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The NSA Is Collecting Lots of Spam

Soulskill posted 1 year,8 days | from the your-tax-dollars-at-work dept.

Spam 159

wiredog writes "One side effect of the NSA's surveillance program is that a great deal of spam is getting swept up along with the actual communications data. Overwhelming amounts, perhaps. From The Washington Post: '[W]hen one Iranian e-mail address of interest got taken over by spammers ... the Iranian account began sending out bogus messages to its entire address book. ... the spam that wasn't deleted by those recipients kept getting scooped up every time the NSA's gaze passed over them. And as some people had marked the Iranian account as a safe account, additional spam messages continued to stream in, and the NSA likely picked those up, too....Every day from Sept. 11, 2011 to Sept. 24, 2011, the NSA collected somewhere between 2 GB and 117 GB of data concerning this Iranian address."

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LOL (2)

Flavianoep (1404029) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134603)

LOL This was something that should be expected!

Re:LOL (2)

amiga3D (567632) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134635)

Even the NSA can't do anything about SPAM.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45134719)

I suppose when you are a spy it is hard to tell what is spam and what is a cleverly coded message to the Russians.

Re:LOL (4, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134747)

Even the NSA can't do anything about SPAM.

Ah, but now they can ... they can take all of that information, identify who isn't complying with CAN-SPAM, identify people profiting off shady deals on the internet, figure out who has been evading taxes, and give us all a better internet.

OK, now stop laughing.

Re:LOL (1)

ron_ivi (607351) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135039)

More interesting than you think.

This might be exactly the right PR move that might make people appreciate NSA monitoring of the internet.

Hope their PR guys think about it.

Re:LOL (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135059)

PR guys? You mean the guys who are saying "Well, we're fucking you, but it's legal for us to fuck you whether or not you want us to because we say it is, so we're going to continue to fuck you."?

Re:LOL (2)

TheCarp (96830) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135061)

Laughing? For the very first time I am warming up to the idea of surveillance and drone strikes.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45137247)

Not me. I'm warming up to spam.

Re:LOL (1)

BradMajors (995624) | 1 year,8 days | (#45136433)

Most spam is legal.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45134755)

Yeah, if they *really* loved America, they'd be developing a way to end spam, instead of just eavesdropping on all of us. And after they end spam, perhaps they could get to work on robocalls?

Re:LOL (3, Interesting)

crakbone (860662) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134997)

It really does not mean much. With deduplication a terabyte of spam would be next to nothing.

SPAM is a way to hide a message in plain sight (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45134723)

and you never know if the SPAM are actually a broadcast messages with certain keywords carrying the instructions for their coordinated attacks. May be the typos contains letters to form hidden words too?

Re:SPAM is a way to hide a message in plain sight (1)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134969)

and you never know if the SPAM are actually a broadcast messages with certain keywords carrying the instructions for their coordinated attacks. May be the typos contains letters to form hidden words too?

Or, maybe its shows a new vector for an anti-NSA attack by the Iranians. The perpetrators send small parts of a virus in individual spams, and wait till the NSA computers puts them all together to form a logic bomb or something.

Hmmm, if they were to do that, the next Honest American President would have to award them the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Re:SPAM is a way to hide a message in plain sight (4, Interesting)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134991)

Or, maybe its shows a new vector for an anti-NSA attack by the Iranians.

Fuck the Iranians, I'm signing up for everything.

Everything.

Every.

Thing.

We will choke them to death on our spam.

Re:SPAM is a way to hide a message in plain sight (4, Funny)

RenderSeven (938535) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135081)

REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP

FIRST, I MUST SOLICIT attack YOUR STRICTEST CONFIDENCE IN the THIS TRANSACTION. THIS IS embassy BY VIRTUE OF ITS at NATURE AS BEING UTTERLY dawn CONFIDENTIAL AND 'TOP SECRET' on tuesday. I AM SURE AND lunch HAVE CONFIDENCE OF YOUR will not ABILITY AND RELIABILITY TO be PROSECUTE A TRANSACTION OF provided THIS GREAT MAGNITUDE INVOLVING regards A PENDING TRANSACTION REQUIRING achmed MAXIIMUM CONFIDENCE.

