It's Not Whether NSA Surveillance Helped Stop Any Plots, But Whether Or Not It Needed To Spy On Everyone To Do So

from the get-it-straight dept

Last week, NSA boss Keith Alexander insisted that the various NSA surveillance programs had stopped "dozens" of terrorist attacks. This apparently confused Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall -- both on the Senate Intelligence Committee and privy to any such reports -- who claimed that they'd seen no such evidence. Over the weekend, the NSA released no actual evidence, but rather just reiterated the claim that it had stopped "dozens of potential terror plots" in "more than 20 countries."

Note, by the way, the use of the word "potential." That gives the NSA an awful lot of wiggle room, and we've seen before that when you give the NSA wiggle room around some language choices, they take it.

But, the bigger issue is that without presenting any actual evidence on these situations, it's impossible to know whether or not the NSA really needed this massive data collection to stop those "potential" plots. As we've already seen, in the one case where the NSA has said the programs were useful, it quickly became clear that they were not necessary, and traditional policework actually did the bulk of the effort in identifying the plot.

In the same release, the NSA also said that it had only "checked" 300 phone numbers last year against that giant database of every phone call that it collects. They released this tidbit of info to try to calm people's fears that the program wasn't targeting them. But, it seems like this datapoint completely works in the other direction. If the NSA only needs to check 300 phone numbers, no way should it have every phone call made by everyone in its database. Three hundred is a small enough number that it's clearly not unduly burdensome to walk their lawyers down to court and show why each and every one of those numbers matters, and then go from there.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 8:43am

    in "more than 20 countries."

    That quote suggests they are hoovering up every phone call in the world, or America has become the home of the terrorist. Either one of those options is frightening.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 8:45am

    EXACTLY! and if anyone believes what these lyin' fuckers say, after what has happened, you need your heads examined!!

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 8:46am

    NSA

    Everyone is a potential terrorist until we say you are not

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 8:47am

    Wrong as usual: should be both.

    Plots stopped are a reasonable metric. -- And there ain't none known except those the FBI hatched.

    But besides that, you're misdirecting by tacit assumption that the NSA is actually trying to protect the US, when it's THE instrument of oppression. Every police state spies as much as possible, and due to modern technology, that's massive.

    We need people to reject all surveillance, starting with Google. There's no need for Google to store massive data on everyone, either: incremental effectiveness on their advertising revenues isn't worth the cost of ALL OUR privacy.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 8:51am

    Imagine what the Stasi would have been like with the NSA's technology.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 8:56am

    Re: Wrong as usual: should be both.

    Start with the MPAA. The world isn't any safer when they demand information to sue dead grandmothers.

    Seriously, how the fuck did you go from "The NSA sucks, the USA sucks" to "Let's blame Google"? Oh, right. Because you have no idea what you're talking about.

     

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    GMacGuffin (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 8:57am

    Just waiting for that madman...

    Regarding stopping terrorism - my wife says, "We'll take our chances, thanks."

    And the concern for us is what happens 25 years down the line if this data collection isn't abated. Then every living citizen will have most or all of his/her life, movements, contacts on file with the US Govt. And what if another Nixon or J. Edgar gets in office and starts cleaning house of ... you know, anyone they don't like? They'll have the goods on everyone.

    We've been looking at our pets these last few weeks and been actually, vocally relieved we did not have children. That's scary.

     

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  8.  
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    Edward Teach, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 8:58am

    Guilt by association

    This whole giant dragnet, it just looks like its designed for and useful only for determining guilt by association.

    You call someone, you're in cahoots with them. No ifs, ands or buts. That's how the metadata works, right? Any contact, no matter how short, makes you guilty.

    Given the vague and imprecise definition of "terrorist", the guilt by association looks like it's easily manipulated, too.

    The other thing that's occurred to me: guilt works by association. Innocence does not. A metadata graph and correlation can't ever be used to prove innocence, just to prove guilt. It's bogus.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:01am

    Americans Sent 100 Million+ Father's Day Messages --NSA

    Americans Sent Over a Hundred Million Father’s Day Messages, Says N.S.A.”, by Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker, June 17, 2013
    WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Americans sent over a hundred million Father’s Day messages on Sunday, the National Security Agency reported today.

    [...more...]

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:09am

    But, it seems like this datapoint completely works in the other direction. If the NSA only needs to check 300 phone numbers, no way should it have every phone call made by everyone in its database.

    Does it work in the other direction? If they hadn't collected the information in the first place, how could they have gone back later and sifted through the 300 numbers that were of interest? It's hard for me to take your criticisms seriously when you just don't have enough information about this to form an educated opinion. I know you're an evidence-based guy, so why all the faith-based FUD, Mikey?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:10am

    Re: Wrong as usual: should be both.

    Google is relatively harmless. It's Facebook you should fear.

    Google is optional. If you block them, they can't track you, simple as that.

    Facebook, however, isn't. If you have friends, at least. So long as a friend of yours posts a picture of them with you - and they will, because they already are dumb enough to use Facebook in the first place - someone at Facebook (or the NSA) can run some facial recognition software and determine that person A (you) is associated with person B (your friend). Or even worse: your friends could simply tag the photos with your name.

    Those trivial relationships can be used to build quite an impressive little database with a scary amount of information about you, even if you never use Facebook. And there is nothing you can do to stop that, short of assassinating your friends...or living in a cave.

    One could argue that Google could do the same thing...but the cost of doing such by crawling the net is impossibly high...it is extremely unlikely that even a Government could pull that off.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:15am

    Re:

    * facepalm *

    The issue isn't that they collected the data.

    The issue is that they collected the data indiscriminately.

    I am certain that asking a judge for a warrant to collect that data would not negatively affect the outcome of the investigation.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:16am

    Re:

    You realize the evidence would have to come from the NSA, right? 300 phones of interest vs 150 million American's phone records.. That's disproportionate if there ever was such a thing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re:

    I do realize that Mike doesn't have the evidence, yes. That's my point.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:24am

    Re: Americans Sent 100 Million+ Father's Day Messages --NSA

    I want to know how many 'Fuck You NSA' messages did they collect on Sunday?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re:

    Yes, they collect it indiscriminately because they don't know ex ante which parts of it they will need down the road. That's the point. The telephone metadata is not protected by the Fourth Amendment, despite Mike's newly-formulated-yet-unsourced-and-unsupported argument to the contrary. Since it's not a search, a "warrant" isn't needed. The Pen Register Act only requires a court order, not a warrant, IIRC. Mike and others seem to be arguing that the standard is a warrant supported by probable cause. The Fourth Amendment doesn't dictate that, and from what we do know of these "secret" interpretations of the law, the FISC doesn't dictate that either.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re:

    150 million American


    Where is the 150 million number coming from?

    You should know —off the top of your head— that the United States has a population over 300 million. Just in case you didn't know that, I popped over to the Census Bureau for a 2012 estimate: 313,914,040.

    Meanwhile, if you're just counting telephone subscribers, well, I thought everyone knew that there were more subscribers than people these days.

    Mobile and fixed-line telephone subscribers in the United States:
    The Mobile and fixed-line telephone subscribers in the United States was reported at 425154848 in 2008, according to the World Bank.

    That 2008 number is undoubtedly larger today.

    So where's that 150 million coming from again?

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re:

    they collect it indiscriminately because they don't know ex ante which parts of it they will need down the road.


    You're right, that is the point. And it's the practice that people are objecting to. The "only looked at 300" business is beside the point.

    The telephone metadata is not protected by the Fourth Amendment


    Personally, when a huge pile of comprehensive data, even data that individually isn't protected, is collected and organized such that the end result is pretty much the same as if you're being spied on in prohibited ways, I think this is a clear violation of the fourth amendment's intention. After all, if we say otherwise, then the fourth amendment loses almost all power in terms of actual effect. that can't be right.

    It isn't that the collection of any individual data point violates the fourth, it's the aggregate effect of combining all those little data points that is.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:41am

    So they get a list of 300 numbers (from metadata no doubt), and they look at ALL calls and see if anyone has been calling any of those 300 numbers.

    Of course you need to check every phone to see if they are calling one of the 300 numbers, that is THE POINT.

    In Mike's world, if you have the list of 300 number, that's it, you don't have to see who is calling those numbers, just need those numbers !!!..

    Everyone knows, when you drive your car you are probably under surveillance some of the time, as a result of your awareness of this surveillance, a lot of people will NEVER knowingly speed.

    Same applies here, it's not about a drop if number of people caught, it's about the deterrent factor. With air port security, checking phone calls, border security, police activities.

    it's all a part of a deterrent, some groups will put their activities in the "too hard" basket, even before they are detected, just like the driver of a car will not exceed the speed limit because of the real possibility of being caught.

