Obama Administration Wants to Make Domestic Surveillance Power Grab

The White House wants to add just four words to the law that empowers the government to collect information on you w/o a warrant. But it would represent a huge expansion of the what the government could (legally) collect on you.

The administration wants to add just four words — “electronic communication transactional records” — to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge’s approval. Government lawyers say this category of information includes the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user’s browser history. It does not include, the lawyers hasten to point out, the “content” of e-mail or other Internet communication.But what officials portray as a technical clarification designed to remedy a legal ambiguity strikes industry lawyers and privacy advocates as an expansion of the power the government wields through so-called national security letters. These missives, which can be issued by an FBI field office on its own authority, require the recipient to provide the requested information and to keep the request secret. They are the mechanism the government would use to obtain the electronic records.

Make no mistake. This is one of the most important pieces of civil liberties news in a long time. The Obama Administration is asking Congress to sanction the collection of internet records without a warrant–the kind of shit they used to do without a warrant, until people expressed their opposition.

But then Democrats took over and now they want legal sanction and now–Voila, a request that presumably provides cover.

Go read this article. I’ll have more to say about it, but for the moment, Julian Sanchez makes sense.

  1. Gitcheegumee says:

    Well, here’s approximately $4 Billion worth of NEW NSA facilities underway.

    (I posted these at the end of an earlier thread,but considered it germane to the issue at hand. The Deseret article has additional, worthy info at the link.)

    University of Utah researchers meeting with NSA on data mining work
    By Paul Koepp

    Deseret News

    Published: Monday, July 26, 2010 10:00 p.m. MDT

    – SALT LAKE CITY — When the National Security Agency’s new information storage center is up and running at Camp Williams, there will be a lot of numbers to crunch. For help, the NSA may turn to a local source: a University of Utah professor who has come up with a simpler, faster method of “data mining.”

    Suresh Venkatasubramanian, assistant professor of computer science, will present his method Wednesday at an academic conference in Washington, D.C. As the government, researchers, social networking sites and businesses gather more and more information, it’s becoming a mammoth task to sort through it all.It’s a paradox, he said. “You want a richer description of your data, but you pay for it. Every time you add a dimension, it slows you down that much more.”Venkatasubramanian’s research has found a way to reduce the variables in any data set to zero in on its most important elements.
    The professor said that while current computer programs struggle to analyze data from 5,000 people, his program smoothly handles information from more than 50,000.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected to pick a contractor for the $1.9 billion, 120-acre facility by October. The first stage of construction should take about two years.The Military Installation Development Authority of Utah has already secured a multimillion-dollar contract to develop a master plan for power, water and sewer infrastructure at the site.________________________________________

    Project To Bring Thousands To Fort Meade ,Maryland
    Published on 07-27-2010

    Source: WBALTV

    FORT MEADE, Md. — A draft environmental impact statement said that a project by the National Security Agency will bring 6,500 workers to the Fort Meade area, challenging the area’s infrastructure.

    The NSA statement said the planned expansion will cost at least $2 billion
    The project, called Site M, will include a 1.8 million-square-foot building on land at Fort Meade that is currently used by two golf courses.

    While local officials said they are excited about the job growth and benefits to the local economy, they are also worried whether the county can accommodate the growth.Roads, schools and other infrastructure could become congested, and Anne Arundel County officials said it does not have money for major projects.

    NSA Project To Bring Thousands To Fort Meade – Project Economy …Jul 26, 2010 … FORT MEADE, Md. — A draft environmental impact statement said that a project by the National Security Agency will bring 6500 workers to the …
    http://www.wbaltv.com/money/24397493/detail.html – Cached

  2. joanneleon says:

    I am so f’ing sick of this.

    What happened to this guy? Did he even really exist?

    A Card-Carrying Civil Libertarian

    In the Senate, Mr. Obama distinguished himself by making civil liberties one of his legislative priorities. He co-sponsored a bipartisan reform bill that would have cured the worst excesses of the Patriot Act by meaningfully tightening the standards for warrantless surveillance. Once again, he helped encourage a coalition of civil-libertarian liberals and libertarian conservatives. The effort failed when Hillary Clinton joined 13 other Democrats in supporting a Republican motion to cut off debate on amendments to the Patriot Act.

