X-KEYSCORE

Written By: - Date published: 9:51 am, September 16th, 2014 - 52 comments
Categories: Spying - Tags: ,

X-KEYSCORE

52 comments on “X-KEYSCORE”

  1. TheContrarian 1

    Did he say it exists in NZ and that GCSB use it or just that it exists and the GCSB know how to use but don’t currently use it?

    Can anyone who has listened to the interview clarify?

      • TheContrarian 1.1.1

        I would listen to it if I could but not currently in a position to right now which is why I was asking if anyone who had listened could clarify

        • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1

          Ferguson refers to systems (not by name) that do the things Xkeyscore does, and says that in his time they could only access them (or their equivalent) with a warrant.

          To have a warrant to look at metadata you have to have collected it in the first place.

          • TheContrarian 1.1.1.1.1

            I have had the pleasure of meeting Ferguson a few times – he always seemed like a straight shooter

            • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1.1.1

              I wonder if he said too much; once he got talking about hypothetical situations he was very revealing.

            • Anne 1.1.1.1.1.2

              I knew him slightly and formed the same opinion TheContrarian. But his labelling of Edward Snowden as ” a traitor” on Morning Report is causing me to revise my opinion of him.

              • Chooky

                +100 Anne

              • Jilly Bee

                He said the same on Campbell Live last evening, actually he called him a criminal as well as a traitor which stopped me in my tracks after mentioning to my husband that I thought Bruce Ferguson was an honourable man. My bad. In fact most of the participants in the Town Hall meeting last evening got that description.

            • Inky 1.1.1.1.1.3

              A lot of people fell for John Key’s smarmy ‘good bloke’ mask, too. Trust Ferguson if you want but making themselves seem trustworthy is just part of how these guys play the game. They seldom break ranks even when they’ve left those ranks and he’s not going to admit too many home truths if he can help it, at least not intentionally. The very fact that he calls Snowden a traitor proves he doesn’t believe the masses have a right to know their own government is spying on them. That makes him a sad deadbeat in my book.

          • lprent 1.1.1.1.2

            To have a warrant to look at metadata you have to have collected it in the first place.

            And that is really what I find objectionable.

            • Tom Gould 1.1.1.1.2.1

              Key wants to know just what do you mean by “objectionable” and can you prove you find it objectionable?

              • McFlock

                obviously it means that a metadata is an object, and ekshully as an object it possible to discern its its locate, and we need a prettier flag…

            • Tracey 1.1.1.1.2.2

              and who can issue the warrant? Why the reliable and oh so truthful Mr key, of course

            • Tom 1.1.1.1.2.3

              “..you have to have collected it…”
              Or someone else collected it for you -NSA?

    • john smith 1.2

      He said he is not able to be specific because of being under oath but that they train in many systems so they are able to use them.

      • Tracey 1.2.1

        is that the oath that enabled his office to release and declassify documents to Slater and do the same for Key yesterday, is that the oath you mean?

  2. The short of it is that John Key basically acted like: “You Want To Spy? You Make The “Business” Plan, I’ll Change The Law!”

    In Holland we have a saying: U vraagt, wij draaien. It essentially stands for: you tell me what you want me to do and I’ll jump. The question is who asked and who did John Key jump for?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      The US oligarchs of course.

    • cogito 2.2

      Seems to me that the NSA are/have been doing in NZ the things that the GCSB are not allowed to do. Easy solution to get around the law and provide cover for Key’s statements…. especially when systems are shared and the US and NZ are both part of the 5 Eyes.

  3. karol 3

    Ryan talks as though CORTEX is the same as SPEARGUN.

    Ferguson does not seem to a very good grasp on contemporary digital technologies.

    • karol 3.1

      And he talks a lot about “protection” being needed for businesses and research and development. Ferguson calls the “protection” being an advance “Norton anti-virus”.

      • Rich 3.1.1

        Yes but in that sort of world they’re talking about the only protection is for the biggest. Small guys won’t get the same access to the data, and small guys might be big fish in a small pond. So totally apart from the outrageous privacy issues for individuals, NZ business and corporate tail waggers might find themselves without a dog.

    • weka 3.2

      What is CORTEX? Somehow I’ve completely missed that.

      • karol 3.2.1

        CORTEX is the system/capability that is refereed to in the cabinet minutes Key released yesterday -explained in Keith Ng’s post.

