Friday, June 07, 2013

Should We Overload PRISM?

Like every other even vaguely sensible American, I'm furious to learn about PRISM.

However, like any good liberal, I have a tendency to be too open-minded to take my own side in an argument...  I really would like to hear the case in favor of this. Is there something we don't know? Say, three or four loose nukes known to be in the hands of al Qaeda and bound for the U.S.? I'm operating on the assumption here that the NSA isn't just a bunch of totalitarian lunatics...

But...assuming that there isn't a pretty astonishing rationale for this, it seems fairly clear that the program has to be stopped. But what if we can't manage to get it stopped through the ordinary channels? After all, we thought we were putting a stop to this sort of thing by electing Obama, who claimed, roughly, that there would be no more illegal wiretaps were he elected. Simply making the illegal wiretaps legal obviously isn't going to count as living up to the spirit of the promise...

Well, as a more-or-less last resort, should we consider overloading the system? That is, making it useless by making sure that all of us, in a high percentage of our phone call, texts and e-mails, include some words or phrases that should count as something flagged by the system? So, for example:

Date: 7/6/2013
Sender: Longtimereader@fake.com
To: philosoraptor@gmail.com
Subject: Your bullshit
Winston,
Bomb bomb bomb. Listen, how many times do I have to tell you that you are full of shit? Uranium Sarin Will you PLEASE JUST QUIT POSTING THIS NONSENSE???? Make 9/11 look like Mardi Gras. I'm not even going to waste the electrons trying to straighten your sorry ass out anymore laser base on the moon. In short, STFU.
Death to America,
etc

I don't suggest this lightly, and, of course, hope that (a) there is not some threat out there so awful that PRISM is, in fact warranted, and that (b) the public outcry will force the government to back down on this. I also, of course, realize that I may be missing something here, and that this program may be less outrageous upon reflection than it seems at first contact. But I'm just floating an idea in case it's as bad as it seems and we can't get action on it in a less drastic way. It seems that one strength of this plan is that it won't work unless a lot of people participate, so a few cantankerous cranks can't sink the system--only fairly widespread opposition to the system could sustain such an effort (if even that could).

So there's an idea.

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