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United States Privacy Security

The Executive Order That Led To Mass Spying, As Told By NSA Alumni 180

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-see-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this Ars piece about the executive order that is the legal basis for the U.S. government's mass spying on citizens. One thing sits at the heart of what many consider a surveillance state within the US today. The problem does not begin with political systems that discourage transparency or technologies that can intercept everyday communications without notice. Like everything else in Washington, there's a legal basis for what many believe is extreme government overreach—in this case, it's Executive Order 12333, issued in 1981. “12333 is used to target foreigners abroad, and collection happens outside the US," whistleblower John Tye, a former State Department official, told Ars recently. "My complaint is not that they’re using it to target Americans, my complaint is that the volume of incidental collection on US persons is unconstitutional.” The document, known in government circles as "twelve triple three," gives incredible leeway to intelligence agencies sweeping up vast quantities of Americans' data. That data ranges from e-mail content to Facebook messages, from Skype chats to practically anything that passes over the Internet on an incidental basis. In other words, EO 12333 protects the tangential collection of Americans' data even when Americans aren't specifically targeted—otherwise it would be forbidden under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978.
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The Executive Order That Led To Mass Spying, As Told By NSA Alumni

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  • 1981 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Travis Mansbridge (830557) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:06PM (#47780403)
    Three years early!
  • Reagan is alive! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by markringen (1501853) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:08PM (#47780415)
    that man is responsible for every disaster on the globe since he ever was president..
    • Different era (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mi (197448) <slashdot-2014@virtual-estates.net> on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:31PM (#47780575) Homepage

      That data ranges from e-mail content to Facebook messages, from Skype chats to practically anything that passes over the Internet on an incidental basis.

      None of those things existed, when the order was signed, though. And if none of the subsequent Presidents — including the current "tech-savvy" wonder — have abolished it since then (when the explosive use of computers made it truly dangerous), then is Reagan really to blame?

      • Re:Different era (Score:5, Informative)

        by AF_Cheddar_Head (1186601) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:36PM (#47780633)

        Yes, Yes he is.

        Union breaker
        Deficit balloons
        Trickle Down
        Sandinistas
        Iran-Contra
        Ollie North
        Nancy making decisions when he gets Alzheimer's

        You fucking got me started

        • Re:Different era (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Feces's Edge (3801473) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:42PM (#47780675)

          He also ramped up the war on drugs, something that so many freedom-hating scumbags in our government have done. So he wasn't a good president, and he definitely didn't want "small government."

          But what does that have to do with him being to blame for this specific issue?

          • He also ramped up the war on drugs, something that so many freedom-hating scumbags in our government have done. So he wasn't a good president, and he definitely didn't want "small government."

            But what does that have to do with him being to blame for this specific issue?

            Indeed it appears that Jimmy Carter was president when this order was signed in December of 1981.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

          • He also ramped up the war on drugs, something that so many freedom-hating scumbags in our government have done. So he wasn't a good president, and he definitely didn't want "small government."

            But what does that have to do with him being to blame for this specific issue?

            Whoops, no it wasn't Carter...it was Reagan:
            On December 4, 1981 President Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12333, an Executive Order intended to extend powers and responsibilities of US intelligence agencies and direct the leaders of U.S. federal agencies to co-operate fully with CIA requests for information.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E... [wikipedia.org]

            So yes he is to blame for this specific issue.

        • Re:Different era (Score:4, Interesting)

          by mi (197448) <slashdot-2014@virtual-estates.net> on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:54PM (#47780741) Homepage

          Yes, Yes he is.

          Because?..

          Union breaker .... You fucking got me started

          I wish, you had anything on-topic to offer, when you get "started"... The topic, in this case, being the abuse of the Executive Order 12333 [wikipedia.org] by the intelligence community decades after the order was signed.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            This started long before this order every happened.

            THE FBI, CIA, a host of known and (still) unknown agencies. About 100 years ago, check your history on the "war on communism" civil rights leaders and just about anyone who spoke out against their political leaders or people that were rich and influential were being target. Howard Hughes, MLK Jr, John Kennedy (a little irony in a president being considered a communist who was battling communists) I could keep going with the list of famous people let alone e

        • Yes, Yes he is....

