NSA

NSA Can Reach 75 Percent of All US Internet Traffic

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"We just said we're not. We didn't say we can't."
NSA logo

The latest surveillance "No, it's bigger than you think" news comes from the Wall Street Journal, which is reporting that though the president may say the National Security Agency is not reading your e-mail, it's not because they lack the capacity to do so:

The National Security Agency—which possesses only limited legal authority to spy on U.S. citizens—has built a surveillance network that covers more Americans' Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed, current and former officials say.

The system has the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic in the hunt for foreign intelligence, including a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans. In some cases, it retains the written content of emails sent between citizens within the U.S. and also filters domestic phone calls made with Internet technology, these people say.

The NSA's filtering, carried out with telecom companies, is designed to look for communications that either originate or end abroad, or are entirely foreign but happen to be passing through the U.S. But officials say the system's broad reach makes it more likely that purely domestic communications will be incidentally intercepted and collected in the hunt for foreign ones.

The full story is paywalled, but a Google News search of "NSA" should get it for you in the first couple of matches and let you read the full piece, which includes a graphic and Q&A showing how it works. 

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  1. 75% on a bad night

  2. …”which possesses only limited legal authority to spy on U.S. citizens”…

    Yeah, limited by the number of hours in a day.

      1. So they need 32 hours to capture the lot?

        1. Time for a new executive order! I’m sure His Obamaness can manage that.

  3. “The NSA’s filtering, […] is designed to look for communications that either originate or end abroad, or are entirely foreign but happen to be passing through the U.S. But…”

    See that last word?

  4. “Never open a book with weather?”
    10 Rules For Writing By Elmore Leonard:

    1. “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

      Written by someone who can write, so it’s kinda like the sculptor’s comment on how you chisel an elephant out of rock:
      ‘Cut off everything that doesn’t look like an elephant’.

    2. William Gibson did quite well ignoring that rule with the opening of Neuromancer

      The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel

      But Leonard sold a hell of a lot more books so maybe he was on to something.

      1. There’s an unwritten rule: only break the rules when you know what you’re doing.

      2. I don’t think it’s fair to compare Gibson, who writes in a very specific sub-genre of speculative fiction to Leonard, whose work was one potboiler after another.

        1. I can’t tell which author you are insulting more. They both wrote genre fiction.

          1. No insult was intended to either. I like them both! However, the genres Leonard wrote in are more popular than the sub-genre of the less popular genre Gibson writes in.

            Crime and suspense fiction is always going to keep the pot boiling more (because they have a bigger market share) than cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk. If Gibson was in it merely for books sold, then he would be motivated to write stories in genres with more popular appeal.

            1. Well I’m intending an insult towards you. You’re a fucking faggot.

              Put that in your gay pipe and smoke it.

              1. It’s uncanny that he knew you had one of these, HM. You may have a stalker.

              2. My god, we are attracting 12 year old trolls now?

                We cant do any better than this? We might have to go out on the net and recruit some quality trolls.

                1. Market failure? We need central troll planning!

                  1. jesse.in.mb| 8.20.13 @ 11:10PM |#
                    “Market failure? We need central troll planning!”

                    Agreed. The trolls would then become ineffective or fail entirely.

                2. we get the trolls other blogs deserve

                3. Actually, that’s a high quality troll.

              3. -Put that in your gay pipe and smoke it.

                Dare I ask, what is a ‘gay pipe?’

                1. It’s exactly what’s linked up above by that straight fellow at 10:58.

    3. But what if the setting actually is a dark and stormy night?

      1. make it your second line.
        “Epi stood outside Warty’s cellar door. It was a dark and stormy night.”

        1. This plot makes no sense! How would Epi get outside of the cellar? For that matter, how would he get out of the cramped and fetid travel kennel that Warty keeps him in?

