Court Authorized NSA to Spy on 193 Different Countries

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Court Authorized NSA to Spy on 193 Different Countries

NSA Building 310x

The only four countries the U.S. didn't spy on? Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and England.

There's been an undeniable focus on how the NSA collects data here at home, but The Washington Post now has a detailed report on gathering intelligence from foreign sources.

The report, based on top-secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden, shows just how far the intelligence web really goes. In short: Every country and territory that's not part of the "Five Eyes" group (that's the U.S., England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) is a potential target. And several global groups, like the World Bank, are also fair game.

The foreign component of the NSA program is shown as official via this signed order from 2010, in which Judge John Bates certifies (gives permission) for the NSA to act on Section 702 of the 2008 FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance) Amendments Act.

According to a transparency report released last Friday, roughly 90,000 foreign targets were under NSA surveillance of sort kind.

The Post goes on to say that the broad language in the Act and its supporting documents "could allow for surveillance of academics, journalists and human rights researchers."

If the NSA is gathering data on millions of U.S. citizens, along with dozens of heads of foreign state, why not take a peek at the calls and emails of John Q. German? With this information coming to light, however, I'm sure the Obama Administration will have some light treading to do in the coming days and weeks.

Source: The Washington Post

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Unbelievable. And pray tell oh Mr NSA, what dastardly anti west plotting did the world bank come up with to justify you spying on them?

Be careful, Big Brother is watching.
Also does NSA now stand for "Neurotic Sociopathic Assholes?"

This doesn't actually bother me. They're an intelligence agency, they're supposed to be spying. Just not on their own goddamn people.

I don't even know what to say on this. The US is spying on the Dutch? Why? What goes on in the Netherlands which is worth spying on? And yet the US government wonders why it is almost universally reviled...

P.S. I'm just using the Dutch as a stand in. Please feel free to use whichever country you personally find small and pleasant.

PrinceOfShapeir:
This doesn't actually bother me. They're an intelligence agency, they're supposed to be spying. Just not on their own goddamn people.

What about spying on allies and neutral parties?

*EDIT* Or things that you are a member of, like the World Bank. Not only is USD is the global reserve currency, but Every president of the Wold Bank has been from the US.

Great. It is our job to know what's going on in the world. Good for them.

I want to know why they were so scared of the Welsh? Other than wanting to secede from the UK in the calmest way possible, I don't think they have been a credible threat to anyone outside of a rugby field

Unkillable Cat:
I want to know why they were so scared of the Welsh? Other than wanting to secede from the UK in the calmest way possible, I don't think they have been a credible threat to anyone outside of a rugby field

It's just about monitoring in case trouble arises. It's really hard to get the infrastructure to spy on short notice. You have to have it in place for a day in the future that you may need it.

Most of these countries are likely monitoring us too. We fall into an easy game theory case here where it's better to monitor than not to.

Unkillable Cat:
I want to know why they were so scared of the Welsh? Other than wanting to secede from the UK in the calmest way possible, I don't think they have been a credible threat to anyone outside of a rugby field

Surely Wales is part of...oh, wait, they specified England, despite the source saying Britain.

But, eh, as if the NSA wasn't looking at those nations as well.

Just to let you know, the source said Britain, not England, and probably means the whole United Kingdom. This is a helpful explanation for British Isles related terminology:

Otherwise... while it's cool my country wasn't being spied on, no doubt that's because the British authorities were sharing their data willingly :-/

wait...i looked it up once years ago (because i kinda realised hardly anyone actually knew) and there were only something like 198 in the world (although it will have changed now)...maybe it would be more quantifiable (and interesting) to see the few they weren't supposedly spying on...because afaik 193 is "pretty much almost all"...

So basically the USA is treating the entire world as its enemy.

Well, I know who is in the Axis of Evil now.

