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Other Agencies Clamor For Data NSA Compiles

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the learning-to-share dept.

Privacy 144

schwit1 writes "The National Security Agency's dominant role as the nation's spy warehouse has spurred frequent tensions and turf fights with other federal intelligence agencies that want to use its surveillance tools for their own investigations, officials say. Agencies working to curb drug trafficking, cyberattacks, money laundering, counterfeiting and even copyright infringement complain that their attempts to exploit the security agency's vast resources have often been turned down because their own investigations are not considered a high enough priority, current and former government officials say. Intelligence officials say they have been careful to limit the use ... for fear they could be misused in ways that violate Americans' privacy rights."

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No Catfood (1, Insightful)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about a year ago | (#44475775)

So, it has come to this.

Re:No Catfood (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44475785)

I remember when paranoid fantasies were just fantasies.

Re:No Catfood (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44475893)

The scary part is that it turned out that the insane conspiracy nutjobs had a more realistic view of the world than you.

Re:No Catfood (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476469)

We would have been okay with being wrong.

Al Qaeda scare an ad for NSA? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476145)

Is the new Al Qaeda scare, U.S. still on edge in face of uncovered terror plot [cbsnews.com] , just manipulation to scare people into accepting NSA and other "security" agencies doing anything they like?

Re:Al Qaeda scare an ad for NSA? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476211)

Is the Pope Catholic?

Re:Al Qaeda scare an ad for NSA? (2)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | about a year ago | (#44476365)

I read in the Wallstreet Journal this morning (which my father-in-law reads) that "Washington Officials say this move is not an indication that there is new intelligence information that has been collected" Meaning: Yes, it absolutely is a manufactured scare tactic.

Re:Al Qaeda scare an ad for NSA? (1)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | about a year ago | (#44476377)

I should clarify that by "the move" in the above quote they mean the move to close 22 embassies in the middle east.

Dude, you're old. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476887)

Now to quote "Strange Days": It's not whether your paranoid, it's whether you're paranoid enough.

Re:No Catfood (1)

jameshofo (1454841) | about a year ago | (#44475807)

Surely they won't abuse it after this!

Re:No Catfood (2)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#44475865)

Of course! Political parties won't clamor for the data ever.

Fine (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44475799)

Give them all the data they want, with the single condition that any and all wrongdoing found must be prosecuted. Part of me just wants to watch the chaos.

Re:Fine (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year ago | (#44476133)

Sort of a sheep guarding the hen house problem there don't you think? You really thing "internal affairs" is all that objective at any of these three letters?

Do the IA guys get the clearances to look at the information needed to do a truly effective audit of anyone working sensitive case?

Assuming you want more than IA, are you going to give the GAO guys all the clearances they need.

Tough to keep secrets when so many get access.

Re:Fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44477087)

The idiom is "fox guarding the henhouse." What the fuck is a sheep going to do to hens?

Re:Fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44477313)

That was his point.

Re:Fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476243)

What about the wrongdoing of collecting that data and passing it on?

That deserves *at least* a lifetime of prison for at least 10000 people in there.

Re:Fine (3, Insightful)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#44476609)

If they do insist on gathering this data they should
a) make all gathered data available by request for each individual citizen
b) disclose who made use of that data and also discolse the reason for it

This level of transparency would be required to make this anywhere near OK. But their underhanded tactics they use make this very unlikely. They don't spy on US citizens(except by accident) but they do get data from the Brits who it turns out have the legal framework to spy on everyone. NSA financed the GCHQ site in Bude and has lots of staff "liaising" with the GCHQ. Which all is perfectly legal.

I wonder why there is no bigger outcry in the UK that the main selling point of the GCHQ to the NSA is the relatively lax legal framework in the UK. It is perfeclty legal, yes. But if questions have been asked about if the laws powering this festering dungheap are ok I have totally missed that. And I'm subscribed to The Guardian which would totally pick this one up.

It seems that the main discussion is happening in Germany and the US. While the biggest culprit, namely the GCHQ, has very little to fear. As always with these leaks, the US reputation isn't as damaged as everybody else's. And I totally buy into the NSA not sharing any data. But I do not buy that FISA courts are actually doing their jobs as this would require blind trust. How should I trust the integrity of secret courts? Their mere existence is a travesty in a democracy.

This is all so wrong on so many levels...

Alas, the geeks in the cubicles of the NSA/GCHQ propably don't even understand this outrage. And when you think about it, it is no mean technological feat. They managed to acquire lots of data, store it and search it. On a massive scale. That's cool and scary at the same time.

