June 19, 2006

Black Helicoptor #1 - Is the data theft epidemic more than coincidental?

[Note - don't normally post speculative or black helicoptor stuff, but this one is at least tantalisingly plausible, and deserves to be debunked. Darren posts:]

According to Wayne Madsen http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/

"June 17, 2006 -- What's behind all the personal data thefts?

Populating the surveillance databases specified by John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness (TIA) system. WMR has learned that the thefts of personal data from corporations and government agencies, most of which were accomplished by stealing computer hard drive devices, is more than coincidental. Intelligence sources report that many of the large scale thefts are part of a well-planned covert intelligence operation to obtain data on hundreds of millions of people in order to accomplish what former Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) official John Poindexter was not able to bring about through his defunct (but secretly restored) Total Information Awareness (TIA) system -- the population of intelligence and surveillance databases with files on the financial, medical, employment, telecommunications, and other sensitive data of Americans and foreigners. Much of the new TIA work is being conducted under the umbrella of the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency.

A number of computer security experts have said the recent rash of data thefts is unprecedented in scope, method, and frequency. Some claim that the thefts appear to be coordinated and targeted at
specific data types."

Huge Table, followed by ...

"Amid all the above personal data thefts, WMR has learned from a U.S. intelligence source that these data thefts pale in comparison to the largest, and as yet, largely unreported, personal data theft in history. Some 30 million Americans were affected and they included customers of Citigroup, Bank of America, and SunTrust. The thefts were conducted between March and April of this year."
Posted by iang at June 19, 2006 07:12 AM | TrackBack

Try this link for background http://counterpunch.org/rudmin05242006.html

It's by a Norwegian academic and gives a brief Bayes theorem analysis of the terrorist threat problem and the feasibility of the use of mass surveillance in order to reduce the threat.

"The US Census shows that there are about 300 million people living in the USA.

Suppose that there are 1,000 terrorists there as well, which is probably a high estimate. The base-rate would be 1 terrorist per 300,000 people. In percentages, that is .00033% which is way less than 1%. Suppose that NSA surveillance has an accuracy rate of .40, which means that 40% of real terrorists in the USA will be identified by NSA's monitoring of everyone's email and phone calls. This is probably a high estimate, considering that terrorists are doing their best to avoid detection. There is no evidence thus far that NSA has been so successful at finding terrorists. And suppose NSA's misidentification rate is .0001, which means that .01% of innocent people will be misidentified as terrorists, at least until they are investigated, detained and interrogated. Note that .01% of the US population is 30,000 people. With these suppositions, then the probability that people are terrorists given that NSA's system of surveillance identifies them as terrorists is only p=0.0132, which is near zero, very far from one. Ergo, NSA's surveillance system is useless for finding terrorists."

He continues with other examples (changing priors etc) and makes a couple of suggestion as to why mass surveillance is being pursued even though everyone (including the NSA) knows that it is ineffective.

Posted by: darren at June 19, 2006 07:32 AM

Black copters or no, Wayne certainly took his time investigating the theory.

"Also, I believe I touched base with you on the possibility that the rapidly escalating issue of data theft (large scale) is, in fact, part of a program undertaken by certain intelligence organizations as an 'end around' to resistance towards TIA and the like...and noting that data theft only reared its ugly head with any real regularity shortly after the whiz kids in the Pentagon were stymied in their formalized and public info grab... "


Gleichshaltung is the term related to consolidation of power under the executive, and in the historic Nazi form...aided and abetted by vested business interests. It's not 'black copter' to assume some of the same is being undertaken today, given excess power shift to executive under 9/11 rubric.

Posted by: bigmouth at June 22, 2006 08:02 AM


Now, tie consolidation of power by the Executive (PATRIOT), data theft (TIA et al), and asset allocation tracking together (SWIFT).

If the current power group wishes to stave off any competitor (preemptively of course) , the transparency afforded the incumbent group via PATRIOT and DHS financial reporting requirements (under 'terrorism' and 'money laundering' rubric) come in quite handy.

Furthermore, most thieves like to 'close the door behind them' so as not arouse undue suspicion / leave a paper trail...thus the supposed concern with 'money laundering'.

Posted by: bigmouth at July 10, 2006 03:29 AM
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