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Prankster Calls NSA To Restore Deleted E-mail 221

Posted by timothy
from the how-to-talk-sideways dept.
First time accepted submitter manu0601 writes "Since the NSA snoops, intercepts and store our e-mails forever, why not use it as a backup service? It just lacks the API to restore files, therefore this guy [YouTube video] called the NSA to ask for a backup restoration. Guess what? It did not work." After all, why should we have to pay twice for services already performed with tax dollars?
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Prankster Calls NSA To Restore Deleted E-mail

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  • No service. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'm telling you, the government just isn't providing service. So what are we paying them for, anyway?

    • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @12:39PM (#44747515) Journal

      So what are we paying them for, anyway?

      To be allowed to live... To avoid 'detainment'. These are the things you pay for. I don't know why people are so repulsed when the mafia does these kinds of things.

      • Re:No service. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @12:45PM (#44747589)

        I thought it was to build roads, sanitation and the basics of civilization. Your local mafia does that?

        • by davester666 (731373) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @12:50PM (#44747657) Journal

          Well, they do the actual building...

        • by JMJimmy (2036122)

          I thought the mafia was quite good at 'disposal' tasks. Rum runners were quite good at creating transportation routes... I think you're on to something ;)

        • by Dunbal (464142) *
          Yes they do, actually. If you don't take care of your area, someone else will take it from you. It's called husbandry, and any good business owner must understand it. Anyway if you want a direct answer to your question I have two words for you: Las Vegas.
        • by cod3r_ (2031620)
          Federal government doesn't do that either... the local county governments are doing a piss poor job I might add especially with the roads. Don't get me started with how bad the education system is.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            If your state is like mine (CA), the county can't keep up with the roads & education has gone down the drain because the state has been taking/keeping a massive percentage of the funds usually allocated for that... The state in turn is doing so in hope of covering the budget shortfalls caused by a mixture of:
            -- rising costs, due in large part to the needs of the massive wave of low/no-income immigrants, including the explosion of kids needing expensive bilingual teachers full-time for several years
            -- a

        • by Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @02:42PM (#44749059)
          Yup that is correct! The government builds roads, schools, sanitation and they will even recover your lost email for you! ...If you pay... They clearly refused this caller because he lives in Amsterdam (--> The Netherlands --> Yurp) and therefore didn't pay a single penny to the good old IRS. So why /would/ they help him? No $$$ --> No service...

          Otherwise I am CONVINCED that they would help him out. That is how the government works, right?
          Helping the folks that pay for their wages, comfy chairs, first class coffee on their long leisurely coffee breaks?
          Always at the service of the people in a jiffy and with a smile!
          Always doing that little extra to make sure your every tax-penny is a well-spend-penny.
          The government that always goes for the 110% customer care.
          A wink and a tip to the hat whenever you merrily walking out of some government building where they truly understood your case.
          Where papers and forms are kept to a bare minimum in order to keep the well oiled machine running as cost-effective as possible.
          <bleep-bleep-bleep-bleep>
          The government that <bleep-bleep-bleep-bleep>

          Wait... what? Is that my alarm clock? <bleep-bleep-bleep-bleep-bleep-bleep>
          I just KNEW I was dreaming...
          • I work for the fed and I have no comfy chair nor first class coffee. Where did I go wrong?
        • On occasion they do make contributions to the asphalt and concrete used in building.

        • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @10:41PM (#44752995) Homepage Journal
          All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
    • by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @12:52PM (#44747685) Journal

      Is the water you drink clean?
      Is your food supply safe?
      Do the lights come on when you flip a switch?
      Can you travel through the air at nearly the speed of sound for a few hundred dollars?
      When you turn on the radio in your car, do you hear voices/music coming out of the speakers?
      Can you read this message?
      Are you speaking English?

      Because if you are, you can be assured that your government is doing at least some things you find useful. There are places - quite a few actually - for which the above do not all apply. The taxes there are exceptionally low, and you may wish to consider relocating to take advantage of the savings and buy the above items yourself. Note: if you form a group to provide such services, that's cheating. another word for that kind of cheating is called "Government."

