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US Intelligence Chief Defends Attempts To Break Tor

timothy posted about a year ago | from the we-want-to-have-torn dept.

Privacy 411

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Arik Hesseldahl writes that James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, says that the NSA tried to penetrate and compromise Tor, but it was only because terrorists and criminals use it, too and our "interest in online anonymity services and other online communication and networking tools is based on the undeniable fact that these are the tools our adversaries use to communicate and coordinate attacks against the United States and our allies." It was all legal and appropriate, Clapper argues, because, "Within our lawful mission to collect foreign intelligence to protect the United States, we use every intelligence tool available to understand the intent of our foreign adversaries so that we can disrupt their plans and prevent them from bringing harm to innocent Americans. Our adversaries have the ability to hide their messages and discussions among those of innocent people around the world. They use the very same social networking sites, encryption tools and other security features that protect our daily online activities." Clapper concludes that "the reality is that the men and women at the National Security Agency and across the Intelligence Community are abiding by the law, respecting the rights of citizens and doing everything they can to help keep our nation safe.""

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I feel safer... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050171)

and I don't even live in the states

Re:I feel safer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050259)

I wish he would have said something about getting rid of all the pedophiles on there too, then I'd feel extra safe!

Re:I feel safer... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#45050307)

Unless you're under 18, I can't see how.

Re:I feel safer... (3, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#45050425)

18? Make that 13 at most or so. Definitions, you know.

Re:I feel safer... (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#45050439)

Considering that a lot of countries consider you a pedo if you fuck a 17 year old, I stick with 18, just to be safe.

Yes, I know, common sense would say you're right... but then again, common sense has no room in laws concerning sex, drugs or copyright.

Re:I feel safer... (4, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#45050463)

Considering that a lot of countries consider you a pedo if you fuck a 17 year old, I stick with 18, just to be safe.

First, it's 15 where I live, and second, that number is called "age of consent" for a good reason, it's NOT called "cut-off for pedophilia diagnosis" or anything like that. It completely eludes me how people could consider it reasonable to mix such completely disparate notions.

Re:I feel safer... (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#45050513)

Personally I don't quite get the idea of it entirely. You're unfit for ... well, pretty much everything the day before your 18th birthday, but you're completely responsible for anything and everything the very next day.

What a difference a day makes...

Re:I feel safer... (4, Insightful)

DarkTempes (822722) | about a year ago | (#45050593)

And then you can be drafted and die for your country (unless you're female...then you have to volunteer) but you can't purchase alcohol until you're 21.

And then there's good evidence (National Institute of Health study among others) that the part of our brain that inhibits risky behavior doesn't fully develop until about 25.

Re:I feel safer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050623)

You have to draw a line somewhere and wherever you draw it it'll be arbitrary. Not drawing that line at all would be even sillier.

To me it's best that you draw a single line and get the full power and responsibility at the same age (with exceptions for the severely mentally handicapped). Otherwise you have multiple arbitrary lines like in some countries the age you can be conscripted/sign up as a soldier is lower than the age you can vote for the leaders who'd send you to die and which itself is lower than the age you can drink alcoholic beverages. And that to me is even sillier than a single arbitrary line.

Re:I feel safer... (4, Insightful)

geoskd (321194) | about a year ago | (#45050527)

and I don't even live in the states

You wouldn't feel that way if you lived here...

These people (Clapper, et all) don't even comprehend that what they are doing is wrong. They genuinely believe they are doing good! These people are far more dangerous than all of the terrorists combined because they are slowly and surely handing our country to a future tyrant who will commit more atrocities than all of the terrorists combined. In spite of that they believe they are on the side of righteousness.

Those that support these programs will not wake up to the reality of what they are doing / have done until it is too late to undo without massive bloodshed. We have the opportunity to stop it now, but I have little faith that the unwashed masses can be brought to understand what the "think of the children" mentality is doing to our country.

-=Geoskd

Re:I feel safer... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050601)

“Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws.” - John Adams

Re:I feel safer... (3, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#45050599)

and I don't even live in the states

well then you're "lucky" that he doesn't think he even needs to defend breaking laws of your country - because he thinks that's totally legal(fbi thinks so too).

hack usa sites, or just break usa law while staying out of the whole country or just write shit on the internet that american government should be bombed with predator clones since due to rules of engagement it would be totally just-> get extradited to usa if lucky, bombed from the sky along with your family if unlucky.

get hacked by usa-> can't do jack shit about it while usa shows the finger and spins bullshit about how it's legal.

Moral dilemma for the IT community (0)

PerlPunk (548551) | about a year ago | (#45050177)

On the one horn of the dilemma, we like privacy and want information to be free. So we embrace technologies like Tor, form darknets, etc. But on the other horn, there really are people out there who will use these technologies to bring harm to innocent people--for the greater good, of course (or for a profit). These people will use technology against our best wishes.

