Edward Snowden wrote on social media to his nearly 6 million followers, “Do not ever trust @OpenAI … You have been warned,” following the appointment of retired U.S. Army General Paul Nakasone to the board of the artificial intelligence technology company.

Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) subcontractor, was charged with espionage by the Justice Department in 2013 after leaking thousands of top-secret records, exposing the agency’s surveillance of private citizens’ information.

In a Friday morning post on X, formerly Twitter, Snowden reshared a post providing information on OpenAI’s newest board member. Nakasone is a former NSA director, and the longest-serving leader of the U.S. Cyber Command and chief of the Central Security Service. He retired from the NSA, a position he held since 2018, in February.

Snowden wrote in an X post, “They’ve gone full mask-off: do not ever trust @OpenAI or its products (ChatGPT etc.) There is only one reason for appointing an @NSAGov Director to your board. This is a willful, calculated betrayal of the rights of every person on Earth.” He concluded the post, writing, “You have been warned.”

  • Flying Squid@lemmy.world
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    28 days ago

    Newsweek making it sound like Snowden is a James Bond villain issuing pronouncements from his skull-shaped island lair.

    • sunzu@kbin.run
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      Fake new always trying to get the clickbait up the algo chain

  • RememberTheApollo_@lemmy.world
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    Posts like these really bring out the Nextdoor app type lemmy people. Everything’s a conspiracy.

    Point is it doesn’t matter who they add to OpenAI, OpenAI is already a problem. There is no conspiracy, you missed the boat. Your data is already being scraped, traded and sold to the Nth degree by corporations, and the government just goes ahead and buys it instead of forming yet another agency to scrape it all themselves (yay, privatization?). OpenAI is just the next level of the same. Doesn’t matter who is on the board, the damage has already been done. So Snowden is way behind the times and frankly his commentary is irrelevant - or at least nothing that the news hasn’t been complaining about with the rampant theft of IP by AI makers for the last couple of years or more.

    • masquenox@lemmy.world
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      Snowden just said that they had gone “mask-off” - so I think it was just aimed at those who still refuses to believe it.

    • Lem Jukes@lemm.ee
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      exactly, anyone trusting AI companies in general beforehand and being swayed by this one statement from Snowden, doesn’t understand the technology or environment enough to be effectively skeptical in the first place.

      • RememberTheApollo_@lemmy.world
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        Thing is that Snowden isn’t really a figure I think most people would listen to. I think he’s cut off from any valuable information that would offer him anything groundbreaking to reveal and I think he’s probably somewhat isolated in his current situation.

        Edit: really? You downvoters just Snowden fans? Care to actually offer up a reason you think my comment isn’t right? Snowden is hiding out in a foreign country that has to keep him at arm’s length, trot him out when he’s useful, but not offer him access to anything actually important.

        • dwindling7373@feddit.it
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          He’s one of the most prominent privacy advocate in the world, maybe the most impactful in the history of digital technology. He’s relevant no matter the “quality of his sources”.

          In this instance specifically the topic is literally NSA.

          Are you for real?

          • assassin_aragorn@lemmy.world
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            Honestly one of the reasons I really respect him is that he can admit when he’s wrong. That’s a strong indicator that he’s genuine about what he says.

            In the lead up to the Ukraine war, he was on the “Russia isn’t going to invade, this is just fear mongering by the US” side of things. But after Russia did invade, he said that he had been wrong, and he was going to take a break from social media (probably because it would not go well for him if he further elaborated his thoughts).

            A lot of the people who were skeptics never admitted they were wrong. They just moved on and continued their bullshit. Snowden earned a lot of my respect for not being like them.

    • SamuraiBeandog@lemmy.world
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      So Snowden is way behind the times and frankly his commentary is irrelevant

      This is some heavy Dunning-Kruger.

