PRISM: Prepared for Exposure

More details are out on PRISM, Tempora, and other illegal spying schemes by the NSA and friendly intelligence agencies, apparently even in Germany.

The NSA even has a special department for such cooperation, the Foreign Affairs Directorate, he says. He also exposes a noteworthy detail about how government decision-makers are protected by these programs. The partnerships are organized in a way so that authorities in other countries can “insulate their political leaders from the backlash” in the event it becomes public “how grievously they’re violating global privacy,” the former NSA employee says.

Interviewer [Jacob A. @ioerror]: Are German authorities or German politicians involved in the NSA surveillance system?

Snowden: Yes, of course. We’re in bed together with the Germans the same as with most other Western countries. For example, we tip them off when someone we want is flying through their airports (that we for example, have learned from the cell phone of a suspected hacker’s girlfriend in a totally unrelated third country — and they hand them over to us. They don’t ask to justify how we know something, and vice versa, to insulate their political leaders from the backlash of knowing how grievously they’re violating global privacy.

This is how it’s obvious that what’s happening is illegal, because populations don’t consent to it if politicians fear retribution when the truth is out.

Data Remains Buffered for Three Days

The scope of this “full take” system is vast. According to Snowden and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Tempora stores communications data for up to 30 days and saves all content for up to three days in a so-called Internet buffer. “It snarfs everything in a rolling buffer to allow retroactive investigation without missing a single bit,” Snowden says.

Asked if it is possible to get around this total surveillance of all Internet communication, he says: “As a general rule, so long as you have any choice at all, you should never route through or peer with the UK under any circumstances.”

In other words, Snowden says, one can only prevent GCHQ from accessing their data if they do not send any information through British Internet lines or servers. However, German Internet experts believe this would be almost impossible in practice.

The UK government has a complete backup of all Internet traffic through its countries, for 3 days? Wow.

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