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(Gizmodo)   Customs and Border Control are making these weird flight patterns across the United States   (gizmodo.com) divider line
    More: Strange, Police, details of CBP, agency's MQ-9 Reaper drones, Border Protection, flight data, public documents, local law enforcement agencies, use of drone aircraft  
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2076 clicks; posted to Fandom » on 10 Jun 2020 at 7:17 AM (19 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



31 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2020-06-10 6:23:29 AM  
Well, I guess that whole "longest undefended border in the world" thing is over.
 
2020-06-10 7:34:12 AM  
As long as these drones aren't raining down munitions onto people, there are more pressing matters to tend to.
 
2020-06-10 7:57:04 AM  

ImmutableTenderloin: As long as these drones aren't raining down munitions onto people, there are more pressing matters to tend to.



better to snoop on you and keep you in line, my dear.
 
2020-06-10 7:57:35 AM  
I am impressed that they are staying within the USA and not flying over Mexico nor Canada.
 
2020-06-10 8:17:19 AM  

ImmutableTenderloin: As long as these drones aren't raining down munitions onto people, there are more pressing matters to tend to.


I'm guessing your a big fan of twitter, facebook, as well as a "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear" type person.
 
2020-06-10 8:23:23 AM  
Remember those scenes in the 1998 film "Enemy of the State", where they follow Will Smith's character around using satellites?   That was pretty stupid back then, because the satellites simply didn't have that kind of coverage, and they could have issues with high altitude clouds blocking the view, or even just haze and pollution.

Today, you could do that kind of thing and even more using drones.

Drones have the ability for persistent monitoring that would be too expensive to do via satellite.  A single surveillance satellite is estimated to cost about $1.5 billion with the launch included.   An MQ-1 Predator drone only costs about $4 million per drone, and the more advanced and capable MQ-9 only costs around $12 million a piece.  The Predator has an endurance of 24 hours while the Reaper has an endurance of 14 hours.

Consider the implications of that:  You're being watched by "Predators" and "Reapers".

Not only do they have the ability to view in detail an entire 37 square mile area using GORGON STARE and ARGUS-IS, but the drones used for domestic surveillance are also capable of intercepting and locating radio signals between 30 MHz and 3 GHz, which includes the signals from your "smart phone".

So they can listen in on your conversations, and even if you use end-to-end encryption to foil that, they can still locate you through airborne radio direction finding.

'Tis a Brave New World, that has such surveillance in't!
 
2020-06-10 8:24:01 AM  
That was a stupid article.

They explained the weird flight patterns in the first paragraph: federal agencies often share resources with locals and one another. One could argue against that due to mission creep or that it goes against legislated goals of departments and funding strings. Otoh, it is equally easy to make the argument that having, for hypothetical example 5 agencies get a toy they each use 20% of the time is a huge waste, and thus one agency getting the toy and working with the other four makes sense. Of course, the article didn't bother speaking to that.

The bulk of the article then rambled about the 100 mile rubbish for no reason at all (CBP is granted, by the INA, the ability to do X in area Y. It is not prohibited from doing X outside of area Y. All federal agents have a variety of authorities that come from different places), as though it had anything to do with the drone program. I wasn't about to chase the twenty links. The first one on this portion of the article went to another empty article that also threw links all over. Maybe that's the real purpose of the gizmodo article? A linkfest?

And that's about it. Then it ended with a bit about privacy. Well, privacy against overhead surveillance is gone and has been for quite some time. Or maybe it isn't too late and we can fight it still. But that is a philosophical discussion much moreso than any analysis of what the drones are flying over - either we have a right to privacy against peepers in the sky or we don't.

The article was a meandering pile of crap that couldn't figure what it wanted to be about.

/The drone program is a massive waste of money for CBP compared with other resources. Less results for more money. It could only be justified if the non-cbp stuff is worthwhile. And, of course, the adjacent value of improving technology in general and using it being a part of that. But ya, it's probably a handout to some connected military industrial complex grift. Flight patterns would tell us nothing about that.
 
2020-06-10 8:38:11 AM  

dittybopper: Remember those scenes in the 1998 film "Enemy of the State", where they follow Will Smith's character around using satellites?   That was pretty stupid back then, because the satellites simply didn't have that kind of coverage, and they could have issues with high altitude clouds blocking the view, or even just haze and pollution.

Today, you could do that kind of thing and even more using drones.

