Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Government Privacy United States

NSA To End Bulk Phone Surveillance By Sunday (reuters.com) 139

An anonymous reader writes: The White House announced today that the NSA will be shutting down the program responsible for the bulk collection of phone records by the end of tomorrow. The program will be immediately replace with a new, scaled back version as enumerated by the USA Freedom Act. "Under the Freedom Act, the NSA and law enforcement agencies can no longer collect telephone calling records in bulk in an effort to sniff out suspicious activity. Such records, known as "metadata," reveal which numbers Americans are calling and what time they place those calls, but not the content of the conversations. Instead analysts must now get a court order to ask telecommunications companies ... to enable monitoring of call records of specific people or groups for up to six months."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

NSA To End Bulk Phone Surveillance By Sunday

Comments Filter:
  • Bullshit.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 27, 2015 @06:46PM (#51015423)

    I don't believe them

    • Sure, they are still collecting the information. I wonder exactly how they will now be doing it. Perhaps, they will just put taps on the line like they do for calls between countries that do not route via the US? Few would need to know.

      • Re:Bullshit.... (Score:4, Informative)

        by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @11:41PM (#51016203)

        Sure, they are still collecting the information.

        Yep. I'd bet that they're still doing it one way or another.

        They may have found some loophole so they can deny it with a straight face or they may just be lying through their teeth, but I'd bet anything they're still at it. They've invested hundreds of millions of dollars and years (if not decades) into building their surveillance network and ground assets...to think they'd just stop because of a court ruling is simply naive in the extreme.

        • Yup, "WE can neither confirm nor deny the existence of such a program."

          "We're from the government and we're here to help.

          • "WE can neither confirm nor deny the existence of such a program."

            TRANSLATION: "Yes, we're doing it."

            -

            "We're from the government and we're here to help."

            TRANSLATION: "We're gonna screw everything up and then charge you for it."

        • There really isn't any part of your comment that applies to this situation. Collecting the phone records was a minor and relatively inexpensive program that doesn't have much of anything to do with the rest of their surveillance capabilities. They aren't doing this because of a court order but because of the President and Congress taking action.

          • There really isn't any part of your blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

            I'm sorry, did you say something?

          • Seriously dude, do you have Stockholm syndrome?
            These bastards have been spying on you, don't even think you were somehow passed over, for over a fucking decade and lying about it with a straight face the whole damn time. And what did they do when they got caught? They blame the person that fucking told us about their lies. If this were a relationship it would be the most abusive relationship in the history of humanity. And somehow you trust them at their word? How much abuse will it take before you qu
        • Wasn't it all but admitted to that they are stopping the data collection because now they expect the phone companies to do the data collection for them and give them unlimited access to it? This way, they can say "we've stopped data collection" while still getting all the data that they would have had access to had they continued collecting it.

          • Wasn't it all but admitted to that they are stopping the data collection because now they expect the phone companies to do the data collection for them and give them unlimited access to it?

            I don't know, but that could certainly be a plausible explanation.

            If this is the case then, as you said, now they can look into the camera and swear up and down that "We ain't doin' nuthin'!" and technically be telling the truth*.

            -

            *for very small values of "truth"

      • Make all telcos/ISPs route out to an international networks where it gets 're-encapsulated' to appear that it's coming from outside the US. Seems like an easy way to force compliance, especially if you gently remind companies about the foreign shores they are based in (on paper at least). In fact, that being the case, I wonder if the 'technical' argument can be made that they are foreign entities, so the traffic that generates within the US borders By customers of that company could be considered a 'foreign

        • Make all telcos/ISPs route out to an international networks where it gets 're-encapsulated' to appear that it's coming from outside the US.

          They'd just subvert or tap the route into the network. All this would do is provide a "one stop shopping" monitoring point where they could be assured of easier access to the data.

          Personally, I think things have gone well past the point where much of anything could be done about the spying. The spy agencies have billions of dollars and unlimited manpower to throw at this "problem" of privacy, and stopping it would be like bailing out the oceans with a thimble.

          In my opinion the networks we all use are thorou

    • by edibobb ( 113989 )
      Fool me once...
    • I don't believe them

      I don't either, and I don't think anyone with even an average IQ believes it, either. They're telling us they aren't going to do it anymore, but what they're just 'going dark' with it instead. Wouldn't at all be surprised if they actually expand their collection operations to include actual recordings of conversations as well. Assholes.

