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Orwell was an optimist
May 17, 2006 10:02 AM   Subscribe

Wired article about the hardware/technology the NSA is allegedly using at AT&T's San Franscisco switching office to eavesdrop on our internet communications. The Electronic Freedom Foundation is suing AT&T over it. The administration doesn't want that to happen. Previous MeFi|Related ACLU case
posted by i_am_a_Jedi (35 comments total)

 
Mark Klein's account of NSA activity.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 10:07 AM on May 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


Damn ... I bet even Bamford is impressed by that.
posted by Relay at 10:37 AM on May 17, 2006


George Bush: "If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier - just so long I'm the dictator." December 18, 2000
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 10:37 AM on May 17, 2006


To Rubber Stamp Is to Weaken Democracy
posted by homunculus at 10:46 AM on May 17, 2006


Well the Telcos will soon be able to Lie about what they are doing and this kind of thing will all go away, won't it?
posted by Meccabilly at 10:47 AM on May 17, 2006


"AT&T was turned down by a federal judge Tuesday in its 11th-hour attempt to bar the public from a San Francisco court hearing today about documents that allegedly show the company's involvement in a secret government electronic surveillance program. - San Francisco Chronicle (via DKos)
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 10:47 AM on May 17, 2006


I hate to say it, but Wired is risking relevance again, here. Where will I go for absolutely non-essential Gear, Stuff, and Technolust?

PS. Excellent links, Jedi.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:49 AM on May 17, 2006


This reminds me of a time at work when a coworker was TRYING to cite Murphy's Law, but ended up naming Occam's Razor instead.

Which led me to invent (of course) Murphy's Razor.

"All things being equal, the simplest explanation is that whatever could go wrong, did."

It really does explain everything.
posted by InnocentBystander at 10:51 AM on May 17, 2006 [23 favorites]


So what's up with Verizon and BellSouth denying involvement? That's pretty weird.
posted by smackfu at 10:51 AM on May 17, 2006


We should start a call tree in which we each discuss this issue, making sure to use terms such as 'al-Queda' and anything else that the wiretap system "tags" on. You call five people, they each call five people, and so on. Imagine the work that make for them!
posted by poppo at 10:53 AM on May 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


Has the EFF ever won anything?
posted by jcruelty at 10:56 AM on May 17, 2006


So what's up with Verizon and BellSouth denying involvement? That's pretty weird.
smackfu


No, Verizon said something along the lines of ' ... we were not under a contract to provide data to the NSA ... '.

It was an basic non-denial denial.

BellSouth said that they were ASKED by the NSA, and they turned the NSA down.

The BellSouth thing has bigger implications that the Verizon non-denial.
posted by Relay at 10:57 AM on May 17, 2006


"All things being equal, the simplest explanation is that whatever could go wrong, did."

Brilliant! I am so going to use that.
posted by djeo at 10:57 AM on May 17, 2006


Meccability: that's frightening.

Will we have no legal recourse at all? If they can deny it in a lawsuit, what can a citizen do?
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:03 AM on May 17, 2006


smackfu,
Refer to meccabilly's link regarding the President telling the telcos that it's OK to lie about this. Dear Leader knows best. All hail Dear Leader!
posted by nofundy at 11:06 AM on May 17, 2006


Sadam: "You all F*cked now!"
posted by Meccabilly at 11:18 AM on May 17, 2006


And incrementally, the cloak is thrown over their actions and our liberties are sacrificed. They're scarcely trying to hide it now. That worries me.
posted by SaintCynr at 11:21 AM on May 17, 2006


They are behaving as if they already know the outcome of the '06 and '08 elections.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 11:25 AM on May 17, 2006


To me mr.curmudgeon it looks like they know the end is nigh, and they're just flailing to beat the band.

It's really reminiscent of the Nixon/Agnew Untergang
posted by Relay at 11:32 AM on May 17, 2006


"All things being equal, the simplest explanation is that whatever could go wrong, did."

Marked as a favorite.

Now we can have a MeTa thread about "If you mark something as a favorite, is it REALLY NECESSARY to also enter a comment that you marked it as a favorite?" Go on. You know you want to.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:07 PM on May 17, 2006


...The Electronic Freedom Foundation is suing AT&T...

It's actually the Electronic Frontier Foundation
posted by delmoi at 12:24 PM on May 17, 2006


curmudgeon:
They are behaving as if they already know the outcome of the '06 and '08 elections.

