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back to article Obama administration defends mass call-data slurping

A senior White House official has said that the US National Security Agency is perfectly correct to be downloading the mobile metadata every US caller, and politicians on both sides of the political divide have rallied to defend the practice. The NSA's policy – revealed on Wednesday in a leaked court order that the anonymous (no …

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We will find out soon enough that its been going on in the UK for sometime already.

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Angel

Keeping the balance of the force...

After the amazing vanishing act of communistic (and other totalitarian) states, it falls to the Liberal Democracies to ensure the proper balance of the force. The dark side will never die ...

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Big Brother

Hopey Changey the Community Organizer lands another one

Really, that guy and Dubya are just evil twins separated at birth.

On a another tack, for a country in which there are people who still believe in satanism and demonic possession, that picture should be quite disturbing. Festering remote-controlled bodies? Possibly with posterior cranial pouches for lizards? Shurely not.

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Thumb Up

Re: Hopey Changey the Community Organizer lands another one

Possibly with posterior anal pouches for heads? More likely.

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Big Brother

"There have been approximately 100 plots and also arrests made since 2009 by the FBI"

And how many convictions...?

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Re: "There have been approximately 100 plots and also arrests made since 2009 by the FBI"

Consider each drone strike a conviction.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "There have been approximately 100 plots and also arrests made since 2009 by the FBI"

The Guantanamo Bay Court is still under construction. Construction is estimated to be finished on February 30th!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "There have been approximately 100 plots and also arrests made since 2009 by the FBI"

And how many convictions...?

sorry, this information is classified.

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Re: "There have been approximately 100 plots and also arrests made since 2009 by the FBI"

And how many renditions, surely.

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Re: "There have been approximately 100 plots and also arrests made since 2009 by the FBI"

"And how many convictions...?"

Hey they got the guy who tried and abysmally failed to make Ricin from bottles of castor oil with the intention of poisoning his drug dealer to whom he owed a lot of money.

The plot was uncovered because his flatmate went to hospital with a bad cold thinking he had Ricin poisoning.

No intelligence required (or observed in the offender and his flatmate apparently) but homeland security chalked it up as a win in the fight against terror.

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Re: "There have been approximately 100 plots and also arrests made since 2009 by the FBI"

Your broken gestalt regions have made you believe a sarcastic comment equals approval. Yay for our side.

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Re: "There have been approximately 100 plots and also arrests made since 2009 by the FBI"

By my rough math, with ~~~4,000 drone strikes, assuming half were 'misses' that only killed innocents, 'convictions' outnumber arrests by about 20 to one or more. Most of the people they killed did not even know they were in a fight. Impressively evil even against the increasingly high bar set by the current U.S. President.

As an aside: I am very impressed by much of the commentary here. It gives me hope that the *eventual* push-back against this may succeed.

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In related news....

There has been a great mess made in Washington DC as the barriers put in place to contain the slime oozing from the pores of politicians have proven inadequate to hold back the current high tide.

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Anonymous Coward

I understand that JC Penney is planning to introduce a limited-edition teapot that resembles Obama.

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Anonymous Coward

In case you don't get AC's joke...

http://www.google.com/search?q=teapot+hitler

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Anonymous Coward

Treason & Terrorism

If you take an oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States (by publicly swearing on a Bible on live TV no less) and you fail to live up to that oath by deliberately violating the Constitution at every possible turn; it is my humble opinion that that makes you a Treasonous Coward and that the full force of law should act to remove you and your minions from office by any and all means possible.

Since it is impossible to reliably prevent terrorism, especially that from small cells or individuals; the way that terrorists win without firing a shot is to scare people just enough that they ruin their own everyday lives.

Governmental overreach is a prime example of such stupidity as they're actually aiding and abetting the enemy by doing the wrong things.

Off to the side Granny, take off your shoes & colostomy bag, empty your purse, open your mouth, spread your cheeks, let's see that laptop, and your emails and phone records for the last 6 years, where have you traveled, what are the names and contact info for all your family, friends and associates?

Oh and by the way, if we don't like the way you or your friends and family look or smell, we'll have the IRS, NSA, CIA, FBI, ETC. chase you down and give you the colonoscopy of a lifetime with Hot Habenaro Sauce as a lubricant.

Now just sayin...but that might just make you want to join the other side. See "V for Vendetta" for details.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Treason & Terrorism

You know they're coming for you now, right? After all, terrorism has been redefined as "any threat, perceived or implied, to the security of a current politicians job."

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Anonymous Coward

Terror vs. Crime ... Which is the greatest threat to you or me...?