      • RememberTheApollo_@lemmy.world
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        Every “bang” they hear outside from a car backfire is gunfire. Every “boom” sound is a potential bomb. Every terrorist or rapist wants to visit your boring suburban neighborhood and is creeping around in broad daylight walking down the sidewalk. Every helicopter flying over is something nefarious. The government is out to get you. A police car mentioned going anywhere with the lights on must mean a horrific murder or “Praise jesus lord protect our police” followed by a blue line flag pic.

        Every post warrants unsolicited derogatory political commentary, i.e. “Nice day outside…” followed by “Those fucking lying sleepy joe democrats are full of shit about climate change it’s fine outside!” Or some unsolicited “praise Jesus its a nice day you wouldn’t have the sun earth and stars if it weren’t for Jesus praise God you’re all sinners.” with a crapton of emojis.

        It’s an awful place. I briefly tried it for yard sales and looking for services like tree trimming, but it’s not worth it.

      • lud@lemm.ee
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        Dunno, but by their explanation it sounds like r/conspiracy aka the stupidest and most paranoid people alive.

        • Shadehawk@lemm.ee
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          R/conspiracy is just r/conservative for the extremely paranoid it’s all right wing talking point nonsense.

    • Mango@lemmy.world
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      You’d think the government couldn’t just pay others to do stuff they’re specifically not supposed to do themselves.

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    Strong down vote ratio…

    Can’t tell if “AI” bros or the spooks are butthurt today.

    • Flying Squid@lemmy.world
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      There are a significant number of people who also really hate Snowden for various reasons (he’s a traitor, he ran to Russia, etc.) and don’t care whether or not he’s making a good point.

      • dependencyinjection
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        He didn’t really choose Russia, it was the only country that would protect him from rendition.

        • Morgoon@startrek.website
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          Not even that. He was headed to Cuba, the US government forced him to be in Russia.

          “NSA leaker Edward Snowden got stuck at a Moscow airport after Cuba, feeling pressure from Washington, warned that it would not allow an Aeroflot flight from Russia to land in Havana if he were aboard”

        • Perfide@reddthat.com
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          Maybe at first it was a lack of options, but he’s absolutely become a Russian asset since then. Doesn’t mean he’s wrong about OpenAI, but still.

          • dependencyinjection
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            Would love some sources for that claim, if it isn’t just conjecture.

            Edit: Nice to be downvoted for not taking everything at face value and questioning people’s claims.

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              He’s not overtly pro-putin, but he did accept Russian citizenship and was denying the possibility of Ukraine being invaded until like literally the day before the invasion started, which was long after it was obvious Russia was planning to invade.

              • yamanii@lemmy.world
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                It’s as if the dude is protecting his life or something, maybe if the US didn’t want to basically kill him for exposing PRISM to the world.

              • Flying Squid@lemmy.world
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                He accepted Russian citizenship for his own safety so he could never be extradited to the U.S. and yeah, I’m not shocked he didn’t do something that would come with a big risk in Russia.

                So neither of those really work as accusations.

                • Perfide@reddthat.com
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                  He accepted Russian citizenship for his own safety so he could never be extradited to the U.S

                  He got Russian citizenship less than 2 years ago. Why was extradition suddenly a concern when it wasn’t for the previous near decade he had lived there without citizenship?

                  yeah, I’m not shocked he didn’t do something that would come with a big risk in Russia.

                  That’s the thing, he didn’t need to do anything. He could’ve just not said anything at all, but instead he was outright claiming the idea of Russia invading Ukraine was nothing but US propaganda up until like literally a day(iirc) before the invasion actually started.

                  You could argue he’s only acting as a Russian asset for his own safety, but he’s still acting as a Russian asset.

      • BezzelBob@lemmy.world
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        I always find it hilarious for the reasons people hate snowden, like I’m sure it’s pretty well known by know that he didn’t choose Russia, the US forced him to become stuck there when they voided his passport, also idk how they consider revealing illegal crimes against the people as being a trader

    • SkyNTP@lemmy.ml
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      Alternate explanation, from the normies: it’s a purely speculative claim with minimal argument.