Precisely.
------
Good stuff, Jedi, Mr. Bucket, Meccabilly, and InnocentBystander.

That Murphy's Razor thing is brilliant. I'm totally going to use that in a post-mortem here at work next week.
posted by batmonkey at 12:32 PM on May 17, 2006


Agreed on the Murphy's Razor thing. Simple, brilliant.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:58 PM on May 17, 2006


.
posted by rdone at 1:24 PM on May 17, 2006


I hate to say it, but Wired is risking relevance again, here

Some of us here even stake our careers on Wired risking relevance. I risk it myself in an article in our next issue. :)
posted by digaman at 1:59 PM on May 17, 2006


They are behaving as if they already know the outcome of the '06 and '08 elections.
posted by mr.curmudgeon


And we keep acting as if Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 were just abberations.
posted by any major dude at 2:16 PM on May 17, 2006


Digaman, you said in a previous thread you saw Janis Joplin play live. Are you sure it's relevance you're risking and not, say, a broken hip?

That said - there's usually at least one article worth a read in Wired so long as it's online and free. Don't know if I'd pay money for it. Which is to say, based on the past 10 years, I do know, and I wouldn't. Too much of the glossy, expensive advertorial for my delicate sensibilities.
posted by Sparx at 3:36 PM on May 17, 2006


Gee thanks, sparx. Still in high school, I take it?

For the $12 a year deal that's available everywhere, Wired costs $1 an issue. That doesn't seem exorbitant to me, and you get to read the articles a couple of weeks before they appear online for free. I often prefer reading long feature articles on paper, but that might be because the kindly nurse at the home has a hard time wedging the monitor between my bifocals and my iron lung.

But this is drift.

posted by digaman at 4:27 PM on May 17, 2006


Still in high school, I take it?

Nah, just jealous and petty. Love me some Janis.

And so it is. Sorry about that.
posted by Sparx at 4:38 PM on May 17, 2006


No problem, and thanks. I was in 6th grade when I sat in the stands at Shea Stadium in NYC watching Janis' second-to-last-ever show. I probably didn't realize the magnitude of what I was seeing, but at least I enjoyed it. I remember that some guy kept yelling "Piece of My Ass!" between songs. 'Twas ever thus.
posted by digaman at 5:01 PM on May 17, 2006


Does Wired still use ... odd colors for fonts and backgrounds in the print edition? I found it hard to read a lot of the time when I had a subscription (back last century). Some of the combinations they chose were downright ghastly and ugly, not to mention hard to discern.
posted by beth at 7:25 PM on May 17, 2006


No, that changed about six or seven years ago. I miss the boldness of the old Wired style personally, but so many people offered feedback like yours, it was clear that most of our readers preferred more standard use of fonts and colors.

We just hired a new creative director (designer, essentially) who seems to be very smart, so he may take the magazine off in some new directions visually. I don't think the design has been great for the last year or so, so that's good news.
posted by digaman at 5:31 AM on May 18, 2006


Anyway, back to the much more important subject at hand:

NSA killed system that sifted phone data legally

Sources say project was shelved in part because of bureaucratic infighting


By Siobhan Gorman
Sun Reporter

May 17, 2006, 10:27 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- The National Security Agency developed a pilot program in the late 1990s that would have enabled it to gather and analyze massive amounts of communications data without running afoul of privacy laws. But after the Sept. 11 attacks, it shelved the project -- not because it failed to work -- but because of bureaucratic infighting and a sudden White House expansion of the agency's surveillance powers, according to several intelligence officials.

The agency opted instead to adopt only one component of the program, which produced a far less capable and rigorous program. It remains the backbone of the NSA's warrantless surveillance efforts, tracking domestic and overseas communications from a vast databank of information, and monitoring selected calls.
[...]
posted by digaman at 5:35 AM on May 18, 2006


...stake our careers on Wired risking relevance. I risk it myself in an article in our next issue.

Yeah, well... you don't need to be relevant to make a living. I'm a philosopher, for god's sake! :-)

Seriously, though, I loved the nineties Wired [had a friend there at the time], but the signal/noise ratio has gradually risen throughout the last few years. That's not so bad: at least there's still signal! It's just not The [New] Economist.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:58 PM on May 18, 2006


Dear NSA
posted by homunculus at 7:11 PM on May 18, 2006


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