Brazil is toying with the idea of creating another internet
. Seems that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was rather miffed to learn about the NSA's spying on her country...
President Dilma Rousseff ordered a series of measures aimed at greater Brazilian online independence and security following revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted her communications, hacked into the state-owned Petrobras oil company's network and spied on Brazilians who entrusted their personal data to U.S. tech companies such as Facebook and Google
you folks to stop using Facebook. Maybe there should be a version of Cannonfire in Portuguese.
When the Brazilian angle to the NSA scandal came out, too many Americans (even our friends at Skydancing) sniffed: "Hey, what's the big deal? Every country spies." Yeah, but what ticked folks off was the use of national intelligence resources to conduct economic
espionage. Marcy Wheeler goes into all of that here
(though not in the clearest possible fashion)...
All that said, those poo-pooing Brazil’s complaints ignore the specific nature of the spying as revealed. As I noted, even James Clapper’s attempt to respond to concerns raised by the original reports in Brazil didn’t address (and indeed, may have exacerbated) concerns that the US is engaging in financial war, including manipulating its currency to undercut other countries as they rise in relative power. If the US is using its advantages in SIGINT to engage in such financial war, Brazil has every reason to object, because it’s not something Brazil’s currency or telecommunications position make possible.
BRICS: Brazil, Russsia, India, China, and South Africa.
US disclaimers of industrial espionage no longer matter if the US is collecting SIGINT that would support substantive financial attacks, especially since Clapper in March made it clear the US envisions such attacks (even if they only admit to thinking in defensive terms).
Meanwhile, this comes at a moment when the BRICS see themselves wielding increasing power.
We've not seen that acronym in these pages before. Expect to see a lot more of it. American arrogance will end when we get hit by BRICS.
What to call this second internet? I propose "Brazilnet." Alas, since the NSA has tapped into so many undersea cables, I don't see how a new internet would function as an "NSA-free" zone. Or does Brazil envision a new physical infrastructure?
On a related note:
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court explains that everything the NSA has been doing is perfectly legal under the Patriot Act.
You gotta love this wording...
"The court concludes that there are facts showing reasonable grounds to believe that the records sought are relevant to authorized investigations," wrote the judge, one of 11 who serve on the surveillance court.
But the NSA gathers metadata on everybody
. I guess you can argue that, somewhere in that massive pile, one can find stuff relevant to authorized investigations. One way to get the catseye you're looking for is to grab every marble in the world.
Let's repeat an important point mentioned on several previous occasions: The Agency's computers scoop up all of the actual
data -- the phone calls, the emails, the chats -- although no-one who receives a government paycheck likes to admit that fact. The Agency does not consider the data truly "intercepted" until human eyeballs have scanned it. But it's all sitting there in those big honkin' ol' computers, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
That key fact goes unmentioned in this snigger-inducing episode of Lawfare
, which attempts to justify the FISC statement.
Many critics of NSA’s programs casually throw around the allegation that this sort of collection implicates—or shreds—the Fourth Amendment. But Judge Eagan clearly regards Section 215 as not presenting a close question under the law. The Fourth Amendment does not bar the government’s proposed collection of telephony metadata, she writes, because the production “is squarely controlled by” Smith v. Maryland, in which the Supreme Court held that it was not a search for the government to install a pen register on telephone company equipment to capture non-content data concerning telephone calls. An individual has no legitimate expectation of privacy with respect to telephone numbers he dialed and thereby conveyed to the company, the Supreme Court concluded in Smith. Judge Eagan concludes that if metadata does not implicate an individual’s Fourth Amendment privacy interest in his telephony metadata, neither does the bulk collection of metadata about numerous persons.
A good argument against Smith v Maryland -- and against the application of that decision to the NSA -- can be found here
. (It's a Libertarian site, and the piece was written in 2006, but the reasoning is still sound.) I would add this: Just because such data is held by a private communications company doesn't mean the Gummint has a right to grab it.
Elsewhere on the Lawfare page is this announcement:
Three new job openings at the CIA have been posted on the Lawfare Job Board.
Big Brother is double-plus good, is he not? He's protecting us from Emmanuel al-Goldsteini.