The CrunchGov Essential is a scannable roundup of technology’s influence on the day’s big issues. Below a feature post, we present the most thoughtful, outrageous, and inspiring stories told through the web’s best content. Sign up for the morning newsletter here.
The Essential — Snowden Thought Leakers ‘Should Be Shot’ — Nate Silver On Pundits — Facebook Plans Anti-Spying Protocol — Funny Or Die’s NSA Job Recruitment Video
Feature – New Spying Reveal: NSA Maintaining Bulk Email Data For Two Years
“The Obama administration for more than two years permitted the National Security Agency to continue collecting vast amounts of records detailing the email and internet usage of Americans,” reports The Guardian. Obtained documents reveal a top-secret email and Internet-behavior collection program, authorized back in 2001. Specifically, the NSA is collecting “metadata” on which websites were visited and who users were contacting, but not the content of those communications or websites.
“The calls you make can reveal a lot, but now that so much of our lives are mediated by the internet, your IP [internet protocol] logs are really a real-time map of your brain: what are you reading about, what are you curious about, what personal ad are you responding to (with a dedicated email linked to that specific ad), what online discussions are you participating in, and how often?”, explained Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute
Additionally, the NSA was collecting data on the ‘to,’ ‘from’ or ‘bcc’ lines of a standard email or other electronic communication” from Americans to foreigners.
Officials tell The Guardian the 2-year data collection policy was halted in 2011, but Glenn Greenwald and Spencer Ackerman are skeptical. In “December 2012, for example, the NSA launched one new program allowing it to analyze communications with one end inside the US, leading to a doubling of the amount of data passing through its filters.”
Because the NSA wasn’t collecting the content of messages, and the information is regularly shared with people inside telecommunications companies, intelligence officials don’t believe they’re violating constitutional rights.
“Toll records, phone records like this, that don’t include any content, are not covered by the fourth amendment because people don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy in who they called and when they called,” Deputy attorney general James Cole said in testimony to the House intelligence committee on June 18.
I’m doubt most Americans would agree with his interpretation of the 4th amendment…but maybe I’m wrong.
The Essential: 6 Items
Edward Snowden Thought Leakers Should Be “Shot In the Balls” [Ars Technica]
- 2009 Chat commenters unearthed on the Ars Technica Site show that NSA leaker Edward Snowden was, ironically no fan of leakers
- “Those people should be shot in the balls,” he wrote. “Are they TRYING to start a war? Jesus christ. They’re like wikileaks,” he continued, about the New York Times publishing of secret negotiations between Israel and the U.S. about Iran.
- I guess he changed his mind at some point in the next 4 years.
Facebook Follows Google For Super Secure Data [CNET]
- Facebook is reportedly going to enact a super-encrypted data transmission practice that is immune to monitoring directly from Internet cables, as British and American Intelligence agencies are alleged to do.
- “Forward Secrecy” is an encryption standard that creates a unique passkey for each user, rather than one for millions of users–a practice Google has done for years.
- The process is expensive, as CNET reports that i can increase costs by 15%
Senate Proposes Limits On NSA [Naked Security]
- Batman extra and U.S. Senator, Patrick Leahy, has proposed a bill to limit the spying powers of the NSA.
- “FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013, seeks to require the government to show that data collection is relevant to an authorized investigation, and that there’s a link to a foreign group or power”
Nate Silver On Pundits
Speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival, New York Times Election Oracle Nate Silver didn’t pull any punches on what thinks of political pundits, “Pundits, I think, are basically useless,” he told Katie Couric.
"pundits, i think, are basically useless" - @fivethirtyeight—
Greg Ferenstein (@ferenstein) June 27, 2013
Funny Or Die: Want To Get Paid To Be Voyeuristic? Join the NSA
End Your Day With A Smile
Kristen Bell (@IMKristenBell) June 26, 2013