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Magda Hassan
07-11-2013, 01:13 AM
This Really is Big Brother: The Leak Nobody's NoticedJune 23, 2013


Source: Common Dreams (https://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/06/23)


This McClatchy piece (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/06/20/194513/obamas-crackdown-views-leaks-as.html#storylink=cpy) (written by some of the same people who got the Iraq war run-up story so right while everyone else got it wrong) is as chilling to me as anything we've heard over the past few weeks about the NSA spying. In fact, it may be worse:



Even before a former U.S. intelligence contractor exposed the secret collection of Americans’ phone records, the Obama administration was pressing a government-wide crackdown on security threats that requires federal employees to keep closer tabs on their co-workers and exhorts managers to punish those who fail to report their suspicions.
President Barack Obama’s unprecedented initiative, known as the Insider Threat Program, is sweeping in its reach. It has received scant public attention even though it extends beyond the U.S. national security bureaucracies to most federal departments and agencies nationwide, including the Peace Corps, the Social Security Administration and the Education and Agriculture departments. It emphasizes leaks of classified material, but catchall definitions of “insider threat” give agencies latitude to pursue and penalize a range of other conduct.
Government documents reviewed by McClatchy illustrate how some agencies are using that latitude to pursue unauthorized disclosures of any information, not just classified material. They also show how millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers and could face penalties, including criminal charges, for failing to report them. Leaks to the media are equated with espionage.
“Hammer this fact home . . . leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States,” says a June 1, 2012, Defense Department strategy for the program that was obtained by McClatchy.

When the free free press, explicitly protected in the bill of rights becomes equivalent to an "enemy of the United States" something very, very bad is happening.
The administration says it's doing this to protect national security and that it is willing to protect those who blow the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse. But that is not how the effect of this sort of program is going to be felt. After all, it's being implemented across the federal government, not just in national security:

The program could make it easier for the government to stifle the flow of unclassified and potentially vital information to the public, while creating toxic work environments poisoned by unfounded suspicions and spurious investigations of loyal Americans, according to these current and former officials and experts. Some non-intelligence agencies already are urging employees to watch their co-workers for “indicators” that include stress, divorce and financial problems.

“It was just a matter of time before the Department of Agriculture or the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) started implementing, ‘Hey, let’s get people to snitch on their friends.’ The only thing they haven’t done here is reward it,” said Kel McClanahan, a Washington lawyer who specializes in national security law. “I’m waiting for the time when you turn in a friend and you get a $50 reward.”
The Defense Department anti-leak strategy obtained by McClatchy spells out a zero-tolerance policy. Security managers, it says, “must” reprimand or revoke the security clearances – a career-killing penalty – of workers who commit a single severe infraction or multiple lesser breaches “as an unavoidable negative personnel action.”
Employees must turn themselves and others in for failing to report breaches. “Penalize clearly identifiable failures to report security infractions and violations, including any lack of self-reporting,” the strategic plan says.
The Obama administration already was pursuing an unprecedented number of leak prosecutions, and some in Congress – long one of the most prolific spillers of secrets – favor tightening restrictions on reporters’ access to federal agencies, making many U.S. officials reluctant to even disclose unclassified matters to the public.
The policy, which partly relies on behavior profiles, also could discourage creative thinking and fuel conformist “group think” of the kind that was blamed for the CIA’s erroneous assessment that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction, a judgment that underpinned the 2003 U.S. invasion.
I don't know about you, but that does not sound like freedom. In fact, it sounds like something else entirely to me (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi).
This government paranoia and informant culture is about as corrosive to the idea of freedom as it gets. The workplace is already rife with petty jealousies, and singular ambition--- it's a human organization after all. Adding in this sort of incentive structure is pretty much setting up a system for intimidation and abuse.
And, as with all informant systems, especially ones that "profile" for certain behaviors deemed to be a threat to the state, only the most conformist will thrive. It's a recipe for disaster if one is looking for any kind of dynamic, creative thinking. Clearly, that is the last these creepy bureaucrats want.
This is the direct result of a culture of secrecy that seems to be pervading the federal government under president Obama. He is not the first president to expand the national security state , nor is he responsible for the bipartisan consensus on national security or the ongoing influence of the Military Industrial Complex.This, however, is different. And he should be individually held to account for this policy.:

Administration officials say the program could help ensure that agencies catch a wide array of threats, especially if employees are properly trained in recognizing behavior that identifies potential security risks.
“If this is done correctly, an organization can get to a person who is having personal issues or problems that if not addressed by a variety of social means may lead that individual to violence, theft or espionage before it even gets to that point,” said a senior Pentagon official, who requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly.
[...]
“If the folks who are watching within an organization for that insider threat – the lawyers, security officials and psychologists – can figure out that an individual is having money problems or decreased work performance and that person may be starting to come into the window of being an insider threat, superiors can then approach them and try to remove that stress before they become a threat to the organization,” the Pentagon official said.
The program, however, gives agencies such wide latitude in crafting their responses to insider threats that someone deemed a risk in one agency could be characterized as harmless in another. Even inside an agency, one manager’s disgruntled employee might become another’s threat to national security.
Obama in November approved “minimum standards” giving departments and agencies considerable leeway in developing their insider threat programs, leading to a potential hodgepodge of interpretations. He instructed them to not only root out leakers but people who might be prone to “violent acts against the government or the nation” and “potential espionage.”
The Pentagon established its own sweeping definition of an insider threat as an employee with a clearance who “wittingly or unwittingly” harms “national security interests” through “unauthorized disclosure, data modification, espionage, terrorism, or kinetic actions resulting in loss or degradation of resources or capabilities.”
“An argument can be made that the rape of military personnel represents an insider threat. Nobody has a model of what this insider threat stuff is supposed to look like,” said the senior Pentagon official, explaining that inside the Defense Department “there are a lot of chiefs with their own agendas but no leadership.”
The Department of Education, meanwhile, informs employees that co-workers going through “certain life experiences . . . might turn a trusted user into an insider threat.” Those experiences, the department says in a computer training manual, include “stress, divorce, financial problems” or “frustrations with co-workers or the organization.”
An online tutorial titled “Treason 101” teaches Department of Agriculture and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration employees to recognize the psychological profile of spies.

A Defense Security Service online pamphlet lists a wide range of “reportable” suspicious behaviors, including working outside of normal duty hours. While conceding that not every behavior “represents a spy in our midst,” the pamphlet adds that “every situation needs to be examined to determine whether our nation’s secrets are at risk.”
The Defense Department, traditionally a leading source of media leaks, is still setting up its program, but it has taken numerous steps. They include creating a unit that reviews news reports every day for leaks of classified defense information and implementing new training courses to teach employees how to recognize security risks, including “high-risk” and “disruptive” behaviors among co-workers, according to Defense Department documents reviewed by McClatchy.
“It’s about people’s profiles, their approach to work, how they interact with management. Are they cheery? Are they looking at Salon.com or The Onion during their lunch break? This is about ‘The Stepford Wives,’” said a second senior Pentagon official, referring to online publications and a 1975 movie about robotically docile housewives. The official said he wanted to remain anonymous to avoid being punished for criticizing the program.
The emphasis on certain behaviors reminded Greenstein of her employee orientation with the CIA, when she was told to be suspicious of unhappy co-workers.
“If someone was having a bad day, the message was watch out for them,” she said.
Some federal agencies also are using the effort to protect a broader range of information. The Army orders its personnel to report unauthorized disclosures of unclassified information, including details concerning military facilities, activities and personnel.
The Peace Corps, which is in the midst of implementing its program, “takes very seriously the obligation to protect sensitive information,” said an email from a Peace Corps official who insisted on anonymity but gave no reason for doing so.
Granting wide discretion is dangerous, some experts and officials warned, when federal agencies are already prone to overreach in their efforts to control information flow.
The Bush administration allegedly tried to silence two former government climate change experts from speaking publicly on the dangers of global warming. More recently, the FDA justified the monitoring of the personal email of its scientists and doctors as a way to detect leaks of unclassified information.

Magda Hassan
07-11-2013, 03:03 AM
How innocent citizens become terror suspects

Intelligence agencies in the US and Britain collect enormous amounts of data to track down terrorists. But they don’t operate with great accuracy. Innocent citizens can also attract the attention of secret services.
When revelations about the US spying program 'Prism' had been causing a great stir for a week already, US President Barack Obama stepped in and tried to calm everybody down. In a TV interview he said the American secret service NSA (National Security Agency) consisted of "extraordinary professionals; they are dedicated to keeping the American people safe." But those extraordinary professionals are not tasked with analyzing the data - that's the job of computers. That's why the list of suspicious people does not just consist of terrorists. Ordinary people end up on it, too.


Spy scandal debate



For you to become a target of the intelligence agencies it's enough if you have a neighbor who pursues suspicious activities, said Markus Beckedahl, an internet expert with German blog netzpolitik.org. "Your mobile phone will often be in use near where your neighbor uses his. That creates a certain pattern and it makes you suspicious, too." If your profile accidentally overlaps with others' that will also cause suspicion, for instance "if there's a terrorist somewhere who happens to order the same books as you and surf on the same websites," explained Beckedahl.
Links between people are the new keywords
Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, many political scientists were falsely suspected because as part of their job they conducted online searches about the Arab World. Since then, US intelligence agencies have not only seen a major budget increase, they have also improved their search methods. "People who are actually preparing a terror attack will neither communicate names, nor target areas nor their organization. That's why the agencies no longer focus on the content of communication - what has A said to B – but rather on communication patterns," said Wolfgang Krieger, an expert on intelligence agencies. The links between people are now the focus - in social networks but also in terms of money transfers through banks or via mobile phone connections.
NSA headquarters in Fort Meade
There are reports that NSA and the British secret service GCHQ are capable of processing an exabyte of data. An exabyte is one billion gigabytes. Storage space is becoming cheaper, and internet expert Markus Beckedahl assumes that enormous amounts of data are already being stored permanently. Permanent storage, however, increases the risk that links can be established between individual people that result in a suspicious profile, he added.
Entry made difficult - not just into the US
"But you'll only find out about it when you can't access certain mobile phone tariffs any more simply because it's a provider that would have made it more difficult to eavesdrop on your phone talks - or when you're denied entry into the US because you're on a so-called ‘no-fly-list'," said Markus Beckedahl. There have been many cases where US bound planes were suddenly denied landing because they had a passenger on board whose name was on the secret ‘no fly list' - which means they're denied entry to the US. The most prominent example in recent times was singer Cat Stevens who a few years ago took on the name Yusuf Islam.
In Europe, customs controls are often a place for travelers to find out about data transfers they had no idea about. "I know people who took part in the protests against nuclear waste transports in Germany and who are thoroughly checked every time they are trying to enter England," said Markus Beckedahl. That's because on the one hand, environmental protests border on acts of terrorism in Britain and on the other because there is an international exchange on those activists.
http://www.dw.de/how-innocent-citizens-become-terror-suspects/a-16934329

Magda Hassan
07-11-2013, 03:06 AM
PRISM & ‘purity’: NSA follows Nazi traditionhttp://rt.com/files/opinion/83/00/00/00/24.a.jpgMax Keiser, the host of RT's ‘Keiser Report,’ is a former stockbroker, the inventor of the virtual specialist technology, virtual currencies, and prediction markets.


Published time: July 09, 2013 11:18

AFP Photo / DPA / Peter Steffen


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DNA is data. Thanks to the scientific work of Watson and Crick and their discovery of the double-helix and all its component parts in the DNA strands that make up all living cells, we know that humans are made up of data. To microbiologists and bio-engineers, this information means the development of drugs and treatments for illnesses - leading to more healthy, better lives. The NSA in America is following in the Nazi tradition in its attempt to discriminate based on data collection, modeled around their belief system - which justifies trashing the Constitution in pursuit of ‘pure’ data.
For dystopian, nightmarish autocrats and megalomaniacs, data can be interpreted as a way to segregate populations based on outward traits such as skin color, physical appearance, family history and cultural affinities. The National Socialist Party in Germany back in the 1930s used this access and warehousing of data as the basis for their attempt to create a ‘pure’ race of people: unquestioning of authority, uniform in appearance - with homicidal and genocidal tendencies. They succeeded. Purity of data; mostly drawn from inferences from DNA data resulted in a singularly genocidal group of uniform-looking killers who lauded ‘pure’ DNA-types and went about exterminating the others (while transferring these fellow citizens’ wealth; the real reason behind the pogrom).
The NSA in America, similar to Nazi’s attempt to discriminate based on data collection, justifies trashing the Constitution in pursuit of ‘pure’ data. It's not about Aryan blood this time, but identifying pure, ‘patriots’ whose emails, data searches, emails, credit card charges, online chats, cell phone chats, physical mail (being photographed), fingerprints, and blood samples must pass through data-mining's ‘Big Data’ purity analyzer to make certain that every American - no, correct that, everyone on Earth who interacts digitally - is pure of heart and spirit (read: willing to shop themselves to death). All dissenters will be arrested. All assemblies will be broken up. All attempts at nonconformity will be met with harsh prison sentences.
David S. Holloway / Reportage by Getty Images

If America’s ‘Big Data’ is new Nazism, who are the scapegoats?The scapegoats being marked for death and imprisoned this time are the poor. Back in Hitler’s day, the rich were targeted; their wealth stolen and the lives snuffed out, but this time it’s the poor who are being sent to the Gulag.
The top 1 Basis Point (formally known as the top 1 percent - but that included too much riff raff, so now it's the top 1/100th of 1 percent or ‘basis point’) needs to keep their Ponzi scheme of inflating worthless bonds higher, by ‘front running’ markets and creating a blitzkrieg of ‘Weapons of Mass Financial Destruction’ using data-intensive algorithms.
The Data Death Machines are running at the speed of HFT (High Frequency Trading) bots; billions of transactions a second to keep the flow of money flowing from billions to the rent-seeking neo-Nazis who run the four biggest banks in the UK (the global center of accounting fraud and market manipulation) and other banks in New York, Paris and Frankfurt.
Will the resistance succeed in beating the new data Nazis? People in Brazil, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and cities all over the world are rising up against their data oppressors. Edward Snowden has emerged as a new global hero, along with WikiLeaks and Glenn Greenwald; men who embody the spirit of the founders of the United States of America (going back 200 years) when individual freedom and transparency were still considered valuable commodities.
Will the data-Nazis be defeated by Russia in the way Russia beat the Nazis back in World War II? Where is the new Stalingrad? Carrying through with this analogy we should look to data autocrats like Oracle, Google, Facebook and the big phone companies around the world as the new axis powers that need to be defeated in this new war of privacy vs. tyranny.
http://rt.com/op-edge/prism-nsa-follows-nazi-tradition-830/#.UdwVKILkY5Y.twitter

Magda Hassan
07-11-2013, 07:25 AM
WHAT THE GOV'T PAYS INDUSTRY TO SNOOPBy ANNE FLAHERTY (http://bigstory.ap.org/content/anne-flaherty)


— Jul. 10 12:14 PM EDT
You are hereHome (http://bigstory.ap.org/) » AP Organization (http://bigstory.ap.org/tags/ap-organization) » What the gov't pays industry to snoop
In the era of intense government surveillance and secret court orders, a murky multimillion-dollar market has emerged. Paid for by U.S. tax dollars, but with little public scrutiny, surveillance fees charged in secret by technology and phone companies can vary wildly.
AT&T, for example, imposes a $325 "activation fee" for each wiretap and $10 a day to maintain it. Smaller carriers Cricket and U.S. Cellular charge only about $250 per wiretap. But snoop on a Verizon customer? That costs the government $775 for the first month and $500 each month after that, according to industry disclosures made last year to Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass.
Meanwhile, email records like those amassed by the National Security Agency through a program revealed by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden probably were collected for free or very cheaply. Facebook says it doesn't charge the government for access. And while Microsoft, Yahoo and Google won't say how much they charge, the American Civil Liberties Union found that email records can be turned over for as little as $25.
Industry says it doesn't profit from the hundreds of thousands of government eavesdropping requests it receives each year, and civil liberties groups want businesses to charge. They worry that government surveillance will become too cheap as companies automate their responses. And if companies gave away customer records for free, wouldn't that encourage gratuitous surveillance?
But privacy advocates also want companies to be upfront about what they charge and alert customers after an investigation has concluded that their communications were monitored.
"What we don't want is surveillance to become a profit center," said Christopher Soghoian, the ACLU's principal technologist. But "it's always better to charge $1. It creates friction, and it creates transparency" because it generates a paper trail that can be tracked.
Regardless of price, the surveillance business is growing. The U.S. government long has enjoyed access to phone networks and high-speed Internet traffic under the U.S. Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act to catch suspected criminals and terrorists. More recently, the FBI has pushed technology companies like Google and Skype to guarantee access to real-time communications on their services. And, as shown by recent disclosures about the NSA's surveillance practices, the U.S. intelligence community has an intense interest in analyzing data and content that flow through American technology companies to gather foreign intelligence.
The FBI said it could not say how much it spends on industry reimbursements because payments are made through a variety of programs, field offices and case funds. In an emailed statement, the agency said when charges are questionable, it requests an explanation and tries to work with the carrier to understand its cost structure.
Technology companies have been a focus of law enforcement and the intelligence community since 1994, when Congress allotted $500 million to reimburse phone companies to retrofit their equipment to accommodate wiretaps on the new digital networks.
But as the number of law enforcement requests for data grew and carriers upgraded their technology, the cost of accommodating government surveillance requests increased. AT&T, for example, said it devotes roughly 100 employees to review each request and hand over data. Likewise, Verizon said its team of 70 employees works around the clock, seven days a week to handle the quarter-million requests it gets each year.
To discourage extraneous requests and to prevent losing money, industry turned to a section of federal law that allows companies to be reimbursed for the cost of "searching for, assembling, reproducing and otherwise providing" communications content or records on behalf of the government. The costs must be "reasonably necessary" and "mutually agreed" upon with the government.
From there, phone companies developed detailed fee schedules and began billing law enforcement much as they do customers. In its letter to Markey, AT&T estimated that it collected $24 million in government reimbursements between 2007 and 2011. Verizon, which had the highest fees but says it doesn't charge in every case, reported a similar amount, collecting between $3 million and $5 million a year during the same period.
Companies also began to automate their systems to make it easier. The ACLU's Soghoian found in 2009 that Sprint had created a website allowing law enforcement to track the location data of its wireless customers for only $30 a month to accommodate the approximately 8 million requests it received in one year.
Most companies agree not to charge in emergency cases like tracking an abducted child. They also aren't allowed to charge for phone logs that reveal who called a line and how long they talked — such as the documents the Justice Department obtained about phones at The Associated Press during a leaks investigation — because that information is easily generated from automated billing systems.
Still, the fees can add up quickly. The average wiretap is estimated to cost $50,000, a figure that includes reimbursements as well as other operational costs. One narcotics case in New York in 2011 cost the government $2.9 million alone.
The system isn't a true market-based solution, said Al Gidari, a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie who represents technology and telecommunications companies on privacy and security issues. If the FBI or NSA needs data, those agencies would pay whatever it takes. But Gidari said it's likely that phone and technology companies undercharge because they don't want to risk being accused of making a false claim against the government, which carries stiff penalties.
Online companies in particular tend to undercharge because they don't have established accounting systems, and hiring staff to track costs is more expensive than not charging the government at all, he said.
"Government doesn't have the manpower to wade through irrelevant material any more than providers have the bandwidth to bury them in records," Gidari said. "In reality, there is a pretty good equilibrium and balance, with the exception of phone records," which are free.
Not everyone agrees.
In 2009, then-New York criminal prosecutor John Prather sued several major telecommunications carriers in federal court in Northern California in 2009, including AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, for overcharging federal and state police agencies. In his complaint, Prather said phone companies have the technical ability to turn on a switch, duplicate call information and pass it along to law enforcement with little effort. Instead, Prather says his staff, while he was working as a city prosecutor, would receive convoluted bills with extraneous fees. That case is pending.
"They were monstrously more than what the telecoms could ever hope to charge for similar services in an open, competitive market, and the costs charged to the governments by telecoms did not represent reasonable prices as defined in the code of federal regulations," the lawsuit said.






The phone companies have asked the judge to dismiss the case. Prather's lawsuit claims whistle-blower status. If he wins, he stands to collect a percentage — estimated anywhere from 12 percent to 25 percent — of the money recovered from the companies.
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/price-surveillance-govt-pays-snoop
The government's been getting data from phone carriers like AT&T and Verizon -- but not for free (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/price-surveillance-govt-pays-snoop). “Virtually every company out there, technology company or telecommunications company charges the government, with the exception of Facebook -- which gives it away for free,” says Anne Flaherty (https://twitter.com/AnneKFlaherty), a technology policy reporter for the AP.
The law says that when law enforcement officers and security bureaus like the NSA need data from cell phone or Internet companies and “it puts the business out, [those companies] have a right to be compensated.” Flaherty says that since phone companies have had two decades of experience working with the law, “they’ve developed these really sophisticated fee lists.” Verizon, for example, charges $775 for the first month of wiretapping and $500 for each month after that. AT&T sets up its bill a bit differently, with a $325 “activation fee” per wiretap plus $10 a day to maintain it.

http://www.marketplace.org/sites/default/files/NSA-V12.jpg
Flaherty says she asked the FBI how much they spent in total wiretapping “and they said we can’t give you a topline figure. We don’t know how much we spend on reimbursements because it’s divided up across the budget with every field office and every program.”
She says it seems unlikely that phone companies are making much, if any, profit from the federal government, even if the rates may seem high. But she also adds: there’s really no way to know.
http://www.marketplace.org/topics/tech/even-nsa-gets-verizon-bill-some-surprise-charges#.Ud5YY5rnvGs.twitter

Magda Hassan
07-11-2013, 11:26 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=d6m1XbWOfVk#at=124

Magda Hassan
07-11-2013, 02:41 PM
The NSA Has Inserted Its Code Into Android OS, Or Three Quarters Of All Smartphones
http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/pictures/picture-5.jpg (http://www.zerohedge.com/users/tyler-durden)
Submitted by Tyler Durden (http://www.zerohedge.com/users/tyler-durden) on 07/09/2013 20:34 -0400


Over a decade ago, it was discovered that the NSA embedded backdoor access (http://www.heise.de/tp/artikel/5/5263/1.html)into Windows 95, and likely into virtually all other subsequent internet connected, desktop-based operating systems. However, with the passage of time, more and more people went "mobile", and as a result the NSA had to adapt. And adapt they have: as Bloomberg reports (http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-07-03/security-enhanced-android-nsa-edition#r=nav-fs), "The NSA is quietly writing code for Google’s Android OS."
Is it ironic that the same "don't be evil" Google which went to such great lengths in the aftermath of the Snowden scandal to wash its hands of snooping on its customers and even filed a request with the secretive FISA court (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-06-18/google-challenges-surveillance-gag-order-squares-nsa-secrecy-against-first-amendment)asking permission to disclose more information about the government’s data requests, is embedding NSA code into its mobile operating system, which according to IDC runs on three-quarters of all smartphones shipped in the first quarter? Yes, yes it is.
Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano confirms that the company has already inserted some of the NSA’s programming in Android OS. "All Android code and contributors are publicly available for review at source.android.com." Scigliano says, declining to comment further.
From Bloomberg (http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-07-03/security-enhanced-android-nsa-edition#r=nav-fs):

Through its open-source Android project, Google has agreed to incorporate code, first developed by the agency in 2011, into future versions of its mobile operating system, which according to market researcher IDC runs on three-quarters of the smartphones shipped globally in the first quarter. NSA officials say their code, known as Security Enhancements for Android, isolates apps to prevent hackers and marketers from gaining access to personal or corporate data stored on a device. Eventually all new phones, tablets, televisions, cars, and other devices that rely on Android will include NSA code, agency spokeswoman Vanee’ Vines said in an e-mailed statement. NSA researcher Stephen Smalley, who works on the program, says, “Our goal is to raise the bar in the security of commodity mobile devices.”
See, there's no need to worry: the reason the NSA is generously providing the source code for every Google-based smartphone is for your own security. Oh but it's open-sourced, so someone else will intercept any and all attempts at malice. We forgot.
The story continues:

In a 2011 presentation obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek, Smalley listed among the benefits of the program that it’s “normally invisible to users.” The program’s top goal, according to that presentation: “Improve our understanding of Android security.”
Well one wouldn't want their bug to be visible to users now, would one...

Vines wouldn’t say whether the agency’s work on Android and other software is part of or helps with Prism. “The source code is publicly available for anyone to use, and that includes the ability to review the code line by line,” she said in her statement. Most of the NSA’s suggested additions to the operating system can already be found buried in Google’s latest release—on newer devices including Sony’s Xperia Z, HTC’s One, and Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S4. Although the features are not turned on by default, according to agency documentation, future versions will be. In May the Pentagon approved the use of smartphones and tablets that run Samsung’s mobile enterprise software, Knox, which also includes NSA programming, the company wrote in a June white paper. Sony, HTC, and Samsung declined to comment.
Apple appears to be immune from this unprecedented breach of customer loyalty, if only for now, although open-sourced Linux may not be as lucky:

“Apple (AAPL) does not accept source code from any government agencies for any of our operating systems or other products,” says Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for the company. It’s not known if any other proprietary operating systems are using NSA code. SE for Android is an offshoot of a long-running NSA project called Security-Enhanced Linux. That code was integrated a decade ago into the main version of the open-source operating system, the server platform of choice for Internet leaders including Google, Facebook (FB), and Yahoo! (YHOO). Jeff Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation, says the NSA didn’t add any obvious means of eavesdropping. “This code was peer-reviewed by a lot of people,” he says.
But that's not all:

The NSA developed a separate Android project because Google’s mobile OS required markedly different programming, according to Smalley’s 2011 presentation. Brian Honan, an information technology consultant in Dublin, says his clients in European governments and multinational corporations are worried about how vulnerable their data are when dealing with U.S. companies. The information security world had been preoccupied with Chinese hacking until recently, Honan says. “With Prism, the same accusations can be laid against the U.S. government.”
In short: the (big brother supervised) fun never stops in Stasi 2.0 world. Just buy your 100 P/E stocks, eat your burgers, watch your Dancing With The Stars, pay your taxes, and engage in as much internet contact with other internet-addicted organisms as possible and all shall be well.
Oh, and from this...
http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2013/07/phone_bug.gif
To this (courtesy of @paradism_ (https://twitter.com/paradism_))
http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2013/07/your%20move%20NSA.jpg
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-07-09/nsa-has-inserted-its-code-android-os-bugging-three-quarters-all-smartphones (http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2013/07/your%20move%20NSA.jpg)

Jan Klimkowski
07-11-2013, 06:22 PM
“Hammer this fact home . . . leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States,” says a June 1, 2012, Defense Department strategy for the program that was obtained by McClatchy

The military-intelligence-industrial complex is essentially stroking the Inner Nazi in every corporate manager and saying:

"If any of your employees challenges the ethics or integrity of your decisions just label them an Insider Threat, and they're done. They'll never work again. We guarantee it."

Magda Hassan
07-12-2013, 02:28 AM
The Russian FSB are going back to typewriters as a means to improve security. http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?u=http://www.zakupki.gov.ru/pgz/public/action/orders/info/common_info/show?notificationId=6495414

Edited to add maybe not.

An order of old-fashioned typewriters from the Russian Federal Guard Service (FSO) has sparked a media storm, with assumptions that the low-tech equipment purchase was prompted by recent US intelligence leaks surrounding the NSA surveillance program.
The FSO, a body tasked with protecting Russia’s president and other high-ranking officials, has issued an order of 20 electric portable typewriters, according to an announcement on the state procurement agency website, zakupki.gov.ru.

The agency has ordered typewriters capable of both Russian and Latin typeface. The equipment is to have been produced no earlier than 2012, with total cost just over 486,000 rubles (US$15,000).

The news triggered a media frenzy, with many journalists assuming the move was connected with the Kremlin’s concerns over the revelations leaked by former CIA employee Edward Snowden.

"After scandals surrounding the distribution of secret documents by WikiLeaks, the [revelations] by Edward Snowden, and reports about Dmitry Medvedev being listened on during his visit to the G20 summit in London, it has been decided to expand the practice of creating paper documents,” an unnamed FSO source told Russia’s Izvestia newspaper.

The news was quickly picked up by the international media, with USA TODAY’s headline reading, “Spooked by NSA, Russia reverts to paper documents.” The Guardian's headline read, “Russian guard service reverts to typewriters after NSA leaks.”

However, a source from the guard service told RT that all Russian special services have always used typewriters. He said that it was simply time to buy new ones because the old equipment was out of date.

“It’s not something unusual...the time came to change them. Everyone has these typewriters – the Emergencies Ministry, Ministry of Defense, every special service has them,” the source said.


Another source confirmed to Itar-Tass news agency that typewriters have always been used for work and it is “a regular practice to provide information security.”

(http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?u=http://www.zakupki.gov.ru/pgz/public/action/orders/info/common_info/show?notificationId=6495414)

Magda Hassan
07-12-2013, 04:09 AM
View full contract here (http://media.crikey.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/US-NSAs-Telstra.pdf)
http://media.crikey.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/12-07-2013-11-09-08-AM.jpgThe US government compelled Telstra and Hong Kong-based PCCW to give it access to their undersea cables for spying on communications traffic entering and leaving the US.

Telstra was compelled to strike a secret 2001 deal with the FBI and the US Department of Justice to give them surveillance access to the undersea cables owned by its subsidiary Reach, a new document released online and provided to Crikey reveals.

Magda Hassan
07-13-2013, 03:59 AM
Beyond NSA spying: It isn't just phone calls and emails
by gjohnsit Jul 11, 2013 6:10pm PDT
Everything you put out on the internet, whether it is text messages, phone calls, emails, or web browsing, is being collected by the NSA.
That much is proven. Only the amount of data that is being analyzed is up for debate.
However, it doesn't stop there.

Don't be evil
Remember when the Google executive proclaimed that Google was "not in cahoots with NSA" (http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jun/19/google-drummond-nsa-interview-leaks)?
Boy they must have had quite the laugh at Google headquarters. It turns out that Google is doing far more (http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-07-03/security-enhanced-android-nsa-edition#r=nav-fs) than just letting the NSA peek at their servers.

Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano confirms that the company has already inserted some of the NSA’s programming in Android OS. “All Android code and contributors are publicly available for review at source.android.com,” Scigliano says, declining to comment further....
NSA officials say their code, known as Security Enhancements for Android, isolates apps to prevent hackers and marketers from gaining access to personal or corporate data stored on a device. Eventually all new phones, tablets, televisions, cars, and other devices that rely on Android will include NSA code, agency spokeswoman Vanee’ Vines said in an e-mailed statement. The code is to enhance security. Right. Because the NSA is all about helping people keep their secrets. The Android operating system is on 75% of all smart phones and tablets. Chances are you are already using one.
"Your privacy is our priority"
Chances are if you use a computer at home or work then you use a Microsoft Windows machine.
Microsoft blazed a trail with corporate cooperation with the NSA.
All the way back in 1999 people have known that Microsoft put a backdoor (http://www.heise.de/tp/artikel/5/5263/1.html) into their Windows operating system for the NSA.
However, the extent of Microsoft's complicity was only revealed yesterday (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/11/microsoft-nsa-collaboration-user-data).

Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.The documents show that:
• Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal;
• The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail;
So if you are using a Microsoft product, whether it be Skype, Hotmail, or Windows, and you take every security measure to ensure your privacy, the NSA can still break your encryption. What these Microsoft and Google measures indicate is that the spying efforts go beyond just what you voluntarily send out on the internet. These are backdoors into your smart phone, tablet and home computer. If the NSA wants, and your phone or computer is turned on, they can check out the information on our hard drive whether you have encrypted it or not.
The FBI wants a backdoor (http://www.wnd.com/2013/06/now-fbi-wants-back-door-to-all-software/) to ALL software.
So then turn your phone off. That should be enough, right? Wrong (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2006/12/can_you_hear_me/).

The FBI can listen to everything you say, even when the cell phone is turned off. A recent court ruling in a case against the Genovese crime family revealed that the FBI has the ability from a remote location to activate a cell phone and turn its microphone into a listening device that transmits to an FBI listening post, a method known as a "roving bug." Experts say the only way to defeat it is to remove the cell phone battery. Government computer spying isn't just a passive thing. They have become very assertive, and that includes creating computer virus (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/28/net-us-cyberwar-flame-idUSBRE84R0E420120528).
Evidence suggest that the virus, dubbed Flame, may have been built on behalf of the same nation or nations that commissioned the Stuxnet worm that attacked Iran’s nuclear program in 2010 [i.e. the U.S. and Israel], according to Kaspersky Lab, the Russian cyber security software maker that took credit for discovering the infections.
Flame can gather data files, remotely change settings on computers, turn on PC microphones to record conversations, take screen shots and log instant messaging chats. That the government is actually developing computer virus is amazing. Not for who they design the virus for, but because virus spread in unexpected ways. There is virtually a 100% chance that innocent and unintended people are going to get infected. After all wars governments use the technology they developed for commercial purposes. Well, the cyberwar has just started.
German police (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/15/world/europe/uproar-in-germany-on-police-use-of-surveillance-software.html?_r=1&) have already been caught using trojan virus to spy on people and take control of their webcams.
Hackers (http://news.cnet.com/2100-1029_3-6140191.html) have started doing the same thing.
So you live in the stone age. No computer or cell phone? Then you are safe from spying, right? Wrong (http://news.cnet.com/Court-to-FBI-No-spying-on-in-car-computers/2100-1029_3-5109435.html).

Surreptitious activation of built-in microphones by the FBI has been done before. A 2003 lawsuit revealed that the FBI was able to surreptitiously turn on the built-in microphones in automotive systems like General Motors’ OnStar to snoop on passengers’ conversations. OK. So you don't have a modern car either. That should deter spying, right? Wrong (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/45946984/ns/technology_and_science-security/t/smart-electricity-meters-can-be-used-spy-private-homes/#.Ud8waOEju1G).
After signing up with the German smart-meter firm Discovergy, the researchers detected that the company's devices transmitted unencrypted data from the home devices back to the company's servers over an insecure link. The researchers, Dario Carluccio and Stephan Brinkhaus, intercepted the supposedly confidential and sensitive information, and, based on the fingerprint of power usage, were able to tell not only whether or not the homeowners were home, away or even sleeping, but also what movie they were watching on TV. A really detaled smart meter can see what TV shows you watch (http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/cia-wants-spy-you-through-your-appliances) and scan for copywrite protection on your DVDs. Smart meter energy usage is used to bust pot growers (http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/are-smart-meters-real-time-surveillance-spies). Insurance companies could use the information from a smart meter to determine dietary and obesity trends (http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/20/doctor-futurist-spy-the-smart-meter/) or uses of a specific medical device (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_EDPS-12-10_en.htm?locale=en). It doesn't stop there. Private security cameras (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/06/17/uk-surveilance-hackers-idUKBRE95G10620130617) can be accessed
Why?
Why do these big technology companies help the government's spying efforts?
Many people like to imply that they are being forced to cooperate with an obtrusive government, but they are kidding themselves.
One ex-CIA agent says that the CIA helped bankroll Google (http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/december2006/061206seedmoney.htm) at its start. Is that true? It's hard to say, but what is known is that the CIA and Google have abusiness partnership (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/exclusive-google-cia/) called Recorded Future.

It’s not the very first time Google has done business with America’s spy agencies. Long before it reportedly enlisted the help of the National Security Agency to secure its networks, Google sold equipment to the secret signals-intelligence group. In-Q-Tel backed the mapping firm Keyhole, which was bought by Google in 2004 — and then became the backbone for Google Earth. Google has been working with our spy agencies for a very long time. It doesn't sound like Google or Microsoft need to have their arms twisted. Big companies have financial reasons to cooperate with the government's spying.
Wall Street banks spied on Occupy protestors (http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/10/18/wall-street-firms-spy-on-protestors-in-tax-funded-center/) with tax-funded monitoring centers. Plans for the center were created years before the protests.
It is estimated that 23,000 representatives of private industry (http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/3-infragard-the-fbi-deputizes-business/) are working with Homeland Security and the FBI to collect information on other Americans.

In return, members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public, and at times before elected officials. “There is evidence that InfraGard may be closer to a corporate Total Information Awareness program (TIPS), turning private-sector corporations—some of which may be in a position to observe the activities of millions of individual customers—into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI,” according to an ACLU report titled “The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: How the American Government Is Conscripting Businesses and Individuals in the Construction of a Surveillance Society.” So called "Fusion Centers" (http://www.aclu.org/node/20415/) have been set up all over the country, run by the DoJ and Homeland Security.
Participation in fusion centers might give Boeing access to the trade secrets or security vulnerabilities of competing companies, or might give it an advantage in competing for government contracts. Expecting a Boeing analyst to distinguish between information that represents a security risk to Boeing and information that represents a business risk may be too much to ask.And that is a clue as to why corporations are tripping over each other to help out our spy agencies.
There is evidence of CIA and executive branch officials acting on information about top-secret authorization of coups (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/06/how-much-are-the-nsa-and-cia-front-running-markets.html) to front-run markets. Selling insider information (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/getting_schooled_Tnk6T9EkMg8sOYmDKIKwmK) 5 minutes before the general market gets it can make someone a lot of money. A lot of money (http://www.businessinsider.com/latency-in-trading-2013-6).
This includes things like Federal Reserve minutes (http://www.newsday.com/business/federal-reserve-opens-probe-into-minutes-leak-1.5049541).

"At this time, we do not know whether there was any trading related to inadvertent early distribution of the minutes," a Fed spokesman said.
More than 100 people, primarily congressional staffers and employees of trade associations, had received the minutes of the Fed's March policy meeting around 2 p.m. on Tuesday -- about 24 hours before their scheduled public release.
The minutes, which suggested policymakers were nearing a decision on tapering their bond purchases, pushed prices for U.S. government debt lower and helped lift the dollar to a four-year high against the yen after they were released broadly Wednesday morning. The most obvious case of someone using insider information from an intelligence agency to front-run the markets was the infamous airline shorts (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/09/19/eveningnews/main311834.shtml) made the afternoon before 9/11.
Sources tell CBS News that the afternoon before the attack, alarm bells were sounding over unusual trading in the U.S. stock options market.
An extraordinary number of trades were betting that American Airlines stock price would fall.
The trades are called "puts" and they involved at least 450,000 shares of American. But what raised the red flag is more than 80 percent of the orders were "puts", far outnumbering "call" options, those betting the stock would rise.
Sources say they have never seen that kind of imbalance before, reports CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson. Normally the numbers are fairly even.
After the terrorist attacks, American Airline stock price did fall obviously by 39 percent, and according to sources, that translated into well over $5 million total profit for the person or persons who bet the stock would fall.
At least one Wall Street firm reported their suspicions about this activity to the SEC shortly after the attack. This much is well known. No one ever came to collect on those short positions, so we'll never know for certain who placed them.
What isn't as well known is the SEC response (http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2010/06/sec-government-destroyed-documents.html).
This letter is in response to your request seeking access to and copies of the documentary evidence referred to in footnote 130 of Chapter 5 of the September 11 (9/11) Commission Report.
*
We have been advised that the potentially responsive records have been destroyed. I have long suspected that the SEC was the most incompetent agency in the government, but now I'm thinking it is by design. However, the most obvious way that corporations can benefit from the government is through police-enforced protection from protestors and activists.
For instance, protesting against fracking can get you labelled a terrorist (http://www.citypaper.net/blogs/nakedcity/breaking_in_private_email_pas_homeland_security_ch ief_pledges_support_to_gas_drillers_warns_against_ groups_fomenting_dissent.html). So can distributing counterfeit DVDs and cigarettes (http://news.cnet.com/Terrorist-link-to-copyright-piracy-alleged/2100-1028_3-5722835.html). In fact the act of selling mixed CDs can bring in SWAT teams (http://techliberation.com/2007/01/17/swat-teams-enforcing-copyright/).
Videotaping animal abuse (https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/12/31-1) at a factory farm is now considered a terrorist act.
9:00 PM PT: How much does it cost the taxpayer for the government to spy on you? A lot (http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/07/10/what-government-pays-to-snoop-on-you/2504819/).

AT&T, for example, imposes a $325 "activation fee" for each wiretap and $10 a day to maintain it. Smaller carriers Cricket and U.S. Cellular charge only about $250 per wiretap. But snoop on a Verizon customer? That costs the government $775 for the first month and $500 each month after that, according to industry disclosures made last year to Congressman Edward Markey.Meanwhile, email records like those amassed by the National Security Agency through a program revealed by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden probably were collected for free or very cheaply. Facebook says it doesn't charge the government for access. And while Microsoft, Yahoo and Google won't say how much they charge, the American Civil Liberties Union found that email records can be turned over for as little as $25.
http://m.dailykos.com/stories/1222870

Magda Hassan
07-13-2013, 04:03 AM
Obama's War on Whistleblowers
The president has been accused of allowing the Stuxnet leaks to help in the election, but his overarching policy has been extraordinarily tough on whistleblowing.—By Peter Van Buren (http://www.motherjones.com/authors/peter-van-buren)
| Tue Jun. 12, 2012 1:30 PM PDT


President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with senior military leadership in the Cabinet Room of the White House. The White House (http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/7180323233/in/photostream/)/Flickr
This story (http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175554/) first appeared on the TomDispatch (http://www.tomdispatch.com/) website.
White is black and down is up. Leaks that favor the president are shoveled out regardless of national security, while national security is twisted to pummel leaks that do not favor him. Watching their boss, bureaucrats act on their own, freelancing the punishment of whistleblowers, knowing their retaliatory actions will be condoned. The United States rains Hellfire missiles (http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/missile/agm-114.htm) down on its enemies, with the president alone sitting in judgment of who will live and who will die by his hand.
The issue of whether the White House leaked information to support the president's reelection while crushing whistleblower leaks it disfavors shouldn't be seen as just another O'Reilly v. Maddow sporting event. What lies at the nexus of Obama's targeted drone killings, his self-serving leaks, and his aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers is a president who believes himself above the law, and seems convinced that he alone has a preternatural ability to determine right from wrong.

If the President Does It, It's Legal?
In May 2011 the Pentagon declared (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304563104576355623135782718.html) that another country's cyber-attacks—computer sabotage, against the US—could be considered an "act of war." Then, one morning in 2012 readers of the New York Times woke up to headlines announcing (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/world/middleeast/obama-ordered-wave-of-cyberattacks-against-iran.html) that the Stuxnet worm had been dispatched into Iran's nuclear facilities to shut down its computer-controlled centrifuges (essential to nuclear fuel processing) by order of President Obama and executed by the US and Israel. The info had been leaked to the paper by anonymous "high ranking officials." In other words, the speculation about Stuxnet was at an end. It was an act of war ordered by the president alone.
Similarly, after years of now-you-see-it-now-you-don't stories about drone attacks across the Greater Middle East launched "presumably" by the US, the Times (again) carried a remarkable story not only confirming the drone killings—a technology that had morphed into a policy—but noting that Obama himself was the Great Bombardier (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html). He had, the newspaper reported, designated himself the final decision-maker on an eyes-only "kill list" of human beings the United States wanted to destroy. It was, in short, the ultimate no-fly list. Clearly, this, too, had previously been classified top-secret material, and yet its disclosure was attributed directly to White House sources.
Now, everyone is upset about the leaks. It's already a real Red v. Blue donnybrook in an election year. Senate Democratsblasted (http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/230985-senate-dems-blast-leaks-about-iranian-cyberattacks) the cyberattack-on-Iran leaks and warned that the disclosure of Obama's order could put the country at risk of a retaliatory strike. Republican Old Man and former presidential candidate Senator John McCain charged (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505267_162-57448039/mccain-slams-white-house-for-leaking-national-security-information/) Obama with violating national security,z saying (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303506404577448563517340188.html) the leaks are "an attempt to further the president's political ambitions for the sake of his re-election at the expense of our national security." He called for an investigation. The FBI, no doubt thrilled to be caught in the middle of all this, dutifully opened (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303506404577448563517340188.html) a leak investigation, and senators on both sides of the aisle are planning an inquiry of their own (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/us/politics/senators-want-inquiry-on-national-security-leaks.html).
The high-level leaks on Stuxnet and the kill list, which have finally created such a fuss, actually follow no less self-serving leaked details (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2148682/Obama-administration-leaked-classified-information-filmmakers-Osama-bin-Laden-raid.html) from last year'sbin Laden raid (http://www.infowars.com/obama-bin-laden-raid-most-important-single-day-of-my-presidency/) in Pakistan. A flurry of White House officials vied with each other then to expose ever more examples of Obama's commander-in-chief role in the operation, to the point where Seal Team 6 seemed almost irrelevant in the face of the president's personal actions. There were also "high five" congratulatory leaks (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/yemen-underwear-bomber-was-saudi-double-agent-7727747.html) over the latest failed underwear bomber from Yemen.
On the Other Side of the Mirror
The Obama administration has been cruelly and unusually punishing (http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175500/peter_van_buren_fear_the_silence) in its use of the 1917 Espionage Act to stomp on governmental leakers, truth-tellers, and whistleblowers whose disclosures do not support the president's political ambitions. As Thomas Drake (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Andrews_Drake), himself avictim (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/05/23/110523fa_fact_mayer) of Obama's crusade against whistleblowers, told me, "This makes a mockery of the entire classification system, where political gain is now incentive for leaking and whistleblowing is incentive for prosecution."
The Obama administration has charged more people (six) (http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2012/01/six-americans-obama-and-holder-charged-under-the-espionage-act-and-one-bonus-whistleblower.html) under the Espionage Act for the alleged mishandling of classified information than all past presidencies combined. (Prior to Obama, there were only three such cases (http://www.salon.com/2012/01/24/rules_of_american_justice_a_tale_of_three_cases/singleton/) in American history, one being Daniel Ellsberg (http://www.propublica.org/special/sealing-loose-lips-charting-obamas-crackdown-on-national-security-leaks), of Nixon-era Pentagon Papers fame.) The most recent Espionage Act case is that of former CIA officer John Kiriakou (http://cryptome.org/2012/01/kiriakou/0059.pdf), charged for allegedly disclosing classified information to journalists about the horrors of waterboarding. Meanwhile, his evil twin, former CIA officer Jose Rodriguez (http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/05/the-lies-of-jose-rodriguez.html), has a best-selling book out bragging about the success of waterboarding and his own hand in the dirty work.
Obama's zeal in silencing leaks that don't make him look like a superhero extends beyond the deployment of the Espionage Act into a complex legal tangle of retaliatory practices (http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175472/peter_van_buren_thought_crime_in_Washington), life-destroying threats (http://whistleblower.org/action-center/save-tom-drake), on-the-job harassment (http://www.aclu.org/national-security/sibel-edmonds-patriot-silenced-unjustly-fired-fighting-back-help-keep-america-safe), and firings. Lots of firings.
Upside Down Is Right Side Up
In ever-more polarized Washington, the story of Obama's self-serving leaks is quickly devolving into a Democratic/Republican, he-said/she-said contest—and it's only bound to spiral downward from there until the story is reduced to nothing but partisan bickering over who can get the most advantage from those leaks.
But don't think that's all that's at stake in Washington. In the ever-skittish Federal bureaucracy, among the millions of men and women who actually are the government, the message has been much more specific, and it's no political football game. Even more frightened and edgy than usual in the post-9/11 era, bureaucrats take their cues from the top. So expect more leaks that empower the Obama Superman myth and more retaliatory, freelance acts of harassment against genuine whistleblowers. After all, it's all been sanctioned.
Having once been one of those frightened bureaucrats at the State Department, I now must include myself among the victims of the freelancing attacks on whistleblowers. The Department of State is in the process of firing me, seeking to make me the first person to suffer any sanction over the WikiLeaks disclosures. It's been a backdoor way of retaliating for my book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0805094369/ref=nosim/?tag=tomdispatch-20), which was an honest account of State's waste and mismanagement in the "reconstruction" of Iraq.
Unlike Bradley Manning, on trial under the Espionage Act for allegedly dumping a quarter million classified documents onto the Internet, my fireable offense was linking to just one of them atmy blog (http://www.wemeantwell.com/). Just a link, mind you, not a leak. The document, still unconfirmed as authentic by the State Department even as they seek to force me out over it, is on the web and available to anyone with a mouse, from Kabul to Tehran to Des Moines.
That document was discussed in several newspaper articles before—and after—I "disclosed" it with my link. It was a document that admittedly did make the US government look dumb, and that was evidently reason enough for the State Department to suspend my security clearance and seek to fire me, even after the Department of Justice declined to prosecute. Go ahead and click on a link (http://wemeantwell.com/blog/2011/08/25/us-military-spare-parts-went-to-qaddafi-in-2009/) yourself and commit what State now considers a crime.
This is the sort of thing that happens when reality is suspended in Washington, when the drones take flight, the worms turn, and the president decides that he, and he alone, is the man.
What Happens When Everything Is Classified?
What happens when the very definitions that control life in government become so topsy-turvy that 1984 starts looking more like a handbook than a novel?
I lived in Taiwan when that island was still under martial law. Things that everyone could see, like demonstrations, never appeared in the press. It was illegal to photograph public buildings or bridges, even when you could buy postcards nearby of some of the same structures. And that was a way of life, just not one you'd want.
If that strikes you as familiar in America today, it should. When everything is classified—according to (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/02/drone-wars-secrecy-barack-obama?INTCMP=SRCH) the Information Security Oversight Office, in 2011 American officials classified more than 92,000,000 documents—any attempt to report on anything threatens to become a crime; unless, of course, the White House decides to leak to you in return for a soft story about a heroic war president.
For everyone else working to create Jefferson's informed citizenry, it works very differently, even at the paper that carried the administration's happy leaks. Times reporter Jim Risen (http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/r/james_risen/index.html) is now the subject of subpoenas (http://www.whistleblower.org/blog/42-2012/1966-jim-risen-at-the-national-press-club-democracy-cannot-survive-without-aggressive-journalism) by the Obama administration demanding he name his sources as part of the Espionage Act case against former CIA officer Jeffery Sterling. Risen was a journalist doing his job, and he raises this perfectly reasonable, but increasingly outmoded question: "Can you have a democracy without aggressive investigative journalism? I don't believe you can, and that's why I'm fighting." Meanwhile, the government calls him their only witness to a leaker's crime.
One thing at stake in the case is the requirement that journalists aggressively pursue information important to the public, even when that means heading into classified territory. If almost everything of importance (and much that isn't) is classified, then journalism as we know it may become… well, illegal.
Sometimes in present-day Washington there's simply too much irony for comfort: the story that got Risen in trouble was about an earlier CIA attempt to sabotage Iran's nuclear program, a plot which failed where Stuxnet sort of succeeded.
The End
James Spione, an Academy Award-nominated (http://www.incidentinnewbaghdad.com/) director who is currently working on a documentary about whistleblowers in the age of Obama, summed things up to me recently this way: "Beneath the partisan grandstanding, I think what is most troubling about this situation is the sense that the law is being selectively applied. On the one hand, we have the Justice Department twisting the Espionage Act into knots in an attempt to crack down on leaks from 'little guys' like Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou, while at the same time an extraordinarily detailed window into covert drone policy magically appears in the Times.
"Notwithstanding Mr. McCain's outrage, I don't believe this is about security at all. It is the unfair singling out of whistleblowers by a secrecy regime that is more than anything just another weapon in the state's arsenal to bludgeon its enemies while vaunting its supposed successes—if you can call blowing up unsuspecting people, their families, and friends with a remote control airplane 'success.'"
Here is the simple reality of our moment: the president has definitively declared himself (and his advisors and those who carry out his orders) above the law, both statutory and moral. It is now for him and him alone to decide who will live and who will die under the drones, for him to reward media outlets with inside information or smack journalists who disturb him and his colleagues with subpoenas, and worst of all, to decide all by himself what is right and what is wrong.
The image Obama holds of himself, and the one his people have been aggressively promoting recently (http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175551/tomgram%3A_engelhardt%2C_assassin-in-chief/) is of a righteous killer, ready to bloody his hands to smite "terrorists" and whistleblowers equally. If that sounds Biblical, it should. If it sounds full of unnerving pride, it should as well. If this is where a nation of laws ends up, you should be afraid.
Peter Van Buren, a 24-year veteran Foreign Service Officer at the State Department, spent a year in Iraq as Team Leader for two State Department Provincial Reconstruction Teams. Now in Washington and a TomDispatch regular (http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175500/peter_van_buren_fear_the_silence), he writes about Iraq, the Middle East, and US diplomacy at his blog, We Meant Well (http://www.wemeantwell.com/). Since his book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0805094369/ref=nosim/?tag=tomdispatch-20) (The American Empire Project, Metropolitan Books), was published in 2011, the Department of State has begun termination proceedings against him, after reassigning him to a make-work position and stripping him of his security clearance and diplomatic credentials. To listen to Timothy MacBain's latest Tomcast audio interview in which Van Buren discusses how Washington has changed when it comes to both leaking and stifling information, click here (http://tomdispatch.blogspot.com/2012/06/leaking-war.html) or download it to your iPod here (http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=j0SS4Al/iVI&subid=&offerid=146261.1&type=10&tmpid=5573&RD_ PARM1=http%3A%2F%2Fitunes.apple.com%2Fus%2Fpodcast %2Ftomcast-from-tomdispatch-com%2Fid357095817).
[Disclaimer: The views here are solely those of the author, expressed in his capacity as a private citizen.]
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/06/obamas-whistleblowers-stuxnet-leaks-drone
s (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/06/obamas-whistleblowers-stuxnet-leaks-drones)

Magda Hassan
07-13-2013, 04:06 AM
Date July 12, 2013
Telstra agreed more than a decade ago to store huge volumes of electronic communications it carried between Asia and America for potential surveillance by United States intelligence agencies.
Under the previously secret agreement, the telco was required to route all communications involving a US point of contact through a secure storage facility on US soil that was staffed exclusively by US citizens carrying a top-level security clearance.
The data Telstra stored for the US government includes the actual content of emails, online messages and phone calls.
The US Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation also demanded that Telstra "provide technical or other assistance to facilitate ... electronic surveillance".

In 2001, when the "network security agreement" was signed, Telstra was 50.1 per cent owned by the Commonwealth Government.
The revelations come as the British and US governments reel from the leaking of sensitive intelligence material that has detailed a vast electronic spying apparatus being used against foreign nationals and their own citizens.
This week, Fairfax Media reported that four Australian defence facilities are being used by the US in this intelligence collection regime, including Pine Gap and three secret signals facilities at Darwin, Geraldton and Canberra. The local centres are used in a National Security Agency surveillance program codenamed X-Keyscore.
Now, the latest revelations raise further questions about the extent of the Australian government's co-operation with the US global intelligence effort, as well as its own data collection regime.
The 2001 contract was prompted by Telstra's decision to expand into Asia by taking control of hundreds of kilometres of undersea telecommunications cables.
Telstra had negotiated with a Hong Kong company to launch Reach, which would become the largest carrier of intercontinental telecommunications in Asia. The venture's assets included not just the fibre-optic cables, but also "landing points" and licences around the world.
But when Reach sought a cable licence from the US Federal Communications Commission, the DOJ and the FBI insisted that the binding agreement be signed by Reach, Telstra, and its Hong Kong joint venture partner, Pacific Century CyberWorks Ltd (PCCW).
The contract does not authorise the company or law enforcement agencies to undertake actual surveillance. But under the deed, Telstra must preserve and "have the ability to provide in the United States" all of the following:

"Wire" or electronic communications involving any customers - including Australians - who make any form of communication with a point of contact in the US;
"Transactional data" and "call associated data" relating to such communications;
"Subscriber information"; and
"Billing records".
"All Domestic Communications ... shall pass through a facility ... physically located in the United States, from which Electronic Surveillance can be conducted pursuant to Lawful US Process," the contract says.
"The Domestic Communications Company [Reach] will provide technical or other assistance to facilitate such Electronic Surveillance."
The US facility had to be staffed by US citizens "eligible for appropriate US security clearances", who also "shall be available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and shall be responsible for accepting service and maintaining the security of Classified Information".
It also makes it incumbent on Reach not to allow data and communications of interest to be destroyed.
Reach and Telstra were required to "take all reasonable measures" to prevent use of their infrastructure for surveillance by a foreign government. "These measures shall take the form of detailed technical, organisational, personnel related policies and written procedures, necessary implementation plans, and physical security measures," the contract says.
The document was signed by Douglas Gration, Telstra's then company secretary and now a Melbourne barrister.
His own webpage describes his responsibilities at the time to have included "liaising with law enforcement and national security agencies".
He told Fairfax he couldn't remember much about the agreement. "Every country has a regime for that lawful interception," he said. "And Australia has got it as well."
"It would be no surprise if you're setting up something like Reach, which I think from memory had a station where they man the traffic in the US. [So] they would need an agreement with the US to do that."
Reach has offices located in Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and the UK. It also has two premises in the US, in New Jersey and San Francisco, either of which may house the secure storage facility stipulated by the contract.
In 2011, Telstra and PCCW restructured their partnership, giving Telstra control of the majority of Reach's undersea cables. The corporate restructuring most likely would have triggered a requirement to renegotiate the security deed with the US Government.
Scott Whiffin, a Telstra spokesman, said the agreement was required to "comply with US domestic law".
"It relates to a Telstra joint venture company's operating obligations in the United States under their domestic law. We understand similar agreements would be in place for all network infrastructure in the US."

"When operating in any jurisdiction, here or overseas, carriers are legally required to provide various forms of assistance to Government agencies."
http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/security-it/telstra-storing-data-on-behalf-of-us-government-20130712-hv0w4.html

Magda Hassan
07-13-2013, 04:15 AM
How the U.S. forces Net firms to cooperate on surveillance

Officially, Uncle Sam says it doesn't interfere. But behind the scenes, the feds have been trying to browbeat Internet firms into helping with surveillance demands.
by Declan McCullagh (http://www.cnet.com/profile/declan00/)
July 12, 2013 12:30 PM PDT
Russian supporters of Edward Snowden, who leaked classified National Security Agency surveillance documents, rally today in central Moscow.
(Credit: Getty Images)
By wielding a potent legal threat, the U.S. government is often able to force Internet companies to aid its surveillance demands. The threat? Comply or we'll implant our own eavesdropping devices on your network.
Under federal law, the National Security Agency can serve real-time "electronic surveillance" orders on Internet companies for investigations related to terrorism or national security.
These orders, authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (http://news.cnet.com/FAQ-How-far-does-the-new-wiretap-law-go/2100-1029_3-6201032.html), are used to feed data into the NSA's PRISM software program that was revealed (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57588337-38/no-evidence-of-nsas-direct-access-to-tech-companies/) last month by former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden. PRISM documents (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/prism-collection-documents/) indicate that the NSA can receive "real-time notifications" of user log-ins.
Some Internet companies have reluctantly agreed to work with the government to conduct legally authorized surveillance on the theory that negotiations are less objectionable than the alternative -- federal agents showing up unannounced with a court order to install their own surveillance device on a sensitive internal network. Those devices, the companies fear, could disrupt operations, introduce security vulnerabilities, or intercept more than is legally permitted.
"Nobody wants it on-premises," said a representative of a large Internet company who has negotiated surveillance requests with government officials. "Nobody wants a box in their network...[Companies often] find ways to give tools to minimize disclosures, to protect users, to keep the government off the premises, and to come to some reasonable compromise on the capabilities."
Precedents were established a decade or so ago when the government obtained legal orders compelling companies to install custom eavesdropping hardware on their networks.
One example, which has not been previously disclosed, arose out of a criminal investigation in which the Drug Enforcement Administration suspected a woman of trafficking in 1,4-Butanediol (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1,4-Butanediol). The butane-derived chemical is used industrially as a solvent and recreationally (http://www.health24.com/Natural/Herbs/Herbs-a-z/Butanediol-20120721) as a date rape drug or sedative.
The DEA's Special Operations Division, which includes FBI representatives, obtained a real-time intercept order -- sometimes called a Title III order -- against EarthLink and WorldCom, a network provider that's now part of Verizon Business. Both companies were targeted by the order because EarthLink routed outgoing e-mail messages through equipment leased from WorldCom.
WorldCom technicians were required to help the DEA install surveillance equipment that the agency had purchased and provided. Over the course of the wiretap, the government's hardware vacuumed up over 1,200 e-mail messages from the targeted account. EarthLink did not respond to a request for comment this week.
FISA gives the government a powerful club to wield against Internet companies. The law (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/50/1802)requires the firms to "furnish all information, facilities, or technical assistance necessary to accomplish the electronic surveillance" as long as it can be done with a "minimum of interference" with other users.
In another case that was closely watched within the industry, the FBI invoked similar language to force EarthLink to install a Carnivore network monitoring device, over the company's strenuous objections. EarthLink challenged the surveillance order in court because it was concerned that Carnivore would vacuum up more user metadata than the court order authorized.
It lost. A federal magistrate judge sided with the government, despite the fact that "Carnivore would enable remote access to the ISP's network and would be under the exclusive control of government agents,"

Robert Corn-Revere (http://news.cnet.com/Carnivore-redux/2010-1071_3-5555323.html%22), an attorney for EarthLink, told Congress (http://judiciary.house.gov/legacy/corn0406.htm) at the time.
Those legal victories allowed the government to strong-arm Internet companies into reworking their systems to aid in surveillance -- under the threat of having the FBI install NarusInsight (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/narus-announces-latest-product-upgrade-185200798.html) or similar devices on their networks. "The government has a lot of leverage," including contracts and licenses, said a representative for an Internet company. "There is a lot of pressure from them. Nobody is willingly going into this."
Jennifer Granick (http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/about/people/jennifer-granick), director of civil liberties at Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society, said, referring to the government's pressure tactics:

They can install equipment on the system. And I think that's why companies are motivated to cooperate [and] use their own equipment to collect for the government. They would rather help than let any government equipment on their service, because then they lose oversight and control.In 1994, then-President Bill Clinton signed into law the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA (http://epic.org/privacy/wiretap/calea/calea_law.html), which required telephone companies to configure their systems to perform court-authorized lawful intercepts in a standard way. In 2004, that requirement wasextended (http://news.cnet.com/Feds-back-wiretap-rules-for-Internet/2100-7352_3-5296417.html) to cover broadband providers, but not Web companies (http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57428067-83/fbi-we-need-wiretap-ready-web-sites-now/).
A survey of earlier litigation shows, however, that the Justice Department was able to convince courts to force companies to take steps to permit surveillance through their networks long before CALEA became law.
In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/434/159/case.html) that surveillance law is a "direct command to federal courts to compel, upon request, any assistance necessary to accomplish an electronic interception."
Other courts followed suit. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit concluded in 1979 that the Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania must comply with a surveillance order because it would cause only "a minimal disruption of normal operations." The Ninth Circuit ruled against Mountain Bell a year later, saying a surveillance order "recognized the practical fact that the actions ordered were technical ones which only that company could perform."

