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View Diary: NSA leaker Snowden lying say leaders of House Intelligence Committee (135 comments)

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  •  Real questions re technical accuracy of the claims (8+ / 0-)

    See the great Kevin Drum:

    "Save it for 2050." -- Mark Penn (on Obama's electability)

    by throughaglassdarkly on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:57:01 PM PDT

    •  'The great Kevin Drum' (5+ / 0-)

      lists himself as a political blogger, not an IT guy.  I can think of several ways to interpret 'direct access' that do not necessarily mean 'the NSA can root around in google's database'.

      Mirrored info, for instance, provides essentially the same service without actually letting anyone into the main servers, just the slaved ones.  I'd rather hear what actual IT people have to say about the technical accuracy, not just political bloggers.

      •  This entire piece is an important (9+ / 0-)

        read. It's one of the best analysis I've read and gets right to the heart of things.

        But Greenwald and MacAskill reported more than what the published slides claim. They reported direct and unilateral access to company data. The slides don’t actually conflict with the company and NSA statements, once you take into account that “the servers” doesn’t necessarily mean the company’s central servers, and could instead mean the kind of secondary digital clean room described in The New York Times’ account.

            This is not a pedantic point.

        The difference between these two explanations isn’t some nuanced distinction that only tech geeks should care about. This is the difference between companies voluntarily giving the government direct and unilateral access to arbitrary customer data and companies merely complying with the law in a technically efficient way that doesn’t change the nature of the data received by the government. If Greenwald and MacAskill have documents or detailed statements from Snowden that provide illumination on this point, they should share this information. Because as it stands now, the only way their story is true is if all the companies involved are lying, and the NSA is lying, and Senators Feinstein and Rogers are lying, and the President is lying, and the New York Times’ sources are lying.

            Everyone but Greenwald’s source would have to be lying.

        There's much more and I highly recommend it.

        "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

        by Onomastic on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 10:49:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well here's an IT guy. (8+ / 0-)

        And anyone who cares about this entire issue really needs to read that article.

      •  I think Drum is off base here: (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        deep info, Armando, ebgill, Onomastic
        There's a huge difference between (a) Google giving NSA unfettered access to all of its user data whenever NSA feels like looking at something, and (b) Google agreeing to set up a secure method of transferring data that NSA has obtained a court order for. It's night and day.
        Conversely, a story about how companies transfer information to NSA after they get a court order is a complete nothing.
        It's not a huge difference, a night and day difference between (a) and (b). It's hardly any meaningful difference at all.

        Also, Prism isn't (a).

        Brennan Center says this:

        When it comes to Section 702, the law cited for PRISM, the FISA court’s role is more limited. Even though Section 702 does not allow the intentional surveillance of U.S. persons, the government is not required to go before the court to obtain individual surveillance orders. Instead, the court approves the “targeting” and “minimization” procedures described above to limit the amount of information about law-abiding Americans that is intercepted, retained, and disseminated.

        Government Surveillance Factsheet

        EPIC says this:
        Per usual procedure, a FISA Court ("FISC") issues a "FISA warrant" upon a demonstration of probable cause that the target is a foreign power or agent thereof, but there are numerous exceptions to this procedure. Of particular importance is Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 ("FAA"), codified as 50 U.S.C. 1181a, which allows the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence ("DNI") to authorize jointly the targeting of non-United States persons for the purposes of gathering intelligence for a period of up to one year. 50 U.S.C. 1881a(1). Section 702 contains restrictions, including the requirement that the surveillance "may not intentionally target any person known at the time of acquisition to be located in the United States." 50 U.S.C. § 1881a(b)(1). The Attorney General and DNI must submit to the FISC an application for an order ("mass acquisition order") for the surveillance either before their joint authorization or within seven days thereof. The FAA sets out a procedure by which the Attorney General and DNI must obtain certification from FISC for their program, which includes an assurance that the surveillance is designed to limit surveillance to persons located outside of the United States. However, the FAA does not require the government to identify targets of surveillance, and the FISC does not consider individualized probable cause determinations or supervise the program. The FAA permits interception of the communications of United States persons so long as the surveillance program was not designed to target those persons but rather the foreign actors with whom they communicated.

        Clapper v. Amnesty Int'l USA

        This is essentially Armando's point, I think.

        Whether the data is acquired by direct hookup, replication server, FTP, or rowboat doesn't matter.

        What matters is that Prism is an implementation of Section 702.

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