      • I don't believe them

        I don't either, and I don't think anyone with even an average IQ believes it, either. They're telling us they aren't going to do it anymore, but what they're just 'going dark' with it instead. Wouldn't at all be surprised if they actually expand their collection operations to include actual recordings of conversations as well. Assholes.

        Yep, just like the analog days. I think the worst part of the entire thing is we had to pay for this upgrade shindig for them while they line their pockets on corporate espionage.

    • by JRV31 ( 2962911 )
      Governments just make laws, they don't follow them.
    • by rakslice ( 90330 )

      I mean how many grandmothers can one person have?

  • The article is a lie (Score:4, Informative)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @06:50PM (#51015437) Journal
    Instead of collecting the metadata themselves, they are getting (I think they're even paying) the phone companies to do it. Problems solved.....
    • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @06:57PM (#51015457) Journal

      Which is going back to how it used it used to be. The phone company had records of who called who for billing purposes. The government could subpoena that information, with a court order.

      Recently, when the government had all the information, that actually skipped the subpoena part - they already HAD the data, so they didn't need a court order to get it.

      Now the thing is to watch that they don't get 10,000 subpoenas per day, each covering a million people, from a secret court.

      • by cstacy ( 534252 )

        Now the thing is to watch that they don't get 10,000 subpoenas per day, each covering a million people, from a secret court.

        Wasn't the previous idea that they had ONE subpoena, and it included everybody?

      • by Rujiel ( 1632063 )
        Only it's not the same as back then, as companies now get paid for handing over the records.
      • Shouldn't you be posting about how "all countries' security services do this", and "if you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide, so the surveillance does not affect you"? Do your surveys show that people no longer lap up that BS any more?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        From what I understand there still isn't an actual court process involved (subpoena), they can access the information whenever they want the only difference is it is stored in phone company databases instead of their own. I don't know if there are any third party observers which have been able to point out any real changes brought about by the USA "Freedom" Act. The only possible advantage is that they can't lie quite as effectively about accessing the records because those requests are processed by a thi

    • And they're still doing the bulk phone surveillance, by exchanging data with GCHQ and the other members of the UKUSA pact. They just aren't doing surveillance of Americans directly themselves any more.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Thanks Obama!

  • What court? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Checkered Daemon ( 20214 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @06:56PM (#51015451)

    So what kind of a 'court order' are we talking about here? An honest to God subpoena issued by a real court and a real judge and all the Constitutional protections provided by such? Or a secret FISC (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) finding issued by a bunch of kangaroos with a rubber stamp?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      By secret kangaroos with rubber stamps - but there will be a non-kangaroo there to argue our case who will be ignored and sworn to silence. So it's all good!

    • Who ever modded you down is liar, or an idiot, or both. I believe both.
      • Re:What court? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Checkered Daemon ( 20214 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @09:35PM (#51015907)

        Thanks! But I've been around a while (check my number). I've had what I considered very important comments ignored, and had stupid wise-cracks modded way up. I tend to limit my comments to things I know a lot about. But this is the first time I've ever been called a troll. Makes me feel like a true member of the Slashdot community. };->

        • I tend to limit my comments to things I know a lot about. But this is the first time I've ever been called a troll. Makes me feel like a true member of the Slashdot community. };->

          I would consider you a member in good standing - you have a highly moderated post and don't seem to know much about the FISA court.

          What is the FISA court? [cnn.com]
          Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [fjc.gov]

          You'll know you've stepped up your game when you regularly get modded down for posting factual, relevant material about the topic being discussed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 27, 2015 @06:58PM (#51015461)

    During the whole Snowden event, it was astonishing that at every single step, the NSA was caught lying to the American public.

    NSA: "We're not collecting anything about Americans."
    Snowden: Bullshit, and here's proof.
    NSA: "Well, we're only going after terrorists."
    Snowden: Bullshit, and here's proof.
    NSA: "Well, we're just collecting metadata."
    Snowden: Bullshit, and here's proof.

    etc. On and on it went. Those folks are sociopaths!

    There is ZERO credibility left. Absolutely none. In fact, that's probably not strong enough: they have actual negative credibility. Not just is any random thing they say as likely to be a lie as not, it's much more likely to be a lie than not.

    • There is ZERO credibility left. Absolutely none.

      Okay, great. So now what? It's not like to will affect the elections or anything. So what difference does "credibility" make?

