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#26368 - 08/05/13 01:46 PM Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
When Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA was secretly recording massive amounts of data from US citizens, including copies of phone call metadata and online activities, a lot of folks shrugged. "What's the big deal? It helps catch terrorists, right? And what's the worst that can happen, a little embarrassment, right?"

Then it got worse. More documents revealed that the NSA was intercepting enormous amounts of online data, including nearly every email, blog post, online instant messenger session, and more from nearly all Americans.

And some people still shrugged. What's the worst that can happen about that, right?

Well, it has gotten worse.

In new documents just revealed, it turns out that the NSA has been feeding information that it uncovers from this massive surveillance to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

There are just two catch: Federal law forbids the NSA from spying on Americans, and the law says that information that is uncovered without a warrant or probable cause can't be used in court.

So the Federal agents are trained to "re-create probable cause." That is, they turn information over to the DEA, who turns it over to law enforcement, and then if an arrest is made, they make up a phony chain of events to conceal the NSA involvement and to manufacture fake probable cause where none existed.

In one example a DEA agent talked about, the NSA told the DEA to tell local law enforcement to look for a certain truck at a certain time. Local law enforcement was then instructed to make up a reason to pull the truck over and search it. When the search turned up contraband, the traffic stop was used as the probable cause; the judge, the prosecutor, and the defense attorney were not told about the NSA involvement (since that would make the evidence inadmissible in court) and were not told that local police were instructed to make up a reason for the traffic stop.

I'm sure some folks will probably still say that's OK. Federal laws are being broken and the guarantees in the Constitution are being overridden, judges and prosecutors are being misled, and the chain of events in criminal court cases is being fabricated--but it's okay because it's all to catch bad guys, right?


Edited by alternaut (08/06/13 08:52 AM)
Edit Reason: fixed hyperlink
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#26372 - 08/05/13 04:29 PM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: tacit]
roger Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Vermont
I read that earlier this evening, and really just thought, wtf do we do now? pretty damn scary country this is becoming.
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#26376 - 08/06/13 01:35 AM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: roger]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: roger
I read that earlier this evening, and really just thought, wtf do we do now?
I'm not an American but it seems fairly straightforward to me: If you have evidence of serious wrongdoing in any government agency, you take it to your Senator who cannot be prosecuted for anything her or she says on the record in the Senate.

If you do not believe your Senator will be sympathetic, or if you don't believe you can find any other Senator(s) who will help, you can go to the American Bar Association and, under the protection of attorney/client privilege, ask the ABA to get the information to the Senate.

You do not reveal stolen classified information publicly, allowing the enemies of your country to change their methods of operation and jeopardize the safety of your military and your fellow citizens. I'm sure some folks will probably still say that's OK but, in my opinion, that's treason.


Edited by ryck (08/06/13 01:38 AM)
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#26379 - 08/06/13 05:06 AM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: tacit]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Sorry, I still think there's far more malevolence behind Corporate America's data-gathering efforts. Maybe some realize that, but think, so what?

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#26380 - 08/06/13 06:04 AM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: dboh]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
"Corporate America's data-gathering efforts", generally speaking, don't have the potential of literally taking you out with prejudice.

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#26381 - 08/06/13 06:07 AM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: roger]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
RE "wtf do we do now?"

The motto of your neighbor to the east answers that question.

Private militias are looking better and better, aren't they?

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#26382 - 08/06/13 08:38 AM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: grelber]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: grelber
Private militias are looking better and better, aren't they?

Yes, that's the answer. The U.S. needs more people like Timothy McVeigh who think that living free means killing innocent Americans 168 at a time.


Edited by ryck (08/06/13 08:39 AM)
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#26383 - 08/06/13 09:02 AM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: tacit]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: tacit
In new documents just revealed, it turns out that the NSA has been feeding information that it uncovers from this massive surveillance to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

This is a good example of what I meant in the original Snowden thread with 'as soon as the various datasets and capabilities are linked, there is virtually no privacy left'. In this case the problem is caused by willfully ignoring sensible legal and procedural restrictions by the NSA and other government agencies. In other cases, database combination is (or should be) limited by law for equally important reasons. But breaking or bypassing these restrictions invariably diminish privacy and freedom, of which there is only so much to go around.
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#26384 - 08/06/13 09:33 AM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: ryck]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: ryck
Originally Posted By: grelber
Private militias are looking better and better, aren't they?

Yes, that's the answer. The U.S. needs more people like Timothy McVeigh who think that living free means killing innocent Americans 168 at a time.


Facetious on top of sarcastic. Aye, that's the ticket.