Drones have the ability for persistent monitoring that would be too expensive to do via satellite.  A single surveillance satellite is estimated to cost about $1.5 billion with the launch included.   An MQ-1 Predator drone only costs about $4 million per drone, and the more advanced and capable MQ-9 only costs around $12 million a piece.  The Predator has an endurance of 24 hours while the Reaper has an endurance of 14 hours.

Consider the implications of that:  You're being watched by "Predators" and "Reapers".

Not only do they have the ability to view in detail an entire 37 square mile area using GORGON STARE and ARGUS-IS, but the drones used for domestic surveillance are also capable of intercepting and locating radio signals between 30 MHz and 3 GHz, which includes the signals from your "smart phone".

So they can listen in on your conversations, and even if you use end-to-end encryption to foil that, they can still locate you through airborne radio direction finding.

'Tis a Brave New World, that has such surveillance in't!


I don't know if they do this with the drones, but I have found planes I believe were equipped with STINGRAY antennas on them circling areas of South Texas.

In most cases the planes were Cessnas registered to a company out of Florida that is a government contractor. Pictures of the planes I found online by N number had STINGRAY antennas attached.
 
2020-06-10 8:40:10 AM  

ImmutableTenderloin: As long as these drones aren't raining down munitions onto people, there are more pressing matters to tend to.


No, there really aren't.

If you're under constant, pervasive surveillance, they don't need to rain down munitions on you.  They'll simply arrest you.   Minimizes "collateral damage".

After all, Stalin didn't use artillery to purge political enemies, real or imagined.  He had them arrested and executed.  No sense in damaging the property of the state.

Now, you might argue that there are still some constitutional protections, but I would argue that as a practical matter, panopticon surveillance was too expensive back in the day, but in terms of manpower and in terms of dollars.  Today, it's much, much cheaper, and getting cheaper every day.

And that rectangular device in your pocket or hand is enabling that.  You're paying for the privilege to be tracked and monitored everywhere you go.

Back before all this technology, if the authorities wanted to monitor someone 24/7, they had to use humans to do it.   You know, the classic "stake out" where the police are monitoring some mob boss or whatever.  The fact that there were a limited number of police and a limited amount of surveillance technology meant that only the very important cases got that treatment.

Now, the costs have come down.  *WAY* down.  We don't have to have people following you to know where you've been.  We can just go get that information from your cell provider.  And it's retroactive:  If you've been in a place where a crime has been committed months ago, those records are still available, just waiting to be searched.

We have installed the kind of surveillance infrastructure that would have given people like Lavrentiy Beria and Heinrich HImmler multiple. deep orgasms.  And the only thing protecting you is some limited legal protections.

What happens *WHEN* (not if) those protections are no longer there?

If that seems alarmist to you, I would remind you that *NO* government lasts forever.  Eventually, the political entity we know as the United States of America is going to fall.  I don't think it will be tomorrow, or next year, or even five years from now.  But fifty years from now?   I wouldn't bet either way.  I'll almost certainly be dead by then, and if not I'll be a centenarian in some senior care facility, but I care because I fully expect my son to be alive and part of society.

But even if it's 200 years away, I still feel the same way about it.
 
2020-06-10 8:53:22 AM  

devine: I don't know if they do this with the drones, but I have found planes I believe were equipped with STINGRAY antennas on them circling areas of South Texas.

In most cases the planes were Cessnas registered to a company out of Florida that is a government contractor. Pictures of the planes I found online by N number had STINGRAY antennas attached.


I was going to mention the use of STINGRAYs, but I didn't find any direct evidence they were being used on CPB or DHS drones, so I didn't include them.
 
2020-06-10 9:09:55 AM  
Sounds like they could use a budget cut
 
2020-06-10 9:10:56 AM  

dittybopper: ImmutableTenderloin: As long as these drones aren't raining down munitions onto people, there are more pressing matters to tend to.

No, there really aren't.

If you're under constant, pervasive surveillance, they don't need to rain down munitions on you.  They'll simply arrest you.   Minimizes "collateral damage".

After all, Stalin didn't use artillery to purge political enemies, real or imagined.  He had them arrested and executed.  No sense in damaging the property of the state.

Now, you might argue that there are still some constitutional protections, but I would argue that as a practical matter, panopticon surveillance was too expensive back in the day, but in terms of manpower and in terms of dollars.  Today, it's much, much cheaper, and getting cheaper every day.

