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(Mother Jones)   Metadata schmetadata. The NSA is actually recording every call made every day   (motherjones.com) divider line 382
    More: Followup, NSA, NSA Revelations, international call  
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4822 clicks; posted to Politics » on 02 Jul 2013 at 7:10 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-07-02 10:16:40 PM  
The alleged constitutionality of the whole scheme rests on a questionable premise that the government can automatically collect and store everything because no "search" or "seizure" has occurred unless a human being accesses data and maybe not even then because of various also-questionable rationales.

This is exactly the kind of fundamental question about interpreting the Constitution in the context of formerly unimaginable technology that the Supreme Court should address. Watch the government continue to do everything it can to keep that question out of the courts by getting cases dismissed for lack of standing (you can't prove you were affected!) and national security (even talking about this puts lives at risk, your honor!).
 
2013-07-02 10:18:51 PM  

MrEricSir: How does trusting a government that is hiding its dirty secrets from you fit?


The same as it's fit every single other person for all of human history. All governments keep secrets. It's part of their job.
 
2013-07-02 10:20:53 PM  

PreMortem: whistleridge: Horseshiat.

RexTalionis: BS:


Shortly after the F-117 (stealth fighter) was unveiled, I read an interview (Aviation Leek i believe) with a VP of Northrup Grumman who said what is classified is 50 years ahead of what is public. If you think the NSA/CIA is using off the shelf gear or anything you can imagine, well you just shouldn't.


I have no idea, one way or another, but two completely irrelevant event comes to mind: there was still people who believe moon landing was staged. And there are people who thinks UFO's are real.

This is one of those things where if you believe in it, you might be believing in UFO's, and if you don't you might be in denial about moon landing.
 
2013-07-02 10:23:39 PM  

Nem Wan: The alleged constitutionality of the whole scheme rests on a questionable premise that the government can automatically collect and store everything because no "search" or "seizure" has occurred unless a human being accesses data and maybe not even then because of various also-questionable rationales.

This is exactly the kind of fundamental question about interpreting the Constitution in the context of formerly unimaginable technology that the Supreme Court should address. Watch the government continue to do everything it can to keep that question out of the courts by getting cases dismissed for lack of standing (you can't prove you were affected!) and national security (even talking about this puts lives at risk, your honor!).


Another possibility is that our representatives will push on this, seeing as they are also being kept in the dark.

Joe Everybody might not be able to bring suit, but Senators do tend to jealously guard of their own power and authority.

The NSA needs to be reigned in.
 
2013-07-02 10:24:19 PM  

James F. Campbell: I wonder if it would be possible to encrypt your data transmission in such a way that it does something malicious to whatever it's stored on -- or, at the very least, defeats storage of itself.


Start talking in SQL?
 
2013-07-02 10:25:05 PM  

sendtodave: RexTalionis: Did you noticed that that slide said nothing about recording anything?

They have access to basically all types of content, and are notified in real time when triggers for new content occur, but they're not actually recording anything.

I want to believe.


Or they can just record when a message is sent or received. Which is, once again, metadata.
 
2013-07-02 10:25:08 PM  

Shotgun Justice: Try recording raw audio data and see what type of file size you get. To compress it down would require much more processing power. Not to mention organizing the data and drawing out relevant keywords.


cell phone audio is already compressed,

AMR compression on GSM networks ranges from 4.75-12.20 kb/s (so 855kb -2196kb for a 3 minute phone call)
 
2013-07-02 10:26:02 PM  

Nobodyn0se: MrEricSir: How does trusting a government that is hiding its dirty secrets from you fit?

The same as it's fit every single other person for all of human history. All governments keep secrets. It's part of their job.


If the government is hiding something important, then they're keeping information out of the hands of the people. Therefore, it's not a democracy.
 
2013-07-02 10:27:03 PM  

MrEricSir: If the government is hiding something important, then they're keeping information out of the hands of the people. Therefore, it's not a democracy.


The definition of Democracy does not include "The people know every state secret of the government."

The fact that you believe it does is very, very scary to me.
 
2013-07-02 10:27:37 PM  
Is anyone here compiling a list of Fark handles that are being used by obvious NSA agents or flacks for the military-industrial complex?
 
2013-07-02 10:27:57 PM  

Gyrfalcon: So why did the NSA do this? Because they can, probably, and because nobody stopped to think: What are we going to do with all this crap now that we've got it? Like HST said about collecting drugs, the temptation is to push it as far as you possibly can. But the idea that they can use it in any meaningful way means you have way more faith in technology than is warranted. As, likely, do they.


