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United States Privacy Security

New Snowden Leak: of 160000 Intercepted Messages, Only 10% From Official Targets 201

Posted by samzenpus
from the that-old-familiar-story dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with the latest news about NSA spying from documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the National Security Agency from U.S. digital networks, according to a four-month investigation by The Washington Post. Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else. Many of them were Americans. Nearly half of the surveillance files, a strikingly high proportion, contained names, e-mail addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents. NSA analysts masked, or "minimized," more than 65,000 such references to protect Americans' privacy, but The Post found nearly 900 additional e-mail addresses, unmasked in the files, that could be strongly linked to U.S. citizens or U.S. residents."
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New Snowden Leak: of 160000 Intercepted Messages, Only 10% From Official Targets

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @10:57AM (#47393135)

    For all Snowden's sacrifices he is barely making a dent in the collective ignorance of Americans. At least other countries are being shown/reminded of just how dangerous the NSA is to them.

    • by rmdingler (1955220) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @11:29AM (#47393325)
      Look. On the one hand, it will be virtually impossible to make the technology disappear that allows any government unprecedented surveillance powers.

      Based on the historical evidence of the governments of men, it would also be rather reasonable to expect there will exist elements within our governments willing to exploit national security fears to abuse surveillance powers.

      With awareness, ignorance is left off the table as a selection. At least if we are made aware, we then choose to make a difference or play along.

      • by ron_ivi (607351)

        make the technology disappear

        It's not a matter of making the technology disappear.

        It's about using appropriate technologies to keep sensitive data private.

        I would hope that every foreign business in the world is now researching encrypted email, VPNs, etc for their corporate communication just to protect their industrial secrets and corporate IP.

        And I would hope that US companies now assume that China and Russia are doing similar spying to the NSA -- and therefore are also researching encrypted email, VPNs, etc.

        Once such compani

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Good job you've got those guns, otherwise you lot would be being repressed.......

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        it will be virtually impossible to make the technology disappear that allows any government unprecedented surveillance powers.

        Disagree. We can do a lot to make mass surveillance of the internet impractical. Real life is a bit harder, but private communication and thought is a worthwhile goal in itself.

      • Look. On the one hand, it will be virtually impossible to make the technology disappear that allows any government unprecedented surveillance powers.

        Based on the historical evidence of the governments of men, it would also be rather reasonable to expect there will exist elements within our governments willing to exploit national security fears to abuse surveillance powers.

        With awareness, ignorance is left off the table as a selection. At least if we are made aware, we then choose to make a difference or play along.

        Actually, with widespread incorporation of encryption, NSA will not ever have the resources to try and decrypt what they now fetch in the clear. And lets hope that it is incorporated soon, to keep Google and other search engines out of your life.

        • Actually, with widespread incorporation of encryption, NSA will not ever have the resources to try and decrypt what they now fetch in the clear. And lets hope that it is incorporated soon, to keep Google and other search engines out of your life.

          You are posting cognitively on Slashdot.

          Most people are not like you. Read it again... it does not say don't like you.

          Widespread incorporation of encryption will statistically miss at the average consumer, the weakest link.

    • by wealthychef (584778) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @12:28PM (#47393705)
      The point is not to make a dent in the collective ignorance of Americans. That's asking a lot. What is the point is to uncover the man behind the green curtain, who promises us he is keeping us safe with his awesome powers, but is instead bumbling around, lying, and providing a fertile ground for abuse by collecting too much information and having an opaque process. Evil loves the darkness, even when the "good guys" are the ones that turn the light out in the name of national security.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Reign em in or quit your whining . They are your responsibility.

    • its probably the biggest dent thats been made post reagan.

      You don't see it on the TV, but people are slowly starting to question everything.

      The only people immune from this, are people who have *a lot* to loose if the government comes crashing down.
    • You really think that this kind of shit doesn't go on in other countries? The biggest difference between them and the NSA is that they either a) openly admit to spying on their own citizens(China) or b) Are much better at covering their ass.
      • by symbolset (646467) *
        So wait. You're saying China's most secure spy bureau does not subcontract their sysadmin duties to Dell, to be filled by an unvetted and frankly suspicious temporary worker? Not Iran, nor Syria either?
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Snowden is making a dent in American's wallets though, or at least in corporate profits. Financial pain is the only language the US understands, and the only thing that will make it stop.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @11:05AM (#47393177) Journal

    As recently as May, shortly after he retired as NSA director, Gen. Keith Alexander denied that Snowden could have passed FISA content to journalists.

