Sunday, August 18, 2013


From BooMan Tribune, explaining maybe better than I could do with a normal post how I feel about the NSA horror show. I expect the brilliant and exceedingly well-informed Tarheel Dem (I don't often have courage to disagree with him, and much more often don't disagree at all) will be replying to my last over there, where you can keep following it if you're interested.
Big Data. From the GoodData blog.
Techies were always there on issues of privacy and of course drugs. They vote Republican because of taxes. They're only being political about privacy now because it's suddenly a Republican issue, and because the Snowden revelations reveal that rich white boys can be spied on. (Though in fact it's no likelier than it ever was.)
by yastreblyansky on Sat Aug 17th, 2013 at 01:45:35 PM EST
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You're saying there's a "rich white boy" block on NSA searches?

50 states, 210 media markets, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts
by TarheelDem on Sat Aug 17th, 2013 at 01:47:25 PM EST
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If they're profiling rather than using network analysis--as the XKeyscore documents suggest, which is a big disappointment to me--then they're using profiles that would tend to exclude your techie libertarians. You need to ask yourself what they're looking for and how they frame the query. Within their own institutional culture. (And keeping in mind that FBI, a truly frightening agency, has no access to NSA stuff.)I'm mindful that they do make colossal mistakes but I can't think of why they would look inside of the mountains of data they collect unintentionally. For what? Sex tapes?
by yastreblyansky on Sat Aug 17th, 2013 at 03:43:35 PM EST
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they're using profiles that would tend to exclude your techie libertarians
I would think that international transactions between folks who frequent 4chan or have network associations with Anonymous or LulzSec would be high on the list of monitored individuals.  And three hops out would include quite a bunch of techie libertarians, who are not all rich white guys by the way.
I do ask myself what the NSA analysts are looking for and how they frame queries, because there are whistleblowers who are saying that it is out of hand.  And Wyden and Udall are saying "it's only the tip of the iceberg" that the public knows about NSA overreach.

And the Verizon FISA court order that was the first release in Glenn Greenwald's series was issued on behalf of the FBI and the order ordered Verizon to deliver the information to the NSA.  And NSA makes referrals to FBI using as-yet unknown criteria.

And we have a documented instance of NSA analysts monitoring calls between deployed soldiers and their significant others just for kicks.  According to NSA, that issue has been fixed.  But Snowden asserts that it is fixed only with policy and not with a technical auditing system.  NSA disputes that.  Which is why there needs to be an investigation.

It is only the assertion of NSA that they are following the law that says that the mountains of data are collected unintentionally.

And the PATRIOT Act had the effect of joining the NSA and the FBI at the hip.  Because that supposedly was on the major failings that allowed 9/11 to happen.  So if they are not joined at the hip for actual tracking of terrorists we are big trouble from an national security standpoint.  And if they are and are overreaching we are in big trouble from a civil liberties standpoint.

50 states, 210 media markets, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts
by TarheelDem on Sat Aug 17th, 2013 at 05:01:41 PM EST
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You certainly know the material better than I do.

Having said that, I really think it could be completely appropriate for NSA to be following people who have dense communications with Anonymous or even the former LulzSec, cute as the latter was; asking NSA to have a sense of humor would be asking too much.

I was convinced that NSA and FBI are still unable to communicate during the Associated Press upheaval last spring, where the FBI had to serve AP with subpoenas to seize the phone records instead of just sucking them up through PRISM or whatever. If they're legally prevented from doing it that's good news. If their data systems aren't up to NSA requirements that's not surprising.

And I'm completely persuaded by the new story of NSA improprieties being caused by ineptitude rather than design, because that's just how bureaucracies work. And because it's so embarrassing: spy agencies would rather be caught murdering than being stupid, how could they be acknowledging it if it wasn't the truth?

The Pentagon does have access to NSA data, and it was military officers, not NSA personnel, that spied on army sexytime conversations. For what it's worth.

Seriously, I am truly concerned that the "left" or whatever it is is losing sight of the very real and pervasive oppression by profile of black and Latino people and Arabs/Muslims in favor of people like the libertarian who tweeted about "the NSA watching me pee." No, they're not all rich white boys (that one was a white girl, don't know about her economic status), but they're thinking from a standpoint of privilege and holding on to it.
by yastreblyansky on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 10:17:50 AM EST
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