How and why Silicon Valley turned on Obama

“In the months leading up to the 2012 presidential election, Silicon Valley was squarely in President Obama’s corner,” Dana Liebelson reports for The Week. “Google’s executive chairman coached Obama’s campaign team; executives from Craigslist, Napster, and Linkedin helped him fundraise; and when the dust settled, Obama had won nine counties in the liberal and tech-heavy Bay Area, scoring 84 percent of the vote in San Francisco. But a little over a year later, following explosive allegations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that the government is exploiting tech companies to spy on Americans, some members of Silicon Valley are taking a new perspective: ‘F— these guys.'”

“That’s what Brandon Downey, a security engineer with Google, wrote late last month, upon learning that the NSA had broken into Google and Yahoo and was exploiting the data of millions of users, allegedly without the companies’ knowledge. He added, ‘We suspected this was happening, [but] it still makes me terribly sad. It makes me sad because I believe in America… The U.S. has to be better than this,'” Liebelson reports. “Executives at Google, which issued a polite denial when the first revelations about PRISM came out, were publicly furious over the new revelations (which the NSA denied): ‘We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks,’ David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, told The Verge. This is the same company that in October 2012 gave $342,409 to Democrats and only $37,250 to Republicans, according to data from OpenSecrets.”

“Many techies may be regretting such investments. ‘There’s a strong libertarian streak that dampens support for the Obama administration… Entrepreneurs don’t like the government telling them what they can or can’t do with their bodies or their wallets,’ says Craig Montuori, a Caltech aerospace engineer who designed data systems for the Chris Christie campaign in 2009 and worked in the field for Obama in 2012,” Liebelson reports. “Sina Khanifar, a programmer and activist who helped launch Stopwatching.us, a coalition demanding more information about NSA surveillance efforts [said], ‘One of the biggest advantages the Obama campaign had in the last election cycle was the technical team that wrote their grassroots organizing software. The NSA revelations have seriously damaged technologists’ trust in government, and I think recruiting a similar team for the next elections would be much more difficult.'”

Liebelson reports, “Spokespeople for the big-name tech companies wouldn’t comment on the record for this article, but they’ve nonetheless taken covert action to protect user privacy. Microsoft, for instance, signed on with Apple, Google, and other companies to voice support for full-fledged NSA reform. ‘Companies are beginning to realize that… the NSA is actively hacking and targeting [them], putting all of us at risk,’ says Mark Jaycox, a policy analyst and legislative assistant for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: United States Constitution, Amendment IV:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Join The Electronic Frontier Foundation in calling for a full congressional investigation here.

Related articles:
U.S. NSA secretly infiltrated Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say – October 30, 2013
Obama administration decides NSA spying is ‘essential,’ but oversight of NSA is not – October 8, 2013
Apple’s iPhone 5s with Touch ID seen as protection against U.S. NSA – September 16, 2013
German government: Windows 8 contains U.S. NSA snooping back doors; too dangerous to use – August 23, 2013
Report: NSA can see 75% of U.S. Web traffic, can snare emails – August 21, 2013
NSA can read email, online chats, track Web browsing without warrant, documents leaked by Edward Snowden show – July 31, 2013
Momentum builds against U.S. government surveillance – July 29, 2013
U.S. House rejects effort to curb NSA surveillance powers, 205-217 – July 24, 2013
Obama administration scrambles to shut down imminent U.S. House vote to defund NSA spying – July 24, 2013
Obama administration demands master encryption keys from firms in order to conduct electronic surveillance against Internet users – July 24, 2013
Apple, Google, dozens of others push Obama administration to disclose U.S. surveillance requests – July 19, 2013
Secret court agrees to allow Yahoo to reveal its fight against U.S. government PRISM requests – July 16, 2013
How Microsoft handed U.S. NSA, FBI, CIA access to users’ encrypted video, audio, and text communications – July 11, 2013
DuckDuckGo search engine surges 33% in wake of PRISM scandal – June 20, 2013
Yahoo: Since December 2012, we have received up to 13,000 U.S. gov’t requests for customer data – June 18, 2013
Apple: Since December 2012, we have received U.S. gov’t requests for customer data for up to 10,000 accounts – June 17, 2013
Nine companies, including Apple, tied to PRISM, Obama to be smacked with class-action lawsuit – June 12, 2013
U.S. lawmakers urge review of ‘Prism’ domestic spying, Patriot Act – June 10, 2013
PRISM: Do Apple, Google, Facebook have an ethical obligation not to spy on users? – June 8, 2013
Plausible deniability: The strange and unbelievable similarities in the Apple, Google, and Facebook PRISM denials – June 7, 2013
Google’s Larry Page on government eavesdropping: ‘We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday’ – June 7, 2013
Seecrypt app lets iPhone, Android users keep voice calls, text messages away from carriers, government eyes and ears – June 7, 2013
Obama administration defends PRISM data-collection as legal anti-terrorism tool – June 7, 2013
Facebook, Google, Yahoo join Apple in sort-of denying PRISM involvement – June 7, 2013
Report: Intelligence program gives U.S. government direct access to customer data on Apple servers; Apple denies – June 6, 2013

