According to a report published on WSJ.com just before midnight yesterday, the NSA has the capacity to develop the universes biggest collection of internet porn and cute cat pictures. If that was what they were using it for objections would not be so fierce. However the Journal reports that these programs are different than the ones revealed by Edward Snowden, have the capacity to “reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic" includes the writing of emails — not merely their metadata and all digital telephone service (if you get your phone service through your cable company, for example, be careful what you say on the phone.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 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
According to the report, the programs are being used to spy on both foreigners and Americans.
The systems operate like this: The NSA asks telecom companies to send it various streams of Internet traffic it believes most likely to contain foreign intelligence. This is the first cut of the data.
These requests don't ask for all Internet traffic. Rather, they focus on certain areas of interest, according to a person familiar with the legal process. "It's still a large amount of data, but not everything in the world," this person says.During the 2002 Olympic, games in Salt Lake City for example, the NSA worked with the FBI to track all email and text message communications of everyone in the area for a six-month period. How's that for 4th Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizures?
Two weeks ago the NSA released a document which reported in part:
According to figures published by a major tech provider, the Internet carries 1,826 Petabytes of information per day. In its foreign intelligence mission, NSA touches about 1.6% of that. However, of the 1.6% of the data, only 0.025% is actually selected for review. The net effect is that NSA analysts look at 0.00004% of the world’s traffic in conducting their mission—that’s less than one part in a million. Put another way, if a standard basketball court represented the global collection, it would be an area smaller than a dime on that basketball court.NSA officials defended the surveillance, saying they respect Americans' privacy. NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines told The Wall Street Journal that the agency implements "minimization procedures that are approved by the U.S. attorney general and designed to protect the privacy of United States persons" when domestic communications are "incidentally collected during NSA's lawful signals intelligence activities." Oh the program was approved by Eric Holder-that makes me feel much better.
The NSA's system of programs that filter communications (with the help of your phone and internet providers)is designed to look for communications that either start or end in another country, or happen to pass through the U.S. between foreign countries. But NSA officials told the Journal that the system's reach is so broad, that it is more likely that purely domestic communications will be intercepted as a byproduct of the hunt for foreign ones.The NSA is "not wallowing willy-nilly" through online content, another official quoted by the newspaper said. "We want high-grade ore."
Perhaps the NSA is only targeting "high-grade ore"and perhaps this program is protecting our country. However it seems the only people who truly know how it is being used is the NSA and senior White House officials. It is incumbent on the Congress to revise this system to unsure an advocate for Constitutional rights is part of the system and it is being run with strict Congressional oversight As of now neither of those are being done.