I bet you're rootin' for the Vancouver Island Province Movement.

Another productive way to spend the day.

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#26385 - 08/06/13 04:31 PM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: ryck]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: ryck
You do not reveal stolen classified information publicly, allowing the enemies of your country to change their methods of operation and jeopardize the safety of your military and your fellow citizens. I'm sure some folks will probably still say that's OK but, in my opinion, that's treason.


*scratches head*

Which, exactly, do you imagine are the "enemies" of the country who have "changed their methods of operation"? You've totally lost me.

All our enemies expect the NSA to try to spy on them. That's what the NSA does. That's why they use disposable cell phones and encrypted satellite phones and carry sensitive data around on Flash drives. They know we're listening.

The revelations that the NSA spies on Americans in violation of Federal law is not helpful to our enemies, real or imagined. It doesn't change anything from their perspective. It's not treason; it's just embarrassing. Embarrassing the government by revealing that it is breaking its own laws isn't treason.

I think the word "treason" might better be applied to, oh, I don't know, Federal agents who swear to uphold the law and the Constitution and then violate the law and create phony evidence and fake probable cause to prosecute American citizens. What would you call that?

Originally Posted By: dboh
Sorry, I still think there's far more malevolence behind Corporate America's data-gathering efforts. Maybe some realize that, but think, so what?


Wait, what? Corporate data-gatherers can fake evidence in court cases? Since when?

But that's beside the point. Does it matter which is worse? "Look, look, the government is drowning people!" "So what? This company is setting people on fire. That's much worse. Who cares about people being drowned?"

I mean, seriously, is that what you're saying? Ho-hum, it's OK for the Federal government to spy on American citizens and use illegally gathered evidence to fake probable cause in court proceedings, because Google tracking your Web surfing is worse?

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#26386 - 08/06/13 04:41 PM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: tacit]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
You excel at twisting words.

I don't believe that the government has been half as intrusive as business has been. Besides, the government is not trying to defraud and otherwise separate people from their money and possessions. Having been a target in an AT&T saturation telemarketing effort that lasted close to 2 years, I can attest that business's intentions are far from benevolent. And if that's not enough, they're making all kinds of money off our information.

Do I like government surveillance? Not particularly, but I do have all kinds of issues with companies' violation of my privacy, which impacts me much more so than the NSA.

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#26389 - 08/06/13 05:31 PM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: grelber]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: grelber
I bet you're rootin' for the Vancouver Island Province Movement.

Haha. Good one. No, I like the idea of being able to travel off the island, which would be a bit difficult if the Provincial Government was to pack up and take the ferry system with them.


Edited by ryck (08/06/13 05:32 PM)
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#26390 - 08/07/13 12:37 AM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: tacit]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: tacit
I think the word "treason" might better be applied to, oh, I don't know, Federal agents who swear to uphold the law and the Constitution and then violate the law and create phony evidence and fake probable cause to prosecute American citizens. What would you call that?

I would call that your cue to do something meaningful about it if you really feel so strongly. You have a keyboard, you have a talent for assembling words, and you have representatives in government to whom you can write with your concerns. And, of course, there are still plenty of Op Ed pages in the U.S..
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#26407 - 08/09/13 02:22 PM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: tacit]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Two American ISPs (Lavabit and Silent Circle) have announced they are shutting down and laying off all their workers, because they have been hit by NSA subpoenas that also have gag orders attached to them so they are not even allowed to talk about it.

Gag orders have become a government tactic to perform searches and seizures without the person or company being searched being permitted to talk about the search, or even reveal that a search has been done. These gag orders were originally used to prevent someone from tipping off a supposed "terrorist" that the government was using an investigation, but more and more often they are being used to prevent a person or company from being able to mount a defense in court, to examine probable cause for a search, or even to see the search warrant. (The Fourth Amendment prohibits this, and the Supreme Court has ruled on several occasions that such gag orders violate the First Amendment as well, but that doesn't seem to matter.)

On top of that, the NSA spying is beginning to hurt the US economy. According to a report issued by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation called "How Much Will PRISM Cost the US Cloud Computing Industry?", US-based cloud storage companies and ISPs will lose about $20 billion to $35 billion in revenue over the next 2-3 years as US companies stop using them in favor of cloud hosting companies outside the US.

Cloud storage companies in the US are subject to warrantless NSA spying and to gag orders preventing the companies from informing their customers that their information has been released to the NSA. US companies, concerned about the number of NSA government contractors with easy access to the information, are worried about losing trade secrets and other proprietary information, and so are no longer using US-based ISPs and providers.

