NSA Talking Points On Utah Data Center: We're Teaming Up With Tech Companies To 'Protect' The Internet

from the surveillance?-what-surveillance dept

Last year, well before all of the revelations concerning the NSA’s surveillance program, reporter James Bamford, who has a long history of reporting on the NSA’s questionable activities, revealed the details of the NSA’s massive data center in Bluffdale, Utah, which it was building to host all of this information that it’s been hoovering up for years. Michael Morisy, from Muckrock, used a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get the media talking points that the NSA used upon the groundbreaking of the building. As reported in Bamford’s piece, there had been a “public” groundbreaking, with press there, and Morisy wondered how the NSA framed the building’s purpose when it first discussed it. And, the answer, it appears, was to play down anything having to do with the massive data collection.

The talking points play up the fact that there’s so much data online, but rather than talking about how the NSA is collecting all of it, they say that they’re setting up this operation to help “protect” your data. From everyone… except the NSA, of course.

  • DISCUSS THE FOR TAKING NATIONAL ACTION TO THE CYBERSECURITY PROBLEMS WE FACE.
    • US DEPENDENCE ON THE INTERNET PROBABLY GREATER THAN ANY OTHER NATION
    • NOT JUST MEANS OF COMMUNICATIONS BUT DATA IS THERE As WELL — FINANCIAL DATA, DATA
    • CYBERSPACE CONTROLS OUR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE — BANKING, ENERGY, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL, UTILITIES
    • THREAT IS GROWING — INFRASTRUCTURE TARGETTED FOR AND POTENTIALLY FOR DISRUPTION OR DESTRUCTION BY GROWING NUMBER OF AND ACTORS

Notice, also, how when they do discuss looking outbound, rather than just “protecting” networks, they lump it all together:


WE NEED TO USE OUR PARTNERSHIPS BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE GOVERNMENT TO INCREASE OUR KNOWLEDGE AND CAPABILITIES IN CYBERSPACE TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE THREAT, AND TO BETTER RESPON TO IT.

Of course, they leave out that “the threat” is all of us in the public, and how to “better respon (sic) to it” is to collect all data everywhere.

Hell, they even go so far as to suggest that they’re going out of their way, and beyond their mandate, just to “help out” all those tech companies they work with. Just to be helpful.


GOVERNMENT HAS NO LEGISLATED REQUIREMENT TO PROTECT THE DOT-COM NETWORKS. NONETHELESS, IT CANNOT BE ARGUED THAT THESE NETWORKS ARE CRITICAL TO THE DAY-TO-DAY FUNCTIONING AND OPERATING OF THE UNITED STATES, ITS GOVERNMENT, ITS BUSINESSES, AND ITS PEOPLE…

WE WOULD BE REMISS, AS PUBLIC SERVANTS, IF WE DID NOT USE THE INFORMATION WE GAIN IN PROTECTING OUR DOT-MIL AND DOT-GOV NETWORKS TO HELP TO SECURE THE DOT-COM NETWORKS AS WELL.

Yeah. And by “helping” to “secure” those networks, we actually mean “partnering” with the telcos to snarf up every bit of data that crosses those networks for our own spying efforts. And they keep going on and on about the importance of these “partnerships.”


WE CANNOT DO IT ALONE — NOR IS IT IN OUR BEST INTERESTS TO TRY. JUST AS CYBERSPACE AFFECTS EVERY ASPECT OF OUR SOCIETY, SO TOO MUST OUR EFFORTS TO SECURE CYBERSPACE MOVE BEYOND GOVERNMENT TO INCLUDE THE PRIVATE SECTOR, ACADEMIA, AND OUR GLOBAL PARTNERS.

And by “secure cyberspace,” we mean “undermine the privacy of everyone” by collecting all their data. That’s the part the NSA truly cannot “do alone.”

I also love this one:


EMPHASIZE THAT NSA’S ROLE IN THIS IS NOT A ‘MILITARIZATION’ OF CYBERSPACE; TECHNICAL ADVISORY CAPACITY ONLY.

A “technical advisory capacity only” that involves on-premise systems at every major telco, hoovering up every single bit of data that crosses those systems to store for future “analysis” inside the Bluffdale center? That’s just a technical advisory capacity?

But, don’t worry, it’s all “legal.”


