back to article Forget phones, PRISM plan shows internet firms give NSA everything

It has been a rough 24 hours for the US National Security Agency. First a leaked court order (and the political reaction) showed that the agency routinely harvests US mobile-use data, and now a new document has been uncovered that claims to show the larger internet companies do the same thing. A 41-page presentation, given in …

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  1. Herby

    Soctt's quote is valuable here:

    You have no privacy, get over it!

    1. Neil McAllister
      Big Brother

      Re: Soctt's quote is valuable here:

      Funny about that ... Scott tweeted this today:

      https://twitter.com/scottmcnealy/status/342632922672664577

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Soctt's quote is valuable here:

      I thought it was "You have no privacy, live with it."

      I don't see what the big deal is, the government owns the infrastructure, and as I've said many times that if there was ever a perfect encryption mechanism, it would be circumvented.

      We've been in this situation since WW2, and I don't see people dragged off the streets and tortured. (Well no-one I care about.)

    3. asdf

      Re: Soctt's quote is valuable here:

      These draconian orders require the companies to bald face lie to their customers about the collection. Yes that bill they ram rodded through Congress protects them from legal liability but good will loss doesn't require a court judgement.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why are the right wing nut groups so scary?

    Because they have been right so many times. They have been saying for very many years that the Government has been monitoring all communications. I was one of the people who said " yeah right" and ignored them. Same thing about the IRS targeting people based on political beliefs.

    Not sure AC is doing me any good but I have to at least make the effort.

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: Why are the right wing nut groups so scary?

      We're a left-wing country here in Canada, so here it is the "left wing nut groups" that were warning us of surveillance.

      Strange thing is though, surveillance is neither a right-wing nor a left-wing thing, right-wing dictators snoop just as much as Communist dictators.

      Instead, this sort of widespread in-depth surveillance is an extremist thing, it is on the extremist/moderate axis.

      1. asdf

        Re: Why are the right wing nut groups so scary?

        Yep right wing and left wing circle back on each other at the extremes. Right wing wants to tell you what to do, left wing wants to tell you what you can have/deserve. Broken wings all around.

  3. Spiro_K
    Unhappy

    Legs?

    More like their collective ass!

  4. Don Jefe
    Unhappy

    I Am Sad

    It's not like I had shedloads of trust for these guys anyway, but I really and truly didn't think it was as bad as all the stuff I've been hearing the past couple of says. I'm honestly sad.

    Slow clap for naive me.

    1. lightknight

      Re: I Am Sad

      Fair enough. Now, what are we going to do about it? There's inertia behind it, and many of the elected ones have come out condoning the operation. Almost leads me to think that the NSA has some high-quality blackmail on all of the politicians, and told them, "Defend our little program, or the skeletons in your closet see daylight." This is obviously a problem, and a sacrifice may need to be made to take a stand against this evil (one of the politicians will have to take a stand, despite whatever disgrace it will result in, if only to put up the seed of some resistance against this monstrosity). An annoyance, since even I despise the concept of sacrifices...mainly because they have yet to show that they were worth it.

      The Intelligence industry is meant to be the eyes and ears of a country. When it turns inwards, and begins acting like the enemy, then it must be treated like the enemy. Cut it off, burnt it down, and build something clean when we can; some would argue that this will leave us vulnerable, for a time; well, we're already vulnerable, and the people attacking us are not so kind as to be speaking with a foreign accent. A gentle reminder will not work here -> they've already gone over the deep-end, and will not stop until some horrific travesty claims them (and too many innocents in the process).

      Most importantly, the cost, both economically and civilly, of these operations is outstanding. We are a nation filled with people who, let's be honest, wish to be wealthier, in all aspects (fiscally, technologically, culturally, spiritually) than they already are; having the spooks running vague intercepts across the entire country, carte blanche, is not the way to promote that end.

      We have all of these data centers, "clouds," being the operative term, that companies and government (I imagine) have spent a bundle on to build, with the goal of getting a decent return on their investment; we can't realize that return because foreign governments / companies do not trust that we won't go rifling their stuff for shits and giggles, ergo, they do not use these services. The US used to bank on the idea that it was the one country that really cared about those silly freedoms like free speech, and in return, even though its track record was not perfect, it received a lot of business. Now the pendulum is swinging the other way, and business is failing en mass.

      The US can have Soviet-style control of the interior...or it can be wealthy. Not both.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Re: I Am Sad

        "The Intelligence industry"

        Note that word "industry

        Because that's what it is.

        Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn called it "The Prison Business."

        But of course that was in godless un American Soviet Russia.

      2. sisk

        Re: I Am Sad

        One of the politicians will have to take a stand

        Rand Paul already has, but it's going to take a hell of a lot more than one. I shot off emails to all my Congressmen yesterday demanding that they take a stand against this, but (unsurprisingly) I haven't heard a peep out of any of them on the subject.

    2. Mikel
      Stop

      Re: I Am Sad

      I am sad that you ever thought this way. I had thought this level of naivety predated me. That people don't expect this level of spying is remarkable because they demand it. It is, I suppose, an ironic loop.

      The US has more than 15 spy agencies of which the NSA is one. The NSA's whole purpose is to spy on people in America. To announce at this late date that they are doing that and freak out about it is quite naive. That is what they are FOR.

      Whether this is needful is a different question. I think yes.

      Regardless there has always been and always will be an organization devoted to extracting all possible hints of threat out of the public discourse. And there should be.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: I Am Sad

        Extracting all possible hints of threat out of the public discourse? Are you mad?

        What is public discourse? A statement on Al-Jazera, a conversation in a coffee shop, a paper by a student, your email, your phone calls, conversations in your home? Where does it stop?

      2. Someone Else Silver badge
        Facepalm

        @ MIkel -- Re: I Am Sad

        Mikel, you are the naive one.

        Regardless there has always been and always will be an organization devoted to extracting all possible hints of threat out of the public discourse. And there should be.

        Your level of naivete is demonstrated by your above quote. "All possible hints of threat" to whom? To us, the vast unwashed hordes of plebs? Were that truly to be the case, then one could conceivably buy into your assertion. But in you naivete, you failed to ask that question; you simply assumed that was so. I propose there is another answer; that being protecting against all possible hints of threats to the so-called "powers that be": The autocrats, plutocrats, and, yes, sociopaths that run our government and corporate infrastructure, and will do whatever it takes to maintain their positions. I further propose that it is more likely that PRISM and other such surveillance programs serve this latter class. Call me a tin-foil hatter if you wish, but then ask yourself this question: Would our corporo-political "leaders" be more likely to expend so much political and physical capital to protect a hoard of brownish people's asses, or their own?

        If you answered that in favor of the brownish people, and did it with a straight face, you are indeed quite naive.

