XKeyscore: Real time Internet Monitoring Program

Via the Guardian: Edward Snowden's latest contribution to letting the world know what the U.S. Government doesn't want you to know: XKeyscore.

Analysts can also use XKeyscore and other NSA systems to obtain ongoing "real-time" interception of an individual's internet activity.

....One top-secret document describes how the program "searches within bodies of emails, webpages and documents", including the "To, From, CC, BCC lines" and the 'Contact Us' pages on websites".


According to another top secret document:

[A}nalysts can begin surveillance on anyone by clicking a few simple pull-down menus designed to provide both legal and targeting justifications. Once options on the pull-down menus are selected, their target is marked for electronic surveillance and the analyst is able to review the content of their communications.

There's another program for social media content:

An NSA tool called DNI Presenter, used to read the content of stored emails, also enables an analyst using XKeyscore to read the content of Facebook chats or private messages.

How much has been grabbed?

In 2012, there were at least 41 billion total records collected and stored in XKeyscore for a single 30-day period.

Is it any consolation that NSA says it only targets foreign intelligence when Americans communications are swept up in their data collection? Or that "every search is auditable?" Who's doing the auditing? The Government. The fox guarding the henhouse.

< Zimmerman's Traffic Stop: Why Wouldn't He Be Armed? | Snowden Gets Asylum in Russia, Leaves Airport >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    "It's very rare..." (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 11:13:49 PM EST
    "...to be questioned on our searches," Snowden told the Guardian in June, "and even when we are, it's usually along the lines of: 'let's bulk up the justification.'"

    Voice of Russia, today

    One of the key claims that defenders of the NSA bulk data collection keep making is that the program was necessary to stop various terrorist "events" (note the careful choice of the word "events" rather than "attacks"). In fact, last week in arguing against the Amash Amendment, Rep. Mike Rogers directly claimed that "54 times this and the other program stopped and thwarted terrorist attacks."
    "If this program is not effective, it has to end," Leahy said, noting that a classified list of uses of the phone record program "does [NOT] reflect dozens or even several terrorist plots that Section 215 helped thwart or prevent, let alone 54 as some have suggested."

    Senator Leahy Calls Bulls**t On Claim That Metadata Collection Stopped Terrorist Attacks

    "bulking up the justification" - i.e. (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 11:43:09 AM EST
    clicking a few more items on those pull down menus.

    When Will People Sworn... (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 03:48:06 PM EST
    ...to uphold the Constitution stop acting like it's effectiveness matters ?

    What Constitution did they take their oaths on, because mine doesn't have an "If It's Effectiveness Clause" that nullifies our rights.

    I swear my head is going to explode if I here one more moron in Congress suggest it's fine if it actually works.

    Locking everyone in steel boxes would be very effective, idiots, but back here in reality we are suppose to abide by the Constitution and respect the rights of people who haven't done a GD thing.  

    It's their belief in their own failures that justifies all of it.  They should not have to spy on us to keep us safe unless they are inept.  For 200+ years people have managed to keep it's citizens safe without prying into their every communication.


    Do we have any reason (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:05:41 AM EST
    To suspect that NSA is any more effective than TSA?

    We have the massive effort of TSA to prevent something almost certain to never be attempted again, or to work if attempted again. Why should we think NSA isn't just as dumb?

    Good point. (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Edger on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 04:25:45 PM EST
    They had a (gasp) spy in their midst, and they missed that completely. Maybe they don't have much effectiveness at dealing with spies? Or being spies? Or employing spies?

    But they're gonna keep you safe gawdammit, no matter what it takes.


    Yves Smith's closing paragraphs of a very good analysis today at NakedCapitalism:

    Obama Starting to Lose It Over Snowden

    As damaging as these revelations are, the NSA's and now Obama's refusals to deal honestly with Congress and stonewalling by impeding access to Greenwald (which Congresscritters are convinced of even though Obama can play faux innocent) are on the verge of backfiring. Recall that what brought Nixon down in Watergate and damaged Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky affair were not the events but the cover-up.

    Here, the NSA and Administration seem unable to grok that Greenwald has the goods and he is going to proceed methodically with his releases of information. If the NSA knows what Snowden downloaded (as they assert they do) they should be well aware of what he can publish. Yet they persist in telling bald-faced lies that Greenwald is able to swat back with the NSA's own materials.

    The officialdom seems constitutionally unable to recognize that they can't halt the process that is underway, short of, say, blowing up the Guardian or launching a coup (as in I am confident that both Greenwald and Snowden have gotten copies of critical materials into enough hands at the Guardian that the publication of documents would proceed even if something were to either of them). The surveillance state seem incapable of grasping that they might not win this fight, and if they don't make an effort to get on this bus, they really could wind up under it.

