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Snowden NSA Claims Partially Confirmed, Says Rep. Jerrold Nadler

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the they-deeply-care-about-privacy-violation dept.

Privacy 337

bill_mcgonigle writes with this news from from CNET: "Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D NY) disclosed that NSA analysts eavesdrop on Americans' domestic telephone calls without court orders during a House Judiciary hearing. After clearing with FBI director Robert Mueller that the information was not classified, Nadler revealed that during a closed-door briefing to Congress, the Legislature was informed that the spying organization had implemented and uses this capability. This appears to confirm Edward Snowden's claim that he could, in his position at the NSA, 'wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president.' Declan McCullagh writes, 'Because the same legal standards that apply to phone calls also apply to e-mail messages, text messages, and instant messages, Nadler's disclosure indicates the NSA analysts could also access the contents of Internet communications without going before a court and seeking approval.' The executive branch has defended its general warrants, claiming that 'the president had the constitutional authority, no matter what the law actually says, to order domestic spying without [constitutional] warrants,' while Kurt Opsahl, senior staff attorney at EFF claims such government activity 'epitomizes the problem of secret laws.'" Note that "listening in" versus "collecting metadata" is a distinction that defenders of government phone spying have been emphasizing. Tracking whom you called and when, goes the story, doesn't impinge on expectations of privacy. Speaking of the metadata collection, though, reader Bruce66423 writes "According to the Washington Post, the Bush administration took 'bulk metadata' from the phone companies under voluntary agreements for more than four years after 9/11 until a court agreed they could have it compulsorily." Related: First time accepted submitter fsagx writes that Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive has calculated the cost to store every phone call made in the U.S. over the course of a year: "It's surprisingly inexpensive. It puts the recent NSA stories (and reports from the Boston bombings about the FBI's ability to listen to past phone conversions) into perspective."

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337 comments

Beware of the next step (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022151)

"So they HAVE been listening. That has got to stop, but we'll keep the metadata collection, because that's not so bad."

Re:Beware of the next step (5, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | about 10 months ago | (#44022257)

Biden believes that collecting metadata is extremely disturbing and provides huge opportunities for abuse:

Biden in 2006 schools Obama in 2013 over NSA spying program [youtube.com]

Re:Beware of the next step (5, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | about 10 months ago | (#44022389)

It's a good thing his running mate, the guy at the top of the ticket [cnet.com] is completely opposed to warrentless wiretapping. It's like they're agreed.

Re:Beware of the next step (5, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | about 10 months ago | (#44022473)

Now now, don't confuse Senator Obama with President Obama. They're entirely different people...

(I'm not sure to what extent I'm joking...)

Re:Beware of the next step (3, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 10 months ago | (#44022479)

Now now, don't confuse Senator Obama with President Obama. They're entirely different people...

(I'm not sure to what extent I'm joking...)

Senator Obama was made up. President Obama is the real person.

Re:Beware of the next step (0, Flamebait)

buswolley (591500) | about 10 months ago | (#44022477)

If I were a Teabagger, and I am not, I would be looking for any hint that NSA spy data was used to help Obama and Democrats to win the election. Now I don't believe this is so, but I believe it will be so within the next 4 presidencies if this widespread spying continues. So if I were a Teabagger, I would definitely be looking for anything that can be made to look like this happened, couple it with the IRS scandal, and two things will happen 1) bye bye and 2) spying program will be brought to a halt

Re:Beware of the next step (1, Insightful)

craigminah (1885846) | about 10 months ago | (#44022509)

...and if I were a dumb ass I'd make comments stereotyping people who believe in the Constitution and in limited government...

Re:Beware of the next step (1)

buswolley (591500) | about 10 months ago | (#44022541)

What stereotype? I didn't write down any stereotypes

Re:Beware of the next step (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 10 months ago | (#44022779)

What stereotype? I didn't write down any stereotypes

You use a derogatory term to refer to anyone that would suspect Democrats of abusing the national security apparatus for political ends, while stating that it is nonetheless reasonable to suspect future (presumably non-Democrat) administrations. If you study history, you will learn that the most dangerous authoritarianism is that which is cloaked in righteousness.

Re:Beware of the next step (2)

Imrik (148191) | about 10 months ago | (#44022523)

Why would they want the program to stop? If it stops they can't use it after they win an election.

Re:Beware of the next step (1)

buswolley (591500) | about 10 months ago | (#44022599)

Its a point. However, one way to win massively is to show that this happened. I for one would throw out a party for it.

Re:Beware of the next step (2)

Bartles (1198017) | about 10 months ago | (#44022525)

If you were a reasonable person, you wouldn't use the word Teabagger in this context. That issue aside, there are several areas where it's possible that this already occurred. Surveillance of Sharyl Atkisons's communications. And surveillance info passed to people in the IRS, which used it in it's persecution of people and groups not aligned with the President.

Re:Beware of the next step (0)

buswolley (591500) | about 10 months ago | (#44022573)

Fine. Political opponents. Sheesh. TeaBagger=TeaParty=AntiObama/Democrat=PoliticalOpponent

Re:Beware of the next step (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 10 months ago | (#44022845)

Fine. Political opponents. Sheesh. TeaBagger=TeaParty=AntiObama/Democrat=PoliticalOpponent

Not everyone that opposes corruption does so for political advantage. Some of them actually really believe in honest, transparent government. Many of the most outspoken critics of the NSA spying have been Democrats. Such as Ron Wyden [wikipedia.org] the Democratic senator from Oregon. If you look at his record, he is about as from a "teabagger" as you can get.

Re:Beware of the next step (4, Informative)

buswolley (591500) | about 10 months ago | (#44022613)

TeaBagger: (slang, vulgar) A person who practices teabagging, the insertion of the scrotum into someone's mouth. (neologism, pejorative) An affiliate of the Tea Party movement, or a supporter of its protests "As a reference to members of the currently active Tea Party, the word has been used in speech and print by both liberals and conservatives. In this context, the term "teabagger" is a reasonably conceived informal name for an affiliate of the Tea Party, and as a word in the news, it earned a mention for the year 2009." -- "'Teabagger' Finalist For Oxford's 'Word Of The Year'", Huffington Post, 18 Nov 2009.

