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Government Communications Privacy

Intelligence Director Claims NSA Surveillance Reports Inaccurate 262

Posted by Soulskill
from the nothing-to-see-here-move-along dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "James R. Clapper, the nation's Director of National Intelligence, claimed that recent reports about the NSA monitoring Americans' Internet and phone communications are inaccurate. 'The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,' he wrote in a June 6 statement. 'They contain numerous inaccuracies.' While the statement didn't detail the supposed inaccuracies, it explained why the monitoring described in those articles would, at least in theory, violate the law. 'Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States,' it read. 'It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.' Those newspaper articles describe an NSA project codenamed Prism, which allegedly taps into the internal databases of nine major technology companies: Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL, and Apple. Both publications drew their information from an internal PowerPoint presentation used to train intelligence operatives. Speaking to Slashdot, Google, Microsoft and Facebook all again denied knowledge of Prism; the Google spokesperson suggested he didn't 'have any insight' into why Google would have appeared in the NSA's alleged PowerPoint presentation. But many, many questions remain."
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Intelligence Director Claims NSA Surveillance Reports Inaccurate

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  • Double-speak (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:01AM (#43936403) Journal

    "You are wrong, but I am not going to tell you HOW you are wrong"

    From reading the Powerpoint, I came to a few conclusions. First, the news reports about the details of the program are accurate. Second, the Powerpoint is legitimate, albeit amateur for someone to disregard the standard stylistic guidelines for information that has classifications on it. Third, the full Powerpoint presentation will be declassified in 2037, so do not hold your breath for all the details.

    • "You are wrong, but I am not going to tell you HOW you are wrong"

      As Christene Keeler once said "He would, wouldn't he?" I expect that her quote is just as apposite then as now.

    • Re:Double-speak (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7&cornell,edu> on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:32AM (#43936795) Homepage

      "Second, the Powerpoint is legitimate"

      I don't think so. Note the cost estimates for a program of supposedly massive scale: $20M/year.

      That one number completely destroys the credibility of the slides. Even if you multiplied that number by 10 it would probably still be a bit on the low side.

      • To clarify, I meant the markings on the Powerpoint, not necessarily the information in the presentation. Classification markings and such.

    • by Trepidity (597)

      Third, the full Powerpoint presentation will be declassified in 2037

      Is this because Unix geeks who're card-carrying members of the EFF will use the impending Year 2038 bug as leverage to demand mass declassification before they agree to work?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      We have the warrant, the FBI writes them out for the FISA court, the warrant sends the data to the NSA.

      Yeh we get it, its illegal, so you hid it, you fucking liar Clapper.

      Everyone of you in the NSA that think you're the good guys, if you are the good guys why is the truth so scary. You're the fucking STASI, no different. You kept your mouths shut kidding youselfs you were good Americans.

      STASI

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/3275905/Stasi-police-kept-East-Germans-in-fear-for-40-years.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        STASI had beating chambers and used coercion as well though.

  • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:02AM (#43936439)
    Google, Yahoo, Skype... "We don't give the NSA access to your mail/chat". What they really mean is: "We let them take copies of everything via the backdoor API, before we even store it"
    • Do also notice that they're only protesting that they don't spy on U.S. citizens; they never actually say they do not allow direct access to everyone from outside the U.S.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by void* (20133)

        They are not protesting that they don't spy on U.S. citizens. They are protesting that they don't "target" U.S. citizens. Even if true, it does not mean that they are not spying on U.S. citizens. It means that they consider any spying on U.S. citizens as incidental, rather than targeted. "We're going to take the data on everyone, but it's ok, you're not the target" is not reassuring.

  • Great argument (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:04AM (#43936467)

    It would be illegal, so that can't be what happened.

    • When the government does it, that means it is not illegal.

    • Re:Great argument (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Grumbleduke (789126) on Friday June 07, 2013 @11:25AM (#43937465) Journal

      The key word is "target"; it is illegal for the FISA system to be used to target people in the US. However, we've known for a while that the US Government has a "secret interpretation [techdirt.com]" of this law which the public isn't allowed to know, for reasons that have to be kept secret but partly because, if released, the information "could result in exceptionally grave and serious damage to the national security [techdirt.com]".

