Because I'm sick of answering the
"What does the NSA is WATCHIN mean?"
I'm explaining it here
theNSAisWATCHIN = the NSA is watching
The NSA is the National Security Administration. They oversee and monitor, among other things, the internet. They supposedly do this with a program called Echelon, which is rumored to be able to sort through email and instant messages as well as other means of internet traffic and communication for certain keywords with an eye toward national security.
End of simple explanation.
More In Depth
What is The NSA?
From Their Website
The NSA (National Security Agency) is the Nation's cryptologic organization. It coordinates, directs, and performs highly specialized activities to protect U.S. information systems and produce foreign intelligence information. A high technology organization, NSA is on the frontiers of communications and data processing. It is also one of the most important centers of foreign language analysis and research within the Government.
Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) is a unique discipline with a long and storied past. SIGINT's modern era dates to World War II, when the U.S. broke the Japanese military code and learned of plans to invade Midway Island. This intelligence allowed the U.S. to defeat Japan's superior fleet. The use of SIGINT is believed to have directly contributed to shortening the war by at least one year. Today, SIGINT continues to play an important role in maintaining the superpower status of the United States.
As the world becomes more and more technology-oriented, the
Information Systems Security (INFOSEC) mission becomes increasingly challenging.
This mission involves protecting all classified and sensitive information that
is stored or sent through U.S. Government equipment. INFOSEC professionals go to
great lengths to make certain that Government systems remain impenetrable. This
support spans from the highest levels of U.S. Government to the individual
warfighter in the field.
NSA conducts one of the U.S. Government's leading research and development programs. Some of the Agency's R&D projects have significantly advanced the state of the art in the scientific and business worlds. NSA's early interest in cryptanalytic research led to the first large-scale computer and the first solid-state computer, predecessors to the modern computer. NSA pioneered efforts in flexible storage capabilities, which led to the development of the tape cassette. NSA also made ground-breaking developments in semiconductor technology and remains a world leader in many technological fields.
NSA employs the country's premier codemakers and codebreakers.
It is said to be the largest employer of mathematicians in the United States and
perhaps the world. Its mathematicians contribute directly to the two missions of
the Agency: designing cipher systems that will protect the integrity of U.S.
information systems and searching for weaknesses in adversaries' systems and
Technology and the world change rapidly, and great emphasis is placed on staying ahead of these changes with employee training programs. The National Cryptologic School is indicative of the Agency's commitment to professional development. The school not only provides unique training for the NSA workforce, but it also serves as a training resource for the entire Department of Defense. NSA sponsors employees for bachelor and graduate studies at the Nation's top universities and colleges, and selected Agency employees attend the various war colleges of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Most NSA/CSS employees, both civilian and military, are headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland, centrally located between Baltimore and Washington, DC. Its workforce represents an unusual combination of specialties: analysts, engineers, physicists, mathematicians, linguists, computer scientists, researchers, as well as customer relations specialists, security officers, data flow experts, managers, administrative and clerical assistants.
What is Echelon
Echelon is a program set up by the NSA (National Security Agency) which acts as an international spy network allegedly set up to listen in on civilians' electronic communications. It scans email messages and other web based data transfer for certain keywords with an eye towards national security. Echelon is an eavesdropping network operated by five English-speaking countries (the U.S., the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). ("Echelon" is supposedly the network's codename, but the term is often sloppily used in the press to describe several different systems and technologies.) The network developed from a Cold War need to intercept and monitor foreign satellite communications. Reportedly, Echelon has evolved into a system capable of intensively monitoring the Internet. The system is spearheaded by the secretive signals and communications intelligence agencies in the U.S. and UK, the National Security Agency and the Government Communications Headquarters.
The Echelon system relies on a set of "dictionaries," lists of keywords that flag messages worth reading. These keywords might include controversial topics or names of world leaders or telephone numbers - but there is no public information available on what these keywords are. The name of the game is selectivity, because the ability to process every message sent does not yet exist. What's more, the ability to intercept every message does not exist - and while accelerating technology will help the spy agencies with processing messages, it will make intercepting and decrypting messages more difficult.
THE FBI Version of Echelon
It has a sister internet wiretap program in operation at the FBI - called Carnivore or DCS1000 over there. It is called Carnivore because of its ability to find the 'meat' in vast amounts of data. The system helps the FBI investigate possible criminals. It has been used about 25 times since its first use in early 1999. First, the FBI must get a court order giving them permission to snoop on a suspect. FBI agents then install special equipment on the computers of a suspect's Internet Service Provider (ISP). Carnivore software intercepts all the Internet activity of a suspected criminal under investigation and sifts through the individual packets of data (e-mail, Web visits, etc.) to sort out relevant material. Reportedly, Carnivore does not search for keywords (as Echelon supposedly does), but scans the headers on Internet transmissions and sucks up the messages directed to or from the suspect.
A Carnivore By Any Other Name
Carnivore now goes by the less beastly moniker of DCS1000, drawn from the work it does as a "digital collection system." The investigative agency built the tool to monitor the Internet communications of suspects under its surveillance, but the system, housed on computers at Internet service providers, also can collect e-mail messages from people who are not part of an FBI probe.
A spokesman for the FBI denied that the name change stemmed from worries that the name Carnivore made the system sound like a predatory device made to invade people's privacy. But the Illinois Institute of Technology, which last fall issued an analysis of the system at the request of the Justice Department, recommended that the name be changed for just that reason, according to an IIT analyst.
"We had a concern that it wasn't a good name for the system," said the IIT's Larry Reynolds. The group thought the name should be dumped, he said, "because of the very definition of the word."
The name change is the latest development in the controversy surrounding the surveillance tool, which came under public scrutiny last summer when privacy advocates began to decry it. In September, the Justice Department picked the IIT Research Institute to perform a government-sponsored technical review of the software.
The rechristening is part of an upgrade that incorporates other recommendations from the research group, according to Paul Bresson, a spokesman for the FBI. "It isn't because we were worried about negative privacy publicity. If it was, we would have changed (the name) months ago," he said. "This (system) is not something that remains static."
The upgrade was supposed to be coordinated with a Justice Department report on DCS1000 scheduled for release prior to Janet Reno's departure last month as attorney general, Bresson said. He did not say when that report will be made public.
Contact/Submit theNSAisWATCHIN News Monster Images Archive News Monster Archive
The Frances Farmers Revenge Web Portal