This is a special keynote the whistleblower and former NSA intelligence official Bill Binney gave in Munich in January 2014 on the occasion of the annual Handelsblatt-Tagung “Strategisches IT-Management”.
During his speech, he outlined the procedures he helped to develop to manage the enormous amount of data gathered via automated analysis of electronic communication, ways to analyze metadata to generate profiles of suspicious groups, and how to use this information to predict potential dangers.
In the second part of his presentation, Binney emphasized that NSA operations (as well as the use of their data by other agencies) are fundamentally unconstitutional, as the US constitution does not only prohibit intelligence agencies from gathering information on domestic matters, but also from using or dispersing it for other purposes, such as criminal investigations.
With reference to the technical specifics of the fiber optic network used by phone companies, he deduced that all officials who claimed that they did not intentionally collect data on US citizens were deliberately lying and obfuscating their operations, and that secrecy and dishonesty have thus become general characteristics of the US intelligence agencies and their allies in other countries.
Throughout his talk, Binney linked these practices to the inner workings of totalitarian states, such as the GDR, and to the totalitarian reign of English king George III which had directly preceded the Declaration of Independence. He expressed his worries that not only the US, but democracies all over the world are endangered by an erosion of their fundamental principles.