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Verizon Ordered To Provide All Customer Data To NSA

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the do-you-hear-what-I-hear dept.

Privacy 609

Rick Zeman writes "According to Wired, an order by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court '...requires Verizon to give the NSA metadata on all calls within the U.S. and between the U.S. and foreign countries on an "ongoing, daily basis" for three months.' Unlike orders in years past, there's not even the pretense that one of the parties needed to be in a foreign country. It is unknown (but likely) that other carriers are under the same order."

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Shocking! (5, Insightful)

tysonedwards (969693) | about a year ago | (#43921403)

I don't know about you, but I am shocked! *ONLY* 3 months?

Don't worry (5, Funny)

pablo_max (626328) | about a year ago | (#43921435)

I am sure it will only be for 3 months and certainly they would not ask again. It is only a one time thing, of that you can rest easy, citizen.

Re:Don't worry (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921559)

You got nothing to hide citizen, right?

Re:Shocking! (5, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43921437)

It repeats every 3 months. It'd be illegal if it were longer, but an indefinately repeating 3 month order is not indefinite. So say the people who extend copyright 50 years every 49 years for a new, longer "limited" time.

Re:Shocking! (1)

doctor woot (2779597) | about a year ago | (#43921501)

This seems unlikely to be a focused surveillance effort as much as a datamining operation for the purpose of statistical analysis. Couldn't say what purpose this would serve, since I'm by no means an infosec or sigint expert, but seems to me it's possible that they're trying to be able to identify behavior patterns, possibly to better locate individuals, or to be able to more accurately predict and track the growth of social/revolutionary movements overseas, etc.

Re:Shocking! (5, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year ago | (#43921617)

This seems unlikely to be a focused surveillance effort

Yeah, I think collecting logs of all calls made by 70+ million people for 3 months pretty much rules out "focused surveillance" ;)

It could easily be focused (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921817)

Like everyone else, I have no idea what they're doing, but no, it doesn't rule out focused surveillance. It could easily be a way to obscure who they're surveilling, so that Verizon, for example, has no way of knowing which customer they're interested in.

Say I'm a burglar, and I want to know when you're not home. When you're not home, is the best time to break into your house and take all your stuff.

One strategy is to stand outside your house, staring at it. You come out, we stare at each other for a few nervous seconds, and then you drive off. Aha, you're not home now. So I begin picking the lock on your door. The last thing I think, before you smash in the back of my head with a shovel, is how clever I was to make sure you had left. I was too fuckwitted to think you might be curious by our earlier staring encounter, and that you drove around the block, parked, and came to see WTF I was up to.

Another strategy is that I hang out at a major intersection, seemingly taking notice of every car that passes by. Little do you (or anyone else) know, yours was the one I was interested in. You don't it's it's suspicious at all, to drive by someone standing by the side of the road a mile from your house. That guy was just looking at all the cars going by. Not focused at all, huh? Then how come your house is the one I emptied that day?

If wired leaks a story about how Verizon was forwarding records about Dahamma to NSA, then you know they're watching you. If wired has a story about how Verizon is forwarding records about Dahamma plus a hundred million other people to the NSA, well shit, that wasn't about you. Nothing to be nervous about. They're not out to get you; they're out to get everyone.

Or maybe they're really out to get just you.

Re:Shocking! (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#43921633)

Somebody reported that one of their friends heard that a Muslim had just signed up with Verizon.

The NSA is just trying to track him down.

Re:Shocking! (5, Funny)

doctor woot (2779597) | about a year ago | (#43921647)

Somebody reported that one of their friends heard that a Muslim had just signed up with Verizon.

The NSA is just trying to track him down.

Don't be ridiculous, that's what the drones are for.

Re:Shocking! (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year ago | (#43921737)

*ONLY* 3 months?

Don't try to overflow the NSA servers...

143,364 similar FISA warrants (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921765)

http://epic.org/privacy/wiretap/stats/fisa_stats.html

Since 2004, when they started spying on Americans, there have been 143,364 FISA warrants, similar to this one, applying to Americans.

This is one warrant among 143364 similar warrants. 0.0006975% of the warrants.

Re:143,364 similar FISA warrants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921843)

http://epic.org/privacy/wiretap/stats/fisa_stats.html

Since 2004, when they started spying on Americans, there have been 143,364 FISA warrants, similar to this one, applying to Americans.

This is one warrant among 143364 similar warrants. 0.0006975% of the warrants.

Is this a Fisa warrant or an NSL? In the document it forbids Verizon from discussing the letter, even with legal. I thought only NSL's had that type of gag order. I am confuzzled.

Re:143,364 similar FISA warrants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921919)

My bad, column 4 is NSLs, 143364 plus 16954 FISAs in the same time.

" I thought only NSL's had that type of gag order." and I thought FISA's couldn't target Americans, couldn't be used for bulk data trawling etc. and that data for the FBI was used by the FBI, but this issues it to FBI and hands data to NSA.

Why exactly is a warrant to grab all call data in America secret from Americans? Even after the fact? If they have something to hide they must be doing something wrong! I think the problem is the *after the fact*'ness of it. The leakers keep saying the same thing, massive total ongoing surveillance of America.

Even 16000 FISA warrants is more than enough to grab all the data, regularly on a quarterly basis. Why exactly is this FISA warrant kept secret??

Re:Shocking! (5, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43921879)

The only real surprise is that the NSA needs Verison to give it to them.

