Today’s TED Talks (from Vancouver, Canada) is worth a listen. What Edward Snowden says about the internet, pertains and resonates for me re FATCA:
It too bothers me so much for people to say “if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” You’re giving up your rights! You’re saying “I don’t think I’m going to need them — “these guys” are going to do the right thing.” I agree that: Your rights matter because you never know when you’re going to need them. They should not be taken away without due process.
Privacy — What does it matter?
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Here’s the explanation to the “secret court” reference: How a Court Secretly Evolved, Extending U.S. Spies’ Reach” by CHARLIE SAVAGE and LAURA POITRAS, NY Times, MARCH 11, 2014
and here’s a link to the: TED talk video, including transcript
Many interesting points, among them:
Who I am (Edward Snowden) doesn’t matter at all.
We don’t have to give up our privacy to have good government.
Is it really “Terrorism” we’re stopping? Or is it that justification provokes an emotional response? (Just as justification of FATCA as the term “Tax Evasion” provokes an emotional response.)
Re NSA “Boundless Information terminology” and how much interception: NSA says to tell you that would invade your privacy.
More communications are being intercepted by the NSA in America about Americans than in Russia about Russians.
Related: Debates: Does the NSA mass surveillance program violate privacy and due process?
Or some ask: Does Edward Snowden even exist?
With NSA Mystic program, they are sucking up 100 % of target countries telephone conversations for replay later if they want. It is a 30 day buffer.
From the Washington Post…
NSA surveillance program reaches ‘into the past’ to retrieve, replay phone calls
USA to you, YOU HAVE NO PRIVACY! Get used to it.
Will Brocker Admins follow recommendation Nr 1 from Ed and switch SSL on for ALL IBS pages? Thanks!
1000’s of Americans who had nothing to hide and did nothing wrong are languishing in jail, some on death row. Innocence is no defence against a system determined to punish someone or anyone to prove it is doing something.
Here’s the explanation to the “secret court” reference: “How a Court Secretly Evolved, Extending U.S. Spies’ Reach” by CHARLIE SAVAGE and LAURA POITRAS, NY Times, MARCH 11, 2014
and here’s a link to the: TED talk video and transcript
I made this comment on my Facebook page: Well, I am not buying the bull-crap in the media about Ukraine. Obama has no respect for international law or the Constitution of the United States for that matter. So why does he invoke international law and the Constitution of Ukraine now as a weapon against Russia? It is very inconsistent and I don’t believe him. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what is truth, as Pontius Pilate asked, “What is truth?” But other times, it just easier to figure out who is lying to you.
Thank you very much, Seniorexpat. I have UPDATED the post with your important links.
Every brilliant word coming out of Snowden`s mouth shows how deeply he has studied the predicament and understood the problem.
“If you’ve done nothing wrong, then you’ve nothing to hide.”
Whenever someone says something like this, I ask them if I can have their online banking login or their voicemail messages and email archives. They should have no objection to this right?
How about asking them for all their financial info also? Just like we have to… ask them for that… & see if they will fork it over without a fight… I have nothing to hide either… neither do u… but its no one’s business what I have… what I write… what I call about… When people say they got nothing to hide & I ask them for the private info… they get all offended & pissy… so that helps me to explain fatcrap to them
Polly, I saw that interview of him from Russia and I agree, he is brilliant and very articulate too. A true American hero.
I like what one former NSA director said to those who think that having nothing to hide is their best defence against persecution by the US or any other government:
It doesn’t matter what you think – it’s what the government thinks.
Snowdon knows how to deal with the Americans. I cannot underestimate his brilliance.
Yes- a hero. I hope he wins the Nobel Prize. But even more- I hope he has kept the world from becoming a nightmare because people will react to his disclosures.
The “nothing to hide” people are on a slippery slope and that argument is such a diversion. It’s not about people having anything to hide. It’s about asking if you have ANY rights to privacy as an individual in a free society? If you do not then at least we can be clear on it and not derail the argument.
Mr. Snowden is trying very hard to keep the conversation on point. You cannot nor should you ever concede your rights. The first time you do it leaves you wide open. ANYONE having that much power will indeed eventually abuse it. History has shown over and over that when people give in to such over reach that sort of power is always abused.
I won’t engage with people making the silly “I don’t care if they see all my information because I have nothing to hide” That assumes anyone objecting has something to “Hide” Wanting privacy rights is then equated with “hiding” No, it’s just my right to my own information what is left of those rights anyway that I feel ought to be protected. Soon enough they’ll have all our salaries listed on an open web page with some good reason why all of us even though not government employees will need to do that too. It started with the Patriot Act shoving out that boundary further and further. We were told the NSA was NOT going to collect private data on average citizens who are not suspected of any wrong doing. That was a lie. FATCA claims it is only going after “tax cheats” that too is a lie. No one knows where on earth your banking data will land up or who will have access to it OR what they will do with that information.
What if in the future they decide it’s okay to tie banking data to health insurance companies? You know to be able to prove you were not “doing anything wrong” by buying an ice cream cone while having high blood pressure? There are a lot of ways such information could fall into the wrong hands or even into hands that could penalize you for what you buy, how you spend etc. Snowden rang a huge warning bell as did Tice before him and Thomas Drake. People are fools not to listen to this and to draw a line in the sand. No more. FATCA is wrong because it drag nets innocent individuals in the same manner NSA has done with NO evidence of ANY wrong doing. So people making an argument of “I don’t care I haven’t done anything wrong” stupidly assume you have to have done something wrong for this to affect you. No, we’re now on the road to where you didn’t need to have ever even had a jay walking ticket to have all your rights taken away.
