Saturday, December 24, 2005

I Watch TV

So this isn't a surprise to me that we have and use this technology and might help to explain the laissez faire attitude of your average citizen. NCIS, The Agency, Jake 2.0, Numb3rs, etc. have all used these in their plot to catch the bad guys, the difference being that on tv they make a point of obeying the law (even if they are waiting at the front door when they get said case dependent legal authorization). ABC had a show called Threat Matrix which was getting better ratings than expected (they used what some might call torture lite and all kinds of electronic doodads to get the bad guy terrorists) then quietly dissappeared off the grid. Gee, I wonder why?

Spy Agency Mined Vast Data Trove, Officials Report - New York Times
Several officials said that after President Bush's order authorizing the N.S.A. program, senior government officials arranged with officials of some of the nation's largest telecommunications companies to gain access to switches that act as gateways at the borders between the United States' communications networks and international networks. The identities of the corporations involved could not be determined. The switches are some of the main arteries for moving voice and some Internet traffic into and out of the United States, and, with the globalization of the telecommunications industry in recent years, many international-to-international calls are also routed through such American switches. One outside expert on communications privacy who previously worked at the N.S.A. said that to exploit its technological capabilities, the American government had in the last few years been quietly encouraging the telecommunications industry to increase the amount of international traffic that is routed through American-based switches.

The growth of that transit traffic had become a major issue for the intelligence community, officials say, because it had not been fully addressed by 1970's-era laws and regulations governing the N.S.A. Now that foreign calls were being routed through switches on American soil, some judges and law enforcement officials regarded eavesdropping on those calls as a possible violation of those decades-old restrictions, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires court-approved warrants for domestic surveillance.

Historically, the American intelligence community has had close relationships with many communications and computer firms and related technical industries. But the N.S.A.'s backdoor access to major telecommunications switches on American soil with the cooperation of major corporations represents a significant expansion of the agency's operational capability, according to current and former government officials.
You bet it does and that is why it requires oversight so that quaint little thing called civil liberties aren't abused. I liked it better when TIA stood for transient ischemic attack, something that this country has been quietly suffering for the last few years. This needs to be treated or we might not be able to recover.

The Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves so fast they could be a whole new source of energy.

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