Re:Shocking! (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#43921971)

I'm also surprised that we found out about it. It came with the NSL-standard 'Don't tell anyone we asked, not even your lawyer, or we'll throw you in jail' clause. Someone must have had either the ideological conviction or reckless stupidity to defy the gag order and leak it.

Someone will be losing their job for that, and probably never working in the communications industry again. Hopefully McDonald's is hiring.

Re:Shocking! (2)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#43921931)

Well, because of the sequester, they didn't have enough budget to extend the real-time continuous interception they are doing for the internet traffic.
Unpleasant, but only transient situation, I assure you.

Re:Shocking! (4, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | about a year ago | (#43922001)

Well, because of the sequester, they didn't have enough budget ...

Reminds me of after 9/11 when there were so many feds abusing wiretaps they couldn't afford to pay the bills and were getting them shut off [cbsnews.com] .

Wired? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921409)

Glenn Greenwald broke this for The Guardian newspaper.

Re:Wired? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921429)

Just because the referenced article is "according to Wired" doesn't mean that Wired broke it.

All that it says here is that Rick Zeman happened to prefer the Wired article from among the 96 other major news sources that are currently running a story on the topic.

Re:Wired? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921777)

Well then, I hope for his sake that Mr. Greenwald did not use a telephone to obtain the leaked document.

All customers!!! (-1, Redundant)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#43921415)

within a small subset ... great FUD title

Re:All customers!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921453)

an electronic copy of the following tangible things: all call detail records or "telephony metadata" created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls. This Order does not require Verizon to produce telephony metadata for communications wholly originating and terminating in foreign countries. Telephony metadata includes comprehensive communications routing information,.

Re:All customers!!! (4, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43921459)

The story and TFA say "The sweeping order, issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, requires Verizon to give the NSA metadata on all calls within the U.S. and between the U.S. and foreign countries on an “ongoing, daily basis” for three months."

What have you seen that restricts it to a small subset? The actual order is secret, and I didn't find any links to the actual order, though a number of organizations claimed to have a copy.

Re:All customers!!! (3)

bencvt (686040) | about a year ago | (#43921801)

I didn't find any links to the actual order, though a number of organizations claimed to have a copy.

There's a link to the actual order in TFA. [guardian.co.uk]

Re:All customers!!! (2)

petsounds (593538) | about a year ago | (#43921839)

The actual order is secret, and I didn't find any links to the actual order, though a number of organizations claimed to have a copy.

The Guardian has a copy here. [guardian.co.uk] I believe they actually broke the story, not Wired.

And you're right, it's not limited to a subset; it is ALL calls not wholly originating outside the US:

an electronic copy of the following tangible things: all call detail
records or "telephony metadata" created by Verizon for communications (i) between
the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local
telephone calls. This Order does not require Verizon to produce telephony metadata
for communications wholly originating and terminating in foreign countries.
Telephony metadata includes comprehensive communications routing information,.
including but not limited to session identifying information (e.g., originating and
terminating telephone number, International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number,
International Mobile station Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, etc.), trunk identifier,
telephone calling card numbers, and time and duration of call.

The most worrying part to me is not the call records, which we already knew the NSA was tapping into at the trunk level, but that they have access to all cellphone call metadata, including location vis a vis cell tower triangulation. This effectively means the NSA can roughly track the movements of all Americans, or at least those of us whose smartphone data services are constantly pinging the network.

Re:All customers!!! (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about a year ago | (#43921901)

So wait, they're not monitoring calls that originate outside the US? Then what the FUCK is the point of this? If you're trying to secure a country against threats, logically one would think the place to look would be to our enemies and their countries. Perhaps they just don't need this order for those calls?

Re:All customers!!! (1)

petsounds (593538) | about a year ago | (#43921959)

Yes, they're monitoring calls that originate outside the US, just not calls whose caller and receiver are both outside the US (which Verizon probably wouldn't have access to anyway). But it's already assumed there is some cross-country sharing between intelligence services going on to get around pesky international laws.

Re:All customers!!! (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921549)

Oh OK, only a small subset of Americans lose their 4th amendment rights. Well thats ok then; fuck those people, they probably voted for that 'other' party. Since the precident has already been set by removing certain Americans Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth amendment rights, I'm looking foward to the time when we remove the fifteenth amendment rights from a 'small subset'; My cotton fields aint gonna pick themselves.

What would happen if they required names? (5, Interesting)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#43921427)

Although Verizon is not required to hand over caller subscriber information under the order, this doesn’t mean the NSA can’t identify the owners of phone numbers on its own. Intelligence and data collected from other sources can help match the names of accountholders to the numbers collected in the sweep.

This is a puzzle. What magic line would they cross by demanding names as well, when the amount of information they already require is enough to determine the individuals involved in a call and then some. This smells of a careful exclusion crafted by the AG or some such to skirt a law.

Re:What would happen if they required names? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921495)

Although Verizon is not required to hand over caller subscriber information under the order, this doesnâ(TM)t mean the NSA canâ(TM)t identify the owners of phone numbers on its own. Intelligence and data collected from other sources can help match the names of accountholders to the numbers collected in the sweep.

This is a puzzle. What magic line would they cross by demanding names as well, when the amount of information they already require is enough to determine the individuals involved in a call and then some. This smells of a careful exclusion crafted by the AG or some such to skirt a law.

