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Tilting at Windmills

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April 8, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

WHAT THE NSA IS DOING....A couple of months ago the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a class action suit against AT&T for violating its customers' privacy by cooperating with the NSA's domestic spying program. On Friday, they released a statement from a former AT&T technician named Mark Klein who saw what the NSA did in AT&T's San Francisco office:

In January 2003, I...saw a new room being built adjacent to the 4ESS switch room where the public's phone calls are routed....While doing my job, I learned that fiber optic cables from the secret room were tapping into the Worldnet circuits by splitting off a portion of the light signal.

....One of the [design] documents listed the equipment installed in the secret room, and this list included a Narus STA 6400, which is a "Semantic Traffic Analyzer". The Narus STA technology is known to be used particularly by government intelligence agencies because of its ability to sift through large amounts of data looking for preprogrammed targets....[Later] I learned that other such "splitter" cabinets were being installed in other cities, including Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.

....Despite what we are hearing, and considering the public track record of this administration, I simply do not believe their claims that the NSA's spying program is really limited to foreign communications or is otherwise consistent with the NSA's charter or with FISA. And unlike the controversy over targeted wiretaps of individuals' phone calls, this potential spying appears to be applied wholesale to all sorts of internet communications of countless citizens.

The Narus STA is designed to analyze internet traffic so that service providers can create specially configured billing plans for their customers. But it's also highly customizable for other uses, as outlined in this old Forbes profile:

Want to know what Narus software can do? It can find out how much time you spent on the network, how many E-mails you sent, how long you played online video games, how many files you uploaded or downloaded and what web sites you accessed.

....It is not just billing, it is much more than billing," says [Narus president Mark] Stone....Gartner Group senior analyst Chris Ransom is duly impressed by this vision, and points out that there is a critical difference between Narus and all the other companies competing in the marketplace. "Utilization of the data from a marketing and sales point of view is an extremely powerful selling point," says Ransom.

Note: "Marketing and sales" = data mining. More to come on this, I'm sure.

Kevin Drum 4:01 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (48)

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Comments

Well, Paul Revere got his wish in this new thread, anyway :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 8, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

I, and all Right-Thinking Americans, am thrilled that Bush and the Religious Right can have access to anyone's communication history. This will help root out much of the un-Christian behavior that threatens this nation!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on April 8, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

"Paging Mr. Eric Blair" "Paging Mr. Eric Blair"

Posted by: R.L. on April 8, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

So, the Republicans have given these corporations carte blanche to suck in any information they care to from any communication that goes past their system in the pretense of national security, and, for their trouble, has allowed them the right to sell that information or make whatever other profitable use of it they may see fit.


I think even the trolls will remember this is just what they kept insisting wasn't happening.

Posted by: cld on April 8, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

The Democratic Party has an instant, sure-fire winner staring it in it's lazy face: WE WILL GIVE YOU BACK YOUR PRIVACY!

Vote for us and we will:
1) Return to you the ownership of your name, your address, all of your personal information and all of your history.

2) Any outside agency wanting to gain access to said information, for any reason, will be required to negotiate financial terms for renting or leasing that information on a case by case basis.

3) Any outside agency violating your property rights will be guilty of a Class 1 felony, punishable by fines and imprisonment.

4) In an ownership society, all facets of your personal life and past history - other than criminal - are the sole property of the individual, who is then free to "exploit" that property for financial gain, if she/he so desires.

... or something like that.

Why is the cart always put before the horse?

Posted by: fingerfood on April 8, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK


Corporate privacy invasion via data mining = nuisance.

Government doing same = something we all should be very, very scared of.

It's the fuel of dictatorship.

Posted by: loser on April 8, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Corporate privacy invasion via data mining = nuisance.

Government doing same = something we all should be very, very scared of.

It's the fuel of dictatorship.

You missed the part where government incents or partners with corporate privacy invasion. That model of, ahem, "public/private partnership" has a very particular name.

