PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrists

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
Thesh
Made to Fuck Dinosaurs
Posts: 6598
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:55 am UTC
Location: Colorado

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Thesh » Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:15 am UTC

Well, let's say you buy something online and that online store is hacked, and their database is posted online. The NSA could have your name, address, phone number, email, and IP Address, without a warrant. They aren't actively tracking everyone, but they will try to tie together as much as they can.
Summum ius, summa iniuria.

User avatar
folkhero
Posts: 1775
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 3:34 am UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby folkhero » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:27 am UTC

elasto wrote:
sigsfried wrote:The US government should act in the best interest of the people of the United States, how does giving privileges to foreign nationals benefit America or American citizens?

That's a valid point of view, but then the US government shouldn't try to pretend to believe in any universality of human rights. Human rights are merely what respective governments choose to give their own citizens, and no government should be expected to go beyond that.

If, on the other hand, the US government thinks the constitution contains what it does because those things are inherently right (freedom of speech, freedom from arbitrary seizure of property etc.), then it should follow the principles universally and not treat them merely as an inconvenience.

As to how 'giving privileges to foreign nationals directly benefits American citizens', well, it helps avoids the 'strangers on a train' loophole: The US want to spy on a US citizen, but don't have enough cause to get a warrant. The UK want to spy on a UK citizen but don't have enough cause to get a warrant. So they agree a trade with each spying on the other's target and then sharing the info - and neither agency is breaking its own country's laws.

If you actually believe in the principles and spirit of the constitution rather than setting your sights on barely satisfying the letter of it then you won't engage in this kind of thing. It's in US citizens' interests that their agencies actually genuinely believe in its principles as universal and timeless.
This, plus as an American citizen I think it's the American government's duty to actively protect my rights. That's why you want a gov in the first place after all. I don't want the American government to try to actively protect the rights of everyone in the whole world, it's just too big a job and will likely create more problems than it's worth. That doesn't mean that I want the U.S. government to go around actively violating the rights of non-U.S. citizens. Certainly there are exceptions, you don't want your spies having to get warrants every time they want to check in on the President for Life of Evilstonia, but these dragnet 'get all the info on literally everyone you possibly can' are way over the line.
To all law enforcement entities, this is not an admission of guilt...

User avatar
Thesh
Made to Fuck Dinosaurs
Posts: 6598
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:55 am UTC
Location: Colorado

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Thesh » Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:09 pm UTC

So the guy that leaked the NSA information came forward:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/ju ... rveillance
Summum ius, summa iniuria.

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7602
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:15 pm UTC

Q: Washington-based foreign affairs analyst Steve Clemons said he overheard at the capital's Dulles airport four men discussing an intelligence conference they had just attended. Speaking about the leaks, one of them said, according to Clemons, that both the reporter and leaker should be "disappeared". How do you feel about that?

A: "Someone responding to the story said 'real spies do not speak like that'. Well, I am a spy and that is how they talk. Whenever we had a debate in the office on how to handle crimes, they do not defend due process – they defend decisive action. They say it is better to kick someone out of a plane than let these people have a day in court. It is an authoritarian mindset in general

This is the part that I really fear. That his kind of secret power will invariably attract a certain kind of people, a nasty kind of people. Chekists. I don't know if it always does, because secret. But it's all too plausible.

NSAtooMuch
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:17 pm UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby NSAtooMuch » Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:53 pm UTC

NSA officials generally find it amusing that the public doesn't know what it can or can't do. Hint: The NSA does not overlap with other agencies. Everyone already knows who has the power to make people disappear. The Bin Laden mission, the cross-collaboration between Navy Seals and CIA. That power is way outside of what the NSA does, despite what Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress" would have you believe.

Thesh wrote:So the guy that leaked the NSA information came forward


Unfortunately, there is no 4th Amendment risk in the NSA (at least to American Citizens), and all he has managed to do is damage the NSA's reputation, and reveal its secrets. The President, the Courts, and Congress are all well aware of what the NSA does. I doubt there will be any real change due to the extraordinary precautions that the NSA takes for American's privacy already.
Last edited by Felstaff on Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:09 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Good old Google cache

User avatar
Weeks
Hey Baby, wanna make a fortnight?
Posts: 2023
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:41 am UTC
Location: Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Weeks » Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:02 am UTC

NSAtooMuch wrote:Unfortunately, there is no 4th Amendment risk in the NSA (at least to American Citizens)
That's very comforting, thanks.
TaintedDeity wrote:Tainted Deity
suffer-cait wrote:One day I'm gun a go visit weeks and discover they're just a computer in a trashcan at an ice cream shop.
Dthen wrote:FUCK CHRISTMAS FUCK EVERYTHING FUCK YOU TOO FUCK OFF

NSAtooMuch
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:17 pm UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby NSAtooMuch » Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:27 am UTC

lybio. net/tag/obamas-remarks-nsa-controversy/
forbes. com/sites/andygreenberg/2012/03/20/nsa-chief-denies-wireds-domestic-spying-story-fourteen-times-in-congressional-hearing/

Everything Obama has said, and the NSA chief has said about the NSA is true. If there is a controversy to talk about, it is the Verizon one. PRISM is entirely a non-issue.

