NSA Maps Social Connections Of Some Americans, New York Times Reports
WASHINGTON -- For almost three years the National Security Agency has been tapping the data it collects to map out some Americans' social connections, allowing the government to identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, The New York times reported.
Citing documents provided by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden, the Times reported that the NSA began allowing the analysis of phone call and e-mail logs in November 2010 to examine some Americans' networks of associations for foreign intelligence purposes after NSA officials lifted restrictions on the practice. The newspaper posted the report on its website Saturday.
A January 2011 memorandum from the spy agency indicated that the policy shift was intended to help the agency "discover and track" connections between intelligence targets overseas and people in the United States, the Times reported.
The documents Snowden provided indicated that the NSA can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, the paper reported.
NSA officials declined to say how many Americans have been caught up in the effort, including people involved in no wrongdoing, the Times reported. The documents do not describe what has resulted from the scrutiny, which links phone numbers and e-mails in a "contact chain" tied directly or indirectly to a person or organization overseas that is of foreign intelligence interest, the paper reported.
Read the rest here.
I read the article and then the comments. As far as the comments go, it appears that some folks are starting to get it. They also prove that some never will. I don't think it matters anymore whether people "get it" or not. I think it has gone too far and the PTB are in too deep. The government has the power and they have all the neat toys...
Well, I doubt anyone is surprised that the NSA is using "social media" to "spy" on American citizens. It's old news.
The one thing that these articles about government spying never mention is the network of blogs existing in America, and the world, today. I wonder why that is? Blogs are considered "social media", just like Facebook, Twitter and Pintarest, etc. Perhaps they just don't care about blogs? :)
Anything that you do on a computer or cell phone can be tracked and documented. Anything!
Oh! But they are only looking for communications that Americans have with others from outside the country. That makes me feel better Have you ever noticed all the visitors to your blogs from people "outside the country"? Qatar? Abu Dhabi in the UAE? Saudi Arabia? Iran? Iraq? Pakistan? Nigeria? Kenya? Israel? The occasional visitor from Somalia or Syria? You have all seen them. Every day. Do you suppose that those count as "contacts" with undesirable foreigners?
They say that they are only looking at contacts between Americans and foreign terr-err-ists. That's good. I can breathe a sigh of relief! I don't chat with any terrorists, foreign or otherwise.
But wait... How would they know who is having conversations with terrorists unless they were already checking everyone's private communications? Oh! They must already know who the terr-err-ists are and they are only looking at the communications between those known bad guys and Americans? I wonder how they figured out who is who? That makes me feel better, too. More secure. Safer.
I have always assumed that those other visits your blog receives everyday, the ones from DOD or DHS, (dot)gov and (dot)mil addresses, are just regular folks like you and me perusing the blogosphere in the same way you and I do. That they are patriots and have the same interests as the rest of us. Just killing time at work. I wonder if they ever, just for shits and giggles, send someone out to talk to a blogger about the content of his or her blog? You know, just for fun. If so, I hope they only fuck with Liberals.
Anyway, I'm thinking that I don't really like the way things are going.
What bothers me the most about this whole spying thing is the knowledge that there are actually Americans who are willing to spy on their fellow citizens. That makes me wonder what a person like that is made of. "I was only following orders". Or something. LOL. "If you see something, say something". Same thing goes for the cop who is enforcing (usually with great zeal) the laws that infringe upon the rights of the citizen, along with the petty rules and regulations that make life difficult. Some people are willing do anything for money, I guess. Or for the sense of power that it gives them. The sense of power, of control, over another human being, a fellow citizen. (I do believe in Karma. Yes, she can be a real bitch :))
I believe that there is a discernible line between doing something to protect a nation, and doing something that unnecessarily violates the rights of the citizens of a nation in the name of "protection".
If I think that obama sucks, and I publish a statement to that effect on my blog, could that statement cause me to be considered a domestic terrorist? Could it single me out for special treatment?
How did we get here? Where will it end?