NSA Mass Electronic Surveillance Programs Commercially Motivated
Posted by feww on December 19, 2013
NSA should cease storing bulk meta-data: Panel
“We recommend that legislation should be enacted that terminates the storage of bulk telephony meta-data by the government under section 215, and transitions as soon as reasonably possible to a system in which such meta-data is held instead either by private providers or by a private third party,” the panel reported.
The Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies has made 46 recommendations to “improve” accountability of the intelligence community in its 308-page report.
Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act
Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act commonly referred to as the “library records” provision was passed by the United States Congress in 2001 as a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks.
It modified FISA [Access to records and other items under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] to allow the Director of the FBI (or an official designated by the Director) to apply for an order to produce “tangible things” [it includes “books, records, papers, documents, and other items,”] that assist in an investigation undertaken to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence operations. The section currently is interpreted to include all aspects of the NSA’s mass surveillance programs.
“We recommend that, as a general rule and without senior policy review, the government should not be permitted to collect and store all mass, undigested, non-public personal information about individuals to enable future queries and data-mining for foreign intelligence purposes,” the fourth of 46 suggestions made by the panel reads. “Any program involving government collection or storage of such data must be narrowly tailored to serve an important government interest.”
The 5-memebr panel was comprised of Richard Clarke, a former White House counter-terrorism adviser; Michael Morell, a former deputy director of the CIA; Geoffrey Stone a law professor at University of Chicago; Cass Sunstein a former White House technical adviser and Peter Swire, an expert in privacy law.
- Unsurprisingly, the Panel’s recommendation came after [NOT before] a Federal District Judge ruled NSA activities “likely unconstitutional.”
- Furthermore, the panel did NOT recommend a federal investigation into the 911 attacks that were used as a pretext for the PATRIOT Act.
Federal District Judge Richard Leon has ruled that the electronic spy agency’s practice was an “arbitrary invasion,” in his ruling in a Washington DC federal court on Monday.
Judge Leon called the NSA’s surveillance program “indiscriminate” and an “almost Orwellian” technology that enables the government to store and analyze the phone meta-data of every telephone user in the United States. He suggested that James Madison would be “aghast” to learn that the government was encroaching on liberty of Citizens to such an extent.
However, the Judge, appointed to the bench by George W. Bush in 2002, stayed his injunction “in light of the significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues,” allowing the government time to appeal the ruling.
“I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval,” Judge Leon wrote in his 68-page ruling. “Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment,” which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.
NSA data collection has a commercial format
NSA mass electronic surveillance programs have a two-prong purpose: To appease the the Security-Industrial Complex and to enrich the IT industry. They have literally nothing to do with preventing terrorism, as the Boston Marathon bombings showed.
In Google Caught Spying, Lying, Again! FIRE-EARTH said:
Google has denied any link to the U.S. electronic mass surveillance [sic,] mainly conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA). But, the NSA data collection has a commercial format; the U.S. government and its officials have no direct use whatever for the data other than to hand it over to the U.S. corporations in return for financial favors including lucrative post-retirement positions in the “private” sector.
Google is shaken but not stirred, so to speak, because the maximum fine for failure to comply with the court order [in Brazil] is just $500,000.
Google has denied any link to the mass surveillance programs conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA), which is done on behalf of corporate America(!)
NSA targets for cyber-surveillance in Brazil included President Dilma Rousseff, and the state-run energy giant Petrobras, as well as tens of millions of ordinary Brazilians.
Whereas NSA is on record for admitting to large scale collection of metadata, Google’s surveillance programs include contents, physical addresses and just about every bit and byte of information transmitted through Wi-Fi and cable networks.
Google’s data collection programs run directly in at least 72 countries, and indirectly in dozens of other countries through the NSA and others.