r/technology Sep 21 '22

Whistleblower: Pentagon Purchased Mass Surveillance Tool Collecting Americans' Web Browsing Data Security

https://gizmodo.com/ncis-whistleblower-military-data-broker-cymru-wyden-1849564984
1.4k Upvotes

203

u/HornyToad1984 Sep 21 '22 Wholesome

Americas most dangerous enemy is itself.

56

u/mrm00r3 Sep 22 '22

The most dangerous thing in this solar system is the sun, because it’s a rather large nuclear reaction that produces very strong gravitational fields.

The second most dangerous thing in this solar system is money. There is very little it cannot do.

22

u/defiance211 Sep 22 '22

It cannot buy the Sun

58

u/sykon1st Sep 22 '22

Then we will fight in the shade!

4

u/[deleted] Sep 22 '22

Masterful, snorted 3 times.

3

u/BenefitAlarmedh Sep 22 '22

The US is guilty of everything is accuses its enemies of, more at 11.

2

u/GullibleDetective Sep 22 '22

Unless you count nfts of the sun

7

u/defiance211 Sep 22 '22

Son of a bitch, I’m in!

3

u/Slow_Cantaloupe5476 Sep 22 '22

Son of a bitch, I'm in!

1

u/rivertpostie Sep 22 '22

Not with that attitude, it can't

1

u/SCP-197 Sep 22 '22

However, I can buy the sun on Steam for $50 bucks, so technically I own the sun!

1

u/Skillsjr Sep 22 '22

Elon musk entered the chat

1

u/DungeonGushers Sep 22 '22

It literally buys stars.

-1

u/Wotg33k Sep 22 '22

I'd say money is #3 and sex is #2. I'll go so far as to say money would not exist without sex. I don't know and none of us do, but I'll bet my house that the first time a man went to do a trade, it was because he was trying to provide something for a woman somehow. And then money was created. I'm not blaming women, I'm blaming our uncontrollable reliance on sexuality that dates back as far as we do. I mean, monkeys murder other groups of monkeys just to make off with their women. 🤷‍♀️

1

u/SienaRose69 Sep 22 '22

I thought humans were the 2nd most dangerous thing in this solar system? It’s a volatile time to be one on this spinning rock.

-5

u/YouandWhoseArmy Sep 22 '22

No, it’s Russia, half way around the world.

Didn’t you see they passed laws in the USA to restrict your rights and allow unfettered corruption?

5

u/HornyToad1984 Sep 22 '22 edited Sep 22 '22

Yep. Every day. The police execute you in your sleep and congress is a snake-pit of lobbyists and insider-traders turning tax-dollars into weapons to be sent to terrorists and Nazis or lost in the mail.

2

u/YouandWhoseArmy Sep 22 '22

You know qualified immunity was created when the soviets infiltrated the USA political system.l? Putin has been amazingly successful through lobbying to keep it in place.

Why fight a war vs the us people when you can get our local police forces to do it.

Brilliant! 9-D chess!

1

u/stevenmartinez05 Sep 22 '22

This is a surprise for people? Lol

32

u/corpseluvver Sep 22 '22

The Pentagon is basically just shopping the same store as all of the other sleazebags. The problem is this shit is up for sale thousands of times a day all around the world, and there is very little protection for the average human that can stop it.

1

u/chamberofcoal Sep 25 '22

There's a lot the average person can do to greatly minimize their digital footprint. Use Firefox and change like 3 settings, download ublock, get rid of your social media (particularly ones in your real name and attached to your phone number), use an end-to-end encrypted email provider like proton. Or, if that 5 minutes of fumbling around is too complicated, you can just use the brave browser and a secure email address in like 3 minutes. There's a shitload you can do, it's just that most people don't care enough to click like 5 buttons.

They're gathering data the way they are because it's all sitting in a few spots where people voluntarily submit constant personal info.

1

u/corpseluvver Sep 27 '22

I do everything you said and own no social media accounts besides Reddit if that counts. It's not 5 minutes of work like you trivialize, but I agree it can be done rather painlessly.

I still stand by my statement though. What you and I (?) and some others do can possibly help, but the workarounds big tech has concocted, not to mention governments, might nullify even our 5 minutes of effort.

And I am not saying one should not try, because you should always fight the good fight and protect your privacy any way you can. But again, there is objectively little you can do without disconnecting your entire life.

143

u/ejsandstrom Sep 21 '22

Let me make it easy for them.

Reddit.com Xhamster.com

37

u/Terminator7786 Sep 22 '22

I was just about to comment all they're gonna find from me is reddit and pornhub lol

13

u/smokeout3000 Sep 22 '22

Damn im busted

15

u/accidental_snot Sep 22 '22

Damn. We busted. Nuts.

2

u/MuffintopTap Sep 22 '22

There’s plenty of messed up stuff on both those sites though. I’m sure they could see the content you looked at as well

1

u/ejsandstrom Sep 22 '22

Boobs and vaginas. That saves them more time.

12

u/Panthreau Sep 22 '22

The US is coming closer to becoming like China. The government is just doing it covertly instead of out in public. Im not saying it’s anywhere on the same level as China not even close. I’m just saying that the government is collecting data on the it’s citizens and it sure seems like they wouldn’t do it for positive reasons. But who am I

66

u/VeryBadDr_ Sep 21 '22

So the government knows I…”like” hairy Latinas?

26

u/DweEbLez0 Sep 22 '22

Haha nice try, but they’ll find out about your fetish of Mexican furries!

6

u/ZippyTheWonderSnail Sep 22 '22

I say we get a bot to spam them with the worst Japanese tenticle porn, interrupted with random scenes from the worst sitcoms ever made.

Enjoy, gents.

9

u/SuperToxin Sep 21 '22

They bought Facebook? /s

25

u/KingofPro Sep 22 '22

“We must protect the citizens from themselves, we know what’s best for them……just like Iraqi citizens, afghan citizens, Vietnam citizens, Colombian citizens, and Panamanian citizens.”

7

u/Jojoenglish12 Sep 22 '22

Network Engineer here, this is being way over blown. This is Netflow data, it’s nothing more than source IP and port to Destination IP and port. It doesn’t track VPNs to users, it doesn’t know browsing history, etc. it basically captures the most basic information about an internet connection between two points. This technology is literally 20-30 years old and every ISP, server, office etc has been doing this for years and years. It does not tie end user information to you, it only tracks Public IPs and not private ones. Calm your tits…

7

u/Kawhi_Leonard_ Sep 22 '22

So does every Fortune 500 company, and probably a lot of not Fortune 500 company. Everyone buys and sells web browsing data, there are entire companies built on buying and selling people's web browsing data.

5

u/ggdsxxxc Sep 22 '22

They must’ve seen so much thick ass women. (You’re welcome)

5

u/Gr8HornedOwl Sep 22 '22

I hope my porn search history helps them make great breakthroughs in whatever they are trying to do.

26

u/witqueen Sep 21 '22

Government: Why the hell does she buy so much cat litter? Must have a cat army..laughs nervously

3

u/Miserable_Unusual_98 Sep 22 '22

Actually could be an indication of nukes. Send the swat teams!!!

2

u/BartholomewBiscitMkr Sep 22 '22

No no no, I don't have 75 lbs of cat litter in the garage. That would be crazy (it was on sale, I feel your pain)

cat army continues to train in secret, faint smell of catnip in the air

2

u/witqueen Sep 22 '22

Dang it... you're on to me!

41

u/squeevey Sep 21 '22

Why is ANYONE shocked by this? You as a user keep agreeing to the terms and services of websites, apps, etc that ALLOW third party tools to track you.

29

u/Kumacyin Sep 22 '22

im not shocked

but that doesn't mean i like it either

-19

u/Wounded_Hand Sep 22 '22

What are you trying to hide?

