PDA

View Full Version : The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control



CyberP
11th Jul 2014, 15:47
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/11/the-ultimate-goal-of-the-nsa-is-total-population-control

Electronic old men playing at running the world.

No time for jokes though, this is it...

AdrianShephard
11th Jul 2014, 20:44
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/11/the-ultimate-goal-of-the-nsa-is-total-population-control

Electronic old men playing at running the world.

No time for jokes though, this is it...

Oh yes...

SageSavage
11th Jul 2014, 21:50
Nothing to be surprised about. The public reaction (or lack thereof) to this and the countless related revelations is what should shock anyone to the core (but doesn't).

neoWilks
12th Jul 2014, 05:14
Nothing to be surprised about. The public reaction (or lack thereof) to this and the countless related revelations is what should shock anyone to the core (but doesn't).
Not really surprising. Most people don't really care unless something is intruding on their daily lives. They might, in principle, disagree with it, but unless they are actually being inconvenienced, there exists no impetus to do anything about it. NSA-style, data mining surveillance is fundamentally different than an individual peeping through your window or breaking into your home to go through your mail. There's no real sense of violation. Partly because you've no way to know whether you've been "spied on" or not. But also because nothing ever seems to come of it.

There's definitely a lot of problems with spying at this level. Constitutional problems, civil rights problems, moral problems, foreign policy problems (Germany just kicked out our top CIA official in the country). But what's so baffling is that data mining at this level is just so amazingly stupid. Like how does one seriously believe they'll be able to get anything out of this? There's no possible way to reliably dig through this amount of data. And when you're dealing with a data set this large, false positives are a guaranteed problem.

For sake of argument, imagine that the NSA data mining efforts are 99 percent accurate. They are able to pinpoint terrorism related communications almost 100 percent of the time. The problem is, when you're monitoring an entire country, that 1 percent false positive rate is monumental in real numbers. And given the ratio between terrorists to non-terrorists, you're going to spend significant time looking through serious buttloads of data that is absolutely worthless. And that's why they can't actually point to anything and say, "Here's where data mining saved lives," because I can't imagine it ever has.

Why they continue to push a system that's fundamentally broken broken, I have no idea.

DrZann
12th Jul 2014, 08:44
We should ask the NSA if Eidos is planning on issuing a patch for the Directors Cut.

AdrianShephard
12th Jul 2014, 08:50
Like how does one seriously believe they'll be able to get anything out of this? There's no possible way to reliably dig through this amount of data. And when you're dealing with a data set this large, false positives are a guaranteed problem.

For sake of argument, imagine that the NSA data mining efforts are 99 percent accurate. They are able to pinpoint terrorism related communications almost 100 percent of the time. The problem is, when you're monitoring an entire country, that 1 percent false positive rate is monumental in real numbers. And given the ratio between terrorists to non-terrorists, you're going to spend significant time looking through serious buttloads of data that is absolutely worthless. And that's why they can't actually point to anything and say, "Here's where data mining saved lives," because I can't imagine it ever has.

Enter Daedalus or another artificial intelligence.

CyberP
12th Jul 2014, 12:22
There's definitely a lot of problems with spying at this level. Constitutional problems, civil rights problems, moral problems, foreign policy problems (Germany just kicked out our top CIA official in the country). But what's so baffling is that data mining at this level is just so amazingly stupid. Like how does one seriously believe they'll be able to get anything out of this? There's no possible way to reliably dig through this amount of data. And when you're dealing with a data set this large, false positives are a guaranteed problem.

For sake of argument, imagine that the NSA data mining efforts are 99 percent accurate. They are able to pinpoint terrorism related communications almost 100 percent of the time. The problem is, when you're monitoring an entire country, that 1 percent false positive rate is monumental in real numbers. And given the ratio between terrorists to non-terrorists, you're going to spend significant time looking through serious buttloads of data that is absolutely worthless. And that's why they can't actually point to anything and say, "Here's where data mining saved lives," because I can't imagine it ever has.

Why they continue to push a system that's fundamentally broken broken, I have no idea.

http://memecrunch.com/image/50db3a0eafa96f45a0000077.jpg?w=400

Worthless data? Saving lives? Terrorists? Hello? It's primarily for population control according to veteran codebreaker and high ranking gov. official William Binney, and it's far from stupid. What is stupid is nobody is doing anything about it.

Holding all this information it can be used as a very powerful tool.

CyberP
12th Jul 2014, 12:30
All that's next to be revealed is the people in control of this all. The people calling the shots.

SageSavage
12th Jul 2014, 14:20
Not really surprising. Most people don't really care unless something is intruding on their daily lives. They might, in principle, disagree with it, but unless they are actually being inconvenienced, there exists no impetus to do anything about it.

At this point I'm convinced that it's some kind of psychologic defense mechanism that makes people sub/semi-consciously not want to care. We know that the ominous nature of surveillance and intelligence in general is virtually impossible to tackle for citizens and even for governments, we suspect that going against it can actually become dangerous for our personal lives, we suspect that digging into the matter might potentially shatter the way we look at the world, something noone likes. The somewhat understandable conclusion is that one is better off to not think about it unless absolutely necessary (for you personally). I guess "active denial" is the appropriate term. Ironically all that is possible because of the denial.


Why they continue to push a system that's fundamentally broken broken, I have no idea.
Because knowledge is power and fear is what keeps them getting funded / in power.

neoWilks
12th Jul 2014, 16:54
Worthless data? Saving lives? Terrorists? Hello? It's primarily for population control according to veteran codebreaker and high ranking gov. official William Binney, and it's far from stupid. What is stupid is nobody is doing anything about it.

Holding all this information it can be used as a very powerful tool.
It's worthless for anything. There is simply no way you can effectively manage this amount of data. That's the inherent problem with data mining at this scale. Anything you hope to use it for will be buried so deep in a pile of meaningless information that it's wholly impractical, if not totally impossible, to pull useful information reliably.

