Comments on: The part of the FISC NSA decision you missed /rants/the-part-of-the-fisc-nsa-decision-you-missed/ sealed abstract class drew {} Sun, 27 Mar 2016 22:51:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Jeff Berkowitz /rants/the-part-of-the-fisc-nsa-decision-you-missed/comment-page-1/#comment-11033 Wed, 11 Sep 2013 04:45:43 +0000 /?p=2023#comment-11033 Drew, you very nicely stated a question that has been troubling me since the whole thing started. My hypothesis is that the answer to your question is something like CDNs. I don’t want to name names because I don’t want to get sued, but you should look into the history of some of the early entrants in the CDN business.

By: Bob Loblaw /rants/the-part-of-the-fisc-nsa-decision-you-missed/comment-page-1/#comment-11010 Sat, 07 Sep 2013 02:44:57 +0000 /?p=2023#comment-11010 Yes ix is right, in that these companies consider a “specific” court order to still be specific even if it is broad as saying that they are looking for anyone who has sent an email whose contents included the term “Vlademir Putin”.

Also, they used to call “conspiracy theorists” detectives. There’s this illogical notion that simply because some people jump to off-the-wall theories (Alien reptiods from Andromeda run the NSA!!!) that anyone positing a theory that two or more people are working in secret toward a common goal, is not sane.

The fact is that conspiracy theories occur CONSTANTLY. Every time a guy cheats on his wife with her friend or sister, the two are conspiring toward a common goal. If I tell you this is going on, it’s simply irrational to dismiss it out of hand because of the fact that I have a theory that your husband is boning your sister.

To dismiss such theories is to accept what you are told at face value and be gullible as though you were born yesterday.

If a detective sees a red stain on Bob’s shirt, and the Bob says it’s ketchup, and he sees hair under Bob’s finger nails, and Bob says it’s from petting his dog, and then says his wife is lying on the ground because she fell on a knife and died, and the detective suspects foul play, we do not call him a conspiracy theorist.

We say he’s seeking the truth. That is all it is, and such professions do not have a monopoly on seeking it. I encourage you to seek it out and question everything.

By: Hugh /rants/the-part-of-the-fisc-nsa-decision-you-missed/comment-page-1/#comment-10692 Thu, 22 Aug 2013 17:27:22 +0000 /?p=2023#comment-10692 If I wanted information on particular people, and presuming I got or need a court order, I’d ensure that it required the companies that held that information (email/social/etc) to give me their archives of this person, and also to update me as new information became available (private posts/location tagged photos auto-uploaded/cell tower id/etc). It’s not too hard to imagine a few thousand such entries per person of interest, which could scale into the 225 million.

By: Joshua /rants/the-part-of-the-fisc-nsa-decision-you-missed/comment-page-1/#comment-10691 Thu, 22 Aug 2013 15:00:00 +0000 /?p=2023#comment-10691 There are plenty of ways the facts could be interpreted so that each party could claim to be giving the “least untruthful” statement.

For example, some leaked docs have claimed that FISA requests are always specific, while others have cited FISA requests that are basically a rubber stamp for any future collection. Likewise, PRISM has sometimes been used to designate only voluntary provision via a participating ISP of a specific user’s metadata. But in other places, it’s much more general. To @ix’s point, we already know that xkeyscore sits atop much more than metadata, and there are presumably systems we still don’t know about. We see this all the time in large IT systems — people just use the term that they think will get across the basic point to their audience.

To your point about conspiracy, it was a conspiracy from the start, by definition. The government needed cooperation and silence from many parties, and used many forms of persuasion to ensure silence. Of course, they claim it is all totally constitutional, but the point is that all of the parties continue conceal the truth while striving to provide the “least untruthful” answer possible within the constraints of concealing the truth.

By: xo /rants/the-part-of-the-fisc-nsa-decision-you-missed/comment-page-1/#comment-10689 Thu, 22 Aug 2013 14:05:29 +0000 /?p=2023#comment-10689 I’ve read that in some (many?) cases, there are people at the nine Internet companies (among others) with very high security clearances, such that even the CEOs and legal counsel do not know what they work on. It has not been clear if these people are employees of the firms, or employees of the government, but if the CEO has actual deniability (as opposed to plausible deniability, thank you Oliver North) then it would explain their “we know nothing” statements. This would seem like a preferred stance by all participants, despite unusual warping of concepts like “employment” and “democracy.”

By: ix /rants/the-part-of-the-fisc-nsa-decision-you-missed/comment-page-1/#comment-10687 Thu, 22 Aug 2013 10:09:00 +0000 /?p=2023#comment-10687 Isn’t this just xkeyscore, which would not be collection of data moving between ISPs (which is what I think it would say in that blacked out “transit …” footnote), but collection of data straight from user connections by a “black box” that sends data on-demand to agents. As I understand it, these boxes filter the traffic they get and do not capture the full stream but only the content of that stream (so they don’t get the full transaction) or maybe only metadata in some cases (URLs might be enough for HTTP for instance).

Since it necessarily must filter broadly (because deep filters take too much processing time) it ends up catching a lot of data, which might add up to the 200 million something. Or if you count every time an agent looks something up in this system, suppose he wants everything from one IP for the last 3 days. This would be hundreds or thousands of http connections, tens of e-mails sent, etc. Might well add up easily to 200 million.