The Review Group
Public Comments Submitted to the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies
The Review Group Members thank all who took time and effort to share their ideas. Posted comments do not reflect the opinions of the Review Group, whether individually or collectively, or of the United States Government. All
requested extensions were granted, and those comments are included as well. Our Privacy and Comment Policy is available here
Cynthia Wong [
Saturday, October 12, 2013 05:58 PM
RE: Review group submission
Dear Peter, John,
Please find attached Human Rights Watch’s comments to the Review Group for your consideration. While our submission is late, we hope our comments may still inform the Review Group’s work and outcomes.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can be of additional assistance.
All the best,
Cynthia M. Wong
Senior Researcher on the Internet
Business & Human Rights Division
Human Rights Watch
1630 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20009
ATTACHMENT: HRW Comment for the Review Group Oct 2013.pdf
Nabiha Syed [
Friday, October 11, 2013 04:21 PM
RE: Extension on Public Comment to Review Group
Not a problem, John – I figured you folks are otherwise occupied. Thanks so much for getting back to me! I sent my comments directly to the review group e-mail, but I’m attaching them again here.
ATTACHMENT: Comment to Review Group on ICT (00664643).PDF
: Gregg Leslie [mailto:
: Friday, October 11, 2013 11:53 AMSubject
: Media coalition comments
To The Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies:
Attached please find comments to the Review Group from a coalition of 37 national news media organizations, coordinated by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. If there are any questions, please feel free to contact Bruce Brown or myself on behalf of the coalition.
Gregg P. Leslie
Legal Defense Director
1101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1100, Arlington, VA 22209
(703) 807-2102 *
ATTACHMENT: RCFP media coalition comments.pdf
brief comment on rebuilding trust via multilateral treatyDate:
Saturday, October 05, 2013 8:07:06 PM
To whom it may concern:
American technology companies that depend on international customers are at risk after the Snowden revelations. As widely reported in New York Times and elsewhere, foreign governments are asking companies to site datacenters in their countries so that their laws may apply. This has many implications for economics of "cloud" computing as well as the ability of these American tech companies to comply with a potentially lawful US government requests.
I think a better solution is to create a set of multilateral treaties on the access of user data by governments party to the treaty. Trust must be rebuilt and the entirety of the treaty should be public. It should treat each member countries citizens equally. It should be based on the principal that user data access should only be used to investigate criminal activities or terrorism, and economic espionage would be forbidden. Access would be moderated by an oversight process where access is visible to all members, and must be justified and there would be a remedy process to prevent privacy violations.
The NSA needs to be disbandedDate:
Saturday, October 05, 2013 5:34:38 AM
Our NSA is an agency out of control. It is acting in very Un-American and dangerous ways.
The heads of the NSA and DNI only seem to view their mission of identifying threats (and other missions) as being important without balancing that versus American ideals. History has shown us that when a government spies upon its own citizens the potential for a detrimental society is quite large. East Germany, the Soviet Union, and Communist China are not ideals of free societies and instead are representative of repression. When our NSA spies upon its own citizens, it results in our country being less free. Can we call ourself the Leader of the Free World when our communications are all monitored and recorded by our government? Such actions are anti-thetical to what the US stands for.
The NSA has lost its way and needs to be fully disbanded. It has grown too large and has too much disregard for our constitution and laws to be allowed to continue to exist. Let the FBI spy domestically.
The NSA is for foreign intelligence, but their nature just wont let them accept such a limit. Repeatedly they have crossed over into domestic surveillance, even though they know it is wrong. They try and justify their illegal and unconstitutional actions with word twisting and pocket lawyers who put a spin on anything to try and justify their Un-American actions.
While our FISA court was set up to keep a limit on the NSA, in reality it has now been exposed as a rubber stamp court without objectivity. When over 30000 cases are approved by the FISA court with none rejected you can see it is not doing its job to limit the NSA. When a FISA warrant is approved requesting all business communication from Verizon both foreign as well as domestic to domestic calls you can see that FISA has no regard for our Constitution. Such a warrant is clearly unconstitutional, yet FISA still issued and approved it. So FISA is no real check on the NSA and is instead a rubber stamp court worthy of a third world country, rather than the USA.
While the NSA likes to spout that all is fine since it has Congressional oversight, such oversight is meaningless when Congress is lied to and lacks the power to shut down objectionable NSA programs.
While the NSA may inform a small committee about its actions, that committee seems powerless to stop blatant Constitutional violations. Its members are not even able to talk about what they have learned, due to all the information being classified. Wyden is awesome and for years he has wanted to reign in the NSA abuse, but was unable to. And he was gagged from stating what he knew. Congressmen outside of the Intelligence committees were clueless of the NSA going ons. When the NSA was publicly asked about some programs they blatantly lied to Congress without criminal repercussions. Wyden is my Senator and represents my state in the Senate.
To catch terrorists the NSA does not need to collect and store all internet and phone information. American perception is that the NSA shall start collecting information on targets once they have been alerted to that target. No one expects them to be able to go into the past and look up everything that target has said. But the NSA likes this ability, and to accomplish it they have to store everything said by anyone, anywhere. That is totally bogus and not what the public expects from them. This extra ability to look into the past, while useful for the NSAs mission, is extremely detrimental to the US and the world. Its benefits come no where near to its costs.
There are so many disasters related to the NSA, I'll touch on a few more.
When Clapper directly lies to Wyden, Clapper needs to be arrested and charged with lieing to Congress. He needs to be removed from office and barred from working in the government and any related industry (no Booz Allen super job for him in the future).
Alexander has also directly lied to Congress. He needs to be dishonorably discharged, removed from his position, and charged with his crimes.
When Obama wants to restore faith in the NSA and states he shall appoint a panel of outsiders to oversee it, he needs to appoint people from the ACLU and the EFF, not insiders like former directors of the CIA. He needs to make sure that the reports dont flow through Clapper, who is the one who is doing all the unconstitutional activities and commiting crimes. Such actions dont restore any faith and instead just remove faith in the process.
Just 5 months ago the US was frothing at the mouth at China electronically spying on American companies. Now it turns out that the NSA has spied on PetroBras and likely countless other companies.
It shows the US is two-faced and disingenuous. What is worse is that Brazil is not an enemy, they are a friendly nation. Brazil and Mexico are just countries that documents have shown were spy targets from the NSA, but it is likely similar corporate espionage is happening to every country (except maybe the Five Eyes). While Americans expect us to spy upon Cuba, North Korea, Russia, and Iran we do not expect us to be spying on our friends. When our friends find out they shall be much less likely to remain our friends and America loses position in the world. This is the harm the NSA has done. This harm is greater than the harm it may have prevented in stopping terrorist actions.
When the NSA spies on the communication of the President of Brazil that is atrocious. Brazil is not an enemy, though such spying may turn them into one. American loses portions of its Geo-Political dominance when the NSA acts in such a fashion.
Spying and tapping into the UN offices and communications is totally unacceptable. Spying on France and Germany is reprehensible.
When the NSA spies upon Brazil there is no terrorist justification. When our government says it is all about the terrorists, they are lieing. When our government says they are only listening to foreigners they are lieing. When they try and tell us OK, maybe we spy on Americans if they communicate with a foreigner that allows much greater spying than it sounds like. If I make a FaceBook post and just 1 of my friends is non-American then such a justification would allow the NSA to spy on all my Facebook posts. That is Spying on Americans, not foreigners, so the NSA is in violation of its purpose.
The USA is a country of ideals. The NSA is an organization which is not following those ideals. Government actions supporting the NSA also are against American fundamental beliefs. When our government goes crazy and chases after Snowden like he is the worst person on the planet it shows that we are a bad country. Snowden is a patriotic whistle-blower exposing UnConstititional and Illegal government actions. Yet our government chased him across the planet applying undue pressure to many countries for just one man. If Snowden was a Russian exposing Russian abuses the US would hail him as a hero. He is a Hero and should be recognized as such, not hounded across the earth.
When our government pressures other countries to not allow the plane of the President of Bolivia to cross their airspace it shows we are not freedom loving and instead are bullies, especially when it turns out Snowden was not even on that plane. Good job pissing off yet another country due to the NSA and poor US government behavior in support of the NSA.
When it was exposed that Bush was warrantlessly wiretapping Americans Obama was opposed to such actions. But when it was revealed that the NSA was still abusing its mandate, Obama supported the NSA. This led to a huge decrease in support for Obama. 3 weeks before the Snowden revelations I wrote a FaceBook post praising Obama and considered myself an Obama supporter (I have 2 of his TShirts). After Obama came out with support for the NSA I wrote a FaceBook post asking for Obamas impeachment. NSA spying on Americans is not only illegal and Un-Constitional it is immoral and bad for our country. I can no longer wear my Obama T-Shirts. They make me ashamed.
When a government has significant information on its citizens, history has shown that the government can become a repressive regime, unpleasant to live in. Having the NSA maintain all our internet and phone communications leaves the US ripe for falling down the hole of repression and authoritanism.
National Security Letters come with built in gag orders preventing the recipient from even mentioning that they received them. This also is Un-American and seems to be Un-Constititional as well, in direct violation of our First Amendment. The Gag order aspect of NSLs needs to be removed. They are bad for our country and are the actions of a repressive regime, not the Leader of the Free World.
When the NSA coops our American businesses it hurts us economically. Citizens of the World shall now be less likely to use Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo when they know the NSA is listening and can tap into their communications and transactions. So our US companies shall lose money, due to NSA overreach. When Brazil finds out the NSA is tapping all its Google info, they shall force Google to build servers on Brazilian soil, raising the cost of doing business for Google.
When the NSA secretly weakens Internet encryption standards they are hurting everyone. Weakened standards may help the NSA break encryption by bad guys, but it also allows other bad guys or repressive countries to also break that encryption. Having the NSA corrupt the NIST processes shall lead to a lack of faith in NIST recommendations. Anything the NSA touches becomes polluted and hurts our country it seems, rather than helps. It is an organization out of control and acting against the country and its ideals.
The NSA and GCHQ seem to be attacking TOR, an anonymity service partially funded by the US government. TOR is used to get around Chinese censorship. The NSA should be making it stronger and stronger instead of trying to attack or break, or dilute it. While TOR can be used for bad services and terrorist communication it is also used for good. Again the NSA is doing more harm than good.
The NSA has lost its way. Its sole focus seems to be spying on everything it can and it has no regards for limitations or American ideals. We are the country of Freedom, Justice, and Liberty. But the NSA acts as if Security is paramount. It is not. The damage the NSA has caused is greater than the terrorist damage it has prevented.
The NSA has shown itself incapable of persistent reform. It needs to be disbanded and the whole organization shut down. Such an action may again restore confidence in the US. Minor alterations shall likely prove ineffectual. The NSA has shown it has the will and pocket lawyers to reinterpret any legislation into whatever fashion allows it to continue doing what it wants regardless of what the law or Constitution actually say.
Shut down the NSA and arrest Clapper and Alexander. Have Obama apologize to the world for our poor behavior.
Comment on Internet Surveillance Under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments ActDate:
Saturday, October 05, 2013 3:00:01 AMAttachments:
Dear Review Group:
Please find enclosed my comment concerning Internet surveillance under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.
Stanford Security Laboratory ATTACHMENT: dni_comment_jmayer.pdf
Richard J. BarbalaceSubject:
Public comment for the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications TechnologiesDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 11:32:32 PM
Dear Members of the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications
I am slow. If I had run the Boston Marathon again this year, I would have just passed the explosions when they went off. I watched the events of the following days closely, as so many of my close friends were affected by the bombing. I was heartbroken when I learned that information available on the bombers went ignored by federal law enforcement. Such tragedies must be prevented whenever possible.
The NSA’s desire to collect ever more data is a prime example of the Haystack Fallacy: the absurd notion that you will find more needles by piling on more hay. More data would not have stopped the Marathon bombing. If anything, it appears too much data prevented effective action. The key information was hidden in plain sight. How many other opportunities to save lives have been lost because the vital details were buried in endless chaff? We want and need our intelligence community to be more effective. But effectiveness will not come from piling on more hay.
As an MIT alumnus, former hospital employee, software developer, and current privacy officer, I do have a little understanding of the balance between privacy and security concerns. Privacy rights and national security should not be opposed; indeed, I believe they go hand-in-hand. Collecting less data and doing more analysis can enhance both. Through the recent leaks, we have learned that the bulk of the intelligence budget goes toward collection activities, with a minor part toward analysis; that ratio ought to be reversed. To truly make intelligence technologies effective, however, a change of priorities is needed.
The best way to protect our national security and advance our foreign policy is not to create the terrorists who target us in the first place. A madman with a bomb does not become a terrorist unless he feels personally injured by a country’s policies and practices, so a necessary first step is to shift focus from tracking the actions of terrorists to evaluating the actions of our own government.
Here are some key questions to ask:
1) How does the government create terrorists through our policies and practices?
2) Which policies and practices have the greatest risk of creating terrorists?
3) How can we estimate how many terrorists will be created through a given policy or practice?
4) How can we change a given policy or practice to reduce the threat it will create new terrorists?
5) How can we change a given policy or practice to reduce the threat it will motivate new attacks?
Currently, the intelligence community is ill-equipped to answer these questions, but such answers are vital to protecting our national security and advancing our foreign policy effectively. The intelligence community should develop quantitative measurements of the terrorist threat produced by each foreign policy or practice that is enacted. Then such information needs to be conveyed persuasively to policy makers for their consideration and adaption. This requires a vastly different skill set and mission focus than the intelligence community currently has available. Still, if we prevent people from being driven to terrorism, we will need far fewer resources applied toward fighting it. Ensuring national security is, at its heart, a social problem, not a technological one.
For those few cases where privacy-breaching surveillance remains necessary, here are a few more social protections I would suggest for minimizing harm:
1) Avoid “Too Many Secrets”: Policies should never be secret. Openness is essential to democracy and freedom. Moreover, secrets are illusions; they are always lost given sufficient time. The only way to avoid a breach is to avoid having a secret to breach in the first place. Openness is also the best way to gain quick feedback and clarity on how effective a policy is.
2) “The Golden Rule:” Treat others as you would have them treat you.
Don’t make enemies. This is best way to ensure that foreign entities will treat us well. Privacy is a universal human right, not just a right of US citizens; protecting the privacy and security of all will help ensure our own national security.
3) “Always Three to See:” No analyst should ever have any access to intelligence data alone. Requiring three analysts to concur on accessing any item of data would go a long way to preventing privacy breaches as well as security leaks. Three heads are also much better than one at spotting a needle in a haystack. (This is one step further than the proven effectiveness of pair programming techniques used in software engineering, but the extreme seriousness of national security requires an even higher level of agreement.) The “Always Three to See” rule should be applied not only to reviewing and analyzing data, but also to every activity of the intelligence community: data collection, data storage, cryptography, technology development, policy formation, etc. Another more general way of phrasing this is to “avoid a single point of failure.”
I could go on and add countless other suggestions, but I think this might be a sufficiently good start. If you consider these 5 questions and 3 guidelines in all your work, I am sure you will be well on your way to optimally protecting our national security and advancing our foreign policy while respecting our commitment to privacy and civil liberties, recognizing our need to maintain the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosure. I realize a journey in this direction toward a more effective and open intelligence community will likely be painfully difficult and slow.
Persist, and you will succeed, as any marathoner can you.
Comments for Review Group on Intelligence and Communications TechnologiesDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 9:15:23 PMAttachments:
2013 Response to Review Group.docx
4 October 2013PRIVATE ADDRESS REMOVED
Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies
Dear Review Group Members
As an American living abroad, I would like to offer the following comments in regard to the challenges facing the Review Group. How will America reconcile its republican political institutions to the imperial imperative of safety?
The Review Group has a difficult, though honourable, task. You have to explain why a legitimate government can use what can be perceived as illegitimate methods to secure a government’s ultimate goal: to protect the political good. As Aristotle explained in the Politics
, we come together for life (security) we stay together for the good life. If we start with that understanding, we have a context to understand the role of the government and the relationship between the citizen and the government.
Before we begin, I want to caution the group against a simple view that the issue can be solved by finding a “balance” between security and privacy, technology and politics, and foreign policy and domestic policy. If you take that view, you will continue to think technologically rather than constitutionally or politically. You will not be able to address the problem by technological means. If you search for a “balance”, you will need to “quantify” the balance. Soon, you will have political scientists and economists who will propose equations, such as expected utility analysis, that will explain the “right amount of privacy” to “balance” against the “right amount of “security”. Such thinking is dangerously flawed and must be rejected. If you embrace it, you have rejected the core constitutional principles of the United States of America. The country is founded upon a right judgement of political principles not a “balance” of probabilities or a “trade-off” between principles. The search for a “balance” will only avoid the political responsibility of making a choice, and the longer it is avoided the greater the cost for the correct choice. Although some may view the issue as a political balance or compromise, there are fundamental rights and principles upon which the country is founded that offer no compromise. America’s founding in 1776 and the re-founding under Lincoln in 1863 showed that we have inalienable rights that cannot be “balanced” or compromised. We cannot live half slave and half free nor can we accept a compromised view of what it means to be human. There are no tradeoffs on matters of principle. Let us leave aside these theoretical discussions and turn to the main issues. A political question not a technological question.
How shall you proceed in your task? As I mentioned earlier, we must reject the view that the surveillance is a technological problem with a technological solution. What has been a constant theme through the debate over the NSA revelations is that a technological solution (encryption) can be found for what is perceived as a technological problem (surveillance). The problem, at its source, is not technological; it is political. The question you need to answer is a political philosophical one because it addresses how we are to live, why we are to live that way, and whether that I the best way to live. We must not get lost in a definition or debate about what constitutes “surveillance” or what constitutes “privacy”. The issue is not about the privacy or what it means. We must decide fundamental questions that shape any notion of privacy. We need to understand why we have a government, its role and the role of the citizen in a representational democracy. What are the limits a government beyond which it cannot go to secure and enlarge the rights of its citizens? When we consider these questions, we realize that surveillance is a political issue never a technological one. When people propose technology to stop or constrain surveillance, they simply remain within the same technological framework. As a result, they cannot solve the surveillance problem. To put it crudely, technology defeats technology, which means any technological solution will be overcome by the next technological innovation. What dominates the arguments about surveillance, explicitly or implicitly, is that we cannot trust the government. Therein, the Review Group has a larger task before it that it cannot resolve alone. The NSA has a particularly important task because the reasons for its mission and how they support democracy has not been told effectively or convincingly. By that, I do not mean we need more public relations or a better media strategy or even better relationship with the media. Instead, it is a about educating the people who work at the NSA, as a start, as to the NSA’s mission and why the work is being done. We must remember that Edward Snowden came from within the organisation and from within the United States. Both of these points should be a sober reminder that the regime has work to do in educating its citizens towards the fundamental principles of its mission. To develop trust, we need the government and the NSA to explain what they are doing, but not simply how they are doing it, but rather why they are doing it. If this is left to a simple response of “National Security” then that simply begs the question. How does the programme contribute national security? How does the programme protect what is in most need of being protected? We need to begin with the question of why we need a government
The issue demonstrates why we have a representational democracy. We elect people to decide why we need surveillance and set up oversight mechanisms and procedures for the agencies that engage in surveillance. In that regard, the rule of law is applied. The people and the agencies are bound to act within the law.
The problem is that politics is infused with a technological vision. The technological view of politics means that we no longer understand what man is nor do we understand what is intrinsically worth defending about man. Instead, there seems to be a focus on technology, and the technology of privacy, as if by achieving “privacy” through a technological solution we would determine or restore a political relationship between the individual and the state. We need to be reminded why we need and want a government to use surveillance. The government chose to use surveillance. The men and women we elected acted on the belief that technological surveillance serves the common good. Surveillance only becomes dangerous when the government refuses to obey the laws upon which it is founded to protect the individual. The state loses its political legitimacy when surveillance no longer serves the common good. In that regard, the state’s illegitimacy does not rest upon its technological choices, but upon its political choices. It is not a question of Law
The problem of surveillance is not one that can be “solved” by a law. The legal framework is required but surveillance exists because of a deeper political issue. It is not a question of be resolved within a legal framework but it is not going to be decided on how a law should be interpreted or applied. As the issue relates to national security, it transcends domestic and international divide between politics within the regime and lawlessness outside the state. The United States faces threats that exist outside its constitutional capacity to resolve because they require the government to act extra-constitutionally to protect the constitution. To put it directly, the Constitution is not a suicide pact. The regime can do whatever it takes, in extreme situations, to defend itself. The whole principle of nuclear deterrence is based on that principle. These threats are rare, but they are real. Extremists who wish to use violence to thwart or overthrow American interests both domestic and foreign do not fit a neat constitutional category. The response to these threats cannot be by police or law enforcement because it transcends the domestic political sphere. As they exist beyond the borders and the pose a catastrophic threat to the state, they require a state of war to deal with them. Yet, who would the United States declare war against to make it “legal”? The public law 107-40 (Authorisation to use Military Force) tries to bridge this ambiguity. At one level, the law has succeeded because so long as this law is in effect, the United States government can take all measures necessary to deal with the threat. Yet at a deeper level, it failed to resolve the constitutional ambiguity of how a democratic regime wages war without being politically at war? Even without that law, the United States, as a regime, has the natural right to self-defence. Yet, how do we resolve democratically what is a threat which requires the government to be granted the powers it has been under AUMF. In other words, what are the limits to a government’s right to defend itself. What we have is a political question that dominates your work. You cannot address the question of surveillance without a response to this fundamental question. It is about bureaucracy but not as we understand it.
Bureaucracy is the operational part of the issue at least concerning unauthorized disclosure, which also relates to how best to use the technology. The NSA is large bureaucracy with a vast array of tools that it can use to for its mission. However, the people who use those tools and the purposes to which they serve and how its operations are controlled fit within a bureaucratic framework. A bureaucracy is built on its culture. What is the culture that the NSA inculcates? How is it assessed? Is it open, with a critical upwards communication? Unauthorised disclosures and the improper use of the technology are not going to be remedied by the law. When people do those things, they know they are breaking the law. They do it because they believe they are right. They believe they are right because they are not convinced that the NSA’s or the government are acting appropriately. Changing the Intelligence Community’s dysfunctional culture
The issue is more than a dysfunctional bureaucracy even though we have plenty of evidence of dysfunctionality. What the NSA and other intelligence agencies suffer from is secrecy meets blame avoidance. The description comes from a variation on Christopher Hood’s excellent work What happens when transparency meets blame avoidance? We can see this problem clearly in the work by Dr. Nolan on information sharing in the National Counterterrorism Center. Her dissertation best express the problem in the intelligence community and explains many of the operational problems associated with the surveillance programme. What she reports is a culture in disarray, no clear management, officers suffering information overload and they have not clear understanding of how it fits together. The Review Group should be concerned by the stories within that dissertation. The Valet story shows that the NCTC has no appropriate induction programme and no business could operate with such a disregard for how staff are managed. The problem within the intelligence community is not its size or its technology; it is the culture. The solution is not to make the intelligence community smaller. The solution is to change its culture. The Review Group faces another challenge that will require it to address fundamental political choices because the intelligence community reflects a wider political culture of neglect and deference that undermines accountability within the intelligence community.
To change an organisation’s culture you have to change the way it does business. You have to change the way people manage and the way people are managed. In particular a robust culture has strong critical upwards communication systems where junior employees can tell senior employees what is not working and why without fear of disapproval. In such a culture, the organisation learns from its mistakes to prevent them, not just fix them. What this requires as well is a management structure that creates and sustains a robust internal communication system. To create a robust culture, the intelligence community must invest in and train its middle managers who have to translate an agency’s strategic vision into a practical reality without creating unintended outcomes. The danger is that without the strong internal communication system, middle managers will do their best to translate their understanding of the strategic vision against practical demands of the day-to-day work, which will create the unintended outcomes. It is not about how we classify or declassify documents
When the government classifies or declassifies a document, it follows a bureaucratic procedure. The procedure is not the problem. The procedure is only a symptom of the problem. The problem is the failure of political judgement because it is not guided by the political good. Instead, it is guided by precedence and compliance with established criteria. In addition, the over-classification of documents and the failure to declassify reflect and reveal a blame avoidance culture. No one wants to declassify a document that will create a scandal or lead to deaths. The bureaucrats who make the decisions are not trained or allowed to use their judgement because they are not trained or educated as to the political good the decision to classify or declassify is to serve. Instead, they become path dependent. They follow previous decisions. They rely upon the past rather than attempt to decide what the good is that the decision to classify or declassify serves. Is that decision the best way to serve that good as evaluated against the objective criteria used to decide the issue? If the process is to be reformed, it will require a change in the criteria to classify or declassify. However, that will only work if there is a change in the political culture that sets the framework for any decision. Although the decision has become a bureaucratic because bureaucrats have decided how they will interpret the existing criteria and how they will apply it, it is still a political decision. What reform has to address is the political decision that initiates the process. The issue is more than bureaucratic culture or organisational culture, it is about the country.
The Review Group must offer more than solutions to technological issues, or operational hurdles, or recalcitrant organisational and bureaucratic cultures. What the review group must do is address the wider government culture and how it has come to embrace surveillance to secure the ends for which it was constituted. What the Review Group must do is discuss the relationship between the government and the people. The relationship explains the surveillance issue because surveillance is justified by the constitutional requirements of the Public Law 107-40 (September 18, 2001); 115 Stat. 224 also known as the Authorisation of Military Force (AUMF). The AUMF has changed the country. Since that decision, the country and the government have become increasingly militarized and power centralized to the executive branch at the expense of the judiciary and the legislative branches. The AUMF has shaped and continues to shape the citizen’s relationship to the government. The surveillance issue only reflects the constitutional and political ambiguity created by the AUMF. Until that law is repealed, the government remains on war footing, which means that its’ constitutional and legal relationship with its citizens is strained by conflicting demands. What is to the nature of our political regime? Empire or a republic?
We confront the fundamental political issue that decides the surveillance question. If America is not at war, why does it have the massive security infrastructure? If America is at war, what is the goal, what is the purpose, what is the strategy for victory, which will determine how relate military means to the political ends? What we find is that neither can be answered and both are true. America faces the problem that cannot be balanced and cannot be reduced to a trade-off. America cannot be half-free and half-slave. America cannot be at war abroad and at peace at home. The surveillance shows that the logic that dictates the government’s foreign policy behaviour has infused the domestic political arena. The use of drones, surveillance, and the militarisation of the police are a consequence of the constitutional political ambiguity created by AUFM. We face the danger that the republic, founded upon limited government, is in danger of collapse under the demand, created by the threat of terrorist attack, of imperial safety imperative. The demand for safety is open-ended and knows no limit. We must return to the republican reality that to be free is to be insecure and accept a limit to the government’s ability to enlarge and protect our rights. Yet, the Review Group will have to reconcile that insight to the reality that the American government and its bureaucracy are created and maintained to delivery a Lockean liberalism goal of comfortable self-preservation as set out by the founders.<!-[if !supportFootnotes]--><!--[endif]-->
In the end, the Review Group must answer *the* political question: What is to be the nature of our political regime? Related Bibliography
The following are a list of essays I wrote on the issues that the Review Group is considering. I hope you find them of interest and use in your work.
The NSA surveillance state and the illusion of privacy
The Problem of Surveillance in a Democratic Society
Why Encryption Threatens Democracy
When the NSA cannot decrypt the seeds of the electronic state of nature are planted.
Why do we have the NSA and why do we need surveillance: A response to Greenwald and others.
Thank you for considering my comments. If they raise questions or if you would like any further details, I would be pleased to respond.
With best wishes for your work,
<!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><!--[endif]--> I discuss this problem in detail in my book America at the Brink of Empire. In that book, I looked at the Vietnam War as it presented a similar challenge because it was an undeclared war that created political ambiguity over the nature of the regime. http://lsupress.org/books/detail/america-at-the-brink-of-empire ATTACHMENT: 2013 Response to Review Group.docx
submission on Global Signals IntelligenceDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 8:23:54 PMAttachments:
Attached is my submission to the Review Group on Global Signals Intelligence Collection and Communications Technologies.
Jon Peha ATTACHMENT: Peha_on_Weakening_Security.pdf
Comment regarding the effects of mass surveillance on the practice of journalismDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 7:51:16 PMAttachments:
Effect of mass surveillance on journalism.pdf
Attached please find our comment to the Review Group.
Tow Center for Digital Journalism
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Center for Civic Media
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab
Fellow in Computational Journalism
Tow Center for Digital Journalism
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism ATTACHMENT: Effect of mass surveillance on journalism.pdf
Comments to the Review Group on Intelligence and CommunicationsTechnologiesDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 7:19:14 PMAttachments:
StatementtoDNIReviewGroup-Access & PI.pdf
My name is Fabiola Carrion and along with my colleague Carly Nyst I submit this comment to the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies on behalf of our organizations Access and Privacy International.
Should you have any questions, please contact us at
Carly and Fabiola
S: Fabiola.Carrion |T: FabCarrion |PGP: 0x01C8463F ATTACHMENT: StatementtoDNIReviewGroup-Access & PI.pdf
CCIA Comments to the Review Group on Global Signals Intelligence Collection and Communications
Friday, October 04, 2013 7:15:32 PMAttachments:
Please find attached the comments of the Computer and Communications Industry Association to the Review Group in response to your September 4 call for comments.
Thank you very much for your attention,
Public Policy & Regulatory Counsel
Computer & Communications Industry Association
(202) 470-3616 |
| PGP Key: 5BBE56EE ATTACHMENT: CCIA_Review_Group_Comments.pdf
Bedoya, Alvaro (Judiciary-Dem)Subject:
Submission to Review GroupDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 6:58:34 PMAttachments:
10.4.13 - Senator Franken Letter to Review Group.pdf
The Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013 - Summary and Section-by-Section - FINAL.pdf
The Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013 - Bill Text - FINAL.pdf
Dear Sir or Madam:
Please accept the attached letter and accompanying documents as a submission to the Review Group from Senator Franken. A full list of supporting companies and organizations for the bill referenced in the letter can be found here: https://www.cdt.org/files/pdfs/weneedtoknow-transparency-bills-supportletter.pdf.
Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. If possible, please confirm receipt.
(202) 224-1024 ATTACHMENTS: The Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013 - Summary and Section-by-Section - FINAL.pdf10.4.13 - Senator Franken Letter to Review Group.pdfThe Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013 - Bill Text - FINAL.pdf
Re: CDT Comments to the President"s Review GroupDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 6:37:32 PMAttachments:
2013 10 04 BORDC memo to GSI review group -- FINAL.pdf
Please find attached comments from the Bill of Rights Defense Committee to the President's Review
Group on Global Signals Intelligence Collection and Communications Technologies pursuant to the
notice posted at http://icontherecord.tumblr.com/post/60323228143/review-group-on-global-signalsintelligence.
We would appreciate a reply to confirm receipt and eagerly await any updates on the progress of the
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
C: 202-316-9229 ATTACHMENT: 2013 10 04 BORDC memo to GSI review group -- FINAL.pdf
Comment for the record re FISA reform of metadata collectionDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 5:45:06 PM
Dear Senators Leahy and Grassley:
Thank you for holding the hearing on October 2 regarding oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in light of the disclosures about NSA surveillance and collection of metadata that includes massive amounts of data about American citizens.
My comments for the official record are going to be brief because a staffer told me that the record closes today, October 4th (although I thought I heard one of the Senators chairing the meeting say that the record would be held open for 10 days but maybe I misheard that).
The main thing I want to correct is what Senator Feinstein said about the pre 9-11 warning from Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet, Feinstein's referring to the case of the (arrested) "terrorist who wanted to learn to fly without taking off or landing," the problem of "stovepiping" of intelligence that kept agencies from learning that Al Qaeda terrorist Al Midhar had entered California and her conclusion that if more metadata had been collected prior to 9-11, the attacks could have been prevented. With all due respect, Senator Feinstein has it completely wrong! With her factually inaccurate version of pre 9-11 failures, her point was to insist that there be no significant rolling back of the NSA's post 9-11 massive metadata and FISA surveillance programs. But her account is wrong and the truth is that this massive government surveillance is making things worse and even harder for analysts and agents trying to find the needle in the haystack by adding more hay. Agents and analysts are reported to call the non-relevant data collection "white noise" or false leads, etc.
