Posts Tagged ‘NSA’

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THE LAST STRAW

January 11, 2014

The continuing-to-unfold story of the Target data breach this morning quoted a consumer as saying…”This is the Last Straw”.

Really?  Come on, folks.  This is not the END; this is the beginning or at least I hope so!  Yes, I hope this is the beginning of the real understanding of the Digital World.

We’ve heard for months about Snowden and the NSA.  Most feel they do not want the government to even have phone numbers that could be eventually tracked to you – whether or not it is associated with a name when it is gathered.

And yet, until you hear of a breach, you have no problem with corporate America’s invasive disruption of your life 24 hours a day for all the information they gather on you.  For instance, this is the fourth day in a row that I have received an e-mail or popup ad on Facebook from a vendor – all because I checked the cost of ordering a new supply of contact lens solution on Amazon.com.  That information was harvested, sent to interested parties, and is now driving me crazy!

My office is filled with articles and books discussing the Digital Age that is upon us…Yup; it does a lot of good.  Yup, it has some significant downfalls.  Yup, we just want to ignore the implications…until we get an unauthorized charge on our credit card at Target – and then we make Target the culprit – not the system itself!

And, most interesting, there have also been comments this week suggesting that the government needs to do a better job regulating and protecting us from this.  So now, in addition to trying to keep us from harm from terrorists and other governments, the US government should do a better job of monitoring what every corporation and hacker in the US is doing?  But, of course, please do it without getting OUR phone number in that gigantic data base!  Do you really think this makes sense?   

This time, it’s Target and it’s based in Minnesota so we are hearing a LOT more about it because it impacts us in more than just the data breach.  Target is going the “extra mile” in my book, to be the “good neighbor” as they search for the full story on the consequences.  Financially, those impacted will have “zero liability” from damage plus Target has offered free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for customers for a year. It will be expensive to meet those promises, but at least outwardly, they have accepted the responsibility for something not caused by them. Because the truth is, if NSA can be breached by a disgruntled egotistical citizen, do you really believe that corporations can ENSURE that they will have no breaches in their systems?   

So from my perspective at least, I welcome the Target breach so close on the heels of the NSA crisis  – hoping that the two together will be enough to finally start a real conversation!

  • How do we as The World move forward in the Digital Age?
  • How many of our old 20th century expectations will be necessarily compromised to move forward?
  • Where’s the acceptable balance?  Where are the tradeoffs?

Then once we recognize and understand the new realities of the Digital World, perhaps we can have a meaningful discussion about what that means in government, in commerce, in personal lives. Where is the balance between convenience and protection; what is needed to achieve that balance.

  • We knew this was coming in the 1990s; we created a fear of Y2K that never happened and then we forgot about it. 
  • We knew this was upon us in the 2000s and we were too busy fighting 19th and 20th century-based wars to do anything about it…except to create the NSA.
  • We have not addressed it so far in the 2010s. But we certainly are wrapped in the impacts!

Only when we accept both the possibilities and problems of the Digital Age that are upon us will we understand there is work to be done.  We have to clear the way for the conversations, collaboration, and creative thinking/design that we need to participate in the future.

It is time, folks.  Let’s make 2014 the year America finally quits pointing fingers and realizes there is work to be done.  We have a whole new way of life before us and we need to adjust our old world thinking to accommodate it.  It’s time to move forward NOW before we destroy ourselves and our planet.

 

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PONDERINGS

January 9, 2014

SNOWDON AND THE NSA

A short STRIB feature this morning raised a thought-provoking question as debate continues on the NSA and the FISA courts.

Apparently, the general consensus is that the Supreme Court represents some of the least tech-savy people in the country.  www.startribune/politics/national/239124211.html  Reading the article, it becomes clear why there is controversy over Snowdon as a whistleblower vs. a traitor, as well as a growing discussion on why similar activities conducted by commercial and corporate entities (especially world-wide-web participants) are acceptable but less-intrusive government data gathering is not.

Even members of the Supreme Court are suggesting a reliance on the Fourth Amendment to resolve this issue in cases currently bubbling up in the system may not be the answer to resolving these issues of the 21st century.

In a way, that is comforting as it does point out the wisdom of the founding fathers as they drafted the constitution to become guiding principles, but at the same time allowed for amendments as necessary to change it to cover unforeseen future circumstances.

