NSA at work: Do you have a secret "social profile?"
- By Jon Rappoport - October 2, 2013
Do you know a grape grower in France? An activist in England?
NSA may have built an extensive social profile on you.
The NY Times reports (9/28): "NSA Gathers Data on Social Connections of US Citizens."
It's a long piece, and it's pinned to the idea that the NSA can track US residents who are connected to "foreign citizens of interest."
Presumably this means the foreign citizens are suspected terrorists. Well, not necessarily. No.
As is often the case with the NY Times, the real nuggets are buried down deep in the story. So I've dug them out and assembled them more cogently. In other words, I've re-edited the Times piece to make things clearer. You're welcome.
Do NSA's foreign targets have to be suspected terrorists? To get on the radar, qualifications "could include anything from ties to terrorism, weapons proliferation or international drug smuggling to...[being] foreign politicians, business figures or activists."
Get the picture? NSA is spying on foreign politicians, business people, and activists. That's a broad population. And of course, activists could be stumping for a wide variety of causes, including the right to privacy from snoopers.
By implication, that means NSA could shape a social profile of any American with serious or casual ties to these politicians, business people, and activists. So much for believing NSA would only target Americans with connections to foreign terror suspects. That's a fairy tale for the masses.
Next topic: When the NSA shapes a social profile of an American, how far can they go? What can they access? How much of that person's life can they invade?
Well, emails and phone records, right? Sure. Is that it? Not by a long shot.
"...bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profile, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information [where you are right now], as well as proprietary records and unspecified tax data."
The NSA states they have a profile template of "164 relationship types...using queries like 'travelsWith, hasFather, sentForumMessage, employs.'"
Translation: NSA builds a social profile of a person by spying to obtain info on 164 categories of activity, behavior, and status of that target.
How do you like it?
You could be an acquaintance of a businessman in France. The NSA has targeted him, and they've come across you in the process---so they access all the data and records mentioned above, to come at you on 164 vectors.
To put the cherry on the cake, your "phone and email logs...allow [NSA] analysts to...acquire clues to religious or political affiliations...regular calls to a psychiatrist's office, late-night messages to an extramarital partner..."
Yes, you say, this is horrible, but NSA's spying activity only covers a relatively few Americans. Wrong. Let's go to another quote from the Times article:
An NSA program called Mainway "in 2011 was taking in 700 million phone records per day. In August 2011, it began receiving an additional 1.1 billion cellphone records daily from an unnamed American service provider under Section 702 of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, which allows for the collection of the data of Americans if at least one end of the communication is believed to be foreign..."
And that's not enough. No. "...the agency [NSA] is pouring money and manpower into creating a metadata repository capable of taking in 20 billion 'record events' daily and making them available to NSA analysts within 60 minutes."
One subject the Times article didn't cover: what happens when the NSA assembles a profile on an American who has casual ties to, say, a European businessman? Are they going to stop there? What about that American's social connections here in the US? The American knows the cousin of a lawyer who's speaking out against government surveillance. That cousin knows the mother of a child who was suspended from school for displaying the picture of a gun on his computer...
Obviously, NSA wants the ability to spy on everybody all the time.
But don't worry. Keith Alexander, the head of NSA, assures us that everything the Agency is doing is legal, above-board, and necessary to keep us safe.
By "safe," he means: NSA will spy on us 24/7 so the information can be used to create one huge system of tracking and control. Control of life. Regulated life. Algorithms that determine the shape of the dystopia we are entering.