"We're All Suspects Now": A Look Inside The NSA's New "Contact Chaining" Tool

Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man

New book explores NSA’s “contact chaining” tool

What happened:

We all know Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA collects and stores massive databases of information on Americans’ phone call and text metadata.

But then what? Most people think it sits on ice until and unless an alphabet agency like the FBI, CIA, or DHS wants to dig through it.

In reality, it is processed into a detailed map of your social contacts, constantly updating with new data.

Everytime you make a phone call or send a text, a new piece of data enters the government’s hands, and they update the map of your social contacts.

A new book explores the “contact chaining” tool, which is an essential second piece of the collection and storage of mass metadata.

What this means:

This tool allows the NSA to play “six degrees of separation” to connect you to almost anyone.

They call it “contact chaining,” as in, determining who you are linked to. They know better than us who is in our inner circle, who are our casual contacts, and who is a friend of a friend.

This is so much broader than the government seeing when you sent a text. They can map out your entire social life.

And as coronavirus “contact tracing” comes into effect, it would be wise to remember just how dangerous it is for the government to have such detailed information on all Americans.

Everyone is being investigated, before they are ever suspected of committing a crime. We’re all suspects now.

* * *

Ohio judge blocks state from enforcing lockdowns against gyms

What happened:

A week before the Ohio lockdown order was lifted, two dozen gyms that sued the state won the first round of the lawsuit.

A judge placed a preliminary injunction against the state, saying police and officials cannot enforce the lockdown orders against the gyms. Gyms could reopen, without threat of legal consequences.

The judge said government officials relied on faulty legal reasoning to say they had the authority to close down every gym in the state for two months.

The government’s powers to quarantine and isolate applies to individual instances. It cannot be used as a wide net to encompass every business and individual across the state, regardless of their coronavirus status.

What this means:

The governor said he didn’t “think it’s a big deal” since gyms were set to reopen less than a week after the ruling anyway.

That is tone deaf, as many politicians are at this point.

They have destroyed countless businesses with their authoritarian orders. So it is a big deal when courts strike them down.

Maybe governments won’t be able to overreach so far next time.

* * *

Judge rules FBI can’t even look at your phone’s lock screen without a warrant

What happened:

When police arrest a suspect, they inventory personal items like a cell phone.

During the process of powering down a phone, it is reasonable for law enforcement to see the phone’s screen.

That had already happened in this case.

But then an FBI agent went to the evidence locker, took out the suspect’s phone, and powered it on. The specific purpose was to gather evidence from the phone’s lock screen-- the display that shows up before entering a passcode to access the phone.

But the FBI agent did not bother asking a judge for a warrant. And that made it an illegal search under the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure, according to a judge.

The evidence was thrown out.

What this means:

When we are so used to the government doing whatever it wants, and not facing any consequences, little victories like these are encouraging.

There is a reason the Constitution attempted to restrict law enforcement and government powers when it came to the rights of the accused.

Otherwise, it is far too easy for the government to go digging around for a crime, without ever suspecting one in the first place.

And with the number of petty laws and victimless crimes out there, we are all guilty of something