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Consumer electronics goods are reportedly regularly diverted to secret workshops where they are modified

We already know that agents of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) spied on their ex-lovers (so-called "LOVEINT").  We've heard that the NSA put Americans' financial futures in jeopardy by paying for backdoors and sabotage of international encryption standards
We know that the NSA is spying on our relationships on Facebook Inc. (FB) and Google Inc.'s (GOOG) social networks.  We know that the NSA hunted for "terrorists" spying on users of World of Warcraft and other online games.
I. Don't be Mad; It's Just Big Brother Bugging You
And yet for all the incredible ways we've learned that the NSA is spending hundreds of billions of our dollars to "protect" us, it still manages to find new ways amaze.
Der Spiegel -- Germany's top newspaper -- has published a report based on analysis of NSA internal documents shared by leaker Edward Snowden, a former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst and NSA contractor.  The report casts light on new cybercrime-inspired techniques the NSA uses against U.S. citizens and foreigners.

NSA eagle
[Image Source: CNN]

Among the most shocking are reports that the NSA routinely intercepted consumer electronics shipments from "partners" like, Inc. (AMZN) (which coincidentally is vying for CIA contracts and lobbying for more spying behind closed doors) and installing James Bond-esque devices to spy on Americans.
One such program is dubbed "COTTONMOUTH" and involves the installation of a malicious USB "hardware implant".  Other programs reportedly involved the installation of malicious firmware or software (malware).  COTTONMOUTH was among the expansions of the spying program by President Barrack Obama (D), having been instituted in 2009.

The NSA named its sabotage program after a venemous snake that slithers unseen in southern swamps
The practice appears relatively common, as the NSA used it enough to have "secret workshops" (note the plural tense from the slides and memos -- indicating that it was common enough to have more than one) devoted primarily to the effort to sabotage Americans' electronic devices to spy on them.
Further, two entire units of the NSA are devoted to hardware sabotage.  The first is referred to as the "TAO" (Tailored Access Operations) unit.  Der Spiegel reports:

According to internal NSA documents viewed by Spiegel, these on-call digital plumbers are involved in many sensitive operations conducted by American intelligence agencies… The documents reveal just how diversified the tools at TAO’s disposal have become — and also how it exploits the technical weaknesses of the IT industry, from Microsoft to Cisco and Huawei, to carry out its discreet and efficient attacks.

A second unit -- the Advanced/Access Network Technology unit -- was tasked with developing a set of sabotage procedures for virtually any consumer hardware target.
While domestic interceptions can be relatively inexpensive, foreign interceptions can become very costly to the taxpayer.  The NSA reportedly flies some shipments to their destinations, coordinating flights with the CIA and U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations, "This gets them to their destination at the right time and can help them to disappear again undetected after even as little as a half hour's work."
Such night flights may occur occasionally in the U.S. as well, when the sabotaged delivery is in danger of running late, or when there's concern the target might suspect the modifications.
II. General Searches Once Inspired Rebellion, But Today Evoke Apathy
Among the companies whose electronics devices the NSA can penetrate include numerous top domestic brands.  Among those mentioned were routers from Juniper Networks, Inc. (JNPR) and Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO), and Huawei Technologies Comp. (SHE:002502). 
Hard drives and external storage solutions by Western Digital Corp. (WDC), Seagate Technology PLC (STX) (and its Maxtor brand), and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) were mentioned, as well as undisclosed products from Dell.

Huawei router
Huawei's routers are reportedly riddled with security holes -- some of which some analyst claim are deliberate back doors. [Image Source: The Hacker News]

Reportedly, the NSA gets authorization for redirections of citizens' goods to secret workshops via the mass warrants Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ("FISC") -- a secret court.  It is of course a crime for anyone involved with these programs to inform the public of the secret court's decisions.
The warrants granted by the FISC are bulk orders that allow the NSA to pursue actions as if all Americans are criminals until proven innocent, within certain confines.
Basically, those confines are that the NSA is only officially allowed to pursue investigations against citizens if it has evidence to believe they are involved with "terrorism" (although it is also clear that they regular violate that restriction and (typically "accidentally") monitor innocent non-terrorist Americans, anyway).
Americans have no direct route to proving their innocence, although companies can try to petition to knock out bulk requests, a difficult process.
Founding Fathers
The Founding Fathers rebellion from England a decade after the colonial nationalist power stepped up its mass warrants. [Image Source:]

Such mass warrants were common in the colonial U.S. as British authorities tried to crack down on American colonies' political and economic freedoms.  A common misconception is that imperial England in the 1700s had no courts; much like America today it did in fact have courts and a legislature, and even offered limited versions of both to the U.S. government. 
The general warrants issued by English courts (a plot hatched in the mid-1700s by Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden a prominent UK justice at the time) were remarkably similar to the FISA warrants of today, sharing the same two crucial problems -- the assumption that everyone might be a criminal without evidence and a lack of accountability/oversight.  And the king, for all his powers, was arguably no more powerful that President Obama is today, in many regards.
The Obama administration is returning America to its imperialist English roots with his "total war" on terrorism and general warrants. [Image Source: Freaking News]

The difference is that in the old days mass searches were far less subtle.  And the American colonists were at one time much more opposed to such sacrifices of freedom.  In fact, according to historian William Cuddihy the "colonial epidemic of general searches" was a key reason why the Founding Fathers rebelled from Britain.
When they wrote the Constitution, they specifically forbid such "universal searches", only allowing individual warrants.  Today, though, as an increasingly powerful U.S. government slowly sets the Constitution aside, those safeguards no longer apply.  And yet the huddled masses in America appear relatively apathetic to the same kinds of intrusions that their ancestors labeled as tyranny.
The majority -- for now -- appears content to surrender their freedom for a small measure of safety.  Great American statesman Benjamin Franklin warned that this could happen, stating, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Nokia hundred dollar bill
The Founding Fathers paid a price in blood to free America of "general searches" (i.e. mass warrants).  And they warned their ancestors that if they allowed such practices to reappear in the name of national security they would have neither freedom nor safety. [Image Source: U.S. Treasury]

The prediction proves fortuitous -- in recent Congressional testimony the NSA reduced its estimate of how many terrorist attacks it stopped with universal spying and sabotage from 54 to 2.  And in its testimony it made it clear that it’s not even clear that those cases were truly stopped by spying.
So basically Americans may be paying for these bizarre mass searches for basically no security -- which Benjamin Franklin would argue was an unfortunately deserved outcome.
III. With Secret Courts, Secret Warrants, Everyone's a Criminal
With bulk warrants in hand, all that is required to install malware on a target's machine is for an agent to fill out a form in an app or web portal, which generates a change request.  That request is passed up the chain to various agency inspectors (up to 20, according to some reports) who stamp (or rubber stamp?) it with their approval.
Such approval is time sensitive, so typically supervisors are unable to carefully scrutinize their underlings' requests carefully.
Newegg NSA
[Image Source: Jason Mick; original: Maximum PC]

