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NSA Data Mining Much Larger Than Reported

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the sans-surprise dept.

Privacy 863

silassewell writes to tell us The New York Times is reporting that the "volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged." The NSA gained the cooperation of many American telecommunication companies after 9/11 to access streams of communication, both domestic and international, as a part of a presidentially approved program to hunt for evidence of terrorist activity.

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First Holiday Loser Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334294)

Yay! I'm a loser!

Sad but true (5, Funny)

anagama (611277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334297)

I Soviet America, the phone listens to you.

Soviet phone listening to you? (5, Insightful)

shanen (462549) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334421)

That's not a funny joke, and it isn't limited to any particular country. The modification to make your telephone into a bugging device is actually quite trivial. In the absence of legal constraint, it is probably more reasonable to assume those techniques are being used as well.

However, as regards the main topic, I've always worked from the premise that powers are abused. Therefore, I've always assumed that the power to tap email is probably being widely abused, and not just by the NSA. It's not the case that I'm doing anything of legitimate interest to legal authorities, but simply that I have an attitude of questioning authority, and they don't appreciate that.

However, if I had any actual reason to be paranoid, then the situation would be very different, and I would obviously be much more discreet about what I put into my email. That's where you encounter the bogosity aspect of Dubya's claims of the necessity of this kind of illegal surveillance. Wannabe terrorists are not going to jeopardize their complicated plans by describing them in clear email. They aren't even going to expose their real communication channels. Insofar as they are going to use technical mechanisms at all, they are going to go out of their way to obfuscate both the message, the source, and the destination--all of which are trivially easy for anyone who is actually motivated to do so.

No, there's only one aspect of this that has surprised me so far. That was when Dubya admitted he had done it. He obviously doesn't understand what "impeachable offense" means. He apparently thinks it is only related to a certain number of votes in Congress, but that's just the transient political status. What Dubya has confessed to doing is clearly a violation of the laws that he swore to defend.

Looking sideways at the problem... (1)

ncurtain (937487) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334461)

Wouldn't it be nice:

If everybody put Shoot the Monkey or President Bush should be Kennedyed as a sig to all their internet activity, it would shunt any amount of material to the NSA gathering equiptment.

And for bonus points:

Give some Doolally the right idea.

*******

Kennedy the Monkey. (No, that doesn't quite do it I think.)

Re:Soviet phone listening to you? (4, Funny)

mikek3332002 (912228) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334468)

He obviously doesn't understand what "impeachable offense" means.

Sure he does it's where you sleep with your secetary.

For the security of the many.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334431)

For the security of the many what would you do ?

Would you oppress the innocent for the security of the many, and your country?
Would you torture the families of the innocent for the security of the many, and your country?
Would you be willing to make that sacrifice for the security of the many, and your country?

It's our duty to seek the truth, and that means providing due process.

The Lord saves only the righteous.

What is a patriot?

"Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice"
- Proverbs 16:8

Who cares what the (out-of-touch) NYT thinks? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334298)

The notion that the NSA is harvesting "much larger than acknowledged" information shows you just how out of touch the New York Times is. Who here hasn't known about Echelon and what it's capabilities are for years now? The NYT is once again behind and seriously lacking when it comes to journalistic material. Really where is the "news" in their piece? Is the "news" the part where they seem surprised (depressed?) that the President isn't spilling all the USA's secrets to them? Really now, just who are the NYT that they think they should know everything the USA government does?

Re:Who cares what the (out-of-touch) NYT thinks? (0, Troll)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334314)

In fact, wouldn't it be more news-worthy if the NSA wasn't engaged in this activity? Isn't that what the president swore an oath to do? To execute the office of the president?

Re:Who cares what the (out-of-touch) NYT thinks? (2)

KtHM (732769) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334399)

The president also swore an oath to uphold the laws of this country, including FISA, which requires him to get a secret warrant to tap the phones of citizens.

Re:Who cares what the (out-of-touch) NYT thinks? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334382)

You forgot one thing in your post:
I'm George W. Bush and I approved this message.

Re:Who cares what the (out-of-touch) NYT thinks? (1)

Jesus 2.0 (701858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334413)

Yeah, that's terrific man. "I knew all about this years ago, so who cares?"

Indeed. Who cares that the President of the United States has directly ordered the violation of the Bill of Rights, and intends to continue doing so. After all, this is all old news to Anonymous Coward on Slashdot.

Ohhhh say can you see ... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334303)

Land of the Free indeed. :-)

I wonder ... how much longer are you people going to be living in your comfortable plastic bubble, continuing to claim that the US of A is the greatest and freest country in the world?

You don't understand how it works (2, Insightful)

BlackTriangle (581416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334333)

BY DEFINITION, the United States is the land of the free

They're brainwashed from birth, especially during the school years, towards this belief.

It DOES NOT matter what the United States does, BY DEFINITION to them, it is the land of the free

Doesn't matter how little privacy they have

Doesn't matter how much power their government has

Doesn't matter how unfair their government is

Doesn't matter how many foreign people they kill

Doesn't matter how they crush and oppress their opponents, even those with democratic aspirations, in other countries

It DOES NOT MATTER to them. They DO NOT CARE.

