Internet

State Department Announces New Stance on Encryption and Surveillance

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US GOVT

Today, a representative from the State Department announced a change in the federal government's stance on surveillance and encryption at RightsCon, a human rights conference in San Francisco.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Busby acknowledged "support for encryption protocols," which are "critical for an Internet that that is truly open to all." According to Busby, the U.S. government will gather and use data based on six principles: "rule of law, legitimate purpose, non-arbitrariness, competent authority, oversight, and transparency and democratic accountability."

When questioned on its support, Busby explained that the principles were approved government-wide, including Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which is headed by James Clapper. Clapper has been criticized for giving deceptive testimony before congress about the National Security Agency's (NSA) practices.

His statements were not without immediate criticism. A legislator from Hong Kong responded that the U.S. government actively "undermin[es] exactly the kind of things [Busby] talked about," and that his government was "attacked and criticized" by the U.S. after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden fled to Hong Kong.

Nevertheless, a representative from the human rights organization Access, which hosts RightsCon, explained at a press conference that the statement from the government is significant, because it is not only "a strong statement on support for cybersecurity and encryption," but an affirmation of "human rights law which historically they've been loath to acknowledge," and "the first time they recognize international norms and laws as they apply when conducting surveillance."

As Jon Brodkin of ArsTechnica highlighted last year, the National Security Agency has previously worked to actively undermine encryption.

Busby's statement is essentially an affirmation of a speech and policy directive made by President Barack Obama in January. Reason's J.D. Tuccille at the time described Obama's approach as a "lukewarm embrace… of the very modest reforms to NSA snooping practices recommended by his hand-picked Review Group on Intelligence and Communication Technologies."

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  1. I’m looking for this same story on my RSS feed from the alternate universe where Edward Snowden never leaked his documents. I’m sure it’ll come up eventually.

    1. Unfortunately, they’re just lying to placate the masses anyways, and nothing will ever change.

      1. It could get or could have gotten a lot worse. Mitigation might be Snowden’s legacy.

      2. Anonymous, or not, all of your Reason posts are still being monitored and recorded for later use against you.

        1. Boy would that be a miscalculation, if someone thought they found out everything about me just by reading whatever I put on the internet. There would be a few critical pieces missing, for sure.

          1. That’s not the point – they don’t care about *you*, only the stuff they can use *against* you.

            Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. Good father? Fuck you, go home with your kids. You’ll do what we tell you because we got dirt on you.

            1. You call yourself an American you son of a bitch?

    2. You’re looking in the wrong one. It’s in that alternate universe with the flying pigs.

  2. Dude you know that is like totalyl cool right?
    http://www.Anon-Works.com

  3. Who wants to help me rename the 6 principles?

    “According to Busby, the U.S. government will gather and use data based on six principles: “rule of law, legitimate purpose, non-arbitrariness, competent authority, oversight, and transparency and democratic accountability.”

    1) Rule of Obama
    2) Why the fuck not?
    3) Everything, no matter what
    4) because fuck you, that’s why
    5) Classified
    6) We will just lie under oath

    I know some of you must have better versions than mine.

    1. Um, I thought that was their literal translation from pol-speak.

      1. Fair enough, I was hoping to see some more creative versions. Admittingly, mine is pretty unoriginal.

    2. My precious bodily fluids will not enter your mouth.

      1. But they taste so good…

    3. 1.Because the messiah says so
      2. To create our perfect world in our image
      3. whatever we deem offensive, or outside of the collectives small narrow view of the world
      4. Headed by the sneakiest, most willing snake of a human we can find.
      5.Overseen by the most pure among the collective
      6. We will publish parts of your browser history when we indict you to make you look as crazy as possible, you know for transparency, and show the collective so they can come up with the most acceptable average of views on how to deal with you regardless if your actions were illegal or not, we’re just making laws up as we go along at this point anyways.

      I tried to be more creative but i think someone out there has me beat

  4. “critical for an Internet that that is truly open to all.”

    Isn’t this the problem? Aren’t we kind of trying to, you know, close it up a little bit?

    1. No no no, we want everybody on there so we can keep watching them. That’s why we need them to think we’re not watching them!

  5. His statements were not without immediate criticism. A legislator from Hong Kong responded that the U.S. government actively “undermin[es] exactly the kind of things [Busby] talked about,” and that his government was “attacked and criticized” by the U.S. after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden fled to Hong Kong.

    Silly foreigner. Do as your Great White Father says, not as he does.

  6. Busby explained that the principles were approved government-wide, including Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which is headed by James Clapper. Clapper has been criticized for giving deceptive testimony before congress about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) practices.

    Compare with:

    “rule of law, legitimate purpose, non-arbitrariness, competent authority, oversight, and transparency and democratic accountability.”

    Is the problem that ALL of these agency heads have believed all along that they’re acting within the rule of law, have a legitimate purpose, aren’t abitrary, have competent authority, adequate oversight and are being totally transparent and as accountable as they can be without violating national security?

    1. They probably also think that the American people are willingly paying their salaries.

    2. The IRS hires majority new college grads for a reason: they are easier to indoctrinate to the company line of bullshit than people who have actually given a pound of flesh to the IRS.