Q. What judicial consent is required for NSA to intercept communications and information involving American citizens?

A. Within the United States, that would be the FBI lead. If it were a foreign actor in the United States, the FBI would still have to lead. It could work that with NSA or other intelligence agencies as authorized. But to conduct that kind of collection in the United States it would have to go through a court order, and the court would have to authorize it. We’re not authorized to do it, nor do we do it.
Last edited by Felstaff on Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:11 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Good old Google cache

User avatar
Weeks
Hey Baby, wanna make a fortnight?
Posts: 2023
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:41 am UTC
Location: Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Weeks » Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:34 am UTC

I believe the concern some people in this thread have expressed pertains to the US obtaining private information of foreigners, i.e. the original poster and myself.
TaintedDeity wrote:Tainted Deity
suffer-cait wrote:One day I'm gun a go visit weeks and discover they're just a computer in a trashcan at an ice cream shop.
Dthen wrote:FUCK CHRISTMAS FUCK EVERYTHING FUCK YOU TOO FUCK OFF

NSAtooMuch
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:17 pm UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby NSAtooMuch » Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:45 am UTC

The NSA is a very secretive place, and you don't necessarily receive the training on that stuff unless it can be proven that you "need to know". I'm rather low on the totem pole, so no, I can't answer that question. I don't have the training.

That said, the US has various international treaties it must uphold, and there are top-secret lawyers who's job is to figure out which countries are off limits. And I know that if those sorts of questions come up, I'm expected to call those lawyers for guidance. You'd be surprised at the red tape inside of this organization.

After all, mistakes in this field can be easily interpreted as an act of war. So the NSA is careful about what it does internationally.
Last edited by Felstaff on Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:12 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Good old Google cache

User avatar
Steax
SecondTalon's Goon Squad
Posts: 3038
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:18 pm UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Steax » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:11 am UTC

I'm pretty sure my country isn't part of such a treaty. And that shouldn't matter; why is it about where I come from? Personal rights of privacy shouldn't be dependant on that.

My issue is just that I thought US companies would be trustworthy enough to store my personal data. Apparently they aren't. I have nothing to hide, but it's still very disconcerting to think that every iMessage, every mail to my Gmail acount is probably being scanned or indexed.

--

Oh, and @Thresh: Yes, but that's passively collecting already available data. This is direct server access to companies.
In Minecraft, I use the username Rirez.

User avatar
Thesh
Made to Fuck Dinosaurs
Posts: 6598
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:55 am UTC
Location: Colorado

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Thesh » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:15 am UTC

Steax wrote:Oh, and @Thresh: Yes, but that's passively collecting already available data. This is direct server access to companies.


Correct, I just wasn't making my point very well. They are collecting only metadata from the companies, which doesn't have personally identifiable data so as to say "See, this isn't a violation." However, it might as well be because they have so much data from around the world that it's relatively easy to find a particular persons activity.
Summum ius, summa iniuria.

User avatar
Steax
SecondTalon's Goon Squad
Posts: 3038
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:18 pm UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Steax » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:30 am UTC

Are they? The leaked slides indicate that they include all sorts of data, and doesn't seem to mention metadata at all. It says "stored comms" and "email, chat, video , photo", etc.
In Minecraft, I use the username Rirez.

User avatar
Thesh
Made to Fuck Dinosaurs
Posts: 6598
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:55 am UTC
Location: Colorado

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Thesh » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:36 am UTC

Well Google's search history doesn't tell you who is searching, but it does have, for example, the IP address, which they can then tie back to you using all of the other data. It kind of gets around the laws in that way.
Summum ius, summa iniuria.

User avatar
Steax
SecondTalon's Goon Squad
Posts: 3038
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:18 pm UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Steax » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:40 am UTC

True. At least for the things tied to IPs. Chats, photos, videos, email etc would be tied to an email address, which would have the same effect, yes.
In Minecraft, I use the username Rirez.

Bharrata
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun May 15, 2011 7:57 pm UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Bharrata » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:58 am UTC

Steax wrote:Are they? The leaked slides indicate that they include all sorts of data, and doesn't seem to mention metadata at all. It says "stored comms" and "email, chat, video , photo", etc.


The large scale data gathering from companies like Verizon (the original leak) pertains to metadata. The PRISM program involves getting the stored content of email, chat, etc. from companies like Google, Facebook, et al with a warrant.

David Simon has done a pretty good job parsing what the real issues are with these programs I think:

http://davidsimon.com/we-are-shocked-shocked/

Having labored as a police reporter in the days before the Patriot Act, I can assure all there has always been a stage before the wiretap, a preliminary process involving the capture, retention and analysis of raw data. It has been so for decades now in this country. The only thing new here, from a legal standpoint, is the scale on which the FBI and NSA are apparently attempting to cull anti-terrorism leads from that data. But the legal and moral principles? Same old stuff.