On the other hand, can you imagine the angst, emotion, and drama that would accompany any movement to amend the Constitution to clarify this issue in our world today?  I am afraid it would rank up there with slavery, women’s rights and the civil rights movement in terms of tearing the country apart.

ISRAEL AND REFUGEES

Keep an eye on this one…at least on the surface, the “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” mantra does not seem to be applicable – at least in all cases.

It is surely a complicated question that does indeed confront the Jewish state with key questions about its identity, who is a refugee, and do Jews have a special duty to be accommodating in light of their own history.

It does not appear to be a black/white issue; there have been attempts at accommodation; there have been concerns; and definitely there has been unequal treatment of Christian and Muslim refugees.

Sadly, as I read it, I could not help but draw some parallels to our country and our conflicted stance of  freedom and immigration – especially in view of the fact the US was also founded by early settlers often looking for refuge from persecution….and in so doing, created tremendous conflicts with the indigenous peoples already living in the land we wanted.  And yet, we are not always welcoming to those modern immigrants seeking refuge in what we built as a white man’s world.

 

AN ECONOMIC WORD GAME

A New York Times report on Obama’s comments yesterday following the Senate decision to debate the Jobless Benefits bill pointed out a truism that actually made me smile.

Yes, there is a careful “balance” going on in the 2014 message of “despite an improving economy, too many people are being left behind.”

The NY Times ended the article by citing critics calling it a “muddled economic message the White House has been delivering for years under Obama”.

And yes, the economic is not a right/wrong or black/white situation…it is a mixture.  There is not just a single“right” answer;  the situation is complex.

We are too used to right vs. wrong with no nuances depending on our own political leanings along with the color of our skin.  We forget there is truth and fiction in both.

So perhaps that is why I see Obama and the way he thinks as a mixture of white and African-as a good thing. He, like our world, is complicated.  He, like our world, challenges both sides.  That, in my mind, makes him a good leader.

Maybe we are so critical of him only because it is scary – because whether we agree or disagree, we cannot go backwards.   There is no winner in black vs white or left wing vs right wing.

The way forward for success in the future is collaboration – from which will come a better way than either stance today.

OIL, PIPELINES, TRAINS and the MIDDLE EAST

We’ve tipped the scale; most of our oil comes from within our own country today; North Dakota is booming; jobs are plentiful…all good things.

Enter the pipeline vs environment debates and the reality of unsafe trains causing concern over hazardous materials…one more time, proof there is often on easy answer to almost anything in today’s world!

Then another question popped into my head to confuse the situation more.  With our capacity increasing, it is creating more self-sufficiency in terms of fuel.  What is that impact on the US relationship with the Middle East?  As far as I know, we have not heard much discussion on that.

  But obviously, if we produce most of our own oil, we are not reliant on the Middle East and that could well mean less dollars are flowing there from us – despite  financial help to various countries in need.  We most likely no longer carry the mantra of Good Customer in the Middle East – we have become something else.  Are we SURE that it is the tensions of “Obama’s” US policy goals alone that has changed the tone and attitudes?    Food for thought as you listen to the next rant from your favorite commentator claiming Obama’s approach is not working well.

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THE TRUTHS AND SPIN OF BENGHAZI…and of OUR EMEREGING WORLD

December 29, 2013

Reconstruction of the 2012 attack on the US Embassy shows neither the Republicans nor the Democrats had it right when explaining Benghazi.

Benghazi was NOT infiltrated by Al Qaida nor did the Obama Administration cover up evidence of Al Qaida role as the Republican Angry Old Birds claimed…although a NON Al Qaida Abu Khattala was NOT recognized by the Obama Administration as the severe threat he was.

Nor, as Susan Rice first explained, was the attack a response solely to the You-Tube video.  Spontaneous street demonstrations to that video were indeed a factor, however.  Those already planning an attack capitalized on the opportunity when it presented itself; and then arsonists and looters took advantage of the situation and destroyed the Embassy and killed the Ambassador.

In reality there are bits of truth and misinformation in both positions; along with a whole lot of hyperbole, and positioning for domestic POLITICAL gain and for Press ratings.

Now that the Official report reconstructing the event has been completed, do you think the politicians have learned anything?  In reality, as usual, misunderstanding and posturing had only one winner – the Press-and that was short-term.  Where should the accountability be focused?