Edward Snowden speaks earlier today after meeting with leading Russian rights activists and lawyers at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, where he has been stuck in transit for the last three weeks.
(Credit: Getty Images)
If an Internet company offers encryption designed in such a way that even its engineers can't access users' files or communications, it would be unable to comply (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57577887-38/apples-imessage-encryption-trips-up-feds-surveillance/) with a FISA or other surveillance order.
But with a few exceptions, such as SpiderOak (https://spideroak.com/) and Fogpad (http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57591859-285/two-free-ways-to-encrypt-google-drive-files/), nearly all companies use encryption only in transit, meaning data stored on servers remains unencrypted.
That's why Microsoft could be compelled to work with the NSA and the FBI's Data Intercept Technology Unit to aid in surveillance of Outlook.com and Hotmail messages, a situation the Guardian disclosed (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/11/microsoft-nsa-collaboration-user-data) yesterday, citing documents provided by Snowden.
Internet companies have, on occasion, created "teams of in-house experts" to figure out how to respond to FISA surveillance orders, The New York Times reported last month (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/20/technology/silicon-valley-and-spy-agency-bound-by-strengthening-web.html?pagewanted=all).
Microsoft's engineers have quietly designed a system to comply with government orders, which manages to avoid having a surveillance device implanted on a internal network. (Microsoft declined to comment for this article.)
One case that used it arose out of a probe into illegal drug sales in Philadelphia. As part of that investigation, the government obtained a court order for a real-time wiretap against a Hotmail account.
Microsoft's wiretap compliance system worked by forwarding a copy of two suspects' e-mail messages to a "shadow account" located elsewhere on Hotmail's servers. Each address under surveillance had a separate "shadow account" associated with it.
Every 15 minutes, an automated process logged in to these shadow accounts and transferred the retrieved e-mails into "case folders" on computers at a DEA office in Lorton, Va.
Homeland Security agents separately obtained a real-time wiretap of a Hotmail account used by a man suspected of possessing pornography involving minors. A case associated with that criminal prosecution, which might reveal more about surveillance techniques used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, remains under seal in a New Jersey federal court.
A Google spokesman declined to say this week whether the company could comply with a wiretap order targeting a Google Hangout or Google Talk conversation.
The government's ability to perform surveillance even when armed with a court order depends in large part on the decisions engineers made when designing a product. "Many implementations include an ability to monitor sessions as a debugging tool," one government official said this week. "Depending on how things have been built, a real-time wiretap may be nothing more than turning that on. As an example, all enterprise-grade Ethernet switches include a monitor port -- not because the FBI demands it, but because sysadmins need it."
Christopher Soghoian (http://www.aclu.org/blog/author/chris-soghoian), principal technologist for the ACLU's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, said the PRISM disclosures show Internet companies should embrace strong encryption for their users. "This is a place where the companies have an opportunity to do something that doesn't hurt their ability to make money and [that wins] them praise," he said.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57593538-38/how-the-u.s-forces-net-firms-to-cooperate-on-surveillance/

Magda Hassan
07-13-2013, 05:47 AM
http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2013/7/3/1372851021033/Steve-Bells-If---001.jpg

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cartoon/2013/jul/04/steve-bell-if-hague-queen-all-american-subjects (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cartoon/2013/jul/04/steve-bell-if-hague-queen-all-american-subjects)

Some one thinks this is a disgraceful slur on the foreign secretary. He only shared his hotel rooms with a young man to save money.
Wonder what GCHQ recorded of their conversations. Not that it would affect his judgement in any way.

Magda Hassan
07-14-2013, 01:48 AM
Travellers' mobile phone data seized by police at borderThousands of innocent holidaymakers and travellers are having their phones seized and personal data downloaded and stored by the police, The Telegraph can disclose.A police officer can stop any passenger at random, scour their phone and download and retain data, even of the individual is then immediately allowed to proceed Photo: ALAMY
By Tom Whitehead (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/tom-whitehead/), and David Barrett









Officers use counter-terrorism laws to remove a mobile phone from any passenger they wish coming through UK air, sea and international rail ports and then scour their data.

The blanket power is so broad they do not even have to show reasonable suspicion for seizing the device and can retain the information for “as long as is necessary”.

Data can include call history, contact books, photos and who the person is texting or emailing, although not the contents of messages.

David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism laws, is expected to raise concerns over the power in his annual report this week.

He will call for proper checks and balances to ensure it is not being abused.

It echoes concerns surrounding an almost identical power police can use on the streets of the UK, which is being reviewed by the Information Commissioner.
However, in those circumstances police must have grounds for suspicion and the phone can only be seized if the individual is arrested.
Mr Anderson said: “Information downloaded from mobile phones seized at ports has been very useful in disrupting terrorists and bringing them to justice.
“But ordinary travellers need to know that their private information will not be taken without good reason, or retained by the police for any longer than is necessary.”
Up to 60,000 people a year are “stopped and examined” as they enter or return to the UK under powers contained in the Terrorism Act 2000.
It is not known how many of those have their phone data taken.
Dr Gus Hosein, of the campaign group Privacy International, said: “We are extremely concerned by these intrusive tactics that have been highlighted by the independent terrorism reviewer.
“These practices have been taking place under the radar for far too long and if Mr Anderson calls for reform and new safeguards we would be very supportive of that.”
He added: “Seizing and downloading your phone data is the modern equivalent of searching your home and office, searching through family albums and business records alike, and identifying all your friends and family, then keeping this information for years.
“If you were on the other side of the border, the police would rightly have to apply for warrants and follow strict guidelines. But nowhere in Britain do you have less rights than at the border.
“Under law, seizing a mobile phone should be only when the phone is essential to an investigation, and then even certain rules should apply. Without these rules, everyone should be worried.”
Under the Act, police or border staff can question and even hold someone while they ascertain whether the individual poses a terrorism risk.
But no prior authorization is needed for the person to be stopped and there does not have to be any suspicion.
It means a police officer can stop any passenger at random, scour their phone and download and retain data, even of the individual is then immediately allowed to proceed.
It has been a grey area as to whether the act specifically allowed for phone data to be downloaded and recorded.
But last month, Damian Green, the policing minister, laid an amendment to the anti-social behaviour, crime and policing bill, which is currently going through Parliament.
It makes the express provision for the copying and retention of information from a seized item.
The ability to potentially retain the data indefinitely could also spark a fresh row over civil liberties similar to the controversy around DNA sample.
Laws had to be changed to end the retention of the DNA of innocent people after the European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2008 that keeping them was unlawful.
Mr Anderson is expected to stress he is not against the power and that it is a useful tool in the fight against terrorism but that it must be used appropriately.
In his report last year Mr Anderson said the general power to stop people under the terror laws were “formidable” and “among the strongest of all police powers”.
Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, is already investigating whether the use of similar powers by police who arrest people are appropriate.
It emerged last year that seven police forces had installed technology that allowed officers to download data from suspects’ phones but one industry expert suggested at least half of forces in England and Wales could be extracting mobile phone data in police stations.
A spokesman for Scotland Yard, which has national responsibilities for counter-terrorism, said: “Under the Terrorism Act 2000 a person may be detained and questioned for up to nine hours to determine if that individual is a person concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism as outlined in the Act.
“As with any power to detain an individual it is used appropriately and proportionally and is always subject to scrutiny by an independent reviewer of UK anti-terror laws.
“Holding and properly using intelligence gained from such stops is a key part of fighting crime, pursuing offenders and protecting the public.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/10177765/Travellers-mobile-phone-data-seized-by-police-at-border.html

Peter Lemkin
07-14-2013, 04:14 AM
How NSA access was built into WindowsDuncan Campbell (http://www.heise.de/tp/autor/duncancampbell/default.html) 04.09.1999
Careless mistake reveals subversion of Windows by NSA.A CARELESS mistake by Microsoft programmers has revealed that special access codes prepared by the US National Security Agency have been secretly built into Windows. The NSA access system is built into every version of the Windows operating system now in use, except early releases of Windows 95 (and its predecessors). The discovery comes close on the heels of the revelations earlier this year that another US software giant, Lotus, had built an NSA "help information" trapdoor (http://www.heise.de/tp/artikel/2/2898/1.html) into its Notes system, and that security functions on other software systems had been deliberately crippled.
The first discovery of the new NSA access system was made two years ago by British researcher Dr Nicko van Someren. But it was only a few weeks ago when a second researcher rediscovered the access system. With it, he found the evidence linking it to NSA.
Computer security specialists have been aware for two years that unusual features are contained inside a standard Windows software "driver" used for security and encryption functions. The driver, called ADVAPI.DLL, enables and controls a range of security functions. If you use Windows, you will find it in the C:\Windows\system directory of your computer.


ADVAPI.DLL works closely with Microsoft Internet Explorer, but will only run cryptographic functions that the US governments allows Microsoft to export. That information is bad enough news, from a European point of view. Now, it turns out that ADVAPI will run special programmes inserted and controlled by NSA. As yet, no-one knows what these programmes are, or what they do.




Dr Nicko van Someren reported at last year's Crypto 98 conference that he had disassembled the ADVADPI driver. He found it contained two different keys. One was used by Microsoft to control the cryptographic functions enabled in Windows, in compliance with US export regulations. But the reason for building in a second key, or who owned it, remained a mystery.
A second key
Two weeks ago, a US security company came up with conclusive evidence that the second key belongs to NSA. Like Dr van Someren, Andrew Fernandez, chief scientist with Cryptonym of Morrisville, North Carolina, had been probing the presence and significance of the two keys. Then he checked the latest Service Pack release for Windows NT4, Service Pack 5 (http://www.microsoft.com/ntserver/nts/downloads/recommended/sp5/allsp5.asp). He found that Microsoft's developers had failed to remove or "strip" the debugging symbols used to test this software before they released it. Inside the code were the labels for the two keys. One was called "KEY". The other was called "NSAKEY".
Fernandes reported his re-discovery of the two CAPI keys, and their secret meaning, to "Advances in Cryptology, Crypto'99" conference held in Santa Barbara. According to those present at the conference, Windows developers attending the conference did not deny that the "NSA" key was built into their software. But they refused to talk about what the key did, or why it had been put there without users' knowledge.
A third key?!
But according to two witnesses attending the conference, even Microsoft's top crypto programmers were astonished to learn that the version of ADVAPI.DLL shipping with Windows 2000 contains not two, but three keys. Brian LaMachia, head of CAPI development at Microsoft was "stunned" to learn of these discoveries, by outsiders. The latest discovery by Dr van Someren is based on advanced search methods which test and report on the "entropy" of programming code.
Within the Microsoft organisation, access to Windows source code is said to be highly compartmentalized, making it easy for modifications to be inserted without the knowledge of even the respective product managers.
Researchers are divided about whether the NSA key could be intended to let US government users of Windows run classified cryptosystems on their machines or whether it is intended to open up anyone's and everyone's Windows computer to intelligence gathering techniques deployed by NSA's burgeoning corps of "information warriors".
According to Fernandez of Cryptonym, the result of having the secret key inside your Windows operating system "is that it is tremendously easier for the NSA to load unauthorized security services on all copies of Microsoft Windows, and once these security services are loaded, they can effectively compromise your entire operating system". The NSA key is contained inside all versions of Windows from Windows 95 OSR2 onwards.
"For non-American IT managers relying on Windows NT to operate highly secure data centres, this find is worrying", he added. "The US government is currently making it as difficult as possible for "strong" crypto to be used outside of the US. That they have also installed a cryptographic back-door in the world's most abundant operating system should send a strong message to foreign IT managers".
"How is an IT manager to feel when they learn that in every copy of Windows sold, Microsoft has a 'back door' for NSA - making it orders of magnitude easier for the US government to access your computer?" he asked.
Can the loophole be turned round against the snoopers?
Dr van Someren feels that the primary purpose of the NSA key inside Windows may be for legitimate US government use. But he says that there cannot be a legitimate explanation for the third key in Windows 2000 CAPI. "It looks more fishy", he said.
Fernandez believes that NSA's built-in loophole can be turned round against the snoopers. The NSA key inside CAPI can be replaced by your own key, and used to sign cryptographic security modules from overseas or unauthorised third parties, unapproved by Microsoft or the NSA. This is exactly what the US government has been trying to prevent. A demonstration "how to do it" program that replaces the NSA key can be found on Cryptonym's website (http://www.cryptonym.com/hottopics/msft-nsa/ReplaceNsaKey.zip).
According to one leading US cryptographer, the IT world should be thankful that the subversion of Windows by NSA has come to light before the arrival of CPUs that handles encrypted instruction sets. These would make the type of discoveries made this month impossible. "Had the next-generation CPU's with encrypted instruction sets already been deployed, we would have never found out about NSAKEY."

Peter Lemkin
07-14-2013, 04:19 AM
WASHINGTON – The National Security Agency has backdoor access to all Windows software since the release of Windows 95, according to informed sources, a development that follows the insistence by the agency and federal law enforcement for backdoor “keys” to any encryption, according to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin. (http://g2.wnd.com/)
Having such “keys” is essential for the export of any encryption under U.S. export control laws.
The NSA plays a prominent role in deliberations over whether such products can be exported. It routinely turns down any requests above a megabyte level that exceeds NSA’s technical capacity to decrypt it. That’s been the standard for years for NSA, as well as the departments of Defense, Commerce and State.
Computer security specialists say the Windows software driver used for security and encryption functions contains unusual features the give NSA the backdoor access.


The security specialists have identified the driver as ADVAPI.DLL. It enables and controls a variety of security functions. The specialists say that in Windows, it is located at C:\\Windows\system.
Specialist Nicko van Someren says the driver contains two different keys. One was used by Microsoft to control cryptographic functions in Windows while another initially remained a mystery.
Then, two weeks ago, a U.S. security firm concluded that the second key belonged to NSA. Analysis of the driver revealed that one was labeled KEY while the other was labeled NSAKEY, according to sources. The NSA key apparently had been built into the software by Microsoft, which Microsoft sources don’t deny.
This has allowed restricted access to Microsoft’s source code software that enables such programming.
Access to Windows source code is supposed to be highly compartmentalized, actually making such actions easier because many of the people working on the software wouldn’t see the access.
Such access to the encryption system of Windows can allow NSA to compromise a person’s entire operating system. The NSA keys are said to be contained inside all versions of Windows from Windows 95 OSR2 onwards.
Having a secret key inside the Windows operating system makes it “tremendously easier for the NSA to load unauthorized security services on all copies of Microsoft Windows, and once these security services are loaded, they can effectively compromise your entire operating system,” according to Andrew Fernandez, chief scientist with Cryptonym Corporation of North Carolina.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/06/nsa-has-total-access-via-microsoft-windows/#m94qPMO2veQAEFzm.99

Peter Lemkin
07-14-2013, 04:42 AM
Undersea cables and the NSA
I'd like to offer a follow-up to yesterday's must-read super-post (not written by me; it came fromthis blog (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/07/anyone-who-says-the-government-only-spies-on-limited-targets-is-wrong.html)). One section that did not find its way into yesterday's Cannonfire reads as follows...

The NSA not only accesses data directly from the largest internet companies, it also sucks up huge amounts of data straight from undersea cables providing telephone and Internet service to the United States.We've discussed this matter before. Does anyone else recall the "cable cut" mystery of 2008? (http://cannonfire.blogspot.com/2008/02/cable-cutting.html) In fairly rapid order, five undersea cables were mysteriously severed in the Middle East, leading to lots of theories as to why these mutilations occurred. My own humble offering ran thus:

My instincts tell me that the purpose of inflicting this kind of damage would be to have the "right" people conduct the repair operations. The NSA may find it a whole lot easier to tap into the data stream once the patch job is complete.With that bit of history in mind, let's take another look at a small mystery which this blog mentioned a couple of days ago...

Differing slide syndrome. This catch by Cryptome gets more interesting the closer one looks at it. Both the WP and the Guardian published the same "liberated" slide concerning Prism. But it's not really the same -- there are slight differences. See for yourself. (http://cryptome.org/2013/07/nsa-upstream-differ.htm)

Are the differences significant? You tell me.It seems that the two papers worked from two different pdfs (http://cryptome.org/2013/06/nsa-reports-differ.htm), which purported show the same report. Here are the two versions of that slide:


http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XNDj85ZXnVg/UeFQ51IjsuI/AAAAAAAAEZ8/2gWnqqOG3jc/s640/nsa-slide-1.jpg (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XNDj85ZXnVg/UeFQ51IjsuI/AAAAAAAAEZ8/2gWnqqOG3jc/s1600/nsa-slide-1.jpg)


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-O0b60SnBpiI/UeFRCNmt19I/AAAAAAAAEaE/Hc5qbK_216E/s640/nsa-slide-2.jpg (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-O0b60SnBpiI/UeFRCNmt19I/AAAAAAAAEaE/Hc5qbK_216E/s1600/nsa-slide-2.jpg)

I think you can spot the most important difference: The Guardian focused on undersea cablesaround the world -- including cables in the area affected by the 2008 mystery -- while the WP version (the "revised" version?) shows cables off the coast of the United States.

Magda Hassan
07-14-2013, 05:14 AM
And remember this? Surely just a coincidence.....

Undersea Cables Cut; 14 Countries Lose Web — Updated

BY KIM ZETTER (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/12/mediterranean-c/)
12.19.08
11:39 AM

http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/images/2008/12/19/flagmap.jpg (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/wp-content/image.php?u=/images_blogs/photos/uncategorized/2008/12/19/flagmap.jpg)
Reports from the Mediterranean indicate that two of the undersea cables severed and repaired earlier this year have been cut again, disrupting internet access and phone service between the Middle East, Europe, and parts of Asia. An additional third cable is down in the same region.
The cuts are causing traffic to be re-routed through the United States and elsewhere.
Egypt’s communications ministry tells the Associated Press that the outage (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gmea01PjMKwYuU8amN4_n7W0ycEgD955S40G4) has almost completely killed internet services throughout Egypt.
A second report indicates that the three cables that are out include the SEA-ME-WE 4 (http://www.seamewe4.com/inpages/cable_system.asp) cable (also known as SMW4), which went out at 7:28 a.m. local time Friday morning; SEA-ME-WE 3, which went down at 7:33 a.m.; and the FLAG EA (http://www.flagtelecom.com/index.cfm?page=4023) cable, which went out at 8:06 a.m. The cables were cut in the region where they run under the sea between Egypt and Italy. They carry an estimated 90 percent of all data traffic between Europe and the Middle East. SMW 3 and SMW 4 are owned by groups of phone companies; FLAG is owned by Reliance Globalcom.
The SMW 4 and FLAG cables were among five undersea cables (http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/02/un-official-fee.html) damaged earlier this year in January and February in the Mediterranean, launching a flurry of conspiracy theories (http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/02/who-cut-the-cab.html) before investigations revealed that at least one of the cuts was caused by a ship’s anchor (http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/02/five-ton-anchor.html). When those cables went down, SMW 3 was used to re-route traffic. But this time, SMW 3 is reportedly involved in the outage as well.
A France Telecom report listed 14 countries (http://fibresystems.org/cws/article/yournews/37128) affected by the current problem. The Maldives are 100 percent down, followed by India, which has 82 percent disruption. Qatar, Djibouti and the United Arab Emirates were the next most widely affected areas with about 70 percent service interrupted. Disruptions for Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan range from 51 percent to 55 percent.

(http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/12/mediterranean-c/)UPDATE: As reader Julian Borg Barthet notes in the comments section, a fourth undersea cable went out Thursday evening in the same region. The cable, the Seabone, is operated by GO and runs between Malta and Sicily. According to the Times of Malta, GO (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/12/mediterranean-c/)transferred traffic to a second cable (http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20081219/local/submarine-cable-fault-engineers-transferring-internet-links-from-go-to-vodafone)operated by Vodafone. It was the second time in four months that the Seabone cable had failed.



http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/12/mediterranean-c/

Peter Lemkin
07-14-2013, 05:58 AM
The NSA and Navy have special submarines that have some secret manipulator arms and 'gadgets' that can splice into undersea cables and tap into them permanently. This is established fact....which the US Govt. denies.

Jan Klimkowski
07-14-2013, 11:15 AM
Reports from the Mediterranean indicate that two of the undersea cables severed and repaired earlier this year have been cut again, disrupting internet access and phone service between the Middle East, Europe, and parts of Asia. An additional third cable is down in the same region.
The cuts are causing traffic to be re-routed through the United States and elsewhere.

:moon2:

The military-multinational-intelligence complex is insatiable: It can never have enough Power and Control.

Magda Hassan
07-17-2013, 12:51 AM
The Creepy, Long-Standing Practice of Undersea Cable TappingThe newest NSA leaks reveal that governments are probing "the Internet's backbone." How does that work?
OLGA KHAZAN (http://www.theatlantic.com/olga-khazan/)JUL 16 2013, 1:55 PM ET

Barta IV/Flickr
In the early 1970's, the U.S. government learned that an undersea cable ran parallel to the Kuril Islands off the eastern coast of Russia, providing a vital communications link between two major Soviet naval bases. The problem (http://www.specialoperations.com/Operations/ivybells.html)? The Soviet Navy had completely blocked foreign ships from entering the region.
Not to be deterred, the National Security Agency launched Operation Ivy Bells, deploying fast-attack submarines and combat divers to drop waterproof recording pods on the lines. Every few weeks, the divers would return to gather the tapes and deliver them to the NSA, which would then binge-listen to their juicy disclosures.
The project ended in 1981, when NSA employee Ronald Pelton sold information (http://www.military.com/Content/MoreContent1/?file=cw_f_ivybells)about the program to the KGB for $35,000. He's still serving his life prison term.
The operation might have ended, but for the NSA, this underwater strategy clearly stuck around.
In addition to gaining access to web companies' servers and asking for phone metadata, we've now learned that both the U.S. and the U.K. spy agencies aretapping directly (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/the-nsa-slide-you-havent-seen/2013/07/10/32801426-e8e6-11e2-aa9f-c03a72e2d342_story.html) into the Internet's backbone -- the undersea fiber optic cables that shuttle online communications between countries and servers. For some privacy activists, this process is even more worrisome than monitoring call metadata because it allows governments to make copies of everything that transverses these cables, if they wanted to.
The British surveillance programs have fittingly sinister titles: "Mastering the Internet" and "Global Telecoms Exploitation," according to The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa).
A subsidiary program for these operations -- Tempora -- sucks up around 21 million gigabytes (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23752-submarine-internet-cables-are-a-gift-for-spooks.html#.UeQp7D54aJM) per day and stores the data for a month. The data is shared with NSA, and there are reportedly 550 NSA and GCHQ analysts poring over the information they've gathered from at least 200 fiber optic cables so far.
The scale of the resulting data harvest is tremendous. From The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa):

This includes recordings of phone calls, the content of email messages, entries on Facebook and the history of any internet user's access to websites -- all of which is deemed legal, even though the warrant system was supposed to limit interception to a specified range of targets.
In an interview (http://cryptome.org/2013/07/snowden-spiegel-13-0707-en.htm) with online security analyst Jacob Appelbaum, NSA leaker Edward Snowden called the British spy agency GCHQ "worse than" the NSA, saying it represents the first "full take" system, in which surveillance networks catch all Internet traffic regardless of its content. Appelbaum asked Snowden if "anyone could escape" Tempora:
"Well, if you had the choice, you should never send information over British lines or British servers," Snowden said (http://cryptome.org/2013/07/snowden-spiegel-13-0707-en.htm). "Even the Queen's selfies with her lifeguards would be recorded, if they existed."
The U.S.'s own cable-tapping program, known by the names OAKSTAR, STORMBREW, BLARNEY and FAIRVIEW, as revealed in an NSA PowerPoint slide (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/the-nsa-slide-you-havent-seen/2013/07/10/32801426-e8e6-11e2-aa9f-c03a72e2d342_story.html), apparently functions similarly to Tempora, accessing "communications on fiber cables and infrastructure as data flows past," according to The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/the-nsa-slide-you-havent-seen/2013/07/10/32801426-e8e6-11e2-aa9f-c03a72e2d342_story.html). The slide indicates that Prism and these so-called "upstream" programs work together somehow, with an arrow saying "You Should Use Both" pointing to the two operations.
So how does one tap into an underwater cable?
The process is extremely secretive, but it seems similar to tapping an old-fashioned, pre-digital telephone line -- the eavesdropper gathers up all the data that flows past, then deciphers it later.
http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/international/assets_c/2013/07/Screen%20Shot%202013-07-16%20at%2011.17.56%20AM-thumb-570x302-127287.png (http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/international/Screen%20Shot%202013-07-16%20at%2011.17.56%20AM.png)
A map of undersea cables. (TeleGeography) (http://www.telegeography.com/)
More than 550,000 miles of flexible undersea cables (http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/business/a-connected-world/305/) about the size of garden watering hoses carry all the world's emails, searches, and tweets. Together, they shoot the equivalent of several hundred Libraries of Congress worth of information back and forth every day.
In 2005, the Associated Press reported that a submarine called the USS Jimmy Carter (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/20/politics/20submarine.html) had been repurposed to carry crews of technicians to the bottom of the sea so they could tap fiber optic lines. The easiest place to get into the cables is at the regeneration points -- spots where their signals are amplified and pushed forward on their long, circuitous journeys. "At these spots, the fiber optics can be more easily tapped, because they are no longer bundled together, rather laid out individually," Deutsche Welle reported (http://www.dw.de/tapping-the-worlds-fiber-optic-cables/a-16916476).
But such aquatic endeavors may no longer even be necessary. The cables make landfall at coastal stations in various countries, where their data is sent on to domestic networks, and it's easier to tap them on land than underwater. Britain is, geographically, in an ideal position to access to cables as they emerge from the Atlantic, so the cooperation between the NSA and GCHQ has been key. Beyond that partnership, there are the other members of the "Five Eyes" -- the Australians, the New Zealanders, and the Canadians -- that also collaborate with the U.S., Snowden said.
The tapping process apparently involves using so-called "intercept probes." According to two analysts I spoke to, the intelligence agencies likely gain access to the landing stations, usually with the permission of the host countries oroperating companies (http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-07-06/business/40406049_1_u-s-access-global-crossing-surveillance-requests), and use these small devices to capture the light being sent across the cable. The probe bounces the light through a prism, makes a copy of it, and turns it into binary data without disrupting the flow of the original Internet traffic.
"We believe our 3D MEMS technology -- as used by governments and various agencies -- is involved in the collection of intelligence from ... undersea fibers," said a director of business development at Glimmerglass, a government contractor that appeared, at least according to a 2010 (http://wikileaks.org/spyfiles/files/0/274_GLIMMERGLASS-AVIATIONWEEK-201004.pdf)Aviation Week (http://wikileaks.org/spyfiles/files/0/274_GLIMMERGLASS-AVIATIONWEEK-201004.pdf) article, to conduct similar types of interceptions, though it's unclear whether they took part in the British Tempora or the U.S. upstream programs. In a PowerPoint presentation, Glimmerglass once boasted that it provided "optical cyber solutions (http://wikileaks.org/spyfiles/files/0/55_201110-ISS-IAD-T1-GLIMMERGLASS.pdf)" to the intelligence community, offering the ability to monitor everything from Gmail to Facebook. "We are deployed in several countries that are using it for lawful interception. They've passed laws, publicly known, that they will monitor all international traffic for interdiction of any kind of terrorist activity."
http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/international/assets_c/2013/07/Screen%20Shot%202013-07-10%20at%206.54.48%20PM-thumb-570x362-127289.png (http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/international/Screen%20Shot%202013-07-10%20at%206.54.48%20PM.png)
Slide from a Glimmerglass presentation
The British publication PC Pro presented another theory (http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/security/382666/how-spies-could-tap-fibre-cables#ixzz2ZE2mKAJ1): that slightly bending the cables could allow a receiver to capture their contents.

One method is to bend the cable and extract enough light to sniff out the data. "You can get these little cylindrical devices off eBay for about $1,000. You run the cable around the cylinder, causing a slight bend in cable. It will emit a certain amount of light, one or two decibels. That goes into the receiver and all that data is stolen in one or two decibels of light. Without interrupting transfer flow, you can read everything going on on an optical network," said Everett.
The loss is so small, said Everett, that anyone who notices it might attribute it to a loose connection somewhere along the line. "They wouldn't even register someone's tapping into their network," he added.
Once it's gathered, the data gets sifted. Most of it is discarded, but the filters pull out material that touches on one of the 40,000 search terms (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa) chosen by the NSA and GCHQ -- that's the content the two agencies inspect more closely.
The British anti-surveillance group Privacy International has filed a lawsuit against the U.K. government, arguing that such practices amount to "blanked surveillance" and saying that British courts do "not provide sufficiently specific or clear authorization for such wide-ranging and universal interception of communications." Their argument is that the existing surveillance laws are from the phone-tapping days and can't be applied to modern, large-scale electronic data collection.
"If their motivation is to catch terrorists, then are there less intrusive methods than spying on everyone whose traffic happens to transverse the U.K.?" said Eric King, head of research at Privacy International.
Meanwhile, the British agency, the GCHQ, has defending their practices by saying that they are merely looking for a few suspicious "needles (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa)" in a giant haystack of data, and that the techniques have allowed them to uncover terrorist plots.
If groups like Privacy International are successful, it may put an end to the capture of domestic Internet data within the U.K., but as NSA expert Matthew Aid recently told me, since 80 percent of the fiber optic data flows through the U.S., it wouldn't stop the massive surveillance operations here or in other countries -- even if the person on the sending end was British.
It's also worth noting that this type of tapping has been going on for years -- it's just that we're now newly getting worked up about it. In 2007, the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/06/washington/06nsa.html?_r=0) thus described President Bush's expansion of electronic surveillance: "the new law allows the government to eavesdrop on those conversations without warrants -- latching on to those giant switches -- as long as the target of the government's surveillance is 'reasonably believed' to be overseas."
Want to avoid being a "target" of this "switch-latching"? A site called "Prism-break" recently released a (https://prism-break.org/)smorgasbord (https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Fprism-break.org&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNEz-ZfQvncrAHyxIGXvwFmFeYHLMw) of encrypted browsing, chat, and email services that supposedly allow the user to evade government scrutiny.
The only platform for which there is no encrypted alternative is Apple's iOS, a proprietary software, for which the site had this warning:
"You should not entrust neither your communications nor your data to a closed source device."
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/07/the-creepy-longstanding-practice-of-undersea-cable-tapping/277855
/ (http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/07/the-creepy-longstanding-practice-of-undersea-cable-tapping/277855/)

Jan Klimkowski
07-17-2013, 04:59 PM
For the military-multinational-complex:

You think
Therefore you're dangerous

Magda Hassan
08-08-2013, 01:28 AM
Surveillance will be a one way street of course.

No shooting at protest? Police may block mobile devices via Apple Published time: September 05, 2012 10:12
Edited time: September 05, 2012 14:12 Get short URL (http://rt.com/news/apple-patent-transmission-block-408/)







Tags
Information Technology (http://rt.com/tags/information-technology/), Internet (http://rt.com/tags/internet/), Mass media (http://rt.com/tags/mass-media/), Meeting (http://rt.com/tags/meeting/), Police (http://rt.com/tags/police/), Protest (http://rt.com/tags/protest/), SciTech (http://rt.com/tags/scitech/), Security (http://rt.com/tags/security/)

Apple has patented a piece of technology which would allow government and police to block transmission of information, including video and photographs, from any public gathering or venue they deem “sensitive”, and “protected from externalities.”
*In other words, these powers will have control over what can and cannot be documented on wireless devices during any public event.

And while the company says the affected sites are to be mostly cinemas, theaters, concert grounds and similar locations, Apple Inc. also says “covert police or government operations may require complete ‘blackout’ conditions.”

“Additionally,” Apple says,” the wireless transmission of sensitive information to a remote source is one example of a threat to security. This sensitive information could be anything from classified government information to questions or answers to an examination administered in an academic setting.”

The statement led many to believe that authorities and police could now use the patented feature during protests or rallies to block the transmission of video footage and photographs from the scene, including those of police brutality, which at times of major events immediately flood news networks and video websites.

Apple patented the means to transmit an encoded signal to all wireless devices, commanding them to disable recording functions.

Those policies would be activated by GPS, and WiFi or mobile base-stations, which would ring-fence ("geofence") around a building or a “sensitive area” to prevent phone cameras from taking pictures or recording video.

Apple may implement the technology, but it would not be Apple's decision to activate the “feature” – it would be down governments, businesses and network owners to set such policies, analyzes ZDNet technology website.

Having invented one of the most sophisticated mobile devices, Apple now appears to be looking for ways to restrict its use.

“As wireless devices such as cellular telephones, pagers, personal media devices and smartphones become ubiquitous, more and more people are carrying these devices in various social and professional settings,” it explains in the patent. “The result is that these wireless devices can often annoy, frustrate, and even threaten people in sensitive venues.”

The company’s listed “sensitive” venues so far include mostly meetings, the presentation of movies, religious ceremonies, weddings, funerals, academic lectures, and test-taking environments.


http://rt.com/news/apple-patent-transmission-block-408/

Peter Lemkin
08-08-2013, 05:47 AM
Surveillance will be a one way street of course.

No shooting at protest? Police may block mobile devices via Apple

Published time: September 05, 2012 10:12
Edited time: September 05, 2012 14:12 Get short URL (http://rt.com/news/apple-patent-transmission-block-408/)







Tags
Information Technology (http://rt.com/tags/information-technology/), Internet (http://rt.com/tags/internet/), Mass media (http://rt.com/tags/mass-media/), Meeting (http://rt.com/tags/meeting/), Police (http://rt.com/tags/police/), Protest (http://rt.com/tags/protest/), SciTech (http://rt.com/tags/scitech/), Security (http://rt.com/tags/security/)

Apple has patented a piece of technology which would allow government and police to block transmission of information, including video and photographs, from any public gathering or venue they deem “sensitive”, and “protected from externalities.”
*In other words, these powers will have control over what can and cannot be documented on wireless devices during any public event.

And while the company says the affected sites are to be mostly cinemas, theaters, concert grounds and similar locations, Apple Inc. also says “covert police or government operations may require complete ‘blackout’ conditions.”

“Additionally,” Apple says,” the wireless transmission of sensitive information to a remote source is one example of a threat to security. This sensitive information could be anything from classified government information to questions or answers to an examination administered in an academic setting.”

The statement led many to believe that authorities and police could now use the patented feature during protests or rallies to block the transmission of video footage and photographs from the scene, including those of police brutality, which at times of major events immediately flood news networks and video websites.

Apple patented the means to transmit an encoded signal to all wireless devices, commanding them to disable recording functions.

Those policies would be activated by GPS, and WiFi or mobile base-stations, which would ring-fence ("geofence") around a building or a “sensitive area” to prevent phone cameras from taking pictures or recording video.

Apple may implement the technology, but it would not be Apple's decision to activate the “feature” – it would be down governments, businesses and network owners to set such policies, analyzes ZDNet technology website.

Having invented one of the most sophisticated mobile devices, Apple now appears to be looking for ways to restrict its use.

“As wireless devices such as cellular telephones, pagers, personal media devices and smartphones become ubiquitous, more and more people are carrying these devices in various social and professional settings,” it explains in the patent. “The result is that these wireless devices can often annoy, frustrate, and even threaten people in sensitive venues.”

The company’s listed “sensitive” venues so far include mostly meetings, the presentation of movies, religious ceremonies, weddings, funerals, academic lectures, and test-taking environments.


http://rt.com/news/apple-patent-transmission-block-408/

If that is not overturned in Court, we're finished....literally. There will be no way to show the crimes of the Police and Authorities; or the innocence of those accused of wrongdoing....and the Police et al. will have their cameras, from which they'll use the images they want - or even create fake ones. Fuck Apple for producing this. Their list of 'sensitive venues' is very interesting...it mentions the mundane and doesn't mention street actions, protests, conflicts with Police and authorities, declarations of martial law et al. Sanitized list.

David Guyatt
08-08-2013, 07:06 AM
My mind immediately casts itself back to the 60's and 70's at the height of the cold war, where citizens would film events surreptitiously - knowing that were they caught they would be sent to a gulag, and therefore, almost certain death.

To think that the "west" won the cold war only to become the new "eastern bloc" in all but name.

Jan Klimkowski
08-08-2013, 05:11 PM
My mind immediately casts itself back to the 60's and 70's at the height of the cold war, where citizens would film events surreptitiously - knowing that were they caught they would be sent to a gulag, and therefore, almost certain death.

To think that the "west" won the cold war only to become the new "eastern bloc" in all but name.

Indeed.



Apple has patented a piece of technology which would allow government and police to block transmission of information, including video and photographs, from any public gathering or venue they deem “sensitive”, and “protected from externalities.”
*In other words, these powers will have control over what can and cannot be documented on wireless devices during any public event.

And while the company says the affected sites are to be mostly cinemas, theaters, concert grounds and similar locations, Apple Inc. also says “covert police or government operations may require complete ‘blackout’ conditions.”

To imagine that much of what passes for the avant garde Left in Amerika considers Apple to be a fantastic, radical, model company.

BOYCOTT APPLE!

I spent a decade of my life in the BBC Science department. We were divided between those who considered science as pure and apolitical knowedge and those who believed that ethically scientists must consider the benign and malign uses of their discoveries.

I was in the latter camp.

With this technology, there is no room for discussion. The purpose is clearly, unequivocally, malign: it is to suppress the truth.

Fuck Steve Jobs.

Fuck Steve Wozniak.

Fuck Arthur Levinson.

Fuck Apple Inc.

Malcolm Pryce
08-08-2013, 08:19 PM
Thing is, unless I have been completely deluded all my life, Apple really were an admirable company not very long ago. When I fell in love with their products, around, say the early 1990s, they were the rebels and iconoclasts with a really appealing ethos. (Or so I thought.) They were dwarfed by Microsoft who represented everything bad and Apple were the good guys. As far as I can see, this really only started to change with the introduction of that revolutionary first iPod and the process snowballed with the iPhone. At that point they were no longer a computer company and didn't seem to greatly care about their once loyal user base. In fact, I suspect they would be happy to jettison the computer division altogether. The astonishing thing is, they have become Microsoft in the space of such a small space of time. Just a few years. This latest technology is too Orwellian for words. One feels sheepish about always reaching for the Orwell analogy, but there really is no way to avoid it. Even so, I don't think it's the end of the world in that there will be plenty of alternative products that will enable one to film the police brutality. It's really the audacity of Apple's arrogance that astonishes me. And maybe this will be their undoing. Folk will take a lot but there comes a point… And the cracks are already beginning to appear in the Apple facade. They are not the same company after the death of Steve Jobs, and really, like Manchester United without Ferguson, there really is only one way and that is down. Anyone stil remember the kings of the early internet, Netscape? Whatever happened to them?

Lauren Johnson
08-09-2013, 12:06 AM
Anyone stil remember the kings of the early internet, Netscape? Whatever happened to them?

Netscape was involved in a intellectual lawsuit with Microsoft. Microsoft was getting its ass handed to it in court. When the GWB admin took power, the "Justice" Department withdrew its lawsuit. Microsoft had spent some very good money lining Bush's campaign pockets.

Netscape was taken over by AOL.

Magda Hassan
08-12-2013, 11:22 AM
Moscow has U.S. Internet surveillance server - Vedomosti quoting Snowden's disclosures 11:40 August 12, 2013 Interfax (http://interfax.ru)

One of the servers of U.S. global system of monitoring Internet users is located in Moscow, Vedomosti daily reported on Monday quoting information shared by former CIA employee Edward Snowden (http://rbth.ru/edward_snowden)with The Guardian.
Vedomosti says this follows from a 2008 presentation of the U.S. National Security Agency published on the Guardian's website on July 31.
"It turns out that the U.S. spying infrastructure is located in Moscow. The presentation contains a map of the locations of 700 servers of the global Internet surveillance system called XKeyscore. The servers are located in 150 countries, not just in Moscow but also in Kyiv and even in Beijing," the Vedomosti article says.



According to the NSA presentation, XKeyscore collects information about electronic correspondence, downloaded or sent files, visited Internet pages, activeness in instant messengers, including lists of friends, and also information from the telephone books of mobile users.
The system can also monitor the entire traffic of a user after he or she is indentified in the Internet, including the computer software which NSA is unaware of yet.
Vedomosti wondered where the XKeyscore server in Moscow may be located.
A representative of the Federal Security Service (FSB) (http://rbth.ru/tag/fsb) did not answer the newspaper's question.
A newspaper source in Russian special services said that the services had not studied the question but said that he was "practically 100 percent sure" that the server should be located at the American embassy in Moscow.
He accounted his point of view to the map showing that servers of the system are absent from the countries that don't have U.S. embassies but in which U.S. intelligence takes keen interest, such as Iran.
"An NSA representative did not comment on XKeyscore either but suggested checking the agency's website. The U.S. embassy in Moscow does not comment on any matters related to Snowden. Attempts to contact Snowden also failed - his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena is on holiday until the end of the month," the article says.


Vedomosti says that Russian experts simply did not believe the story about the XKeyscore server in Moscow.
Thus, director of the Coordinating Center of the Internet National Domain Andrei Kolesnikov thinks that the Guardian journalist who reported about the system first mixed something up in its description. In his opinion, the servers of the system cannot remain unnoticed considering the volume of traffic with information about users.
Meanwhile, CEO of Highloadlab company Alexander Lyamin does not believe Snowden personally. "I would not want to comment on the disclosures of clowns," the newspaper quotes Lyamin as saying.
However, the founder of Russia's biggest social network, VKontakte, Pavel Durov has taken Snowden's words seriously. He invited the former CIA employee to deal with the security of user data in his network (http://rbth.ru/international/2013/08/01/snowden_granted_temporary_asylum_in_russia_for_one _year_28565.html).
Durov did not answer Vedomosti's questions about XKeyscore.
http://rbth.ru/news/2013/08/12/moscow_has_us_internet_surveillance_server_-_vedomosti_quoting_snowdens__28824.html

Magda Hassan
08-17-2013, 10:16 AM
The NSA's power largely comes from its myth of being super-smart and hyper-competent. So much for that.


Spying Blind (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/08/16/spying_blind_nsa_intelligence) The National Security Agency has an intelligence problem: It won’t admit how dumb it is.
BY SHANE HARRIS | AUGUST 16, 2013


The Obama administration's claim that the NSA is not spying on Americans rests on a fundamental assertion: That the intelligence agency is so good at distinguishing between innocent people and evildoers, and is so tightly overseen by Congress and the courts, that it doesn't routinely collect the communications of Americans en masse.


We now know that's not true. And we shouldn't be surprised (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/06/27/the_nsa_cant_tell_the_difference_between_an_americ an_and_a_foreigner). The question is, why won't the NSA admit it?
On Thursday night, the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-broke-privacy-rules-thousands-of-times-per-year-audit-finds/2013/08/15/3310e554-05ca-11e3-a07f-49ddc7417125_story.html) released a classified audit (http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/750389-1qcy12-violations.html#document/p1/a115749) of NSA's intelligence-gathering systems, showing they are beset by human error, fooled by moving targets, and rely on so many different servers and databases that NSA employees can't keep tabs on all of them.
It had been previously reported that the NSA had unintentionally collected (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/07/31/198229/documents-show-nsa-violated-court.html#.Ug2qjmSDQ6U) the communications of Americans, in violation of court orders, as it swept up electronic signals in foreign countries. But officials had sought to portray those mistakes as limited, swiftly corrected, and not affecting that many people.
Wrong again.
One of the reasons that the NSA has been able to gather so much power is that the agency has built a reputation over the years for super-smarts and hyper-competence. The NSA's analysts weren't just the brainiest guys in the room, the myth went; they were the brightest bulbs in the building. The NSA's hackers could penetrate any network. Their mathematicians could unravel any equation. Their cryptologists could crack any cipher. That reputation has survived blown assignments (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/military/hill-911-attacks.html) and billion-dollar boondoggles (http://shaneharris.com/magazinestories/success-of-failure/). Whether it can outlast these latest revelations is an open question.


The Post found that the NSA "has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authorities thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008..." That's the year when NSA's global surveillance system went into hyperdrive. The agency was granted unprecedented authority to monitor communications without individual warrants and to surveil whole categories of people and communications.
Most of the violations affecting Americans' information were the result what the agency calls "incidental collection." So how many Americans were caught up in the NSA's surveillance nets as they were dragged across supposedly foreign targets? The exact number is unclear. But the short answer is: lots and lots of them.
In one instance, a programming glitch collected a "large number" of calls from Washington, D.C, instead of the intended targets in Egypt, according to the audit. Somehow, the area code 202 (for Washington) was keyed instead of 20 (the country code for Egypt.) The NSA's supposedly discriminating surveillance architecture was undone by a typo.
The audit reveals a recurring problem with human error in the day-to-day operations of global surveillance and shows what a messy and imprecise business it can be. In the first quarter of 2012, 123 incidents of non-compliance with the rules, or 63 percent of those examined, were attributed to human or operator error. These included typographical errors, inaccurate or overbroad search queries, and what the report calls "inaccurate or insufficient research information and/or workload issues."
Analysts needed more "complete and consistent" information about their targets to avoid errors, the audit found. This suggests that while the NSA's collection systems are dipping into data streams, the analysts aren't always equipped to determine who is and isn't a legitimate target.
The NSA's systems also have problems knowing when a target is on the move, and possibly has entered the United States. (When he does, different regulations come into play about how the surveillance is authorized and what can be monitored without approval from the court.)
As recently as 2012, NSA was not always able to know when targets using a mobile phone had crossed a U.S. border. These so-called "roamers" accounted for the largest number of technological errors in the violations that were examined.
A problem discovered last year, which appears in the report under the heading "Significant Incidents of Non-Compliance," helps illustrate how NSA is collecting so much information that it can actually lose track of it and store it in places where it shouldn't be.
In February 2012, the NSA found 3,032 "files containing call detail records" on a server. A call detail record, or CDR, is analogous to a phone bill. It shows whom was called, when, and for how long. This is metadata, like what's collected (http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/06/10/prism_isn_t_the_scariest_part_of_the_nsa_revelatio ns_phone_metadata) today on all phone calls in the United States.
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/08/16/spying_blind_nsa_intelligence

Magda Hassan
08-17-2013, 11:00 AM
No safety in whistle-blower laws.

How to trap a whistleblower (http://www.salon.com/2013/08/16/how_to_trap_a_whistleblower/) Tell them that going through "proper channels" will provide meaningful redress to their concerns, not injure them By Jesselyn Radack (http://www.salon.com/writer/jesselyn_radack/) Barack Obama talks with Jay Leno during the taping of his appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on Aug. 6, 2013. (Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

Last week, President Obama misled the public when he told a comedian Jay Leno that protected legal channels exist that Edward Snowden could have used to challenge government misconduct:

I can tell you that there are ways, if you think that the government is abusing a program, of coming forward. In fact, I, through Executive Order, signed whistleblower protection for intelligence officers or people who are involved in the intelligence industry.
This message is false. And the President repeated it at his press conference a few days later. Obama is referring to Presidential Policy Directive #19. If the President had bothered to read his own Executive Order, he would have known that it was not implemented at all when Snowden blew the whistle on the National Security Agency. Further, it fails to provide protected legal channels to contractor positions such as Snowden’s.
Thomas Drake, a former senior executive at the NSA, is living proof of how insidious the “channels” argument is. Shortly after 9/11, he complained about NSA programs that were embryonic versions of what Snowden is now revealing. He complained that NSA foreign collection programs were being turned inward on Americans. One of those programs, Stellar Wind, stripped off data anonymization features, auditing trails, and other privacy protections that were available in a cheaper, effective, and non-intrusive program called ThinThread.
Drake complained to his boss, to the NSA Inspector General, and—with three other retired NSA colleagues and a former House intelligence staffer–to the Department of Defense Inspector General. The Inspector General substantiated their claims, but immediately classified its report to keep it out of public view. (Most portions are now unclassified and never had to be.)
Drake then served as a material witness in two key 9/11 investigations. He told Congress about multiple secret domestic surveillance programs, including Stellar Wind, and critical indications and warning intelligence about al Qaeda and associated movements pre- and post-9/11, which NSA did not share.
After the infamous New York Times article that revealed NSA’s warrantless wiretapping of Americans, the Justice Department launched an investigation—not of the U.S.’s vast lawbreaking, but for those who exposed the secret surveillance. That multi-million dollar investigation spanned five years, required five full-time prosecutors and 25 FBI agents.
Although Drake and his colleagues were not sources, they were made targets of this federal criminal “leak investigation.” The IG that had promised them protection and confidentiality sold them out to the Justice Department, and Congress failed to protect its witness, Mr. Drake. This was just one element of ruinous retaliation that went on for years and in some respects has not yet ended. Reprisals included getting fired, having security clearances pulled, armed raids on their’ homes, shattered relationships with friends and family, and depletion of retirement accounts and second mortgages to pay attorneys’ fees.
Drake became the Obama administration’s first Espionage Act prosecution of someone accused of mishandling classified information. This draconian experiment soon escalated into a full-blown war on whistleblowers. The Drake case collapsed in spectacular fashion when the judge found that the information Drake possessed was completely unclassified, and had only been marked otherwise after it was seized from his home.
Around the same time, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) claimed that the Justice Department had a secret, twisted interpretation of the Patriot Act that enabled domestic surveillance activities. Wyden said famously: “When the American people find out how their government had secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry.”
Despite being treated unmercifully by the government, that fall, Drake and two of the same NSA colleagues with whom he blew the whistle, briefed Senators Wyden and Udall on the secret interpretation of 215. One of them, William Binney, had written the algorithm that was bastardized for use in a number of the secret surveillance programs. The result: Nothing.
Not only did going through proper channels provide no meaningful redress to the five whistleblowers’ complaints, it gravely injured them. Drake lost his job, security clearance, and income stream, while simultaneously incurring half a million dollars in legal debt. And that was just during the investigatory phase. By the time of his indictment, he was declared indigent. Today, he works as a wage-grade employee at an Apple computer store, a far cry from his six-figure job at NSA.
Drake’s story puts the lie to the notion that internal channels serve as anything other than a trap for unwitting whistleblowers. What is so revealing is that if Snowden had gone through internal channels, the outcome would have been worse: the United States would have charged him with espionage and he’d be in jail for, in essence, spying on his own country on behalf of the public. It should not require martyrdom for a free citizen to challenge government abuses of power. It should not require choosing one’s conscience over one’s career, citizenship, or freedom.

Jan Klimkowski
08-17-2013, 11:03 AM
Whistleblowers are truthtellers.

Which is why the military-multinational-intelligence complex will always brand them traitors and subversives.

Magda Hassan
08-20-2013, 12:35 AM
The NSA Searches Ten Times as Much of the Internet as It Said It Does
AP

Philip Bump (http://www.theatlanticwire.com/authors/philip-bump/) 2,778 Views 2:51 PM ET
The National Security Agency assured Americans last week that it only surveils a tiny percentage of the web data it collects. But it turns out the NSA screwed up the math, and that percentage was off by an order of magnitude.
That error is in a document released by the agency on the heels of the president's speech earlier this month announcing measures to review NSA surveillance. We described (http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/08/nsas-stymied-plan-touch-it-all/68268/) the math at stake last week, but the pertinent section is this:
http://www.theatlanticwire.com/static/img/upload/2013/08/19/scope.png
Unfortunately, if you do the math in suggested by that paragraph, you don't get that tiny percentage, 0.00004 percent, or 4 parts per 10 million. It's actually 0.0004 percent, with one fewer zero — or 10 times as much as the NSA suggested. It's ten dimes on the basketball court, not one. (See the math at the bottom of this post.)
That's significant largely because of the weight the NSA puts on its percentages. In a New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/us/nsa-calls-violations-of-privacy-minuscule.html?_r=0) last Friday, the agency used similar tiny numbers to respond to The Washington Post's blockbuster report indicating (http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/08/leaked-nsa-audit-found-agency-broke-privacy-rules-thousands-times/68396/) that it had repeatedly violated Americans' privacy. (We spotted this via Mother Jones' Kevin Drum (http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/08/nsa-surveillance-database-queries).)

The official, John DeLong, the N.S.A. director of compliance, said that the number of mistakes by the agency was extremely low compared with its overall activities. The report showed about 100 errors by analysts in making queries of databases of already-collected communications data; by comparison, he said, the agency performs about 20 million such queries each month. Twenty million queries, as Drum points out, is a lot of daily queries (or, if you prefer, database searches). It's about 666,000, in fact, in a 31-day month. That's about seven queries every second. (How the NSA defines "query" in this context isn't clear.) In the context of the amount of data the NSA processes, it's also significant. Each day, using the 0.025 percent of 1.6 percent figure above, the government reviews about 7.304 terabytes of data. If you're curious, the ratio of data reviewed to number of queries is about 12.2 megabytes — meaning that the government sets aside 12 megabytes for every query it runs.
Between the second quarter of 2011 and the first of 2012, the NSA committed about 7.5 privacy violations each day. Which was the NSA's point: of the 20 million queries a month, only a tiny, tiny percentage violate Americans' privacy. But a tiny percentage of a big number gives you seven privacy violations every 24 hours.
The NSA's incorrect .00004 percent figure was picked up by a variety of outlets — at CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/12/tech/web/nsa-privacy-email/index.html) and the Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2390604/NSA-claims-reviews-00004-percent-Internet-traffic-daily-basis.html), for example. Ten times a very, very small number is still a very, very small number, but it's a small number that represents 10 times as much surveillance as the NSA originally indicated.
Update, 5:00 p.m.: Vanee' Vines of the NSA responded to our question about the calculation over email:

Our figure is valid; the classified information that goes into the number is more complicated than what’s in your calculation.
We asked for further clarification of the discrepancy between the numbers. Vines replied:

Our overall number is valid. I’m not sure why you’re calling this a “discrepancy” when the number in the white paper is valid.
The math

What Percent Quantity

Daily internet traffic

1,826 petabytes, or
1,826,000 terabytes


Amount the NSA "touches"
(.016 * 1826000)
1.6%
29,216 terabytes


Amount selected for review
(.00025 * 29216)
.025%
7.304 terabytes


Review amount as percentage of daily
(7.304 / 1826000)
.0004%



http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/08/nsa-better-data-collection-math/68490/

Magda Hassan
08-24-2013, 09:14 AM
Google and the NSA: Who’s holding the ‘shit-bag’ now?
by Julian Assange (http://thestringer.com.au/author/julianassange/)
August 24th, 2013


Image – latimesblogs.latimes.com

It has been revealed today, thanks to Edward Snowden, that Google and other US tech companies received millions of dollars from the NSA for their compliance with the PRISM mass surveillance system.
So just how close is Google to the US securitocracy? Back in 2011 I had a meeting with Eric Schmidt, the then Chairman of Google, who came out to see me with three other people while I was under house arrest. You might suppose that coming to see me was gesture that he and the other big boys at Google were secretly on our side: that they support what we at WikiLeaks are struggling for: justice, government transparency, and privacy for individuals. But that would be a false supposition. Their agenda was much more complex, and as we found out, was inextricable from that of the US State Department. The full transcript of our meeting is available online through the WikiLeaks website.
The pretext for their visit was that Schmidt was then researching a new book, a banal tome which has since come out as The New Digital Age. My less than enthusiastic review of this book was published in the New York Times in late May of this year. On the back of that book are a series of pre-publication endorsements: Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Michael Hayden (former head of the CIA and NSA) and Tony Blair. Inside the book Henry Kissinger appears once again, this time given pride of place in the acknowledgements.
Schmidt’s book is not about communicating with the public. He is worth $6.1 billion and does not need to sell books. Rather, this book is a mechanism by which Google seeks to project itself into Washington. It shows Washington that Google can be its partner, its geopolitical visionary, who will help Washington see further about America’s interests. And by tying itself to the US state, Google thereby cements its own security, at the expense of all competitors.
Two months after my meeting with Eric Schmidt, WikiLeaks had a legal reason to call Hilary Clinton and to document that we were calling her. It’s interesting that if you call the front desk of the State Department and ask for Hillary Clinton, you can actually get pretty close, and we’ve become quite good at this. Anyone who has seen Doctor Strangelove may remember the fantastic scene when Peter Sellers calls the White House from a payphone on the army base and is put on hold as his call gradually moves through the levels. Well WikiLeaks journalist Sarah Harrison, pretending to be my PA, put through our call to the State Department, and like Peter Sellers we started moving through the levels, and eventually we got up to Hillary Clinton’s senior legal advisor, who said that we would be called back.
Shortly afterwards another one of our people, WikiLeaks’ ambassador Joseph Farrell, received a call back, not from the State Department, but from Lisa Shields, the then girlfriend of Eric Schmidt, who does not formally work for the US State Department. So let’s reprise this situation: The Chairman of Google’s girlfriend was being used as a back channel for Hillary Clinton. This is illustrative. It shows that at this level of US society, as in other corporate states, it is all musical chairs.
That visit from Google while I was under house arrest was, as it turns out, an unofficial visit from the State Department. Just consider the people who accompanied Schmidt on that visit: his girlfriend Lisa Shields, Vice President for Communications at the CFR; Scott Malcolmson, former senior State Department advisor; and Jared Cohen, advisor to both Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, a kind of Generation Y Kissinger figure — a noisy Quiet American as the author Graham Greene might have put it.
Google started out as part of Californian graduate student culture around San Francisco’s Bay Area. But as Google grew it encountered the big bad world. It encountered barriers to its expansion in the form of complex political networks and foreign regulations. So it started doing what big bad American companies do, from Coca Cola to Northrop Grumman. It started leaning heavily on the State Department for support, and by doing so it entered into the Washington DC system. A recently released statistic shows that Google now spends even more money than Lockheed Martin on paid lobbyists in Washington.
Jared Cohen was the co-writer of Eric Schmidt’s book, and his role as the bridge between Google and the State Department speaks volumes about how the US securitocracy works. Cohen used to work directly for the State Department and was a close advisor to both Condolezza Rice and Hillary Clinton. But since 2010 he has been Director of Google Ideas, its in-house ‘think/do’ tank.
Documents published last year by WikiLeaks obtained from the US intelligence contractor Stratfor, show that in 2011 Jared Cohen, then (as he is now) Director of Google Ideas, was off running secret missions to the edge of Iran in Azerbaijan. In these internal emails, Fred Burton, Stratfor’s Vice President for Intelligence and a former senior State Department official, describes Google as follows:
“Google is getting WH [White House] and State Dept support and air cover. In reality they are doing things the CIA cannot do…[Cohen] is going to get himself kidnapped or killed. Might be the best thing to happen to expose Google’s covert role in foaming up-risings, to be blunt. The US Gov’t can then disavow knowledge and Google is left holding the shit-bag”
In further internal communication, Burton subsequently clarifies his sources on Cohen’s activities as Marty Lev, Google’s director of security and safety and.. Eric Schmidt.
WikiLeaks cables also reveal that previously Cohen, when working for the State Department, was in Afghanistan trying to convince the four major Afghan mobile phone companies to move their antennas onto US military bases. In Lebanon he covertly worked to establish, on behalf of the State Department, an anti-Hezbollah Shia think tank. And in London? He was offering Bollywood film executives funds to insert anti-extremist content into Bollywood films and promising to connect them to related networks in Hollywood. That is the Director of Google Ideas. Cohen is effectively Google’s director of regime change. He is the State Department channeling Silicon Valley.
That Google was taking NSA money in exchange for handing over people’s data comes as no surprise. When Google encountered the big bad world, Google itself got big and bad.
http://thestringer.com.au/google-and-the-nsa-whos-holding-the-shit-bag-now/

Magda Hassan
08-24-2013, 09:18 AM
The Pentagon as Silicon Valley’s Incubator Illustration by James C. Best, Jr/The New York Times


By SOMINI SENGUPTA (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/somini_sengupta/index.html) Published: August 22, 2013 SAN FRANCISCO — In the ranks of technology incubator programs, there is AngelPad here in San Francisco and Y Combinator about 40 miles south in Mountain View. And then there is the Pentagon.


Jay Kaplan, left, and Mark Kuhr met at the National Security Agency and raised $1.5 million in seed money to start Synack.



