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NSA spying on everyone, everything

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Re: NSA spying on everyone, everything

Postby Stebben84 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:52 pm

Worth posting because it says a lot about our sometimes selective outrage.

Area Man Outraged His Private Information Being Collected By Someone Other Than Advertisers
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Re: NSA spying on everyone, everything

Postby Donald » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:01 pm

The concern I have with this hasn't really been touched on much yet. If the government was doing the spying, and it's so necessary to hide all of this from the public, how did some low level techie in a private firm get his hands on all this secret information, and how could he threaten the entire intelligence apparatus of the US government?

I'm sure Snowdon is pumping himself up a bit, saying he could spy on whomever he pleased, including the President, with the information he was privy to. Yet why is this data, obtained by court order, provided to or collected by a private company, Booz Allen?

That leads to this conclusion: this really isn't an NSA spying on eveyone, everything scandal. NSA or any other government agency appears not to be doing the real work here. Snowdon was a lower-level techie in a vast privatized corporate spying network, and not employed by the government. It's a "Blackwater in the spying game" scandal.

The outrage that the government is spying on us would be one thing. I'm outraged that this most important function of government is outsourced, allowing a private company to do the spying, collect the data, and violate our rights. Or isn't it a violation of our rights if a private company does it?

How large is the privatized spying industrial complex and what and how much information do they collect on all of us? Can they legally do things the government can't do?

What I've heard is this privatized spying is typical revolving door corruption, much of it started under the Republicans, but with Democratic caving in. Certainly there appear to be a lot of Republicans involved in these privatized spying companies.
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Re: NSA spying on everyone, everything

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:04 pm

What was revealed that a terrorist with a three digit IQ couldn't figure out?

edit for my oops.
Last edited by Henry Vilas on Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NSA spying on everyone, everything

Postby Stebben84 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:22 pm

Donald wrote:How large is the privatized spying industrial complex and what and how much information do they collect on all of us? Can they legally do things the government can't do?


Read this today. It frightens me more than any of the other stuff.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/1 ... 18876.html

The U.S. government monitors threats to national security with the help of nearly 500,000 people like Edward Snowden – employees of private firms who have access to the government's most sensitive secrets.
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Re: NSA spying on everyone, everything

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:23 pm

The cyber wars are here to stay. Many more battles ahead.
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Re: NSA spying on everyone, everything

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:29 pm

The concern I have with this hasn't really been touched on much yet. If the government was doing the spying, and it's so necessary to hide all of this from the public, how did some low level techie in a private firm get his hands on all this secret information, and how could he threaten the entire intelligence apparatus of the US government?


He's a contractor working for a private firm, but he's been working at the NSA for 4 years. Nothing indicates that his parent company (and he's had at least 2 in the last 4 years it sounds like) has any direct involvement in the overall project. They just supply qualified contractors to the NSA. Prior to that he actually worked for the CIA.

If you don't have experience doing contract work, a simply summary is that he's working for the NSA, but the NSA pays his parent company, and the parent company (Booz Allen Hamilton in this case) pays him. Booz Allen is a technology consulting firm specializing in providing workers to the Government not in doing government work themselves.

Henry Vilas wrote:What was revealed that a terrorist with a three digit ID couldn't figure out?

assuming, you mean IQ; not much. That was the point I was trying to make earlier. I doubt anyone with half a clue was shocked that the US has the technological ability to collect this data. More importantly, I doubt any agent planning to target the US with an Act of Terror™ was naive enough to beleive the US government wasn't already using said technology.
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Re: NSA spying on everyone, everything

Postby DCB » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:49 pm

wack wack wrote: Boehner says:

“The disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk. It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are."


So... what? Now terrorists will stop making calls or using the internet? This is a bad thing?

Yeah, they had no idea we were spying on them.
It turns out bin Laden, Super Villain, typed up his messages and saved them on a thumb drive. His courier took the thumb drive to an Internet cafe and emailed the messages.

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/ ... ayden.html
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Re: NSA spying on everyone, everything

Postby Donald » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:24 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote:
The concern I have with this hasn't really been touched on much yet. If the government was doing the spying, and it's so necessary to hide all of this from the public, how did some low level techie in a private firm get his hands on all this secret information, and how could he threaten the entire intelligence apparatus of the US government?


He's a contractor working for a private firm, but he's been working at the NSA for 4 years. Nothing indicates that his parent company (and he's had at least 2 in the last 4 years it sounds like) has any direct involvement in the overall project. They just supply qualified contractors to the NSA. Prior to that he actually worked for the CIA.

If you don't have experience doing contract work, a simply summary is that he's working for the NSA, but the NSA pays his parent company, and the parent company (Booz Allen Hamilton in this case) pays him. Booz Allen is a technology consulting firm specializing in providing workers to the Government not in doing government work themselves.