Get in their way, and you WILL be crushed. This is the American dream at work. To crush your enemies, laugh at their corpses, and then smugly eat your Christmas turkey and talk about how moral you are.

Re:Ohhhh say can you see ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334471)

I am not given to outlandish and sensational exclamations, but I see a pattern of behavior which reminds me of Hitler's tactics to achieve supra-constitutional powers on the pretext of defending the national security.

This Administration seems to be following the same course.

Re:Ohhhh say can you see ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334477)

A growing number of us are seeing this.

The soap box isn't working - people are too scared to be honest and speak out. People are even to scared to listen.

The jury box didn't work this time. Just read the newspapers to see this.

The effects of the ballot box are still up in the air (I am still focusing here)

The next step is the ammo box, and there are a lot of people that I know thinking its time to have a major shakeup of the federal government.

Lesson Learned: Use Open Source, and Encrypt (5, Insightful)

mozumder (178398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334304)

Please work to make the system secure, even from government intrusion.

Governments come and go.. no need to drag yourself into their mess.

Re:Lesson Learned: Use Open Source, and Encrypt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334402)

Why doesn't Slashdot support https for a start?

Use what? (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334407)

Okay. Let's say I want some open source software that I can put on an old PC, add a winmodem, soundcard, and headset, and make a functional encrypted phone that can be used on standard lines, with maybe some VoIP on the side.

What do I need? Software? Minimum hardware? Add-ons? Can I do it all with Asterisk? Will it sound awful?

Re:Lesson Learned: Use Open Source, and Encrypt (1)

E Zimmer (221646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334482)

well, now, anyone can put what ever they want in to open source... even backdoors for outside access.

Oh, my point; this has nothing to do with software, its policy.

I'll scratch your back... (5, Interesting)

ThatGeek (874983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334305)

I've always wondered what huge companies get by turning over data to the Feds. Companies never do anything to "make the world a better place" unless they are getting something in return... reduced regulation? maybe tax reductions?

All I know is that democracy dies behind closed doors. What exactly is going on in this country?

This is EXACTLY why I'm learning Spanish! Costa Rica by the year 2010, baby.

Re:I'll scratch your back... (4, Insightful)

humphrm (18130) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334322)

Given the way accounting worked in the early 2000's in corporate America, it was probably "cooperate and we won't look very deeply into your books..."

Democracy is indeed in sad shape now, but fortunately democracy only truly dies behind closed doors over a long period of time. Ultimately the 22nd Amendment fixes that problem.

(The rest of you can go look it up on Google. :)

Re:I'll scratch your back... (4, Insightful)

sadler121 (735320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334428)

The 22nd Amendment was a horriable amendment, it now makes the president unaccountable in his second term. REPEAL the 22nd Amendment, do NOT praise it. If the 22nd Amendment wasn't there, we might very well still have Clinton in office (would rather have Slick Willy in office then Dubya), hell, Regan could have had another term, that wouldn't have been so bad ether...

WorldCom/Enron/Global Crossing: Clinton scandals (-1)

ccmay (116316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334483)

Given the way accounting worked in the early 2000's in corporate America, it was probably "cooperate and we won't look very deeply into your books..."

Actually, all the well-known corporate scandals [forbes.com] took place in the late 1990's, on the watch of a certain good-time Charlie whose mind was on other pursuits, and were exposed very early in Bush's first term.

Not only was Clinton too busy having his dick sucked to take any notice of the largest frauds in American history, but his own DNC Chairman was involved in Global Crossing up to his eyeballs. Terry McAuliffe [democracynow.org] schemed with his good pal, CEO Gary Winnick, to pump and dump a $100,000 investment to the tune of $18 million, stealing a fortune from pension funds and mom-&-pop investors.

Bush signed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and those responsible for the biggest frauds are being aggressively pursued by the Bush Justice Department. Many of the major offenders [cnn.com] have already been convicted [washingtonpost.com] and handed stiff sentences [cnn.com] , and more are certain to follow.

I am sorry to have to bring this news to all you dewy-eyed college dimwits who think that these are Republican scandals. It must be hard on your tender unformed psyches when reality socks you with a clue-by-four.

Thanks for cleaning up Clinton's mess, W!

-ccm

Re:I'll scratch your back... (2, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334330)

I've always wondered what huge companies get by turning over data to the Feds. Companies never do anything to "make the world a better place" unless they are getting something in return... reduced regulation? maybe tax reductions?

Maybe the Patriot Act, the very same law that makes it a crime for the phone company to tell anyone about it when it happens.

Re:I'll scratch your back... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334331)

"I've always wondered what huge companies get by turning over data to the Feds."

How do you know that any company turned data over willing?

I imagine that there are several people who can read your email. Some of them may think about selling it, others probably think it's their obligation to read it, and even others will gladly accept requests to route your data over a mirrored port where who knows who can see it. NO INFORMATION IS REALLY *TRULY* SECURE. The fact that the New York Twines thinks some is is in itself very telling.

Re:I'll scratch your back... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334415)

Telecom companies get to raise their revenue by charging "service fees" which appear as taxes.

Re:I'll scratch your back... (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334453)

"I've always wondered what huge companies get by turning over data to the Feds."