Re:Moral dilemma for the IT community (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050207)

What dilemma? Freedom has responsibilities, and so does protection of privacy and rights.
These "justifications" are just B.S. designed to ramp up fear so funding gets extended.
You are all being played as suckers and you really should think about taking your country back.
Also, any so-called "IT" staff that go along to implement this - you are collaborators of the worst kind, shame on you.

Re:Moral dilemma for the IT community (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050345)

I don't blame IT staff. The human animal is predictable. 99.9999% of them don't want trouble and will do morally shadowy things to avoid it. Saying no to the NSA gets you trouble a la Lavabit. I stand by Ledar Levison, but he has more balls than I ever would. (Of course I don't run a secret email service.) It also teaches us an important lesson. The weakest point in any internet security is the bag of meat responsible for it.

Re:Moral dilemma for the IT community (2)

pallmall1 (882819) | about a year ago | (#45050595)

I think that you are right about the justifications being a bunch of crap. And here's the dilemma:

... so that we can disrupt their plans and prevent them from bringing harm to innocent Americans.

Just who is deciding who is innocent? They decide who is innocent, and do so without the constitutionally guaranteed protections for the innocent.
I agree with the poster above and oppose the surveillance state.

Am I still innocent now? Was I ever? ...

Re:Moral dilemma for the IT community (5, Insightful)

supermonkeycool (641966) | about a year ago | (#45050245)

The same argument can be made about cars, trucks, planes, trains, fertilizer, guns, etc. It's not IT specific.

Re:Moral dilemma for the IT community (5, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year ago | (#45050249)

To put it another way: free speech means some folks will say things that match your opinion (a "good" thing!), but sometimes, they dare to say stuff you don't agree with! And the latter can't be allowed.

Or, for the mandatory vehicular analogy, a car can be used to bring kittens to an orphanage, or to plow into an orphan on the street and splatter it over the pavement.

That's not a problem with the tool but with the user. And the reason James Clapper here wants to forbid you to use encryption is pretty nefarious, even if he claims to want only "your good". So he and his agency should first learn to behave before telling us what to do.

Re:Moral dilemma for the IT community (1)

mstefanro (1965558) | about a year ago | (#45050405)

The analogy here is a bit stretched. Both cars and Tor are tools that can be used for good and bad,
but the former does not make it impossible for authorities to enforce the law when one is doing bad things.
Tor, on the other hand, allows pedophiles and whomever to use the tool for the bad without suffering
the consequences.
I am a crypto geek and a fan of Tor, but people just need to get their heads out of their butts already
and realize that this is a hard problem.
The tradeoff between the amount of anonymity you get and how well laws can be enforced is real and
choosing where to draw the line is nontrivial and subject to a lot of controversy. It is quite clear that NSA
and whoever else is doing these things have been crossing any reasonable line, but don't oversimplify the
issue at hand by making bloody car analogies.

Re:Moral dilemma for the IT community (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about a year ago | (#45050553)

You're stretching it too far the other way. Are you honestly suggesting we should be able to monitor the contents of all communications because someone *might* be using it to plan/execute a crime like sending child pornography?

Re:Moral dilemma for the IT community (4, Insightful)

bds1986 (1268378) | about a year ago | (#45050261)

The automobile has brought more harm to innocent people than Tor ever will. Every technology has unintended consequences.

Rubbish, there's no issue (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050299)

" But on the other horn, there really are people out there who will use these technologies to bring harm to innocent people--for the greater good, of course (or for a profit). These people will use technology against our best wishes."

There's no use for Tor that is against my interests. None. It's just speech going down wires. You may not like the kiddie diddlers discussing their kiddy diddling, or the terrorists discussing.... well nothing, because terrorists have no reason to use it... but its all just speech. Acts are not speech, people like Clapper pretend that saying things terrorists might say is the same as committing an *act* of terrorism.

" are abiding by the law, respecting the rights of citizens and doing everything they can to help keep our nation safe"

No they're not. They hacked domestic communications on Tor too. No political candidate exists now that doesn't have an NSA folder full of their dirty secrets. Which means that liars like Clapper can/have been shaping US politics to be pro-military. They've certainly been interfering in Europe's politics, EU Commission pretending that US spying on Europe is a US *domestic* issue, FFS.

If you accept that democracy is the basis for stable countries, then he's destabilized the US.
Safe? Safe from a free democracy?? That's what General Alexander has done.

You can see it when the ex NSA Chief dresses up in military garb and jokes about killing critics. You can see how far away from a free democracy you've gone.

Re:Rubbish, there's no issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050597)

I ask this with a heavy heart, because I believe we are on the same side overall, but

...the terrorists discussing.... well nothing, because terrorists have no reason to use [Tor]...

are you truly so deluded as to believe that secure communications aren't useful to "terrorists" or indeed any sort of military or paramilitary organization, no matter its alignment?

