more successful than you).

Just letting you know :D

Anonymous said...

Googles Don't be evil slogan was not for public consumption.

Anonymous said...

The East India Company was an instrument of the British Crown, granted a monopoly to exploit a subcontinent. If the State of California contracts out administering a prison to a private corporation it does not mean corporations lock up their enemies.

Formerly Anonymous said...

PRISM would be extremely useful to the IRS for intelligence gathering and enforcement of FATCA legislation involving American citizens and foreign financial institutions.

pat said...

I'm sorry to see that most of the readers here still haven't got it. All this squirming and trying to avoid the inevitable. You can't get free of the web of technologies that have learned everything about you.

There have been some Sci-Fi oriented spy stories about agents who have managed to get 'off the grid'. They have no Social Security number, no driver's license, no Internet usage and they pay for everything cash.

Yesterday I bought a sandwich and some beer with my debit card. Big Brother knows. I could have paid cash but not if I wanted to rent a car. Cash isn't accepted everywhere.

I watch "Top Gear" on TV. The Brits complain and squirm about all the cameras in downtown London. They share tips on how to be anonymous. Recently in Boston we learned that everyone in what you might have thought was an anonymous crowd watching the race had been photographed from dozens of angles by a battery of cameras.

The ecology has changed. Privacy everywhere is dead or soon will be. It's a new state of being. Those who can adapt will prosper.

It will never go back to the way it was before. If you like to watch pornography with farm animals all your neighbors will know. That's the new reality.

BTW Drumheller is an odd place. They have only two industries: dinosaur remains preparation and public welfare.

Albertosaurus

the dude said...

Sure, the MAC address.
How is a MAC address tied to a specific person? How would "they" know that AAFF11BBCC0022 belongs to Jimmy Jones and not Billy Bob?

Anon87 said...

My question is how poor is the security at Google, Facebook, etc. that the government can just "tap in" and grab all their data without any warning alarms going off? I hate to think it's just gross incompetence by the entire industry (since I think security of data is a huge barrier to everyone making money off of the "cloud") versus all of them being complicit in the deal.

Cail Corishev said...

The government doesn't "tap in" and steal the data; they just call up the company and request it and the company hands it over.

I know people who work for Internet providers and web sites. Don't hold your breath waiting for them to act like TV journalists who go to jail rather than reveal their sources. For the most part, when some official tells them to jump, they ask how high. I'm not sure why that is, but the little old ladies at your local library are probably more anti-censorship and pro-privacy than the people you buy your Internet connection from.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Further, there is no enemy, at least he refuses to acknowledge there are these people whom others call Muslim jihadists and who don't like us. How can there be a war when there is no enemy?"

We are the enemy.

Mr. Anon said...

"Whiskey said...

The problem with avoiding real action to deal with AQ....."

Get it through your thick head, you dipshit, Al Quaeda is no real danger to the people of this country. Our own government is. Only they have the means to oppress us. Muslim terrorists can be dealt with by the simple expedient of not letting them come here and not f**king around in their countries.

Mr. Anon said...

"Truth said...

""For most of us, our only defense is to stay below the radar with billions of other nameless, faceless rabble.""

For most of you, that's your ceiling in life anyway."

Rather typical projection by the loser known as "Truth" - a not-very-bright J-school drone (J-school? Isn't that for people who are too dumb for PE?), who believes in baseless new-age mumbo-jumbo, and whose own illegitimate kid wants nothing to do with him.

Anonymous said...

This has got me thinking about the porn industry.

All males have probably used a credit card to buy porn at some point in the last twenty years. Yet I've never heard of someone being "outed" for doing so. Isn't this low hanging fruit for power elites trying to make someone look bad?

David said...

"They were building a case to fire you from your first day on the job."

That's every job in the US.

Most people there don't want to build together; at bottom, they want to destroy each other.

I blame the crazy economic system most are trapped in.

Hunsdon said...

How is it that I still see references to Minority Report quite frequently, but the more apropos Enemy of the State has disappeared? Just hate for Murray Rothbard?

Anonymous said...

I'm a little surprised reading that Steve Sailer believes Spitzer was "set up"--does he imagine the mustache-twirling top-hatted Wall Streeters founded a dummy escort service around his personal fetishes in order to specifically ensnare him? You are talking about a rich real estate man's son who made enemies for a living, and accomplished little as AG other than filing publicity prosecutions which fell apart before trial.

forager morality said...

All males have probably used a credit card to buy porn at some point in the last twenty years. Yet I've never heard of someone being "outed" for doing so. Isn't this low hanging fruit for power elites trying to make someone look bad?

Not cc metadata, but this theme was put to work against Calif. candidate Bruce Herschensohn in the open Senate election of 1992, aka "Year of the Woman."

Other than Ryan's divorce unsealing in Ill. I can't remember it appearing lately--but it would depend on the candidate. My hunch is that "normal" porn consumption along with marijuana, truancy or a distant DUI doesn't register much of a blip nowadays. For a Republican past vices mainly seem to hurt the politico if he later became successful in business (moral: don't aim for success in competitive business, just go into lobbying or lawyering instead)

Beavis Crowther said...

How is it that I still see references to Minority Report quite frequently, but the more apropos Enemy of the State has disappeared

Big deal--"Enemy of the State" is a homage/cash-in à "The Conversation," the award-winning Coppola classic, and that wasn't even released on video till Miramax bought it, and still no one including myself has seen it. Except for certain people back in the 70s of course.

David said...

"The Conversation" is basically boring in an Antonioni kind of way, particularly the "love story" scene (which is dreadfully shot), but it has some cool retro tech, Gene Hackman in his early prime, a miscast young Harrison Ford, and a bravura ending, all of which make it worth sitting through once.

I fail to see any connections between it and "Enemy of the State" broader than simply that the latest snoop tech is used.

Anonymous said...

I fail to see any connections between it and "Enemy of the State" broader than simply that the latest snoop tech is used.

They both have Gene Hackman in them, and are both paranoid thrillers. I suppose in this respect it might be homage to The Conversation, but it's a bit of a stretch, IMO.

Anonymous said...

-