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NSA Official Disputes Chief's Claim That Agency Doesn't Collect American Data

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the who-have-you-been-talking-to? dept.

Government 214

NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander was playing a "word game" when he said the agency does not collect files on Americans according to William Binney, a former technical director at the NSA. Binney says the NSA does indeed collect e-mails, Twitter writings, internet searches and other data belonging to Americans and indexing it. "Unfortunately, once the software takes in data, it will build profiles on everyone in that data," he said. "You can simply call it up by the attributes of anyone you want and it's in place for people to look at."

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collect this frost, bitches (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816445)

aww shit

Google... (3, Funny)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816449)

would never do that :-)

Re:Google... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816489)

would lie about it until they got caught red-handed with the data they didn't collect.

Then they'd say it was a coding error.

Then they'd get caught with the same data years later, and say it was ANOTHER "error".

Meanwhile, fanbois would be making all kinds of excuses.

Re:Google... (5, Insightful)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816549)

The worst thing Google will deliver is laser-guided advertisements.
The worst thing NSA will deliver is laser-guided bombs.

Re:Google... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816641)

The NSA does not drop bombs or make bombs or have anything to do with bombs. Sorry, chief.

Re:Google... (5, Insightful)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816767)

The Stasi doesn't man the wall or shoot at people trying to cross the wall. Sorry chief.

The Gestapo doesn't run concentration camps or has anything to do with concentration camps. Sorry chief.

The NSA doesn't do rendition or has anything to do with rendition. Sorry chief.

Re:Google... (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816771)

If information is used to decided who to kill, then there can be no errors in the data. Considering the "Thou shalt not kill" bit in the big list seems to be ignored at least "Thou shalt not blow the wrong people into little bits due to data error" could be used instead.

Re:Google... (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816863)

If the government was doing this, they tell us.. They'd say, you know, Duck and Cover!

Note: for those that don't get the joke, see the last few minutes of Transformers....

Re:Google... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816795)

One of those kills you in a quick blow. The other slowly tortures you into submission.

Re:Google... (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816871)

Did you forget to connect them?
Let me do it for you:
The worst thing YOU will get is laser guided bomb guided by laser-guided ads.

Re:Google... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816953)

Exactly. That is the difference between a corporation and a government, something that many don't seem to get.

Re:Google... (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817195)

Whether there's a real distinction depends on whether Google is sharing its data with the NSA. If Google collects data and voluntarily turns it over to the NSA without a warrant, no law is broken, because Google is allowed to do whatever it wants with its data. And that results in the same practical effect as would've been the case if the NSA collected the data itself.

If you want to keep the two distinct, we need laws limiting what companies like Google are allowed to do with their data, such as when they're allowed to share it with the government.

Re:Google... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817229)

...

Meanwhile, fanbois would be making all kinds of excuses.

The worst thing Google will deliver is laser-guided advertisements.
The worst thing NSA will deliver is laser-guided bombs.

Q.E.D.

And getting modded up while doing it.

Re:Google... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816563)

Google isn't run by the Government...

Re:Google... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816609)

Which make their complicity even more damning.

Re:Google... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816679)

The Government does not want Google to be run by the U.S. government. Keeping Google as a private corporation complicit to the whims of the Government allows the government of the USA to avoid the entanglements and restrictions of the Constitution.

Re:Google... (5, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816799)

This. A hundred times this. Now y'all go and look up the definition of the word "fascism" and ask yourself if this is a trend you want to see continue.

That's a crime. (4, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816473)

Collecting e-mail without a warrant violates the fourth amendment. Any government official who does this or orders it done is violating the civil rights of both the sender and the addressee under color of authority. If we had a justice system in this country, they'd end up behind bars for that.

-jcr

Indeed it is a crime. (5, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816575)

Yes, you're 100% correct. The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 is stricter than previous law. It is expressly prohibited to target, collect, store, analyze, or disseminate the communications content of US Persons without a warrant.

Your mistake is, apparently, believing that it's happening without any sort of proof.

What we have done is shifted the notion of who is or isn't a US Person from the a place to a person.

Before 9/11, we assumed anyone — or any traffic — inside the US was a US Person, and that anyone outside the US was fair game. After 9/11, and with the increasing levels of foreign traffic traveling over the internet instead of walkie-talkies in foreign countries, the IC, and NSA in particular, was in the difficult position of needing to target traffic within the US. A series of secret orders and stopgap legislation (like the temporary Protect America Act) supported this.

The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 completely changes the pre-9/11 paradigm. Now an individual warrant is required to target a US Person anywhere on the globe, while foreign targets — even within the US — explicitly do NOT require a warrant. Foreign targets outside the US have never required a warrant, and shouldn't just because they or their traffic enter the US.

Right now, this very second, government and law enforcement have all sorts of powers they can abuse, and they have since the founding of our nation. At the same time, intelligence operations require secrecy in order to be successful. Sun Tzu said this millennia ago, long before any construct of the US, much less the West, ever existed. Yet, instead of actually becoming informed about the purpose and function of our foreign intelligence activities, people choose to believe that our government is on a singular mission to spy on Americans illegally.

If anyone claims to care about this topic at all:

1. Read my other comment [slashdot.org] on this story
2. Read former NSA and CIA director General Michael Hayden's 2006 remarks on this topic [fas.org] at the National Press Club (if you do nothing else, just read this)
3. Watch this months-old National Geographic Documentary on NSA [youtube.com]
4. Ask yourself if it really makes sense that hundreds, if not thousands, of professional civilian and military members of our government have so little regard for their fellow citizens that they are systematically violating both the letter and spirit of law and the Constitution, not just once or twice or a handful of times, but every single day, with respect to every single American — when NSA's primary purpose and reason for being is FOREIGN signals intelligence — while utterly ignoring the legitimate complexity and challenges of targeting foreign traffic, in real time, on equipment and networks within the United States.

Illegal Shmegal (5, Informative)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816643)

Technicalities like you are pointing out are certainly little more than a poor cover for breaking our own laws. As I just pointed out in this thread [slashdot.org] , these people (as in NSA, financial and political elites, MIC etc) are no longer held accountable to the law [salon.com] of the land. The dont care that they are violating the fourth amendment, technicality or not... there are no repercussions for their illegal actions (other than some wining in some online forums and twitter - with no political consequences even for that).

The past decade has witnessed the most severe crimes imaginable by political and financial elites: the construction of a worldwide torture regime, domestic spying perpetrated jointly by the government and the telecom industry without the warrants required by the criminal law, an aggressive war waged on another country that killed hundreds of thousands of people, massive financial fraud that came close to collapsing the world economy and which destroyed the economic security of tens of millions, and systematic foreclosure fraud that, by design, bombarded courts with fraudulent documents in order to seize homes without legal entitlement. These are not bad policies or mere immoral acts. They are plainly criminal, and yet – due to the precepts of elite immunity which were first explicitly embraced during Ford’s pardon of Nixon — none of those crimes has produced legal punishments.

By very stark contrast, ordinary Americans are imprisoned more easily, for longer periods of time, and in greater numbers than any nation on earth. New legal classes of non-persons with no rights have been created over the last decade as well. Thus, over the same four decades that elite immunity has taken hold, the nation — namely,the same elite class that has aggressively vested itself with the right to act with impunity — has resorted to ever more merciless punishment schemes for ordinary Americans and others who are marginalized who, for multiple reasons, have very few defenses when the state targets them for punishment. While being rich and powerful has always been an advantage in the judicial system (and in all other aspects of American life), our political culture has now explicitly renounced the concept of equality of law, and it is thus now unabashedly clear that who you are is far more important than what you do.

Re:Illegal Shmegal (1)

ZosX (517789) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816925)

I agree fully. That's a nice piece of writing, who wrote that?

Re:Illegal Shmegal (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817023)

Nice try NSA

Re:Indeed it is a crime. (1)

dywolf (2673597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816647)

I dont believe most of them have any disregard for us.

I do believe most of them are just cogs in the system plugging at their jobs like their told. "Just a paycheck".

And I do beleive cetain high ranking powerful individuals do have blatant disregard for us, and they are responsible for spinning the wheels those cogs are attached to.

Trust? No I don't trust the NSA (5, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816763)

Ask yourself if it really makes sense that hundreds, if not thousands, of professional civilian and military members of our government have so little regard for their fellow citizens that they are systematically violating both the letter and spirit of law and the Constitution

It very much makes sense. We have fairly severe restrictions on our police forces and they regularly try and often succeed in circumventing them. The FBI has a decades long record of abusing the civil rights of US citizens. Every law enforcement and intelligence agency regularly chaffs against the restrictions placed on their power. Those same "professionals" you cite did nothing while our government condoned torture in clear violation of the spirit and letter of our laws. Why should I believe the NSA is any different? Those restrictions are inconvenient, expensive and it's not as if regular citizens can check their work to ensure they aren't breaking the rules. I believe they have power without sufficient accountability and that is almost certain to result in abuse of that power.

Trust the NSA? No I don't trust the NSA, it's employees or any other branch of our government and that is the way it should bet. We have checks and balances because we KNOW we cannot trust them. Unchecked power absolutely will be abused. The real question is do we have sufficient oversight from congress or the judiciary? It's not clear that we do.

Re:Trust? No I don't trust the NSA (4, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816895)

This is a good comment. No, I don't think anyone is asking you to blindly trust NSA or any other element of government. But as government is ultimately here to serve the people, you can't exclusively have distrust of every single action government takes. Be cautious, be vigilant. But as I have said before, the mistake is believing that because there are some examples of abuse or mistakes — and there are plenty — that EVERY activity is intentional, systematic government abuse.

The real question is do we have sufficient oversight from congress or the judiciary? It's not clear that we do.

This is an excellent question, and one that has always been relevant to the Intelligence Community. Oversight of the IC has always been institutional oversight, not direct oversight by the public. But intelligence operations require secrecy to be effective — and that secrecy, especially in an open society, invites confusion, suspicion, misunderstanding, and distrust. So don't blindly "trust" NSA, but have the fortitude to thoroughly examine its purpose, missions, and history, and the challenges associated with executing its missions.

Re:Indeed it is a crime. (1)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816853)

Gov pay you much for this astroturfing? I used to work in the 3 letter agencies, and I've seen dossiers. Nuff said. I've even seen the outside of mine, due to a mis-informed bunch of crap the .gov pulled on me...till they pulled it and rediscovered who I am and what I used to do - for them. I call total, utter BS.

Re:Indeed it is a crime. (2)

keithltaylor (966667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817085)

your explanations are compelling, but since 95% of your comments are cut and pasted from your comments posted to TFA , it kinda makes you sound like youre on a PR mission. And that makes my tin foil hat vibrate.

Re:Indeed it is a crime. (2)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817171)

Well, they're just as relevant, since it's the same article, and the same topic, and just wrote them yesterday.

Re:Indeed it is a crime. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817089)

Does it make sense that hundreds or thousands of professionals would have so little respect for their fellow citizens that they would systematically violate the letter and spirit of the Constitution? Does it matter that the purpose of the agency is specifically foreign signals intelligence?

Perhaps. The people who believe that such a program is going on are the people who have seen what atrocities were wrought in our name - by equally professional members of the military and of the US civil government - in places like Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and a number of "black sites." These atrocities stained the reputation of our once-professional military, Worse still has been the rationalization that they were lawful. The are claimed to be lawful because they were perpetrated on people who were not US citizens: where does our constitution limit its guarantees to citizens, other than in the public sphere such as voting and jury service?) They ar claimed to be lawful because they were perpetrated on "unlawful" combatants: often times, the combatants who did not enjoy the aegis of some givernment were operating in a nation without a functioning civil government. They are claimed to be lawful because of urgent necessity: without perceived urgent necessity, there would never be a temptation to violate rights; if the Constitution fails to guarantee rights against urgent necessity, the rights are meaningless.