    âoeHe didnâ(TM)t get this data,â Alexander told a New Yorker reporter. âoeThey didnâ(TM)t touch â"â

    âoeThe operational data?â the reporter asked.

    âoeThey didnâ(TM)t touch the FISA data,â Alexander replied. He added, âoeThat database, he didnâ(TM)t have access to.â

    Robert S. Litt, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said in a prepared statement that Alexander and other officials were speaking only about âoerawâ intelligence, the term for intercepted content that has not yet been evaluated, stamped with classification markings or minimized to mask U.S. identities.

    Every step of the way, the NSA has been forced to go back and qualify its previous statements.
    And not just statements to the American people, but to Congress as well.

    One analyst rests her claim that a target is foreign on the fact that his e-mails are written in a foreign language, a quality shared by tens of millions of Americans. Others are allowed to presume that anyone on the chat âoebuddy listâ of a known foreign national is also foreign.

    In many other cases, analysts seek and obtain approval to treat an account as âoeforeignâ if someone connects to it from a computer address that seems to be overseas. âoeThe best foreignness explanations have the selector being accessed via a foreign IP address,â an NSA supervisor instructs an allied analyst in Australia.

    And these are the carefully vetted selectors that are being used to not-spy on Americans.
    It might be faster for the NSA to just make a list of the things they haven't publicly lied about.
    What a farce.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The only farce here is the American people standing for it. That includes those at the highest levels.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @11:16AM (#47393239)

      What a farce.

      The real farce is that Americans will keep voting for the same two political parties, no matter what they do.

      • by weilawei (897823) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @11:21AM (#47393281) Homepage

        We have two? I only see one from here...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What a farce.

        The real farce is that Americans will keep voting for the same two political parties, no matter what they do.

        I think that is what annoys me the most. Where is the public outcry? Nobody seems to care that our once famous Democracy has become something twisted and evil. All top level NSA managers should be imprisoned a year for every illegally intercepted message. But that will never happen, no one can do anything to reign in an out of control criminal agency; Congress won't do anything because t

        • there is plenty of public outcry. You here it everywhere. In every bar, in every street corner, where there are *people*. From conservatives, to liberals, to anarchists, capitalists and socialists alike.

          You won't here it on the TV, the radio, but you'll here lots of it in the printed press.

          This is going to make glenn greenwald's career.
      • I think that has more to do with how the voting system is set up, and less to do with collective ignorance.

        Collective ignorance of the US population is yet more propaganda they tell us to accept their abuse of our neighbors.

        We don't have a choice at the voting booth, because of systematic elimination, and exclusion of canidates that oppose the system, and systematic corruption of any that might get through.

        the USA was never a democracy, and what little bits of democracy that exist in the system only date to
    • Well, they're using the excuse that they are forced to lie because the programs are top secret, congress isn't authorized to see the data so congress should stop asking questions so they don't have to lie to them.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @01:32PM (#47393989)

        Anything that is too secret to be told to the representatives of the public is not compatible with a republic.

        So they just have to stop it. Yes, it will make some things harder, but "it was easier that way" is not an excuse to break the law. Particularly not for the government.

        • The intelligence oversight act of 1974 gave small groups in congress the ability to oversee intelligence activities that breach rights -- the basis being that warranting evidence would then lead to permissions of privacy violations, etc. I don't understand why this isn't still important. It was important in August 2001. It was important on September 10th 2001.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org]

          • The intelligence oversight act of 1974 gave small groups in congress the ability to oversee intelligence activities that breach rights -- the basis being that warranting evidence would then lead to permissions of privacy violations, etc. I don't understand why this isn't still important. It was important in August 2001. It was important on September 10th 2001.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org]

            Watch the Frontline special on the NSA:
            http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/... [pbs.org]

    • by houghi (78078) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @11:31AM (#47393343)

      There statements will change only slightely. It will go from "No!" to "So?".
      The real issue is not so much that they are spying or even lying about it. The issue is that nothing is done to stop it.

      • Probably nothing can be done to stop it in the short to medium term. I suspect that many years from now historians will look back and see this as just a phase humanity had to go through, kind of like the evolution from monarchy to democracy.

        It's clear that the power to know everything about everyone has gone to the heads of the political class so badly that they'll never give it up. They'll always find a justification and any "reasonable compromise" that is arrived at won't be what we had 40-50 years ago (i

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by linearz69 (3473163)

      Every step of the way, the NSA has been forced to go back and qualify its previous statements.
      And not just statements to the American people, but to Congress as well.