This is not just about Benghazi.  It seems regard for Reality, Truth and moving towards improvements based on lessons learned as been lost in our world today.   For instance……

  • An immense and sometimes invasive digital security system initiated in response to 9-11 by a Republican-led government has become “proof” of incompetence and failure of the Democratic-led government that followed.  Where should the accountability be focused?
  • A healthcare revolution in the US, approved by the majority of US Congressional leaders,  becomes yet another political issue with little regard to the benefits to US citizens, because the error-ridden on-line registration system (and of course, the disobeying of the law within by some insurance providers) has emerged as Proof that the Democrats were wrong in suggesting our citizens needed better health care and Republicans were right in opposing the same. Where should the accountability be focused?
  • A data breach at Target that has harmed millions is emerging as a Democratic issue of why the government has not protected us from companies like Target. Some Democrats think the government has not done enough to protect us as citizens.  Where should the accountability be focused?
  • UPS/Fedex are being blamed for an unhappy Christmas because retailers in hopes of saving their over-projected holiday sales, promised to get last-minute on-line gift purchases to their destination in time for Christmas…apparently with no regard to how organizations tasked with that mission were going to accomplish it.  Consumers bought in; disaster occurred.  Where should the accountability be focused?

 When will we learn our world is not black and white?  And when will we accept that the 20th century is not the 21st century – that indeed, our world has changed?  How much are we politicizing or looking for someone to blame simply because we do not anticipate or recognize consequences of the digital world in which we live today? 

No, I am not saying digital is evil.  I am just pointing out –one more time- that we need to address the TOTAL impact of the digital age in which we live.  Old thinking, old systems are not the answer.  We need to say goodbye to the 20th century; make an about-face to the future and acknowledge the WORLD has changed around us.  None of us can predict based on our “experience” what consequences will follow any action today.  But it is increasing clear that we need to acknowledge the digital world is here and has brought with it new good and bad consequences.

We should not expect to reap the benefits without learning to minimize the negative consequences.   

And since this is not about who can find the most “dirt” on the other, or raise the most funds, or use gerrymandering to get the most votes, perhaps a little more listening to one another and collaboration among people with differing views might just pay-back for all of us as we move forward in a new age that bears little resemblance to the century we have left behind.

 

 

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NSA HEADLINES AGAIN

December 18, 2013

I think Snowden and the NSA is a good example of generational differences we all struggle with in our world today.

On one side are the Traditionalists and early Boomers who remember not only PARTYLINE phones and 4-digit phone numbers, but telephone operators and neighbors listening to our phone conversations,  McCarthy witch hunts, constant threats of nuclear war, air-raid drills in grade school, and scary confrontations with the Communists/Soviet Union…all elements that represent the 20-25 years of life in the world emerging post-World War II…and the rise of US dominance in that world.

Patriotism and pride in our country trumped what we viewed as inconvenience in communications.  As a country, we all could relate story after story of how that early precursor to the CIA gathered data to aid in the “war effort”…tapping phones  and telegraph systems to gather information that helped us win a world war-eventually stopping enemy attacks against our country from Pearl Harbor forward.

And so, in general, we had an out-dated perspective when we experienced terrorists attacks of the 90s- first off-shore, and eventually with 9-11 on our own soil once again.

Unfortunately, a very different world had emerged in America by 2001, and we were still governed by traditionalists and early boomers who made some significant miscalculations as they combined WWII-era thinking and 21st century technology to “fix” the new emerging problems and attacks.  And as I continue to say over and over, what worked and was applauded in 1950 is a great misfit in today’s world.

For all the good that can be credited to the Greatest Generation and the emerging Boomers – they also pushed hard for the changes and advances in technology that soon outgrew their wildest imagination… without really understanding the consequences.

Not only that, they raised later-generation Boomers, Gen X-ers, and Gen Y offspring with very different perspectives.  “ME FIRST”, “I know better”, “I’m worth more” reigned supreme; the idea that “no pain; no gain” was lost.  Individualism emerged with all its foibles AND advantages.  It led to different thinking and technological advances that have changed the world–one more time…and brought with it both good and bad attitudes in our “American” thinking of “what’s best”.  With that came the birth of the NSA…perhaps one of the last contributions of 20th century thinkers but fueled and criticized by emerging leaders for the future.