Re:SPAM is a way to hide a message in plain sight (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | 1 year,8 days | (#45136367)

LOLunch.

Re:SPAM is a way to hide a message in plain sight (1)

skids (119237) | 1 year,8 days | (#45136599)

I can see the movie dialogue now:

Generic Eastern European Coldwar Badguy: Sure you are das Americans do not know?
Generic Eastern European Coldwar Badgeek: Nyet. Ze messages ver hidden across million email to sell Viagra.

Re:SPAM is a way to hide a message in plain sight (2)

Beorytis (1014777) | 1 year,8 days | (#45137019)

I had wondered about a steganographic secondary purpose behind the grammatical-but-semantically-empty seemingly-random paragraphs that used to appear at the end of spam messages to confound filters.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45134909)

LOL
This was something that should be expected!

I was going to say, "LOL! They deserve it! Hope they drown in it! Hope it floods their pipes, fills their disks, and overheats their CPUs! Hope their algorithms get so tangled in spammer metadata that they can't see the forest for the billboards!"

Then I remembered that my tax money pays for the people and equipment that they're deploying to collect all that spam.

Fuck it all.

Re: LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45135191)

Don't worry - my tax money hasn't paid for it. Hasn't stopped them collecting all of my data unfortunately, even though I'm not a merkin

Serves 'em right (3, Interesting)

themushroom (197365) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134977)

If you're gonna go snooping through people's stuff, you're bound to find a lot of garbage.

Re:Serves 'em right (4, Funny)

vux984 (928602) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135251)

If you're gonna go snooping through people's stuff, you're bound to find a lot of garbage.

Garbage!? That's how my terrorist cell communicates you insensitive clod.

Cialis spam is "Alpha"
[ia1i5 spam is "Bravo"
CiAli$ spam is "Charlie" ...

Viagra spam is "Death"
ViAgr4 spam is "America"
P3n is 3nlargem3nt is "Allah"
We1gt L0ss is "Target"
"I saw your picture online" is "Great Satan" ...
"This stock is making a turnaround" is whatever letter the stock starts with.
"This stock is on High Alert for Today" is whatever the 2nd letter of the stock starts with.
"This Company could be come my longest running winner!!!" has a GPS latitude encoded into the digits of the target price, trade date, and last trade info
Longitude comes in on a fake PO tracking number shipment spam

Re:Serves 'em right (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | 1 year,8 days | (#45136385)

We'd have a whole lot less actual data on 'terrorist' networks if they actually used a method like this.

Re:LOL (1)

flyneye (84093) | 1 year,8 days | (#45136215)

Where do I sign up to divert all my spam to the NSA?
Sounds like a more useful program for my tax dollars than anyone let on!

Spam as Civil Disobedience? (1)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134613)

Patriotism is the last refuge of a spammer?

Re:Spam as Civil Disobedience? (1)

scarboni888 (1122993) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135657)

To me that makes more sense the other way around.

Re:Spam as Civil Disobedience? (1)

scarboni888 (1122993) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135683)

D'oh! Never mind I missed your subject line.

Makes perfect sense now.

PS: I wish slashdot forums allowed me to delete my erroneous posts.

Re:Spam as Civil Disobedience? (1)

disposable60 (735022) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135737)

Spam is the last refuge of the patriot, apparently.

Re:Spam as Civil Disobedience? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45137567)

Great quote.

A Herring? (1)

s.petry (762400) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134619)

If they are gathering spam or not, there is still a violation of the Constitution involved. Yeah, I'm a stodgy old prick with a memory like an Elephant! If they were not acting illegally this would not be a story now would it?

Re:A Herring? (1)

Flavianoep (1404029) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134781)

Does the American Constitution prevents spying foreign countries?

Re:A Herring? (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134901)

To the best of my knowledge, it doesn't even prevent spying on its own citizens.

There are those who would suggest that this violates the fourth amendment, but then the matter becomes what the powers that be choose to define as "unreasonable".

Watching your every move, but still allowing you to do whatever it is you do, so long as it's perfectly legal, might conceivably satisfy the restrictions that the fourth amendment imposes.

Privacy, you see, is not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the constitution.

