Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The NSA Knows Where I Live

Kevin Gosztola of FDL:
NSA Has a Massive Program Which ‘Incidentally’ Collects Cell Location Data of Millions of Americans

New documents from former National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden show the NSA is storing location data from “at least hundreds of millions of devices.”

The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman and Ashkan Koltani write, “The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world.” This enables the agency to track “movements of individuals—and map their relationships—in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.”


Previously, in late September, Senator Ron Wyden asked NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander during a Senate hearing if the agency had ever made plans to collect Americans’ cell site location data. But, Alexander, after Wyden repeated his question, said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court needed notice if the NSA wanted to collect cell site location records. He then said he did not want to put anything out that would be classified.
Oh, I think I could have previously imagined that "previously unimaginable" location, movement and contact data for myself, or at least for my cell phone. Let's see...

Über-Secret NSA Document!
When I wake up, my old-fashioned Samsung (by no means a smartphone) rests on the shelf next to the bed. Sometime later... maybe 7:00am, or 8:00 or 9:00, depending on the day... the phone moves by way of the bathroom into the den, on the table next to my easy chair. It may migrate to the kitchen for long enough for me to throw together some sort of brunch, then it's back to the La-Z-Boy in the den.

But having no laptop at present, I can't commit much terra-ism from the recliner, so sooner or later, for the sake of NSA agent sanity, I head for the office (that's what we call the rear bedroom, which has no beds but does have two working computers and two separate 'net connections— don't ask why two; if I told you, I'd have to... oh, never mind). NSA of course is able to track that displacement of the phone by perhaps 25', or maybe it correlates the movement with the sudden activity of one 'net connection. They can do that, right? right?? and deploy massive countermeasures to the horrors I am sure to perpetrate... dangling participles, incomplete sentences, even occasional misspellings, all a threat to the safety and security of America.

The rest of the day, the phone oscillates between the office and the den, with occasional trips to (as Brahms described it to a critic) "the smallest room in my house." Maybe I'll drive to the doctor's office (about 5 miles), or to a grocer (2 to 10 miles), or even my PO Box (maybe 3 miles), where I read any mail the NSA has seen fit to leave for my perusal after removing subversive material (ACLU or Planned Parenthood newsletters, Sierra Club publications, etc.) that might otherwise interfere with right-thinking on my part. Ten miles is probably a median over the span of a week. Their equipment can do that, right? right???

After another spell by the La-Z-Boy as I read subversive fiction (e.g., murder mysteries) or radical political material (I recently read fully half of Jeremy Scahill's Dirty Wars before fatigue took it from my hands), I take myself and my cell phone back to the bedroom, the one with a bed in it.

My life may sound boring, but it could be worse: I could be the NSA agent who has to sift through records of my movement...

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