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As a member of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), I have an ieee.org email that has been set up for me. I personally make little use of it, but no doubt others do. Recently, the IEEE “upgraded” their service by turning it over to Google. In doing so, have they (and other organizations that may have similarly switched to Google) placed sensitive corporate, government and individual technical data at risk?

Everything Gmail and perhaps everything Google, as we have just learned, is now on file with the NSA. One AP news article noted that altogether 4.9 million government workers, including more than 1 million contractors, have access to the data the NSA is storing. It's impossible to protect the IEEE emails under these circumstances.

With potentially 4.9 million pairs of eye able to look at this data, no one can say for certain or calculate the odds that some of it has already been compromised and perhaps sold for personal gain.

According to their website:

IEEE.org serves technical professionals and students who are looking to both foster working relationships and gain access to the latest technical research…
Imagine that Company A is conducting research at an undisclosed laboratory, and an engineer communicates via this Gmail-based system with Company B, also part of the project, that a certain patent for (say) a drone guidance system has been approved. Soon, on a computer monitor in a darkened, air-conditioned room someplace in Honolulu, the message is flagged because it contains the word “drone.” At that point, one is relying entirely on the honesty of that person (and who knows how many others) not to jump on and profit from the information revealed. Since location data may be included, the secret laboratory is secret no longer.

At the time the change to Gmail was announced, I had reservations about giving up the security of the prior system, and determined never to send anything critical via the IEEE mail system. But the new revelations mean that technical data on which corporate profits or national security depend may in fact be compromised simply because it is, practically speaking, impossible to police 4.9 million workers each of whom could be a potential leaker.

All professionals should be concerned.

Originally posted to LarryHI on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 04:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bummer, My Emails Have Mentioned Drones and (15+ / 0-)

    claymores and other hot button words since the inception.

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 04:43:22 PM PDT

  •  Ah, yes, now this is what will cause REAL change! (14+ / 0-)

    This one might actually cut into a corporate potential profit.

    /snark

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 04:45:30 PM PDT

    •  This has raised a critical thought for me. (8+ / 0-)

      Fairly recently, I realized that the global climate change problem is turning into a HUGE problem for a number of large corporations, not the least of which are insurance companies.  This should logically get them on board with environmental causes.  In fact, if it does not, the implications are staggering regarding what the wealthy class intentions really are.

      The implications for the NSA/Snowden revelations should hold equally true.  It would seem the government now has the ability to decide which corporations will thrive and which will fail.  

      Is this the key we need to break the corporate control over our government?  Turn these assholes against each other and stir the big pot, I say!

      Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

      by Gustogirl on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 01:06:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, we need multiple corporate wedge issues ... (4+ / 0-)

        ... the challenge is maintaining a coherent "we" to be driving the corporate wedge issues that is itself not subject to being co-opted by the corporations.

        Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

        by BruceMcF on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 03:00:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't see an issues with tradesecrets and gov't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DeminNewJ

          surveillance. The evaluation of whether protection for a tradesecret is extinguished because the tradesecret was disclosed to a person or entity outside of the company is common judge-made law; meaning, there's a lot of room for judges to use equity in their evaluations and few hardline rules. I see a zero percent liklihood that a defendant could raise government surveilance as a defense and expect to succeed.

          On your broader conversation about corporations and positive social changes, the insurance industry has been advocating for climate change legislation for years. I'm waiting for them to get into lobbying on firearms. I'm sure the insurance lobby would love a policy that required all gun owners to buy their products, and for that matter, I would to.

  •  I've figured for a while (12+ / 0-)

    that the place this would be taken seriously is in the only part of America that matters, Corporate America.   Mere citizens contemptibly desrve to have the government reading their mail, but real live corporations?!  OMG!  That's going too far, and must and WILL be stopped post-haste.

    "You may very well think so, I could not possibly comment." ~ Francis Urquhart, pragmatic political philosopher

    by ActivistGuy on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 04:49:23 PM PDT

  •  Your metadata, etc? Suck it up. (7+ / 0-)

    Corporate secrets? Watch Snowden get the chair.

  •  deep packet sniffing (11+ / 0-)

    they have technology out to sniff deep in anything that hits the big switches at MAE-West, MAE-East, etc...