5

u/Efkey02 Sep 22 '22

Children in my basement

Disclaimer: this is a joke

12

u/Pixielo Sep 22 '22

Outside of a few masochists -- and myself -- I know few people who read all of an EULA, or ToS. And I'm always kind of like, "Well...you signed up for that! You did! I did too! I'm just more circumspect about my use of X."

X is FB. It's always FB. Or the Googleator.

"You got some games on your phone?!‽"

10

u/Boo_Guy Sep 22 '22

Outside of a few masochists -- and myself -- I know few people who read all of an EULA, or ToS.

Reminds me of that story from a few years back, you probably saw it, where a company had a prize listed in it's EULA and it had gone unclaimed for several years IIRC.

2

u/Pixielo Sep 22 '22

That sounds right up my alley! Lol. I'm not much for social media, but that sounds like something that would be fun to seek out during some, "I need to read something in order to fall asleep," downtime.

4

u/GetOutOfTheWhey Sep 22 '22

I know NSA has been tracking my dick pics for close to a decade now. This is no surprise.

I know for years that American private tech companies work very closely with homeland security to abuse the privacy of their users.

I also know that even on European soil, our GDPR laws mean squat when most of our social media websites and search engines are American-centric tech companies.

As europeans, we can write whatever laws we want, we can force whatever european company to follow them but at the end. These laws dont mean squat if the likes of Facebook and Google can just pay their way out when they are caught breaking them.

3

u/immacomputah Sep 22 '22

Dick pics? Oh my gosh that’s so gross! Where would you even post something like that? Like which website exactly?!

4

u/GullibleDetective Sep 22 '22

Essentially isn't this just PRISM 2.0 Ala tje 2k13 Snowden leaks

16

u/BOKEH_BALLS Sep 22 '22

The US is guilty of everything is accuses its enemies of, more at 11.

5

u/Zionist_1984 Sep 22 '22

People in this sub won't accept this fact.

-2

u/Dismiss_wo_evidence Sep 22 '22

Came in to see this

0

u/Kakarot_faps Sep 22 '22

No one has been accused of being evil for collecting browsing data from google chrome… the things people are called evil for are like sending prisoners to fight in wars, or executing people for changing religions and being gay

3

u/Less_Ant_6633 Sep 22 '22

They are going to get some killer porn recommendations.

8

u/loupgaru85 Sep 21 '22

I like porn, videogames, and anime. If there is an actress who I think looks good I go and look for some nudes of her. Government now knows what google and amazon already knew.

8

u/[deleted] Sep 21 '22

[deleted]

6

u/ps3x42 Sep 22 '22

They can use the illegally obtained evidence to help them gather legally obtained evidence.

Say I am the pentagon and I use my new illegal citizen info google to search for you're entire web history. Now I know where you hang out ever day at 3 o'clock and can pull you over for failing to use your blinker on the way home. Now I can search your car and find some evidence. Whelp kinda a stupid example but you get the point right? Even if I can't use this stuff in court I can use it to find something I can.

5

u/SD101er Sep 22 '22

"Parallel Construction"

or even worse, private intel contractors can just set you up and make the data fit to prosecute you. Idiots like Alex Jones are tied to private intel groups and that's probably why him and his buddies get off easy and are allowed to keep inciting people.

Some interesting groups to look at: New Knowledge, Popily, Yonder. I believe they created "Russian Bots" to hide Russian interference while calling US citizens "Russian Bots". It's so shady hopefully the Pentagon cleans it up the mess.

29

u/Aarthar Sep 21 '22

At the very least it can be used when necessary to paint a picture of an individual. Just because you actually were testing your internet connection doesn't matter if you're losing in the court of public opinion.

Is the average American going to be affected? No, probably not. But minorities, disabled, and any other enemy of the state may find themselves being slandered across the news if the need arises to paint that individual as a threat to the general public in order to justify atrocities.

8

u/Hexenhut Sep 22 '22

Not sure why you're getting downvoted because this is very apt.

