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Day 5: An army of grad students for the FISC judges
The United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has eleven judges, each serving out a seven-year term. The court is responsible for judging what's an acceptable privacy intrusion and what's not, for each and every request made by the NSA and other intelligence agencies.
These requests number in the thousands, and the court has been accused over and over again of rubber-stamping the requests. Obviously with the level of technical and national security detail each petition contains, it's impossible for the judges to review each in anything resembling sufficient detail.
Our first thought was to gift each judge with one of those always-full stamps, so they wouldn't have to take time to first stamp for ink, then rubber stamp the petitions. But that seemed too small for eleven people with such enormous power. Then we thought we'd just simply let them out of their terms, so they could be subject to the potential of untold surveillance like the rest of us.
But then we hit on it. What they really needed was the ability to research each and every petition down to a level of detail that actually protected American citizens. They needed to do this fast, constantly, and without stopping.
A moment of thought and we realized there's an entire class of people who are used to working constantly, with no appreciation, doing research for others, and even paying for the privilege: grad students. So as a way to increase the FISC output and increase quality, we gift to the the FISC judges as many overworked, underpaid, nearly starving graduate students as they need to keep American safe and our privacy protected.
Day 6: A copy of the Constitution for all our lawmakers
The NSA disaster seems to have taken the wind from the sails of such inadvisable legislation as another CISPA attempt and a rewritten, renamed SOPA. After all, if the NSA seemingly can spy on everyone and everything (they can't) and can share all that with anyone they want (they can't), why should we have laws on the books that allow the US government to increase its cybersecurity surveillance and communication?
Even though we've had a relatively quiet period of congressional digital legislation stupidity, don't expect that to remain true. Behind the scenes, behind the backs of American citizens, lobbyists are searching for new ways to restrict Americans' rights, reduce our access to fair use, and tie us down to rules never intended by the original founding fathers.
So, to every representative and senator, to every congressional staffer, and even to every scumball lobbyist in Washington and L.A., we gift a copy of the United States Constitution. Not only is it interesting reading (who knew these were our freedoms?), it's the law.
Day 7: The Cloak of Honesty and the Helm of Accountability for Big Internet
Oh, the challenges of being a Big Internet company. If you consume more electric power than Peoria, if you look at a river and don't think "pretty" but think about how many generators you can use with it, you know you're one of those Big Internet players. You're Facebook and Google and Microsoft and Apple and quite a few others, the companies we've long trusted with all our information, our schedules, our social graphs, and our kitten and baby pictures, not to mention the occasional presidential selfie.
Now, after all the years of building up an almost blind level of trust in your users (who act more like fans and acolytes than mere customers), the news media has seen fit to publish the Snowden documents showing that you're supposedly in cahoots with governments all over the world.
Now, we all know that if any of the Big Internets are cooperating with governments, it's either because they're running government services on their clouds (oh, if only Healthcare.gov had gone that route), or because the law requires them to turn over bits and bytes to Big Brother.
For months now, the Big Internet firms have been fighting to be allowed to disclose just what it is they're being forced to turn in to the government. To these companies, we offer the gift of transparency. As we reach deep into our bag of gifts, we shall provide to you the finest of all cloaks, the Cloak of Honesty and -- for those truly fit to serve -- the Helm of Accountability.
We recommend you put on these wonderful garments and even, perhaps, parade around the streets of Mountain View, Cupertino, and Redmond. Just stay away from people who might confuse transparency with, you know, no clothes.