Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 08, 2013

NSA Breaks Internet, Rewrites Constitution

The Washington Post reveals the next chapter of NSA spying. It invalidates the excuse of "Bush did it":

Obama administration had restrictions on NSA reversed in 2011

The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency’s use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans’ communications in its massive databases, according to interviews with government officials and recently declassified material.
The administration’s assurances rely on legalistic definitions of the term “target” that can be at odds with ordinary English usage.
[I]n 2011, to more rapidly and effectively identify relevant foreign intelligence communications, “we did ask the court” to lift the ban, ODNI general counsel Robert S. Litt said in an interview. “We wanted to be able to do it,” he said, referring to the searching of Americans’ communications without a warrant.
The Obama administration secretly amended the 4th amendment to now read:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized unless the government wants to be able to do it.
As we learned this week the NSA also broke all Internet security. If the NSA can break into "secure" connections how secure is your Internet banking? How easy is it for the government to fake "secure" transactions for whatever means?

The NSA can also spy on all smart phone data on iPhones, Android or BlackBerry phones. As we will learn later today the NSA does not only spy against "terror" targets or foreign politicians but also uses its capabilities to achieve economic gains. I suspected all along that international economic spying, not fighting "terrorism", is the major motive for many NSA programs.

The NSA spying undermines trust which is one of the basic necessary elements for communication and economic transactions. It will take a while for this to sink in, but I expect that we will see major changes in how international networks and commerce operate. There will be a strong trend to de-globalize and re-nationalize telecommunication networks and technology. This will extinct the Internet as we know it.

The NSA has stolen the Internet. We need to take it back.

Posted by b on September 8, 2013 at 6:56 UTC | Permalink


NSA was unfortuntately totally forgotten since Obama started his warmongering on Syria.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 8 2013 7:44 utc | 1

Oliver Stone - "Obama is a snake"

Video bottom of the page

Posted by: somebody | Sep 8 2013 7:56 utc | 2

The fundamental problem with the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights is that they do not have an explicit guarantee for the secrecy of correspondence – or Briefgeheimnis, as it is known in German.

All 20th century constitutions give explicit protection to communications, including Stalin's 1932 Soviet constitution. The most modern constitutions explicitly extend this right to privacy to electronic communications.

In United States law, privacy of communications is only derived from litigation. This extension of the 4th Amendment only extends as far as the expectation of privacy. After Snowden released the documents, no one in the US can have any expectation of any rights.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 8 2013 8:25 utc | 3

Ed Snowden's revelations and the drip drip drip of daily top ups from interested party's follow ups, have proven suspicions many of us held (eg I simply couldn't believe amerikan software manufacturers's assurances that secure socket layer encryption was built without an amerikan government backdoor - got into some fierce arguments with all sorts of techies on that one -now we know were correct & it doesn't feel good at all) though they have shaken the average bourgeois geek's faith in the social contract to the core.

For many 'good geeks' 'white hat hackers' etc, this is about equivalent to an xtian being shown incontrovertible proof that god is fantasy.

Many engineers will get over it, either that or, wilfully ignore the revelations.
Doubters should grab a copy of "DeFCON 20 2013". Here is a good place to start

The doco is about the 20th annual 'hackers convention' a lame greed fest where thousands of self styled 'hackers' get together in Las Vegas each year claiming to show the dumb wannabe's who pay hundreds of dollars for the privilege "how to hack the world" - 'white hat' style of course.

Those lame-O's wet dream of trading their poorly conceived python scripts up into a 'big gig with a major tech corporation'. "We're all about fixing security, not breaking it" they claim.

Apart from libeling anonymous & other genuine anarchist collectives, they pay homage to 'the general' - yep, the keynote speaker at DEFCON 20 was none other than General Keith B. Alexander, Director of the NSA, the architect of the horrors Ed Snowden has been publicizing.