However, there are no “tested” rules for this emerging group of leaders…just as there were no rules as we progressed through a colonial life to an agrarian society powered by slaves, to the beginnings of industrialization and eventually, a century of world wars.

Every transition in our history has been painful; so far, every transition has led to a better, stronger America, and every transition has needed leadership…not from the elders but from the visionaries of the young – working WITH the elders to prepare us for the future.

Transitional leaders do not always emerge as heroes; they make mistakes, they change their course based not on “here is how it has always been done” but on “here’s the vision of where we need to go; I am willing to explore the best way to get there as we search for a path through uncharted territory together.”

If we reflect on the past, those early visionaries of change often seem to be lost; but in the end, they teach us not only how to get “there”, but also how to avoid costly detours along the way.

I supported Obama for President (twice) for just that reason…he was grounded in a world I knew and understood, but he represented new thinking that reflected the need for change, for testing new approaches as we forged ahead into unknown territory for which the playbook was yet to be written.

I do not support Snowden as a whistleblower for exactly the same reason – in reverse.  He witnessed something he did not agree with.  He chose not to have a dialogue with anyone on how best to proceed for the good of all, but chose a path of instant “personal recognition” with very high risks – to himself, and to our country.  His actions continue to beg for the spotlight and not for a discussion and solution. He chose a path he knew would bar him forever from the very country he said he was concerned about.  Why?  I can only believe it was for instant gratification, personal fame and recognition-not concern for the country or its citizens.

With roots so firmly planted in the second half of the 20th century, I recognize that without constant monitoring, I am subject to that immediate post-WWII thinking first, and then slowly, listen, learn, and rethink.  That paid off for me as an early “pioneer” of women leadership in the business world.  I disagreed with the attitude of the times; I did not draw attention to myself with rowdy protests; I quietly outsmarted the system, changed attitudes, and helped break ground for the advancement of women in business.

And so, Snowden’s approach is unthinkable to me.  Traitor/Spy vs Whistleblower ?  Although I believe his motivation was personally motivated, in the end, I think he will prove to be both.  He has made us focus on NSA and given us an opportunity to discuss what it was meant to be, what it is, and if/how adaptations can be made in the 21st century context going forward.

Yet, Snowden’s individual immediate gratification, “ME FIRST”, “I know better” attitude has hurt the very country that give him the right and freedom to speak out.  I think there was a better way.  Craving spotlight and fame, he chose not to take a preferred route.  For that he will never be a hero to me.

Nevertheless, we as Americans, still have to address the issue.  What is the NSA; what is its mission; what are the wins and what are the risks?  And are they worth it?

And then, for me, is the second question:  Why do we object and protest when the government gathers meta-data and yet most of us seem JUST FINE with the hours stolen from us every day by the corporate world doing exactly the same thing?

 

  • How much time do you spend watching commercials on TV-targeted to you because commercial spying reveal your habits?

  • How much time do you spend scrolling through hundreds of unsolicited e mail commercials you receive every day because commercial spying reveal your habits?

  • How much time is stolen from you deleting, unsubscribing and blocking unwanted commercial intrusions because commercial spying reveal your habits?

  • How much time do you spend on-line trying to get rid of pop-up commercial intrusions as you search for a fact or data you need/want because commercial spying reveal your habits?

  • How much junk snail mail does your postman deliver (and how much do you PAY the government to PAY him) because commercial spying reveal your habits?

  • Why is it okay for the commercial world to intrude, take over your life, brainwash you into believing you have a NEED for something you did not even know existed?  Why is it okay for corporate executives to be paid $millions annually to SPY ON YOU; and pay their workers minimum wage for doing the dirty work?

THEN ask yourself what the big deal is with NSA having your phone number.  Do they bother you with incessant robo-calls all evening?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE EVOLUTION OF MEET THE PRESS

October 28, 2013

THE EVOLUTION OF MEET THE PRESS

We got our first television in the late 50s – and MEET THE PRESS became a “Must See” event in our family.  It has always been the weekly resource for well–researched current events that reported without a bias, and gave equal time to multiple sides of an issue- whether that be political or otherwise.

