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(Tech Dirt)   NSA: We try to only spy on foreign targets, but get the occasional US citizen. Latest Leak: We tap into about 75% of US internet traffic and set our own filters with no oversight to worry about   (techdirt.com) divider line 310
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4218 clicks; posted to Main » on 21 Aug 2013 at 2:41 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-08-21 11:07:29 PM  

draypresct: BullBearMS: Obama claimed he had his own secret interpretation of the Patriot Act that allowed him to spy on everyone.

For more than two years, a handful of Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee have warned that the government is secretly interpreting its surveillance powers under the Patriot Act in a way that would be alarming if the public - or even others in Congress - knew about it.

On Thursday, two of those senators - Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado - went further. They said a top-secret intelligence operation that is based on that secret legal theory is not as crucial to national security as executive branch officials have maintained.

I don't think your link supported your interpretation that Obama thought he could spy on everyone. I thought the article said that there was two uses of the section 215 orders from the FISA court - one obvious, and one that is "apparently not obvious from a plain text reading of the provision." While two senators are making a lot of noise,* it sounds like the surveillance is taking place under the oversight of the FISA court, which is a step up from how things were under Bush. Also note that these are supposed to only apply to "tangible things . . . that are deemed 'relevant' to a terrorism or espionage investigation." In other words, the NSA has to convince the FISA court that what they're after will help them in an investigation. Also, "terrorism or espionage" doesn't really make it seem like their primary focus is domestic.

*I don't know anything about these senators. Are they whackadoodles like Bachmann? Or pretty level-headed people?


Obama has since been forced to release his secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, which indeed has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual text of the act.

The head of the FISA court has publicly said that they have no way to verify whatever the executive branch tells them, so that's not oversight in any way, shape or form.

Either Wyden or Udall would make much better presidents than anyone we've had in office over the past two decades.
 
2013-08-21 11:31:46 PM  

When a spy operation says it only has the power to overreach by 75% under the strictest of conditions, what it really means is its already been overreaching by 120% for the last few years and have probably done some horrible stuff with our data along the way.



/Some undertrained desk jockey is living the Orwellian dream right now.
 
2013-08-22 01:36:05 AM  

Outrageous Muff: Do you tinfoil-wearing internet pirvacy people understand the logistical problems that arise from recording that much data? Much less the time and manpower it would take to look at at and catalog it for anything?



http://www.forbes.com/pictures/feki45jgmj/colorful-pipes-in-the-dal les -3/
 
2013-08-22 04:05:29 AM  
Technologically speaking, tapping roughly 100% of the domestic internet would be...well not easy, but doable.  Storing all the relevant bits for long periods of time, is again, utterly doable.

Ultimately, pretty much the entire domestic internet goes through a relatively small number of backbone lines, and 100% of all international internet goes through one of 4 places.

From a "could the government be doing this?" perspective.  Yes, it wouldn't even be that hard.  It would cost a lot.  But "a lot" doesn't even register on government scale spending.  Hell, google is doing most of the work for them.

I could explain in great technical detail how to go about setting a system like this up, and how to filter the results and store only the parts worth keeping, and how to build out the data centers, and what kind of hardware you'd need.  But why bother?  This isn't a technical issue.  It's a political one.

Either you realize that the US government (and many others) has been doing this sort of "monitoring" since AT LEAST the 1950's, or you are brain dead.

The only thing that has changed is that instead of ignoring most of the chatter, they are storing it for later retrieval, because the means to do so now exist, and are relatively cheap.
 
2013-08-22 11:55:57 AM  

BullBearMS: Obama has since been forced to release his secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, which indeed has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual text of the act.


I've done a (very) little research on this, and I have to agree that they've strained the definition of "relevance".

I guess my only response on this is that we should make certain to not conflate collecting the "details" (time of call & phone numbers involved) with collecting the content of the calls. I'm not trying to minimize the fact that the "details" are a source of a considerable amount of information themselves, but (despite the jokes made) I don't believe that there's been any serious suggestion that they're data-mining the content of the calls.