Henry Vilas wrote:What was revealed that a terrorist with a three digit ID couldn't figure out?

assuming, you mean IQ; not much. That was the point I was trying to make earlier. I doubt anyone with half a clue was shocked that the US has the technological ability to collect this data. More importantly, I doubt any agent planning to target the US with an Act of Terror™ was naive enough to beleive the US government wasn't already using said technology.

Nonsense. Booz Allen Hamilton is a consulting firm, getting contracts to do government business with their own employees. It's a private spook agency. The fact that it has other divisions that serve the government in other ways is irrelevant to this part of its operation.

If Snowdon was at NSA, that makes it even worse. What the hell is a private contractor doing messing around at the NSA? If this place is doing such secret work for the government, why would anyone other than government employees be messing around in there, especially with the most sensitive information. We need to immediately stop all these contracts, or stop pretending these are "government secrets." Thousands of private company employees had access to these so-called "secrets."
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Re: NSA spying on everyone, everything

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:20 pm

Since Snowden referred to himself as a contractor and not a consultant (those are not the same thing), I'm incredibly comfortable saying you are wrong on the first part. Especially since he stated he worked inside a NSA facility.

Snowden held a security clearance from his time at the CIA. Those don't go away without a legitimate reason and since the government doesn't have funding for full time employees but can fund temp workers (which makes absolutely no sense to me either) contract workers with security clearances are in high demand. (I've never held a security clearance and have only done non-government contract work in IT, but I still get 2-3 emails a month from contracting agencies in the Washington area looking to fill IT jobs that require a clearance).

As to your assertion that non-government workers can't be trusted with these secrets, get real. These people have to go through the same security background checks as their government counterparts (usually when they worked for the government). If you recall the other major security leak in recent history was perpetrated by a enlisted member of the military. Being on the government payroll is no guarantee of keeping a secret.
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Re: NSA spying on everyone, everything

Postby Wesmon » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:36 pm

Yeah, none of this is new. PBS Frontline has done a couple stories about it over the past few years, pointing out the scale of it and the amount of privatization.

And besides a very select few in Congress, support for this is totally bi-partisan.

We now have Boehner calling Snowden a traitor while Diane Feinstein says he committed treason. That is the range of debate in our political system. We get what we vote for I guess.
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Re: NSA spying on everyone, everything

Postby wack wack » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:07 am

Wesmon wrote:We now have Boehner calling Snowden a traitor while Diane Feinstein says he committed treason.


While in fact, Snowden did what Boehner and Feinstein failed to do: inform their constituencies.
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Re: NSA spying on everyone, everything

Postby wack wack » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:34 am

Francis Di Domizio wrote:As to your assertion that non-government workers can't be trusted with these secrets, get real. These people have to go through the same security background checks as their government counterparts (usually when they worked for the government).


Yes, the same security background checks outsourced to and controlled by private corporations.

As more and more information comes out, it becomes clear that the level of privatization in national security is outrageous.

The best thing that can come of this is the American people start to understand some of the downsides to "privatization."
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Re: NSA spying on everyone, everything

Postby snoqueen » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:58 am

We now have Boehner calling Snowden a traitor while Diane Feinstein says he committed treason. That is the range of debate in our political system. We get what we vote for I guess.


The New York Times editorial today (nytimes.com -- paywall) says a more appropriate name for what he did would be civil disobedience, since it does not reach the strict legal definitions of treason which involves being allied with and specifically aiding the enemy in time of war. Their reasoning is partly that Snowden released the documents to the American public not the enemy. See what you think if you want to click in.

I am getting more and more disgusted with Boehner and Feinstein. A few more junior senators had serious reservations but did not air them with any specificity due to the rules of their committee membership, but senate leadership has totally arrogated to themselves a whole range of judgment calls that should be submitted to the public at large.

The public at large seems to be sleeping through this one, unfortunately.
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Re: NSA spying on everyone, everything

Postby wack wack » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:32 am

It feels more like resignation than sleeping to me... "eh, what can we do?"
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Re: NSA spying on everyone, everything

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:42 am

wack wack wrote:It feels more like resignation than sleeping to me... "eh, what can we do?"


I hate to say it, but that's kinda how I feel about this situation. I guess none of it really surprises me that much. I think a lot of people realize how much information about ourselves is not as private as it used to be. This was another interesting article about how our data is used.

But when it comes to the agency's primary tool for making sense of all that data, the NSA hasn't been secretive at all. Indeed, two years ago, it made public the very code for a key program it uses to analyze the firehose of information pouring into its computer servers.


“Ten years ago, if you wanted to store and process that much data you would have to spend millions of dollars buying really expensive servers,” said Ben Siscovick, general partner at IA Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in big data companies. “Now, the tools are out there, and they’re accessible in a low-cost way to just about anybody who wants it.”


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/1 ... 23482.html

As someone said, the genie is out of the bottle and I don't think there is much we can do about it.
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