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Topic: Americans most spied on people in the world?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 11:05 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

More Spying On Citizens than in Stasi East Germany

TechDirt notes:

In a radio interview, Wall Street Journal reporter Julia Angwin (who’s been one of the best at covering the surveillance state in the US) made a simple observation that puts much of this into context: the US surveillance regime has more data on the average American than the Stasi ever did on East Germans.

Indeed, the American government has more information on the average American than Stalin had on Russians, Hitler had on German citizens, or any other government has ever had on its people.

The American government is collecting and storing virtually every phone call, purchases, email,  text message, internet searches, social media communications, health information,  employment history, travel and student records, and virtually all other information of every American.

Some also claim that the government is also using facial recognition software and surveillance cameras to track where everyone is going.  Moreover, cell towers track where your phone is at any moment, and the major cell carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, responded to at least 1.3 million law enforcement requests for cell phone locations and other data in 2011. (And – given that your smartphone routinely sends your location information back to Apple or Google – it would be child’s play for the government to track your location that way.)   If that’s not enough, the government is insisting that “black boxes” be installed in cars to track your location.

As the top spy chief at the U.S. National Security Agency explained this week, the American government is collecting some 100 billion 1,000-character emails per day, and 20 trillion communications of all types per year.

He says that the government has collected all of the communications of congressional leaders, generals and everyone else in the U.S. for the last 10 years.

He further explains that he set up the NSA’s system so that all of the information would automatically be encrypted, so that the government had to obtain a search warrant based upon probably cause before a particular suspect’s communications could be decrypted.  But the NSA now collects all data in an unencrypted form, so that no probable cause is needed to view any citizen’s information.  He says that it is actually cheaper and easier to store the data in an encrypted format: so the government’s current system is being done for political – not practical – purposes.

He says that if anyone gets on the government’s “enemies list”, then the stored information will be used to target them. Specifically, he notes that if the government decides it doesn’t like someone, it analyzes all of the data it has collected on that person and his or her associates over the last 10 years to build a case against him.


As we’ve previously documented, the spying isn’t being done to keep us safe … but to crush dissent and to smear people who uncover unflattering this about the government … and to help the too big to fail businesses compete against smaller businesses (and here).

And as we point out at every opportunity, this is not some “post-9/11 reality”.  Spying on Americans – and most of the other attacks on liberty – started before 9/11.

Senator Frank Church – who chaired the famous “Church Committee” into the unlawful FBI Cointel program, and who chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – said in 1975:

Th[e National Security Agency's]  capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.  [If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total tyranny ….

We can debate whether or not dictators are running Washington. But one thing is clear: the capacity is already here.

TechDirt points out:

While the Stasi likely wanted more info and would have loved to have been able to tap into a digitally connected world like we have today, that just wasn’t possible.

That’s true.  The tyrants in Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and Stasi Eastern Europe would have liked to easedrop on every communication and every transaction of every citizen.  But in the world before the internet, smart phones, electronic medical records and digital credit card transactions, much of what happened behind closed doors remained private.

(And modern tin pot dictators don’t have the tens of billions of dollars necessary to set up a sophisticated electronic spying system).

In modern America, a much higher percentage of your communications and transactions are being recorded and stored by the government.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012....ry.html


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 11:32 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sounds like paranoia to me.

Yes, most of those things are being done, but so far nothing nefarious about any of it.  Hell, it is difficult enough to get Federal agencies to cooperate with each other in a situation that would benefit the country.

As for the availability of spying on us, the technology to track our various affinities is vastly improved.  Black boxes in our cars are not a threat.

While many things could be done to track our every step, I just don't see the cost / benefit ratio becoming anything close to paying off.  The vast majority of citizens lead quite mundane lives.  How many trips to Walmart do we need to track?


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 12:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"The American government is collecting and storing virtually every phone call, purchases, email,  text message, internet searches, social media communications, health information,  employment history, travel and student records, and virtually all other information of every American."

Is there anything remotely like factual documentation to back up that unsupported speculation disguised (rather thinly) as "fact"?

My favorite may be "virtually all other information", wow, widespread delusion much?

Looks like an investment opportunity for companies that construct data server farms to me. Got any names?
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 12:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ol-zeke @ Dec. 10 2012, 8:32 am)
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Sounds like paranoia to me.

I believe in it.  The spying, that is.

