The NSA Update

Jonathan Edward Goodman

by Jonathan Goodman on November 29, 2013

This is Jonathan Goodman. Welcome to another episode of The World of Internet Marketing. Today we’re going to have an NSA update. But before we do that, I want to tell you a story. As many of you who follow the podcast and the Google+ Hangouts know, I just came back from PubCon about two weeks. I had a great time there, but I had a very interesting experience that I wanted to tell you about.

 

First and foremost, it is happy hour somewhere. So I’m going to have my beer. This is Tiger beer, the world acclaimed lager. It’s from Asia. Let’s see how it is. Okay, that’s not great.

 

Meeting Jeffrey Gitomer

 

Cover of "Little Red Book of Selling: 12.... Cover via Amazon

 

I was staying at the Bellagio the weekend after PubCon. It’s a very nice hotel. If you’ve ever been to Las Vegas, you know that it has the fountains and it has a very nice interior. The rooms are exceptionally nice. I don’t necessarily know if I would stay there again. The price I paid was a little bit high. It was Halloween weekend, which we didn’t even realize. The rooms were very, very nice, but I’m not sure that the quality equated to the cost of the room. So I was heading out somewhere and walking through the main entrance of the Bellagio trying to get a taxi when all of a sudden, I saw Jeffrey Gitomer. If you don’t know who Jeffrey Gitomer is, he’s one of the leading salesmen out there. He talks about how to make a sale. I’ve read all of his books. He wrote The Little Red Book of Selling. He has a whole array of different books. They’re really simple to read. You can read them quickly and easily.

 

I saw him and I wanted to say hello, so I said, “Mr. Gitomer, I’ve read all your books. I’ve been to your seminars. You do a fantastic job talking about sales.” He said, “Thank you so much.” He had obviously just gotten out of the airport. He was just coming to check in. I didn’t want to take up that much of his time. He said to me, “And who are you?” That’s where I blew it and that’s why this is such an incredible story. If you read Jeffrey Gitomer’s books and you watch his video on YouTube or any of his stuff, you know that this would be your opportunity to do an elevator pitch. My answer? “Oh, I’m nobody.” That was really the wrong answer. It was my opportunity to explain who I was and why I followed him, why I’ve read all of his books, why I watch him on YouTube and why I occasionally go to his seminars.

 

It was really a missed opportunity. That was okay with him. He knew that I was flustered by having seen him at Bellagio. Well, he gave me his business card. And, of course, I in turn didn’t give him my business card. I had my business cards with me, but I just completely flummoxed. This is his business card. It’s incredible. I’ll read it to you. It says: “In sales we trust. Jeffrey Gittomer. He has a little icon with a little ‘g’. Chief Executive Salesman.” On the back, it says: “People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.” It has his phone and his email address. This is now something I will keep for the rest of my life. I will know forever that I missed an opportunity, and I will never miss an opportunity like that again. Because of this coin, which I will probably frame as a little reminder of how I got this coin, I am ready now if anyone in the future asks what I do. I’ll have an answer. And my answer will not be, “Oh, I’m nobody.”

 

That’s a forever regret on my part. This coin in a way represents how I feel about myself because when I was with Jeffrey Gitomer, I felt that I was nobody. It was a stupid thing to say. It was a spur of the moment remark. But at the core of it, it really said everything. It said here’s you up against this guy who is known throughout the world as a salesman and you’re nobody to him. So that’s my Jeffrey Gitomer story.

 

NSA Update

 

Let’s now talk about the NSA. I always try to make this podcast interesting. I don’t want it just to be all about Internet marketing. We have a couple of really great sessions coming up. Next week I’m interviewing Warren Whitlock about his new book that’s coming out. I want to keep things fresh, but this NSA thing is so disruptive, I had my research assistant take two weeks’ worth of notes on what was going on. So we’ll just move through them. The first article I want to talk about is from the Huffington Post. I separated these out to build the momentum. So we’ll look at government and then we’ll look at technology. You’ll see how one affects the other.

 

First I’ll talk about this article on Huffington Post. The title is “White House, Lawmakers rejecting Edward Snowden’s Plea for Clemency.

 

Edward Snowden Edward Snowden (Photo credit: svennevenn)

 

The White House and members of the Intelligence Committee have denied Edward Snowden’s request for clemency. In a handwritten letter delivered to a German politician, Snowden wrote, “Speaking the truth is not a crime.” Michigan Representative and Head of the Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers, said the idea was absurd, and Snowden should return and pay the penalty for his crimes. A direct quote from Kimberly Dozier: “Rogers contended that Snowden’s revelations had caused three terrorist organizations to change how they communicate.”

