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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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  • Uh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2014 @02:35PM (#47433067)
    Seeing as this would be petabytes of data every month, it should be easy enough to find out if the NSA is purchasing enough storage to accomplish something like this. Where's the proof of that?
  • by MetalliQaZ ( 539913 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @02:39PM (#47433097)

    I saw Mr. Binney speak at the HOPE conference in 2012. I remember a conversation with my parents where I relayed what I learned from him to them, and they thought I was buying into some conspiracy. When Snowden broke into the news, they asked me how I had known so far ahead of time.

    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.

  • Why 80% (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @02:42PM (#47433115) Journal
    If you're wondering why it's only 80% instead of 100%, it's because he's talking about all calls made everywhere. He says that 80% of the fiber in the world runs through the US, so 80% of the calls in the world are recorded. In other words, the NSA is recording all calls that go through the country.

    Incidentally, didn't Obama announce some changes he was going to make to fix the NSA? Have any of those been implemented?
  • Spock: 'member (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @02:43PM (#47433127) Journal

    Right after 9/11, in the heat to Get Those Guys and their network, the NSA went into vast recoding depositories to track back conversations, actual recorded calls. They admitted it and it kind of blew by in the moment.

    Am I the only one who remembers this?

  • Re:Uh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dennis_k85 ( 828582 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @02:49PM (#47433171) Homepage
    I worked on equipment back in the 90's that could plug into a telephone switch, and record all call going through it,It was not for the NSA but I have no dought that is where it ended up. Dennis
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2014 @02:49PM (#47433181)

    Not even the media contacted me when I sent anonymous tips concerning Stingray capabilities, and I worked on the project. It's way worse than people imagine, but people don't want to listen to what some anonymous coward says. Nobody is going to listen without hard evidence, but providing hard evidence (like Snowden did) means the end of your life as you know it.

  • Speech to Text (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @02:52PM (#47433207) Journal

    Step 1. Collect all audio
    Step 2. Convert speech to text
    Step 3. ???
    Step 4. Profit

    The IT guy and geek in me gets all excited thinking about all of the cool technology that they are leveraging.

    The civil libertarian in me shudders knowing how easily they are able to contextualize and analyze the communications with the intent of subverting public discourse.

    The cynical part of me is starting to believe that the average American really does not care because they are so conditioned that they have zero desire to enjoy any sort of true freedom. As long as they have access to shopping malls, housing and alcohol / caffeine / prescription drugs, they will be content.

  • Re:Spock: 'member (Score:5, Interesting)

    by paysonwelch ( 2505012 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @02:55PM (#47433233) Homepage
    There are a lot of things that can only be remembered. I remember there was an announcement a day or two after 9/11 that all data was now being routed through government servers. That didn't surprise me but it's like they flipped a switch so they were ready for it.
  • Re:Why 80% (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @03:38PM (#47433607)

    It's really only a matter or time before some President or intelligence chief realizes that he has every email and phone call sent or received, and website visited, of every one of his political opponents--all right at his fingertips. And even if he doesn't have the balls to use it openly, it would be easy enough to use it in secret.

    It may have already happened.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2014 @04:04PM (#47433845)

    Binney has been sounding the alarm on this stuff for thirteen years and counting. He isn't the only one, and Snowden won't be the last.

    I hate to say it, but the show's over, Bill. Nobody cares, America doesn't care. The terrorists and the government (two sides of the same coin) have already won. They'll get their total control and for all intents and purposes they already have it.

    It's easy to see where this is all going to lead, especially once labor becomes largely unnecessary. By no later than 2050 free society worldwide will be figuratively and perhaps even literally dead. If a future of unfathomably brutal, near-fully automated totalitarianism doesn't appeal to you, then your way out is your choice. (I personally plan on sticking around just long enough to see how the shit hits the fan, if only for the small gratification of knowing that I was right.) Resistance is already impossible in monitored populations like ours. Soon, that will be the globe.

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

    by clonehappy ( 655530 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @04:09PM (#47433901)

    worse than I expected

    Then you really, really haven't been paying attention for the last 15-odd years or so. Where are the apologies from all of the nay-saying bootlickers who branded those of us who have been pointing these things out since the early-90's "tinfoil hat nutters" or "right-wing conspiracy theorists" or just plain old "kooks"?
    I'm not happy to be proven right (I was always hoping to be proven wrong), I'm just sad that we had to let it get to this point before people started paying attention.

  • by NatasRevol ( 731260 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @04:21PM (#47434011) Journal

    We care.

    We just don't want to be Gitmo'd.

  • by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @04:39PM (#47434141) Journal

    I support private gun ownership, simply because I believe self-defense is a natural right of all people, and handguns are the most appropriate tool for the job.

    That said, this entire situation puts lie to the NRA, pro second amendment claim that "we gots to have our guns to protect from teh tyranny! The 2nd amendment protects all the others!"

    You want to see tyranny? Well, here it is. The NSA is executing general warrants. There is no authorization for any government agency to do that in the constitution. The issuance of general warrants was one of the primary reasons the founding father declared independence. In the 1760s the King's men had general warrants they were using to search colonists' homes, rifling through their papers looking for seditious materials and unpaid taxes. About this Thomas Paine wrote "These are the times that try men's souls."

    So, 2nd amendment heroes, here ya go. They've nullified the 4th amendment. It only allows specific warrants, and these are general warrants. So you going to round up your militia and march on the Utah data center? Demand access so you can shut the system down? What's that? Not a peep out of you fuckers? Then shut the fuck about the goddamn second amendment. Defense against tyranny my ass.

  • Re:Why 80% (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DamnOregonian ( 963763 ) on Friday July 11, 2014 @05:25PM (#47434439)

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments