There is much teeth gnashing, shredding of articles of clothing and complete agony going on in the shadowy world of privacy that the rivulets of blood must be pooling and approaching flash flood proportions. Oh, ca ca, poo poo.
Two hugely opposing perspectives have come about because of the Edward Snowden disclosure of PRISM and the fact that the NSA is collecting all metadata about, basically, all electronic communications. *gasp* Ladies and gentlemen, please excuse me, but would you all kindly grow up? There is nary an electron that has been generated outside the US that the NSA doesn’t collect and the fact that they collect domestic electronic communications should surprise no one.
Let’s put it in terms that I understand, and I consider myself dumber than a box of rocks most days. If Suspect A calls Suspect B, and Suspect A is a known affiliate of a terrorist organization, then the Intelligence Community will start collecting intelligence on Suspect B, because he or she is now an affiliate of Suspect A. This is perfectly legal outside the US and is routine on people outside the US. But what if Suspect A and B are inside the United States? If the data is collected – then, and only then, can the intelligence community integrate that data into a domestic anti-terrorist operation. If Suspect A and B have been planning an operation for a long time, wouldn’t it be nice to make the connection early on, perhaps even connect the dots to others?
As for privacy folks, I don’t believe the NSA has enough people to exploit all the metadata about phone calls from Aunt Martha to Cousin Bob. They collect far too much data to exploit even a tiny percentage. I was involved with such a program many years ago that, using MetaData only, we ‘pinged’ NSA to prioritize messages they would fully exploit for further intelligence.
As I have read in dozens of articles, we’re only seeing confirmation what most of us, especially the bad guys, have assumed was routine for years.
- Organizations push for Congress to curtail NSA spying (networkworld.com)
- WATCH, PERJURY: NSA Chief Denied Surveillance In Senate Testimony (patdollard.com)
- Boundless Informant: the NSA’s secret tool to track global surveillance data (guardian.co.uk)
- US lawmakers urge disclosure as Obama ‘welcomes’ debate over NSA surveillance (guardian.co.uk)
- Yes, NSA has content of phone calls, emails (wnd.com)
- Canada has tracked phone and Internet data for years (metronews.ca)
- Data mining is lawful, he says (cnn.com)
- Let’s All Get Together Tonight And Jam Up The NSA! (personalliberty.com)
- The Guardian quietly walks back their PRISM overreach without correcting previous reporting (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- Congressman Peter King Wants Glenn Greenwald Prosecuted (leftandcenter.com)