Posted by: fishbane on April 8, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone read Sye Hersh's new piece (http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060417fa_fact)? It's kind of scary. Add that to the NSA thing, the massive executive power grabs, and I wonder what will happen if we bomb Iran and things really go to hell.

Posted by: KC on April 8, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Oh no, now that the EFF is involved, they are sure to lose the lawsuit and in the process, destroy yet another freedom. The EFF has a consistent track record of setting precedents for the DEFENDANT in their lawsuits. If past performance is any indicator of future performance, the EFF will set a precedent that permanently allows the NSA to wiretap everything, everywhere.

I'm all for the restoration of our civil rights, but the EFF is precisely the wrong group to do it. They issue sensationalistic press releases that misrepresent facts to exaggerate their position. This might work when you're pandering to the BoingBoing.com crowd, but it has a poor track record before federal judges. We need a different group to fight for our civil liberties, someone that isn't staffed by a bunch of fanatical geeks who have more political rhetoric than logic. Maybe someone like the ACLU.

Posted by: CC on April 8, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

I pretty much agree with the assessment of EFF. They really define the nutcase segment of the computer/technology industry. They will always find a far out position that will never survive even the most cursory examination. They could hardly be more self defeating; sometimes one wonders if that isn't almost even the point.

Posted by: frankly0 on April 8, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

That Sy Hersh piece has this,


A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do, and that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.

http://www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/060417fa_fact

Posted by: cld on April 8, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Young George has gone way up the beanpole.

Posted by: cld on April 8, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Is anyone here really surprised by this? I sure am not. This is beginning to remind me more and more of the old Soviet style of monitoring everything their citizens did so as to prevent any effective opposition domestically from forming. Especially in the information age knowledge/information is power and the more you have the more power you hold, especially when the information is believed to be privacy protected by the average citizen that is not working for terrorists whatever their political affiliation may be.

The American Founding Fathers created America as a government with divided powers for a reason, they knew the dangers of consolidation of power into too few hands, especially to only one hand. They set up the Bill of Rights so as to protect the individual citizen from the abuses of government power and intrusiveness into their lives. They went out of their way to prevent the very type of single person/group dominance of American government that the GOP currently enjoys (although thankfully that at least looks like it is coming to an end later this year barring unforeseen reversals of the trends) because they recognized that power corrupts everyone over time no matter how noble their intentions may be. Indeed the entire American experiment was intended to set up a nation where such abuses of power did not happen because they understood the inherent fallibility of human beings/nature and the risks allowing any single person to be above the law, especially anyone in a powerful government position.

How does this tie into the topic under discussion one may ask? Simple, Bush has defended this by saying it is necessary for national security and since it is there is no legal restrictions on the President in time of war even if it is illegal technically it cannot be for him because he is the President. Except that as far as I know the American Constitution does not grant this exception to the President to be above the laws of America, period. The GOP impeached Clinton based on that belief last decade over his lying in a civil matter about a personal affair which had ZERO impact/ramifications to national security. However the reasoning by the GOP then was that if a President will lie about an affair to the American people then he might lie about something far more serious like something involving national security. Despite there being ZERO evidence that Clinton lied about anything other than that affair, let alone national security, this reasoning was considered so vital to the health and security of the American way of life that impeachment was the only possible remedy.

Now we see President GWB caught repeatedly in saying one thing while doing the opposite on leaking classified information to start a war. Yet this is instead of being seen as a threat to the American way of life by the same Republicans that impeached Clinton in the House defended as necessary if true which according to these GOPers is not and even if it is the President is above the law where national security is concerned. We see them defending this NSA program on the grounds that even if it illegal now we will retroactively make it legal (which shows they KNOW it is illegal in the first place I would add) and that is only to make others happy since we (GOPers) accept that President Bush is above the law unlike every other preceding President.