Once approved, the service reportedly goes something like a warranty request with Amazon or Newegg might -- the machine gets redirected to the workshop, which has a digital document of the requested malware, firmware, or hardware modifications to perform.  The device is then shipped to the citizen who ordered it, with no hint that it was sabotaged.
Again, nowhere in this process is an individual warrant required.  The NSA contends such spying is always done "with warrant", but they almost always mean a bulk warrant.  In layman's terms such a bulk warrant is effectively no warrant at all, as it targets all Americans, or at least millions of them.  In essence the only thing needed to spy on your machine is an agent deciding to select it out of their rich stream of data on in-progress shipments, then obtain supervisor click-throughs.
Secret courts
 A lone American protests his nation's secret courts. [Image Source: Before Its News]

The German report describes the apps used by agents to initiate these effectively warrantless sabotage service orders as a "mail order spy catalog".  They give them many options that can quickly be used to target citizens or foreigners ordering U.S. products.
IV. NSA May be Paying Criminals to Target Americans
What happens if interception fails? Well that doesn't mean the citizen is safe from spying.
If the agency cannot intercept a shipment in time, it still has options.  As most PCs run on Windows, internal memos reveal that the NSA is intercepting Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows Errors reports, which can reveal details of security holes on target machines.

 Microsoft error reports
The NSA vacuums up Microsoft Windows Error reports to infect citizens' computers with malware, remotely.

Der Spiegel elaborates:

A document viewed by Spiegel resembling a product catalog reveals that an NSA division called ANT has burrowed its way into nearly all the security architecture made by the major players in the industry — including American global market leader Cisco and its Chinese competitor Huawei, but also producers of mass-market goods, such as US computer-maker Dell.

These NSA agents, who specialize in secret back doors, are able to keep an eye on all levels of our digital lives — from computing centers to individual computers, from laptops to mobile phones. For nearly every lock, ANT seems to have a key in its toolbox. And no matter what walls companies erect, the NSA’s specialists seem already to have gotten past them.

This, at least, is the impression gained from flipping through the 50-page document. The list reads like a mail-order catalog, one from which other NSA employees can order technologies from the ANT division for tapping their targets’ data. The catalog even lists the prices for these electronic break-in tools, with costs ranging from free to $250,000.

Many of these backdoor tools reportedly come from so-called "blackhat" sellers -- criminals of the internet.  So the NSA is shelling out reportedly up to a quarter million to buy tools from the private sector criminals to carry out its spying on Americans.  And when it can't buy a solution it appears it is willing to regularly pay even more money to develop a solution analogous to criminal tools currently available.
It then can initiate remote attacks against machines, which are loaded with malware, via traditional means such as infected websites, phishing, or direct attacks.  This strategy leans heavily on tactics the NSA learned from criminals in the U.S. and abroad.
V. Why Does Germany Care? Oh Yeah, That's Why...
In case you're wondering why the German press is so concerned about this, Germany has been in an uproar ever since it was revealed that President Obama authorized spying on Germany's Prime Minister Angela Merkel and other top German officials.  While publicly acting like these German officials were dear allies, his NSA was secretly stealing their secrets.

Chancellor MerkelChancellor Merkel is surprised by a Pirate Party drone guest. [Image Source: TorrentFreak]

On top of that, the NSA is reportedly daily spying on tens of millions of German citizens.  Strangely Germany appears one of Europe's most target nations.  NSA maps show that Germany was targeted with more spying that Afghanistan, home of the Taliban.  Germany and the U.S. were spied on at similar rates to Saudi Arabia; a nation the U.S. both considers an ally and a key funder of terrorism.
On a daily basis the U.S., on average, grabs data on roughly 20 million phone calls in Germany, grabbing as many as 60 million calls on some days.  That's not quite the rate at which the U.S. spies on its own citizens calls -- 99 percent -- but it's pretty impressive given that Germany only has 80 million citizens.  The NSA also reportedly gathers information on 10 million internet data connections in Germany daily, on average.

Boundless Informant
Boundless Informant maps show the NSA isn't just spying on terrorsm-affiliated states.
[Image Source: Guardian]

Steffen Seibert, spokesperson for Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, issued a stiff warning when these allegations emerged earlier this year, stating, "If it is confirmed that diplomatic representations of the European Union and individual European countries have been spied upon, we will clearly say that bugging friends is unacceptable.  We are no longer in the Cold War.  Mutual trust is necessary in order to come to [trade agreements]."
And Germany's Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger -- a trusted advisor of the German Chancellor -- remarked earlier this year, "If the media reports are accurate, then this recalls the methods used by enemies during the Cold War.  It is beyond comprehension that our friends in the United States see Europeans as enemies."
This uproar has led some serious social-searching amongst Obama administration supporters -- although the U.S. public may not be happy with the changes some have suggested.  For example Sen. Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein (D-Calif.) suggests that spying on ally leaders like Chancellor Merkel or the Pope should be illegal, but spying on Americans should be strengthened and funded.
VI. NSA Becomes the Shadow Villain That Congress Long Accused Citizen Hackers, the Chinese of Being
In retrospect it seems pretty ironic as Congress last year accused Chinese OEMs like Huawei and ZTE of possibly leaving holes in their hardware and software to spy on Americans.  As recently as earlier this year, a former CIA director was blasting Huawei for helping Chinese "spy" on Americans.
Instead, it appears that Huawei and others were (likely inadvertently) helping the U.S. government spy on Americans.  Perhaps intelligence analysts' concern about Chinese spying stemmed from its first hand knowledge of just how many holes in these OEMs' firmware and software there were.  After all, it was reportedly routinely exploiting these holes to spy on Americans without warrant.
 China cell phone
The true enemy lay at home, not in China, after all. [Image Source: Chinadangvu]

For all the hot air the NSA and other agencies were never able to provide Congress of any hard evidence that Chinese spying on Americans occurred in the wild.  Indeed, a White House report based on the NSA analysis and other sources ruled that such spying had not occurred.
The NSA should know.  It was carrying out precisely such spying.
NSA spying
The law tasks the NSA from spying on foreigners, but forbids it to spy on U.S. citizens.  Sen. Feinstein is fighting to flip that equation. [Image Source: Nation of Change]

Thus, after several years of the legislative and executive branches whining and whimpering in international circuits about China "spying" on Americans and their allies, it turns out that whatever spying China was doing was likely grossly eclipsed by the spying the U.S. federal government was doing on its own people and its allies.
Adding to this appearance of some sort of darker intent is how the U.S. government regularly released reports over the last half decade about how "incompetent" it was when it came to cybersecurity.  In retrospect these reports appear to be devious social engineering.  The reality was that the intelligence community appears to be one of the most advanced hacker rings in the world, with skills and funding surpassing even the most sophisticated private-sector hacking rings, and even the elite hacking units of allies and rivals like Israel and China.
The U.S. was the cyberwolf, clothing itself in a garb of lies to look the meek sheep.
Wolf in sheeps clothing
Feigning weakness, the NSA was a waiting wolf in sheep's clothing. [Image Source: Dharmma Musings]

After witnessing these lies and the truth of the American government's apparently predatory behavior against its allies and its own people, it's going to be pretty hard for ally states to believe anything the U.S. says on cybersecurity from here on out -- the trust has been fatally betrayed.
VII. Looking Everywhere Where Cybercriminals Aren't
The motivation for such spying at best seems illogical and at worst could allude to dark intent, given that the services and targets the U.S. spied upon seemed to have little to do with terrorism.  As Bloomberg recently noted, Google only indexes an estimated 4 percent of the internet.