          1. Ah! But it has your interest already; you want to read further to figure things out, yes?

            1. No! The concept of an Epi free of his cage offends the very core of my morality. I will go on talk shows and rail against this book, have it banned from libraries and school reading lists, and quietly fap to it in my secret lair research it, deeply, so that I may better warn my flock against the odious nature of this tale.

              1. Sad that you’ll never know why the caged Epi sings.

                1. So screams of antipathy and agony are “singing” now?

          2. How do you know it’s not the origin story of how he came to be in the cage

            1. I’m confused. Why would the one-who-was-always-caged need an origin story. The Caged one was there before the universe and will be there after the universe. To speculate on its origins is blasphemy.

              1. Don’t be an idiot. Episiarch is just a symbol for the human capacity for malice and hatred of deep dish. He’s not real.

          3. You’re ALL wrong. Obviously the cellar is inside the cage, which is inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar inside the cage inside the cellar

              1. It’s cellars and cages all the way down?

            1. sung to Fugue in D Minor?

            2. This is like House of Leaves fanfic.

    4. “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel”

      -First line of Neuromancer

      1. Television of what generation. I’ve had TVs that go black, go blue, go static, and go mad when there’s no data. That line is too ambiguous.

        1. That’s why MY first rule of writing is “Never open a book with technology.”

  5. Actually as the official government audit has shown, the NSA has performed over 400 trillion intercepts this year and 99.999% of the time, the correct subjects are identified.

    As for that ‘alleged’ drone strike on your local 7-11, well screw you pal. No-one’s perfect.

  6. Obama’s not a muslim, he’s an atheist.

    1. “he’s an atheist.”
      I realize you’re a bleever, but what?

      1. He’s one of you!
        He doesn’t believe in Muhamed.

        1. Obama’s deity is his own sense of self.

          1. Barack Obama is a self-made man and he worships his creator daily.

            1. he didn’t build that.

              1. Haha, well said and played.

                I happen to think Obama is essentially a ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’ created by a wing of the Democratic Party with one, single implanted desire and purpose: to win elections.

    2. I don’t think Obama is actually an atheist, but only because some veneer of religiosity is most convenient for him right now. Philosophy, evidence, and personal values are irrelevant. He has always been able believe whatever he needs to in order to integrate with his peer group.

      1. He is a sociopath.

    3. He is most certainly not. He’s an autothiest.

  7. And with a little more of your tax dollars, we’ll be able to hit that other 25%!

    1. nah with our AA rating and ability to print no need to tax. Anyone will give this insolvent nation money -_-

  8. Luckily, I have nothing to fear because I have nothing to hide from those motherfuckin’ self-serving, freedom-hating, neanderthal assholes at the NSA.

    1. even if that was so….what stops them from making it up and saying otherwise? how cna you disprove it? It is indisputable fact!…at least that is what they’ll say to the court system that just says yes.

  9. Dear Reason Bar Assocation,

    I’m taking Property Law this semester. The book the professor assigned to the class (Property and Lawyering 3d) is shaping up to be a piece of critical studies crypto-socialist shit.

    I call book that because the authors argue a cliff-noted version of Marx’s theory of history. Property starts with feudalism (no mention of property as applied to earlier agricultural societies or even to nomadic societies), then turns into capitalism. They lament that “markets” drove “hordes of peasants” were driven from the land (no sympathy for the serfs and villeins who were slaves in all but name, bound to the land for life and their children after them) and unraveled the “carefully integrated socio-political structure” (and made literacy accessible to the masses, as well as travel, commerce, medicine, etc.)

    The examples of property in American history are the “Europeans used property to justify taking the land from the indians” (who were no longer free to gambol across hill and plain) and hold black people in slavery.

    I could spend a few pages shitting on this casebook, but I will desist in order to get to the point. Despite assigning this particular casebook, the professor made comments that he was “concerned” about drones.

    Question: Do I inquire as to any libertarian sentiments he may hold? Based on the casebook, should I consider him a statist until further information appears? Should I just leave it alone, shut up and take the class?

