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Whistleblower: NSA Has All of Your Email 478

mspohr writes with this excerpt from Democracy Now!: "National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney reveals he believes domestic surveillance has become more expansive under President Obama than President George W. Bush. He estimates the NSA has assembled 20 trillion 'transactions' — phone calls, emails and other forms of data — from Americans. This likely includes copies of almost all of the emails sent and received from most people living in the United States. Binney talks about Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and challenges NSA Director Keith Alexander's assertion that the NSA is not intercepting information about U.S. citizens." The parts about National Security Letters in particular are chilling, even though the issue is not new.
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Whistleblower: NSA Has All of Your Email

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  • Re:This is not good. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Zico ( 14255 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @09:06AM (#39755247)

    Foreign wars will save us a ton of money, since these wars and occupations are undeclared, Dr Paul will have the power, and will bring the troops home day one. AND he has said since we're wasting money anyway, might as well give what we save to the people.

  • Re:anyone surprised? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Alomex ( 148003 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @09:13AM (#39755277) Homepage

    Yes it has. It's moved from undefined long term deployments (we might sill be there a hundred years from now--John McCain) to well defined missions with objectives. We are out of Iraq, we got bin Laden, and we won't be in Afghanistan in a couple of years.

    Sure, we've drawn down troops in one country, and increased the number in others.

    Net number is down, with more reductions in the way.

  • Re:anyone surprised? (Score:3, Informative)

    by swalve ( 1980968 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @09:17AM (#39755297)
    Obama tried to close Gitmo, and congress wouldn't let him. He tried to include the public option, and congress wouldn't let him.
  • Re:anyone surprised? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alomex ( 148003 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @09:23AM (#39755329) Homepage

    Obama is a disaster.

    You have a rather curious definition of a disaster. Obama inherited a country at war (make that two wars) and in the worst depression since 1929, yet he has seemingly safely delivered us to the other side: the economy is picking up, we are out of Iraq and bin Laden is dead, all while battling a congress hell bent in destroying any and every action he wished to take.

    If that is a disaster, then Bush must be the apocalypse.

  • Re:anyone surprised? (Score:5, Informative)

    by anagama ( 611277 ) <> on Saturday April 21, 2012 @09:39AM (#39755421) Homepage

    That's unmitigated bullshit. []

    This should be big news. Even while President Obama was saying that he thought a public option was a good idea and encouraging supporters to believe his healthcare plan would include one, he had promised for-profit hospital lobbyists that there would be no public option in the final bill.

    As for Gitmo -- he's the commander in chief. That leaves two options: he's too weak to be president, or he lied in his campaign. Neither option is really all that awesome.

  • Re:Encrypt (Score:4, Informative)

    by lxs ( 131946 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @09:41AM (#39755435)

    I doubt that the media to hold those tables will fit inside this Universe.

  • Re:anyone surprised? (Score:5, Informative)

    by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Saturday April 21, 2012 @09:46AM (#39755475) Homepage Journal

    I'm having trouble tracking down good numbers on over all 'troops on the ground' numbers - but it looks like you are right that over all numbers are dropping, especially in the last year to two years.

    I still have concerns about our activity that extends well beyond the number of troops deployed. I wonder to what extent this reflects the ability to automate warfare and leave key actions to elite units. Our drone attack activity is way up - but of course this can't be compared to the past as the ability itself has been growing.

    I hope you are correct that this points to a substantial difference in long term US policy but I (as is obvious) am very skeptical. I think it's unfair to say that under McCain that the same reductions could not have happened. And it's difficult to judge this based on politicians reactions to what Obama has done- and this strikes to the heart of my concern. Republicans attack Obama no matter what he does - not because of the action itself but because they want to try and see their party gain advantage. Democrats do the same. If a Republican President were dropping hell-fires all over the middle east, there would be some Dems plenty wound up.

    They can't argue over substance because there isn't enough there. They are beholden to the same limited set of money brokers. So it's all flash and theater with personal profit as the ultimate goal.

    Right now I don't live in the US. I've had the opportunity the last year to get a closer view of politics in another country. It pretty much looks the same. I see this as a part of the human condition. And so I don't think we can say it's the recent crop that are the problem, we need to look at building and improving systems to reign in this natural tendency towards corruption.

    Right now I'd probably vote for Obama too - but only in the sense that it feels like a slightly lesser of the evils.

  • Re:Encrypt (Score:5, Informative)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @09:48AM (#39755497)

    But no guarantee that at the NSA level encryption makes any significant difference

    No, but there are pretty good reasons to think that it does. It is possible that the NSA has some proof that P=NP, and that they can reduce NP complete problems to some problem in P in cubic time (any higher and I suspect that it would be impractical to do on a mass scale, even with the NSA's resources). Yet all the work on these problems suggests otherwise, the NP is a strict superset of P and that NP complete problems are disjoint from P. There are enough reasons to think this is the case that people usually just assume it (like the fact that the polynomial hierarchy collapses if P=NP).

    In terms of cryptography, there is a bit more to the story. Crypto requires more than just P != NP, it also requires the existence of trapdoor one-way functions (e.g. the RSA problem) and other stronger assumptions. Many commonly used cryptography systems base their security on problems that are not even known to be NP-hard, like the RSA problem. However, these problems have been studied for a long time, and there are good reasons to think they are hard, just like the P vs. NP problem (a proof would be nice though).

    If PGP/GPG keys are based upon the product of two very large primes, then I'd expect the NSA to generate a list of these products. Yes, there would be umpteen bazillion to compute. Once compiled, however, the list remains static and can be accessed to crack any cryptographic session (even 128-bit) effectively in real time.