    As a former grass-roots activist, Mr. Obama understands the need to make the case for civil liberties in the political arena. At a time when America’s civil-libertarian tradition has been embattled at home and abroad, his candidacy offers a unique opportunity.

    And what happened to this guy?

    Barack Obama Statement on FISA
    No one should get a free pass to violate the basic civil liberties of the American people – not the President of the United States, and not the telecommunications companies that fell in line with his warrantless surveillance program. We have to make clear the lines that cannot be crossed.

  3. bmaz says:

    What happened to this guy? Did he even really exist?

    No. His rise has been so aggressive and mercurial that he has never had time to actually be deep into issues to where he is invested or really cares; it is all, and always has been, pretty much mostly for political show and gain. He says what he thinks it takes. Take for instance even civil rights constitutional issues which he supposedly taught at University of Chicago; he has shown no evidence of even having any significant depth on even that. I have witnessed many examples of this over the time Obama has been forefront, but a recent example is they didn’t know who Shirley Sherrod or the Pigford black farmers were for shit. Anybody very invested in civil rights, especially a black man really invested, would have known that case the second it was mentioned. Heck, I am a honky idiot in Arizona, and I knew the whole backdrop of Sherrod involved Pigford the second I heard the initial edited Breitbart video. Knew it instantly; but not Obama. There is just no there there with Obama.

    • DWBartoo says:

      Glad you cleared that up, bmaz, as I wondered, late last night, very late, last night, if my brains or any ability to follow links had oozed completely away.


  4. Garrett says:

    The officials said the transactional information at issue, which does not include Internet search queries

    I’m having a hard time figuring out how this could even possibly be true, if web pages visited are a part of transactional records. Query string is a formal part of the URL.

    • Synoia says:

      “electronic transactional records” include:

      Credit card transactions

      maybe Google queries, but IMHO it does include all the meat of daily life.

      This appears to be warrantless search of all your online “papers” without warrant. The Gov will push this definition to mean every electron transaction.

  5. temptingfate says:

    Another variation on this heightened antagonism toward transparency came with the so-called financial reform which included exempting the SEC from FOIA requests. Meanwhile the President praised the bill for bringing greater transparency. Lesser being the new greater for the guy that campaigned against Bush’s policies without letting us know he meant that they were too liberal.

  6. tjbs says:

    Would Mc Cain have been worse?

    They can monitor a 100 million people to catch what, a dozen bad guys ?

    Does this wire tapping go both ways meaning monitoring but actively blocking incoming communications ?

    Say you’re self employed but outspoken in print and on the web about the outrageous torture program. Can the government prevent calls, concerning your business, from ever getting through, thereby bankrupting and silencing your voice without laying a glove on you?

    • Mary says:

      “Would McCain have been worse?”

      The one thing Obama has done pretty successfully is to rid me of a lot of fear. I’m really not all that afraid of a McCain or even a Palin after Obama. And I’m not really afriad “democrats” won’t be elected and torture purveyors for hire with a smile won’t get prosecuted and political hacks who are willing to cover up exec branch crime from then won’t end up on the Sup Ct, etc.

      The boogeyman of ‘Republicans would be worse’ is dead. Bad men are bad men, elephant or ass.

      I love how they just slide this in, “and possibly a user’s browser history. It does not include, the lawyers hasten to point out, the “content” of e-mail or other Internet communication.” An effing browser history – but it doesn’t include “content?” And for what purpose are they doing all this and for what use? Everyone who threw stones at “the wall” can begin to understand how parts of it (not the insance interpretations that wreaked such havoc, but the underlying concept) came about.

      This whole “let gove troll through everyone’s records without a warrant – but, uh, let’s say it’s for national security, or wait, no, let’s say that the main purpose is national … well, no, let’s say that nat sec is a maybe kinda sorta thingy that could be, with some creativity, claimed to be at issues – so you don’t need probable cause or even a FISA warrant, and you gag the givers and heck – let’s base it all out of Utah and hire Mitt Romney as Pres in 2012 and give oversight to Orin Hatch. What could go wrong?

