All Your Phone Calls Are Belong to Us

22 comments

The NSA has been amassing a record of ordinary domestic phone calls. Qwest did not participate in the program, but it sounds as though AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth did.

The agency told the companies that it wanted them to turn over their "call-detail records," a complete listing of the calling histories of their millions of customers. In addition, the NSA wanted the carriers to provide updates, which would enable the agency to keep tabs on the nation's calling habits.

Are these companies trying to make VoIP more appealing, or why the lack of concern for customer privacy?

Comments

Tracking VoIP

I am not saying that VoIP

I am not saying that VoIP was secure, but the advantages of old technology become less and less as technology advances, especially if they companies make it blatently obvious they are not looking out for their own customer's best interests.

New CALEA legislation will

New CALEA legislation will make VoIP just as "tap accessible" as landline...

>>the advantages of old

>>the advantages of old technology become less and less as technology advances,

Maintaining privacy becomes more difficult as technology advances.

>>best interests.

It's because of the 'best interests' of the public that we've been so readily giving up our rights. Same reason they take my lighter at the airport but let me keep 4 books of matches...

Since when?

but the advantages of old technology become less and less as technology advances

What advantages are you talking about?

Anyone with a headset and a pair of alligator clips can eavesdrop on you any old time, or if you use a pre-spread spectrum cordless phone a simple radio from any radio shack would do the trick.

Let's not forget putting a

Let's not forget putting a drinking glass to the wall of an adjoining room, Bill. Or lip reading. I've been covering this problem since the 4th grade. I should go start a Google Co-op about it.

Not really new this one. It

Not really new this one. It has been going on for years. Look up "Echelon"

Daft thing is the assumption that real terrorists, drug smugglers, etc will speak in open language.

All calls to Northern Ireland were monitored since the 1960s, and they ran a very rough "key word checker" on the calls, no way they can actually listen to all of them. I always made a point of intoducing "Semtex" into calls to muy mother, just so that they would have to listen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GCHQ

Quote:
ECHELON

GCHQ, in combination with the equivalent agencies in the United States (NSA), Canada (Communications Security Establishment) and Australia (Defence Signals Directorate) and otherwise known as the UKUSA group, is believed to be responsible for, among other things, the operation of the ECHELON system. Its capabilities are suspected to include the ability to monitor a large proportion of the world's transmitted civilian telephone, fax and data traffic.

http://www.echelonwatch.org/

Quote:
Echelon is perhaps the most powerful intelligence gathering organization in the world. Several credible reports suggest that this global electronic communications surveillance system presents an extreme threat to the privacy of people all over the world. According to these reports, ECHELON attempts to capture staggering volumes of satellite, microwave, cellular and fiber-optic traffic, including communications to and from North America. This vast quantity of voice and data communications are then processed through sophisticated filtering technologies.

This massive surveillance system apparently operates with little oversight. Moreover, the agencies that purportedly run ECHELON have provided few details as to the legal guidelines for the project. Because of this, there is no way of knowing if ECHELON is being used illegally to spy on private citizens.

hey look! technology! look! over here!

Geesh when will people stop paying so much attention to "technology & privacy" and realize that the biggest privacy threat is law and the political system that makes the laws. It has soooooo little to do with technology.

But technology is cool!

BTW Bill, all of your eavesdropping on me is illegal regardless of the technology you might use (or if it is not illegal, and it bothered me enough, I bet I can make you have to prove that, and I bet I can make proving that way too expensive for you).

It's the LAWS that make it legal that you have to worry about. It's the LAWS that eliminate responsibility for archive management, ID protections, etc. that take away our privacy.

"low latency anonymizers" paper

DG that paper sounds fascinating but isn't it just a rehash of the same old attack vector pointed to a "new technology"? Another reason I love academia... execute someone else's work on a new technology and viola - peer reviewed publication. These days you could sit around with 80% written and just wait for the technology of the week to show up, add the title and PUBLISH.

The only value I see is in the way their work *demonstrates*, which make sit engineering not research. But the same academics claim that those who demonstrate (teach) are lesser than those who research. More games.

Privacy

BTW, use your neighbors name, address and phone number when you sign up for "member cards" at the grocery store and discount booze shop (BevMo). That way when you buy cases of condoms and whiskey they won't know it's really you who are the alcoholic sex maniac when they turn over the records to the feds.

Out of Town Trick

Every time you're in even a neighboring city go to every store that you have a 'card' for, and say you "forgot" your's. Sign up for a new one w/ fabricated every thing except zipcode (this must be legit and is really the only # they care about any way). Colllect the new card.

This is esp. valuable in conjunction with Blockbuster. I have learned from experience that less than $10 in fees never goes upstream to collections; and after 6 months they are purged from their records.

Then when the Feds look for you they go, "OK, he bought in Boston one day, then Austin the next" and it throws off the system, lol.

>>same old attack vector

What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing new under the sun.

>>academics

Research without application is pointless, so it is perfect for pointy heads.