    Two problems here:

    1. RSA is not the only cryptosystem in use. PGP also supports ElGamal, which is based on the discrete logarithm problem and does not involve multiplying two primes. Other cryptosystems based on problems involving lattices also exist, although they are not yet part of commonly used standards.
    2. RSA keys do not have a fixed size, so even if you did assemble a large list of RSA numbers and their factors, it would become obsolete once people moved to larger key sizes. To illustrate this, consider this list: (3,5,15), (3,7,21), (5,7,35). This list will not help you, since RSA keys are much larger than the numbers in that list; for any size, though, I could pick a larger key. The point here is about the growth rate of algorithms that attack the RSA problem; that growth rate is believed to be super-polynomial, which is considered to be computationally infeasible.
  • Re:anyone surprised? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2012 @10:14AM (#39755669)

    Or third option: he did try to close it but Congress vetoed [] the plan to close Gitmo without letting the terrorist loose.

    There are three branches in our government and one can often estop the other, Commander-in-Chief or not.

  • Re:Encrypt (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2012 @10:15AM (#39755675)

    I always saddened when I see people still recommending GPG/PGP. That system is a total hack and not a standard.

    Use S/MIME. It's standardized and exists in every good client software.

  • Re:anyone surprised? (Score:5, Informative)

    by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @10:22AM (#39755705)

    looks like we're at 150k total as of december 2011 (why didn't you mention that?)

  • Re:Fort Meade (Score:5, Informative)

    by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @10:40AM (#39755789)
    "+4 informative"??

    Hey paranoid mods -- just so you know, this is a quote from the paranoid thriller "Enemy of the State." It's meant to be funny... or at least ironic, given TFA.

  • Re:anyone surprised? (Score:5, Informative)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @10:43AM (#39755817) Journal

    (we might sill be there a hundred years from now--John McCain)

    We're still in Germany, Japan and Italy and it has been almost 70 years. We're still in Korea and that has been about 50 years.

    What McCain was referring to was not combat operations, but the possibility of long-term joint military bases. To imply he was talking about combat operations or hostilities is dishonest and/or naive.

  • Re:anyone surprised? (Score:4, Informative)

    by MindlessAutomata ( 1282944 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @11:43AM (#39756215)

    Ron Paul doesn't support a direct return to the gold standard, so that's where I stopped reading your post. I certainly wouldn't vote for him (or anybody for that matter) but I'm not going to waste my time on Slashdot reading posts where someone didn't even do their most basic research. This is slashdot, not reddit.

  • Re:anyone surprised? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @12:09PM (#39756369)
    Wake up and smell the coffee. The press didn't give a shit when Bush was doing it, they don't give a shit now that Obama is doing it, and they won't give a shit if Romney does it. They have their orders from their parent companies who all also own defense contractors.
  • Re:anyone surprised? (Score:4, Informative)

    by petsounds ( 593538 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @05:55PM (#39758515)

    Yup, exactly. It's amazing how many people continue to cling to their party, but politics in America is more like sports: people feel compelled to root for their home team no matter how much the team sucks.

    I think an encompassing problem here is that Americans have become incredibly jaded about the political process. They vote for who they think has the best chance of winning, not who they want to win. That mental mode means that the person who runs the slickest campaign and gives lip service to the most interest groups will win, not the person with the best ideas or qualifications. And it means third-party candidates are continual non-starters.

    Another fairly distressing problem is that the American public is by-and-large becoming more ignorant as time passes. Most people don't care about in-depth political news, and when they do they tend to get their news from a biased source like Fox (the consolidation of news sources under a few megacorps contributes heavily to this problem). And our educational systems are producing people with less critical-thinking skills. The only thing really keeping a democracy from descending into tyranny is an educated public. The public is the largest check and balance in the U.S. system, and we are failing to meet our obligations as citizens.

    I've been reading about the creation process of the U.S. Constitution recently, and I believe if the framers of the Constitution foresaw how much corporate interests would corrupt the political system, they would have put much stronger protections in place against such abuse.

  • Re:anyone surprised? (Score:4, Informative)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @09:14PM (#39759613) Journal

    While I agree we've gone overboard, you have to look at it from both a historical and political perspective.

    The United States is treaty-bound to defends many of those nations. We are enforcing peace by our presence, as there isn't anyone crazy enough to launch a military assault against the only remaining military superpower.

    Japan, for example, has agreed not to develop nuclear weapons because they are covered by the United States nuclear umbrella. That is, we'll defend them against a nuclear attack if necessary.

    They are also not allowed by their Constitution to have any real military, other than a minor "home defense force". Again, because of treaty obligations with the U.S.

    People may make jokes about enforcing peace, especially with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. But compared to the squabbles of Europe pre-WW1 and the chaos that reigned in WW2, this is nothing.

    Our treaty obligations with Kuwait are what led us to liberate them after the initial Iraq invasion and to ensure their continued safety by dealing with the Iraqi military.

    If countries insist, the U.S. will withdraw and close bases. For an example look to the Philippines.

    Many of these smaller nations want guarantees they won't be constantly invaded by their neighbors. While developing their own military is one answer, it has never really worked. The problem is the contest is too even, so the others think "if we hit 'em first, we can win this".

    But under the protection of a superpower is a different answer. "If we hit 'em first, we're toast".

    And honestly if we don't do it the Russians would be glad to. And I'm sure the Chinese could probably be convinced. And I'd really, really rather have the U.S. do it than the Russians.

    So would Hungary, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics, etc. Their memories of Soviet "protection" haven't gone away, yet.

No extensible language will be universal. -- T. Cheatham