aNewDomain.net — Here’s a sampling of the reactions from the tech world to the leaked NSA tech spy program. Update: The UK Guardian reports who the leaker is here. He was allegedly an Electronic Frontier Foundation supporter who works (worked) at the National Security Administration (NSA), the report says.
There are official public comments from Google and Facebook, who each deny previous knowledge of the program. The slides say they are both Current Providers — read Google and Facebook CEO comments here.
I gave thousands of dollars to help elect Barack Obama and voted for him twice, but it’s becoming clear that he has betrayed our trust and tarnished the liberal principles of openness and freedom that he pretended to espouse.
Mr. President, you owe us an explanation, at least, of why your administration has chosen to become the most paranoid since Nixon’s.”
Author and Google observer Jeff Jarvis:
Are we as a nation (OK) with allowing government to make such an analysis to find the terrorists’ anomalous behaviour or not? That’s a discussion that should occur according to principles, properly informed about the risks and benefits. Are we OK with government using that same data to fish for other crimes — like, say, leaking a PowerPoint to the Guardian? I am not. Are we OK with government treating whistleblowers and leakers as traitors — starting with Bradley Manning? I am not. I agree with Bruce Schneier: ‘We need whistleblowers.’ Are we (OK) with government having access to our private communications without warrants? I say: Most definitely not, as a matter of principle.”
Marketing Land’s Danny Sullivan pens an imaginary letter from Larry Page to Congress:
4) Anti-Trust Much? As you’re now gathering more information (than) we are, will you be subjecting yourself to an anti-trust review?
5) Want Data? Give Away Free Products! Have you considered offering things like free email or phone calls? Because if you’re trying to gather data about people, we and our fellow tech companies can tell you from experience, you should just give stuff away for free.”
New media pioneer and political blogger Andrew Sullivan writes:
…this kind of meta-data gathering hasn’t outraged me too much under either administration. This kind of technology is one of the US’ only competitive advantages against Jihadists. Yes, its abuses could be terrible. But so could the consequences of its absence.”
The Next Web’s Martin Bryant:
Unless PRISM and all related programs are suddenly declassified to clear up this mess once and for all, we’ll each have to believe what we want to believe – some will prefer to align themselves with the most rational, measured explanation while others will embrace the story that paints the government and big corporations as being in cahoots against the public.
In fact, the only definite thing we know for sure about PRISM is that it’s highlighted brighter than ever that any presumption of complete privacy online is a naive notion, and even if none of the most scary elements of the story are really true, it’s better to assume that one day, in some way, they may be – at least then you’ll be prepared.”
John Evans writes in TechCrunch:
The powers that be can shout ‘national security!’ and ‘terrorism!’ as stridently as they like, but it seems patently obvious to me that they’re just afraid that the American public might not like it if they find out how much they’re being spied on — and that their blanket surveillance programs might not be legal.”
The UK Guardian provided a light hearted take — much needed — by reposting a Twitter user’s collection of NSA surveillance stories reimagined as children’s books. Click here for that. Scary, strange, alarming all at once — summing up the feelings of many in tech, as we make sense of these developments.