I’m increasingly convinced that for seven months, we’ve been distracted by a shiny object, the phone dragnet, the database recording all or almost all of the phone-based relationships in the US over the last five years. We were never wrong to discuss the dangers of the dragnet. It is the equivalent of a nuclear bomb, […]
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PCLOB’s report confirms something ACLU’s Patrick Toomey and I have been harping on. One of the biggest risks of the phone dragnet stems not from the initial queries themselves, but from NSA’s storage of query results in the “corporate store,” permanently, where they can be accessed without the restrictions required for access to the full […]
Stanford University has been running a project to better understand what phone metadata can show about users, MetaPhone, in which Android users can make their metadata available for analysis. They just published a piece that suggests we could be underestimating the intrusiveness of the government’s phone dragnet program. That’s because most assumptions about degrees of separation […]
A dragnet of emptywheel’s most important posts on surveillance.
I noted the other day that an NSA IG document liberated by Charlie Savage shows the agency had 4 reasons to shut down the domestic Internet (PRTT) dragnet, only one of which is the publicly admitted reason — that NSA could accomplish what it needed to using SPCMA and FAA collection. I’m fairly sure another of […]
Here’s my best description from last year of the mind-boggling fact that NSA conducted 25 spot checks between 2004 and 2009 and then did a several months’ long end-to-end review of the Internet dragnet in 2009 and found it to be in pretty good shape, only then to have someone discover that every single record received under the […]
As I noted earlier, after reporting in November that there was a debate in 2009 about ending the phone dragnet… To address their concerns, the former senior official and other NSA dissenters in 2009 came up with a plan that tracks closely with the Obama proposal that the Senate failed to pass on Tuesday. The officials […]
In an article describing the current state of play on the Section 215 sunset, WaPo quotes Devin Nunes claiming that the poor maligned phone dragnet is just misunderstood. So he plans on having more briefings (curiously, just for the Republican caucus). “NSA programs, including the bulk telephone metadata program, are crucial anti-terror and foreign intelligence tools […]
Last week, 43 reserve members of Israel’s equivalent to the NSA, Unit 8200, released a letter announcing they would refuse to take actions against Palestinians because the spying done on them amounts to persecution of innocent people. The IDF has responded the same way government agencies here would — scolding the whistleblowers for not raising concerns in official […]
I’m sorry to return to James Clapper’s letter that has been grossly misreported as endorsing Patrick Leahy’s USA Freedom Act. In this post I pointed out what Clapper’s letter really said. In this one, I described why it is so inexcusable that Clapper emphasized FBI’s exemption from reporting requirements (I will have a follow-up soon about […]