  •  all confidential emails (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, Sparhawk, kurt, J M F, Sunspots

    should be encrypted.  Only way to make sure they are not intercepted.  It should be remembered all email sent is in the clear and can be intercepted.  Google does this with gmail in scanning for keywords for suggested ads.

    On top of this, all corporate email should be sent through company emails based on their domain name.

    Now I am glad I use a Canadian based company to host my domains. ( I am based in Canada)

    "The only person sure of himself is the man who wishes to leave things as they are, and he dreams of an impossibility" -George M. Wrong.

    by statsone on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 07:43:00 PM PDT

    •  The NSA has built massive decrypting code. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      J M F, DarkestHour, koNko, Mannie

      It is said they can decrypt any existing scheme including the very most secure algorithms for financial transactions.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:27:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No way man (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        out of left field, soros, kurt, koNko, JPax

        256-AES is unbreakable. The computing power you'd need is astronomical (I mean this in a literal sense: you'd need a computer the size of a star system and it would take billions of years even so).

        Oh, wait, I'm massively understating the computing power required.

        The only way to defeat 256-AES is with "social engineering" or password theft or installing a key logger or other malware on someone's machine. But no matter how big a computer any government has stuffed in a basement somewhere, they aren't breaking a 256-AES message without the decryption key. Period.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:37:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, this has already been written about: (9+ / 0-)
          According to another top official also involved with the program, the NSA made an enormous breakthrough several years ago in its ability to cryptanalyze, or break, unfathomably complex encryption systems employed by not only governments around the world but also many average computer users in the US. The upshot, according to this official: "Everybody's a target; everybody with communication is a target."
          ...

          The NSA’s machine was likely similar to the unclassified Jaguar, but it was much faster out of the gate, modified specifically for cryptanalysis and targeted against one or more specific algorithms, like the AES. In other words, they were moving from the research and development phase to actually attacking extremely difficult encryption systems. The code-breaking effort was up and running.

          The breakthrough was enormous, says the former official, and soon afterward the agency pulled the shade down tight on the project, even within the intelligence community and Congress. “Only the chairman and vice chairman and the two staff directors of each intelligence committee were told about it,” he says. The reason? “They were thinking that this computing breakthrough was going to give them the ability to crack current public encryption.”

          It's a one-year old article. In 2009 they were running at 1.75 petaflops in a "modern-day Manhattan project." (Japan claimed 10 petaflops.)   Think they haven't made any progress?   Their goal is to pass exaflops and move on to zettaflops and yottaflops.

          It's a modern day 'nuclear arms race,' centered around absolutely enormous computers housed in entire connecting buildings.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:35:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not to mention the one thing that will take down (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            J M F, YucatanMan, Mannie

            pretty much any encryption system.  Repeat after me, P=NP.

            You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

            by Throw The Bums Out on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:49:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Computational power alone is insufficient (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk, nextstep

            Even if they somehow reach the yottaflops level, this is still only a minuscule fraction of what would be needed to crack the hardest codes with known methods, even if you had billions of years to do it.

            So if there was a breakthrough, it was most likely purely mathematical in nature. Or else they somehow managed to build a quantum computer, but given where we stand on that, that is very unlikely.

            "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

            by Drobin on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 05:43:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Re (4+ / 0-)

            (A) 256-AES is a public algorithm with a lot more people than just governments looking at it. If there were a flaw, the chances that the government knows about it but it has not been published are slim. Remember, this is math, not building a better mousetrap. If there isn't an exploit, there isn't one.

            (B) The kind of computing power you need to decrypt 256-AES is many, many, many orders of magnitude above what anyone can possibly construct. It doesn't matter how large the supercomputers they construct are: it will still be an infinitesimal fraction of what they need, like trying to jump to Pluto with a pogo stick instead of your feet.

            (C) Of course, no one can evaluate the future possibility of magical inventions like quantum computers or P=NP. However, given what we know now of technology and science such things do not exist and there are many many people in both research and the private sector who are trying to come up with such capabilities and have so far come up short, and there is little guarantee that even if such far fetched capabilities become available they will have a prayer of decrypting 256-AES.

