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Old 02.07.2013, 01:17
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Re: NSA collecting records of all US phone calls

There are secret treaties between countries. The recent German reactions of feigning ignorance is just for political show. They've always known what has been taking place. Their intelligence agencies will set their politicians and demogogues straight if they carry on too far.

Spying on each other has been mutually agreed on amongst friendly countries. Since the US government could not spy on its citizens, it struck an agreement with the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand to spy on US citizens on its behalf. The digitalization of communication made the capturing of sigint extremely easy, yet made the legal bounds of what it can do with that data extremely complicated. So the US seems to have decided to capture sigint on its own, as network traffic is not readily identifiable as communication until it is decoded anyway.

So while those streams of 1s and 0s are stored somewhere, those aren't actually phone conversations and internet activity yet. It is only when they are decoded can it be considered eavesdropping. For decoding, they still need judicial approval.

But there is likely to be extra-judicial eavesdropping taking place, but none of it can be used for prosecution. Any of it would quickly be thrown out of court as illegal search and seizure. It is only useful for tactical operations against national security threats.
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