106 Comments

    1. The idea that I know what I’m signing up for with Google, any gnome out there should understand that. But the Government is to be PROTECTING us from intrusions beyond what we were told – not joining in on the party and going above and beyond!

      Any Government that is big enough to give you everything you need, is big enough to take away everything you have.

  1. It’s still amazing that what was so obvious to some of us was so easily hidden from so many.

    Finally the easily-duped awaken. A bit late, but whatever. The stage is now set!

    Experience and character matter.

    1. Here’s the problem:

      Obama is afflicted by crippling narcissism, has zero practical experience for the job, and was basically handed everything he has on his resume on the basis of “affirmative action.”

      I know, I know, I’m a “racist” for stating the truth.

      I’m a self-hating Black man, I guess. Either that, or I have enough brains to be able to think for myself and clearly see an empty suit for what it is.

      1. No.

        Analyzing by knee-jerk reaction is what makes Apple analysts so dumb and it also applies to people’s views of politics.

        It is important to have the NSA watching out for us and protecting us from terrorists- vitally important and the Obama administration was the one administration that did not give up on hunting down Osama Bin Laden and eventually got him through intelligence gathering.

        I do agree that the NSA should respect our privacy but we also have to understand that even before the NSA, the rule of thumb was and is that EVERYTHING that goes on in the internets is subject to disclosure no matter what the rules or law say. I’m ok with snooping on transmissions but breaking into company systems isn’t cool.

      2. Ronald Reagan predicted the Obamacare disaster back In 1961.

        Reagan predicted the disaster of Obamacare, and for the specific reasons we see unfolding right now. But if Reagan’s analysis is correct, the worst is still to come.

        As Reagan said in 1961, one lie leads to another. In modern times we’re supposed to be cynical about government deceptions, but Obama’s promise is arguably the greatest single lie in the history of American politics. Reagan also said at the time, “Well, we can’t say we haven’t been warned.”

        More: Ronald Reagan predicted the Obamacare disaster back In 1961.

        1. Ronald Reagan… He also predicted that his best buddy Saddam would one day be the threat to the world.. Oh, wait, no, Reagan was helping to arm Saddam, and Rumsfeld was busy giving him hand jobs while Dick Cheney’s company was arming him to the teeth with the very weapons that later killed Americans!

          Reagan’s real actions make him look like an insane leftist compared to today’s GOP or Obama.

          Reagan:
          Tripled the national debt.

          Signed an immigration reform bill that granted blanket amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.

          Talked with terrorists and sold them arms.

          Raised taxes 11 times. In fact, he raised payroll taxes in order to pay for government-run health care.

          Expanded the size of government and created new federal departments.

          Cut and ran, withdrawing troops from hostile regions.

          Put two justices on the Supreme Court that voted to uphold Roe v. Wade.

