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Whistleblower: NSA Has All of Your Email

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the well-most-of-it dept.

Privacy 478

mspohr writes with this excerpt from Democracy Now!: "National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney reveals he believes domestic surveillance has become more expansive under President Obama than President George W. Bush. He estimates the NSA has assembled 20 trillion 'transactions' — phone calls, emails and other forms of data — from Americans. This likely includes copies of almost all of the emails sent and received from most people living in the United States. Binney talks about Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and challenges NSA Director Keith Alexander's assertion that the NSA is not intercepting information about U.S. citizens." The parts about National Security Letters in particular are chilling, even though the issue is not new.

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anyone surprised? (5, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755091)

if someone is - that would be shocking.

Re:anyone surprised? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755107)

Not shocked at all. Even less shocked that this comes out right at the start of what looks like is going to be a fairly tight political battle for president, trying to paint Obama as worse than Bush was.

Re:anyone surprised? (5, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755127)

I think the whole Bush/Obama thing is a total distraction - and it works for too many people. It's unfortunate it is in the summary because as I see it what is happening is the that the government is travelling further down the same path - regardless of which party controls which branch. The idea that Obama is better or worse is meaningless, by and large they are exactly the same. And if somehow Romney were to beat Obama in the next election, the largest difference would be the switch in which group was defending and which was attacking the administration -- over the very same actions.

Re:anyone surprised? (0, Troll)

Alomex (148003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755169)

Bush went to war against Iraq, Obama got us out. Can you see the wee-bit of difference there? I can and I'm voting for Obama.

Re:anyone surprised? (4, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755211)

Answer this honestly - has the operational tempo of the United States military changed significantly?

I would say no. Sure, we've drawn down troops in one country, and increased the number in others. We've also radically increased the number of assassinations we are carrying out.

Re:anyone surprised? (3, Informative)

Alomex (148003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755277)

Yes it has. It's moved from undefined long term deployments (we might sill be there a hundred years from now--John McCain) to well defined missions with objectives. We are out of Iraq, we got bin Laden, and we won't be in Afghanistan in a couple of years.

Sure, we've drawn down troops in one country, and increased the number in others.

Net number is down, with more reductions in the way.

Re:anyone surprised? (5, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755475)

I'm having trouble tracking down good numbers on over all 'troops on the ground' numbers - but it looks like you are right that over all numbers are dropping, especially in the last year to two years.

I still have concerns about our activity that extends well beyond the number of troops deployed. I wonder to what extent this reflects the ability to automate warfare and leave key actions to elite units. Our drone attack activity is way up - but of course this can't be compared to the past as the ability itself has been growing.

I hope you are correct that this points to a substantial difference in long term US policy but I (as is obvious) am very skeptical. I think it's unfair to say that under McCain that the same reductions could not have happened. And it's difficult to judge this based on politicians reactions to what Obama has done- and this strikes to the heart of my concern. Republicans attack Obama no matter what he does - not because of the action itself but because they want to try and see their party gain advantage. Democrats do the same. If a Republican President were dropping hell-fires all over the middle east, there would be some Dems plenty wound up.

They can't argue over substance because there isn't enough there. They are beholden to the same limited set of money brokers. So it's all flash and theater with personal profit as the ultimate goal.

Right now I don't live in the US. I've had the opportunity the last year to get a closer view of politics in another country. It pretty much looks the same. I see this as a part of the human condition. And so I don't think we can say it's the recent crop that are the problem, we need to look at building and improving systems to reign in this natural tendency towards corruption.

Right now I'd probably vote for Obama too - but only in the sense that it feels like a slightly lesser of the evils.

Re:anyone surprised? (5, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755219)

The mission was over. Saddam is dead.

The Iraq war goal was filled. We're still in Afghanistan. Why?

The truth is, our country has its own "business" that is seperate of who is in office. The puppet in office maintains the gov's business and rarely changes course. Obama said he would close Gitmo. It's still open.

Obama said he would give us a public option... he lied.

Republicans play to the religious crazy people. Democrats play to the sane people... the result is the same. Corporations and power rule all, and the policies created have nothing to do with the voters.

Re:anyone surprised? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755243)

Democrats play to the sane people

No, they play to the hyperemotional people with victim complexes who obsess over group identity and think the government is Santa Claus with an infinite bag of gifts.

Re:anyone surprised? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755383)

And the republicans play to racist suburbanites and scientifically ignorant rednecks with misplaced delusions of self-sufficiency.

And you're both being played for fools.

