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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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  • Re:Skype? Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2014 @06:15PM (#47276917)

    Skype is indeed encrypted, but I think it'd be a fairly safe bet that the NSA has the keys/access to a backdoor/some other method by which they can easily decrypt such calls. Especially in the years since Skype was acquired by Microsoft.

  • Re:Skype? Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2014 @06:21PM (#47276969)

    Proprietary "encryption" means the private entity (Skype) can decrypt it. As you might know, Skype is owned by Microsoft, which is a US corporation. Consequently, the NSA has access to all Skype communications.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2014 @07:39PM (#47277557)

    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 [] 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 legitimate target, including any packets -- and NSA pinky-swears that it's not fucking with BGP in order to guarantee that the most efficient route from Manhatten to the Bronx occasionally involves a transatlantic cable and six hops in Europe -- that can be made to go through a foreign destination.

    NSA might be doing the right thing here and discarding all communications of US persons, but that's no longer a safe, reasonable, or even sane assumption.

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @08:05PM (#47277739) 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 []
    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.
  • by Rigel47 ( 2991727 ) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @09:13PM (#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.

Information is the inverse of entropy.