      This is kind of like the scorpion and the frog.

      Perhaps the concern here shouldn't be the NSA as much as the people who make the laws that enable the NSA to be the way they are. The NSA is a large secret agency that has been created by decades of congressional legislation. Due to "security concerns" the NSA operates relatively autonomously, and, by design, even the president and courts have limited oversight. The limitation of this oversight of the Judicial and Executive branches should be challenged but

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        Due to "security concerns" the NSA operates relatively autonomously, and, by design, even the president and courts have limited oversight.

        This isn't true at all
        The President has ultimate authority over the actions of the intelligence agencies.
        The Congress has ultimate control of funding for the intelligence agencies.
        Further, both houses of Congress have intelligence oversight committees that were formed in the wake of multiple scandals from the 1960s and 1970s.

        None of this is new. FISA was written as a direct result of the US Army spying on domestic protests by American citizens.
        The domestic and overbroad spying by the NSA is exactly the type

        • This isn't true at all
          The President has ultimate authority over the actions of the intelligence agencies. .

          To the degree that the President knows what is going on. The problem, in a practical sense, the NSA doesn't have to listen to or inform the President of it's actions. Career civil servants acting outside of the wishes of an elected administration is nothing new... look at the FBI under Hoover or the CIA under Bush. There is an inherent advantage the civil servants have here, not in just being able to classify everything in sight, but also longevity and experience.

          Not to say that the President isn't compl

        • Due to "security concerns" the NSA operates relatively autonomously, and, by design, even the president and courts have limited oversight.

          This isn't true at all The President has ultimate authority over the actions of the intelligence agencies. The Congress has ultimate control of funding for the intelligence agencies. Further, both houses of Congress have intelligence oversight committees that were formed in the wake of multiple scandals from the 1960s and 1970s.

          None of this is new. FISA was written as a direct result of the US Army spying on domestic protests by American citizens. The domestic and overbroad spying by the NSA is exactly the type of thing that FISA was originally intended to halt.

          Every time we pass a law to stop some shitty corporate or military behavior, it gets slowly watered down over the years until it's incapable of meeting its original goals.

          While all technically true, the problem happens when these agencies straight up lie to Congress or the president about their activities.

          James Clapper, the Bay of Pigs, etc etc. If you believe those oversight committees are worth anything, well...

    • by ron_ivi (607351)

      Gen. Keith Alexander denied that Snowden could have passed FISA content to journalists

      Does that mean that Alexander's kinda a witness to Snowden's innocence in this leak?

      If it goes to trial, a NSA director saying it couldn't have been Snowden who leaked this stuff is probably a pretty good alibi.

    • âoeHe didnâ(TM)t get this data,â Alexander told a New Yorker reporter. âoeThey didnâ(TM)t touch â"â

      What a piece of alphabet salad... Americans, you have guns. Please shoot the webmaster where this was copy-pasted from!

  • The Spin (Score:5, Interesting)

    by weilawei (897823) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @11:18AM (#47393251) Homepage

    The amount of spin applied to the article is incredible. It reads like a propaganda piece designed to have snippets quoted out of context. Good soundbites.

    In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are

    Which appears to imply that we only target foreigners... Since Americans are "untargeted" they don't deserve a mention.

    At one level, the NSA shows scrupulous care in protecting the privacy of U.S. nationals and, by policy, those of its four closest intelligence allies — Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

    And then they never balance out that "At one level" until three paragraphs later.

    Then, they spend most of the article on a fucking fluff piece about the content of some romantic messages. What the fuck is this shit?

    PR spin piece, through and through. They managed to ruin an actual news story.

    • Post > Bezos > CIA

      Don't expect them to say nice things about the NSA. Sounds like a regular turf war to me.

      • by weilawei (897823)

        I'm not entirely sure what you're suggesting about the Post, Bezos, the CIA, and the NSA ("CARRIER LOST..." Now that that's out of our system, let's continue.) in relation to each other and over what turf, but they're saying "not nice" things about the NSA in 24kt gold words.

        At one level, the NSA shows scrupulous care in protecting the privacy of U.S. nationals and, by policy, those of its four closest intelligence allies — Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

        With their track record? Care? Scrupulous care? Insert incredulity here.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If someone intercepts your communications, records them to persistent storage, and keeps them indefinitely for later inspection, YOU ARE BEING TARGETED. Your papers and effects are being seized without any judicial oversight, contrary to the 4th amendment of the US constitution. What the hell is wrong with you?