      • by butchersong (1222796) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @01:08PM (#44747849)
        Most of those services are provided by state and county government. The federal government does not educate you for instance... Several of them (like electricity) are typically provided by private companies though there are a few large federal projects left over from earlier last century. The stuff you cited that does apply to the federal government applies to regulation. The vast overwhelming (pretty much all) majority of our taxes do not go to anything in this list.
        • You will note that Overzeetop stated that 'goverment' provided the enumerated services. Not the "US Federal Government", not the Taliban, not the Federation. Perhaps he should have used 'Government' to imply a broader sense of the term but his initial position still stands. Without a functional civil governing system - which can have multiple levels and even some, gasp, redundency, you end up sitting in a dusty field dying of thirst and an number of other unpleasant circumstances.

          Mankind has never come u

        • If you think maintenance and enforcement of regulation is free, you should try it some time.

          The largest slice of the pie we (taxpayers) pay for is the military - hence the speaking English tongue-in-cheek comment. Do we need a military to defend America? That's another question entirely, though had you asked that in 1937, or in 1958, you'd probably get the same answer as today - a big shrug. Though in a world with nuclear subs, rockets, and fighter jets it may no longer be sufficient to rely on personal a

        • by Hatta (162192)

          Most of those services are provided by state and county government. The federal government does not educate you for instance...

          If you're black, and living in the South, the Federal government is undeniably responsible for your education.

      • by tom229 (1640685)
        None of that is provided for you by the federal government. All of that is paid for by the state, property taxes, etc. I'd like to reiterate the question and see if you can answer it: What are we paying [the federal government] for?

        If you can come up with anything outside of the Military, and interest to private banks, I'll be impressed.
        • by Zordak (123132)

          If you can come up with anything outside of the Military, and interest to private banks, I'll be impressed.

          I'm pretty sure that the U.S. Federal Government is the single biggest supplier of pork in the entire world.

      • by PraiseBob (1923958) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @01:21PM (#44748011)
        Is every phone number you call stored in a big database, to be used against you later?
        Is every word you type into the internet carefully saved, to be used against you later?
        Is your participation at a religious worship service documented, to be used agaisnt you later?
        Do citizens get a free dronestrike for talking to the wrong people, saying the wrong thing, and going to the wrong church?

        Thank you tax dollars!
        • Is every word you type into the internet carefully saved, to be used against you later?
          They guy tried to test that bit out and didn't get any help. So he'll have to wait until the court case. If he actually gets one.
      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        Learned English from my mother, before I was school age. I could be pedantic and argue a few other points. If we're still alive in 2013 then obviously all our ancestors had no trouble finding clean water to drink and adequate food to eat, for the past billion years or so since life started. So government is not "responsible" for that, they just make you think they are. Electricity, now there's a funny one. One could argue that government interference in the generation of electrical power has caused the ener
        • And people from tribes living in a jungle are even more free. Of course they have a far greater chance to be eaten by a wild animal, but isn't that a small price to pay for your freedom?
      • by Solozerk (1003785)
        Replying to undo wrong moderation.
      • by jxander (2605655)

        I pay local companies for my utilities. (Water, Electricity, garbage removal)
        I pay local grocery providers for food
        I pay airline fees for travel.
        I listen to ungodly amounts of commercials on terrestrial radio, or pay for music via satellite, radio, etc

        The government may have had a hand in getting these things started, and might run oversight to keep them in place ... but the individual companies run like any other private business and expect to turn a profit. At best, the government keeps them from ru

      • by r_naked (150044)

        Is the water you drink clean?

        You are delusional if you live in a big city in the US and think your water *that you drink* is clean

        Is your food supply safe?

        Are you out hunting and killing your own food? Even then it is debatable since you don't know where they have been drinking. But I guarantee you that anything you buy in the store is not safe.

        Do the lights come on when you flip a switch?

        Most times, but the power grid in the US is so unstable to the point that might not always be the case (need a citation -- LOOK IT UP FOR YOUR FUCKING SELF)

        Can you travel through the air at nearly the speed of sound for a few hundred dollars?

        No, I can not. I am on a blacklist because I happened to speak

        • by metrix007 (200091)

          Wow...a lot of what you say here is pretty foolish. I guess if you can't trust the food we have in supermarkets, you can't trust that we went to the moon either, right?

