Everyone is getting weeweed up about "revelations" that NSA spies on everything.
(1) Not news. NSA has been listening** to everything since it was founded. No legal limits, no moral limits. The only limit is technical, and the Web expanded the technical potential almost to infinity. NSA was one of the charter nodes of the Internet, and remains at the center, listening to everything as always. If you haven't picked up this basic fact in the last 40 years, you shouldn't be discussing the subject. You are irredeemably unsalvageably stone cold vacuum-brained motherfucking ignorant.
(2) Most of the discussants are making the bizarre fantastic assumption that NSA (or GCHQ, FBI, MI5, etc) has a "mission to defend the country". I have no fucking idea where this fantasy comes from, and frankly I have no fucking idea what "defend the country" means. Our government stopped "defending the country" after the end of WW2. The concept no longer exists.
(3) NSA and the others are BUREAUCRACIES. This means they have EXACTLY ONE MISSION: to defend their own turf and budget. Nothing else. Nothing else. Expand my range of action, expand my budget. Nothing else. Nothing else. At a lower level, each agency has a sort of special sexual desire. NSA's sexual desire is to know everything and say nothing. FBI's sexual desire is to torture and kill Christians. And so on. These fetishes are secondary to the basic bureaucratic need, and can be softened when they interfere with the basic need of infinite expansion.
(4) Read Parkinson,
dammit. He explains all of this.
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**Footnote: The oft-repeated platitude that NSA is "only doing traffic analysis" doesn't wash. They've been working hot and heavy on speech recognition software, at least since 1980. You don't need speech recognition software if you're "only doing traffic analysis." You need it to listen
to thousands of conversations at once.