NSA tracking cell phone locations

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KnightExemplar
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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:10 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:This is why Bureaucrats complain about red tape so much, because if your authority isn't explicitly written down in a document somewhere, you are not allowed to conduct your activities.
Well, I don't know. Without doing any research, I can think of times when the government and it bureaucracies have simply ignored what anyone said if they felt they could get away with it. The recent revelations about nuclear launch codes, the FBI's tendency to do black bag searches which were illegal under any number of laws at the times when they were done, and so on. If the activity is conducted away from sight and without the public's knowledge, then in effect there are no restrictions at all. The NSA's actions are bad because the only oversight, until Snowden dumped the files, was from a small circle of people who have the tendency to have self reinforcing ideas of the correctness of their actions.


Its a back and forth. There are very few people complaining about "red tape" as of recently because the American People currently wish to put more restrictions on these agencies. Other times, when people are more trusting of the Government (through the early 2000s for example), the complaints are more towards "Red Tape" which prevents the bureaucrats from doing useful work.

BTW: The oversight of these powers are the Senate Intelligence Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, the FISA Courts, and of course the President and his cabinet. In fact, a number of leaks from Snowden are just the documents that went back and forth between these parties. (In particular, the FISA authorization to the FBI for domestic metadata collection). Again, I encourage you to read through the leaks yourself, and notice how many of these classified documents are from NSA internal investigations and internal oversight procedures.

If you think more people should be added to the mix, at very least you need to have an understanding of the people who are already involved in the oversight process. I'm not necessarily against proper oversight procedures (ie: Wyden's proposal to declassify more of the FISA rulings to more of Congress), but I expect intelligent and informed discussion about these issues. Its not like these forums are filled with angry teenage Redditors or Tumblr accounts, the people around here are tend to have pretty intelligent and informed debates.

* We know the Classification system is important, but broken. A lot of leaked "classified" information should not be classified at all. A lot of important leaked information should be classified however, and those who have half a brain can pick the two apart. The real issue is deploying the training across the 1 million+ members of Top Secret America so that classification is not abused. IMO, this is the root of the problem, because clearly some classified data is important to the public debate (in particular: much of the FISA Court classified rulings on the scope of the agencies).

* Red Tape is also a problem, because when people feel like it gets in the way of their job... they will tend to ignore it. However, most restrictions are put there for a reason. Different agencies follow the rules to different levels, and IIRC the FBI is more or less one of the worst offenders of it (On the other hand, the FBI's oversight is your defense lawyer. If the Defense Lawyer can prove that the FBI didn't follow proper procedure, then they can get the evidence thrown out before it is shown to the jury). One example of dumb red tape: the DoD is beginning to implement a "two party" system for burning DVDs soon, in response to the Snowden revelations. Because obviously, making a rule stating that "two people must be present to burn a disk" is going to stop someone like Snowden from doing this again. :roll: :roll: :roll:.

So yes, dumb red tape undermines the bureaucrat's trust in the system, and encourages them to break even the legitimate rules that were placed down upon them. So it becomes important to remove the dumb rules and enforce the ones the American Citizens care about.
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addams
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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby addams » Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:20 pm UTC

It is a long way from US Cell Phone conversations to Middle East Policy. You got us there fast.
Isolationists claim the right thing to do is apparently pull out of the Middle East entirely, and watch Israel conduct a first-strike against Iran. Isolationists claim that the US isn't helping the situation at all. Perhaps... from a purely selfish perspective, they're right. Iran has no ability to strike at the US, or even Europe. It is impossible for the future Israeli/Iranian war to really effect the US. But is that really the right thing to do? I personally believe the right thing to do is to continue pushing aggressive intelligence operations against Iran, share that intelligence with Israel to buy more time, and then hope that the peace talks and sanctions convince the Iranian People to stop building the bomb.


I disagree with you. It is a difficult position that I have chosen.

Secrets, Secrets and more Secrets, except for the Public Misinformation.
We were told the US would be using misinformation.
Do I need to look though hours of YouTube clips to find the speech Dicky-boy Cheney gave with that promise?

Aggressive Intelligence? Really?
gee, whiz Mr. Cleaver; What is that?

Is Aggressive Intelligence a polite way of saying, "We Do As We Fucking Please! And; Fuck You, if you don't like it."
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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby morriswalters » Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:30 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:If you think more people should be added to the mix, at very least you need to have an understanding of the people who are already involved in the oversight process. I'm not necessarily against proper oversight procedures (ie: Wyden's proposal to declassify more of the FISA rulings to more of Congress), but I expect intelligent and informed discussion about these issues. Its not like these forums are filled with angry teenage Redditors or Tumblr accounts, the people around here are tend to have pretty intelligent and informed debates.
Well you can expect any number of things, but this is a hot button issue with everyone breaking out their particular set of biases. I don't trust congress, so why would I trust them to fix this problem. And I would feel better overall if some people had been hung out to dry. Heads should have rolled for a fuckup this large and if it happened I missed it.

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LaserGuy
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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:31 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:I think you're missing the point here. The entire reason that Iran is a threat to the United States at all is because of several serious foreign policy disasters by the United States against that country over the passed sixty years. If the CIA hadn't helped unseat a democratically elected government in favour of a dictator back in '53 (something they have a habit of doing) to advance US oil interests in the region. We backed the guy for the next twenty-five years, and offer said dictator asylum in '79 revolution, triggering the hostage crisis. In the Iraq-Iran war, when we realised our buddy Saddam was losing, we gave him chemical weapons to use against the Iranians. Later, American warships skirmished directly with Iranian warships, which ultimately culminated in the US shooting down a civilian jetliner and killing all 290 people on board. Iran hates us because did some terrible shit to them.

The United States foreign policy is entirely dominated by short-term interests, and completely oblivious to any long-term strategic thought or planning. We have no problem spying on our allies or interfering with their elections or whatever as long as it advances some short-term goals, with no thought to the fact that such actions generate ill will that could come back to haunt us later. Saying "damn the privacy rights of Iranian citizens" is all well and good now that we've done such a good job of making them openly hostile to us; why does it make sense to do the same to the Germans, French, Canadians, Brazilians, etc.? Is the information we're getting so valuable that it is worth the risk one of those countries could turn into the next Iran?


Your brief history lesson is indeed accurate, but it changes nothing about the current situation of world affairs.

Israel wants to conduct a first strike against Iran, specifically to destroy their bomb making capabilities by military action. The US has convinced them to hold off on their attack as long as Israel has extremely detailed information on the Iranian nuclear program. In part, US Intelligence seems to indicate that the bomb isn't an eminent threat quite yet. After all, SOMEBODY (*cough*cough* Israel *cough*cough*) has already started assassinating civilians (aka: Iranian Nuclear Scientists)

Isolationists claim the right thing to do is apparently pull out of the Middle East entirely, and watch Israel conduct a first-strike against Iran. Isolationists claim that the US isn't helping the situation at all. Perhaps... from a purely selfish perspective, they're right. Iran has no ability to strike at the US, or even Europe. It is impossible for the future Israeli/Iranian war to really effect the US. But is that really the right thing to do? I personally believe the right thing to do is to continue pushing aggressive intelligence operations against Iran, share that intelligence with Israel to buy more time, and then hope that the peace talks and sanctions convince the Iranian People to stop building the bomb.


And yet you still missed the point of the lesson. While I can understand a willingness to spy on your enemies, regardless of they ended up as such, the NSA, CIA, etc. go far beyond that--they spy on our friends, our allies, countries that don't give a shit about us (and, in all likelihood, our own citizens), and don't make any effort to distinguish between them. Unfortunately, some of those countries might actually care about these things, and might not like it when the Americans interfere with their business. What is the benefit to alienating the few remaining countries that actually still like us? Americans certainly should care about what the intelligence community is doing right now abroad, because the people who we piss off now may be the people who fly planes into buildings thirty years from now.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby ucim » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:00 am UTC

Executive Orders are still subject to US law. An EO may create an action whitelist, but it cannot legally include actions that are on the pre-existing black list, at least not without creating a dictatorship in the process.

