Tangent — Which Character Would the NSA Play in Lord of the Rings?

Brandon Downey, a network security engineer at Google, may have a clue:

October 30, 2013

This is the big story in tech today:


I’m just going to post my thoughts on this. Standard disclaimer: They are my own thoughts, and not those of my employer.

Fuck these guys.

I’ve spent the last ten years of my life trying to keep Google’s users safe and secure from the many diverse threats Google faces.

I’ve seen armies of machines DOS-ing Google. I’ve seen worms DOS’ing Google to find vulnerabilities in other people’s software. I’ve seen criminal gangs figure out malware. I’ve seen spyware masquerading as toolbars so thick it breaks computers because it interferes with the other spyware.

I’ve even seen oppressive governments use state sponsored hacking to target dissidents.

But even though we suspected this was happening, it still makes me terribly sad. It makes me sad because I believe in America.

Not in that flag-waving bullshit we’ve-got-our-big-trucks-and-bigger-tanks sort of way, but in the way that you can looked a good friend who has a lot of flaws, but every time you meet him, you think, “That guy still has some good ideas going on”.

But after spending all that time helping in my tiny way to protect Google — one of the greatest things to arise from the internet — seeing this, well, it’s just a little like coming home from War with Sauron, destroying the One Ring, only to discover the NSA is on the front porch of the Shire chopping down the Party Tree and outsourcing all the hobbit farmers with half-orcs and whips.

Read the rest here.


  1. Skynet eat your heart out. Call Sarah Connor.

  2. Would NSA play Boromir – means well, but gets carried away by potential power etc. Note he redeems himself at the end!

  3. Sarah Connor would kick some ass, but she wouldn’t know whose ass to kick in this situation. Therein lies the problem with something like NSA. It’s an invisible target for the most part. No cyborgs are evident. Oh sure it’s an agency that can be dismantled, but this need to watch everything I believe goes beyond NSA.

    Boromir? I’m going to have to think about that one. If I had said America playing a part in LOTR, then yeah, sure, but the NSA is not America although I think sometimes it’s now considered indicative of America. LOL! I laugh but really, it’s not funny to me. It’s sad.

  4. Brandon Downey – now there’s a guy who really knows where his towel is.

  5. @asteraurora,

    It’s early, and I don’t think my comment made sense. I’m trying to say that NSA is indicative of some in America but not confined to the group at NSA; however, it is not indicative of the America people in my opinion. Most people just want to be left the hell alone. Live and let live. This is the double-edged sword because this view doesn’t allow for diligence of our elected officials and we end up with this crap we have now. BTW, that is not a partisan statement. Both principal parties in the U.S. have fucked us over.

  6. @Traxy, I would hope so if he’s one of the security guys at Google. LOL! BTW, these guys were not saying anything out of respect and to be honest, some fear. Ed Snowden has freed them up.

  7. Funny enough, I’ll probably get surfed by Homeland for posting this piece.

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