Re:Moral dilemma for the IT community (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year ago | (#45050337)

And that is the price of freedom. Some will abuse it. There is no moral dilemma; you don't compromise others rights for some imaginary sense of security. .

Moral dilemma for Cowards (4, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#45050347)

I've got news for you, friend. Information has never harmed a single soul. It takes action to do that. Information doesn't kill people, people do. The NSA does not preempt terrorist threats, and even if they did, the cost to the rest of our lives is too much. They've inundated themselves with data and can't make sense of any of it until after the actions have been performed. Besides, folks could just send post cards with stenographic messages on them, or any other low-tech solution. Tor and darknets wouldn't need to exist if we didn't feel insecure.

More folks die of heart disease every year than over fifty 9/11's... 2,996 died in 9/11. 597,689. [cdc.gov] Two Hundred Times More, Every Year! If the NSA wanted to protect us they'd be making tastier health food. Over six times more Americans take their own lives every year than the Terrorists did in their worst attack against us. The threat is fucking pathetic, and those spreading the fear narrative should be fired. Humans have deep psychological, evolutionarily encoded, desires to protect our lives and those of women and children even more. This is psychological warfare.

I know it sounds cold hearted, but we can put a price on a human life. We can look at the lifespan and the benefit to society that life may contribute, and quantify a life to some degree. This is not to dehumanize people, but to put into perspective the ethics of fearmongering. A few thousand died at the hands of terrorists, but now hundreds of millions suffer every day at their loss of privacy. The aggregate suffering is far greater than that of the worst tortures to the few. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. IMO, It's better not to live in fear of your government for your entire life than to say, lose a limb. I would give up my left leg to end this NSA spying on me, and all Americans. What I really fear that they are turning more people against us every day!

Privacy is worth something. We need private space to be fully human, and as our lives deal more and more online that privacy needs to be extended online as well. Folks wouldn't be encrypting shit if they felt they could trust the networks.

The NSA is wounding us deeply. Their actions make them seem like the other secret police we fought against. We didn't need such a police state since we were brave and good people. Soldiers took up the call to fight for our nation because we had honor. The NSA is stripping away our honor. Many would not fight for us because of it. The NSA is a Threat to National Security. These fearmongers are injecting poison into the veins of our country. They will not ever decrease the dosage, and if we let them continue, they will increase it and destroy our great nation from the inside out.

Think for a second about the lengths we've got to because of the pathetic terrorist attacks. Now, what if the NSA really did try to protect us from real harms we face? The NSA would monitor everything you ate and tax you if you more if you ate "unhealthy" food, whatever they deem that to be. The NSA would be monitoring every vehicle location and remotely shutting folks down cars. They'd be preemptively sending cops into your home to make sure your bad-day didn't turn into a suicide.

We have secret ballots for a reason. The invasion of privacy must end.

Re:Moral dilemma for Cowards (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050499)

I've got news for you, friend. Information has never harmed a single soul.

Goatse and Tubgirl beg to differ.

Re:Moral dilemma for Cowards (2, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#45050505)

I'm sorry, but maybe you should go back and apply some critical thinking to what you wrote.

For example:

"Information has never harmed a single soul."

The fact is information about what people are doing is a critical component of national security, in both war and peace. A key determinant of the success or failure of any action is the quality of the information available. From revolutionary war spies like Nathan Hale and Miss Jenny, to the code breakers that made the battle of Midway a success for America and to yesterday's capture of Anas Al-Libi, it is clear information is critical to any operation.

Re:Moral dilemma for Cowards (3, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#45050545)

I know it sounds cold hearted, but we can put a price on a human life.

This is not just about a life. It is about a life worth living. Give me liberty, or give me death.
Privacy is a very important part of liberty. You can have privacy without liberty. You can not have liberty without privacy.

So how much is that life worth living?

And remember, you have nothing to fear, but fear itself.

Re:Moral dilemma for Cowards (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050579)

Information has never harmed a single soul? How old are you?

Re:Moral dilemma for Cowards (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050583)

"I've got news for you, friend. Information has never harmed a single soul. It takes action to do that."

The words of an apologist. To invoke Godwin - do you suppose that those compiling the information that identified all the Jews in wartime Germany never harmed anyone. Culpability and responsibility run the length of the change, from those providing the information down to those acting upon it. Time to grow up and live in the real world with the adults if you want to join this conversation.

Re:Moral dilemma for the IT community (3, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#45050397)

The problem isn't that those who wants to harm us communicate in ways we have problems listening to. The problem is that they want to harm us.
Our efforts on listening in on everybody so we can classify more enemies creates more people who hate us.
When followed up with drone strikes on mere suspects not convicted of anything, and people who are guilty of being nearby, we really fuel the fire.