However, were I (once again) a lawyer tasked with making what the spy agencies wanted to do legal, I would argue that:

1: It is not true that the list of things the DOD "shall" do is exhaustive.
While driving a car is not explicitly authorized, for example, it might be necessary to accomplish an explicitly authorized task. There is an implicit authorization to do all that is necessary in order to accomplish the explicitly authorized task at hand. And therefore...

2: under 1.11(c)
Spoiler:
(c) Conduct programs and missions necessary to fulfill national, departmental and tactical foreign intelligence requirements;
a program that happens to also gather up domestic intelligence would be authorized if it is considered necessary to fulfil the requirments of 1.11(a) or (b).

3: 1.11(h)
Spoiler:
Protect the security of Department of Defense installations, activities, property, information, and employees by appropriate means, including such investigations of applicants, employees, contractors, and other persons with similar associations with the Department of Defense as are necessary;
requires that the agency accomplish domestic spying if it feels it is necessary to protect other authorized tasks, including the people used and the information gathered.)

4: 1.11(k)
Spoiler:
Conduct such administrative and technical support activities within and outside the United States as are necessary to perform the functions described in sections (a) through (j) above.
does not restrict the agency from conducting its investigations within the US, if it deems it necessary.

5: 1.12(b) indicates what is permitted, but is not exhaustive (despite the white-list nature of the EO). It states:

In carrying out the responsibilities assigned in section 1.11, the Secretary of Defense is authorized to utilize the following: [...]
(b) National Security Agency, whose responsibilities shall include:
[list of stuff]

It specifically does not say "whose responsibilities shall be limited to:".

At least that's the way I read the phrase in ordinary English. If this is a legal term of art, it's not one I'm familiar with. (Note - I am not a lawyer or a bureaucrat)

I'm not sure how I would get around 1.12(b)(7)
Spoiler:
Provision of signals intelligence support for the conduct of military operations in accordance with tasking, priorities, and standards of timeliness assigned by the Secretary of Defense. If provision of such support requires use of national collection systems, these systems will be tasked within existing guidance from the Director of Central Intelligence;
, which seems to require coordination with the CIA for domestic stuff, but may only require it for "use of the existing domestic network".

And if the vacuum cleaner did turn up domestic information, and the CIA wanted it, nothing herein prevents the sharing of this data with the CIA.

Now, I would also advise my client to avoid being detected scraping the law in the first place, which should be simple since they are, after all, a spy agency.

The issue isn't so much what the law actually is, but how far we can reasonably trust a huge, powerful, secret, and largely autonomous agency to actually follow that law, should sufficient temptation present itself.

And I'm actually much more concerned with commercial entities tracking (and trading) my cell phone data than the NSA doing it. Commercial entities have far more interest in me than the gummint does, and have a potentially huge (and largely undeveloped!) ability to influence individuals without their awareness. However, this is not to minimize the effect that government might have on me in the future, using this past data, should it align its opinions in a manner very contrary to mine.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:30 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Your brief history lesson is indeed accurate, but it changes nothing about the current situation of world affairs.

Israel wants to conduct a first strike against Iran, specifically to destroy their bomb making capabilities by military action. The US has convinced them to hold off on their attack as long as Israel has extremely detailed information on the Iranian nuclear program. In part, US Intelligence seems to indicate that the bomb isn't an eminent threat quite yet. After all, SOMEBODY (*cough*cough* Israel *cough*cough*) has already started assassinating civilians (aka: Iranian Nuclear Scientists)

Isolationists claim the right thing to do is apparently pull out of the Middle East entirely, and watch Israel conduct a first-strike against Iran. Isolationists claim that the US isn't helping the situation at all. Perhaps... from a purely selfish perspective, they're right. Iran has no ability to strike at the US, or even Europe. It is impossible for the future Israeli/Iranian war to really effect the US. But is that really the right thing to do? I personally believe the right thing to do is to continue pushing aggressive intelligence operations against Iran, share that intelligence with Israel to buy more time, and then hope that the peace talks and sanctions convince the Iranian People to stop building the bomb.


And yet you still missed the point of the lesson. While I can understand a willingness to spy on your enemies, regardless of they ended up as such, the NSA, CIA, etc. go far beyond that--they spy on our friends, our allies, countries that don't give a shit about us (and, in all likelihood, our own citizens), and don't make any effort to distinguish between them.


Have you read any of the released stuff? Or are you just echoing the brainless media? Lets take a look at a particular document Edward Snowden has released...

http://news.rapgenius.com/National-secu ... rics#lyric

National Security Agency – Internal Audit, May 2012


(TS//SI//REL TO USA, FVEY) Figures 1a-b compares all categories of NSAW SID-reported incidents (collection, dissemination, unauthorized access, and retention) by Authority for 2QCY11 - 1QCY12. From 4QCY11 to 1QCY12, there was an overall increase in incidents of 11%. There was also an increase of 11% for both E.O. 12333 and FISA incidents. The increase in incidents reported for 1QCY12 was due to an increase in the number of reported Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) roamer 1 incidents, which may be attributed to an increase in Chinese travel to visit friends and family for the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.


(TS//SI//NF) FISA Incidents: As reflected in Figures 1a-b, during 1QCY12, NSAW SID reported a total of 195 FISA incidents, 185 of which were associated with unintentional collection. NSAW SID also reported 6 incidents of unintentional dissemination under FISA authority and 4 incidents of unauthorized access to Raw


The NSA is TRACKING ITS MISTAKES. Why would the NSA be tracking and self-reporting accidental and incidental collections of US Citizens, if they didn't care about fixing the problem? I'm not claiming the NSA is perfect here, but at least read the fucking things that Edward Snowden is releasing, and make up your own mind about it. Apparently, the NSA is making quarterly reports of this nature. It is impossible to expect perfection from any large-scale organization, but if anything, these released documents prove that the NSA has a procedure for tracking accidental collections / incidental incidents.

And if you read the language, they're tracking not only the kind of oversteps the NSA have done, but they're also citing the precise authorities / bounds that they've overstepped.

ucim wrote:Executive Orders are still subject to US law. An EO may create an action whitelist, but it cannot legally include actions that are on the pre-existing black list, at least not without creating a dictatorship in the process.


Read the document I linked earlier. EO 12333 incidents AND FISA incidents are both tracked internally to the NSA.

FISA is from the US Code, the "blacklisted" operations that have been handed down from the US Congress (and clarified by the FISA courts).
EO 12333 incidents refer to overstepping "whitelisted" operations, which have been explicitly authorized by some US President.

However, were I (once again) a lawyer tasked with making what the spy agencies wanted to do legal, I would argue that:


Listen, I understand what you're trying to do, but instead of hypothesizing the argument, I'd suggest you just listen to the Congressional Hearings with DIRNSA General Alexander, DIRINT Clapper, Deputy Attorney's General James Cole, and so forth. They've laid out why (they think) what they do is legal in front of Congress months ago. There is no need to make up your own argument (which is ultimately irrelevant). The NSA has publicly made arguments about what is and what isn't legal, and what is within their authority. They agree, spying on Americans is outside of their own Authority, and they argue that they don't have any part in it. This is not under any form of debate, everyone agrees that the NSA should NOT have any form of domestic surveillance.

Obviously, this leads to the Domestic Metadata collection question. The answer is quite simple: The FBI led the domestic metadata collection operation, not the NSA. The Department of Justice -> FBI has different powers awarded to it, and draws from a different authority source. Deputy Attorney General James Cole was brought in to testify about this issue, and Congressional Hearings were had with his arguments. After a lot of talking, it all comes down to whether or not the FBI is creatively interpreting FISA-provisions, specifically the Business Records clause. And now we have congressional action we can support or protest. Call your congressman, and tell him to reform 50 USC § 1861 if you don't like the Metadata collections program.

