Would you want to work for the NSA?

Information about various government spy programs has been flooding out into the public recently. From PRISM in the United States to an unnamed program in France, it feels like we're only touching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to governments' invasions of privacy. But even though it's a "government agency" that's running these programs, they require highly technical people to actually run the day to day operations. That's where you come in.

Near the conclusion of the 21st Def Con hacker conference, Motherboard asked attendees whether they'd be willing to work for the NSA. Not surprisingly, most people said that they wouldn't be interested. In fact, the most common response was, "Hell no!" That said, responses were varied and some people said that they'd enjoy the challenge and would hope that the people in those positions would be able to help reduce the size of the surveillance net. Mitch Stolz, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said:

Organizations are made up of people, and people can be good or bad. We can hope that those who do surveillance have a conscience that makes them think, 'maybe I won't make that request,' or 'maybe I won't query so broadly.'

Not everyone was against the idea. One attendee stated, "I have already applied for a job there. I like crypto-analysis, I love big data." Another, a retired Army officer, said, "Someone has to protect us, and sometimes you have to get your fingers dirty to do that."

So would you be interested in working for the NSA or another "spy" organization? Or does the thought of violating the privacy of the citizens you're supposed to be protecting take away the shine of such a prestigious post?

Source: Motherboard | Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Would you want to work for the NSA?

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Work for an agency which protects national security? It would be an honor.

People need to remove their tin-foil hats.

Hell yes! I would want to work for the NSA and unlike Snowden I would keep secret internal information - internal!

people either bring up children (you're falling for it.) or they bring up everyone is doing it, so it's okay. (stupidest argument ever.)

*face palm*, *sadness*

neither of those parties really give a **** about anyone.

Work for the NSA is like to work for the CIA : so-so salary, awful shift, lots of control and lots of pressure.

In general, work for the government is anything but an inspiring work. Instead, it trends to be surrounded by half-baked experts, disappointed workers and lots of contractors.

A high paying government job with full benefits? You would be an idiot not to. I don't care what they do if it meant a better life for me and my family.

Precisely. Working for the government may bite on a purely intellectual basis - however, both the pay and benefits are great (and, even when times are fantastic, typically much better than what is available in the private sector, especially in terms of benefits) and, in case of the intelligence community (CIA, NSA, and their equivalents in other countries) they offer paid training and education - a lot of which is uniquely available nowhere else. (Go back and read Colin Powell's "An American Journey" AND Richard Marchinko's "Rogue Warrior" - but concentrate merely on the education and training each received AFTER getting their officer commissions. Neither went to a service academy; Powell was CCNY ROTC, and Marchinko was an enlisted man who went to OCS.) And that's just the tip of the Ross Shelf-sized iceberg.

A government job with pays well with good benefits, solid retirement benefits, and the ability to say "I could tell you, but then I'd have to drone strike you." of course.

Javik said,
No damn way. I don't like lying to people

Or, things people say when their significant other knows their screen name.

maybe I will work for NSA, so they can arrest that evil impostor who stolen money from around the world over the internet for me then I retired. this evil impostor (woman) who blackmail many men for money from around the world.

The only government agency I'd ever consider working for would be NASA. Otherwise I'd want no part in any of the political BS that comes along with it.

I worked for NASA at Goddard Space Flight Center. There is a reason the NSA headquarters is 2 miles down the road, and Yes, I would work for the NSA.

Drewidian said,
I worked for NASA at Goddard Space Flight Center. There is a reason the NSA headquarters is 2 miles down the road, and Yes, I would work for the NSA.

Makes sense. We definitely don't want a security breach within NASA. That would be some expensive data to have exposed.

NASA has a huge number of Earth Observing Satellites used for GIS work, Weather forecasting and prediction, as well as monitoring the ozone layer and atmospheric conditions. There is a lot to study and understand about the Earth. Its also Hubble's operation site. Take from that what you will, but a lot of good comes out of there, but the NSA is just down the road.

Astra.Xtreme said,
The only government agency I'd ever consider working for would be NASA. Otherwise I'd want no part in any of the political BS that comes along with it.