    1. I would venture he made a conscious choice in picking that book, and is probably a socialist. My property professor was an environmental law prof as well, but he was not so far left as to pick a casebook like that. Our book talked about Locke, Melville and Armen Alchian, among others. It was a decent casebook, as far as they go.

      As far as speaking in class and asking him about libertarian sentiments, I don’t see the harm in that, so long as you think he won’t dock you come exam time. I’m sure it’s blind grading and all, but there has to be a way for profs to change those grades.

      And come exam time, do not try to convince him to become a libertarian. Either write what he wants to hear or keep it as apolitical as possible.

      1. My professor was an environmental law prof in addition to teaching property, not that your professor is an environmental law prof, if that wasn’t clear.

        1. Your prof was a queer. That’s why you got such a good grade in his class. The old fashioned way…you sucked his cock.

          1. Paging the squirrels, cleanup on aisle 9…

        2. I would say something. Let him know people like you exist. I used to do it in university all the time but I let my writing do the talking.

          To their credit, professors graded me fairly. As long as you write well, and back up your arguments with notes and facts and deduce an opinion based on those that is both intelligent and lucid, they will acknowledge it.

    2. I had a different casebook for property and while I cannot be sure not having read the one you mention I am not sure it is necessarily ‘crypto-socialist’ for the reasons you give. It is common for property casebooks to start with feudalism since Anglo property law is really rooted there. I do not think it odd to have discussions of slave property and again it is common for such texts to have something like Justice Marshall’s famous ‘we can take Indians lands because, hey they are savages and not really using it’ opinion.

      Anyways, if it is anything like the casebook I had it will leave that stuff pretty quickly and you will spend endless time on much more apolitical and mundane matters.

      1. We also get a full-throated few paragraphs about the horrors of “commodification” (A Marxist term), because people aren’t allowed to sell sperm and eggs for anything so base as profit.

        “Standardization” is bad because we’re all supposed to bad because buying uniform products stifles our individualism.

        Mobility is also bad because we lose our “bonds between the individual and her social context (her?! Not their?! SEXIST!), bonds that provided personal identity in earlier times.” The fact that humans have greater freedom to travel than ever in history costs us our “individuality.” Pay no mind to the fact that the internet has allowed more cultures and sub-cultures to let their freak flags fly and make themselves known to the world and accessible to curious parties.

        I’m done hyperventilating about this book. Thanks for the response(s). It’s been helpful.

        1. “”Standardization” is bad because we’re all supposed to bad because buying uniform products stifles our individualism.”

          True!
          I’m just waiting to buy a Chevy Volt with ‘individual’ features for $250K!
          I’m sure I’m not alone!

          1. Individualism is good, but not too much, or you’ll scare the rest of the tribe, I mean, community.

        2. This is 1L property? WTF? I hope you are at least discussing that case with the wild fox (which actually is pretty interesting in the context of oil and gas law).

            1. Pierson v. Post, one of those cases everyone learns in law school.

              1. ok, so I’ve never gone to law school.
                when you refer to ‘learning a case’, what does that entail?

                1. You’re not learning “cases.” You’re learning legal principles and reasoning by reading old cases.

                  With reading cases, your general mission is to identify the issue, the rule, the facts, the court’s analysis, and the holding.

                  1. And, in the case of this particular class, how all of those things relate to dialectical materialism.

                  2. thank you.

              2. Pierson v. Post is the week after next.

        3. Mobility is also bad because we lose our “bonds between the individual and her social context (her?! Not their?! SEXIST!), bonds that provided personal identity in earlier times.”

          Can something really be said to provide ‘personal identity’ when you have no ability to choose or control it? It seems to me that most people for almost all of history lived fatalistic lives over which the had no control and lived almost entirely at the whim of aristocrats and princes. The ‘individual’ did not exist in any meaningful context since people were just tools to be used as the powerful saw fit.

          1. The ‘individual’ did not exist in any meaningful context since people were just tools to be used as the powerful saw fit.