      At about the time Ew was putting up this post last night, I was literally having a snake fall on my head. Sometimes the universe just feels like it has to hit you over the head with it to get your attention.

      • klynn says:

        and you gag the givers and heck – let’s base it all out of Utah and hire Mitt Romney as Pres in 2012 and give oversight to Orin Hatch. What could go wrong?

        Mary, your gift is getting down to the bottom line. Thank you.

      • tjbs says:

        Take what I think with a small grain of salt. An astute observer of FDL posted this comment about my take on things…..

        “when you speak without knowing what you’re saying and can’t back it up you sound kinda like you make yourself a fucking joke.

        you were, are, and will likely always be wrong.”

      • DWBartoo says:

        Great comment, Mary.

        Now, what about the snake …? (The long ones that slither on their bellies, the one with dry skin, not the slimy, pachydermal or asinine ones …)

        In the rafters, in the barn?

        A black snake, perhaps?

        Curiosity is.


          • DWBartoo says:

            There is that, of course, Gitchee, and Mary would give the best of angels a more than a “good” run, when it comes to understanding and humanity.


          • Gitcheegumee says:

            Interestingly enough, Wiki includes a reference that in Hebrew ,it refers to a tree of conscience.


            Inthe Book of Genesis, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or the tree of knowledge (occasionally, the tree of conscience, Hebrew: עֵץ הַדַּעַת טוֹב וָרָע, Etz haDaat tov V’ra) was a tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden.

        • Mary says:

          I don’t know enough about snakes to know what kind it was and I probably wasn’t in the bestest most detached state to take in the details, but I think you have the rafters part right.

          My stalls have exterior dutch doors and I was standing inside the stall doorway, reaching out to my pony’s halter when something hit me on the top of the head hard enough to knock it back and stun me a bit, bounced down on my outstretched arm knocking it back, and hit the ground. I was taking a step back instinctively and there at my feet (and pony’s feet) was a big snake. The dutch door is, I think about 3ft – the snake, even while curved, was longer then the width of the door.

          To my particular eyes at that moment in time, he seemed pretty damn big around, too. It took him a fair amount of time to slither out – it was dark in the stall with just aisle lights on, but I’d say he had some pattern on him but it was not high contrast, like a dark grey on black maybe?

          *yawn* I didn’t really sleep all that well last night. I didn’t realize that the snake was the least of my problems, though.

          • harpie says:


            I always thought a horse would let you know if there was a snake around.

            My family, while hiking yesterday, had a five foot timber rattler cross the path in front of them. Even the photo gives me the creeps.

          • tjbs says:

            Animals know animal people as a sixth sense. Deer don’t fear horse people as much, for example.

            That snake was more scared of you than you of it. The only animals I’ve ever worried about in a barn are the cornered ones.

      • Garrett says:

        At about the time Ew was putting up this post last night, I was literally having a snake fall on my head. Sometimes the universe just feels like it has to hit you over the head with it to get your attention.

        Without doubt and precisely.

        I once had a romantic argument about the air conditioner I had placed in the window of a NYC walkup. My strongly held opinion was that air conditioners do not just drop out of windows.

        The next summer, an air conditioner just dropped out of the window, directly below mine. It cut a very clean slice out of the green awning of the pizza place. It struck a mother on the head, killing her, and sparing the baby she held in her arms.

        I considered it a rather extreme way of getting the idea into my thick head that I can be wrong about things.

        I was walking very near the same location, after another argument, when a beer bottle dropped out of the sky, missing my thick head by inches. I looked to the sky and questioned. What do I have to do, to get through, was the approximate answer.

        When I continued ignoring the messages sent in bottles, they started being delivered by automobile. Parked Vovlos running into you can hurt.

          • Garrett says:

            The rear compartment of the Volvo had been pushed pretty much into the front seat. All four tires had been scrapped off the rims.

            This was after the out-of-control tow truck slammed into it. The parked Volvo then slammed into me.

            I took four stitches to my chin.

  7. klynn says:

    Funny we are discussing data mining and Marketplace has a series running all week on NPR.

    Business intelligence data mining could easily disguise itself as a business function when, in fact, it is invading your privacy and giving/selling your data to the government. Who needs the NSA when PR fims “can do”.

