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back to article 'New' document shows how US forces carriers to allow snooping

Post-Snowden sensitivities to American spookery have been further inflamed after Australian website Crikey revealed a document that it says is a contract between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US Department of Justice and submarine cable operator Reach that allows the US entities to tap Reach's cables for national …

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Bronze badge
Holmes

Where is The Surprise?

One of these days there just might be a surprise, but until then I will assume that security services are there to mine data of many types to interdict criminals and their activities.

For me the only thing that come close to a surprise is that the US is so very poor at vetting, clearing and managing staff with the result that junior, disaffected elements, (I suspect life failures might be a fair term) run off so easily with the keys to the kingdom. Are they simply stupid or do they assume that getting what they ask for makes them immune to threats from staff whose pay grade should, but clearly does not, limit them to shoe cleaning, door opening and clearing the day's rubbish. This is surely the real story, US Collects buck loads of data, but cannot manage its use, in fact are they able to use anything they collect?

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Facepalm

Re: Where is The Surprise?

Somewhere in there you almost made a valid point. Let me help.

For me the only thing that come close to a surprise is that the US is so very poor at managing data and information with the result that junior, disaffected elements have access to vast amounts of top secret information and can easily walk off with copies of it.

Better?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Where is The Surprise?

For a fair few of us it's a surprise to find America, the self proclaimed protectors of freedom and human rights, to be so blatently breaching article after article of the "Universal Convention on Human Rights".

So far I'm counting Article 12, Article 14, and Article 15.

Well done America, you've managed to utterly dismiss any claims you might make to any moral high ground.

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Re: Where is The Surprise?

you forgot

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So here's the surprise

Your belief that they are only after wrong doers and miscreants. What next if you've nothing to hide you've nothing to fear. These things should be outed everytime.

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Coat

Re: So here's the surprise

I'm assuming that this will have as much effect on the people shouting "Obama is doing this BOOO! BOO OBAMA!" as Bush's revelation that PRISM was his idea and he thinks it's great.

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Anonymous Coward

"Now Broadband" => more invisible than a spooky spook

"PCCW now operates UK Broadband, provider of the Now wireless broadband service."

It would be far more accurate to say "PCCW holds the licences for".

When the dozen or so UK regional wireless broadband licence auctions were held around ten years ago, PCCW won most of them, and those they didn't win at the time, they bought afterwards.

Is there actually a working regional or national wireless broadband service in the UK from PCCW? No. Never has been more than a token effort. You wouldn't know the service allegedly existed unless you'd been watching very very very closely. Don't really know why PCCW bid, don't know why they weren't required to return the licences in the absence of the required service.

It appears they might have wanted the spectrum for 4G, rather than offering the wireless broadband service required by the licences, but even then, they've not done much with it.

Just thought it worth a mention before we return to the spook-related stuff. That is all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Now Broadband" => more invisible than a spooky spook

You would not believe how much money was squandered/spent on the PCCW token network...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Now Broadband" => more invisible than a spooky spook

"You would not believe how much money was squandered/spent on the PCCW token network..."

Try me. The amount they squandered on the auctions is a matter of public record.

Assuming token doesn't mean token ring/token bus, I'll start with a token round figure. Y'know. Very round, one digit.

Or do you mean the other direction of unbelievable? In which case, make me a starting bid and we can play "The Price Is Right".

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Anonymous Coward

Now broadband, the customers and the owner

"PCCW now operates UK Broadband, provider of the Now wireless broadband service. We're sure its customers will be interested to know its owner has form signing up for snooping charters"

It would be good if they were interested to know, and even better if they "voted with their feet" moving to... (chuckle), other, snoop-free providers [here goes a long list of those in the UK]. But the customers WON'T. be interested to know. At least, 99.9% won't be, and the rest... well, the rest will let the steam off in some forum or another, and they'll carry on regardless. Maybe a couple will jump the ship... a really small price to pay for the freedom of living in a terror free world ;)

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Silver badge

Re: Now broadband, the customers and the owner

" a really small price to pay for the freedom of living in a terror free world ;) "

Which doesn't happen, and will not happen by slurping data from your average punter, and people are well aware of that. Real terrorists will start out by staying under the radar to begin with, and will assume Big Brother is watching.

And it still doesn't stop local yokels from emptying a couple of clips into innocent bystanders in the US, unless my memory has failed me entirely.

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Re: Now broadband, the customers and the owner

Real terrorists won't start assuming Big Brother is watching: real terrorists always have assumed it.

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Mushroom

Re: Now broadband, the customers and the owner

I've always considered the *real* terrorists to be America itself.