IRS is next (2)

Coward Anonymous (110649) | about a year ago | (#44475801)

It's only natural.

Other Agencies Clamor For Data *That* NSA Compiles (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about a year ago | (#44475805)

Otherwise it's just this:

http://xkcd.com/303/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Other Agencies Clamor For Data *That* NSA Compi (2)

auric_dude (610172) | about a year ago | (#44475819)

One Compile To Rule Them and in the darkness bind them.

2 points (5, Insightful)

MrLogic17 (233498) | about a year ago | (#44475813)

1) " for fear they could be misused in ways that violate Americans' privacy rights"
The act of spying & collecting this data didn't already pass this threashold?

2) Every government agency takes the permitted rules and pushes them to the limit & a bit beyond. In no time at all, the Smallville dog catcher's dept will have access to NSA data. "Think of the children - we need to know which houses have mean dogs, and which ones have small children! For their own good!"
This should be no surprise.

Re:2 points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44475839)

You got there first. I had the same thought. And now for even more Bread and Circus we have elevated "terrorist threats" which will be followed by reports how the Government has thwarted plots using this data so how can you ask us to stop now...think of the unborn children, for we do, and we want to watch what they do as they grow up. Guilty till proven...naaa, just guilty till arrested.

Re:2 points (5, Insightful)

Salgak1 (20136) | about a year ago | (#44476065)

That's assuming the Government is SMART enough to claim threats "thwarted" due to the data. Consider the current "threat" that has caused extended closures of US Embassies overseas. For all we know, it COULD be 3-4 operatives generating massive "chatter" back and forth on a number of methods and media, forcing a reaction. And then, physically doing. . . nothing. Thus calling the usefullness of data acquired by these means into question. Which was the REAL attack, and it looks to be massively successful. . .

Re:2 points (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44475847)

In spite of all the news, everybody I've worked with at the NSA has been very concerned about privacy and focused on preserving privacy, and generally unhappy about a legislative change that put drug trafficers in the list of people they were allowed to collect against, breaking that (to them) sacred bubble aroudn American citizens.

Re:2 points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476005)

As a non-American I'm very much for this. The USA often get slammed for doing bad stuff, and some of the time they do. I think that the NSA operation should have been done with public insight for example. But overall I'm thankful to all that America has done and to this day does to make the world a better place for all of us.

Re:2 points (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476111)

Wait! Did you ever walked on the wrong side of the road?
You know - on the left side whil right was required...

You did? OMG!!!! YOU ARE A TERRORIST!!!!!
Just wait a minute until we tracked you down.
And -naturally- your parents, rest of family, friends, co-workers, and everybody in your street and town..
They are obvioulsy guilty of everything we can make up...

Just relax while our arrest team breaks down your door and beat you up - and after that put you remains in prison!
For your own sake of course!
You know - "think about the children an that kind of stuff"

Now - I bet you feelings now are warm and cosy, and you realise you are very,very safe under our protection...

Re: 2 points (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476151)

I guess we shouldn't be surprised that the nsa would astroturf too...

Re:2 points (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year ago | (#44476539)

That seems rather odd, given the NSA's actions (even before the drug trafficker nonsense). I think this is more of a case of people pretending they care about individual liberties.

Re:2 points (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44477261)

I don't necessarily care about how honest the people in the offices are *today*. Ask yourself just how great is the potential for abuse, and just how appealing a target will that make for the corrupt? Whether they pursue the position for access to the power, or simply corrupt existing officials via bribes, blackmail, etc. doesn't matter - just imagine the success the "New Tyranny Party" could have with access to that kind of information about all their political rivals (how many politicians do you suppose *don't* have career-ending skeletons in their closet?), and continuous surveillance and elimination of anyone who might head a resistance movement, *before* that movement gets enough momentum to enter the popular consciousness.

Re:2 points (4, Insightful)

boorack (1345877) | about a year ago | (#44475871)

So, they don't use this data to curb drug trafficking, money laundering, cyberattacks. And it turned out that only one terrorist plot was POSSIBLY curbed with all this giant spying operation. This is enough to convince me that governments, banksters and corporations around it are using this surveillance to keep themselves in power and control US population regardless of how much fraud and outright crimes will the government do. From the beginning this had nothing to do with safety of ordinary americans and has everything to do with protecting corrupt, criminal US elites from US population. They don't give a crap about our safety or well being - should they care, they wouldn't defund and dismantle local police and fire departments just to ensure their fellow banksters have bigger profits (thanks to bailouts). They built this monster for the same exact reason STASI built its apparatus. Everything this surveillance would do to benefit citizens is regarded as unnecessary cost and we know what corporate aparatchics and their government cronies do with such "excess costs".

