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How Secret Partners Expand NSA's Surveillance Dragnet 63

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 on Thursday June 19, 2014 @05:59PM (#47276773)

    This is oppressive and unconstitutional.

  • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo ( 1000167 ) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @06:14PM (#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 Travis Mansbridge ( 830557 ) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @06:21PM (#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 rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @06:32PM (#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 m00sh ( 2538182 ) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @06:34PM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2014 @06:36PM (#47277101)

    I'm sure he loves the USA, else he wouldn't have said that.

    Ah red herring. You must think that de-funding the oppressive and unconstitutional NSA = hating the USA

    That red herring has been swimming upstream since about 9/11

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2014 @07:37PM (#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.

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!