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NCTC Gets Vast Powers To Spy On U.S. Citizens 332

Posted by timothy
from the so-full-of-hope-for-change dept.
interval1066 writes "In a breathtaking new move by (another) little-known national security agency, the personal information of all U.S. citizens will be available for casual perusal. The 'National Counterterrorism Center' (I've never heard of this org) may now 'examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them.' This is different from past bureaucratic practice (never mind due process) in that a government agency not in the list of agencies approved to to certain things without due process may completely bypass due process and store (for up to 5 years) these records, the organization doesn't need a warrant, or have any kind of oversight of any kind. They will be sifting through these records looking for 'counter-insurgency activity,' supposedly with an eye to prevention. If this doesn't wake you up and chill you to your very bone, not too sure there is anything that will anyway."
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NCTC Gets Vast Powers To Spy On U.S. Citizens

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  • by kc67 (2789711) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @12:52PM (#42276109)
    With enough media attention this will be shut down.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @12:59PM (#42276269)

      AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA *gasp* AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      Really, I wish it were true, but I doubt it. A lot of people will "agree in the name of national security" that they won't fight it.

      • Terrorist! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:21PM (#42276673)

        Clearly both you and the op are terrorists.

        There's the rub, isn't it? As long as you call people terrorists, you can do anything to them.

        Blow up buildings? Terrorist.
        Free animals from research facilities? Terrorist.
        Do a web search about bomb-making? Terrorist.
        Say "terrorist" in an airport? Terrorist.
        Run a red light? Terrorist.
        Post a "subversive" comment on Slashdot? Terrorist.
        Read this message? Terrorist!!!

        • Re:Terrorist! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by thoughtlover (83833) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:46PM (#42277129)

          Post as AC? Terrorist.

          The real chilling effect is how discourse could be curtailed in forums and the like. I think smart people will start saying a lot less; which will probably raise some red flag, somewhere.

          • Re:Terrorist! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by SomePgmr (2021234) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:00PM (#42277359) Homepage

            discourse could be curtailed in forums and the like

            Well, I'll hope that day isn't today and ask... what database? What information? Has the criteria for action against a citizen changed? Is this actually a free pass for surveillance of any kind, or granting access to a specific database that already exists (and is known to us)? Maybe the difference doesn't matter, but I'd like to know.

            the personal information of all U.S. citizens will be available for casual perusal

            This is really vague and the article is paywalled. At the risk of sounding too reserved, I'd kinda like to know what we're talking about here.

            • Re:Terrorist! (Score:5, Informative)

              by Mephistophocles (930357) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:29PM (#42277859) Homepage
              Here are another couple of links: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/12/12/a-comparison-of-the-2008-and-2012-nctc-guidelines/ [wsj.com] and http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324478304578171623040640006.html [wsj.com].

              From what I can tell, it appears to mostly be changes in 1) what information can be gathered, 2) on whom (don't need suspicion of terrorist activity anymore to search through someone's files), 3) how long it can be retained (5 years for innocent people, forever for anyone suspected of criminal activity), and 4) more importantly, the methods that can be used to gather it. In the past, it wasn't possible to do "dragnet" type searches looking for a specific pattern (i.e., show me everyone who searched for "how to make a bomb" on Google in the past 6 months and purchased more than 500 rounds of ammunition), but had to be a search on a specific person of interest (i.e., show me what Mohammad Mohammad searched for on Google last week).

              As far as I can tell, there hasn't yet been a change in what actions can be taken based on the findings in that info, but the groundwork for action without due process has been laid for some time already.
          • by Dunbal (464142) *
            Smart people are always the first to be rounded up and shot. Tyranny despises smart people.
        • Re:Terrorist! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dan828 (753380) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:17PM (#42277657)
          He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent which will reach to himself. - Thomas Paine
        • by Nyder (754090)

          Clearly both you and the op are terrorists.

          There's the rub, isn't it? As long as you call people terrorists, you can do anything to them.

          Blow up buildings? Terrorist.
          Free animals from research facilities? Terrorist.
          Do a web search about bomb-making? Terrorist.
          Say "terrorist" in an airport? Terrorist.
          Run a red light? Terrorist.
          Post a "subversive" comment on Slashdot? Terrorist.
          Read this message? Terrorist!!!