Was it CCLA that coined this phrase (or something like it): If you have nothing to hide, why wear pants?
Perhaps they’ll say here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U11boJmDQ68
CBC Radio, Day Six: “Cdn. and U.S. Secret Surveillance Courts Explained”
CBC Radio, Day Six: “Inside the Secret Courts”
I’m reading Glenn Greenwald’s new book “No Place to Hide” about Edward Snowden and the NSA. In addition to revealing the frightening reach of the NSA into personal privacy worldwide, there is the observation by NSA people themselves that one of the motivations for NSA surveillance is economic power. Here are a couple of quotes from an internal NSA presentation titled “The Role of National Interests, Money, and Egos”:
Greenwald adds, “Such profit and power have also inevitably accrued, of course, to the surveillance industry itself, … ”
Substitute “financial information exchange” for “Internet” and “tax compliance industry” for “surveillance industry” and we have a description of US extra-territorial tax policies and FATCA. The motivations remain the same as for NSA surveillance: profit and power for the US.
While the real motivations for both NSA secret surveillance and FATCA bank-assisted surveillance are money and power, the US government has felt it necessary to present (mostly) fake motivations to cover the real ones: “stopping terrorists” in the case of the NSA and “catching tax cheats” in the case of FATCA.
Did they ever think of why terrorists hate the US… as all this is unfolding… I can now understand… US seems to think they are the only ones important… there word is it… didn’t we have someone in canadian parliament say… congress has spoken… we should make sure his name is out there… so when its time… the 2nd class citizen he wouldn’t help can kick his butt to the curb… cause we have spoken
I have just finished reading Glenn Greenwald’s excellent book, “No Place to Hide”. Besides detailing Edward Snowden’s revelation of massive secret surveillance by NSA, Greenwald has written excellent chapters on “The Harm of Surveillance” and “The Fourth Estate”. Many of his conclusions can be applied to FATCA-style surveillance and to the cowardly behaviour of establishment press media in covering it. Here are some quotes on the latter aspect:
FATCAfather Richard ‘Dick’ Harvey has promoted the benefits of going beyond the purported purpose of FATCA re taxes – by conflating ‘protecting’ the US tax base (the entire globe) with combating organized crime, money laundering and terror funding.
Richard Harvey, father of FATCA advised that FATCA information demands applied to account holders would sell better if linked to preventing terror funding etc. – i.e. it would sell the intrusion more effectively and make it easier to justify:
He has repeatedly said things like this; “….it may be easier politically to justify detailed customer due diligence if it is being done for a joint purpose (that is, both tax reasons and anti-terrorist-financing/money-laundering reasons). ” http://www.taxanalysts.com/www/features.nsf/Articles/7FE9806866554F5985257A5500712E6D?OpenDocument.
Tax Analysts note:
…”……….Harvey suggests that Treasury and the IRS may want to increase coordination with Treasury’s anti-money-laundering/terrorist financing arm. Detailed customer due diligence may be easier to justify if it is being done for both tax and anti-terrorist or anti-money-laundering reasons. “…
August 9, 2012
FATCA — a Report From the Front Lines
As James Jatras notes this too in his excellent comments here:
“It should be further understood that any data transmitted by foreign financial institutions will not be confined to the IRS but will be handed over (“upon request,” of course) to other “three-letter” agencies of the U.S. government. The following is from a 2012 letter from Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan), a prominent FATCA supporter, to then-IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman:
“Although FATCA is structured to address offshore tax abuse [Note: this is itself inaccurate, as FATCA includes not a single provision targeting actual tax evasion activity], offshore account information has significance far beyond the tax context, affecting cases involving money laundering, drug trafficking, terrorist financing, acts of corruption, financial fraud, and many other legal violations and crimes. Given the importance of offshore account disclosures, FATCA guidance and implementing rule should create account FATCA forms that are not designated as tax return information but, like FBARs, may be provided to law enforcement, regulatory, and national security communities upon request. FFIs are not, after all, U.S. taxpayers, and will not be supplying tax information on behalf of their U.S. clients; they will instead be providing information about accounts opened by U.S. persons. The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that bank account information is not inherently confidential but is subject to inspection by law enforcement and others in appropriate circumstances. Foreign account information is too important to a wide range of civil and criminal law enforcement and national security efforts to be designated as tax return information bound by Section 6103’s severe restrictions on access.” [emphasis added, source: http://bsmlegal.com/PDFs/CarlLevin.pdf ]”
@badger, thanks for those reports. It’s understandable that the US government would try to combine FATCA with anti-terrorism and anti-money-laundering activities. It’s all part of its attempts to replace the Constitutional requirement for search warrants by widespread information-gathering from people who should be presumed to be innocent. It seems that only court actions in both the U.S. and Canada can counter those attempts.
Harvey, Levin, Treasury, etc. are deliberate in selling FATCA in any way they can, and craft their messages to do so – no matter how much misinformation and distortion that requires. They will not let any mere impediment of ethics or justice or harm to the innocent get in their way. Anyone who like Harvey states that the efforts to implement FATCA worldwide must continue despite the harms and burdens that he acknowledges (in part) in his article for those who are merely trying to hold normal legal banking, investments and even mortgages in Switzerland, have decided that their desired end is worth ANY means and any ‘unintended’ consequences for untold numbers of the millions of USPs abroad.
@WhiteKat, love the quote about the pants as a rejoinder. So, why is it that US homelanders don’t have to drop their pants completely too? Why don’t they have to provide the EXACT equivalent of what FATCA is demanding of those outside the US. The US should go first if they have nothing to hide.