And that rectangular device in your pocket or hand is enabling that.  You're paying for the privilege to be tracked and monitored everywhere you go.

Back before all this technology, if the authorities wanted to monitor someone 24/7, they had to use humans to do it.   You know, the classic "stake out" where the police are monitoring some mob boss or whatever.  The fact that there were a limited number of police and a limited amount of surveillance technology meant that only the very important cases got that treatment.

Now, the costs have come down.  *WAY* down.  We don't have to have people following you to know where you've been.  We can just go get that information from your cell provider.  And it's retroactive:  If you've been in a place where a crime has been committed months ago, those records are still available, just waiting to be searched.

We have installed the kind of surveillance infrastructure that would have given people like Lavrentiy Beria and Heinrich HImmler multiple. deep orgasms.  And the only thing protecting you is some limited legal protections.

What happens *WHEN* (not if) those protections are no longer there?

If that seems alarmist to you, I would remind you that *NO* government lasts forever.  Eventually, the political entity we know as the United States of America is going to fall.  I don't think it will be tomorrow, or next year, or even five years from now.  But fifty years from now?   I wouldn't bet either way.  I'll almost certainly be dead by then, and if not I'll be a centenarian in some senior care facility, but I care because I fully expect my son to be alive and part of society.

But even if it's 200 years away, I still feel the same way about it.


As someone who hs also worked on the inside, and much more recently than you, some of the anxieties about capabilities and institutional lack of limits are exaggerated to the point of fatuous daydreams.  However to each their own.  I do think CBP ought to be obliged by statute to publish what they're doing and only decline to state when granted some sort of waiver.  I get that their argument for being not forthcoming is that certain actors (the cartels) will gain some sort of advantage, but clearly not every flight is counter-narcotics.

And this is a question just to edify my curiosity-- if you could put the genie of gov surveillance back in the bottle to some era, which would it be?  1890?  1920? 1940? '50? Etc.  How could that be reconciled with the general advance of technology here and abroad?
 
2020-06-10 9:11:50 AM  

dittybopper: devine: I don't know if they do this with the drones, but I have found planes I believe were equipped with STINGRAY antennas on them circling areas of South Texas.

In most cases the planes were Cessnas registered to a company out of Florida that is a government contractor. Pictures of the planes I found online by N number had STINGRAY antennas attached.

I was going to mention the use of STINGRAYs, but I didn't find any direct evidence they were being used on CPB or DHS drones, so I didn't include them.


The ones I found were contracted out by CPB and DHS. I found the company name tied to some other surveillance contracts that had been privatized.

Before '16 I lived in South Texas and was doing ADS-B transponder tracking. I lived close enough to the airport I could pick them up even before takeoff.

There was a bunch of LEO types were I worked. One of them had a serious freakout when I showed him the data I put together. He just kept saying "You can't do that!" but he could never give me a reason why.
 
2020-06-10 9:15:39 AM  
There needs to be a drone hunting season.
 
2020-06-10 9:29:07 AM  

Bennie Crabtree: I am impressed that they are staying within the USA and not flying over Mexico nor Canada.


Early 2000's. Texas Department of Public Safety had a helicopter they would assist the CBP with along the border.

I have seen video of one of the incidents of rockthowing at CBP agents that was shot from the DPS helicopter.

It is very clear from the video that in a number of the passes they did to hit the rock throwers with the rotor wash, they approached from the Mexican side. The who showed me the video changed the subject when I asked him if they were coming from the Mexico side.
 
2020-06-10 9:36:45 AM  
Holy shiat, they're patrolling the border!!!  Much unexpected.  Total weird.  Wow.
 
2020-06-10 9:41:16 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size


None of that really looks like a potential skypenis...
 
2020-06-10 9:46:55 AM  

006andahalf: As someone who hs also worked on the inside, and much more recently than you, some of the anxieties about capabilities and institutional lack of limits are exaggerated to the point of fatuous daydreams.  However to each their own.  I do think CBP ought to be obliged by statute to publish what they're doing and only decline to state when granted some sort of waiver.  I get that their argument for being not forthcoming is that certain actors (the cartels) will gain some sort of advantage, but clearly not every flight is counter-narcotics.

And this is a question just to edify my curiosity-- if you could put the genie of gov surveillance back in the bottle to some era, which would it be?  1890?  1920? 1940? '50? Etc.  How could that be reconciled with the general advance of technology here and abro



I think you're misunderstanding my point.  I don't think we're necessarily in some kind of panopticon dystopia, I'm saying that we've installed the infrastructure of one.

