back to article New NSA tool exposed: XKeyscore sees 'nearly EVERYTHING you do online'

The cover has been blown on an NSA program which collects data on “nearly everything a user does on the internet” even as the debate rages over the secretive US agency's mass surveillance of innocent people. The XKeyscore program covers emails, social media activity and browsing history and is accessible to NSA analysts with …

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  1. yakitoo

    ....the 2008 vintage training manual ......

    So this is 5+ year old information.

    Lots of improvements in those 5 years no doubt.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: ....the 2008 vintage training manual ......

      What we haven't heard yet:

      1. Massive government controlled botnets of millions of systems

      2. Government-produced malware that specifically targets tech workers, wealthy targets, etc

      3. Western Government Spook-agencies "boosting" their budgets by hacking into and stealing from private bank accounts

      How long until the above points are revealed?

      What happens when common folk fight against these actions? Will they be charged with "treason", "espionage", etc?

      What happens when hackers release tools to fight the snooping? Will they be charged with "aiding the enemy"? Hacking crimes?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ....the 2008 vintage training manual ......

        I think 3. is a tad unlikely. Apart from the odd oil sheik or Russian mobster possibly... at a stretch.

        Boosting their budget by using wholesale industrial espionage to boost their domestic GDP and thus becoming an even more essential national asset however... well isn't that pretty much what it's all about?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Facepalm

          Re: ....the 2008 vintage training manual ......

          @AC 22:06 - >"I think 3. is a tad unlikely. Apart from the odd oil sheik or Russian mobster possibly... at a stretch."

          Right - why would they ever do anything illegal for money? It's not as if the CIA arranged the sale of Nicaraguan crack cocaine on the streets of Los Angeles in the 1980's in order to fund illegal weapon sales to Iran.

          Oh wait...

  2. FuzzyTheBear
    Big Brother

    Totally disgusting.

    This is the worst we heard to date. Completely and totally disgusting.

    There's no way to protect ourselves. The net as far as i am concerned has turned in an instrument of repression.The freedom we thought we had was just a trap. Now that we rely on it we're f*****.

    The only way to get rid of this is to take the governments out and elect new ones that will scrap this totally outrageous level of surveillance. Anyone who don't commit in writing their intentions to stop this insanity is against the People and should NOT be elected.This is f****** insane

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Totally disgusting.

      If you thought the internet was ever a totally free environment where you could do or say anything you were sadly mistaken.

      You could always not go online if you wanted to "protect" yourself.

      You're coming off a bit insane yourself with your "take the governments out" mentality.

      1. FredBloggsY
        Meh

        Re: Totally disgusting.

        'You could always not go online if you wanted to "protect" yourself.'

        Where 'online' includes using telephones, streets and other places with cameras (and maybe surveillance drones will become as ubiquitous before too long?) postal services... anything I've missed?

        (Sounds of Satchmo's Wonderful World waft in the background).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Totally disgusting.

      So you want the web to be totally free but you reject the freedom of others to use it in a way you don't like?

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Totally disgusting.

        > So you want the web to be totally free but you reject the freedom of others to use it in a way you don't like?

        I expect to be free offline , but I don't expect to followed around by the government, writing down everywhere I go, everything I look at and purchase in shops, everything I say to people, in a public place or when no-one else is around. I don't expect my house to be bugged or my telephone tapped.

        On the other hand, if I were a criminal I would expect this and I'd take steps to foil it. Send stuff by real post, dead drops, encrypted messages on public bulletin boards etc.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Totally disgusting.

        The freedom of others? So the US voted for this or it was debated and made law openly in Congress?

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      Re: Totally disgusting.

      "The only way to get rid of this is to take the governments out and elect new ones that will scrap this totally outrageous level of surveillance. Anyone who don't commit in writing their intentions to stop this insanity is against the People and should NOT be elected.This is f****** insane"

      Not a government issue.

      As Bismark observed "Governments come and governments go but the bureaucracy goes on forever"

      Those civil servants will survive "regime change."

      And their thirst for data is insatiable

      1. despun

        Re: Totally disgusting.

        Those civil servants will survive "regime change."

        Not if we ever got our act together and elected the right sort of people. We are still a democracy, we do hold the ultimate power via our vote, and we do still therefore hold the ultimate responsibility.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Totally disgusting.

          "We are still a democracy..."

          Technically.

          "...we do hold the ultimate power via our vote..."

          Not so much. You only get to vote for one of the official candidates. And who chooses them? Moreover, the great majority of voters will not use their votes intelligently as you suggest, but vote unthinkingly for "their party" or the guy who sounded best on TV.

          "...and we do still therefore hold the ultimate responsibility".

          Yes, sadly enough we do. Responsibility without power - not an enviable situation to be in.

          1. Tom 13

            Re: And who chooses them?

            We do, at least those of us who bother to vote in primaries.

            If you want a bit more influence, get off your ass and volunteer as a precinct organizer for your preferred party. I know people who have made a difference on that front. There just aren't enough of us doing it. And no, there likely won't be any obstacles because typically 2/3 of the positions are empty.

        2. Tom 13

          Re: We are still a democracy

          No we're not and never were. We are and have been a Republic which is something a bit different.

          The point about electing the right people might hold. But we've been doing a shitty job on that front since at least 1932 and possible a good 40 or so years before that. Hell, there are a bunch of people out there who will tell you we stopped being a Republic around the time Lincoln freed the slaves.

  3. Derpity

    Impressive

    Impressive tech for 2008.

    1. streaky Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Impressive

      The really scary part is the first item on page 17 which makes you wonder just how far the capabilities go. I'm thinking Russia/China are probably quite worried by now.

      1. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Impressive

        I'm thinking Russia and China have something very similar in operation, against their own citizens as well as those of other nations. If not, they are much more likely to be envious than worried. And if you think about it, it actually might make sense for the Russians, who have been targets for a good deal of terrorist activity.

        The Simply Shocking presentation describes fairly impressive capabilities, but appears at bottom to be a set of large scale fast filters operating on a set of cable taps, generating indexes for interactive use by human analysts as a research tool. This apparently is done at human speed, which puts significant limits on the scope of intrusion. Little or nothing in the presentation even hints at domestic U. S. use of XKeystore, and the map on slide 6 suggests rather firmly that the targets are external to the U. S. and domestic activity is noted in passing (although doubtless followed up if interesting). Nothing in it suggests that the information is collected from everyone - the presentation outlines capabilities to capture what interests an analyst, using either strong or weak selectors, search it with various queries to provide a strong(er) selector, and then revisit it or apply stronger selection criteria to additional captures.

        All the really bad stuff must be in slides 22, 29, and 30.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          On the contrary

          Everything in the presentation suggests that information is collected on everyone.

          The tap -> collect -> pattern match -> index -> query -> analyse chain is pretty logical and probably unavoidable. But you have to do the "collect" bit on everyone because you can't tell who's who or what's what at that level.

          What the presentation shows is only that the "analyse" bit is subject to some minimum level of control - and that not even amounting to proper oversight. Very probably the "query" phase throws up a lot of irrelevant data on lots of people that the analyst has to pretend not to see. Everything else applies to everyone who uses the internet, US citizen or not.

        2. plrndl
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Impressive @tom dial

          "Little or nothing in the presentation even hints at domestic U. S. use of XKeystore"

          You're forgetting the 5 Eyes. The US uses this to spy on foreign nationals, as do UK, NZ Oz etc. They then pool the data. All this is quite legal, because none is spying on their own citizens.

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Megaphone

    DON'T LISTEN TO THIS.

    THIS IS NOTHING NEW.

    THERE ARE COOKIES IN THE KITCHEN!

    1. richard 7

      YOU ARE FREE TO DO WHAT WE TELL YOU

      1. Piro
        Thumb Up

        Go back to bed America, your government is in control. Here, here's American Gladiators. Watch this, shut up, go back to bed America, here is American Gladiators, here is 56 channels of it! Watch these pituitary retards bang their fucking skulls together and congratulate you on the living in the land of freedom. Here you go America - you are free to do what well tell you!

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Destroyed All Braincell's

      "....COOKIES IN THE KITCHEN!" I would suggest you should be more concerned with all cookies out there on the Web.

  5. Someone Else Silver badge
    WTF?

    300 Terrorists?

    Hmmm...I wonder what orifice that number came from?

    Remember, this number came from an agency whose basic job is to lie.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: 300 Terrorists?

      It is also the agency that took over a week to determine that 48 some odd terrorist plots had been stopped because of the other programs. So yeah, this is certainly pure shit too.

    2. Psyx

      Re: 300 Terrorists?

      "Remember, this number came from an agency whose basic job is to lie."

      No it's not: It's from an agency whose basic job is to watch and listen.

      CIA != NSA

      That said, I doubt the figure was carefully fact-checked.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 300 Terrorists?

        Ok, I'll correct that for you. It's from an agency whose basic job is to kill people, organise coups, extraordinarily render people, and generally be answerable to nobody, oh and then lie about what they've been up to.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 300 Terrorists?

          "It's from an agency whose basic job is to kill people, organise coups, extraordinarily render people, and generally be answerable to nobody, oh and then lie about what they've been up to."

          Yes, and "Enemy of the State" really was a documentary. Of course.