Senator Wyden and Udall have already moved to reform the Business Records provisions of FISA to require stronger language to restrict the powers of the FBI. Others have instead pushed for bills that explicitly authorizes these activities in the bill. So at that point, its a simple "talk to your senator" sort of thing.
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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:33 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Have you read any of the released stuff? Or are you just echoing the brainless media? Lets take a look at a particular document Edward Snowden has released...


Are you even reading what I'm writing? Your response is directed entirely at a seven word parenthetical statement. I don't give a fuck if the NSA spies on their own citizens. Honestly, I'd rather that they did, if only so that Americans would maybe give a shit for once. But that is otherwise completely irrelevant and uninteresting to me and the point that I am trying to make. If Amercians want their government to spy on them, it's their country, they can do whatever the fuck they want. What matters is when they decide to spread these proclivities to other countries, and the longterm consequences of those actions.

It is far more troubling to me that the NSA is willing to completely compromise global cybersecurity, including that of Americans, than whether or not the NSA occasionally to spies on American citizens.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby morriswalters » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:59 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:So at that point, its a simple "talk to your senator" sort of thing.
Have you taken leave of your senses? Congress created this mess in the first place. And they have consistently shown that they are unwilling or unable to stop the apparatus from abusing the position. The setup by its nature requires a high degree of trust in the people who run it. And those people have given no one reason to trust them. To begin with, it would be nice to know that they can keep the programs secure. If Snowden could manipulate the system to do what he did, what do you think a malevolent actor could do? So got fired over this lapse? Snowden walked out the door with enough classified material to sink the NSA. Is Clapper contrite for his lapse? Clapper should have fallen on his sword because ultimately he was responsible. Instead he goes on the congressional dog and pony circuit and dissembles and effectively lies. Then retreats and restates. The classic congressional two step. How much trust does that engender? As LaserGuy has pointed out to you they have pushed to weaken the encryption that supports the economic engine that is the internet and left us exposed to the other actors not under control of anyone. And it is entirely possible that they have weakened the underlying hardware. Again they have attacked that trust that we need to have.

I'm not to worried about what other governments think. And while governments may or may not have realized that the NSA was tinkering, the security apparatus of those governments must have, since they were helping, and that includes all the 5 eyes members including Canada. And allies are funny things. Historically they shift. Closer and further away as internal interests change. In 1943 we were at war with Germany, Japan and Italy and allied with the Soviet Union. It is also useful to consider that the public remonstrations are different than the private ones, such is the nature of governments in general. And intelligence isn't simply about physical security, but also economic security. And in most cases that means you look at those with strong economies and those people who could be an economic threat.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:20 pm UTC

I'm not to worried about what other governments think. And while governments may or may not have realized that the NSA was tinkering, the security apparatus of those governments must have, since they were helping, and that includes all the 5 eyes members including Canada. And allies are funny things. Historically they shift. Closer and further away as internal interests change. In 1943 we were at war with Germany, Japan and Italy and allied with the Soviet Union. It is also useful to consider that the public remonstrations are different than the private ones, such is the nature of governments in general. And intelligence isn't simply about physical security, but also economic security. And in most cases that means you look at those with strong economies and those people who could be an economic threat.


Morriswalters: your philosophy is all good and pure and all, but that doesn't answer the challenge that I've laid out for several posts now. There are real foreign policy decisions happening with regards to this stuff right now, and a very real possibility is a greater Israel / Iran conflict in the Middle East. I've already hammered out that point significantly throughout this thread, and would like to know if you seriously think its a good idea to pull back on intelligence operations now.

morriswalters wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote: As LaserGuy has pointed out to you they have pushed to weaken the encryption that supports the economic engine that is the internet and left us exposed to the other actors not under control of anyone. And it is entirely possible that they have weakened the underlying hardware. Again they have attacked that trust that we need to have.


Oh my, malicious hardware attacks and hardware backdoors . I wonder who's doing that. Oh that's right, everyone. Those sorts of things are unfortunately the bread-and-butter of IT Departments. Keeping up with backdoors, keeping up with vulnerabilities, patching up systems and searching for weaknesses. Quit dramatizing the situation, hardware (or software) backdoors have existed for years and have haunted IT Security departments for the whole time. Its a standard issue problem for IT departments. Thats why they buy certified equipment, run virus scanners, prevent you from installing weird stuff etc. etc.

As for the "encryption backdoor" found... yeah, that was public knowledge in 2007. The leaks confirm what people knew for some time, but really isn't a security issue for the last 6 years (at least if your IT department has been keeping up with news).
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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:58 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:As for the "encryption backdoor" found... yeah, that was public knowledge in 2007. The leaks confirm what people knew for some time, but really isn't a security issue for the last 6 years (at least if your IT department has been keeping up with news).


I'm not sure what your point is. The NSA actively tried to compromise a global security standard in such a way that anybody with the knowledge and expertise could crack it. The fact that (as far as we know) it was discovered first by white hats at Microsoft and not black hats elsewhere is dumb luck, nothing more. What if Iran had discovered it first? Or China? The NSA potentially opened up US companies, civilians, even government, to severe security breaches as a result of this action, to say nothing of the consequences abroad. Again, it's an example of the intelligence community trading short-term gains for long-term damage to US relations abroad. If you still don't understand why that is a problem, I don't know what else to tell you at this point.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby morriswalters » Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:46 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Morriswalters: your philosophy is all good and pure and all, but that doesn't answer the challenge that I've laid out for several posts now. There are real foreign policy decisions happening with regards to this stuff right now, and a very real possibility is a greater Israel / Iran conflict in the Middle East. I've already hammered out that point significantly throughout this thread, and would like to know if you seriously think its a good idea to pull back on intelligence operations now.
Yes.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:01 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:First and foremost understand that what these people do, they do, because they believe they must do it to protect you. The truth of that is not important, what is important is that they believe it is.
That statement is important. When our intelligence community believes things that are demonstrably false, we should strive to correct them. Secondly, regardless of the veracity of that claim, we need to inform the intelligence community that we do not want them to invade our privacy for negligible gains in our security.
morriswalters wrote:But real threats exist. The people behind those threats exist. They are different from you only in the sense of how they view the world. They work, communicate, text, and have dreams and expectations. In other words they are members of the crowd. To find them and deter them, once they exist, means that you need to be able to filter them from the crowd. You do that by looking at everyone and what they do. I don't know of any other way to do it.
I can think of lots of ways to do deter terrorism. Unfortunately, many of them violate people's fundamental rights, which is why I don't advocate for those methods.
KnightExemplar wrote:I personally believe the right thing to do is to continue pushing aggressive intelligence operations against Iran, share that intelligence with Israel to buy more time, and then hope that the peace talks and sanctions convince the Iranian People to stop building the bomb.
Good for you! Many of us do not believe in sacrificing our own liberties in order to offer temporary security to someone on the other side of the planet. I've got this crazy idea: Maybe we could discuss this sort of thing, and then like, vote on it.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby addams » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:58 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Morriswalters: your philosophy is all good and pure and all, but that doesn't answer the challenge that I've laid out for several posts now. There are real foreign policy decisions happening with regards to this stuff right now, and a very real possibility is a greater Israel / Iran conflict in the Middle East. I've already hammered out that point significantly throughout this thread, and would like to know if you seriously think its a good idea to pull back on intelligence operations now.
Yes.

simple and understandable, Morris.
yes. Me. too.

We differ in my desire to open those operation logs.
I'd have them printed in the NY Times.

That would bore New Yorkers into rioting.
And; No one would buy those papers, so it would not make money.

I want those logs open, anyway.
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Some of us see The Gutter.
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They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Dec 16, 2013 4:05 pm UTC

The ACLU have voiced their concerns in Christmas parody form.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby elasto » Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:53 am UTC

A US judge has ruled the National Security Agency's mass collection of telephone data unconstitutional. Federal District Judge Richard Leon said the electronic spy agency's practice was an "arbitrary invasion".

The agency's collection of "metadata" including telephone numbers and times and dates of calls was exposed by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

In his ruling in a Washington DC federal court on Monday, Mr Leon called the NSA's surveillance programme "indiscriminate" and an "almost Orwellian technology that enables the government to store and analyze the phone metadata of every telephone user in the United States".