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Bronze badge

Profiling Creep

The major Issue I have to that there WILL BE profile creep by governments.

So they take your WHOLE browsing history, email, blogs and other stuff (even if you PC is used by someone else, or have your wireless hacked) and crunch this into a big profile. From this profile scores will be allocated for the suitability of jobs, travel, jobs etc......

This is already done for most of us with credit anyway.

So in years to come kid will to told by "Sorry you can't use the internet in case it affects your profile for that government job you might never apply for"

This will happen its just a matter of time, They just can't resist it.

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Big Brother

If, Indeed, it is true that

«if you're not doing anything wrong, you've nothing to worry about», then why, pray tell, are the NSA, GCHQ, etc, etc, ad nauseam so eschauffés about the fact that their snooping on us all has been revealed - hardly for the first time of course, but now in an incontrovertible manner - and why are they so determined to get their tender little paws on Edward Joseph Snowden ? A guilty conscience, perhaps ? - although that seems unlikely in the case of people utterly without that mental quality. Rather, I suspect, that they wish to continue their spying without the problems caused by a (slightly more) aware public....

Henri

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Bronze badge

tt appears

It appears all direct communications (CB, Amateur Radio, FRS, Mesh networks, maybe even tin cans on string ) are forbidden.

Speak into the vase, sir.

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Headmaster

A UK perspective from history

Many years ago, when Great Britain had an Empire and the US was still ramping up its financial and industrial power (say late 1800s -> 1939[ish]), this country owned and/or controlled most of the international and intercontinental communications cables in the world. This started off as a side effect of running the Empire, but it became apparent, very early on, what the possibilities were when foreign governments and companies embraced the advantages of "instant" communications.

GB, having grasped the usefulness of being able to tap the cables, then went to a great deal of trouble to try to prevent other states from laying cables of their own on routes that did not touch one of the GB controlled nodal points. And GB was, for many years, successful at this - until those pesky Americans started throwing their growing weight and money around...

There are many papers out there on this subject, but they all point to the same result: GB wanted to eavesdrop on as much communications traffic as it could.

So why on earth should anybody be surprised that a) the US does too and b) the UK still carries on recording everything that flows in, out or around the country?

Those that ignore history are destined to repeat it [or apparently be constantly surprised].

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Anonymous Coward

i.e. Meta data is not anonymous

So they also grabbed identity data for subscribers and billing data, i.e. bank account data. So much for Obama's claim that this data is anonymous meta data only for linkage. If they did that for Australia they did it for USA.

Vodafone's attempt to buy Telekom Deutschland should be put on hold by the Germans till we find out more about their links to this. Remember Greece? Vodafone Greece had taps on Greek politicians phones?

If there's deals with carriers to hand data over to NSA, I bet there's also deals with mobile phone companies, and internet companies. i.e. they probably also get UK internet subscriber data too.

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Anonymous Coward

OK

Some folks act like surveillance of communications is a bad thing.

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Anonymous Coward

If you are not doing anything wrong, You have nothing to worry about-- until you do....

There's so many NSA / Snowden articles that I can't give credit to the person who wrote this but it sure resonated with me....

"I don't like the idea that someday I might piss off a former friend that just happens to be in the right position to misuse the powers of internet eavesdropping that come with his job. It's shocking I don't trust govt employees to keep to their declared purposes, no? After all, you know for sure that nobody ever abuses the powers that comes with the job for even small personal gains, right? And suing post facto it's the same as if the damage never happened and everything will be just as before."

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Silver badge

Re: If you are not doing anything wrong, You have nothing to worry about-- until you do....

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/18/dozens_of_london_cops_investigated_for_misusing_controversial_police_database/

"The number of Metropolitan Police officers investigated for misusing a controversial police database has more than doubled in the past five years, The Register can reveal."

Using that to extrapolate for abuses of the spook's databases...where there is much less accountability and (presumably) more comprehensive data...paints quite a scary picture.

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No

Back in about 2005 I learned of a court case in the US, reported by a a page or two on the WWW. The issue was a spy agency was suing a submarine cable manufacturer because it failed to deliver secrets.

The manufacturer submitted the ace salesmen. Before installation he guaranteed that the system was effective. They asked him how he could know. he answered "Because I have installed the system for fourteen other spy agencies."

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Because they can

Anybody who thinks that security and intelligence authorities AREN'T snooping on us is living on another planet. There are back doors for their use in practically everything you use online. It would be naïve to deny there weren't.

Whether it is morally right or wrong to spy on innocent people is another argument. They do it because they can.

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