back to article Obama man: 'Global internet surveillance skyrocketing'

A top US government official believes that the internet is under fierce attack by authoritarian governments worldwide, and that the situation is rapidly deteriorating. "Today we face a series of challenges at the intersection of human rights, connected technologies, business, and government. It's a busy intersection – and a …


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  1. Eddy Ito

    He should know

    "A top US government official believes that the internet is under fierce attack by authoritarian governments worldwide..."

    He works for one of, if not the, snoopiest of them all.

    1. Willy the Jackass

      I find the fact he's even making such a comment as the US head-of-state quite insulting to my intelligence.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        He does what they do best

        It's called "hiding in plain sight". Or maybe just "just lookit how bad all those others are!"

        But he's far from alone. The Dutch police are publicly the snoopiest regarding telephone taps (though the NSA probably has them beat hands down, but good luck getting them to show and tell), and the UK has deployed web cencorship while admonishing various countries elsewhere To Not Do That Because It Is Bad Old Chap, and, oh, is currently proposing taking control away from the entire population over their own computers as part of three of four "key" points to "secure the nation". I could go on, but you get the point.

        Really now. Just about all governments are bad regarding technology and thus the internet. Might have something to do with appointing corporate sockpuppets and other nitwits without much actual tech savvy to posts where you need that to function. I know I battled with my parents over things that are... very different for children now; imagine all of Whitehall being that annoying. They're worse, and a lot less scrupulous about it too.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me...

    ...or is the US govt the most hypocritical on the planet?

    Compare this from Michael Posner:

    "Today we face a series of challenges at the intersection of human rights, connected technologies, business, and government. It's a busy intersection – and a lot of people want to put up traffic lights"

    With this:

    "The demands formed part of a 70% rise in takedown requests from the US government or police"

    We need an "arsewipes" icon.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When I were a lad...

    We were the only people in our street to have a telephone (paid by Dad's employer).

    There were few cars on the road. Kids walked to school.

    Man was starting to fly in space and the wireless (radio) was steadily being replaced by (B&W) TV.

    This was my childhood during the 60's in regional OZ.

    I think I prefer that time to what's ahead.

    (Even with the primitive outside loo)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For a moment there I thought there was a global jihad on gay porn.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you're not a predator...

    ... you're food. So if you're not a business or government agency you are certainly having your privacy reamed mercilessly by businesses for profit, or government to ensure they're unchallenged.

    The Police state we all fear will/has come about not through dark conspiracies hatched by scented pricks in suits, but because the snails pace, corrupting influence of money and total lack of willpower in regulation and law make a repressive and exploitative use of the available tools an inevitability, and pretty much self organising at that.

    Collective laziness and the failure to speak truth very loudly and forcibly to power will damn us all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yes but

      it's nearly christmas, yay!

  6. TimeMaster T

    Ironic ...

    From Sid Meyer's:Alpha Centauri

    "As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last loose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master."

    -- Commissioner Pravin Lal, "Librarian's Preface"

    Haven't seen this on the net recently so I figured it was time to get it out there again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Well, I was going to add to the posts banging on about hypocrisy, but I won't bother. I think this Sid Meyer quote should be printed and framed and hung up in all Western politicians' offices. It encapsulates what is so stupid about the ever-growing drive to monitor and control.

      In particular the words "burst with freedom and vitality" capture what the US was like and how they like to see themselves : but more and more the image I get when I think of the US is Jabba the Hutt.

  7. Anomalous Cowturd

    That's a bit rich...

    Coming, as it does, from a spokesman of the world's biggest surveillance operator.

    Gotta love the irony.

  8. David 45
    Thumb Down

    Hear hear! Keep the nosey parkers out of the net. Enough already!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    off topic

    photo: deadbeat in an expensive suit, several sizes too big

    all that snooping's making him ill

  10. mhenriday
    Big Brother

    I loved that «over-broad state control over content, users, and over companies» !