    And the future is (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by koshembos on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 07:34:47 AM EST
    All data collected eventually will be used. In a strong democracy and a free society, the risk of misuse of the data is small. Our democracy, however, has weakened drastically. Rich companies are people. Our president subsidizes the banks and the pharmaceutical at the expense of many millions unemployed. Our mainstream press is not free.

    The question is not whether the individual data will be used KGB style, but when will it happen.

    Yup.... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 03:57:37 PM EST
    ...and when the Military Industrial Complex bankrupts us, it will be mad scramble, by the same hacks who collect it, to secure the data in order to sell it to the highest bidder.

    Will it be One Earth Bank* or Saudi Arabia ?

    *Bank of America after it consolidates every financial institution on the planet.


    How do you go bankrupt (none / 0) (#17)
    by Mikado Cat on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 06:31:32 AM EST
    When we can print all the money we want and use it to buy up our debt?

    I have a really hard time with the concept of the federal government paying billions in interest to the Federal Reserve. Its like a dog giving a ride to a cat, it can't end well.


    See Russian Circa 1991 (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 12:30:52 PM EST
    "let's bulk up the justification." (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Visteo1 on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 10:55:37 AM EST
    That is what is occurring in Congress.  The massive spending needs justification to continue.

    The past effectiveness or lack of effectiveness must now be considered with the future lack of effectiveness.

    As Jeralyn wrote, "Who's doing the auditing?", is an important question.  Based on the leaked information, we should demand independent outside audits.

    Fake or Real? (none / 0) (#6)
    by cboldt on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 12:25:35 PM EST
    pressure cookers, backpacks and quinoa, oh my! - Michele Catalano

    Little did we know our seemingly innocent, if curious to a fault, Googling of certain things was creating a perfect storm of terrorism profiling. ...

    What happened was this: At about 9:00 am, my husband, who happened to be home yesterday, was sitting in the living room with our two dogs when he heard a couple of cars pull up outside. He looked out the window and saw three black SUVs in front of our house; two at the curb in front and one pulled up behind my husband's Jeep in the driveway, as if to block him from leaving.

    Six gentleman in casual clothes emerged from the vehicles and spread out as they walked toward the house, two toward the backyard on one side, two on the other side, two toward the front door.

    It's canning and backpacking season (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by nycstray on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 12:28:07 PM EST
    those poor boys are going to be awfully busy . . .

    No kidding (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Zorba on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 02:41:46 PM EST
    And if she does buy a pressure cooker, not only would it be wise not to buy it online, as she noted, but also to pay cash for it and not use any kind of store loyalty card.
    That is, until they require us to show a photo ID in order to purchase a pressure cooker. You know, the way we have o show ID in order to buy Sudafed, in case we're planning on using it to make meth.

    Message for you... (none / 0) (#15)
    by DebFrmHell on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 07:22:12 PM EST
    In the Open Thread!

    This story also (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 01:49:25 PM EST
    showed up in the Guardian.

    I'm eagerly awaiting the day when wine critics cover what to serve for informal home raid interrogations.


    In their Dreams... (none / 0) (#12)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 04:09:58 PM EST
    They mentioned that they do this about 100 times a week. And that 99 of those visits turn out to be nothing. I don't know what happens on the other 1% of visits and I'm not sure I want to know what my neighbors are up to.

    Yeah 1 of 100 people searching for pressure cooker or some other non-sense they deem as terrorist like, is a terrorist.  Only in their wettest of wet dreams.  More like their BS searches turn up something illegal totally unrelated to terrorism and they bust their a$$es.

    If I didn't hate and fear the Fed so much I would go home and search the craziest stuff I can can think of, just to F with them.  But then again, the fear of what list I will make or where I could end up, keeps me at bay.  

    I wonder if that is how people in China & North Korea feel ?


    Report I am seeing now says (none / 0) (#16)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 11:02:51 PM EST
    It wasn't the result of a Google search, but the husbands former employer who looked at activity on his old work PC and reported searches for pressure cooker bombs.

    I have friends in the scrap recycling industry, and you would not believe what people will fail to totally remove on an old PC.


    Maybe we are looking at privacy issues backwards? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 04:31:42 PM EST
    Maybe instead of reacting to snooping attempts, we should work out some set of permissible information that can be collected with or without a warrant?

    Maybe NSA can create a permission form (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by MO Blue on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 08:23:59 AM EST
    Then you can tell them what information of yours that you are willing for them to collect without a warrant and I can deny them permission to collect any of my information without a warrant.

    free (none / 0) (#18)
    by friendofinnocence on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 09:44:38 AM EST
    NSA is merely providing free online backup for 3-5 days to everyone in the country.