The critics see a danger of the same rationalizations infecting the signals intelligence community. The requirement of a warrant is easily satisfied: we already have a secret court that grants warrants ex parte, keeps no public record of its actions, and will not notify subjects, even after the fact, that they were targets of its warrants. For all we know, it has already granted blanket writs of assistance to seize data on all customers of a given carrier. The critics see themselves as being asked to trust an organization that cannot operate under the light of day and has little meaningful oversight even at the highest levels of governmnet: even ordinary Representatives and Senators, not members of select committees, cannot investigate it - even though they supposedly hold the power of the purse over it. The critics see what else has been done in secret in the name of the United States, and wonder.

Moreover, rationalizations for emasculating the Constitution are heard daily in the public arena. We mutely accept warrantless and suspicionless searches as a condition of access to government buildings - surrendering the Fourth Amendment's protections as a condition of exercising our First Amendement freedom of petition. We accept gag orders on civilians who have no part in an investigation, merely because the Government wants to have their records in secret. We hear members of the press and otherwise respected politicians making remarks like, "if people want Constitutional rights, they shouldn't support terrorism!" regarding people who have been convicted of no crime. It would not surprise me if a large fraction of our secret workers are already conditioned to believe that the targets of their surveillance are not "real" citizens because of their [suspected] sympathies and therefore enjoy no Constitutional protections, or at the very least that their agencies operate under some sort of legal exemption from Constitutional prohibitions.

We accept all this because our society labors under existential threats. We are surrounded at every turn by mortal enemies, and can defend ourselves against them only by surrendering what we are. We are at war, and must accept the necessities of that war. Moreover, the war is perpetual. It will never be won - because a nameless, faceless enemy can never be vanquished. We must continue forever our descent into an armed camp. Our only choices are to trust our warlords, or to await their defeat and hope that our enemies will be more benevolent than our friends. And that is the strident debate we hear in the political realm: the party of oppression debating the party of surrender.

Where is the party of victory?

[CAPTCHA: 'guards.' Et quis cvstodiet ipsos custodes?]

Re:Indeed it is a crime. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817121)

Your mistake is, apparently, believing that it's happening without any sort of proof.

But how can we know that it's not happening if every time someone tries to take the NSA to account they pull out a "national security" card and refuse to give us even a shred of proof to allay our fears?

The bits and pieces of information we have is limited and may not paint an entirely complete and accurate picture, but what we do know about them is troubling. This coupled with our government's rather poor record on civil rights makes most of us here take a lot of pause. How can we give our own government the benefit of the doubt right now?

The mere existence of laws that says that they're not supposed to be doing these things doesn't mean much to me honestly. The government likes to parse words and split hairs over these laws to try to justify things. The government uses technicalities and clever word parsing to justify torture of "enemy combatants" and the killing of American citizens without due process.

As for your #4: Most people in power probably believes they are doing the right thing for the rest of us. Further, most of the underlings don't really understand what is going on in the upper echelons of power so I'd be hesitant to assign them any malice. So I think it makes perfect sense that such allegations can be true; all it takes is a highly intense sense of duty and patriotism, one that is so intense that they believe that it's okay to violate the Constitution if it's done for what they believe to be a noble cause.

Re:Indeed it is a crime. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817143)

people choose to believe that our government is on a singular mission to spy on Americans illegally..... Ask yourself if it really makes sense that hundreds, if not thousands, of professional civilian and military members of our government have so little regard for their fellow citizens that they are systematically violating both the letter and spirit of law and the Constitution

You've repeatedly pasting this strawman into the thread, Dave, and while some people have been baited into thinking they need to establish that the USG has impure motives, this isn't a question of motives. It is a question of modalities. The USG is not on a "singular mission" to spy on Americans. The NSA is on a mission to spy on bad guys. The problem is that a vacuum-cleaner approach to SIGINT doesn't discriminate between us and them.

If NSA weren't collecting information on Americans, they wouldn't need minimization procedures. But they have them. They whole "dossier" thing is red herring. You don't need dossiers when you can simply query a database. Google doesn't have a "dossier" on Binney, but I can still query Google's database about him and get tons of (publicly available) information. The USG arguments aren't that queries to their databases about Americans return no results. Their arguments are that they don't do queries about Americans. And frankly, it should be obvious why that makes people uncomfortable.

Re:Indeed it is a crime. (2)

jcr (53032) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817391)

The fourth amendment doesn't differentiate between American citizens and foreigners. FISA was always unconstitutional.

-jcr

The NSA spook lied? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816477)

I am shocked!

Re:The NSA spook lied? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817059)

Which spook? The article quotes a former spook who left NSA over ten years ago and is now criticizing what he thinks they might be doing today. Serious credibility issue there.

Keyloggers coming to a PC near you... (2)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816483)

When did it become permissible to build data profiles on everyone, including your average law abiding citizen?

Investigating "terrorists" is one thing, but openly (or in this case secretively) spying on everyone is now considered ok by those in charge?

The "system" is corrupt.

When? (5, Insightful)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816509)

9/11/2001

Re:Keyloggers coming to a PC near you... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816699)

When did it become permissible to build data profiles on everyone, including your average law abiding citizen?

It started during The First Red Scare (1917–20) inspired by Communism's emergence as a recognized political force.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism

Re:Keyloggers coming to a PC near you... (2)

kqs (1038910) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816865)

When did it become permissible to build data profiles on everyone, including your average law abiding citizen?

It started during The First Red Scare (1917–20) inspired by fear of Communism as a recognized political force.

FTFY. Well, the political force was the encouragement and exploitation of that fear. The fear was just a lever.

Re:Keyloggers coming to a PC near you... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817361)

We build our own profiles, willingly, on facebook and google plus.

Allegations that defy reality (3, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816495)

The ridiculousness here is that anyone believes that NSA actually has a "dossier" on all Americans — or even cares about Americans at all, given that its sole purpose for existence is foreign signals intelligence as exponentially increasing amounts of foreign traffic travel through networks, systems, and infrastructure on US soil. All of those foreign linguists must be for illegally spying on Americans!

