NSA Talking Points On Utah Data Center: We're Teaming Up With Tech Companies To 'Protect' The Internet

from the surveillance?-what-surveillance dept

Last year, well before all of the revelations concerning the NSA's surveillance program, reporter James Bamford, who has a long history of reporting on the NSA's questionable activities, revealed the details of the NSA's massive data center in Bluffdale, Utah, which it was building to host all of this information that it's been hoovering up for years. Michael Morisy, from Muckrock, used a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get the media talking points that the NSA used upon the groundbreaking of the building. As reported in Bamford's piece, there had been a "public" groundbreaking, with press there, and Morisy wondered how the NSA framed the building's purpose when it first discussed it. And, the answer, it appears, was to play down anything having to do with the massive data collection.

The talking points play up the fact that there's so much data online, but rather than talking about how the NSA is collecting all of it, they say that they're setting up this operation to help "protect" your data. From everyone... except the NSA, of course.
  • DISCUSS THE FOR TAKING NATIONAL ACTION TO THE CYBERSECURITY PROBLEMS WE FACE.
    • US DEPENDENCE ON THE INTERNET PROBABLY GREATER THAN ANY OTHER NATION
    • NOT JUST MEANS OF COMMUNICATIONS BUT DATA IS THERE As WELL -- FINANCIAL DATA, DATA
    • CYBERSPACE CONTROLS OUR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE -- BANKING, ENERGY, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL, UTILITIES
    • THREAT IS GROWING -- INFRASTRUCTURE TARGETTED FOR AND POTENTIALLY FOR DISRUPTION OR DESTRUCTION BY GROWING NUMBER OF AND ACTORS
Notice, also, how when they do discuss looking outbound, rather than just "protecting" networks, they lump it all together:
WE NEED TO USE OUR PARTNERSHIPS BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE GOVERNMENT TO INCREASE OUR KNOWLEDGE AND CAPABILITIES IN CYBERSPACE TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE THREAT, AND TO BETTER RESPON TO IT.
Of course, they leave out that "the threat" is all of us in the public, and how to "better respon (sic) to it" is to collect all data everywhere.

Hell, they even go so far as to suggest that they're going out of their way, and beyond their mandate, just to "help out" all those tech companies they work with. Just to be helpful.
GOVERNMENT HAS NO LEGISLATED REQUIREMENT TO PROTECT THE DOT-COM NETWORKS. NONETHELESS, IT CANNOT BE ARGUED THAT THESE NETWORKS ARE CRITICAL TO THE DAY-TO-DAY FUNCTIONING AND OPERATING OF THE UNITED STATES, ITS GOVERNMENT, ITS BUSINESSES, AND ITS PEOPLE...

WE WOULD BE REMISS, AS PUBLIC SERVANTS, IF WE DID NOT USE THE INFORMATION WE GAIN IN PROTECTING OUR DOT-MIL AND DOT-GOV NETWORKS TO HELP TO SECURE THE DOT-COM NETWORKS AS WELL.
Yeah. And by "helping" to "secure" those networks, we actually mean "partnering" with the telcos to snarf up every bit of data that crosses those networks for our own spying efforts. And they keep going on and on about the importance of these "partnerships."
WE CANNOT DO IT ALONE -- NOR IS IT IN OUR BEST INTERESTS TO TRY. JUST AS CYBERSPACE AFFECTS EVERY ASPECT OF OUR SOCIETY, SO TOO MUST OUR EFFORTS TO SECURE CYBERSPACE MOVE BEYOND GOVERNMENT TO INCLUDE THE PRIVATE SECTOR, ACADEMIA, AND OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS.
And by "secure cyberspace," we mean "undermine the privacy of everyone" by collecting all their data. That's the part the NSA truly cannot "do alone."

I also love this one:
EMPHASIZE THAT NSA'S ROLE IN THIS IS NOT A 'MILITARIZATION' OF CYBERSPACE; TECHNICAL ADVISORY CAPACITY ONLY.
A "technical advisory capacity only" that involves on-premise systems at every major telco, hoovering up every single bit of data that crosses those systems to store for future "analysis" inside the Bluffdale center? That's just a technical advisory capacity?