  8. TomThumb says:

    WaPo highlights the violation of the principle of freedom of association:

    But the value of such data is the reason a court should approve its disclosure, said Greg Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “It’s much more sensitive than the other information, like name, address and telephone number, that the FBI gets with national security letters,” he said. “It shows associational information protected by the First Amendment and is much less public than things like where you live.”

  9. cregan says:

    In sense, here you have an intersection between what you believe and what the Tea Party believes.

    They seem to agree that government itself–whether Dem or GOP–is reaching for too much power and clamping down too much on freedom.

    You don’t agree agree on all areas in which this takes place, but here, with collection of information, you have agreement on this point:

    It doesn’t matter what the party is, the reach for more intrusion appears to be a common goal of politicians in general; not parties.

  10. figaro says:

    I was sooooo looking forward to being done with Bush. The weekly outrages for 8 years was almost too much to bear. Thank god we have Obama. I feel much better now.

    Vote Democrat! The Republicans are worse! That’s like telling someone to jump off a ten story building because a jump from an 11 story building would really hurt. Unfortunately, most progressives still think that is a perfectly sound strategy for creating the change we can believe in.

  11. fatster says:


    Spain reissues US troop warrants over Iraq death

    Spanish judge reissues arrest warrants for 3 US servicemen in death of journalist in Iraq


    • ghostof911 says:

      fatster, it may well be that our 220 year experiment with democracy is reaching its expiration date. We may need allies from outside our shores to help bail us you. After all, if we go down, others go down with us.

  12. wirerat1 says:

    Well, I think it is about time to startup that Internet business in Sweden, Iceland or somewhere in that area. Sell VPN services to end users who will startup their client, VPN to my services in that area and then browse the web to your heart’s content. All done from a proxy elsewhere in the world. So all your ISP can tell the government is that you connected to Sweden and after that, they have no idea what you’re doing.

    It is sad that it may be reaching that point.. but this is just pathetic.

      • wirerat1 says:

        Nah, quality of service sucks with things like that. I’m talking about point-to-point VPN service with a known provider, providing you an egress point out to the Internet. TOR is nice, but clunky. Allow Windows or Cisco VPN clients to connect to you, then go out as one would expect.

    • mzchief says:

      Since we have optical networks and the Central Office is completely duplicated, seems you’re still out of luck once the data arrives just in side a point on the international star configuration within the US as it gets entirely vacuumed up as Mark Klein pointed out– Swedish VPN or not– and the Crays slice and dice it on the back office side with the relational databases and other data mining toys. Besides Sweden is as much of the international privatized surveillance state as any other country now thanks to Britain, Canada and USA and the new robber baron set sweeping the EU/US since the 1990s. I am sad to say Sweden appears to no longer be what it used to be (e.g. “Speed cameras catch record haul” and “China approves Geely’s takeover of Volvo“) to the point that only the Pirate Party cares about human rights and civil liberties along with some Germans and Irish (no political parties seem to have sprung up in these countries as a result but please correct me if I am wrong here). Meanwhile, there is a boat load of evidence that such spying and data mining of the public has been going on for much longer than the public thinks (more than 2 decades I estimate). The new hybridized PSTN– an effort that apparently failed in the 1970s– was part of the plan all along. And what are the bennies for those that surveil and even distort civil discourse across those those system (e.g. “tiered service”) to a non-expert public? Increasingly outrageous activities that violate the Constitution and thefts from the unsuspecting via The Casino while putting out the chaff of “Bread and Circus” for the “marks”. Yea, welcome to the Predator State.

      Now you’re probably thinking “Wow, this is pretty depressing!” and I can understand your perspective. My objective is only to point out the essential aspects of what is which really is the set up for the an antidote for this violation/manipulation. IMHO part of that antidote is to quit cultivating society based on the phantom of “capitalism”– UNLIMITED MATERIALISM AND GREED– and to go back to lots of small, intimate, local economies where no one will tolerate the aforementioned behaviors and where the “fraud controls” can actually be put in place and enforced. As more wise persons than myself have said previously, the tendency of humans is to be absolutely corrupted by absolute power. So, since there really is “consent of the governed,” it’s the job of all of us to quit enabling the vast minority that engages in such behaviors when presented with the temptation of vastly centralized social infrastructure and underpinning systems. The “Ownership Society” is killing life on this planet with unprecedented scope and rapidity. Isn’t it wiser to relegate it and its attendant anti-life attitudes to the dust bin of human history and truly enter The Age of Enlightenment?