          Wait, didn't we do this but with "communist" and "witches"?

      • by Mitreya (579078)

        A lot of people will "agree in the name of national security" that they won't fight it.

        Who cares about "a lot of people", the Constitution certainly does not turn on popular opinion

        There will be _someone_ to fight it -- most likely ACLU. Now all we need is for courts (particularly the supreme court) to start doing their job properly.

        • by BoberFett (127537)

          Given the state of affairs in Washington, I'd argue that popular opinion does in fact drive what's considered constitutional. It could be argued that a large portion of what the federal government does is unconsititutional, but nobody elected or appointed seems to care.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:00PM (#42276301)
      Like how that warrantless wiretapping program was shut down?
    • Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

      • by chill (34294)

        Considering the article is behind a paywall, your pithy attempt at humor is more insightful that I'll bet you intended.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:09PM (#42276471)

      You are giving yourself an excuse. Maybe that is true, but you are ignoring the many, many ways the U.S. government is VERY corrupt. The U.S. financial system steals trillions of dollars. The kill-other-people-and-destroy-property groups associated with the U.S. government have stolen trillions of dollars to kill people in lands most citizens can't find on a map, partly for profit and partly because they are mentally ill.

      Citizens and taxpayers are not even allowed to know the names of all the secret groups that secretly get taxpayer money to do secret things that benefit people who taxpayers are not allowed to know.

      U.S. government corruption is a problem for everyone on the planet, not just U.S. citizens.

      Do the work of stopping corruption in the U.S. government.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by netwarerip (2221204)

      With enough media attention this will be shut down.

      I would love to mod this funny but am out of points.

    • The amount of crap that was "shovel ready" post-911 is pretty depressing.
      The amount of screwed up Anti-terrorism/National Security/Good of the People legislation/executive orders that got pushed through during the trample our rights to make us safe period will take decades to clear out.

      I would love to see the secret government shut down, but it's almost 10 years old and there has been plenty of media attention. It takes a lot of effort and time to figure out how to get information on the thing that is secre

    • With enough media attention this will be shut down.

      It's one thing to worry about terrorist, but if they are talking about a witch hunt to find criminals then there is no way anyone but catholic police officers could support it.

      • by PlusFiveTroll (754249) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:40PM (#42277025) Homepage

        McCarthy supports this group from beyond the grave.

        • But sin and crime are basically the same. And just not like everyone agreed we should have a war on sin, we don't all agree with using datamining to fight crime. In fact that is a very radical position only supported by catholic law enforcement officers.

          If you're not a law enforcement officer then you're a criminal. If you're not a catholic then you're probably a sinner. Morality should not be influencing these sorts of policy. Politics should also not be influencing these sorts of policy.

          The war on drugs i

          • by Smauler (915644)

            The war on drugs is a morality and political issue. The war on crime is entirely a morality issue.

            The "war" on crime has always been a morality issue. The entire point of a legal system is to enforce moral codes.

            We have to have this in a society... without it, there would be no legal system.

            The war on terror has absolutely nothing to do with criminality, and has everything to do with restricting individual's freedoms. That is the problem with it.

            ps. I am a convicted drug user, and believe that drug us

            • by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:50PM (#42279269) Homepage

              The "war" on crime has always been a morality issue. The entire point of a legal system is to enforce moral codes.

              No, the legal system is not about enforcing moral codes. The legal system is about responding to actions which cause harm to others: whether harm was done, how much harm, by whom, whether the harm was deliberate, what actions can justifiably be taken in response, etc. The critical thing about the law is that, unlike morality, it should not vary depending on your point of view. Morality is subjective; legality should be objective. There is significant overlap, of course, but the fact that some action is wrong under some particular moral code has no bearing on whether the action should be considered illegal. Conversely, what is legal is not always right.

              There may even be cases where an action is required by a particular moral code, and yet legally the moral actor still owes compensation to those harmed by it. For example, your morality may require you to steal from the rich to aid the poor, but legally, it's still theft and you owe compensation to your victims. As a deliberate action, they also have the right to retribution, meaning they can justly take from you as you have taken from them.

              Morality (right/wrong) and justice (legal/illegal) are completely separate concepts which merely happen to agree, in select cases, for particular varieties of morality.

        • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:34PM (#42277945) Homepage

          McCarthy was screwing up people's lives based on often completely specious accusations of communism, while these upstanding civil servants are screwing up people's lives based on often completely specious accusations of terrorism. Anybody who can't see the obvious differences between the two must be a terrorist.

    • well, if we've heard about it, its already entrenched and too late to remove it or fix it.

      btw, its not what we hear about, that I would worry about. its the real shit that won't ever be reported or leaked. as usual, the stuff that gets leaked is not the real stuff to be worried about. as bad as this is, its probably much, much worse than we think it is.

    • I have noticed a deafening silence from them for four years and fully expect it to continue. I want a four years and your out rule.

    • Jack Bauer will never let CTU... err... NCTC get shut down!

    • score +5 funny, indeed.

      if anything the "security theatre" is populat with voters, and the ideas of freedom and liberty less so these days.

      Airport security, obnoxious and mostly for show, gets high marks, for looking important and making people FEEL safe by giving the illusion of security.
  • Wait, what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The government should need a warrant or due process to access its own records?

    Of course, I did not RTFA

    • by anagama (611277)

      Well, how did it get those records? What are the records? What means is it using to get more records? Think a little.

      • by Creepy (93888)

        When I was a kid, checking out certain library books immediately put you on an FBI list. Now it's much easier - they just grab all your emails and non-https posts as they get routed through servers and toss them in a file on you. All of your secure emails probably get tossed into an NSA supercomputer and cracked and filed as well. I'm sure visiting certain web sites like fertilizer-R.us or terrorism.com puts you on a watch list as well. No, I'm not paranoid, but my government is.

  • by Niris (1443675) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @12:54PM (#42276149)
    Anyone with a WSJ account able to post the article?
    • Re:Paywalled (Score:5, Informative)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:00PM (#42276293) Homepage

      I mean really. TFS has a link to Wikipedia (OK, now we know what the NCC is and I guess it's not a space ship), then a paywalled article.

      OK, I'm willing to go along with the concept that the US Federal government has gotten even more intrusive however, a little real info would be nice. Very nice. How about taking 30 seconds more and finding a better link [aclu.org].

      I know some feel that the ACLU is a bit on the left wing insane side, but it's a nice balance to the the WSJ right wing insane. And the blog is at least free, readable and nominally interesting.

      tl;dr - we're doomed.

      • OK, I'm willing to go along with the concept that the US Federal government has gotten even more intrusive however, a little real info would be nice.

        I'm not even sure about that much. If the info in the summary is accurate, this agency isn't collecting information on you, merely compiling information that other agencies already collected. I'm frankly a little shocked this isn't already happening. From the summary this sounds like a paranoid tempest in a teakettle, but I can't read the article either.

        • Read TFA. It's moderately scary. It isn't the end of the world but it gives the government power that they really should not have. It is extraordinarily intrusive.

          Not only can the feds correlate any information gleaned from federal databases, but they can combine it with ANY other database. Cell phone records, mortgage records, Driver's license records, medical records. They can do so without telling anyone else about it. They have NO oversight - which is probably the most upsetting aspect of the aff

    • Re:Paywalled (Score:4, Informative)

      by danomac (1032160) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:02PM (#42276321)

      Try this link through google search [google.com].

      • Re:Paywalled (Score:5, Informative)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:42PM (#42277061) Journal

        If that doesn't work, try the google cache
        https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324478304578171623040640006.html [googleusercontent.com]

        December 12, 2012, 10:30 p.m. ET
        U.S. Terrorism Agency to Tap a Vast Database of Citizens
        By JULIA ANGWIN

        Top U.S. intelligence officials gathered in the White House Situation Room in March to debate a controversial proposal. Counterterrorism officials wanted to create a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens--even people suspected of no crime.

        Not everyone was on board. "This is a sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public," Mary Ellen Callahan, chief privacy officer of the Department of Homeland Security, argued in the meeting, according to people familiar with the discussions.

        A week later, the attorney general signed the changes into effect.

        Through Freedom of Information Act requests and interviews with officials at numerous agencies, The Wall Street Journal has reconstructed the clash over the counterterrorism program within the administration of President Barack Obama. The debate was a confrontation between some who viewed it as a matter of efficiency--how long to keep data, for instance, or where it should be stored--and others who saw it as granting authority for unprecedented government surveillance of U.S. citizens.

