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.Surveillance and the internet.
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.”
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 EURid.eu, 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.”