I think the NSA knew about this flaw from its inception, as any creator would know. The NSA, of course, denies this. There is no proof, and probably no way to prove it. As would be the case with any other security backdoor found or "an unknown unknown". I believe the NSA, just as I believe them about everything else they have said in response to the Snowden leaked documents. They wouldn't lie to the American public, would they. So all these accusations, they're lies, all lies, except what Clapper and Alexander tell us.
But... if you do nothing wrong, then you have nothing to hide. So then it doesn't matter. And if you did something but didn't know it was wrong, or it was OK when you did it, then that's why they record everything and keep it for years. In case you turn out to be a terrorist after all. But its all needed to keep everyone safe.
I'm on board with this. The NSA is a tool, one that has been abused and misused by its 'owners' - the executive leadership of the intelligence community, starting with Clapper and Alexander, and the shadowy people we don't know in the White House and intelligence bureaucracy at the executive/manager level. The technical end of the NSA is excellent; if they were controlled in a way that respected the Constitution and the rights and privacy of the American people it would be a government agency to be respected. Being used and directed the way it has been is unfair to the workers at the agency, and to the American people. The willful evasion of meaningful oversight by Congress masterminded by the executive leadership of the agency and the two recent Administrations which have coopted the core mission of the NSA in the service of politically expedient "fighting terrorism" to spy on Americans almost without restraint or bounds is the biggest threat to American democracy. That the government is now for sale, wholesale, just about insures this won't change anytime soon.
If you think capitalism is going to have a problem dealing with zero marginal cost goods when they are mostly intangibles ("content") imagine what happens when nanotech actually gets functional. It is inevitably coming, because the first movers get incredibly low production costs, but when it is available to everyone, the whole society of scarcity goes out the window. When you can shovel in dirt and take out medicines, clothes, food, appliances, everything... the economic basis of our current world is disrupted. Whether in 10, 100, 200, or 500 years, it is coming. Look back 200 years compared to now, for manufacturing, and imagine what it looks like 200 years forward.
You need to think about this like a high-level TSA administrator would... let's see: $1 Billion spent on training, 30,000 detentions. So, $33,333 per detention. Then, 1% of the detained people are actually arrested for a chargable offense (the other 99% merely were inconvenienced, missed their planes, missed business meetings, lost productivity, etc. - so no real harm done). So $3,333,333 per arrest - that's just three and one-third million dollars per arrest. Imagine if TSA had more money to spend on this - they could catch more terrorists and criminals! So next year's budget should have $2 Billion for this training, to make sure that TSA catches more terrorists. After all, this is a proven program to catch criminals and terrorists (maybe someday it -will- actually catch a real terrorist). Just because no actual terrorists have been caught with these techniques is no reason to stop doing them. We can enhance public safety if we spend more money and detain more people.
Now you see how a high-level TSA administrator thinks about this kind of thing... so no surprises when they increase the training for this technique, to 'increase our ability to improve safety for the American public'.
What we are seeing is the criminalization of existence, with innocence no longer presumed until proven otherwise... the opposite is the default for all police agencies, and governments at the city, county, state, and federal levels are all in on it. If you haven't yet been proven to have broken a law, some law, we will watch and record you so that when (not if, but when) you do we can go back and prove you were planning it all along. The small step from here to assigning guilt and then inventing the 'supporting evidence' is already being taken in the invented terrorist plots used to support and justify the budgets of 'terrorist fighting' agencies like the BATF, FBI, and NSA. We will slip gradually into an absolute police state while our smile-faced politicians promise they can make us safe if only we give up a little freedom for security.
As always we we learn about this kind of activity, its important, most important, to follow the money. In this case we see a government agent and government agency, which competes with other government agencies for scarce funding, inventing crimes and criminals to insure its sufficient claim for a continuing budget, and perhaps even budget increases. The judge notes this as a cost to taxpayers, but it is also a boon to the bureaucrats and agents, providing continuing salaries and benefits, new equipment, and eventually a "well deserved" retirement. One of the commenters also notes that with the growth of the private prison industry, there's corporate profits to be made by keeping the pipeline filled with 'criminals'. Clearly the money shows the real motivation behind these inventive activities by law enforcement agencies. It appears that the motto "To protect and serve" left off the last word, "ourselves".
All these revelations about the NSA compromising hardware, corrupting firmware, and creating quantum-computer encryption busters is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Not every computer or software wizard is a patriot willing to work for the NSA, and I'll bet there are some people out in the world right now hacking up the next new thing to see if they can beat the NSA. It might even become a medalist category at the next Black Hat 'hacker olympics'. If they NSA had any brains they'd stop now, because they're just encouraging more, better, and tougher opposition.