Re:Beware of the next step (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022581)

Biden "believes" nothing.

That's like saying my headphones "believe" in gay fish right now [youtube.com] .
Bides, Obama, Bush... all hand puppets. So there's a straw-man to target and the real actors stay in the dark.

Also, belief is mental insanity. It is deliberate holding of views despite conflicting observations. Otherwise it would be called reality.

But trying to explain that to an American is like trying to explain to a North Korean why their hands won't rot off if they touch an American flag or that their Glorious Leader really is a huge Cheney.

Re:Beware of the next step (1)

buswolley (591500) | about 10 months ago | (#44022799)

But Im sure you have the truth though, right? Being of superior mind and birth? An enlightened being, baptized by the spirit of rationality, enculturated hypothesis models?

Fuck off peddler. I don't want your pamphlet.

Re:Beware of the next step (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 10 months ago | (#44022605)

Sure, they've been listening to the words of your conversation, but the words are just meta-data. Just like the words we get from government: they're simply a wrapper and have only a cursory relationship to their actual content and meaning.

Re:Beware of the next step (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022823)

Biden believes that collecting metadata is extremely disturbing and provides huge opportunities for abuse:

Biden in 2006 schools Obama in 2013 over NSA spying program [youtube.com]

It doesn't take a rocket scientist (or an NSA systems administrator) to see how this data can be abused not only in limiting personal privacy and intimidating citizens but also to monitor and act on business dealings and in thwarting political activism. Activism for example like against Monsanto that has lobbied foreign ambassadors to use the full force of the US federal govt. to get GMO products entry into Europe and elsewhere. It happened in the past using primitive technology in the COINTELPRO program of domestic spying which was uncovered by a similar illegal act as Snowden's and that resulted in the Church hearings. That program resulted in many illegal acts against domestic activists like MLK and other black leaders and leftists. Imagine what can be and is being done with tracking cell phones alone today along with tracking your internet footprint. Maybe when exposing and fighting illegal spying on citizens in violation of the 4th Amendment, illegal acts like Snowden's are sometimes required. One thing for sure is that by cell phone metadata alone the govt. knows everyone you spoke with and everywhere you went and at what exact GPS coordinated times you did these things. Watch Malte Spitz's presentation of this aka STASI 2.0 if you haven't already.

Further does anyone actually think this anti-terrorism excuse passes the smell test? To me this seems exactly like what people in Europe went along with under the Germans. Go along in the hopes that you don't get focused on and beat up at best or sent away to your slow death at worst. Now all that can be done electronically. It's all for the benefit of the state and protecting us after all.

Malte Spitz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv7Y0W0xmYQ

COINTELPRO: http://vault.fbi.gov/cointel-pro

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO

Re:Beware of the next step (4, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 10 months ago | (#44022881)

Isn't it odd that the one and only thing Obama, McCain, Feinstein, etc etc can all agree on is the importance and legality of these programs....

Re:Beware of the next step (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022885)

To me this seems exactly like what people in Europe went along with under the Germans. Go along in the hopes that you don't get focused on and beat up at best or sent away to your slow death at worst.

History does repeat. The Great Depression was created, to some extent, by Jewish bankers, which led to Germany's final solution. We have been in a credit cycle depression since 2008. The IT companies are playing the pre-war part of Germany's industrialists.

Re:Beware of the next step (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022877)

Usually when we try to use the "teen nerd D&D rulebook style" interpretations for real world laws, the court will laugh at us. But these guys might get away with it...

e.g. "No we're not spying on everyone, we're just collecting metadata on everyone, not their actual data".

Later on it could be "OK so we do store all the data, but we only use some of it, not all, so it's not like we're spying on everyone..."

Actions to take (5, Interesting)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 10 months ago | (#44022169)

From a previous post, here's the collected list of suggested actions people can take to help change the situation.

Have more ideas? Please post below.

Links worthy of attention:

http://anticorruptionact.org/ [anticorruptionact.org]

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

http://action.fairelectionsnow.org/fairelections [fairelectionsnow.org]

http://represent.us/ [represent.us]

http://www.protectourdemocracy.com/ [protectourdemocracy.com]

http://www.wolf-pac.com/ [wolf-pac.com]

https://www.unpac.org/ [unpac.org]

http://www.thirty-thousand.org/ [thirty-thousand.org]

Suggestion #1:

(My idea): If people could band together and agree to vote out the incumbent (senator, representative, president) whenever one of these incidents crop up, there would be incentive for politicians to better serve the people in order to continue in office. This would mean giving up party loyalty and the idea of "lessor of two evils", which a lot of people won't do. Some congressional elections are quite close, so 2,000 or so petitioners might be enough to swing a future election.

Someone added: Vote them out AND remove their lifetime, taxpayer-funded, free health care. See how fast the health care system gets fixed.

Someone added:You can start by letting your house and senate rep know how you feel about this issue / patriot act and encourage those you know to do the same.

If enough people let their representivies know how they feel obviously those officials who want to be reelected will tend to take notice. We have seen what happens when wikipedia and google go "dark", congressional switchboards melt and the 180's start to pile up.

I added: Fax is considered the best way to contact a congressperson,especially if it is on corporate letterhead.

Suggestion #2:

Tor, I2dP and the likes. Let's build a new common internet over the internet. Full strong anonymity and integrity. Transform what an
eavesdropper would see in a huge cypherpunk clusterfuck.

Taking back what's ours through technology and educated practices.

Let's go back to the 90' where the internet was a place for knowledgeable and cooperative people.

Someone Added: Let's go full scale by deploying small wireless routers across the globe creating a real mesh network as internet was designed to be!

Suggestion #3:

A first step might be understanding the extent towards which the government actually disagrees with the people. Are we talking about a situation where the government is enacting unpopular policies that people oppose? Or are we talking about a situation where people support the policies? Because the solutions to those two situations are very different.

In many cases involving "national security", I think the situation is closer to the second one. "Tough on X" policies are quite popular, and politicians often pander to people by enacting them. The USA Patriot Act, for example, was hugely popular when it was passed. And in general, politicians get voted out of office more often for being not "tough" on crime and terrorism and whatever else, than for being too over-the-top in pursuing those policies.

