The NSA is now intercepting packages too!
Security researcher Jacob Appelbaum co-wrote a Der Spiegel article published December 29, 2013, detailing how the NSA intercepts newly purchased computer products mid-shipment (from companies like FedEx and UPS) to install surveillance malware before reaching the buyer without their knowledge.
Malware, an abbreviation for malicious software, is used to disrupt computer operations, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems.
“If a target person, agency or company orders a new computer or related accessories, for example, TAO [Office of Tailored Access Operations] can divert the shipping delivery to its own secret workshops,” Appelbaum wrote. ”The NSA calls this method interdiction. At these so-called “load stations,” agents carefully open the package in order to load malware onto the electronics, or even install hardware components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. All subsequent steps can then be conducted from the comfort of a remote computer.”
The Daily Caller inquired to UPS and FedEx asking whether they had knowledge of such a program and if they cooperated with the NSA. FedEx media relations’ Scott Fiedler responded with the following: “The answer to your questions about ‘permission/cooperation, etc…’ is – ’No.’” Fiedler decline to comment on whether FedEx was aware of the program, or give a statement describing FedEx’s official stance on the matter.
UPS declined to comment.
Where does the endless, warrantless gathering of personal information end? Apparently, it doesn't as the NSA:
Has the ability to hack private WiFi networks from almost 10 miles away
Collects virtually every phone call record in the U.S.— who you call, who calls you, when, for how long, and sometimes where (Guardian)
"Is harvesting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world, many of them belonging to Americans." (Washington Post)
Collecting "communications on fiber cables and infrastructure as data flows past," as part of what it calls "upstream" collection, including content and metadata of emails, web activity, chats, social networks, and everything else (Washington Post)
"Is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans’ e-mail and text communications into and out of the country." (New York Times)
"Is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cell phones around the world." (Washington Post)
"Is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age." (New York Times and Pro Publica)
"Has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world" and has "positioned itself to collect at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans." (Washington Post)
"Has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches." (Washington Post)
"Is secretly piggybacking on the tools that enable Internet advertisers to track consumers, using "cookies" and location data to pinpoint targets for government hacking and to bolster surveillance." (Washington Post)
"Officers on several occasions have channeled their agency’s enormous eavesdropping power to spy on love interests." (Wall Street Journal)
NSA spied on online games, including World or Warcraft and Second Life (ProPublica)
Spying on Congress and world leaders
Following Xbox live discussions
NSA had gathered unprecedented amounts of metadata (transaction information) in France, recording around 70 million phone calls between December 2012 and January 2013
It appears the NSA incorporates routers and servers from non-NSA networks into its covert network by infecting these networks with "implants" that then allow the government hackers to control the computers remotely
Tracking "cookies" on your computer -- a cookie doesn't automatically identify a person, but it can if it includes additional information like an email address. In that case, a cookie becomes something like the web equivalent of a fingerprint
Tapping undersea cables connecting the Gulf States, North Africa, Europe, Malaysia, Pakistan, and India
The government is mass collecting phone transaction information of all U.S. customers under the guise of the Patriot Act. They are also collecting and analyzing the content of communications of foreigners talking to persons inside the U.S. without a probable cause warrant.
A federal judge ruled that the NSA’s mass collection of telephone records violated the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution’s prohibition of “unreasonable searches and seizures” but the government appears undeterred.
The danger of these actions to the American people cannot be overstated. A government with extensive, personal information of its citizens, especially a despotic one, without the proper checks and balances, poses a risk to all individual liberties -- hidden under the guise of government needs. We don't have freedom when virtually everything we do is monitored and recorded. Worse yet, is the inherent danger that the government oppresses certain individuals and groups to further its own ends -- much like the IRS, the Justice Department, and NSA already has -- with all roads ending at the White House. Inexplicably, this president has never been held accountable for any of the numerous scandals, lies, and oppression he is responsible for and rightfully should be impeached for.