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'NSA leaks' continue to pour out thick and fast courtesy of Ed Snowden and the Guardian newspaper. Are we really learning anything new? Do we really think The Guardian and Washington Post would publish stuff they weren't 'allowed' to publish? Who is Ed Snowden really and why do some whistleblowers become famous while others are bumped off quietly?

Earlier this year we discussed the 'NSA privacy scandal' on SOTT Talk Radio. Check it out:

Running Time: 02:33:00

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Transcript:

Niall: Hello and welcome to SOTT Talk Radio. Today is the 20th edition of our show. I'm your host Niall Bradley, and joining me today is Scott Ogrin. Scott is the webmaster for SOTT.net.

Scott: Hi folks.

Niall: We've also got Jason Martin, a software programmer, with us tonight.

Jason: Word.

Niall: And special guest Michael Franzl. Michael is an editor of SOTT.net and is also an IT Consultant.

Michael: Hello.

Niall: So, today's show is 'NSA Prism: Neither Privacy nor Security'. As you've probably heard by now, about ten days ago a "big leak, big scandal" happened, one that's been been developing and gathering steam. We want to go back and trace out where this started and then get into some discussion on it. I'm sure a lot of you have your thoughts as well so you'll want to call in, send us a comment, and let us know your thoughts on this 'NSA (National Security Agency) privacy scandal'.

On June 6th, Thursday last, The Guardian reports that "The NSA is collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily." Verizon is a large telecoms company in the US.

Jason: It's one of the most popular American telecoms.

Scott: They had something like 150 million US customers or something - considering the population of the US that's quite a number of customers.

Niall: It's practically half of the population.

Jason: Yeah they came out of nowhere when I was a teenager. I had never heard of them before and suddenly they were everywhere. So it was kind of a little bit suspicious about the company starting. It's just like a 'Ma Bell' kind of thing.

Niall: So the story in The Guardian was that "A top-secret court order had been issued in April, a copy of which was obtained by The Guardian newspaper in London, that, quote, 'requires Verizon on an ongoing daily basis to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems both within the US and between the US and other countries."

The article goes on: "The information is classified as metadata or transactional information rather than communications and so does not require individual warrants to access. A 2005 court ruling judged that cell side location data was also transactional data and so could potentially fall under the scope of the order. The request for the bulk collection of all Verizon domestic phone records indicates that the agency is continuing some version of the data mining program begun by the Bush administration in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack. The NSA, as part of a program secretly authorized by Bush on the 4th October 2001, implemented a bulk collection program of domestic telephone, internet and email records."

It didn't end there. After this announcement, well I say after, it was the same day - both of those stories came out on the same day, The Guardian also followed up with an article by Glen Greenwald about a program called 'PRISM'. I think that is an acronym for something. I'm not sure.
Greenwald was a former columnist for Salon.com in the US, and he is now working for The Guardian

Jason: Well, what exactly?

Niall: PRISM? It stands for... do you remember?

Jason: I don't believe so. I think it probably has to do with the fact that most telecommunications go over fiber optics and prisms split light. There was a technology where they were splitting the fiber optic cables using a prism to copy the telecommunications that are across the lines. I think they just put it into capitals because it looks more impressive.

Scott: Yeah actually that whole story about the... back sometime in the 90s I think it was, a couple of Israeli companies - I think they were Naris and Varant - supposedly the NSA basically went to these companies and they set up a secret room in AT&T, and perhaps some other companies, where they used - and this was all made to sound like it was very futuristic and high tech you know - an optical splitter to route the incoming huge data pipe into a top secret room in which these companies would then use one of the split signals to basically acquire all the traffic and funnel it all to the NSA.

And this is actually kind of funny because I used to work in the telecoms industry and actually I worked on optical transport switches which are basically giant racks of equipment that form the backbone of the internet. And when you design one of these things you have this thing called a requirement specification that basically describes exactly what the system is, what it does, what standards it follows, that sort of thing. And one of the requirements is that all these systems have back doors supposedly for people like the FBI to come along and get a warrant. It's just like a back door that you can access and it's required by law. First of all the splitter 'oh you used a prism' that's meant to sound 'oh it's so fancy' well that's what you do.

Jason: That's what Sir Isaac Newton used.

Scott: Yeah like where I used to work 'oh yeah do you need a splitter? Yeah, here you go, here's one.'

Jason: But prism sounds more esoteric. It does, but like a couple hundred years ago Isaac Newton did the same kind of thing, when you're studying optics you know, so I mean it's not new technology.

Scott: Yeah, so that whole thing ... I think the most interesting thing about that story was the fact that it was Israeli companies, because of course the first question that comes to my mind is why would the NSA of all people or any US intelligence organization even need ...

Jason: Foreign nationals.

Scott: ... to foreign companies which are most obviously associated with foreign intelligence agencies to do something which technologically is extremely simple and it's almost so simple that it's dumb, when they didn't really need to do that because there are back doors already there. They give you access to all the traffic.

Jason: Right.

Scott: So yeah that's the ...

Niall: This is why I am really glad I've got these three guys on the show with me today because I'm non-techie but these three are techies and they know their stuff.

Jason: One thing I wanted to add though is that Bill Clinton, I don't know how old the law is but Bill Clinton signed into effect during his term a new law that mandates all telecommunications companies and all those service providers to install, it's kind of ambiguous, to install a method for legal law enforcement operatives, like the FBI and CIA and all of those people, to tap their telecommunications network. They're required, and sometimes they create a room where they can go into and basically plug into the system and record everything, and legally mandated to provide that access to law enforcement to ease the interception of data.

Michael: An article from the Washington Post of the 6th of June quoting Google and Yahoo where they say that they do not have back-doors and they allow the government to inspect the data, and Yahoo actually said the same "We do not provide the government with access to our servers, systems or network." Maybe that's forced.

Jason: They're not a telecommunications company. They are basically a website. They have a giant rack of web servers.

Niall: I just want to back up a second before we go there.

Jason: Sorry, we were just rushing headlong ...

Niall: Just so our listeners are on the same page, the follow up story on the PRISM scandal was that the NSA, here is the title of the actual Guardian article; NSA Taps Into Internet Giant's Systems To Mine User Data As Secret Files Reveal. So this was the nexus of the secret files that were released to the public. And it was a 41 page Power Point presentation classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies.

Jason: And designed by a trained monkey. That thing was so ugly.

Niall: Yeah so this document was made available by The Guardian and among the things, as Michael there has touched on, it basically said that the NSA has direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple, YouTube, Twitter, I can't remember, all the big names. We all use one or other of these internet giants. Well that was the first thing that struck me right away - these companies came out and said "No we don't." Each one, every one of them issued a statement that said "We have no knowledge of it."

Jason: At first they said that and now they are like more ...

Niall: Or if this is really happening, they first said we are not involved in this or if it is happening, it is happening without our awareness.

Jason: ... can I say a few things on this? Okay, so first of all the company would not have to provide access to the servers because all of the servers are distributed across the world and the central office has to be able to connect to them to maintain them, probably through SSH [editor's note: SSH is software providing secure remote connection] or something like that. So if Google can connect from one building in one country to another building in another country then the NSA can too via the normal SSH connection to the server. So they could be hacking that. But the reason I think that it is unrealistic is that I watched a tech talk from one of the database admins from Facebook that talked about the situation - their servers are very consistently on the edge. And the NSA coming in and running a long running query on one of the servers would basically make them all fall over. So it's not really a realistic thing. I mean the NSA going in and rooting around on one of the servers, they would see a significant performance decrease, the server would probably fall over and Facebook or Google would be like what the hell is going on here. I mean it's not so simple. It's not like a river, like with telecommunications, it's not like a river where you can just dip in and get the information, right. But with a server type of situation or a database, you can't just stop the world and inspect stuff and then unstop the world. Like everyone is going to notice in a certain sense.

Michael: I've got a second explanation because I printed out the actual court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and here it says that "It is further ordered that no person shall disclose to any other person that the FBI or NSA has sought or obtained tangible things under this order." That means they're ordered to remain silent about this whole issue and maybe that's the explanation of why they deny it.
Niall: Ah, that would explain why they all were in unison with no comment perhaps.

Jason: And they are giving the information to the government. The government probably not just jumping on to their servers in private and hacking it, I mean they could but I don't think that they are.

Niall: We have a caller I believe.

Scott: We do indeed. Hi caller what's your name and where are you calling from? Howdy.

Jason: Hi caller you are on the air with Larry King.

Niall: No I think they haven't gotten through.

Jason: Or maybe they just walked away.

Scott: No I think they may have stepped away.

Jason: But it's nice that we are getting callers. People should call in and voice their...

Scott: If anyone would like to call in, again the number is US number (718) 508-9499. Outside the US that would be 001(718) 508-9499.

Jason: ... excellent.

Niall: So, we heard in the Verizon case where there was a specific court order, is that what you just read?

Michael: Yes it's from April of this year.

Niall: Yeah, I recognize that document. So what happened was, for this to happen the US government can ask the FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a court not recently setup in 1978 so it's been around a while, requesting that a company hand over either all data or this amount of data within certain parameters and within a certain time frame. Now I thought it was interesting that Verizon got this order on April 25th. Then this court order which is supposed to be secret and we are not supposed to have heard about it, is obtained by The Guardian and released June 6th. The next day there is another document, the PRISM Power Point for eyes only is released. And then I think the next day after that things snowballed. And then this guy, Edward Snowden, just pops up ...

Jason: Out of the blue.

Niall: ... in Hong Kong and says I did this.

Scott: No, no, no, no. He pops up in Hong Kong and he says yeah, I'm in Hong Kong. I'm just down the street from the CIA field office and he might as well have said his geographical coordinates or something and here's my latitude and longitude and then he says yeah, I think maybe I'm going to consider requesting asylum in Iceland.

Jason: Why didn't he just go over there?

Scott: Why didn't he just go to Iceland? I mean the whole thing stunk to high heaven.

Jason: Maybe it's because he is maintaining an illusion for people. He is an actor, he's a spokes-model, he is kind of an Emanuel Goldstein character to come out and ...

Niall: Well, we've certainly thought about it. We could assume he's the real deal, sincerely wanted to share with the world this dastardly information.

Jason: He looks the part.

Niall: The dastardly deeds that are done by the powers that be but as I've been reading around this I realize that he's not saying anything new.

Jason: Nope.

Niall: Everybody knows. Well in a way everybody is paying attention who knows this goes on all the time. Okay, the general public might be up in arms to some extent, but I looked back through the SOTT database for the last 8 or 9 years and yeah, pretty much exactly the same thing has been said by other whistle blowers and by other commentators. All they were doing was quoting the Department of Defense documents saying exactly the same thing - this is what we do.

Jason: In the 1980s there was a book called The Puzzle Palace written by James Bamford. I saw the published date and it was like 1983 where he was talking about what they were doing - they were actually doing this type of stuff what they are doing now ...

Niall: They being the NSA.

Jason: ... well the precursor to the NSA, they change names constantly during that time. They were listening in to telegraph traffic, siphoning off the telegraph stuff too. And so it's been going on for a very long time and I think everyone kind of knows it or has known about it. It's nothing new. There's no new information here.

Niall: There's no new information so why then is this such a big scandal?

