Tag Archives: PRISM

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)

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Googly, Googly… revisited…

(Update 091113: Yesterday, Google lost a similar decision to the one below.  It was on Appeal before the Ninth Circuit.  The Folks at EPIC are happy… but doesn’t the this story make more sense and a seem little less conspiratorial now that we know the NSA has been collecting all of our data and doing so with the aid of our allies?  Originally Posted 072712)

“In April, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission fined Google, saying the company “deliberately impeded and delayed” its investigation into Street View.

It’s unclear what, if any, penalties would be imposed on Google by Britain’s ICO or regulators in any of the 10 other jurisdictions in which the company had wrongly retained Street View data.

“We need to take a look at the data… There’s all sorts of questions we need to ask,” an ICO spokesman said, speaking on condition of anonymity because office rules prohibit him from being named in print.”

The above quote and where I decided to begin and end it may seem a little confusing, but there is a point…

Today we find out that Google has not destroyed/deleted all of the street view info it was caught collecting in Britain. Keep in mind, when I say “street view info” that includes wi-fi networks and names, e-mail addresses and various and sundry other items of information having nothing to do with a street, or the view from it.

Here’s the fun part however… Britain’s regulators, the IOC, are very “upset”. There has been very “tough” language directed at Google for this blatant breach. Yes… they are terribly, terribly upset.

While Google has apologized, it is clearly not enough for the IOC.  In all fairness, it’s not enough for me either but here’s the punch line; the IOC is demanding to see the information for “forensic analysis”.  Seriously… You Brit’s are Brilliant!

So why did I take the above quote from where I did?

Without question Google was harvesting the same information here in the U.S. that it was in Britain.  No doubt about it.  And the U.S. is watching closely what is going on across the pond… very closely.  But why?

If the IOC is successful in gaining access to the Google information for “forensic analysis” because Google has been very, very bad… then U.S. regulators will not be far behind the Google spanking bandwagon.  What red-blooded, privacy cherishing, citizen wouldn’t want Google to be punished for collecting a bunch of info it shouldn’t have?

Well… this one.  If punishing Google requires the government seeing all of the intel, I would prefer Google to get away with it and we can deal with them in the market place.   Think about this for a second, who would you rather have possessing your secrets, a private company answerable to the legal system or a government answerable to no-one?

The monster under my bed has always scared me the most by whispering “don’t worry…  I’m from the government and I’m here to help…”.  Now he’s muttering “googly… googly..” and my parents still don’t believe me.

Your freedom is directly correlated to your ability to live your life anonymously.  If you care.

Apparently, like the rest of the planet, I may just elect to drink myself to sleep.  Unlike the rest of the planet I will only do it late at night… straight from the bottle… in front of a full length mirror…

NSA disguised itself as Google to spy, say reports  (link added 091213)


Don’t Worry…

Any time I violate your rights, I let myself know.

(Except when I don’t because it doesn’t really matter anyway.)

Before you read any further… Put on your “Surprised” Face.

The NSA violates your rights routinely. 8-9 times a day… every day… and they plan to do it forever.

Everybody feel better now?

Have you ever wondered who exactly you should fear in life? Have you spent even a moment considering the possibility that the very people you support might be involved in exactly the behaviors you loath and define as tyrannical? Odd’s are you have.

If you feel a sense of betrayal, you’re not alone.

My life is small… but it was mine.  Now that’s not even true.

The only good that is coming out of these revelations regarding the breadth and depth of our countries Domestic Spying programs are the names and faces of those who condone it.

We are seeing Politicians as well as Business Leaders showing their true colors.

Because you are small… your life is not yours to keep private.

I was having a conversation a couple of days ago with a student from Sweden. He is here pursuing further education and we struck up a dialogue about Von Mises. This lead us , in a round about way, to the collection of data by the NSA.

This young man was understandably upset about the collection of data… when it came to our collecting it on Swedes.

I smiled in understanding.

I explained, however, that really was not the problem. Of course he was dismayed, but I explained that he should worry more about his own government collecting data on Swedes should concern him more. I then went on to explain my belief that the Chinese are most likely collecting data on U.S. Citizens and while American’s should not be happy about such an endeavor, and do everything they can to stop it, I fear it less than my own government doing it to me.

I explained how tyranny and oppression come from within, not from external sources.

In other words, the Chinese will not be kicking in my door because I made some bureaucrat mad down at the Department of Motor Vehicles, or slept with an intelligence officer’s wife, be a member of the “wrong” political party and failed to comprehend then file the correct tax forms, etc. I then went on to cite history’s myriad examples of institutionalized tyranny which was enabled solely on a Governments ability to monitor the speech and actions of its citizenry and administer “punishment” which my not have been condoned but was approved by silence and or intimidation of the population.

Almost to his satisfaction, I finally agreed that our collecting information on the Swede’s should not be looked upon kindly by him and would not expect him to do so.  I feel his pain…

This conversation turned into a discussion about how the United States was founded and why “we” are great.