In the last year, former Department of Defense and intelligence agency operatives have headed to Silicon Valley to create technology start-ups specializing in tools aimed at thwarting online threats. Frequent reports of cyberattacks have expanded the demand for security tools, in both the public and private sectors, and venture capital money has followed. In 2012, more than $1 billion in venture financing poured into security start-ups, more than double the amount in 2010, according to the National Venture Capital Association.
For years, the Pentagon has knocked on Silicon Valley’s door in search of programmers to work on its spying technologies. But these days, it’s the Pentagon that is being scouted for expertise. Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are finding it valuable to have an insider’s perspective on the national security apparatus when trying to find or prevent computer vulnerabilities or mine large troves of data.
“They have unique insights because they’ve been on the front line,” said Matthew Howard, a former intelligence analyst in the Navy and now a managing partner at Norwest Venture Partners, referring to former military and intelligence operatives who have hatched start-ups. He has invested in several such companies. “Now they’ve got commercial desires. The lines are blurring.”
One of the start-ups is Synack (https://www.synack.com/), which promises to vet an army of hackers to hunt for security vulnerabilities in the computer systems of government agencies and private companies. The company’s co-founders, Jay Kaplan and Mark Kuhr, met in Fort Meade, Md., in the counterterrorism division of the National Security Agency. They left the agency in February after four years there, and later decamped to Silicon Valley. Within weeks, they had raised $1.5 million in seed money; they are now working with their first customers and pitching their experience in the spy agency.
“Doing things on a classified level really opens your eyes,” Mr. Kaplan said. “The government is doing a lot of interesting things they don’t disclose. You have a unique perspective on what the adversary is doing and the state of computer security at a whole other level.”
Morta (http://mortasecurity.com/) Security, (http://mortasecurity.com/)another of the start-ups, was founded by Raj Shah, a former F-16 fighter pilot for the Air Force in Iraq. He described himself as “a policy adviser” to the N.S.A. before moving to Silicon Valley to establish the company this year with two former analysts. Morta’s work is in such “stealth mode,” in valley parlance, that the company has said nothing about what it is working on. Nor would Mr. Shah describe fully what his two co-founders were doing at the agency before they formed the company.
“There are very sophisticated threats that are able to steal data from corporations and government,” is all Mr. Shah would say. “Our guys’ background — they just have a deeper understanding of that problem.”
Though Silicon Valley sees itself as an industry far removed from the Beltway, the two power centers have had a longstanding (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/20/technology/silicon-valley-and-spy-agency-bound-by-strengthening-web.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0) symbiotic relationship. And some say the cozy personal connections of ex-intelligence operatives to the military could invite abuse, like the divulging of private information to former colleagues in the agencies.
“They have enormous opportunities to cash in on their Washington experience, sometimes in ways that fund further innovation and other times in ways that might be very troubling to many people,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director at the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington. “Both sides like to maintain a myth of distant relations. The ties have been in place for a long time.”
The ties are more than personal; the National Security Agency is among the few organizations in the world, along with companies like Facebook and Google, with a cadre of engineers trained in mining big data.
By working at the N.S.A., “you get to be on the bleeding edge, not just the cutting edge of what’s possible,” said Oren Falkowitz, who left the agency last year to start Sqrrl, a big data analytics company based on technology developed at the agency. Mr. Falkowitz has since left Sqrrl, which is in Boston, and is considering moving to Northern California to start working with a big data company.
Last year, Sumit Agarwal left his post as a deputy assistant secretary of defense to join Shape Security, (http://www.shapesecurity.com/)a Mountain View company that offers what it calls “military grade” security solutions against botnets, groups of infected computers used for attacks.

Shape Security’s chief executive is Derek Smith, a former Pentagon consultant whose last company, Oakley Networks, which specialized in detecting insider threats, was sold to Raytheon, the military contractor, in 2007. Since its inception in 2011, Shape Security has raised $26 million in venture financing.




Computer security experts are leaving other parts of government for start-ups, too. Sameer Bhalotra, who worked on cybersecurity issues at the White House, (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/former-white-house-cybersecurity-official-joins-start-up/)was recruited by a Redwood City-based security company called Impermium. And Shawn Henry, (http://www.crowdstrike.com/about-us/index.html)a former computer security specialist from the F.B.I., left his job in government last year to help establish CrowdStrike, a computer security firm.
In Israel, government security workers have long found a career path in moving to start-ups, said Peter Wagner, a partner at a recently opened venture firm, Wing Venture Partners, in Menlo Park. Many Israeli entrepreneurs come out of the Israeli military and intelligence services, he pointed out.
“It’s not surprising that some of the same type of experience is finding its way into entrepreneurial endeavors here in the U.S.,” Mr. Wagner said.
The idea for Synack came to its founders, Mr. Kuhr, 29, and Mr. Kaplan, 27, when they were working side by side at the N.S.A.’s computer network operations division; within the agency, that includes figuring out how to attack or exploit data gathered from a computer network. Nights and weekends, they hatched their business plan. They proposed to assemble an army of vetted bounty hunters from around the world to find security bugs. Their product is a variation of the so-called bug bounty programs run by large companies, like Facebook and Microsoft, that in effect invite security researchers to try to crack vulnerabilities in their systems — and reward them if they do.
Part of their pitch to potential customers is that they will vet the bounty hunters before setting them loose. They hope to sign up government agencies as customers, along with private firms, especially in the software services sector.
“We are able to provide security experts previously inaccessible to companies,” Mr. Kaplan added.
Both men’s college educations were paid for by N.S.A. scholarships — Mr. Kaplan at George Washington University, Mr. Kuhr at West Point Military Academy and then at Auburn University. With that came an obligation to work at the agency, which they did, each for four years.
“We really liked our jobs there,” Mr. Kuhr said.
Then they headed west, drawn by the same dream of riches that draws so many other people here.
http://meter-svc.nytimes.com/meter.gif
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/23/technology/the-pentagon-as-start-up-incubator.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2&smid=tw-nytimes&partner=rss&emc=rss

Peter Lemkin
08-26-2013, 03:28 PM
The latest disclosures from whistleblower Edward Snowden have provided more details on how the National Security Agency has spied on the United Nations and countries worldwide. Citing Snowden’s leaks, the German magazine Der Spiegel reports the NSA decoded the U.N.'s internal video conferencing system to eavesdrop last year. One NSA official wrote: "the data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations. (yay!)" The spying on U.N. communications would violate the U.N.'s Espionage Act. Overall, an NSA operation called "Special Collection Services" bugged or monitored some 80 embassies and consulates around the world, including the European Union offices near the U.N.'s New York headquarters as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency. According to Der Speigel, the NSA's embassy spy program "has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists."

Magda Hassan
08-26-2013, 11:32 PM
The latest disclosures from whistleblower Edward Snowden have provided more details on how the National Security Agency has spied on the United Nations and countries worldwide. Citing Snowden’s leaks, the German magazine Der Spiegel reports the NSA decoded the U.N.'s internal video conferencing system to eavesdrop last year. One NSA official wrote: "the data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations. (yay!)" The spying on U.N. communications would violate the U.N.'s Espionage Act. Overall, an NSA operation called "Special Collection Services" bugged or monitored some 80 embassies and consulates around the world, including the European Union offices near the U.N.'s New York headquarters as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency. According to Der Speigel, the NSA's embassy spy program "has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists."
Yes, not such a surprise that they spy on them, and every one else for that matter, but the decryption is the bigger worry.

Peter Lemkin
09-03-2013, 03:40 PM
US drug agency partners with AT&T for access to 'vast database' of call records

Hemisphere project, revealed by NYT, has AT&T employees sit alongside drug units to aid access to data in exchange for payment
James Ball


http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Media/Pix/pictures/2011/8/31/1314804256190/ATT-007.jpgAT&T database includes every phone call which passes through the carrier's infrastructure – not just those made by company's own customers. Photograph: AFP

US law enforcement officers working on anti-drugs (http://www.theguardian.com/society/drugs) operations have had access to a vast database of call records dating back to 1987, supplied by the phone company AT&T, the New York Times has revealed (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/02/us/drug-agents-use-vast-phone-trove-eclipsing-nsas.html).
The project, known as Hemisphere, gives federal and local officers working on drug cases access to a database of phone metadata populated by more than four billion new call records each day.
Unlike the controversial call record accesses obtained by the NSA (http://www.theguardian.com/world/nsa), the data is stored by AT&T, not the government, but officials can access individual's phone records within an hour of an administrative subpoena.
AT&T receives payment from the government in order to sit its employees alongside drug units to aid with access to the data.
The AT&T database includes every phone call which passes through the carrier's infrastructure, not just those made by AT&T customers.
Details of the program – which was marked as law enforcement sensitive, but not classified – were released in a series of slides (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/09/02/us/hemisphere-project.html?_r=0) to an activist, Drew Hendricks, in response to freedom of information requests, and then passed to reporters at the New York Times.
Officials were instructed to take elaborate steps to ensure the secrecy of the Hemisphere program, a task described as a "formidable challenge" in the slide deck, which detailed the steps agencies had taken to "try and keep the program under the radar".
The instructions added that the system should be used to generate leads towards new material, with call records obtained through standard subpoenas then used to provide evidence. The "protecting the program" section concluded that "all requestors are instructed to never refer to Hemisphere in any official document".
A key purpose of the Hemisphere database appears to be tracking "burner" phones used by those in the drug trade, and popularized in the long-running drama The Wire. Slides published in the Times reveal details on how Hemisphere traces "dropped" phones and "additional" phones used by law enforcement targets.
A Justice Department spokesman said in a statement given to the New York Times that "subpoenaing drug dealers' phone records is a bread-and-butter tactic in the course of criminal investigations."
He added the program "simply streamlines the process of serving the subpoena to the phone company so law enforcement can quickly keep up with drug dealers when they switch phone numbers to try to avoid detection" – a similar explanation to those given by intelligence officials of the NSA's PRISM program, which grants the NSA access to information held on the servers of some of the largest internet companies.
The DoJ spokesman refused to disclose the cost of the program, telling the Times the figure was not immediately available.
Jameel Jaffer of the ACLU told the Times the program raised "profound privacy concerns".
"I'd speculate that one reason for the secrecy of the program is that it would be very hard to justify it to the public or the courts," he said.
Separately, the Washington Post published fresh details (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-intelligence-agencies-spend-millions-to-hunt-for-insider-threats-document-shows/2013/09/01/c6ab6c74-0ffe-11e3-85b6-d27422650fd5_story.html)from the US National Intelligence Budget request for 2013, released by the former contractor Edward Snowden.
The document details a multi-million dollar program to prevent "insider threats" from intelligence officers, with plans to launch more than 4,000 investigations into unusual staff activity at the agencies, including downloading large numbers of documents or accessing material which they would not need in the normal course of their duties.
Such steps were in motion before Snowden disclosed any material to journalistic organisations, or the publication of such details in the Guardian and Washington Post. The NSA has yet to establish what material was taken by Snowden, according to press reports.
An NSA spokeswoman told the Post contractors were not included among the 4,000 planned investigations of security clearances. More than 500,000 US contractors hold top-secret clearances.

Peter Lemkin
09-03-2013, 03:44 PM
Drug Agents Use Vast Phone Trove, Eclipsing N.S.A.’s

By SCOTT SHANE (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/scott_shane/index.html) and COLIN MOYNIHAN (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/colin_moynihan/index.html)

Published: September 1, 2013



For at least six years, law enforcement officials working on a counternarcotics program have had routine access, using subpoenas, to an enormous AT&T database that contains the records of decades of Americans’ phone calls — parallel to but covering a far longer time than the National Security Agency (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/national_security_agency/index.html?inline=nyt-org)’s hotly disputed collection of phone call logs.




A New York training site for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, which includes federal and local investigators. AT&T employees are embedded in the program in three states.

DOCUMENT: Synopsis of the Hemisphere Project (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/09/02/us/hemisphere-project.html?ref=us)

The Hemisphere Project, a partnership between federal and local drug officials and AT&T that has not previously been reported, involves an extremely close association between the government and the telecommunications giant.
The government pays AT&T to place its employees in drug-fighting units around the country. Those employees sit alongside Drug Enforcement Administration (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/d/drug_enforcement_administration/index.html?inline=nyt-org) agents and local detectives and supply them with the phone data from as far back as 1987.
The project comes to light at a time of vigorous public debate over the proper limits on government surveillance and on the relationship between government agencies and communications companies. It offers the most significant look to date at the use of such large-scale data for law enforcement, rather than for national security.
The scale and longevity of the data storage appears to be unmatched by other government programs, including the N.S.A.’s gathering of phone call logs under the Patriot Act (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/u/usa_patriot_act/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier). The N.S.A. stores the data for nearly all calls in the United States, including phone numbers and time and duration of calls, for five years.
Hemisphere covers every call that passes through an AT&T switch — not just those made by AT&T customers — and includes calls dating back 26 years, according to Hemisphere training slides bearing the logo of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Some four billion call records are added to the database every day, the slides say; technical specialists say a single call may generate more than one record. Unlike the N.S.A. data, the Hemisphere data includes information on the locations of callers.
The slides (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/09/02/us/hemisphere-project.html) were given to The New York Times by Drew Hendricks, a peace activist in Port Hadlock, Wash. He said he had received the PowerPoint presentation, which is unclassified but marked “Law enforcement sensitive,” in response to a series of public information requests to West Coast police agencies.
The program was started in 2007, according to the slides, and has been carried out in great secrecy.
“All requestors are instructed to never refer to Hemisphere in any official document,” one slide says (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/09/02/us/hemisphere-project.html#p12). A search of the Nexis database found no reference to the program in news reports or Congressional hearings.
The Obama administration acknowledged the extraordinary scale of the Hemisphere database and the unusual embedding of AT&T employees in government drug units in three states.
But they said the project, which has proved especially useful in finding criminals who discard cellphones frequently to thwart government tracking, employed routine investigative procedures used in criminal cases for decades and posed no novel privacy issues.
Crucially, they said, the phone data is stored by AT&T, and not by the government as in the N.S.A. program. It is queried for phone numbers of interest mainly using what are called “administrative subpoenas,” those issued not by a grand jury or a judge but by a federal agency, in this case the D.E.A.
Brian Fallon, a Justice Department spokesman, said in a statement that “subpoenaing drug dealers’ phone records is a bread-and-butter tactic in the course of criminal investigations.”
Mr. Fallon said that “the records are maintained at all times by the phone company, not the government,” and that Hemisphere “simply streamlines the process of serving the subpoena to the phone company so law enforcement can quickly keep up with drug dealers when they switch phone numbers to try to avoid detection.”
He said that the program was paid for by the D.E.A. and the White House drug policy office but that the cost was not immediately available.
Officials said four AT&T employees are now working in what is called the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, which brings together D.E.A. and local investigators — two in the program’s Atlanta office and one each in Houston and Los Angeles.
Daniel C. Richman, a law professor at Columbia, said he sympathized with the government’s argument that it needs such voluminous data to catch criminals in the era of disposable cellphones.
“Is this a massive change in the way the government operates? No,” said Mr. Richman, who worked as a federal drug prosecutor in Manhattan in the early 1990s. “Actually you could say that it’s a desperate effort by the government to catch up.”
But Mr. Richman said the program at least touched on an unresolved Fourth Amendment question: whether mere government possession of huge amounts of private data, rather than its actual use, may trespass on the amendment’s requirement that searches be “reasonable.” Even though the data resides with AT&T, the deep interest and involvement of the government in its storage may raise constitutional issues, he said.
Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the 27-slide PowerPoint presentation, evidently updated this year to train AT&T employees for the program, “certainly raises profound privacy concerns.”
“I’d speculate that one reason for the secrecy of the program is that it would be very hard to justify it to the public or the courts,” he said.
Mr. Jaffer said that while the database remained in AT&T’s possession, “the integration of government agents into the process means there are serious Fourth Amendment concerns.”
Mr. Hendricks filed the public records requests while assisting other activists who have filed a federal lawsuit saying that a civilian intelligence analyst at an Army base near Tacoma infiltrated and spied on antiwar groups. (Federal officials confirmed that the slides are authentic.)
Mark A. Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T, declined to answer more than a dozen detailed questions, including ones about what percentage of phone calls made in the United States were covered by Hemisphere, the size of the Hemisphere database, whether the AT&T employees working on Hemisphere had security clearances and whether the company has conducted any legal review of the program
“While we cannot comment on any particular matter, we, like all other companies, must respond to valid subpoenas issued by law enforcement,” Mr. Siegel wrote in an e-mail.
Representatives from Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile all declined to comment on Sunday in response to questions about whether their companies were aware of Hemisphere or participated in that program or similar ones. A federal law enforcement official said that the Hemisphere Project was “singular” and that he knew of no comparable program involving other phone companies.
The PowerPoint slides outline several “success stories (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/09/02/us/hemisphere-project.html#p19)” highlighting the program’s achievements and showing that it is used in investigating a range of crimes, not just drug violations. The slides emphasize the program’s value in tracing suspects who use replacement phones, sometimes called “burner” phones, who switch phone numbers or who are otherwise difficult to locate or identify.
In March 2013, for instance, Hemisphere found the new phone number and location of a man who impersonated a general at a San Diego Navy base and then ran over a Navy intelligence agent. A month earlier the program helped catch a South Carolina woman who had made a series of bomb threats.
And in Seattle in 2011, the document says, Hemisphere tracked drug dealers who were rotating prepaid phones, leading to the seizure of 136 kilos of cocaine and $2.2 million.

Peter Lemkin
10-08-2013, 06:31 AM
AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to Lavabit, the first technology firm to take the decision to shut down rather than disclose information to the federal government. In August, Lavabit owner Ladar Levison shut down his company after refusing to comply with a government effort to tap his customers’ information. Levison has now confirmed the FBI was targeting NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who used Lavabit’s services. But, he says, instead of just targeting Snowden, the government effectively wanted access to the accounts of 400,000 other Lavabit customers, forcing his decision to close. He now says that since first going public he’s been summoned before a grand jury, fined $10,000 for handing over encryption keys on paper instead of digitally, and threatened with arrest for speaking out. The Justice Department began targeting Lavabit the day after Snowden revealed himself as the source of the NSA leaks.
To talk about the case, we are joined by Ladar Levison, founder, owner and operator of the email provider Lavabit. In Washington, D.C., we’re joined by his lawyer, Jesse Binnall.
Welcome, both, to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you back, Ladar. Explain to us what happened.
LADAR LEVISON: Yeah, well, I think it’s important, just so you don’t get me in trouble, Amy, I still can’t confirm who the subject of the investigation was. That’s the one piece of information they’ve kept redacted. But—
AMY GOODMAN: You mean you can’t confirm it was Edward Snowden.
LADAR LEVISON: I can’t confirm that, no. But what I can say is that what they wanted was the ability to basically listen to every piece of information coming in and out of my network. And, effectively, what they needed were my SSL private keys. For those at home that don’t know what SSL is, it’s the little lock icon in your web browser. SSL is the technology that effectively secures all communication on the Internet, between websites, between mail servers. It secures instant messages. And it represents the identity of a business online. And they effectively wanted that from me, a very closely guarded secret, something I’ve compared to the secret formula for Coca-Cola, so that they could masquerade as me or as my business on the Internet and intercept all of the communications coming in.
AMY GOODMAN: How did they come to you?
LADAR LEVISON: They knocked on my door. They left a business card on my door sometime in May, and then we ended up linking up via email and setting up an appointment. And they came by my office, and we sat down, and I spent a couple hours explaining to them the nature of my system and the nature of my business. Now, it’s probably important to mention that, at least in May, they still didn’t know—at least the agents that approached me—who the target of the investigation was.
But I had pretty much have forgotten about it, until they came back at the end of June with their pen/trap and trace order, which is a law that’s been on the books for 40 years that allows federal law enforcement to basically put a listening device on a telephone or a network to collect meta-information. It’s just that in this case, the meta-information that they wanted was encrypted. So they wanted to peel back the encryption on everyone’s information as they were connecting to my server, just so that they could listen to this one user. But yet, at the same time, they wouldn’t provide any kind of transparency back to me to assure me that they were only collecting information on one user. And I had a real problem with that. Given the sensitivity of the information that they were asking for, and given how it would harm my reputation if I let—if they ended up violating the court order, I just didn’t feel it was appropriate to give them the access that they wanted. So I recruited Jesse, who we’ll hear from in a minute, and he’s been helping me fight that request ever since.
AMY GOODMAN: When the federal judge unsealed the documents in the case, allowing you to speak more candidly—let me ask Jesse Binnall this question—why did the judge do that?
JESSE BINNALL: Well, actually, the order unsealing the case is still at least partially under seal, but what we can say is that we had made a motion—actually, two motions—one Ladar made himself before I was even involved in the case—to unseal this case and to get rid of the nondisclosure obligations on Ladar over a month ago. And now that there’s an appeal pending in the Fourth Circuit, the court has finally lifted the majority of the privacy and the sealed nature of the case, and so we can finally talk about the record of everything that Ladar did go through now.
AMY GOODMAN: And so, what is happening right now, Jesse Binnall? Where does this case stand?
JESSE BINNALL: Well, right now we actually still have some legal issues pending at various stages of the process, but the majority of what’s going on right now is there’s an appeal that has been noted in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and there’s a brief that will be filed by Ladar’s legal team here within the next few days outlining our position on why the actions taken by the government are both unconstitutional and violate statute.
AMY GOODMAN: What exactly is at stake, Jesse Binnall?
JESSE BINNALL: What’s at stake is the privacy issues of all Americans when they deal with communications by methods like email, when there’s a third party involved, like Ladar’s is a third party that facilitates people’s communications, and whether the Fourth Amendment protects those communications.
LADAR LEVISON: Amy—
JESSE BINNALL: The Fourth Amendment was—
LADAR LEVISON: I was just going to say, Jesse, I think what’s important to highlight here is that what’s at stake is trust, trust on the Internet.
JESSE BINNALL: Absolutely, yes.
LADAR LEVISON: Can you trust—when you’re connected to PayPal, can you trust your browser to actually be communicating with PayPal or your bank, or is somebody in the middle? And these private keys that they were demanding are the technological mechanism for guaranteeing that trust. And by removing our ability to protect them, they’re effectively violating that—forcing us to violate that trust.
AMY GOODMAN: I asked you when you came on the show before (http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/13/former_internet_provider_gagged_by_national), Ladar, if you had received a national security letter, and you said you couldn’t say. National security letter, thousands of Americans have received, and they face up to five years in prison if they even reveal that information to someone close to them, that demands they give out information. Can you say now? An NSL?
LADAR LEVISON: There’s more than one issue at play here. I think that it’s important to highlight that there are still things that I can’t talk about, but that the most important thing, at least in my opinion, that I really wanted to talk about was this demand for the SSL key, and that has been unsealed. I decided very early on in this battle that I could live with turning over the keys if I could also tell people what was going on. How do you fight a law you can’t tell anybody that it exists? How do you go to Congress without being able to relate what your story is and how their laws affected you? That’s effectively how a democracy works, and they were handicapping it by restraining my speech.
AMY GOODMAN: What has your company done differently, what have you done differently—you own the company—than other companies to protect the security of your users?
LADAR LEVISON: Well, just because of my background in information security, I took a very serious approach when I designed and architected the system to effectively minimize its number of vulnerabilities. You know, I’ve spent a lot of time working with information technology in the financial services sector, so I was using the same types of protocols and procedures that a lot of banks use to protect information. And as a result, the information that they wanted to collect was not being passed around in unencrypted form. So there was no place for them to intercept it. And that was one of the big differentiators between, for example, my service and a lot of other services that they may or may not have approached. My system was effectively too secure to be tapped any other way.
AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you about another issue. The National Security Agency, the NSA, has made repeated attempts to develop a tax against people using Tor, a—that’s T-O-R—a popular tool designed to protect online anonymity despite the fact the software is primarily funded and promoted by the U.S. government itself. That, I’m reading, from a recent Guardian piece. Ladar?
LADAR LEVISON: Mm-hmm, no, that’s absolutely correct. Tor was sponsored originally by the U.S. government to allow people in countries like China, that were firewalled off from the rest of the world, to access the Internet freely. And it’s actually designed to resist attempts by governments to uncover the identity of whoever is using the network. And to my knowledge, the network itself has actually been able to resist any attempts by the U.S. government to, you know, uncover the identity of users. But what they—what the government has been doing is basically following a practice of taking over websites on the Tor network and then using them, the hijacked websites, to install malware on visitors’ computers, and then using that malware to submit the actual IP or location of a person back to a server in Virginia, where the FBI is located. I don’t necessarily have a real philosophical problem with them taking down websites that, you know, for example, promote child pornography, or otherwise facilitate the trade of illegal goods and services, but I do still have a philosophical problem with their practice of remotely loading malware onto people’s computers without any kind of restriction, restraint or oversight.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you face imprisonment?
LADAR LEVISON: If I say little bit too much, I think I still could. I think one of the big reasons I’m not in prison now is all of the media attention.
AMY GOODMAN: What are your plans now? Are you going to restart Lavabit? Do you feel you have to go overseas to do this?
LADAR LEVISON: I feel if I did go overseas, I could run the service. But I’m not ready to give up on America yet. I think I have effectively come to the decision that I’m going to wait and see how the court case plays out. If Jesse and myself end up winning, I’ll be able to reopen Lavabit here in the U.S. If I lose, I will probably end up turning over the service to somebody abroad and let them run it, so that I can stay here in America, and I’ll move onto something else.
AMY GOODMAN: You were willing to hand over if it was just one person. Let’s say it was Edward Snowden.
LADAR LEVISON: Mm-hmm.
AMY GOODMAN: What is the distinction you make?
LADAR LEVISON: The distinction is access. What they wanted was unrestricted, unaudited access to everyone’s communications. And that was something I was uncomfortable with. And if the summer of Snowden has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t trust our own government with access to information they shouldn’t have access to.
AMY GOODMAN: What are you doing now to protect yourself? We just have 20 seconds.
LADAR LEVISON: Talking to you, trying to raise money through Lavabit.com (http://lavabit.com) and rally.org (https://rally.org) to help fight the case, and speaking out and hoping that somebody who has the ability to make a difference hears me.
AMY GOODMAN: Have other email providers come to you to—are others going to be speaking out?
LADAR LEVISON: I don’t know. I hope so. I think the big ones are doing everything they can, but they face a number of restrictions on their speech that really prevent them from saying what’s really going on, just like I faced up until recently.

Peter Lemkin
10-08-2013, 03:40 PM
The latest step in the evolution of America’s Police State

“If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.”
So say many Americans. And many Germans as well.
But one German, Ilija Trojanow, would disagree. He has lent his name to published documents denouncing the National Security Agency (NSA), and was one of several prominent German authors who signed a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel urging her to take a firm stance against the mass online surveillance conducted by the NSA. Trojanow and the other authors had nothing to hide, which is why the letter was published for the public to read. What happened after that, however, was that Trojanow was refused permission to board a flight from Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, to Miami on Monday, September 30. Without any explanation.
Trojanow, who was on his way to speak at a literary conference in Denver, told the Spiegel magazine online website that the denial of entry might be linked to his criticism of the NSA. Germany’s Foreign Ministry says it has contacted US authorities “to resolve this issue”. 10 (http://williamblum.org/aer/read/121#fn-10-a)
In an article published in a German newspaper, Trojanow voiced his frustration with the incident: “It is more than ironic if an author who raises his voice against the dangers of surveillance and the secret state within a state for years, will be denied entry into the ‘land of the brave and the free’.” 11 (http://williamblum.org/aer/read/121#fn-11-a)
Further irony can be found in the title of a book by Trojanow: “Attack on freedom. Obsession with security, the surveillance state and the dismantling of civil rights.”
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., who oversees the NSA and other intelligence agencies, said recently that the intelligence community “is only interested in communication related to valid foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes.” 12 (http://williamblum.org/aer/read/121#fn-12-a)
It’s difficult in the extreme to see how this criterion would apply in any way to Ilija Trojanow.
The story is a poignant caveat on how fragile is Americans’ freedom to criticize their Security State. If a foreigner can be barred from boarding a flight merely for peaceful, intellectual criticism of America’s Big Brother (nay, Giant Brother), who amongst us does not need to pay careful attention to anything they say or write.
Very few Americans, however, will even be aware of this story. A thorough search of the Lexis-Nexis media database revealed a single mention in an American daily newspaper (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch), out of 1400 daily papers in the US. No mention on any broadcast media. A single one-time mention in a news agency (Associated Press), and one mention in a foreign English-language newspaper (New Zealand Herald).

David Guyatt
10-09-2013, 08:10 AM
This is a courageous man. And he's nailed the principal concern too:


LADAR LEVISON: There’s more than one issue at play here. I think that it’s important to highlight that there are still things that I can’t talk about, but that the most important thing, at least in my opinion, that I really wanted to talk about was this demand for the SSL key, and that has been unsealed. I decided very early on in this battle that I could live with turning over the keys if I could also tell people what was going on. How do you fight a law you can’t tell anybody that it exists? How do you go to Congress without being able to relate what your story is and how their laws affected you? That’s effectively how a democracy works, and they were handicapping it by restraining my speech.

Magda Hassan
10-16-2013, 08:18 AM
Purely coincidental I'm sure...

Former Labour minister accuses spies of ignoring MPs over surveillance

Nick Brown says there is 'uncanny' similarity between GCHQ programmes exposed by Edward Snowden and bill's proposals




Rowena Mason (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/rowena-mason), political correspondent
The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian), Wednesday 16 October 2013

Former minister Nick Brown says mass surveillance appears to be happening 'with or without parliament's consent'. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/AFP/Getty Images

A former Labour cabinet minister has warned that GCHQ (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/gchq) and Britain's other intelligence agencies appear to be undertaking mass surveillance (http://www.theguardian.com/world/surveillance)without parliament's consent because the coalition failed to get the so-called "snoopers' charter" passed into law after Liberal Democrat opposition.
Nick Brown, a former chief whip who sat on the parliamentary committee scrutinising the draft communications data bill, said there was an "uncanny" similarity between the GCHQ surveillance programmes exposed by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden (http://www.theguardian.com/world/edward-snowden) and proposals in the first part of the bill.
The communications data bill – dubbed the "snoopers' charter" by critics – would have given GCHQ, MI5 (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/mi5) and MI6 (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/mi6) much greater powers to gather and save information about people's internet (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/internet) activities but it was shelved in the spring amid Lib Dem fears that it intruded too much into privacy (http://www.theguardian.com/world/privacy).
Brown, a Labour MP, said that it "looks very much like this is what is happening anyway, with or without parliament's consent" under GCHQ's secret Tempora programme, which was revealed by the Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/media/theguardian) in July in reports based on files leaked by Snowden. Tempora allows GCHQ to harvest, store and analyse millions of phone calls, emails and search engine queries by tapping the transatlantic cables that carry internet traffic.
Brown's remarks closely echo those of Lord Blencathra, the Conservative chairman of the committee and a former Home Office minister, who on Monday said GCHQ may be operating "outside the law or on the very edge of the law" because of Tempora.
But in parliament, Theresa May (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/theresamay), the home secretary, told the home affairs select committee there was nothing in the Snowden files that changed the case for new laws giving the security services more powers to monitor the internet. She also described the Guardian's publication of the material as "damaging to the public interest" and repeatedly rejected the need for a debate on oversight of the intelligence agencies.
Afterwards, it emerged that Julian Smith, a Conservative MP, had written to the Metropolitan police asking the force to investigate whether the Guardian has broken the law by communicating intelligence information obtained from Snowden. The MP wrote to Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to ask if offences had been committed under Section 58A of the Terrorism Act 2000 or the Official Secrets Act.
A Guardian spokesman said: "The high public interest in the stories we have responsibly published is evidenced by the debates, presidential review and proposed legislative reforms in the US Congress, throughout Europe and in Westminster. We're surprised that, once again, it is being proposed that terror legislation should be used against journalists."
Brown, an ally of the former prime minister Gordon Brown, also called for "grown-up cross-party discussions" to look at how to protect the privacy of individual citizens as the security services seek to expand their ability to monitor the internet.
"The similarity between part 1 of the proposed data communications bill and the events Mr Snowden is describing as already taking place is uncanny," Brown said. "It covers the same set of circumstances. The bill was trying to be permissive in that all material could be saved for a year. It now looks very much like this is what is happening anyway, with or without parliament's consent.
"I agree with Lord Blencathra's account of the evidence. I was sufficiently concerned not to accept part 1 of the [draft communications data] bill."
On Tuesday night, two other Liberal Democrat members of the joint committee also questioned why the Home Office did not reveal the extent of GCHQ's spying capabilities during the committee's inquiry, which concluded the bill carried a risk of "trampling on the privacy of citizens".
Lord Strasburger, a businessman, said nothing was mentioned aboutTempora during two private "no holds barred sessions with the Home Office". "You have to wonder why, even in the secret sessions, none of the witnesses mentioned Project Tempora … It was highly relevant to our work and I believe that deliberate failure to reveal it amounts to misleading parliament," he said.
Last night, Jill Abramson, executive editor of the New York Times, mounted a defence of the ability of journalists at her own paper and at the Guardian to publish public interest stories based on the files leaked by Snowden.
"I think … that those articles are very much in the public interest and inform the public," she said on BBC's Newsnight.
On claims by MI5 director general Andrew Parker that newspaper reports were causing "enormous damage" to the fight against terrorism, Abramson said that there had been no proof of actual harm to security.
"Those of us on the committee were never told by any Home Office officials about the fact the data was already available," Huppert said. "In our report, we accused them of being misleading. It seems they were far more misleading than we could have realised at the time. Presumably, the home secretary knew that this was information they already had available, in which case she was not fully open with the committee. If she didn't know, that raises real questions about her role."
He said the government must reveal which ministers knew about Tempora after Chris Huhne, the former Lib Dem energy secretary, said he was not aware of the programme during his time in government.

"We know the cabinet was not briefed," Huppert said. "We have no idea who was. Was it just the prime minister? Was it a handful of others? Who made the decision not to tell other people? This is incredibly alarming. I hope we will be able to see proper debate and parliamentary scrutiny of this issue. We know that the security services play a very important role but they should operate with public consent."




"We know the cabinet was not briefed," Huppert said. "We have no idea who was. Was it just the prime minister? Was it a handful of others? Who made the decision not to tell other people? This is incredibly alarming. I hope we will be able to see proper debate and parliamentary scrutiny of this issue. We know that the security services play a very important role but they should operate with public consent."

Carsten Wiethoff
10-17-2013, 11:55 AM
An interesting article about the change in methods the NSA employs:
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/10/15/the_nsa_s_new_codebreakers?page=full



Interviews with current and former intelligence officials conducted over the past two months have revealed that since 9/11, the NSA's computer scientists, electronic engineers, software programmers, and collection specialists have been remarkably inventive in finding new and innovative ways to circumvent the protections supposedly offered by encryption systems by compromising them through clandestine means. Among these clandestine means are CIA and FBI "black-bag jobs (https://deeppoliticsforum.com/articles/2013/07/16/the_cias_new_black_bag_is_digital_nsa_cooperation) ," as well as secret efforts by the U.S. intelligence community to interdict the shipment of advanced encryption technology to America's enemies around the world and insert "back doors" into commercially available computer, communications, and encryption technologies that allow the NSA to covertly access these systems without the users knowing it.
But the most sensitive of these clandestine techniques, and by far the most productive to date, is to covertly hack into targeted computers and copy the documents and message traffic stored on these machines before they are encrypted, a process known within the NSA as "Endpoint" operations. Responsibility for conducting these Endpoint operations rests with the computer hackers of the NSA's cyberespionage unit, the Office of Tailored Access Operations (https://deeppoliticsforum.com/articles/2013/06/10/inside_the_nsa_s_ultra_secret_china_hacking_group) (TAO).
According to sources familiar with the organization's operations, TAO has been enormously successful over the past 12 years in covertly inserting highly sophisticated spyware into the hard drives of over 80,000 computer systems around the world, although this number could be much higher. And according to the sources, these implants are designed in such a way that they cannot be detected by currently available commercial computer security software. It has been suggested to me by a reliable source that "this is not an accident," with the insinuation being that many of the biggest commercially available computer security software systems made in the United States and overseas have been compromised by the NSA, either covertly or with the knowledge and consent of the companies that manufacture these systems.

David Guyatt
10-17-2013, 01:08 PM
An interesting article about the change in methods the NSA employs:
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/10/15/the_nsa_s_new_codebreakers?page=full



Interviews with current and former intelligence officials conducted over the past two months have revealed that since 9/11, the NSA's computer scientists, electronic engineers, software programmers, and collection specialists have been remarkably inventive in finding new and innovative ways to circumvent the protections supposedly offered by encryption systems by compromising them through clandestine means. Among these clandestine means are CIA and FBI "black-bag jobs (https://deeppoliticsforum.com/articles/2013/07/16/the_cias_new_black_bag_is_digital_nsa_cooperation) ," as well as secret efforts by the U.S. intelligence community to interdict the shipment of advanced encryption technology to America's enemies around the world and insert "back doors" into commercially available computer, communications, and encryption technologies that allow the NSA to covertly access these systems without the users knowing it.
But the most sensitive of these clandestine techniques, and by far the most productive to date, is to covertly hack into targeted computers and copy the documents and message traffic stored on these machines before they are encrypted, a process known within the NSA as "Endpoint" operations. Responsibility for conducting these Endpoint operations rests with the computer hackers of the NSA's cyberespionage unit, the Office of Tailored Access Operations (https://deeppoliticsforum.com/articles/2013/06/10/inside_the_nsa_s_ultra_secret_china_hacking_group) (TAO).
According to sources familiar with the organization's operations, TAO has been enormously successful over the past 12 years in covertly inserting highly sophisticated spyware into the hard drives of over 80,000 computer systems around the world, although this number could be much higher. And according to the sources, these implants are designed in such a way that they cannot be detected by currently available commercial computer security software. It has been suggested to me by a reliable source that "this is not an accident," with the insinuation being that many of the biggest commercially available computer security software systems made in the United States and overseas have been compromised by the NSA, either covertly or with the knowledge and consent of the companies that manufacture these systems.


The continuation of PROMIS - albeit more advanced and using "insertions" more often than placement...

Magda Hassan
10-19-2013, 03:30 AM
Dutch Telcos Used Customer Metadata, Retained To Fight Terrorism, For Everyday Marketing Purposesfrom the I'm-shocked,-shocked deptOne of the ironies of European outrage over the global surveillance conducted by the NSA and GCHQ is that in the EU, communications metadata must be kept by law anyway, although not many people there realize it. That's a consequence of the Data Retention Directive (http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/police-cooperation/data-retention/index_en.htm), passed in 2006, which:

requires operators to retain certain categories of data (for identifying users and details of phone calls made and emails sent, excluding the content of those communications) for a period between six months and two years and to make them available, on request, to law enforcement authorities for the purposes of investigating, detecting and prosecuting serious crime and terrorism.Notice the standard invocation of terrorism and serious crime as a justification for this kind of intrusive data gathering -- the implication being that such highly-personal information would only ever be used for the most heinous of crimes. In particular, it goes without saying that there is no question of it being accessed for anything more trivial (http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/it-business/3473656/dutch-telecoms-firms-abused-data-retention-law-for-marketing-purposes/) -- like this, say:
Some Dutch telecommunications and Internet providers have exploited European Union laws mandating the retention of communications data to fight crime, using the retained data for unauthorised marketing purposes.Of course, the news will come as no surprise to the many people who warned that exactly this kind of thing would happen if such stores of high-value data were created. But it does at least act as a useful reminder that whatever the protestations that privacy-destroying databases will only ever be used for the most serious crimes, there is always the risk of function creep or -- as in the Netherlands -- outright abuse. The only effective way to stop it is not to retain such personal information in the first place.
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131017/08120824913/dutch-telecoms-companies-used-highly-personal-user-data-retained-to-fight-terrorism-serious-crimes-everyday-marketing-purposes.shtml

Magda Hassan
10-25-2013, 03:49 AM
Meet the Private Companies Helping Cops Spy on Protesters

Promotional materials for private spy companies show that mass surveillance technology is being sold to police departments as a way to monitor dissent





A number of private spying companies offer services to help police keep tabs on individual protesters' tweets and Facebook posts.

By JOHN KNEFEL (http://www.rollingstone.com/contributor/john-knefel)
October 24, 2013 3:16 PM ET

The documents leaked to media outlets by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden this year have brought national intelligence gathering and surveillance operations under a level of scrutiny not seen in decades. Often left out of this conversation, though, is the massive private surveillance industry that provides services to law enforcement, defense agencies and corporations in the U.S. and abroad – a sprawling constellation of companies and municipalities. "It's a circle where everyone is benefitting," says Eric King, lead researcher of watchdog group Privacy International. "Everyone gets more powerful, and richer."
Promotional materials for numerous private spy companies boast of how law enforcement organizations can use their products to monitor people at protests or other large crowds – including by keeping tabs on individual people's social media presence. Kenneth Lipp, a journalist who attended the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia from October 19th to 23rd, tells[I] Rolling Stone that monitoring Twitter and Facebook was a main theme of the week. "Social media was the buzzword," says Lipp. He says much of the discussion seemed to be aimed at designing policies that wouldn't trigger potentially limiting court cases: "They want to avoid a warrant standard."
See What Sen. Ron Wyden Had to Say About NSA Surveillance in Our Q&A (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/q-a-senator-ron-wyden-on-nsa-surveillance-and-government-transparency-20130815)
While the specifics of which police departments utilize what surveillance technologies is often unclear, there is evidence to suggest that use of mass surveillance against individuals not under direct investigation is common. "The default is mass surveillance, the same as NSA's 'collect it all' mindset," says King. "There's not a single company that if you installed their product, would comply with what anyone without a security clearance would think is appropriate, lawful use."
The YouTube page for a company called NICE, for instance, features a highly produced video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0pUx8WvCqM) showing how its products can be used in the event of a protest. "The NICE video analytic suite alerts on an unusually high occupancy level in a city center," a narrator says as the camera zooms in on people chanting and holding signs that read "clean air" and "stop it now." The video then shows authorities redirecting traffic to avoid a bottleneck, and promises that all audio and video from the event will be captured and processed almost immediately. "The entire event is then reconstructed on a chronological timeline, based on all multimedia sources," says the narrator. According to an interview with the head of NICE's security division (http://www.israelgateway.com/content/reviews/part%201.pdf) published in [I]Israel Gateway, NICE systems are used by New Jersey Transit and at the Statue of Liberty, though it isn't clear if they are the same products shown in the video.
"Thousands of customers worldwide use NICE Security solutions to keep people safe and protect property," says Sara Preto, a spokesperson for NICE. She declined to confirm any specific clients, but added: "We work with law enforcement and other government agencies within the framework of all relevant and national laws."
Another program, made by Bright Planet and called BlueJay (http://www.brightplanet.com/bluejay/), is billed in a brochure to law enforcement as a "Twitter crime scanner." BlueJay allows cops to covertly monitor accounts and hashtags; three that Bright Planet touts in promotional material are #gunfire, #meth, and #protest. In another promotional document, the company says BlueJay can "monitor large public events, social unrest, gang communications, and criminally predicated individuals," as well as "track department mentions." Bright Planet did not respond to a request for comment.
A third company, 3i:Mind (http://www.3i-mind.com/om_use_scenarios), lays out a scenario for a potential law enforcement client that begins: "Perhaps you are tracking an upcoming political rally." It continues:
Once you set up the OpenMIND™ system to profile and monitor the rally, it will search the web for the event on web pages, social networking sites, blogs, forums and so forth, looking for information about the nature of the rally (e.g. peaceful, violent, participant demographics), try to identify both online and physical world activist leaders and collect information about them, monitor the event in real-time and alert you on user-defined critical developments.

The scenario concludes: "Your insight is distributed to the local police force warning them that the political rally may turn violent and potentially thwarting the violence before it occurs." The 3i:Mind website gives no clues at to which governments or corporations use their products, and public information on the company is limited, though they have reportedly shown their product at various trade shows and police conferences (https://agtinternational.com/press/291). The company didn't respond to a request for comment.
Other companies are less upfront about how their products can be used to monitor social unrest. A product that will be familiar to anyone who attended an Occupy Wall Street protest in or around New York's Zuccotti Park is SkyWatch, by FLIR, pointed out to Rolling Stone by Lipp, the journalist who attended the police conference. SkyWatch is a mobile tower in the form of a two-person cab that can be raised two stories high to provide "an array of surveillance options," according to a promotional brochure (http://gs.flir.com/uploads/file/products/brochures/skywatch.pdf). Those options include cameras and radar, as well as "customizable" options. The brochure says SkyWatch is perfect for "fluid operations whether on the front lines or at a hometown event." As of this writing, the NYPD still has a SkyWatch deployed in a corner of Zuccotti Park, where Occupy activists were evicted by the police nearly two years ago.
These promotional materials, taken together, paint a picture not only of local police forces becoming increasingly militarized (http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/10/22/the-militarization-of-u-s-police-forces/), but also suggest departments are venturing into intelligence-gathering operations that may go well beyond traditional law enforcement mandates. "Two things make today's surveillance particularly dangerous: the flood of 'homeland security' dollars (in the hundreds of millions) to state and local police for the purchase of spying technologies, and the fact that spook technology is outpacing privacy law," says Kade Crockford, director of the Massachusetts ACLU's technology for liberty program and the writer of the PrivacySOS (http://privacysos.org/node/1185) blog, which covers these issues closely. "Flush with fancy new equipment, police turn to communities they have long spied on and infiltrated: low-income and communities of color, and dissident communities."
Many of the legal questions surrounding these kinds of police tactics remain unsettled, according to Faiza Patel, co-director of the Liberty and National Security program at New York University Law School's Brennan Center for Justice. Information that is publicly available, like tweets and Facebook posts, is generally not protected by the Fourth Amendment, though legal questions may arise if that information is aggregated on a large scale – especially if that collection is based on political, religious or ethnic grounds. "This information can be useful, but it can also be used in ways that violate the Constitution," says Patel. "The question is: what are [police departments] using it for?"
Rolling Stone contacted police departments for the cities of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. for comment on this story.
"The Philadelphia Police Department has their own cameras," says that force's spokesperson Jillian Russell. "The department does not have private surveillance companies monitor crime." She directed follow-up questions about software used to process big data to a deputy mayor's office, who didn't return a phone call asking for comment.
When asked if the LAPD uses programs to monitor protesters, a media relations email account sent an unsigned message that simply read: "We are not aware of this."
The other police departments did not respond to requests for comment.



Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/meet-the-private-companies-helping-cops-spy-on-protesters-20131024#ixzz2ihbeZDW6

David Guyatt
10-25-2013, 07:58 AM
In another promotional document, the company says BlueJay can "monitor large public events, social unrest, gang communications, and criminally predicated individuals," as well as "track department mentions." (my bolding)

I wonder how you define a "criminally predicated individual" prior to a crime taking place? Is it based on their criminal record or other more surreal methods?

Magda Hassan
10-25-2013, 08:16 AM
In another promotional document, the company says BlueJay can "monitor large public events, social unrest, gang communications, and criminally predicated individuals," as well as "track department mentions." (my bolding)

I wonder how you define a "criminally predicated individual" prior to a crime taking place? Is it based on their criminal record or other more surreal methods?
It really quite simple. It is any one who is awake and not yet brain dead.

Magda Hassan
11-07-2013, 11:55 AM
What Yahoo and Google did not think the NSA could seeLast week The Washington Post reported that the National Security Agency is tapping into Google and Yahoo internal networks (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-infiltrates-links-to-yahoo-google-data-centers-worldwide-snowden-documents-say/2013/10/30/e51d661e-4166-11e3-8b74-d89d714ca4dd_story.html) by intercepting communications from the private links between their data centers. The NSA and the office of Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper criticized the story.
Today The Post answers some of the questions they raised in an explanatory story (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/11/04/how-we-know-the-nsa-had-access-to-internal-google-and-yahoo-cloud-data/) and offers additional evidence drawn from documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The documents do not tell the whole story, because our report depended in part on interviews with public and private sector sources. But these slides demonstrate that the NSA, working with the British GCHQ, intercepted information it could only have found inside the Google and Yahoo "clouds," or private networks.

http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/world/what-yahoo-and-google-did-not-think-the-nsa-could-see/555/
» How we know the NSA had access to internal Google and Yahoo cloud data (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/11/04/how-we-know-the-nsa-had-access-to-internal-google-and-yahoo-cloud-data/)
The detailsClick to see the related section of the document.
What are Special Source Operations?The SSO group, the insignia of which includes an eagle grasping fiber optic cables that span the globe, collects intelligence with the help of U.S. and foreign companies. Documents suggest it accounts for the largest fraction of all NSA collection.
(http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/world/what-yahoo-and-google-did-not-think-the-nsa-could-see/555/#document/p1/a130006)Yahoo data formatsWhen NSA systems ingest a stream of data, they send it through many layers of filtering and sorting. The TUDDS tool applies "selectors" (in effect, "keep this") and "defeats" ("discard this"). This slide shows defeat signatures for information that the NSA does not want. Any data matching a signature are blocked "at router," the collection point. Further selection is done at later stages of processing. This slide is significant because the signatures specified refer to proprietary Yahoo data formats that do not generally travel on the public Internet.
(http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/world/what-yahoo-and-google-did-not-think-the-nsa-could-see/555/#document/p2/a130010)What is NSA blocking with these "defeats"?Each rule is meant to stop a specific kind of Google traffic. [adwords] is Google's web advertising network. is a proprietary Google database system that is 'not distributed outside Google'. [teragoogle] is a proprietary process used by Google to index Web sites in order to deliver search results quickly.
(http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/world/what-yahoo-and-google-did-not-think-the-nsa-could-see/555/#document/p4/a130013)Inside Google's networkThis is a 'packet capture,' or a stream of unprocessed data passing through NSA collection systems. This slide shows one of Google's warehouse-sized data centers confirming, or authenticating, that it is talking securely to another, probably thousands of miles away. Engineers familiar with Google's systems said the NSA should not see this traffic from anywhere outside Google's internal network. Gaia is the authentication system used inside Google's internal network. Marina is a principal NSA database for Internet metadata.
(http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/world/what-yahoo-and-google-did-not-think-the-nsa-could-see/555/#document/p5/a130014)Google's internal trafficThis pie chart shows different types of internal Google network traffic, by volume. Some of the data types, including "Google Authorization" and "gaia//permission_whitelist," are available only inside Google's private cloud.
(http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/world/what-yahoo-and-google-did-not-think-the-nsa-could-see/555/#document/p6/a130015)


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GRAPHIC: Barton Gellman and Matt DeLong - The Washington Post.

Magda Hassan
11-07-2013, 11:57 AM
You will need to go to the link to see the other documents.

Magda Hassan
11-10-2013, 10:16 PM
The U.S. Secret State and the Internet: “Dirty Secrets” and “Crypto Wars” from “Clipper Chip” to PRISMBy Tom Burghardt (http://www.globalresearch.ca/author/tom-burghardt)
Global Research, November 10, 2013
Antifascist Calling and Global Research (http://antifascist-calling.blogspot.ca/2013/11/the-dark-road-from-clipper-chip-to.html)


Region: USA (http://www.globalresearch.ca/region/usa)
Theme: Intelligence (http://www.globalresearch.ca/theme/intelligence), Police State & Civil Rights (http://www.globalresearch.ca/theme/police-state-civil-rights)




http://www.globalresearch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/orwell.jpeg
Back in the 1990s, security researchers and privacy watchdogs were alarmed by government demands that hardware and software firms build “backdoors” into their products, the millions of personal computers and cell phones propelling communication flows along the now-quaint “information superhighway.”
Never mind that the same factory-installed kit that allowed secret state agencies to troll through private communications also served as a discrete portal for criminal gangs to loot your bank account or steal your identity.
https://lh3.ggpht.com/-aB-AkUkGv0E/UmQXoAtoT9I/AAAAAAAAAgA/FN7BJf6vVck/s320/clipperchips.jpg (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-aB-AkUkGv0E/UmQXoAtoT9I/AAAAAAAAAgA/FN7BJf6vVck/s1600/clipperchips.jpg)To make matters worse, instead of the accountability promised the American people by Congress in the wake of the Watergate scandal, successive US administrations have worked assiduously to erect an impenetrable secrecy regime backstopped by secret laws overseen by secret courts which operate on the basis of secret administrative subpoenas, latter daylettres de cachet.
But now that all their dirty secrets are popping out of Edward Snowden’s “bottomless briefcase,” we also know the “Crypto Wars” of the 1990s never ended.
Documents published by The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/05/nsa-gchq-encryption-codes-security) and The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/06/us/nsa-foils-much-internet-encryption.html) revealed that the National Security Agency “actively engages the US and IT industries” and has “broadly compromised the guarantees that internet companies have given consumers to reassure them that their communications, online banking and medical records would be indecipherable to criminals or governments.”

“Those methods include covert measures to ensure NSA control over setting of international encryption standards,” The Guardian disclosed, along with “the use of supercomputers to break encryption with ‘brute force’, and–the most closely guarded secret of all–collaboration with technology companies and internet service providers themselves.”
According to The New York Times, NSA “had found ways inside some of the encryption chips that scramble information for businesses and governments, either by working with chipmakers to insert back doors or by surreptitiously exploiting existing security flaws, according to the documents.”
In fact, “vulnerabilities” inserted “into commercial encryption systems” would be known to NSA alone. Everyone else, including commercial customers, are referred to in the documents as “adversaries.”
The cover name for this program is Project BULLRUN (http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/sep/05/nsa-project-bullrun-classification-guide). An agency classification guide asserts that “Project BULLRUN deals with NSA’s abilities to defeat the encryption used in specific network communication technologies. BULLRUN involves multiple sources, all of which are extremely sensitive. They include CNE [computer network exploitation], interdiction, industry relationships, collaboration with other IC entities, and advanced mathematical techniques.”
In furtherance of those goals, the agency created a “Commercial Solutions Center (NCSC) to leverage sensitive, cooperative relationships with industry partners” that will “further NSA/CSS capabilities against encryption used in network communications technologies,” and already “has some capabilities against the encryption used in TLS/SSL. HTTPS, SSH, VPNs, VoIP, WEBMAIL, and other network communications technologies.”
Time and again, beginning in the 1970s with the publication of perhaps the earliest NSA exposé byRamparts Magazine (https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://64.62.200.70/PERIODICAL/PDF/Ramparts-1972aug/35-57/), we learned that when agency schemes came to light, if they couldn’t convince they resorted to threats, bribery or the outright subversion of the standard setting process itself, which destroyed trust and rendered all our electronic interactions far less safe.
Tunneling underground, NSA, telcos and corporate tech giants worked hand-in-glove to sabotage what could have been a free and open system of global communications, creating instead the Frankenstein monster which AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein denounced as a “Big Brother machine.”
The Secret State and the Internet
Five years after British engineer Tim Berners-Lee, Belgian computer scientist Robert Cailliau and their team at CERN (http://home.web.cern.ch/about/birth-web) developed a system for assembling, and sharing, hypertext documents via the internet, which they dubbed the World Wide Web, in 1994 the Clinton administration announced (https://epic.org/crypto/clipper/white_house_statement_2_94.html) it would compel software and hardware developers to install what came to known as the “Clipper Chip” into their products.
The veritable explosion of networked communication systems spawned by the mass marketing of easy-to-use personal computers equipped with newly-invented internet browsers, set off a panic amongst political elites.
How to control these seemingly anarchic information flows operating outside “normal” channels?
In theory at least, those doing the communicating–academics, dissidents, journalists, economic rivals, even other spies, hackers or “terrorists” (a fungible term generally meaning outsider groups not on board with America’s imperial goals)–were the least amenable users of the new technology and would not look kindly on state efforts to corral them.
As new communication systems spread like wildfire, especially among the great unwashed mass of “little people,” so too came a stream of dire pronouncements that the internet was now a “critical national asset” which required close attention and guidance.
President Clinton’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection released a report (https://www.fas.org/sgp/library/pccip.pdf) that called for a vast increase in funding to protect US infrastructure along with one of the first of many “cyberwar” tropes that would come to dominate the media landscape.
“In the cyber dimension,” the report breathlessly averred, “there are no boundaries. Our infrastructures are exposed to new vulnerabilities–cyber vulnerabilities–and new threats–cyber threats. And perhaps most difficult of all, the defenses that served us so well in the past offer little protection from the cyber threat. Our infrastructures can now be struck directly by a variety of malicious tools.”
And when a commercial market for cheap, accessible encryption software was added to the mix, security mandarins at Ft. Meade and Cheltenham realized the genie would soon be out of the bottle.
After all they reasoned, NSA and GCHQ were the undisputed masters of military-grade cryptography who had cracked secret Soviet codes which helped “win” the Cold War. Were they to be out maneuvered by some geeks in a garage who did not share or were perhaps even hostile to the “post-communist” triumphalism which had decreed America was now the world’s “indispensable nation”?
Technological advances were leveling the playing field, creating new democratic space in the realm of knowledge creation accessible to everyone; a new mode for communicating which threatened to bypass entrenched power centers, especially in government and media circles accustomed to a monopoly over the Official Story.
US spies faced a dilemma. The same technology which created a new business model worth hundreds of billions of dollars for US tech corporations also offered the public and pesky political outliers across the political spectrum, the means to do the same.
How to stay ahead of the curve? Why not control the tempo of product development by crafting regulations, along with steep penalties for noncompliance, that all communications be accessible to our guardians, strictly for “law enforcement” purposes mind you, by including backdoors into commercially available encryption products.
Total Information Awareness 1.0
Who to turn to? Certainly such hush-hush work needed to be in safe hands.
The Clinton administration, in keeping with their goal to “reinvent government” by privatizing everything, turned to Mykotronx, Inc., a California-based company founded in 1983 by former NSA engineers, Robert E. Gottfried and Kikuo Ogawa, mining gold in the emerging information security market.
Indeed, one of the firm’s top players was Ralph O’Connell, was described in a 1993 document (http://cpsr.org/prevsite/cpsr/privacy/crypto/clipper/mykotronics_info.txt/)published by Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR (http://cpsr.org/)) as “the father of COMSEC” and the “Principle NSA Technical Contact” on Clipper and related cryptography projects.
A 1993 Business Wire release quoted the firm’s president, Leonard J. Baker, as saying that Clipper was “a good example of the transfer of military technology to the commercial and general government fields with handsome cost benefits. This technology should now pay big dividends to US taxpayers.”
It would certainly pay “big dividends” to Mykotronx’s owners.
Acquired by Rainbow Technologies in 1995, and eventually by Military-Industrial-Surveillance Complex powerhouse Raytheon (http://raytheon.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=2238) in 2012, at the time the Los Angeles Times (http://articles.latimes.com/1995-06-02/business/fi-8710_1_rainbow-technologies) reported that “Mykotronx had been privately held, and its owners will receive 1.82 million shares of Rainbow stock–making the deal worth $37.9 million.”
The Clipper chip was touted by the administration as a simple device that would protect the private communications of users while also allowing government agents to obtain the keys that unlocked those communications, an early manifestation of what has since become know as law enforcement’s alleged “going dark” problem.
Under color of a vague “legal authorization” that flew in the face of the 1987 Computer Security Act (CSA (https://epic.org/crypto/csa/)), which sought to limit the role of the National Security Agency in developing standards for civilian communications systems, the administration tried an end-run around the law through an export ban on Clipper-free encryption devices overseen by the Commerce Department (https://epic.org/crypto/clipper/fips_185_clipper_feb_94.html).
This wasn’t the first time that NSA was mired in controversy over the watering down of encryption standards. During the development of the Data Encryption Standard (DES) by IBM in the 1970s, the agency was accused of forcing developers to implement changes in the design of its basic cipher. There were strong suspicions these changes had weakened the algorithm to such a degree that one critical component, the S-box, had been altered and that a backdoor was inserted by NSA.
Early on, the agency grasped CSA’s significance and sought to limit damage to global surveillance and economic espionage programs such as ECHELON (http://www.duncancampbell.org/menu/surveillance/echelon/IC2001-Paper1.pdf), exposed by British and New Zealand investigative journalists Duncan Campbell (http://cryptome.org/jya/echelon-dc.htm) and Nicky Hager (http://cryptome.org/jya/echelon.htm).
Before the 1987 law was passed however, Clinton Brooks, a Special Assistant to NSA Director Lieutenant General William Odom, wrote a Top Secret Memorandum (https://epic.org/crypto/csa/brooks.gif) which stated: “In 1984 NSA engineered a National Security Decision Directive, NSDD-145, through the Reagan Administration that gave responsibility for the security of all US information systems to the Director of NSA, removing NBS [National Bureau of Standards] from this.”
Conceived as a follow-on to the Reagan administration’s infamous 1981 Executive Order 12333 (http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/codification/executive-order/12333.html), which trashed anemic congressional efforts to rein-in America’s out-of-control spy agencies, NSDD-145 handed power back to the National Security Agency and did so to the detriment of civilian communication networks.
Scarcely a decade after Senator Frank Church warned during post-Watergate hearings into government surveillance abuses, that NSA’s “capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter . . . there would be no place to hide,” the agency was at it with a vengeance.
“This [NSDD-145] also stated,” Brooks wrote, “that we would assist the private sector. This was viewed as Big Brother stepping in and generated an adverse reaction” in Congress that helped facilitate passage of the Act.
Engineered by future Iran-Contra felon, Admiral John Poindexter, President Reagan’s National Security Adviser who would later serve as President George W. Bush’s Director of DARPA’s Information Awareness Office, the Pentagon satrapy that brought us the Total Information Awareness (https://epic.org/privacy/profiling/tia/tiasystemdescription.pdf) program, NSDD-145 (https://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/nsdd145.htm) stated that the “Director, National Security Agency is designated the National Manager for Telecommunications and Automated Information Systems Security.”
NSA’s new mandate meant that the agency would “act as the government focal point for cryptography, telecommunications systems security, and automated information systems security.”
Additionally, NSA would “conduct, approve, or endorse research and development of techniques and equipment for telecommunications and automated information systems security for national security information.”
But it also authorized the agency to do more than that, granting it exclusive authority to “review and approve all standards, techniques, systems and equipments for telecommunications and automated information systems security.” As well, NSA was directed to “enter into agreements for the procurement of technical security material and other equipment, and their provision to government agencies, where appropriate, to private organizations, including government contractors, and foreign governments.”
In other words, NSA was the final arbiter when it came to setting standards for all government and private information systems; quite a coup for the agency responsible for standing-up Project MINARET, the Cold War-era program that spied on thousands of antiwar protesters, civil rights leaders, journalists and members of Congress, as recently declassified documents (http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB441/) published by the National Security Archive disclosed.
NSA Games the System
Although the Computer Security Act passed unanimously by voice vote in both Houses of Congress, NSA immediately set-out to undercut the law and did so by suborning the National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
The battle over the Clipper Chip would be the template for future incursions by the agency for the control, through covert infiltration, of regulatory bodies overseeing civilian communications.
According to the Clinton White House, Clipper “would provide Americans with secure telecommunications without compromising the ability of law enforcement agencies to carry out legally authorized wiretaps.”
Neither safe nor secure, Clipper instead would have handed government security agencies the means to monitor all communications while giving criminal networks a leg up to do the same.
In fact, as the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC (https://epic.org/)) discovered in documents (https://epic.org/crypto/clipper/foia/) unearthed through the Freedom of Information Act, the underlying algorithm deployed in Clipper, Skipjack, had been developed by NSA.
Cryptography expert Matt Blaze wrote a now famous 1994 paper on the subject before the algorithm was declassified, Protocol Failure in the Escrowed Encryption Standard (http://www.crypto.com/papers/eesproto.pdf): “The EES cipher algorithm, called ‘Skipjack’, is itself classified, and implementations of the cipher are available to the private sector only within tamper-resistant modules supplied by government-approved vendors. Software implementations of the cipher will not be possible. Although Skipjack, which was designed by the US National Security Agency (NSA), was reviewed by a small panel of civilian experts who were granted access to the algorithm, the cipher cannot be subjected to the degree of civilian scrutiny ordinarily given to new encryption systems.”
This was precisely as NSA and the Clinton administration intended.
A partially declassified 1993 NSA memo (https://epic.org/crypto/clipper/foia/outside_clipper_review.html) noted that “there will be vocal public doubts expressed about having a classified algorithm in the device we propose for the US law enforcement problem, the CLIPPER chip, we recommend the following to address this.” We don’t know what those agency recommendations were, however; more than 20 years after the memo was written they remain secret.
The memo continued: “If such people agree to this clearance and non disclosure process, we could go over the algorithm with them to let them develop confidence in its security, and we could also let them examine the detail design of the CLIPPER chip made for the US law enforcement problem to assure themselves that there were no trapdoors or other techniques built in. This would likely require crypto-mathematicians for the algorithm examination and microelectronics chip design engineers for the chip examination.”
But the extreme secrecy surrounding Skipjack’s proposed deployment in commercial products wasthe problem. Even if researchers learned that Clipper was indeed the government-mandated backdoor they feared, non-disclosure of these facts, backed-up by the threat of steep fines or imprisonment would hardly assure anyone of the integrity of this so-called review process.
“By far, the most controversial aspect of the EES system,” Blaze wrote, “is key escrow.”

