“The web that many connected to years ago is not what new users will find today. The fact that power is concentrated among so few companies has made it possible to weaponize the web at scale.” —Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web

“Let’s build a comprehensive database of highly personal targeting info and sell secret ads with zero public scrutiny. What could go wrong?” —Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay

“It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. The inventors, creators — it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.” —Sean Parker, first president of Facebook

“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. This is not about Russians’ ads. This is a global problem.” —Chamath Palihapitiya, former VP of user growth at Facebook

“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility. I’m sorry.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and Founder

New York Magazine has a great article interviewing the tech experts who created our digital world.  They have regrets and warnings.  But more importantly, they reveal how and why they did what they did.  Read more in The Internet Apologizes.

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The US House Intelligence Committee has released, with Presidential authorization, the memo detailing alleged abuse of government surveillance powers by the FBI and DOJ.  Direct links to the memo are available here and here.  (The second link at docs.house.gov is currently slow, probably due to traffic.)

My analysis of this short document is that the FBI did in fact withhold source information from the FISA court about the Steele Dossier and about data from Fusion GPS, despite having this source information at the time of the initial FISA application and subsequent required renewals.  These sources (primarily Christopher Steele and Nellie Ohr) have obvious biases and conflicts of interest that would taint any evidence provided to the FISA court.  Multiple levels of FBI and DOJ administrators knew of these problems, but signed off on the surveillance requests anyway.

I am neither a lawyer nor a national security specialist, but I see no reason this document was ever classified, except to protect the names of DOJ and FBI administrators who signed off on the FISA requests, especially since the contents of the dossier and other Fusion GPS data was leaked to the press some time ago.

 

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Former Director Comey has given testimony repeatedly that the FBI has followed all rules and laws regarding FISA and other restrictions on using surveillance data on US citizens.  But recently published declassified memos show that this is NOT true.  In fact, the FBI, working with the NSA, accessed, reviewed, used and shared data on private citizens contrary to the law.  You can read more details, and view the declassified memos, here: http://circa.com/politics/declassified-memos-show-fbi-illegally-shared-spy-data-on-americans-with-private-parties

According to the New York Times – yes.  Here are excerpts from an article published in the NYT on 1/19/17:

WASHINGTON — American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said.

and

The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.

and

It is not clear whether the intercepted communications had anything to do with Mr. Trump’s campaign, or Mr. Trump himself.

Note the language: “intercepted communications” and “some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.”  This certainly warrants (no pun intended) an investigation into the Obama Administration’s actions.

 

 

 

The traditional American system was a system based on the idea that the majority will prevail only in public or political affairs and that it was limited by unalienable individual rights.  Therefore, I do not believe that a majority can vote a man’s life or property or freedom away from him.   – Ayn Rand