Skip to main content

View Diary: The Risen Book: Is That All There Is? Afraid Not. (90 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  There's a lot of confusion about telecom (none)
    in relation to FISA and NSA spying.  (This happens to be my field, and I wish I had the time to diary it.)

    The excerpt from the book is accurate concerning the growth of international transit traffic through the U.S.  But it's also important to recognize that there has been exponential growth in ALL telecoms traffic worldwide, not just traffic to and through the U.S. networks.  

    More important, the ubiquitous use of digital multiplexing and Intelligent Network signaling makes it virtually impossible to separate on class of traffic (domestic) from another (international) once it enters our borders.  The ONLY locations where purely international traffic can be "captured" and hence "examined" by surveillance technolgies is at the international gateway switch, the switch that is directly connected to international cables or satellite links.  Calls entering and exiting those switches are clearly international, but everything on the other side of the switch is digitally combined, so that you could never distinguish the source or destination of the signal from that point forward.

    As a practical matter, it is not even possible to "eavesdrop" on telephone calls anywhere outside of the gateway switches, anyway, as these are essentially the only locations where traffic is isolated as independent connections.  (Even that's not really true, as calls from specific other locations are all multiplexed together, too, but they can be demuxed at the switch.)  The only other option is an old-fashioned wire-tap right at the premises of the party making or receiving the call.  There is literally no way that any technology can simply plug into a wire somewhere in the middle of the network and "listen" to phone calls, the way it was once done.  (The case is different with cell phones, of course.)

    Hope this helps a little.

    So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause -- Padme

    by dnta on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 05:08:05 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  You should definitely diary this... (none)
      ...although I am confused about what your conclusions and corrections of the record are.  The more sophisticated commentators realize that there is not much physical listening going on.  Instead, data is being sorted by computer to identify communications that trigger pre-determined flags -- either as to sender, recipient, content, etc.  Although some very suspect pre-targeted listening seems to have occurred, since Bolton was fed transcripts of some highly sensitive (and non-GWOT-related) communications involving State Department people.

      "When the intellectual history of this era is finally written, it will scarcely be believable." -- Noam Chomsky

      by scorponic on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 05:25:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The question to ask any American is (none)
      would it be acceptable for France or India to tap into calls going through their countries? Think about how many times Americans call India - I think people would have a shit-fit.
      •  I did ponder your question to America (none)
        then went on to read some more comments, but return now to say, I expect my phone calls to foreign destinations to be covered on my end by the American Constitution and the laws and judgements pertaining to such communication.  But, I cannot expect American standards to hold true for foreign governments.  I expect my mail, packages, emails, phone conversations to be subject to foreign review.
        The crux of this discussion isn't if foreign law violates American constitutional standards, it's if our American government lives up to our constitution.
        So, I wouldn't have a shit fit if France or India Or China reads my mail, I am having a shit fit cause Bush is reading my mail.

        I kinda like Howard Dean, it's those wild eye crazies that came with him I wonder about!

        by redlief on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 05:55:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree w/what you say. I postulate (none)
          this only as a way to get the average American that doesn't think that Bush did anything wrong to see it from another perspective.
          •  Even better. (none)
            What if we found out calls from New York to California were routed through, say, Quebec, and the Canadian government felt they had the right to monitor those conversations at will, with no legal restrictions.  Americans would have a shit-fit at that revelation, in my opinion.

            "When the intellectual history of this era is finally written, it will scarcely be believable." -- Noam Chomsky

            by scorponic on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 06:25:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Or, say, the UK, NZ, AU, etc.... (none)

              ...gleefully connecting dots since 1966 scratch

              by arbortender on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:25:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Well, sure, but ... (none)
              What if we found out calls from New York to California were routed through, say, Quebec, and the Canadian government felt they had the right to monitor those conversations at will, with no legal restrictions.  Americans would have a shit-fit at that revelation, in my opinion.

              Well, sure, but "that's different".  Which is an attitude sometimes referred to as "American Exceptionalism" -- the idea that there are some things that only the US (and sometimes certain US allies) should be allowed to do.  No doubt many Brits felt the same way during the days of the British Empire.  Hell, it probably dates back at least as far as the Roman Empire.

              One of the most elephant-in-the-living-room examples of this is weapons of mass destruction.  It was the major excuse the Bush League used to get the public behind the Iraq War.  But people in the US pretty much shrug off the fact that we've got the biggest stockpile of WMDs on the planet.  Evidently the assumption is that we can be trusted with them ... despite the fact that we're the only folks who've actually used nuclear weapons, and despite the fact that our leaders have made it clear that they're not reserved for retaliatory use.  The repeatedly stated US policy is, essentially, "we'll use them if and when we want to".

              Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

              by Bearpaw on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 08:41:33 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  So, (none)
      if this statement is correct:
      "The ONLY locations where purely international traffic can be "captured" and hence "examined" by surveillance technolgies is at the international gateway switch, the switch that is directly connected to international cables or satellite links.  Calls entering and exiting those switches are clearly international, but everything on the other side of the switch is digitally combined, so that you could never distinguish the source or destination of the signal from that point forward."

      Then does it not follow that these "international gateway switches" would be the ONLY switches where one could fulfill 1802(a)(1)(B):

      There must be no "substantial likelihood" that the intercepted communications include those to which a U.S. person is a party. §1802(a)(1)(B).

      And if it does so follow, then where is the exclusion that allows interception at any other switches than these?
       

      ...gleefully connecting dots since 1966 scratch

      by arbortender on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:23:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you've hit the nail on the head (none)
        If they claim that they have only been tapping international calls, incoming or outgoing, then they would have to be plugging in only to the gateway switches.  There is no other way to ensure that domestic calls are not included.  I haven't seen any specifics as to how or where the surveillance has been carried out, but I'd be very interested to find out.

        So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause -- Padme

        by dnta on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 09:16:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Bad for Telecoms? (none)
      So, if foreign countries become wary of having the US tapping their lines, will they eventually find an alternate network? That wouldn't be very good for American Telecoms.
      •  Sure, if the price is right (none)
        The main reason other carriers transit through the U.S. is because our services are so much cheaper than most of the rest of the world.  But as prices come down elsewhere, you can be sure they'll try to avoid going through U.S. networks.

        So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause -- Padme

        by dnta on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 12:00:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site