Reply to post: Re: Here We Go Again.

Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights

tom dial Silver badge

Re: Here We Go Again.

Whether I, or anyone, trusts any sigint agency is irrelevant to the question I posed of whether what they do affects the freedom of those engaged solely in legal activities. Without endorsing any particular NSA or similar CSEC/GCHQ/ASD/GCSB activities I observe the following:

It is not clear whether information passed to DEA was obtained from communications outside the US, legal under FISA 702, from lawful wiretaps (unlikely) or from unlawful eavesdropping on US persons. It may be worth noting that not everyone physically in the US or its territories qualifies as a "US Person". The somewhat malodorous practice of parallel construction can be understood as protecting intelligence sources and methods just as easily as it can be taken as covering up illegal acts. More to the point, drug smuggling does not qualify as legal activity.

Again, these agencies have been accused of industrial spying, but the claim is not evidence. The NSA says it does not, a claim that equally is not evidence. Petrobras is a semi-public company owned mostly by and intertwined with the Brazilian government. It is unclear whether intelligence activities directed at it should be construed as industrial spying or more customary foreign intelligence activity, and the Guardian article includes no information at all that would help in making a judgment about that. It is unclear as well how industrial spying, in general, limits freedom or hinders business activity or, in any specific case, has done so to an identifiable natural or corporate person.

"Lovint:" unauthorized access by NSA employees to personal communications of close acquaintances. This has been reported publicly on the order of a dozen times and probably occurred but went unreported more often in fact. By reports it was done sometimes with good intentions and sometimes out of jealousy, often confessed by the violator, and normally punished by termination of NSA employment. At a given time there probably are several tens of thousands of analysts employed who do not intentionally exceed their authorization. But again, there is no reason to think the illicit surveillance affected the freedom of lovint targets or anyone else.

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