Tag Archives: carnivore

The NSA and Kevin Bacon…

Since we’ve returned to caring about being Surveilled…

Let’s climb into our time machine and travel all the way back to 2013, when we told you so.

An unprecedented, at least to me, move by No Such Agency has brought the Director to an open briefing on Capital Hill.

So I’m listening.

But, there are two things which I would like to hear…

Mr. Alexander is very careful to remind everyone paying attention, which appears to be very few, that the NSA does not listen to the content of these calls collected under this program.

I’d like to focus on the “…under this program.” part of his repeated statement and reassurance.

There are many programs within all government operations, many of which overlap. This is practiced for various reasons. Some of them funding, some of them compartmentalization. Some, simply because of turf and time on scene.

So, I would like to hear someone ask; “Mr. Director, is anyone at NSA listening to the content of the calls collected, or reading the e-mail and text messaging?”

Another aspect I find interesting is the “connection to a known, or suspected terrorist” requirement Mr. Alexander has reassured us exists prior to looking at your information.

On this I bring up Kevin Bacon. Yes, the actor.

There exists a mathematical formula which connects us all.  It has been around for 80 years but has recently been popularized through something called the Kevin Bacon Game.

Six degrees of separation, a theory developed by Frigyes Karinthy in the year 1929, proposes that an individual is only six connections away from any person in the world.

Read the last five words in the above sentence again.  “…any person in the world.”

That would include Terrorist A-holes.  Yep… if you’re just catching up, YOU are separated by the most horrible person on earth by only 6 degrees.

The exploration of the degrees of separation between individuals communication, or connections, is called “spidering“.

So, my next question would be; “Mr. Director, how many degrees of separation from the suspect do you find acceptable to explore?  In other words, do you stop at say Two?  Four?  Six?”

Because stopping at “Six” means they have given themselves the authority to Spy on “…any person in the world.”  (Even “Five” should make most of us physically ill… “Three” only marginally better.)

There is also the issue of freely denying that anyone can listen to your phone calls.  I have seen this in practice first hand… when a suspect is apprehended, say a burglar, the police cannot legally go through his cell phone.  Yet… they do.  What “legally” means is whatever information found there is not admissible in court.  It does not mean that some amazing physics come into play preventing the very action of going through the person’s cell phone.  Remember folks, words mean things.  The world becomes much clearer when you listen carefully.

Finally, I am intrigued by what is considered “civilian” over-sight.  In this case, the “civilian” oversight is being performed by ex-military appointees.  One might ask, is this a difference without a distinction?  I understand the argument could be applied to the President on down, but those are elected positions.  I would like to hear someone explore how Civilian oversight has any impact after the person performing that service has retired from a Government entity.  In other words, once you’ve completed serving the Government Mission for many years you can take Retirement and then serve the Citizens interest by overseeing the very programs you may have been associated with the day before.

While I deeply respect those in the military as a rule, it does not change the fact that many of the most horrid Statists known to man have come directly from there.  Seems like the checks and balances are not served in a way that is as reassuring as possible… at least to me.

It will be interesting to view the transcripts of this hearing once complete.

My overall feeling here is They are intentionally missing the point… as They know Domestic Spying IS the point, not catching Foreign Terrorist A-holes.

The Red Herring is the reiteration that all the information being used is Public and available to Private Companies, so No Problem.  It is a blatant attempt to blur the definition of Public as it is meant.  In this case, Public means out in the open… not Government Property.  The fact the information is available to PRIVATE companies is irrelevant.  If this information is truly “out there for all to see” then the Government should not need to demand it from any Private entity.  But it is not… and the Government sees fit to use their power to compel certain Private entities to supply it to them.

All of our information is not available, nor should it be available, to GOVERNMENT without direct legal cause, free of Constitutional restriction.  That is a very, very important distinction here in the “Freest Country on Earth”.  (Damn that Constitution is SO restrictive…  it tells them what they CAN’T do to us, but not what they CAN do to us…)

It’s amazing how quickly one sobers up when listening to our Spooks…  Unless you’re an elected representative in the room with them, then it appears you fall asleep. (You’ll have to watch the hearing to see what I’m typing about here.  I want you to watch, so I won’t ruin it by showing you.)

(Also! For the record, I love our Spooks.  But much of what they do should stay, or be returned to being, illegal… just in case.  I know this Borrows their argument about why they want to store all of OUR info… we might need their actions to have been illegal down the road.  That’s a real check.  And, they answer to us not the other way around.)

(061813)


FINE!

“We should have told you we were tracking your calls…”

“Is that what you wanted to Hear?!”

“Not Enough?”

“Serioulsy!?”

“OK… We’re Ssss..sss.ss.sa….saaa…”

“We’re Sah… saaaah… ssasasa… ssaahrr…”

“We’re soorrr…. sahorrr…”

“Sorry!”

“There!”

“We’re Sorry!”  “Ok!?… Good Enough!?”  “Happy!?”

“Now will you leave us alone so we can get back to Spying on you already!?”