          Wow, if you did't like that list, you must REALLY despise Obama. He's given arms all over the map, and under Obama unions have faced massive reductions all over.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Union breaker
          Look into the union that was broken. I knew a guy who was on the lines. His reaction? We deserved it. Basically they overreached on what they did for what they were asking for. Regan basically saw that air travel had ground to a halt. He took care of it. Any other president probably would have done something similar.

          Nancy making decisions when he gets Alzheimer's
          do you have proof of that? and I do not mean 'internet truth' but real facts.

          The rest were enabled by a democrat congress. Bei

        • by Nyder (754090)

          Yes, Yes he is.

          Union breaker
          Deficit balloons
          Trickle Down
          Sandinistas
          Iran-Contra
          Ollie North
          Nancy making decisions when he gets Alzheimer's

          You fucking got me started

          Reagan was a puppet, Bush ran the country.

        • Yes, Yes he is.

          Union breaker
          Deficit balloons
          Trickle Down
          Sandinistas
          Iran-Contra
          Ollie North
          Nancy making decisions when he gets Alzheimer's

          You fucking got me started

          Obama was a constitutional law professor for fucks sake.
          Regan was an actor.

          So who exactly should you be more angry with again?

          • Besides, the father of "trickle-down", Art Laffer, was a dyed-in-the-wool Keynesian economist (and still is). Which means that he was a card-carrying member of the same group of nutjobs who are still advising the Fed (and the Feds) on economics.

            Didn't work then. Doesn't work now. (Not just trickle-down, I mean Keynesian interventionist economics.)

            I just get a laugh about how today's Liberals think the current administration's economics are going to save us all, when in reality it's all the same shit,
            • And that's related to anything I said how?

              Clowns to left of me. Jokers to the right.

              • It seems pretty obvious to me.

                You were responding to someone who derided "trickle-down". The problem being that the same school of thought that was responsible for "trickle-down" is still advising the President and the Fed.

                You mentioned that Obama was a "constitutional scholar", and implied we should be more angry over that than over some actor. My point was that we should be at least as leery of Obama's economics as Reagan's. (And in fact, the Keynesian economics is not working any better now than it
            • Keynesian economics is more about controlling money's value through plain old supply and demand i.e. Government can cause inflation by spending at a deficit, reducing taxes and pumping money into the economy. The country was in a depression caused by deflation in the 1930's, so FDR's spending at deficts to fund Public works worked. The inverse would be that Government can cause deflation by increasing taxes, reducing spending and paying down the debt with inflated money. During the Carter Administration, th

              • Keynesian economics is more about controlling money's value through plain old supply and demand i.e. Government can cause inflation by spending at a deficit, reducing taxes and pumping money into the economy. The country was in a depression caused by deflation in the 1930's, so FDR's spending at deficts to fund Public works worked. The inverse would be that Government can cause deflation by increasing taxes, reducing spending and paying down the debt with inflated money. During the Carter Administration, they tried to fix an inflationary recession by miss-applying Keynesian economics and increased defict spending with disasterous results.

                Currently with inflation at 1.5 - 2, the budget should be balanced and taxes moderate.

                You're trying to teach your mistaken notions about economics to the wrong person.

                Keynesian economics is largely about government interventionism. This is primarily what separates it from more objective macroeconomic theory.

                And even mainstream economists today reject the idea that FDR brought the country out of the depression. On the contrary... many say he prolonged it for as much as 10 unnecessary years. His own Treasury secretary thought he was crazy.

              • Currently with inflation at 1.5 - 2, the budget should be balanced and taxes moderate.

                If you really believe inflation has been at 1.5-2%, you're either a complete loon, or you haven't tried to buy a house lately, or you've totally swallowed the government Kool-Aid.

                OR, more likely, you've just been letting the wife buy the groceries and not listen to her complaints about the prices.

                For fuck's sake, man, if you knew how CPI was calculated you'd never listen to that BS.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by khallow (566160)

          Union breaker

          Amazing how putting this on the front of your list just discredited your entire post instantly. Public labor unions are a particularly nasty parasite. The union in question, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Union got overly greedy and demonstrated an epic level of hubris.