If it's this un-useful, maybe they should stop violating everyone's rights by collecting it.
 
2013-07-02 10:30:40 PM  

powhound: Shortly after the Boston marathon bombing, there was a link here on Fark in reference to the FBI retroactively going back to retrieve the content of a cell phone call made by one of the bombers. I think, if my memory serves me, it was an ex-FBI guy (maybe a current one) that suggested the possibility existed for that to happen.

Not proof that they are recording EVERY call made, but definitely makes a case for at least selective data collection.


Yeah, it was an interview with some counter-terrorism person. He said, Yeah, we can get that. "that" being the content of the call. Not metadata. Not an envelope. The content.
 
2013-07-02 10:31:07 PM  

Suckmaster Burstingfoam: Is anyone here compiling a list of Fark handles that are being used by obvious NSA agents or flacks for the military-industrial complex?


Why would they bother?  Frank farkmothering Miller, the "manly man" of comics thinks Al Qaeda is an "existential threat to America" and happily ignores all kinds of abuses of power so that we can fight terror.

There are plenty of people comforted by this shiat, because it's sold as, "tools to track down dangerous new threats in our increasingly dangerous digital frontier."
 
2013-07-02 10:33:07 PM  

Suckmaster Burstingfoam: Is anyone hdrop table (ere compiling a list of Fa)rk handles that are being used by obvious NSA age(ndrop table (

 drop table ( ts or f(lacks for the military-inddrop table ( )ustrial complex?
 
2013-07-02 10:36:06 PM  

MisterRonbo: There are quotes from authorities that strongly indicate this happened with the Boston bombers.


Citation Needed.

Please.  I'm kinda curious.  What Government officials say that the US went back to pre-existing archives of tapped calls to investigate the Tsarnaev Brothers?  I'd not heard anything about this, and I'm kinda wondering what official would say this if it was a classified program.
 
2013-07-02 10:36:32 PM  
www.washingtonpost.com

Huh.  Interesting.

The FBI DITU are the ones doing the data intercept, and then giving the info to NSA.
 
2013-07-02 10:36:47 PM  

Nobodyn0se: MrEricSir: If the government is hiding something important, then they're keeping information out of the hands of the people. Therefore, it's not a democracy.

The definition of Democracy does not include "The people know every state secret of the government."

The fact that you believe it does is very, very scary to me.


No, but the definition of democracy does include the fact that we are their bosses and we pay their bills.

At work, do you spy on your boss and then lie to him about it? If you did that, what do you think would happen?
 
2013-07-02 10:36:52 PM  

numbquil: vygramul: firefly212: unlikely: This is simply technically impossible.

I'm not saying they wouldn't if they could, but the technology does not exist.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/

As impossible as a massive datacenter tapping into all the lines and having multiple Zetabytes of storage capacity? Whaddya suppose they're storing there, cookbook recipes?

5 zetabytes isn't enough to hold all the phone calls made by Americans since 9/11. Of 2006.

I'm not saying they are doing it but for one thing you are assuming that they store the calls forever. Secondly, the article does not claim that they are recording every single phone call. It simply claims that they are recording billions of phone calls. That is a lot different than every single call ever since 9/11.


Yabut the article is claiming it without any supporting documentation. That's like saying, "Look! That SEAL team member has a gun capable of firing 600 rounds a minute! We conclude he kills hundreds of Americans a year!"
 
2013-07-02 10:38:36 PM  

MrEricSir: No, but the definition of democracy does include the fact that we are their bosses and we pay their bills.

At work, do you spy on your boss and then lie to him about it? If you did that, what do you think would happen?


Can you imagine a country in which the government didn't have secrets of any kind? What do you think would happen?
 
2013-07-02 10:40:21 PM  

RexTalionis: sendtodave: RexTalionis: Did you noticed that that slide said nothing about recording anything?

They have access to basically all types of content, and are notified in real time when triggers for new content occur, but they're not actually recording anything.

I want to believe.

Or they can just record when a message is sent or received. Which is, once again, metadata.


See the slide I just posted.

In once step, they forward "metadata" to FALLOUT, and "voice content" to CONVEYANCE.  DNI and video content goes to PINWALE.

So, they have content. The question is how/when do they get it?
 
2013-07-02 10:41:33 PM  
I don't know. I've done as many illegal drug deals on my cell as the next guy and I've made out okay.

I think this is just a cover up for the nation's real problem, junk mail and phone books.