Jason: Well I think in the beginning, my opinion on why there is such a scandal, why it's kind of like newish to people is, there is an article by David Simon where he talks about imagining the manpower it would take and all this stuff. Previously people kind of thought that as well, they don't have enough people to go through all the mail so I'm safe and anonymous in the masses. But people have an inherent fear of technology because they see it performing things so quickly and working so fast and they see so much data in their gigabyte hard drives and their processors and all this stuff and now they are afraid that the government could actually do on a large scale what everyone knows they have been trying to do for like since the East India Trading Company type of thing, reading everyone's mail, getting into everyone's lives. I think now suddenly it is a little bit more viscerally close to them because they realize that they might just have the processing power to actually do it on a large enough scale to make it actually get into a lot of people's lives.

Niall: Well that's something I wanted to talk to you guys about. Processing power, the scale of information that they are supposedly able to track, store, analyze, draw connections from and draw conclusions from, what are we talking about here? Is it possible?

Scott: Well anything is possible. One of the articles in The Guardian, they were talking about these boundless informants, documents regarding the NSA's data mining tools and this was a document that was supposedly released from the NSA, that somehow The Guardian obtained you know blah, blah, blah whatever. But the document says that the NSA captured 97 billion pieces of intelligence in 30 days ending in March 2013, only 3 billion for the USA itself, supposedly. So of course these numbers could be complete garbage but let's just assume that they're not.

Jason: 90 billion pieces of what kind of intelligence?

Scott: Right. So the first question is 97 billion, this is worldwide in this 30 day period, 97 billion pieces of intelligence, now of course you don't know how big the data is. If you assume that it could be an email, that would be very, very small, a few kilobytes. A video could be very, very large, but then maybe they are only interested in a particular part of the video or maybe the data they are collecting is more like this so called metadata, which is essentially Jane belongs to the Forest Hill Elementary School PTA group and that's the commodity, so that belongs to this group which is ...

Michael: In that case 90 billion records is not that impressive.

Jason: No.

Scott: Right. And if they are big, let's say they are 100 kilobytes per day, assume they are large, well that's not large but, then that would work out to about 323 terabytes of data per day that they were capturing. So if you have a one terabyte hard drive in your computer, you have a modern computer, they were collecting 323 one terabyte hard drives worth in a day. But then if you look at the actual internet protocol traffic, i.e. people surfing the internet, people using VOIP like phone calls via the internet, smart phone data usage, it's still got an IP address it's using the internet. We don't have statistics, at least that I could find for recent years, but we know that in 2011 the internet traffic average per day was about 916 petabytes per day.

Niall: What is a petabyte?

Scott: A petabyte is 1,024 terabytes. So a terabyte is 1,024 gigabytes.

Jason: There's a pattern there.

Scott: So if you have a computer with 4 gigabytes of ram, well you know 1,024 of those gigabytes is a terabyte and 1,024 terabytes is a petabyte. You don't really have to follow all that, just bear with me here.

Niall: We're talking about a lot!

Scott: The take home point is that the NSA was capturing, if we assume that the internet traffic as I said these very large numbers are for 2011, so if you look at the past increase year over year of internet traffic, you extrapolate and you say well it increases about maybe 20 to 25 percent a year, so you would say from 2011 to 2013 you do some math and you come up with an even bigger number and then you divide the number of terabytes per day that the NSA was supposedly capturing in this 30 day period ending in March of this year and you get the number that the NSA was capturing 0.02% of all IT based traffic. Not 2%, not 0.2%, but 0.02% of all the traffic.

Jason: And that is a reasonable amount to be able to siphon off.

Niall: And yet the impression that is coming through the airwaves from cyberspace is that they are after all of it. They want it all.

Jason: Let me give you an example, I did find one number ... I don't know if it's true... but that the entire telecommunications traffic per year in the world, and that's including satellite stuff and everything and all telephone communications and not just purely internet but all telecommunications traffic, is estimated to be 1.9 zettabytes.

Niall: What's a zettabyte?

Jason: Its 1,024 exabytes which is 1,024 petabytes.

Scott: Which 1,024 gigabytes which is, never mind.

Jason: So it's really huge.

Scott: It's a lot of data.

Jason: And this Binney guy which is one of the reasons why I don't trust the Binney guy is he came out and said that the NSA ...

Niall: That's the whistle-blower William Binney?

Jason: Yeah, he's supposed to be the person who architected the whole thing and he basically said that the NSA was building a facility that had five zettabytes worth of storage. Five, that's really huge because all of the hard drive capacity currently sold last year was 330 exabytes.

Niall: So it was one degree down?

Jason: Yeah, right, one degree down from a zettabyte so not even a whole zettabyte. So 5 zettabytes right, just to give you an idea of the scale, they are building this facility with 5 zettabytes and Binney says they are going to be able to store all of the internet traffic for the next 100 years at this facility. I thought hold on a second, no that's not really going to happen because even if they stored all of the telecommunications it would be eaten up in like two years.

Niall: Because of the exponential growth?

Jason: Yeah. And of course next year the estimate for telecommunications data is 2.7 exabytes for the year. That's the estimate. These are estimates because you got to understand ...

Niall: Nobody knows.

Jason: ... you really can't have telecommunications traffic and then be counting everything. That takes processor power. That takes time to count every packet [ed: a network packet contains data traveling over a network.] They don't count them; they estimate them because you can't count them all over the world, every connection. Nobody has this universal counter where it's scrolling up, up, up, up. Nobody really knows how much because they are basically barely able to maintain the traffic as it is and the exponential growth. Twitter had all this trouble dealing with its client base. Servers were falling over all the time because there were so many people using the system. They weren't able to predict how much traffic and space and servers they were going to need. The internet system is barely holding itself together.

Michael: Those numbers are very impressive when you talk about petabytes and exabytes so on and so forth. For non-techies it is like a foreign language. We have to ask three questions. First of all, are they actually storing the data? If yes then you have to ask how long are they able to store the data because it certainly cannot store that amount of data for ten years or longer. So as it's growing, that means they delete all the records. So maybe they are not able to store it at all. The second question; are they analyzing it? Because just storing the data is of no use for anything. If they analyze it then the question is what are they looking for and how do they analyze it? Do they have employees sitting there inspecting emails at random or do they have computer software that runs automatic tests? The third question is; once they have analyzed it are they acting upon it? So they find something, what are they doing with the information? Just analyzing it might be interesting but if you don't have a plan with it, then it is useless. So I think those three questions we have to ask.

Jason: I think the first question is a good place to start. Are they storing it? I did a calculation, I don't know if it's true because I'm not really good at math, but basically the smallest commercially available terabyte hard drive physical size is 2.5 inches by 3 inches, basically a one terabyte laptop hard drive, that I could find. They might be a little bit bigger but let's just go with that. So how many of those would be required for storing the internet for one month? I did the calculation and I don't remember the exact number, I wrote it down and unfortunately I didn't bring it with me, but if you took 146 football stadiums and stacked them 20 feet high with those 2.5 inch one terabyte drives, that would be able to store the internet traffic for one month. I don't know if that is 100% correct.

Scott: How many football stadiums?

Jason: 146 if you stacked them next to each other without any spaces between them which you can't do with a hard drive. Obviously you have to have space and a cooling system so you couldn't even do that. Even if the NSA could store 1% of that, they would require 1% of the storage. So instead of having 146 football fields they only have one. So they would have to expand their one football field if they wanted to store all of the data. But, as I learned, that's not what they're claiming. Even in The Guardian they are not saying they are storing all of it. It's definitely not what they are doing.

Michael: They are storing the metadata.

Scott: Even if they could store it, how would they process it? How would you process that much data because, sure maybe they have some newfangled storage systems and all that.

Jason: How new could they be?

Scott: You go on the internet and do a Google search, Google is not storing everything on the whole internet. When you use the search function on SOTT you have a finite amount of data, you have a finite amount of processing power. You have to do certain tricks to make it faster and so, of course, they could be doing tricks but when you get into such a large amount of data, I don't know what kind of computer they would be using to crunch all that data and doing anything with it if they are doing it the way people normally assume.

Niall: But Scott, haven't you heard of supercomputers? I don't know what these are but apparently these things can do super things. What strikes me about this data center in Utah is that it's old news. It was wheeled out here again in tandem with these releases of data but I went back and I've heard of this before and yeah, there were plans and is actually nearly complete apparently, to build this giant data center in the desert.

Jason: In a desert, brilliant idea.

Niall: For all that processing power you need cooling systems.

Jason: Which they have a 3 million gallon water cooling system and reservoir in the desert. They paid money to pipe water into the desert. They couldn't have put this next to a cool river or something to use the natural environment.

Michael: That's genius.

Jason: They are just wasting money. This is just bullshit waste of money is all it is.

Niall: Now the FISA court order that Michael read out and in statements given by the Obama administration since this scandal broke, they've tried to put a damper on this by saying we're not obviously after the content of emails, phone calls, etc., we are looking at the metadata. So don't worry people. So what is metadata?

Jason: From a computer perspective, metadata is what describes the structure of data. The internet works by sending little tiny envelopes of information. The metadata about that envelope is that it has a header, offset x, body, offset y, To: and From: fields. The metadata describes how data is laid out, the structure of it. What they are reading is the To: and From: fields. That is considered the contents of the message. That is not metadata, that's content. It is necessary for the internet to work. All internet service providers read the contents of your message, more or less, in order to transmit it by virtue of the technology. That's why sometimes I think a lot of these privacy people don't really understand what the internet is. When they say they are using metadata, they are using a term they don't understand. They are trying to dismiss people's concerns by saying it is just metadata. It is not what they are reading. They are reading the data. We have to be honest about what they are reading. They are reading the contents of the message, at least part of it. Not the whole thing, they may not be reading the body of the message, but they are reading the To: and From: fields and that is considered the content in a certain sense, instead of the body of the message.

Michael: When you process a website, metadata can also be the link itself, the URL. There is an organization which actually asks is that part of the contents or is it actually metadata; the link? I think it belongs to the message body and not actually to something like metadata. But in this court order from Verizon, which is actually a telecom company, it actually lists the things that they have to store and hand over to the NSA. You should read it. Telephone metadata includes comprehensive communications, routing information including, but not limited to, session identifying information. That means originating and terminating telephone numbers and international subscriber identity number and international mobile station equipment id number, trunk identifier, telephone calling numbers, time and duration of call. So they are storing, more or less, the ids of the telephones, they are storing the called numbers, originating and terminating number. So that is what they consider as metadata.

Jason: But that is data. The definition of the word metadata is above data while that is data.

Niall: I saw an interview given by Susan Landau, I can't remember who or what she was from [editor's note: Susan Landau is a Senior Staff Privacy Analyst at Google] but she pointed out that metadata is just as useful, if not more useful, to prying eyes let's say, than the actual content would ever be. What she was saying made sense to me because I thought well does the government really want to know your opinion of what you were doing? They would much rather see who you are connected with, who you are talking to and get an overview of the links between people. Maybe one you want to expand on because it made a lot of sense to me that the metadata is actually the gold and the rest is just dirt.