But, don't worry, it's all "legal."
UNDERSCORE THAT EVERYTHING NSA DOES IN CYBERSPACE IS IN COMPLIANCE WITH LAW AND REGULATION AND THAT WE ARE 100% COMMITTED TO PROTECTIN THE CIVIL LIBERTIES AND PRIVACY RIGHTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.
And by "in compliance with law and regulation," we mean after we convinced the FISA court to secretly reinterpret a law that those who wrote the law say is exactly how the law was not supposed to be interpreted. But we won't even discuss how we interpret the law publicly, because that's a national security issue.
AT NSA, OUR TOP THREE CORE VALUES ARE LAWFULNESS, HONESTY, AND INTEGRITY.
And lying. Oh, so much lying. Did we mention the lying?
WE APPRECIATE THE WELCOME YOU HAVE GIVEN US.
And we know you appreciate our presence, because, well, because we know.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:41am

    We don't want your protection, thank you. Open sourcing the standards upon which the intertubes is built is the best way to protect its entirety. Maintaining it free of any centralized control is crucial to protect it. What you are proposing is bot in anyway protecting the internet. Installing backdoors, using zero-day exploits while intentionally delaying patches and so on is NOT protecting the internet.

    So the message should be:

    Dear GOVERNMENTS (including espionage agencies),

    Please fuck off.

    Best regards,

    Everybody else

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:42am

    Here's a novel approach to security. If your critical infrastructure(power grids, nuclear plants, etc) is connected to the internet, how about NOT connecting it. Why is stuff that should be on a closed system allowed access to the outside world?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:42am

    the best thing to happen and perhaps will happen is for tech companies to join forces to keep the various law enforcement agencies off the 'net completely! they dont use it and dont want to use in any other way(s) except to spy on who is where, doing what, with whom, how and when!! every time law enforcement gets involved with anything techy-like, it's a fuck up! they end up spending a fortune in tax payers money doing things against their own country and own citizens! they haven't truthfully prevented a damn thing from happening, nor will they! spying on you and me is done because it's easy. we dont use encryption because we feel, did do at any rate, it isn't necessary. subversive types wouldn't leave themselves vulnerable over the 'net any more than at any other time, so as usual, only excuses for watching us! unbelievable!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:44am

    When you intend to do something for nefarious reasons any receivable passable excuse or other will suffice.

    For example if your objective is world domination then it is only logical that you are doing it for the children even if it results in the death of millions (which is exactly what happened in Stalinist Russia and Maoist China).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:54am

    Surely part of the "limited hangout" is to bore everyone,

    into accepting NSA as everyday fact and then ignoring it. And you're certainly helping that goal: this item has zero new or of interest.

    Here's a far more important aspect (the site only one of several with same basis):
    http://refreshingnews99.blogspot.in/2013/07/nsa-is-quietly-writing-code-for-googles.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:03am

    I'd rather go straight to the source, thank you. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-07-03/security-enhanced-android-nsa-edition

    Google (GOOG) has filed a request with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court asking permission to disclose more information about the government’s data requests. So there’s a certain irony that NSA programmers are now refining code that Google has approved for the company’s mobile operating system, Android. Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano confirms that the company has already inserted some of the NSA’s programming in Android OS. “All Android code and contributors are publicly available for review at source.android.com,” Scigliano says, declining to comment further.

    Through its open-source Android project, Google has agreed to incorporate code, first developed by the agency in 2011, into future versions of its mobile operating system, which according to market researcher IDC runs on three-quarters of the smartphones shipped globally in the first quarter. NSA officials say their code, known as Security Enhancements for Android, isolates apps to prevent hackers and marketers from gaining access to personal or corporate data stored on a device. Eventually all new phones, tablets, televisions, cars, and other devices that rely on Android will include NSA code, agency spokeswoman Vanee’ Vines said in an e-mailed statement. NSA researcher Stephen Smalley, who works on the program, says, “Our goal is to raise the bar in the security of commodity mobile devices.”


    Okay, so the NSA is adding to an OS product while Google asks for permission to disclose more information about what's going on.

    NO ONE IS OBLIGED TO USE GOOGLE PRODUCTS.

    Got it?

    Probably not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:08am

    NSA - Don't worry we'll stop those people from killing themselves even if we have to kill every last one of them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:14am

    I suspect that this data center will become quite cosmopolitan, with other countries working hard to keep agents employed there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:17am

    Re:

    It is critical these days to implement Angry Birds integration in SCADA systems.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:18am

    GOVERNMENT HAS NO LEGISLATED REQUIREMENT TO PROTECT THE DOT-COM NETWORKS

    Fabulous. Then please stop f***ing with them.