Yes, the thought that possible enemies are communicating without us being able to listen in burns us up. But when listening in creates animosity which grows to hatred, it's counter-productive.

You don't get fewer snakebites by digging every nearby hill to find dens, and poke the snakes to find out whether they're agressive or not. You leave them alone, knowing that they are out there, and some of them may be dangerous. Co-existing works. Paranoia doesn't.

Re:Moral dilemma for the IT community (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about a year ago | (#45050443)

On the one horn of the dilemma, we like privacy and want information to be free. So we embrace technologies like Tor, form darknets, etc. But on the other horn, there really are people out there who will use these technologies to bring harm to innocent people--for the greater good, of course (or for a profit). These people will use technology against our best wishes.

When you say "these people will use technology against our best wishes", which people are you referring to - the "people out there", or the people in the NSA, the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies?

Bunch of fucking liars and criminals (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050179)

The people that work in the NSA are a bunch or criminals. From the top leaders down to the last analyst.
They're undermining democracy this is the reality. The few good men that worked there and that tried to expose all the illegal acts going on (including of course Snowden) were ostracized, kicked out and prosecuted.
Fuck them, Osama should have droped a couple of 747s on their HQ instead of the WTC. He'd done a great service to democracy.

Re:Bunch of fucking liars and criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050295)

Do you remember the original definition for terrorism?

the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.

If you're an actor in asymmetric warfare, by definition, you don't have resources... so if your goal is to terrorise, why not do it by proxy for maximum impact? Isn't this what this is? Attention-seeking organisations and persons who want to terrorise governments and their populaces commit random acts of violence targeting whatever weak points they can find to enforce a persistent state of alertness at the law enforcement level whilst intelligence agencies who are paranoid, by their very nature, try to reduce the risk of terrorism to 0%, which is impossible. We find metrics regarding human lives abhorrent, but we are completely hypocritical. It's out extreme focus on intent and purpose that causes these problems, if we relied on metrics measuring actual impact we would be focusing on health issues and vehicle safety, not terrorism. This simply leads to an arms race of intelligence and law enforcement techniques to further this insane goal of reducing this risk to nothing, meanwhile, the consequences are exactly what was intended by the people they're trying to fight, a state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization, whether directly or indirectly, intentional or unintentionally. Western society has inadvertently created a fear feedback loop constructed from law enforcement agencies, the media and herd mentality. It needs to be broken.

Re:Bunch of fucking liars and criminals (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#45050329)

Only shows that the average terrorist organization sorely lacks a PR department. Just ponder what would happen if they blew up the NSA HQ and some of its branches, then release whatever secrets they store. Yeah, sure, every country on this planet would condemn it to hell and back, but if you're looking for an "alliance of the willing", you'd be very lonely, I betcha.

Why slap the hand that does your dirty work?

US committing hostile acts on the world (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050181)

The rest of the world just sees the US committing hostile acts on every citizen of the planet, and also that the US is undermining freedom and communication across the world. You have to stop what you're doing, because you're wrecking everything, and your "justifications" are hollow.
Stop it.
Now.

Re:US committing hostile acts on the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050277)

That'll work.

Re:US committing hostile acts on the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050395)

See? Instead of action, you just come on to deride.
Suck it up - your country is the enemy of the world, and by deriding comments to clean up your act, you're aiding that enemy.

Re:US committing hostile acts on the world (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#45050349)

They won't. Who could make them?

There is no need to play nice guy anymore, the Soviet Union doesn't exist anymore, we don't need to pretend that you want to be our friend because the other side is so evil, we have found a new "other side" that's SO terrible that even our atrocities look like we're nice in comparison.

People look strangely when I claim the Soviet Union ensured our liberty, but I think it becomes more and more obvious that it did.

Re:US committing hostile acts on the world (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050465)

Well, growing up, I kept hearing about how wonderful and free the US is, so much more than the rest of the world. I kept hearing about the Second Amendment, but it only seems to be used in cases of killing a whole bunch of innocent people instead of being used to take back the government.
Frankly, enough of you weren't paying attention, or were caught up in partisan politics to see that you've been duped.
Now that it's time to do something, no one seems willing to step up. I don't think the "Founding Fathers" would appreciate what a nation of cowards your once great nation has become. Get fat, bitch on Facebook, and just complain until the next atrocity comes down the pipe. Don't worry, your talking heads will justify this all on your "News" broadcasts.

Re:US committing hostile acts on the world (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year ago | (#45050357)

Tell your government to stop too.

Re:US committing hostile acts on the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050429)

What does this statement even mean? We have no NSA. We're not accused of wiretapping the world.
This issue is yours to clean up.

OK, maybe I'll buy that... (2)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year ago | (#45050187)

James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, says that...the NSA tried to penetrate and compromise Tor, but it was only because terrorists and criminals use it, too...

