You hit the nail right on the head. They hate us for our freedom. Therefore, our government takes away our freedom so they will stop hating us...
That massive UDID leak was't from the FBI. It turned out to be from an app company.
The cheap $20m price tag also is a big clue that the project didn't do as much as reporters say.
From what I've read (and can guess from my MI / ASA background), it's probably more like each company is required to save all the data where NSA can access it... but NSA doesn't constantly look at all of it.
Instead, they probably just do targeted searches on words, names and phone numbers that they suspect of being foreign nationals (*) engaged in terrorism planning. This would be done with the oversight of a Congressional committee and/or secret judicial panel.
To me, the major thing is that I'd like a guarantee that all general search terms become public after the minimum default classified document review period (ten years). That way, we all get to see what they were using for searches.
(*) NSA's executive charter prohibits it from general spying on American activities inside the USA. This has always been taken very seriously by the agency, partly because internal investigations are the FBI's domain.) A legal loophole being used now is the argument that this restriction doesn't apply if the person in the USA is communicating with someone outside the USA, since they CAN spy on foreign nationals.
FANTASTIC interview with the ex-NSA guy who leaked the PRSIM program (Edward Snowden).
Isn't Relic a she?
FWIW, it's apparently not constant data mining. It's data collection, with the option to mine later on.
From his position as someone who could use the system, it might've seemed like it was constant, but that was his end user perception, from being able to request anything.
Despite some silly TV shows, NSA isn't dangerous in that way. Now, the CIA can be, and if they wanted him to have an accident, going public isn't going to save him. However, that is not the American way in these cases. They'd rather get him into a closed court, find out what else he did / knew, and then throw him into prison forever.
Yes, the last thing you want to do is give the bad guys details on how to evade detection, or even that they need to do so. Such information can be very damaging to national security.
There are tens of thousands of current and past Intelligence workers who do/did their job diligently, professionally, and with an understanding of what lines not to cross even with incredible power at their disposal.
It sounds like this guy had too much easy access, and was worried by it. He sounds confused about the difference between being given powerful tools to use when necessary, and the limits he was supposed to impose on himself with those tools.
All that said, I think we really need a serious national debate on this topic, and on what we're all willing to cooperate with or not. At the least, we need more detailed information on what authorities and oversight are involved when a request is made.
I think therein lies the rub.....
If you shine the light on it and inspect it closely....have public debate...and bring it all to the light of day.....then it will make it ineffective.
Has anyone see the TV show Elementary? I think some of the capability exist today.....i think there are supercomputers scanning all things and looking for keywords shapes pictures faces. If those things adhere to built in programmed triggers then more data is collected or investigated. Of course that is just my opinion with nothing to back that up.....
I work for fortune 500 investing firm. I work in data protection and access to data. We protect Non Public Information(NPI) through constant checking and scanning through analytics and various software. Every email....workstation....home drive.....every facet of an employees digital footprint and communication is included. Then based on triggers alerts are set to be followed up on....network data is quarantined access restricted.
If we have this ability on 10,000 servers and 5000 filers...then the government with unlimited resources can match this and then some....nothing is private....