If the government routinely, automatically, opened our mail like that, we would instantly recognize there was something wrong with them and we'd demand answers. There is absolutely no difference just because we send modern messages in electronic envelopes, and the technology makes it easier for the government to spy on its own people. It's still wrong.
Per UPS's ground delivery general terms and conditions (Link here):
FedEx's T&Cs: http://www.fedex.com/us/service-guid...und/index.htmlUPS reserves the right to open and inspect any package tendered to it for transportation.
DHL's T&Cs: http://www.dhl-usa.com/en/express/sh...onditions.html
It is like a secret. You tell the guy that told you in confidence, that you will not tell anyone. But when you tell the third guy, about the first guy's embarrassing rash, you cannot expect him to uphold the confidence that you promised the first guy.
The phone company, the cable company, UPS, Fed Ex, ad the rest of them are not bound by any obligation to keep your contents secured. They will xray them for explosives, they will open them and look inside the box. They will back over your package, deliver it to you with tire tracks across the box, and then tell you that it was like that when they received it. I will repeat this again, if you want to keep your conversations and correspondence private, talk to the person face to face, hand deliver the envelope. For the most part, you should have no expectation of privacy in communications. The only privilege you have as far as your communications not being opened is the United States Post Office. The phone company is not the government, the cable company is not the government, UPS is not the government, DHL is not the government. They have no obligation to your imagined right to privacy. The phone company was started by Alexander Graham Bell, there is a reason that it was called "Ma Bell" for years. It is not the government. Your expectation of privacy is not founded in case law. Your expectation of constitutional protection, in the real world, does not extend to businesses.
One hop, two hops, three hops a dollar
All for further cover-up stand up and holler
Obama, in a stunning gesture to quiet surveillance critics, has announced that James Clapper - he of being "least untruthful" to Congress renown - will lead an "independent" review of surveillance issues.
Obama changed his mind, or rather, someone did it for him.
http://news.yahoo.com/-dni-clapper-w...194607489.htmlThe White House said on Tuesday that Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper won't choose members of a special committee tasked with reviewing high-tech U.S. spying programs and ferreting out abuses, contradicting earlier statements from both Clapper and President Barack Obama. Clapper also won't run the study, officials said.
Instead, Clapper will "facilitate," which sounds suspiciously like doing the same thing as helping Congress out. We know how well that worked.
“The panel members are being selected by the White House, in consultation with the Intelligence Community,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement emailed to Yahoo News.
“The Review Group will be made up of independent outside experts. The DNI’s role is one of facilitation, and the Group is not under the direction of or led by the DNI,” Hayden said. “The members require security clearances and access to classified information so they need to be administratively connected to the government, and the DNI’s office is the right place to provide that. The review process and findings will be the Group’s.”Now, it is explicitly stated that the White House would choose the members. End of story, end of new conspiracy.President Barack Obama and Clapper each issued separate memos on Monday saying that the DNI would set up the group. But neither explicitly said who would choose its members.
Tuesday's clarification of Clapper's role is an obvious walk-back from Friday's disingenuous announcement.
Tiger fan you are working way too hard for something you think is so trivial.
I thought this was an interesting read regarding the potential legality of it all.
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/1...t-only-problemThis “to be sure” is one for the ages. Far from authorizing the warrantless fishing expeditions into millions of records, Congress in amending Section 215 meant explicitly to forbid what the Justice Department now seeks to justify. As the Electronic Privacy Information Center notes in a brief filed last week with the Supreme Court, both Congressional supporters and opponents of Section 215 explicitly interpreted the “relevance” language to limit bulk collection of data, not to permit it. On July 17, during a House judiciary committee hearing, Representative James Sensenbrenner, the author of section 215, said that Congress amended the law in 2006 to impose the relevance requirement in “an attempt to limit what the intelligence community could be able to get pursuant to Section 215.” And during the debate over the 2006 amendments, Sen. Ron Wyden and others stressed that the relevance standard would address “concerns about government ‘fishing expeditions.’”
A penetrating analysis of the data available to NSA and why the search parameters can be narrowed to a very small portion of total internet traffic.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...c-surveillanceThe NSA claims it 'touches' only 1.6% of internet traffic – doesn't sound a lot. In fact, that's practically everything that matters
here. The white paper makes sense if you read it instead of letting a news organization do the reading and interpretation for you.
Since they can't define what "touch" means, it would be more relevant to deal with the data that NSA analysts actually look at, which is 0.00004% of daily internet data, or 0.073PB of information (or 73 terrabytes of information.) The information for that is also available in the above link on page 6.
