Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

NSA Admits Searching "3 Hops" From Suspects

timothy posted about a year ago | from the extrapolation-nation dept.

Communications 322

New submitter cpitman writes "In a house hearing Wednesday the NSA admitted that it could query not only a suspect's records, but also perform up to a 'three hop query'. Considering that most people in the world are separated by under 6 degrees of separation, the NSA essentially claims that any single suspect gives them rights to investigate a large chunk of the world's population. With the terror watch list having over 700,000 names, just how many times has Kevin Bacon been investigated?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (5, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44322181)

At this revelation, it doesn't take a libertarian to point out that this isn't based on probable cause.

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (5, Funny)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#44322199)

Oh I dunno. If a terrorist suspects real-estate agents daughter's mechanic fixes your car don't you think the NSA should have that information?

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322241)

I'm sure the NSA mentioned this sort of case in its request to the FISA court which then approved it.

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (5, Funny)

Lendrick (314723) | about a year ago | (#44322263)

"So what does that make us?"

"ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Which is what you are about to become!"

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year ago | (#44322445)

Best Spaceballs call out ever. Sorry I have no mod points right now.

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | about a year ago | (#44322661)

c'mon... a Spaceballs reference deserves at least one mod point!

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (4, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | about a year ago | (#44322341)

No, they shouldn't. And they don't, because that would take 4 hops.

Suspect
Real Estate Agent
Daughter
Mechanic
You

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (5, Funny)

negRo_slim (636783) | about a year ago | (#44322443)

What if the fucking Real Estate Agent knows the same mechanic her daughter uses? Use your fucking head.

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (5, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#44322525)

Nope. The real estate agent is 1 hop. They pull all his records. The daughter is 2 hops. They pull all her records. The mechanic is 3 hops. They pull all his records.

3 hops. The fact that the mechanic serviced your car will be captured, even though they never made the 4th hop to pull your records directly.

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322757)

They won't bother with your records, they'll just send you right away to the no fly list.

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#44322653)

700,000 terrorists on a list, how many are NSA agents?
G-man, G-man what ya gonna do, keep lookin' 'round, 'cause we'll be trackin' you.
G-man, G-man what ya gonna say, keep on runnin', runnin' till judgement day.

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (3, Funny)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#44322813)

Why are you making me a suspect?

Because lonestar, your my father's uncles cousin's brother's former roommate.

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44322293)

At this revelation, it doesn't take a libertarian to point out that this isn't based on probable cause.

Just as 'due process of law' is a process that you do that involves law in some capacity, which successfully enlegalizes all sorts of handy stuff, 'probable cause' is a cause that has an associated probability.

I think that it's abundantly clear, even provable with math, that all the NSA's activities have causes with probabilities associated.

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322391)

Trying to be cute is one thing, doing it when it helps the assholes restrict our rights and liberties is quite another.

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322337)

The NSA guys just said today in the question period that the 4th amendment doesn't apply to metadata.

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322373)

Court rulings have excluded pen register records from the 4th amendment. Pen register records were records of what numbers had been dialed from a phone line and to a phone line. This will be the administration's defense of these practices in the just-filed court cases.

These cases could go either way, but I expect the court to be skeptical about the government's current practices of routinely collecting this data on millions of Americans.

We need to protest loudly, as these programs are also a gigantic waste of money. Any kind of analytics on this data would result in myriad false positives. The whole exercise is pointless.

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (1)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#44322555)

And if it produces 10,000 false positives to yield one valuable lead, how does that impact you? It's not like that turns into 10,000 knocks on 10,000 doors by 10,000 special agents. It gives them more trails to follow.

Not trying to defend the program in any way, just pointing out that at a certain point in the process mistakes cost very little. It may be no more consequential than typing a million lines of code and needing to use the backspace key 10,000 times.

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about a year ago | (#44322527)

Most folks are pretty inured. Bradley Manning thought those little snippets he exposed would get Americans marching in the street, and dozens probably did, though I did not hear of it.

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (5, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#44322559)

That just proves that it's more like Brave New World than it is like 1984.

