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How Secret Partners Expand NSA's Surveillance Dragnet 63

Posted by timothy
from the if-they're-gonna-do-it-anyhow dept.
Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes It has already been widely reported that the NSA works closely with eavesdropping agencies in the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia as part of the so-called Five Eyes surveillance alliance. But the latest Snowden documents show that a number of other countries, described by the NSA as "third-party partners," are playing an increasingly important role – by secretly allowing the NSA to install surveillance equipment on their fiber-optic cables. The NSA documents state that under RAMPART-A, foreign partners "provide access to cables and host U.S. equipment." This allows the agency to covertly tap into "congestion points around the world" where it says it can intercept the content of phone calls, faxes, e-mails, internet chats, data from virtual private networks, and calls made using Voice over IP software like Skype.
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How Secret Partners Expand NSA's Surveillance Dragnet

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is oppressive and unconstitutional.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Documents look like it's primarily focused at foreign targets with cooperation from other countries. Shouldn't the NSA be doing foreign intelligence collection?
      • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @05:14PM (#47276909)
        One could make the argument for targeted foreign intelligence collection. All that they've succeeded in doing so far is further eroding the already shaky reputation enjoyed by the United States. At best the NSA spins its wheels, at worst it's counter-productive to the U.S. economy.
        • by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @05:32PM (#47277061)

          I think the most powerful argument that can be made against the NSA (and today's government in general) is that it was once seen as a necessary evil that could be harnessed to protect liberties. It surely wasn't anywhere near perfect ever, but it was hoped that over time, it would eventually slide towards perfection as a servant of the people.

          Now, does anyone seriously believe the government is anything but a bureaucratic monster, gorging itself via wars (on terrorism, on poverty, on drugs, etc) to the end of enlarging itself and shrinking everyone else's pie? I mean seriously?

          • by znrt (2424692)

            Now, does anyone seriously believe the government is anything but a bureaucratic monster, gorging itself via wars (on terrorism, on poverty, on drugs, etc) to the end of enlarging itself and shrinking everyone else's pie? I mean seriously?

            me. actually government is just a proxy for enlarging the pie of a few. it's just a coverup for private tyrants.

            "we the people" should oppose this, uphold our rights etc. we don't because we are mostly dumb and lazy, but anyway if we tried hard enough to be taken seriously they would simply kill enough of us to keep the rest in line.

          • Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

            Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

      • by Travis Mansbridge (830557) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @05:21PM (#47276975)
        The way they operate (at least within ECHELON a.k.a. "five eyes" / AUSCANNZUKUS) is that we spy on their citizens while they spy on ours, and then information is exchanged after the fact, thereby avoiding any country "spying on its own citizens." It's essentially a loophole in the 4th amendment and its counterparts in those countries.
        • by whoever57 (658626)

          It's essentially a loophole in the 4th amendment and its counterparts in those countries.

          I don't believe it is a loophole. The NSA and it's supporters are using it for a bullshit claim that it's a loophole. As yet, I don't think the Supreme Court has weighed in on this question.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2014 @06:37PM (#47277543)

            The Supreme Court is pretty cowardly about that stuff. They have, time and again, utterly failed to rule that if the government is prohibited from doing X, and doing Y achieves the same goal, then Y is also prohibited. Example: the federal government has no power to set a national drinking age. It is specifically given to the states in the amendment that repealed Prohibition. So they threaten to withhold highway funds unless states do it for them, and that goal is achieved.

            One's opinion on the issue shouldn't be relevant: the effect of this is that Congress has done something that they are in fact not allowed to do. The mechanism is irrelevant to a thinking person. Yet the Supreme Court had no problem with this, and of course since it only affected young people nobody in the US stood up for it. Now we have this massive spying problem going on, using much the very same logic, and you expect the Supreme Court to apply proper logic to it? I very much doubt it.

      • by m00sh (2538182) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @05:34PM (#47277083)

        Documents look like it's primarily focused at foreign targets with cooperation from other countries. Shouldn't the NSA be doing foreign intelligence collection?

        The main question is for what purpose?

        Is it for national security or for other reasons? If I had data like this, I could probably make a killing in the stock market or provide lots of insider information for hedge funds.

        Another scary situations like the Iran Shah manipulation or mujahadeen in Afghanistan. Powerful agencies being able to manipulate government, countries, regions by manipulating communication. We already know of the Cuba text message uprising and I'm sure its attempted in many other places. It creates civil war and misery for a lot of people for the benefit of a very few by manipulating unstable systems into chaotic situations.

