Saturday, July 12, 2014

"Total population control": Another NSA whistleblower spills the big secret

About a week ago, former NSA codebreaker William Binney spoke at a conference in London...
“At least 80% of fibre-optic cables globally go via the US”, Binney said. “This is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in. At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.”

The NSA will soon be able to collect 966 exabytes a year, the total of internet traffic annually. Former Google head Eric Schmidt once argued that the entire amount of knowledge from the beginning of humankind until 2003 amount to only five exabytes.
Many previous posts have made this point. All of the arguments over metadata and minimization are, in a sense, misleading. The NSA scoops up everything. The data is not considered intercepted until human eyes have examined it, but artificial intelligence can sift through the haul, looking for certain keywords and patterns. The intelligence community then works with law enforcement to make cases against targets without revealing that the evidence was gathered by the NSA.

This system is in place not to capture "bad guys," despite the refrain constantly sounded by the defenders of the surveillance state: "Terrorists and pedos! Terrorists and pedos! It's all about terrorists and pedos!" The system is designed to maintain the political status quo.
The latest Snowden leaks, featured in the Washington Post, detail private conversations of average Americans with no connection to extremism.

It shows that the NSA is not just pursuing terrorism, as it claims, but ordinary citizens going about their daily communications. “The NSA is mass-collecting on everyone”, Binney said, “and it’s said to be about terrorism but inside the US it has stopped zero attacks.”
Surveillance and the internet. The article quoted above also references a disturbing Pew study which discusses the future of the internet. This study addresses a broad range of topics, including the impact of the surveillance state.
Actions by nation-states to maintain security and political control will lead to more blocking, filtering, segmentation, and balkanization of the Internet.
Paul Saffo, managing director at Discern Analytics and consulting associate professor at Stanford University, said, “The pressures to balkanize the global Internet will continue and create new uncertainties. Governments will become more skilled at blocking access to unwelcome sites.”

Christopher Wilkinson, a retired European Union official, board member for, and Internet Society leader predicted, “Surveillance … at the minimum chills communications and at the maximum facilitates industrial espionage, it does not have very much to do with security.”
Dave Burstein, editor of Fast Net News, responded, “Governments worldwide are looking for more power over the Net, especially within their own countries. Britain, for example, has just determined that ISPs block sites the government considers ‘terrorist’ or otherwise dangerous. This will grow. There will usually be ways to circumvent the obstruction but most people won’t bother.”
If the USA ever gets a government that wants to do a purge, they will have all the data they need at their finger tips.
The lazy citizens who can't imagine an objection to global surveillance because they think they have nothing to hide are settling for a world where every journalist, every legislator, and every dissident can be targeted for massive communications interceptions. Those people have a legitimate need for confidential communications.

Of course current technology means we will always be vulnerable to targeted surveillance, and if the public ever were riled up enough that a certain program was terminated, past DoD practice shows that the gov't would just start it up again under another name. So surveillance is a fact of life.

But we do have the power to shut down massive facilities like the one in Utah. You can't build those things in secret--not yet.

The massive amount of storage the NSA is putting in place is not needed to monitor the internet (virtual-space), but it will be needed to monitor real-space. The FAA is currently rolling out a massive reorganization of the national airspace (called NextGen) to make it compatible with the operation of unmanned aerial systems (drones).

In May 2006 Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician in San Francisco, leaked knowledge of his company's cooperation with the NSA to monitor, capture, and process telecommunications flowing through AT&T's San Francisco hub.

Klein revealed that AT&T allowed the NSA to construct and equip a secret room in a San Francisco AT&T switching center, with data-mining equipment that forwarded internet traffic to the NSA. Klein said the equipment used to capture 100% of the internet traffic passing through the San Francisco hub was manufactured by an Israeli company, named Narus. In 2010, Narus became a subsidiary of Boeing, located in Sunnyvale, CA.

The NSA doesn't need 966 exabytes of storage to watch everything you do on the internet... they need 966 exabytes of storage to watch EVERYTHING you do.
In the category of "I know it's probably misguided, but here's what I can't help thinking" which is where my comments seem to usually fall due to a lack anything insightful to say. The internet as we've known it for the last 15 years is a short accident. The resources to maintain such a thing on the present scale are winding down as will its omnipresence in our lives as will the NSA's power because that's where it's decided to place all its bets. This is also why I could not care less about IPv6.
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