And color me skeptical of this notion that data mining is employed for "total population control." First what does that even mean? Second, how in the world is data mining supposed to achieve this? Third, it's a throwaway comment likely aimed to be controversial. Because controversy is what gets attention. He doesn't elaborate on the idea at all. Or at least, the article doesn't.

At this point I'm convinced that it's some kind of psychologic defense mechanism that makes people sub/semi-consciously not want to care. We know that the ominous nature of surveillance and intelligence in general is virtually impossible to tackle for citizens and even for governments, we suspect that going against it can actually become dangerous for our personal lives, we suspect that digging into the matter might potentially shatter the way we look at the world, something noone likes. The somewhat understandable conclusion is that one is better off to not think about it unless absolutely necessary (for you personally). I guess "active denial" is the appropriate term. Ironically all that is possible because of the denial.


Because knowledge is power and fear is what keeps them getting funded / in power.
I don't think it's denial either. It's just straight apathy. Most people don't give a **** about things that don't actually affect them. And for all intents and purposes, NSA data mining doesn't affect the vast majority of people in any meaningful way. If people aren't being impacted by something, you're never going to see a large, unified protest.

This isn't knowledge. It's data. And that's the crutch of the matter. There's no evidence that data mining at this scale is providing them with useful knowledge regarding anything. Nor would I agree with the notion that this about fear-based politics. Any fear-based rhetoric when it comes to political campaigns is inevitably about how scared everyone should be about the other guy getting elected.

I think it's more likely a combination of a few things. Someone comes up with a program and it's approved. Whether it works or not, once a new program/system is adopted, there's a general willingness to continue using it. This comes from personal experience dealing with companies adopting poor revisions/"upgrades" of their current practices and rarely going back even after receiving significant negative feedback. In that sense, it's basically some one/some people trying to justify the existence of their job(s). These people, I'm sure, will talk up their program's effectiveness at every opportunity.

Besides that, I think there is a real fear among politicians and parties of anything happening under their watch. If something does happen, they want to be able to say, "We did everything and anything we could to prevent this disaster." And so they irrationally support programs that don't actually work because, "What if?" And since the people advising them will continue to assure them everything is working properly, they don't want to discontinue the program and potentially be blamed should anything happen.

I don't think there's any malice here. More likely a combination of ignorance, yes-men, and fear for the consequences. Still doesn't excuse it, because they are spending time and money violating people's civil rights without actually having anything to show for it. But there isn't any sort of sinister plot at play here.

SageSavage
12th Jul 2014, 17:09
It's worthless for anything. There is simply no way you can effectively manage this amount of data. That's the inherent problem with data mining at this scale. Anything you hope to use it for will be buried so deep in a pile of meaningless information that it's wholly impractical, if not totally impossible, to pull useful information reliably.

And color me skeptical of this notion that data mining is employed for "total population control." First what does that even mean? Second, how in the world is data mining supposed to achieve this? Third, it's a throwaway comment likely aimed to be controversial. Because controversy is what gets attention. He doesn't elaborate on the idea at all. Or at least, the article doesn't.

I don't think it's denial either. It's just straight apathy. Most people don't give a **** about things that don't actually affect them. And for all intents and purposes, NSA data mining doesn't affect the vast majority of people in any meaningful way. If people aren't being impacted by something, you're never going to see a large, unified protest.

This isn't knowledge. It's data. And that's the crutch of the matter. There's no evidence that data mining at this scale is providing them with useful knowledge regarding anything. Nor would I agree with the notion that this about fear-based politics. Any fear-based rhetoric when it comes to political campaigns is inevitably about how scared everyone should be about the other guy getting elected.

I think it's more likely a combination of a few things. Someone comes up with a program and it's approved. Whether it works or not, once a new program/system is adopted, there's a general willingness to continue using it. This comes from personal experience dealing with companies adopting poor revisions/"upgrades" of their current practices and rarely going back even after receiving significant negative feedback. In that sense, it's basically some one/some people trying to justify the existence of their job(s). These people, I'm sure, will talk up their program's effectiveness at every opportunity.

Besides that, I think there is a real fear among politicians and parties of anything happening under their watch. If something does happen, they want to be able to say, "We did everything and anything we could to prevent this disaster." And so they irrationally support programs that don't actually work because, "What if?" And since the people advising them will continue to assure them everything is working properly, they don't want to discontinue the program and potentially be blamed should anything happen.

I don't think there's any malice here. More likely a combination of ignorance, yes-men, and fear for the consequences. Still doesn't excuse it, because they are spending time and money violating people's civil rights without actually having anything to show for it. But there isn't any sort of sinister plot at play here.

All that might be part of it for some people. However, there are so many people envolved that there sure as hell is not just one intention at work here. I think it would be unreasonable and dangerous to think that there is or will never be any malice intended (or not) at any given point in time. The main threat (which people should be scared about) is the existence and growth of an infrastructure that could be used for oppression of nightmarish scope. And there have been false positives that lead to innocent deaths or other tragedies.

neoWilks
12th Jul 2014, 17:33
All that might be part of it for some people. However, there are so many people envolved that there sure as hell is not just one intention at work here. I think it would be unreasonable and dangerous to think that there is or will never be any malice intended (or not) at any given point in time. The main threat (which people should be scared about) is the existence and growth of an infrastructure that could be used for oppression of nightmarish scope. And there have been false positives that lead to innocent deaths or other tragedies.
But again, this system isn't the issue. Because this system is terrible for carrying out anything, whether that be benevolent or malicious. It's simply too big. Malice is generally focused. Somebody doesn't like somebody else and so they target them. Except this is already possible. Just look at police officers or other state employees that have access to personal records and exploit them. That's a far more effective and reliable means of harming someone than trying to make use of the mess of information that is NSA data mining.

That's not to say that it's impossible. Just that there already exist many, many ways for people in a position of authority to abuse that authority. Data mining doesn't provide any particularly new ones.

