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114 comments

There really know why... (5, Insightful)

jcdr (178250) | about 5 months ago | (#45549829)

... there don't want to be vulnerable to others agencies like them !

Re:There really know why... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45549989)

... there don't want to be vulnerable to others agencies like them !

There? Their? They're? Thor? Theater? Thing?

The word is they.

Re:There really know why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550467)

I had difficulty reading OP's post as well, figuring he was DWP (drunk while posting). But it's moderated +4 Insightful, so I figured OP must be making some sort of insightful point by using bad grammar and it was just going over my head. Then thinking about it a little more, I've gone back to my original conclusion that the OP is drunk and have also concluded that the moderators are DWM (drunk while moderating).

Re:There really know why... (2)

jcdr (178250) | about 5 months ago | (#45550935)

I am not drunk, but I don't speak English !
This make the same result, you will say...

Re:There really know why... (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about 5 months ago | (#45552659)

No, it is a good point. The data is encrypted by the time complexity of finding anything useful.

Re:There really know why... (4, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | about 5 months ago | (#45550487)

The NSA has the capability to MITM any http connection. Slashdot doesn't support https unless you pay them. The NSA uses information to discredit people. This isn't news -- it's been posted on slashdot. Combine these facts and you'll realize the truth: the NSA intercepted his POST packets, scanned them, then inserted typos to discredit him. Consider their capabilities and you'll realize I shoved a turkey baster up my asshole and jacked off in the mashed potatoes.

Re:There really know why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550805)

You're supposed to stuff the turkey not the other way around

Re:There really know why... (2)

Mashiki (184564) | about 5 months ago | (#45550787)

Nah it's probably closer to what I've run across on this job here in Alberta working for a municipal government body. It's laziness, mixed with the "people at the top" not having a feking clue about archival or their desire to move forward. An example: Everyone in the building uses muniware or something else, the people at the top are still doing all the work by hand, and refuse blindly to update. Meeting minutes for city council are all stored on paper, there are no backups, there's no archives, nothing. And really it just screams another Slave Lake. [wikipedia.org]

Re:There really know why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45551349)

Security through obscurity...

Re:There really know why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45551583)

Security through obscurity...

Security through antiquity. FTFY

Re:There really know why... (2)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 5 months ago | (#45552423)

Nothing so advanced, based on my experience in a government contracting office usually it boils down to this:

Legal requirements for maintaining paper copies
20+ years of 'this is how we do it'
current state of 'but digitizing papers with signatures on them requires discipline'

Trust me, I'd LOVE to have the contracts in an electronic format. It's damned annoying that every time I want to know what changed from one contract mod to the next that I have to get the contracting office to produce a scanned (but not OCR'd) copy of the signed original and then play 'guess what one line changed' on a 200 page document.

Re:There really know why... (3, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 5 months ago | (#45553681)

play 'guess what one line changed' on a 200 page document.

This is why ALL government documents (law, contracts, etc) should be kept as a relatively plain text format in a Git repo, and if any party wants to change it, it should get branched, commits should be signed, and merges should should also be signed by those who approved them.

It would be most informative to see who proposed the "kill people and make them into soylent green" filibusters to "The Happy Kittens and Gifts To Orphans Bill"

It's not just for information security (2)

mbkennel (97636) | about 5 months ago | (#45553725)


There's little doubt this is intentional.

The primary 'hackers' that the NSA is worried about is Congressional oversight and the Government Accountability Office, or any kind of auditors.

Inability to find relevant information is precisely the goal.

 

Impossible to steal too... (4, Insightful)

skaralic (676433) | about 5 months ago | (#45549857)

On the upside, for the NSA, that makes a Snowden-like leak pretty much impossible.

Re:Impossible to steal too... (1)

DrLang21 (900992) | about 5 months ago | (#45550749)

This very well may have been the point.

Re:Impossible to steal too... (3, Interesting)

Psykechan (255694) | about 5 months ago | (#45550995)

Then the purpose of gathering the data was pointless too. If these files are truly "unsearchable" then it has absolutely no value and the act of storing it is a waste of taxpayer money.

This is simply a tactic to make it more difficult for FOIA requests. Terry Childs went to jail over this sort of gross negligence. Whomever designed this system should also be held responsible.

Sadly the text of the FOIA [cornell.edu] doesn't really talk about penalties for non compliance, it just states that the AG should submit a report. Yea, good luck with that.