      One of the main suggestions for what this interpretation is is based on the precise phrasing of the law; FISA prohibits the authorisation of any acquisition of information if it "intentionally target[s] any person known at the time of acquisition to be located in the United States."

      So if the NSA (or whoever) gets an authorisation to acquire information on everyone so that, at a later date, they can search that information to find specific stuff on particular individuals, at the time when they acquire the data they are not "targeting" anyone, and they don't *know* that the people whose information they are gathering are located in the US.

      It's a really well-crafted piece of legislation; I hope the legal draftsmen behind it got a bonus that year... it's even sneakier than all the PR statements coming out of the NSA and the tech companies involved.

      So the bottom line is that this probably *isn't* illegal. But no one can tell for sure, because the people who have tried to sue over this have had their cases thrown out for various reasons.

  • Those in power are one of the following (with regards to this whole spying deal)

    (1) Lying about something
    (2) Bastards

    Feel free to add your own.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      (3) Blackmailed
      (4) In some cases, opposed to it (at least publicly). Of course, one could argue that just because they're senators and such doesn't mean they're part of "Those in power".

  • by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:07AM (#43936499) Homepage

    Of course the NSA doesn't spy on American citizens. That's against the law.

    What they do is allow friendly foreign agents -- like the UK -- to spy on American citizens, and then they share the data together. [guardian.co.uk] It's totally different and completely legal.

    • by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:13AM (#43936563) Journal

      If you read the Powerpoint, you will notice that the PRISM program was classified as TOPSECRET//SI//ORCON//NOFORN . The NOFORN part means that other agencies, from the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand [wikipedia.org], do not have access to that information. GCHQ may have had access to the data acquired, but based on the NSA's own documents, the GCHQ was not privy to the source or method of collecting that data.

      • GCHQ may have had access to the data acquired, but based on the NSA's own documents, the GCHQ was not privy to the source or method of collecting that data.

        They don't need to know where the data comes from in order to share it with the NSA. This is how the NSA spies on American citizens, by laundering the data through foreign agencies. The foreign agencies don't have to know or care where the data comes from. In return they're probably sharing data with the NSA in the same way, to spy on citizens in their own country.

      • by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:45AM (#43936983) Homepage Journal

        Does NOFORN mean "Foreign intelligence agencies are not involved in the activities described by this document" or "Foreign intelligence agencies should not be shown or given access to this document"?

        My guess would be the latter. Why would GCHQ be given a copy of this PowerPoint slideshow? Would they even need it?

        • Does NOFORN mean "Foreign intelligence agencies are not involved in the activities described by this document" or "Foreign intelligence agencies should not be shown or given access to this document"?

          NOFORN means no foreigners are allowed to see this document.

          It says nothing at all about the "activities described by this document".

    • by gl4ss (559668) on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:15AM (#43936603) Homepage Journal

      Of course the NSA doesn't spy on American citizens. That's against the law.

      What they do is allow friendly foreign agents -- like the UK -- to spy on American citizens, and then they share the data together. [guardian.co.uk] It's totally different and completely legal.

      they can spy on everyone.

      they can't just spy on person x. but everyone is free game.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      I wonder if there's about to be a raging business in non-US-hosted free email.

      • by jeffmeden (135043)

        I wonder if there's about to be a raging business in non-US-hosted free email.

        What could possibly be the point of that? Anyone using email needs to presume that while in transit, anyone can see (and store for later) the message contents. Given this, the notion that the NSA (or anyone else interested) has access to it is a foregone conclusion. What we have here (if true) is merely a more organized way for them to search through the data. If you are concerned about this, you don't need a foreign email box, you need a foreign residence.

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          Really? Then the NSA can read this...

          72651 04221 57480 36464 22525 40806 05364 14888 73443 61065 32107 16870 77711 12052 06500 04650 70146 10816 6875_ 71226 20225 47026 84820 28613 30081 06324 02407 11828 58346 87235 20223 58001 50600 71347 84678 57723 46612 70361 82155 74777 74278 20526 72357 64288 21638 15603 58165 58402 63367 62220 22608 20885 65201 72057 65888 36350 68002 21641 22320 06835 11518 21735 52250 24440 31376 27533 73066 23686 12450 08427 77208 13760 88521 54711 34826 66451 13104 01557 60551

      • Yeah! I'll move to a mail service in the UK! The government *never* spies on you in Britain!