Well, he's right. As far as that goes. Trouble is, there's a disconnect between investigating terrorists/other criminals and wholesale spying on honest citizens. One can only suppose the term "honest citizen" is a term entirely alien to their comprehension...

Re:OK, maybe I'll buy that... (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#45050469)

What does citizenship have to do with anything? The rights not to have your privacy trampled by any government should be universal, and not dependent on citizenship.

Officials learn terrorist and criminals use cash (5, Funny)

bsandersen (835481) | about a year ago | (#45050191)

In a combined statement the FBI, DEA, and Homeland Security announce a startling discovery: terrorists and criminals use cash. As a result, law enforcement agencies are seizing cash and "near cash" equivalents such as bank accounts from all US residents. Quoting law enforcement officials, "We have only just learned that cash can be used for criminal and terrorist activities. We hope the public understands the eminent danger of these systems and cooperates with these seizures. Our goal is always to prevent harm to the public and once we learned that cash was used by nearly 100% of all terrorist and criminal activities in some form or another we knew we needed to act."

Re:Officials learn terrorist and criminals use cas (3, Interesting)

pipatron (966506) | about a year ago | (#45050237)

Actually, a better "analogy" is that they work hard on making sure that cash can't be used anonymously. Each transaction must be monitored (serial numbers on every bill, cameras in every ATM and store), and controlled (demanding proof of ownership for depositing cash at a bank, removing the possibility to actually use cash for buying travel documents).

Much like they are working hard on trying to make sure Tor can't be used anonymously.

Re:Officials learn terrorist and criminals use cas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050279)

some of that.. logging of currency serial numbers at certain places in the distribution chain.. is already being done.

Re:Officials learn terrorist and criminals use cas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050323)

Fat lot of good that will do to the huge number of $$$$$ bills that are in daily use in many other parts of the world often for very illegal purposes.

Their checking of serial numbers will 99% of the time catch local crooks and not the terrorists.

Failure on all reasons.

Re:Officials learn terrorist and criminals use cas (1)

am 2k (217885) | about a year ago | (#45050355)

I disagree. TOR's solely purpose is to provide anonymity. If they remove that aspect, all that's left of TOR is adding delays to your network connections and allowing exit nodes to sniff your traffic. There is no value left, thus they're destroying it.

Also, considering LOVEINT, there's no reason to assume that you're just anonymous to everyone except the US agencies. The NSA agents have no reason why they wouldn't sell any intel to the highest bidder, since there's no traceability nor accountability (remember that the agents only got caught because they confessed; somebody selling the same info would never do that). I'm pretty sure that there are a lot of US companies that'd love to get their hands on the intel the NSA collects.

All power to them (2)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year ago | (#45050201)

I wouldn't trust Tor at all if national intelligence agencies didn't expend considerable resources to break it. Competition is what drives this technology forward.

Re:All power to them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050273)

According to stuff that Snowden leaked, they haven't broken Tor despite trying hard.

Re:All power to them (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#45050519)

Recall the early days of brand name VoIP with p2p qualities? keep using it, its safe...difficult, tricky, outside the USA, complex...
Then reality unfolds years later :)
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/09/let-us-count-the-ways-how-the-feds-legally-technically-get-our-data/ [arstechnica.com]

I don't have a problem with them breaking tor ... (1)

lisabeeren (657508) | about a year ago | (#45050209)

provided it isn't abused... oh wait ...

Even if you want to be an apologist for those. . . (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#45050233)

. . .currently in the biz, the means to preclude future tyranny in all this are unclear. Maybe if the House of Representatives maintained anything like its original proportions [thirty-thousand.org] , we'd have enough people actually elected by voters in place to give us more of a warm fuzzy about the oversight.

Re:Even if you want to be an apologist for those. (5, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#45050491)

. Maybe if the House of Representatives maintained anything like its original proportions, we'd have enough people actually elected

It is fascinating how there are so many initiatives to change the properties of the US government and the Constitution just because it has become harder for Republicans to win elections.

- Mark Levin's desire to add 11 new amendments to the Constitution.
- ALEC's efforts to repeal the 17th Amendment
- Movements in states to secede from the Union.
- Forcing students to vote in their home districts instead of where they live 9 months of the year.
- Requiring government-issued IDs less than a year old for voting, even as the offices that issue those IDs are being closed in poor and minority neighborhoods.

All because Republicans can't get a majority of Americans to vote for them*. It's even caused guys like Smitty to stop calling themselves Republican, hoping the stink of the Party of Reagan will somehow fade.

(*In the 2012 congressional elections, half a million more votes were cast for Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives than Republican, yet Republicans maintained a 234-195 seat majority. It was only because of red state gerrymandering that there is a Republican majority in the House, even as blue states move toward non-partisan drawing of congressional districts.)

Contradiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050215)

He says his folks are:
  1) abiding by the law, respecting the rights of citizens
      and
  2) doing everything they can to help keep our nation safe.

