Well, in keeping with my apparent theme, and because technology is my most practiced expertise, it only seems fitting that I call attention to some of the same things I've been calling to attention in the past few days. First I'd like to repeat "what happens there, if successful, shall be the model of what happens here". Of course, here they claim to only have 'metadata' (Which I will explain further down), and not the whole recorded conversation, but then again, there, they made that claim too, until there was proof of that being false.
Metadata, sounds innocent enough, and looks like this sample I pulled from my cell phone (names and numbers changed to protect the innocent):
[log number="+15555555050" time="22 Feb 2013 12:23:13" date="1361553793148" type="1" name="Mom" new="0" dur="208" /] [log number="+15555555051" time="20 Feb 2013 21:57:02" date="1361415422407" type="1" name="Girlfriend" new="0" dur="65" /] [log number="+15555555052" time="20 Feb 2013 21:15:36" date="1361412936106" type="2" name="Home" new="0" dur="0" /] [log number="-2" time="20 Feb 2013 21:10:28" date="1361412628125" type="1" name="Who has a phone number '-2'? I swear I did not change this" new="0" dur="83" /]
I also had to change '<>' styled brackets to '' because the blogger interface hates those. Already, this meta data contained more information than I am willing to share with the internet at large because it had my home phone number, my girlfriends cell number and name, and a friends cell phone who I have elected to call mom... And I have no idea who I spoke with for 83 seconds on February 20th at 9:10:28 PM nor why their phone number is "-2" maybe that simply represents a blocked number. The 'metadata' they claim to have collected might not be identical to this, but this is a close representation of what it would look like and contain, except that the blocked number would likely be on their records... What I am fairly certain of, is that I was not called by the 'al qaeda' on Feb 20th unless the al qaeda had some "important message about lowering my credit card interest" which I laugh at every time I receive a call from that robot lady, because less than zero means they'd pay me to own a credit card.
Now, if I'm not even comfortable with divulging full details of four calls that took place several months ago, should I be happy to know that a bunch of bureaucrats could very easily find these numbers and names I have changed among the entire history of every call I've made or received during the past x number of years? I'll be even less happy if they come back to me with a recording of an 83 second call I don't even remember regardless of the fact that I am certain it had nothing to do with breaking the law... When did the Government become my jealous girlfriend? I don't remember our first date, or first kiss... Though, for some reason, I seem to remember being fucked by them more than once, but that rape case was dropped due to insufficient evidence, or because I was already naked in my bed when they came in through the open (2nd story) window which suggested I wanted it, or something... That is how this gets played off, that, somehow, I wanted to ensure that terrorists didn't plant a bomb under my bed while I was out earning their taxes... I'd describe it in a third way, but I don't think I can make it any clearer or more concise. OK, I've got it: They spy on me to ensure that I'm not a danger to you while spying on you to ensure you're not a danger to me, but really, they spy on us both to make sure we're not a danger to them. BINGO!
If it simply ended with phone meta-data it would already be bad. Simply receiving a 'wrong number' phone call as happens to most of us, and some more frequently than others from 'someone on a watchlist' suddenly adds us to a watchlist, and all we said was "There is no Mr. Ahmadinejad at this number". Boom watchlist. Now 'you no board plane without prescribed anal scraping', and are taken to a back room to be asked where you were on the night of Feb 20th... Which, as I already stated, I have no idea, other than the obvious 'somewhere outside of the vocal range of my girlfriend' which is why she called me and 'not at home' which is why I called there, unless I accidentally hit something on my touchscreen, which happens sometimes.
Speaking of wrong numbers, my phone just rang once from the Calgary Alberta area code... I swear I evoke certain things into being simply by thinking them... Think "Money", think "money". Why does that one never appear to work? It works when I think of someone I have not spoken to in a long time, it works when the radio plays a song I just mentioned that I had not heard in a dogs age... It just never works with money... You are kidding yourself, mr. dirt, you know you don't believe in money.
But that isn't where it ends, is it? No. No, it goes way beyond that... Even if you, Canadians, believe that Canada is not tapping all internet traffic, to which I will add that I don't but have no specific proof, our internet traffic does not obey geography in the least... Maybe the best available circuit from Newfoundland to B.C. was to cross an ocean, cross europe, cross asia, then cross another ocean, or maybe it went through Montreal, through New York, through Chicago, and through Denver... Maybe it went through Bell Canada satellites, or maybe through AT&T satellites. It simply lets available signal paths guide it in whichever direction responds the fastest until it gets to where it needs to be. And this isn't even covering where your hotmail account, your facebook account, or your gmail account actually lives, which is likely in the continental U.S. because there simply is not enough demand in Canada to install Canada specific server farms, and it is not economically viable (nor physically required) to have a server farm every few hundred kilometers...
Even if there are Canadian server farms for Canadian users, the data stored there would most likely replicate to every other server hosting that service so your account data could exist in all continents, and every country where there exists a server farm. I know there are not many who grasp the implications of what the internet really is, or how some of these technologies work, but imagine playing broken telephone with a few thousand people around the planet, except that the telephone never actually breaks and your original message was relayed word for word through all of those thousands of people and the countries they live in... All thousand people in all the regions where they live now have an exact copy of your message in their memory, and can repeat it to whichever police break down their door to ask what you said...
Maybe you didn't say anything wrong, and maybe you did. Maybe there was one single word in a paragraph that somebody does not like and now they want to petition your Government to beat you up, or allow them to do it by having you 'extradited' on some obscure war crimes law.... Maybe you said it long before some legislation was enacted that condemns you for saying it 6 years ago and you are to serve as their bad example in their first televised execution... Who knows? I don't make the rules, frequently I don't even like the rules, which I suppose is the very reason I am here writing blog posts into the NSA hard drives... I cannot change this world alone...