‘Treason’ And ‘Jail’ Deter Tech Leaders From Sharing NSA Spy Requests With Public

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Leaders at several major tech companies, including handlers of social media and Internet services, criticized the U.S. government this week for its ironfisted treatment of companies that repeatedly have requested permission to publicly reveal the scale of the National Security Agency’s court-sanctioned surveillance measures.

Speaking in San Francisco at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference — a major event that brings together industry innovators and potential investors — Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said the government’s approach to deterrence has been simple.

“Releasing classified information is treason, and you are incarcerated,” said Mayer.

That response came during a public Q&A, when someone asked Mayer why tech companies have been complaining in general terms about the NSA, but won’t release any information that reveals the nature the government’s demands. Yahoo has gone before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in the past, suing in 2007 for permission to publish information about NSA spy requests. But predictably, the government prevailed.

“When you lose and you don’t comply, it’s treason,” Mayer said.

Yahoo and Facebook have filed fresh lawsuits in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks, arguing that being muzzled by the NSA — with the entire world watching — isn’t just unConstitutional; it’s killing their business.

“Yahoo has been unable to engage fully in the debate about whether the government has properly used its powers, because the government has placed a prior restraint on Yahoo’s speech,” Yahoo argues in its filing. “Yahoo’s inability to respond to news reports has harmed its reputation and has undermined its business not only in the United States but worldwide. Yahoo cannot respond to such reports with mere generalities.”

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg resorted to generalities in his public comments at the Disrupt conference, but reinforced the Yahoo CEO’s assertion that the government is hurting American business and eroding faith in U.S. tech, even as it forces companies to keep quiet about its warrantless, illegal surveillance practices. “Frankly, I think the government blew it,” he said.

“The morning after this [Snowden scandal] started breaking, a bunch of people were asking them [the government] what they thought,” he said. “[They said] ‘don’t worry, we’re not spying on any Americans.’”

“Wonderful, that’s really helpful for companies trying to work with people around the world. Thanks for going out there and being clear. I think that was really bad.”

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • mathis1689

    The NSA is just like the rest of the Obama administration. They don’t give the faintest dam- about people or who are what gets hurt by their criminal activities. All they care about is getting and keeping unlimited power and they will do it by whatever way suits them the best-the Constitution and laws of this or any other country can go to he-l as far as they’re concerned.

  • wavesofgrain

    Yes, Obm was smart on this move. One of the first things he did after taking office in 09 was to call all the internet Gurus for a secret meeting. Jobs was the only one who held out, and express his disdain at the “ones” policies, telling him he was going to be a “one term” president.

    Zuckerberg is a hypocrite. He was the first one to bow to the “one”, so thrilled that this admin would seek out him to “use”. He immediately let all the Facebook info stream into the WH, even offering Gibbs a job. He has been complicit in funneling our info to the government. If all those Internet Social Sites had said NO right from the start, we would not be in this mess. But, like all young Liberally Indoctrinated Products of the American Universities, they felt honored to help create a covert, corrupt, spying nation, eradicating our privacy and rights.

  • jon in san jose

    ALL these complicit CEOs are cowards. Their personal concerns surrender our speech and freedom. Let them hold separate but loud press conferences, then hold out their wrists for Gestapo arrests! Just maybe some clandestine trials and disappearances can reverse our descent into hell. There is no other way.

    • Robert Messmer

      WTG for volunteering someone else to disappear!

      • jon in san jose

        When a well-known person is threatened by unjust laws, and that person speaks out, govt action (disappearing) is MUCH harder to disguise, so it is unlikely. A bunch of high-profile people do this, and the (our) govt is likely stymied.

        • Robert Messmer

          Car accidents happen every day of the week, even to rich, well-known people. People drown, fall down elevator shafts, even commit suicide-remember Vince Foster?

          • jon in san jose

            If I can recall Vince Foster, I thought he was an “Arkancide”.