      • Tracey 3.2.2

        It is supposedly the programme that is key’s evidence we are not all being spied on. It isn’t evidence of that at all, but Key and the media never let pesky things like accuracy get in the way of a good re-election

  4. keith ross 4

    When I watched him (Ferguson) being interviewed by John Campbell, he very much sounded like the old boys club coming to the rescue, except his lack of believability was highly evident to me . I thought that he come across as a very uncomfortable with what he was saying . I find his credibility very low for a “sir”. What did he get the “Sir” for, deceiving and spying on New Zealander’s ? and we are supposed to trust him?
    Not believable.

  5. tricledrown 5

    Ferguson is a spy defending spies with Lies or obfuscation!
    5 eyes is manipulating Democracies they don’t even need to have spying devices on on the pacific cabal leaving New Zealand Australia and the US where the cabal ends up can spy on all Meta data coming and going from their end !
    So Snowden is right Bruce Ferguson might be right as well but given John Key used the GSCB to get info on Dotcom that proves Key is lying through his teeth!
    The Squirm on Keys face as he is asked questions gives it away !
    Keys body language gives it away !

  6. vto 6

    Once a person becomes a spy the genie is out of the bottle and that person can never ever be trusted again.

    Ferguson can never ever be trusted again.

    • TheContrarian 6.1

      Are you suggesting that everyone involved with a spy agency can’t ever be trusted?

      • vto 6.1.1

        everyone who is a spy

        by definition

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.2

        Contrarian, there’s a fundamental paradox at the heart of “intelligence gathering” – it is by definition a military activity – cf. Sun Tzu – yet it is carried out in peacetime, and in its highest form has the expressed purpose of achieving strategic aims whilst avoiding and minimising bloodshed.

        None should be more liberally rewarded. In no other business should greater secrecy be preserved.

        My emphasis.

        Secrecy often requires deception. Too often for the words “trust” and spy” to be happy bedfellows.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.3

        There’s another paradox at work too: spies are entrusted with secrets and therefore must be very trustworthy and loyal to their employers.

  7. Gruntie 7

    As Snowden said last night – 5 Eyes is not so much an alliance of countries but an alliance of spy agencies – they operate outside the law, with the tacit approval of the PM or President – it is an “old boy network” – and totally predictable that Ferguson will defend and deny any wrong doing – they believe in their mission completely – the good guys v the bad guys.

    • Chooky 7.1

      +100 Gruntie …..”not so much an alliance of countries but an alliance of spy agencies”

      …this is what alarms me…they are not under our democratic control…therefore they are vulnerable to take over by black ops forces and/or a fascist State which is not in New Zealand’s or New Zealanders’ interests

      when you have ethical people like Snowden and others from the inside sounding the warning, we as New Zealanders must listen, vote accordingly and urge our parliament to take action to take back our democratic control

  8. politikiwi 8

    What alarmed me was Ferguson’s definition of “surveillance.” By that definition, it would only be “mass surveillance of New Zealanders” if someone was reading every email and every text message. And that’s clearly an absurd proposition – we know humans aren’t reading our every email, etc, but we know they could if they wanted to. And that’s bad enough.

    Someone needs to ask John Key whether collecting and storing the international communications of New Zealanders qualifies as “mass surveillance” even if they are not accessed. His denials hinge on the interpretation of that term, and if there’s no ambiguity (as he claims) he should be fine with clearing all of that up for us.

    • Tracey 8.1

      Surely once they have “everything” they can use computer filters on specific words or phrases so in that sense they can read everything?

      • McFlock 8.1.1

        the real benefit comes from building a complete and long term archive.

        We already have a pm who declassifies documents to save himself embarrassment, and a national blogger who knows all classified SIS memos concerning opposition members.

        There is a scary possibility that the GCSB simply becomes the National Party’s own rawshark, only instead of one attack they have every email every political opponent sent (or was sent from every political opponent’s machine), not to mention social media etc.

        It’s not the snapshot or one-off analyst query that’s the problem, it’s the full collection.

      • politikiwi 8.1.2

        From a technical perspective it’s likely to be difficult to get only the things you want: In order to identify whether you want to store a particular piece of information, you have to first read the information. That’s a fact. And unlike plain old telephone networks, fibre optic cables are one stream of data so you cannot tap a single line and get only the calls going across that line. You see everything, even if you don’t want to.