        1. Mikel
          Meh

          Re: @ MIkel -- I Am Sad

          Don't be an idiot. Racial oppression is so far out of scope for the NSA as to be laughable. The NSA is a highly effective organization and their only concern for racial tension is its use as a tool. Their purposes are 1) don't get caught and 2) identify threats to US national security. They don't care if those threats are the SLA or the IRA. They could literally not care less about black on black, black on white, or white on white violence any more than they care about your porn preference for transgender albino dwarves if that's your thing. They also know about, and don't care about, the myriad ways you cheat your employer, your business partners, your drug dealer, your "mistress" and the taxman if any of these are true. They could have a camera implanted in your head or be monitoring your XBox Kinect and unless you were plotting harm to the US you have nothing to fear from them no matter what color you are. If you were though it's their job to know no matter where in the world you are and to do the necessary to find out - even before you know, if possible.

          Do I approve of the depth of their coverage? No. They've gone overboard on the "effective" thing. But these are difficult times. To call them racist though? That's just dumb.

          And yes, they are reading and indexing your post and mine. Probably the draft submissions too.

          1. ceesboog
            Happy

            Re: @ MIkel -- I Am Sad

            Edward Snowden who provided the info from NSA should get the Four Freedoms Medal/Award for:

            freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.

            freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.

            (From Franklin Delano's Roosevelt's speech to Congress January 6, 1941)

            Because like Franklin D. Roosevelt said on March 4, 1933 the Only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

            If we should fear our goverments, those are just dictators, and we should get rid of those, everywhere in the world.

            "And yes, they are reading and indexing your post and mine. Probably the draft submissions too."

            So, what?

  5. Justicesays
    Facepalm

    Directly access

    I'm sure the government don't have "direct access" to the servers. Google et. al instead have "direct access" to the government server where they drop all the requested data every day. Said server might be in Google's data center, and the NSA etc. can log into it remotely of course, but it's not *Google's* server.

    Probably best if we all start using Chinese Internet services. That way again least you know you are being spied on all the time!

  6. ~mico
    Big Brother

    Power corrupts

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Lord Acton

    Of course, I have nothing to worry about, since I've done nothing wrong... Yet what will I do, if what I did yesterday becomes "wrong" tomorrow?

    Big brother icon, because, well...

    Not AC, because no use...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    WTF???

    That PP slide in the article... "Prism Program Cost: ~$20M per year"

    A government IT project that only costs $20M per year? Shurely shome mishtake?

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: WTF???

      That's the cost of the slideshows for the PRISM program, not the program itself.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTF???

        I've worked with senior executives who thought a powerpoint presentation WAS the system!

    2. Raumkraut

      Re: WTF???

      I was running with the assumption that the $20M figure was just the NSA's direct costs, since the actual cost of data collection, etc. would be part of the operating expenditure of the collaborating private companies.

    3. Annihilator Silver badge

      Re: WTF???

      It's the whole $20M p.a. thing that makes me think it's a hoax. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure intelligence agencies have various techniques for getting this information, but I'd be surprised if it were this direct. $20M would barely cover the coffee expenses for such a project.

      Plus if it were this direct with the companies in question, someone, somewhere would have blabbed by now. Because for this to work, somewhere in the chain a network or system admin would have been suspicious by now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTF???

        "It's the whole $20M p.a. thing that makes me think it's a hoax"

        You don't think that presentations like that for audiences like that might use a financial base unit of (say) thousands of dollars when talking about budgets? So something written as 20M is actually $20,000,000,000 ? Even that sounds a bit low.

        "somewhere in the chain a network or system admin would have been suspicious by now."

        And what would they do about it if they were worried about their pay packet in 3 months time? Or worried about not going to jail for not disclosing the encryption key on their encrypted records of what they found (does that apply in the US? It does in the UK). Or about not being found dead in the woods having gone for a walk? Not to mention who would publish it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTF???

        @Annihilator Friday 12:35: "It's the whole $20M p.a. thing that makes me think it's a hoax. "

        Whether you think it's a hoax or not, it's now being widely reported that Clapper (Director of National Intelligence) has admitted the reports are correct. Clapper is now whinging at the media for publicising what's been (illegally?) going on without the knowledge of Joe Public (and indeed without the knowledge of the public's democratically elected representatives, who appear to have been somewhat misinformed by people like Clapper).

        The $20M figure *is* still implausible, but two weeks ago most of the story would have been considered implausible by most people. Now we know it's not implausible at all.

        WTF indeed.

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: WTF???

          Those same news reports also say the actions have been cleared through Congress. Our elected representatives knew but they kept it from us. They were complicit in this whole mess and should be held responsible at the polls next time. Voting is the only tool we have to affect any change, best to use it.

  8. Phil Koenig
    Devil

    Carnivore II

    Re: "no access to our servers":

    The infamous "Carnivore" system operated by the FBI which got so much bad press about a few years back, was simply a "black box" network sniffer that sits on the wire behind the ISP/corporate firewall and potentially sniffs and records every packet on the wire.

    No need for "access to their servers" to do that.

    Now if the traffic was not decrypted until it reached those servers (increasing amount of email is now sent via SSL/TLS), then they will have to invent a new set of weasel-words to cover up that snooping architecture. ;)

    Neither is there any reason why the spooks would reveal their internal "project name" to Apple or anyone else, all they are going to do is say: "Give us access to this thing here, right now." Prism schmism.

  9. Mark 65

    What they don't seem to realise is

    ...that the more you spy on the general populous just because you can, the more you alienate them and the more likely encryption is to become routine. At that point your access to data just got orders of magnitude harder than if you'd just done the right thing all along.

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: What they don't seem to realise is

      Except as here in the UK the government simply puts you in gaol until such time as you cough the decrypt key, it being illegal and contempt of court to withhold such things. So not even encryption gets you out of this. It just blows back at you. At the very least they impound your devices and just get the keys from there and again your login please or you go into chokey until you do.

      1. fishdog
        Big Brother

        in the UK the government simply puts you in gaol

        Yes, but they cant put everyone in gaol.

        That's the whole point of democracy.

        If they could, the UK would still be a monarchy.

        Oh, wait! ...

        1. asdf

          Re: in the UK the government simply puts you in gaol

          >If they could, the UK would still be a monarchy

          The joke being I assume as a dumb yank you still technically are. Aren't a lot of the freedoms you have not guaranteed by anything but the queen letting you have them? Don't get me wrong it doesn't matter if you have a constitution guaranteeing rights if everyone ignores them and thinks they only apply to old technology like paper letters.

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: in the UK the government simply puts you in gaol

            ">If they could, the UK would still be a monarchy

            The joke being I assume as a dumb yank you still technically are. Aren't a lot of the freedoms you have not guaranteed by anything but the queen letting you have them? Don't get me wrong it doesn't matter if you have a constitution guaranteeing rights if everyone ignores them and thinks they only apply to old technology like paper letters."

            Yep, we still are, though it's basically just symbolic these days: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarchy_of_the_United_Kingdom

            As for our freedoms, I don't know, but you are probably right. We do have a constitution and certain "human rights" granted by the EU though.

  10. Chairo
    Thumb Down

    Google does not have a 'back door' for the government to access private user data

    Why should they? They hand out the data by the front door. Not that they have any choice, anyway.