  13. alank says:

    It appears this is just another attempt to secure the future of the winning agency and to secure more money for its budget. But not at the expense of war funding, mind.

  14. gnomedigest says:

    This is one of themes of the Obama presidency. Its kinda of orwellian when you compare it to his candidate speaches. When Obama talked about all the lawlessness he would take care of, the restoration of the rule of law as he put it, most folks I assume thought he meant he would end the practices (ie, end torture, end rendition, close gitmo, assassinations, etc)

    Instead, what apparently he meant, is that Obama planned to take all those lawless unconstitutional practices Bush was doing, and get congress to codify the stuff into law, even if it is unconstitutional.

    Voila! No longer “lawless”. Now all we have to ignore is the absurd claim that Obama is a constitutional scholar. Frankly, Obama’s actions show no evidence he has even read the document.

    • dagoril says:

      Voila! No longer “lawless”. Now all we have to ignore is the absurd claim that Obama is a constitutional scholar. Frankly, Obama’s actions show no evidence he has even read the document.

      Obama is as much of a “constitutional scholar president” as Bush was an “MBA president”.

      It’s easy to view these guys as complete losers. But in reality they were both big winners for the class that they represent (the ultra-rich and corporations). They are not here for us. Their governing has absolutely nothing to do with us. Well, except for the robbing us blind part.

  15. fatster says:

    O/T (apologies) Meanwhile, this well-funded hell continues:

    Army Suicides Reach One A Day; Epidemic Spreads to National Guard and Reserves


  16. ghostof911 says:

    With unrestricted surveillance capabilities, certainly one of the objectives will be industrial espionage of foreign-owned corporations. We as citizens may not like being spied on, but we are powerless to stop it. Other countries with their financial backbones at risk are not so powerless.

    • Mary says:

      Hadn’t thought about that aspect – but since Obama wants to make sure that when he’s kicked out of office, everyone will be too terrified to be a whistleblower on him or Mitt or Sara or whoever we get next, that is an important aspect.

      • Mary says:

        And that’s something that a McCain would have had a hard time pulling off – the political attack on him would have been crazy ol paranoid Republican trying to prove something etc. and Dems would have at least played at a fight and probably would have made him put someone halfway deserving on the Sup Ct. – not a criminal cover up shill.

  17. Mary says:

    Now that I’ve spent some google time, I think it was even more apt. I’m betting it was something called a (shades of) Gray Rat Snake. Seriously – could the universe be any more direct?

    I’ve been told over the years (and this probably helped me some last night when I was looking down at Big Snake) that most snakes near a barn aren’t venomous (unlike snakes near water).

    I’m hoping that it just got stirred up by the bushhogging this week and hasn’t really been living in my barn and getting that big. Equally hoping that it decided to leave and go back out to the field, pond etc. I’m hoping that the reason it fell on my head is bc it wasn’t used to being a barn snake and when I flipped on aisle lights and walked into the stall where it was, it got scared. Wiki says when scared the grey rat snake “stops and remains motionless with its body held in a series of wave like kinks”

    To make the analogy just that much more apt (and thank goodness this didn’t happen to me, or if it happened the end was far enough away from me), if the snakes get really upset, they “musk” their victims “by releasing the foul smelling contents of their cloaca.”

    I’m betting Shirley Sherrod could describe what that felt like.

    • bobschacht says:

      I’m hoping that it just got stirred up by the bushhogging this week and hasn’t really been living in my barn and getting that big


      Actually, that might be the good news: it might be keeping the population of mice and rats in your barn under control.

      Bob in AZ

      • klynn says:

        Is there a “grey rat snake of Democracy” that can keep the population of rats and mice in DC under control?

        (I thought THAT was what the Rule Of Law might have been…)

  18. Mary says:

    But, messy though they are, I love my barn swallows and they’re what the rafters part made me worry about.