Allow for a comparable example, dating to the early 1980s in a place called Baltimore, Maryland.

There, city detectives once began to suspect that major traffickers were using a combination of public pay phones and digital pagers to communicate their business. And they took their suspicions to a judge and obtained court orders — not to monitor any particular suspect, but to instead cull the dialed numbers from the thousands and thousands of calls made to and from certain city pay phones.

Think about it. There is certainly a public expectation of privacy when you pick up a pay phone on the streets of Baltimore, is there not? And certainly, the detectives knew that many, many Baltimoreans were using those pay phones for legitimate telephonic communication. Yet, a city judge had no problem allowing them to place dialed-number recorders on as many pay phones as they felt the need to monitor, knowing that every single number dialed to or from those phones would be captured. So authorized, detectives gleaned the numbers of digital pagers and they began monitoring the incoming digitized numbers on those pagers — even though they had yet to learn to whom those pagers belonged. The judges were okay with that, too, and signed another order allowing the suspect pagers to be “cloned” by detectives, even though in some cases the suspect in possession of the pager was not yet positively identified.

All of that — even in the less fevered, pre-Patriot Act days of yore — was entirely legal. Why?

Because they aren’t listening to the calls.

It’s at that point, people, that law enforcement requires a full-throated argument of probable cause. It’s at that point that privacy rights must be seriously measured against the legitimate investigate needs of law enforcement. And it’s at that point that the potential for authoritarian overreach becomes significant.


Basically, the Verizon dumps are for large scale mapping of communications between individuals and patterns of movement, but in the case of the US government needing to get the actual content of any communications a warrant is still required, just as it's always been. It's not clear yet, to me at least, whether companies like Microsoft are storing all the content from uses of something like Skype just in case the government requests them, but it's definitely clear that the difference between wiretapping a payphone and getting access to your FB message history or GMail is that your content is stored there indefinitely. It would also be nice to know whether FB or Google continues holding content in a hidden fashion after a user deletes it. In any case, it sounds like PRISM was/is meant to be a secure platform for FB, Google, MS and others to transfer court-ordered content to the US government when required to by law and that such content is not readily available to the NSA without due process. Though I am curious how much digital content can be reconstructed by collecting packets in transit and if the NSA is doing that without warrants first.

User avatar
Steax
SecondTalon's Goon Squad
Posts: 3038
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:18 pm UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Steax » Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:03 am UTC

Bharrata wrote:The large scale data gathering from companies like Verizon (the original leak) pertains to metadata. The PRISM program involves getting the stored content of email, chat, etc. from companies like Google, Facebook, et al with a warrant.


No, that was FISA.

As the original article quoted:

The presentation claims PRISM was introduced to overcome what the NSA regarded as shortcomings of Fisa warrants in tracking suspected foreign terrorists. It noted that the US has a "home-field advantage" due to housing much of the internet's architecture. But the presentation claimed "Fisa constraints restricted our home-field advantage" because Fisa required individual warrants and confirmations that both the sender and receiver of a communication were outside the US.
In Minecraft, I use the username Rirez.

Bharrata
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun May 15, 2011 7:57 pm UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Bharrata » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:08 am UTC

Steax wrote:
Bharrata wrote:The large scale data gathering from companies like Verizon (the original leak) pertains to metadata. The PRISM program involves getting the stored content of email, chat, etc. from companies like Google, Facebook, et al with a warrant.


No, that was FISA.

As the original article quoted:

The presentation claims PRISM was introduced to overcome what the NSA regarded as shortcomings of Fisa warrants in tracking suspected foreign terrorists. It noted that the US has a "home-field advantage" due to housing much of the internet's architecture. But the presentation claimed "Fisa constraints restricted our home-field advantage" because Fisa required individual warrants and confirmations that both the sender and receiver of a communication were outside the US.


I don't quite get what you're objecting to,

From the sentence before your article quote:

With this program, the NSA is able to reach directly into the servers of the participating companies and obtain both stored communications as well as perform real-time collection on targeted users.


"Targeted users" sounds to me like individuals named in some way by a FISA warrant. My understanding of PRISM so far is based on the NYT piece that described it's possible functioning as such:

In at least two cases, at Google and Facebook, one of the plans discussed was to build separate, secure portals, like a digital version of the secure physical rooms that have long existed for classified information, in some instances on company servers. Through these online rooms, the government would request data, companies would deposit it and the government would retrieve it, people briefed on the discussions said.


These would appear to be digital lockboxes for storing data requested by a FISA warrant. It seems that a lot of the dark spots in this discussion hinge on just what the NSA slides mean by "direct access" and how the Guardian and other newspapers have interpreted that phrase. It doesn't seem like those at the companies in question think of it as any software engineer would think of direct access while for the purposes of the slide's audience (NSA analysts without a technical programming background) it is direct access.