  • Hmmm ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @12:34PM (#44747449) Homepage

    It's funny, but could you get yourself into legal trouble with this?

    I'm sure they could come up with some trumped up charges under the Patriot Act or something.

    • by barlevg (2111272)
      Haven't watched the video. Is it a recording of a phone call? Because if the person on the other end didn't consent to being recorded, I'm pretty sure it's illegal [junkyardwillie.com] to make the recording, and doubly so to broadcast it.
      • Fortunately the dude's name is Nicholas S. Adams - so he's covered by a broad FISA declaration.

      • Re:Hmmm ... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Arduenn (2908841) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @12:52PM (#44747689)
        He made the recording in the Netherlands. It's legal to record anyone there, on film and on tape. It's illegal to publish those recordings without the subjects consent, if they can be recognised in those publications. So the guy is in the clear (in the Netherlands). Then again, he can be extradited upon US request. Because it's on YouTube, which means it's published physically on US soil. I guess they could catch him at customs too, when he enters the US. But then again again, he's Dutch, of Iranian decent, so they'll do a total body cavity search at customs no matter how well he behaves.
        • Phone recordings where only one party has knowledge of the recording are legal in most US states. Maryland (presumably where the operator was located) isn't one of them but international calls would fall under federal jurisdiction which does also permit recordings with consent from one party (i.e. the caller making the recording).

      • If the guy that posted the video was in the U.S., then it would depend on which state he was in. Federal law provides for 1-party consent, where only one side of the conversation would need to consent, in order to record the entire conversation. 38 states have adopted that law as state law. The remaining 12 states require 2-party consent. Then again, the guy isn't in the US anyhow, so it's a moot point.
      • by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @01:32PM (#44748143) Journal

        Why does getting jailed for recording a call to an agency known for recording everybody's calls without legal oversight, in order to get a recording of a conversation (even if by email) strike me as just a tad ironic?

    • by manu0601 (2221348)
      The guy lives in the Netherlands. I hope the offense is not huge enough that they can get him extradited.
  • by dadelbunts (1727498) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @12:34PM (#44747459)
    I love how the lady kept trying to get this guys information even tho they supposedly couldnt help him. WE HAVENT BEEN KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR EMAILS BUT WE SURE WOULD LIKE TO.
    • by guttentag (313541)
      At first I thought she was just trying to keep him on the phone so they could complete the trace. I was sure that after about 30 seconds she would cut him off and say:

      "Mr. Mohammadi? Mr. Mo... OK, OK, Masood? We're not going to be able to help you over the phone, but if you'll drive over to the Delta terminal at JFK we'll have someone meet you there. No, no need to pack a bag. No, it should only take you 23 minutes. There's no traffic on Van Wyck, but just avoid Lefferts and Sutter because there's a traffic jam there. I can guide you, but you must do exactly as I say. OK? The street outside your house is empty... go now."

      Even though he stayed on the line long enough for them to trace it through multiple countries she still kept asking... which makes me think the video is a fake.

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @01:47PM (#44748339)

      I love how the lady kept trying to get this guys information even tho they supposedly couldnt help him. WE HAVENT BEEN KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR EMAILS BUT WE SURE WOULD LIKE TO.

      Well yeah... it's like the guy that called the BATF to ask which assault rifle would be better to use for destroying his computer, which he was upset with. The agent dead panned with a reply of, "Well sir, that depends... how much have you had to drink?"

      But I will admit... if someone rang me and wanted to restore deleted e-mails, and I was a law enforcement officer, I'd want to know what kind of e-mail could be so important it'd compel people to call me too. If nothing else, I'd want to investigate the guy just to make sure he really was just another harmless drunk, and not one of the perenially stupid people who buzz the police to complain about being ripped off by their drug dealer, or who gave money to a prostitute who then left without rendering service. Take enough phone calls from the general public, and you will have no faith left in humanity to speak of... at which point you just dutifully take down the information, be as polite as possible, and then file it under "Yet Another Probably Drunk Person, But Since It Could Be A Really Stupid Terrorist, Please Sign This Search Warrant" and move on to the next idiot caller.

