NSA Can Tap 1/3 of World's Telecoms

Under new provisions of the Protect America Act 2007 recently signed into legislation, as an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, the US National Security Agency (NSA) can monitor all traffic originating, passing through or terminating in the US without requiring a court order. Given that more than 35% of the world's voice and non-voice telecom traffic is routed through US hubs, the act essentially gives the NSA legal access to monitor over one third of the world's telecom traffic. The bill was passed by 44 votes with 23 abstentions

The bill was hotly debated in the US House of Representatives with right-leaning congressional proponents saying the amendment is necessary in the ongoing war on terrorism, and left-leaning representatives arguing that it would undermine civil liberties. "In the 30 years since Congress enacted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, telecommunications technology has dramatically changed," said congressman Lamar Smith, representing the 21st district of Texas. "As a result, the intelligence community is hampered in gathering essential information about terrorists needed to prevent attacks against America. Congress must modernise FISA to address this problem."

However, congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, representing the 16th district of California, disagrees: "This bill goes far beyond what is necessary and ... would grant the Attorney General the ability to wiretap anybody, anyplace, anytime, without court review, without any checks and balances. I think that this unwarranted, unprecedented measure would simply eviscerate the fourth amendment that protects the privacy not of terrorists, but of Americans."

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29 Comments

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Its Mr. Bush once again breaking our Constitution. Why he has not been impeached already is beyond me.

And any Democrat who passed it just as guilty. But Mr. Bush has a LONG history of doing this.

I wonder how this will go down with any countries that have some of their comms (those bound for other countries) routed through the US? Not terribly well, one would think.

Havin_it said,
I wonder how this will go down with any countries that have some of their comms (those bound for other countries) routed through the US? Not terribly well, one would think.


They are in on it, do you really think the rest of the Modernized countries wouldn't be pitching a fit already if they weren't already in the loop?

Now I wish Die Hard 4.0 became real and cyber-kicked the crap out of all these stupid cyber big brother programs! Yeah that's right - YOU heard me. You know who you are!

Also monitoring stocks etc and rigging the market, setting computer programmed sells, getting dirt on rivals to force their votes but I doubt any rich *******s would lie to the American people.

telecommunications has changed in what aspect? we have home phones and cell phones. whoopity freaken doodoo! this is why people need to vote for RON PAUL. ( if he will actually stick to what he says, this will all be eliminated when he wins)

The President doesn't actually have as much power as people think the position holds if you look into it.

He could try to shut it down and they'll say "OK...We'll stop" then be in the background lauging at him. US Presidents are puppets and nothing more.

B-52Stratofortress said,
Fifty-one percent of a nation can establish a totalitarian regime, suppress minorities and still remain democratic.

Assuming it truely was 51% of the people but rather its representitive democracy and the voting regions are completely arbitrary rather than being based on population. But what difference does it make, the candidate promises one thing then he has 4 years to do whatever the hell he wants especially if he wont be running again. I hardly call that democracy.

yep its like the old system , where it catches the word , Bomb , Nuclear , Terrorist etc etc.

Well if thats really true i can assure you that I'm going to see lots of people starting to move outside the US and go to other places ( at least the guys who can )

How about if you used an arabian language?
What if you said "that 24 episode was the bomb, when the terrorists were going to set off the nuclear bomb..."

billyea said,
How about if you used an arabian language?
What if you said "that 24 episode was the bomb, when the terrorists were going to set off the nuclear bomb..."

Your conversation would be picked up then flagged. Then they'd most likely monitor all your calls for a certain period of time to see if you're a real threat or not.

The software searches for the keywords and names like: Bush, Bin Laden, nuclear, bomb, terror. Anything that could possibly be related to an attack.

Like the NSA wasn't already listening to that amount of calls anyway

Even if the have the technology to do this, I doubt they have enough people to sit there and personally monitor all of the traffic.

They don't have to sit there and personally monitor all of the traffic. The software is there to be able to listen for key words or phrases and flag possible threats 24/7. The software can be updated on what to listen for based on other intelligence. With voice recognition technology, they may even be able to search for specific voice patterns.

M118LR said,
They don't have to sit there and personally monitor all of the traffic. The software is there to be able to listen for key words or phrases and flag possible threats 24/7. The software can be updated on what to listen for based on other intelligence. With voice recognition technology, they may even be able to search for specific voice patterns.

This is either it or pretty much like it, Echelon, Nice to meet you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON

Let the paranoia begin.

Honestly I dont think it's necessary, nor do I think it should've passed, but I think people are going to blow this way out of proportion. If you aren't building a bomb, you probably have nothing to worry about and this bill will not affect you in any way your entire life.

-Spenser

That old argument of "If you're doing nothing wrong then you've got nothing to hide" is pure BS. People are against sh*t like this because the government keeps moving the line a little bit closer each time.

Blown out of proportion? This gives the US government a huge amount of power that it should NOT have and CANNOT be trusted with. You only have to look at Guantanamo Bay to see that the US doesn't care for justice or freedom. What happened to the presumption of innocence? Without court review or check and balances this is ripe for exploitation and could be used against innocent people - now they don't have to suspect a person has something to hide they can just pick a name out of a hat and monitor them.

It's people like you stifler6478 that are the reason the US is despised in the rest of the world - if you won't stand up to your government when they overstep the mark then you deserve to get carted off to Guantanamo Bay yourself... then you'll see what good being innocent does you.