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In a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee today, NSA boss Keith Alexander once again claimed that the big NSA surveillance programs had stopped terrorist attacks. One of the key points that officials have been making in defense of the NSA surveillance is this idea that even if they're collecting all this data on your communications, they can't actually do anything with it, because they keep it safely locked up in a lockbox, and only check it if they have some bit of data they want to find out about later. We've already had a few posts discussing why the whole "if you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to hide" argument is bogus, but this weekend's edition of the radio show This American Life had a fantastic short section in which the host, Ira Glass, spoke to lawyers for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, who are all pretty certain that every one of their phone calls is being recorded and listened to. This seems a bit wacky. MPAA boss Chris Dodd has been named the chairperson of the "advisory council" for "free speech week" in 2013. The latest to speak out against NSA surveillance is "every geek's uncle," Steve Wozniak, who explained that "this is not my America. Gears of War designer Cliff Bleszinski has weighed in on the subject of used games in light of the Xbox One's antipathy towards them. So, over the weekend, the Washington Post revealed some of the code names for various NSA surveillance programs, including NUCLEON, MARINA and MAINWAY.
The revelations of Edward Snowden about the NSA's snooping of citizens both inside and outside the US are posing more questions than they answer at the moment.
Japan recently agreed to join in the negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that has many significant problems, which we've been highlighting for years. Late Sunday, the Guardian revealed that during the G20 summit in London in 2009, the UK government made sure to intercept phone calls and internet communications of foreign politicians and officials who were attending.