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, 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


    1. In 1790, the Congress of the United States enacted that:

      “If any person or persons, owing allegiance to the United States of America, shall levy war against them, or shall adhere to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States, or elsewhere, and shall be thereof convicted on confession in open Court, or on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act of the treason whereof he or they shall stand indicted, such person or persons shall be adjudged guilty of treason against the United States, and SHALL SUFFER DEATH.”

    2. Botvinnick, I can see you in my mind’s eye. 320 pounds, tee shirt 4 sizes too small, angrily typing away because even your dog has too much sense to listen to you.

  1. What’s amazing to me is that these smart tech guys keep falling for the liberal drumbeat, and then they’re incensed when the liberals do exactly what they say they’ll do — put government in control of everything.

    The only way government can control people, companies, etc. is to pass laws restricting activity or requiring specific activity. In other words, take away freedom of choice and replace it with government choice.

    It must be that these tech guys were so angry at Bush that they heard what they wanted to believe. The crazy thing is they did it twice with Obama.

  2. Let’s be honest here. Who proposed the NSA power grabs and Patriot acts months before 9-11? GW Bush and Dick Cheney.

    Who incessently called any Democrat questioning the establishment of a secret police state “terrorist lovers”? GOP.

    Suddenly, over a decade and half later, we hear GOP screaming like stuck pigs about lost liberties? Give me a goddamn break.

    Dick Cheney is still giving interview about how only liberal/communist/terrorists care about the constitutional rights of Americans to this day.

    ENOUGH with the bullshit about this being Obama’s fault. Obama didn’t establish the police state. Obama didn’t draft the Patriot act. Obama didn’t run ads terrorizing America for a decade and declaring that nobody has any rights to privacy.

    1. Yes, that’s right, nothing’s Obama’s fault. The narcissist-in-chief is a master of the they-a-culpa and his brain-dead supporters, what’s left of them, lap it up like lemmings.

    2. You don’t have a good grasp of reality or history. After 911, Bush allowed LIMITED eavesdropping of people suspected of terrorist activity. Under Obama, hundreds of millions of innocent people have been eavesdropped on, as is well known. It is Obama’s fault you clueless left-wing lemming.

  3. Divide And Conquer!

    The oldest trick in the book.

    Find a way to polarize society and you paralyze society to the point of submission. Brilliant.

    Unity is the only solution to this divisive world.

  4. Doesn’t matter who’s in the White House or Congress right now. The NSA runs the US, and by extension most of the western world. All the Washington crowd are permitted to play with are the window dressings.

    You guys need to take back your country. The rule of paranoia that has taken root is infecting the rest of us.

      1. I looked at an old SAT prep book from when they had the analogies section and saw:
            botvinnik :: wit
        stone :: _____
          a. air      b. water      c. cloud      d. bicycle

  5. I’ll skip reading the partisan raging that will inevitably come out of this article and just say this: All that’s left now is to start changing (as opposed to amending) the Constitution. I wonder if that’s already being done?

    1. I read an interesting article the other day that claimed the Framers never intended the Constitution to be an immutable document carved in stone, but one that would evolve along with the country. While seeking a balance to prevent bad changes, they underestimated the growth of the difficulty of any change. The certainly didn’t anticipate the rise of the current class of Strict Constructionists whose main desire is to freeze the world in a 1790 stasis.

        1. You certainly are having trouble with reading comprehension today.

          Ah, well. I have to go make a comprehensive exam for a masters student, so it’s back to work. Thanks for the entertainment, botvinnik. But given the number of posts you make, you really need to get outside and get some exercise! Otherwise you body will go the way your mind has… 😆

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.