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Non US or US ally hosted encrypted communication channel email? Yes.

        What you suggested? nope.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:10AM (#43936527)

    But only because the reality is worse!

    Or did people forget about how the FBI uses Carnivore [wikipedia.org] and its successors, or that the NSA has had Echelon [wikipedia.org] in continuous operation? The companies that are protesting that they don't willingly hand over the data are probably right, the NSA is probably tapping the datacenters and ISPs directly without telling anyone concerned (see the fiasco at AT&T [wikipedia.org] for instance).

  • what gets me... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BenSchuarmer (922752) on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:10AM (#43936533)

    is that the news outlets are saying it was a secret.

    Is there really anybody out there who didn't know the government has been doing this?

    • There's a reason people have been cracking jokes for years about merely saying certain things getting them "on a list" without having to specify and everybody knows what they are referring to...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I went to an Iraq War protest with my oldest son back in the day. Next time my wife went to print the family's boarding passes for a domestic flight, two passes wouldn't print.

        Mine, and my youngest son.

        Coincidence? If it was because of the protest, they did get the wrong boy, so maybe...

        But I went to that protest fully expecting some kind of retaliation, and was not disappointed. I can board planes easily now, at least until they track this message back to me. Don't think the AC is going to fool them, based

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          You are doing AC wrong then. you do know you can use multiple VPN's to easily hide from them. the NSA is and law enforcement is actually not as good people think they are. Some of the multihop VPN services out there do not log anything, and if you did it right you don't have any account information tracking back at you (prepaid VISA bought off of ebay.... you do know that is why they are sold on ebay right? Prepaid phones to act as burners as well, etc... Ebay is a great source for black market goodi

    • Is there really anybody out there who didn't know the government has been doing this?

      We all knew it because it was the obvious simpleton path for the government to take in response to 9/11. But we didn't have proof. Now we have proof.

      • by Pulzar (81031)

        But we didn't have proof. Now we have proof.

        Those cheesy powerpoint slides are the proof?

      • by tnk1 (899206)

        Without trying to make an argument for or against here, despite the fact that the path was both obvious and simple, is there actually a better one out there for ferreting out decentralized terrorist groups, or loners who self-radicalize?

        There may well be a good reason the Obama Administration has not shit-canned the whole thing. That is to say, the Obama Administration may realize that the Bush Administration had a reason to do all of this shit.

        I don't like any of this, but I find myself wondering that if

        • There may well be a good reason the Obama Administration has not shit-canned the whole thing. That is to say, the Obama Administration may realize that the Bush Administration had a reason to do all of this shit.

          The proof is in the pudding. The number of serious terrorist attacks in the USA is minuscule. Until the boston bombers there had not been a single civilian death for ever a decade. Yet practically all of the people actually "caught" plotting "attacks" were numb-nuts who had no chance of success if the FBI hadn't been there to coax them along with informants. Unless the US is deliberately hiding the "real" plots and only using the idiots for PR, there is no significant threat.

          My theory as to why Obama bo

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        We had proof 7 years ago, even on slashdot: http://slashdot.org/story/06/05/11/1216245/the-nsa-knows-who-youve-called [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org] "Aided by the cooperation of US telecom corporations, AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, the NSA has been secretly collecting phone call records of tens of millions of Americans"
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Suspicion is one thing, confirmation is quite another. It's going to make the next ICANN meeting more interesting, given that it's no longer politically neutral for any part of the internet's infrastructure to be hosted in the US.

    • Re:what gets me... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:39AM (#43936875)

      Before the leak: "Yeah whatever, put your tinfoil hat back on"
      After the leak: "Cool story bro. We've all known this all along. Why are you making such a fuss"

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Yes, the 90% of sheeple that though that the PATRIOT act was a good thing.