If you don't cooperate, you get whisked away to an undisclosed location. National security letters and all that.

It's a new technology... (5, Informative)

farrellj (563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334313)

The people over at Ars Technica have a great little article about this whole fiasco concerning the wiretapping of US citizens without a warrent...

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20051220-5808 .html [arstechnica.com]

From the article:

"Now let's take a look a statement of former senator Bob Graham (D-FL), who was one of the few senators to be briefed on the program. From a new Washington Post article:

        "I came out of the room with the full sense that we were dealing with a change in technology but not policy," Graham said, with new opportunities to intercept overseas calls that passed through U.S. switches."

and

" This system's [TIA] purpose would be to monitor communications and detect would-be terrorists and plots before they happen... This project is not interested in funding "evolutionary" changes in technology, e.g., bit-step improvements to current data mining and storage techniques. Rather, the amount of data that the directors are anticipating (petabytes!) would require massive leaps in technology (and perhaps also some massive leaps in surveillance laws). According to DARPA, such data collection "increases information coverage by an order of magnitude," and ultimately "requires keeping track of individuals and understanding how they fit into models.""

ttyl
          Farrell

We knew it from the begining (4, Funny)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334317)

This administration has always been pro-mining (and drilling), so this should be no surprise.

The Network Architecture of Treason (4, Interesting)

Ivan Raikov (521143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334323)

Lambert over at CorrenteWire has a pretty interesting article on Internet surveillance by the NSA [correntewire.com] :
By carefully examining how Republicans parse their statements about Bush's warrantless, openly felonious, and treasonous[1] domestic surveillance program, and combining that with network engineering knowledge available through open sources, alert reader philosophicus has advanced our understanding of the NSA surveillance system Bush set up. Long story short: (1) Internet surveillance is Bush's goal, not voice calls; (2) the Republican "wiretap" talking point is a diversion, to voice, away from from Internet surveillance; (3) Bush's domestic surveillance system would pose no engineering challenges whatever to NSA. No rocket science--or tinfoil hats--required.

Re:The Network Architecture of Treason (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334359)

What's the big deal. If you are doing nothing wrong who cares. If the president or the NSA wants to listen to me talk about my problems on the internet or on the telephone, with my friends and family, then have at it, maybe they have some good advice that can help me. If they can't help me, then maybe the least they have done is saved me, my wife, my kids, and everyone else from getting hurt and retain our right to bitch them out over everything they do.

Re:The Network Architecture of Treason (1)

KtHM (732769) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334408)

First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew...

Re:The Network Architecture of Treason (2, Informative)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334423)

Yeah, until someone from your religion does something awful linked to your religion. Suddenly, every single word you say will be looked at with the most negative possible interpretation and you too could face a secret warrant for your arrest where nobody can talk about the fact you're even gone. Or, maybe you're a gun nut, or a homosexual, or whatever group is out of favor now. Doesn't really matter. Suddenly your rights don't matter, it's who you know and who they know that count. Everybody says things that could be construed to mean something bad if someone else wants to.

Re:The Network Architecture of Treason (3, Insightful)

Jesus 2.0 (701858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334437)

What's the big deal. If you are doing nothing wrong who cares. If the president or the NSA wants to listen to me talk about my problems on the internet or on the telephone, with my friends and family, then have at it, maybe they have some good advice that can help me. If they can't help me, then maybe the least they have done is saved me, my wife, my kids, and everyone else from getting hurt and retain our right to bitch them out over everything they do.

My civil liberties are not yours to give away, you spineless unamerican coward.

In the words of Samuel Adams, "If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

Re:The Network Architecture of Treason (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334495)

Easy Big Fella...For the very fact that this has happened is to save your Civil Liberties. You are to caught up in the "Witch Hunt" to realize this. The very people that are complaining about this are the same ones that would be complaining about why we didn't take this initiative the next day after an attack. So you are almost damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

Oh yeah,, and fuck you, you fuck stick. Speak your opinion without trying to call someone names like a little school girl.

Re:The Network Architecture of Treason (1)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334464)

And if you make an off the cuff remark the president or the NSA doesn't like, illegal or not, what do you think is going to happen? If they don't give a shit about the Bill of Rights, they don't give a shit about the Bill of Rights. Free speach can go fuck itself, then.

What happens if that woman you tried to pick up has a daddy or ex in the NSA and you piss them off? You wouldn't know you where being an asshole to a covert op, because they are covert. But, they damn sure would know you. You may not have a file unless you did something, but they can still pull records from elsewhere.

And regardless, the recent rash of stories kind of hints at all you need to do "wrong" in order to get their attention is to criticise our pint sized "dear leader" with an inferiority complex a little too often.

I would like to point out that it looks like the one about the "Little Red Book" student looks like it was probably a hoax by the student. I tried submiting it to /., but you all know how that goes.

al-Qaida (-1, Troll)

deanj (519759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334334)

Good thing to know that if downtown New York got bombed, and thousands of people died, nobody would want to know if someone was plotting another attack like that.

Phew....good thing that never happened.

