Fwd: GNU hackers discover HACIENDA government surveillance and give us a way to fight back

Gabriel Niebler gabriel.niebler at gmail.com
Fri Aug 22 00:46:38 CEST 2014

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I'm sorry, I know this is OT for the list, but...

Am 21.08.2014 um 15:54 schrieb Robert J. Hansen:
>> GNU community members and collaborators have discovered
>> threatening details about a five-country government surveillance
>> program codenamed HACIENDA. (...)
> Also note that, contrary to the FSF's press release, this isn't 
> government surveillance.  It isn't even surveillance in the usual
> sense of the word. (...)

On the contrary, IMO this sort of thing is fully encompassed by the
word surveillance, at least as far as I have always understood it.
Otherwise any surveillance camera installed in a public or publicly
accessible place would not be one, by definition, since it is only
gathering publicly available information.

After all, when I go out of the house I cannot reasonably expect to
have all my actions and whereabouts remain private. I might meet
someone I know who would then know where and when they saw me.
And yet, if I was being either (a) systematically tracked through
cameras and face recognition software, or (b) followed by
people/drones (or (c), both) so my every step (in public, mind) would
be recorded, then I would absolutely call that surveillance. What else
could it possibly be?

And if a system was put in place that would simply track everyone as
in (a), then what else could we call it but mass surveillance? And
yet, it's only gathering publicly available information.

Of course, surveillance, _can_ mean a lot more than that:

> (...) But "surveillance" seems to mean something more: someone
> listening in on things that you have good reason to believe are 
> private.

I would call that espionage, snooping, spying etc., but yes, this also
absolutely falls under the heading of surveillance. It's just one
facet, though.

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