I would be happy to provide more detail but in a nutshell, the main finding of the 9-11 Commission, based upon the earlier findings of the Joint Intelligence Committee's Inquiry (JICI) which Senator Feinstein was a part of and to whom I actually addressed my "whistleblower memo" of May 21, 2002 about the FBI's pre 9-11 failures (and also based upon the Senate Judiciary Committee's investigation which Senators Leahy and Grassley led in the spring-summer of 2002; and the lengthy Department of Justice's Inspector General Investigation of these failures) was that the failure to share information within agencies, between agencies and with the public was a major problem that enabled the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks to occur. Many examples of these failures to share information (including "stove piping") were documented, including the Moussaoui case in Minnesota and the case of the TWO (not one) Qaeda suspects Al Midhar AND Al Hazmi who the CIA had long been following since their Al Qaeda-related meeting monitored by the CIA in Kuala Lumpur. The CIA learned of Hazmi and Midhar's entry into California but failed to notify the FBI in a timely manner, not until a few weeks before 9-11. As you will recall Moussaoui later convicted of conspiring with the 9-11 hijackers, was arrested in Minnesota on August 16, 2001, suspected of terrorism connected to Bin Laden and thereafter the FBI Headquarters supervisors failed to share this info with the proper DOJ Office to seek a FISA Order for searching of Moussaoui's belongings despite 60 to 70 detailed requests via telephone, email and written draft declaration such that the FBI case agent later testified at Moussaoui's trial, that this FBIHQ "stovepiping" (or maybe the more accurate term would be "stonewalling") constituted "criminal negligence."
There are many more examples that were adduced and documented of US intelligence agencies already possessing key pieces of information and intelligence including the NSA's interception of conversations between terrorist hijackers and planners that were intercepted before 9-11 about the upcoming attacks that were not translated and understood until after the attacks occurred. The excuse by main officials
for why they did not share or act upon the key information they already possessed--and in some cases, did not even read--until after 9-11 was that "intelligence is like a firehose and you can't get a sip from a firehose." In other words, officials' excuse for not even reading key intelligence memos, let alone properly sharing and disseminating such information or acting upon it, was that there was already too much intelligence being acquired before 9-11. Related to the "firehose" excuse for why the existing intelligence data was not read, shared or acted upon is that the claim it was impossible to make sense of it, to prioritize the importance of data, and "to connect the dots" when there is so much. Senators Leahy and Grassley may recall that the Senate Judiciary Committee (at which I testified on June 6, 2002) later uncovered the fact that the FBI's National Security Law Unit Chief failed to read the detailed, written draft declarations submitted by Minnesota FBI agents in the Moussaoui case but simply relied upon a short verbal briefing. A couple years ago, former New York Times reporter Phil Shenon (also author of the book "The Commission" about the 9-11 Commission) discovered another "terrible missed chance" involving a prior written memo to then FBI Director Louis Freeh written in April 2001 explicitly warning of upcoming terrorist attacks by Osama Bin Laden's group and that Bin Laden was "heavily entwined" with the Chechen leader Ibn Al Khattab. However, several of the high level FBI executives who this April 2001 memo was addressed to by name, later denied having read it. And the information linking Al Khattab to Bin Laden was precisely the reason FBIHQ supervisors failed to appreciate the foreign power connection (for which they later were faulted). The FBI Supervisors were held at fault for failing to recognize the foreign power connection but their own supervisor claimed he had not read this April 2001 memo and therefore had not shared it with them.
DCI George Tenet, who Feinstein stated had passionately warned her intelligence committee of upcoming attacks during the summer of 2001 was himself briefed about the arrest of terrorist suspect Moussaoui in Minnesota as an "Islamic fundamentalist who learns to fly" on August 23 or 24, 2001, yet he could not really explain to the 9-11 Commission why he took no action. It's never been determined if DCI Tenet warned the President or anyone else of this information he received almost three weeks before 9-11.
In conclusion, in all due fairness, Senator Feinstein is dead wrong that the 9-11 attacks occurred as a result of not possessing the NSA and other surveillance programs that now collect massive amounts of metadata and other information about individuals, including American citizens, who are not suspicious.
US intelligence officials did not read, share or act upon the key pieces of info they already had. And their excuse then was that they were getting too much data to even be able to read, or intelligently share or act upon this intelligence.
I would be happy to provide further details if you are interested.
Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent and former FBI Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel, Apple Valley, MNPRIVATE PHONE NUMBER REMOVED
on behalf of Hibah HussainSubject:
Open Technology Institute"s Comments for President"s Surveillance Review GroupDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 5:07:07 PMAttachments:
Dear Review Group,
Please find the Open Technology Institute's comments to the President's Surveillance
Review Group attached to this email.
Policy Program Associate | The Open Technology Institute | The New America
(202) 596 - 3603
Skype: hibahhussain ATTACHMENT: OTI_NSAReviewGroupLetter.pdf
The Constitution Project - Public Comments - 10.4.13Date:
Friday, October 04, 2013 4:59:58 PMAttachments:
Letter to Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies.doc
Dear Members of the Review Group,
Attached please find The Constitution Project’s public comments urging the Review Group to support reforms that will provide robust safeguards for privacy and civil liberties.
Katherine E. Stern
The Constitution Project
1200 18th Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, D.C. 20036
Direct line: (202) 580-6928
ATTACHMENT: Letter to Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies.doc
ACLU Comments for Review Group on Intelligence and Communications TechnologiesDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 4:08:21 PMAttachments:
ACLU Comments for Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies.pdf
To whom it may concern:
Attached, please find the American Civil Liberties Union’s comments for the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Michelle Richardson, our legislative counsel working on these issues, at 202-
Sincerely, Robyn Greene
Washington Legislative Office
American Civil Liberties Union
915 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
■ 202-715-0831 ■
www.aclu.orgBecause Freedom Can’t Protect Itself ATTACHMENT: ACLU Comments for Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies.pdf
Joseph Lorenzo HallSubject:
Re: Technologists’ Comment to the NSA Review GroupDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 3:45:19 PMAttachments:
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Apologies, the originally sent file was incorrect. Please replace the submission with the attached comment. The SHA1 hash is:
On 10/4/13 3:24 PM, Joseph Lorenzo Hall wrote:
>Attached find a public comment from 47 leading security, privacy,
> and cryptography experts to the Director of National Intelligence's
> Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology.
>Joseph Lorenzo Hall
>PS: SHA1 hash of the attached PDF is:
Joseph Lorenzo Hall
Senior Staff Technologist
Center for Democracy & Technology
1634 I ST NW STE 1100
Washington DC 20006-4011
fingerprint: BE7E A889 7742 8773 301B 4FA1 C0E2 6D90 F257 77F8
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.13 (Darwin)
Comment: GPGTools - http://gpgtools.org
Comment: Using GnuPG with Thunderbird - http://www.enigmail.net/
-----END PGP SIGNATURE----- ATTACHMENT: nsa-review-panel-tech-comment-20131004.pdf
Kate A MartinSubject:
Comments from Center for National Security StudiesDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 3:21:36 PMAttachments:
10 4 Mem Pres Rev Group.docx
To the Members of the President’s Review Group.
Attached are our comments and some recommendations for the Group’s report.
I would be happy to discuss any of them further.
Thank you for your consideration.
Center for National Security Studies
202 721 5650
Washington, DC 20036 ATTACHMENT: 10 4 Mem Pres Rev Group.docx
Mark M. JaycoxSubject:
EFF 4 Oct 2013 CommentsDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 2:49:52 PMAttachments:
Mark M. Jaycox | 415.436.9333x128
Electronic Frontier Foundation | Become a Member! eff.org/r.a9hS ATTACHMENT: 4_Oct_2013_EFF_ODNI_Review_Group_Comments_F.pdf
Public Comment - Internet Infrastructure CoalitionDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 2:19:18 PMAttachments:
i2Coalition Public Comments 10.4.2013.pdf
The Internet Infrastructure Coalition submits the attached recommendations in response to the
Reviews Group’s request for public comment on September 4, 2013.
Alexander Mitchell | Associate
Howard Consulting Group, Inc.
1990 M Street, NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20036
202.429.4390 (main office)
ATTACHMENT: i2Coalition Public Comments 10.4.2013.pdf
USACM Comments to the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications TechnologiesDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 1:19:32 PMAttachments:
Attached please find the comments of the U.S. Public Policy Council of the Association for Computing Machinery. We are submitting these comments in response to the September 4 posting on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Tumblr page.
Please contact us if you have any questions, or need additional information.
Senior Public Policy Analyst
Association for Computing Machinery
1828 L Street, Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 20036
212-626-0541 (main line)
http://www.usacm.acm.org ATTACHMENT: ReviewGroupUSACM.pdf
on behalf of Peter BradwellSubject:
Open Rights Group comments for the ReviewDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 1:15:58 PMAttachments:
Please find attached our contribution to your review.
Many thanks for the opportunity to contribute.
Open Rights Group
m: 07811 268398 | Twitter
Winners of Liberty's "Human Rights Campaigners of the Year" Award 2012 ATTACHMENT: ORGcomments-ReviewGroupConsult.pdf
Comments of the Brennan CenterDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 1:01:13 PMAttachments:
Review Group comments BCJ.pdf
To whom it may concern:
Attached are the comments of the Brennan Center for the consideration of the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies. We appreciate the opportunity to comment.
Co-Director, Liberty and National Security Program
Brennan Center for Justice
Tel: (202) 249-7192 ATTACHMENT: Review Group comments BCJ.pdf
Friday, October 04, 2013 10:09:17 AM
Public comments for the Review Group on Intelligence and
Please accept these comments on the course of action for guiding the direction of the Intelligence community when collecting information on the citizens of this great country.
It would seem that the path from Liberty to Safety is slippery indeed. Yet, we ask our intelligence community to navigate the middle each day meanwhile tugging in conflicting directions. I think recent actions and disclosures show that the result has have moved a bit too far from Liberty. This is a few meager suggestions to adjust this.
I think overall the we we got here is as follows: My understanding of this community is that historically it was split to deal with outward and inward facing threats. The FBI, focusing on the inward threats was institutionally focused on maintaining the rules of law. The CIA, focusing on the outward threats, not so much. The separation of agencies permitted this useful separation of mentalities. Unfortunately, 911 showed the weaknesses in this useful split system and we may have strayed a bit too far from it.
With regards to this process, I have three comments.
First, like the FISA court without a Constitutional representative, the balance of the committee appears a bit one sided. Perhaps a member from the other legal side would be approiate. (Maybe EFF or ACLU.) The current state of affairs is a bit of fox guarding the hen house.
Second the path the should be one of public debate. Your comment procedures have room for improvement for fostering this debate. A better announcement and a place where the public can look over the comments and the comment on the comments (as other agencies do) might help.
Third, the President's basic direction of creating a lockbox seems a likely end compromise. The committee's stated direction for ensuring public confidence could be improved if the goals of the lockbox were moved from preventing disclosure to preventing, reporting, and holding accountable the disclosure, use, and access. In other words, a lock box is not useful if the key is readily available to the foxes.
I had further comments discussing the questionable legal scaffolding supporting these collestions, but I think others are better qualified in this area.
Mass Surveillance & Dragnet Spying Undermine our Foreign PolicyDate:
Friday, October 04, 2013 4:23:30 AM
Mass surveillance significantly undermines the United State's foreign policy, weakens national security, and violates the Constitution while destroying the vital, inalienable right to privacy in America and around the world. The National Security Agency's spying program chills freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought, deters innovation, and is poison to democracy. Mass surveillance and data collection undeniably makes America less safe. The dragnet spying apparatus IS the problem.
The National Security Agency does harm to America and its' foreign policy interests. Due to spying on them, our individual allies and the collective United Nations now have legitimate reason to distrust us. The problem isn't that the illegal spying was revealed – the problem is that it was occurring in the first place.
As we've discovered, the NSA can't even keep track of what its' own analysts do, let alone the world's citizens. Attacks such as Boston may have been adverted if the haystack in question was limited to suspected terrorists rather than the entire world.
Undermining encryption and the Internet stifles the world economy while driving business away from America towards law-respecting foreign shores. Dragnet surveillance is a waste of money, time, and misses the point of America entirely.
The National Security Agency's surveillance and spying have been proven to be:
Stopping the dragnet surveillance and spying is the first step towards a safer and more free country. God bless America and the Constitution we have wavered from.
Response to call for public commentDate:
Thursday, October 03, 2013 10:04:10 PM
Discontinuing suspicionless mass surveillance programs is the best way for the US to “employ its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while respecting our commitment to privacy and civil liberties, recognizing our need to maintain the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosure.”
First, mass surveillance of innocent people without individualized suspicion is the problem. No matter how well government agents of intelligence agencies such as the NSA and FBI follow the rules of such a program, it is inherently un-American and unconstitutional. One of the founding fathers’ chief complaints against England was general warrants (writs of assistance)—that’s why the Fourth Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights. Merely increasing the transparency or oversight of mass surveillance will not solve the problem because these programs inherently disrespect privacy and civil liberties.
Second, public trust is eroded not only by government intelligence agencies breaking the rules they are supposed to work under, but also by following the rules that “allow” mass surveillance. When government officials describe thousands of rules violations as inevitable and as representing just a small percentage of the communications surveilled, it follows that the only way to decrease the number of violations is to decrease the scope of the surveillance program. A program that can produce so many violations is inherently monstrous and must be discontinued.
Related to this, many people, including President Obama, have acknowledged that such a broad collection of data could very easily be abused by an unscrupulous president. Our founding fathers designed the Constitution so no one person could rule the US and oppress its people as the king of England had the American colonies. The executive branch’s holding such vast powers also subverts the separation of powers: if the executive can monitor everything the members of the legislative and judicial branches do in private, the latter will not be free to provide meaningful oversight of the executive. An unscrupulous executive could even use these surveillance powers to blackmail members of the other two branches. Sadly, we cannot rule out such a possibility in the future: see the Nixon presidency and the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover.
Third, the way to “optimally protect our national security” is by letting hardworking government agents track down real threats, not directing them to engage in a dragnet search of millions of innocent people. As past terrorist or violent attacks have shown, the problem is the failure to connect the dots, not a lack of relevant information. For example, a “top FBI expert on the al-Qaeda terrorist network testified in court . . . that the agency knew before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that the group’s leader, Osama bin Laden, had sent followers to an Oklahoma flight school to train as pilots and was interested in hijacking airplanes.” Further, “the FBI knew in the early 1990s that al-Qaeda members were getting combat training in how to use short knives.” [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2006/03/07/AR2006030700216.html] In fact, “CIA analysts and FBI agents tr[ied] to sound the alarm about the rising threat,” but were ignored. [http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/ten-years-ago-today-countdown-911/story?id=14191671]
In another example, one of the Boston marathon bombers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had been investigated previously by the FBI, and Russia warned the FBI that he “had embraced radical Islam and intended to travel to Russia to connect with underground groups,” but this information was not shared with Boston police. [http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/10/us/boston-police-werent-told-fbi-got-warning-ontsarnaev.html]
The dedication of what one imagines must be thousands of agents to programs that surveil innocent people (given the 300 internal compliance officers the NSA has, according to its statement
[http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-statements-to-thepost/2013/08/15/f40dd2c4-05d6-11e3-a07f-49ddc7417125_story.html]) diverts resources from following up on real, known threats. Thus, real, time-sensitive leads are buried in an algorithmically driven avalanche of data on innocent Americans whose behaviors cause them to be flagged for some erroneous reason. The intelligence community seems to think that if only it has all the data, and the perfect algorithm to analyze it, it could detect terrorists before they strike. However, the National Research Council, in a 2008 study funded by the Department of Homeland Security, concluded that “[a]utomated terrorist identification is not technically feasible because the notion of an anomalous pattern—in the absence of some well-defined ideas of what might constitute a threatening pattern—is likely to be associated with many more benign activities than terrorist activities." [Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists, National Research Council of The National Academies, 2008]
Fourth, mass surveillance has detrimental effects on American people, companies, and foreign policy. Mass surveillance makes Americans less free: people feel constrained in what they say and write when they know they may be monitored at any time. Such self-censorship will lead to decreased creativity and stasis in society. For example, the civil rights movement was once considered dangerous; had this pervasive mass surveillance existed during the 1960s, the movement might have been stymied (as the FBI attempted to do by individually surveilling Martin Luther King Jr.). US companies suffer a loss of trust, and thus income, when potential customers know that their communications, handled by those companies, are prone to surveillance by the US government. For example, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that “trust metrics” for all the big Internet firms “went down with PRISM.” [http://qz.com/125915/mark-zuckerberg-says-people-trust-facebook-less-after-nsa-revelations/] Finally, the US government itself is hurt by mass surveillance in at least two ways. The US government will suffer a brain drain if qualified people are uncomfortable working for it because it spies, including on Americans, without individualized suspicion. Also, the US’s standing and trust worldwide are hurt when we spy on foreign individuals, governments, and companies. For example, our foreign policy was not advanced but hindered when the president of Brazil cancelled a state visit due to surveillance by the US. Surveillance thus hurts our foreign policy: other countries and agencies will not follow the US’s suggestions if they do not trust the US.
For all these reasons and more, mass surveillance of innocent people without individualized suspicion is the problem: it erodes public trust, diverts resources from more fruitful investigations, and hurts American people, companies, and the government itself. It must be discontinued for the sake of our national freedom and security.
Thursday, October 03, 2013 8:02:15 PM
The fourth amendment to the constitution of the United States of America expressly prohibits the wholesale surveillance of the citizens of this country, the use of broad warrants, and requires that any warrant be based on probable cause. There is no exception provided for national security or any other rational that the government may use.
Since the constitution is clear on this issue I am completely opposed to any current, past, or future use of any agency of the federal, state, or local governments of this country from spying on American citizens. Any government agent that has engaged in illegal and unconstitutional spying on Americans whether within or without the territory of the USA must be brought up on criminal charges and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law no matter the person's rank or privilege.
J. Jay McDanielPRIVATE ADDRESS REMOVED
Respect the publicDate:
Thursday, October 03, 2013 2:25:17 PM
My issues with the recent revelations have little to do with surveillance; I understand that surveillance plays a crucial role in intelligence-gathering, law enforcement, and security. My concerns are primarily with the costly and lazy practice of collecting massive amounts of data when only a fraction of a small percentage of that data contains any form of useful and actionable intelligence.
I realize that I don't have a clear view of the whole picture since I'm not a member of the intelligence community, but from my vantage point it seems like oversight has been positioned incorrectly. Law enforcement or intelligence agencies should need documented permission to retrieve personal data via digital surveillance, they should not be able to obtain that information beforehand.
The practice of collecting entirely too much information invites abuse and introduces costs that I do not wish to support with my tax dollars.
I could go on further about how concerned I am that the federal government appears to be eroding the reliability of encryption algorithms that US citizens and the rest of the world rely on to protect our own data, but I want to keep this short in the hope that somebody will actually read this message.
Regardless of the letter of the law today, the debate needs to turn to what is "right." The government should conduct itself in a way that is respectful of its citizens' liberty and privacy.
Submission to the Review GroupDate:
Thursday, October 03, 2013 10:32:02 AMAttachments:
2013-10-03 Review Group Letter.ITI.SIIA.pdf
Dear members of the Review Group,
Attached please find a submission from the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) and the Software Information Industry Association (SIIA) to the Review Group.
Our two organizations appreciate the opportunity to submit these comments to the Review Group in connection with your examination.
Please do not hesitate to be in touch with any questions or comments.
Kind regards, Yael Weinman
Information Technology Industry Council
1101 K Street, NW, Suite 610
Washington, DC 20005
ATTACHMENT: 2013-10-03 Review Group Letter.ITI.SIIA.pdf
Comments from May First/People LinkDate:
Thursday, October 03, 2013 7:35:53 AMAttachments:
We believe the US should follow the internationally agreed upon standards outlined in the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance that can be found here:
May First/People Link
Growing networks to build a just world
OpenPGP Key: http://current.workingdirectory.net/pages/identity/
Review Group LetterDate:
Wednesday, October 02, 2013 7:39:38 PMAttachments:
Review Group Letter.doc
If there is a problem with this document please see the attached Word Document copy
From: Teressa B. Veith
October 2, 2013
To: The DNI Review Group on Intelligence and Communication Technologies
I should like to quote three men from three documents. While I am just quoting a few salient points I would encourage you to read all three in their entirety. Representative Louie Gohmert from the Congressional Record Volume 159, Number 108, Thursday July 25, 2013 from the middle of page H5079 upto and includiing most of page H5083:
- (page H5082) You've got to describe with sufficient particularity that people can identify items that you're demanding to be produced
- You can't just come in and ask for everybody's phone records in the country.
- I go back to 2002, when a CIA attorney at one of our judicial conferences (start page H5083) said, Gee, banks have all of your financial information. Why should't the government? I was aghast and said because the banks can't come to your home, bust down the door, throw you to the ground, put a boot on your back, and put you in handcuffs and drag you off. But the governmentcan and does. So we've got to be very careful to make sure that the government does not overreach what they are allowed to do.
- Then we find out the NSA has gotten orders so they can get every single call that we have made to somebody. There is no specificity in an order like that. This has to stop.
- I've been surprised.
- ... I said that's right, that's what the law allows, but they're going so far beyond that.
- But for those who just want to be Americans and live their private lives and be left alone, the government should not be watching everything they do through their computers, through their debit and credit card purchases and transactions, through every phone call they make.
William E. Binney from the 10 page sworn Declaration in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Rejecting the Governments Defendant's State Secret Defense in Jewel verse NSA Cas 3:08-cv-04373-JSW Document 88 Executed on June 21, 2012 at Washington D.C., Filed 07/02/12 in the United States District Court for the Nothern District of California:
- (paragraph 5) The advent of the September 11 attacks brought a complete change in the approach of the NSA towards doing its job. FISA ceased to be an operative concern, and the individual liberties preserved in the U.S. Constitution were no longer a consideration. It was at that time that the NSA began to implement a group on intelligence activities now known and the President's Surveillance Program (PSP).
- ... the PSP involved the collection of domestic electroni communications traffic without any of the privacy protections vuilt into Thin Thread.
- (paragraph 6)I resigned from the NSA inlate 2001. I could not stay after the NSA began purposefully violating the Constitution.
- (paragraph 13) The sheer size of that capacity (at the Utah Data Center) indicates that the NSA is not filtering personal electronic communications such as email before storage but is, in fact, storing all that they are collecting. The capacity of the NSA's planned infrastructure far exceeds the capacity necessary for the storage of discreet, targeted communications or even for the storage of the routing information from all electronic communications. The capacity of the NSA's planned infrastructure is consistent , as a mathematical matter, with seizing both the routing information and the contents of all electronic communications.
- (paragraph 15) Director Mueller responded ... "elements of the Department of Defense, " (namely the NSA) and the FBI had "put in place technological improvements relating to the capabilities of a database to pull toghether past emails as well as ... and future ones as they come in so that it does not require an individualized search." (Mueller Senate testimony, March 30, 2011 at minute 43:50). The NSA cannot pull together past emails from the NSA's database unless the NSA had already collected the emails and stored them in its database.
Senator Ron Wyden from his speech of July 23, 2013; "Wyden on NSA Domestic Surveillance at the Center for American Progress.: 29 pages:
- (page 2) At the time, Senate rules about classified information barred me from giving any specifics of what I'd seen except to describe it as Secret Law - a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, issued by a secret court, that authorizes secret surveillance programs – programs that I and colleagues think go far beyond the intent of the statute.
- If that is not enough to give you pause, then consider that not only were the existence of and the legal justification for these programs kept completely secret from the American people, senior officials from across the government were making statements to the public about domestic surveillance that were clearly misleading and at times simply false.
- (page 3) They're going to say, in America, you don't have to settle for one priority or the other: laws can be written to protect both privacy and security, and laws should never be secret.
- (page 4) The result: the creation of an always expanding, omnipresent surveillance state that - hour by hour - chips needlessly away at the liberties and freedoms our Founders established for us, withoutthe benefit of actually making us any safer.
- (page 5) The combination of increasingly advanced technology with a breakdown in the checks and balance that limit government action could lead us to a surveillance state that cannot be reversed. ... This started not long after 9/11, with a Pentagon program called Total Information Awareness, which was essentially and effort to develop an ultra-large-scale domestic data mining system. Troubled by this effort, and its not exactly modest logo of an all-seeing eye on the universe, I worked with a number of (start page 6) senators to shut it down. Unfortunately, this was hardly the last domestic surveillance overreach. In fact, the NSA's infamous warrantless wiretapping program was already up and running at that point, though I, and most members of the Intelligence Committee didn't learn about it until a few years later. This was part of a pattern of withholding information from Congress that persisted throughout the Bush administrations - I joined the Intelligence Committee in 2001, but I learned about the warrantless wiretapping program when you read about it in the New York Times in late 2005.
- (page 9) They (laws) should be public all the time, open to review by adversarial courts, and subject to change by an accountable legislature guided by an informed public.
- (page 10) ... It's Civics 101. And secret law violates those basic principles. It has no place in America.
- (page 11) They (FISC) chose to issue binding secret rulings that interpreted the law and the Constitution in the startling way that has come to light in the last six weeks. They were to issue the decision that the Patriot Act could be used for dragnet, bulk surveillance of law-abiding Americans.
- (page 14) This means that the government's authority to collect information on law-abiding American citizens is essentially limitless.
- What happens to our government, our civil liberties and our basic democracy if the surveillance state is allowed to grow unchecked?
- (page 18) And let's be clear: the public was not just kept in the dark about the Patriot Act and other secret authorities. The public was actively misled.
- (page 20) The answer is that it is not all right, and it is indicative of a much larger culture of misinfromation that goes beyond the congressional hearing room and into the public conversation writ large.
- (page 23) Meanwhile, I have not seen any indication that the bulk phone records program yeilded any unique intelligence that was not also available to the government through less intrusive means.
- (page 29) James Madison, the father of our constitution, said that the accumulation of executive, judicial and legislative powers into the hands of any fraction is the very definition of tyranny.
This is no longer about security verse privacy, if it ever was, for if we don't defend both we'll have neither. You are also tasked with regaining the public trust, i.e. assuaging American outrage and fears. Here are a few on mine:
- That our historic system of checks and balances can be completely subverted by stamping TOP SECRET on millions of documents
- That Congressional and FISC oversight can be stymied by a "culture of misinformation"
- That "Foreign Intelligence" includes all domestic digital data
- That anyone believes that "self reporting" has ever or could ever work
- That since the 1990's, "agents are trained to 'recreate' the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated," ... "Two dozen partner agencies comprise the (DEA's SOD) unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security." Where is due process? That "(p)arallel construction is a law enforcement technique we use everyday, ... (i)t's decades old, a bedrock concept," illustrates how perverse the Defense of our Constitution and Rule of Law has beconme at the hands of our Intelligence Community. [Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up programs used to investigate Americans," by John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke, Reuters - Washington Mon. Aug. 5, 2013]
- That Americans even need to discuss Drone Assassinations
- That James Clapper believes that after a pointless "discussion" the secrecy will carry on. I pray he is wrong.
Teressa B. Veith ATTACHMENT: Review Group Letter.doc
Benjamin Elijah GriffinSubject:
Wednesday, October 02, 2013 6:45:33 PM
I understand that "The Review Group is seeking public comments on all matters that the President has directed it to examine, namely, how in light of advancements in communications technologies, the United States can employ its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while respecting our commitment to privacy and civil liberties, recognizing our need to maintain the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosure."
It is my belief that ex parte hearings at FISA combined with an over-board sense of secrecy that classifies everything has made it difficult for the citizens of this country to understand and evaluate what our government is actually doing. Allegations that have come out in the press paint a picture of officials that are not merely content with collecting data on non-US persons when doing "Foreign Intelligence."
If it is true that data (or euphemistically "metadata") is collected from basically everyone in the United States for the purposes of finding out which of those people have contacts with non-US persons, then it seems that the laws of this nation have been disregarded and disrespected by the very agencies we, the people, expect to be protecting and upholding our country and its laws.
If it is true that the NSA, or others, have purposely reduced the security of general purpose cryptography and data hashes for the purposes of interception of foreign signals, what consequence has this for the interception of our domestic signals by foreigners? Do we want to be in a world where no communication, personal, corporate, or governmental, can be safeguarded from anyone with a moderate amount of computer power? I do not believe so.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Dishonest lawbreaking by some government officials undermines the credibility of all government statements. Privacy for private matters can not be maintained when primary, secondary, and third parties are subject to having all of their communications examined. This is not who we were and is not how we should be.
Benjamin Elijah Griffin
Comments of the Center for Democracy and TechnologyDate:
Wednesday, October 02, 2013 3:01:37 PMAttachments:
CDT Comments_Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies.pdf
Attached please find the comments of the Center for Democracy and Technology to the Review Group on Global Signals Intelligence Collection and Communications Technologies in response to its September 4 request for public comments.ATTACHMENT: CDT Comments_Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies.pdf
Wednesday, October 02, 2013 3:04:40 AM
Dear Review Group,
The most important insight your review can provide is to help answer the question, "What works?" What kinds of surveillance technologies or programs are reasonably effective at monitoring terrorist activity and developing leads. And what kinds of technologies are relatively ineffective at achieving those goals?
Members of the public have little way of evaluating the public record to answer these critical questions. The Executive Branch will generally claim a program is effective; civil libertarian critics will disagree. Members of the public have no way to assess these competing claims. And without a way to evaluate the effectiveness of surveillance programs, it is impossible for members of the public to have an informed perspective on the desirability of those programs to complete the feedback loop of legislative reform.
That difficulty creates a major opportunity for your Group. It would be tremendously helpful to the national dialogue on security surveillance if the Review Group could shed at least some light on the effectiveness of different programs or technologies of data collection and analysis. Answers will not be easy to find, even with the access to classified documents needed to begin answering the question. And of course there are sensitivities involved in disclosing too much about exactly how our Nation obtains its best intelligence. The tension between the security costs and democratic benefits of additional disclosure is inevitable and difficult to weigh. At the same time, even just rough guideposts as to what kinds of programs and technologies succeed and which ones fail would be tremendously valuable to inform the public dialogue in coming years.
Orin S. Kerr
Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor
George Washington University Law School
Public comment solicitationDate:
Wednesday, October 02, 2013 12:08:03 AM
Dear Sirs and Madams,
I am writing in response to a solicitation for public comment featured on the DNI.gov website (reference, http://www.dni.gov/index.php/intelligencecommunity/review-group/review-group-on-intelligence-and-communicationstechnologies-conducts-meetings-with-privacy-and-civil-liberties-experts-andinformation-technology-industry-experts). I would appreciate due consideration for the following topics to be covered in the execution of your review:
1. Rights and Privacy. Compliance to the constitutionally protected rights of US citizens must be guaranteed. The Review Panel should investigate all information collected on US citizens and provide a 'strict definition' interpretation of all legislative precedent.
1.a. The reports produced by the Review Panel should include a reference section wherein are held a list of all applicable legislative laws, judicial decisions, and executive orders used by the Review Panel to determine compliance to the US citizens' constitutional rights.
1.b. The Review Panel should prepare a list of all relevant and applicable legislative laws, judicial decisions, and executive orders which are restricted from disclosure to US citizens. This list (titles, reference numbers, summary of law/decision/order only) should be made available to the public to allow FOIA requests and petitioning by citizen groups for the document's de-classification. I feel it is beyond scope for the Review Board to champion de-classification of documents itself.
2. Data stewardship. The life-cycle of information collected, reviewed, and enhanced by analysis is owned by the agencies which performed the aforementioned activities. I understand there is a mandate by the FISA court that sets a certain amount of time that this data can be retained.
2.a. The Review Panel should discuss with the agencies receiving raw or enriched data how compliance to FISA mandate can be measured as well as how public disclosure of compliance can be communicated.
2.b. The Review Panel should determine and publicly disclose compliance to whether internal agency 'clients' or 'external' clients comply with data destruction timelines. It should be noted that information derived from, inherited from, or copied from the original collection record should be included at the time the original record is destroyed.
2.c. The Review Panel should determine if the network infrastructures (dark fiber use, wireless networks, routers, switches, etc.), computer programs and applications (OTS, bespoke, organically grown, etc.), the computer coded communication services over the network (SaaS, PaaS, SOAP, etc.), the storage infrastructure (cloud, outsourced hosting, NAS, etc.), and end-user policy (in-house, contractor requirements, external agency client, etc.) all comply with the strictest definitions of necessary information security policies that are evoked when handling personally identifiable information (PII). The compliance to required policy must be measured and public disclosure of compliance must be made.