          Reagan closed tax loopholes to ensure “every corporation pay their fair share.” Sounds like a goddamn liberal fruitcake, eh?

    2. Right. They should’ve supported Mitt Romney, who stormed the campaign trail vowing to take a sledge hammer to the NSA and our overreaching national sec—oh wait, no, he did none of that. Instead all of his plans consisted of making the rich and powerful more rich and powerful, and that’s why he lost.

      1. The Beatitudes According To Obama Messiah:

        1. I will have the most transparent administration.
        2. I have Shovel ready jobs.
        3. The IRS is not targeting anyone.
        4. If four Americans get killed, it is not optimal.
        5. There are going to be bumps in the road. (referring to Libya and Egypt protests/attacks).
        6. ObamaCare will be good for America.
        7. You can keep your family doctor.
        8. Premiums will be lowered by $2500
        9. You can keep your current healthcare plan
        10. Just shop around, for that healthcare I claimed you wouldn’t lose.
        11. I am sorry you lost your healthcare, (you know the health care you have to shop around for, ya the same health care I said you could keep, yup, that’s the one).
        12. I did not say you could keep your health care. (Regardless that 29 recorded videos show I did)
        13. ObamaCare will not be offered to illegal immigrants.
        14. ObamaCare will not be used to fund abortions.
        15. ObamaCare will cost less than 1 Trillion Dollars.
        16. No one making under $250,000 will see their taxes raised one dime.
        17. It is Bushes fault. (this can be inserted in between every statement).
        18. It was about a movie.
        19. I will fundamentally transform America.
        20. If I had a son.
        21. I am not a dictator.
        22. I will put an end to the type of politics that “breeds division, conflict and cynicism”.
        23. You didn’t build that.
        24. I will restore trust in Government.
        25. The Cambridge police acted stupidly.
        26. I am not after your guns.
        27. The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. The BHO of (2006).
        28. I have been practicing…I bowled a 129. It’s like — it was like Special Olympics.
        29. “If I don’t have this done in three years, then this is going to be a one-term proposition.
        30. I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.
        31. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.
        32. The Public Will Have 5 Days To Look At Every Bill That Lands On My Desk
        33. It’s not my red line it is the worlds red line.
        34. Whistle blowers will be protected.
        35. We got back Every Dime we Used to Rescue the Banks, with interest.
        36. I am good at killing people.
        37. I will close Gitmo. (but instead built them a $750,000 soccer field).
        38. The point I was making was not that Grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn’t, but she is a typical white person
        39. I am not spying on American citizens.
        40. By, on, on, by, Friday uh afternoon things get a little uh, uh challenged uh, uh ( when left to think for himself without a Teleprompter).
        41. I am a Christian.
        42. John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith.
        43. It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy.
        44. UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems. (Attempting to make the case for government-run healthcare).
        45. What’s good for illegal immigrants is also good for people who are losing their health insurance because of Obamacare.

        And the biggest lie of all:
        I Barrack Hussain Obama pledge to preserve protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

          1. Artist, what has obama done for you lately? 🙂
            Is your artwork selling? Or is it that starving artist work that sits on display waiting to be picked up at your local thrift store?

    3. “The stage is now set!”

      For what? Another Neo-Conservative takeover on the order of George W Bush? That corrupt administration were the crooks who STARTED the entire treasonous, unconstitutional mass surveillance of US citizens on US soil. Yeah, some brilliant alternative you have set up to take over in 2016, idiot ‘First-Then’. Who’s REALLY ‘easily-duped’ around here?

      Yeah, it’s you.

      Bury BOTH parties and ‘Move On’ to sane, truly representative, uncorrupt politicians. Burn down the old school. No Democraps OR Retardlicans allowed.

    4. Hey buddy! I’m glad to see you’re here. Easily duped. That’s not a new one. Seems to apply to you. I bet you a dollar you’ve never posted here about technology. Just your silly little politics and such.