Of course it would be better if we knew for sure what is meant by "direct access" but it's not come out yet. It sounds to me like non-technical NSA analysts not bothering to get into the details of network protocol on a PowerPoint slide for wide agency distribution.

User avatar
Steax
SecondTalon's Goon Squad
Posts: 3038
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:18 pm UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Steax » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:22 am UTC

The part I quoted said that PRISM exists because FISA "constrained" their advantage since it required a warrant and confirmation that they were non-US citizens. Presumably this implies that PRISM gets around those problems.

"Targeted individuals" just sounds like "interesting people" or something like that. I'm not sure how that implies a warrant.
In Minecraft, I use the username Rirez.

Bharrata
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun May 15, 2011 7:57 pm UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Bharrata » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:41 am UTC

Steax wrote:The part I quoted said that PRISM exists because FISA "constrained" their advantage since it required a warrant and confirmation that they were non-US citizens. Presumably this implies that PRISM gets around those problems.

"Targeted individuals" just sounds like "interesting people" or something like that. I'm not sure how that implies a warrant.


Ok, so looking into FISA and the Protect America Act has cleared some of this up for me.

Warrants are not necessary for national-foreign or foreign-foreign surveillance but are subject to internal NSA protocols and both appear to require that the FISA court be notified of the surveillance within 72 hours.

The bill amended FISA to substitute the requirement of a warrant to conduct surveillance with a system of NSA (National Security Agency) internal controls.[9]

The bill required notification to the FISA Court of warrantless surveillance within 72 hours of any authorization.


The Act removed the requirement for a FISA warrant for any communication which was foreign-related, even if the communication involved a U.S. location on the receiving or sending end of communication; all foreign-foreign communications were removed from warrant requirements, as well.


Obviously I have no clue about the scope of the NSA's practice of this but I would imagine those stats provided by Google about how many National Security Letters they receive a year are a good indicator. When I looked at it earlier it was on the order of 1,000 - 2,000 per year. There is some oversight it seems, not just complete unfettered access to any and all internet traffic but yeah, it's ridiculously weak and murky.

User avatar
Steax
SecondTalon's Goon Squad
Posts: 3038
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:18 pm UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Steax » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:56 am UTC

The thread-starting article gave this number:
When the NSA reviews a communication it believes merits further investigation, it issues what it calls a "report". According to the NSA, "over 2,000 Prism-based reports" are now issued every month. There were 24,005 in 2012, a 27% increase on the previous year.

In total, more than 77,000 intelligence reports have cited the PRISM program.


Note that each report was for when the reviewed communication was deemed "merits further investigation", not per access.
In Minecraft, I use the username Rirez.

User avatar
Diadem
Posts: 5654
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:03 am UTC
Location: The Netherlands

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Diadem » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:10 am UTC

One thing that has confused me somewhat over the past few days: How is any of this news? The US has been doing this for decades with ECHELON, and this was, I thought, pretty widely known. That they've refined their methods and added new technologies to their list shouldn't be any surprise at all.
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7602
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Zamfir » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:27 am UTC

Sure, but specific details are important, if only to focus the discussion. If details are vaguer, people with different preconceptions fill in the gaps differently. Then you get those discussions where people consider each other paranoid respectively naive. With more details, you can at least discuss the specifics at hand. And it's simply a reminder: yes, if you do not encrypt your information, they will end up with your US competitors.

HungryHobo
Posts: 1708
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:01 am UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby HungryHobo » Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:25 pm UTC

NSAtooMuch wrote:The NSA is a very secretive place, and you don't necessarily receive the training on that stuff unless it can be proven that you "need to know". I'm rather low on the totem pole, so no, I can't answer that question. I don't have the training.

That said, the US has various international treaties it must uphold, and there are top-secret lawyers who's job is to figure out which countries are off limits. And I know that if those sorts of questions come up, I'm expected to call those lawyers for guidance. You'd be surprised at the red tape inside of this organization.

After all, mistakes in this field can be easily interpreted as an act of war. So the NSA is careful about what it does internationally.


And I imagine that policy is to pick up the phone and call such lawyers, not email. Paper trails are inconvenient.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/ju ... nowden-why

"That the NSA routinely lies in response to congressional inquiries about the scope of surveillance in America. I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinised most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians."
Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10325
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby addams » Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:32 pm UTC

Yes. You are correct. It is not a surprise.
Yet; Many of the people believed the American Marketing.

Even as we fell short we believed we were reaching for Great Things.
We are simply reaching for The Wallet. After we have robbed you and ourselves we should lose interest.

But we won't. We are no better than any other humans that have ever lived on this planet.
We are falling as short as the Spanish did during their time of Questions.

We have exceeded our own poor behavior from the McCarthy Era.
We are Not charting new ground in how low humans can fall.

