I really hope everyone had a great Fourth of July. It seems odd that we are celebrating Independence day just as details continue to flood in about how spied upon we are. How really non Independent we are. We are literally the most spied upon group of people who have ever walked on this Planet. More than Nazi Germany, more than Stalinist Russia. More than the East German Stasi. How we allowed this to happen is a topic for another day. I will say I am mystified at people’s priorities.
I ran across a few good articles about Prism/NSA/Boundless Informant in the last 36 hours or so.
Found this article to be a little more detailed than most from the mainstream type publications. It is more a research paper.
Carnivore is a surveillance technology, a software program housed in a computer unit, which is installed by properly authorized FBI agents on a particular Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) network. The Carnivore software system is used together with a tap on the ISP’s network to “intercept, filter, seize and decipher digital communications on the Internet”. The system is described as a “specialized network analyzer” that works by “sniffing” a network and copying and storing a warranted subset of its traffic. In the FBI’s own words “Carnivore chews on all data on the network, but it only actually eats the information authorized by a court order”. This article, in two parts, will provide an overview of the FBI’s Carnivore electronic surveillance system. The Carnivore software’s evolution, its ‘prey’ and the system’s relationship with Internet Service Providers will be the focus of the study. (Although the FBI’s Carnivore surveillance system is now officially called DCS1000, as the surveillance system is more commonly referred to as “Carnivore”, that term will be used throughout). Also addressed in t
Strong article about FISA
I personally find the FISA court part of this to be the hardest to find information on and perhaps the most secretive wing of the Government to some degree. In some ways the most interesting. No one knows who is on the Court as Judges. They operate in total secrecy. You cannot find transcriptions of what transpired in any proceeding. It is in my opinion operating unconstitutionally. It is operated in every possible as to challenge the freedoms/liberties/numerous protections as to our rights concerning Court or Law in General. These are spelled out fairly clearly in the Constitution and in subsequent rulings since. Last year the FISA court heard something like 1200 or 1800 “cases” they sided with the Govt 100% of the time. That is not in the slightest respect impartial in any way. That is a Rubber Stamp. That is insulting our intelligence and costing the tax payers some dough.
I think this is a very important article.
WASHINGTON — In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say.
This is a fairly decent breakdown of recent events in the Prism/NSA news.
Let’s start off with what we know, and then we’ll explain what we have discovered.
A secret court known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), created under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act 1978 and subsequently amended by the Patriot Act in 2001, forced Verizon to hand over “tangible things” to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).
NSA ‘top secret’ spying order affects millions of Americans: FAQ
The news was first reported by London, U.K.-based newspaper The Guardian.
A day later, another leak pointed to a surveillance program known only as PRISM, which was funded by the NSA. A classified document in form of a PowerPoint deck, designed to train new operatives, was published online. Only four out of 41 slides were published in The Washington Post.
It was later revealed, on Saturday, June 8, that the source of the NSA document leak was 29 year-old Edward Snowden, an employee of government security contractor Booz Allen Hamilton who was stationed at the NSA’s operations center in Hawaii and had since fled to Hong Kong.
The slides indicated that AOL, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, Google and YouTube, Microsoft and Skype, and little-known company PalTalk were involved in some way. The slides described how these companies were “current providers” but did not explicitly state that these firms knowingly or directly handed over data to the intelligence agency.
The wording on the fourth slide described the “dates when PRISM collection began for each provider,” and not, for example, “dates when each provider began PRISM collection.”
The stream of leaks revealing the U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) secrets carries on with the public outing of an powerful intelligence tracking tool.
On the back of key talks between Chinese president Xi Jinping and U.S. President Obama on issues of surveillance and cybercrime, the U.S. government’s week has just gotten a lot worse. In a fresh wave of documents obtained by The Guardian, the details of the NSA’s data mining tool “Boundless Informant” are laid out for the world to see.
DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE WASHINGTON, DC 20511
June 8, 2013
Facts on the Collection of Intelligence Pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
PRISM is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program. It is an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a). This authority was created by the Congress and has been widely known and publicly discussed since its inception in 2008.
Under Section 702 of FISA, the United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. In short, Section 702 facilitates the targeted acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning foreign targets located outside the United States under court oversight. Service providers supply information to the Government when they are lawfully required to do so.
The Government cannot target anyone under the court-approved procedures for Section 702 collection unless there is an appropriate, and documented, foreign intelligence purpose for the acquisition (such as for the prevention of terrorism, hostile cyber activities, or nuclear proliferation) and the foreign target is reasonably believed to be outside the United States. We cannot target even foreign persons overseas without a valid foreign intelligence purpose.