    • by AmaDaden (794446)
      I'm sure no one who has a good memory and was paying attention was surprised. The big change is that the 9/11 fear and wars are over in the minds of the people. We still have people over there but in the heads of the average American they are all home safe and sound. When the fear was high no price was to large for safety. Now every emailed cat picture from grandma must be sealed from prying eyes.
  • Verbal loophole (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:13AM (#43936569)

    That is very well crafted response. Look at what he says "'It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen...." - INTENTIONALLY target is key there. They aren't intentionally targeting anyone. They are doing a broad sweep of everyone's data, then analyzing it, at which point they an argue for probable cause and then intentionally target an individual within the scope of the law. Words matter

    • Re:Verbal loophole (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MozeeToby (1163751) on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:24AM (#43936701)

      If I had to guess, personally, based on what I've heard and what I've seen. I'd say that they are building a network of contacts. They want to be able to see who talks to who, how often, at what times of day and night, and over what mediums. When they identify a suspect, they want to be able to quickly identify who else they should be looking into. To a lesser extent, they want to look for unusual patterns that could indicate something nefarious is going on, most people's contacts to not follow a rigid hierarchy. Most people's contacts aren't segregated into groups that have little to no contact between them.

      The problem with that kind of analysis is that it will never be accurate enough to be useful, simply because of the numbers involved. A .01% false positive rate will completely swamp out a 90% true positive rate, when you are looking at hundreds of millions of people looking for just dozens of potential terrorists.

      • and there is no oversight that "suspect" has anything to do with "law breaking" or anything else.

        It could be used to build an enemies list, target critics for harrassment, and put an end to unfriendly political practices, and frame people for crimes.

        Given the fact many intellegents agents moonlight as private intellegence, isn't there some risk they could use this for their night jobs without real consequences, you know the ones that pay better.

        So when microsoft, the RIAA/MPAA, monsanto, etc... want intelle
        • I should have been more clear, I said "the problem with this is" when I should have said "the technical problem". The legal, constitutional, human rights, and corruption problems are huge and cannot be ignored. I was merely stating that even ignoring all the implications, the system simply cannot work with any realistically useful numbers.

    • Re:Verbal loophole (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheCarp (96830) <sjc.carpanet@net> on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:44AM (#43936971) Homepage

      Actually its a temporal loophole. See, they can collect the data now, under the auspices of national security and with paper thin protections that restrict their usage. The problem is.... the system exists now. So if they change that rule, oops... the system already exists.

      This means we have to not only trust that they are not now, secretly, misusing the data beyond their claims (whether the claims are bull or not is another question, and whether the claims being true justify it, also another matter), but we have to trust that every future group will do the same, through the future administrations, future panels of judges, future NSA administrators.

      So this is a temporal loophole.... we setup a system that makes it look ok to many people now.... but then we have it so all we have to do is change policy and its already too late.

    • by Bartles (1198017)
      They are intentionally target everyone, which is inclusive of anyone.
    • by Bosconian (158140)

      Not only do words matter, they are the only thing on record for policies. And everything from a government mouth should be subjected to a lawyer-like interpretation where you must pick apart everything that was and was not said.

      The only thing Director Clapper says is a quick summary of how Section 702 of FISA is supposed to work, with nice, simple, and generic parameters. There is no reference or acknowledgement of any of the surveillance programs which we must assume are in effect. Nor is there ever rai

  • The NSA, Congress, and the Whitehouse represent an existential threat to the freedom of the American people, the most dire in the history of the country. The Constitution is the law of the land, not just some "damned piece of paper." If the government, in all its organs, branches, and bodies, conspires to violate that Constitution then the American people have the right and duty to take up arms to defend it. As the oath goes, defend it against "all enemies, foreign or domestic." And this is a domestic e

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CRCulver (715279)

      If the government, in all its organs, branches, and bodies, conspires to violate that Constitution then the American people have the right and duty to take up arms to defend it.

      Right? Possibly. Duty? Hell, no. I and most of the population are not going to start shooting people and risking our own deaths just because someone with a stricter interpretation of the American political process got his panties in a bunch. Violation of perceived rights would have to much, much deeper before inaction is no longer

    • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:28AM (#43936747)
      I think literally "taking up arms" is premature and would be counter-productive, but parent is right. I'm writing to my Congressional representatives tonight to let them know that I vote and my next vote will be heavily influenced by their response to this revelation. I think I'll also write to my national political party office (I'm registered with a major party) to tell them the same thing. It's also a good time to consider joining/contributing to an organization that advocates for privacy and civil rights.
  • You know... I really wish I could believe him.