Are you talking about fatalities in regards to drone attacks? Because I could see how that's problematic. But again, it's not really new. Drone attacks, a war that's sorta not really a war, this stuff is inherently messy. That's bad, and it should be fixed. But axing the NSA data collection program isn't going to fix that. It's just the latest in ineffective strategies for targeting a decentralized enemy hiding among a civilian population and employing a variety of guerilla tactics.

Shralla
12th Jul 2014, 18:01
Nothing that guy said offered any evidence of "total population control." Just because he said that's what their mission is doesn't mean it's true, and if he had any evidence of it he would have presented it. The rest of it is pretty standard government spying stuff. Maybe people who generally strictly follow the confines of the law don't expect this from our government, but anybody doing anything illegal even semi-regularly will tell you that text, phone, email, etc, is all unsafe forms of communication. The fact is that nobody gives a **** about most of the things you're trying to keep secret. The average citizens' secrets are laughably inane, even those people who are engaging in illegal activities are safe for the most part because nobody cares about low level crime.

Never Get Busted Again had a good segment about why you shouldn't use your phone for illegal activities, but again, nobody cares for the most part.

SageSavage
12th Jul 2014, 19:35
I find all those "they aren't able to use it effectivley", "they are not interested in my petty crimes", "I'm not a terrorist so I have nothing to worry about" arguments terribly short sighted - especially if they are coming from people with a general interest in dystopias. It frustrates me and did so for about two decades now and led me to the conclusion I stated earlier.

When I told people around me about the existence of Echelon, the global surveillance program by the NSA, the reactions were virtually the same. Things feared by activists and hugely dispelled as laughable exaggerations came true since, people still act as if there is nothing threatening about it and take the violations of their rights as if it was nothing worth mentioning. I don't think there's anything I can do about it anymore.

Decard
12th Jul 2014, 21:34
Let me ask you all a question: what happens when a Cosa Nostra member decides to go rogue and threatens to expose the modus operandi of the entire organization? Well, he's murdered, of course. Because if all that accurate information got out, it would be game over.

It's always like that when secrets are involved. If you're let in on a secret of vast proportions, you are in a sense 'leashed' for life. That's why there is no quitting the mafia and that's why there are no ex NSA operatives. If you're a part of something clandestine, you are in it for life. If you want out, you get out in a body bag.

This William Binney character is doing exactly what Snowden did. He's 'exposing' the information that was considered common knowledge ten years ago in some open internet circles. Nothing new under the sun. Nothing groundbreaking at all. So, what's this all about? I'd say Pavlovian training aimed at the population. They 'leak' just enough to get a response from the general public, so that the agencies can measure it and see how well are we desensitized to global surveillance. If we respond calmly, then more surveillance won't frighten us that much, so it's safe to switch to the next gear and receive mild resistance or none at all. If we respond harshly, then it's time to rethink the strategy and implement changes slowly - more propaganda, maybe an apology from the president, less cameras for a year or two. Then back to probing the general consensus. Rinse repeat. It's quite simple, really. They've done it a thousand times in the past.

A golden rule: never trust anything that comes from the mouth of heavily promoted figures. Especially when they claim to be on your side.


There's no possible way to reliably dig through this amount of data.

And you know that how? Do you really think that a serious governmental body like the NSA is allowed to waste billions of dollars on something that doesn't work or is inefficient?

SageSavage
12th Jul 2014, 21:50
This William Binney character is doing exactly what Snowden did. He's 'exposing' the information that was considered common knowledge ten years ago in some open internet circles. Nothing new under the sun. Nothing groundbreaking at all. So, what's this all about? I'd say Pavlovian training aimed at the population. They 'leak' just enough to get a response from the general public, so that the agencies can measure it and see how well are we desensitized to global surveillance. If we respond calmly, then more surveillance won't frighten us that much, so it's safe to switch to the next gear and receive mild resistance or none at all. If we respond harshly, then it's time to rethink the strategy and implement changes slowly - more propaganda, maybe an apology from the president, less cameras for a year or two. Then back to probing the general consensus. Rinse repeat. It's quite simple, really. They've done it a thousand times in the past.

A golden rule: never trust anything that comes from the mouth of heavily promoted figures. Especially when they claim to be on your side.

In the case of Binney, you might be right but I wouldn't say that about Snowden. The sheer amount of NSA-owned documents (as opposed to the usual hearsay) he provided was actually a valuable thing and not all of it was old news. At the very least he managed to show the world that it's not all just a conspiracy theory. Too bad that it didn't seem to make a difference.

CyberP
12th Jul 2014, 22:01
And you know that how? Do you really think that a serious governmental body like the NSA is allowed to waste billions of dollars on something that doesn't work or is inefficient?

Exactly. Firstly they have supercomputers, secondly I can picture there being little management at all. When the information is needed they simply search for it, case by case, dig out the dirt. Computers only need keywords- names, addresses and such, and then it would find all associated information within it's database upon request. Of course this is purely speculation, the search algorithms are likely highly advanced though.
Everyone leaves a footprint on the web, even when encrypted.

neoWilks
13th Jul 2014, 07:48
I find all those "they aren't able to use it effectivley", "they are not interested in my petty crimes", "I'm not a terrorist so I have nothing to worry about" arguments terribly short sighted - especially if they are coming from people with a general interest in dystopias. It frustrates me and did so for about two decades now and led me to the conclusion I stated earlier.

The problem with this line of reasoning is that once you assume the people in charge are acting maliciously, then stuff like the NSA harvesting huge amounts of metadata is pretty much irrelevant. They'd already have tons of ways to more effectively execute that malice. What makes you believe that this sort of spying is any worse than anything already at their disposal?


And you know that how? Do you really think that a serious governmental body like the NSA is allowed to waste billions of dollars on something that doesn't work or is inefficient?

It's literally just math. There is no possible way to dig through this amount of data and reliably pull out useful information. As I detailed earlier, false positives are guaranteed. And we know for a fact that false positives will absolutely dwarf any accurate results. This must be, because the ratio of regular people to terrorists heavily favors the former.

CyberP
13th Jul 2014, 12:39
The problem with this line of reasoning is that once you assume the people in charge are acting maliciously, then stuff like the NSA harvesting huge amounts of metadata is pretty much irrelevant.

They are harvesting data in all it's forms, not just metadata.


As I detailed earlier, false positives are guaranteed.

Process of elimination?

They know what they are doing.

SageSavage
13th Jul 2014, 13:03
The problem with this line of reasoning is that once you assume the people in charge are acting maliciously, then stuff like the NSA harvesting huge amounts of metadata is pretty much irrelevant. They'd already have tons of ways to more effectively execute that malice. What makes you believe that this sort of spying is any worse than anything already at their disposal?
Please elaborate, I don't understand your premise. Are you saying that a global surveillance network, saving and analysing every posssible kind of communication would be redundant for a hypothetical super villains' global domination plan? Made redundant by what exactly?

What if it weren't the US carrying out this gigantic project but, say, China? Would you still argue like that?


It's literally just math. There is no possible way to dig through this amount of data and reliably pull out useful information. As I detailed earlier, false positives are guaranteed. And we know for a fact that false positives will absolutely dwarf any accurate results. This must be, because the ratio of regular people to terrorists heavily favors the former.
You keep saying that but you're just speculating too and in my opinion are underestimating what is and will be possible technically. That's why I called your argument short sighted. Just because there are indications that the system is not working effectively right now, there is a very good chance that it could be in the near future. They are certainly working on it, that much should be clear.

neoWilks
13th Jul 2014, 19:02
Please elaborate, I don't understand your premise. Are you saying that a global surveillance network, saving and analysing every posssible kind of communication would be redundant for a hypothetical super villains' global domination plan? Made redundant by what exactly?

What if it weren't the US carrying out this gigantic project but, say, China? Would you still argue like that?

I'm saying that if anyone in authority wanted to intentionally harm anyone, they have a plethora of means already available to do so. There's no compelling reason to believe that this, metadata harvesting by the NSA, provides any particularly more effective or unique methods of harm. Hypothetical super villains are irrelevant because they don't exist.

And yes, it obviously matters who's in control of the system. That's trivial. Because China has a history of quelling any dissent. The US does not. The terrible reaction of a handful of whistleblowers in recent years doesn't change this. It also doesn't change the fact that China would already have better means of cracking down on political dissidents than this gigantic, clumsy system.


You keep saying that but you're just speculating too and in my opinion are underestimating what is and will be possible technically. That's why I called your argument short sighted. Just because there are indications that the system is not working effectively right now, there is a very good chance that it could be in the near future. They are certainly working on it, that much should be clear.

It can't work effectively. How do you propose anyone accurately sift through this amount of data? By hand? Impossible. There's too much and it will just keep piling up. Some sort of keyword system then? You'll be swamped in false positives. You'll be lucky to pull out any useful information. That's the problem with data sets this large and this complicated.

Let's go through the math again. We'll assume there's a 1 percent failure rate. This is generous. The failure rate is likely higher, but this makes the math easier. So that means that for every set of 100 terrorists, we correctly identify 99 using NSA collected metadata, and 1 gets away. And for every set of 100 non-terrorists, we incorrectly identify 1 non-terrorist as a terrorist. This is where we run into a problem. There are significantly more non-terrorists than terrorists. Let's look at the total US population: ~313 million people. A false positive rate of 1 percent means our system will incorrectly identify 3.130.000 non-terrorists. That's just one country and it's already insurmountable.

Again, this is why they can't point, definitively, to any instance where this data actually helps. Because it most likely doesn't. We've been through two failed wars in the Middle East, we've launched buttloads of separate military actions, we championed torture as an effective means of information gathering. And that's only in this century. Anyone who thinks the US isn't more than willing to throw cash right into the trash supporting failed efforts and poorly conceived programs simply hasn't been paying attention.

Shralla
13th Jul 2014, 19:03
I find all those "they aren't able to use it effectivley", "they are not interested in my petty crimes", "I'm not a terrorist so I have nothing to worry about" arguments terribly short sighted - especially if they are coming from people with a general interest in dystopias. It frustrates me and did so for about two decades now and led me to the conclusion I stated earlier.

The only way to fight back is to do what you want without caring whether they might be watching you. Don't let the supposed surveillance state keep you from your freedom. No amount of complaining on the Internet is ever going to change anything, and it's not like any of you are out bombing government buildings in protest or anything.

You've gotta be joking if you seriously think that every civilized country in the world doesn't have a program exactly like the NSA surveillance program. They all have one, and they've had it for decades. Like the KGB isn't still fully operational. I don't see you proposing any brilliant solutions or other ways to "fight back" against a system which quite frankly has never impeded my freedom even once in my entire life. The only power that these systems have against people is the power the people are willing to give them. Once everybody starts being worried that they're being watched and not doing what they want because of it, that's when "they" start to win.

SageSavage
13th Jul 2014, 22:33
Ok, all is well then. I gazed up at the enormous glass facade. Twenty years it had taken me to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark mirrored windows. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickle down the sides of my nose. But it is all right, everything is all right, the struggle has finished. I have won the victory over myself. I love Big Brother. The next round of lube is on me, everybody.

Shralla
13th Jul 2014, 22:55
Like I said, I'm not hearing any ideas coming from any other side of the fence. Things are going to change with time. Even "forced" change is just a natural evolution. Eventually people won't put up with it, or the right people will be in power, or there will be total transparency, or any of a number of different things or combinations of things that have to happen. Ultimately, though, the idea of "privacy" existing in any form other than one on one interaction is an outdated notion, and even that is going to fall by the wayside as cameras become small enough to float on particles of dust. If it isn't the government monitoring what we're saying, it's everybody else in the world, newspapers or stations, websites, businesses, even individuals. The future of government is in every individual being able to pass instant judgement on any society-affecting decisions that need to be made, which requires constant connectivity. The future of government is in not having a "government" at all, but it's not going to keep your privacy any more intact. You can't hide secrets from the future.