Sharks (4, Insightful)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334369)

There have been thousands of shark attacks [ufl.edu] over the years. I propose that we install cameras and other surveillance equipment in your bathroom, to prevent more unnecessary carnage. If you actually mind having your privacy invaded, it's probably because you hate America and sympathize with the sharks. What are you hiding?

There's an old quote that goes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334409)

Good thing to know that if downtown New York got bombed, and thousands of people died, nobody would want to know if someone was plotting another attack like that.

Give me liberty or give me death.

Re: al-Qaida (5, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334410)

> Good thing to know that if downtown New York got bombed, and thousands of people died, nobody would want to know if someone was plotting another attack like that.

Good to know that you don't think freedom is worth dying for.

Too bad about all those who died for nothing over the centuries.

Re:al-Qaida (5, Insightful)

Kristoph (242780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334417)

"Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security"....Benjamin Franklin

]{

Re:al-Qaida (2, Insightful)

ichin4 (878990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334442)

The problem with the "After 9/11, everything is different" justification is that it admits no limits. Tell me, after 9/11, is there any civil liberty that you are not willing to sacrifice?

Holding thousands of people indefinitely, without charge and without any judicial review? After 9/11, everything is different.

Torturing hundreds of suspects, and outsourcing the torture of hundreds more? After 9/11, everything is different.

Continuous monitoring and data-mining of essentially all communications? After 9/11, everything is different.

Individually tracking the movement, communication, and transactions of every person in the U.S. After 9/11, everything is different.

Keeping Americans in the dark about the details and sometimes even the existence of these actions being performed in their names? After 9/11, everything is different.

Re:al-Qaida (1)

Jesus 2.0 (701858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334458)

Good thing to know that if downtown New York got bombed, and thousands of people died, nobody would want to know if someone was plotting another attack like that.

Explain to me why getting a warrant precludes investigating terrorist plots.

Keep in mind that the law allows for a warrant to be obtained up to seventy-two hours after spying is initiated.

It's a simple question. Answer it.

Re:al-Qaida (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334462)

"nobody would want to know if someone was plotting another attack like that."

Lots of people are planning to blow up New York ("ZOMG, they voted for Hillary!"). Very, very few of them are credibly planning to blow up New York. If you find a credible threat, getting a warrant to listen in on their communications is little more than a formality.

If you're justified in tapping lines, you should have no problem getting a warrant and no need to fear the courts.

More power to 'em! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334336)

No really!

KGB (-1, Troll)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334338)

Is there anybody out there who doubts that Bush is not good for our country? If so, then what the hell is wrong with you?

Re:KGB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334355)

I love it how people like you read parts of articles, and then jump to conclusions about what's really going on. You're a kool-aid drinking Useful Idiot.

Talking Point #43631 (1)

BlackTriangle (581416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334372)

Use the phrase "useful idiot."

Talking Point #43632

Use the phrase "Activist Judge."

Good citizen. Know your talking points, citizen. Only this can save you from the evil Liberalistists.

Re:KGB (4, Insightful)

harris s newman (714436) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334378)

George swore to uphold and protect the constitution of the USA. If he blatantly disregards law, he is in violation of his oath to be President. As such he should be impeached. Without an impeachment, the congress and supreme courts are giving up their power to the President, which would result in a dictatorship. I have already written my representatives the request to have an investigation into this issue, and hope others will follow my behavior.

Re:KGB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334406)

Why is this post modded -1 when it's only saying the truth?

Re: KGB (3, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334381)

> Is there anybody out there who doubts that Bush is not good for our country?

There's some as to whether he's even in the loop [newyorker.com] .

Friends and Family (5, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334340)

FTFA:
"If they get content, that's useful to them too, but the real plum is going to be the transaction data and the traffic analysis," he said. "Massive amounts of traffic analysis information - who is calling whom, who is in Osama Bin Laden's circle of family and friends - is used to identify lines of communication that are then given closer scrutiny."

This is just the sort of sensitive information that the Whitehouse did not want leaked. Now Osama is going to change his long distance calling plan.

Re:Friends and Family (1)

CommiePuddin (891854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334385)

Now Osama is going to change his long distance calling plan.

Finally, someone has a reason to take a call from a telemarketer.

Re: Friends and Family (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334393)

> This is just the sort of sensitive information that the Whitehouse did not want leaked. Now Osama is going to change his long distance calling plan.

Osama who?

Are they even looking for that guy anymore?

Re:Friends and Family (1)

Mibblethwarpe (907266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334434)

..who is in Osama Bin Laden's circle of family and friends... Yes. Especially the family "femme fatale", his 25-year old niece, Waffa. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-03/3 0/content_429377.htm [chinadaily.com.cn]

Re:Friends and Family (1)

Mibblethwarpe (907266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334474)

Here's another shot of some hot terrorist action. I'm scared.

For some reason, the other photos of her have all but dissappeared. Nothing on Google. Perhaps the NSA could cough up the others?

I mean, just so we know who the enemy is.

http://us.news3.yimg.com/us.i2.yimg.com/p/rids/200 51222/i/r1264847392.jpg?x=277&y=345&sig=H_qwaSUP7R 98MVqlv28eJg-- [yimg.com]

Re:Friends and Family (0, Troll)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334443)

Yeah, if data about bin Laden's calling habits leaks out someone might find out how many times Bush has been consulting him on how to screw and scare the public.

