back to article NSA pulls plug on some email spying before Congress slaps it down

The NSA has, in theory, stopped snooping on American citizens' private communications that loosely involve foreigners in some way. According to the US government today, the spy agency has halted at least some of the surveillance it conducts under the legal fig leaf provided by the 2008 FISA Amendments Act. This is the law …

  1. captain_solo

    Meaning that the NSA developed a way to collect that data that hasn't been publicly disclosed...

    1. BillG

      The NSA has, in theory, stopped snooping on American citizens' private communications that loosely involve foreigners in some way.

      Of course they have! They wouldn't lie to us 100 times in a row, would they?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've confidence that the US Government...

    Will hound Activists, Whistleblowers and Investigative-Journalists (Trump critics on Twitter etc), and not catch a single 'T' or 'P' using their military-industrial-spying-complex. I'm confident too that the US will keep conducting lucrative economic espionage even against allies (contracts of 200m or more). For anything else the 5-Eyes will keep collectively sharing+mining anyway!

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: I've confidence that the US Government...

      amanfrommars1's content has really been going downhill lately. Maybe you need to freshen up your matrices me old silicon mucker?

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Agreed. They don't want to reveal what a count query on their DB shows for nationality=US

    And like the others I suspect they also have a "Plan B"

    OTOH this won't be legal under the FISA court.

    So if someone blows the whistle on them it's a)Completely illegal or b)"Legal" under some other piece of BS legislation.

    It's not a policy decision.

    It's a disease of the mind.

    1. GrapeBunch

      Re: Agreed. They don't want to reveal what a count query on their DB shows for nationality=US

      If a foreign person gets a gmail account, I assume the US considers it fair game for the NSA to slurp his email. Moi, a "a foreign intelligence target"? Bien sûr. And a US citizen who gets a foreign e-mail account and doesn't publish the address and his identity for all to see, surely they'd slurp that, just for completeness. Going back to gmail, how are you sure that "John Smith" of Davenport, Iowa is actually who he says he is? Spies, traitors, terrorists and paedophiles, like government agencies, don't necessarily fight fair. So might as well slurp that, just to be safe. In case you missed it, I've just slurped all email in the world, for the NSA. That's even if you imagine that they are telling the truth. The ball is under the nth shell.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And now for something completely different ... or More of the same

      Watch it it is worth it.....

      And tell all your friends,

  4. Ole Juul

    What someone says

    is not meaningful if they have a record of being dishonest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What someone says

      Came here to say that, 'cept mine would have been a paragraph of swearing. Your version is much more elegant.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: What someone says

      A record? Their job is to be dishonest!

  5. kurios

    Nobody who remembers Clapper's outright perjury believes NSA has limited itself in any way. No transparency == no trust.

  6. Rich 11

    You could have just...

    Expect spittle-flecked ranting from Alex Jones and his ilk on this one.

    ...stopped after the first six words.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    NSA pulls plug on some email spying

    Yea, it's GCHQ that's doing the spying on US citizens ..

  8. analyzer

    Timelines and smoke and mirrors

    So they no longer need all the data they've gathered since FISA Courts were set up.

    "In addition, as part of this curtailment, NSA will delete the vast majority of previously acquired upstream internet communications as soon as practicable,"

    Exactly what does "as soon as practicable" mean to a TLA such as the NSA?

    Next week? month? year? decade? century? millennium? myriaannum? epoch?

    Enquiring minds want to know.

    Icon, and advocate I believe

  9. WinHatter

    Silly wget

    They filled up their data centre capacity ... there was a flaw in one of the algorithms and it went into a infinite recursive loop.

  10. Alistair

    Better yet

    Lets make this effective. All US citizens need to start adding long lists of "Foreign Terrorist Operatives" to the sig bolt on their emails in BG colour text at 3pts. If this becomes the default in, say, outlook and Thunderbird email clients we could have a *very* quick solution...

    Ohhhhhhhhh. Now THERE's an (email) virus I could get behind....!!!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    NSA hoover telecoms data over New York with Blimp

    'The agency launched the three-engine airship at an airfield near Solomons Island, Maryland. And from there, the blimp was able to vacuum up “international shipping data emanating from the Long Island, New York area,”' ref

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Since most all of my communications are international, nothing has changed. Meh.

  13. Oengus
    Black Helicopters

    Weasel words

    NSA will delete the vast majority of previously acquired upstream internet communications as soon as practicable

    We have evaluated our data storage and found it mostly impracticable to identify and delete the aforementioned communications. Both messages that were identified as being practicable to remove have been deleted.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Weasel words

      They'll be deleted once we've read them and decided we don't nees them.

  14. Gigabob

    Simpler Explanation

    As the Nazi's found in WWII as they sought to disrupt Paris Underground - Its the Metadata that has 80% of the valuable surveillance information. I would expect true spies conversation does not include a phrase like - "We will break into the post office at 0230 tomorrow with our 4 man strike team". I expect to hear phrases like "That was a heck of surprise storm this weekend - maybe there is something to this global warming effects". So why use all those compute cycles and analyst time on breaking through VPN encryption and 2048-bit encrypted email messages when the time and disti list are the critical elements.

  15. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    What in tarnation

    Curious time to stop listening to Americans talking about foreigners, eh, Donald?

    This subtitle makes no sense at all.

    The TLAs have grown to cancer-killing-host proportions under 4 terms of Bushbama (and arguably Clinton) and are now apparently calling the shots, telling the (Trumpenstein / The President Formerly Known As Hitler / Brave Freedom Defender and Avenger of Gassed Syrian Babies) what he should be blowing into the mic ... or else. A little "scandal" might emerge from the NYT and the assorted churnalists hordes or a sudden stroke might occur, life is risky etc.

  16. Dave 15

    we didn't

    Nope, honestly we didn't gather that data.... someone else did... no, sure it wouldn't have been gchq

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh no.

    The super secret gmail password of John Podesta is in the image of the article.

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