        The rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them. That is a departure from past practice, which barred the agency from storing information about ordinary Americans unless a person was a terror suspect or related to an investigation.

        Now, NCTC can copy entire government databases--flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others. The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. Previously, both were prohibited. Data about Americans "reasonably believed to constitute terrorism information" may be permanently retained.

        The changes also allow databases of U.S. civilian information to be given to foreign governments for analysis of their own. In effect, U.S. and foreign governments would be using the information to look for clues that people might commit future crimes.

        "It's breathtaking" in its scope, said a former senior administration official familiar with the White House debate.

        Counterterrorism officials say they will be circumspect with the data. "The guidelines provide rigorous oversight to protect the information that we have, for authorized and narrow purposes," said Alexander Joel, Civil Liberties Protection Officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the parent agency for the National Counterterrorism Center.

        The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution says that searches of "persons, houses, papers and effects" shouldn't be conducted without "probable cause" that a crime has been committed. But that doesn't cover records the government creates in the normal course of business with citizens.

        Congress specifically sought to prevent government agents from rifling through government files indiscriminately when it passed the Federal Privacy Act in 1974. The act prohibits government agencies from sharing data with each other for purposes that aren't "compatible" with the reason the data were originally collected.

        But the Federal Privacy Act allows agencies to exempt themselves from many requirements by placing notices in the Federal Register, the government's daily publication of proposed rules. In practice, these privacy-act notices are rarely contested by government watchdogs or membe

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Top U.S. intelligence officials gathered in the White House Situation Room in March to debate a controversial proposal. Counterterrorism officials wanted to create a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens—even people suspected of no crime.

      Not everyone was on board. "This is a sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public," Mary Ellen Callahan, chief privacy officer of the Department of Homeland Security, argued in the meeting, according to

      • What are they going to come up with next? Go from "crime" to "thought-crime" and "pre-crime"?

        Terrorism is a specific danger to national security. Everyone agrees to fight terrorism using whatever means available. We don't all agree with the war on crime or the war on drugs. Maybe catholic law enforcement officers support this but the rest of us are sinners and criminals.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @12:57PM (#42276203)

    Remember when people were screaming that Bush was the root of all evil? How's that whole Obama thing working out for you.

    • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:05PM (#42276401)
      Poorly, which is why I learned my lesson and voted Libertarian this time.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jfengel (409917)

        And how did that work out for you?

        • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:26PM (#42276767) Homepage

          I went with Jill Stein. I can say it went great. My vote did not contribute to evil. My vote registered as a protest to both the New GOP (aka Democrats) and the Old GOP (aka Parody-of-Itself). If Obama had lost, my vote may have triggered some New GOP soul searching. Obviously, I'll have to wait another election for any soul searching by the New GOP, but one can always hope.

          In fact, I voted a straight "neither GOP nor New GOP" ticket this year and that is my plan till they change their ways. If they never do change their ways, nothing is lost. If they do, much is gained. But by just following the herd, there is absolutely no chance anything will ever get better and an absolute certainty things will get worse. Being a sheep is the worst option.

          • by lgw (121541) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:14PM (#42277581) Journal

            I was tired of voting for the lesser of two evils, so I intended to vote Cthulhu. Since he wasn't on the ticket, I voted for Rosanne Barr, which amounts to the same thing.

          • by Holladon (1620389) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:14PM (#42277595)

            I went with Jill Stein. I can say it went great. My vote did not contribute to evil. My vote registered as a protest to both the New GOP (aka Democrats) and the Old GOP (aka Parody-of-Itself). If Obama had lost, my vote may have triggered some New GOP soul searching. Obviously, I'll have to wait another election for any soul searching by the New GOP, but one can always hope.

            Not to be a dick about it, but give me a break. Your vote didn't register a damn thing. When you vote, all you've done is vote. It doesn't tell anyone why you voted the way you did, and it doesn't empower you to suddenly control the party narrative. In fact, you're now a voter they've already LOST, so they care even less about you than they did the last time you voted Dem (if you ever did). If you want to send DC a message, try literally writing them one. Like on paper. I know, crazy idea.

