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View Diary: NSA news: More spying on Americans, smart phone intelligence, and this is national security? (133 comments)

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  •  I'm fascinated by the geolocation part of this. (34+ / 0-)

    I've mentioned this many times, and had people saying, "Oh, well they only collect this and that metadata and there are all these fake manufactured safeguards," etc.

    Well, there you are.  They do collect geolocation on specific people, according to this, so another lie falls.

    And if this kind of accumulation of data on "specific" people is anything like the other "specific" accumulation, then we can guess that there's a good possibility they're just collecting it all, on everybody, and then calling it "specific" because a form has to be filled out before permission is granted to bring it up on the computer.

    If that's the case, and I think that's what we're going to find out, then the NSA may have a database of the minute by minute location of everybody in the world who owns a cell phone going back who knows how long.  

    The KFB or the Stasi or the Gestapo would have drooled and creamed their pants just fantasizing about this kind of power.  This really is total information awareness.  This is more concerning than the idea they may actually be listening to the phone calls.

    •  The interesting thing about the geolocation (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poligirl, kharma, FogCityJohn

      is that the smartphone gps really is significant drag on the battery.

      What I wonder is whether this is something that they can "turn on" so that the gps is always recording, whether the gps turns on and then off for suitably long interval, or whether they are simply accessing the geolocation info that's recorded by the phone during its normal use.  

      To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

      by sneakers563 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 03:29:39 PM PDT

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    •  Since (8+ / 0-)

      The phones already have the "find my phone" feature, I don't see why the NSA can't get that data too.  All the software and network is already there.  You can run the app and see it.  If Microsoft servers can find my phone, I sure expect the NSA servers to be able to.

      Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

      by yet another liberal on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 03:31:48 PM PDT

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      •  It's not a matter of technical ability (6+ / 0-)

        It's a matter of legal right to get it. I can punch you. Doesn't make it legal.

        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

        by kovie on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 07:45:47 PM PDT

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        •  Well (7+ / 0-)

          That's why I think the game is up.  This is machines taking over, for real.

          A handful of companies have all the data and it's automated and easy to infiltrate by the NSA.  How much easier is it to get access at AT&T than to plant a spy at a foreign agency.

          Years back I got booted at the last minute from a plane.  They told me "The computer did it."  There isn't anybody to argue with about it.

          And the old principle of being able to unplug the robot turns out to be a pipe dream.

          Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

          by yet another liberal on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 08:23:28 PM PDT

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          •  Again, they've been able to do this for decades (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Not A Bot

            E.g. breaking into Ellsberg's therapist's office. The question has always been is it legal. I'm not that concerned with means, but motives and justifications.

            "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

            by kovie on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 09:00:39 PM PDT

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            •  I just can't agree (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lotlizard, kharma

              Breaking into an office I cannot see as analogous to the data collection abilities that machines can do automatically.  The bugs have been worked out and databases can be copied without a trace.

              And it's only just begun, really.

              Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

              by yet another liberal on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 09:07:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  But if it's not legal and can be shut down (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                maryabein, Not A Bot, Dumbo

                for that reason, who cares? You're arguing that current technology makes techno-tyranny inevitable and irreversible. In which case, why are we even bothering? But I don't buy it. They're human, they make mistakes, the biggest one being the hubris that they're infallible and untouchable. Um, no.

                "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                by kovie on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 09:29:22 PM PDT

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            •  The difference being (0+ / 0-)

              Ellsberg was only one guy, not everybody in the world.  And breaking into Ellsberg's psych became cause for Nixon being forced from office, which is heavy consequences.

          •  I don't think it's up at all. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            yet another liberal

            Other people are going to develop more secure phone systems just out of self-defense.

            The US Navy is already doing that and have created their own parallel G4 system.  Why?  Well, look at it from the Navy's POV.  Would you trust your classified secrets with the NSA?

            At some point in the future, I suspect most internet carriers will be some kind of radio, like wifi, and the distinction between phone and internet will disappear  At that point, options available to users may depend on whether or not the phone/computer is hardware rigged to betray them.  And nobody has to be a customer of a vendor that betrays them.  Not yet.

            I heard just now that Apple's worried about it's Iphone line because they've lost 80% of the smartphone racket to Google Android.  Google hasn't proven to be trusworthy, so I wonder if we might see some less American alternatives in the future, Android-capable but not obligatory.  Open Source smartphones might be the next wave.

            Since last night, I've been trying to think of ways around the cell phone tower dilemma.  The problem seems to be that in order to complete the call, some kind of telephone number identifier has to be used right now in the handshaking.  If you know who 555-3456 belongs to, you know everything about his movements.  But if some alternative registry existed that could function with a pool of phone numbers, reassigning them on the fly, it might be able to obscure that.

            Another option, and this doesn't sound very elegant but I like the basic idea, would be to have the phone interrogate a server through the cell phone tower for calls, something like email requests.  It would have to do this on a frequent basis, like every four seconds, and that might be annoying to people used to having the phone pick up right away, but it would have the advantage of privacy.  An NSA snooper monitoring 555-3456 would know he was receiving or making a call, but wouldn't know who was on the other end.  This could all be done purely with software and servers outside the US.

    •  Metadata includes location (6+ / 0-)

      Not specific location, but it includes at the very least the cell your phone is communicating with currently. And your phone is always communicating with a cell if you've got service, that's how they figure out how to route your call.

    •  Perhaps I should dump the smartphone. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poligirl, kharma

      I've got an old "dual-band" -- back from the time when analog was still the thing.

      I could start it up and put the iPhone in a drawer.

    •  Read the article (0+ / 0-)

      They figured out how to get at information on the phone itself if they can break into the computer it syncs to. In other words, they're not remotely accessing it over the cell network and breaking down the front doors, they're getting in through the back door from a computer on which you probably already transact far more private activities.

      My guess would be that with the iPhone they just figured out how to trigger the phone to create the same type of backup that iTunes makes when you sync, and just siphon off the data they want. Or if they really wanted to be lazy, they could just inpect iTunes' memory while it's doing the sync.

      Those who ignore the future are condemned to repeat it.

      by enigmamf on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 09:18:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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