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  (Source: AP)
WSJ report cites sources close to agency saying holes in interception are filled by data grabs at a lower level

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, sources close to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) warn about a potential "blind spot" in their phone record (aka "telephony metadata") scheme that allows them to track the call records and locations of Americans on a daily basis.

I. T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless Make Spying on Americans Trickier...

The source states that T-Mobile's foreign ownership (T-Mobile is owned primarily by Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG (ETR:DTE)) and Verizon Wireless's foreign co-ownership (UK-based Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD) has a 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless) made seizing phone records under the Oct. 2001 USA PATRIOT (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) Act slightly harder.  

Both companies reportedly at times refused to participate in the program, although U.S. Verizon Wireless parent company Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) did turn in information on its land lines, which it solely serves.  And reportedly the U.S. government did not challenge theirt waivering cooperation.

Obama spying
Foreign co-owned carriers have reportedly been less than enthusiastic about Bush and Obama administration spying. [Image Source: AP]

But don't worry -- says the source -- Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile customers are still able to be monitored anyways.  Most of that traffic on Verizon or T-Mobile is at some point routed through connections owned by solely-U.S.-owned telecoms like AT&T, Inc. (T) or Sprint Nextel Corp. (S).  Thanks to this wonderful routing, the source assures, approximately 99 percent of phone traffic in the U.S. is monitored by the NSA.

II. ...But When There's a Will, Big Brother Has a Way 

A pending acquisition of Sprint might seemingly shift that balance if Japan's Softbank Corp. (TYO:9984) wins in its bid for most of the U.S. carrier.  But it will likely have little effect.

T-Mobile or smaller U.S. carriers often fill in holes in their coverage by allowing customers to roam onto solely-U.S. owned networks like AT&T.  This is one spot where the NSA can intercept the phone data.

And ultimately the NSA can always monitor at an even lower level, if necessary -- the high speed telecommunications backbone that underlies both landlines and wireless networks.  And that infrastructure is solely owned by U.S. firms -- AT&T and Verizon Business Network Services Inc. (a subsidiary of Verizon Communications).  Thus regardless of who owns the cellular carriers, the NSA can (and in many cases reportedly already does) seize communications at the lowest level, eliminating pesky civil liberties complaints by foreign nations.

fiber optics
Communications can be seized at the U.S.-owned backbone that underlies wireless networks.
[Image Source: AP]

In a letter to Rep. Edward Markey (D., Mass.) Verizon Wireless admits [PDF] it did turn over records some of the time.  It says it responded to 260,000 customer data requests in 2011 (although it did not say how many customers were involved per request).  Of those half of the orders were without warrant (due proccess) while approximately half were via a court order or warrant.

According to sources, U.S. officials recognized the foreign leadership of T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless might lead them to buck the data gathering if they pushed the issue too hard.  So the feds kept their requests relatively small, knowing they could seize the information they missed further down the pipe.

Recent surveys showed approximately half of Americans are comfortable with the goverment tracking their locations (phone records).

Sources: WSJ, Verizon Wireless [PDF]



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Only needed to read the headline...
By Spookster on 6/14/2013 4:37:41 PM , Rating: -1
to know who wrote this. I won't even call it an article since Jason is not a journalist. Must be a slow week for Microsoft and Apple since he is catering to the conspiracy nut jobs and pumping out as many blog posts as he can about how the government it out to get us.




RE: Only needed to read the headline...
By johnny4422 on 6/14/2013 4:49:51 PM , Rating: 3
So conspiracy nut jobs read Wall Street Journal these days?


By half_duplex on 6/14/2013 9:40:15 PM , Rating: 2
The ignorance of historical events that allow such a viewpoint to exist is appalling.


RE: Only needed to read the headline...
By tigz1218 on 6/14/2013 4:52:55 PM , Rating: 5
Jason brings to light many newsworthy stories that get brushed under the rug by the media and I applaud him for that.

Your ignorance, that these "conspiracy theorists", is the exact type of attitude that has been responsible for history constantly repeating itself and allowing governments to grow to the point where they commit the most horrifying crimes against humanity imaginable. They make the sandy hook massacre look like a misdemeanor.

