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NSA Targeting Domestic Computer Systems

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the domestic-abuse dept.

Government 105

The NSA was originally supposed to handle foreign intelligence, and leave the domestic spying to other agencies, but Presto Vivace writes with this bit from CNET: "'The National Security Agency's Perfect Citizen program hunts for vulnerabilities in 'large-scale' utilities, including power grid and gas pipeline controllers, new documents from EPIC show.' 'Perfect Citizen?' Who thinks up these names?" "The program is scheduled to continue through at least September 2014," says the article.

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Imperfect citizens (4, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#42377145)

'Perfect Citizen?' Who thinks up these names?"

Answer in subject line.

peopel who get in based on know they kown or (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42377269)

peopel who get in based on know they kown or who can make the biggest pay off.

Re:peopel who get in based on know they kown or (1)

wdef (1050680) | about 2 years ago | (#42381775)

peopel who get in based on know they kown or who can make the biggest pay off.

That is not intelligible.

Re:Imperfect citizens (3, Interesting)

slick7 (1703596) | about 2 years ago | (#42377329)

'Perfect Citizen?' Who thinks up these names?"

Answer in subject line.

Hitler had his youth organization that turned in their parents.
We have GTA IV, HALO, Gears of War, etc. De-sensitizing children to violence leads to cold-blooded adults. War does the same thing, but it's more expensive and messier; and it is "these" people that will become the storm-trooping, hob-nail booted thugs to keep the peace. Peace through violence. Serving their masters, which you undoubtedly are not.
There will come a time where there will be only two choices to pick from; prisoner or prison food.

Re:Imperfect citizens (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42377599)

no, the differences be tween seeing it death on a 72' screen and watching the man/woman in front of you pulled off to the showers/killing room are so far different in reality. Now if you ask those same children or adults stop this stuff before it happens, why no they just like watching their movies with violence and killing on the tv to be concerened about the brown people being taking to the camps.

Re:Imperfect citizens (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42377679)

watching the man/woman in front of you pulled off to the showers/killing room are so far different in reality

And you would know this HOW?

Re:Imperfect citizens (5, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 years ago | (#42377855)

I can't speak for AC, but a lot of things in life are different than a video portrayal. Automobile accidents, for instance. I don't watch television much at all, but the most catastrophic accident on television is - just a little messy. Being a first responder even at a relatively minor accident can be unsettling. I've tossed my lunch at major accidents, and had a hard time falling asleep that night. Few people can appreciate an injury as simple as a broken leg, until they put their hands on that broken leg, and can feel how the bone grinds away, cutting muscle and other tissue as it does so.

Naturally, I've never lived through what AC posted. No concentration camps for me, but I can sort of imagine the difference from what we've seen in movies and television. Very different, indeed.

Re:Imperfect citizens (2)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 2 years ago | (#42380149)

I had similar experiences as a reporter in the 90s, getting called out numerous times at 2 or 3 AM to cover various fires and accidents.

I was exposed to enough blood and guts and other misery during that time that I learned to appreciate just what difficult and unpleasant jobs first responders and fire/rescue people have, and I have to admit that I don't think I could handle it for very long myself. My compliments to you and your colleagues, Runaway.

Re:Imperfect citizens (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42379871)

What the fuck are you talking about? Seriously, are you one of those goebbelsian al qaeda propagandists who attempt to conflate the war on islamic terrorism with racism against black people?? If anyone is hauling off anyone of darker skin to be killed, it is the arab janjaweed muslim supremacists in Sudan.
Get the fuck off our internet, Saudi Arabia.

I'd call you a troll, but I know that there are people being paid to push such holocaust inversion propaganda. Your lies have no standing, and draw attention to the real criminals: those who commit genocide based upon skin color (the muslim janjaweed) or who keep concentration camps (muslim countries who refuse to resettle their returning former emigrants to Israel, and who instead keep them in concentration camps).

Re:Imperfect citizens (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 2 years ago | (#42380155)

Google "janjaweed". Then please mod parent Informative.

Re:Imperfect citizens (2)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#42378815)

Well Mr. Godwin, you could also say that games like GTA IV, HALO, Gears of War, etc show us the difference that one person can make.

Re:Imperfect citizens (2)

davydagger (2566757) | about 2 years ago | (#42380525)

no, we have the TIPS programs, and the sort of paranoia and fear that happens after every media frenzied tragedy

Do your friends/family look mentally ill derranged?

Do your neighbors looks like terrorists?

And urges you to report them.

Even when you are doing now, is more of the same. Do you know someone who plays violent video games? report them to authorities.

Fact: Before violent video games, there where violent movies, before than, violent books(in english going all the way back to gilgamesh, the first known english book).