The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by conservative activist Larry Klayman, a user of a Verizon mobile telephone who challenged the NSA's collection of metadata on his behalf and that of a client.

The NSA had ordered Verizon - one of the largest phone companies in the US - to disclose to it metadata, including telephone numbers, calling card numbers and the serial numbers of phones, of millions of calls it processes in which at least one party is in the US.

Mr Leon ruled the plaintiffs had demonstrated "a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their Fourth Amendment claim and that they will suffer irreparable harm absent… relief", referring to the clause in the US constitution that bars unreasonable search and seizure by the government. He issued a preliminary injunction against the NSA surveillance programme but suspended the order to allow for an appeal by the justice department, thus enabling the programme to continue for now.

Through Glenn Greenwald, a journalist with whom he has close ties, Mr Snowden issued a statement hailing the ruling: "I acted on my belief that the NSA's mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts," he wrote, according to the New York Times. Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans' rights," he added. "It is the first of many."

Former NSA general counsel Stewart Baker told the BBC's Katty Kay the ruling was "overcomeable" on appeal, but that Mr Leon's lengthy, detailed opinion would pose a "real burden" to the US government: "This issue is going to get litigated and it's going to be difficult for the government for some months or even years to come," he said.


link

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:12 am UTC

The "Liberty and Security in a Changing World" report has been released. http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/12/ ... ging-world

This is also an important report, although I'm unsure exactly how to take all the recommendations. In particular, they want to split US Cybercom, NSA, and IAD from the control of DIRNSA. IAD somewhat makes sense: for those unfamiliar with it, IAD is the "defensive" portion of the NSA who was responsible for creating SELinux. IAD's stated mission is to secure the US from foreign intelligence. (ie: They are the ones who probably went into investigate the Google / Nasdaq Hacks in 2010). Specifically, the recommendation explicitly wants to move IAD out of the NSA and transform it to its own agency under Homeland Security.

Keeping IAD under NSA will tarnish its reputation further. The country needs to let IAD continue to investigate hackers and so forth without carrying the newfound Public-Relations baggage of the NSA.

The greater NSA is more of foreign SIGINT collection of course. Cybercom is looking into military applications.

Splitting Cybercom (more explicitly) from the NSA affirms that NSA is an Intelligence Agency, and better defines the boundaries between Intelligence and Military. However, since the jobs are so similar, I'm worried that splitting the agencies will lead to greater inefficiency, with no benefits to privacy issues.

IE: It is strange to me that General Petraus because the CIA Director, and that the CIA controls drone-strike operations. Isn't THAT blurring the lines of "Intelligence" and "Military"? Why draw the line between US Cybercom and NSA when the line between Drone-Strikes and Drone-Spying is so damn blurry as it is?

That said, they are actually quite innovative at finding new restrictions that I do in fact agree with. I can agree to additional restrictions to ensure that these activities remain "legitimate". There are concerns that NSA may be using spying for economic or commercial gain, and assuring that is not the goal of the NSA is useful. I'm going to have to read the details before I make a strong opinion on the paper... but on initial sight it looks pretty well done.

Recommendation #26 is to create a "Privacy Czar", who's only job is to look out for privacy issues in intelligence agencies. He'd be nominated by the president and appointed by congress. I'm somewhat curious as to how it'd work... and I haven't really made an opinion of it yet.

There are 46 reforms that were noted in this 300+ page document. It was written by several Law Professors, a former CIA director (Michael J. Morell), and a former Counter-Terrorism Czar (Richard A. Clarke).
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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby addams » Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:10 am UTC

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-1 ... contract-1
This seems related.
I am not sure how this is related.

Amazon.com is doing the CIA computer stuff?
Really? Amazon?

ok. The US, NSA is watching everyone all the time.
The US, CIA has some relationship to he NSA.

Amazon is doing the tech work for the CIA.
Who does the tech work for the NSA?

I, just, assumed the NSA had its own people.
I may have been wrong. The Paranoid people may be correct.

Amazon.com and IBM are watching us for the US. jeeze.
Maybe, I don't understand. Is this good news or bad news?

It, sort of, depends upon what side a person is rooting for. right?
If a private company is doing the tech work, the individual agents have a first duty to the company.

That will make for some fun and games.
Is the CIA the only agency that must to go begging, hat in hand, to the private sector?

Are all the other agencies picking on it?
Poor little CIA. What do you think is happening behind the scenes?
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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:46 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Splitting Cybercom (more explicitly) from the NSA affirms that NSA is an Intelligence Agency, and better defines the boundaries between Intelligence and Military. However, since the jobs are so similar, I'm worried that splitting the agencies will lead to greater inefficiency, with no benefits to privacy issues.

IE: It is strange to me that General Petraus because the CIA Director, and that the CIA controls drone-strike operations. Isn't THAT blurring the lines of "Intelligence" and "Military"? Why draw the line between US Cybercom and NSA when the line between Drone-Strikes and Drone-Spying is so damn blurry as it is?

I agree that the line is blurry, and if this were a report on the CIA it may have made the recommendation to split the two operations. The benefit to the citizenry is that the rules are different for spying on American citizens vs. spying on foreign nationals. Making all the tools of international espionage available to those performing domestic spying invites mistakes if not outright abuse. Segregating military vs. civilian spying sounds as reasonable to me as segregating the military and police forces. Different goals, different rules of engagement, and different tools make a strong case for different agencies and different directors.
KnightExemplar wrote:Recommendation #26 is to create a "Privacy Czar", who's only job is to look out for privacy issues in intelligence agencies. He'd be nominated by the president and appointed by congress. I'm somewhat curious as to how it'd work... and I haven't really made an opinion of it yet.

At the very least the public needs a lawyer to defend their rights in court. Right now a surveillance hearing consists of a secret court and a government lawyer rattling off the pro-surveillance argument with nothing but crickets from the other side. Having a 'public defender' type of person who could at least raise objections and provide the judges with the drawbacks of surveillance and the case history of privacy rights seems like something that should have happened a long time ago. The current record for the FISA court, for instance, is 34,000 to 11 in favor of government surveillance. A privacy advocate may impact that and keep the most egregious violations from moving forward.

I need to read the full text as well, but I'm impressed at how pro-reform this report is given the makeup of the committee.

Edit: Suprise! After a cringe-worthy 60 Minutes episode on the NSA, it turns out that the "reporter" in charge of this "investigation" was simply a spy between jobs. He previously worked for the ODNI, which runs the NSA, and has now accepted a position as a "counterterrorism" (read: spying) official with the NYPD.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby MartianInvader » Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:46 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:The NSA is only authorized to do these collections in foreign countries. None of these revelations should be a concern at all to any US Citizen.

I just need to respond to this. Separately from the other discussions in this thread about whether the NSA is allowed to spy on US Citizens, and about whether it actually does. For the moment, let's pretend we all agree that the NSA doens't spy on US citizens, period.

I am a US citizen. However, my wife is not. That the NSA might be spying on her is of grave concern to me. I also work at a large tech company with many non-US customers. The fact that these customers will trust my company less, endangering our business and my livelihood, is also of grave concern to me.

Saying the revelations should be of no concern to anyone who isn't directly being spied on is incredibly short-sighted.
Let's have a fervent argument, mostly over semantics, where we all claim the burden of proof is on the other side!

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:14 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Splitting Cybercom (more explicitly) from the NSA affirms that NSA is an Intelligence Agency, and better defines the boundaries between Intelligence and Military. However, since the jobs are so similar, I'm worried that splitting the agencies will lead to greater inefficiency, with no benefits to privacy issues.

IE: It is strange to me that General Petraus because the CIA Director, and that the CIA controls drone-strike operations. Isn't THAT blurring the lines of "Intelligence" and "Military"? Why draw the line between US Cybercom and NSA when the line between Drone-Strikes and Drone-Spying is so damn blurry as it is?