While many engineers will use this destruction of everything the net was meant to be, as an opportunity to parlay their tenuous hold on middle class status into finally becoming a net billionaire, many more engineers will heed Bruce Schneier's call to fight back to resist and rtefuse requests to further pervert the 'net.
It is difficult to convey the high regard security analysts & network engineers hold for Schneier - there would be few middle of the road players in either field who haven't had their ass pulled outta the weeds at least once by "Schneier on Security".
Many will follow his call - but of course it is pretty much too late, if all that is going to happen is that things don't get worse.

There has been a lot of conjecture about exactly what 'operation bullrun' the strategy NSA/GCHQ launched in 2010 whereby they claim to be able to read everything on the net, is.

The fact that the agency is determined to keep it quiet indicates that whatever the exploit is, protecting a communication from it is straightforward & cost effective.

Which brings us to the main force that will bring the NSA strategy undone. Assume for a moment that the 850,000 NSA employees & government contractors who can access any communication on the net they choose to, are all honest, and wouldn't trade a few bits of data for a few thousand (million?) dollars.

Even if that were true which it isn't & can never be, the reality is that the NSA has taken a construction whose viability depends on it remaining secure, and made it insecure.
It was only a matter of time before what are euphemistically referred to as 'organised criminal networks' reverse engineer the fuck outta these systems, find the trapdoors, then go in hard ripping all players.
The internet will not survive that inevitable outcome of spook stupidity.

The tech corporations have been getting a ridiculously easy ride so far. They have played upon the much loved meme of mistrust of government to point the finger of blame at bureaucrats & politicians.

People need to wise up. There is another halfway decent documentary making its way round the traps, called "Terms And Conditions May Apply (2013) ".
This doco demonstrates that as much as Google, Yahoo, Apple, M$ et al may publicly decry the destruction of internet privacy, their corporate business models are designed to exploit that lack of net privacy. It is the primary way the tech corporations make money.

The fight has begun, but Joe Public isn't gonna get really het up about this issue until he/she gets burned themself.

This is already happening where the 'diversion' of email formerly considered secure has begun. Thus far banks & arbitrage houses have, albeit reluctantly, covered much of the loss, but as soon as those losses increase exponentially as they will, Joe's gonna hafta pick up his tab as a private citizen, and then, as a taxpayer, pick up the tab for the huge corporate losses which will follow as certainly as a shit follows a feast.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Sep 8 2013 8:44 utc | 4

"The NSA has stolen the Internet. We need to take it back."

Iranians already are doing it and there laughed at in the media, now the whole World will follow them. If they dare to be independent.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 8 2013 9:23 utc | 5

After ten or twelve weeks of fevered allegations, Webster Griffin Tarpley has finally stopped inveighing against Edward Snowden as a CIA disinformation specialist designed to weaken Obama. Tarpley still believes that both Snowden and Wikileaks are fiendishly clever CIA "limited hangouts," but this week at least he has stopped ranting about this.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 8 2013 10:06 utc | 6


It was only a matter of time before what are euphemistically referred to as 'organised criminal networks' reverse engineer the fuck outta these systems, find the trapdoors, then go in hard ripping all players.
The internet will not survive that inevitable outcome of spook stupidity.

Great point. We can all call our [stupid] Congressmen and say "Look! See what allowing the NSA free rein created! Look what you did." In other words, the fault isn't the criminal doing it, it's the NSA for creating the opportunity in the first place, aided and abetted by the lack of congressional oversight and the lack of understanding of how the NSA bamboozled them. Think I'll use this line of thinking now.

Posted by: MRW | Sep 8 2013 10:37 utc | 7


The public has owned the airwaves by law since 1934. Licensing does not include the owners' data. That's protected under the Fourth Amendment. It's as protected under the Fourth Amendment as the physical items listed in the amendment are protected from intrusion of the bank that holds your mortgage.

Posted by: MRW | Sep 8 2013 10:45 utc | 8


Should read 'protected from intrusion by the bank that holds your mortgage'.

Posted by: MRW | Sep 8 2013 10:47 utc | 9

There will be a strong trend to de-globalize and re-nationalize telecommunication networks and technology.
I agree.
This will extinct the Internet as we know it.
Yeah, we'll drop the 1910 AT&T Switchboard model. (Facebook, Google, with the hub in the middle.)