Fact: Before kids played violent video games, they played violent games outside, like "War", "Cowboys and Indians"(horribly politically incorrect too)", "Cops and Robbers", etc....

don't blame this on video games. Stop doing the type of disinformation you mention.

Re:Imperfect citizens (2)

tendrousbeastie (961038) | about 2 years ago | (#42382233)

Gilgamesh is not an English book.

Re:Imperfect citizens (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 2 years ago | (#42382395)

ugg, your write, brainfart. It was late, and I was drunk

I was thinking of "Beowulf" sorry/

Re:Imperfect citizens (1)

wdef (1050680) | about 2 years ago | (#42381807)

De-sensitizing children to violence leads to cold-blooded adults.

This is why the Khmer Rouge used to train kids to torture and kill animals, graduating to killing people.

Re:Imperfect citizens (4, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#42377391)

I believe that "Perfect Citizen" is the English version of the Russian "novy sovetsky chelovek".

Re:Imperfect citizens (5, Funny)

GumphMaster (772693) | about 2 years ago | (#42378807)

+1 for the sig... best chuckle I've had all morning :)

Re:Imperfect citizens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42380411)

See also:

Deuteronomy 22:28

and verse 29! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42381899)

Some would say Deut. 22:29 is worse than the death penalty!

Re:Imperfect citizens (5, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 years ago | (#42377543)

The same kind of people who dreamed up "Operation Enduring Freedom". At least they got the "Enduring" part right.

Re:Imperfect citizens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42377793)

Still enduring your idea of freedom.

Captcha: occupied ...

Re:Imperfect citizens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42378155)

Why post as AC? Few ACs make up a stupid captcha, it should be easy enough to identify all of your posts as comimg from the same person.

Re:Imperfect citizens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42382503)

captcha: robing

NOT grandparent poster.

Re:Imperfect citizens (1, Interesting)

craigminah (1885846) | about 2 years ago | (#42378011)

I'm curious to know who named this article, "NSA Targeting Domestic Computer Systems". Could have made it more dramatic and attention-getting by naming it, "NSA Targets Racist White Babies with Assault Rifles Because of G. W. Bush's Fault", or something to that effect (I know it's nonsensical but http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qItugh-fFgg [youtube.com] )

Re:Imperfect citizens (2)

ubrgeek (679399) | about 2 years ago | (#42378097)

Was thinking the same thing. Unless the PDF specifically calls out the National Security Agency actively targeting and attempting to compromise domestic SCADA systems, the posting reads like something Drudge would write about Obama (countdown to Drudge flame war in 3 ... 2 ...)

Re:Imperfect citizens (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 2 years ago | (#42380549)

of all the funny shit the NSA does, I think this is spot on money.

After complaining about a "Digital Perl Harbor", securing SCADA systems is a far better alternative than the previous campaign of aggressive black hat'ing they were seeming to imply they were doing. Even if it has a creepy fucking name.

as for conservative disinformation, its ironic how they claim the smallest financial measures are taking away their freedoms, on theorhetics that would save money for the wealthiest, at their expense, but the biggest attrocities, such as what various three letter agencies are doing, warrantless wiretaps, and the expanding surviallence state, all under their noses. They couldn't care less.

Re:Imperfect citizens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42382199)

The only reason they came up with the Perfect Citizen program is so they can honestly tell people that they're all about the PCP, and never be lying.

The prisoner (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42377179)

I am not a number i am a free man.....
we want ...infor-matin infromation

Re:The prisoner (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42377275)

I am not a number i am a free man.....

You're posting AC because you probably have a 7 digit UID.

Re:The prisoner (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 2 years ago | (#42380169)

Nope. Try again.

Re:The prisoner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42377277)

I am not a number i am a free man..... we want ...infor-matin infromation

No. You are a consumer. You will be profiled and categorized.

Multiple missions, people seem to forget that. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42377189)

People seem to forget that Intelligence gathering is only part of NSA's mission.
They are also tasked with ensuring the security of the nations computers, cryptosystems and more recently critical infrastructure. But people will believe what they want to believe, so any more when people ask me if stuff in Enemy of the State is accurate I tell them 100%. They're not likely to believe that no, it could actually take weeks-months to get reliable intel data and it's usually generated by some analyst that's 17-25 years old sitting in some windowless building with a crappy computer.

Re:Multiple missions, people seem to forget that. (2)

Jetra (2622687) | about 2 years ago | (#42377279)

Because it's not like we have a hundred other agencies already watching over us to make sure we're not doing anything illegal. (Cough, HackNSA FBI CIA TSA CTU cough hack)

Re:Multiple missions, people seem to forget that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42379205)

This is not about people doing illegal things.