            By the way, I voted for Jill Stein too, primarily because I live in Los Angeles so voting for president is basically pointless anyway, and I'd never voted third party before, so hey, why not. The only other legitimate reason to vote third party (and the other reason I did so, in addition to "for shits and giggles") is to help them get over the threshold for federal funds. But you're fooling yourself if you think that your vote for the Greens is going to make the Democrats do any soul-searching. I don't know how old you are, but my first election was in 2000 -- if there were EVER an election to induce the Dems to do some soul-searching, 2000 would have been it. Those of us who know our recent history know how well that worked out.

            In fact, I voted a straight "neither GOP nor New GOP" ticket this year and that is my plan till they change their ways. If they never do change their ways, nothing is lost. If they do, much is gained. But by just following the herd, there is absolutely no chance anything will ever get better and an absolute certainty things will get worse. Being a sheep is the worst option.

            Generally agreed, but voting is never, ever going to be a good way to make a difference. If you want to make a difference, get involved in local politics. Start a blog and create an audience. DO THINGS AND SAY THINGS that get other people to pay attention. But voting? Voting is a joke.

        • by LF11 (18760)
          Pretty well, considering that the Libertarian candidate was universally shunned by major media. I confess I feel great about voting with my conscience. My vote wouldn't do much good anyway; I just showed up to vote in all the other elections where individual votes matter more.
      • Ah, a Libertarian vote... I'm sure the NCTC has a nice large folder on you.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:08PM (#42276445)
      If we were to admit that Barack Obama is no less fascist than his predecessors over the past few decades (perhaps even further back), we would be forced to commit the ultimate evil: voting third party. Which I did.
    • by SternisheFan (2529412) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:10PM (#42276473)

      Remember when people were screaming that Bush was the root of all evil? How's that whole Obama thing working out for you.

      It wouldn't matter who's the temporary president anyway. President's come and go. All the big businesses and secret gov't agencies are there long before and long afterwards.

    • Remember when people were screaming that Bush was the root of all evil?

      Well, this agency is his fault, so yes, he was.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        good point.

        bush did create this. he created the war, gave us a reason to keep halliburton and friends rich(er), and put us into debt that we may never get out of, in our generation, at least.

        would obama have take us to these 2 unnecessary wars? no, I don't think so.

        would he have created all this bush depts to spy on us? no.

        would he like to BENEFIT from those that he did not create? YES.

        so, he's partially evil for not tearing it down, but he does not get the blame for putting them in place. and yes, tha

        • so, he's partially evil for not tearing it down, but he does not get the blame for putting them in place. and yes, that does count. he that throws the first punch is usually the one given the blame for the fight.

          The problem with that analogy is that both of them have only been punching US, not each other.
          We've been tag teamed without a chance to punch back.

    • I warned of this (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Remember when people were screaming that Bush was the root of all evil? How's that whole Obama thing working out for you.

      Back when the Bush admin was "asserting" Executive power, a few of us raised a warning. One of our points was that any powers that the Bush administration acquired would be bestowed on the next admin - regardless of who's in power next.

      Now, I am NOT saying Obama is Evil or Bush was evil. What I am saying is that we should be very concerned with power creep.

      Congress and the Judiciary really needs to reign in executive power. Executive power is the only branch where things focus on one person. This isn't for

  • by Sowelu (713889) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @12:58PM (#42276229)
    Not collecting much of new data, and it's one agency allowed to centralize it instead of every little local agency keeping it forever. I'd rather have one agency with a long time limit than a hundred agencies with long time limits...just keep the others low.
    • by pla (258480) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:35PM (#42276949) Journal
      it's one agency allowed to centralize it instead of every little local agency keeping it forever.

      You left out the part where they can then share that aggregated data (including 3rd party private commercial data - such as your credit card history or your medical history - otherwise unobtainable without a warrant) and share it with anyone. Not just other spy orgs, but whomever the hell they feel like chatting with.

      Oh gee, forgot to pay use tax on that TV you bought in a neighboring state with no sales tax? No worries, they can forward that right off to your state's revenue service for processing all the appropriate fines! You work for a Catholic school? Hmm, pity how they somehow found out about that abortion. Hiding out from a psycho ex who consider restraining orders nothing more than toilet paper? Oops, he had some info the NCTC wanted, so they traded him a wad of info about you for it.

