In news that shocks no one, the Washington Post reported that the National Security Administration (NSA) doesn’t do a very good job when it comes to obeying privacy rules. Documents that Edward Snowden sent to the Post revealed that the NSA violated these privacy rules and overstepped their legal authority literally thousands of time since the agency’s carte blanche to perform unwarranted surveillance was greatly expanded in 2008. You can check out the NSA’s compliance report here.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court’s chief judge has said that the government’s scope of surveillance power is very limited. Top secret NSA documents released by the Post contain a list of targeting protocols with most specific details redacted. The list is mostly reasonable. Might be worth checking out someone “in direct contact with [a] Hezbollah member,” “in direct contact with [a] close associate of [an] Al-Qaeda facilitator,” or “on a buddy list of [an] Al-Qaeda East Africa associated.”
Al-Qaeda still uses instant messengers? Who knew.
Of course the NSA attributed the overwhelming majority of these incidents to unintended mistakes and clerical errors. Then again, the White House and NSA spokesman retracted the Post‘s permission to publish an interview with the NSA Director of Compliance, John DeLong, after the Post refused to edit DeLong’s statements. So this explanation may be something to take with a grain of salt.
Well, that and the NSA’s admission that they went in and analyzed more people’s data than they initially stated.
Oh, and consider that the NSA apparently “practicably” has no way to distinguish between foreign and domestic communications – meaning that data on American citizens is being stored with the NSA too. An agency that has the technology to access whatever the heck they want almost by magic can’t filter out domestic communications? I mean, really guys.
But it’s “close enough for government work,” right?
Well, okay, so now you know that there’s a decent shot that your data is being stored by the NSA and maybe even analyzed by them. But what kind of data exactly? The NSA’s Domestic Surveillance Directorate has it listed out on this webpage, which includes the Orwellian tagline “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” all over the place. But no worries. “In the spirit of openness and transparency, here is a partial list of current and planned future data collection targets.” Author’s Note: Yes, the Domestic Surveillance Directorate thing is a parody site. Work with me here people.
Keep this in mind if you don’t want some random NSA agent seeing the following. This is not a comprehensive list:
Yup, that NSA guy just spit his coffee all over his keyboard.
He thinks you’re a weirdo.
Emails sent and received
Now the NSA guy sees that you actually open all those e-mail forwards from your grandmother.
“Why doesn’t she just delete them like everyone else?” he wonders to himself.
Also he opened up that racist joke she sent you. He is not amused. Expect an audit next year.
Social media activity (Facebook, Twitter, etc)
“Oy, alcoholics,” the NSA agent mutters to himself.
“I really wish she had posted a photo of that bald spot though.”
Blogging activity including posts read, written, and commented on
Sure, these are YouTube comments and not blogging comments. But you get the idea. Now the NSA agent knows you’re a YouTube commenter (i.e., the butthole of the internet). He also knows you like dick.
Expect a call later this evening.
Welp, I’m screwed.
Videos watched and/or uploaded online
Yes, the NSA agent knows you watch a news channel hosted by Krazee Thug Nutz.
Photos viewed and/or uploaded online
Remember that time you passed out on your friend’s floor and he uploaded the photos to Facebook the next day? Well, it’s unlikely that you remember, but the NSA agent now knows you’re a sloppy drunk.
Mobile phone GPS-location data
Trying to keep your BDSM fetish under wraps? Well, the NSA agent knows now.
Expect a call later this evening.
Mobile phone apps downloaded
Yup. NSA guy knows you really can’t get a date. Heck, he didn’t even know this app existed.
*downloading . . . 74%*
Phone call records
Remember that time you called your ex and professed your undying love for her even though you hadn’t spoken since high school? And then she said, “How the hell did you get my number you freaking weirdo?”
Yup. That NSA agent is laughing at you again.
Text messages sent and received
No worries, the NSA agent doesn’t think you have herpes. He finds autocorrect funny too.
Skype video calls
Okay, so this is Chat Roulette and not Skype. But now that NSA agent knows about the most awkward moment of your life.
Online purchases and auction transactions
Remember that gag gift you bought for your Trekkie friend on eBay?
Yeah, NSA agent thinks you’re a weirdo.
Credit card/debit card transactions
One of the purchases you most regret. Then again, you were drunk when you did it.
Heck, when you opened the jar it didn’t even smell like farts!
But, hey, now the NSA agent knows what he’s buying himself for Christmas.
No, he doesn’t believe you that you’re going just to see the Anne Frank House and the zoo.
I think this speaks for itself.
Cable television shows watched and recorded
“Who the heck records porn anymore?” the NSA agent wonders to himself. “Hasn’t he heard of the internet?”
You didn’t want to tell anyone you had to repeat sixth grade. You’ve managed to keep this secret for years. The NSA agent is snickering at you for failing P.E.
Remember when you got arrested less than five minutes after taking this photo?
Yes, you public urinator. The NSA knows and the agent found this photo on your Facebook too.
Facial recognition data from surveillance cameras
Okay, that’s just creepy.