Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×
Privacy Canada Government The Internet

Snowden Documents: CSE Tracks Millions of Downloads Daily 103

Advocatus Diaboli writes Canada's electronic spy agency sifts through millions of videos and documents downloaded online every day by people around the world, as part of a sweeping bid to find extremist plots and suspects, CBC News has learned. Details of the Communications Security Establishment project dubbed 'Levitation' are revealed in a document obtained by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden and recently released to CBC News. Under Levitation, analysts with the electronic eavesdropping service can access information on about 10 to 15 million uploads and downloads of files from free websites each day, the document says.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Snowden Documents: CSE Tracks Millions of Downloads Daily

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    as terrorists. I have accepted that. Just change the laws to reflect reality now so we don't have this silly mismatch.

    • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2015 @08:23PM (#48928669) Journal

      You said:

      ... as terrorists. I have accepted that. Just change the laws to reflect reality now so we don't have this silly mismatch ...

      Actually their target is further than that
       
      To illustrate what I mean, let's look at what TFA says ...

      ... Canada's electronic spy agency sifts through millions of videos and documents downloaded online every day by people around the world, as part of a sweeping bid to find extremist plots and suspects ...

      Are they truly looking for "extremist plots and suspects"?

      No

      Then what they are looking for?

      They are looking for potential targets that they deem "dangerous". No, not terrorists but those amongst the people who are NOT sheeples!

      You see, those fascists (to put them in a milder term will be an injustice, they are fascists afterall) are not afraid of sheeples. In fact, they WANT all the people to become sheeples so that they can get absolute control over them

      What the fascists are afraid, very afraid of, is those amongst us who steadfastly REFUSE to become a sheeple, who instead will use our own brain to think, rather than delegate the thinking to "somebody else", ie, the authority

      That is what makes those fucking fascists antsy --- they can't have that, but current laws still do not allow them to pull out all the non-sheeples to the street and shoot them

      So they do the next best ... to identify the non-sheeples so that, when it comes the day they can pull people out to the street and carry out summary execution, they would know who to shoot

      That is ultimately WHAT they are doing today ... identifying us, closely monitoring us, categorizing us, ... and ultimately, know who they need to eliminate, and where to get those 'trouble makers'

      • by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2015 @09:25PM (#48928997)
        I think you're overthinking it. Look at what the FBI does. They find some dumb disillusioned guy down on his luck, maybe an ex-con or something but nothing serious, and try to ram bomb making components down his throat until he acquiesces and follows the plan they give him to fill a truck full of fertilizer to blow up city hall. The guy makes the purchase and parks the fake bomb, and when he gets out of the truck he's arrested and sent to prison... not because he would have blown up a building, but because he was so stupid that he didn't know not to trust the guys trying to set him up by badgering the hell out of him until he gives in. Counter-terrorism task force adds a notch to their belt, the President has a talking point about another averted attack, and the poor schmuck who was effectively harmless already because of his stupidity gets to die in prison
        • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2015 @11:11PM (#48929441) Journal

          Dear Sir,

          I may have been thinking too much. In fact, you may even say that I am paranoid - but at the stage that we are in today, that the blanket snooping activities into almost everything that we do online and off, we do need to question why the authority's need to do it, rather than accept what they are telling us by default

          Yes, they tell us they are 'looking for terrorists' but is that true?

          I mean, if they are 'looking for terrorists' the obvious target for those 'terrorists' are those from a particular religion (that peaceful one, to boot)

          But is the authority looking into that group only?

          Far from that. They are snooping in on ALL OF US, on our email, on our surfing pattern, on the site we go to, on what we download, on our phone conversation, on everything everybody is doing

          Then why are they doing it?