10

u/LiberalFartsMajor Sep 21 '22

Just use the corporate approach...

"My comments about eating the rich were merely market research designed to gauge public opinion about eating the rich."

6

u/DweEbLez0 Sep 22 '22

“Eat the rich, meant the rich and savory Steak I was dreaming about so I had questions and Google popped up relative searches so Google had this idea before I even started typing”

2

u/DweEbLez0 Sep 22 '22

No, but sir, this is a Wendy’s.com

7

u/Wagbeard Sep 22 '22

The fuck is with these comments. Your government is spying on you and invading your privacy and you guys just joke about porn. Huxley was right.

7

u/SpaceShrimp Sep 22 '22

It isn’t news to anyone, it is expected that they do. Is it ok? No, of course not. But you won’t get the average citizen to understand that, so what remains is the possibility to make jokes about it.

I mean 30 years ago, a psychiatrist could calm down a paranoid patient and tell him no one is tracking him and monitoring what he is doing. These days, not so much.

3

u/SpiritualRuins Sep 22 '22

Ah. Defeatism.

0

u/Wagbeard Sep 22 '22

I mean 30 years ago, a psychiatrist could calm down a paranoid patient and tell him no one is tracking him and monitoring what he is doing. These days, not so much.

This song is 30 years old oddly enough.

https://youtu.be/ZPV73jB0N6Q

1

u/Kakarot_faps Sep 22 '22

I don’t really know if browsing history counts as personal privacy. Certainly not in the legal sense considering google already has it

2

u/_Molj Sep 22 '22

Gotta compete with tiktok somehow.

2

u/WisdomDirect Sep 22 '22

It would not surprise me if one day it is revealed that DuckDuckGo is a NSA shell company.

7

u/garyniehaus Sep 22 '22

In the early days of the internet/darpanet everyone knew the NSA was surveilling the traffic looking for keywords. Everyone started to insert phrases like “biological “ or “nuclear “ in the postings. It melted down the nsa’s computers. That was the beginnings of huge purchases of supercomputers for the agency. Mostly cray’s.

3

u/[deleted] Sep 22 '22

But but but............they bomb third world countries to defend your freedoms.

5

u/ELHorton Sep 21 '22

sighs heavily while clearing browser cache for the 3rd time today

10

u/themeatbridge Sep 21 '22

Where do you think it goes when you clear it?

10

u/Little_Duckling Sep 22 '22

Into a dark pit with my missing socks

9

u/themeatbridge Sep 22 '22

NSA, National Sock Agency. Coincidence!? I think not.

2

u/BrokeMacMountain Sep 22 '22

those must your mouldy wank socks then?

8

u/fgdfghdhj5yeh Sep 22 '22

this has nothing to do with what they collect

2

u/portra315 Sep 22 '22

They're not accessing your cache

5

u/FacelessFellow Sep 22 '22

Remember when conspiracy theorists said that the government was tracking everything? Remember Snowden?

Don’t be surprised when you see some future crimes stuff going down 🇺🇸

1

u/Kakarot_faps Sep 22 '22

They already can’t solve like half of the robberies and murder cases, I’m pretty sure we’ll be fine.

1

u/FacelessFellow Sep 22 '22

You’re referring to our current system that uses humans. In the future humans won’t be in charge of the heavy thinking/investigating.

1

u/[deleted] Sep 22 '22

Yeah I watch pornhub and frequent some Reddit subs. Fuck you, government.

0

u/80sBacvain Sep 22 '22

Not surprised. Not even worth a headline. It’s been ongoing since we touched www which was built by the military. You thought you’d have privacy? Ha

1

u/heynerd Sep 22 '22

How is it possible they can see VPN traffic too? I must be fundamentally misunderstanding how VPNs work.

5

u/UrbanGhost114 Sep 22 '22

VPN just changes your location, not the information you put out there, which many can use just as well as a geo lock on your IP.