            (D) Even in the fantasyland scenario that the government or someone else can decrypt 256-AES (which they assuredly can't, for reasons above) they still have to keep the capability a secret. Look at any of these leak fiascos to demonstrate that they can't keep secrets and release secret information by accident all the time. So they certainly aren't going to be mass decrypting all Internet communication because that would be found out very quickly, either by a leak or by a simple counterintelligence tactic of sending 256-AES emails full of "information" of extreme interest and see if they take the bait. They would have to be extremely circumspect because every use of this capability risks blowing the secret.

            So no, I doubt there is any capability of defeating 256-AES in anyone's lifetime of reading this.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 05:45:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, at the very least, and maybe we can (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sparhawk, lotlizard, deep info

              agree upon this:  The NSA has been remarkably successful in persuading Congress to fund the attempts to breach 256-AES with massive computing power and in having the largest, fastest computers in the world.

              Is cyber warfare the new cold war?  A "missile gap" in computers?  An arms race for most monstrous super computers?

              Even if they never breach this code, they've convinced people that the NSA should be trying to do so, and should be funded to make that attempt.

              So, does this mean the US Congress are suckers? The American people are being taken for a ride by the private contractors hired by the NSA?  Just draining billions for nothing?

              "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

              by YucatanMan on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 09:46:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                YucatanMan

                They may want the money for other purposes and are just claiming that the money is for AES decryption attempts. There are lots of uses for advanced supercomputers that don't involve throwing money down a rathole trying to break AES-256. Also, if you are really trying to break AES, it's pretty stupid to tell Congress that this is what you need the money for. Like I said, an ability to break AES-256 is only useful if no one knows about it, otherwise everyone just goes to AES-384 and you're screwed again.

                Also, I have little doubt that they may be trying exotic schemes like quantum computers, I just don't think they are likely to have much success given the odds against them. But then again, who knows? All I'm saying is: given what we know of AES, it is highly unlikely that any government will be able to crack it.

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 11:47:55 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Remember the "quantum computer". (0+ / 0-)

                  Designed to solve the travelling salesman problem, and doing pretty well at it.  (It's basically analog computing).  This is blatantly NSA-funded.

                  I don't know off the top of my head which mathematical family AES is in, but I'd pick one which isn't equivalent to travelling-salesman, and one where the functions involved don't appear in quantum mechanical forumala.  

                  And I'd go with ten times the recommended bit count for anything I picked; just because.

              •  They are draining billons for nothing. (0+ / 0-)

                I think they may have cracked some of the codes... but what's the point?  There will always be better ciphers, and the real problem is figuring out who to listen to, which they have only gotten worse at.

                So yes:

                So, does this mean the US Congress are suckers? The American people are being taken for a ride by the private contractors hired by the NSA?  Just draining billions for nothing?
                Yes.
        •  It is also probable that they have the holy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko

          grail of modern cryptography.  Specifically, proof that P=NP.  That or a functioning quantum computer (with thousands or even millions of qbits) would be more than enough.

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:48:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Didn't they require backdoors into all those? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko

          I remember reading something about that.

          •  That's why you use Open Source that you (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sunspots, Sparhawk, Mannie

            compile locally- No place to hide a back door.

            •  But what about the compiler used to compile (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sunspots

              the compiler used to compile the compiler used to compile the compiler used to compile the compiler used to compile the compiler used to compile the software?  As Ken Thompson showed, you can't really trust anything.  Oh, and don't forget your ethernet card firmware, your video card firmware, etc all of which can use DMA transfers to access anything on the system regardless of OS security measures.

              You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

              by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 07:31:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's exceedingly difficult to hack a compiler (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sneakers563

                And there are compiler validation systems that guarantee that the compiler isn't producing a back door.

                Also, how would a compiler know that what it's compiling is encryption related? Arguing that a compiler will insert back doors is a strange argument that ignores what compilers are and how they work.

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 09:06:03 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  One wonders (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sneakers563, grover, lotlizard, deep info

          how much of this information leaked about the all powerful NSA is a metaphorical Panopticon.
          Quoting Michel Foucault:

          The Panopticon is an ideal architectural figure of modern disciplinary power. The Panopticon creates a consciousness of permanent visibility as a form of power, where no bars, chains, and heavy locks are necessary for domination any more.
          I'm not saying they can't do what they claim to do, but it is certainly in their best interests to make us think they can. If everyone went over to TOR or something similar, they might have a problem. Nonethless, we should still fight intrusion of any sort tooth and nail.