          Surely the 'looking for terrorists' excuse ain't gonna cut it no more, there gotta be more than what they are telling us

          Yes, I am paranoid, I admit it. But you can't blame me from being paranoid

          I am from China, a country which is being ruled by some really despicable regime. At the point when I left China the entire society was in turmoil. People were being pulled out on to the street and beaten, sometimes killed, just because they were labeled as 'anti-revolutionary'

          I have had that kind of experiences. Most of you do not. I know what the authority is capable of doing, and what they will do to maintain their control over us, the peons

          The more I look at what's happening in the so-called "Western countries" the more it resembles that despicable regime that is controlling China

          Yes, I am have been 'overthinking', as you put it, but I rather be paranoid and right and be well prepared (as well as knowing what preventive actions to take before the shit hits the fan), than be totally unprepared and suffered the consequences

          But it's all up to you guys. What I am telling you is what I, and many millions of older generation of Chinese had gone through --- we do not trust the authority, we do not trust anyone but ourselves

          If you guys insist that the authority is to be trusted, that they are doing what they are doing for 'the good of the people', then that's your right to do what ever you want to do

          But when the shit hits the fan (which I fervently hope it will never come true) don't blame me for not forewarning you guys

          It happened in China, it could happen, and I repeat, it could happen elsewhere, including the Western countries

          • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Thursday January 29, 2015 @12:05AM (#48929655)

            But it's all up to you guys. What I am telling you is what I, and many millions of older generation of Chinese had gone through --- we do not trust the authority, we do not trust anyone but ourselves

            And neither did the people who did the killing in China. The idea, inherited from Lenin, was to have a small vanguard of professional revolutionaries guarding the masses - in your terminology, "sheeples" - under absolute authority of the Party. Mao and Stalin then took this idea to its logical conclusion.

            What I'm saying is that calling people "sheeples" is inherently anti-democratic. You can't trust sheeples, after all. Also, no society can survive unless the majority of its members stay put most of the time, which seems to be the going definition of "sheeple". And so you can at most let them play at ruling themselves when nothing's at stake - but as soon as there's trouble on the horizon, it's time for the shepherds to take control. Which they did in China, and are trying to do in the US. The results speak for themselves.

            It's a fine example of how cultural memes perpetuate themselves, even when it'd be better they didn't. Much as you might hate the Chinese government, you still carry its - for a lack of better word - spirit with you. And there's no easy way to get rid of it.

            • What I'm saying is that calling people "sheeples" is inherently anti-democratic

              So what do you call them?

              By any other name the sheeples are still acting like sheeps

              They do not like to think, they do not like to think so much that they let others to do all the thinking for themselves

              And when that happens, someone else do come out and does the thinking for them ... that someone is nothing but the authority

              So the authority tells the sheeples that what they are doing --- that BLANKET SNOOPING THING is "good for them" because it will "protect them from the baddies", you know, them "terroris

              • by zlives ( 2009072 )

                i agree, if it looks like a turd, smells like a turd... you don't need to do the taste test to call it a rose.

                I don't really blame the ones in charge of going beyond the bounds. It is human nature to control, and when you have a semblance of control the brain works to tighten that grip even more, squeezing those in your grip into tighter and tighter control... until it all falls apart.
                We should be coming up with contingency plans for when history repeats it self.

                Shakespeare said it best, " there is a specia

          • See also, for an old German example: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/... [uchicago.edu]
            "What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. ..This separation of govern

            • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Thursday January 29, 2015 @12:44AM (#48929813) Journal

              Sir,

              I do agree with you that we do need hope, but we must *NOT* forget the fact that 'hoping' ain't gonna do us, or anybody else, any good, especially when what is happening now, from top down (well, the governments are *ON THE TOP* of the people, no matter which government, no matter which nation)

              Nowadays governments treat their citizens with contemp

              They suspect their citizens so much that they actually take steps to ensure that every single thing their own citizen does must be checked, categorized, and actions must be taken on whoever they suspect (for whatever reason)

              Hope in itself is no longer sufficient to fight those fascist, my friend

              We no longer live in the 1960's, Sir

              We no longer live in a world where the government listens to the people

              No man. We are living in the world where the governments DEMAND to be respected, or else

              That's the reality all of us are living in, no matter if you live in Canada or China or Saudi Arabia or America or Great Britain, it's all the same --- you, a citizen, better be a sheeple, or we will mark you, we will follow you, we will watch your every single move

              • Yes, bad things are happening. But unless we remember and celebrate the past successes, we may more easily give way to despair.

                Examples of problematical episodes from US history: The McCarthy era in the 1950s, the internment of Japanese-Americans in the 1940s, the US Eugenics movement in the 1930s and before -- where the Nazis got the idea, the lynching of black citizens in the South along with a US white supremacy movement (again, long before "Arianism" took hold in Germany), the tragic Civil War of the 18

            • by Anonymous Coward

              If only I could mod you up.

              What's happening in the USA and 5 eyes countries is a catastrophe for their democracies. All politicians in power now, in those countries has been vetted by the securities agencies as suitable.

              Excluding 'radical' views, typically anti-war, pro-rights groups are labelled as possible domestic threats monitored, demonized.

              So over time these countries will swing ever further out to Fascism. Each cycle shifting the politics to be more oppressive, each cycle eliminating more freedoms.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            You don't think it's ironic that the same kind of paranoia you have about the government, is the kind of paranoia fuelling these kind of sweeping 'nets' of privacy violations?

            • You don't think it's ironic that the same kind of paranoia you have about the government, is the kind of paranoia fuelling these kind of sweeping 'nets' of privacy violations?

              Ah, but that's what they want you to think...!

          • I mean, if they are 'looking for terrorists' the obvious target for those 'terrorists' are those from a particular religion (that peaceful one, to boot)

            Jainism?
            But really though, paranoia is a natural reaction to this neo-McCarthyism. Just don't let it negatively impact your life. You can't even wear a backpack without someone calling homeland security. I hope some discussion, like this post, has enough scare-words to be heavily scrutinized by some agency who, upon seeing the rational dialogue, commences self-immolation out of shame.

        • That's sort of how Ruby Ridge got started. The FBI and ATF badgered a guy to spy on skinheads around the bend from his house and in the process tried to get him to sell illegal arms to them.. he refused but eventualy did something with a shotgun and told s guy how to saw it shorter than the legal limits then they shot his family up trying yo arrest him gor illegal firearm sales.

          Its actually a bit more complicated than that but the elements are sll there. Some of the other so called stand offs in the 90s sta

      • to identify the non-sheeples so that, when it comes the day they can pull people out to the street and carry out summary execution, they would know who to shoot

        Makes me glad I'm a sheeple.

      • Yeah, well, when that happens you right-wing fucks can go for your guns like you're always talking about. Frankly I can't wait to see you people go down. A lot of other people worldwide will be cheering on that day, too. Extremism needs to go away just like racism, sexism, and all of the other problems that you freaks create. Good ridance to you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28, 2015 @07:56PM (#48928511)

    ... and they lied.

    Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Not in Harper's Canada.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lucm ( 889690 )

      The name of that charter is misleading. The purpose of that document is not to protect citizens, it's to give to the federal government the opportunity to override any court decision made in one of the provinces under the pretense of protecting the citizens. It is a huge loophole that gives to federal politicians the power to overrule judges.

      That charter is what allowed things like islamic courts to appear in Ontario, and was used to override a Quebec courts decision to forbid Sikh schoolboys from bringing

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The name of that charter is misleading. The purpose of that document is not to protect citizens, it's to give to the federal government the opportunity to override any court decision made in one of the provinces under the pretense of protecting the citizens. It is a huge loophole that gives to federal politicians the power to overrule judges.

        FUD FUD FUD.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]

        And as you can see, it's almost never used. You may want to stop with your muslim fud too.

        That charter is what allowed things like islamic courts to appear in Ontario, and was used to override a Quebec courts decision to forbid Sikh schoolboys from bringing a knife at school.

        Wasn't that supreme court decision, if anything??

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K... [wikipedia.org]

        In the 2006 Supreme Court of Canada decision of Multani v. Commission scolaire Margueriteâ'Bourgeoys the court held that .... A student is allowed to have a kirpan on his person if it is sealed and secured

        Meaning it is locked and can't be removed by the child.

        As to Ontario, FUD? Yes.

        http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/... [www.cbc.ca]

        The Islamic "court" was nothing but an arbitrator. The final decision was then presented to the "normal" court where it was either approved or not.