“As part of the crypto-synchronization process,” Blaze noted, “EES devices generate and exchange a ‘Law Enforcement Access Field’ (LEAF). This field contains a copy of the current session key and is intended to enable a government eavesdropper to recover the cleartext.”
“The LEAF copy of the session key is encrypted with a device-unique key called the ‘unit key,’ assigned at the time the EES device is manufactured. Copies of the unit keys for all EES devices are to be held in ‘escrow’ jointly by two federal agencies that will be charged with releasing the keys to law enforcement under certain conditions.”
What those conditions were however, was far from clear. In fact, as we’ve since learned from Snowden’s cache of secret documents, even when the government seeks surveillance authorization from the FISA court, the court must rely on government assurances that dragnet spying is critical to the nation’s security. Such assurances, FISA court judge Reggie B. Walton noted, were systematically “misrepresented” by secret state agencies.
That’s rather rich considering that Walton presided over the farcical “trial” that upheld Bush administration demands to silence FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds (http://www.classifiedwoman.com/) under the state secrets privilege. Edmonds, a former contract linguist with the Bureau charged that top FBI officials had systematically covered-up wrongdoing at its language division and had obstructed agents’ attempts to roll-up terrorist networks before and after the 9/11 provocation, facts attested to by FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley in her 2002 Memo (http://www.apfn.org/apfn/WTC_whistleblower1.htm) to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.
In 2009, Walton wrote (http://www.dni.gov/files/documents/section/pub_March%202%202009%20Order%20from%20FISC.pdf) that “The minimization procedures proposed by the government in each successive application and approved and adopted as binding by the orders of the FISC have been so frequently and systemically violated that it can fairly be said that this critical element of the overall BR regime has never functioned effectively.”
“The Court,” Walton averred, “must have every confidence that the government is doing its utmost to ensure that those responsible for implementation fully comply with the Court’s orders. The Court no longer has such confidence.”
Predating those critical remarks, a heavily-redacted 1993 Memo (https://epic.org/crypto/clipper/foia/att3600_2_9_93.html) to then-Special Assistant to the President and future CIA chief, George Tenet, from FBI Director William Sessions noted that NSA “has developed a new encryption methodology and computer chip which affords encryption strength vastly superior to DES [Digital Encryption Standard], yet which allows for real time decryption by law enforcement, acting pursuant to legal process. It is referred to as ‘Clipper’.”
[Two redacted paragraphs] “if the devices are modified to include the ‘Clipper’ chip, they would be of great value to the Federal, state and local law enforcement community, especially in the area of counter narcotics, investigations, where there is a requirement to routinely communicate in a secure fashion.”
But even at the time Sessions’ memo was written, we now know that AT&T provided the Drug Enforcement Administration “routine access” to “an enormous AT&T database that contains the records of decades of Americans’ phone calls,” The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/02/us/drug-agents-use-vast-phone-trove-eclipsing-nsas.html) reported, and had done so since 1987 under the auspices of DEA’s Hemisphere Project (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/09/02/us/hemisphere-project.html).
Furthermore, in the wake of Snowden revelations we also learned that listening in on the conversations of drug capos is low on NSA’s list of priorities. However, programs like X-KEYSCORE (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/31/nsa-top-secret-program-online-data)and TEMPORA (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-mastering-the-internet), which copies all data flowing along fiber optic cables, encrypted and unencrypted alike, at petabyte scales, is supremely useful when it comes to building profiles of internet users by intelligence agencies.
This was an implicit goal of Clinton administration maneuvers to compel developers to insert Clipper into their product designs.
According to Sessions, “the ‘Clipper’ methodology envisions the participation of three distinct types of parties.” [Redacted] It is proposed that the second party, the two custodians of the ‘split’ key infostructure [sic], be comprised of two disinterested and trustworthy non law enforcement Government agencies or entities. Although, such decision and selection are left for the Administration, a list of reccommended [sic] agencies and entities has been prepared (and included in the text), [redacted]. This party would administer and oversee all facets of the ‘Clipper’ program and methodology.”
Based on NSDD-145′s mandate, one can assume “this party” would be NSA, the agency that designed the underlying algorithm that powered Clipper.
The Sessions memo averred: “The Clipper chip provides law enforcement access by using a special chip key, unique to each device. In the AT&T TSD 3600, a unique session key is generated, external to the Clipper chip for each call.”

“This session key,” the memo explained, “is given to the chip to control the encryption algorithm. A device unique ‘chip key’ is programmed into each Clipper at the time of manufacture. When two TSD 3600s go to secure operation, the device gives out its identification (ID) number and the session key encrypted in its chip key.”
Underlining a key problem with Clipper technology Sessions noted, “Anyone with access to the chip key for that identified device will be able to recover the session key and listen to the transmission simultaneously with the intended receiver. This design means that the list of chip keys associated with the chip ID number provides access to all Clipper secured devices, and thus the list must be carefully generated and protected. Loss of the list would preclude legitmate [sic] access to the encrypted information and compromise of the list could allow unauthorized access.”
In fact, that “anyone” could include fabulously wealthy drug gangs or bent corporations with the wherewithal to buy chip keys from suborned government key escrow agents!
Its ubiquity would be a key selling-point for universal deployment. The memo explained, “the NSA developed chip based ‘Clipper’ solution works with hardware encryption applications, such as those which might be used with regard to certain telecommunications and computers devices,” which of course would allow unlimited spying by “law enforcement.”
Such vulnerabilities built into EES chip keys by design not only enabled widespread government monitoring of internet and voice traffic, but with a few tweaks by encryption-savvy “rogues” could be exploited by criminal organizations.
In his 1994 paper Blaze wrote that “a rogue system can be constructed with little more than a software modification to a legal system. Furthermore, while some expertise may be required to install and operate a rogue version of an existing system, it is likely that little or no special skill would be required to install and operate the modified software.”
“In particular,” Blaze noted, “one can imagine ‘patches’ to defeat key escrow in EES-based systems being distributed over networks such as the Internet in much the same way that other software is distributed today.”
In the intervening years since Blaze observed how easy it would be to compromise key escrow systems by various bad actors, governments or criminals take your pick, the proliferation of malware powered botnets that infect hundreds of thousands of computers and smart phones every day–for blanket surveillance, fraud, or both–is a fact of life.
It didn’t help matters when it emerged that “escrow agents” empowered to unlock encrypted communications would be drawn from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Automated Services Division of the Treasury Department, government outposts riddled with “No Such Agency” moles.
As EPIC pointed out, “Since the enactment of the Computer Security Act, the NSA has sought to undercut NIST’s authority. In 1989, NSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which purported to transfer back to NSA the authority given to NIST.”
The MOU required that NIST request NSA’s “assistance” on all matters related to civilian cryptography. In fact, were NIST and NSA representatives on the Technical Working Group to disagree on standards, the ultimate authority for resolving disputes would rest solely with the Executive Branch acting through the President, the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Council, thus undercutting the clear intent of Congress when they passed the 1987 Computer Security Act.
EPIC noted (https://epic.org/security/infowar/epic-cip.html):

“The memorandum effectively returned to NSA many of the powers rejected by the Computer Security Act. The MOU contained several key goals that were to NSA’s benefit, including: NSA providing NIST with ‘technical security guidelines in trusted technology, telecommunications security, and personal identification that may be used in cost-effective systems for protecting sensitive computer data;’ NSA ‘initiating research and development programs in trusted technology, telecommunications security, cryptographic techniques and personal identification methods’; and NSA being responsive to NIST ‘in all matters related to cryptographic algorithms and cryptographic techniques including but not limited to research, development, evaluation, or endorsement’.”
A critique of the Memorandum in 1989 congressional testimony by the General Accounting Office (GAO (http://gao.justia.com/department-of-defense/1989/5/national-institute-of-standards-and-technology-and-the-national-security-agency-s-memorandum-of-understanding-on-implementing-the-computer-security-act-of-1987-t-imtec-89-7/T-IMTEC-89-7-full-report.pdf)) emphasized: “At issue is the degree to which responsibilities vested in NIST under the act are being subverted by the role assigned to NSA under the memorandum. The Congress, as a fundamental purpose in passing the act, sought to clearly place responsibility for the computer security of sensitive, unclassified information in a civil agency rather than in the Department of Defense. As we read the MOU, it would appear that NIST has granted NSA more than the consultative role envisioned in the act.”
Five years after the GAO’s critical appraisal, NSA’s coup was complete.
“In 1994,” EPIC noted,

“President Clinton issued Presidential Decision Directive (PDD-29 (http://www.fas.org/sgp/spb/pdd29.html)). This directive created the Security Policy Board, which has recommended that all computer security functions for the government be merged under NSA control.”
Since PDD-29 was issued matters have only gotten worse. In fact, NIST is the same outfit exposed in Snowden documents published by The Guardian and The New York Times that allowed NSA to water down encryption and build backdoors into the Dual EC DRBG standard adopted by the Institute in 2006.
“Eventually, NSA became the sole editor.”
Besieged by widespread opposition, the Clinton administration was out maneuvered in the court of public opinion and by 1996 had abandoned Clipper. However, this proved to be a pyrrhic victory for security-minded researchers and civil libertarians as we have since learned from Edward Snowden’s revelations.
Befitting a military-intelligence agency, the dark core of America’s deep state, NSA was fighting a long war–and they were playing for keeps.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-u-s-secret-state-and-the-internet-dirty-secrets-and-crypto-wars-from-clipper-chip-to-prism/5357623

Peter Lemkin
11-18-2013, 09:59 AM
Fueled by the Edward Snowden scandal, more Americans than ever are asking the NSA if their personal life is being spied on.
And the NSA has a very direct answer for them: Tough luck, we're not telling you.
Americans are inundating the National Security Agency with open-records requests, leading to a 988% increase in such inquiries. Anyone asking is getting a standard pre-written letter saying the NSA can neither confirm nor deny that any information has been gathered.
"This was the largest spike we've ever had," said Pamela Phillips, the chief of the NSA Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Office, which handles all records requests to the agency. "We've had requests from individuals who want any records we have on their phone calls, their phone numbers, their e-mail addresses, their IP addresses, anything like that."
News reports of the NSA's surveillance program motivates most inquirers, she said.
During the first quarter of the NSA fiscal year, which went from October to December, it received 257 open-records requests. The next quarter, it received 241. However, on June 6, at the end of NSA's third fiscal quarter, news of Snowden's leaks hit the press, and the agency got 1,302 requests.
In the next three months, the NSA received 2,538 requests. The spike has continued into the fall months and has overwhelmed her staff, Phillips said.
Joel Watts, 35, of Charleston, W.Va., put in an open-records request in June, days after learning about Snowden's leaks and the NSA's surveillance tactics. Some three weeks later, he received a letter telling him the agency wouldn't say if they had collected information on the health and safety administrator.
"It's a sign of disrespect to American citizens and the democratic process," he said. "I should have the right to know if I'm being surveyed if there's no criminal procedures in process."

Watts said he understands the need for secrecy when dealing with terrorism but thinks the NSA is violating constitutional rights by withholding information it might have on the American public. He also said the NSA's non-responses highlight problems with FOIA requests.
"We should not have to fill out forms and pay money for the government to be transparent," he said. "It's just a way for them to legally say no."

The spike in requests, a large backlog in responses and lack of information illustrates the limits of open-records requests and the determination of NSA to remain mum despite Snowden's historic leaks, experts say.
"People are legitimately troubled by the idea that the government is monitoring and collecting information about their e-mail traffic, phone calls and who knows what else," said Anne Weismann, chief counsel at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group. "There is a growing sense of horror every time there is a new report about the data."
She said the NSA's failure to provide people with answers shows that the agency is burying its head in the sand despite Snowden's huge document dump. The tactic is successful, she said, because most people don't have the resources to fight for information through appeals or in court.
And even if people do fight, courts often side with intelligence agencies who say they want to protect national security, Weismann said.
Last fiscal year, the NSA spent close to $4.8 million processing FOIA requests, appeals and dealing with litigation in connection with the requests. However, Phillips said, because of sequester cuts the agency spent less money last fiscal year than in previous ones.
Some requests simply state that a person wants any and all information the NSA has about them. Others, however, go into detail and ask for specifics about how the NSA is run, how its surveillance program works as well as how the NSA has gone about collecting information.
While the NSA is hearing mostly from the public, journalists and civil rights organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Center are also digging, Phillips said.
Her 19-person staff is grappling to deal with the boom in requests, she said. More than 900 are still pending, although the NSA tries to get back to people in the 20 days required by law, she said.
Sometimes it can take months, even years, to get a response.
Even after a long wait, the agency for the most part is sharing nothing about the topic people want the most information about.
That frustrates Weismann.
"They can monitor in the most sophisticated way, and they say they are getting overwhelmed. I think that's facially ludicrous," she said.
Meanwhile, Phillips said her staff doesn't do searches on the majority of requests.
Workers don't look for any information when people request data on themselves because the NSA FOIA office doesn't have access to surveillance files, she said. She also explained that the agency doesn't confirm or deny if they have records on individuals because it doesn't want to tip off surveillance targets.
"We know we're dealing with frustrated people and people who are upset by what they're hearing," Phillips said. "But that's the only response that we're able to provide them on that topic."
Phillips estimates that her office will continue to get a lot of requests.
In 2006, the office saw a two-week spike of 500 or 800 requests with news of the NSA's terrorist surveillance program, she said. A year and half ago, there was a 200-request spike when a TV program mentioned a NSA surveillance program.
This time, Snowden's leaks have caused a months-long spike that seems only to be intensifying. The NSA has declassified some information and is working on releasing more, Phillips said.
"It just confirms that in the case of the NSA, leaks work," said Nate Jones, FOIA coordinator with the National Security Archive, a non-profit research institution. "They don't release anything through normal means. The only way the public really learns about them is through leaks."

Peter Lemkin
11-19-2013, 07:10 AM
Snowden sparked spy audit

PAUL MALEY
The Australian
November 19, 2013 12:00AM

AUSTRALIA'S peak domestic spy agency, ASIO, conducted an internal audit in the wake of the Edward Snowden scandal to identify sensitive material it had provided to the Americans that could now find its way into the public domain via his leaks.

ASIO's director general David Irvine told a Senate estimate hearing last night his agency had a "good idea" about the information it passed on to partner agencies in the US, and which could now be exposed by Mr Snowden.

"I think it stands to reason that that is something we would do but I'm not going to comment on the nature or the scope at this stage," Mr Irvine said.

The director general said the audit was conducted "as soon as it became clear what sort of information was being put out in the public domain" by Mr Snowden, who is now a fugitive from American authorities and is living indefinitely in Russia.

Mr Irvine expressed his "very great concern" about the Snowden leaks, including disclosures yesterday that the Australian Signals Directorate, formerly the Defence Signals Directorate, had targeted the mobile phones of senior Indonesian government figures, including the President and his wife.

"When that material is Australian material it's obviously of very great concern to the Australian government," Mr Irvine said.

Mr Irvine moved to allay concerns ASIO might fall victim to breaches similar to those perpetrated by Mr Snowden, or WikiLeaks mole Bradley Manning, saying ASIO conducted "rigorous and intrusive" checks of its own people.

Those checks included compartmentalising information, restricting access and ongoing checks of its intelligence officers.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/politics-news/snowden-sparked-spy-audit/story-fn59nqld-1226762887160#sthash.FHsIGP7E.dpuf

Peter Lemkin
11-19-2013, 07:15 AM
UN envoy 'shocked' by UK's 'unacceptable' persecution of The Guardian over Snowden leaks

Published time: November 16, 2013 16:36
Edited time: November 18, 2013 10:47




http://rt.com/files/news/21/29/e0/00/12.si.jpg Frank La Rue (Reuters / Edgard Garrido)




A senior United Nations official responsible for freedom of expression has warned that the UK government’s response to revelations of mass surveillance by Edward Snowden is damaging Britain’s reputation for press freedom and investigative journalism.
The UN special rapporteur, Frank La Rue, has said he is alarmed at the reaction from some British politicians following the Guardian’s revelations about the extent of the secret surveillance programs run by the UK’s eavesdropping center GCHQ and its US counterpart the NSA (National Security Agency), it was reported in the Guardian.
“I have been absolutely shocked about the way the Guardian has been treated, from the idea of prosecution to the fact that some members of parliament even called it treason. I think that is unacceptable in a democratic society,” said La Rue.
Speaking to the Guardian La Rue said that national security cannot be used as an argument against newspapers for publishing information that is in the public interest even if doing so is embarrassing for those who are in office.
The Guardian as well as other major world media organizations including the New York Times, the Washington Post and Der Spiegel began disclosing details about the US and UK’s mass surveillance programs in June, after receiving leaked documents from former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden.
The publications have sparked a huge global debate on whether such surveillance powers are justified, but in Britain there have been calls for the Guardian to be prosecuted and the editor, Alan Rusbridger, has been called to give evidence to the home affairs select committee.
The Prime Minister David Cameron has even warned that unless the newspaper begins to demonstrate some social responsibility, then he would take “tougher measures” including the issuing of D notices, which ban a newspaper or broadcaster from touching certain material.

http://rt.com/files/news/21/29/e0/00/13.jpgA supporter of the Anonymous group wearing a Guy Fawkes mask holds up a placard featuring a photo of US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden and reads "A true American Hero!" during a rally in front of Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate on November 5, 2013.(AFP Photo / Florian Scuhu)

While on Friday the New York Times wrote an editorial entitled “British press freedom under threat”. It said, “Britain has a long tradition of a free inquisitive press. That freedom, so essential to democratic accountability, is being challenged by the Conservative-Liberal coalition government of Prime Minster David Cameron.”
The op-ed added that Britain, unlike the US has no constitutional guarantee of press freedom.
“Parliamentary committees and the police are now exploiting that lack of protection to harass, intimidate and possibly prosecute the Guardian newspaper,” the leader read.
Frank La Rue’s intervention comes just days after a delegation of some of the world’s leading editors and publishers announced they were coming to Britain (http://rt.com/news/press-freedom-uk-delegation-504/) on a “press freedom mission”.
The trip is being organized by the Paris based, World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), and will arrive on UK soil in January. WAN-IFRA says it will include key newspaper figures from up to five continents and that this is the first mission of this kind to the UK ever.
The delegation is expected to meet government leaders and the opposition, as well as press industry figures and civil society and freedom of speech organizations. Their discussions are expected to focus on the political pressure brought to bear on the Guardian.
“We are concerned that these actions not only seriously damage the United Kingdom’s historic international reputation as a staunch defender of press freedom, but provide encouragement to non-democratic regimes to justify their own repressive actions,” Vincent Peyregne, the Chief of the WAN-IFRA, told the Guardian.

David Guyatt
11-19-2013, 09:56 AM
The British government response to the Guardian coverage does't surprise me at all. It's simply bending over to US pressure, wanting to be seen to be willing.

a quite horrible thought in reality, but standard fare these days.

Magda Hassan
11-19-2013, 10:19 AM
The British government response to the Guardian coverage does't surprise me at all. It's simply bending over to US pressure, wanting to be seen to be willing.

a quite horrible thought in reality, but standard fare these days.

They've been supine poodles.
Interestingly Paddy Ashdown waded into it today too. Guardian article doesn't see fit to mention his previous employment as spook. Maybe Paddy's objections stem from the fact that he was more humint than sigint? Different loyalties?

Surveillance technology out of control, says Lord AshdownFormer Lib Dem leader says it is time for high-level inquiry to address fundamental questions about privacy in 21st century




Nick Hopkins (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/nickhopkins) and Matthew Taylor (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/matthewtaylor)


The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian), Tuesday 19 November 2013 06.10 AEST

Paddy Ashdown is the latest senior politician to demand a review of the powers of Britain's intelligence agencies and the laws and oversight which underpin their activities. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

The technology used by Britain's spy agencies to conduct masssurveillance (http://www.theguardian.com/world/surveillance) is "out of control", raising fears about the erosion of civil liberties at a time of diminished trust in the intelligence services, according to the former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paddy_Ashdown).
The peer said it was time for a high-level inquiry to address fundamental questions about privacy (http://www.theguardian.com/world/privacy) in the 21st century, and railed against "lazy politicians" who frighten people into thinking "al-Qaida is about to jump out from behind every bush and therefore it is legitimate to forget about civil liberties". "Well it isn't," he added.
Ashdown talks frequently to the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, and is chair of the the Liberal Democrats (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/liberaldemocrats)' general election team. Though he said he was speaking for himself, his views are understood to be shared by other senior members of the Liberal Democrats in government, who are also keen for some kind of broad inquiry into the subject.
This idea is also supported by Sir David Omand, a former director of GCHQ (http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/warstudies/people/visiting/omand.aspx). He told the Guardian he was in favour of an inquiry and thought it would be wrong to "dismiss the idea of a royal commission out of hand". It was important to balance the need for the agencies to have powerful capabilities, and the necessity of ensuring they did not use them in a way parliament had not intended, Omand added.
Ashdown is the latest senior politician to demand a review of the powers of Britain's intelligence agencies – GCHQ (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/gchq), MI5 (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/mi5) and MI6 (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/mi6) – and the laws and oversight which underpin their activities.
In an interview with the Guardian, Ashdown said surveillance should only be conducted against specific targets when there was evidence against them. Dragnet surveillance was unacceptable, he added.
Ashdown made clear revelations in the Guardian about GCHQ and its American counterpart, the National Security Agency, had raised important issues that "could not be ignored or swept aside in a barrage of insults".
He also criticised the Labour party, which was in power when the agencies began testing and building many of their most powerful surveillance capabilities. Labour's former home secretary Jack Straw was responsible for introducing the Regulation of Investigatory Power Act 2000 (Ripa) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_of_Investigatory_Powers_Act_2000), which made the programmes legal.
"Ripa was a disgraceful piece of legislation," Ashdown said. "Nobody put any thought into it. Labour just took the words they were given by the intelligence agencies. I don't blame the intelligence agencies.
"We charge them with the very serious business of keeping us secure and of course they want to have powers. But it's the duty of government to ensure those powers don't destroy our liberties and Labour utterly failed to do this."
One consequence of Labour's negligence was the development of surveillance techniques that could damage civil liberties and erode privacy, said Ashdown.
He said that he was "frightened by the erosion of our liberties" and while accepting that there was a need to keep the nation safe it was the "habit of politicians who are lazy about the preservation of our liberties or don't mind seeing them destroyed, to play an old game.
"They tell frightened citizens: 'If you give me some of your liberties, I will make you safer'".
Ashdown said that as a young man in 1960s he was taken to a vast Post Office shed in central London where spies were steaming open letters. Recalling being met by "a deep fog of steam" after entering the room, he said that the place was "filled with diligent men and women, each with a boiling kettle on their desk, steaming open letters". It was appropriate for the state to intervene in the private communications of its citizens, but the peer added "only in cases where there is good evidence to believe the nation's security is being threatened, or arguably, when a really serious crime has been committed".
The former party leader said that intercepting communications needed to be "targeted on an individual and not classes of individuals or, as at the moment, the whole nation" and argued that ought to be sanctioned by a third-party, preferably by a judge, or if not a member of the cabinet.
Ashdown said he did not believe Britain's intelligence agencies were out of control, but he said the same was not true of technology.
"We need a proper inquiry to decide what liberties and privacies ought to be accorded in the new interconnected world, and what powers of intrusion ought to be given to the state. The old laws that applied in the age of the steaming kettle will no longer do. The old protections are no longer good enough," he said.
Ashdown said the Guardian's reporting of the NSA (http://www.theguardian.com/world/nsa) files had been "helpful because it had raised this important issue to the point where sensible people understand this inquiry is now necessary".
An inquiry also needed to be set in the context of people's privacy expectations, he added, noting: "People today seem more casual about their privacy than they used to be. They don't seem to mind when their privacy is breached when they use Google, Facebook and other social media."
He added that he hoped this had not "changed the public's attitude towards the state's power to intrude into their privacy" but argued this was the fundamental question that needed to be addressed.
Ashdown said he thought the agencies would welcome an inquiry too, saying that they "recognise the mechanisms are no longer sufficient" and he doubted whether such an exercise would be "inimical to the heads of the secret services".
The Lib Dem also dismissed the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (http://isc.independent.gov.uk/), chaired by Sir Malcolm Rifkind, which is supposed to scrutinise the agencies.
He said that it was an institution "wholly incapable of coping" with the new circumstances.
Although he was careful to be respectful of its Conservative chair, Ashdown argued that "we are no longer in the age when a grandee's emollient words are enough to assure us that our liberties are safe" and concluded that the committee was "past its time".
Ashdown defended the Guardian's reporting of the issues over the last five months, and the paper's right to publish material that it deemed in the public interest.
He said: "I am not going to back every single thing the Guardian has done. But overall, in my view, the Guardian has done a very important in job exposing a really important issue that must now be properly considered."
But he also criticised Edward Snowden (http://www.theguardian.com/world/edward-snowden), the former NSA contractor who leaked files to the Guardian, the Washington Post and Der Spiegel.
"When Snowden first broke cover, I had quite a lot of admiration for him. Here was a whistleblower breaking surface on an issue that is certainly important. But I have to say that the way he has behaved since has diminished that admiration enormously. It seems to me this is becoming more about vanity."
Meanwhile, Omand said the ISC had to be given a chance to review the work of the agencies in an inquiry that it announced last month.




"Much now depends first upon the ISC and whether their latest inquiry can rise above the current clamour to a calm and dispassionate examination of the capabilities needed to keep our people safe and secure, and at the same time, how public confidence can be maintained that under no circumstances could these powerful capabilities be used in ways that parliament did not intend."

Magda Hassan
11-23-2013, 02:02 AM
Not satisfied with practically everything already they want still more and more and more.

N.S.A. Report Outlined Goals for More Power

By JAMES RISEN (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/r/james_risen/index.html) and LAURA POITRAS

Published: November 22, 2013


WASHINGTON — Officials at the National Security Agency (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/national_security_agency/index.html?inline=nyt-org), intent on maintaining its dominance in intelligence collection, pledged last year to push to expand its surveillance powers, according to a top secret strategy document.

In a February 2012 paper laying out the four-year strategy for the N.S.A.’s signals intelligence operations, which include the agency’s eavesdropping and communications data collection around the world, agency officials set an objective to “aggressively pursue legal authorities and a policy framework mapped more fully to the information age.”
Written as an agency mission statement with broad goals, the five-page document said that existing American laws were not adequate to meet the needs of the N.S.A. to conduct broad surveillance in what it cited as “the golden age of Sigint,” or signals intelligence. “The interpretation and guidelines for applying our authorities, and in some cases the authorities themselves, have not kept pace with the complexity of the technology and target environments, or the operational expectations levied on N.S.A.’s mission,” the document concluded.
Using sweeping language, the paper also outlined some of the agency’s other ambitions. They included defeating the cybersecurity practices of adversaries in order to acquire the data the agency needs from “anyone, anytime, anywhere.” The agency also said it would try to decrypt or bypass codes that keep communications secret by influencing “the global commercial encryption market through commercial relationships,” human spies and intelligence partners in other countries. It also talked of the need to “revolutionize” analysis of its vast collections of data to “radically increase operational impact.”
The strategy document, provided by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, was written at a time when the agency was at the peak of its powers and the scope of its surveillance operations was still secret. Since then, Mr. Snowden’s revelations have changed the political landscape.
Prompted by a public outcry over the N.S.A.’s domestic operations, the agency’s critics in Congress have been pushing to limit, rather than expand, its ability to routinely collect the phone and email records of millions of Americans, while foreign leaders have protested reports of virtually unlimited N.S.A. surveillance overseas, even in allied nations. Several inquiries are underway in Washington; Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the N.S.A.’s longest-serving director, has announced plans to retire (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/16/us-usa-nsa-transition-idUSBRE99F12W20131016); and the White House has offered proposals to disclose more information about the agency’s domestic surveillance activities.
The N.S.A. document, titled “Sigint Strategy 2012-2016,” does not make clear what legal or policy changes the agency might seek. The N.S.A.’s powers are determined variously by Congress, executive orders and the nation’s secret intelligence court, and its operations are governed by layers of regulations. While asserting that the agency’s “culture of compliance” would not be compromised, N.S.A. officials argued that they needed more flexibility, according to the paper.
Senior intelligence officials, responding to questions about the document, said that the N.S.A. believed that legal impediments limited its ability to conduct surveillance of suspected terrorists inside the United States. Despite an overhaul of national security law in 2008, the officials said, if a terrorism suspect who is under surveillance overseas enters the United States, the agency has to stop monitoring him until it obtains a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
“N.S.A.’s Sigint strategy is designed to guide investments in future capabilities and close gaps in current capabilities,” the agency said in a statement. “In an ever-changing technology and telecommunications environment, N.S.A. tries to get in front of issues to better fulfill the foreign-intelligence requirements of the U.S. government.”
Critics, including some congressional leaders, say that the role of N.S.A. surveillance in thwarting terrorist attacks — often cited by the agency to justify expanded powers — has been exaggerated. In response to the controversy about its activities after Mr. Snowden’s disclosures, agency officials claimed that the N.S.A.’s sweeping domestic surveillance programs had helped in 54 “terrorist-related activities.” But under growing scrutiny, congressional staff members and other critics say that the use of such figures by defenders of the agency has dramatically overstated the value of the domestic surveillance programs in counterterrorism.
Agency leaders believe that the N.S.A. has never enjoyed such a target-rich environment as it does now because of the global explosion of digital information — and they want to make certain that they can dominate “the Sigint battle space” in the future, the document said. To be “optimally effective,” the paper said, “legal, policy and process authorities must be as adaptive and dynamic as the technological and operational advances we seek to exploit.”
Intent on unlocking the secrets of adversaries, the paper underscores the agency’s long-term goal of being able to collect virtually everything available in the digital world. To achieve that objective, the paper suggests that the N.S.A. plans to gain greater access, in a variety of ways, to the infrastructure of the world’s telecommunications networks.
Reports based on other documents previously leaked by Mr. Snowden showed that the N.S.A. has infiltrated the cable links (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/31/technology/nsa-is-mining-google-and-yahoo-abroad.html) to Google and Yahoo data centers around the world, leading to protests from company executives and a growing backlash against the N.S.A. in Silicon Valley.
Yet the paper also shows how the agency believes it can influence and shape trends in high-tech industries in other ways to suit its needs. One of the agency’s goals is to “continue to invest in the industrial base and drive the state of the art for high performance computing to maintain pre-eminent cryptanalytic capability for the nation.” The paper added that the N.S.A. must seek to “identify new access, collection and exploitation methods by leveraging global business trends in data and communications services.”
And it wants to find ways to combine all of its technical tools to enhance its surveillance powers. The N.S.A. will seek to integrate its “capabilities to reach previously inaccessible targets in support of exploitation, cyberdefense and cyberoperations,” the paper stated.
The agency also intends to improve its access to encrypted communications used by individuals, businesses and foreign governments, the strategy document said. The N.S.A. has already had some success in defeating encryption, The New York Times has reported (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/06/us/nsa-foils-much-internet-encryption.html), but the document makes it clear that countering “ubiquitous, strong, commercial network encryption” is a top priority. The agency plans to fight back against the rise of encryption through relationships with companies that develop encryption tools and through espionage operations. In other countries, the document said, the N.S.A. must also “counter indigenous cryptographic programs by targeting their industrial bases with all available Sigint and Humint” — human intelligence, meaning spies.
The document also mentioned a goal of integrating the agency’s eavesdropping and data collection systems into a national network of sensors that interactively “sense, respond and alert one another at machine speed.” Senior intelligence officials said that the system of sensors is designed to protect the computer networks of the Defense Department, and that the N.S.A. does not use data collected from Americans for the system.
One of the agency’s other four-year goals was to “share bulk data” more broadly to allow for better analysis. While the paper does not explain in detail how widely it would disseminate bulk data within the intelligence community, the proposal raises questions about what safeguards the N.S.A. plans to place on its domestic phone and email data collection programs to protect Americans’ privacy.
N.S.A. officials have insisted that they have placed tight controls on those programs. In an interview, the senior intelligence officials said that the strategy paper was referring to the agency’s desire to share foreign data more broadly, not phone logs of Americans collected under the Patriot Act (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/u/usa_patriot_act/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier).
Above all, the strategy paper suggests the N.S.A.’s vast view of its mission: nothing less than to “dramatically increase mastery of the global network.”
Other N.S.A. documents offer hints of how the agency is trying to do just that. One program, code-named Treasure Map, provides what a secret N.S.A. PowerPoint presentation describes as “a near real-time, interactive map of the global Internet.” According to the undated PowerPoint presentation, disclosed by Mr. Snowden, Treasure Map gives the N.S.A. “a 300,000 foot view of the Internet.”
Relying on Internet routing data, commercial and Sigint information, Treasure Map is a sophisticated tool, one that the PowerPoint presentation describes as a “massive Internet mapping, analysis and exploration engine.” It collects Wi-Fi network and geolocation data, and between 30 million and 50 million unique Internet provider addresses — code that can reveal the location and owner of a computer, mobile device or router — are represented each day on Treasure Map, according to the document. It boasts that the program can map “any device, anywhere, all the time.”
The documents include addresses labeled as based in the “U.S.,” and because so much Internet traffic flows through the United States, it would be difficult to map much of the world without capturing such addresses.
But the intelligence officials said that Treasure Map maps only foreign and Defense Department networks, and is limited by the amount of data available to the agency. There are several billion I.P. addresses on the Internet, the officials said, and Treasure Map cannot map them all. The program is not used for surveillance, they said, but to understand computer networks.
The program takes advantage of the capabilities of other secret N.S.A. programs. To support Treasure Map, for example, the document states that another program, called Packaged Goods, tracks the “traceroutes” through which data flows around the Internet. Through Packaged Goods, the N.S.A. has gained access to “13 covered servers in unwitting data centers around the globe,” according to the PowerPoint. The document identifies a list of countries where the data centers are located, including Germany, Poland, Denmark, South Africa and Taiwan as well as Russia, China and Singapore.
Despite the document’s reference to “unwitting data centers,” government officials said that the agency does not hack into those centers. Instead, the officials said, the intelligence community secretly uses front companies to lease space on the servers.
Despite the N.S.A.’s broad surveillance powers, the strategy paper shows that N.S.A. officials still worry about the agency’s ability to fend off bureaucratic inertia while keeping pace with change. “To sustain current mission relevance,” the document said, Signals Intelligence Directorate, the N.S.A.’s signals intelligence arm, “must undertake a profound and revolutionary shift from the mission approach which has served us so well in the decades preceding the onset of the information age.”
James Risen reported from Washington, and Laura Poitras from Berlin.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/23/us/politics/nsa-report-outlined-goals-for-more-power.html?_r=1&emc=rss&partner=rss&pagewanted=all&

Malcolm Pryce
11-23-2013, 09:54 AM
Yup, they want to give the whole world a giant colonoscopy.

Still, if you've done nothing wrong you've got nothing to hide, right?

Bend over please.

Magda Hassan
12-04-2013, 10:06 PM
That little "entertaining" cell phone in your back pocket, which you are so addicted to thanks to all its apps, videos, messaging function and all other cool bells and whistles, that you can't possibly live without? It is simply the definitive NSA tracking beacon used to find where you are at any given moment. The following infographic explains how the NSA does just that...
http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2013/12/NSA_Co-traveler_g_0.jpg (http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2013/12/NSA_Co-traveler_g.jpg)
Source: WaPo (http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/national/how-the-nsa-is-tracking-people-right-now/634/?Post+generic=%3Ftid%3Dsm_twitter_washingtonpost)

David Guyatt
12-05-2013, 11:26 AM
Imagine that - 5 billion mobiles phones a day are tapped by the NSA!

Magda Hassan
12-05-2013, 11:57 AM
And not one of them saying "I will meet you at 11 am in the car park at the House of Commons/Harrods/Central Station/LAX with the suitcases of explosives and polonium and don't forget to bring Osama Bin Laden and Hugo Chavez with you.

David Guyatt
12-05-2013, 01:03 PM
And not one of them saying "I will meet you at 11 am in the car park at the House of Commons/Harrods/Central Station/LAX with the suitcases of explosives and polonium and don't forget to bring Osama Bin Laden and Hugo Chavez with you.

Or "Broadsword to Danny Boy" and "The chicken is in the pot", and "Operation Blackhawk"...

But silly me. That was all Rebekah Brooks and News international spy-speak from the phone hacking trial.

Something almost completely different...

Peter Lemkin
12-05-2013, 04:26 PM
Imagine that - 5 billion mobiles phones a day are tapped by the NSA!

That's about 67% of the World's population (and not many babies have phones - but they'll soon be implanted with chips)......and there's a death drone that can target you and your mobile whenever they want....or just track your movements and your conversations [even when the phone is off - (or so you think)!!!] ::ninja::

It's probably even more....including those from GCHQ and OZ and NZ.
The biggest problem is that this has been known for decades, but ignored [sic] by the MSM and the Sheeple.....so now that they can't hide from it any more...are they going to march on the NSA HQ and block anyone from getting in or out?! Order the Congress to defund and destroy it?!.....Not a chance....Its just another assault, along with be gropped at the airport that the Sheeple will passively accept, until it is too late.....it pretty easy to see where this is all headed....and it is not pretty! ::prison::

Magda Hassan
12-09-2013, 12:06 PM
Revealed: spy agencies' covert push to infiltrate virtual world of online games NSA and GCHQ collect gamers' chats and deploy real-life agents into World of Warcraft and Second Life

Read the NSA document: Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments (http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/dec/09/nsa-files-games-virtual-environments-paper-pdf)
Beta




James Ball (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/jamesball)


theguardian.com (http://www.theguardian.com/), Monday 9 December 2013 23.00 AEST

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2013/12/9/1386589432018/World-of-Warcraft-011.jpg World of Warcraft: the NSA described games communities as a 'target-rich network' where potential terrorists could 'hide in plain sight'. Photograph: handout

To the National Security Agency analyst writing a briefing to his superiors, the situation was clear: their current surveillance efforts were lacking something. The agency's impressive arsenal of cable taps and sophisticated hacking attacks was not enough. What it really needed was a horde of undercover Orcs.
That vision of spycraft sparked a concerted drive by the NSA (http://www.theguardian.com/world/nsa) and its UK sister agency GCHQ (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/gchq) to infiltrate the massive communities playing online games (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/games), according to secret documents disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The files were obtained by the Guardian and are being published on Monday in partnership with the New York Times and ProPublica.
The agencies, the documents show, have built mass-collection capabilities against the Xbox Live console network, which boasts more than 48 million players. Real-life agents have been deployed into virtual realms, from those Orc hordes in World of Warcraft to the human avatars of Second Life. There were attempts, too, to recruit potential informants from the games' tech-friendly users.
Online gaming is big business, attracting tens of millions of users world wide who inhabit their digital worlds as make-believe characters, living and competing with the avatars of other players. What the intelligence agencies feared, however, was that among these clans of innocent elves and goblins, terrorists were lurking.
The NSA document, written in 2008 and titled Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments, stressed the risk of leaving games communities under-monitored, describing them as a "target-rich communications network" where intelligence targets could "hide in plain sight".
Games, the analyst wrote "are an opportunity!". According to the briefing notes, so many different US intelligence agents were conducting operations inside games that a "deconfliction" group was required to ensure they weren't spying on, or interfering with, each other.
If properly exploited, games could produce vast amounts of intelligence, according to the the NSA document. They could be used as a window for hacking attacks, to build pictures of people's social networks through "buddylists and interaction", to make approaches by undercover agents, and to obtain target identifiers (such as profile photos), geolocation, and collection of communications.
The ability to extract communications from talk channels in games would be necessary, the NSA paper argued, because of the potential for them to be used to communicate anonymously: Second Life was enabling anonymous texts and planning to introduce voice calls, while game noticeboards could, it states, be used to share information on the web addresses of terrorism forums.
Given that gaming consoles often include voice headsets, video cameras, and other identifiers, the potential for joining together biometric information with activities was also an exciting one.
But the documents contain no indication that the surveillance ever foiled any terrorism plots, nor is there any clear evidence that terror groups were using the virtual communities to communicate as the intelligence agencies confidently predicted.
The operations raise concerns about the privacy of gamers. It is unclear how the agencies accessed their data, or how many communications were collected. Nor is it clear how the NSA ensured that it was not monitoring innocent Americans whose identity and nationality may have been concealed behind their virtual avatar.
The California-based producer of World of Warcraft said neither the NSA nor GCHQ had sought its permission to gather intelligence inside the game. "We are unaware of any surveillance taking place," said a spokesman for Blizzard Entertainment. "If it was, it would have been done without our knowledge or permission."
Microsoft declined to comment on the latest revelations, as did Philip Rosedale, the founder of Second Life and former CEO of Linden Lab, the game's operator. The company's executives did not respond to requests for comment.
The NSA declined to comment on the surveillance of games. A spokesman for GCHQ said the agency did not "confirm or deny" the revelations but added: "All GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that its activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and there is rigorous oversight, including from the secretary of state, the interception and intelligence services commissioners and the Intelligence and Security Committee."
Though the spy agencies might have been relatively late to virtual worlds and the communities forming there, once the idea had been mooted, they joined in enthusiastically.
In May 2007, the then-chief operating officer of Second Life gave a "brown bag lunch" address at the NSA explaining how his game gave the government "the opportunity to understand the motivation, context and consequent behaviours of non-Americans through observation, without leaving US soil".
One problem the paper's unnamed author and others in the agency faced in making their case – and avoiding suspicion their goal was merely trying to play computer games at work without getting fired – was the difficulty of proving terrorists were even thinking about using games to communicate.
A 2007 invitation to a secret internal briefing noted "terrorists use online games – but perhaps not for their amusement. They are suspected of using them to communicate secretly and to transfer funds." But the agencies had yet to find any evidence to support their suspicions.
The same still seemed to hold true a year later, albeit with a measure of progress: games data that had been found in connection with IPs, email addresses and similar information linked to terrorist groups.
"Al-Qaida terrorist target selectors and … have been found associated with XboxLive, Second Life, World of Warcraft, and other GVEs [Games and Virtual Environments]," the document notes. "Other targets include Chinese hackers, an Iranian nuclear scientist, Hizballah, and Hamas members."
However, that information wasn not enough to show terrorists are hiding out as pixels to discuss their next plot. Such data could merely mean someone else in an internet café was gaming, or a shared computer had previously been used to play games.
That lack of knowledge of whether terrorists were actually plotting online emerges in the document's recommendations: "The amount of GVEs in the world is growing but the specific ones that CT [counter-terrorism] needs to be methodically discovered and validated," it stated. "Only then can we find evidence that GVEs are being used for operational uses."
Not actually knowing whether terrorists were playing games was not enough to keep the intelligence agencies out of them, however. According to the document, GCHQ – the UK's equivalent to the NSA – already had a "vigorous effort" to exploit games, including "exploitation modules" against Xbox Live and World of Warcraft.
That NSA effort, based in the agency's New Mission Development Centre in the Menwith Hill UK air force base in North Yorkshire, was already paying dividends by May 2008.
At the request of GCHQ, the NSA had begun a deliberate effort to extract World of Warcraft metadata from their troves of intelligence, and trying to link "accounts, characters and guilds" to Islamic extremism and arms dealing efforts. A later memo noted that among the game's active subscribers were "telecom engineers, embassy drivers, scientists, the military and other intelligence agencies".
The UK agency did not stop at World of Warcraft, though: by September a memo noted GCHQ had "successfully been able to get the discussions between different game players on Xbox Live".
Meanwhile, the FBI, CIA, and the Defense Humint Service were all running human intelligence operations – undercover agents – within the virtual world of Second Life. In fact, so crowded were the virtual worlds with staff from the different agencies, that there was a need to try to "deconflict" their efforts – or, in other words, to make sure each agency wasn't just duplicating what the others were doing.
By the end of 2008, such human intelligence efforts had produced at least one usable piece of intelligence, according to the documents: following the successful takedown of a website used to trade stolen credit card details, the fraudsters moved to Second Life – and GCHQ followed, having gained their first "operational deployment" into the virtual world. This, they noted, put them in touch with an "avatar [game character] who helpfully volunteered information on the target group's latest activities".
Second Life continued to occupy the intelligence agencies' thoughts throughout 2009. One memo noted the game's economy was "essentially unregulated" and so "will almost certainly be used as a venue for terrorist laundering and will, with certainty, be used for terrorist propaganda and recruitment".
In reality, Second Life's surreal and uneven virtual world failed to attract or maintain the promised mass-audience, and attention (and its userbase) waned, though the game lives on.
The agencies had other concerns about games, beyond their potential use by terrorists to communicate. Much like the pressure groups that worry about the effect of computer games on the minds of children, the NSA expressed concerns that games could be used to "reinforce prejudices and cultural stereotypes", noting that Hezbollah had produced a game called Special Forces 2.
According to the document, Hezbollah's "press section acknowledges [the game] is used for recruitment and training", serving as a "radicalising medium" with the ultimate goal of becoming a "suicide martyr". Despite the game's disturbing connotations, the "fun factor" of the game cannot be discounted, it states. As Special Forces 2 retails for $10, it concludes, the game also serves to "fund terrorist operations".
Hezbollah is not, however, the only organizsation to have considered using games for recruiting. As the NSA document acknowledges: they got the idea from the US Aarmy.
"America's Army is a US army-produced game that is free [to] download from its recruitment page," says the NSA, noting the game is "acknowledged to be so good at this the army no longer needs to use it for recruitment, they use it for training".

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/09/nsa-spies-online-games-world-warcraft-second-life?CMP=twt_gu

David Guyatt
12-09-2013, 05:08 PM
I have often wondered about these games and the possibility of deeper entry into the Collective Unconscious by some players.

I realise this may sound far fetched to most, but I don't actually think it is. And to take the concern to its natural conclusion, some games would be designed with this possibility in mind ("in-mind" being the operating principle).

I am reminded of the 1980's film, a good one imo, featuring Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow and Christopher Plummer - quite a cast. The film was called "Dreamscape (http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/dreamscape-1984)".

The question one needs to ask is this. Can one be trained to enter another's dream - even their day dream - even when they are in a semi day dream state playing a Game?

As to the latter I don;t know. For the former question I feel sure the answer is yes.

Lauren Johnson
12-09-2013, 09:07 PM
I have often wondered about these games and the possibility of deeper entry into the Collective Unconscious by some players.

I realise this may sound far fetched to most, but I don't actually think it is. And to take the concern to its natural conclusion, some games would be designed with this possibility in mind ("in-mind" being the operating principle).

I am reminded of the 1980's film, a good one imo, featuring Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow and Christopher Plummer - quite a cast. The film was called "Dreamscape (http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/dreamscape-1984)".

The question one needs to ask is this. Can one be trained to enter another's dream - even their day dream - even when they are in a semi day dream state playing a Game?

As to the latter I don;t know. For the former question I feel sure the answer is yes.

Along these lines, I recommend Daemon, by Daniel Suarez. I brilliant game designer is dead, but somehow comes back to life in one of his computer games with the very real goal of dismantling society and replacing it with a new order.

Magda Hassan
12-09-2013, 10:58 PM
I have often wondered about these games and the possibility of deeper entry into the Collective Unconscious by some players.

I realise this may sound far fetched to most, but I don't actually think it is. And to take the concern to its natural conclusion, some games would be designed with this possibility in mind ("in-mind" being the operating principle).

I am reminded of the 1980's film, a good one imo, featuring Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow and Christopher Plummer - quite a cast. The film was called "Dreamscape (http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/dreamscape-1984)".

The question one needs to ask is this. Can one be trained to enter another's dream - even their day dream - even when they are in a semi day dream state playing a Game?

As to the latter I don;t know. For the former question I feel sure the answer is yes.
Definitely yes to the former. The altered states of consciousness and brain waves the people go into when playing these games, like being in the zone when watching tv, make a direct route to the unconscious, which is why tv sdvertising is so valuable. Also the amount of time many spend on playing the games means they often spend more time in that 'reality' than their 'normal' waking reality and 'real' people.

David Guyatt
12-10-2013, 08:29 AM
I have often wondered about these games and the possibility of deeper entry into the Collective Unconscious by some players.

I realise this may sound far fetched to most, but I don't actually think it is. And to take the concern to its natural conclusion, some games would be designed with this possibility in mind ("in-mind" being the operating principle).

I am reminded of the 1980's film, a good one imo, featuring Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow and Christopher Plummer - quite a cast. The film was called "Dreamscape (http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/dreamscape-1984)".

The question one needs to ask is this. Can one be trained to enter another's dream - even their day dream - even when they are in a semi day dream state playing a Game?

As to the latter I don;t know. For the former question I feel sure the answer is yes.
Definitely yes to the former. The altered states of consciousness and brain waves the people go into when playing these games, like being in the zone when watching tv, make a direct route to the unconscious, which is why tv sdvertising is so valuable. Also the amount of time many spend on playing the games means they often spend more time in that 'reality' than their 'normal' waking reality and 'real' people.

Yes Magda, you put it very nicely and concisely, as usually. It is that "zone" that would be the target.

I'll check out Daemon Lauren. It's not a film I've seen yet, but sound intriguing. Thanks for the heads up.

Peter Lemkin
12-10-2013, 08:46 AM
I don't play and avoid with a passion gaming. But, from what I understand about them, they could be constructed in such a way as to deliver subliminal messages and produce certain brainwave patterns; and certainly can develop and reward aggressive tendencies in most who play them. I'd just note that Brievik played avidly to 'train' [his wording] for his 'mission', which he carried out with horrible effect. One wonders if NSA is just 'watching' or are actually looking to recruit and/or construct some of the games for purposes of their own....... the World is really such a sinister place these days...and the intelligence [sic] agencies are at the forefront of this new 'sinister'.

Magda Hassan
12-21-2013, 01:04 AM
Oakland's citywide surveillance system, the Domain Awareness Center, or DAC, gained national notoriety earlier this year when some city residents voiced strong concerns about the project's privacy and civil rights implications. City officials and supporters of the DAC have responded by contending that objections over privacy and civil rights issues are overblown and that the true purpose of the surveillance center is to help Oakland finally deal with its violent crime problem. But thousands of pages of emails, meeting minutes, and other public documents show that, behind closed doors, city staffers have not been focusing on how the DAC can lower Oakland's violent crime rate.