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (1)

bondsbw (888959) | about a year ago | (#44322605)

What worries me as much, or more, is that we have over 700,000 people on the terror watch list.

Nay, over 875,000 [washingtontimes.com] .

That's larger [wikipedia.org] that the populations of South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, D.C., Vermont, Wyoming, every US territory except Puerto Rico, and 35% of the countries and dependent territories [wikipedia.org] in the world.

Re:Can we discuss the fourth amendment now? (5, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44322809)

You seem to have skipped over some key data.

Terror watch list grows to 875,000 [washingtontimes.com]

As of December 2012, a factsheet from the center states, TIDE contained over 875,000 entries. Each one represents a known or suspected terrorist and includes all their known aliases and spelling variations on their name, the official said.

Less than one percent, or fewer than 9,000, were Americans, including both citizens and legal permanent residents, he said, adding the center does not release exact numbers.

That is a pretty small portion of both the US and world populations.

A precision (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322219)

Actually, I think that in the "6 degrees of separation" experiment, most of the original messages were lost. Among those that were received, yes there were at most 6 degrees of separation from the sender to the target.

Re:A precision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322629)

It was along the lines of: Here's a letter than I'm trying to get delivered, pass it on to someone you think may help.

Far different to what the meme has become.

Re:A precision (1)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#44322659)

You're confusing the game "telephone" where each link in the chain has the burden to bear part of the message, with an outside viewer observing connections that link chains together without the participants even knowing they're linked. This isn't about messengers repeating what they've heard, it's about acquaintances.

Using Kevin Bacon as the example again, Keanu Reeves has never worked with Kevin Bacon, but because both have worked with Beau Starr, we need to investigate Alex Winter...

Re:A precision (3, Informative)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44322779)

Facebook [telegraph.co.uk]

“We found that six degrees actually overstates the number of links between typical pairs of users: While 99.6% of all pairs of users are connected by paths with 5 degrees (6 hops), 92% are connected by only four degrees (5 hops),” the Facebook Data team said.
...
The average distance between all people on the site in 2008 was 5.28 degrees, while now [Nov 2012] it is 4.74.

Twitter [aaai.org]

Our optimal algorithm finds an average degree of separation of 3.43 between two random Twitter users,

I think what's clear (5, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year ago | (#44322249)

I think whats clear is that despite the apologists claims to the contrary; be they from the NSA, Administration, or Congress there was no effective oversize of these programs. Feel good political firewalls are not a strategy. Its a universal truth just about any information gathered will be turned to unintended ends. All it will ever take is some SOB come along and make the right excuses and justifications, creatively define a few terms and suddenly the laws governing the use of the data are meaningless.

If we don't want our government to abuse this type of data the only solution bar them from getting it in the first place.

Re:I think what's clear (5, Funny)

GumphMaster (772693) | about a year ago | (#44322687)

there was no effective oversize of these programs.

Actually, I think this programme is demonstrably oversized ;)

It's 4.74, not 6 (5, Informative)

cultiv8 (1660093) | about a year ago | (#44322259)

On the internet, it's 4.74 degrees of separation [nytimes.com] .

Re:It's 4.74, not 6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322313)

With the terror watch list having over 700,000 names, just how many times has Kevin Bacon been investigated?

Statisticians, please reply!

Re:It's 4.74, not 6 (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322523)

From the Wikipedia article linked in the summary, in the Mathematics section:

Mathematicians use an analogous notion of collaboration distance:[33] two persons are linked if they are coauthors of an article. The collaboration distance with mathematician Paul Erds is called the Erds number. Erds-Bacon numbers are a further extension of the same thinking. Watts and Strogatz showed that the average path length between two nodes in a random network is equal to ln N / ln K, where N = total nodes and K = acquaintances per node. Thus if N = 300,000,000 (90% of the US population) and K = 30 then Degrees of Separation = 19.5 / 3.4 = 5.7 and if N = 6,000,000,000 (90% of the World population) and K = 30 then Degrees of Separation = 22.5 / 3.4 = 6.6. (Assume 10% of population is too young to participate.)