  19. 1970cs says:

    Does this not just reveal personal records without a warrant, but make it a step closer to Guantanamo justice for all by allowing the government to conceal sources and methods in the name of national security?

    They would not have to show where they attained evidence, or it’s credibility.

  20. AitchD says:

    It’s analogous to the POTUS’s signing statements, which can flout Congress’s legislative intent. These legalisms permit the POTUS to flout Judicial intent. Keep it up, POTUSes, and you’ll find a Junta flouting your contemptuous ass.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This is more than allowing the government in your living room. It’s letting them into your bedroom, the kitchen, your checkbook, your friends list. It tells them what you think when tired, confused or outraged (often at government misbehavior); what you buy, solicit, and joke about; where you want to vacation; who you want to annoy; who you might vote for; and what you like and hate about your employer, your family, and your neighbors.

    Little, more likely, none of that would be a crime, preparation for a crime, committing a crime or covering up a crime. Those stupid enough to reveal such things over the “internets” would be among the first caught through traditional means. The government – and its private sector contractors – want to know because they might find it useful and very profitable to have that information. This is J. Edgar Hoover with a supercomputer and a server farm the size of Alaska.

    This move would absurdly expand the notion of “reasonable” in the constitutional meaning of “search and seizure”. It is not a reasonable expansion of police power. It is a gross expansion of power and a consequent loss of privacy.

    This is the government claiming the role of Catholic priest in the confessional, with a few minor changes. All citizens have to confess their sins or lose access to the sacraments and be socially ostracized; all citizens who can use their telephone, the Internet, Facebook, ad nauseum to get or keep their jobs, to renew or stay in touch with their families, friends, schools and workmates.

    This “priest”, however, would have no sacred obligation to keep private the most intimate wrongs, venal or mortal, done in his community. On the contrary, this priest would claim there are no limits on what it can do with such information, however insidiously or openly harmful it is to those whose sins he learns about.

    The potential for misbehavior, for immediate and creeping wrongdoing, is enormous. And no one would have the facts or law to challenge this listening in the confessional or the wrongs done with the information so involuntarily divulged.

    If Mr. Obama were on the Supreme Court – I can’t imagine him being willing to take responsibility for his own decisions, or to put them and his reasons for them in the public record – he would be the most activist judge in American history.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      With all that said,Earl, how is it the employees at DOD who were downloading child porn weren’t caught long ago?

      Or for another example, some of the employees at Mineral Management Service, you know the ones that were supposed to oversee the offshore federal drilling contracts?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Not a threat to “national security” like vegans and retired protesters in St. Paul. National security seems to have expanded, too. I now seems to include government and its corporate sponsors, which need to be protected, even from criticism, adverse publicity and peaceful protest. I think that responds to [email protected], too.

  22. AitchD says:

    On the other sad hand, I suppose millions of authorized, court-approved searches take place, and at digital speeds – the request for authorization, the authorization, and the search – that we don’t know about but can imagine. I mean, a student who’s not prepared for a test can call in a bomb threat and shut down the school. Never mind what’s done to such a bastard; mind how you can tell if it’s a real bomb or a vicious prank.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    From the cited WaPoop article:

    Senior administration officials said the proposal was prompted by a desire to overcome concerns and resistance from Internet and other companies that the existing statute did not allow them to provide such data without a court-approved order.

    “Concerns and resistance”? What friendly bureaucratese; the government is just trying to allay fears and calm its citizens’ concerns about what it does or proposes to do.

    But could it be that those “Internet and other companies”, a rather large group (unlike the government, which has gutted the DoJ’s OLC) have read the law and the Constitution and understand that in many cases, the FBI’s attempts to obtain personal data without a warrant were, well, violating the law? It’s “out there”, so I thought I’d ask.

    • bobschacht says:

      Senior administration officials said the proposal was prompted by a desire to overcome concerns and resistance from Internet and other companies that the existing statute did not allow them to provide such data without a court-approved order.

      Translation follows:
      Gosh golly gee, PResident Obama, we can’t flout the Constitution without a court order. Can’t you cut us some slack here so that we can do illegal acts without all that fuss and bother?