As near as I can tell, Transmetropolitan was spot on regarding the issue of privacy in the future. If you want privacy, you will have to actively take steps to ensure it. Whether that means jammers in your house or moving off the grid, I can't say.

CyberP
14th Jul 2014, 01:24
"The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a despotic form of government. Information, knowledge, is power. If you can control information, you can control people."
-Tom Clancy

As Wilks said, the majority of people won't be bothered until it starts to impact their daily lives, until they can see the results first hand. It already has been impacting everyone's lives on a small scale. When or if it becomes grand scale it will be too late.


I find all those "they aren't able to use it effectivley", "they are not interested in my petty crimes", "I'm not a terrorist so I have nothing to worry about" arguments terribly short sighted

Yes.

FrankCSIS
14th Jul 2014, 02:22
I may be biased as a Canadian living and dealing with outstanding amateurism within our institutions, but my view, as expressed before within these walls, is roughly the same as Wilks.

One of the many scandals is the sheer amount of money and resources dumped into this ridiculous obsession for information control. Although there are genuine intentions regarding the safety and security of our respective nations and their economies, it's also a very big case of "because we can" and "others do it, we need to find an edge".

Americans wouldn't tolerate a network of informant akin to East Germany, where your neighbour or your wife might have informed on you. They can't compete with China and its unbelievably spread network of human spies. Not that Chinese intelligence is any better, or that their "spies" are incredible at their work. The level of amateurism within Chinese intelligence is just as baffling as ours, but they have so many people "infiltrated" (in the loosest possible sense of the word!) in so many industries that they are quite simply everywhere. Some were recently caught trying to smuggle organically modified crops out of the country in order to copy them. You couldn't get anymore amateurish than those outstanding gentlemen, nothing to bring shine on the glorified Chinese intelligence anyway.

Anyway, the point is, the Occident as we currently know it can't compete with this way of handling intelligence. We're in a logic of global communication surveillance. That's our "edge". Or at least it was, before others caught up to it. It's been highly refined over the years, thanks to budgets similar to what it cost to put a man on the moon. We're just extrapolating on our own logic, pushing it as far as we possibly can, because we can. In truth, even if we could filter everything we have, I honestly don't think we'd know what to do with it, on a global scale. Just look at the time it took for the army and the collective agencies to respond to the change in trajectory of the planes on 9/11. A complete and total bureaucratic mess, for a single event. It would take us centuries to coordinate efforts for a global action of "population control", and I still don't think we could seriously pull it off without ******* up.

We could certainly attack people on a personal basis, but we've been doing this for decades, without the use of anything more advanced than a pen and a piece of paper. But globally? Well, I suppose a zealot could make the consumption of internet pornography a criminal offence, with a minimum sentence as insane as those currently in force for marijuana distribution. Then the network of surveillance could easily pinch millions of people with their boxers down. Our problem however, in this scenario, is having this lunatic at the head of the country. The rest is mostly semantics.

Would I prefer we didn't have this type of data mining? Of course. I can't stand the fundamentals of it. I'd rather we spend time, money, and the brains of good people on energy research, than collecting useless data on our good people. I'd rather we hadn't opened that door at all. Your best bet is to keep informed, and keep questioning your officials about it, to maintain a certain semblance of pressure. Even without malicious intent, it's in everyone's interest to maintain pressure on institutions, because they operate outside of reality.

CyberP
14th Jul 2014, 03:04
Ah, a Frank post. /end thread.

In all seriousness I think you are underestimating the situation. You are dismissing all those related to COMINT as incompetent when this is certainly not the case.
You also don't suspect malicious intentions when we have seen in the past time and time again what governments are capable of.


In truth, even if we could filter everything we have, I honestly don't think we'd know what to do with it, on a global scale.

You don't see the potential?

Lady_Of_The_Vine
14th Jul 2014, 07:42
Meh, nothing and nobody can truly control the proud individual....


EDIT.
Oooh, just remembered a perfect song:

N1yB2nVlv2w

CyberP
14th Jul 2014, 12:38
Meh, nothing and nobody can truly control the proud individual....

Not truly, but there is always a level of control we put up with for the greater good and now it is beginning to cross the line again.

Lady_Of_The_Vine
14th Jul 2014, 12:56
Not truly, but there is always a level of control we put up with for the greater good...
Of course.


...and now it is beginning to cross the line again.

And don't we, the people, always deal with any crossing of that line... somehow? :naughty:
People only give up on their power if they think they don't have any.

Decard
14th Jul 2014, 22:41
It can't work effectively. How do you propose anyone accurately sift through this amount of data? By hand? Impossible. There's too much and it will just keep piling up. Some sort of keyword system then? You'll be swamped in false positives. You'll be lucky to pull out any useful information. That's the problem with data sets this large and this complicated.

Let me ask you again, more clearly this time: if you don't work for the NSA, how could you know for certain? Can you accurately determine the state of their technology? Hardware? Software? Methods of operation? Budget? Available manpower?


Again, this is why they can't point, definitively, to any instance where this data actually helps. Because it most likely doesn't. We've been through two failed wars in the Middle East, we've launched buttloads of separate military actions, we championed torture as an effective means of information gathering. And that's only in this century. Anyone who thinks the US isn't more than willing to throw cash right into the trash supporting failed efforts and poorly conceived programs simply hasn't been paying attention.

It's a tiered system. You're talking about level-1 operations and bureaucracy, ie military, FBI, everyday politics, open scientific research etc. Kindergarten stuff, a circus for people to see and talk about. Covert ops are above that, therefore there's less room for mistakes or not paying attention to the budget. It's all about efficiency.



or the right people will be in power

Not gonna happen, because hierarchical structures are perfect environments for psychopaths to thrive in. They always tend to rise to the top, because they are ruthless, cunning and are able to cope with almost any pressure. The result of this can be observed literally everywhere in the world.