Re:anyone surprised? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755397)

+1

With the tiny remark that democrats also have very strict rules about who is allowed to have a group identity, and will spew untold amounts of hatred against whomever they deem unworthy. So they'll defend that muslims beat wives, or kill children (in sharia children are the property of the parents, that means that there is no punishment for killing your own children, and you can sell them into slavery, or to a brothel, or to have them fight amongst themselves to death for amusement, well you can literally sell them for meat, as long as the meat is not given to humans, only to animals. Well a mother can't entirely do this against her man's wishes, but even that is only a whipping). But democrats will join communists, including the "let's massacre the middle class out of existence" variety, the black panthers (which is, at the very best, a crime syndicate), other openly racist groups, white and black (they -slowly- disavowed the ku klux clan, but that's pretty much the only racist organization they disavowed) ... and a host of other groups.

I think the difference is that democrats are like the popular kids in high school. They will defend (verbally, or in writing) anyone they fear might directly attack them and win. Muslims, communists, ... anyone who might order direct physical attacks against them they "respect".

The sad part is, we are all perfectly aware what will happen in the democrat bed that so "tolerantly" invites anyone who'd like to fight to fight on their side. Like in 1979, communists, feminists and muslims will discover that while they all hate the current state, they hate each other more, and the only reason they get their little scraps of power is the fact that commit violence against their enemies. The curse, of course, is that their "shared" enemies won't be so shared at some point.

Or what would be even worse, is that fringe groups of pretty much any ideology would realise this is the mechanism, and that the democrats would have enthousiastically supported abortion clinic bombing if it wasn't 1, but 100 that were bombed, and sufficient real victims were made. Or that a group that is directed from the outside realizes this, like the chinese government.

Re:anyone surprised? (3, Informative)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755297)

Obama tried to close Gitmo, and congress wouldn't let him. He tried to include the public option, and congress wouldn't let him.

Re:anyone surprised? (5, Informative)

anagama (611277) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755421)

That's unmitigated bullshit.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/miles-mogulescu/ny-times-reporter-confirm_b_500999.html [huffingtonpost.com]

This should be big news. Even while President Obama was saying that he thought a public option was a good idea and encouraging supporters to believe his healthcare plan would include one, he had promised for-profit hospital lobbyists that there would be no public option in the final bill.

As for Gitmo -- he's the commander in chief. That leaves two options: he's too weak to be president, or he lied in his campaign. Neither option is really all that awesome.

Re:anyone surprised? (1, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755307)

The mission was over. Saddam is dead.

Yet that didn't take Bush any closer to leaving Iraq,,,. hmmm.

The truth is, our country has its own "business" that is seperate of who is in office.

This I agree with, but this is not to say that everything remains the same. There is room around the margins and it is quite substantial e.g John Roberts vs. Elena Kagan; or Obamacare vs. no healthcare.

Obama said he would give us a public option... he lied.

Last I checked this was the fault of a singularly uncooperative republican caucus in Congress. A caucus which, for the first time in history declared that their overriding goal was to make Obama a one term president even if that meant damaging the country.

Re:anyone surprised? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755221)

To paraphrase the great Yoda, "That, is why you fail."

Obama is a disaster. A wide eyed wonder boy (no, that's NOT racist) in over his head and surrounded by idiots.

He's spent more time on vacation in the last three years than the average American spent working (actually, with nearly 9% unemployment still, it's not that hard).

He is about to give Afghanistan back to the Taliban and he pretty much gave Iraq back to the Islamofacists. Speaking of them, Egypt is about to terminate the peace treaties with Israel and Iran is about to get the A-bomb. Nice Job Obama.

I just paid$60 for fourteen gallons of gas. Thanks Obama, you fucker.

Re:anyone surprised? (-1, Troll)

greentshirt (1308037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755327)

You're a moron.

Re:anyone surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755455)

wow, such an insightful and snappy comeback. Adds so much to the discussion and is so well thought out and your points are so meticulously proven.

Re:anyone surprised? (5, Informative)

Alomex (148003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755329)

Obama is a disaster.

You have a rather curious definition of a disaster. Obama inherited a country at war (make that two wars) and in the worst depression since 1929, yet he has seemingly safely delivered us to the other side: the economy is picking up, we are out of Iraq and bin Laden is dead, all while battling a congress hell bent in destroying any and every action he wished to take.

If that is a disaster, then Bush must be the apocalypse.

Re:anyone surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755483)

When did all the AOL'ers show up on Slashdot. I must have fallen asleep.

Re:anyone surprised? (3, Interesting)

Zico (14255) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755225)

Bush went to war against Iraq, Obama got us out. Can you see the wee-bit of difference there? I can and I'm voting for Obama.

There was a set timeline on exiting Iraq, and yes he did keep to that timeline..... Somewhat. There are still many thousands of troops, and workers living inside of the Iraq embassy, whish is larger than the Vatican. If you're voting for Obama because of that, you better take a good look at Ron Paul. Since these wars are undeclared, and illegal, as president Ron Paul will IMMEDIATELY one day one, bring every foreign troop back home.

Re:anyone surprised? (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755319)

1) BWAHAHAHAHA

2) The airports are sure going to be crowded.

Re:anyone surprised? (5, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755341)

If you cannot see the flaw in Ron Paul's simplistic solutions I don't know what to say.

