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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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  • Re:What's worse? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by conscarcdr (1429747) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @10:56AM (#47393129)
    Yeah, let's just go back to intercepting peoples' messages quietly, shall we?
  • Re:What's worse? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kruach aum (1934852) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @10:56AM (#47393133)

    What's worse is your wilful misconstrual of an important privacy rights issue either out of malice or ignorance.

  • 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.

  • Re:What's worse? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @11:02AM (#47393161)

    "...either out of malice or ignorance."

    Or maybe 'johnsie' is being paid to stir up the pot a little?

  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @11:15AM (#47393233)

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

  • Re:What's worse? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @11:15AM (#47393235)

    What's worse, intercepting peoples messages or making them public for anyone to read?

    Since the latter is a violation of my constitutional rights and the former is not, I'm going to say intercepting peoples messages. Any more inane questions or can we move onto the topic of why our federal government has torn up the constitution and is currently using it to wipe their ass?

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • by augahyde (1016980) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @11:38AM (#47393379)

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

    In name we have two. In reality we have factions of one.

  • 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 jeIIomizer (3670945) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @12:03PM (#47393543)

    Do you know anything? More specifically, do you know anything about the constitution, or freedom? If your idiotic mass surveillance scheme isn't being conducted with constitutional warrants and can't help but sap up a information on innocent people (millions in this case), then it's unconstitutional and evil. What is so hard to understand about that?

  • Re:The Spin (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Sunday July 06, 2014 @12:17PM (#47393619) Homepage

    I think it's smart. Lots and lots of people don't respond to stories that are technical and abstract. OK so they spy on people using "tor" with "selectors" yawn change channel *zap*.

    Human interest stories are different. This story might reach a whole audience who just couldn't find it in themselves to care until now. But ooooh juicy details about someone's romance with a jihadist, interesting, and huh .... wait. They could get that stuff on anyone, couldn't they. They could get that on me.

    So this story could prompt the housewives of America to care more than perhaps they have so far.

  • 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.
  • Re:What's worse? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arker (91948) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @12:54PM (#47393797) Homepage
    What's worse, committing a crime or exposing a crime?

    Are you really having to stop and think about it?
  • Re:What's worse? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by linearz69 (3473163) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @01:22PM (#47393947)

    What's worse, intercepting peoples messages or making them public for anyone to read?

    If by "making them public" you are referring to the messages the article wrote of, then you are a moron. Its clear the reporter got permission from the author of the message to reprint, and the article did very well to show how intrusive the collection process is.

    If by "making them public" you are referring to the NSA storing the intercepted message, and then allowing random defense contractor jerkoffs / lawyers / cops / self appointed authorities to access them in the future, then you might have a point.

  • 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.

  • by linearz69 (3473163) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @01:48PM (#47394069)

    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 really hasn't. Why?

    And people rail against the NSA, but they really need to look at congress who has allowed the agency, through legislation, to completely avoid the Judicial branch of our government, and not be accountable to the executive branch which it is supposedly running under.

    One of the things I've notices is a general public complacency on this NSA issue. I'm curious as to why more people don't think the NSA spying is a problem. I was having a conversation with a friend the other day, and he seem real concerned about CIA drone strikes in Yemen. When I said I was more concerned about the NSA in Mountain View, he looked at me like I needed a tinfoil hat.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @01:50PM (#47394085)

    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 they created the problem and fear all the blackmail evidence the NSA is holding on them, the president won't do anything because he is too busy trying to EXPAND their powers, the DOJ will not do anything because they are even MORE corrupt, the people will not do anything because NO ONE CARES!

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