From the Guardian:

"Hops" refers to a technical term indicating connections between people. A three-hop query means that the NSA can look at data not only from a suspected terrorist, but from everyone that suspect communicated with, and then from everyone those people communicated with, and then from everyone all of those people communicated with.

Inglis did not elaborate, nor did the members of the House panel – many of whom expressed concern and even anger at the NSA – explore the legal and privacy implications of the breadth of "three-hop" analysis.

If each hop is broad enough to average 700 people, the entire US is covered by a single case. If you expand that to around 1700, you've got the entire world. That sounds like a lot, but consider:

- Anyone you've ever associated with on any social media site.
- Anyone you've ever been in contact with through email or phone contacts, even if it was accidental or one-sided.
- Your entire family.
- Neighbors.
- Coworkers, maybe the entire company you work for.

Who knows what the limit is and what else might qualify as a "hop".

Re:It's 4.74, not 6 (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about a year ago | (#44322543)

That's only of people on Facebook. If you included someone like me it would jump to infinite because I have exactly 0 facebook friends by not using facebook.

If you use the Dunbar number of 150 friends as your maximum you can get to 4 if everyone has the maximum and they are all unique associations. In the us we have very few friends [discovery.com] per person. If you assume 4 unique friends the "3 hop" query only returns 160-640 results, and with 10 it's between 1000 - 10000. No one is as social as facebook has lead you to believe. Only social whores who think that they actually know thousands of people meet your Kevin Bacon game nonsense.

Re:It's 4.74, not 6 (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322673)

The problem with your thinking is that the Dunbar number is limited by our brains. The internet and the NSA do not forget.

Remember that guy who emailed you about that craigslist posting you put up a few years ago? No? Well, the NSA does.

two hops this time (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44322711)

Citizen A (is a constituent of) Barak Obama (represents) Citizen B

Viola, all US citizens are within two hops of each other.
Remember it's the government who gets to define what "hops" means.

Re:It's 4.74, not 6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322839)

On Facebook only, without factoring in other hops.

And that's also from 2011.

Which 3? (1)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | about a year ago | (#44322273)

What if the NSA searched the wrong solution set?

Congress is "angry" (5, Interesting)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44322281)

The first paragraph of TFA is:

The National Security Agency revealed to an angry congressional panel on Wednesday that its analysis of phone records and online behavior goes exponentially beyond what it had previously disclosed.

If it's true that members of Congress are angry, that's favorable news! Maybe they can be persuaded to get off their butts and do something about this.

Re:Congress is "angry" (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44322295)

I have to assume you are being facetious.

Re:Congress is "angry" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322325)

They're either angry they're finding out at all, or angry that it doesn't go further.

Re:Congress is "angry" (5, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | about a year ago | (#44322359)

The first paragraph of TFA is:

The National Security Agency revealed to an angry congressional panel on Wednesday that its analysis of phone records and online behavior goes exponentially beyond what it had previously disclosed.

If it's true that members of Congress are angry, that's favorable news! Maybe they can be persuaded to get off their butts and do something about this.

They only thing they're angry about is the fact that people found out.

Re:Congress is "angry" (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44322597)

No, they're angry that they are being seen as patsies of the NSA. This could drop their popularity rating below 10%, where it might actually affect their pet projects and government funding.

Re:Congress is "angry" (1, Insightful)

rhizome (115711) | about a year ago | (#44322407)

Has anybody mapped the anger to members who are up for re-election in 2014? Feinstein isn't up until 2016 I think, and she doesn't appear to be bummed about it at all.

Re:Congress is "angry" (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44322493)

Nice bias you got going on there.

She as always backed the NSA and feels they should do whatever they want to 'protect america'.
It has nothing to do with election.

Re:Congress is "angry" (1)

Omega Hacker (6676) | about a year ago | (#44322643)

Bias? Sounds to me like he hit the nail on the head: she supports the crap the NSA is pulling, and is up for re-election. The correct answer is to *not* re-elect here. It absolutely has everything to do with elections.

