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Surging Surveillance: Shocking Number of Cell Users' Data Tracked

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abuse, americans, congress, constitution, corruption, cover-up, dishonesty, elections, freedoms, Govtfearmongering, lies, media, politics, propaganda, surveillance )

- 2141 days ago -
Cell phone surveillance has surged dramatically with over 1.3 million requests made last year by law enforcement agencies to cell phone companies for users' data, according to the results of a Congressional investigation released Monday.

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Jason S (50)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 9:25 am

Carlton Ward (55)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 10:27 am
Bluffdale Spy Center:
Inside, the facility will consist of four 25,000-square-foot halls filled with servers, complete with raised floor space for cables and storage. In addition, there will be more than 900,000 square feet for technical support and administration. The entire site will be self-sustaining, with fuel tanks large enough to power the backup generators for three days in an emergency, water storage with the capability of pumping 1.7 million gallons of liquid per day, as well as a sewage system and massive air-conditioning system to keep all those servers cool. Electricity will come from the center’s own substation built by Rocky Mountain Power to satisfy the 65-megawatt power demand. Such a mammoth amount of energy comes with a mammoth price tag—about $40 million a year, according to one estimate.

Given the facility’s scale and the fact that a terabyte of data can now be stored on a flash drive the size of a man’s pinky, the potential amount of information that could be housed in Bluffdale is truly staggering. But so is the exponential growth in the amount of intelligence data being produced every day by the eavesdropping sensors of the NSA and other intelligence agencies. As a result of this “expanding array of theater airborne and other sensor networks,” as a 2007 Department of Defense report puts it, the Pentagon is attempting to expand its worldwide communications network, known as the Global Information Grid, to handle yottabytes (1024 bytes) of data. (A yottabyte is a septillion bytes—so large that no one has yet coined a term for the next higher magnitude.)

Carlton Ward (55)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 10:29 am
The eavesdropping on Americans doesn’t stop at the telecom switches. To capture satellite communications in and out of the US, the agency also monitors AT&T’s powerful earth stations, satellite receivers in locations that include Roaring Creek and Salt Creek. Tucked away on a back road in rural Catawissa, Pennsylvania, Roaring Creek’s three 105-foot dishes handle much of the country’s communications to and from Europe and the Middle East. And on an isolated stretch of land in remote Arbuckle, California, three similar dishes at the company’s Salt Creek station service the Pacific Rim and Asia.
The former NSA official held his thumb and forefinger close together: “We are that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.”

Binney left the NSA in late 2001, shortly after the agency launched its warrantless-wiretapping program. “They violated the Constitution setting it up,” he says bluntly. “But they didn’t care. They were going to do it anyway, and they were going to crucify anyone who stood in the way. When they started violating the Constitution, I couldn’t stay.” Binney says Stellar Wind was far larger than has been publicly disclosed and included not just eavesdropping on domestic phone calls but the inspection of domestic email. At the outset the program recorded 320 million calls a day, he says, which represented about 73 to 80 percent of the total volume of the agency’s worldwide intercepts. The haul only grew from there. According to Binney—who has maintained close contact with agency employees until a few years ago—the taps in the secret rooms dotting the country are actually powered by highly sophisticated software programs that conduct “deep packet inspection,” examining Internet traffic as it passes through the 10-gigabit-per-second cables at the speed of light.

Terrie Williams (798)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 10:29 am
Ummmmmm, I don't. (carry a cell everywhere). Just for this reason described. I don;t take it everywhere I go and it damn sure isn't glued to my ear 24/7. I rarely use the thing.The gov't can track you not only through your cell phone, try your Ipads, IPhones, Tablets, Kindles, etc. Any devce that has the chip can be tracked. DUH. And we didn't think this would happen because?

Our government does what we think only other governments do...Every. Single. Day. It has been....for decades.

Wake the *&^% up and put the damn devices down, turn the things off and actually ENGAGE with the people and things around you. You are being distracted for a reason.....wake up!!!!

Carlton Ward (55)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 10:36 am
But there is, of course, reason for anyone to be distressed about the practice. Once the door is open for the government to spy on US citizens, there are often great temptations to abuse that power for political purposes, as when Richard Nixon eavesdropped on his political enemies during Watergate and ordered the NSA to spy on antiwar protesters. Those and other abuses prompted Congress to enact prohibitions in the mid-1970s against domestic spying.