      Bob in AZ

    • AitchD says:

      Well, there was that RIAA vs. Verizon court case (which Verizon lost, or Verizon laid down and let RIAA win) stemming from Verizon’s refusal to give up names of its ISP subscribers who were sharing their mp3 files.

  24. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I suspect that Obama imagines he’s Nixon going to China: doing “what all responsible leaders ought to do,” but that only he can, as a “Democrat”. Hahahahaha.

  25. Gitcheegumee says:

    It’s a paradox, he said. “You want a richer description of your data, but you pay for it. Every time you add a dimension, it slows you down that much more.”Venkatasubramanian’s research has found a way to reduce the variables in any data set to zero in on its most important elements. “For certain problems, only some characteristics matter,” he said. For example, if you know a man’s height, you can make a reasonable guess about his weight.

    Psychologists have actually used a similar approach to reduce the “dimensionality” of data since the 1930s.

    Data mining is commonly used online to churn out Amazon.com recommendations, Netflix movie ratings and suggestions on Facebook. But it’s also a fundamental part of the NSA’s cryptology efforts.

    Richard Brown, dean of the U.’s College of Engineering, has met several times with the NSA and has another meeting planned this week. He said the discussions have focused both on potential research collaborations with faculty at the U. and on recruiting students in relevant academic programs.

    “They would like to hire graduates from the U. who have exactly the right background to operate a huge supercomputing data center like this one will be,” Brown wrote in an e-mail. “The relationship is moving forward very nicely.”

    University of Utah researchers meeting with NSA on data mining work | Deseret NewsJul 26, 2010 … U. researchers meeting with NSA on data mining work | Deseret News. … Jealous U | 9:41 p.m. July 26, 2010 “2010, the beginning of the end …

    http://www.deseretnews.com/…/U-researchers-meeting-with-NSA-on-data-mining-work.html – Cached

    Show more results from http://www.deseretnews.com

    • AitchD says:

      With respect, I’d like to point out that the issue seems to apply more to the FBI’s work than to the larger NSA’s work. As you know, Hollywood generates unspeakable revenues; and its financing comes from all the biggest financial sectors, wherever they are in the world. You probably also know that piracy and counterfeiting have deprived investors, producers, owners, and distributers of movies tons of money. A few years ago New York’s AG Andrew Cuomo threatened to subpoena AOL’s records because some AOL subscribers were using AOL’s ‘Usenet’ news group service to upload and download ‘child pornography’ via binary files. Subsequently, AOL eliminated its binaries. Soon, other ISPs (AT&T, Verizon, Time-Warner, probably others) eliminated their Usenet service altogether. (I suspect Cuomo was acting more so on behalf of ‘Hollywood’, as I’ve explained the economic issues.) Maybe you never heard of Usenet. You can still use it – it’s part of the Internet; you can still upload and download music files or feature movies. You can also steal music and probably movies from the web. That’s the ‘consumer’, entry-level version of stealing.

      The FBI tries to protect the huge financial entertainment industry. The pirates and counterfeiters have outsmarted the FBI easily.

      Also, digital hotdogs insinuate their prowess at the financial level, developing programs that can circumvent and interfere with electronic transactions at every level. Some of the programs have become ‘proprietary’ secrets of legitimate financial institutions, like investment banks. Some of the programs are ‘rogue’ and remain hidden.

      It’s more complex than my simple mind can deal with.

      I’m not easily persuaded that the US government only performs nefarious acts and wants to perform more of them.

        • AitchD says:

          Thank you.

          I just finished reading a mini-piece in the New Yorker about the WaPo’s exposé of the intel/security/secrecy complex. Most snoop work is outsourced to private firms. Top-secret clearances (in the hundreds of thousands) are given to such non-government people.

          I suppose there has to be a way to let those people know they better behave themselves, and this is one of those ways.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Now this is coincidental you bringing up Hollywood and financials.

        Interestingly enough, George Tenet is now affiliated with a low profile-high powered entertainment investment firm named Allen and Company. They give a big shindig in Squaw Valley every July. Word is that ANY major entertainment deal has this firm in the mix—–jus’ sayin’.