Posted by: MRW | Sep 8 2013 11:07 utc | 10

How is it legally possible to secretly change the fourth amendment? "The Obama administration secretly amended the 4th amendment to now read".. In my opinion Judges can interpret the constitution, and in whatever perverse way they like, but cannot change it without two thirds congressional support in both houses, am I missing something here?

Posted by: harrylaw | Sep 8 2013 11:07 utc | 11

11) How can secret permissions be possible? I learnt to my amazement that secret juries and court orders are possible in the US, and citizens targeted can be gagged - it is completely undemocratic - it is something out of Orwell and Kafka actually.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 8 2013 11:15 utc | 12

The fourth amendment is short and sweet ...

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

What they've built up around it is house of cards, awaiting a real judge to brush it right off the table. One will probably not happen along until we reclaim direct initiative, referendum, and recall from our so-called representative government. We need to start with an open election amendment, in my view.

The internet cannot be reclaimed in its flawed, centralized form. Projects like i2p, the Invisible Internet Project, will eventually provide an alternative, or family of secure alternatives, built upon the underlying insecure DARPA net. Just as TCP provides a reliable datastream built on top of an inherently unreliable ip network.

I think more people need to patronize these alternatives as they arise.

Posted by: john francis lee | Sep 8 2013 12:51 utc | 13

I think I'm becoming desensitised to the cascade of crapola gushing out of the Obama Admin. New revelations of criminality are no longer surprising. My first reaction to b's latest NSA talking point was a feeling similar to that expressed by the cops lurking behind a billboard in the Blues Brothers Movie when one of them, on seeing the Bros speed by, observed in bored exasperation:
"Uh-oh, it's that shitbox Dodge again..."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 8 2013 12:57 utc | 14

When do these appeals start popping up? There have to be at least a few from that Reuters report about the NSA secretly passing information to law enforcement agencies for their use in domestic cases. For all of the excesses of NSA spying, this is clearly the most egregious, concrete, and illegal example of it, and surely the most obvious avenue to get these scumbags into a courtroom.

Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence - information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

As for:

Assume for a moment that the 850,000 NSA employees & government contractors who can access any communication on the net they choose to, are all honest, and wouldn't trade a few bits of data for a few thousand (million?) dollars.

For every Edward Snowden, there are probably 1000 run-of-the-mill crooks and perverts with the access to the same info who are interested in people's credit card numbers or selfies. And the NSA could never publicly prosecute them without exposing the whole thing so it's what... please sign another NDA and you're fired?

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 8 2013 14:01 utc | 15

"How is it legally possible to secretly change the fourth amendment?"

Apart from the Third Amendment which, if I remember..., bans billetting of soldiers, the entire Bill of Rights has been "amended."
By just doing it then finding a judge to buy some incredibly crude legal sophistries of the 'black is white, look closely' type.
In the background presiding over this reversal of the Jeffersonian legacy is a Supreme Court dominated by scoundrels and fascists who are members of the Federalist Society. It has taken them 200 years but the first ten amendments, that they opposed at the time, are pretty well gone.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 8 2013 14:09 utc | 16

Petri Krohn 3

I don't you understand the 4th amendment or even the US Constitution (its in b's piece at the top) there is not an just an expectation, it's a statement because naturally people have a right to privacy and its not to be messed with unless there is a reason to and the authority must state precisely what they what to see.

The '32 Soviet constitution (a sick joke if ever there was one)and a lot of other 20th century constitutions is the problem in that its not a restraint, its more an operating manual so the Government grants those rights but can take them away very easily. The problem is that the citizens have let bureaucrats and/or lawyers decide what the constitution means.

Posted by: heath | Sep 8 2013 14:09 utc | 17

NSA spying....these horseshit Israeli/Palestinian "peace talks" that Kerry was trying to sell us....

There is much "news" being superceded by this latest sensationalized scam these traitorous whores in DC are engaged in.