        What you *do not* need to do is store the information for any significant period of time. And the word “significant” is important in that context: in order to read the data you first have to store it, but you don’t need to store it for days or weeks – you need only store it for fractions of a second before discarding it.

        It’s very technical, and because it’s true to say “we have to look at everything to get what we need” I think non-technical people are easily fooled into thinking that what’s happening is necessary and proportionate. What Snowden described last night is neither.

        It seems to me that what we need is extremely specific, very detailed legislation to enable the creation of a system which reads everything and discards anything which is not on a list of approved “selectors” (to use their term). The addition of a selector would have to be subject to a warrant, and the addition of approved selectors would be provided to a body independent of the body who manages the collection equipment (maybe the courts). The selectors would be reviewed every days and removed if a case could not be made for keeping them.

        It wouldn’t be hard, would it?

  9. Tracey 9

    wikipedia has this to say about it

    “Data sources

    XKeyscore consists of over 700 servers at approximately 150 sites where the NSA collects data, like “US and allied military and other facilities as well as US embassies and consulates” in many countries around the world.[13][14][15] Among the facilities involved in the program are four bases in Australia and one in New Zealand.[14]

    According to an NSA presentation from 2008, these XKeyscore servers are fed with data from the following collection systems:[16]

    F6 (Special Collection Service) – joint operation of the CIA and NSA that carries out clandestine operations including espionage on foreign diplomats and leaders
    FORNSAT – which stands for “foreign satellite collection”, and refers to intercepts from satellites
    SSO (Special Source Operations) – a division of the NSA that cooperates with telecommunication providers

    In a single, undated slide published by Swedish media in December 2013, the following additional data sources for XKeyscore are mentioned:[17]

    Overhead – intelligence derived from American spy planes, drones and satellites
    Tailored Access Operations – a division of the NSA that deals with hacking and cyberwarfare
    FISA – all types of surveillance approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
    Third party – foreign partners of the NSA such as the (signals) intelligence agencies of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, etc.

    From these sources, XKeyscore stores “full-take data”, which are indexed by plug-ins that extract certain types of metadata (like phone numbers, e-mail addresses, log-ins, and user activity) and index them in metadata tables, which can be queried by analysts. XKeyscore has been integrated with MARINA, which is NSA’s database for internet metadata.[11]

    However, the system continuously gets so much Internet data that it can be stored only for short periods of time. Content data remain on the system for only three to five days, while metadata is stored for up to 30 days.[18] A detailed commentary on an NSA presentation published in The Guardian in July 2013 cites a document published in 2008 declaring that “At some sites, the amount of data we receive per day (20+ terabytes) can only be stored for as little as 24 hours.”[19]|

    the NZ facility named is Waihopai

    footnote 14
    The New Zealand Government Security Communications Bureau facility at Waihopai near Blenheim also contributes to the program.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/snowden-reveals-australias-links-to-us-spy-web-20130708-2plyg.html#ixzz3DQmhrjvb

    “Mr Snowden said that the other partners in the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance of the US, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand “sometimes go even further than the [National Security Agency] people themselves.”

    He highlighted the British Government Communications Headquarters “Tempora” program as an example:

    “Tempora is the first ‘I save everything’ approach (‘full take’) in the intelligence world. It sucks in all data, no matter what it is, and which rights are violated by it. … Right now, the system is capable of saving three days’ worth of traffic, but that will be optimised. Three days may perhaps not sound like a lot, but it’s not just about connection metadata. ‘Full take’ means that the system saves everything. If you send a data packet and if makes its way through the UK, we will get it. If you download anything, and the server is in the UK, then we get it.”

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/snowden-reveals-australias-links-to-us-spy-web-20130708-2plyg.html#ixzz3DQn1hl5k

  10. Craig Glen Eden 10

    Ferguson has said not one thing that has discredited by proof anything that was laid out in the last 24 hours or last nights meeting. He covers any specifics with I cant answer that or with that didnt happen in my time. He scoffed that NSA has 2 bases in NZ but he has no idea anymore does he, because he suddenly left.
    Key’s lot has literally done everything Snowden said they would.
    Its amazing how Ferguson has been so willing to talk to the media for a x spy.