When you collect all or mostly all of domestic communications and hold them in an "escrow facility" and only examine them when you get a warrant, you're already there as far as the technology goes.

Given the Snowden revelations about how we were being lied to about domestic surveillance (why is James Clapper not in prison?), and things like the Drug Enforcement Agency Special Operations Division actively hiding the fact that they've based investigations on illegal warrantless wiretaps, I'd say that the protections that we do have are being eroded.

As for your second question, I don't know.  I don't think I would pin it down to a certain era or technology, but modify the current practices.  No more vacuuming up all the domestic communications, only intercept those that are supported by a particularized warrant, whether it's a criminal warrant or a FISA warrant.

Rebuild the wall so that FISA warrants can't be used as the basis for criminal investigations without being acknowledged in court.  If you have to do it in camera, fine, but everyone has a Sixth Amendment right to "be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him" along with their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.

No more storing of cell tower ping data without a warrant to save the "pings" of a particular individual.  As soon as the system no longer needs the information, it gets deleted unless there is a warrant to preserve it.  Location data is *EXTREMELY* sensitive.  Having that available about everyone* all the time allows you to develop a profile that is very intrusive.  What if you've attended a political rally?  A protest?  Visited Planned Parenthood?  A gun range?  What if your phone is regularly co-located with another (Not your spouse's/SO's) at a motel?

Wouldn't that open you up for blackmail?  In this era of "cancel culture", how long before people who are true believers in whatever their cause happens to be misuses this information?

Technology is definitely a double-edged sword.  I'm not arguing that we should go back to clubs, I'm saying we should try to at least partially dull one of the edges.


*Well, almost everyone.  I don't carry a cell phone of any kind whatsoever.  This is one big reason why I don't.
 
2020-06-10 10:01:38 AM  

devine: There was a bunch of LEO types were I worked. One of them had a serious freakout when I showed him the data I put together. He just kept saying "You can't do that!" but he could never give me a reason why.


It required literacy, which just meant that he couldn't do it.
 
2020-06-10 10:03:00 AM  

xanadian: [Fark user image 800x556]

None of that really looks like a potential skypenis...


You would think they would prioritize Thief River Falls.
 
2020-06-10 10:04:10 AM  

dittybopper: 006andahalf: As someone who hs also worked on the inside, and much more recently than you, some of the anxieties about capabilities and institutional lack of limits are exaggerated to the point of fatuous daydreams.  However to each their own.  I do think CBP ought to be obliged by statute to publish what they're doing and only decline to state when granted some sort of waiver.  I get that their argument for being not forthcoming is that certain actors (the cartels) will gain some sort of advantage, but clearly not every flight is counter-narcotics.

And this is a question just to edify my curiosity-- if you could put the genie of gov surveillance back in the bottle to some era, which would it be?  1890?  1920? 1940? '50? Etc.  How could that be reconciled with the general advance of technology here and abro


I think you're misunderstanding my point.  I don't think we're necessarily in some kind of panopticon dystopia, I'm saying that we've installed the infrastructure of one.

When you collect all or mostly all of domestic communications and hold them in an "escrow facility" and only examine them when you get a warrant, you're already there as far as the technology goes.

Given the Snowden revelations about how we were being lied to about domestic surveillance (why is James Clapper not in prison?), and things like the Drug Enforcement Agency Special Operations Division actively hiding the fact that they've based investigations on illegal warrantless wiretaps, I'd say that the protections that we do have are being eroded.

As for your second question, I don't know.  I don't think I would pin it down to a certain era or technology, but modify the current practices.  No more vacuuming up all the domestic communications, only intercept those that are supported by a particularized warrant, whether it's a criminal warrant or a FISA warrant.

Rebuild the wall so that FISA warrants can't be used as the basis for criminal investigations without being acknowledged in court.  If you have to do it in camera, fine, but everyone has a Sixth Amendment right to "be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him" along with their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.

No more storing of cell tower ping data without a warrant to save the "pings" of a particular individual.  As soon as the system no longer needs the information, it gets deleted unless there is a warrant to preserve it.  Location data is *EXTREMELY* sensitive.  Having that available about everyone* all the time allows you to develop a profile that is very intrusive.  What if you've attended a political rally?  A protest?  Visited Planned Parenthood?  A gun range?  What if your phone is regularly co-located with another (Not your spouse's/SO's) at a motel?

