(This post is by way of a PSA; if it’s 2L2R, save it for later, okay?)
From Foreign Policy magazine comes information about the ‘elite’ cyber-spy unit of the FBI based at Quantico. That the FBI has gotten a free pass in Congressional mass surveillance hearings is probably no accident is it? Their secrecy and hidden mission of their Data Intercept Technology Unit, or DITU, would give plausible deniability to questions about any of the NSA’s purposes or ‘legalities’, or not, as the case may be. Shane Harris reminds us that the Prism Power Point presentation that Edward Snowden gave for journalist hints at the FBI’s data collection which then flows into NSA databases. Yes, we were encouraged to believe that the NSA shared intel with the FBI, but both seem to be quite conveniently collected and shared.
‘But interviews with current and former law enforcement officials, as well as technology industry representatives, reveal that the unit is the FBI’s equivalent of the National Security Agency and the primary liaison between the spy agency and many of America’s most important technology companies, including Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Apple.’ [snip]
According to a senior Justice Department official, the NSA could not do its job without the DITU’s help. The unit works closely with the “big three” U.S. telecommunications companies — AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint — to ensure its ability to intercept the telephone and Internet communications of its domestic targets, as well as the NSA’s ability to intercept electronic communications transiting through the United States on fiber-optic cables.
For Prism, the DITU maintains the surveillance equipment that captures what the NSA wants from U.S. technology companies, including archived emails, chat-room sessions, social media posts, and Internet phone calls. The unit then transmits that information to the NSA, where it’s routed into other parts of the agency for analysis and used in reports.’
So when the big tech companies say they don’t no nuffin’ ‘bout no NSA, they may not be altogether lying, but I’d like to know how complicit they have been with the spies, wouldn’t you? It’s worth reading, if only for the explanation of ‘Port Reader’ technology, and their pursuit of metadata that the NSA allegedly gave up in 2011 when the FISA court balked at the process. Some of the programs, including the usual hilarious spook names are interesting: CoolMiner, Packeteer, Phiple Troenix, Cyber Knight Oh, and FBI’s Magic Lantern keystroke logging system, a device that could be implanted on a computer and clandestinely record what its user typed.
David Rosen recently wrote about ‘Spooky Business: A New Report on Corporate Espionage Against Non-profits’ by the Center for Public Policy. It describes the two-headed security state, including the formal network of federal, state, and local ‘duly constituted and ‘legal’ (in quotes) law and order entities to back up state power. The other is the shadow police network that corporate entities use, often illegally and uncontrolled, to monitor, discredit, or crush citizen’s democratic rights to question or undermine corporate power and its burgeoning control and abuse.
“Spooky Business” shows that many leading U.S. corporations are retaining the services of former federal security personnel to wage campaigns to subvert Constitutionally protected citizen rights. It details the practices of Bank of America, BP, Brown & Williamson, Burger King, the Chamber of Commerce, Chevron Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, Kraft, McDonald’s, Monsanto, Shell and Wal-Mart. Going further, it argues that to pull this off, these companies hire former employees of the CIA, FBI, NSA, Secret Service, the military and local law-enforcement. As Ruskin shows, these “security officials” are linked to infiltration, espionage, surveillance and other tactics that are intended to undermine ostensible threats posed by nonprofit organizations, activists and whistleblowers.’
The report (pdf here) mentions that targets of corporate espionage are those who threaten a company’s assets or image sufficiently, and that: