The world is still reeling from the incredible revelations made by Der Spiegel and Jacob Appelbaum over the NSA’s well funded quest to control the world’s information. The most newsworthy revelation, at least at first, was DROPOUTJEEP a software program that gives the NSA total access to your iPhone.
But that is just the beginning of the revelations. As Appelbaum’s hour long presentation at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress provided even more amazing details of NSA’s future plans and current operations for dominating global communications and intelligence or, as Appelbaum put it, a “planetary strategic surveillance system.”
There’s a lot to unpack that involves both software and hardware tools but let’s start with the NSA’s three key systems to handle the internet:
* TURMOIL is deep packet inspection or a passive dragnet surveillance sensors for interception system for the entire internet.
* TURBINE involves deep packet injection (infection).
* QFIRE is infrastructure for the other two systems – a way to systematically use TURMOIL to find you then use TURBINE to infect your computer.
Appelbaum claims TURMOIL violates the Fourth Amendment because it acts as a “general warrant dragnet surveillance system.” Whereas TURBINE is not passive but aggressive exploitation into a computer system – also a legally dubious prospect if not legally authorized.
QFIRE poses even more problems because it compromises other people’s routers (not the target) to make sure they can localize attacks which may also violate the Fourth Amendment.
According to Appelbaum being a Muslim alone is grounds for being a target.
Appelbaum’s last point provides a serious question regarding legislative oversight of the NSA. How many people in Congress know about these programs? And how many that have been briefed fully understand their implications?
We are well beyond metadata now.