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NSA pwns the internet

Written By: - Date published: 11:03 am, June 7th, 2013 - 74 comments
Categories: internet, Spying, telecommunications, us politics - Tags: ,

The NSA has direct access to servers at Google, Apple, Facebook, and other Internet giants, and they collect pretty much whatever data they like. We shouldn’t be surprised. The Guardian has the story:

NSA taps in to internet giants’ systems to mine user data, secret files reveal

• Top secret PRISM program claims direct access to servers of firms including Google, Facebook and Apple
• Companies deny any knowledge of program in operation since 2007

The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows them to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.

The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims “collection directly from the servers” of major US service providers.

Although the presentation claims the program is run with the assistance of the companies, all those who responded to a Guardian request for comment on Thursday denied knowledge of any such program.  …

The NSA access was enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under Obama in December 2012.

The program facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US.

It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants.  …

Prism

 

PRISM slide crop

74 comments on “NSA pwns the internet”

  1. RedLogix 1

    No such thing as conspiracy theories eh?

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Long rumoured, but now this is a conspiracy fact.

      Your GMail, Facebook, Xtra (through Yahoo!), instant messaging, whatever, is an open book. Forget the GCSB scandal, they are just a small cog in this wheel allowing spying on any one deemed to be an enemy of the state…or of any incumbent government. Or if you are a friend, associate or family member of anyone under suspicion, sorry you are fair game too. We also know thanks to Julian Assange and Wikileaks that diplomatic negotiations, business deals, corporate activities etc. are all regularly spied upon by the US, these are just tools for them to do more of the same.

      I have also posted a link here previously from (popular mechanics?) on the new Utah data gathering site which attempts to capture and store in perpetuity every single electronic communication within, entering, and leaving the US (including messages from international sources going to non US destinations but simply routed through a US server).

      You may not be designated a protestor, activist or dissident now, but if any time down the track you are, or your children are, the archives of your previous communications are an open book for study.

      I believe a quote from that article is that the US is now a single turnkey away from being a totalitarian state.

    • weka 1.2

      “No such thing as conspiracy theories eh?”

      In light of the conversation a few days ago, +1 RL.

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.1

        there was a “conspiracy theory” going around a few years ago that one of FaceBook’s original investors was acting on behalf of the CIA; essentially that the CIA helped start FaceBook.

        Now it appears wherever there is “conspiracy smoke”, there is very likely to be “conspiracy fire”.

        I’m afraid in a world where real life is stranger than fiction, rationalists like Murray Olsen are going to be left far behind.

        • Murray Olsen 1.2.1.1

          Funnily enough, I’ve stated for years that we should act as if the government can and is reading all our electronic communications. I don’t see that as a conspiracy theory at all, it’s a realistic view of what intelligence agencies do. It also has nothing to do with chemtrails or the Illuminati.

          I also know in principle how to encode all my communications so they can’t be decrypted using presently available technology. I’ll stick to being rational, thank you very much.

          • weka 1.2.1.1.1

            “I also know in principle how to encode all my communications so they can’t be decrypted using presently available technology. I’ll stick to being rational, thank you very much.”

            You’re all right then Jack, good for you.

            You ok with your phone calls being recorded too? How about having a camera in your house?

            • Murray Olsen 1.2.1.1.1.1

              No.
              No.
              Any other ridiculous questions? I don’t eat human children either, in case that was next on your list.
              In fact, if you’d read anything I’ve written, you would have already known the answer to those questions, but I suppose it’s more entertaining to just make stuff up as you go.

              • weka

                I suppose that’s what happens when you comment smugly in a thread where other people might be concerned about their own safety.

                How come you are ok with your emails being recorded but not your phone calls?

                • Murray Olsen

                  I am not OK with my emails being recorded. I am not OK with anyone’s emails being recorded. The fact that I am not OK with it will not stop governments doing it. I also realise there are many paedophiles at large in society. Does that mean I’m OK with what they do? Following your specious logic, I’d have to conclude it does.

                  As for commenting, my name was brought up by CV in what seems a fairly smug manner. In fact, it was a direct attack. I don’t see how the hell I was being smug.