Re:A Herring? (1)

DarKnyht (671407) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135029)

When most of the population (both US and World) collectively say, "That is an ridiculous and unreasonable abuse of power!!!!" I am fairly sure it is covered by the fourth amendment.

Simply put, if they want to search a citizen's property (digital or physical), then they need to get a warrant for that specific search. Otherwise, you end up with entrapment and a bunch of other abuses because law enforcement officers operate under the assumption that everyone is guilty of something, we just need to find it.

Re:A Herring? (3, Insightful)

Obfuscant (592200) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135307)

When most of the population (both US and World) collectively say, "That is an ridiculous and unreasonable abuse of power!!!!" I am fairly sure it is covered by the fourth amendment.

This is the reasonably discredited concept that the world has some vote on what the US Constitution should say. What the Fourth Amendment says is not subject to the opinion of Germany or Kenya or Mexico or China or ... nor should it be.

Even though some errant Supreme Court justices keep yapping about applying world concepts to US constitutional law, that's not how it is supposed to work. If the founders had wanted us to follow Greek laws, they would have put Greek laws in the US books, not assumed that 21st century justices would look to Greece as an example of how to run a country.

Simply put, if they want to search a citizen's property (digital or physical), then they need to get a warrant for that specific search.

Unfortunately, the Fourth Amendment did not put it so simply. The founders could have worded it that simply. The fact that they included the term "unreasonable" in the prohibition means they meant for there to be a concept of "reasonable" that wasn't prohibited. Nor did they use the simple words "A warrant is required for all searches."

These were simple people, doing a large task. They could have used simple words if they said what they meant. Since they did not, the clear implication is that the concepts are more complex than you make them out to be, and that they understood that.

Re:A Herring? (1)

s.petry (762400) | 1 year,8 days | (#45136815)

The US constitution does not limit the Bill of Rights to US Citizens with the exception of Voting. You do understand that the majority of the Bill of Rights is not what the Government can't do, but what it can do correct? The founders knew better than to try and define every idiotic thing previous corrupt Governments did, and write rules against that giant list. They wrote down what your rights are, and spelled those rights out meticulously.

One of the few things clearly spelled out that the Government can't do, is that they can not deny you any of your rights!

Re:A Herring? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45135429)

Privacy, you see, is not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the constitution.

It didn't need to be. The Bill of Rights is not an exhaustive list hence the 9th Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people.

Madison specifically wrote the Amendment based upon explicit concerns that anything not listed would be misconstrued as not being a right of the people.

Re:A Herring? (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135577)

But where is it defined that privacy is ever really a "right"? I doubt you'll get any argument that it's a "nice-to-have", but what makes it really some sort of right?

If you want to argue that simply because it's something that everybody really *should* have, and so on that basis alone it should be labelled as a right, then by that reasoning, say... something like, for example, having a job should also be a right protected by the constitution, and it would be unconstitutional to fire somebody who had no recourse to immediately secure other work. I trust you can appreciate the absurdity of this notion.

Nowhere in this am I saying that privacy should not be considered as important... I'm trying to point out that the constitution, technically, can't really offer Americans a ton of protection in this regard unless or until there is a new specific amendment made to protect it.

Re:A Herring? (1)

DarKnyht (671407) | 1 year,8 days | (#45136419)

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." As you said, privacy is not listed in the Constitution or it's amendments thus it is a power left in the hands of the States and/or the people. The Federal Government has no authority doing unwarranted searches on everyone in a giant dragnet to capture data under such poorly defined concepts such as "Terrorism".

Re:A Herring? (2)

dgatwood (11270) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135915)

Watching your every move, but still allowing you to do whatever it is you do, so long as it's perfectly legal, might conceivably satisfy the restrictions that the fourth amendment imposes.

Not really. If a warrant is required for any otherwise unreasonable search, then by definition some searches must be unreasonable. What you describe is a situation in which all searches are reasonable, effectively nullifying that right.

And if you limit it only to evidence that does not prove guilt, then either all evidence is useless in a court of law or serves only to provide reasonable cause to obtain a warrant to collect other evidence. The problem is that they could then potentially use it to obtain a warranted copy of the same evidence, which would be just plain absurd, as it would effectively nullify the warrant requirement once again. And, of course, if it is useless, then there's no logical reason to obtain it in the first place, which makes the collection inherently unreasonable.

