236: TZ Discussion – Don’t Surveil Me, Bro!

Justin and Jason discuss the NSA domestic surveillance story, including James Bamford’s 2012 Wired article on the subject, how Edward Snowden revealed classified documents showing Hong Kong hacking targetswhether the fallout will effect US businessesthe NSA’s definition of “collect”, why Snowden leaked to Glenn Greenwald, the change in poll numbers on the subject, Jason’s cheeky idea for an NSA video game and strategies for monitoring and storing vast quantities of domestic surveillance data, the NSA whistleblowers Thomas Drake and William Binney, the problem with partisanship, candidate Obama debating president Obama on government surveillance, how Microsoft is giving away zero-day exploits to the government, what Jason would do if he was working at Google and received a National Security Letter, how the vast majority of terrorist plots were helped along by the FBI and how the NSA missed all of the most recent terrorist plots including the Boston Marathon bombings, the Church Committee and Operation Mockingbird, the nature of power and the fundamental law of human nature, predictions on what will happen to Snowden, the TechZing wiki, Justin’s authentic dim sum experience at Lunasia, how economic mobility has been decreasing in the United States, Jason’s recent trip to San Diego and Sea World, Jonathon Kresner’s Airpair, some ideas for how to market AnyFu, why Justin is putting Pluggio on FlippaWorld War Z and the robot Justin didn’t buy.

Executive Producer: Jonathon Kresner

  1. dave says:

    Whats the link to pluggio on flippa?

  2. Justin says:

    @Dave – I have altered the flippa link in the show notes above. Thanks.

  3. Guyon says:

    Do you really think the US would invade China? If spying and hacking can be considered an “act of war”, how do you think infiltration with military personnel would be viewed?

    PS. Justin you keep saying “The truth lies in the middle”. That’s only half true.

    PPS. I’d watch out for those farmers in Nebraska. It’s always the quiet ones that are most dangerous 😉

  4. John T. says:
  5. Jason says:

    @Guyon – No, I don’t think the US would actually invade China – we prefer to pick on countries with strategic resources that we can push around ;), but the US will attempt to contain and marginalize China in any way it can. After all, there can be only one! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqcLjcSloXs

    You may be right about those Nebraska farmers. I’ve had my suspicions. 😉

  6. Jason says:

    @John T. – Yep, I watched that clip the other day. Russell Brand is hilarious.

  7. Andrea says:

    Love the title ! LOL

  8. Jason says:

    @Andrea – Yeah, I thought of that title the night the story broke. Glad you like it. 😉

  9. Good way to get caught up on the whole PRISM story!
    I enjoyed the whole conversation on what democracy should be all about.

    I created a new topic: “Letters from the Dark Side”!

    I expanded on Ben Boyter‘s series of pages related to donations and included all producers and grand patrons – including our new donor: Jonathon! 🙂

  10. Hello from a South African sheep farming town, 200kms from anywhere, at 3.40am in the morning.

    Yes. Your last broadcast has had me up all night.

    Well almost..

    About anyfu. I’ve been clicking around on there for a while. I am thinking about doing my first Titanium project and I was looking for someone to help me get off the ground.

    I didn’t make the leap and get in touch with an expert.

    You then mentioned airpair. I went to their site and signed up straight away.

    The difference is that they let me put my project out to tender vs having to pick someone explicitly. This is an issue I’ve been wrestling with a lot myself on our own marketplace websites. The experts would much rather be just called upon when someone is ready to hire them. From a consumer perspective, its much easier to simply post up your requirements and get a list of bids.

    I’m sure you guys have been around the houses as regards which model works best, but its pretty clear to me that the latter will generate more projects. For the last six years we’ve adopted the former approach but its becoming pretty undeniable that letting people post a project drives more completed jobs (which is the ultimate aim).

    Just thought I’d leave my unsolicited advice somewhere so I can get it out of my head and back to sleep.

    Keep on rocking.


  11. @James Hello from New York.

    I would have be inclined to agree but a couple years ago, I (a software consultant) was tasked with building a component in flash/flex, a technology with which I have very little experience, and decided to give anyfu a try.

    Of course I’m biased, being a looooong time techzing listener, but in one hour I was able to learn more about action script than I would have been able to learn in 3 days otherwise.

    I had already dived in and built a crappy prototype, but there were fundamental things about the technology that I didn’t understand, like the module system, and the details of type checking.

    My employer was happy to save a bunch of time, and that one hour paid itself back many times.

    Anyway, that’s the end of my Anyfu testimonial haha

  12. Jason says:

    @James Kennedy – Yep, Airpair certainly has a different approach than AnyFu. It will be interesting to see which model works better, if they both work, or if they just appeal to different types of people in different situations (which would be my guess).

  13. Jason says:

    @James Robert – Thanks for the ad hoc testimonial! It’s great to hear that AnyFu worked out so well for you. 😉

  14. David says:

    @Justin….you’ve probably already seen this, but just in case:


    ….seems there’s a glaring omission in their directory:


    @Jason….I was thinking about Uber today as I read a bit more about their expansion into Asia (I am in Thailand, which sadly isn’t among their initial markets). Any chance you could inspire some of the Uber team to launch a podcast, perhaps in the vein of the StackExchange podcast or the Evernote podcast, both of which are often quite interesting?



  15. Jason says:

    @David – An Uber podcast…? That’s actually kind of an interesting idea. Rather than just having a company blog, you have a company podcast. I like it. I’ll consider pitching it to them to see if there’s any interest. But you know who’d end up being responsible for it though, right? Me. (sigh) On second thought… 😉

  16. Aaron says:

    Reading the discussion from @James Kennedy above about AnyFu, I had an idea that you guys might consider. The choice seems to be between:
    – customers doing the research and choosing the expert (which I agree puts a little extra barrier to getting the sale)
    – customers posting their requirements and experts “bidding” on them (which doesn’t seem like it will work with the caliber of experts you’re getting here)

    A third approach that would split the difference between the two is this: allow customers to post their requirements, then have a VA find the expert that matches those requirements and make the connection. That way neither party has to put a lot of effort into making the match.

  17. Jason says:

    @Aaron – Are you trying to tell me that the truth lies in the middle? (sigh) 😉

  18. Justin says:

    @jason – ha

  19. Aaron says:

    @Jason I considered slipping that line in somewhere but thought better of it.

  20. Richard says:

    I just listened to episode 32 for the first time – a classic. Justin wasn’t sure what to do with Pluggio and thinking about selling it, Jason started using version control, there were cognitive biases and AppIgnite was two weeks away 🙂

    It may be too late to vote now but I prefer the name TechZing to Generation 0 anyway.

  21. Jason says:

    @Richard – “AppIgnite was two weeks away.” Ouch! 😉

  22. Richard says:

    @Jason – to be fair I think you said two weeks until you had something working, not a release. And it was still a Secret Project then.