Look at the ease in which our government produced the volumes of email's that paint a complete (or perhaps near complete) picture of the going's on between even someone as security conscious as Patraeus!  Yes, he would be a target by virtue of his office -- but ditto for the two women in question as well as others!

I do believe various government agencies collect reams of info on everyone.  That's a lot of information and it doesn't mean we are targeted.  But if one day we are -- for law enforcement or security or other reasons -- the info can be retrieved.

In other words, I don't believe there is any comprehensive "folder" of info on us as individuals -- but if targeted, one can be produced from the 'Big Data Bank'.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 12:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Dec. 10 2012, 12:02 pm)
QUOTE
Is there anything remotely like factual documentation to back up that unsupported speculation disguised (rather thinly) as "fact"?


This is an interesting read. I noticed it in Wired in the spring while I was flying out west.

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say) in Wired Magazine BY JAMES BAMFORD (03.15.12)
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 12:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(vinovampire @ Dec. 10 2012, 9:34 am)
QUOTE

(High_Sierra_Fan @ Dec. 10 2012, 12:02 pm)
QUOTE
Is there anything remotely like factual documentation to back up that unsupported speculation disguised (rather thinly) as "fact"?


This is an interesting read. I noticed it in Wired in the spring while I was flying out west.

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say) in Wired Magazine BY JAMES BAMFORD (03.15.12)

You left out some of the issue: specifically the alleged total information collection I was questioning (that specific information on specific people is gathered such as in the case of the threatening emails being complained about by the woman in Florida I certainly acknowledge).
""The American government is collecting and storing virtually every phone call, purchases, email,  text message, internet searches, social media communications, health information,  employment history, travel and student records, and virtually all other information of every American.""
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 1:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"“I have no problem whatsoever with their eavesdropping on terrorists in the U.S.,” Mr. Bamford said. “But the law says they need a court warrant.”"

I agree with that.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/11/books/11bamford.html?_r=0
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 1:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

NSA can get around the law by only "collecting" and digitizing the information it intecepts.

If they actually start to analyze the data which pertains to an individual, that is when a court approval would be needed.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 4:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Is this the same all knowing government that can't keep track of veterans' records in order to deal with even the simplest hearing claims about whether a disability is related to a person's military service??

The more widely and grossly they collect, the less they will have useable information, IMO.

When they target an individual and set out to spy on him/her, then they are a threat.  All this overkill just makes the system unworkable for the things that could really help our country, i.e. terrorists and violent criminals.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 4:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(wwwest @ Dec. 10 2012, 1:26 pm)
QUOTE
When they target an individual and set out to spy on him/her, then they are a threat.  All this overkill just makes the system unworkable for the things that could really help our country, i.e. terrorists and violent criminals.

Indeed.  So, potentially bad if YOU get targeted (because the bureaucrats can dedicate a guy to sorting your info out) -- and also bad for the population in general (who get lost in the shuffle for the reason you described).

All the money spent (and much more to be spent), and this near-indiscriminate way of data collecting can be bad on both macro and micro levels...


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 4:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I mostly agree.  Which is why the paranoid whining about the macro level is a big waste of time and effort.

Focus on the micro level, where both the good and the bad use of these powers really comes into play, and make sure that micro use is covered by due process and protection of individual rights through oversight by the courts.

Just the same old solutions, but using the new tools, and one of the first tasks should be reining in the overreach that is built into the Patriot Act.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 4:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

On a micro (individual) level, my two-pronged defense:

1.  Most importantly, try not to be a target in the first place.
2.  Avoid using any one service (e.g. Google) too much -- although this is about privacy and not government surveillance per se.

Such as it is...


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 5:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As stated earlier, president Carter, Sandra Day O'Conner and Ron Paul all have been vocal with there concerns about surveillance and civil liberties and the three are very far apart politically. I'll go with their experience and knowledge on the subject.

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(wwwest @ Dec. 10 2012, 1:39 pm)
QUOTE
I mostly agree.  Which is why the paranoid whining about the macro level is a big waste of time and effort.

Focus on the micro level, where both the good and the bad use of these powers really comes into play, and make sure that micro use is covered by due process and protection of individual rights through oversight by the courts.

Just the same old solutions, but using the new tools, and one of the first tasks should be reining in the overreach that is built into the Patriot Act.