I agree that the line is blurry, and if this were a report on the CIA it may have made the recommendation to split the two operations. The benefit to the citizenry is that the rules are different for spying on American citizens vs. spying on foreign nationals. Making all the tools of international espionage available to those performing domestic spying invites mistakes if not outright abuse. Segregating military vs. civilian spying sounds as reasonable to me as segregating the military and police forces. Different goals, different rules of engagement, and different tools make a strong case for different agencies and different directors.


IAD, and NSA are all foreign intelligence agencies. Cybercom, as a military group, is also focused on foreign issues but is less about intelligence and more about military applications. The NSA is not supposed to be collecting domestic intelligence as per EO12333, as well as what is explicitly written in law (aka: the 4th Amendment). I've posted references to the relevant sections of both law and executive orders in the previous page. Domestic vs Foreign is already split between the Department of Justice (the FBI) and Department of Defense (NSA in this case).

The one domestic issue that is touched upon the report is the metadata issue... which has a cringe-worthy "committee-designed" approach to "solving" the issue. WTF? The recommendation is to start-up private companies that specialize in collecting metadata. It'd be like the private prison system... except they're gonna be holding everyone's data hostage (and not just your typical non-violent offender).

Here's the reality of the situation: Verizon needs to collect all the metadata so that they know how much to bill you. Section 215 "Business Records Provision" is what allows domestic agencies (aka: the FBI) to request data from Verizon. After all, Verizon needs to collect this metadata to track who you are calling (long distance or roaming charges), when you are calling (night-time minutes vs daytime minutes), how long you are calling (tracking how many minutes / texts / GB of data you use). No matter what, the metadata is going to be collected by someone. The issue is whether or not the Government should have access to it.

(1) Subject to paragraph (3), the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or a designee of the Director (whose rank shall be no lower than Assistant Special Agent in Charge) may make an application for an order requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a United States person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution


As it stands, the law is very clear on this. The FBI has the current right to collect the business records on the behalf of analysts who are working on foreign intelligence missions. Adding more people who will see this data only hurts people's privacy. If you are against the law, just wipe it out. Don't buff it up with more layers of indirection...

------------------------

The split they talk about in large detail pertains to Foreign Signals Intelligence Offense (NSA), Foreign Signals Intelligence Defense (Currently NSA), and Military Applications (Cybercom). Upon further thought of the issue, Offense and Defense are two sides of the same coin, and it is best if they worked together as much as possible.

Mind you, it is IAD (aka defense agency) that benefits from being under the NSA. It is how the US ensures that the state-of-the-art intelligence missions that they perform on other countries cannot be done against the US. Splitting them away from the NSA will reduce communication between the groups, and overall weaken the defensive cyber-position of the US. On the surface, it makes sense from a public relations point of view, but from a pragmatic point of view... it can only damage the US's defense posture.

MartianInvader wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:The NSA is only authorized to do these collections in foreign countries. None of these revelations should be a concern at all to any US Citizen.

I just need to respond to this. Separately from the other discussions in this thread about whether the NSA is allowed to spy on US Citizens, and about whether it actually does. For the moment, let's pretend we all agree that the NSA doens't spy on US citizens, period.

I am a US citizen. However, my wife is not. That the NSA might be spying on her is of grave concern to me. I also work at a large tech company with many non-US customers. The fact that these customers will trust my company less, endangering our business and my livelihood, is also of grave concern to me.

Saying the revelations should be of no concern to anyone who isn't directly being spied on is incredibly short-sighted.


I can agree that trust between non-US customers and US Companies is also an issue, but its only an issue because Snowden is focusing on what he knows about the US. If you knew about Chinese, French, and German technologies, you'd know that all countries are the same.

Still, the US is different. The US has one of the strongest disconnects between the "Government" and "Private Businesses" in the world. Whereas say... the German Deutsche Telekom is born of the German Government... it is pretty darn clear that Microsoft, Google, and other companies have an independent history. So what are you gonna do? Trust socialist governments who have sponsored the creation of various companies? (Also, Snowden most certainly knows how the world spies on each other. I wonder why he's decided to focus so much on destroying the US's good will around the world...)

On the wife issue... reread everything I posted in the previous pages. The precise legal term is US Person, which is broader than "US Citizen" and likely covers your case. If you live within the US, then you're safe from the NSA. Of course, the local police / FBI have the orders to collect domestic intelligence... but I presume you know how to deal with the local police force / FBI. (aka: your Miranda rights, the right to a lawyer, the right to throw out "illegal" evidence in court, etc. etc.). As long as you're within the US, your only concern is with the local police and the FBI.

Quote sniping wins you points in the debate, but I'm going to have to ask you to try to work with me here? I think I've already covered your situation in my previous posts.
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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby Thesh » Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:43 am UTC

Are you familiar with the term "Parallel Construction"?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the ... ing-it-up/
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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:34 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Still, the US is different. The US has one of the strongest disconnects between the "Government" and "Private Businesses" in the world. Whereas say... the German Deutsche Telekom is born of the German Government... it is pretty darn clear that Microsoft, Google, and other companies have an independent history. So what are you gonna do? Trust socialist governments who have sponsored the creation of various companies? (Also, Snowden most certainly knows how the world spies on each other. I wonder why he's decided to focus so much on destroying the US's good will around the world...)


Considering that the overwhelming evidence suggests that Microsoft, Google, etc. are already in the pocket of the NSA and the US government, I don't really see any difference one way or the other. Given that the choice these companies are being offered is give the government everything they want or go out of business, it seems pretty clear all of these companies are fully engaged in the NSA program. Certainly if you are in Germany, you're far better off trusting Deutsche Telekom than any American company, and if you care about the security of your data at all, you're certainly better using a local service than an American one.

Personally, I'd happily trust a socialist government over one that invades a foreign country or overthrows a foreign government two or three times per decade. Social democratic nations are among the most peaceful nations in the world.

Are you familiar with the term "Parallel Construction"?


If the NSA can't use its surveillance data to root out domestic drug crimes while denying that it spies on Americans, the terrorists wins. Hadn't you heard?

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Dec 31, 2013 3:58 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:The NSA is not supposed to be collecting domestic intelligence as per EO12333, as well as what is explicitly written in law (aka: the 4th Amendment). I've posted references to the relevant sections of both law and executive orders in the previous page. Domestic vs Foreign is already split between the Department of Justice (the FBI) and Department of Defense (NSA in this case).
The NSA is collecting data on hundreds of millions of US Persons. We know this. They don't appear to be stopping anytime soon, so in the interest of categorization, I'm fine grouping them with the "domestic spying" side even though you and I both know those actions are unlawful.
KnightExemplar wrote:The recommendation is to start-up private companies that specialize in collecting metadata.
Yeah, that's a stupid idea. They should stop metadata collection altogether. It's an invasion of privacy and doesn't provide any benefit.
KnightExemplar wrote:No matter what, the metadata is going to be collected by someone. The issue is whether or not the Government should have access to it.
I don't agree. The issue is which government agencies will have access to your data and what approvals they need to get it. It's reasonable for the cops and the FBI to be able to access that data with a warrant when investigating specific individuals for specific crimes. It's unreasonable for a spy agency to access that data for every individual on the planet without reasonable suspicion.
KnightExemplar wrote:As it stands, the law is very clear on this. The FBI has the current right to collect the business records on the behalf of analysts who are working on foreign intelligence missions. Adding more people who will see this data only hurts people's privacy.

Did I ever say I wanted more people to look at the FBI's data? I agree that sharing that data across agencies is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.
KnightExemplar wrote: Upon further thought of the issue, Offense and Defense are two sides of the same coin, and it is best if they worked together as much as possible.
This statement is misguided, and everything that follows is similarly tainted. Cyberattacks can be anonymous, so a retaliatory strike is ludicrous. Defense requires a great deal more than a good offense in this case, but the Vietnam-era military generals we put in charge of defending this nation don't seem to grasp that yet.

