Update 20130619: AngryRantingRealist comments there’s a revised version of this… I guess I’d call it a breakdown of the Private-Contractor Intelligence Complex. Click this link to go to AngryRantingRealist’s site and see the updated version.
Part 1: Intro, What we’re talking about, What the problem isn’t — The reality :: What This Country is Facing.
Part 2: The Laws & Culture, The Worst Case Scenario, How to Stop This.
Part 3: The Process itself, Some Fun Facts, More on Laws.
Part 4: The Answer, Some History, My opinion, Why I should write a book about this and not a reddit post.
I hope you’ve watched Ed. Snowden talk you’ve heard him say
- “All they care about is POLICY” and that the only way to change things is through POLICY.
Changing the culture is the way to go (see Thomas Drake Interview). Unfortunately, unlike PIPA SOPA this isn’t something that’s just going to go away over night if google and friends says ["we don't like this"](www.stopwatching.us ) Besides, according to LAW (covered below) it’s “legal”. The question is, is this a violation of constitution?
- People think about it as if “Oh god! They’re watching me! THEY’RE WATCHING ME!“
No. They’re not. They’re not watching YOU DIRECTLY. even if they are passively collecting some obscure meta-data and sorting it, it’s not “yours”. They don’t link it to your phone, your photo, etc. They don’t. The fact that they COULD is scary, but that’s not what I’m talking about here today.
There are (probably) no lists with your NAME on it. (unless you’re a known terrorist…Snowden talks about this in the interview, about false labels, but I don’t want to get into the “what if” hypotheticals, such as “what if YOU DO hit their shit list??” — That’s a separate really scary issue I’m not going to touch on here. That’s the type of thing we should worry about ten years from now, if we don’t stop this now, and the thing we need to worry about on a macrolevel because, yeah, the FBI and the NYPD are doing that NOW. Not so much the NSA…but it’s a start.
“Okay, it’s important to not to let this stuff paralyze you…it’s one thing to know it’s happening, and it’s one thing, and it’s another to pretend that the solution is to become a Luddite ” — (Watch for 3 minutes)Jabob Applebaum
Note, he’s talking about the FBI.
That’s the scary shit…
You’re assuming anyone/everyone involved in the intelligence world (mostly private sector) actually gives a shit about our information, like personal information like what I had for breakfast or how often I jerk off, or what porn I favor…They don’t.
- They (The contractor and agencies like and including NSA) want the big picture.
Your girlfriends hot tits aren’t their concern, neither is hacking your webcam to spy on you beating off. That’s where the privacy issues of NSA sorry Microsoft XBox one come into play with PRISM specifically, but again, I’m not talking about this here today.
- They (The contractors and agencies like and including NSA) want a bigger contract (by proxy a cut of NSA budget, from your paycheck)**
It’s not a matter of what they are or they’re not looking at…. It’s not even a matter IF they WANT to look AT YOU. I assure you, they absolutely could (the privacy issue part of it) but THEY DON’T. It’s also true I COULD go around killing people in the street….but I don’t. In fact, someone like me (the shady scary tech types) could gather just as much information on you as they could. Perhaps more, because I’m not bound by the law, I’m an asshole (hypothetically).
Unless they have a really good reason or a ton of really really “high-value” intelligence spilling out of “you”, I doubt anyone even
knows cares you exist. I understand this does raise concerns about “Total Informational Awareness” and being able to retroactively data-mine you maliciously, but that’s not what I’m here to show. They’d just query faceStazibook. And that’s not going to be the NSA or CIA. That’s the popo and the feds.
- Watch Edward Snowden on this PRISM stuff; he’s talking about Privacy issues, or so it would seem…really, he’s talking about RESTORING DEMOCRACY AND OVERSIGHT, not subjective privacy concerns about your silly skype convos
If you want more on the privacy concerns (they are extremely valid, but I’m looking at this on a bigger scale, not a law enforcement scale or ‘privacy concern’ perspective) check out Jacob Applebaum’s (TOR project guy) 2 hour talk on digital repression. . This guy is brilliant, but he’s not talking about the same thing I am here. The privacy issue attached with PRISM “scandal” PRISM/NSA-Gate (can I coin this? I’ve always wanted to coin a term :-3) That’s just a catalyst to garner attention.
Just pinging around keywords and stuff like bomb, hijack, kill, murder, POTUS, etc etc is
probably not enough to get something tagged…but, the point is,
- they’re not actually creating Dossiers on every living person on Earth.
For some perspective on what they’re (the intelligence side, not the enforcement side) actually doing I suggest you read a lot of this guy Thomas Drake (NSA Whistle Blower 4 times over).
As for the scriptkids posting stuff like “DON’T WAIT! TAKE BACK YOUR PRIVACY NOW!” with nonsense like “TOR” or “TAILS” or “Adblock” and all that, great…really….but I assure you, it doesn’t help, not on a wide scale. In fact, it doesn’t really help you at all. (adblock is worth it though also see ghostery).
Check out /r/Assert_Your_Rights for the “why/WHEN privacy actually matters”.
Tl;dr (oh boy is this long)
- This PRISM thing isn’t a privacy issue, at least not to me, not directly (And trust me, it does concern me, but that comes second to culture and law) It’s an ethics and constitutional issue, and a monetary issue. It’s not just a matter of principle, or emotion… it’s a matter of integrity of state.
Assuming they’re watching you and going through huge measures to hide yourself from NSA (worry about the FBI and your friends and family and future employers)? That is paranoia. These folks aren’t the FBI, that’s a different clusterfuck as I’ve said. This is an intelligence industrial complex, not a rogue law enforcement agency. Also, most of what they’re doing is technically speaking legal (albeit only on paper…). That doesn’t make it right though. This is not something to worry about on a microscale.
By order of the FISC, the Government is prohibited from indiscriminately sifting through the telephony metadata acquired under the program. All information that is acquired under this program is subject to strict, court-imposed restrictions on review and handling. The court only allows the data to be queried when there is a reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts, that the particular basis for the query is associated with a foreign terrorist organization. Only specially cleared counterterrorism personnel specifically trained in the Court-approved procedures may even access the records. – http://www.volokh.com/2013/06/06/the-fisa-court-order-flap-take-a-deep-breath/
The sky is not falling in terms of your personal conversations about drug dealing and cheating on your wife. That’s the FBI… What people like myself, and many others are worried about is what happens when they keep stretching, keep over-reaching and expanding…where does it end? Does it? Does it implode, explode, snap? Do we fall into tyranny? Watch Thomas A. Drake on this stuff (First 20 minutes)
[[[ PART 2 ]]]
- The best chance we have is to pressure our Congressmen into holding more hearings that will hopefullychange their mind for funding and policy
If you’ve seen many of the interviews with the NSA and FBI speaking to Congress, you’ve heard them lie through their teeth or dance around answers with stuff like “Not under this program” (Stellarwind & Trailblazer ) / Trailblazer). We need to keep them under the microscope. Especially if the FISC (FISA COURT) isn’t going to!
the judge that ruled NSLs unconstitutional (national security letters) based on the gag-order under the 1st amendment, are the way to stop things! Give your support to the ALCU and the EFF!
- It’s all about policy and law (see the EFF) . If it’s not legal, they make it legal…THIS IS THE CULTURAL CHANGE I TALKED ABOUT. IT IS OUR JOB TO HELP PRESSURE THOSE IN POWER TO DO SO TO MAKE IT ILLEGAL AGAIN!!!
- Changing things like the FISA Amendment Act Section 702 (“The Barn Door” — Thomas A. Drake)
Is really the best way to stop this type of activity. The issue isn’t that someone is directly spying on everything we have, it’s that they can retroactively go back in time and make you into a criminal, even if they aren’t directly under PRISM (which is what part 1 of this long post discussed). Both Jacob Applebaum, and Ed. Snowden both touch on this.
