Wednesday, April 1, 2015

National (Job) Security Agency

In a post-Dudebro Defector world, nobody wants to work for the NSA anymore because ILLEGAL SPYING.

Daniel Swann is exactly the type of person the National Security Agency would love to have working for it. The 22-year-old is a fourth-year concurrent bachelor's-master's student at Johns Hopkins University with a bright future in cybersecurity. 
And growing up in Annapolis, Md., not far from the NSA's headquarters, Swann thought he might work at the agency, which intercepts phone calls, emails and other so-called "signals intelligence" from U.S. adversaries. 
"When I was a senior in high school I thought I would end up working for a defense contractor or the NSA itself," Swann says. Then, in 2013, NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked a treasure-trove of top-secret documents. They showed that the agency's programs to collect intelligence were far more sweeping than Americans realized. 
After Snowden's revelations, Swann's thinking changed. The NSA's tactics, which include retaining data from American citizens, raise too many questions in his mind: "I can't see myself working there," he says, "partially because of these moral reasons."

Partially, huh.  And what's the rest of the reason?

Ever since the Snowden leaks, cybersecurity has been hot in Silicon Valley. In part that's because the industry no longer trusts the government as much as it once did. Companies want to develop their own security, and they're willing to pay top dollar to get the same people the NSA is trying to recruit. 
Students like Swann. Last summer Microsoft paid him $7,000 a month to work as an intern. The company even rented him a car
"It was actually really nice," Swann says. "It was a Subaru Legacy."


Well then.

Yeah, I mean if Microsoft is going to offer you six figures and a Subaru to be a student intern in InfoSec, it's not like the NSA is going to be able to compete with that.  Kinda nice then that the whole morals thing isn't quite as important as that Silicon Valley paycheck so you can afford that place in San Francisco down the line.

Conveniently neat how that works out in the absolution department considering how big companies want their white hats to figure out how to use all that customer information as best they can.  You know, totally unlike the NSA.

Once again, if your major goal was long-term, lasting, amybe even generational damage to the US intelligence community and to the NSA in particular, you could not have done a better job than what Dudebro Defector did.


Scopedog said...

"Once again, if your major goal was long-term, lasting, amybe even
generational damage to the US intelligence community and to the NSA in
particular, you could not have done a better job than what Dudebro Defector did."

Yep. And a lot of people fell for his shenanigans and never thought out the consequences because to them anything the government does must be evil and have shades of 1984.

WildBrandon said...

It's impossible to feel sorry for a government that does this to its own citizens.

The only damage to the NSA was done by the NSA itself. Edward Snowden was never the problem, the NSA and Barack Obama are.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

That article is horseshit.

To start with item number one, metadata is collected and stored by the telephone companies. You want that metadata collected and stored by the telephone companies, so you can look up the number of that hooker you called last Friday. When the NSA has a legitimate need to look at some of that data, it gets an order and looks at the data specified - all legal, nothing sinister.

Now this hysteria about "the NSA collecting" the metadata has to do with the NSA having its own copy on its own hard drives so it does not have to take the time and effort to go through the telephone companies. The NSA still has to present its case and get permission, so in the end it's really a distinction without a difference.

Except that it makes a nice convenient pretext for you hysterical ninnies to scream about BIG BROTHER SPYING ON EVERYTHING! and thus to scare the gullibles and the simpletons. Because, and this is really important, you people do not believe in the Rule of Law. You do not accept that dangerous forces can be chained with laws and thus disciplined. You believe that everything must organized to satisfy your ignorant whims and to ward off the monsters who live in your nightmares. Of course, because you don't believe that laws work you don't really believe in rules that you yourself lay down, which leaves you only with inchoate terror. It would really suck to be you, so I will take my chances with Civilization and the methods that we have been developing for the eight hundred years since the Magna Carta.

Everything else in that little becomes progressively less relevant and more absurd. Go back and reread points 7 and 13: those are simply the NSA doing its job. How can you possible wet your pants on the grounds that 'the government does this to its own citizens' - do you even know what those words mean?

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Back in the mid nineties I was part of the CybreSabre project, teaching people to build their own encryption routines - like a Jedi building his own light sabre, get it? - and warning about the weakening of the Data Encryption Standard by the Intelligence Community. Nobody gave a fuck, but we kept at it.

Two decades later, Snowden makes his document dump and all of a sudden everybody's an expert. The thing is, the hysteria was characterized by a bizarre obsession with NSA spying. CIA? Nope. Russians? Nope. Bulgarians? Nope. People laugh at that last one (Bulgarians? Seriously?) but they once brought down my university for two weeks, for reasons that remain opaque to this day. At first I was all "Hey! Welcome to the party!" but then I got kidney shanked and rabbit punched and curb stomped for giving voice to the heresy that government spying was bad but that corporate abuse of data was bad as well.

So, yeah, the whole thing is very strange.

Scopedog said...

" Snowden's own documents prove, the horrors of illegal spying were
unleashed by Bush, and Obama had to clean up that mess just like he has
had to clean up so many of Bush's messes."

Absolutely. And yet they refuse to acknowledge this and still post their stupid little avatar pics showing a face that blends Bush and Obama (because, you know, they are the same blah blah blah). And of course they turn a blind eye to the serious, documented and true stories of the tech giants gathering information on a level that makes the NSA look like a bunch of choirboys--or they perform a serpentine ritual of claiming that the info given to the tech giants is given freely (it is not).

Horace Boothroyd III said...

I am appalled, simply appalled at the carelessness with which people throw away vast quantities of valuable personal information for the data companies to scoop up like the celebrated vampire squids of the financial world - without even a pretense of regulation or oversight or any other form of interference from well meaning good government types. Medicine has HIPPAA, the NSA has the FISA courts and Congressional review, but LG can smuggle a camera and microphone into your house through the "smart" entertainment systems and go full Stasi on the surveillance and there is not one God Damned Thing you can do about it except whine and complain and hope they don't do anything Evil. Give me a well supervised organ of a democratic government, any day of the week, over the minions of unrestrained Capitalism.

And if the Snowdenites are really so concerned about spies and intelligence and thugs and criminal government behavior, where the fuck were they when Putin and the FSB were gobbling up the Crimea? That seems to me a hell of a lot more deadly than keeping a hard drive full of dates and times - a hard drive that you need court order even to plug in.

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