And  so it keeps on tumbling out. Like the remnants of the previous nights curry. Everyday seems to give birth to a new leak from Snowdan's stash of NSA files shortly followed by a dismissal by the US government. In all honesty I can't say I'm surprised that the Internet has been widely tapped. It wasn't that long ago that Lolzsec et el. were wilfully taking aim at anything in site. If governments weren't investing considerable effort in getting a grip on online behaviour I think we'd all suspect they were neglecting their duties. 

However the leaked Snowden documents would appear to show that the US at least is more than putting in measures to police crimes, they are hooving up vast amounts of, what I would consider, personal information without proper over-site, controls or respect for the law.

It's difficult to know exactly the extent of what's being gathered up. The initial leak centred around a presentation hinting that the NSA had access to the main properties on the Internet and could siphon off data at will. Its difficult to know how far that access goes and where marketing starts and the technology picks up. Further details have come out about specific key-stores and percentages of information that's tapped.  I doubt we'll ever know the full extent of what is being carried out. But as it's already known that NSA staff have used access to the information to spy on partners I'm pretty sure that the various taps have been tested on some very large amounts on traffic just to see what they can do. 

I wonder how we got to this situation where intelligence agencies have turned into mass surveillance agencies. I know it must be tempting if you're working in that environment to sit there and think - you know what would make our job a lot easier - if we could know pretty much everything about everyone. Unfortunately for us that question seems to have got an answer in the form of our global communications being listened to with some strategically placed packet sniffers. 

When I watch politicians debating about the economy or the latest banking cock-up there seems to be an endless line of them offering the answer to the problem and deep insights into the problem. No matter if they really do know what they're talking about. (Our modern day financial system is far far more complicated than a lot of people seem to give it credit for). But when the issue of technology comes up that bravado goes away and is dismissed as something only the nerds talk about or something that is far too complicated for them to wrap their heads around it. Perhaps that's why we're here. The people who have been elected to safeguard privacy, have for too long dismissed the power of what is possible, not bothered to ask the right questions - and now we're here probably with a lot of them asking, oh, they can do that? 

But this is all in the name of defeating terrorism? Right? Well according the the NSA files they can monitor anyone who they are 51% sure is foreign. So what's that flip a coin and if you've ever eaten humous, that's it, you're labeled Johnny Foreigner. That sounds less like a targeted attack and more suck and see. It's a farce. The Internet is a global system and as an end user you have very little control over where your bits travel off to. Even if you're not using a US service your traffic may go through the US, and that makes you fair game to be spied on. The outcry in America from what I can see at the moment is twirling around how often the NSA ballsed up and captured US citizens data. Being a non 'merican I'm far more concerned that they seem to have cart blanche to shove their sniffer up wherever they please on the rest of the world
 





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