Maybe you should study the relationships between NASA, *ARPA, and NSA.

(For starters, NASA + ARPA were created at the same time in '58 for military and non-military research; first NASA astronauts had several US Air Force personnel; IARPA is the DNI outfit led by someone with NASA and DARPA roots.)

I'm just sayin'... there's undertaking civilian projects, and then there's undertaking civilian projects.

And there is a crapton of crossover between the civil side and the military side -including between NSA and ordinary unclassified IT. Here's something all of you anti-NSA folk may want to think long AND hard about - ninety percent PLUS of all the supercomputer research, development, and funding on the planet can be DIRECTLY linked back to signals and electronic intelligence gathering (the technical term for what government agencies such as NSA (the US), GCHQ (the UK) and Er Bu (the PRC) do). Yes - that specifically includes organizations such as CERN (despite the general thought that a link between CERN and GCHQ, let alone NSA, would be laughable). Get off the high-horse, folks - as much as we may WISH to be in denial, the linkage is out there, obvious, and undeniable if you have any brain at all.

Someone has to do the dirty work for the government to keep this country safe, but personally, I would work for the NSA, if not, someone else would do that dirty work. No one said that freedom is free. We all have to pay for it one way or another.

RommelS said,
Someone has to do the dirty work for the government to keep this country safe, but personally, I would work for the NSA, if not, someone else would do that dirty work. No one said that freedom is free. We all have to pay for it one way or another.

Who do the dirty work, sooner or later, turn into a dirt people.

Depends on my job description, I guess. It's an unfortunate job: you learn the truth of what the NSA does and is capable of, and if it turns out the general public is freaking out unnecessarily or overestimating reality, you can never set them straight about it because such details are privileged.

Groups like the NSA by nature become shrouded in myth and conspiracy theory, and their policies only serve to escalate assumptions about them. We do *not* know the truth/full story about the NSA, but that never stops people from standing firm in an opinion about them. It never stops people from becoming emotionally invested or inflamed.

I think there are people who just crave feeling like they're part of a revolution, and they race head-first-eyes-closed in whatever direction best enables it.

I would, don't seam all that bad its well paid and stuff. If i didn't someone else would.. Does that make it right? Well morally no but i would rather be the one getting paid.

Why not get paid and get spied on when you can be the one spying on others and getting paid.

If they paid me enough and not ask/force me to do unethical things.
I mean spying on actual suspects is fine IMO. Don't think they're to interested with what the average Joe is doing in his daily goings.

I've had family work for them, and a few of them have been checked in a couple times for bad depression after working there for a few years... also you have to tell them all the time your vacation plans if you travel, your family even your direct family can't have a clue what you actually do.. even though you work for the NSA you tell people you work for the DoD... etc.... the background check irks all your neighbors they do ask everyone questions they can get to when you apply for employment...... I'd never do that

neufuse said,
I've had family work for them, and a few of them have been checked in a couple times for bad depression after working there for a few years... also you have to tell them all the time your vacation plans if you travel, your family even your direct family can't have a clue what you actually do.. even though you work for the NSA you tell people you work for the DoD... etc.... the background check irks all your neighbors they do ask everyone questions they can get to when you apply for employment...... I'd never do that

You'd have thought, being the NSA and all they wouldn't need to ask all that

Those questions are all part of getting a security clearance. That process is extremely invasive, but it's designed to be very thorough in order to find any potential security risks. Anyone wanting to get a job where a clearance is required should think twice and be sure they're prepared for that.

Nope, wouldn't do it. I despise the idea of the government spying on everyone, and hate that I live in a country that does it, so there's no way I could in good conscience accept a job doing it to others.

Rudy said,
I was online when I was a kid and I ended up just fine. The internet won't kill your children.
The internet won't kill your kids but predators will rape and kill male and female children.

Majesticmerc said,
Nope, wouldn't do it. I despise the idea of the government spying on everyone, and hate that I live in a country that does it, so there's no way I could in good conscience accept a job doing it to others.

I think if you don't like that you should fly to the moon (even there I think they can still see you) because all countries does that.