    On a related note, will Microsoft give the NSA access to the XBox One's camera and microphone?

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Happy

      Re: Google does not have a 'back door' for the government to access private user data

      Govt: "Google -- give us access to all your users' data!"

      Google: "Sure, glad to help. Just as soon as you hand over that check."

      Gov't: "But...but...National Security!"

      Google: "Get to the back of the line, you're no better than anyone else. And when you get to the front, better have a check ready."

  11. ceebee
    FAIL

    is this why...?

    Pres. Obama famously uses (or is that used) Blackberry? coz the NSA / FBI weren't able to snoop on his calls?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: is this why...?

      1. That got replaced at some point by a snoop friendly device that looks like a BB. There was a register article about it (too lazy to search at this time in the morning).

      2. Even if it was BB guess who runs the servers and has the encryption keys.

    2. Heathroi
      Coat

      Re: is this why...?

      He is easy to deal with, just stick JFK's convertible limo in sight of the Oval office windows.

  12. skeptical i
    Big Brother

    logo looks like an homage to the Total Information Awareness logo from a while back ...

    ... the pyramid with the all-seeing Eye of Sauron that apparently gave people the willies in focus groups. Now it's back but less brazen.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good old Microsoft

    They were the first to bend over for the NSA, and now they want to put cameras and microphones in every home. No thanks.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As Freddie once sang....

    I want it all

    I want it all

    I want it all

    and I want it now

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      Re: As Freddie once sang....

      "I want it all

      I want it all

      I want it all

      and I want it now"

      The data fetishist creed.

      "We don't know how to use it (to actually find terrorists/drug traffickers/paedopiles/criminal du jour but we wants it.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Gray
      Boffin

      Re: What Bill of Rights? What amendment?

      Each evening the mice come forth to nibble the sausage in our cupboard; they take so little, there is no need to tear the house apart to hunt them down. And at long last, there will be nothing left but the string from the end of the sausage. That, too, will not be worth fighting for. We Americans have grown quite comfortable with our Ministry of Peace, our Ministry of Love, our Ministry of Truth, and our Ministry of Plenty.

      Rivers of blood flow. Freedoms are gained; freedoms are lost. Only history endures.

  16. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Big Brother

    With apologies to Little Steven.

    "Look at that piece of paper that all those suckers signed."*

    In this case the USA PATRIOT act, which most did not read.

  17. WatAWorld

    Cloud Computing

    CLOUD COMPUTING -- (noun) a data storage technique designed to make government surveillance easier by putting the data of many organizations and people on servers located in a few places.

    CHINA -- a country that sometimes spies on us.

    RUSSIA -- a country that sometimes spies on us.

    USA -- a country that spies on us 100% of the time.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If such surveillance was either essential or well controlled it could have been done honestly

    1. If such surveillance was either essential or well controlled it could have been done honestly and openly with the consent of the American people.

    The surveillance had to be kept secret because it was the atrocious destruction of liberty and freedom that it was and is.

    2. Why have politicians from both US parties gone along with this?

    My guess is due to the success of the surveillance program already in turning up material to blackmail any elected officials, judges and senior military officers who would attempt to stand in its way.

    I base this guess on the previous success of J. Edgar Hoover's secret files in keeping politicians, judges and other member of the justice system off his back, allowing him to prevent the FBI admitting the Italian mafia was a criminal force in North America.

    This is the thing, widespread surveillance like this is a bigger threat to politicians, government officials and journalists than any other kind of citizen.

    Widespread surveillance is absolutely totally incompatible with democracy -- which is why we fought the Cold War.

    I fear Russian and the USA have one thing in common, both being controlled by intelligence agencies, Russia overtly, the USA covertly.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: If such surveillance was either essential or well controlled it could have been done honestly

      But what happens when absolute, total surveillance becomes ESSENTIAL to survive? IOW, what happens when it's down to let Big Brother watch us or we die?

      1. Justicesays
        Devil

        Re: If such surveillance was either essential or well controlled it could have been done honestly

        I'm guessing you mean absolute, total , secret surveillance? Because, the main thing with it being somehow essential (or everyone dies) is that we would have to know about it.

        This is about how the (US) Government has decided that super secret massive spying the way to go, and screw any kind of consent. Might be possible to get a third party going in the US if they stand on a "we wont secretly spy on you" platform.

        Although I guess whoever stands will have to be squeaky clean, what with all the secret spy material being used to blackmail them otherwise .For the good of the secret spy organizati..., I mean, USA of course.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If such surveillance was either essential or well controlled it could have been done honestly

        @Charles 9

        What if we forget what we are supposed to be defending in the first place? People have died in the past defending the freedoms we (used to?) have.

  19. WatAWorld

    Sourceforge and other holes in security

    I notice SourceForge was missing from the list of subverted companies and organizations. It would be a big gap if they were really not in on this, so I assume the Apple, MS, Google, Yahoo, etc. list only listed the major players and left off the little guys.

    What companies other than those mentioned in the Guardian article and SourceForge would the NSA have needed to compromise in order to remove network and operational security from all computer systems world wide?

  20. WatAWorld

    Wasn't it 2 days ago that headlines in the mainstream press were parroting the claim that

    Wasn't it 2 days ago that headlines in the mainstream press were parroting the claim that the majority of spying and industrial espionage was being done by China?

    I kind of feel good about using a Russian anti-virus product.

    Now where can I get a Russian operating system.

    The Russians might spy on us sometimes.

    The Chinese might spy on us sometimes.

    But we know for a fact the US government spies on us 100% of the time.

    ---

    Everything we store on Skydrive or iCloud, every thing we say and do while on Facetime, Yahoo, Skype or MSN Messenger.

    The location, time, calling and receiving number of every phone call inside, to or from the USA.

    CLOUD COMPUTING -- a concept designed to make it easier to spy on us and our companies by putting all the data on the servers of a few subverted companies.

    I think we can conclude that China is a distant second to the USA in corporate and political espionage.

  21. Big Van Vader
    Holmes

    Well

    I see Microsoft kicked all this off, which is not surprising

    But what does concern me is it may taint their Scroggled campaign (sarcasm)..........

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no wonder

    No wonder the security services can't find anything with all that useless data.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: no wonder

      Don't know whether that's a serious comment or not, but one of the less well known consequences of Big Surveillance is a decrease in the usefulness of the information it produces.

      How so?

      Well let's assume you're using targeted surveillance to monitor 1M people, and whatever analysis technique you're using produces a false positive rate of (say) 5%. So 50K false positives.

      Now up the scale to 100M people, and assume no change in the false positive rates (that may or may not be a good assumption). That's 5M false positives. 5M people being investigated who have no reason to be investigated, but every reason to fear the activities of their "democratically elected" government.

      A better version of this and some related "big data" surveillance issues at

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22718000

      (from BBC Radio 4's generally excellent "More or Less" series)

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: no wonder

        Perhaps, but they fear the false negative more than the false positive. No one wants to drop the big one because the big one may just kill them. When the false negative becomes an existential threat, all else is secondary.