    But Masnick cannot seem to work that out, even if it applies to DRM or copyright, or copy protection. It's not about stopping everyone, it's about putting it into the 'too hard' basket for the majority.

    and No I do not expect Masnick or his trolls to ever 'get it'.. At least some do.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/16/gchq-intercepted-communications-g20-summits

    Foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts, according to documents seen by the Guardian. Some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by British intelligence agencies to read their email traffic.

    This is probably legal too. Who the fuck cares, because it sounds wrong to me. Just because something is legal doesn't make it right. You can scream statutes all day long but it still sounds wrong. Good luck with your point of view moving forward.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Except for the part where the warrants can be applied for after the fact.

    So, if they can collect and then apply, there's no need to collect everything, just what they need and then retroactively apply for the warrant which covers only what they need.

    Its not hard, keep up.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    Re:

    There's nothing to get, Darryl. You don't make sense, so there's nothing to understand.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're getting into the "mosaic theory" of the Fourth Amendment: http://www.michiganlawreview.org/assets/pdfs/111/3/Kerr.pdf The majority in Jones didn't really reach the mosaic theory because it decided that it was a "search" due to the trespass. I like the argument, though. I think it has merit. But keep in mind that it's a novel interpretation of the Fourth Amendment that hasn't gained much traction. At bottom, though, the test is reasonableness, and I agree that what's reasonable now is perhaps different than it was when Smith was decided. Still, it's hard for me to think it's reasonable to think private the information that we willingly turn over to third parties. Great stuff.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:50am

    Re:

    And the skewer through your argument is that all they have to do is ask the phone company who called those 300 numbers, not collect them all. DUH!

    Yr so gungho to take down mike you took down yourself.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:50am

    Re: Re: Wrong as usual: should be both.

    Or even worse: your friends could simply tag the photos with your name.

    Does that work? I've tried a number of ways to tag a person without a Facebook account, and have been unable to do so. I can't even tag someone who has a facebook account and doesn't have me as a friend.

    At one time I was able to tag a person who wasn't on facebook, but I think they removed that capability a while back.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re:

    If the NSA can spy on everyone in order to stop terrorism then why can't they spy on everyone in order to stop piratism™? Think about it.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    Re:

    Everyone knows, when you drive your car you are probably under surveillance some of the time, as a result of your awareness of this surveillance, a lot of people will NEVER knowingly speed.


    Not where I live. The slowest car drivers drive 5 MPH over the limit.

    it's all a part of a deterrent, some groups will put their activities in the "too hard" basket, even before they are detected


    Maybe so. That's not the question. The question is, is that worth the cost to society?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Willingly?

    Oh, you mean we could send snail mail instead?

    *face palm*

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:55am

    Re: Guilt by association

    with Terrorism guilt by association is perfectly acceptable, there is even specific laws against that, if you are an associate of a terrorist group you ARE guilty, particularly if that association is to aid that group.

    Making phone calls to your mom, or your bookie, is not an association with a terrorist group, so you have nothing to worry about.

    But if you start to make calls to the listed numbers associated with a terrorist group, then that would be the basis for FURTHER investigation.

    The fact you made a call to a number would not result in a conviction, it would probably result in a closer look at you, and possibly a warrant to take the contents of that call, and an investigation.

    None of the stuff the NSA is doing would directly result in a prosecution, simply further investigation.

    Get over it already, and masnick stop milking it.. enough already.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:56am

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

    Snail mail is a good analogy. There's no expectation of privacy on what's written on the outside of the envelope, but there is on the contents on the letter inside. Envelope = metadata of phone call, and letter contents = phone call contents.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re: Americans Sent 100 Million+ Father's Day Messages --NSA

    "I want to know how many 'Fuck You NSA' messages did they collect on Sunday?"

    Somewhere between 1 and 0.

     

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  32.  
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    Donglebert the Needlessly Obtuse, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Wrong as usual: should be both.

    Yes, you can tag a name to picture without actually linking it to a facebook account. From memory, it also prompts for an email so that it can send them a link.

    If you do try to tag someone on facebook, they have the option of requiring their approval on the tag - but lots of people haven't looked at that setting.

    So you're screwed either way.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Wrong as usual: should be both.

