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back to article Snowden: NSA whacks US in the WALLET, slurps millions of contacts books

The National Security Agency is hurting the US economy with its "dragnet" surveillance, says uber-leaker Edward Snowden. Snowden made his remarks at an event in Russia last week, footage of which surfaced on Monday. He also alleged, via The Washington Post, that the NSA has been slurping the contents of some 250 million …

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Anonymous Coward

Ok, I think we got the message. Actually, we got it about 2 months ago.

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That's exactly the attitude that those in positions of power were hoping for. Congratulations.

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Go

The message didn't arrive at the relevant address yet!

I don't think the message arrived yet. It does not look like the responsible bureaucrats and politicians took notice. Probably it will take a good number of scandals and elections to get the message through: Most people don't like the nanny state or the all-knowing secret police.

The People are supposed to make the important decisions on how to run the country, it's called a democracy after all. But this seems a difficult message to get across, so keep on revealing, Mr. Snowden. As his information grows older, he should be able to publish more and more without endangering anybody. I hope he created a nice archive to publish it all for posteriority in some 30 years. To learn from history, we need a true account of history and the secret bureaucracy will probably not give it to us.

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Re: The message didn't arrive at the relevant address yet!

In case you failed to noticed, few on Capitol Hill took note or even grunted over the information.

That implies one of two things:

1: They already knew and agree with it.

2: They're too busy sabotaging the US economy and government to really care about the NSA's antics.

Besides, they're all busy in Washington, waddling about with Confederate flags, talking smack, shutting down the government (well, except for the DoD, though Veterans services are all on hold, sorry about your war wounds, Johnny, tough shit.) and threatening to nuke the US economy by defaulting on the national debt because a minority won't accept majority rule.

In short, because a few won't recognize democratic principles.

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Re: The message didn't arrive at the relevant address yet!

"nuke the US economy by defaulting on the national debt"

The national debt and the ever-increasingness of it has already nuked the US economy.

Raising the "debt ceiling" and "not defaulting" is, metaphorically speaking, shutting eyes, putting fingers in ears and singing La-La-La while stacking more and more kegs of powder around the bonfire.

One day, probably in most of our lifetimes, there will be one almighty bang.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The message didn't arrive at the relevant address yet!

I would disagree.

The message has finally showed in the vicinity its destination address sometimes last week.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/14/conservative-peer-spying-gchq-surveillance

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/oct/11/guardian-correct-publish-nsa-vince-cable

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/11/hillary-clinton-spying

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/10/nsa-surveillance-patriot-act-author-bill

It definitely took a while and took a lot ot of repeating for some of those in power to actually get it.

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WTF?

Re: The message didn't arrive at the relevant address yet!

What I particularly like in this situation, at least here in Australia, is the number of my half arsed countrymen who when we start talking about such things, respond "where there is smoke there is fire" and even more deeply thought about "if you are doing nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about". Both of these thoughts of course are usually the result of somebody who shouldn't be allowed to have a computer that alone be involved in the Internet.

One of the decidedly soul destroying parts about this whole deal with Edward Snowden is that across the other side of the Atlantic half of the American population think is a criminal and a traitor and the other half recognise that what he's doing is protecting them (and us) from their own government. If one is to run round the states asking why people carry guns premised on the Second Amendment to the Constitution they will tell you that the whole purpose of gun laws originally was to prevent the citizenry being put upon by the government, that is to say the militias etc were there to protect the civilian population from a government gone mad. Problematically successive governments have gone mad, and they have done that hand in glove with the "5 eyes", which of course include you in Britain, us here in Australia, those funny little sheep despoilers over in Kiwi land.

I still see it as an insanely sad reflection on the human condition the people see it as being completely okay for the government to know every little nuance about their life, but if you asked them if they have curtains on their bedroom windows they are shocked with the very thought of losing that level of privacy when in fact the invasion of our digital privacy has the capacity to be far more intrusive than a peeping Tom standing our bedroom window watching us make the 2 headed dog.

I'm not sure whether it's me or whether there is a school of thought like me who believe that there are some people who shouldn't have the vote when they don't take one minute to consider the effect of government policy on their lives.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The message didn't arrive at the relevant address yet!