Re:Impossible to steal too... (1)

beatle42 (643102) | about 5 months ago | (#45552453)

Gathering which data was pointless? A contract officer can surely put their hands on whatever contracts they need, but no one can easily find information about contracts they aren't managing. For an organization that tries to be highly compartmentalized that really sounds like a pretty good thing. Making it difficult for someone who doesn't specifically know what they want to get information is the point, FOIA is just one avenue they care about.

Re:Impossible to steal too... (1)

jalopezp (2622345) | about 5 months ago | (#45553919)

s/whomever/whoever/

'Who(m)ever designed this system' is a subject clause of the sentence. Within this clause, 'Who(m)ever' is the subject of design. You use whomever for subjects.

I have this marvellous new invention for you! (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#45549861)

It's called a Hollerith card tabulating machine. I can make you a good price!

Re:I have this marvellous new invention for you! (5, Funny)

guttentag (313541) | about 5 months ago | (#45550249)

It's called a Hollerith card tabulating machine. I can make you a good price!

NSA PROCUREMENT OFFICE (EQUIPMENT DIVISION)

Mr. Kyosuke:

Thank you for your recent letter offering a good price on a Hollerith machine. I regret to inform you that the NSA already has several of these in its possession that were purchased at an IBM auction of surplus machines [wikipedia.org] that had been leased to the German government [huffingtonpost.com] in the 1940s. We have made many custom improvements to the German machines over the years and would not think of wasting them on something as trivial as contracts.

However, as replacement parts for these machines are in short supply and knowledge of their purpose is a forgotten state secret we have sent agents from the Procurement Office (Human Division) to collect you and your machine. They are at your front and back doors now. Please cooperate with them fully to make this easier on everyone.

Again, thank you for contacting the NSA and helping us keep you safe.

Huh (1)

koan (80826) | about 5 months ago | (#45549871)

Kind of strange reading this as I always assumed that's how it would be, obfuscated.
Still it's weirdly titillating to see it confirmed.

Re:Huh (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about 5 months ago | (#45549969)

The quote is:

A search for overly broad keywords such as "CNO" and "computer network attack" would be tantamount to conducting a manual search through thousands of folders and then reading each document in order to determine whether the document pertains to a contract.

Tantamount means "equivalent in seriousness to; virtually the same as." So they didn't actually directly say that these files are on paper. Though there isn't any other explanation for why it would require a manual search. Either way, how can we actually trust that they're telling the truth there?

Re: Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550251)

That's my point, the entire purpose is obsfucation, but you can bet if they need info it's easy to find.

Re:Huh (1)

lennier (44736) | about 5 months ago | (#45550949)

The quote is:

A search for overly broad keywords such as "CNO" and "computer network attack" would be tantamount to conducting a manual search through thousands of folders

Tantamount means "equivalent in seriousness to; virtually the same as."

In other words, the NSA has so many computer network attacks going on that if you asked them to report on them they'd just throw their hands up and say, "well, which of six billion attacks do you want us to tell you about? A least narrow it down to a few hundred thousand by telling us your IP address and the date!"

Re:Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45553123)

Just the way you trust them when they tell you that they're storing zillions of data on everyone but they're not looking at everyone's data it's only a targeted few that have to worry.

Meh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45549881)

The National Security Agency has the same problem, claiming that its contract database is stored manually and impossible to search by topic, category, or even by vendor in most cases."

That's supposed to be a bug? In view of the NSA's own success in compromising other people's digital data I'd have thought that a mess like this could actually be a feature.

Bullshit. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45549885)

Raid their offices and skin them.

Problem Solved. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45549899)

Much harder to leak that way.

Lying Liars! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45549915)

They need to clean that place out. It's a goddamn cancer of corruption. Close it down,fire 'em all, make the bloody other intelligence and enforcement organs search through the wreckage independently and report independently so they can't risk holding anything back, then PROSECUTE the liars and lawbreakers!

But it'll never happen.

Misleading summary (5, Informative)

Walking The Walk (1003312) | about 5 months ago | (#45549933)

That summary is misleading. It's based on an NSA response to a FOI request, worded as follows:

A search for overly broad keywords such as "CNO" and "computer network attack" would be tantamount to conducting a manual search through thousands of folders and then reading each document in order to determine whether the document pertains to a contract.

(emphasis mine)

That could be network folders (ie: directories) and Word documents, they never said anything was on "paper". The way I read that quote was that they've got heaps of contracts, stored in lots of directories, and even if they did a search they'd have to read each document returned to see if it was a contract pertaining to the FOI request. They're trying to say that's too burdensome, which in theory gives them a way of not supplying the information. In practice, a judge might decide they should be able to do the search in a reasonable amount of time, and force them to comply.