Re:2 points (0)

somersault (912633) | about a year ago | (#44475907)

Can't tell if troll, or you forgot to take your pills this month.

Re:2 points (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476441)

That the best you have to contribute here asshole? Do yourself a favor: Drop dead.

Re:2 points (0)

somersault (912633) | about a year ago | (#44476477)

Yeah, because the paranoid non-sequitur rants are so incredibly useful.

Re:2 points (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476613)

Your trolling's "sequitur", hypocrite? Paranoid?? Who're you to judge???

Hey shithead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44477141)

Former Governor speaks out vs. your troll crap http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzWqV4S2RAI [youtube.com] so I have to ask you: What's it like "being on the payroll" of the controller somerdouche?

Re:2 points (2)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year ago | (#44475925)

As much as I'd like to see the bad guys punished and justice served, there is no justice when you run roughshod over half of the Bill of Rights. The NSA data, IMHO, was not theirs to take in the first place. The use of it by other agencies not only compounds the damages, perhaps exponentiating the damage, but also sets the precedent that we're not protected from the boorishness of illegal search.

Soon the shakedowns will start. The big campaign contributors, already in control of the legislatures, will help vicariously fund their own "blood" wars.

Summary: We agree. Mod parent up.

Re:2 points (5, Insightful)

Bradmont (513167) | about a year ago | (#44476059)

The "It hasn't actually caught any terrorists!" argument (also applied to the TSA), while tempting, is an error on the part of anti-spying advocates. This is a mistake for two reasons:

1. It puts the emphasis on the incidental situation, and not the actual violation of rights. So it makes it easy for the opposition to straw-man the civil liberties point of view, for example, that they're arguing based on a waste of money.
2. The technology may well advance to the point where it does work. If our argument is frequently presented as "it doesn't work," when that changes, the civil liberties cause will take a massive hit to its credibility.

So, it's better to stick to the real issue, which is that these programs are a violation of peoples rights.

Re:2 points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476459)

The "It hasn't actually caught any terrorists!" argument (also applied to the TSA), while tempting, is an error on the part of anti-spying advocates.

It does counter the vague claims of "Oh, this program stopped 50-200 of deadly, deadly terror plots. Think of how many children it must have saved!"

But you are right, it should be "In addition to being illegal, it also hasn't actually caught any terrorists"

Re:2 points (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476241)

So, they don't use this data to curb drug trafficking, money laundering, cyberattacks. And it turned out that only one terrorist plot was POSSIBLY curbed with all this giant spying operation. This is enough to convince me that governments, banksters and corporations around it are using this surveillance to keep themselves in power and control US population regardless of how much fraud and outright crimes will the government do. From the beginning this had nothing to do with safety of ordinary americans and has everything to do with protecting corrupt, criminal US elites from US population. They don't give a crap about our safety or well being - should they care, they wouldn't defund and dismantle local police and fire departments just to ensure their fellow banksters have bigger profits (thanks to bailouts). They built this monster for the same exact reason STASI built its apparatus. Everything this surveillance would do to benefit citizens is regarded as unnecessary cost and we know what corporate aparatchics and their government cronies do with such "excess costs".

I guess the premise of your answer just melted ;)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/05/dea-surveillance-cover-up_n_3706207.html

Next stop: IP / Copyright enforcement. Oh wait, you can ask Kim DotCom about how that went.

Turns out criminals aren't the only people who thinks doing it the illegal way is an easier way to get the job done / get rich.

Cut to SS/Medicare, Pensions failing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476679)

Spending instead on spy networks with little ROI (if any) for 'criminals caught' masking it as "anti-terrorist" when it is the terrorist itself used by those who are supposed to be 'better than' their actual criminal opponents. When those protecting rules/laws start acting like the crminals, operating on their own low ground, we have a problem. The potential for misuse is there, and always seems to happen, absolutely power corrupting absolutely. Enemies both foreign and domestic (question is who's the enemies? Regular US citizens getting fucked points to it along with Pension funds failing http://www.cnbc.com/id/100929269 [cnbc.com] with the domestic enemies being the 1%'ers ). Caught this today on Medicare and Social Security too http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0vP6fIzYho [youtube.com] and it's disgusting.

Re:2 points (1)

richlv (778496) | about a year ago | (#44475879)

well, they do gain a minor credit for turning down "counterfeiting and even copyright infringement" requests :)

Re:2 points (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44476163)

Or they just considered that if retroactive phone taps start appearing in drug trials, someone is eventually going to notice and start asking where this evidence is coming from.