Rudy said,
I was online when I was a kid and I ended up just fine. The internet won't kill your children.

When I was young I connected to SooOOooo many random netmeeting chats!

doniam9 said,
Do you have kids? How do you protect them from online threats besides education?

I was online when I was a kid...probably about 12 the first time we got an internet connection. My parents never had to "educate" me or "protect" me. It's called common sense.

Majesticmerc said,
Nope, wouldn't do it. I despise the idea of the government spying on everyone, and hate that I live in a country that does it, so there's no way I could in good conscience accept a job doing it to others.

Well I can assure that you will not find a real country that doesn't spy on it's people or others to some degree.

Trollercoaster said,

I was online when I was a kid...probably about 12 the first time we got an internet connection. My parents never had to "educate" me or "protect" me. It's called common sense.

Your parents wouldn't even know how to protect you via education of online activity, since you're the start of the internet generation gap where that kind of thing simply wasn't and continues not to be taught. Your parents simply wouldn't have known right from wrong on activity online.
Even now we're only just having kids grown up and using the internet where their parents have had internet themselves growing up and have been able to see and deal with pitfalls of online activity.
These parents will have been blanketed with the idea of never give any details, name, locations etc out.,, certainly they'd have never been told it was acceptable to post pictures of themselves online for any random stranger to view. Of course, these were early internet assumptions, but now with the recent explosion of use and acceptability of the use of Facebook, that's all thrown to the wall.
This generation of kids and parents are told to and pushed into giving every last drop of information about themselves to everyone else online. It's unfortunate that its the way it is and anyone else who tries to say don't give your information out is told to put their tin foil hats back on.

We're in a weird transition, young adults who grew up with computers not consoles, yet computers are becoming a thing of the past and young kids who'll probably ever use a computer for anything other then a 'tool'. consoles and tablets, mobile devices is what they'll grow up with and their entire life is going to be marketed and used against them and it'll just be 'the norm' by that time.

S3P€hR said,

I think if you don't like that you should fly to the moon (even there I think they can still see you) because all countries does that.

Very true, doesn't mean I have to have to join in though

sagum said,

Your parents wouldn't even know how to protect you via education of online activity, since you're the start of the internet generation gap where that kind of thing simply wasn't and continues not to be taught. Your parents simply wouldn't have known right from wrong on activity online.
Even now we're only just having kids grown up and using the internet where their parents have had internet themselves growing up and have been able to see and deal with pitfalls of online activity.
These parents will have been blanketed with the idea of never give any details, name, locations etc out.,, certainly they'd have never been told it was acceptable to post pictures of themselves online for any random stranger to view. Of course, these were early internet assumptions, but now with the recent explosion of use and acceptability of the use of Facebook, that's all thrown to the wall.
This generation of kids and parents are told to and pushed into giving every last drop of information about themselves to everyone else online. It's unfortunate that its the way it is and anyone else who tries to say don't give your information out is told to put their tin foil hats back on.

We're in a weird transition, young adults who grew up with computers not consoles, yet computers are becoming a thing of the past and young kids who'll probably ever use a computer for anything other then a 'tool'. consoles and tablets, mobile devices is what they'll grow up with and their entire life is going to be marketed and used against them and it'll just be 'the norm' by that time.

Sure they knew and taught me what right and wrong were in the greater context. We were taught in school not to "talk to strangers" and such like. It's not hard to use the internet perfectly innocently and with no issue.

Covering kids in cotton wool just leads to children with no ability to adapt to their world.

doniam9 said,
The internet won't kill your kids but predators will rape and kill male and female children.
"predators" account for an extremely small portion of child abuse. the vast, vast majority is committed by someone the child already knows, mostly a family member (direct or extended) but sometimes also friends and acquaintances. by your logic we should in fact be removing all children from their families the moment that they are born, and never let them develop any close connection with any caretaker.

I'm amazed at how paranoid people are when it comes to the NSA. Believe it or not, the NSA isn't interested in your daily comings and goings and phone calls. Posting pictures of you and your stupid kids on Facebook (And believe me, *no one,* not just the NSA, cares about the photos of your kids but you) is more of a privacy risk.