2

u/Miserable_Unusual_98 Sep 22 '22

They can probably get their hands on a variety of data, such as mac IDs or other that can tie a specific piece of hardware to the browsing history. Also who's to say they aren't operating vpn nodes and examining the traffic?

1

u/LiquidMetalSloth Sep 22 '22

I have this same question. I’m guessing that if they can tell where the traffic originated from, then they can pry into the tunnel and pick out your strand from others.

4

u/UrbanGhost114 Sep 22 '22

VPN changes your location, not the information you put out there, many people, and AI can, and are being developed, to infur your location based on the information you put on the internet, no geo lock on IP needed.

2

u/LiquidMetalSloth Sep 22 '22

Lovely. So VPN is basically worthless then?

4

u/UrbanGhost114 Sep 22 '22

Not at all, it's very useful for getting around firewalls, and other technical road blocks, and definitely helps with privacy, but nothing is going to hide the fact that you used your credit card based in Georgia USA to ship to Georgia USA, not Georgia the country, dispite the fact that your IP said Georgia the country.

0

u/OutTheMudHits Sep 22 '22

That's makes no sense. Billion dollar organizations wouldn't use VPNs if it is absolutely useless. It completely negates work from home environments.

1

u/UrbanGhost114 Sep 22 '22

Did you not read the rest of the comment?

VPN doesn't protect you from voluntarily giving information that can give away things you don't want them to know, like your location.

1

u/fgdfghdhj5yeh Sep 22 '22

because you're using a VPN? the traffic is obviously VPN traffic.. Most traffic looks like itself, not other things.

1

u/SpaceShrimp Sep 22 '22

If you log on to a site, lets say Reddit, and Reddit have tracking cookies to tracking services. Then your identity is known on all other sites using those same tracking services. A VPN does not stop that kind of tracking, as it is your browser that does the tracking.

And most sites out there uses a multitude of tracking cookies.

0

u/SylveonVMAX Sep 22 '22

vpn is just one piece of the puzzle. You have to completely disconnect from your standard internet profile. That means changing to a different OS (or instance of an OS), not logging in to your normal accounts, using a different email, and a different browser with different cookies or trackers. All of that and you could still be identifiable as "the person who goes to X site with X vpn with X OS frequently" if you're not careful.

1

u/heynerd Sep 22 '22

That’s how I do it 😎

1

u/ThoriatedFlash Sep 22 '22

Is this news from like 10 years ago?

1

u/OysterThePug Sep 22 '22

They’re going to see that I asked a lot of hemorrhoid-related questions in the past week. That was for…a friend…of mine.

1

u/Acherstrom Sep 22 '22

That’s a lot of porn.

1

u/legendary034 Sep 22 '22

As long as my "Step Cousin" doesn't get her hands on the same data. I am Set!

1

u/claito_nord Sep 22 '22

Who did the pentagon purchase this from? And why can't the pentagon make their own?

1

u/whatisinternet69 Sep 22 '22

I think we all assumed that was happening already.

1

u/redddcrow Sep 22 '22

it's mostly just porn though

1

u/_ITLovesCafeBustelo_ Sep 22 '22

I only read the 2nd line and I thought it said "Surveils tool collecting Americans search browser history.

Soooo, what? They want to know what a handyman is up to out on the web?

1

u/FlameBoi3000 Sep 22 '22

I'd be more surprised to learn they hadn't done this a long time ago

1

u/HahaNothin Sep 22 '22

Learn from china eh

1

u/Miserable_Unusual_98 Sep 22 '22

So is there any way to protect from such invasion? I mean Ukraine recieved western arms. How can private individuals counteract?

1

u/ickarus99 Sep 22 '22

Um…Mr. Edward Snowden? I think it’s happening again!

1

u/Justkillintime1246 Sep 22 '22

If they really want to see what porn I’m watching, I can just tell them, no need to spend a bunch of money 🤷‍♀️

1

u/octavio989 Sep 22 '22

Reminder to everyone: 🧅is free

1

u/drinkallthepunch Sep 22 '22

”Best creampies montage 2022”

I’ve got nothing to hide.

