"The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post."

That's how the article in the Washington Post begins. The companies allowing direct government access to their servers for warrantless surveillance of their customers and users are Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple. Dropbox is mentioned as a forthcoming addition.

Those were just the companies listed in the top secret document obtained by the Washington Post. There is no reason to think the NSA and FBI activities are limited to the one program mentioned in the one document, or that the participating companies are necessarily limited to the ones on this list. 

Case in point: all voice and data telecommunications carriers have been required by law to build government-enabled surveillance capabilities into their equipment since 1996.

Until now we only knew for sure the NSA was into the wires: all of them. Now we know they're into damn near everything else too. After reading this report from the post, would you be surprised to find out that Microsoft, Apple, and Google have built back-doors into Windows, Mac OSX, and Droid? If they denied it would you still believe them? Indeed, several companies on the list denied participation in warrantless surveillance even after the Post confronted them.

The article refers to the tracking of foreign targets but don't let that ease your mind one little bit. The Internet is not a circuit-switched network like the old phone networks where you could trace just one call. To monitor a packet-switched network like the Internet, you have to do deep inspection of every packet: all of the traffic, all of the time. 

It's tantamount to FedEx, UPS, DHL, and the USPS opening every letter and package, denying it all the while, and then saying sure we opened everything, but we only actually LOOKED when we found letters and materials of interest to foreigners. 

I was waiting for a story like this to break. There hasn't been enough information available to prove what Uncle Sam was up to until now. Now we'll see what kind of big ACLU lawsuit will come out of it. There is absolutely no way a warrantless, planet-sized dragnet that sweeps everything into it is legal.

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Americans gave up liberty for security and now we are paying the price for it. Our government is using war that stem from ideological reasoning that can't ever be won to justify the infringements of our rights. We only have ourselves to blame to let these crooks into Congress and the government.

It is almost funny how he tries to dissasemble here. Especialy near the end  when he says he welcomes this debate , how he  considers it a sign of a maturing democracy and that 5 or 6 years ago we would have not had this debate. Can he honestly not remember the NSA warrenless surveillance controversy of 2006 that was shut down in 2007 over public outrage.


It is bs that it is not being done on americans. They only need to be 51% sure the person they are spying on is not american. Basicaly a flip of a coin would be just about at accurate as they are at deciding whether the person they are spying on is american or not. Also what happens when a foreigner is phoned by an american? I mean seriously but if we are having an email conversation how can they spy on me without breaking your constitutional right to  privacy?

And if they where really only interested with spying on foreigners they could have set this up where the lines enter america. Instead they set it up wheren they are going to capture all the american data aswell as the foreign data passing through.

And this is if you even believe what he claims in the first place. How do we honestly know if they are spying on americans or not. All we have is hes word and he seemed perfectly happy to lie to us and conceal the truth for a dozen  years.

News just in - evidently Google is denying outright that it gives access to governments in respect of its user data. 

Don't be tricked by Google's motto. For a time they cooperated with China's surveillance of its people.

Can anyone honestly say they were surprised by this "scandal?"

What we do to others in comparison to what we do to ourselves. Self-righteous outrage feels good.


scroll to June 10 2013 http://www.gocomics.com/tedrall


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