          You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

          by northsylvania on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 01:34:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  No need to break encryption (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        deep info

        When 80% of people still use weak passwords, there's no need to bother with decryption schemes.

        Throw in the insane number of people who happily send one another passwords via email or tell them over the phone, and the effort to get into encrypted messages is pretty much nil.

  •  Yep, pretty much (9+ / 0-)

    I realized this some time ago. Way too many people can access this stuff, and many of them aren't government employees. Plus, there's a shocking lack of security within national security (as there is a shocking lack of intelligence within intelligence). If Manning and Snowden could do this, lots of others can, for far less noble purposes. We've created a monster that's not only killing our privacy and civil liberties, but may someday kill us, literally.

    Give boys their toys, and sooner or later someone gets hurt.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:35:31 PM PDT

  •  The NSA does not have your email (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cfm

    Please pay attention to the facts that we know so far.

    Fact: for the NSA to get any email from a private corporate database like google or yahoo they would need to get a warrant.

    Google has written a formal request to DOJ to be able to talk about this in more detail.

    There was nothing in those slides that got published that says all data is sent to NSA.  Rather one slide just describes what an analyst would find in a collection of email and other stuff that had be acquired via a warrant.

    What has happened to us?  I am now seeing even Al Franken mocked.  As a Senator, member of the Judiciary Committee and the Chairman of a sub committee that includes Privacy he has been briefed and I feel confident that he was paying attention as they filled him in.

    Congressional elections have consequences!

    by Cordyc on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:33:08 PM PDT

    •  They would need a FISA order, that's true. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DarkestHour, sacrelicious, deep info

      But I would not be surprised if that order simply told Google to turn over everything wholesale. After all, that is what the FISA orders regarding phone records say. There is no real reason to believe this is any different.

      Of course, Google has said that they only turn over small amounts of data in response to specific, targeted queries, but I believe that roughly as far as I can spit.

      "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

      by Drobin on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 05:58:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. FISA issues "general warrants" (0+ / 0-)

        The one we've seen just says "Hand over everything about everyone".  Which is a Fourth Amendment violation.  So we can assume there are more.

        Google -- well, actually, given Brin & Page's history, and the fact that Google is currently fighting several court cases against the government over government attempts to snoop at Google, I  can believe that Google is fighting this.

        Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T and all the other "internet service providers" rolled over and did exactly what the NSA asked them to, in bulk.

    •  In regards to Al Franken paying attention, (9+ / 0-)

      I'm sure he did, but given the Orwellian language the spooks use when talking about this, I'm not sure that would have helped.

      For instance, NSA is actually forbidden by regulation and statute from collection information on US citizens and domestic communications unless there is a specific suspicion of something like espionage or terrorism involved. Yet we know they are taking in everyone's phone records and storing them indefinitely.

      How do they justify this? Simple.

      In NSA's view, just because data exists in an indexed database on one of their servers does not mean that they have "collected" it. That's because the database files are not human readable. "Collection" only occurs when someone searches the data to generate something a person can read.

      So when James Clapper (the Directior of National Intelligence) told Ron Wyden that the NSA does "not wittingly" collect information on American citizens, he wasn't really lying, he was just responding in Newspeak NSA English.

      Briefings of Congress are not unlikely to contain quite a bit of that stuff, specifically designed to misdirect the listener. Remember that we are dealing with professional spies. Misdirections is their bread and butter. So the fact some congress person, even if it's Al Franken, says he is satisfied nothing untoward is going on, frankly doesn't do much to assuage me.

      "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

      by Drobin on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 06:19:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Clapper is in contempt of Congress (0+ / 0-)

        for his lies.  Unfortunately Congress is out to lunch and has forgotten that it has any powers.  This, by the way, is how the Roman Republic ended: the Senate just handed all of its powers over to Caesar (and actually, before him, to Sulla).

    •  Actually they do. (4+ / 0-)

      They may not be reading it, but they are storing it.

      See links in my down-tread post.

      PRISM and the requests you refer to are besides the point.

      Who are you more inclined to trust on this, Al Franken or the former NSA technical director who wrote the program and much, much more.

      Do you honestly think Congress has oversight over the operations of NSA?  They can barely over see their own lunchroom.