Re:Misleading summary (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550071)

And clearly they dont understand the concept of regular expressions, or of parsing data files.

Seriously, for an agency that sifts through multiple terabytes of data every day, they are seriously trying to throw fud like this? Clearly they have the necessary expertise to throw together some shell scripts at the very least? The SENSIBLE thing to do, would be to *gasp* catalog their data and store some metadata to help them process additional FOIA requests. The initial work might be onerous, but doing it every single time instead of searching the metadata is silly. Storing metadata and searching that even gives them a different, and much more plausible excuse! "Oh, somebody must have forgotten to input that in the abstract database! So sorry!"

No?

Seriously-- it's as if the NSA still thinks the american public are as retarded about computer tech now as they were about nuclear fallout and the atomic bomb in the 50s. Nevermind that the modern internet was NOT developed in a secret lab complex in the middle of the desert under strict secrecy like the atomic bomb was, and that the global public at large are the people who fucking built the damn thing. The situations are in no way even close to comparable.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 5 months ago | (#45550557)

And clearly they dont understand the concept of regular expressions, or of parsing data files.

Neither of those really works on a scanned PDF of a quick design sketch someone made, or the photos of the defective materials encountered, or the 3D models of the parts for the engineers.

catalog their data and store some metadata to help them process additional FOIA requests

That gets in the way of the real work, though, and isn't actually required by the FOIA, so actually dedicating funding to such things is unlikely to happen.

...it's as if the NSA still thinks the american public are...

The situations are in no way even close to comparable.

Your strawman's falling down.

It's appears much more that the FOIA request was asking for a broad swath of information across several programs that don't have a common database. It's not just a matter of parsing the files, but even knowing what to look for.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45552789)

And clearly they dont understand the concept of regular expressions, or of parsing data files.

Neither of those really works on a scanned PDF of a quick design sketch someone made, or the photos of the defective materials encountered, or the 3D models of the parts for the engineers.

catalog their data and store some metadata to help them process additional FOIA requests

That gets in the way of the real work, though, and isn't actually required by the FOIA, so actually dedicating funding to such things is unlikely to happen.

...it's as if the NSA still thinks the american public are...

The situations are in no way even close to comparable.

Your strawman's falling down.

It's appears much more that the FOIA request was asking for a broad swath of information across several programs that don't have a common database. It's not just a matter of parsing the files, but even knowing what to look for.

Actually incorrect on most of those objections. (PDF and CAD/CAM data not being Regex searchable)

For PDFs, there is free software that can parse them quite well, and the output can be probed by Regex queries quite well.
For industrial digital draft sheets, most of the major players (Unigraphics and Dassault Catia in particular-- being the major products used by BOEING and Lockheed Martin. (Insider knowledge; I work in aerospace)) store raw and binary "dotted" string data inside their data files. In the case of Catia in particular, the data header of the files contains a list of part numbers and files (with paths!) associated with that CAM/CAD data, and also a section of internal metadata used for version control. You can peek at that data using a flipping text editor, and it shows up in a fairly reliable chunk at the start of such files, making metadata hunting quite painless if you really look into it.

It wont tell you if the drawing or dataset is for a bomb vs a bolt--- but it will let you know if the print is an assembly or detail, and the hierarchy data can be datamined, as can the metadata, such as dates, times, and file dependency hierarchy. In the case of Catia, the software supports a variety of exported VB based automation libraries which can remote control a session of the software, including automating the loading, unloading, and conversion of data files. (Has written such things!) It is perfectly possible to make it spit out industry agnostic data from the CAM models that can THEN be processed in a completely automated fashion.

For PDFs created by incompetent boobs that are basically just a wrapper over a TIFF or JPEG file, slaving any number of OCR applications to look for text on the contained image data as a fault handler for text parsing of the PDF would work, and for PDFs that try to be "Cute" by not storing text at all and only vectorial curves, dumping a rasterization of the file using PS2EDIT or similar on the command line THEN invoking the OCR would solve the problem.

Insider knowledge:

Drawing files for blueprints and the like are almost always constrained by contractor and government requirements to be in the following formats: .TIFF .CGM .PDF (Vectorial) .PDF (Encapsulated TIFF) .DXF .IGS/.IGES
Native CAM/CAD formats. (.CatDrawing, .Model, etc)

The vast majority of that list is "Painlessly handled" by a well made shell script and free software.