If you’ve heard the story of Bill Binney (and Thomas Drake) then you’ll know how difficult it is to actually change anything. Everything “The government” (Seriously back to Snowden, everything that man said is perfect absolutely perfect) who really isn’t a them or us in a true dichotomous system, does has been redacted. There are few individuals involved that the EFF lawsuits (Hepting V AT&T and Jewel V NSA (on going)) such as David Addington (Cheney’s Lawyer) and John Ashcroft (then acting AG) as well as people like the leader of NSA . (Wed. 6-12-13) that people (EFF / ACLU) are trying to “take down”. this probably not the way to stop it, but gives negative media attention to the questioned parties and that sure as hell does! And, if they do happen to pull a victory like google did with the NSL’s being unconstitutional, I’m all for that!
END PART 2
Not citations but Read into Ragtime-P if you’d like the low down on how the system REALLY works (this is a rabbit hole you can dig almost endlessly). A few more fun ones that are open are the FBI’s old Carnivor program, as well as DCS5000 and Xkeyscore (NSA), Boeing (Israel subsidiary) Narus-Insight ) (both), Pinwale, Maui, Homebase (data bases names and functions) etc etc etc. Also see IMSI catcher towers , US V Jewel and a whole host of other fun stuff.
Cross Posted from another thread, I don’t feel like retyping all this
“Is just discovery enough? Is having this in the light of day going to change it?”
Was discovering Ragtime-P, Stellarwind, Thinthread, Carnivor, Shamrock, Mockingbird, DCS5000, Narus-Insight (and subsequent device in room 641a), Xkeyscore, and Trailblazer? enough? (see links above)
If you’re asking “What are all those things?” then I’d wager no one really cares about “PRISM” and that it’s not going to change much just by knowing about it, or even (like me) intimately (but not sexually) understanding it.
Really, this stuff isn’t news. This is stuff people like me have been banging pots and pans about since 2002 (myself since 2006).
This PRISM code name just happens to be an overdue catalyst, which hopefully wont fall out of media attention like Trailblazer did with Binney and Drake. I think people finally “woke up” and I’m glad Edward Snowden is doing this in the light of day. He’s a real hero.
Everything Edward Snowden talks about in his interview is exactly what people like Drake, Binney, Applebaum, myself, have been saying for years. So yes, these systems are still effective and will remain so for the foreseeable future. UNLESS WE CHANGE IT! The fact you’re asking this question on reddit and the fact I’m dropping names like this will probably get hit by xkeyscore and put into some maui database filtered through by insight ….bla bla bla is proof that it is continuing, but also proof that we’re doing some good (raising awareness is the first step). We can drop names all day, but the problem is still there and if we don’t cut the snake’s head now, it’ll keep growing back. Hopefully we can repeal a lot of these amendments (FISA Sec. 702, 2008) (PAA, 2007) and sec. 215 USAPATRIOT etc etc. I’ve been writing my congressmen 6 or 7 page letters on this since I stumbled upon this clusterfuck and hopefully I’ll wake up and I wont be alone in that endevour.
- Check out “Cheny’s law” the FRONTLINE report and check out Jacob Applebaum’s talk with Bill Binny on Democracy Now.
THE OVERVIEW AND REALITY. WHAT IT IS, AS OPPOSED TO WHAT IT ISN’T
(Am I really still doing this? — YES! BECAUSE I CARE!)