What did you expect when laws are made by lawyers, a profession whose sole job description is to find technicalities and loopholes that either excuse behavior that citizens would find abhorrent, or criminalize behavior that citizens find acceptable. What we used to call "torture" and "eavesdropping" are now legal because they're not technically torture or eavesdropping. Videotaping a cop beating a citizen is technically eavesdropping in many states, however, and after you've dealt with the criminal charge, if the cop was singing "Stop Resisting" to the tune of "Happy Birthday", you're still civilly liable for copyright infringement.

"Whenever a controversial law is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're lying. They intend to use the law that way as early and as often as possible."
- Meringuoid, http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=169254&cid=14107454 [slashdot.org]

It's almost like these technicalities were intended to be abused from the day they were introduced to the House floor.

Re:What would happen if they required names? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921547)

None, they are just waiting a bit longer to see if they are allowed to ask all this information without public outcry. Its not that long ago that requesting information on all calls in the US itself would have been looked at strangely.

That said, do they really need all the names? They get the location where the call is made, and their job really is to link all kinds of information together. I am sure they could easily find most of the names without any realy sort of atempt.

No surprise, my captcha is: comply. Well, soon enough thats the only justification that will be needed for anything, if it isn't already.

Re:What would happen if they required names? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921871)

I wonder if Verizon could scrub the audio for keywords and include references to the keywords in the metadata? Almost as good as the whole conversation without recording it. That would be the next grey area I would tackle if I was a Fed trying to skirt around laws....not that Feds would ever do that.

Second amandment (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921433)

If you ever argued that the second amandment is here to ensure you can protect yourself from opressive goverment, it is about time to stack up on ammo. I'd say its going to go down soon, but in case you haven't noticed, it all already went down.

Re:Second amandment (-1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#43921457)

Turkey is showing how its done at the moment.

The US loves their guns but really there will never be a revolution.
a) The military has bigger guns, b) Americans are all talk about their constitution that is getting shat on. In other words, pansies.

Re:Second amandment (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921485)

The military has bigger guns, but the members of the military are citizens too. Asking the military to kill their friends and family and neighbors is not so simple a task as you might think.

Re:Second amandment (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43921573)

It was pretty easy back in 1860. Why should now be any different? Just convince them they are under attack, and they do anything you ask. Besides, the cops seem to have no trouble shooting their fellow Americans. A soldier is an even easier mark.

Re:Second amandment (0, Troll)

Falconhell (1289630) | about a year ago | (#43921669)

In all fairness its not just the cops shooting americans. Due to insane gun laws they shoot each other regularly, which may be a good thing.

Re:Second amandment (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about a year ago | (#43921587)

As it happens, that was Ceausescu's fatal mistake. Even a communist army indoctrinated in dictator worship from the cradle balked at shooting their own friends and neighbors.

-jcr

Re:Second amandment (2, Interesting)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year ago | (#43921727)

Hmm, that analogy doesn't seem very relevant. A Communist dictator who kept himself in power by brutal means and exported all of his country's resources for his own personal gain vs. a democracy with a 2 term president, checks and balances, and media that scrutinizes and publicizes every dump a politician takes?

The fact is > 50% of the voters elected the current leader of the US within the last 4 years, which makes it pretty hard to have passionate majority popular uprising. Pretty sure the military, though not happy about it, would have no problem using their guns on any small revolt (that we all know will never happen anyway). As history has shown, the only realistic way a remotely successful revolt can happen in the US is when it's on extremely divisive and more importantly GEOGRAPHICAL boundaries (which allowed the military itself to organize along *local* loyalties - as you said, friends and neighbors). Those divisions just don't exist any more on geographical lines - now the only major division (beyond the relatively recent idiotic fanatical "conservative" vs. "liberal" debate which is mostly just a disgusting media-driven creation) is really rich vs poor, with a large buffering middle class that just doesn't care much as long as they are left alone.

Then again, even if I disagree with your point it was at least much more interesting than the one you replied to, which was just a blatant anti-US troll with no real insight whatsoever...

Re:Second amandment (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#43921933)

Hmm, that analogy doesn't seem very relevant. A Communist dictator who kept himself in power by brutal means and exported all of his country's resources for his own personal gain vs. a democracy with a 2 term president, checks and balances, and media that scrutinizes and publicizes every dump a politician takes?

Plus the US president doesn't rule by fiat. This would have had to go through the Senate and House of representatives (Not sure what you call them, I'm from a country using the Westminster system).

As history has shown, the only realistic way a remotely successful revolt can happen in the US is when it's on extremely divisive and more importantly GEOGRAPHICAL boundaries (which allowed the military itself to organize along *local* loyalties - as you said, friends and neighbors)

As history has shown.

Revolutions that dont have military support tend to fail more often than not. Even the US war of independence wasn't the American people rising up against the British but the Colonial army of American rising up against the British. The British empire kept very few English soldiers anywhere except the British isles. Mostly they trained locals under British or local governors.

Re:Second amandment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921605)

Actually, doesn't strike me as too hard. You take some of the groups that are likely to rebel first and make them into the bad guys. You can use all kinds of tricks for this, for example racism. Its not as if jews weren't citizens of germany back in the second world war. People follow commands. Nearly blindly. Especially those you trained to follow commands blindly.

Re:Second amandment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921635)

People follow commands. Nearly blindly. Especially those you trained to follow commands blindly.