Well, we knew this was coming ...
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...125_story.html (an exhaustive article)NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds
And, FISC oversight is somewhat limited:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politi...125_story.htmlThe leader of the secret court that is supposed to provide critical oversight of the government’s vast spying programs said that its ability to do so is limited and that it must trust the government to report when it improperly spies on Americans.
I also noted the article seemed to play loose with the information given. I'm assuming this is because they don't expect most readers to actually read the documentation. For instance, they used the following quote in the article as support of their claim that this information is more detailed than what is given to the intelligence agencies:
As you can see, they are making a claim that this is more detail than Congress receives by summarizing this training document as telling people to cut out details, when if you read the document, you'll see that the information is not classified in the reporting tool so they tell them to leave out extraneous information to seemingly avoid putting classified information in there. They also state this later in the article on page 3:The documents, provided earlier this summer to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance. In one of the documents, agency personnel are instructed to remove details and substitute more generic language in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
I think that is also telling that certain members of Congress like to complain they're not kept informed, yet they don't even take the steps of getting their staff cleared to view this information they want to see.Members of Congress may read the unredacted documents, but only in a special secure room, and they are not allowed to take notes. Fewer than 10 percent of lawmakers employ a staff member who has the security clearance to read the reports and provide advice about their meaning and significance.
In the very next quote, they state, without providing any supporting documentation at all:
Yet in a different article by the WP, they expand on the fact that metadata only was collected and not the "interception of calls", which metadata collection was authorized by the court, so it was indeed not something that had to be reported as an infraction of the rules.In one instance, the NSA decided that it need not report the unintended surveillance of Americans. A notable example in 2008 was the interception of a “large number” of calls placed from Washington when a programming error confused the U.S. area code 202 for 20, the international dialing code for Egypt, according to a “quality assurance” review that was not distributed to the NSA’s oversight staff.
Here's another little jewel they hide away in the article:
So even though an incident among the "thousands of violations of privacy rules" yields no results (indicating it would seem that data is actually not collected on Americans), it's still counted as an incident. So while the number may be 2,200 (keeping in mind this is a compliance report, meaning it encompasses violations of anything, including internal NSA rules or standard procedures), it would seem that what the NSA considers an incident isn't what normal people would consider an incident (i.e. they fat fingered a phone number and heard all of my phone conversations.) Additionally, incidents like the one described at the end, where old data was found on development servers, are fairly common across any enterprise (old data left on development machines) and, while it should be remedied immediately upon discovery, isn't some insidious plot to collect and retain data on people.The documents provided by Snowden offer only glimpses of those questions. Some reports make clear that an unauthorized search produced no records. But a single “incident” in February 2012 involved the unlawful retention of 3,032 files that the surveillance court had ordered the NSA to destroy, according to the May 2012 audit. Each file contained an undisclosed number of telephone call records.
I especially love this comment though:
If you read the "What's a violation" document, you'll see that incidental doesn't cover collecting records of an American, but instead covers collection of communications from a foreign target that contains information or is to/from a US person. In that case, the document states that the information concerning the US person should be removed and the foreign target should be the focus of the reporting. And it's not considered a violation because there are court approved minimization procedures in place for this exact purpose (they were leaked earlier, remember?) and so you're not violating a court order or policy because that exact situation is accounted for in the court order and policy. The last line is yet another example of WP's editorial contributions to make everything seem so malicious and that is actually a complete lie, given that the rest of the article and linked documentation is about NSA compliance reporting. They state earlier in the article that these reported violations can involve searches of US person data, yet then turn around and say the data can be searched freely. It's not the case that both can be true. You can either search freely or you can search and violate the regulations and laws.The NSA uses the term “incidental” when it sweeps up the records of an American while targeting a foreigner or a U.S. person who is believed to be involved in terrorism. Official guidelines for NSA personnel say that kind of incident, pervasive under current practices, “does not constitute a . . . violation” and “does not have to be reported” to the NSA inspector general for inclusion in quarterly reports to Congress. Once added to its databases, absent other restrictions, the communications of Americans may be searched freely.
I like the quote at the end from NSA the best though:
While the point being made is that the WP obtained the summary document without the details document that went with it which Congress does get, it also basically sums up the WP's summary of the documents and the exclusion of other documents they claim to have that they don't provide us. They provide us concise summaries of what they view to be important (usually mixed in with their own opinions), but don't provide us the full recipe to draw our own conclusions.“I realize you can read those words a certain way,” said the high-ranking NSA official who spoke with White House authority, but the instructions were not intended to withhold information from auditors. “Think of a book of individual recipes,” he said. Each target “has a short, concise description,” but that is “not a substitute for the full recipe that follows, which our overseers also have access to.”