The US is full of contradictions. News- No $ in the pot for local police: "Detroit Citizens Protect Themselves After Police Force Decimated". Plenty for the Military-industrial-complex though as we deal with imaginary-- sorry-- 'real' terror threats. Even with all the billions spent we missed the Boston incident and 9/11. Many of my friends and family have been held-up at gunpoint. Sadly a few were shot and killed. No one was caught and jailed. Where were the local police? Sorry, no money! But hey we're the richest country in the world! I ask, which of the two tragedies above are more likely to affect the average citizen?

I thought the NSA wasn't permitted to spy on its own citizens? Except of course where it does 'on an ongoing daily basis'. NYTimes: "April-25-2013. The NSA obtained a court order requiring Verizon's Business Network Services to provide information on all calls in its system to the National Security Agency 'on an ongoing daily basis'. It reminds me of how the rules are so exquisitely manipulated in George Orwell's Animal Farm.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Terror vs. Crime ... Which is the greatest threat to you or me...?

"I thought the NSA wasn't permitted to spy on its own citizens?"

No, the CIA is not allowed to operate within the borders of the US.

The NSA has no such restrictions.

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Anonymous Coward

Yep

In the past decade, Federal and State governments spent $1.5 trillion on the "war on terror", in part by cutting funding to education, local police, and other unimportant services, with the balance borrowed from our dear friends in China -- who are undoubedly delighted that we're preoccupied by bogeymen instead of competing with China's technological growth. As a bonus, we seriously pissed off a good portion of the earth's population, creating more wannabe terrorists than there would have been otherwise.

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Anonymous Coward

"creating more wannabe terrorists than there would have been otherwise."

Verdad! Isn't that the truth! We create what we fear and do not understand....

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ACx

Re: Terror vs. Crime ... Which is the greatest threat to you or me...?

There is also no restriction on the NSA out side of the US. Yep, they have your data too.

Anyone holding out hope that the UK will stand up to the US, or just funnel everything we have to the US?

Mean while, we install iffy Chinese hardware in to our telecoms systems.

I bet Russia are feeling right left out.

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Big Brother

Re: Terror vs. Crime ... Which is the greatest threat to you or me...?

USAF- United States of Animal Farm.

It has a certain ring to it...

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Flame

Re: "There have been approximately 100 plots and also arrests made since 2009 by the FBI"

Yeah, and of that 100 plots/arrests made by the FBI, 99 of them were hatched by the FBI as "stings" targeting otherwise innocent people. If there is a conspiracy active in the USA, it is our so-called "security" and "justice" organizations who are conspiring to enable a 1984-esq society, the US Constitution be damned!

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Re: "There have been approximately 100 plots and also arrests made since 2009 by the FBI"

"Yeah, and of that 100 plots/arrests made by the FBI, 99 of them were hatched by the FBI as "stings" targeting otherwise innocent people. If there is a conspiracy active in the USA, it is our so-called "security" and "justice" organizations who are conspiring to enable a 1984-esq society, the US Constitution be damned!"

The 100th was a plot to put itch powder in the president's smalls.

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Meh

Now you know

What the Utah data centre is for......

Fucking governments. No doubt, I will be on someones watch list for that comment.....

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Big Brother

Everything is perfectly lawful ...

in any regime that interprets its own laws ... and is empowered to conceal anything it desires under the guise of national security. Any US citizen reading their national Constitution cannot rely on the plain meaning of the words therein, as the interpretation of those words is the province of the government in power. Thus, "torture" is not torture, but "enhanced interrogation."

And the fourth amendment in the "Bill of Rights," the intent of which was to protect citizens from the unrestrained power of a central government, contains the word "unreasonable" regarding search and seizure. To the common man, "unreasonable" is fairly plain in its intent. To a government agency, the word "unreasonable" is sufficiently elastic to reach the moon, as was proven this week by a Supreme Court decision allowing DNA seizure, for retention in a permanent national database, from anyone arrested for any "serious" offense. Define "serious," please?

As former President William Jefferson Clinton, explained: "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

Each evening the mice come forth to nibble the sausage in our cupboard; they take so little, there is no need to tear the house apart to hunt them down. And at long last, there will be nothing left but the string from the end of the sausage. That, too, will not be worth fighting for. We Americans have grown quite comfortable with our Ministry of Peace, our Ministry of Love, our Ministry of Truth, and our Ministry of Plenty.

Rivers of blood flow. Freedoms are gained; freedoms are lost. Only history endures.

