Skip to main content

As Marcy Wheeler explains in her latest post over at, the newest, revised language in House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers’ USA Freedom Act (HR 3361) gives the NSA exactly what it has wanted all along: an expansion of the parameters of the current NSA domestic phone dragnet to enable the agency to surveil, "correlate" and capture the communications of individuals that aren’t even communicating with NSA targets by phone; and the “two-hops” rule will apply to those communications, too.

So, according to the current language in HR 3361, if you’re sending in an online order for takeout from Pizza Hut, and someone sitting on a park bench next to an NSA “target” in Peoria happens to have ordered food in the same manner from the same Pizza Hut, you just might find yourself on an NSA list. In fact, if you just happened to be walking around with your smartphone in an area within the range of the same cellphone tower as everyone else near that park bench in Peoria, at the same time when the NSA target was sitting there, you would make that same list, too. In other words, HR 3361 dramatically expands the “two hops” rule to include/enable non-telephony communications and surveillance methodologies under the new law(s) as it’s currently written in the USA Freedom Act (HR 3361).

In 2014, this is what our government’s leaders describe as legislation that will “rein in” the powers of the NSA.

Here’s Marcy Wheeler with much more detail (you really should read her entire post to understand the pure deviousness of this captured government charade)…

The “Automated Query” at the Telecoms Will Include “Correlations”
Published May 16, 2014 | By emptywheel

…In other words this [new] language provides clues about why the IC was willing to outsource the dragnet.

The description of the hops reveals two things that got added to the 3- or 2-hop process the government once described.

First, they’re including “associated metadata” among the things that can be further chained. Even assuming we’re only talking voice telecom information, this would include cell site location on top of the other metadata (and, in the era of smart phones, potentially far, far more).

But in addition, they’re including “connections,” in addition to contacts, with the seed.

That is, you don’t have to ever call a target to be sucked up in the phone dragnet. You can be simply “connected” to that target. The kinds of connections in question surely include dropped burner phones (that is, a matching of phones that call the same pattern of phones as an inactive phone). They may include common geolocation. But — again, given the advent of smart phones — they may include far, far more.

So what this little footnote calls to my attention (thanks, Mike Rogers!) is that they’ve gotten approval for different kinds of chaining, beyond actual phone contacts (remember, this could include Internet contacts over a smart phone). And they’ve included metadata generally, not just phone call records, surely including geolocation, among the things they might chain on.

Which explains one incentive for outsourcing this. They can’t use geolocation for chaining in government hands. They can in private hands. There’s likely far more information for which that is true when you consider smart phones.

They can’t access that information now. They will be able to once HR 3361 outsources everything to the telecoms.

But really, this is about reform.

(Bold type is diarist's emphasis.)

#            #            #

For more on this story, checkout my post from yesterday: Marcy Wheeler: USA Freedom Act “Changes Very Little, In Spite of the Broad Promises.”

#            #            #

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site