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[liberationtech] Boundless Informant: the NSA's secret tool to track global surveillance data

Nadim Kobeissi nadim at
Mon Jun 10 15:23:10 PDT 2013

On 2013-06-10, at 6:09 PM, Jacob Appelbaum <jacob at> wrote:

> x z:
>> @Jacob, I agree with your points regarding American exceptionalism.
>> @Eugen, to prepare for the worst scenario is one thing, to advocate some
>> shady rumor as fact is another.
>> @Rich, those are good movie scripts :-). But it does not work for 9 firms,
>> and hundreds of execs all with diverse values and objectives.
>> @Nadim, when you say "we all always 'knew' this was happening", I don't
>> know what "this" refers to. Is it NSA surveillance, or is it the "direct
>> access" bit?
>> To me, the crucial point is the "*direct access*", and also Guardian's
>> claim of these firms "willingly participating" in PRISM. I argued that
>> "direct access" is untrue in my previous email, but none of your replies
>> (except Rich's) are relevant to my arguments.
> What would you call a FISA API for government agents to query a system
> and return data on a target? Would you call that direct access or an
> indirect access? If Google runs the FISA API server, does that make it
> more or less direct than if the FISA API server is a blackbox run by the
> NSA?
>> The "direct access" bit is what made this story sensational. Without this
>> bit, the story would be much less juicy but more true. In the long run,
>> truth gives more power than lies. Washington Post has backed down to
>> reality, for which I applaud their judgment. Guardian has not, and keeps on
>> defending their misinformation and bad reporting, for which I resent deeply.
> You don't know the truth and you seem to think you do. The story that is
> important is that Google makes one claim, while the NSA slide makes
> another. Note that the law doesn't allow Google to even tell the press
> the whole truth.
>> If Snowden and Greenwald do not mislead the world on 'direct access" and
>> just report it rationally, I'd applaud their courage. Now I think Snowden
>> is not more than a self-aggrandizing douche.
> I'm sorry, did you watch his video interview? On what grounds to you
> call him a self-aggrandizing douche exactly?

I can't believe I was actually feeling bad for this guy yesterday. Dismissing one of the greatest whistleblowers of century as a "self-aggrandizing douche" is just beyond words. Maybe we're being trolled.


>> I hope internet freedom can advance with accurate awareness, not by public
>> paranoia.
> You take issue with a very weird semantic bit of the larger story. How
> does such semantic nitpicking, where you don't actually even know the
> facts behind your speculations, help advance any cause, anywhere?
> All the best,
> Jacob
> --
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