They do it because they can. The scary part is that while sending a fighter jet to bomb an installation is a declaration of war, with cyber warfare the 'boys with their toys' can do the same thing (see: Iran) without anyone noticing. And with America showing how big their dicks are here, Russia and China will certainly be trying to keep up and establish the same capabilities.

Just great...

So we spied on 193 countries, and didn't spy on four? there's only 197 countries on the planet? or 198 if it didn't count us...I figured there was more, just from looking at Africa @_@.

PrinceOfShapeir:
This doesn't actually bother me. They're an intelligence agency, they're supposed to be spying. Just not on their own goddamn people.

You should be worried. If they're going to basically spy on every country and individual in the world then everyone is in danger of abuse of this power. That they have it is scary enough. That anyone who wants to look hard enough could probably find a few reasons to detain or imprison almost anyone is even scarier (keep in mind that they don't even have to prove anything nowadays. At least not to get permission to monitor you 24/7. They just need to have evidence to suspect you could be a terrorist or committing a crime and that evidence doesn't need to be concrete. Hell, it could be as simple as typing the word Jihad a few times on the internet). And that they do all of this with absolutely no oversight or accountability is absolutely terrifying.

You say this doesn't bother you, but it absolutely should. They basically have a blank cheque to do whatever they want and if they come after you you will never get to fight it. Even if it went to trial it wouldn't be a fair one because most of what they'd convict on would be deemed classified and you'll never even get to see it.

I am 100% sure the vast majority of American people are rational and nice human beings but dear lord do the bad apples ruin your image!

I'm also sure every country has and/or is "monitoring" (which is the spin doctor way of saying "spying on") every other country. The difference is, the rest of the world hasn't gone "we been monitoring yall!".

American's look like the most paranoid, tin foil hat wearing crazies in the world! Speaking about how they could be invaded, they could defeat godzilla and trying to build a real life iron man suit.

EDIT: I love how America just said to one of it's judges "can we spy on just about every country" and the judge said "okay!", like a bully asking for permission from his friend to beat up a kid. Shouldn't they have asked the EU or something? Seems dodgy as fuck to just ask yourself if you can do something.

shirkbot:
I don't even know what to say on this. The US is spying on the Dutch? Why? What goes on in the Netherlands which is worth spying on? And yet the US government wonders why it is almost universally reviled...

P.S. I'm just using the Dutch as a stand in. Please feel free to use whichever country you personally find small and pleasant.

Well to be fair our government did consider invading new York last week, and they probably want to know why our cheese is so delicious.

All joking aside I do think this is ridiculous, spying has its place in the world and can be used to prevent potential terrorist attacks, but when you start spying on countries like Macedonia and Swaziland for potential threats you're clearly a insane paranoid nutcase.

Lightknight:

Unkillable Cat:
I want to know why they were so scared of the Welsh? Other than wanting to secede from the UK in the calmest way possible, I don't think they have been a credible threat to anyone outside of a rugby field

It's just about monitoring in case trouble arises. It's really hard to get the infrastructure to spy on short notice. You have to have it in place for a day in the future that you may need it.

Most of these countries are likely monitoring us too. We fall into an easy game theory case here where it's better to monitor than not to.

That's a good point about the timescale of getting a serious espionage effort into place, but there really is no excuse for this. Wales is many things... a producer of picturesque valleys, average-to-poor holiday destinations, top class rugby teams and lots and lots of sheep. What it is not, and never, ever, ever, ever, in a million, billion years, is a producer of credible threats to American security (or English security for that matter). It has a population that could fit into a couple of decent-sized sports stadiums and no military infrastructure whatsoever. There is absolutely no reason for America to be spying on them, at all. There will never be 'a day in the future that you may need it'.

PrinceOfShapeir:
This doesn't actually bother me. They're an intelligence agency, they're supposed to be spying. Just not on their own goddamn people.

This.

I'm confused as to why I'm in one of four countries that ostensibly weren't spied on more than anything else.

omega 616:
Seems dodgy as fuck to just ask yourself if you can do something.