            Somewhere, a socialist is masturbating furiously to that sentence.

    3. 1L standard classes are doing you a disservice if they have any political bent whatsoever. You are supposed be learning what the law is (and how it developed) not what it should or could be. Personally my contracts and property professors were the most free-marketish (especially contracts). That said what you learn in law school doesn’t have much bearing on actual practice.

      1. So I’ve been told, but here I am.

        I almost wish I had moved to Virginia or California and become a law reader.

    4. Get your money back, then study something else.

      Did that help?

    5. The Romans had extensive private property laws, which were variations on established Greek laws, which pre-dated feudalism by hundreds of years. That book sounds like complete crap.

  10. Only 75%? I haz a skeptical.

    1. The other 25% is porn they’ve already seen and redundant forwarded emails.

      We could pass messages along by sending html emails in 20 different fonts, colors and styles. When all of the words in pt 28 hyperviolet underlined bold are read they could form a sentence. THEY WOULD NEVER KNOW!

      1. I am guessing spamming here is just a part time job for our pedo-bot. His real job is sifting through bazillions of emails looking for certain words or combinations of words. There are probably a couple of layers of bots sifting before an actual person lays eyes on the email.
        What we could do is spam the shit out of them with bazillions of emails composed entirely of probably key words they are searching for.

        Poor pedo-bot.

        1. ….entirely of probably key words….

          I see the ambien is kicking in.

        2. You could always use this

          Tweetable NSA keyword messages!

          The government is listening to your internets. Generate a sentence with some of the keywords they’re looking for. Tweet or share and you could earn a new follower in Washington.

          FBI: Federal Boob Inspector. What a clever t?shirt. And they say airports have no sick fashion outlets.

          We’re out of fertilizer?see if Home Depot has any ammonium nitrate. Careful loading it up?that stuff leaks.

  11. We are 2 seasons away from America’s Got Talent featuring a couple having sex on stage.

    1. William of Purple| 8.20.13 @ 11:03PM |#
      “We are 2 seasons away from America’s Got Talent featuring a couple having sex on stage.”

      William of Purple, have you met GayMarried?
      Gay, please meet William. William, this is Gay; I’m sure you two have a lot to discuss.

      1. do you need a hug?

        1. “do you need a hug?”

          Talk to Gay.

          1. I’m sure he’ll give you a hug.

            1. William of Purple| 8.20.13 @ 11:28PM |#
              “I’m sure he’ll give you a hug.”

              I’m sure you’re a sleaze bag.

              1. ?

        2. do you need a hug?

          I laughed audibly.

    2. I, for one, welcome our talented sex overlords

    3. Grand Theft Auto 4 had ads on the radio for a show called “America’s Top Hooker”

      and that game came out in 2008.

  12. First they said they were not collecting data on Americans. Turns out that was a bald faced lie.

    Then they said it was legal, which it wasnt. So they tell us they fixed it by granting themselves permission, never mind the years of lawbreaking they already engaged in.

    Then they said that was an ooopsie, but they arent collecting mass data in dragnet fashion. Turns out that was a bald faced lie.

    Then they said its ok because congress knew about it. Turns out that was a bald faced lie.

    Then they said they were having oversight from a super secret court. Turns out they lie to the court on a regular basis.

    Then they said yeah, but we have prevented attacks. Turns out they cant name any, i.e. a bald faced lie.

    Then they said they arent reading emails or listening in on phone calls. Turns out they have been handing tips to other enforcement agencies and teaching those agents how to lie in court about how they acquired their info. In other words, that was another bald faced lie.

    Then they started going after journalists who reported on them exposing their lies.

    Now they are saying what? Yeah, I believe them this time. Sure I do.

    Can someone tell me why this government is still in place?

    1. Can someone tell me why this government is still in place?

      I’d tell you but NSA Luther would be angry with me.

      1. NSA Luther is angry with you anyway. You shouldn’t have written that email draft. Deleting didn’t help, they already know.