Basically:

Case .TIFF
      Call OCR, Dump text, call ParseTextFile
Case .PDF
      Call PDFHandler
              [Read PDF structure, check for embedded image elements, check for vector data, check for raw string text, export and call handlers]
case .CGM
            Call PS2EDIT, Convert to TIFF, Call OCR, dump text, Call ParseTextFile
Case .IGES
            Call CheckIGESFlavor, If IGES2D call PS2EDIT, Export TIFF, Call OCR ... | Else, Parse file for meta data (IGES is text based! Entity names will be in plain text.)
Case .DXF
          Call PS2EDIT, Export TIFF, Call OCR ... ...

etc.

Nearly the entire process can be automated. The arguments you made are bullshit.

For the second part, What the FOIA people are trying to get, because NSA wont comply:

Do While NSA_Bullshit=1
FOIA People: "We want a list of your programs, with their classification status, and a short 5 word or so descriptor of their intended purpose, sorted, so we can ask better questions."

NSA: "No! National security! You cant even know the names!" (How did you get this number?)

FOIA people: "Then we want a list of contract documents that match this wide criteria:....."

NSA: "No! That would be onerous and FOIA only allows you to ask for SPECIFIC things! You need to know the names of the projects to specifically ask for!"

Loop

Re:Misleading summary (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#45552901)

Isn't there a federal mandate to computerize and open records?

Hmm, fuck me. I googled for "federal open data mandate" figuring that would just be a good set of search terms, and what do you know? It's called the Federal Open Data Mandate.

Maybe I'm a goddamn genius. Or maybe I just have problems suppressing the noise when I'm trying to remember, and Beer Works(tm).

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550079)

I'm sure they have scanners that could digitize this information in a matter of days. I have one sitting next to me as do all of my colleagues and the cost is very minimal.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550107)

Why not give it to google?

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550247)

Strangely enough, when Lavabit objected that their system was not designed to wiretap a single user, and could not fulfill the court order, they were told by the judge: "it's your fault you designed the system poorly, so cough up the master key!" (paraphrased).
If they screwed up their design of their system, they should feel free to post all possibly relevant UNREDACTED documents on the web, and we'll find what we're looking for and we too will pinky swear not to look at anything else either. Seems fair.

Re:Misleading summary (3, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 5 months ago | (#45550699)

It's worse than that. The actual response begins:

This responds to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of 20 September 2013, which was received by this office on 20 September 2013, for "copies of contracts containing any of the following keywords or phrases: "CNO", "CAN", "CND", "CNE", "computer network exploitation," "computer network defense," "computer network attack," "computer network operations", "exploits" and/or "implants," and related services over the past 5 years. If retrieving the contracts themselves is too burdensome, please provide a list of contracts."

From that, it appears the FOIA request was actually asking for any contract including the word "can", amongst other things. It's probably a shorter list to find contracts that don't fall into this request.

The response continues:

As we have advised in your previous FOIA requests regarding contract data, acquisition contract files could be more reasonably searched if a contract number, company name with address, and service award date were provided. However, there are many instances when contract information is not retrievable by company name alone; some companies may have several locations, or there may be a number variations of the same name based on a name or keyword.

Or, in other words, if you have a particular contract or contractor, they can pull that easily. I'll infer from that that they have a big table of contracts with contractor name/address, date, and number, and those contracts can then be pulled by number from their probably-digital storage, but running a full-text search on all of their contracts for 5 years is not what the database is set up to do.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

John.Banister (1291556) | about 5 months ago | (#45551487)

"or contractor" won't get you results according to the quote. The FOIA requester should write a regex search, pass it to Snowden, and get back a more specific and detailed request that would bypass the current objections. I doubt they'd actually get their information, even if their requests were quite specific.

Re:Misleading summary (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#45552891)

This responds to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of 20 September 2013, which was received by this office on 20 September 2013, for "copies of contracts containing any of the following keywords or phrases: "CNO", "CAN", "CND", "CNE", "computer network exploitation," "computer network defense," "computer network attack," "computer network operations", "exploits" and/or "implants," and related services over the past 5 years. If retrieving the contracts themselves is too burdensome, please provide a list of contracts."

From that, it appears the FOIA request was actually asking for any contract including the word "can", amongst other things. It's probably a shorter list to find contracts that don't fall into this request.

I know that Slashdot doesn't quite have the standards that it had "back in the day", but most of us have figured out how to perform a case-sensitive search.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

someonehasmyname (465543) | about 5 months ago | (#45553459)

I know that Slashdot doesn't quite have the standards that it had "back in the day", but most of us have figured out how to perform a case-sensitive search.

Probably not; most of 'us' think that MySQL is a real database.

