Monday, December 16, 2013

NSA - Reform Recommendations

"Advisory group makes recommendations to reform NSA surveillance" (Part-1) PBS Newshour 12/13/2013

JUDY WOODRUFF (Newshour):  Late today, the White House announced that the president has received an advisory committee's recommendations on revamping the surveillance activities of the National Security Agency.  And The Washington Post reported that the NSA can crack cell phone security codes, giving them the capability to listen in on private calls and text messages.

Tonight, chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner continues her conversations with lawmakers on reforming government surveillance.

MARGARET WARNER (Newshour):  Documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have triggered six months of explosive revelations and recriminations.  The documents showed the vast reach of NSA data collection, of phone calls, texts, Internet searches and e-mails vacuumed up, stored, and analyzed, the targets, not just foreigners, but many Americans.

In August, the president announced two reviews of NSA activities.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  And a general impression has, I think, taken hold not only among the American public, but also around the world, that somehow we're out there willy-nilly just sucking in information on everybody.

MARGARET WARNER:  Today, The Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported that one advisory group has drafted a host of recommendations, including new rules for collecting and storing phone data and tighter standards for spying on foreign leaders.

REP. MIKE ROGERS, R-Mich.:  There has been no willful use to misuse the privacy of just your phone numbers, not even your name.

MARGARET WARNER:  Last night on the NewsHour, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers defended the NSA's activities, saying more than 50 attacks had been thwarted as a result.

And you know that to be the case?

MIKE ROGERS:  I absolutely know that to be the case.

MARGARET WARNER:  But leading critics, like Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden on the Senate Intelligence Committee, have urged the president to rein in the NSA.

"Sen. Ron Wyden on balancing the 'teeter-totter' of security and liberty" (Part-2) PBS Newshour 12/13/2013


SUMMARY:  Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., believes that when it comes to government surveillance, security and liberty are not mutually exclusive.  Margaret Warner talks to the NSA critic about why he thinks the administration needs to do a better job of striking a balance between protecting Americans while respecting their privacy.

IMO:  There continues to be a very big misconception regarding phone calls....

SEN. RON WYDEN, D-Ore:  For example, on this whole matter of collecting millions and millions of phone records on law-abiding Americans, now, this country wants to be safe, and all of us on the Intelligence Committee know it's a dangerous world.  But the evidence doesn't support the proposition that there is a significant measure of safety that's added as a result of collecting all these records on law-abiding Americans.

What is wrong with the implications of Wyden's statement is that 'law-abiding Americas' data is being collected.  The fact is that the metadata being collected HAS NO PERSONAL information therefore you do NOT know anything about people involved, law-abiding or not, it is just phone numbers.

As I said before, I worked of 9yrs for a company that made the equipment that gathers the metadata on phone systems and know exactly what it is.  Phone numbers and date-time stamps ONLY.

A phone number does NOT get connected with a user/client (person or company) until a phone carrier's billing computer polls the metadata and pulls the information for numbers that are associated with the phone carrier.  The metadata date-time stamps provide length of a call and the carrier's billing computer associates it with the client of record.  Only at that time is a name, address, etc, involved.  To get the information from a carrier's billing computer is where a warrant becomes required.

The assertion that mere collection metadata is a threat to freedom is an exaggeration at best.  Especially...

I want it understood for your viewers that, when your government knows who you called, when you called and for how long you called, they're getting a lot of private information about individuals.  For example, if the government knows that you called a psychiatrist three times in 24 hours, once after midnight, they know a lot about you.

Which is a massive exaggeration.  This does NOT happen with out FIRST having a warrant.

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