    But I don't. "It must be wrong because all that is illegal" is a mighty poor excuse, even if the "illegal" part is quite true. I've stood by my country despite many, MANY bad decisions, but... this? I just can't support this.
  • VZW Engineer on lover's lane: Can you hear me now?
    NSA Technician: Check.

    VZW Engineer across the street from a Meth lab: And now?
    NSA Technician: Check.

    VZW Engineer in the depths of FBI (Hoover Building): Can you hear me now?
    NSA Technician: Check.

    VZW Engineer in the Pentagon data center: How about now?
    NSA Technician: Check.

    VZW Engineer in the NSA data center: How about now?
    NSA Technician: No comment.
  • Courts have established that the police/government may not record conversations, even if they are not listened to, without a warrant. In effect, Clapper is arguing that the FISA order was a warrant to tap every phone line based on "probable cause". Bullshit. FISA/Patriot act as crap as it is still requires reasonable suspicion.

  • 'It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.'

    So what has happened is someone talked a judge into interpreting this to mean it's okay for any amount of data to flow through the NSA, as an implementation requirement, as long as they don't store the data they aren't supposed to. But in order to know what data they are allowed to access they have to look at it first, and some judge ruled that's okay as long as the NSA doesn't act on data they aren't allowed to access.

    • by Bartles (1198017)
      Someone gave the order to press the enter key that turned on the system. At that point they intentionally targeted everyone, which includes all of the above.
    • They are storing the data. It is that they are just not intentionally looking at all of it. When they have a target, then they do the google on the data. There is too much data to look at all of it every day.
  • "It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen"

    So that's why they don't target anyone in specific. They just grab all the communications and treat us all like terrorists.
  • by Picass0 (147474) on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:30AM (#43936769) Homepage Journal

    "I'm saying that when the President does it, it's not illegal!" - Richard Nixon, 1977

  • He can just disclose everything about this secret surveillance program, thereby easily disbanding any of these 'false' rumors with the truth!

  • A good rule of thumb for dealing with digital privacy issues. It'll never let you down.

  • by moeinvt (851793) on Friday June 07, 2013 @10:38AM (#43936855)

    "the statement didn't detail the supposed inaccuracies, it explained why the monitoring described in those articles would, at least in theory, violate the law."

    This scumbag is arguing that the allegations in the stories are inaccurate because the actions they describe would be in violation of THE LAW?

    Since when does the government give a damn about following the law or holding its employees accountable for violations?
    The Bush wiretapping program was blatantly illegal under the original FISA law, the OTS helped banks back-date deposits to mask their insolvency, the ATF smuggles weapons to the Mexican drug cartels. The government openly murders U.S. citizens without charge or trial.

    This guy is arguing that government would NEVER violate the law, therefore any allegations of criminal activity by the government must necessarily be false? LOL

  • by fazey (2806709)
    All of the companies probably received an NSL as well.
  • nothing to worry about, move along you commoners.
  • This is a great opportunity to make (or promote) a better social network that is decentralized.

  • Yes, sure, "it cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen" -- but a sweeping dragnet that intercepts and logs every private communication of every citizen of the United States isn't exactly "targeting" any particular citizen, is it? Of course to us, that makes it worse and not better, but to the agents of the modern US surveillance state it is a lovely loophole indeed.
  • by Virtucon (127420) on Friday June 07, 2013 @11:06AM (#43937245)

    "I am The Law!" - Judge Dredd and the NSA

    The Patriot Act needs to go! Join the EFF Today! [eff.org] and start writing you your Senators and members of congress [opencongress.org] now to get this horrid piece of legislation repealed. The only way it will stop is if we tell them both in writing and in the voting booth that we want this violation of our privacy to stop.

    We have a huge hidden intelligence network that has ballooned since 9/11 and it just feeds on data and money. It's largely ineffective and couldn't actually target a couple of brothers that were directly warned by the Russians [washingtontimes.com], leading to the bombing of the Boston Marathon. If you think the current administration is in support of your privacy rights, Think Again!" [businessinsider.com]

    “All it takes for evil to succeed is for a few good men to do nothing...” - Edmund Burke

  • Google/Facebook/Microsoft boast that they track your browsing, read your communication, and sell that data to advertisers. Why would you expect them refuse to share the data with a legitimate government? I am not even sure if I would even want them to refuse.

