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[liberationtech] If You Don't Care About The NSA Because You 'Haven't Done Anything Wrong, ' You're Wrong

Eugen Leitl eugen at
Wed Nov 27 05:05:34 PST 2013

If You Don't Care About The NSA Because You 'Haven't Done Anything Wrong,'
You're Wrong

from the you-have-done-many-things-wrong dept

Cardinal Richelieu's famous line is:

If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I
will find something in them which will hang him.  It's easy to twist almost
anything to be used against you if someone cares enough. And with a legal
code that means people are committing, on average, three felonies a day (at
least according to one estimate), it can be even worse. 

That's worth keeping in mind any time someone writes off the NSA as not being
an issue for them because they've "done nothing wrong." Driving home that
point is an excellent short "Op-Doc" in the NY Times by filmmaker Brian
Knappenberger, which has brief interviews with a bunch of great people (many
of whom you'll hopefully recognize) explaining in very clear terms why you
should absolutely care about the NSA. There are many reasons discussed, but a
simple one, highlighted by David Sirota, goes back to that quote above. You
can claim that you've done nothing wrong all you want. However, if someone
really powerful decides they want to railroad you, you'd be surprised at how
much it can be made to look like you've "done wrong." And when the NSA (or
the FBI) can readily access all sorts of data about your life, their ability
to build such a story increases tremendously.

The video has people answering a few different questions, beyond just why the
"I haven't done anything wrong" mindset is a mistake. It also discusses how
corporations tracking individuals is quite different from the government
doing so and a variety of other issues. The short film is actually from
outtakes that Knappenberger put together from the documentary he's been
working on about Aaron Swartz. It just so happened that he's obviously
interviewing a ton of people who were familiar with both Aaron's work and the
NSA stuff (the Venn diagram of people knowledgeable about both would include
quite a lot of overlap), and so he asked some NSA questions, leading to this
video. Check it out.

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