NSA report discloses that the agency tripled its surveillance of Americans in 2017

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/05/the-government-really-listens.html

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Hey, there was a lot for them to do, with the Trump administration and all!


NSA collected 534 phone call and text message records

Leaving out the word “million” after 534 rather alters the meaning of this sentence, and indeed the entire article. Why in the world did you do that?


Phone calls and text messages? How quaint!

I bet that they don’t say what else they’re sweeping up that will scoop up Americans, nor anything about Five Eyes hand-offs where they pass the job to another country’s agency, which isn’t forbidden to spy on Americans.

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Why did congress do this? They should be one of us.

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Every day, our world seems more like a bad fiction story. Still, if you know the tropes, you can attempt to deal with reality… In this case, dealing with the NSA is almost exactly like dealing with an evil genie.

  • The NSA/Evil Genie has it’s own motivation. It will NEVER willingly adopt your goals.
  • As the NSA gets more power, it is more likely to advance it’s own goals, instead of yours.
  • You can’t trust anything the NSA says.
  • The NSA will aggressively misinterpret anything you say.

So, the basic legislative approach to dealing with the NSA should be:

  1. Stop wishing on the NSA. IT just gives the NSA power over us. Stop saying: “No More Terrorism”; or “Fight our wars for us”; or even “Just make (somebody/something) go away”.
  2. LIMIT the power of the NSA. You can’t influence an “all powerful” NSA. First, you have to take away it’s power. Cut the NSA’s budget. Reduce the NSA’s staff. Revoke the NSA’s enabling legislation.
  3. Don’t try to talk to the NSA. It will lie to you. It will misinterpret your instructions. It will refuse to take responsibility for it’s actions.
  4. Create meaningful penalties for NSA misbehavior. It doesn’t matter if the NSA says: “The National Security made me do it”. Every bad NSA behavior must have automatic consequences. Automatic budget reductions. Automatic staff reductions. Automatic public hearings that publicly discuss NSA secrets and decisions.

The government “has not altered the manner in which it uses its authority to obtain call detail records,”

“…y’all just talked three times more!”

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I’m glad that the NSA is doing its best to keep track of a dangerous rogue nation lead by a populist demagogue and prone to carrying out missile attacks on foreign nations.


The NSA is doing what our leaders have asked it to. It would be interesting to see what would happen if Congress asked them to wind down such surveillance.

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I’m not saying, “False Flag Attacks”, but… False Flag Attacks.

I like that link about the jackass genie. It describes Trump supporters perfectly. As for the NSA… We truly need to drain the swamp… No, really, actually drain the DC swamp from all the mutated creatures that dwell there, contorting our republic into a fascist regime.

All a result of the fiction that our due process laws and limits upon governmental power do not apply outside the U.S.
The entire premise of the NSA is based on the idea that bad actors outside the US and within are not protected by the limits of power placed upon our government. This notion is dangerous and completely false.

That extra traffic was probably mostly generated by that server in Trump Tower that mysteriously links to that bank in Russia multiple times per hour…

Something I’ve often pondered when hearing such news is the moral gymnastics that may go through the minds of spies when confronted by the ethical ramifications of the knowledge they collect about other people.

If one sees someone drowning in a pond and walks away, witnesses a crime happening on the street and doesn’t call police, or hears a woman or child being beaten in a neighboring apartment and just ignores it, we’d generally consider that very despicable behavior.
Yet spies must be confronted by that every day. They must routinely run into information telling them the subjects they are tracking are suicidal, ill, being abused or exploited, or being targeted for a crime. What do they do, if anything, in a practical or emotional sense? What does their training tell them to do, if anything, in this situation when intervention likely risks exposure of their own activity? Do agencies limit their recruitment to a certain type of sociopathic personality to avoid this issue? If so, what are the other ramifications of putting any sort of power into the hands of such mentally ill people?

We know that drone pilots have often had to struggle with the psychological impacts of knowing their actions have led to many civilian --children’s-- deaths. Remote control isn’t always remote enough.

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