3. Allow insight to collected data. The Review Board should recommend a solution where a US citizen can visit a website and may query the data collected by government agencies (DNI, NSA, etc.) through a warrant-less means for email, phone, name, SSN, and other personally identifiable information to determine if their own personal data has fallen into the collection process. The information returned from a query should be a "yes" or "no" response.
3.a. The affirmative answer response should include a hyperlink. The hyperlink should allow the user to petition government agencies for the removal of their information. Follow-up correspondence informing the US citizen of the deletion of data or non-deletion of data should be sent within a reasonable time-frame. This correspondence should also list all other data and meta-data that are associated with the US citizen and whether this data will be deleted or not. The decision to not delete information on the US citizen can then be appealed to the judicial system.
4. National and international responsibility. The Review Panel must report what the
US agencies' mandates are, their authority to operate, and their responsibilities on a national and international stage. The following should be recommended by the Review Panel for uniform adoption and clearly stated in the charter for any ongoing activity in the executive branch relative to warrant-less data collection:
4.a. The US agencies must not disclose any information about US citizens that is acquired from warrant-less methods of collection. This includes disclosure to other domestic government agencies that did not directly sponsor said collection of data, such as; domestic law enforcement, election commissions, tax agencies, US state governments, etc. There should be no disclosure to entities outside the US government, such as; credit bureaus, lending institutions, political action groups, etc.
4.b. The US agencies must not collaborate, outsource, or collude with any other nation or sovereign state to circumvent the protections guaranteed to a US citizen by the constitution.
4.c. The agencies collecting data must be audited continuously by independent, unbiased investigators with compliance breaches reported internally to leadership of the impacted agency, the inspector general, and a cabinet-level overseer with dedicated time to oversight responsibilities. Employees within the agencies performing collection must receive training on policies created for ensuring protection for US citizens' rights. A reprisal-free, anonymous hotline must be provided to allow agency employees the means to report a violation of US citizens' rights to the inspector general.
NB: The term "warrant-less" is used in this letter to denote the lack of a warrant targeting an individual US citizen.
I applaud your efforts to review an extensive and diverse set of government functions. I hope not all of the points above have already been rehashed ad nauseum and you find some insight of value in this letter. I wish you all great success in this endeavor!
V/r-RK Mealo, US citizen
Comments for the review groupDate:
Monday, September 30, 2013 8:14:30 PM
To whom it may concern,
Thanks for accepting public comments on the efforts to balance national security interests and the 4th and 5th amendments to the US Constitution and other human rights. I’ve broken down my thoughts into several areas:
- National Security: Before attempting to balance the needs of National Security with the protections of our highest laws embodied in the Constitution, I’d like to see a public high level definition and scoping for all areas National Security entails. Without a clear definition, it will be impossible to debate anything done in the name of National Security. A specific example which highlights this concern is the implied importance of securing reliable oil imports as a national security concern. Without a clear definition of national security, much could be justified in secret as national security policy.
- Government secrecy: Everyone recognizes that secrets will always be necessary. Everyone realizes a healthy democracy requires citizen participation which in turn rests on a foundation of governmental and corporate transparency. To balance these two trade-offs against each other, it seems important that secrets have a prescribed shelf life. The Freedom of Information Act has been instrumental in helping with transparency, but has been inadequate to combat the measurably increasing secrecy of government. FOIA has no applicability at all within the area of corporate transparency currently. Arguably the emergence of leaking sites is an organic response to the trend of rising organizational secrecy. It seems desirable to have a framework of classifications for secret information based on public description of functional category of a secret tied to the national security definition instead of generic classifications like “Top Secret”. I could imagine “Diplomatic off the record” for example. Another feature of that type of system could be the default retention period for each functional classification. All secrets could be created with release date built in – and most categories of secrets could have a release date on a relatively short time period. Even something as serious as nuclear launch codes which obviously need to be secret could be made public on a short time period given the fact that codes should be changed frequently. Fixing the perceived over-secrecy of government is required to bolster trust in government. No government data should ever be allowed to be destroyed. All government secrets should eventually be released to the public. Trust in corporations is related to Personally Identifiable Information (#6 below).
- Individual privacy: we need to trust people by default. Innocent until proven guilty. Assuming everyone could be a criminal and then collecting all their private information in a “lockbox” in case it will be needed in the future undermines trust. The most dangerous adversaries will not be easily caught in this dragnet and government will lose the support of the people. Corporations also lose the ability to be trusted and lose their markets too. Alternative dark nets will emerge as a way to counterbalance the overreach by government. We should have reasonable suspicion about an individual before we intrude on their privacy. And to ensure that the surveillance is supported by the public, all queries of personally identifiable information should be audited and released to the affected individuals based on the secrecy retention policy from #2. All accesses of private information should be released to the individuals within a very short period of time.
- Public oversight: citizen privacy advocates (EFF, ACLU, etc) should make up half of the oversight board that reviews access of citizen data stored by public servants. An institution can’t effectively provide itself oversight and oversight representatives can’t be general purpose representatives like the ones in Congress and the Senate for these highly technical issues. Representatives need to be specialists with a background in technology and law and have a clear separation from the influences of standard public officials.
- Sources and methods: the argument that we need to protect sources and methods has been cited widely to keep agency efforts secret. Any technology or method that is already used outside of government and is known to the public should not be allowed to be protected as a secret source and method.
- Personally identifiable information: the public should own their data. Unregulated corporate privacy policies are dangerous because they allow government to outsource outlawed information collection to corporations unless we have universal rules. Secret information sharing between corporations and government need to be very tightly regulated as to the types of information and to keep a short time period before data is made public. All information sharing should be overseen by #4. It should be explicitly illegal for government to directly or indirectly acquire prohibited information through any third party – whether corporation or foreign government.
- Citizenship: if all people are indeed created equal, we should stand by our Bill of Rights independent of where in the world a person is located. Targeting an individual for surveillance should be based on probable cause regardless of where they are a citizen. The NSA and FBI could be combined if we made this change in interpretation of human rights.
- Encryption: it should be illegal for anyone to willfully weaken the strength of security products. This should apply to governments, corporations and individuals. Any weaknesses found by government in products should be communicated to the companies and released to the public on a short time interval as defined by the classification level in #2. The NSA should make all analysis of the security of products or math and techniques in encryption or communication public on a short time interval. This enhances worldwide security which arguably in the fundamental security interests of the United States on balance.
- Public data: information which is clearly available in public should lose all classification immediately after discovery of that fact. If this is not followed then the public could conceivably become more knowledgeable than those with clearance, which would undermine national security. Blocking access to Wikileaks by those in government, as an example, is dangerous and undermines national security.
- Pre-crime and entrapment: we are becoming capable of very effective profiling of individuals by collecting all their communications and data and using data mining techniques. It will be very difficult to avoid the lure of targeting those who haven’t yet committed a crime but fit a profile. To keep this powerful capability from becoming a prosecution device for persecution or worse yet a self-fulfilling cycle where individuals commit crimes because they are assumed to be criminals, we need very careful balancing of risk of crime vs. presumed innocence. It should be illegal to entrap/attack/arrest someone prior to the commitment or at least clear impending commitment of a crime. Any monitoring of risky groups should be made public on a short time interval. This may in fact prevent crimes that would otherwise occur.
Thank you for considering public opinions.
Matt Hollingsworth Matt Hollingsworth
| Data Platform Architect | SQL Server 2012 + SQL Azure425 830-5111
Freedom Is More Important Than Safety.Date:
Monday, September 30, 2013 7:33:32 AM
Privacy is the criterion for freedom and most THINKING citizens will agree that NSA investigations are contrary to this countries constitution an present a very great danger to our way of life. This country is no longer a model for repressed countries to emulate.
Clearwater, FL 33756
public comments on NSA Surveillance of US citizensDate:
Sunday, September 29, 2013 11:02:58 PM
To the office of the Director of National Intelligence:
I vehemently oppose the continued NSA surveillance of U.S. citizen's electronic communications without proper oversight provided by the (public) courts. I know this has been going on since at least 2001 and the scale has expanded considerably since then (through the FISA amendments, PRISM program, cooperation with all the major telephony, cell and internet service providers, etc.).
Mass collection of the metadata is wrong enough, as this allows our government to illegally track the associations of US citizens with various political and religious organizations. However, the recent revelations stemming from the documents leaked by Edward Snowden, have shown that in addition to the metadata being collected on foreign and US citizens, invariably content and details of U.S. citizen communications are likely being scrutinized. I believe innocent Americans who are not suspected of any crime should not live in fear of being spied on by their government.
As you are well aware of, secret documents published by the Guardian and Washington Post revealed the following about the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) that oversees surveillance by US intelligence agencies (signed by Attorney General Eric Holder and stamped July 29. 2009):
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->shows the judges have signed off on
broad orders that allow the NSA to make use of information "inadvertently"
collected from domestic US communications without a warrant.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->detail the procedures the NSA is
required to follow to target "non-US persons" under its foreign intelligence
powers and what the agency does to minimize data collected on US citizens
and residents in the course of that surveillance. These documents show that
even under authorities governing the collection of foreign intelligence from
foreign targets, US communications can still be collected, retained and used.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->FISA court-approved policies allow the
<!--[if !supportLists]-->o <!--[endif]-->keep data could potentially
contain details of US persons for up to 5 years
<!--[if !supportLists]-->o <!--[endif]-->retain and make use of
"inadvertently acquired" domestic communications if they contain usable
intelligence, information on criminal activity, threat of harm to people or
property, are encrypted, or are believed to contain any information
relevant to cybersecurity.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->As per the NSA's own procedure on
"Acquisition and Processing" using its foreign surveillance powers, the decision
to "minimize" and destroy a US person's electronic communications
"inadvertently" acquired, lies solely on whether some NSA staff person
"exercises reasonable judgement", not with a public court where such a
decision (via a warrant) should and needs to be made.
This is no reliable safeguard at all from unreasonable searches, and invites all
kinds of abuses of our Constitutional right provided by the 4th amendment.
Warrants should be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. I
believe that the warrantless mining of data from personal e-mails, Internet
searches, text messages, phone calls, Facebook postings, etc. violates this
amendment and should therefore be illegal. The primary problem is the bulk,
suspicion-less acquisition by the NSA of communications and metadata from
telecommunication companies and internet service providers. Therefore I urge you
to re-consider this present course and put a stop to this practice and allow us
U.S. citizens to be "secure in our persons, houses, papers (= communications),
and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures".
Thank You for the opportunity to provide my thoughts and comments on an issue which is very important and meaningful to me.
NSA survelliance of Americans private dataDate:
Sunday, September 29, 2013 3:56:33 PM
To the review group,
I wish to say that the revelations coming out this summer of the actions of those working directly for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence including the NSA have greatly disturbed me. I do not believe that the warrentless data searches should have been undertaken, period. There is a legal process in this country for investigating those who break the law and the Government is showing total disregard for that process.
I do not consider the fact that the procedures were known by some elected members of Congress gives you permission to break the law. The review process that has been set up to investigate these incidents is a farce since all members of the committee have been in positions to do something about these illegal actions before and they chose to do nothing at those times. The only remedy that the American people will accept is full disclosure of the illegal actions, prosecution of those responsible and legislative changes to make sure that the citizens private data is not accessed by the Government without probable cause under any circumstances.
David M. Taylor
Comment - Signals Intelligence CollectionDate:
Sunday, September 29, 2013 11:45:59 AM
To the Review Group on Global Signals Intelligence Collection and Communications Technologies:
I wish to add my comments for your review.
• Redefinition of the Intelligence Mandate:
The mandate must be thoughtfully redefined by the US Congress to narrow the scope and extent of domestic intelligence collections to adhere to the provisions of the US Constitution. The best intelligence is to know the sources of the threats. It is well known that it is best to gather intelligence as close as possible to the source. Even with the intrusive monitoring that has been exposed, it is well known that total security can never be achieved.
• The respect of Privacy:
The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution provides for the affirmation of 'probable cause' will grant governmental access to the private papers and affairs of a person. The widespread surveillance systems, both governmental and private, that now exist insure that massive data is being collected. This data may indeed be useful to the law enforcement and security entities, but any records must be kept in escrow until probable cause is demonstrated.
• Realize the fluidity of the sources:
The threats to US security will always change and will require advances in intelligence collection techniques. However the "fishing expeditions" that violate the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution must never be employed.
Huntsville, Alabama, USA
Friday, September 27, 2013 9:42:22 PM
Dear Members of the Review Group,
I would ask you all to forget your political and institutional loyalties, and ask what kind of internet and America that we want. I don't want to live in a country that denies people freedom in the name of spying to protect national security. The Constitution doesn't not guarantee that I won't die in a tragic accident, or in a terrorist attack (which is incredibly unlikely) but it does guarantee that I shouldn't have to worry about illegal searches and seizures.
Thanks for your time,
Ted Steger, Ph.D.
Earning back our trustDate:
Friday, September 27, 2013 8:35:29 PM
It's pretty clear that not only are you bending and breaking the law and using twisted words and tortuous interpretations to justify it, but you are also denying it and trying to continue to cover up what you are doing. The only way I personally will trust this agency is if the heads (Keith Alexander and James Clapper) are removed, and if it agrees to actual oversight by a neutral 3rd party. And start honoring the 4th
amendment and stop collecting information on all Americans.
I'd also love to see the NSA put its money where its mouth is and publish all of the metadata and other info it has gathered on all employees of the nsa, fbi, cia, congress, the supreme court and the president and staff. If it's not really such a big deal, then having it published shouldn't be such a big deal either.
respecting our commitment to privacy and civil libertiesDate:
Thursday, September 26, 2013 1:32:34 PM
To the Review Group on Global Signals Intelligence Collection and Communications Technologies:
Ben Franklin once said, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Franklin is speaking to us; we would do well to listen.
It is not simply an abstract commitment to privacy and civil liberties that is at stake in the revelations that NSA conducts wide-scale data collection on US citizens, it is the credibility of our government in relation to its founding principles and documents. The US is either a constitutional democracy that is governed by law or it is something else. What we have learned is that in this moment it is actually something else.
The US, during the cold war, compared itself favorably with the repressive regimes of the Eastern Block
-- it was "freedom" that made that distinction. The KGB or the Stasi were symptoms of an evil paranoia that subjected the socialist citizenry to unconscionable surveillance. It turns out, we are even worse than that. Despite the values and laws enshrined in the founding documents of the country, the US government spies on all of us -- collects and stores our communications, our activities. It is a chilling revelation. It should be a devastating disillusionment.
Technical changes cannot be made an excuse for the abrogation of basic principles. Communication should never be impeded, interrupted, or intercepted. It should not be criminalized and neither should thought or representation. Doing so really has nothing to do with fighting crime, or terrorism; rather it is an impingement on an essential humanness, which diminishes the subject of surveillance, the spy, and the society that sanctions such invasions of intimacy and human bonding.
The time of the American revolution was also a time of unprecedented technological change and new global mobility. Rather than being the reason for implementing further restrictions of liberty, the framers of the constitution understood that situation as calling for a defense of liberty.
It is time to recognize that our situation is the same. Now is the time for the clear sighted among us to turn back from our descent into authoritarian domination through technical means. If the mantra of freedom which is recited so often here is to have any meaning, it is incumbent on us to find a way not to use the demand for security as an excuse to destroy any expectation of privacy -- which is, after all, the most intimate security -- and the very heart of liberty.
The internal surveillance apparatus of the US must be dismantled. Nothing less can possibly restore that freedom that we had been promised. And further, the government has to stop prosecuting the whistle blowers. Thomas Drake, William Binney, Edward Snowden and any future truth tellers should be lauded for their courage and protected from prosecution.
Anything less than this will mean that US will continue its slide into what is essentially neo-fascism.
San Francisco, CA
Solutions to apply to the U.S. Security State - T. HardinDate:
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 8:25:39 PM
SOLUTIONS TO APPLY TO THE U.S. SECURITY STATE--T. Hardin
WHY CHANGES ARE NEEDED:
The overall effect of massive surveillance is subjugation of all the people. The American people's biggest loss is loss of privacy. That alone is enough to take away all our freedoms; it was the central nightmare in George Orwell's "1984." It is my nightmare.
There is an overeager and irrational exuberance by intelligence and police agencies to oppress ordinary people. Other government tendencies -- some aided by overactive intelligence gathering -- are central control, militarization of the police; criminalization of social problems; and long-term imprisonment for petty crimes with solitary confinement often in private prisons. These trend toward regimentation, oppression, and oligarchy. They set the stage for totalitarianism. The machinery now in place for central collection of signal intelligence is a stage set for a totalitarian leader to enter.
I present two corrective themes: Redefine the mandate. Respect privacy.
REFINE THE MANDATE
Congress should narrow the mandate, redefine national intelligence goals, and redefine terrorism. To prevent every act of foreign political violence on American soil is impossible, because it requires more than monitoring all communications--it requires knowing the mind of potential adversaries. The same is true of home-grown random violence.
Given the above, the revised mandate should be to gather intelligence on the most dangerous jihadists and terrorists likely to inflict major damage and major deaths -- some arbitrary number of deaths per incident such as 10 or 50. A smaller number of deaths can be seen as the price of a U. S. society that is free and unmonitored -- a price that will be paid in any case and in any Western country. Anything else that accepts some risk as a tradeoff for more privacy and freedom for the people is a more rational and less maniacal goal.
The authority of the fourth amendment must be restored and the people's privacy returned to them. Though signal intelligence and face-recognitions may be continuously gathered and stored (we citizens are not going to be powerful enough to dismantle the machine), it should not be accessed except "upon probable cause" -- tips from citizens and informers -- and after a search warrant by a court for a particular thing or person. Decline to prosecute Americans by using the collection -- it is the only way Americans will feel safe from monitoring.
It should be understood by the Administration and by the people that the machine's purpose is anti-terrorism only -- not for collecting Americans' private conversations to be mined for their own incrimination. Especially the machine should not be used to enforce made-up crimes (mala prohibita) like drug laws. Keep the DEA separated from the collected material.
Gather intelligence close to the source. "If you want to understand how a human being thinks, you need a human informant next to them...You can't beat a human informant," says a 25-year veteran of the CIA and FBI, Philip Mudd, author of Takedown: Inside the Hunt for Al Queda. (Colbert Report, Comedy Central, Sep 12, 2013) Consider this advice and put people on the ground near the suspects rather than monitor all the world's communication.
Respect the privacy and fourth amendment rights of Americans, and require the same of foreign partners. Come out of the shadows and de-classify, de-classify.
The solutions to restore privacy are political. However engineering geniuses may re-engineer the internet or hardware or software so that citizens can rightfully stay a step ahead of the government spies.
Technical innovations by others are self-preserving measures and should not be disallowed by the government, nor can they be -- not all of them.
Huntsville, Alabama, USA
privacy from unwarranted seizure of informationDate:
Monday, September 23, 2013 6:59:11 PM
kindly defend the fourth amendment of the constitution of the united states
Thursday, September 19, 2013 2:40:16 PM
Please initiate an investigation of the intelligence agencies. Thank you.
Sent from iPhone
Wasting government resourcesDate:
Thursday, September 19, 2013 1:08:11 AM
I don't understand why you would waste so many resources and do so little.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 9:45:27 PM
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Mass surveillance works contrary to the both presumption of innocence and the 4th
Amendment. I believe that both are foundational and valuable principles to our system of government. Even if the government is able to prevent some acts of terrorism through mass surveillance, the cost is unacceptably high. I am willing to accept risk in my life in order to preserve bedrock principles that built our society. Brian WilsonPRIVATE PHONE NUMBER REMOVED
My views re: Review Group on Global Signals Intelligence Collection and Communications Technologies Seeks Public CommentDate:
Monday, September 16, 2013 7:27:08 PM
My views are posted online at: http://all.net/Analyst/2013-09.pdf
The last part will be reiterated here in case the Web or PDF are problematic in some way.
As a fundamental, I think that surveillance and the use of data from all sources for any and all things is undesirable. Government, because of its enormous power over people, should be limited and closely watched. The long history of government is that less transparency leads to more abuse. “Power corrupts...”5 And you cannot believe what government officials tell you.6 But surveillance of some sort is necessary for the legitimate business of government. While it may be impolite to read others' email, you cannot reasonably expect the government not to do so under some circumstances. The question is: “What circumstances?” I have long maintained and believed that oppressive societies may not be internally overthrowable if they are able to adequately surveil their citizenry. This applies regardless of the system of government. The problem stems from the fact that people are not perfect and there will always be something that can be leveraged against the individual by the government. Leverage may be in identifying illegal acts and selectively prosecuting them against the enemies of the state, but it need not always be done that way. Extortion and bribery work very well in many cases, and even without such extreme acts, most people can be diverted from their course against the government by other things. Suppose I got you a good job doing something you always wanted to do in a great place and where there are lots of things to do with your time. Would that tend to reduce your revolutionary bent? Likely it would for the vast majority of such potential future leaders. My point is that the different ways of changing peoples' approach to the world do not require direct action against them in most cases. With enough information properly processed, we can change the world one mind at a time, and we can change the conversation en masse. Information operations against the citizenry is really the worst case scenario in my view, it happens all the time, and with more surveillance this works very much better than with less of it, because we can craft messages more individually and get feedback on the effects of those messages on the individuals. At the same time, it is hard to argue against catching child predators who kidnap children and get caught on cameras and then tracked down. The apparent Israeli killing of a PLO leader in a hotel7 and the demonstration of the use of surveillance to track down the parties involved8 is, in my mind, an example of the possible benefits to law enforcement (and deficits to those in covert operations). I recognize that spying against, and surveillance on, those from other countries is a part of what secures each nation from others and that without such efforts, the
--- 5 "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902). The historian and moralist, who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887: per http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/absolute-power-corrupts-absolutely.html 6 Remarks As Prepared for Delivery for the Center for American Progress Event on NSA Surveillance: http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/7232013WydenCAPspeech.pdf
Copyright(c) Fred Cohen, 2013 - All Rights Reserved 9 of 12Information at all.net 2013-09 http://all.net/ --- security of all peoples and nation states come into peril. The question comes down to how we can gain many of the benefits of use without suffering many of the harms associated with abuse of these technologies. I think the solution is private and local ownership of all surveillance mechanisms within each country and at every level of granularity. Sharing should be legally and technically prevented in large quantity, but supported and legal in small quantity for directed purposes.
• If and when something is to be shared it should shared by physical transmission (hand physical media with the specifics of what they asked for) and require a court order.
• The court order should be made public no more than 90 days after issuance, and always subject to counterargument and appeal processes before being acted upon.
• Destruction or failure to retain content once ordered should be punishable by jail time.
• Voluntary sharing should be permitted as long as all parties with property rights are informed and explicitly consent to the specific act of sharing. You need to get my signature on a piece of paper granting you permission to share each specific piece of data, and I must examine each piece of data before consenting.
• To be clear, that means that even if I consent on entry to your facility to being recorded, before you can reveal it to any 3rd party, you need my written consent to reveal what you recorded, or a court order to do so.
• I think that the proper granularity is at the level of ownership and property rights. A building owner may have rights for the hallways, but each leased space is under the control of the lessee. My house and land, I should control. The city streets and parks should be controlled by the various departments of the city. Outside of cities, counties have the responsibility. All states consist of counties, so no state level surveillance should be allowed except for state buildings and properties and other similar lower level of granularity locations. At the national level, again, Federal buildings and lands are presumably Federal responsibility, but nothing else inside the country. How does that work? If you are at a state agency and want a record collected by the county, you need to request it through a formal method that is subject to objections and appeals, and you may not have access without that process. Expedited orders from judges can happen of course, under exigent circumstances, but even then, the information cannot be retained after use or used for any purpose other than the specifics of the court order, which must be as narrow as possible for the specific need. If, in the process of chasing down the kidnapper the law enforcement official happens to see a murder taking place, they should certainly be able to go to the judge and ask for appropriate search warrants to proceed with the other issue.
That's really the whole thing as far as I am concerned. Surveillance? Sure, go to it. All you have to do is get court orders for each entity you want information from for each case, narrowly defined, and be handed only the relevant information from that entity, subject to objections and revelation of the facts of the surveillance within 90 days. Wholesale? Not likely. No blanket warrants, each has to be specific to the specific case. Get critical information quickly? Sure. Within an hour of a request, we can probably get you anything you want. But getting data in large quantities takes perhaps hundreds of thousands of officers with warrants from thousands of judges, with everyone knowing what you did and appeals along the way.
The point here is that ANY is not ALL. Government needs to have access to anything, but not everything. In simple terms, some safety should be sacrificed for a great deal of freedom. But how much? A final personal note I have found myself somewhat stifled by fear of reprisals for things I might express. Starting when I first did research on computer viruses, I was afraid that someone in authority might decide that by eliminating me, the nature of viruses might be kept from general knowledge.
My response was self-defensive in nature. I revealed essentially everything I knew that didn't involve a specific confidentiality restriction, and did so as soon as I could so as to minimize exposure. Such restrictions only ever applied to facts regarding specific organizations, and nothing of general interest or utility was ever delayed for long. Between that time and the last several years, I always did the same thing. Of course I never revealed anything classified, although some of the things I revealed ended up classified later by others. I suspect, but certainly cannot prove, that my ongoing openness regarding protection issues and their exaggeration, misstatement, and mischaracterization is the reason
I was ultimately separated from Sandia National Laboratories (who said nobody got fired because of 9/11). When the national laboratories were seeking monies by trying to frighten the government decision-makers, I was allaying select fears that I thought were not justified. But recently, after I was funded to do some government research, I have felt increasingly like I should not say what I think, particularly in regard to this and related issues. Now there is some validity to this notion. For example, people with clearances are not permitted to read the material from Wikileaks that may or may not be classified, or similar potentially classified information released by other sources. It seems crazy that people who are cleared are not allowed to read what people who are not cleared are allowed to read. Why should people you trust not be able to see things that people you don't trust already know? The answer I have been told is that if people that have clearances read the material they might comment (as en example) that it looks like classified documents (or doesn't). Of course this is ridiculous on its face because the specifications of what classified documents are supposed to look like is unclassified and openly available. But the rule is the rule, so I follow it, while making it clear that it should not be the rule and it only serves to make cleared people less informed. In addition, some of the events in the media have resulted in explicit statements by funding agencies not to comment or talk to the media on issues related to the research we are doing or the issue associated with it. Now don't get me wrong. I wouldn't talk to the media or anyone else about anything that is client confidential, regardless of whether the client is the government or anyone else. As a general rule, I don't reveal client names, even though it would probably get me more work if I did. So I am not being oppressed or otherwise restricted from saying anything I might otherwise say. But still, there are other things. This article was delayed because I was (and still am) awaiting a decision on possible membership in a national-level thing (whatever that thing is/way is irrelevant). The thing is unrelated to the issues of this article, and yet, I have the notion in my mind, that publishing this article might hurt my chances. I don't know where I got the notion, and certainly nobody and nothing involved in the process indicated any such thing. And yet, somehow, I have this feeling that it might have a negative affect on my selection in the process.
The reality is that I don't have a realistic chance of being selected regardless, but that's not the issue. The issue is that there are psychological effects of feeling as if “they” might be watching. One reason I decided to publish this article now is to counter that feeling in myself. The other reason is that I think I have been thorough enough now... I hate to miss things.
To be clear, my personal views are not consistent. That's the nature of the way I think about these issues and why they seem to me to be complicated and somewhat unclear. I hope that the same is true for others. This is not a simple issue and should not be dealt with in a simplistic way. That's my view. I should also point out that my view is unlikely to be widely embraced. It is, in some ways, hard over. And in the meanwhile, the world continues down the path toward global ubiquitous surveillance – a.k.a. the Internet of things, total information awareness, or whatever you call it.
• It means we will be able to tell when diseases are spreading by the search and purchasing habits of Internet users, and we will also be able to tell when you are not really sick but just taking the day off.
• It means you will be able to find the best price for your birth control, but it also means that we will know who you are sleeping with, when, where, and what positions you use.
• It means you will only get advertisements for things you are interested in buying, but it also means you will buy more things you don't need or want after you have them.
• It means the government will be able to hunt down people who commit crimes, but it also means that politicians will be able to hunt down and kill political enemies.
• It means that some terrorists will be caught who otherwise might have gotten away with it, but it also means that you are more likely to be enslaved by your government.
My view is that all of those things and more are coming to pass. And it is my view that unless the people of the world act to stop it, this will be our future for a very long time to come. And yet, I continue to work in the security space where, among many other things, I help people use surveillance and analyze results of surveillance of various sorts in order to seek the truth and protect their interests. Returning to my professional perspective, I believe that thoughtful people who are given the chance can come up with better solutions than massive surveillance can and will do so. The challenge is giving them this opportunity. Surveillance and “big data” approaches are popular today, and the whole field of information sharing and the infrastructures being created to facilitate it are part and parcel of this approach. While I generally support understanding and applying these approaches, where appropriate, I also think there is a real need for the loyal opposition, especially in research, and for alternative approaches to be developed and applied. Unfortunately, research is not funded that way, at least today. The popularity of big data and the vision of computer intelligence saving us from ourselves seems all the rage. But that too will pass. Intelligent computers are still a very long way off. I hope that you will consider alternatives and identify new approaches better than those I have outlined. And I hope that as a society and a world, we can avoid the future that massive and unfettered surveillance and analysis portends.
-This is confidential to the parties I intend it to serve-
Fred CohenPRIVATE ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER REMOVED
comment - in response to solicitation by the Review GroupDate:
Monday, September 16, 2013 4:07:39 PMAttachments:
Michael Morrell/Cass Sunstein/Richard Clarke/Peter Swire/Geoffrey Stone
Attached is a pdf document containing my comment to the Review Group with respect to the matters that the President has directed the Group to examine, regarding how in light of advancements in communications technologies, the United States can employ its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while respecting our commitment to privacy and civil liberties, recognizing our need to maintain the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosure.
I appreciate the opportunity to acquaint you with my views.
Brian Zick ATTACHMENT: NSA-ReviewGroupComment-zick.pdg
NSA Review group commentDate:
Monday, September 16, 2013 1:18:49 PM
"Our world is made up of computers. Our cars and homes are computers into which we insert our bodies; our hearing aids and implanted defibrillators are computers we insert into our bodies. The deliberate sabotage of computers is an act of depraved indifference to the physical security and economic and intellectual integrity of every person alive."
- Cory Doctorow
Dear Members of the NSA Review Group:
Thank you for providing this opportunity for the public to comment on the National Security Agency's technical capabilities and policies. It is past time we re-examined the direction taken in reaction to the events of September 11, 2001 and corrected our course. In the haste to prevent another terrible attack like 9/11, the National Security Agency and other federal agencies were given too much power without effective oversight. Recent revelations have shown the NSA to be completely out of control and fundamentally incompatible with the values of our democracy. Their actions have undermined national and international trust in our technical, business, and political institutions. The United States now requires a complete shift in thinking in how we handle threats to our national security.
The NSA's current approach of mass surveillance is flawed on many levels and doesn't seem to procure the results we expect or desire. From the recent example of the Boston bombing, to continued violence in Iraq and elsewhere, they do not seem to be targeting the right individuals in order to prevent terrorism. Blanket surveillance presents an attention conservation problem - where should they look when they have targeted everyone? Over-snooping additionally breeds enduser secrecy, undermining our ability to observe. People who are determined to do us harm may not plan openly in advance, will not use a common communication infrastructure, and will obscure their intentions.
The implementation of these programs has been poorly managed and subverts our rule of law. We have an over-classification problem, and as a result, a transparency problem. We overuse outside contractors, increasing the likelihood of leaks and abuse. Our Congress is either not willing or not able to effectively manage oversight, and the FISA court is seemingly making secret law in direct conflict with the principles of our democracy. The NSA lied to Congress and the American people and violated the secret orders of the FISA court. The systems they created are seemingly so complex they are beyond understanding and oversight. We have created tools and methods that cannot be controlled.
It is completely outrageous that the NSA has been collecting information on individuals, without a warrant, storing that information, and then sharing it with agencies like the DEA and the IRS, thus bypassing due process and rules of evidence. It is completely unacceptable that these programs have been abused by agents to retrieve information on love interests as shown in the "LOVEINT" scandal. What else has been done about which we know absolutely nothing? Have these program been used for blackmail and other purposes? An open democracy simply cannot function under threat of subversion by secret law and secret programs that can used be against our citizens and elected officials.
