June 4, 2014
The top spook of the NSA has come out and given an “uh-uh-uh” with regards to the agencies diabolical plot to record everyone’s faces and then track them whenever they appear on CCTV.
During a cyber security conference in Washington, Adm. Michael Rogers acknowledged his agency is using facial recognition technology, but he emphasized the strict legal limits on the application of that the technology to U.S. citizens, according to Bloomberg News.
The defense was prompted by a report last Saturday in the New York Times that the spy agency is intercepting “millions of images per day” of people around the world. The report was based on documents obtained by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who fled the country last June after exposing several highly classified government surveillance programs.
The documents provided by Snowden, according to the Times, show that the agency has broadened its focus beyond written and oral communication to include facial images, fingerprints, and other personal identifiers that could help them keep tabs on suspected terrorists or other surveillance targets.
On Tuesday, Rogers said the legal limits that govern other forms of information intercepted by the agency apply to the facial images as well.
“We do not do this in some unilateral basis against U.S. citizens,” Rogers said, according to Bloomberg News. “We have very spe
cific restrictions when it comes to U.S. persons.”
“In broad terms, we have to stop what we’re doing if we come to the realization that somebody we’re monitoring or tracking has a U.S. connection that we were unaware of,” he added. “We have to assess the situation and if we think there is a legal basis for this and we have to get the legal authority or justification.”
An NSA spokeswoman told the Times that the NSA is required to obtain judicial approval to browse pictures of U.S. citizens obtained by the agency, much as it would be required to get court approval to sift through their telephone records or emails.
In actual fact, these spooks appear to be doing everything they possibly can to gather every bit of information they can grab, but I honestly doubt it is as bad as it looks like it could possibly be. Because they don’t have the capabilities to process it, and the more they have, the more confusing it becomes.
In this, I can almost give credence to some of the conspiracy theories that claim that the media is playing up the data-gathering capacities of the spooks for the purpose of chilling the American people.