Re:2 points (2)

click2005 (921437) | about a year ago | (#44476375)

The copyright industry just weren't offering to pay enough for the data.

Re:2 points (4, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#44475927)

The act of spying & collecting this data didn't already pass this threshold?

While I tend to agree, I can at least commend the NSA for trying to limit the use of this data where there isn't an overriding purpose.

The problem is that once databases like these are compiled there will be constant pressure to expand their use. First national security letters are used to find out who is reading bomb-making books at the local library. Later national security letters are used to find out who is reading communist/cryptography/whatever books at the library.

The next problem is that these are secret databases whose existence isn't generally admitted to in the first place. How do these other agencies even know (prior to Snowden) that this data is out there to begin with? If they were obtaining data from these databases, how would we even find out about it?

Better to not collect this kind of data in the first place, unless it is in reaction to a specific threat (and if there is a specific threat, you should be able to obtain a warrant which makes it completely legal). When this kind of data is collected, it should only be used for the original intended purpose.

Re:2 points (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476101)

What is boils down to, can the data be stored "securely". Terrorist threats are one thing, but using the snooping data to chase after some 15 year old kid who might want to download the latest Black Sabbath CD via ISO for an example case in the civil courts is another.

One has to remember in the US, there is a very strong prison lobby. 48 out of 50 states in the US have signed an agreement to keep bed occupancy in private prisons at 90% or face fines by the hour.

Judges, DAs, and other elected officials also get elected or ejected depending on how many people are tossed in the cooler.

With this in mind, if a county DA was able to get ahold of this info, they can do mass arrests, be it cell phone logs of people at a park after dark for criminal trespass, logs of people suspected of a drug deal since they were in the same area when one went down (and that is good enough for arrest due to suspician), someone griping about a public official on a private call to a friend being run in for threats, or even something as stupid as a flash mob going to a place can be considered collusion or conspiracy (with felony charges.)

Then, there are always international treaties. Someone griping about a new mosque to a friend can be extradited to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or Pakistan for blasphemy charges and have their head hacked off. Right now, Americans have not had the pleasure of being sent to another nation, but who is to say this isn't going to happen, especially now that the US is behind the barrel in the diplomatic arena?

Don't say it is "fruit of the poisoned tree" either. Judges in the US have to have a conviction ratio above a certain percentage or else they will be replaced by ones that do, so one can be not guilty, and still get convicted because the judge knows that it will cause him/her to lose their job.

Oh, don't give me the "if you didn't break any laws, you have nothing to worry about" line. It can take one TOS violation at some dumbass website that you didn't put in your correct name and address for someone to wind up facing Federal charges, or a mere mention of smoking marijuana can be evidence enough for a possession case.

The acid test will be if the NSA can keep their information bottled up, or if many Americans in the future wake up to the US version of the "knock on the door" for something long since forgotten about. However in the US, it won't be a knock on the door; it will be a door off the hinges, and either a 12 gauge or a .40 semi auto pointed at the head of the person and others at their family.

Re:2 points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44477479)

What it boils down to is that the terrorists "won".
Our government and political system has created a atmosphere of fear and distrust, and now worked to have the citizens crying for protection from the "terrorists".
I am not saying that there are no terrorists, or elements that would like to see harm done to the U.S., but in the 12 years since 9-11-2001 how many truly devastating plans have been launched against the U.S.?

Re:2 points (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#44476733)

While I tend to agree, I can at least commend the NSA for trying to limit the use of this data where there isn't an overriding purpose.

1) we only have hearsay to attest to that. Since every part of this program is handled in secret, we have no idea exactly what purposes are being allowed.

2) Given past governmental behavior, at all levels from local to national, isn't it just a matter of time before congress passes new laws allowing new "targeted" accesses to this data for, say, copyright violations? After all, they're the ones who passed the laws allowing this program to happen in the first place.

Re:2 points (1)

jameshofo (1454841) | about a year ago | (#44475967)

How about, if it ever was misused in those ways, will we even know...oh right, that's number 1.

Re:2 points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476333)

EVERY time there is a NSA story, one of your COINTELPRO pieces of shit comes in here, and tries to *deliberately and actively* shift the discussion from "How can we stop those pieces of shit from spying on us" over "Is it good or bad?" (As if that was even in question!) to "Is it surprising? Yes or no?".

We know every single of your shit tricks by now. First you shift the topic to an unrelated and much milder "discussion", then you create a false dichotomy (= only two choices, when actually there are many... in this case all of which completely unrelated to the actual un-shifted discussion), and finally you mark one "side" as "bad" and the other as "good". So that people think they have an opinion, but actually have zero choice.