And those are the ones who need to be killed first when the time comes.

Re:Second amandment (0)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43921743)

The military has bigger guns, but the members of the military are citizens too. Asking the military to kill their friends and family and neighbors is not so simple a task as you might think.

That's true, but it also means that private firearm ownership is essentially irrelevant.

Re:Second amandment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921631)

Turkey is showing how its done at the moment.

The US loves their guns but really there will never be a revolution.
a) The military has bigger guns, b) Americans are all talk about their constitution that is getting shat on. In other words, pansies.

US Military has roughly 1.4million troops total.
US Gun owners is hovering around 70% of the US (Some sources say 80%). Lets take a SMALL number of 30% of the US has guns... Of 300 million thats 100million gun owners. Of those say only 5% decide to rise up, or 5 million. Of those are vets.

Of the 1.4million troops do you really think all of them will fire on americans if told to do so?

Bigger guns mean nothing, your not fighting bigger guns, your fighting the will of the people. The will of the Military being told to do something is nothing compared to those fighting for freedom.

This article has nothing to do with the gun debate, now go hide in a corner unless you want to comment on the overreach the US Government has had on its people.

Re:Second amandment (1)

Kohath (38547) | about a year ago | (#43921651)

US Military has roughly 1.4million troops total.

And starting tomorrow, President Obama will be quartering them at your house.

Re:Second amandment (4, Interesting)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#43921715)

Don't be silly. I mean, yeah, the first might be practically moot; the second, no longer a matter of common consensus; the fourth, a memory; the fifth, a cliche; the sixth, given way to vacations in sunny south Cuba; the seventh, dronestruck; the eighth, enhanced out of existence; the ninth, elastic and commerce claused from the public consciousness; and the tenth, a lost cause. But the people would really get worked up if they lose their third amendment rights! Then they'd stop voting for one of the two worse evils.

Re:Second amandment (2)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#43921893)

Indeed. It's getting to the point where even the powerful will soon have field armies just to purchase a cup of milk without being interrogated.

I mean, look at the current state of the Union: we have a NY Supreme Court Justice who can be struck by an police officer, for doing nothing more than offering some assistance, and the DA / Internal Affairs is unwilling to pursue the case to any end. I ask you, why are we letting this happen to this country? Are too many people still living in that daydream of 'it can't happen here'? Is there simply no other medicine that bloodshed to restore the Tree of Liberty to its former glory? Is this the latest challenge from the gods...to see if the vast majority of humanity will act like willing lemmings under the power of tyranny? Because the answer is probably in the gods' favor. What is this accomplishing? Are they showing their power over humanity, their ability to dominate? Is that all this is, someone beating their chest?

Re:Second amandment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921911)

Come the uprising, you will see a new free, online only game hit the market.
Red Dawn: Drone Pilot

Kids will log on with their Xboxes, and fly over American cities, targetting those evil North Koreans, terrorists, or whatever, and get given 4 missiles to try and rack up the highest kill count possible.

Little will they know they will be piloting actual drones, and targetting friends and family.

The full story and the court order at The Guardian (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921439)

The full story, with link to the court order, is at The Guardian -- http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order

Justification (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43921481)

Don't [youtube.com] worry [youtube.com] about it.

Hmmmmm. We're not at war with Eurasia. It's with East Asia. It's kinda the same.

We're not at war with Al Quaeda. We're at war with Iraq. It's kinda the same. Well, that's all over now. Thank god Obama was just elected. Wait, it's 2013, wtf.

Tip of the iceberg (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921503)

The Verizon data is the tip of the iceberg, this is a tiny leak, it only covers an FBI request, it doesn't cover the full data grab. Congressmen, Ron Wyden, Mark Udall etc., ex CIA, everyone keeps hinting at the extent of the data grab and people go into denial about it.

Other data being grabbed:
1. URLs visited, times and ip addresses (sniffed from the network intercepts put in in post 2001)
2. Email headers (right there in the pipe)
3. Linkage data, you sent the email from that iPad/Android tablet? Theres the link between IP address and email address (right there in the pipe).
4. Search data, https is no obstacle to a FISA warrant.
5. Billing records of the phone, the identity of the user of the phone, data linking to their email address etc.
6. Visa/Mastercard/Credit Card/Paypal/WesternUnion, ATM data,.....
7. Bank transactions, (and not just the SWIFT data the EU handed them), handed over under excuse of 'laundering'
8. Facebook, all visible data and all deleted data
9. What you said on slashdot, even as AC, including drafts
10. What you said on every public website on every blog, on everything linked to your ip address and in turn linked to your real id.
11. Every public'ly buyable database
12. Your voting preference (already well analysed for political parties)
13. Your IRS data
14. The contents of all email older than 6 months.
15. Add that to the Verizon data (where you are, who you called, when)

It's a zoo, you're in a cage and those creepy guys outside staring at you, they're your zoo keepers.

Be careful what you say, to whom, who you're with when you say it, re-read you emails with a jaundice eye, can it be misconstrued by a malicious actor?
Are you outside the USA? Do you think you're immune?! Have they got any lever on your elected politicians? Is he a puppet now?

Could you, or have you ever upset anyone with access to that surveillance data?
Have you ever expressed views that might cause you to be targetted by anyone with access to that surveillance data?