          *sigh* Is it that hard to see the difference between the CIA and the NSA?

          1. Dan Paul
            Devil

            Re: 300 Terrorists? (Who all work for the Government)

            Is it really that hard for YOU to understand that there are no rules, checks and balances any longer and there IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CIA, FBI AND NSA (or any other rogue agency).

            They believe that we citizens no longer deserve any rights, protection or privacy. Only SOME citizens know otherwise. That makes us the enemy, and "Enemy of the State" might as well be a documentary since the alphabet agencies are all in direct violation of the Constitution and Posse Comitatus.

            1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              Gimp

              Re: 300 Terrorists? (Who all work for the Government)

              "They believe that we citizens no longer deserve any rights, protection or privacy. Only SOME citizens know otherwise. That makes us the enemy, and "Enemy of the State" might as well be a documentary since the alphabet agencies are all in direct violation of the Constitution and Posse Comitatus."

              Short version. Citizens are the enemy.

              Insofar as they stop the heads of those agencies doing what they want, when they want to do it.

            2. Psyx
              FAIL

              Re: 300 Terrorists? (Who all work for the Government)

              "Is it really that hard for YOU to understand that there are no rules, checks and balances any longer and there IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CIA, FBI AND NSA (or any other rogue agency)."

              Block capitals don't make you right.

              The fact that the NSA don't have enough checks and balances (they don't lack them totally: That's absurd) does still not mean that they have hit-teams running around and regularly organise coups. That's the CIA's job.

          2. tom dial Silver badge

            Re: 300 Terrorists?

            Apparently it is, since both carry out assigned tasks in support of United States foreign policy.

        2. Psyx
          FAIL

          Re: 300 Terrorists?

          "Ok, I'll correct that for you. It's from an agency whose basic job is to kill people, organise coups, extraordinarily render people, and generally be answerable to nobody, oh and then lie about what they've been up to."

          No it's not.

          If you're going to whine about the intelligence services, at least learn which are which.

          NSA are analogous to GCHQ: They don't send field agents out to cap people; they have clever people who stare at screens.

      2. Don Jefe
        FAIL

        Re: 300 Terrorists? @Psyx

        Congress to James Clapper/NSA: Do you apply mass surveillance to the U.S. population?

        James Clapper: No, we do not apply our technology to the at large American population.

        (One week later) James Clapper to Congress: I lied. We do spy on everyone.

        Were you asleep during all that? Or was it just drowned out by Fox News blaring at you?

        1. Psyx
          FAIL

          Re: 300 Terrorists? @Psyx

          "Were you asleep during all that? Or was it just drowned out by Fox News blaring at you?"

          WTF?

          No, I wasn't asleep. And I agree that they're exceeding their remit. I'm just pointing out that the NSA don't organise coups and that people who think they should should and shout about it should instead perhaps look up what they actually do.

          But y'know: Thanks for labelling me as a right wing Fox News watcher just because I don't agree with you. Clearly you are a cannibal mass murderer who watches Neighbours. Or something else made up, like your own character assessment.

    3. TrishaD

      Re: 300 Terrorists?

      I was rather wondering..

      If they've caught 300 terrorists, what happened to the 300 court cases that should inevitably follow if you do this sort of stuff in accordance with the Rule of Law?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Finest of fine lines

    There is a very fine line involved in deciding if access to everything is appropriate. The auditing referred too is probably non-existent in reality. The approval process for doing this is also weak.

    This is why Congress enacted FISA, putting an independent, non-executive branch, the court, in the loop. The NSA has wanted around this for years, as being a cumbersome and occasionally controlling process.

    That was what it was intended to be, so that unauthorized people can't get my data without someone asking why..

    Just think if ASPCA could read your data...Far fetched, but that is actually happening in Britain. What right would they have for that? Or a cop checking up on his girlfriend? Happened in New Jersey.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Finest of fine lines

      "The NSA has wanted around this for years, as being a cumbersome and occasionally controlling process."

      And with the passing of THE PATRIOT Act they got their wish.

      a)A court with highly secret procedures and processes b)Primarily listens to only the government PoV and c)Issues warrants of such broadness that 1 warrant can basically cover "The rest of the world."

      So Mr AC, either you're behind the times or your ignorance is deliberate.

    2. streaky Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Finest of fine lines

      Strawman argument - nobody anywhere is saying the RSPCA nonsense is a good thing that shouldn't be combated with every resource available. People *are* saying that about this crap.

  7. Old Handle

    So basically their defense of this can be summed up thusly: Well yes, we collect massive amounts of data on everybody with no warrant or any kind of oversight, but we won't peek. Honest.

  8. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Flame

    Wake up call

    It's time to start encrypting everything.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Wake up call

      It's time to stop overreacting. Never mind the "if you've done nothing wrong you've nothing to fear" argument... what actual harm does it do you if people can view your emails, compared to the hassle you want to put yourself through just to stop them for the sake of it?

      I couldn't really give a crap that the NSA knows what I post on the Register for example!

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        @JDX

        Why would anyone post on an open forum why I don't want the NSA tracking us? Dafuq?

      2. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Wake up call

        >Never mind the "if you've done nothing wrong you've nothing to fear" argument...

        Ok I will when you quit trying to make it.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: asdf Re: Wake up call

          ".....Ok I will when you quit trying to make it." Could someone please think of a really simple way to explain to the sheeple that is not a matter of how much data they can grab (courtesy of Google et al, which people have thoughtlessly been giving their data to for years), but how much they can process. They simply don't have the resources or analysts to trawl through everything in the hope of finding random tinfoil-wearers. Once again, just like PRISM, without the very specific search queries it's would be like trying to find a dozen needles in a mile-high haystack. Don't worry, your paranoid rantings simply don't make you important enough to bother with, they have much, much bigger fish to fry.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: asdf Wake up call

            @Matt Bryant > "They simply don't have the resources or analysts to trawl through everything in the hope of finding random tinfoil-wearers."

            Analyzing 50 million simultaneous phone conversations in real time requires 50 million human analysts - a logistic impossibility.

            Enter the phoneme!

            Phonemes "listen" for keywords in every transmission, in every language, in every country, 24/7, and never take a coffee break.

            Even with the primitive (by today's standards) phoneme programs and underpowered (by today's standards) computers available in 1980, saying "I'm going to kill President Reagan" would have had your conversation flagged-and-tagged and a live operator at TRW monitoring your call within 20 seconds - and even with the primitive (by today's standards) tracking technology available in 1980, if you were located anywhere in the US a swarm of heavily-armed alphabet soup agents would have been speeding your way within a maximum of 8 minutes.

            Do you really think technology has been standing still for the past 33 years ?

            Personal freedom is what America is all about, so you're free to personally test today's nanosecond flag-and-tag times and sub-40-second geo-location times whenever you feel like having a stun grenade party at your house.

            1. Tom 13

              Re: "I'm going to kill President Reagan"

              Except that history shows there were three such attempts that the alphabet soup agencies didn't prevent, one of which was partially successful. So your Socratic proof has been refuted by the scientific method.

            2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              Unhappy

              AC@00:29

              "Even with the primitive (by today's standards) phoneme programs and underpowered (by today's standards) computers available in 1980, saying "I'm going to kill President Reagan" would have had your conversation flagged-and-tagged and a live operator at TRW monitoring your call within 20 seconds - and even with the primitive (by today's standards) tracking technology available in 1980, if you were located anywhere in the US a swarm of heavily-armed alphabet soup agents would have been speeding your way within a maximum of 8 minutes."

              Funny how Bryant has these gaps in his knowledge, isn't it?

              And they always seem to be in ways that make things more reassuring to people who are ignorant of surveillance systems.

            3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: AC Re: asdf Wake up call

              "..... Even with the primitive (by today's standards) phoneme programs and underpowered (by today's standards) computers available in 1980...." Yeah, except I posted on another thread all about that capability back in the Eighties weeks ago. Welcome to the party, you're only about a month-plus behind the conversation.

              ".....Do you really think technology has been standing still for the past 33 years ?...." But we're not just talking about unencrypted landlines anymore, which was pretty much all the spooks had to worry about in the Eighties. Email was pretty rare and the World Wide Web wasn't even around yet, and mobile phones were still in their infancy. Faecesbook probably wasn't even a glimmer in Zuckerberg's infant eye. So to pretend that the "listening" tech has moved forward but the data pool hasn't also explosively grown exponentially is simply stupid.

          2. Werner McGoole
            FAIL

            Re: asdf Wake up call

            Plus you may not be a political activist yourself, but you could well stand to benefit from the efforts of those who are. And they may well have something they quite legitimately wish to hide from the government. Giving the government blanket powers to suppress opposition, which is what this is all about, disadvantages everyone in a democracy.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Werner McClueless Re: asdf Wake up call

              ".....Giving the government blanket powers to suppress opposition, which is what this is all about...." So, once again, the completely groundless insistance that these tools are being used to "oppress" - if that is so then it should be easy for you to show some evidence of this oppression, but you can't, because it only exists in your paranoid delusions. Come on, where's the evidence if you insist it is happening? I predict a long line of posts shrieking and bleating and zero proof to back up your childish and idiotic prattle.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Werner McClueless asdf Wake up call

                Look mummy. That Matt Bryant sheep thinks it is people! When it goes baah baah it thinks it it talking to us!