    • You are a terrible reader. I cannot imagine a PR piece that could be more harmful to the cause.

      It sounds like you allowed some preconceived notion to spin the words for you, because I didn't find your references until the second read through. The first was after reading this post so I was looking for spin to confirm it.

      The article was not well written in parts, but it includes some quotes that, taken out of context, more than balance out your spin assertion. The very first sentence in the article explicitly

      • by weilawei (897823)

        I didn't find your references until the second read through.

        You mean to say you didn't read the headline--which was the first reference of only two. That's some real close reading there.

        • Correct. Headlines are the worst offenders at information dispersion, and I ignore them unless I'm certain I missed something.

          My argument stands. Your assignment is not complete.

          • by weilawei (897823)

            Your assignment is a load of BS. A PR spin piece can say lots of things, but the headline and the top of the fold is where most readers stop. Anything more than a quick skim is unlikely--and you are prime evidence of that. You didn't even get TFH. Even worse, you didn't read the first sentence.

            The very first sentence in the article explicitly states that Americans were not legally intercepted.

            Now, that word... explicit. I don't think it means what you think it means. Did you mean IMPLICIT?

            Ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the National Security Agency from U.S. digital networks, according to a four-month investigation by The Washington Post.

            It says that ordinary internet users (Americans and others) outnumber legally targeted foreigners. At no point does tha

            • by weilawei (897823)

              For bonus points, try searching that page for the word 'illegal' or 'unlawful'. You will not find it. Words containing 'legal' appear only twice. The use of 'lawful' occurs once, in 'lawfully', where they claim:

              Most of the people caught up in those programs are not the targets and would not lawfully qualify as such.

              So, they don't lawfully qualify as being targeted. So it's not actually targeting is what they're arguing. (Also, a load of BS.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @11:23AM (#47393291)

    The guy now faces a gradual slide into obscurity as the initial outrage over his revelations congeals into apathy and and acceptance by the vast majority... in the best case scenario for him personally, he will spend the rest of his life in departure lounge purgatory like this guy [wikipedia.org]. There are plenty of worse possibilities. I wouldn't be surprised if he goes a bit loopy and we begin to get stories of him doing strange things like other well known whistleblowers who ended up in similar circumstances, when that happens we should remember that every human has a breaking point and it doesn't devalue their accomplishments. Was it worth it? Will he be vindicated in future history? Only time will tell, but what's fairly certain is he won't be alive to see it. I'm not implying there will be assassinations or whatever but that the world's slide into a darker period of history is still accelerating and it will be decades, at least, before the pendulum naturally begins to swing the other way.

    • I think you massively overestimate how bad Russia is, especially compared to the USA.

      Snowden is 30 and newly single. Russia is a large country that is notorious for its abundance of highly educated and attractive women. It has quite a few famous and sophisticated software companies, especially in the security realm that Snowden likes. 143 million people manage to live there without going crazy.

      Of all the places in the world to have landed, Russia is definitely not the worst. Heck it's probably the best plac

  • 10%? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    And how many of those targets should be targets to begin with? With how easy it is for the government to label someone a 'terrorist' or an 'extremist', their targets are probably mostly harmless people, anyway.

  • What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by engun (1234934) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @11:57AM (#47393501)
    The tone of this post is insane. It makes it sound like Americans are the only people on this planet with a right to privacy. What about the rest of the world? So the NSA's only crime is that it spied on US citizens? Is it perfectly ok to undermine those same rights for other human beings?
    • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday July 06, 2014 @12:02PM (#47393537) Homepage Journal

      There are at least three separate arguments here. One is whether it's wrong to spy on anyone. The next is whether it's wrong to spy on your own citizens. The third is whether you ever have an excuse to violate the highest law of the land (the constitution, of course) in order to uphold lesser laws.

      It's not hypocritical to believe that the answers are no, yes, and no, respectively. It's douchey, but not hypocritical. Hypocritical would be ignoring the fact that every nation with the funding has an espionage program.

      • by dumbo11 (798489)
        There is a fourth question - whether the US government is helping to create police states in other countries.

        If you live in a 'unstable' country friendly to the US, then your every communication may be monitored, not by your local dictator, but by the NSA on their behalf. Personally, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but there is absolutely no legal responsibility for it - it's effectively an "outsourced police state".
    • No, it isn't okay, but that won't stop people from 'justifying' it by saying "Everyone else is doing it, so it's okay!" or "It keeps us safe, so it's okay!" or "It's technically not illegal, so it's okay!"

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The difference with other countries is size, the US one is far bigger.

