ACLU challenges legality of NSA's spying program--and here's what your phone metadata reveals


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In 1979, there were public payphones, so if someone wanted to remain anonymous with some of these more sensitive type of calls, they could, barring surveillance of that pay phone. Now everyone is being tracked because the anonymous public phone booth is not available. The SC should revisit this issue in light of the population having no option but to communicate through new technology that is always tracked.

Also, does anyone else find it somewhat uncomfortable that BB offers a ton of posts on NSA surveillance and Google’s adherence, and yet you can’t log in unless you allow Google Analytics?


Also, does anyone else find it somewhat uncomfortable that BB offers a ton of posts on NSA surveillance and Google’s adherence, and yet you can’t log in unless you allow Google Analytics?

I log in fine.

Do you have any other red herrings?

Coming soon, the uncensored video, “Spies Gone Wild,” with NSA spies dressed in black and hi-fiving each other as they crowd around a monitor going gaga watching Lady Gaga on her bedroom laptop webcam. Or Kate Upton. Or Sarah Palin. Or. . . does it matter? It may even be you.

I’m sorry but The Patriot Act justification doesn’t wash anymore: “We’re hunting terrorists. We don’t need no stinking 4th Amendment.”

It’s not going to stop. We’ve got to take matters into our own hands. Use Tails & TOR for browsing, Textcrypt for text messages and Cellcrypt for mobile phone calls. Then, take everything off of Dropbox, Instagram, iCloud, etc, and stash it all in a Cloudlocker ( which works just the same but stays in the house where they still need a warrant to get inside.

I’m sure we’re going to seem more and better tools like these appear soon as good ol Yankee ingenuity revs up. What a shame that it’s come to this.


I’m sorry, I still can’t get my knickers in a twist about this. If someone is focused on one particular person to the point that they drill down to the level that they graph the frequency and timing of telephone calls, odds are they’re a “person of interest” for some important reason (I don’t think budgets or time constrictions allow tracking everyone to that level.) And if you’re of that much interest, odds are also that the same (or very similar) information could be found out by old-fashion detective work (sifting through your trash, tailing you, etc.)

But even if we just focus on the supposed wealth of information from metadata, isn’t that compromised by the fact that many people have/use more than one phone (home landline, personal cell, work cell, work landline, a coworker’s landline, prepaid burner phone, friend’s house phone, friend’s cell, random “can I use your phone for a second” to a stranger?"

Anyone who is doing anything covert (even something as non-national-security-threatening but simply disgusting and sleazy like having an affair) who is stupid enough to use one phone is probably too stupid to look before they cross the street. Pure Darwin Award material.

And if some government bureau is throwing out some sort of dragnet to find groups of people who act in a way they don’t like, they’d find much more usable info reading all of our posts on places like BoingBoing. (Because if you think your user IDs are not trackable, you’re dreaming.)

I got in this time without pausing that script, but I still got “[‘BAD CSRF’]”

I’m sorry, I still can’t get my knickers in a twist about this.

Just stay in line for the rest of your life and you’ll probably be ok. Stay insignificant and you’ll be safe. Don’t start a successful business where they can pluck your valuable secrets… nor be a patriotic activist where they can thwart you from organizing others…

Just stay in line and stay insignificant. No prob.


I dunno your setup. Try a different one. I’m on Mac.

Old fashioned detective work used to involve getting a warrant for that info. Compiling and keeping data on everyone is an entirely different story. I like privacy and don’t like the idea that all of the citizenry are considered criminals first. Who I speak with and when should be none of the government’s business, unless I am suspected of committing a crime. I don’t know who is looking at that data, how secure that data is, and so on. It’s not about being afraid that you are going to be caught doing something illegal. And you’re right, probably the people plotting things are going to be careful and not get caught in that web. Meanwhile, everyone else is stuffed in a repository.


Same here.

Yes, but “odds are” isn’t good enough. We now know for a fact this data and others like it is routinely abused by our trusted, security-cleared agents.