  23. smudge
    Black Helicopters

    Doesn't anyone read James Bamford?

    I can't be the only one!

    From Amazon's description of "The Shadow Factory", published five years ago - "... describes the transformation of the NSA since 9/11, as the agency increasingly turns its high-tech ears on the American public.

    ... reconstructs how the NSA missed a chance to thwart the 9/11 hijackers and details how this mistake has led to a heightening of domestic surveillance. In disturbing detail, Bamford describes exactly how every American’s data is being mined and what is being done with it. Any reader who thinks America’s liberties are being protected by Congress will be shocked and appalled at what is revealed here."

    1. P.Nutt

      Re: Doesn't anyone read James Bamford?

      I am glad I am not the only one who has picked up this book.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Doesn't anyone read James Bamford?

      > reconstructs how the NSA missed a chance to thwart the 9/11 hijackers

      The security services were given enough information to thwart the 9/11 hijackers *by people who came forward and reported their suspicions*. Unfortunately the security services weren't joined-up enough to link the reports.

      The obvious conclusion therefore is that the NSA should monitor the police and security services. This is a rough "first filter" that will 'catch' 99% of anything they would catch simply by monitoring the public at large.

    3. tentimes
      Thumb Up

      Re: Doesn't anyone read James Bamford?

      I am convinced, after years of reading and researching, that 9/11 was a false flag operation in order to get this type of surveillance in place (amongst other things). I'm sure the Bilderberg group have a lot to discuss in Watford.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Doesn't anyone read James Bamford?

        No need for extraordinarily convoluted conspiracies when you can just do what you want and make it illegal to tell anyone you're doing it.

  24. SMabille

    EU alternative to gmail?

    Anybody knows a good EU based alternative to gmail? I don't really believe in the "if you have nothing to hide you don't have to worry"... and more in

    First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

    Then they came for the socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Or the only safe solution is to have my own mail server hosted somewhere?

    Thanks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      Re: EU alternative to gmail?

      "Anybody knows a good EU based alternative to gmail? "

      Why do you think that the EU is any better? In the UK we've got similar laws to the Yanks, and I'd guess the "big state" enthusiasts in France, Germany and elsewhere have similar. And the EU has actually passed rules requiring telecoms data retention.

      The fundamental problem is that government has been expanding consistently for years. Look at public and quasi publioc spending as a proportion of GDP. Look at the way new rules and directives are routinely flopped out requiring companies to do the tax collecting, tax spending, and even in some industries the redistribution. Look at the way that (in the UK) you now need to produce a passport to get a new car licence plate made, or even to consult a lawyer (all to prevent money laundering, so a social benefit of course).

      There is no over-arching plan for this big state, it's just happening progressively as the bureaucrats decide that another tiny mouthful won't matter, and it's all for the greater good. The people were never asked if this was the world they wanted, and none of the politicians want to roll back to a world of less control, so there's no clear view of how this will end. If the bureaucrats just keep doing a little bit more, then logically you need more people to monitor the activities that will be laid bare by the mass surveillance - track down the climate change deniers, political "leakers", and so forth. The next step is the Stasi.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: EU alternative to gmail?

        The fact this whole U.S. domestic surveillance fiasco was reported first in the Guardian makes it seem like a big misdirection campaign by the British: 'Look here, if they are doing (x) in the Land of The Free' then it can't be bad.

    2. Sam Liddicott

      Re: EU alternative to gmail?

      horde supports activesync

      owncloud lets you sync calendar and contacts under android (har har) at least

  25. Parax

    Disturbing.

    But does it do more good than harm?

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Disturbing.

      No.

  26. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From a Mr Clapper (a new celebrity ;)

    ... in defense of this little exercise:

    "... the communications-collection programme was "designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-US persons located outside the United States"

    so, in other words, you, you and you. And me. Oh, yes, and you, Mr Terrorist, if you were THAT stupid to use yahoo, hotmail, gmail, skype and such from the privacy of your bedroom.

    so, our American cousins can sleep safely knowing their privacy has not been violated, only the rest of the world's. Maybe ;)

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: From a Mr Clapper (a new celebrity ;)

      Clapper also said that the program did unwittingly include U.S. citizens but that wasn't the aim of the program. Collateral damage I suppose.

      I also haven't gotten a reply to how my data might be treated because I am married to a foreign national who is still in the naturalization process. She's a permenant resident but until her citizenship is confirmed she doesn't have the same protections I do as a natural born citizen.

  28. oolor

    I am hardly surprised at the spying, but was hoping it was more clever than this.

    That Google could identify easily what adult entertainment searches I likely did while not logged in to their services didn't bother me that much. This, however, rubs me the wrong way.

  29. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Pint

    HAHAHA LOOOLLL!

    Any of you kids still remember the uproar when the Clinton administration wanted to insert governement-accessible Clipper chips into telecom gear so that you would get easy crypto for a little eavesdroppyness..

  30. tentimes
    FAIL

    Any terrorist not a total retard will use a VPN

    It really amazes me that these people think this will help. All a 'terrorist' has to do is use a VPN and the government's cunning plan is foiled.

    But, the police (etc) have never been known for being smart. It's where you go if you can't get a job elsewhere, have an inverted inferiority complex, or just want to give people a good battering legally.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Any terrorist not a total retard will use a VPN

      Any right minded terrorist would also get their maths right and make bombs that worked properly, rather than go 'PFFFT' and run away with Chapati flour dribbling down the legs, or turn your underpants on fire.

      Any right minded terrorist would use a VPN, and 512 bit AES encrpytion, rather than using a substitution cipher in Excel.

      Turns out, being a terrorist is an occupation that doesn't appeal to many right minded people, and as such, they often do stupid ass daft stuff.

      1. tentimes
        FAIL

        Re: Any terrorist not a total retard will use a VPN

        Well lets hope you are right and that you don't get well educated or intelligent people signing up to be terrorists. Oh wait.... Sin Fein (ex IRA terrorists where I live in the UK - Northern Ireland) are mostly made up of people with Degree's or Doctorates...

        Smart people are just as susceptible to idealogical conversion (sometimes more so when they are the spotty type with no friends who end up with an inverted inferiority complex and looking for revenge).

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Any terrorist not a total retard will use a VPN

          But, as someone pointed out a while back, the smarter terrorists make bombs that actually work, and kill themselves in the process. This leaves only the dumb ones behind who can't blow things up, so it's a kind of self-limiting thing.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Any terrorist not a total retard will use a VPN

            "But, as someone pointed out a while back, the smarter terrorists make bombs that actually work, and kill themselves in the process have less intelligent and impressionable fools kill themselves.

            FTFY.

    2. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Any terrorist not a total retard will use a VPN

      Really? Most commercial VPN's today (and HTTPS and many other widely used proggies) use AES-256 which is an "Officially approved encryption method" that was authored by (pause for dramatic effect) the NSA.