        1. I remember well during and after both of the recent POTUS elections (2008 and 2012), whenever a sensible person made predictions about what a disaster B.O. was gonna be, all of the self-absorbed “good people” would shout in unison, “RACIST! RACIST! RACIST!”

          Nowadays though, now that it has become painfully obvious that those “RACISTS” were correct in everything they predicted, the “good people” are typically doing one of two things:

          A) Making excuses, doubling down, and shifting blame — such as blaming “Faux News” (clever stuff), and/or talking about George Bush;

          or

          B) Hiding their little heads in shame and embarrassment.

          One thing they are definitely NOT doing — because they haven’t the capacity of a normal person — is to come clean, give a mea culpa, and apologize for the destruction wrought by B.O. — the guy who got their panties all moist because he was black, Democrat, liberal, and smooth liar capable of duping unthinking people.

    5. Hey man! Your political heroes are all assholes.Get a life, get a clues. Get a haircut.

      Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul. All great Americans one and all. There’s a tracks record for you.

  2. Crocodile tears from Google. So it’s all right for Google to collect information about users and provide it to advertisers?

    I find it absurd that Google would complain about NSA doing the same thing they are doing.

    1. I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Romney is a man who has demonstrated much character. He might have seen what’s going on and been appalled. He might have reigned it in.

      One thing’s for sure, Romney knew how to get things big things done well — see his resume, an actual resume that qualifies him to be U.S. Pres. unlike the doofus in there currently — he certainly would have repealed and replaced the Obamacare fiasco already.

      Elections have consequences. Experience and character matter.

      1. Gawd, you do so ignorantly drone on and on.

        Tossing in important generalizations doesn’t help your case. The bums you support are just another gang of crooked thugs. No thank you. Not now. Not 2016. Not ever again.

        Third parties: Get busy being better.

        1. The claim that both parties are the same is a lie.

          For example, Republicans have been telling you, Obama, Reid, Pelosi, the media, etc. for years that Obamacare would be a massive failure and hurt millions.

          Republicans do not believe in central planning every aspect of your life. Republicans believe in personal freedom much more so than statist Dems/Libs/Progs. Republicans certainly do not believe that D.C bureaucrats should come between you and your doctor. There were zero Republican votes for Obamacare. Republicans have voted 46 times to repeal or dismantle Obamacare before it started to wreak havoc on the country.

          There is a difference between The Democrat and Republican parties. A huge difference.

          Those who say otherwise are nothing more than Dem/Lib/Prog apologists or their parrots.

          1. Both parties ARE the same:
            Bought
            Sold
            Crooked
            Puppeted
            Worthless
            Unrepresentative
            Unconstitutional
            Unworthy
            Unwanted
            Unredeptive

            Get rid of them!

            And please do STFU as I requested. The more you spew this stuff, the bigger the embarrassment hole you dig for yourself.
            Go
            Get
            Some
            Sane
            Perspective.
            It’s
            Good
            For
            You.

            Does that help you understand?

            Now back to having a sane USA, a role model for the world we can all approve of.

            1. There is a difference between the Democrat and Republican parties. A huge difference.

              Those who say otherwise are nothing more than Dem/Lib/Prog apologists or their parrots.

            2. First 2014, Then 2016, I can only guess that you’re really the IBM Watson debugging program, clearing the detritus from the system in hopes of optimizing performance.

              The only fact I know is that you people on the right worry more about your penis size than is necessary in a modern world.

              Mr Currie is right. The more you open your mouth, the dumber you sound.

          2. “The claim that both parties are the same is a lie.”

            “There is a difference between The Democrat and Republican parties. A huge difference”

            That’s the only factual part of your whole statement.

            Please tell us of their failures that hurt millions?

            Maybe the stock market, no that bottomed out at about 6500 after a high of over 14000 shortly after Obama came into office and now is well over 15000.

            Maybe unemployment, no as the unemployment rate was going up for the last 8 months under Bush before Obama took office and continued to rise for another year before beginning to come down. Now if you can provide evidence where the unemployment rate stabilized under Bush before he left office?

