Bruce Schneier has a great essay about the fact that NSA spying apologists say that dragnet surveillance is limited to cases of terrorism: but "terrorism" is now synonymous with "whatever it is people we want to spy on are doing."
Back in 2002, the Patriot Act greatly broadened the definition of terrorism to include all sorts of "normal" violent acts as well as non-violent protests. The term "terrorist" is surprisingly broad; since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, it has been applied to people you wouldn't normally consider terrorists.
The most egregious example of this are the three anti-nuclear pacifists, including an 82-year-old nun, who cut through a chain-link fence at the Oak Ridge nuclear-weapons-production facility in 2012. While they were originally arrested on a misdemeanor trespassing charge, the government kept increasing their charges as the facility's security lapses became more embarrassing. Now the protestors have been convicted of violent crimes of terrorism -- and remain in jail.
Meanwhile, a Tennessee government official claimed that complaining about water quality could be considered an act of terrorism. To the government's credit, he was subsequently demoted for those remarks.
Mission Creep: When Everything Is Terrorism
So, that huge hack of 500 million Yahoo user accounts last week that Yahoo blamed on a “state-sponsored actor”? A private internet security firm is calling bullshit on the “state-sponsored” part.
After last week’s revelation of a record-smashing breach at Yahoo (which the company covered up for years), security researcher Matt Blaze tweeted: “Sorry, but if you have a Yahoo account, you will need to find a new mother, and have grown up on a different street.” Ha, ha, only serious.
I’ve been going to O’Reilly conferences since the first P2P conference in 2001; for 15 years, they’ve been blowing my mind.
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