It already has been impacting everyone's lives on a small scale. When or if it becomes grand scale it will be too late.

Yes, because the surveillance is and will be introduced gradually. Small changes here and there over decades. New generations will be accustomed to and even content with constant invasions of privacy, because they simply won't know any better.



Meh, nothing and nobody can truly control the proud individual....

Indeed. And transhumanism is designed to address this "issue".

CyberP
14th Jul 2014, 23:00
And don't we, the people, always deal with any crossing of that line... somehow? :naughty:


Usually after years of suffering people finally revolt. Thing is, there is the possibility that people won't even be able to revolt eventually because they will be enslaved/dominated by highly advanced technology. Gray death for example, everybody not in favour with Versalife/MJ12 is ****ed.

I'm not sure how much prestige is given to the movie Fortress among movie buffs, but I always liked it's somewhat unexplored depiction of a totalitarian future. It's not hall of fame worthy and it won't shock you to the core, but it is certainly worth a watch. It is one possible future scenario.

I need to give it a re-run, has been years.

CyberP
15th Jul 2014, 01:35
News Just in: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/14/gchq-tools-manipulate-online-information-leak

"GCHQ has tools to manipulate online information, leaked documents show"

"Documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal programs to track targets, spread information and manipulate online debates"


So, which one of you rats are trying to downplay/manipulate this online debate? Wilks? Frank? Shralla? :p

Seriously though, no time for jokes.

There is no debate to be had here. Go read into the ridiculous amounts of documents leaked.

From the article above:


The disclosure comes the day before the UK parliament is due to begin up to three days' debate on emergency legislation governing British surveillance capabilities. With cross-party support the bill is expected to be voted through this week.

Among the programs revealed in the document are:

• GATEWAY: the "ability to artificially increase traffic to a website".

• CLEAN SWEEP which "masquerade[s] Facebook wall posts for individuals or entire countries".

• SCRAPHEAP CHALLENGE for "perfect spoofing of emails from BlackBerry targets".

• UNDERPASS to "change outcome of online polls".

• SPRING BISHOP to find "private photos of targets on Facebook".

This is ridiculously trivial in comparison to the grand scheme, yet this alone is very significant nonetheless, and it is NOT even from Snowden's many, many docs.
They are taking full advantage of the web. The results could be devastating. Fair enough if a lot of work being done was to uphold the law, but Snowden's docs reveal attempts primarily at population control through information control and manipulation. As the world becomes more interconnected day by day it is critical we understand what is happening here.

Lady_Of_The_Vine
15th Jul 2014, 17:18
Usually after years of suffering people finally revolt.
For sure. It means its time we acted sooner rather than later.


Thing is, there is the possibility that people won't even be able to revolt eventually because they will be enslaved/dominated by highly advanced technology.
If there ever comes a time when you can't beat 'em, then you join 'em. The Omar can already help you as they experience no problems with this technology... ;)


I'm not sure how much prestige is given to the movie Fortress among movie buffs, but I always liked it's somewhat unexplored depiction of a totalitarian future. It's not hall of fame worthy and it won't shock you to the core, but it is certainly worth a watch. It is one possible future scenario.
I need to give it a re-run, has been years.

Yes, same, I should watch it again. I remember I watched this movie when it was released. I know I enjoyed it; I just don't remember the finer details.

neoWilks
15th Jul 2014, 19:04
1) Let me ask you again, more clearly this time: if you don't work for the NSA, how could you know for certain? Can you accurately determine the state of their technology? Hardware? Software? Methods of operation? Budget? Available manpower?

2) It's a tiered system. You're talking about level-1 operations and bureaucracy, ie military, FBI, everyday politics, open scientific research etc. Kindergarten stuff, a circus for people to see and talk about. Covert ops are above that, therefore there's less room for mistakes or not paying attention to the budget. It's all about efficiency.

1) So to be clear, your position here is that we don't know what kind of technology they are using, and so we can't speak to the inefficiency of that technology? Except what you're actually doing is implying the complete opposite: that because we don't know what kind of technology, that we should instead believe it is very efficient. You don't see the problem with this line of reasoning?

Moreover, if that's the case, then why worry about NSA data collection at all? Because everything we know about that suggests it is entirely inefficient and ineffective. If you're coming at this from the angle of what we don't know, then nothing about the NSA revelation has changed anything. We still know nothing about this hypothetical super technology that is somehow able to accurately and reliably sort through trillions upon trillions of individual communications.

2) I'm talking about the stuff we actually know about. If you're talking about something else, then I welcome any evidence you'd like to provide. If this is just vague speculation and paranoia, though, then it's pretty silly to act as if you're any sort of authority on what's actually happening and what the government is actually capable of.

SageSavage
15th Jul 2014, 21:47
1) So to be clear, your position here is that we don't know what kind of technology they are using, and so we can't speak to the inefficiency of that technology? Except what you're actually doing is implying the complete opposite: that because we don't know what kind of technology, that we should instead believe it is very efficient. You don't see the problem with this line of reasoning?

Moreover, if that's the case, then why worry about NSA data collection at all? Because everything we know about that suggests it is entirely inefficient and ineffective. If you're coming at this from the angle of what we don't know, then nothing about the NSA revelation has changed anything. We still know nothing about this hypothetical super technology that is somehow able to accurately and reliably sort through trillions upon trillions of individual communications.

2) I'm talking about the stuff we actually know about. If you're talking about something else, then I welcome any evidence you'd like to provide. If this is just vague speculation and paranoia, though, then it's pretty silly to act as if you're any sort of authority on what's actually happening and what the government is actually capable of.

