So the NSA has 15 years of data retention. It’s a really important point to drive home. I joked with Laura when she wrote the New York Times article with James Risen, she should do the math for other people and say 15 years. She said, “They can do the math on their own. I believe in them.” I just want to do the math for you. Fifteen years. That’s scary. I don’t ever remember voting on that. I don’t ever remember even having a public debate about it. And that includes content as well as metadata.
So they use this metadata, they search through this metadata retroactively, they do what’s called “tasking” – that is, they find a set of selectors, so that’s a set of unique identifiers – e-mail addresses, cookies, MAC addresses, IMEIs, whatever is useful. Voiceprints potentially, depending on the system. And then they basically task those selectors for specific activities.
So that ties together with some of the attacks which I’ll talk about, but essentially QUANTUMINSERTION and things that are like QUANTUMINSERTION, they’re triggered as part of the TURMOIL and TURBINE system and the QFIRE system, and they’re all put together so that they can automate attacking people based on the plain text traffic that transits the internet or based on the source or destination IP addresses.
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