      400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

      by koNko on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 07:22:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, I'm willing to cut Congress some slack (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotlizard, koNko

        here (for probably the first time in my life):

        Still, lawmakers say getting "briefed" doesn't mean knowing what's actually going on.

        "It's playing with words. What does 'brief' mean?" asks Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia.

        Rockefeller, who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee, says he never feels adequately briefed. He remembers his days on the committee during the previous administration.

        "I would go up there to the White House and get briefed, and come back knowing nothing," he says.

        Rockefeller says in this case, he had been told about the two surveillance programs in question, but another member of the Senate Intelligence Committee — Republican Susan Collins from Maine — says she was never briefed. And don't even tell her she could have just asked more questions.

        "Well, how can you ask when you don't know the program exists?" Collins says.

        Collins just joined the Intelligence Committee this year, so maybe she would have gotten the lowdown eventually. But during the last Congress, she was the ranking member on the Homeland Security Committee, and she still never heard about either the email monitoring or phone records collection.

        "I had, along with Joe Lieberman, a monthly threat briefing, but I did not have access to this highly compartmentalized information," Collins says.

        The White House says members of Congress could have asked to review classified reports. But here's how that would work: First, you have to know what to ask for. Then, you walk into a secure room. You can't bring your cellphone in. You can take notes, but you can't keep them with you afterward. So you're relying completely on memory by the time you walk out of that room.

        Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., says the material is often really dense and jargony, but you can't talk to your staff about it because everything's classified.

        "So, if you're not familiar with the material, you got a chance to see it, but I don't think that there's a whole lot you can do with it," Ellison says.

        Ellison was one of many members of Congress who say they were in the dark about the programs. And yet, all of them were asked to vote on the laws that authorize this monitoring.

        http://www.npr.org/...
        Orin Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University, says it's "just inherently difficult to legislate in the national security area."

        /snip

         On the other hand, what the government is doing is secret, and you don't want the bad guys to find out about it," he says. "So you're necessarily legislating kind of blind."

        op cit

        Highly compartmentalized  information. Jargon-filled, dense reports. A system designed to ensure that congressional representatives don't have access to information they need to understand -- much less process -- what they're being exposed to.

        If I weren't such a skeptic, I would think that the system were designed to keep the elected representatives of the people completely in the dark.

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 03:28:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Part of Congress (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          deep info

          But some of Congress is aware of the extent of data mining and analysis.

          I've done a lot of research on this for several years (I work in IT sector) but I've linked a few basic articles to this comment.

          This goes a lot deeper than PRISM, and some Congresspersons know more than they are saying, and some of the good guys are/were actually Republicans of a certain vintage and deportment.

          400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

          by koNko on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:55:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, we actually have a couple of Rs on our side (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko

            in this case.  I mean really on our side, not just "temporarily" on our side but on the wrong side when an R is President.

            Specifically, some of the libertarian types are seriously angry about the 4th amendment violations.

        •  Congress should require real briefings. (0+ / 0-)

          The President has no right to require this "secure room" bullshit, and Congress could abolish it at any time. All it takes is an act of Congress.

          It's time for such an act of Congress.  At this point it's gotten bad enough that I'd support simply declassifying everything and prohibiting classification.  The Chinese already have all the classified information, Congress should have it too.

    •  Don't be too confident (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Linda Wood, deep info

      Because another thing we know is that the warrant for Verizon's data was for all calls, which is why Verizon pushed back and thus a court order was required before they complied.

      Do you know that Google, Apple, etc. were not presented with similarly broad warrants? No.

      We don't know if they were, either, but the little hard proof we do have about what the NSA has sought makes it a reasonable assumption that they've also overreached on that data.

    •  They have metadata (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deep info

      which includes this:

         sender's name, email and IP address
          recipient's name and email address
          server transfer information
          date, time and timezone
          unique identifier of email and related emails
          content type and encoding

          mail client login records with IP address
          mail client header formats
          priority and categories
          subject of email
          status of the email
          read receipt request

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

      That's a lot of information.

      I always thought it was interesting how Hotmail (now Outlook) balked if I tried to send an email without a subject (which I do often). I mean, why would that be programmed into the system? Who cares, right? In the programming world, saving keystrokes is a priority, so why would MSN programmers create the extra work for users?

      Now, it seems not so unusual.