    Thank you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:24am

    Sure seems like they made a case for it being no problem if everyone starts using tools, encryptions, and whatever else we can muster to keep the government locked out from snooping on us to protect ourselves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:36am

    Why do I read and read, but see no news about people protesting about this kind of things?

    Are you allowed to protest in he USA? Or is it considered a "terrorist" action?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:47am

    So are they providing a backup service?

    If I lose content on my website, can I ask the NSA for a backup copy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:52am

    Re:

    I've never once felt unsafe on the internet, until now. It isn't my fellow netizens I am concerned about, it's the government taking something out of context that concerns me most.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Mark Murphy (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:53am

    Re:

    The code in question is SE for Android, an Android-specific derivation of SELinux. SELinux has been part of mainstream Linux distros for a decade. While the NSA did contribute code to SELinux, SELinux is a standalone open source project with many contributors, and, more importantly, reviewers. Ditto for SE for Android.

    So, which is more likely? That SELinux (with independent review) has a "sooper-sekrit" NSA back door, or that closed-source unreviewable OSes have them?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:53am

    Re:

    If they don't put critical infrastructure on the internet then they won't have a good excuse to strip away our privacy rights, duh!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:58am

    Re:

    It's now classified as low level terrorism in the USA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:59am

    Re: So are they providing a backup service?

    I wonder if they can give me the password to my email. I can't remember it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:05am

    Re:

    They have too big of a budget if they can do this without a legal requirement to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:08am

    Re: Re:

    And you people jsut accept that?

    What about protesting? They pass all the laws and no one contests them.

    Look at the french, the government starts doing shit, they start protests, riots, burning cars (they actually over-do it a little) but they are able to push back laws that are bad for the people.

    When you will people in the US open your eyes and see that to ahve democracy, sometimes the people has to go against the government?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Joseph Ratliff (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:20am

    No thank you...

    Dear NSA,

    We don't need you to "protect" our Internet (keyword: our). We're afraid how badly you'll screw it up.

    ------------

    Why does it seem like these folks don't understand (at all) what they are trying to "protect"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    jjmsan (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:21am

    Person of Interest

    Referrals to the NSA snooping make me think of the CBS show Person of Interest.
    Advisors reminds me of how we were able to stay out of Viet Nam because we only had advisors not troops.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:21am

    Re: Surely part of the "limited hangout" is to bore everyone,

    Wait. OOTB, who goes on and on and on about the importance of copyright, and how it's a natural right and all that... just linked to a *scraped copy* of an entire Businessweek article? OOTB, that's a "pirate" copy you linked to. And, by your own logic, linking to such things is tantamount to infringement.

    Perhaps you should turn yourself in and pay up the statutory rates, huh?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Internet Zen Master (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re:

    Exhibit A: The kid down in Texas who got thrown in jail and held on $500k bond for several months because he made some snarky comments on League of Legends about "yeah, I'm crazy, I'm gonna shoot up a kindergarten" (or something to that effect) after someone in the chat called him crazy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Xage, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:27am

    WRITTEN IN ALLCAPS TO SHOW WE'RE SERIOUS.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Ben S (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Many are not opposed to it at all, some even welcome this. Others feel it's not quite THAT bad, etc. Even for those opposed, a protest is too much of a hassle, and too much work, for people to actually get off their lazy butts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    jd2112 (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:45am

    The NSA is missing a HUGE opportunity. ..

    Now that everybody knows what the NSA is doing there is an opportunity for the NSA to become the Ultimate cloud backup service. Lost your data? Didn't make a backup? No problem! We made one for you. All they need to do is add a web interface to access the data they have collected in you and before long the NSA could be a profit center for the government!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    velox (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:51am

    The NSA's Utah tech partner

    OMNITURE
    "NSA Talking Points On Utah Data Center: We're Teaming Up With Tech Companies"


    To prevent data from your computer going to Omniture set a firewall rule to block incoming and outgoing traffic with the range 66.235.0.0/16
    (For those who aren't familiar with CIDR format, this actually means everything from 66.235.0.1 - 66.235.255.255)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Not Applicable, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:53am

    Re: So the message should be:

    I think under the circumstances you can drop the politeness of 'please' and just say FUCK OFF TWATS

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Not Applicable, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Unfortunately in general Americans are very docile and stupid, history proves this time and again. However lately (the last 10 years or so) the population of the USA has increased it's collective stupidity and just watches the shit that is being poured down on them in ever increasing amounts with a kind of naivety that in its self is 'awesome'.

