Robert wants to know why the FBI just doesn't talk to the NSA about the data they want on the terrorist's phone. In reality, Apple's position is that the metadata from the carrier itself tells a lot of detail. But there may be a legal wall that would prohibit them from cooperating. The NSA just announced that they are helping, though. So that leads Leo to believe that there's another goal here. Their goal is to get the keys to the kingdom and force Apple to give them a backdoor to their phones.
Citizenfour is an Academy Award winning documentary on the story of Edward Snowden. He was a contractor for the NSA as a systems administrator working out of Hawaii, and that's how he was able to obtain information. What he did with that information is what became so controversial. He went to Hong Kong, and contacted journalists to give them this information he had collected, but didn't want anything released that would risk the lives of government operatives. Instead, he wanted journalists to tell the world, Americans in particular, what the NSA had been up to.
David wants to talk about privacy of his cellphone. He's worried that Uncle Sam can snoop on him. Leo says that he has good reason to worry because government can get metadata from phone calls with a simple pen registry request that only costs $1.50 and doesn't require a warrant. Can Google Voice be a better option? Or encryption?
Leo says that behavior that gets the NSAs attention will motivate them to follow him more closely. The problem is, legislation like the Patriot Act encourages government to do whatever they can to live up to the spirit of "never again."
The most recent leak from Edward Snowden is about an NSA program called "Quantum." The Intercept, a publication created to release this information, claims that this quantum tool weaponizes the internet. It is a malware tool that can infect machines at an industrial scale exploitation. The agency has malware tools that could infect millions of computers worldwide that allows them to eavesdrop on the computer's owner. It can covertly record audio from the computer microphone and take pictures from the computer webcam.
Po isn't thrilled about the trend of surveillance in this country and how easy it could be for them to listen in on cellphones. Leo says that the courts have held that metadata (where he is or who he's calling) isn't subject to a warrant. So the government can make a request for a "pen register," pay a fee and then they can know someone's exact whereabouts.
Todd has heard about a new app that will allow others to listen in on phone conversations. He heard about it on Coast to Coast AM. Leo says that's utter nonsense. It's not possible and it's a totally bogus story in order to drive listeners.
The NSA has said that Edward Snowden used a cheap, common webpage downloader to grab data.
Snowden Used Low-Cost Tool to Best N.S.A. (NY Times)…
The latest NSA revelation comes from more documents leaked by Edward Snowden. It shows that the NSA has 50,000 computer networks in a 'sleeper cell' that can be turned on at any time. Leo points out that as impressive as this sounds, a 50,000 computer bot net is relatively small compared to what spammers and hackers have for commercial purposes.
Michael Horowitz, author of Computer World's blog "Defensive Computing," has an interesting article called "Google knows nearly every Wi-Fi password in the world." If true, it wouldn't take much for the NSA or some other law enforcement division to get your Wi-Fi password and have access to your computer without a warrant.
Andrew would like to be less trackable by the government. Should he ditch the smartphone and just use one of his old flip phones? Leo says the NSA could still find out who he calls and who calls him. Then they can triangulate that to find his location with cell towers. If he wants to be truly off the grid, he should get a burner phone. But that's a heck of a lot of trouble to go to.