      • MotoAsh@lemmy.world
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        Yes, a speculative claim … from someone who absolutely knows what the fuck they’re talking about.

        • chonglibloodsport@lemmy.world
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          That’s not good enough. There are countless cases throughout history of professors, scientists, and other public authority figures who have made well-reasoned, well-supported and argued claims and also made completely unsubstantiated rubbish claims.

          This is an unsubstantiated appeal to authority. Snowden is saying “trust me” but refusing to elaborate. Well, sorry, but no.

          OpenAI hiring a former NSA director raises a lot of questions and we in the public have the right to demand answers. If OpenAI refuses to answer or is otherwise evasive about their motives then we have genuine reason to be suspicious.

          I think overall we should treat ALL cloud service providers with the same degree of suspicion, regardless of who they hire. They are handling our personal data which is a serious responsibility that should not be betrayed.

          However, I think there is a legitimate reason for OpenAI making this hire: they want to market their language models as a tool for automated signals intelligence analysis. Hiring a former NSA director puts them on a fast track to getting the opportunities and intelligence community contacts they seek.

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            It is ABSOLUTELY good enough when the question is about TRUST.

            He’s not making positive claims that specific things will happen. He’s saying don’t trust putting a wolf in charge of the hen house.

            The fact you do not understand this basic tenant of life is frankly pathetic.

            • chonglibloodsport@lemmy.world
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              And I’m saying you shouldn’t be trusting any of these cloud providers implicitly, regardless of who they hire. A company needs to demonstrate trustworthiness first. Starting off from a position of trust is foolish.

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                Yes, it should start at not trusting them, but this move distinctly and specifically means they are EVEN LESS trustworthy.

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        There is deff speculative element to it. We dont have view of the inner workings and unlikely to see it besides bread crumbs that get leaked over years and astroturfed by the fake news.

        People still relying on propaganda networks do have weird idea that they knows what’s up… I guess it is easier to be simping for dudes in power after all. Makes you sleep better at night.

    • Lee Duna@lemmy.nz
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      I guess someone here said that Snowden is behind the times and his comments are not relevant? And try to downplaying something bigger that Snowden might suggest.

        • swayevenly@lemm.ee
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          Was looking up if that word meant something else and the first result was a British show called Spooks. My mom used to watch it but I didn’t recognize it because it was called MI-5 in North America since spook is a racial slur. Atleast it is in the US.

            • sunzu@kbin.run
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              spook as in undesirable government creep?

              because that title alone can be interpenetrated so many different ways without context

              PS i checked the wiki but now that i know the other meaning, i likely explains some of the weird takes i got in the past.

              • Cheradenine@sh.itjust.works
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                I always knew of spook as a racial slur, but never heard it used that way. Spook was always used as a government intelligence officer, like CIA , FBI , NSA , MI6.

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            Citation to the most authoritative source on the net: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=spook.

            spooks

            1. Government intelligence agents, see G-men.

            2. Anyone involved in espionage.

            3. Careful on this phone line, there could be spooks listening in.

            4. I heard this place was crawling with spooks, some kind of weapon of mass destruction is being sold or something. by Alan May 9, 2004

          • TachyonTele@lemm.ee
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            Spook is a term for intelligence agents. It is not a racial slur. Whoever you know that used it as a slur made it a slur by themselves.

            An easy way to see it’s not a racial slur in America is it’s use in culture, such as the X-Files.

            • gt5@lemm.ee
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              No, it’s both. It can be an intelligence agent. It can also be equivalent to the n word

    • Halosheep@lemm.ee
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      I would downvote simply because this type of community, “fuck whatever” exists solely as an echo chamber of internet hate train and is unlikely to ever produce anything of value.

      I would claim that it’s better to downvote to prevent other people from finding extremely biased posts from a one sided community such as this. There is no arguing in good faith here, only tribalism.