We are past the point of conspiracy. It is a FACT that the government is collect every single one of ours information. So you have nothing to hide you say? There are thousands upon thousands of pages of federal laws, many of which ou are probably unaware of. Or what happens if they nitpick the data they use and make it seem like you are doing something wrong, like releasing text messages you sent out and omitting key words from the sentence to make you like a terrible person. This is very possible, especially, god forbid, you ran for office and had a different viewpoint than the establishment.

Your attitude is exactly what they want. Never question authority and label those who does as crazies.

Thank you for the article Jason. Here is something else you may find interesting to write about:
http://m.cbsnews.com/fullstory.rbml?catid=57440895...


RE: Only needed to read the headline...
By Jeffk464 on 6/15/2013 11:40:12 AM , Rating: 2
Absolutely

Its pretty obvious that the framers of the constitution had zero faith in people in power. Basically this distrust of political figures is the primary theme of the constitution.


By Jeffk464 on 6/15/2013 11:49:13 AM , Rating: 2
By the way Congress has about a 10% approval rating. That means 90% of the population doesn't seem to have much faith in our government.


RE: Only needed to read the headline...
By Spookster on 6/15/13, Rating: -1
RE: Only needed to read the headline...
By FaaR on 6/15/2013 12:41:34 PM , Rating: 3
You're a terrible excuse of an inhuman being.


RE: Only needed to read the headline...
By ritualm on 6/14/2013 5:21:24 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
something about Jason Mick not being a journalist

Jason Mick never claimed he's one of them. He's a blogger, a pundit if you care.
quote:
pro-government BS

We are at --- or perilously close to --- the tipping point where the evil we don't know is more trustworthy than the devil we do know.

You read like you don't care if every member of your entire family gets wiretapped up their rectums. You also read like you don't care if the cops kill your grandparents on a drive-by, then show up at your house for dinner tomorrow as if nothing happened.

When we have to rely on people with questionable motives e.g. Snowden to get dirt on our government's wrongdoings, there is a huge problem. Think the spying furor's bad? No, son, it's only going to get much worse than this.


By Spookster on 6/15/2013 12:00:42 PM , Rating: 2
Yes he has.

quote:
I hope my commentary is not misconstrued as hating on Anonymous unilaterally. Rather, I appreciate some of what Anonymous has done, but unlike most who either blanketly support or oppose the movement, I see the gray ( it's my job as a journalist ).


RE: Only needed to read the headline...
By Dorkyman on 6/14/2013 5:57:41 PM , Rating: 2
Spook, I detect a whiff of jealousy. Jason gets read by many and you don't. Bummer.


RE: Only needed to read the headline...
By Spookster on 6/15/13, Rating: -1
By BRB29 on 6/15/2013 11:30:57 PM , Rating: 2
he does get a lot of hits from these conspiracy hacks. That's probably the only reason why he's still here.


RE: Only needed to read the headline...
By Cerin218 on 6/14/2013 6:33:22 PM , Rating: 1
In political jargon, useful idiot is a pejorative term for people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose goals they do not understand, and who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause.

The term has been used to refer to Soviet sympathizers in Western countries. The implication was that, although the people in question naïvely thought of themselves as an ally of the Soviet Union, they were actually held in contempt and were being cynically used. The use of the term in political discourse has since been extended to other propagandists, especially those who are seen to unwittingly support a malignant cause which they naïvely believe to be a force for good.

Spookster = Useful Idiot.

Microsoft has been working with the government to exploit security holes in their operating systems for spying. Coincidentally the new XBox One has to ALWAYS be connected to the internet and has a camera that can see in the dark and microphone that MUST be on at all times.

But apparently according to SOME gullible sheeple the government is benevolent and good and would NEVER treat it's citizens bad or experiment on them or anything. You are an oppressive tyrannical regimes dream citizen. You probably scoffed at McCarthy saying there were Communists in Hollywood and the government. Stupid declassified files that proved him right.


RE: Only needed to read the headline...
By mrbios on 6/15/2013 6:32:39 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Coincidentally the new XBox One has to ALWAYS be connected to the internet and has a camera that can see in the dark and microphone that MUST be on at all times.


