Transcript: Episode 55 (NSA)

Leland: NSA, if you’re listening, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter!

Virginia: I thought you were going to say, “If you’re listening, give us a sign.”

Andrew: They’re probably already following my email and probably Nick’s too.

Leland: Earlier in chat at work, just to be a dick, I was spamming the word “Allah” and “bomb.”

Andrew: Did you see on Funny or Die that the way to combat Prism is for everyone to talk like a terrorist all the time.  Instead of “I love you,” you say, “Death to the infidels.”

Virginia: “Jihadists forever”?

Andrew: Yeah.  It was really great.  We’ll just make surveillance useless.

Leland: So what are we talking about tonight?

Andrew: We’re talking about the fucking NSA spying on people.

Virginia: Did anyone in here not suspect that?

Leland: I’ve read about Carnivore and stuff like that for a while.  We previously talked about conspiracy theories.  There are some major invasions of privacy perpetrated by our government every single day.

Andrew: In hindsight, it’s kind of obvious.  Basically, Prism documents show that these companies built APIs without much fight.  From a programming standpoint, that seems like the easiest way to get it.  I’m surprised no one working at these companies caught on to that.

Leland: Maybe their CIO’s knew, but certainly not the underlings.

Andrew: Someone had to write and maintain the API.

Virginia: If you think about it from the company’s standpoint, they probably said to themselves, “We can either devote a team of 10 people to handling all of these requests, validating the information, and sending it back or we can hire five programmers and just maintain an API.”  I bet it was a cost benefit.

Nick: I bet Google was the only one who did that.  All the others probably would have thrown people at it.  Google was the only one who said, “We don’t throw people at anything.”

Andrew: Apparently all of Google’s stuff is by hand.  It came out that they even said, “No,” to a lot of these things.

Leland: A few months ago, there was  a story out that Google announced that they had received requests from the NSA, CIA, and other governmental agencies.  They said, “No.  Bring us a warrant.”

Andrew: That’s fairly ballsy.  Look at the cautionary tale of that guy, the CEO, who refused the NSA.  He lost all of these government contracts as a result, and then they put him in prison for insider trading.  That’s super scary.

Virginia: The article I read was a little more damning of the CEO.

Leland: What was your article’s take on it?

Virginia: It was that he did stand up to the government and that he was arrested for insider trading later on.

Katie: That’s a nice Segway to an Ayn Rand quote.

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