Re:Multiple missions, people seem to forget that. (1)

wdef (1050680) | about 2 years ago | (#42381827)

Because it's not like we have a hundred other agencies already watching over us to make sure we're not doing anything illegal. (Cough, HackNSA FBI CIA TSA CTU cough hack)

Not only illegal. J Edgar Hoover knew that all data is power. Agencies have blackmailed each other in the past with embarrassing information about senior figures.

Re:Multiple missions, people seem to forget that. (1)

Jetra (2622687) | about 2 years ago | (#42381901)

Seems to explain that Secret Service fiasco that happened a while back with them at the strip club.

Re:Multiple missions, people seem to forget that. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42377387)

People seem to forget that Intelligence gathering is only part of NSA's mission.

OK, so they're tasked with that. Doesn't make it right - or wrong. Congress also created that fucking horrible law - The Patriot Act. So, being tasked doesn't automatically make it right.

They are also tasked with ensuring the security of the nations computers, cryptosystems and more recently critical infrastructure.

Again, so what? And who decides what is "critical"? I don't think the power grid is critical because the folks who really need the power have backups. So, what business is it is of our spy agency if Walmart can keep their lights on? My local hospital has multiple backup generators and so does my local Air Force base/NAS.

But people will believe what they want to believe, so any more when people ask me if stuff in Enemy of the State is accurate I tell them 100%.

When it comes to our government and its history of spying on and harming its own citizens, I will beleive the worst unless proven otherwise.

They're not likely to believe that no, it could actually take weeks-months to get reliable intel data and it's usually generated by some analyst that's 17-25 years old sitting in some windowless building with a crappy computer.

So, it may take weeks-months to get intel, but that doesn't mean quite a bit of harm can be done. And who gives a shit how old the analyst is or what type computer the he uses? It doesn't take much computing power to type a report. Even using the latest version of MS Word. And as far as the age of the analyst, some things are better understood by the younger folks.

Re:Multiple missions, people seem to forget that. (1)

bbelt16ag (744938) | about 2 years ago | (#42377675)

i seriously doubt it would take hours to get intel on joe blow,with all of the technology and power of the government they would know you from seed to coffin in an hour or less. At this point, the time for preventing this facists awesome powers from being bestowed has passed. All agencies now have the powers to make citizens vanish or execute them under the guise of terroist. They are monitoring the freaking occupy movement, and i wonder when they start to scream that some of their key people are being harrassed, perhaps made to disappear like above would any of us believe that it was real? Could you believe this early twentiies person who walks up to you on the street smelling of dope and crying that their buddy was thrown in the back of a white van at gun point by people in suits? They didnt even tell the other people why/who/what was going on? I am not sure the germans wanted to believe either that their country was really truly capable of this, I know its hard for me to watch where the powers that be are heading with their relentless hunger for more survielnce and more power and greed. I'll just leaving you with a quote. First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the catholics, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a catholic. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me. --Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

Re:Multiple missions, people seem to forget that. (4, Insightful)

budgenator (254554) | about 2 years ago | (#42377945)

i seriously doubt it would take hours to get intel on joe blow,with all of the technology and power of the government they would know you from seed to coffin in an hour or less.

They can assemble a lot of raw data pretty quickly, but so can anybody; for example I applied for credit at Dell they ask which street I had lived on, one was arround the corner from where I presently lived, two were out of the blue, and the correct answer was where I had lived 40 years ago when I was 10 years old! What we have to remember is raw data isn't information, it's a lot easier to take a person of interest and assemble a dossier from available data, than it is to take the raw data and deducing who the person of interest is. Even with the incredable resources the law enforcement and intelligence agencies have, most cases are broken through serendipity.

Re:Multiple missions, people seem to forget that. (2)

um... Lucas (13147) | about 2 years ago | (#42377997)

Critical in that backup generators only last so long, besides which there would be quite a bit of chaos if our power grid went down unexpectedly and for a long period. Best just to head that off.

I'd really be fine with this if it wasn't a spying agency doing this. ; but I guess all the know how is in the nsa's headquarters, so we can't just have a
Domestic computer security agency doing this, one with no ties to the intelligence community...

Re:Multiple missions, people seem to forget that. (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 2 years ago | (#42380559)

" I don't think the power grid is critical because the folks who really need the power have backups"

after living through hurricane sandy, I'd tend to disagree with you.

Re:Multiple missions, people seem to forget that. (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 2 years ago | (#42382467)

Again, so what? And who decides what is "critical"? I don't think the power grid is critical because the folks who really need the power have backups. So, what business is it is of our spy agency if Walmart can keep their lights on? My local hospital has multiple backup generators and so does my local Air Force base/NAS.