Now we see them not only spying on Americans for their own reasons but allowing the corporate middlemen (I typoed this initially to meddlemen, I almost left it in place given its underlying accuracy) they are using to do so to have access to this data that is being mined for business reasons, something that should horrify anyone that believes in the notion of personal privacy regardless of political affiliation, especially Americans. Not to mention the lack of oversight, lack of protection of this data and the inability of Americans to know whether they are being so watched by their government and by the businesses they pay money for to have among other things some sense of privacy in their communications with others. This betrays the ideals America was built upon and also demonstrates just how deep into businesses' pockets the GOP and Bush truly are.

It would appear that American corporate citizens are regarded as having more rights for protection and privacy than American citizens. Somehow I rather doubt that was the intent of the founding Fathers either, yet it is clearly true when one goes by the actions of the GOP and Bushco as opposed to their statements. This is just more evidence that this is not a conservative American government/party but radicals or even arguably revolutionaries fundamentally redefining America and the powers of the American government into something far too close to a one party system which is another way of describing a totalitarian setup. Remember that Rove among other GOPers have stated time and again their intention to create the permanent GOP majority, which is another way of saying de facto GOP dictatorship.

Americans used to wonder at how the Germans could have allowed Hitler to come to power and do all those awful things without their opposition or even awareness of the monster they had ruling them After Bush43 Americans should no longer ask that question because GWB used the same tools of nationalism, xenophobia, religiosity, and a belief in the inherent superiority of American culture in virtually the same pattern Hitler did. The only difference is that Hitler was out to conquer the world through military force and was willing to use any and all means to do so, as much as I despise Bush I do not think that can be fairly said of him. That said though the reality is both men used national tragedy to dominate their domestic political environments, both used fear of outsiders/aliens to whip up nationalistic pride, and launched aggressive preemptive wars based on the notion of preemptive self defence and as turned out in both cases the argument was not grounded in any reality but was instead a smokescreen for other motives. They also both used religion to help keep their base closely tied to them and they both encouraged cults of personality around them and they both did not take dissenting POVs well at all, not even from allies.

America has gone from being the land of the free and home of the brave to being the land of the intimidated dissenters and the home of the fearful. America has gone from being that shining city on the hill inspiring the world to being an example of how power corrupts and destroys even the most noble of societies and how easily the dream of liberty, freedom and justice for all can be transformed into a brutal fearful de facto tyranny imperialistic culture through the use of fear by those in power to make it so. The NSA program is more about being able to monitor domestic opposition than terrorists, although given how many within the GOP appear to actually believe that lefties/Democrats are sympathetic to terrorists out to destroy America they may well believe that there is no difference and therefore they really are dealing in national security. It just happens to also be a political tool for them as well, just by "coincidence". Either way though it appears America was again lied to by Bush about a serious national security program that significantly infringes upon the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of Americans. When are those Americans that actually believe in the Constitution and the vision of America of the Founding Fathers start really fighting back? As it is the fight may have been left too late, but I never believed Americans to be so easy to brainwash into surrendering their God and Constitutionally given protections against the State.

This is why so many in the world do not trust America anymore from within the ranks of traditional/long term allies. If your government will spy on its own citizens like this it is quite reasonable to expect they are willing to do at least as much to foreign citizens of other democracies. If Americans will not stand up for their own rights when they are in peril, why should anyone believe that they will fight for what is right elsewhere in the world? This NSA program and the latest revelations should be setting off firestorms for the abuses it reveals and the contempt of the American government for the rights and privacy of American citizens. Why though am I not expecting to see such though? Oh yes I know, America and Americans have been successfully turned into a majority of fearful sheep that forgot Ben Franklins famous comment about what happens to those that try to sacrifice freedoms for security, they end up with neither in the end.

Posted by: Scotian on April 8, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

cld:

So, the Republicans have given these corporations carte blanche to suck in any information they care to from any communication that goes past their system in the pretense of national security, and, for their trouble, has allowed them the right to sell that information or make whatever other profitable use of it they may see fit.

The Forbes article on that subject, linked by Kevin, was dated 1999.