Plenty of reasons for Israel to be milking and inciting the Syria thing. If I was Palestinian, I'd be plenty worried about what Netanyahu is going to be up to while the world's eyes are focused elsewhere.

NSA spying??? Americans are too naive and ill informed to actually give a shit, except maybe to mumble an occassional tsk tsk. We are stuck with the ever expanding fascist nature of our governing body, because they are rapidly enacting laws that legalize the fascism. Our window of opportunity to actually do something about it has long since passed, if indeed there ever was such a window.

Yes, we are being spied on. Yes, soon, protest will be illegal. And yes, soon, we will be bombing Syria. Its what Obama was put in place to do.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 8 2013 14:13 utc | 18

"The '32 Soviet constitution (a sick joke if ever there was one)"

As sick as the line "All Men Are Created Equal" in a country built on slavery and genocide?

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 8 2013 14:27 utc | 19

Sorry, in my earlier comment I thought that the claim by b that the fourth amendment had been secretly changed had some merit [who could put it past them] after rereading I realize that is not the case, rather that the constitution might just have well been changed since the Government takes no notice of it anyway.

Posted by: harrylaw | Sep 8 2013 14:34 utc | 20

guest 77 19

Lofty goals that fell very short thanks to complete shitheadedness' of a self serving elite.

Posted by: heath | Sep 8 2013 14:38 utc | 21

debs @ 4: "corporate business models are designed to exploit that lack of net privacy. It is the primary way the tech corporations make money."

Bingo Debs, this sentence hits the nail on the head. With the confluence of business and government, we're never going back. These giant corporations need ALL the information they can gather to market to us all. Business uber alles ya' know.

Posted by: ben | Sep 8 2013 14:46 utc | 22

Here's another reason big business needs your information:

Posted by: ben | Sep 8 2013 15:05 utc | 23

What's so telling to me, is the fact faceborg, google, netflix, amazon all do a terrible job of pigeonholing me as a consumer. Even after hundreds if not thousands of direct purchases over many years they rarely 'recommend' a product to me which suits my needs or tastes. Even in areas of film and music. They have no algorithm worth a nickel. If this is what NSA has to categorize people, well then they are in a world of mythical nonsense.

When we the people see/bulldoze the entire NSA infrastructure (including FISA court) on live television (like the Berlin wall) we will know civilization is finally waking up.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Sep 8 2013 15:25 utc | 24

On the NSA corporate alliance:

Posted by: ben | Sep 8 2013 15:32 utc | 25

So-called social networks are an important piece in the panopticon wars

Posted by: Mina | Sep 8 2013 15:56 utc | 26

we need a movement to force Assad, Obama, and Kerry to take lie detector tests to see who is bullshitting who.

Posted by: Andoheb | Sep 8 2013 16:25 utc | 27

Greek engineer found dead after Ericsson and Vodafone discover software altered for wire-tapping

. . .Even before Tsalikidis's death, investigators had found rogue software installed on the Vodafone Greece phone network by parties unknown.

Some extraordinarily knowledgeable people either penetrated the network from outside or subverted it from within, aided by an agent or mole.

In either case, the software at the heart of the phone system, investigators later discovered, was reprogrammed with a finesse and sophistication rarely seen before or since.

A study of the Athens affair, surely the most bizarre and embarrassing scandal ever to engulf a major cellphone service provider, sheds considerable light on the measures networks can and should take to reduce their vulnerability to hackers and moles. . . .

"Unknown hackers" . . . . working for Goldman Sachs?

Posted by: hmm | Sep 8 2013 17:28 utc | 28

POA 18

thats a bit to passive. What the american public did was bought into what Tom Englehardt called the 'Victory Culture'.

Posted by: heath | Sep 8 2013 19:17 utc | 29

somebody #12

11) How can secret permissions be possible? I learnt to my amazement that secret juries and court orders are possible in the US, and citizens targeted can be gagged - it is completely undemocratic - it is something out of Orwell and Kafka actually.

The concept you are referring to is not democracy, but Rechtsstaat. The concept exist independent of democracy; Austria in Kafka's time was certainly not a democracy, but it could very well have been a Rechtsstaat.