Yes, get the teeth back in the FISA so due process on the targeted analysis (when the real harm or not will be occurring)  is intact.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 5:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Dec. 10 2012, 4:46 pm)
QUOTE
2.  Avoid using any one service (e.g. Google) too much -- although this is about privacy and not government surveillance per se.

Hmmm, I've never really considered that.  Though that seems like a pretty common sense strategy in a day where many of our online choices are analyzed (whether by advertising bot, gov't agency, or angry ex).

But dammit, I really like Google.  I've been resisting Bing all this time...maybe it's time to make the leap (at least for some of my searches)


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 6:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Eastie:

For searches, try Ixquick (recommended by various computer magazines).   It utilizes Google, but acts as go-between, so Google won't know it's you doing the searching.  And if you like it, you can set it as the default search engine in your browser.

Another alternative (I used to use it but didn't like it as much as Ixquick) is DuckDuckGo.com.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 6:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Dec. 10 2012, 6:30 pm)
QUOTE
Eastie:

For searches, try Ixquick (recommended by various computer magazines).   It utilizes Google, but acts as go-between, so Google won't know it's you doing the searching.  And if you like it, you can set it as the default search engine in your browser.

Another alternative (I used to use it but didn't like it as much as Ixquick) is DuckDuckGo.com.

Good information.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 9:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Dec. 10 2012, 9:26 am)
QUOTE
Look at the ease in which our government produced the volumes of email's that paint a complete (or perhaps near complete) picture of the going's on between even someone as security conscious as Patraeus!  Yes, he would be a target by virtue of his office -- but ditto for the two women in question as well as others!

I do believe various government agencies collect reams of info on everyone.  That's a lot of information and it doesn't mean we are targeted.  But if one day we are -- for law enforcement or security or other reasons -- the info can be retrieved.

In other words, I don't believe there is any comprehensive "folder" of info on us as individuals -- but if targeted, one can be produced from the 'Big Data Bank'.

They already had Patraeus's computer.  They did not need to be collecting his emails via spying.  I still think we do not need to be concerned with our gov't collecting data on us, as so many are just not interesting enough to warrant collection.  

It would take years to collect all of the info from various civil sources.  There is not any cooperation in any sense of the word.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 10:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ol-zeke @ Dec. 10 2012, 9:15 pm)
QUOTE
 I still think we do not need to be concerned with our gov't collecting data on us, as so many are just not interesting enough to warrant collection.  

I agree.  The government is indeed totally disinterested in the vast majority of citizens.  The scary part is who decides when the government becomes interested in an individual and for what reason?  And who decides how the individual's data gets used?  Or misused?
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 11:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A lawsuit has been filed by a woman in PA who had corresponded to someone with a Gmail account and based on the content of her messages companies Google had sold her information and address to started soliciting her.

Google maintains that while people with gmail addresses agree via signing off on the terms of service to having the contents of their email read and sold by Google to others for their commercial use they also have the same rights to all emails sent TO those Gmail accounts. The woman and her attorney disagree.

http://www.mercurynews.com/news....acy-ads

"Google argued that selling advertising based on the content of a received email is a routine business practice permitted under an exception written into the wiretap law. Google notes Yahoo and other email providers sell ads through similar methods."
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(Montecresto @ Dec. 10 2012, 8:05 am)
QUOTE
More Spying On Citizens than in Stasi East Germany

Although to be fair, one should highlight the vast differences in computer systems between 1989 and 2012.  :D

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 11 2012, 12:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The scary part is who decides when the government becomes interested in an individual and for what reason?  And who decides how the individual's data gets used?  Or misused?

J.Edgar Hoover??


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(Ben2World @ Dec. 10 2012, 6:30 pm)
QUOTE
Eastie:

For searches, try Ixquick (recommended by various computer magazines).   It utilizes Google, but acts as go-between, so Google won't know it's you doing the searching.  And if you like it, you can set it as the default search engine in your browser.

Another alternative (I used to use it but didn't like it as much as Ixquick) is DuckDuckGo.com.

Thanks!!

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That's a lot of Sofia Vegara searches for NSFW wardrobe malfunctions ... though my intentions for her are strictly biblical (some about a poly relationship with her and Heidi Klum).  Now .... isn't the data collection center in Utah .... and isn't "adult material" by far the largest part of the net (though shopping is on it's heels, iirc)?

Man, they are going to need to load up Utah's water supply with salt peter and take away those employee's credit cards .. Just saying.


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