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.”
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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