The worst part of this is that not only is the NSA's massive data collection a horrible invasion of privacy, it's ultimately useless and serves as a distraction to legitimate intelligence efforts. Not only has the NSA failed to prevent a single terrorist attack, but the attacks that have occurred since its inception could possibly have been prevented by focusing on conventional intelligence. Why should we keep funneling time and money away from legitimate, useful intellgence activities to continue to fund this boondoggle of a program which also happens to be illegal?

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:07 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Still, the US is different. The US has one of the strongest disconnects between the "Government" and "Private Businesses" in the world. Whereas say... the German Deutsche Telekom is born of the German Government... it is pretty darn clear that Microsoft, Google, and other companies have an independent history. So what are you gonna do? Trust socialist governments who have sponsored the creation of various companies? (Also, Snowden most certainly knows how the world spies on each other. I wonder why he's decided to focus so much on destroying the US's good will around the world...)


Considering that the overwhelming evidence suggests that Microsoft, Google, etc. are already in the pocket of the NSA and the US government,I don't really see any difference one way or the other. Given that the choice these companies are being offered is give the government everything they want or go out of business, it seems pretty clear all of these companies are fully engaged in the NSA program. Certainly if you are in Germany, you're far better off trusting Deutsche Telekom than any American company, and if you care about the security of your data at all, you're certainly better using a local service than an American one.


FBI (aka: the local police force) subpoenaed Lavabit for the data. IE: Local law enforcement. Why don't you look up laws in most developed countries in the world? Unless you're going to base your company in Seaworld, I guarantee you that local police are going to require features like... I dunno... compliance with this. Be it the Russian standard (STOM), European (ETSI), or American/Japanese (3GPP).

So yeah, good luck with finding a country that doesn't require that sort of stuff.

Thesh wrote:Are you familiar with the term "Parallel Construction"?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the ... ing-it-up/


Fear mongering article, filled with unreliable facts and clickbait. Read the article. Here's the first link, and a quote from it: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/us/ot ... piles.html

Smaller intelligence units within the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Secret Service, the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security have sometimes been given access to the security agency’s surveillance tools for particular cases, intelligence officials say.

But more often, their requests have been rejected because the links to terrorism or foreign intelligence, usually required by law or policy, are considered tenuous. Officials at some agencies see another motive — protecting the security agency’s turf — and have grown resentful over what they see as a second-tier status that has undermined their own investigations into security matters.


Earlier this year, a federal court said that if law enforcement agencies wanted to use NSA information in court, they had to say so beforehand and give the defendant a chance to contest the legality of the surveillance.


The one thing that is consistent, is that everyone agrees (except the DEA) that parallel construction is a problem. No real link between programs has been created, it is simply a problematic practice the DEA does to hide illegally gathered evidence from the courts and the public. I agree that it is an issue, and one that is exacerbated if you fear secret agencies giving tips... but Parallel Construction is its own problem. It will exist whether or not the NSA exists, and should be treated as such. It isn't surprising to me that law enforcement officials are finding legal loopholes around the fruit of the poisoned tree principle.
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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:14 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:The NSA is not supposed to be collecting domestic intelligence as per EO12333, as well as what is explicitly written in law (aka: the 4th Amendment). I've posted references to the relevant sections of both law and executive orders in the previous page. Domestic vs Foreign is already split between the Department of Justice (the FBI) and Department of Defense (NSA in this case).
The NSA is collecting data on hundreds of millions of US Persons. We know this. They don't appear to be stopping anytime soon, so in the interest of categorization, I'm fine grouping them with the "domestic spying" side even though you and I both know those actions are unlawful.

[snip]

KnightExemplar wrote:No matter what, the metadata is going to be collected by someone. The issue is whether or not the Government should have access to it.
I don't agree. The issue is which government agencies will have access to your data and what approvals they need to get it. It's reasonable for the cops and the FBI to be able to access that data with a warrant when investigating specific individuals for specific crimes. It's unreasonable for a spy agency to access that data for every individual on the planet without reasonable suspicion.
KnightExemplar wrote:As it stands, the law is very clear on this. The FBI has the current right to collect the business records on the behalf of analysts who are working on foreign intelligence missions. Adding more people who will see this data only hurts people's privacy.

Did I ever say I wanted more people to look at the FBI's data? I agree that sharing that data across agencies is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.


http://epic.org/privacy/nsa/Section-215 ... erizon.pdf

IN RE APPLICATION OF THE
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
FOR AN ORDER REQUIRING THE
PRODUCTION OF TANGIBLE THINGS
FROM VERIZON BUSINESS NETWORK SERVICES,
INC. ON BEHALF OF MCI COMMUNICATION
SERVICES, INC. D/B/A VERIZON
BUSINESS SERVICE


It IS the FBI's data. The NSA is borrowing it from the FBI. Every controversial program from the homeland is officially collected through the FBI.

--------------------------------------------

Now, I ask you... When an Al Quaeda terrorist in Egypt calls someone (through long distance) someone in Afghanistan, the phone call goes through Verizon. When an Al Quaeda terrorist in Egypt emails someone in Afghanistan, the email might be stored in Gmail's server. Just look at the PRISM slides, proof is in the pudding.

FBI is not authorized to investigate foreign Al Qaeda communications. Only the NSA is. NSA is not allowed to collect data from the homeland (even though the data is "moving through" US Servers, it is technically in the homeland). The solution? PRISM. FBI collects the data that is going through America for foreign communications.

Yes, it is weird, but a job needs to be done. But thats why every single investigation goes through the FISA courts. Again, my source is the PRISM slides themselves.

And thats why you get something like 2000+ FISA requests per year. Because EVERYTHING needs to go through FISA.
Last edited by KnightExemplar on Tue Dec 31, 2013 5:01 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby Thesh » Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:18 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
Thesh wrote:Are you familiar with the term "Parallel Construction"?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the ... ing-it-up/


Fear mongering article, filled with unreliable facts and clickbait. Read the article. Here's the first link, and a quote from it: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/us/ot ... piles.html


Did you? It starts "A day after we learned this (link you posted), we learned new information."

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/ ... 9R20130805
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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby BlackSails » Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:47 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote: Not only has the NSA failed to prevent a single terrorist attack


Did you even read this article? It is talking about a single NSA program, not the entire NSA. It says so right in the headline, which you misquoted in your link.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Dec 31, 2013 5:06 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:
Heisenberg wrote: Not only has the NSA failed to prevent a single terrorist attack


Did you even read this article? It is talking about a single NSA program, not the entire NSA. It says so right in the headline, which you misquoted in your link.

Sigh. The NSA program which we are discussing in this thread has failed to prevent a single terrorist attack. Happy?

KnightExemplar wrote:It IS the FBI's data. The NSA is borrowing it from the FBI.
That is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. It also appears to serve no purpose. Why do you think we should we continue this egregious violation of the law?
KnightExemplar wrote:But thats why every single investigation goes through the FISA courts.
Your implication is disproved by the very first document released by Snowden: A single warrant granting access to every person's metadata. Data collection is done en masse, not with court-approval on an individual basis, as you are suggesting.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby morriswalters » Tue Dec 31, 2013 5:27 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Yes, it is weird, but a job needs to be done. But thats why every single investigation goes through the FISA courts.
You've yet to explain why we should trust the FISA court. Since the whole thing is done in secret and since we can't know what the court is doing, the whole thing relies on significant trust in the court. If that weren't bad enough,the FISA court can only know what the agencies involved tell them, if the agencies were lying how would the FISA court know? And there are indications that this could have occurred.

I know that the CIA lies. That is in the historical record, they got caught. Richard Helms was convicted of it. He was the Director under Nixon.

I know the FBI lies, again in the historical record, because they got caught as well.

When it suits the Chief Executive, he lies. We had one resign before he got impeached. And he continued to lie until he flew out of the White House in disgrace. He was neither the first or last.

Congress couldn't find the truth with a five man working party.

Clapper lied to congress during testimony and admitted it. Not to mention overseeing the security apparatus during the worst security breach ever to occur. And he didn't get fired.