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45553097)

If you kept reading, you would see that even asking with the name of a particular contractor doesn't work most of the time.

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45553593)

In an organization like the NSA, each of those abbreviations probably has 5-10 different meanings.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

PrimaryConsult (1546585) | about 5 months ago | (#45551281)

NY State agencies have had to hire additional staff for the primary purpose of complying with FOIL requests. If our state with only 6.5% income tax can do it, surely the feds with their 25% income tax can afford to...

Re:Misleading summary (2)

jspoon (585173) | about 5 months ago | (#45551477)

If the last 6 months have taught us anything, it's that the contracts in question are likely in the format of Powerpoint slideshows.

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45551559)

If they're in network folders, one would assume they'd be able to find contracts by the vendor name. But they frequently claim they can't find those, either.

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45551723)

A story's summary on Slashdot was misleading. A story about the NSA, on Slashdot, was misleading.

Yes, this is what counts as informative now that the "news for nerds" slogan has been officially struck.

Re:Misleading summary (2)

EETech1 (1179269) | about 5 months ago | (#45553091)

Funny how they can sift through and filter nearly every conversation going on anywhere in the world, as well as search all of the traffic on the Internet for keywords and phrases in REAL TIME, and store this for analysis, but they can't do the same procedure on their own network, and search their own computers to find out information about what they've been doing in any reasonable amount of time.

Nice!

Easy Workaround (2)

timmyf2371 (586051) | about 5 months ago | (#45549963)

Perhaps they do this as they know they can easily retrieve the copies of the contracts from the vendors' own systems if they ever need to access them.

OH HELL NO (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45549971)

If I want to see beta.slashdot.org, I'll ask for crap. Don't redirect me. Also, if that becomes slashdot.org, I'm out of here.

aha (3, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | about 5 months ago | (#45550019)

And if you believe that, I have some healthcare to sell you.

Re:aha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550171)

great! are your healthcare products, like the NSA CONTRACTS,

disproportionately awarded to israeli-tech-companies?

are your patient-files, like NSA TARGET PERSONS, stored in/copied to israeli datacenters?

c`mon /. editors, why can you not do an article on illegal israeli akamai/amdocs/onavo/primesense/takadu/rad-group and other illicit-listening-and-thieving-datahoarders?

  On the USS Missouri`s final voyage, near Pearl Harbour, our hero Rybek (Steven Seagull) hears the sailors BANGING ON AND ON on the pipes, shuts off the water (not the electricky) and rescues the sheeple from the NSA and their israeli masters who have concertedly covered their tracks, going to lengths including claiming that its contract database is stored manually and impossible to search by topic, category, or even by vendor in most cases."

Re:aha (1)

guttentag (313541) | about 5 months ago | (#45550287)

And if you believe that, I have some healthcare to sell you.

You can keep your stinking healthcare! Oh wait...

Re:aha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45551515)

You can keep your stinking healthcare! Oh wait...

If you're stinking, you perhaps need to have that looked at.

If true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550103)

This is either incompetence or malice on a grand scale.

Neither is acceptable. Not for what these dipshits cost us ever year.

Why do these people still have jobs again? No really. I'm having a hard time finding a good reason to give them our tax money year after year.

I'm no fan of the NSA but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550145)

The author of that "article" needs to open a fucking dictionary and look up the meaning of some words...

"I'm no fan of X" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550197)

You should have stopped there. Prefixing sentences by "I'm no fan of X, but ..." or "I'm not a(n) X, but..." never helps.

Records on paper (2)

PPH (736903) | about 5 months ago | (#45550177)

Old idea. My financial records are all on paper. In an unheated storage space. When the IRS wants to audit me, they are welcome to sit in there and go through whatever they want.

Re:Records on paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550243)

And they will, too. Do you think a government organization can't hire underpaid monkeys to search through your paper files looking for incriminating evidence? You apparently have never been audited.

Underpaid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550439)

Pray you get the underpaid monkeys. If they really want to get you they'll send in a group of very much overpaid monkeys that will read and cross-correlate every line on every page. They will find whatever you tried to hide. All. Of. It. Yes, you'd best hope for the underpaid monkeys...

Re:Records on paper (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 5 months ago | (#45550595)

I have been audited. The competent investigators at the IRS were quite helpful in explaining why they couldn't accept the paperwork I had submitted, and what other paperwork would be needed. When I couldn't get that other paperwork, they were able to guide me through the proper channels to document that the other documentation was unavailable, which was all they ultimately needed.

I guess they keep the underpaid monkeys for people who hold grudges.

