Splinter Cell: Blacklist thoughts

Playing “Splinter Cell: Blacklist”. I love that the whole thing starts in Benghazi. (BENGHAZI!) The most unbelievable part of the whole scenario is that so many high level NSA and CIA operatives have Canadian accents. I kinda wish I hadn’t learned to spot Canadian, it has ruined Ubisoft games for me. The evil mastermind has an English accent, because obviously all evil people do. The next mission is in Dallas, so I’m wondering if I’ll recognize it at all.

Who to believe, revisited

First, while we did discuss legal compliance requirements with the government as reported last week, in none of these discussions did Microsoft provide or agree to provide any government with direct access to user content or the ability to break our encryption. — Microsoft MS, working with the FBI, developed a surveillance capability to deal with the new SSL. — NSA News story here, documents here, OCRed text.

NSA ♥ Facebook

A while back, the Washington Post reported on a set of leaked NSA slides that most people seem to have ignored. There was one interesting piece of data in the report that I think deserves more attention. On the slide titled “Address Books” is a table setting out how many people’s address books have been collected, and how many are “Attributed” — that is, how many allow the NSA to tie an online ID to a real named person.


As you may have heard, the NSA hopes to create a massive database of every single phone call made in the USA. They approached the big phone companies, and they all handed over data about your phone calls except Qwest. No warrants, no questions, they just gave the information away. [Update 2 days later: If you think it’s no big deal, consider that the government is already illegally tapping journalists’ phone lines in an attempt to root out leakers and whistleblowers.

John McCain, man of principle

John McCain, official apologist for the Republican Party, has apparently decided that he backs Bush’s decision to operate above the law and let the NSA spy on Americans with no warrants or official oversight required. He just, you know, wants to hear a good reason why Bush needed to ignore the law. Then it’ll all be all right.


You may know that the NSA are not supposed to carry out surveillance against American citizens, as per US Signals Intelligence Directive 18, unless given special permission by the Attorney General. You may also know that the Supreme Court has ruled that the NSA cannot spy against US citizens. They used to get around this by working with GCHQ in the UK—GCHQ would spy on Americans, the NSA would spy on the English, and they’d exchange data.