Michael: I think it could be, just my theory that they are aiming at constructing a social network graph. Similar to what you can see on Facebook, all of your friends and who you are connected to like a star diagram. Who is connected to who? They are not just using Facebook or Skype or telephone numbers or internet sites, they use everything to construct this very complex graph so that they can see who is connected to who and who's interested in which ideas. For that it is not necessary to have the actual message bodies. You only have to know who is connected to who. So when I have a Skype profile and I've entered my telephone number there, they go to the telephone company and get all of the metadata. Then they can link all these telephone numbers to the information in Skype. They can, so to speak, expand and construct this social network graph. So for them it is not even necessary to get the message bodies. It doesn't matter if it is anonymous or not. Even the anonymous data helps to complete the graph that they try to compile.

Jason: Think about this; Google requires you to give your telephone number to verify your account.

Michael: Exactly.

Jason: That ties your telephone number to every search you make when you are logged into Google which is tied to your IP address, which is trivially easy to update the IP address, so they keep a track history of every time you connect with one of the IP addresses they may know, of all this stuff. So when you collect that metadata here and collect some data over here, at first each side looks completely innocuous until you mix it together. Just imagine if McCarthy had access to this system; "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist party or a homosexual?" Imagine if McCarthy had said OK give me a query on every person who has ever searched gay porn? And then suddenly all of these people were really tortured, they were outed, they had their careers ruined, they had their lives utterly and completely ruined for even being tenuously connected to Communism and homosexuality. So what will happen when one of these Senators 'Oh God, sinners be down here' decides that homosexuality is a sin and they are going to use the NSA's powers or whatever intelligence community's powers to request from Google every IP address and telephone number, which is just metadata, that searched for gay porn. Then they start connecting it together and suddenly they have a complete profile of you and everything you ever searched for and everything you looked for and every book you bought and all this different stuff very quickly.

Niall: A Senator today, let's say a McCarthy type, does get his hands on this kind of data but what holds him back is the fact that all the dirty data on him is also available.

Jason: That's true.

Niall: They get caught in the web of their own doing.

Michael: One piece of data that actually is very interesting, again from this court order against Verizon, it expires actually on the 19th of July, 2013 which is just three months so you could ask why just have an order that just lasts for three months when you want to be able to store data permanently. I think it confirms this little theory we have here that they only need to download the data once to actually enhance their social graph and relationship graph. Once that is done, they are done and you don't need any more data except maybe in the future. I think that was an interesting detail, just three months.

Niall: So what they want is a snapshot of an overview of relationships between people?

Michael: I believe so.

Niall: Well it makes a lot of sense because, we discussed this earlier, the sheer number of resources required at the second question that Michael raised about the analyzing of the data, you pointed out that the man hours required to intelligently sift through data about any one person is so vast that it is useless to them. In the meantime the world has moved on and they are behind.

Jason: Here is another piece of information; people have this fantasy about technology. Technology, like computers are really good at solving very specific types of problems. One that would require performing the same action over and over again adding five hundred million numbers together things like that. They are very fast with that. One thing that they are absolutely horrible about despite all of the fantasies of computer scientists since the 1970's is something like natural language processing. Google translate is so good because it provided the option for users to correct translations and it recorded the corrected translations. Translation websites, that supposedly have this huge R&D department and millions and millions of dollars to throw at this problem, have decided to basically implement a mechanical terp. Getting users to correct the translation and each time change the system because computers cannot process language very well. So if you have billions of records that you have taken from people, getting a computer program to intelligently give semantic meaning to them; is Bob talking about bombs or is he saying the barbeque he had the other day was The Bomb. Does the computer have a real easy way to understand that? What if he uses internet language where everything is encoded and spelled the way it sounds type of thing. Computers are not good at that. It doesn't matter how much processing power you throw at it. Just the very nature of the technology is never going to be good at that.

Niall: It's always going to be limited to the algorithms that are programmed into it.

Jason: Right, what the computer can do is to index every single message that referred to the word 'bomb' or every single message that referred to the word 'pork' and they could search it but then it would return maybe five billion results and then what are you going to do? How do you trim that down? Google works very intently on this problem naturally because they are a search engine but they haven't really got it right in a certain sense so I'm sure the NSA hasn't either.

Niall: Obama appears to be on the back foot about this and something he said in defense of the NSA is that, 'well come on people, there was always going to be tradeoffs. You can't have 100% security and 100% privacy and zero inconvenience.' And what is implied in this is that there can be privacy on the internet in particular. But we were talking the other day Jason and you said quite emphatically that the internet is such that anonymity is impossible. Truly if someone wanted to find you they could.

Jason: Absolutely.

Niall: Even before that by its very nature it's open. Can you expand a bit on how messages are, how these packets of information are sent from a to b?

Jason: If any of you guys have any input on this just jump in. You have to understand a couple of things about computers. First of all computers are not free. Everything takes two major things in computers, time and energy. You have to plug electricity into it and for anything the computer does takes time. That time is measured in nanoseconds. Really, really small, less than a microsecond, less than a millisecond, very small amounts of time. For everything it does it has to do those things billions of times so that starts to add up until you get into milliseconds and seconds. So it takes time to do everything for a computer. And you do it very fast on your computer but it takes time and it also takes energy. So to send information back and forth the computer has to split up things into very small increments and send them to another computer and it sends more than it should because packets can get lost and things can happen. And then the other computer has to reassemble all of those things. Look at the information and decide where does this go, what does it do and then send it back out along a gigantic chain. For every step that you have in that process it takes time. So if you have to send one packet but before you do it you have to encrypt it, that makes it slower because it has to do that millions and millions and billions of times. So that when you are sending information over the internet, it's easier and more robust for you not to bother to encrypt it so all information traffic on the internet, except in a couple of situations, is plain text. It's open.

Niall: Plain text, it can be read.

Jason: It can be read by anybody who can install a free software program called EtherApe for Linux and I wrote a packet sniffer for my own network in C# (programming language) once to see what was going on. All that stuff between computers is open, all of your FTP (File Transfer Protocol) passwords, email passwords that all goes out over the internet unless you are using SSL (Secure Socket Layer) but even then that is a very thin layer of security which the NSA most certainly can crack. It's not an uncrackable protocol, it's just more difficult to crack than most encryption methods. So when you think about the internet it is all open, it is all readable. Any system administrator sitting at your ISP (Internet Service Provider) has a computer and at any point can open up a program and he can look at anybody's account and view their traffic and reassemble those packets and do whatever he wants through the entire internet. We are not even talking about the NSA, we can do it in our house because it is the nature of the internet, it is all open. It's too much work to doubly or triply encrypt each and every packet and send it there and exchange the encryption keys and all that other stuff. It's so much work.

Niall: At some point encrypted data needs to be de-encrypted to be read by something else that needs to pass it on then?

Jason: That's its ultimate flaw.

Scott: But this is kind of the crux of the matter because all this stuff we are talking about and especially the fact that the internet is basically wide open, the internet has always been this way. Right now people are talking about all these things and they are saying it's metadata or it is this or that or you don't really have security and safety even if you are using SSL to connect to your email server, when your email server passes the message along to be delivered, it's not using SSL, it's not encrypted, it's plain text unless you are using something like PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) or some other encryption thing. This has always been the case and there has always been intelligence agencies including the NSA who have been, certainly in recent years perhaps they have developed new and interesting ways of extracting information from data, metadata to me that really doesn't matter, the fact is that for decades and decades and decades, probably hundreds of years, there have been institutions who have been basically spying on us. So why is everyone going crazy now about this? They all do it right?

Jason: Here is the kicker, people are stupid. The internet was designed to be an open way to share documents, basically an open way of sharing text. It never really occurred to the people who designed it 'what if we want to keep this private?' because the spirit at that time, especially when computers scientists, and even today, was this concept about Open Source, open everything, open protocols, making it easier for people to develop the technology and share information. That's what it was all about. So in cryptography it is antithetical to that whole spirit in a certain sense that we need to keep everything private and encrypted. They didn't think about it in that way so the internet and all the internet protocols were designed without that. With the explosion of the internet, cryptography became impracticable for the functioning of it because so many people liked it and so many people used it that all the infrastructure has a difficult time keeping up with the constant increase of new people coming online and new people want to connect to Facebook, new people want to email, new people want to do chat messages and stuff like that. And those services do use something called SSL to kind of sort of implement some sort of encryption and privacy and it does kind of work for the average person but it's not going to work for any government agency or any hacker who has a lot of time on his hands.

Scott: The way I was explained things like using SSL or if you are in a hotel room and you are using shared Wi-Fi (a popular technology that allows an electronic device to exchange data or connect to the internet wirelessly using radio waves) and there is a smart person that is in another hotel room on the same network as you, and you are logging into Facebook and it is not encrypted, they have your log in, they have your password, they have your Facebook account.

Jason: And this happens.

Scott: You use things like SSL and basic encryption to protect against those individuals who are basically 'script kiddies' (are unskilled individuals who use scripts or programs developed by others to attack computer systems and networks and deface websites) which is people who are sort of more annoying than threatening. Okay, they may steal your bank account information and then you can close your account and get refunded for fraudulent charges. It is an inconvenience but nothing bad happens. You can't actually really protect yourself very well against some intelligence agency that probably has some technology that's rather astounding by modern standards and that is determined to make you look like a bad guy.

Jason: Well here's the crux on that one - in order to have SSL all those companies register their certificates with VeriSign or my favorite one DigiSearch which is used by the Department of Homeland Security. You have to register that certificate and all these telecommunications companies are mandated to provide law enforcement with data. Don't you think that they are required to give them the certificate? They don't have to crack SSL at all. That's ridiculous. They just go to the company the certificate is registered to and say "give me the keys."

Scott: They may not be interested in exactly what you are saying. They may be interested in just the connection between you and someone else which they may be able to extract in some other way.

Jason: They already can because the headers of that message are in plain text because it has to be routed.

Scott: But again none of that is anything new and it's always been that way. So I keep coming back to the question why has this Edward Snowden come out and why this revelation about Verizon and why everyone is up in arms right now? Especially ever since 9/11, back then it was okay that everyone was being spied on and now it's not. Of course everyone knew they were being spied on back then. Now all of a sudden it's not acceptable. What about the timing of the event? Is there anything else going on at the time that we are not supposed to be looking at because we are obsessed about metadata and all this other nonsense?

Niall: Well, on that note, okay this guy Edward Snowden goes public and now he is supposed to be hiding somewhere like you can hide in China or anywhere for that matter.

Jason: Sure you can.

Niall: And not be seen or found or leave some kind of trace. So what is going on here? I think it is interesting that it's not really being said but it is always implied in the background, in fact Obama did say explicitly in the press conference he gave shortly after the story broke that this program, he is referring to the PRISM program, is what helps us to find terrorists. But that falls flat on its face because as our listeners will be aware the real terrorists invariably are state agencies who carry out false-flag attacks and manipulate people into believing this global war on terror and that all these security measures are necessary to protect you from the bad guys out there. We've got a caller now, do we Scotty?

Scott: We sure do.

Niall: Okay, let's take the call.

Scott: Hi caller, what's your name and where are you calling from?

Caller: My name is Joe (Quinn).

Jason: Hi Joe. Someone we don't know at all.

Niall: Welcome, you're on the air.

Scott: Welcome to SOTT Talk Radio.

Joe: This is my first time calling in.

(laughter)

Niall: What's your question or comment?

