This is seeming closer to it,

From TalkLeft, on the current spying unpleasantness:

These are not phone numbers we’re talking about…These are IP addresses, email addresses.

A system is in place that basically filters on certain triggers (text, phoneme, etc.) within Internet “conversations.” This is “detection” or at least it’s tortured definition that was placed in this idiot Bush’s mind. “Monitoring” would be recording an entire conversation, like in a phone conversation.

That system then collects information on those conversations including…ta da…source and destination IP addresses. Those IP addresses can then be stored for further investigation on other “conversations.”

E.g., I start an email thread with a friend in France. I mention Al Qaeda. My conversation is “detected” and my info is stored. The system then segments my address into another system and starts a deeper “detection” on any further “conversations” for further triggers. Hence, the system could still be said to be in the detecting mode, not monitoring.

(And, of course, definitely read the whole thing.)

It’s starting to seem that the program behind the scenes is something like Echelon, as we know it, but with greater (or smarter) filtering capabilities. And maybe it checks your ‘IP Daily,’ if that’s not a huge stretch for an obvious joke.

[Dear Seb, how are things in Deutschla…yeek! (cancel message)]

Extra linkage: PGP, the webgeek e-encryption guys. PGP (= ‘pretty good privacy’), their downloadable encryption stuff, is poison to e-snoopers.


Comments: 13


I’m almost positive that it checks IP Frequently. Fortunately, it’s a non-invasive process, so it doesn’t ckeck IP painfully.


Time to fight back! The “IP Freely” campaign starts here….


I hate to think how many times I’ve used trigger words since “9/11” (oops, there goes another one!)

Plus, I’m pretty sure that saying Bush deserves to be slow roasted in Hell got some notice (*waves* Hi FBI/CIA! Nothing to see here!)

Oh well, now that I live in Scotland – (whoops! I guess that makes me a foreign threat!)

Bonus points for being a pagan!

Geez, I just can’t win…If I stop posting abruptly it just means I’ve been grabbed off the street for an all
expenses paid vacation to a secret European torture facility!


I recall George Will on “This Weak” (‘way back when it still had Brinkley hosting it) in the 1980s talking about how the Soviets had some sort of massive listening program. Conservatives (I thought he was joking) would destroy it by all being on the telephone at an appointed moment and simultaneously saying “stealth bomber”.

This sounds vaguely similar, ‘cept using “The Internets”.


If I may, I checked out the article and it’s not convincing. I mean, sure, there may be email monitoring or IP traffic snooping, but that’s not particularly revolutionary or unusual. And tracking that kind of stuff, assuming you have the computer resources of the NSA, is trivial.

I believe the technical aspects are either related to doing the same large scale automated monitoring of voice conversations (much, much, much harder to do with any kind of accuracy that would be useful), or something not directly related to the wiretaps. And I think it’s actually more likely the second.

Remember TIA, the program John Poindexter was backing to get lots of personal information from more or less everyone an do data mining on it to try and find patterns for terrorists? I think despite having gotten killed publically, it’s been continued secretly. I think the wiretaps have been used to do checking on the validity of the model and assumptions used in the data mining. If you turn up patterns that you think might be indicative of particular behavioral or character traits, wiretaps might give you some indication of how accurate the assumptions you made are.

So, the wiretaps are kind of incidental, a quality control measure. The thing you really should be worrying about is a secretive government agency warehousing exobytes of data about everyone, and monitoring every trackable thing that you do.

Just a thought.


I mention elsewhere today, but it bears repeating: I saw Poindexter speak, and he said *outright* TIA hadn’t been totally killed, but that large swaths of it had just been moved to the “classified” side of the budget. It’s alive and well(except for the privacy-protecting part, which was killed), just without the pesky oversight and bad press it had before.


The Eschelon article is merely factual. Those capabilities pre-existed the W. Bush presidency, although they were rigidly directed against non-US-citizens.


Whoa – sounds like it’s time to clear my browser cache before the feds find out I’ve been to, then.


I wonder if some of those “trigger words” for which they were trawling were “Texas Air National Guard”


Use of the above joke has been officially Approved for use under the existing circumstances.

Federal Humor Usage Approval Board


I remember a couple of years ago when someone proposed a ‘Confuse-an-Echelon’ day where millions of geeks would send out lots of emails containing keywords like Osama, Al Quaeda, terrorist, World Trade Center, bomb, nuclear device, etc. and hopefully swamp the surveillance system.

It sounds like fun! C’mon, we should do it.


If you use words like “terrorist” or “bomb” does an air marshall come out of your bathroom and plug you full of lead? Just wondering…


I wonder if using PGP atoumatically flags you for further tracking?
As we all know, the only people who don’t want their email read by the NSA are terrorists. Damn, now I’m probably flagged.


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