In addition, Section 702 cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, or any other U.S. person, or to intentionally target any person known to be in the United States. Likewise, Section 702 cannot be used to target a person outside the United States if the purpose is to acquire information from a person inside the United States.
Finally, the notion that Section 702 activities are not subject to internal and external oversight is similarly incorrect. Collection of intelligence information under Section 702 is subject to an extensive oversight regime, incorporating reviews by the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.
Facts on the Collection of Intelligence Pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
I wondered who still used slides. Now I know the NSA is buying the crap out of slides.
The top-secret PRISM program allows the U.S. intelligence community to gain access from nine Internet companies to a wide range of digital information, including e-mails and stored data, on foreign targets operating outside the United States. The program is court-approved but does not require individual warrants. Instead, it operates under a broader authorization from federal judges who oversee the use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Some documents describing the program were first released by The Washington Post on June 6. The newly released documents below give additional details about how the program operates, including the levels of review and supervisory control at the NSA and FBI. The documents also show how the program interacts with the Internet companies. These slides, annotated by The Post, represent a selection from the overall document, and certain portions are redacted. Read related article.
What is Prism?
Last night, the Washington Post and Guardian dropped concurrent bombshell reports. Their subject was PRISM, a covert collaboration between the NSA, FBI, and nearly every tech company you rely on daily. PRISM has allowed the government unprecedented access to your personal information for at least the last six years. But what is it, exactly?
PRISM is a secret government program…
As much as PRISM might sound like a comic book antagonist of S.H.I.E.L.D., it’s the codename for a very real US government program. According to leaked documents, it went into effect in 2007, and has only gained momentum since. Its stated purpose is to monitor potentially valuable foreign communications that might pass through US servers, but it appears that in practice its scope was far greater.
BBC weighs in on what is Prism?
So, what is Prism?
A surveillance system launched in 2007 by the US National Security Agency (NSA).
A leaked presentation, dated April 2013, states that it allows the organisation to “receive” emails, video clips, photos, voice and video calls, social networking details, logins and other data held by a range of US internet firms.
It names the companies as: Microsoft and its Skype division; Google and its YouTube division; Yahoo; Facebook, AOL, Apple and PalTalk – a lesser known chat service owned by AVM Software.
The presentation says the programme costs $20m (£13m) a year to run and is designed to overcome earlier “constraints” in the NSA’s counterterrorism data collection efforts.
Details of the initiative were first published by the Guardian and the Washington Post newspapers on 6 June.
Late that day the US director of national intelligence confirmed the initiative’s existence and declassified some information about it.
How did it come about?
A 1978 law – the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act (Fisa) – had set out the conditions under which a special court would authorise electronic surveillance if people were believed to be engaged in espionage or planning an attack against the US on behalf of a foreign power.
Following the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration secretly gave the NSA permission to bypass the court and carry out warrantless surveillance of al-Qaeda suspects among others.
After this emerged in 2005, Congress voted to both offer immunity to the firms that had co-operated with the NSA’s requests and to make amendments to Fisa.
The relaxation to the rules, introduced in 2008, meant officials could now obtain court orders without having to identify each individual target or detail the specific types of communications they intended to monitor so long as they convinced the court their purpose was to gather “foreign intelligence information”.
PRISM is a clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007.[Notes 1]PRISM is a government code name for a data-collection effort known officially by the SIGAD US-984XN.
On September 11, 2007, U.S. President George W. Bush signed the Protect America Act of 2007, allowing the NSA to start a massive domestic surveillance program. The program is operated under the supervision of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Its existence was leaked five years later by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who claimed the extent of mass data collection was far greater than the public knew, and included “dangerous” and “criminal” activities in law. The disclosures were published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013.
A document included in the leak indicated that PRISM was “the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports.” The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the FISC had been ordering a subsidiary of telecommunications company Verizon Communications to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’ telephone calls on an ongoing daily basis.
U.S. government officials have disputed some aspects of the Guardian and Washington Post stories and have defended the program by asserting it cannot be used on domestic targets without a warrant, that it has helped to prevent acts of terrorism, and that it receives independent oversight from the federal government’s executive, judicial and legislative branches. On June 19, 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama, during a visit to Germany, stated that the NSA’s data gathering practices constitute “a circumscribed, narrow system directed at us being able to protect our people”.