Those tow seem mutually exclusive.

Which says one should be careful what one asks the intellegence community to do.

Re:Contradiction (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#45050411)

He says they are. Now, give me one reason why I should believe him. Where's the oversight? Why should I trust him?

I'm in IT security myself, and "trust" is a big issue. Trust saves you time. If you trust an entity, you put some burden of security on someone else, the entity that you trust. E.g., you trust a CA and its issued certificates so you don't have to verify all the various certs out there yourself. We trust the CAs out of convenience and out of practicality. And in turn CAs are audited and checked constantly to ensure they are up to speed with their security. Still, security blunders happen. But at least there are means and ways to not only detect them but also to remedy them, and most importantly: It is your, and only your, decision whether or not you trust a CA. You can decide unilaterally to declare certs issued by one or even all CAs as untrustworthy for yourself (and yourself alone).

So we have oversight, security audition, breach discovery and unilateral opt-out (or even opt-in).

NONE of these features apply to the NSA. Hence there is exactly ZERO reason for me to trust that entity AT ALL, from a security point of view. I cannot audit them, I cannot determine the security of their setup, I cannot determine the actual scope of their work and most of all I cannot decide against trusting them.

Sorry, but there is no reason to trust him. On what? His word? Well, great, here's my word that I won't do anything stupid, dangerous or illegal. It's just as good as his. So he can stop spying on me now.

Re:Contradiction (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#45050555)

Thats why most nations try to keep their domestic and foreign shield and sword agencies differentiated at some level.
Once people know their own their gov is listening in and it will be used in court they begin to alter their habits. The social contract falters.
They quickly work out they have the legal protections a random foreigner with a residence permit. No charming diplomats and skilled lawyers.
Gone are the easy days of signals intelligence, welcome the informants.

WHY SHOULD WE TRUST YOU? (4, Insightful)

Simulant (528590) | about a year ago | (#45050223)

Why?

Re:WHY SHOULD WE TRUST YOU? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#45050419)

As I pointed out above, there is no reason at all to trust them. Actually, there's plenty of reason to revoke any trust put into this entity in the first place. It does not conform to any requirements for a trusted security partner.

From a security point of view, trusting the NSA is impossible.

Sure. (2)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#45050247)

The same thing can be said for opening all the letters, listening to all the phone calls since the postal office actually allows anonymous letters and the phone companies anonymous calls. Some even operate anonymous public phone booths, the bastards!

or... (2)

sjwt (161428) | about a year ago | (#45050251)

Anyone else feel that is NSA says they tried to compromise Tor but didn't, that means they know someone's about to release something that shows they were working on it.. and I'd guess they have not failed.

Re:or... (2)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | about a year ago | (#45050301)

No, that happened two days ago, but /. never picked it up. 'Tor Stinks' [theguardian.com]

Top-secret presentation says 'We will never be able to de-anonymize all Tor users all the time' but 'with manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users'

Re:or... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#45050615)

Yes something is wrong with that "manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction".
Its just other traffic on the NSA internal network we know as the internet.
Any message sent could be seen at the first ip changing hop, travel the Tor world trip, then seen at its final destination ip connection (lets say US to US or US friendly nation).
Might be hard in real time, but give a few days of total internet use to sort...
The other aspect is the FoxAcid idea. You would need tame ("US") antivirus vendor cooperation? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Lantern_(software) [wikipedia.org] ?
Antivirus vendor cooperation in the US as most targets in the USA trust US antivirus software on tame US consumer OS?
Thats a lot of hope that no smart user or international antivirus brand ever gets lucky.

Clapper...you are a fucking liar! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050255)

You are quite literally a front-end organization for a bunch of wanna-be fascists. Did you think no one would notice the replacing of the "Dear Leader" dictator role with an extended select group of business contacts and family members?

It always ends badly clapper...remember that.

There you have it, folks... (5, Insightful)

Le Marteau (206396) | about a year ago | (#45050263)

Our government explicitly says, privacy is a threat to our safety, and it is the duty of our government to prevent privacy from being possible at all costs.

Go ahead, people. Keep voting for the republicans, because at least they are not democrats. Oh, I mean, keep voting for democrats, because at least they are not republicans. NOTHING is going to change that way. They'll keep boning us up the ass with this "oh noooo... can't have privacy.... TARE! Fnord! War on TARE!!!!"

Actually y'know what? Fuck y'all. YOU are responsible for this. Not me. I have not voted for either major party in DECADES. YOU... YOU are responsible for allowing this to happen. YOU have gotten the government you deserve, you half-wits. Sadly, I am the one who has to suffer for you turds voting for the jackasses (Bush, Obama, whatever) who allow and enable shit like this.