"For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. ---Henry Louis Mencken

Re:anyone surprised? (0)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755233)

And Clinton laid the groundwork for the war on Iraq, your point?

Re:anyone surprised? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755373)

[citation needed]

Re:anyone surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755235)

Oh, Bush is still running again?

Re:anyone surprised? (5, Insightful)

Alan R Light (1277886) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755331)

Um, Obama only got out because the government of Iraq insisted we get out, and seeing as the US ostensibly invaded Iraq to give the Iraqis self-government, Obama couldn't very well dispute the wishes of that government. I don't give a whole lot of credit to Bush or Obama on that count.

Re:anyone surprised? (4, Interesting)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755333)

NDAA, continued surveillance, complete disregard for the constitution... hm, nope. Not much difference there. Seems like he just pulled out when it was convenient to do so.

Re:anyone surprised? (0, Flamebait)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755345)

Bush went to war against Iraq

You're referring, of course, to Bush senior, who did so along with a large group of other nations because of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and posturing along the Saudi border. He (Bush senior) committed to a an eventual regime change there, based on Saddam's failure to ever live up to the agreements he made to cease the destruction of what was left of his military as he withdrew from that invasion. The Clinton administration continued pressure on him over weapons inspections (such as the large VX gas stashes the UN observed, his long range missile building and importing from North Korea, etc), and continued the presence of the military in the region because Saddam never stopped shooting at the allied aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones over the ares where he (Saddam) had been doing things like slaughtering thousands of villagers.

The second Bush echoed Clinton's stated policy of getting rid of Saddam, and finally acted on that post-9/11 after Saddam not only continued to stonewall the UN, but syphoned off food money to rebuild his military, continued to attack no-fly patrols, made public (televised) payments to terror operations and the families of suicide bombers in the region, and demonstrated that his continued provocations, long-range missle programs, and hide-and-seek with his VX stockpile wasn't going to get better - only worse. With groups like AQ starting to filter down from their suddenly less hospitable hangout in Afghanistan and into places that included Iraq, and with a jillion un-addressed UN calls for him to stop blocking his promised weapons inspections, the second Bush wrapped up what two presidents before him (and many other nations) had been doing all along: defanging the Baathist regime in Iraq, and getting rid of Saddam and his odious, mass-murdering, criminal family and their cronies.

That war was started by Saddam, and finished with his ouster. The fight with the insurgents started winding down under Bush, not Obama, and it was Bush's wrap-up schedule for major operations there that Obama stuck to and finished, since it was now on his watch.

Obama got us out.

We are not out of Iraq. If you think so, you're wrong. If you know so, then you're lying. There are thousands and thousands of our people there, armed to the teeth, in harm's way, and providing support for the slowly-growing Iraqi infrastructure's ability to deal with insurgents on their own. We are still right next door in Kuwait, in huge numbers, to provide exactly the same support we have been - only, now it's more difficult because we have to do some operations at longer range.

Of course, you know all of this, because it's right there in front of you.

Can you see the wee-bit of difference there?

Your are either woefully uninformed, or deliberately misrepresenting the situation.

I can and I'm voting for Obama.

You are either too uninformed to safely vote, or you're too comfortable deliberately lying about the situation in order to show support for someone for other reasons that you're not stating. Either way, please do not vote. Neither ignorance nor purposeful disingenuousness in the service of an unspoken agenda have a place there. But if you are going to continue to attempt to mislead people, thank you for doing it on a topic that's such a plain case of public record, because doing so makes it so much easier to disregard your advice.

Re:anyone surprised? (5, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755353)

Bush went to war against Iraq, Obama got us out. Can you see the wee-bit of difference there? I can and I'm voting for Obama.

This notion you have is so misinformed it's appalling.

Obama did not leave, Obama got booted. Dec. 2011 marked the end of the Status of Forces Agreement negotiated by GWB. SOFA prevented the Iraqi government from local prosecution of US troops for crimes committed in Iraq. Prior to the expiration of SOFA, Obama tried to get it extended so that the troops could stay longer and avoid any risk of prosecution. Obama failed in those negotiations, in large part because the war crimes confirmed in the WikiLeaks cache, made it politically impossible for Iraqi politicians to extend SOFA.

In other words, you are giving Obama credit for ending the war in Iraq when he tried to EXTEND it. To put this in Slashdot car analogy form, that's like giving a drunk driver accolades for not killing anyone while driving home, despite being blitzed and despite intentionally swerving at oncoming traffic. That's not laudable, it's despicable even if the drunk accidentally missed everyone.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/26/obama-iraq_n_1032507.html [huffingtonpost.com]

Finally, if Bradley Manning was the source behind the wikileaks cache, rather than the torture and persecution he is receiving under Obama, he should get a fucking Nobel because it is HE who got us out of Iraq.

http://www.salon.com/2011/10/23/wikileaks_cables_and_the_iraq_war/singleton/ [salon.com]

If you're going to vote for Obama, and you really believe he's some sort of peace loving socialist, consider some of the issues here: http://nothingchanged.org/ [nothingchanged.org]

Re:anyone surprised? (1, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755409)

Obama did not leave, Obama got booted.

Right, because is not like he promised during the elections that we would be out... oh wait he did [youtube.com] .

OFA prevented the Iraqi government from local prosecution of US troops for crimes committed in Iraq.

That only determined the size of a leftover contingent. Had the US deemed it necessary to stay in Iraq we had the firepower to replace the present government with one that allowed us to stay.

Do you remember Manuel Noriega of Panama? He "booted" US troops from the Panama Canal. How did that work out for him?

Re:anyone surprised? (1, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755461)

I can't believe you're that much a partisan. He tried to keep the troops in Iraq longer without the taint of occupation (if we're there under invitation of the government, that's one thing -- if we just do whatever the hell we want, that's another). Obama failed to convince the Iraqi government to extend its invitation. Yet you give Obama credit for ending a war he tried to extend? What kind of crazy logic is that?

Re:anyone surprised? (2, Insightful)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755369)

Do your research. Obama didn't want to get out. [cbsnews.com]

President Obama pulled the plug Friday on negotiations that would have kept American troops in Iraq past the end of this year. CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports the president's demand for immunity for U.S. troops stationed there was the dealbreaker.

It's not about Bush vs Obama, it's' about being represented and Obama does not represent the people who voted for him because his policies go the opposite way from his candidate promises.

It's not about R vs D. It's about trying to not get fucked for once.

PS: And it would be awesome if you cared a bit about the effects his policies inflict upon the rest of the world. Drone indiscriminate murders of innocent people are not only ignored but actively hidden against any accountability.

Re:anyone surprised? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755449)

Both Bush and Obama, much like most presidents in the last 100 years, are working for the banking class. This group has engineered debt to cripple the economy of the US and many other countries in the world. Continued war is one of the best methods of running up debt.

By voting for Obama, you are part of the problem when it comes to ill informed voters. If enough people vote for someone not of the same ilk as Obama, Romney, Clinton, Gingrich, Biden, Santorum etc., then just maybe the US might finally get a president worthy of the title.

Re:anyone surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755187)

While you're right to some extent, I think you're also forgetting that we're living in the post-Treybon Morton world now. Never before has America faced an event of such magnitude. Things have changed, whether you like it or not. The world just isn't the same place any more. This sort of disruption has significant political consequences, both home and abroad. We're only just beginning to see this play out. In 50 years, I think that historians will look back and see this as a turning point.

Re:anyone surprised? (4, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755413)

I think the whole Bush/Obama thing is a total distraction - and it works for too many people. It's unfortunate it is in the summary because as I see it what is happening is the that the government is travelling further down the same path - regardless of which party controls which branch. The idea that Obama is better or worse is meaningless, by and large they are exactly the same. And if somehow Romney were to beat Obama in the next election, the largest difference would be the switch in which group was defending and which was attacking the administration -- over the very same actions.

I think if Romney were elected the unaccountable spying and intrusion would get worse. However, if Obama were re-elected, the unaccountable spying and intrusion would get worse. I suppose you're right that the partisan thing is a mere distraction. The problem is that Congress -- whether of the same or different party of the president in power -- absolutely refuses to reign in the White House. Are they lazy? Do they see the trend as a good thing? Do they not care? Has someone got the dirt on them all?

Re:anyone surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755129)

Not shocked at all. Even less shocked that this comes out right at the start of what looks like is going to be a fairly tight political battle for president, trying to paint Obama as worse than Bush was.

If he's not trying to stop this, then he IS worse than Bush. If he's better than Bush was, this is his chance to prove it.

Re:anyone surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755147)

I am. They don't have the physical volume to hold all of that data. I do believe, however, that they've got every email message that entered or exited the country.

Re:anyone surprised? (2)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755167)

With the amount of mail that now exists in the cloud - couldn't access be the same as "having"? They don't need to actually have own and maintain all the storage for much of it.

This is not good. (1, Insightful)

gtvr (1702650) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755101)

I'm mostly not a big fan of Ron Paul, but I would love to put him in charge of eliminating this kind of crap.

Re:This is not good. (3, Insightful)

Zico (14255) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755201)

Which is why you should be a huge fan of Ron Paul. Most people here are too smart (or dumb) for their own good. They'll bitch and complain for hours how the government is too big, gets into our lives, spies on us etc.. Then they'll turn around and complain that people need health insurance, schooling, and everything else under the moon and it's up to the government to do that. Yes, in a perfect world everyone would be taken care of and live happy, but that just isn't the case and never will be.

Re:This is not good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755227)

Funny thing is, nothing would change under Ron Paul. The executive branch just doesn't have that kind of power to change the military industrial complex on its own.

