National Security Agency's bulk phone metadata collection program to sunset on June 1

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2015
The Obama administration has decided not to ask a secret court for a 90-day extension of Section 215 in the Patriot Act, effectively putting end to the authorized bulk collection of U.S. phone metadata by the National Security Agency.




The deadline for the extension was Friday, but on Saturday an administration official confirmed to The Guardian that no application was filed. Barring dramatic intervention, the NSA's authorization for bulk collection should expire on June 1 at 5 p.m. Eastern time.

On Saturday morning, a bill called the USA Freedom Act suffered a procedural defeat in the Senate, despite having bipartisan support. Had it passed it would have banned the NSA's bulk metadata collection program, but simultaneously renewed another Patriot Act measure allowing the Federal Bureau of Investigation to access business records, plus large swaths of communications metadata.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been leading a campaign to keep all of the domestic surveillance powers in the Patriot Act intact, and is hoping to win a temporary extension once the Senate reconvenes on May 31 after the Memorial Day holiday. The House of Representatives isn't due to return until June 1 however, and predominantly favored the Freedom Act.

On May 7 federal appeals court ruled that the NSA's bulk collection program was illegal, which may explain the Obama administration's decision. The situation leaves McConnell and his supporters with an uphill battle.

Attention to the dangers of Section 215 was first drawn in June 2013 by Edward Snowden, an NSA contractor who leaked numerous documents to the Guardian. Documents from his stockpile still continue to emerge, and have shown for example that the NSA has obtained data from major technology companies such as Apple, AT&T, Google, Verizon, and Microsoft, with or without their willing participation.

Earlier this month a secret summit was held in Oxfordshire, England with current and former intelligence officials from around the world joined by executives from Apple, Google, and Vodafone. At issue was the impact of maintaining data privacy on protecting the state.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    krreagankrreagan Posts: 218member
    I hope people are not nieve enough to believe that this is anything but a misdirection!
    Every time we hear that they are not doing something, we find out later that they have been doing it.

    This just means that a secrete court, that we have no idea even exists, has authorized it. Do you really think the billions the government has spent on huge data centers to capture this data are going to be mothballed? I think not!
  • Reply 2 of 13
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,094member

    They won't stop.  They'll say they did, but they won't.

     

    They've never EVER caught or prevented anything with it.  They think they will and that the terrorists will literally start planning on June 1st because of this so they won't stop.

     

    You can't prove they aren't doing it anyway.

  • Reply 3 of 13
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,724member
    C'mon it's just going to move from authorized to unauthorized but done in secrecy. Because who's gonna know? They can just redact the shit out of any documentation of that decision.
  • Reply 4 of 13
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,724member
    It's a case of trust but don't verify.
  • Reply 5 of 13
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 698member

    While we're at it, why not pass an act banning the use of names like "Freedom Act" and "Patriot Act," in favor of more descriptive and accurate names which aren't specifically designed to obfuscate the true purpose and deceive the people they purport to serve.

  • Reply 6 of 13
    brlawyerbrlawyer Posts: 828member

    The fact that the US of A even accepts the idea of a "secret court" tells a lot about the state of the so-called "democracy" in that country.

  • Reply 7 of 13
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by brlawyer View Post

     

    The fact that the US of A even accepts the idea of a "secret court" tells a lot about the state of the so-called "democracy" in that country.




    News flash: Not a democracy. Go back to your chocolate drinking, cheese eating, banking life now. :rolleyes:

  • Reply 8 of 13
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,085member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     



    News flash: Not a democracy. Go back to your chocolate drinking, cheese eating, banking life now. :rolleyes:


     

    Please don't quote this troll, he's in my block list so I'd rather not see his posts. 

  • Reply 9 of 13
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,195moderator
    retrogusto wrote: »
    While we're at it, why not pass an act banning the use of names like "Freedom Act" and "Patriot Act," in favor of more descriptive and accurate names which aren't specifically designed to obfuscate the true purpose and deceive the people they purport to serve.

    Before such an act got passed, it would be named something horrible and nobody would vote for it.
    C'mon it's just going to move from authorized to unauthorized but done in secrecy. Because who's gonna know? They can just redact the shit out of any documentation of that decision.

    They have a whole list of things they put under the label Black Ops, including domestic surveillance:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_operation
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jun/22/usa.simontisdall

    It has included assassinations so a little phone snooping is nothing.

    I'd say phone records are pretty irrelevant anyway. What are people saying over the phone that is so important? Internet data is far more serious. There was an adult dating site got hacked recently showing all sorts of private details:

    http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/05/database-of-4-million-adult-friend-finder-users-leaked-for-all-to-see/

    It's a quick way to find all the women on there but it turned out they only made up around 1 in 16 accounts. This data can reveal sexuality, infidelity or just names and addresses of people signing up to an adult dating site.

    The use of private companies for black ops shows up with what Snowden was saying:

    http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/avoid-dropbox-facebook-google-warns-snowden/

    These companies just need an end-user license agreement to do bulk data collection:

    "“When you say, ‘I have nothing to hide,’ you’re saying, ‘I don’t care about this right,'” said Snowden, as TechCrunch reports. “You’re saying, ‘I don’t have this right, because I’ve got to the point where I have to justify it.’ The way rights work is, the government has to justify its intrusion into your rights.”"

    The flip side is the surveillance agencies say they've prevented over 50 attacks with it:

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/22/mass-surveillance-needed-isis-attack-mike-rogers

    There was no evidence provided but they can't always provide evidence without compromising the operation. They tracked web usage of the following terrorist to convict him:

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/16/babar-ahmad-12-years-prison-taliban

    If people had to make a direct choice between not having data recorded, which happens in bulk with private companies like Google and Facebook anyway and at least 10 domestic terrorist acts like the Boston marathon bombing then at first people might not assume data recording would prevent them and side with privacy. But after the events happened, people would inevitably ask how to prevent more like it and data recording would be put forward and people would vote for it.

    The agencies will continue to do what they think is most effective way of getting the results they want. Changing laws or the government won't do anything because the agencies don't always ask their permission in the first place. When there are elections, it makes people feel like they have some degree of choice in what's going on but an election doesn't change out millions of staff that work behind the scenes, they all stay the same.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    It's funny that only McConnell and a few hardliners still want the Patriot Act to survive.
    You are a corrupt anachronism Turtle Man. Nobody cares what you want. Why don't you go doda huge line of that cocaine your wife's family smuggled in for you, that oughta clear your head.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    brlawyer wrote: »
    The fact that the US of A even accepts the idea of a "secret court" tells a lot about the state of the so-called "democracy" in that country.

    Don't you and your UBS buddies have some money laundering to terrorist organizations that need attention, rather than commenting on a techie site?

    P.S. You forgot to stamp your little feet.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,387member
    Even if the NSA did stop collecting this metadata, it might actually be counter-productive. The more data they collect, the harder it is for them to find the needle in the haystack. There's so much data that I bet most of it never gets looked at or evaluated. If they only collect, but never actually look at the data, then while it's still a violation of our privacy, it's not actually doing any harm.

    But if they start collecting less data, then it's far more likely that they'll actually analyze anyone's particular records.

    I wonder what the NSA's total budget is for this nonsense. This has got to be costing taxpayers plenty.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by brlawyer View Post

     

    The fact that the US of A even accepts the idea of a "secret court" tells a lot about the state of the so-called "democracy" in that country.


     

    That "secret court" is actually the FISA Court.  It was established in 1978 to handle espionage and counterintelligence investigations.  Due to the sensitive national security nature of spying on a spy, the court is secret.  However, it does maintain the same records that any other court would, it simply isn't released to the public.

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