Saturday, August 17, 2013

(Most of) the kids are all right

This is somewhat gratifying....
Young people, by 60% to 34%, think that the NSA leak serves the public interest. Americans 30 and older are divided (46% serves vs. 47% harms).
I'll name one oldster who just doesn't get it: Senator Diane Feinstein.
“The majority of these ‘compliance incidents’ are, therefore, unintentional and do not involve any inappropriate surveillance of Americans,” Feinstein said.
God, I can't stand that woman. I've voted for her in the past -- she is, sorry to say, a Democrat -- but every time I cast that ballot I held my nostrils together so tight they didn't loosen up again for weeks. In the face of the latest revelations of NSA outrages, revelations which even Pelosi declared "distrubing," Feinstein offered a supremely annoying response:
Whatever incidents had occurred, Feinstein added, “have been the inadvertent result of human error or technical defect and have been promptly reported and remedied.”
Yes, and Auschwitz was simply an accounting problem.

I was really sad to hear Kirsten Gillibrand, who is doing good work in the Senate, toe the line and denounce Snowden, too.
I had a job once in Internal Affairs of a large international professional partnership, keeping track of what partners were doing what work with what clients and what new work was being developed by whom.

There was a certain thrill in turning on the computer in the morning and finding emails from Caracas and Capetown and Cairo and Cologne and Chengdu, but most of the work was just sitting at a computer and cross-checking accounts and it got to be very tedious. Part of my job involved questioning the partners by email about their work and their clients, and I must admit that sometimes after years of doing this I was sometimes greatly tempted to ask certain questions not because I needed to know, but because I was bored and I was curious.

I say this not to defend the "human error" incidents but to point out that they're inevitable, which is why the whole activity is very dubious at best, and at the least needs careful regulation. When you give people a license to go fishing wherever they want and you pay them to find fish and you're not too picky about how they do it, they're going to abuse the resources and they're going to find a whole lot of fake fish.

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