And we wouldn't be having this conversation and the resultant pressure had not Snowden committed an act of treason, or patriotism depending on which way that you choose to look at it. The only reason you have to defend your position is because of that act. Now the question is, who should I trust?

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby addams » Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:02 pm UTC

ok. On the Up Side;
If your drunk has a Cell Phone implanted permanently on their person like a Wedding Ring.
Then you have a fair chance of finding your drunk.

Who is looking for whom? Why?
This is New Years Eve Day.

This day is Traditional for Drunks to get Drunk.
This day is Traditional for Everyone Else to join them.

Have you ever been Drunk and Lost?
A cell phone is a wonderful Luxury.

I did not have a Cell Phone.
I knew the address. I had no idea where the physical location was.

If you can tie a Cell Phone on your Drunk.
Tie at least one glow stick per Drink.

The Dear with Glow Sticks are Human!
It is illegal to hit them. (hic) They are protected by law.

The Laws of Physics flaunt the Laws of Man. (hic)
The NSA can find your Drunk, if it has a cell phone.

How Great is That! No more Missing Persons?
Happy New Year, xkcdd.
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KnightExemplar
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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:31 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:It IS the FBI's data. The NSA is borrowing it from the FBI.
That is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.


That remains to be seen. Courts seemed split on the issue, so it looks like it is going to the Supreme Court.

In the meantime, we can look into history for current court precedent, which assigns no privacy rights to metadata, especially metadata that is expected to be collected for normal business operations. There is no expectation of privacy whenever you dial a phone number, because you expect Verizon to collect that information so that they can bill you later (or so goes the legal argument).

Similarly, the US Post Office needs to know both addresses, and that Metadata is collected and shared with the police. Current law states that the contents inside the envelope are private, but the outsides of envelopes are fair game.

It also appears to serve no purpose. Why do you think we should we continue this egregious violation of the law?


At what time and date did you stop beating your wife?

I'm not "debating", nor am I "supporting" anything. However, very many facts being reported are simply wrong. In particular, everything going on is 100% legal. This is NOT a violation of law by any stretch of the imagination. Whether or not I "support" it is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is what you are shouting out is wrong. It is 100% legal, due to the business records provision of FISA, and constitutional due to current court precedent.

So lets stick with the facts, and the current fact is that you don't seem to understand this issue entirely. Continuing to call these actions "violations of the law" only demonstrates your ignorance on the current law and court precedents.

KnightExemplar wrote:But thats why every single investigation goes through the FISA courts.
Your implication is disproved by the very first document released by Snowden: A single warrant granting access to every person's metadata. Data collection is done en masse, not with court-approval on an individual basis, as you are suggesting.


Nonetheless, your example only proves my statement. The document that you're talking about is a FISA request that approved the mass-collection. It was not within the FBI's power to unilaterally collect the metadata, they had to ask for permission first. Every investigation is FISA approved. Be it PRISM, or the Metadata records, or anything. Everything Snowden has leaked seems to have FISA courts embedded in the process in some regard.

morriswalters wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Yes, it is weird, but a job needs to be done. But thats why every single investigation goes through the FISA courts.
You've yet to explain why we should trust the FISA court. Since the whole thing is done in secret and since we can't know what the court is doing, the whole thing relies on significant trust in the court. If that weren't bad enough,the FISA court can only know what the agencies involved tell them, if the agencies were lying how would the FISA court know? And there are indications that this could have occurred.


Hardly. The proposed "Privacy Czar" would be read into Top Secret and wouldn't be allowed to talk to the public either. And now we're back at square one. The fact is, you need to trust SOMEBODY or else nothing will get done. FISA courts are already a 3rd party, outside of the Executive Branch, who were explicitly set up by the Church Committee in 1978 to protect American's privacy from the FBI and NSA. If FISA isn't winning your trust, then adding another 3rd party source of red tape certainly won't either.

Here's a fact. If you are against the FISA Metadata collection, then simply work to dismantle this law. Its that simple, there is no debate about it. Fight against the law, have it repealed, and that will end the current crop of issues. Sitting around complaining about it, or building tin-foil hats or supporting ridiculous suggestions (aka: "the Privacy Czar") solves nothing if you don't understand the core issue. The first step to this problem is understanding what is going on. The second step, is proposing a system that you can trust.

I'm already at step 2, and have made my proposals in this thread. A lot of people don't seem like they've even attempted step 1. Hopefully, we can move towards step 3: discussing different proposals and finding the best one. That is why I've listed references to the "Liberty and Security in a Changing World" report, which is shockingly pro-reform.
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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby morriswalters » Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:16 am UTC

Trust is something you earn. You earn it by doing what you say you will do, every time. Not just when it's easy. Without that trust you don't have anything. Clapper lied, he didn't say that he couldn't answer or ask to go into a closed session. He sat in the chair and lied. To his bosses. To Congress. I wouldn't trust him with my porn collection, much less the security of the country. He should have been fired.

Additionally he presided over this mess. Snowden got in on his watch. Snowden jerked Clappers pants down on a busy street and walked away with the keys to the Kingdom. Now explain to me why I should trust him. This wasn't some deep cover penetration mission from the Cold War Soviets playing spy versus spy. This was amateur day at the NSA and they got pwned. God knows what the Chinese are doing. It boggles the mind.
KnightExemplar wrote:I'm already at step 2, and have made my proposals in this thread. A lot of people don't seem like they've even attempted step 1. Hopefully, we can move towards step 3: discussing different proposals and finding the best one. That is why I've listed references to the "Liberty and Security in a Changing World" report, which is shockingly pro-reform.
I don't care that the system is reformed, It bothers me not one wit what the NSA does or doesn't do. The cat jumped from the bag when the internet happened. People willingly gave away what they are complaining about. No one can avoid this and the government won't give it up. And it may be better that they don't. But in case you haven't been watching, the morons running the show show absolutely no real understanding of what the limits or the dangers of the technology they use. First a enlisted man in the Middle East pwns them and now Snowden. They need to kick these old men in the ass and put someone with a clue in charge.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:58 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:This is NOT a violation of law by any stretch of the imagination.
It's a violation of the Constitution: the supreme law of the land. And the argument that these activities fall under the scope of the current laws is also unchallenged. All of this activity is being done under a secret interpretation of a vaguely worded law written by a terrified Congress. The idea that these activities are lawful under the current code is nothing more than an assertion made by the Bush and Obama administrations which certainly has not been afforded any sort of proof. It carries roughly the same weight as Nixon's departing promise.
KnightExemplar wrote:The document that you're talking about is a FISA request that approved the mass-collection. It was not within the FBI's power to unilaterally collect the metadata, they had to ask for permission first. Every investigation is FISA approved.
Please stop using misleading language. "Approval" implies that the court reviewed every investigation. That is a patently false assertion. Investigations of mass metadata are only "approved" in the sense that FISA gave a rubber stamp to the FBI and said "use this as much as you want." They abdicated their responsibility to actually review each case.
KnightExemplar wrote:If FISA isn't winning your trust, then adding another 3rd party source of red tape certainly won't either.
You understand there's a difference between retaining legal counsel to defend you in court and simply standing pat and "trusting" the judge, right? The judges of the FISA court are under no obligation to and in fact should not ever research arguments to be made in defense of the American people. The citizenry have a right to a fair trial, which means legal representation in that trial.

If you don't see the necessity for your interests to be represented in a courtroom, we have to go back to square one.
KnightExemplar wrote:The first step to this problem is understanding what is going on. The second step, is proposing a system that you can trust.
Unless of course your goal is to simply dispose of the current system, in which case the only thing I need to understand is that those assholes are still spying on me.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:20 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:This is NOT a violation of law by any stretch of the imagination.
It's a violation of the Constitution: the supreme law of the land. And the argument that these activities fall under the scope of the current laws is also unchallenged. All of this activity is being done under a secret interpretation of a vaguely worded law written by a terrified Congress. The idea that these activities are lawful under the current code is nothing more than an assertion made by the Bush and Obama administrations which certainly has not been afforded any sort of proof. It carries roughly the same weight as Nixon's departing promise.


