The Right Coast

December 20, 2005
More on tech angle of NSA story
By Tom Smith

Very interesting. (scroll down when you get there.) One thing we are seeing here is the ability of the blogosphere to bring together clues and various technical expertises to figure out what is going on. The picture that seems to be emerging (and which could be completely wrong) is monitoring of a high volume of traffic, probably with sampling techniques used, and sifting of calls using algorithms, with increased scrutiny where indicated.

Among other things, it makes a lot of sense; a way to fight enemies who are hiding in your society by blending in, but still making phone calls. You can also see why the FISA warrant process would not work. "Your honor, we need a warrant to tap for an average of 4 seconds each, one million calls that we expect will be made from the following 300,000 numbers over the next two weeks. We don't know whom the numbers belong to. They were selected by a combination of using networks built out from captured numbers, and statistical models of several kinds." Good luck even trying to explain that to a judge.