@tigerfan - You mount a defense that seems beyond the ken of the Administration.
One abiding question is why Obama's statements show him to be so clueless; at the least he should be aware that he speaks from quicksand. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/201...-as-well.shtml
This week, we learned that an internal audit of the NSA shows that it violates court orders and its own policies several thousand times every year.
There doesn't appear to be any real supervision of that agency.
What an embarrassment for the administration.
For those unable to follow all of the articles being published concerning these latest NSA revelations, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has published the key takeaways.
"Tip of the iceberg":
Looks like more to come."The executive branch has now confirmed that the rules, regulations and court-imposed standards for protecting the privacy of Americans have been violated thousands of times each year. We have previously said that the violations of these laws and rules were more serious than had been acknowledged, and we believe Americans should know that this confirmation is just the tip of a larger iceberg.
It is time for some congressperson to get some cojones and take to the Floor of one of the Chambers.
One thing I find funny is that the Washington Post didn't publish the appendices to the document they referenced. In the document, it clearly states details about these compliance violations are in the appendices, yet those were not provided to readers. Why is that? This seems to be a trend that news outlets will publish certain documents, not in their entirety, that seem to contain summaries that support their claims, yet omit the portions that provide details that very well could explain in more detail said claims and actually prove they aren't what is being surmised. Either way, I want to be able to read for myself this information instead on relying on the Washington Post or any other news outlet to interpret it for me.
I also take exception to the fact that many outlets rerunning recaps of this story pass this off as "thousand of violations of Americans' privacy" when the numbers in the actual report don't tell that at all. Of the 2,776 incidents reported, 1,904 of them were "roamers" compliance issues where the US was targeting valid foreign targets when they entered into the US. So in 69% of the cases, Americans weren't even involved in the compliance issues, which shoots those claims right out of the water. Additionally, there is no context in which these numbers are provided. The appendices of the report were not provided by the WP. There are no aggregate numbers to compare to. If 3,000 activities happened and 2,776 of those were compliance incidents, there is a cause to worry. If 1 million activities happened and 2,776 of those were compliance incidents, then that is a completely different story.
They also claim that there is a secret court with no power to stop them, which is also not true since the FISC has all of the power to stop them. The article they referenced, which was actually itself misleading, said that the court didn't have the resources to monitor on a day-to-day basis what the NSA does. The part of that article I found most appalling was the insertion of the WP's own verbage into a quote to make it sound as if the chief judge of the FISC was directing his comments only towards the NSA and the FISC, when in reality, he was speaking of all courts. The quote was:
Notice the bolded word that the WP put in themselves. What the judge described was what every court faces with dealing with the enforcement of any of their orders. When a judge imposes a sentence on someone, the court doesn't have the resources to enforce said sentence. They rely on the justice system to do so. When a court imposes certain statutory or regulatory requirements on a person or group of people, they don't have the manpower to enforce and verify compliance so they rely on the various regulatory authorities to do so. And when the court orders NSA to follow certain procedures in a court order, they don't have the staff to stand there and watch them all day in everything they do. They order that NSA's compliance officers, along with their OGC and OIG and the Justice Department to monitor compliance and report any incidents. It's a very basic concept.“The FISC is forced to rely upon the accuracy of the information that is provided to the Court,” its chief, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, said in a written statement to The Washington Post. “The FISC does not have the capacity to investigate issues of noncompliance, and in that respect the FISC is in the same position as any other court when it comes to enforcing [government] compliance with its orders.”
The rest of their article claims that "the documents" make all of these claims, yet it's the actual Washington Post article they quote and not the information from the documents themselves, which is at best, deceptive journalism.
The EFF is probably the best source for legal considerations concerning the internet. That's a great summary of some of the latest information.
Of interest is the FISA court's statement that it cannot and does not police the NSA. While that should be obvious, I don't think most people appreciate that our spy agencies are operating without any real outside supervision. Even the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is supposed to oversee the NSA, did not know about the NSA's internal audit. The committee had to get the audit from The Washington Post!
That's beyond ridiculous.
It is becoming quite clear that Ed Snowden has done this nation an enormous service. A rather large portion of our federal government has been out of control for some time now, and no one was allowed to point that out to us.
Now, we need to do something about it.