So what is the real purpose of the massive $10.9 million surveillance system? The records we examined show that the DAC is an open-ended project that would create a surveillance system that could watch the entire city and is designed to easily incorporate new high-tech features in the future. And one of the uses that has piqued the interest of city staffers is the deployment of the DAC to track political protesters and monitor large demonstrations.
Linda Lye, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, was alarmed when we showed her emails that revealed that the Oakland Police Department has already started using the DAC to keep tabs on people engaged in First Amendment activity. "The fact that the focus so far has been on political protests, rather than the violent crime that's impacting Oakland residents, is troubling, and telling about how the city plans to use the DAC," she said.
"Information is always fundamentally about control," she added. Once it's fully operational, the DAC will give Oakland officials an unprecedented ability to monitor peoples' movements, associations, and activities.
The Domain Awareness Center is being built in stages and will merge OPD's existing license-plate scanners and gunshot detectors with video feeds from hundreds of surveillance cameras — many already in place and some to be installed in the future by several different agencies throughout the city — into a central hub. Oakland police will monitor this "flood of data," as one DAC project presentation called it. Originally limited to monitoring the Port of Oakland, the DAC has since expanded to encompass the entire city.
The Oakland Privacy Working Group, an activist coalition opposed to the DAC, obtained thousands of pages of emails and other public records related to the project from the city via a California Public Records Act request. The privacy group then shared the documents — which cover the period from August 2012 through September 2013 — with us.
While the emails reveal a great deal about the DAC, they are also notable for what they do not talk about. Among the hundreds of messages sent and received by Oakland staffers and the city's contractor team responsible for building the DAC, there is no mention of robberies, shootings, or the 138 homicides that took place during the period of time covered by the records. City staffers do not discuss any studies pertaining to the use of surveillance cameras in combating crime, nor do they discuss how the Domain Awareness System could help OPD with its longstanding problems with solving violent crimes. In more than 3,000 pages of emails, the terms "murder," "homicide," "assault," "robbery," and "theft" are never mentioned.
The records also show that the Oakland City Council's attempt to rein in the features of the DAC that pose the most serious threats to civil liberties, and to craft a privacy and data retention policy, may be too little, too late. City staffers have apparently found a way to work around the intended policies of the council. Moreover, the documents reveal that, behind the scenes, the Oakland Police Department, despite its long and troubling record of violating people's civil rights, is in charge of designing the DAC and the policies that will govern its use.
Furthermore, records show that the DAC already has so-called "video analytic" capabilities. Video analytics include features like automated vehicle and pedestrian tracking, motion recognition, and a "virtual fence" that determines when people approach or attempt to breach fences surrounding Port of Oakland property. The documents also reveal that the DAC contractor, SAIC, now called Leidos Holdings, Inc., over-billed the City of Oakland by upwards of $160,000 by purchasing expensive software and gadgets that SAIC staff kept for themselves, and by filing invoices for work that wasn't done. Several Oakland staffers caught this and deducted the charges, but only after forcing SAIC to exhaustively account for labor, tools, and $94,000 in goods received for which there were no receipts provided.
It's unclear just how much of Oakland will be put under continuous, pervasive surveillance by OPD with the DAC, but internal city records show that plans to incorporate cameras inside Oakland's public schools and Oakland Housing Authority properties are very much alive. So, too, are plans to feed in surveillance footage from hundreds of other cameras already in place around the city through OPD's commercial camera lending program, local transit agencies, and a planned surveillance system the Downtown Oakland Association and the Lake Merritt Uptown District Association business improvement districts intend to build.
And cameras are just the beginning: Documents mention monitoring "social media," "web feeds," and "text messaging."
Large surveillance centers are becoming increasingly common nationwide: They now exist in New York City; Chicago; Baltimore; Washington, DC; and Hudson County, New Jersey. Political leaders typically contend that such centers are necessary to combat terrorist threats and reduce crime.
But Rajiv Shah, a professor of communication at the University of Illinois-Chicago who conducted a study on the efficacy of Chicago police's crime cameras, said surveillance systems aren't guaranteed to help police reduce crime. They do, however, serve political goals of looking tough on crime.
In Chicago, the camera network was set up during the mid-2000s with no public input or oversight. And local officials justified it by pointing to the dual threats of terrorism and crime. But the latter, Shah said, is a red herring. "It's not really about solving crime," he said. "That's just something that's tacked on at the end to make it easier for the public to swallow." From a political perspective, he said, the questionable efficacy of networking cameras comes in second to the political currency of claiming credit for a brick-and-mortar project geared toward fighting violent crime. "It's like every local politician: 'I'll do something to create more jobs. I'll do something to reduce crime. I'll set up a camera system.'"
In Oakland, city leaders have also pointed to the city's high crime rate as the primary reason for building a surveillance center. Supporters of the DAC have also argued that the possibility of infringing on people's privacy or civil rights pales in comparison to the need to address violence in the city. "There are so many people in West Oakland who feel terrorized by gunplay and prostitution, gangs or just straight violence," said Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney, whose district encompasses downtown and West Oakland.
There are a large number of residents in Oakland — poor, rich, black, white, Latino, and Asian — who desperately want something to be done about the violent crime that has taken thousands of mostly young African-American and Latino men to the grave over the past thirty years, and McElhaney said these communities support surveillance cameras.
But it's unclear whether residents understand how the DAC is going to be used. Civil rights attorney Jim Chanin, an Oakland resident who has been an integral part of the team involved in federal oversight of OPD for the past decade, said he's concerned about the police department's track record of misconduct and its history of disproportionately targeting people of color. "Under the right circumstances, [the DAC] could solve some crime, and help deter bad behavior by police, since they're still not using their [chest mounted cameras] properly," Chanin said. "However, if done wrong, the surveillance center will be a titanic waste of money. It will invade people's privacy and become a bureaucratic nightmare from managing so much data.
"There are fundamental problems with how OPD collects and handles evidence," he continued. "They can't even deal with the resources they have now."
Professor Shah's observations about the use of networked surveillance systems for purposes other than crime-fighting is borne out by official documents and correspondence tracing the evolution of Oakland's Domain Awareness Center. Public records show that city staffers are interested in using the DAC to monitor political protests. This aspect of the DAC first became public in August when Renee Domingo, director of Oakland's Emergency Management Services Division and the head of the DAC project team, published an article in the government trade publication Public CEO justifying the need for the surveillance hub. "Oakland's long history of civil discourse and protest adds to the need [for the Domain Awareness Center]," Domingo wrote. "The Oakland Emergency Operations Center has been partially or fully activated more than 30 times in the past three years to respond to large demonstrations and protests."
Other records echo this political mission. In meeting minutes from a January 2012 meeting of the San Francisco Maritime Exchange's Northern California Maritime Area Security Committee, Domingo and Mike O'Brien, director of security for the Port of Oakland, described the DAC system as a tool that would help control labor strikes and community protests that threaten to slow business at the port. Following security reports from the US Border Patrol and the FBI, Domingo told the committee that Oakland law enforcement was "hoping that things would quiet down with the Occupy movement in the new year," according to the official minutes. Domingo thanked the Maritime Exchange for its support of Oakland's port security grant projects, which includes the DAC.
O'Brien went further, explaining that the port's Emergency Operations Center (which now feeds into the DAC) "made use of seventy new security cameras" to track the protesters, and added that the system will ensure that "future actions [do] not scare labor away."
Dan Siegel, a longtime civil and workers' rights attorney in Oakland, said the city staffers' focus on political unrest, even at the port, is disturbing. "There's a huge difference in protecting the port from potential acts of terrorism than from spying on port workers and others who may have political or economic conflicts with port management and the companies that operate the terminals," said Siegel. "What we see taking place is a complete blurring of that line where port security now includes tracking Occupy, longshore workers, and now recently the Port Truckers Association."
During construction of the first phase of the DAC, from roughly August 2012 to October 2013, city staffers repeatedly referred to political protests as a major reason for building the system. Emails to and from Lieutenant Christopher Shannon, Captain David Downing, and Lieutenant Nishant Joshi of OPD and Ahsan Baig, Oakland's technical project leader on the DAC, show that OPD staffers were in the surveillance center during the Trayvon Martin protests this year, and that they may have been monitoring marches in Oakland. In the same chain of emails, Shannon asked if the Emergency Operations Center and the DAC control room's layout had "changed much since May Day," referring to yet another large political rally in Oakland when the DAC appears to have been used by OPD to monitor demonstrations.
On July 25, Baig requested that SAIC produce a demonstration video of the DAC's capabilities to show off at the next City Council meeting. "Try your best. I need the Demo ASAP, it shouldn't be more than 3 mins.," wrote Baig. "Check out http://www.occupyoakland.org (http://www.occupyoakland.org/) website to understand the background."
On July 31, dozens of Oakland residents attended a city council meeting to speak out against the DAC. The next day, Jerry Green, an employee of Radio IP, an Oakland contractor, emailed Baig a copy of a San Francisco Chronicle article entitled, "Oakland OKs Money For Surveillance Center," that described the protest. The title of Green's email was "these upset citizens must have something to hide." Baig responded simply, "Yep..."
Law enforcement surveillance (both federal and local) of demonstrators has been a constant in Oakland since the killing of Oscar Grant in 2009 sparked chaotic street demonstrations. Police infiltrated organizing meetings, sent undercover officers to mingle in crowds during several demonstrations, and recorded the protests with multiple video teams. Police took a similar approach during Occupy Oakland. Police also compiled yearbook-style photo dossiers of prominent demonstrators, regardless of whether they had committed a crime or not.
Siegel took issue with the DAC's focus on First Amendment activity. "The communications among Oakland city staff and DAC contractors demonstrate their intent to create a surveillance system that goes far beyond what might be used to detect terrorist threats and help the OPD solve serious crimes," he said.
"Instead, they are building a system that will be used to monitor political demonstrations and identify individuals involved in protests. The city's contractors betray their true attitudes by describing people opposed to state surveillance as 'upset citizens' with 'something to hide.'"
In August 2012, when port officials were brainstorming the extent of the DAC's surveillance powers, they hired a company called GuidePost Solutions to help. GuidePost Solutions has an office in Oakland, but is headquartered in Manhattan. Its executives include former officials from NYPD, the US Attorneys' office, the New York City District Attorneys' Office, and other law enforcement agencies. The DAC blueprint that GuidePost Solutions and the port devised to send to potential contractors as a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) drew the attention of Oakland police.
Lieutenant Michael Poirier read the plan and criticized it as being "too Port specific."
"While the DAC will of course serve the Port, I see the majority of information in/out will be 'live' on City streets," Poirier wrote in an email to port staffers and to Raymond Kolodzieczak of GuidePost Solutions. "This RFQ does not have the focus of 'live' operational information center."
Poirier recommended revising the project description to reflect OPD's plan to make the DAC a citywide system that includes "any City camera, shotspotter, LPR [automated license-plate readers]," and he even added, "City Databases (planning, permits, business tax, city GIS etc)" as information to be fed into the DAC.
Poirier ended his lengthy email stating, "If the RFQ goes out as is, I think the vendor will be 'surprised' when the true nature/function (operational mode) of the DAC is requested."
In public comments to the city council in July, Lye of the ACLU questioned whether there were any privacy policies in place to govern how the DAC would collect and store data. There were not. Lye met with city staffers to discuss the numerous ways the DAC could serve to undermine civil rights. She said she opposes construction of the DAC, and that her participation in those policy meetings should not be taken as ACLU's endorsement of the project. Councilmembers Dan Kalb and Libby Schaaf subsequently spearheaded a resolution requiring the city to develop a privacy and data retention policy, and for the rules to be in place by March, before the DAC becomes fully operational.
But the city is drafting the policy after the DAC has already been outfitted with the hardware and software necessary to store massive amounts of information, including video footage. In a July 26, 2013 email from SAIC employee Neill Chung to port and city staffers concerning the privacy policy requested by the council, Chung asserted that the DAC "[does] not record or store any video." He then wrote exactly the opposite: "The [DAC] operators do have the ability to save a snapshot from a video and save it to the local workstation where they can then distribute the image," and further that they can also save and distribute video. "The [DAC] operators will have the ability to export a video clip and save it to the local workstation where they can then distribute the video."
In the same email conversation chain, Oakland project leader Baig referred to the DAC as having "TB of data storage," meaning terabytes. Standard DVDs hold 4.7 gigabytes of data, enough for a couple hours of high-definition digital footage. Many hours of lower-resolution video footage could be saved in just a few gigabytes. There are 1024 gigabytes in 1 terabyte. If Baig's claim that the DAC has terabytes of video storage capacity is correct, then the DAC is already outfitted with hardware to store the equivalent of at least 435 full-length movies. And the DAC's hardware likely has many more hours of storage capacity than that.
After the council approved Kalb and Schaaf's resolution requiring creation of a privacy policy, city staffers appear to have strategized a way to work around the council's intentions so that they can build upon these DAC features. In an email exchange on July 26 between Domingo and Amadis Sotelo, a lawyer in the City Attorney's Office, the two discussed their revisions to the privacy policy. Sotelo remarked that the resolution language under consideration "limits you from being able to develop and implement data retention at later times."
"Is that your intention?" Sotelo asked Domingo.
"No, we want the flexibility to do this after Council approves the Policy," replied Domingo.
Baig then cut into the email exchange, asking Domingo, "How are you going to change after the Council approval?"
Domingo responded, "We've done this before recently. Amadis and I will handle it."
"It looks like city staff thinks they have flexibility to alter the policy after council approves it," said Lye of ACLU. "That raises huge questions."
City staffers involved in the project and the email exchanges didn't return our phone calls and emails during the month we spent reporting this story. The project's contractors also declined to speak to us. Councilmembers Kalb and Schaaf also did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Siegel reviewed the above email exchange and many other records at our request. "I think they're trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the city council and the ACLU about what data is stored and what's not," he said. He added that other records show that whether or not the city's policies end up allowing the DAC to centrally warehouse video, the footage will still be saved and accessible. "They'll have incident markers, links that allow them to pull up footage from its source," he said. "So what difference does it make if they're storing it in the DAC or not?"
The city's data retention policy is currently being drafted by the Oakland Police Department under the supervision of Deputy Chief Eric Breshears and the City Attorney's Office.
Oakland resident Mary Madden, a member of the Oakland Privacy Working Group, opposes the DAC unequivocally. She said OPD's role in the surveillance system's construction and in drafting privacy policies raises even more problems. "If Oakland would like to give the impression of caring about privacy, they should have the privacy guidelines crafted by an independent privacy expert, who understands the complex issues at stake, as well as the full DAC system and all its components," she said. "OPD has a history of not following their own rules, as the federal monitor pointed out. Examples include the crowd control policy and use of lapel cameras, so how can we trust OPD to follow their own privacy rules for the DAC?"
Once the Domain Awareness Center's Phase 2 construction is finished in July 2014, the center could link an untold number of public and private video cameras from businesses, traffic intersections, public housing properties, highways and onramps, transit stations, sports facilities, and public schools into a centralized hub. The DAC will also collect OPD's automated license-plate reader data, ShotSpotter gunshot detectors, and social media feeds — all to be monitored on a live basis.
July 2013 emails between SAIC project manager Taso Zografos and Chris Millar, a contractor hired to help oversee the DAC, identify sources of data and surveillance capabilities that would be built into the DAC in several phases. According to the emails, the first phase of "prioritized integrations" included the port's vehicle tracking system and its mapping systems, weather and seismic warnings, and video from BART and the Oakland Airport. The second group of "prioritized integrations" included police and fire dispatch, automatic vehicle location systems for OPD and OFD vehicles, video from Caltrans and California Highway Patrol cameras, and unspecified informational links between the DAC and two law enforcement "fusion centers" — hubs in which law enforcement intelligence is centralized — including the Northern California Regional Information Center. Oakland officials are also considering applying for grant funding for the DAC on the basis that it also operates as a fusion center. Such a designation could open up the DAC for funding sources additional to the federal grants that have bankrolled it to date.
According to the emails, "potential integrations" into the DAC include video feeds from the Oakland Coliseum, Oakland's red-light cameras, AC Transit, BART, city libraries, City Hall, Oakland Housing Authority properties, buildings owned by the Oakland Unified School District, and OPD's automated license-plate readers.
If the public housing, school, and public transit cameras are incorporated into the DAC, Oakland's communities of color could be placed under disproportionately intense surveillance. "In many instances, surveillance issues aren't just privacy issues; they're also racial justice issues," said Lye. "This means we're going to have complete surveillance of communities of color when they're going about their lives and doing nothing wrong whatsoever."
A critical component of the Domain Awareness Center will be "video analytics," or software that can interpret raw information from video streams and identify certain behavior or characteristics. The port already uses motion-detection software and image recognition around port property as part of a virtual fence that alerts staffers if someone is approaching facilities that are off-limits to the public. Emails between city and port officials in May revealed that port staffers have programmed port cameras to send email alerts when the video analytics detect cars engaged in street racing on Middle Harbor Road. The new technology has not put a halt to the chaotic and occasionally violent races.
The most controversial form of video analytics is facial recognition software that is programmed to automatically identify persons based on unique facial features. Source databases for facial recognition programs include employee records, DMV photos, and mugshots from law enforcement booking systems. The city council voted in July to bar the use of facial recognition during the DAC's current funding phase. However, facial recognition for closed-circuit television systems is rapidly gaining popularity among law enforcement. In January 2013, the Los Angeles Police Department began testing mobile surveillance cameras equipped with facial recognition software in the San Fernando Valley, with the intent of identifying known or wanted criminals. The Chicago Office of Emergency Services has also experimented with facial recognition programming for its 24,000 networked cameras, using Cook County's 4.5 million booking photos as the data source. In May, Chicago police officers made their first arrest with the help of facial recognition technology.
Shah of the University of Illinois-Chicago noted that the combined use of facial recognition technology and license-plate readers, which would be possible if the former technology is used in conjunction with the Oakland surveillance center, have the potential to take individual tracking to an unprecedented level. "Facial recognition and LPR directly tie to someone — [it's] what causes the most concern," said Shah.
The DAC is only one of several surveillance systems in progress in Oakland. In June 2012, then-Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan and then-Assistant Chief Anthony Toribio met with representatives of the Total Recall Corporation, a firm marketing a surveillance system called CrimeEye. Total Recall's cameras can zoom in from great distances, and can store footage for as long as a police department wants. If OPD opts to buy this camera unit and software package, a single unit at the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway could have a range east to Lake Merritt, north to the Paramount Theater, and south and west to Interstate 880, according to materials the company provided to the city that we obtained.
In August, then-Oakland Chamber of Commerce Vice President Paul Junge and city staffer Joe DeVries exchanged emails about incorporating cameras owned and operated by the Downtown Oakland Association and Lake Merritt Uptown District Association business improvement districts into the Domain Awareness Center during phase three of the DAC construction in June 2014. DeVries also mentioned the possibility of including cameras installed by various neighborhood associations in the DAC.
Documents we obtained also reveal the Uptown and downtown BIDs are building their own surveillance center, and have submitted a $30,000 grant application to the MetLife Foundation to fund it. At some future date these cameras are also to be linked into the DAC.
In an influential 2012 paper about police surveillance technologies, Georgetown University law professor Laura Donohue observed that surveillance advances like facial recognition, vehicle tracking, and networked video monitoring are altering the nature of American society. "What we are witnessing is a sea change in how we think about individuals in public space," Donohue wrote. While Oakland's elected officials and city staff struggle with how to regulate this sprawling surveillance project, abstract issues such as privacy and security have become immediate and concrete for many city residents.
But the courts, as Donohue noted, are decades behind the newly ubiquitous surveillance methods. In one recent case — US v. Jones — that bought the law partly up to speed, the DC Court of Appeals ruled that law enforcement officers violated the Constitution by placing GPS trackers on vehicles without warrants. (This ruling was later upheld by the US Supreme Court.) In the unanimous US v. Jones decision, DC Court of Appeals Justice Douglas Ginsberg wrote of the incredible power modern technology affords law enforcement: "A person who knows all of another's travels can deduce whether he is a weekly churchgoer, a heavy drinker, a regular at the gym, an unfaithful husband, an outpatient receiving medical treatment, an associate of particular individuals or political groups — and not just one fact about a person, but all such facts."
The DAC, if completed as it's currently designed, will make Judge Ginsberg's scenarios a reality in Oakland.
http://m.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/the-real-purpose-of-oaklands-surveillance-center/Content?oid=3789230&showFullText=true

Magda Hassan
12-21-2013, 03:01 AM
GCHQ and NSA targeted charities, Germans, Israeli PM and EU chief • Unicef and Médecins du Monde were on surveillance list
• Targets went well beyond potential criminals and terrorists
• Revelations could cause embarrassment at EU summit
Beta




James Ball (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/jamesball) and Nick Hopkins (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/nickhopkins)


The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian), Saturday 21 December 2013 07.06 AEST
Jump to comments (1119) (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/dec/20/gchq-targeted-aid-agencies-german-government-eu-commissioner#start-of-comments)

The details of GCHQ and NSA targets are the latest revelations from documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Photograph: Guardian

British and American intelligence agencies had a comprehensive list of surveillance (http://www.theguardian.com/world/surveillance) targets that included the EU's competition commissioner, German government buildings in Berlin and overseas, and the heads of institutions that provide humanitarian and financial help to Africa, top-secret documents reveal.
The papers show GCHQ (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/gchq), in collaboration with America's National Security Agency (NSA (http://www.theguardian.com/world/nsa)), was targeting organisations such as the United Nations (http://www.theguardian.com/world/unitednations) development programme, the UN's children's charity Unicef and Médecins du Monde (http://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/), a French organisation that provides doctors and medical volunteers to conflict zones. The head of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) also appears in the documents, along with text messages he sent to colleagues.
The latest disclosures will add to Washington's embarrassment after the heavy criticism of the NSA when it emerged that it had been tapping the mobile phone of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/23/us-monitored-angela-merkel-german).
One GCHQ document, drafted in January 2009, makes clear that the agencies were targeting an email address listed as belonging to another important American ally – the "Israeli prime minister". Ehud Olmert (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehud_Olmert) was in office at the time.
Three further Israeli targets appeared on GCHQ documents, including another email address understood to have been used to send messages between the then Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, and his chief of staff, Yoni Koren.
Prominent names that appear in the GCHQ documents include Joaquín Almunia (http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/almunia/), a Spaniard who is vice-president of the European commission (http://www.theguardian.com/world/european-commission) with responsibility for competition policy.
Britain's targeting of Germany (http://www.theguardian.com/world/germany) may also prove awkward for the prime minister, David Cameron: in October, he endorsed an EU statement (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/25/david-cameron-agrees-eu-concern-nsa-surveillance) condemning NSA spying on world leaders, including Merkel.
They have both been in Brussels, attending an EU summit that concludes on Friday.
The names and details are the latest revelations to come from documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. They provoked a furious reaction from the European commission, Almunia and others on the target lists.
• The commission said the disclosures "are unacceptable and deserve our strongest condemnation. This is not the type of behaviour that we expect from strategic partners, let alone from our own member states." Almunia said he was "very upset" to discover his name was on GCHQ documents.
• Leigh Daynes, UK executive director of Médecins du Monde, said he was "bewildered by these extraordinary allegations of secret surveillance. Our doctors, nurses and midwives are not a threat to national security. There is absolutely no reason for our operations to be secretly monitored."
• Another target, Nicolas Imboden, the head of an NGO that provides help to African countries, said the spying on him was "clearly economic espionage and politically motivated".
• Human Rights Watch, Privacy International and Big Brother Watch condemned the targeting.
• Labour said the committee that oversees GCHQ should be given extra powers.
The disclosures reflect the breadth of targets sought by the agencies, which goes far beyond the desire to intercept the communications of potential terrorists and criminals, or diplomats and officials from hostile countries. Asked about this activity, a spokesman for GCHQ said it was "longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters", but the official maintained the agency "takes its obligations under the law very seriously".
The new information is published after a joint investigation by the Guardian, the German news magazine Der Spiegel (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/snowden-documents-show-gchq-targeted-european-and-german-politicians-a-940135.html) and the New York Times. (http://www.nytimes.com/) According to documents, the targeting efforts involved programmes run from GCHQ's listening post near the small Cornish seaside resort of Bude. This is a key listening facility that receives substantial funding from the NSA to undertake shared transatlantic surveillance operations.
Among other activities, the base was tasked with monitoring satellite communications between Europe (http://www.theguardian.com/world/europe-news) and Africa, and the papers show that Bude tested the value of new "carriers" used by telecoms companies to judge whether they would be worth intercepting.
According to documents, dated from 2008 to 2011, a unit at Bude did this by testing samples of data to see whether surveillance targets already on GCHQ and NSA databases were making use of the new connections.
If GCHQ analysts identified a carrier they thought could be useful, they would be asked: "Can this carrier be tasked on collection system?"
Providing more permanent surveillance would often depend on whether GCHQ had suitable software and, if not, whether it was possible to upgrade systems to make it possible.
Almunia is in charge of major anti-monopoly investigations and approving mergers of companies with significant presence in the EU. He has been involved in a long-running investigation into Google over complaints about the company's alleged stranglehold on online advertising. He has also clashed with Google and Microsoft over privacy concerns and was prominent in the EU's response to the global financial crisis.
Surveillance on such a senior EU official with a major role in economic affairs is bound to alarm other European nations, and raise concerns as to whether intelligence produced from Almunia or others is shared with the US – the NSA has a number of personnel at the base in Bude and contributes millions of pounds to its budget. (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/aug/01/nsa-paid-gchq-spying-edward-snowden)
Another target was the French defence and logistics giant Thales Group (https://www.thalesgroup.com/en), which is part-owned by the French government.
In all, communications from more than 60 countries were targeted in this particular operation, with other names listed in the GCHQ documents including Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the current African Union-United Nations joint special representative for Darfur (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_Ibn_Chambas), as well as multiple African heads of state.
Imboden, from the non-profit Ideas Centre in Geneva, (http://www.ideascentre.ch/about-ideas/ideas-staff/) and Solomon Asamoah (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lO1VgYunP0), deputy head of the Africa Finance Corporation, also appeared on GCHQ's lists.
The documents do not give any insight into why GCHQ deemed them worthy of surveillance.
In 2009, Chambas was president of Ecowas. He had been closely involved in efforts to bring peace to Liberia, and GCHQ picked up text messages he sent while in the country to receive an award.
One message read: "Thanks Kwame. Glad to know all is well. Am in Liberia for receive National Award … inde celebration." A second added: "What machine gun sounds? Am in Gbanga former HQ of Charles Taylor …"
Offices operated by the UN development programme, which administers financial relief to poor nations, and of the World Health Organisation were also among listed targets.
The targeting of German government buildings may prove the biggest political headache for the UK. The documents show GCHQ targeting German government networks in Berlin, and official communications between Germany and Georgia and Germany and Turkey. Germany's embassy in Rwanda was also a target.
The papers seen by the Guardian do not disclose the extent of any surveillance or for how long any collection took place.
However, each individual or group had a specific ID number in the agency's "target knowledge base". This indicates they had been a deliberate target of surveillance efforts, rather than accidentally caught in a dragnet.
Unlike its US counterpart, GCHQ is entitled to engage in spying relating to economic matters, but only if it is linked to national security issues.
The 1994 Intelligence and Security Act says the agency can work "in the interests of national security, with particular reference to the defence and foreign policies of Her Majesty's government; in the interests of the economic wellbeing of the United Kingdom; and in support of the prevention and the detection of serious crime". However, critics have repeatedly called for a proper definition of "national security", and raised questions about what should be permitted to protect "economic wellbeing" beyond the need to help UK companies defend themselves against the theft of intellectual property or from cyber-attacks.
Documents show GCHQ has also been keen to break into global roaming exchanges (known as GRXs), which are centres that handle routing international mobile calls to the appropriate countries and phone networks. Belgacom, which Der Spiegel revealed this year was the victim of GCHQ hacking efforts, is one such international exchange.
One 2010 presentation referring to the agency's efforts against GRXs went on to note that "diplomatic targets from all nations have an MO [modus operandi] of using smartphones" and added the agency had "exploited this use at the G20 meetings last year". The Guardian in June revealed GCHQ had engaged in extensive surveillance efforts against G20 delegates (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/16/gchq-intercepted-communications-g20-summits) in 2009, including in order to secure advantages in trade talks and bilaterals.
On Monday, the Guardian, Der Spiegel and the New York Times jointly approached GCHQ for comment. The agency would not go into any details but said: "One of the purposes for which GCHQ may be authorised to intercept communications is where it is necessary for the purpose of safeguarding the economic wellbeing of the UK." However, the code of practice made clear this had to be "directly related to state security. Interception under this purpose is categorically not about industrial espionage."
The NSA said: "As we have previously said, we do not use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of – or give intelligence we collect to – US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line. The United States (http://www.theguardian.com/world/usa) collects foreign intelligence just as many other governments do.
"The intelligence community's efforts to understand economic systems and policies, and monitor anomalous economic activities, are critical to providing policymakers with the information they need to make informed decisions that are in the best interest of our national security. As the administration also announced several months ago, the US government is undertaking a review of our activities around the world – looking at, among other issues, how we co-ordinate with our closest allies and partners."

Magda Hassan
12-28-2013, 11:17 PM
Fight the Spies, Says Chaos Computer Club

By John Borland (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/author/john-borland/)
12.27.13
8:51 AM


Logo for the 30th Chaos Communication Congress

For years, hackers and programmers have laughed at big-screen portrayals of security agents accessing vast stores of data despite a lack of technological savvy.
This year, in the wake of ongoing revelations of surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) and others, the laughing stopped. As the 30th Chaos Communication Congress (http://events.ccc.de/category/30c3/) opened today in Hamburg, Germany, members of what is one of the world’s most prominent hacker and digital-civil-rights organizations warned that a “Hollywood” future of increasingly inescapable surveillance is becoming depressingly real.
“This year we found ourselves waking up from a bad dream, to a reality that was even worse,” said Tim Pritlove, one of the congress’s organizers. “We have woken to a reality that can no longer be ignored.”
So what to do? Keep sounding warnings? Engage in direct (technological) action? Organize? The message of this Chaos Communication Congress, taking place for the next four days in Hamburg, Germany, is that all three are more necessary than ever.
Founded in 1981, the Germany-based Chaos Computer Club (http://www.ccc.de/en/) (CCC) held its first congress in 1984, a non-coincidence of dates underscoring the then-small organization’s warnings of eroding privacy. The group has repeatedly made headlines over the years, exposing weaknesses in online networks and widely used software programs.
In 2008, the group acquired and publicized the fingerprints of Germany’s interior minister, demonstrating that they could be used to fool fingerprint readers. In 2011, it produced a widely reported analysis of a Trojan-horse software program used by the German police to wiretap internet telephony, noting that its capabilities went well beyond what had been approved by courts.
Prominently, Julian Assange attended the 2007 congress in Berlin to explain his WikiLeaks project, meeting Daniel Domscheit-Berg and others who would ultimately become key associates in the venture.
Much of this year’s conference will analyze the depth of current surveillance worldwide, and examine possible responses. Assange will be giving a talk calling on “hackers, sysadmins, developers and people of a technical persuasion” to organize against national surveillance programs. Glenn Greenwald, the reporter who has been instrumental in publicizing Edward Snowden’s revelations, will give a first-evening keynote. Other sessions will focus on privacy in China, India, and elsewhere.
“What we need to do now is reinvent the Net. We have to rethink the Net,” said Pritlove, opening the congress on Friday. “What we need is a new standards alliance. A force so strong that can at least slow the pace of global surveillance, and get some control back.”
Traditional security topics will also be a key focus, with talks on weaknesses in systems ranging from mobile-data networks to RFID-based apartment-door keys.
But the group is also adamant that hacking is an expression of art, play and community. Local CCC chapters and other programmers’ groups will share ongoing projects, as will artists using technological tools to provoke comment and confrontation. Workshops on lockpicking and Arduino will compete for attention with a sprawling system of makeshift pneumatic tubes snaking around the convention center.
Yet these parallel activities are increasingly intertwined, as surveillance chills artistic expression and as people must increasingly consider consequences to their online speech, contended Viennese artist lizvlx.
Anti-terror laws have already persuaded her own group (http://www.ubermorgen.com) – responsible for projects such as a vote-buying site for the 2000 U.S. elections, software that scanned Amazon’s search-inside-the-book feature to extract entire texts, and an “AnuScan” website parodying iris-scanning technology – to shift to anonymous work, when necessary.
“Self-censorship is going on online,” lizvlx said. “But we get used to this Facebook-speak, this Twitter-speak. Eventually the conversations we have in real life will mirror the ones we have online.”
CCC organizers said the fact that the group’s decades-old warnings have largely come true are call for renewed, organized action.
“From being a small group of nerds and geeks whose advice was mostly ignored, it all became a huge movement of people whose advice is still mostly ignored,” Pritlove said. “But if there’s one thing we’ve learned from the last year, it is that each of us can make a difference.”
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/12/fight-spies-says-chaos-computer-club/

Peter Lemkin
12-29-2013, 06:46 AM
deleted - double post.

Peter Lemkin
12-29-2013, 06:47 AM
Oakland's citywide surveillance system, the Domain Awareness Center, or DAC, gained national notoriety earlier this year when some city residents voiced strong concerns about the project's privacy and civil rights implications. City officials and supporters of the DAC have responded by contending that objections over privacy and civil rights issues are overblown and that the true purpose of the surveillance center is to help Oakland finally deal with its violent crime problem. But thousands of pages of emails, meeting minutes, and other public documents show that, behind closed doors, city staffers have not been focusing on how the DAC can lower Oakland's violent crime rate.

So what is the real purpose of the massive $10.9 million surveillance system? The records we examined show that the DAC is an open-ended project that would create a surveillance system that could watch the entire city and is designed to easily incorporate new high-tech features in the future. And one of the uses that has piqued the interest of city staffers is the deployment of the DAC to track political protesters and monitor large demonstrations.
Linda Lye, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, was alarmed when we showed her emails that revealed that the Oakland Police Department has already started using the DAC to keep tabs on people engaged in First Amendment activity. "The fact that the focus so far has been on political protests, rather than the violent crime that's impacting Oakland residents, is troubling, and telling about how the city plans to use the DAC," she said.
"Information is always fundamentally about control," she added. Once it's fully operational, the DAC will give Oakland officials an unprecedented ability to monitor peoples' movements, associations, and activities.
The Domain Awareness Center is being built in stages and will merge OPD's existing license-plate scanners and gunshot detectors with video feeds from hundreds of surveillance cameras — many already in place and some to be installed in the future by several different agencies throughout the city — into a central hub. Oakland police will monitor this "flood of data," as one DAC project presentation called it. Originally limited to monitoring the Port of Oakland, the DAC has since expanded to encompass the entire city.
The Oakland Privacy Working Group, an activist coalition opposed to the DAC, obtained thousands of pages of emails and other public records related to the project from the city via a California Public Records Act request. The privacy group then shared the documents — which cover the period from August 2012 through September 2013 — with us.
While the emails reveal a great deal about the DAC, they are also notable for what they do not talk about. Among the hundreds of messages sent and received by Oakland staffers and the city's contractor team responsible for building the DAC, there is no mention of robberies, shootings, or the 138 homicides that took place during the period of time covered by the records. City staffers do not discuss any studies pertaining to the use of surveillance cameras in combating crime, nor do they discuss how the Domain Awareness System could help OPD with its longstanding problems with solving violent crimes. In more than 3,000 pages of emails, the terms "murder," "homicide," "assault," "robbery," and "theft" are never mentioned.
The records also show that the Oakland City Council's attempt to rein in the features of the DAC that pose the most serious threats to civil liberties, and to craft a privacy and data retention policy, may be too little, too late. City staffers have apparently found a way to work around the intended policies of the council. Moreover, the documents reveal that, behind the scenes, the Oakland Police Department, despite its long and troubling record of violating people's civil rights, is in charge of designing the DAC and the policies that will govern its use.
Furthermore, records show that the DAC already has so-called "video analytic" capabilities. Video analytics include features like automated vehicle and pedestrian tracking, motion recognition, and a "virtual fence" that determines when people approach or attempt to breach fences surrounding Port of Oakland property. The documents also reveal that the DAC contractor, SAIC, now called Leidos Holdings, Inc., over-billed the City of Oakland by upwards of $160,000 by purchasing expensive software and gadgets that SAIC staff kept for themselves, and by filing invoices for work that wasn't done. Several Oakland staffers caught this and deducted the charges, but only after forcing SAIC to exhaustively account for labor, tools, and $94,000 in goods received for which there were no receipts provided.
It's unclear just how much of Oakland will be put under continuous, pervasive surveillance by OPD with the DAC, but internal city records show that plans to incorporate cameras inside Oakland's public schools and Oakland Housing Authority properties are very much alive. So, too, are plans to feed in surveillance footage from hundreds of other cameras already in place around the city through OPD's commercial camera lending program, local transit agencies, and a planned surveillance system the Downtown Oakland Association and the Lake Merritt Uptown District Association business improvement districts intend to build.
And cameras are just the beginning: Documents mention monitoring "social media," "web feeds," and "text messaging."
Large surveillance centers are becoming increasingly common nationwide: They now exist in New York City; Chicago; Baltimore; Washington, DC; and Hudson County, New Jersey. Political leaders typically contend that such centers are necessary to combat terrorist threats and reduce crime.
But Rajiv Shah, a professor of communication at the University of Illinois-Chicago who conducted a study on the efficacy of Chicago police's crime cameras, said surveillance systems aren't guaranteed to help police reduce crime. They do, however, serve political goals of looking tough on crime.


This is SO SINISTER! Oakland was the home of the Black Panthers [who the Police/FBI and others destroyed]; Oakland was the home of the largest and most effective OWS! Demonstrations; Oakland's Police are also under Court watch, as they have broken the laws so many times with Police overreach and abusive behaviors - but the Court seems to have allowed this one slip by. 1984 may have come and gone, but its here to stay unless we all fight against it. Orwell was as prophetic as our current situation is pathetic. ::face.palm::

Peter Lemkin
12-29-2013, 06:56 AM
You Tube has censored it, but you can see Alexa O'Brien's talk on Manning and his/her trial and its implications [given at the CCC meeting, mentioned above] HERE (http://meedogenloos.nl/2013/12/28/the-secret-trial-of-chelsea-manning/)

Magda Hassan
12-31-2013, 02:53 AM
Linking this here too.

https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?12869-Jacob-Applebaum-s-talk-at-the-Chaos-Communications-Congress#.UsIyg6G9o6I

Magda Hassan
12-31-2013, 05:06 AM
Glenn Greenwald: The NSA Can "Literally Watch Every Keystroke You Make"
download: Video (http://dncdn.dvlabs.com/ipod/dn2013-1230.mp4) Audio (http://traffic.libsyn.com/democracynow/dn2013-1230-1.mp3) Get CD/DVD (http://www.democracynow.org/gifts/dvds-cds/shows/2013/12/30#navigation) More Formats (http://www.democracynow.org/2013/12/30/stream)




Guests
Glenn Greenwald (http://www.democracynow.org/appearances/glenn_greenwald), is the journalist who first broke the story about Edward Snowden. He was previously a columnist at The Guardian newspaper and is creating a new media venture with Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

Jameel Jaffer (http://www.democracynow.org/appearances/jameel_jaffer), American Civil Liberties Union deputy legal director and director of its Center for Democracy.





The German publication Der Spiegel has revealed new details about a secretive hacking unit inside the National Security Agency called the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO. The unit was created in 1997 to hack into global communications traffic. Hackers inside the TAO have developed a way to break into computers running Microsoft Windows by gaining passive access to machines when users report program crashes to Microsoft. In addition, with help from the CIA and FBI, the NSA has the ability to intercept computers and other electronic accessories purchased online in order to secretly insert spyware and components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer and journalist Glenn Greenwald join us to discuss the latest revelations, along with the future of Edward Snowden.

Transcript This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we continue our conversation about the National Security Agency. On Sunday, the German publication Der Spiegel revealed (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-nsa-uses-powerful-toolbox-in-effort-to-spy-on-global-networks-a-940969.html) new details about secretive hacking—a secretive hacking unit inside the NSA called the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO. The unit was created in 1997 to hack into global communications traffic. Still with us, Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU, director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, and Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who first broke the story about Edward Snowden. Glenn, can you just talk about the revelations in Der Spiegel?
GLENN GREENWALD: Sure. I think everybody knows by now, or at least I hope they do after the last seven months reporting, that the goal of the NSA really is the elimination of privacy worldwide—not hyperbole, not metaphor, that’s literally their goal, is to make sure that all human communications that take place electronically are collected and then stored by the NSA and susceptible to being monitored and analyzed. But the specifics are still really important to illustrate just the scope and invasiveness and the dangers presented by this secret surveillance system.
And what the Der Spiegel article details is that one of the things that the NSA is really adept at doing is implanting in various machines—computers, laptops, even cellphones and the like—malware. And malware is essentially a program that allows the NSA, in the terminology that hackers use, to own the machine. So, no matter how much encryption you use, no matter how much you safeguard your communication with passwords and other things, this malware allows the NSA to literally watch every keystroke that you make, to get screen captures of what it is that you’re doing, to circumvent all forms of encryption and other barriers to your communications.
And one of the ways that they’re doing it is that they intercept products in transit, such as if you order a laptop or other forms of Internet routers or servers and the like, they intercept it in transit, open the box, implant the malware, factory-seal it and then send it back to the user. They also exploit weaknesses in Google and YouTube and Yahoo and other services, as well, in order to implant these devices. It’s unclear to what extent, if at all, the companies even know about it, let alone cooperate in it. But what is clear is that they’ve been able to compromise the physical machines themselves, so that it makes no difference what precautions you take in terms of safeguarding the sanctity of your online activity.
AMY GOODMAN: So, I mean, just to be really specific, you order a computer, and it’s coming UPS, or it’s coming FedEx, and they have it redirected to their own—you know, to the NSA, and they put in the malware, the spyware, and then send it on to you?
GLENN GREENWALD: Correct. That’s what the Der Spiegel report indicates, based on the documents that they’ve published. But we’ve actually been working, ourselves, on certain stories that should be published soon regarding similar interdiction efforts. And one of the things that I think is so amazing about this, Amy, is that the U.S. government has spent the last three or four years shrilly, vehemently warning the world that Chinese technology companies are unsafe to purchase products from, because they claim the Chinese government interdicts these products and installs surveillance, backdoors and other forms of malware onto the machinery so that when you get them, immediately your privacy is compromised. And they’ve actually driven Chinese firms out of the U.S. market and elsewhere with these kinds of accusations. Congress has convened committees to issue reports making these kind of accusations about Chinese companies. And yet, at the same time, the NSA is doing exactly that which they accuse these Chinese companies of doing. And there’s a real question, which is: Are these warnings designed to steer people away from purchasing Chinese products into the arms of the American industry so that the NSA’s ability to implant these devices becomes even greater, since now everybody is buying American products out of fear that they can no longer buy Chinese products because this will happen to them?
AMY GOODMAN: The story is reported by Jacob Appelbaum, Laura Poitras and a group of Der Spiegel reporters. Is this based, Glenn, on Edward Snowden’s revelations, the documents that he got out and shared with you and Laura Poitras?
GLENN GREENWALD: Der Spiegel doesn’t actually indicate the origin of the documents, so I’m going to go ahead and let them speak to that themselves. What I can tell you is that there are documents in the archive that was provided to us by Edward Snowden that detail similar programs. Whether these specific documents that Der Spiegel published come from them or from a different source is something I’m going to go ahead and let them address.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the beginning of this piece. "In January 2010, numerous homeowners in San Antonio, Texas, stood baffled in front of their closed garage doors." Take it from there, Glenn. Glenn, are you still with us? We may have just lost Glenn. I’ll just read a little more, until we reconnect with Glenn.
“In January 2010, numerous homeowners in San Antonio, Texas, stood baffled in front of their closed garage doors. They wanted to drive to work or head off to do their grocery shopping, but their garage door openers had gone dead, leaving them stranded. No matter how many times they pressed the buttons, the doors didn’t budge. The problem primarily affected residents in the western part of the city, around Military Drive and the interstate highway known as Loop 410.
“In the United States, a country of cars and commuters, the mysterious garage door problem quickly became an issue for local politicians. Ultimately, the municipal government solved the riddle. Fault for the error lay with the United States’ foreign intelligence service, the National Security Agency, which has offices in San Antonio. Officials at the agency were forced to admit that one of the NSA’s radio antennas was broadcasting at the same frequency as the garage door openers. Embarrassed officials at the intelligence agency promised to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, and soon the doors began opening again.
"It was thanks to the garage door opener episode that Texans learned just how far the NSA’s work had encroached upon their daily lives. For quite some time now, the intelligence agency has maintained a branch with around 2,000 employees at Lackland Air Force Base, also in San Antonio."
Jameel Jaffer, the significance of this, and the legality of what is happening here?
JAMEEL JAFFER: You know, I think that what bothers me most about these programs is the bulk aspect of it or the dragnet aspect of it. When the NSA has good reason to believe probable cause that a specific person is engaged in terrorism or something like that, it doesn’t bother me that much that the NSA is surveilling that person. I think that’s the NSA’s job. The problem with a lot of these programs is that they are not directed at people thought to be doing something wrong. They’re not directed at suspected terrorists or even suspected criminals. These programs are directed at everybody. Or, to say that a different way, they’re not directed at all. They’re indiscriminate.
And if you think about what the Fourth Amendment was meant to do, what the Constitution was meant to do, it was meant to ensure that the government couldn’t engage in surveillance without some reason. And all of this, all of this surveillance that the NSA is engaged in, essentially flips that on its head. It collects information about everybody in the hope that the surveillance will lead to suspicion about somebody. It’s supposed to be doing it the other way around, starting with the suspicion and then going to the search. It’s starting with the search and going to suspicion. And I think that that’s really, really dangerous, and it’s exactly what the Fourth Amendment was meant to prohibit.
AMY GOODMAN: You know, when it came to the judge’s decision recently, you have the judge that says that this is constitutional, but it followed the judge saying this is Orwellian and likely unconstitutional. Why the difference of opinion between these two judges?
JAMEEL JAFFER: Well, I think one judge got it right, and the other one got it wrong. I mean, I think that, you know, Judge Pauley—Judge Pauley was not very skeptical towards the government’s claims. The government made claims about the effectiveness of the program, about the necessity of the program, claims that were contradicted by information already in the public record, information put into the public record by government officials. And Judge Pauley nonetheless deferred to the government’s claims in court, which is a disappointment to us.
AMY GOODMAN: Let’s get back to Glenn Greenwald. Glenn, I just read the first couple of paragraphs of the piece in Der Spiegel about the garage doors that wouldn’t open because the garage door openers were actually operating on the same frequency of the NSA, which was really vastly expanding in San Antonio at the time. But could you take it from there? The significance of this and this Tailored Access Operations, this particular unit, and how significant it is?
GLENN GREENWALD: Yeah, one thing I think that it underscores, this was in a community that had no idea that there was this gargantuan NSA hacking unit that had sprawled up in its community, and it shows just the power of how much they’re doing, that they just simply shut down the electric devices of an entire community that didn’t know that they were even there.
But the TAO, the Tailored Access Operations unit, is really remarkable because the government, the U.S. government, has been warning for many years now about the dangers of hackers, both stateless hackers as well as state-sponsored hackers from China and from Iran and from elsewhere. And the reality is that nobody is as advanced or as prolific when it comes into hacking into computer networks, into computer systems, than the NSA. And TAO is basically a unit that is designed to cultivate the most advanced hacking operations and skills of any unit, any entity on the Earth. And so, yet again, what we find is that exactly the dangers about which the U.S. government is shrilly warning when it comes to other people, they’re actually doing themselves to a much greater and more menacing degree than anybody else is. And that’s the significance of this particular unit inside of the NSA, is they do all of the most malicious hacking techniques that hackers who have been prosecuted by this very same government do and much, much more.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about White Tamale, Glenn Greenwald.
GLENN GREENWALD: Well, I mean, I think that—you know, a lot of the—one of the good things about this particular story is that it was—the lead writer on it was Jake Appelbaum, who is, you know, one of the world’s leading experts when it comes to computer program. He’s the developer of the Tor Project, one of the developers of the Tor Project, which is designed to safeguard anonymity on online browsing, to make it impossible for hostile states to be able to trace where people are. And one of the things he did was take some very technical documents and translated it into a way that the public should be able to understand it.
And so, several of these programs, including White Tamale, are about insertions of malware into various forms of electronics. And he actually gave a speech this morning explaining some of this. And what he essentially said is that, with these programs, the government is able to literally control human beings through control of their machines. We hear all of this—these stories about the NSA being very targeted in the kinds of communications that they want to collect and store, and the types of people whom they’re targeting that are very specific and discriminating, and yet what several of these programs are, that are revealed by Der Spiegel, are highly sophisticated means for collecting everything that a user does, and it implicates the people with whom they’re communicating and a whole variety of other types of online activity in which they’re engaging.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to computer security researcher Jacob Appelbaum, who you were just talking about, who co-wrote the piece for Der Spiegel, who was speaking, as you just said, in Hamburg, Germany, at this conference, the Chaos Communication Congress.

JACOB APPELBAUM: Basically, their goal is to have total surveillance of everything that they are interested in. So there really is no boundary to what they want to do. There is only sometimes a boundary of what they are funded to be able to do and to the amount of things they’re able to do at scale. They seem to just do those things without thinking too much about it. And there are specific tactical things where they have to target a group or an individual, and those things seem limited either by budget or simply by their time.

And as we have released today on Der Spiegel's website, which it should be live—I just checked; it should be live for everyone here—we actually show a whole bunch of details about their budgets, as well as the individuals involved with the NSA and the Tailored Access Operations group, in terms of numbers. So it should give you a rough idea, showing that there was a small period of time in which the Internet was really free and we did not have people from the U.S. military that were watching over it and exploiting everyone on it, and now we see, every year, that the number of people who are hired to break into people's computers as part of grand operations, those people are growing day by day.
AMY GOODMAN: Also speaking in Hamburg, Germany, at the Chaos Communication Congress this weekend was WikiLeaks’ Sarah Harrison, who accompanied Edward Snowden to Russia and spent four months with him. She spoke after receiving a long standing ovation.

SARAH HARRISON: My name is Sarah Harrison, as you all appear to know. I’m a journalist working for WikiLeaks. This year I was part, as Jacob just said, of the WikiLeaks team that saved Snowden from a life in prison. This act in my job has meant that our legal advice is that I do not return to my home, the United Kingdom, due to the ongoing terrorism investigation there in relation to the movement of Edward Snowden documents. The U.K. government has chosen to define disclosing classified documents with an intent to influence government behavior as terrorism.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Sarah Harrison. Glenn Greenwald, talk more about her significance. She isn’t talked about as much, but she said at this conference that after leaving Russia, she’s now in Germany and cannot go back to England, where she lives, for fear of being arrested.
GLENN GREENWALD: Yeah, there’s a lot of people who debate WikiLeaks and the like, but there is no question that WikiLeaks deserves a huge amount of credit for the work they did in saving Edward Snowden from what probably would have been, certainly, ultimate detention by the authorities in Hong Kong, and then extradition or handing over to the United States, which would have put him in prison and silenced him, as Daniel Ellsberg said, pending a trial, and then almost certainly convicted him, given the oppressive laws that prevent whistleblowers who are charged with Espionage Act violations from raising the defense that what they did was justified and they were actually blowing the whistle and not engaged in espionage.
And the person at WikiLeaks who sacrificed the most and who was the most heroic was Sarah Harrison, who flew to Hong Kong, who met Snowden, who traveled with him to Moscow, who stayed with him for several months while first he was in the airport and then he was—he was getting acclimated to his life in Moscow. And not only did she give up those months of her life and put herself at risk, but she’s now in danger of not being able, as she just said in that clip, to return to her own home.
And the terrorism investigation that she was referencing is the one that has arisen and that the U.K. government is conducting in the context of its detention of my partner, David Miranda, at Heathrow Airport. And we’ve challenged that detention in court. And in response, the U.K. government has said, number one, they are conducting an investigation, a criminal investigation, under terrorism laws against him, against Laura Poitras and myself, and against anybody at The Guardian involved in the reporting of these stories. And that means that everybody implicated in the reporting of the story, which has caused a global debate around the world and worldwide reform, is now a suspect in a terrorism investigation. That is how radical and extreme the U.K. government, working in partnership with the U.S. government, has become. And every lawyer that Laura and I have talked to has said, "You should not, in any way, put yourself at risk of getting apprehended by the U.K. government." And obviously, as a British citizen, she is well advised not to return to the U.K., for the crime of working in a journalistic capacity to bring these stories to the world. And of all the criminals that we—of all the criminality that we’ve exposed in this case, I think the most egregious is the attempt by the U.S. and the U.K. government to convert journalism not only into crime and not only into espionage, but into actual terrorism. It’s a real menace to a free press in an ongoing way.
AMY GOODMAN: Glenn, you addressed this congress, the Chaos Congress in Hamburg, but you didn’t go. You did it by Skype or by some form of video communication. Do you feel you can travel to Europe? Do you feel you can travel to the United States?
GLENN GREENWALD: You know, there’s clearly risk for my doing either. I think the big risk—I mean, I would feel completely free to travel to a country like Germany. The problem is, is that Germany is in the EU, along with the U.K., and there are all kinds of laws and other conventions that govern the ability of the U.K. to claim that somebody has engaged in terrorism and then force other EU states to turn them over. And so, I have very good lawyers who are working to resolve all of these various risks, but every lawyer that I’ve spoken with over the past four months has said that "You would be well advised not to travel until these legal issues are resolved." Laura Poitras has gotten the same advice. Obviously, Sarah Harrison has gotten the same advice.
There are very genuine legal threats that are deliberately being hung over the heads of those of us who have worked on these stories and are continuing to work on these stories, in an attempt to intimidate us and deter us from continuing to report. It’s not going to work. We’re going to report as aggressively as if these threats didn’t exist. But their mere existence does provide all sorts of limitations, not only on us, but other journalists who now and in the future will work on similar stories. It is designed to create a climate of fear to squash a free press.
AMY GOODMAN: Former NSA director, General Michael Hayden, appeared on Face the Nation Sunday and accused Edward Snowden of being a traitor.

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: I used to say he was a defector, you know, and there’s a history of defection. Actually, there’s a history of defection to Moscow, and that he seems to be part of that stream. I’m now kind of drifting in the direction of perhaps more harsh language.

MAJOR ELLIOTT GARRETT: Such as?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: Such as "traitor." I mean—

MAJOR ELLIOTT GARRETT: Based on what?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: Well, in the past two weeks, in open letters to the German and the Brazilian government, he has offered to reveal more American secrets to those governments in return for something. And in return was for asylum. I think there’s an English word that describes selling American secrets to another government, and I do think it’s treason.
AMY GOODMAN: Hayden also responded to questions about the impact of Snowden’s revelations on the NSA. He was being interviewed by Major Garrett.

MAJOR ELLIOTT GARRETT: Is the NSA stronger or weaker as a result of Edward Snowden’s disclosures?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: It’s infinitely weaker.

MAJOR ELLIOTT GARRETT: Infinitely?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: Infinitely. This is the most serious hemorrhaging of American secrets in the history of American espionage. Look, we’ve had other spies. We can talk about Hanssen and Aldrich Ames, but their damage, as bad as it was, was fairly limited, even though in those—both of those cases, human beings actually lost their lives. But they were specific sources, all right? There’s a reason we call these leaks, all right? And if you extend the metaphor, Hanssen and Ames, you could argue whether that was a cup of water that was leaked or a bucket of water that was leaked. What Snowden is revealing, Major, is the plumbing. He’s revealing how we acquire this information. It will take years, if not decades, for us to return to the position that we had prior to his disclosures.
AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, I wanted you to respond to that and also the latest request by Edward Snowden to get asylum in, well, the country where you now live, in Brazil, and the significance of the debate, at least reported by The New York Times that’s going on within the intelligence community and the White House about whether Edward Snowden should possibly be granted amnesty.
GLENN GREENWALD: First of all, Michael Hayden, in that clip, as he so often does, just told outright lies. Just anyone who has any doubts should go read the letter that Edward Snowden wrote to the people of Brazil, as well as to the people of Germany, and compare it to what Michael Hayden lied and said that he actually did. He never offered to give documents in exchange for asylum or anything like that. He did the opposite. He has been repeatedly pursued by officials of both countries asking him to participate in the criminal investigations that they are conducting about spying on their citizens. And he was essentially writing a letter to say, "Unfortunately, I’m not able to help, even though I would like to help in any legal and appropriate way, because I don’t actually have permanent asylum anywhere, and the U.S. government is still trying to imprison me. And until my situation is more secure, I’m not able to help." He was writing a letter explaining why he can’t and won’t participate in those investigations, not offering anything in return for asylum or anything else like that.
Secondly, just let me make this point about the complete ignorance of Michael Hayden. He said in that clip that Edward Snowden should now be deemed to be a traitor because he’s engaged in treason by virtue of having offered asylum in exchange for documents. Let’s assume he really did do that. Go and look at what the Constitution defines treason as being. It is very clear. It says treason is the giving of aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States—the enemies of the United States. So, even if you want to believe Michael Hayden’s lie that Edward Snowden offered information and documents in exchange for asylum to Germany and Brazil, are Germany and Brazil enemies of the United States? It’s not treason even if you believe the lies of Michael Hayden.
Thirdly, I think the real question here is: Why do we even have to have the discussion of Edward Snowden needing amnesty and asylum from other countries or needing amnesty from the United States? What he did is not like Aldrich Ames or Hanssen or anybody else like that. He didn’t sell these documents to foreign adversary governments, as he could have, and lived the rest of his life extremely rich. He brought them to some of the leading journalistic organizations in the world and asked that they be published only in a way that will inform his fellow citizens and the rest of the world about what is being done to their privacy. It is classic whistleblowing behavior. And the real question is: Why are whistleblowers in the United States either prosecuted vindictively and extremely or forced to flee the country in order to avoid being in a cage for the rest of their life? That’s the real question.
And the final thing I want to say is, you know, all this talk about amnesty for Edward Snowden, and it’s so important that the rule of law be applied to him, it’s really quite amazing. Here’s Michael Hayden. He oversaw the illegal warrantless eavesdropping program implemented under the Bush administration. He oversaw torture and rendition as the head of the CIA. James Clapper lied to the face of Congress. These are felonies at least as bad, and I would say much worse, than anything Edward Snowden is accused of doing, and yet they’re not prosecuted. They’re free to appear on television programs. The United States government in Washington constantly gives amnesty to its highest officials, even when they commit the most egregious crimes. And yet the idea of amnesty for a whistleblower is considered radical and extreme. And that’s why a hardened felon like Michael Hayden is free to walk around on the street and is treated on American media outlets as though he’s some learned, wisdom-drenched elder statesman, rather than what he is, which is a chronic criminal.
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU is the legal adviser for Edward Snowden—Ben Wizner of the ACLU. What is going on behind the scenes right now? Is there a discussion between Snowden and the U.S. government around the issue of amnesty?
JAMEEL JAFFER: Well, I think that Edward Snowden has been very direct and very open about his intentions and what he wants from the U.S. government. He would like to come back to the United States. Obviously, he doesn’t want to come back under the conditions that are being offered right now.
I think that Michael Hayden’s statements were really irresponsible and outrageous. I mean, the idea that Edward Snowden has damaged national security is ludicrous. And it’s not that Edward Snowden has exposed just secrets of the NSA; he has exposed, as Glenn says, the lies of the NSA. James—the director of national intelligence, Mr. Clapper, testified to Congress that the NSA wasn’t collecting information about millions of Americans. It turns out that they were. The solicitor general told the Supreme Court that the NSA was providing notice to criminal defendants who had been surveilled. Turns out they weren’t. So it’s all these misrepresentations about the NSA’s activities that Edward Snowden has exposed, and I think that’s a great public service. I think it’s a travesty that Edward Snowden is in Russia. And we’re hopeful that he’ll be able to return to the United States, not in—not to face criminal charges, but rather with the kind of amnesty that he deserves.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you both for being with us, Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU, director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, and Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story about Edward Snowden, speaking to us from Brazil, now creating a new media venture with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill and eBay’s Pierre Omidyar.
This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. Tune in, by the way, to our New Year’s Day show, when we go through the major stories of 2013. Of course, the story about the NSA is top of the list. This is Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute.



http://www.democracynow.org/2013/12/30/glenn_greenwald_the_nsa_can_literally

Magda Hassan
01-01-2014, 06:45 AM
Sorry for letting them snoop? Dell apologizes for ‘inconvenience’ caused by NSA backdoor Published time: December 31, 2013 18:14 Get short URL (http://rt.com/usa/dell-appelbaum-30c3-apology-027/)

AFP Photo / Getty Images / Justin Sullivan




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Security researcher Jacob Appelbaum dropped a bombshell of sorts earlier this week when he accused American tech companies of placing government-friendly backdoors in their devices. Now Texas-based Dell Computers is offering an apology.
Or to put it more accurately, Dell told an irate customer on Monday that they “regret the inconvenience” caused by selling to the public for years a number of products that the intelligence community has been able to fully compromise in complete silence up until this week.
Dell, Apple, Western Digital and an array of other Silicon Valley-firms were all name-checked during Appelbaum’s hour-long presentation Monday at the thirtieth annual Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, Germany. As RT reported (http://rt.com/usa/appelbaum-30c3-nsa-snowden-986/) then, the 30-year-old hacker-cum-activist unveiled before the audience at the annual expo a collection of never-before published National Security Agency documents detailing how the NSA goes to great lengths to compromise the computers and systems of groups on its long list of adversaries.

Spreading viruses and malware to infect targets and eavesdrop on their communications is just one of the ways the United States’ spy firm conducts surveillance, Appelbaum said. Along with those exploits, he added, the NSA has been manually inserting microscopic computer chips into commercially available products and using custom-made devices like hacked USB cables to silently collect intelligence.
One of the most alarming methods of attack discussed during his address, however, comes as a result of all but certain collusion on the part of major United States tech companies. The NSA has information about vulnerabilities in products sold by the biggest names in the US computer industry, Appelbaum said, and at the drop off a hat the agency has the ability of launching any which type of attack to exploit the flaws in publically available products.
The NSA has knowledge pertaining to vulnerabilities in computer servers made by Dell and even Apple’s highly popular iPhone, among other devices, Appelbaum told his audience.
“Hey Dell, why is that?” Appelbaum asked. “Love to hear your statement about that.”
Equally as curious were Dave Waterson and Martijn Wismeijer — two IT experts who took to Twitter to express their outrage before Appelbaum’s lecture was even presented and preliminary information (http://rt.com/usa/nsa-top-unit-tao-954/) about the NSA leaks were published in an article he co-authored for Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine.
“NSA planet backdoors to access devices from Cisco, Dell, Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor and Samsung,” Waterson wrote in a tweet that linked to a CNET article from Sunday that quoted from Der Spiegel’s top-secret documents.
“Thanks,” Wismeijer wrote on Monday. “I just found out my Dell server has NSA bug in Rand BIOS,” he said of one critical component that’s easily exploited, according to Appelbaum.

@DavidLWaterson (https://twitter.com/DavidLWaterson) Thanks I just found out my #Dell (https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Dell&src=hash) server has #NSA (https://twitter.com/search?q=%23NSA&src=hash) bug in RAID Bios. @DellCares (https://twitter.com/DellCares) You obviously don't care about your customers!
— Martijn Wismeijer (@twiet) December 30, 2013 (https://twitter.com/twiet/statuses/417771446770098176)
TechDirt (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131230/17174425718/dells-twitter-account-apologizes-inconvenience-helping-nsa-place-hidden-bios-bug.shtml) reporter Mike Masnick noticed early Tuesday that Dell’s official customer service Twitter account opted to issue a cookie-cutter response that drips of insincerity.
“Thanks you for reaching out and regret the inconvenience,” the Dell account tweeted to Wismeijer. “Our colleagues at @DellCaresPro will be able to help you out.”
“Inconvenience? You got to be F*ckin kidding me!” Wismeijer responded. “You place an NSA bug in our servers and call it an inconvenience?”

@DellCares (https://twitter.com/DellCares) @dellcarespro (https://twitter.com/DellCaresPRO) Inconvenience? You got to be F*ckin kidding me! You place an NSA bug in our servers and call it an inconvenience?
— Martijn Wismeijer (@twiet) December 31, 2013 (https://twitter.com/twiet/statuses/417812596667191296)
“There are times when big brands with ‘social media people’ might want to teach those junior level employees to recognize that using one of the standard ‘scripted’ answers might be inappropriate,” opined Masnick.
Appelbaum didn’t leave Dell off the hook after revealing just that one exploit known to the NSA, however. Before concluding his presentation, he displayed a top-secret document in which the agency makes reference to a hardware implant that could be manually installed onto Dell PowerEdge servers to exploit the JTAG debugging interface on its processor — a critical circuitry component that apparently contains a vulnerability known to the US government.
“Why did Dell leave a JTAG debugging interface on these servers?” asked Appelbaum. “Because it’s like leaving a vulnerability in. Is that a bugdoor, or a backdoor or just a mistake? Well hopefully they will change these things or at least make it so that if you were to see this, you would know that you have some problems. Hopefully Dell will release some information about how to mitigate this advance persistent threat.”
Appelbaum also provoked Apple by acknowledging that the NSA boasts of being able to hack into any of their mobile devices running the iOS operating system.
“Either they have a huge collection of exploits that work against Apple products — meaning they are hoarding information about critical systems American companies product and sabotaging them — or Apple sabotages it themselves,” he said.
“Apple has never worked with the NSA to create a backdoor in any of our products, including iPhone,” the company responded through an official statement on Tuesday. “Whenever we hear about attempts to undermine Apple’s industry-leading security, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate steps to protect our customers. We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them.”
Meanwhile, other top-tier computer companies have already addressed Der Spiegel and Appelbaum’s allegations that they either colluded with the NSA or complied with the spy firm as they exploited vulnerabilities, known or unknown, in their own products. A representative for Microsoft told the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/30/nsa-windows_n_4520514.html) on Monday that their companies “does not provide any government with direct or unfettered access to our customer's data” and said the tech giant “would have significant concerns if the allegations about government actions are true," but a Washington, DC representative for Chinese company Huawei was more upfront when reached for comment by Wired (http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/12/nsa-cisco-huawei-china/) about any cooperation with the US government or other entities.
“We read the media reports, and we’ve noted the references to Huawei and our peers,” Huawei vice president William Plummer told Wired from the US capital. “As we have said, over and over again — and as now seems to be validated — threats to networks and data integrity can come from any and many sources.”
“Everything that the United States government accused the Chinese of doing — which they are also doing, I believe — we are learning that the United States government has been doing to American companies,” Appelbaum said towards the end of Monday’s presentation. “That to me is really concerning and we’ve had no public debate about these issues.”
http://rt.com/usa/dell-appelbaum-30c3-apology-027/

Peter Lemkin
01-01-2014, 08:30 AM
Apple Says It Has Never Worked With NSA To Create iPhone Backdoors, Is Unaware Of Alleged DROPOUTJEEP Snooping Program

Posted 15 hours ago by Matthew Panzarino (http://techcrunch.com/author/matthew-panzarino/) (@panzer (http://twitter.com/panzer))










(http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/31/bittorrent-act-of-killing/)http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/kmnskt3.jpg?w=300&h=296Apple has contacted TechCrunch with a statement about the DROPOUTJEEP NSA program that detailed a system by which the organization claimed it could snoop on iPhone users.
Apple says that it has never worked with the NSA to create any ‘backdoors’ that would allow that kind of monitoring, and that it was unaware of any programs to do so.
Here is the full statement from Apple:
Apple has never worked with the NSA to create a backdoor in any of our products, including iPhone. Additionally, we have been unaware of this alleged NSA program targeting our products. We care deeply about our customers’ privacy and security. Our team is continuously working to make our products even more secure, and we make it easy for customers to keep their software up to date with the latest advancements. Whenever we hear about attempts to undermine Apple’s industry-leading security, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate steps to protect our customers. We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them.

The statement is a response to a report in Der Spiegel (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-nsa-uses-powerful-toolbox-in-effort-to-spy-on-global-networks-a-940969.html) Sunday that detailed a Tailored Access Operations (TAO) unit within the NSA that is tasked with gaining access to foreign computer systems in order to retrieve data to protect national security. The report also pointed out a division called ANT that was set up to compile information about hacking consumer electronics, networking systems and more.
The story detailed dozens of devices and methods, including prices for deployment, in a catalogue that could be used by the NSA to pick and choose the tools it needed for snooping. The 50-page catalog included a variety of hacking tools that targeted laptops and mobile phones and other consumer devices. Der Spiegel said that these programs were evidence that the NSA had ‘backdoors’ into computing devices (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/catalog-reveals-nsa-has-back-doors-for-numerous-devices-a-940994.html) that many consumers use.
Among these options was a program called DROPOUTJEEP — a program by which the NSA could theoretically snoop on ‘any’ Apple iPhone with ’100% success’. The documents were dated 2008, implying that these methods were for older devices. Still, the program’s detailed capabilities are worrisome.
Researcher and hacker Jacob Applebaum — the co-author of the articles, coinciding with a speech he gave at a conference about the programs — pointed out that the ’100% success rate’ claimed by the NSA was worrisome as it implied cooperation by Apple. The statement from the company appears to preclude that cooperation.
http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/dropoutjeep.jpg?w=494&h=640
The program detail indicated that the NSA needed physical access to the devices at the time that the documents were published. It does note that they were working on ‘remote installation capability’ but there’s no indication whether that was actually successful. The program’s other options included physical interdiction of devices like laptops to install snooping devices — but there have been security advances like hardware encryption in recent iPhone models that would make modification of devices much more difficult.
Early reports of the DROPOUTJEEP program made it appear as if every iPhone user was vulnerable to this — which simply can’t be the case. Physical access to a device was required which would preclude the NSA from simply ‘flipping a switch’ to snoop on any user. And Apple patches security holes with every version of iOS. The high adoption rate of new versions of iOS also means that those patches are delivered to users very quickly and on a large scale.
The jailbreak community, for instance, knows that once a vulnerability has been used to open up the iPhone’s file system for modification, it’s been ‘burned’ and will likely be patched by Apple quickly. And the process of jailbreaking fits the profile of the capabilities the NSA was detailing in its slide.
Applebaum’s talk at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0w36GAyZIA#t=2672) walked listeners through a variety of the programs including DROPOUTJEEP. He noted that the claims detailed in the slide indicated that either Apple was working with the NSA to give them a backdoor, or the NSA was just leveraging software vulnerabilities to create its own access. The Apple statement appears to clear that up — pointing to vulnerabilities in older versions of iOS that have likely since been corrected.
I do also find it interesting that Apple’s statement uses extremely strong wording in response to the NSA program. “We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks,” the statement reads, “regardless of who’s behind them.”
Lumping the program in with ‘malicious hackers’ certainly makes a clear point. This year has been an eventful one for NSA spying program revelations. Apple joined a host of large companies (http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/06/google-facebook-apple-deny-participation-in-nsa-prism-program/) that denied that they had been willing participants in the PRISM data collection system — but later revelations of the MUSCULAR program (http://techcrunch.com/2013/10/30/nsa-infiltrates-google-and-yahoo-networks-report-says/) indicated that the NSA could get its hands on data by monitoring internal company server communications anyway. This spurred targets like Google and Yahoo to implement internal encryption.
Last month, Apple released its first ever report on government information requests, detailing the number of times domestic and foreign governments had asked it for user information. At the time, it also filed a suit with the U.S. Government (http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/05/apple-publishes-first-report-of-information-requests-files-with-u-s-government-for-more-transparency/) to allow it to be more transparent about the number and frequency of those requests. It also began employing a ‘warrant canary’ to warn users of future compliance with Patriot Act information requests (http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/05/apple-slips-in-warrant-canary-to-warn-users-of-future-compliance-with-patriot-act-section-215-information-requests/).
Most recently, Apple joined AOL, Yahoo, Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Google and Facebook inrequesting global government surveillance reform (http://reformgovernmentsurveillance.com/) with an open letter. Though the NSA is located in the United States and these programs were largely designed to target ‘foreign threats’, these companies have a global customer base — making protecting user privacy abroad as well as at home just as important.