                Stay away darling, it looks rabid.

                1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  Re: AC Re: Werner McClueless asdf Wake up call

                  ".....Stay away darling, it looks rabid." Once again, the sheeple demonstrate their inability to argue with logical thought, indeed the seem to hold any form of disagreement with whatever they have been spoonfed as "rabid". Is it any surprise they fall for the scams of conman like A$$nut when they really can't handle independent thought?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: AC Werner McClueless asdf Wake up call

                    Note how the Matt Bryant sheep begins to froth at the mouth and baaa plaintively, as if it were sad and lonely. Poor thing.

                    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                      Happy

                      Re: AC Re: AC Werner McClueless asdf Wake up call

                      "Note how the Matt Bryant sheep begins to froth at the mouth and baaa plaintively.....". LOL, it is very illuminating as to your desperation that you have given up even the attempt at rational argument. You lose again!

                      ".....as if it were sad and lonely....." And I must have missed the crowds of millions of voters beating a path to Whitehall and Washington DC, to insist on immediate elections to replace the current crop of elected representatives with ones that will enact new laws which you insist are both necessary and overwhelming, popular. Not at all sorry to burst your bubble, but that "99%" mantra you bleat is a myth, as so patently displayed every time there is a general election. You lose again, as you do every time your popularist bleatings are put to the electoral test.

                      "....Poor thing." Yes, you really are. I would have some respect for you if you could at least put up an argument for your faith, but you can't even do that. Enjoy!

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: AC AC Werner McClueless asdf Wake up call

                        As you can see, with continued prodding the Matt Bryant sheep becomes more agitated and begins to paw at the ground. The Matt Bryant sheep is incapable of rationalizing complex concepts and it becomes frustrated when trying.

                        Note how its baaaing becomes more rapid and high pitched and how it walks in a continuous circle. It doesn't realize it is going in circles. Don't worry though, it will soon become distracted and will return to its mindless grazing.

                        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                          Happy

                          Re: AC AC Werner McClueless asdf Wake up call

                          "As you can see...." All readers will see is that you are still running away from the arguments, still posting nothing but vacuous attempts at humour, and still losing. Because we all know that if you did have anyhting even vaguely logical to say you'd say it, yet you can't. Your parents must be so embarassed by you.

                          Enjoy!

          3. Peter 82
            Alert

            Re: asdf Wake up call

            Please don't let them look at specific other peoples data! (UK Judges, Journalists, MPs, CEOs)

            I really don't think my data is useful or of interest to the NSA/Intelligence agencies. However, the fact that they can (and probably are) looking at all of the phone calls and internet searches and related information that they can get their hands on for some people worries me. This is because I don't want the NSA to be looking for blackmail-able material for UK Judges, Journalists, politicians, company managers etc. Oh! and their families (If I can't blackmail the PM, can I blackmail his cousin/nephew etc).

            TL:DR I'm not too bothered by their access to my info. I am bothered by them reading our Lord Chief Justice's data or his children's data.

            1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              Unhappy

              Re: asdf Wake up call

              "Please don't let them look at specific other peoples data! (UK Judges, Journalists, MPs, CEOs)"

              The point is that to NSA you are all equal

              This information is not just analysed in real time.

              It's archived for an unknown period (possibly indefinitely. We simply don't know).

              It is simply wrong whoever they are spying on.

          4. asdf Silver badge

            Re: asdf Wake up call

            >Don't worry, your paranoid rantings simply don't make you important enough to bother with

            Maybe for now but as you know disc storage is very cheap so they can store everything someone has ever said and with computing power increasing all the time it may well come down to someday one party getting enough power over another to start using this information to start destroying our democracy. Isn't that similar to what the Tea Party folks are upset about right now? People 40 years ago understood this which is why Watergate was such a big deal. Information asymmetry is the true power in the modern world, not so much tanks anymore. That is the true danger of XKeyscore.

      3. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Wake up call

        >what actual harm does it do you if people can view your emails

        Without a warrant it violates the US constitution for one thing if the US government does it. Even if the SCOTUS doesn't want to do its job and tries to claim our founding fathers wishes don't apply to our new fancy technology or thinks it can issue blanket warrants that apply to everyone. Its a lie to say today's emails are not the same as personal papers and effects in their time.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: emails are not the same as personal papers and effects in their time.

          Unencrypted email messages are the same as sending a postcard in the mail. That can be read and copied by any government agent without a warrant. And that's what the NSA is collecting. Similarly, the routing information for the letter can legally be copied without requiring a warrant. And it was that way even when Ben was alive and advocating for the federal Postal delivery service.

          1. asdf Silver badge

            Re: emails are not the same as personal papers and effects in their time.

            >Unencrypted email messages are the same as sending a postcard in the mail.

            Except the government isn't allowed to photocopy every postcard and keep it indefinitely without a warrant either. Real time communication interception is bad enough but far more insidious is indefinite storage in a DB that any bureaucrat can access.

      4. breakfast
        Holmes

        Re: Wake up call

        That's fine, as long as you plan to be a non-entity for your entire life, unremarkable in every respect. A laudable aim in itself, and one that may well bring you happiness.

        For anyone who is interested in political change or protest of any kind, for example, this surveillance provides a weapon that the existing establishment will ( not may, or could ) use against them.

    2. smudge Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Wake up call

      It's time to start encrypting everything.

      If you read the slideset published by the Grauniad, you'll see that that's one of the things that they specifically look for.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Wake up call

        "If you read the slideset published by the Grauniad, you'll see that that's one of the things that they specifically look for."

        Not when >50% of all traffic goes encrypted.

        This sort of mss spying on the basis of "saving" peoples security will have consequences for both the spies and the spied on.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wake up call

      Agreed, as long as people are aware that typical RSA keys are inadequate and ECDHE-RSA should the chosen encryption method.

    4. erikj

      Re: Wake up call

      True, except they will then summarily capture and store your encrypted stream *forever*, regardless of your (not sure how to put this) "FISA standing" (51% chance you are foreign, etc.). Since they can't read your content in the moment, there's no privacy violation per se in collecting your data.

      I'll bet a separate FISA rubber stamp lets them proactively analyze your encryption method and partially decrypt your data if possible -- just so they can be ready to do it quickly when, well, "warranted".

    5. dougal83

      Re: Wake up call

      "It's time to start encrypting everything."

      Just don't lose the encryption keys because if a government agency asks you for them and you cannot provide them then you can be arrested. (UK)

  9. Joe Drunk
    Big Brother

    What a strange new world we live in - one where the tin foil nutters are starting to sound credible.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      <s>Para</s> Military Intelligence Services are an Oxymoron and *IP and ISP Deficient

      What a strange new world we live in - one where the tin foil nutters are starting to sound credible. … Joe Drunk Posted Wednesday 31st July 2013 18:11 GMT

      Nice one, Drunk, Joe. :-) Have an upvote for that comment.

      However, do y'all not think it a tad odd that whenever so much is supposed to be known/able to be known about everything virtually, so little of lasting value is realised and supported/created and built upon to deliver a utopian existence ...... ergo is the information being supplied to ignorant morons with no clearly evident idea what to do with it and those who would be providing it.

      *IP and ISP ...... Intellectual Property and Internetworking Server Provision

      Oh, and the civvy street branches charged with leading with intelligence and sensitive information aint no better either. It's enough to make one wonder what they are doing all day every day and pondering on whether they be daydreaming the next crisis to jump in to the rescue in order to justify their classified secret budget claims/dodgy expenses.

      And their abiding Achilles Heel? ....... Pure Honesty and Total Transparency and all who cruise in her in Command and Control of CyberSpace .... the Virtual Machine Place.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: <s>Para</s> Military Intelligence Services are an Oxymoron and *IP and ISP Deficient

        Hey, amanfromMars 1...welcome back, buddy!

        1. Don Jefe
          Happy

          Re: <s>Para</s> Military Intelligence Services are an Oxymoron and *IP and ISP Deficient

          amanfrommars1 with improved syntax and enhanced vocabulary! I don't think I've ever seen him say 'ya'll'.

          1. Michael Thibault
            Black Helicopters

            Re: <s>Para</s> Military Intelligence Services are an Oxymoron and *IP and ISP Deficient

            Or "ain't". Verrrry suspicious!

    2. Antonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Pass the tinfoil please.

      Hasn't the whole "tin foil nutter" meme always been as much a debunking tool for brushing awkward stuff under the carpet as about the (really rather rare) genuine "the mind control rays are giving me nosebleeds" tinfoil nutters?

    3. breakfast

      Most of the time they are nutters, but the ideas of conspiracy would be far less pervasive and there would be far fewer people taking conspiratorial view-points if our governments stopped behaving in such conspiratorial ways.

  10. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    A few thoughts on this.....

    1. Should make for a very interesting keynote session at Black Hat. If there was going to be a Q&A session, I bet it has been cancelled.

    2. Using the black helicopter icon, but somehow that doesn't seem to encompass the full shock of these allegations. Can we get an icon of an IT professional hiding under a bed, with a shotgun and a mayonaisse jar to piss in?