Suggestion #4:

What I feel is needed is a true 3rd party, not 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th parties, such as Green, Tea Party, Libertarian; we need an agreeable third party that can compete against the two majors without a lot of interference from small parties. We need a consensus third party.

Suggestion #5:

Replace the voting system. Plurality voting will always lead [wikipedia.org] to the mess we have now. The only contribution towards politics I've made in years was to fund Approval Voting video [indiegogo.com] . It's the best compromise for a replacement system. Work to get it allowed at your Town or City level, then we can take it higher.

Suggestion #6:

Paraphrasing: Start a social perception that working for evil is evil. Possibly connect this to religious beliefs, but in general shun people who have worked for the system as promoting evil (both in hiring and socially).

The post:

1) this kind of sht is morally wrong

2) thus, working for this kind of sht is morally wrong

3) thus, anybody who works for this kind of sht is going to hell, for
whatever your value of 'hell'.

4) you might say that 'i need the money from this gig', but

5) anybody who works for this kind of sht is feeding their kids but is
at the same time fscking over the kids' future bigtime. Your kids will
not forgive you for being the AC IRL.

From this, it should easily emerge that everybody should just stop working for this sht. No workers, no NSA. There needs to emerge a culture and a movement to encourage it. Shame the spineless coward who works for the Man! Shun him or tell him what he does is evil and his country hates him for it. Spread the word!

Re:Actions to take (1)

coId fjord (2949869) | about 10 months ago | (#44022205)

It's nice to see other people who actually care about privacy and freedom. Comments like yours are definitely helpful, and I only wish that cold fjord fellow would come around.

Re:Actions to take (5, Interesting)

ganjadude (952775) | about 10 months ago | (#44022213)

Dont forget about the class action suit that rand paul is bringing against the NSA. might as well sign up for that as well

Re:Actions to take (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022863)

What, and be recorded by the NSA as some sort of dissident that should be placed on their little on-the-side list of people to give extra scrutiny to? No thanks...

Re:Actions to take (1)

poity (465672) | about 10 months ago | (#44022325)

On one hand you have the public backlash if/when an attack succeeds due to inadequate intelligence gathering.
On the other you have the public backlash if/when the depth and pervasiveness of intelligence gathering is revealed.
As long as the former consequence is considered more severe and career-threatening, politicians will continue to put up with the latter.

Re:Actions to take (5, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | about 10 months ago | (#44022379)

On one hand you have the public backlash if/when an attack succeeds due to inadequate intelligence gathering.

I don't know about this. Take 9/11 for example -- did GWB get voted out? Did he have his power limited? Did Congress refuse to let him do whatever wars he wanted?

No. He was re-elected. He expanded executive power. And even Democrats like Clinton were not reading the Intelligence Estimate calling into question GWB's push for Iraq and falling all over themselves to start a pointless war. All those private contractors profited handsomely. The revolving door between cabinet posts and VP of this or that is lubed up and spinning.

So, perhaps the opposite is true. Perhaps an attack results not in backlash, but in uplift for these DC fuckwads.

Re:Actions to take (5, Insightful)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about 10 months ago | (#44022393)

On one hand you have the public backlash if/when an attack succeeds due to inadequate intelligence gathering.

I'll take my chances. Statistically this century I've had a greater chance of drowning in my bathtub than being an American killed by a terrorist. And no, that's not evidence that the spying is working.

Re: Actions to take (1)

Rougement (975188) | about 10 months ago | (#44022687)

Over a ten year period including 9/11, you were 100 times more likely to die of a gunshot than terrorism.

Re:Actions to take (5, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#44022409)

you have the public backlash if/when an attack succeeds due to inadequate intelligence gathering

"Intelligence gathering" is much too broad of a term. Call this blanket electronic eavesdropping. If the government could defend this program by citing cases where it foiled a terrorist plot they would. But they can't.

Plain old-fashioned police work and people reporting things that are genuinely suspicious (that does not include your Muslim neighbor saying his prayers in his backyard) are the key, as amply demonstrated by history. Before 9/11 a flight instructor reported to the local FBI field office that it was suspicious that he had students who weren't interested in learning to take off and land. The problem was that FBI headquarters ignored the report. Listening to their own field agents could have averted 9/11, but blanket electronic eavesdropping wouldn't have. The bombing of LAX in 2000 was averted by an alert customs inspector, who didn't find it necessary to "disappear" the wannabee perpetrator. A plain old-fashioned arrest did just fine. The attempted Times Square bombing was averted by a couple of street vendors who reported a car with smoke coming out of it. Etc., etc., etc.

Re:Actions to take (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022695)

Yeah but then you can't divert billions to your defense contractor friends, who then give you millions in campaign funds and cushy 7 figure jobs when you leave office.

Come on bro. Milk that tax titty!

Re:Actions to take (0)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 10 months ago | (#44022349)

Too long; Don't really care anymore... that ship sailed.

People volunteer all their personal information to Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, etc...

Re:Actions to take (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022515)

When I was a kid, I always thought, of course Facebook won't go off, they ask for your name... who in their right mind would give...

I still don't get why people insist on not giving a fuck about their privacy, but you're right, seems too late now, my doubts in Facebook didn't stop it from gaining all the momentum it has so far, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't stop trying/believing. Even if encryption can only buy you time, doesn't mean you shouldn't encrypt.

And for suggestion #2, freedombox [freedomboxfoundation.org] seems quite promising, especially the meshing part.

Re:Actions to take (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 10 months ago | (#44022535)

They did it without the disclosure that their data was being shared with the NSA, amongst others.

Re:Actions to take (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022871)

The vast majority of people don't understand/know that using those services is equivalent to giving those companies (+ anyone they sell the data to + the NSA) full reign over their data. Or alternatively, are resigned to giving up that information to those companies because there isn't a good alternative to their services. Even those who do think about the fact that Google has access to all of their e-mails or whatever don't have the background to understand what is possible with data mining (i.e. the "no one wants to read my e-mails" defense: of course not, but they can write a computer program to extract the info they want from everyone's e-mails so no person has to actually read them). And that's even before you get to the people aware of the capabilities of the surveillance who use the ever-favored "nothing to hide" argument which has been debunked on Slashdot plenty of times.