Basically what you're saying is, you'd prefer to believe, without proof, allegations that the NSA is illegally dragnet-spying on ALL Americans, and has been doing so for more than a decade, which would involve at the very LEAST hundreds, and more likely thousands, of civilian and military NSA employees, all of whom don't mind that they're directly violating the Constitution, but only one guy who hasn't been at NSA in over a decade is telling you "the truth"? That really seems plausible to you?

When the Terrorist Surveillance Program was revealed by the New York Times in 2005, it only touched on numbers of Americans in the hundreds, who had direct communications with individuals tied to terrorism, was authorized by the President under Article II under the AUMF, and was renewed and briefed to Congress every 45 days — and this was four years AFTER Binney claimed NSA was already dragnet-wiretapping ALL Americans.

Never mind that restrictions on US Persons are constantly drilled into civilian and military intelligence professionals every day. Never mind the complex procedures the IC maintains specifically to NOT target or collect on Americans. Never mind that the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 is stricter than previous law.

What we have done is shifted the notion of who is or isn't a US Person from the a place to a person.

Before 9/11, we assumed anyone — or any traffic — inside the US was a US Person, and that anyone outside the US was fair game. After 9/11, and with the increasing levels of foreign traffic traveling over the internet instead of walkie-talkies in foreign countries, the IC, and NSA in particular, was in the difficult position of needing to target traffic within the US. A series of secret orders and stopgap legislation (like the temporary Protect America Act) supported this.

The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 completely changes the pre-9/11 paradigm. Now an individual warrant is required to target a US Person anywhere on the globe, while foreign targets — even within the US — explicitly do NOT require a warrant. Foreign targets outside the US have never required a warrant, and shouldn't just because they or their traffic enter the US.

For anyone who claims to care about this topic at all, I urge you to read "REMARKS BY GENERAL MICHAEL V. HAYDEN" [fas.org] , which is former NSA and CIA directory General Michael Hayden's remarks before the National Press Club in 2006. This was still pre-FISA Amendments Act of 2008, but it gives a (very) clear picture of what the landscape and our challenges was, and still are. Also, if you care at all about what NSA does, this excellent and very recent National Geographic documentary [youtube.com] is as close as you're going to get in an unclassified context.

A key excerpt from General Hayden's speech is included below, but again, if you purport to care about this issue at all, I urge you to read the entire speech and the Q&A, and reflect on the fact that it's not possible given the secrecy of intelligence work for NSA to "prove" that it *isn't* doing something. Oversight of the IC comes from the executive (the President), legislative (Intelligence Committees of both houses of Congress and FISA legislation), and judicial (FISC) branches. That's how oversight of the Intelligence Community has always occurred.

The trouble is the mistaken and misguided belief that if there has ever been an example of abuse, or a mistake, then ALL activity MUST be abuse. If you choose to believe that the United States' foreign intelligence agencies are secretly on a mission to illegally spy on all Americans, that there are no legitimate foreign intelligence targets or foreign-based national security concerns, and that everything must be a secret plot by a "police state", by all means, believe it. Wallow in ignorance, and ignore the actual repressive and tyrannical regimes which don't support principles of freedom and liberal democracy. Keep thinking of us as the bad guys — it's the right that people in government who take their obligations to the law, the Constitution, and the citizens of the United States seriously fight for every day.

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

Look, NSA intercepts communications, and it does so for only one purpose -- to protect the lives, the liberties and the well-being of the citizens of the United States from those who would do us harm. By the late 1990s, that job was becoming increasingly more difficult. The explosion of modern communications in terms of volume, variety, velocity threatened to overwhelm us.

The agency took a lot of criticism in those days, I know, criticism that it was going deaf, that it was ossified in its thinking, that it had not and could not keep up with the changes in modern communications. And all of that was only reinforced when all of the computer systems at Fort Meade went dark for three days in January of 2000 and we couldn't quickly or easily explain why.

Those were really interesting times. As we were being criticized for being incompetent and going deaf, at the same time others seemed to be claiming that we were omniscient and we were reading your e- mails. The Washington Post and New Yorker Magazine during that time -- I'm talking 1999 now of 2000 -- they wrote, incorrectly, that -- and I'm quoting -- "NSA has turned from eavesdropping on the communists to eavesdropping on businesses and private citizens."

And that -- and I'm quoting again -- "NSA has the ability to extend its eavesdropping network without limits." We are also referred to as a, quote, "global spying network that can eavesdrop on every single phone call, fax or e-mail anywhere on the planet."

I used those quotes in a speech I gave at American University in February of 2000. The great urban legend out there then was something called "Echelon" and the false accusation that NSA was using its capabilities to advance American corporate interests -- signals intelligence for General Motors, or something like that. You know, with these kinds of charges, the turf back then feels a bit familiar now. How could we prove a negative -- that we weren't doing certain things -- without revealing the appropriate things we were doing that kept America safe? You see, NSA had, NSA has an existential problem. In order to protect American lives and liberties, it has to be two things: powerful in its capabilities, and secretive in its methods. And we exist in a political culture that distrusts two things most of all: power and secrecy.

Modern communications didn't make this any easier. Gone were the days when signals of interest -- that's what NSA calls the things they want to copy -- gone were the days when signals of interest went along some dedicated microwave link between strategic rocket forces headquarters in Moscow and some ICBM in western Siberia. By the late '90s, what NSA calls targeted communications -- things like al Qaeda communications -- coexisted out there in a great global web with your phone calls and my e-mails. NSA needed the power to pick out the one, and the discipline to leave the others alone.

So, this question of security and liberty wasn't a new one for us in September of 2001. We've always had this question: How do we balance the legitimate need for foreign intelligence with our responsibility to protect individual privacy rights?

It's a question drilled into every employee of NSA from day one, and it shapes every decision about how NSA operates.

Where's my T-Shirt? (5, Funny)

o_ferguson (836655) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816517)

I spotted the fed!

Re:Where's my T-Shirt? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816887)

I would use Bitcoins to buy you that T-shirt, but I was robbed by Wall Street.

The USA government is in the process of constructing a massive data collection & storage facility in Utah to handle the data traffic that they are acquiring illegally from USA citizens domestically.

(I took off the rose-colored glasses in exchange for some cool shades, and I can see.)