Palpatine/Feinstein (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about a year ago | (#44322631)

Serve and protect.

Re:Congress is "angry" (1)

compro01 (777531) | about a year ago | (#44322861)

Feinstein was just reelected in November, so she isn't up for reelection again until 2018.

Re:Congress is "angry" (1)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | about a year ago | (#44322455)

The first paragraph of TFA is:

The National Security Agency revealed to an angry congressional panel on Wednesday that its analysis of phone records and online behavior goes exponentially beyond what it had previously disclosed.

If it's true that members of Congress are angry, that's favorable news! Maybe they can be persuaded to get off their butts and do something about this.

Don't be fooled - many of them voted the various laws into being, and they've made their entire careers off of convincing the public that they have our best interests in mind. Remember the feigned surprise from the other superpowers? Only to have them get outed by the US Government? THAT should tell you everything you need to know about our politicians. Not only were they unwilling to accept that they had been found out, but the first thing they did was throw all of their "friends" under the bus.

Re:Congress is "angry" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322621)

If it's true that members of Congress are angry, that's favorable news! Maybe they can be persuaded to get off their butts and do something about this.

They'll continue to be angry until someone asks, "Who authorized all this?"

Then when they get the answer, they'll change the subject pretty quick.

Either that or they're acting angry for the camera, and they are shocked, SHOCKED, that the executive branch is implementing the Patriot Act they passed.

Re:Congress is "angry" (4, Interesting)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44322699)

If it's true that members of Congress are angry, that's favorable news! Maybe they can be persuaded to get off their butts and do something about this.

If you review the Washington Times article it looks like Congress is of a mind to pare things back.

Obama loses support for renewal of surveillance; NSA phone program will expire next year [washingtontimes.com]

The lawmaker who wrote the USA Patriot Act said Wednesday that, as it stands, the House will never renew the provisions that the Obama administration uses to collect Americans’ phone records, meaning the government’s surveillance program will be cut off some time next year.

Both Democrats and Republicans told top administration officials that they reject President Obama’s claim that the law allows the intelligence community to collect the phone numbers, time, date and duration of calls made by Americans, and they said Mr. Obama needs to change the way he is running the program if he wants to keep it intact.

If they do cut back on surveillance it will probably be OK, for a while. Of course it won't just be surveillance that has been cut back. The Obama administration keeps killing terrorists instead of capturing and interrogating them which means a significant loss of intelligence information, and is one of the notable differences between Presidents Obama and Bush. (The reason: Obama doesn't want to be stuck with more prisoners and the messiness of trials. He doesn't want to use military commissions and the Congress and electorate oppose criminal law trials in civilian courts.) Beyond that, the Snowden revelations have already had the effect of causing terrorists to change their communications methods to avoid surveillance thus reducing intelligence even more. The combination of all three factors may lead to a significant loss of intelligence information.

We'll see how it turns out. I won't be surprised if in the long run it turns out to be a riff on the old medical saw: The (intelligence) operations were a success, but the citizens died.

Re:Congress is "angry" (5, Insightful)

Guru80 (1579277) | about a year ago | (#44322787)

Of course members of congress are "Angry"TM, so "Angry"TM that they will make sure they let everyone that matters to their election know how "Angry"TM they are. They will even get all huffy and yell and tell the room they are so "Angry"TM and it isn't acceptable. Maybe even pound their fist and wag a finger all for the "Angry"TM dramatic flair....then go out for coffee and do absolutely nothing about it.

Re:Congress is "angry" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322807)

They're angry that they were lied to. They hate that. Most of them couldn't give a rat's ass about the actual data gathering.

Re:Congress is "angry" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322837)

The language I hear from government is damage control. "Don't worry citizen, I care and I agree with what you say, but security is important!" Even the written responses from my congressmen were polite "STFU and get back to work and buy things".