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        re "So what difference does "credibility" make?"
        Global purchasing power. Re think that next bulk imported upgrade and consider an all local product at a different price factoring in security as been of value.
        Might need more power, cooling, be slower and not have a fancy bezel that complements the looks of the hardware but staff finally totally understand what they are
        buying in to and supporting.
        Experts can finally go to the top of their departments and show a list of junk encryption, bad standards, we
    • As long as they have plausible deniability, they do not care much about credibility. In a true democracy, credibility would be important. It would affect their budget. In the real world, most of the power brokers are happy to go along with this BS, and mass surveillance means they usually have blackmail material against anyone with influence who tries to make trouble.

    • Regardless of credibility - where is the jail time?

      Oh wait, that's for peons.

    • by JRV31 ( 2962911 )
      Governments don't need an excuse to lie, the only reason any government tells the truth is when it is in it's own best interest.
  • not cell or smart nor landline, but bulk.
  • Finding the needle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GrahamCox ( 741991 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @07:11PM (#51015501) Homepage
    When looking for a needle in a haystack, you don't add more hay. This is good news (if even remotely true). I hope the governments of Australia and especially the UK take note. They are obsessed with adding as much hay as they can get away with.
    • by fnj ( 64210 )

      I hope the governments of Australia and especially the UK take note.

      The government of the UK is so primitive they don't even have a written constitution limiting their power. They still have a sovereign monarch, for god's sake. The monarch is head of state and commander in chief. The limitations on the power of the monarch consist nothing more than gentlemen's agreements and ordinary laws and procedural rules which could be changed at any time.

      Calling it a "constitutional monarchy" is an absurd lie, since

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The government of the UK is so primitive they don't even have a written constitution limiting their power

        The UK constitution is *unconsolidated*, and some parts are unwritten, but a large chunk of it *is* written and is thoroughly entrenched. Since the development of federalism in the UK, there are areas of competence exclusive to the assemblies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that the UK Parliament will not legislate in, and vice-versa. The Supreme Court of the UK (established by an Act in ea

    • When looking for a needle in a haystack, you don't add more hay.

      Of course not - you add more needles. Nothing makes entrapment easier and justification of the whole works. "Look we finally stopped a terrorist attack!" *holds up scrawny Muslim kid with a clock*

  • A presidential review committee concluded the surveillance regime did not lead to a single clear counter terrorism breakthrough that could be directly attributed to the program.

    Use your noggin' when you listen to candidates for office.

    If there were some examples of threats neutralized by this level of privacy invasion, wouldn't the proponents of the police state have trotted them out?

  • For those of you who think that voting Democratic is the lesser of two evils [govtrack.us], note that the bill had strong bipartisan support in both the house and senate:

    Yea 303: 179(R) 124(D)

    [The USA Freedom Act] would make only incremental improvements, and at least one provision-the material-support provision-would represent a significant step backwards," ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer said in a statement.

    Next up: the Trans Pacific Partnership [wikipedia.org]. Let's all get together and vote for the party that does the least amount of damage to the American People! Yeah! That'll fix it!!!

    One reasonable way to get good government to vote against all incumbents. Whether it's a red or blue congress critter, they'll fall in line once they re

    • by Pikoro ( 844299 )

      Non Insiders? You can't run without being an insider. Hillary has been an "insider" since her husband was president, Jeb has been an insider since his dad was president, Chris and Marco have been in the Senate/House for at least 5 years. Which news network do you subscribe to again?

    • One reasonable way to get good government to vote against all incumbents.

      If you can get three people to collectively do something which is patently in their own interest, I will be amazed. Good luck with the billions.

  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @08:05PM (#51015655) Journal

    Let's see:
    Paris: all attackers known in advance. Warnings provided to French government. Not using encrypted communications.
    Boston: Specific warnings provided to US authorities. Probably not using encrypted communications (the NSA and others would have made this claim, so by default, we can assume the opposite)
    9/11. Most, if not all attackers already known to FBI/CIA. Again, we can assume that no encrypted communications were involved.

    In other words, the bulk surveillance has no value in preventing terrorist attacks. If so, what is it for? Blackmailing politicians? Blackmailing the wealthy and powerful?

    The NSA/FBI/CIA: price for failure: more resources. More power. More everything. One could almost imagine that there is a strong incentive in letting a small number of terror attacks take place.