Re:This is not good. (1, Informative)

Zico (14255) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755247)

Foreign wars will save us a ton of money, since these wars and occupations are undeclared, Dr Paul will have the power, and will bring the troops home day one. AND he has said since we're wasting money anyway, might as well give what we save to the people.

Re:This is not good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755237)

Yes, in a perfect world the government won't spy on you, but that just isn't the case and never will be. As a non-criminal but a living organism I'd rather the government read my spam and help me get a heart transplant than be dead with a bunch of unread spam.

Re:This is not good. (2)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755343)

It's also possible to advocate for both health care and privacy.

Re:This is not good. (3, Insightful)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755469)

Some of us even recognize the difference between government resources used for spying and government resources used to provide health insurance, schools, etc.

Re:This is not good. (0)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755335)

If he really believed the libertarian stuff he keeps spouting, why does he keep running as a Republican? Someone who actually believed those things would never align themselves with the Republican party. Conclusion: Ron Paul is either stupid, or exaggerating what he'd actually do if he was in charge.

Nothing to see here (0, Flamebait)

ExecutorElassus (1202245) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755103)

What's wrong with you, huh? Why do you hate FREEDUMB?? Binney is obviously giving away National Security secrets to the terr'rists, and should be Gitmo'd right away. Didn't he read the name of the Act? It's the USA PATRIOT Act. If he hates the US America so much, maybe he should move back to Sharia Kenya, or wherever all these freedom-haters come from.

Poe's Law is a fickle mistress =/

i hope... (5, Funny)

ks9208661 (1862000) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755105)

... they got all the spam as well.

Re:i hope... (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755163)

Actually, maybe you are on to a good idea there. Since the has the best mathematicians in the world, and unlimited computing resources, why not ask them to do a public service? Eliminate spam.

They should be able to identify the sources easily, if they are monitoring what everyone sends everywhere, or . . . ?

Re:i hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755311)

Since most spam is sent by botnet zombies, no, nobody sends spam from some central server anymore.

Re:i hope... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755305)

I have bad news for you: Spam is easily compressed.

Encrypt (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755115)

This is a problem whose solution has been known and available for over two decades, yet deployment is stagnant.

Re:Encrypt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755135)

And the more a person "needs" GPG/PGP, the more resistant they are to using it. Sad but true.

Re:Encrypt (2)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755203)

And the more a person "needs" GPG/PGP, the more resistant they are to using it. Sad but true.

GPG/PGP doesn't provide anonymity.

Re:Encrypt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755303)

And the more a person "needs" GPG/PGP, the more resistant they are to using it. Sad but true.

GPG/PGP doesn't provide anonymity.

There is almost no practical way to consistently hide that people are talking to each other, not matter if it is in person, by phone, email, etc. The only thing you can really do is to try to keep the content of your conversations private.

In this vein, if you don't know a lot about practical encryption, but want to get started in one place, I recommend PGP & GPG: Email for the Practical Paranoid by Michael Lucas.

Re:Encrypt (1)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755431)

And there seem to be some introductory courses from both Stanford's Coursera [coursera.org] and Udacity [udacity.com] (Sebatian Thrun's new start up).

They're programming oriented, if I'm not mistaken, though.

Re:Encrypt (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755437)

Hiding that I'm talking to certain people is not really important to me. Sure it's not that I like it to be in some database in some far-away country, they should keep their hands off of that stuff, on the other hand it's easy enough to identify who deals with who.

What I'm more worried about is that in this database apparently the complete contents of e-mails that I sent to US business relations are now there. Including confidential information. The fact that I have contact with a certain company is not much of a secret. What I'm talking about to them, how often, and the nature of the deals if any, is something between me and them and not for outsiders. And that's what encryption could solve, and that's enough.

Re:Encrypt (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755205)

And fixed IP addresses where we send email peer-to-peer. Of course it still goes through the ISP, but it's not deliberately stored on their server...

Re:Encrypt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755251)

But no guarantee that at the NSA level encryption makes any significant difference. Feel free to blow this theory out of the water if you understand the mechanics better than I do.

If PGP/GPG keys are based upon the product of two very large primes, then I'd expect the NSA to generate a list of these products. Yes, there would be umpteen bazillion to compute. Once compiled, however, the list remains static and can be accessed to crack any cryptographic session (even 128-bit) effectively in real time.

Re:Encrypt (3, Informative)

lxs (131946) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755435)

I doubt that the media to hold those tables will fit inside this Universe.

Good... (5, Funny)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755131)

Then they should have all those missing White House emails. ...oh, wait...

Re:Good... (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755153)

wish I had mod points - very well played.

Fort Meade (4, Funny)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755141)

has 18 acres of mainframe computers underground. You're talking to your wife on the phone and you use the word "bomb", "president", "Allah", any of a hundred keywords, the computer recognizes it, automatically records it, red-flags it for analysis. That was 20 years ago.