Re:Records on paper (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 5 months ago | (#45550489)

Old idea. My financial records are all on paper. In an unheated storage space. When the IRS wants to audit me, they are welcome to sit in there and go through whatever they want.

When the IRS wants to audit you, you'll be ordered to gather up all those paper records and bring them in.

You don't want the IRS visiting your house. They have a reputation for doing so in very unsubtle ways.

Re:Records on paper (1)

PPH (736903) | about 5 months ago | (#45550881)

You don't want the IRS visiting your house.

Like I said, unheated warehouse. They don't know where I live.

Re:Records on paper (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 5 months ago | (#45552209)

Actually, you said unheated storage space. That could be a basement or a closet.

But if you file taxes, trust me. They know where you live.

Re:Records on paper (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#45552961)

But if you file taxes, trust me. They know where you live.

Maybe, maybe not. If he doesn't own his home, and it's an asset of a corporation to which he is affiliated, it might be lost in the noise.

Re:Records on paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550605)

When the IRS audits you, it is YOUR responsibility to back up your claims with evidence (receipts, etc.). The IRS has no responsibility to search through your crap to find it. They'll send you a letter saying, "We need evidence that this claim is valid. Please send copies of your evidence." If you don't send it in, they'll assume your claim was invalid and compute your new tax due based on that assumption. It's rare that an audit results in a face-to-face meeting. If it does, you probably need an accountant or lawyer experienced in such things, and they'll charge you $250 per hour to search through your crap.

Re:Records on paper (1)

PPH (736903) | about 5 months ago | (#45550923)

When the IRS audits you, it is YOUR responsibility to back up your claims with evidence

My claims (deductions, etc.) are all neatly documented and easy to prove. Its when the IRS tries to establish a link between me and some offshore bank or corporation that they'll be on their own, digging through unsorted crap in subzero weather.

Re:Records on paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45551545)

Your fantasy of how the IRS does things is highly amusing.

Re:Records on paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45552583)

Yeah, he seems to think the IRS would bother to go after someone with offshore bank / corporate interests. Sorry, only the middle and lower classes get special IRS scrutiny. The super-wealthy always keep a pocketful of Republican politician pals to furiously call off any investigation as an unacceptable trampling of constitutional rights.

Re:Records on paper (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#45552969)

Yeah, he seems to think the IRS would bother to go after someone with offshore bank / corporate interests. Sorry, only the middle and lower classes get special IRS scrutiny.

zzz, you're out of date. They've been blowing the doors off of one tax haven after another. Switzerland, Panama... Now only the properly connected are permitted to have that kind of thing going on.

Re:Records on paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550843)

Yeah, except it's going to be you sitting in that unheated basement fingering through years of receipts trying to find the **one** that they're requiring. Quite the genius you are.

Re:Records on paper (1)

steelfood (895457) | about 5 months ago | (#45550961)

Which they will.

But they'll also have access to heaps of electronic records kept by others as well. Ever use a credit card to make purchases? Is your money tucked away in a bank? It's all traceable.

Unless you're exclusively paying cash, and asking for hand-written receipts, how your records are stored is not going to hinder them in the slightest.

Probably true (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 5 months ago | (#45550187)

The NSA is evil, not stupid, and this would be very smart.

Re:Probably true (1)

ewieling (90662) | about 5 months ago | (#45550427)

I have very little in common with the NSA, but there is one thing. If I want total privacy I must spend so many resources to accomplish my goal that I will have no resources left to accomplish anything else. The NSA has a similar problem. The alternative is to strike a balance. I don't know if keeping all the NSA's contracts only on paper is worth the additional security, but I doubt it. The worst of my secrets are simply embarrassing. I don't know what the worst of the NSA's secrets might be, but I'm pretty sure they closer to traitorous than embarrassing.

Re:Probably true (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 5 months ago | (#45550491)

Devil's advocate:

Keeping everything on paper may seem antiquated, perhaps slow... but it wasn't that long ago when a spreadsheet was a true ledger, but with someone who can do double entry bookkeeping, this isn't an impossible task.

It will be going back in time to the '60s and '70s, but for low-volume transactions, a business could get by with carbon paper (so entries are kept in duplicate or triplicate), ledgers, and such. If one is worried about calculators, there are mechanical adding machines which worked well. If one isn't worried about calculators, there are always the ones that print receipts available for cheap new or used.

So, going back to paper and pencil can be done. It will suck for businesses that do a lot of volume, but if one wanted real security, it is doable.