AIN'T GONNA WORK ANYMORE, ASSHAT!

Re:2 points (1)

nine-times (778537) | about a year ago | (#44476623)

1) " for fear they could be misused in ways that violate Americans' privacy rights" The act of spying & collecting this data didn't already pass this threashold?

Well I think it really illustrates something that the NSA believes that this data can't be provided to anyone else, because *then* it would be a violation of privacy. You know, like the ATF asks for access to the data, and the NSA goes, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. We can't let anyone see this information. It's private information on US citizens. Having access to a store of this information is a fourth amendment violation waiting to happen!" It kind of kills the argument that it's ok for the NSA to have it, unless you first assume that the NSA is some kind of special government agency that is allowed to violate the constitution.

Who is being kept safe? (5, Insightful)

Ckwop (707653) | about a year ago | (#44475815)

Right across the free world we're told this these giant databases are there to keep us safe.

The question is more who is being kept safe who. Is the purpose of these databases to protect me or protect the politicians? Is to protect me or big business? Is it to protect my right to process or restrict it?

In my own country, William Hague said that it was unthinkable that GCHQ would be operating outside of the law. The problem is I don't believe you!

Practically every time the government has secrecy it abuses that power to its own ends. This is just the nature of power held in secret with a lack of transparency. The entire span of human history shows that kind of power is hugely destructive.

The cure is worse than the disease here. Honestly, I'd rather have more terrorist attacks that having my privacy systematically shredded for the greater good. All terrorists can ever do is kill people. It takes a government to kill a society.

Re:Who is being kept safe? (2)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about a year ago | (#44475835)

Who is being kept safe? Politicians and their thugs. That's who.

Re:Who is being kept safe? (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year ago | (#44475965)

Who is being kept safe? Politicians and their thugs. That's who.

Politicians are puppets. Well paid puppets, but puppets after all.

Politicians are being watched too; probably even more than simple citizens. You wouldn't want your puppets to act under no surveillance.

Re:Who is being kept safe? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44476339)

The establishment needs to be out in front of any issues with a new gov, the celebrities, press with sources, inventors with disruptive technology, arms dealers talking to the press, diplomatic blackmail (both sides), dissidents, protesters, disarmament/peace protesters near bases, police corruption stories, local elections, trade unions - anything and anyone that could get traction in the press.
Add in the classics - generational wealth protection, arms dealers who can keep "freedom fighters" in weapons and ammo at short notice long term.
Lawyers and bankers talking to the press eg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libor_scandal [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Who is being kept safe? (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year ago | (#44475935)

Right across the free world we're told this these giant databases are there to keep us safe.

The question is more who is being kept safe

Sadly, your view is optimistic. It's not "who" that's being kept safe, but "what". And the answer is "Capital".

There has never been a working economic system that had the general populace as its priority. Capitalism is most certainly not an exception.

The simple truth is that the mentioned information has a large cost, and agencies (at least theoretically) oriented to the protection of the citizens are not a good investment.

Citizens are simply not valuable enough to spend the high cost of these surveillance tools in their protection.

Re:Who is being kept safe? (1, Troll)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about a year ago | (#44475941)

Wow, that was one of the least intelligent comments I've read. So how does your "evil capitalist" theory work when you look at the domestic spying of China, North Korea, the USSR, etc?

Re:Who is being kept safe? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476009)

What is protected is the power apparatus. In the USofA, it is the militaro-industrial complex. In China, it is the "communist" party. And so on.

Re:Who is being kept safe? (1)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about a year ago | (#44476429)

I don't see how the GP's post contradicts the similar use of surveillance of civilian populations by more totalitarian regimes.

That Manichean worldview is not useful, because it sets up false choices.

Re:Who is being kept safe? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44476557)

RE: What could China, North Korea, the USSR vs the NSA?
Float a few really good quality spy ships off the coast of the USA, UK?
Some great trackable satellites passing over the US/UK and friends?
Dedicate a few embassy floors to signals? Build a huge complex in Cuba to listen in?
The Soviets went for weak people in the US/UK in areas that where interesting or shaped liked minded peoples careers very long term.
East Germany tried to put young agents into West German firms hoping some might get to middle management much later in life...
They went for the press, academics, spies, scientists, engineers, mil and gov technicians.
Only the NSA/GCHQ had the power and vision to shape the worlds telecommunications standards long term to be NSA usable.
The West has other issues - drug for cash for freedom fighters to buy arms. The banks to ensure the cash flowed.
China seems happy just to buy and educate its way along with any help it can get from Russia, the USA.
What can the USA do if the signals intelligence ever stops again ;)
The Russians can return to typewriters. Can the CIA buy their way in again?