We have New Tools! No one has ever had these tools to use, before.
We are simply human with God like devices. Some of us will always be fine human beings.

Some of us will always be looking for a bottom. There is no bottom.
Orwell's 1984 does not look like wild fictional nonsense anymore.

The TV is real, today.
The small cameras are real, today.
The simple act of Loving and developing deep human relationships has become a punishable offense.
And; All of our communications with all other humans can and will be used against us.

It seems to be not possible to be boring enough to go unnoticed.
It is possible for some people; They pay extra.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

NSAtooMuch
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:17 pm UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby NSAtooMuch » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:46 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:
NSAtooMuch wrote:The NSA is a very secretive place, and you don't necessarily receive the training on that stuff unless it can be proven that you "need to know". I'm rather low on the totem pole, so no, I can't answer that question. I don't have the training.

That said, the US has various international treaties it must uphold, and there are top-secret lawyers who's job is to figure out which countries are off limits. And I know that if those sorts of questions come up, I'm expected to call those lawyers for guidance. You'd be surprised at the red tape inside of this organization.

After all, mistakes in this field can be easily interpreted as an act of war. So the NSA is careful about what it does internationally.



And I imagine that policy is to pick up the phone and call such lawyers, not email. Paper trails are inconvenient.



Its a well-known fact that all all phone calls done as a government official are recorded and saved as official government record. The actions of the NSA are representative of America. That is not a task that officials take lightly.

There is always a paper trail if you do anything in your office. Everything is recorded, everything is saved. You sign away your privacy rights when you decide to work for the NSA.

"That the NSA routinely lies in response to congressional inquiries about the scope of surveillance in America. I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinised most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians."


And I call bullshit on his claims. What I do know is that we receive regular training every year, stating the NSA's mission and goal. Every year, every NSA official has to sign a document stating they have re-read the Executive Orders that define NSA's mission. And within those orders are clear instructions that America is off limits.

Even the lowliest peon on the NSA receives that training every year. FBI deals with American homeland. As a law enforcement agency, they have the ability to get warrants and go through proper channels to obtain information. Without that legal infrastructure, the NSA is not allowed to investigate the homeland.

That said, it is well within the NSA's powers to spy on Americans, but it is illegal to do so. Its the nature of a powerful spy network, yes, it is possible to abuse. But I believe that NSA culture prevents abuse. After all, all actions done as an NSA official are recorded. They have jailed people for abusing the NSA spy system for personal gain.
Last edited by Felstaff on Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:38 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Good old Google cache

HungryHobo
Posts: 1708
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:01 am UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby HungryHobo » Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:03 pm UTC

In any big organisation you ever work in no matter if it's a government department/agency or a large multinational there's a gulf between what official policy says and what actually happens.

You can be working on the floor of a large multinational regularly getting internal mails about updating your training on the endless red tape, official policys about how you should never break the law along with regular updates about how the company is dedicated to respecting the law and market regulations and never breaks them.... meanwhile the company is getting reamed in the courts for multi billion dollar fraud and illegal anti-competitive trading practices and bribery over the course of years which could have in no way been secret from upper management and many lower down.

Managers at every level can pay a massive amount of lipservice to things and talk about them with extremely believable sincerity without giving a flying fuck.
Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.

User avatar
PolakoVoador
Posts: 1028
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:11 pm UTC
Location: Brazil

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby PolakoVoador » Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:17 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:In any big organisation you ever work in no matter if it's a government department/agency or a large multinational there's a gulf between what official policy says and what actually happens.

You can be working on the floor of a large multinational regularly getting internal mails about updating your training on the endless red tape, official policys about how you should never break the law along with regular updates about how the company is dedicated to respecting the law and market regulations and never breaks them.... meanwhile the company is getting reamed in the courts for multi billion dollar fraud and illegal anti-competitive trading practices and bribery over the course of years which could have in no way been secret from upper management and many lower down.

Managers at every level can pay a massive amount of lipservice to things and talk about them with extremely believable sincerity without giving a flying fuck.


This. So much this.

cphite
Posts: 1369
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:27 pm UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby cphite » Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:22 pm UTC

NSAtooMuch wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:I'm pretty sure the US government (of which the NSA is part) already has all of this information. Knowing your name and address is how mail gets to you. For 99% of the population, knowing your full name is enough even for a private individual to freely find your address, email, and other contact information. Credit information is already available to banks and other lenders, and pales in comparison to the amount of tax information the IRS already has on anyone who's worked in this country for awhile.


Not possible. NSA databases, even at the TS//SI level are swept clean of American identities. The NSA has a very simple and effective way of managing the 4th Amendment: it is outside of the jurisdiction of the NSA to spy on Americans. Period. This is verified through layers of bureaucracy, and includes training on where the 4th amendment starts / stops for all members of the NSA who have direct access to raw data.


If that is the case then why collect the data? Why not be more specific? It's not like it's difficult to target the data they're collecting.