Think about it. Does anyone actually ever
 
2013-07-02 10:41:55 PM  

LedZeppelinRule: So what's the technological hurdle here? I would really love for someone to point it out, because at this point I believe the worst is probably true. It makes every bit of sense for the NSA to record every shred of communication they can get their hands on and look at it later, once they get a rubber-stamped "warrant" to access it.


You can't preemptively analyze it.  You don't have the processing power to shove everything through voice recognition looking for keywords and phrases preemptively (and we don't have the algorithms to beat 80% accuracy or so even if we did).

Now they can totally store everything and get access retroactively based on outside information or metadata analysis, but 99.999999999% of it will never ever get used.

/And from everything I've heard, the NSA and CIA are fairly good about having actual human beings not look at stuff known to be from inside the USA.  So as long as the FBI lacks access to NSA's databases (and given how much the various bureaucracies hate each other, this is a moderately safe bet), your stuff is safe.
 
2013-07-02 10:42:17 PM  

mayIFark: James F. Campbell: I wonder if it would be possible to encrypt your data transmission in such a way that it does something malicious to whatever it's stored on -- or, at the very least, defeats storage of itself.

Start talking in SQL?


And hope the entire intelligence apparatus goes down because the NSA forgot to sanitize data inputs?  I suppose it's worth a shot.
 
2013-07-02 10:42:33 PM  

MrEricSir: No, but the definition of democracy does include the fact that we are their bosses and we pay their bills.

At work, do you spy on your boss and then lie to him about it? If you did that, what do you think would happen?


This seems like such a quaint, silly notion to me any more.  Like telling a cop that you pay his salary.
 
2013-07-02 10:44:41 PM  
How hard would it be to clone every phone and use the clone to record the call?
 
2013-07-02 10:45:28 PM  

Bronson Gigabit: I don't know. I've done as many illegal drug deals on my cell as the next guy and I've made out okay.

I think this is just a cover up for the nation's real problem, junk mail and phone books.

Think about it. Does anyone actually ever


And here is our social media / news aggregator monitoring program, code named CANDLEJACK.  It primarily targets websites with political message boards, such as Fark.com and Redd-
 
2013-07-02 10:45:29 PM  
A simple solution, everything is being recorded, but key words are being looked for.

Anytime it is practical (not a job or your grandma), include in your mundane phone conversations "hail Allah, may the infidels blood flow, no just kidding".

Waste NSA's time.
 
2013-07-02 10:46:08 PM  

unlikely: This is simply technically impossible.

I'm not saying they wouldn't if they could, but the technology does not exist.


That's BS. Of course it's possible.  Just as your voice it turned into a digital signal it can be copied just like any other packet.

It is recorded, analyzed into text and if any keywords or phrases match certain criteria or possible voice prints of known bad actors or suspect phone numbers than it is sent to a human for further evaluation. They weed out 99.9%+ using this so they only have to listen to a few thousand/hundred phone calls a day for real.
 
2013-07-02 10:47:27 PM  

MisterRonbo: That's the purpose: it's a wiretapping time machine


Essentially.

LedZeppelinRule: So what's the technological hurdle here? I would really love for someone to point it out, because at this point I believe the worst is probably true.


The ability to process it all. But I hear their newest data center will be able to do more FLOPS than any other computer built so far.

We've built Skynet but instead of national defense we made him a voyeur.

mccallcl: I'll even go one farther, not only does it exist, but the Feds have probably built this system three times over and all the different agencies are operating their own clones in secret from each other.


More of a collusion of existing systems with the traditional technological limits gutted. It's essentially total information awareness.
 
2013-07-02 10:47:28 PM  
Also vary the discussion points, 'I have the kilo of enrich uranium, do you have the 50 million, just kidding'
 
2013-07-02 10:47:43 PM  

Enemabag Jones: A simple solution, everything is being recorded, but key words are being looked for.

Anytime it is practical (not a job or your grandma), include in your mundane phone conversations "hail Allah, may the infidels blood flow, no just kidding".

Waste NSA's time.


Then they'll just need to hire more analysts to sort through the false positives, on the government's dime.

Brilliant!
 
2013-07-02 10:49:46 PM  

sendtodave: So, they have content. The question is how/when do they get it?


And isn't that the biggest question? In and of itself that slide you put up there is not incriminating in the slightest, it's just a flowchart of where stuff goes when they get it. It's almost meaningless in this discussion until your question is answered, and NOONE has even suggested that they have an accurate answer based on documented evidence except the government.

If there's another slide that outlines the process and thresholds for getting a warrant to get the information that comes out of the 'Provider' cloud on the left, then that slide is demonstrating the flow of information through a completely legitimate program.