Re:Actions to take (3, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 10 months ago | (#44022375)

A good list.

I would add,

Suggestion #7: Use your power as a consumer strategically. If corporations learn that there is a price to pay for their political actions, you'd see a big positive impact.

A big part of the surveillance state has been created in service of corporate interests. We would benefit from having these companies learn that consumers are paying attention. Right now, too many of them believe tyranny is good for business.

Re:Actions to take (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022455)

Too bad that there are more people per representative now days. Its harder to get their ear when there is 700,000 people per representative. It used to be closer to many fewer people per representative, before they decided it was ridiculous to try to have that many seats in one building (lamest excuse ever)

We need easy to use end to end encryption (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 10 months ago | (#44022199)

There's precious little we can do about traffic analysis. But as for content, we can at least make the NSA work for it.

Re:We need easy to use end to end encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022501)

You can also make the NSA do a of work for the traffic analysis by using TOR.

Gosh! (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 10 months ago | (#44022227)

You mean to say that the initial story about Snowden just being a narcissistic traitor who couldn't possibly have known about those things that weren't happening in any case weren't entirely true?

And that, despite Senator Pelosi, wicked witch of the west's, assertions, congress was not in fact clued in to what was going on?

Color me shocked.

still an idiot...still a troll (0)

globaljustin (574257) | about 10 months ago | (#44022527)

he's still an idiot with internet-troll-dork level logic...

he knew enough to bullshit people at a dinner party about how "You have no idea what the government does!!!1!! Only 1337 h4xxxx0z like **me** who have cool-guy access..."

see, your fallacy is false dichotomy...Snowden can **fully** be this:

Snowden just being a narcissistic traitor

and...AND! He could have working knowledge of a *part* of the capability of a large system...so that satisfies this portion:

who couldn't possibly have known about those things that weren't happening in any case

At this point (5, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 10 months ago | (#44022229)

It is really sad but I simply assume anything that they deny in public, they are actually doing. they have no credibility at all about anything. Say what you will of bush, he opened the doors on this, but there is no way anyone should be able to support the over reaching, unconstitutional abuses of power that the current administration is doing.

Re:At this point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022371)

It's pretty easy to root out the partisan hacks. The one's screaming against it now, but were like "Oh Bush NEEEEEDS this power!!" (Hannity) and the ones that were upset when Bush was doing it, but now are like, "It's something we have to do for the chirren!!" /wrists

Re:At this point (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about 10 months ago | (#44022569)

Exactly. Very few people in congress are not cheerleaders. I was against the patriot act when it first came out, i warned people this kind of thing would happen and im told im the crazy one for it?

Re:At this point (1)

coId fjord (2949869) | about 10 months ago | (#44022731)

Yeah, apparently it's crazy to think that the people in the government aren't perfect beings who can never make mistakes or abuse their powers. It's crazy until... the government abuses its power in a profound way, and then people become enraged (for a time, anyway, and then later they'll repeat the same mistakes)! Of course, thinking about how something could turn out before it happens is a slippery slope fallacy (according to some people, anyway).

Thinking about the future is bad.

Re:At this point (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 10 months ago | (#44022417)

Bush bears his share of the blame; but he was still a hard-drinking, draft-dodging, daddy's boy when the US clandestine services were already in up to their eyeballs in seriously dodgy shit.

The Church Committee and the Rockefeller Commission(both reactions to things that had already been going on for some time, but had begun to seep out to the point where they couldn't be ignored) were ~1975. On the domestic side, the FBI was squelching 'radicals' more or less the moment Hoover oozed onto the scene. And, of course, almost as soon as WWII ended, we started up the Cold War secrecy-and-ethically-troubling-activities division in a serious way, and never really recovered.

Bush certainly contributed his push in the wrong direction, when his turn came; but the rot goes a lot deeper.

Re:At this point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022519)

BULLSHIT. Everything bad began with GW Bush. History only goes back to 2001... so I don't even know what this "1975" is that you're talking about.

Re:At this point (5, Informative)

Bartles (1198017) | about 10 months ago | (#44022639)

The person in charge of the Executive Branch can stop this with the stroke of a pen. It could have been stopped by not renewing the Patriot Act in 2011. It could have been stopped by following through on promises made in 2008. It could have been stopped by holding the president accountable in 2012, for not following through on promises made in 2008. The time for blaming Bush is over. If you voted for this guy it's time to start blaming yourself.

Are people really surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022231)

I remember back in the '90s there was a big issue about US software companies being prohibited from selling email and other software that enabled messages to be encrypted with "strong cryptography", which was seemed to be defined as something that would take the NSA months or years to crack on a server farm. If you think about the reasons behind that, and factor in 9/11 and the fear of terrorists living in our midst, the idea of the NSA intercepting all correspondence is not surprising at all.

OK, let's have a conversation about that and the Bill of Rights. But let's leave the "I'm shocked, SHOCKED!" part out of it.

Nothing new under the sun (5, Informative)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#44022239)

BY THE WAY, they've been recording calls for a long time. Maybe not everyone's, but a lot of them. Right after 9/11, they admitted that in the aftermath they went into these recordings to find out vital information.

This scary revelation was largely ignored at the time because of the go get 'em attitude in the nation as a whole, but I made a mental note of it.

Re:Nothing new under the sun (5, Insightful)

coId fjord (2949869) | about 10 months ago | (#44022277)

A frightening number of people seem to have a 'It's okay if it saves lives!' mentality. We're supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, but supporters of this sort of nonsense never got the memo.

Re:Nothing new under the sun (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | about 10 months ago | (#44022369)

Exactly. While saving lives is a good thing, what it will lead to in the future is quite horrifying.

Re:Nothing new under the sun (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 10 months ago | (#44022431)

Exactly. While saving lives is a good thing, what it will lead to in the future is quite horrifying.

While I agree with what you're trying to say, there is an unproven assertion in your statement - an implication that this is an "either/or" scenario.