Re:Allegations that defy reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816539)

Yeah, they would never abuse their position. It's never happened in America before.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (2)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816589)

To repeat myself:

The trouble is the mistaken and misguided belief that if there has ever been an example of abuse, or a mistake, then ALL activity MUST be abuse.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816657)

All it takes is a taste a power and they want more. I'm sure they made it for "terrorists" then it became "only for foreigners" then eventually they noticed it could be used on anyone.

Don't think for a second that we don't notice you're trying to diffuse the situation.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816709)

You have no idea the level of oversight that goes into these kinds of things and just assume the worst.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816773)

Because we have seen the mistakes, and want to avoid being one.

Even one mistake in who goes to GITMO should have been enough to shut the thing down. It was not. Never mind that it never should have existed to begin with.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (1)

ZosX (517789) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817013)

Government can't be trusted. Expect the worst.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816721)

The trouble is the mistaken and misguided belief that if there has ever been an example of abuse, or a mistake, then ALL activity MUST be abuse.

The funny thing is, you appear to be the only one claiming to have any such belief.

All the rest of us are asking is for the "isolated" examples of abuses or "mistakes" to stop happening.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816987)

The problem is that we just don't really know. The NSA refuses to give any accountability to the people all in the name of national security. Nobody outside of the NSA is allowed to audit their intelligence collection to see if they're telling the truth. There have been several "smoking guns" to suggest that the NSA is tapping domestic communications. Maybe they're only selectively monitoring foreigners like they're supposed to, but how do we know that?

I'd be willing to give the benefit of the doubt if the government had a track record of respecting our rights but the problem is that they have an extremely poor record of doing so. So by default I'm going to assume they're doing something wrong on a regular basis until they allow themselves to be audited in a transparent way to prove that they aren't.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816781)

The trouble is the mistaken and misguided belief that if there has ever been an example of abuse, or a mistake, then ALL activity MUST be abuse.

I don't think anyone's saying that. The point is that it is not sufficient to say 'we will not abuse this' or 'we do not abuse this', you have to be able to say 'we cannot abuse this'. So it only takes one example of abuse to show that's not the case and the system should be scrapped.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817333)

The trouble is the mistaken and misguided belief that if there has ever been an example of abuse, or a mistake, then ALL activity MUST be abuse.

I don't think anyone's saying that. The point is that it is not sufficient to say 'we will not abuse this' or 'we do not abuse this', you have to be able to say 'we cannot abuse this'. So it only takes one example of abuse to show that's not the case and the system should be scrapped.

Are you serious?

ANY government capability can be abused. Therefore, they should all be scrapped.

Really?

To even have the capability to pick out a single foreign communication from the sea of traffic necessitates, well, having the capability to pick out a single foreign communication from the sea of traffic.

An human intelligence operative can illegally surveil an American. I.e., that have that physical capability...does that mean the CIA and human intelligence operations shouldn't exist?

That's what's wrong with this whole line of thinking: saying, "but, the system could be abused...that's the point...therefore it shouldn't exist." Wrong. Everything can be abused, and the only thing that stops it is our imperfect system of law and oversight.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816971)

You are quite right, if they CAN do it once, and if NOTHING could stop them to do it twice, why bother with slippery moral and not just do it ALWAYS???

Re:Allegations that defy reality (2)

ZosX (517789) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816999)

The fact that abuses, whether they happen or not, can occur with little in way of checks or balances is a severe problem. We have an nsa agent saying that they are collecting communications without a warrant. That's illegal, regardless of who they are targetting. You're saying you trust them to "do the right" thing with that information? Seriously??

Re:Allegations that defy reality (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817043)

Nobody's denying that there is non-abusive activity. The thing people worry about is the ratio of abusive vs. non-abusive activity, which some claim to be increasingly skewed towards abusive.

they're just dumping com logs. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816639)

..and have a search for that.

that's the word games played, they don't have a file, but can create one on demand.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816645)

Unfortunately, you have made the one statement that has turned US citizens globally in the pariahs that they are seen as today:

Now an individual warrant is required to target a US Person anywhere on the globe, while foreign targets â" even within the US â" explicitly do NOT require a warrant

You see, the US sells me, a foreigner (more accurately, a non-American) the myth that it protects "my" freedom and rights when it goes off and bombs yet another nation, yet it constitutionally and legally makes it absolutely clear it will simply ignore any privacy rights I have (a basic Human Right) because I'm not an American - an increasing volume of people as the year-long US embassy waiting lists for revoking US citizenship mutely testify.

Treating non-US people different to US citizens is your right, of course, but many of your fellow nationals are already experiencing the consequences. Many can no longer have a bank account as a lot of those have simply been closed by banks on the strength of a US passport alone.

It would be much better for business and US life if you could clear that up, but here is the crux: if life was indeed getting safer those agencies would get less of a budget. Which is not something they will allow to happen, damned the consequences.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816659)

The ridiculousness here is that anyone believes that NSA actually has a "dossier" on all Americans — or even cares about Americans at all, given that its sole purpose for existence is foreign signals intelligence as exponentially increasing amounts of foreign traffic travel through networks, systems, and infrastructure on US soil.

Do the pink unicorns poop rainbows in your world...?

I'll wait until political opponents are oppressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816667)

Are the police going after rival political parties? The libertarian party and green parties are not being rounded up. Heck, Ron Paul was one of the major Republican candidates. The media and political parties can be quite a pain, as Mrs. Palin found out, but a determined person can run for office. When the feds start rounding up political opponents, then I will worry.

Frankly, the biggest problem this country faces are foolish voters, and neocons trying to get America involved in expensive wars that do not directly affect America. Unfortunately, many have infiltrated Mitt Romney's campaign.

Re:I'll wait until political opponents are oppress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817037)

We're not there yet but we're getting there. Pretty close honestly.

The government actively sends people into groups like Occupy to instigate violence so that they discredit and arrest them. The DHS has been sending out memos associating people who are libertarian / state's rights advocates as being potential terrorists. The government engages in mass surveillance of political groups (Occupy, anti-war activists, state's rights groups, etc.); many stories can be found of people who get harassed by feds for being members of anti-war groups. This should be seen as chilling to everyone.

