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Data Storage Government Privacy

Can Commercial Storage Services Handle the NSA's Metadata? 67

Posted by samzenpus
from the ocean-of-data dept.
itwbennett writes "In a review of NSA surveillance last month, President Obama called for a new approach on telephony metadata that will 'establish a mechanism that preserves the capabilities we need without the government holding this bulk metadata.' Obama said that a third party holding all the data in a single, consolidated database would be essentially doing what is a government function, and may not increase public confidence that its privacy is being protected. Now, an RFI (request for information) has been posted to get information on U.S. industry's commercially available capabilities, so that the government can investigate alternative approaches."
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Can Commercial Storage Services Handle the NSA's Metadata?

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  • Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Monday February 10, 2014 @12:55PM (#46210567) Homepage

    Given enough money.

    Once the USA government asks for bids on this, you will get many companies wanting a share on this juicy contract. This is supposed to be with the intention of increasing security, but just wait a couple of years and stories will start to pop up as to how corners have been cut to turn a few extra dollars with the result that this data becomes available to all sorts.

  • by HeckRuler (1369601) on Monday February 10, 2014 @12:57PM (#46210579)

    It's a bluff. A feint. A thinly veiled threat. It's not intended to actually come to pass. One of the things Obama proposed is to move the keys to the friggin kingdom from government controlled servers to nebulous "third parties". And in the very same damn speech he pointed out how this would be a ludicrously bad idea.

    (Well, I mean, he also suggested that the telcom companies who move this data keep it until the NSA asks for it. That or third parties. I don't mean to harp on a stray comment or anything.)

    But let me spell out the subtext here for anyone that can't read between the lines: If you try and keep the government from storing this data, we'll just go find someone else to hold it. And my, my, my, doesn't that sound just simply horrible? Be a REAL SHAME if someone were to try and enforce that 4th amendment 'round here.

    Also, fuck beta. I have no way to tell if someone responded to me other than looking at that specific thread.

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Monday February 10, 2014 @01:01PM (#46210611)

    OK, so they want to store everything passing across the lines that they deem suspicious, promise us that no one will look at it with a warrant, then if you're ever suspected of something they can go back and find all your communications over the past X years. And, since the feds don't want the blame for holding onto this information (and looking as Big Brother-ish as they are), they want private industry to pony up the disk space? I'd almost trust the NSA more to house this info since they'll only snoop in on my conversations when I post/say a flagged word/phrase. Wheraeas I KNOW private companies will as soon as they figure out how they can commoditize it.

    It's Orwellian enough seeing Google spam me with ads based on my email conversations.

  • Wrong question. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday February 10, 2014 @01:13PM (#46210687) Journal
    Can they? Sure. It's not as though the private sector can't store data, if provided with the right incentives. Heck, AT&T is providing the DEA with access to nearly three decades of call records, plus consulting expertise, right now [slashdot.org]!

    Trouble is, that was never the fucking point. Do people want the NSA collecting a giant database about them? No. Does it make the slightest difference if the giant database is nominally Verizon's giant database, that just so happens to respond to all queries from the NSA? Aside from the greater likelihood that the database will be used for marketing and surveillance, not a bit. The ostensible '3rd party' won't remain at arm's length for long. Why would they? An entire organization with a single customer, dedicated to shovelling data toward them on command? Instant capture. The only time the 3rd party will be 'independent' is if somebody asks the NSA what that 3rd party is up to, in which case they'll oh-so-innocently-have-no-idea-what-that-independent-entity-does. For all other purposes, they'll be joined at the hip.
  • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rich0 (548339) on Monday February 10, 2014 @02:04PM (#46211023) Homepage

    Well, I'm sure one of the usual defense contractors built all the stuff the NSA is using in the first place, so having one build and run it someplace else doesn't seem like a problem. It just doesn't really seem like a solution either. How does moving around the lines on the org chart fix this issue?

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