Magda Hassan
01-01-2014, 09:42 AM
Apple Says It Has Never Worked With NSA To Create iPhone Backdoors, Is Unaware Of Alleged DROPOUTJEEP Snooping Program



But they would say that wouldn't they?

David Guyatt
01-01-2014, 09:48 AM
Reading Apple's statement left me with the sense that it was very light on outrage or shock, but heavy on company PR speak and twaddle.

Basically, I find them disbelieve-able.

Peter Lemkin
01-01-2014, 09:51 AM
Apple Says It Has Never Worked With NSA To Create iPhone Backdoors, Is Unaware Of Alleged DROPOUTJEEP Snooping Program



But they would say that wouldn't they?

To say otherwise would guarantee a court battle royale [Imagine the monetary damages of a class-action lawsuit involving every iPhone user!] - I still think they'll get one...but they are manning the barricades now. Stonewalling. Many a once mighty intel company and/or manufacturer might soon fall due to Snowden, Appelbaum et al.::beammeup:: The bigger they are, the harder they fall!

Magda Hassan
01-01-2014, 09:57 AM
To say otherwise would guarantee a court battle royale [Imagine the monetary damages of a class-action lawsuit involving every iPhone user!] - I still think they'll get one...but they are manning the barricades now. Stonewalling. ::beammeup::
They'll both happily cover for each other like criminals giving each other alibis. Neither one of them want their respective grand scams blown to smithereens. The show must go on.

Peter Lemkin
01-01-2014, 10:24 AM
2013 in Review: The Year the NSA Finally Admitted Its "Collect It All" Strategy


https://www.eff.org/files/2013/12/24/nsa-action-1.png (https://action.eff.org/o/9042/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=9437)As the year draws to a close, EFF is looking back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2013 and discussing where we are in the fight for free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. Click here (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/12/2013-review) to read other blog posts in this series.
There is probably no bigger story in 2013 than that the American people having learned about the secret mass spying programs of the National Security Agency (NSA).
While prior to 2013 the NSA's public line was that it was forbidden from spying on Americans in America, but with the Snowden revelations (and help from a wide range of journalists and technologists that helped explain them) the NSA was forced to admit that it secretly expanded its mandate from limited surveillance of specific foreign intelligence targets to a massive "collect it all" strategy where its goal is to ensure that no communication in the world is ever truly private or secure.
With this, EFF’s long running lawsuit (https://www.eff.org/cases/jewel) against key parts of NSA spying came to life, we launchedanother (https://www.eff.org/cases/first-unitarian-church-los-angeles-v-nsa), and both the U.S. (https://optin.stopwatching.us/) and the entire world (https://necessaryandproportionate.org/take-action/digiges) finally began discussing whether we want to live in a world of general warrants and always-on surveillance or whether we want to regain our basic privacy, rule of law, and freedom of association.
Here’s just some of what we’ve learned, or had confirmed, in 2013:


The NSA collects virtually every phone call record in the United States—that’s who you call, who calls you, when, for how long, and sometimes where. (Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order))



The NSA "is harvesting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world, many of them belonging to Americans." (Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-collects-millions-of-e-mail-address-books-globally/2013/10/14/8e58b5be-34f9-11e3-80c6-7e6dd8d22d8f_story.html))



The NSA is collecting "communications on fiber cables and infrastructure as data flows past," as part of what it calls "upstream" collection, including content and metadata of emails, web activity, chats, social networks, and everything else. (Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/prism-collection-documents/))



The NSA "is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans’ e-mail and text communications into and out of the country." (New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/08/us/broader-sifting-of-data-abroad-is-seen-by-nsa.html?_r=0))



The NSA "is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day (http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/world/what-is-fascia/637/) on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world." (Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-tracking-cellphone-locations-worldwide-snowden-documents-show/2013/12/04/5492873a-5cf2-11e3-bc56-c6ca94801fac_story.html))



NSA "is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age." (New York Times and Pro Publica (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/06/us/nsa-foils-much-internet-encryption.html))
NS "has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world" and has "positioned itself to collect at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans." (Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-infiltrates-links-to-yahoo-google-data-centers-worldwide-snowden-documents-say/2013/10/30/e51d661e-4166-11e3-8b74-d89d714ca4dd_story.html))
NSA has "has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches." (Washington Post)
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/26/nsa-porn-muslims_n_4346128.html)
NSA "is secretly piggybacking on the tools that enable Internet advertisers to track consumers, using "cookies" and location data to pinpoint targets for government hacking and to bolster surveillance." (Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/12/10/nsa-uses-google-cookies-to-pinpoint-targets-for-hacking/))
NSA "officers on several occasions have channeled their agency’s enormous eavesdropping power to spy on love interests." (Wall Street Journal (http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/08/23/nsa-officers-sometimes-spy-on-love-interests/))
NSA and GHCQ spied on online games, including World or Warcraft and Second Life. (ProPublica) (https://www.propublica.org/article/world-of-spycraft-intelligence-agencies-spied-in-online-games)

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/12/2013-year-nsas-collect-it-all-strategy-was-revealed

Magda Hassan
01-01-2014, 12:36 PM
Dogbert's Blog (http://dogber1.blogspot.com.au/)




























Saturday, May 2, 2009 BIOS Password Backdoors in Laptops
Synopsis: The mechanics of BIOS password locks present in current generation laptops are briefly outlined. Trivial mechanisms have been put in place by most vendors to bypass such passwords, rendering the protection void. A set of master password generators and hands-on instructions are given to disable BIOS passwords.

When a laptop is locked with password, a checksum of that password is stored to a so-called FlashROM - this is a chip on the mainboard of the device which also contains the BIOS code and other settings, e.g. memory timings.

For most brands, this checksum is displayed after entering an invalid password for the third time:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_604p76kcyOM/S3RWppVbxbI/AAAAAAAAABs/rRiLgRSbF_A/s320/systemdisabled2.JPG (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_604p76kcyOM/S3RWppVbxbI/AAAAAAAAABs/rRiLgRSbF_A/s1600-h/systemdisabled2.JPG)
The dramatic 'System Disabled' message is just scare tactics: when you remove all power from the laptop and reboot it, it will work just as before. From such a checksum (also called "hash"), valid passwords can be found by means of brute-forcing.

The bypass mechanisms of other vendors work by showing a number to the user from which a master password can be derived. This password is usually a sequence of numbers generated randomly.

Some vendors resort to storing the password in plain text onto the FlashROM, and instead of printing out just a checksum, an encrypted version of the password is shown.

Other vendors just derive the master password from the serial number. Either way, my scripts can be used to get valid passwords.

A few vendors have implemented obfuscation measures to hide the hash from the end user - for instance, some FSI laptops require you to enter three special passwords for the hash to show up (e.g. "3hqgo3 jqw534 0qww294e", "enable master password" shifted one up/left on the keyboard). Some HP/Compaq laptops only show the hash if the F2 or F12 key has been pressed prior to entering an invalid password for the last time.

Depending on the "format" of the number code/hash (e.g. whether only numbers or both numbers and letters are used, whether it contains dashes, etc.), you need to choose the right script - it is mostly just a matter of trying all of them and finding the one that fits your laptop. It does not matter on what machine the script are executed, i.e. there is no reason to run them on the locked laptop.
This is an overview of the algorithms that I looked at so far:



Vendor
Hash Encoding
Example of Hash Code/Serial
Scripts


Compaq
5 decimal digits
12345
pwgen-5dec.py (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-5dec.py)
Windows binary (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-5dec.zip)


Dell
serial number
1234567-595B
1234567-D35B
1234567-2A7B

Windows binary&source (http://flashmirrors.com/files/0syogdbug5nsgih/dell_595b_2a7b_keygen.zip)


Fujitsu-Siemens
5 decimal digits
12345
pwgen-5dec.py (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-5dec.py)
Windows binary (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-5dec.zip)


Fujitsu-Siemens
8 hexadecimal digits
DEADBEEF
pwgen-fsi-hex.py (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-fsi-hex.py)
Windows binary (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-fsi-hex.zip)


Fujitsu-Siemens
5x4 hexadecimal digits
AAAA-BBBB-CCCC-DEAD-BEEF
pwgen-fsi-hex.py (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-fsi-hex.py)
(http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-fsi-hex.zip)Windows binary (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-fsi-hex.zip)


Fujitsu-Siemens
5x4 decimal digits
1234-4321-1234-4321-1234
pwgen-fsi-5x4dec.py (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-fsi-5x4dec.py)
Windows binary (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-fsi-5x4dec.zip)


Hewlett-Packard
5 decimal digits
12345
pwgen-5dec.py (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-5dec.py)
Windows binary (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-5dec.zip)


Hewlett-Packard/Compaq Netbooks
10 characters
CNU1234ABC
pwgen-hpmini.py (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-hpmini.py)
Windows binary (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-hpmini.zip)


Insyde H20 (generic)
8 decimal digits
03133610
pwgen-insyde.py (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-insyde.py)
Windows binary (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-insyde.zip)


Phoenix (generic)
5 decimal digits
12345
pwgen-5dec.py (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-5dec.py)
Windows binary (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-5dec.zip)


Sony
7 digit serial number
1234567
pwgen-sony-serial.py (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-sony-serial.py)
Windows binary (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-sony-serial.zip)


Samsung
12 hexadecimal digits
07088120410C0000
pwgen-samsung.py (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-samsung.py)
Windows binary (http://sites.google.com/site/dogber1/blag/pwgen-samsung.zip)




The .NET runtime libraries are required for running the Windows binary files (extension .exe). If the binary files (.exe) don't work out for you, install Python 2.6 (http://www.python.org/download/releases/2.6/) (not 3.x) and run the .py script directly by double-clicking them. Make sure that you correctly read each letter (e.g. number '1' vs letter 'l').

Вячеслав Бачериков has also converted my scripts to javascript so you can calculate the passwords with your browser: http://bios-pw.org/ (sources (https://github.com/bacher09/pwgen-for-bios)).

Please leave a comment below on what make/model the scripts work. Also, be aware that some vendors use different schemes for master passwords that require hardware to be reset - among them are e.g. IBM/Lenovo. If you find that your laptop does not display a hash or the scripts do not work for you for whatever reason, try to:


use a USB keyboard for entering the password for avoiding potential defects of the built-in keyboard,
run CmosPwd (http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/CmosPwd) to remove the password if you can still boot the machine,
overwrite the BIOS using the emergency recovery procedures. Usually, the emergency flash code is activated by pressing a certain key combination while powering on the machine. You also need a specially prepared USB memory stick containing the BIOS binary. The details are very much dependent on your particular model. Also, be aware that this can potentially brick your device and should only be done as a last measure.
Some dell service tags are missing the suffix - just try the passwords for all suffices by adding -595B, -2A7B and -D35B to your service tags.
The passwords for some HP laptops are breakable with this script (http://code.google.com/p/hp-bios-password-cracker/).
Unlocking methods for some Toshiba laptops are described here (http://www.laptop-repair.info/toshiba_bios_password.html).
Some older laptop models have service manuals that specify a location of a jumper / solder bridge that can be set for removing the password.


If none of the above methods work, please use the vendor support. Please understand that my motivation for reverse-engineering comes from a personal interest - I will not accept offers to look at the specifics of certain models.

http://dogber1.blogspot.com.au/2009/05/table-of-reverse-engineered-bios.html

Peter Lemkin
01-01-2014, 03:59 PM
A History of 'Fear' By Joe Lauria (http://www.opednews.com/author/author16373.html)


1/1/14





(http://www.opednews.com/author/author16373.html)













http://www.opednews.com/populum/cachedimages/s_500_opednews_com_0_nsa-hq-jpg_16373_20131230-837.gif
NSA Headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland






By Joe Lauria



Despite the deep embarrassment and outrage caused by continuing revelations of the National Security Agency's abuse of power, meaningful reform is unlikely because at heart the Edward Snowden story is about money - and political power. And Snowden has threatened both.


President Obama is considering adopting some NSA reforms recommended by a White House panel. But don't bet on him going too far.


Federal District Court Judge Richard Leon's ruling that the controversial NSA programs are "almost Orwellian" and may be unconstitutional was as encouraging as the judge in the ACLU case was discouraging. Most telling in Leon's judgement was his statement that the abusive NSA practices have not stopped (http://http//investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/12/20/21975158-nsa-program-stopped-no-terror-attacks-says-white-house-panel-member?lite) one terrorist attack. But don't count on the government to suddenly start telling the truth about the real level of the terrorist threat.


False fear is what their operation is built on. If the disturbing NSA programs are ultimately judged unjustified and unconstitutional and have to be shut down or curtailed, billions of dollars in contracts and careers would be at stake. And that's why the government will continue to exaggerate the terrorism threat while pursuing Snowden.


It is the government's last line of defense: that the NSA must do these things to protect the American people from what is really a minimal threat. "National security" is the justification to collect every American's phone records, emails and Internet traffic and millions of other people's around the globe.


But is it the nation's security Snowden has risked, or the interests of a relatively few wealthy and powerful contractors and government officials? Terrorism exists. But are false fears of a rare attack whipped up to link those powerful interests with the entire population's to win their support for programs that protect wealth and power from the American public and the elites of other nations?


First there was the color-coded terror alerts. Obama did away with that. But we still take our shoes off at the airport and get x-rayed. Tom Ridge, the first Homeland Security chief, said he was pressured (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/32501273/#.UdEVyD7475E) (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/32501273/#.UdEVyD7475E) to raise the terrorism alert for political reasons. He ran an entirely new $40 billion-a-year department, with its own security force and private contracts, created because of a single major attack.


When Boston was hit - only the second significant attack in decades - paramilitary police terrorized the whole city, marching innocent people out of their homes at gunpoint. Many of what the government trumpets as disrupted plots over the past few years have been actually engineered by FBI informants, (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/08/fbi-terrorist-informants) stoking more unnecessary fear. And politicians, law enforcement and the media constantly chatter about terrorism, as if the next attack could happen any minute.


A device goes off every day in Iraq, Pakistan and Syria. Britain endured an IRA bombing campaign. But there's nothing like that in the U.S. In fact you are nine times (http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/04/calm-down-you-are-more-likely-to-be-killed-by-mundane-things-than-terrorism/)more likely (http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/04/calm-down-you-are-more-likely-to-be-killed-by-mundane-things-than-terrorism/) to choke to death, eight times more likely to be killed by a cop, 1,048 times more likely to die in a car crash and 87 times more likely to drown than die in a terrorist attack.


Put another way, your risk of dying from a fireworks accident is 1 in 652,046. The risk from dying from terrorism is 14 times smaller. The State Department says only 17 Americans (http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2011/195556.htm) were killed by terrorists in 2011, and that includes in Iraq and Afghanistan.


A History of Hype


Hyping fear that results in profit and political power unfortunately has a long history in the United States. Mass hysteria against imagined threats for the gain of a few is ingrained in American culture.


Playwright Arthur Miller criticized the anti-communist hype of McCarthyism in The Crucible, showing that orchestrated fear about phantom threats in order to benefit a select group of people reaches back to America's Puritan past.


To get the people behind a war that was of no concern to them but instead to a powerful and wealthy few, President Woodrow Wilson created the Creel Committee. It was a propaganda ministry that became the precursor of modern public relations. It whipped up American fear and hatred of Germans and anyone who opposed the war.


Wilson's repressive 1918 Seditions Act then made it a crime to use "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the government, the flag or armed services during World War I.


As Brigadier General Smedley Butler said about the First World War: "Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to die. This was the 'war to end wars.' This was the 'war to make the world safe for democracy.' No one told them that dollars and cents were the real reasons. No one mentioned to them, as they marched away, that their going and their dying would mean huge war profits." About American motives for entering the war, Butler said:


"The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve per cent. But wartime profits -- ah! that is another matter -- twenty, sixty, one hundred three hundred, and even eighteen hundred percent -- the sky is the limit. All the traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let's get it. Of course, it isn't put that crudely in wartime. It is dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of country, and 'we must all put our shoulder to the wheel,' but the profits jump and leap and skyrocket -- and are safely pocketed."


Butler said the du Pont's average 1910-1914 profit of $6 million a year soared to $58 million a year from 1914 to 1918. "Take one of our little steel companies that so patriotically shunted aside the making of rails and girders and bridges to manufacture war materials," he wrote (http://russellcounty.net/archives.php?subaction=showfull&id=1300116352&archive=1312234999&start_from=&ucat=2&) of Bethlehem Steel, whose average annual profits soared from $6 million to $49 million. Profits soared for a host of other industries, feasting on the taxpayers.


After the Second World War, careers were built on the same kind of hysteria about communism that we are now seeing about terrorism. The Soviet Union was devastated by the war. Yet U.S. administrations inflated Moscow's military capabilities to get more military spending from Congress. That enriched a military industry that had pulled the U.S. out of the Depression.


Once the war was over the economy tanked again and there was widespread fear of a new Depression. Overblowing the Soviet threat saved the aircraft industry and military spending jumpstarted the post-war economy.


To build up this new, lucrative national security state, Truman instituted the first peacetime draft and transformed the Executive Branch, giving it much more power than the Constitution intended. In July 1947, Truman changed the country probably for good by signing the National Security Act. It set up the Defense Department, the National Security Council and the CIA. In 1952 he wrote a classified letter establishing the NSA.


A phony "missile gap," with the Soviets, bogus claims to Congress admitted by Gen. Lucius Clay that Moscow was planning war, and McCarthy's communist witch hunt were among the tactics used. They cemented the surveillance state at home and Cold War abroad, both yielding power for politicians and profits for military contractors.


With the end of the Cold War, the exaggerated terrorist threat became a convenient replacement for the Soviet Union. False fears of Saddam Hussein's links to the 9/11 attack whipped up support for the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq, which also did not threaten the U.S., creating a boondoggle for a plethora of new military contractors.


We saw hysterical attacks on French culture -- including pouring wine down sewers - hyped by the news media because France opposed the war.


Tragedy and Shame of Our Time


James Bamford, the country's most experienced writer on the National Security Agency, points out that when you drive down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway past Fort Meade, behind the trees on your right is the vast campus of the NSA. But across the street on your left are the offices of the handful of private-sector contractors that have a made a bundle off the so-called War on Terror.


An estimated 80 percent of the NSA's approximate $10 billion annual budget goes to these contractors. Personnel changes hands too. James Clapper, the current director of national intelligence, was an executive at Snowden's former employer, Booz Allen Hamilton. Mike McConnell left Booz Allen to be the first DNI and then returned to it after he left government. Ex-CIA director James Woolsey works at the firm. The company is owned by the Carlyle Group, one of the biggest military contractors. Their incomes depend on the programs Snowden is exposing.


It is no surprise then, that Woolsey was quoted as saying (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/12/17/ex-cia-director-snowden-should-be-hanged-if-convicted-for-treason/): "I think giving him amnesty is idiotic. He should be prosecuted for treason. If convicted by a jury of his peers, he should be hanged by the neck until he is dead."


That stretch of the Parkway and a collection of military contractors near the Pentagon in northern Virginia form the nexus of the military- industrial cooperation fueled by exaggerated fear that President Dwight Eisenhower warned could threaten American democracy.


Less well known is President Truman's astounding admission. The man who was as responsible as anyone for hyping the Cold War wrote (http://books.google.com/books?ei=ia_BUpzdCIzJsQTNrIGIDg&id=GWoLAQAAIAAJ&dq=Memoirs+Harry+Truman&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=professional+patriots) after reflecting on his life:


"The demagogues, crackpots and professional patriots had a field day pumping fear into the American people. ... Many good people actually believed that we were in imminent danger of being taken over by the Communists and that our government in Washington was Communist riddled. So widespread was this campaign that it seemed no one would be safe from attack. This was the tragedy and shame of our time."


The Soviet Union at least had a massive standing army and a nuclear arsenal. It fought proxy wars with the U.S., mostly in Africa and Asia. Terrorists do not have such capabilities.


Yet the government and established media (there are media careers at stake too, evidenced by the attacks on Glenn Greenwald) hammer into us that terrorists pose an existential threat to the United States and that unconstitutional surveillance and perpetual war are therefore justified.


The rare public figure will admit the hype. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, testified (http://www.globalresearch.ca/zbigniew-brzezinski-transcript-of-testimony-to-the-senate-foreign-relations-committee/4921) to Congress in 2007 that it was a "simplistic and demagogic narrative" to compare the threat of Islamist terrorism to either Nazism or Stalinism. "Most Muslims are not embracing Islamic fundamentalism;" he said, "al Qaeda is an isolated fundamentalist Islamist aberration."


A more realistic danger than terrorism to Americans is other Americans with guns. There are nearly 3,000 deaths by gunfire every month in the United States. That is one 9/11 every 30 days. Yet terrorism is hyped and gun violence is explained away.


That's because of money too. As the bodies from Columbine, Aurora and Newtown pile up, the gun manufacturer's lobby, the National Rifle Association, plays down the role of guns because it is bad for business.


Orchestrated 'Plots'


NSA director General Keith Alexander says (http://www.propublica.org/article/claim-on-attacks-thwarted-by-nsa-spreads-despite-lack-of-evidence) the reason there are so few terrorists attacks is due to the very NSA programs Snowden has exposed. He testified before Judge Leon's ruling that at least 50 terrorist plots have been disrupted since 9/11 because of NSA surveillance. Alexander gave details only about a handful. What isn't known is how many of these plots were actually FBI sting operations, initiated and carried out by the feds using informants.


As Federal Judge Colleen McMahon said about one of these stings: "The essence of what occurred here is that a government, understandably zealous to protect its citizens from terrorism, came upon a man [the supposed terrorism ringleader] both bigoted and suggestible, one who was incapable of committing an act of terrorism on his own. ...


"It [the F.B.I.] created acts of terrorism out of his fantasies of bravado and bigotry, and then made those fantasies come true. ... The government did not have to infiltrate and foil some nefarious plot - there was no nefarious plot to foil."


Having covered Susan Rice when she was U.S. ambassador at the U.N. since 2009, I asked her through her spokesman the following question as she prepared to leave to become National Security Advisor last summer:


"A country like Pakistan suffers a terrorist attack nearly every day but terrorism inside the U.S. has fortunately been very rare before and after 9/11. Do you believe the U.S. exaggerates the threat of terrorism, which has justified controversial NSA programs, and if so, in your new job will you work for a more realistic assessment of the terrorism threat?"


It is not surprising she wouldn't answer. It is hard to know how many of the elite who benefit financially and politically from the surveillance state and perpetual war believe the terrorism hype themselves.


But one thing is certain. They have to keep the fear going and get Snowden to make an example of him and stop future leaks. Their careers may depend on it.

Peter Lemkin
01-05-2014, 05:49 AM
Bernie Sanders Asks: "Is the NSA Spying on Congress?" By Bernie Sanders (http://www.opednews.com/author/author7111.html)



U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today asked the National Security Agency director whether the agency has monitored the phone calls, emails and Internet traffic of members of Congress and other elected officials.
"Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials?" Sanders asked in a letter (http://sanders.senate.gov/download/letter-to-nsa) to Gen. Keith Alexander, the NSA director. " "Spying' would include gathering metadata on calls made from official or personal phones, content from websites visited or emails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party not made available to the general public in the regular course of business?"



http://www.opednews.com/populum/uploadphotos/s_300_upload_wikimedia_org_7111_800px-EFF_version_of_NSA_logo_870.gif

Sanders said he was "deeply concerned" by revelations that American intelligence agencies harvested records of phone calls, emails and web activity by millions of innocent Americans without any reason to even suspect involvement in illegal activities. He also cited reports that the United States eavesdropped on the leaders of Germany, Mexico, Brazil and other allies.
Sanders emphasized that the United States "must be vigilant and aggressive in protecting the American people from the very real danger of terrorist attacks," but he cited U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon's recent ruling that indiscriminate dragnets by the NSA were probably unconstitutional and "almost Orwellian."
Sanders has introduced legislation to put strict limits on sweeping powers used by the National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation to secretly track telephone calls by millions of innocent Americans who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.
The measure would put limits on records that may be searched. Authorities would be required to establish a reasonable suspicion, based on specific information, in order to secure court approval to monitor business records related to a specific terrorism suspect. Sanders' bill also would put an end to open-ended court orders that have resulted in wholesale data mining by the NSA and FBI. Instead, the government would be required to provide reasonable suspicion to justify searches for each record or document that it wants to examine.

Peter Lemkin
01-05-2014, 05:52 AM
New Decision Shows How Businesses Can Challenge Warrantless Records Collection, Even if You Can't By Electronic Frontier Foundation (http://www.opednews.com/author/author89885.html)








BY HANNI FAKHOURY (https://www.eff.org/about/staff/hanni-fakhoury)



http://www.opednews.com/populum/uploadphotos/s_300_farm4_static_flickr_com_89885_9294325209_5c9 6769259_n_348.gif
We're the NSA
(image by KAZVorpal (http://www.flickr.com/people/74564194@N00/))






Much of the debate over modern surveillance--including the NSA mass spying controversy--has centered around whether people can reasonably expect that records about their telephone and Internet activity can remain private when those records belong to someone else: the service providers. Courts have (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/12/historic-ruling-federal-judge-declares-nsa-mass-phone-surveillance-likely) disagreed (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/12/judges-dismissal-aclu-case-disappointing-fight-over-programs-legality-far-over) on whether the 1979 Supreme Court case Smith v. Maryland (http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3033726127475530815), which ruled people have no expectation of privacy in the phone numbers they dial, should be extended (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/12/landmark-decision-important-beyond-nsa-phone-records-collection) to cover newer, more invasive forms of technology. But a decision released on December 24th by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals looks at the issue from the point of view of businesses, providing a glimpse into how service providers and technology companies could challenge the government's unconstitutional surveillance.
In Patel v. City of Los Angeles (http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2013/12/24/08-56567.pdf), the Ninth Circuit found a city ordinance that required hotels and motels to turn over guest records without any judicial process violated the Fourth Amendment (http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment). The ordinance mandated hotels and motels keep a record for 90 days containing things like a guest's name and address, the make, model and license plate number of the guest's car, and the room number assigned and rate charged. The ordinance allowed police to inspect guest records without a search warrant or the hotel's consent at any time. The city believed that collecting the records would deter drug dealing and prostitution, as people would be less inclined to rent a room if police could get access to guest information at any time. Failure to turn the records over was a misdemeanor crime.
The court found that the hotels and motels had an expectation of privacy in their business records, even if those records didn't contain anything of great personal value to the hotel. This was true even if the users themselves didn't have an expectation of privacy in the records. Because the ordinance didn't have a mechanism to allow the hotels and motels to obtain judicial review of whether the demand was reasonable before applying criminal penalties for non-compliance, the Ninth Circuit ruled the ordinance violated the Fourth Amendment. This procedural requirement--obtaining judicial review--is important, so that companies aren't at the mercy of the "unbridled discretion" of officers in the field, who would be free to arbitrarily choose when, whom, and how frequently to inspect a particular business.
This decision provides ammunition for companies to challenge receipt of other forms of surveillance requests, including National Security Letters (https://www.eff.org/issues/national-security-letters) which are issued without any oversight or judicial review and require the recipient to remain silent about the fact it even received a request.
More broadly, Patel shows yet again (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/08/service-agreements-kill-privacy-can-they-create-it-too) that the Fourth Amendment doesn't die once you turn information over to a business. If courts are going to reject user challenges to government demands for their data, then it's up to the companies to step up to safeguard not only the data entrusted to them by their users, but the data that presumably belong to the companies themselves. As major tech companies have called for NSA reform (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/12/eight-tech-giants-call-reform-surveillance-law) and have taken steps to implement technological (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/11/encrypt-web-report-whos-doing-what) protections to safeguard their users' data, this decision shows that they can also make legal challenges in court. While Yahoo! unsuccessfully challenged (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/06/yahoo-failed-fisa-fight/) an order requiring it turn over data to the NSA under the PRISM program, the phone companies themselves have made no legal challenges (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/fisa-judge-no-challenges-phone-records-orders) to the NSA's bulk collection of phone records, which at least one judge has found to be unconstitutional. (http://legaltimes.typepad.com/files/obamansa.pdf) This must change so that the public can take advantage of the conveniences of new technologies without having to sacrifice privacy.






Related Cases


Jewel v. NSA (https://www.eff.org/cases/jewel)
First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA (https://www.eff.org/cases/first-unitarian-church-los-angeles-v-nsa)


Reprinted from eff.org/deeplinks (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/12/new-decision-shows-how-businesses-can-challenge-warrantless-records-collection)

Peter Lemkin
01-05-2014, 05:56 AM
U.S. court allows more phone snooping

WASHINGTON Fri Jan 3, 2014 9:05pm EST











http://s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20140104&t=2&i=826568503&w=580&fh=&fw=&ll=&pl=&r=CBREA021UH000 Antennas of the former National Security Agency (NSA) listening station are seen at the Teufelsberg hill, or Devil's Mountain in Berlin, November 5, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch




















(Reuters) - The secretive U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Friday renewed the authority of U.S. intelligence agencies to collect data on millions of Americans' telephone calls in a program that has set off a legal battle over privacy rights.
The court allowed the intelligence community to collect metadata from phone companies, the Office of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a news release.
The release offered almost no details about the ruling, but a U.S. official said the authority was renewed for three months, and that it applied to the entire metadata collection program.
In the past, these orders were sometimes issued to individual telephone companies. But the official said the latest order covered all companies from which metadata had been collected under recent previous court authorizations.
News the National Security Agency can track the telephone calls of Americans by collecting metadata of who they contact and when, was one of the main revelations by former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden last year that set off public outcry about government spying.
Two U.S. district judges recently issued conflicting rulings on the legality and constitutionality of bulk metadata collection by the NSA.
On Friday, the Justice Department filed notice it was appealing a ruling in December by Washington-based federal judge Richard Leon that declared bulk metadata collection was probably unlawful. Leon said that he could not imagine a more "indiscriminate" and "arbitrary" invasion of privacy.
But William Pauley, a federal judge based in Manhattan, issued a ruling last month that found such collection legal.
Clapper's office said that U.S. intelligence agencies were "open to modifications" to the metadata collection program that "would provide additional privacy and civil liberty protections while still maintaining its operational benefits."
The NSA says it only uses the metadata of Americans in limited circumstances and with great care.
A panel of outside experts appointed by President Barack Obama (http://www.reuters.com/people/barack-obama?lc=int_mb_1001) recently questioned whether the results produced by bulk metadata collection outweighed the intrusion into Americans' privacy. It suggested possible changes in the program, but not its cancellation.
Obama is expected to produce his own recommendations for reforms or changes in U.S. electronic surveillance later this month. ::bowtie::

Peter Lemkin
01-05-2014, 06:29 AM
Did Edward Snowden Ruin Google Glass?






By Alec Liu (http://motherboard.vice.com/author/AlecLiu)
http://lh3.ggpht.com/TFwmVLLYoaGiIIHC00reDuRnfCQKSEjF3BZui0MTXkvWBccah1 Y6ByCRsgbKTbFBBqD-iCccwx_DLeNCNAUgjZYYPRPX-J84qRmxjw=s630 Google Glass makes us uncomfortable. Via Flickr/Lingeswaran Marimuthukumar (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lingeswaran/8561326265/in/photostream/)Now that the Google Glass guinea pigs (http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/google-demonstrates-project-glass-third-party-apps) have had eight months to try out the biggest thing in wearable tech, the product’s short term prospects aren’t looking good and part of the reason is the NSA. Beyond costing tech companies untold billions (http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/the-nsa-scandal-will-cost-us-tech-companies-tens-of-billions), the fear of government surveillance is problematic for wearable tech. Privacy concerns make Glass socially awkward, according to long-time users.
Google unveiled its futuristic accessory to a wave of good press, aided by some smart marketing material (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1uyQZNg2vE), at a time when smartphone upgrades were starting to lose some luster and excitement. What was next? A smart TV? A digital watch?
The stars were aligned. Computerized spectacles intuitively made sense: ever-present, as to address our need to be constantly available and ready to share every possible moment, but out of the way enough so that we could carry on with business as usual. The stuff of sci-fi fantasies, we felt like the future had finally arrived. Plus, this was Google.
So when the first prototypes became available to the public on April 14th, there was an understandable amount of buzz. Google Glass was cool, even if it may have been kind of douchey to some (http://gawker.com/5990395/if-you-wear-googles-new-glasses-you-are-an-asshole). Being accepted to the Explorers program, which cost a hefty $1,500, felt like being invited to a hip party, a badge of honor that earned "mad Likes" on Facebook. Glass’s success appeared all but certain.
Two months later, Edward Snowden would turn the world upside down with his now infamous NSA leaks. No longer the subject of tin foil hat conspiracy theorists, government surveillance entered mainstream consciousness. Every American tech firm was implicated (http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/silicon-valley-is-going-to-hate-the-latest-nsa-revelationsunless-it-already-knew-about-them), including Google. Privacy concerns always existed (http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/whos-afraid-of-google-glass), but they were limited to media critics, as they usually are, and arguably overblown. Overnight, it was on everyone’s mind (http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/will-google-glass-be-the-next-bit-of-technology-to-breach-our-civil-liberties).
At the very least, we were creeped out. Some of my more ambitious (or paranoid) friends started using PGP encryption. My sister put masking tape over her webcam. Suddenly, Google Glass wasn’t just a way to seamlessly share on-the-trot, livestream invasive surgeries (http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/google-glass-is-already-being-used-in-the-operating-room), and make first-person porn (http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/i-watched-james-deen-make-the-first-ever-google-glass-porn-1), it became yet another conduit for NSA spying (http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/nsa-spying-has-turned-silicon-valley-into-a-political-machine). Now it was kind of awkward.
Google Glass will only be successful if we think it’s sexy, which the company is acutely aware of (http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/the-first-video-made-with-google-glasses-is-delightfully-voyeuristic). Like all information networks, its utility is directly correlated with how many people use it. Granted, first-mover status will predictably face the initial backlash from the egalitarian-minded, which Wired’s Mat Honan acknowledges, after sporting Glass for nearly a year.
“Wearing Glass separates you,” writes Honan in his smart year-end retrospective (http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/12/glasshole), 'I, Glasshole.' “It sets you apart from everyone else. It says you not only had $1,500 to plunk down to be part of the “explorer” program, but that Google deemed you special enough to warrant inclusion (not everyone who wanted Glass got it; you had to be selected). Glass is a class divide on your face.”
New tech is by definition elitist: expensive with limited accessibility. But that’s okay; it’s the tried and true formula. Facebook began with only Harvard students. iPhones initially retailed for $600. We're suckers like that, we always want what we can’t have. Class divisions become a way to signify social standing, a superficial validation of our trendiness, like the iPod’s iconic white earbuds or Tesla’s distinctive Model S. We might call them assholes—which Honan experiences regularly first-hand from passers-by and, perhaps surprisingly, even tech-savvy Wired colleagues—but we’re secretly envious. Along those lines, Glass seemed destined for the same fate notes Honan, pointing out the “precious set of beautiful millennials you most commonly see wearing Glass in social settings here in the Bay Area.” In the case of Glass, the demographic is mostly white men (http://whitemenwearinggoogleglass.tumblr.com/).
The NSA revelations potentially nullifies the exclusivity upside. No longer just an extravagant accessory, Glass is invasive, fashion sense notwithstanding (http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/01/02/google_glass_but_it_looks_good_why_not.html), complicating already tenuous social rules regarding our gadget addiction.
“My Glass experiences have left me a little wary of wearables because I’m never sure where they’re welcome,” laments (http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/12/glasshole) Honan. Of course, there’s plenty of other reasons why Glass “is socially awkward” and makes “people uncomfortable,” he writes (http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/12/glasshole), but privacy concerns only exacerbate social norms already difficult to overcome. Bluetooth headsets are rude because we can’t be sure if the person is having another conversation. Glass is problematic because we don’t know if we’re being recorded (or watched, according to the more sinister narrative)................

Magda Hassan
01-05-2014, 06:54 AM
Google and Dell and other companies have ruined their own brands. Snowden had nothing to do with it. If they choose to be evil and work for the dark side then they have to wear the consequences of their collaboration with evil and the dark side. Bring on the open hardware movement. Not as advanced as the Free and Open Source Software movement but it is happening.

Peter Lemkin
01-10-2014, 08:25 AM
Think Metadata Isn't Intrusive? Read This


Graphs by MIT Students Show the Enormously Intrusive Nature of Metadata

by Kade Crockford (http://www.commondreams.org/author/kade-crockford)

http://www.commondreams.org/sites/commondreams.org/files/imce-images/immersion_screencap_04_500x280.jpgYou've probably heard politicians or pundits say that “metadata doesn't matter.” They argue that police and intelligence agencies shouldn't need probable cause warrants to collect information about our communications. Metadata isn’t all that revealing, they say, it’s just numbers.
But the digital metadata trails you leave behind every day say more about you than you can imagine. Now, thanks to two MIT students, you don't have to imagine—at least with respect to your email.
Deepak Jagdish and Daniel Smilkov's Immersion (https://immersion.media.mit.edu/) program maps your life, using your email account. After you give the researchers access to your email metadata—not the content, just the time and date stamps, and “To” and “Cc” fields—they’ll return to you a series of maps and graphs that will blow your mind. The program will remind you of former loves, illustrate the changing dynamics of your professional and personal networks over time, mark deaths and transitions in your life, and more. You’ll probably learn something new about yourself, if you study it closely enough. (The students say they delete your data on your command.)
Whether or not you grant the program access to your data, watch the video embedded below to see Jagdish and Smilkov show illustrations from Immersion and talk about what they discerned about themselves from looking at their own metadata maps. While you’re watching, remember that while the NSA and FBI are collecting our phone records in bulk, and using advanced computer algorithms to make meaning from them, state and local government officials can often also get this information without a warrant (http://privacysos.org/admin_subpoenas).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2a8pDbCabg

When President Obama said (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/obama-nsa-controversy-listening-phone-calls-19349423) that the phone surveillance program “isn’t about” “listening to your telephone calls,” he was deflecting attention from the terrifying fact that there’s nothing currently stopping the government from amassing and data-mining every scrap of metadata in the world about us. He made it sound like metadata spying isn't a big deal, when it's pretty much the golden ticket.
Metadata surveillance is extremely powerful, and we are all subject to it, constantly. If you want to see something resembling what the NSA sees when it looks at your data, give Jagdish and Smilkov’s program a try. Then tell the government: get a warrant. (https://www.aclu.org/support-usa-freedom-act)

Peter Lemkin
01-12-2014, 06:10 AM
NSA Whistleblower William Binney Tells All

[While more pro-NSA than Snowden and being asked questions by a right-wing lawyer, but still has interesting things to say....] January 10, 2014

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M66saPW2Gq8



"Where I see it going is toward a totalitarian state,"says WilliamBinney (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Binney_%28U.S._intelligence_official%29). "You've got the NSA doing all this collecting ofmaterial on all of its citizens - that's what the SS, the Gestapo,the Stasi, the KGB, and the NKVD did."
Binney is talking about the collection of various forms ofpersonal data on American citizens by the National SecurityAgency (http://www.nsa.gov/) (NSA), where he worked for 30 years beforequitting in 2001 from his high-placed post as technical leader forintelligence. A registered Republican for most of his life, Binneyvolunteered for military service during the Vietnam War, which ledto his being hired by the NSA in the early '70s.
In 2002 - long before the revelations of Edward Snowdenrocked the world - Binney and several former colleagues went toCongress and the Department of Defense, asking that the NSA beinvestigated. Not only was the super-secretive agency wastingtaxpayer dollars on ineffective programs, they argued, it wasbroadly violating constitutional guarantees to privacy and dueprocess.
The government didn't just turn a blind eye to theagency's activities; it later accused the whistleblowers of leakingstate secrets. A federal investigation of Binney - including an FBIsearch and seizure of his home and office computers that destroyedhis consulting business - exonerated him on all charges.
"We are a clear example that [going through] the properchannels doesn't work," says Binney,

Peter Lemkin
01-13-2014, 07:34 PM
NSA’s Preference for Metadata January 13, 2014 Exclusive: The hidden ball in the debate over the NSA’s collection of phone and e-mail metadata (vs. tapping into actual conversations with a court order) is that the NSA actually prefers the metadata approach because it strips away privacy more efficiently, says ex-NSA analyst Kirk Wiebe.
By Kirk Wiebe
Senior national security officials, from President Barack Obama on down, have made light of the National Security Agency’s intrusive monitoring of the public by saying “only” metadata about communications, not the content of those communications, are collected. One might ask, then, why is it that intelligence and law enforcement officials much prefer this metadata approach?
For one, analysts can determine a great deal about a person – any person – by following the electronic crumbs that people inevitably leave behind in the course of their daily routines. And this data-byte-crunching analysis is much less time-consuming than monitoring each phone call or reading each e-mail.
http://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/prism-document-300x225.jpg (http://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/prism-document.jpg)A slide from material leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden to the Washington Post, showing what happens when an NSA analyst “tasks” the PRISM system for information about a new surveillance target.

So, the distinction between listening in on conversations and “just” collecting phone numbers called and the duration of the conversations is a red herring. The truth is that persistent, bulk collection of metadata in support of analysis is – not can be – more revealing over time than content, the latter prohibited from collection unless probable cause criteria have been met in the eyes of a court.
Metadata collection can answer all but one of the five “W’s” of journalism: the Who, What, Where and When. Given time, it can even respond to “Why” someone interfaces with digital information systems the way they do. It can do this because it is possible to discern patterns of behavior in metadata.
A very simple example: You go to work via a toll road, taking essentially the same route five days a week, for about 48 weeks a year. A license plate scanner produces information about where your car was when it was scanned – and at what time. Your passive transponder (e.g., E-Z Pass) records your entrance onto the toll road at which ramp, and when you were there. The same transponder reports when and where you got off the toll road.
You stopped to get gas. Your credit card records where you were and when you bought the gas. You arrive at work and turn on your computer. Your Internet service provider (ISP) records when an IP address was given to your computer and what time it was provided. The IP address is associated with a server at a location with a specific address and is associated with your name.
So it is possible to know when you arrived at work. Or perhaps you called your wife to tell her you arrived safely. Your phone has locational information and the time of the call is recorded. Of course, the phone is associated with your account/name.
Similarly, any deviation from these patterns – for whatever reason – would also be apparent. A consistent deviation might reveal a significant change in your personal life (e. g. job trouble, health problems, marital difficulties).
While this ability to construct a mosaic of your life may not be understood by those inclined to believe what they hear on the evening “news” – that the metadata is no real threat to your privacy – this reality is eminently understandable to those familiar with the technological power of the various NSA programs. MIT graduate students, for example, have produced a video (http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/01/08-3), based largely on personal experience as well as research, that makes it very clear.
A caveat here: I have not seen everything that has been released by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden so far, but I have seen most. Even taken together, these documents listing the names of the programs – like PRISM, XKEYSCORE and UPSTREAM – and the various diagrams depicting data flows on charts would not tell much to someone unfamiliar with the technological capabilities of these programs.
What is discernible is that NSA is interested in metadata and content from the Internet, a fact that is hardly classified. NSA is also interested in phone calls. That too is not classified, nor is it new. People have known for a long time that NSA’s mission is to produce foreign intelligence from communications.
Former NSA Director Michael Hayden long ago made it clear that – given the rapid changes in networked communications and associated technologies – NSA needed to master the “net.” There was no mistaking the intent. He even said he consulted with large Internet companies and their experts in Silicon Valley.
Bottom Line: Only people who work with these programs – the contractors who support information technology, the IT developers and the NSA analysts – understand what these programs are, what they do and how they do it, in other words, the extraordinary power that they possess.
A Highly Damaging Leak?
As for the “damage” from unauthorized disclosures of these programs over the past half-year largely from documents leaked by Snowden, defenders of NSA bulk collection are hewing to NSA’s talking points (recently acquired via a Freedom of Information request). Here are three of the 13 points listed:
“-DISCLOSURES HAVE DONE IRREVERSIBLE AND SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE TO SECURITY.
“-EVERY TIME THERE ARE DISCLOSURES, IT MAKES OUR JOB HARDER.
“-OUR ADVERSARIES ARE PAYING ATTENTION AND WE ALREADY SEE SIGNS THEY ARE MAKING ADJUSTMENTS.” [From NSA’s “MEDIA LEAKS ONE CARD”]
But these “talking points” obscure the real questions posed by the bulk collection of metadata on virtually all human beings who communicate through electronic means, from telephone to e-mail: What is the real threat posed to personal privacy by the persistent, bulk collection of metadata of innocent people? And what is the real damage from disclosure of this reality?
As for legality, do not be fooled by allusions to the infamous Smith v. Maryland (1979) court decision – which says Americans surrender their expectation of privacy over call data held by phone companies –upon which the Government rests its case for claiming its NSA metadata collection is legal.
That case had absolutely nothing to do with the persistent, bulk collection of metadata. The citation amounts to a stall tactic, with the Government knowing it takes just about forever for the federal court system to adjudicate the legality of such a claim – while the collection will continue.
Also, be skeptical about the Government’s claims about massive (but indeterminate) damage to national security. According to the rules for classifying material, it must have the potential to cause EXCEPTIONALLY GRAVE DAMAGE to the national security of the United States (TOP SECRET), SERIOUS DAMAGE to the national security (SECRET), or to cause DAMAGE to the national security (CONFIDENTIAL stuff), if divulged to the public at large.
It would be difficult for anyone in a court of law to make the case that public disclosure of NSA’s intrusive collection has done any of those things. Despite the NSA’s “talking points,” no clear-cut evidence has been presented supporting the claims of “IRREVERSIBLE AND SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE.”
But here is a real leak that caused “exceptionally grave damage” to the national security: On the night of 9/11, Sen. Orin Hatch, R-Utah, told The Associated Press, “They have an intercept of some information that includes people associated with [Osama] bin Laden who acknowledged a couple of targets were hit.”
Hatch made similar comments to ABC News and said the information had come from officials at the CIA and FBI. We never heard bin Laden or any of his close associates on a satellite phone again. THAT was a true compromise of security. But nothing happened to Sen. Hatch.
Has Snowden caused great embarrassment, especially about monitoring the communications of various high-level persons in foreign countries, such as Germany and Brazil? Yes, but do any of those countries pose a security threat to the United States? None of which I am aware.
And, contrary to the alarmist claims of the NSA “talking points,” the damage to intelligence sources and methods aimed at legitimate foreign targets is, so far, minimal. Part of the reason is because, quite simply, there are no current options to avoid either phones or the Internet or travel, all of which are heavily monitored. Alternatives aimed at evading monitoring are fragile, costly, inconvenient, and usually ineffective.
Another irony about all the teeth-gnashing over Snowden’s revelations is this: As noted elsewhere, the U.S. government is sure to improve – not degrade – its intelligence gathering/analysis if it abandons the kind of mass metadata collection and storage that serves mainly to drown analysts in data.
The current system has been shown to be ineffective in identifying terrorists, raising the question: How does one damage something that is already “ineffective”?
Kirk Wiebe is a retired National Security Agency senior analyst and recipient of that Agency’s second highest award – the Meritorious Civilian Service Award. As an employee of NSA, he has sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. He has worked with colleagues Bill Binney, Ed Loomis, Tom Drake and Diane Roark to oppose NSA corruption and over-surveillance since 2001

Peter Lemkin
01-14-2014, 10:44 AM
The Plan (http://offnow.org/plan/)In 2006, it was reported that the NSA had maxed out capacity of the Baltimore-area power grid. Insiders reported that

“The NSA is already unable to install some costly and sophisticated new equipment. At minimum, the problem could produce disruptions leading to outages and power surges.
At worst, it could force a virtual shutdown of the agency.”
August 6, 2006
In other words, the NSA has an Achilles heel.
WATER
To get around the physical limitation of the amount of power required to monitor virtually every piece of communication around the globe, the NSA started searching for new locations with their own power supplies.
The new Utah Data Center opening in Bluffdale was chosen due to the access to cheap utilities, primarily water. The water-cooled supercomputers require 1.7 million gallons of water per day to function.
No water = No data center.
The water being provided to the Utah Data Center comes from a political subdivision of the state of Utah.
They have the ability to turn that water off.
The situation is the same at many other locations. Read on for more details.
4TH AMENDMENT PROTECTION ACT
The model legislation (HERE (https://s3.amazonaws.com/TAClegislation/4th-Amendment-Protection-Act.pdf)), ready for introduction in any state, would ban a state (and all political subdivisions) from providing assistance or material support in any way with the NSA spying program.
This would include, but is not limited to:


Refusing to supply water or electricity from state or locally-owned or operated utilities
A ban on all law enforcement acceptance of information provided without warrant, by the NSA or it’s Special Operations Division (SOD)
Severe penalties for any corporations providing services for or on behalf of the state which fill the gap and provide the NSA the resources it requires to stay functional.

While the federal government would not be prevented from bringing in its own supplies, it’s not likely that they have the capacity to do so.
The states and local communities should simply turn it off.
LEGAL DOCTRINE
The legal doctrine behind this is “anti-commandeering.” It’s the principle that the federal government doesn’t have the authority to force the states (or local communities) to carry out federal laws, regulatory programs, and the like. The Supreme Court affirmed this three times in recent years, the cases being: 1997 Printz, 2002 New York, 2012 Sebelius. It also affirmed this doctrine in the 1842 Prigg case where states refused to assist the federal government in capturing and returning runaway slaves.
This is also consistent with what James Madison advised when writing about the Constitution in Federalist #46. Among the four steps he advised as “powerful means” to oppose federal power was “a refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union.”
MANY LOCATIONS
It’s not just Utah. The NSA is reliant on many states and local communities to provide the resources required to operate their spying programs.
In Texas, the new data center opening in San Antonio has its electricity provided exclusively by the the city-owned power company. And the NSA was quite upfront about the fact that Texas was chosen because of its independent power grid. The NSA is extremely concerned about basic utilities.
And states providing them don’t have to.
In Augusta Georgia, the “threat operations center” has its water and even sewage treatment provided by local government services.
There’s also NSA “data centers” or “listening posts” in Colorado, Washington, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Hawaii. Each one is a unique circumstance where a multi-prong strategy can and will create roadblocks to implementation.
CORPORATIONS
While many locations rely on state or local governments to assist or directly provide badly-needed utilities, others partner closely with corporations to do so.
For example, in Augusta, Georgia, a partnership with Georgia Power (a subsidiary of the massive electric holding company in the US, the Southern Company), literally kept the lights on.
The local paper reported that “Before a partnership in 2006 with Georgia Power, outages were a regular occurrence on post, particularly during the summer, when heavy demands were placed on the system.”
UNIVERSITIES
The NSA has its tentacles deep into the youth as well, with heavy partnerships at Universities in all but 8 US states. In late 2012, the NSA reported that there are now 166 universities in this program (http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/press_room/2012/academic_excellence_designees.shtml). (see the full list here (http://www.nsa.gov/ia/academic_outreach/nat_cae/institutions.shtml))
These “Centers of Academic Excellence” are not just a recruiting ground for future analysts in the massive spy centers around the country, they provide valuable research partnerships to bolster the NSA’s spying and data-collection capabilities. Universities are often provided with funding, scholarships and other tools to expand research and recruitment.
LAW ENFORCEMENT
The NSA has often claimed to be engaging in such activities to protect you from “terrorists,” and many people have accepted this kind of personal intrusion with the belief that they were being kept safe. But the fact is that their programs are much broader – by far.
The Special Operations Division (SOD) was a highly-secret federal unit which is passing information collected without warrant by the NSA to state and local law enforcement for the investigation of regular crimes – not terrorism-related at all.
STRATEGY
A multi-prong strategy is an absolute must when working to prevent the kind of 4th Amendment violations seen under the NSA spying program.
Currently, activists are engaged in the support of lawsuits from EFF and ACLU, and in support of Congressional legislation to limit or stop the NSA. But waiting for these to play out positively is a dangerous game of chicken.
A recent vote in Congress which failed to defund the NSA spying program indicates that relying on them to stop the NSA isn’t enough.
By approaching the NSA on multiple fronts, it’s certainly possible to overwhelm them and make their programs too difficult or costly to carry out. A program to Turn it Off and render the NSA’s spying program as good as null and void intersects in 5 main areas:


State legislation – passed in every state, banning cooperation, compliance, and law enforcement collaboration.
Local Resolutions – passed in every possible county, city and town, supporting these principles and calling on the state to pass the 4th Amendment Protection Act
Corporate Protests – and opposition to those corporations providing the resources needed to carry out the NSA spying program.
Campus Actions – including both protests against NSA/University partnerships, and organizational and student government resolutions formally calling for an end to such partnerships.
Environmental concerns – the waste of resources is massive, with millions of gallons of water being used every single day at just one NSA facility.

From Thoreau to Rosa Parks, and from Ghandi to you – a successful strategy to protect your liberties requires non-compliance and peaceful resistance.
And, as Rosa Parks proved, saying “NO!” can change the world.

Magda Hassan
01-14-2014, 10:52 AM
::grumpy::

Peter Lemkin
01-17-2014, 08:47 AM
TRANSCRIPT: Another NSA Whistleblower, Russell Tice (http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/01/16/transcript-another-nsa-whistleblower-russell-tice/)

By Liu Wei (http://whowhatwhy.com/author/wei-liu/) on Jan 16, 2014

http://whowhatwhy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/QQ%E6%88%AA%E5%9B%BE20140115232245-300x242.jpg (http://whowhatwhy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/QQ%E6%88%AA%E5%9B%BE20140115232245.jpg)Russel Tice on RT Breaking the Set

Edward Snowden and his revelations are a very big deal. But he isn’t the only NSA whistleblower. One who has not gotten anywhere as much attention as he deserves is Russell Tice. Wait ‘til you hear what he has to say.
We transcribed the following July 10, 2013 interview with Russell Tice, NSA Whistleblower, by Abby Martin on RT’s Breaking the Set:
Abby: As the ongoing NSA revelations [bring out] more information on the government’s secret spying program, the man who leaked the story, Edward Snowden is in [the] spotlight.
However it’s important to remember that this is far from the first time someone has come forward to expose the overreach of the NSA. Before Edward Snowden, it was Thomas Drake, a former senior executive, and before him, it was Bill Binney, a former intelligence official.
But before Binney, the very first person to claim the title of NSA whistleblower is a man you probably heard the least about. His name is Russell Tice, and he served twenty years within various government intelligence agencies, including the NSA. In 2005, Tice blew the whistle on the NSA engaging in unlawful and unconstitutional surveillance of American citizens. He’s here to tell his story and why he thinks that Snowden’s leaks are just barely scratching the surface.
Russ Tice, thank you so much for coming on.
Tice: Thanks for having me on.
Abby: What did you see that made you come and blow the whistle initially?
Tice: Well, the first thing I saw was … I’m a satellite systems specialist, so with the things I was doing with satellites, I found out sort of inadvertently, that American citizens were being spied upon by our base capabilities. So that was my first sort of heads up as to what was going on and I was just shocked because NSA was not supposed to do this, it was against regulation, it was against the law, it was against our Constitution. So it was sort of a come-to-Jesus moment for me.
Abby: Wake-up call there. You’ve said there are abuses that go far beyond what people are even talking about right now. How far does it go, Russ?
Tice: Well, it goes very far. Because initially what I saw was they were targeting news organizations, they were targeting U.S. companies that did international business, they were looking at financial institutions. But they were also going after the State Department and Secretary of State Colin Powell at the time. And they were going after high-ranking military generals and that was just what my space capabilities that I saw. Now later, when I got together with colleagues, and we started to put together the terrestrial side – that’s the side that’s being done with all those nodes, all over the country, the fiber optics and that sort of thing – then we found out that it got much worse. Because, and this was just the phone, that we were looking at. But it was also being done at the e-mail level, but that wasn’t the information I was getting. The information I was seeing were phone numbers that were being plugged into a system that was going after people’s phone numbers and associated numbers. And a lot of numbers I wasn’t even sure. But they went after law firms and lawyers, they went after more generals, General Petraeus was one of the guys. It seemed like right about that three-star level they were going after admirals and generals. They went after the supreme courts, of which I held Judge Alito’s paperwork in my hand. Numbers associated with Judge Alito that somebody had put into the system that NSA used to spy on Judge Alito.
Abby: Let’s just break this down a little bit, because these are explosive allegations right now that I have not heard anyone talk about before. That there are actually orders that you personally saw in your hands, to wiretap Judge Alito, high-ranking intelligence officers, David Petraeus, Barack Obama …
Tice: Wannabe senator Barack Obama. At that time, he wasn’t even a senator. He had won his primary in Illinois, and I think maybe the catalyst, I’m not sure, was the fact that he had just done a big speech at the Democratic convention. Now I was at that time a life-long Republican. I didn’t even watch the Democratic convention. So at the time, the significance of it didn’t hit me until later. I mean, I did look up, who is this guy Barack Obama, well, okay, he made a speech, blah blah blah. But then of course, later things started to come into play, that this is our future president of the United States.
Abby: And you’ve also said “this is not just in congressional offices. We’re talking about home surveillance and personal …”
Tice: Correct. For a senator or a congressman this would be personal phone numbers associated, it would be… And a lot of the time I could not tell, because a lot of the numbers were unlisted. And we would go to try to reverse, to find out where these numbers were. And we were being very careful about it because we didn’t want too many people to figure out how we were doing that. But we would find that it would be associated with family members, especially wives, or spouses, the other direction, but it would be their district office, it was a congressman for whatever state, they would have two or three or four little district offices back home so we would be …
Abby: I guess the next question, who is administering the surveillance?
Tice: That’s a good question. I don’t know the answer to that. It looked like, the plugging in of these phone numbers was being done in the evenings at NSA. So almost it was like being done on the sly even so that most NSA employees did not know what was going on. Now, a high-level person at NSA told me this was being directed from the vice president’s office. That would be Vice-President Dick Cheney. I don’t know that for sure but that’s what I was told from a very senior person at NSA.
Abby: so a high-level person of the Bush administration official. The next question is: why? Why was it being done? I mean, the first that comes to my mind is blackmail.
Tice: I don’t know the answer to that either.
Abby: What do you think? I mean, based on your experience, Russ. What could the reason be, for wiretapping and spying on people like Obama, Judge Alito, Petraeus, …
Tice: I think you hit the word. To me, I don’t know for sure, but that would be a means of control. If you were to look and be able to listen to everybody’s conversation for years on end for a period of time you could probably find out perhaps some salacious information that could be used to control that individual. Now if you say the intelligence community… I noticed that the intelligence community is not being hit with the sequester, the intelligence budget. Well, how is that possible? Is there some kind of leverage that is being placed on our three branches of government, to make sure that the intelligence community gets what they want? In other words, is the intelligence community running this country, not our government?
Abby: And I guess that begs the question, what, is there some shadow government at play? I mean are we talking about the industrial military complex here, what do you think? As an insider and draw your research and people you have talked to, who is running the show here, Russ?
Tice: Well, remember, I don’t know for sure, I just know that a whole lot of people got wiretapped. If I had to guess, I would say it’s the upper echelon of the intelligence community that is running this show.
Abby: It makes me wonder about people like Dick Cheney. Are they still working behind the scenes? We know that these people have been working in the administration behind the scenes for decades. I mean, Kissinger, all these people, they’re kind of, who knows, do you think they’re still vetting people like Obama, to get him in the position that he is in. But you know what? Political opponents have been spying on each other for decades so how is this different now?
Tice: What’s different about this is at the Orwellian scale. This is the everything scale. This is not just Richard Nixon going after a few, you know, enemies’ list. This is everybody and everything. And now NSA is literally tapping every communication, every digital communication in this country, content, not just the metadata, the content. And when they’re saying, “well, it’s not that far,”
once again, they’re lying. They continue to lie about the full capability.
Abby: Right. What’s your response to Obama consistently saying “we are not doing that.”
Tice: The previous president in April of 2004 condescendingly pointed at a camera and said: “We only do such things with a court order.” Now I did not know at the time that the president was lying, because I did not know how high up that went. But now we know President Bush was lying blatantly to the American people. So now President Obama is lying to the American people. Is it because he is being controlled? I don’t know. But I certainly know when he was Candidate Obama – even though I was a Republican and I heard that he wanted to stop these things, that he was going to make sure that we didn’t have national security letters just willy-nilly – I was for Obama even though I was a conservative.
Abby: I can’t trust these… All these politicians seem like actors.. You can’t ever tell what these people think. But I wanted to go to the media. Really, why is the media in a frenzy over the Snowden allegations. You came out eight years ago and said almost the same thing and except on a smaller scale, Russ, and really, you’ve been censored. Tell us your story about trying to get this information out as well.
Tice: Well, I mean, I was trying to get the news out. With Snowden coming out, I figured, now is the time to tell the rest of the story, because I’ve been holding on to this for a long time. And when I went on Keith Olbermann’s show four-and-a half years ago, I decided I was going to tell the media that NSA was going after journalists and news organizations and there seemed to be no interest whatsoever from the media that I was telling that NSA was going after you. So they either considered me a liar or they considered me, you know, NSA’s oh this guy must be crazy, or there must be some other interest that was making sure the media was not covering this. Now I don’t know what that is, but I know that it wasn’t getting much coverage. So I figured with the Snowden thing… and the difference with Snowden is, he has tangible evidence. He has paper. Now because he has paper, and it has classifications, they’re.. they are after him. Because he has the tangible proof of what I’ve said in the past. It’s easy to dismiss me when it’s my words, and you just say, well, that guy is a crazy liar. But now we have the proof, that what I’ve said in the past is true. And they want Snowden bad because he has now codified the truth with what’s going on with the National Security Agency.
Abby: You said that we are living in a police state right now. Why?
Tice: Well, I sort of consider this sort of a, the light police state. Because they’re hiding the fact that it is a police state. I mean the fact that they can literally go into all of our communications, all of the digital communications, the fact that … It’s been disclosed recently that the post office is now doing a cover on every tangible letter that goes to the post office. They’re taking the picture of everything. They’re looking at the return address and they’re looking at the main address at who is mailing something. And that is also being digitally stored. So every means of communication in this country, everything is being watched by the federal government. And that is Orwellian and that is a trademark of a police state.
Abby: Thank you so much.. Russ Tice, original NSA whistleblower.
You can watch the interview below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6m1XbWOfVk

Tracy Riddle
01-18-2014, 02:05 PM
America's spies want Snowden dead -

http://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/americas-spies-want-edward-snowden-dead


“In a world where I would not be restricted from killing an American, I personally would go and kill him myself,” a current NSA analyst told BuzzFeed. “A lot of people share this sentiment.”