    But like most US-government Newspeak, the term «over-broad» requires interpretation for the uninitiated - it refers to state control exerted by parties other than the United States government, which, as most of us who frequent the Reg presumably know, has exhibited a certain penchant for shutting down domains ( - not to mention our old friend Echelon ( War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength, to coin a phrase....


    1. Colin Miller

      Echelon is phone-taping.

      Carnivore is internet tapping ( ).

      Tempest is stray-EMF tapping ( )

      1. mhenriday

        Colin, don't underestimate Echelon's capabilities ;

        «[t]he report [by a European Parliamentary Commission] concludes that, on the basis of information presented, ECHELON was capable of interception and content inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers including satellite transmission, public switched telephone networks (which once carried most Internet traffic) and microwave links». Very handy fellow, this Echelon !...


  11. lawndart


    "Just think, your Excellency, as you help us at the RIAA reduce our 750 trillion-dollar-a-day loss in revenue because of piracy, you also legitamize snooping on and controlling the information available to your country's population. This way, we both win."

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Practice what you preach

    ^. Firm belief of mine. Is the US Gov't doing that?


    US Gov't. Arab States, China, let's not forget lobbyists all making the *actual* situation worse. It shows what good western society has come to where we have our rights taken away by bribing Congress with loads of cash because everyone and their <censored.> brother are <censored> greedy. The stupid Wall Street parades? Have to side with everyone else on that, those people are mentally retarted.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whether they're hypocrites or not....

    Does it matter? The man speaks the truth and they're obviously not afraid of getting slapped in the face with the seed they sown. (think: Wikileaks). On that note. We should donate to the Freenet project. Tor is not safe, it is after all created by US military.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "These are the places where repressive regimes are getting hold of the latest, greatest Western technologies and using them to spy on their own citizens"

    We thought it was a good idea so we built the latest, greatest technologies to invade privacy.

    Then we sold it to re/opressive(?) regimes around the world and complain it infringes on their privacy and not our own citizens... Genius!

  15. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Nice idea but...

    ... out of the corner of his mouth "Nice internet you got there. Be a shame if anything were to happen to it".

    The guy looks more sus than Del Boy!

  16. Mike Flugennock

    Huh. Takes one to spot one...


    That is all.

  17. Semaj
    Big Brother

    "shift cyberspace away from being a multi-stakeholder, people-driven model, to a system dominated by centralized government control."

    Which is what they have always wanted and thought they had until recently when they realised their assumptions on all things tech were completely wrong. Now they are waking up and desperately trying to claw back that thought control they've had (over traditional media) for so long.

    We're talking about all governments here right, not just those in sandy countries?

  18. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "under fierce attack by authoritarian governments worldwide"


    Everyone knows that the USA is the only government that has the right to worldwide snooping.

  19. K. Adams
    Big Brother

    "The private sector has a reponsibility to defend personal freedom..."

    Sure. I'll phone the RIAA, MPAA, IFPI, and CTIA, and get 'em going on that straight-away...

  20. Tigra 07

    "A top US government official believes that the internet is under fierce attack by authoritarian governments worldwide"

    With the USA being one of the worst for snooping and tracking people?

    Tomorrow's news: Obama lectures China on the death penalty!

  21. Martin Usher

    The US isn't hypocritical....

    ....its just rather amorphous, One way to describe the system of government is "organized anarchy". You've got lots of different groups, inside and outside of government, with overlapping and often contradictory agendas. The resulting brew is what we call "US Policy".

  22. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Interchangeable baddies

    All the actions this guy describes as being the doings of repressive governments (not his government, of course, naturally!) apply equally to the copyright enforcers, DRM owners, MP[IA]A and other organisations who have given themselves the right to "police" the content we want access to.

  23. Vic

    He's just gagging for a Class Action...

    Look at the damage caused by that speech.

    Mine can't be the only irony meter that has been permanently deformed by it...


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