      All fucking legal.


      I'd rather have one agency with a long time limit than a hundred agencies with long time limits...

      I'd rather have zero agencies allowed to completely ignore those pesky ol' constitutional protections regarding things like due process, search and seizure, and so on.
    • by elucido (870205) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:38PM (#42276995)

      In information security compartmentalization, least privilege, need to know and other similar concepts are considered a good thing. These concepts exist to security confidentiality of information. But the NCTC has the authority to share the information with anyone according to the ACLU: "Perhaps most disturbing, once information is gathered (not necessarily connected to terrorism), in many cases it can be shared with “a federal, state, local, tribal, or foreign or international entity, or to an individual or entity not part of a government” – literally anyone. That sharing can happen in relation to national security and safety, drug investigations, if it’s evidence of a crime or to evaluate sources or contacts. This boundless sharing is broad enough to encompass disclosures to an employer or landlord about someone who NCTC may think is potentially a criminal, or at the request of local law enforcement for vetting an informant." http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security-technology-and-liberty/biggest-new-spying-program-youve-probably-never-heard [aclu.org]

      Now it's perfectly understandable that they have to vet informants and sources, investigate terrorism, and defend national security because that is the fundamental purpose of a federal government. Some of that of other stuff however is highly political and some of it gives far too much power to far too few people and is ripe for abuse. "Crime" is vague and could mean literally anything, and I'd be willing to say we are all criminals so that applies to all of us. Drug investigations are highly political because not all of us believe in the war on drugs and in fact a majority of us aren't even for these sorts of investigations in the first place so to include that is highly political and ripe for corruption. To share information with a person not part of a government or with individuals? What reason would they have to ever do that?

      The problem I have with the NCTC isn't their spying capability but the fact that they bypassed the Democratic process and the will of the people, and that they aren't following any sort of information security protocol in their sharing. You can share information with people who are cleared, or who have a need to know, but the more you share the more leaks there could be, the more problems there will be. And the more broad the excuse to spy on people the more corruption and oppression there could be in the process. Let's spy on this citizen because they jay-walked or ignored a red light or have a marijuana plant in their closet. So now we got to unleash the full power of the federal government, NSA, CIA, Satellites, and all? That to me is bullcrap and highly political.

      For these reasons I think media attention should be brought to this not to get rid of the spy program itself but to restrict it to a narrowly defined purpose. To simply spy on everyone just to give the government power over people and then to spread that power out to random people who aren't even necessarily American citizens is a problem and probably isn't even Constitutional.

    • by lgw (121541)

      Ahh, so you're saying the ideal is one database to rule them all, one database to bind them? One database to bring them all and in the darkness bind them? I can see no flaw with this plan.

  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @12:59PM (#42276255)
    Why would our government care if its citizens participate in activities intended to stop insurgencies? Could we maybe sensationalize this a bit more? I mean seriously, why did you leave even a modicum of hard-fact in this summary?
    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Indeed. I'd expect that to be lauded, not hunted!

    • [sarcasm]
      If our government or governments in general, had a history of abusing unchecked power, I would care... quite a bit actually. But fortunately, since that is not the case and our government can be trusted with the use of power that skirts established law, I am not worried....
      [/sarcasm]

  • by dpilot (134227) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:00PM (#42276281) Homepage Journal

    They're banning loud sound in commercials today. Feed the sheeple, maybe they won't notice the NCTC, then.

  • from the theater [imdb.com], for theater.
  • "If this doesn't wake you up and chill you to your very bone, not too sure there is anything that will anyway."

    Call me jaded, I kinda' figured that it's been being done for some time now anyway.

  • by acidfast7 (551610) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:03PM (#42276361)
    Germany! ... am I being ironical or not?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Germany only protects data from corporations, they've been quite open that the government can, will, and has broken into people's houses to bug their computers without what most of us would consider due process.

  • Finally! We don't need time travel, books or movies to experience the draconian police states envisioned in Orwell's 1984 masterpiece!

    Remember when we hated these practices when it was the "Damn Commies" who were doing them? ME NEITHER!
    This should be an enlightening experience for all...

    For the next incarnation of the government I vote we model it after something a little less dystopian, like Star Trek.

