It Gets Worse…

In 48 hours of leaks we went from the NSA collecting meta-data on practically every phone call in the United States to the revelation of an overarching Internet surveillance scheme called PRISM, which collects data wholesale from nine major US Internet content providers.

And I can’t say enough about how horrible that is. I mean, literally everyone reading this is certain to have some sort of data exchange with the PRISM nine. For me, I do some of my work on an Apple computer, and Apples in on it. I use linux for stuff too, but it doesn’t matter that this is secure because I do all of my email at Gmail, communicate with coworkers on AOL Instant Messanger, use Google as a search engine for research. All that stuff is still getting swept up.

Some of that stuff is just unavoidable too – if you stop using Google Search what are you going to use? Yahoo is in on this, and so is Microsoft (Bing). That’s pretty much it for competent English-language search engines in 2013.

As of last night though there was a lot of speculation surrounding the creepily specific denials of companies that they aren’t providing “direct access,” with Business Insider talking about broad eavesdropping as allowing them to get away with only “passive” compliance from these companies being the most plausible explanation.

Except it gets worse.

Turns out the Business Insider indirect data collection is a whole ‘nother series of programs the NSA is running, that are distinct from PRISM.

Guardian has leaked another (partially redacted) slide on the matter, and it turns out all those claims by Google, Facebook et al. of not giving the NSA direct access are something distinct from legalese. Something we can call, for the sake of clarity, flat out lies. Here’s what the NSA’s top secret document says:

PRISM

Collection directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple

The partially redacted part talks about Upstream collection of data through the basic communications infrastructure of the Internet, listing four programs that do this (two are blacked out), and admonishes NSA analysts viewing the presentation “You Should Use Both.”

So the well, well over 90% of data that was being culled in PRISM wasn’t even the end of the story, and four other programs exist that are likely sweeping up likely most of the rest of it.

Big Brother would be lucky to be half this efficient, and its probably time to retire the term “Orwellian,” since that level of information awareness is starting to look quaint compared to the grim reality we’re now facing.

44 thoughts on “It Gets Worse…”

  1. “if you stop using Google Search what are you going to use? Yahoo is in on this, and so is Microsoft (Bing). That’s pretty much it for competent English-language search engines in 2013.”

    *ahem* Startpage.com is a more than “competent” search engine, they’re not in on the NSA’s schemes, they don’t record your IP address, and they’re run by people who include longtime privacy advocate Katherine Albrecht.

          1. This type of discussion leads nowhere, there are too many definitions of capitalism in people's minds. Plus the corporations were not the main players in this incident, the government was.

            Now is there a DEEP interlocking of large corporations and the U.S. government? Yes …. yes, there is. It's why people come up with terms corporatism, corptocracy, plutocracy, even kleptocracy, in an attempt to describe how things really work in the U.S..

          2. just for the record a corporation is a government institution, you don't wake up one day and decide to make a corporation

            you go to the government and it issues a corporate charter

        1. Because capitalism requires the state to use systematic violence on behalf of politically connected elites, i.e. capitalists, in order to sustain itself. Do you think people would organize into hierarchical corporations absent state privilege?

          1. Do you think ALL of these companies would have freely and secretly handed over this access without the implied threats of IRS audits or witch hunts conducted by the SEC, the DOJ, the FCC, or the FBI, or the company officers getting put on the President's enemies list for personal destruction ?

          2. You have a really strange notion of capitalism. Make the distinction between corporatism and capitalism. A capitalist is simply someone trying to make a living off the fruits of his labor. We are all capitalists.

          3. Make the distinction between corporatism and capitalism

            If you've been coming here for any length of time, you'll know that it's obvious that the vast majority here are incapable of making this simple distinction. I long ago gave up trying to help them do so.

      1. No you idiot, can you even read? The last time I checked the NSA is a government institution.

      1. Obamian would be giving too much undeserved credit to the empty figurehead who fronts for those entities who are the REAL power behind this. I think the term dystopian would be simply sufficient.

  2. look on the brightside…
    at least in a few hundred years anthropologist and historians will have a much easier time figuring out how we destroyed ourselves, than we did for our predecessor.

  3. The NSA does NOT collect data wholesale on everybody, only non-Americans. For Americans they have to have specific individuals in mind and get a rubber stamp for said specific individuals.

    However given the interconnected nature of the internet, they do end up inadvertently collecting data on Americans since global communications and online acquaintances are not segregated according to country; everyone has friends and contacts everywhere. Apparently they take unspecified steps to get rid of the data they inadvertently end up collecting on Americans.

      1. I don't think I've ever seen a bigger shill in my life. For those don't know the technical aspects of the data mining let me really spell it out. They are mining the data at session rate straight from the lines at 10g/bs literally recording the entirety of the internet traffic. They are not removing Americans data. It is being stored indefinitely as a just in case measure if they ever want to look back (because service provides frequently purge old data). Some are stating the "don't ask for your privacy, TAKE IT BACK" approach and providing information for encryption, but all this does is red flag yourself and make you stick out to intelligence agents. "What are you hiding anyway?"

    1. The NSA has had splitters on all the major network pipelines for at least a decade. What they do is copy literally everything that passes through these major nodes and loads them into their mega datacenters. What I believe happens is that the Prism losers provide the government with their encryption keys but the government has massive amounts of the copied data from the major network hubs and so they are accessing the encrypted traffic that has been stored on their own servers giving the Prism losers the plausible deniability of no "direct access".

    2. So why should it be "acceptable" for the NSA to collect wholesale data "only" on non-Americans all over the globe (even if that were the case, which it is NOT)? What are "non-Americans" – a bunch of subhumans without any rights to personal privacy, whom the U.S. government and intelligence agencies can walk all over?

  4. Some of that stuff is just unavoidable too – if you stop using Google Search what are you going to use? Yahoo is in on this, and so is Microsoft (Bing). That’s pretty much it for competent English-language search engines in 2013.

    Use Startpage.com/eng/

    Startpage will query google anonymously with your searches.

  5. https://startpage.com uses the google engine but strips indentfying information from the searches. If you like google results but don't like the spying and cataloging of your personal search information its a great alternative. Tor also has some great email services too. Like tormail.net Pidgin has encryption plugins that can encrypt over AIM, ICQ, and XMPP style chat services.

    I ain't gonna use google anymore unless I have to. It's time to vote with our feet and turn these "giants" into the next myspace.

    1. duckduckgo.com is also a search engine that says it doesn't store anything. Yea reduce google down to nothing, as punishment for being evil.

  6. There's no way "direct" content collection from servers is happening. That's what I believe to be a hyped misunderstanding and also virtually impossible to accomplish even for NSA. What PRISM does appear to do is streamlining the process of linking metadata ("who is sending packets to which service") with the requests for actual content already in place through known legal procedures. The big difference is mainly the overarching internal authorisation that NSA arranged within this program. That's the thing people should worry about: effectively achieved by sacrificing the individual hurdles of case reviews.

    Anyway, don't take my word on it: listen to Google many senior engineers who know each and every part of their system and access to it. Listen to counter-voices coming from some former NSA folks. Get the real picture, not the hype.

  7. O.K*., O.K*. Thanks JohnDowser …….. but ………`PLEASE…….John…….PLEASE……give US some clues to these "Google many senior engineers who know each and every part of their system and access to it." I''m gonna search on DuckDuckGo ……….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Save us some time John……… So much govermnt crime. So little time!
    I been looking……. but……. Finding notsomuch……….

  8. Ditz: It Gets Worse.

    Me: Yes.

    Q: IF it's not democracy and/or capitalism THEN what is it?

    A: Tyranny + Feudalism.

    Proof (pocket oxford dictionary):

    capitalism n. economic and political system dependent on private capital and profit-making.

    democracy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a government by the whole population, usu. through elected representatives. b State so governed. 2 classless and tolerant society. [Greek demokratia rule of the people]

    feudal system n. medieval system of land tenure with allegiance and service due to the landowner.

    tyranny n. (pl. -ies) 1 cruel and arbitrary use of authority. 2 a rule by a tyrant. b period of this. c State ruled by a tyrant.  tyrannous adj. [Greek: related to *tyrant]

    Argument: It's easy to prove demcracy has been disabled = total sham:

    1. Dumbed-down electors (of, by, for the people impossible),

    2. False-dichotomy 2-party system + bipartisan = un- & anti-democratic (since voters offered *zero* choice),

    3. When elected, so-called 'representatives' sell-out to highest bidder = <1% = corporations + 5th columnists (latter = treason).

    The economy has been captured by neoliberalism = erring ideology; proof = incredible unemployment + 47mio on foodstamps – and still humongous prifts, plus WallSt banksters, FIRE sector ripping the people off by created $s loaned @ % and toll-boothing required services.

    The <1% + 5th columnists own the feudal system, and their puppets = our rulers are 'representative tyrants.'

    Worse, worser, worst = murdering for spoil, Zs for soil, US for oil.

    To murder requires psychopath, those who order it = ruler-sickos + those who do it = military-sickos + those who 'support' it = apologist-sickos.

    Any other questions?

  9. The "fall of the wall" (the Berlin one, not the illegal apartheid one – that delicious "Whoopee!" moment is yet to come) – introduced the 'unipolar moment,' which has been dragged out by the psychopaths controlling the US (evil!) empire – into a continuous nightmare. (Note that such nightmares are not exactly new; one began on August 29 to August 31, 1897 and another on August 6 and 9, 1945. Mentioning "9/11" is considered 'bad form' by some, but notice that WTC1,2&7 were all pre-loaded (Q: By ObL super-gofers? A: Get real; who could have had access?)) But the headline-story here is about the evil empire spying on its own people – saying "Oh, the phone- and internet-tapping is only directed at foreigners!" and "Oh, it's only to save some citizens from terr-ism™©," etc. – and other obvious lies.

    One report reads: The head of national intelligence in the United States says he has asked for "… a criminal investigation into the "gut wrenching" leaking of national security tactics."

    But, whoa! "Gut wrenching" is a *feeling*, and psychopaths both by definition and demonstrated behaviour *do not* have feelings, so assuming that this report is not just more of the usual MSM-PRopaganda/lies, Q: How can we understand the apparent oxymoron: "A gut wrenched psychopath?" A: Psychopaths are not (necessarily) irrational; this one realised that he and his 'associates' (recall that psychopaths cannot make friends) – have been exposed for the criminals they indubitably are, and may well end up in an isolation-cell near/like Bradley Manning's. Actually, of course, they belong in death row in San Quinton, stone-walls clammy from the low-temperature fogs rolling in, and extra rats to trim their toe-nails, while they wait for their own personal 'unipolar moments.'

  10. For the vulture capitalism system to keep its power and falsified democracy acting on behalf of the system.., there is no other way but to keep the pressure on people by all means there is.., next step is a military coup de Etta…! or a takeover by a more dictatorial minded individual like John McCain or Hillary Clinton and other like minded politicians. This is just the beginning.., you have seen nothing yet.., wake up America.., we are facing the second phase of Neo fascism.., the third is just around the corner.

  11. Anyway, don't take my word on it: listen to Google many senior engineers who know each and every part of their system and access to it. Listen to counter-voices coming from some former NSA folks. Get the real picture, not the hype.

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