Team America
True terrorists tend to avoid American services like Gmail. [Image Source: DVD Active]

The top American news agency notes:

In a January 2012 report titled “Jihadism on the Web: A Breeding Ground for Jihad in the Modern Age,” the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service drew a convincing picture of an Islamist Web underground centered around “core forums.” These websites are part of the Deep Web, or Undernet, the multitude of online resources not indexed by commonly used search engines.

In other words our allies' intelligence agencies have made it clear that real terrorist chatter was not common in services like Facebook, Gmail, or World of Warcraft -- services popular in rich, civilized nations like the U.S. and its European allies.  So why is the NSA looking there?
Instead true terrorist communication reportedly occurs primarily through unindexed forums that Google and others do not even recognize or index -- the so-called "deep web".  That part of the internet the NSA mostly ignores, raising serious questions of what exactly it is truly trying to accomplish.
Deep webThe deep web is where most terrorist chatter occurs. [Image Source: OpenText]

Why is it reportedly ignoring the parts of the internet where its targets lie?  Why is spending hundreds of billions on data collection that does virtually nothing to stop terrorists just some sort of foolish wastefulness?
Note, that in virtually every case of hacking by foreign powers or private sector criminals, the end goal was gaining financial secrets of some form to turn into profit.  The NSA claims its cybercrime campaign's goal is to fight terrorism, yet its programs are not designed to fight terrorism.  They are designed for financial secrets theft.

Corporate espionage
Is the government using its collected information for economic malfeasance?  It's clearly not using it to catch terrorists very often. [Image Source: Google Images]

But these are important questions to ask, given the economic secrets that lie in the NSA's dataset, just waiting to be exploited for profit.  Secret, furtive abuse may sound unlikely, but we've already seen far too many uncomfortable unlikelihoods long dismissed as paranoid be proven factual, when it comes to the NSA's Orwellian campaign.  As A Scanner Darkly author Phillip K. Dick wrote, "Strange how paranoia can link up with reality now and then."
VIII. Cybercrime is Unethical, Except When the NSA is Doing It
Regardless of the motivations it's appearing that the U.S. is practicing a double standard, allowing its intelligence officials to behave in a manner it deems it criminal for its citizens to behave in.
When citizens use these techniques to spy on Americans, they typically end up in facing prison time -- and many would argue justifiably so.  Such actions would likely be deemed crimes under the ambiguous Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 (18 USC § 1030) statute.
Cybercrime or law enforcement? It depends on if your bosses rule the nation.
[Image Source: TechieNews]

When the government resorts to criminal tactics to (supposedly) offer some small modicum of security it certainly appear dangerously contrary to the protections promised by and spirit of the U.S. Constitution.  But given the supreme powers allocated to the NSA and its backing secret courts by Congress, chances are that at least some in Congress and the courts will deem such tactics are "legal" in the U.S. as it enters its post-Constitution era.
When you're the NSA -- an organization that admits to "accidentally" violating the law thousands of times a year -- you are the law, so you face no real fear of charges.  The public just has to bend over and deal with it, or so the NSA calculates.
FBI spying with malware
The NSA, DEA, and FBI cyberstalk millions of Americans using cybercriminal tactics.
[Image Source: WSJ]

The U.S. federal government is still struggling to offer a working website for the controversial healthcare program it conscripted Americans, via creatively interpreting that the Constitution allowed the federal government to engage in any desirable market manipulation under the commerce clause.  And yet, it seems to be having no difficulty cyberstalking millions of Americans and sabotaging their devices with and without warrant. 
It seems pretty clear where the priorities of most elected officials in the U.S. federal government lie.

Mel Gibson Patriot
Americans have a history of resisting mass warrants. [Image Source: Columbia Pictures]

For now the status quo is a slow erosion of lady liberty.  But America's own history suggests the people may eventually awaken and fight back either with their votes or otherwise.

Sources: Der Spiegel [1], [2]

Comments     Threshold

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The majority
By theslug on 12/30/2013 4:22:48 PM , Rating: 4
And yet the huddled masses in America appear relatively apathetic to the same kinds of intrusions that their ancestors labeled as tyranny. The majority -- for now -- appears content to surrender their freedom for a small measure of safety.

No, the problem is the masses aren't even aware of the issue. Most people aren't reading tech sites, and major news outlets aren't reporting enough about it. As far as the people who are concerned - if you look at any recent poll or the digital rights groups that are fighting back, both clearly show that people are neither content nor apathetic.

RE: The majority
By JasonMick on 12/30/2013 4:40:55 PM , Rating: 2
No, the problem is the masses aren't even aware of the issue. Most people aren't reading tech sites, and major news outlets aren't reporting enough about it. As far as the people who are concerned - if you look at any recent poll or the digital rights groups that are fighting back, both clearly show that people are neither content nor apathetic.
You may be partially right, but of those aware, it's almost as bad -- many seem to have no problem with the NSA surveillance.

Scanning the first few comments on this story: least 3 out of 7 commenters (Durundal, mazen, getoverit) were expressing fervent support of NSA spying.
If you are overly concerned with the NSA surveillance.
you're likely,
a. a criminal
b. ashamed of what you're involved in.
c. prone to illusions of grandeur. (thinking the nsa is actually interested in your daily activities)
Now, take note that was in OCTOBER, when it was already declassified that the NSA was collecting everyone's metadata, but clearly "getoverit" bought the argument that that's not "spying". (Well, unless he's an NSA comment board troll. LOL.)

Or I quote Chris Jennings ("Master Kenobi"), a former occasional DT columnist who comment on a piece on the NSA spying on millions of Americans...
Or maybe plenty of us are well aware how the world operates and this comes as no surprise. Do I think it violates the spirit of the constitution? Yes. Do I honestly care that it does? No. Until such a time as people are having the government drop by and execute a search and seizure of their private residence without a search warrant, I'm not concerned. The constitution wasn't written with the Internet in mind. Do not compare sniffing internet traffic with kicking in someone's door and taking their household goods at gunpoint. The latter of which is what the constitution was written to protect you against.
That's the beauty of America... we have freedom to express opinions, even if the opinion we're expressing is a willingness to surrender our Constitutional freedoms.

But you're deluding yourself if you don't think many people are at least mildly aware of NSA surveillance and embrace it as "protecting" us all.

RE: The majority
By dgingerich on 12/30/2013 5:38:15 PM , Rating: 4
(Well, unless he's an NSA comment board troll. LOL.)

I wouldn't put it past the NSA to put out a lot of comments on pages like this, just to make people think that some think it is OK. There is a history of certain people using the media to push public opinion in a direction they want.