I probably should have posted some articles then. There is a very relevant case going through the courts right now: ACLU vs James Clapper. ACLU's jump page: https://www.aclu.org/national-security/ ... l-tracking

The most recent action is that US District Judge William Pauley has ruled in favor of Clapper. As it stands, courts are split... but ultimately it will only be a violation of the constitution if Judges deem it so.

KnightExemplar wrote:If FISA isn't winning your trust, then adding another 3rd party source of red tape certainly won't either.
You understand there's a difference between retaining legal counsel to defend you in court and simply standing pat and "trusting" the judge, right? The judges of the FISA court are under no obligation to and in fact should not ever research arguments to be made in defense of the American people. The citizenry have a right to a fair trial, which means legal representation in that trial.

If you don't see the necessity for your interests to be represented in a courtroom, we have to go back to square one.

Then 20 years from now, when the (Top Secret) Privacy Czar, FISA Courts, and NSA all agree on something but public outrage happens anyway... what happens then? Are you going to request yet another layer of people to be shoved into this process?

I don't think the solution here is to add more people to the pot. I think the solution is to more clearly label what is and isn't considered "private". If metadata is that private to you, then the public should change the laws to clarify on that issue. But somehow I doubt it. (After all, web administrators on every damn website collect logs of your IP Addresses, how long you visit, which pages you visit, etc. etc. Many Websites embed Javascript code to track more precise information from the users... such as what they click and where the mouse hovers).

And no, Private Mode browsing doesn't stop that.

The core issue is "what is and isn't considered private" needs to be reclarified in today's world. Congress needs to work hard to keep these definitions up to date, instead of relying on courts to set precedents over the issue.

KnightExemplar wrote:The first step to this problem is understanding what is going on. The second step, is proposing a system that you can trust.
Unless of course your goal is to simply dispose of the current system, in which case the only thing I need to understand is that those assholes are still spying on me.


Destroying everything doesn't sound very productive to me. But suit yourself. IMO, such an action will only repeat the mistakes of the past as you rebuild from scratch.
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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby Thesh » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:38 pm UTC

I saw this linked on Bruce Schneier's blog, it's a really good read:

http://politicalscience.osu.edu/faculty ... shane3.pdf
Summum ius, summa iniuria.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby addams » Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:47 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:I saw this linked on Bruce Schneier's blog, it's a really good read:

http://politicalscience.osu.edu/faculty ... shane3.pdf

yes. Yes. It was a good read.
Once through is enough.

It seems so futile.
So fucking pointless.

The People are fussing about having old e-mails stored?
What are people fussing about? What was done with that information?

My first guess is that a great deal was done with that information to hurt individual human beings.
I may be one of them.

The men that sit in the Congressional Meetings may not have access to the information the Congress People are asking for.
Why? There may not be any records.

It does have an Orwellian ring to it.
I listened to one of those ernest and uptight TV personalities.

She said into the Camera, "Who knew What? And; When did They Know It?''
She communicated a sense of unease. The world is a mess and it must be someone's fault.

The NSA? maybe.
The way the Rook is at fault in a ChessGame.
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.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby johnie104 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:42 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:I'm not "debating", nor am I "supporting" anything. However, very many facts being reported are simply wrong. In particular, everything going on is 100% legal. This is NOT a violation of law by any stretch of the imagination. Whether or not I "support" it is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is what you are shouting out is wrong. It is 100% legal, due to the business records provision of FISA, and constitutional due to current court precedent.


Relevant.

On a more serious note, KnightExamplar, you're the first person that I've seen defending the NSA these latest months and you seem to know quite a lot legalese. Is your day-job associated with one of the government agencies (not an acussation, just interested)?
Signature removed because of it's blinding awesomeness.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby addams » Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:35 am UTC

That is tragically funny.
It seems to be true.

There was a time when reasonable people would discuss the Spirit of the Law.
People don't do that much anymore.

The Law seems to have had its Spirit broken.
Why do we have Laws, again?

I listened to a lecture about the Bar.
The Bar of Law.

"You may sore as high as you like" the lecturer said.
"The Law sets the Bar under which you may not fall."

In Secret nothing happens or all the real interesting things happen.
Secrecy is such a bad idea.

For an organization as large as the US Gov't to be shrouded in Secrecy seems like such a bad idea.
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.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:21 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:As it stands, courts are split... but ultimately it will only be a violation of the constitution if Judges deem it so.
Ha! Right. Just like Plessy v. Ferguson proved that segregation isn't a violation of the Constitution, because some judges said so one time. :roll:
KnightExemplar wrote:Then 20 years from now, when the (Top Secret) Privacy Czar, FISA Courts, and NSA all agree on something but public outrage happens anyway... what happens then? Are you going to request yet another layer of people to be shoved into this process?
No, that's ridiculous. If the person I sent to represent my interests fails to do so, I'll fire him and send in a new person. However, when no one in the room is tasked with protecting the fundamental liberties of the American people, it's no wonder that those liberties are regularly and egregiously violated.
KnightExemplar wrote:Destroying everything doesn't sound very productive to me. But suit yourself. IMO, such an action will only repeat the mistakes of the past as you rebuild from scratch.
Really? I've found that when you fire a guy for a specific failure, his replacement tends to avoid that particular failure. Because you know, he wants to keep his job. Conversely, when you have an employee who fails miserably at his task, as James Clapper and Gen. Keith Alexander have done, the worst thing you can do is shield them from criticism and tell them to stay the course.

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Re: NSA tracking cell phone locations

Postby addams » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:11 pm UTC

You used the word Liberty.
Do you Remember the Four Freedoms?

Liberty and Freedom. To different words for the same thing?

Freedom from Fear.
Freedom from Want.

Freedom of Speech.
Freedom of Religion.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Freedoms
https://www.google.com/search?q=the+fou ... 24&bih=599

May we discuss Freedoms and Liberties?
What are we afraid of?
Each other?

The technology is astounding and wonderful.
It is so amazing, it generats Conspiracy Theories.

Do you want your Address on the Open Internet? Why?
Do you remember what Cheney did? Rumor has it he had his residence pixelated.

Some people pay extra to Not be on The Map.
I am not rich and powerful. It is easy to find me. you?

It is not so important who is listening.
It is not so important who has your number.

What is important is; What is done with that information?
For most people, most of the time, Nothing is done with that information.

May we discuss Freedom.
Freedom From Fear.
What are we all afraid of?
What does the media tell us to fear?
Do we fear losing our cell phones and everyone in them?
Is that a reasonable fear?

Freedom From Want.
What responsibility do we have to one another?
What do You Want??

Freedom of Speech.
Who gets to talk?
Into a blank wall?
Who gets to speak?
When?

Who speaks your language?
What good is the freedom to speak,
When the audience can not understand more than three or four words?

Or; The audience is playing a computer game?
Or; The audience is watching pretty blondes in cute summer dresses.

Hey! We are only human! I like to watch pretty girls in pretty dresses, too.
Don't you?

Freedom of Religion.
I may becoming cynical.
Religion. We still have a secular religion of sorts.
The courts. The courts are the chapels and the churches of the US, Secular Religion.

I don't understand it.
Freedom of Religion has morphed to mean.
"Fuck You. I have a Right to Believe anything I want!"

And; To be fair, that is true.
We do have the right to think anything we want.
We are limited in what we can do, By Law.

Law; The sacred text of the Secular Religion.
What does the Law allow people to do with information and conversations.

Who would listen to the stupid stuff you say on the telephone?
Hell-o Bob; I am running late. Meet me at the Coffee Shop.

No one cares except Bob. Bob very nearly does not care.
Why the Hell would agents hired to find your weaknesses care?

What else do you say on the Telephone?
Do you leave messages of "I Love You."

Those messages would sure point to your weaknesses. right?
People that are too poor to have cell phones might gaze off into the distance
and wonder what it might be like to have your worries.

The Four Freedoms can form a foundation for a discussion of Freedom and Liberty.
That speech is one of our Treasures. We can use it. We should not abuse it.
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.


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