UNDERSCORE THAT EVERYTHING NSA DOES IN CYBERSPACE IS IN COMPLIANCE WITH LAW AND REGULATION AND THAT WE ARE 100% COMMITTED TO PROTECTIN THE CIVIL LIBERTIES AND PRIVACY RIGHTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

And by “in compliance with law and regulation,” we mean after we convinced the FISA court to secretly reinterpret a law that those who wrote the law say is exactly how the law was not supposed to be interpreted. But we won’t even discuss how we interpret the law publicly, because that’s a national security issue.


AT NSA, OUR TOP THREE CORE VALUES ARE LAWFULNESS, HONESTY, AND INTEGRITY.

And lying. Oh, so much lying. Did we mention the lying?


WE APPRECIATE THE WELCOME YOU HAVE GIVEN US.

And we know you appreciate our presence, because, well, because we know.



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Comments on “NSA Talking Points On Utah Data Center: We're Teaming Up With Tech Companies To 'Protect' The Internet”

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52 Comments
Ninjasays:

We don’t want your protection, thank you. Open sourcing the standards upon which the intertubes is built is the best way to protect its entirety. Maintaining it free of any centralized control is crucial to protect it. What you are proposing is bot in anyway protecting the internet. Installing backdoors, using zero-day exploits while intentionally delaying patches and so on is NOT protecting the internet.

So the message should be:

Dear GOVERNMENTS (including espionage agencies),

Please fuck off.

Best regards,

Everybody else

Internet Zen Mastersays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Exhibit A: The kid down in Texas who got thrown in jail and held on $500k bond for several months because he made some snarky comments on League of Legends about “yeah, I’m crazy, I’m gonna shoot up a kindergarten” (or something to that effect) after someone in the chat called him crazy.

ntranzedsays:

Re: Re:

and that is where they have so many fleeced. majority of the infrastructure of US is on close circuit networks and are not on the internet and would require on site access to hack or compromise. the only things that are not on CC network are basic monitoring functions. that are usualy completely seperate from the operational controls to ensure they cannot be used as access point to the the closed circuit network.

Anonymoussays:

the best thing to happen and perhaps will happen is for tech companies to join forces to keep the various law enforcement agencies off the ‘net completely! they dont use it and dont want to use in any other way(s) except to spy on who is where, doing what, with whom, how and when!! every time law enforcement gets involved with anything techy-like, it’s a fuck up! they end up spending a fortune in tax payers money doing things against their own country and own citizens! they haven’t truthfully prevented a damn thing from happening, nor will they! spying on you and me is done because it’s easy. we dont use encryption because we feel, did do at any rate, it isn’t necessary. subversive types wouldn’t leave themselves vulnerable over the ‘net any more than at any other time, so as usual, only excuses for watching us! unbelievable!!

Anonymoussays:

When you intend to do something for nefarious reasons any receivable passable excuse or other will suffice.

For example if your objective is world domination then it is only logical that you are doing it for the children even if it results in the death of millions (which is exactly what happened in Stalinist Russia and Maoist China).

out_of_the_bluesays:

Surely part of the "limited hangout" is to bore everyone,

into accepting NSA as everyday fact and then ignoring it. And you’re certainly helping that goal: this item has zero new or of interest.

Here’s a far more important aspect (the site only one of several with same basis):
http://refreshingnews99.blogspot.in/2013/07/nsa-is-quietly-writing-code-for-googles.html

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Surely part of the "limited hangout" is to bore everyone,

Wait. OOTB, who goes on and on and on about the importance of copyright, and how it’s a natural right and all that… just linked to a scraped copy of an entire Businessweek article? OOTB, that’s a “pirate” copy you linked to. And, by your own logic, linking to such things is tantamount to infringement.

Perhaps you should turn yourself in and pay up the statutory rates, huh?

Pragmaticsays:

I’d rather go straight to the source, thank you. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-07-03/security-enhanced-android-nsa-edition

Google (GOOG) has filed a request with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court asking permission to disclose more information about the government?s data requests. So there?s a certain irony that NSA programmers are now refining code that Google has approved for the company?s mobile operating system, Android. Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano confirms that the company has already inserted some of the NSA?s programming in Android OS. ?All Android code and contributors are publicly available for review at source.android.com,? Scigliano says, declining to comment further.