      Everything you say on the phone, everything you write on the Internet, when you Skype, everything you buy, everyone you associate with is now recorded, indexed and archived. People can be held indefinitely on 'suspicion' and you have no rights to a lawyer or appeal while in detention.

      It will not be long until anyone who speaks out against this process will be placed under more direct scrutiny. If you were under the impression you lived in a free society, guess again.

      1. tentimes
        Thumb Up

        Re: Any terrorist not a total retard will use a VPN

        I have to somewhat agree with you. I can see this is where it is going, unfortunately.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        AES was not authored by the NSA

        AES was created by 2 Belgian cryptographers, and was reviewed by the whole world's mathematicians for flaws, and the algorithm is publicly available.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh fnord....

    Quite a few people suspect it, and then act all surprised when it actually is revealed as actually happening. Most people do promptly adopt the pliant "I have nothing to worry about" attitude, without realising the size of the thing lurking behind the thin end of the wedge they haven't recognised yet.

    It's not hard to see where it's going.

    Cheques = on the way out

    Cash = not popular to gummint, highly likely to phased out

    Touchless payment via phone etc = very popular to gummint for insta-tax/surveillance purposes

    (and see all the phones you can't remove batteries from starting to appear, so you can't ensure they are 'off')

    What I'm waiting for is various gummints to legislate to force ALL SSL providers to have their root keys signed by the governments of the places they do business, before issuing new SSL certs to all their respective customers and invalidating the old certs. For national security, obviously.

    Anyone then found using SSL which cannot be decloaked will be labelled 'suspicious'.

  32. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    International effort is required

    To have lots of people simultaneously email/facepuke/sms/IM/YM to all of their contacts about "that plan to do the Empire State Building", then an hour later do the same about "keeping away from Canal Street if you value your life".

    Then we can all sit back and watch on Youtube how a bunch of federal agents races across Manhattan with confused faces.

  33. Andy Gates
    WTF?

    Welp, if Dropbox is joining, I guess I'd better check out Mega again...

  34. Felonmarmer

    Office Apps in the Cloud

    So who in the right mind would trust any commercialy sensitive work to any of the cloud based office packages now?

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow.

    You have no privacy get over it? May as well give up all our rights, and those of our children, now. Many people have been trying to raise awareness on these issues for years, myself included, I was frequently dismissed by others. As workers in the IT industry we have a duty to be knowledgable about these issues. It is our Internet we are shaping for the future and allowing state lockdown, mass surveillance and censorship is not acceptable. There are many ways you can oppose these oppressive systems, it just takes a little effort to email your government and oppose or question what they are doing. To those of you who didn't see this coming, wake up.

  36. oldredlion
    Angel

    LOL. And it was only yesterday that the UK Government was complaining about Huawei.

    1. Primus Secundus Tertius

      Who are we?

      It was not the Uk Government but Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee. The government and British Telecom said carry on chaps, no problem here.

      Parliament is supposed to be separate from the UK government. Indeed they have their own DNS domain: .parliament.uk. That may have been true before the Civil War, 1641-45, but since then the boundaries are blurred.

      Mind you, the ISC is comprised only of selected, security-cleared toadies.

      1. P_0

        Re: Who are we?

        <i.Indeed they have their own DNS domain: .parliament.uk. That may have been true before the Civil War, 1641-45, but since then the boundaries are blurred.</i>

        They had internet before the civil War?

      2. Mephistro
        Unhappy

        Re: Who are we? (@ Primus Secundus Tertius)

        "Mind you, the ISC is comprised only of selected, security-cleared toadies"

        That sounds like the 'Star Chamber redux'.

        From the relevant Wikipedia article:

        "Over time it evolved into a political weapon, a symbol of the misuse and abuse of power by the English monarchy and courts."*

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey el Reg, can you ask your friends at OutLaw for an opinion on this?

    I work for a Russell Group university; we recently moved our entire staff/student email service to Google; what are our potential liabilities here? Is any of the technical staff or management at personal risk of legal action?

    I'm thinking this would fall under either the RIPA or the Data protection Act.

    As an example, if we chose to move our email services to China in the full knowledge that not only could we not adequately secure private information, but that it was actively being wiretapped could our [potentially dissident] Chinese students sue us? Do we have an institutional [or personal] legal responsibility to prevent this from happening, if it takes place in a jurisdiction not under UK law? If it isn't acceptable to allow China to do this, why would it be OK to allow the US to do so? Now that we know it is happening, we can’t claim ignorance, so do we have to act?

    We have many Muslims attending the university, many of them foreign nationals, one might imagine that thy are the primary candidates for this surveillance; as such, can our duty of care to them and their data simply be passed over to Google, since we have reason to believe that they are no longer operating under UK law?

    Thank You.

    A.C. for obvious reasons, but presumably not from the NSA....

    1. smudge
      Facepalm

      You are joking

      Why don't (didn't) you ask your Data Protection Officer?

      You do have one, don't you?

  38. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge
    WTF?

    What is really very odd

    is that the total cost is given as approximately $20M. That might be just about enough to employ a few techies, lawyers and arm twisters, but nothing more. Is this whole leak a piece of misinformation?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who knew?

    Well I think the general consensus here is that we all knew this was happening and that it's been going on for years, I'm actually surprised it's taken this long for it to be made public knowledge, quite clever when I think about it, android is open source operating system so you could never get away with popping some snooping code in so they go for the next best thing, take all data straight from the servers that all the info goes through. Might watch enemy of the state later as it's more fact than fiction me thinks.

  40. Tim 11

    Twitter

    "Twitter is conspicuous in its absence from the presentation's list – which is reassuring"

    Isn't the whole point of twitter that everyone sees everything, so harvesting that is trivial anyway?

  41. Dave 15 Silver badge

    so who will crowd fund some alternatives?

    I don't see why we shouldn't produce a search engine, voip service, etc etc outside of the USA (and outside of the lacky Europeans for that matter - maybe we could do it from somewhere nice, warm, sunny and pleasant) and offer people a service that DOESN'T have ANY access to the data for government - mainly by just not storing any of the data anyway!

    1. Primus Secundus Tertius

      Re: so who will crowd fund some alternatives?

      E.g. some Russian "bullet-proof" server. But then they might come after you for "supplementary payments".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Go

      Re: so who will crowd fund some alternatives?

      Look up

      + YaCY

      +GNUpg

      + encrypted pidgin

      + RPI-based "personal cloud server".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: so who will crowd fund some alternatives?

      + Use TOR always

      + Use Truecrypt containers to swap files

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Echelon?

    Does no-one remember the ECHELON project publicized by journalist Duncan Campbell, in which all telecoms traffic is routed via Menwith Hill to the NRA in Virginia? Details on Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON

    1. Mostly_Harmless
      Happy

      Re: Echelon?

      Remember it, and also remember the excellent Mark Thomas episode about it

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you have a government controlled server within the data center itself with unrestricted access, then no, that is not a 'back door' by definition.