    3. While we seem to be making some progress on the civil liberties front in the U.S. and maybe New Zealand, I don't see that groundswell in the UK, Oz or Canada. Considering that this technology was in the hands of the other "4 Eyes" in 2008, and that the system has doubtlessly been upgraded since then, even if we get control of the NSA we are going to get surveilled by the rest of our so-called allies. And if we do halt the NSA's bulk surveillance of Americans, that won't extend to anyone living outside the U.S., because as long as they are living overseas they have no rights under the U.S. constitution.

    4. Well, I guess we throw a "can we find out exactly what is going on with this program" on the fire with the rest of America's "what is happening at the NSA/FISA court" requests. We'll see what happens....

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: A few thoughts on this.....

      FYI, in the U.S. NBC is reporting that the NSA recently gave XKeyscore to the German intelligence community. That was supposedly reported recently in Der Spiegel. German intelligence officials said it was done so that they can better cooperate with the NSA on counterterrorism. So the Germans have some version of this as well.

      1. Irony Deficient

        supposedly?

        Marketing Hack, there’s no need to include “supposedly”; you can see for yourself what Der Spiegel has reported on XKeyscore here.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All this surveillance and they still can't stop terrorist attacks from happening. Gives credence to the theory that they may be allowing a few through, just to keep their funding up. Fucking horrible stuff, just who do they think they are?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      It doesn't give any credence whatsoever, you conspiracy nutjob. Just because you have access to every email in the world doesn't mean you can read them all, or that your analysis software is perfect

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Indeed, the supposed good guys have to win every time, the bad guys only have to win once...

      2. Dan Paul
        Devil

        Are you really that programmed , fool!

        You would never create the ability to intercept and read every email ever sent if you did not already have the intent to do so.

        FACT: It's no longer a conspiracy, it's proven fact and the only reason we know this is due to Bradley Manning and Ed Snowden who ruined their lives to bring us this information.

        I will believe them long before I beleive anything said by a Bureaucrat or other government entity.

      3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        All that's required for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing. JDX demands you not only do nothing, but you don't even think about doing anything. Just let the evil men[1] win.

        Now wave your flag and kiss an eagle, boys!

        U.S.A!

        U.S.A!

        U.S.A!

        [1]And just so we're clear...the evil men are the ones running the USA. If you think otherwise then you're dafter than any "conspiracy nutjob".

        1. asdf Silver badge
          Mushroom

          JDX is just another right wing troll who loves giving the system head so as usual no surprise which side he is on.

    2. Syntax Error
      Unhappy

      Worse still the UK is the number one target for on line fraud yet there is no effective action by the authorities with all their kit to stop it.

      Priorities are wrong.

    3. Grikath Silver badge

      All the datasniffing in the world cannot protect against an armed conspirationist nutter who decides to commit suicide by cop and starts with the local populace to get things going. And the US has plenty of those.

  12. JDX Gold badge

    Question

    Have they got all the emails and social network data because companies are freely giving it to them, or through some other, cleverer route?

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Meh

      @JDX

      "Have they got all the emails and social network data because companies are freely giving it to them, or through some other, cleverer route?"

      And which one of those options would you view as "right?"

      Or would you consider either of them "wrong?"

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: @JDX

        JDX can't consider either wrong because U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Question

      I reckon they used the word "please" then all those isp, phone and internet companies said, ok you used the magic word, what can we do?

      or...

      They were told in no uncertain terms, we, the us of a will screw you over for your tax evasion unless you bend over and take one for the team so we can eventually use this data to categorise all our peoples into pigeon holes making it easier to control them.

      I doth my tin foil hat to your stupidity

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Don't forget the rest.

      Putting this as bluntly as possible: I give zero fucks about what China and Russia knows about me because I don't have to interact with either nation. I can - and likely will - live the rest of my life without ever setting foot there or having to interact with their government in any way.

      I do have to put up with the USA, loud, proud and in my face every bloody day. Even if I never planned to set foot there again, they are a demented giant with dreams of extraterritorial grandeur that lives directly south of me.

      Dictators like those in China and Russia are evil men obsessed with holding on to the power that they have and ensuring their hold on that nations they rule is absolute. The USA is run by evil men obsessed with taking over the world through economic and cultural imperialism and have no compunction whatsoever about killing you and the entire wedding you're attending with a drone to see their aims fulfilled.

      It's different when you live next to the bastards. It's impossible not to feel like a target, especially when so many of them in positions of power publicly demand that we be invaded. Even jokingly, I'm not okay with a country of nuclear-weapon-toting religious nutjobs making jokes like that.

      Other nations get uppity and sometimes get rules by the truly deplorable, but they are not married to a combination of nationwide moral exceptionalism and pride in their international ignorance. I get sniffy about how the Brits treat us - as just one example - but at least the Brits understand us. We can built a bridge with that understanding.

      The Americans don't understand us, don't want to understand us and in fact view us as nothing but resources that are "rightfully theirs."

      So yeah, not nearly so angsty about China or Russia knowing my life's history. Pretty angsty about Uncle Sam's religious zealots knowing it though. That's just not okay.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Don't forget the rest.

        We aren't all bastards!

        1. Grikath Silver badge

          Re: Don't forget the rest. @ Don Jefe

          "We aren't all bastards!"

          No, but a significant enough portion or your governement and bureaucracy is, and that's exactly the problem here. This isn't about individuals, but a whole morally corrupt system controlling not just its' own nation, but also trying to hold the rest of the world at ransom.

          The vast majority of US citizens are most likely people I wouldn't mind having for a neighbour or a drinking buddy at the pub. The problem is that those people are not in power, the asshat minority is, and they are willing to do anything to preserve and expand their power.

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Potty Re: Don't forget the rest.

        ".... I get sniffy about how the Brits treat us - as just one example - but at least the Brits understand us. We can built a bridge with that understanding....." Sorry to burst your bubble, Potty, but it's just us Brits have a few centuries more practice than the Yanks at hiding our intentions from you colonials.

        1. Anonymous Dutch Coward
          Pint

          @Matt Bryant Re: Potty Don't forget the rest.

          That must be why that US Revolution thingy was nipped in the butt, wasn't it?

          1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: @Matt Bryant Potty Don't forget the rest.

            Dunno. Maybe you should ask France. After all it was their troops that woin that particular war, wasn't it? We should have some way of celebrating their liberation of your nation, some kind of memorial thing? Oh...like "Freedom Fries"...yeah, that'd do it!

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: @Matt Bryant Potty Don't forget the rest.

              I believe there was a memorial to the French victory that gave the US their independence. It's a gigantic rusted hunk of copper on some island out on the east coast.

              Most yanks think it's USian. Explains a lot...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It sounds about right

    At an ex employer we were shipping out 19" racks crammed with nothing more than IMST440 transputers. The racks were broken up and shipped to half a dozen defferent 'customers'. I now know where they went but 16 transputers per board. 128 per 6U processor cage....

    For 1997 that was a HELL of a lot of processing power and we know now it all ended up with governement agencies. Pretty sure we did a lot to keep INMOS going. That alone would be great for feedint a big ass data stream in one end and applying LOTS of filtering and sorting.

    And the power supplies... now THEM were power supplies.

    I realise Anon wouldnt help, but I didnt sign the bits of paper everyone else did.

  15. Pat Volk

    Bring back the 50's.

    The post wasn't necessarily secure, or telegraphs. But lots of people were employed to make dossiers. The dossiers were ostensibly to track down criminals, terrorists, and to protect the security of the state.

    But the powers that be realized that dossiers were useful for their blackmail potential. That helps to track down "criminals", "terrorists", "subversives", "communists", or "imperialists". Ah, the good 'ol days of the FBI^H^H^HStasi, and the paranoid J. Edgar Hoennecker.

    A lesson: You don't pay programmers by the bug, or pay spooks by the bad guy. And you sure as hell don't give people whose job it is is to lie their asses off power and expect them to use it responsibility. The politicians really look out for us now, like preventing that all-encompassing PATRIOT act in, and not giving it nefarious powers.

    Between the NSA, FBI, and Stasi, I'd rather be followed by the Stasi, namely because I could use the extra furniture.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Pat Volk Re: Bring back the 50's.

      ".....Between the NSA, FBI, and Stasi, I'd rather be followed by the Stasi....." Yes, but realistically, what are the chances of that any of the said agencies would be even the slightest bit interested in you? Yeah, about zero. Welcome back to reality.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Trollface

        The Matt Bryant "defense"

        "Yes security and signals intelligence agencies do spy on everyone, but you're just of no importance."

        True.

        So why bother in the first place? MI5 in the UK stated they had 2000 jihadist "suspects" that might do something at sometime in the future. That's 0.003% of a population of 66 million.

        Because this collecting of data is a waste of money on an epic scale. The idea that "Everyone is a criminal and we should start the paperwork now" is simply the product of a diseased bureaucratic mindset.

        "But it could be worse that 9/11 or 7/7 in the UK" SFW? Everyone who lives wakes up every morning running the risk they could suffer a brain aneurism and be dead or a vegetable in 5 seconds.

        But who lives their life in such acute fear of everything? Except perhaps the data fetishists whose irrational desire for more data on more people "just in case" has no boundary.