Before he gave up and left the NSA, Binney tried to persuade officials to create a more targeted system that could be authorized by a court. At the time, the agency had 72 hours to obtain a legal warrant, and Binney devised a method to computerize the system. “I had proposed that we automate the process of requesting a warrant and automate approval so we could manage a couple of million intercepts a day, rather than subvert the whole process.” But such a system would have required close coordination with the courts, and NSA officials weren’t interested in that, Binney says. Instead they continued to haul in data on a grand scale. Asked how many communications—”transactions,” in NSA’s lingo—the agency has intercepted since 9/11, Binney estimates the number at “between 15 and 20 trillion, the aggregate over 11 years.”

When Barack Obama took office, Binney hoped the new administration might be open to reforming the program to address his constitutional concerns. He and another former senior NSA analyst, J. Kirk Wiebe, tried to bring the idea of an automated warrant-approval system to the attention of the Department of Justice’s inspector general. They were given the brush-off. “They said, oh, OK, we can’t comment,” Binney says.

Terry V (30)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 10:39 am

Carlton Ward (55)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 10:46 am
Thanks Kit & Yes Terrie - I agree. I have a pre-paid cell phone that is often turned off or left at home. I do use the internet a lot and my MAC as I am a photographer working with Photoshop. If you read the full Bluffdale article, it explains that people cannot even decipher the amount of data being processed so they have software that picks out certain phrases and targets them for analyzation BUT if you ever did anything to catch their attention and they decided to build a case against you - they would have every communique you ever made to filter through. Next up will be personal RFIDs & more facial recognition cameras installed everywhere.... This is such far cry from the world I grew up in as a child and I dont like the way it has evolved. I tend to love my fellow beings and dont want to live in FEAR but FEAR is exactly what our oppressors want us to be. This is also far beyond Democrats vs Republicans and a New Government needs to be installed - we couldn't keep the criminals out of Washington to maintain the one our forefathers gave us.

Gene J (290)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 2:34 pm
I'm not so sure about Orwellian, Kit, it reminds me more of Big Brother from the book 1984. I expected this to happen when the legislation passed but the sheer scope of it is staggering. I mean, you see this on television or in movies all the time, cops have people's phone records in minutes, and their texts, and can cross-reference recurring numbers. I get the Homeland Security part of this but still it makes me a little sad and a little nervous that private conversations, texts and calls are available so readily to any agency that claims a nebulous need for them. Amber Alerts? Sure. Tracking down a parking meter scofflaw? Not so sure. And we really don't know where they are drawing the lines here and I am not good at all trusting government to look out for my best interest. I remember clearly being 20 years old in Viet Nam reading an article in the Stars and Stripes (our military newspaper) quoting Richard Nixon in big bold headline letters, "We have no troops in Cambodia", just after I had helped loaded a helicopter with the monthly payroll (the two things the military didn't mess with were your mail and your pay, you got them wherever you were) on its way TO Cambodia to pay the troops there. I stopped trusting government to tell me the truth that same day. So I am more than a little skeptical that all those requests had legitimate intended lawful purpose behind them. And even if they did, I still am uneasy at letting the government that far into my life. Do we need to go back to tin cans on a string? :^)

Carlton Ward (55)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 3:12 pm
Thank you Gene, I was a couple of years too young to go to Vietnam but I did serve from 1976 thru 1979 in Germany. During the protests of Vietnam it became very clear to many here that what the Gov't/media was telling us was different from the reports we were getting from our troops that were there so we all knew we were being lied to - just not the degree that they were lying... I still believe in Franklins words that "if we sacrifice freedom for security, we deserve neither". The problem is control. The Banks/Corporations/Gov't want us to be under such control, the only way they can obtain this is by slashing our rights and intensify surveillance. The Patriot Act & Homeland Security is a slap in the face of all soldiers who fought & served so that we could maintain the life we all wanted for ourselves & our families. It is very sad to me to see how hard times have fallen for so many Americans with a lack of jobs & home foreclosures while our tax $$ are bailing out the very crooks (Banks) that have created these hard times. The Bankls control the Corporations & Media which control our Gov't whose job is to pass laws that enable a more stringent judicial & prison system and maintaining control with a physical force with the Military & Police over We the People.