There is a reason Obama is 100% convinced that this is legal. And its because the NSA's defense is simple and concise. Its illegal for the NSA to spy on Americans, and there are extremely thorough procedures to ensure that American data is not released within the NSA. Even a TS//SI clearance + Polygraph is not enough to view the raw databases that the NSA contains. All data must be swept clean of American information before it is further distributed out of NSA databases... and only individuals trained in minimization procedures are allowed to view so called "Raw" data.


It's illegal for the CIA to spy on Americans; but they do. It's illegal for the IRS and EPA to target people based on political affiliation; but they have. It's illegal for the DOJ to spy on journalists without a warrant; but they did. The point is, even if this data isn't being misused now (which is frankly hard to believe) the potential for misuse is there. The current administration (like the one before it) has demonstrated quite clearly that it considers what is legal to be largely irrelevant.

Furthermore, NSA access does not grant access to say... IRS databases. That sort of thing might be done by the FBI (who has authority to launch investigations, because they can obtain search warrants and so forth).


Again, assuming that the agencies follow the law...

I may have access to PRISM... but I personally don't know anything about it. (and I don't feel like risking a leak to satisfy everyone else's curiosity). My best insight into Prism is a particular case... where two Al Qaeda members say... happen to use Gmail.


Not to be rude but I find it somewhat strange that someone from the NSA would be discussing specific NSA activities - under a username like "NSAtooMuch" no less - on a public forum in the first place.

As noted before, it is illegal for the NSA to spy on American soil. My bet is that Prism is the legal framework, probably in collaboration with the FBI, where the NSA would be allowed to obtain data from US companies if the NSA proves that the information is not related to American citizens.


My guess is that the NSA is collecting the data because they have the best infrastructure to store and analyze vast amounts of data; and that that folks giving the orders don't give two shits about any legal framework, because they consider themselves above the law. And for all practical purposes, they are above the law.

Given the last several years, the notion that the US government can't do something just because it happens to be illegal is, to put it mildly, rather naive.
Last edited by cphite on Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:23 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Kulantan
Posts: 999
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 9:24 pm UTC
Location: Somewhere witty

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Kulantan » Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:57 pm UTC

NSAtooMuch wrote:And I call bullshit on his claims.


So the Boundless Informant stuff is just made up? That is a map that shows exactly the data that Wyden and Udall were looking for.

Is the Verizon court order?

Was the warrantless wiretapping scandal bullshit? 'Cause that did involve spying on Americans' communications without any warrants or legal framework.

I call bullshit on your bullshit calling.
TEAM SHIVAHN
Pretty much the best team ever

phlip wrote:(Scholars believe it is lost to time exactly which search engine Columbus preferred... though they are reasonably sure that he was an avid user of Apple Maps.)

Blog.

User avatar
MartianInvader
Posts: 809
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 5:51 pm UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby MartianInvader » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:21 pm UTC

I'm still a little skeptical that PRISM really is what the article says it is. The fact that the timeline lists YouTube and Skype as "companies" certainly makes me raise an eyebrow, and makes me think that there's some misinformation (either via intention or incompetence) going on here.

That said, the NSA certainly has way too much power, and if this ends up generating enough political pressure to curtail government surveillance powers, I guess I won't mind.
Let's have a fervent argument, mostly over semantics, where we all claim the burden of proof is on the other side!

User avatar
Angua
Don't call her Delphine.
Posts: 5940
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:42 pm UTC
Location: UK/[St. Kitts and] Nevis Occasionally, I migrate to the US for a bit

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Angua » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:07 pm UTC

MartianInvader wrote:I'm still a little skeptical that PRISM really is what the article says it is. The fact that the timeline lists YouTube and Skype as "companies" certainly makes me raise an eyebrow, and makes me think that there's some misinformation (either via intention or incompetence) going on here.

That said, the NSA certainly has way too much power, and if this ends up generating enough political pressure to curtail government surveillance powers, I guess I won't mind.

How is Skype not a company? You can pay them for a very good service that they supply
Crabtree's bludgeon: “no set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated”
GNU Terry Pratchett

nitePhyyre
Posts: 1280
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:31 am UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby nitePhyyre » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:43 pm UTC

Angua wrote:
MartianInvader wrote:I'm still a little skeptical that PRISM really is what the article says it is. The fact that the timeline lists YouTube and Skype as "companies" certainly makes me raise an eyebrow, and makes me think that there's some misinformation (either via intention or incompetence) going on here.

That said, the NSA certainly has way too much power, and if this ends up generating enough political pressure to curtail government surveillance powers, I guess I won't mind.

How is Skype not a company? You can pay them for a very good service that they supply
Skype is owned by Microsoft. Microsoft is on the list already. Ditto for Youtube & Google.
sourmìlk wrote:Monopolies are not when a single company controls the market for a single product.

You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard you become great in the process.