      And now I plan to do that consistently.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 03:15:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, and the full text of SMS (but not MMS) text (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grover, deep info

        messages.  If you don't believe me then just look up why there is a 140/160 character limit on them.

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 05:15:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, if that's the case, then I hope the NSA (0+ / 0-)

          is bringing home milk and dog food tonight.

          Now, I do feel kind of silly telling my NSA minder that I love him.

          But I've probably done that a lot over the years....

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 05:31:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  NSA can capture most data sent across the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkestHour

    Internet backbone in the U.S. For years they have already been able to read your IEEE email coming and going. The only difference now is that Google can read it too. You must encrypt your email if it bothers you that the snoops could read it.      

  •  My employer "went Google" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sark Svemes

    a few months ago, so I guess now the NSA can read even our intramural emails. I'm seriously considering including NSA in the salutation of all my emails from now on.

    "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

    by Drobin on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 05:47:27 AM PDT

  •  A tough problem to solve (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Linda Wood

    Outsourcing and the fact that most major corporations are multinational means data is passing through the hands of quite a few people across quite a few sovereign borders.

    This combines with a tornado-style synergy with the spread of access to sensitive data to ever larger groups of people and efficiencies that demand data be concentrated in ever larger clusters.

    Hence, when someone, either an insider or a hacker, compromises data, they have access to a trove.

    Unfortunately, there is no easy solution.

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 06:32:17 AM PDT

    •  There are easy solutions (0+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately they require people to actually understand both computers and security.

      Principle 1 of security: have as little secret data as possible.
      Principle 2: have as few people know the secrets as possible.  Requires principle 1 to be obeyed first.

      There is no value to concentrating secret data in giant clusters.  It's a waste, actually.

  •  It's not just Gmail (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radical simplicity, lotlizard

    But pretty much any email since the NSA taps into switches, satellite base stations, trans-oceanic cables, etc.

    Your email is only as good as the crypto slows down the curious.

    400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

    by koNko on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 07:16:22 AM PDT

  •  This isn't a new concern (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deep info

    remember, a couple of years ago or so, when there was a spate of stories about Homeland Security seizing laptops from businessmen entering the USA? One issue raised then was commercial secrecy.

  •  You people do realize.... PRISM intercepts ALL.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Linda Wood, Mannie, deep info

    communications of the phone systems and internet.

    Meaning ALL US Government communications as well. SO when the Asst Director of CIA emails a list of CIA operatives to the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, that list ends up in PRISM.

    So anyone with access to PRISM has access to EVERYTHING it has GOBBLED UP.

    Further, when the Chinese Military hacks PRISM, they end up with access to everything the US government transmitted.

    The Government spying on EVERYONE includes ITSELF and places everything at risk.

    So yes, Private Corporations data and information is all at risk, as is the personal information of the citizens and the classified information of the government itself.

    I once again ask the simplest of questions in this entire subject matter....

    If there is an ENEMY so dangerous, posing such a threat that we have to compromise ALL of our privacy and secrecy to defend ourselves....

    ... perhaps, it is time instead to fire up the US Military go go KILL THE FUCKING SHIT out of that enemy, rather than any of us compromising privacy and security.

    •  EXACTLY! NSA has compromised the CIA. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Jester

      And as a side effect of pointlessly spying on innocent Americans, they've basically handed over all the actual government secrets to the Chinese, Russians, etc.

      I don't know why they did this, but "they're idiots" seems like the most likely explanation.  The other possible explanation  is "they wanted to collect data blackmail Congressmen"

  •  NOTE: FOr those thinking email/phone CONTENT... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grover, Mannie

    ... is not being analyzed and stored.... you are incredibly naive.

    You could store the numbers calling who, and when, etc for every call and email for the next 500 years, and never MAKE A DENT in the 5 ZETABYTES of storage they are bring on line now, nevermind the storage they wil bring on over the next 500 years.

    You only need that kind of storage (1/3 of World hard disk production for the last 5 years) if you are storing THE CONTENT not just the who called who's.

    The other shoe will drop with the next whistle-blower. Then the final shoe will drop, the program PRISM has become sentient and is going to "help" us become better people.... or DESTROY US!! ;P

    •  "Analyzed" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deep info, The Jester

      NSA and the administration fully admit the system is "looking for patterns" (and then yes, storing everything else "in case" they need to access it later).