Joe: Well I was listening to your show and it's a great show actually and I think people need to know that basically nothing they say or do or write on the internet is private. If there is something that you morally wouldn't stand by or you wouldn't like people to know about you shouldn't be doing it on the internet. You do it privately. That seems like a no-brainer. On the other question, why now? You were just kind of touching on why this is coming out right now and what else is going on. First of all I think these things are released periodically. These exposures of how fascist the US government has become, the whole intelligence apparatus has become and it's just put out there really to test people's reactions in a way or to just kind of phase them into letting them know what they are doing. What are you going to do about it? Nothing, that's what I thought type of thing. It's getting people to accept that basically here is another step towards an overt police state or a fascist state. And when they accept it and don't do anything about it, no one complains or accepts it under some bullshit rational like its protection from terrorism etc. The next thing will be easier for them to accept. The more these fascistic type steps that people accept the easier it will be to continue down that line because I can't think of any other reason why this would be used at all really. As you guys have been saying this has been in the news for a long time.

Niall: It has surfaced time and time again.

Joe: Yeah, this is what the Patriot Act was about ten years ago.

Niall: Exactly.

Joe: Ten years ago nobody had a passing interest in that kind of stuff and the kind of legislation and laws that have been passed since 9/11. Folk knew this or know this if they have research of it, they knew that this kind of stuff was going on so big deal? Why make a big deal out of it? The only thing I can think of is that it is just to test the public reaction. Not even to test it because they know the public isn't going to react. They just want to kind of rub their faces in it. Have everybody bow their heads and say 'yes sir, no sir, whatever sir.' It's like a domination thing.

Jason: If I can add a comment to that it seems that what people are doing is that they are working very hard to deify the state because one of the main fears of Christians and one of the main things of Christianity was that God was all seeing and all knowing. He knew what you were saying in private and what you were thinking. And that's what people are basically saying about the government that they know everything and see everything and with Obama and his kill list and drone striking he can point his finger at anybody and kill them. As I was saying to you before in a conversation we had that basically that the United States government or even the presidential office has become this thunderbolt of Zeus striking down the unrighteous with his mighty predator drone thunderbolt and that they are basically deifying the government and saying look we know everything, we see everything and we can kill anyone anywhere, we can render anyone anywhere, we can do all this stuff.

Joe: There's an awful lot of people out there who hear that kind of stuff going on and they like it, they think it's cool, they think oh thank God there is somebody in control and in power, that whole authoritarian follower type thing. If you are an authoritarian follower you essentially like authority and you like someone to make decisions for you. There is no limit to the scope of an authority to control parts of your life and impose strictures and the people who like authority to make decisions for them will be happy enough with that.

Jason: I think that it is worse than that. I think that even the people who are not authoritarian followers are kind of like that. I was giving Niall at one point an analogy, imagine that you're sleeping in your bed and some masked men come in and put a hood over you and put you in the back of a truck. As it's driving down the road it turns off into this bumpy road and you feel it is getting bumpier and bumpier and then the truck starts to swerve and it gets worse and worse. And you're just sitting there with your handcuffs and your bag over your head in the back of this truck, you're not thinking about escape anymore. You're just hoping that thank God somebody is behind the wheel even if they're evil. At least tell me that someone is driving this crazy thing. And a lot of these people want so bad for there to be a grand conspiracy because at least then there's somebody in control and somebody has this grand master plan, some all-powerful, even if evil. There must be a God in heaven even if God is evil in a certain sense.

Joe: Yeah basically there has to be some authority in whatever flavor they need. I don't know if there is an argument to say that's been programmed that way or they have been slowly programmed to want that kind of authority. On this NSA wiretapping there has been an awful lot of Hollywood movies over the past 10, 15, maybe 20 years depicting this kind of NSA surveillance. Movies like Enemy of the State or Minority Report that were blockbuster movies. I think that movies help play a part in conditioning people to either accept things like wiretapping as normal or to make it so fictional, a break from reality type of thing that people won't really believe that kind of thing can happen. It's almost like they play with people's minds as to whether or not this is real. But then people read it now and they hear that it is real basically like in Enemy of the State where they have these cameras and they can call you and stuff. But that is all pretty much real that they have access to all of your emails, phone calls, etc.

Niall: They announced not long after the story broke that some poll in the US found the majority of people were supportive of mass surveillance and thought that Snowden was a traitor. Whether or not that is a true reflection of opinion you can see that is the impression they would like to broadcast, social proof that we are all behind this.

Joe: It's almost like a fake kind of argument or a phony discussion because personally, that is just my opinion but I don't see why anyone else would have a problem with it either in this day and age, I don't care if the government, any government checks my emails and listens to my phone calls. They are very welcome to it. I try to say as much as I can about what I think as publicly as I can anyway like on Facebook. So in terms of being a threat to the state, I don't care I'm on Facebook. And secondly the other thing then is my personal life, my private correspondence with family members or friends. There's not an awful lot in there that really would be much interest to, well I hope it wouldn't be much interest to people in the NSA. It would be a pretty sad individual getting off and reading my private emails catching up with my dad or my mom.

Michael: It's true when you spread truth for example that's one of the things that actually benefits from being shared with and listened in on.

Joe: Yes, exactly. So for the average person in America who's hiding what? Anybody who is doing something that they don't want the government or the NSA to know about they shouldn't be doing it on the internet. I can't think of anything you wouldn't want the government to know in the sense that they could prosecute you for it. What else is there that you should be afraid of? It's on a principle thing, I don't want the NSA to know I'm having a falling out with my mom and that we are having harsh exchange of words over email.

Michael: They are not interested in that.

Joe: What are they interested in?

Scott: Like you were saying that you don't really mind if they are reading your emails because you are saying the same thing in emails as you are saying on Facebook and I think for most people that's not the case. I think for a lot of people they feel a certain way and they see that their government is doing something and they really don't agree with it and they will say it in the privacy of their own home but they are scared to death to say it in public. And I think it would be a very interesting exercise if everyone who actually felt this way did actually start speaking up and post on their Facebook page and post it on Twitter.

Joe: There's nothing to lose now right?

Scott: Exactly, what are they going to do when they discover that the majority of the population ...

Jason: Denial of intelligence, like a denial of service attack.

Scott: And of course if everybody is saying it. One of my friends the other day was saying that he was speaking to some French people and they start chatting. The guy owns a business with 30 people which provides jobs for himself and those 30 people and he says the government instituted these laws with a bunch of regulations which meant he had to spend half a million Euros or close his business. So he closed his business and laid off all his workers. Now he is an independent craftsman. People won't go out and publicly say anything. They just keep it to themselves and kind of mention it if they meet with a collinear soul, someone with a similar viewpoint then they share it but otherwise they're just scared to death to say anything about it.

Joe: Yeah but they shouldn't be really.

Niall: I think part of the problem is that most people have some kind of skeleton in their closet.

Joe: Like what?

Niall: They've been to websites they know they shouldn't have been for example and they were beating off at two in the morning while the misses was upstairs.

Joe: That would actually be blackmail then.

Niall: Exactly.

Jason: That's what they are kind of doing to a large part of the population because there might be people who are homosexual and have been on homosexual porn sites and they just want people to know about it. Okay, that's fine, it's a right. So that is in a certain sense part of what is happening in the press right now with the NSA is an emotional blackmail against certain types of people.

Michael: But Joe asks what are they interested in and I think it is like a social graph as I mentioned earlier to see who is connected with whom because they also want to see and study but they do it with technology.

Scott: What if everybody spoke their mind and everyone is connected to everyone else, what the hell would they do then?

Michael: Exactly.

Scott: Nothing, oh well that was useless.

Niall: So what you guys seem to be saying is this is basically a bluff?

Jason: Yeah, kind of but they might do it.

Joe: It kind of sounds like it to me. Apart from the few things that you can think of that someone would feel that they might be blackmailed there's a lot of people who might have been on such websites or whatever and might fear that the NSA will send an email and say if you don't stop posting anti-government messages on Facebook we are going to send details of your internet activity to your significant other.

Jason: Which is not realistic fear because if they ever played that card that would be a fear victory because if they play that card and the other person wouldn't be destroyed then now where are you?

Joe: Exactly so I am really struggling with, from the NSA's point of view, what they can achieve apart from the idea of a psychological ploy to some people who might have something to hide but other than that. The main thing might be what Michael was saying that it's a dingbat look at the way people are organizing and thinking. I don't need exabytes of data to get a good idea of what people are thinking in the world today and I don't think the governments really have the time.

Jason: Just read the SOTT page.

Niall: That's something we are going to get into. What is an intelligence agency? So they gather intelligence, well what is intelligence? They want to see, they want to know, they want knowledge I guess. They want to have as much information about how the world works, how it is. I guess they believe that they are after an objective view of the world with which to then ...

Jason: Knowledge is power.

Niall: ... knowledge is power but I'm looking at our operation SOTT.net, that's basically what we do and we analyze it. We don't need exabytes. It gets to the point if you have an objective foundation on the basis of knowledge, you can open the mainstream paper the next day, scan it and just get the gist and you already have a more objective overview of what is going on out there than all the analysts, all the supercomputers that the NSA has put together.

Joe: I can see how this kind of thing can be justified by the whole "War on Terror" and preventing terrorist attacks by eavesdropping on terrorists. I can see that at a certain level that the infrastructure for that would be put in place by all the people who man that infrastructure and all the money that is thrown at it from Congress and stuff.

Niall: That would be the rationale given to the authoritarian.

Joe: People will buy into it and people would work in it and they would basically put that in place and have that whole infrastructure. It's ridiculous when you realize the truth about the "War on Terror." But from their point of view they may get a bit paranoid and they start to think well how many terrorists are there? It's not just foreigners, it's not just Muslims anymore, but could be anybody. So you let your imagination wander a little bit in the position of these people you can see how they would eventually extend it to anybody. To really be sure we need to cover everybody so let's start collecting data from everybody. I'm pretty sure also that there are people above and beyond that who realize that's all bullshit. They understand the truth of "War on Terror" that there is no real terror threat. So maybe just putting this infrastructure in place and maybe this whole NSA and CIA and all of the people who populate it, it's an end in itself. It's not a means to an end. Just having that structure in place and having stories like this come out, they all just support the idea of the "War on Terror." So it's just part of the propaganda really and all that data really is useless, ultimately useless to anybody. There is no grand conspiracy behind it. There is no ultimate goal why the real secret government needs all this data. They don't need it. It's pointless. There really isn't any real threat from people. Certainly they don't think there is any threat they will be able to analyze by gathering everybody's emails and phone calls. I think if there is a threat to the government it's a revolution. I think a revolution can happen spontaneously rather than be a long plot.
There was just one other thing I wanted to say about this Snowden guy, it's just bullshit. He's mirroring Julian Assange and the whole Wikileaks thing. And the whole thing is it's very similar to the whole Wikileaks thing in a way because of course Assange came out and said that Snowden was a hero. The same thing was said about Wikileaks, all the stuff Wikileaks produced had been in the press for several years before. In fact much worse details about the war crimes etc. throughout the US military. That was all in the press - much worse evidence for those things were in the normal media press many years beforehand. Then suddenly Wikileaks comes out with an aura of hidden super-secret information. Just look at the information and it's not an expose. So this guy Snowden is saying he became basically the NSA and recording all your phone calls and emails, whoop-de-do. That's what the Patriot Act is supposed to do ten years ago.

