Print 29 comment(s) - last by M'n'M.. on Aug 22 at 11:10 PM

Officials said it's in search of foreign communications

Thanks to former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, it's no secret that the NSA has far-reaching surveillance programs to peek into the digital lives of Americans and abroad -- but we're starting to see just how far-reaching those programs really are.

According to a new report by The Wall Street Journal, the NSA's surveillance network covers 75 percent of U.S. internet traffic. 

While the report noted that the NSA filtered information in search of communications that start/end abroad or are entirely foreign (but pass through the U.S.), it also said that the NSA keeps the content of some emails sent between U.S. citizens. The NSA also filters domestic phone calls, which are made over the web

In other words, domestic communications are intercepted when looking for foreign ones, and the NSA can track nearly anything that occurs online as long as there's a "broad" court order to cover it. 

The NSA carries out its filtering with telecom companies (like Verizon and AT&T) through programs code-named Blarney, Fairview, Oakstar, Lithium, Stormbrew, etc. It takes place at over a dozen locations at major Internet junctions.

The NSA insists that it isn't just randomly searching through Internet traffic. The programs use algorithms that act like filters, allowing certain information to just pass through while others of interest are collected. 

The NSA programs are approved by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and the NSA is required to terminate information on U.S. citizens that doesn't qualify as relevant information, such as foreign intelligence or evidence of a crime. However, this new report shows that not all is discarded. 

Last week, reports said that the NSA admitted to touching 1.6 percent of total globe Web traffic. Its technique was to filter data after harvesting it, which led to overcollection on a major scale. 

Days later, an internal audit showed that the NSA broke the law nearly 3,000 times from 2011 to 2012. More specifically, the May 2012 audit revealed that the NSA had abused its power to either accidentally or intentionally spy on Americans and green card holders 2,997 times in that time period. 

U.S. President Barack Obama will unveil proposed changes to NSA surveillance this month to "improve oversight," but such changes wouldn't alter certain U.S. systems used for sensitive surveillance.

The NSA is making some changes as well, such as axing 90 percent of its system administrators in favor of automated systems. That way, the NSA doesn't have to worry about what human eyes are seeing -- and it will eliminate another Snowden situation. 

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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By Florinator on 8/21/2013 12:31:15 PM , Rating: 4
What I don't get is how come the American people aren't more outraged than just a few here and there in the media?

This reminds me of a Goethe quote:

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

RE: Bummed
By superstition on 8/21/2013 12:59:26 PM , Rating: 2
In comparison to the great financial theft of 2008, it's hard for ordinary people to get upset about the growing police state.

RE: Bummed
By Lord 666 on 8/21/2013 2:28:45 PM , Rating: 2
Based on the surveillance capability of the NSA, it would be assumed they had advanced knowledge before the crash.

RE: Bummed
By Mitch101 on 8/21/2013 2:56:47 PM , Rating: 2
I recently wondered if younger US citizens might pull into a situation like Egypt did recently with massive protest started through social media then wondered what prevented it.

RE: Bummed
By superstition on 8/21/2013 3:23:47 PM , Rating: 2
Greenspan at the 2004 Fed meeting:

We run the risk, by laying out the pros and cons of a particular argument, of inducing people to join in on the debate, and in this regard it is possible to lose control of a process that only we fully understand.

RE: Bummed
By bernardl on 8/21/2013 8:26:39 PM , Rating: 2
Greenspan at the 2004 Fed meeting: quote: We run the risk, by laying out the pros and cons of a particular argument, of inducing people to join in on the debate, and in this regard it is possible to lose control of a process that only we fully understand.

That says it all.


RE: Bummed
By Motoman on 8/21/2013 1:07:00 PM , Rating: 5
What I don't get is how come the American people aren't more outraged than just a few here and there in the media?

Because we're stupid.

RE: Bummed
By Mitch101 on 8/21/2013 2:57:44 PM , Rating: 2
1 vote for Lazy and pretty soon its football season you go.