  • BuckFigotstheThird@lemmy.world
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    I asked AI what the torque spec was for my valve cover bolts and ruined my engine. 70ft pounds! I pulled the threads out at 20ft/lbs!

    just kidding. im not that stupid.

  • Fedizen@lemmy.world
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    This actually makes me think OpenAI is a straight up scam; this is the Elizabeth Holmes strategy.

  • mlg@lemmy.world
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    I’d honestly be more worried about the NSA abusing OpenAI and not the inherent data collection which they already have access to anyway.

    What if they target someone and give them a fake recipe for potato salad which turns out to be lethal.

    Okay that’s a dumb example, but do you get what I mean? They can arbitrarily send, insert, or delete data to a specific target if they want to. Would not be surprised if they already made their own in house tool for this like BeEF XSS to handle a bunch of targets at once.

    I know the easy stupid solution to this is not to trust AI output in the first place, but people are lazy and dumb too.

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    Does trust even come into it ?

    Is someone about to ask “hi please give me a checklist if things I must do to disassemble tyrannical power. You answer should be based on doing it next Thursday” … but shouldn’t, because the AI will snitch ?

    No disrespect to Eduardo, but these appointments are for credibility and influence more than anything else.

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      These appointments of credibility come with the appointees “Rolodex” and associations.

      I can get in rooms you can’t because of who I know and who I’ve worked with, even if I’m not relevant to that work. I am relatively a nobody in comparison.

      These appointees know who to know and who to talk to and more importantly are friendly and on a first name basis with them.

      It’s more than just “clout”

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      This assumes that OpenAI doesn’t have bigger plans than chatgpt which is…quite an assumption.

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          You basically said it’s not an issue because OpenAI is only a chatbot. OpenAI is already doing more than text and I’m sure they have loftier goals beyond what they’ve shown publicly.

          And even if it was just text, you don’t see an issue with the government shaping the responses it gives?

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    I didn’t trust Open AI before. But the the Kremlin signalling disapproval of it makes me slightly less distrustful.

    Sure they still suck, but at least they’re not on Putin’s side.

    • ealoe@ani.social
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      This is the correct answer whenever this Russian intelligence asset opens his mouth.

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    This kind of rhetoric is for conservatives / Trump supporters / conspiracy theorists.

    The way he implies there’s an agenda behind the hire without actually articulating it, the way he leads you on and then assumes you’ll take the implication for granted, an unearned “this is a very bad thing!”, capped with a cryptic “You’ve been warned!”

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      worked at the nsa

      hired to work for a company that scrubs the internet for data

      Yeah definitely just conspiracy theory bs. Thanks, cop!

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      I’m not sure what your credentials are in the surveillance “business” but I bet he’s seen, and experienced, even contributed to, sadly, a lot more than a random stranger on the Internet.

      I don’t like that he hints as scenario rather than being clear about it. I don’t like that a lot of his posts are political and seeding doubts about institutions… yet, again, based on his CV, he’s seen a lot more than anybody I know and thus his perspective, even his warnings, do matter.

      I’ll still draw my own conclusions, and keep learning about the topic, both the technology and who funds it, but yes I’ll be more wary since his tweet.

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    This guy worked at the NSA for 15 months total over a decade ago. He’s been an internet warrior in Russia since then. I’m not sure Snowden’s got the credentials to make him a good source of info anymore.

    • Flying Squid@lemmy.world
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      Maybe, but he’s not wrong that appointing a former NSA director to the board of OpenAI sounds really bad.

    • Psychodelic@lemmy.world
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      Dude’s an American hero!

      Maybe you don’t have the credentials to make an accurate assessment of his credentials

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        Yeah that comment got a weird vibe to it… As if the poster is glowing?

    • oce 🐆@jlai.lu
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      Watch Citizen Four documentary or read his book if you want to go beyond the internet surface, you’ll be better armed to understand his credentials.

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      Don’t really need the credentials here. The publicity is more important.