Re:Fort Meade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755181)

Brill?

Re:Fort Meade (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755323)

has 18 acres of mainframe computers underground. You're talking to your wife on the phone and you use the word "bomb", "president", "Allah", any of a hundred keywords, the computer recognizes it, automatically records it, red-flags it for analysis. That was 20 years ago.

Where did they get the computational power to recognize voice on phone in real time, for all phone calls – even today, not just twenty years ago?

Re:Fort Meade (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755377)

Extra-terrestrials! We're through the looking glass here people!

Just BCC customercare@nsa.gov on all emails (5, Funny)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755143)

Save the taxpayers' money.

Re:Just BCC customercare@nsa.gov on all emails (2)

allo (1728082) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755399)

why BCC? CC them, so your contact knows, he needs to CC them as well.

easy way to find out (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755149)

send an email between two accounts only you use with fake plans for a terrorist attack...if you get arrested then we'll know they were reading it. (tell somebody you're going to do it just in case you disappear in the night).

Still sometimes I think the government puts out these rumors on purpose to make everyone scared and think they are more powerful than they really are. I mean if the government "knows all" they when did Sept. 11th happen? Why do Mexican drug cartels ship billions of dollars of Cocaine across the border every year? I think they float these rumors on purpose to keep us scared.

Re:easy way to find out (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755189)

Still sometimes I think the government puts out these rumors on purpose to make everyone scared and think they are more powerful than they really are. I mean if the government "knows all" they when did Sept. 11th happen? Why do Mexican drug cartels ship billions of dollars of Cocaine across the border every year?

You do realize that a lot of people ask these very same questions and come up with reasons that fly in the face of what you propose?

Personally I think that they may have access to and much of it stored, but that doesn't mean it's all analyzed anywhere near real time. And a lot of this has really ramped up since 9/11 - so that example doesn't support what you are saying as much. As for the drug trade - it's incredibly profitable for government, law enforcement and a number of other parties that it continues as is.

If this is your point - let me just whoosh myself right now.

Re:easy way to find out (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755473)

You know if you want to be reassured about this, just learn about the state of the art in machine translation and NLP in an actual university. And best throw in machine transcription (spoken word->written text). You'll realize how this would work if it exists, and what it's limitations are. And those limitations are pretty fucking serious.

A quick calculation together with AT&T's bragging statistics learns that if they did it with humans, the chance that any individual conversation you have on the phone is actually monitored by a group of 1 million humans is a little over 1 in a billion. And I seriously doubt the government is employing 1 million people for this. That'd be 0.3% of the total population, or more than all university dropouts and graduates combined. And AT&T is not even the only big telco in the US.

Re:easy way to find out (2)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755223)

"They" "knew" about Sept. 11. [washingtonpost.com] And if we work backwards from the solution, physically stopping people from smuggling drugs across the border by force, isn't the problem fundamentally one of manpower?

Re:easy way to find out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755281)

Still sometimes I think the government puts out these rumors on purpose to make everyone scared and think they are more powerful than they really are. I mean if the government "knows all" they when did Sept. 11th happen? Why do Mexican drug cartels ship billions of dollars of Cocaine across the border every year? I think they float these rumors on purpose to keep us scared.

Having power, having data, and effective use of same are all different things. For which we should be very, very, grateful.

The concept of airplane attacks wasn't new in 2001, and Clinton had already attempted to take out Bin Ladin before he got shut down by all the "Wag the Dog" noise. We were so busy worrying about his personal life that we spent more government resources on an impeachment than we did on preventing 9/11 - a situation that only got worse with the next president, who'd already begun making noises about invading Iraq even before 9/11. The sad thing about Iraq was that Saddam had been getting progressively more obnoxious and it was only a matter of time before he violated his parole, giving us grounds to raise a true "coalition of the willing" instead of going in all lone-wolf as Jimmy the Punk and his Syncophants. And in the mean time, we could have done something in Afghanistan.

Yes, there is a lot of information being gathered, to the point where the noise tends to pollute the signal, and that's probably one of the few things that keep a lot of us free and out of Guantanamo. It's a lot like a Philip K. Dick novel - powerful corrupt people doing inane stupid things, then panicking when something doesn't go according to plan.

Re:easy way to find out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755299)

Drugs fund banks, covert ops and campaigns. That's why. Google it.

Take THAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755157)

I'm emailing all my friends goatse pictures. Just imagine the face on the clueless NSA agent when he sees THAT!

Protest, Send your Rep Everything (5, Interesting)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755161)

Protest like they did in Canada. Send the Ministers and your government representatives including the White House everything. For days they CCed them on every email, posted what they are doing to their members twitter accounts. After several days of having the Parliamentary mail and web servers taken to their knees the bill they were trying to introduce was 'sent to committee' (killed). People can make a difference

Re:Protest, Send your Rep Everything (2)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755197)

So we email them relentlessly until they discard all the data they've collected?