        Matt's knowledge of the Itanium architecture might be encyclopedic but his support for state surveillance of everybody is quite autistic and his understanding of words like "privacy" and "freedom" non existent.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Johnnie Thicko Re: The Matt Bryant "defense"

          "....So why bother in the first place? MI5 in the UK stated they had 2000 jihadist "suspects" that might do something at sometime in the future. That's 0.003% of a population of 66 million....." Gosh, Johnnie, do you really think they found all those 2000 potential targets individually? Of course not. When they found one, they went back through his communications and found the material that led to the others, and then they looked at who they talked to and that led them to more nutters. Along the way they will have discarded conversations the targets had with non-target types, such as calls to their insurance companies, as unlikely to provide any new leads. The exact same system of investigation is used by police looking for organised crime gangs - when you find one suspected crim, you watch them and see if he leads you to more suspects, and then you watch and gather evidence on them and see if they lead you to more. You really don't have a clue how anything works outside of your tinfoil dispenser, do you?

          ".....Because this collecting of data is a waste of money on an epic scale......" Evdiently not, given AQ's poor record of achieving attacks in the UK. But then the UK services cut their teeth in comms interception years ago with the IRA. Besides, if you don't collect the data and hold it for at least a short time, when you do find a new lead you won't have any previous records to go through to look for patterns of communication that would lead to more suspects. So the collection is valid, it's just you can't see that past your blinkers.

          ".....But who lives their life in such acute fear of everything?...." Did you even read ANY of the article? The searches are very specific and narrow, they are not searching for "everything". Please go get a clue.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Tikimon Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Lawful? Not at all!

    Excerpt from the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    The NSA and others hide behind "this is a LAWFUL program", but they all directly violate the 4th Amendment. The 4th was enacted in response to "writs of assistance" issued by the Crown, which gave unlimited authority to search anyone anywhere for anything, and never expired. JUST LIKE THE NSA's SPYING. Far from being lawful, these programs directly attack our Constitutional rights!

    Child Catcher, because we fell for the bright colors and promises and now we're in the digital prison.

    1. Irony Deficient

      Constitutional? It depends.

      Tikimon, the NSA and others shield themselves using that critical word unreasonable. Without Congress legislating that such actions are unreasonable, and without the Supreme Court rendering such a judgement on those actions, the definition of unreasonable has been left to the discretion of the executive branch.

      Regarding the colonial writs of assistance, they expired six months after the death of the monarch who assented to them; Paxton’s Case in 1761 revolved around the issuance of a “renewed” writ of assistance after the death of George II. More recently, the FISA Amendments Act was authorized for five years, expiring at the end of 2012; its renewal by Congress in late 2012 with the President’s signature has given it another five years, expiring at the end of 2017.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Constitutional? It depends.

        Yes yes that is the lame ass justification they use why its legal just like they used for waterboarding and extraordinary renditions. The executive branch has been able to do what it wants since WW2 and its about time inept Congress and SCOTUS grow a pair and do their damn jobs.

        1. Irony Deficient

          growing pairs

          asdf, there have been a number of cases since WWII where the executive branch has not gotten its way over Congress, e.g. passage of the McCarran-Walter Act over Truman’s veto, giving border guards the ability to perform certain warrantless searches (among other powers). The Supreme Court can only do its job when it accepts a case over which it has jurisdiction; it cannot perform judicial review otherwise. Regarding the ineptitude of Congress, perhaps voters should go into their gardens and grow their own pairs by refusing to reëlect incumbents who demonstrate ineptitude.

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Constitutional? It depends.

          "The executive branch has been able to do what it wants since WW2 and its about time inept Congress and SCOTUS grow a pair and do their damn jobs."

          You would not say that if you'd tried to get a sensible space policy through the Legislature.

          They seem quite adept at stopping that.

        3. Pascal Monett Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: "its about time inept Congress and SCOTUS grow a pair and do their damn jobs"

          But they ARE doing their jobs. Make no mistake, your Senator is well aware of this program and has no intent of stopping it.

          Oh, sorry, you thought they were there to represent YOUR rights ? That is soo last century.

          Get with the program ! This is Government 2.0 ! The Constitution is a PR tool to make you feel good, it's not something that is supposed to hamstring WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE.

          Now be a good drone and go work for your retirement. Oh, and this time, tie your shoelaces correctly. Your laces were really shabby yesterday, you want the surveillance footage to prove it ? I could show it to you, but then I'd have to shoot you.

  18. weeanon
    Trollface

    easy fix

    they intercept, filter and store everything passing the tubes, right? so... they better have a good anti-spam, or this is the most epic (spam) flood ever since the Ark.

    wanna stop NSA? even more spam! and kitten pictures!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      troll on

      Unless you are gay in which case you can be fired legally without reason in many of the states in the USA. Or if you are Jewish in many other countries.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Re: troll on

        "Unless you are gay in which case you can be fired legally without reason in many of the states in the USA. Or if you are Jewish in many other countries."

        Or if you are a teenager sending a nude (or semi nude) selfie of yourself to your BF/GF.

        That's mfg, possession and distribution of CP.

    2. Zombie Womble
      WTF?

      If I have nothing to hide then why are they spying on me?

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Zombie Womble

        "If I have nothing to hide then why are they spying on me?" So where is the evidence they are spying on you? There is a big difference between collecting data and then actually turning it into actionable intelligence material, and they are not wasting their limited time and resources reading everything simply because they can't. It is more than likely that any communications that you have made that got swept into the pot have NEVER been looked at because you don't fall under one of the search terms.

    3. weeanon
      Mushroom

      it is not about hiding my stuff. it is about government having privileged info and taking commercial advantage in a capitalist market. national security is just an excuse, just like all the other arguments like massive destruction weapons. the key here is having confidential info and being able to make market decisions ahead of the other players.

  20. Zombie Womble

    I find he willingness of some to surrender all their freedom to unaccountable agencies with unknown agendas quite startling. Some people would rather have a Big Brother type screen in their home than face terrorism with determination and courage. Very depressing.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      @Zombie Womble

      "I find he willingness of some to surrender all their freedom to unaccountable agencies with unknown agendas quite startling. "

      Except in fact "they" were not asked if they wanted to surrender their privacy, ostensibly to "protect" their freedom.

      The right to privacy as recognized in the US Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was simply taken.

      1. Zombie Womble

        Re: @Zombie Womble

        I am talking about those who support this spying and that is why I specifically said 'some'.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I think it's due to the education.

      Or lack thereof.

      And I'm not talking about schools.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fuck America, it's almost enough to make you think that the mental fundamentalists have at least one or two points.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Sadly its more than fundamentalists causing this problem. The only time there is true bipartisanship in our national government is when it is to take away freedom from the peons.

  22. asdf Silver badge

    f__king 9/11

    How can the death of less than 3,000 people (you know the number of people who die of smoking in two days in this country) cause the greatest erosion of liberty and freedom in US history? Was it because many of them were the sacred %1ers? No bunch of ignorant goat farmers has ever brought down a kingdom more effectively.

    1. Don Jefe
      Unhappy

      Re: f__king 9/11

      Because there are a phenomenal amount of great weeping pussies in this country. Scared of everything, unable to care for themselves and always expecting someone else to protect them/solve their problems/raise their children. It is very, very sad.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: f__king 9/11

      > Was it because many of them were the sacred %1ers?

      There were no Hells Angels killed at 9/11.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: f__king 9/11

        I don't think killing off a few of the 1% would elicit very much terror. Surely 'the terrorists' know that too. The ultra rich are safe from terrorists.

  23. ceebee
    FAIL

    sad but true...

    The reality is that not one of our leaders can be believed on this topic.

    Obama, Harper, Key, Cameron and Rudd have zero credibility on this whole issue.

    I am not sure about Canada and NZ but the mainstream media in Australia have been almost totally silent on this issue and have not asked our politicians any awkward or searching questions.

    The media has failed us here... with the exception of the Australian version of The Guardian.

    I suspect they have been warned off in no uncertain terms.

  24. Sebastian A

    "Every search by an NSA analyst is fully auditable, to ensure that they are proper and within the law."

    Auditable, sure. Actually audited? Doubt it.

    1. Don Jefe

      Who does the audits?

  25. TXITMAN

    How much do they owe ASCAP

    So if they have a copy of every song and movie that has traversed the Internet I wonder how much ASCAP and RIAA should invoice?

    http://www.ascap.com/about/

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "In addition, there are multiple technical, manual and supervisory checks and balances within the system to prevent deliberate misuse from occurring."

    Hmmm, would there have been similar checks and balances in the handling of classified material that Snowden was able access?

  27. Eric Olson
    Facepalm

    I have to wonder...

    When people talk about the free exchange of information on the internet, did anyone stop to wonder who might be looking at that information? Here's a hint: It's not just the government, and they don't necessarily care if they come across something that is actionable intelligence that could save lives.

    I realize that many people try to draw a bright line and say, "Government, you stay over here, while the rest of us will play over here." Besides the logistical impossibility of that, I think it's a rather dangerous game to play. I'm not even talking about the whole criminal enterprise aspect and government trying (vainly perhaps) to protect us, or the scammers who try to dodge and weave their way into a bank account or other ill-gotten gains. There is the fact that we have told the Government to stay out of our sandbox, while inviting our "friends" in who just happen to have resources equal to or greater than most governments to trawl through our tawdry details, all in the name of commerce.