RE: The majority
By Samus on 12/30/13, Rating: -1
RE: The majority
By ritualm on 12/30/2013 9:35:03 PM , Rating: 3
Considering what the NSA has already done, is it so far fetched to think they aren't doing it?

One answer is being whacked out paranoid. The other answer reeks of blind obedient sheep. Frankly, I'd prefer being called insane than find myself in a body bag.

RE: The majority
By MrBlastman on 12/31/2013 11:00:02 AM , Rating: 3
I'm almost certain they are doing that. They're probably also trying to bait citizens into incriminating themselves. Laws do not apply to this sinister agency or administration. I wouldn't even raise an eyebrow if I found out they had the constitution printed on their toilet paper rolls.

RE: The majority
By ritualm on 12/30/2013 8:59:25 PM , Rating: 2
"Everything will turn out to be alright."

But first, everything will go to hell so fast and so sudden, it makes everything that has already happened thus far look amateur.

RE: The majority
By EricMartello on 1/5/2014 3:22:32 PM , Rating: 2
These NSA programs can only exist when our government is so large that accountability can be consistently disposed of in a vortex of inter-department blaming...and this is a product of supporting left-wing politicians, including left wingers who play republicans on TV.

A lot of the people reading this site are already aware of what the NSA does, and that the US government in its current state is perhaps the most corrupt entity on the planet at this time.

What's missing from this article is a way to scan for and combat these NSA-induced bugs.

RE: The majority
By marvdmartian on 12/31/2013 7:54:54 AM , Rating: 2
There is a lot of apathy, though, when people hear about these programs.

A friend of mine, a military veteran who gave up some of her own rights during her time as an enlisted Airman, made the remark of, "If you don't have anything to hide, why worry about the NSA spying on you?"

To which I replied, "You might not have anything to hide from your neighbors, either...but do you really want them peeking in through your windows at night??"

RE: The majority
By MrBlastman on 12/31/2013 11:26:27 AM , Rating: 3
"If you don't have anything to hide, why worry about the NSA spying on you?"

I'm glad he served but... people that think like him disgust me.

If you look to History and the cycle of nations and empires, you will see a trend almost all of them follow and typically it takes a hundred years or more once the ball is rolling. In many cases it took two hundred to four hundred years... but it happened.

Generally speaking, most great Empires...

a. Are at first very conservative and hard-working. They are dedicated to their cause, have unwavering principles and work like a well-oiled machine.

b. Enter a period of great prosperity and expansion. Technology advances, Education improves, society is granted new luxuries (which they don't abuse at first) and wealth improves, overall.

c. Living fat off of expansion and improvement, social values are gradually relaxed. Hints of materialism begin to appear and the people grow less obsessed with their nation/empire and more infatuated with themselves and their neighbors. There are still those who remember the golden age whom try and fight the swelling tide.

d. As the values have been relaxed, the people call for more relaxation. Sexual promiscuity becomes commonplace and people come out of the woodwork asking for even more of the past values to be thrown out in the name of the "people." Society wants more say in their course and what was once a monarchy/dictatorship/republic/etc. leans more to a socially-driven, purer democratic system.

e. Corruption and complacency. At this point so much has been thrown out the ways of the past that made the nation prosperous have been forgotten. Pleasure is the norm, work is secondary and the rights of neighbors are such an important issue that dissenters are chastised and thrown to the proverbial fire.

f. Implosion and destruction. The nation/empire either caves inward, unable to sustain its newfound ways or worse, they are conquered by another civilization still very strong in step (a.).

Right now, the United States has some of c, d and e. These steps don't necessarily happen in direct sequence--they may overlap and blend.

Your friend, however, is symptomatic of complacency. If you don't care, like he does, well, what happens next?

Today the NSA is spying on us. Tomorrow they are recording us. The day after that they are archiving everything we say. The next, they are linking all our conversations/thoughts/ideas in a database and inferring our intentions and motives. A week later they are predicting what we will do. A month later they are secretly searching our homes when we are away, as they are well aware of our daily patterns. A month after that, they are arresting us in secret, before we even do anything wrong because they predict we'll do something in advance of actually doing it. A year after that, walls go up around our country, cameras are erected everywhere and we are given a list of things to do every single day and if we do not, we vanish from society.

While that might sound Orwellian, it isn't far from the truth. Give an inch and they'll take more than a mile. They will take it all. The Constitution was never intended to be an optional document. It was intended to set the tone, pace and spirit for everything, all the time. It wasn't something that the courts could decide--"Oh, well, today it is opposite day so that doesn't apply." You can not do this! It must be adhered to, one hundred percent of the time or it is useless. Allowing the NSA to search your property "well, in the spirit of terrorism," is like the courts saying Police can walk into your home and open your fridge because you looked at them funny.

If you start ignoring the little things, after a while you won't have anything left to cling to as they'll have overruled all of it.

RE: The majority
By Cerin218 on 12/31/2013 5:04:36 PM , Rating: 3
It is Orwellian. He pretty much called it to a T. Our current day politicians (especially the Left) are using his book as an instruction manual and are working quite hard to implement it.

It's too late to do anything about it. The dumbing down of the population was very effective and today people don't even understand the rights they are supposed to have. Even things like the Individual Mandate in the ACA go against the Constitution but are upheld by corrupt individuals. People don't care because it takes too much work to care. We can't even get a majority of the country to vote on a leader. America deserves what it gets. Even the Founders knew their system would fail, not if, but WHEN. They knew the very system they created could be turned on itself to become what it was created to prevent. The wonder of the system that began this country is wasted on it's current citizens.

RE: The majority
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/31/2013 8:40:14 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think you realize this but the NSA has been spying on and recording you for about 60 years now. And notr just for this administration but for the past 15 or so administrations.

The only thing that really is highlighting these stories is that they are all springing from Snowden's leaks. These leaks are giving you a peek behind the wizard's curtain.

Without them you would have continued to be ignorant just how deeply entrenched in the domestic information network the NSA really is. Signal intelligence is what the NSA is all about. It is and always has been their mission since Truman gave them their name in 1952.

RE: The majority
By MrBlastman on 12/31/2013 10:56:18 AM , Rating: 3
Wrong. The people don't care. Even the ones that know. They just don't care. They'd rather buy their crap at malls, have their fancy food and get paid a salary than risk it all to keep what our soldiers died for as a part of the foundation of our nation.

RE: The majority
By Dr of crap on 12/31/2013 12:43:22 PM , Rating: 2

"Give me more cash, beer, games to play, and screw the fighting back crap. Where's the hookers. EVEN can't trust our religious leaders any longer. Give me another shot. I want a room to pray for myself. You can't tell ME where to spit. I want...You need to give me....." ( you get the general idea.)

That is what is happening to our country.
The greatest generation would and should be crying over this!

RE: The majority
By Cerin218 on 12/31/2013 5:06:05 PM , Rating: 2
Give them bread and circuses and they will never revolt.