    The same is happening in the UK albeit more slowly.

    The 'Arab Spring' demonstrations are the very kind of thing that need to be happening in the USA UK and other countries in Europe, but isn't because everyone just wants to be on Faecesbook Twatter and the like, the great Weapons of Mass Distraction, people just want to buy stuff, shopping is far more important.

    It is to much trouble to protest or have a revolution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 10:10am

    Re:

    The reason is it's substantially cheaper to run those systems from remote locations. Does it make sense? Fuck no.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well when you wake up in a fascist regime it will be too late.

    I give it around 5 years for the US to be recognized as such.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    ECA (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 11:14am

    STILL

    Protect it from WHAT??
    is there any declaration of WHAT they are protecting it from?

    Any idea HOW?

    If they would Monitor and kill SPAM, I would like it.
    If they would install Malware protection I would like it.
    If they would track down all those BOT installations, I would like it.
    Other wise its a bunch of people sitting around watching numbers scan across a screen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 11:52am

    NSA if anything we need Protection from you ! Screw You...........you are not protecting the Internet but I bet you would love to break it into a million billion pieces so it never could be put together again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 12:11pm

    Re:

    I was thinking it might make sense to do an open source Skype style program at this point. Kickstarter anyone?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 1:48pm

    Re:

    The Navy stopped sending their communications in all caps because the NSA asked them to stop yelling at them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The Blackwater security guys and 30+ cops per protestor at OWS kind of spooked me on the whole protesting thing. I literally feared for my life at one point during my 3 day visit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I give it another week or two.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 2:15pm

    I wish they'd start protecting our data from themselves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re:

    But you don't have to use the internet to do that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:04pm

    Re: Re:

    Not if running those systems remotely requires all this expensive cyber-security legislation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    shawn, Jul 13th, 2013 @ 4:48am

    Petition to Shut down Utah NSA Data Center!

    If you believe in our 4th amendment rights, sign the petition to have the new 1.2 billion dollar data center in Utah shut down!

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/shut-down-nsas-12-billion-dollar-utah-data-center /RMk4DTXg

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jul 13th, 2013 @ 5:21am

    Re: Re: IOW

    Problem - Reaction - Solution

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    ntranzed, Jul 13th, 2013 @ 5:36am

    Re:

    and that is where they have so many fleeced. majority of the infrastructure of US is on close circuit networks and are not on the internet and would require on site access to hack or compromise. the only things that are not on CC network are basic monitoring functions. that are usualy completely seperate from the operational controls to ensure they cannot be used as access point to the the closed circuit network.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jul 13th, 2013 @ 5:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I wouldn't be concerned about them. It doesn't take courage for somebody to arm themselves to the teeth, drive around in armored vehicles and helicopters, clobber defenseless protestors with batons/nightsticks, when they've got hundreds if not thousands of other like-minded individuals backing them up. Regardless of whatever weapon or armor they hide behind, they're just human beings, same as you and I, and someday they will stand before God and have to give an account for their abuse of authority.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jul 13th, 2013 @ 6:12am

    Re: Petition to Shut down Utah NSA Data Center!

    That's our tax dollars at hard work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    someday they will stand before God and have to give an account for their abuse of authority.


    Yeah, I'm sure that idea terrifies them.

    I would rather have concrete justice in the here and now than theoretical justice in some supposed afterlife when it is worthless.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2013 @ 7:12pm

    I hate USA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jul 14th, 2013 @ 4:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Despite the leaks about government spying, rampant corruption, ridiculous new laws and taxes, plus all the scandals, nobody seems to be doing much about it. So, it looks as though the corruption and abuse of authority will continue unabated. Those in power get off with a slap on the wrist, because they're the ones writing all the laws -- there's your "justice."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 15th, 2013 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Precisely.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    T, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 6:36pm

    Please protect me, daddy. F you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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