Obama’s Spooks “quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type”

Posted: June 7, 2013 by tallbloke in Accountability, Blog, FOI, government, Legal, Philosophy, Politics
Rodin: The Thinker

Rodin: The Thinker

From Politico

By Dylan Dybers

The Washington Post has published a remarkable report showing that the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been monitoring the central servers of major Internet companies — Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple — and “extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.”

Why did a government source leak information of this program, dubbed “PRISM,” to the Post? What follows is perhaps the most chilling paragraph I’ve read to date about U.S. government surveillance:

Firsthand experience with these systems, and horror at their capabilities, is what drove a career intelligence officer to provide PowerPoint slides about PRISM and supporting materials to The Washington Post in order to expose what he believes to be a gross intrusion on privacy. “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” the officer said.

In the wake of last night’s Guardian report about the NSA’s collection of Verizon phone user metadata, the New York Times editorial board argued that the Obama administration “has now lost all credibility” in defending its abuses of executive power. That was before the report about PRISM, which unlike the Verizon metadata, includes surveillance of user content.

“’They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,’ the officer said.”

If that doesn’t make you uncomfortable, it should.

  1. graphicconception says:

    I wonder if they have got anything interesting from Penn State?

  2. michael hart says:

    I’ve always made the working assumption that this was almost certainly the case, the only real question being “How good are they at it?”

    Collecting data is one thing, extracting useful information and interpreting it correctly is another matter entirely. Unfortunately, climate-change researchers aren’t the only ones who know how to make a dog’s dinner with large amounts CPU time coupled to a highly active imagination and narrow horizons.

  3. hunter says:

    I can tell you that for the first time in about ten years my son and I are outraged over the same scandal. We both, him from the hard left and me on the center right, see the problem: Dangerous unwarranted government over reach.
    Given the demonstrated abusiveness of the Obama administration, there is no way that they limited themselves to sampling only meta data, as they are now trying to claim. Just as we see Obamatons doing with the EPA and IRS, we can count on files being constructed and people being harassed by team Obama for strictly political grounds.
    This, when added to the IRS, journalism, Fast and Furious, EPA, secret e-mail accounts, etc. etc. etc. etc. is very likely a tipping point in the US political scene.

  4. catweazle666 says:

    “Hope and Change”…


  5. tckev says:

    NSA is looking everywhere for proof of AGW. 🙂

  6. Paul Vaughan says:

    It must be boring working on a project like that. Let’s all do our best to keep them entertained.

  7. Sera says:

    Lake Lots Available- New Construction!


  8. Joe Public says:

    Ricin, PETN, Sarin, Anthrax.

    There you go Roger, I’ve just quadrupled your readership.

  9. Tenuc says:

    Why do you think the web infrastructure is provided for free?

    This has been going on for some time and if you want more info about the systems extraordinary capabilities search for Echelon, Signet and Five eyes.

    Only face to face and paper docs (not produced using a computer, provide a reasonably secure method for private communication.

  10. Berényi Péter says:

    I thought the United States of America, unlike Britain, had a Constitution, which was supposed to make such criminal activities of the executive branch illegal under heavy penalties. Is it no longer the case?

  11. Saint Petersburg says:

    More important is the campaign fraud perpetraded by the IRS. Not only did the IRS beat down the 501’s, mllions of dollars that were supposed to be used for the function of the IRS were redistributed among civil service supporters to be donated to the democrats. Now that Obama has taken control of all of the government agencies, who will investigate IRS. Republicans were denied the right to contribute while democrats contributed our tax dollars. Chicago politics is really dirty, but when it has the weight of the federal government it is tyranny.

  12. Doug Proctor says:

    I have read that the UK population is the most surveilled group in the world, though it is probably the large city-folk, principally London, that is the most surveilled. Everywhere we are moving or have already moved into a place that is justified by the idea that if you have nothing to hid, you have nothing that to fear about being watched.

    Several years ago I was driving to the New Jersey, USA, coast on one of the interstate highways. A large digital sign was blinking its orange lights with the words: “Report Suspect Behaviour”. Nothing more, just that.

    We ARE in a 1984 world. Nobody has just come for us yet …. except that they have for Roger once already ….

    I wonder if this is what the end of Rome was like, the State denying that anything was wrong that couldn’t be attributed to external enemies or their internal supporters … all those who disagreed. With anything.

    We have rights. The Others have no rights. Who are the Others? Whoever doesn’t agree with us today.

  13. hunter says:

    St. Petersburg raises an important issue:
    Team Obaba has allowed the civil service to become radicalized to unprecedented degree.
    Now we know that the IRS, the EPA and other agencies, far from being neutral servants of the law and nation, have picked sides and are perfectly willing to use the levers of government power to suppress, harass, intimidate and possibly worse.
    This puts Obam’s expansion of patriot Act surveillance into a much daker context, one that makes it very likely we will soon find out how some ‘rogue agents’ used the NSA/FBI program to follow/spy on/harass/suppress conservatives. And the media still declines to take this seriously.

  14. tchannon says:

    I assume most of you know this has spilled over into UK GCHQ accessing PRISM data too, newspapers are full of it.

    Just noticed the BBC getting it wrong and politically so. Several times they mentioned provider names but omitted Apple and Microsoft, nor did they seem to comprehend what the document indicated.

  15. dp says:

    Just so you know, it is considered a racial epithet to use “spook” when discussing African Americans. I don’t for a moment believe it is remotely intended as such in this case, but the world is full of crazies who will jump at any perceived red meat, and the alternative reference to spies made legitimate by the context your post will go ignored. I think it is a human frailty that it is easier to be hateful than reasonable.

  16. Saint Petersburg says:

    Hunter you are right. Obama has demonstrated just how much he craves the love of our Islamic enemies. Time and time again he has shown his unwillingness to recognize the existance of Islamic terror. Exactly who does he really intend to unleash the NSA on. Before Obama it was inconcievable that the American people could fear their president the way that he is feared. A man with absolutely no character has promised the world to a lot of gullable people. We are about to learn the hard way that character is the most important quality that a president should have.