    • by Lakitu (136170)

      Every single country in the world treats its own citizens differently from how it treats foreign nations' citizens. Governments as we know them could not even function if this were not the case.

      • Every single country in the world treats its own citizens differently from how it treats foreign nations' citizens.

        Yes, but it does not follow that we must spy on innocent foreigners. All we have to do to not do that is... stop it. That's all.

    • @engun: "The tone of this post is insane. It makes it sound like Americans are the only people on this planet with a right to privacy. What about the rest of the world? So the NSA's only crime is that it spied on US citizens? Is it perfectly ok to undermine those same rights for other human beings?"

      Well yea, if your not American you have no right to privacy ..
  • by whoever57 (658626) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @12:18PM (#47393643) Journal
    If any of the following apply:

    1. You write emails in a foreign language

    2. You chat with known foreigners.

    3. You use an offshore proxy (perhaps to watch sprts events not available on US TV).

    4. Your broswer has stored tracking cookies from Yahoo, which advertisers consider unreliable.

    These are the reported cases. Prbably there are more. Remember that the NSA claimed that it did not track people if the balance of probabilities showed them to be US citizens, but this shows that, once again, the NSA was lying.

  • How many people are really being unlawfully spied upon? I am not saying that even 1 would be acceptable. But do we have any numbers on that? Because it seems that there was 10,000 unlawful account being spied upon. This is a very small "collateral damage" on the size of the population. There are 313,000,000 people in the US. We are talking about 0.003% which seems "somewhat reasonnable"

    Maybe the article was talking about only a single program. But how vast this "mass surveillance" really is?

    • by jeIIomizer (3670945) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @01:15PM (#47393919)

      We are talking about 0.003% which seems "somewhat reasonnable"

      That's not even close to reasonable. It's an egregious violation of the constitution and people's fundamental liberties.

      • by DarkOx (621550)

        We can make an argument the framers would not have found it reasonable as well. Just look at how our courts function.

        We have a formerly strong but at least still strongly worded 4th amendment that at the time it was written would have greatly inhibited spying. "The right to be secure in ones papers and effects" in the late 18th century left the state with following you around in public and asking people what you were up to without much ability to compel them answer.

        The we have the innocent until proven gu

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They're capturing "metadata" on every conversation/email/message. Now to me metadata includes the contents of the message (conveniently translated to text format, ergo "meta-")..

      In any case they're spying on all 300M Americans.They're guaranteed to read the ones referenced in the article.

    • by Lakitu (136170) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @03:13PM (#47394505)

      Here's the relevant paragraph from the article:

      If Snowden’s sample is representative, the population under scrutiny in the PRISM and Upstream programs is far larger than the government has suggested. In a June 26 “transparency report,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence disclosed that 89,138 people were targets of last year’s collection under FISA Section 702. At the 9-to-1 ratio of incidental collection in Snowden’s sample, the office’s figure would correspond to nearly 900,000 accounts, targeted or not, under surveillance.

      They use this information from Snowden, the 160,000 intercepted messages, showing that nearly 10 people were targetted "incidentally" for every 1 legitimate target. With that 10 to 1 ratio, and a transparency report released in june showing that there were almost 90,000 legitimate targets, the math comes out to approximately 1 million Americans "incidentally" targetted.

      Of course it's a crock to say these people's communications were spied upon "incidentally". They were explicitly targetted for incidental reasons such as being in the same IRC channel, using a foreign IP address, etc.

      What I don't get, though, is that the list of "minimized" targets whose identities were scrubbed as being likely Americans includes "a sitting President". Does this mean they spied on President Obama's communications, and then scrubbed his identity from it? Were these legitimate targets sending threatening emails to thanksobama@whitehouse.gov or what? Did they scrub any reference to his name, even when it didn't involve communications originating from him?

      How did he wind up as any of these "incidental" targets?

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      If Snowdenâ(TM)s sample is representative, the population under scrutiny in the PRISM and Upstream programs is far larger than the government has suggested. In a June 26 âoetransparency report,â the Office of the Director of National Intelligence disclosed that 89,138 people were targets of last yearâ(TM)s collection under FISA Section 702. At the 9-to-1 ratio of incidental collection in Snowdenâ(TM)s sample, the officeâ(TM)s figure would correspond to nearly 900,000 accounts,

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you seize someone's private papers and/or effects, commit them to persistent storage, and keep them around forever just in case you need them... you ARE TARGETING THEM. Anyone with their communications in NSA possession has been a target of NSA surveillance. If they weren't targets, the NSA wouldn't have kept the data.

