Obama administration had restrictions on NSA reversed in 2011

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Obama administration had restrictions on NSA reversed in 2011

Post  fshnski on Sun Sep 08, 2013 12:08 pm

The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency’s use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans’ communications in its massive databases, according to interviews with government officials and recently declassified material.

In addition, the court extended the length of time that the NSA is allowed to retain intercepted U.S. communications from five years to six years — and more under special circumstances, according to the documents, which include a recently released 2011 opinion by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, then chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

What had not been previously acknowledged is that the court in 2008 imposed an explicit ban — at the government’s request — on those kinds of searches, that officials in 2011 got the court to lift the bar and that the search authority has been used.

Together the permission to search and to keep data longer expanded the NSA’s authority in significant ways without public debate or any specific authority from Congress. The administration’s assurances rely on legalistic definitions of the term “target” that can be at odds with ordinary English usage. The enlarged authority is part of a fundamental shift in the government’s approach to surveillance: collecting first, and protecting Americans’ privacy later.

“The government says, ‘We’re not targeting U.S. persons,’ ” said Gregory T. Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “But then they never say, ‘We turn around and deliberately search for Americans’ records in what we took from the wire.’ That, to me, is not so different from targeting Americans at the outset.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-administration-had-restrictions-on-nsa-reversed-in-2011/2013/09/07/c26ef658-0fe5-11e3-85b6-d27422650fd5_story.html?hpid=z4

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NSA can access most smartphone data.

Post  fshnski on Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:00 pm

BERLIN — The U.S. National Security Agency is able to crack protective measures on iPhones, BlackBerry and Android devices, giving it access to users’ data on all major smartphones, according to a report Sunday in German news weekly Der Spiegel.

The magazine cited internal documents from the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ in which the agencies describe setting up dedicated teams for each type of phone as part of their effort to gather intelligence on potential threats such as terrorists.

The data obtained this way includes contacts, call lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information, Der Spiegel reported. The documents don’t indicate that the NSA is conducting mass surveillance of phone users but rather that these techniques are used to eavesdrop on specific individuals, the magazine said.

The article doesn’t explain how the magazine obtained the documents, which are described as “secret.” But one of its authors is Laura Poitras, an American filmmaker with close contacts to NSA leaker Edward Snowden who has published several articles about the NSA in Der Spiegel in recent weeks.

The documents outline how, starting in May 2009, intelligence agents were unable to access some information on BlackBerry phones for about a year after the Canadian manufacturer began using a new method to compress the data. After GCHQ cracked that problem, too, analysts celebrated their achievement with the word “Champagne,” Der Spiegel reported.

The magazine printed several slides alleged to have come from an NSA presentation referencing the film “1984,” based on George Orwell’s book set in a totalitarian surveillance state. The slides — which show stills from the film, former Apple Inc. chairman Steve Jobs holding an iPhone, and iPhone buyers celebrating their purchase — are captioned: “Who knew in 1984…that this would be big brother…and the zombies would be paying customers?”

Snowden’s revelations have sparked a heated debate in Germany about the country’s cooperation with the United States in intelligence matters.

On Saturday, thousands of people in Berlin protested the NSA’s alleged mass surveillance of Internet users. Many held placards with slogans such as “Stop watching us.”

http://nypost.com/2013/09/08/nsa-can-access-most-smartphone-data-report/

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Re: Obama administration had restrictions on NSA reversed in 2011

Post  WHL on Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:08 pm

C'mon fsh., Obama wouldn't listen in on anybody's phone calls or read their emails. It's all Bush's fault.
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