[FoRK] Fwd: [IP] What It's Like to Get a National-Security Letter

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Jul 1 10:06:54 PDT 2013

Now that the collections methods and scope are public knowledge, what excuse would there be for the NSA not fulfilling a subpoena 
for data they hold?  They would have to argue that information that is illegal for them to have is classified it seems.  I get the 
impression that not only do they have metadata, but actual captured voice/email/chat conversations also.  They successfully claimed 
as a public story that it was just metadata, but some of what was said indicates that it is really a lot more.  They just make the 
distinction between capture and retrieval / scrutiny.  That's a false distinction of course: capture is capture.  They pulled off 
quite a public relations save on that, for now.  Various lawsuits and other public points will likely revisit this issue.

Collecting data isn't necessarily a problem, but you can't do it illegally, except maybe in active dire emergencies which should 
have its own way of being legal (FISA et al).
Either the collection was and is illegal, or Congress used such vague language as to make anything legal.  Either is unfortunate. 
Fully scrutinized, probably the latter wouldn't hold up to constitutional challenges, nor would the secret court practices that have 
prevented public oversight for 10 years.  Either own it and be fully responsible, with real oversight, or don't do it.

Did you see that DoD has blocked access to the Guardian web site? Technically, if government computers were used to access that web 
site and download still-technically-classified leaked slides, they would have to treat it as a data spill.  That means wiping and 
restoring, or even destroying, computers, phones, etc.

There is a small range of situations where something like this could make sense, but here this is just silly, i.e. dumb.  The net 
result is that, potentially, the very people who should understand what is public from a security perspective have filtered key 
knowledge from themselves.  Every security professional, and just about all IT/technical government people are now security 
professionals to some extent to keep their jobs, should be reading everything that is public about this.  Talk about sticking your 
head in the sand.



On 7/1/13 9:40 AM, mdw at martinwills.com wrote:
> Why don't you save some time and just call the NSA's 1-800 support number?
>   They have already stored that information and they should be able to help
> pronto!
> Regards,
> Martin
>> If you have an external 9600+ external modem, you can upgrade the
>> firmware of the 3c509.
>> Greg
>> On 7/1/2013 9:11 AM, David Edmondson wrote:
>>> I had a quick look around but couldn't find the encryption keys for the
>>> root disk, so I've started a re-install (PC DOS 2000 is okay, right?)
>>> to make sure that stuff is where everyone expects it to be. Should be
>>> back in a while (oops, can't find the packet drivers for the 3c509 that
>>> you have in this machine...).
>> --
>> greg at bolcer.org, http://bolcer.org, c: +1.714.928.5476

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