The head of the FISA court has publicly said that they have no way to verify whatever the executive branch tells them, so that's not oversight in any way, shape or form.

I agree that FISA has no independent data-gathering arm to verify what NSA tells it about its activities. Neither does Congress, really. This is true for most government agencies - do you think that Congress pays an independent contractor to validate what the Dept. of Agriculture reports? There is oversight; it's just not multiply redundant.

If there was no oversight whatsoever, then the NSA would have had no motivation to keep track of the 3000+ (mostly accidental) violations that have occurred.

Either Wyden or Udall would make much better presidents than anyone we've had in office over the past two decades.

Having looked at their records a bit, I'll agree that they both seem to have good qualifications and records - nowhere near Bachmann.

By the way - while I've concentrated on the aspects of your responses that I've disagreed with, I've liked your posts. They've been informative and have forced me to try to educate myself to write responses.
 
2013-08-22 12:40:51 PM  

draypresct: I don't believe that there's been any serious suggestion that they're data-mining the content of the calls.


As of yesterday, a lawsuit forced them to release more details and it turns out that the FISA court biatch slapped them for collecting much more than metadata.

A federal judge sharply rebuked the National Security Agency in 2011 for repeatedly misleading the court that oversees its surveillance on domestic soil, including a program that is collecting tens of thousands of domestic e-mails and other Internet communications of Americans each year, according to a secret ruling made public on Wednesday.

The 85-page ruling by Judge John D. Bates, then serving as chief judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, involved an N.S.A. program that systematically searches the contents of Americans' international Internet communications, without a warrant, in a hunt for discussions about foreigners who have been targeted for surveillance.

The Justice Department had told Judge Bates that N.S.A. officials had discovered that the program had also been gathering domestic messages for three years. Judge Bates found that the agency had violated the Constitution and declared the problems part of a pattern of misrepresentation by agency officials in submissions to the secret court.


So yes, they were collecting communications and not just metadata, and they weren't just lying to us about it. They were also lying to the FISA court they claim has the power to act as a check on them.

draypresct: If there was no oversight whatsoever, then the NSA would have had no motivation to keep track of the 3000+ (mostly accidental) violations that have occurred.


Obama has claimed that Congress and the FISA courts serve as a check to his actions.

The FISA court has said they cannot verify anything they are told, but they already know they have been subjected to a pattern of deception.

Congress has also called bullshiat. Only members of the intelligence committee who are prevented from discussing what they know had any idea what was going on.

The author of the Patriot Act has been particularly outspoken of late.

As I have said numerous times, I did not know the administration was using the Patriot Act for bulk collection, and neither did a majority of my colleagues. Regardless, the suggestion that the administration can violate the law because Congress failed to object is outrageous. But let them be on notice: I am objecting right now.

draypresct: By the way - while I've concentrated on the aspects of your responses that I've disagreed with, I've liked your posts. They've been informative and have forced me to try to educate myself to write responses.


Well, thanks. This is a very important issue, and we all should be paying attention to it.
 
2013-08-22 01:02:29 PM  

BullBearMS: So yes, they were collecting communications and not just metadata, and they weren't just lying to us about it. They were also lying to the FISA court they claim has the power to act as a check on them.


Yep, that's what the story says. Dammit, NSA, I'm disappointed.

BullBearMS: This is a very important issue, and we all should be paying attention to it.


Yes, I have to say I hope the senate keeps the pressure on. There needs to be some serious housecleaning.
 
2013-08-22 01:22:01 PM  
Amendment IVThe right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


I know at this point it is basically meaningless, but there it is.
 
2013-08-22 03:04:07 PM  
You kids and your silly "privacy" and "freedom" illusions are so cute.

If you truly value your privacy that much, smash your smartphone, disconnect your computer and never leave your house.

thebrainworkofanidealist.files.wordpress.com
 
2013-08-22 03:20:38 PM  

STORAGE JARS: If you truly value your privacy that much, smash your smartphone, disconnect your computer and never leave your house.


Or we could still allow people to make their own choices on what to share through social media, hold corporations responsible for following their own published privacy policy as well as the law,and force the government to stay within the bounds of the Constitution.
 
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