No, you don't talk about stuff we already know. You were speculating that the system must be inefficient. What you are doing in the post above is spinning arguments. Or do you have proof for your theory?

neoWilks
16th Jul 2014, 04:49
No, you don't talk about stuff we already know. You were speculating that the system must be inefficient. What you are doing in the post above is spinning arguments. Or do you have proof for your theory?
The system must be inefficient. Even if we assume the system is irregularly efficient for what it is, it still leaves us with an inefficient system in practice. Again, this is just math. It is simply impossible to comb such an enormous amount of data and pull out anything useful unless you already know exactly what you're looking for. And if you already know what you're looking for, then there isn't anything particularly special about this sort of program. The government has been able to request phone logs and web activity for years.

I requested this earlier and it went ignored, but please, provide any evidence to the contrary. I'm more than open to an actual rebuttal. Vague allusions to some undefined future peril don't count.

Jito463
16th Jul 2014, 04:51
No, you don't talk about stuff we already know. You were speculating that the system must be inefficient. What you are doing in the post above is spinning arguments. Or do you have proof for your theory?

No, we already know that search algorithms can be inefficient, and that there is a margin of error. The more information that must be processed, the greater that margin of error will be. That is a given, based on current technology. Suggesting that their infrastructure somehow eliminates that margin of error is the speculation. Even if we assume that they have the most advanced computers on the planet, they'll still have margins of error to contend with, and with that much data, the margin will still be unacceptably high.

SageSavage
16th Jul 2014, 07:05
Ok, I assumed that we all read enough about this stuff yet, that it is clear that

a) it is a tiered system, that uses multiple ways of analysing the gathered data - keyword searches, pattern recognition, targeted surveillance etc.., algorithms doing the raw data and humans going through the results, other humans then going through their results. Then someone will be deciding on further steps based on those.

Others have layed it out so much better then me and provided sources as far as that is possible for intelligence related things. For example Nicky Hager in 1996 and the following years, James Bamford in his two books about the NSA or Duncan Campbell. Hagers quick summary from 1998: http://cryptome.org/jya/echelon.htm
I'm pretty sure Snowden & Co recently released megatons of documents about the details too. This is all pretty basic knowledge about the topic at this point and if you come here to write defensive and downplaying posts about something that attacks my privacy, you really should have known that too. I don't have the time or energy to walk you through it.

b) Again: algorithms get refined constantly and just by looking at what Google does with its search engine should show you that they are far from being useless already. You come off like that person 20 years ago who thought the internet hype is just another fad. What math are you talking about exactly - and have you told the NSA about it already? Might save them some effort.

neoWilks
16th Jul 2014, 17:29
Ok, I assumed that we all read enough about this stuff yet, that it is clear that

Snip
I'm not sure which program you're talking about now. Your link is talking about Echelon. The recent NSA scandal is PRISM. The latter of which ostensibly only collects metadata. Meaning phone numbers, time, and duration of calls. Could it go further than that? Maybe, but we don't really know.

Regardless, you still haven't addressed how they've overcome the the inherent problem with any sufficiently large set of data. I think you're still not really acknowledging the amount of data we're talking about here. I mean, estimates put the number of phone calls per day, globally, at around 12 and half billion. As far as emails go, I'm seeing a pretty wide range in estimates, from around 144 billion, daily, to nearly 300 billion. Taking the lower estimate, that leaves us with ~156 billion separate communications each day. So if there exists a failure rate of 1 percent, that leaves us with 1.560.000.000 incorrectly identified results. Let's assume even greater efficiency:

-Failure rate of .1 percent: 156.000.000
-Failure rate of .01 percent: 15.600.000
-Failure rate of .001 percent: 1.560.000

And this is on a daily basis. If we assume that each hit takes ~1 minute to identify as relevant/irrelevant, that every single one of the NSA's 20,000 employees is dedicated solely to sorting through this information, and that they never have to eat or sleep, then it will take roughly 78 days for them to process the entire batch. And in those 78 days, they have now accumulated a total of 121.680.000 new communications.

Google is actually a great example. Google works very well when you're trying to find popular items or if you know the precise wording of a specific article. But the more obscure and vague your terms, the greater chance Google returns incorrect results. You also have examples of comical Google ad placement in places that don't make sense or are bordering on inappropriate. Beyond that, just look at the number of hits you get on any given Google search. How many of those millions of hits cover precisely what you were looking for? Then bear in mind that the number of websites (approximately 1 billion) is absolutely dwarfed by the number of individual communications occurring on a daily basis.

Saying it's a combination of several sorting techniques, from keywords to hand processing, doesn't address the core problem. At best, it reduces the impact of false positives. But since we're dealing with a system so huge and complicated, there is simply no way to eliminate false positives altogether. When dealing with this amount of information, even the most efficient system will produce a quantity of incorrect results that is nearly insurmountable.

Which, again, is why they haven't been able to point to any specific instance of this program working. At it's best, I imagine it's used to compliment other, more reliable, intelligence methods when they already have more than enough intel to go on. But as a standalone program, I just can't rationalize how it'd produce meaningful information.

CyberP
16th Jul 2014, 17:54
I'm not sure which program you're talking about now. Your link is talking about Echelon. The recent NSA scandal is PRISM.

PRISM was a surveillance program conducted primarily at GCHQ, in the UK. The NSA scandal, revealed through Snowden's docs, shows they have many programs, some of which that were not just for collecting metadata.

neoWilks
16th Jul 2014, 18:30
PRISM was a surveillance program conducted primarily at GCHQ, in the UK. The NSA scandal, revealed through Snowden's docs, shows they have many programs, some of which that were not just for collecting metadata.
Obviously the NSA has more than a single intelligence program, but I'm not aware of any other recent leaks regarding programs dedicated to massive data collection. That's what made PRISM famous, the amount of data that was being processed.

Regardless, the point stands. Collecting any and all information, indiscriminately, is not an effective means of intelligence gathering. The introduction of additional factors (like the actual content of phone conversations and emails) would only serve to further complicate the data you're collecting. Thus making false positives all the more likely.

SageSavage
16th Jul 2014, 22:00
Come on, Wilks... don't play dumb with us. This whole conversation has obviously been about the entirety of the NSAs' global surveillance program. Echelon aka Total Information Awareness aka whatever acronym they currently use to call it.