And the really important places in the US have anti-aircraft weapons. But I'm still glad the Air Force has part of it's missions to keep [insert scariest foreign group] from dropping bombs on my house.

Critical does not necessarily mean it causes massive deaths immediately. It can be as simple as making sure that munitions plants can remain open, or food riots don't break out because there is suddenly no refrigeration.

somebody has to make these plans (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42377193)

And who better than somebody who knows how the other side thinks?

So ? (2, Insightful)

eric_herm (1231134) | about 2 years ago | (#42377195)

So the NSA is looking at the vulnerabilities over stuff deployed in USA ? What is the problem ? They also have a mission of protecting and giving advice for the national security ( heck, national security agency, do people fail at english comprehension test ? ).

NSA publish guides on how to secure linux or windows, do explain what the federal agency should do to be secured, so that seems logical to do the same for lots of things not "computer" related, if that can be used to disrupt the country. That's not different from checking a router for problem, or checking a phone if officials use them.

That's truly a fucking non news.

Re:So ? (2, Interesting)

reboot246 (623534) | about 2 years ago | (#42377317)

Exactly. Speaking as someone in the utilities business, I welcome the NSA and the work they're doing. It's scary how vulnerable the nation's utility systems are.

Re:So ? (2)

alcourt (198386) | about 2 years ago | (#42378063)

Scary implies I'm not numbed to the state of affairs by years of apathy by management.

s/scary/stupid/ (2)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | about 2 years ago | (#42378417)

There is ZERO reason for SCADA systems to be connected to the Internet.

Re:s/scary/stupid/ (2)

gtall (79522) | about 2 years ago | (#42380517)

Nope. There's an economic reason, i.e., otherwise you must built out a network by yourself, and the fellow over there must as well, and that next guy. SCADA systems are connected to the internet because it is cost effective to do so. Terrorism could change the economics, but it would have to be very effective terrorism.

Now you could argue that SCADA should be constructed in such a way that the control part is kept separate from the data distribution part. And you would be correct, yet economics bites you in the ass again. It is cheaper to combine them.

This might be a place for government regulation. Essentially, it is used to shift the market in a way that is contrary to economics. That might work, but there is still the underlying driver, economics, that will always work against that.

Re:s/scary/stupid/ (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 2 years ago | (#42380577)

yes, I hope the NSA sends people to unplug them.

Disingenious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42381669)

Modern energy grids are distributed systems which need to talk to each other for many reasons: efficiency, reliability, emergencies, billing. Even if that would be "off the internet", you would still have this massive distributed system. A single attacker who "illegaly" enters a facility and attaches a mobile phone can hook this distributed system into the internet.

THAT is what you have to prepare for. Besides, running a VPN over the internet with very high security is actually a Solved Problem. Every Linux or BSD kernel (plus a proper admin) can do that.

I suspect it is the quick/cheap/unskilled people problem in the energy business as it is in every other business. The bottom line effects of bad security cannot be properly calculated, so the MBA crappers decide to go for the worst possible security, as that is also the cheapest.

Re:So ? (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about 2 years ago | (#42377811)

heck, national security agency, do people fail at english comprehension test ?

I don't even... can you tie your shoes? Are, in fact, allowed to vote, and old enough to reproduce? Somebody hold me, please.

Re:So ? (2)

alcourt (198386) | about 2 years ago | (#42378075)

Two other examples I can think of include SELinux and the hardening of what became DES against differential cryptanalysis, twenty years before the attack was widely known.

Re:So ? (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 2 years ago | (#42380575)

exactly, for all the bad stuff they do, this is not it.

I think this is a step in the right direction. How much do we really have to fear about a "digital pearl harbor", if we make sure that critical infrastructure has great security. Glad to see they still do their jobs once and a while. (In addition to the SHA and AES competitions which get together great minds to work on civilian crypto).

"That's truly a fucking non news."
some fucking company is going to bitch because they have to buy new, more secure gear, before some jackass teenagers get bored and destroy the nation's utilities, because some fucking cheapskate implemented ridiculous poor quality hardware on critical infrastructure.

Some perspective (4, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | about 2 years ago | (#42377217)

>hunts for vulnerabilities in 'large-scale' utilities

It's not like they're spying wholesale on American citizens...wait, they're already doing that, too.

I think the whole foreign/domestic spy division is pretty much gone at this point. Not saying it's right, just the reality.

Re:Some perspective (1)

elucido (870205) | about 2 years ago | (#42377801)

>hunts for vulnerabilities in 'large-scale' utilities

It's not like they're spying wholesale on American citizens...wait, they're already doing that, too.

I think the whole foreign/domestic spy division is pretty much gone at this point. Not saying it's right, just the reality.