  • Data is data... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by joocemann (1273720) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:08PM (#42276457)

    ...so if Agency X is exempt of a warrant, then Agency X can get the information and then share it. Just like asking facebook not to share your data after the fact --- the moment it was copied before you requested, the copies are out and in the hands of businesses for use. We shouldn't expect any different from our government. If one agency has access, then there is a loophole such that they all can.

    Here's the kicker... Obama ran in 2008 being against the patriot act, and extended it last year without question or veto. He might be your man for the job... But how is he at keeping his word on big issues like big brother and warrantless/unconstitutional acts?

  • by U8MyData (1281010)
    It used to be for the "women and chilren" that obsurd things made their way through government. Now it is all in the name of "National Security". Fear is a powerful motivator and they know it. Just because they can, they will...
  • 'counter-insurgency activity' - AKA supporting the opposing political party. Or being a member of a non Jebus-Approved religion (or none at all).
  • NCTC (Score:4, Informative)

    by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:19PM (#42276645)
    Is not an org but a multi-agency center intended to make it easier for various agencies share information and bring their agency's talents to bear in the fight against terrorism.
    • by Microlith (54737)

      I wonder how many actual terrorist incidents they've stopped, and if they're more effective than the magic rock on my desk.

    • by elucido (870205)

      Is not an org but a multi-agency center intended to make it easier for various agencies share information and bring their agency's talents to bear in the fight against terrorism.

      This would be fine but why is the threat they claim to be facing outlined as being so broad so as to include "crime" in general? Anything could be a crime or made into a crime. Terrorism is highly specific and a threat to national security so there is a reason for the feds to be involved but "crime fighting" isn't the role of the feds.

      "Once information is acquired, the new guidelines authorize broad new search powers. As long NCTC says its search is aimed at identifying terrorism information, it may conduct

  • by lophophore (4087) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:38PM (#42276987) Homepage

    I'd say meet the new boss, same as the old boss, except it is the same damned boss.

    So much for the Democrats protecting our civil liberties. More like Obama using the Constitution like a roll of Charmin.

  • by andy1307 (656570) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:52PM (#42277211)
    Why are they looking at counter-insurgent activity? Shouldn't they be looking at insurgent activity?
  • This is no big thing, The reason for the need to be able to look up anyone without warrants is so they can apply analytics to the data. With all the data being stored in the big new data centers, limited counter-terrorism resources can be applied in a correct fashion. With this option they can apply a sophisticated neural network or equivalent to look at all the data items and see if there is any pattern match for those who might hit a correlation for what constitutes a "terrorist" based on location, move

    • Domestic terrorism will be up one day

      Yup.

      Likely, the same day the acting government declares dissent to be an act of terrorism.

      Perspective - it fucking matters.

  • by runeghost (2509522) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:57PM (#42277281)

    Seriously. If you live in the United States, you should to be making plans to leave, and acting on them as soon as possible. A lot of people won't. Hell, I'll be honest and admit I likely won't - family, lack of a second language, a specialized skill set, and a personal aversion to travel combine to keep me in the Northwest, although I do keep an eye peeled for potential jobs in the cross-border parts of Canada. But if you can, you really should think about your exit process.

    Ten years ago what was going on in the U.S. was an over-reaction. Five years ago it was joke that induced uncomfortable laughter. But somewhere since then America has crossed a line. We are building a totalitarian police state. That is not pleasant to think about, but it is what is happening and it is not going to change, no matter who you vote for or which party you support. Both economy and government have deep structural problems and a good chunk of the public actually supports the nascent security state.

    If you don't want looking forward to living in a modern American version of Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, or Soviet Russia, or don't want your children living in one, then you really need to start looking at options. There aren't a lot of particularly good ones, especially if English is the only human language you're fluent in, but the Commonwealth countries look to not be going quite so insane. The U.S. isn't going to recover without some major shocks, and I don't think they're going to be pleasant.

    • Seriously. If you live in the United States, you should to be making plans to leave, and acting on them as soon as possible. A lot of people won't.

      No, that is the same as the "Love it or Leave It" bullshit that false patriots embrace. The solution is greater political participation. Forget the federal stuff for now, start locally where your voice can be heard instead of drowned out on the national stage. The only way to fix this is for political change to trickle up.

