Posted by | October 14, 2014 08:00 | Filed under: Bob Cesca Contributors Opinion Politics Top Stories


During his TED Talk presentation last week, The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald issued a challenge: If you defend the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities by insisting that you have nothing to hide, then you should send all of your usernames and passwords to Glenn Greenwald, allowing him to publish anything he finds particularly juicy. Here’s the actual quote:

“Over the last 16 months, as I’ve debated this issue around the world, every single time somebody has said to me, ‘I don’t really worry about invasions of privacy because I don’t have anything to hide.’ I always say the same thing to them. I get out a pen, I write down my email address. I say, ‘Here’s my email address. What I want you to do when you get home is email me the passwords to all of your email accounts, not just the nice, respectable work one in your name, but all of them, because I want to be able to just troll through what it is you’re doing online, read what I want to read and publish whatever I find interesting. After all, if you’re not a bad person, if you’re doing nothing wrong, you should have nothing to hide.’ Not a single person has taken me up on that offer.”

Yeah, I wonder why.

First of all, this is a bit of a strawman fallacy. Very few reputable people use this “I have nothing to hide” line of reasoning in defense of NSA any more because it stupidly and simplistically concedes that NSA might actually be spying on them personally without a warrant — a concession that’s both inaccurate and nearsighted.

It also draws a ludicrously false comparison… CONTINUE READING

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Copyright 2014 Liberaland
By: Bob Cesca

Bob Cesca is the managing editor at The Daily Banter (www.thedailybanter.com) and a Huffington Post contributor since 2005. He's worked in journalism since 1988 as a print writer/editor, a radio news anchor, a digital media columnist/editor, a book author and blogger. He's the co-host of the Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show podcast and a Thursday regular on the syndicated Stephanie Miller Show. He's appeared on numerous other radio shows including the John Phillips Show and Geraldo Rivera Show in Los Angeles. Bob has been a commentator/analyst on the BBC (TV and radio), MSNBC, Current TV, CNN and Sky News. Following him on Twitter: @bobcesca_go

  • “you should send all of your usernames and passwords to Glenn Greenwald.”

    Oh SURE, I’ll do that.

    • Tommy6860

      Not only is his thinking illogical on his demand for one’s passwords, his request on what he would do with that info, compared to what our spy agencies would do, is disingenuous. He’s insisting on getting that private info so he can publish it? That isn’t what the NSA/CIA spying is about, it’s about checking up in who is doing what. He sounds more like he wants to punish someone for disagreeing with him than proving what wrongs are being done.

      • While I don’t trust the NSA, I certainly wouldn’t release my private information to an advocate for leakers such as Snowden. One releases the information publicly and the other keeps it to scrutinize in order to prevent terrorist attacks.

        • Tommy6860

          I’m with you on that. While I don’t trust being spied upon, I understand why it has to be done, but I do feel there should be some limits. Greenwald would rather sell out our ability to defend ourselves in the name of the Constitution. Last I remember, members of congress and the president swear an oath to protect the US from foreign and domestic enemies.

          • If a government worker is reading my emails, I feel really sorry for him or her. I’m sure they will need a lot of coffee to stay awake. My life just isn’t that exciting.

            • Tommy6860

              Yep, most of my emails are ones to my friends, like how much I miss and love them. Really serious national security shit you know :P.

              • Sounds like mine. I email my brother to ask about my little niece and beg for pictures. Really terrorist type activity.

        • ChrisVosburg

          Apparently, on planet Greenwald, the internal documents of any government agency or its employees are not entitled to an expectation of privacy, and are fair game for public release, and bugger he cares about the damage caused by such doc dumping.

          All I hear when Greenwald craps on about whistle-blowing and such when violating that basic right, is that only Glenn Greenwald has a right to an expectation of privacy.

          • I wonder how much Greenwald has made from this.

            • ChrisVosburg

              I don’t know that this is about money, though it’s certainly true that Greenwald has books to sell and spotlights to be in. As we say in the industry, “he sure loves Mr Camera”– which as I’ll get to below, is sort of ironic.

              What’s most annoying to me about Glenn is the almost evangelistic nature of his privacy-absolutism-driven agenda, about which I’ll only say that there’s no zealot like a recent convert, and as Bob points out, Greenwald has said he was “technically illiterate” before he met Snowden.

              In his TED talk referenced by Bob, he describes early attempts at mass surveillance (the Panopticon, an 18th century architectural design intended to watch prison inmates), and brings the paranoia home:

              The 20th-century French philosopher Michel Foucault realized that that model could be used not just for prisons but for every institution that seeks to control human behavior: schools, hospitals, factories, workplaces. And what he said was that this mindset, this framework discovered by Bentham, was the key means of societal control for modern, Western societies, which no longer need the overt weapons of tyranny — punishing or imprisoning or killing dissidents, or legally compelling loyalty to a particular party — because mass surveillance creates a prison in the mind that is a much more subtle though much more effective means of fostering compliance with social norms or with social orthodoxy, much more effective than brute force could ever be.

              Again, he’s talking here about surveillance cams in public places (schools, hospitals, factories, workplaces) as a means of creating a compliant and docile citizen class, easily herded into submission by whatever tyrant happens to own the DVR.

              This to me is indistinguishable from the garden variety government scopophobia of the sovereign citizens, the militia nuts, the survivalists, the guy screaming “stop looking at me!” at the securicams on the MTA.

              But in truth, I can’t tell if Glenn really believes this shit, or is just cynically using it, as Bob suggests, to manipulate a gullible audience into support for his agenda.