And the FISC's statements was not that it doesn't hold NSA accountable. It's statement is that it has to rely on information provided by NSA in its enforcement because it doesn't have resources to have someone in every operational location at every operational hour of the day every operational day of the year. This is no different than any other court in this country enforcing any other ruling or requirement. That's exactly what the chief judge of the FISC said. Every court must rely on the information provided to it in regards to compliance with court orders.
And I would like to know exactly what you think the government is out of control on.
Looks like there are some reasonable explanations for the report. One thing I want to point out that almost all articles I have read on this have said as well as the government is that there is no evidence of any intentional or willful violations of the law. That seems to shoot holes in the idea that the NSA is willfully lying to anyone or is engaged in doing whatever they want to do.
This article also says that NSA analysts make 20 million queries of intelligence databases every month, meaning that they make approximately 240 million queries a year. To have only 2700 compliance issues out of 240 million is absolutely amazing given the technical complexity and breadth of data they deal with. That's 0.000011% error. I think these guys are the real heroes, combing through this data trying to protect the people of this country and only having a 0.000011% rate of error.
I put about as much credence in their statement that they've done no wrong, as in the FBI track record of internally investigating something like 150 in-custody killings, and they've said that 100% of the killings were justified.
BOSS: I'm sorry, but I'll have to lay you and Jack off. SUE: Can you just jack off? I feel like shit today.
"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires" - Susan B. Anthony
How do you tell the difference between a carpenter and a chemist? (A chemist in USA, not British, definition.) Ask them to pronounce unionized.
Good thing there are enlightened people to share the Real Truth with us. Who needs facts when you have CONVICTION!
That we are capable only of being what we are, remains our unforgivable sin.
- Gene Wolfe
Whichever edge of Hanlon's Razor you choose the NSA minions lose.
Convictions will follow when the NSA is held to account.
“This is a mournful discovery.
1)Those who agree with you are insane
2)Those who do not agree with you are in power.”
Phillip K. Dick
“Strange how paranoia can link up with reality now and then.”
Phillip K. Dick
“Paranoia is just the bastard child of fear and good sense." (Charlie)
"Poor thing. Let's adopt it, give it a last name and raise it right." (Jace)
"You want to get it a puppy, too?"
"Sure. We'll call it Panic. It and little Paranoia can play together at the park and scare the hell out of all the other kids.”
― D.D. Barant, Back from the Undead
“Paranoia is just having the right information.”
― William S. Burroughs
“My paranoia wasn't always right, but just to be on the safe side, I never went to sleep with a clown in the room.”
― Mark Henwick
I was walking home one night and a guy hammering on a roof called me a paranoid little weirdo. In morse code.
The truly paranoid are rarely conned. <-- like that one.
I sincerely believe people talk about me. Mine would be a pretty meaningless existence if they didn't.
Why are some people terrified of "black helicopters" and don't even notice that they are being monitored almost constantly by the whole network of obvious surveillance cameras, credit cards, ATMs, EZpass, company ID/access cards, magazine subscriptions, SSNs, taxes, fees, video rentals, Internet firewall recording, 'cookies', ... ? <-- TRUTH!
Paranoia: the belief that someone cares.
When everyone is out to get you, paranoia is only good thinking.
"Paranoia is knowing all the facts."
- Woody Allen
Paranoia is a social disease--you get it from screwing other people.
"This is the Nineties, Bubba, and there is no such thing as Paranoia. It's all true."
- Hunter S Thompson
"Paranoia is only the leading edge of the discovery that everything in the world is connected."
- `The Illuminatus Trilogy'
The greater the concentration of power, the greater the paranoia it generates about its need to destroy everything outside itself.
"When everyone _is_ out to get to you, being paranoid isn't going to help." -
- Q, Star Trek: The Next Generation
The 28-year-old was held for nine hours, the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual. According to official figures, most examinations under schedule 7 – over 97% – last less than an hour, and only one in 2,000 people detained are kept for more than six hours.Greenwald had this to say:Miranda was released, but officials confiscated electronics equipment including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles.
To detain my partner for a full nine hours while denying him a lawyer, and then seize large amounts of his possessions, is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA[...]Brazilian Government.This measure is without justification since it involves an individual against whom there are no charges that can legitimate the use of that legislation.[...]
Widney Brown, Amnesty International's senior director of international law and policy.David's detention was unlawful and inexcusable. He was detained under a law that violates any principle of fairness and his detention shows how the law can be abused for petty, vindictive reasons.
"There is simply no basis for believing that David Michael Miranda presents any threat whatsoever[...]