    Using Google is entirely optional for any of their services. Google can not collect information about your use of another service except when it passes through Google (Yahoo mail to Gmail). Facebook is voluntary. You do not required to join or use Facebook. What others do on Facebook could be embarassing for you but you can not control others.

    The NSA program is no-opt out. Also, if the 300 or even 3000 phone numbers of interest is correct there is no need for any vast data harvesting program. So the question remains who is really pushing the data harvesting and why are they pushing for it.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:08am

    Re:

    Evidence we're not allowed to see because it's classified. Keep on running around that circle AJ!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So as long as the evidence remains classified no one can object. Joe, go home, you're spinning in circles.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:10am

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

    Metadata reveals an order of magnitude more than whats on the outside of the envelope but you keep spinning around in the circle there.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re: Guilt by association

    The metadata does not give the contents of the conversation only that it occurred. It will include a variety of innocent calls as well as those from the terrorist cell; assuming it exits.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re: Re:

    What 'Mike and others' have always argued is that the third-party doctrine and the existing laws are too permissive. It's the rest of the country that's finally coming to terms with how permissive it really is.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    AJs point of view has always been that the shadows on the wall e.g. the law is reality and that it is everything else which much bend to their will.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's not really the mosaic theory. It's just a basic reasonableness standard. It is absolutely NOT reasonable to apply a pre-1980 interpretation of the third party doctrine to the internet or cell phones. I know you think it's reasonable because you think the law says it is at the moment and if the law were changed tomorrow you'd think something else because the bounds of the law are the limit of your analysis and understanding. However, on the off chance that you're capable of talking about something other than the bounds of existing statue why should suspicionless, indiscriminate aggregation of who you call, when you call them, where you were when you called them, how long you talked to them, and where they were be legal?

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The majority in Jones didn't really…

    Carefully read through the concurrences in US v Jones (2012), and count noses.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:24am

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

    I'm not sure how you calculated it to be an "order of magnitude," but nonetheless there's your opinion of what the law should be and then there's the actual law. The ones "spinning around in the circle" are the ones conflating the two.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:25am

    Re:

    Does it work in the other direction? If they hadn't collected the information in the first place, how could they have gone back later and sifted through the 300 numbers that were of interest?

    Once they have the numbers, they can get a court order to get the info on those numbers from the telcos. You don't need to precollect all the info.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:38am

    Re:

    Puh-leez! Give General Alexander at least a little slack. It's obvious that what he actually meant to say was: "We can't even begin to count the potential terrorist plots that our surveillance programs have allowed us to stop." Event the most brilliant sophist sometimes has a bad day.

     

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Americans Sent 100 Million+ Father's Day Messages --NSA

    Well, AC could you pass them on the message when they come by and drop off your paycheck?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 11:20am

    Awesome! I wonder if they can give me back some old photos that I lost of my evil bitch ex. :( NSA Sponsored revenge porn here I come!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What 'Mike and others' have always argued is that the third-party doctrine and the existing laws are too permissive. It's the rest of the country that's finally coming to terms with how permissive it really is.

    Mike has a new argument that he dropped on Friday, namely that the collection of metadata in fact violates the Fourth Amendment: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130614/16265623479/rep-grayson-let-me-tell-nsa-there-is-no-threat -to-our-nation-when-i-call-my-mother.shtml

    Mike says:
    It goes on, in much greater detail about why this is such a problem. He points out that the order "clearly violates the 4th Amendment," which is the first time I've seen a politician finally admit that. He highlights that there's no probable cause and no particularity, as required by the 4th Amendment. And, for those who immediately, like rote, spout out Smith v. Maryland and the third party doctrine, Grayson responds to that as well, calling those who make that argument a "farce," noting the differences in that case, which involved seizing a single record once, not all records all the time.
    The only farce is that argument and Mike who refuses to discuss it. Why can't Mike back up what he claims? Hmm...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    AJs point of view has always been that the shadows on the wall e.g. the law is reality and that it is everything else which much bend to their will.

    Whether something actually violates the Fourth Amendment is determined by applying the actual law, not Mike's made-up-and-ran-away version of it. This isn't hard.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 12:05pm

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

    That's not really the mosaic theory. It's just a basic reasonableness standard. It is absolutely NOT reasonable to apply a pre-1980 interpretation of the third party doctrine to the internet or cell phones.

