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Is the U.S. Government Really A Spy Machine?
Technology Review ^ | December 10, 2012 | Don Reisinger

Posted on 12/11/2012 3:14:32 PM PST by lbryce

The role government plays in surveillance has long been a topic of debate. For years, we’ve heard stories of the U.S. government accessing data from citizens unbeknownst to them or those with whom they’re communicating. And time and again, privacy advocates argue that our rights are being violated.

In a recent interview with Russia Times (RT), a former National Security Agency code breaker William Binney threw some more gas on the fire by saying that the U.S. government is currently in possession of all e-mails sent between citizens, and houses them for use at a later time.

“The FBI has access to the data collected, which is basically the emails of virtually everybody in the country,” Binney said in the interview. “And the FBI has access to it. All the congressional members are on the surveillance too, no one is excluded.”

Binney went on to explain that without a warrant, the U.S. government is tapping into e-mail programs and storing all messages sent across the country. The information isn’t necessarily being filtered, but can be used in the event a person is being “targeted.”

“If they become a target for whatever reason – they are targeted by the government – the government can go in, or the FBI, or other agencies of the government, they can go into their database, pull all that data collected on them over the years, and we analyze it all,” Binney said. “So, we have to actively analyze everything they’ve done for the last 10 years at least.”

This is by no means the first time the issue of privacy has come up in the U.S. As citizens increasingly turn to the Web to share information about themselves, everything from their e-mails to their browsing history is potentially legal fodder for law-enforcement officials. And the idea that some of it might be put to use isn’t as far-fetched as some might want to believe.

In 2007, such a possibility took center stage, when a former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, claimed that he stumbled across documents that proved the National Security Agency (NSA) was tapping into AT&T’s network to access everything from call records to e-mails without a warrant.

In an editorial in The New York Times, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft argued that companies should not be held accountable for “legality,” since a company is being requested by the government to access certain information that would aid it in a classified intelligence activity.

“If the attorney general of the United States says that an intelligence-gathering operation has been determined to be lawful, a company should be able to rely on that determination,” Ashcroft argued.

However, it’s not clear that Ashcroft’s argument, which tries to defend plucking information on alleged suspects, can apply to what Binney is claiming.

In traditional law-enforcement activities, officials identify a suspect and then ask to access information to aid them in their investigation. What Binney claimed in a report in The New York Times earlier this year, is that the government is collecting information on everyone first, and then going back to it when an investigation is needed.

“So that now I can pull your entire life together from all those domains and map it out and show your entire life over time,” Binney said.

For its part, the U.S. government has never confirmed that it’s actually collecting all of that information. In a hearing before lawmakers earlier this year, NSA chief General Keith Alexander laughed off Binney’s claim, saying that the agency is “not authorized to do that, nor do we have the equipment in the United States to collect that kind of information.”

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government
KEYWORDS: 1984; bigbrother; echelon
Let me put it this way. Each and every stroke I make on my keyboard, other devices is replicated, archived for future reference.

Calling the US Govt a Spy Machine doesn't quite adequately describe the extent in which it generates the voluminous amounts of information, personal data, what, how and why it goes about doing do so, without being aware that the word, concept of privacy has been an anachronism for quite some time.

Welcome to the Orwellian Dystopia, the first of many dystopian nightmares that the future has in store for us.

1 posted on 12/11/2012 3:14:44 PM PST by lbryce
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To: lbryce

In fact, the plethora of information is so voluminous as to perhaps actually inhibit the ability to discern threats.

The needed info is buried amongst all the rest of the data.

2 posted on 12/11/2012 3:18:19 PM PST by greeneyes (Moderation in defense of your country is NO virtue. Let Freedom Ring.)
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To: lbryce

The only question left is: How far will they take it?

3 posted on 12/11/2012 3:19:47 PM PST by elkfersupper ( Member of the Original Defiant Class)
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To: lbryce

I seriously doubt they have the means to keep “every” email, etc.

4 posted on 12/11/2012 3:19:55 PM PST by Fledermaus (The Republic is Dead: Collapse the system. Let the Dems destroy the economy!)
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To: lbryce

One can only take heart in one central fact: This is the gov’t we’re talking about. They’ll screw it up...

5 posted on 12/11/2012 3:32:32 PM PST by DJ Frisat ((optional, printed after my name on post))
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To: lbryce

Every bit of information that you put on the Internet is stored. I don’t know what is done with these data. I believe as a first cut they are passed thru AI programs looking for specific information.

Any data that you send internationally is analyzed by the National Security Administration located it part at Fort Meade, MD.