Americans have no word for Rechtsstaat, so they tend to conflate all the virtues of law and government into their concept of "democracy", whatever that means.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 8 2013 21:41 utc | 30

Government by and for corporations is getting harder to ignore:

Today; a veteran’s home seized a repro company in Washington DC over an unpaid $134 tax bill.

Tuesday; the USA commences air attacks in support of its sworn enemy, Sunni Jihadists.

Forever; no privacy for mail or on the internet.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Sep 8 2013 21:51 utc | 31

I think the problem goes far deeper and frankly, I wonder whether we aren't helping the real "evil agents" behind the situation by focussing on and blaming nsa.

Let's look at encryption. There is no reason whatsoever to assume (good) encryption isn't working/has been cracked by nsa. There is also no reason to believe that nsa can clandestinely splice optic fibers.

In virtually all cases the real culprit is a coordinated effort involving a) the lawmakers/politicians and b) private corporations. It is the latter, the corporations, who really make nsa's efforts powerful by handing out private keys, by - frighteningly often willingly - giving access to information, contents and even their network backbones.

When nsa "cracks" communication, say, on iphones that not because nsa could actually crack encryption but because apple willingly lets them in, into their operating system, their phones, their databases, their applications.

Why do the corporations do that? Two simple reasons: greed and complete disrespect for their clients whom they simply consider being cash cows, commercial animals for one, and second what could be described as collusion. Their "us" doesn't include us, the customers, the clients, the people - their "us" is the elite, the ruling class, no matter whether in politics, business or elsewhere. To an apple or google executive a high ranking government man simply is a lot closer than the commercial animals. To them quite probably it looks like a little favour to a government agency; after all, they are working together on their real goal, to herd, control and profit from the animals, the "lower 99%".

And once more we see the global cancer at its dirty work.

Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 8 2013 22:05 utc | 32


Yesterday; A 107 Year Old Man was Killed by a SWAT team

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 8 2013 23:19 utc | 33

@33 With all due respect to Mr. Isadore it sounds like he did not want to go gentle into that good night.

Posted by: dh | Sep 9 2013 0:02 utc | 34

"Why do the corporations do that?"

Without disagreeing with Mr Pragma it has to be said that the relationship between corporations and government is one in which the government has the ability to put a corporation out of business very easily, leaving it with the recourse of getting into enormously expensive litigation in courts over which the government has huge influence and never has to spend a cent of its own.

This is not to say that oligopolised corporations, such as Yahoo, Microsoft, Google do not fall into line very easily when the government makes them an offer they would find it very hard to refuse. They do, and partly because their customers do not/cannot penalise them and partly because society is at least as likely to regard the illegalities of the communications industry as patriotism as criminal bad faith.

In all these matters we keep on coming back to the basic question of ideology: the legacy of civil rights, liberties and popular sovereignty, exemplified in the Bill of Rights in the USA, is a hollow shell. Crack it and underneath you discover a society which is authoritarian, deferential, rigidly divided between a mass which is unsure of itself and a ruling layer(scum)which lacks both morality and modesty.

It has to be added that this divide is, if not entirely novel then very unusual. It has something to do with an economy in which few enjoy any sense of self sufficiency or independence and all are at the mercy of bankers and bosses-feelings which the old skilled worker and the peasant rarely had. And it has something to do with an education system which teaches dependence, prostitution (selling yourself) and patronage and advertises it as an individual's path to freedom.

And the other side of the coin of deference in society is not a sense of responsibility and duty among the rulers: they do nothing to justify public trust. Instead they act with complete irresponsibility, make appalling blunders and take decisions without forethought or caution. They can do this because they know that they are trusted not because they are regarded as virtuous but because they are seen as too powerful to cross.