The one thing that I keep hearing from either Obama or Congress is that the number one priority of the government is to "protect the people of the United States". They never mention the Constitution except as if it is a vague deity we all pay homage to. "The Constitution says this. Isn't that great! Now watch, within the same breath I contradict that wording." Looking at their voting record also doesn't conform to their words.

Sure they may say they are angry but how many of them are actually doing something about it?

Our direction is clear (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322299)

We must overthrow Kevin Bacon to ensure access to his oil

Re:Our direction is clear (1)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#44322577)

We must overthrow Kevin Bacon to ensure access to his oil

But first we got to get rid of these giant snake things in the desert.

This might be of interest.. (5, Interesting)

Shoten (260439) | about a year ago | (#44322307)

Foreign Policy had a fascinating article last month on how metadata analysis is used in terms of relationships between suspected "evil" people and known "evil" people. (The word "evil" in quotes to signify that for purposes of this topic, the definition of "evil" is unimportant.) The article talks about the challenges of fewer vs. more degrees of separation in link analysis; the new revelation that they go to 3 degrees throws it into even more perspective.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/06/17/evil_in_a_haystack_nsa_metadata [foreignpolicy.com]

"Admission" vs. Truth (5, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44322311)

In a house hearing Wednesday the NSA admitted

What cause do we have to believe them? They've been lying to us about surveillance for at least 8 years, probably much, much longer.

Oh, right, we're just supposed to take their word for it, because they've been so goddamn trustworthy up to this point, haven't they?

Fuck these pieces of shit. Disband their organization, and charge every single employee and contractor with high treason. It's the only way to make things right.

Re:"Admission" vs. Truth (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44322505)

No, they haven't been lying.

You don't know what treason is.

Re:"Admission" vs. Truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322633)

Actually, I'd say they've been aiding our enemies by making a mockery of what our country is supposed to be about.

Re:"Admission" vs. Truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322843)

Without a declaration of war, do we actually have enemies? (In a technical legal sense, that is.)

Bacon Number (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322319)

Man, if they track Kevin Bacon they'll know the activities of practically everyone in Hollywood (and beyond)!

3 degrees (1)

jbengt (874751) | about a year ago | (#44322333)

Only 3 more, and . . . Bacon!

Re:3 degrees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322437)

Actually, since the watch list being so large, im guessing k-bacon has been analyzed over 1000 times.

50% (2)

sberge (2725113) | about a year ago | (#44322343)

That's a lot of people. And they'll snoop on anyone who's "50% likely to be a foreigner". Given that more than 50% of Facebook's, Microsoft's and everyone else's users are foreigners, all their users automatically satisfy that criterion without any checks.

Re:50% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322449)

You have that completely and utterly wrong. You must be GREATER than 50% likely to be a foreigner. It makes all the difference in the world, especially when you're grappling with the cognitive dissonance of wanting to do everything and anything to capture to those damn Islamic terrorists, and preventing the government from creating a list of gun owners and taking away your ability to shoot deer and defend your trailer.

50/50 is a coin flip, so any red neck could be investigated. But >50 means that the more you BBQ and fly the Confederate the flag, the less likely you are to be investigated.

Re:50% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322561)

Alright, try on 50.999, you damn assburgers riddled pedant.

Re:50% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322667)

I was just trying to make fun of the illogical contortions that many (perhaps most) people go through to disbelieve that anything bad is happening to them.

Outside Slashdot, the level of discontent is astoundingly low. For example, on Slate.com a majority of commentators defend and excuse these programs. In fact, not only do they take the NSA at their word, they tend to possess extremely conservative ideas about what's possible and feasible.

Re:50% (1)

sberge (2725113) | about a year ago | (#44322637)

You must be GREATER than 50% likely to be a foreigner.

The proportion of foreign users of each of these services is GREATER than 50%, so even this infinitessimally more strict criterion is fulfilled. Whether the NSA actually uses such a pedantic and disingenuous interpretation of this rule is, of course, another question. If they are actually looking out for foreign threats, then they shouldn't need to. But you would think that they, with all their access to information and analytical power, could easily set the bar higher than 50% if foreign threats were the only ones they were interested in.