That hasn't been proven, and frankly I don't believe it's true. Intelligence gathering and old-fashioned police work can operate within sane boundaries and still protect us.

Will the occasional attack happen? Yes, unfortunately it will - but, as we've seen, that's true even with these intrusive, unconstitutional secret proceedings running amok.

Re:Nothing new under the sun (2)

coId fjord (2949869) | about 10 months ago | (#44022749)

But I still feel it's important to emphasize that freedom is more important than safety even if the safety we're being offered is not genuine. People do need to accept that this is not a perfect world, and they need to stop giving away freedoms so they can feel safe.

Re:Nothing new under the sun (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 10 months ago | (#44022407)

If you go back to the 70s, the phone company would send you a bill with a list of all long-distance calls you made that month (they still do). So that information has been used for a long time to solve crimes, and this fact wasn't hidden.

Re:Nothing new under the sun (4, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#44022449)

There was no reason to hide it. It's perfectly reasonable to subpoena a person's phone records if they're the subject of an investigation and there is a decent reason for the subpoena. Collecting the phone records of everyone in the country is a whole different story.

Re:Nothing new under the sun (1)

jkflying (2190798) | about 10 months ago | (#44022681)

Yeah, but making a recording of calls, and keeping them in case we need them later, that is a whole new level of Orwell.

Re:Nothing new - Anyone remember Echelon? (1)

Chromium_One (126329) | about 10 months ago | (#44022653)

Furthest back I can personally say anything about for the ramp up of ubiquitous surveillance was seeing the 1999-ish Echelon report the the EU:

http://www.duncancampbell.org/content/echelon [duncancampbell.org]

While the scope was somewhat more limited (and more narrowly targeted) than current programs (targets being things like interception of spillover from point-to-point microwave relays, etc etc) similar questions were raised. Handling of info derived from phone call relays involving US citizens only vs mix of citizens and foreign nationals vs foreign nationals only. Scope of activity vs. charter of organization(s) doing the data handling.

Anyone have some discussion of the downward slide starting earlier?

phone-call metadata (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 10 months ago | (#44022251)

Tracking whom you called and when, goes the story, doesn't impinge on expectations of privacy.

This is true under current 4th amendment interpretations, but severely curtailed by statutes that are still in force.

Much of the law on the subject was developed in the 1960s and 70s over the use of pen registers [wikipedia.org] and trap-and-trace devices, which would record a list of all incoming and outgoing calls (the numbers and times, but not the call contents). The Supreme Court ruled in 1979 [wikipedia.org] that pen registers were not "searches" under the 4th amendment, because there was no reasonable expectation of privacy in phone-call metadata (as opposed to recording the call itself via a wiretap, which was held in 1967 [wikipedia.org] to require a warrant).

However, Congress added statutory restrictions on the use of pen registers and similar devices in 1986; the current statute can be found here [cornell.edu] .

Re:phone-call metadata (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022329)

because there was no reasonable expectation of privacy in phone-call metadata

If asking the phone company for metadata isn't unreasonable, then why can't they just ask the phone company to record all the calls? If using companies to spy on people is okay, why is one reasonable but the other isn't? This is arbitrary nonsense used to justify spying, and it's phrased in such a way that it makes it look like a good compromise.

Re:phone-call metadata (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#44022813)

because there was no reasonable expectation of privacy in phone-call metadata

If asking the phone company for metadata isn't unreasonable, then why can't they just ask the phone company to record all the calls? If using companies to spy on people is okay, why is one reasonable but the other isn't? This is arbitrary nonsense used to justify spying, and it's phrased in such a way that it makes it look like a good compromise.

afaik thats what they actually do. the phone company is required to provide them the ability to put calls on wiretap. I reckon it's an online system that they have in use, but I reckon there's two systems actually. the one used for mafiosos, drug dealers and organized crime(which go just through normal warranty process) and then the NSA wiretaps which are for "fighting terrorists" which are broader more direct capability to tap any call they want when they want. they're supposed to use self restraing on doing it only when they have a reason or a permit or the call is about foreign matters..

the infrastructure even for those is probably separate. since the other one exists officially(the one used in "normal" crime and regularly used as evidence) and the other one that didn't exist officially and for which permits were secret and never used in public court.

Re:phone-call metadata (4, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 10 months ago | (#44022425)

> This is true under current 4th amendment interpretations, but severely curtailed by statutes that are still in force.

The reasoning goes back to old law which is based on the idea that when you mail a letter, you have no expectation of privacy regarding with respect to the outside of the envelope, however the contents of the envelope are protected unless a warrant specific to the person involved is authorized by a judge.

So packet headers and phone call metadata really wouldn't seem protected under this precedent. However contents should be. For IP that really means even looking at email headers should be forbidden without a warrant.

Now the idea that the executive isn't bound by the 4th Amendment is preposterous. By common law it certainly is. What do people think the Magna Carta is about? This was settled 898 years ago. The authors of the Constitution surely believed what they wrote was binding on every member of the Federal Government.

Well, there's the problem (4, Interesting)

Sardak (773761) | about 10 months ago | (#44022263)

claiming that 'the president had the constitutional authority, no matter what the law actually says, to order domestic spying without [constitutional] warrants,'

Where on earth does the constitution say this? Once found, it needs to be removed immediately, in my opinion. Further, any president willing to use such an outrageous power should also be removed immediately. And anyone who supports them using it.

I am a bit curious about the past tense wording (had the authority), though.

Re:Well, there's the problem (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 10 months ago | (#44022401)

Where on earth does the constitution say this?

It doesn't, but there is enough ambiguity in the language that layers upon layers of court cases have created this authority.

If someone exceeds constitutional authority and then it's upheld by the Court, it becomes de facto Constitutional until further suits are brought to challenge it.

It's not like the Constitution is a rule book, and it's certainly not like the Supreme Court is anything but a bunch of politicians in robes. We have too much faith in both.

Re:Well, there's the problem (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 10 months ago | (#44022457)

Where on earth does the constitution say this?

Apparently there's also a secret constitution we're not allowed to see...

So... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022293)

When will these taxpayer-funded criminals be arrested and prosectued?