Enter David Gregory.  For a long time, I thought it was just me.  I didn’t particularly care for him, but I felt I was not giving him an unbiased chance simply because I was so vested in his predecessor, Tim Russert .  However, over time, I became more disenchanted…sometimes to the point I would just turn it off.

Sunday might have been a turning point. 

My first clue was when the Governor of Kentucky pushed back on Gregory and flatly told him he was wrong.  Hmmm…Gregory is the Moderator, not the opposing viewpoint, right?  What is wrong with this picture?

Next, we had a single guest – Andrea Mitchell.  She was introduced as NBC’s expert  and together she and Gregory had a public discussion about Obama…filled with ”Is not”, ”will not”, and ”did not”  which culminated  with  a justification that Obama was wrong and weak based on Saudi Arabia and Israel’s  unhappiness with him.

Even at this point, I am thinking:  OK, Cheryl…the whole world seems to think this is a mess Obama created; perhaps you should rethink some of what you understand to be the situation.

And then the conversation transitioned to the latest Snowden leak.

And Meet the Press failed the test.  (see below)  They did not even bring up the most important question.

I shut off the TV because Meet the Press in my mind has crossed the line.  Instead of reporting and discussing news of the day and its possible impacts, its mission has evolved to “GOTCHA”.

It makes me sad that this oldest program on TV, long the friend of America, has fallen into the pit of sensationalism and ratings only.  Although, it does free me up to get to church ON TIME instead of a few minutes late!

 

MY PLEAS TO THE PRESS:  Just the facts AND THAT MEANS ALL the facts:

The latest in the Snowden epic is a release of a document that indicates eves-dropping activities from 80 US embassies and consulates.  It included several countries in Europe we consider our allies, including Germany.  Here are the dates I can find so far:

2002       NSA MAY have included Merkel’s personal phone in the dragnet

2005       The document leaked by Snowden indicates Merkel’s phone number was accessed.  However that document reveals the number being caught in the dragnet, but one cannot determine if the number was actually listened to.   

2009       Obama is inaugurated as President of the United States.   (NOTE:  This is at least four years and possibly seven years after the reported incident occurred.)

2010       NSA reports to Obama they have the numbers/are eves-dropping. I presume the actual date of that is recorded someplace, but I could not find if it was January or December.

20XX      At some point, NSA was told to STOP by Obama. Obviously, someplace there is a record of that.

20XX      Snowden steals document – I am sure by now, investigations could tell us the date it was stolen, but I do not have at hand. Nevertheless, the impression from Press was “IS”  listening in not WAS listening in.

2013       Snowden reveals the leak.

2013       Obama/Merkel phone call;  Obama assures Merkel the  US is not now nor will in the future eves-drop on her conversations.

Now, I am not a reporter; I am not expected to be the one who digs into the facts, but really, am I the  only one in the world that wonders why the dates above in red have not been revealed?  And am I the only one in the world that recognizes this began in 2002 and NOT after Obama became President?

I’m just saying, fill in the blanks and report the story in full.

 That was the reputation of what Meet the Press would do in the past.  That is not the story of Meet the Press today.   This may indeed be a major misstep that can be attributed to President Obama himself or it could be a risk taken that starts a movement toward meaningful conversations and actions; or it may be a twisted fact that sells magazines, newspapers and TV program ratings.    What I most fear it is that some of the continuing propaganda is being seeded by the Tea Party who are so intent on discrediting Obama as a man that they forget some of the spin discredits us as a nation.  And as a citizen, that really irritates me.

 

MY OWN TAKE ON THE MIDDLE EAST TODAY

For as long as I can remember, the Middle East has been an issue…early in my growing-up and adult life, it was trumped by Viet Nam a bit, but it has ALWAYS been a delicate balancing act because we have brought together in a very small place three major religions of the world (READ:  Commitment and Emotion) and a whole lot of oil (READ: Economics and Riches ….and somehow, that all means trouble.

Of course, we need to heed voices of concern from Israel and Saudi Arabia re Iran and Syria…but we also have to acknowledge that bellicose confrontations have not yielded results in the Middle East despite 45 years of trying to out-shout one another.

