Opportunity for public comment on NSA surveillance

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is seeking public comment on:

how in light of advancements in communications technologies, the United States can employ its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while respecting our commitment to privacy and civil liberties, recognizing our need to maintain the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosure.

Thanks to the EFF for finding this opportunity.

This was my response:


I am a ten year veteran of the U.S. Navy and of the Afghanistan war.  I am proud of my service and I consider myself patriotic but I am despondent from the NSA mass surveillance programs.  I realize there are those out to harm the United States; but the so-called security gain from the NSA’s mass spying effort is not worth compromising our constitutional values.

As a computer science researcher, I know the power of machine learning algorithms.  A database containing the quantity of telephone metadata can be used with traffic analysis to reveal intimate details, as revealing if not more than the content of the message itself.

With such a database, it is too easy to abuse the power and it is not surprising that it has already been abused.  For example, the act of LOVEINT, using NSA assets to spy on love interests, is insulting to the American people.  I know from my time in the Navy, if a shady practice has an unofficial name, the practice is wide-spread.

As a naval officer, I was constantly aware of the public’s trust.  The Navy’s core values are honor, courage, and commitment.  When officers betray that trust, for something like falsifying a single report, they are relieved of their commands.

Where is the accountability with the NSA?!  If this was a Navy ship, it would not be allowed to go to sea until it proved it was worthy.  Stop the mass surveillance and hold the NSA senior leadership accountable for violating the public trust.

Josh Datko

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