Yes that includes actual content and not just meta data. Yes, that isn't even disputed by the NSA and has been part of multiple leaks, iirc. I provided you with some names that if you research them, will lead you quickly to tons of documents that clearly show this stuff has been in use for many years now, regardless of the false positive rates you keep speculating about. Just because you can't seem to grasp the huge numbers, is by no means an all-clear signal for people who are concerned about their privacy and possible future developments.

Also keep in mind that the NSA is doing this to the entire globe while they are far from being a white knight themselves. I for one already saw a lot of malicious political stuff coming from the US. I am German, so I know a bit about super villains in power (Hitler) and also about Out Of Control Intelligence (Gestapo during the Third Reich and STASI during the DDR era in East Germany). I know that with a technical infrastructure like that in place we are always just a few steps away from a totalitarian regime or at the very least a police state. This is serious stuff that demands just as much caution as, says, nuclear weapons. Don't play that down!

FrankCSIS
17th Jul 2014, 02:09
You don't see the potential?

I do, and then I think I don't. Mainly, I think I fail to see a significant difference with the past century.

Before the CSIS Creation Act of 1984, all interior intelligence work were handled by the RCMP. Labour movements, communist movements and separatist movements have all been carefully infiltrated by the RCMP and the provincial police.

Their implication in the separatist movement is perhaps the most interesting and occult of all. A prominent think tank member and key organizer of the 60's movement has later been identified as a police infiltrator. In the midst of the 60's crisis, The FLQ (a "terrorist" separatist movement) was believed to be a largely organized armed group counting thousands of members. In 1964 a military barrack was robbed of hundreds of rifles, grenades, rocket launchers and anti-tank weaponry. The FLQ was identified as the culprit. In the early 70's, after a complete and thorough investigation, the FLQ turned out to be no more than a small group of amateurs (no larger than a dozen disorganized men) fantasizing about the ETA, the black panthers, and cuban revolutionaries. Only a handful of crimes (including the accidental murder of a kidnapped politician) were really theirs. To this day, we still don't really know who the fully-armed and well-organised commando holding up a military barrack truly was, and those weapons were never found.

What's the point of this story? Every key movement of our country has been infiltrated at one point or another by the intelligence branch of the RCMP, prior to 1984 (after which the intelligence branch was disbanded by the CSIS creation act). Not only was information manipulated, but false acts were repeatedly perpetrated in the name of all sorts of movements, to sway public opinion or hide other actions. Some are now officially recognized, others are still the domain of conspiracy theories, making them harder to verify, even for an analyst! Some newspaper columnists were also know to sway public opinions, while other columnists were openly misinformed by police sources and fake separatists alike. Even the most leftist newspapers have unknowingly published news and columns based on false information "leaked" by intelligence sources. The implication of intelligence in published mass media, and later television, can be easily traced back all the way to the 50's. I somewhat fail to be surprised about their attempt to intervene on the web, direct discussions and debates in directions of their choosing, and publish doped opinions. Apart from the fact that the world is now their playground, it's hardly more significant than all previous involvement in mass media.

No known movement has ever been able to exist and work under the radar of intelligence services in this country. Key members have always been quickly and swiftly identified. While those new tools may allow intelligence services a complete access to communications, the end result is hardly any different. Of course, having the mega infrastructures and institution already in place would greatly facilitate future abuse of power on specific targets. But I still somewhat fail to see how it poses a larger threat. One of my biggest issue probably lies with the economical turmoil created by this information age, and its impact on commercial espionage. But the average citizen is hardly any more at risk than his grandfather. Or to put it the other way around, his grandfather was no safer from eyes and ears of intelligence services than the average citizen is today. Nobody cares about one's sexual fantasies or recreational drug use. At least, nobody cares until you become part of something big. But you could never hide anything from anyone if you became a prominent figure anyway, NSA or not.

If anything, it's probably a lot easier to create a smoke screen around you today, and deliberately create something completely fake about yourself, to throw intelligence services in all kinds of funky directions. If you have time to kill, you could start consulting websites about a variety of touchy subjects, swap emails with people you don't even know, borrow books and scientific articles and visit the Iranian embassy. See how many people you can get on your trail, and how much time and treasury money you can consume with this ridiculous chase! As Wilks has pointed out, the more complex a system is, the more automated it is, the bigger some of its flaws become. While thoroughly effective in finding real information, it will never know how much of the trail you leave is actually real.

CyberP
17th Jul 2014, 10:57
As Wilks has pointed out, the more complex a system is, the more automated it is, the bigger some of its flaws become. While thoroughly effective in finding real information, it will never know how much of the trail you leave is actually real.

Yes. The system pulls up your records, your digital footprint, and that's when the specialists come in and investigate I assume.
When researching something online you don't just take everything you read as fact, but it is more likely than not going to be true if you are going to reliable sites, and if it is a broad subject what you read online can be a good basis for starting off. Same approach taken by the NSA I'd assume...Or not, apparently drone strikes in Iraq et al have been based purely off of mined metadata, and innocents have been slain.

AgentExeider
21st Jul 2014, 01:21
Folks, if only you knew the true depths of how bad the "Elite" want things to get, NSA spying is just the tip of a very large iceberg.

I won't go into detail because you should know it if you awake, and if your not, then that's your problem.

But just to kind of give it at least a close approximation, Deus Ex is more accurate then people are willing to admit.

I don't know if Warren Specter KNEW what he had when he created DX or if it was something he came across and thought it would make for a great story, and didn't put too much stock in it.

But everything I have researched and come across since 2008 when I started, oh my god how much of it is true, you would think it's taken out of the pages of DX or Blade runner or some other cyberpunk story, but it is real and it's something "they" have been working on for a long time.

all I can say is hopefully, we fight back and stop it before it becomes inevitable and we fall into a new dark age.

If not then may the JC Dentons and Adam Jensens of the world exist and be in the right place at the right time to save us.