Have you expressed pro-gun views? Do you imagine every creep with access to your private data is pro-gun?
Have you expressed anti-gun views? Do you imagine every creep with access to your private data is anti-gun?
Have you expressed strong Republican views? Do you imagine every creep with access to your private data is Republican?
Have you expressed strong Democrat views? Do you imagine every creep with access to your private data is a Democrat?

The only safe views to hold in a surveillance state are bland views. Be grey, keep your head down, express no strong views. Do nothing of note have friends who do nothing of note.

Don't think, that just because you're doing nothing illegal, that you're safe.
Having an affair is not illegal, yet General Patraeus was outed by on FBI agent Fred Humphries as a favor to a friend!
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/holly-petraeus-scott-broadwell-silent-petraeus-scandal/story?id=17718793

And in retaliation his supporters outed General Allen for having an affair with the FBI agents friend, and leaked photos (taken from surveillance of his friend) of a picture of him shirtless he sent her.

Do you really think you've done nothing wrong? That you have nothing to hide?
I'm pretty sure your data contains enough to lose you your job, end your marriage, lose custody of your children.

Re:Tip of the iceberg (2)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year ago | (#43921965)

What you said on slashdot, even as AC, including drafts

I'm fucked aren't I?

Re:Tip of the iceberg (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43922005)

All this has been gathered in Europe since 2005 or 2007 or so.
In some countries, even the content of the calls/messages are being recorded. No big deal. There are no storm troopers in the streets.

In the Soviet union, you were supposed to give a bland answers to any question from a stranger, like:
- How are you?
- Nothing to complain about.

Welcome to 1984. We have years of experience, and we survive.

Boston (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921505)

Timeline seems to suggest that it might be related to the Boston Bombings. FBI took over the investigation on 04/18 and the order extends to 07/19, so 3 months seems to match. The suspects were US citizens...

All data all the time (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921603)

William Biddy, who was involved in the early part of this data grab, explaining why he became a whistleblower:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuET0kpHoyM

This is from 2012, before Boston. He says they've intercepted at least 15 TRILLION communications with the system.

Worth noting, is that despite a decade of data grabs, they didn't stop Boston. The claimed purpose doesn't work.

Re:All data all the time (4, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43921797)

William Biddy, who was involved in the early part of this data grab, explaining why he became a whistleblower:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuET0kpHoyM [youtube.com]

This is from 2012, before Boston. He says they've intercepted at least 15 TRILLION communications with the system.

Worth noting, is that despite a decade of data grabs, they didn't stop Boston. The claimed purpose doesn't work.

I'm very skeptical about the utility of "grab everything" evidence collection. After 9/11 - back when we weren't collecting anywhere near as much information as we are now - there was a feeling of "we should have caught that", based on after-the-fact understanding of clues. But IMO it simply wasn't a realistic expectation: intelligence agencies are pyramidal, so lots of details get filtered out when the 10,000 people at the bottom pass their reports up to the handful at the top. If two closely related clues are separated enough that they don't get put together at the bottom, odds are that they'll both seem irrelevant and not get passed up.

With 15 trillion intercepts, I'm sure the emphasis has shifted to computational analysis, but I'm not convinced that that makes any difference. Even the NSA can't do combinatoric crosschecks on 15 trill intercepts, so stuff is going to have to get digested and pushed upward just like with people.

And so I'm utterly unsurprised to read:

Worth noting, is that despite a decade of data grabs, they didn't stop Boston

Shoes on the ground catch a phenomenal amount of stuff.[*] Is Big Data catching anything?

[*] I remember ~10 years ago a redneck couple in Texas was going to blow up some chemical plant when the wind was blowing the right direction to kill everyone in the adjacent company town (for obscure reasons). Somehow an undercover cop was on to them, got recruited into their plot, and hid a microphone/camera in their dashboard. The news televised the footage of the three of them sitting in their truck on a hillside overlooking the plant, discussing the plot, when the men with handcuffs came to take two of them away.

Re:Boston (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about a year ago | (#43921665)

It has been going on since 2006 and has been renewed by the court every 3 months. So yes, you are right, Obama is Bush III, or Cheney II as you prefer.

But I'm a democrat.. (5, Insightful)

pablo_max (626328) | about a year ago | (#43921507)

After many years of travel and living in other countries, my political views shifted from right to left and I felt myself to a "liberal" democrat.
Like so many others, I was caught up in the whole "hope" for change with Mr. Obama.
One could say that regarding the police state, he is worse than nearly all who came before him, but I think that is missing the point. Democrat, Republican, I have come to the realization that it makes not difference at all. The system is simply designed to abuse.
The alphabet soup agencies do not care who is the present. After all, they will still be there after the President is long gone and the next fellow seeking ever greater powers replaces him.
So, does it really matter who you vote for?
I really doubt it. The folks who have enough cash to even register with voters are all part of the same socioeconomic class. Classes look out for their own, not for other classes.
I suspect things will get much, much worse before they ever get better. At least if history is any indication of the future.
Good luck citizens.

Re:But I'm a democrat.. (2)

Elbereth (58257) | about a year ago | (#43921595)

The United States doesn't really have a left-wing party. There's the Green Party and the Socialist Party, but neither of them is relevant in any meaningful way. I suggest that you vote with the Greens or Socialists, if you're truly interested in left-wing politics, even if they are irrelevant. It may not accomplish much, but you'll be able to sleep better at night. If you're more of a centrist or right winger, then I suggest the Libertarian Party, which are at least supportive of freedom, even if they are free market fundamentalists. I can respect their stance on freedom, at the very least... which is more than I can do for most political parties.

There's also the Social Justice Party, but I don't know much about them. The Greens piss me off every once in a while, with their anti-technology, neo-luddite rhetoric. Social Justice seems like a decent alternative, if you're into progressive, left-wing politics and don't want to go full-on socialist.

Re:But I'm a democrat.. (4, Interesting)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about a year ago | (#43921661)

Indeed. I vote Green whenever there is a Green candidate. It's not so much that I adore their politics as it is I abhor the Republicans and Democrats. It may be a lost cause but I refuse to support what is going on.

Re:But I'm a democrat.. (4, Informative)

yoshi_mon (172895) | about a year ago | (#43921803)

There will be no real party other than the money party until we get money of out of the system.

http://www.ted.com/talks/lawrence_lessig_we_the_people_and_the_republic_we_must_reclaim.html [ted.com]

There are some very real and good ways we can get the money out of our system. And of course money will always be a part of any system but it will not be the same as since:

Buckley v. Valeo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckley_v._Valeo [wikipedia.org]

And then we let the floodgates open with:

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission [wikipedia.org]

We are not in any way shape or form a democracy if a small percentage of people are allowed to vote with their dollars as well as their individual vote.

Re:But I'm a democrat.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921657)

Totalitarian... Democracy.

Re:But I'm a democrat.. (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#43921939)

What's the point of giving the vote to the masses, if they don't care to sift the politician's words for truths and lies? What's the point of giving the vote to the masses, when many of them do not care to vote? What's the point of giving the vote to the masses, when many of them vote along the party lines or ideology of their parents, never questioning whether they are actually effecting change, or spouting pointless drivel? What's the point of having a society whose beliefs include the idea that truth is not an absolute, but rather, it is whatever the vast majority happens to believe? If we were all of native American descent, experiencing the Dream Time, I might consider that something worth looking into...but in so far as we are not (to my knowledge), and at the thought of a single person being treated as an outcast for falsehoods believed to be true by every other person, I have little patience.

Which amendment would you like to lose today? (5, Insightful)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | about a year ago | (#43921529)

Funny how there's such a huge passionate uproar about supposed loss of second amendement rights, but comparitively little concern about actual loss of fourth amendment rights...

Re:Which amendment would you like to lose today? (5, Insightful)

Starteck81 (917280) | about a year ago | (#43921653)

Funny how there's such a huge passionate uproar about supposed loss of second amendement rights, but comparitively little concern about actual loss of fourth amendment rights...

Actually I make a very big deal about the second amendment because I care so much about the other amendments. The second is the last line of defense in the protection of the others. It is the only amendment that gives the people a physical recourse should the three branches of government fail to up hold the Constitution.

While were on the topic, the people that said they didn't want universal background checks because they feared a national registry could be constructed seem less like silly now, don't they?

Re:Which amendment would you like to lose today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921717)

All of the amendments need to be defended. If you're not going to use your guns to do that, what's the point?

Re:Which amendment would you like to lose today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921755)

So you object to us speaking out, petitioning, protesting, lobbying, and voting before... we shoot people? Really?

Re:Which amendment would you like to lose today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921823)

No, idiot. I'm saying that nothing is being done, and the situation is already bad. Why the fuck are people so passive about every amendment except the second? It makes no god damn sense.

Re:Which amendment would you like to lose today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921977)

Perhaps he's only suggesting that your petitioning, protesting, lobbying and voting (more like clicking "like" on the appropriate facebook posts, I susepct) will not be any more successful in the future than they have been in the past.

So what are you going to do about it? Petition some more until that right is taken away too?

Re:Which amendment would you like to lose today? (2, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43921859)

Actually I make a very big deal about the second amendment because I care so much about the other amendments. The second is the last line of defense in the protection of the others. It is the only amendment that gives the people a physical recourse should the three branches of government fail to up hold the Constitution.

I suspect that that's what the Founders had in mind when they wrote that amendment (though apparently nothing in the Federalist papers supports that notion).

Be that as it may, thinking that your buddies and your machineguns are going to overthrow the most powerful nation in the world is just delusional.

Presumably if you got enough people to participate, some "friendly" countries would offer to help you out with SAMs and RPGs, but that's just going to result in the unending-violence-for-naught that has become endemic in so many other places.

Better, IMO, to speak your mind about civil liberties, and hope that you and other likeminded individuals will eventually educate enough of the public to stop voting for whoever offers you the biggest tax break or wants to force your values on everyone else, and vote for someone who thinks of you as a citizen rather than a consumer/drudge born to keep the 1% fat and happy.

Re:Which amendment would you like to lose today? (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | about a year ago | (#43921659)

It's currently at the top of several news sites at the moment, and is topping my Google news feed. Given the privacy concerns in the news recently involving the IRS and targeted drone killings of US citizens, in addition to the TOP SECRET status of this order, I wouldn't be surprised if the press and opposition party has a field day tomorrow. And rightfully so; this is a gross violation of the fourth amendment. At the very least, one would hope that it leads to the order not being extended by the court come July.

Re:Which amendment would you like to lose today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921703)

Of course it will be extended. The court follows the law, not public opinion. What needs to happen is that congress needs to change the law. As in yesterday.