Niall: Exactly. Well I'm getting deja vu in so many ways from this story. So you mentioned the NSA wiretapping scandal that came out in 2006. Originally that came out because of the whistle blower that Jason mentioned earlier, William Binney, who has been with the NSA for forty years unlike Snowden who was with them for not three or four months as a subcontractor. The New York Times sat on this for a year. It was eventually released in 2006 and you have the illegal wiretapping scandal called Stellar Wind, code name for information collection activities performed by the NSA. Actually it was another whistle blower Thomas Tamm.

Jason: Wow the most secret agency in the entire world.

Niall: I've got a list of seven whistle-blowers in the NSA.

Jason: They're hemorrhaging information.

Niall: The operation was approved by Bush on the 4th of October 2001. Now what I found interesting was that the first we are hearing of this PRISM operation was this court order for Verizon to hand over data. That was issued on April 25th. And April 25th is ten days after the Boston bombings and the Stellar Wind was initiated, at least on paper, less than a month after 9/11. So you've got this scandal so to speak following on the heels of the only two actual terrorist attacks in the United States. There does seem to be a pattern here.

Joe: Yeah. So you are asking what's going on now that they would release this to distract the population, people actually feeling positive about the All Seeing Eye, if I can use that term, feeling confident by that. And that kind of offsets any exposure or any negative press the government gets from other stories that are going on at the same time. The one that springs to mind is the ongoing story that Obama officially is going to arm the Syrian rebels who are potentially Al Qaida and who are a bunch of cut throats. They cut hearts and internal organs of their enemies and eat them. That's the kind of people that Obama is supporting.

Jason: That the government has never done that before: Iran Contra!

Joe: I don't know if that is something they would want to distract from because really at this point I think that people don't care about anything that's going on. I can't imagine what would have to happen for anybody to get worked up about anything going on in the world. Obama could do something religious like spit on the cross or burn the American flag maybe, something along those lines so people might get a bit annoyed.

Jason: Or if he had oral sex in the oval office. They might impeach him then. Not if he is killing people and has the right to kill people without a trial, nobody cares about that, but if he got a blow job, get him out of there.

Joe: Yeah, or if he desecrated the American flag, if he wipes his bum with the American flag people might have a revolution.

Jason: A la Larry Flint

Joe: I think he would be careful not to do that.

Niall: Speaking of revolutions, I got an alert in my inbox when this story broke and I started reading it and then I just moved on because to me it was oh whatever old news. But then I started paying attention when I was on Facebook and I was seeing all these comments of people getting worked up about it. Okay, what's going on here? They're talking about revolution tomorrow and get 'em. It was definitely a marked anger. Is it really anger? Are they really that shocked? Like you mentioned Joe they have been fed this programming through movies for the past 10+ years.

Joe: Here's an idea that is kind of a reverse psychology in a way or it's actually a means to an end in the sense that they put out this kind of claim that they have been recording everybody's email and telephone calls and they really haven't but they just say that they have so they can see who gets worked up about it and then they can start recording their telephone calls. It's bait basically.

Niall: The ultimate honey trap. Speaking of honey traps, Edward Snowden and his girlfriend, that is just too weird. Here you have this guy who supposedly left behind his fiancé in Hawaii who is a pole dancer.

Jason: Was she a stripper or a pole dancer?

Niall: I believe the term was pole dancer because she was a former ballerina.

Jason: So she just danced around a pole with her clothes on?

Niall: Well just a couple of clothes, not much. So it adds sort of this sexy element to this thing.

Jason: But she is a military brat though isn't she? It's so convenient she is the daughter of some ...

Niall: I'm not sure about that. The impression that we are meant to get is that he left her to stand for a higher truth, doing the honorable thing.

Jason: Left money and a comfortable life and all that stuff.

Niall: Yet they were renting a house in Hawaii which they left on May 6th exactly one month before this release and I'm just thinking, hang on a minute; this is just a story to accompany it and flesh it out.

Jason: It's like a really cheesy Hollywood movie.

Niall: It's cheesy.

Joe: They should make another Bourne movie about Edward Snowden; Matt Damon as Jason Bourne as Edward Snowden.

Niall: This actually goes back to January. Have you seen the interview he gives with The Guardian that was posted on or about the 5th? It was professionally made by an Academy Award nominated documentary film maker called Laura Poitras. She then gave an interview to Salon.com.

Jason: Which is where Greenwald used to work.

Niall: Which is where Glen Greenwald used to work. In January she said she was contacted by Edward Snowden but she didn't know him at the time. I've got to read out some of this interview she gave about how the story came about because it's like fool me once shame on you.
"So how did this all begin?
I was originally contacted in January, anonymously.
By Edward Snowden?
Well, I didn't know who it was.
What was the format?
Via email. It said, I want to get your encryption key and let's get on a secure channel.
And he didn't say what it was about?
He just said - that was the first, and the second was, I have some information in the intelligence community, and it won't be a waste of your time.
Do you get a lot of those kinds of requests?
No, I don't.
Did you immediately know what was the best, most secure protocol to go about it?
I actually did. I have a lot of experience because I've been working with - as you note in your thing, I've done filming with WikiLeaks, I know Jacob Appelbaum. I already had encryption keys but what he was asking for was beyond what I was using in terms of security and anonymity.
How did it proceed from there?
So that's where I'm not going into a lot of details, but sort of ongoing correspondence. I didn't know, I didn't have any biographical details or where he worked, had no idea. He made claims and said he had documentation. At that point it was all completely theoretical, but I had a feeling it was legit.
Why do you think he contacted you? Were you the first person he contacted?
I can't speak for him. Glenn and I just touched base about, what was your story, because we connected later in the spring. He, I think, got an email in February. But I didn't know he'd gotten an email."

Niall: The point I'm trying to make here is that there is open email correspondence going back six months and we are supposed to believe this cropped up on a call with the NSA with their pants down.

Scott: As we noted earlier about encryption it is not fail safe. So their explanation of talking for six months was that it was encrypted and so that's why the NSA didn't know.

Michael: Aside from that you don't have to send encryption keys manually. It is usually negotiated automatically so they don't seem to have a lot of knowledge about encryption.

Joe: If people think about it the NSA has been tapping phones and emails for years and you would assume that apart from the words terrorism, bombs, Whitehouse, kill, president those kinds of words, that the system would flag would be all of their employees including contractors. They would be watching all of their emails if they had any sense at all. And also any kind of words coming from those people contacting people like the woman you just mentioned, even the Glen Greenwald meme 'I have information,' surely it's going to pick up on that kind of stuff if the system is worth its salt. They have thrown all this money at it surely they will have a decent system. But apparently they missed this guy. So everybody can rest easy because the NSA's super-secret snooping system isn't worth a shit so don't worry about it. So it's all bullshit really.

Niall: Guess what Obama was doing, or was scheduled to do, on the 7th and 8th the day after this breaks? He was on his way to China to meet his counterpart the Chinese president for round table discussions on China's espionage, namely all the spying that the Americans have accused the Chinese of doing on their systems. Then this breaks and it's all about how the NSA is spying on everyone so I thought that was interesting as well. In a way it does seem that something came from outside to catch the White House with its' pants down. But then on the other hand it is really weird, The Guardian makes it very explicit that they contacted the White House itself, the NSA, the Department of Justice and I think the Department of Defense the day before they were going to publish this first breaking story and offered them the right of reply either within the article and/or if there was any sensitive information in the article they were going to publish would they like to withdraw it for reasons of national security. They were given twenty four hours to do it. I don't know if they responded but they were handed this story on a platter.

Jason: This is basically the case of the dog that didn't bark. They knew about it before hand because they didn't do anything, they could have stopped it. The Guardian is infamous for basically being the lap dog of the intelligence agencies and probably sent an email unencrypted so the NSA didn't have to decrypt the email sent to it. So the NSA knowing about it and not doing anything makes me very suspicious of the entire situation that basically a piece of evidence that I think brings the entire official story crumbling to the ground so obviously something else is going on because the dog didn't bark in a certain sense.

Joe: Yeah when you look at it from a broad perspective what the effect of this story is it's not really going to damage the government. It's making a lot of people especially in the US and maybe elsewhere feel even a little bit more secure so people are just ignoring it basically. So I am struggling with what the point of it was other than sending a message to some people maybe that this is what the NSA can do and just repeating it in case you missed it in the Patriot Act and by the way we are going to assume the right to read all of your emails and all of your telephone conversations and there's not much you can do about it. They are happy to put that out there.

Jason: This is the scene from The Wizard of Oz, I am the great and powerful Oz. Fear me and tremble and of course they won't look behind the curtain.

Joe: I think what you were saying earlier,Jason, basically that they are trying to project an aura of power and control and a lot of people like that.

Niall: I wonder if they haven't already got this kind of system in place that isn't even named. They probably have technology that goes beyond what they've actually discussed. The reason I am going this way is because I think the real value is something that Michael touched on earlier that they can home in on one person and blackmail them. They have done that in the past, that guy Spitzer comes to mind. The more general function and the reason they throw trillions of dollars at it is because they can get an overview and extract visually what the mass mind is doing. Is it leaning this way now or is it going that way? Okay we are going to need to insert something at point here and see if it can rein them back in a bit. Okay over here there is too much chatter about the strange weather, we're going to need to do something here.

Joe: That's a good point.

Niall: If you look at what happened recently that they don't want us to know about well it's in your face. May I think was the coldest month in the northern hemisphere for two hundred years.

Scott: The eighty gagillion tornadoes including in places where tornadoes usually never form.

Niall: Exactly. The world is coming apart it seems and I think they are offering a service to those that are afraid, namely the authoritarian follower types, we've got your back.

Joe: Getting back to the thing you were saying, maybe it's an extended version of what Clif High from Half Past Human does; data mining and looking for trends on the internet and what people are talking about across websites and forums etc. but if you can imagine that if you saw some value in that you can add actual speech on the telephone and emails and throw all of that in together and have some kind of a program that can do the same type of thing and give you an idea like you were saying of what people are talking about, what they are thinking about in the mass consciousness and then using that to put things in place to distract from it or to downplay it or to negate any sense of awareness among the people about the important things like what is going on in the planet, the weather, etc. and meteorites.

Niall: They freely admitted that they have thousands of specialists behind keyboards ready at the drop of a hat to get out there on the social networks and rein people back in.

Joe: Yeah but if they are doing that type of thing then maybe that is what it is really used for. Like we are saying, seriously, recording Betty Ann chat with her best friend about their local Salvation Army dude?

Niall: There is so much bullshit going on about this. I was watching FOX news and they had a specialist, an expert on with a great quote from them - they can quite literally watch your ideas form as you type. Google does that as you are typing your search terms and sort of predicts where you going with it. But the idea is planted that they know what you are thinking and the effect this has on people is that they will self-condition themselves into behaving as they think the authority wants them to. There is no actual need to send out directives and orders and laws and physically direct how people should behave.

Joe: Much more effective to imprison people. They are essentially their own jailors in that sense. Anyway I should head off here. I've got some foreign corresponding to do here for somebody else.

Jason: Alright, we'll talk to you later.

Niall: Thanks for calling Joe.

Joe: Alright guys, take it easy.