    • It's to add him to the list of "troublemakers." Then the first time he sorta-slips-up they won't just "throw the book at him," they'll use all the books to crush him like a bug. He wouldn't be the first...

    • She was undoubtedly low enough on the totem pole to where she couldn't tell him to fuck off and be sure she wasn't going to get fired for it, or at least wasn't sure. I'd wager she'd only get in trouble for handing blatant spam onto her superior. "Yes sir, a Dr. cAnAdA tried to contact you about... ahem, 'c1@1is enl@rge y0ur d1ck!!!'"

      Getting as much information about a problem someone brings to you is decent handling, even if you know someone above you is at most going to laugh and throw away the conta
  • Boring (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Acid-Duck (228035)

    Rather boring and uneventful. How did this ever get posted anyways?

    • How did this ever get posted anyways?

      The NSA posted it. Slashdot was forced to comply with a Secret Court ruling, and give the keys to the editor desk to the NSA. They posted this so no one else tries it, as it is a waste of their secretary's time.

      So we all know that the NSA can read our email. That's no big deal, given a fistful of Secret Court rulings.

      But can they read Bashar al-Assad's email? Probably not. They're too busy recording calls made by Presbyterian grandmothers in Ohio.

      Frankly, I wish that they would spend a wee bit of ef

    • Rather boring and uneventful. How did this ever get posted anyways?

      If it is anti-government it goes on the front page, simple as that.

  • by Toast or Rice (2766955) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @12:41PM (#44747527)
    Great demonstration of great telephone manner and customer service for a challenge customer, Respect NSA. I for one welcome our new customer service overloads!
  • by tekrat (242117) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @12:42PM (#44747555) Homepage Journal

    Just wait until this individual attempts to travel in the near future. If you phone the NSA and acknowledge that they have your email, they will retaliate.

    After all, the government right now is persecuting a "leaker" who they "claim" is lying because after all, they swore up and down that they weren't reading email and listening to phone calls of average Americans. And the government wouldn't LIE, now would they? So the leaker has to be wrong. And yet, they pursue him like he has some relevant information that can cause damage.

  • by lkcl (517947)

    tsk tsk - he should have put in a freedom of information request instead.

  • Once, in a previous life before becoming an enlightened free software user, I had a windows 95 install that got infected with a virus and died. For reasons that are obvious or easily guessed I probably deserved it but I also lost valuable data when I sanitized the harddrive. If the NSA could retrieve a pre-infection copy of my clipart folder from 1997 I'd pay up to a 5$ service charge without hesitation. I can't imagine I'm the only one who might actually have a legitimate use for my own intercepted data

  • The first thing I though when I read the headline was that it was someone in the US doing this. The second thing I thought was that this person has probably already been arrested. Then I watched the video and heard the guy is in Holland so I doubt he will be getting in trouble. Surely the long arm of the NSA doesn't reach so far as to have a citizen of Holland physically detained for abusing their phone line? Not yet anyway. I am wondering precisely what number he called. I would not expect the NSA to have
  • They'd have trouble arguing that something was a deep black national intelligence secret after sharing it with the DEA. A prosecutor or someone in discovery in a civil suit can make legal demands for information.

    The resulting case would be educational, in that it would put more than one lawyer's kid through college.

    • by PPH (736903)

      Never mind the DEA. The IRS gets to look at that data as well (thanks to the Patriot Act). And they'll go after a dropped nickel, intelligence security be damned.

      Want to know what the gov't has on you? Short them a few hundred dollars and wait for the audit. They'll bring every scrap of information they can get their hands on to the audit. A bit of social engineering and they'll read your entire life history back to you. So you pay the tax plus penalties and you've got a peek at your dossier that the 10%

  • When Obama Care kicks in full speed, I can drop my health insurance and pay the $360 health care tax. So since the NAS wants to save my emails to mom; why can't those folks in the Aloha State have a public page to allow me to aceess my emails, under the Freedom Of Information Act? The NSA couild turn this Snoden event in to a PR campain that states, "hay! we'ere the good guys, and we can help you out!"

    Instead the NSA acts like theyr'e selling an airplane ticket?
  • For retrieval of your data.... or maybe a lawsuit, with a subpoena for their copy of your files; or seek a court order for a copy of the data......

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