“I would love to put a bullet in his head,” one Pentagon official, a former special forces officer, said bluntly. “I do not take pleasure in taking another human beings life, having to do it in uniform, but he is single-handedly the greatest traitor in American history.”
That violent hostility lies just beneath the surface of the domestic debate over NSA spying is still ongoing. Some members of Congress have hailed Snowden as a whistle-blower, the New York Times has called for clemency, and pundits regularly defend his actions on Sunday talk shows. In intelligence community circles, Snowden is considered a nothing short of a traitor in wartime.

“His name is cursed every day over here,” a defense contractor told BuzzFeed, speaking from an overseas intelligence collections base. “Most everyone I talk to says he needs to be tried and hung, forget the trial and just hang him.”
One Army intelligence officer even offered BuzzFeed a chillingly detailed fantasy.

“I think if we had the chance, we would end it very quickly,” he said. “Just casually walking on the streets of Moscow, coming back from buying his groceries. Going back to his flat and he is casually poked by a passerby. He thinks nothing of it at the time starts to feel a little woozy and thinks it’s a parasite from the local water. He goes home very innocently and next thing you know he dies in the shower.”

David Guyatt
01-18-2014, 05:09 PM
America's spies want Snowden dead -

http://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/americas-spies-want-edward-snowden-dead

“In a world where I would not be restricted from killing an American, I personally would go and kill him myself,” a current NSA analyst told BuzzFeed. “A lot of people share this sentiment.”


“I would love to put a bullet in his head,” one Pentagon official, a former special forces officer, said bluntly. “I do not take pleasure in taking another human beings life, having to do it in uniform, but he is single-handedly the greatest traitor in American history.”

That violent hostility lies just beneath the surface of the domestic debate over NSA spying is still ongoing. Some members of Congress have hailed Snowden as a whistle-blower, the New York Times has called for clemency, and pundits regularly defend his actions on Sunday talk shows. In intelligence community circles, Snowden is considered a nothing short of a traitor in wartime.


“His name is cursed every day over here,” a defense contractor told BuzzFeed, speaking from an overseas intelligence collections base. “Most everyone I talk to says he needs to be tried and hung, forget the trial and just hang him.”

One Army intelligence officer even offered BuzzFeed a chillingly detailed fantasy.


“I think if we had the chance, we would end it very quickly,” he said. “Just casually walking on the streets of Moscow, coming back from buying his groceries. Going back to his flat and he is casually poked by a passerby. He thinks nothing of it at the time starts to feel a little woozy and thinks it’s a parasite from the local water. He goes home very innocently and next thing you know he dies in the shower.”



Nice to know Americans don't routinely kill other Americans then. A number of former US presidents and administrations need to be updated about the mistakes they made in the past on this.
::laughingdog::

Peter Lemkin
01-19-2014, 09:25 AM
Obama's NSA 'reforms' are little more than a PR attempt to mollify the public Obama is draping the banner of change over the NSA status quo. Bulk surveillance that caused such outrage will remain in place.






Glenn Greenwald (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/glenn-greenwald)

The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian), Friday 17 January 2014 19.23 GMThttp://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/1/17/1389985977491/b79094c8-9474-48f0-99b0-59fe1bb91abf-460x276.jpeg


Barack Obama speaks about the National Security Agency on 17 January 2014 from the Justice Department in Washington. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

In response to political scandal and public outrage, official Washington repeatedly uses the same well-worn tactic. It is the one that has been hauled out over decades in response to many of America's most significant political scandals. Predictably, it is the same one that shaped President Obama's much-heralded Friday speech (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/17/obama-speech-nsa-surveillance-reforms-full-text) to announce his proposals for "reforming" the National Security Agency in the wake of seven months of intense worldwide controversy.
The crux of this tactic is that US political leaders pretend to validate and even channel public anger by acknowledging that there are "serious questions that have been raised". They vow changes to fix the system and ensure these problems never happen again. And they then set out, with their actions, to do exactly the opposite: to make the system prettier and more politically palatable with empty, cosmetic "reforms" so as to placate public anger while leaving the system fundamentally unchanged, even more immune than before to serious challenge.
This scam has been so frequently used that it is now easily recognizable. In the mid-1970s, the Senate uncovered surveillance (http://www.theguardian.com/world/surveillance) abuses that had been ongoing for decades, generating widespread public fury. In response, the US Congress enacted a new law (Fisa) which featured two primary "safeguards": a requirement of judicial review for any domestic surveillance, and newly created committees to ensure legal compliance by the intelligence community.
But the new court was designed to ensure that all of the government's requests were approved: it met in secret, only the government's lawyers could attend, it was staffed with the most pro-government judges, and it was even housed in the executive branch. As planned, the court over the next 30 years virtually never said no to the government.
Identically, the most devoted and slavish loyalists of the National Security State were repeatedly installed as the committee's heads, currently in the form of NSA (http://www.theguardian.com/world/nsa) cheerleaders Democrat Dianne Feinstein in the Senate and Republican Mike Rogers in the House. As the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza put it in a December 2013 article (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/12/16/131216fa_fact_lizza) on the joke of Congressional oversight, the committees "more often treat … senior intelligence officials like matinee idols".
As a result, the committees, ostensibly intended to serve an overseer function, have far more often acted as the NSA's in-house PR firm. The heralded mid-1970s reforms did more to make Americans believe there was reform than actually providing any, thus shielding it from real reforms.
The same thing happened after the New York Times, in 2005, revealed that the NSA under Bush had been eavesdropping on Americans for years without the warrants required by criminal law. The US political class loudly claimed that they would resolve the problems that led to that scandal. Instead, they did the opposite: in 2008, a bipartisan Congress, with the support of then-Senator Barack Obama (http://www.theguardian.com/world/barack-obama), enacted a new Fisa law (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/19/fisa-court-oversight-process-secrecy)that legalized the bulk of the once-illegal Bush program, including allowing warrantless eavesdropping on hundreds of millions of foreign nationals and large numbers of Americans as well.
This was also the same tactic used in the wake of the 2008 financial crises. Politicians dutifully read from the script that blamed unregulated Wall Street excesses and angrily vowed to rein them in. They then enacted legislation that left the bankers almost entirely unscathed, and which made the "too-big-to-fail (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/12/elizabeth-warren-obama-banks)" problem that spawned the crises worse than ever.
And now we have the spectacle of President Obama reciting paeans to the values of individual privacy and the pressing need for NSA safeguards. "Individual freedom is the wellspring of human progress," he gushed with an impressively straight face. "One thing I'm certain of, this debate will make us stronger," he pronounced, while still seeking to imprison for decades the whistleblower who enabled that debate. The bottom line, he said, is this: "I believe we need a new approach."
But those pretty rhetorical flourishes were accompanied by a series of plainly cosmetic "reforms (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/17/obama-nsa-reforms-end-storage-americans-call-data)". By design, those proposals will do little more than maintain rigidly in place the very bulk surveillance systems that have sparked such controversy and anger.
To be sure, there were several proposals from Obama that are positive steps. A public advocate in the Fisa court, a loosening of "gag orders" for national security letters, removing metadata control from the NSA, stricter standards for accessing metadata, and narrower authorizations for spying on friendly foreign leaders (but not, of course, their populations (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/17/nsa-reform-obama-spying-on-foreigners)) can all have some marginal benefits. But even there, Obama's speech was so bereft of specifics – what will the new standards be? who will now control Americans' metadata? – that they are more like slogans than serious proposals.
Ultimately, the radical essence of the NSA – a system of suspicion-less spying aimed at hundreds of millions of people in the US and around the world – will fully endure even if all of Obama's proposals are adopted. That's because Obama never hid the real purpose of this process. It is, he and his officials repeatedly acknowledged, "to restore public confidence" in the NSA. In other words, the goal isn't to truly reform the agency; it is deceive people into believing it has been so that they no longer fear it or are angry about it.
As the ACLU's executive director Anthony Romero said after the speech:

The president should end – not mend – the government's collection and retention of all law-abiding Americans' data. When the government collects and stores every American's phone call data, it is engaging in a textbook example of an 'unreasonable search' that violates the constitution.
That, in general, has long been Obama's primary role in our political system and his premiere, defining value to the permanent power factions that run Washington. He prettifies the ugly; he drapes the banner of change over systematic status quo perpetuation; he makes Americans feel better about policies they find repellent without the need to change any of them in meaningful ways. He's not an agent of change but the soothing branding packaging for it.
As is always the case, those who want genuine changes should not look to politicians, and certainly not to Barack Obama, to wait for it to be gifted. Obama was forced to give this speech by rising public pressure, increasingly scared US tech giants, and surprisingly strong resistance from the international community to the out-of-control American surveillance state.
Today's speech should be seen as the first step, not the last, on the road to restoring privacy. The causes that drove Obama to give this speech need to be, and will be, stoked and nurtured further until it becomes clear to official Washington that, this time around, cosmetic gestures are plainly inadequate.

Magda Hassan
01-19-2014, 09:40 AM
Pathetic. We took away your freedom to protect your freedom. Bull shit as usual.

Magda Hassan
01-20-2014, 06:44 AM
A Running List of What We Know the NSA Can Do. So Far. Friday, January 17, 2014 - 09:20 AM By Jody Avirgan (http://www.wnyc.org/people/jody-avirgan/) : Associate Producer, The Brian Lehrer Show



National Security Agency (NSA) (Chris Hardie/flickr (http://www.flickr.com/))

The trove of documents leaked by Edward Snowden has revealed the elaborate tricks the NSA can use to monitor communications and data around the world. Here, a running list of things we now know the NSA can do, based on media reports and other publicly available documents -- so far. If we missed any, let us know in the comments page or by tweeting @brianlehrer (http://www.twitter.com/brianlehrer).
→ Note: Analysis, audio, and video of Obama's Thursday NSA speech is available here (http://www.wnyc.org/story/presidents-nsa-review/).



Join the Discussion [19] (http://www.wnyc.org/story/running-list-what-we-know-nsa-can-do-so-far/#commentlist)
Recommended Links

Full Transcript and Audio: Obama's NSA Speech (http://www.wnyc.org/story/full-transcript-president-obama-nsa-reforms/)
Obama Curbs NSA Power, But Keeps Data in Government Hands For Now (http://www.wnyc.org/story/presidents-nsa-review/)





It can track the numbers of both parties on a phone call, as well location, time and duration. (More (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order))
It can hack Chinese phones and text messages. (More (http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1266821/us-hacks-chinese-mobile-phone-companies-steals-sms-data-edward-snowden))
It can set up fake internet cafes. (More (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/16/gchq-intercepted-communications-g20-summits))
It can spy on foreign leaders' cell phones. (More (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/24/nsa-surveillance-world-leaders-calls))
It can tap underwater fiber-optic cables. (More (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa))
It can track communication within media organizations like Al Jazeera. (More (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/nsa-spied-on-al-jazeera-communications-snowden-document-a-919681.html))
It can hack into the UN video conferencing system. (More (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/25/us-usa-security-nsa-un-idUSBRE97O0DD20130825))
It can track bank transactions. (More (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/spiegel-exclusive-nsa-spies-on-international-bank-transactions-a-922276.html))
It can monitor text messages. (More (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-25770313))
It can access your email, chat, and web browsing history. (More (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/31/nsa-top-secret-program-online-data))
It can map your social networks. (More (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/us/nsa-examines-social-networks-of-us-citizens.html?_r=0&pagewanted=all))
It can access your smartphone app data. (More (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/how-the-nsa-spies-on-smartphones-including-the-blackberry-a-921161.html))
It is trying to get into secret networks like Tor, diverting users to less secure channels. (More (http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/oct/04/tor-high-secure-internet-anonymity))
It can go undercover within embassies to have closer access to foreign networks. (More (http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/photo-gallery-spies-in-the-embassy-fotostrecke-103079.html))
It can set up listening posts on the roofs of buildings to monitor communications in a city. (More (http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/cover-story-how-nsa-spied-on-merkel-cell-phone-from-berlin-embassy-a-930205.html))
It can set up a fake LinkedIn. (More (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/gchq-used-quantum-insert-technique-to-set-up-fake-linkedin-pagesand-spy-on-mobile-phone-giants-8931528.html))
It can track the reservations at upscale hotels. (More (http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/gchq-monitors-hotel-reservations-to-track-diplomats-a-933914.html))
It can intercept the talking points for Ban Ki-moon’s meeting with Obama. (More (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/03/world/no-morsel-too-minuscule-for-all-consuming-nsa.html))
It can crack cellphone encryption codes. (More (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/by-cracking-cellphone-code-nsa-has-capacity-for-decoding-private-conversations/2013/12/13/e119b598-612f-11e3-bf45-61f69f54fc5f_story.html))
It can hack computers that aren’t connected to the internet using radio waves. (Update: Clarification -- the NSA can access offline computers through radio waves on which it has already installed hidden devices.) (More (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/15/us/nsa-effort-pries-open-computers-not-connected-to-internet.html?hp))
It can intercept phone calls by setting up fake base stations. (More (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2530859/NSAs-elite-hacking-unit-intercepted-computers-ordered-online-installed-Spyware-steal-data-toughest-targets.html))
It can remotely access a computer by setting up a fake wireless connection. (More (http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/12/inside-the-nsas-leaked-catalog-of-surveillance-magic/))
It can install fake SIM cards to then control a cell phone. (More (http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/01/a-peek-inside-the-nsas-spy-gear-catalog/))
It can fake a USB thumb drive that's actually a monitoring device. (More (http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/01/a-peek-inside-the-nsas-spy-gear-catalog/))
It can crack all types of sophisticated computer encryption. (Update: It is trying to build this capability.) (More (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/02/nsa-computer-break-encryption/4294871/))
It can go into online games and monitor communication. (More (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/10/world/spies-dragnet-reaches-a-playing-field-of-elves-and-trolls.html))
It can intercept communications between aircraft and airports. (More (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/03/world/no-morsel-too-minuscule-for-all-consuming-nsa.html?pagewanted=3&_r=4&hp&pagewanted=all&))
(Update) It can physically intercept deliveries, open packages, and make changes to devices. (More (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-nsa-uses-powerful-toolbox-in-effort-to-spy-on-global-networks-a-940969-3.html)) (h/t) (https://twitter.com/Kwisthoutmedia/status/424280054886330368)
(Update) It can tap into the links between Google and Yahoo data centers to collect email and other data. (More (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-infiltrates-links-to-yahoo-google-data-centers-worldwide-snowden-documents-say/2013/10/30/e51d661e-4166-11e3-8b74-d89d714ca4dd_story.html)) (h/t (https://twitter.com/virtuous_sloth/status/424595009887694848))

http://www.wnyc.org/story/running-list-what-we-know-nsa-can-do-so-far/

Peter Lemkin
01-20-2014, 07:11 AM
Quite a list!...but I see things missing.....but it is enough!...No, it is far too much. Not one of those is legal on Americans in the USA without a warrant; and all are immoral when used on persons or groups not specifically a real and known threat to the USA. NSA should go to jail, not collect billions of dollars and not get a 'get out of jail free card'. No chance. Obama will do NOTHING.....except talk the talk. Even his every word is watched.

Peter Lemkin
01-20-2014, 08:40 PM
Gov’t Used Surveillance of MLK in Bid to Destroy Him: Now They Want Us to Just Trust Them














Posted on Jan 20, 2014

By Juan Cole (http://www.truthdig.com/juan_cole/)
http://www.truthdig.com/images/eartothegrounduploads/mlk_590.jpg




This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page (http://www.juancole.com/2014/01/surveillance-destroy-trust.html).
Among the ironies of Barack Obama trying to sell us the gargantuan NSA domestic spying program is that such techniques of telephone surveillance were used against the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. in an attempt to destroy him and stop the Civil Rights movement (http://edition.cnn.com/2008/US/03/31/mlk.fbi.conspiracy/). Had the republic’s most notorious peeping tom, J. Edgar Hoover, succeeded in that quest, Obama might never have been president, or even served in Virginia restaurants.
Now that MLK is recognized by all but a tiny minority of Americans (Dick Cheney being in the minority) as a national hero, it is sometimes hard to remember that the Establishment treated him in his own lifetime like a criminal conspirator. He merely demanded the end of Jim Crow Apartheid and equal rights and opportunities for African-Americans with whites in every state of the union. As a result of this entirely reasonable demand, required by the 14th Amendment, he was placed under 24 hour a day surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As with everything in the Cold War, the pretext was that King might have Communist associates. Just as the NSA grabbing our metadata today is justified by the pretext that all 310 million of us might have al-Qaeda associates.
King’s powerful “I have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Capitol provoked a frothing at the mouth Hoover to swing into full action against him.

One of Hoover’s aides wrote in a memo (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/08/j-edgar-hoover-war-martin-luther-king) after that 1963 event,
“In the light of King’s powerful demagogic speech…We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and national security.”

At Hoover’s urgent request, Bobby Kennedy permitted the FBI secretly to break into King’s premises and those of his associates and plant bugs. They also bugged meetings where he spoke and hotels he stayed in. Let me repeat that. The reaction of the head of the FBI and the attorney general of the US to King’s dream that little boys and girls of different races would play games with each other was to record his every word and action and those of his friends.
If that speech can get you that kind of scrutiny in the USA, then why should we ever trust any high government official with our personal information? Most of us are at least as idealistic as that.
The FBI caught MLK in a couple of extramarital encounters. Hoover, who had profound sexual hang-ups probably to the point of psychosis, hated him with a passion. Having spent his career using the information he gathered on Congressmen to blackmail them, he apparently hoped to use MLK’s “alleycat” “degenerate” (Hoover’s words) against him.
Hoover, the supreme perv, sent him an anonymous threatening letter:
“You are a colossal fraud and an evil, vicious one at that . . . The American public … will know you for what you are — an evil, abnormal beast . . . Satan could not do more . . . King you are done . . . King, there is only one thing left for you to do . . . You know what it is … You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.”

Presumably Hoover hoped to drive King to suicide under threat of having his dalliances revealed; presumably also MLK would have put together that Hoover had his private life in his files.
When King was awarded the Nobel Peace prize, Hoover attempted to derail the ceremony by trying to leak the affairs to the press. To their credit, the editors and reporters recoiled from the squalor of the entire matter and refused to touch it.
The point is that King’s private life is irrelevant to his public demands and his public role. He was demanding constitutional rights for all Americans. Who he shtupped in his spare time is not germane to the rightness of that demand.
Note that today’s NSA collection of all Americans’ smartphone records shows who they called and texted and where they were when they did it. All American dalliances are as transparent in those records as King’s were to Hoover. If the US government was willing to try to blackmail King and many other public figures (Hoover always went straight to any Congressman on whom he got dirt and let him know about it, putting the man in his back pocket), then it is willing to blackmail anyone who becomes inconvenient.
That Barack Obama thinks we’re so naive or uninformed about American history that we will buy his assurances that the NSA information on us would never be used is a sad commentary. Indeed, we cannot know for sure that Obama himself and other high American officials are not being blackmailed into taking the positions they do on domestic surveillance. If the American people do accept such empty words, then I suppose they deserve to have Hoover’s pervy successors in their bedrooms.

Peter Lemkin
01-21-2014, 06:58 AM
Alfred McCoy: It's About Blackmail, Not National Security
Posted by Alfred McCoy (http://www.tomdispatch.com/authors/mccoy/) at 4:53pm, January 19, 2014.





Spying has a history almost as ancient as humanity itself, but every now and then the rules of the game change. This post-9/11 moment of surveillance is one of those game-changers and the National Security Agency (NSA) has been the deal-breaker and rule-maker. The new rules it brought into existence are simple enough: you -- whoever you are and wherever you live on Planet Earth -- are a potential target. Get used to it. The most basic ground rule of the new system: no one is exempt from surveillance.
But then there’s human nature to take into account. There’s the feeling of invulnerability that the powerful often have. If you need an example, look no further than what key officials around New Jersey Governor Chris Christie were willing to commit to emails (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/01/09/nyregion/09christie-email-documents.html), even in this day and age, when it came to their scheme to tie up traffic on the George Washington Bridge. Something similar has been true of the system NSA officials set up. Its rules of the road were that no one was to be exempt from surveillance. (Call me Angela Merkel. (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/merkel-calls-obama-over-suspicions-us-tapped-her-mobile-phone-a-929642.html)) They then plunged their creation into the deepest secrecy, in part because they couldn’t imagine a world without at least one categorical exemption: themselves.
As it happens, Edward Snowden’s revelations (http://www.theguardian.com/world/the-nsa-files) fit the logic of the system the NSA created to a T. What the former agency contractor revealed, above all, was that the surveillance of anyone and everyone was the essence of our new world, and that not even the NSA would be exempt. He made that agency his own object of surveillance and so opened it up to the scrutiny of the rest of the planet. He gave its officials a dose of their own medicine.
Much of the ensuing outrage from the U.S. intelligence community, including the calls (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/12/17/ex-cia-director-snowden-should-be-hanged-if-convicted-for-treason/) for his head, the cries of “treason (http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/367154/former-nsa-director-snowden-traitor-engaged-treason-andrew-stiles),” the demands to bring him to “justice,” and so on, reflect outrage over the fact that the agency had gotten a full-scale dose of its own rules. It turns out that you don’t have to be an ordinary citizen or a world leader to feel terrible when someone appropriates the right to surveil your life. When it happened to agency honchos, they undoubtedly felt just like Merkel or Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/09/02) or so many other figures who discovered that their lives and communications weren’t private and weren’t their own. In a perfectly human manner, reality being far too ugly for their taste, they wanted payback.
There’s humor in the fact that the key figures involved in creating the foundations of a new, all-encompassing global security state (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175795/global%2520security%2520state) simply couldn’t imagine the obvious happening. Unfortunately, as TomDispatch regular (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175724/) and historian (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0299234142/ref=nosim/?tag=tomdispatch-20)of U.S. surveillance practices Alfred McCoy points out, what the NSA set up, despite the blowback it's now causing, is irresistible to Washington. Not surprisingly, as new information (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/15/us/nsa-effort-pries-open-computers-not-connected-to-internet.html) about the agency's methods continues to ooze out, the president’s recent NSA speech (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obamas-restrictions-on-nsa-surveillance-rely-on-narrow-definition-of-spying/2014/01/17/2478cc02-7fcb-11e3-93c1-0e888170b723_story.html) makes it clear (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/18/technology/in-keeping-grip-on-data-pipeline-obama-does-little-to-reassure-industry.html) that genuine “change” or “reform” isn't on the agenda, that little that matters (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/14/us-not-entering-no-spy-agreement-germany-media) will alter in the NSA’s methodology, and that nothing will be allowed to shake the system itself. Tom

Surveillance and Scandal
Time-Tested Weapons for U.S. Global Power
By Alfred McCoy (http://www.tomdispatch.com/authors/alfredmccoy)
For more than six months, Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency (NSA) have been pouring out from the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, Germany’s Der Spiegel, and Brazil’s O Globo, among other places. Yet no one has pointed out the combination of factors that made the NSA’s expanding programs to monitor the world seem like such a slam-dunk development in Washington. The answer is remarkably simple. For an imperial power losing its economic grip on the planet and heading into more austere times, the NSA’s latest technological breakthroughs look like a bargain basement deal when it comes to projecting power and keeping subordinate allies in line -- like, in fact, the steal of the century. Even when disaster turned out to be attached to them, the NSA’s surveillance programs have come with such a discounted price tag that no Washington elite was going to reject them.
For well over a century, from the pacification of the Philippines in 1898 to trade negotiations with the European Union today, surveillance and its kissing cousins, scandal and scurrilous information, have been key weapons in Washington’s search for global dominion. Not surprisingly, in a post-9/11 bipartisan exercise of executive power, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have presided over building the NSA step by secret step into a digital panopticon designed to monitor the communications of every American and foreign leaders worldwide.
What exactly was the aim of such an unprecedented program of massive domestic and planetary spying, which clearly carried the risk of controversy at home and abroad? Here, an awareness of the more than century-long history (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175724/alfred_mccoy_surveillance_blowback) of U.S. surveillance can guide us through the billions of bytes swept up by the NSA to the strategic significance of such a program for the planet’s last superpower. What the past reveals is a long-term relationship between American state surveillance and political scandal that helps illuminate the unacknowledged reason why the NSA monitors America’s closest allies.

Not only does such surveillance help gain intelligence advantageous to U.S. diplomacy, trade relations, and war-making, but it also scoops up intimate information that can provide leverage -- akin to blackmail -- in sensitive global dealings and negotiations of every sort. The NSA’s global panopticon thus fulfills an ancient dream of empire. With a few computer key strokes, the agency has solved the problem that has bedeviled world powers since at least the time of Caesar Augustus: how to control unruly local leaders, who are the foundation for imperial rule, by ferreting out crucial, often scurrilous, information to make them more malleable.
A Cost-Savings Bonanza With a Downside
Once upon a time, such surveillance was both expensive and labor intensive. Today, however, unlike the U.S. Army’s shoe-leather surveillance during World War I or the FBI’s break-ins and phone bugs in the Cold War years, the NSA can monitor the entire world and its leaders with only 100-plus probes (http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2013/11/23/nsa-infected-50000-computer-networks-with-malicious-software/) into the Internet’s fiber optic cables.
This new technology is both omniscient and omnipresent beyond anything those lacking top-secret clearance could have imagined before the Edward Snowden revelations (http://www.theguardian.com/world/the-nsa-files) began. Not only is it unimaginably pervasive, but NSA surveillance is also a particularly cost-effective strategy compared to just about any other form of global power projection. And better yet, it fulfills the greatest imperial dream of all: to be omniscient not just for a few islands, as in the Philippines a century ago, or a couple of countries, as in the Cold War era, but on a truly global scale.
In a time of increasing imperial austerity and exceptional technological capability, everything about the NSA’s surveillance told Washington to just “go for it.” This cut-rate mechanism for both projecting force and preserving U.S. global power surely looked like a no-brainer, a must-have bargain for any American president in the twenty-first century -- before new NSA documents started hitting front pages weekly (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/us/revelations-give-look-at-spy-agencys-wider-reach.html), thanks to Snowden, and the whole world began returning the favor.
As the gap has grown between Washington’s global reach and its shrinking mailed fist, as it struggles to maintain 40% (http://books.sipri.org/files/FS/SIPRIFS1304.pdf) of world armaments (the 2012 figure) with only 23% (http://www.oecd.org/eco/outlook/2060%20policy%20paper%20FINAL.pdf) of global gross economic output, the U.S. will need to find new ways to exercise its power far more economically. As the Cold War took off, a heavy-metal U.S. military -- with 500 bases worldwide circa 1950 -- was sustainable because the country controlled some 50% of the global gross product.
But as its share of world output falls -- to an estimated 17% (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/apr/27/china-imf-economy-2016) by 2016 -- and its social welfare costs climb relentlessly from 4% of gross domestic product in 2010 to a projected 18% by 2050, cost-cutting becomes imperative if Washington is to survive as anything like the planet’s “sole superpower.” Compared to the $3 trillion cost (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/07/AR2008030702846.html) of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, the NSA’s 2012 budget of just $11 billion (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/30/us/politics/leaked-document-outlines-us-spending-on-intelligence.html) for worldwide surveillance and cyberwarfare looks like cost saving the Pentagon can ill-afford to forego.
Yet this seeming “bargain” comes at what turns out to be an almost incalculable cost. The sheer scale of such surveillance leaves it open to countless points of penetration, whether by a handful of anti-war activists breaking into (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/us/burglars-who-took-on-fbi-abandon-shadows.html) an FBI field office in Media, Pennsylvania, back in 1971 or Edward Snowden downloading NSA documents at a Hawaiian outpost in 2012.
Once these secret programs are exposed, it turns out that nobody really likes being under surveillance. Proud national leaders refuse to tolerate foreign powers observing them like rats in a maze. Ordinary citizens recoil at the idea of Big Brother (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175779/peter_van_buren_welcome_to_the_memory_hole) watching their private lives like so many microbes on a slide.
Cycles of Surveillance
Over the past century, the tension between state expansion and citizen-driven contraction has pushed U.S. surveillance through a recurring cycle. First comes the rapid development of stunning counterintelligence techniques under the pressure of fighting foreign wars; next, the unchecked, usually illegal application of those surveillance technologies back home behind a veil of secrecy; and finally, belated, grudging reforms as press and public discover the outrageous excesses of the FBI, the CIA, or now, the NSA. In this hundred-year span -- as modern communications advanced from the mail to the telephone to the Internet -- state surveillance has leapt forward in technology’s ten-league boots, while civil liberties have crawled along behind at the snail’s pace of law and legislation.
The first and, until recently, most spectacular round of surveillance came during World War I and its aftermath. Fearing subversion by German-Americans after the declaration of war on Germany in 1917, the FBI and Military Intelligence swelled from bureaucratic nonentities into all-powerful agencies charged with extirpating any flicker of disloyalty anywhere in America, whether by word or deed. Since only 9% of the country’s population then had telephones, monitoring the loyalties of some 10 million German-Americans proved incredibly labor-intensive, requiring legions of postal workers to physically examine some 30 million first-class letters and 350,000 badge-carrying vigilantes to perform shoe-leather snooping on immigrants, unions, and socialists of every sort. During the 1920s, Republican conservatives, appalled by this threat to privacy, slowly began to curtail Washington’s security apparatus. This change culminated in Secretary of State Henry Stimson’s abolition of the government’s cryptography unit in 1929 with his memorable admonition (http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/06/10/building-americas-secret-surveillance-state/), “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.”
In the next round of mass surveillance during World War II, the FBI discovered that the wiretapping of telephones produced an unanticipated byproduct with extraordinary potential for garnering political power: scandal. To block enemy espionage, President Franklin Roosevelt gave the FBI control over all U.S. counterintelligence and, in May 1940, authorized its director, J. Edgar Hoover, to engage in wiretapping.
What made Hoover a Washington powerhouse was the telephone. With 20% of the country and the entire political elite by now owning phones, FBI wiretaps at local switchboards could readily monitor conversations by both suspected subversives and the president’s domestic enemies, particularly leaders of the isolationist movement such as aviator Charles Lindbergh and Senator Burton Wheeler.
Even with these centralized communications, however, the Bureau still needed massive manpower for its wartime counterintelligence. Its staff soared (http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/history/brief-history) from just 650 in 1924 to 13,000 by 1943. Upon taking office on Roosevelt’s death in early 1945, Harry Truman soon learned the extraordinary extent of FBI surveillance. “We want no Gestapo or Secret Police,” Truman wrote (http://www.theguardian.com/film/2012/jan/01/j-edgar-hoover-secret-fbi) in his diary that May. “FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail.”
After a quarter of a century of warrantless wiretaps, Hoover built up a veritable archive of sexual preferences among America’s powerful and used it to shape the direction of U.S. politics. He distributed (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/opinion/sunday/j-edgar-hoover-outed-my-godfather.html) a dossier on Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson’s alleged homosexuality to assure his defeat in the 1952 presidential elections, circulated (http://www.npr.org/2012/02/14/146862081/the-history-of-the-fbis-secret-enemies-list) audio tapes of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philandering, and monitored (http://archive.people.com/people/archive/jpgs/19880229/19880229-750-113.jpg) President Kennedy’s affair with mafia mistress Judith Exner. And these are just a small sampling of Hoover’s uses of scandal to keep the Washington power elite under his influence.
“The moment [Hoover] would get something on a senator,” recalled (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/08/02/fbi-director-hoover-s-dirty-files-excerpt-from-ronald-kessler-s-the-secrets-of-the-fbi.html) William Sullivan, the FBI’s chief of domestic intelligence during the 1960s, “he’d send one of the errand boys up and advise the senator that ‘we’re in the course of an investigation, and we by chance happened to come up with this data on your daughter...’ From that time on, the senator’s right in his pocket.” After his death, an official tally (http://www.theguardian.com/film/2012/jan/01/j-edgar-hoover-secret-fbi) found Hoover had 883 such files on senators and 722 more on congressmen.
Armed with such sensitive information, Hoover gained the unchecked power to dictate the country’s direction and launch programs of his choosing, including the FBI’s notorious Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) that illegally harassed the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements with black propaganda, break-ins, and agent provocateur (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175718/todd_gitlin_agent_provocateur)-style violence.
At the end of the Vietnam War, Senator Frank Church headed a committee that investigated these excesses. “The intent of COINTELPRO,” recalled (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/us/burglars-who-took-on-fbi-abandon-shadows.html) one aide to the Church investigation, “was to destroy lives and ruin reputations.” These findings prompted the formation, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, of “FISA courts” to issue warrants for all future national security wiretaps.
Surveillance in the Age of the Internet
Looking for new weapons to fight terrorism after 9/11, Washington turned to electronic surveillance, which has since become integral to its strategy for exercising global power.
In October 2001, not satisfied with the sweeping and extraordinary powers of the newly passed Patriot Act, President Bush ordered (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/us/revelations-give-look-at-spy-agencys-wider-reach.html) the National Security Agency to commence covert monitoring of private communications through the nation's telephone companies without the requisite FISA warrants. Somewhat later, the agency began sweeping (http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/world/national-security-agency-inspector-general-draft-report/277/) the Internet for emails, financial data, and voice messaging on the tenuous theory that such “metadata” was “not constitutionally protected (http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/us/nsa-examines-social-networks-of-us-citizens.html).” In effect, by penetrating the Internet for text and the parallel Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) for voice, the NSA had gained access to much of the world’s telecommunications. By the end of Bush’s term in 2008, Congress had enacted laws (http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/us-intelligence-mining-data-from-nine-us-internet-companies-in-broad-secret-program/2013/06/06/3a0c0da8-cebf-11e2-8845-d970ccb04497_story.html) that not only retrospectively legalized these illegal programs, but also prepared the way for NSA surveillance to grow unchecked.
Rather than restrain the agency, President Obama oversaw the expansion of its operations in ways remarkable for both the sheer scale of the billions of messages collected globally and for the selective monitoring of world leaders.
What made the NSA so powerful was, of course, the Internet -- that global grid (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2008/aug/18/east.africa.internet) of fiber optic cables that now connects (http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2013/41.aspx#.UtXQqUK_LA4) 40% of all humanity. By the time Obama took office, the agency had finally harnessed the power of modern telecommunications for near-perfect surveillance. It was capable of both blanketing the globe and targeting specific individuals. It had assembled the requisite technological tool-kit -- specifically, access points to collect data, computer codes (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-seeks-to-build-quantum-computer-that-could-crack-most-types-of-encryption/2014/01/02/8fff297e-7195-11e3-8def-a33011492df2_story.html) to break encryption, data farms (http://nsa.gov1.info/utah-data-center/) to store its massive digital harvest, and supercomputers (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/) for nanosecond processing of what it was engorging itself on.
By 2012, the centralization via digitization of all voice, video, textual, and financial communications into a worldwide network of fiber optic cables allowed the NSA to monitor the globe by penetrating (http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2013/11/23/nsa-infected-50000-computer-networks-with-malicious-software/) just 190 data hubs -- an extraordinary economy of force for both political surveillance and cyberwarfare.
Click here to see a larger version (http://www.tomdispatch.com/images/managed/nsa1024_2_large.jpg)
http://www.tomdispatch.com/images/managed/nsa1024_2_small.jpg
In this Top Secret document dated 2012, the NSA shows the "Five Eyes" allies (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom) its 190 "access programs" for penetrating the Internet's global grid of fiber optic cables for both surveillance and cyberwarfare. (Source: NRC Handelsblad, November 23, 2013).
With a few hundred cable probes and computerized decryption, the NSA can now capture the kind of gritty details of private life that J. Edgar Hoover so treasured and provide the sort of comprehensive coverage of populations once epitomized by secret police like East Germany’s Stasi. And yet, such comparisons only go so far.
After all, once FBI agents had tapped thousands of phones, stenographers had typed up countless transcripts, and clerks had stored this salacious paper harvest in floor-to-ceiling filing cabinets, J. Edgar Hoover still only knew about the inner-workings of the elite in one city: Washington, D.C. To gain the same intimate detail for an entire country, the Stasi had to employ (http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/k/koehler-stasi.html) one police informer for every six East Germans -- an unsustainable allocation of human resources. By contrast, the marriage of the NSA’s technology to the Internet’s data hubs now allows the agency’s 37,000 (http://fcw.com/blogs/circuit/2012/04/fedsmc-chris-inglis-federal-workforce.aspx) employees a similarly close coverage of the entire globe with just one operative for every 200,000 people on the planet.
A Dream as Old as Ancient Rome
In the Obama years, the first signs have appeared that NSA surveillance will use the information gathered to traffic in scandal, much as Hoover’s FBI once did. In September 2013, the New York Times reported (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/us/nsa-examines-social-networks-of-us-citizens.html) that the NSA has, since 2010, applied sophisticated software to create “social network diagrams..., unlock as many secrets about individuals as possible..., and pick up sensitive information like regular calls to a psychiatrist’s office, late-night messages to an extramarital partner.”
Through the expenditure of $250 million annually under its Sigint Enabling Project, the NSA has stealthily penetrated all encryption designed to protect privacy. “In the future, superpowers will be made or broken based on the strength of their cryptanalytic programs,” reads (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/06/us/nsa-foils-much-internet-encryption.html) a 2007 NSA document. “It is the price of admission for the U.S. to maintain unrestricted access to and use of cyberspace.”
By collecting knowledge -- routine, intimate, or scandalous -- about foreign leaders, imperial proconsuls from ancient Rome to modern America have gained both the intelligence and aura of authority necessary for dominion over alien societies. The importance, and challenge, of controlling these local elites cannot be overstated. During its pacification of the Philippines after 1898, for instance, the U.S. colonial regime subdued contentious Filipino leaders via pervasive policing (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175724/) that swept up both political intelligence and personal scandal. And that, of course, was just what J. Edgar Hoover was doing in Washington during the 1950s and 1960s.
Indeed, the mighty British Empire, like all empires, was a global tapestry woven out of political ties to local leaders or “subordinate elites” -- from Malay sultans and Indian maharajas to Gulf sheiks and West African tribal chiefs. As historian Ronald Robinson once observed, the British Empire spread around the globe for two centuries through the collaboration of these local leaders and then unraveled, in just two decades, when that collaboration turned to “non-cooperation.” After rapid decolonization during the 1960s transformed half-a-dozen European empires into 100 new nations, their national leaders soon found themselves the subordinate elites of a spreading American global imperium. Washington suddenly needed the sort of private information that could keep such figures in line.
Surveillance of foreign leaders provides world powers -- Britain then, America now -- with critical information for the exercise of global hegemony. Such spying gave special penetrating power to the imperial gaze, to that sense of superiority necessary for dominion over others. It also provided operational information on dissidents who might need to be countered with covert action or military force; political and economic intelligence so useful for getting the jump on allies in negotiations of all sorts; and, perhaps most important of all, scurrilous information about the derelictions of leaders useful in coercing their compliance.
In late 2013, the New York Times reported (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/21/world/nsa-dragnet-included-allies-aid-groups-and-business-elite.html) that, when it came to spying on global elites, there were “more than 1,000 targets of American and British surveillance in recent years,” reaching down to mid-level political actors in the international arena. Revelations from Edward Snowden’s cache of leaked documents indicate that the NSA has monitored (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/24/nsa-surveillance-world-leaders-calls) leaders in some 35 nations worldwide -- including Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, Mexican presidents Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Indonesia’s president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Count in as well, among so many other operations, the monitoring (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/24/world/europe/united-states-disputes-reports-of-wiretapping-in-Europe.html) of “French diplomatic interests” during the June 2010 U.N. vote on Iran sanctions and “widespread surveillance (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/29/world/americas/ire-in-canada-over-report-nsa-spied-from-ottawa.html)” of world leaders during the Group 20 summit meeting at Ottawa in June 2010. Apparently, only members of the historic “Five Eyes” signals-intelligence alliance (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Great Britain) remain exempt -- at least theoretically -- from NSA surveillance.
Such secret intelligence about allies can obviously give Washington a significant diplomatic advantage. During U.N. wrangling over the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2002-2003, for example, the NSA intercepted (http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/10/28/hi-tech-fun-and-games-with-the-nsa/) Secretary-General Kofi Anan’s conversations and monitored the “Middle Six” -- Third World nations on the Security Council -- offering what were, in essence, well-timed bribes to win votes. The NSA’s deputy chief for regional targets sent a memo (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/mar/02/iraq.unitednations1) to the agency’s Five Eyes allies asking “for insights as to how membership is reacting to on-going debate regarding Iraq, plans to vote on any related resolutions [..., and] the whole gamut of information that could give U.S. policymakers an edge in obtaining results favorable to U.S. goals.”
Indicating Washington’s need for incriminating information in bilateral negotiations, the State Department pressed its Bahrain embassy in 2009 for details, damaging in an Islamic society, on the crown princes, asking (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wikileaks-files/8331622/SNF-BAHRAIN-EMERGENT-PRINCES-NASIR-AND-KHALID.html): “Is there any derogatory information on either prince? Does either prince drink alcohol? Does either one use drugs?”
Indeed, in October 2012, an NSA official identified as “DIRNSA,” or Director General Keith Alexander, proposed (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/26/nsa-porn-muslims_n_4346128.html) the following for countering Muslim radicals: “[Their] vulnerabilities, if exposed, would likely call into question a radicalizer’s devotion to the jihadist cause, leading to the degradation or loss of his authority.” The agency suggested that such vulnerabilities could include “viewing sexually explicit material online” or “using a portion of the donations they are receiving… to defray personal expenses.” The NSA document identified one potential target as a “respected academic” whose “vulnerabilities” are “online promiscuity.”
Just as the Internet has centralized communications, so it has moved most commercial sex into cyberspace. With an estimated 25 million (http://www.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/success-killing-porn-industry) salacious sites worldwide and a combined 10.6 billionpage views per month in 2013 at the five top sex sites, online pornography has become a global business; by 2006, in fact, it generated $97 billion (http://www.toptenreviews.com/3-12-07.html) in revenue. With countless Internet viewers visiting porn sites and almost nobody admitting it, the NSA has easy access to the embarrassing habits of targets worldwide, whether Muslim militants or European leaders.
According to (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/26/nsa-porn-muslims_n_4346128.html) James Bamford, author of two authoritative books on the agency, “The NSA's operation is eerily similar to the FBI's operations under J. Edgar Hoover in the 1960s where the bureau used wiretapping to discover vulnerabilities, such as sexual activity, to ‘neutralize’ their targets.”
The ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer has warned (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/26/nsa-porn-muslims_n_4346128.html) that a president might “ask the NSA to use the fruits of surveillance to discredit a political opponent, journalist, or human rights activist. The NSA has used its power that way in the past and it would be naïve to think it couldn't use its power that way in the future.” Even President Obama’s recently convened executive review of the NSA admitted (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2013-12-12_rg_final_report.pdf): “n light of the lessons of our own history… at some point in the future, high-level government officials will decide that this massive database of extraordinarily sensitive private information is there for the plucking.”
Indeed, whistleblower Edward Snowden has accused the NSA of actually conducting such surveillance. In a December 2013 letter to the Brazilian people, he wrote (http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/internacional/en/world/2013/12/1386296-an-open-letter-to-the-people-of-brazil.shtml), “They even keep track of who is having an affair or looking at pornography, in case they need to damage their target's reputation.” If Snowden is right, then one key goal of NSA surveillance of world leaders is not U.S. national security but political blackmail -- as it has been since 1898.
Such digital surveillance has tremendous potential for scandal, as anyone who remembers New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s forced resignation in 2008 after routine phone taps (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/10/spitzer-as-client-9-read-_n_90787.html) revealed his use of escort services; or, to take another obvious example, the ouster (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/apr/02/jerome-cahuzac-france-offshore-account) of France’s budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac in 2013 following wire taps that exposed his secret Swiss bank account. As always, the source of political scandal remains sex or money, both of which the NSA can track with remarkable ease.
Given the acute sensitivity of executive communications, world leaders have reacted sharply to reports of NSA surveillance -- with Chancellor Merkel demanding (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/26/world/europe/surveillance-revelations-shake-us-german-ties.html) Five-Eyes-exempt status for Germany, the European Parliament voting (http://tvnewsroom.consilium.europa.eu/video/shotlist/arrival-and-doorstep-ep-president-schulz4) to curtail the sharing of bank data with Washington, and Brazil’s President Rousseff canceling a U.S. state visit and contracting (http://en.mercopress.com/2013/11/29/brazil-will-have-its-own-national-made-secure-communications-satellite-by-2016) a $560 million satellite communications system to free her country from the U.S.-controlled version of the Internet.
The Future of U.S. Global Power
By starting a swelling river of NSA documents flowing into public view, Edward Snowden has given us a glimpse of the changing architecture of U.S. global power. At the broadest level, Obama’s digital “pivot” complements his overall defense strategy (http://www.defense.gov/news/defense_strategic_guidance.pdf), announced in 2012, of reducing conventional forces while expanding into the new, cost-effective domains of space and cyberspace.
While cutting back modestly on costly armaments and the size of the military, President Obama has invested billions in the building of a new architecture for global information control. If we add the $791 billion (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175655/) expended to build the Department of Homeland Security bureaucracy to the $500 billion (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/30/us/politics/leaked-document-outlines-us-spending-on-intelligence.html) spent on an increasingly para-militarized version of global intelligence in the dozen years since 9/11, then Washington has made a $1.2 trillion investment in a new apparatus of world power.
So formidable is this security bureaucracy that Obama’s recent executive review recommended the regularization, not reform, of current NSA practices, allowing the agency to continue collecting American phone calls and monitoring foreign leaders into the foreseeable future. Cyberspace offers Washington an austerity-linked arena for the exercise of global power, albeit at the cost of trust by its closest allies -- a contradiction that will bedevil America’s global leadership for years to come.
To update Henry Stimson: in the age of the Internet, gentlemen don't just read each other’s mail, they watch each other’s porn. Even if we think we have nothing to hide, all of us, whether world leaders or ordinary citizens, have good reason to be concerned.
[I]Alfred McCoy is the J.R.W. Smail Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0299234142/ref=nosim/?tag=tomdispatch-20), which is the source for much of the material in this essay.

David Guyatt
01-21-2014, 09:33 AM
Great find, Pete. It's a stonking article by McCoy.

It's all about blackmail. Of course it is.

I only wish other writers would do more on analysing important stories rather than just recounting aspects of them.

Peter Lemkin
01-21-2014, 09:42 AM
Great find, Pete. It's a stonking article by McCoy.

It's all about blackmail. Of course it is.

I only wish other writers would do more on analysing important stories rather than just recounting aspects of them.

Imagine if J.E. Hoover was technosavvy, alive today and the head of NSA!::hitler::::fury::::thumbsdown:: We don't have Hoover...but the same game is being played. They have everyone by their most vulnerable parts!

Since we know for a fact that NSA monitors air traffic and electronic plane bearings between planes and controllers [along with everything else], how come NSA was not called to testify at the 911 Hearings - nor did they say 'peep' about the entire event [before, during, after]....as they have in their database everyone [guilty, innocent, patsy, other] talking/planning/carrying-out everything that happened then and in any other deep political event you care to mention. I think they were a vital part of 911, IMHO.

But the personal and political blackmail possible with such a system is all but infinite!

Magda Hassan
02-17-2014, 11:12 PM
‘Why Have You Gone to Russia Three Times in Two Months?’—Heathrow Customs Agent Interrogates Snowden Lawyer Kevin Gosztola | 16.02.2014 22:36 | Repression (http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/topics/repression/) | Terror War (http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/topics/terror/) | London (http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/london/) | World (http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/world/)
Edward Snowden's lawyer Jesselyn Radack, herself a whistleblower, was harassed by a Border Force Agent at Heathrow Airport today. Radack is here to meet with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy, to attend the launch of The Whistler
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/img/extlink.gif http://www.thewhistler.org/content/whistler-international-launch
and the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence that will be presented to Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning in absentia this week in Oxford http://www.indymedia.org.uk/img/extlink.gif http://rt.com/news/manning-sam-adams-award-697/.

Kevin Gosztola, who reported extensively on the pretrial hearings and trial in the case of USA vs Manning, explains what happened.

Original article:
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/img/extlink.gif http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2014/02/16/why-have-you-gone-to-russia-three-times-in-two-months-heathrow-border-agent-interrogates-snowden-lawyer/

By: Kevin Gosztola Sunday February 16, 2014 12:37 pm


A lawyer who represents National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and has spoken on his behalf numerous times was detained while going through customs at Heathrow airport in London.

Jesselyn Radack told Firedoglake she was directed to a specific Heathrow Border Force agent. He “didn’t seem interested” in her passport. She was then subjected to “very hostile questioning.”

As Radack recalled, she was asked why she was here. “To see friends,” she answered. “Who will you be seeing?” She answered, “A group called Sam Adams Associates.”

The agent wanted to know who was in the group. “Ray McGovern, Annie Machon, Thomas Drake, Craig Murray,” she answered. She said she is part of the group as well.

“Where will you meet?” Radack answered, “At the Ecuadorian Embassy.” Then, the agent asked, “With Julian Assange?” Radack said yes.

The interrogation continued, “Why have you gone to Russia twice in three months?” Radack said she had a client in the country. “Who?” She answered, “Edward Snowden.”

“Who is Edward Snowden?” asked the agent. Radack said he is a whistleblower and an asylee. Then, the agent asked, “Who is Bradley Manning?” To this, she answered, “A whistleblower.”

For whatever reason, the agent asked, “Where is he?” “In jail,” Radack told the agent. (Now, she is known as Chelsea Manning.)

The agent said, “So he’s a criminal?” Radack corrected the agent, “He’s a political prisoner.” The agent asked if she represented Manning and she said no. Then he followed up, “But you represent Snowden?” She replied, “Yes, I’m a human rights lawyer.”

Former NSA employee and whistleblower Thomas Drake was with her and witnessed the interrogation. The agent barked the questions at Radack and had a “threatening demeanor.

Radack said she was “stone face cold” during the interrogation but afterward was shaking and in tears. “How did he know to bring up those names?”

Notably, Radack mentioned she was told she was on an “inhibited persons list.” Jennifer Robinson, an Australian human rights lawyer who has represented WikiLeaks, discovered she was on this list in April of 2012.

According to a report by Australian journalist Bernard Keane, this is a term the Department of Homeland Security uses. From a DHS document:

‘Inhibited status’, as defined in this rule, means the status of a passenger or non-traveling individual to whom TSA [Transportation Security Administration] has instructed a covered aircraft operator or a covered airport operator not to issue a boarding pass or to provide access to the sterile area.

Keane highlighted the fact that in March 2012, “as part of the US government’s seemingly remorseless attempt to impose its laws on the rest of the world, the UK agreed to new rules that required airlines to provide the Department of Homeland Security with details of passengers even if they weren’t traveling to the United States, but to countries near the US, such as Canada, Mexico and Cuba.”

Radack reacted to the intimidation and harassment afterward, “The government, whether in the US, UK, or elsewhere does not have the authority to monitor, harass or intimidate lawyers for representing unpopular clients.”

Her interrogation by a Border Force agent comes just after The New York Times reported, based off a document from Snowden, that NSA ally, Australia, has used the Australian Signals Directorate to spy on American lawyers. The spying involved Indonesia trade talks.

From the Times:

The Australians told officials at an NSA liaison office in Canberra, Australia, that “information covered by attorney-client privilege may be included” in the intelligence gathering, according to the document, a monthly bulletin from the Canberra office. The law firm was not identified, but Mayer Brown, a Chicago-based firm with a global practice, was then advising the Indonesian government on trade issues.

On behalf of the Australians, the liaison officials asked the N.S.A. general counsel’s office for guidance about the spying. The bulletin notes only that the counsel’s office “provided clear guidance” and that the Australian agency “has been able to continue to cover the talks, providing highly useful intelligence for interested US customers.”

The American Civil Liberties Union’s Alex Abdo, a staff attorney for the organization’s National Security Project, said the story confirmed the fear that “NSA’s surveillance rules give short shrift to the privacy of communications between lawyers and their clients.”

“It’s another example of the NSA’s troubling ‘mission creep’ beyond national security,” Abdo added. “Attorney-client communications are sacred in our legal tradition and should not be wiretapped except in extraordinary circumstances.”

In August of last year, David Miranda, journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner, was detained for nearly nine hours under a United Kingdom terrorism law at Heathrow airport. He had electronics equipment seized and agents were looking to intercept documents from Snowden by detaining him.
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2014/02/515427.html

Peter Lemkin
02-18-2014, 05:51 AM
I pose three rhetorical questions: Is it a police state yet?::dictator:: Is it a total surveillance state yet?::dictator:: Is it fascism yet?!::dictator::

Lauren Johnson
02-18-2014, 05:59 AM
I pose a rhetorical question: Is it fascism yet?!::dictator::te

Let's say, have we arrived at the perfect union of the state, the military, the private corporation, education, and the intelligence apparatus? Hmmm, let's see. Gotta go with yes. ::untank::

David Guyatt
02-18-2014, 07:57 AM
I also think yes.

Magda Hassan
02-21-2014, 10:57 AM
Kafka lives!

UK Government Refuses To Confirm Or Deny If Your Pronunciation Of Its Massive Surveillance Program 'Tempora' Is Correct

from the oh,-come-on,-stop-being-tiresome dept

A few weeks back, we reported that some digital rights groups were challenging (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140124/07550125977/eu-court-human-rights-fast-tracks-case-against-gchq-more-organisations-launch-legal-challenges-to-uk-spying.shtml) GCHQ's spying at the UK's secretive Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). As Wired UK reports, a first hearing has now taken place (http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-02/14/ipt-public-hearing-gchq-tempora), dealing with preliminary matters before the main case in July. Here's one ridiculous problem that had to be addressed:
while the Prism programme has been officially acknowledged, the UK government will not acknowledge the existence of the operation named Tempora, as detailed in the documents released by Edward Snowden. Mr Justice Burton suggested that it might be wise to define the operation in other terms, so that it could be discussed as a factual hypothetical, rather than deal with the inevitable roadblocks that will consistently be encountered if it is called by its code name. Tempora, he said, could be referred to as the "fibre-optic interception programme" for presentational purposes.
This isn't the UK government being purely bloody-minded. By refusing to confirm or deny Tempora's existence, even though there are numerous leaked documents attesting to it, it is trying to persuade the IPT to hold a closed hearing, so as to stop the British public learning anything about what's really going on here. But as the Wired UK report reveals, it's taking this "neither confirm nor deny" policy to absurd lengths:
There was also some jovial discussion in the hearing over the pronunciation of Tempora and whether the emphasis should be on the "Tem" or the "por". When called on to advise as to whether they were pronouncing the code name correctly, government counsel could neither confirm nor deny.


http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140217/09392326250/uk-government-refuses-to-confirm-deny-if-your-pronunciation-its-massive-surveillance-program-tempora-is-correct.shtml

David Guyatt
02-21-2014, 02:29 PM
Kafka lives!

UK Government Refuses To Confirm Or Deny If Your Pronunciation Of Its Massive Surveillance Program 'Tempora' Is Correct

from the oh,-come-on,-stop-being-tiresome dept

A few weeks back, we reported that some digital rights groups were challenging (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140124/07550125977/eu-court-human-rights-fast-tracks-case-against-gchq-more-organisations-launch-legal-challenges-to-uk-spying.shtml) GCHQ's spying at the UK's secretive Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). As Wired UK reports, a first hearing has now taken place (http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-02/14/ipt-public-hearing-gchq-tempora), dealing with preliminary matters before the main case in July. Here's one ridiculous problem that had to be addressed:
while the Prism programme has been officially acknowledged, the UK government will not acknowledge the existence of the operation named Tempora, as detailed in the documents released by Edward Snowden. Mr Justice Burton suggested that it might be wise to define the operation in other terms, so that it could be discussed as a factual hypothetical, rather than deal with the inevitable roadblocks that will consistently be encountered if it is called by its code name. Tempora, he said, could be referred to as the "fibre-optic interception programme" for presentational purposes.
This isn't the UK government being purely bloody-minded. By refusing to confirm or deny Tempora's existence, even though there are numerous leaked documents attesting to it, it is trying to persuade the IPT to hold a closed hearing, so as to stop the British public learning anything about what's really going on here. But as the Wired UK report reveals, it's taking this "neither confirm nor deny" policy to absurd lengths:
There was also some jovial discussion in the hearing over the pronunciation of Tempora and whether the emphasis should be on the "Tem" or the "por". When called on to advise as to whether they were pronouncing the code name correctly, government counsel could neither confirm nor deny.


http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140217/09392326250/uk-government-refuses-to-confirm-deny-if-your-pronunciation-its-massive-surveillance-program-tempora-is-correct.shtml

Secrecy taken to the point of absurdity.

But then the UK has always been prone to treat secrecy that way. Until just a few years ago it would neither confirm or deny we had MI5 or SIS, although both were regularly featured in the press -- and the name of the director of either org was absolutely sacrosanct.

In my view, the more things a nation and its pols wants to hide, the more reason the smelly sewers need to be opened to public scrutiny.

Peter Lemkin
02-24-2014, 09:25 PM
"The Paragraph Began to Self-Delete": Did NSA Hack Computer of Snowden Biographer & Edit Book Draft?


Is the National Security Agency breaking into computers and tampering with unpublished manuscripts? Award-winning Guardian journalist Luke Harding says paragraphs of his writing mysteriously disappeared when he was working on his latest book, "The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man." "I wrote that Snowden’s revelations had damaged U.S. tech companies and their bottom line. Something odd happened," wrote Harding in The Guardian. "The paragraph I had just written began to self-delete. The cursor moved rapidly from the left, gobbling text. I watched my words vanish." Harding joins us to talk about the computer monitoring and other times he believes he was being tracked.


Transcript This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to the latest on the growing surveillance state.

