19 November 2015

There is No Evidence that Mass Surveillance Makes Us Safe

This is not an exaggeration/

Pro Publica examined almost a decade of mass surveillance, and could not any meaningful benefit derived from drinking from the data fire hose:
Current and former government officials have been pointing to the terror attacks in Paris as justification for mass surveillance programs. CIA Director John Brennan accused privacy advocates of “hand-wringing” that has made “our ability collectively internationally to find these terrorists much more challenging.” Former National Security Agency and CIA director Michael Hayden said, “In the wake of Paris, a big stack of metadata doesn’t seem to be the scariest thing in the room.”

Ultimately, it’s impossible to know just how successful sweeping surveillance has been, since much of the work is secret. But what has been disclosed so far suggests the programs have been of limited value. Here’s a roundup of what we know.

An internal review of the Bush administration’s warrantless program – called Stellarwind – found it resulted in few useful leads from 2001–2004, and none after that. New York Times reporter Charlie Savage obtained the findings through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit and published them in his new book, Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post–9/11 Presidency:
[The FBI general counsel] defined as useful those [leads] that made a substantive contribution to identifying a terrorist, or identifying a potential confidential informant. Just 1.2 percent of them fit that category. In 2006, she conducted a comprehensive study of all the leads generated from the content basket of Stellarwind between March 2004 and January 2006 and discovered that zero of those had been useful.
In an endnote, Savage then added:
The program was generating numerous tips to the FBI about suspicious phone numbers and e-mail addresses, and it was the job of the FBI field offices to pursue those leads and scrutinize the people behind them. (The tips were so frequent and such a waste of time that the field offices reported back, in frustration, “You’re sending us garbage.”)
This isn't security, it's security theater, and the victories it achieves are in battles between for budget money from Congress. 


Rick Haley said...

In this day and age..and the success rate of the worlds fundy butchers..hell they can call me up everyday...I'll check-in..books I'm reading, whatever. Doesn't take a lot of info to zero in on the evil in this country and if I can help...
But the best information for finding these guys is to what? Just ask...

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