                  Anything else you’d like to find me guilty of while you’re at it? Or is selfishness (I’m alright, Jack), support of spy agencies, and being OK with having my emails recorded enough for one day?

                  By the way, plenty of people know how to encrypt their emails. Most don’t bother because it just attracts more attention. I don’t because I don’t put anything in my emails or on the internet that could compromise me in any way. The way things are these days, anyone using unbreakable encryption could well find themselves renditioned to warmer climes. Just to be clear, I’m not OK about that either.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    At least I didn’t call you an irrational paranoid conspiracy theorist. Or maybe I did? When I used your name I simply said that your rationalist approach was simply not going to keep up with a reality that was less than rational. I suppose as a scientist you may have seen that as an attack on the tenets of your world view belief system, but it wasn’t really an attack on you personally.

                    Anyways it seems to me like all the fears and suspicions you think are reasonable, even if they are vast in scope, are rational and well grounded, yet step outside those bounds, and they rapidly become “conspiracy theories”. Which I suppose is a fine way to view the order of things.

                    My observation: there’s a long grey scale of likely to unlikely, and there are a lot of surprises on that scale most of us are not yet aware of.

                  • RedLogix

                    As I said awhile back, us ordinary people know nutin’. As a result I try to take a middle road on this. Instead of taking black and white positions on these ‘conspiracy theories’, I mentally assign a probability to them.

                    Very few things are absolutely true or false, most things can be seen in some light between one extreme or another. NASA faking the moon landings is 99.999% untrue; the NSA comprehensively spying on us all; yesterday 95% true, is now 99.9999% true.

                    http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/misc/u05/ule-s.gif

                    What does annoy me is when people get all positional and confrontational about their personal perception of this probability. Fact is… to some extent or another we are all guessing.

                    http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2939#comic

                    • Murray Olsen

                      Fair enough, RL, that’s pretty much how most people decide stuff. I get more confrontational than I should for a number of reasons. The main one is that I get sick of being told I’m either brainwashed and believe everything on the news, or a paid disinformation agent, because I don’t agree that chemtrails exist or that 9/11 was a controlled demolition, for example. I also get upset at the number of times I’ve seen people hijack movements, meetings, or discussions by insisting that whatever they think is the most important issue be the sole topic.

                      I will say that we’re not always just guessing. When someone tells me that the CIA uses optical fibres to transmit microwaves for mind control purposes and I say that’s a load of crap, I’m not guessing. I generally try to make it clear when I’m expressing an opinion/guess.

                    • weka

                      +1.

                      My problem with most conspiracy theorists isn’t the theory so much as the lack of critical thinking skills by some of the major proponents (the theory is after all just a theory). And when the rationalists can’t see past their own belief systems. Most of us live in the middle ground looking both ways, but it seems prudent to stay open to the possibility of things we don’t yet know or understand (which doesn’t mean giving up critical analysis).

                    • Colonial Viper

                      USA now employing systems and laws East Germany’s Stasi could only dream of

                      http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2013-06-06/government-also-monitoring-content-our-phone-calls

          • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1.2

            I’ve stated for years that we should act as if the government can and is reading all our electronic communications. I don’t see that as a conspiracy theory at all, it’s a realistic view of what intelligence agencies do

            Lol conspiracy theory paranoid much?

            You left out the logical next step of what they do with that mass of data, and how the political powers in charge (who after all ordered and funded these activities in the first place) then use your information.

            Don’t say, maybe *that’s* when it finally becomes a “conspiracy theory” in your books?

            • Murray Olsen 1.2.1.1.2.1

              Just make up for yourself what I think. I’ve explained it before, but you’re more interested in scoring imaginary points. I can see how this is quite different from 9/11 stuff, chemtrails, HAARP, Illuminati, Hollow Earth etc. If you can’t, that’s not my problem.

        • Bill 1.2.1.2

          You do understand the difference between a suspicion (well grounded or otherwise) and a conspiracy theory CV, yes?

          • weka 1.2.1.2.1

            But who gets to judge which is which?