How to cope? (3, Insightful)

sglider (648795) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334341)

How can we as the American people cope with a President that doesn't even acknowledge [mcall.com] that what he's doing is illegial? How can we further cope with a Congress that hasn't already 'stopped the presses' by calling for immediate hearings on the matter? I don't mean hearings next week, or next month. I want hearings now. This is a grave threat to our liberties, and I want it addressed right now.

Of course, this President speaks [whitehouse.gov] about 'freedom [wikipedia.org] ', but does 'freedom' include not being able to openly discuss laws and policies [cnn.com] ?

Oh, and the 'fanboy' contingent that believes that civil liberties must be curtailed in a time of conflict need not reply, because I'm not listening, and I doubt [blueoregon.com] Thomas Jefferson would listen to it either.

Re:How to cope? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334444)

While I hate the president and despise what he is doing, it is in fact, perfectally legal. He could issue an executive order to eliminate all non-Christian people in the United States if he wanted, and it would be 100% legal. It sucks, but we have Democratic leaders to thank for the executive order.

Re:How to cope? (1)

Jesus 2.0 (701858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334472)

Bullshit. Cite.

Re:How to cope? (4, Insightful)

Amiga Trombone (592952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334460)

Of course, this President speaks about 'freedom', but does 'freedom' include not being able to openly discuss laws and policies?

Of course not. Every time I hear this president use the word "freedom", it's in conjunction with a military invasion of another country.

It's not a product intended for domestic consumption.

Re:How to cope? (2, Funny)

DashItAll (910036) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334463)

Well, I moved to Japan. The government largely leaves you alone because they don't speak your language too well.

Re:How to cope? (0, Flamebait)

sycodon (149926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334467)

You are already doing the only thing that the left knows how to do, ignore the facts, bitch, whine, and moan, and then refuse to listen to any opposing opinions.

Yeah, you're so damn smart, you don't need reality to interfere with what you beleive.

And why would you even be interested in openly discussing anything? You said it yourself..."I'm not listening".

And whatever moron modded your post a five is probably the same kind of "open minded" liberal.

The terrorists are you (4, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334345)

Yes, you, the voter. You've allowed this to happen in every vote you made for an authoritarian politician -- I can name ONE that has followed their oath (Dr. Ron Paul of Texas http://house.gov/paul [house.gov] )

The telecommunications companies are regulated by Congress, illegally and unconstitutionally. Communication is speech. Speech is an inherent right all humans share and can not be infringed by any government.

You give them the power to regulate, they'll make it their power to control in their favor. Initially that favor is only financial -- take care of their nepotism and cronies. Eventually they turn to "help the needy" when the regulations for the needy really only help the monopolies they've created. In the end, the control is about power -- absolute power over the minions.

Don't don the tinfoil hat, it isn't necessary. Just see that every empire has its day, and the ones most responsible are those who elected, not those who were elected.

I vote only for myself -- each and every line of each and every ballot. In my mind, I win. I picked the candidate best suited to represent my family and I.

Re:The terrorists are you (1)

diamondmagic (877411) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334459)

The telecommunications companies are regulated by Congress, illegally and unconstitutionally. Communication is speech. Speech is an inherent right all humans share and can not be infringed by any government.

The government can not stop us from saying what we want. Wiretaping is constitutional, if allowed by law. Now the FBI demanding wiretaps without proper leglisation would be unconstitutional - but is that the case?

By the way, terrorists are people who try to get media attention by blowing others up. As far as I know, voting does not hurt others like that.

Re:The terrorists are you (1, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334491)

"The telecommunications companies are regulated by Congress, illegally and unconstitutionally."

Selling time on a copper wire is commerce. If the wires used cross state lines, it's interstate commerce. Sounds consitutional to me.

"Communication is speech."

But communications mediums aren't. So long as they're not, say, giving different treatment to different communcations based on sender, recipient and/or content (e. g. by setting up the two-tiered Internet you're so vocally in favor of, which makes one doubt your commitmentment to your statements on free speech), the First Amendment doesn't touch on this.

Communications aren't blocked or otherwise hindered; if the NSA did that, the "terrorists" would know they've been made. This isn't a First Amendment issue, it's a Fourth Amendment one.

"Just see that every empire has its day, and the ones most responsible are those who elected, not those who were elected."

So you're insisting the chicken came before the egg? How are unhappy voters supposed to oust politicians in districts that are jerrymandered into being uncompetitive?

"I picked the candidate best suited to represent my family and I."

Nobody else can speak for you, but you can speak for other members of your family? Do you make sure your wife also puts you down on her ballot?

Secure IM (1, Interesting)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334346)

Does anyone know a secure IM? I've heard you can interface Gaim with tor, but does it work with Gaim descendents like Adium for OS X? And can you have real time IM with these secure proxy stuff.

Also, I'd recommend Tor and Privoxy [eff.org] for normal browsing if you want security.

Re:Secure IM (1)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334374)

OTR [cypherpunks.ca] may do what you want (or not), but it needs to be handled correctly to really be secure, of course. I think there's built-in support for it in Adium-X, too; for vanilla GAIM, there's a plugin, as well as a generic AIM proxy that will work with all clients (but only AIM, obviously, whereas the plugin supports all IM services that GAIM can use).