It never actually existed. The US government spied on itself since the Revolutionary war in the form of the stay-at-home militia. It continued in the form of the Pinkerton detective agency. The correct term for it is counter-intelligence.

Re:Some perspective (2)

Threni (635302) | about 2 years ago | (#42377887)

Exactly. I'm sure TOR is effectively broken, at least in the US, as I'm assuming the NSA has access to every single exit node. I'm sure there's either official or unofficial access to all traffic at ISP level. It's just an extension of Project Shamrock. The NSA has the money to build and make the kit and do the maths to crack a lot of encryption but it was probably decided at some point in the last 20 or 30 years that they couldn't continue to assume that domestic or foreign traffic could always be defeated technically and that other means would be required.

Yeah, Mr INSCOM (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42377985)

What you do is called "FUD". Spreading unsubstantiated fear against a very useful privacy tool. How exactly do they subvert TOR by monitoring exit routers ??

Your objective is to have as few people as possible using TOR, because it is actually a pain in the arse of your org.

Re:Yeah, Mr INSCOM (1)

Smauler (915644) | about 2 years ago | (#42380355)

This. It is essential for people who wish to track data to make it seem like trying to avoid your data being tracked is useless or counterproductive.

Re:Some perspective (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 2 years ago | (#42380583)

"Exactly. I'm sure TOR is effectively broken"

how are you sure of this?

Re:Some perspective (2)

budgenator (254554) | about 2 years ago | (#42378001)

Our 3 letter agencies don't spy on Americans, they spy on the Austrailians, the Austrailians spy on the British, then the British spy on the Americans. When anybody discovers anything interesting, an anonomous file is sent through back channels to the respective government.

That rumour (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42378107)

..is quite unproven. What IS proven is that they simply ignore rules about "US persons" and such. Their intercept gear is in the exchanges and everybody knows. They have presidential authority to do so and the courts don't challenge it. You know, "terrorists".

Also, police agencies of all levels (including FBI) operate humint assets. Which is in their charter ("drugs", "weapons trafficking", "terrorism")

Re:Some perspective (1)

russotto (537200) | about 2 years ago | (#42378421)

Our 3 letter agencies don't spy on Americans, they spy on the Austrailians, the Austrailians spy on the British, then the British spy on the Americans. When anybody discovers anything interesting, an anonomous file is sent through back channels to the respective government.

No need for that. Even before USA PATRIOT when the barriers came down, they didn't need any back channels. For instance, the Australians would tap American traffic, and the NSA would tap the Australians tap.

Re:Some perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42378609)

Pretty much this - 'the 5 eyes'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AUSCANNZUKUS

Q&A (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42377219)

'Perfect Citizen?' Who thinks up these names?"

People who are so deluded they think destroying our way of life is the same as saving it.

Re:Q&A (4, Funny)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#42377347)

"By your actions, sir, you are risking the future of the human race!" "To guarantee the American way of life... I'm willing to take that risk." ~Spies Like Us

Dual responsibility (4, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42377227)

The NSA is tasked with collecting intelligence from foreign sources as well as securing US government information systems from attack. As the private entities listed are components of our nation's critical infrastructure, keeping them secure is probably a good idea. I wouldn't wait for Siemens and its ilk to step up to this task.

Its probably not a perfect separation of government, private industry, domestic and foreign intelligence tasks. But since the NSA has the expertise, I say let them help out. Its not like operating utilities and other infrastructure companies isn't already subject to extra regulation and oversight. Its just a shame the SEC/CFTC doesn't keep as close an eye on our banks.

Re:Dual responsibility (1)

budgenator (254554) | about 2 years ago | (#42378023)

The banking indusrtries computers and computer networks are just as important to National Security as electric utility networks and computers are, so I'm sure they'll get their turn in the barrel sooner or later.

Re:Dual responsibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42378577)

But trillions of dollars was lost on bad transactions in the system during 2007-2008. When do we start looking for that? Or just finding the loopholes and plugging them?

Sooner or later is turning out to be never.

my limited understanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42377235)

is that project names are composed of two really really random words, whose combination is rejected
if its really too whack.

which doesn't explain why they could have a project named 'perfect citizen'

NSA is domestic, you idiots. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42377357)

NSA was always the domestic counterpart to the CIA, which is only chartered to operate outside our borders.

Re:NSA is domestic, you idiots. (2)

schwit1 (797399) | about 2 years ago | (#42377443)

Up to 9/11 the FBI was the domestic counterpart to the CIA. After 9/11 all lines got blurred.

Re:NSA is domestic, you idiots. (3, Interesting)

elucido (870205) | about 2 years ago | (#42377785)

Up to 9/11 the FBI was the domestic counterpart to the CIA. After 9/11 all lines got blurred.

