Bettgeflüster

“Bed whispers,” German title of the old movie “Pillow Talk” starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson. Ezra Klein’s blog on the Washington Post recently posted about different types of public and private employees who have been caught or might be caught inappropriately making use of the vast phone and internet databases being collected and shared by e.g. the N.S.A.; one of the the least problematic bad uses so far has been to laugh about people’s private pillow talk.

Policemen: Police officers around the U.S.A. were caught using the F.B.I.’s huge N.C.I.C. database to snoop on each other, their significant others or, in one case, women a policeman wanted to cook and eat.

Military: The N.S.A. is part of the military. Fwiw, they said only a small number of people can search their phone records database (Edward Snowden?). A former N.S.A. employee told ABC in 2008 that N.S.A. employees used to listen to overseas soldiers’ phone sex.

Spies: There are fears inside and outside the U.S.A. that intelligence agencies around the world are spying on each other’s domestic populations as a favor to help local agencies circumvent laws protecting their citizens against domestic surveillance by their own governments. As a favor then your country’s communications data would be bulk-hoovered by at least one other country’s intelligence agencies and stored there before being shared with your country’s intelligence agencies…

Mercenaries: If 70% of the U.S.’s intelligence budget has been spent on private contractors in recent years, including on Edward Snowden’s former employer, then tens of thousands of guys must have worked these jobs by now with access to databases and powerful tools.

Telecommunications companies: Ars Technica posted that U.S. intelligence agencies partner with a U.S. telecom company to (somehow) collect phone and internet data from local telecom companies in foreign countries. Providing historical perspective, WaPo wrote that when giant fiber optics network operator Global Crossing went bankrupt in 2002 and was being bid on by firms from Hong Kong and Singapore, the U.S.A.’s F.C.C. held up approval of the deal until systems for U.S. government access to those networks had been agreed to. That model, worked out by reps from Defense, Justice and Homeland Security departments, has now been used by the F.C.C.’s “Team Telecom” for other telecom companies too. Phone companies, phone companies that provide internet connections, cable television companies that provide internet connections and companies that run, maintain or manage copper, fiber optic, satellite and other networks: all have employees and consultants that might also be able to access such data.

Software and content providers: “nine major” U.S. companies including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and AOL have been sharing customer communication data with U.S. intelligence agencies; their employees and consultants might also be able to access these data.

News agencies and newspapers: Rupert Murdoch’s phone-hacking scandal in London indicates at least U.K. journalists have succeeded in paying police to acquire the kind of private information stored in these big databases. Such news companies’ employees and consultants, and their subsidiaries’ and parent corporations’ employees and consultants, and anyone capable of tapping journalists’ insecure computers and phones, might access all journalists’ data including those data obtained from police.

(BETT geh FLÜÜ stah.)

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