Gene J (290)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 3:40 pm
My fault, Kit, you were clear, I was mixing up in my mind Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury with 1984, they are much the same kind of premise. I don't know about the Homeland Security thing, I mean, they HAVE already stopped some terrorist plans from happening, intervened and arrested people actively plotting to strike us from within. But I also don't believe the end justifies the means. So it is a conundrum. I mean are we willing to give up a little privacy to make sure bombs don't start going off in malls? The scope of this is staggering though and in that it feels we have gone too far. And you are right, there will always be some enemy out there, real or imagined. They haven't, so far as I know, started dragging innocents off the street for questioning over texts and I suspect even this Supreme Court would find that unconstitutional. But I also don't trust the government, certainly not the republican side, to know where to draw the line. Maybe it is a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water? I DO want potential terrorist acts stopped before they happen, if possible, the debate I guess is over how we do that without also infringing on personal liberties in some way. I don't have the answer to that, though I'm pretty sure this amount is not needed to keep us safe, I don't know where to draw the line. I assume they are persuading judges to give them warrants which means probable cause of some kind must exist? But anything less than probable cause is problematic for me.

You're welcome, Carlton. I spent like three days in Frankfurt on my way to Italy, from where I volunteered for Viet Nam to get the 5 month early out so I could start college in January 71, not September. I enlisted at 18 because I felt an obligation of sorts, at my good fortune to have been born in the freest country in the world, and I knew as a farm kid with no money for college that the draft, when it came, would get me anyway. It did finally when I'd been in for 18 months and my birthday was number 6. Laughed over that one. Plus you could choose your job, so I chose clerical, thought I outsmarted them, but it turned out every infantry company had a company clerk, lol. Fortunately, since I could already type, I finished the three week, self-paced clerical training in 3 days, they sent the first 10 of us to Finance School at Fort Ben Harrison in Indianapolis. There were 200 of us in that class, 194 got sent to Viet Nam straight out of school, three went to Germany and three of us went to Oakland which was a way station for people going over and coming back, after 5 months there I got orders to Germany, which was full, lol, so they sent me to Italy where I stayed about 8 months until the 5 month early out was announced, but only for Viet Nam returnees. So I volunteered and the timing worked out perfectly. Viet Nam was, well, a complete cluster ****, I grew up a lot in those 3 years in the service. I still felt I owed the country something and don't regret that, but I also became completely convinced Viet Nam was a ridiculous mistake, marched in a couple parades myself, before going over and after coming home. You and Franklin are right. The world, really no part of it, is a completely safe place anymore, but that has always been true. If climate change doesn't kill us, we probably will. Walt Kelly's Pogo said it best, "we have met the enemy and he is us." Still true after all these years.

Yvonne White (229)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 5:06 pm
What irritates me is how people are Never told about the tracking, like with the "special models" of vehicles that were/are sold with "black boxes" that track driving habits AND destinations, and how Progressive Insurance's "Snap Shot" does the same thing but "it's for your own good"..:(

Terry King (113)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 5:54 pm
Okay guys... I'll key my Cell phone and start screaming anti government slogans while all of you burn your phones and hide! It will be the perfect distraction!

Terry King (113)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 7:42 pm
Did it work??????

Monica D (580)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 8:10 pm
I have read that a lot of activists may be under surveillance by the "corporate media", and possibly being harassed by the corporate media. There is a very interesting site which outlines a view on this.

Terry King (113)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 8:14 pm
Don't pay the ransom... I've escaped!

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 11:45 pm
Shi S. Tuesday July 10, 2012, 6:51 pm

PLEASE click on "flag as inappropriate". It just takes a moment!
Care2 staff is being awfully slow in responding these days.
Nevertheless, we MUST keep on clicking on "flag as inappropriate" so that they KNOW!
No use talking to them -- but, FLAG THEM ON EVERY THREAD YOU SEE THEM ON!

Wednesday July 11, 2012, 5:58 am
I don't care who’s watching, I'm still going to go and get my cheese tacos, just as soon as it stops raining!

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Wednesday July 11, 2012, 6:14 am
Noted.Thanks Kit.

JL A (281)
Wednesday July 11, 2012, 7:27 am
seems like a Big Brother level of abuse--or has it been routine taxpayer dollar waste for every felony arrest to get to that number?

