Telecoms Not Exactly Thrilled to Be Part of Obama’s NSA Reform Plan

As part of President Barack Obama’s relatively mild National Security Administration surveillance reforms (written about earlier today here, here, and here), he proposed taking the bulk metadata information storage out of the hands of the NSA to avoid giving the government unfettered access and putting it into the hands of third-party companies, possibly telecoms. This would then require the NSA to request metadata, adding another gatekeeper to avoid abuse of the system.

One problem. Why would telecoms agree to do this, given how upset Americans have become over these revelations? As The Washington Post notes, they do not want to serve as the NSA’s storage service:

Telecommunications firms said they were pleased about limits to the collection of bulk metadata, but said they have unanswered questions on details of reforms, particularly on changes to the phones records database. The database, Obama said, would be removed from government control to a third party. Phone companies don't want to have the responsibility of keeping the database, they said.

In a statement after the speech, the wireless industry’s biggest lobbying group, CTIA-The Wireless Association, stressed that it believes privacy and security “can be achieved without the imposition of data retention mandates that obligate carriers to keep customer information any longer than necessary for legitimate business purposes.”

Read the full story here. Some tech firm representatives are upset that the bulk collection is going to continue at all without any sort of warrant. Furthermore, one industry representative noted that the president said nothing about allegations that the NSA was involved in the subversion of industry encryption standards.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Lucky for those telecoms drive space is cheap, because Obama just transferred the storage cost to them.

  • Hyperion||

    Obama just transferred the storage cost to them us, from us.

    FIFY.

    Cronyism is alive in well in Murika.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

  • Dave Krueger||

    Telecommunications firms said they were pleased about limits to the collection of bulk metadata, but said they have unanswered questions on details of reforms, particularly on changes to the phones records database.

    And one of those unanswered questions is, "What's in it for us?"

    Because, if anything has become crystal clear since 9/11, it's the fact that the telecoms couldn't care less about their customers' privacy as long as the price is right. Their apparent lack of interest is simply part of the negotiation over how much it will take to buy them off.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Phone companies don't want to have the responsibility of keeping the database, they said.

    Until agreeing to do so allows a merger or rate hike to be approved by the central planning committee.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Nobody should be required to store old shit that they would prefer to throw out. Fuck data retention and discovery laws.

  • Jerryskids||

    It's not like the telecom companies are going to have to do any more work - all it means is that the NSA is going to put a sticker on the side of every piece of their equipment that says "Property of AT&T". Otherwise, everything will be exactly the same as it is now.

  • Hyperion||

    Just wait until the Telecoms are informed that the tax payers will be more than happy to pick up those extra costs for this service. In fact, the generosity of the tax payer has no limits.

    If the self decreed ruling class thinks they are feeling the heat about all this bullshit now, just wait until they run out of first black president.

    They had better be getting their idiots like John Kerry in line and make sure we have a doozy of a crisis soon, or things are going to get out of control. Seeing how they failed at getting us bogged down in the middle of a civil war in Syria, and all of their other utter failures, I doubt they can pull off much of anything, no matter how much money and power they have.

  • Hyperion||

    Where is everyone this evening? Was there a mass exodus while I've been away, is everyone starting their MLK weekend celebration early, or is everyone awaiting the shiny new Late Nite Links thread, AKA - The Independents?

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    I can't figure out the herd around here.

  • np||

    It's like herding cats.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    See? Libertarianism isn't practical!

  • SweatingGin||

    I was taking apart Mrs. Gin's iPhone that had an unfortunate run in with the porcelain receptacle. I'm unsure of the patient will make it.

  • Dweebston||

  • SweatingGin||

    Probably something like that. Wasn't me. Have done that with sunglasses and Bluetooth earpieces, though.

    Bluetooth earpiece lands in the urinal? Let it go, 'cause it's gone.

  • Dweebston||

    *affects obnoxious lilting tone* OooohoOHOohohoh, Mr. Moneybags, too good for a toilet earpiece. Too good for the q-tips and alcohol. Buys another, Mr. Moneybags does.

  • DJK||

    Probably a bit too late for you to see this, but...it's pretty easy to fix a phone that's suffered water damage. Drying it out will fix it 90% of the time. You just need something super absorbent. I recommend some kind of dessicant like Drierite. Cover the phone in a bunch of Drierite. A day later, it should be working just fine. If you don't have access to this, I hear that doing the same thing with dry rice will work.

  • GILMORE||

    "One problem. Why would telecoms agree to do this, given how upset Americans have become over these revelations?"