  11. Steve 11

    It’s a bit odd rolling out Sir Bruce to answer these questions. It’s a bit like asking the fox if the hens will be OK. In addition he wasn’t at the GCSB during the period in question

    Having said that he does seem to be revealing more than intended re: XKeyScore. Also take a look at this interview on Campbell Live last night at about 10min 20s in. Here he basically admits that the agency has to undertake mass surveillance in order to catch the “nasty bastards”.

    To show his absolute even handedness at the beginning of the interview he collectively name-calls the people that spoke at the meeting last night “criminals”.

  12. Iron Sky 12

    BASE = situate at a specified place as the centre of operations

    +

    Commander = a person in authority, especially over a body of troops or a military operation.

    So if you have a base run by an American?

    I am making the horrible presumption that American staff kick absolute arse over our kiwi buddies.

  13. Dont worry. Be happy 13

    And the man Key appointed Governor General is the ex head of the SIS (GCSB?) Talk about covering all of your bases Oh Smiling Assassin. Snig an old friend into the top job at GCSB, ram through a law legalising the very thing you swear would never happen or you would resign, kiss a baby, text an All Black, make a quick grovel to anyone Royal/rich, selfie, selfie, selfie….busy little bounder, you.

  14. Inky 14

    Key talks about two major cyber attacks on NZ businesses. Do we know if they even happened? If they did, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was the work of Tailored Access Operations, the NSA’s own group of elite hackers. They could have done so to give Key an excuse to want to change the law to give our spy guys freer rein here. Spying’s a dirty, convoluted business.

    • Tracey 14.1

      If democracy looked liked getting int he way of the NSA’s operation Spearhead why wouldn’t they?

  15. Sable 15

    Oops did someone let a cat out of a bag? I’m sure Keys will be quick to call it a dog…

  16. CC 16

    The latest Keyism: To the best of his knowledge there are no NSA bases in NZ but he is not going to ask the US about it. A bit more plausible deniability?

  17. Black Lemming 17

    To have a warrant to look at metadata , you have had to collect it first .

    In order to create a metadata data base to look at (with the x-keyscore software ) you will need a daily program of recording unintentional , non targeted data —, daily mass surveillance .

    You cant look at something that isn’t there,

    so whether the gcsb collects the data in NZ or the NSA collects the data from NZ and put it in the US data base its still —- daily mass surveillance .

    Imagine getting a warrant before you can secretly observe someone , it would take months or even years of old school spook work to assemble evidence , build a case ,and would be very expensive .

    But new technology means if you have a software tool to trawl vast amounts of historical data in seconds this becomes a much faster , easier and more cost effective way of gathering and condensing evidence .New School is more productive .And the data base is the core of this.

    Maybe the gcsb does need a warrant to snoop on individuals , but that has nothing to do with the increasing high likelyhood that we are all under mass surveillance every minute of every day .

    1. If it looks like a dog , smells like a dog , woofs like a dog then I’m sure John keys would call it thus . “so…… not exactly a dog , granted a lot of dog like characteristics ,at face value ,but Iv’e been accurately advised it could best be described as a ‘biologically active canine derivative’, but definitely absolutely not a dog in the normal sense of the word dog.” Thanks for clearing that up John, that’s really clear now.

    2. John Keys mate Roger steals some pies from the dairy and gives a pie for lunch to John who eats it up . John knows its a stolen pie but he eats it up anyway . Later in the afternoon a cop shows up and says there been a some pies stolen from the dairy and asks him directly ,”did you steal the pies ?.” John answers forcefully and truthfully “, I can absolutely , 100% say I did not steal the pies .” and the cop continues with his investigation letting him off the hook .But its still aiding and abetting a crime because he knew they were stolen property .Truthful but not honest .He did not confess the whole story .

    John Keys ,hand on heart ,claims he hasn’t instigated any mass surveillance of NZ citizens. He doesn’t need to because there is a very high probablity that the other 5 eyes partners are doing it for him and our sis/gcsb can look at that data base any time they obtain a warrant .

    A half truth is a whole lie . The teflon weasel words of deception are becoming a daily insult to anyone with a shred of critical intelligence .

    He lied yesterday , he lied today , and he will lie tomorrow .

  18. philj 18

    xox
    Sir Bruce on Cambell Live, came across as a vindictive, shifty, spy master, who behaved like a pyronaniac firechief.

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