Sarah Palin isn't a threat to the ruling class. Why would they be interested in targeting her?

Re:I'll wait until political opponents are oppress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817357)

> Are the police going after rival political parties? (...) When the feds start rounding up political opponents, then I will worry.

When you will be able to see that, it will be all OVER and way too late to "start worrying". You will become NAzi Germany, or Soviet Russia in one quick hurry, from that point on.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (4, Insightful)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816673)

What gets me every single time is how Americans seem to have no problem with the whole "foreigners are fair game" stuff.

I beg your fucking pardon? If you breed and keep institutions with that sort of double standard, don't be surprised when that double standard gets turned on you, is what I'm thinking.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (3, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816787)

It's fine to take issue with it, but that's how it's always been — this isn't a new construct in foreign intelligence. For as long as the US Intelligence Community has existed, foreign targets have NEVER required a warrant, because foreign targets are not seen by the law or the courts to have Fourth Amendment protections under the Constitution.

I repeat: this is not new and this is not "post-9/11". Make no mistake, foreign targets are still TARGETED. The US doesn't just eavesdrop on foreign targets for the hell of it — a target is picked after analysis of intelligence, which may identify more targets, which feed into the next "loop" of the intelligence process. It's not some kind of dragnet.

However, to pick out communications from anywhere in real time, which is the ideal state that even NSA admits it is trying to reach, you must necessarily have the ability to, well, pick out communications from anywhere in real time. To quote former DIRNSA Michael Hayden: [fas.org] "NSA needed the power to pick out the one, and the discipline to leave the others alone."

Furthermore, it's not a double standard — if the Constitution applied, in a practical sense, to everyone on the globe, what is the purpose for national borders? Why should a US court decide whether the Intelligence Community can target a Chinese military communications hub, or an al Qaeda satellite phone? Moreover, even if a warrant WAS required, the capability and infrastructure to capture the communications must still exist!

Every single capability that government or law enforcement has, or has ever had, can be abused. History tells us as much. Every single one of them can be turned against innocents. Every. Single. One. What stops that? Oversight and the law. We do not have direct oversight of intelligence, only institutional oversight by proxy. But that's not new, either. We constantly strive for the right level of government power vs. checks on that power.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (2, Insightful)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816997)

Furthermore, it's not a double standard â" if the Constitution applied, in a practical sense, to everyone on the globe, what is the purpose for national borders?

Because that makes the difference between values and hypocrisy. The constitution mentions god-given, inalienable rights. Those are by definition held by everybody, or nobody. You play "yes, but" games with it, you loose the whole thing.

Also, you say that like the purpose for national borders is holy and overrides anything else? Not that I'm against borders, to me they're like fire safety doors... don't put all eggs in one basket. But ideally, there'd be hundreds of souvereign nations, and each would afford more or less the same protections to their inhabitants. And yes, someone might then ask "why even consider them distinct", to which the answer is "why not?" :P

Re:Allegations that defy reality (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817063)

To answer your question, if an alien person resides inside the USA's border, he is supposed to abide to the laws of USA. Which means he has the same obligations, and the same rights (except voting of course). BUT, if you do insist that he has no rights, only obligations, then what to tell you man, you need to repeat Grade 1. 10 times. And the take that damn logic exam.
Nevertheless, spying over foreign, in his country, is violation of HIS rights in HIS country. Which is, let me be straight, CRIMINAL activity. Or for the simple-minded: ESPIONAGE. You did not now that spying is criminal? Oh, my, gosh. Go repeat kindergarten first. The junior one.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (5, Insightful)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817169)

if the Constitution applied, in a practical sense, to everyone on the globe, what is the purpose for national borders?

To delineate who gets the postive rights secured by the rest of the US laws, as opposed to the negative rights from the constitution. To keep people not wanted in the US out of the US. To delineate who has to pay US tax. There are plenty of other uses for national borders than to delineate who gets a certain set of rights.

Why should a US court decide whether the Intelligence Community can target a Chinese military communications hub, or an al Qaeda satellite phone?

Because the intelligence community in question operates on US soil, and is thus held accountable to the US courts. Or do you think they should have the right to arbitrarily kill foreigners in the US as well? Because the intelligence community in question is part of the US government, and is thus bound by the statutes limiting what the US government can do, including the constitution.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816883)

It's not really a double standard, it's just that the US treats all foreigners as potential enemies, and thus undeserving of privacy. This may be an antiquated way of thinking, but the US is certainly not the only country guilty of it, and it's somewhat reasonable given the scar that 9/11 left on the American psyche.

Anyways, I agree that the US needs to move past its mentality that treats all foreigners as sub-humans who don't deserve all the rights that American citizens have. It's one of the more disgusting elements of US law and foreign policy.

But what about the Utah Data Center? (2)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816807)

Indeed, what about the Utah Data Center?

After all, the agency that has been the chief codemaker and codebreaker, and now (as USCYBERCOM) also has the responsibility for all defensive and offensive cyber operations, can't possibly have a need for massive computing resources!

To rehash things I have said recently elsewhere:

People bring up examples like the Utah Data Center (formally known as the Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center) as "proof" that NSA "must" be collecting information on Americans — what other possible reason would they build a data center in the heart of America? Indeed: why should our own military or government even have bases or offices in our own country? Suspicious, I tell you!

Explanations like skillful lobbying by Utah politicians, cheap, empty, existing federal land in Utah, or even more pedestrian explanations like cheap power are dismissed. The United States' legitimate cybersecurity and foreign intelligence interests are ignored. No: it must be illegally spying on Americans. Never mind that Binney claimed NSA was already doing this a decade ago — so the Utah Data Center is for what, then, exactly?

The broader point is that even a cursory examination of what's gone on since 9/11 utterly rejects claims that NSA is "dragnet-wiretapping every American" or "keeping a dossier on every American". Mark Lowenthal said it best: the Intelligence Community has a lot more important things to worry about, and with its gargantuan size and the post-9/11 gravy train the everyone rode, doesn't even have enough resources for those missions. We are YEARS behind in analyzing drone data alone. Yes, yes, let me guess: algorithms and automation will now make analysis moot, and will allow NSA to smoothly and effectively spy on every American illegally.