    Welcome to the Police States of America. They brought over Germans to work on their space program, so by the same logic, they should be snapping up former East German Stasi agents to spy on their own populace.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Guess What

      ..they did. At least the German government and they are in bed with Uncle Sam. Apparently the east Germans were about as capable as the Americans then.

  44. SirDigalot
    Pint

    Our very own Tim Worstall

    actually wrote a piece for Forbes I (for once) actually agree with

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/06/07/nsas-prism-sounds-like-a-darn-good-idea-to-me-this-is-what-governments-are-for/

    I probably broke some dumb rule posting it here but well done Tim!

    I think I need a beer and a lie down now

    1. Heathroi
      Stop

      Re: Our very own Tim Worstall

      But as James Bamford points out, if the NSA using a switch outside the US, then the US government is not constrainted by US law. and can suck up any thing it likes.

  45. This post has been deleted by its author

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People in glass houses

    So what do you Brits think GCHQ does?

  47. ceebee
    Stop

    the bigger question now is....

    We now know officially and it is admitted by the US government that it spies on data of foreign citizens ... people like many of us here on this forum.

    But what is Mr Cameron, or Mr Hollande or Mrs Merkel or Ms Gillard or Mr Harper going to do about this?

    I suggest absolutely NOTHING except perhaps queue up to get copies of the data from their US buddies.

    The almost total lack of comment from governments is deafening. No words of support for their citizens .. no promises to take the matter up with the US ..nothing!!

    The US policy is both understandable and totally unacceptable.

  48. Mostly_Harmless
    WTF?

    surprise

    Is the surprise that it happened, or is the surprise that people are surprised that it happened?

  49. the old rang

    what took you all so long...

    I have been posting, in various places, that Microsoft, Google, etc.. etc.. etc..

    Have been doing exactly what is NOW being found to be true.]

    Of course, the liberal flunkies, have viciously attacked everything said, and spouted the egregious rotomontade of their handlers, against any such obvious truths. But, according to reports, I was right, bleaters were wrong.

    I stated, quite clearly, Google helped the Obama campaign build their database and equipment... and was soundly attacked by the mouths yapping like the bleater crowds as if from Animal Farm. But, according to reports, I was right, bleaters were wrong.

    They attack with the word 'NAZI' to castigate people of my beliefs...

    Forgetting who and what the NAZIs were (National Socialists)...

    But, according to reports, I was right, bleaters were wrong.

    Now, they point to any lame excuse...

    The US news media that so rabidly defended with lies... everything being done... until they (the media) perceived that they were included in the victims of their saints...

    I have seen people that as saying the Constitution should be re-written to suit their needs.

    I say, the Constitution should be enforced AS Written...

    and all the violators of same, should suffer their consequences of losing the rights they denigrate for their own profit...

    It isn't just America. But, the Socialists here have been working for many years to destroy the Constitution...

    According to reports, I am right...

    The Unions being, the greatest supporters of the socialists, have worked their evils in the schools, devotedly, since the end of WWII.

    I have known for years that I have been watched, and told many doubters, that they were also being watched...

    Keep in mind... it is not just the internet in the US that they monitor ...

    And, the blathering pismires will be bleating again...

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      I have been posting, in various places, that Microsoft, Google, etc..

      But these new reports are backed by something called 'evidence', which constitutes something called 'proof'. Just shouting about the reds under the bed isn't enough. You need to produce the membership rolls of the People's Underbed Constitution Redrafting Soviet or something similar to be taken seriously.

      We all know what happens if we go stampeding off after some evil with no proof. We end up invading a country looking for WMDs even though the people sent to look for evidence of same report It Ain't So, and spending ten years building a bigger government at a cost of millions upon millions of dollars we don't have and watching our leaders fiddle while the economy crashes (at which point they have the nerve to look surprised).

      But we did get that nice (albeit meaningless) color-coded alert thing that was wheeled out every two weeks or so to keep us aware that the powers that be were doing their job, so I guess we should count it as money well spent.

      1. the old rang
        Childcatcher

        Re: I have been posting, in various places, that Microsoft, Google, etc..

        stevie said: "But these new reports are backed by something called 'evidence', which constitutes something called 'proof'. "

        The proof has been out there for years. Obama is known to want to destroy the country. Learned it at his grand-mothers knee, when his mother was frequently out of town... and with the like of Abercrombie helping with mad lib student stuff... (and all the other locos his mom was around. Not to mention his Muslim religion (yes, like His Indonesian citizenship... he never really renounced Islam... )

        Most of the rest of the real left, has been out to destroy the US Constition, BUT especially the First 10 Amendments... They hate them.

        He is recorded as saying he would destroy the coal industry, is destroying the petroleum business (media is in 20' deep pig sty by never mentioning the fuel prices, as opposed to ever $0.005 it went up under Bush... with hourly reports.

        You lived and breathed media reports...

        ergo you know naught. It is out there, and has been for 50+ years. You just never wanted to know

    2. Pat Volk
      Big Brother

      Re: what took you all so long...

      The beauty of the American system is the media, and the government give the illusion of choice. Democrat or Republican, it's the same. The PATRIOT act allowed it, and the Dems have taken it and run with it. Protect the second amendment, but throw out fair trial, right to face your accuser, and right to due process.

      The assault on the constitution is a bipartisan effort. Yeah, yeah, the Tea Party is the grass roots. The rhetoric is just a smoke screen so you don't notice being bent over and fscked.

      Anyway, PRISM is somewhat of a mixed bag. Outrage that information is out in the public can find it's way into data mining shouldn't come as a surprise. The NSA is not supposed to turn it's eyes and ears on its' citizens, but you expect them to monitor international stuff (you expect the FBI to do the domestic stuff).

      The internet is mostly a sewer, and the US wants to catalog everybody's shit (unlike the Stasi who just wanted smells). Next time you drop a deuce, don't be a good sheep and just leave a Cleveland Steamer in a nice place where they can pick it out. Make them fish. Make them look at bukkake video as something cleaner than they do. Give them a dirty sanchez trying to pick open your encypted corn-containing brown nuggets of internet musings. Make them add a C to NSA for coprophilia, preferably at the end, then they become N-SACK.

  50. P_0

    Worrying news.

    Could anyone explain this to me: If skype traffic is encrypted (256-bit AES: https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA31/does-skype-use-encryption ), what is the NSA going to get from it?

    1. the old rang
      Childcatcher

      256 Bit Encryption... hehehe... dream on...

      256 bit encryption is meaningless with code breakers, equipment, and back doors 'denied' as existing, that NSA has had for decades

      If, you really listened to what is said, they say they don't have them, but, that Previous Administration implemented them, but, we don't use them, but... to protect national security, they are effective, and only means we have, of helping IRS to find TEA Party members, who are Christian Terrorists...

      And against the TEA Party, is the only time they will use the word 'terrorist...'

      1. P_0

        Re: 256 Bit Encryption... hehehe... dream on...