Wouldn't that open you up for blackmail?  In this era of "cancel culture", how long before people who are true believers in whatever their cause happens to be misuses this information?

Technology is definitely a double-edged sword.  I'm not arguing that we should go back to clubs, I'm saying we should try to at least partially dull one of the edges.


*Well, almost everyone.  I don't carry a cell phone of any kind whatsoever.  This is one big reason why I don't.


Your argument is well-taken, although I find the content, ordering, and means of presentation of Eddie's 'findings' at best disingenuous and its delivery shaped for the purpose of suggestion (rather than dump it all and let people make their own conclusions).  The other issue with informing the public about this stuff has to do with language and institutional delineations.  'Ping data' could be construed to mean so many things from GPS tracking, which people volunteer into by leaving their GPSs on, to overhead signalling the technology must do to provide service but gives onlt an approximation of location of tens to hundreds of square kilometers.  Without grasping where these and other terms vome from or actually entails allows people's imaginations either run wild or they go the other way into apathy.

My feeling is that limits on capabilities don't overcome institutional failure and bad institutions can overcome technological limitations.  Stalin, Beria, & co did just fine with people informing on one-another in person while police staters with most of the tools like Mubarak failed because they weren't very good at modern police-stating.  The way Erdogan blends media manipulation with modern police state mechanisms is probably the future.
 
2020-06-10 10:12:20 AM  
I hear a lot of biatching in here, but what exactly are you all going to do besides complain on some obscure website? My guess is nothing, nothing at all. So until you do, your inaction support my statement.
 
2020-06-10 10:12:29 AM  
I guess I should qualify what I mean by the Erdogan model.  While plenty of police states manipulate media, its historically generally done in a way that's pretty transparently propagandistic and meant to put everyone behind the ruling apparatus' version of truth.  Erdogan's method is only somewhat about the regime but more about creating ambiguity so that when nothing is true, the regime can offer some measure of certainty.  It looks chaotic, especially since it's still open to electoral setbacks, but its also less brittle compared to more totalitarian methods.
 
2020-06-10 10:30:18 AM  

006andahalf: Your argument is well-taken, although I find the content, ordering, and means of presentation of Eddie's 'findings' at best disingenuous and its delivery shaped for the purpose of suggestion (rather than dump it all and let people make their own conclusions).  The other issue with informing the public about this stuff has to do with language and institutional delineations.  'Ping data' could be construed to mean so many things from GPS tracking, which people volunteer into by leaving their GPSs on, to overhead signalling the technology must do to provide service but gives onlt an approximation of location of tens to hundreds of square kilometers.  Without grasping where these and other terms vome from or actually entails allows people's imaginations either run wild or they go the other way into apathy.

My feeling is that limits on capabilities don't overcome institutional failure and bad institutions can overcome technological limitations.  Stalin, Beria, & co did just fine with people informing on one-another in person while police staters with most of the tools like Mubarak failed because they weren't very good at modern police-stating.  The way Erdogan blends media manipulation with modern police state mechanisms is probably the future.


As for the structuring of the Snowden releases, they were so voluminous that just dumping them all at once would have been counter productive.  And *HE* didn't control that, he gave them to people in the media who controlled that.

"Ping data" means exactly that:  Your phone sending out a beacon signal to the local cell towers and the towers comparing the relative signal strength.  By comparing the timing of reception of several towers and the relative signal strength, you can, depending on cell site density, calculate a fairly accurate location for someone.  But someone's instantaneous location isn't necessarily a problem.   It's when you string all of their locations together over time that it builds a scarily accurate profile of their activities.

What you're talking about is "location data", a much wider concept that includes things like GPS coordinates and WiFi location, etc.   Those are all controlled by the individual.  They can largely turn them off.

You can't turn off the "ping" data because that's how the system works.  It needs to know where your particular phone is so the system can route incoming calls, texts, etc. to the tower closest to you.


Certainly bad institutions can overcome technological limitations.   But I think that as it stands now, all the protections built into the system are "paper" protections.   Those are the easiest sort to sweep away.  If out communications infrastructure is built to accommodate mass surveillance from the start, it's far more easy to simply say "OK, the old rules no longer apply" than having to go and change the infrastructure itself to support mass surveillance.   And that in itself is a warning.