An open democracy also cannot function when its citizens are not able to express themselves or associate freely. Mass surveillance has been shown to suppress dissent through a "chilling effect" that triggers self-censorship. I encourage you to read the following study if time allows: http://www.harvardlawreview.org/symposium/papers2012/richards.pdf The NSA is in a position to carry out unchecked targeting and abuse of activists or anyone with an unpopular opinion, and I believe we are all aware of this, and may keep a close watch on what we say and do in public. Not only are we censoring ourselves but we are also policing each other's speech, as in the recent case of the university professor who blogged about the NSA and was asked to remove his post by his dean. (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/10/nsa-matthewgreen- takedown-blog-post-johns-hopkins) This repression of freedom of speech and assembly cannot continue.
The NSA seems particularly focused on protecting us from risk, from the possibility that someday, someone might do something, hence the need to collect and store our communications perhaps indefinitely. Just like companies who store their data on computers connected to the internet must come to terms with the risk of doing so, we must also recognize that we likely will never be able to totally prevent terrorism. We might however, reduce the motivations to carry out terrorism and thereby reduce the number of attacks. Carrying out and spending outrageous portions of our budget on mass surveillance is questionable when it would seem to be more effective to mitigate the social causes of terrorism through direct aid efforts, diplomacy, and education.
From a purely practical standpoint the NSA has acted to harm the interests of the
United States. They have, completely outrageously, apparently shared the personal information of Americans with countries like Israel. Our international relationships have been damaged by revelations that we have been spying on the embassies of our allies. The NSA has harmed our businesses by coercing or forcing them to cooperate with surveillance, and people are now migrating away from US-based technical services. The NSA has undermined trust in private transactions – from financial transactions, to the storing of health records, and attorney-client communications. We rely on secure encryption to protect our private information. Not only are we subject now to overreach from the NSA, the NSA has opened our secure transactions to vulnerabilities exploitable by other parties. The additional factor of storing our information in centralized databases puts us all at risks of leaks.
The NSA has in actuality harmed the structure of the internet itself. These systems were created based on trust, and if they are no longer trustworthy people will start seeking out alternatives. By undermining the internet, and inviting replacement, the NSA has directly harmed our ability to maintain supremacy in communications.
It is time NOW for a change. The NSA has become so corrupted from its purpose of protecting the United States and its citizens that it may actually need to be disbanded. Barring that, the following must occur:
- Blanket mass surveillance, whereby our communications are collected and stored without a warrant, must end.
- The NSA must be required to establish firm cause BEFORE they begin surveillance of any individual.
- We must open the FISA court to public scrutiny and establish a truly adversarial process in hearing surveillance requests. Rather than simply relying on information given to them from the NSA, the court must also hear arguments from an advocate empowered with access to the same information as the government.
- We must PROSECUTE those at the highest levels who oversaw programs directly in violation of FISA court orders. Keith Alexander and James Clapper must answer for their abuses of power.
- The NSA should implement an anonymous system for its employees to report abuse or violations of the law and hold abusers accountable for their actions.
- We need to decrease our use of outside contractors to reduce the likelihood of leaks, and prevent overspending.
- Information sharing agreements with foreign governments, domestic agencies, and private businesses should be overhauled on the basis of protecting the privacy and due process of American citizens.
- We must end immediately any efforts by the NSA to insert backdoors into software or hardware, or remove encryption from innocent private communications.
- We need to remove immunity for telecoms. It is in their, and our, best interest that they be vested in the privacy rights of their customers.
- The classification system needs a complete overhaul in light of the public interest in transparency and accountability.
Thank you for your time and consideration in reading my comment. It is my hope that you will start to turn the tide of years of Constitutional abuses. You have a difficult job ahead of you and I thank you for your service.
General Keith AlexanderDate:
Sunday, September 15, 2013 12:56:10 PM
As a brief follow up to my previous comments for your review group, I just found this article on the web about General Alexander’s Star Trek command center.
If the contents of this article are true, and it appears they are,
General Keith Alexander should be immediately removed from duty and required to undergo a mandatory independent psychological evaluation. And my previous request remains the same. Both Alexander and the previous NSA director should be Court Martialled.
This is far from over and it’s getting worse everyday. Everything the Founding Fathers warned us about is being proven true in modern times. All the restraints necessary to safeguard against the abuse of power have been decimated, and we know the result.
Saturday, September 14, 2013 4:48:53 PM
We need the same level of confidence in our electronic privacy as in we do in our physical homes. The US government needs to stop alienating people here and around the world with this seemingly out of control reach. It's not even helping them, governments' relevance is based on ideals and trust as much as military or economic might.
In response to your request for feedbackDate:
Saturday, September 14, 2013 1:11:48 PM
In response to your request for feedback;
I strongly believe commitment to respecting privacy rights and civil liberties must be more than mere words spoken after the fact, significant reform is needed. Innocent citizens, myself included, are appalled by the abuse of power and misinterpretation of law being used to justify unconstitutional policies in place today.
Public trust cannot be maintained with a policy of dishonoring our constitutionally protected freedoms. Where are the rational minds to advocate against the need for massive technical collection capabilities?
Even, whistle-blowers perform a vital public service by disclosing unauthorized & illegal federal programs.
One way to protect our national security is to end the misguided logic that millions of innocent Americans need to be monitored for possible threats. Our nation will suffer when global consumers no longer trust American products to be safe from an over-reaching and out-of-control government.
American foreign policy will be best served by defunding federal programs & repealing laws that infringe upon lawful civilian activities at home and abroad. Our phones, laptops, cars, doctors office, church and homes are deeply personal spaces where we should all feel safe from our own government.
Jim Snell, United States Citizen
One citizen"s opinionDate:
Saturday, September 14, 2013 1:01:47 AM
Here are one citizen's (mixed) feelings on the NSA's data collection efforts. Thank you for listening.
Portola Valley, CA
I understand the value of NSA's collection of domestic communication data and metadata, to combat threats to the national security. I accept that these efforts, which do seem to be skating very close to constitutional limits, are legal under the acts of Congress that authorized them. I think it's OK that my government processes data about my emails, Internet use and phone calls, to look for threats to national security.
I don’t trust our law enforcement institutions to not push the boundaries and find ways to use this data to fight routine domestic crime. An example is the well-documented misuse of the "RICO" laws, which were sold to the public as being aimed at organized crime, but are now used for any convenient purpose by prosecutors. I fear that law enforcement will similarly miscategorize many routine crimes as "terrorism".
To me, any use of the data collected by NSA to fight domestic crime would cross a line of acceptability. This includes domestic terrorism, drug trafficking, pornography; crimes that are reprehensible, but outside the bounds of "national security" narrowly construed.
NSA officials are reportedly aware of the risks to their efforts that would come from opening the data to FBI, DEA, ATF and other agencies and have turned down requests for data from those groups, but I'm not comfortable that the only barrier to this is the goodwill of the NSA officials (and perhaps the oversight of the FIS court... but we don't know that because their rulings are secret).
I'd be more comfortable with the existence of these programs if there were clear and public legal prohibitions against their use against common domestic crimes, such that their misuse in a case would be grounds for throwing that case out of court.
Friday, September 13, 2013 7:12:38 PM
I am sickened to read and hear about the massive U.S. Governmental spying on U.S. Citizens. It severely undercuts any faith I had in privacy and civil liberties in this nation. Moreover, I consider it to be disgraceful on all levels of involvement – including the participation of the federal judiciary in the FISA, and their failure to restrain this sort of thing. To read that this information is now being shared with foreign powers, without redacting information about American citizens, is even more distressing. I am adamantly opposed to and personally offended by this.
Noel E. Macaulay, Esq.
Letter from the Global Network InitiativeDate:
Friday, September 13, 2013 2:32:44 PMAttachments:
GNI FOC Letter USA.pdf
Please find attached a letter from the Global Network Initiative (GNI) Independent Chair Jermyn Brooks
and Executive Director Susan Morgan.
David SullivanPRIVATE ADDRESS & PHONE NUMBER REMOVED
GNI has moved, please note our new address:
1200 18th St. NW, Suite 602
Washington, DC 20036 ATTACHMENT: GNI FOC Letter USA.pdg
Comment for Review Group on Global Signals Intelligence Collection and Communications TechnologiesDate:
Friday, September 13, 2013 11:57:00 AM
The following is my public comment for the Review Group on Global Signals Intelligence Collection.
Communications technologies are getting more sophisticated at a rapidly increasing rate. The rapid advancement of technology and the Internet has exposed a wealth of uncharted territory in the laws and the Constitution of our government. Thus, our generation now must address the simultaneous problems of both defending our citizens from new threats, such as state-sponsored cyberwarfare, as well as upholding our expectation of privacy under the 4th amendment.
If we truly have a government of, by, and for the people, then the people must be made aware of the actions their government is taking on their behalf to solve these problems. However, it has been made clear that the current culture of the NSA and other government entities is one of both ultimate secrecy (refusal to expose FISA court decisions, aggregate numbers of NSLs) and abuse of power (http://rt.com/usa/nsa-domestic-surveillance-abuse-684/).
Furthermore, as an employee of a U.S.-based technology company, it's easy to see that the NSA's interest in the data collected by these companies has started causing users to reconsider trusting such companies with their data. Continued erosion of this trust ultimately hampers American job growth.
The U.S. government certainly should play a role in foiling terrorist plots. But it has been unable to produce evidence of foiled plots as a result of the NSA's "dragnet" surveillance. Increasing transparency is the first step towards regaining the lost trust that prompted the creation of this Review Group.
In summary, until American citizens are able to have an informed debate on the successes and failures of signals intelligence gathering, there is no evidence to suggest that the current methods for gathering intelligence are in the best interest of the citizens. I recommend taking immediate action to publicly describe these successes and failures, so that we may better assess how to move forward.
Thursday, September 12, 2013 12:55:28 PM
The basic problem here is that public officials from the President of the United States to the local city council menbers no longer serve the interests of We the People who pay their salaries. No one would care if the NSA was collecting information and searching thru it if the raw info was never used against "occupy" protesters, desenters, political opponents, etc. It is no longer clear we have an intelligence function now that the NSA and other similar agencies are just part of law enforcement.
The militarization and secrecy of police even in small towns is against the principles of democracy. Governments using police and other methods to effectively steal money, even from seniors, to replace revenue no longer derived from taxing large corporations means the democracy has failed.
First you need to advocate restoring the democracy. Then you need to re-establish an intelligence community whose raw data can not be accessed by the FBI or NYPD. And then that community needs to focus on real threats rather than the normal functions of democracy. If law enforcement can be told by intelligence where to find "proof beyond a reasonable doubt", the system will work without infringing on citizen's rights.
| 73, E-mail |
| Lyn Kennedy | |
| K5QWB ICBM | 32.5 North 96.9 West |
---Livin' on an information FARM road a few miles off the superhighway---
Roberta L MillsteinSubject:
Review Group on Global Signals Intelligence Collection and Communications TechnologiesDate:
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 7:48:27 PM
The United States needs to cease the mass surveillance of its citizens, including the collection and scanning of metadata. There needs to be probable cause before surveillance is put in place on particular, suspected individuals. Only then can privacy, civil liberties, and the public trust be protected. We cannot be secure in our persons while under government surveillance. The current practices thus undermine the very principle they are trying to support.
Wat I Really Think About NSA SurveillanceDate:
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 4:33:55 PM
I would like to weigh in on the recent scandal that the NSA surveillance represents. This is an affront to the rights and liberties of the citizens of the United States and people all over the world. The breadth of the spying, all in the name of “the war on terrorism”, has to stop.
This program is harming US commercial interests around the world, causing the suppression of journalism and even affecting the openness of higher education in the US. I personally no longer wish to use commercial software or hardware and will, from now on, rely on my own builds and open source products whenever I can as I do not believe the US government or the compromised US companies that claim they are not involved in backdoors and broken security.
The possibility that this enormous, overreaching, unchecked, power of surveillance will be used for nefarious purposes by this or future administrations is all too real…just check the history books for other similar abuses of power. We cannot let this go on unchecked. There must be checks and balances put in place to allow the American public a sense of REAL security, not Terrorist Theater type security. The FISA courts must be strengthened and public figures, not just secret black cloaked judges, put in place to guard the public’s interests.
I am very, very tired of all this nonsense that the government has been putting in place for the last few administrations and I for one will not tolerate it. At the very least, it will drive me more and more “underground” in my use of technology and make me more determined than ever not to succumb to this Big Brother oversight.
One last thing….if there is still any thoughts of putting James Clapper in charge of the national surveillance review, that is like letting the fox guard the chickens. The man no longer has any credibility with the lies he’s been caught in and I will not accept his authority. He should be considered a traitor to the Constitution and the people he was charged to protect and charged accordingly.
Thank you for your consideration of our, the public’s, opinions on this matter. Please take them to heart and change this before it’s too late.
Public Comment to Review Group on Intelligence and Communications TechnologiesDate:
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 2:51:49 PM
Thank you for your solicitation of public comment on the subject of surveillance technologies and the US government.
I believe the most important thing I can say is this: while the debate is often framed as a "balance" between security and privacy, this is in fact a false dichotomy. Our national security is best served by the strongest respect for privacy and liberty. When we are once again the first among nations in respect for the privacy and liberty of all people, we will once again enjoy security, prosperity and respect.
In particular, (1) the recently-revealed activities of various US government entities in secret surveillance and monitoring activities; (2) the "warehousing" of vast amounts of data against some ill-defined future need; and (3) the effort to undermine encryption technologies are all in gross violation of the Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution as well as completely beyond bounds of civilized behavior. The FISA court, operating as it does in virtually complete secrecy, can in no way be considered a meaningful oversight. All these programs should be immediately terminated, those responsible should be prosecuted, and the agencies should be placed under probationary 3rd-party oversight or possibly disbanded altogether.
Thank you for your time.
U nder S urveillanceDate:
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 2:32:30 PM
Sir or Madam at the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies,
I am an American Citizen. As a citizen I wish to convey the deep disappointment in my government at it's failure to protect the rights of all Americans and suggest a new course of action. The collection of any data or information on Americans of their actions without probable cause is violating their constitutional rights. The NSA or any other government entity should not know who I call or where I call from or anything else about me without a very good reason. If I call a friend or family member, this is not the government's business. If I call or e-mail a political or religious group it is not the government's business. The gathering and storage of any information should not be allowed if it is about an average American. When I say average American I mean an American citizen with no concrete ties to a foreign threat. Concrete means more than simply two or three degrees of separation.
The Review Group should know that I am also a parent. My children's rights have been violated as well. This is completely unacceptable. The collection of data on millions of American minors is shameful. I ask the review group. How can these children be a threat to America?
The NSA has broken the law repeatedly and has no defense but claiming incompetence. The secret FISA court has no way to enforce it's rulings and American citizens have no way to argue against NSA actions in this court. These things are as ridiculous as they are unacceptable. My solution... Stop collecting/gathering/storing anything on Americans. If information is needed, show just cause. Do not infringe upon American rights without it. Do not take away our freedoms in the name of security. I assure you, I feel more threatened right now by my own government than any foreign threat.
Please consider these words.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin
Your fellow American
Massive gathering ofDate:
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 2:31:55 PM
There have been many developments since 2001 that undermine the trust of the American people in their government, but none is as pervasive and all-encompassing as the mass gathering of data without due process or any hint of wrong-doing on the part of those whose data is being gathered. Whether it is full communications, or "just" metadata, the information reveals far more about the people it originates from than just the number they were calling. The information discloses locations, travel (over time), habits and schedules. All of these things can be helpful in locating and arresting terrorists and other criminals, but should not be gathered on any one whose activities do not provide enough information to justify a warrant.
This mass gathering of data does not just undermine the trust of citizens. It undermines the trust of businesses seeking to do business in the U.S. as well as foreign governments seeking to treat with us. If they cannot know their communications are free from unjustified monitoring, they cannot be secure in their U.S. business dealings.
Last, the U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. It states that searches should be limited in scope with probable cause. The current data gathering activities are anything but limited in scope, and require no cause at all. No criminal activity is required, the only requirement is that you use some type of modern communication technology.
This program has gone way beyond acceptable and legal. It is unacceptable, and the value over traditional methods is debatable. It is time to put a stop to it.
Herbert (Bert) Knabe, Jr.
All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope. - Winston Churchill
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 1:48:41 PM
To whomever might read this,
The subject of the NSA's various and sundry activities in surveillance is filled with lots of rhetoric and slippery slope types of arguments. I don't intend to contribute further to the idea that my government is somehow interested in locking me up for nothing or otherwise wielding a heavy hand in the day-to-day life of any ordinary American citizen. That isn't to say that such things cannot, or will not, happen. Perhaps they will. I don't think this issues requires thought on such possibilities in order to be properly understood.
The purported goal of this surveillance is to make us safe from threats. We have to ask ourselves, in all things that we do, what cost we pay for such 'safety'. America is a nation for the individual and his liberties. Sacrificing the rights of our people to protect those rights does not bear any resemblance to anything I would call rational thought. Being an American, a member of a free society, is advanced citizenship. It carries risks. We must face those risks with courage and push past them, not fall to them and remake ourselves in the image of the very enemies we struggle against.
So what do I think of the NSA 'spying' on me and circumventing the law in order to do that? Its one of the very few things that have ever made me ashamed of my country. I find it unfathomable that any man, in good conscience, could put forth such things as right and necessary for ANY purpose. Take down these programs. Let our enemies drive wedges between them and their own people. Here, we are free to live and work as we choose.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 9:43:33 AM
Everyday as more disclosure come to light about what this power hungry corrupt organization has done under the premise of “protecting us”, I am more horrified. All social programs get cut to shreds and they get unreal amounts of money! None of this would come to light if not for whistleblowers, who then are prosecuted. It would seem there are 2 sets of laws, 1 for the powerful and 1 for we the people....”adversaries”! I feel that I have woken up in an Orwellian nightmare! Nothing can be salvaged with NSA, it needs to be defunded and people should be prosecuted just like the whistleblowers have been trying to expose them! Lisa
Sent from Windows Mail
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 9:24:02 AM
1) Defund the NSA.
2) Fire and then prosecute the DNI and the head of the NSA.
3) Hire 10,000 lawyers in the DOJ to prosecute all the underlings
4) Ensure very, very long prison sentences.
Stop NSA breaches of Constitutional rights, and ensure Checks and Balances continue!Date:
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 9:08:37 AM
Benjamin Franklin famously said “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” (Franklin's Contributions to the Conference on February
17 (III) Fri, Feb 17, 1775.
Our Founding Fathers fundamentally understood that Men, and therefore Governments, tend towards abuse of power and exploitation of the weak. It is clearly written out in our Constitution and the Founding Father’s own letters and notes, that our entire system of government (our Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches and powers), was designed with this weakness in mind, to divide and balance the powers of government, and to require transparency and accountability between all departments and bodies, and the People who are governed and who elect these governing powers.
The NSA, FISA court and the various surveillance programs disclosed to the American Public by Edward Snowden CLEARLY violate both the Principles of transparency and accountability that this nation was founded on, AND the very articles of the constitution itself which gave birth to this free nation.
As a United States citizen, I DEMAND that the NSA’s surveillance programs (in all of their various forms) be suspended, their unlawfully collected data destroyed, and their powers and authorities brought back into line with the laws of Criminal Justice and principles of democratic oversight. No free and sovereign people can ever remain so when under the surveillance of a secret, unaccountable and shadowy bureaucracy.
Thank you, Kordel Eberly
Eberly Systems | 1500 Frush Valley Road | Reading, PA | 19605
Office 610-374-4049 x1001 | Mobile 484-256-3519 | Fax 484-335-4411
www.EberlySystems.com | www.facebook.com/eberlysystems
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End The Surveillance StateDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 10:45:18 PM
Thank you for soliciting public input on the massive national surveillance program revealed by Edward Snowden.
Your charter is to suggest how best to use technology to protect the nation. I am an Armed Forces veteran. I love America. Tactically as we'll as philosophically, our best bet is to focus all of our surveillance tools on known terrorist cells and to use human intelligence to locate new threats. Distracting ourselves with data mining experiments will not make us safer from Al Qaeda. It will only make us prey for Big Brother.
Please learn from the 9/11 Commission.
FBI agent Coleen Rowley had a solid lead on the hijackers, using simple and lawful investigative techniques. But her bosses at the Bureau declined to investigate why men on the terror watch list were taking flight lessons. Their incompetence bears many lives.
Now you use the horror of those deaths to justify your efforts to achieve total information awareness. That is the province of God. You are merely the government and not even very good at that.
U.S. Navy veteran
Resident of San Leandro, California
Comments for Review Group on Intelligence and Communications TechnologiesDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 9:17:27 PM
To whom it may concern,
We the people, would like to have our liberties back. As a veteran, I find it particularly upsetting, that the government of, for and by the people would think nothing of taking the very freedoms I volunteered to defend, to the death if necessary. If you think so little of the sacrifice of the brave citizens of this nation, then you have disgraced the faces of our fathers and you have no right to expect the benefits of their labors.
on behalf of Prescott BalchSubject:
Comments on balancing security and civil libertiesDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 9:02:38 PM
Today's technology affords government the ability to collect private information of citizens and non-citizens at previously unimaginable scale. That power in perfect hands could be immensely helpful in the prevention of illegal or terrorist acts. Unfortunately, perfect hands do not exist and no human hands can craft a system of protections that guarantee civil liberties and privacy. Already, there have been embarrassing reports of government employees privy to such powerful information spying on their love interests. And even prior to electronic gathering of data on people's communication, the government's history is littered with stories of abuse of spying power.
Our constitution unequivocally protects the citizenry from unreasonable search and seizure. Government should no more be able to put listening devices around my house to record my every utterance in case of future prosecution needs as it should be able to record all my web browsing and electronic communication for the same potential future prosecution. The technical capabilities afforded us today to do the latter do not make it moral and the fourth amendment has no caveat that makes it legal.
Let's also remind ourselves the magnitude of the problem we are solving for. The dollars and effort we are throwing at the problem of foreign terrorist threat raise legitimate questions of cost/benefit comparison. Let's also ask whether 'old style' surveillance is broken. Have suspicion, get warrant, start surveillance has worked well to balance security and privacy. Spending tens of billions on a super-surveillance state do not justify marginal improvements in security, especially when it comes at the expense of privacy and civil liberties.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 8:09:33 PM
I would like the review group to conduct an investigation. Thank you.
Sent from my iPhone
Request for public commentDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 7:52:34 PM
The following is my response to your request for comment:
Framing of the Issue
My first observation is that that the framing of the issue for public comment assures that the basic problem being addressed will not be solved.
The problem is that the U.S. government’s practices for gathering information and the use of that information in pursuing our national defense, in particularly in countering terrorism, have gone totally beyond what is necessary to serve the purpose and far beyond what the public would have countenanced if it had known of and participated in the decisions that led to it. They cannot be solved within the parameters of the charge to the Review Group.
The request for public comment is framed in the exact terms as the President’s charge to the Review Group, that is, to examine: “[h]ow in light of advancements in communications technologies, the United States can employ its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while respecting our commitment to privacy and civil liberties, recognizing our need to maintain the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosure”
The charge to your group implies that the problem can be solved by a tweak to the government’s use of technology. However, the problem is far more fundamental than that.
It involves broader issues, and my comment to you, basically, is that you cannot solve the basic problem unless you address those issues. While there may be more, the following are the ones that I believe must be examined.
The Legal Justification for Electronic Data Gathering
The justification that the current administration has offered for the wholesale collection of electronic data is that while it collects the data without a warrant, it does not actually view that content without a warrant. Leaving aside the questionable justification for the gathering of the information under the Patriot Act, the proposition that mere seizure of such data may precede a warrant is fundamentally flawed. Certainly, no one with any legal training would assert that the government could place an electronic hearing device or a camera in the bedroom, bathroom or any other part of the home of a U.S. citizen as long as it did not actually listen to or view the record of what was collected unless and until it obtained a warrant based upon probably cause. And yet, this is what the current administration offers as its most public and frequently used justification. This rationale is specious on its face.
The real justification for this data gathering, which is not as frequently or publicly expressed but which is, in fact, the technical, legal justification upon which the government relies, is that this data has been placed in the public domain by the users of various electronic communications devices with no expectation of privacy. Therefore, it is fair game for seizure by the government.
For example, Google’s Agreement provides:
“Google’s privacy policies explain how we treat your personal data and protect your privacy when you use our Services. By using our Services, you agree that Google can use such data in accordance with our privacy policies.”
“We collect information to provide better services to all of our users – from figuring out basic stuff like which language you speak, to more complex things like which ads you’ll find most useful or the people who matter most to you online.”
In short, the government’s argument that the data being collected is outside of the protection of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution’s provision against unlawful searches and seizures is not sustainable.
So, my first observation, is that no mere tweaking of the use of technology can fix the basic fact that the government is engaged in a program of data gathering that is totally beyond the pale of the United States Constitution. It must stop.
The Effect of Laws and Procedures for the Classification of Information
My second observation goes to the very existence of your Review Group.
Your Review Group would not even exist were it not for the disclosures made by Edward Snowden. Mr. Snowden most certainly broke the law. At a minimum, he broke laws pertaining to the disclosure of classified information. But that is a reality that rests on totally Orwellian circumstances.
Mr. Snowden’s disclosures and the indisputable fact the he disclosed classified information have led to the issue of whistleblowing. Many believe that a whistleblower should not be subject to punishment. On the other hand, no one would argue that a person who discloses the secret codes for the launching of a nuclear attack could ever be a legitimate whistleblower or that he should go unpunished. However, it is undeniable that both have broken the same law. While the gravity of the offense may differ, parsing that issue will never lead to an acceptable conclusion about who is a genuine whistleblower.
The problem lies in the fact that our government classifies information that does not serve any national security purpose and that has no justification for being classified. And it lies in that fact by a factor of not just ten, one hundred, or one thousand, but millions. The number of people who have the power to classify information and the criteria by which that classification is made, while not known to me, are so obviously beyond the pale of any reasonable justification, that the public viscerally holds the opinion that there must be some legitimate definition under law of what a whistleblower is. You and I both know that there is no such definition. “Whistleblowers” in this context simply do not and cannot exist under the law as currently written. Yet, most would argue that if Edward Snowden disclosed matters of public interest that the public had a right to know, he is a whistleblower and should not be punished.
The solution to the whistleblower conundrum lies in a total overhaul of the process by which information is classified in this country and who classifies it. Clearly, someone who discloses the fact that the government is conducting an unconstitutional program of mass surveillance ought to be protected under the common notion of a whistleblower. However, under current law and classification practices, even if it were determined that the government’s surveillance is unconstitutional, Mr. Snowden will still not be protected. He will still have disclosed classified information.
If the public is to be protected against unlawful activity by the government, two things must happen. The process for classification of information must be overhauled to limit it to information that truly is necessary to protect national security, and legal protection must be provided to anyone who discloses information that does not meet legitimate criteria for classification.
The Effect of the Privatization of Governmental Functions
My third observation bears on how we got to this point.
Our country has too long accepted the assumption that private industry can perform various governmental functions cheaper than the government as a justification for delegating governmental functions to private contractors. The acceptance of this assumption has led to a whole host of problems, which are too numerous to cover here. However, I would like to, at least, make some general observations about it.
In public comments, William Binney recently stated that he and a fairly small staff of employees of the NSA developed software that is the basic underpin for the program of surveillance now being conducted by the NSA at a cost to the government of a few million dollars. He further observed that private contractors are now paid billions of dollars for developing similar programs.
I admit that while any informed advocate could offer any number of arguments justifying this massive inconsistency in cost, but I submit that the thrust of what Mr. Binney said is true. Private industry does not provide a cost savings to the government, but, rather, represents a massive, unjustifiable expense.
There is no empirical evidence that private industry functions more efficiently than the government. In fact, logic would lead to the exact opposite conclusion. Private industry’s sole legal purpose is to provide a profit for its shareholders. The government functions under no such imperative. And yet, this assumption is offered again and again to the point where it is now accepted as justification for farming out any and all governmental functions--tasks that are exclusively governmental in nature and that should not be delegated even at a savings in cost.
When it comes to national defense, the notion that activities for protecting national security should be delegated to a private contractor, such as Booze, Allen Hamilton is ludicrous on its face. Just a few observations should suffice.
Aside from the lack of any provable cost savings, there is the inherent conflict of interest. A governmental employee serves no master but the government. His decisions about the efficacy and legitimacy of any proposed activity are driven solely by his loyalty to the government and, in turn, its citizens. A private contractor’s loyalties are different. Its loyalties are to the company, itself, and its decisions about any proposed activity are driven by considerations having to do with the enhancement of the company’s profits and the perpetuation of its business. This will necessarily result in an ever-expanding circle of activity, not necessarily in the public interest. How else can one explain the massive surveillance scandal now confronting the American people and your Review Group?
Additionally, private businesses are not subject to the organizational oversight of the government. In a recent article in the Nation magazine discussing organizational issues of the New York City Public Library it was reported that an entire plan of reorganization was prepared by Booze, Allen Hamilton and adopted by the library’s trustees. If a private contractor charged with something as sensitive as our national security can serve an unlimited number of masters, such as designing programs for overhauling libraries, its loyalties will necessarily be divided and not necessarily in the public interest.
Additionally, the internal governance and administration of private industry is not subject to the control of the government. Isn’t it ironic that Booze, Allen Hamilton was responsible for hiring the very person whose very status as a whistleblower is now so much in contention?
It is simply inescapable that some governmental functions can and must be performed only by the government. This problem cannot be solved by a government that farms its national security out to private for-profit enterprises.
A subject like this can be addressed in a 140 word tweet or a multi-volume report. I have simply said what I as one citizen feel are some of the most salient points that come to my mind. But whatever the length of the comment or whatever the reputation or expertise of the person who offers it, I urge your Review Group to grasp the key issue involved. A tweaking of the government’s use of technology is not going to fix anything. Recent developments, not just the disclosures by Mr. Snowden, but also such things as the government’s misrepresentation of the facts upon which it relied to wage war on Iraq are bringing home to the American people that their government simply cannot be trusted. It has become clear to them that the government no longer exists as an instrument for serving the common good but is in fact a duplicitous agent for the service of private ends. This probably came as no surprise to most Americans. They are used to taxpayer’s money being wasted on war profiteering and private exploitation. However, the Snowden disclosures have added something new. The government is now directly targeting its own citizens against their own best interests.
It is somewhat comical that every time someone in the Obama or former Bush administrations condemns President Assad or Saddam Hussein for using weapons of mass construction for the commission of crimes against humanity, they always append the meaningless phrase “against their own people”. They do this as though somehow that qualifier is necessary to complete the crime or somehow make it worse. In fact, in both cases the crime is complete without this useless appendage. However, we now see that the U.S. government is conducting surveillance “against its own people”, and that phrase is now coming home to roost against the Obama administration. The American people are now accustomed to hearing that phrase. They are sensitized to it as evidence of a special form of villainy. Only now it is not mere hyperbole. It has real meaning. Americans understand and accept surveillance of their enemies, but when unconstitutional surveillance is conducted against the U.S. government’s “own people” they know evil is being done. Trust me, a mere tweaking of some abstruse bit of technology is not going to fix this problem.
You want my opinion?Date:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 7:14:26 PM
You want my opinion?
1) STOP RECORDING EVERYBODY'S GOOGLE SEARCHES AND READING OUR EMAIL WITH A COMPUTER TO SEE IF MAYBE WE'RE SAYING ANYTHING "INTERESTING".
2) This "ODNI" committee is worse than a joke. Who the &*^$#% thinks that Clapper and the rest of you give a dam about what we think? You're just trolling for IP addresses for people to add to your "spy on American citizens" shh1t list.
Ok, now I'm on it.
WHAT THE &^%&*# DOES THIS EMAIL HAVE TO DO WITH TERRORISM, HUH??
3) You all should be tried and imprisoned for violating any number of laws.
Studeman, Bill (IS) (Contr)Subject:
Public Comment - Intelligence and PrivacyDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 7:03:34 PMAttachments:
To the Review Group - My name is Admiral Bill Studeman, USN Ret. I am a former and now retired Intelligence Community senior and known to several of the members of the Review Group. I am a former Director of NSA, as well as former DDCI (with oversight/leadership over CIA and the Community Management staff precursor to ODNI). I am also a former VP and Dep General Manager of a major Northrop Grumman business Sector and worked in the Intelligence and Cyber/IO fields, and I remain active in the Cyber policy and business areas, as well as continuing to consult and lecture on Intelligence matters. As DDCI, I supported both Presidents Bush I and Clinton White Houses.