            • Bill 1.2.1.2.1.1

              You get to judge. And it’s fairly straight forward. It’s the difference between me suspecting you’re an alien on the one hane and announcing it as a matter of fact on the other.

          • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.2.2

            I think it takes secret agreement between multiple government agencies, senior political figures and business leaders to secretly fund and organise the mass capture and recording of every single electronic transmission made in a day within billion dollar data centres, for later use for any purpose they decide, completely outside of the realm of public, judicial or democratic oversight.

            You can tell me whether that is a conspiracy theory (now conspiracy fact) or whether that was a ‘plausible suspicion’.

            • Bill 1.2.1.2.2.1

              Do spy agencies employ undemocratic means to further information gathering agendas? I’d be surprised if that wasn’t the case. And what this NSA leek does is confirm the quite common sense suspicion that spy agencies do not operate in a transparent fashion and further (more importantly), give an insight to their capabilities and ways of operating.

              But I’d prefer a more subtle example such as – ‘Is it believable that the US government would allow the death of thousands of relatively innocant people?’ (Answer =Yes) Against – ‘Did the US government knowingly and directly conspire in the demolition of the twin towers by, for example, planting explosives in the towers?’ (Answer =No)

              And those that hold the answer to the latter question to be ‘yes’ throw occams razor wa-a-ay out the window in their tireless efforts to construct a conspiracy from spurious so-called *facts* surrounding the collapse of those towers (that can be shown to be false by the application of engineering principles) or by employing *facts* that are so tenuous and outlandish as to be utterly laughable.

              But since it is reasonable and able to be demonstrated from the historical record that governments (the US included) have scant regard for human life – to what degree is it reasonable to suspect that the US government knew that some form of terrorist act was being considered and allowed things to unfold for political reasons but had no idea of the specific details or targets? I don’t think that’s an unreasonable thought/suspicion, but also think it’s not worth wasting any time on. The political aftermath…the launching of the ‘war on terror’ and all of its consequences is what matters

              • Colonial Viper

                throw occams razor wa-a-ay out the window in their tireless efforts to construct a conspiracy from spurious so-called *facts* surrounding the collapse of those towers (that can be shown to be false by the application of engineering principles)

                3 skyscrapers suffered widely varying and assymetrical damage that day. Two out of the three were hit by planes from different directions and at different levels; the third skyscraper was not hit by any plane.

                However all three of them collapsed vertically upon their own foot print.

                I’d love to know what “engineering princples” allowed that circumstance to happen.

    • Murray Olsen 1.3

      Of course there are. The question is not whether the theories exist, but whether they are plausible. An even more important question is whether they are used to make people feel helpless rather than organising against the mess we’re in.

      • weka 1.3.1

        Well I’ll agree with you on that one. I’m not sure what the point is of scaring people if you don’t give them tools to deal with the problem.

      • rosy 1.3.2

        +1 Murray Olsen
        I don’t recall anyone of the left stating conspiracies don’t exist, and there’s been plenty of agreement that it’s the plausibility/probability/evidence-gathering that is important.

        Talking across each other because some people can agree on the plausibility of some conspiracies but entirely disagree about the plausibility of other seems to me a complete waste of energy.

        I note that on this thread is seems all agree there has been a conspiracy to secretly collect electronic communications data. Isn’t who, why, where, when, what and how is much more important than point scoring?

        I for one, am pretty interested to know if our flash new GCSB laws were written with aiding the U.S. in collecting data on U.S. citizens in mind, and if so, is there a reciprocal agreement?

        • Murray Olsen 1.3.2.1

          If we’re lucky, Nicky Hagar might write another book soon. If we’re really unlucky, Ian Wishart might.

          I’d suspect the US had a huge input into our new laws, but seeing how the GCSB could collect stuff on non-residents/citizens legally already, I’m not sure how what you suggest would fit. As for reciprocal agreements, my understanding is that we send them a lot of raw data, they analyse it, and then tell us what they decide we need to know. The reciprocal agreement our craven intelligence community and politicians would have with the seppos is probably heavily weighted in favour of the US and A, and then breached by them at will anyway. A bit reminiscent of the TPPA would be my guess. I just hope we get a government that realises we’re a sovereign nation before that obscenity gets signed, but I won’t be holding my breath.

