Under the old system, the NSA would take secret evidence to a secret judge in a secret court to obtain a secret warrant, then rummage through their files and help themselves to whatever they wanted.

Under the new system, the NSA takes secret evidence to a secret judge in a secret court to obtain a secret warrant, then goes next door to rummage through the files and help themselves to whatever they want.

This is considered a major step forward in privacy protection.

I’m Speechless

From Slashdot:

A newly released top secret document reveals that the NSA planned to hijack Google and Samsung app stores to plant spying software on smartphones. The report on the surveillance project, dubbed “IRRITANT HORN,” shows the U.S. and its “Five Eyes” alliance: Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia, were looking at ways to hack smartphones and spy on users. According to The Intercept: “The top-secret document, obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, was published Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept. The document outlines a series of tactics that the NSA and its counterparts in the Five Eyes were working on during workshops held in Australia and Canada between November 2011 and February 2012.”

Just out of curiosity, what part of the Patriot Act or the Constitution authorized this?

Checks and Balances

The NSA admits that they are compiling a massive database of photographs culled from social media so that if they want to they can track anyone anywhere at anytime (source).

But fear not!

“We do not do this in some unilateral basis against U.S. citizens.  We have very specific restrictions when it comes to U.S. persons.  In broad terms, we have to stop what we’re doing if we come to the realization that somebody we’re monitoring or tracking has a U.S. connection that we were unaware of. We have to assess the situation and if we think there is a legal basis for this and we have to get the legal authority or justification.”   ~NSA head Michael Rogers

So before they can actually use the information they have assembled, they have to go a secret location and petition a secret court where a secret judge will issue a secret ruling.

Don’t you feel better now?


Don’t Drone Me, Bro

From The Intercept:

According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.

Which explains why so many innocent people are being killed in drone strikes- they’re using NSA-culled metadata to target cell phones without verifying who’s holding them or looking to see who is standing nearby.

George W. might still believe they hate us “because we are free.” Personally, I think they hate us because we kill people and take their stuff.


If I understand this correctly, Obama’s “reform” of his expanded NSA spying program will be to store the information they collect in THAT room instead of THIS room (source).

A secret court using secret criteria will continue to issue secret rulings on who can secretly enter the room- but it’s a different room, so that changes everything.

I guess.