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NSA Can Retrieve, Replay All Phone Calls From a Country From the Past 30 Days 320

An anonymous reader sends this news from the Washington Post: "The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording '100 percent' of a foreign country's telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden. ... The voice interception program, called MYSTIC, began in 2009. Its RETRO tool, short for “retrospective retrieval,” and related projects reached full capacity against the first target nation in 2011. Planning documents two years later anticipated similar operations elsewhere."
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NSA Can Retrieve, Replay All Phone Calls From a Country From the Past 30 Days

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  • Re:How? (Score:4, Informative)

    by amorsen ( 7485 ) <> on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @05:33PM (#46519701)

    the infrastructure is really weak and there might conceivably be only a handful of points where all telephone calls pass through.

    The opposite is happening. Denmark had PSTN switches in hundreds or thousands of locations for PSTN. The switches for the cell phone network that handles most of the calls on the other hand are in just a few locations per operator. Today it is easy to do the call handling of hundreds of thousands of simultaneous calls in a single location.

    You can still route the voice data directly from cell tower to cell tower, at least with some technologies, but the benefits of doing so are not great anymore.

  • by MrBigInThePants ( 624986 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @07:50PM (#46520657)
    "a state with 2 parties that are basically 2 wings of one party, a party of the rich "

    So true.

    Noam Chomsky:
    "In the United States, the political system is a very marginal affair. There are two parties, so-called, but they're really factions of the same party, the Business Party. Both represent some range of business interests. In fact, they can change their positions 180 degrees, and nobody even notices. In the 1984 election, for example, there was actually an issue, which often there isn't. The issue was Keynesian growth versus fiscal conservatism. The Republicans were the party of Keynesian growth: big spending, deficits, and so on. The Democrats were the party of fiscal conservatism: watch the money supply, worry about the deficits, et cetera. Now, I didn't see a single comment pointing out that the two parties had completely reversed their traditional positions. Traditionally, the Democrats are the party of Keynesian growth, and the Republicans the party of fiscal conservatism. So doesn't it strike you that something must have happened? Well, actually, it makes sense. Both parties are essentially the same party. The only question is how coalitions of investors have shifted around on tactical issues now and then. As they do, the parties shift to opposite positions, within a narrow spectrum."

VMS must die!