Re:50% (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322645)

Even though people flying the confederate flag are probably more likely to be an issue than, say a French guy.

Re:50% (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about a year ago | (#44322811)

Hey! The guys flying the Confederate flag are more likely to be patriotic than not. If you think they're more likely to be an issue, then I question your patriotism.

 

Let's try a different approach.... (1)

rts008 (812749) | about a year ago | (#44322345)

With the terror watch list having over 700,000 names.....

With that many people on your watch list, you might want to re-examine how your trying to govern them.

*Hint: you're doing it wrong.

Re:Let's try a different approach.... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44322541)

with 7 billion people on the planets, that's not a lot of names.

Re:Let's try a different approach.... (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about a year ago | (#44322697)

At 3 degrees of separation most of the planet is probably included in the analysis.

And there are certainly more than 700,000 people who would like to harm the US (including mothers of innocents killed via our wars). We just don't know who they are, we can perform surveillance much more effectively at home...

We need an independent Presidential candidate right now. Seriously, right now, spreading the message of vastly reduced domestic tracking (asking for no tracking isn't realistic). The entrenched powers are aligned in the same direction regarding spying on the Citizens of the US.

What does it mean to be a citizen? What benefits does it provide? It should at least adhere to the Constitution, in this case, specifically the 4th Amendment.

What can voters do? (2)

SoupGuru (723634) | about a year ago | (#44322349)

I think someone needs to step up to let the voters know what they can do if they disagree with this stuff. The ACLU and EFF might be good candidates.

How can we organize our votes to make this shit stop?

Re:What can voters do? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322421)

Well, if there's D or an R next to a person's name on the ballot, don't fucking vote for them for starters.

Re:What can voters do? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#44322511)

You can't. If you vote for a candidate that promises to be the most transparent administration in history, you get one that imprisons more whistle blowers than all other presidents in history combined. Voting won't change anything, and direct action will only get you labeled a terrorist. There's absolutely nothing that can be done. Democracy and the rule of law is dead in America.

All we can do is sit around and wait for another Enlightenment, and then refresh the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

Unproven (0)

medv4380 (1604309) | about a year ago | (#44322355)

The entire 6 degrees nonsense is just that, nonsense.

Re:Unproven (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322461)

Actually, using Facebook, it is around 4.5 degrees from one FB account to any other.
Personally, i am only 3 degrees from the baconator himself.

Re:Unproven (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44322681)

Actually, using Facebook, it is around 4.5 degrees from one FB account to any other.
Personally, i am only 3 degrees from the baconator himself.

...and with as large a sample set as the NSA has, that means they've got reason to troll the entire Facebook database.

Re:Unproven (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322593)

Read the wikipedia article linked in the summary at least, dumbass. Even if you ignore the numerous real life examples, take a quick look at the mathematics section.

Re:Unproven (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about a year ago | (#44322651)

How about you read the wikipedia entry and get to the "academic urban myth" part.

Re:Unproven (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322609)

Yeah, whatever you believe. My grandfather worked for Wernher von Braun (in Peenemunde, and in the US). Wernher knew my grandfather well enough to visit his house outside of Huntsville Alabama. So, me > my father > my grandfather > von Braun > Hitler.

So I'm within 6 degrees of separation with Adolf Hitler. Small world eh?

Re:Unproven (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322707)

Try connecting yourself to Cesar, or Khan and you're going to end up with far more than 6.

Re:Unproven (1)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#44322671)

It's an average, and may not be accurate for you. Do you really know all the associates of all of your associates? Any of them military? Any of them move to New York, Los Angeles, or Nashville? Any of them know your local mayor?

Some surprising people know other surprising people. I was amazed to learn I was 3 degrees from President Reagan, but then determined most people were either 3 or 4, since he stood at a nexus of Hollywood, the military, and politics.

Hello, I'm a Tor exit node (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322387)

hop all you want, maybe on one leg even.