Privacy for you, not for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050377)

"Our government explicitly says, privacy is a threat to our safety"

Not quite, a faction of the government (an office under the executive) says that *your* privacy is a threat to safety. However *they* want 100% privacy, the money they have, how its spent, the laws they break, the new interpretation of laws they invent, everything kept private.

Thousands of analysts can see your private data, but you'll never see Obama's file (in the 'lockbox'). I bet General Alexander ensures his details are deleted. He's not an idiot.

"Go ahead, people. Keep voting for.."
Who the hell voted for this? Nobody did! It's a General simply deciding to collect everyone's data and nobody having enough power to sack him. Vote for the third party, even if he wins it makes zero difference, because everyone in his party will have their file in the NSA there as leverage.

I'd love to see Barosso's file (EU Commission President), it must be a stinker.

Re:There you have it, folks... (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#45050433)

If voting could change anything, I guess it would have been identified as a threat to our safety as well.

Re:There you have it, folks... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050609)

I have not voted for either major party in DECADES

Therein lies the real problem. Half the eligible adults don't vote, or waste their votes on non-entities like the "Green Party", and then obnoxiously proclaim they have no responsibility.

I'll start listening to what this guy has to say (4, Insightful)

Rougement (975188) | about a year ago | (#45050289)

... just as soon as he's done serving his sentence for perjuring himself in front of Congress.

Re:I'll start listening to what this guy has to sa (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#45050435)

Why would you listen to a convicted felon if you don't want to listen to one not convicted yet?

Re:I'll start listening to what this guy has to sa (2)

Rougement (975188) | about a year ago | (#45050445)

Because shut up.

Except that they weren't able to do it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050291)

... at least according to the published documents. Ho-ho-ho

One controversial view I've not really seen put (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050313)

As 'part of the rest of the world', I clearly have no rights in the eyes of the NSA.

This leads me to a question: If Americans are the only ones who can influence NSA policy, and Americans continue to allow such policies, is there such a thing as an innocent American?

Put another way: As a foreigner, why do I have no right to privacy in the eyes of the USA?

Re:One controversial view I've not really seen put (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#45050633)

It gets to be a game of East Germany and West Germany. Who do you want to avoid been seen with to get in good with West Germany?
The rest of the world just moves around the East Germany aspect.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050341)

"and doing everything they can to help keep our nation safe."..... At the expense of everything our nation once stood for....

Buffoons.

When does Clapper tell the truth? (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about a year ago | (#45050359)

The pope has the infallibility thing, in which he tells us when he's infallible, so we don't go confusing his regular fallible musings.

How about Clapper? When do we know he's telling the truth? Could he not wear some kind of special hat on the rare occasions when he's speaking truthfully on matters of great import? I'd suggest he wink when he's not telling the truth, but he'd be winking so often during congressional hearings he'd seem to be having a stroke.

You keep using that word. (2)

arthurpaliden (939626) | about a year ago | (#45050361)

"we use every intelligence tool available to understand the intent of our foreign adversaries" I do not think the word foreign means what you think it does. Foreign if you look it up in any dictionary and then apply it in context to the United States means non American citizens.

lawfull (1)

pesho (843750) | about a year ago | (#45050363)

He keeps using that word, but I don't think it means what he thinks it means.

Re:lawfull (1)

kenh (9056) | about a year ago | (#45050441)

The NSA is tasked with gathering foreign intelligence, and to accomplish that objective they sometimes have to decrypt encoded messages. How is the attempt to decrypt TOR traffic "illegal"? Is TOR only used by US citizens, for lawful purposes and between domestic end-points?

Re:lawfull (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050497)

It means the US law says that US citizens don't need to follow the laws of other countries outside the US.
I think this would be acceptable if the US law also stated that foreigners don't need to follow the US law when they are in the US.

As long as it only works one-way, the US law is basically just one big f*ck-you to the rest of the world.
Since the only meaningful definition (and reason for) terrorism is "not liking each other", f*ck-you isn't particularly helpful.

There's no need to compromise anonymity, NSA (1)

Guest316 (3014867) | about a year ago | (#45050385)

I've erected a "Terrorism-Free Zone" sign in front of my building.

Re:There's no need to compromise anonymity, NSA (1)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | about a year ago | (#45050627)

Brilliant!

Reads like a poor troll post (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#45050389)

You know the kind where someone posts something like the story expecting to be -1 with 10 angry responses, but instead gets +5 funny for being bluntly so obvious that its not serious.

If the NSA did break it I would have fun making destroy_america_plan.tor or mall_of_america_attack_bitcoin_account.tor and have just a pic of the goatse guy for NSA's enjoyment. For the slashdotters who werent here 12 years and remember the goatse troll go google goatse.ru and let me know if that would be cruel and unusual punishment?

How about destroying the WTC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050421)

The terrorists use it, too. Oh wait...