"if you are doing nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about" said the leader of the local SS...

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Re: The message didn't arrive at the relevant address yet!

@ Daemon Singer

That's easy. Everyone that thinks Snowden is a traitor, shouldn't have the right to vote. If someone is so stupid as to believe everything their government tells them, they should be immediately disqualified.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The message didn't arrive at the relevant address yet!

Over half of our deficit comes from a decade of war and massive tax breaks for the rich. Bush nuked the economy by cutting taxes at the same time as increasing government spending (which included off budget perpetual wars)

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"seeking to understand online communication tools & technologies"

One could say exactly the same thing about China's great firewall. The real question, what do they do once they "understand"? Somehow I believe the answer is less "oh, that's all" and more "we'll have to fix that."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "seeking to understand online communication tools & technologies"

The main differences between the NSA programs and China's great firewall.

1) The Chinese people know about it. So the program is much more transparent.

2) The great firewall restricts access to certain things whereas the NSA programs just get you on a list for extra scrutiny.

So, the NSA programs have traded one set of evils for another.

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America is slowly sinking into the sea of irrelevance - the death cries of a civilisation are always loudest near the end, but if you have children I would ensure that they learn to speak Chinese for the future. End of line.

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The financial argument is by far the most powerful of them all in this case. The privacy, safety and principal arguments can we overcome by the government. It is much harder for the government to defend financial damage it caused.

The problem is that no one with any influence or leverage is making the argument. Until a few big name companies speak up and show how the disclosure of the mass surveillance programs has harmed them nobody is going to listen. So far there hadn't been much of a public outcry from any large companies, which is sad.

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Anonymous Coward

They can't, secret orders from a secret court with a hush order in place. So, if they talk about it, they violate the hush order. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc., all want to disclose more about what they are asked to provide but cannot.

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bri

It's not so easy

Many big corporations are actually making profit off of it, those losing are usually those of the "new economy" - pure cloud providers, which try to sell to international customers. Their voice however is not so loud yet as they don't make that much money. Traditional companies however (Oracle et al.) are actually better off, as they don't have any compelling cloud offering, so this situation benefits them. The only big corporation in some quandary, seems to be Microsoft with their Azure and Office 365 and even for them cloud is rather strategic bet than money making enterprise.

Other companies making money off of cloud services, are often doing almost the same as NSA (Google/Facebook anyone?).

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"They can't, secret orders from a secret court with a hush order in place"

The hush order does not allow them to talk about surveillance programs and what data they pass on to NSA. Google, Microsoft et al are still free to say "hey, since that Snowden stuff became public, users and clients are leaving us in droves and our bottom line numbers are plummeting"

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Indeed, "Customer perception of our products has been directly, and negatively, impacted by disclosure of mass global surveillance by the US Government. Revenues in the last full quarter since the information became public have fallen x% with a $M reduction in bottom line revenue."

They can not only do that, it is a fantastic way for a CEO to address a less than stellar quarter or year. They can actually blame the government and not come off as complete nutters.

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Joke

Have pity for the NSA

They have to spend oodles of money every year and they have to show some results for it. They did the 'snooping on terrorists' thing last decade, so the 'snooping on everybody and their grandma' thing was the only realistic (and obvious) target left.

What else should they do, ask for a budget-cut?

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Substitutes.

Snowden, like a number people on this forum, seems to think that sanctimonious bourgeois platitudes and verities are acceptable substitutes for political, historical, and societal insight.

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Re: Substitutes.

Insight don't mean twaddle unless you actually do something.

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Re: Substitutes.

"Snowden, like a number people on this forum, seems to think that sanctimonious bourgeois platitudes and verities are acceptable substitutes for political, historical, and societal insight."

Verity:

Noun

A true principle or belief, esp. one of fundamental importance.

I go along with a true principle or belief, esp. one of fundamental importance, being more important than "political insight".

As for "historical, and societal insight", I take it yours doesn't include such matters as the abolition of slavery, not sending children up chimneys, votes for women, etc., since reforms such as these arose from verities taking precedence.

(No comment on "sanctimonious bourgeois platitudes", as the words in that context constitute little more than a sanctimonious, bourgeois platitude).

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Re: Substitutes.

A typical Turtle post - almost entirely semantically null.

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These things hurt the economy as soon as people know about them. Like the things he just told us about. And it does. And it should.

The problem is where can you move your stuff to where there isn't a bunch of power-crazed fuckbags that have legislated themselves the right to read other people's email? There isn't anywhere. If there suddenly was one; you can bet your bottom fucking dollar that they'd been paid to declare total privacy and hoover the emails anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

You own servers perhaps?

Come now. You should have expected nil privacy since before Snowden leaked. It's funny how everyone is concerned suddenly. Their have been people discussing this for years. Wake up sleepy heads. The more of us there are, the longer we take get killed off.

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Re: You own servers perhaps? @AC

I did think this was what was happening for some time, but you think we should have expected it? That we should have said "Oh, that internet thing is bound to be leaky, so let's not worry about it"?

Bollocks! The fact that it has been done does not mean we would have allowed it if we had been told about it. Apologists for the "security" agencies and snooping governments, like you, are sickening.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You own servers perhaps?

How many people who actually have a good understanding of IT were actually surprised by the revelation of what they were doing?

I was very surprise by the fact it was actually revealed, but with things like the Patriot act and the Microsoft antitrust suddenly vanishing, the windows NSA backdoor rumors, the XP licensing conditions (the modifying your system part) and Microsoft buying Skype, I wasn't surprised that it goes on.

It always seemed fairly obvious that Microsoft cut a deal. And the Patriot act meant that most other IT firms ended up with similar obligations.

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Thanks NSA, you're smashing

I for one like to buy American made kit. I find comfort in the NSA checking my router configuration for attacks from terrorists.

I think it's good that my business data is stored on US servers with hidden logins, finally, someone takes an interest in my powerpoint presentation!

I like that they vet my girlfriends, and take an interest in my life. I don't bother to reading all my email, but NSA spends more time doing that. That's the benefit of US cloud services!

Somebody cares to check my Google searches for terrorist tendencies? Terrific, my terrorist tendencies need to checked for. Can they also check my doctors report too?

My mother didn't download those photos I sent her, but the NSA did and took enough trouble to run face matching software on them. They care more than my own mother.

Look, any agency that can turn MI5 and GCHQ against Brits is one hell of a good agency. It must have been their overwhelming goodness that convinced Parker to defend spying on Brits for a foreign power.

What I think we need is a little light, it lights green if the NSA approves and red if the NSA doesn't approve. Then we go through life, voting, eating, shagging, speaking and always checking the light to make sure we're good citizens. No saying the wrong thing, or searching for bad stuff, voting the wrong candidate, shagging the bad girl.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thanks NSA, you're smashing

[GREEN]

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Re: Thanks NSA, you're smashing

Doronron, that is brilliant! I raise my hat to you (the roo-leather Barmah today)

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Anonymous Coward

@ doronron

Look, any agency that can turn MI5 and GCHQ against Brits is one hell of a good agency. It must have been their overwhelming goodness that convinced Parker to defend spying on Brits for a foreign power.

I think you're granting too much credit to the NSA.

GCHQ and MI5 have been turned against Brits by Brits. We have a large number of left leaning members of society who instruct us all about 'fairness' at every available opportunity. They are responsible for such wonderous gems as:

"You can't use racial profiling to identify those most likely to commit terrorist acts, you must target every citizen equally".

"you can't use racial profiling to target black yoofs for stop and search, it doesn't matter that they are the ones who are most likely to commit the kinds of crimes stop and search is meant to prevent, you must target every citizen equally"

GCHQ and MI5 have no option other than to target every British Citizen, as to do anything else would be politically incorrect, and have the lefties calling them bad names.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thanks NSA, you're smashing

@ doronron

For a moment, before I blinked, I thought I read: "I like that they vet my girlfriends, and take an interest in my wife"

Sigh. It's only Tuesday....

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@ obnoxiousGit

You are living up to your name there, pal! I'm baffled how you can turn this crappy state of affairs into a statement of your own bizarre political stance. Where you think "left" or "right" politics comes into this I don't know.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Intractable Potsherd

What bizarre "political stance" was it I stated?

Oh no, that's right I didn't post any political stance at all, I just pointed out why GCHQ and MI5 have no option other than to target everyone equally.

What political stance do you think a just left of centre individual like myself should take about this subject?

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Anonymous Coward

Tinfoil hats

All those tinfoil hat wearers were correct about government snooping all along. I wonder what other crazy ideas of theirs are true.

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Re: Tinfoil hats

The effectiveness of tin-foil hats?

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Re: Tinfoil hats

There's an interesting book called:

"Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry"

It runs through a number of the tactics used to discredit various movements. One of these was creating association with organizations or groups that seem crazy or undesirable would be used to stop movements gathering power. (In the old days, C18 would show up to demonstrations. These days, association by propaganda machine seems to be the order of the day)

Sadly, or perhaps by design, many of the actual gems of insight from the TFH community are being lost and discredited by some of the...er....less objectively true...things.

The term 'conspiracy theorist' brings up an image of nutjobs; well meaning but deluded, screaming that the sky is falling. However, this is not always the case. I would guess, in fact, that it is rarely the case.

Rap news gives quite an entertaining perspective, pitting the conspiracy theorists against the military. (Terrence Moonseed vs General Baxter)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o66FUc61MvU&list=PL74DF342B06C8102E&index=6

We live in a world where a small group of people conspire to gain advantage, no matter the cost to other people. That's why there are competition and antitrust laws. Its also why the police force and political sphere must be held to account by the judicial system.

I feel that 'fringe' investigators are very important, but its also important that they don't allow their real findings to be diluted by the additions of a paranoid fantasy, or by false 'leaks' about how many tentacles <insert political puppet> has.

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Unhappy

the first rule of spy-on-everyone-on-the-net is...

No one talks about it.

Because (somehow) that makes them a bit more reluctant to be quite so easy to spy on.

Funny that..

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How could one check

Is there a way to check if one has been man-in-the-middled? Like is there somewhere at Gmail I could send the certificate I have been authenticated with and they could say "no, that is not the certificate we sent you"?

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Re: How could one check

How could you be sure that either your request or the server's response hadn't also been interfered with?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How could one check

OK, the truly paranoid make the HTTPS connection, click on the Padlock, look at the connection details, cut and paste the SHA1 Fingerprint from the certificate "E9 C0 09 F9 4E F5 E9 92 E2 FA 56 5D 13 F5 A2 56 76 DA 6E 7B" (in my case from login.yahoo.com)

then either phone a friend in another town/country that you haven't recently talked to and get them to read you **their** SHA1 fingerprint of the same website over the phone... (I seriously have colleagues who do this!)

or you can put some faith in Mr Gibson of GRC.com and his HTTPS checking service at https://www.grc.com/fingerprints.htm

for example the GRC claimed SHA1 fingerprint for secure login.yahoo.com is "E9:C0:09:F9:4E:F5:E9:92:E2:FA:56:5D:13:F5:A2:56:76:DA:6E:7B" so I should feel secure!

but instead I use Google Chrome with its certificate pinning - and assume I am still being MITM'ed as VeriSign were invited very early into the US Intelligence humungous data collection pack of cards....

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Re: How could one check

Oh man, this is Descartes all over again!

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Aaaaaannnnnnnddddd.....

Nothing changes. In fact you've made them stronger. They no longer have sorry about what would happen if the people found out. They can conduct their business freely in the open now. It's now an accepted part of our society. Notice how mainstream media simply does not report your little leaks anymore?

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Re: Aaaaaannnnnnnddddd.....

The Washington Post - sounds like mainstream media to me

I recently saw articles in the Guardian and Herald on this side of the pond and that's just the two newspapers they have in the shop where I go for lunch.

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Re: Aaaaaannnnnnnddddd.....

Notice how mainstream media simply does not report your little leaks anymore?

FOX News reported it, you know it's legitimate because they've got no political agenda whatsoever. Elections are around the corner, let's go Tea Party, you with me Bill O'Reilly?

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/10/14/nsa-reportedly-collecting-millions-personal-online-contact-lists-worldwide/

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Happy

Heinrich Himmler approves!

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