But naah, it's all to catch terrorists, and it won't really affect anyone but terrorists, right?

Meanwhile, the Washington Post recently ran an interesting article that points out statistically, you are more likely to be killed by a toddler than a terrorist.

Yep, you read that right. Even factoring in 9/11 and the Boston bombings, you are:

- 1,048 times more likely to be killed in a car accident than by a terrorist.

- 404 times more likely to be killed by slipping and falling than by a terrorist.

- 12 times more likely to accidentally suffocate under your covers in your bed than be killed by a terrorist.

- 8 times more likely to be accidentally killed by a police officer than by a terrorist.

- 3 times more likely to be accidentally killed by a toddler than by a terrorist.

Can someone explain to me why we are so scared of terrorists that we are willing to turn the rule of law and the US constitution into toilet paper, spy on our own citizens, cost American businesses billions of dollars in revenue, and ignore the US Supreme Court just to "fight terrorism"?
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#26408 - 08/09/13 03:02 PM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: tacit]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: tacit
Two American ISPs (Lavabit and Silent Circle) have announced they are shutting down and laying off all their workers, because they have been hit by NSA subpoenas that also have gag orders attached to them so they are not even allowed to talk about it.

AFAIK, Silent Circle hasn't received any NSA subpoenas or gag orders yet, but decided to discontinue their Silent Mail service anyway, so their clientele can transition before Silent Circle is treated to the full Monty. Beyond that, I fully agree with your assessment of the situation. It's plain crazy, but unfortunately nothing new in the US: I'm sure it's been said before that the current anti-terrorism hysteria has had predecessors in the Red Scares, but it bears repeating. The one 'positive' thing in all this is perhaps the fact that the current attack on privacy and freedom is not discriminatory, but hits everybody equally. I guess that's progress, of sorts... frown
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#26413 - 08/10/13 02:53 AM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: alternaut]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
According to The New York Times —
"Bits Blog: 2 E-Mail Services Close and Destroy Data Rather Than Reveal Files"

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#26429 - 08/14/13 02:50 AM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: grelber]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Today's dilbert puts not to fine a point on where the NSA likes to stick its head.
(Today is also the 68th anniversary of VJ Day.)

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#26490 - 08/20/13 04:02 PM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: grelber]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
fwiw, here's a link to the actual date of the strip grel found, instead of a link to today's strip.
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#26680 - 09/10/13 02:54 AM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: Virtual1]
jchuzi Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
It's not just the NSA that's involved. Big Brother is alive and well. The Border Is a Back Door for U.S. Device Searches
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#26682 - 09/10/13 07:01 AM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: jchuzi]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Your link takes me to a blank page, Jon.
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#26683 - 09/10/13 07:42 AM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: artie505]
jchuzi Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
It works for me (I just tested it out). Try a different browser. Your problems with Safari may be deeper than you think.
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#26686 - 09/10/13 09:36 AM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: jchuzi]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Works now; I guess I hit a momentary glitch.
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#26688 - 09/10/13 10:34 AM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: jchuzi]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
I have to admit, it's clever. "We want to search so-and-so's computer, but there is no legal justification for it, no probable cause, and we could never in a million years get a judge to sign off on it. So we'll just flag him in the border crossing computer and hope he leaves the country. When he comes back, we can search him without a warrant!"

I have looked into what it would take to move to Canada. The partner I live with would have no problem; she has a master's degree in engineering, which qualifies her for fast-track status. She could have a Canadian residency visa in three days. I, alas, lack any of the qualifications.
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#26692 - 09/10/13 05:31 PM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: tacit]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
On the other hand, moving to Canada might have unanticipated consequences. If you ± partner still had significant ties to the US and were wont to border hop, the significant downside of your first paragraph would quickly become apparent.

Even if you chose to never again to travel to the States, merely stopping there in transit would place you in jeopardy (via DHS's TECS system and Advance Passenger Information System), assuming you ± partner were "person(s) of interest".

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#26926 - 09/29/13 03:38 AM Re: Son of Snowden: It keeps getting worse [Re: grelber]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
NSA Gathers Data on Social Connections of US Citizens

You still think you're safe?!

This makes TV's "Person of Interest" a reality show.

Whether you're plotting a terrorist attack, having a dalliance of one sort or another or just chatting harmlessly online or otherwise, the NSA's analysts (and others) are getting off on your peccadilloes. And the next time you enter the good ol' US of A, you can be treated to the pleasure of a cavity + electronic device search. Ain't it grand?!

Land of the free and home of the brave. Not so much.

Say hi to George Orwell the next time you see him.

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