At a loss

I'm really at a loss right now after reading these latest developments. You just keep asking yourself when they will draw a line.

I'm getting tired of hiding behind this veil of terrorism as well to essentially do whatever they want. The argument that the only data they are collecting is phone numbers is moot. A phone number can be traced back to a name and location within seconds.

The scariest part is that it doesn't seem to stop anywhere. Will all banks be required to send over transaction information on every account? How about ISPs tracing every URL I go to? How about the library tracking every book I check out? Maybe have doctors report what medication I'm on? All of those can somehow be hidden under the veil of "fighting terrorism". When do we stand up and fight for the rights that our military is supposedly in Iraq fighting for right now?

They?

>>when they will draw a line

government of the people, by the people, and for the people

They? 'They' are 'us'. ;)

Words from the Gettysburg Address of Abraham Lincoln, often quoted as a definition of democracy.

Results provided by Ask. Google falls down on that search. >>government of the people, by the people, and for the people

google base

Quote:
The scariest part is that it doesn't seem to stop anywhere. Will all banks be required to send over transaction information on every account? How about ISPs tracing every URL I go to? How about the library tracking every book I check out? Maybe have doctors report what medication I'm on? All of those can somehow be hidden under the veil of "fighting terrorism". When do we stand up and fight for the rights that our military is supposedly in Iraq fighting for right now?

No, the "scariest part" is that of all of those outlandish examples you cited, most are already the case.

  • The largest bill the US treasury prints is $100, and they seem to wish even that would go away in favor of $20's. What is left has RFID chips that *can* be uniquely numbered (the bills already are..do the math). Seems pitiful a powerful economic force can't have a successful cash currency. Hints at corruption.
  • Banks used to report $10k cash transactions, then it went to $9k, and now it is reportedly less than that (shhhh...)
  • There are many barriers in place for cash transactions and pseudo cash transactions. They don't want them to be possible?
  • The libraries are already asked to keep records and reveal them. And they do.
  • There is growing evidence that your medical histories are collected and tracked, and your social security number is being used in some cases to tie your medical data to your credit history in government databases. (thats' a fact I know personally).
  • ISPs are already asked to keep data, and the pols are trying to extend the retention period to infinity right now. Some moron in Colorado is behind that one.

So are you going to just sit

So are you going to just sit there and complain about it and watch the nightmare unfold?

I just see everyone talking about it. Silence of the lambs :)

what to do... what to do...

Well, for start everyone here in the US should checkout this page on Communicating with Congress about NSA's Surveillance Programs. It was written by insiders as a guide to effectively having some influence in the conversation going on, before more of your tax payer dollars go towards "the cause". It's brief and direct, with suggested openers like :

Quote:
"Representative XXXXX, It was great to hear you speak today about the ways you have helped [town name]. I think all of us here appreciate the work you have done as a Member of the Appropriations committee to make sure that [town name] is taken care of. We all know that the power of the pursestrings is crucial back in Washington.

But I've got a question about another appropriations issue. Recently, USA Today reported that the National Security Agency is 'secretly collecting the phone call records of millions of Americans'. In other words, the government is keeping tabs not only my overseas calls, but even when I call my Aunt Milly down the street. This just seems wrong to me. So what I want to know is if you supported appropriating funds for this NSA project?"

The anonymous drafter of this guidance suggests follow ups as well:

Quote:
POSSIBLE FOLLOW-UPS BUT CHOOSE ONLY ONE

* Do you think the NSA should be allowed to keep records of every call I make even domestically?
* Have you been kept informed of the NSA's activities on this front? And if not, would you be willing to withhold funds until you are properly informed? Not just members of the Intel committee, but the people who approve the money - you for example.
* And if it was buried in part of a bigger budget, are you willing to work with other Appropriators to withhold funds until this domestic data collection is stopped?

and even a response to the terrorism excuse:

Quote:
TERRORISM FOLLOW-UP (if your representative says they had to b/c of Al Qaeda)

I can probably come up with a reason that the NSA can watch who I'm calling, but they are keeping all the records, even after they have determined I'm not calling a terrorist. That seems dangerous and wrong. I'm concerned about what future Presidents will do with this information, regardless of Al Qaeda.

Nice work. Thanks to Jim Harper at Privacilla.

McCarthyism

It's baaaaack!

Good old Joe would be proud of us.

Unfortunately

There's no Edward R. Murrow. Instead we have broadcast journalists that aspire to become famous rather than to inform.

Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar. ~Edward R. Murrow

I'm really at a loss right

I'm really at a loss right now after reading these latest developments.

This is not a new development. This program has been in place for decades. The info being given is NOT private and it does not violate the fourth amendment.

This is simply a political tactic to try and block the new CIA chief.

Leahy was shocked to learn about a program that he already knew about along with the rest of Congress. Hehhehehee

OMG

I hope they dont have my conversations with that brazillion cybersex person

deleted

stupid late night attempt at humor deleted the next day

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