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Anonymous Coward

"It allows counter-terrorism personnel to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities," the source said, "particularly people located inside the United States."

That is why you get a court order to look at the known and suspected terrorists and whom they call. The call records are not deleted immediately anyway, so they can always go back and request past call record information on those people as well. You don't need ALL call records especially when 99.999999999% have nothing to do with what you are looking at.

I think we need NSA day, where everyone calls their 7 digit number but in a different area code. Also to call your number + and - one. I wonder what the NSA would be doing when they would have a bunch of more records to sort through and have nothing to do with what they are looking for.

Also, wouldn't a terrorist more likely use a prepaid phone? The ones you just buy a card to add to your account and the operator really has no idea who you are? That sounds much more plausible and the NSA doesn't know who has those numbers.

"There have been approximately 100 plots and also arrests made since 2009 by the FBI," Feinstein said. "I do not know to what extent metadata was used or if it was used, but I do know this: That terrorists will come after us if they can, and the only thing we have to deter this is good intelligence."

She should know. If you are going to defend something, you should be able to quantify it. Most likely all of the FBI arrests have nothing to do with data collected by the NSA.

I think all politicians should be subject to a strip and cavity search at anytime. It can't hurt, it might, just might prevent a terrorist activity. I am fairly certain the CDC and the EPA will need to be called when the cavities of Feinstein get searched; they haven't been used in a very long time and no man has boldly gone there before; and for good reason.

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Anonymous Coward

Also, wouldn't a terrorist more likely use a prepaid phone? The ones you just buy a card to add to your account and the operator really has no idea who you are? That sounds much more plausible and the NSA doesn't know who has those numbers.

Oh really? What do you think happens when you use Siri, its many Android equivalents, Google Now/Voice and Viber? You are creating a (now High Definition quality) digital voiceprint which is at least tied to an entity that will allow data aggregation. Must save Echelon a heck of a lot of work identifying people. As I said before, this is where WhatsApp was pure genius: it crated a single point of intercept for a LOT of private traffic that was otherwise almost impossible to get without subverting a heck of a lot of mobile operators. Must have saved a fortune on hours convincing judges to issue warrants.

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Anonymous Coward

Why would a terrorist being using the Siri or the like? If the use of voice prints are being used, then they don't need all call records. The terrorists are not idiots. They are not going to use any of the services you mentioned.

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Childcatcher

Terrists are the new commies

We've seen this all before. Terrists are simply the new generation's commies - The faceless and remorseless enemies who will do anything to hurt us because they're jealous of our freedom (fries).

Once we've beaten the terrists into the ground there'll be someone else .. because we need them.

Icon, because no one ever thinks of the children ...

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Boffin

High School Reunion Contact List

Obama just really wanted to be sure to be the organizer for his high school class next big reunion. They put it under threat of terrorism so that he will not be embarrassed by charges of abuse of governmental resources and authority.

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Show me the fucking terrorists, already.

Jesus H. Christ on a minibike ... Has the entire world gone mad?

Terrorists do NOT exist!

Deluded religious/political xenophobes DO exist, yes, but as is usually the case, they are horribly ignorant and usually underfunded (the Bush/Blair administration and the IRA being rare exceptions).

The concept of "terrorism" is actually a weapon of mass distrAction.

It all started when Western governments started dropping funding for schools ... Keep the voters as stupid and ignorant as possible in order to pocket as much loot in a short period of time as they possibly can.

Dark Ages MkII, here we come ...

(First posted here: http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/576746 )

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Anonymous Coward

Terror: good for business and good for law makers

Otherwise they might actually have to think about the future.

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Black Helicopters

"Politicians were quick to reassure their constituents that this was all a lot of fuss over nothing – this had been going on for years"

Here I was worried! What a relief!

"I do not know to what extent metadata was used or if it was used, but I do know this..."

Yes?

"That terrorists will come after us if they can, and the only thing we have to deter this is good intelligence."

It's a bloody shame common sense is dead, cause that might have come in handy.

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xyz
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Happy

no wonder Teresa May's been suffering from....

..Fear Of Missing Out... BTW, the bloke yesterday on here saying you get pr0n in your face on the interweb as soon as you leave the major sites may have a point...if he's been searching for Teresa May. I wonder if her other occupation is mentioned in the register of members' interests. Now we know why she wants to block certain sites!! Do a google.

Back on topic...we're all in a dictatorship now, it's just some people don't know they are.

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Anonymous Coward

Patriot Act

The Patriot Act and perceived ubiquitous data access of US secret services is costing US companies real business already. Pointing out that any communication is unsafe will only exacerbate this.