Wrong. The camera and internet only have to be connected when you're not using it if you choose to. If you're truly worried about the privacy implications, you can do, what I like to call, "don't be lazy". Unplug the camera when your Xbox is not in use. Since you need to go up to your Xbox to reconnect the camera the next time you want to use it, you can unplug it's network cable as well, if you're using a wired connection.

I know we all like to bitch and complain that there's nothing we can do to stop this, when the reality is, we're all just too lazy.

Maybe you're too young to remember, but once upon a time, we actually had to walk up to our consoles to turn them on and off. If we really care about privacy, then removing the instant gratification of being able to remotely turn on the console, and needing to walk up to the console when you're finished using it, shouldn't be considered blasphemous.


RE: Only needed to read the headline...
By derricker on 6/15/2013 9:04:58 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong again, the thing demands a check in every 24 hours, ergo, it needs to be connected at least 24 hours, the rest of the time, it will not work without kinect.

Amazing how people ignore the involvements microsoft has had with PRISM and Domain Awareness System.

If you really care about what little privacy you have left, you will not allow such in your home.


RE: Only needed to read the headline...
By BRB29 on 6/15/2013 4:16:54 PM , Rating: 2
derricker = delusional.
You're right, derricker. There's a task force of 200 NSA agents doing nothing but watching people from their xbox one.

If that even makes sense in anyone's head.


RE: Only needed to read the headline...
By derricker on 6/15/2013 8:20:44 PM , Rating: 2
ohhhh, a geeky reply and all, I thought geeks where smarter than this anyway, seems you lack reading skillz, are you out of elementary yet??
try harder next bum, and get out of your parents basement and meet real people.


By Cheesew1z69 on 6/16/2013 7:35:36 AM , Rating: 2
I highly doubt he is a "geek" of any sort


By althaz on 6/16/2013 8:10:51 PM , Rating: 2
Actually derricker, you are incorrect (you seem like the kinda guy that should be used to it by now), the XBox One needs to have checked in within the last 24 hours for you to play a game (that means you can connect it only when you wish to play) and needs to be connected to install a game, that's it as far as the internet requirement goes.

From your comment you seem to have been expecting the console to spontaneously combust if you are not connected to the internet for 24 hours and one minute.

Likewise, there's no way that Mirosoft will spy on you with Kinect (any more than they already do), although of course, like with anything, there's always the possibility of hackers (either government or, more likely, not) doing so. But seeing as nobody managed to do it with Kinect version 1 (it was and may still be AFAIK the fastest selling technology product ever btw, lots of people have one), I wouldn't worry too much (hell I'd be more worried about people spying on your with the digital video and audio recorder in every person's pocket).


By Jeffk464 on 6/15/2013 11:43:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Microsoft has been working with the government to exploit security holes in their operating systems for spying.


There was a recent news story that China was planning on switching to a home grown version of ubuntu, coincidence?


By Spookster on 6/15/2013 2:55:16 PM , Rating: 2
In real world jargon, conspiracy nutjob is a pejorative term for people perceived as idiots who have lost touch with reality who live in their parents basement because they are afraid the aliens or the government are coming to get them.

The term has been used to refer to Jasom Micks fanboys at Daily Tech. The implication was that, although the people in question natïvely thought of themselves as normal, they were actually insecure little freaks who love blowing Jason any chance they get. The use of the term has since been extended to other non-fanboys, especially those who are seen to unwittingly support these conspiracy theories which in their delusional minds they naïvely believe are true.

Cerin218 = Conspiracy Nutjob.


RE: Only needed to read the headline...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/15/2013 1:40:09 PM , Rating: 2
Umm you know it's not a conspiracy theory if it's proven true right?

The Government IS spying on us. They aren't even denying it, rather they've confirmed it.

Maybe you should look up the definition of "conspiracy theory".


RE: Only needed to read the headline...
By BRB29 on 6/15/2013 4:20:07 PM , Rating: 2
They did not deny it. They confirmed it decades ago.


By Cheesew1z69 on 6/15/2013 5:01:06 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, it's confirmed, you are as stupid as you seem. He SAID they confirmed it.

quote:
The Government IS spying on us. They aren't even denying it, rather they've confirmed it.


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