Of course, there is a possibility that movement in discussions toward eliminating chemical weapons and  nuclear capabilities could all be a ruse…but it could also be an opening to talk to one another and initiate possible change.  Does anyone expect that Israel will be worry-free (or even happy)?  No, but responsible countries cannot ignore the possibility that change could ultimately come and the bellicose confrontations and threats have not achieved much to date except death-so I think it is worth the effort to test it.

So when I read headlines like “Syria files plan to destroy (chemical) weapons” and “Anti-US signs ordered removed in Iran”…I continue to think:  “It’s working; proceed with caution; and see where this takes us.”

Of course, those complaining that Obama is foolish and weak; Obama is not following through; and all the other common Republican talking points that the Press has swallowed up as truth are really MOST INTERESTED in short term results – the Press wants ratings so they can keep their jobs; the politicians want votes  so they can keep their jobs.  And too bad about the viewers and readers that are searching for the truth.

Neither seem to understand  changes predicted for our world are here and now-not something that might happen in the future.   The Digital World has connected us all and that change alone calls for collaboration and compromise.

Unfortunately, all we know is WIN /LOSE, military might and wars.

All I can think of is another headline today that is also pretty thought-provoking – “Iraq crumbles under new attacks.”  To me that raises the question – how much money did our little boys spend playing live war games for ten years and with what result?

Sometimes I think that men will never give up their toys; thus their inbred-looking-backwards stupidity will be the death of us all.

 What I DO know is that in my mind, Meet the Press has moved from a thoughtful trusted resource to Edutainment at best.  I only hope the “evolution” has not stopped there but will survive this hiccup and that soon it will right its ways and continue on.

 


 

 

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October 26, 2013

THE BEST THEY CAN DO…

Think about that.  If you were failing at your job, should you be maintained by your employer because it is the BEST you can do?  Or would you understand if you were released from employment so that you could move on to find something that you could do well and your employer could also find someone to better fit the parameters of the job?

That is a basic principle of business.  Define a need; write a job description; outline requirements, and prioritize those responsibilities and needs.  Then recruit, interview, hire and monitor results against expectations on an annual basis.

This morning I learned that Paul Ryan and Harry Reid agree:  There will be no coming together on a United States budget; the BEST they can do is to perhaps take a small step to reduce slightly the impact of sequestration!

I believe I am recalling correctly that the Federal Budget is a top priority responsibility of Congress outlined in Article I of the US Constitution.

 If Congressional leaders, members and staff cannot accomplish what we pay them WELL to do- (remember the figures of $170K/annually, lifelong healthcare and retirement benefits)-then is it time we the public OWN UP to making some significant hiring mistakes?  

I think it is time to review the Job Descriptions, make any agreed-upon adjustments, give official notice to these folks they have  been granted a probationary time to improve , while at the same time,  we take the initial steps to start looking for and recruiting talent that match the needs  that have been so defined by the founding fathers and  recommitted to by the  majority of the people  in 2012.

That’s what I would have been expected to do in my twenty-five years in the corporate world; that is what I do on a smaller scale in my small business. 

Unless you are an HR person, no one likes to write, review, redefine job descriptions.  No one likes to prepare for and participate in Annual Reviews, and no one likes to get bad marks and that discussion of improve or you are gone and no one likes to start the cycle all over again whether you are the employer OR the employee.  But that’s life. And that is what needs to be done here.   

THE BEST THEY CAN DO is not good enough.

“WE HAVE LOST THE TRUST OF THE  EU”

The STRIB Front Page Headline reads “Germany, France want new spying ground rules” with a tone that the Press loves to reinforce….even our friends have lost their trust and yet the reality appears  to be that what they want is the same kind of relationship we have with the Brits, Canadians, and other English-speaking countries.  It’s one of those mutual trust/mutual respect issues …”we will both quit spying on each other”.  From my perspective, wouldn’t that be a step in the right direction?  But meanwhile, we are all in a frenzy that Obama (my, but he is a powerhouse to be able by himself to create all this mischief:-) is so terrible that he has EU allies concerned and distrustful.  Seems to me, if BOTH parties are spying, we are BOTH distrustful.  So ever the optimist, I take the stand this a good thing- but probably not something that was planned.

 However, now that concern has arisen, I am in agreement that we need a sensible review of the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which was written in 1966 and came into force in 1976.   That was before the internet or the now all-encompassing Digital World.  It is an acknowledgement of that world and the fact the rules have changed and is perhaps the nudge that is needed to start shutting the door on the 20th century and putting our heads together to RETHINK the 21st!