    We lie to ourselves by saying we can always do business with someone else, but does anyone actually believe that Facebook and others aren't aggregating enough information to find you elsewhere on the internet if they could profit from it? You can check all the boxes that say, "No, don't track me or sell my bank account to Nigerian princes," but it doesn't take many data points to at least predict your demographics, and a few more could narrow you down further to you or your terrorist twin in Algeria, the deciding factor being the result you click on when looking to add to your knife collection.

    I don't condone the behavior of the American government, and at least I have a voice (ha!) as an American citizen. Perhaps even a bit more protection. And I don't subscribe to the "Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide" bull, because it's the same claptrap that was pushed by Dick "Powered by Hate" Cheney. But I also don't think that my online persona, my personal communications, and all my real and virtual meanderings are free from use and abuse by other entities. While rendition is a terrible thing that no human should ever be subjected to, regardless of real or perceived intent, what about my credit score, my identity, my life being trashed by a bad algorithm, poor security, or corporate neglect or malfeasance. We should take to government to task for this, but that same harsh light and public interrogation should be turned onto the companies, entities, and others who have the same data and use the same mining and exploitation. If we fail to do that, whining about what the government is looking at is nothing more than mistaking a single tree for the entire forest.

    1. Don Jefe
      Stop

      Re: I have to wonder...

      Comparing data collection policies of private companies to government surveillance of the general populace is unbelievably silly. People don't get kidnapped, tortured or imprisoned due to a poor credit score or the fact your insurance company is your Facebook friend.

      You are comparing apples to doughnuts and determining you've got a fire hydrant. Do yourself a big favor and stop.

      1. Eric Olson
        Facepalm

        Re: I have to wonder...

        Really? You don't think peoples lives can be ruined just as badly though identity theft? People don't get jobs because of bad credit scores. Is having no income or low income worse than the chance you might be hassled over an off-color joke about the government? Or perhaps through the leaking of intellectual property that causes monetary loss? Different laws in different lands, I suppose, but the reality is that the risk of finding yourself on a Gitmo holiday is less than being struck by lightning, and being there because of mistaken identity is much less. You are more likely to be shot to death by the police while trying to board a subway. Heck, you're more likely to be on the business end of a Predator strike because you had the unfortunate luck of living in a village or outpost that a target of value decided to hide in. That doesn't make it right, but that's the reality.

        And do you forget the number of companies that The Register has had articles on who routinely use Facebook and other social networking sites to spy on prospective and current employees? And let's not forget the almost daily (even now) stories of companies who have had their websites compromised through a simple SQL injection, spear-phishing attack, or other security breach that allowed the perps to wander away with account information that could contain sensitive information or be used to procure additional sensitive information elsewhere.

        The simple fact is that in risk analysis, people who are worried about the personal consequences of the government having information on them are missing the real risks. These are the same people who think planes are the most dangerous form of transportation and children are always snatched by strangers, yet think nothing of getting behind the wheel of a car every day or handing their kid off to a non-custodial parent or grandparent who they just threatened to cut off completely. You can worry about your all-expenses paid rendition holiday to the former Eastern Bloc; I'm going to keep monitoring my credit score and push to have companies disclose all breaches promptly and held liable for any personal damage that occurs. In 10 years, I'm sure I'll have more problems to deal with than you ever had.

        And if you are doing anything to deserve such a trip, well... I guess that's proof the government spying works.

        1. Don Jefe
          FAIL

          Re: I have to wonder...

          Run along and play now. But don't go too far, the Russian kidnappers could be lurking anywhere. They'll snatch you up then steal your identity just like in that movie! Then they'll be taking your job! They might want the women too!

          Credit scores can be easily fixed unless you've got the shittiest bank in the world. Possibly you keep your money buried in your yard because you don't trust banks? But you can't fix persecution by your own government and if you are willing to risk that persecution then you deserve it. Hell, you appear to be asking for it. Gagging for it. Instead of worrying about a problem that has already been solved (identity theft and funds recovery) you should worry about what the government will be doing in 10 years with the information they've collected. You won't be able to do a god damned thing about it. Maybe post an update on your Facebook page. That appears to be the limit of your awareness.

          You are confusing two entirely seperate issues and hurting yourself and everyone else by doing so. You're throwing out the very principals that allow you live how you choose and focus on fringe problems. Letting the town burn down while you protect your house from ghosts. You are partly to blame for allowing the government to ride roughshod all over you and your family. I'm just glad you aren't my neighbor; can't abide selfish people.

          Also get yourself a bank that's not shitty. It is easy to do and will keep your money and credit score safe.

          1. Maharg

            Re: I have to wonder...

            Run along and play now. But don't go too far, the American Government could be lurking anywhere. They'll snatch you up then torture you just like in that movie! Then they'll be taking your job! Ruining your life! They might want to put you in Gitmo!

            Credit scores can be easily fixed unless it’s being ruined by the American Government as part of their ‘hassle a random innocent’ incentive. Possibly you keep your money and guns buried in your yard because you don't trust the Police?

            “But you can't fix persecution by your own government and if you are willing to risk that persecution then you deserve it. Hell, you appear to be asking for it. Gagging for it”

            Yes, it’s just like when you did well at school and got on well with the teachers they constantly kept you behind and gave you bad reports. What?

            “Instead of worrying about a problem that has already been solved (identity theft and funds recovery) you should worry about what the government will be doing in 10 years with the information they've collected. You won't be able to do a god damned thing about it.”

            They could, you know, know stuff about you, like what car you drive, or where you live, or what political party you are registered with, or where you work, or who your family are, or if you pay tax, or who you are married to, or where your kids go to school, or your medical history or if you are a registered gun owner or… oh wait…

            You are confusing two entirely separate issues and hurting yourself and everyone else by doing so. You're throwing out the very principals that allow you live how you choose and focusing on imagined problems that don’t affect you. Letting the town burn down while you protect your house from NSA ghosts.

            Just because cops carry guns doesn’t mean you will be shot the next time you see one, just because the Government can sit in a van outside your house, doesn’t mean they will bother doing it.

            There I fixed it for you

          2. Eric Olson

            Re: I have to wonder...

            Once again, you miss the point. At no point did I say, "Government, monitor away!" In fact, my original post and my follow up detail that the problem is that someone like you sits here and whines about what the big bad government is doing, yet giving a free pass to non-government entities who are doing much the same. And if the PRISM revelations are anything to go by, that unchecked data collection and monitoring by corporations just gives governments a one-stop shop to pick up a dossier on anyone they please.

            So one more time: Those who froth and foam at the mouth about big bad government collecting data but then turning a blind eye to commercial collection of the very same data completely miss the majority of risks when they go on about privacy and freedom.

          3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Don Jefe Re: I have to wonder...

            "....But you can't fix persecution by your own government...." So where is this persecution you insist is happening? It doesn't exist outside of your childish and naive fantasy world.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Don Jefe - Re: I have to wonder...

        "Comparing data collection policies of private companies to government surveillance of the general populace is unbelievably silly. People don't get kidnapped, tortured or imprisoned due to a poor credit score or the fact your insurance company is your Facebook friend."

        Tell that to Archibald Buttle.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: I have to wonder... Posted Thursday 1st August 2013 01:54 GMT, Eric Olson

      Quite so, Eric Olson, and everything also revolves around, because of its simple and effective enough control of human behaviour, the ready unlimited supply of money/fiat currency/pretty good paper, which nowadays needs be no more than just a lot of zeros following after a one on a balance sheet. Such a facility easily makes any person of interest or novel system of executive administrative control to the system, a lifelong friend with the practically instant electronic transfer of fiat wealth to an account which gives them access to always available unlimited funds. It aint rocket science, is it, and it is IT which delivers everything instantly nowadays for the future with that Third Party Trick and APT Magic ACT AAA+rated for Leaderships....... and a Prime Constant which cannot be ignored as an Advanced Persistent Cyber Threat in AI Theatres of Dreams and in The Bigger Picture … … with Added Nightmares?

      However, whenever that paper turns bad and delivers only debt and deficit and sub-prime service, which is invariably the case whenever it is given to the wrong people buying up all the wrong stuff, ..... and as may very well have been is the case over these last number of years especially, ergo the continuing decline in the global banking and equities and derivative markets which are primarily designed to hedge wealth production against catastrophic losses caused by arrogant abuse and/or ignorant use of the system for personal individualised profit/increased dumb wealth ....... for profit is money for nothing isn't it and therefore makes everything purchased with it practically for free but paradoxically, also everything increasingly unsustainably more expensive and unaffordable ..... then does the system collapse and the artificial wealth creation scheme/scam produce considerably smart enemies, which the system would need to employ to ensure that it and its failed leaderships survive in a changed commanding environment controlled by machines both virtual and real.

      The initial problem and most probable present difficulty and current enigmatic dilemma for resolution though, are those simple facts and inevitabilities being accepted and realised as the undeniable truth by those and/or that which would be thinking itself in charge of things and leading the Great Game, but in virtual reality and actuality, presiding over madness and mayhem, chaos and confusion.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You'd think...

    ...the NSA having the ability to monitor all communication was a bad thing the way the morons talk and react. Maybe they should read a book on security practices.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who still thinks Govt Spying is benign?