          The results were not so good. Not only did they get burned permanently (the strikers weren't only fired, but banned permanently from employment with the Federal government), but they also set back all labor unions by swinging pu

        • by oodaloop (1229816)

          Nancy making decisions when he gets Alzheimer's

          Quite a fucking stretch on that one, buddy. Just shows how desperate you are to blame everything on him.

        • Yes, Yes he is.

          Union breaker
          Deficit balloons
          Trickle Down
          Sandinistas
          Iran-Contra
          Ollie North
          Nancy making decisions when he gets Alzheimer's

          You fucking got me started

          Reagan was the only President that I know of that was president of a Union, President of the Screen Actors Guild specificaly

    • by SpockLogic (1256972) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:36PM (#47780625)

      that man is responsible for every disaster on the globe since he ever was president..

      No, no, the right will clam that their beloved President Alzheimer was non compos mentis when he signed 12333 and cannot be held responsible for fucking over the population.

      • Re:Reagan is alive! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Beck_Neard (3612467) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:41PM (#47780665)

        Actually that's kind of the point, to some degree. It's now clear he was suffering from symptoms of dementia throughout his entire term, and they became especially pronounced near the end. His suggestibility and deteriorating mental health made him easy prey for those who wanted laws changed in their favor.

  • Alumni? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:14PM (#47780451)

    You've misspelled illuminati.

  • This shows what a scam FISA is. In case there's anyone left who still has any illusions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:24PM (#47780523)

    President and agencies still swear to uphold the Constitution and have no business violating it, executive orders or not.
    Any orders ought to be followed to the extent the Constitution allows, not beyond, and those going beyond deserve
    to be punished. That should include Presidents, though such sanctions are pretty broken.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The POTUS is punished by Congress through impeachment. Nothing is really broken. Convince your fellow voters to vote for candidates willing to impeach the President and you'll get your results. What parts of the order do you think actually violate the Constitution?

  • by Kohath (38547) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:29PM (#47780553)

    Everyone involved made specific, intentional choices. It didn't happen on autopilot.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      True. The full extent of what the NSA does to Americans pales in comparison to Snowden. That's why I'm quitting my job. It's just too much and I'm becoming ill.

  • by hsmith (818216) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:29PM (#47780561)
    EO's have no real weight to create policy. They are simply instructions for federal agencies (which the President is in control of since he is the executive) to do.

    Congress then up until now allowed it and the blame lies on their shoulders alone for creating the surveillance state.
  • by turp182 (1020263) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:32PM (#47780579) Journal

    This is crazy. It seems Executive Orders are non-legislation afforded the impact of law.

    Executive Orders should expire after a couple of years, or when a Presidential inauguration occurs, whichever comes first. Continuation should require Congress to pass it as ACTUAL law. And changes outside of that period MUST be ACTUAL LAW!!!!!

    WTF!?!?!?!?

    Sorry for the caps, I RTFA and it pissed me off.

    I would suggest Executive Orders be done away with completely, they are an "I am the King" method of ruling. Not leading, ruling, controlling.

    • by justcauseisjustthat (1150803) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:44PM (#47780679)
      If the president had to go through congress to do everything, nothing would get done. I think the Obama administration is still trying to get appointments through congress from 2 years ago.

      On the other hand the expiration idea has merit.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:50PM (#47780715)

        If the president had to go through congress to do everything, nothing would get done.

        I'd rather nothing get done than allow one man to be able to use 'I am king' orders.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The rules were changed by Harry Reid to only need 51 votes for an appointment required by the Senate. The DNC has well over that 51 votes. Any problem getting those past the Senate has nothing to do with the GOP, it would have to do with his own party at this point. Been that way for about a year now.

      • by turp182 (1020263)

        So be it. I would take nothing over the Executive Orders. Congress passed the Patriot Act (terrible, terrible legislation), they would support some things.

        No action is better than enforced action "requested" by a very small group (or a single person). Regardless of the implications (freedom an liberty before "risk" type stuff).

        Checks and balances appear to be nothing more than bank notes and the ability to stand upright.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's called the legal process you dumb fuck.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        If the president had to go through congress to do everything, nothing would get done.