Out of the mouth of the coolest Old Guy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44475985)

It's an interesting thing. When Coretta Scott King passed away recently they had a memorial where they refreshed people's minds about Martin Luther King, and the idea of non-violence. And now in America you're suddenly seeing war movies again on TV - they never showed war movies until recently - and how great it is to be patriotic. It's wrong. The day and age we live in now, it's all full of fear and frightening feelings. It's the opposite of Roosevelt saying, 'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.' Now we're saying, 'Look out, this is going to happen.' We're being told: get frightened. This business of machoism is ridiculous. I'm not interested in that. search for truth and beauty in what I do.

Tony Bennet [imdb.com]

Re:Who is being kept safe? (3, Insightful)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#44476079)

Practically every time the government has secrecy it abuses that power to its own ends.

Fortunately for the feudal aristocracy, the serfs tend to have very short attention spans...

Re:Who is being kept safe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476213)

The cure is worse than the disease here. Honestly, I'd rather have more terrorist attacks that having my privacy systematically shredded for the greater good. All terrorists can ever do is kill people. It takes a government to kill a society.

If the aim is to combat terrorism, then there is a certain cravenness to what the government is doing. Instead of meeting our foes on the field of battle and soundly defeating them there we attempt to pay them off, win their hearts and minds while striking at them with cowardly drone strikes, and put them on the same level as US citizens as far as privacy rights are concerned. Who among our enemies wouldn't hold the US in utter contempt?

more than clamouring, apparently (3, Informative)

fche (36607) | about a year ago | (#44475823)

Re:more than clamouring, apparently (1, Interesting)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#44475987)

Not a surprise at all. This is the problem with the nation of a bazillion laws that we live in. Selective enforcement of laws that everybody violates can be used to easily justify any raid/seizure/etc.

Suppose a police vehicle uses listening equipment without a warrant to listen in on random houses to find evidence of drug manufacture. Any data they collect would be thrown out of court, as well as any follow-on evidence (fruit of the poisonous tree and all that). So, when the police find a home engaged in drug use using such methods they don't document it in any way.

They then setup surveillance of the home, completely off the books. They figure out when the drugs go in and out and all that. Maybe they just go up the chain for bigger fish and never bust the house. If they do want to bust the house, they send an officer down the street right when something is going on, and they happen to notice some suspicious behavior (could be a car parked more than 6" from the curb, grass that is too tall, whatever - with so many laws on the books you can ALWAYS find something to be an excuse for an investigation). When they knock on the door they happen to notice through the window something suspicious, so they act. The official story is that the police got lucky but everything that is presented to the court is legal.

Strange (2)

MTEK (2826397) | about a year ago | (#44475825)

for fear they could be misused in ways that violate Americans' privacy rights.

But..but.. the people asking are professionally trained law enforcement officials. What's the problem?

Collecting it at all is a huge risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44475831)

If it exits at all, it can be put to malicious uses as well as good ones.

There are some systems that are too dangerous to build, especially if they are founded on a lack of open consultation with the public and without a clear legal standing. It's playing with fire. Blanket "90-day warrants for everything" and secret courts are NOT adequate oversight for this stuff. They never were. And they want to expand the application of this stuff? The answer better be "no".

As Expected... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44475833)

And so it begins...

Ya think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44475837)

"they could be misused in ways that violate Americans' privacy rights"

Really? This is the concern they have?

Let's hunt everybody! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44475855)

No wait, some people actually seem to enjoy "Americans' privacy rights". Does that apply to non-american citizens beeing spied upon too or is it just for govermental protection. gee.

Thanks message (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44475869)

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so uh um (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44475875)

WHO THE FUCK ARE THEY COLLECTING DATA FOR THEN?
NO REALLY
CAPS INTENDED
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hkaihsdh ashdkjasjsh
all this to be able to YELL AT THE USA

Problem is the data collection, not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44475897)

...the other agencies.
When they have warrants, why shouldn't they be able to consult the data? As long as it solves crimes.

If you are massively collecting my data ANYHOW, why not using it to catch the thief of my phone?
Or some rapists.

DEA already gets the data (5, Interesting)

scorp1us (235526) | about a year ago | (#44475899)

The DEA is getting the data [yahoo.com] and then falsifying the source of the data. And not telling the court or anyone about it. To protect national security is one thing, but to conduct non-national security operations using the data seems to me to be a blatant violation of the constitution.