    I posted this before but I'm reposting in the hope someone can add to it. There must be other investigations into abuse of intelligence directly benefiting US companies...?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/503224.stm

    "Journalist Duncan Campbell has spent much of his life investigating Echelon. In a report commissioned by the European Parliament he produced evidence that the NSA snooped on phone calls from a French firm bidding for a contract in Brazil. They passed the information on to an American competitor, which won the contract. There's no safeguards, no remedies, " he said, "There's nowhere you can go to say that they've been snooping on your international communications. Its a totally lawless world."

  30. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Here's the black ops pot clarifying the dark matter kettle

    NSA Statement on XKEYSCORE …. http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/press_room/2013/30_July_2013.shtml

    Press Statement on 30 July 2013

    As the IC and NSA have stated previously, the implication that NSA's collection is arbitrary and unconstrained is false. NSA's activities are focused and specifically deployed against - and only against - legitimate foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements that our leaders need for information necessary to protect our nation and its interest. Public release of this classified material about NSA collection systems, without context, does nothing more than jeopardize sources and methods, and further confuse a very important issue for the country. Although it is impossible to provide full details of classified programs and still have them remain effective, we offer the following points for clarification:

    1. XKEYSCORE is used as part of NSA's lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system. By the nature of NSA's mission, which is the collection of foreign intelligence, all of our analytic tools are aimed at information we collect pursuant to lawful authority to respond to foreign intelligence requirements - nothing more.

    2. Allegations of widespread, unchecked analyst access to NSA collection data are simply not true. Access to XKEYSCORE, as well as all of NSA's analytic tools, is limited to only those personnel who require access for their assigned tasks. Those personnel must complete appropriate training prior to being granted such access - training which must be repeated on a regular basis. This training not only covers the mechanics of the tool but also each analyst's ethical and legal obligations. In addition, there are multiple technical, manual and supervisory checks and balances within the system to prevent deliberate misuse from occurring.

    3. Our tools have stringent oversight and compliance mechanisms built in at several levels. One feature is the system's ability to limit what an analyst can do with a tool, based on the source of the collection and each analyst's defined responsibilities. Not every analyst can perform every function, and no analyst can operate freely. Every search by an NSA analyst is fully auditable, to ensure that they are proper and within the law.

    These types of programs allow us to collect the information that enables us to perform our missions successfully - to defend the nation and to protect US and allied troops abroad. (For example, as of 2008, there were over 300 terrorists captured using intelligence generated from XKEYSCORE.)

    Continuous and selective revelations of specific techniques and tools used by NSA to pursue legitimate foreign intelligence targets is detrimental to the national security of the United States and our allies, and places at risk those we are sworn to protect - our citizens, our war fighters, and our allies.

  31. Florida1920 Silver badge
    FAIL

    "These types of programs allow us to collect the information that enables us to perform our missions successfully – to defend the nation and to protect US and allied troops abroad."

    What a crock. NSA knew the first and last names of future 9/11 hijackers when they entered the U.S. from the Far East, but only shared the first names with FBI. So they slipped through the net undetected. NSA collects data for NSA's glory. The FBI can't touch it, but it's available to a contract employee?

  32. WinHatter

    Now we have the brochure.

    Can we have a peek at the software to fact-check that commercial pamphlet ?

    I'm sure the sales person got carried away ... as they always do.

  33. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    It was all lawful by the laws that were in force at the time.

    Hmmm.

    This sounds strangely familiar.

    Perhaps it's time humankind updated its list of "Memes that people on trial for crimes against humanity trot out in their defense."

    1. Don Jefe
      Unhappy

      Re: It was all lawful by the laws that were in force at the time.

      Lawful by all the laws and 100% in opposition to the original intent of the law.

  34. J J Carter Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Time to go back to the manual typewriter, stencils for mimeograph machine and passing Samizdat material between reistance cells.

  35. CalmCalmCalm

    I believe that this is all about the huge civil unrest which the Upper Class know full well is on the horizon.

    Every protester will be branded as a "Domestic Terrorist".

    It stuns me that no one within mainstream media have spoken about this program being implemented as a method of control and as a means of gathering evidence to use in courtrooms as protesters are charged with civil unrest. All information will be used to show a "Pattern" and will be used to track down everyone associated with the arrested protester in an attempt to entice friends and associates of the accused protester to become an informant and to testify against the protester in court.

    Every step ..... every court appearance over the past 10 years is not so much to implement justice but to create legal precedents as thousands of arrests take place as the economy continues to crumble.

    The futurists with government recognized as far back as 1980 (when Free Trade was introduced) that there was no way that the U.S. Capitalists could honor the promises made to the working class since the end of WWII. Free Trade allowed the Capitalists the unfettered ability to move all assets and wealth offshore and out of reach to anyone wanting to sue in lieu of broken promises and loss of pensions, etc.

    http://www.dotandcalm.com/calm-archive/EconomicNotes.html

    I believe that this is the first song about Edward Snowden

    Every Call You Make

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loSlVXtZj8s

    Calm

    1. Maharg
      Facepalm

      The futurists with government recognized as far back as 1980 (when Free Trade was introduced) that there was no way that the U.S. Capitalists could honor the promises...

      government recognized as far back as 1980 (when Free Trade was introduced) that there was no that the U.S...

      recognized as far back as 1980 (when Free Trade was introduced) that there...

      far back as 1980 (when Free Trade was introduced) that there...

      1980 (when Free Trade was introduced)

      What?

    2. Dan Paul

      One plus One Equals Two

      In this world of smoky backroom justice served out by the most ambitious criminals that have ever been elected, you can bet your bippy that the One Percenters will do everything they can to bring down the world economy and start WW3 so that they can profit from war like they have many times in the past. Looks like all the pieces of their plans are falling in place.

      In order to accomplish this, they first have to disarm the American Public which is already happening in Democratically controlled states like New York and California. This is so we cannot take the country back from the criminals who now run it.

      They have already ruined the value of the dollar (and gutted the political power of the unions) by sending all manufacturing overseas, left us with shrinking purchasing power from inflation (which they deny has happened), fully 30% of this country is at the edge of poverty (because ordinary people cannot ask for better wages) and qualify for some kind of public benefits (so they can buy our cooperation).

      It won't take much more to push the economy over the edge, leading us all into WW3 so there can be a mass depopulation resulting in lots of open real estate to make even more money on.

      The obscenely rich oligarchy that actually runs the world is doing this deliberately as they have done time and time again. Call me what you will but the truth will become self evident soon enough.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Works for me

    I hope the NSA is monitoring all internet communication. That's the best protection we have.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Works for me

      Too bad they can't protect us from moose cocks like yourself.

      1. NukEvil

        Re: Works for me

        Do NOT insult moose cocks by labeling him as one. Moose cocks serve a useful purpose.

        1. Brian Allan

          Re: Works for me

          I'm sure Moose(s) would agree...

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Internet 2.0

    Did we ever really believe that the 'authorities' were never going to listen to our openly broadcast, un-encrypted internet traffic? Of course they were, even if it was illegal, because lets face it, doing illegal stuff has never been an impediment before. So now they have been found out. Shall we arrest them? Do you have an army to other-throw them? Thought not. And despite any 'assurances' they may now give us over this, will you ever trust them again?

    So we now have to accept the internet is tainted and that's never going away. My only hope is that there are throngs of 'libertarians' furiously cooking up Internet 2.0.

  38. thomas k.

    my friend, the terrorist ...

    Perhaps we should all start including phrases like "my friend the terrorist says we should wage jihad against the Western imperialist warmongers by any means neccesary" randomly into our emails and forum posts so that these trolling programs are inundated with false positives, sort of like a civil disobedience DDOS attack.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: thomas k. Re: my friend, the terrorist ...

      "Perhaps we should all start including phrases....." So you actually think it would be a smart idea to impede the hunt for potential terrorists? Please do try and explain your hip'n'trendy humour to the families of the victims of 9/11, the London Tube bombings, the Madrid train bombings, etc., etc.

      1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: thomas k. my friend, the terrorist ...

        "So you actually think it would be a smart idea to impede the hunt for potential terrorists? Please do try and explain your hip'n'trendy humour to the families of the victims of 9/11, the London Tube bombings, the Madrid train bombings, etc., etc."

        All of these events occurred after the establishment of the surveillance systems we are discussing.

        In each of these cases it can be shown that the intelligence services of the countries affected were, at least to some degree, partially aware of the perpetrators and the potential risk that they may have been planning such crimes. Perhaps you would care to explain to the families how the systems paid for by their taxes, maintained by their caring governments and its agencies and used to monitor the victims (amongst the rest of us) of such attacks were NOT protected by this amazing, complex and powerful IT/Interception system?

        I will cheerfully explain to the collateral victims of these terrible attacks why the measures being implemented and proposed will not prevent future attacks if you can explain to them why it didn't prevent previous attacks.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Boring Bernie Re: thomas k. my friend, the terrorist ...