Is that even true? (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 10 months ago | (#44022313)

'the president had the constitutional authority, no matter what the law actually says, to order domestic spying without [constitutional] warrants,'

This quote suggests two (independent) things:
1) that the constitution authorizes the president to order domestic spying.
2) that congress can [in essence] make no law that the president must obey (short of modifying the constitution).

Is that actually true? It would mean that when Bush (and Obama) made signing statements that they didn't need to follow certain laws, they were 100% correct. It means Reagan acted 100% legally in Iran Contra. It means that even if Obama directly ordered the IRS to harass certain groups, it was 100% legal. That's kind of scary.

Dont' forget about Nixon (2)

SylvesterTheCat (321686) | about 10 months ago | (#44022467)

Your first point implies that Nixon would have been perfectly legal in ordering the Watergate break-in, wiretapping, etc. As I recall, the final answer was that he didn't order, but did try to cover-up that it happened.

Your second point would also imply that the cover-up of which Nixon was a part, was not illegal.

I agree with you; kind of scary. Once started, where does it end?

Re:Is that even true? (2)

jma05 (897351) | about 10 months ago | (#44022475)

Nixon is said to have argued during Watergate that it is legal if the president does it. Nobody bought that argument then. I don't see why it should be legal now.

Re:Is that even true? (4, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about 10 months ago | (#44022555)

'the president had the constitutional authority, no matter what the law actually says, to order domestic spying without [constitutional] warrants,'

This quote suggests two (independent) things: 1) that the constitution authorizes the president to order domestic spying. 2) that congress can [in essence] make no law that the president must obey (short of modifying the constitution). Is that actually true? It would mean that when Bush (and Obama) made signing statements that they didn't need to follow certain laws, they were 100% correct. It means Reagan acted 100% legally in Iran Contra. It means that even if Obama directly ordered the IRS to harass certain groups, it was 100% legal. That's kind of scary.

No, it's not the least bit true. The fact is that the Constitution specifically forbids spying without a warrant, and that the Congress can remove a President if they find his exercise of power to be illegal. But it's also a fact that unless Congress acts the President as a practical matter can and will flout the law.

Team! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022333)

As long as my team is in charge, its OK

Who needs conspiracy theorists? (5, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#44022335)

With a government like this, it's tough to make a living as a conspiracy theorist anymore.

Re:Who needs conspiracy theorists? (1)

houghi (78078) | about 10 months ago | (#44022443)

It is even harder for the medical sector. How can they say we need medicine for paranoia? After all, we ARE being followed.

Perhaps that is why we are not allowed soft drugs. It does not make us paranoia. It makes us see the truth.

Re:Who needs conspiracy theorists? (3, Insightful)

AlgUSF (238240) | about 10 months ago | (#44022489)

So much for "Hope and Change". I was looking forward to the end of the Patriot Act, and the closing of Guantanamo Bay.

I say this as the United States Government is staging "advisors", on the border between Syria and Jordan. I guess our Government didn't learn much from Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Remember, the enemy of our enemy isn't necessarily our "friend".

Re:Who needs conspiracy theorists? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 10 months ago | (#44022537)

With a government like this, it's tough to make a living as a conspiracy theorist anymore.

Let's not forget that the entire surveillance state is first and foremost a huge grift.

There are companies getting very very rich from all of this. It's the old military/industrial complex on steroids, because these new cyber-spook companies don't even have to build anything. They pay a bunch of guys like this Snowden character and pocket the rest as profit.

Re:Who needs conspiracy theorists? (2)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 10 months ago | (#44022559)

Which is why I have the created the greatest conspiracy theory of all: "We have a representative government that respects the rule of law, and its direction and actions are controlled via free and fair elections by the people."

Seriously, there is no statement more likely to get you scoffed at and called crazy for today.

Re:Who needs conspiracy theorists? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#44022787)

Which is why I have the created the greatest conspiracy theory of all: "We have a representative government that respects the rule of law, and its direction and actions are controlled via free and fair elections by the people."

There is a difference between a mere conspiracy theory and a wild fantasy that flies in the face of all evidence.

Re:Who needs conspiracy theorists? (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 10 months ago | (#44022837)

To be honest, "we're actually ruled by lizard people from the Hollow Earth" is more plausible.

Impeachment? (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about 10 months ago | (#44022357)

the president had the constitutional authority, no matter what the law actually says, to order domestic spying without [constitutional] warrants

"no matter what the law actually says" - is that seriously what the people in charge think nowadays?

How is MetaData Being Defined? (1)

OneFlame (2937523) | about 10 months ago | (#44022359)

Perhaps I am being a little paranoid here, and worrying, unneedlessly, that the government is applying some equivocation fallacy here ... But hasn't the definition of Metadata always been relative? Hasn't Metadata always been recognized as content, in view of another System?

For example, phone numbers associated with a phone could be considered meta data, but when it comes to the address book on your google contact list, phone numbers are NOT metadata, they are the content.

The content of a conversation could be considered metadata in a larger context.

To be honest, I highly doubt there is a single database architect, or XML Schema designer, who would disagree that "Metadata" is actually the most crucial, and most revealing aspect of all "data content". Metadata is what reveals associations between people, etc.

The Metadata, once extracted, is no longer metadata, it is "data content" in another system... (The NSA's in this case.)

If the Senate was tricked into thinking that Metadata is not "significant" or important, or somehow "different" than content, I hope they will be brought up to speed on the facts.

Telcos (5, Informative)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about 10 months ago | (#44022367)

""According to the Washington Post, the Bush administration took 'bulk metadata' from the phone companies under voluntary agreements for more than four years after 9/11 until a court agreed they could have it compulsorily.""

For those who don't read TFA, the missing context is huge:
When the New York Times revealed the warrantless surveillance of voice calls, in December 2005, the telephone companies got nervous. One of them, unnamed in the report, approached the NSA with a request. Rather than volunteer the data, at a price, the “provider preferred to be compelled to do so by a court order,” the report said. Other companies followed suit.

And then they got immunity.

Re:Telcos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022689)

Unfortnately that is all too true. Telcos need to become the new buggy whip industry. The real question is how can we make that happen? The problems faced by such an endeavour as well as created by it woould be enourmous.

"Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer."--Thomas Paine Common Sense

Recall the expressions "Vote with your wallet/feet"? Parties that are supposed to be serviing you and they are working together to stab you in the back? There are many ways to rebel and those include merely adhering to principle.

"Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to ; convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty." -- Thomas Jefferson

They say experience is a good teacher but the government, and others, often use misinformation to confuse everyone on what they are experiencing in order to increase their power and wealth. Those that try to educate people properly to what is happening will be painted with images of wrongdoing. So even educating your fellow man to the facts and ask them to observe and think for themselves is an act of rebellion.

Today's German Industrialists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022713)

Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, etc, are today's equivalent to Germany's "Industrialists".

It's been fairly obvious for several years but most people don't want to see it.

Re:Telcos (4, Insightful)

Bartles (1198017) | about 10 months ago | (#44022717)

The additional missing context, is that these corporations are heavily regulated by the same federal government that is compelling them to provide data. There is a conflict of interest here, and this reeks heavily of Fascism.

Re:Telcos (1)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | about 10 months ago | (#44022771)

Which both Candidate Obama [cnet.com] and President Obama [eff.org] supported from the get go.

The fix is in, people. Do not worry though:

We interrupt this program with a special bulletin.

America is now under martial law.
All Constitutional rights have been suspended.

Stay in your homes.
Do not attempt to contact loved ones, insurance agents, or attorneys.
Shut up!

Do not attempt to think or depression may occur.

Stay in your homes!
Curfew is at 7PM sharp after work
Anyone caught outside the gates of their subdivision sector after dark will be shot!
Remain calm, do not panic.

Your Neighborhood Watch officer will be by to collect urine samples in the morning.
Anyone caught interfering with the collection of urine samples will be shot!
Stay in your home, remain calm.

The number one enemy of progress is questions.
National Security is more important than individual will.

All sports broadcasts will proceed as normal.
No more than two people may gather anywhere without permission!
Use only the drugs prescribed by your boss or supervisor.
Shut up! Be happy!

Obey all orders without question.
The comforts you demanded are now mandatory.
Be happy!

At last everything is done for you!

The biggest damage (4, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | about 10 months ago | (#44022397)

they are turning private life into something illegal. And like drugs, or in the past alcohol, its turning the environment where you can have privacy into fertile ground for crime. So you have a catch-22, or don't have privacy and be caught by sneezing in public or equivalent things, or think that have, but while doing so being in the neighbourhood of real criminals, so you become a prey for both groups.

General Keith Alexander lied (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022595)

"When asked by Maine Senator Susan Collins if Edward Snowden's claim that he could he could tap into virtually any American's phone call or e-mails. True or false?" Alexander said, "False. I know of no way to do that. "

The system is knowns as DCSNet, it lets them tap any phone in the country remotely:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DCSNet

NSA general is fucking liar.

NSA records ALL phone conversations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022727)

Record a particular phone conversation, and you need some form of specific authorisation. Record ALL phone conversations, and the lack of targeting of any specific individual or group places the act beyond legal or constitutional protection.

Now, having given themselves this 'loophole', the monsters that rule rule subject the data captured to ever more sophisticated data mining as computer tech (hardware and software) improves. Mass spying on the population is done for two main reasons.

1) to gain 'blackmail' information of people in key positions of power who suddenly need to be coerced for one reason or another. Getting 'support' for a genocidal attack against Iran is one such scenario. Who you sleep with, who you do 'business' with, and the language you use when you think you are in a private situation (see Mel Gibson) are all excellent sources of blackmail or career destroying material. Information obtained from phone calls allows one to discover much of this activity.

2) to read the mind of the general population, to judge the effectiveness of current propaganda campaigns in the mass media, so such campaigns can be refined for maximum effectiveness. Despite what the shills say here and in other places, YOU the ordinary US citizen are most definitely a prime target for Obama's NSA mass spy program. What you think and what you say to friends and family matter. You must be made to 'willingly' support the 'King'. You must be made to 'willingly' support the servants of the 'King' and the King's proclamations. The messages you read at the mass media outlets you choose to frequent MUST be effective in making you compliant.

The biggest crooks are members of your government and their business associates. The NSA spying is most certainly NOT designed to track these people down. 99.99% of all the world's so-called 'terrorism' is either direct government use of force (as with Obama in Syria) or people forced to respond to such acts of force.

Mass intelligence organisations are ALWAYS about controlling the domestic population. Spying on the so-called enemy is done (in a VERY small way) of course, but has proven historically to be an almost complete waste of time. Go read the history of WW2, and how many times the spy agencies completely failed to anticipate actions by the enemy - actions that had been in planning for months if not years, involving multiple thousands of people. The fiction of spying that most of you are coerced into believing by the TV shows/films you watch couldn't be further from the truth. Only those few films that show citizens falling prey to an all encompassing surveillance system get close to the reality of what the NSA actually does.

There is one gap in the NSA spy grid- your home. The mobile phone has made great strides in bridging this gap, but will always be a very limited spy technology. The NSA designed Xbox One that Microsoft hopes complete morons will flock to buy later this year (more expensive than Sony's PS4, half as powerful for games, massive DRM restrictions on game owners eliminating their First Sale Doctrine Rights - before one even considers the spying).

With the Xbox One (every internet connected XBone announces itself to NSA servers) the NSA has a running tally of who and when they occupy the room. Every XBone, while connected to the mains, uses Kinect to monitor people in the room, and take a full face photo of each person at least once a day. This is NOT functionality the NSA has to activate- it is base functionality on EVERY Xbox One. This data is small in absolute quantity and is uploaded at least once a day in an encrypted form.

Every Internet connected XBone reveals its existence on NSA servers, as I said. NSA agents can order ANY of these consoles to start streaming video/sound data (again as an encrypted stream) regardless of what the user is currently doing. The XBone can capture, compress in real time, and upload the highest quality video stream even if the user is playing the most computational intensive AAA game, without any impact on that application. The XBone dedicates a large part of the hardware of the console exclusively to Kinect, and gives the Kinect its own OS. The Kinect system is to all purposes a separate computer system - one that can run at full processing using only a fraction of the maximum rated power usage of the console.