OMG! The NSA tried to decrypt TOR traffic?! (1)

kenh (9056) | about a year ago | (#45050431)

Oh, wait, isn't that kinda their job? The value of TOR lies in it's inability to be cracked, why is anyone surprised that the NSA tried to crack it?

Now, if the report was that the NSA had been able to successfully crack TOR that would be noteworthy...

Seems like a reasonable argument to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050447)

After all, if you work for Big Brother, then you're covered for whatever you do.
It works for JP Morgan in commodity, stock market, and foreign exchange manipulation.
It ony failed once for some folks in Nurenberg.

A Justification for Anything (1)

Phrogman (80473) | about a year ago | (#45050451)

This is more or less a justification for any action the NSA might take.

They already have access to pretty much *all* communications in the world. I for one am sure glad that helped prevent the Boston bombings and the recent attack on the mall in Kenya.

If they are already unable to detect and prevent bad things from happening at the hands of terrorists, what justifies attempting to crack one of the few means of privacy we have left? In their rampant pursuit of obtaining *all* communications they have trampled the rights of individuals to any shred of privacy - and apparently accomplished absolutely nothing of major value before it happened. Sure, the ability to subvert communications world wide might let them track down a terrorist leader a decade or so later but is that enough justification for crushing the rights of every human on the fucking planet?

They used to do this stuff using human assets - actual members of the CIA going out and recruiting agents, analyzing data received, finding targets and then determining what to do about them, but when they came across the absolute "sexiness" of electronic spying, they cut waaaaaaay back on human spying, turned the problem over the NSA and cut the budget (more likely spend more on the NSA than they did on CIA employees and bribes to prospective agents). In the process they apparently decided it was necessary to spy on all American citizens as well, in violation of the law, as well as on all the citizens of their friends and allies.

I hope they have been unable to crack TOR, even though I don't use it, because its one of the few options people have for privacy, and I have yet to hear them provide any details on anything they have concerning terrorists actually using this technology.

This could be a good thing (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about a year ago | (#45050471)

As long as we know that the NSA is doing this, I'm happy to have them as pentesters. Who better to help keep TOR's security top notch?

Information Sharing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050475)

Awesome! Just don't share your findings with the other three letter agencies and we might be in agreement.

i am amazed at how stupid people are... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050479)

...who would trust Tor. It was born a government project, by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, and it is funded by the DOD and the State department. I assume that it has backdoors from the beginning. I am sadden the EFF gave money to this and I do not believe that the NSA any trouble at all getting anything they want from the network. Everything they say in public is a lie. They laugh at you when you Tor.

three words (2)

SeanBlader (1354199) | about a year ago | (#45050487)

It only takes three words to sum up how untrustworthy the NSA is, "Pressure Cooker Backpack".

"Only terrorists and criminals use it" (2)

tmosley (996283) | about a year ago | (#45050501)

Of course, because in National Socialist America, EVERYONE is a terrorist and a criminal.

It's impossible to rule a nation of innocents.

Criminals and Terrorists also ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050531)

Plan things in the privacy of Their homes. The NSA gonna start monitoring that, too? The Supreme Court has already that justification is not enough in the latter case.

value for money! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050543)

i think this "intelligence" stuff -aka- spying is pretty cool IF they would
actually tell the information to the people that pay their salaries ...

in a sense this would be the ultimate government funded news service for the public : P

News Flash! Spy agency wants to spy! (3, Insightful)

sirwired (27582) | about a year ago | (#45050549)

Gee, an organization tasked with intercepting and interpreting electronic communications wants to intercept and interpret electronic communications! Who woulda thunk it?

The NSA has certainly done a poor job keeping it's nose clean, but personally, I'd be rather disappointed if they weren't trying to de-anonymize Tor! Figuring out who is talking to who, and how often, called Signals Intelligence, is the bedrock of intelligence analysis (and has been even before the NSA existed), and in many ways is more important than knowing what they are saying.

In addition, if the NSA were to suddenly be hit with a clue-by-four by federal judges actually doing their job, they would need the de-anonymizing information to perform proper filtering of domestic communications.

Re:News Flash! Spy agency wants to spy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050619)

Yes, why is this 'news' and why is it being written about week after week? Sounds like someone hiding in Russia and a gay reporter in England have an agenda.

We live in a society with rules, if you want the rules to change, then elect people that will pass laws that protect digital privacy. But, these loud mouth civil libertarians that are all 'shocked' are the people I can't stand.

Clapper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050551)

Has been revealed already to be a liar in Congressional testimony. Now, he's mad he can't break a system originally designed by the US military. How wonderful for him.

Does anyone else get the feeling this has less to do with "criminals" and "terrorists" and it's more of a pissing contest between powerful groups within the US government?

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45050635)

We have dropped 5000 nuclear warheads on each country of the planet and subjugated the survivors as slaves, but it was only because terrorists and criminals lived there, too.

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