When people say the feds are monitoring what people are doing online, what does that mean? How does that work? When, and where, does it start?

Pete Ashdown, CEO of XMission, an internet service provider in Utah, knows. He received a Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA) warrant in 2010 mandating he let the feds monitor one of his customers, through his facility. He also received a broad gag order.
We had to facilitate them to set up a duplicate port to tap in to monitor that customer’s traffic. It was a 2U (two-unit) PC that we ran a mirrored ethernet port to.

[What we ended up with was] a little box in our systems room that was capturing all the traffic to this customer. Everything they were sending and receiving.

  1. dcphill says:

    What can I say, my head is exploding to the idea. First my country doesn’t trust me, now my government doesn’t trust anybody.

    • msbpodcast says:

      No, your government doesn’t trust anybody, anything, anyhow at any time.

      Its is a distillation of the worst aspects of man, not the best. We’ve come a long way from Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, in the other direction.

      I gave up being cynical when I was forced into retirement just before the economic crash and I have been proved not cynical enough ever since.

      My only saving grace was, is and shall remain that I was, am and shall always, not be greedy.

  2. Tim says:

    All those non-disclosure NSL’s. If I watch 2g1c over and over, will they still throw up?

  3. Rick says:

    We had a security breach at work and DHS came in and plugged a small 2U pre-configured server into our system and it captured every byte that was coming in and going out.

    Interesting they seem to have a bunch of servers handy for just that purpose eh?

  4. CrankyGeeksFan says:

    XMission, the ISP in the article, has published this list of requests from government agencies: http://xmission.com/transparency

    XMission declines those without a warrant.

  5. noname says:

    What do you expect in America 2.0 when:

    *money is free speech and the masses will always have less than the elites do!

    *when the masses working 40hrs/wk, is no longer enough to support a family and democratic civic responsibilities! Guess democratic civic responsibilities goes first!

    *when the only justification authorities need for any atrocity is a “story”! Common example: “It’s for your safety” or “we thought xx was doing yy”.

    *when news media doesn’t report or journal, instead uncritically redistributes press releases, because it’s cheaper and people will still uncritically watch it anyway!

    *when investigative journalism is destroyed by our government, who prosecutes legitimate whistle-blowers, despite their false rhetoric of open and uncorrupted transparent government! There is a reason our government is “Afraid of Informed Public Demanding Constitutional Government”.

    *when Americans routinely elect officials based on false rhetoric and these officials have no intention of following through on what they promised!

    *when banks aren’t allowed to fail, but encouraged to grow bigger and bigger on free money, QE4!

    *With QE4, an $85 billion-a-month program of open-ended asset purchases, do you think banks want the economy to recover and/or unemployment to drop?

    *when Americans become uncritical of their governments, banks, votes, media, opinion, and don’t stand up and calls B.S. to what’s being obviously done….

    *when self-government and civic involvement is what others do, because; the masses don’t have time for it.


    We are morphing into America 3.0, where the wealthy elites control everything and voting is media controlled, manipulated and denuded of any authentic American spirit.

    We are morphing into the very thing American has created overseas…a banana republic.

    The question is where are the Americans to stop it?

    As far as I can see, there are only two Americans in congress who are fighting for the average American, Al Franken and Elizabeth Warren! Why only two?

  6. MikeN says:

    So what’s the problem? Wiretaps work kinda like that too.

  7. Glenn E. says:

    I beileve the US Govt. is think ahead, and building a defense against its impoverish citizens. Who will someday be coming after the 1% who have scarfed up all the wealth for themselves. But for now, it’s mainly the Govt. maintaining the status quo until all hell breaks loose. Then they will activate the private armies, to defend the Martha Stewarts, and Donald Trumps, in their mansion hideaways.

    • noname says:

      Isn’t that the truth! It’s why the Repukatons are big in funding the military and corporate welfare and defunding anything the supports the middle class!

    • Anonymous Ass says:

      I agree! The Donald is tops on my list too. However, I may want to think twice about Martha. Isn’t she already an ex-con?!

  8. MikeN says:

    Meanwhile, government has mandated that all cars have black boxes that can be accessed as evidence against the owner.
    I don’t see where such a mandate is authorized by law.

    • Tim says:

      That is only fair if an equal number of white boxes are also installed.

    • spsffan says:

      It is quite simple. Cars are manufactured by corporations, which exist at the pleasure of and as protectorates of the state.


    • spsffan says:

      Oh, and bye the way, were you planning on driving that car on non-government roads?

      I thought not.

    • Greg Allen says:

      MikeN is a little lake to the game:

      From Feb 2013:

      >>This week ended the public comment period on a proposed law that would put so-called black boxes in every new car sold by September 1, 2014. The thing is, most cars already have them unbeknownst to many drivers.

      >> Automakers have been quietly tucking the devices, which automatically record the actions of drivers and the responses of their vehicles in a continuous information loop, into most new cars for years.


      Best I can tell — the “box” doesn’t transmit any metadata back to the government. They have to physically access it.

      • Greg Allen says:

        A juicy little detail from the article I cited above:

        >> Data collected by the recorders is increasingly showing up in lawsuits, criminal cases and high-profile accidents. Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray initially said that he wasn’t speeding and that he was wearing his seat belt when he crashed a government-owned car last year. But the Ford Crown Victoria’s data recorder told a different story: It showed the car was traveling more than 100 mph and Murray wasn’t belted in.

        >> In 2007, then-New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine was seriously injured in the crash of an SUV driven by a state trooper. Corzine was a passenger. The SUV’s recorder showed the vehicle was traveling 91 mph on a parkway where the speed limit was 65 mph, and Corzine didn’t have his seat belt on.

  9. Dallas says:

    Very cool. It’s exciting to think that in the future video camera built into the set top box would be able to interpret your facial expressions as well as your ethnicity and body type.

    If necessary , Obama (maybe Pres Chelsea Clinton) can see if you swear during his/her state of the union address!

  10. Greg Allen says:

    The NSA spying story made me switch from Google to StartPage.

    StartPage claims that they don’t log searches, so there is no meta data to collect.

    It’s a token gesture, I know. But, I want to affirm a company who cares about the privacy of its customers.

  11. Greg Allen says:

    I just read the article. I wish all businessmen had the conscience of Pete Ashdown.

    When I lived in Dubai, I met a salesman who was selling telephone call monitoring software to the government there. Dubai is famous for monitoring democracy advocates, religious minorities, feminist workers, etc. etc.

    He was a perfectly friendly guy. He probably reads to his kids at bedtime and barbeques on the weekend.

    But, the IBM salesman who sold the punch cards to the Nazis for tracking the Jews probably did the same.


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