Re:Which amendment would you like to lose today? (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about a year ago | (#43921679)

I actually saw a diary on that commie haven dailyKos which listed many who voted for (and some against) the 2008 FISA and the recent re-up, including listing those who changed their vote because their guy was in the white house. Wake me up when the liberals are protesting in front of the white house or anywhere else while Obama is in charge.

Re:Which amendment would you like to lose today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921691)

Funny how there's such a huge passionate uproar about supposed loss of second amendement rights, but comparitively little concern about actual loss of fourth amendment rights...

How does the fourth amendment protect a phone company's records of which number called which, time & duration, from a warrant?

Are we supposed to assume the NSA couldn't demonstrate probable cause to search a company's calling records for a specific period? We know they are trying to locate the source of a leak inside the government, how is this even remotely far fetched?

Re:Which amendment would you like to lose today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921769)

Because it's punishing millions of people, that's why. The government shouldn't be able to violate the privacy of millions of good people just to take a stab at a few would-be terrorists, even with a warrant.

Re:Which amendment would you like to lose today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921947)

How does the fourth amendment protect a phone company's records of which number called which, time & duration, from a warrant?

no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I know you fascists hate it when we throw that goddamn piece of paper in your face, but "every call" is not "particularly describing" anything.

Re:Which amendment would you like to lose today? (0)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#43921735)

Paraphrasing someone wiser than me, in the modern world by the time you need to exercise your 2nd amendment rights it'll already be too late.

Re:Which amendment would you like to lose today? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#43921763)

[citation needed]

I see comments everywhere decrying this. Where is the lack of concern, or are you just making shit up because you hate the 2nd?

Re:Which amendment would you like to lose today? (1)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | about a year ago | (#43921953)

[citation needed]

I see comments everywhere decrying this. Where is the lack of concern, or are you just making shit up because you hate the 2nd?

QED

They told me this would happen.. (5, Funny)

ams-maverick (2916157) | about a year ago | (#43921571)

if I voted for Romney. And they were right.

Re:They told me this would happen.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921889)

Currently modded Funny. Humor is a coping mechanism. I post a lot AC these days... not that I think it really matters that much one way or the other.

50 USC 1861 (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#43921599)

According to the order itself, the FBI request "satisfies the requirements of U.S.C. 50 Ss 1861" -- which reads [cornell.edu] in part:

50 USC 1861 - Access to certain business records for foreign intelligence and international terrorism investigations
(a) Application for order; conduct of investigation generally
(1) Subject to paragraph (3), the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or a designee of the Director (whose rank shall be no lower than Assistant Special Agent in Charge) may make an application for an order requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a United States person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution.
(2) An investigation conducted under this section shallâ"
(A) be conducted under guidelines approved by the Attorney General under Executive Order 12333 (or a successor order); and
(B) not be conducted of a United States person solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

So, apparently, calling Mom isn't protected by the First Amendment. Good to know.

Re:50 USC 1861 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921681)

According to the order itself, the FBI request "satisfies the requirements of U.S.C. 50 Ss 1861"

Of course it does. No senior official in Washington would even blow their nose without the coverage of a legal opinion that can over their asses if things go bad. It is only the middle and low level staff who do not have a legal staff that are left hanging out there to take the fall.

President Romney strikes again! (1, Funny)

Kohath (38547) | about a year ago | (#43921639)

They told me this would happen if I voted for Mitt Romney. And they were right!

Re:President Romney strikes again! (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#43921951)

I take it there is no word of condemnation from President Obama on this action?

I guarantee it's not just the "records" (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#43921683)

I was watching CNN about a month ago when some ex-FBI guy was on discussing how they'd probably track down conspirators w/ the Boston bombers. He let it slip that the government would rebuild their conversations, to which Erin Barnett [sic] responded "oh, they can do that?" Then they both had a polite little chuckle about how the government is recording our conversations; cut to commercial.

Fast forward just one or two weeks and we find out that the government got warrants for conversations with members of the press. THEN, I start hearing all the ravenous outrage about privacy and rights and freedom of the press. When it was US, they didn't give a shit!

Verizon can fight this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921699)

Verizon can fight this! The government can just wait and let the courts slowly grind.....
Look! A black helicopter that you can hardly hear landing in front of my house!
Hey! You could have let me answer the door you didn't have to kick it in!
You're hurting my arm sir. YOU'RE HURTING MY ARM SIR!
Hey! You can't do that I have righ ^M (carrier dropped)

Re:Verizon can fight this (1)

Drakonblayde (871676) | about a year ago | (#43921975)

nitpick:

should be

Hey! You can't do that I have a righ^M NO CARRIER

(substitute 3 for NO CARRIER if you were too good to use verbose result codes)

Let the betting pool begin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921739)

Anyone want to guess how long it will be until the person who leaked the memo gets arrested and charged? Conveniently, since the Guardian got it, it was on foreign soil, so it is completely legal (in the US's POV) for the NSA to review its logs of those communications.

It's a little less bad than you thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921749)

The court order published by the Guardian refers to Verizon Business Network Services, and NOT Verizon Communications or Verizon Wireless.

Of course, it is also labeled as a "Secondary Order", so there may be many more of these applying to other entities.

And I wonder if the demand is really to get the metadata to annotate the actual voice traffic that they're getting from another source. Hmm.

Wow (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#43921825)

If this is what they're willing to reveal, imagine what spying they're *not* telling us about.

Welcome... (1)

trparky (846769) | about a year ago | (#43921835)

Welcome to the United Police States of America.