    I see there's about 5,000 cases citing Smith v. Maryland on Westlaw. Are there any that you can cite that agree with you?

    I know you think it's reasonable because you think the law says it is at the moment and if the law were changed tomorrow you'd think something else because the bounds of the law are the limit of your analysis and understanding.

    LMAO!!

    However, on the off chance that you're capable of talking about something other than the bounds of existing statue why should suspicionless, indiscriminate aggregation of who you call, when you call them, where you were when you called them, how long you talked to them, and where they were be legal?

    Let's hear your arguments? Are you suggesting a completely novel interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, or do you have any legal authority to back it up?

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 12:06pm

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

    Carefully read through the concurrences in US v Jones (2012), and count noses.

    I count five that maybe agree, but it's not at all clear to me exactly what they agree on.

     

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

  51. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re:

    Once they have the numbers, they can get a court order to get the info on those numbers from the telcos. You don't need to precollect all the info.

    But they aren't doing it this way, and that leads me to wonder why. If it really that simple, wouldn't they do it that way?

     

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  52.  
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    special-interesting (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 12:08pm

    NSA; PRISM, MAINWAY, MARINA and NUCLEON. Verizon phone number appropriated, added to the data base and analyzed. (and the infrastructure it took to do that) Likely a few dozen other additional programs. There was probably a name and huge budget to woo the large tech firms also.

    Estimate; It probably cost half to one and a half a trillion US dollars to build up and out a true Orwellian public/press/politicians/everyone-else observation system. No way to grasp the economic loss that, at least, half a trillion dollars. None.

    For that, at least, half a trillion dollars what do we have for it? No Moon Landing and all its attendant technology. No US Interstate Highway System to take us on vacation and haul in our goods in bulk from China/Singapore/Japan/etc. No Railroad system to interconnect the continent.

    What we gained for that investment is a hugely devalued dollar in response to a mostly imaginary war... on what? What we gained for this was not a strengthened America but a devalued constitution for what is mostly an imaginary threat.

    In the end is that imaginary threat the very politicians who were conned into this expensive boondoggle brought to life by the dreams of bureaucracy and the industrial military complex? (Eisenhower)

    Keep in mind that these are prideful politicians who will NEVER admit a vampire-istic mistake/deed until the metaphorical wooden stake has been hammered through their wicked bureaucratic hearts. Maybe not even then as the cry “did it for the public good” can fool the perpetrators the most.

    -

    Lets look at the credibility of the NSA and the current administration. The current administration has (by quantitative easing) printed money through the FED to the extent we have inflation and effectively zero interest rates. Where did all that cash go? In a real investment that would benefit the public?

    No. Its was wasted on some weird NSA secrete black box project. Its just an opinion but it sounds more like gullibility than dishonesty. For the amounts involved and the negative benefits to American culture it dose sound disingenuous to still claim its good in any way.

    The NSA has been spending this huge cash wad since the early Bush Jr. years in some wild panic. Panic does seem to explain most of the behavior of the various US government agencies. Wild and out of control Zar's/commissioners/chiefs/heads-of-staff/etc and their underlings and staff follow suit. Chicken Little would have much company.

    The NSA has provided NO public accounting/accountability for their actions to the extent they deny even having to provide it ever. This is so apparent that they have likely lied to Congress and the US people many times. It seems they still do not want to exist as a publicly known agency?

    The indiscriminate nature of the implementation of these programs almost certainly violate Due Process Rights and other Constitutional Rights. Since the Constitution was what they swore to protect this does not lead to credibility either.


    So... the NSA said they ONLY “checked” 300 phone numbers last year? Is this a credible statement considering the zero credibility of the NSA and the past two administrations? Leave this answer as an exercise to the reader...

    Does anything the current administration and the NSA have to say have ANY base in credibility? The low number of congressional members willing to currently attend the briefings given by the NSA might be smart? Its likely to be 1% reality, 29% lies and 70% misdirection. Any normal person would know less after the briefing than before.

    The 300 number sounds like some crazy minimization the MPAA would use to fool the Blind into some ill advised treaty. Or. Like some RIAA minimal estimate on how much they damage/steal from Public Domain or American Culture.



    Its likely laws with criminal prison terms will be needed to curb spying on the public at large. MAKE it illegal for the government or corporation to spy/monitor on the listening/viewing/reading/etc habits of the public. MAKE it illegal to gather data and or create a database about citizens and especially reporters and activists.