        That's...exactly... the... point.

        The US government was designed to prevent things being done, because it was supposed to do very little. Probably 90% of the things the Federal government do are unconstitutional.

      • That's not a bug, that's a feature. It's called the three "branches of government" for a reason. Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. Obama needs to work with Congress, not rule like a dictator by side-stepping the other two branches and creating "tzars" (38 so far, 33 under Bush).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @08:07PM (#47780837)

      The simple fact is that *most* executive orders are perfectly valid, and discontinuing them would serve no purpose.

      A typical executive order simply designates procedures and requirements to be followed by people working for the Executive branch of the government. (Such as requiring that they not enter contracts with companies discriminating against employees for various reasons.)

      This, however, is not a typical executive order. It is, quite simply, unconstitutional, and an explicit violation of laws written and passed by Congress. This is something that Congress, the States, and the People, *should* be getting upset about. Unfortunately, it won't happen, because roughly 50% of the country doesn't want to acknowledge anything that will make Republicans look bad, and roughly another half doesn't want to acknowledge anything that makes Democrats look bad. That leaves a few rational stragglers stuck in the middle, saying "WTF is up with you boneheaded ****wads?!!"

      • by penix1 (722987) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:38PM (#47781757) Homepage

        A typical executive order simply designates procedures and requirements to be followed by people working for the Executive branch of the government.

        Which is EXACTLY what this executive order does. It is implementing at the Executive Branch the legislation to which it is based, namely the National Security Act of 1947 as amended. It even says so at the start of the order:

        by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, (Act) and as President of the United States of America, in order to provide for the effective conduct of United States intelligence activities and the protection of constitutional rights, it is hereby ordered as follows:

        http://fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo/... [fas.org]

        Also, nothing in this executive order "led to" the warrantless wiretapping as alleged in the story. In fact, there are several places in the order that state that if US citizens are involved, it MUST go through the FBI / Attorney General. Read it. You will see what I mean.

    • In a democratic republic, the president plays the role of emporer. Why does that surprise you?
      • by turp182 (1020263)

        Per your sig, which I love more than any other song to play on guitar (excepting Follow You Into the Dark, which my 4 year old daughter requests at bedtime, my son requests Jack and Diane...), we are all in a cage if there is an emperor. I thought, via Civics in high school, that we didn't have an emperor.

        Apparently, I have been wrong in my assumptions.

    • by khallow (566160)
      Executive orders are merely relatively formal written orders from the person in charge of the executive branch, the US President. If you do away with executive orders then no one is in charge and the only meager control you have is via Congress's power of the purse.
    • by Patent Lover (779809) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @09:05PM (#47781153)
      Actually executive orders are orders that excercise lawful powers given to the President by Congress. The problem is that there are always lawyers making up their own interpretation of a vague law passed by Congress. C'est La Vie.
    • by Whorhay (1319089)

      The solution is to use and enforce EO's like they are supposed to be. Orders to the various federal troops, which are still bound and restricted by the laws of the land. Interpreting them as law should definitely be stopped. Removing them entirely though would mean that the President would not be able to formally control his branch of the government.

  • YATDRA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mbone (558574) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:32PM (#47780583)

    Yet Another Decent Thing Destroyed by the Reagan Administration.

    I should have known.

    • by Huge_UID (1089143)
      Maybe the NSA can figure out who stole your first 'D'. Having gotten that out of my system, I agree with you. Tax cuts for the rich, attacks on unions, support for right wing dictators - the list goes on and on.
  • by garyebickford (222422) <gar37bic.gmail@com> on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:38PM (#47780641)

    A friend of my sister's worked for NSA for eight years in the 1960s. At that time the fact of its existence was classified - insiders said the acronym stood for "No Such Agency". He spent most of those eight years in a shack on a hill in Japan, listening and recording phone calls and telegraphs in and out of Japan. He came out of those eight years imbued with an extreme level of paranoia that he never did shake off. It cost him his marriage among other things.

    So 1981 wasn't the beginning. I would be more likely to think that the directive in question was created to paper over and legalize what had been going on for decades before. The agency was founded by Harry Truman in 1952 based on signals intelligence units from WWI, per Wikipedia. I saw an article recently which asserted that spying on foreign (and some domestic) entities really came out of the period before and after World War I, and it made sense.

