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William Binney: NSA Records and Stores 80% of All US Audio Calls 278

stephendavion sends a report at The Guardian about remarks from whistleblower William Binney, who left the NSA after its move toward overreaching surveillance following the September 11th attacks. Binney says, "At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the U.S. The NSA lies about what it stores." He added, "The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control, but I’m a little optimistic with some recent Supreme Court decisions, such as law enforcement mostly now needing a warrant before searching a smartphone." One of Binney's biggest concerns about government-led surveillance is its lack of oversight: "The FISA court has only the government’s point of view. There are no other views for the judges to consider. There have been at least 15-20 trillion constitutional violations for U.S. domestic audiences and you can double that globally."
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William Binney: NSA Records and Stores 80% of All US Audio Calls

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2014 @02:51PM (#47433193)

    Media suppression. "Self"-censorship. Because if you speak up, your own dirty laundry will be aired for the public to see and no one will ever trust anything you say.

  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @02:52PM (#47433209) Homepage Journal

    The difference between a conspiracy that exists, and the conspiracy that actually happens can be tested simply:

    Would an uninformed idiot think it's actually a good idea to do?
    If yes? It's probably happening.
    If no? Find a new theory.

    It's not that idiots run everything. But idiots get involved in every piece of decision making, somehow.

  • Blackmail? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stoicfaux ( 466273 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @02:53PM (#47433221)

    If the NSA can track people's movements, track who comes into contact with them, or just flat out records their phone calls, how many of our local/state/federal politicians, policy makers, law enforcement members, bureaucrats, bankers, CEOs, etc., could be blackmailed based on such information?

    Next question. Who controls the NSA?

  • Re:We need (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2014 @02:58PM (#47433263)

    People expected a Constitutional scholar to follow and protect the Constitution. Instead, what we ended up with was someone who was very well wise to how to work out all the loopholes. Yes, I know you were joking, and I enjoyed it, I'm just pointing out the rather sad state of affairs.

    Realistically, I'm not sure things would be much better if we had a different president. Even Ron Paul, who would assuredly do his damnedest to actually set things right, would be one man against an army of criminal, power-hungry scum. Still, I'd rather take a man that tries over a man that supports this evil.

  • Re:Why 80% (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @03:01PM (#47433273)

    Incidentally, didn't Obama announce some changes he was going to make to fix the NSA? Have any of those been implemented?

    Unlike some other countries, the US has no experience what it is like to live under Fascism. The NSA is intent on changing that.

  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @03:11PM (#47433341) Homepage Journal
    So what if the NSA stores your data? Who cares if it's "Constitutional"? The Constitution is just a piece of paper and doesn't mean a damned fucking thing because even if some uppity people over at the ACLU or EFF make a case out if it, it will be discarded under the veil of "National Security" Face it, the USA is a Police State. AND YOU WONT DO A FUCKING THING ABOUT IT BECAUSE YOU ARE A WEAK POWERLESS WAGE SLAVE WHO VALUES YOUR SUV, JOB AND GADGETS OVER "LIBERTY" and look to someone else to fix the things you don't like. So I don't see why anyone should care -- because no one cares and nothing will be done. Perhaps these articles get posted because people like bitching about how powerless and helpless they choose to be in their pathetic existence as peons of the wealthy elite whose interests the NSA serves.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2014 @03:19PM (#47433395)

    Not from this disclosure specifically, but ever since 2001, I've learned one important thing: we've underestimated what has actually been done. Remember those stories years ago about secret data centre taps that were tied into major fibre/international cable telecommunications hubs [] in places like San Francisco? Imagine what *could* be done with that! Imagine if that is one example of what is tapped at every ingress/egress communications point in a country. That was way back in 2006. No, no, that's paranoia. And there are legal protections that would prevent it.

    All implemented. Everything. The sky's the limit. Billions and billions of dollars to do it? Here's the cash. Even the legal protections have been circumvented by using ridiculous legal tricks such as collecting everything. As long as nobody looks at it or no citizens are specifically "targetted", that is somehow fine and not mass surveillance? It's not a "search"? It's like going into every house in the country and passively photographing and recording everything there, but as long as nobody looks at that vast database unless there's some token cause, it's not a "search". It's like some kind of bizarro quantum mechanical legal theory where unless it is observed, the collected data exists in a legal limbo that doesn't make it a search until actively searched.

    No, it is mass surveillance. And no matter how much you trust the people doing it, the results of that search are just sitting there waiting to be abused.

  • by aaron4801 ( 3007881 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @03:23PM (#47433445)
    Anybody who claims this is all about terrorism is either lying, ignorant, or both. Control = Power, and if you can't take control, you get people to give it to you by scaring them with visions of explosions and death.
  • Media (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2014 @03:24PM (#47433451)

    I'm surprised there hasn't been more discussion about Binney's whistle-blowing in the wake of the Snowden revelations. He has been sounding the alarm for many years now.

    Because the media is incompetent. The days of investigative journalism like Woodward and Bernstein are loooong gone.

    There's no money in it.

    You know where the money is? Look at Fox News. Their content is where the money is - political punditry.


    MSNBC, CNN, and everyone else is also to blame. Fox News at least - or Rupert anyway - had the balls to say it upfront.

    I watched 60 Minutes the other week, and just shook my head at how they turned to shit. CBS used to be the best.

    The people - you people included - just want to watch "news" that reinforces what they believe - not the facts. Sure, facts are shown but put in a way to match the World view of the audience.

  • Re:Uh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buckfeta2014 ( 3700011 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @03:29PM (#47433519)
  • Of course they are (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @03:36PM (#47433593) Journal

    I have been posted before there is simply no way the NSA could have use for even the most conservative estimates for there storage capacity in that Utah data center unless they are or were planning to keep the content.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2014 @03:41PM (#47433641)

    (I'm a different AC)
    He could have included a public key with the tip.

  • Re:Uh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rbrander ( 73222 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @04:11PM (#47433921) Homepage

    Keeping in mind they can't possibly have humans listening to all that, the only way to flag human-worthy content is voice recognition and transcription to plain text files. If you keep voice only on the 0.1% that are "likely" to be interesting, and simply voice-recognize the rest after a month and compress the plain text, the storage problem drops by orders of magnitude.

  • Re:I'm shocked! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki AT cox DOT net> on Friday July 11, 2014 @05:04PM (#47434281)

    I'm not.

    This isn't McCarthyism, this is the what you get when you're "tough on crime."

    Ironically, being "tough on crime" means having a lot of counter productive law enforcement policies and having the law enforcement organizations themselves turn into basically rogue agencies with zero accountability.

    It's the effect of the Willie Horton [] ad to hyperbolic degrees.

    No one wants to be known as the Guy Who Let Bad Things Happen.

  • Re:LoL... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hurfy ( 735314 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @06:44PM (#47435091)

    Try attacking it the other way.

    If they AREN'T recording everything then why such big data centers? Metadata on every US call for the year would fit on a few dozen HDs max probably much less.

    Raw data takes very little space with no media components involved. We ran 10 years worth of billing info on one 14MB drive platter in the 80-90's.

  • Re:Why 80% (Score:5, Insightful)

    by currently_awake ( 1248758 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @08:26PM (#47435673)
    Why would Obama try to fix the NSA when it's doing exactly what he tells it to do? Obama can "fix" the NSA just by appointing a new director, with new orders.

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982