      Plus, the rest of the world is following Uncle Sam, they just don't have as much money to spend so they have to go with the second generation implementations.

  • trying to counter the founders of this country.

  • by PineHall (206441) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:23PM (#42277763)
    My big concern is that in the future someone will abuse the system and use the data gathered to for their own advantage. It is a huge temptation. Think of a future president running for reelection getting the best of his opponent by using this data to his advantage. Or a federal employee using the data to get even with his or her Ex.
  • by Khashishi (775369) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:38PM (#42278035) Journal

    They know that the increasing concentration of wealth into the hands of the few is politically unstable. Pretty soon, there will be wide-spread revolts. They know this. The counterterrorism center doesn't exist to deal with al Qaeda. Al Quaeda isn't a threat.

  • Pull My Finger (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:48PM (#42278219)

    Memorable quotes for
    Looker (1981)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082677/quotes [imdb.com]

    "John Reston: Television can control public opinion more effectively than armies of secret police, because television is entirely voluntary. The American government forces our children to attend school, but nobody forces them to watch T.V. Americans of all ages *submit* to television. Television is the American ideal. Persuasion without coercion. Nobody makes us watch. Who could have predicted that a *free* people would voluntarily spend one fifth of their lives sitting in front of a *box* with pictures? Fifteen years sitting in prison is punishment. But 15 years sitting in front of a television set is entertainment. And the average American now spends more than one and a half years of his life just watching television commercials. Fifty minutes, every day of his life, watching commercials. Now, that's power."

    ##

    "The United States has it's own propaganda, but it's very effective because people don't realize that it's propaganda. And it's subtle, but it's actually a much stronger propaganda machine than the Nazis had but it's funded in a different way. With the Nazis it was funded by the government, but in the United States, it's funded by corporations and corporations they only want things to happen that will make people want to buy stuff. So whatever that is, then that is considered okay and good, but that doesn't necessarily mean it really serves people's thinking - it can stupify and make not very good things happen."
    - Crispin Glover: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000417/bio [imdb.com]

    ##

    "It's only logical to assume that conspiracies are everywhere, because that's what people do. They conspire. If you can't get the message, get the man." - Mel Gibson (from an interview)

    ##

    "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." - William Casey, CIA Director

    ##

    "The real reason for the official secrecy, in most instances, is not to keep the opposition (the CIA's euphemistic term for the enemy) from knowing what is going on; the enemy usually does know. The basic reason for governmental secrecy is to keep you, the American public, from knowing - for you, too, are considered the opposition, or enemy - so that you cannot interfere. When the public does not know what the government or the CIA is doing, it cannot voice its approval or disapproval of their actions. In fact, they can even lie to your about what they are doing or have done, and you will not know it. As for the second advantage, despite frequent suggestion that the CIA is a rogue elephant, the truth is that the agency functions at the direction of and in response to the office of the president. All of its major clandestine operations are carried out with the direct approval of or on direct orders from the White House. The CIA is a secret tool of the president - every president. And every president since Truman has lied to the American people in order to protect the agency. When lies have failed, it has been the duty of the CIA to take the blame for the president, thus protecting him. This is known in the business as "plausible denial." The CIA, functioning as a secret instrument of the U.S. government and the presidency, has long misused and abused history and continues to do so."
    - Victor Marchetti, Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History

    ##

    George Carlin:

    "The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they're an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehous

  • by BlueStrat (756137) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @07:23PM (#42282485)

    ...Is good for the gander, right?

    We're on a site full of nerds and geeks, right?

    Start a distributed "People's Database" built on some of the same general principles as 'Freenet and TOR meets WikiLeaks and encrypted I2P'. Locate any vulnerable storage/control (although such system weaknesses should be minimized or eliminated) in a country that ignores US chest-thumping and threats.

    Collect every bit of data possible about government agencies, personnel, and activities. Use FOIA requests to get things like traffic-cam and security-cam data to aid in tracking individual movements. Build dossiers on every government employee, bureaucrat, and official, their movements/travel, any communications that can be acquired, dossiers on their families, associates/friends, financial/purchase/CC data, web histories, biometric data, anything and everything.

    Let's pitch-in to help them with that whole "transparency" thing.

    They seem like they could really, really use the help.

    Strat

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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