      1. Barely scraped by last year, and they still wanted more, fucking leeches made me go in debt so that i could pay for programs i dont want or need on pain of being tossed in jail so my daughter can be abducted by child protective

  7. Busby’s statement is essentially an affirmation of a speech and policy directive made by President Barack Obama in January.

    You expected him to not parrot his boss’ lie?

  8. rule of law

    Secret laws overseen by secret courts.

    legitimate purpose

    That’s kind of tautological, since they see any purpose as legitimate.

    non-arbitrariness

    That’s a joke, right?

    competent authority

    Oxymoron.

    oversight

    Secret laws overseen by secret courts.

    transparency

    *snort*

    democratic accountability

    Secret laws overseen by secret courts.

  9. “Do not be alarmed. We mean you no harm. You will be safe with us.”

  10. In one last fling before the rigors of Lent begin, young men and (especially) young women go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and expose themselves in exchange for beads.

    SFW, but CAUTION – contains academic BS.

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/up…..ardi-gras/

  11. According to Busby, the U.S. government will gather and use data based on six principles: “rule of law, legitimate purpose, non-arbitrariness, competent authority, oversight, and transparency and democratic accountability.”

    I don’t see “IAW the Constitution” in there. Because god knows, the rule of law has very little to do with the Constitution anymore.

    1. The law is whatever the classified interpretations used to justify government actions say it is.

  12. “Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Busby acknowledged “support for encryption protocols,” which are “critical for an Internet that that is truly open to all.” According to Busby, the U.S. government will gather and use data based on six principles: “rule of law, legitimate purpose, non-arbitrariness, competent authority, oversight, and transparency and democratic accountability.””

    There’s no doubt about the fact that this sure is a lot of words.

    “encryption protocols”- that give us access.

    “Internet that that is truly open to all”- especially us. No secrets! Except for ours.

    “rule of law”- whatever we say that is.

    “legitimate purpose”- whatever we say that is.

    “non-arbitrariness”- its not arbitrary if we can think of a reason!

    “competent authority”- our own!

    “oversight and transparency”- more FISA!

    “democratic accountability”- whatever the majority is okay with!

  13. According to Busby, the U.S. government will gather and use data based on six principles: “rule of law, legitimate purpose, non-arbitrariness, competent authority, oversight, and transparency and democratic accountability.”

    That’s *seven* principles, Busby, unless “rule of law” and “legitimate purpose” are considered identical.

    Also, I can’t decide which is funnier: “non-arbitrariness” or “competent authority”.

    1. I think “oversight and transparency” were one “principle”.

      1. You may very well be correct. Busby only knows.

  14. Well, thank God the government has issued this press release. I now feel so much better! I no longer mis-trust my government. I no longer feel the need to encrypt my communiques. I now know that my government is only acting in my best interests. I am hereby removing my tin-foil hat. Because, after this declaration, Clapper is no longer in contempt for lying to the People’s representatives, the IRS is no longer targeting political enemies, the NSA is no longer collecting information that includes every American citizen’s physical location at any particular point in time, and the executive no longer feels that they have the right to execute citizens without a trial! Whew! What a relief! We were THIS close to The Prophet Orwell’s worst nightmares, but now, all is sunshine and light!

    1. whew is right! i thought for sure we were going to all get snatched up in black vans for little to no reason other than we visit reason. what happened in CT with the door to door confiscations of guns BTW?

  15. I heard on the radio Louis Lerner won’t testify tomorrow for fear of her life.

  16. This administration is so incredibly corrupt that they will say anything in anticipation of the next election. You can tell they’re lying whenever their lips are moving.

  17. 1. Rule of Law – Love it, sounds good. I’d be happy if this was the beginning and end of the list.

    2. Legitimate Purpose – Wait a minute. Why do you need to specify this if there’s already a law that you’re following? Are you saying the law allows you to do whatever the fuck you want? Or you’re going to ignore the law if you’ve got a “good reason”?

    3. Non-Arbitrariness – Get a thesaurus. You’re probably going for “consistent” which is only positive in the sense that I’d rather know you’re going to be a villain all the time than be surprised by it.

    4. Competent Authority – What a great idea! Who do you have in mind? Have you advertised the position yet?

    5. Oversight – You mean aside from the personal whims and secret courts that you’ve been calling oversight up until now, right?

    6. Transparency – This would make #5 a lot easier, but you’ll have a tough time sliding this one past Barry. Also, is this transparency with a big ol’ asterisk? Because last I heard the reason you couldn’t possibly allow public hearings or real oversight was because of the dreadfully sensitive nature of your work.

    7. Democratic Accountability – “We all got together on this and decided we’re doing the right things to protect America from terrorists. Thus ends the Oversight and Transparency Hearing.”

  18. Busby then said, in a voice so quiet no one else could hear it, perhaps even without moving his lips, “And we’ll continue to do none of the things I just said until we get caught again.”

  19. 1. BFYTW
    2-7 See #1*

    *Also, if you make too much noise about any aspect of this, we’ll be happy to send over our computer forensics specialist to find that hidden child porn on your computer.

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