This made me lol, but its a fair point. Shouldn't it be agreed that things like this should be put to the security council of the UN or NATO or some shit? I think it would make everyone feel a lot more comfortable about the whole debacle. Mind you the US government ignore the UN and praise them depending on how interests converge so i doubt it would lead to much.

lacktheknack:

I'm confused as to why I'm in one of four countries that ostensibly weren't spied on more than anything else.

Most likely your government was doing the spying for them. Also your DP is frightening.

PrinceOfShapeir:
This doesn't actually bother me. They're an intelligence agency, they're supposed to be spying. Just not on their own goddamn people.

My main concern is that they keep getting caught, to be honest. XD

I mean, spying? Everyone does it, and everyone /knows/ that everyone does it. America spies on France. France spies on America. So long as the two countries remain allies, neither of them mind--that's the way the international game works.

Getting caught, though? At this level? Embarrassing, for both you and the countries you were spying on.

omega 616:
[...]

I agree, except for the "the vast majority of American people are rational and nice human beings" part.
So far I think you're just like us Germans in this regard.
The vast majority of [German/American] people are an ignorant bunch. Not caring about a topic of such utmost importance at all.

Seriously, go around and ask people about their opinion on the NSA-affair. Count how many replies will be something along the lines of:
"I don't know", "I don't care", "I think it's alright" or the absolute worst possible answer: "I have nothing to hide".

Anyway, back to what you said.
I think the worst aspect is that as part of the western nations America is generally considered "the good guys". I mean come on, don't tell me you have never heard that the Chinese are a bunch of thieves/hackers. And yet here you are being just the same; Possibly even worse.

"Land of the free" my ass.
You aren't even a real democracy anymore. With stuff like the patriot act, national security letters and secret courts in place, you're a pseudo-democracy at best.
Shit like this should not even be possible in a free, democratic country.

Have a nice day.

TheSniperFan:

omega 616:
[...]

I agree, except for the "the vast majority of American people are rational and nice human beings" part.
So far I think you're just like us Germans in this regard.
The vast majority of [German/American] people are an ignorant bunch. Not caring about a topic of such utmost importance at all.

Seriously, go around and ask people about their opinion on the NSA-affair. Count how many replies will be something along the lines of:
"I don't know", "I don't care", "I think it's alright" or the absolute worst possible answer: "I have nothing to hide".

Anyway, back to what you said.
I think the worst aspect is that as part of the western nations America is generally considered "the good guys". I mean come on, don't tell me you have never heard that the Chinese are a bunch of thieves/hackers. And yet here you are being just the same; Possibly even worse.

"Land of the free" my ass.
You aren't even a real democracy anymore. With stuff like the patriot act, national security letters and secret courts in place, you're a pseudo-democracy at best.
Shit like this should not even be possible in a free, democratic country.

Have a nice day.

Back it up there skippy, I'm from the UK and not the US!

I'm not turning this into a political tirade about who's government is what but America is never seen as the good guys, they are seen as the bullies or world police ... more war mongering than peaceful.

Lightknight:

Unkillable Cat:
I want to know why they were so scared of the Welsh? Other than wanting to secede from the UK in the calmest way possible, I don't think they have been a credible threat to anyone outside of a rugby field

It's just about monitoring in case trouble arises. It's really hard to get the infrastructure to spy on short notice. You have to have it in place for a day in the future that you may need it.

Most of these countries are likely monitoring us too. We fall into an easy game theory case here where it's better to monitor than not to.

Think of it this way - if Norway, for instance, were to have been discovered to be monitoring the communications of the Pentagon, White House, etc., tapping the President's phone, would the United States not be rightly outraged? I'd imagine they'd actually take some form of punitive measure, being the States.

omega 616:
Back it up there skippy, I'm from the UK and not the US!

Ooops, sorry for that.

omega 616:
I'm not turning this into a political tirade about who's government is what but America is never seen as the good guys, they are seen as the bullies or world police ... more war mongering than peaceful.

