Saturday, July 27, 2013

The O'Reilly Factor on NSA Spying and what is possible

The O'Reilly Factor | Bill O'Reilly | Fox News   Mr. O'Reilly doubted that all voice could be recorded, I think the confusion here is, what is a telephone call now days.  In most offices, and many homes now days, with the use of Vonage and similar Computerized voice devices, the voice is turned to data from the start.  In any case if a phone call over 20 years go or more traveled more than 20 miles in distance, and a lot less these days, it is digitized.  

Once a phone call is digitized it becomes just another data stream, just like the email.  NSA should be thought of in the realm of a big pipe, that data instead of water flows thru.   NSA takes in all the data on in this big pipe.  Data, is data, once it has been captured it is stored as that as data, nothing more until analysts and computer analysis is done to it.  This is where the Meta data comes in, the meta data tells what the data from the pipe that has been captured is.  IE a phone call, or an email, or a picture, or video.  The key is that you need to be in a place where all the data flows thru, and NSA is in most if not all those places.

The US is not the only one doing this, England has a number of capture points as well as most countries.  Add to this the Satellites up in sky. We all beam up data to it, often the data is passed between satellites, then at some point it is beamed back to earth.  At any of these points the data can be captured, some is voice, some is emails, some is large contracts for major companies, or new schematics of weapons.

This data is sent in what are called packets, with meta data telling the packets where to go, and who sent it.  In many cases if the data is encrypted, we really do not need to know much more than that.  If we know it comes from your plumber to you, that even if encrypted, is probably not a problem.   But since we store the data, if we find you or your plumber affiliated with a terrorist group, we can go back and decrypt the data, and see what was going on.

Since NSA captures so much data, it sometimes is a problem to decide which to actually look at.  So it just sits as raw data, stored for some period of time, until it is considered irrelevant.  We still have data from WWII that has not be decrypted.  

Now back to meta data, computer programmers are always looking for new ways to analyse the meta data.  Templates are I assume some of the newest ways to analyse.  Developed by a young lady a number of years ago when she was doing analysis of corporate communications for large firms.  She developed an analysis tool that allowed her to tell how information best flowed in a corporation.  She found that once she developed a template of the best or most profitable corporations information flows, she could go into another corporation and  analyse their data to find the best communications flow using the template.

Some of our three letter intel agencies heard about her work, and took her in.  What they found is that they could use these templates to analyse terrorist communications.  If a known terrorist group's data could be analysed, then a template developed, then that template can be used to analyse the vast meta data, looking for the same communications paths.  Then suspect meta data can be analysed even further.  This template is constantly updated and changed as more terrorist cells are discovered.

By the way, this method is being used to track financial crimes, hackers, the uses are endless.  For instance flash mobs, have a particular pattern of starting that if templates are used can help in stopping them before they actually happen.

Mr. O'Reilly is one of my most admired  gentlemen on TV, and hearing his interview, I felt I had to add some information.

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