I haven't been following the EFF case, but has this information come from anyone else besides Mark Klein?

Posted by: tbrosz on April 8, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

The Forbes article on that subject, linked by Kevin, was dated 1999.


And the current version of the software is going to be better than that.

Posted by: cld on April 8, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

One of yesterday's NSA/AT&T articles referred to voice recognition sotware being used alongwith the searches. Anyone know more on that? It seems pretty simple to add a voice pattern fragment to each customer database entry - attached to all demographic and billing data. Once that is on file, easily handled, the "voice" can be used to create (i.e., fabricate) "conversations"....Isreal is in the biometrics elite working closely with the US but really hacking the data and use of biometrics can be done by many countries.

Posted by: kck on April 8, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Ooooh, the big bad government is going to get ya!

Actually, kevin, again you have nothing. The NSA program was briefed to Congress, so they had full knowledge of it.

We're at war against the terrorists, and you want us to fight with pea shooters!

Posted by: egbert on April 8, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

We need to destroy the Republican party all together and to destroy the possibility of any group of people at all like this becoming organized in any effective way ever again.

We need a general recognition that this is a criminal organization, and a subversive organization which exists for the purpose of creating an international corporate feudalism, as if literally modelled on the Plantagenet empire.

(Perhaps this is the real reason the can't catch Bin Laden, they view al-Qaeda as a corporation, and just assume the royalty is untouchable.)

We need to remove every element of the corporation and the way it presently relates to society.

Posted by: cld on April 8, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

"We need to destroy the Republican party all together and to destroy the possibility of any group of people at all like this becoming organized in any effective way ever again. We need a general recognition that this is a criminal organization, and a subversive organization which exists for the purpose of creating an international corporate feudalism, as if literally modelled on the Plantagenet empire."

Oh dear. Another batshit-crazy Democrat. I guess it's not called the loony-left for nothing.

Posted by: Center Left on April 8, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

'Center Left' a present in the pool.

Posted by: cld on April 8, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian,

Don't you think you're being just a teeny weeny bit melodramatic and silly?

Did you know that in Britain a single individual, the Home Secretary, has essentially unlimited power to authorize wiretaps and other kinds of eavesdropping of British citizens? And that's been true for decades at least.

Funnily enough, the UK has not descended into tyranny.

Posted by: Center Left on April 8, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Center Left,

The character of the kind of people who established Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, the Iraq invasion and the largest corporate profits in world history, are the only things you have to think about.

British bureaucrats are simply better people.

Posted by: cld on April 8, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK


If they already know everything about everybody, can't they just file our income taxes and send us the bill?

Better yet, maybe they could just deduct what we owe from our checking accounts, or charge it, as the case may be.

I look forward to more time watching television.

Posted by: a on April 8, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

Where are the Libertarians who usually comment on these threads? They're typically quick to condemn such invasions of privacy. What's that - there are no real Libertarians left?

OK, anyway, it's not too late to fend off government ownership of our private lives but it'll take a considerable effort to do it and the odds of success are shrinking as time passes. It's difficult to raise an alarm over this issue since the "other side" specializes in misinformation and misdirection.

Take the trolls that usually inhabit these threads - the ones that traffic in misinformation - and multiply their efforts by a factor of 100 to get an idea of how formidable the task is. That doesn't mean it can't be done but there has to be at least a public consensus that government intrusion to this extent is wrong and must be prohibited.

Posted by: Taobhan on April 8, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK


"What's that - there are no real Libertarians left?"

There are no Libertarians. There never were any Libertarians.

They spout off whatever they think is the approved message of the moment.

You see, they have no "core beliefs."

They are the Cult of Commander Cuckoo.

Posted by: a on April 8, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

egbert and Center Left,

Keep holding on to that inflated sense of superiority. I guess it has be that big to continue believing the lies and contain the increasing (but obviously unconscious) levels of disgust. You will wake up in the long run.