To compare the average citizen today with the serfs of old is to insult the memories of those brave folk, whose Lords would never have dared to cheat and demean them as these prancing clowns in politics and the media do us every day.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 9 2013 0:53 utc | 35

Sorry to go OT, but... Y'all should take a gander at Jeffrey Kaye's latest magna opus... US Covered-Up for Decades the Largest Use of Biological & Chemical Weapons in History

Posted by: CTuttle | Sep 9 2013 0:59 utc | 36

CTuttle (36)

Just a detail, maybe, but an important one. That author, too, uses a formula like "the (zusa) people have been lied to" implying those innocent poor creatures, the zamericans, are "victims" themselves.


Whoever has seen zusa soldiers who regularly compensate their lack of courage and professionality by atrocities without mercy, without any restraints, and without even slight hints of being humans know that it's not only about "them evil politicians".
I concede that their system lures them into becoming cruel, mindless, inhuman mass killing bots - but that does not relieve them from minimal human duties.

About the only justice of the zusa mass murder system is that their own soldiers were maimed and crippled, too, by them using DU ammunition (ammunition manufactured from nuclear waste).

I'm so harsh because we are approaching a time when zusans will be increasingly at the receiving end of the world they created and, of course, they will negotiate for or even demand others to be kind and forgiving to them. What we hear now as a cheap phrase will then be the on-dit rationale to demand to not pay for their crimes.

NO! They knew and they nonchalantly mass murdered anyway. They shall be treated along the standards they introduced and mercilessly forced upon the world. With one exception only - and one they did not grant to others: Small children shall be spared.

Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 9 2013 2:58 utc | 37

Mr Pragma @37 Have you ever done anything directly to slow this descent into mayhem...? Honestly...?

Posted by: CTuttle | Sep 9 2013 3:04 utc | 38

When a an animal as a dog kills a boy, is always sacrified, because we think he can kill
again cause the hunt and taste of the blood is invencible.
Exactly de same happen with humans.

The soldiers (and politics) who has known the taste of power of destruction, can not live easily between pacific citizens.
They contaminate all, like radiactive poisson , is necessary decontamination with psychology help, time and so on.
Many times is imposible.

It is the Damnation of the use of weapons over innocents.

Affect all Society for generations.

Sorry for the speech.

Posted by: anonymous42 | Sep 9 2013 9:04 utc | 39

Finally its out:

No economic espionage? NSA docs show US spied on Brazil oil giant Petrobras

Despite earlier US assurances that its Department of Defense does not “engage in economic espionage in any domain,” a new report suggests that the intelligence agency NSA spied on Brazilian state-run oil giant Petrobras.

Posted by: rtthis | Sep 9 2013 9:38 utc | 40
Reuters, like The Guardian and Le Monde, decide for you who is an activist and who is not.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 9 2013 10:19 utc | 41


There is also no reason to believe that nsa can clandestinely splice optic fibers.

It's very well documented that fiber cables can be and are being spliced. Have a look at these URLs:

Wikipedia article on fibre tapping

Wikipedia article on a famous tapping operation

Good article on tapping

Information on a shady company that is at the heart of surveilance

Posted by: Hopeful | Sep 9 2013 11:10 utc | 42

@Hopeful #41

The relevant article on Wikipedia is called Room 641A. This cabinet noir splices into all domestic fibers at the SBC Communications building at 611 Folsom Street, San Francisco. One can assume that that similar black rooms exist for all US domestic fibers.

This facility was exposed already 2007. Seems like people did not understand the implications then.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 9 2013 11:36 utc | 43

Hopeful (41)

Kindly note the word "clandestinely".

Unlike most here I actually worked in a major colocation and physically stood in front of a cross atlantic fiber landing.
Those sea cables, at least the ones that cross an ocean, run in the billions. They are expensive enough to have telecoms, who usually aren't short on money, typically run them through consortia to share financing.
You can be absolutely sure that those cables are under 24/7/365 surveillance on multiple levels and over multiple parameters.

And *why* would nsa run such an extremely expensive operation with a very high risk of being detected anyway when they can just walk in and politely ask carriers and internet exchange points for direct access?