Either way, that's just not a plausible interpretation of the fourth amendment.

Re:A Herring? (1)

s.petry (762400) | 1 year,8 days | (#45136749)

You are implying that "Reasonable Search and Seizure" is not defined? If that is the case, you are missing out on a whole lot of history lessons and believing propaganda.

Privacy, you see, is not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the constitution.

Secure in their Persons is exactly "privacy"!

Maybe you forgot about people being spied on by neighbors, then being tattled on for being at work on Sunday which resulted in physical dismemberment and dis-figuration as their punishment? This is not some secret stuff here, this is documented in history.

The only people that believe "privacy" is not in the Constitution are the people that want you not to have any, and the idiots too stupid to read a few hours of history. Federalist Papers are a good start, since that has the dialogue for much of our original Bill of Rights.

Re:A Herring? (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,8 days | (#45137087)

The only people that believe "privacy" is not in the Constitution are the people that want you not to have any

Incorrect.

I do not see government invasion of privacy as being unconstitutional... I see it simply as them simply being unbecomingly nosey and rude. That said, unless the constitution were modified to explicitly state that residents are not to have any expectation of privacy from the government, then the government also has absolutely no jurisdiction to dictate that citizens cannot take matters into their own hands to protect their own privacy. If they want to haul somebody in under suspicion of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act simply for taking such measures, I think they'd need something a little more substantial to go on than a number of encrypted messages that they can't decipher when there's nothing else to indicate a person is doing anything wrong.

As things sit right now, however, I believe that the only people who have any entitlement to privacy are people who will actually take some measures to secure it that are greater than the measures that anyone who might otherwise want to find out about would be liable to take, without resorting to actually breaking the law.

Re:A Herring? (2)

s.petry (762400) | 1 year,8 days | (#45137205)

Your "opinion" is rather meaningless when there are facts to back that assumption. The wording in the Constitution and Bill of Rights is not vague. There is no need to re-write the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, not a single part of it.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

That statement is very clear. You are to be secure against search or seizure of your person, property, papers, and effects unless the Government has a warrant. The warrant requires a court order with someone giving testimony on why the warrant is required, and the warrant must be specific as to what can be searches or siezed.

Stop believing bullshit and learn to read! If you are not believing and repeating bullshit, you are surely making up stories to back your belief. Either way, you are wrong.

Re:A Herring? (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,8 days | (#45137263)

Privacy is immaterial to security... it is a reflection of how people "feel" about something, and not something that is substantiated by any reality.

Re:A Herring? (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,8 days | (#45137333)

When you accept that the privacy that anyone believes that they have is really just an illusion of comfort that is created by the fact that they aren't an interesting enough individual for anyone else to really want to know about, you will realize that what I'm saying is right.

Re:A Herring? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135325)

Does the American Constitution prevents spying foreign countries?

Certainly not. However the 4th amendment does put some limits on searching the effects and papers or taking of property from citizens:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

So foreign monitoring at any level is legally fair game from the constitution's perspective. It may run into legal problems at the "world court" and UN level but the USA doesn't really need to care about that.

Re:A Herring? (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135349)

Does the American Constitution prevents spying foreign countries?

I doubt it. I think we probably had foreign spies even while the Constitution was being written. Spying on citizens, however, probably wasn't something they would have approved of.

Then again, what the NSA is doing isn't spying, it's trawling.

Well, the quotes were blockquoted (1)

wiredog (43288) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134643)

But the posting software seems to have wrapped the whole thing in blockquotes.

Spam - the perfect cloak (5, Insightful)

bizitch (546406) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134673)

So if I want to do terrorist stuff - I should probably hide my communications inside emails about ch3ap V!agr@. Eventually the NSA will have to get a mail washer to help filter out the crap and my criminal activity will go un-noticed.

Re:Spam - the perfect cloak (4, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134905)

Shouldn't be too hard to write steganography software that hid its messages in the pseudo-random changes to the text for filter evasion. You'd just need a good library of spam message templates of varying length to use as the chaff. For better results, run the same process with random messages that are sent out as part of the same bulk mailing blast to a large list of spam recipients to make it impossible to tell which message is important and which is not. Two terrorists can converse by broadcasting garbage to the world.