I made it clear, and he agreed as I knew he would, that “we” are not great because of the individuals making up the United States but rather because of the structure of our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

It was how we were set up… not some cosmic accident of our birth.

And that it is this structure that is being destroyed.

(This, of course, will come as surprise to many of our folks here at home just as it did to him hearing an American state it.  It is exactly this surprise that should scare all of us back to our senses.  It is this surprise that seems to be keeping us out of the streets in protest.  It is this surprise that the very leaders a majority of us supported are the very people perpetuating the loss of the only thing we really own… our lives… our privacy… and the knowledge they shall not be infringed upon in any way.)

Well, our Rights ARE being infringed upon.  It’s happening right now… right in front of us…

And, we’re being asked to rest soundly in the knowledge that if there is any “infringing” going on the ones doing the infringing will be sure to let themselves know… maybe… sometimes… occasionally…

And then, boy, they’ll do something about it… maybe… sometimes… occasionally…

But it has to remain secret, of course.

We don’t want the Terrorists to win…

(I suppose it could depend on how you define “win” as I could consider having all of my privacy ripped away at least “place” or “show”.)

Unfortunately, after decades of government education, for too many defense offered by NSA Domestic Spying supporters passes for logic.

The Communist Chinese must be smiling.

It seems we have more in common than we thought.


The NSA has Already Read This.

Or Have you Forgotten?


Waiting for Them to Die…

It appears our Embassies in the Middle East will remain “closed” as we wait for the Terrorist’s who have explosives implanted in their bodies to become extremely Ill… or better yet, Die.

This is where we are at.

This is the level of depravity our enemy nurtures.

It is also a small glimpse of the white-hot hatred our enemies feel towards us.

They Hate our Individual Freedom.

They Hate our Individual Liberty.

They Envy the Accompanying Prosperity.

All of which they consider Sin.  Which is why we must defend all three.

It is Why we cannot tolerate Domestic Spying by our Government… but, as we all do, understand we need it Abroad.

It is Why we must Defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights… and stop giving Socialism, and all its relatives, sustenance.

It is Why we are Unique in the World… and why the World knows it.

We are not the Chosen People… We are the Chosen Design.

Do our politicians listen to what they say… or has it all become a quaint rite of passage?  A Formality?  A Joke?

…I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same

What do we take seriously?  Does Moral Relativism allow us to pick and choose that which we agree with, and that which we don’t, while pledging to defend it all in totality?

If so, could the people having explosives sewn into their bodies be considered Heroes?  How about Freedom Fighters… because “Freedom” means something different to everyone?

Is Definition, Meaning and Contrast lost forever?

We know where we are at… but we can’t remember how we got here.

The path Forward promises, and has delivered, more of the same.

It appears too few of us know the way back… even though the map is well-preserved, behind bullet-proof, UV protected glass in the National Archive.

Is that document really that important?

I don’t get the feeling it is to us…

but it certainly is to those who recognize it must be destroyed.

Sadly, one must at least acknowledge a level of respect greater than ours, even though it fosters Hatred.


The Benghazi Lunch

Two days ago President Obama and Mrs. Bill Clinton met to have a private lunch.

The Media would like you to believe it is regarding her accension to the White House, but it seems clear to me that it is about the Fallout headed their way on Benghazi.
And, considering all communications are being monitored by No Such Agency, the only option for a frank, unedited, meeting is face to face on the White House grounds.

Let’s take a look at this…

The Administration has kept the additional victims of the Benghazi Terror attack sequestered for about as long as they are able.

Leaks are forming around the edges of their efforts.

They have also be unable to deflect, distract or refocus us from the question of why we left our men to die… when we had 8+ hours to send in help… which was available.

They have been unable to claim it was just a video which spurred an incredibly well organized effort to murder our Ambassador by a “rag tag group of men wandering around the streets at night”.

And they have been reduced to screeching at the top of their lungs “What difference at this point does it make?”

I suspect it is about to make a big difference….

Hillary has set her tired eyes on the Presidency.  While it makes her angry to be compared to Huma, she knows that will pass.  What will not pass is an institutionalized approach to foreign affairs which puts all of our people abroad in danger.  She knows a culture she subscribed to and directly promoted which resulted in the Death of an Ambassador and several brave men, in addition to many people injured is one which will haunt her… but she wants it both ways.  While not having it ascribed to her, she still thinks it’s the right way for the United States to conduct itself.

If I were currently enrolled in foreign service I would be scared sh*tless.  It’s one thing knowing you’re hanging it out there… but it’s very black indeed to know you’re hanging it out there and nobody cares.  That work takes a special type of person, which the vast majority of our folks are not, and no one should expect them to be.

So here we go.

Campaign Season is starting early this cycle due to an impotent President who is losing control of his party.

The only people standing in the way of the Republicans I support, are the Republicans I do not support.

Primaries, Primaries, Primaries…  Wheat from the Chaff.

Let’s get this ball rolling.

Related:

All For a Better Country

Panetta on Benghazi


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”?)