I work at a leading UK University (therefore the AC, but I'm sure the NSA can find out who I am :-)). Our IT management is, like so many, suffering from the outsourcing bug ("We're crap. They are also crap and more expensive. But it gives us somebody to blame."). One of the bidders for hosting our email was Google. The unofficial reason why they didn't have a chance was that they couldn't guarantee that it wouldn't end up on US servers. We are creating IP and doing business with companies all over the world. If any of this is of interest to a competitor (or business partner) who is a company of national importance to the US (1), we could as well have given it to the Chinese (2).

(1) Anybody whose competitors are foreign and who can afford a Washington lobbyist.

(2) Just fishing for a few downvotes from the East.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Patriot Act

I can actually give you real, proper reason why you would not want to touch Google with a barge pole for non-personal email: you inherit Google's liability for the present breaches of the Data Protection laws in almost any EU country including the UK.

When you receive an email from an outside, you have a duty to protect that information if it's a personal email or contains personal details. However, the first thing you allow when receiving that email is that an untrusted party (Google) is allowed to access that email without permission of the originator. Your problem: YOU allowed that, so it's YOU who will legally be in the dock, with kind thanks from Google.

Google has cooked up a whole series of excuses why what it does isn't illegal (just see Gmail help), and it takes some reading before you spot it all, but the reality is that since it offered Gmail in this format in Europe it has been in flagrant breach of EU Data Protection laws. The current "update" to their privacy policy didn't make one iota difference, which is why they're now being investigated all over Europe (and why they're lobbying like maniacs in Brussels and all over Europe). Heck, I even got reports from Switzerland that Bern was crawling with them like maggots on the as yet still twitching corpse of personal privacy.

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Anonymous Coward

America, like many great empires before it, is dying, and an empire is at its worst in its dying breath (UK and India, Rome and the Christians). This too shall pass. The death of America (personal wealth and aquisition of things over people) is actually moving away from the dark ages - this is the age of Aquarius

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WTF?

"That terrorists will come after us if they can, and the only thing we have to deter this is good intelligence."

Or change your foreign policy. As in many other instances legal does not equate to right, or good for that matter.

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That terrorists will come after us if they can, and the only thing we have to deter this is good intelligence."

I can't say I've seem much intelligence in what's going on there.

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FAIL

The US security apparatus is so good ...

they managed to catch most of the schemes their FBI 'plants' were involved in.

In fact the security is so 'good' they missed the Boston bombing and the Detroit 'pants on fire' guy. And they can't even keep the Chinese out of their computers.

The US is a failure, especially when you consider their failed wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

Don't laugh, Britain, it was where that idiot, Mad May of Maidenhead, wants to put YOU!

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Surprised? No

Anybody who happily orders murderous attacks on civilians going about their lawful business, such as (shock horror!) having a wedding party, or simply tending goats in a field, is clearly a man of no decent principles whatsoever.

Can the Nobel committee rescind a prize? It's about bloody time they did.

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"It's either that or the terrorists win, apparently"

Terrorists winning meaning changing the way we live?

Obvious deduction is that terrorists=politicians

And yes, they certainly have won.

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"The actions of the NSA were "lawful," said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)"

So were the actions of the Nazis.

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Black Helicopters

I wonder

Most people blow a gasket when the the Nazi's are mentioned. I think a more recent reference would be appropriate - the Stasi.

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Gold badge

Two points...

a) The terrorists have won. The goal of terrorism is to terrorize, and make those terrorized make irrational decisions and actions. Taking away the rights of US citizens and disrupting the economy is just what they wanted -- well, republicrats (Democrats + Republicans acting as a single party) have taken away our rights, and disrupted the economy.

b) Don't blame me, I didn't vote for these assholes. I voted libertarian. I think Ron Paul's idea of stripping out 5 cabinet departments in his first term of office is quite unworkable, but the checks and balances in gov't would have stopped that. He would have at least pushed to eliminate illegal NSA programs like this, though, instead of coming out in support of unconstitutional actions.

It was clear when Obama was running, that he was fine with spying on whoever he pleased, was not interested in getting out of any wars, or in trying to balance the budget. He sure fooled a lot of people but it was obvious based on his voting record when he represented the state of illinois that this was lip service. As can be seen from the article, the republicans + democrats are effectively now acting as a single party, they snipe enough about "the other party" to give the illusion of having differences of opinion, but if you look at their overall views they are nearly identical (in this case, both support spying on the public.)

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