        So, WTF? Why are you trying to stir

        • by lucm ( 889690 )

          I'm not even religious, but the FUD and crap thrown at Muslims reminds me of shit Nazis threw around at Jews or KKK at non-whites. Fucking disgusting.

          Again with the Ben Affleck syndrome. Put anything that has even the most indirect link to islam in a discussion, and suddenly phony liberals get their panties in a bunch and talk about how Muslims are the real victims of everything and everyone.

          The bodies at the Charlie Hebdo massacre were not even cool when phonies like you were already going ballistic about those poor non-violent Muslims that idiots were inevitably going to put in the same basket as terrorists. Not a word about the dead people.

          If you feel

          • by Anonymous Coward

            The bodies at the Charlie Hebdo massacre were not even cool when phonies like you were already going ballistic about those poor non-violent Muslims that idiots were inevitably going to put in the same basket as terrorists. Not a word about the dead people.

            You know what? Fuck you and your bigoted ass.

            http://instamun.org/frances-ne... [instamun.org]

            And fuck you from Charlie Hebdo editors too. The great "march" of who's who of the anti-free-speech bigots. One of the editors told them that they are NOT Charlie, and that they should fuck off. Instead they use that criminal act, just like you did, to justify their own agenda and viewpoints.

            Why didn't you bother bringing up the idiots and criminals that actually are a danger?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2... [wikipedia.org]
            http://en.wikipedia.or [wikipedia.org]

            • by lucm ( 889690 )

              Hell, maybe you'll look at reality and change your views and go out of that box of bigotry and hatred. Who knows.

              "Bigotry" and "opinions that are different from yours" are not synonyms. And maybe you keep losing track of the actual conversation because you are too busy finding irrelevant wikipedia or fox news links, or maybe the voices in your head are just too loud, but one way or the other, the only hatred in this thread is your not so subtle antisemitic babbling.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Not a word about the dead people.

            Not a word about the vigilantes who labeled innocent by-standers as extremists and mass murderers after the Boston marathon bombing. That was the whole point of the grand-parent's troll. And you just proved you're more interested in being the vigilante than the advocate of peace and tolerance, especially when your opponents don't want peace and tolerance. That makes you just like the serial rapists; using someone else to excuse your selfish needs.

            If you feel the need to be outraged ...

            Like all those Muslims who died when the Coalition of the

            • by lucm ( 889690 )

              And you just proved you're more interested in being the vigilante than the advocate of peace and tolerance, especially when your opponents don't want peace and tolerance.

              I stopped reading after that sentence because people who say things like "you just proved" are the worst possible debaters. Also in my experience those people have a big butt but I guess we'll never know if that's your case.

    • On the plus side Harper's government has lost more SCC rulings than any other one that I can remember.

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com... [theglobeandmail.com]

      That makes me happy.

      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        Until you remember those 800 page omnibus bills that on-one had a chance to read before being passed into law and the fact that the Supreme Court only has so much time to strike down the unconstitutional parts. The regressives seem to believe in passing so many unconstitutional laws that a few will get through with the ultimate idea to regress us back to the times of no guaranteed rights. For our own good of course.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Not in Harper's Canada.

      How true. Back in 2012, the Charter turned 30. Instead of celebrating that event (to be honest, it's been a serious PITA for politicians because it always gets in the way of fancy new laws they want to enact)

      Instead of celebrating one of the largest social changes in Canada's history, what does Harper celebrate? The war of 1812 - a relatively minor war in Canadian history And he does it using apparently the worst ads in history - given two dif

    • As much as I dislike Harper, I would not be overly surprised if this activity predates Harper, and given technology and timing was instigated under a Liberal government.

      Either way, it is BS and should be stopped.

      One argument is that it is too wide a net, and tramples too many people, their privacy, and their rights, for too small a return, and one might argue zero usefulness.