          "....All of these events occurred after the establishment of the surveillance systems we are discussing....." All happened when the systems concerned operated under ridiculous restrictions forced on them by the PC crowd, restrictions which even today have not been more than slightly relaxed. And they also had to act in stupidly restricted non-cooperation - the FBI could "spy" on people inside the continental US under very tight guidelines, but the CIA couldn't and the NSA only could after wading through enough red-tape to slow any investigation to a crawl. The Secret Service didn't share info with the DEA, which meant trying to track terror arms deals using counterfeit money from Iran was a nightmare. Immigration was a political hot-potato so there was no attempt to seriously track even those from known unfriendly countries once they got into the US, and the visa system was so abused and protected by the PC crowd as to make practical controls a joke. And, after the meddling of the Clintons, the US DoJ was too busy playing politics to be of any use at all. The US didn't just force the very bodies created to protect it to do so with one arm tied behind their backs, but also with a blindfold on and earplugs in and a pillow wrapped around the free hand, which had to ask before it could even reach out. Your failure to realize that is why you stupidly shriek and bleat about the "revealations" of the still highly regulated and restricted activities of the alphabet agencies today.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How long before the Guardian is 'investigated' for some bullshit trumped up charges, tax evasion, etc?

    Not really a fan of a lot of their views but they seem to be the only major newspaper in this country with a set of bollocks, good on them. Who else is breaking these stories, rags like the Sun and the Mail? 'Respectable' newspapers like the Times? Fuck all, that's who!

  40. Maharg

    No one cares about you.

    You all remember ‘Tom’ the guy you would automatically get as your friend on MySpace? It was a way for the NSA to look at your profile!!!!!!!!11111

    Anyone who thought they couldn’t do this is stupid, anyone who thinks they do this t to them, has a massively inflated ego, this may be a shock BUT YOU ARE NOT IMPORTANT, if they monitor you it’s because of one of two things,

    1) they suspect you are dangerous, and you are not,

    2) they suspect you are dangerous and you are.

    When I say ‘dangerous’ I don’t mean because of you being such a free spirit, or that you follow Wikileaks on twitter, you think fluoride is a mind control drug they put in water, or you posted you don’t like Obama on facebook, I mean because you just came back from holiday in Yemen, bought a shit load of Ammonium nitrate, copper wiring and an old school ticking alarm clock and a copy of Catcher in the Rye.

    If they had such a free run on doing this, and the black helicopters are constantly overhead, they would have so many unidentified serial killers running around? Or that guy who tried to set up a car bomb in Time Square would have been able to get as far as actually parking the car? What about the guy who set fire to his pants on a plan? You think they ignored him but focus on you instead?

    This is not a movie, if someone gets shot you don’t hear Police sirens in the distance a minute later, the NSA are not spying on you, they could if they wanted to, but they don’t, and yes, NASA really did land on the moon.

    Prepared for down votes.

    1. Don Jefe
      Alert

      Re: No one cares about you. Or you either apparently, you need help before you stroke out

      MySpace Tom was an NSA agent? Holy shit! That little fucker.

      Not worried about Tom though. I foiled their nefarious plot by deleting Tom. Ha! Take that über secret multibillion dollar spy agency!

      1. Maharg

        Re: No one cares about you. Or you either apparently, you need help before you stroke out

        What determines a dangerous person is one thing, what the NSA can afford to determine as dangerous enough to warrant the cost, time and effort is another. As I said, we have had a few close calls that we know about, god knows how many we don’t, the idea that they are, or even could if they want to monitor and document what every single Muslim, Communist or left handed person does is just silly, even Joe McCarthy couldn’t do it when the internet didn’t exist and he had most of American on his side.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No one cares about you.

      You are most likely correct here, but you're forgetting one thing. Who defines what 'dangerous' is? We've already seen people go lose all sense of logic and go absolutely batshit insane over the newest 'enemy', whether it be Communists in the 50s or Muslims in the 00s. The concept of a 'dangerous' person has been loosely applied already, ask those poor bastards who spent years in Guantanamo for no particular reason other than they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      1. Don Jefe
        Unhappy

        Re: No one cares about you.

        Defining dangerous is the core of the issue and far too vulnerable to political manipulation/redefinition. Political party affiliations, campaign donations, ethnicity, religion. All these things have been considered dangerous in the past and will certainly be again if it suits someone's agenda.

        Look at the loons who are in Congress now. They're scared of Muslims, the Chinese, Mexicans, poor people and educated people. If those people are representative of their constituents I can only imagine the level of irrational fear among the general populace.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Re: No one cares about you.

        "Who defines what 'dangerous' is? "

        And that is the point.

        As a citizen of a representative democracy or "free" society going about their law abiding business I should have the right to expect the government to not spy on me because I have done nothing.

        IE I have to have done something to warrant surveillance in the first place.

        Understand this. The storage and processing so cheap that everyone can be watched basically because they can. No justification is needed and no actual evidence is needed either.

        1. Maharg
          Facepalm

          Re: No one cares about you.

          In that case, how do you suggest they gather evidence to see if you are doing anything wrong? Or would you rather just wait until something happens?

          I guess you have an issue with CCTV cameras as well then? Or what about Policemen walking around the street? “Stop looking at things Mr Policeman, you might see me!”

          This is passive surveillance, unless you do something that warrants their attention, they are not looking at YOU, nobody cares about you, get over yourself.

  41. Mnot Paranoid

    Gosh, if I was a terrorist, I might be thinking that using computer networks to communicate really was a bad idea.

    I might be thinking about OTP, shortwave radio and posting letters.

    1. Don Jefe

      I think that's a core problem in TWAT (The War Against Terror). There's this assumption that terrorists have big strategy meetings where they layout all their plans in detailed electronic formats and continue the conversations using common terms. Even street corner drug dealers and pimps don't use regular terms in their messages and conversations.

      It doesn't take flow charts, Gantt charts and info graphics to strap a bomb to some dumbass volunteer and send him into a mosque, market or train station. It isn't a complicated process. Unless you're talking extra stupid bad guys there isn't going to be anything to collect from the surveillance other than 'Don't go to the place that day.' or something useless like that.

  42. JaitcH
    Black Helicopters

    Rgister your telephones as something Pizza

    Yesterday (Wednesday), in Washington, at the Senate, NSA deputy director John Inglis let out a little secret when he said: "they (NSA using telephone metadata) “try to be judicious” and that when there is a second hop or third hop, they “may only do that for a subset of numbers. ”If a “pizza deliveryman” is included in one of those hops, “you don’t go after that,” he said.

    So, all terrorists, register your cell as Ali's Pizza, or something similar, and the NSA will ignore you!

    THANK YOU, NSA deputy director John Inglis. Dummy.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't help wondering... if Mr Snowden, wanted to change the world... why has he done it this way?

    He was in a position where he could have run live intercepts between highly placed individuals, matching and capturing historical data and current data.

    All he needed to do to shut this all down was capture two days worth of several highly placed Congressmen, and Senators, a few world others leaders, communications and release it all (with maybe some redactions).

    I'm betting that would have had it shut down in hours.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "xkeyscore sees nearly everything"

    This is good news, IMO. Keep up the fine work folks. It's nice to know that at least a few people have a clue on national security.

    1. Simulacra75
      Facepalm

      Re: "xkeyscore sees nearly everything"

      Keep thinking that. Obvious Foggot.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      FAIL

      Re: "xkeyscore sees nearly everything"

      "This is good news, IMO. Keep up the fine work folks. It's nice to know that at least a few people have a clue on national security."

      Funny how those who support mass surveillance and the elimination of all online privacy do so from the anonymity of the AC?

      Do you get the idea of irony?

  45. Alan Firminger

    US Congress considerred the previous release by Snowdoen

    And they voted marginally to let the spooks continue.

    Now how many Congressmen and Senators have something salacious to hide, hint depends on sexuality in all its forms except an early return to a loving home.

    All the analysts will pass over this allowed behaviour until a bit of money sends them to flog their stories to the press. Then there will be a Levenson in the US with all sorts of indiscretions brought up.

    Someone with something to hide is the legislators.

  46. Brian Allan

    So, if you're acting within the law, who gives a dam! If you're acting outside the law, I hope you get caught!

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Swamp them over

    We should all do what they did to porn on P2P networks - flood their systems with bogus occurences and false positives. Where would they be if 50M+ of us regularly posted the words "kill the president" "terrorism" "make bombs" and "destroy america" for example?

    We need to create (and update) a master list of such terms, and food the public boards/social networks with them!

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: AC Re: Swamp them over

      "We should all do what they did to porn on P2P networks - flood their systems with bogus occurences and false positives....." So, because of your unproven paranoia, you want to interfere with processes to find terrorists plotting to attack the US or allies? Working on the assumption that you live in one of those countries, what you are saying is you do not want the authorities to do anything proactive to find terrorists before they act, because that upsets your delicate and paranoid delusions, but instead you want them to wait until after the terrorists have acted? Seriously? So who do you think that benefits?

      I know the desire to appear hip'n'trendy often over-rides the ability for the sheeple to think straight but surely even a blinkered twit like you should realize that would only make things worse in two ways. Firstly, it would make life easier for the terrorists that want to harm even sheeple like you. Secondly, it would only encourage the authorities to use illegal or even more restrictive methods regarding the Internet. If they can't monitor the Internet then they will start breaking it into segments, compartmentailising it, and restricting the very freedoms you bleat about. Enjoy your stupidity.

  48. The Alpha Klutz

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsdiYUnKyzk

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: The Aplha Klutz

      So what you're saying is you believe a conspiracy theory that anyone that challenges a conspiracy theory online is just working for The Man? How tightly wound is that tinfoil hat?

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