Another issue is that terrorists (the arch-typical extremest fundamentalist Islamist types we all fear with turbins etc.) are a largely antiquated enemy. The terrorists groups they’re after now aren’t so much terrorists so much as international groups that don’t like the U.S; and DOMESTIC groups. Financial and Cyber terrorists etc. Intercepting a bunch of phone calls isn’t going to dig up the elite hacker teams in China or Kosovo or the Bosnian terrorist groups (Arbitrary example) etc. The real question isn’t a matter of safety, it’s a matter of “what’s the point.” The way I see it, it’s a way for the government to analyze trends of growing “threats” (whatever that means) and use those “threats” to suck more money from my paycheck! For example, cyber-terrorism is a huge buzzword these days. Check out “Olympic Games” AKA Stuxnet / Flame / Duqu etc. Those are what the NSA is capable of. (See also Tempest Attacks and the History of RSA encryption)
Private Contractors/NSA: It’s not an entity of illicit shady types behind the curtain, it’s a group of executives with skilled “hackers” and analysts working for them, marketing literal bullshit to the government and the
government willingly relinquishing control to the private sector
(booz allen, raytheon, lockheed, northrop grummun, boeing etc etc etc.) It’s about PROFIT.
What better way to get profit than to make the NSA (the pay-check suppliers by proxy) and U.S DoD (paayyychhheeeckkkkkksss).
The issue is that this country doesn’t even know what it’s doing anymore.
We’ve tossed money to companies like Booz
(which IMHO isn’t even the big bad wolf…see BlueCo, Lockheed etc) and
- they’ve built us a functioning ‘Total Awareness Matrix’ but at the end of the day, we’re not aware of shit.
There is so much redundancy it’s unbelievable. It’s not a conspiracy theory when I say that a year before 9/11 happened there were lots of documents details how over 100 billion dollars just “went missing” Rumsfeld himself testified to this. That number has expanded into “black budget” (misnomer) after 9/11 and continued to expand like a balloon into the private section, from our pockets. We could build schools, but instead we pay some glorified analysts to sit around and jerk off building complex systems to gather intel. that no one ever looks at. I say we because we’ve all allowed this to happen. The “scandal” (if there is one) is the fact “they” kept it secret from “us”. It’s also not a conspiracy theory to say that SAIC largely failed ) to provide what we threw 1.3billion (of the $280 million budget) dollars to create Trailblazer…..AND THEY FAILED TO DO SO! It’s shit like this America…
Then is the other side. Law enforcement. People seem to think NSA is involved with law enforcement. If that was true, the world might be a better place…you know, if these private for profit cyber-mercs didn’t just accept a pay-check and be done with it, jerking the rest of the tax payers around so that maybe just maybe they can justify all the bullshit and save one life….and I would doubt they have. I’d loooveee to see that (probably redacted) report the NSA talked about today (6/12/13) what with “dozens” of plots foiled. My ass.
These cyber-mercs and most government types…they’re good guys, most of them… I know many. However, the holistic state of affairs here is more than a micro-level field of warfare / terrorism or micro-economics, that is to say it’s not a matter of the individuals (notwithstanding the shot callers). It’s not like the folks building these machines and surveillance apparatus give it much thought (see the SAIC thing), and if they do, they probably convince themselves it’s for the best..or are too scared or happy / fat to speak out. If we put this much power into spying on humanitarian efforts, like solving sex trafficking, or drug exports (implying we don’t allow it), or stopping cyber criminals (Check out Bryan Krebs on this stuff!) the world would be a better place. However, we aren’t team America World Police. We just wrap ourselves up in the flag of democracy…when really it’s about the bottom line and squeezing the fruit (literally if we look at 1954 CIA Coup of Guatemala ) out of the rest of the world, and fueling it to those ends, we’ve created a literal second industrial military complex, this time being fed into “intelligence”. And It sucks.
I doubt anyone will read this, but this is the stuff I deal with on a day to day basis and I’ve been waiting for a place to really speak out about this for years….
- We’ve created the Industrial Military Complex 2.0. The “Intelligence Private-Contractor Complex” (I’m sure someone can come up with a better name for this than me,
wouldn’t it be cool to coin a new term?Fuck. I really thought I was on to something new there…of course not. How did I miss this article??? -facepalm- )
Total informational awareness my ass. ~~ Welcome to the Disposition Matrix Angry Ranting Realist.