How do you like the idea that if any sexual activity occurs in the same room as the XBone, the console flags this fact also to the servers it connects to? You hopefully have the intellect to understand the usefulness of this facility. The NSA know who is in the room, therefore they know who is having sex. Throughout Human history, 'illicit' sexual activity has been the number one method used to coerce government targets.

Now a dribbling shill will tell you that you can simply deactivate Kinect. WRONG. If Kinect sensors fail in ANY way, the console won't allow applications or games to run. If the sensors are 'sabotaged' using tape or turning the cameras to face a wall, the console IMMEDIATELY starts to pester the user to 're-calibrate' Kinect. Now, of course, if you apply a vastly greater than average degree of perverse intelligence to the problem, Kinect can be fooled (at least for a short time) BUT people with this level of concern wouldn't buy/use the NSA spy box in the first place.

Microsoft and the NSA have done research and concluded that people who willingly buy the console will forget their privacy concerns within a couple of weeks. Kinect has been modified from the original design to be most 'useful' when it is positioned to see the entire room. XBone owners are expected to respond with extreme aggression to visitors who object to a powered XBone in the room. The psychology is simple. Having accepted the always-on spying, the moron owner needs to defend his/her 1984-embracing position with maximum vigour to maintain mental equilibrium.

Few ordinary sheep will know they suffer from having the NSA spy on them in their own home, and this fact alone reassures the sheep ("what I don't know can't hurt me"). More powerful people who fall prey to 'blackmail' from 'evidence' gathered from the console in their family home are the same kind of careless clods who are caught by the security services visiting a hooker or having an affair. Such people seem addicted to taking risks. Anyway, the consequence is usually no more than agreeing to vote for Obama's next war, or paying off a certain politician, or 'helping' in some other key way.

When the monsters that rule you have the NSA spy boxes in enough homes, they will then announce that it is OUTRAGEOUS that some citizens consider themselves above government spy powers, when so many 'good' citizens bend over and take it up the a**. It is like that school that threw out the good student because she refused to be chipped. The scum shills here told you (after mocking her appeal on 'religious' grounds, despite the fact that State law ONLY allows appeals on the grounds of religious conscience) that since all her classmates accepted being chipped, so should she. The same filthy shills will, one day, tell you that YOU must have NSA cameras in your home because most of your neighbours do.

The NSA designed Xbox One doesn't just cross a line, it travels light-years beyond it, and then grabs your face and rubs it into every pile of dog mess on every sidewalk across the USA. What kind of spineless, gutless, servile idiot would consider owning such a thing?

update: original story under scrutiny (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022735)

"Jerrold Nadler Does Not Think the NSA Can Listen to U.S. Phone Calls" : "An exchange between Rep. Jerrold Nadler and FBI director Robert Mueller is coming under some scrutiny after a reporter claimed it concretely proves that NSA analysts can listen to domestic phone calls without a warrant. "

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/06/jerrold-nadler-does-not-thinks-nsa-can-listen-us-phone-calls/66278/

Send a copy of 1984 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44022767)

My suggestion is to send a copy of 1984 to your representative and senators. Sending a brand new copies would show a measure of finacial commitment. Three copies should only set you back about $21 plus tax and shipping. Imagine the attention it would draw if the book started to arrive to congress by the truckload.

Of course including a letter describing your personal thoughts on the matter is even better.

What is MetaData? (5, Interesting)

chill (34294) | about 10 months ago | (#44022801)

So what exactly is metadata?

Many years ago I was a telecommunications engineer for a large company and worked CALEA. [wikipedia.org] For the uninitiated, that is law-enforcement wiretapping.

My job was to make sure CALEA functioned properly on the new cellular network. We tested on an internal, micro-cell network that was isolated from the real world. The end result was to make sure targeted devices sent CDR (call data records, or metadata) and voice to the destination. This was all piped thru IPSec tunnels to the appropriate destination law-enforcement agency.

In the event of a tunnel failure, CDRs were required to buffer but voice was not. Saving voice during an outage required too much storage space, but the text nature of CDRs meant they were small and largely compressible.

Metadata consisted of EVERYTHING THAT WAS NOT VOICE.

To be clear, it included the following:

called number
calling number
time of call
duration of call
keys pressed during call
cell tower registered to
other cell towers in range
gps coordinates
signal strength
imei (cell phone serial number)
codec
and a few other bits of technical information.

Everything above "cell tower registered to" applies to traditional, POTS land line phones. This information seems to be what the disinformation campaign currently going on seems to revolve around. They never mention that there are over 327 MILLION cellular phones in the U.S., which is more than one per person. They never mention the bottom set of metadata.

Capturing all key presses makes sure things like call transfers, three-way calls and the like get captured.

It also grabs things like your voicemail PIN/password, which never seems to get explicitly mentioned.

But the cellular set is more interesting. This data come across in registration and keep-alive packets every few seconds. This is how the network knows you're still active and where to route calls to.

But by keeping all this metadata it allows whomever has it to plot of map of your phone's gross location and movements.

By "gross", I mean the location triangulated from cell tower strength and not GPS coordinates. Towers are triangular in nature and use panel antennas. They know which panel you connect thru and can triangulate your location down to a few meters just by the strength of your signal on a couple different towers.

GPS coordinates are "fine" location. For the most part the numbers sent across are either zeroed out or the last location your phone obtained a fix.

GPS isn't turned on all the time because it sucks batteries down. If you own a phone you know how long it can take to get a fix, so this feature isn't normally used.

HOWEVER, it can be turned on remotely and is a part of the E911 regulations pushed to help find incapacitated victims after 9/11.

[There is a reason the baseband radio chip in your phone has closed, binary-blob firmware -- whether or not the OS itself is FOSS. We wouldn't want the masses to be able to disable remote activation, would we? Or let them start changing frequencies and power levels.]

So, are we comfortable with the government knowing where we, thru our cell phones, are at every moment of the day? Because that is what metadata allows.

Think of what can be learned by applying modern pattern analysis to that data set.

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