Relevance of Classification and Declassification: I am also a long standing and current member of the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) of the National Archives (which includes several former senior Intelligence officers), and have worked the issues of IC classification and declassification across the full spectrum of constituencies who have an equity in making large and complex national security enterprises such as Intelligence and Defense as transparent and understood as possible by the American public by making classified documents available for historical and public policy study as early as possible, and by reducing classification where possible. I am also a historian by undergraduate training, and have a personal interest in a more informed public. The PIDB and staff are closely following your activities, and think this area has some relevance to your tasking. Intelligence is often a closed and rote business. Intelligence does not always even track or know what information is already available in the public domain, and is uncomfortable when they and their programs are exposed via leaks and espionage, as is the case with Snowden. We know from the PIDB that Intelligence needs to do a better job of educating the public about their businesses, and spend less time hiding behind rote secrets that are unworthy of classification. If the public knew more about our business, and the safeguards we employ, they might have more trust and understanding. All that said, there are also many areas where classification is legitimate, and where unauthorized disclosure, especially partial disclosures and innuendo which suggest at capabilities, but have no context, can lead to great damage. These latter cases, as are occurring around Snowden, the genesis for this review, strip away national power disclosure by disclosure. Better openness by the IC and Defense would help.
Collection and Oversight as Two Important Principles of Intelligence: Over my career, I have collected what I believe to be about 10 basic principles of Intelligence, along with some related observations. Due to the disclosure aspects of this Review, I will not send the entire document along (unclassified but sensitive - avail upon request if it can be kept from widespread public disclosure), but the attachment does contain a summary of these principles. These 10 Principles or Philosophies were collected over a 50 plus year career as an Intelligence professional. While the PPoint is dense, I want you to make note over several of the Principles which are relevant to the issue of Intelligence and the public policy issue of Privacy, Civil Liberties and the role of Intelligence. Of the 10 Philosophies, 5 are relevant to your deliberations, and 2 are especially important. The first point of major relevance to your review is the major and sacred mission and obligation of U.S. Intelligence to deeply penetrate the adversaries and threats to the U.S. This collection mission is the major reason why Intelligence exists, it is an obligation of a State to perform this mission, and it causes the U.S. Intelligence business to be at the edge of Legality and even Propriety all the time if it is indeed doing its job correctly. In this case, the targets are foreign, and even with some allies, the collection is in the mode of "trust but verify" (to watch their activities which contain or bear on legitimate threats or our vital interests) as we track global activities defined around the NIPF which are truly broad in scope. That said, in today's world, and with today's technologies, it is likely that U.S. persons will be mixed in and amongst targets of foreign interest, and disentangling such persons is a tough and delicate task for which the IC has many complex policies and procedures. Therefore it is fundamental in the nature of what Intelligence does that it must constantly deal with this issue, and at one level, the IC must be trusted to do this job. Trust, as with surveillance of friends, requires that the Intelligence community be trusted to do the U.S. persons minimization on the one hand, but also verified by others that it is indeed going on to our legal satisfaction. If the procedures are not adequate, then they must be changed, and if it cannot be verified they are being followed, then there is great weakness in the system. One issue which you might consider has to do with public understanding, as much as is possible, with the nature, character as well as complexities and vagaries of the so-called "minimization processes." I would suggest that we could do a better job of explaining this to the public. That said, nothing in the foregoing should diminish the IC's pursuit of its prime directive to deeply penetration targets of interest which bear on the security of the U.S., and this point needs to be made crystal clear.
Therefore......the second most relevant philosophy has to do with the need for strong and informed internal and external Oversight to execute the "verification" mission. You need to determine if this is being effectively done, and I would suggest that internal oversight would likely get a grade of "B or C", and external oversight a grade of "D". Internal oversight can be interpreted as oversight from within the Executive Branch done by the IC organizations themselves (the first line of defense), and also from the Justice side by the FISA and perhaps other courts themselves, and supervised by OIPR in the Justice Dept. Every year, as Director of NSA, I had to go the FISA court personally (along with the Director of the FBI), and under the supervision of OIPR in Justice, to report in detail my FISA violations along with the remedies for ensuring future compliance. In all cases during my tenure, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was invited and usually attended. This was a sober formal reminder of my leadership responsibilities to U.S. persons.
The addition of the internal Privacy compliance structure inside the IC is also a recent addition to internal oversight.
Next there is the issue of external oversight by the Congress. It takes two to dance to execute this important mission. The IC must be willing to continuously educate and bring specific data and cases to the designated Committees on the Hill (of which there can be many, including the Intelligence, Judiciary, Government Affairs, Science and Technology and Appropriations related committees). Since the relationships with the Congress are often viewed as somewhat adversarial, as well as "time and complexity" consuming, the IC does likely does not approach the Hill to the degree required to ensure the depth of understanding that is required, nor can the IC get cover all 535 Congressional principals in coming forward on deeply complex and sophisticated issues. Those on the Hill charged with specific oversight, including staffs, could do a better job of becoming smarter and more professionally aware of the details required by their oversight roles and in establishing and maintaining a conducive atmosphere for routinely exposing compliance issues that bear on privacy and civil liberties. Whatever happens in this relationship, both sides need to make the reporting and dialog more focused, more routine, more comfortable and constructive, and it needs to involve experts on both sides working to identify and fix the continuing and many-faceted sophisticated problems that arise.
Other Relevant Principles of Intelligence: Returning to the Philosophies, there are at least 3 to 5/6 other specific principles which are relevant. They have to do with the conduct of Counter-Intelligence and Security, roles of Analysts, with the importance of professional performance by the people of Intelligence, including conduct of mission and tolerance of oversight, and application of the best and most advanced Technologies and Acquisition processes so Intelligence can be no more then one step behind our targets. The principles that deal with high technology insertion and high speed acquisition processes which support this area are particularly for many reasons. First, it is often in the context of the "complexity" of our Intelligence technologies that causes the U.S. persons issues to rise in the first place. Attempting to instantiate the nuances of Patriot Act or FISA and other legal and lawful provisions into our technologies is a non-trivial task, and it might be better done as the systems are being acquired, but this often slows the pace of acquisition. A system intended for any threat target might also net a U.S. person. The Snowden disclosures tend to define capabilities as if the first requirement for the system was to acquire a U.S. person, which is virtually never the case, and this point needs to clearly stated.
What not to do with this review: It is important that you not throw the baby out with the bathwater. I hope you will find that no other institution of government is set up to be as careful with U.S. persons and privacy as U.S. Intelligence. If true, you need to state this in no uncertain terms in your conclusions up front. I think that doing an unclassified history of the IC treatment of the U.S. persons and privacy issues in the Center of the Study of Intelligence would be a useful research and educational tool for the IC, the Hill and the American Public. Our problem today is one of "TRUST". The media turns molehills into mountains, and plays on the emotions and paranoia of an already suspect public where privacy is visceral (even if mostly not achieved). Often the context of the IC's mission is lost around the soundbite the media is hyping, and in this town, when the IC is trying to explain these away, they are "losing" and late to the topic. The Administration itself is often political first and substantive second, and it is not adequately familiar with these complex processes and issues until it is thrown under the bus by disclosures or media hype. All this works to the detriment of the IC which is mostly focused on mission, mission and mission. When this occurs the political leadership will open the distance, look for cover and delay, and often overreact to the situation by creating findings which whiplash the perceived offender. The correcting pendulum never stops in the middle in this town, it almost always way overshoots, recalling that the main mission is foreign intelligence, not operating a ponderous legal and process tail that hampers the main mission.
I would urge you to focus on several of the important moving parts I have cited above. You need to be mindful first of protecting the sacred mission of the Intelligence community, but produce a result where the IC can confidently operate at the fine line of legality's edge with pride and confidence. The IC for its part needs to be more forward leaning and open in dealing with the public and the Administration, in educating and working with the Hill, and in ensuring that its internal processes are adequate to its tasks of protecting privacy and civil liberties. The IC has the brightest work force in the federal government, and I am sure they are up to this task. It may take some beefing up of oversight and outreach to the public, tasks which are worthy of institutionalization on all sides. In this context, we cannot leave oversight to the media. The important task is to ensure that whatever you recommend, it can endure over time, and not hobble the Intelligence mission given how dangerous the world is becoming.
With regard to Snowden, I hope we all know that his actions are a strategic debacle for the Intelligence Community and NSA/SIGINT system, which needs to be protected by well informed leadership and executive action and support. Nothing in your efforts should condone Snowden, notwithstanding the fact that he is the trigger for this detailed look at protecting privacy and civil liberties of the "innocents", an objective which I will maintain were likely not at real stake in any material fashion, and certainly not to the level of collecting and using information witnessed by the commercial arms of the information era such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, ISPs Telcos, etc, etc. etc. (wherein I need but mention to a friend in an email my desire to get away to the Caribbean, and within minutes I am bombarded by vacation adds). Likewise, there are few public places anyone can go these days and avoid video surveillance. There are clearly legal and warning labels on many modern IT/Comms environments these days that warn the user that he or she should have no expectation of privacy, and we need to be clear where this is applied in the signals, geospatial and even Open Source Intelligence cases. Moreover, it appears to be an American phenomenon that we pig-out (not a technical term) in conspiracy theory, think the worst of our government, and in certain sectors have selected cases of enhanced paranoia. Studies have shown that the maximum paranoia is the a specialty of marginal groups, and we should not bend our whole system of collecting needed intelligence on foreign threats, or hamstringing and throttling our activities by thinking up more checks and hoops for a system already overburdened with process. That said, there is also a body of evidence that the mainstream of U.S. society understand what is and is not happening, and, when all is said and done, tolerates some levels of intrusion. This notwithstanding, within U.S. Intelligence, we should make the checks we currently have work better and faster, and certainly more professionally, and if this can be done, we should pronounce them as adequate to the task if this is indeed true. Recall also that whatever is put in place in terms of conclusions and recommendations must be farsighted and enduring, as well as workable and not characterized as tails wagging the dog, hamstringing our efforts for the future. As for Snowden, he has the potential to be the most strategically damaging leaker and espionage personage of recent times, and in his aftermath, it is likely the IC will tighten up its security, and even more draw into tighter and deeper and isolated security holes, making certain levels of openness ever more difficult. The IC has a big challenge ahead of it to balance need-to-know with need-to-share, and the arrival of Cloud architectures in the IC will make its technologies and means even more complex. In this environment, it will be nice to have some strong applications of "identity and privilege" defined, so we can better track and audit compliance with our own processes, enhancing security and also compliance of rule-based systems that relate to U.S. Persons.
Privacy and the Future: When we talk about living in the modern world, many of our privacy concerns are foresworn in favor of getting some privilege we desire, and this is no more the case than in todays Networked world. At a minimum, we do not want is a system where we have one approach to Internet and IT/Comms on our side, and most of the rest of the planet is headed in some other direction, but this could be the future we are looking at. It is instructive to note that at the recent UN/ITU conference at Dubai in Nov 2012, a large bloc of nations led by Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and many others want to expressly move away from our U.S./Allied driven free and open internet (where we can build and evolve in our own brands of privacy mechanisms and protections), and move toward a system where Internet Sovereignty is defined around control and absolute transparency of the State into their own individual systems and societies, and where ideas and certain controls can block undesirable traffic and collect, see and read all other traffic. You need to keep a big picture here, since it is not in the interest of the U.S. and our allies to go this direction, and while it may appear we are already there in the face of the Snowden disclosures, that notion needs to be repudiated, otherwise how can we truly stand for the position we have and will espouse in future internet freedom dialogs and negotiations.
Sorry for wandering around with various thoughts on this. I was trying, in a short email to touch as many issues as I could which bear on this topic. I worry that political expediency will trump maintaining the continued viability of the IC when it comes to operations to access global communications. Having to access the foreign threats
in our own country makes for mindboggling and challenging big data and processing problems when our people reside in the same traffic flow, whether we are using technooperational strategies for finding the needles in the haystack, removing/processing out the hay to find the needles or both. When our strategies were devised to pursue this task, care was taken to develop complex "have your cake and eat it too" strategies in a world dominated by the post 9/11 global terrorism and failed or failing states. That said, before 9/11, I am reminded of the impolite Al Gore remark about Admiral John Poindexter when the Admiral and DARPA (with the IC on the periphery) pursued a program entitled to Total Information Awareness (TIA). John Poindexter badly handled the public politics and optics of the program, and a well intentioned technology program was killed, we lost a 10 year leg up on important capabilities, and John's reputation was forever damaged. Here was an area where technology was the driver and the public policies and law were to catch up later, and clearly, not many people were comfortable with such conditions. The specter of this sequencing, and the inattention to the sociological, public optics and legal not proceeding in parallel with the technology factors dominated the Poindexter case. I am not sure challenging later in the NSA case. That said, it is my impression they took great care as they formulated various solutions. Hopefully that can be confirmed in your findings.
I wrote this quickly, so pls excuse any text lapses. Great good luck with your task.
Bill StudemanPRIVATE PHONE NUMBER REMOVED
ATTACHMENT: 10 Philosophies.pptx
Submission to the Review GroupDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 6:01:45 PMAttachments:
To the Review Group:
In connection with the Review Group's request for public comments, I attach the August 20, 2013 letter
sent to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and White House Counsel, Kathy Ruemmler.
The letter, signed by six technology trade associations, outlines specific recommendations for the Obama
Administration in light of the recent revelations relating to the U.S. surveillance programs.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
Regards, Yael Weinman
Information Technology Industry Council
1101 K Street, NW, Suite 610
Washington, DC 20005
ATTACHMENT: 2013-08-20.TechLetteronWaystoProtectCivilLibertiesinGov tDataCollection.pdf
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 5:04:59 PM
You have asked for my comment on the following:
"How in light of advancements in communications technologies, the United States can employ its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while respecting our commitment to privacy and civil liberties, recognizing our need to maintain the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosure."
I believe that the U.S. should STOP collecting information, and start concentrating on making life livable for each and every one of its people. "Protecting our national security" is meaningless for the majority of people in this country because their quality of life has significantly decreased over the last 35 years… so what exactly are we paying our taxes to protect?
"Advancing our foreign policy" in that same period of time has "advanced" only the economic reach of national and multi-national corporations, particularly fossil fuel companies, who are busy sheltering assets they should be paying tax on, and outsourcing jobs away from this country. Why should any of us want to "advance" that kind of behavior?
I think you should concentrate exclusively on "respecting our commitment to privacy and civil liberties," not to mention "maintaining the public trust," although that last item should probably read, "REGAINING the public trust," since not too many of us trust the government any more.
And, how you will "reduce the risk of unauthorized disclosure" in this day of poorly trained, underpaid government workers is beyond my understanding. Outsourcing that job is the very worst thing you can do, and still expect that those unauthorized disclosures would not happen.
Here, in short form, is what I think you need to do:
Stop the "war on terror," which is benefitting only defense contractors and no one else.
Disband the Department of Homeland Security, for the same reason. Reduce the military budget to reasonable levels… make it on an exact par with education, healthcare and environmental control spending, so that you will actually have some national security to protect, raising the budgets on those three areas at the same time.
Stop the corporate tax deductions that make outsourcing jobs so economically popular.
Stop the fossil fuel subsidies and give them instead to RENEWABLE energy sources, to make a dent in climate change… so that we will still have a habitable planet in 50 years' time.
And, of course, completely cease and desist spying on the American people.
607 569 5665
Lex van RoonSubject:
Response to request for public commentsDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 4:14:10 PM
Dear Review Group,
> how in light of advancements in communications technologies, the United
> States can employ its technical collection capabilities in a manner
> that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign
> policy while respecting our commitment to privacy and civil liberties,
> recognizing our need to maintain the public trust, and reducing the
> risk of unauthorized disclosure.
To start, I'd like to recognize and agree to our need for intelligence gathering. The methods of intelligence gathering however needs to respect human rights. By applying global dragnet-style surveillance, you undermine not only the position of your own citizens, but also the position of a very large part of the world.
The massive scale of this surveillance effort has severly undermined my trust in the US being a functioning democractic and free country. Within europe we just got rid of the stasi, and in all revelations about that time period we have learned about the terror people will live in as soon as they can no longer trust anything. We refuse to have to feel the same thing again, and we will not accept anybody gathering information using massive and non-targeted, dragnet-style methods.
Trust is the issue here. The internet is a wonderful instrument for the the whole of mankind. It's the first instrument that allows us to, as human beings, communicate with each other without fear of reprisal, censorship and government/corporate intervenence. This instrument is going to further the whole of humankind, if we let it and we use it properly. By subverting the internet into a massive surveillance network, you will undermine the very trust onto which this instrument has been built. By doing so, you are preventing the humankind of proceeding beyond it's current barriers.
Ideally, you will work with all other world contries into establishing policies that, while allowing a certain amount of limited and targeted information retrieval supported by clearly defined legal and worldwide agreed upon boundaries, will preserve and enforce the internet as an instrument dedicated to the better of mankind and the world as a whole.
Lex van Roon
LRO-RIPE | 570DE0BE | 9BF5 922E AF87 8584 E9CA C3AD C508 39A9 570D E0BE
NSA warrantless spying on American citizensDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 3:55:16 PM
I find the eavesdropping, data-collection, meta-data gathering and storage, attempts to weaken or break encryption and security processes and protocols, and all recently revealed and currently known surveillance and data gathering upon the American citizens perpetrated by the NSA and other governmental agencies blatantly unconstitutional and warrantless.
The revelations of multiple programs including, but not limited to,
PRISM, BULLRUN, MANASSAS and others are a chilling and terrifying rise of the security state and need to be stopped. There is a complete lack of disclosure, approval, or oversight of any of these programs and the FISA court is a rubber stamp.
American citizens have lost multiple constitutionally mandated rights as a result of the Patriot Act and other laws, many of which were secretly implemented, secretly justified, and secretly enforced.
The ability of the bloated and powerful governmental agencies to gather, view, save, and use against citizens all of their electronic movements, communications, and habits is chillingly similar to tactics used by the Nazi and Gestapo regime. Our abilities to communicate and travel without physical and other intrusions into our persons, privacy, and security have been at the least hampered, and at the worst, destroyed by the TSA, NSA and other agencies.
Citizens must be free and feel free to call, discuss, comment, travel, and otherwise freely exist and think. The so-called authority of the NSA and other agencies to not only spy on American citizens who have done no wrong, to investigate, retain, and use without warrant or probable cause information obtained without consent or constitutional authority and arrest, detain, or even assassinate American citizens without trial or court process is a travesty.
Simply creating or passing laws that are blatantly unconstitutional does not make such activity legal. The checks and balances that have been in place for hundreds of years have been systematically removed due to executive decisions and secret courts and secret justifications. The fact that the NSA is using gag orders and secrecy orders to even prevent the disclosure of its actions is intolerable.
If the democracy envisioned by our founding fathers, the country created on the bedrock of freedom and the constitutional rights keeping the government in check and run by the people, for the people, and of the people is to live on, then action and change needs to happen now. Indeed, I fear it may already be too late to save or restore that which has been lost.
It is already apparent that many people have changed their behavior out of fear and distrust of our own government. We censor our words on social sites, on blogs, and on our emails. We censor our comments and wonder about the effect simply signing petitions or calling an organization will have upon us. No longer do we travel down a road without wondering how much of our daily travels to and from work, home, and friends is monitored, collected, stored and someday will be used against us. Our medical records, banking transactions, library checkouts, even our eating habits have become fodder for a corrupt regime that is blatantly disregarding the Constitution of the United States and the rights of its citizens. The recent revelations would have been considered fodder only for crazy conspiracy theorists or science fiction writers such as George Orwell. It is beyond dismaying and disheartening to find out that the stuff regarded as simply fiction is not only true, but likely just the tip of the iceberg.
Corporations have folded, shut down, or relocated to other countries because they feel safer outside of the United States. The country that is tasked with preserving life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has embarked on a decades long attempt to eliminate, curtail, or severely restrict the basic rights of its citizens. We have lost the trust of not only countries and allies around the world, but of our own citizens. The public has been deemed the enemy and a once-free government that embraces the dictates and politics of a tyranny will fall unless steps are taken to restore the balance and freedoms that have been lost.
You want to know what we think? It is wrong, it is illegal, and we no longer trust our own government. Simply writing this email fills me with trepidation and worry, but men and women far more courageous than myself fought and died for the freedom for me to write this email. I will honor their sacrifice and the legacy of this country and its constitution and will continue to speak out and do what I can to protect My country, My constitution, and My rights.
Comments on privacy and civil liberties, public trust, and unauthorized disclosureDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 3:22:23 PM
I would like to urge the government to implement "opt-in" measures for the wholesale collection of communications. This would entail having a list of people who are targets, any communication not from a target, sent to a target or mentioning a target on the list would be immediately discarded.
Luther College, Decorah IA
on behalf of Bastiaan van den BergSubject:
NSA surveillance opinionDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 3:16:11 PM
There is a reason i have curtains at home
There is a reason i am wearing pants
Stop snooping in my social life
I am not turning everything you do against you
Why are you doing it to me?
Maybe what i am doing is not illegal now
But it might become, when more and more insane laws get passed
Do you want to make the entire world a criminal?
Do you like totalitarianism ?
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 1:34:54 PM
The laws on surveillance HAVE TO be clearer and restricted.
A lot of surveillance, specifically mass-collection, constitutes a warrantless search, and the laws are being used in ways that were never intended and no one is stopping it.
I am an American citizen and nobody should have access to my banking, email, internet, or phone data without a warrant. That's private information. With phone metadata alone, it is possible to garner absurd amounts of very private information about a person. The NSA has focused on Americans, not foreigners. It has sought, and received, records on millions of people who were not suspected of any crime.
I cannot believe that it is not illegal to seize data at border crossings, detaining people while their cellphones, laptops, and memory cards are copied. As in the case of David House, the search had nothing to do with border security or immigration. This constitutes a warrantless search! It does not matter what laws there are, this is wrong.
While controversial, a leaked secret document authorizing the collection makes it clear that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has decided that the collection of metadata for every call made in and into the United States is legal under Section 215 of the U.S.A. Patriot Act.
There is something inherently wrong with these laws.
What is considered private, and legal to search without a warrant, needs urgently revisited. Widely, things such as metadata are being declared "not private". There are claims, and legal precedent, that there should be no "expectation of privacy" for emails.
The legal requirements for collecting data need changed.
Further, there need to be limitations on what can be done with the information gathered, how long it is kept, and where it is kept. If it is gathered for one purpose, it should not be shared for other purposes.
Beyond that, I am seriously concerned about who has access to data that the government collects. In some cases, especially medical care, low level workers have access to social security numbers, medical records, phone numbers, addresses, etc.
Who has access to the data that the government has gathered about me?
In fact, don't I have a right to know what information the government has about me? Were I accused of a crime I would have a right to this, and as I am not accused of a crime, the government claims that I have no right to know.
The process for data gathering and what is legal and what is being collected needs to be more transparent. There is a difference between not divulging information about an investigation and not divulging information because it will be unpopular.
The mass data collection needs to stop. The records garnered need to be permanently deleted. Unfortunately, I have no expectation that that will be done. Once the government has records, do you think that it will not keep them? Or use them for other purposes? Even if the current people in charge of safeguarding the data have no ill intent, what about in the future? The precedents must be considered.
Some Follow-up CommentsDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:58:52 PMAttachments:
Dear Review Group,
Attached are some comments I prepared for your consideration. If any questions for me should arise, do let me know.
With best wishes,
Project on Government Secrecy
Federation of American Scientists
1725 DeSales Street NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036
web: www.fas.org/sgpATTACHMENT: Review Group-Aftergood.doc
NSA Surveillance WrongdoingsDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:58:10 PM
The recent narrow loss of Congressman Justin Amash's amendment proposal was about protecting our privacy. The US Government has been allowed to develop a poorly watched surveillance system which violates the first and fourth amendment of our constitution. There is also evidence that our US spy agencies have also tapped into transcontinental communications lines for warrantless wiretapping purposes. Our spy agencies gather real-time online information for not only US citizens but also world citizens -- for the supposed US security sake... I strongly disagree with this devious method and hope you find a way to restore the faith of the worlds citizens by either enacting a neutral non-governmental oversight committee (maybe a UN body) which approves the spying actions needing warrants or rescind the actions which have stepped on the privacy laws of the citizens. The recent NSA revelations are detrimental to the US economy and have been directly cited by the state of California and noted in news sources worldwide. Our nation relies on Internet-based income and by allowing the NSA to undermine the integrity of these services is causing havoc on our struggling economy. We have Microsoft, Google, AT&T, Amazon, and other huge Internet-based corporations around us in the Northwest part of the United States and ensuring the world commerce has assurance that their data is safe on our servers is instrumental. Private business takes extreme precautions to ensure data is secure then the NSA forces backdoors into this data and hacks encryption. Allowing the NSA to continue these actions only moves business to other nations or gives the UN more power to move Internet infrastructure out of US jurisdiction.
The Internet's social media environment has allowed for many nations' peoples to stand up against their governments wrong-doings. Having our intelligence community violating privacy information from secured communications among these people should not be allowed. Though the Internet was created via our military in the 1960's, it should be treated as a world protected entity where the communication flow does not have governmental monitoring or filtering without strict oversight. Loose NSA investigator monitoring creates resentment against said government -- as we are experiencing. The Internet is a new form of neural network where the worlds peoples share ideas, dreams, economy, news, and etc. Please keep the Intelligence community from violating US citizens and the worlds citizens privacy rights. Thank you for reading my rant and considering the ideas proposed here.
Privacy and civil libertiesDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:54:40 PM
My thoughts are summed up nicely by the guy at Benlog.com, (sic)
"The specific topic of concern, to be clear, is mass surveillance. I am not concerned with targeted data requests, based on probable cause and reviewed individually by publicly accountable judges. I can even live with secret data requests, provided they’re very limited, finely targeted, and protect the free-speech rights of service providers like Google and Facebook to release appropriately sanitized data about these requests as often as they’d like.
What I’m concerned about is the broad, dragnet NSA signals intelligence recently revealed by Edward Snowden. This kind of surveillance is a different beast, comparable to routine frisking of every individual simply for walking down the street. It is repulsive to me. It should be repulsive to you, too.
wrong in practice
If you’re a hypochondriac, you might be tempted to ask your doctor for a full body MRI or CT scan to catch health issues before detectable symptoms. Unfortunately, because of two simple probabilistic principles, you’re much worse off if you get the test.
First, it is relatively unlikely that a random person with no symptoms has a serious medical problem, ie the prior probability is low. Second, it is quite possible — not likely, but possible — that a completely benign thing appears potentially dangerous on imaging, ie there is a noticeable chance of false positive. Put those two things together, and you get this mind-bending outcome: if the full-body MRI says you have something to worry about, you actually don’t have anything to worry about. But try convincing yourself of that if you get a scary MRI result.
Mass surveillance to seek out terrorism is basically the same thing: very low prior probability that any given person is a terrorist, quite possible that normal behavior appears suspicious. Mass surveillance means wasting tremendous resources on dead ends. And because we’re human and we make mistakes when given bad data, mass surveillance sometimes means badly hurting innocent people, like Jean-Charles de Menezes.
So what happens when a massively funded effort has frustratingly poor outcomes? You get scope creep: the surveillance apparatus gets redirected to other purposes. The TSA starts overseeing sporting events. The DEA and IRS dip into the NSA dataset. Anti-terrorism laws with far-reaching powers are used to intimidate journalists and their loved ones.
Where does it stop? If we forgo due process for a certain category of investigation which, by design, will see its scope broaden to just about any type of investigation, is there any due process left?
wrong on principle
I can imagine some people, maybe some of your trusted advisors, will say that what I’ve just described is simply a “poor implementation” of surveillance, that the NSA does a much better job. So it’s worth asking: assuming we can perfect a surveillance system with zero false positives, is it then okay to live in a society that implements such surveillance and detects any illegal act?
This has always felt wrong to me, but I couldn’t express a simple, principled, ethical reason for this feeling, until I spoke with a colleague recently who said it better than
I ever could:
For society to progress, individuals must be able to experiment very close to the limit of the law and sometimes cross into illegality. A society which perfectly enforces its laws is one that cannot make progress. What would have become of the civil rights movement if all of its initial transgressions had been perfectly detected and punished? What about gay rights? Women’s rights? Is there even room for civil disobedience?
Though we want our laws to reflect morality, they are, at best, a very rough and sometimes completely broken approximation of morality. Our ability as citizens to occasionally transgress the law is the force that brings our society’s laws closer to our moral ideals. We should reject mass surveillance, even the theoretically perfect kind, with all the strength and fury of a people striving to form a more perfect union."
comment on us-spyingDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 11:27:36 AM
i demand respect. stay out of my life!
Public trust has been lostDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 11:18:30 AM
DNI, it's not me, it's you.
You've lost my trust.
Mass surveillance is the problem. The primary problem is the bulk, suspicion-less acquisition of communications and metadata from telecoms and ISPs. It is not only illegal and unconstitutional, but also severely undermines my trust and confidence in crucial communications systems.
How can you be trusted when you view all Americans, all technology users, as targets for information? Our rights come from our creator, not government. My right to be secure in my personal information can't be abridged so cavalierly, just because you have the technical capacity.
You have to go. Maybe when you're ready to be trustworthy again, you can come back, but until then, I'm breaking up with you.
Why have I written this comment in this tone? Because suspicion-less mass surveillance is an abusive relationship between a government and its citizenry. Government must always be submissive to its people, not the reverse, as your actions show you believe.
on behalf of Tom KentSubject:
Comments for Review GroupDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 10:44:01 AM
To whom it may concern,
I would like to start by saying that I do not condone the release of classified information that has happened. However, now that it has indeed happened, I am upset each time I hear another report about abuses of the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution that are happening at the NSA. I believe that the NSA has a fundamentally sound mission and that nations should have some freedom in trying to determine the intentions of their enemies. What upsets me about our government’s practices though is that we are not simply targeting our enemies.
The reports indicate that we are collecting data from hundreds of millions of Americans and even more innocent foreigners. This must stop. The temptation to abuse this system is simply too great. The temptation to use this information in ways that violate the 1st and 4th amendments is so great that there is no amount of oversight that will keep our current or future leaders from abusing this information.
I would like to think that the people who lead this country hold themselves to a higher standard, and would resist the temptation to abuse this data. However, they have proven again and again that they do not. We need to look no further than the Nixon administration’s breaking in to the DNC headquarters. If they would blatantly violate the law then, what would stop a future administration from equally blatantly violating any oversight that is placed on the data we are gathering now?
The only solution to keeping this data safe, and securing our democracy, is to not allow our government to gather this data in the first place.
Thomas M. Kent
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 9:51:31 AM
I cannot even articulate how shocked and disappointed I have been by the behavior of the US government.
My first comment is that your request, like many of the white house petitions, don't include any commitment on *your* part of what you will do with this information. Perhaps (and this seems likely) your group doesn't have any actual power to change anything. Or perhaps it is simply an attempt to commit to any action. Regardless, without any clear commitment on your part, I don't really expect very much from this process.
Despite the fact that I doubt very much anything useful will come from your solicitation, I will provide you my complete feedback.
The US's position in the US has been seriously damaged by this entire affair. We have betrayed the principles of our country (which other countries used to admire and strive to achieve) and we have betrayed the trust of our own citizens.
As a citizen, I fail to see how all the resources previously (visibly) available to law enforcement were not sufficient. I still have not heard an adequate explanation of why making the limits of US surveillance activities public is somehow a problem. I don't expect the US government to disclose all their *specific* activities, but I DO expect the limits to be public and for government to abide by those limits or face serious repercussions. Sadly, it seems that the government has been routinely and frequently violating their secret guidelines. Very disappointing.
Another comment I have is where is all the accountability here. Who is going to be held responsible for the 100s or even 1000s of cases of overreach by the government? I haven't heard anything about that.
Believe me, I completely understand that the US faces several external threats. And I have no issue with pursuing those threats. But there need to be clearly stated and public limits on what the government is allowed to do and their needs to be accountability when those rules are violated. The government are representatives of the people and the governments behavior in this regard is not only not representative of my position but is, in fact, shameful, dishonest and destructive.
I could go on and on expressing my outrage about this. There are so many points to make, I cannot even begin to formulate a coherent response. But the bottom line is that the current administration and policy makers need to take a step back, take a deep breath and try to grasp the immense damage they have done to our relations with our allies, the trust of our citizens and principles that have made our country a shining example to the rest of the world.