That's the really great thing about lawyers. Even if you are a truly worthless scumbag, as long as you can pay them a lawyer will defend you, stretching their mind to invent rationale for your heinous criminal actions. I wonder if there is *any* crime so terrible that even a lawyer would refuse to defend it. No doubt the lawyer will claim that this is the core of our system of justice - but I think its all about the Benjy's. Which is truly the core of our system of justice, now that I think about it...
It isn't about the law, and whether the police follow it or not. Its about whether, when they charge you, you have the resour$es to fight back to keep your rights, or whether you are a typical citizen, strapped enough that you have to roll over. The law is being ignored by the police, and charges are being used to intimidate the citizenry into yielding their rights without fighting back. Thuggery pure and simple - this is an extortion of rights through abuse of authority. There's crimes being committed, but not by the citizens.
Cell phones have location data because, by law, they must "in order to enable 911 services". That this also becomes a way for secret government agencies and police to establish whereabouts with a timestamp, and track locations of the cell phone (and presumably the phone's owner...) at all times, and that the current law allows police agencies to accesst this information without a warrant or any proof of probable cause is a grevious breach of our constitutional rights. Except that its not, because the courts are inside the pockets of the security/military/industrial cabal and the elites they protect. We're all screwed, and there's precious little to be done about it, because the laws *they* make are -designed- to enforce and increase their power over us. This can't end well.
I agree, Mike shows an obvious bias in favor of privacy and the rights of citizens. In this case, myself also not being a constitutional scholar (and your credentials are...?)it seems clearly unreasonable that once communications are inadvertently swept up as part of a targeted investigation it becomes 'reasonable' to be allowed to search them even though they clearly are not part of the original target is an overreach and violates the specificity required by the Fourth Amendment. There is nothing 'particular' about sweeping in everything then sifting it as you wish. We're building a security/military/industrial surveillance state designed to perpetuate the power and control of a small elite of political and economic influencers, and plutocracy of the few who will control the many ordinary citizens through fear, manipulation, and deceit.
NSA has lots of money, our money, and they're all true believers. As soon as they think they have a terrorist, they're going to want to go back in time as far as they can and listen to the contents of all the calls. They have to, to save us. After all, if they don't save America from terrorists, who will?! Safety before the Bill of Rights, that's the operating principle here. So, along with the storage, I am sure the NSA can afford to string all kinds of really really fast optical fibers from wherever to wherever... what's a few hundred million, or even a few billion when you're saving America from terrorists? Transporting large volumes of data is no problem when you can build data pipes out of billions of dollars.
Look at that. Oh, how foolish. If there were such a program or programs, which I can neither confirm nor deny due to national security, it would be made clear that any such program did not do what he says. But since I am unable to acknowledge that any such programs may exist, I can't deny these speculative and uninformed statements.
But it -could- be terrorists! And we have all this neat equipment the Feds gave us to fight terrorism... we might as well use it when we have an 'incident'. You don't want the terrorists to win, do you?!
What are the cops going to do when Google Glass and the knockoffs become commonplace? "Sir, you have to take -off- those glasses!" --? Is this ridiculous enough yet? I predict the glasses with the built-in camera will be the end of this. Free $100-million idea -- real-time streaming wifi or cellular link of computer-glasses video to a website (Youtube?) for the whole world to see. You might not get cash, but Google stock is nearly as good. Whoever runs with this, don't forget who thought it up first.
Correlation is not causality. Economics abounds in "all other things being equal..." assumptions, and those with a political dogma in mind will set the assumptions and end up wherever they want to. Then set the policy, and when the future doesn't happen as they wish (e.g. "these high deficits will trigger massive inflation...") its always a wrong assumption to blame, and not the underlying theory.
'Clearly, if we just give all the really wealthy people even more money they will create jobs.' Twenty years on of increasing concentration of wealth, and yet there are chronically less jobs than needed. 'Clearly the wealthy need even more income concentration and wealth disparity, its not been concentrated enough yet.'
I wasn't expecting this sort of thing for about another 15 years, until some of the many "home-schooled for ideological reasons" kids getting taught that evolution is a liberal conspiracy, that there's no science to support human-caused climate change, or that there's no reason not to literally believe every word written in (insert your religious dogma text of choice) were old enough to elect to Congress. It appears that there is no shortage of people natively stupid enough yet old enough to run for Congress to support this kind of ignorance and imbecility even without the benefits of an education aimed at preserving ignorant beliefs rather than teaching techniques for the application and use of intelligence. The sad thing is Gromert is probably in a 'safe' district and likely immune to removal by election due to the preponderance of 'low information content' voters carefully gerrymandered into the district.
Security theater is just like the movies - there's no reason why these gaping holes in logic should interfere with the illusion created by the movie. Just because this is 'reality' is no reason to be smart about anything.