Product Recall & Legal Liability
By ACasey on 12/31/2013 9:04:27 PM , Rating: 2
Lets get something straight. I understand now, after my purchase, that hardware and spyware are subvertly added to computers. Well I got a bone to pick with the manufacturers.

Product Liability. Is this hardware and software tested and proven to not affect the utility and lifespan of the computer? I want to see these test results.

Warranty. Does any of the spyware hardware added subvertly post manufacture by third parties with knowledge of the manufacturer compromise or void the warranty? Are computer failures linked in any way to the post production installation of the subvert hardware and spyware? Is there documentation proving one way or another?

Contractual Consideration. Every agreement requires consideration. I looked through all my documentation and there is nothing indicating agreement to install post production spyware or hardware or the consequences. Manufacturers are paid by government agencies to allow these subversive spyware and hardware installations. Does the cost of computers include the costs of this undisclosed, post manufacture modification? Why do I have to pay for post production changes? Why wasn't I informed?

Legal. This must be kicked down to the wolves in legal. Given the items I listed above, as a consumer, I am offended that I am stuck with the costs of this post production modification, my warranty must certainly be compromised, the effects on unit failure are in question, and I do not see contractual consideration.

Manufacturers that knowingly allowed, were aware, or involved in post production installation of spyware or hardware without disclosure to the consumer are liable for the costs and therefore consequences of recourse.

Choice to manufacturers. Remove, replace, or refund. If you cooperate with spies for profit, I better be notified before the purchase of any consequences resulting from post production installation of spyware or hardware in writing.

Legal. This is the biggest product manufacturer lawsuit in history handed to you on a plate. Manufacturers are responsible, manufacturers are liable. Lets see what 250 million lawsuits and recalls do for the thought process. Sick Em.

By Schrag4 on 1/2/2014 1:32:36 PM , Rating: 2
I suppose getting people upset that thier hardware might die sooner due to modifications is one way to get them riled up, but those of us that are awake enough to realize what's going on care about that far less than we care about being treated like criminals.

Another way to put it, those that care about their hardware being messed with more than they care about their liberty will never bother to read articles like these. They'll see NSA and tune them out. Or worse, they'll consider it a small price to pay for (the illusion of) security.

Would be nice
By lagomorpha on 12/31/2013 10:38:46 AM , Rating: 3
One such program is dubbed "COTTONMOUTH" and involves the installation of a malicious USB "hardware implant".

Does anyone have an actual picture of these "hardware implants"? I can think of a number of ways they could be installed some of which are more discreet than others. Is this a simple device that plugs into an unused USB header, something soldered onto the back of the motherboard's USB headers, or something even more hidden?

By KFZ on 12/30/2013 9:26:05 PM , Rating: 2
-This is why we have a DoJ and a SCOTUS...
-Guess who created them and makes appointments to each?

-This is why we have a Constitution...
-Guess who spends their careers ignoring this document?

-This is why we have elections...
-Guess who draws up the districts so that we'll never have fair elections?

-This is why we need reform...
-Guess who needs to be reformed?

We are little more than fans watching as our referees play against each other while the owners place their bets, and with every foul play we grumble that the rules need to be changed.

Telling the Truth
By ACasey on 12/31/2013 4:23:32 PM , Rating: 2
Once or twice growing up, My grandma washed my mouth out with soap for not telling the truth. It set me onto the straight and narrow to just tell the truth.
Lies seem to stack up on lies lately regarding explanations about the truth of all the spying.
Maybe these folks criss-crossing things up with lies need their mouths washed out with soap and give them another chance at the truth. It worked for me.

I Have Nothing To Hide
By ACasey on 12/31/2013 5:49:49 PM , Rating: 2

I (not without "i" in privacy)
HAVE (mistakes that others may not know)
NOTHING (is safe in the hands of the government)
TO (often data will be used for other purposes)
HIDE (is the only way to avoid)

It is a dillusion to believe you can moderate the extent of intrusion into your life when intrusion becomes practice.

Jesus Christ
By Homerboy on 12/30/13, Rating: -1
RE: Jesus Christ
By JasonMick on 12/30/2013 4:43:10 PM , Rating: 1
I mean I realized what you are reporting on is shocking and disturbing, but I think it's written a little on the dramatic side...
How is citing American history melodramatic?

Do you take any issue with the sourced facts reported here?

RE: Jesus Christ
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/30/13, Rating: -1
RE: Jesus Christ
By JasonMick on 12/30/2013 6:20:26 PM , Rating: 3
Why bring history into the picture at all except to add drama?
"Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."
? Edmund Burke

Your comment eclipses the domain of being uninformed and approaches the realm of willful ignorance of reality.

RE: Jesus Christ
By Communism on 12/30/13, Rating: -1
RE: Jesus Christ
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/31/2013 1:35:55 PM , Rating: 2
Reality is the information posted at Der Spiegel ios in regards to the possible actions that the American NSA can take and what infrastructure it claims is in place. It does not include Jason's embellishments simply to generate drama.

Der Speigel states that there are Snowden documents that tell of the NSA engaging in all kinds of shady and illegal things. Yet where are the links to these documents? I see no evidence presented by that website except that they say these exist. Well, if they exist, why are they not showing them to us?

Likewise the second Der Spiegel source article states the existence of a "NSA hacking catalog". Yeah? Really? Where is it? I for one would love to see it and verify its authenticity for myself. Yet there don't see to be any links to it or any information that will lead me to the actual document.

I know this will make me look like an NSA shill but, there is no evidence whatsoever posted by Der Spiegel to back up their claims. Nor do they provide any evidence that the American NSA has actually USED these to spy on anyone. They only go into what the NSA can or could do. Not what they have done.

However let's be realistic for a second.

Does the American gooberment have a division of shady 'hackers'?

Of course they do. Show me one superpower gooberment that doesn't have one.

Can the American gooberment spy on everything its citizens do?

Of course it can. If they really cared a whit about what you are doing, they can watch everything you do.

Can the American gooberment gather exabytes of data on not only its own citizens but the citizens of every foreign country it cares to spy on?

Yes indeed they can and not just via the methods outlined in this article.

Is all this illegal?

Sheet Yeah! Of course it is illegal. So what? What can you do about it.

So is it really news that the American NSA is planting spyware and spying devices into your computer equipment and do we really need history reminders included for nothing more than to add to the shock value of an article?

Not really. The entire world kno3ws the lengths the American (or any other) gooberment will go to in tope pursuit of increased power.

The fact is you only think you live in a "free country". That is a myth and has been since your gooberment used it to drive you to war against countries that pisses it off. There is no such thing is freedom - only the amount of latitude your gooberment is willing to allow you in living your everyday lives. You step past that allowance of latitude, you will see just how free you really are.

RE: Jesus Christ
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/31/2013 2:50:47 PM , Rating: 2
In case anybody is interested and after some sleuthing (that Jason should have done) I did manage to get a link to a semblance of that NSA Spy catalog:

It is hosted on der spiegel (found the link in a twitter tweet), but has been heavily changed from the document's original format. What you see is NOT exactly what the NSA published so take it with a pound of salt.

