11.09.13

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Surveillance on Customers of US-based Companies: the CIA (US Taxpayers) Pay for This

Posted in Microsoft at 3:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

National Security Agency

Summary: New revelations about the surveillance infrastructure laid out by the United States and those who bankroll it

WHENEVER we speak about Microsoft and the NSA we should remember that Microsoft pretty much kick-started PRISM — the programme under which everything which resides on a company’s pool of data becomes available to secretive spies, including the murderous NSA.

According to a new report from the New York Times [1], US taxpayers essentially pay to be spied on whether they like it or not. The CIA is doing this. iophk wondered: “Isn’t this also just the same data they are getting from social media and e-mail logging?”

We already know, based on plenty of evidence, that black (hidden) budgets are still where trillions of dollars come to disappear, with no public oversight whatsoever. What the CIA does here is simple; it provides corporate subsidies at taxpayers’ expense (or growing national debt), essentially paying private entities like Microsoft to help incriminate customers, based on private data and communications. We already know about misuses of the NSA powers, e.g. the handing over of data to the DEA. It’s not about terrorism. For the sake of national ‘interests’ (the interests of those in power), companies which may be running at a loss are getting subsidised. And at whose expense? At the expense of national debt, which the public as a whole is required to pay back.

Speaking of Microsoft and the NSA, there is a new Microsoft back door which the NSA can now exploit. As iophk put it, given some NSA background information, those back doors should be called what they are because ‘”zero day” is just a marketing term for holes that the vendor can’t be bothered to fix.’

The Internet seems to have become just another way for spies to raid homes (or digital equipment at homes) without a warrant and without being noticed. This is a serious problem. The Internet as a whole has devolved into a militarised surveillance apparatus — a fact that even the founder of the World Wide Web (and DRM apologist) seems to have finally accepted [2]. We need an alternative to the Internet because it is probably too late to fix the Internet. The Internet came from the US military and it is still serving the US military for the most part; it’s a control mechanism — control through total oversight and assassination/marginalisation of opposition. Even the CIA turns out to be deeply involved.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. C.I.A. Is Said to Pay AT&T for Call Data

    The C.I.A. is paying AT&T more than $10 million a year to assist with overseas counterterrorism investigations by exploiting the company’s vast database of phone records, which includes Americans’ international calls, according to government officials.

  2. Tim Berners-Lee calls for international protections for whistleblowers

    Having already made his feelings perfectly clear about the revelations of NSA and GCHQ internet surveillance, inventor of the World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee is calling for an international protection system for whistleblowers.

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