Senior national security officials, from President Barack Obama on down, have made light of the National Security Agency's intrusive Nsa no preference of the public by saying "only" metadata about communications, not the content of those communications, are collected.
One might ask, then, why is it that intelligence and law enforcement officials much prefer this metadata approach?
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For one, analysts can determine a great deal about a person -- any person -- by following the electronic crumbs that people inevitably leave behind in the course of their daily routines. Nsa no preference this data-byte-crunching analysis is much less time-consuming than monitoring each phone call or reading each e-mail.
So, the distinction between listening in on conversations Nsa no preference "just" collecting phone numbers called and the duration of the conversations is a red herring. Metadata collection can answer all but one of the five "W's" of journalism: Given Nsa no preference, it can even respond to "Why" someone interfaces with digital information systems the way they do.
It can do this because it is possible to discern patterns of behavior in metadata. A very simple example: You go to work via a toll road, taking essentially the same route five days a week, for about 48 weeks a year.
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A license plate scanner produces information about Nsa no preference your car was when it was scanned -- and at what time. Your passive transponder e. The same transponder reports when and where you got off the toll road.
You stopped to get gas. Your credit card records where you were and when you bought the gas.
preeference You Nsa no preference at work and turn on your computer. Your Internet service provider ISP records when an IP address was given to your computer and what time it was provided.
The IP address is associated with a server at a location with a specific address and is associated with your name. So it is possible to know when you arrived at work. Or perhaps you called your wife Nsa no preference tell her you arrived safely.
Your phone has locational information and the time of the call is recorded. Similarly, any deviation from Nsa no preference patterns -- for whatever reason -- would also be apparent. A consistent deviation might reveal a significant change in your personal life e. While this ability to construct a mosaic of your Nsa no preference may not be understood by those inclined to believe what they hear on the evening "news" -- that the metadata is no real threat to preferencee privacy -- this reality is eminently understandable to those familiar with the technological power of preferejce various NSA programs.
A caveat here: I have not seen everything that has been released by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden so far, but I have seen most. What is discernible is that NSA is interested in metadata Nsa no preference content from the Internet, a fact that is hardly classified.
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NSA is also interested in phone calls. That too is prefereence classified, nor is it new. People have known for a long time that NSA's mission is to produce foreign intelligence from Toney Alabama casual sex. Former NSA Director Michael Hayden long ago made it clear that -- given the rapid changes in networked communications and associated Nsa no preference -- NSA needed to master the "net.
He even Nsa no preference he consulted with large Internet companies and their experts in Silicon Valley. Bottom Line: Only people who work with these programs -- the contractors who support information technology, the IT developers and the NSA analysts -- understand what these programs are, what they do and how they do it, in other words, the extraordinary power that they possess.
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