One stop shopping for all your surveillance needs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921885)

Verizon also offered a new smartphone today - one that decodes & records your DNA from the spit on the mouthpiece.

What was Verizon's response? (1)

jaxtherat (1165473) | about a year ago | (#43921921)

What was Verizon's response? Please tell me they told them to go cram it with walnuts!

Re:What was Verizon's response? (4, Funny)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year ago | (#43921973)

What was Verizon's response?

No need to worry, you can trust corporations.

When I watched V for Vendetta years ago... (5, Interesting)

Camael (1048726) | about a year ago | (#43921941)

...I remember thinking that no sane citizens of any democratic country would ever allow the the state to amass such abusive and intrusive powers.

And then, I read today's Slashdot article.

So, given that it was bad under Bush, and is now worse under Obama, it is readily apparent that regardless of whichever political party you choose to vote for, all roads lead to the same end. The system will prevail. Is anarchy the only solution then?

1984 (2)

hyperdell (722892) | about a year ago | (#43921985)

1984 here we are

Xbox One = NSA spy platform (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43921995)

NSA spying on all electronic communication is (very) old news. Microsoft's Xbox One (increasingly known as the XBone) has been designed from the ground up to massively increase the surveillance abilities of the NSA.

The new console has 8 CPU cores and 8GB of memory. It actually runs as two distinct computers, with two CPU cores and up to 3GB of RAM forming a special 'Kinect' computer system that has its own OS, and is continuously processing the input from the Kinect sensor systems, regardless of what the user is currently using the console for (including AAA games that appear to NOT use the Kinect sensors in any way).

The Kinect computer is constantly generating snapshots of data from the camera and microphone array, and stores these snapshots as encrypted files in a dedicated area of the enclosed HDD. These snapshots include full face photographs of each new person who enters the room. The Kinect computer is designed to compare sound and video/image data with a signature list (that can be changed and updated remotely), so that full video and sound recording can be triggered if the signature patterns are matched. This data can be either stored on the HDD (again, as encrypted streams) or immediately streamed to a remote server over the Internet if the console is currently online.

Signature triggers can include things like gunshots or sounds of explosions, people talking in a given language (say Arabic), or a man shouting at a woman.

Signatures can also (thanks to the body movement recognition ability of Kinect) represent given physical actions by people (for instance, two people engaging in love-making). Yes, you read that correctly- the Xbox One can be set to start streaming video to any remote server on the Internet if it detects people having sex in front of the camera.

Most 'signatures' are quite small pieces of data, and the console can have many thousands of signatures active at any time. Usually triggering a signature will allow an actual Human to remotely inspect some of the snapshot data being constantly generated to determine whether to activate full streaming. This practice is similar to that used by the NSA for decades when spying on ALL phonecalls- phonecalls are also routed through signature systems, and those that trigger on any signature are flagged for immediate inspection (although ALL phonecalls are actually recorded and later subject to much deeper mining).

The NSA (and other security services around the globe) have long dreamed of placing their spying equipment into the homes of every citizen. Mobile phones have gone some way to achieving this (the NSA collects, where practical, all the image data captured on mobile phones, but this is obviously severely limited by the bandwidth issues). The Xbox One puts a dream spy system into the living rooms of millions of people, together with massive amounts of mains powered computing resources to pre-process the data captured.

Microsoft demands that ALL applications and games have some Kinect functionality to encourage owners to keep the Kinect bar fully 'calibrated'. The Kinect system CANNOT ever be deactivated. If the Kinect sensors report any failure, the console refuses to run games/applications. If the sensors detect any problem with visibility (like tape over the cameras, or Kinect turned to face a wall), the console pesters the user to recalibrate the system. One can start a game, and then block the cameras in some sense, but research by Microsoft and the NSA has determined that people willing to buy the Xbox One, even if they are aware of the worst stories about invasion of privacy, will cease taking any measures to protect their privacy after only a couple of weeks of ownership.

Conversely, those who are prepared to ALWAYS block the cameras when not using a 'Kinect' game, or those who forego Kinect functionality altogether and permanently 'blind' the sensors will prove to be the tiniest minority, and can be safely considered to be no different from those who refuse to buy the console in the first place.

AGAIN. Two CPU cores, 3GB of RAM, an independent OS, and a large chunk of the internal HDD are dedicated to always on Kinect spying/monitoring, including analysis of sound from the the console room and adjoining rooms, visible and infra-red video data from the two cameras, and depth information allowing cheap identification of Human bodies/movement. Even when high performance AAA games are running, this Kinect spying functionality continues, including storing/streaming encrypted files/streams to the HDD or remote server on the Internet. AGAIN Microsoft or any third-party authorised by Microsoft can remotely send lists of signature triggers to the console or activate real-time encrypted streams to a remote server.

The console MUST connect to the Internet (in the worst case) every 24 hours, at which time encrypted data stored on the HDD can be recovered. Every Xbox One user, without exception, is subject at least to full face capture and monitoring of when each person entered or left the room. As you may guess, this data is (on a daily basis) fairly modest in size, an is ALWAYS collected by Microsoft during the compulsory one every 24 hour connection.

AGAIN. Every person who enters a room where the Xbox One is installed has their face photographed, the duration of their presence noted, and this information provided to the NSA. You would have to be the thickest person in the universe NOT to notice how incredible this facility is for the NSA.

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