Shame on the US government...SHAME.
P.S. - Your comments in the solicitation about how careful you are going to be handling people's responses is almost an insult given the cavalier manner the US government has handled much more important and sensitive information.
Dr. Michael Tiller
Please remove all warrantless surveillanceDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 9:31:01 AM
In the 30 some years I have been alive, my government has transitioned from a state for the people, by the people, to a corporate entity paid to attack and monitor the people. America is falling from its position as a world leader, because we are no longer the land of the free. We are the land of "free speech areas" with monitored conversations, which can lead to secret trials where evidence doesn't need to be presented. That's if you're lucky enough to have a trial at all.
Our citizens are what we should be concerned with, but not in a criminal sense. We need to invest in our future with infrastructure, education, and health care. Our problems are not who are talking to who, but a nation straddled with no opportunity, and financial devastation all around us.
Please rethink this absurd police state, and refocus that time and energy on expanding our citizen's power.
William McCluskeyPERSONAL PHONE NUMBER REMOVED
What is Proper Channel?My Calendar
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 9:03:07 AM
I love my country and am proud to be an American citizen. I have great concern about the threats we face and want to believe that my country is doing the right thing. However I'm worried that in an effort to protect us against very real threats we will end up giving up what makes America such a beacon for the world. I do not know what the correct balance is but my I hope that those in charge will bear in mind that privacy is fundamental to a free and great society.
Feedback re NSA Mass SurveillanceDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 8:27:35 AM
In an effort to be brief and go straight to the point, the bottom line here is that I believe this practice is not Constitutional and violates the 4th Amendment rights of American citizens. There's always the argument about trade-offs between the needs of security agencies and the privacy of the citizens, but these must be done within the bounds of the law (i.e. respecting the 4th Amendment), and without twisting and/or misinterpreting/misrepresenting the intent or "spirit" of what the law states and/or its original intention.
The rights of the people to their privacy and being "left alone" in an unmonitored environment, rather than the supposed security "benefits" if such privacy is sacrificed, must always take precedence in all instances considered. The government and/or related entities do *not* need all of the information about everyone and don't need to target or focus on everyone before it can carry out its responsibilities properly.
mass surveillance by NSADate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 8:11:17 AM
Please note my objections to the program that administrates mass surveillance by the NSA. It is not only illegal and unconstitutional, but also severely undermines our trust and confidence in crucial communications systems. One of the big problem is the bulk, suspicion-less acquisition of communications and metadata from telecoms and ISPs.
This is ILLEGAL and UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
Stop the NSADate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 8:06:40 AM
The mass surveillance by the NSA needs to stop!
National security and intelligence gathering commentsDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 8:04:41 AM
There is, and always will be, a conflict between protecting the constitutionally-mandated right to privacy of US citizens, as set forth in the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, and the need for complete and accurate intelligence about the activities of foreign and domestic enemies of the United States. There will never be perfect security; what humans can encipher, others can decipher. What is needed is an effective method to govern the activities of our spying organizations (let's stop using euphemisms) that will protect privacy internally while allowing them to work effectively for our protection. There must never be programs too secret for oversight. The FISA court is meaningless. We need real oversight of intelligence agencies, and real avenues for whistleblowers to lodge complaints. The present system aim to protect the status quo, not provide meaningful oversight.
Citizen input to DNI"s request for national security viewsDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 7:00:13 AM
The current environment within the 12 intelligence organizations under the DNI reflect a domestic view that their citizens are less than what they should be. In fact, the Snowden disclosers have revealed that our government (intelligence branch) is less than what they should be and have made our nation something other than us (United States). This is the "Greek" tragedy of our time.
Please have a full review of all domestic operations and reveal all behavior by our government more associated with a country other than us. Or be responsible for making us "them".
Thank you for the opportunity to participate and provide input.
Stop spying on Innocent People!Date:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 6:50:20 AM
The primary problem is the bulk, suspicion-less acquisition of communications and metadata from third-parties like telecoms and ISPs.
The premise that it is not personal data if provided to a third-party shows the lack of integrity of elected officials and their blatant disregard for the constitution and the intent of 4th amendment.
This activity is not only illegal and unconstitutional, but also severely undermines our trust and confidence in elected officials and crucial communications systems.
Opinion : Intelligence CollectionDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 6:48:18 AM
I object to the mass collection of domestic surveillance data by NSA and other government entities. To the extent that such occurs, collected data should be inadmissible in court. Domestic surveillance data should only be collected pursuant to a court-ordered warrant specific as to target party and nature of data to be collected.
Request for Public CommentsDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 4:27:52 AM
The Review Group is seeking public comments on all matters that the President has directed it to examine, namely, how in light of advancements in communications technologies, the United States can employ its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while respecting our commitment to privacy and civil liberties, recognizing our need to maintain the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosure. Comments can be provided via
. The deadline for public submissions is October 4, 2013.
To whom it may concern,
In order to better balance the national security interests while respecting the privacy and civil liberties of everyone (not just American citizens), I suggest the following principles, guidelines, and laws be adopted for any and all organizations attempting to do targeted or en mass surveillance, collections, decryption, and so forth:
All collection methods, targeting scope, operating principles, technical capabilities, decryption techniques, and other methods employed to perform requisite "collection capabilties" should be publicly known and reviewable. Targeted individuals and groups, key words, and other specifics that could disrupt specific operations may remain private so as to not jeopardize critical missions.
Secret court orders, gag-orders, and other similar means of suppressing public knowledge of specific missions should rarely be used and when use is required the order should have a reasonable expiration period after which the target is able to freely discuss the details of the order.
Associated court proceedings should be made public immediately or after a shorttime period after which mission specific information no longer needs to be kept secret. Laws, interpretations of laws, and so forth should never be done in secret.
* Independent oversight.
An independent review board should be established wherein all operational information is publicized except information specifically deemed by the review board as essential for mission successes. Additionally, the principle of independent oversight should be employed to periodically review all operating divisions, operating procedures, and so forth. Public reports should be issued yearly documenting organizations adherence to privacy guidelines. Additionally, laws should be enacted mandating punishment for all abuses. Note, that the expectation here is that the independent oversight is far stronger then what currently occurs between FISA court and the NSA.
All persons, regardless of nationality, have a fundamental right to privacy that should be strictly preserved by surveillance organizations. En mass collection of unencrypted or encrypted data must be strictly forbidden. Collection should only be allowed for specific targets and known associates. The privacy expectations that standard persons (non-targets) can expect to have should be committed to law, and persons found violating such laws should be punished.
A committee should be established to which any employee involved with surveillance, data collection, decryption, and so forth can appeal to in order to disclose misconduct within such organizations. The committee should enable potential whistle-blowers to communicate with the committee anonymously, if the whistle-blower so chooses. Additionally, processes should be put in place so that all disclosures to the committee should be made public after standard mission-compromising details have been redacted.
* Limited scope.
Surveillance techniques should only be employed in the pursuit of stopping specific activities. The list of such activities should be publicly maintained and would be expected to included specific terrorism related activities, human trafficking, human rights violations, war-crimes, money laundering, and so forth. Corporate espionage, political posturing, minor criminal activities, drug trafficking, and other such activities should be addressed through other means non-surveillance means.
Surveillance organizations must refrain from participating, influencing, or attempting to influence any technical protocol, encryption method, encryption implementation, standards organization, and so forth. Additionally, such organizations must never require nor request organizations to disclose sensitive information such as private keys, session keys, encryption keys, etc. Additionally, all encryption, decryption, cryptanalysis, cryptology, and related techniques known to such organizations must be made public within a set time after discovery (e.g. within 3 years).
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 3:45:46 AM
Mass Surveillance without transparency of process and equality of access to the data is a threat to democracy.
The unbalanced nature of this data access (>1 million people loosely associated with the US govt have access to more data about me that I do) means that I live in fear of what one of them might do with it. Like for example draw erroneous conclusions from the fact that I object to it and see me as a threat, put me on a watch list and impede my lawful business. Or sell it (illegally) to a criminal 3rd
party. I have no possible redress or avenue of complaint, I just have to suck it up.
I thought long and hard about sending this email, just by the act of sending it, I'm raising my head above the parapet and I understand that there are unquantified risks in drawing attention to myself in this way - but that's how totalitarian regimes work - through fear. I don't believe the US is that far gone - yet.
I'm a British citizen who travels often to the USA for work and pleasure, I'm embarrassed that our 2 countries have created such a dangerously ungoverned tool, it needs to be fixed so that ordinary citizens can obtain redress when this data is mis-used and the misuser should be punishable in public.
Ideally I'd like to live in a world where such data was not collected in the first place, but I'll settle for transparency and the ability to challenge misuse.
on behalf of Dave BellSubject:
A non-US reaction to news reports of NSA surveillance of the internetDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 3:14:21 AM
I write fiction.
I keep my work on a US-based "cloud" service which provides an off-site back-up and enables sharing between different computers.
My fiction is mostly rather lurid adventure, including the activities of spies and soldiers, sometimes on covert/clandestine operations within the USA. While not set in the present day, it isn't hard to see how some of the text could trigger alarms under the claimed NSA surveillance systems. I may be regularly wasting some human's time. I hope they find my efforts entertaining.
I am one of those people who would be classed as a false-positive, caught up by the reported indiscriminate recording of encrypted traffic on the internet, carried out by an organisation which appears beyond the control of the law, and unable to keep its own secrets.
Since the NSA attacks are reported to break, subvert, or bypass the cryptosystems used on the web to maintain privacy, assuring parties of protections akin to using a sealed envelope to post a cheque or letter, and providing a signature to such documents, I feel it is only a matter of time before such "backdoors" are discovered by criminals. I get regular updates to software I use, fixing errors and security breaches, and now I have reason to think that there are security breaches which were put there at the behest of the NSA, and which will never be fixed.
The NSA, in its public statements, does not seem to realise that the internet needs cryptosystems just to match the sealed-envelope and signature safeguards of a letter delivered by the postal service. They talk about cryptography as if it has no legitimate use, and assume that all users are suspects. Whether by accident or design, they have set themselves up to be the Secret Police of an authoritarian state, with surveillance abilities unrivalled by the KGB or Stasi, and nobody appeared to have noticed.
It is at least consistent with the evidence that they have either lied to the politicians supposed to supervise them, or somehow bought their acquiescence.
I am now actively testing alternatives to the American computer software and services which I use. Apple, Google, Microsoft: can I trust any of them any more?
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 2:27:24 AM
We have a new opportunity to make our voices heard in the fight against mass surveillance—and less than a month in which to do it.
Fascism is the corporate control of government. This perverts government by the people into people for the government. Our entire nation is being sold out. I would like to have an Article V convention to address the theft of all citizens' constitutional rights.
They can spy on us all they want; but, while what they are doing is unconstitutional, what we are doing is legal and non-violent.
Solidarity from Pittsburgh,
on behalf of D KesslerSubject:
comment on using new communication technologies in line with civil rights of privacy (ODNI, RGICY)Date:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 1:49:56 AM
Hello. I understand that you, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Review Group on Intelligence and Communication Technologies (RGICT), are seeking public comment on how to balance the need for security with the civil rights that citizens should enjoy, all in light of advancements in communications technology. I am happy to respond.
Our country works best when we are all in it together! We must want to keep our eyes open, want to report what we know to the government, to cooperate to stop threats and elect the people who will keep us strong. This can only be done if we believe in our government and what it says. That means the government must follow the rule of law, must not lie under oath, and must have ways of policing itself.
The past months have proved that this is not currently the case. Government officials have lied to the Congress and to the American People. If we can't trust what you say, then why should we vote, cooperate with your requests, or listen to our elected officials for anything?
Your classified work is connected to the public trust. If you do not live up to the public trust then nothing you do, no matter how well intentioned and honorable, will mean anything for us. And you are currently operating with a large deficit in the trust category.
Bruce Schneier offered an excellent analysis and prescription on Sept 6th, 2013
(excerpted from https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/09/conspiracy_theo_1.html)
"...All of this denying and lying results in us not trusting anything the NSA says,
anything the president says about the NSA, or anything companies say about their
involvement with the NSA. We know secrecy corrupts, and we see that corruption.
There's simply no credibility, and -- the real problem -- no way for us to verify
anything these people might say.
It's a perfect environment for conspiracy theories to take root: no trust, assuming
the worst, no way to verify the facts. Think JFK assassination theories. Think 9/11
conspiracies. Think UFOs. For all we know, the NSA might be spying on elected
officials. Edward Snowden said that he had the ability to spy on anyone in the
U.S., in real time, from his desk. His remarks were belittled, but it turns out he
This is not going to improve anytime soon. Greenwald and other reporters are still
poring over Snowden's documents, and will continue to report stories about NSA
overreach, lawbreaking, abuses, and privacy violations well into next year. The
"independent" review that Obama promised of these surveillance programs will not
help, because it will lack both the power to discover everything the NSA is doing
and the ability to relay that information to the public.
It's time to start cleaning up this mess. We need a special prosecutor, one not tied
to the military, the corporations complicit in these programs, or the current
political leadership, whether Democrat or Republican. This prosecutor needs free
rein to go through the NSA's files and discover the full extent of what the agency
is doing, as well as enough technical staff who have the capability to understand
it. He needs the power to subpoena government officials and take their sworn
testimony. He needs the ability to bring criminal indictments where appropriate.
And, of course, he needs the requisite security clearance to see it all.
We also need something like South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission,
where both government and corporate employees can come forward and tell their
stories about NSA eavesdropping without fear of reprisal.
Yes, this will overturn the paradigm of keeping everything the NSA does secret,
but Snowden and the reporters he's shared documents with have already done
that. The secrets are going to come out, and the journalists doing the outing are
not going to be sympathetic to the NSA. If the agency were smart, it'd realize that
the best thing it could do would be to get ahead of the leaks.
The result needs to be a public report about the NSA's abuses, detailed enough
that public watchdog groups can be convinced that everything is known. Only then
can our country go about cleaning up the mess: shutting down programs,
reforming the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act system, and reforming
surveillance law to make it absolutely clear that even the NSA cannot eavesdrop
on Americans without a warrant."
Concerned about NSA being above the lawDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:55:44 AM
Dear Review Group on Global Signals Intelligence Collection and President Obama,
I am deeply concerned about all I read recently that the NSA has been spying on American citizens, and also infiltrating the computer systems of foreign governments and businesses. The NSA has broken the trust I used to have with our government. I had considered the government of the U.S.A. relatively less corrupt than others of the world. I had considered our government a worthy organization to steer our nation and to improve our welfare. But all this news of the NSA's work has broken this trust. Some of the actions I consider most offensive:
- The existence of "secret laws". I don't see how a nation can govern itself and avoid corruption and autocracy if some laws are secret--there is now way to debate the issues, and it is far too easy crush dissent.
- The NSA's deliberate crippling of cryptographic technology. The U.S.A. is currently the worlds leading economic power, but if nobody including the citizens of the U.S.A. itself can trust it's products—I fear we will soon find our customers looking elsewhere.
- The NSA's apparent view of the citizens of the U.S.A. are "the enemies" means we cannot trust the NSA's actions or words.
Above all, please continue the public debate on this and bring *everything* into the open. I believe this is the only way to reestablish trust.
Stratolab - Games for Learning
tel: (917) 543 8852
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:18:57 AM
I am the owner of a small company in the Philippines involved in construction and industrial chemicals. I know I have no say in your country's politics. I would just like to say that, prior to this recent disclosure, we were going to have our webpage and email server hosted by a US company, either Microsoft or Google. Now we are discouraged from doing so and have made inquiries with "cloud providers" based in Europe and Asia.
The unfettered surveillance by the US government on all foreign communications is very troubling to us, and especially with the knowledge that the NSA may be involved with economic espionage. We hope that these disclosures can help you in fixing the problems in your intelligence programs. Thank you.
Bulk electronic surveillance: problemsDate:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:18:13 AM
The act of sending this message should not be logged or collected by someone other than the sender and the recipient, but I now live in a time where the security of my communications and the persons with whom I speak are considered "fair game" by both domestic and international arms of the US Government's intelligence apparatus. I don't know that this message (it's metadata, or content) are being logged, but now I am extremely uneasy that it possibly is happening. Is my act of protest enough to put me on a list of watched persons? I would have thought that was laughable a few months ago, but recent disclosures of how widespread the interceptions are has led me to believe that nothing is too implausible.
The concern I have is not that messages ARE intercept-able - that is a capability that I hope that remains possible if there is just cause and reasonable suspicion. But what concerns me is that my messages and connections are logged even without direct suspicion of any wrong-doing on my part. This is a terrifying concept, and one that erodes further the wall that prevents tyranny from oozing into the American way.
I know many people outside the US in the technology industry. There has been in the last few weeks a veritable stampede away from US-based systems and networks. This has already damaged our economic interests significantly (though the pain will take about a year to show up) and it will be years or decades before the damage can be undone, even if we act now. Don't make it any worse.
STOP dragnet surveillance. IMPLEMENT clear, extra-government controls and audits of intelligence gathering systems. TARGET wrong-doers, and go after them specifically and with intent.
Discrimination of non-US citizensDate:
Monday, September 09, 2013 11:47:34 PM
The concerns about the operations by the NSA will be no doubt explained by many Americans who are also commenting towards this review board and whilst I likely agree with most sentiment they raise, I'd like to take this chance to raise the issue of how this affects non-US consumers like me.
I'd like to know why the US government wishes to deny me my freedom of privacy and wishes to intercept my personal communications with family, friends, businesses and to my political representatives because I am not a US citizen. Why it wishes for me to be concerned about the security of my passwords and encryption keys.
Over the past decade, individual soldiers, doctors, police officers, even children's TV show hosts, have been found guilty of terrible acts; now we blindly use the internet with no idea what a rogue agent in the NSA could do and how much damage they can do to our banking or personal lives: were they to maliciously use their access to leak or mess with these services that we use everyday it could damage us economically, emotionally and I fear for some in other countries: perhaps those who are gay in countries where there is the death penalty, that the hacking and surveillance techniques will put innocent lives at risk and people may die because of a malicious or accidental act by the NSA. If the NSA has added security vulnerabilities into products to allow it a "backdoor" then it's a waiting game to see if criminals or other countries' intelligence agents work out what they did and use it too.
As a software engineer, I'm currently investigate alternatives to the American services and products I've come to use everyday and find a way to regain some of what I've lost. I won't be buying another Google phone, another Windows laptop or signing up to any US cloud providers. I hope one day I can return to US services and products with trust.
Regarding the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications TechnologiesDate:
Monday, September 09, 2013 11:37:45 PM
Just a few things already in the public knowledge that form a basis of my opinion below:
There are already reports of routine use of data mining and then falsifying the criminal (drug) cases cover it up.
The director of National Intelligence lied to congress on the subject and has paid little if any consequences.
Dangerous laws like the Patriot Act which were justified by the fear of terrorism have often been used in cases that have nothing to do with terrorism.
It is clear that our government cannot be trusted with such information and power. It has already violated the trust of it's citizens in multiple ways, with no tangible signs of remorse. More importantly, the checks and balances or oversight with congress has proven inadequate to the task.
I get that these capabilities have the potential to do some good, but the damage and very real risks are too great. The best sort of compromise this novice can come up with is as follows: Data COLLECTION must be targeted, not just the analysis of mass collected data. Additionally it cannot be so secret as it is today. NSLs appear to been abused, overused and leave few options for their victims. They may need to be disbanded entirely and replaced with something with more checks and balances built in.
NSA And The Intelligence AgenciesDate:
Monday, September 09, 2013 11:02:18 PM
I’ll make my comments brief. With regard to the NSA the answer is simple. Abolish this abomination, Court Martial both present and previous director and completely overhaul all remaining agencies including the FBI. They have clearly proven how untrustworthy they truly are. They are compulsive liars who are at war with the American public.
Over 60 plus years of domestic and international crimes. To put it bluntly, they fight the enemies they create at the expense of American freedom and our economic prosperity. I know beyond any doubt that a thorough review of actual accomplishments over the course of their lifetime would reveal agencies who are almost entirely a fraud. You have to ask the question, what useful purpose during the course of human history did they actually serve?
Even the former Soviet Union threat was a myth. While the former Soviets did pose a nuclear threat, it was an exaggerated threat. And in fact, little that we did actually brought down the former Soviet Union. As a CIA agent once said during a BBC interview, “the Soviet Union fell because it was a rotten system. Just leave them alone and they’ll fall in a decade or two”.
The answer for the NSA is simple. Abolish them and overhaul all remaining agencies. Near complete transparency, they can never be trusted again. What they did is an act of treason, they betrayed country and Constitution for their own power. The present and former director should both be Court Martialled.
And by the way, I’m someone who had to endure over two decades of highly intrusive surveillance and I know exactly how abusive this is. This is no longer a free country because of traitors like the NSA.
And one last comment for you to consider. If you lack the integrity and courage to abolish this agency, I can assure you we won’t. The next generation will abolish them, we will crucify them in public. We will take them apart piece by piece and expose them for the traitors they’ve always been.
I would also request that the Executive issue an order, by penalty of Court Martial and prosecution, that the intelligence agencies should not destroy any evidence. As I’m sure you know, these agencies have a history of destroying evidence to cover up their crimes. If they are caught destroying evidence, the penalties should be extremely harsh.
recently reported NSA activitiesDate:
Monday, September 09, 2013 10:56:38 PM
This is in response to the solicitation for comments on the recently reported surveillance activities by the NSA.
The NSA's dragnet-style surveillance activities reported are a chilling example of how George Orwell's 1984 is constantly coming closer to the truth. Any claims about only being able to extract information after a court order is a travesty unless backed by a thorough public review of the mechanisms behind it. In all likelihood, there is an honor system and a reporting mechanism, the latter of which can be circumvented by people with the right administrative privileges (such as Mr. Snowden). While every current NSA employee might be honorable in some sense of the word, there is certainly no guarantee that this will continue to be the case, for the NSA, or any other part of government.
The fact that the NSA is not conducting targeted "disappearances" of political opponents today does not change the fact that the data collected by them enables just that kind of activity. An omniscient eye backed by an all-powerful state is emphatically not the basis of a strong democracy, and this eye must be put out before things get out of hand.
Particularly damaging is the use of national security letters to stifle free speech among those with the most insight about the if not unconstitutional, then deeply immoral surveillance activities that have been going on for probably over a decade now. These letters, and the secret courts that issue them, sound much more like the german or russian secret police than the stalwart defenders of democracy in the land of the free.
From a more technical point of view, the back doors, secret feeds, and software vulnerabilities created, used and fostered by the NSA put american at risk daily. We are all more vulnerable today because of this organization's perceived need to listen in on every conversation.
As we've seen in Germany, China, Russia and North Korea among others in recent decades, a terrorist attack every now and then is a minor annoyance compared to what an all-powerful state gone mad will gladly do to its citizens. It is time to put the NSA back on the right track, with dramatically reduced budgets, powers, and liberties, before disaster strikes.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
University of Illinois at Chicago
comments for RGICTDate:
Monday, September 09, 2013 10:53:51 PM
By far the most concerning news regarding ongoing warrantless mass surveillance by the NSA is the recent revelation of BULLRUN. Many of the described activities make us considerably more vulnerable to ALL attackers, not just the NSA. Intentionally weakening or backdooring crypto standards is shortsighted and unethical to the extreme. How can an organization ask the American people for trust, or argue that they are acting in our interest, when their actions clearly weaken our position against potential attackers?
All hardware and software vulnerabilities currently known (including 0 days), as well as known weaknesses or backdoors in crypto algorithms must be immediately disclosed to the cryptography community if the NSA wants any semblance of trust to be regained from America.
Dusty Pomerleau, MD
What I think about NSA surveillance.Date:
Monday, September 09, 2013 10:45:58 PM
Thank you for taking the time to read my assessment of our government's advancing technologies in the communication arena. I would also like to thank the senior members of the review group and president Obama for requesting public comment on this precarious subject. I too feel that it is extremely important to discuss and consider all sides of this coin.
In the near future Moore's law will accelerate computing power to unfathomable levels. We have no reason to believe that technology will divert from million year trend of exponential growth. It is thus possible to conceive of a machine that is far more powerful than any other previous piece of technology. Consider this machine is a super computing artificial intelligence. The golem possesses immense computing powers, is capable of operating electronics via wifi, and is given the task of enforcing the written laws of the world. At it's disposal are millions of robotic police forces, billions of camera's, microphones, drones, and satellites. The very moment a crime is committed, justice is served by the golem.
Jason and his wife Martha are on their way to the hospital, and 1/2 mile out the baby starts to birth. He can see the hospital straight ahead. It's 3 am and there are no other cars on the road. Jason decides to accelerate and exceeds the 15 mph speed limit. He runs the parking lot stop sign and pulls into the hospital. He and his wife are escorted into the hospital and a healthy baby is born. The United State's government rewards them with a $1200 fine, deducted straight from their bank account, thanks to the all seeing golem.
If the golem existed, billions of people like Jason and Martha could be arrested and fined for a host of silly pathetic laws like marijuana, speeding, improper disposal of batteries, driving too slowly, etc. Certainly golem would catch murderers and thieves and terrorists, but would it all be worth it?
My point is that the bill of rights was included in the constitution for fundamental and philosophical reasons. Our founders knew the power that government's can obtain, and they wanted to limit that power as much as possible. They saw the need for legally binding our government so that the people remain free and significant.
Since 9/11 many of our politicians have based their campaigns on keeping America safe. They have enacted new laws, sent armies into foreign nations, increased our domestic police force, and started unprecedented surveillance programs, all in the name of national security. Like golem, these actions are unnecessary. We behaved emotionally. There are lots of things we can do to limit terrorism and discourage crime while respecting liberty and obeying the constitution. We do not have to monitor all electronic communications. One could easily argue that by doing so we have actually increased the likelihood of a terrorist attack. Certainly would be terrorists are now discouraged to use the internet on their home computer or plan with others over the phone. Surveillance may have actually pushed them into the darkness, beyond the reach of conventional methods.
It is now time to reconsider the previous decade's decisions and move into a new phase of humanity. This new paradigm will be one where the U.S.'s role is that of a true leader possessing equanimity. We can not falter in the face of disaster, whether it's natural or man-made. Our message to world is one of liberty and tolerance, let us return to it. I beg of you, free your citizens from the panopticon.
An Anonymous Peasant
Sent using Hushmail
Public comment on Review Group on Global Signals Intelligence CollectionDate:
Monday, September 09, 2013 10:42:28 PM
I am a ten year veteran of the U.S. Navy and of the Afghanistan war. I am proud of my service and I consider myself patriotic but I am despondent from the NSA mass surveillance programs. I realize there are those out to harm the United States; but the so-called security gain from the NSA's mass spying effort is not worth compromising our constitutional values.
As a computer science researcher, I know the power of machine learning algorithms. A database containing the quantity of telephone metadata can be used with traffic analysis to reveal intimate details, as revealing if not more than the content of the message itself.
With such a database, it is too easy to abuse the power and it is not surprising that it has already been abused. For example, the act of LOVEINT, using NSA assets to spy on love interests, is insulting to the American people. I know from my time in the Navy, if a shady practice has an unofficial name, the practice is wide-spread.
As a naval officer, I was constantly aware of the public's trust. The Navy's core values are honor, courage, and commitment. When officers betray that trust, for something like falsifying a single report, they are relieved of their commands.
Where is the accountability with the NSA?! If this was a Navy ship, it would not be allowed to go to sea until it proved it was worthy. Stop the mass surveillance and hold the NSA senior leadership accountable for violating the public trust.
Public Comment on surveillance and civil liberties.Date:
Monday, September 09, 2013 10:29:47 PM
The first step must be to recognize that a country which routinely collects data on its own citizens puts at risk all of the freedoms we enjoy, and therefore puts at risk the very reasons our country should be defended. There needs to be immediate, fundamental reform of the collection and analysis process. These reforms will require greater transparency and oversight, however, transparency and oversight without fundamental reform is essentially meaningless.
The facts, whether the members of the review group wish to acknowledge them or not, is that Congress and the American people have been lied to by government officials and that the Constitution has been violated. This must change. A truly independent commission needs to be established, including significant representation from civil liberties groups, as a first step. The Review Group, as currently established, can contribute, but is simply not a credible group for recommending serious reform.
Specific reforms that are needed include:
- Stop bulk collection of domestic data and data on U.S. citizens. Only information on specific, targeted individuals or identifiers (such as an email address) or a small, specific group, should be collected, after obtaining appropriate court authorization. Data should not be collected on individuals or records that are more than one hop away without additional court authorization. Legal protections must begin with collection, not with use. Metadata, today, is far more than was originally envisioned when courts ruled that telephone numbers dialed were not secure. In addition, the data analytics that exist today did not exist at that time. Reform is needed to restrict access to this meta-data. It should not be collected or analyzed in bulk, nor collected without court authorization. This includes location data. Congress must act to make clear that records held by third parties does NOT remove all assumptions of privacy.
- In order to avoid additional damage to U.S. Information and Communications Technologies companies, the right to challenge violations of the law should apply to non-U.S. persons who have data or communications residing on or flowing through U.S. systems, as well as U.S. persons.
- Courts must be allowed to hear challenges to illegal surveillance. Established procedures already exist to handle cases regarding classified information. In addition, standing must be broadened, so that those with a reasonable suspicion that they may have been subject to surveillance are allowed to bring suit. Given the recent revelations, practically ALL U.S. citizens have been the subject of data collection, and therefore should have standing as an involved party. In a similar vein, sovereign immunity should not be used to prevent such lawsuits.
- Finally, those who have headed the NSA's surveillance program over the past 15 years or so must step down. They have irretrievably lost the trust of the American people.
Review Group CommentDate:
Monday, September 09, 2013 10:12:28 PM
To the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies-
Thank you for seeking public comment on the matter of US communications collections policies.
I believe that the end goal of terrorist attacks on America is not simply to take a limited number of lives but to disrupt the lives of many, if not all, Americans. The current US communications collections policies are the realization of that goal. I consider the current disregard of privacy, civil liberties and transparency to be a sweeping victory for the terrorists.
I hope that the Review Group will reach a similar conclusion and recommend considerable changes to national security and foreign policies.
Thank you for your consideration.
NSA surveillance opinionDate:
Monday, September 09, 2013 9:43:35 PM
to whom this may concern...
the patriot act was made to protect America and its citizens from terrorism... keep doing what your doing and the american citizens will start looking at you as terrorists. u people should be ashamed. I would gladly stand before all of you and tell you what's up. but since ur only asking for this in email I'm sure you don't have the fortitude to do such..
good day people on the other side...
Concerning NSA BackdoorsDate:
Monday, September 09, 2013 9:42:51 PM
To whom it may concern:
I suspect that you are already receiving many emails concerning the Fourth Amendment, the right to privacy, and other such issues, so I will leave those particular topics to those who are better able to speak on them.
My concern is primarily about the "backdoors" that the NSA has put in place in various software applications and the recent revelation that the NSA has determined methods with which to foil VPN, encrypted chat, encrypted VOIP, SSH Secure Shell, HTTPS, and TLS/SSL.
While there are those who truthfully claim that "backdoors" in software (presumed to be secure and to provide the user with private transmission of data) are essential for national security, allowing government officials the ability to spy on illegal activity, they also leave the user vulnerable to any hostile third party who is aware that a "backdoor" exists. The assumption seems to be that while the NSA has put "backdoors" into many pieces of software, only the NSA would have knowledge of or the use of these "backdoors," but this assumption is not necessarily true now, nor will it remain so in the future. A third party could be a foreign or domestic hacker acting alone or potentially belonging to a terrorist organization or an antagonistic foreign government (with the manpower and resources to discover the same security flaw that the NSA itself has discovered and exploit it en masse). While it is impossible for a civilian to determine how many terrorist plots the NSA has prevented, according to publicly available statistics US citizens are much more likely to be the victim of identity theft or credit card fraud than a terrorist attack. The effects of those "backdoors" being exploited could be disastrous, giving access not merely to communications but the transmission of all of data such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and medical data. Even without widespread exploitation of "backdoors," fear of their exploitation could have a chilling effect on online commerce and banking to say the least.