          • ghostrider888 1.3.2.1.1

            so Murray, with your expertise, what do you think of ‘The Coming Technological Singularity’ – Vernor Vinge (Professor of Mathematics, Computer Scientist; SDSU) , in 30 years, from his statement in 1993.

            • Murray Olsen 1.3.2.1.1.1

              None of my professional expertise is really relevant to his article, which seems to be a metaview of AI (also IA), ethics, and philosophy. What I do see is something quite scary – we create something that makes us redundant and, if what he says about further evolution is right, we will never even understand why we’re regarded as redundant. At the moment we seem to be intent on destroying ourselves via global warming, so from a purely selfish (and pessimistic) perspective, that may not change much.

              Moore’s Law seems to have held so far where processing is concerned, but must break down one day with improvements of present architecture to depend on. Quantum computing offers a way past this, but I have two problems with that concept. One is that I am dubious that it will ever work as promised and the second is that the day it does, the NSA will grab it for themselves and it’ll effectively disappear. The technological singularity could end up being like commercial fusion – always 20 years away.

              It was an interesting read at least. Thanks. I wonder if it came out of a wine and cheese session at an AI conference?

              • ghostrider888

                :-D

              • RedLogix

                Vernor Vinge is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science (San Diego SU) and a well known hard-SF author.

                From the very beginning of his career he has addressed many aspects of the apparently inexorable impact of Moore’s Law and the many implications of this brings. He’s definitely one of the groundbreaking thinkers in this area.

                Plus I’m a big fan … having a complete collection and all.

                • ghostrider888

                  gee, you guys (and gals) and your Science Fiction; I hardly find time to read the non-fiction I’m interested in, and then there’s that new-fangled magic-realism, and all those classics, modern literature and old; God, let the Internet crash soon, please.

    • Poission 1.4

      No such thing as conspiracy theories eh?

      Oh it gets better.The US DOJ is appealing (in secret) the secret findings of a us secret court’ that found the secret surveillance was unconstitutional ie PRISM.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/07/justice-department-prism_n_3405101.html

      • ghostrider888 1.4.1

        a raft of articles in the Herald ‘World’ section today, eeevin.

      • Murray Olsen 1.4.2

        Ironic that the fuss over there is about US agencies spying on US citizens when they were only supposed to spy on foreigners. Same script, different country.

        • ghostrider888 1.4.2.1

          Thanks for the reply; I appreciate the amplified architecture of your comments, and one can never be certain ;) of the probabilities of having ones own Horrorscope read.

  2. ghostrider888 2

    Rev. 13:7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast- all whose names have not been written ( in another) book of life…

  3. RJL 3

    It could be interesting to know whether MegaUpload was “invited” to join PRISM. And whether or not it refused.

    • weka 3.1

      I’m a little confused. Are you saying the FB, google, apple etc have given permission?

      Does this open them up to lawsuits?

      edit – it’s been a long time since I actually read a privacy policy when signing up to something online.

      • RJL 3.1.1

        Read the Guardian article.

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          I have read the article. Is there a reason you won’t answer a straight forward request for clarification?

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            Although lprent could answer more fully, I’d say yes all those large companies will have given permission to the NSA etc. But more than that, the corporates will have actually co-operated with the intelligence agencies to develop the applications and interfaces needed by the intelligence agencies to access every part of their databases and other systems.

            Google will no doubt have helped refine the intelligence agencies search strategies. (Google has previously been contracted to build proprietary search apps for military and government use).

            The corporates will have co-operated for many reasons, not the least of which that they didn’t want the intelligence agencies using ad-hoc “hacks” to get the information that they wanted, bad programming which might have inadvertently slowed down or even crashed the corporation’s commercial systems.

            btw when you look at news stories describing how the Chinese Government has previously blocked GMAIL in their country…I guess they figured this stuff out some time back.

            • weka 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks CV. I had taken the bit quoted in the post above about the companies denying knowledge at face value. I guess they’re lying then.