2

u/OutTheMudHits Sep 22 '22

You have nothing to hide when you're the one who made that video in the first place ;)

1

u/betatwinkle Sep 22 '22

This was done on the final day of the trump admin. Has made me wonder all along what it was. Guess now we know.

1

u/crappetizer Sep 22 '22

"it's...just...a lot of porn..."

1

u/BeowulfShaeffer Sep 22 '22

This only makes https everywhere that much more important.

1

u/1_p_freely Sep 22 '22

They got ripped off, then. Most of the big companies are scooping all your browsing history up already, and all the govt has to do is serve them with an NSL to get it for free.

1

u/obrazovanshchina Sep 22 '22

"Team Cymru’s clients were given access to a dataset, through which they could “run queries against virtually any IP to pull the netflows to and from that IP over a given point in time.”

"This reportedly includes the ability to follow traffic through virtual private networks (VPN), services used by some users to browse the internet more privately."

Dah fuck?

1

u/Lookalikemike Sep 22 '22

I’ll save them time & money. (BBQ, bourbon, Phat ass porn) You may submit your report on me now.

1

u/Merkin-Jerky Sep 22 '22

fuck you Pentagon

1

u/DungeonGushers Sep 22 '22

They won’t be disappointed. Americans know all the grittiest porn sites which is clearly what they’re after.

1

u/HOOLIOBONSTOOBEN Sep 22 '22

Enjoy all the porn

1

u/GuaranteeCreative954 Sep 22 '22

Why is it more of this stuff seems to surface right before elections

-3

u/Wounded_Hand Sep 22 '22

Good, how else are they gonna stop or catch terrorists and murderers?

Let them watch me watch porn all they want, I’ve nothing to hide.

-3

u/Wotg33k Sep 22 '22

Man I don't get it. What's there to look at? Y'all wanna see my porn history and the Google redirects to stack overflow I accumulate? Go ahead I guess? There's a few good videos in there from a few days ago if y'all are interested. And I knew a few of you are.

I never understood this, going back to Snowden. If the govt wants to look at me, they can. They'll see a good dad who is just a dude making dude decisions living his dude life.

I always wondered why anyone cares unless they have something to hide. I get it, I want my privacy, but I also live in 2022. I'd wager anyone could learn just about anything about me just from this reddit. I know I learn plenty about others that way. I saw some dudes picture on a Google search the other day and within a few minutes, I knew what street he lived on, where his dentist was, and how often he went there. Just some rando that lives nearby me and I have enough to figure out where he lives within minutes. And y'all wanna worry about what the govt knows? Lol. Watch dark net on showtime. 😂

-1

u/ColonelScooter Sep 22 '22

Well they’re about to see a lot of porn. Porn and buying shit off Amazon…and ordering food, that too.

-1

u/parkrangercarl Sep 22 '22

The pie chart of this data shows 100% of us are horny

-1

u/RandomXDXDXDXXX Sep 22 '22

Lol top 3 searched thing is porn, porn, and more porn....

I would have given my porn search history for free...

0

u/Artificial-Human Sep 22 '22 edited Sep 22 '22

Well, people voluntarily submit information to the internet, a public space where they have no expectation of privacy. Those people also sign agreements with their platforms, agreeing that the data produced is not exclusively owned by the individual users, and can be used by the corporation per the terms of agreement.

And then an ultra clever and morally uncertain DoJ lawyer suggests a course of action, buying the data from the corporation, that doesn’t violate the fourth amendment to the constitution due to the mental gymnastics above.

And here we are.

Edit: The NSA has been doing mass data collection since the 80’s. This is just slightly more legal.

0

u/thewdfthr Sep 22 '22

Shit. Big brother found out I like women's feet. it's so over.

0

u/Mannit578 Sep 22 '22

Well dont tell the whistleblower about the NSA!

0

u/anxcaptain Sep 22 '22

Terrorist are all at truth social