Re:DEA already gets the data (2)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#44475999)

This doesn't surprise me. In the last decade we've had numerous stories of people's houses being raided or arrested or charged because of something they've said on Twitter and it's always made me a bit suspicious that these people got caught given they had only a handful of followers they knew closely.

Take the Doncaster airport guy in the UK who made a joke about blowing it up if the delays weren't sorted in 7 days or whatever - the chance of one of those few tens of people he had following him taking it seriously and reporting it to the police is probably about zero. In reality I suspect an NSA/GCHQ automated monitoring program picked it up and forwarded it to the police as a threat. The same goes for people who have flown to the US only to be investigated by border security for jokes they've made on Twitter - that shit doesn't just coincidentally get stumbled across in the pool of billions of tweets, it's being monitored and reported to all these agencies automatically, presumably through "anonymous tip off" - aka an NSA/GCHQ computer.

Re:DEA already gets the data (2)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about a year ago | (#44476515)

I think it's more likely you've fallen victim to the phenomenon of unrealistic view of probabilities, like people who fear terrorism but drive like idiots, which is much more likely to kill them.

Imagine all the millions of asshats who use Twitter every day. They probably generate tens of thousands of tweets similar to the UK example you cited, but you don't read about tens of thousands of similar arrests every day, do you?

So, you think the odds are "probably about zero", so let's say *only* ten thousand asshat tweets are generated every day, and the chance that the twits' "only a handful of followers" took it seriously was one in ten thousand - viola, there's one per day.

No need to posit nefarious use of surveillance there. Train your sights on the more likely abuses - high profile criminal cases, "terror cell plots unmasked", and more importantly, usage of data to make the rich richer. That's where the problem actually lies.

Re:DEA already gets the data (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#44476149)

If we allow that the CIA is part of the national security apparatus, rather than a bunch of sociopaths who go around the world screwing everything up for narrow political and corporate interests, then the DEA is absolutely an essential part of the national security apparatus too, as it promotes the high prices that gets the CIA its off-books funding [youtube.com] . See also the wrist-slap HSBC got for laundering trillions of dollars of drug money.

Oh, but Nancy Reagan said, "just say no", so none of that can be true. How gullible do they think we are?

Re:DEA already gets the data (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#44476461)

It's, but whats' worse is hiding the source of the info from the courts. It's indefensible, and completely unconstitutional. Watch for thousands of requests from defense attorneys to come rolling in now. A lot of people just got their get out of jail free cards.

Re:DEA already gets the data (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44476641)

The problem for the DEA is the CIA and US mil trains all of South America.
To avoid the Cubans, Russians. Nationalists leftists... all wanting to escape the bad national loans....
People know what a cell signal is, voice prints, calls made to the USA, tracking of everything entering US airspace...
Strange that it all works, the bank accounts stay open and shipments arrive... year after year after year, flight after flight, ship after ship... trucks... small subs...

Re:DEA already gets the data (1)

LF11 (18760) | about a year ago | (#44476717)

Thank you for this link.

Re:DEA already gets the data (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about a year ago | (#44476891)

To protect national security is one thing, but to conduct non-national security operations using the data seems to me to be a blatant violation of the constitution.

Except that part of the reason for the Bill of Rights is specifically to protect the citizens from having the government infringe on their rights for "national security" reasons. Saying it's for "national security" doesn't make it better, really.

What the founders feared, what the Bill of Rights was intended to be a protection against, was an oppressive government using its power to subdue people who opposed the government. So the First Amendment is not saying, "You have the freedom to express yourself artistically," so much as, "You have the freedom to speak out *against the government*." The Second Amendment is not saying, "You're allowed to have guns for hunting purposes," as much as, "You have the right to have military weapons *to protect yourself from the government*." And the 4th Amendment was not really focused on preventing overzealous police officers as much as it was about preventing the government from going after dissidents, rifling through their lives, looking for a pretext to arrest them.

It's really all about protecting people from the danger of a government using "national security" as a pretext for shutting down dissent. This NSA stuff is *exactly* what the founding fathers were worried about.

Missing Comma in Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44475909)

There needs to be a comma in the headline. It should be "Other Agencies Clamor For Data, NSA Compiles".

Irony (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44475923)

Intelligence officials say they have been careful to limit the use ... for fear they could be misused in ways that violate Americans' privacy rights

The irony in this statement is just mindboggling.

Squirrel? (1)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year ago | (#44475969)

I'm only here cuz I the article mentioned a squirrel.