How much warning did we get after 9/11 when there were secret legal decisions saying that "it's OK to collect domestic intelligence on United States Persons, so long as we can't *LOOK* at it unless we get a warrant"?

None.  It was done in secret.

Call me old fashioned, but as you know I was part of the signals intelligence system of the United States back when FISA actually had teeth.  We had the ability to collect, analyze, and store the communications of United States Persons, but with very narrow exceptions, we didn't, and in fact our equipment made it hard to do so because it was pointed outward, not inward.  In a very literal sense.

And yeah, this kind of thing has been used:
https://www.npr.org/2011/12/14/143639​6​70/the-technology-helping-repressive-r​egimes-spy


As an aside, I really do enjoy having an intelligent conversation about this.   Far, far too often this kind of thing devolves into the lowest common denominator here on Fark.
 
2020-06-10 10:36:33 AM  

WhiskeySticks: There needs to be a drone hunting season.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General​_​Atomics_MQ-9_Reaper#Specifications_(MQ​-9A)
Performance
Maximum speed: 300 mph (482 km/h, 260 kn)
Cruise speed: 194 mph (313 km/h, 169 kn)
Range: 1,200 mi (1,900 km, 1,000 nmi)
Endurance: 14 hours fully loaded
Service ceiling: 50,000 ft (15,000 m)
Operational altitude: 25,000 ft (7.5 km)


You're gonna need something a bit more potent than your 12 gauge goose gun and 3 1/2" magnums filled with BB Hevi-shot.
 
2020-06-10 11:42:09 AM  

dittybopper: What happens *WHEN* (not if) those protections are no longer there?

If that seems alarmist to you, I would remind you that *NO* government lasts forever. Eventually, the political entity we know as the United States of America is going to fall. I don't think it will be tomorrow, or next year, or even five years from now. But fifty years from now? I wouldn't bet either way. I'll almost certainly be dead by then, and if not I'll be a centenarian in some senior care facility, but I care because I fully expect my son to be alive and part of society.

But even if it's 200 years away, I still feel the same way about it.


So....do you just enjoy being alarmist?  The only protection against this technology is government controls, but those aren't good enough for you because the government might go away. So the problem is unsolvable. So why bother worrying about it? Do you worry about the sun exploding?
 
2020-06-10 12:09:36 PM  
People who want a virtual border patrol discover a virtual border patrol.
 
2020-06-10 1:04:17 PM  

trialpha: dittybopper: What happens *WHEN* (not if) those protections are no longer there?

If that seems alarmist to you, I would remind you that *NO* government lasts forever. Eventually, the political entity we know as the United States of America is going to fall. I don't think it will be tomorrow, or next year, or even five years from now. But fifty years from now? I wouldn't bet either way. I'll almost certainly be dead by then, and if not I'll be a centenarian in some senior care facility, but I care because I fully expect my son to be alive and part of society.

But even if it's 200 years away, I still feel the same way about it.

So....do you just enjoy being alarmist?  The only protection against this technology is government controls, but those aren't good enough for you because the government might go away. So the problem is unsolvable. So why bother worrying about it? Do you worry about the sun exploding?


The sun exploding is inevitable, but based on all available scientific data is going to happen billions of years in the future.

The fall of the political structures that protect what privacy we retain are going to fall much, much sooner than that.   We know this.  Anyone with even a passing familiarity with history knows that nations are temporary, as are the protections they provide.

In the 1960's, despite the abuses of the CIA, NSA, and FBI related to spying on US citizens, they had very, very limited resources.  They couldn't be everywhere, watching everybody.  Today, they largely can.  Not with people, of course.  They simply store your data away, data that you freely give them.  Well, I say "freely", but most people are completely unaware.

It's true that you are probably not of interest to them.  Until you are, and they won't have the common courtesy to let you know when that happens.  But it really wouldn't matter if they did, because they've already got your data.
 
2020-06-10 1:47:43 PM  

dittybopper: The sun exploding is inevitable, but based on all available scientific data is going to happen billions of years in the future.

The fall of the political structures that protect what privacy we retain are going to fall much, much sooner than that. We know this. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with history knows that nations are temporary, as are the protections they provide.

In the 1960's, despite the abuses of the CIA, NSA, and FBI related to spying on US citizens, they had very, very limited resources. They couldn't be everywhere, watching everybody. Today, they largely can. Not with people, of course. They simply store your data away, data that you freely give them. Well, I say "freely", but most people are completely unaware.