        256 bit encryption is meaningless with code breakers, equipment, and back doors 'denied' as existing, that NSA has had for decades

        I'm not sure that sounds right. AES and the Rinjdael algorithm have been studied for years. I'm not sure how you could put a backdoor in an encryption standard.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. the old rang
        Childcatcher

        Re: Erm doesn't matter as Skype validates keys, so screwed either way.

        going to this, explains much of what the 256-bit is about...

        http://www.dekart.com/howto/howto_disk_encryption/howto_recover_lost_password/

        Understanding that 'they' (your decision as to if they are the good guys or bad persons) have direct access to your system (courtesy of Microsoft, Google, Apple or whoever your ISP is) by various back doors and other activities (like how long you have used it...)

        time to break is not in years, but minutes. Once broken, access is possible until changed. Security is enhanced by frequency... as long as they don't access the source during set up.

        If you are using some primitive speed hardware such as a six core 5.0

        Ghz system... time may not be quick.

        Using a 10,000 core, dedicated system, time may not be that long.

        Using, instead, some serious hardware, such as might be available to massive server bases...

        You are dreaming if you think it is more than minutes. The key is resources, not time.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I assume they simply encrypt the symmetric key with an NSA-supplied public key and put that verbatim into the bitstream. That's actually quite secure, if the government manages to protect the secret key and the decrypts.

      Still, fishing expeditions are clearly the hallmarks of oppressive states.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A useful level of fear.

    It's all about maintaining what I call "a useful level of fear".

    Consider the analogy of sheep: the sheep have to have a certain level of fear of the sheepdog. If they don't fear the sheepdog, they will ignore it, and the dog won't be able to heard them. On the other hand, if they are too afraid of the sheepdog, they might stomp him into the dirt, or just scatter whenever he shows up. But just the right level of fear, and they will back off from the dog, but not scatter.

    Now, on to us. Consider during the 1950's and 1960's: the governments needed just enough fear on the part of the people. Telling them the truth: "If the other side launches you are all dead - some more quickly than others, but the end result is the same - and there's really nothing you the people or we the government can do about it, save try to keep the other side from launching" - that could have caused an unusable level of fear; people could have said "do whatever it takes, and that include total surrender", or it could have burned people out, and they could have said "I don't care, we cannot do anything about it, so why should I allow you to take my rights away from me and make me miserable?" So the governments modulated the people's fear: on the one side, "duck and cover" drills to remind people of the fear and keep it in their minds, but on the other hand fallout shelters and the idea that "duck and cover" will let you survive so people some worry-beads to fondle when the fear gets too bad.

    We see the same thing now: "FEEEER! TERRRRORRRRRISSSSSTS! FNORDS! They could be in your neighborhood, so let us monitor all your actions." But at the same time "Don't worry, have your duct tape and your plastic sheeting, surrender your dignity at every turn and you will be safe."

    Just modulating the public's fear to a useful level, is all.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Orwell was off by just a few years

    1984 has been here for a while now. Too bad the sheeple just sit back and let it happen. Nothing short of the complete removal of every elected government official, the firing of every bureaucrat, the firing of damn near every manager in the military and intelligence offices will give us back our rights and our privacy. A revolution is required but they have effectively removed all possibility of that ever happening.

    Time to pack up and leave the USA.

  53. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Dear God (afghanistan al-qeda drone osama bin laden terror president NSA)!

    All this intelligence gathering (afghanistan al-qeda drone osama bin laden terror president NSA)!

    I wonder if the people involved are aware that data and information are two very different things (afghanistan al-qeda drone osama bin laden terror president NSA)?

    After all, I'd hate to think that our intelligence forces were using the same data scraping technology that shows me "appropriate" adverts when I pull up Google, Amazon or El reg (afghanistan al-qeda drone osama bin laden terror president NSA).

    Because they get it wrong most of the time (afghanistan al-qeda drone osama bin laden terror president NSA).

    Data mining is distinguishable from mineral mining in that mineral mining usually returns more than gangue and slag from the digging (afghanistan al-qeda drone osama bin laden terror president NSA).

    I return you now to your local programming (afghanistan al-qeda drone osama bin laden terror president NSA).

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    What To Do About That Insanity ?

    First, let me point out this "presentation" might be a fake. But the general notion that they "can never collect enough" is exactly the mindset of USG and US officers.

    So, what can we do:

    1.) Buy cheapphones and prepaid SIM cards. Swap phone with SIM liberally with friends, colleagues and strangers. Have your current phone number in an SSL-protected RPI server for lookup.

    2.) Use GNUpg as a matter of general routine. Yeah, freedom takes a bit of effort.

    3.) FOSS developers create distribited Seach Engines (similar to YaCY)

    4.) FOSS developers create a distribiuted alternative to Facebook.com

    5.) Use TOR as a matter of general routine

    6.) FOSS developers create a distribuited, encrypted file-sharing system for people and their circle of friends

    7.) Use FOSS encrypted chat. DO NOT use the commecialware chat systems.

    8.) Run encrypted FOSS messaging tools on your phone, do not use SMS

    9.) create paper-based codebooks to be used via SMS and essentially any telecommunications method

    10.) Use an RPI as your Personal Cloud Server. Encrypt all services.

    11.) Stop being lazy of face the consequences

    http://pidgin-encrypt.sourceforge.net/

    http://pidgin-encrypt.sourceforge.net/

    http://www.gnupg.org/

  55. What about windows ?

    The best way for a government to snoop on you is probably a back door in your OS. And this does not have to be a built in program. It can be a vulnerability they left open, and if it gets detected well they just patch it as if nothing happened.

  56. ceesboog
    Mushroom

    Democrazy?

    America is the best example of a so-called "democracy", after 9/11 Homeland Security spent a trillion dollars on the war on terrror (Washington Post), not to search for Osama Bin Laden or the perpetrators, because they knew where they were already, but to spy on their own citizens and take their civil rights away. For the U.S. government Osama Inc. is not the enemy it's own citizens, and that's everywhere in the world, but the USA, land of the "free"? is the most explicit example.

    http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/a-hidden-world-growing-beyond-control/

    What to do? A worldwide boycot of those products and services?

    War on terror: if terrorism is a form of warfare and war terrorizes then exactly is a war on terror?

  57. ceesboog
    Holmes

    The world has no democratic countries

    Forget democracy, it's corpocracy BlackRock , State Street, Vanguard and Fidelity. and their 143 companies rule the world's corporate world so also your world!

    n other words, four companies control what you eat, what you drink, what medications you get, which means of transport you drive, what operating system your computer is running, what kind of computer you have, where war is, where is drilled for oil, how your home furnishings is, what's on TV, which films in the cinema run and how much gasoline costs. As mentioned companies want as much as possible wealth and power they want to monitor and control your behaviour and even thoughts.

    Read this Swiss investigating http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1107/1107.5728v2.pdf

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: The world has no democratic countries

      Sigh. The world has plenty of democratic countries. The world has very few upright and unburdened democratically elected politicians.