The FBI never had the power of the CIA. The CIA can do clandestine ops while the FBI does not have the authority to do clandestine ops without the specific and expressed permission granted by the President. This is a major difference.

Domestic clandestine operations are operations which can be said to not exist at all. The CIA for example could run a clandestine CIA operation which does something clearly illegal such as hack a bunch of websites and then claim the terrorists did it. I'm not saying this sort of false flag is something the CIA would do, usually the FBI would do something like that but it's a possible example of a clandestine operation. The civilian government would believe criminals or cyber-terrorists did it.

Not Legal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42378059)

..for CIA to operate on US soil. And the FBI is very much capable of spreading lies and disinformation on their own. Then there are present and former members of the armed forces who can always be counted on to play the thugs in a dirty game. They are accustomed to believe the lies they are told by their former COs and their buddies. All very informal, no paperwork generated at all.
Does not include physical violence in Pax Americana Land, as that would bring police into picture. But most people can be "effected" with other means such as rumors, lies, slander, sex, marriage and some dark tricks you cannot find in any textbook. It works mostly optically and there is not more than a eyeglasses involved. It is called MK1 eyeball. If you are interested, start training with a cat and learn what effects you can get on the cat just using your eyes.
That is one reason some people wear windshield-class glasses; it protects against optical attack by opposing eyes.

Re:Not Legal (1)

elucido (870205) | about 2 years ago | (#42378565)

..for CIA to operate on US soil. And the FBI is very much capable of spreading lies and disinformation on their own. Then there are present and former members of the armed forces who can always be counted on to play the thugs in a dirty game. They are accustomed to believe the lies they are told by their former COs and their buddies. All very informal, no paperwork generated at all.
Does not include physical violence in Pax Americana Land, as that would bring police into picture. But most people can be "effected" with other means such as rumors, lies, slander, sex, marriage and some dark tricks you cannot find in any textbook. It works mostly optically and there is not more than a eyeglasses involved. It is called MK1 eyeball. If you are interested, start training with a cat and learn what effects you can get on the cat just using your eyes.
That is one reason some people wear windshield-class glasses; it protects against optical attack by opposing eyes.

If something is clandestine then the law simply does not apply. You cannot arrest what doesn't exist and didn't happen.

You're right about most of what you say.And the tactics are terrible and destroy lives, but what alternative is there really in warfare?

CIA does operate domestically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42378771)

Look up the MN gov Ventura who 1st let the cat out of the bag about the CIA having operatives in local governments.

Re:NSA is domestic, you idiots. (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#42377477)

That's not what its charter says, which restricts it to "foreign intelligence or counterintelligence" and prohibits the NSA "acquiring information concerning the domestic activities of United States persons".

Re:NSA is domestic, you idiots. (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#42378263)

Hah, but this is the US Government. Since when does "what the charter actually says" have anything to do with what the TLA actually does?

Re:NSA is domestic, you idiots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42381145)

Just like the constitution, a charter is subject to interpretation. Under this administration they're more than happy to interpret it any way that justifies their actions.

Good idea, should be supported (1)

elucido (870205) | about 2 years ago | (#42377755)

This is a good idea. The NSA should take on these sorts of roles because domestic computer systems are notoriously insecure.

The real question is whether or not the NSA has the expertise to pull it off.

Re:Good idea, should be supported (1)

pepsikid (2226416) | about 2 years ago | (#42377931)

The unanswered questions are; if, and how does the NSA inform critical domestic utilities of their vulnerabilities, and what power might they have to compel those utilities to secure their systems appropriately? The problem being that the NSA would probably prefer to quietly catalog and study vulnerabilities, to help quell revolts or secessions in the future, rather than send out emails full of advice for patching bugs. Thus, they're no help to anyone, and at a high price. On the other extreme, the NSA's solution to every problem would likely be the compulsory installation of their own home-grown monitoring software, you know, to be "extra secure". Certainly, you can trust them. Their entire history is proof of the advantages of cooperation.

Re:Good idea, should be supported (1)

elucido (870205) | about 2 years ago | (#42378557)

The unanswered questions are; if, and how does the NSA inform critical domestic utilities of their vulnerabilities, and what power might they have to compel those utilities to secure their systems appropriately? The problem being that the NSA would probably prefer to quietly catalog and study vulnerabilities, to help quell revolts or secessions in the future, rather than send out emails full of advice for patching bugs. Thus, they're no help to anyone, and at a high price. On the other extreme, the NSA's solution to every problem would likely be the compulsory installation of their own home-grown monitoring software, you know, to be "extra secure". Certainly, you can trust them. Their entire history is proof of the advantages of cooperation.

If they help quell revolts and secession in the future then they are a help to everyone. That is the least I would expect from them.
Also what monitoring software does the NSA have or did you pull that one out of your ass?