        1. Don’t forget to floss tonight, because you didn’t floss last night.

          1. You can’t tell me that! You’re not my real mother!

            1. WHAT THE NSA HAS SEEN CANNOT BE UNSEEN.

              1. And that’s why I enjoy engaging in naughty skypes with folks in other countries.

            2. Why am I thirsty all of the sudden?

    2. It has something to do with who has the most guns.

      1. is it the Amish Mafia? They’re armed to the teeth.

    3. Can someone tell me why this government is still in place?

      Because of 99 days 99 reasons?

    4. Can someone tell me why this government is still in place?

      Coercion of the governed?

  13. On to more important things, my wife brought home some Trader Joe’s Wild Salmon jerky.

    Salmon is okay, I order it maybe once every 100 restaurant visits but I’ve never thought of it as a snack food.

    So I’m surprised to find out there are enough people out there who like a quick bite of salmon-on-the-go to make a profit selling the stuff.

    1. I’d buy it. Never seen any, but I’ve never even seen a Trader Joe’s here in Indiana. They exist, but I’ve never seen one.

      1. For being labeled “Wild” it didn’t have the strong taste I was expecting. More of a long-lingering mild after-taste.

        1. Wild caught is considered higher quality than farmed fish. Generally Pacific salmon is wild caught and Atlantic salmon is farmed (and often has color added to make up for deficiencies).

          1. I thought would be more of a taste explosion, especially in such a concentrated form.

          2. Farmed Atlantic salmon eat catfood with added orange food coloring. I’d sooner eat that Thai fish with the liver parasites.

          3. Wild caught is totally better but it seems kinda pointless for jerky.

    2. I know some people who enjoy salmon or tilapia baked, without any butter or seasonings whatsoever, regularly. True story.

      1. Watch out or NSA Arthur will try to recruit you.

    3. So now you’re using “wife” as the code word for “the man who puts his penis in my ass and then my mouth”? Because it’s not a very subtle code. I saw right through it. Fag.

    4. That shit is awful. It’s just candied fish.

  14. I think HandR has ruined me. Does anyone else mouse over photos on other sites expecting wacky alt-text?

    I’m always disappointed.

    1. You can always read through the archives of XKCD. There’s unending alt-text.

  15. I’ve received warning that I need to limit my interactions.

    1. Are you able to spy on me through my smartphone camera? Because that means you’ve seen me masturbate. Are you going to yell at me like my Christian mom did 15 years ago?

      1. For a moment I read that as “Christmas mom” and wondered what sort of screwed up childhood you had.

        1. Then you read it as Christian Mom, and you knew what sort of screwed up childhood he had.

        2. Darius, you’re funny for a bot.

          Also, what Paul said. Evangelical moms do not approve of masturbation and seem to get very angry about it.

          1. I’m a bot? I know I don’t comment very much, but I’m certainly a human being.

            Those bought and paid for politicians sometimes, man jsut have to roll with the punches. http://www.ChristmasMomSecrets.tk

      2. Onanist.

        1. I expected better Biblical commentary from an NSA agent named “Luther.”

          Genesis 38:8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also.

          Onan was shortchanging his elder brother’s lineage by not impregnating his brother’s wife. THAT’s what made him wicked. Not the spilling of his seed. Also the passage is fun because it shows a polyandrist expectation during the time of the Patriarchs.

  16. Excellent take down of the British “Intelligence” services.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/posts/BUGGER

    I assume that all countries services are of the same quality.

    1. “The world is rudderless.”
      – Alan Moore

    2. It’s not just a take down on the “intelligence” services.

      It’s also a take down on the dismal quality of the MSM in covering the “intelligence” services.

  17. The Universe implodes.
    No matter.

  18. “a Google News search of NSA”

    No way, man. That’s how you get put on a list. Don’t do it!

    1. Posting here also works.

  19. The NSA clearly has WAY too much spare time on its hands. Wow.

    http://www.World-Privacy.com

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