 

We’re going to talk about Mr. Rogers a little more later. Here’s another article from the Washington Post titled “Senate Bill would Approve NSA Program But Try to Curb It.

 

Recently the Senate Intelligence Committee approved a motion to advance a piece of legislation that allows the NSA spying program PRISM to continue. This bill opposes an earlier proposal by bipartisan lawmakers to completely disband the program. The FISA Improvements Act calls for more oversight for presidential authorized spying on foreign lands. Phone records could be kept for a maximum of five years. The program would be reviewed every five years as well. A direct quote from this article: “The bill would write in statute the authority for NSA to collect records in bulk under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act.”

 

It’s amazing that we can’t overhaul this whole thing. Here is another article from the Huffington Post titled “Oversight Board Hears from NSA, Intel Lawyers.”

 

Members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board met earlier this week to conduct hearings from lawyers from the NSA and other government agencies. President Obama appointed the committee members, but the five-person team will report to members of Congress. No deadline has been set.

 

Mike Rogers made a very interesting statement in the Huffington Post. This is from an article titled “Mike Rogers Defends Drone Killing of Pakistani Taliban Leader.”

 

Representative Mike Rogers defended the use of drones after a Pakistani Taliban leader was killed in a recent strike. Rogers stated the NSA and other intelligence agencies are responsible for providing the information, which makes such strikes possible. Well, how can you on one hand say that what Edward Snowden did has modified the way that three terrorist organizations are now conducting business and still have a successful drone strike that takes out a Pakistani Taliban leader? It doesn’t make sense.

 

Here is an article from The Washington Post titled “U.S. Tries to Deal with ‘Blowback’ from Disclosure of Surveillance on Allies.

 

Drone controlled by perceptual computing Drone controlled by perceptual computing (Photo credit: IntelFreePress)

 

The encryption technology placed on President Obama’s Blackberry is the same technology manipulated by U.S. intelligence officers to spy on German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel is not the only international official the U.S. has been spying on. The NSA also targeted the email of former Mexican president, Felipe Calderon, and over 35 other foreign officers. President Obama has already informed Merkel he was not aware of the phone tapping, and she is no longer under surveillance.

 

I have to just say that the things that the president is not aware of is staggering. He was unaware of the situation with the software used for Obamacare. He is now saying that he was unaware that Angela Merkel was being wiretapped. We’re in this world where people believe that it is easier and better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. And that’s how the U.S. is conducting their spying. So when they figure out that we’re spying on them, we’ll apologize to them. Obviously, you can’t ask: “Would you like to be spied on?’ Nobody wants to be spied on.

 

The Washington Post also had an article titled “U.S. Weighs Option to End Dual Leadership Role at NSA, Cyber Command.”

 

Since 2010, there has been only one appointed military official at the helm of the NSA and Cyber Command. The Obama administration is contemplating ending that, “a shift that some officials say would help avoid an undue concentration of power in one individual…” The current head of the NSA, General Keith Alexander, is set to retire in March. The argument begins when officials weigh the role of the NSA and Cyber Command. Some leaders believe the NSA and Cyber Command depend so heavily on each other that they should be linked together. Others believe the two organizations would benefit from running independently.

 

The reason I’m laughing is because I’m a very big Doctor Who fan, and the idea that we have a Cyber Command is so sci-fi and wacky. But I guess I don’t know what else you would call it.

 

Here’s an article from The Huffington Post that is remarkable. The article is titled “NSA Denies Spying on the Vatican.

 

The U.S. government is denying a report from an Italian newspaper claiming that it spies on the Vatican. According to the article, the NSA has spied on over 46 million phone calls in the area in a matter of just over a month. Reports have also surfaced that the NSA spied on France during the exact same time period. One particular area suspected of being monitored was an area where the conclave of cardinals had met to elect the newest Pope.

 

So even in the deepest catacombs of the Vatican, the NSA feels that they need to be spying. Incredible.

 

The Huffington Post also had an article titled “Brazil Spied on Embassy Personnel.”

 

Embassy of Brazil Embassy of Brazil (Photo credit: afagen)

 

The Brazilian government has recently admitted to having a spy program similar to the NSA’s program, although done on a much smaller scale. Government officials monitored U.S. rented office space in the capital city of Brasilia. The Brazilian government suspected the U.S. of harboring spy equipment in the rented facilities. Brazil, along with Germany, is asking the United Nations General Assembly for a resolution protecting privacy rights across international borders. Brazil was the target of several spying instances under the NSA program. A direct quote from the article: “Brazil has been targeted in part because it serves as an important transit point for trans-Atlantic fiber optic cables carrying much of the globe’s traffic.”