And now we have the ridiculous, baseless statement that the Utah Data Center can store "100 years of the world's communications". On what possible basis is that statement even being made? Certainly the secrecy of the Intelligence Community, and past transgressions, invites suspicion and scrutiny. But intelligence requires secrecy, and our adversaries — notably China — are not standing still. This is not a bogeyman argument; it's the simple truth. US investments in defense and intelligence have created the longest period without conflict between major powers in over 500 years. Laugh and scoff at this if you must.

There are actual threats in the world, and there are governments that do not favor principles of freedom and liberal democracy. There is actual tyranny and oppression in the world. In the broader global and historical context, the US is not even CLOSE to being the bad guys. For all of our faults, the dirty little secret few acknowledge is that national security and intelligence interests transcend politics and Presidential administrations. But NSA and the rest of the IC doesn't exist to serve itself. The IC is responsive to intelligence needs of senior leaders — that is its reason for being. NSA doesn't just "make up" missions, but it does execute the missions it has been assigned.

As former NSA director General Michael Hayden said, "As a professional, I'm troubled if I'm not using the full authority allowed by law."

Re:But what about the Utah Data Center? (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817095)

The fact that you are years behind analyzing drones of data does not mean that you are years behind analyzing some individuals data......You see the logic, ain't you?

HIstory of our Govenrment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816809)

Well, our government does have a history of spying on Americans [time.com] .

Giving diseases to Americans [infoplease.com]

And then there are the countless accusations of spying against peace activists [google.com] .

And the whole thing about warrants - there is no oversight or transparency. All an agent has to do is go to a judge and say that they are a suspect and need to be under surveillance - especially if they have an Arabic name.

Basically what you're saying is, you'd prefer to believe, without proof, allegations that the NSA is illegally dragnet-spying on ALL Americans, and has been doing so for more than a decade, which would involve at the very LEAST hundreds, and more likely thousands, of civilian and military NSA employees, all of whom don't mind that they're directly violating the Constitution, but only one guy who hasn't been at NSA in over a decade is telling you "the truth"? That really seems plausible to you?

Absolutely it is plausible. Google (almost )does it. All the NSA has to do is order ISPs, [pcworld.com] cell phone companies, google, amazon, yahoo!, etc .... to hand over their data. Your storage is free. Computing power? Dirt cheap.

It would be nothing to do what folks accuse the NSA of doing.

The burden of proof is on the Government -NOT its citizens. Period.

Lastly, I don't believe you. You have no proof and you just posted links to speeches - BFD.

If the NSA or their representatives say something; it's a lie until proven otherwise - that's what spies do: lie, cheat, and be subhuman douche bags.

Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816819)

Just like all the cops out there following the law right now. Oh wait most of them don't and beat you and confiscate your evidence when they get caught. Sure you may get your broken phone back or maybe even a working phone without a memory card after a court case. All the cops get for violating your civil rights is paid vacations. If they were REALLY wrong they'll get moved to another city to carry on committing more crimes. The blue shield protects them all.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (2)

MatthiasF (1853064) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816897)

I find the repeated irrational argument that the "hundreds, and more likely thousands, of civilian and military NSA employees" couldn't possibly be evil enough to be helping to create profiles on Americans completely ridiculous.

It doesn't take hundreds or thousands to do this, all it takes is a team of software engineers with access to all compiled information from those hundreds or thousands (or tens of thousands if FBI, SS and such are included) of investigators or researchers.

The majority of these workers at these agencies are most likely good-hearted people, just as most at the banks are as well, but a few corrupt or negligent people with the right access and abilities could be doing what we are all fearing and the rest wouldn't know any better.

The issue is that the information to do this is possibly being collected, and if it is collected it can be used for nefarious purposes.

Potential for abuse is enough to justify oversight (5, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817007)

The trouble is the mistaken and misguided belief that if there has ever been an example of abuse, or a mistake, then ALL activity MUST be abuse.

Nice strawman. The problem is that sometimes there is ALWAYS the potential for abuse and sometimes there actually are abuses. Thus we need oversight and lots of it. No rational person is claiming everything the NSA has done is abuse or in error. But only a naive fool would assume that the NSA is an entity to be trusted.

Look, NSA intercepts communications, and it does so for only one purpose -- to protect the lives, the liberties and the well-being of the citizens of the United States from those who would do us harm

You cannot possibly know that with any actual certainty. However even if true, that does not mean that US citizens cannot be abused by the actions of the NSA in the process. We locked up thousands of innocent citizens of Japanese descent in the 1940s in the name of "protecting" US citizens. There are almost countless examples of our law enforcement and government agencies abusing citizens with all the good intentions in the world. Martin Luther King was considered extremely dangerous by the FBI. Our government has a LONG track record of abusing citizens even when they have the best of intentions and that's even taking into account that the US government is relatively benign and benevolent compared with some of the other governments out there. (it could be a lot worse) Believing the only purpose of the NSA and it's employees is to protect US citizens is naive on the face of it. And even it if were true, it doesn't mean that bad things won't happen to people who do not deserve it.

It's a question drilled into every employee of NSA from day one, and it shapes every decision about how NSA operates.

Even if true (and I very much doubt that it is) that means precisely nothing. People do all sorts of evil things while thinking they are doing the right thing. Laws get followed that are bad laws. Don't get me wrong, I think the NSA or an organization similar to it serves an important purpose. But I don't really care at all what comes out of the mouths of the people in charge of it. What they are doing has the potential to both violate the law and to result in real and tangible harm to the rights, person and property of US citizens and that is worthy of serious concern.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817197)

Wow, you're TOTALLY going out of your way to avoid the word "American", aren't you? It's ok, the word won't turn you into a commie. The rest of the world uses it to describe us, you can too.

Re:Allegations that defy reality (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817275)

Actually, I use "US Person" because it has a very specific meaning [nsa.gov] as it pertains to US intelligence activities.