    Having said all that, I recently learned that the NSA is not just "spooks peeking into our bedrooms" and getting everyone upset. That is just one of three branches.

    - Signals Intelligence Directorate is the one that has been upsetting people, and may in fact be as crazy as people think they are;

    - Information Assurance Directorate one might consider the "good guys" - they are working with US industry and agencies to prevent security breaches - one might consider this the "anti-spy" group, and you'll see guys from IAD at conferences regarding improvement of the security infrastructure of the net, to prevent spying and other problems. By all accounts the Information Assurance Directorate is working very hard to protect us, and has had some successes preventing or stopping serious hacking and other incidents against both public and private organizations in recent years that they, of course, can't ever tell anyone.

    - Technical Directorate, which I assume is the people inventing the HW and SW the rest of the gang uses.

    TL;DR - don't paint the whole of NSA with the same tar and feathers. Some, at least, are out there actively helping with things like Tor as we read recently - spy agencies including NSA have regularly helped Tor find and fix bugs, even while other groups in the same agency are trying to exploit them.

    • Yes, and they were slapped down by Congress via the Church Commission for doing what they did in the 60s.

      • Given the speed with which politics grinds, is to my mind why the Executive Order was signed a few years later, to provide some legal cover.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Yes some hints where given via the Martin and Mitchell defection in 1960 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] too
      "As we know from our previous experience working at N.S.A., the United States successfully reads the secure communications of more than forty nations, including its own allies."
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I mean, really, he was once head of the CIA, and once he became VP, why not persuade the President this was good for America?

  • Please RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by whoever57 (658626) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @07:46PM (#47780687) Journal
    Read the FA. THe summary doesn't explain exactly what is happening. EO 12333 originally allowed for collection of data abroad, but today, the collection happens in the USA -- in domestic Internet hubs. Naturally, the vast majority of the data scooped up this way is purely domestic and concerns US citizens, but the NSA claims that this is purely incidental. That's right -- the majority of the collection is "incidental". Yeah, right.

    FISA? That rubber stamp is bypassed while collecting masses of data on US citizens.

    "This program was started at least back in 2001 and has expanded to between 80 and 100 tap points on the fiber optic lines in the lower 48 states," he said by e-mail. "Most of these fiber optic tap points are not on the East or West coast. This means that the primary target of this collection is domestic... Most collection of US domestic communications and data is done under EO 12333, section 2.3 paragraph C in the Upstream program. They claim, near as I can tell, that all domestic collection is incidental. That's, of course, the vast majority of data."

  • by wiredlogic (135348) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @08:16PM (#47780883)

    It's good to see that EO12333 has been placed in the spotlight. It always irked me how it tries to run around the constitution. The whole order is filled with phony "prohibitions" on government power with open-ended exceptions that can be invoked at any time.

    My favorite parts:

    2.3Collection of Information.
    (e) Information needed to protect foreign intelligence or counterintelligence sources or methods from unauthorized disclosure. Collection within the United States shall be undertaken by the FBI except that other agencies of the Intelligence Community may also collect such information concerning present or former employees, present or former intelligence agency contractors or their present or former employees, or applicants for any such employment or contracting;

    So basically any government agency can be tasked to collect domestic information without the pesky oversight the FBI has to deal with.

    2.4Collection Techniques. Agencies within the Intelligence Community shall use the least intrusive collection techniques feasible within the United States or directed against United States persons abroad. Agencies are not authorized to use such techniques as electronic surveillance, unconsented physical search, mail surveillance, physical surveillance, or monitoring devices unless they are in accordance with procedures established by the head of the agency concerned and approved by the Attorney General. Such procedures shall protect constitutional and other legal rights and limit use of such information to lawful governmental purposes. These procedures shall not authorize:

    (b) Unconsented physical searches in the United States by agencies other than the FBI, except for:
    (1) Searches by counterintelligence elements of the military services directed against military personnel within the United States or abroad for intelligence purposes, when authorized by a military commander empowered to approve physical searches for law enforcement purposes, based upon a finding of probable cause to believe that such persons are acting as agents of foreign powers; and
    (2) Searches by CIA of personal property of non-United States persons lawfully in its possession.
    (c) Physical surveillance of a United States person in the United States by agencies other than the FBI, except for:
    (1) Physical surveillance of present or former employees, present or former intelligence agency contractors or their present of former employees, or applicants for any such employment or contracting; and
    (2) Physical surveillance of a military person employed by a nonintelligence element of a military service.

