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NSA Records Billions Of Foreign Phone Calls
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windk
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windk,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/19/2014 | 3:50:45 PM
Inner sanctum
The inner sanctum of the NSA looks like that now? It looks like a 1980's/90's video arcade. If only it were all fun and games...
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
3/19/2014 | 5:53:36 PM
Re: Inner sanctum
We found this image from a 2012 photo distributed by NSA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NSOC-2012.jpg

It's intriguing to compare it to an actual 1985 photos also distributed by NSA, which hardly looks like a video parlor. Check it out at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:National_Security_Operations_Center_photograph,_c._1985_-_National_Cryptologic_Museum_-_DSC07661.JPG
windk
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windk,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/20/2014 | 2:07:06 AM
Re: Inner sanctum
Wyatt, thank you for your article and follow up. I had grown so accustomed to the late 80's and 90's era NSA computer images of multiple huge black towers with multiple red LEDs; the "video parlor" view threw me for a loop. Computer history is fascinating; last year I had published a bibliographic essay about it.
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
3/20/2014 | 9:06:20 AM
Re: Inner sanctum
Windk, thanks for commenting. Did your research lead you to discover any other great NOCs that might be worth sharing?

 
windk
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windk,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/20/2014 | 11:39:26 AM
Re: Inner sanctum
WKash, good question. My research mostly brought me towards the commerical and social networking side of things, e.g., Google, Facebook, etc. In regards to NOCs, perhaps the closest the essay came to that were the command and control and radar systems in the late 1950's and early 60's. If you haven't looked through the book, I highly recommend the pictorial history Core Memory: a Visual Survey of Vintage Computers. In the early 1960's my father worked with one of the computer systems featured: the SAGE. Thank you for your interest and please let me know if you have any additional questions. I would be pleased to collaborate. Here is the citation for the essay: The Evolution of Computers: Key Resources. Choice July 2013 50:1955-1964 doi:10.5860/CHOICE.50.11.1955.
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
3/20/2014 | 6:47:33 PM
Re: Inner sanctum
windk, thanks for noting the book and the background.  Appreciate you commenting on this and related stories.

 
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
3/19/2014 | 5:58:35 PM
Re: Inner sanctum
Just think: We could use the NSA database to identify and prosecute all the rogue marketers who violate FTC robocall rules. Omnipresent surveillance for the win!

 

On a more serious note, I can't wait until we find out which country had all its calls hoovered by the NSA. That's sure to be fun for the State Department.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
3/20/2014 | 8:25:41 AM
Re: Inner sanctum
I agree, though wonder if much will come of it. It's not like there was that much of a fall out - considering how serious it was - when it was discovered that the German Chancellor had had her phone tapped. 

Hopefully the incoming EU regulations will help curb some of the worst parts of the NSA's data snooping. 
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
3/20/2014 | 9:15:11 AM
Re: Inner sanctum
On top of learning which countries's calls NSA is allegedly vacuuming up, it would also be interesting to learn how NSA manages to extract useful cluses, sifting through foreign slang and codewords in all of the calls it chooses to replay.

 
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
3/20/2014 | 6:58:52 PM
A billion records...
...counts as "targeted collection"? The NSA again amazes in being exactly opposite and miles away from what normal people would consider acceptable.
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
3/21/2014 | 10:51:14 AM
Re: A billion records...
I think what's going on in the hunt for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 -- and the search through vast collections of satellite images -- is a fairer way to look at what the NSA does.  Here you have a commercial satellite company, DigitalGlobe, peering down on Earth from a constellation of satellites 681 km up in space, that records 3 million square kilometers of images every day!  Now suddenly, there's a reason to look through presumably many millions of images to locate a clue.  Some would say this is good idea.

But why is this any less outrageous -- or somehow more acceptable -- than what the NSA is doing, trying to prevent another 9/11?  There's good reason to be concerned with government overreach. But some of the righteous indignation about what the NSA is trying to do, and actually is doing, seems a bit of an overreach too.  If people are going to object to NSA's capabilities and activities, then let's add a variety of commercial operators to the list!

 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
3/25/2014 | 11:37:41 AM
Re: A billion records...
@WKash: I think the problematic aspect of this for many people has more to do with the fact that this is a government entity spying on citizens and residents without a good showing of probable cause.

(If this strictly had to do with spying on foreign powers/persons/entities, I doubt we'd see so much hullaballoo over this.)

Because of this, this is absolutely not the same thing as "Facebook violates user privacy!" or the like.  People have Constitutional rights to protect them from government -- not from corporate entities with whom they have a contractual relationship that allows said entities to gather and share personal data.

That said, however, this has certainly raised awareness among many about the importance of privacy when dealing with various companies -- because those companies may share (willingly or, in the case of NSA spying, unwillingly) their data with government.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
3/25/2014 | 5:45:27 AM
Re : NSA Records Billions Of Foreign Phone Calls
@ Whoopty, I bet nothing will come out of it as well. Some officials might pay lip service to it and make new promises to come clean on everything NSA does. Nothing more! It is quite evident by the fact that President Obama hasn't moved on Task Force's recommendations. I wonder why that Task Force was made in the first place when its recommendations were supposed to be scrapped.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
3/27/2014 | 7:09:15 AM
Re : NSA Records Billions Of Foreign Phone Calls
@ WKash, this is a very big question. Sifting through big data and finding useful data out of piles of data has been the main question startling Big Data. It looks like NSA has mastered this art. They must have some extensive and highly skilled work force to accomplish such a gigantic task of identifying codes in slangs of different countries.


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