(What’s hilarious is the inability to tell the truth even when supposedly “telling the truth”.  Clapper is now making 9/11 the beginning, or starting point, of the Domestic Surveillance when aspects of this had been initiated by George H. W. Bush and all of it working efficiently since the Early years of Clinton.  And those of us who pointed out Echelon and Carnivore were sent to the special Rubber Rooms because we were CRAAAAAZY.  Everyone knew the Government would Never Spy on its own Citizens.  That would be ridiculous.  Yes… ridiculous.  Just like the IRS targeting groups it politically disagrees with… and the Government establishing a brand new Domestic Military Force called the Department of Homeland Security… and the Government killing its own Citizens with unmanned aircraft… and the States forcing gun registration directly violating the Second Amendment…  and setting new records of National Debt in the name of Fiscal Solvency…  our politicians destroying the greatest Health Care System in the World… etc… etc… etc… yes, it We who are CRAAAZY.)


Well as long as you Admit it…

It’s OK.

NSA looks at FAR, FAR more people’s data than previously disclosed.

So…

No Problem then.

We’ll just forget about all this and start going to movies again.

(Could the investigation of this Domestic Spying be why so many Governmental Department heads are suddenly “retiring”?)

 

 


We are Not listening to your Phone Calls, or reading your E-mail…

Our Computers are doing it.

So we’re not really lying… or are we?

This latest defense by Eric Holder, that “no-one in the Justice Department is listening to your phone calls” is interesting. It’s tantamount to a Tagger saying “I didn’t spray paint that wall! The Spray Can did it.”

While technically true, it does not absolve the individual who employed the TOOL used to commit the act.

Whether a human-being or a computer is “looking for patterns”, “listening” or “reading” our private correspondence is irrelevant. The act of doing so has been initiated by a Human.

These word games are what we get from Lawyers… it’s semantics combined with careful parsing of words.

It is Machiavellian.

In the Prince, Machiavelli offers the advice to his Desired Employer that the Noble should be prepared to do whatever it takes to keep control over the population. In fact, when faced with doing things to them they stand to rebel against… do it anyway, then point the finger of blame at his opponents, whomever they may be at the time.

The problem for this Administration is the last part of that tactic.  They have not been able to successfully blame their political opponents.  The public simply doesn’t believe them anymore.

This is where we are now. As of this typing there are those in the press trying to tie Bush’s name to these acts. Yes, he had a hand in much of this as did Bill Clinton with the new, at the time, spying programs of Echelon and Carnivore.

But those guys are gone. Not present. And there is one person who has the power to stop this now, the most Brilliant Protector of Civil Liberties and most Intelligent man to ever occupy the White House… President Barack Obama. In fact, he has had 5-years since his election to stop this abuse of power and intrusion into the private lives of American Citizens that he railed against a little over 5-years ago before his election.

Yet he has not. In fact, these acts have risen to a level never before exposed in our lifetimes.

We are being told that all of this is to defend ourselves against Terrorists.

Well, let me ask… who defines the term Terrorist?  Does the United States Government have an official definition so we know we don’t fit that bill?

And, considering the abuse coming to light in the IRS, who says a jilted lover or political opponent decides that you fit the description… because they happen to be the “decider” that day?

We are on Treacherous Ground here.


Invisible

I have always seen my freedom as directly correlated to my ability to live my life anonymously.
So I have a question; what has happened to our freedom?
It seems to me we are creating a world where only those willing to give up all of their privacy and throw out to the world every last detail of their existence can operate easily. Anybody who doesn’t want the world looking at them and what they buy and where they go and who they know and when they do all of these things are suspected of… something.

It’s my opinion that we are losing control of our private lives and thus our freedom. We have willingly given up our ability to truly be free for the convenience of credit cards and tracking cookies. We have volunteered to have our personal information made available to everyone via Facebook and public tax records. (But, by golly, we guard our social security number…) Now we seem excited about doing the same thing with our medical records… we ignore Echelon and Carnivore… we see the Patriot Act as triumph of bipartisanship…  when does it end?

It’s one thing for Google to collect all of your movements around the web… and Apple tracking your actual movements through your phone… it’s another to have government officials demanding that information, and getting it.  We have forgotten that the supercomputers are crunching every e-mail and phone call we make.  I don’t mean to make anybody paranoid… just aware.  I think we are watching each other more than those who watch us.

It’s my view that the people we have given the power of force should get our greatest attention and are the only ones who should sacrifice their privacy.  I expect them to resist as we see when police arrest citizens for video taping them, or our Attorney General of the U.S. refusing to release documents about our program arming Mexican drug cartels.  Their behavior is no surprise, it is our complacency that is shocking.

The founders knew this would always be a problem the citizenry would have to be equipped to deal with.  The intent of the second amendment was to keep the government, at all levels, honest and on track. It is effective only because those in power never know where or who those they might oppress are at any given moment.  It works on the principle of your invisibility.  It is an amendment designed to instill fear into those who might wish to conduct themselves in an unsavory/illegal manner.  It really is that simple.  (I can sense the fits the Leftists are throwing right now.  “He said FEAR… ahhahhh!!!!!”  The Left’s idea that the second amendment is about duck hunting simply illustrates their ignorance.  But this is understandable because Socialism relies on the population fearing the government, not the other way around.)  A citizens lack of invisibility negates this much-needed and very positive influence over our leaders.
As I see it, we are charging towards the edge of the cliff and cheering…  while vlogging on YouTube about how the journey affects us spiritually.
I think we should stop, take a step back, and pay a little more attention to the direction we’re headed.