Basically Everyone (1)

JoeFromPhilly (792856) | about a year ago | (#44322397)

On one hand it's a somewhat reasonable choice. Once you're four node hops from someone in a social network the coverage explodes to include a significant percentage of the population. It's very unlikely that the connections at that depth are meaningful. On the other hand, this is still probably tens of thousands of people for each investigated person. If this is done for everyone on a terrorism watch list, it basically covers everyone. Keep in mind that by social network I don't necessarily mean something like facebook, but someone's actual social graph: who are they calling, emailing, etc.

Small-world experiment (1)

RobertJ1729 (2640799) | about a year ago | (#44322419)

Stanley Milgram's "small-world experiment" suggests that people in the United States are connected by three friendship links, on average: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_world_experiment [wikipedia.org] .

Guilt by Association (4, Interesting)

ttucker (2884057) | about a year ago | (#44322431)

In North Korea, under the, "association system", up to three generations of a persons family can be taken permanently to, "a place to make a good person through reeducation", for that person's crimes.

What kind of connection? (3, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44322439)

I.e. if the connection is "read something that a suspect may have posted in a site", we should be all in that list, plus everyone 2 hops away from us.

Thats interesting (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year ago | (#44322459)

A friend of mine worked on APANA [apana.org.au] with Julian Assange, and even had the honour of having his server hacked by the Great Man, so I guess that puts me inside the three hop limit.

Re:Thats interesting (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322669)

It does. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

-NSA

Re:Thats interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322689)

Yes, it did.
--
The NSA

3-hop was NO legal limit (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322551)

The owners of Slashdot once again resort to playing down the extent of NSA surveillance and abuse. So-called '3-hop' mining searches were used to prevent agents being swamped with far more 'connections' than they could ever think of processing. Actual NSA personnel were free to examine the details of ANY individual connected at any 'distance' to a named target, whether that meant '3-hops' or 30.

Here's something you sheeple should consider. You happen to be the neighbour of a target, and even though innocent, you have unwittingly learnt things of interest to the intelligence agencies. If the target becomes aware you have been interrogated or co-operated with the authorities, the mission against the target is compromised.

No problem to Team Obama. If the target is important enough, you will be secretly arrested, subject to 'enhanced' interrogation just in case you aren't quite 'innocent', and then disposed of (as in EXECUTED) so there is zero chance of the fact of your interrogation getting back to the target. You are the cattle, and if putting you down serves the interests of your masters, no-one is going to think twice about doing this.

Now true, dying this way is as unlikely as a major lottery win, but the point you sheeple should b aware of is that your life has no value whatsoever to those that rule over you. What they have done to millions of civilians in the Middle East, they'll do to you and your family just as easily if they deem it 'useful'.

Now the NSA track your vehicle movements almost perfectly with under-surface RFID readers (license plate reading cameras are only used to associate an actual vehicle with the fingerprint of the RFID chips embedded in your tires) - now the NSA tracks the locations of each citizen perfectly via their cell phones - now the NSA tracks your network of friends and associates almost perfectly via the social Internet services you use - now the NSA is focusing on plugging the last few holes in their total surveillance grid.

Google Glass, The Xbox One, and Bill Gates' child database service form a massive three-headed attack by the NSA against traditionally 'difficult' intelligence targets.

-Google Glass is designed to eliminate the idea of a 'private' conversation, and ensure that most people self-censor most of the time. Self-censorship means expressing views that toe-the-line promoted by authority, ensuring that everyone thinks that everyone else is a loyal supporter of the police-state.
-Xbox One gets the world's most sophisticated bugging system into the homes of millions of citizens. A bugging system so 'clever' it knows when people are having sex by tracking signature skeletal movements of the people in the same room as the console.
-Gates' database system that tracks every detail of every child's life in the most intimate detail is the most disturbing NSA project of all. Gates provides high-ranking sex offenders with the best possible intelligence for safely selecting victims. Then there are the pre-crime aspects, and also the ability to search for the most useful sociopaths for recruitment into command and control positions over the sheeple. Not least is the fact that when you control the kids, you control their parents.