    Your security and your privacy are your responsibility. Strong encryption and onion routing gave a technical solution long ago; we just need society to decide if it values privacy.

  • by mindmaster064 (690036) on Friday June 07, 2013 @11:21AM (#43937413) Homepage
    I used to work at Bank of America and NSA had a black door closet in our office that I couldn't get into. Now mind you I had a security key card that could open any door in the establishment due to me being in the network security team. I could get in any VIP office, the trade floor, any secured area and any BofA server room on the premises but no one in our company could open that one door. So it's not just Internet dotcoms it's all your financial transactions and anything else as well. They are snarfing everything.
  • Of course he didn't lie when he said it was inaccurate.

    There is likely a spelling error or two in it or a deviation from proper formatting for that sort of document (maybe introduced to Bowdlerize the specific copy).

    Thus, the document is inaccurate. QED

    Inaccurate is a meaningless word in the same way that "improved" is when applied to advertisements. It's defined to be meaningless, but warm and fuzzy feeling.

  • by John Jorsett (171560) on Friday June 07, 2013 @11:58AM (#43938053)

    This is how bureaucrats try to connote that a report is riddled with errors, falsehoods, and bad conclusions, without actually saying that. They can't say it because it isn't true, so they have to tap dance around that inconvenient fact by saying a report is 'inaccurate'. 'Inaccuracy' could easily refer to misspellings of people's names, dates off by a day, typos, etc. Unless he says exactly what he's talking about, it's reasonable to assume he's just trying to obfuscate.

  • by Kergan (780543) on Friday June 07, 2013 @12:03PM (#43938135)

    "Never believe anything until it's officially denied."

    http://www.jonathanlynn.com/tv/yes_minister_series/yes_minister_episode_quotes.htm [jonathanlynn.com]

  • by sshir (623215) on Friday June 07, 2013 @12:13PM (#43938295)
    Do those morons at NSA realize how much damage they inflict on the country just by collecting and storing all that shit?

    First, parts of that stuff can be leaked (the same way those ppt files got out - in practice it's impossible to guarantee absence of covert channels)

    Second, do they even realize that they have Russian/French/Israeli/WhatHaveYou moles, who are hell bent on getting (and most probably already there) access to that thing (at very least to find known targets connections; blackmail targets; influence targets etc.)?

    STUPIDITY!
  • by moeinvt (851793) on Friday June 07, 2013 @12:28PM (#43938503)

    See the recent SCOTUS case of "Clapper vs. Amnesty International" and the 2007 6th District appeals court case of "ACLU vs. NSA"

    In both cases, the government has successfully argued that the plaintiffs lack "legal standing" to sue the NSA for its warrantless surveillance activity. They government and courts put the burden of proof on the plaintiffs to demonstrate that they were "harmed" by the programs. The government also refuses to release information about WHO they targeted, so the plaintiffs have no way to obtain this proof.

    These rulings are a travesty because the government can now circumvent the Constitution in any way that it wants. They just claim that their illegal activities are "secret". The courts then refuse to rule on the Constitutionality of the program and the illegal activity continues.

    IANAL, but if it can be shown that the government is intercepting all of our data, wouldn't everyone have "legal standing" to challenge the activity? i.e. there's no longer a need to prove that anyone was specifically targeted because they targeted everyone.

  • by WaffleMonster (969671) on Friday June 07, 2013 @12:47PM (#43938745)

    When James R Clapper opens his mouth I have no reason to believe or trust anything he says. He lied in testimony in front of congress and he won't even say what is wrong about the reports because "classified".

    When technology companies like Microsoft tell us they safeguard our data or don't put backdoors into their shit and then lie about participation in spying programs are paying customers expected to do something other than switch to linux?

    What about their foreign customers how are they supposed to trust an american company with perception of an out of control lawless state?

    Secret interpretation of law is corrosive to state legitimacy. Which translates to non-academic consequences in the real world.

    Foreign companies will think twice (US = next Huawei) before trusting US based firms for anything. People will increase their use of information security technology and the result will be negative effects on actual lawful non-puppet judge issued warrants.

    Aggregation of power always leads to corruption. They are inseparable laws of human nature.

It appears that PL/I (and its dialects) is, or will be, the most widely used higher level language for systems programming. -- J. Sammet

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