    Reactionary,

    AC mentioned that if only 300 phone numbers were checked then why have the huge infrastructure investment and indiscriminateness implementation? Agree; It does not make sense that way.

    Another AC mentioned the “indiscriminateness” of the current administrations actions. It was good for a paragraph.

     

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

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 12:31pm

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

    Perhaps the NSA can ask for permission before violating everyone's privacy? And I mean they should ask everyone's permission before the violation occurs, it's like, they're infringing on copyright, I mean, human rights.

     

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

  54.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 12:32pm

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

    Whether or not something violates the fourth amendment is determined by applying the fourth amendment. Actual law is intended to clarify edge cases, true, but the very nature of edge cases is that the application of the constitution in the law can shift.

    In my opinion, this is not an edge case. This stuff is obviously against the intention of the fourth amendment. It doesn't matter whether or not "the law" agrees. It's still unconstitutional at its heart. No amount of legalisms or legal fiction can change that.

     

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

  55.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    They aren't doing it that way because that's not the problem they're trying to solve. That's the reasoning they're offering to the public.

    What they really want to do is what they've been saying for years: Total Information Awareness, so they can apply predictive heuristics to the data to find persons of interest (certainly not only, or even primarily terrorists). They want to make fishing expeditions cheap and easy.

     

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

  56.  
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    McCrea (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 12:36pm

    because Terrorism

    Using terrorism to justifying domestic spying means that the terrorists have won. You live in fear, you are paranoid, you reduce the liberty of your citizen. You have become the terrorist.

     

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

  57.  
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    nbcart (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 1:31pm

    "every phone call made by everyone"

    One has to wonder back to the story of the US government asking their operatives to get personal info on all foreign diplomats (including cell phone numbers). The recent news that the UK government spied on foreign diplomat's cell phone calls it begs the question....

     

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

  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Re: Guilt by association

    Please provide a citation of these 'guilt by association' laws. I'd really like to see what you're talking about.

     

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

  59.  
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    ebilrawkscientist (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 2:42pm

    Plots What Plots?

    --- NSA: Plots? Plots? Heh, what craziness are you talking about EndUser? There are no Plots.

    --- Tenth level, thousands of Evil Plots!

    --- EndUser: You have allowed this NSA spying to twist your mind, until now, until now you've become the very thing you swore to destroy.
    --- NSA Agent: Don't lecture me, EndUser! I see through the lies of the Web-users. I do not fear the dork side as you do. I have brought peace, freedom, justice, and security to my new Internets.
    --- EndUser: Your new Internets?
    --- NSA Agent: Don't make me packet you.
    --- EndUser: NSA Agent, my allegiance is to the Web, to Freedom of Speech.
    --- NSA Agent: If you're not with me, then you're my enemy.
    --- EndUser: [realizing that NSA Agent is consumed by evil and there's no reasoning with him anymore] Only a Dork deals in absolutes. [kicks up his encryption tools]
    --- EndUser: I will do what I must.
    --- NSA Agent: You will try.[launches a packet analyser and confronts EndUser] . . .

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 3:19pm

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

    You mean like the intelligence community and their opions of the law? No of course not, to you if the government does it it must be legal.

     

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

  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 3:22pm

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

    Illegal suspicionless searches are a novel interpretation of the 4th to you. Enough said.

     

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

  62.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 18th, 2013 @ 2:00am

    Re: Re: Wrong as usual: should be both.

    "Seriously, how the fuck did you go from "The NSA sucks, the USA sucks" to "Let's blame Google"? "

    Essentially, it's impossible for these idiots to either concede that an article is correct, that the points raised are valid or that they can agree with Mike on some points without undermining any valid criticism of others. Their rabid obsession with opposing the site on every point won't let them either stay silent nor agree with a single word. Since they can't come up with a reason the article is not factually or logically sound, they have to try and deflect, deflect, deflect!

    They've finally worked out that whining like 3 year olds that TD has a lot of NSA stories isn't working, so the next trick is to try and distract to a different subject. One of the their favourite lies is that Mike is employed by Google, they *love* their Google conspiracies theories and they're too stupid to understand that it's possible to be critical of more than one entity at a time, so the new tactic is "ignore this Google is worse!".

    It doesn't have to make sense. What matters is that they've managed to pretend that the "real issue" isn't being talked about and that makes TD look bad somehow.

     

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


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