It's true that you are probably not of interest to them. Until you are, and they won't have the common courtesy to let you know when that happens. But it really wouldn't matter if they did, because they've already got your data.


You latched onto the wrong part of my comment. What you're saying is that a horrible nightmare dystopia with the government monitoring everything happening is going to happen, relatively soon, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it. If that's the case, there's no reason to stress yourself about it. There's no action you could possibly take to prevent it, so might as well just continue on as normal.
 
2020-06-10 2:09:39 PM  

dittybopper: As for the structuring of the Snowden releases, they were so voluminous that just dumping them all at once would have been counter productive.  And *HE* didn't control that, he gave them to people in the media who controlled that.

"Ping data" means exactly that:  Your phone sending out a beacon signal to the local cell towers and the towers comparing the relative signal strength.  By comparing the timing of reception of several towers and the relative signal strength, you can, depending on cell site density, calculate a fairly accurate location for someone.  But someone's instantaneous location isn't necessarily a problem.   It's when you string all of their locations together over time that it builds a scarily accurate profile of their activities.

What you're talking about is "location data", a much wider concept that includes things like GPS coordinates and WiFi location, etc.   Those are all controlled by the individual.  They can largely turn them off.

You can't turn off the "ping" data because that's how the system works.  It needs to know where your particular phone is so the system can route incoming calls, texts, etc. to the tower closest to you.


Certainly bad institutions can overcome technological limitations.   But I think that as it stands now, all the protections built into the system are "paper" protections.   Those are the easiest sort to sweep away.  If out communications infrastructure is built to accommodate mass surveillance from the start, it's far more easy to simply say "OK, the old rules no longer apply" than having to go and change the infrastructure itself to support mass surveillance.   And that in itself is a warning.

How much warning did we get after 9/11 when there were secret legal decisions saying that "it's OK to collect domestic intelligence on United States Persons, so long as we can't *LOOK* at it unless we get a warrant"?

None.  It was done in secret.

Call me old fashioned, but as you know I was part of the signals intelligence system of the United States back when FISA actually had teeth.  We had the ability to collect, analyze, and store the communications of United States Persons, but with very narrow exceptions, we didn't, and in fact our equipment made it hard to do so because it was pointed outward, not inward.  In a very literal sense.

And yeah, this kind of thing has been used:
https://www.npr.org/2011/12/14/1436396​70/the-technology-helping-repressive-r​egimes-spy


As an aside, I really do enjoy having an intelligent conversation about this.   Far, far too often this kind of thing devolves into the lowest common denominator here on Fark.


If you go back to the first batches of articles of the Snowden-Glenn Greenwald exchange, what was handed over and discussed was selected ahead of time, and had to be as there was too much he took.  What it was he disclosed in those meetings then is telling of what he wanted the story to look like.  He couldn't (and clearly didn't) select at random.  The choice is worth considering, and given that neither he nor Greenwald had actual experience in how the stuff worked (one an IT guy, the other a reporter), they had to interpret it before it hit the public, and this makes for a simplifying that distorts things and tells incompletely the story.  Whether inexperience or agenda might be debated.

The response to 9/11, even allowing for panic and miscomprehension is totally stomach-turning and probably should have earned a new Church Committee.

As far as your paragraph about back when FISA had teeth, there is a distinction that gets overlooked in the shadow of institutional and technological concerns, and that is the actual people working there.  Short of the political appointee level both green and blue-suiters by-and-large take an unknown and underappreciated pride in standing for the restraints we all desire.  These folks are often treated as unthinking pawns of an aspirant surveillance state, but in reality come from the same communities as everyone else and have the same motivations and aspirations of the general population.  The recent brazen politicization of IGs becomes even more alarming in this context.
 
2020-06-10 5:03:31 PM  

006andahalf: As far as your paragraph about back when FISA had teeth, there is a distinction that gets overlooked in the shadow of institutional and technological concerns, and that is the actual people working there. Short of the political appointee level both green and blue-suiters by-and-large take an unknown and underappreciated pride in standing for the restraints we all desire. These folks are often treated as unthinking pawns of an aspirant surveillance state, but in reality come from the same communities as everyone else and have the same motivations and aspirations of the general population. The recent brazen politicization of IGs becomes even more alarming in this context.


But the recent IGs are facilitated by powers that all those upstanding citizens had, just declined to use. They are exactly why your arguments are all, to use your word, "fatuous" to those who study them.
 
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