Posted by: Shattered Mirror on April 8, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK
We're at war against the terrorists, and you want us to fight with pea shooters! egbert 5:59 PM
Bush isn't fighting a war against terrorism, he's fighting a war against the US Constitution and a war to secure Middle East oil for the West. Bush isn't concerned about terrorism re terrorism. Remember his reaction to warnings prior to 9-11? People were running around with their "hair on fire" and Bush did nothing. Remember the Project for the New American Century?

The fundamental essence of PNAC's ideology can be found in a White Paper
produced in September of 2000 entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses:
Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century." In it, PNAC outlines
what is required of America to create the global empire they envision.
According to PNAC, America must:
* Reposition permanently based forces to Southern Europe, Southeast Asia
and the Middle East;
* Modernize U.S. forces, including enhancing our fighter aircraft,
submarine and surface fleet capabilities;
* Develop and deploy a global missile defense system, and develop a
strategic dominance of space;
* Control the "International Commons" of cyberspace;
* Increase defense spending to a minimum of 3.8 percent of gross domestic
product, up from the 3 percent currently spent.

"Iraq is but the beginning, a pretense for a wider conflict. Donald Kagan, a
central member of PNAC, sees America establishing permanent military bases
in Iraq after the war. This is purportedly a measure to defend the peace in
the Middle East, and to make sure the oil flows. The nations in that
region, however, will see this for what it is: a jump-off point for
American forces to invade any nation in that region they choose to. The
American people, anxiously awaiting some sort of exit plan after America
defeats Iraq, will see too late that no exit is planned."

Vice President Dick Cheney is a founding member of PNAC, along with Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is the ideological father of the
group. Bruce Jackson, a PNAC director, served as a Pentagon official for
Ronald Reagan before leaving government service to take a leading position
with the weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

What's that - there are no real Libertarians left? Taobhan 9:13 PM

Libertarians are just conservatives with intellectual pretensions.

Posted by: Mike on April 8, 2006 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

If this is in fact true, you have a "secret" room provided with the cooperation of AT&T, and who knows what other corporations where there they are tapping into the light from the fiber optic cables at a major connection (Peering) where major regional internet service providers connect to each other to save some transit bucks. This "tap" is in turn, connected to a set of computers made by a company (With some Dell equipment tossed in) that tells us in their marketing documents that they are ---

"providing deep-packet inspection from layer 2 to layer 7 and complete correlation across every link and element on the network all at core carrier speeds."

Layer 7 in the internet protocol, ladies and gentlemen is the application layer. Your e-mail, your files, and those pictures you send and receive over the internet.

Now, it's just possible that they are only looking at traffic flowing to and from certain geographical locations from inside and outside of the United States.... but they've not shown themselves to be very trustworthy so far, and so without oversight, who knows what they're up to.

Put this all together, and you have the NSA installing intercept equipment in domestic telephone exchange buildings with the cooperation of some Americas largest corporations. This equipment routes some of the light the from the fiber optic cables that carrys data for some the largest internet providers and runs that data through an analyzer that can read your e-mail, look at the files you exchange over the internet and listen to your phone calls.

It's called domestic spying and it's unlawful.

Posted by: North Coast Curmudgeon on April 9, 2006 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

Can we call a moratorium on the term "War on Terror", please? Wars are fought against standing uniformed armies with command structures. Terrorism is a methodology, a concept, a tool. Terrorism is an ideal.

By couching the debate in misnomers and falsehoods, we lose credibility both with those we oppose and with those among us capable of coherent thought and analysis.

Posted by: Global Citizen on April 9, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Shattered Mirror,

So you're another loony-leftie, are you? Tell me, after you've "destroyed" the Republican Party (and how are you going to do that, exactly?) how do you propose to "destroy the possibility of any group of people at all like this becoming organized in any effective way ever again?" Repeal the First Amendment?