            You make a valid point; I had not thought seriously enough that we have a desperate govt., more than capable of doing desperate things.

  • jollyroger

    “They who would give up essential liberty for a little safety deserve neither and shall have none.” Benjamin Franklin.
    “Government is not reason. It is not eloquent. It is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and fearful enemy.” George Washington.
    The more we allow these gangsters in D.C. to strip away our unalienable rights, they, then , will not stop until the government has complete and total control over all our lives, including our lives.

    A lawless, unconstitutional ,corrupt mob now rules the nation. Murder, wars, drug trafficking and spying on its own citizens is no mark of a free republic. Neither are 300 FEMA camps, The DHS that has purchased nearly two billion rounds of ammo, much of it .40 caliber hollow point as well as 2700 MRAP Armored vehicles and a large hidden army made up of foreign soldiers. All run by zionist neo-con, Bolshevik jews.

    The nation and its government are bankrupt…fiscally and morally.

    The Constitution and the Bill of Rights will continue to be damaged until their is nothing left but tyranny.

    America has nothing exceptional any longer. It is nearly finished. What’s coming in our future is too terrible for most people to accept.

  • Michael Shreve

    To the U.S. government, telling the PUBLIC the truth is an act of TREASON. Apparently the ONLY freedom the government is WILLING to permit is the freedom FROM knowledge. Ignorance ISN’T bliss, it is TYRANNY.

  • Haymster

    As once free Citizens of this country we are now prisoners in an massive gulag.

  • StinkBomb Jones

    This may be the key issue in the Republic right now!! The whole Syria thing as Wayne Alan Root said this week is a WMD…WEAPON OF MASS DISTRACTION!
    But, this is the way the forces of darkness work…DEM , GOP is does not matter, more & more freedoms are squashed as the new administrations take over, thus what Bush2 started is intensified & accelerated by Obummer, would’ve been similar if Romney won, too!

  • TNS

    Releasing classified information is treason, and you are incarcerated,” said Mayer
    So when will the people at NSA be locked up for releasing Americans private info to Israeli intelligence?
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/11/nsa-americans-personal-data-israel-documents#comments

    • KENYAN KRUSHER

      When there is a proper & victorious revolution!

    • Robert Messmer

      I’m sure their rational would be that since they gathered the “data” that it belongs to them and it is only classified when, where, and how they say it is. Therefore not classified since they are turning it over to their counterpart of a long time ally.

  • Vis Fac

    Treason can only be charged by the government and those who believe differently than our government are labeled as traitors. Anyone who believes in what our founding fathers fought for is labeled a traitor those who plan, prepare, and are responsible are traitors, so are those who work and pay taxes. Those on government support and vote DUMBOCRITIC are not traitors which seems to be about 60% or so.

    We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.– Abraham Lincoln

    Libertas inaestimabilis res est

    Semper-Fi

  • Gimmesumadat Whatyougot

    When rounding up wild mustangs, or buffalo, the range riders work from the back of the herd, pushing them forward. They tend to start stampeding, which creates the ‘follower’ herd mentality. All the while believing they are still running free.

    It’s not until the herd gets close to the end, do they see that there are walls closing in on their flanks. They cannot stop or turn around without getting trampled to death. With the last free breath they have, they move into a gated funnel into a containment coral or (internment center).

    Run while you think you are free. It does not matter!

    • wavesofgrain

      Gimmesumadat….I love your analogy!!!

      • Gimmesumadat Whatyougot

        Thanks WoG,

        I’m tired of using straight forward informative comments. Too many differing opinions, often running into argumentative individuals that have little imagination or intelligence. Or are just determined to blow their cover as a mole.

  • NObama_Holder_Reid_Pelosi_2012

    Yes Zuckerberg is largely to blame for being more than willing to accommodate the Government spying. Hopefully some other social media will come out that competes with facebook so people can switch over and put zuckerberg out of business.