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What Glenn Greenwald Got Wrong | Popular Science January 9, 2014

Posted by sandyclaus in NSA, Security, Technology Reporting.
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The New York Times, in their own investigation, found that this locked box concept is probably what\’s going on here. The government uses FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (the statute that specifies how and in what manner the government can obtain data), to demand information, and instead of the companies handing it over in individual chunks, the government requested these locked boxes so the handoff of information could be efficient and secure. It\’s sort of the internet-age equivalent of a source meeting a handler on back-to-back park benches and exchanging manila file folders while never looking at each other. These requests, by the way, are legally binding and also come with a gag order preventing the companies from discussing them.

Fogel, and many other tech types I\’ve talked to, are outraged about the media handling of this story. In their mind, the media is bungling all of the intricate technical aspects of the story due to a lack of expertise in the field. And that\’s a fair point! Journalists, even tech journalists, are trained to report and write stories, not to have the same command of tech that an IT person has.

Fogel is being kind of ridiculous by calling Greenwald\’s discussion of \”direct access\” an \”epic botch,\” though. I do think Greenwald misinterpreted the use of the word \”servers\” and in turn may have misunderstood how this program actually works–not a small thing, and in a case as sensitive as PRISM, we need to make sure we have as many of the facts as possible. (I don\’t blame Greenwald for this, by the way; this was a brand-new story and nobody quite knew the scope or effect of it, and he did a hell of a job exposing the surface of the program.)

via What Glenn Greenwald Got Wrong | Popular Science.

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