Something tells me though that even if that slide exists it won't make it into the dripfeed of 'incriminating' information...
 
2013-07-02 10:50:57 PM  

Mrbogey: We've built Skynet but instead of national defense we made him a voyeur.


That's an unfair characterization.

Mr. Clapper specifically said that the  "NSA does not voyeuristically pore through U.S. citizens' emails."

They still pore through them, but they aren't voyeurs!
 
2013-07-02 10:51:02 PM  

Silverstaff: MisterRonbo: There are quotes from authorities that strongly indicate this happened with the Boston bombers.

Citation Needed.

Please.  I'm kinda curious.  What Government officials say that the US went back to pre-existing archives of tapped calls to investigate the Tsarnaev Brothers?  I'd not heard anything about this, and I'm kinda wondering what official would say this if it was a classified program.


Here ya go:

Over the past couple days, cable news tabloid shows such as CNN's Out Front with Erin Burnett have been excitingly focused on the possible involvement in the Boston Marathon attack of Katherine Russell, the 24-year-old American widow of the deceased suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. As part of their relentless stream of leaks
On Wednesday night,
BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It's not a voice mail. It's just a conversation. There's no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?

CLEMENTE: "No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It's not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.

BURNETT: "So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.

CLEMENTE: "No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not."
"All of that stuff" - meaning every telephone conversation Americans have with one another on US soil, with or without a search warrant - "is being captured as we speak".
 
2013-07-02 10:51:23 PM  

Giltric: How hard would it be to clone every phone and use the clone to record the call?


Depending on how faithful the cloning hardware had to be, and how paranoid you are about the NSA's capabilities, very trivial to very hard.

Very hard => You don't have help from the phone companies or the phone manufacturers and you require a physical match for each phone.  Repeat for every $400 smartphone out there, keeping in mind that the phone manufacturers will catch your clones.

Very trivial => You do have help from the phone companies and hardware manufacturers, and can just run thousands of "phones" on a VM.

Mind you, this is all way harder than "running a pipe into the phone companies main trunk," which is what they're actually doing.
 
2013-07-02 10:52:08 PM  
There's something about this that I just don't get.

I get the outrage, I used to feel it too.  What I don't get is the surprise.  I've just assumed that they've recorded all our electronic transactions for the last decade or so.

Has anything been revealed about financial transactions?  I guess I still assume that every credit card, atm, and bank transaction is recorded somewhere.  I suppose that this has also been going on for 10 years or so.
 
2013-07-02 10:52:46 PM  

mrlewish: Just as your voice it turned into a digital signal it can be copied just like any other packet.


Digital signal... packets?
 
2013-07-02 10:53:25 PM  
sendtodave
Enemabag Jones: A simple solution, everything is being recorded, but key words are being looked for.
Anytime it is practical (not a job or your grandma), include in your mundane phone conversations "hail Allah, may the infidels blood flow, no just kidding".
Waste NSA's time.
Then they'll just need to hire more analysts to sort through the false positives, on the government's dime.
Brilliant!


More people like Ed Snowden?

I have dealt with cops randomly following me for no good reason, and wasting their time works.
 
2013-07-02 10:55:05 PM  

Evil High Priest: "All of that stuff" - meaning every telephone conversation Americans have with one another on US soil, with or without a search warrant - "is being captured as we speak".


Why do we have FBI and NSA guys coming out saying that they can do this, if they can't?

Are these programs so broad and opaque that the people working on them don't know their limits?
 
2013-07-02 10:55:36 PM  

Evil High Priest: Czech.


Sis indy male.
 
2013-07-02 10:57:04 PM  

Suckmaster Burstingfoam: Is anyone here compiling a list of Fark handles that are being used by obvious NSA agents or flacks for the military-industrial complex?


Yes
 
2013-07-02 10:57:13 PM  
All the dopes invested in defending this are to the point of doing some pretty spectacular mental gymnastics at this point, it's getting to Iraq invasion apologizing levels.
 
2013-07-02 10:58:17 PM  

Enemabag Jones: A simple solution, everything is being recorded, but key words are being looked for.

Anytime it is practical (not a job or your grandma), include in your mundane phone conversations "hail Allah, may the infidels blood flow, no just kidding".

Waste NSA's time.


If they are looking for "keywords" then their time is being wasted.

Because they cannot possibly be investigating every time someone says "Yo, I think they set us up the bomb!"

