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What Is Metadata? Why Is It Important?

More Consequences, And Abuse, From Broad Government Surveillance Programs

National Security Agency logo There is a very interesting article at the C/Net website. Some selected, very interesting comments and questions:

"If you're a security researcher at a large cloud company, you have to include the NSA on your list of threats that you have to protect against..."

"The FBI has a unit now that does nothing but hack into people's computers, extract documents, control Webcams... The FBI's role as an offensive cyber actor significantly undermines their cause. How can an agency warn people about malware when it's using malware itself?"

"Even if [the NSA] stood up tomorrow and said that [they] have eliminated these programs... How could we believe them? How can we believe that anything they say is true?"

"The issue with balancing privacy and surveillance is that the wireless carriers are not interested in privacy..."

"Even if you trust the NSA 100 percent that they're going to use [your data] correctly... Do you trust that they're going to be able to keep it safe from hackers? What if somebody gets that database and posts it online?"

Speaking of correctly protecting and using the data collected (or not = abuse), Reuters reporters have uncovered a secret government program where data collected by the NSA supposedly about only non-U.S. citizens is used by several other government agencies (e.g., CIA, DHS, FBI, and IRS) to secretly prosecute American citizens:

“A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans... The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence - information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.”

So, we now know that the Special Operations Division within the DEA uses data collected by the NSA.

And, experts warn that the massive NSA government spying program could cost U.S.-based cloud-services vendors $35 billion in lost revenues. Lost revenues equals lost J-O-B-S here in the USA. Is the Federal government and Congress ready to explain that? I think not.


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