Jason: I wanted to touch on something - the last thing he said was the prison for your mind which is of course from The Matrix and that leads to a kind of interesting theory that I have. I don't know if it's the truth but it's just an idea. In the movie The Matrix you realize that there were two matrixes; there was the one of the world in the 90's and then there was the second matrix which was for all the people who were battling 'the Matrix." Both were created by the machines and one was to house all the people who rejected the first type of reality and then they could go into the other one which was harsh and everything and is what they thought everyone should be in with freedom fighters and all this stuff. What if in a certain sense what they are creating when they put up these people like Julian Assange and now Edward Snowden is they're creating charismatic personalities that people can latch on to and join the Julian Assange camp and the Edward Snowden camp or whatever and that just basically helps give their lives purpose where resisting the great imperial machine and all that stuff where it's just basically a second matrix. And of course in The Matrix some in the council of elders were actually in a certain sense aware that they were in another matrix and that they could escape. They've been talked to and explained the nature of things which is that they are not going to get out.

Niall: Yeah and as I remember it Morpheus was very reluctant to go there because he really believed that this was their mission and he had to break down in order to realize that he was wrong. That reminds me of right now. People are protesting in Hong Kong claiming Edward Snowden is a hero and the agitation is building in his defense. In a way people should be. It also reminds me of George Orwell's book where there were protests that were organized, the Emanuel Goldstein movement which was setup as a kind of big honey trap. And part of that people were out on the streets and protesting the system and of course in the end everyone knows where the story ends that it was a ploy to get people to reveal themselves. More to the point though it's not so much that we should be afraid to speak our mind and show who we really are but that battling the matrix in this manner is futile. It's pointless.

Michael: And as a side note, Orwell's book 1984 has gone up 7,000% on Amazon in sales. From the articles I read 3,000 and up to 7,000% sales increase due to this recent NSA issue.

Niall: I'm not sure what to make of that. Are people suddenly getting it?

Jason: I think there are a lot more people who are getting it than we give them credit for. I think there are a lot of people who do get it on some level.

Scott: Looks like we have a call here.

Niall: Let's take it.

Scott: Hey caller what's your name and where are you calling from?

Caller: Hi, this is Rich calling from England.

Everyone: Hi Rich.

Rich: Hello guys, how are you doing?

Jason: Well we are still alive.

Niall: What's your question or comment?

Rich: Well, loving the show, also a fascinating topic. I like the fast route you're going down when things are coming up. Just whether they really can do that whether they are just trying to pretend that they can and they are the all seeing eye and everyone should be scared and to shut up, sort of like trying to create a fear amongst everybody. It's fascinating.

Niall: It strikes me as psychological operations again. They take various forms but they all have the same strategy behind them to get you to believe something that is not true. It's kind of a catch twenty two, here on SOTT.net we've been talking about the global police state coming together piece by piece this year is global. At the same time though what can we do to stop you? It ultimately relies on the control of information. They can't control it as Jason explained the internet by its nature is open. They're relying on you to accept that they are all knowing to some extent. It's like they are playing the role of God or something.

Michael: It is also a scare tactic to scare people away from sharing information.

Jason: The thing is the internet could really save humanity in a certain sense if people took that idea of complete openness to heart and stop trying to be the way that they are and just went into the flow. The quickest way or the best way out of this particular problem that we are in now is actually through it. Instead of trying to hide yourself actually come out into the open even if you have a different opinion we reach a consensus as a race of all humanity and the internet provides that opportunity. But there is something that Leonardo da Vinci once said which is something along the lines of, I'm paraphrasing here, its' easier to stop at the beginning than it is at the end. And in this case right now with what is going on in the American government, what's going on with all of the world's governments, it is easier to set up the defense against it now than it will be later. If now we look at this and see they are violating our privacy and so we try to hide more by encrypting our traffic, we end up in a situation where we are no longer able to speak out and speaking out will actually be worse. But if today, right now you start openly declaring your dislike and distaste for this inhumane treatment, right to privacy is a fundamental human right despite the fact they say we are just doing it to foreigners it is still violating the rights of foreign nationals and how can anybody not be outraged by this idea, it is not acceptable to do this to anyone period and the fact that they have the capability doesn't mean that they should, and start saying things on Facebook and such without caring about the consequences. You give the government power by trying to hide. You give them the power to ultimately do what the book 1984 talks about. The people in the book 1984, when you think about it, got themselves in the position by thinking they could hide but later on the controls became so pervasive and so ubiquitous that they could do nothing against it. It was all pretty much a trap.

Michael: So in my opinion there is a huge chance in our time and we should not lose it.

Jason: We should double the traffic on the internet instantaneously by just posting an extra comment everyday about how we don't agree with the NSA doing what they do and that we don't agree with these particular laws. Just imagine the increase in traffic if everybody on the internet started going to blogs and posting comments. The NSA's ability to listen and store would all of a sudden be horrifying. I think the people should just be open.

Rich: It's interesting because when I first saw the story breaking I found it actually to be very empowering in terms of hey there's this guy who supposedly is deep in the belly of the beast and he is courageously standing out and going very public. So I don't know the validity of that but my own personal thought was here you have a guy who is not afraid of endangering his life and is happy to speak out in his position, then why doesn't everybody speak in public and speak out? So that was the impact on myself, to become more outspoken and actually found it to be empowering in that regard. So far as the angle and the questions over the validity of Snowden are confusing in that regard, it encourages the other reaction to close off and start using alternative systems to communicate with more encryption and hunker down and that actually makes people easier to target really if you're doing something suspicious then you're going to be using these programs that are even easier to track because they are easier to pick up I would guess.

Jason: Right, you are just going to draw attention to yourself. Like this Snowden guy is promoting TOR (an acronym for The Onion Router, no longer used) and TOR is a Naval Intelligence technology. That's like letting the fox guard the chicken coup. It's like I want to hide from the government so let me use a government created technology to do so. It's totally ridiculous. It's the fox guarding the chicken house when it comes to TOR.

Niall: Maybe we should just invent new words all the time and just totally screw up the data mining.

Rich: Put in miscellaneous characters in everything I wrote but then just talking garbage.

Niall: There's another angle on this; let's say for a moment this guy Snowden is sincere, we have no reason to believe he isn't, he may have been manipulated into doing this in some way or he is ultimately serving someone else's purpose, I would say to you keep the hope because it is on the face of it a good thing even if there is some nefarious reason for it. The thing with the plotting and scheming that goes on is that it backfires all the time. I'm sure you're aware of the Arab Spring Revolutions in the Middle East, the latest in Turkey, when Egypt exploded in 2011I think it really did catch them by surprise. It wasn't long before it was managed well enough that the status quo was returned and Egypt remains a client regime of the United States. The danger of this game they are playing, if there is a game, is that they think they can manage a controlled burn. We will stimulate the protests against us that will actually be our own creation therefore we will be able to manage any real mass outbreak of revolution that arises. They're playing a really dangerous game there. I actually would not condemn people, who get agitated enough to not get up in arms literally but to channel that anger into speaking the truth, speaking your mind. I think if it gives hope and actually moves things along and creates a momentum then I'm all for it.

Scott: I think it was interesting what you were saying about how initially it gave you hope. I think that is a very good thing whether or not that was actually intended because maybe this whole thing is supposed to be a distraction from something else. Maybe it is more as Joe said kind of the same old same old. And if that is the case the reaction of having hope is actually quite good but to me the most important thing then is like we were talking about earlier if everybody got out there and stopped being afraid or stop being apathetic it continues. If this whole scandal goes away and everyone thinks okay everything is fine and we can go back to living our lives and everything is normal and they stop paying attention to what is going on then temporarily it is a good thing but it's not lasting.

Jason: I do have something to say on that. I'm not going to read from a book but I have a book here called Fear of Freedom by Carlo Levy and he is talking about governments who set themselves up as God or some godlike entity that is all powerful and he has a little section here where he talks about rebellion and revolt against them and how they can never succeed as long as the intention of the people is to hate them and not the altar that they are being sacrificed on. So the hate thing is like what the NSA is doing is terrible but they don't recognize that the altar is the problem, the "state religion." He uses that terminology like what we see in America, this almost deifying of the state as being all powerful and the president can just kill people. They fail and fall because they try to supersede the government in power. They try to replace the government with revolts and place themselves in that position. As long as you work within the framework of what you are made to believe about the necessity of the whole system, the necessity of the paranoia, the necessity of spying on people, the schizoid psychopathic thinking, the paranoia about everyone, this misanthropic idea about the intentions of others, as long as you subscribe to that even though you are trying to say the NSA are the bad ones here and we are going to revolt against them, you are just going to maintain the problem and you will never succeed. So for people who are going out saying what am I going out and rebelling against in this world, what am I really not liking, the things you should not like are the murders, the violence, the intrusion of privacy, the removing of human dignity, the torture, the idea of punishing people for being wrong or against your ideas. So when that kind of stuff happens, people should stop for a minute and think about what they really want and to remember that you are going to have to live with these people after you win. If you are a revolutionary your hope is to win right? What are you going to do kill everybody? No of course you're not. You have to live with them. These people are going to be your neighbors; these people are going to be fellow citizens. So if you go with this idea that you are going to punish or subjugate or win and be right above these people, you are going to have to live with them after the fact or kill them. A violent revolution is never going to be the answer. It will always fail, even if you win it will fail ultimately because all you will do is create a large area of the population that feels subjugated and dominated by you.

Scott: That's why I like our Facebook revolution, can we call it that? Well, it's dangerous to use the word revolution.

Niall: But critics say Facebook is the creation of the CIA and while it might well be the whole internet is the creation of DARPA, the Department of Defense.

Scott: It can be a wonderful tool if you use it that way.

Jason: Well the underlying protocols of the internet, the communication protocols are somewhat military technology that is true with ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) and things like that. But the internet as a concept is actually an academic creation, it's not a military creation. It's the idea of sharing documents in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language ) and browsers.

Niall: OK we've got another caller Rich so we're going to let you go. Thanks for calling in.

Rich: That's cool. Cheers.

Scott: Alright, let's take the next call. Hi caller what's your name?

Caller: Joe.

Jason: Hey Joe.

Joe: I presume you guys were against the NSA taking a look at the metadata right?

Niall: No, we are against anyone who encroaches on the privacy of another.

Joe: So that wouldn't include the NSA looking at the metadata?

Jason: Yeah it does. Certainly any violation of privacy is a violation of a human right, period. That's just my opinion.

Joe: Alright. So what was it that they had done which has raised your ire?

Jason: I don't have any ire.

Niall: No ire but we noticed that it raised the ire of a lot of other people. You can't really irate us about something that we've been aware of for ten years or more. Go ahead, what is your question?

Joe: Okay so you're not for the NSA doing this but it hasn't really irritated you?

Jason: No because they are an intelligence agency. It's been their mandate since 1954 and before that with the SIS (Signals Intelligence Service) and before that the black chamber and before that even the English crown opening mail coming across the ships. This is just something they have been doing for a very, very long time. Of course I don't think it is appropriate. I don't think that is good but that is just my personal belief.

Joe: Okay, why would you think that it is not good? Do you think that the NSA shouldn't do this even though they are saying they are doing this to protect us by taking a look at [our data].

Jason: I never asked them to protect me. And I don't want them to. I don't want their protection. I'd rather get blown up by a terrorist than having their protection. I could get hit by a car, are they going to protect me from that? I could die from an allergic reaction to a drug that got pushed through the FDA too quickly. I could die from that too. Are they going to protect me from everything in the world, from disease, from genetic frailty or any of these things? They can't guaranty my protection. They didn't guaranty the protection of the people in the Boston bombings. They didn't guaranty the protection of the people in those buildings on 9/11. So either they're incompetent or impotent or they're making a promise that they can't deliver on.