Re:Secure IM (1)

Fortyseven (240736) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334397)

I'd like to find a good write-up on just how secure these things are. I've used some gaim encryption stuff with a friend of mine, but I have no real idea if that's entirely secure, or "secure enough for goofing off at work".

Re:Secure IM -- Jabber/SSL (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334481)

You can use TLS in jabberd, but you then can't be sure it's encrypted, as most clients will try encryption, then fall back to unencrypted. I personally use the separate SSL port for jabber, and run my own server, so there's no one to intercept the communication setup traffic but me.

And yes, Adium will work with it.

Re:Secure IM (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334496)

Develope one that uses a multiple pass/key onetime pad. That will be secure.

Prediction: (0)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334347)

"Tip of the iceberg"

Re:Prediction: (1)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334436)

I hear ya man, the NSA is a government organization that was hidden for over 20 years. The US Government did not acknowledge its existance until the mid-1980s, if my memory is right (it was started in 1952).

Must be careful with this path (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334351)

The problem with all these intelligence programs is the "mission creep" of where they start with what seems like a good cause then morph into being used against constitutionally protected forms of expression such as peaceful dissent and opposing viewpoints. When a program is sold as anti-terrorism in nature as its sole purpose and is given broad lattitude to push the edges of the constitution and elinimate checks-and-balances protections it is a sobering and serious grant of power we are giving one branch of the government. But when it quickly becomes another general-use law enforcement tool used in mundane investigations it is very troublesome and scary.

The "I have nothing to hide" argument rings hollow when intense surveilance is used as a political weapon.

Until such time as the administration and intelligence agencies can exercise some self-restraint and accountability I will view all these warrantless intrusions with intense suspicion.

We are a country of laws based on a strong and unique constitution. I would like it to remain that way.

Modern USA (4, Funny)

gorehog (534288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334356)

I love living in the USA controlled by monied interests and the Republican party. They foster such an honest, compassionate, and responsible atmosphere for civil discourse.

Torture, lying, spying on citizens, the list of crimes Bush is responsible for goes on and on. Would someone give this guy a blowjob already so we can impeach him?

Re:Modern USA (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334373)

So move somewhere else, you whiner

Re:Modern USA (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334395)

Talking Point #436778

If someone complains about something bad conservatives have done, tell them to "move to another country."

Talking Point #436779

Claim that Clinton used the NSA for just as many intrusions of the rights of consumers. (not citizens - only Republicans are citizens in your America)

Talking Point $437880

Claim that the abuse of NSA is not illegal.

Good citizen. Know your talking points, good citizen.

a lewinsky for the chimp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334414)

this guy might have, but the story sort of got spiked eventually except for the infamous blogosphere.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A367 33-2005Feb18.html [washingtonpost.com]

US Constitution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334364)

... RIP 9/11/2001.

It was good while it lasted.

Plame double standard (0)

deanj (519759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334376)

Clinton's aides were on TV saying they backed Bush on this, and it was legal.

Love to have an investigation that lead to the leaks on this. After all, Plame was important, right?

what's the problem? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334377)

As long as you haven't done anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about.

And as long as you don't walk funny or wear all one color. And don't celebrate "weird" holidays. And you probably shouldn't visit those weird porn sites or read some of those really liberal sites. And you should eat meat, at least every now and then. Don't be militant about the vegetarian thing, you know? And you really should have a regular job. If you have a lot of free time to go to protests and stuff like that, you might get in the wrong crowd. And probably French is a better choice to learn at that community college than Arabic. Yeah, I know you like the falafel, but don't buy so much of it okay? At least pay cash (but small amounts so you don't raise suspicion) And when you finish thumbing through those books (you know the ones I'm talking about) at the bookstore or library, put them back on the shelf, okay? Actually, why are you going to the library? You've got money to buy books. Only certain types of people go to the library. And, it's okay to criticize the president, with your friends, but no need to put that stuff on your blog, you know? How about an American flag on there? Whatever you think about Iraq, just talk about how you support the troops. Sure you can support the troops but not the war, but you gotta watch how you say it. And I don't mean on your cell phone. Just don't talk about politics on the cell. Yeah I know about your depression, just try to go outside as much as you can, just fake it, whatever, it's safer when they see you come and go more often. No, the tattoo should be of the flag, or a heart, or something. Makes it easier when you're searched. Remember to say "Merry Christmas". I know, I know, but it's just a couple words. Have you considered tossing a bible into your pack in case you're searched? You should take off those pins.. they give the wrong impression. And those electronics books, you're not in school, people might think you're making something you shouldn't. If somebody asks, tell them your TV is being repaired. I think you'd look better without the beard. It's just a suggestion.

Just basically stay inside the bell curve, and you'll be fine!

Mod Parent UP! (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334452)

"If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about" is such a lovely phrase. But "let he who is without sin cast the first stone". I mean, who doesn't have something they'd like to keep private, illegal or just embarassing?

Encryption is here my friends! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334387)

Just use Zeta talk - nobody will make any sense out of it. Unless, the government hires that talented Richard C Hoagland to decrypt the hyper meanings...