Through its open-source Android project, Google has agreed to incorporate code, first developed by the agency in 2011, into future versions of its mobile operating system, which according to market researcher IDC runs on three-quarters of the smartphones shipped globally in the first quarter. NSA officials say their code, known as Security Enhancements for Android, isolates apps to prevent hackers and marketers from gaining access to personal or corporate data stored on a device. Eventually all new phones, tablets, televisions, cars, and other devices that rely on Android will include NSA code, agency spokeswoman Vanee? Vines said in an e-mailed statement. NSA researcher Stephen Smalley, who works on the program, says, ?Our goal is to raise the bar in the security of commodity mobile devices.?

Okay, so the NSA is adding to an OS product while Google asks for permission to disclose more information about what’s going on.

NO ONE IS OBLIGED TO USE GOOGLE PRODUCTS.

Got it?

Probably not.

Mark Murphysays:

Re: Re:

The code in question is SE for Android, an Android-specific derivation of SELinux. SELinux has been part of mainstream Linux distros for a decade. While the NSA did contribute code to SELinux, SELinux is a standalone open source project with many contributors, and, more importantly, reviewers. Ditto for SE for Android.

So, which is more likely? That SELinux (with independent review) has a “sooper-sekrit” NSA back door, or that closed-source unreviewable OSes have them?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And you people jsut accept that?

What about protesting? They pass all the laws and no one contests them.

Look at the french, the government starts doing shit, they start protests, riots, burning cars (they actually over-do it a little) but they are able to push back laws that are bad for the people.

When you will people in the US open your eyes and see that to ahve democracy, sometimes the people has to go against the government?

Not Applicablesays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

Unfortunately in general Americans are very docile and stupid, history proves this time and again. However lately (the last 10 years or so) the population of the USA has increased it’s collective stupidity and just watches the shit that is being poured down on them in ever increasing amounts with a kind of naivety that in its self is ‘awesome’.

The same is happening in the UK albeit more slowly.

The ‘Arab Spring’ demonstrations are the very kind of thing that need to be happening in the USA UK and other countries in Europe, but isn’t because everyone just wants to be on Faecesbook Twatter and the like, the great Weapons of Mass Distraction, people just want to buy stuff, shopping is far more important.

It is to much trouble to protest or have a revolution.

The Real Michaelsays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

I wouldn’t be concerned about them. It doesn’t take courage for somebody to arm themselves to the teeth, drive around in armored vehicles and helicopters, clobber defenseless protestors with batons/nightsticks, when they’ve got hundreds if not thousands of other like-minded individuals backing them up. Regardless of whatever weapon or armor they hide behind, they’re just human beings, same as you and I, and someday they will stand before God and have to give an account for their abuse of authority.

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

someday they will stand before God and have to give an account for their abuse of authority.

Yeah, I’m sure that idea terrifies them.

I would rather have concrete justice in the here and now than theoretical justice in some supposed afterlife when it is worthless.

The Real Michaelsays:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Despite the leaks about government spying, rampant corruption, ridiculous new laws and taxes, plus all the scandals, nobody seems to be doing much about it. So, it looks as though the corruption and abuse of authority will continue unabated. Those in power get off with a slap on the wrist, because they’re the ones writing all the laws — there’s your “justice.”

jd2112says:

The NSA is missing a HUGE opportunity. ..

Now that everybody knows what the NSA is doing there is an opportunity for the NSA to become the Ultimate cloud backup service. Lost your data? Didn’t make a backup? No problem! We made one for you. All they need to do is add a web interface to access the data they have collected in you and before long the NSA could be a profit center for the government!

veloxsays:

The NSA's Utah tech partner

OMNITURE

“NSA Talking Points On Utah Data Center: We’re Teaming Up With Tech Companies”

To prevent data from your computer going to Omniture set a firewall rule to block incoming and outgoing traffic with the range 66.235.0.0/16
(For those who aren’t familiar with CIDR format, this actually means everything from 66.235.0.1 – 66.235.255.255)

ECAsays:

STILL

Protect it from WHAT??
is there any declaration of WHAT they are protecting it from?

Any idea HOW?

If they would Monitor and kill SPAM, I would like it.
If they would install Malware protection I would like it.
If they would track down all those BOT installations, I would like it.
Other wise its a bunch of people sitting around watching numbers scan across a screen.

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