              • Colonial Viper

                it’s absolutely likely that only a couple of dozen people inside each of these companies has any exposure whatsoever to the work which has been done. And even then, they may have no idea that the work was done for an intelligence agency. Just another job from management refining a new set of database administrative tools.

                As an aside, Russia Today reports that senior executives from Google, Amazon, etc are a key part of the Bilderberg meetings. And that both the UK Tories and UK Labour have representatives there.

            • ghostrider888 3.1.1.1.1.2

              you guys (and gals) could be watching The Mechanic (for free on 2) in the ads. ;)

              there was a former Drone Pilot, Brandon Bryant on the News; 1626 documented ‘kills’ with a diploma to verify them.
              http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249252/Brandon-Bryant-Drone-operator-followed-orders-shoot-child–decided-quit.html

          • joe90 3.1.1.1.2

            Denials galore.

            http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57588337-38/no-evidence-of-nsas-direct-access-to-tech-companies/

            The National Security Agency has not obtained direct access to the systems of Apple, Google, Facebook, and other major Internet companies, CNET has learned.

            Recent reports in the Washington Post and the Guardian claimed a classified program called PRISM grants “intelligence services direct access to the companies’ servers” and that “from inside a company’s data stream the NSA is capable of pulling out anything it likes.”

            Those reports are incorrect and appear to be based on a misreading of a leaked Powerpoint document, according to a former government official who is intimately familiar with this process of data acquisition and spoke today on condition of anonymity.

            “It’s not as described in the histrionics in the Washington Post or the Guardian,” the person said. “None of it’s true. It’s a very formalized legal process that companies are obliged to do.”

            http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/07/in-response-to-prism-anonymous-leaks-classified-dod-documents/

            http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/06/google-facebook-apple-deny-participation-in-nsa-prism-program/

            http://googleblog.blogspot.co.nz/2013/06/what.html

            http://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10100828955847631

    • Murray Olsen 3.2

      I assume that anything sourced via MegaUpload would have gone through other servers anyway, so I doubt if this is why Kim attracted so much attention.

  4. weka 4

    If you’ve got nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.

    /sarc

  5. Jacobin 5

    Wow. Just wow. The worst that privacy advocates have been alleging for years, particularly Glenn Greenwald who has often stood out like a lone pariah, turns out to be true and more.

    All the more reason we need to get our own GCSB house in order/investigations need to be cleaner than they have been

    • Murray Olsen 5.1

      We need to abolish the GCSB. They are an American/British intelligence agency, staffed by and paid for by Kiwis. This is one case where I support economic austerity. The SIS can go as well.

  6. joe90 6

    So who’s going to stop voluntarily handing over their personal information because their service provider might be legally obliged to hand it over to those who request it?.

    • weka 6.1

      The way I read it, it’s not about a company legally handing over information. It’s about the NSA having free access to those companies’ databases.

        • weka 6.1.1.1

          That doesn’t address my point.

          This was interesting though –

          5. The information the NSA is collecting is metadata, not content (like a wiretap), and not account names. Uncovering personally identifiable information would require separate warrants to do so. This was a pattern analysis, not really mass surveillance as we traditionally understand it. Anyone who calls this a “wiretap” is probably stupid or didn’t read the order.

          That is different from the Guardian is saying.

          • karol 6.1.1.1.1

            This is looking like the “Thin Thread” that I posted about a couple of weeks back. It is a metadata gathering programme that the GCSB supposedly trialed for the NSA:

            William Binney, a whistle blower from the US NSA (National Security Agency) claims that a surveillance device, Thin Thread was sent to spy agencies in places like NZ, Canada,, Australia, Germany and the UK in 2000-2001 for testing. According to author Tim Shorrock, ThinThread monitors the meta data of phone, internet and email communications, at first masking the identities of the participants in the communications. It only reveals these identities when the spies decide they are concerned enough to apply for a warrant.

            • freedom 6.1.1.1.1.1

              The NSA simply use whatever they want. The metadata collected with PRISM is most likely used in conjunction with other [fascist] tools such as ThinThread to create whatever they require, to do whatever they want. This admission though, is a smokescreen at best.