User avatar
Thesh
Made to Fuck Dinosaurs
Posts: 6598
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:55 am UTC
Location: Colorado

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Thesh » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:46 pm UTC

For skype, communications are client to client and don't go through a central server. So they can see who you called, but can't get the recording of the call.
Summum ius, summa iniuria.

User avatar
Weeks
Hey Baby, wanna make a fortnight?
Posts: 2023
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:41 am UTC
Location: Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Weeks » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:47 pm UTC

Wasn't Skype a relatively recent buy by Microsoft?
TaintedDeity wrote:Tainted Deity
suffer-cait wrote:One day I'm gun a go visit weeks and discover they're just a computer in a trashcan at an ice cream shop.
Dthen wrote:FUCK CHRISTMAS FUCK EVERYTHING FUCK YOU TOO FUCK OFF

User avatar
Xeio
Friends, Faidites, Countrymen
Posts: 5101
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:12 am UTC
Location: C:\Users\Xeio\
Contact:

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Xeio » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:48 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:Skype is owned by Microsoft. Microsoft is on the list already. Ditto for Youtube & Google.
Depending on the records, that could just be an artifact from before Skype was bought out. Or some other arbitrary reason.

Weeks wrote:Wasn't Skype a relatively recent buy by Microsoft?
2 years, so... yes... ish.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26818
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:48 pm UTC

@NSAtoomuch: While it's cool of you to join us in this discussion, you have to expect us to be particularly skeptical of your claims that the NSA is doing nothing wrong. I would not be especially surprised to learn that this is, in fact, entirely legal, at least by the letter of the law. I would also not be surprised to learn that it's actually completely unconstitutional.

See, your posting here should do nearly nothing to affect my beliefs either way about the legality of what they're doing. The likelihood that someone would openly admit to working for the NSA *and* blow the whistle on something illegal they were doing, here on these publicly viewable forums of all places, is next to nothing. So given the presence of an NSA employee openly posting here, I'd place the probability at very nearly 100% that said employee would say positive things about the agency. And since that is independent of whether those good things are actually true, it doesn't really affect my prior beliefs.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

Sero
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 2:31 am UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Sero » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:53 pm UTC

Skype was acquired by Microsoft after the date of PRISM starting to get data from them in the timeline for the article, so I think it's reasonable. In any case, I think it's reasonable just for clarity, such as in Google/Youtube's case. Youtube isn't under the Google brand, plenty of people aren't aware Google runs Youtube, and I believe it operates somewhat independently.
Princess Marzipan wrote:Dear God, we seriously just went and dug up CITATIONS for TORTURE being a WAR CRIME.

We have been fucking TROLLED, dear readers.

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10325
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby addams » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:04 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Q: Washington-based foreign affairs analyst Steve Clemons said he overheard at the capital's Dulles airport four men discussing an intelligence conference they had just attended. Speaking about the leaks, one of them said, according to Clemons, that both the reporter and leaker should be "disappeared". How do you feel about that?

A: "Someone responding to the story said 'real spies do not speak like that'. Well, I am a spy and that is how they talk. Whenever we had a debate in the office on how to handle crimes, they do not defend due process – they defend decisive action. They say it is better to kick someone out of a plane than let these people have a day in court. It is an authoritarian mindset in general

This is the part that I really fear. That his kind of secret power will invariably attract a certain kind of people, a nasty kind of people. Chekists. I don't know if it always does, because secret. But it's all too plausible.

ech. It does not matter the kind of people that carry out a mission.
Does the mission work?

What good does it do to disappear people After they have spoken? None.
If they are Americans; If they are Humans; If they are Smart then they must consider the Pre-emptive Strike.

Who is likely to talk? What about?
How 1984.

Did you know there are people that will destroy Peace, Love and Good Will?
Right. Yes. I hear the voices saying, "Those things are not Physical. They can not be proven."

Peace, Love and Good Will break. Those things break and come back together over and over again. Like the Waves against the Shore. These are things that bring depth to our lives. The uncomfortable truths. Such as, 'Cats do eat people.' 'People do eat people.' umm. See? We can go from 0-60 on this one. There are many uncomfortable truths.

Why? Why would a person or group of persons want to destroy the Peace?
It is so sad. It may be that a person or Group of People could be Jealous and Fearful.
Of, Peace? Yes.

I was of the mind, "Any human being exposed to Peace will Love it."

Well! I was Wrong!

Some people seem to feel bad about the whole thing.
Frightened. Lonely. Out of Control. Excluded!
'How Fucking Dare AnyOne Exclude The Most Powerful Men on The Planet!!?"
"What The Fuck Do You Mean "I Don't Get IT?"
"You Don't Get IT! Suck My Dick or Die!"

People say the stupidest things some times.
Is it possible to bite a dick off?
Physics majors can answer that question.

Who can answer the question, "What will be done with Your data?"
Well Who are You? Do you live in Peace?

If you live in Peace then you are fine.
Just don't tell anyone. Keep it a secret.