Now that I think of it, I wonder if that's the reason I get spam messages with no attachments or links to tell me where to get the product should I have a temporarily absence from reason and want to actually purchase them...

Re:Spam - the perfect cloak (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45134989)

yes, the empty spam message is weird to me too.

Maybe it is secret communications between foreign powers who use steganography by hiding the data inside the sender and receiver addresses. And only if you can see what everyone is sending and receiving, like Spy agencies, you can actually read the message.

Re:Spam - the perfect cloak (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135745)

Now that I think of it, I wonder if that's the reason I get spam messages with no attachments or links to tell me where to get the product should I have a temporarily absence from reason and want to actually purchase them...

Perhaps it's just looking for a reply to indicate they have a valid e-mail address. Even an out of office reply would do the trick.

Re:Spam - the perfect cloak (1)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134907)

Hmmmm .... stegaspamography ... hiding your information in plain sight as penis enlargement pill spam.

Great, now when we receive spam we'll end up on terror watch lists because we could know the data is in there. After all, someone is presumed to be able to decode it.

Re:Spam - the perfect cloak (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45134973)

While kind of funny. I think they were using the spam as a way to track who knows who. The same sort of meta analysis they have been outed for in the past few months. They probably did not care about the body of the emails. Just the headers...

Re:Spam - the perfect cloak (3, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135003)

ch3@p plut0n1um!! Buy CANDU plut0n1um at r0-ck b0ttom pr1c3s!

Re:Spam - the perfect cloak (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45135897)

Yeah Federal Bureau of Plutonium wants you to buy stuff so that they have something to do.

Alternatively, they can offer you a hitman. Or narcotics. Whatever keeps them busy and keeps the jails full.

Re:Spam - the perfect cloak (3, Funny)

Darinbob (1142669) | 1 year,8 days | (#45136903)

Warning, if nuclear explosion lasts longer than four hours, consult your physician.

Re:Spam - the perfect cloak (3, Interesting)

Nivag064 (904744) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135063)

During the second world war, in New Zealand, someone was tasked with reading laundry lists over the radio. Hidden in ththis was coded information for secret agents, embedded observers, and the like. They may have told something like: listen for private Scotty's list at 1605 hours and do this if he has 3 pairs of underpants washed, do this if it is 5 pairs, and also this if his green shirt was starched...

So it would be a near certainty that agencies in a lot of countries use spam to communicate to deep cover agents. Tens of thousands of people might have spam about a particular brand of viag... that has a coded message for selected agents - but those agents who read the spam could not be distinguished from non-agents.

I am sure that the NSA, and other agencies (not just in the USA) have programs to try and sort out the spam to detect this - which is yet another type of arms race. How do nyiou know some is a message & not straight spam???

Re:Spam - the perfect cloak (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45135337)

You nailed it. All the wiretapping is useless now.

What can they do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45134685)

What could they possibly do about this? Let me think...

I've got it: expand the budget by $2 billion.

(If you haven't figured out by now that money is at the end of this rainbow -- not power -- then you're falling straight into the trap.)

It just looks like spam (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134693)

Inside those seemingly banal Nigerian wire transfer scams are steganographically hidden instructions to sleeper cells. It just takes a particularly clever analyst to see the data for the noise.

That's not spam (1)

VirtualWizard (982826) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134727)

It's a clever spy technique called obfuscation. Each one of those pill or account transfer messages contains a vital enemy secret that could mean the downfall of our nation. I encourage the NSA to carefully look over each one with exacting attention. You never know....

Re:That's not spam (1)

Mike Van Pelt (32582) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134763)

Maybe this will get some real firepower (Predator drones?) directed at spammers.

Re:That's not spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45136455)

It's a clever spy technique called obfuscation.

While they're at it, they should lock up everybody who receives spam in order to be sure they get the receiver who understands the hidden message.

order of magnitude (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45134761)

I'm not a math major however if 2GB to 117GB estimate is a result of rounding error NSA storage capacity must be huge.