Posted by: Center Left on April 9, 2006 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

how do you propose to "destroy the possibility of any group of people at all like this becoming organized in any effective way ever again?"
Posted by: Center Left

By investing more in education so that ignorant motherfuckers like you eventually die out, and are replaced by hopefully more progressive and moral offspring.

dipshit.

Posted by: Nads on April 9, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

How is this program different from the Office of Total Information Awareness that Congress rejected outright? It seems to me to be the same program that Bush was unable to push through a friendly Congress when his political capital was at its highest level. Given what we know about this program, the Bush administration didn't even blink when TIA was rejected. They just shuffled John Poindexter off to pasture and built the program anyway, only in total secrecy. The funding had to come from somewhere, and it surely wasn't allocated by Congress for these purposes.

Posted by: Singularity on April 9, 2006 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican Party doesn't represent true conservatives and hasn't for years. Huge budget deficits, expanding the government, ever increasing corporate welfare, and spying on people are all examples of the Republican Party's departure from conservatism. True conservatives believe in a small, efficiently run government that pays its bills without saddling future generations with their debt. True conservatives believe that the government shouldn't be in the business of giving tax payer's money to corporations. True conservatives believe that illegal, unconstitutional activities such as instituting a national program to spy on its citizens ought to be punishable by impeachment and jail time for those responsible. Our bought and paid for Republican Party members of Congress don't feel that way. Their corporate owners wouldn't allow it.

Posted by: mcc777c2 on April 9, 2006 at 7:52 AM | PERMALINK

egbert: The NSA program was briefed to Congress, so they had full knowledge of it.

How can we discharge our oversight (of the Bush administrations warrantless eavesdropping program) if, every time we ask..were told the program is classified? - Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis. 4/6/06

next.....

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on April 9, 2006 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK


egbert in 2006: Ooooh, the big bad government is going to get ya!

egbert in 1996: The government is going to get ya!

Posted by: thispaceavailable on April 9, 2006 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Sometimes comments equal or better the premise used to start discussion. I think Scotian's 5:28 is one.

Posted by: opit on April 9, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter Egbert: Whatever the answer is, my side is right.

Posted by: Pat on April 9, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

center left, of torquemada: how do you propose to "destroy the possibility of any group of people at all like this becoming organized in any effective way ever again?" Repeal the First Amendment?


There is no legal or Constitutional reason why any and all corporate participation in politics cannot be made illegal. The problem evolves from the way corporations are allowed to exist. If we eliminate this as it is now and try again we can make it over in a way that these things work for society, instead of the parasitic whoring that is their current primary function.

Eliminating the concept of corporate personhood in law would go a long way toward achieving this.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Personhood

Posted by: cld on April 9, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Nads,

"By investing more in education so that ignorant motherfuckers like you eventually die out, and are replaced by hopefully more progressive and moral offspring. dipshit."

Yet another loony leftie. This place does seem to attract the crazies.

Posted by: Center Left on April 9, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

There certainly will be more to come.

You and others have been dismissing the NSA activities as mere "data mining". Yes, you acknowledge the president broke the law. But was it really wiretapping? You proclaimed it "data mining." Not a big deal.

I have said from the begining: It was wiretapping, pure and simple. It was deep penetration of our private communications without a warrant. It was indiscriminate: It wasn't just our conversations with al Qaeda members across the ocean. No sirreee. Gonzales admitted it. And yes, they did use data mining techniques on this illegally obtained data to decide who should be penetrated even more deeply (and illegally, without a warrant).

Kevin, I hope you are starting to wise up. I will know that you have seen the light when you STOP enabling the bastards by using the spin-words "data mining", which only serve to sugar coat and disguise the true and evil nature of what has been going on for years.

Posted by: Libby Sosume's evil self on April 9, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

PS, I am speaking as someone who has worked in business intelligence and knows what data mining is - and isn't.

