Skip to main content

View Diary: Under 300 Unique Phone Metadata Searches in 2012 (43 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  "Does the NSA Tap That"?... (3+ / 0-)

    What We Still Don't Know About Internet Surveillance

    Among the snooping revelations of recent weeks, there have been tantalizing bits of evidence that the NSA is tapping fiber-optic cables that carry nearly all international phone and Internet data...

     But like other aspects of NSA surveillance, virtually everything about this kind of NSA surveillance is highly secret and we're left with far from a full picture.

    Is the NSA really sucking up everything?

    It's not clear....

    ...Is purely domestic communication being swept up in the NSA's upstream surveillance?

    It's not at all clear....

    But even if the NSA is tapping only international fiber optic cables, it could still pick up communications between Americans in the U.S...

    ...Are companies still cooperating with the NSA's Internet tapping?

    We don't know...

    What legal authority is the NSA using for upstream surveillance?

    It's unclear, though it may be a 2008 law that expanded the government's surveillance powers...

    ...How much Internet traffic is the NSA storing?

    We don't know, but experts speculate it's a lot...

    ...How does the NSA do filtering of the data it gets off cables in the United States?

    ..."I think that's the trillion dollar question that I'm sure the NSA is working really hard at all the time," Auerbach, the EFF expert. "I think it's an incredibly difficult problem..."

    We don't know what we don't know.  When the "US government" (repeatedly) "invokes special privilege to stop scrutiny of data mining" it makes it impossible for
    ...civil liberties lawyers (to) try to hold administration to account...
    Civil liberties lawyers and/or the media may get access to bits and pieces, but it's not clear that they have enough access to enough information to determine whether our civil liberties are being safeguarded in accordance with the Constitution.  

    Finally, at least some members of congress are taking a hard look at NSA spying

    In an unusually critical oversight hearing Wednesday, lawmakers from both parties warned national security officials that they must change their use of sweeping National Security Agency surveillance programs or face losing the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that have allowed for the agency’s mass collection of telephone metadata.  
    Even if the NSA manages to sway congress for now, the questions will remain and until there is adequate information to assure that there is informed consent of the governed, civil liberties advocates will continue to push for accountability and oversight.  

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site