Other administrations (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334389)

At the risk of sounding like a pro-bush drone, does anyone know why this is such a big deal when previous administrations like Clinton's did it to the country too? Clinton even did it to inner city projects to try and prevent violence and that didn't have any international implications. So besides the fact that we all hate Bush, why do we all care when it's happened before and FISA has ruled in favor of it before?

Freedom first (1, Redundant)

ydra2 (821713) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334404)

In Soviet USSA -everything- watches you!

Timing of this story is worrisome (5, Insightful)

bstarrfield (761726) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334426)

This is probably one of the most important stories of the year... not to be too dramatic, but possibly the most important story in the last ten. The US government is conducting warrentless wiretaps on its citizens, collecting information in a vest unsupervised net.

This news came to the fore the day before Christmas. And folks, it's on Slashdot Christmas Eve. How many people are paying attention to this? The New York Times is already in hot water for holding the initial story for a year. Now more and more facts are coming out, during a time when few people watch the news, Congress is out of session, and the president and his staff can be on vacation. It's on Slashdot, and I'm checking Slashdot as I'm watching Red Sleigh Down (South Park) on Comedy Central... how many Slashdot readers are looking at the site? No offesnse to the rest of the worl...

Jesus, this story may damn well disappear into the *void that's American political memory.

People, I pray that this story - the Orwellian degradation of our liberties, the expansion of the police state, the emergence of fascism as corporations and security institutions work together - does not fade away. Write your congressional representatives, write the paper, bug your friends and family, but don't ignore this issue.

We've got to make

Spam the NSA! (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334427)

These things tend to work based on certain key phrases and words in Dictionaries. Sprinkle your speech with random terrorist-sounding words and phrases as "Vote Green for peace", "jihad", "Allah", "kill for God" and "assasinate George W. Bush" to countermeasure!

Honeypot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334435)

Well, if you wanna be the one to attract the NSA's attention, good luck. But you might end up in a shadow prison somewhere in eastern europe without a lawyer for a while.

Editorial Timing (1)

SilverspurG (844751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334446)

This article would have so much more impact had it been released about a week after New Years'. Rather convenient that it's being announced at a time when 90% of the public is off partying.

</tin-foil>

This is not the country our founders built (0, Troll)

ShatteredDream (636520) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334448)

America is arguably free and most definitely not home of the brave on average. The country which produced a citizen army that defeated the British with French help is gone, and you can blame the civil war in part for ending our era of relying on a citizen army instead of a professional one.

The average American doesn't have any ability to use a gun, nor do they have the determination to act as a militiaman in defense of their country. This is why we are losing freedom so much. The government has to do this because most people while scream bloody murder if they don't in the face of a terrorist attack. Since most Americans have no connection to their freedoms, especially since they don't have the principle or courage to fight for them, we are essentially screwed.

But on the terrorist angle, let's be serious about something. This is a Muslim on everyone else problem and welcoming more Muslims from abroad into our country is just asking for trouble. Chinese Buddhists aren't attacking us, Hindus are by and large quite content to live in total peace with their neighbors, same thing for Jews, Christians, Shintos, Sikhs. It's the Muslim immigrants from the Middle East and Pakistan that by and large want to blow up our women and children in gory displays of affection for Allah.

So instead of screwing our civil liberties, and those of our law-abiding immigrants from the rest of the world besides the heavily Muslim areas, why not simply deport all of the Middle Eastern and Pakistan Muslims from our country? Only a pathologically dishonest person can look at the history of Islam and call it a religion of peace. No, we shouldn't restrict our Muslim citizens, most of whom are very Americanized to the point that they are probably more closely connected to our culture than their religion's roots. However, let's be realistic. Deporting every single Saudi national from our country and ending our visa program with Saudi Arabia would do more to protect our country than the USA PATRIOT Act and these executive orders combined.

Re:This is not the country our founders built (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334469)

I'm pretty sure you're either trolling or being sarcastic, but I just want to add something lest we all forget:

Only a pathologically dishonest person can look at the history of Islam and call it a religion of peace.

Only a pathologically dishonest system could look at the history of Christianity and call it peaceful. You're judging based on history rather than on the actual precepts of the religion. Just because someone claims to be an adherent of a religion or does something in the name of a religion doesn't mean that everything they do adheres to the religion.

Harrasement by Cell Phone companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334451)

Investigating purchasing a cell phone has resulted in a substancial amount of unwanted attention, not just for my buisness either. Since learning they are cooperating with tracking people without warrants, it's reasonable to assume the NSA wants ALL the data, on EVERYONE to track unsual movements/behavoirs.

Welcome to Soviet America, papers please.

Nothing is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334457)

You've just been reading too much. Watch the TV, no one is worried about this.

The undemocratic US. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14334475)

The USSR was a threat to world peace. Today the threat is the US.

The main problem is the stupidity and ignorance of the people in the US. Only half of the people votes, and compared to Europe people in the US cares very little about politics.

Americans are usually very delusional (which probably has some connections with christianity, since religous people are more delusional).