It is a fun read though.

RE: Jesus Christ
By Camikazi on 1/1/2014 12:31:00 PM , Rating: 2
My god I so wish I could get some of those toys, I know wrong, evil, bad but damn I want some. The tech junkie in me wants to try them.

RE: Jesus Christ
By Cerin218 on 12/31/2013 5:30:50 PM , Rating: 3
"The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history." Friedrich Hegel

RE: Jesus Christ
By Reclaimer77 on 12/30/2013 6:25:07 PM , Rating: 5
Why bring history into the picture

Because we've forgotten it or worst, I suspect a great number of current Americans aren't even aware of it.

Historical contexts are super-relevant. I can't believe you're attacking a journalist for providing it, when far too many these days DON'T!

RE: Jesus Christ
By mike66 on 12/30/2013 9:27:27 PM , Rating: 2
we've forgotten it or worst

History is always re-written, whether it's by those who made it in retrospect or those who put a different slant on it because perception changes. Just ask the leaders of the the American Indian Nations (Oops sorry Native Americans). So really the worst happens as soon as someone puts pen to paper. It's probably the bases for the saying "You had to be there".

America's government is not out of control, what is is the agencies that have been given the mandate to investigate and stop so called terrorists. So called terrorists as that will be a historical perspective written by someone later on.

RE: Jesus Christ
By geddarkstorm on 12/30/2013 10:00:25 PM , Rating: 3
You'd be surprised how much of history isn't re-written. It may be re-interpreted to a point at different times by different groups, but people are remarkably careful about preserving the facts so that history can be re-examined down the line.

For instance, how many people here know the history behind -why- we have a fourth amendment protecting us from unreasonable (i.e. warrentless) search and seizure?

If people brush up on the -reason- such amendments exist, I think they'd notice a bigger context for discussing the NSA's alleged activities.

You're right that our government isn't out of control in and of itself, and that it's more or less just elements such as the NSA that have taken their mandates far too far. But, as history shows us, that is how societies can begin their downfall, if they don't reign in those elements.

RE: Jesus Christ
By mike66 on 12/31/2013 11:58:32 AM , Rating: 2
It may be re-interpreted to a point at different times by different groups

In essence that's re-writing history.

RE: Jesus Christ
By ClownPuncher on 12/31/2013 12:12:01 PM , Rating: 2
You don't have to re-write it, just exclude certain parts and apply different meanings to what's left.

RE: Jesus Christ
By Reclaimer77 on 12/31/2013 12:27:03 PM , Rating: 3
You can't rewrite history, the truth is there if you wish to find it. Often the journey to that truth is its own reward.

Regardless I have yet to see a compelling reason why Jason erred in using historical reference.

RE: Jesus Christ
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/31/2013 3:18:00 PM , Rating: 2
I for one didn't say he erred in including them. Don't get me wrong guys - I'm all for historic tie-ins if it is applied properly and not simply for the purpose of sensationalizing the article.

I simply questioned why he would include them except to add shock value to his article. Look at the lovely pictures he is putting in his articles. The only reason those pictures are there is to provide a higher level of melodrama.

Thanks Jason for the history lesson, but I really wasn't looking for one. I was looking more for the meat of the article -- which I got from Der Spiegel online. I really didn't need to wade through all of the anti Obama rhetoric to get to it. I don't care who is in power down there - republican or democrat - they ALL have similar agendas and are competing with each other who can garner more power than the other.

RE: Jesus Christ
By jRaskell on 12/31/2013 10:15:23 AM , Rating: 2
Just ask the leaders of the the American Indian Nations (Oops sorry Native Americans).

I'm confused as to what you want to ask Native Americans? Are you alleging that the current historical data about them being nearly wiped from existence through a variety of atrocious practices is inaccurate? I simply fail to see how this can represent an example of why we should ignore history.

RE: Jesus Christ
By mike66 on 12/31/2013 12:10:25 PM , Rating: 2
current historical data about them being nearly wiped from existence through a variety of atrocious practices is inaccurate?

Not at all, you have answered the question, there was no atrocity committed on them in the past as far as most of the public was concerned, your use of the word current means attitudes have changed which is a good thing, now what they need is a big apology and compensation, history has been re-written for them.

RE: Jesus Christ
By ritualm on 12/31/2013 2:36:36 PM , Rating: 2
History is always re-written, whether it's by those who made it in retrospect or those who put a different slant on it because perception changes.

History is written by the victors.

Want to change history? Kill the victors and win. Rewriting and re-interpreting existing history does not work unless you do it at the national level, and even there it is ineffective unless you combine it with censorship and information control.

RE: Jesus Christ
By geddarkstorm on 12/30/2013 9:35:35 PM , Rating: 2
I could not agree more.

Tampering with purchased consumer goods for invasion of privacy, if true, is unequivocally illegal -- I don't care who these people think they are. Yet, here we see folks actually posting that history is irrelevant? Talk about taking ignorance to new levels. Guess they don't realize that historical precedence is how the legal system resolves issues (e.g. supreme court decisions), or how we can analyze trends here and now and use historical information to anticipate where they are leading us into the future (e.g. science). If you know history, then you already know how the story could end, depending on our decisions now, good or bad.

I don't know what disgusts me more: the NSA's illegal activities or that people are intentionally trying to blind themselves to these facts. Regardless, gotta do something about this stuff that keeps being revealed, start using our democratic/republic rights. Gotta start electing representatives who have the balls to defend this country but without sacrificing the Constitution.

RE: Jesus Christ
By PaFromFL on 12/31/2013 8:18:56 AM , Rating: 3
Benjamin Franklin would probably be more disgusted by willfully blind citizens.

"They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin

The safety vs liberty trap has been around for all of recorded history. Governments with too much power always end badly, but not soon enough.

RE: Jesus Christ
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/31/2013 7:45:29 PM , Rating: 2
Who said history is irrelevant? Me? Where?

I do take using history as a means of adding drama to push an anti-Obama agenda is a little much.

Let's look at those histories. What of them had anything to do with Obama? Yet here is Jason using these to demonize the current democratic U.S. administration.

Regardless, gotta do something about this stuff that keeps being revealed, start using our democratic/republic rights. Gotta start electing representatives who have the balls to defend this country but without sacrificing the Constitution.

Jason is absolutely right about one thing though. When you don't remember history, you are bound to repeat the same mistakes in the future.

Personally I couldn't give a rat's a$$ who the American administration is. It also doesn't matter that we are repeating the same mistakes we made in the past. It doesn't matter how much we gripe about it. As long as we sit complacent on our fat asses, the problem will get worse and worse with every new administration.

Here is another history lesson:

In the past a British colony dug in their heels and said to their government "No! You have no idea how to govern us and we are not going to let you do this to us anymore!". A bitter battle ensued and at the end of it, the United States was born. It did not accept being ruled by someone who had no idea what they wanted. So they fought and made sure that they were governed the way they WANTED to be governed. They drew up a set of basic rights and freedoms that applied to every citizen of the U.S. All was good, right?