      1. ceesboog
        Big Brother

        Re: The world has no democratic countries

        None, READ the Swiss investigating http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1107/1107.5728v2.pdf

        as stated they rule the world, not our political leaders, that's just mambojumbo, and that's why they make those ridicilous choices.

        Finance minister has meeting every 11 days with Blackrock

        http://www.telegraaf.nl/dft/nieuws_dft/article20930674.ece (dutch newspaper)

        title newspaper: Minister listens to Blackrock, well that's your upright and unburdened democratically elected politician......

        You was one of the thumbs down I assume?

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: The world has no democratic countries

          That one was mine too. Simply because you are discussing complex issues in a forceful manner but can't be bothered to use the proper vocabulary or even attempt to spell correctly. Take those things together and 98% of the time it is coming from an a conspiracy fan (or a loon).

          I'm entertained by conspiracies, but the matter at hand is not speculative or 'possible if you look at it without rose tinted glasses'. It is real, documented and has its own PowerPoint slideshow. That moves the issue into the realm of manageability: It is a verifiable problem that needs a solution. Nothing can be done about the other things at this time.

          1. ceesboog
            Meh

            Re: The world has no democratic countries

            English is not my native language that's correct, but that changes nothing on my posts.

            A loony bin is a place for people who still believe in the political systems of the world both leftwing or rightwing what you are, you look at it with rose tinted glasses.

            Mine is real, documented, where are your documents/links?

            http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB177/info_ops_roadmap.pdf was published bij the USA

            minister of Defense in 2003 see also http://www.globalresearch.ca/pentagon-the-internet-needs-to-be-dealt-with-as-if-it-were-an-enemy-weapons-system/7980 where I got it from.

            In 2011 http://www.businessinsider.com/charts-facts-about-global-wealth-2011-10?op=1#ixzz1eIDTiPIq (you like slides ;-) )and

            http://english.pravda.ru/business/finance/18-10-2011/119355-The_Large_Families_that_rule_the_world-0/

            lead to the http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1107/1107.5728v2.pdf from Cornell University Library that BlackRock , State Street, Vanguard and Fidelity. rule the world.

            About 9/11 http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/a-hidden-world-growing-beyond-control/ from Washington Post

            So, WHERE are those dreadfull conspiracy websites/sources in here?

  58. Thee Pit Bull
    Pint

    [New 9/11 Truth Revelation Equals New Scandal]

    Well

    Is anyone suprised??? No should be the answer not unless your living in a cave! What I've noticed is that every time more truth comes out concerning the events on the 9/11 attacks we see either a new scandal or another terrorist event.

    Case in point: FBI: Knew About Saudi 9/11 Hijacker Ties—But Lied to Protect “National Security”

    http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/06/05/fbi-knew-about-saudi-911-hijacker-ties-but-lied-to-protect-national-security/

    Perhaps "someone" is trying to put the publics attention elsewhere?

    (((3)))

  59. i like crisps
    Black Helicopters

    PRISM, also rhymes with...

    JISM!... which is ironic as that is exactly what the NSA,CIA,FIB (sorry,FBI), GCHQ & Teresa May

    is going to find a lot of when they check up on my porn-based browsing habits.

    Strange isn't it, that the Americans Call their Secret Service the Secret Service and not the SS?

    An abbreviation too far?

  60. sysconfig

    Would be interesting to hear why those big players signed up when they did. Money? Political influence? As secretive as PRISM apparently was up until now, legal threats should have been fruitless due to the publicity they could have caused.

    So what's the incentive for those companies to give up privacy of their users so willingly?

    Will be interesting days ahead, as more details come to light. Sadly, I don't believe that this is only an American problem. I should re-read George Orwell's 1984 again. It seems to be the secret Bible of western politicians.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Publicity could've been covered up with blackmail: something like, "you wouldn't want this dirty little secret to just suddenly turn up at the New York Times" or the like. Credible threat to the firm, plausible deniability to the government because the dirty secret is at least a stage removed from them (if the firm tries to turn on the government, they'll just turn around the claim the firm is a conspiracy theorist nutcase—what proof do they have).

    2. Don Jefe
      Unhappy

      It is illegal to disclose that you are involved with a FISA action. When 'they' present the warrant (which has to be physically delivered) they also present you with a gag order preventing you from talking about any part of the action. So no, legal threats do not generate a public outcry. In FISA no one can hear you scream.

      The law also requires 'them' to compensate the service provider for any expenses incurred as part of fulfilling the warrant. Best case is Google et al bill them at regular rates (whatever they may be) but experience in govt contacting tells me that the bill is hugely inflated to deal with the burdensome costs and processing associated with fulfilling govt requirements. Not only has our information been pilfered, we are paying Google & Friends big bucks for the privilege.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting when Apple gave in

    Right about a year after Jobs died. I wonder if they took so long because he refused even under all the pressure I'm sure the government put him under, but once he was gone Cook quickly knuckled under like rest of the cowards at all the other tech companies.

    Say what you will about Jobs, and you might not agree with his ideas, but it was nearly impossible to get him to change his mind on something if he believed he was right.

  62. ceesboog
    Big Brother

    We must fight the Net and all in or on it - Pentagon 2003

    We must fight the Net (and all in or on it - Pentagon 2003 pag. 10

    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB177/info_ops_roadmap.pdf

    Donald Rumsfeld wasn't that the guy who knew for 100% there were WOMD (weapons of mass destruction) in Iraq besides oil-wells?

    Whether it's ADVISE Carnivore Frenchelon Ivy bells Onyx (interception system), the Swiss "Echelon" equivalent SIGINT intercept database Surveillance or Stellar wind (code name) or similar it's not a matter of defense (protecting a country and its people) but of offense (protecting a countries goverment and interests against it's own and other countries people), and uses a variant of Netmap a data mining program http://www.netmap.com.au/

    I use my own version to gather and categorize my own information and posts since the good old days

    of 1989 before Internet when all was (RA) BBS en Fidonet and the like.

  63. fred_flinstone

    How Much?

    So maybe I've watched too much TV, but I assumed this sort of thing was already 'standard' whether we liked it or not. (And how is this really any different to the data harvested by store cards, or the creepy way that google knows what I searched for at home and then displays relevant adverts on the machine I use at work).

    But the thing that stood out (if it is true) is the cost - $20m per year. That is peanuts (think 100 good developers and no hardware costs, but I bet the people on this are paid a lot more). Either the budget figure is a huge typo, or the spooks are having to be very precise in their targeting to keep the cost that low. There are terabytes of data created daily by each of the companies mentioned, so there is no way 'they' can gobble more than a fraction on that budget.

    Does that make me happy about it? No, but unless/until the budget goes up exponentially, I would prefer to worry about how google et all are using my data.

  64. J__M__M

    I thought we already knew about the fed's little port mirroring the whole planet thing. We knew about the Death Star they built and buried out in the Utah desert somewhere-- what did we think they were doing with it, exactly? Studying climate change? Those secret floors they wedged into tall buildings overnight aren't broom closets like it says on the door...

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