First it's for national security, then it's revealed the DEA has it's own methods to spy on Americans sans warrant. The Constitution was put in place to limit the government...politicians can do whatever they want but they absolutely cannot decide not to comply with the Constitution. Don't they swear to uphold and defend it when they take office or are their fingers crossed?

defend the constitution (1)

tekrat (242117) | about a year ago | (#44476273)

They heard it as "uphold and DEFUND the constitution".

It's a misuse all right (2)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#44476011)

... for fear they could be misused in ways that violate Americans' privacy rights.

As opposed to misused in ways that doesn't violate Americans' privacy rights?

Irony? (1)

Greg Allen (3008951) | about a year ago | (#44476043)

Previously they might have been loath to allow access to their systems as their very existence was not "public" knowledge. Thanks to leaks that is no longer a hindrance...

Re:Irony? (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about a year ago | (#44477393)

You are missing the larger point that this illegal practice was occurring prior to the Snowden leaks. It is only visible/under public scrutiny as a result of the public awareness. There is nothing ironic about ignorance/bliss.

Give them an inch (1)

msobkow (48369) | about a year ago | (#44476063)

The governments of the entire world need to unify and rise up against this illegal intrusion into the private lives of their citizens, which violates the Charter of Rights here in Canada and equivalent legislation around the globe. Contrary to their self-righteous beliefs, the US is not the world police.

Furthermore, we need to hold our own governments to task for allowing our intelligence agencies to use information collected by the US as a means of bypassing the rights legislation that is supposed to protect our own citizens. CSIS is complicit in this, relying on US feeds of intelligence that are based on this illegally collected data.

But give them an inch, and they have already taken a league.

Now the other "police" agencies want access to the information, again in clear violation of our civil rights.

This will not end on it's own. It will only end if the people of the world unite in condemnation of this illegal activity. It is not up to the US citizens alone to protest. We all have to.

Re:Give them an inch (1)

blackest_k (761565) | about a year ago | (#44476421)

your assuming that there are governments that are not actively taking part or have their own versions of the same thing.

Iceland maybe has a clean government any other suggestions?

Let's chant the mantra.. (1)

RenHoek (101570) | about a year ago | (#44476085)

"We need to know who downloaded copies of 'The conjuring'. It's rated R, so imagine the horrors if a child were to download this! Do you hate children?!? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!" -- RIAA

I'll beat the dead horse a bit here. (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44476115)

The founding fathers didn't write the fourth amendment to protect us from intrusion in our personal information unless the agencies claimed they wouldn't abuse it.

They wrote the fourth amendment because they knew that if the power weren't prohibited, the information would be abused.

Lied about Why (2)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | about a year ago | (#44476475)

"careful to limit the use ... for fear they could be misused in ways that violate Americans' privacy rights."

Nonsense. The NSA restrict access for exactly the same reason as access to Ultra was restricted in Wrld War II. "If the enemy [the US public] knew we are reading their signals, they would take steps to prevent us continuing".

Yet another use (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476527)

seems to me that the FCC could use the data to track down all those calls from Rachel, and the calls to people without computers claiming that their computer has a virus.

Here we go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476553)

Maybe it's going to accelerate from now on onwards (or maybe it's still a tad too early for that).

When it comes around feel free to let out a “wheeeeee!” as all or much of the world plunges down the abyss. Keep an eye out for the spectacular falls of people “in power” (and their families etc.) and see if you can spot any sign of them realizing that they themselves built their Rube Goldberg suicide & murder machine :)

Data Driven Policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44476629)

There are numerous potential uses for this data that go well beyond enforcement activities.

Development of public and social policy based on data (rather than idealogic blather) looks like an obvious benefit.

Why should a select group of No Such Agencies be the exclusive benefactors of data collected about Americans.

Why not 'anonomyze' and 'open source' the lot?

Anybody else read that as (1)

trevc (1471197) | about a year ago | (#44476839)

Ad Agencies Clamor For Data NSA Compiles

Told you so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44477275)

To all the people who weren't overly concerned about the NSA gather "mere" metadata, I said that any system that could be used would be.

Turns out I was wrong. It was already being abused.

Re:Told you so (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44477487)

No, I told you so first! >:-(

In the late 90s, they passed anti-terrorism permissive powers, swearing up and down they would only use it against terrorists. Then proceeded to immediately use it against drugs.

They didn't even bother with the sophistry that drugs are akin to terrorism. They just bald facedly said the law didn't specify terrorists only, tough shit.

Actually, I tell a lie. The Founding Fathers said, "I told you so!" over 200 years ago. They knew history and the value of an absolutist constitution to prevent the inevitable slide to dictatorship. Forbid building the tools of dictatorship to begin with.

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