Furthermore, the policy of using "backdoors" is flawed in that it is only secure as long as the "backdoor" itself remains a secret. In the event of a leak of classified information, the security "backdoors" could be exposed to the public or to a foreign government, leaving sensitive financial data vulnerable until the "backdoor" is rendered inoperative. In an organization like the NSA, knowledge of the "backdoor" is useful to the extent that it is shared by multiple employees and usable for gathering information (i.e., the fewer people who know about it, the less useful that "backdoor" is). This is problematic in that it means that the more useful such a "backdoor" is, the more people are aware of its details, resulting in more potential security risks.
Given the vast knowledge of NSA employees in cryptography, cryptology, and data security, a solution becomes apparent. The NSA could create new standards for security in online communications, improving everyone's data security and protecting against identity theft, cyberterrorism, and the potential destabilization of online commerce. Cryptographic standards created by the NSA that even the NSA themselves could not crack would be in the public's best interest, as it would bolster confidence in the security of their transmitted data in the face of increasing public knowledge and familiarity with computer systems.
In light of this information, I respectfully request that you reevaluate the NSA's policy of inserting "backdoors" into software and creating vulnerabilities in the security of the transmission of data. The potential benefits and risks of such practices must be weighed in the light of their respective statistical likelihoods, and the preponderance of identity theft suggests that the security of our private data may well deserve a higher priority than it currently has.
Review on Intelligence and Communications TechnologiesDate:
Monday, September 09, 2013 9:08:57 PM
The people of the United States, following September 11, 2001, willingly sacrificed their privacy in exchanged for a perceived sense of safety. Safety may well have been increased, but due to the excessive secrecy of the US government, thwarted plots are rarely revealed. On the other hand, if those thwarted plots that have been revealed really are so few in number, then the privacy forsaken exceeds by a vast amount, the safety brought about at the cost of that loss of privacy.
We truly are in an 1984 Orwellian nightmare of surveillance, and we have done it to ourselves by not reaching a point where we say, "Enough!" Security cameras instores, in public places all were shrugged off as a marginal infringement; then along come 9-11, and the American people were so terrified that they gave up all of their right to privacy.
You need to learn to read the writing on the wall and back off in the shotgun concept of counter intelligence. Go back to the more pedestrian way of doing business, tempered with some, but not total reliance on electronic eves dropping, for if surveillance of the general population continues unabated, I can predict further Snowdens and Mannings revealing more and more sensitive material. We all knew that we were under surveillance, but not until the Snowden revelations did we realize how extensive and pervasive that surveillance is. Snowden was a cold dash of water in the face for those of us living in a dream-state of uncaring for what we had given up in order to feel safe.
The surveillance has to be scaled down, or there will be a backlash of epic proportions and you will find that one day, some whiz kid will have established a parallel internet with uncompromised servers, and you will be at less than square one, in that you will have forgotten how to glean low tech intelligence, and will be shut out of the parallel internet. More and more, people are resorting to antitracking software & better encryption, beyond what servers and e-mail programmes offer. It would be interesting to know if your surveillance is capable of detecting steganography for purposes of secretive communications. Combine encryption with steganography, and how detectable is an illicit communication?
The argument about meta-data surveillance is not a valid argument either. How would you (you collectively, in the office to which this arrives) feel if you knew that I was in possession of every telephone number you called, and every e-mail address to which you sent mail? Even if I never used that information, you would feel compromised, I expect.
My last argument for lessening your dependence upon electronic surveillance is that eventually terrorists will figure out both that to bring a country to its knees, it need only take down the various military and intelligence intranets, most of which, I would guess, are also part of the internet, and they will discover how to do this. If a group such as Anonymous can hack into "invincible" sites, how big a leap would it be for a terrorist organization to do the same eventually, on a more militaristic scale? If that should happen, where then, would be all your super-sophisticated electronic surveillance?
I'm sure that in your intelligence world, this communication has included many key words which would get it flagged for further scrutiny, and that's OK - it serves to make my point about the shotgun method of surveillance. In fact, this whole issue, initially revived since the Snowden affair, has caused me to rethink even mundane things such as store "loyalty" cards, better internet safety and security, and lessen my electronic footprint, such as dumping my Twitter account, and some other social networks, so, as Martha Stewart would say, "That's a good thing."
David Lawson Subject:
Monday, September 09, 2013 8:57:22 PM
Nsa's dragnet approach to "intelligence" gathering must stop. The individual right to privacy overrides any so called "intelligence" gathered by spying on innocent US citizens.
We got sucker punched on 9/11/2001. Get over it and move on. I'm more afraid of my own government than I have ever been afraid of terrorism.
Feedback on NSA surveillanceDate:
Monday, September 09, 2013 8:39:10 PM
While transparency and oversight are important parts of a solution, the primary problem is the bulk, suspicion-less acquisition of communications and metadata from telecoms and ISPs. It is not only illegal and unconstitutional, but also severely undermines our trust and confidence in crucial communications systems.
It is vital to our democracy that our people trust government agencies; that trust is gone and you must now EARN it back.
Shawnna ConnollyPRIVATE ADDRESS REMOVED
Monday, September 09, 2013 8:38:42 PM
The following is a post from my blog: Why I'll Be Marching This 4th
Jul 3rd, 2013
If you’ve done nothing wrong, then you’ve got nothing to hide.
Wrong. Nothing ever justifies giving up your human rights , especially to prove lack of wrong doing, and any government that asks you to do so is not your friend.
Terrorism has become a weapon used against us by those elected to lead to keep us compliant, like blinders you’d put on a horse. The threat just keeps growing and growing instead diminishing, despite the money and lives we throw at it. Terrorism is the new Communism, and the NSA PRISM program and the Patriot Act are the modern day overreactions equivalent to McCarthyism and the Red Scare.
A captain and crew of a boat would reflect upon the current state of their vessel and make corrections. The cycle of reflection and correction is what keeps the boat from running ashore, hitting other boats, or making other costly mistakes. Unfortunately,
I feel that NSA, enabled by section 215 of the Patriot Act, have become so powerful that they feel they don’t need to reflect upon their actions anymore.
If your neighbor was peeking in your window at night, that would probably make you very angry, and you would probably never trust that neighbor again. Think about how all of our fellow countries feel about us right now. It’s really unfortunate that Germany and our allies now severely distrust us. I apologize to all non US citizens that my government doesn’t respect you enough to extend the human right to privacy to you, as it supposedly does to its own citizens, and I’m ashamed I have to apologize on behalf of them. It’s troubling that the NSA has trouble telling the truth. It’s awesome but ultimately embarrassing that Ecuador offers to fund Human Rights training to us.
It’s hypocritical that we frown upon countries like China spying on their citizens, like the East German Stasi, and yet we are doing it to our own people! While this administration may try its best to be benevolent with this power, who’s to say all future administrations will use it for good? Even without content you can glean an awful (unacceptable) amount of information about somebody.
So how did we get here? The justification I keep hearing is that this is all legal.
Regardless of whether or not something is legal, we should be asking ourselves “but is this right?” and “what were the motivations of those that created this law? Was it to entrench the privileged or represent the constituents?” Good people not standing up for the right thing is what got us here. Good people not standing up at the Tech companies accused of handing over data to the NSA. Good people at the NSA not speaking out about their surveillance programs. Good people in Congress not speaking out about programs they’ve been briefed on. Everyone just keeps saying how they’re just complying with the law while looking the other way. Sounds to me like the crew hasn’t been doing enough reflection. What about the captain?
I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have 100 percent Security and also then have 100 per cent privacy and zero inconvenience. President Obama
Hearing the President of our country say that, the incompetent media’s focus on Snowden, and the American people’s fundamental misunderstanding of privacy, literally reminds me of the part in Star Wars where in order to stop a growing threat and protect the people, a democracy is turned into an authoritarian empire.
So this is how liberty dies…with thunderous applause? Padme, Star Wars Ep. 3
Not on my watch. And not on yours either. Join us this 4th of July for a peaceful rally against infringements on our 4th Amendment rights as part of the national Restore the Fourth movement. Let’s ask the NSA to go back to the drawing board and find a way to uncompromisingly provide security and privacy.
Posted by Nick Desaulniers Jul 3rd, 2013
My Views on the NSA"s surveillance programsDate:
Monday, September 09, 2013 8:32:39 PM
To the review group,
As a citizen and patriot who has won every single honor afforded to an artist in the county in which I live, I want to go on record that NSA's surveillance of e-mails and phone calls of ordinary citizens is one of the most frightening misuses of power and I think it stands as one of the greatest threats to our beloved Democracy.
A famous musician once told me, "just because you can, doesn't mean you should"
I can not be more strong in my desire to have the NSA stop this nefarious practice immediately.
To go to a judge and get a court ordered surveillance of someone who specifically has been shown as a threat to the safety of this country is one thing.
That is because there is oversight involved.
The entire history of the planet has show us that bad things happen when the security forces in a nation start to act in secrecy (the Stasi, et. al.)
recipient: Gail Rich Award for Service to the Arts
recipient: Calabash Award for Service to the Ethnic Arts
recipient: Keys to the City of Santa Cruz by Mayor Reilly
for creation of the Y2K International Live Looping Festival
Maker Fair presenter
Ted X presenter
Monday, September 09, 2013 8:31:02 PM
Hello, My name is Steven Sharp, I wanted to emphasize the absolute importance that online privacy and anonymity has on the American and Global populace. The actions we take online, from simple communications to research and survey analysis, purchasing and professional work- these actions are ours to perform. Our personal information, just like the details surrounding our personal information, habits and lives, are also subject to the same sensitivity and importance to be kept private. There are reasons we have laws against snooping, trespassing, and act to prevent strangers collecting our personal information. The details surrounding these heinous actions do not change online, be it from an individual, a business or an agency.
The American people need to have a guaranteed right to privacy online. We need to be able to trust our communication channels, our business partners and each other.
The internet has grown into a wild success thanks to the vast privacy and anonymity it contained leading up to these past few years, but it is threatened. Everything about sharing of personal information against it's clients and citizens wishes or permission, from collection agencies, conspiring businesses and big data - this is an atrocious encroachment on the fundamentals that we act in part of, and against the American People's values. I ask you, please make into your framework the absolute rights to privacy and anonymity of the communications infrastructure that cannot be bypassed, by individual, business or agency - without the citizen/user/client's permission.
If we as a nation seek to represent freedom and opportunity and a democratic ideal and show exemplary examples to the world's nations in this manner, it is imperative that we bring action to our words. We must stop allowing free reign of collective organizations to threaten and tread over our citizens' rights, ignoring American Values and ignoring the will of the people. If we don't act with the same spirit that we preach and the American people hold important, these other countries will continue to laugh at our nation and hold our word as it is given - baseless, inconsistent and self serving.
Thank you for taking your time to read my request.
Monday, September 09, 2013 8:21:40 PM
how in light of advancements in communications technologies, the United States can employ its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while respecting our commitment to privacy and civil liberties, recognizing our need to maintain the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosure.
IMHO, we need 24/7/12 surveillance on the actions, conversations, emotions and thoughts of those who hold so much power over their fellow humans.
Thanks for seeking my opinion,
Monday, September 09, 2013 8:13:48 PM
You are probably going to get a lot of these so I will be brief.
1984 was not an instruction manual.
Thank you for your time.
Monday, September 09, 2013 8:08:31 PM
I'm against all warrantless surveillance of American citizens or our communication with people abroad because it is unconstitutional. Unless I have committed a violent crime against someone, I believe my Fourth Amendment right to privacy should be absolutely respected.
Comments to review group Re: NSA abuseDate:
Monday, September 09, 2013 6:56:55 PM
As a sign of good faith, I would like to see the immediate resignation of Vietnam era generals Keith Alexander and the liar Clapper. They have single handedly abused the Constitution of the United States. I am a proud Navy veteran who can no longer trust their motivations.
I would also like to also see an adversarial representation for the Constitution when the secret court is addressed by NSA.
I would like to see less haystack building because that is spying on citizens of the US and just an excuse to maintain a large database. You initially know the fist connection overseas, so then go get the warrant for the homeland connection and not the excuse to get everyone's phone records unconstitutionally.
Suggestion for surveillanceDate:
Monday, September 09, 2013 10:29:25 AM
Since the independent review group has requested comments on how to effectively continue their surveillance programs I feel that I must point out that in order for the mission of the NSA to be effectively carried out, they must be conducted in a sustainable manner. This means acknowledging that absolute secrecy is going to be completely impossible if the programs wish to continue to have public support. Sources and methods only in the most essential sense must be preserved, and nothing shared with all top secret clearance employees can have guaranteed secrecy, so additional threats to employees about the severity of punishment they will receive from disclosing information will obviously not work. Now that potential whistleblowers have seen that staying and facing the music from the federal government will result in disproportionate punishments (ie Chelsea Manning) and escape from that punishment is possible by appealing to the international community (ie Edward Snowden) the continued system of instilling fear in security clearance employees will obviously not continue to work.
Given the recent revelations of the weaknesses created in many commonly used encryption protocols, I think at least part of the solution should be obvious. The NSA should NOT interfere with the creation of encryption protocols, and should publicly provide information on which protocols have had weaknesses built in so that they can be reviewed and improved. This will drastically increase the sustainability of the programs and help it regain at least some of the trust of the American people. This will help protect their public image from the potential damage of future leakeddocuments, considering how great the interest is in this. Any built in weaknesses will also interfere will the capacity of the protocols to keep future users safe from outside individuals with malicious intent who have obtained access to information about the weaknesses without public disclosure. Such abuses will become inevitable at this point, given their public disclosure, and facilitating their repair to functioning secure protocols will best serve both the public interest and the NSA's interest. If evidence of abuses is brought to light, public opinion will turn even more against the NSA than it already has. Also, the dragnet surveillance currently being conducted by intelligence agencies in the US is creating an overload of information for the NSA. Information should onlybe collected when there is reason to believe it should be collected in order to make it easier to identify patterns specific to protecting national security interests. Having algorithms sort through the vast quantities of information sent through international links is both a PR disaster for the intelligence community, and is wasting the vast amounts of taxpayer money spent in order to put the system in place. That money would be better spent putting in place more specifically targeted surveillance based on intelligence already obtained. Witchhunts don't obtain reliable information, and when information is obtained using dragnet surveillance by parties anticipating US interception, it will make it possible for foreign entities to intentionally mislead the intelligence community, or manipulate the US by sending messages with the impression that they are unaware that they are being monitored. Future efforts to obtain access to securely encrypted communications need to come from more targeted surveillance, such as spyware installed on target devices and more powerful dictionary or brute force attacks against user encryption keys. Then the information gathered will be more valuable because the user will have less reason to believe their communications had already been compromised before they started communicating. This way will also help ensure that the privacy rights of Americans will be better protected, since it will require greater effort for both the intelligence community and malicious attackers to perform targeted surveillance. Modern software platforms still have many security vulnerabilities which the NSA can exploit, and every individual implementation has its own weaknesses.
I am an IT professional, and while I have been generalizing about my opinions in this e-mail, I can provide more specific reasoning and link to recent articles to back up the opinions in this e-mail if necessary. I hope that your status as "independent" reviewers is enough to see the wisdom in rejecting the concept of "collect it all" which the modern intelligence community indulges in.
NSA policies in questionDate:
Sunday, September 08, 2013 7:08:11 PM
These are some of my personal opinions on the practices that the NSA currently has in place. I am 17 and live in NY.
1. The NSA needs a specific goal. Supposedly, the main threat that the NSA protects America from is terrorism. Statistics need to be shown which back this up.
2. The data collected should not be on a whim. There should be an official approval process before deciding to intercept information not publicly available. In major cases this may take the form of a warrant.
3. Domestically based information collected by the NSA needs to be made public. Perhaps not always the specific information in question, but the type of information, and from what people.
4. The NSA needs to be held accountable to the rest of the government and to the public. The constitutional system of checks and balances need to be applied.
Thank you for considering my opinion.
- Bryan Oliver
Intelligence collection commentDate:
Sunday, September 08, 2013 4:39:07 PM
I do not support the gill netting approach to gathering data of Americans. This flies in the face of our constitution and everything this country fought for to become free from tyranny. I do not want a techno-nerd reading my emails, seeing what websites I look at, or reviewing my bank and phone statements. The assurances coming from the President at this time are no assurances at all. Doesn’t it strike your group as a bit ironic that the only reason your Group exists is because some young man had the courage to blow the whistle on this type of activity. If Edward Snowden had not come forward no one would be the wiser.
I ask you to ask yourselves, “What kind of country do you want to live in? Russia or the U.S.? To me it’s pretty clear. And, Puleeeezze do not use threats about 9/11 and it now being a post-9/11 world. We have had tragedy in this country before and we will have it again - - whether or not the National Intelligence Agency listened into what I say or not. Heck, even Richard Clark acknowleged that G.W.Bush had enough intelligence to stop 9/11 and stood by. That happened with no sweeping up data of milliions of Americans. So please rein in this craziness, IF you are in the least bit “independent.”
Linda AndersonPRIVATE ADDRESS & PHONE NUMBER REMOVED
Sunday, September 08, 2013 2:49:04 AM
Right now both you and I are aware that the people of the USA, and most of the world, are not very happy with your recent actions in regards to Prism. Now, I do understand why you are doing what you do, however I just don't see the logic in it.
Hear me out. (Or not, this is an email not a interview)
"Anti-Terror" operations are a contradiction. The simple fact that you're actively trying to prevent attacks scares people because they know that these attacks are a very real thing. However I ask you, how is monitoring the phone calls of Americans going to prevent attacks? How is creating a back-door into HTTPS encrypted connections going to help? Now, I'll be frank. I'm not American. I'm Canadian. I live in Vancouver. But the thought that my fellow human beings are being unlawfully spied on by the government upsets me as I fear that my government is doing/going to follow.
Rather than sifting through billions of phone calls and emails, why not focus on the actual source of terror attacks, rather than the outcome. Spending millions of dollars developing decryption methods, data centres, and more on technology that will soon become outdated is a massive waste of resources.
I thank you for reading this, and I hope that you take mine, and the opinions of others into consideration when planning the next steps of your programs.
Collect National Security Intelligence and Respect a Citizen"s PrivacyDate:
Sunday, September 08, 2013 12:55:54 AM
To Whom it May Concern,
My name is Homam Zituni ( as I am sure you already know) and I am an American citizen. I am emailing you because I heard you were taking public comments on how to monitor American citizens while respecting their privacy. The fact of the matter is, the current tactics that are being used definitely do not respect a citizen's privacy. A way to still collect information would be to put a limit to the amount of intelligence you are currently collecting. Most Americans are not a "issue of national security" and there is no need to monitor every phone call, text message or tweet that is sent out. There should be a limit to what periods of time and what is to be monitored. Your agency should also be regulated and monitored by another entity, but that probably won't happen. If you do take these suggestions seriously, consider your limitations on intelligence seeking as a government entity. It is the NSA's kind of absolute power that people tend to dislike in a allegedly free society. Thanks,
Complete lack of trust in the DNI and the politicians who blindly support itDate:
Saturday, September 07, 2013 3:13:48 PM
The DNI expects citizens to trust them, but continually lies about everything. There will be another J. Edgar Hoover - imagine what he would do with the spying tools that have been deployed. Blackmail, intimidate, corrupt, threaten anyone at any time. Hide crimes behind the wall of "national security". Completely disregard the Constitution, laying out tissue thin rationalizations (it's only metadata). The DNI is destroying American democracy.
Saturday, September 07, 2013 10:17:57 AM
Dear National Securtiy Agency,
Obama stated one cannot be 100% safe and not be invaded on ones privacy? We're not 100% safe so give our privacy back. Snowden is a hero. He didn't aid the enemy? He aided the country. Imagine living in a world where the government was afraid of its citizens, instead of the other way round.
The NSA is regarded as an enemy all over the Internet. Charging someone with Copyright for having the logo of your department on a rebel shirt sickens me.
I'm a 13 year old living in Africa, and I used to look up to America. Then I found out about the corruption and greed that every government has. You claim to help countries but don't help Zimbabwe, there's no oil?
You cannot control the Internet, you cannot spy on its users. Its unjust, and against the constitution. I expect more from America. Your country is never going to be 100% safe. You are like a bunch of little girls hearing noises in the night, you are too paranoid and scared.
Stop spying on Internet users, jailing people who are fighting for the country and stop being scared. I may just be a boy, but I can make a change.
Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom - let your email find you!
The NSA and The Loss of TrustDate:
Saturday, September 07, 2013 8:47:06 AM
There is so much which can be said regarding the incredible outrage i feel towards the NSA and the Obama administration following the disclosures we have seen thus far, and in anticipation of more to come. So much so, that to begin a listing of all the issues would fill an entire library of injustice and illegalities. Choosing a point of discussion becomes an overwhelming task with so many wrong doings.
But of everything which has been disclosed by Edward Snowden and the various media outlets, the one point which strikes me as most significant and damaging has to be the absolute conclusion that there can no longer be any trust given to the NSA and the Obama administration by anyone on the planet.
This administration has failed itself and the American people by firstly making decisions that would, without a doubt, have this catastrophic result, and secondly, by apparently, not even taking this result into consideration as a critical aspect of "national security".
There can be no "national security" in a nation that has done such horrors as to violate all trust in them from every human on the planet. How willing would any nation be, who has been exposed to this activity, to do harm to our nation at the first opportunity presented to it? How willing would "allied nations" be to simply look the other way as harm is planned and carried out against us? How willing would the American people be to simply disregard our President and the NSA when they try to inform us of any "threats" in the future, whether real or not.
It is my opinion that the loss of trust is the most damaging event that has ever harmed our nation in all our history.
So how do we repair this? is it even possible to reestablish the trust in the USA ever again? Certainly the repeated statements from our President, the NSA, and his administration that all these disclosures are true, but you have to "trust us" is more than a complete waste of time. Contrary to their words, no, we do not "have to" trust them, and anyone would be a complete fool to do so.
In order to even begin to restore trust and even think about repairing this damage, it will require some radical changes to be done!
it is this that i propose:
1. Completely dismantle the NSA.
Since the FBI deals with counter terrorism within the borders of the USA and the CIA deals with counter terrorism in foreign countries...why do we need an NSA, who is part of the Dept of Defense, spying on America ?
Remove the NSA from the hands of the DOD.
The sections dealing with domestic threats goes to the FBI.
Foreign threats to the CIA.
Dismantling the NSA will restore public and foreign trust in a government willing to do drastic measures to restore our trust.
The FBI is still bound by constitutional and supreme court law and are bound by the proper issuance of search warrants based upon probable cause, no further need of the FISA court.
CIA foreign activities has long been acceptable as secret and private and can continue the actual work of protecting America from foreign terrorist threats.
2. Eliminate "private contractors"
As far as private contractors go, if they are truly interested in "protecting our country", then apply for a job at the FBI or the CIA, accept a government salary to do the job like members of those agencies do. lets see how many of you "patriots" are willing, able, and qualified to do this.
3. Hold people accountable
This is critical towards the future and to establish the trust in the knowing that this will not ever be repeated again without consequences!
There are other nations with past histories of incredible abuses (Germany, as an example). In order to loose the stigma associated with these acts, extreme measures have had to be implemented in the interest of reestablishing trust.
The USA is in that position now, and all we get from our President is his desire to continue this course to disaster, with no concessions, apologies, nor efforts of true reform nor transparency.
The necessary changes, are therefore, in your hands. American is at a breaking point, it cannot afford another disappointment from our government, have the courage to make the necessary changes to restore hope!
I thank you for this opportunity to make my voice heard.
why not have a sunset on secrets? (public comment on sigint)Date:
Friday, September 06, 2013 7:27:51 PM
Has there ever been a serious consideration to have most, if not all, classified documents subject to an automatic sunset on their classification status to be released to the public after a certain amount of time, same 5 years for most documents?
It is not the mission of American intelligence groups that concerns its citizens: it is the level of secrecy used by these groups that leads to the mistrust of the intelligence community in general, however misplaced these feeling may be. How can you blame them when there is no way to absolutely verify that this trust is warranted even for activity that is now distant history?
Of course, a review procedure would be required to keep certain documents secret for a more extended period of time, but I can think of no argument for keeping ANY secret for longer than 50 years, and any secret worth keeping is worth reviewing on a regular basis (and I am proposing here that timeframe is 5 years). The argument that if people who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear from having their communications reviewed is equally applicable to government organizations as it is to the general public.
Changing the default for documents to automatically being declassified would generate a huge amount of trust from the American people. This would allow anyone to look over the activities of the past to validated that signals intelligence truly is conducted with the best interests of American citizens in mind, and if not always done in the best way possible, encourage an informed debate.
How can you blame the citizens for having the expectation that this information is being used for law enforcement or even nefarious purposes instead of fighting terrorism? How are we supposed to learn about the effectiveness of these tools in the fight against terror without journalists reviewing all materials directly without censorship? Are we supposed to just take you at your word?
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Gregory Scott Mitting
The Fourth AmendmentDate:
Friday, September 06, 2013 5:33:47 PM
I would like to express extreme discomfort with the NSA surveillance program in regard to the 4th
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure and requires a warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.
Just because the living space I choose to occupy is digital, I do not see how that negates these principles. How is the NSA allowed to monitor my phone calls, emails, instant messages, and internet activity without probable cause? Under what suspicion am I under that would allow the NSA to search and seize my digital data?
I am not willing to allow the government to do this in exchange for the veil of security. This is disturbing and very scary.
Christopher J. Freitag
Resident of the City of Centennial, Arapahoe County, Colorado
Comments on Intelligence Gathering and PrivacyDate:
Friday, September 06, 2013 3:42:43 PM
Largely, the revelations of intelligence gathering dynamics within the national security agency were not shocking to most practitioners the information security field (an industry that I am heavily involved). The most concerning problem with monitoring efforts is the inadvertent collection of citizen communications content and the assessment of the content's context. For example in the information security realm (also called cybersecurity by many government officials) it is possible for malware to infect a system on the Internet and either directly transact with other parties or service are proxy for other parties to send data through. Additionally it is possible for emails and other records to be fabricated and sent with headers and formatting that would appear to be from the sending party. Attribution is almost entirely impossible on the Internet and can only be verified with the use of other context gathered in the physical realm. The challenge that I see is that the government must prove that this additional data is reliable enough to make judgments such as where to target investigatory efforts and to support actual prosecution.
The public trust is predicated on our belief that the government and individual parties will not be subjected to unreasonable search and seizure of their information and that this information is not taken out of context to apply prosecution. For example a recent case involving a teenager who may joking comment on Facebook that from an outside party appeared as if he was indicating that he would commit a violent act as school, however this student was only joking and had never intended on actually committing the crime. This is a prime example of how data-gathering can be substantially misread, misinterpreted out of context without actual intent. People can and do say many things but never intend to act on them or plan acting on verbal or electronically transmitted opinions or conjecture.
The steps taken by the NSA to misinterpret section 215 had good intentions from good people that serve our country well, however the premise of a strong democracy is that the people can maintain power of privacy and enforcement actions in the form of judicial review and public scrutiny. No United States government agency should ever be given the authority to singlehandedly disregard the premise of protection that our forefathers had intended to balance the power between individuals and their government. This balance is a critical distinction between authoritarian or kingdoms and countries that rule through democracy and serve as the most important aspect of maintaining a democratic environment with the ability for individuals to have beliefs and verbalize these beliefs in a public forum no matter how controversial. I personally believe that laws that restrict speech even if that speech is considered threatening or undesirable by the many we should have no laws restricting what is said amongst others. Simply saying something does not equate to actually performing an act and reminds me of a movie called "minority report" where a future government is attempting to judge individuals before an actual criminal act is taken place and I for one fear that sort of future because anyone can be capable of a crime but not everyone would ever actually commit one.
The Geek Guy
Author of "The Manager's Guide to Becoming Great"
Kaio Fernandes Alves de MeloSubject:
What is the problem of a free internet?Date:
Friday, September 06, 2013 1:07:03 PM
What is the problem of a free internet?
At least they can provide an act before it happened, never knowing something about people will be healthy or to usual security policy. Internet is too powerful to have any kind of control, because when has other powerful will have. Give us another ten years of free internet and it never will be controlled.
Qual o problema de uma internet livre?
Ao menos que consigam prevê um ato ante de acontecer, nunca saber algo sobre
pessoas será saudável ou usual a critério de segurança. Internet é muito poderosa
para ter qualquer tipo de controle, pois quando tem, outros poderosos passarão a
Dê-nos mais dez anos de internet livre e nunca mais ela será controlada.
-- KAIO INFORMÁTICA
PRIVATE PHONE NUMBER REMOVED
IC On the Record Public CommentDate:
Friday, September 06, 2013 12:58:28 PM
I thought I would make a comment on the NSA and the technologies that are being utilized to protect all Americans from harm. As the sister in law to a detained high value Guantanamo detainee (Abu Zubaydah) and I am a US Born citizen living in Florida. I would like to thank the NSA for ensuring that they are doing what ever it takes to make sure I and my family and all the families in the USA are safe. I am glad that they have the technology to track down horrible people and stop horrific crimes from being happening. If the NSA stops one attack that would have killed just one person then I say let them monitor and store my data. Had they have had this technology pre-9/11 I can almost guarantee it wouldn't have had happened.
Thank you for reading this.
Jody Abu Zubaydah
Palm Bay, FL
Celso A. SticanellaSubject:
Friday, September 06, 2013 6:54:32 AM
Good day, I think you could continue to spy on Brazil yes, but not companies and people but the Brazilian government, which continues to deceive the people by charging absurd taxes and diverting money from public coffers for personal expenses. That would be a help to us we can hold these corrupt people in our government, because the Brazilian justice does not solve, they are arrested and the other day are now loose again. We all Brazilians are indiguinados, hands tied, because we can not do anything while thesethieves in government. We ask your help to improve our country and end corruption Brazilian ...
Thanks for the opportunity ...
PRIVATE PHONE NUMBER REMOVED
Cianorte – PR – Brazil
Comments on illegal spying on US citizensDate:
Friday, September 06, 2013 6:14:54 AM
I would like to make my displeasure at illegal violations of my 4th
amendment rights by rogue elements in the US government. I further request that those responsible be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Remove these criminals from their positions of authority as they have abused the trust of the American people and have violated the very laws that have kept us free.
on behalf of Rich @ VerizonSubject:
Displeased & ConcernedDate:
Friday, September 06, 2013 2:39:37 AM
American's paid a heavy price on 9/11 with significant loss of life. We should not have to continue to pay with the loss of our privacy and freedom - at the hands of our own government.
In a way, our government has let the terrorists win because their response to attacks on our country has been to implement programs and restrictions that significantly change how we as Americans live our lives - and not for the better. Because of attacks on America, we are moving ever closer to a police state and further away from the ideals of liberty this nation was founded on. Our rights and freedoms should not be disregarded or whittled away in order to fight terrorism – or any other crime for that matter. Our elected officials need to start moving this country in the other direction, and stop seeing the Bill of Rights and our laws as impediments to protecting the nation - before it is too late.
We are told the tools and programs used by the U.S. intelligence community are to aid in fighting terrorism and nothing more. However, the potential for future abuse and the probable abuse that is currently taking place, would likely make our founding fathers spin in their graves. Extreme limits need to be placed on the intelligence community and on the way in which the data they collect is used. All data collection should require very specific, narrowly defined warrants for specifically identified individuals. The days of combing through the communications of innocent individuals, caught up in the dragnet approach to data collection must end. Anything not specifically related to a warrant should be destroyed immediately. Anything collected that is not related to the initial warrant should not be admissible in any other criminal case. Also, unrelated data should not be used as the basis for issuing new warrants for any other suspected criminal activity and should not be passed on to, or used by any other government agency because it was not within the scope of the original warrant and therefore should not have been collected in the first place. Further, Congress should have much greater involvement and be given veto power over programs and the means used to obtain data. National security has become to vague a reason to deny the access to information relating to intelligence programs and the tactics/technologies they employ.
Incalculable amounts of data relating to innocent citizens should not be gathered and stockpiled indiscriminately, with the hope that they may yield some nugget of useful information/evidence in the future. The current harvesting of data is akin to strip mining an entire mountain. Coal may be the only purpose for such mining, but what is done in the process and the devastation that is left behind is disgusting. That is what is happening to the American people. We suffer because of this and the reputation and standing of our country, in the eyes of the world, is significantly diminished because of this.
Please take steps to ensure a return to the freedoms and privacy we once knew. Abolish or severely restrict current and future illegal, immoral and surreptitious programs used to scrutinize every aspect of American life, in the name of national security. And please see that corporate America's involvement in these programs is severely restricted too. People already hate financial institutions, airlines, big oil and more. If we are unable to trust the technology industry because of their complicity in government surveillance programs, we'll be nothing more than a nation of suspicious cynics.
