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NSA Also Monitors ATT&T, Sprint And Credit Cards

From the Wall Street Journal:

U.S. Collects Vast Data Trove

NSA Monitoring Includes Three Major Phone Companies, as Well as Online Activity

By SIOBHAN GORMAN, EVAN PEREZ and JANET HOOK | June 7, 2013

WASHINGTON—The National Security Agency’s monitoring of Americans includes customer records from the three major phone networks as well as emails and Web searches, and the agency also has cataloged credit-card transactions, said people familiar with the agency’s activities…

[P]eople familiar with the NSA’s operations said the initiative also encompasses phone-call data from AT&T Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp., records from Internet-service providers and purchase information from credit-card providers.

We suspected that the phone records of other networks besides Verizon were also being monitored. But that NSA is ‘cataloguing’ credit-card transactions is new.

The agency is using its secret access to the communications of millions of Americans to target possible terrorists, said people familiar with the effort.

The NSA’s efforts have become institutionalized—yet not so well known to the public—under laws passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks…

"Everyone should just calm down and understand this isn’t anything that is brand new,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), who added that the phone-data program has "worked to prevent” terrorist attacks.

If Harry Reid supports this, then we have reason to be worried.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) said the program is lawful and that it must be renewed by Congress every three months…

And we know what watchdogs Congress is. Nothing gets past them.

She said the revelation about Verizon, reported by the London-based newspaper the Guardian, seemed to coincide with its latest renewal…

In other words, she is hinting that the info was leaked by someone on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Which would not surprise us.

The arrangement with Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, the country’s three largest phone companies means, that every time the majority of Americans makes a call, NSA gets a record of the location, the number called, the time of the call and the length of the conversation, according to people familiar with the matter. The practice, which evolved out of warrantless wiretapping programs begun after 2001, is now approved by all three branches of the U.S. government.

AT&T has 107.3 million wireless customers and 31.2 million landline customers. Verizon has 98.9 million wireless customers and 22.2 million landline customers while Sprint has 55 million customers in total…

Actually, the sheer numbers involved afford some protection of privacy. There is some safety in numbers. Even the robots processing this material don’t have the time to zero in on individuals.

NSA also obtains access to data from Internet service providers on Internet use such as data about email or website visits, several former officials said. NSA has established similar relationships with credit-card companies, three former officials said

Again, this is the real news in this piece.

The Obama administration, which inherited and embraced the program from the George W. Bush administration, moved Thursday to forcefully defend it. White House spokesman Josh Earnest called it "a critical tool in protecting the nation from terror threats."

Notice how even the Wall Street Journal goes out of its way to try to stress that Obama "inherited" this program from the evil George Bush.

Hopefully, NSA is looking at purchases of pressure cookers by people with Islamic sounding names. But knowing the Obama administration, they probably spend all of their time looking for credit card donations to Tea Party and other conservative or Republican organizations and candidates.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Friday, June 7th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “NSA Also Monitors ATT&T, Sprint And Credit Cards”

  1. This entire data collection scheme is 100% for the DNC to collect as much data as possible against American citizens in order to skew, damage and otherwise affect the outcome of the 2014 election cycle.

    In preparation for 2016.

  2. Petronius

    Steve: “Hopefully, NSA is looking at purchases of pressure cookers by people with Islamic sounding names. But knowing the Obama administration, they probably spend all of their time looking for credit card donations to Tea Party, etc….”

    Just so. And hope and $7.00 will get you a frappuccino at Starbucks.

    Because it’s a safe prediction that the regime will never use these trainloads of data to catch a real terrorist.

    The regime had specific advance warnings about the Chechnyans in Boston, about Benghazi, about MAJ Nidal Hassan and the Times Square bomber. And yet they did nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    They did nothing because in their world the real “threat to democracy” is us, the American people.

  3. canary

    What needs to be clear is when time came to renew Patriot Act he made it more evasive.
    The liberal media is really spinning this. They make it appear as though Republicans are supporting and blaming it on Bush, when it was Obama that made the evasive changes.

  4. David

    This is not exactly my research are but it is close. DARPA and AFOSR have had big money in funding “data fusion.” The point of these projects is develop methods of collecting and reasoning about massive amounts of data of different types and sources. They don’t need to know who I called or what I purchased they are just waiting for the data to pull up red flags. I think this is how this will eventually get spun. They are not collecting data on any individual Americans but everyone (or at least a very large sample). That answer satisfies many because they won’t look to what has come from these funded projects or the close relationship our government has with search algorithm experts like Google. If Google can figure out to advertise “Garage sale tips” because I’ve been looking at free stuff on craigslist in preparation for one than I don’t doubt their ability to predict other types of behavior.

    • Data mining absolutely is a logical outgrowth of Statistics married to advanced algorithmic theory. The larger the base sample, theory has it, the more accurate a prediction is. Called a universal prediction algorithm because it applies equally to all the processes within the class, and is not tailored to any one of them. An extension of Information Theory. Said another way, Markovian models.