              Folk may wish to pause and reflect on this ‘forced’ declaration. What does it really mean in the wider context of the ugly hate machine the US has become. The NSA would by no means be the most extreme of US agencies involved. It has been widely discussed that since 9-11 over 1000 new Agencies have been added to the US Administration’s lexicon of acronyms. Since 2002, mostly throughout Virginia, there has been a massive ongoing construction programme, where some very large compounds have been planted deep into some very out of the way places. Some are said to challenge Langley for sheer scale of construction. Though unlike Langley many of these compounds are completely anonymous. These enormous glass and concrete bunkers, styled with a ‘YOU THERE! look away from here!’ attention to detail, are said to collectively house the biggest threat on the planet, to our privacy our security and our democracy.

              It is suspected the majority are officially assigned to assisting with Defense, The War on Terror and National Security. As far as the US is concerned, that ‘National Security’ bit involves controlling enslaving or simply destroying any bits of Earth that have the temerity to disagree with what it is doing. These largely unknown agencies all act under an umbrella yielded by DHS jurisdiction, thus are exempt from full public disclosure as to purpose budget and accountability. It sure is a wonderful world we are leaving the children.

        • joe90 6.1.1.2

          To me it appears that they have free access because congress legislated that they can.

          edit: The full court ruling.

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2013/jun/06/verizon-telephone-data-court-order

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.2.1

            Even totalitarian states need a legal framework to operate in.

            And which Bill was that authorising this?

            And isn’t it interesting that a company with the might and size of Google etc didn’t block it at every turn.

            Bye bye US constitution.

            • Poission 6.1.1.2.1.1

              tradeoff in exchange for your global information we will overlook your tax avoidance.

              • Colonial Viper

                Which we happen to know all about in the first place because we have the emails and phone recordings between you and your accountant. And you and your next prospective employer you are negotiating with. And you and your spouse. And you and your lover. And you and your ex.

                Good fun days.

                • Poission

                  Sergei Brin was given “temporary high security” clearance with regard to operation aurora.

                  There are suggestions also that a substantial part of the google gathering information (under the guise of google maps) was imparted to other parties (sic) prior to being destroyed.

          • joe90 6.1.1.2.2

            Bye bye US constitution.

            I think this is the end run around the fourth.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_v._Maryland

            • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.2.2.1

              Ahhhh thanks. So the same principle would apply to email addresses, instant messaging user names, login IDs and passwords, any pin verification, addresses on letters you write etc.

  7. the central scutinizer 7

    https://www.eff.org/

  8. ghostrider888 8

    …now, who were those sociologist prophets who predicted The Technological Society would witness the end of democracy.hmmm.

  9. Bill 9

    Maybe ‘faceleft’ or similar networking sites are the answer for those of a political persuasion? Of course, since they don’t sell your data or carry advertising, they do look to charge a small monthly subscription. And I’m only putting this here because maybe you are one of the people who ‘should’ take a closer look and consider it as a much safer alternative to the likes of facebook etc. Here’s a link to the FAQ page for those who might be interested http://www.zsocial.org/help

    My personal take is that, given its currently limited size, that it could be a valuable resource for any pre-existing groups that use internet based organising or communication tools.

    Anyways….

  10. xtasy 10

    To all those that may be “surprised”, I am not, and I have warned before of what is actually going on already with Facebook, Twitter, Google and others very actively harvesting your own info, including user profiles, your emails, your names and more. This is not a joke, it is real, and it is done so for “advertising purposes”, and if you look more closely at what you click and sign when registering for various services, you condone to be tracked and traced day in and out.

    So the NSA does spy on the services you use, big deal.

    You should have known this from the start, before using Facebook and allowing their cookies and else to connect to your browser and follow you, yes follow you, onto other websites, and onto whatever you click. The same applies to the Standard, and this site is being tracked by the ones I just mentioned constantly, same as most websites and forums.

    Try to get some Google blocking software and others, and then you will see your browser slowing down, as it has already been compromised, to only function if you allow all the track and spyware to follow you. If you block it, they try to slow your usage.