This information has been know for decades by the consiglieres. I might add as as aside when you go outside make sure that your hair is combed because you are being observed.

6 posted on 12/11/2012 3:49:57 PM PST by Citizen Tom Paine (An old sailor sends)
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To: lbryce

Nope. Machines have moving parts and typically produce or process something. Government is sedentary and produces nothing of import.

7 posted on 12/11/2012 3:56:48 PM PST by arderkrag (An Unreconstructed Georgian, Forever in Rebellion.)
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To: lbryce

Actually, this started in 1947 when the United Kingdom countries, America a few others started listening in on telephone messages and other electronic information transmissions.

We can’t legally monitor Americans but England, Australia, Canada and New Zealand can and get info back to us. We inturn return the favors by monitoring those countries.

It is called Project Echelon: Which means any electronically method of transmission voice/data/code is probably monitored.

Go to the link below and read it and learn.

Q - What is Project ECHELON?

ECHELON is the term popularly used for an automated global interception and relay system operated by the intelligence agencies in five nations: the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (it is believed that ECHELON is the code name for the portion of the system that intercepts satellite-based communications). While the United States National Security Agency (NSA) takes the lead, ECHELON works in conjunction with other intelligence agencies, including the Australian Defence Signals Directorate (DSD). It is believed that ECHELON also works with Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the agencies of other allies of the United States, pursuant to various treaties. (1)

These countries coordinate their activities pursuant to the UKUSA agreement, which dates back to 1947. The original ECHELON dates back to 1971. However, its capabilities and priorities have expanded greatly since its formation. According to reports, it is capable of intercepting and processing many types of transmissions, throughout the globe. In fact, it has been suggested that ECHELON may intercept as many as 3 billion communications everyday, including phone calls, e-mail messages, Internet downloads, satellite transmissions, and so on. (2) The ECHELON system gathers all of these transmissions indiscriminately, then distills the information that is most heavily desired through artificial intelligence programs. Some sources have claimed that ECHELON sifts through an estimated 90 percent of all traffic that flows through the Internet. (3)

However, the exact capabilities and goals of ECHELON remain unclear. For example, it is unknown whether ECHELON actually targets domestic communications.

This is just a tiny excerpt. If you are interested, allow at least 30 minutes to go the link and work the sublinks:

Then, on your own search out Echelon. Just remember, your search will probably be monitored, classified, indexed and stored as a posi.

8 posted on 12/11/2012 4:04:18 PM PST by Grampa Dave (Tagline space for rent to pay for some of my extra taxes the next 4 years!)
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To: Fledermaus

That is usually what people say when they want to believe they’re not under surveillance. It’s sort of like the placebo effect.If you’re looking for reasons not to worry you’ve just invented one.

9 posted on 12/11/2012 4:08:18 PM PST by lbryce (BHO:"Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds by way Oppenheiner at Trinity NM)
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To: greeneyes

Htraong abbad tremmelous badbad yyyyyeayyyy-——> ! ** p

(Let them try to bring that up at my trial)

10 posted on 12/11/2012 4:08:57 PM PST by dagogo redux (A whiff of primitive spirits in the air, harbingers of an impending descent into the feral.)
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To: Fledermaus
Follow up on this then get back to me with your conclusions:

NSA Utah ‘Data Center’: Biggest-ever domestic spying lab?

Other articles outline the power facilities, security, data storage facilities, etc. Have fun. ;-)
11 posted on 12/11/2012 4:09:31 PM PST by Tunehead54 (Nothing funny here ;-)
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To: DJ Frisat

You know that is the only blessing in the whole project.... The government is just in capable of doing anything right...

12 posted on 12/11/2012 4:14:21 PM PST by ptsal (E)
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To: ptsal

Well, that’s just it. They’re going to take completely innocent, law-abiding citizens (like yourself) and screw their lives up so completely, never to be heard again. That’s what you’d prefer.

13 posted on 12/11/2012 4:41:10 PM PST by lbryce (BHO:"Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds by way Oppenheiner at Trinity NM)
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To: Fledermaus
I seriously doubt they have the means to keep “every” email, etc.

I can see them having big enough storage, adding 100 TB a day or whatever it takes fairly easily (I don't know how much email there is per day). But grabbing it is a different story, I don't see them putting a pipe into ea large number of routers without being noticed. Those would have to be compromised in some way or government owned. Can't be done without being noticed.

14 posted on 12/11/2012 5:14:23 PM PST by palmer (Jim, please bill me 50 cents for this completely useless post)
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