            Maybe it was the US auto industry, no that was the fault of the capitalist incompetent managers that ran GM and Chrysler almost into liquidation and required two presidents, Bush and Obama to save GM, Chrysler and Ford though they never took money they knew if the other two went down so would they. Today all companies are doing great.

            Maybe starting the Iraq and Afghan wars, no that was Bush at a cost of almost 5000 US lives and many more injured and at a cost of trillions. President Obama ended both wars saving US lives and billions of dollars.

            Republicans don’t believe in much if any planning let alone laws. They believe a person should be free to be poor and in poor health for them selves and their family. And when you get old have your family enjoy their freedom by taking care of elderly relatives and a tremendous cost to them.

            The republicans have been voting to repeal Obamacare since 2012 at a current cost of over $60 million dollars for the 46 time they voted for this. This is time they could have spent doing actual work. Considering the full effect of the law doesn’t take effect until 2014, please provide evidence of it destructive force.

            1. Bush invades Afghanistan, Bush pulls many resources from Afghanistan to go into Iran that had no connection to 911 or WMD or amything, but they have OIL, Bush spends inherited budget surplus on wars and tax breaks that wreck the US economy…

              yet President Obama is responsible for the Afghanistan war and republicans fix things. Given that logic and mindset, you should agree with the following math equation:

              2 + 2 = 3.14

      2. Really? Why was he afraid to provide his tax returns? Why did he need to have Swiss bank accounts? No President should need to be that secretive, unless he needs to be sure he stays out of jail.

        1. Really? Why was he afraid to provide his college transcripts? Why did he need to photoshop his birth certificate? No President should need to be that secretive, unless he needs to be sure he stays out of jail.

          And, by the way, Romney released his tax returns. The Romneys chose not to deduct all of the $4 million in charitable donations they made in 2011, as the full deduction would have reduced their tax rate: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10000872396390444032404578010451626055738

          1. Romney’s non-disclosure is fact. Your allegations about Obama are from some looney-world right wing entertainment source. I keep forgetting your tenuous grasp of reality.

            1. One of those was not the final return, just a doctored snapshot of what he wanted to show pending the election. The final will not resemble the showpiece.

              Every other candidate has provided 10 years of history. What was Romney trying to conceal?

      3. That’s amusing considering that Romney’s one accomplishment as governor was passing obamacare.

        Oops, I’m sorry, romneycare, which was supposed to be the model for the country until he flipped again…

        To such an extent that at the convention that nominated him there were two versions of his autobiography being handed out….

      1. My wife (Ph.D) and I (MS & M.Arch) are very active in the Liberty and TEA Party movements. I have spent an extended time in both Communist Eastern Europe (1986). I’ve been to Auschwitz, Berkenau, Treblinka, Chelmo and Dacau concentration camps. I believe place me in a much better position to determine what a Fascist is and isn’t. Bluntly, Obama’s statist beliefs, coupled with his lack of respect for the rule of law (F&F, Benghazi, IRS targeting, changing legal dates for ACA to take effect, NSA ease dropping, EPA targeting of opponents, excessive use of Executive Orders, and on and on) is much closer to the Fascism of Hitler and Mussilini. I really doubt you can honestly compare folks who strongly believe in free markets, personal liberty, personal responsibility, and limited government in the Fascist camp. Plus, as a Constitutional Libertarian, I have zero tolerance for racism and have never seen these views expressed at any Liberty, Bastiat Society, or TEA Party meeting. If I did, I would reject these groups immediately. That said, I do see a lot of racism from the Left – in particular Rep. Grayson (directed at Allen West), Sen. Liz Warren (1st woman of color teaching at Havard Law – who the Cherokee Nation says has zero native blood) and the race baiters Sharpton and Jackson. Compare the rhetoric of any of these folks with the tactics used in the rise of the Nazis in Germany or the Socialist take over of Eastern Europe or most currently Venezuela.

    2. Agreed. People keep claiming that their candidate wouldn’t do that, but the truth is any government at any time is looking for ways to gather information, legally or not, and the NSA is solely focused on information gathering. On Americans in particular.