Don't Brag. It is like an old Chinese Superstition.
Don't Brag. Don't ever be boastful.

It is not nice on so many levels.
It makes a good rule punishable by people following you Home to take what they can and break the rest.

So; Who might be stupid enough to brag about Peace?
Have you ever seen it?

I thought I had seen Peace.
It came and went. Like fog.
Thicker in some Places.
Thiner in Others.

More like H2O in all of its many forms.
I think the parallel is a good one.

There are people that do not believe in Peace.
They just like to Party! That is fun, too.

Some people believe in Peace.
But; It is like Gods Love.
Something they will never know.

Sometimes those people respond to Peace with violence.
It is possible to get Peaceful people to do shameful things.

Or; It can be made to look like they did.
I saw some people that said they were Quakers get all excited at the prospect of Street Violence.
They said they wanted to go back to go back to a place where we had been attacked.

Hindsight is twenty-twenty. We were out maned and out gunned.
The fist attack was a warning. I did not need to be warned twice.

I did not enjoy the activity. We Were Holding Peace Signs in a small public park.
There was a Busy Street on one side and a Busy Street on the other side.

Those things can take on a Life of their Own.
First there are signs.
And: Bubbles and feather boa.

Then; This party needs to find a quieter place.
I took The Party to my house. It was Public/Private.
The Party sometimes found its way into the larger quieter park.

Was there Peace on Earth in 2000-2004?
oh. Peace comes and goes many times everyday.
Like waves against the shore.

Still; Did I live in Peace? Yes. In some very important ways I did.
Do I now? No. In those important ways I do not now.

What will They do with Your data?
Well; If you are poor, sick, homeless and alone; "You don't have any data."

If you are not poor, sick, homeless and alone, then You still have something to Lose.
Who wants to speak? Who do you want to speak to? Why?

People with International connections generally have more to lose than people with only local connections.

It may be a way of deciding who to focus attention on. Or; Not!
It might, simply, make for a pretty picture.

Do you remember the map of us flights plotted over time?
http://www.aaronkoblin.com/work/flightpatterns/

What are you worried about?
It is simply data about where calls into the us go and where calls out of the us go and of course where calls go inside the.
The inside the us data has already been plotted. I have seen it. Not all calls. It was a mid-west thing.

Cites and communities showed up on the map. Most calls are local.
Big surprise there? No.

What do They want with your data? Nothing. If you are perfectly miserable.
If you are happy, then you might make a fun target.

Like a cat playing with a mouse. It is the nature of The Beast.
This must read like Crazy Talk to you. I am sorry.

Secret Organizations? Inside a Public Organization?
So, weird. Maybe true.

The FBI was formed sixty years after What?
I forget. I think it was an Indian Affairs thing.
(Assholes.)
Then the FBI formed. It was not Too bad.
It cut its teeth on Hemmingway and a handful of other Smarty Pants.
It was also instrumental in persicution of Rum Kings of some stipe and flavor.

When it was sixty years old it gave birth to the CIA.
It must have been so proud.

Its own baby. Its own flesh of its flesh, bone of its bone.
Enough to bring a tear to the eye. International Power!

Such Heady Days. The vim and vigor of Youth.
Sixty years later; They gave birth to a mean and ruthless child that turned on its parents.

That is the risk all ruthless people run. Ruthlessness it taught in some families.
Some people seem to be born with innate talents. Ruthlessness seems to be a talent that can be developed like a skill.

Ruthlessness is like playing the piano.
Most people can learn to pound out a few notes.
Some people learn much more than that.
Some people seem to be profoundly talented.

Homeland Security must be made of Flesh of their Flesh and Bone of their Bone.
Of Course! They Are! All that tells us is that Homeland Security is made up of mostly Americans.

When it is inside the US. I wonder. Do the sames werid things happen today?
Is there a place Like the movie King of Hearts.

Someplace where an American Homeland Security Officer is so Outmanned he defects?
What would That defection look like?
The way most of them look?

You can go home now. The War is over.
"oh. Do I have to? May I come back?"

Wars last thirty years.
US secret and powerful organizations give birth every sixty years.

So What?
They have Your Phone number!
Do you talk to strangers?
I do. If I did not talk to strangers I would not speak to anyone.

Data is beautiful.
http://www.heraldnet.com/article/201305 ... /705299830
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

User avatar
rath358
The bone of my bone
Posts: 944
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:02 am UTC
Location: west Camberville

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby rath358 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:41 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:For skype, communications are client to client and don't go through a central server. So they can see who you called, but can't get the recording of the call.

I think Skype calls go through Microsoft servers these days. At least, that is what my paranoid friends believe, and I like to err on the side of caution

User avatar
Sockmonkey
Posts: 1214
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:30 pm UTC

Re: PRISM: NSA access to big tech companies because trrrrist

Postby Sockmonkey » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:41 pm UTC

I'm less concerned with the NSA having this data than I am in various political groups and corporations getting a hold of it.


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests