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[liberationtech] strongbox.gov

Nathan Fain nathan at squimp.com
Wed Jun 26 10:04:11 PDT 2013


simple idea im going to get off my mind. http://newyorker.com/strongbox/
is wikileaks like source protection opensourced. After listening to
Peter Dombrowski of US Naval War College profess his belief on the
importance of transparency for democratic discourse[1] I believe that
there are many like him within government that want to see better
oversight even of secret courts and policy. The technology now exists
for governments to provide a last line of discussion to potential
whistle blowers before they risk their lives to blow the whistle more
widely. Snowden is a case in point.

The language of the recent senate hearings on the issue tried hard to
show that the "law" dictates that using a FISA warrant to liberally
monitor communications would be "illegal". Obama said as much:

    "You can --- when you start looking at metadata, even if you don't
    know the names, you can match it up, if there's a call to an
    oncologist, and there's a call to a lawyer, and --- you can pair
    that up and figure out maybe this person's dying, and they're
    writing their will, and you can yield all this information." All of
    that is true. Except for the fact that for the government, under the
    program right now, to do that, it would be illegal.
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/06/obama-speaks-on-nsa-spying-it-is-transparent.html

Snowden seems to argue that technicians could go further and not just
connect meta data but actually monitor communications. Rather than
responding to if this is true or not the official response is: "that
would be illegal". In gambling lingo this is a "tell". Those with a
technical background know that enforcing vague legal language in
technical systems, especially big data, is a very difficult task. The
governments dependence on the "legality" rather than what is actually
possible indicates that it might be possible to abuse this system. Of
all of the concerns that Snowden may have had or have with PRISM one of
those might be the potential for technicians to operate with little
oversight. Snowden and other whistle blowers from the NSA over the past
years describe how expressing their concerns to their superiors resulted
in a brush under the rug or worse. Something like strongbox.gov,
wikileaks.gov, openleaks.gov could address at least that part of their
concern.

It is my opinion that as the "War on Terror" resembles more the "War on
Drugs", at least in longevity, and likewise the actors of this war take
on the traits of policing, providing more granularity in the means of
whistle blowing will become more necessary.

1. http://www.boell.de/calendar/VA-viewevt-de.aspx?evtid=12652
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