Posted by: Libby Sosume's evil self on April 9, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

centr left

... the obvious irrelevance of your name aside, and ignoring for the moment your clear willingness to suck rightwing cock, I have history on my side.

eventually, the old men pushing the overt racism and homophobia of the 60s are largely dead, as are their ideas. other than pockets of bible thumping ignorant rednecks, which do make up a substantial and vocal minority, america has moved beyond this level of bigotry. the next generation is demonstrably less bigoted, at least overtly. unfortunately, they aren't educated well enough to withstand sustained propaganda from those who try and convince them that their racism is an inherant virtue, but that's where the education comes in.

conservatism, especially social conservatism, pays homage to dead ideas. you know this, and so do we. I would personally wish that you weren't quite so ignorant a motherfucker, but seeing as how you are, I've decided to pin my hopes on the next generation of red staters.

Posted by: Nads on April 9, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

I gotta say it again, cause Kevin Drumfuk just pisses me off.

Data mining means what you do with the data after you've collected it. You use statistical analysis and other techniques to discover relationships and patterns, on the basis of which you can take further action.

Where did you get the data? That's what is at issue. They giot the data illegally without a warrant. THEN they used data mining to narrow the scope of their privacy invasion, so that they could get more data illegally without a warrant.

Kevin Drumfuk, the ex marketing guy, knows enough about marketing to be dangerous. By dismissing all this as "data mining" he has led countless other moderates to be relatively unconcerned about this NSA thing -- except for the technical issue of Bush not obtaining warrants for the deeper penetration.

It was logically clear from the beginning why Bush didn't go for the warrants. He couldn't, because the evidence he would have had to use to justify the warrants had been illegally obtained in the first place, by wide-scale and indiscriminate wiretapping. Whether they used sophisticated data miningh strategies or just plain common sense mdoesn't matter. It was illegal from the word go.

Posted by: Libby Sosume's pissed off evil self on April 9, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

"Sometimes comments equal or better the premise used to start discussion. I think Scotian's 5:28 is one."

Posted by: opit on April 9, 2006 at 11:28 AM

Thank you for the kind words, I try my best.

"So you're another loony-leftie, are you? Tell me, after you've "destroyed" the Republican Party (and how are you going to do that, exactly?) how do you propose to "destroy the possibility of any group of people at all like this becoming organized in any effective way ever again?" Repeal the First Amendment?"

Posted by: Center Left on April 9, 2006 at 1:20 AM

In case your partisan blindness is as bad as this comment of yours tends to indicate the GOP is doing a very good job of discrediting and destroying the two main "idea" cards they have had affiliated to them, being the better for fiscal management and the better for national security. Both of those have been massively damaged by the wild overspending in a Congress and Presidency totally controlled by the GOP, and the same is true regarding the security issue. After all the GOP have had a lock on both Houses of Congress since the 2002 midterms. They had the Executive since Jan 2001. Yet the deficits are ballooning, as is the total American debt. The security issues are not working on ports and other infrastructure security.

Then we come to Iraq. For the entire time of the Iraq war both Houses of Congress and the Presidency have been the same party so unlike say Vietnam trying to claim the Dems or the left are the reason for the problems is obvious nonsense. They have held no power to affect anything regarding Iraq, indeed this was one of the things the GOP used to take such glee in, now though they are desperately trying to pin the failures on anyone other than their own and the lock of government they have held throughout this makes it impossible for them to do so, not that this is stopping them from trying though. So far from helping confirm the GOP being better on national security and war fighting they are instead destroying it each and every day.

As to your first comment regarding my first post in this thread, interesting you were unable to actually refute any of the comments. Trying to be dismissive will not serve you well here. I do not know if you are aware of this since I haven't been around much the last six months or so but I am a rather well known long term poster here. I have well established credibility here. Indeed, I am the person responsible for the term "Trolletariat" in use here and elsewhere from my early posts 2-3 years ago back here. So trying to dismiss me in the manner you did will only have credence to Trolletariat and similarly minded persons. Next time try actually dealing with the contents of the material instead of trying to discredit the speaker, not only is it more honest but in my case at least you cannot discredit me as a serious commentator without doing so and showing exactly why I am as out to lunch as you claimed I was.

