Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for July 2nd, 2013

Toldja so

Posted by Charles II on July 2, 2013

It was controversial a month ago when I said that the USG was wiretapping everyone. David Simon was saying that all that the NSA was doing was the equivalent of a pen trace. Just the “metadata.”

Via Digby, NYT’s Scott Shane and David Sanger:

The documents show that America’s phone and Internet companies grew leery of N.S.A. demands as the years passed after 9/11, fearing that customers might be angry to find out their records were shared with the government. More and more, the companies’ lawyers insisted on legal orders to compel them to comply.

So the N.S.A. came up with a solution: store the data itself. That is evidently what gave birth to a vast data storage center that the N.S.A. is building in Utah, exploiting the declining cost of storage and the advance of sophisticated search software.

But just as scary is what can be done with the metadata alone. Especially in densely populated areas, cell phone towers are so close together, you can reconstruct exactly what a person did. German parliamentarian Malte Spitz requisitioned his phone records from the telephone company and created a map of what the metadata showed. Apparently it works even when the GPS is off.

You can see the results as he travels from Berlin to Erlangen and then Munich (and apparently flies back) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1EKvWot-3c

More information from Die Zeit (in English) here.

So… why haven’t we been seeing this on ABC/NBC/CBS?

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Posted in NSA eavesdropping, wiretapping | 2 Comments »

Right-Wingers Worship “KGB Vlad” Putin

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 2, 2013

Seriously, they do. Steve over at No More Mister Nice Blog went spelunking in the bowels of the right-wing site Free Republic and pulled up examples thereof:

I see Freepers celebrating [the Russian police manhandling undocumented workers], and I see Russia passing a severely restrictive anti-gay law that forbids even discussing homosexuality in a positive light, and I see Russia thumbing its nose at the White House by refusing to extradite Edward Snowden (whose attacks on Obama are greatly enjoyed by much of the right), and I see Russia backing Assad in Syria (against rebels the U.S. right regards as universally jihadist, not to mention pals of the hated Obama and the despised RINO John McCain) …

… and I wonder at what point the wingers are going to start seeing Russia as a sort of paradise, a bastion of virtue in a sea of socialism, effeminacy, and environmentalism (did I mention Russia’s status as an unabashed petro-state, and its utter disdain for greenness?).

Oh, and I almost forgot Russia’s flat tax, which led Gerard Depardieu to give up his French citizenship, to the delight of the right.

Rudy Giuliani — who knows a thing or two about authoritarianism — seems ready to take the Putin plunge…

Considering that the Koch brothers would be gas station attendants if not for Joe Stalin’s making their daddy Fred a very rich man, it seems rather ironic.

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