Seems this is yet another basic lesson that has been lost to time. Sometimes the biggest enemy to your freedom is not some country in the Middle East, but rather someone much closer to your home.

Well my American friends. It is your country. Is it being run the way you want it to be run? Do you like having government administration that makes its holy mission to strip those hard won rights and freedoms away from you? Do you like having government administrations that are more interested in spying on your everyday lives than actually running the country as economically and as they can?


So what are you going to do about it?

RE: Jesus Christ
By troysavary on 12/31/2013 9:43:13 AM , Rating: 1
Wow, I think you win the award for the stupidest post in the history of Dailytech. Given some of the people here, that is quite the accomplishment.

Bringing up history is exactly what is needed in debates like this. History shows us what happens to citizens who let their government step too far. Apparently, you need to go back to watching Snookie or something and leave the important discussions to the adults.

RE: Jesus Christ
By Cerin218 on 12/31/2013 5:21:05 PM , Rating: 1
"He who controls the present controls the past, he who controls the past controls the future." George Orwell, 1984

The Party seeks to control everything – past, present, and future. Another effort towards attaining that goal is to control its constituents’ memory. Without memory, the people cannot know the past. Without memory, the Party is able to control history. By controlling the past, the Party also controls the present – because its constituents will accept everything the Party says. In order to control the collective memory of its constituents, the Party forbids its members to keep written records of their lives, and mandates that any photographs or documents be destroyed through "memory holes" placed throughout Oceania. Since memory is unreliable unless corresponding reality may confirm it, over time, reality becomes fuzzy at best, and Party members are soon willing to believe whatever the Party tells them. Thus, the Party manipulates the past in order to control the present, thanks to our ever-failing memory.

There are so many of you that simply don't or CAN'T think. It's pretty pathetic. But that's why the Left has worked so hard to destroy education. You can't rule an educated populace.

RE: Jesus Christ
By pandemonium on 12/31/2013 3:31:03 AM , Rating: 4
Anything that paints a negative picture of the American society [or government], whether it be true or not, will be defamed to the point of nonexistent. That is the American way.

Kudos to you - being a publicly heard voice - for not being just another sheople, Jason.

RE: Jesus Christ
By troysavary on 12/31/2013 9:37:49 AM , Rating: 1
Actually, the pieces on privacy and the NSA are always among Jason's best researched. Unlike the Aplle, MS, Google articles that are often clickbait, these articles he puts effort into, most likely because it is something he feels strongly about.

RE: Jesus Christ
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/31/2013 8:48:26 PM , Rating: 2
Hey Homerboy

WTF does Jesus Christ have to do with any of this?

And yes, it is Jason's failing to get dramatic on things he feels strongly about.

Though honestly I think he is blaming the wrong guys here. He is jumping all over Obama's administration when it is the NSA - an autonomous government spy agency that transcends administrations - that is the real black hats here. All Obama's administration did was piss Snowden off to the point where he leaked a whole lot of inside NSA information.

Governance of the future
By CaedenV on 12/30/13, Rating: -1
RE: Governance of the future
By drwho9437 on 12/31/2013 2:31:44 AM , Rating: 2
I don't actually accept your premise: If I want a service I have to give up my privacy. Why?

Lets take a personalized service: banking and a pretty vital service it is. The Swiss have long shown that you can do anonymous banking. True today pressure is being applied to end this for tax reasons but it is technically possible.

If health care is universal there is actually less reason for it to be attached to you on a personal basis. If there is a private system I have to prove I am myself and entitled to the benefits. If everyone got the same thing I could just invent a number and carry that around and no one need know my name or any linked information. I could tell one doctor to look up citizen 2387259824 and another 23499233 it just wouldn't matter.

So your end of story just isn't an end. Besides what is under discussion is not privacy it is searches. If you want a service as you put it the provider might require any contract you they wish and then you can choose if you like the service enough to sign the contract. If we had to name a service here we might say "safety" but have no feedback mechanism to even know what the terms of service are. Fundamentally that is undemocratic. Even if you believe in Republicanism (ie not a direct democracy) the populous needs to have the facts available to chose representatives that reflect their views. We don't have that, we have a secret court, issuing general warrants for a service of dubious value, with no way to opt out save for emigration. I don't know what could be worse.

RE: Governance of the future
By CaedenV on 12/31/2013 7:16:11 AM , Rating: 1
A swiss bank is one of very few basic services. The privacy of a swiss bank comes at the sacrifice of many other common banking services today. In this particular case I would prefer to have an ignorant and simple bank rather than the seemingly useless banks in the US whose services are all about debt enslavement, but many seem to not care enough to do anything about it.

As for healthcare being universal, it simply means that everyone gets treatment, and a certain guaranteed level of treatment, not that everyone gets the same treatment. And dividing up your health care personas is a problem for a great many reasons both for yourself, and for medical professionals to properly do their job. This is simply not an option in the future because it turns out that social, work, and family environments and stress all have a lot to do with our health. A medical professional should be professional about keeping this information safe, but they will need access to it in order to do their jobs and bring you the most sensible advice and fixes for your health. If your medical professionals are part of a company, then that company needs full access. If those professionals are part of the government, then the government needs full access. Personally I trust a company more than the government, but that is unfortunately becoming less and less of an option as time goes on.

In the end you are underscoring the exact point that I made. The issue is not information or privacy, the issue is that there is no proper feedback mechanism. It does not matter if the data is collected in the name of national security, or any other governmental service, the application is all the same in that people cannot function in a world where we do not know what the standards are, or the repercussions of our actions might be. And if the repercussions or standards are truly unfair then we need a way to change them. We don't have any of that right now, and that is the real issue.

I mean really, if the government came out and said 'we won't spy on people anymore' would you believe it? The cat is out of the bag, and Pandora's box is opened. Once something is started it is very difficult to stop. So if we can't stop it then let's at least put in a framework that is sensible and fair.

RE: Governance of the future
By Cerin218 on 12/31/2013 5:26:19 PM , Rating: 1
"I am willing to believe that, notwithstanding the aid already furnished, a donation of seed grain to the farmers located in this region, to enable them to put in new crops, would serve to avert a continuance or return of an unfortunate blight.

And yet I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan as proposed by this bill, to indulge a benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds for that purpose.

I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people.

The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood." - Grover Cleveland, Texas Seed Veto

By p05esto on 12/30/13, Rating: -1
RE: so
By drwho9437 on 12/31/2013 2:19:57 AM , Rating: 4
The most common and specious argument about NSA surveillance.

The logic here is: I am not doing anything those looking dislike therefore it will not impact me. This at the very least short sighted and at the very worst misguided and dangerous.

Let me try to explain why. First one must understand how law works. People write down laws sure but as we see with the arguments using in Smith vs Maryland much of the law is actually court cases. This activity greatly changes the limits on the scope of the 4th amendment and to an extent the 1st amendment as well.