  • by joelholdsworth (1095165) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @02:03PM (#47394141)

    Note that this is not yet Greenwald's "Fireworks show" - his promised grand finale was delayed from 4th July. From what I've gleaned, there will be a big-bang scoop naming specific names of US citizens - major public and political figures - who were wiretapped by the NSA. USG has claimed there will be some harm done, so the story has been delayed while the journalist team investigate.

    Stay tuned. I can't wait.

    • by Lakitu (136170)

      Out of curiosity, where did you hear this?

      I think it's really interesting that of the "minimized" identities listed in the article, one of them is

      A “minimized U.S. president-elect” begins to appear in the files in early 2009, and references to the current “minimized U.S. president” appear 1,227 times in the following four years.

      Does this mean they were reading Obama's communications after he was elected to become President, and then scrubbed his name from it?

  • The article doesn't really specify how the 90% were spied upon. It could simply be as a consequence of recording a telephone from a known suspect. I imagine that even a terrorists normal activity consists of many mundane things that involve innocent people: they order pizza, they go to bars, they buy things in stores, etc. Of course if someone is under surveillance, all these innocent people also get involved by the simple fact that they become somehow possible accessories in his crime. I would imagine that

    • We have a government that's collecting so-called "metadata" on nearly everyone in the country even though it is unconstitutional--one that has lied a myriad of times--and you have some reason to doubt this?

      If the suspect is already under surveillance, I imagine that the innocent population would tolerate a loss of privacy simply because that person is a threat.

      I can't believe I have to keep reminding people of this, but the US is supposed to be 'the land of the free and the home of the brave.' Free and brave people do not sacrifice such freedoms for safety. I'd rather risk death (though it's not so clear that any of this improves safety) than allow the TSA, DUI

    • by Lakitu (136170)

      It doesn't specify all of them, but it does specify some of them:

      If a target entered an online chat room, the NSA collected the words and identities of every person who posted there, regardless of subject, as well as every person who simply “lurked,” reading passively what other people wrote.

      There are others, too, but this would imply that if one of the legitimate targets had a slashdot account, or some other message board, anyone posting or reading the same site might be scooped up into the list of "incidental" targets.

      Anyone showing signs of being a "likely" American, according to the article, were then "minimized". ie, their names were scrubbed. Of course their criteria for determining likely American status is not very rigor

    • by Lakitu (136170)

      Forgot to mention this: https://www.schneier.com/blog/... [schneier.com]

      • by weilawei (897823)

        I managed to miss that in the news, but it's absolutely a load of bullshit and it needs to go. Just in case anyone else missed it like I did:

        From NDR [daserste.ndr.de]:

        The monitoring of connections to an MIT graduate’s server on the university campus is part of the intelligence services’ attempt to particularly focus on users of privacy software on the internet. The computer server is owned by US citizen Roger Dingledine, the creator of the Tor anonymity software. The IP address of the server operated by Dingledine is clearly defined in the source code as targeted object.

        From NDR [daserste.ndr.de]:

        The former NSA director General Keith Alexander stated that all those communicating with encryption will be regarded as terror suspects and will be monitored and stored as a method of prevention, as quoted by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in August last year. The top secret source code published here indicates that the NSA is making a concerted effort to combat any and all anonymous spaces that remain on the internet. Merely visiting privacy-related websites is enough for a user's IP address to be logged into an NSA database.

        Oh, and a sample of the rules [daserste.ndr.de]. Do you read Linux Journal?

        // START_DEFINITION /*
        These variables define terms and websites relating to the TAILs (The Amnesic
        Incognito Live System) software program, a comsec mechanism advocated by
        extremists on extremist forums.
        */

        $TAILS_terms=word('tails' or 'Amnesiac Incognito Live System') and word('linux'
        or ' USB ' o

        • Yes, because there's no possible way people would ever use Tor for planning to do illegal things.

  • LBJ Quote (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "Every man should know that his conversations, his correspondence, and his personal life are private."

    ~ Lyndon B. Johnson

  • Some of them border on the absurd, using titles that could apply to only one man. A “minimized U.S. president-elect” begins to appear in the files in early 2009, and references to the current “minimized U.S. president” appear 1,227 times in the following four years.

    So the President was not the intended surveillance target but his correspondence was unintentionally caught up in their surveillance net as they target terrorists. And they save the President's correspondence. If I was th

All the evidence concerning the universe has not yet been collected, so there's still hope.

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