    • They did use the metadata in the hunt for the Boston Bombers, if you remember. The FBI basically admitted it while edging around talking directly about the classified database of phone calls and when they were made.

      Also, the primary incentive-based reason people at our intelligence agencies don't deliberately allow significant attacks (at least on US soil) in that they would get lined up against the wall and shot if anyone found out. It may still happen occasionally, but if it does... their colleagues pro

      • They did use the metadata in the hunt for the Boston Bombers, if you remember. The FBI basically admitted it while edging around talking directly about the classified database of phone calls and when they were made.

        No, actually, I don't remember any reference to the use of bulk metadata being useful in the hunt for the bombers. I did find one link that stated that the bulk collection was actually a hindrance, because there was too much data to soft through.

        Also, the primary incentive-based reason people

        • No, actually, I don't remember any reference to the use of bulk metadata being useful in the hunt for the bombers. I did find one link that stated that the bulk collection was actually a hindrance, because there was too much data to soft through.

          If you look at the documentaries, it's very clear that the FBI was sorting through the bulk metadata. IIRC they were looking for a cell phone call made at a certain time in order to trace the caller.

          • If you look at the documentaries, it's very clear that the FBI was sorting through the bulk metadata. IIRC they were looking for a cell phone call made at a certain time in order to trace the caller.

            The issue is not whether the data was searched, the issue is whether the search produced actionable information. The only reference I can find suggests that it was actually a hindrance.

      • by Pikoro ( 844299 )

        Curious. The whole point of collecting the "metadata" in advance was for prevention purposes. To pre-empt these kinds of attacks. Since that didn't happen, why collect the data in advance. Once they had a probable suspect, they could have gotten a warrant and started searching that data as soon as they had a lead on who committed the act. It seems like the existing system of obtaining a warrant and doing it the standard way would have had the same results.

    • The NSA/FBI/CIA: price for failure: more resources. More power. More everything. One could almost imagine that there is a strong incentive in letting a small number of terror attacks take place.

      Using that logic, it's better to be both the disease and the cure.

      *Hmm*

    • > If so, what is it for? Blackmailing politicians? Blackmailing the wealthy and powerful?

      Time and again we see that anything they have the *capability* to do, they *are* doing. This includes the CIA spying on Congress.

      http://www.theguardian.com/wor... [theguardian.com]

      They got caught with their hand in the cookie jar that time, but what's to say that similar things aren't still happening? Merely their assurances, and how much are those worth?

      Based on what we know about bulk data collection, our intelligence apparatus does

  • Prove it. Prove to me that bulk surveillance ends Sunday.

    If you trust this, you're a fool.

  • We found a cheaper, more efficient way to keep you in line, citizen.

  • by nickweller ( 4108905 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @09:42PM (#51015919)
    Corrected headline ...
  • Yeah, right... Absolutely no credibility morons!!! Oh, and politicians have no credibility either. You all have proven over and over again that you cannot be trusted.
    • Hint: it doesn't matter if they can be trusted. They do what they like when they like and we're never going to know.

  • what new policies are in place to insure such an egregious violation of constitutional rights never happens again? What people were fired? And what assurance do the people have that this type of data-mining isn't just passed off to another agency?

    Let's be clear here: not that much would have changed without certain revelations. It isn't enough to be caught with your hand in the cookie jar to simply say you won't do it again. I want a clear informed law that states some ass will be ground into dust if anyone

  • Ah, those kooky Congresscritters and their whimsical / ironic names for laws and such.

    • What's next. the "Keeping International Terrorist Threats Effectively Neutralized" act? Bonus points if it lets the government rule by decree but everybody votes for it anyway because of the name :)
  • This may well be true and the NSA might be ending spying on it's own populus, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they have just subcontracted the work out to a foreign company (that the NSA probably own or setup) to do the work for them from outside the borders. Just like they are doing with the internet metadata.

    The people we most need to fear are the ones making laws to suit them selves, that let them fund sceret projects for everything from nuclear war to hacking the phone calls of a 7-11 manager b

  • Of course they will .... :D ROTFL...
  • "USA Freedom Act" - the name alone is enough to make you concerned.

    They may as well just come out and say "we're about to fuck you over, please look over there for a moment..."

  • We'll know it's true, because they've never broken the law, violated the Constitution, or been insubordinate before, right?
  • court order = rubber stamp

  • Mr. James Clapper, best known for lying to the congress.

A company is known by the men it keeps.

Working...