 

Remarkable. And there’s nothing that these countries can do. What are they going to do? Stop doing business with the United States? That only winds up hurting them in the end. You’re spying on me; I’m spying on you. Everybody is spying on everybody else. It’s that loop that you’re constantly spiraling in where your technology gets better at spying. Eventually, something is leaked and somebody finds out how you’re doing this. Then their technology gets better so your technology has to get better. It’s a never-ending vicious cycle of spying. Spying on Angela Merkel? What is she doing? What is she planning?

 

Here’s an article from The Washington Post titled “NSA Infiltrates Links to Yahoo, Google Data Centers Worldwide, Snowden Documents Say.” Now we’re getting into the technology side of this.

 

A direct quote from Barton Gellman and Ashkan Soltani: “The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.” Millions of archived records are sent each day from Yahoo to Google networks to warehouses in Fort Meade, Maryland. The information includes who sent and received text messages, emails, and anything audio or video related. The NSA has been able to access this data through a program called MUSCULAR, a joint project with the Government Communications Headquarters in Great Britain. This program uses undisclosed interceptor points to copy information from the companies’ fiber-optic cables.

 

When I was at PubCom, there was a whole conversation about the webmaster tools and the fact that Google turned off the ability to see the keywords being searched. Everybody else believed it was an attack on SEOs. I believe that the reason it was shut off was because Google has now seen all of the data points that are being accessed by the NSA and they’re saying “Wait a second. We’ve got to protect ourselves.’ And in order to do that, it happened to have locked out the keywords.

 

Here’s an article from the Huffington Post titled “Goggle’s Eric Schmidt Says NSA Server Spying is ‘Outrageous’ if True.”

 

Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman at Google, is quoted as saying that any claims about NSA spying on Google data centers are outrageous and could lead to possible legal issues for the agency. Schmidt also believes Google has filed complaints against the NSA and President Obama, as well as members of Congress.

 

Isn’t that a turn in an interesting direction? Google was buddy-buddy with President Obama in the first four years. Now that all of this is coming to light – not that the president knew about this, as he says – Google is now going to file complaints against the NSA, President Obama and members of Congress.

 

Here’s an article from the Huffington Post. Now we do not curse on this podcast and we certainly will not, but as many of you know, the Huffington Post published a response from Brandon Downey to what he thinks about the NSA. We went through the entire post and we removed/edited all the curse words he wrote. He is the security engineer for Google. He wrote this on his Google+ page. This is his take on the recent allegations that the NSA now directly intercepts data from Google fiber-optic cables. Here’s his statement or aspects of his statements (cursing excluded).

 

I’ve spent the last ten years of my life trying to keep Google’s users safe and secure from the many diverse threats Google faces. I’ve seen armies of machines DOS-ing Google. I’ve seen worms DOS-ing Google to find vulnerabilities in other people’s software. I’ve seen criminal gangs figure out malware. I’ve seen spyware masquerading as toolbars so thick it breaks computers because it interferes with the other spyware. I’ve even seen oppressive governments use state-sponsored hacking to target dissidents. But even though we suspected this was happening, it still makes me terribly sad. It makes me sad because I believe in America.

 

The Washington Post had an article titled “Amid NSA Spying Revelations, Tech Leaders Call for New Restraints on Agency

 

Tech companies around the United States are becoming more active in the fight for stricter guidelines on what the NSA can and cannot do. Representatives from Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and AOL drafted and sent a letter to Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee; Senator Michael S. Lee (R-Utah), a judiciary committee member; and Representatives John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich) and F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wisc). Here is a piece directly from the letter. “Our companies (Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, AOL) believe that government surveillance practices should also be reformed to include substantial enhancements to privacy protections and appropriate oversight and accountability mechanisms for those programs.” Many of the bills currently on Capitol Hill do not address agency spying and data collection on international lands, which is where the alleged MUSCULAR program took place.

 

It’s amazing that people aren’t marching in the streets when you think about it. If all of these companies together know that there is a significant issue, where is Occupy Wall Street? Where is a group that’s going to say the problem is that everybody is comfortable? Everybody’s happy. We all want to just put in our search and get our Gmail and use the calendar and we don’t care. We want our cell phone faster, more dynamic and with games and we don’t care. We don’t care if the NSA is spying on us. I tried to change. I tried to use a privacy search engine, but what do I do? All my files are in Google Drive. All of my calendar events are in Google Calendar. The fact that it’s now being ported through the data centers and into NSA’s hands has me terrified. I mean, there’s nothing in any of my documents that’s worrisome, but why are they looking at my stuff? If they want to look at a year’s worth of stuff, they should conclude that there’s nothing to look at and they should take me off a list. But everybody in America is on the list, which in itself is illegal. It’s a disaster. I don’t understand why the news media isn’t speaking up about this, why Occupy Wall Street isn’t now converting over and speaking up against this.