Re:Good idea, should be supported (1)

pepsikid (2226416) | about 2 years ago | (#42378881)

Speaking of pulling things out of their ass.... NSA presenting itself as the covert white knight of America's domestic computer systems. HooBOY.

So, Good Citizen, you must think that free men should be stopped from overthrowing an unjust government. You can think what you want, but when you sputter "NSA? Possess surveillance software?!?! Ridiculous!!", you only look like an idiot.

Re:Good idea, should be supported (1)

elucido (870205) | about 2 years ago | (#42385079)

Speaking of pulling things out of their ass.... NSA presenting itself as the covert white knight of America's domestic computer systems. HooBOY.

So, Good Citizen, you must think that free men should be stopped from overthrowing an unjust government. You can think what you want, but when you sputter "NSA? Possess surveillance software?!?! Ridiculous!!", you only look like an idiot.

You look like an even bigger idiot when you're like "Revolution! Free men!". You have no clue how things work.

Re:Good idea, should be supported (1)

pepsikid (2226416) | about 2 years ago | (#42385291)

What I know, Good Citizen, is that this government is assembling an engine of tyranny, literally a thousand times bigger than that of any absolute dictatorship mankind has ever known. And if things work the way you suggest, it would also be the first time a government assembled such a system without any interest in using it.

It's people like you who insist "but they're only *building* internment camps! They're not *using* them!" 40.427277 -111.934485

I fail to see the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42378129)

This sounds like the NSA is doing the sort of thing that it ought to be doing: protecting the national interest by finding vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure and patching the holes. If reports emerged that it was also, say, having a look around and vacuming up data on service provider's customers while it was in there that would be different, but I see no suggestion of that in the article. Why not have the NSA do penetration testing?

useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42378171)

This seems like a *useful* thing for the NSA to be doing. I worry that our domestic IT infrastructure is weak. I would rather the NSA find out what's broken and make the companies fix it rather than Iran, China, or North Korea.

it's called Infosec (1)

pbjones (315127) | about 2 years ago | (#42378295)

Infosec is part of the NSA brief, and the function is unclassified, so it isn't news. You'll remember this when some scriptkiddy turns your power off, while you were complaining that NSA shouldn't be doing this type of network testing to prevent it from happening.

http://www.nsa.gov/ia/index.shtml

Remember the NSA has no police authority. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42378497)

A hall monitor has more authority than these clowns. You could have anyone of these guys arrested by the lowliest tin pot county deputy and they'd be hard pressed to have him released.

Don't think so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42381713)

The feds always come with their own police if they really want to achieve something. It is called "FBI".

But sure as hell $business can defend itself against NSA by "working Washington". Until there is no real, massive (read: real-life effects) cyber attack, there will be nice talk and no substantial action.

Well, let's hope they do a GOOD JOB then... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42378559)

As far as I know from the comments here? Sounds like they're doing pen-testing of critical institution's code & network infrastructure...

Anyhow/Anyways:

* Hey - THAT IS NOT A "BAD THING" (assuming that IS all they're doing that is - I tend to believe it, for now @ least) & it's GOOD someone's doing it, before 'hacker/cracker' types do!

APK

P.S.=> There's a LOT of distrust of these security agencies, but this doesn't sound like they're doing anything "fishy", & actually a GOOD effort...

... apk

NOT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42381751)

Why can't they separate all the offensive shit (such as attacking other countries by viruses) from the protection efforts ? As long as that doesn't happen, you better don't touch these people with a ten-foot pole. What makes you think these people have ethics left ? They royally screw with other people's systems and they are supposed to "protect" yours ? Like a burglar being hired for "security" ? Hey, burglars know all tricks, so they can play the good guy like nobody else !!! That's the rationale here, apparently.

Other countries have cleany separated the burglars from the defenders. E.g. Germany with BND(burglars, codebreakers, thieves) and BSI (actual security).

Re:NOT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42383633)

I don't know man... I haven't worked with the military industrial complex in a LONG time, but I used to. I have family DEEPLY "entrenched" in it now though, both militarily & for work (via the military, of course).

So - As far as "ethics"? NOBODY can afford them.

E.G./I.E.-> All it takes is 1 rotten apple to force your hand, & you BECOME just like the 'enemy'... or you die. That's the REAL world... the good guy? Has rules - those rules HOLD HIM DOWN & TIE HIS HANDS...

Scumbags, don't (& that makes THEM have an advantage).

