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Re: [tor-talk] EFF "Who Has Your Back" report

On 5/21/2014 7:41 AM, krishna e bera wrote:
A recent EFF report [0] purports to show that many companies are
becoming more proactive in defence of internet users' privacy.  It rates
companies on how well they protect data from government requests.  This
makes some of these companies *such as Google look very good for privacy*.
"Google looking good for privacy" is hilarious (comment not aimed at the OP).
... Further, it [the report] narrowly focuses on government requests, omitting to consider that companies may have standing offers to sell data and metadata to governments or other entities....
Thanks for the links. PBS' Frontline recently aired a very in depth, 2-part show on the NSA's general surveillance activities (& other related issues) since the 9/11 attacks. Best I remember, they didn't contain much new, ground shaking news (beyond what's been reported, over a long, drawn out period), but did a pretty good job at creating a timeline for who knew / said what, when. It did show several powerful people, incl. NSA officials & U.S. president, lying like dogs to Congress & the press / American public. Shows aired on PBS are often available online, for free.

A seldom mentioned fact is, even if companies aren't regularly "selling" user data to a gov't (they *absolutely* are selling it to other, non-gov't entities), they often charge requesting LEAs large sums to gather & assemble the requested data (make reports). Some of the actual invoices for fees charged for these services are public (were released by the companies) & available for inspection. I've seen invoices from say, major mobile phone providers, like Verizon, Sprint. They aren't just getting "a few bucks to cover costs" when they gather the requested data & prepare reports; it is quite costly.

That income (from data requested in criminal proceedings or "National Security Letters", etc.) may be a small portion of their bottom line. As Krishna mentioned, no one knows (yet) what other transactions may be occurring. Some of Snowden's released NSA documents show that sometimes the NSA just takes (hacks, acquires, monitors... steals) what it wants for the Googles, Yahoos - so why pay large sums? It would only make sense if paying the companies was far less expensive & faster, than secretly "borrowing" the data. But if companies have an agreement to sell data, an agency like NSA must worry about secrecy (even if only a couple people at each company know about it).

If after the Snowden released documents, anyone thinks that the wildest imaginable "conspiracy theory" about any gov't activity isn't completely possible, there's something wrong. (Some diehard "W" supporters still believed there were WMDs in Iraq, yrs into the Iraq war, despite massive intelligence to the contrary. *"I've made up my mind, don't confuse me with facts."*

Soon, the public will forget(1) that Snowden exposed - as absolute truth, the formerly "crazy, conspiracy theories" about gov't surveillance (gov'ts all over the world possibly do the same things at varying levels). Things previously thought to be *so impossible* w/ current technology, ...or so illegal / impossible to do under current laws & the constitution, that anyone suggesting them was immediately labeled a nut. But everything imagined about secret gov't activities - & more - *beyond our wildest dreams, turned out to be fact.*

And, as incredible as everything that Snowden obtained is, it very likely only scratches the surface of all the surveillance & data gathering activies (same goes for other gov'ts). Even so, any new theories about (any) gov'ts activities or capabilities will once again be labeled as conspiracy theories.

(1) Just as the illegal collection of internet data *did not stop* after the exposure - many yrs ago - of AT&T sharing it's internet traffic w/ NSA, the release of Snowden's documents won't stop most of the exposed programs & activities. But avg citizens & a fair number of intelligent, suspicious citizens will believe (assume) that just because the activities & programs were exposed - using the gov'ts own documentation - that the activities will largely stop.

Why would anyone assume that the general internet surveillance stopped after Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician, 1st exposed it in 2004 - later confirmed by journalists & others? Is it because that's what always happens when illegal gov't activities are exposed? It shouldn't be, because their tactics often don't change, just because they were exposed. Being exposed is a mere bump in the road, to a 500 lb gorilla, that "sleeps anywhere it wants."

Articles from *way back* in 2005 - 2006, on the initial claim of AT&T sharing internet users' data w/ the NSA. http://www.salon.com/2006/06/21/att_nsa/ _Is the NSA spying on U.S. Internet traffic?_ http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=6762 _SAN FRANCISCO AT&T OFFICE OPENED TO NSA SURVEILLANCE PROGRAM, former AT&T technician this week tells Washington DC lawmakers_ Note: dozens of articles are available on internet, by reputable journalists reporting on this incident; and an official Congressional investigation into it. All that was soon forgotten & *? SOMEHOW ?* Congress & the public were surprised at revelations of Snowden's documents. Given the historical record of many world gov'ts in similar situations (in principle), *why was anyone surprised by the information in the Snowden documents?*

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