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 9 2013 12:03 utc | 44

It was also discovered as early as end 2001-early 2002 that the US were listening communications in both the UN and the EU offices. No one cared! Just as no one cares today, the difference is that more people than the "usual suspect foreigners" are aware of the size of the program.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 9 2013 12:35 utc | 45

I know for a fact that at least some of the people working in Strasbourg and Brussels know they get listened in on. Not only the technically savvy, but also those whose basic nature is naturally cautious.

Smart ones just presume, given their jobs, it will be so.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 9 2013 13:12 utc | 46

Anyone surprised to learn that the NSA spied on Petrobras's correspondence?
It is becoming crystal clear that this entire enterprise, deceitful and sleazy from the first, unsanctioned and, if only in order to preserve 'deniability', unregulated is driven by nothing more than the curiosity of the personnel involved.
There's economic information, which is worth fortunes, to be funnelled over to hedge Fund managers, brokers and day traders. There's data of interest to jealous husbands and blackmailers. There's promotion for cops looking for drug dealers to arrest- not to mention properties to confiscate. There's labour saving short cuts for Immigration officers. There are dozens of ways to frame up "suspects." And nothing is now easier than to listen in on the deliberations of Leninist conspiracies...Hell, there may even be the occasional tip on potential terrorists.
Full Spectrum Dominance begins at home. And it starts with checking out the panties on the neighbour's clothesline.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 9 2013 13:19 utc | 47

46) Actually you don't need NSA in the case of your neighbours. You just need modern technology.
We gladly hand our information over because we find it convenient.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 9 2013 13:34 utc | 48

There is this broiling underground war going on since about 10 or more years to capture and use internet data and the new-ish telco data.

Gvmts, their sigint, private spying-hacking cos. (very present all over the board, big money makers), large intertubes providers (Google .. ), hackers (Wikileaks..) and other players.

What they want is very varied:

Desperately need the info.,

> for control of ppl on the ground or economic moves and other, e.g. defense, spying, typically Gvmts.

> to sell their services at high prices -- to exploit the info in ‘allowable’ ways, advertising, academia, insurance cos, routine police procedures..

> to set up defensive, protective and limiting moves, e.g. against citizen access, cyber attacks, data theft, backdoors, etc.

> Secret services. fill it in.

> List not complete. E.g. Hollywood and the the main stream music industry are fighting downloads, confidentiality and citizen privacy types are fighting medical records being internet available, etc.

Parts of this multi-player tussle are now coming to light, but it is the tip of the iceberg I guess, as the dark side of the internet is not acknowledged.

It is about drugs, human trafficking, the sex trade, pedophilia, financial scams and manipulation, arms deals, war (local type at least), spying, blackmail, hacking, and more. In a way the dark side seems to be protected as it is ignored and the discourse concentrates on the issue of ordinary-citizen privacy.

Much like derivatives are not often mentioned in the public face of the financial so-called ‘industry.’

All this is taking place in a lawless environment, so the bigger bullies, or smartest operators, tend to dominate, or at least endure. So everyone wants “in” with them!

Be grateful I didn’t link to Abba’s song *Money Money...*

Information is a commodity that can be sold at premium prices to the ignorant.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 9 2013 15:39 utc | 49

"Be grateful I didn’t link to Abba’s song *Money Money...*'

Thanks for that.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 9 2013 17:00 utc | 50

Actually, with the upcoming 2014 and 2016 US elections in a rational world the Republican-Democrat divide (which excites USian passions as if it were The Yankees vs. The Mets) would be meaningless. The real divide is the Authoritarian Warmongers vs. Peace-Loving Freedom-Lovers and a rational person should vote on this basis. The two Machiavellian forces in the world are indeed the KSA Al-Qaeda financing salafists and the diabolic Mossad-operandus Israelis and their assorted allies, who, of course, are financing the Authoritarian Warmongers.
But, to paraphrase Hardy Campbell, this is (il s’agit de) irrational Fahrenheit Wonderland, so both elections will be Mets vs. Yankees (sorry, Republicans vs. Democrats) and so, the Israeli-Saudi Arabian financed alliance will continue to win.

Posted by: Albertde | Sep 9 2013 21:22 utc | 51

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