    That is capitalism and control on the web now. So dream of the freedom of the web, it is all commercialised, like the rest of this society and system. Dream on, dream on about “freedom”!

    The NSA have it so easy, and they are everywhere, so mind your language and comments, as they will take note and maybe get back at you, that is while we have a government so friendly with Washington and Hollywood, right?!

    • kiwicommie 10.1

      *shrug* They will learn less reading my mail than talking to me, also most users (like myself) these days create personas which are totally different to what they believe in real life. Then there are people just out to troll. Create useless information, then they have more to sift through. ;)

      • xtasy 10.1.1

        kiwicommie

        Every computer has its own identifiable number. So people may use different “personas” or profiles in social media and other communications, but that does not mean they cannot be identified. Most people have their own laptop, desktop or other computers, and they all are identifiable.

        And every website and function on a website that is clicked, does get recorded and can be tracked.

        Naturally most tracked and gathered information is only used for collecting browsing behaviour and sold encoded to advertisers, but if an agency like the NSA or GCSB takes an interest that goes deeper into “suspicious” or “undesirable” browsing behaviour, then they will have means to find out more about persons.

        There will always be limits to what they can do, and some software can limit what can be tracked and traced, but the way things are going certainly give sufficient reasons to be highly concerned.

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    The only word to describe the latest building consent figures for Auckland is ‘tragic’, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Whatever the Government is doing to address the Auckland housing crisis, it is clearly not working. ...
    2 days ago
  • A whiff of a new biosecurity scandal?
    A pest which could create havoc for New Zealand’s horticulture and agriculture sector must be as much a focus for the Government as hunting out fruit flies, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “While the Ministry for Primary Industries is… ...
    2 days ago
  • Government shrugs off health sector crisis
    Despite new evidence showing that cuts to health spending are costing lives the Government continues to deny the sector is struggling, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Health services in New Zealand are in crisis. ...
    2 days ago
  • Parata lowered the bar for failing charter school
    When Hekia Parata became aware that the Whangaruru charter school was experiencing major problems her first action was to drop standards by reducing the number of qualified teachers they had to employ, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins has revealed. “Hekia… ...
    2 days ago
  • National not being straight about the economy
    John Key and Bill English need to be straight with New Zealanders about the damage their failure to diversify the economy is doing, after new figures show export growth plunged due to a collapse in dairy exports, says Grant Robertson.… ...
    3 days ago
  • Mind the Gap
    This week the International Monetary Fund released a report on the wider economic value in closing the gender pay gap. When even the bastions of free-market economics start to raise concerns about gender pay gaps, we have to realise how… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Labour will hold National to parental leave promise
    Labour will hold National to its promise to increase the support given to new parents of premature, multiple birth and babies born with disabilities, Labour’s paid parental leave campaigner Sue Moroney says. "I am naturally disappointed that after battling for… ...
    3 days ago
  • It was all just pillar talk
    Steven Joyce’s confession that he can no longer guarantee a pillar-free design for the New Zealand International Convention Centre shows the Government has abandoned its dream of creating an ‘iconic’ ‘world-class’ structure, says Labour Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “Steven… ...
    3 days ago
  • Australians move on offshore speculators
    John Key might want to have a quiet word with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott about Canberra's just-announced crack down on offshore speculators when he visits New Zealand this week, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says."Tony Abbott's centre right government… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government at odds on overseas driver crashes
    National backbencher Jacqui Dean has spoken out about overseas driver crashes, putting herself at odds with Prime Minister John Key who is on record as saying it’s not a big issue, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “I’m not surprised… ...
    3 days ago
  • Human Rights and the Palestine Crisis
    Last week I heard two Palestinians speak at Wellington events about the ongoing crisis in their country. Samar Sabawi spoke to a full house about the history of Palestine and gave us a lucid and disturbing account of the situation… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    3 days ago
  • Time to take real care of our kids
    An Amnesty International report has once again criticised New Zealand’s track record on looking after our kids, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. The annual report, which looks at global human rights abuses highlights not only the fact that high… ...
