Fun NSA Surveillance Quizzes

Okay, maybe not so fun.

Quiz 1: "Just How Kafkaesque is the Court that Oversees NSA Spying?"

Quiz 2: "Can You Tell the Difference Between Bush and Obama on the Patriot Act?"

It's been fourteen hours since a few provisions of the Patriot Act have expired, and the world hasn't come to an end -- at least so far.

Posted on June 1, 2015 at 1:10 PM • 23 Comments

Comments

EliezerJune 1, 2015 2:37 PM

How do we know that the NSA has stopped? (would you if you knew there would be no punishment?)

Insert Real NameJune 1, 2015 3:42 PM

The Onion captures the situation the best, I think:

FORT MEADE, MD—Expressing frustration over Congress’ decision to let the provisions allowing the bulk collection of phone data expire, annoyed National Security Agency officials reported Monday that the organization would now be forced to rely exclusively on mass surveillance programs that have yet to come to light.
See http://www.theonion.com/article/frustrated-nsa-now-forced-rely-mass-surveillance-p-50550 for the rest.

Stephen KauffmanJune 1, 2015 3:50 PM

The telecoms will rent freedomCloud storage in Utah, which will only be accessed with secure passwords (like "password" or "123456") to upload our data which they are compelled to keep by the soon to be Freedom Act, or after being served Fisa court warrants and NSL's drafted by the FBI without judicial oversight

Joe KJune 1, 2015 4:53 PM

Which of the following indicate an accountable government?

  1. Secret laws
  2. Universal surveillance
  3. Extrajudicial assassinations
  4. All of the above

rgaffJune 1, 2015 5:05 PM

Headlines: Congress votes in new name for USA: DPRA - Democratic People's Republic of America. There is joy in the streets, everyone feels so much better.

rgaffJune 1, 2015 5:07 PM

Because when all you can do is cry or mock, mocking really does make you feel so much better :)

Clive RobinsonJune 1, 2015 5:12 PM

@ Bruce,

It's been fourteen hours since a few provisions of the Patriot Act have expired, and the world hasn't come to an end -- at least so far.

Not for most people, but for some IC folks... they might have to do some real work for a change... maybe.

Personaly I think nothing has changed or will change in the IC, as others have pointed out, the NSA has had more than enough time to put contingency measure in place a year or so ago after whistles started to sound shrilly.

Further some people having now moved on, wiser heads might just be asking what colour the elephant in the room is and deciding white or pink realy are not what they want.

Somebody might just have sat down with a pencil and bar mat and calculated that the cost of storing the data let alone processing it is way more than it's ever going to be worth even for "political CYA" and that sooner rather than later appropriation committees are going to start asking akward "cut back" questions.

The NSA seniors know they are going to fail when people start making things just a tads more difficult encryption and traffic analysis wise, their longterm future may well depend on not fighting cut backs very hard now and alowing one or two to happen. Then just wait for the current political focus to move on and the enevitable terrorist etc attack --that they would have missed anyway-- and use that as a lever to ramp up the money again.

rgaffJune 1, 2015 5:47 PM

@ Clive

So what you're saying is that the IC's "business model" is specifically allowing terrorism to happen! Because that's the only way they can whine and moan for more money.

Does anyone see something much bigger than a mere elephant in the room here?

Joe KJune 1, 2015 5:58 PM

@Clive Robinson

Somebody might just have sat down with a pencil and bar mat and calculated that the cost of storing the data let alone processing it is way more than it's ever going to be worth even for "political CYA" and that sooner rather than later appropriation committees are going to start asking akward "cut back" questions.

About this "political CYA": Aren't the A(ss)es being C(over)ed, when seen under a certain light (namely, let's say, that of the sun) the asses of war criminals?

How much is it worth, to stay out of the Hague?

Joe KJune 1, 2015 6:05 PM

@rgaff "Does anyone see something much bigger than a mere elephant in the room here?"

I'd say even the proverbial blind men would all be smelling the same thing, and falling all over each other trying to find a window to crack open.

anonJune 1, 2015 7:06 PM

Don't forget NSA has failed in ALL it's other missions.

China has a WORKING F-35, Russia has our supersecret sub prop designs, Israel prob has complete copies of all the databases, as it makes the phone switching eqpt that does the intercepts.

thehagueJune 1, 2015 7:21 PM

@Joe K

That's why the former pope never leaves the Vatican, and why most former US Pres. never leave the USA. It would be just unseemly to be served, deposed, or touched in anyway by the great unwashed masses!

65535June 2, 2015 3:35 AM

“It's been fourteen hours since a few provisions of the Patriot Act have expired, and the world hasn't come to an end” –Bruce S.

True the world hasn’t come to an end – but there are a large number of NSA analysis’s who now have to buy their dirty pictures instead of plucking them from private internet chats. The fun is gone.

AnuraJune 2, 2015 4:01 AM

@65536

I think you are overestimating the effect of this legislation expiring. I equate it to a kid on a playground with a piece of chalk drawings a circle around himaelf saying "you can do anything you want, as long as you don't cross this line."

AnuraJune 2, 2015 4:05 AM

Sorry, I've drank quite a bit of 101 proof bourbon, and realize my point wasn't clear: barely any power has been removed from the NSA, i.e. they still have most of the playground to themselves, so it's barely changed anything.

NotYouAgainJune 2, 2015 4:51 AM

Just a friendly reminder:

Section 215 accounted to about 2% (domestic phone metadata) of the mass surveillance of the NSA.

All investigation that begun before June 1st will be continued.

Soon Freedom Act will be passed, which is essentially different but the same.

P.S. there still is legal ground to collect your dick-pics, see
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEVlyP4_11M

Peter GalbavyJune 2, 2015 6:02 AM

Sorry but does anyone actually believe that since the provisions lapsed that anything has actually changed operationally? Since a large proportion of the work of the NSA and it's peer organisations is seemingly based on very grey areas of US law anyway, why would they stop?

65535June 2, 2015 8:25 AM

I made a tongue in check comment. I am sure the NSA can ask the GCHQ to collect and send them dirt pictures of Americans.

It a few days the majority of Section 215 will be re-named "USA Freedom Act" or Freedom to mass spy in the USA.

LSJune 2, 2015 1:00 PM

@ anon @ 7:06 PM.

China has a working F35? Wow! We (i.e., the USA) don't even have a WORKING F35 yet.

AnuraJune 2, 2015 4:14 PM

The "USA Freedom Act" has now been passed, which keeps the NSA in check by giving them more power than what they had yesterday.

Leave a comment

Allowed HTML: <a href="URL"> • <em> <cite> <i> • <strong> <b> • <sub> <sup> • <ul> <ol> <li> • <blockquote> <pre>

Photo of Bruce Schneier by Per Ervland.

Schneier on Security is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of IBM Resilient.