Scott: It's the whole Obama thing if you want 100% security you have to give up some privacy.

Jason: No, I would rather have my privacy.

Niall: The implication being he is in the position to give you 100% security.

Jason: And they're not.

Joe: So is your philosophical obstinance based upon their incompetence or based upon the fact that they're doing it?

Jason: Neither. My "philosophical obstinance" as you put it and my obtuseness is based on the fact that I believe privacy is fundamentally a human right. I think that the development of the individual necessitates the ability to have a private internal world in order to work things out. And I believe people have that human right. And they are violating it.

Joe: Alright so you believe the NSA violated it and you believe that because they violated it and you have a right to privacy that that by itself means that the NSA is doing something morally wrong or is incompetent or both?

Jason: Well no I'm not necessarily saying that. I'm just saying that, well we are covering a whole lot of premises here so hold on a second.

Scott: So what do you think of the NSA and the whole thing?

Jason: Yeah, what do you think? It's more about what you think than what I think.

Joe: Well I'm going to try and work hard to come up with obtuse answers like you guys.

Jason: Well that's good. It's a good practice for the mind.

Scott: We have a radio show and you called in so share your opinion.

Jason: It's your podium, it's your soapbox. Go for it.

Joe: Alright. I don't think that the NSA is doing us any good. I think that they are operating on a false premise. I think they're dishonest. So I don't like the fact that they are doing it. I think that they are lying to us. But that begs the question; suppose we really did have real terrorists, I don't think we're under any type of a real terrorist threat, but suppose we were, would the NSA be justified in doing what they are doing?

Jason: No.

Joe: You wouldn't?

Niall: It's a faulty premise. There are no "real terrorists."

Jason: No, it isn't a faulty premise. He has established that the world, we're going to slice up the world for one second and say what if there are. Pretend that there are for a minute is it okay then right?

Joe: That's what I said.

Jason: Under that condition, is what they are doing okay?

Niall: Is he asking me?

Jason: Yeah, he's asking you too. He's asking all of us here.

Michael: Well the problem is to analyze the data, as we discussed in the beginning of the show, which would be a very difficult task. They could isolate the person and maybe another person sees it and makes a connection with and maybe they could act on this information.

Jason: If we accept the world as they have presented it, if you stop for a minute and accept everything that they have presented about the world, all the Muslim terrorists and this other stuff, you accept that all this being the truth then you have to make this decision of, in those instances would what they do be correct? And my answer is absolutely not! It is still not okay. That's my answer.

Joe: Alright.

Niall: Actually their answer, the FBI is on record saying that mass surveillance has had a success rate of zero. All of the so called terrorists that were revealed to be terrorists in these foiled FBI terror plots were entrapped by regular investigative detective means. Mass surveillance had no results for them.

Jason: If we erase the conspiracy aspect, in the official story they have admitted that almost all of the terrorist plots that they have foiled have actually come from information from normal investigative methods, informants and tip offs. Not from the electronic surveillance that the NSA is doing. So even the official story from the British government and even parts of the US government is this whole surveillance thing actually hasn't contributed and it's all been tip offs and informants.

Joe: That's why his whole premise was off. But the thing is with electronic surveillance if we had bombings, real bombings in L.A. or in Detroit or in New York that were actually caused by terrorists with small nukes, do you think this type of surveillance that the NSA is doing and proposing would be justified if we actually did have an attack that was a very bad attack or even a series of bad attacks?

Jason: We've gotten into this restricted moral question.

Joe: Well hypothetical leads to real situations so I'm giving you a hypothetical.

Niall: Well that real situation has never arisen.

Joe: It's a hypothetical which people ought to explore.

Niall: It's the kind of hypothetical that is born from the paranoia that is spread throughout the population.

Joe: In other words you don't want to answer because it might justify what the NSA might be doing.

Jason: I'm going to answer it because I have thought about this question and at one point I gave a lot of thought to this. And I said if the world is this bad, I would do what is necessary but I would expect to be hated for it and that I should be. I would say that my moral comfort is not a sufficient price to pay for so many losses. That is true in that case I would. But I would not expect to be liked for doing it and I would hope that people would have the wherewithal to realize that what I have done was morally wrong but pragmatically necessary in the moment. If there really was a bomb of that sort of caliber in Los Angeles and somebody had a nuclear weapon and they blew it up, I would say yes at this point it is correct to go to the ends of the Earth to stop it from happening again but at what point if that is the image presented about the world and if that's the truth about the image?

Joe: Well that is the image that is presented by the world's core reality. Our nations are bombing, nations are having their own CIA, their own secret services.

Jason: Actually when was the last nation bombed by a nuclear weapon?

Joe: Bombed by a nuclear weapon? It might have been Nagasaki.

Jason: Yeah, they created it and then they never used that again. And this whole suitcase bomb thing is a farce. Put in moral situations, yes anybody would do those things. And they are manufacturing the situation in order to validate themselves to do it.

Joe: That's why I brought on the hypothetical, in case it was actual. In case we had the Jericho Effect, in case we had three cities that were bombed by dirty nukes that were actually proven to have been done by terrorist nations what would happen? Now your answer that you would accept the NSA taking a look at our particular records, now would you impose any conditions on that?

Scott: Hang on a minute. I don't think I would answer it that way. I would answer that no it is not okay for the simple reason that let's assume it is 1945 and there's some massive weapon and they had intelligence but they didn't have the ability to gather all the data like they do today, so basically the question is would I allow the government to invade my privacy in a totally crazy way when as Niall pointed out with the FBI that most of the tips and leads were done by normal investigations?

Joe: Again that was done under a false premise relative to electronic surveillance.

Jason: I get what he is saying. The thing is what you've done is kind of like unfair in a certain sense because giving complete ...

Joe: It is a loaded question, a hypothetical in which it might happen. So I'm just asking a hypothetical question.

Scott: But the question the government wants us all to ask ourselves so we will cower in fear.

Joe: Then you bring in the other situation in that we don't have a real war on terror so that's why I'm bringing it as I have already stated three or four times, a hypothetical in order to see what the mindsets would be.

Jason: This is a common rhetorical trap basically because giving complete control of the reality in a logical question you can control what a person will answer because if they answer incorrectly they are seen as horrible. If we paint a false situation basically like Jimmy Carr does at the end of his show he stops, he is a really filthy comic but he is interesting psychologically because he is totally psycho, he does the same kind of thing which is he puts a moral question ...

Joe: Alright you don't like the question and it makes you kind of (psych?). Here are my particular thoughts on it since you want to give me the floor, here's the thing, suppose we did have these three bombs and again the terrorists were real for whatever particular reason, they may have been megalomaniacs or they may have thought that they were responding in kind to America's imperialism, whatever their particular motivation is it happened. So would the NSA be right in doing this? I would say yes under certain conditions. One of those conditions is that if they did find out information about all Americans because everybody has something to hide, not because it is legally wrong, not because it is morally wrong because it is our right to privacy, so the NSA took a look at certain records and they went beyond the metadata, which I think they are doing now, and they found conversations which are embarrassing to millions of people, whatever is found out that is not part of the investigative process within the context of terrorism is null and void no matter what it is. Now would anyone be satisfied with that?

Jason: You can go some places with that but let's just say we are satisfied with this one. We have another caller. We appreciate you calling because you have called in before and are always challenging us.

Niall: Joe from Montana thanks for your call. We have another caller on the line.

Jason: We look forward to your call so call again next time. Take care bro.

Joe: Okay, take it easy.

Scott: Next caller, hi caller, what's your name and where are you calling from?

Caller: Hi, this is Paul from the U.S.

Scott: Hi Paul.

Paul: I just want to make a couple of comments. Actually I worked with data warehouse applications for a long time and the recent years that the things that are happening are a little bit concerning to me. The reason is traditionally we know that they are basically tapping everything, I think around 2006 from AT&T a network whistle blowing guy saying that NSA is tapping into the entire data networking center of AT&T and basically tapping the entire data. So we know that for a long time they are going at the source of the data and tapping it but we don't know how they are using the data. Then I keep hearing this word data mining database houses, having worked in that field there are some challenges in any data warehouse and data mining applications which traditionally in the business is called business intelligence application. To get the source data, the most critical part is tying in the data. That means you have to tie in based on the person or customer or something. You have to tie in the different sources of the data like tying credit card information and other transactions that you have. That is where the biggest challenge comes in because there is no one solution because a person has a name with millions of different combinations including small or large caps which really screws up the tying in process. Now this is where actually the recent incident is a little bit troubling to me. What happened in the last three years everyone starts using their credit cards and their emails for example, if you have an Android phone you could go to the bank's [website] and they want to verify your phone so they send a text message code to your phone and ask for that code. So basically now ... suddenly email and cell phone became such a central point that you can literally identify any person based on the cell phone and the email address. Now this is where the traditional challenge of data mining becomes very easy. Traditionally the data warehouses have their biggest challenge because these source data has become huge and traditionally are loaded into the database but databases are not good for huge volumes of data. Now this is when big data managers like Hadoop came into the picture these last two years. Interestingly in the recent Bilderbergers' meeting Amazon's CEO was there and also the points they discussed is about big data. So something is going on. Also Yahoo recently said that the entire Apple database is open to the public. I think there are some articles saying that Apple's data is pretty much not as private as people think. So if you tie in both big data and Apple data we know that suddenly the tying in of the data is very easy. Naturally the question people ask is what they are going to do with the data now that they have literally everything to target people and harass them and all this kind of stuff. Why do they need this on such a large scale? But I would put this question a little bit differently; what if somebody asks what are you doing with all these people and all these things would you have heard that okay they are creating a different race or killing them, they wouldn't say that. Their motivations will all be layered and layered and each layer will have their own hierarchy and all that stuff. So the point I'm trying to make is we will not know the ultimate reason why they are doing this. So the only things we can ask if this is right constitutionally and good for the people or not.

Jason: That is a good point. Thank you for that observation Paul. That was pretty good. I think that one of the things that is interesting as we mentioned before that Google requires you to enter your cell phone number and they don't allow a landline phone. So that connects you to all your searches and with Amazon connected to your credit card numbers therefore they have all your book purchases so it's kind of a scary situation. The situation is not so much what the government is doing with it now ultimately because what a dishonest person could do with it in the future that is stockpiling it and tracking it. They are doing something totally iniquitous and right now that is really irrelevant because America has a very long history of violating the rights of minorities up into the '60s with Martin Luther King movement and they have a long history of persecuting minorities like with McCarthyism which was not even 60 years ago that the American government was doing this and that they would require black people to give up their seats on the buses and prevented them from going to the voting booths and this, that and the other. In recent times they were persecuting homosexuals and communists. There are people alive today who were morally involved in supporting McCarthyism or not supporting it among other things. So what is going to happen in the future when the NSA creates this gigantic huge place where it stores all these things and is there going to be a time when somebody in the government like this Feinstein character or someone similar who decides that they are going to persecute all the non-Christians or they are going to persecute all the Jews? Registration is something tyrannical governments have always done and this registering of data is really a sensitive topic because it gives them access to information they shouldn't be able to access should they want to do something wrong. Does it really and truly provide any intelligence benefit or protection or security from terrorism? So they are saying we need to do this because of terrorism but they are themselves admitting and various other governments and various other experts are saying wait a minute it hasn't really contributed in any significant way what so ever to the supposed War on Terror. So the question is what are they going to do with the data? And Paul is right that once everything gets connected to telephone numbers and credit cards it becomes a lot easier to consume the information and connect it together. That is a little bit worrying actually.