Look, to the question "how bad are things in the USA today?", the answer is "as bad as they could possibly be, with the active intention of having the future very much worse if all the political plans of people like Gates pan out".

If you don't want to be treated as cattle, you had better learn how to stop behaving as cattle. Rejecting all propaganda emanating from the mainstream media is a very good start. No one in real power has you best interests at heart. They didn't 20,000 years ago. They didn't 4,000 years ago. They didn't 2000 years ago, or 1000, or 500, or 200. Whoever rules considers those that choose to live as sheep as beneath contempt. It isn't right, it isn't decent, but it is how it is.

You can't fight the NSA at a higher level, but you can fight them in your daily life. Reject all aspects of Microsoft's and Google's NSA activities. Ban Google Glass from your own reality, and dissuade anyone you know from buying the Xbox One console. Get to your kid's school, and demand the removal of any aspect of your child's life from Gates' dirty database. Make other parents aware of just how badly Bill Gates is abusing the nation's children via his database project.

In the EU, citizen pressure has held Monsanto, and their GM products, at bay. In the USA, you rolled over and allowed Monsanto to b***-f*** you. What the hell is wrong with you Yanks. Oh wait, I remember now, you have the only parliament where your politicians are legally allowed to engage in insider-trading, and at school you are told that the child raping slavers you call 'Founding Fathers' are heroes because they decided that slavery would flourish more successfully if they formally ended British rule.

In the UK, we had depraved royalty and politicians in the past whose actions made Britain 'great' but we certainly don't hero worship them. Meanwhile, you Yanks pledge 'allegiance' to a 'flag-god' every morning like you are one of those South American civilisations worshipping gods with blood-sacrifices. Your rituals and traditions make you trivial fodder to the machinations of those behind the NSA.

Sheesh (1)

Robotron23 (832528) | about a year ago | (#44322595)

Even the humble home brewer is under scrutiny now.

Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322619)

I guess I have to be careful what the 5+ Million people I don't know on LinkedIn are up to :)

About that 6 degrees of separation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322627)

That 6 dgrees of separation "theory" is a party game, not an actual theory. It is based on the false idea that each person's associates are indepensent of those of their friends and family. By the theory, if you knew 42 people, and each of them knew 42 more people, after 6 iterations, the total number of associates is 6 billion.
Unfortunately people arrange themselves in communities, where the overlap of associations is strong, and the diversity of associations is weak. Pretty much everyone you know knows everyone you know because your associates tend to look like you, vote like you, worship like you, or work like you.

Likely 100% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322743)

For protection it's wise to assume they watch everyone that even nudges a phone or even glances at the internet.

Just make all tools properly encrypt by-default from now on. It just makes sense regardless of what NSA/GCHQ/etc does.

Didn't they hear? (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | about a year ago | (#44322771)

The Hopper(R) from Dish(TM) allows you to automatically skip right through those annoying non-watchable terrorist suspects!

much of joe public doesn't care ... (1)

nblender (741424) | about a year ago | (#44322785)

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law think I'm the paranoid guy quivering in the basement of my house because I'm concerned about this crap... They are the typical "I've done nothing wrong, I have nothing to hide. If knowing that I called my gynecologist last week turns them on, then have at it. I have nothing to hide ..." sort of people ... I never know how to respond to their fearless proclamations so I try to change the subject and lately, have been just avoiding contact with them completely... Infuriating ... I can always think of plenty of responses when I'm in the car on my way home ...

Can't solve this one! (1)

presspass (1770650) | about a year ago | (#44322817)

Let's see you find the killer of the witness in Whitey Bulger's trial! Won't happen.

This whole NSA thing is just trying to distract us (1)

maliqua (1316471) | about a year ago | (#44322841)

From the Opinions of the Canadian Defense minister

C'mon guys you gotta see the conspiracy, Obama has a pet alien, the canadians got jelous and leaked it to quickly draw attention away from it they invented Snowden!

Stuck in a russian airport, he's probably really a team of NSA agents tweeting what a committee thinks will distract us

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?