              Sorry to crap on so. :-)

              • He sounds just like Alex Jones. In fact, he’s been on Jones’ radio show, so they do have that in common, too.

                While I don’t appreciate my private life being invaded, even in small ways, I don’t think he should have the authority to decide what is leaked and what is not. All countries have secrets and they’re there for a reason.

                • ChrisVosburg

                  Guess I just got used to it. When securicams started showing up in the workplace, back in the seventies, I was holding down the Art Department in a print shop downtown, and although I was slightly put off by the cam pointed at me, I just figured if the boss wants to watch me scratch my balls, so what.

                  But I was moved to play with him a bit– I painstaking drew a very accurate pen-and-ink rendition of the classic “Indian Head” TV test pattern (example below) on illustration board and hung it up facing the camera lens.

                  Hilarity ensued as the boss and the people who installed the system spent the next couple days trying to figure out where was the glitch that apparently caused the system to pick up off-air- broadcasting on one of the video inputs.

  • “you should send all of your usernames and passwords to Glenn Greenwald.”

    Oh SURE, I’ll do that.

    • Tommy6860

      Not only is his thinking illogical on his demand for one’s passwords, his request on what he would do with that info, compared to what our spy agencies would do, is disingenuous. He’s insisting on getting that private info so he can publish it? That isn’t what the NSA/CIA spying is about, it’s about checking up in who is doing what. He sounds more like he wants to punish someone for disagreeing with him than proving what wrongs are being done.

      • While I don’t trust the NSA, I certainly wouldn’t release my private information to an advocate for leakers such as Snowden. One releases the information publicly and the other keeps it to scrutinize in order to prevent terrorist attacks.

        • Tommy6860

          I’m with you on that. While I don’t trust being spied upon, I understand why it has to be done, but I do feel there should be some limits. Greenwald would rather sell out our ability to defend ourselves in the name of the Constitution. Last I remember, members of congress and the president swear an oath to protect the US from foreign and domestic enemies.

          • If a government worker is reading my emails, I feel really sorry for him or her. I’m sure they will need a lot of coffee to stay awake. My life just isn’t that exciting.

            • Tommy6860

              Yep, most of my emails are ones to my friends, like how much I miss and love them. Really serious national security shit you know :P.

              • Sounds like mine. I email my brother to ask about my little niece and beg for pictures. Really terrorist type activity.

        • ChrisVosburg

          Apparently, on planet Greenwald, the internal documents of any government agency or its employees are not entitled to an expectation of privacy, and are fair game for public release, and bugger he cares about the damage caused by such doc dumping.

          All I hear when Greenwald craps on about whistle-blowing and such when violating that basic right, is that only Glenn Greenwald has a right to an expectation of privacy.

          • I wonder how much Greenwald has made from this.

            • ChrisVosburg

              I don’t know that this is about money, though it’s certainly true that Greenwald has books to sell and spotlights to be in. As we say in the industry, “he sure loves Mr Camera”– which as I’ll get to below, is sort of ironic.

              What’s most annoying to me about Glenn is the almost evangelistic nature of his privacy-absolutism-driven agenda, about which I’ll only say that there’s no zealot like a recent convert, and as Bob points out, Greenwald has said he was “technically illiterate” before he met Snowden.

              In his TED talk referenced by Bob, he describes early attempts at mass surveillance (the Panopticon, an 18th century architectural design intended to watch prison inmates), and brings the paranoia home:

              The 20th-century French philosopher Michel Foucault realized that that model could be used not just for prisons but for every institution that seeks to control human behavior: schools, hospitals, factories, workplaces. And what he said was that this mindset, this framework discovered by Bentham, was the key means of societal control for modern, Western societies, which no longer need the overt weapons of tyranny — punishing or imprisoning or killing dissidents, or legally compelling loyalty to a particular party — because mass surveillance creates a prison in the mind that is a much more subtle though much more effective means of fostering compliance with social norms or with social orthodoxy, much more effective than brute force could ever be.

              Again, he’s talking here about surveillance cams in public places (schools, hospitals, factories, workplaces) as a means of creating a compliant and docile citizen class, easily herded into submission by whatever tyrant happens to own the DVR.

              This to me is indistinguishable from the garden variety government scopophobia of the sovereign citizens, the militia nuts, the survivalists, the guy screaming “stop looking at me!” at the securicams on the MTA.

              But in truth, I can’t tell if Glenn really believes this shit, or is just cynically using it, as Bob suggests, to manipulate a gullible audience into support for his agenda.

              Sorry to crap on so. :-)

              • He sounds just like Alex Jones. In fact, he’s been on Jones’ radio show, so they do have that in common, too.

                While I don’t appreciate my private life being invaded, even in small ways, I don’t think he should have the authority to decide what is leaked and what is not. All countries have secrets and they’re there for a reason.

                • ChrisVosburg

                  Guess I just got used to it. When securicams started showing up in the workplace, back in the seventies, I was holding down the Art Department in a print shop downtown, and although I was slightly put off by the cam pointed at me, I just figured if the boss wants to watch me scratch my balls, so what.

                  But I was moved to play with him a bit– I painstaking drew a very accurate pen-and-ink rendition of the classic “Indian Head” TV test pattern (example below) on illustration board and hung it up facing the camera lens.

                  Hilarity ensued as the boss and the people who installed the system spent the next couple days trying to figure out where was the glitch that apparently caused the system to pick up off-air- broadcasting on one of the video inputs.