      Moving father afield – Bootstrapping is a way of figuring out the properties of statistical estimators (and other procedures, like hypothesis tests) by simulation. What they would really like to know is how different their answers could have been, if they re-ran their predictive sample a different way for incalculable results, or Uncertainty models. They can’t actually do this (yet), but they can fit a model to data and simulate from it, and see what answer they’d get from the simulations. They can even do this from exceedingly general non-parametric estimates, like re-sampling original data. This is a brilliant idea in the Field, and their default way of handling the uncertainty of estimation in complex models or with complex systems.

      All that Mumbo Jumbo aside, this is 7/8s of the way to A.I. Machine Intelligence, and directing activity in every facet in everyday ways through the demands, commands and forces of machines, not human judgement.

      What these people are up to is the vain accurately of seeing into the future, or, modeling an entire society upon a universal expansion of the Doctrine of Prior Restraint. They’re aiming for Certainty in a world built on Uncertainty.

      The Doctrine of Prior Restraint originally applied strictly to freedom of the press. What should be restrained and what should not. It’s been one of the thorniest issues of Constitutional jurisprudence.

      But the Nanny Staters – think Bloomberg – have it in their genetic encoding that Prior Restraint is good for Everything. Witness nanny Bloomberg’s ” … you can’t have no 64 ounce soda pop Because I say so.”

      Traffic speed signs are a form of prior restraint applied illiberally. Not in the strict construction of the Law, but in its obvious intent. Which is to restrain you prior to trouble. This is exactly what ObamaCare is … the doctrine of restraint prior to your actions. You will buy insurance because I said so because some day you’ll probably need it.

      But wait, there’s more, and it gets worse. Imagine an entire society sculpted and legally enforced according to the whims of algorithms, statistic sampling and devised by Machine Intelligence and administered by bureaucrats who will … trust me .., throw up their hands and exclaim “My hands are tied. It’s the Law. And go right back to their 40 hour coffee break because Machines rule everything they do without allowance for human intelligence, judgement or intervention.

      Or, did FAILSAFE not make an impression? It did to Slim Pickens.

      And that, dear reader, is where this story ends. With Slim (Major Kong) riding a nuclear weapon all the way down hollering yeeha. Or, SKYNET waging war on all of us. Or some godawful reality the Prediction Boys at the NSA’s new Utah center can’t predict.

      Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

      Now … for what GOD has to say about the practice of prediction

      Genesis 3:1 – now, the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field that the Lord God had made. 

      Serpent, noun: Archaic Hebrew na’chash – to prognosticate; divination; magic; sorcery; witchcraft; to cast illusions or spells; to engage in witchcraft; to be a sorcerer or illusionist. To learn by experience, to diligently observe. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to the Holy Bible, Hebrew #5175/5172

      That fundamental principle which knocked our behinds out of the very presence of very God – the serpent, or more correctly na’chash – is prognostication, divination which God Himself tells us is of the same family as witchcraft, sorcery, magic, spells and illusions. And is the reason we are no longer inside the Garden but outside the Garden trying to get back.

      Which is how I know what they’re up to serves Evil and not Good.

      Selah

      PS – go to the Source. Learn the Original. Never be fooled again.

  5. Astravogel

    It was interesting that one Senator ( I forget which) commented to the effect that
    if you’re not guilty, you have nothing to worry about. That’s French law in essence.
    Another commented that this program already prevented a terrorist attack on the US.
    No details on what, when, where or who got jailed for it. Believe it? I don’t.

    • Noyzmakr

      That’s right. let’s see the proof of the terrorism they’ve prevented. Not methods, just what, when, where and who’s in jail or dead for it.

      It is a little disingenuous. C’mon, let’s see it.

      Every other month the FBI parades some idiot’s picture all over the media that they furnished with fake bombs, vans to put them in, cell phones to detonate them with and buildings to target. They shout it from the roof tops.

      BUT, when warned by even our enimies of terrorist suspicions of the Tsarnaev nutter, they ignore that evidence.

      I don’t buy any of it. I think the Kenyan is setting up the Beasts apparatus. Just look at that facility in Utah. Why do we need any of it? it’s just an excuse to spy on all of us.

      Wait…there’s a knock at my door….oh sh*#…….see ya in 20 years.

    • Napoleonic Code. The only time you’re detained or arrested is if you’re guilty. If you’re not guilty, you …must prove your Innocence rather than the State proving your Guilt.

      *although this is a serious oversimplification of the complexities of current French Legal Code, though in Mexico it’s damn sure the way things work, including if found guilty the Guilty Party must pay for hsi own incarceration including food, medicine, etc. God help the poor filks who get sentenced in Mexico.

      Now here’s the nut of it … Libtards clearly have in their DNA a profound desire to see anyone who disagrees with them charged under the concepts of Napoleonic Code. And since it appears the Libtard judges are in ascendancy, be very clear about steering clear of legal entanglements.




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