Paul: In recent times you can see that every website or blog you go to you can log in with your Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Google account. Anything you can link it to. Also even in cell phones, any application you have to download you have to give them a blank check saying literally they can do anything. A couple of years back a whistle-blower said that is what they are doing, whatever they want they do it. Now a couple of years back Robert Mueller clearly said that this is legal and constitutional. So basically they do whatever they want to do and if they get caught they say it is legal and constitutional.

Michael: I think it is true in a certain sense because I found a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in 1979 which was about a crime being committed and a telephone company was used to find actually the person who committed the crime. The Supreme Court ruled that installation of the surveillance device at the telephone company was not a search within the meaning of the 4th amendment and hence no warrant was required. The reason for that is the application of the 4th amendment depends on whether the person invoking its protection can claim a legitimate expectation of privacy. So that means for example when they are using a telephone to do something you're not really expecting that the number will stay private because you have to assume that the telephone company will store it on its' computers for various business purposes. And the same goes for Facebook and other social networks. So when you post something on Facebook for example you're actually expecting that it's shared and it's public. So this ruling says that for such types of information the 4th amendment does not apply.

Jason: Yeah, very few people go to Facebook with the expectation of not sharing the information with a group of people so therefore in a certain sense they are saying they are giving up their 4th amendment right for the contents on Facebook. If a person implements strong security procedures on Facebook then they are actually saying they want privacy even though they are on Facebook and can argue for that. But here is the real kicker about the whole FISA warrant thing is that the companies who receive the warrant are not permitted to disclose that they received it. So there is no way for an end user whose privacy has been violated to ever bring an action against the government. And in 2008 one of these services supposedly went to the FISA court and tried to do this whole contesting of the warrant and they claim it was Yahoo but I don't know if that is true because I got a copy of the redacted report right here. Basically what ended up happening is that they contested the warrant by the FISA court and FISA said that you can contest it, which they did, but you still have to comply with it and if you don't you will be held in civil contempt of court which of course is where a company doesn't want to be. So they made them do it anyway and then they went to the FISA court review on behalf of their customers and they were still shot down and it was still reaffirmed basically that the warrant was completely legal. So that was an incident supposedly of one of these telecom companies, internet service companies actually trying to defend the rights of their customers and they are gagged from talking about it. So this creates an interesting problem because you have people whose privacy is perhaps being violated or perhaps not but they have no way to contest it. They have to be able to show that a crime has been committed but the company is not allowed to release that their privacy has been violated. No one is going to get that information so you are in a situation of what are you going to do.

Michael: And they started bending the laws in the 70s.

Jason: Yeah and they started bending the laws even before that actually.

Paul: I look at it this way; they want to do it, they know how to do it, they will do it. It's just a matter of public relations. Look at how the Republicans and the Democrats are literally corrupting the entire political system and the entire judicial system and the entire police system so literally everything is corrupted. So it's just a matter of people crying more and they will come up with something to pacify them. Because the judiciary system is the same thing, one judge says this is good and another judge says it is bad so what is right or wrong?

Niall: Here is the scoop for you Paul; the judge who issued the FISA court order for Verizon on April 25th this year was the same judge who struck down Obama Care in 2011 on a technical point and who has been celebrated by the entire Tea Party movement as stopping the mad democratic regime in its tracks. His name is Judge Roger Vinson.

Jason: It's all just an act in Washington.

Niall: OK Paul, thanks for your call. We are going to wrap up here because it's getting late.

Paul: OK thank you.

Scott: Some members in the chat room are making some comments about the caller Joe from Montana and his hypothetical scenario. I just want to clarify a point I was trying to make which is that when you think as a detective, someone gets murdered, maybe the person is your husband or wife so you are obviously very emotionally invested just as you would be if there was some massive terrorist attack, and the detective comes along and investigates the crime and they find the person that did it and hopefully whatever the justice system does that justice is done. So in that case the detective doesn't have to go and surveil every single person in the entire country. The detective doesn't have to go and interrogate every single person in the entire country. There is evidence and this evidence points to who may have done the crime at which point they collect more evidence until they collect enough evidence to say this person most likely did it and then there is a trial and of course one would hope that everything is done properly and there you go. So when you amplify the situation and you say oh well it's a terrorist attack, to say yes and allow the NSA to invade my privacy and surveil the entire planet it is kind of idiotic because in the case of 9/11, we pretty much know more or less that the official story is BS and how do we know this, well we wrote a book on it called 9/11 The Ultimate Truth where we collect the evidence. So for me the whole point of a theoretical question was actually part of the problem of the government wanting you to basically give up your freedoms. It is like they corner you and say "Be afraid" and you respond with "yes, please protect me." It is entirely unnecessary if the system works as it should work which of course it doesn't and that's the problem.

Jason: This is one of the reasons why the old group of Greek philosophers like Socrates and all these different guys really hated the Sophists because they had developed a series of arguments that would guarantee that they would win by creating situations that were so restricted that the person had to answer what you expected or else look bad. By restricting the situation that there is a nuclear bomb exploding therefore millions of people are dying and you were 100% sure that if the NSA did this it would solve the problem would you still not let them, if you answer yes then it makes you look bad. It's a rhetorical construct to manipulate people.

Niall: And you feel it. I certainly felt like I was being manipulated here. I think in modern speak we call it nigyysob, now I've got you you son of a bitch. You set someone up to say the very thing that is going to condemn them to be wrong.

Jason: If you were to rephrase the question that he posed into absurd proportions like if you could push a button and save two million people from dying horribly, would you do it? Yes or no? Because that is basically what he is asking would you just push a button and not do anything or would you let somebody push the button. He's creating a situation where there is such a huge price for not doing it that he is basically saying that terrorists are going to set off bombs in all the American cities and kill hundreds of millions of people if you don't do this. That is ridiculous.

Niall: It is ridiculous but it's a hypothetical born of a sensified world. It's the Jack Bower that is going to save the city if he can just get the right information by torturing this guy. Problem there people Jack Bower is a fictional character on the TV show 24. The real FBI people have gone on the record and said torture sucks, we never ever get the information we want. The only time it has been successful is when they torture the guy almost to death and he's come out with the information that they then justify to go and foil other fake terror plots knowing full well that the information that they were given was inaccurate because the guy was saying whatever was necessary for them to stop torturing him.

Jason: The only reason they even do torture at all which the FBI does do torture but they never do it to get information. They do it just to let people know that they do it. They want it out so people will fear them and those people who are kind of week willed don't want to be tortured so they will become an informant. The threat of torture is more important than the torture itself because there is a lot of people who have talked about it say that most people feel so guilty that eventually at a certain point inside the torture they actually feel like they deserve it and a lot of people will resist it even or accept it. It's just not a useful and productive activity. It's basically pointless and inhumane.

Scott: I have enough to deal with trying to analyze and cope with the objective world than the hypothetical scenarios. They are fun.

Jason: There's a Jewish saying that for instance is not proof type of thing. I would say that hypothetically speaking is irrelevant. Anybody can create a hypothetical world and get anybody to say anything they want. That really isn't fair and it is not productive in the argument. As the world is today and what is even being presented and the level of terrorism that has happened in which nobody actually dies, two thousand five hundred people supposedly die every day of heart diseases. That is almost how many people died in one day on September 11th and that is a big serious problem. Thirty six thousand children die every year from preventable diseases because they have lack of access to healthcare. These are serious problems that we know are being caused by things like Monsanto and by big government and big biogenetics and GMO stuff and vaccines. We know that they are the ones causing that so no terrorist in the world can kill as many people. When somebody at the FBI signs a piece of paper that allows Monsanto to do this or some drug company to put this untested drug on us, more people are killed by the government every day because of those things than any terrorist with any bomb anywhere can do even the year of the worst terror attack.

Niall: I think we should start to wrap this show up. It's getting late where we are. In terms of what is really going on here we discussed a few cross purposes at work. I should give mention also to another whistle-blower whose trial began just as this news was breaking - Bradley Manning which of course disappeared off the front pages. Here is a guy who thought he was doing right and they are making a serious example of him to not speak up. Of course there are the political shenanigans going on and we touched on that too. The fact that Obama was going to China to berate them about spying on the US and for being the World's leading source allegedly of cyber warfare tactics and being accused of basically being the source of all spam and hacking US networks all the time. There are several cases going back ten years of false flag cyber warfare attacks and they've actually been traced back to servers in the UK and the US but they were pinned on Iran, North Korea and China. So there is that to think of as well. We also touched on the bigger picture in terms of what's going on with our climate. The World is coming apart at the seams economically. The extremes in the environment that more and more people cannot miss because when it is snowing where you are and it is supposed to be 30 degrees, you know something is up.

Scott: One day it is 30 degrees and the next day...

Niall: The next day it is 17 which we experienced recently.

Jason: It's all the emperor's new clothes type of thing and everyone is sitting there arguing over the color of his clothes and whether it is silk or not. All that stuff is irrelevant, the emperor has no clothes and the American economy is tanking, the World economy is shit, the G8 summit with a new trade agreement with America. Trade for what? Both countries import more than they export already. They are getting everything from China. A trade agreement between them is how many Chinese goods we can exchange.

Niall: In terms of any grand plan well I don't know. I think some people like to think they are in on the grand plan. In 1997 the Chief of Staff of the Air Force predicted that within three years or by the year 2000; "We should be capable of finding, tracking and targeting virtually in real time any significant element moving on the face of the Earth." And he was not just talking about people, he was talking about everything. Sensors to monitor the environment, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips in all products and that this was the ultimate goal, this is the plan. "To transform it and enmesh it within an enclosed system of total information awareness. To cover, track and gaze ominously over all flows, mobilities and transactions, an attempt to gain some degree of mastery over the unpredictability of global flows." Now that's the megalomaniacal, psychopathic "I will rule the World." That's the expression of the psychopathic. A closed system, I can see all of what they do, I can master the information and manipulate them. Running against that is something that is fundamentally different; human beings share. By our nature we share. By our nature we are open source. By nature we program each other and their computers to be open source because we understand that all the gifts that we have are built on the gifts of our ancestors before us. The inventors before us who gave us computers, computer technology and these amazing programs we use.

Jason: Everything you use to sell and make money online is created by people who gave those creations away for the betterment of humanity. Everything you use to distribute your pay for videos, books and all that stuff online is invented by people who gave it away for free and never asked for a cent. And you don't even know their names. The majority of the people who use the internet do not know the names of the people who created the technologies that underpin all your credit card transactions because they did it for free and never asked for any credit.

Niall: So I say let them eat data. Let them have as much data as they want. Give them everything. The psychopathic mind processes information in a different way. It's like living in a 2d world. They can hear the words but they can't hear the music. We are in two realities that in a fundamental way tnever meet. So give them all of the data they want. They don't understand you anyway. They can't hear you.

Jason: They don't know what they are asking.

Niall: Let them eat data. I like that line actually. On that note we will say goodnight and good day and good morning depending on where you are on this little blue planet. Do tune in next week, same time, same place for SOTT Talk Radio. Over and out.