Re:order of magnitude (1)

bobbied (2522392) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135439)

You think? But Define huge. Any fool can collect and store vast amounts of data, but FINDING something in the haystack is the issue.

Having a huge amount of data on spindles is great, but what's the point if you cannot sort through it and find what you want quickly? I'd be more amazed with the ability to *search* a week's worth of data for keywords and patterns and actually return a meaningful result with enough time to actually react to something being planned via E-mail... That's the *real* trick.

with that kind of accuracy ... (5, Funny)

Sterculius (1675612) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134779)

"somewhere between 2 GB and 117 GB" ... can't narrow it down any more than that? Are you sure it was an Iranian email address, or was it just somewhere between Israel and Yemen?

Re:with that kind of accuracy ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45134871)

Some days 2GB, others 50GB, and other 117GB, depending on the day. 2GB stands for the least active day, and 117GB for the most active day.

Re:with that kind of accuracy ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45134879)

I'd like to know who their ISP is. I'm pretty sure if I sent out 117GB of outgoing email over a 12 day period my ISP would cut me off.

Re:with that kind of accuracy ... (1)

dietdew7 (1171613) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135357)

Maybe the ISP was cooperating with the NSA and kept the account active.

Re:with that kind of accuracy ... (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | 1 year,8 days | (#45136661)

Quite possibly it was being sent out from a distributed bot net and not a single user's computer.

Re:with that kind of accuracy ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45136181)

'Every day'. On the lightest day they collected 2GB (or just over), on the heaviest day they collected 117GB (or just under). The rest of the days were somewhere between 2GB and 117GB.

That's not the amount for the entire duration of time, that's the daily totals. And no, they can't narrow it down any more than that without compromising the integrity of the data (ie: removing days).

Re:with that kind of accuracy ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45137537)

Those blue pills will make your mailbox bigger! Instead of the puny 2GB your mailbox can be 117GB. Impress your girl friend, mother-in-law and the cashier lady!
Be sure to call your doctor if that condition continues for more than 4 hours!

Captcha: micron

Spam filter? (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134787)

Think of the spam filter they could build with that amount of spam to train it with...

One thing about using Yahoo, and Google mail, is that their spam filters have scale. Because so many virtually identical emails will be sent to hundreds or thousands of inboxes, they can say that it's either spam or a newsletter. If it looks like spam, or if enough people mark it as spam, than it probably is. Bang.

And the NSA is getting not just the email going to one company, but to all of them. And to those weirdos (like me) who don't trust advertising supported email and either pay someone or run their own email.

Wow. If they were doing good, they could distribute a set of rules so that anyone could implement an almost perfect spam filter...

Re:Spam filter? (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135245)

A benefit of a spammed address book is this would help them build a diagram of connections.

Re:Spam filter? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135465)

Think of the spam filter they could build with that amount of spam to train it with...

What makes you think that this isn't exactly what they are doing... At least in a way.

They'll soon have additional funding (5, Funny)

tech.kyle (2800087) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134827)

...as soon as they hear back from that Nigerian Prince.

You Hinsen5itive clod! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45134829)

Holy data range, Batman! (1)

SeaFox (739806) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134841)

Between 2 and 117 GB

I guess this is that "are they really collecting just metadata like they're telling us, or the whole message to analyze" thing.

Obfuscation (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45134849)

They can't even filter it out like we can, because:
"Get ready HUGE P3n1s for the HERBAL V1@gra attack next week."

Great, just great (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45134877)

Now I have to whitelist spammers and blacklist my friends.

This should make their operatives easier to spot. (5, Funny)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134941)

They're the ones with the biggest penises and/or breasts.

Re:This should make their operatives easier to spo (1)

mu51c10rd (187182) | 1 year,8 days | (#45136233)

They're the ones with the biggest penises and/or breasts.

*shudders*

Suddenly (1)

lesincompetent (2836253) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134961)

Everyone loves spammers.

A positive? (1)

symes (835608) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134967)

Now if the NSA actually did something useful and targeted those creating all this spam perhaps they could get a little positive press and goodwill... or maybe not

So it's come to this (3, Interesting)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | 1 year,8 days | (#45134971)

Spam is actually doing something useful. Enemy of my enemy and all that.

Re:So it's come to this (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45135605)

Heh. More true than you know...

Dedup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45134979)

Sure, but with deduplication, they could easily filter that down to very little to save. Yeah it takes some processing power, but isn't that why they have these fancy buildings?

Maybe with a bit more processing power, they will be able to remove the duplicated slashdot posts.

You know who wins in all this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45135025)

The Storage industry wins here. Hands down.

Fuck infosec, losing battle. APTs, NSA, shitty budgets, the money is in STORAGE.

Where else do they store all this shit? Time to buy some EMC, Netapp and fujitsu baby

Please (1)

hduff (570443) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135077)

Can the NSA waterboard the spammers? If so, they could redeem themsleves.

Easy way to get into a watch list (1)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135345)

One of the more immediate consequences of snooping (even if were only metadata, and is far more than that), was that "normal" americans getting spam (or other kinds of unsolicited email) from elsewhere could be put into watch lists, with the collateral effects of getting all their mail inspected and backdoors installed in their PCs/cellphones just in case, and more "real world" consequences with the TSA or others in the present or future (maybe exaggerating, i liked a lot this story [wikipedia.org] , but reality seem to be stranger than fiction). That they can't tell that it is spam before triggering all those actions should be worrysome.

civil disobedience (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45135425)

If it's true that the NSA has a hard time dealing with even "real" (?) spam, a great project would be a browser / mail client plugin that automatically added "terror" words to (a subset of) your outgoing mail. Make it one-click easy for people to express their opposition to our out-of-control security state.

Yeah, I know - good luck getting people to be the first to start using it. But if it was super easy & there were no adverse consequences for 99.99% of users, eventually it would spread. (c.f. music piracy, etc.) There are a lot more of us (citizens) than there are of them (spooks and their political cohorts), even accounting for the fact that most of us can't be bothered to get off the couch.

Re:civil disobedience (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45135619)

If it's true that the NSA has a hard time dealing with even "real" (?) spam, a great project would be a browser / mail client plugin that automatically added "terror" words to (a subset of) your outgoing mail. Make it one-click easy for people to express their opposition to our out-of-control security state.

emacs FTW: M-x spook

lots of Nigerian persons of interest (2)

bkmoore (1910118) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135501)

So after sorting out all that spam, the NSA is now busy creating files on people such as miss Wumi Abdul, the only Daughter of late Mr and Mrs George Abdul, whose father was a very wealthy cocoa merchant in Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast before he was poisoned to death by his business associates on one of their outing to discus on a business deal.

So Miss Wumi Abdul, if that's your real name, wherever you are, the NSA's on to you now.

WARNING: INFORMATION OPERATION (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45135853)

The implicit message here being: "NSA is really, really needed to counter that evil, evil Iran!!! Now ignore the fact we also snoop on everybody else..."

Never mind Iran has a sizeable Jewish population and is not at all engaged in Sunni Extremism. Your nice "ally" Saudi-Arabia is both the ideological source and the financier of Islamic terror.

But you are so dumb you hanged Saddam when the Wahabists hit your towers instead of bombing Mecca.

You woke us for this? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | 1 year,8 days | (#45135877)

To heck with spending, we're borrowing half an aircraft carrier's worth of money per day. A few dozen servers a week with a hundred terabyte drives? Hehehehehehehehe.

mod do3n (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45136913)

was wh4t 6ot me [goat.cx]

Mark my words. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45137141)

If enough spam turns into effective crypto (doesn't matter who uses it, just so that it's effective), the spam problem with end ASAP.

Actually, I kind of want this to happen. I don't like spammers or our ridiculous defense budget, but watching the cage match would be fun.

ma83 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45137355)

bu0t now they're

Yeah yeah yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45137453)

Everyone knows they're behind it so it makes it difficult for anyone else to run their own email services.

The Police? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45137499)

for all the atta-boys for the NSA, I've yet to see them doing anything with the data. We know they are spying on us. And there is nothing we can do about that till the next election. I think they may want to stay in business. They lid to us enough to make you think that.
Why not do something with the data. Like there are missing people in real time, they collect our data in real time, we lose someone let them help, the courts/cops say you have to be missing for 24 hours, but they are listening in real time, why not send a hint.....

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