RE: Bummed
By inperfectdarkness on 8/21/2013 4:09:04 PM , Rating: 2
Evidence? How about the fact that you probably know who these people are:

Honey Boo-Boo
Kim Kardashian

RE: Bummed
By Motoman on 8/21/2013 7:09:09 PM , Rating: 3
Here's the problem...I know who all of them are, and I have never watched any of their TV shows. But their faces (and a$ses) are plastered all over everything all the time anyway, so I'm forced to know who they are even though I'd really prefer not to.

RE: Bummed
By maugrimtr on 8/22/2013 10:01:55 AM , Rating: 2
Going a bit deeper, people react to being harmed. An economic collapse does real damage. Having your innocent emails scanned does not - at least not in a concrete highly visible way. Politicians understand this really well. They can be daring enough to suggest people are traitors when they obviously are not and clever enough to promote greater transparency to comfort those on the fence.

Mass protests averted...

Despite knowing the NSA has performed illegal and unconstitutional acts, that their pet secret court has even told them so, and the knowledge that such programs continue (having encrypted email services shut down rather than capitulate), at the end of the day you need public court cases hitting the Supreme Court to do what an apathetic public cannot.

RE: Bummed
By M'n'M on 8/22/2013 11:10:04 PM , Rating: 2
What ^^ he ^^ said !!!

RE: Bummed
By Schrag4 on 8/21/2013 2:02:26 PM , Rating: 3
Plenty of us ARE outraged, but the media continues to downplay those of us that don't fit their narrative or advance their agenda. For instance, there have been several large pro-gun demonstrations this year. On one day there were demonstrations at EVERY state capital, most had hundreds, some had thousdands, but it was hardly acknowledged. Meanwhile the mainstream media runs stories about anti-gun demonstrations with a "crowd" of 4. This is no different. Obama has defended these programs since day one and continues to do so, and the media's agenda has always been to cover for Obama, so they don't report on our outrage. It's funny because if Obama had simply distanced himself from NSA spying then the media could have had another field day bashing Bush over this one, and rightfully so.

RE: Bummed
By EricMartello on 8/21/2013 6:29:55 PM , Rating: 2
What I don't get is how come the American people aren't more outraged than just a few here and there in the media?

Most people do not engage in politics or current events in general. They are almost totally passive unless its something they cannot avoid, like a huge natural disaster or all-out ground war in the states (though even during the revolutionary war, only 1/3 of the population participated). Even then, people focus on their own survival rather than resolving the problem.

I don't think anyone here doubted that the government was spying on civilians. This is more of a CONFIRMATION and not so much a revelation.

One thing that people can do, that needs to be done, is to rally within their states and use the power granted to them by the constitution to make amendments to the constitution that limit the terms of office that can be served. We need to get rid of "career" politicians that sit in positions of power for decades at a time. Nobody should make a career out of politics. We also need to restore States' sovereign authority and relegate the federal government back down to a point where laws and policies are something that most states in the union have to agree upon, rather than a select unaccountable few in DC.

So there are options for any US citizen to take action as a constitutional republican (which is not the same as the establishment republicans that you have in DC).

RE: Bummed
By MWink on 8/21/2013 6:47:42 PM , Rating: 2
I think people are outraged but realize there's not much they can do. The only supposed power we have is to vote for someone else, but what's the point when we have a two party system and both are totally corrupt and support this stuff.

Also, given their vast reach, who's to say they are just monitoring communications and not manipulating them as well? I've seen posts mysteriously disappear from a few sites.

RE: Bummed
By StevoLincolnite on 8/21/2013 7:26:47 PM , Rating: 2
Well. To be honest I'm worried that a foreign Nation is "spying" and collecting my data, not sure about Americans, but I actually have a right to my privacy.

Heck, I don't trust my own government let alone one half way around the planet that I don't even have a choice to vote in, it's really not a good look for the Nation that prides itself as free to the world.

RE: Bummed
By KCjoker on 8/21/2013 9:58:51 PM , Rating: 2
We are but most of the media aren't giving it the same attention since Obama is prez right now. If Bush were still the president...omg chris Matthews would be having a stroke daily.

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton

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