 

Here is an article from The Huffington Post titled “These Four Organizations Are Also Spying on You, and You Had no Idea.

 

 

MPAA Lobbyist Christopher Dodd on #SOPA

In the wake of the recent NSA scandal, more and more organizations are revealing some sort of spying on the American people. The Post Office, Equifax, the MPAA, and the Air Force have all been accused of gathering some type of information. The Post Office takes photographs of the exterior of any mail that passes through their doors. The Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program has been around since 2001 and holds the images until needed by law enforcement agencies.

 

I don’t care. If they want to take a picture of the box that I’m shipping to my grandmother, I don’t care. If you open the letter and you scan my letter or my invoice or you open the package and rifle through it, that’s a significant problem. So I don’t care that they’re taking pictures of the outside. I don’t know what that’s doing. I don’t know how that’s helping them or anybody else or how it’s used. Did you send this package? Did it look like this? Yes, of course I did. There’s a trail when I dropped it off at the mailbox. There’s a stamp on it. You know which location it was sent to. All that is documented. Why do you need photographs? The article continues to say:

 

Credit reporting agency Equifax monitors your salary information down to paid-per-week. The Work Number, a service operated by Equifax, might contain up to 190,000,000 records about employment and salary info. It’s common knowledge that the Air Force employs the use of drones to document photos of foreign lands and to monitor terrorists, but it also takes plenty of pictures over U.S. land while en route to international territories.

 

The television show Homeland, which is of course fiction, this week had a drone hovering over a house. It’s too far up for anyone to see it, but it’s there. Sure. They’ve got a drone outside my house right now. It’s ridiculous. There’s a point at which you compile so much data that nobody can sift through it. It’s like finding something on Goggle.

 

Here is an article from The Huffington Post titled “NSA Revelations Threaten Cloud Companies.

 

Cloud companies are feeling the fallout from recent allegations that the NSA has been spying on cloud servers from Google and Yahoo. Even when companies go to extra lengths to encrypt data, customers are turning away for fear of their information being spied on by the NSA. There could potentially be a fallout in the US economy because cloud companies are one of the fastest rising industries in the country.

 

Again, I think the use of cloud computing is going to outweigh people’s concerns about their privacy being violated. People are just not concerned about it. It’s not something they worry about.

 

Future Podcasts

 

Dr Who Experience Dr Who Experience (Photo credit: williamsdb)

 

Next week, we’re going to have an interview with Warren Whitlock and his co-author talking about their new book. We’ll have a nice chat about that. I’m then headed to England for the Doctor Who Festival. It’s the 50th anniversary of the show. I have an incredible lineup. I land on Wednesday. I’m immediately on a train a couple of hours later headed to Cardiff to go see the Doctor Who Experience out there. The next day, Friday, I’m in Manchester, England. I wanted to check that place out. Saturday, we have the broadcast of the television show. I’m actually going to see it at a movie theatre because it’s a 3D screening. I believe it’s an hour and 45 minutes, so it’s a big production. I also successfully got into a private party that will I’ll be attending that night. Then Sunday, I’ll be at the Dr. Who event at Excel. Then Monday, I have tickets for the Bodyguard on the West End. The Body Guard, the movie with Whitney Houston, is being made into a play. It’s very difficult to get tickets for it, but we have those. Following that, we’re going to see another show. We’re staying around the corner from Harrods and Harvey Nichols, so I’m sure we’ll be in there a lot. It’s going to be great.

 

I won’t be broadcasting for those two weeks, which is the week before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving week, but I’ll see you in December. I’ll try to line up some really interesting events and conversations. I really appreciate you taking the time to listen today. Our numbers are growing tremendously. The numbers are staggering on the piece that I did about Dread Pirate Roberts. I’m so happy and I thank you so much.

 

Again, this is Jonathan Goodman. You can follow me @HalyardConsult on Twitter. New episodes of the World of Internet Marketing can be heard every Friday. You can access the archives of my previous shows on Spreaker.com – user name Jonathan Goodman. The podcast is also available with transcription at halyardconsulting.com and geekcast.fm one week after the episode airs. Don’t forget to pick up my book The World of Internet Marketing on Amazon, and if you like this podcast please share it with your network of friends and family. Have a great Thanksgiving.

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