Meanwhile:

THE RUSSIANS NEED US…

Is a topic outlined in “Top News” on the front page, and there it is on Page Three – Russians ask for teamwork and US help…

And guess what they need us for?   They need help in identifying threats and keeping the Olympics safe.

To be fair, Russia is reaching out to US and 80 other countries to help them identify threats from abroad.  Most worrisome are the Russian militants that are fighting in Syria along with Al-Qaida.  They are expected to return home well trained in Al-Qaida ways…thereby adding to the problems the Russians are already having, battling extremists in the North Caucasus.

As it turns out, the US and Russians started discussing this at the time the Chechens wreaked havoc on the Boston Marathon.   Putin/Obama agreed to intensify security cooperation for the Games and we will send an undisclosed number of Diplomatic Security agents to Sochi to help ensure safety of American athletes and corporate sponsors.

My mind connects the two situations.   More fodder to make NSA such a difficult issue with no right answers when judged by 20th century principles in a 21st century world.  Maybe all this represents the “growing pains” of reinvention for a new world and how we will balance going forward security vs. privacy issues. .

 

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NSA TACTICS TROUBLE

October 23, 2013

The more we learn, the more troubled we are.

There are philosophical issues of privacy vs. security/safety; there are technology issues as we transition into a digital world that we prefer to ignore vs. face head on; there are scope issues in terms of how much and under what circumstances on specifics; there are varying opinions from thought leaders on the overall effectiveness and direction; there are oversight and parameters issues. 

There is also a concern in terms of a young man some view as a traitor-some view as a hero-that at a minimum- exposed the lack of security around collected data, and a lack of adequate security measures to keep him away from the data.  There are hiring policy issues that allow a person who has been blocked from direct hire to skirt the system and become an outside contractor.   Add to those REAL issues, Politicians and Press trying to use this to their own personal favor and a Public that is in no position to sort it out, and we have a mess….not to mention the growing impact on global affairs and the fact that although we have a mess,  personally it seems as though we are just letting it take its toll with no correcting action nor buy-in. 

 I am still trying to figure it all out.  Having been a young adult that cheered the efforts to expose Nixon with the Pentagon Papers when all else tried had failed, I keep trying to balance hero vs. traitor in my own mind and continue to come up short.    Generally, my instinct tells me there were other ways to garner attention and  ”win” than the Snowden way. Generally, I think at a minimum, it should be a wake- up call to a major impact of the digital age.  Generally, I am disappointed that it has not yet  stimulated that BIG CONVERSATION of the Changing World brought on because of technological advances and why there is a need for recognizing it, non-political thought-leadership on what this means for the US and the World going forward, and then international discussions. 

Perhaps we need a review that focuses not on finger-pointing, name-calling, and positioning for political advantage, but instead,a factual historical review that focuses on broad issues that are not political but are overall US-Security based.  We do not need to agree or disagree with all the facts, but we do need to understand them.

  • Start with a non-political biased BACKGROUND BRIEF – where were we, what were the issues, how did this evolve and what were the security measures in place that formed the need for NSA in the first place.
  • Next, a REVIEW OF INITIAL POLICIES IMPLEMENTED and changes that have officially and unofficially taken place that morphed the idea and system into something that we may find is very different than original intent.
  • HOW MUCH DID TECHNOLOGY ADVANCES and “Because we can” play a role?
  • WHAT POLICIEIS ARE IN PLACE to keep things in balance going forward?

With a clear understanding of startup vs. where we are today, perhaps we can identify some clarity, get it cleaned up, make it work to protect our country without making it a BIG BROTHER is watching issue.

MAYBE since not only all American citizens are now aware of it, and the world is aware of it, it is time to examine, adjust, and look towards the future – not judge based on past century needs.

This issue has not yet moved from the EMOTION Stage to the EXAMINATION OF FACTS stage, and we need to do that so we find clarity first, and then can start thinking WHAT NEXT.

Instead, all of the has been thrown into a single pot and the resulting stew seems unappetizing to even the Repo and Demo chefs – let alone the American or International diners.  And yet, no one seems to be trying to figure out which ingredients are basic , which add flavor, and which just spoiled the  stew.