      Would Romney have stopped the NSA program or curtailed it? I doubt it, but I also doubt he would continue to proclaim that he didn’t know anything about XYZ scandal that makes front page news. Agree with his political views or not, Romney is a man of much higher character and integrity than Obama, and that has been proven by Obama’s own actions.

  3. This is a problem that’s been building for over half a century. It seems that no president has been able to stop the cancerous growth of the NSA. The misnamed ‘Patriot Act’ really opened the floodgates. People were frightened enough by 9/11, but then the constant drumbeat from the media and opportunistic politicians provided a blank check for the spooks.

    Obama–whom I generally support–has missed an opportunity to start turning back this flood. His failure to do so has been my biggest disappointment. He and Congress still have time to make a down-payment on a fix. But I fear it’s going to take several administrations to pull the reins on this one.

    1. You cannot vote for a total neophyte and expect anything significant to be accomplished (unless you’re a drooling idiot).

      You can hope audaciously all you want, but you might want to try reality for a change next time.

      Elections have consequences. Experience and character matter.

      1. Here’s the deal. No President has ever reduced the powers of the office. GWB made a huge power grab under the guise of the Patriot Act. That genie’s not ever going back into the bottle, unless Congress grows the stones to repeal it and enact corrective legislation (by a 2/3 majority). Not going to happen. Not Obamas fault.

      2. Offer some trustworthy ‘Experience and character‘ and I’ll respect you. Until then… Just take it to the bathroom dude. I don’t want to watch. I don’t want to listen. I don’t want to smell it. It’s your problem, not mine. Keep it to yourself or go get yourself some sane perspective. It’s good for you.

      3. Oh, so I guess you didn’t vote for McCain/Palin, either?

        I mean, if you’re talking “neophyte,” Palin is the poster child. After all, having her in charge of the Senate would have….oh, wait…that’s what SHE thought the VP did….never mind.

        If you voted for Palin to gain ANY authority, you seriously need to STFU.

      4. Cannot vote for a total neophyte?

        You mean a neophyte like an oil man’s son who never ran any business other than taking out an oil drilling license, paying himself $150,000 salary, then filing bankruptcy? All without ever drilling a drop of oil.

        Or do you mean a neophyte who’s big ticket to the presidency was “Daddy said I should be elected… WHAAAA!!! Uncle Cheney will help me reach the pedals.. He pwomised!! Can we invade some stuff now?”, kind of neophyte?

        Yeah, we certainly don’t want to elect that kind of idiot again.

    2. Exactly. See Jimmy Carter’s attempt to reign in the security state and secret alliance with Saudi Arabia. We got the oil and hostage crises, which magically disappeared when Bush Sr. and Reagan got into office.

  4. What I find hilarious is that Google was upset at the search and seizure when they rip open your emails, emails from others to you for “marketing”. Yeah, ok, Google, be upset, puhlease.

    1. “Yes we can.” Pfft.

      Can do what? Schedule tee times?

      Why would you believe someone who claims they can do things who has no practical experience of doing so for such a big job?

      Why?

      Managers at McDonald’s are subjected to more vigorous vetting and they don’t have the Candy Crowleys of the world covering their incompetent asses during their job interviews, either.

      Experience and character matter.

      1. And you know about this McDonald’s training first hand?
        It makes you small when you need hyperbole (badly executed at that).
        You lost the last three elections. You will lose forever by only taking that fat old white man politics you’re espousing. Gravity will suck you down. You are irrelevant.

    1. You lie. Because you’re a Dem/Lib/Prog and, if you ever told the truth about your agenda, you’d never win an election in this country.

      Example:

      Your latest lie: MDN always edits out “President”

      The actual facts:

      Rush Limbaugh: No, Mr. President, Apple did not have a glitch

      Mitt Romney: Does President Obama think Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple?

      U.S. President Obama confirmed Apple iPad owner (with photo)

      There are plenty more where that came from.

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