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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

NSA Storing Internet Data, Social Networking Data, on Pretty Much Everybody

Two new stories based on the Snowden documents.
This is getting silly. General Alexander just lied about this to Congress last week. The old NSA tactic of hiding behind a shell game of different code names is failing. It used to be they could get away with saying "Project X doesn't do that," knowing full well that Projects Y and Z did and that no one would call them on it. Now they're just looking shiftier and shiftier.
The program the New York Times exposed is basically Total Information Awareness, which Congress defunded in 2003 because it was just too damned creepy. Now it's back. (Actually, it never really went away. It just changed code names.)
I'm also curious how all those PRISM-era denials from Internet companies about the NSA not having "direct access" to their servers jibes with this paragraph:
The overall volume of metadata collected by the N.S.A. is reflected in the agency's secret 2013 budget request to Congress. The budget document, disclosed by Mr. Snowden, shows that the agency is pouring money and manpower into creating a metadata repository capable of taking in 20 billion "record events" daily and making them available to N.S.A. analysts within 60 minutes.
Honestly, I think the details matter less and less. We have to assume that the NSA has everyone who uses electronic communications under constant surveillance. New details about hows and whys will continue to emerge -- for example, now we know the NSA's repository contains travel data -- but the big picture will remain the same.
Related: WE've said that it seems that the NSA now has a PR firm advising it on response. It's trying to teach General Alexander how to better respond to questioning.

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