Re:Probably true (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 5 months ago | (#45552567)

Given the star trek set thing and Snowden getting hold of all this stuff in the first place there seems to be a mountain of evidence building up for stupidity.

Refusing/Lying is illegal, being incompetent isn't (5, Insightful)

sandbagger (654585) | about 5 months ago | (#45550301)

It's legally safer for them to say that they're incompetent.

Re:Refusing/Lying is illegal, being incompetent is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550765)

It's legally safer for them to say that they're incompetent.

And just as accurate.

Re:Refusing/Lying is illegal, being incompetent is (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 5 months ago | (#45551699)

It's legally safer for them to say that they're incompetent.

Why should they bother saying anything? They can simply stonewall everything/everyone. You think anyone in the DoJ will prosecute them or act to carry out or enforce any rulings, subpoenas, or warrants from Congress or even the SCOTUS (John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it." - Andrew Jackson)?

Laws don't apply to those who rule and not govern. That's why Congress gave itself a pass on participating in the ACA and from insider-trading laws & regulations They view themselves as rulers, and so they feel they can violate laws with impunity.

And, why shouldn't they? They can and do because fuck you, what are *you* gonna do about it? Hell, half the country is so caught up in the class-warfare, racial-victimhood, (R) vs (D), Progressive/Conservative, "terrists", think-of-the-children, anti-gun/pro-helpless-victim, divide-and-conquer propaganda, that they're busy actually cheering them on and trying to give them even more power.

This NSA surveillance and "above the law" mindset & behavior is part of the natural progression that occurs when governments get too big and powerful, and is to be expected.

Strat

Re:Refusing/Lying is illegal, being incompetent is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45553179)

Congress didn't give themselves a pass on ACA. A few Senators spoke of it but it wasn't in the final bill. Congress isn't immune from insider trading laws and regulations.

They have to say something because Snowden, that's why. Deep Throat, that's why. Samuel Shaw, Ed Morel, Smedley Butler, John Vann, Peter Buxtun, Dan Ellsberg, Bradley Manning....the list really goes on and on. Maybe someday you will be on that list of those who spoke up and ultimately refused to be silenced. Maybe Manning was silenced by prison by his message got out.

Half the country is *always* caught up in something else. But half is not. As usual, the Revolution is led by a small few as it is always the few who are willing to stick their necks out before the rest.

The above the law mindset isn't a function of large government. The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 signed into law by John Adams was certainly done by a federal government that thought it above the law (or criticism, as it were) and that government couldn't be considered large by anyone's stretch of imagination.

Other than that, Spot On Mate :)

Re:Refusing/Lying is illegal, being incompetent is (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 5 months ago | (#45554215)

Congress didn't give themselves a pass on ACA. A few Senators spoke of it but it wasn't in the final bill.

Well, there is dispute over this.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/10/09/fact-check-did-president-obama-exempt-members-of-congress-from-obamacare/ [cnn.com]

"Like most large employers, the federal government contributes a portion to the premiums of its employees. In fact, like many employers, the federal government pays most of the premiums for its workers; an average of 72 percent on Capitol Hill.

The new provision didnâ(TM)t account for the continued employer contribution for these federal workers who would now be buying their insurance on the exchanges. The exchanges were designed to help people without health insurance and people with overly expensive health insurance. It became clear that without their employer contribution, members and their staffers would essentially be getting a cut in pay and benefits equal to thousands of dollars. Even Grassley, the provisionâ(TM)s author, had tried to amend to law in order to allow the government to continue to contribute to lawmakersâ(TM) and staffersâ(TM) premiums.

What the Obama administration has done is rule that the lawmakers and their staffs will continue to receive the employer contribution to help them buy their insurance on the exchange.

Originally we declared Vitterâ(TM)s assertion to be wrong since any company can decide to help pay for policies that its workers purchase on the exchange so allowing representatives and staff to do so would not be an âoeexemption.â That notion has been challenged by conservative critics of Obamacare who argue that under existing federal statutes Congress had to specifically pass legislation authorizing the premium subsidies for any insurance program other than FEHBP. Since congress did not do this, the administration, at the behest of Congressional Democrats, and, according to Politico, Speaker John Boehner, unilaterally extended premium contributions. By doing this, the critics argue, the administration âoeexemptedâ Congress from the law. "

Congress isn't immune from insider trading laws and regulations.

Again, technically correct, but Congress made it so that it's extremely difficult to enforce.

http://www.rollcall.com/news/congressional_insider_trading_revisited_but_dont_tell_anyone_commentary-224674-1.html?pg=2 [rollcall.com]

Make no mistake: The STOCK Act is still in effect and congressional insider trading still is banned. But it has now become extraordinarily difficult to ensure compliance with the law.

