I’m not going to belabor the tale of woe those trying to deal with Edward Snowden’s theft are dealing with right now. For a moment I want to opine on some of the secondary and tangential issues that I predict is going to make life in the IC more difficult because of his actions:
- Polygraphs. If it is true that he only took the job with BAH to gain access to specific data in order to reveal it, IC polygraph units are going to have to cancel leave through 2025. Moving from one agency to another? Get ready to get hooked up to the box (again). In a sys admin job? Pucker up. That old timer you used to get who realized that people were people and they had lives? He’s going to be replaced by a legion of whippersnappers who will all be gunning to catch the next leaker. Good people will be deep-sixed and those who survive will wonder if it’s worth the ***-pain.
- Investigations. When you can’t pick up on obvious problem-children, and when the bottom-line is more important than doing a good job, the bureaucracy will retrench and do what it does best: drop into low gear and distrust outsiders. There are only so many government investigators, and it’s not like there are fewer missions. Coverage will slip, tasks won’t get done, the risk of surprise (you know, what we’re supposed to try and avoid) goes up.
Here’s a framework that will allow you to put the stuff you read in the news into context.
From hat bans to NSA leaks about surveillance programs.
Problem: Everybody on the planet IS a potential terrorist.
Solution: Put everybody on the planet under positive control.
Positive control means the continuous monitoring.
- Location GPS phone. Implied by utility use (smart grid). Car GPS. CCTV. Facial recognition everywhere. Social media data.
- Network Phone. Social media connections. Proximity. Network analysis.
- Behavior Economic activity. Utility use. Content use. Usage monitoring.
In the case of positive control, any lack of activity or lapse in data flow is considered a dangerous act.
Try to hide = something to hide.
Any blocking of monitoring will be made illegal and a major crime.
Multiple systems with overlapping control will provide a complete cradle to grave blanket.
There’s no way to avoid this. It’s already here and nobody cares.
Gibson’s point is that NSA taps into Tier 1 routers, and splits the data off, hence the name PRISM. They don’t have to tap your house or a server farm, just on the Tier 1 routers. Thus Apple, Facebook, and Google et al are correct in saying NSA didn’t have access to their servers. Forget server farms, the question we need to ask is, do they have access to routers near those companies by tapping the fiber optic lines. NSA targets the bandwidth provider of big high tech companies to tap the routers closest to them. All email is readable on the routers because it’s not encrypted (unless you use encryption software.) Semantic technology is used to analyze the data further.
Abu Muqawama – Through a Murky PRISM
Pundita – Out with Obama’s China Pivot; in with the Snowden Pivot, and Obama’s Insider Threat program: Are you having a bad hair day? I might have to report you as a potential traitor to the United States.