      I'm not sure exactly what that means, except that the NSA knows that my husband and I call each other a lot, and that I speak to my dogs' vet far too frequently.

      I think that as long as "looking for patterns" is done by computers, the NSA and many citizens are content that there is no personalized "analysis" being done because no humans are sitting in a cubicle with a manilla envelope that has their name on it.

      Ok, sure. Whatever.  

      I know why the intelligence community and leadership proffer this explanation. I guess the citizens who believe this don't have a clue how most of their lives are analyzed and managed by computers these days, from their bank accounts to the IRS to the DMV with no human intervention.  All that feels pretty darn personal to me.

      But ok, folks believe what they will...

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 03:39:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So PRISM is the precursor to Skynet? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Jester
      Then the final shoe will drop, the program PRISM has become sentient

      Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

      by Mannie on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 06:18:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can you get a secret patent? (0+ / 0-)
    Imagine that Company A is conducting research at an undisclosed laboratory, and an engineer communicates via this Gmail-based system with Company B, also part of the project, that a certain patent for (say) a drone guidance system has been approved. ... Since location data may be included, the secret laboratory is secret no longer.
    I thought all patent applications were available to the public, at least after a patent is approved.  Among other issues, how could somebody who comes up with the same or a similar idea avoid infringing if he/she couldn't know somebody else thought it first and already patented it secretly?

    The diary doesn't quite say that the putative patent would be secret, but I think that's what the author meant.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 10:02:18 AM PDT

  •  I am lucky (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JPax, grover, Mannie

    most of my transgressions took place before the internet.

  •  Can PRISM data be "rendered" to another country? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie

    Supposedly, the NSA is only "collecting" data on foreigners out of the data storage archives, and can't legally look/collect US citizen's data. Can the NSA then turn that information over to another country so that they can spy in their own citizens without having technically violated any rule against spying on their own citizens? Similarly, can the NSA render the archived data to another country, let them "collect" (look at) it and then then let the NSA know if a US citizen is doing something they want to know, all without violating any legal rules?

    In other words, if they outsource illegal, domestic spying, does that make it no longer domestic and no longer illegal?

    -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

    by JPax on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 12:45:15 PM PDT

    •  Not true. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, lotlizard, deep info

      US citizens are fair game.

      WASHINGTON — In a rare public ruling, a secret federal appeals court has said telecommunications companies must cooperate with the government to intercept international phone calls and e-mail of American citizens suspected of being spies or terrorists.

      The ruling came in a case involving an unidentified company’s challenge to 2007 legislation that expanded the president’s legal power to conduct wiretapping without warrants for intelligence purposes.

      snip

      The court ruled that eavesdropping on Americans believed to be agents of a foreign power “possesses characteristics that qualify it for such an exception.”

      http://www.nytimes.com/...

      Want clarification? Here, this probably won't help:

      According to FISA, an Agent of a Foreign Power is defined to include:

          Anyone that is not a U.S. person who is an officer or employee of a foreign power

          Anyone that is not a U.S. person who engages in "clandestine intelligence activities" (spying) in the U.S. on behalf of a foreign power or *any U.S. person that does the same and may be violating the law.  So, if you're not a U.S. person, you don't have to be suspected of a crime; but even if you are a U.S. person, that suspicion doesn't have to meet traditional probable cause standards

          Anyone, whether a U.S. person or not, who engages in or prepares for acts of international terrorism or sabotage

      If you think that all sounds like very vague gobbledy-gook, you're right. No one really knows what these terms mean other than the FISA court, which won't release its decisions.

      And it's even worse for FISA subpoenas, which can be used to force anyone to hand over anything in complete secrecy, and which were greatly strengthened by Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. The government doesn't have to show probable cause that the target is a foreign power or agent — only that they are seeking the requested records "for" an intelligence or terrorism investigation. Once the government makes this assertion, the court must issue the subpoena.

      https://ssd.eff.org/...

      Got that?

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 03:58:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That stuff is blatantly unconstitutional (0+ / 0-)

        I'm actually surprised more people haven't simply published the FISA "subpoenas" (they aren't real common-law subpoenas)
         because the gag orders are blatant First Amendment violations and courts have even ruled so already.

        Just goes to show that this is a police state where the leaders are lawless thugs who do whatever they like.

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