    4 days ago
  • John Key wrong about Labour’s war vote
    John Key’s desperate claims that the former Labour Government didn’t put combat troop deployment to a Parliamentary vote are simply wrong, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “It was disgraceful that the Prime Minister ran rough shod over democracy and… ...
    4 days ago
  • Māori language bill needs work
     It is clear that the first draft of the Māori Language Bill was about structures and funding rather than the survival of te reo Māori, Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.  “Labour is pleased that the Minister of Māori… ...
    4 days ago
  • Report proves troubled school shouldn’t have opened
    The long-awaited release of an Education Review Office report into Northland’s troubled Whangaruru charter school proves it should never have been approved in the first place, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This report identifies problems with absenteeism and disengaged… ...
    4 days ago
  • Reply to PM’s statement on deploying troops to Iraq
    “The decision of any Government to send troops to a conflict zone is a very serious one, and it is right that this House takes time to consider it, to debate it, and, ideally, to vote on it, but we… ...
    4 days ago
  • Minister must take action on death trap slides
    Workplace Relations Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse must take urgent action to ensure inflatable amusement rides don’t become death traps for children, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway says. “No one wants to stop kids having fun, but horror stories… ...
    5 days ago
  • Manus Island and the New Zealand Government
    This week the Greens have participated in awareness activity about Manus Island, the refugee camp on an island in Papua New Guinea where Australia dumps asylum seekers. John Key says that he has every confidence in the Australian Government’s claim… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Election Inquiry – Getting accessible voting on the agenda
    James Shaw has been doing a series of blogs on the Election Inquiry into last year’s general election.  I thought this was a great opportunity to raise an issue very dear to me – accessible voting. Last year’s general election… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    1 week ago
  • RMA changes no solution to Christchurch housing
    Housing will continue to be a big issue in 2015. The latest Consumer Price Index, released last month, shows both good news and bad news on the housing front. After years of being the most expensive place to build a… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Saving kokako in South Auckland’s Hunua Ranges
    It is amazing that you can hear the song of the endangered North Island kokako in South Auckland’s Hunua Ranges, less than 50 kms from the central city. A heavy schedule of policy workshops at the Green Party’s Policy… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Let’s not turn a blind eye to human rights
    The Cricket World Cup has just opened in New Zealand, and it’s an opportunity for us to shine on the world stage. International sport can be a chance for us to build relationships with other countries, and examine what it… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Its Just Not Cricket
    This week it was my privilege to work with Sri Lankan Tamil communities in this country and host Australian journalist and human rights advocate Trevor Grant. I knew a bit about Trevor from his biography but I didn’t know just… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for NZ to #BeCrueltyFree
    The Government is about to progress the final stages of the Animal Welfare Amendment bill. This will be our last opportunity to get changes made to improve the bill to ensure a better outcome for animals. I have put forwards… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago
  • We want access!
    Access to buildings is a big issue for many New Zealanders. It looks like that, due to the hard work and persistence of people in the disability community, the Government may finally be starting to take access to buildings seriously.… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens call on Super Fund to divest from fossil fuels
    The Green Party today called on the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (the Fund) to divest from fossil fuels, starting immediately with coal. The call was accompanied with a new report, Making money from a climate catastrophe: The case for divesting… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Young Kiwis’ housing crisis
    Shelter is a fundamental human need along with food, water and clean air. All humans need adequate shelter; it’s a human right. Warm, safe, stable accommodation is critical for young people to be able learn and grow and just be.… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • On the River Patrol in Te Tai Tokerau
    Last Wednesday, I went on a tour of some of Northland’s rivers with  Millan Ruka from Environmental River Patrol as he monitored water quality throughout Te Tai Tokerau. The dry conditions meant we couldn’t use the boat but we visited… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Opening of Parliament 2015
    Russel NormanOpening of Parliament Speech February 2015 Tēnā koutou Tēnā koutou Tēnā koutou katoa. A brief history of climate change What a summer! It's been hot, even here in Wellington, hotter than any summer I can remember. All… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    3 weeks ago

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