Hmmmm, you're probably right.
If I think about it, it's usually people from America and the media (from America) that depict the US as the heroes. People (at least around here) not so much.
Sadly the whole "the majority is ignorant" part still holds true (at least here in Germany). The stuff that happend here in politics recently and the reactions of the people prove that. :(

Dear Guys,

Every government is corrupt. Governments concentrate power and money in the hands of (relatively) few people, which does NOTHING but corrupt those people into abusing said power and money. As a result, governments authorize things like spying on allies or twisting the spirit of symbolic founding documents or deregulating industries after massive lobbying efforts and kickbacks. They start wars with little or fabricated provocation, often against inferior foes, in an attempt to take said foes' natural resources for themselves. They silence dissent. They discourage dissent. They lie, they swindle, they serve themselves above the needs of their people -- usually while braying and trumpeting about how faithfully they're upholding their people's will.

It's the way of the world and it always has been. Always. It ALWAYS has been.

So you can rally supporters, start the revolution, overthrow your corrupt government, establish and rule over a blood-stained and shell-shocked utopia of your own distorted making, then descend into the selfsame corruption you used to fight against. Or you can ignore it as long as it doesn't directly affect you (or harm you indirectly by a remove of more than one or two steps). Or you can whine about it on the Internet, because that's what you do.

--Morology!

...

Wait, wait, you could also focus your efforts on one individual act of corruption at a time, or one corrupt authority figure at a time. You could devote your efforts to stamping out one corrupt law or practice at a time.

Better yet, you could do your research, find out who's leading the fight against that one element of corruption and help them. You could change the world (albeit in a very small way).

Or you could continue to throw away your time and effort -- just like I'm doing RIGHT NOW -- by whining about it on the Internet, because you're so much more enlightened and reasonable than everybody else.

Fighting terror or crime is the lest reason why the NSA does what it does! This monitoring of nearly everything is mostly for political power play or economic disequilibrium. Used for blackmailing or getting ahead of your negotiating partner. Sure a lot of agencys will do this, but not in this scale (mostly because they donīt have the infrastructure). A crime is not getting better because a lot of people do it and when you get caught with the hand in the cookie jar, you will get calld out for it rightfully.
Other side effects may include: Losing your moral high ground and attract even more hate!
Also the internet and mobile related informations of everyone (also us citizens, donīt be naive) are something that is mostly stored for later, when it will be needed for whatever reason. Maybe you will be a person of interest someday, who knows, better make sure.

I see both sides of this, but part me of says well if you're not doing anything wrong you shouldn't have anything to worry about.. And those that are, well, someone should know. And you can't know that until you look.

It's far from perfect, but a world such as this, what better way is there to do so? You just hope those with the power use it responsibly. That there is the big question... And none of the information should be used for anything else than determining threats.

I don't want anyone recording my texts, emails, or whatever, but if a program has to do that in order to find some whackjob that is trying to go blow people up then all things considered it is a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things. Would you expose your personal life to save lives?

But there is an inherent mistrust that I completely understand. After all, what real assurances do we have that such information is properly handled, stored, and protected? In this world of growing cyber threats having information that is hard to accumulate be snatched away in moments just to be sold and used for nefarious purposes is a real concern.

Redflash:

Lightknight:

Unkillable Cat:
I want to know why they were so scared of the Welsh? Other than wanting to secede from the UK in the calmest way possible, I don't think they have been a credible threat to anyone outside of a rugby field

It's just about monitoring in case trouble arises. It's really hard to get the infrastructure to spy on short notice. You have to have it in place for a day in the future that you may need it.

Most of these countries are likely monitoring us too. We fall into an easy game theory case here where it's better to monitor than not to.

That's a good point about the timescale of getting a serious espionage effort into place, but there really is no excuse for this. Wales is many things... a producer of picturesque valleys, average-to-poor holiday destinations, top class rugby teams and lots and lots of sheep. What it is not, and never, ever, ever, ever, in a million, billion years, is a producer of credible threats to American security (or English security for that matter). It has a population that could fit into a couple of decent-sized sports stadiums and no military infrastructure whatsoever. There is absolutely no reason for America to be spying on them, at all. There will never be 'a day in the future that you may need it'.