An example is an international health research where people from all over the world participated. First the participators would estimate their own health. The Americans were rated first, over 90% claimed their health was really good. Then the doctors ran som tests on the participators. It turned out that the health of the Americans were the worst. Over 2/3 of the Americans where over weight or obese. Talk about delusional people...

Since people don't care or doesn't know the truth, the elite can do whatever they want. The US media is the no1 propaganda machine.

The US is not a democracy according to me, it is a nation run by the corporations. As long as requires a lot of money to win an president campaign the US will not be a democracy. Politics should be about the best solutions and not about having the most money or being backed by the corporations.

And this NSA mining is just an effect of the poor democratic system.

The american people need to wake up!

When fourth estate fails to hold liars accountable (3, Interesting)

NZheretic (23872) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334479)

From The Mass Media as Fourth Estate [ndirect.co.uk] :
The term fourth estate is frequently attributed to the nineteenth century historian Carlyle, though he himself seems to have attributed it to Edmund Burke:
Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters' Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important than they all. It is not a figure of speech, or a witty saying; it is a literal fact, .... Printing, which comes necessarily out of Writing, I say often, is equivalent to Democracy: invent Writing, Democracy is inevitable. ..... Whoever can speak, speaking now to the whole nation, becomes a power, a branch of government, with inalienable weight in law-making, in all acts of authority. It matters not what rank he has, what revenues or garnitures: the requisite thing is that he have a tongue which others will listen to; this and nothing more is requisite.
The mainstream media has failed to hold either side accountable for claims that diverge widely from the known facts [blogspot.com] . The inevitable result is a current administration that, like Nixon, believes it is above the law.

Personal rights vs. the safety of the majority (1, Troll)

nexusone (470558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334484)

Sometimes we have to make a choice when you are attacked by a group of terrorists.
Unlike terrorists groups that want money or people released these people want to destroy our way of life.

We have two options sit and wait for another attack to happen or we can be proactive.
I have no problem with a government computer scanning data from different sources, and flagging communications that could be terrorist planning another attack. Probably 99% data collected is never seen by a human being, just processed by the computer.

This leak of how the Government is tracking Terrorist is a bigger problem then the president calling for NSA to collect this data. Look at what happened when the Clinton administration was tracking Bin Laden, it leaked they could track him by his cell phone usage. He stopped using a cell phone and we lost a good way to track him and maybe could have stopped 9/11. Now they know we are looking at all communications, and will modify how they send information to different cells.

There is always a chance of this information being used for political reasons, similar to what happened in the Clinton administration. If Bush used it against political opponents then that would be a problem, and he would be held accountable

It's called ECHELON boys and girls (3, Insightful)

MrSnivvel (210105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334490)

And it has been around and known about for some time. Talk about late breaking news.

Here are a couple of links about it. Hell, one of them is from Wikipedia...

Fantastic logic our goverment has, isn't it? (1)

psu_whammy (940612) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334494)

Our government had information it needed to see the 9/11 terrorist attack coming. It was unable to thwart the plan because that information got lost in the shuffle of the bureaucracy.

The response: Collect a lot more information.

sniffing for encryption (1, Insightful)

Stalyn (662) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334502)

I'm not a cryptanalyst nor do I know much about cryptography however the logical choice for the NSA would be to sniff out heavily encrypted messages between domestic and foreign sources. The idea of plain-text dictionary search just seems too obvious. Rather look for encrypted traffic between say Saudi Arabia and some location inside the US. Then either attack the sources and compromise their machines or brute-force their encryption to see what they are talking about. I mean these people use cellphone detonator bombs so I would assume they are smart enough to at least PGP their emails.

I'm sure 99% of what they break is not relevant to "terrorism" but they keep it anyway.

it's still a free country (1, Troll)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14334506)

Okay, I'm going to go way out on a limb here and expose myself to total mod annihilation. (but before you do, at least read down to my example of why I think it's a free country.)

I think a lot of the reaction here is glib and over the top. Does anyone remember what happened Sept 11, 2001?

Yeah, there has been a lot of "unauthorized" spying, but it looks to be pretty specific (e.g., Mosques... where large Muslim populations ostensibly would have privacy to worship). The United States was attacked and continues to be targeted for major future terror attacks. And, like it or not, the community most likely to cultivate, plan, and escalate this activity is Muslim. And, a country so viciously attacked would be naive, maybe even stupid to allow unfettered large gatherings where this planning could go on with no observation.

I cringe to think spying may go on, and may be necessary, but it isn't the same world as five years ago.

As for those complaining about the abridgement of their rights and rampant government interference I would ask you, have you or anyone you know observed or experienced serious interference in your life (lives)? I haven't, and I don't know anyone who has. I do know some people get caught in the quagmire that is the increased surveillance, but for now it's probably a dear price we're paying and will for a while.

However, let me give an example of the freedom in this country. A friend recently returned from visiting friends in California. She brought back as a souvenir three toilet paper sheets... from the TP roll where she stayed. Each of the sheets had printed on it a picture of George Bush and some choice quote by him. Hilarious? Maybe, depends on your point of view. Permissible? You bet!

I may not be happy the world is a bit more wrapped around the axle these days, but I am happy to live in a country that has enough freedom that you can print the president's face on toilet paper.

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