        Trends: Secretive New York bank Allen & Co. gets into Silicon …Feb 20, 2008 … Social news site Digg hired Allen & Co. to help it find an acquirer last … It hired former CIA director George Tenet last October, …

        venturebeat.com/…/trends-secretive-new-york-bank-allen-co-gets-into-silicon-valley-media-tech/ – Cached – Similar

        Allen & Company – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaAllen & Co. was one of the underwriters for the Google initial public offering. … Donald Keough former Coca-Cola President; George Tenet Former Director …

        en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_%26_Company – Cached

        Allen & Company, Inc. – SourceWatch”For” Allen & Company, Inc., a private company, according to Jennifer Powers, … Herbert A. Allen, President and CEO; George Tenet, Managing Director …

        http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Allen…Company... – Cached – Similar

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          And before Tenet joined Allen and Company, he was on the Board of British company,QinetiQ(pronounced kinetic):

          Former CIA chief joins the board of QinetiQ – Business News …Oct 25, 2006 … “I am extremely pleased to welcome George Tenet to QinetiQ. His extraordinary track record and experience in the fields of intelligence and …
          http://www.independent.co.uk/…/former-cia-chief-joins-the-board-of-qinetiq-421527.html – Cached

          QinetiQ: James Bond & George Tenet – The National Ledger QinetiQ, thought by some as the inspiration for ‘Q’, the character that creates spy gadgets for James Bond has a new face. American George Tenet joins …
          http://www.nationalledger.com/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi?…5... – Cached

          CorpWatch : QinetiQ Goes Kinetic: Top Rumsfeld Aide Wins Contracts …Jan 15, 2008 … In 2006, Andrews quit SAIC to join QinetiQ. Shortly after Andrews was hired as QNA CEO, former CIA Director George Tenet was elected to …
          http://www.corpwatch.org › Industries › War & Disaster Profiteering – Cached – Similar

    • bobschacht says:

      Venkatasubramanian’s research has found a way to reduce the variables in any data set to zero in on its most important elements.

      Um, by any chance would this miraculous “new” technique be called “Factor Analysis“?
      As in, for example,
      Child, Dennis (1973), The Essentials of Factor Analysis, London: Holt, Rinehart & Winston?

      Bob in AZ

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Bob, that is way above my pay grade.

        However, the Desert article expounds further..the professor gave a “talk” on Wednesday in DC.

        You may find a similar theme in the link from Wired at #98.

  26. AitchD says:

    And, yes, we have been given prior notice: If we don’t allow the Administrationt to have whatever access to the Internet it wants, it will shut it off. I’m sure last month’s news dump about an Internet kill switch was our last warning.

    • 1970cs says:

      Or that is the way of framing the argument that is the government’s only choice(like China or Iran), to shut it down is their only option to keep their regime in place. It puts the idea out there

      • AitchD says:

        A lot of people in our government are paid to worry very seriously; it’s their only job. It’s probably fair that we also worry or second-guess their motives.

  27. TarheelDem says:

    Presumably amending this law is the vehicle for the change: Electronic Communications Privacy Act, in the fiscal year that begins in October.

    So did this request come from DHS, DOJ, or the FBI? Specifically, who the heck did it come from? “Obama administration” doesn’t cut it until the White House swings its weight behind the proposal. And anything a former Bush national security figure does has the fingerprints of Poppy Bush’s rolodex all over it.

    That said, we need to nip this one in the bud.

  28. Mary says:

    EW – I don’t think it hurts mentioning in connection with this post that the grab for more unconstitutional powers comes at a time when, under their SWIFT work around, the Obama administration has agreed to give those “socialist” European countries more recourse and more oversight and more protection from US Govt spying on their financial transactions that US citizens have.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Ironic, isn’t it. All for me and none for thee. Then again, they asked for it and didn’t back down; naturally, Mr. Obama gave in, or at least pretended to. We’ll see what kinds of protections he actually allots to European data in practice; actually, we won’t, and neither, most likely, will the Europeans.

      The US is becoming the sort of government and empire that a Mediterranean peasant village Jew objected to. As Douglas Adams said, he wanted people to be nicer to each other, and they nailed him to a tree.