        • by AHuxley (892839) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @07:05PM (#47277739) Homepage Journal
          Re "If I had data like this, I could probably make a killing in the stock market or provide lots of insider information for hedge funds."
          Thats the reality Australia, Canada, UK, NZ, Germany, France, other EU NSA helper nations face internally long term.
          Generations of generals, top technical experts and their groomed staff are giving all their nations secure data away to the USA in real time.
          How can a bright, local, entrepreneur with job creating, huge profit exports ever hope to compete against the USA? A nations best and brightest telcos are giving their own banking sectors time and trade/time sensitive data to the USA.
          A nations telcos are giving their own emerging scientific data to the USA.
          A nations telcos are networking their own gov data to the USA when they only ever upgrade to the next generation of junk encryption.
          Re "It creates civil war and misery for a lot of people for the benefit of a very few by manipulating unstable systems into chaotic situations."
          You can see that every year - the protected and well supported movement of CIA backed 'freedom fighters' help to reduce/split nations to smaller groups needing constant outside support.
          How The US Is Arming Both Sides Of The Iraqi Conflict 06/12/2014
          http://www.zerohedge.com/news/... [zerohedge.com]
          The only way out is for talented local entrepreneurs to understand what signals intelligence is when they used a phone, fax, network or any other digital device.
          The only way out is for talented diplomatic staff to understand what signals intelligence is when they use their bespoke embassy communications equipment.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Documents look like it's primarily focused at foreign targets with cooperation from other countries. Shouldn't the NSA be doing foreign intelligence collection?

        We just got through GCHQ saying it can spy on UK citizens because data transmitted between UK citizens and US entities like Facebook and Google [slashdot.org] is "foreign."

        So you'll forgive me if I'm just a little bit skeptical that NSA isn't targeting US persons under the same rationale, namely that any packet that leaves the US to a foreign destination is a l

  • meet man-in-the-middle
  • news flash... (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by Connie_Lingus (317691)

    the powerful of the world use their confiscated wealth (via taxes) to harness technology to spy on everyone else. really how surprising.

    move along, there is nothing to see here...

  • by un1nsp1red (2503532) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @05:25PM (#47276997) Homepage

    it says it can intercept the content of phone calls, faxes...

    I've sat on the sidelines since the whole NSA "revelations" began unfolding, but I've finally had enough. I'll not stand by and let the government continue intercepting my faxes.

    • by rtb61 (674572)

      Now might be the time to invest in plain old fashioned postal services. Still need a warrant, can trace opening or closing and, secrets can be personally delivered. What you can be will happen is cloud services are going to take a real hammering, everything is going to start shifting back in house and more parallel networking is going. One network and computer system for internet and unsecure communications and another internal network and computer system for secured data. Data only shifts from one to the

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        They photograph everything that goes through the post. They claim that they only capture what is on the outside of the envelope, but it wouldn't be hard to use some kind of x-ray scanner to see what is written inside. That's exactly the kind of bullshit legal loophole they like.

        • by Rich0 (548339)

          Or they just never use the contents of your letter in court, thus keeping it away from judicial review.

          Read everybody's mail and figure out who you want to go after. Then find some other pretense to get a warrant and search their house. Maybe your weeds are a little too tall so the friendly neighborhood cop goes to leave a note on your door and could have sworn they smelled smoke, so exigent circumstances and all that... :)

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @05:29PM (#47277035) Homepage Journal
    ... somewhat Merkel deserved all the snooping that the NSA did on her. Putting trust in governments that deceive even their own people is a dumb idea.
    • ... somewhat Merkel deserved all the snooping that the NSA did on her. Putting trust in governments that deceive even their own people is a dumb idea.

      You're assuming Merkel had any idea what her own security services were up to.

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        What is your average democratically elected political leader supposed to think/do when their nations top crypto experts, security services, generals invite them to use a secure phone?
        Then to read in the worlds press that that their gov tested device is useless?
        Why would generations/groups of trusted, top, expert German staff be signing off on junk encryption projects 100% open to another nation?
        Its Germany their top gov staff should not be that out of their comport zone with advanced telco equipment?
        Its
  • should start the call with Dirka Dirka Muhhamed Jihad New York. That should keep the Team NSA busy for a while

  • by Rigel47 (2991727) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @08:13PM (#47278161)
    I've been to NZ.. it's a wonderful place. Beautiful, raw, remarkable in all of its unique features. It's also pretty fucking empty with more sheep than people. There isn't a threat within 5,000 miles unless Australia turns Taliban. The worst thing they need to look out for is Chinese fishing poachers emptying their seas.

    In all seriousness, please, kiwis, tell me why you have a //spy agency//?! Enjoy the wonderful land you live in and leave the stupids to the rest of the world.
    • I've been to NZ.. it's a wonderful place. Beautiful, raw, remarkable in all of its unique features. It's also pretty fucking empty with more sheep than people. There isn't a threat within 5,000 miles unless Australia turns Taliban. The worst thing they need to look out for is Chinese fishing poachers emptying their seas.

      In all seriousness, please, kiwis, tell me why you have a //spy agency//?! Enjoy the wonderful land you live in and leave the stupids to the rest of the world.

      ... because they're on an island and have to trade with other countries? Non-military intelligence isn't around just to foil movie-like terrrrist plots, but nobody makes movies about the boring stuff.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      NZ was under consideration from 1945 on due to its great code work in ww2 (navy vs Japan). There is not real "UKUSA" one document or event, just a series of top level sigint meetings just after ww2.
      Other to be EU/nations where offered deals for bases only getting unrelated mil hardware as a US/UK thank you. NZ got the full sharing deal, later computer upgrades and was always allowed to look up into Asia, Pacific. Amazing for its own gov/trade/domestic spying needs.
      NZ got tech it could never afford, bu

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