Don't think the 4th amendment matters? Try being a minority in NYC. They stopped and frisked more African Americans than lived in the entire city! How is that for probable cause. This became a significant issue in the resent mayoral election and was found unconstitutional by a court. The 4th amendment is vital to restrain excessive police powers. Letting the NSA use general warrants would significantly curtail the scope of the 4th amendment. Even if everyone who works at the NSA is a saint, curtailing the 4th would be extraordinarily dangerous for the future.

The most effective form of government is often said to be a nice dictator, if you look in history you can see some examples of good emperors and the like, but that system of government is horrific because of what bad absolute rulers are like. So we use much less efficient democracy not because it is perfect but because it is less bad over all.

If you stop using stop and frisk more people are going to die. If you stop spying on everyone more people might die. But that result is less bad in the long term than the fundamentally unfree society that would result if you undermine the 4th amendment to the point where it is basically meaningless.

This bugging story presuming the facts are accurate and it can be applied to an American without an individual warrant, pretty much is equal to allowing an administrative exemption for the NSA to the 4th amendment. I cannot imagine a more fundamental challenge to the amendment. It clearly that general warrants are not permissible. If the general warrant is acted on against myself is completely irrelevant.

RE: so
By troysavary on 12/31/2013 9:34:17 AM , Rating: 4
This is the line of thinking that lead to Nazi Germany. No one cares until it affects them. By then, there is no one left to care. I don't care if I get accused of Godwinning the argument. In this case, it is relevant. Most tyrannies start out with gradual removal of rights. It is rarely overnight. One of these days, criticizing Obama is going to get people a visit from government agents. This administration may not have started most of the spying programs, but they have certainly shown the most willingness to use it on US citizens for political reasons.

RE: so
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/31/2013 8:24:35 PM , Rating: 1
This administration may not have started most of the spying programs, but they have certainly shown the most willingness to use it on US citizens for political reasons.

No the administration simply pissed off off of the NSA's agents. All the stuff Jason is digging up and blaming on Obama now is simply leaked crap that has been going on in the NSA for the last 60 years. It's ain't just Obama - it is every president that has been in power since Harry Truman.

You need to remember - administrations come and go but the NSA has also watched them come and go - and it really makes no difference to them any more than it makes any diference to the FBI or CIA.

The NSA has always concerned itself with communication intelligence (aka hacking and spying). The administration really doesn't drive them except to mine from them the information they have gathered. The NSA has had almost 60 years of snooping on U.S. citizens so it knows how to do that very effectively. There were doing this during Bush's administration and even doing it during Kennedy's.

The saying "Big Brother is watching you!" has always contained a lot more reality than most realize and Snowden's leaks are showing is all just how true it really is (and always has been).

RE: so
By MrBlastman on 12/31/2013 11:27:25 AM , Rating: 1
Please leave this country. Do not ever come back. Thanks.

RE: so
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/31/2013 8:28:45 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is there is a very large portion of the U.S. population that thinks exactly like this guy.

Until that attitude changes, this kind of thing will only get worse and worse.

Isn't the U.S. due for another civil war? Until that happens I don't expect any of this to change. Unfortunately for those in rebellion against the government in the last one, they lost.

RE: so
By JediJeb on 12/31/2013 12:15:39 PM , Rating: 3
Am I the only one that doesn't really care about any of this? Tap my lines, intercept my txts, emails, internet, etc. So? I have nothing to hide and I know these people don't know me and they don't have time (or care) to read about my boring life.

So if I were to send you and email asking you where we are to place the bomb to kill the president and the NSA intercepts it and then the Secret Service drags you in for questioning you would be perfectly fine with that, even though you had nothing to do with it?

As long as their snooping doesn't get in my way or slow me down then whatever.

All it would take is some terrorist to fat finger an email address and turn you from that boring nobody into a target of interest. This would lead to their snooping definitely getting in your way and slowing you down, and if that happens what would you do then? What would be your recourse once that line has been crossed? Would it not be better to stop something like this before that line is crossed than to try to stop it after it has far too much momentum?

RE: so
By Jeffk464 on 12/31/2013 1:21:19 PM , Rating: 3
I have nothing to hide and I know these people don't know me and they don't have time (or care) to read about my boring life.

Really, you have no political beliefs, values, religious views that might upset your employer? Maybe when your applying for a job the interviewer was able to get big data on you and didn't like your opinions, maybe its a loan officer, etc. Maybe information on you is used by your community to ostracize you. A lot of stuff has the potential to hurt your which isn't illegal or terrorist related.

RE: so
By ritualm on 12/31/2013 3:42:24 PM , Rating: 2
Am I the only one that doesn't really care about any of this? Tap my lines, intercept my txts, emails, internet, etc. So? I have nothing to hide and I know these people don't know me and they don't have time (or care) to read about my boring life.

As long as their snooping doesn't get in my way or slow me down then whatever. If they catch some bad guys or terrorists then it's worth it. Don't put anything out there...ANYWHERE... that you don't want the world to know and you'll be fine. And that holds true for facebook or anywhere.

This is exactly the kind of thinking that will get you killed.

When those in power have no more use out of you, they send you to the doghouse. This is when you find out, far too late, that you have been deceived by those who you previously trusted.

RE: so
By ACasey on 12/31/2013 5:48:20 PM , Rating: 2

I (not without "i" in privacy)
HAVE (mistakes that others may not know)
NOTHING (is safe in the hands of the government)
TO (often data will be used for other purposes)
HIDE (is the only way to avoid)

It is a myth to believe you can moderate the extent of intrusion into your life when intrusion becomes practice.

By daveinternets on 12/30/13, Rating: -1
RE: Bye
By ritualm on 12/30/2013 8:51:58 PM , Rating: 1
I can, in a few clicks, find out at least 50% of everything about you. With the various NSA tools, I can basically arrest you for precrime and there is nothing you can do about it.

Don't let the door hit your a55 on your way out.

RE: Bye
By p05esto on 12/30/13, Rating: 0
RE: Bye
By JediJeb on 12/31/2013 12:16:43 PM , Rating: 6
What no article about the Judge who ruled almost everything the NSA is doing is legal thanks to the FISA Act passed under the Bush administration? Didn't think so, you fucking pieces of shit.

Funny, there was an article on 12/27 about that right here on the forums.

RE: Bye
By Cerin218 on 12/31/2013 5:14:26 PM , Rating: 1
And what has Obama done to stop the things you don't agree Bush did? Did he stop the NSA spying? Or EXPAND it? Did he repeal the Patriot Act? Or did he STRENGTHEN it? Why you brain dead Leftists give Obama all the freedom to do WHATEVER he wants even when he is SPECIFICALLY LYING to you amazes me. But then after studying collectivism and seeing the evil of Leftists ideologies and regimes, I'm not really surprised. ANYTHING that goes against your ideology you will counter with MILITANT ignorance. You blame Bush for his evil but absolve Obama like he's an unfortunate victim rather than admit that he's just as, if not greatly, at fault. I don't particularly like the Republicans, but your ideology is destroying this country like a blitzkrieg.

And you are too stupid to understand WHY.

Your mental SLOTH is amusing.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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