The real world, where:

---

1.) "The infamous they" want to make you all into "love each other ala Barney the dinosaur" but yet makes wars. All law? Enforced by "THE ULTIMATE DIPLOMAT" (force, pain, or the threat thereof in legal or financial means). Don't get me wrong: I would LOVE a world where folks respond to logic, & respect one another... I have YET to see it. NO, instead, I see a LOT of obviously "false flag" ops, creating a situation to TAKE YOUR GUNS (& so much for "the right to keep & bear arms", eh?)... take away our guns?? We are vulnerable.

2.) Where the wealthy 1% runs things, NOT the government (face that fact, it's the SAME EVERYWHERE & I've been all over this planet in my time).

3.) Where the common-man & middleclass bears the brunt of taxes (see the FISCAL CLIFF news recently on that, 50-75k earners are getting tax raises come Feb 2013) & the upper=class 1%'ers are not afaik... always, the same.

---

(Trust me - I am as BITTER about it as the next guy).

* All I am saying is, what my subject line was in my post - let's hope they do a GOOD job, because better THEY, imo @ least, than hacker/cracker type criminals or foreign governments (ruled by the SAME types of people - power hungry sociopaths largely... what many call "leaders", & there's VERY FEW that aren't that way imo & experience over 1/2 a century of existence now).

APK

P.S.=> Let's just "hope for the best" since we can't change it, as individuals @ least...

... apk

No surprise really (3, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#42378581)

With the homeland security monolith growing into a huge machine that consumes cash and excretes bullshit and the FBI and CIA so dysfunctional and jealous that the FBI managed to depose the head of the CIA on "moral" grounds it actually makes sense to pass things over to a bunch that look like they actually work for a living, no matter what their current responsibilities are.

Executive Order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42378919)

I've been working on a movie scrip for some time.

The plot involves a President who issues a Secret Executive Order.

The 'Order' with other 'recent' events inadvertently and ultimately sends legions of the Local Police, FBI, DoD and DHS after his 'scalp'.

So my advice to President Obama and his 'secret executive orders,' 'Careful with that ax junior!'

XD

Thin thread creating spiderwebs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42379629)

Apparently Thin Thread [newyorker.com] is not dead, and not only that, the civil liberties and oversight protections have been cheerfully scrapped, and the rest has been expanded to bring abuse of civil liberties not to a foreign audience, but rather, to a domestic one. Why bother having elections when the director of the NSA has all the powers of the worst of the worst police states of the last 100 years. No judicial, political or civilian oversight, unlimited powers, unlimited budget (in the name of national security you can expand it to consume the entire budget of the state). How much did that mini-shuttle cost and what is it for again? On whose behalf are the British police keeping such a tight lid on Julian Assange? I've seen cops have two officers at the front and back of the house of a wanted murderer. They have hundreds of police around the embassy in London. It must cost a fortune. I don't think its the British taxpayer. Who is footing the bill? Over the years, Echelon has cost billions. Its not that they are targeting domestic computers, its just that its investigating fully all transmissions originating or arriving at foreign computers from domestic computers, and likewise checking other domestic computers to see if they are connecting with foreign computers (and doing a bit of fishing at the time). Their coverage is a mere 200% of all computers in the US. And that's it!

Cool Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42381869)

Apparently you woke up from the "civilized world, due process, rule of law" meme and discovered how your world really works. Full-fledged tyrannies do use quite physical mass-intimidation, though. Your government still intimidates only a select few.

So the US is indeed marching towards tyranny, but they haven't reached full development yet. As long as there are no mass protests of armed people, they will tighten the noose every couple of months. With an ageing society, they have lots of support for that, as those old fucks can never have enough "security".

That mini-shuttle is just one conduit of the military-industrial-complex to shaft the taxpayer. Nothing specially nasty about it. If you want to know more about surveillance, get yourself a scanner and listen to airtraffic control and police. Build a direction-finding antenna for it. You will be surprised to learn about what kind of air traffic there is.
Then, join one of the "trade organizations" of the MIC. There you can learn about their tech and from that, their methods. Of course, you better have a bogus "business interest" or they will be pissed (not good for you). Just create a crappy piece of tech and try to peddle it to them. That will suffice as a good cover story.

Fire Timothy already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42379885)

Someone please take a screenshot of this webpage, and use it to get rid of Timothy.
This has got to be one the most obviously stupid discussions ever -- mostly bringing out the bismuth foil hat types -- all due to Timothy's wrong and knowledge-less editing.

Extra, Extra! Read All About It! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42380127)

The NSA has even hacked TFA off of CNET!

Perfect citizen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42384441)

Contractor

Now how long until the NSA hooks up w/ the IRS (2)

sethstorm (512897) | about 2 years ago | (#42385283)

That is, using the lists generated by people that denounce their US citizenship sorted by income by their last two years of citizenship?

In addition, I'm quite sure that the NSA can always trade with other friendly countries for what its charter does not allow them to have.

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