      Another would be that anyone of any capability doing something of sufficient malfeasance would take simple precautions that would make

  • Tsk tsk tsk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2015 @07:56PM (#48928517) Journal

    How USA of them

    • Re:Tsk tsk tsk (Score:5, Insightful)

      by memnock ( 466995 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2015 @09:31PM (#48929031)

      "CSE finds some 350 “interesting” downloads each month, the presentation notes, a number that amounts to less than 0.0001 per cent of the total collected data."

      Given that result, it seems that CSE (and all other TLAs) demonstrate first-hand the overbroad and unjustified power they've given themselves.

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Whats the average file size of the 350? Then work out the data flow of rest from that 0.0001 per cent of the total collected data.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        The number is actually lower than 0.0001%, because by "interesting" they mean "downloaded how_2_pipe_bomb.pdf" and not "genuine terrorist threat worthy of further monitoring". Back at school everyone had floppy disk copies of the Anarchists Cookbook, and I imagine it is pretty popular with the kids online these days too. Terrorist suspects, the lot of them.

  • by mikeroySoft ( 1659329 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2015 @07:57PM (#48928523)
    ... given the attack at Parliament in Ottawa.
    • by jrhooker ( 3574647 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2015 @08:20PM (#48928647)
      One mentally ill man with a gun and delusions of grandeur does not a terrorist make.
      • Also to be preventable, it requires some planning, usually with some others to warrant communication (other than the voices in your head).

        Randomly grabbing a gun or a knife and just doing something by yourself is going to be pretty hard to catch ahead of time and prevent. Even if you are a loony that posts crazy stuff on Facebook everyday, are the police going to have you under surveillance 24/7 until you actually do something? No, they lack resources for that.

    • Not to be apologetic or anything, but that's like saying crosswalks don't work because of the number of crosswalk fatalities.

      Sure, they're probably not actually getting any useful information from this dragnet beyond the addresses of people who upload/download "extremist" material, and the identities of those people help more in populating no-fly lists and as monitoring start-points to track down their handlers should they actually become "radicallized", but you can't expect less than hyperbole from the gov

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      They weren't looking for random hate crimes.

    • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2015 @08:23PM (#48928673)

      That's the problem isn't it?

      Collect everything means that all your intelligence is hidden by piles and piles of cat memes.

      Because the Internet isn't a series of tubes, it's a single cat with infinite meowing heads and infinite tails to pull.

      "You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat." -- Attributed to Albert Einstein.

      --
      BMO

    • He gave them plenty of chances to put him away. When the system failed to help his mental illness there was only one way to get the point across.

  • RIAA/MPAA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28, 2015 @08:23PM (#48928667)

    How long until our favorite corporations the RIAA/MPAA try and subpoena the download records from the government on the grounds the government knows which IP addresses downloaded copywrong material and therefore should stop hiding the criminals?

    • ^This. Everyone is adding a layer of tinfoil to their helmets, but the real concern for the average Canadian should be this. Would this information somehow end up in the hands of those chasing pirates? The industry definitely is interested in who's downloading Glee. There's money to be made in on-demand media and boxed DVD sets.
  • by whistlingtony ( 691548 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2015 @09:34PM (#48929055)
    Do they actually FIND anyone this way? No. How do you find terrorists? The old fashioned way... You monitor a known terrorist and see who he talks to. You tap his phone, read his mail, etc. You do it the old fashioned way. You also get a warrant...
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Yes think of the domestic control. Human rights defenders, political parties, journalists, community leaders, trade unionists, legal teams, lawyers all might get an offer of digital files.
      With systems like this that can be tracked back to the uploader and tracked to any other new downloaders.
      A link sent to one person might get printed out and given to other human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers. No direct contact only interest in the same file.
      A great way to stop domestic whistleblowers who try
    • by dryeo ( 100693 )

      Don't you mean, find some frustrated junkies, give them money, pressure cookers and fake explosives, and then arrest them? Worked well here in BC where the junkies on their own wouldn't be able to get a bus ticket, little well a bomb.

  • by silfen ( 3720385 ) on Thursday January 29, 2015 @01:50AM (#48929989)

    Canadians keep telling us how morally and intellectually superior they are! So, this story can't be true!

HOLY MACRO!

Working...