Surveillance State Reporting Grows

Remember those guys that said everyone was being watched? Remember the tin foil hats they wore? Wanna buy one??

I hear they are in very short supply….

Just some of the stories that are so prominent these days. I remember when getting info on these activities was an exercise in dark-net scrounging. Now it’s main stream.

Try this on for size. The FBI wants deep installation of meta-data fishing software installed in major ISP networks. Makes it easier to get info without the ISP having to “dedicate resources” to the task. Read HERE.

“FBI officials have been sparring with carriers, a process that has on occasion included threats of contempt of court, in a bid to deploy government-provided software capable of intercepting and analyzing entire communications streams. The FBI’s legal position during these discussions is that the software’s real-time interception of metadata is authorized under the Patriot Act.”

But that’s just for certain individuals, right?

“There’s a significant exception to both sets of laws: large quantities of metadata can be intercepted in real time through a so-called pen register and trap and trace order with minimal judicial review or oversight. That metadata includes IP addresses, e-mail addresses, identities of Facebook correspondents, Web sites visited, and possibly Internet search terms as well.”

Leaves it up to the searcher to decide. Not hard to see that.

NSA’s XKeyScore program is reeling in all kinds of data, real time. Massive amounts. For investigative agencies, that’s a cache to tempting to ignore. If it’s there, use it, right? That’s what they are saying over at the New York Times. Other Agencies Clamor for Data NSA Compiles.

“Agencies working to curb drug trafficking, cyberattacks, money laundering, counterfeiting and even copyright infringement complain that their attempts to exploit the security agency’s vast resources have often been turned down because their own investigations are not considered a high enough priority, current and former government officials say.”

Sounds like the perfect storm for someone to step in and calm. “Let’s all play along, here. No fighting. Everybody gets everything…”

“Intelligence officials say they have been careful to limit the use of the security agency’s troves of data and eavesdropping spyware for fear they could be misused in ways that violate Americans’ privacy rights.”

It is arguably a violation of American’s rights for the data to be collected in the first place.

“The security agency’s spy tools are attractive to other agencies for many reasons. Unlike traditional, narrowly tailored search warrants, those granted by the intelligence court often allow searches through records and data that are vast in scope. The standard of evidence needed to acquire them may be lower than in other courts, and the government may not be required to disclose for years, if ever, that someone was the focus of secret surveillance operations.”

And there is the meat of the matter. Lower requirements to be satisfied for data release via this conduit. Lower expectation to be met, and greater hauls of data – that you won’t know about. More, for less. Welcome to the new, or shall I say, NEWLY discovered, world.

The potential for abuse of power by those in power is so high, it is a certainty.

What the government can’t do directly, for fear of Constitutional challenge, it will get others to do, even if it means pressuring them to do it. That should be enough to convince you that your rights, as Constitutionally guaranteed, are not much of a concern to them, or else they’d stay away from such activities all on their own – with no need for oversight.

Imagine the government passed a law requiring all citizens to carry a tracking device. Such a law would immediately be found unconstitutional. Yet we all carry mobile phones…

The Public-Private Surveillance Partnership

“If the National Security Agency required us to notify it whenever we made a new friend, the nation would rebel. Yet we notify Facebook Inc. (FB) If the Federal Bureau of Investigation demanded copies of all our conversations and correspondence, it would be laughed at. Yet we provide copies of our e-mail to Google Inc. (GOOG), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) or whoever our mail host is; we provide copies of our text messages to Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), AT&T Inc. (T) and Sprint Corp. (S); and we provide copies of other conversations to Twitter Inc., Facebook, LinkedIn (LNKD) Corp. or whatever other site is hosting them.”

It’s not just on the net. You’ve heard about license plate scanning cameras, right? Here’s a neat little pic showing how those things work, from the Sun Sentinel.



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