I just don't know why people think that because they CAN collect and monitor everyone's data/"metadata" that they ARE. And that if they are, they're somehow combing it for incriminating "keywords" in the hopes of finding something. This is the same agency that when presented with the Phoenix memo couldn't connect enough of the dots to stop the 9/11 terrorists--not even one of them. The one guy who was caught was stopped by an alert ticket agent, ffs, who found it odd that someone would be flying into Miami with no money or luggage and only a shaky grasp of the English language.

Here's an actual story you might find instructive. A law professor once asked a roomful of hard-bitten cops what they'd do if the warrant requirement was totally abandoned--if they didn't have to ask for any warrants at all anymore. "Kick in doors!" one of them yelled. "Just kick in doors, all day long!" OK, the lawyer said, but which doors? The cops were brought up short as they realized what a waste of time it would be to spend all day "kicking in doors" and rummaging around various apartments looking for "something" when they still needed a place to start looking.

It's the same thing here. The NSA may have infino-bytes of data and may even have computers that can pull out "keywords" to start looking at and find suspicious numbers to analyze...or they could do it more efficiently from the other end, and find suspicious people first and then listen to their phones afterward, either with or without warrants. They may--like everyone here on Fark--think it's more effective to do it the long way around by gathering data first and combing through it afterwards, but I suspect that like the cops given free rein to kick down doors, they're going to find that trying to sort through infinite amounts of data with more coming in every second is just not as efficient as finding a rat and convincing him to talk.
 
2013-07-02 11:02:28 PM  

DustBunny: sendtodave: So, they have content. The question is how/when do they get it?

And isn't that the biggest question? In and of itself that slide you put up there is not incriminating in the slightest, it's just a flowchart of where stuff goes when they get it. It's almost meaningless in this discussion until your question is answered, and NOONE has even suggested that they have an accurate answer based on documented evidence except the government.


I guess these are possibilities:

1) The NSA and FBI are doing blanket surveillance.  They get all (or at least much of) the relevant data floating around the cloud (bad).

2)  They are targeting specific people without a warrant, and getting data on them (bad).

3)  They are targeting specific people with a rubber stamp warrant (less bad).

If it's the third, well, there is a political solution - get rid of secret FISA courts.
 
2013-07-02 11:04:00 PM  

Gyrfalcon: This is the same agency that when presented with the Phoenix memo couldn't connect enough of the dots to stop the 9/11 terrorists--not even one of them. The one guy who was caught was stopped by an alert ticket agent, ffs, who found it odd that someone would be flying into Miami with no money or luggage and only a shaky grasp of the English language.


Plus technology hasn't improved and projects under the guise of defending against terror haven't been given billions of dollars in the past 13 years so I'm sure this is still the case.
 
2013-07-02 11:06:40 PM  
If anyone can make sense of the NSA documents Snowden released, here is the links below:

Link
 
2013-07-02 11:07:02 PM  

Nobodyn0se: MrEricSir: No, but the definition of democracy does include the fact that we are their bosses and we pay their bills.

At work, do you spy on your boss and then lie to him about it? If you did that, what do you think would happen?

Can you imagine a country in which the government didn't have secrets of any kind? What do you think would happen?


The government would be forced to be honest with its own citizens?
 
2013-07-02 11:07:02 PM  

Gyrfalcon: I just don't know why people think that because they CAN collect and monitor everyone's data/"metadata" that they ARE.


Because they can.  That's usually how those with unchecked power roll.

Their job is to collect data.  It isn't their job to act on that data, nor to restrict themselves.

It's supposed to be our representatives job to check their power, but it seems they're all "Erm, I don't really know what the NSA does, but they told me they are protecting America, so, I'm sure that's what they are doing."
 
2013-07-02 11:07:40 PM  

sendtodave: guess these are possibilities:

1) The NSA and FBI are doing blanket surveillance. They get all (or at least much of) the relevant data floating around the cloud (bad).

2) They are targeting specific people without a warrant, and getting data on them (bad).

3) They are targeting specific people with a rubber stamp warrant (less bad).

If it's the third, well, there is a political solution - get rid of secret FISA courts.


You forgot the most likely one:

4) They are targeting specific people with a difficult to obtain warrant (Perfectly fine).
 
2013-07-02 11:08:24 PM  

MrEricSir: Nobodyn0se: MrEricSir: No, but the definition of democracy does include the fact that we are their bosses and we pay their bills.

At work, do you spy on your boss and then lie to him about it? If you did that, what do you think would happen?

Can you imagine a country in which the government didn't have secrets of any kind? What do you think would happen?

The government would be forced to be honest with its own citizens?


And? What would the real world consequences of this "no secrets" government look like?
 
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