We'll know they did this how? "Dear Citizens, we were lying before but now we are not and we've quit spying on you."

Re:Protest, Send your Rep Everything (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755271)

Think of it as a reminder to the Congress that we know what the Executive is up to, and that we do not approve of such illegal acts and the legalization thereof.

Re:Protest, Send your Rep Everything (0)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755465)

Think of it as a reminder to the Congress that we know what the Executive is up to, and that we do not approve of such illegal acts and the legalization thereof.

Congress!?!?

Seriously?

They don't need any reminders.

They've pretty effectively been willingly bypassed almost completely by Obama and the Executive branch via Executive Order, and they're busy finding other ways to hand what remains of the legislative reins to the Executive branch as fast as they can.

They want to unburden themselves from all that useless and wasteful "representing the People" stuff, and get back to what's important...finding more ways to Hoover up cash on the taxpayer's dime.

Strat

Think they'll restore deleted emails for me? (1)

hpulley (587866) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755165)

They're just doing backups for us, that's all...

Re:Think they'll restore deleted emails for me? (2)

mianne (965568) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755309)

Sure, they've got all those emails. Unfortunately, you don't have the security clearance needed to get them back.

Transparency (2)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755183)

While this is certainly rather awesome, as a non-US citizen I think they should be open about it. Even if everyone else already assumed that they monitored everything they possibly could. Also, how did they ever think they where going to keep a domestic operation of that scale secret?

Besides, how could they monitor foreign computer/internet-based espionage and other such things without actually monitoring the entire domestic network? If they where more open about this they could perhaps release information about botnet activity or similar useful data.

can geeks ever take back the internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755195)

Geeks created the internet, starting with Alpha Geek Vinton Cerf back in the 60's. But since then it has been taken over by the politicians, big business, and big government.

Is there any chance for geeks to take it back, or is it too late, forever?

Can we design our way around these things? Create the next generations of software to avoid these attacks, and censorships, and so on?

You Didn't Think... (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755231)

..That they're building that huge Federal data center in Colorado just to store party photos from the GSA conferences or the Secret Service whore-a-thons, did you?

That's why I've always kept my plans to overthrow the government using my backdoors into the NSA's and White House's computer systems completely off the grid...

Oops!

Hi boys! :)

Strat

Might as well... (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755239)

Might as well add some scripting to the email client to add cc:jerkoff@nsa.gov automatic like.
Is there a script that I could reroute all my spam to them as well? If they want the goods on me, they gotta support some sponsors too.
When it's all done and the investigators know me inside and out and see what I see and read what I read, I'll hire them to work in my luthiery. Cause if they study me that closely they'll be able to build instruments the way I DAMN WANT IT DONE. Could there be any more perfect employees? They could spy/intimidate my competitors! Patent licensing fees would melt away like vapor. Soon I could have a factory of super spy ninja luthiers. I could branch into percussion and pipe organs and eventually Pro sound. I would absorb companies like Fender and Gibson like a fat lady sitting on a cupcake. Then would come weapons research and government contracts. International intrigue. I would slay Cort/ Cor-tek . Then the Chinese instruments will fall and my research will branch into medicine and IT. Man will interface with guitars for all his needs and there will be tube amps in every living room. Rock on Garth.

I only see upsides to this story so far...

AYBABTU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755241)

All your email are belong to us.

99% of it is spam (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755263)

Seriously are they saving all that crap?

Re:99% of it is spam (2)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755287)

deduplication?

it's a lot of emails - but not a lot of data really - now if they are storing attachments....

if they did keep each full email for every person, my mom would need her own san based on the amount of stuff she forwards to me.

I've lost my data recently (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755265)

Because of the disc's failure I've lost a lot of my data (yes, I know, I should have made backups) including a lot of e-mail. Do you guys think that I can ask NSA to send me my stuff which they intercepted? That would be really helpful right now... They can even keep the copies, I just want my data back...

Think Big (4, Insightful)

anorlunda (311253) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755273)

Consider the criticism on government for having failed to head off 9/11. Next consider the fact that the younger government employees will want to operate it in a 21st century way. Then, I think the logical extrapolation is to expect NSA to introduce the requirement that they can track communications retroactively.

Suppose some person X becomes suspicious. Then there will be an instant demand to examine all X's communications in recent years, together with those of X's contacts, and their contacts, N levels deep. NSA can't know in advance who X is, so they only way to meet that requirement is to intercept and archive everyone's communications all the time.

Consider the alternative. If they don't archive that stuff, and they could have, and if another 9/11 occurs, then the criticism will be wilting. They will be blamed for not doing everything possible to prevent it, They must do it as a matter of political self defense.

I posted something similar once before. Another slashdotter thought I was writing science fiction. I don't think so. I calculate that it could be done for 300 million Americans with only a dozen or so exabytes. Heck, pull out your Visa card and order an exabyte server from Oracle today. It is hardly beyond the capability of NSA.

I also believe that we privacy advocates also have to get our heads into the 21st century. It is time to shift focus from restricting government gathering of information to restricting government use of information already in their possession.

Re:Think Big (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755295)

Suppose some person X becomes suspicious.

Then investigate them and arrest them if its warranted. Don't sit around hoping that X will incriminate W, Y and Z before flying into a building/driving to Mexico with your gun/raping more children/whatever it is you think they're doing.

Re:Think Big (2)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755387)

Suppose some person X becomes suspicious.

X could be anyone the government doesn't like. And since there's no real oversight here, getting rid of them would be fairly simple. Oppressive governments or individuals would love this ability.

It is time to shift focus from restricting government gathering of information

As I still believe in the spirit of the constitution and privacy, no, it's not. I do not believe the government should be doing that.

honestly... (1)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755275)

Does anyone send anything sensitive in email that isn't strongly encrypted? Maybe terrorists are that dumb.

What about Non-Americans? (Legality) (4, Insightful)

dryriver (1010635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755293)

So if those of us who live outside the U.S. use an American service - any American service - like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Windows Messenger or perhaps mobile kit like an iPhone, are our messages thrown into the NSA Ueber-Surveillance-Database as well? If this is the case, the U.S. is breaking dozens and dozens of national/regional laws. Let me get this straight... You advertise a "free", supposedly "reliable" and also supposedly "private" service like say Gmail, and when I use it to communicate with my friends, acquaintances or business clients, all of my confidential messages get intercepted and funnelled into some huge NSA datacenter in Utah, or wherever it is that these spooks keep their pile of intercept-data. How can this be legal under any definition of any law? If my emails include confidential business documents - like confidential business strategy documents lets say - then "intercepting" and "evaluating" these messages is nothing short of "illicit industrial espionage". That's a serious crime that carries a prison-sentence in many countries. ------- More brave people need to come forward with what they know about clandestine "surveillance centers" being built by various governments, because if they don't, there will be no public outcry, and all these "regional efforts" will eventually be combined into one huge, powerful, global "surveillance grid" that nobody can escape from anymore.----- There is also International Law to consider. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, quoted in my signature, makes it very clear that it is illegal to arbitrarily invade someone's privacy. So these large-scale efforts to gather as many emails or phone conversations as possible, are actually a super-violation not just of regional or country laws, but of human rights treaties most countries signed years ago, and with that, a serious and eggregious violation of internation law. ----- Somebody needs to put a stop to all this nonsense. Not only do these snooping systems not contribute to a safer world in any serious capactiy, but they also threaten to create a future where everyone is watching by someone or some system in everything they do. What precisely are we supposed to tell future generations about this, for example? Are we supposed to tell them "We are sorry, but you will have to grow up and live in a world where everything you do is being watched and evaluated. We could have protested against this stuff when it first appeared on the world scene, but we were daft enough not to do that. Again, sorry for having to live in a f_cked future! Have a nice life..."

Re:What about Non-Americans? (Legality) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755403)

Oh you're even more screwed then those state-side, and have been since the early 80's.

Re:What about Non-Americans? (Legality) (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755427)

No if you're outside of the US, you're fair game. It's all about national security. You can bitch and whine all you want, but unless you've got a fleet of nuclear bombers you're willing to use on DC, NY, and LA, and a missile defense network that can take out incoming MRV payloads with 100% efficiency you don't have any ground to complain.

The big deal isn't that the US is spying on foreign nationals, it's that they're spying on their own citizens.

At what point. . . (3, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755379)

At what point will psychiatrists have to stop classifying people as paranoid simply because they believe the government is tracking them?

Re:At what point. . . (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755467)

In a way, the government is 99% like Google. Yes, they're "spying" on you with computers. The people behind those computers, however, don't give a rat's ass about you most of the time, though. The difference is that with the government, if you trip one of their triggers, they really will have you personally identified and tracked. For practical purposes though, you are very, very likely not to be one of those people.

For example, how often do you come in contact with someone that has the same last four digits of your current phone number? It's pretty rare - so rare that it stands out and is very noticable. And yet as rare as that is, at that kind of frequency, the government would have to be monitoring over a half a million people just in the US. Actively tracking a human being and analyzing the data is a fairly manpower-intensive project.

Paranoid people are, for the most part, still paranoid - they have an irrational belief that the government is tracking them. And they're probably wrong.

Step up, Republicans (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#39755405)

Why can't you give me someone I can vote for? I won't pull the lever for Batshit Crazy Reactionary (e.g. Palin, Santorum) or for Big Business Uber Alles (Romney) or for Naive Solutions to Real Problems (Paul), but I'm really disappointed in Obama.

Give me a sane candidate, please.

They want to know who to target (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39755463)

They want to know who to target when the inevitable national revolution breaks out.

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