The threat in question may not come from the country itself but maybe the possibility of dangerous people going there to hide. I'm stretching here but it's the only vague answer I could come up with.

Redflash:

Lightknight:

Unkillable Cat:
I want to know why they were so scared of the Welsh? Other than wanting to secede from the UK in the calmest way possible, I don't think they have been a credible threat to anyone outside of a rugby field

It's just about monitoring in case trouble arises. It's really hard to get the infrastructure to spy on short notice. You have to have it in place for a day in the future that you may need it.

Most of these countries are likely monitoring us too. We fall into an easy game theory case here where it's better to monitor than not to.

That's a good point about the timescale of getting a serious espionage effort into place, but there really is no excuse for this. Wales is many things... a producer of picturesque valleys, average-to-poor holiday destinations, top class rugby teams and lots and lots of sheep. What it is not, and never, ever, ever, ever, in a million, billion years, is a producer of credible threats to American security (or English security for that matter). It has a population that could fit into a couple of decent-sized sports stadiums and no military infrastructure whatsoever. There is absolutely no reason for America to be spying on them, at all. There will never be 'a day in the future that you may need it'.

Cool, so you're a trusting optimist who believes in a fully utopian future in which all of our allies of today remain our allies forever and ever and will never develop alternate technologies that could one day hurt us let alone have smaller splinter groups within their borders that they themselves are not equipped or prepared to find that we can because we're prepared.

But it's the NSA's job not to be that kind of optimist. Extremists can arise in any country and those countries may not have the means to monitor or track them themselves.

Smiley Face:

Lightknight:

Unkillable Cat:
I want to know why they were so scared of the Welsh? Other than wanting to secede from the UK in the calmest way possible, I don't think they have been a credible threat to anyone outside of a rugby field

It's just about monitoring in case trouble arises. It's really hard to get the infrastructure to spy on short notice. You have to have it in place for a day in the future that you may need it.

Most of these countries are likely monitoring us too. We fall into an easy game theory case here where it's better to monitor than not to.

Think of it this way - if Norway, for instance, were to have been discovered to be monitoring the communications of the Pentagon, White House, etc., tapping the President's phone, would the United States not be rightly outraged? I'd imagine they'd actually take some form of punitive measure, being the States.

According to quotes from the NSA, they're under no impression that those countries aren't doing this. This is a basic practice of governments since... well.. forever. Spies are just integrated watchmen rather than watchmen on the gates. They're not always there for malicious reasons. Just to run back to pappa if something bad comes up.

BoogieManFL:
I see both sides of this, but part me of says well if you're not doing anything wrong you shouldn't have anything to worry about.. And those that are, well, someone should know. And you can't know that until you look.

We always talk about how game developers shouldn't use draconian DRM because it punishes legitimate consumers by treating everyone like pirates. That's basically what's happening here, except it's the government treating everyone like suspicious persons/terrorist. More to the point, there is no evidence that these operations have managed to stop, or impede, any terrorist plots and the US constitution has an amendment to ensure against unreasonable search and seizure, which is exactly what this kind of mass data collection is.

It's far from perfect, but a world such as this, what better way is there to do so? You just hope those with the power use it responsibly. That there is the big question... And none of the information should be used for anything else than determining threats.

The problem is that we do have concrete proof that people have been using the information for person gain. Admittedly it's usually petty relationship manipulation like spying on significant others or potential romantic interests etc. but that's just what I remember immediately and it's not acceptable.

Is this even really a surprise to anyone anymore? I mean seriously, the NSA saw fit to spy on its own citizens.... does anyone honestly think that foreign countries would be somehow escape the proverbial net?

"Secret Court".

A Court should never be secret. Ever.

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