Monday, June 2, 2014

NSA Collecting Millions of Online User Pictures

With the latest of the NSA stories based on documents provided by former US government contractor turned NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden it has been revealed that millions of facial images are being scooped up and stored away for future use. The New York Times story, “N.S.A. Collecting Millions of Faces From Web Images” by James Risen and Laura Poitras continues to lay out the steps that will inevitably lead to the final monstrous revelation that all of this information is being gathered for future use against political dissidents and all others who cross Leviathan.
I excerpt the following from the NYT story:
The National Security Agency is harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents.
The spy agency’s reliance on facial recognition technology has grown significantly over the last four years as the agency has turned to new software to exploit the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, videoconferences and other communications, the N.S.A. documents reveal. Agency officials believe that technological advances could revolutionize the way that the N.S.A. finds intelligence targets around the world, the documents show. The agency’s ambitions for this highly sensitive ability and the scale of its effort have not previously been disclosed.
The agency intercepts “millions of images per day” — including about 55,000 “facial recognition quality images” — which translate into “tremendous untapped potential,” according to 2011 documents obtained from the former agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. While once focused on written and oral communications, the N.S.A. now considers facial images, fingerprints and other identifiers just as important to its mission of tracking suspected terrorists and other intelligence targets, the documents show.
The pictures will be part of the massive dossiers that are being assembled and stored at facilities like that gargantuan one out on the Utah desert. The visuals for the Risen-Poitras story are here but there is one that is more disturbing than the others in that it lays out what else is being collected and stored, that one is here.


It is the slide that indicates exactly what Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald have been talking about as far as the agency's drive "collect it all" and this data, rather than being used to stop "terrorists" which has always been hogwash unless the definition of what constitutes a "terrorist" is so vaguely defined that pretty much anyone could be made to fit into that catch all phrase. From the feathered slide which divides things up into the three main categories BIOMETRIC, BIOGRAPHIC and CONTEXTUAL I provide a sampling of each of the three below:
BIOMETRIC: Familial, volitional, individual, sex, height, heat signature, genetic markers, voiceprint, blood type, language, drug use (recreational and medical), race, handwriting, typing, gait, medical devices.
BIOGRAPHIC: Address history, educational, employment, judicial, military service, family, acquired traits, spouse, children, cohabitants, employees, guests, websites, Twitter, Facebook, social affiliations.
CONTEXTUAL: Financial, media consumption/production, associates, property, political donations, credit ratings, tastes/preferences, commercial transactions, property, accounts records.
Be aware that this is only a small sample of that the slide has as the targets for collection - it is in my opinion that this illustration is even more important than the story itself in that it reveals far more than the gathering of images for facial recognition. The inclusion of family for example shows that the NSA is going to a place where not even the Mafia does and that when the political situation is right - say after a false flag terror attack or a real one given the vast number of enemies that the US now has thanks to the ongoing murder of foreign civilians this is all going to be put to use to protect the totalitarian state that has been constructed and to which the vast majority still remains unaware of .
To quote a Leonard Cohen song "Get ready for the future: it is murder"