Who is considered a U.S. Person?

Federal law and executive order define a U.S. Person as:

- a citizen of the United States;
- an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence;
- an unincorporated association with a substantial number of members who are citizens of the U.S. or are aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence; or
- a corporation that is incorporated in the U.S.

In other words, US Person is a lot broader than just saying "American".

Re:Allegations that defy reality (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817287)

The term "dossier" on all Americans could be seen as an East bloc paper folder with a number on a page linking it to a box full of audio tapes.
The US gets past this legal and useless concept with a constant self healing realtime database.
Dragnet-spying on ALL Americans is very legal and very easy. You see who called outside the USA or got a call from outside the USA. Then you compare the numbers used and voice prints.
No dossier is created, just a fast passive random, non identifying search.
If the number, voice print or words mentioned are flagged, more action is taken. If not the numbers are kept but not the call.
Legal protections are often only good for the call payload. The legal idea of a trap and trace (routing information) gets around that.
What Canada, Australia, the UK can do to the cheap long loops of US telco cables and sat links is a given.
The US has its new Fusion centers. Data is getting looked at by States, security cleared contractors.
They have systems to sell, budgets to fund with local good news stories, new drones to fly, fast boats to equip, new federal armour with V hulls to drive and body armour to use.
The NSA skill set and vision is getting cheaper, legal and very local.

Disqualified (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816505)

A former NSA official has accused the NSA’s director of deception during a speech he gave at the DefCon hacker conference on Friday when he asserted that the agency does not collect files on Americans.

Note "former" in bold.

Assuming the general is telling the truth, policies and laws do change. Unless the general somehow has some sort of secret contact in the NSA that is giving him information illegally. Is that what the general is saying? That he is getting insider information illegally?

Re:Disqualified (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817111)

Your point is what? Because he is former he does not now anything???
ROFL
Let me repeat:
R.O.F.L.

Even if it doesnt spy internally (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816547)

His whole insinuation is wrong, does he not realize that Americans do in fact live abroad? As such, even if we accept their position that they don't do any spying on domestic communications(which is hard to swallow to start with), I can guarantee that a lot of US citizens' communications still get caught in their net. Especially considering that Americans living abroad are much more likely to contact the US from abroad than basically anyone else, I am sure people like me who live overseas trip all sorts of traps.....

But then again, top Republicans have called us "traitors" in the past, I guess they have no problem shitting all over our rights since we left the "land of the free".

They think they can get away with it (1)

hlavac (914630) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816567)

They probably think they can get away with it, because it's not their employees collecting the information, it's their computers/software that is doing it. They collect all the information, they just "don't look at it". When someone is flagged, they have years and years of pre-recorded surveillance on him and everyone he has ever communicated with. Very convenient right? How is that not a dragnet?

Washingtonese (1)

todfm (1973074) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816623)

Word game == lying

What about Smith? (1)

TheCrig (3178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816637)

Binney says one thing. What does Smith say? I bet it's colorful.

Am I screwed? (not a US citizen) (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816649)

I would like to visit the US for a scientific conference later this year. On social media, I have piled a lot of criticism on the TSA, on Apple and the lack of universal healthcare in the US.

With very little stretch, the conclusion that an overzealous NSA employee, or user of the NSA database, could draw is that I am some sort of commie.

I wonder if I'll be detained when I enter the US. That would be extremely inconvenient.

Re:Am I screwed? (not a US citizen) (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816725)

I don't know about your criticism of the TSA or healthcare, but speaking out against Apple is a serious offense.

Re:Am I screwed? (not a US citizen) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817141)

No one gives a fuck about you

Word game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816655)

That sounds a lot like a "lie." Is that the euphemism we're using these days?

Re:Word game? (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816727)

Obligatory "Yes Minister" reference
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8keZbZL2ero
You... lied...

Push for Secure SMTP (1)

GeneralTurgidson (2464452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816675)

SMTPS needs to be adopted as the replacement for traditional SMTP. The fact that it's not could be coincidental or outside influences. All you'd really have to do is put it in as a requirement for PCI/HIPAA and the majority of big business would be forced to adopt it.

Re:Push for Secure SMTP (2)

The Barking Dog (599515) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816921)

Many of those businesses are already required to use TLS, which while not SMTPS, it performs essentially the same role.

Where can I get a find a video to his presentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816715)

Where can I get a find a video to his presentation?
Can't seem to find it anywhere...well anywhere meaning youtube has been a busy

Not A Jawdropper (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816817)

This is what governments do even in societies propagandized as free. Under the guise of protecting it's citizens from perceived evil, citizen's personal freedoms are eroded "for their own good". The price of a free society is evidently too costly to bear.

Did they have a file on James Holmes? (2)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#40816855)

You'd think if they had this awesome system that kept a file on every one of us and everything we were searching for, surely that guy would have raised some red flags.

Re:Did they have a file on James Holmes? (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817067)

You'd think if they had this awesome system that kept a file on every one of us and everything we were searching for, surely that guy would have raised some red flags.

Probably the only thing that keeps us from living in an Orwellian nightmare is the incompetence of government agencies when it comes to actually using the data they've collected. And, related to that, the fact that a lot of the "facts" on file are inaccurate.

Which would be more comforting if it were not that the flip side of that coin is that while the guilty may go free, this same incompetence can impact the innocent.

Innocent people have nothing to hide - the problem is the people who determine what "innocent" is.

mVoD down (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40816873)

'*BSD Sux0rs'. This a losing bbatle; Future. Even

Does indeed collecting.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817101)

Proofreading articles is overrated. Could have at least copied and pasted what was in the article- "Was indeed collecting...."

The game is on... (0)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#40817241)

...who can fool there system?

Reputation management.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40817285)

The major reason for this guys appearance seems to have been to convince more people to work for the NSA.

So does that mean that the Orwellian total surveillance policies being implemented in the US are actually beginning to impact their hiring results? Do people object to be seen working for some kind of US KGB-in-waiting?

Or is it simply not very attractive to work for the NSA (low government salaries + drastic impact on one's personal life and freedoms)?

Hmm...

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