John B (185)
Wednesday July 11, 2012, 9:00 am
Thanks Kit for posting the link. Read and noted. I use a cell phone only for emergencies and not for internet access. However it looks like we all should go back to sending carrier pigeons. Spam flagged also.

Robert T (62)
Wednesday July 11, 2012, 1:23 pm
I saw an NBC News report about this. This country has been running toward a slippery slope for several years. Just a few more steps and that slope will be straight downhill with no protection in sight. Scary stuff!

l L (1)
Wednesday July 11, 2012, 2:54 pm
Hi Kit and all. My hang up is the brainwashing that I endured believing this country as the land of the free and such. To find out about warrantless wiretapping and everything else illegal going on boogles the mind. It is not suppose to be like this.
Because crime is where it is people are crying for a police state. How convenient. Do they know what they are asking? It means civil governing is over and what you can't control will have it's way with you with all of it's flaws.
I often think how much better it would be to never entertain this world. It is so deceptive and painful.
As we discuss... their beat goes on. Like becareful what you ask for... SWAT TEAMS ANYONE WITH NO RESTICTIONS AND ALL THE HUMAN FLAWS AND DISHONESTY. As we know the worst is yet to come.. And more innocent people will die and be swept under the rugs. wheww.
Like you not liking the climate of this country or this world. Ever fill helpless and frustrated with power people with an agenda that is not in our interest? Thats how I feel about surveilances in the hands of humanity with all it's flaws and insensitivities.

Kamila A (141)
Wednesday July 11, 2012, 2:57 pm
These are the days of 1984, absolutely true. If everyone would wake up and realize how much of our freedoms we have lost since 9/11 they might begin to think there was a conspiracy, and that it was a false flag operation perpetrated by the ones who had much to gain from our losses.....just saying.

Lois Jordan (63)
Wednesday July 11, 2012, 6:25 pm
I remember a couple years ago when former AT&T employee, Mark Klein, was interviewed by Keith Olbermann...letting the cat out of the bag that a special room (141A?) in San Francisco AT&T headquarters was set up to collect data on customers. This was explosive info at the time, and I'm guessing that since nothing much came of that, our fearless leaders decided to expand the program. Orwellian? Yeah...but also stinks to high heaven of Nazi tactics. As long as Congress is bought and paid for, and "we the people" no longer have a say in any matters of gov't, I wonder why I'm paying taxes---especially when they're partly used to spy on me. Talk about a waste of tax money! The only thing that will stop me from signing petitions, emailing Congress and sending letters to various heads of agencies is if electricity is lost or the mail stops.

Rin S (10)
Wednesday July 11, 2012, 11:19 pm
Thank you for the article, noted.

l L (1)
Thursday July 12, 2012, 4:00 am
Lois.. I remember that. I often think of Keith.. I miss him at times. I saw an old segment of

l L (1)
Thursday July 12, 2012, 4:26 am
one of his shows. He was scolding and chiding and challenging the citizen viewers as to the reality of the changing state of America. To realize that and do something about that.
That was citizen Keith, teaching, sharing showing and standing up for humanity and decency. My opinion.
Kit... it is often said here on care2. amongsts many writers to wake up and then do something.
I have learned much during my sorjorn here.( Forgot how to spell that word).

My question is this do what else more than what is being done. How do you change anything when they are the elephant and you are the pea?
Any champion; paid a price for their sacrifice. If you are for justness and have a moral compass.. you become a target and then the mafia like tactics start towards you and yours.
Many people are just trying to mentally survive the day to day challenges of life. Many are not making it.
I am uplifted when I see all of the good that good herted people are doing. It is stuff like that that keeps me sane as to some very real goodness in the world that people choose to be cause they could choose to be otherwise. i have seen people choose to step in situations that have victimized and turned the peril into acts of goodness. It's like a breath of fresh air.
SO; in learning past histories, I am at a lost at what exactly do you do, to change any of this. It doesn't mean that how I feel is the ultimate. We see things from our own vantage points or from our own points of exposures and experiences.
I enjoy the dialog here but overall, I see myself as losing confidence in people places and things and their systems. I wish life could be all goodness and we didn't have to deal with the deceit and the evil.
I know who I choose to be.. I realize that no matter what good I choose to be nothing is guaranteed in this life.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday July 25, 2012, 2:56 pm
I don't have a problem with it. I have nothing to hide. Most people know when they purchase a cell phone that it is traceable. It is a feature used by 911 responders.
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