"You and others have been dismissing the NSA activities as mere "data mining". Yes, you acknowledge the president broke the law. But was it really wiretapping? You proclaimed it "data mining." Not a big deal.

I have said from the begining: It was wiretapping, pure and simple. It was deep penetration of our private communications without a warrant. It was indiscriminate: It wasn't just our conversations with al Qaeda members across the ocean. No sirreee. Gonzales admitted it. And yes, they did use data mining techniques on this illegally obtained data to decide who should be penetrated even more deeply (and illegally, without a warrant).

Kevin, I hope you are starting to wise up. I will know that you have seen the light when you STOP enabling the bastards by using the spin-words "data mining", which only serve to sugar coat and disguise the true and evil nature of what has been going on for years."

Posted by: Libby Sosume's evil self on April 9, 2006 at 2:59 PM

Good comment. I also agree with you that the term "data mining" is not being used with actual understanding of what it involves and how it essentially relies on the gathering of extensive data to be at its most reliable and how that directly ties into blanket surveillance of Americans generally. Not to mention how much of it relies on access to private information to be able to project reliable results for the type of profiling both private business and government wants to be doing, business for increasing their Market base/profitability and government for ostensibly security reasons but somehow given the history of this government I suspect it goes well beyond that into politically usable data for partisan electoral purposes.

Posted by: Scotian on April 9, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Libby Sosume's pissed off evil self,

They're allowing private companies to do this without the restrictions on use of the accumulated info that would apply to governmental agencies.

Is it too much to assume that Republican executives will just see this as carte blanche to get everything out of it they can?

Posted by: cld on April 9, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

CC wrote:
Oh no, now that the EFF is involved, they are sure to lose the lawsuit and in the process, destroy yet another freedom. The EFF has a consistent track record of setting precedents for the DEFENDANT in their lawsuits. If past performance is any indicator of future performance, the EFF will set a precedent that permanently allows the NSA to wiretap everything, everywhere.

I'm all for the restoration of our civil rights, but the EFF is precisely the wrong group to do it. They issue sensationalistic press releases that misrepresent facts to exaggerate their position. This might work when you're pandering to the BoingBoing.com crowd, but it has a poor track record before federal judges. We need a different group to fight for our civil liberties, someone that isn't staffed by a bunch of fanatical geeks who have more political rhetoric than logic. Maybe someone like the ACLU.

Posted by: CC on April 8, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree entirely.

The onus is on the judicial system to base their judgment on the facts and on the law -- whether or not a plaintiff engages in a bit of hyperbolae or not.

Contrary to what you say, actual passion in defense of civil liberties serves us well -- it's the falsely 'responsible' voices that servilely enable the evisceration of our liberties and of this country. Who have failed to speak up over and over and over again. And they did so while poorly thought out decisions & precedents have been handed down that are clearly at odds with existing Constitutional law.

To fail to call a spade a spade in the misguided belief that a weak defense of our liberties and system of governance will lend your position credibility or persuasive power in the eyes of those that abuse power is -- irresponsible.

It will not.

Maybe the EFF uses inflated rhetoric. But their facts are correct. To ignore them is to speak in cultured, high-brow tones, drinking tea in the parlor, while Rome burns to the ground all around you.

It's been going on for more than two decades now, and that's on you. That's on the folks who refused to take object to overt violations of our liberties on every front, refused to take a stand, refused to support the anti-war crowd and EFF, refused to be outraged.

The EFF took the lead, and now you're in no position to carp.

Barry Goldwater once said:

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

To you I say:

Moderation seeking milquetoast compromise with the Vice of Tyranny is no Liberty.

You shall not pretend that ANY compromise in regard to our God-given, Creator-endowed inalienable rights does any favor to your equals, nor any service to your country.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on April 9, 2006 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

Mike Furir Mike 387

Posted by: Mike Furir 483 on April 11, 2006 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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