And your “Darwin Award” comment pretty much maps to “if you have nothing to hide…” The fact is, wicked Americans and saintly Americans have exactly the same constitutional rights. Smart ones and stupid ones do, too. And our government is currently violating the rights of all of us.


Sorry, I’m not going to troubleshoot your computer settings for free over a red herring. Later.

And no one asked you to.

Then stop telling me your computer errors and setup, m’kay? Like I said, I think it’s a red herring in the first place. You’ve already repeatedly said in past posts you don’t like boingboing using google analytics and now you’ve made a false claim that it’s required to sign in when it’s not (as I showed you). Why not start a new thread on how much you hate boingboing’s use of google analytics instead of clogging up their posts on the ACLU challenging NSA spying? You might even get someone from boingboing to address your concerns there.

Do we know if “Smith v. Maryland” (1979) etc is being interpreted to mean Americans have no right or expectation of privacy regardling our cellular location when using cellphones?
Ie do we know if locations are recorded under the extremely permissive brush of “pen register / tap and trace” surveillance?

Such as they’re a pretty woman that the analyst would like to meet. Or they’re an ex-lover after a rough breakup that the analyst is obsessed with. Or they’re in a custody dispute and the analyst needs to find some kind of dirt to throw. Or they’re a whistle-blower. Or they’re a prosecutor not afraid to gun after the big guys.

If you pay attention to the public record, you’ll learn that abuse of power is routine (and who knows how much happens that we never hear about) and that having nothing to hide has never meant having nothing to fear.
(And Snowden being able to access all the secrets he wanted to without anyone stopping him, demonstrates just how free people are to use and abuse their powers as they please, with no-one the wiser)


First, I didn’t know if anyone else was having the same issue. This was the first time I ever brought the subject up. I only signed up a few days ago on the commenting system and wasn’t here for almost a year and didn’t have that problem before. You engaged me about your system and noscript and I responded. I wasn’t seeking your assistance. I don’t understand the hostility directed at me, but I will steer clear in the future. And that concludes this derailment of the subject.

You engaged me about your system and noscript and I responded.

I was just showing that one can sign in without google analytics after you said it was required. Also, that wasn’t noscript I showed. :dancer:

I only signed up a few days ago on the commenting system and wasn’t here for almost a year and didn’t have that problem before.

Sorry, must have been someone else who was previously complaining about google analytics on boingboing then. Sorry I was hostile, I got you mixed up with someone else. But, I still do think it’s a bit of a red herring.

All of the replies to your optimistic rant are solid. Let me add a few more points to make you reconsider your position. As the NSA has testified, they use three hops to identify “persons of interest”. That means if someone who you speak with or email with knows someone else that knows someone else who happens to be involved in something the government has decided relates to terrorism, or drug dealing, or IRS shenanigans or basically whatever else they decide to use the data for, you are now a suspect. That means anything from you won’t ever know, to you could be hauled in for questioning and/or interrogation to you could never be allowed to fly anywhere in or out of the US again (with no right of appeal) to you could be arrested and sent off for torture, interrogation or just lost in some dank cell for decades.

Are you frightened now? Oh, and lest you think this is some fantasy, just imagine the roundups of “suspects” if another serious terrorism plot succeeds. Your life could turn upside down and inside out in the space of an afternoon merely through guilt by association. And if you aren’t worried because you don’t think it can happen to you… maybe you are a whitebread American thousands of miles from the nearest Muslim. In which case I’d remind you that the FBI is actively hunting white supremacist groups as terrorists. And I’ve just outlined the really, really terrifying aspects of this. There are thousands of other ways NSA spying could affect you negatively, including economically, psychologically and politically. I really don’t think you’ve thought this through in any meaningful way.

Its not a red herring at all. Many sites don’t allow logins without accepting scripts from third party sites, especially scripts like GA. I’ve used script blocks before and they are an utter pain in the ass to figure out which ones a particular site will work without. It turns browsing the web into a drudgery just to keep from being snooped by data gathering orgs. So please stop trying to pretend that is some sort of solution to anything, unless you want to spend nine tenths of the time you spend online playing a tiresome form of script wackamole and for your efforts many sites simply won’t work.