The above the law mindset isn't a function of large government.

I would strongly disagree here, as it is the tendency of any large bureaucracy, especially governments, because of the relative power-with-anonymity that individuals enjoy in such a large group, for natural human failings to become an increasing part of the culture.

Just look at Rome, or the EU, AU, & UK, or China and the former USSR. No matter the particular form of government, once it grows so large & powerful, the people making up that government become increasingly aloof and immune from the laws that punish regular citizens for things those in positions of power within that government get a pass on.

It's simply basic human behavior regarding power relationships that has been studied and confirmed in many experiments over decades.

The above the law mindset isn't a function of large government. The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 signed into law by John Adams was certainly done by a federal government that thought it above the law (or criticism, as it were) and that government couldn't be considered large by anyone's stretch of imagination.

I did not state that there was *none* of this behavior/attitude in smaller governments, only that it increases with the size of government.

The Alien and Sedition Act at that time was a bold and risky gambit that actually carried serious risk. Today, we call government passing such un-Constitutional laws (NDAA, PATRIOT, ACA, etc..yes, I know, SCOTUS...but We the People are the final arbiters, not nine unelected guys in black robes that have the job effectively for life), the US AG regularly outright defying Congress, and the IRS targeting political opponents, a Tuesday.

Strat

Re:Refusing/Lying is illegal, being incompetent is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45552001)

Their well-known acronym could also stand for "Never Search Anything (for outsiders)".

Not sure if legal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550333)

There are government regulations regarding on how to process that kind of stuff. And probably they are breaking a few of them.

Contractors need to get Paid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550393)

The Contractors need to be paid in a timely manner, so their accounting department would need to be able to search these documents on a regular basis. I think their claims regarding their abilities to search for these documents are dubious at best.

How do you computer? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45550727)

It should be expected. The NSA has very little technical savvy, nor any sizable budget for computer equipment. They're too busy doing their jobs, to worry about extracting useful information out of data.

Too bad... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#45551311)

If only they had a massive budget and an alarmlingly large team of data analysis and signals intelligence experts to cope with this problem.... Poor guys, suffering like that.

By design (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45551407)

They don't want to be bothered for any information. Therefore, they can't be searched, can't find squat on anything at all. Except if they themselves want data, in which case it is instantly accessible.

They're asking the wrong question... (1)

RedLeg (22564) | about 5 months ago | (#45551837)

What do all government contracts have in common? Payment of the contractor.

Ask whoever writes NSA's checks (probably DFAS, Defense Finance and Accounting Center) for all contract numbers between NSA and (list of interesting companies). Then ask NSA for copies of those specific contracts.

It would not surprise me at all to find out that whichever payment agency, and you may rest assured they are automated, also has copies of the contracts themselves, so while you are at it with the request above, ask for existant copies of the target contracts.

You could always start with asking NSA to tell you in detail who does their accounting, and more specifically, handles accounts payable for contracts.

Riiiiiight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45552197)

The computer agency has no computer records.

I completely believe it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45552377)

I contract with the IC and do so strictly as a sub-k through bigger primes for precisely this reason. The contracts portion (the actual writing, editing, reviewing, execution of) is a nightmare. As a sub-k, I'm still subject to FAR (regulations) and such, but my contracts can be much simpler. As an example, the contract my prime has with the Gov numbers in the thousands of pages, and this is not because the prime wants it that way. The Gov has created a self licking ice cream cone keeping thousands of otherwise (and one could argue none the less) needless bodies employed. It's a complete disaster. The consequences to this are very far reaching and in the end wasted billions of tax payer dollars.

Well... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#45552931)

Couldn't they just use their backdoor access to Google to scan them using googles book scanning magic and be done in about 20 minutes? Oh, that's right, they're lieing . For a moment I thought this was just their clever way of storing their contracts so they couldn't be searched. Then I remembered, they don't give a fuck.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45553169)

it`s already been mentioned elsewhere, they are covering-up the disproportionate and illegal israeli contracts

Is someone jumping to conclusions? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 5 months ago | (#45554081)

A search for overly broad keywords such as "CNO" and "computer network attack" would be tantamount to conducting a manual search through thousands of folders and then reading each document in order to determine whether the document pertains to a contract.

Going from that to "ZOMG! NSA has contracts only on paperz!" seems a bit of a stretch.

http://search.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4497283&cid=45550699 [slashdot.org]

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