    They've tried to be clever and hide what they did here with a double negative spread across two clauses. Effectively all defense contractor employees are subjected to domestic spying which was part of the rationale for justify creating the surveillance apparatus. They don't disclose that when you sign the contract suspending your rights when you apply for a security clearance. Note that that much of the internet enabled surveillance programs were instituted pre-9/11 under Clinton and not by Bush2 and this was going on before the PATRIOT act madness.

    2.5Attorney General Approval. The Attorney General hereby is delegated the power to approve the use for intelligence purposes, within the United States or against a United States person abroad, of any technique for which a warrant would be required if undertaken for law enforcement purposes, provided that such techniques shall not be undertaken unless the Attorney General has determined in each case that there is probable cause to believe that the technique is directed against a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. Electronic surveillance, as defined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, shall be conducted in accordance with that A

  • Just shows what a scam FISA is. As if the "FISA courts" weren't proof enough.
  • by koan (80826)

    Here's an interesting read.
    http://www.archives.gov/federa... [archives.gov]

    Index
    http://www.archives.gov/federa... [archives.gov]

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

    Reagan and Bush #1, the asshole brigade of America's attempt at royalty.

  • After hearing so many of these stories, I have to wonder: Do these orders of govt agencies "slurping up" data, whether American citizens or not, include encrypted communications, or are they disgarded as it would take more time to "get to the meat" of things?

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      It depends on why the data was collected.
      Globally the NSA and its friends collect it all.
      If your telephone number is of interest, email, net use or social media use is of interest then its sorted, indexed, voice print is kept.
      In the old days it was keywords, now its hops to people of interest and your own political, social activity and that of your friends or friends friends.
      Your camera sensor pattern noise/noise signature, cell tracking, car...
      Just the fact a person feels the need to use 'encrypted c
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:24PM (#47781703) Journal

    Bullshit. It's ILLEGAL, period. Executive orders don't trump acts of congress, and acts of congress don't override the constitution. Every NSA minion involved in collecting this data without a warrant issued by a judge naming a specific person and stating what they're looking for and why, is a CRIMINAL.

    -jcr

  • Constitution>Law>Executive Order
    This is how it works. This is how it was designed. The contained may not exceed the authority of the container.
  • by Ronin Developer (67677) on Friday August 29, 2014 @10:53AM (#47784909)

    What is interesting is that order was executed in the final years of the Cold War. There was no "Internet" so it is doubtful that this was the intent. However, we were still in a Cold War with the Soviet Union. And, there were communist sympathizers here in the US who would be subject to this surveillance. Additionally, the drug cartels and weapons trade were in high gear (ala Iran/Contra). So, given this context, it is understandable WHY this order was created and issued in the first place.

    I doubt President Reagan envisioned the rise of the internet and the privacy concerns that the budding .com businesses would generate.

    Where the fault does lay is that when these avenues did arise, is with the continued existence and extension of the initial order. This finger points directly at GHB, Clinton, GWB and now Obama. And, I would focus more on GHB given his close affiliation and vested interest with the intelligence communities. The dangers were well known by Clinton/Gore with the desire to push the Skipjack encryption algorithm into everything...right until it was revealed that the LEA (Law Enforcement Access Key...ala LEAK) key code could be forged rendered it a non-starter - it didn't meet National security needs once that was revealed and the common folk and business community would never accept it. RSA Laboratories was the key vendor of secure encryption at this point and fought against Skipjack. With that battle lost, sights turned elsewhere and we KNOW RSA's new overloads (EMC) sold us out for $10M. It was the perfect subject of a compromise given the pervasiveness of their products. I would venture their right to continue to exist was at stake and the $10M was simply a means to cover up the coehersion.

    Ultimately, nobody but the brakes on this surveillance and we know where it has since led.

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