    'Conflicts of interest' = how do they work?

    What I find most disgusting about the blithe way that politicians and NSA bureaucrats toss out these little 'proposals' is their utter disdain, contempt and obliviousness to the interests and concerns of private industry.

    "Oh, you don't like the *Government* spying on you? OK, fine = we'll just appropriate the entire telecommunications industry and have them do it for us at the point of a gun. Who cares if all this communications infrastructure came into being only because consumers/investors/businesses came together in mutually beneficial relations? See, now that it *already exists*, it can serve OUR purposes. And I don't see why this should dissuade anyone from doing business in the *future*....

    Doesn't that just FEEL a lot less Big Brother-y?"

    Uh, no. it doesn't. At all.

  • ||

    Isn't that also one of the textbook definitions of fascism?

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    I have a question. What's the libertarian position on Sharia Law? I ask because every now and then we hear about governments (state, federal or provincial) in North American be asked to consider incorporating it into our Common/Civil law framework. From what I read, Sharia is a sort of "family" law not unlike those found in Judaism.

    So, if a husband wants to try his wife for an alleged adultery case according to Sharia, should that be his choice or the bottom line is the laws of the land must prevail?

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    So long as all parties agree to it, I don't see where it libertarians would care about it. But as soon as it moves from being voluntary to involuntary, it becomes a problem.

  • Hyperion||

    The laws of the land must prevail.

    Now, if you have your own 'country', then whatever laws you make is your business. It is your problem, basically, the problem of your residents.

    Now, in Libertopia, we can't have Shariah law. Why? Because it would probably violate the NAP, and the government intervening on your behalf to oppress others is definitely a violation of the NAP.

    This is why big nation states need to come to an end. And in fact, I don't see any possibility outside of the USA breaking up into several smaller nation states.

    We can have little Conservatistan, Progressitastan, and Libertarianistan.

    All of the residents of Progressitastan will of course, starve to death, after they fail to be able to force others to take care of them.

  • SweatingGin||


    The laws of the land must prevail.

    (Discussion, not arguing)

    Is it possible to have more than one set of las in a geographic area? (Not meaning local/state/federal)

    Ie, competing laws for different people, probably with people deciding which they want to belong to?

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    How can, say, as was the case recently in Ontario, that government determine how Sharia can fit into the legal framework?

    And it's significant because the Muslim perspective on what the punishment should be for adultery or homosexuality, and I'm just guessing here, may not be "in line" with not only the law but libertarianism.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    A voluntary system wouldn't be sharia. That much I know.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Yeah, that's the thing. Sharia seems to go against libertarian principles.

  • np||

    The laws of the land must prevail.

    Gonna have to disagree here, since positive law is basically bullshit in general. Don't have time to get into an entire philosophical debate, but the term "laws of the land" doesn't make any logical sense whatsoever. Suffice it to say, man can create rules, but he cannot create law (nor can gods or highly advanced aliens for that matter).

    We can have little Conservatistan, Progressitastan, and Libertarianistan.

    We sure can, even without "laws of the land". Also addressing SweatingGin and Rufus's question, this would be implemented as dynamic, voluntary phyles, not tied to a monopoly of force over a geographic region. While not perfect, the Icelandic Free State had something like this with a free market of clans and chieftans. Kinda like joining/leaving clans in online gaming, or any private organizations with their own rules, while still maintaining rights over your own property.

  • ||

    Apologize if someone else has already snarked this, but just in case:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/....._fisa.html

    The subtitle for the article is "How Far Down My Throat Does Obama's Cock Go?"

  • ||

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    I was hoping that was the actual title of an article.

  • ||

    You hear the dog whistle?

  • Christophe||

    Call me a naive fool, but I'm hopeful that telecom companies are starting to feel the heat and will want to back out of arrangements.

    More importantly, if the only use of the data is to serve it to the NSA, it'd be more cost effective to replace the storage facility with a random generator. It's not like intelligence agencies would know the difference.

  • Homple||

    "...he proposed taking the bulk metadata information storage out of the hands of the NSA to avoid giving the government unfettered access and putting it into the hands of third-party companies, possibly telecoms."

    But whatever they store in that giant complex near Bluffdale, Utah WILL have unfettered government access and it's a lot more than metadata.

    I guess talking about the small stuff distracts attention from huge stuff.

  • RishJoMo||

    Now there is a dude that knows what time it is. Wow.

    www.AnonPlanet.tk

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