Thank you for your consideration.
signing away my internet anonymity foreverDate:
Friday, September 06, 2013 1:15:09 AM
As an American citizen, I feel that the NSA programs revealed in the past three months have violated my Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. It is clear to me that President Obama, Director Clapper, Director Alexander, and various members of our congress do not care about protecting the online privacy of the American people or entrusting us with the knowledge of what is being done to us with our tax dollars. That these leaks had to happen speaks to the outrageous overuse of the claim of national security by your agencies. In short, I no longer believe that congress, American intelligence agencies, or the President care about my constitutional rights. I am left with deep seated feelings of disenfranchisement, distrust, and disgust. I will not be satisfied until high level officials in the NSA are fired, politicians are censured and defeated, and these programs declared unconstitutional. Finally, this website, and the attempts by President Obama, Director Alexander, and Director Clapper to pacify public anger are pathetically transparent. You don't care about our anger. You don't care that you have violated our trust, our rights. You want the problem to go away. We know that you have absolutely no intention of abolishing these unconstitutional spying programs. And thus we are left at an impasse.
Thursday, September 05, 2013 11:45:44 PM
The members of the NSA Review Panel,
I think that if they were specific about what information they were looking for, the public would be able to direct them. How can I help you if I don't know what you're looking for. I think at this point that the only hope of survival for the NSA (and ultimately keeping peace) is for full disclosure. I respect the laughs from Washington when I say that. I understand the reality of the clique "full disclosure." I can only hope that the true purpose of the panel is undoubtedly believed by all of its members.
A Concerned Citizen,- Daniel Strickland
Thursday, September 05, 2013 11:07:26 PM
Why write a lengthy response when you can break into my online accounts anyway and see for yourself? R.I.P. 4th amendment.
Thoughts on SurveillanceDate:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 11:02:36 PM
I'll try to keep this as short as possible because I'm sure you're being flooded with comments right now.
Reasonable precautions for terrorism are necessary, but we must also accept the fact that we will never be able to stop 100% of terrorist attacks. That said, looking at the average death rate for Americans due to terrorism compared to other common causes shows how far we have overreacted to the tragic events of 12 years ago. For instance, eight times as many Americans are killed by police officers as terrorists every year. For every one American killed by a terrorist, over 17,000 die of heart disease and 12,000 of cancer. I believe our financial and human resources should more accurately reflect this disparity.
Thank you for your time,
- Joseph Huegerich
Public Comments on OversightDate:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 9:38:26 PM
To: The Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies,
Apparently government bureaucrats and politicians have grown so removed from the citizens of the United States that simple common sense no longer applies. Let me try to make a few things clear:
1. Email is the electronic equivalent of U.S. Postal Mail. If a government agency wants to read my U.S. Postal mail, I am fairly certain that a legal warrant would be required. Why is it in your skewed logic that email is so different? Just because it is technically convenient to spy on citizen's email does not excuse the gross violation of privacy and civil liberties that you regularly practice in capturing, scanning and storing our email. A legal warrant issued by a real court, with real accountability to the public, should be required for EACH person's email that the government would like to search. Not millions of citizens for each warrant, and not issued by an unaccountable secret court (FISA Court).
2. All my other internet activity is the 21st Century equivalent of living my daily life. For instance instead of walking down the street to a store, I purchase items online. Instead of reading a physical newspaper, I read news online. Instead of walking to my bank I do online banking. This is ALL private activity that should not be subjected to government overview or surveillance of any kind without a legal warrant that specifically calls out my name. Not a blanket warrant by secret, unaccountable courts that cover millions of Americans at a time.
3. My phone conversations are as sacred as a private conversation I have with my wife in the privacy of our bedroom. Want to know what I'm saying? Get a warrant that calls out my name specifically.
4. I'm not afraid of the big bad terrorists that might use technology to hatch a plan. However you guys scare the Hell out of me. If a few plots go undetected, but the civil liberties of the American people are protected, that's the price of true freedom. However, giving up the right to privacy and freedom from being spied upon by my government is totally unacceptable. Have you guys even read the constitution? I know you have some fancy lawyers who can cook up some kind of crazy theory as to why this is all legal and above board, but do you REALLY believe that crap? Do the activities that the intelligence community have been revealed to practice represent the kind of United States of America that you believe in? Not me! It sounds like East Germany, the old Soviet Union or North Korea! What the Hell has happened that has brought us to this point?
5. Stop all the lying and distorting of the truth and come clean. When we look at public testimony about how careful and targeted your practices are and how they protect our rights, it all sounds so safe and legal. Then when the next day's news reveals that everything that was said in testimony is a gross distortion of the truth or outright lies, it brings shame on you, our leaders and our whole country.
6. Stop using the "Secrecy" excuse for riding roughshod on the Constitution and the American people. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, "Secrecy is the last refuge of the scoundrel." Yes, if you reveal everything, the enemy will know a bit about how we know what we know. But isn't that better than living in a society where a privileged few tell us that there are secrets too precious to tell us about, but they need to take away all our hard fought rights to protect us against the "enemy". They tell us to trust them to do the right thing and don't ask too many questions. How many times has that worked out well in the history of the world? NONE!
7. To summarize, the intelligence community has gone badly off course and in the name of protecting the people is actually stripping away the core of our democracy. We must return to government responsive and accountable to the people. The Orwellian Big Brother government that you have created must stop now. I'd much rather be at risk of attack from a few radicals, than subvert our whole way of life and democracy in the name of "protecting us against evil." If you don't see the evil in what you are doing, then we are in deep trouble as a country.
Public comment on your reviewDate:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 7:24:32 PM
The radical advance of technology that has enabled the NSA's activities requires equally radical consideration of alternative ways to keep the USA safe.
Leandro de Souza RodriguêsSubject:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 7:08:43 PM
I did not want to be in the situation you are. You have reached the wrong people ... No
Too much powerDate:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 5:01:17 PM
The NSA's spying operation on Americans has emerged as a powerful, indiscriminate weapon that will eventually be used for any purpose, not just terrorism or keeping Americans safe. The spying operation is against the spirit of the Bill of Rights and in my opinion is illegal--whether there is a specific law that covers it or not. It is disturbing that the NSA director got in front of the Senate, swore to tell the whole truth, and in all likelihood perjured himself. I don't understand how he is not in jail or if he was unaware of the data collection operation, why was he not relieved of his post? The data collection weapon is just too powerful for only a handful of people to have access to. The secret courts, telling people you must compromise your integrity and cooperate with us or go to jail, elimination of due process. All of this is just crazyness.
Here's a really crazy thought; throw all that data sitting in the NSA data centers out to the public. Let everyone have unrestricted access to it. That way at least you'd be saying the web is a public space and lots of good could come from all that data instead of it just being used to catch, what you call, "the bad guys."
Feedback for Review PanelDate:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 4:54:28 PM
You have "reminded submitters that anything submitted would become part of the official record of the group".
Let me remind you that the reason the group exists is because every email I send - every one - is part of the official record of the NSA. Think about that. You warned us that participating in this discussion would be on the record, naively overlooking the fact that everything any of us do online is "on the record".
Everything I do.
Everything you do.
It's on the NSA's record AND WE WERE NOT WARNED. Do you, whoever you are, realize that this is the problem? And that the solution isn't doing too little, too late? Do you have the vaguest conception of how absolutely impossible it is that you could regain our trust without massive - and I mean horrifically wide sweeping - changes to the way our intelligence agencies operate?
Even then, how could we ever know for sure? Why would we be motivated to believe you?
In summation, I suggest you change nothing, because nobody would believe it if you did.
Cynical Citizen of the USA
Invasion of PrivacyDate:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 4:49:43 PM
To whom it may concern,
Even as I am typing this email, I have the eerie feeling that you are reading the words as they are typed out. The simple fact that you destroyed the sense of privacy for so many Americans is disturbing. While I have nothing to hide, I have no reason to be searched either as per my 4th amendment rights. And yes, I do believe that the cyber information you collect on Americans is an unreasonable search. I have done no wrong nor do I plan to do any wrong. We survived as a country without this scale of privacy invasion for hundreds of years. There is no need for you to know each and every minor detail that is going on in my life. I respectfully ask that you stop reading my email, posts, threads, blogs, ideas, etc. unless you are invited to. Thank you
-CONCERNED CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A concerned citizen regarding the NSADate:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 4:43:01 PM
I'm quite upset about what the NSA and federal government have been doing regarding my rights as a citizen as of late. What the NSA is doing is not constitutional or morally right. I can understand the need for a level of domestic spying but the NSA is out of control. The rules and regulations currently in place regarding their domestic spying are poor and lacking in many ares, allowing those in charge a lot of potential to abuse their power and silence any threats to that power. Furthermore I find it absurd that the government has been ignoring the constitution during all of this, favoring "security" over citizens freedoms. This kind of unjustified and uncontrolled surveillance only provides security to those in power instead of the citizens they are supposed to protect. How am I supposed to help change the nation or diverge from the status quo if I'm constantly being judged and watched by the government on everything I do? I can't without fear of being prosecuted for challenging the power and authority of the central government, which isn't illegal and what I'm expected to do as an American. Not only that but most of the information grabbed by the NSA is distributed to non-surveillance departments without my knowing or even a warrant. I shouldn't have to think about what I say in a text message or think about what I buy or where I go with the thoughts that someone else is watching over my shoulder and judging me about it before I can even make a case for my self in this country. It doesn't help ease my nerves when the people who sift through that information spy on their own exes, how am I supposed to trust what the NSA is doing if their own employees can't respect the average citizen's right to privacy and protection from abuse? I can't. The NSA needs a big limit in their power over how they can gain access to my information. They need a warrant signed by a judge after providing enough information to suggest that I am indeed a threat to national security before they can be allowed to bribe my phone providers into giving them all of my text messages, calls, facebook posts, emails, etc. That information is mine and cannot be ruffled through whenever the NSA pleases. Its illegal to go through a neighbor's mailbox and copy down whatever information you find in there right? Well the NSA is doing the same thing with my digital emails and messages. My 4th amendment right comes first above all else and the president, and the NSA need to get their act together and stop this silly and un-American domestic surveillance.
NSA Spying on Internet Users...Date:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 4:32:06 PM
I'm sure many years ago when the NSA was setup, it was designed to protect Americans from external attacks. It was likely to have had very high moral and ethical standards and employees would feel proud to be taking part in such a noble task.
It is unfortunate that over the years, it has become the very beast that it set out to fight. It has become the terrorist, threatening American (and global) liberty. It now causes people to fear what they say in case they end up on watch lists or are detained by Airport security for hours on end with what seems like no other purpose other than intimidation of them and their relatives.
I feel that it is time the NSA re-evaluated it's mission and looked at how it could once again begin to act morally and ethically to protect freedom. To protect privacy and anonymity of everyday people who just wish for a bit of privacy.
If there is a genuine fear of terrorism by the NSA, then I believe it has grown out of proportion to the actual threat and that also needs to be re-evaluated. Imagine if some time in the near future, people could look to an organisation such as the NSA and say how good they were at conducting operations protecting the people without abusing the privacy of those they seek to protect.
This of course depends on whether or not my original assumption that the NSA was set up to conduct noble work and not just a dark nightmarish creature used to enforce the will of an increasingly totalitarian regime.
Thursday, September 05, 2013 4:17:15 PM
How about a full evaluation of the "patriot act"? Many people including myself want it repealed. It was passed after 9/11 when everyone was in an emotional hysteria and our lawmakers forgot to balance civil liberties with the need to update our security apparatus. Many of the 4th amendment laws described in the patriot act are being abused by local police and state officials for drug crimes and petty crimes. My understanding is that these laws were supposed to be explicitly used for terrorists. Unfortunately many other elements of our legal system most notably the criminal justice system have been adversely affected by the over reaching and broadly defined patriot act. Instead of updating the law to truly protect us from foreign terrorists, the law has been corrupted to make the average us citizen very wary and distrustful of the government. Lastly there is no need for the government to collect troves of electronic data on the average American citizen. We have seen with the NSA data collection revelations that indeed the patriot act has gone too far and must re evaluated.
Sent from my iPhone
Thursday, September 05, 2013 4:15:11 PM
The government frequently collects information for a said purpose, but uses it for other purposes as well. Evidently, this has already happened with the NSA collected data. I fear it will become something used by future governments for nefarious purposes against political opponents.
This kind of collection of data on innocent citizens must stop!
Thursday, September 05, 2013 3:52:53 PM
although I see a need for nsa to be here for the u.s.a. I see no need for them/us to gather and invade innocent citizens. all the lies and deceit,doing things like this behind our backs is way over the top. every one in govt/nsa is so paranoid that all kinds of things are going on or going to happen,that I feel now that your just trying to instill fear in us/citizens of the u.s. so much money is wasted by you ,the nsa, it`s unbelievable. I have lots more to say on this but I doubt very much you will even read this.
citizenPRIVATE PHONE NUMBER REMOVED
Stop Spying on AmericansDate:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 3:26:53 PM
The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution forbids searches and seizures without due cause and the issuance of a warrant. Ever since the Snowden release we have found more and more troubling information about the scope and depth of NSA spying on American citizens. When confronted by sordid allegation after sordid allegation, the NSA has lied and obfuscated about its programs and their intent. It is claimed that there is oversight by US courts and Congress. Now we find that the FISA court found that your activities were unconstitutional. No problem, the US government simply classified that ruling secret and the NSA continues its illegal searches. Further, oversight attempts by Congress are met with outright lies and distortions. Where then is the oversight?
Beyond that, however, is the fact that attention focused on American citizens necessarily means fewer resources available to find real terrorists. The intelligence community missed the end of the USSR, the Iraq invasion of Kuwait, and 9/11. We don't know now what is happening inside Iran, Russia, Syria, or Saudi Arabia... So what do you do? You focus your resources once again on the low hanging fruit that is the American public. Disgraceful... AND doomed to fail in the long-term goal of protecting the homeland. It does not matter how much money, technology and human resources we devote to the search if the search is not focused on the actual threat. And that threat IS NOT US!
The continuing actions of the US intelligence community to spy on Americans are illegal and not likely to protect us in the long run. Thus these actions are beneath contempt. Stop it immediately.
Thiago Onofre souzaSubject:
Programas de espionagem, minha opinião, By: Thiago onofreDate:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 3:14:38 PM
SÃO PAULO, 05 DE SETEMBRO DE 2013.
Boa tarde, sou Thiago Onofre souza, solteiro, tenho 21 anos, domiciliado no Estado
de São Paulo-Brasil.
Venho através deste e-mail expressar minha opinião acerca do tema que passou a
ter grande repercussão no meu país e no mundo. Diante do que está disposto no
texto da Lei Maior do Brasil(Constituição Federal 1988), no artigo 4., IX, que diz: "
Art. 4. A república Federativa do Brasil rege-se nas suas relações internacionais
pelos seguintes princípios: IX - cooperação entre os povos para o progresso da
Vejo então que os governos poderiam entrar em um acordo, FAZENDO JUS a este
princípio,para melhoria em todos os sentidos inclusive neste caso "IN" especifico.
Também de outra forma desde que mantenha o sigilo e a guarda da imagem, como
por exemplo em uma investigação onde uma testemunha ao ser ouvida, por motivos
de direitos, requer total sigilo e proteção a sua pessoa, tutela essa que esta a sua
disposição. Tendo em vista que esse é somente um lado de tudo que tem por de
trás desse tema.
E se tratando ainda do mesmo assunto e de forma bem abrangente e sem entrar
muito em todos os méritos do tema, OBEDECENDO AS REGRAS CONTIDAS NO
NOSSO ORDENAMENTO JURÍDICO, a Magna Carta dispõe também no Art. 5., X
(fundamentando então oque foi dito ao finalzinho anteriormente sobre o sigilo,
proteção a imagem da pessoa, questões até do âmbito no que diz respeito a
segurança), que diz: " Art. 5. X - São invioláveis a intimidade, a vida privada, a
honra e a imagem das pessoas, assegurada o direito a indenização pelo dano
material ou moral decorrente de sua violação; " , Por fim, se houve ou não
espionagem e se continuado tendo na hipótese de ter havido a espionagem em si,
se obedeceram e houve o devido respeito a todo cidadão de nosso país, concordo
então, se essa for a melhor opção, que entre governos, deveria ser ajustada, para
inibir eventuais conflitos. Tudo seja em nome do maior bem tutelado que é a VIDA
da humanidade e como em nossa Bandeira está escrito e intrinsecamente esta
ligado com o bem maior tutelado hoje, O Progresso.
Agradeço ao programa que disponibilizou a nós cidadãos, a formação de nossa
convicção sobre o tema.
Muito obrigado e meus Cumprimentos ao Sr.Obama. (Espero ainda em poder
Faço meus votos ainda que lutem pela paz mundial e como desfecho fica ai uma
frase que carrego na memoria, de um querido Professor, O Prof. Adolfo Vasconcelos
Noronha que disse "APRENDA A AMAR A JUSTIÇA PRA SABER LUTAR CONTRA A
THIAGO ONOFRE SOUZA,
programas de espionagem.
Enviado via iPad
SÃO PAULO , 05 SEPTEMBER 2013 .
Good afternoon , I'm Thiago Onofre souza , single , I'm 21 years old, domiciled in
São Paulo - Brazil .
I've been through this e- mail expressing my opinion on the subject which now has great impact on my country and the world . Given what is provided in the text of Brazil's Largest Law ( Constitution 1988) , Article 4 . , IX , which says : "Section 4 . The Federative Republic of Brazil is governed in its international relations by the following principles : IX - cooperation among peoples for the progress of humanity ; " .
Then I see that governments could enter into an agreement , JUS DOING to this principle , for improvement in every way including this case " IN" specific .
Also otherwise provided you keep secrecy and image , such as in an investigation where a witness to be heard , for reasons of rights requires complete secrecy and protection of his person , that such protection at his disposal . Considering that this is only one side of all that is behind this theme .
And if still dealing with the same subject in a very comprehensive and without going too far into all the merits of the issue, Obeying RULES CONTAINED IN OUR LEGAL SYSTEM , the Magna Carta also provides in Article 5 . , X ( basing What do then was told to the very end before about the secrecy , protection a person's image , the scope of issues to regarding security ) , which says : "Section 5 . X - are inviolable intimacy , private life , honor and image of persons , secured the right to compensation for property or moral damages resulting from the violation ; " Finally , whether or not spy and continued with the hypothesis have been spying on you , and there is obeyed due respect to every citizen of our country , then I agree , if this is the best option , which among governments , should be adjusted to inhibit conflicts . Everything is for the greater good that is LIFE ward of humanity and how it is written in our flag and this intrinsically linked with the greater good tutored today 's Progress .
I thank the program that provided the U.S. citizens , the formation of our belief on the subject .
Many thanks and my compliments to Sr.Obama . ( I also hope to be able to know it)
I make my vows even fight for world peace and as a outcome there is a phrase that I carry in memory of a beloved teacher, Professor . Adolfo Vasconcelos Noronha said that " LEARN TO LOVE JUSTICE PRA KNOW FIGHT against arbitrariness "
THIAGO ONOFRE SOUZA ,
spying programs .
Posted via iPad
João Paulo Dos SantosSubject:
Ferramentas de EspionagemDate:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 3:03:02 PM
Bem, no meu ponto de vista, tais aplicações para esses fins, deveriam estar mais às claras
para os chefes de estado, pois ninguém se contenta em saber que está sendo espionado,
isso vai de um cidadão comun até um chefe de estado, com um certo grau de
confidencialidade, só pessoas de extrema confiança, deveriam ter noção de tais manobras
do governo Americano, incluindo os chefes de estado que preventivamente deveriam ser
avisados antes do ocorrido, se tratando do mesmos que estejam de acordo e convicto que
tais manobras asseguram a segurança da população mundial, sem usar contra os
respectivos países à serem monitorados. Não escrevo muito bem, mas esse trecho mostra
o meu ponto de vista um pouco resumido quanto à utilização da espionagem para fins
pacíficos, grato pela atenção.
João Paulo dos Santos
Ténico em atendimentoPRIVATE PHONE NUMBER REMOVED
It"s not worth this.Date:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 2:33:30 PM
To put it simply: This isn't worth it. Please end it.
Thursday, September 05, 2013 2:12:35 PM
The whole PRISM operation is amazing to me honestly. I want to commend them for the scale of the operation & how well put together it was. It makes me wish I could have taken part in it...
Thursday, September 05, 2013 1:46:39 PM
Deve ser Espionada apenas pessoas que tenham suspeita com crimes e terrorismo,
e nações que tenham essas características, fora isso não há necessidade do ato de
espionagem, tornando assim algo inaceitável em um mundo democrático e livre.
Ass: Maciel Carvalho
Açailândia - Ma, Brazil
NSA Data CollectionDate:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 1:42:38 PM
To The Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies,
My name is Scott Nutting. I have a degree in political science and I work in the financial software industry. Even though I reside in Maine, many of my day-to-day activities take place on the internet, so in many ways, I live online.
Until recently, I had assumed that as an American citizen, my online activities were protected by the same Bill of Rights as my other activities. The intelligence collecting programs that have been exposed by leaked documents and investigative journalism are evidence that the the federal government, specifically the National Security Agency, is operating under different assumptions.
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified long before anyone could imagine that we would store and transmit our effects, papers, and even persons digitally through ubiquitous internet services such as email, text messages and cloud storage. However, it should not take a Supreme Court ruling to clarify that the Fourth Amendment protects our security in these things against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Whether or not they are even accessed directly, the wholesale collection of citizens' private and personal data for later access by the U.S. Government is an unlawful violation of the U.S. Constitution. I am gravely worried that if the data collected in this effort is not yet being abused by individuals or entire government agencies, it is only a matter of time before it is.
Please do everything in your power to shut down any programs which violate our right to be secure in our persons, houses, papers and effects, even if they are stored and sent over the internet.
Comment on NSA Collection of DataDate:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 1:35:38 PM
To Whom It May Concern,
I would like to weigh in on Review Group on Global Signals Intelligence Collection and Communications Technologies. In short, I believe the NSA and other government agencies are vastly over-reaching.
New laws, new transparency, and new oversight must be put into place or else risk compromising the fundamental underpinnings of our democracy.
Liberty in communications is a fundamental human right articulated in various ways within our Constitution. The 1st amendment protects my freedom of speech. Is my speech really free when the government is collecting it all and could use it against me in the future? I think not -- it fundamentally restricts my liberty in what I am willing to say. Similarly, the 4th amendment protects my liberty to not be arbitrarily being searched. What is collecting everything on the internet that I say, expect an arbitrary search?
Fundamentally, I don't think the government can be trusted to "collect everything" and "only look when they have to." The temptation is too great to abuse this power. We've seen it repeated in just the leaked documents. The constitution set up separation of powers to ward against government overreaches such as this. I propose three steps that must be taken to protect our liberty:
1) New Laws -- Clearly and with public debate we must hash out what can be collected and what cannot.
2) New Transparency -- There must be a meaningful public view into what these programs do. Number of intercepts and warrants and a meaningful audit process would be a good right step in this direction.
3) New Oversight: A rubber-stamp, secret FISA court and a small group of members of congress does not constitute real oversight. There must be a more open group that actually says no and reigns in overreaches. There must be real consequences to breaking the law.
In conclusion, our liberty to speak is under threat and we need significant change now. Without free and public speech, every other human right is threatened.
Mr Jay Willis
Thursday, September 05, 2013 1:32:24 PM
I'm from the UK and just want to way in on this argument; I understand you want to save lives, I understand terrorism is a real modern-day threat, I understand that spying illegally on most, if not all of the USA's citizens, and those outside of your jurisdiction in other country's gives you a wonderful tool to prevent the evil that we see every day. But what you are doing, what you will inevitably continue to do, even if it becomes illegal, is wrong. You are abusing your power to create possibly the most coherent and terrifying library of information about peoples lives that will inevitably be used for bad purposes. Every new technology brings with it a chance for misuse (an obvious technology comes to mind: the atomic bomb) most of these technology's are necessary for our continued understanding of the universe. The PRISM program and it's counterparts are not. As much as you may believe or have been told, these programs are not necessary and certainly do not provide any meaningful benefit to our society.
I plead with you; do not continue these broad spying programs that remove civil liberties and endanger innocent peoples lives, or you will inevitably pay the price.
Thursday, September 05, 2013 1:11:19 PM
This is just a brief note to remind you all that transparency with the public and the judicial system is founded upon. The recent NSA programs that have come to light lack both transparency and a judicial system. Checks and balances are the only things that keep this country together. Politicians who are lobbied back and forth, bought and sold, will never stand for what the people want.
But you have the opportunity to change this.
Set up a proper system to check and balance the NSA. No more rubber stamp courts, no more "just doing" things behind classified clearance levels.
You don't need to tell the public everything, but this level of secrecy is completely unacceptable.
Thanks for your time.
CIT Project Coordinator
Reyburn, Andrew WSubject:
Suggestions for improvementDate:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 1:00:19 PM
Dear Review Group on Global Signals Intelligence Collection and Communications Technologies,
As a member of Mensa (the world’s most famous high IQ society), I hereby express my opinion as a member of America’s largest highly gifted intellectual group. I strongly encourage the following to be changed with the NSA to promote civil liberties while still protecting our nation:
- Encrypt absolutely all data on every machine with either blowfish 256 bit or serpent 256 bit algorithms with a whirlpool hash algorithm with passwords of at least 20 characters in length. This will protect both data at the NSA from falling into the hands of hackers but also prevent unauthorized access to the data.
- All types of data that is collected must be open to the public. For example, if meta data for phone calls and file attachments from emails were collected, that data and those statistics must be disclosed for the public to see what exactly is being collected. In addition, data pertaining to websites, email servers, port numbers, and other technical information related to what and how the NSA collects data must be open for the public to see. There must be no exceptions of any kind for this protocol to work effectively. This ensures transparency and restores our trust in the federal government.
- Limit the scope of the NSA’s ability to use secret intelligence court orders and to prevent the NSA from using gag orders. Statistics relating to all court orders and related materials should be published at least once a year.
- The NSA should not be allowed to give out data to any other foreign government in the world, including America’s allies.
- The NSA should not be allowed to collect or intercept data or calls with a point of origin in other countries. This infringes upon the rights of the citizens living in other countries that protect their civilian’s privacy more than the US does. Data may only be intercepted or recording from points of origin within the US. Spying on foreign countries that are not an imamate threat to the US is unacceptable. Recent NSA leaked documents showed data was collected from our European allies. The NSA needs to respect the stricter privacy laws of Europe and should not collect their data.
- Reduce the budget of the NSA and prevent “black funds” from ever going to the NSA. Money distribution within the NSA should be available for the public to see what is being spent on what projects. The NSA has too much power as it is and a budget cut will help limit their powers to only what they should have.
- All data over 3 years old should be automatically deleted. This will save hard drive space and protect consumer privacy.
- Data collected by the NSA may not be used as evidence or reason for a court order to arrest or investigate anyone. Ever. Data from the NSA may only be used in a court case once the suspected criminal has been arrested on charges not related to any telecommunication information collected by the NSA.
- The NSA should hold press conferences at least twice a year to answer any questions the public may have on the practices and effectiveness of the NSA.
- Lastly, the NSA should have a mission statement of “do no evil.” Evil would include the abuse of power and the obsessive collection of information from lawful American civilians. Currently the public image of the NSA is that it’s a corrupt government organization that abuses its power and doesn’t respect the privacy of civilians and international law.
Thank you for taking these recommendations into strong consideration. I hope one day the federal government will earn back the trust of the American people. The only way to do this is to be good, honest, transparent, and to prove that the NSA is not corrupt.
Member of American Mensa
Thursday, September 05, 2013 12:39:51 PM
Querem saber o que acontece no mundo?Comecem pelo Continente Africano, lá tem milhões de criançasmorrendo de fome, guerras desiguais, usem suas técnicas de espionage para algo que realmente vale a pena no mundo. Acabar com a fome, a desigualdade, a pobreza e a curado câncer e da aids. o Mundo agradeceria atenciosamente José Carlos
on behalf of Scott Sandland C.Ht.Subject:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 12:39:16 PM
The internet is one of the most important developments in the history of humanity.
Our species is defined by our ability to teach and learn more effectively than anything else we've ever encountered. As frail as we are, we run a planet and are extending beyond its limitations because of our ability to ask questions and discover the answers.
The internet is the embodiment of this ability. At its best, it could create a more educated and connected world. It could dramatically reduce ignorance, fear, and hate worldwide. It could empower the next great innovators and inventors for generations to come.
The decisions that are made now about security and surveillance are important and complex. We can't be naive about what is happening or what needs to be done.
However, we also can't let fear keep us from exploring our greatest accomplishment that has already changed the course of human events. Even now, in its infancy, the internet is one of the most powerful tools ever invented.
What you decide will have a profound impact on the next generation of inventors, engineers, innovators, and artists. What you decide will have an impact on the direction of our country and the US governments relationship with its own citizens and other sovereign nations.
Please don't derail this great advancement in the education of our planet.
Thank you for taking the time to read this,
Scott Sandland, C.Ht.
Goal Oriented Hypnotherapy
260 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach,CA 92660
The NSA scares me and makes me not want to talk.Date:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 12:38:39 PM
The more revelations come to light about the NSA the more I pull away from modern technology. When I think about every sentence I want to write down, every joke with a friend, every personal interaction, fear, experience ... everything.
I now find myself passing it through the "would I ever want this thing to come up in a court of law" filter to be used as evidence against my character. And the answer ... has mostly been no. So I've ceased using any type of social media.... I don't communicate to my friends the way I would if we were allowed to be candid without the NSA eavesdropping .... I don't feel free anymore.
And I don't think that's what people were looking for on this soil. It's not a foregone conclusion that we as a society should no longer have privacy (as I've heard many a businessman and politician espouse) --- we all deserve privacy.
Stop this. It isn't right.
Of Papers and EffectsDate:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 12:19:11 PM
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
The contents of my Internet traffic (my effective digital "papers and effects") are my own; private between me and the intended recipient, and recent actions taken by both the NSA and the DEA violate the security promised by the Fourth Amendment. This isn't the movies - it is not OK for these agencies to have such limitless and unchecked ability to search and seize the private contents of domestic email and other telecommunications.
Thursday, September 05, 2013 12:18:49 PM
I am very appreciative that you would accept email feedback on this. The most concerning aspect of this to me is the shift of efforts and resources increasingly to collect and track information about my personal communications as an American citizen.
The understanding is that American has always used its spying capabilities externally on the rest of the world to protect its interests, it is shocking that these technologies have been and are increasingly being deployed domestically.
Mass bulk data collection, data mining, drones are great tools to be used abroad, but when did these tools become fair game on American soil against the American public?
The distinction of whether or not collected data is considered to be spying/wiretapping until it has been looked at or listened to by a human is just symantec play. It should never have started happening period.
You should only be collecting and analyzing international traffic, and when domestic needs arise you should be able to get the court approval to cover those needs as they arise.
At what point is enough enough for you? The end justifies the means?
Why would benjamin franklin say:"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neitherliberty nor safety."
Please think of the long term ramifications of the decisions you are making. I hope and pray that America will stick to its values long into the future and be a beacon of freedom in the world, an example of what other nations wish they could be.
I am deeply grateful for this review process. I hope that a clear path that protects
America while respecting our freedom is found.
Nathan K. Rinzema
Thursday, September 05, 2013 12:00:18 PM
Um desrespeito, falta de dignidade, PRIVACIDADE!
Hi Big Brother!Date:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 11:55:58 AM
Can you look through your records and see where I left my sunglasses? I can't seem to find anywhere.
Thursday, September 05, 2013 10:48:37 AM
We all have a digital trail and that will grow exponentially in the next few years.
*Google and Facebook etc are spying on everyone. They should be limited too.
*Any information collect on any individual should expire with a 3 months period of time.
*People who get their record checked or surveyed must be able to check who checked on them and when.
*Anytime info is checked it should be noted on that person's file who did it and why. This information should be there just in case it ever becomes necessary for the surveyed person.
*Unified online ID.
NSA spying is wrong and unconstitutionalDate:
Thursday, September 05, 2013 10:42:47 AM
Richard Nixon was impeached for a FRACTION of what has been revealed. Need I say more? Barack Obama is NOT above the constitution, no one is. Spying in the name of security is not justification, it's an excuse to break the law.