EDWARD SNOWDEN: [Recently, we learned that our governments], working in concert, have created a system of worldwide mass surveillance, watching everything we do. Great Britain’s George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information. The types of collection in the book—microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us—are nothing compared to what we have available today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go. Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person. A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves, an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. And that’s a problem, because privacy matters.
AMY GOODMAN: Those are the words of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, speaking in December.
We turn now to the remarkable story of British journalist Luke Harding, who says he became the target of surveillance himself while reporting on Edward Snowden. Harding recently published The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man. On Friday, he revealed that while he was writing the book on his computer, paragraphs of the book would begin to self-delete. He repeatedly saw the cursor move rapidly from the left, gobbling text. And that wasn’t the only time he felt he was being monitored. Luke Harding joins us now via Democracy Now! video stream from The Guardian newsroom in London.
Welcome back to Democracy Now!, Luke. Tell us what happened.
LUKE HARDING: Well, before I do that, I think you have to understand the context, which is that the first few months of last year after Snowden’s leaks, both the U.S. and the British governments were scrambling to find out what he’d taken, how much he’d taken, why he’d taken it, and were really kind of clueless. And so, I think in that context it’s hardly surprising that the small number of journalists who were working on this material, including me, would have been targeted.
What happened was that I was writing my book. I was about halfway through. I had been to see Glenn Greenwald in Rio, in Brazil, to interview him, which was a kind of curious experience because Gleen is clearly very heavily surveilled by, I think, all sorts of people. Back at my home in the English countryside, I was writing kind of rather disparagingly, rather critically, about the NSA and its—the damage these revelations had done to Silicon Valley. And I was sitting back, working offline, I have to say, and, as you say, the text began rapidly deleting. And I thought, "Oh, my goodness! What is going on here?" This happened four or five times over a period of a month, to the point where I was actually, almost kind of jokingly, leaving little notes every morning to this kind of mysterious reader. And then, at one point, one of my colleagues mentioned this in a newspaper interview in Germany, and it suddenly stopped. So, I wrote this piece not because this was an especially sinister experience, but merely to kind of lay out the facts in what was another curious episode in an already quite surreal tale.
AMY GOODMAN: Luke, you describe in your most recent piece (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/20/edward-snowden-files-nsa-gchq-luke-harding) about an American who approached you when you were in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil.
LUKE HARDING: Well, that’s right. I mean, again, I said this—you know, I mean, it was quite funny, in a way. Essentially, what happened was that I met Glenn at a hotel by the seafront, and we had to shift locations several times because it was clear that there were various people who were trying to eavesdrop on our conversation, and we ended up in the business suite where we could actually physically lock the door behind ourselves. Subsequently, at my hotel, the Marriott, the next day, I was kind of accosted in the lobby by someone who looked as if they were straight out of CIA central casting, with a kind of military haircut and neatly ironed khaki shorts. And basically, he wanted to become my friend. He wanted to take me sightseeing. And it was a curious incident. I mean, you know, I say in my piece that he may have been a tourist, because of course there’s an innocent explanation for all of these things. But having talked to Glenn, one of the things he taught me was that the CIA in Rio especially was very aggressive. Glenn’s own computer had been stolen from the home where he shared with David Miranda just a few weeks previously. And it’s clear that there was a lot of U.S. intelligence activity going on there.
AMY GOODMAN: Remind us, Luke Harding, about the day the GCHQ came to call on The Guardian.
LUKE HARDING: Yeah, it was really, I think, one of the bizarrest episodes in the history of journalism. Essentially, the British government was extremely unhappy about our ongoing publication, from June the 5th onwards, of Snowden’s files, of the prison revelations, of Verizon and so on. And we came under increasing pressure, private pressure, backdoor pressure, from David Cameron, the British prime minister, who sent his most senior official, a guy called Sir Jeremy Heywood, to come and see us and basically say, "We can do this nicely, or we can go to law." In other words, he wanted this material back, and if we didn’t give it back, we were going to be injuncted. In other words, police would seize our computers and kind of shut down our reporting operation. And we explained that this was pointless, because Glenn had this stuff in Brazil; Laura Poitras, the filmmaker, had Snowden material in Berlin; The Washington Post similarly.
But the British government wasn’t listening, and this culminated in a hot Saturday morning last summer with three of my colleagues being forced to smash up our computers in the underground car park, four floors down from where I’m talking to you, watched by two spies from the British spy agency, GCHQ, who took photos on their iPhones to record the event, brought along a special machine called a degausser, which looks like a microwave oven. So we had to post the pieces of our bashed-up MacBooks into this degausser, which demagnetized them. And then these spies, who are based in the English countryside in a small provincial town called Cheltenham, they don’t get to London very often, the big city, and they left carrying bags of shopping, presents for their families. It really was a bizarre thing and, I think, for anyone who cares about press freedom, a pretty chilling thing, too.
AMY GOODMAN: While you were doing the work, while The Guardian was, and Glenn Greenwald was working for The Guardian, putting out the original pieces based on what Edward Snowden released from the National Security Agency, you write about how you were a part of this small team holed up in a room at The Guardian. Describe the security you had, and even your computers not being linked to the Internet.
LUKE HARDING: Yeah, it’s actually one floor up from here, so the computer smashing happened three floors down. The secret bunker is upstairs. And we knew that this was a serious—you know, the material that Snowden had entrusted to us, that this was a very serious undertaking. And we had a clear mission from him, which was to not publish anything which would damage legitimate intelligence operations, but to reveal mass surveillance, which we now all know about. And so, there were seven or eight of us, never any more than that, working in the room. We had security guards, around the clock, 24 hours, making sure that nobody who shouldn’t have been there was there. We left all electronics out. And we had four laptops and a PC, which had never been connected to the Internet, which were brand new, air-gapped at all times. We papered over the windows so nobody could see in from outside. And we—actually, to be honest, we were also kind of working against the clock. There was a sense that we needed to get as many stories out as we could, and in a responsible way, because we didn’t know when the British government would fall on us. And one other quite nice detail, cleaners were banned. Nobody was inside that room. So, very quickly, you know, I write in my book, it sort of resembled a kind of student dormitory with pizza wrappers, dirty coffee cups. So it was a pretty insalubrious working environment.
AMY GOODMAN: Has the GCHQ, the Government Communications Headquarters, the equivalent of the NSA, and the NSA changed their practices in any way in this eight months since all of this information has begun to come out?
LUKE HARDING: Well, you would think the answer to that question, Amy, would be yes, but in reality the answer is no. And I find it very depressing. I mean, it’s been fascinating. You know, I’ve been to the U.S. several times researching the book, and there’s clearly a very lively debate, a polarized debate, going on. But what’s happening politically is very interesting. In Britain, for certainly the first four or five months, the entire political establishment was asleep, and it’s only really woken up, I’d say, in the last few months. And the message from David Cameron, the prime minister, has been, really, "Move along, nothing to see here." But I think, inevitably, one of the things you know when you look at these documents is that GCHQ and the NSA work so closely together. This becomes very clear. They’re practically one entity. So I think the reforms or "reforms" that Obama announced in January, on January 17th, will inevitably affect the work of GCHQ, as well.
AMY GOODMAN: And what do you think of President Obama’s so-called "reforms"?
LUKE HARDING: Well, I mean, I think reform is rather a grand word. It seems to me they’re more face-saving tweaks, actually. I mean, the big takeaway is that the NSA will no longer listen to Angela Merkel’s cellphone or that of other "friendly" leaders. But I’ve just been in Europe doing various literary events there, and people are scratching their heads wondering whether their prime ministers, you know, are sufficiently friendly to—whether that means they will be bugged or not. They simply don’t know. And on the big thing, which is of course the collection of American metadata, telephony data, you know, tell me if I’m wrong, but that’s carrying on. OK, it may be administered by some new entity, but those programs, which Ed Snowden very bravely exposed, are still continuing.
AMY GOODMAN: And we just have 30 seconds. Google, Microsoft, have they changed their ways of operating at all as a result of all that has come out, and the other big companies?
LUKE HARDING: Well, I mean, I haven’t—I haven’t noticed major changes. I have noticed absolute panic and a really massive kind of PR campaign to try and assure everybody, from us—senior Google executives recently visited The Guardian—to the whole world, that they are not kind of complicit in this spying, and have been coerced into collaborating. But I still think there are some kind of big questions about how deep their involvement in all of this is.
AMY GOODMAN: Luke Harding, I want to thank you for being with us, award-winning foreign correspondent with The Guardian. His new book, just out, The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man. He also recently wrote a piece (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/20/edward-snowden-files-nsa-gchq-luke-harding) in The Guardian called "Writing The Snowden Files: 'The Paragraph Began to Self-Delete.'"
----------------------------------

Writing The Snowden Files: 'The paragraph began to self-delete' Was it the NSA? GCHQ? A Russian hacker? Who was secretly reading his book on Snowden while he wrote it, wonders Luke Harding







http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/2/20/1392913199678/Luke-Harding-006.jpg 'I watched my words vanish' … Harding. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

One day last summer – a short while after Edward Snowden (http://www.theguardian.com/world/edward-snowden) revealed himself as the source behind the momentous leak of classified intelligence – the Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/alanrusbridger) got in touch. Would I write a book on Snowden's story and that of the journalists working with him? The answer, of course, was yes. At this point Snowden was still in Hong Kong. He was in hiding. He had leaked documents that revealed the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its British equivalent GCHQ (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/gchq) were surveilling much of the planet.
Our conversation took place not in Alan's office but in an anonymous sideroom at the Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/media/theguardian)'s King's Cross HQ. Was Rusbridger's office bugged? Nobody knew. But given the Guardian's ongoing publication of sensitive stories based on Snowden's files this seemed a reasonable assumption. Britain's spy agencies were good at what they did. Thus the project to chronicle Snowden's story began in an atmosphere of furtiveness. And perhaps mild paranoia.
I was part of a small team that examined Snowden's documents in a secure fourth-floor room overlooking Regent's Canal. Security was tight. Only a few trusted reporters were allowed in. Guards were posted outside. None of the laptops were connected to the internet or any other network. Cleaners were banned. Soon the room grew unkempt. Discarded sandwich packets and dirty coffee cups piled up.
Downing Street's response to Snowden's leak was initially slow – then strident. David Cameron sent his cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood to visit the Guardian. Heywood demanded the return of Snowden's files. And, in passing, suggested the newspaper was now itself under secret observation. "I wonder where our guys are?" he said, gesturing vaguely to the flats opposite. These interactions culminated with the Guardian, under threat of government injunction, smashing up its laptops (http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/jan/31/snowden-files-computer-destroyed-guardian-gchq-basement-video) in an underground carpark as two boffins from GCHQ watched. It was beyond the plot of any thriller.
There were curious moments in New York, too, from where many Snowden stories were reported. Within hours of publication of the first one – which revealed that the NSA was mass-scooping data from the US telecoms company Verizon – diggers arrived outside the Guardian's loft office in Broadway. It was a Wednesday evening. They dug up the pavement and replaced it. The same thing happened outside the Guardian's Washington bureau, four blocks from the White House, and the Brooklyn home of US editor-in-chief Janine Gibson (http://www.theguardian.com/global/2000/dec/19/janine-gibson). Coincidence? Perhaps.
In July I flew to Rio de Janeiro to interview Glenn Greenwald (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/glenn-greenwald), the then Guardian columnist to whom Snowden entrusted his files. The trip was pleasant. My hotel overlooked Copacabana beach; from the rooftop I could watch the surf and Rio's rich walking their dogs. Greenwald suggested we meet along the coast in the Royal Tulip hotel (http://www.royaltulipriodejaneiro.com). We sat in the lobby. To our left a man with his back to us played with his iPhone; another individual lurked nearby. We shifted locations, twice. Eventually we hid in the business centre.




Link to video: Revealed: the day Guardian destroyed Snowden hard drives under watchful eye of GCHQ (http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/jan/31/snowden-files-computer-destroyed-guardian-gchq-basement-video) Greenwald's response to this apparent stalking – by who exactly? – was good humoured. He seemed unfazed. The CIA's station chief in Rio was known for his aggressive methods, Greenwald told me cheerfully. Weeks earlier an intruder had broken into the Rio home he shared with David Miranda and had stolen his laptop. (Nothing was on it.) I had been leaving my own laptop in the safe of my hotel room each day; returning from meeting Greenwald I found the safe would no longer lock.
I ventured out the next morning. My laptop was in the unlocked safe. (It didn't contain any secrets; merely a work in progress.) A tall American immediately accosted me. He suggested we go sightseeing. He said his name was Chris. "Chris" had a short, military-style haircut, new trainers, neatly pressed khaki shorts, and a sleek steel-grey T-shirt. He clearly spent time in the gym. Tourist or spook? I thought spook.
I decided to go along with Chris's proposal: why didn't we spend a couple of hours visiting Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue? Chris wanted to take my photo, buy me a beer, go for dinner. I declined the beer and dinner, later texting my wife: "The CIA sent someone to check me out. Their techniques as clumsy as Russians." She replied: "Really? WTF?" I added: "God knows where they learn their spycraft." This exchange may have irritated someone. My iPhone flashed and toggled wildly between two screens; the keyboard froze; I couldn't type.
Such moments may, of course, have an innocent explanation. Still, back at my home in Hertfordshire I took a few precautions. I worked offline. I stored each draft chapter in a TrueCrypt folder, a virtual encrypted disk accessible only via a long, complicated password. When I conducted interviews I left my mobile behind. Having seen Snowden's documents, I knew something of the NSA's and GCHQ's extraordinary capabilities. As of April 2013, the US spy agency had 117,675 active surveillance targets. Was I perhaps now one of them?
By September the book was going well – 30,000 words done. A Christmas deadline loomed. I was writing a chapter on the NSA's close, and largely hidden, relationship with Silicon Valley. I wrote that Snowden's revelations had damaged US tech companies and their bottom line. Something odd happened. The paragraph I had just written began to self-delete. The cursor moved rapidly from the left, gobbling text. I watched my words vanish. When I tried to close my OpenOffice file the keyboard began flashing and bleeping.
Over the next few weeks these incidents of remote deletion happened several times. There was no fixed pattern but it tended to occur when I wrote disparagingly of the NSA. All authors expect criticism. But criticism before publication by an anonymous, divine third party is something novel. I began to leave notes for my secret reader. I tried to be polite, but irritation crept in. Once I wrote: "Good morning. I don't mind you reading my manuscript – you're doing so already – but I'd be grateful if you don't delete it. Thank you." There was no reply.
A month later the mysterious reader – him, her, they? – abruptly disappeared. At a literary event in Berlin my Guardian colleague David Leigh told a journalist about my unusual computer experiences; he led with the anecdote in a piece for the leftwing daily Taz. (http://www.taz.de/Buchvorstellung-Wikileaks/%21124531/) After that, nothing. I finished The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man (http://www.guardianbookshop.co.uk/BerteShopWeb/viewProduct.do?ISBN=9781783350353&intcmp=HomepageBanner) in December.
In idle moments I wonder who might have been my surreptitious editor. An aggrieved analyst at the NSA's Fort Meade spy city? GCHQ? A Russian hacker? Someone else intent on mischief? Whoever you are, what did you think of my book? I'd genuinely like to know.

Magda Hassan
02-24-2014, 09:32 PM
Hope he hasn't got rid of his trusty old Olivetti typewriter. Every one should have one. Especially these days::songwriting::

Marlene Zenker
02-25-2014, 02:58 AM
This article belongs in multiple forums, maybe every forum.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipulation/ (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipulation/)

How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy ReputationsBy Glenn Greenwald (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/staff/glenn-greenwald/)24 Feb 2014, 6:25 PM EST130 (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipulation/#comments)

https://prod01-cdn03.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/main2.pngA page from a GCHQ top secret document prepared by its secretive JTRIG unit
One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.
Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series (http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/27/22469304-snowden-docs-reveal-british-spies-snooped-on-youtube-and-facebook?lite) of articles (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/war-anonymous-british-spies-attacked-hackers-snowden-docs-show-n21361) about “dirty trick” tactics (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/snowden-docs-british-spies-used-sex-dirty-tricks-n23091) used by GCHQ’s previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on four (http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/Sections/NEWS/snowden_youtube_nbc_document.pdf) classified (http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/snowden_anonymous_nbc_document.pdf) GCHQ (http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/snowden_cyber_offensive2_nbc_document.pdf) documents (http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/snowden_cyber_offensive1_nbc_document.pdf) presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking “Five Eyes” alliance (http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/06/is-the-five-eyes-alliance-conspiring-to-spy-on-you/277190/). Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/document/2014/02/24/art-deception-training-new-generation-online-covert-operations/), in full, entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations”.
By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse “hacktivists” of using, the use of “honey traps” (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.
Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums. Here is one illustrative list of tactics from the latest GCHQ document we’re publishing today:
https://prod01-cdn03.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/deception_p47.png (https://prod01-cdn03.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/deception_p47.png)
Other tactics aimed at individuals are listed here, under the revealing title “discredit a target”:
https://prod01-cdn02.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/Screenshot3.png (https://prod01-cdn02.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/Screenshot3.png)
Then there are the tactics used to destroy companies the agency targets:
https://prod01-cdn00.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/screenshot4.png (https://prod01-cdn00.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/screenshot4.png)
GCHQ describes the purpose of JTRIG in starkly clear terms: “using online techniques to make something happen in the real or cyber world”, including “information ops (influence or disruption)”.
https://prod01-cdn02.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/Screenshot2.png (https://prod01-cdn02.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/Screenshot2.png)
Critically, the “targets” for this deceit and reputation-destruction extend far beyond the customary roster of normal spycraft: hostile nations and their leaders, military agencies, and intelligence services. In fact, the discussion of many of these techniques occurs in the context of using them in lieu of “traditional law enforcement” against people suspected (but not charged or convicted) of ordinary crimes or, more broadly still, “hacktivism”, meaning those who use online protest activity for political ends.
The title page of one of these documents reflects the agency’s own awareness that it is “pushing the boundaries” by using “cyber offensive” techniques against people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security threats, and indeed, centrally involves law enforcement agents who investigate ordinary crimes:
https://prod01-cdn00.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/deception_hacktivism.png (https://prod01-cdn00.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/deception_hacktivism.png)
No matter your views on Anonymous, “hacktivists” or garden-variety criminals, it is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption. There is a strong argument to make, as Jay Leiderman demonstrated in the Guardian in the context of the Paypal 14 hacktivist persecution (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jan/22/paypal-wikileaks-protesters-ddos-free-speech), that the “denial of service” tactics used by hacktivists result in (at most) trivial damage (far less than the cyber-warfare tactics favored by the US and UK (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/nov/23/anonymous-trial-wikileaks-internet-freedom)) and are far more akin to the type of political protest protected by the First Amendment.
The broader point is that, far beyond hacktivists, these surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats. As Anonymous expert Gabriella Coleman of McGill University told me, “targeting Anonymous and hacktivists amounts to targeting citizens for expressing their political beliefs, resulting in the stifling of legitimate dissent.” Pointing to this study (http://www.cigionline.org/publications/2013/9/anonymous-context-politics-and-power-behind-mask) she published, Professor Coleman vehemently contested the assertion that “there is anything terrorist/violent in their actions.”
Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation. Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 (http://www.salon.com/2010/01/15/sunstein_2/) proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups.
Sunstein also proposed sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” which spread what he views as false and damaging “conspiracy theories” about the government. Ironically, the very same Sunstein was recently named by Obama to serve as a member of the NSA review panel created by the White House, one that – while disputing key NSA claims – proceeded to propose many cosmetic reforms (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/13/nsa-review-to-leave-spying-programs-largely-unchanged-reports-say) to the agency’s powers (most of which were ignored by the President who appointed them).
But these GCHQ documents are the first to prove that a major western government is using some of the most controversial techniques to disseminate deception online and harm the reputations of targets. Under the tactics they use, the state is deliberately spreading lies on the internet about whichever individuals it targets, including the use of what GCHQ itself calls “false flag operations” and emails to people’s families and friends. Who would possibly trust a government to exercise these powers at all, let alone do so in secret, with virtually no oversight, and outside of any cognizable legal framework?
Then there is the use of psychology and other social sciences to not only understand, but shape and control, how online activism and discourse unfolds. Today’s newly published document touts the work of GCHQ’s “Human Science Operations Cell”, devoted to “online human intelligence” and “strategic influence and disruption”:
https://prod01-cdn00.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/screenshot6.png (https://prod01-cdn00.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/screenshot6.png)
https://prod01-cdn01.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/deception_p07.png (https://prod01-cdn01.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/deception_p07.png)
Under the title “Online Covert Action”, the document details a variety of means to engage in “influence and info ops” as well as “disruption and computer net attack”, while dissecting how human beings can be manipulated using “leaders”, “trust, “obedience” and “compliance”:
https://prod01-cdn01.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/screenshot13.png (https://prod01-cdn01.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/screenshot13.png)
https://prod01-cdn00.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/deception_p11.png (https://prod01-cdn00.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/deception_p11.png)
https://prod01-cdn00.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/deception_p12.png (https://prod01-cdn00.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/deception_p12.png)
https://prod01-cdn01.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/screenshot14.png (https://prod01-cdn01.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/screenshot14.png)

The documents lay out theories of how humans interact with one another, particularly online, and then attempt to identify ways to influence the outcomes – or “game” it:https://prod01-cdn02.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/deception_p24.png (https://prod01-cdn02.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/deception_p24.png)
https://prod01-cdn02.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/deception_p48.png (https://prod01-cdn02.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/deception_p48.png)
https://prod01-cdn03.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/deception_p42.png (https://prod01-cdn03.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/2014/02/deception_p42.png)
We submitted numerous questions to GCHQ, including: (1) Does GCHQ in fact engage in “false flag operations” where material is posted to the Internet and falsely attributed to someone else?; (2) Does GCHQ engage in efforts to influence or manipulate political discourse online?; and (3) Does GCHQ’s mandate include targeting common criminals (such as boiler room operators), or only foreign threats?
As usual, they ignored those questions and opted instead to send their vague and nonresponsive boilerplate: “It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters. Furthermore, all of GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. All our operational processes rigorously support this position.”
These agencies’ refusal to “comment on intelligence matters” – meaning: talk at all about anything and everything they do – is precisely why whistleblowing is so urgent, the journalism that supports it so clearly in the public interest, and the increasingly unhinged attacks by these agencies so easy to understand (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/25/leaked-memos-gchq-mass-surveillance-secret-snowden). Claims that government agencies are infiltrating online communities and engaging in “false flag operations” to discredit targets are often dismissed as conspiracy theories, but these documents leave no doubt they are doing precisely that.
Whatever else is true, no government should be able to engage in these tactics: what justification is there for having government agencies target people – who have been charged with no crime – for reputation-destruction, infiltrate online political communities, and develop techniques for manipulating online discourse? But to allow those actions with no public knowledge or accountability is particularly unjustifiable.

Peter Lemkin
02-25-2014, 07:13 AM
Legal Community Disturbed About Recent Allegations of Spying on Privileged Communications


The NSA appears to have been involved in the surveillance of privileged attorney-client communications, and the legal community is not happy about it. The New York Times reports (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/us/eavesdropping-ensnared-american-law-firm.html?_r=0) that communications between an American law firm and its foreign client may have been among the information one of the NSA’s "five eyes" intelligence partners, the Australian Signals Dictorate, shared with the NSA. The American Bar Association (http://www.americanbar.org/aba.html) has responded to these allegations by urging the NSA (http://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-archives/2014/02/aba_asks_nsa_howit.html) to clarify its procedures for minimizing exposure of privileged information- and rightly so. Surveillance of attorney-client communications is anathema to the fundamental system of justice established by our Constitution.
The Times reported that the newly leaked document provides evidence that the Australian spy agency asked the NSA for guidance on how to handle surveillance of privileged attorney-client communications while monitoring trade talks between the Indonesian government and the US. The NSA’s guidance apparently allowed the Australian agency "to continue to cover the talks, providing highly useful intelligence for interested US customers." An NSA spokeswoman did not deny the allegations, but did note that the NSA could offer a variety of limitations on the collection and dissemination of privileged communications.
ABA president James R. Silkenat writes in his letter (http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/uncategorized/GAO/2014feb20_privilegedinformation_l.authcheckdam.pdf ) to NSA Director Keith Alexander: "The attorney client privilege is a bedrock legal principle of our free society." The privilege (http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=2467) protects communications between attorneys giving their clients or potential clients professional legal advice or assistance and ensures that people can seek candid advice from a qualified attorney without fear their discussions will be used against them. It allows clients to prevent disclosure of privileged information by others, and to refuse to disclose that information themselves. As the Supreme Court held in Upjohn Co. v. United States (https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/449/383/case.html) : "The privilege recognizes that sound legal advice or advocacy . . . depends on the lawyer’s being fully informed by the client."
Attorneys are legally bound by ethical rules that require them to protect privileged information, and the erosion of the attorney-client privilege should seriously concern every member of the legal profession. The Supreme Court recognized in Strickland v. Washington (https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/466/668/case.html)that the 6th amendment "right to counsel is the right to the effective assistance of counsel," and that effective assistance of counsel can be obstructed by "various kinds of state interference with counsel's assistance."
A look at some history is helpful. As the Times article points out, the issue of wiretapping privileged communications was at stake in Amnesty et. al v. Clapper (https://www.aclu.org/national-security/amnesty-et-al-v-clapper). In that case, the plaintiffs were individuals and organizations whose work required regular communication of sensitive issues with people located overseas. Attorneys were among the plaintiffs. They argued (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/10/how-fisa-amendments-act-allows-warrantless-wiretapping-described-supreme-court) that these communications were susceptible to unconstitutional surveillance under the broad authority granted by the FISA Amendments Act. During oral argument, Justice Kennedy noted: "I think the lawyer would engage in malpractice if he talked on the telephone with some of these clients, given this statute," which he said gave the government an "extraordinarily wide-reaching power." The case was ultimately dismissed (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/02/supreme-court-dismisses-challenge-fisa-warrantless-wiretapping-law-effs-lawsuit) on the grounds that the plaintiffs could not prove that they were being subjected to surveillance, and the issues Justice Kennedy noted were never discussed. Of course, since Clapper was decided, the leaks provided by Edward Snowden make it clear that surveillance is even wider than imagined, and that the attorney plaintiffs in that case were likely correct in believing that their privileged communications were subject to surveillance.
Attorneys representing Guantanamo detainees have also faced the issue of breach of attorney-client privilege (http://www.aljazeera.com/humanrights/2013/07/2013714801634377.html). In 2011, Guantanamo’s commanding officer issued a written order (http://www.lawfareblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/2_Enclosure-5-Order-Governing-Written-Communications.pdf) that created a "privilege review team" that would open written communications between defense attorneys and their Guantanamo clients and scan the communications for contraband. This order was considered such a serious breach that Colonel J.P Colwell, Guantanamo Chief Defense Counsel, issued an ethics instruction (https://www.nacdl.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=23428&libID=23398) in which he instructed Office of the Chief Defense Counsel attorneys not to comply with the order because doing so would violate attorney-client privilege. Several cases were also filed in response to the order.
One of the attorneys potentially affected by the documents referred to in the Times article joked that the communications "would have been pretty boring," but that is often not the case. Attorney-client communications are privileged for a reason; the privilege protects information that could be construed as prejudicial to a client. There is a very real concern that communications will actually be intercepted and used for various purposes. What’s more, the fear that communications may be intercepted has the potential to chill attorney-client relationships and prevent attorneys from zealously defending their clients. This is not an imaginary concern; in one of the cases (http://www.lawfareblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/2012-02-08-Connell-v-Woods-Complaint-pages-1-28.pdf) challenging the Guantanamo order, the defendant “cited the seizure of the legal materials as a basis for refusing to meet [his defense attorneys]."
When the Guantanamo command order was released, bar associations took a stand. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers issued an ethics opinion (http://www.nacdl.org/gtmoethicsopinion/) stating, "it would be unethical for a criminal defense lawyer to abide by the Communications Order… This is an impossible situation for an American lawyer and every notion of American criminal justice."
The American Bar Association also sent a letter of complaint (http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/uncategorized/2011/gao/2011dec21_guantanamoattcltpriv.authcheckdam.pdf) to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stating that the order "impairs the ability of these dedicated lawyers https://www.eff.org/files/2014/02/22/nsa-action-1.png (https://action.eff.org/o/9042/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=9437)to gain the trust and confidence of their clients, establish an effective attorney-client relationship, and maintain the professional independence that is so critical to a true adversarial process," and asking Secretary Panetta to rescind the order. These statements could have been about NSA spying.
The legal community has now taken a stand, but even more is needed. As the Times article cited, the American Bar Association changed its model rule 1.6 (http://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publications/model_rules_of_professional_conduct/rule_1_6_confidentiality_of_information.html) to require lawyers to "make reasonable efforts to prevent" privileged information. In fact, the ABA issued a resolution and report (http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/law_national_security/resolution_118.authcheckdam.pdf) on surveillance and cybersecurity in August of 2013 encouraging attorneys to ensure that client information is secure. But in the case of government surveillance, the fault does not lie with lawyers, it lies with the NSA. The minimization techniques described by the NSA do not preserve privileged communications. It would be close to impossible for an average attorney to effectively thwart surveillance by a dedicated intelligence agency with tens of thousands of employees and billions of dollars in funding, especially when they are working with other similar spy agency partners around the world.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (http://www.nacdl.org/) (NACDL) recognizes this; it is a member of the Stop Watching Us (https://www.stopwatching.us/) Coalition, which has called on Congress to reform the PATRIOT Act and other government surveillance laws, create a special committee to investigate NSA spying, and hold the public officials responsible for unconstitutional surveillance accountable.
It now appears that the largest bar association in the country, the American Bar Association, may be following suit. In his letter, President Silkenat states, "The ABA has consistently fought to preserve the attorney-client privilege and opposes government policies, practices and procedures that erode the privilege." While the letter does express faith in NSA—faith the NSA may not deserve—it also "respectfully request[s] that [NSA Director Alexander and NSA General Counsel] clarify and explain NSA’s current policies and practices that are designed to protect the attorney client privileged status of information that it collects or receives, and whether these policies and practices were followed with respect to the alleged interception of privileged communications between the U.S. law firm and its overseas client referenced above." Perhaps the NSA will be responsive.
What is key here is that if the NSA does not respond to the ABA’s letter, the ABA must not stop asking for answers. In fact, like NACDL, the ABA should go even further by pushing for legislative reform and by condemning unconstitutional NSA surveillance.
Just as attorneys must zealously fight for their clients, the profession must zealously fight against surveillance that would undermine the ability to represent clients, and must see this this most recent revelation for what it is—a step away from the constitutionally prescribed system of justice attorneys are sworn to uphold.

Malcolm Pryce
02-25-2014, 10:04 AM
When Luke Harding’s story appeared in the Guardian about the paragraphs of his story on Snowden being deleted before his very eyes, a number of people commented that what he witnessed was exactly what happens when the delete key on your keyboard gets stuck. The keyboard beeps, flashes and text gets gobbled up by a keyboard that spookily no longer responds to the owner’s commands. If he had been writing an article about Snowdon the mountain in Wales and this happened his first instinct would have been there was a hardware fault. But because he was writing about Edward Snowden his first thought was that the Spooks had taken over his computer. Maybe they had. Or maybe he had a piece of cheese stuck under the delete key. Sometimes it pays to consider alternative explanations.

Magda Hassan
02-25-2014, 10:51 AM
When Luke Harding’s story appeared in the Guardian about the paragraphs of his story on Snowden being deleted before his very eyes, a number of people commented that what he witnessed was exactly what happens when the delete key on your keyboard gets stuck. The keyboard beeps, flashes and text gets gobbled up by a keyboard that spookily no longer responds to the owner’s commands. If he had been writing an article about Snowdon the mountain in Wales and this happened his first instinct would have been there was a hardware fault. But because he was writing about Edward Snowden his first thought was that the Spooks had taken over his computer. Maybe they had. Or maybe he had a piece of cheese stuck under the delete key. Sometimes it pays to consider alternative explanations.
Yeah, I've had that happen. In my case it added text.

Peter Lemkin
02-25-2014, 11:08 AM
When Luke Harding’s story appeared in the Guardian about the paragraphs of his story on Snowden being deleted before his very eyes, a number of people commented that what he witnessed was exactly what happens when the delete key on your keyboard gets stuck. The keyboard beeps, flashes and text gets gobbled up by a keyboard that spookily no longer responds to the owner’s commands. If he had been writing an article about Snowdon the mountain in Wales and this happened his first instinct would have been there was a hardware fault. But because he was writing about Edward Snowden his first thought was that the Spooks had taken over his computer. Maybe they had. Or maybe he had a piece of cheese stuck under the delete key. Sometimes it pays to consider alternative explanations.

This is a ludicrous way to look at this, IMHO. First of all, while I have had stuck keys on my keyboard they always MUST start from the cursor [on the right] not on the left! Second, this happened several times and to a professional journalist [and typist]. Third, when you consider who it was he was writing about - along with the other events he mentioned I totally disagree that alternative explanations need to be explored - unless one is straining to dismiss what Snowden has said and what the NSA and its ilk are like. I personally have had trojens sent into my computer to delete specific files and those files only! I can prove it was not a computer problem. I have heard of others having other such problems. They can control one's computer - they can add and they can erase - usually they just spy on what is in it and what one is typing with keylogging. I say the burden of guilt and suspicion is NOT on a sticky keyboard, but on the security [sic] services that spy on anyone who works on things they don't like [such as the truth!].

Magda Hassan
02-25-2014, 11:26 AM
Fair call Peter. I know such things have happened. It is certain that Harding as would most journalists in his subject area would be monitored.

Joel van der Reijen also talked about such thing happening to him when he was researching the JASON group. https://wikispooks.com/ISGP/organisations/JASON_Group.htm

Malcolm Pryce
02-25-2014, 09:50 PM
It’s like the clock stopping the same minute the old man dies, isn’t it?


People visit the house and say, Oh my God, look! The clock stopped the exact same minute he died. Spooky!


But what really happened was the old man was so sick the week before he died he forgot to wind the clock and it stopped.


Then the doctor called to his bedside glanced at the stopped clock to record the time of death.


Voila! The clock stopped the moment he died.


And woe betide anyone who suggests otherwise.

Peter Lemkin
03-03-2014, 06:13 AM
Labour to overhaul spy agency controls in response to Snowden files Yvette Cooper says debate over privacy, civil liberties and the role of the intelligence agencies has barely started in Britain





http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/3/2/1393794436765/YVETTE-COOPER-011.jpg Cooper will argue it is damaging to trust in the agencies if ministers continue to hide their heads in the sand. Photograph: David Gadd/Allstar/Sportsphoto Ltd.

Labour (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/labour) will on Monday propose substantial changes to the oversight of the British intelligence agencies, including the legal framework under which they operate, in response to the revelations emerging from files leaked by Edward Snowden (http://www.theguardian.com/world/edward-snowden).
The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/yvette-cooper), is preparing to argue that the current arrangements are unsustainable for the government, and that it is damaging to trust in the agencies if ministers continue to hide their heads in the sand.
In a speech that represents Labour's most serious intervention since the controversy about the scale of state surveillance broke last summer, she will say: "The oversight and legal frameworks are now out of date. In particular that means we need major reforms to oversight and a thorough review of the legal framework to keep up with changing technology."
Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, by coincidence will also this week make a speech setting out his party's views on privacy and security.
Cooper will call for sweeping changes to strengthen the accountability of the intelligence agencies and a replacement to the out-of-date Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (Ripa). Her speech eschews direct criticism of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/gchq), and accepts that the leaks by the former National Security Agency contractor Snowden have damaged national security while highlighting legitimate concerns about privacy in the internet age.
She will also argue that ministers have responded to the revelations in a patronising way by trying to stifle debate on the online role of the police, intelligence and security agencies, or of the legal framework that governs their work. "The government can't keep burying its head in the sand and hoping these issues will go away," she will say in the speech to the thinktank Demos.
She will urge David Cameron to learn instead from President Obama, who has welcomed, and led, a debate in the US about the balance between security and liberty in the wake of the Snowden leaks.
British ministers, Cooper is expected to argue, "have provided neither reassurance nor reform. They have simply asserted that the British agencies are abiding by the law. They haven't explained what the law does, what the privacy safeguards are, whether the law is still up to date, or why the work the agencies do is important. Neither prime minister, deputy prime minister, home secretary nor foreign secretary have provided any leadership or response.
In contrast President Obama commissioned an independent review and set out areas for reform to protect US citizens' privacy and civil liberties, while also robustly defending the purpose and work of the security and intelligence agencies. "So in the US the debate is moving on. But here in Britain, it's barely started. That's not sustainable."
The speech is the product of extensive soundings with civil liberty groups, the spy agencies and the police, and makes the prospect of changes to the law on communications after the election highly likely. Cooper singles out the three intelligence commissioners as needing a "major overhaul", saying they operate as much in the shadow as the spies they oversee.
Her criticism is aimed at the secrecy of the work of three commissioners – Sir Anthony May, responsible for intercepts (covering the police and agencies), Sir Mark Waller, responsible for the intelligence services, and Sir Christopher Rose, responsible for surveillance by public bodies. She is expected to complain: "None of them have made substantial public statements in response to the Snowden leaks. They are responsible for checking whether the agencies are abiding by the law. Yet in the face of allegations that GCHQ was breaking the law they have been silent – neither saying they would investigate, nor providing reassurance."
Her speech concedes that Waller, the interception of communications commissioner, has said he will review the legal framework, but Cooper says: "Few know it is happening and there is no opportunity for the public to submit views." Waller has also been summoned to appear in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee later this month, after earlier declining to give evidence .
She will suggest Britain may need to consider an inspector general, along Australian lines, with the resources to provide wide-ranging and stronger oversight of all the agencies. She will argue that Britain lacks a fast and flexible system that can not only check current legal compliance but can regularly review the law.
Cooper will also argue the government needs to conduct a full review of Ripa, which governs interception regulation, including whether the new forms of communication have dissolved the once clear distinction between content and communications data – especially given the information agencies and private companies such as Facebook can gather on the pattern of visited websites.
Cooper's speech criticises the response to Snowden by the intelligence and security committee, a group of MPs appointed by the prime minister and currently chaired by former Tory foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, arguing it simply has not had the capacity or resources for a full inquiry into the revelations. The committee's legitimacy would be strengthened, she adds, if it were always chaired by an MP from an opposition party, so it is not viewed as an extension of the government.

David Guyatt
03-03-2014, 08:05 AM
And if Labour comes to power again, this promise will be broken, or the new law worded in such a way that it is effectively meaningless.

Politicians. Who wants them.

Peter Lemkin
03-08-2014, 06:53 AM
Published Friday, March 7, 2014 by Common Dreams (http://www.commondreams.org) What Europe Should Know about US Mass Surveillance
Whistleblower delivers written testimony to European Parliament by Edward Snowden (https://www.commondreams.org/author/edward-snowden)

Common Dreams editor's note: What follows is a statement addressed to an investigative panel of the European Parliament looking into the nature and scope of U.S. surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency and its partner agencies in Europe. Subsequent to the statement are specific answers to written questions posed by the panel to Mr. Snowden. The original statement from which this was reproduced is available here (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/document/activities/cont/201403/20140307ATT80674/20140307ATT80674EN.pdf) as a pdf.
--Introductory Statement--
I would like to thank the European Parliament for the invitation to provide testimony for your inquiry into the Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens. The suspicionless surveillance programs of the NSA, GCHQ, and so many others that we learned about over the last year endanger a number of basic rights which, in aggregate, constitute the foundation of liberal societies.https://www.commondreams.org/sites/commondreams.org/files/imagecache/headline_image/article_images/snowden_8.jpgWhistleblower Edward Snowden. (Photograph by Barton Gellman/Getty)
The first principle any inquiry must take into account is that despite extraordinary political pressure to do so, no western government has been able to present evidence showing that such programs are necessary. In the United States, the heads of our spying services once claimed that 54 terrorist attacks had been stopped by mass surveillance, but two independent White House reviews with access to the classified evidence on which this claim was founded concluded it was untrue, as did a Federal Court.
Looking at the US government's reports here is valuable. The most recent of these investigations, performed by the White House's Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, determined that the mass surveillance program investigated was not only ineffective -- they found it had never stopped even a single imminent terrorist attack -- but that it had no basis in law. In less diplomatic language, they discovered the United States was operating an unlawful mass surveillance program, and the greatest success the program had ever produced was discovering a taxi driver in the United States transferring $8,500 dollars to Somalia in 2007.
After noting that even this unimpressive success – uncovering evidence of a single unlawful bank transfer -- would have been achieved without bulk collection, the Board recommended that the unlawful mass surveillance program be ended. Unfortunately, we know from press reports that this program is still operating today.
I believe that suspicionless surveillance not only fails to make us safe, but it actually makes us less safe. By squandering precious, limited resources on "collecting it all," we end up with more analysts trying to make sense of harmless political dissent and fewer investigators running down real leads. I believe investing in mass surveillance at the expense of traditional, proven methods can cost lives, and history has shown my concerns are justified.
Despite the extraordinary intrusions of the NSA and EU national governments into private communications world-wide, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the "Underwear Bomber," was allowed to board an airplane traveling from Europe to the United States in 2009. The 290 persons on board were not saved by mass surveillance, but by his own incompetence, when he failed to detonate the device. While even Mutallab's own father warned the US government he was dangerous in November 2009, our resources were tied up monitoring online games and tapping German ministers. That extraordinary tip-off didn't get Mutallab a dedicated US investigator. All we gave him was a US visa.
Nor did the US government's comprehensive monitoring of Americans at home stop the Boston Bombers. Despite the Russians specifically warning us about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the FBI couldn't do more than a cursory investigation -- although they did plenty of worthless computer-based searching - and failed to discover the plot. 264 people were injured, and 3 died. The resources that could have paid for a real investigation had been spent on monitoring the call records of everyone in America.
This should not have happened. I worked for the United States' Central Intelligence Agency. The National Security Agency. The Defense Intelligence Agency. I love my country, and I believe that spying serves a vital purpose and must continue. And I have risked my life, my family, and my freedom to tell you the truth.
The NSA granted me the authority to monitor communications world-wide using its mass surveillance systems, including within the United States. I have personally targeted individuals using these systems under both the President of the United States' Executive Order 12333 and the US Congress' FAA 702. I know the good and the bad of these systems, and what they can and cannot do, and I am telling you that without getting out of my chair, I could have read the private communications of any member of this committee, as well as any ordinary citizen. I swear under penalty of perjury that this is true.
These are not the capabilities in which free societies invest. Mass surveillance violates our rights, risks our safety, and threatens our way of life.
If even the US government, after determining mass surveillance is unlawful and unnecessary, continues to operate to engage in mass surveillance, we have a problem. I consider the United States Government to be generally responsible, and I hope you will agree with me. Accordingly, this begs the question many legislative bodies implicated in mass surveillance have sought to avoid: if even the US is willing to knowingly violate the rights of billions of innocents -- and I say billions without exaggeration -- for nothing more substantial than a "potential" intelligence advantage that has never materialized, what are other governments going to do?
Whether we like it or not, the international norms of tomorrow are being constructed today, right now, by the work of bodies like this committee. If liberal states decide that the convenience of spies is more valuable than the rights of their citizens, the inevitable result will be states that are both less liberal and less safe. Thank you.
I will now respond to the submitted questions. Please bear in mind that I will not be disclosing new information about surveillance programs: I will be limiting my testimony to information regarding what responsible media organizations have entered into the public domain. For the record, I also repeat my willingness to provide testimony to the United States Congress, should they decide to consider the issue of unconstitutional mass surveillance.
--Rapporteur Claude Moraes MEP, S&D Group--
Given the focus of this Inquiry is on the impact of mass surveillance on EU citizens, could you elaborate on the extent of cooperation that exists between the NSA and EU Member States in terms of the transfer and collection of bulk data of EU citizens?
- A number of memos from the NSA's Foreign Affairs Directorate have been published in the press.
One of the foremost activities of the NSA's FAD, or Foreign Affairs Division, is to pressure or incentivize EU member states to change their laws to enable mass surveillance. Lawyers from the NSA, as well as the UK's GCHQ, work very hard to search for loopholes in laws and constitutional protections that they can use to justify indiscriminate, dragnet surveillance operations that were at best unwittingly authorized by lawmakers. These efforts to interpret new powers out of vague laws is an intentional strategy to avoid public opposition and lawmakers’ insistence that legal limits be respected, effects the GCHQ internally described in its own documents as "damaging public debate."
In recent public memory, we have seen these FAD "legal guidance" operations occur in both Sweden and the Netherlands, and also faraway New Zealand. Germany was pressured to modify its G-10 law to appease the NSA, and it eroded the rights of German citizens under their constitution. Each of these countries received instruction from the NSA, sometimes under the guise of the US Department of Defense and other bodies, on how to degrade the legal protections of their countries' communications. The ultimate result of the NSA's guidance is that the right of ordinary citizens to be free from unwarranted interference is degraded, and systems of intrusive mass surveillance are being constructed in secret within otherwise liberal states, often without the full awareness of the public.
Once the NSA has successfully subverted or helped repeal legal restrictions against unconstitutional mass surveillance in partner states, it encourages partners to perform “access operations.” Access operations are efforts to gain access to the bulk communications of all major telecommunications providers in their jurisdictions, normally beginning with those that handle the greatest volume of communications. Sometimes the NSA provides consultation, technology, or even the physical hardware itself for partners to "ingest" these massive amounts of data in a manner that allows processing, and it does not take long to access everything. Even in a country the size of the United States, gaining access to the circuits of as few as three companies can provide access to the majority of citizens' communications. In the UK, Verizon, British Telecommunications, Vodafone, Global Crossing, Level 3, Viatel, and Interoute all cooperate with the GCHQ, to include cooperation beyond what is legally required.
By the time this general process has occurred, it is very difficult for the citizens of a country to protect the privacy of their communications, and it is very easy for the intelligence services of that country to make those communications available to the NSA -- even without having explicitly shared them. The nature of the NSA's "NOFORN," or NO FOREIGN NATIONALS classification, when combined with the fact that the memorandum agreements between NSA and its foreign partners have a standard disclaimer stating they provide no enforceable rights, provides both the NSA with a means of monitoring its partner's citizens without informing the partner, and the partner with a means of plausible deniability.
The result is a European bazaar, where an EU member state like Denmark may give the NSA access to a tapping center on the (unenforceable) condition that NSA doesn't search it for Danes, and Germany may give the NSA access to another on the condition that it doesn't search for Germans. Yet the two tapping sites may be two points on the same cable, so the NSA simply captures the communications of the German citizens as they transit Denmark, and the Danish citizens as they transit Germany, all the while considering it entirely in accordance with their agreements. Ultimately, each EU national government's spy services are independently hawking domestic accesses to the NSA, GCHQ, FRA, and the like without having any awareness of how their individual contribution is enabling the greater patchwork of mass surveillance against ordinary citizens as a whole.
The Parliament should ask the NSA and GCHQ to deny that they monitor the communications of EU citizens, and in the absence of an informative response, I would suggest that the current state of affairs is the inevitable result of subordinating the rights of the voting public to the prerogatives of State Security Bureaus. The surest way for any nation to become subject to unnecessary surveillance is to allow its spies to dictate its policy.
The right to be free unwarranted intrusion into our private effects -- our lives and possessions, our thoughts and communications -- is a human right. It is not granted by national governments and it cannot be revoked by them out of convenience. Just as we do not allow police officers to enter every home to fish around for evidence of undiscovered crimes, we must not allow spies to rummage through our every communication for indications of disfavored activities.
Could you comment on the activities of EU Member States intelligence agencies in these operations and how advanced their capabilities have become in comparison with the NSA?
- The best testimony I can provide on this matter without pre-empting the work of journalists is to point to the indications that the NSA not only enables and guides, but shares some mass surveillance systems and technologies with the agencies of EU member states. As it pertains to the issue of mass surveillance, the difference between, for example, the NSA and FRA is not one of technology, but rather funding and manpower. Technology is agnostic of nationality, and the flag on the pole outside of the building makes systems of mass surveillance no more or less effective.
In terms of the mass surveillance programmes already revealed through the press, what proportion of the mass surveillance activities do these programmes account for? Are there many other programmes, undisclosed as of yet, that would impact on EU citizens rights?
- There are many other undisclosed programs that would impact EU citizens' rights, but I will leave the public interest determinations as to which of these may be safely disclosed to responsible journalists in coordination with government stakeholders.
--Shadow Rapporteur Sophie Int'Veld MEP, ALDE Group--
Are there adequate procedures in the NSA for staff to signal wrongdoing?
- Unfortunately not. The culture within the US Intelligence Community is such that reporting serious concerns about the legality or propriety of programs is much more likely to result in your being flagged as a troublemaker than to result in substantive reform. We should remember that many of these programs were well known to be problematic to the legal offices of agencies such as the GCHQ and other oversight officials. According to their own documents, the priority of the overseers is not to assure strict compliance with the law and accountability for violations of law, but rather to avoid, and I quote, "damaging public debate," to conceal the fact that for-profit companies have gone "well beyond" what is legally required of them, and to avoid legal review of questionable programs by open courts. (http://www.theguardian.com/uk- news/2013/oct/25/leaked-memos-gchq-mass-surveillance-secret-snowden) In my personal experience, repeatedly raising concerns about legal and policy matters with my co-workers and superiors resulted in two kinds of responses.
The first were well-meaning but hushed warnings not to "rock the boat," for fear of the sort of retaliation that befell former NSA whistleblowers like Wiebe, Binney, and Drake. All three men reported their concerns through the official, approved process, and all three men were subject to armed raids by the FBI and threats of criminal sanction. Everyone in the Intelligence Community is aware of what happens to people who report concerns about unlawful but authorized operations.
The second were similarly well-meaning but more pointed suggestions, typically from senior officials, that we should let the issue be someone else's problem. Even among the most senior individuals to whom I reported my concerns, no one at NSA could ever recall an instance where an official complaint had resulted in an unlawful program being ended, but there was a unanimous desire to avoid being associated with such a complaint in any form.
Do you feel you had exhausted all avenues before taking the decision to go public?
- Yes. I had reported these clearly problematic programs to more than ten distinct officials, none of whom took any action to address them. As an employee of a private company rather than a direct employee of the US government, I was not protected by US whistleblower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about lawbreaking in accordance with the recommended process.
It is important to remember that this is legal dilemma did not occur by mistake. US whistleblower reform laws were passed as recently as 2012, with the US Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, but they specifically chose to exclude Intelligence Agencies from being covered by the statute. President Obama also reformed a key executive Whistleblower regulation with his 2012 Presidential Policy Directive 19, but it exempted Intelligence Community contractors such as myself. The result was that individuals like me were left with no proper channels.
Do you think procedures for whistleblowing have been improved now?
- No. There has not yet been any substantive whistleblower reform in the US, and unfortunately my government has taken a number of disproportionate and persecutory actions against me. US government officials have declared me guilty of crimes in advance of any trial, they've called for me to be executed or assassinated in private and openly in the press, they revoked my passport and left me stranded in a foreign transit zone for six weeks, and even used NATO to ground the presidential plane of Evo Morales - the leader of Bolivia - on hearing that I might attempt to seek and enjoy asylum in Latin America.
What is your relationship with the Russian and Chinese authorities, and what are the terms on which you were allowed to stay originally in Hong Kong and now in Russia?
- I have no relationship with either government.
--Shadow Rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht MEP, Greens Group--
Could we help you in any way, and do you seek asylum in the EU?
- If you want to help me, help me by helping everyone: declare that the indiscriminate, bulk collection of private data by governments is a violation of our rights and must end. What happens to me as a person is less important than what happens to our common rights.
As for asylum, I do seek EU asylum, but I have yet to receive a positive response to the requests I sent to various EU member states. Parliamentarians in the national governments have told me that the US, and I quote, "will not allow" EU partners to offer political asylum to me, which is why the previous resolution on asylum ran into such mysterious opposition. I would welcome any offer of safe passage or permanent asylum, but I recognize that would require an act of extraordinary political courage.
Can you confirm cyber-attacks by the NSA or other intelligence agencies on EU institutions, telecommunications providers such as Belgacom and SWIFT, or any other EU-based companies?
- Yes. I don't want to outpace the efforts of journalists, here, but I can confirm that all documents reported thus far are authentic and unmodified, meaning the alleged operations against Belgacom, SWIFT, the EU as an institution, the United Nations, UNICEF, and others based on documents I provided have actually occurred. And I expect similar operations will be revealed in the future that affect many more ordinary citizens.
--Shadow Rapporteur Cornelia Ernst MEP, GUE Group--
In your view, how far can the surveillance measures you revealed be justified by national security and from your experience is the information being used for economic espionage? What could be done to resolve this?
- Surveillance against specific targets, for unquestionable reasons of national security while respecting human rights, is above reproach. Unfortunately, we've seen a growth in untargeted, extremely questionable surveillance for reasons entirely unrelated to national security. Most recently, the Prime Minister of Australia, caught red-handed engaging in the most blatant kind of economic espionage, sought to argue that the price of Indonesian shrimp and clove cigarettes was a "security matter." These are indications of a growing disinterest among governments for ensuring intelligence activities are justified, proportionate, and above all accountable. We should be concerned about the precedent our actions set.
The UK's GCHQ is the prime example of this, due to what they refer to as a "light oversight regime," which is a bureaucratic way of saying their spying activities are less restricted than is proper (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/21/legal-loopholes-gchq-spy-world). Since that light oversight regime was revealed, we have learned that the GCHQ is intercepting and storing unprecedented quantities of ordinary citizens' communications on a constant basis, both within the EU and without http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret- world-communications-nsa). There is no argument that could convince an open court that such activities were necessary and proportionate, and it is for this reason that such activities are shielded from the review of open courts.
In the United States, we use a secret, rubber-stamp Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that only hears arguments from the government. Out of approximately 34,000 government requests over 33 years, the secret court rejected only 11. It should raise serious concerns for this committee, and for society, that the GCHQ's lawyers consider themselves fortunate to avoid the kind of burdensome oversight regime that rejects 11 out of 34,000 requests. If that's what heavy oversight looks like, what, pray tell, does the GCHQ's "light oversight" look like?
Let's explore it. We learned only days ago that the GCHQ compromised a popular Yahoo service to collect images from web cameras inside citizens' homes, and around 10% of these images they take from within people's homes involve nudity or intimate activities (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/27/gchq-nsa-webcam-images-inte... (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/27/gchq-nsa-webcam-images-internet-yahoo)). In the same report, journalists revealed that this sort of webcam data was searchable via the NSA's XKEYSCORE system, which means the GCHQ's "light oversight regime" was used not only to capture bulk data that is clearly of limited intelligence value and most probably violates EU laws, but to then trade that data with foreign services without the knowledge or consent of any country's voting public.
We also learned last year that some of the partners with which the GCHQ was sharing this information, in this example the NSA, had made efforts to use evidence of religious conservatives' association with sexually explicit material of the sort GCHQ was collecting as a grounds for destroying their reputations and discrediting them (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/26/nsa-porn-muslims_n_4346128.html). The "Release to Five Eyes" classification of this particular report, dated 2012, reveals that the UK government was aware of the NSA's intent to use sexually explicit material in this manner, indicating a deepening and increasingly aggressive partnership. None of these religious conservatives were suspected of involvement in terrorist plots: they were targeted on the basis of their political beliefs and activism, as part of a class the NSA refers to as "radicalizers."
I wonder if any members of this committee have ever advocated a position that the NSA, GCHQ, or even the intelligence services of an EU member state might attempt to construe as "radical"? If you were targeted on the basis of your political beliefs, would you know? If they sought to discredit you on the basis of your private communications, could you discover the culprit and prove it was them? What would be your recourse?
And you are parliamentarians. Try to imagine the impact of such activities against ordinary citizens without power, privilege, or resources. Are these activities necessary, proportionate, and an unquestionable matter of national security? A few weeks ago we learned the GCHQ has hired scientists to study how to create divisions amongst activists and disfavored political groups, how they attempt to discredit and destroy private businesses, and how they knowingly plant false information to misdirect civil discourse (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipulation/).
To directly answer your question, yes, global surveillance capabilities are being used on a daily basis for the purpose of economic espionage. That a major goal of the US Intelligence Community is to produce economic intelligence is the worst kept secret in Washington.
In September, we learned the NSA had successfully targeted and compromised the world's major financial transaction facilitators, such as Visa and SWIFT, which released documents describe as providing "rich personal information," even data that "is not about our targets" (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/spiegel-exclusive-nsa-spies-on... (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/spiegel-exclusive-nsa-spies-on-international-bank-) transactions-a-922276.html). Again, these documents are authentic and unmodified - a fact the NSA itself has never once disputed.
In August, we learned the NSA had targeted Petrobras, an energy company (http://g1.globo.com/fantastico/noticia/2013/09/nsa-documents-show-united... (http://g1.globo.com/fantastico/noticia/2013/09/nsa-documents-show-united-states-spied-) brazilian-oil-giant.html). It would be the first of a long list of US energy targets. But we should be clear these activities are not unique to the NSA or GCHQ. Australia's DSD targeted Sri Mulyani Indrawati, a finance minister and Managing Director of the World Bank (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/18/australia-tried-to-monitor-... (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/18/australia-tried-to-monitor-indonesian-) presidents-phone). Report after report has revealed targeting of G-8 and G-20 summits. Mass surveillance capabilities have even been used against a climate change summit.
Recently, governments have shifted their talking points from claiming they only use mass surveillance for "national security" purposes to the more nebulous "valid foreign intelligence purposes." I suggest this committee consider that this rhetorical shift is a tacit acknowledgment by governments that they recognize they have crossed beyond the boundaries of justifiable activities. Every country believes its "foreign intelligence purposes" are "valid," but that does not make it so. If we are prepared to condemn the economic spying of our competitors, we must be prepared to do the same of our allies. Lasting peace is founded upon fundamental fairness.
The international community must agree to common standards of behavior, and jointly invest in the development of new technical standards to defend against mass surveillance. We rely on common systems, and the French will not be safe from mass surveillance until Americans, Argentines, and Chinese are as well.
The good news is that there are solutions. The weakness of mass surveillance is that it can very easily be made much more expensive through changes in technical standards: pervasive, end-to-end encryption can quickly make indiscriminate surveillance impossible on a cost- effective basis. The result is that governments are likely to fall back to traditional, targeted surveillance founded upon an individualized suspicion. Governments cannot risk the discovery of their exploits by simply throwing attacks at every "endpoint," or computer processor on the end of a network connection, in the world. Mass surveillance, passive surveillance, relies upon unencrypted or weakly encrypted communications at the global network level.
If there had been better independent and public oversight over the intelligence agencies, do you think this could have prevented this kind of mass surveillance? What conditions would need to be fulfilled, both nationally and internationally?
- Yes, better oversight could have prevented the mistakes that brought us to this point, as could an understanding that defense is always more important than offense when it comes to matters of national intelligence. The intentional weakening of the common security standards upon which we all rely is an action taken against the public good.
The oversight of intelligence agencies should always be performed by opposition parties, as under the democratic model, they always have the most to lose under a surveillance state. Additionally, we need better whistleblower protections, and a new commitment to the importance of international asylum. These are important safeguards that protect our collective human rights when the laws of national governments have failed.
European governments, which have traditionally been champions of human rights, should not be intimidated out of standing for the right of asylum against political charges, of which espionage has always been the traditional example. Journalism is not a crime, it is the foundation of free and informed societies, and no nation should look to others to bear the burden of defending its rights. Shadow Rapporteur Axel Voss MEP, EPP Group
Why did you choose to go public with your information?
- Secret laws and secret courts cannot authorize unconstitutional activities by fiat, nor can classification be used to shield an unjustified and embarrassing violation of human rights from democratic accountability. If the mass surveillance of an innocent public is to occur, it should be authorized as the result of an informed debate with the consent of the public, under a framework of laws that the government invites civil society to challenge in open courts.
That our governments are even today unwilling to allow independent review of the secret policies enabling mass surveillance of innocents underlines governments' lack of faith that these programs are lawful, and this provides stronger testimony in favor of the rightfulness of my actions than any words I might write.
Did you exhaust all possibilities before taking the decision to go public?
- Yes. I had reported these clearly problematic programs to more than ten distinct officials, none of whom took any action to address them. As an employee of a private company rather than a direct employee of the US government, I was not protected by US whistleblower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about lawbreaking in accordance with the recommended process.
It is important to remember that this is legal dilemma did not occur by mistake. US whistleblower reform laws were passed as recently as 2012, with the US Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, but they specifically chose to exclude Intelligence Agencies from being covered by the statute. President Obama also reformed a key executive Whistleblower regulation with his 2012 Presidential Policy Directive 19, but it exempted Intelligence Community contractors such as myself. The result was that individuals like me were left with no proper channels.
Are you aware that your revelations have the potential to put at risk lives of innocents and hamper efforts in the global fight against terrorism?
- Actually, no specific evidence has ever been offered, by any government, that even a single life has been put at risk by the award-winning journalism this question attempts to implicate.
The ongoing revelations about unlawful and improper surveillance are the product of a partnership between the world's leading journalistic outfits and national governments, and if you can show one of the governments consulted on these stories chose not to impede demonstrably fatal information from being published, I invite you to do so. The front page of every newspaper in the world stands open to you.
Did the Russian secret service approach you?
- Of course. Even the secret service of Andorra would have approached me, if they had had the chance: that's their job.
But I didn't take any documents with me from Hong Kong, and while I'm sure they were disappointed, it doesn't take long for an intelligence service to realize when they're out of luck. I was also accompanied at all times by an utterly fearless journalist with one of the biggest megaphones in the world, which is the equivalent of Kryptonite for spies. As a consequence, we spent the next 40 days trapped in an airport instead of sleeping on piles of money while waiting for the next parade. But we walked out with heads held high.
I would also add, for the record, that the United States government has repeatedly acknowledged that there is no evidence at all of any relationship between myself and the Russian intelligence service.
Who is currently financing your life?
- I am.
--Shadow Rapporteur, Timothy Kirkhope MEP, ECR Group--
You have stated previously that you want the intelligence agencies to be more accountable to citizens, however, why do you feel this accountability does not apply to you? Do you therefore, plan to return to the United States or Europe to face criminal charges and answer questions in an official capacity, and pursue the route as an official whistle-blower?
- Respectfully, I remind you that accountability cannot exist without the due process of law, and even Deutsche Welle has written about the well-known gap in US law that deprived me of vital legal protections due to nothing more meaningful than my status as an employee of a private company rather than of the government directly (http://www.dw.de/us-whistleblower-laws-offer- no-protection/a-17391500). Surely no one on the committee believes that the measure of one's political rights should be determined by their employer.
Fortunately, we live in a global, interconnected world where, when national laws fail like this, our international laws provide for another level of accountability, and the asylum process provides a means of due process for individuals who might otherwise be wrongly deprived of it. In the face of the extraordinary campaign of persecution brought against me by my the United States government on account of my political beliefs, which I remind you included the grounding of the President of Bolivia's plane by EU Member States, an increasing number of national governments have agreed that a grant of political asylum is lawful and appropriate.
Polling of public opinion in Europe indicates I am not alone in hoping to see EU governments agree that blowing the whistle on serious wrongdoing should be a protected act.
Do you still plan to release more files, and have you disclosed or been asked to disclose any information regarding the content of these files to Chinese and Russian authorities or any names contained within them?
As stated previously, there are many other undisclosed programs that would impact EU citizens' rights, but I will leave the public interest determinations as to which of these may be safely disclosed to responsible journalists in coordination with government stakeholders. I have not disclosed any information to anyone other than those responsible journalists. Thank you.

Peter Lemkin
03-08-2014, 06:53 AM
Published Friday, March 7, 2014 by Common Dreams (http://www.commondreams.org) What Europe Should Know about US Mass Surveillance


Whistleblower delivers written testimony to European Parliament

by Edward Snowden (https://www.commondreams.org/author/edward-snowden)

Common Dreams editor's note: What follows is a statement addressed to an investigative panel of the European Parliament looking into the nature and scope of U.S. surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency and its partner agencies in Europe. Subsequent to the statement are specific answers to written questions posed by the panel to Mr. Snowden. The original statement from which this was reproduced is available here (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/document/activities/cont/201403/20140307ATT80674/20140307ATT80674EN.pdf) as a pdf.
--Introductory Statement--
I would like to thank the European Parliament for the invitation to provide testimony for your inquiry into the Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens. The suspicionless surveillance programs of the NSA, GCHQ, and so many others that we learned about over the last year endanger a number of basic rights which, in aggregate, constitute the foundation of liberal societies.https://www.commondreams.org/sites/commondreams.org/files/imagecache/headline_image/article_images/snowden_8.jpgWhistleblower Edward Snowden. (Photograph by Barton Gellman/Getty)
The first principle any inquiry must take into account is that despite extraordinary political pressure to do so, no western government has been able to present evidence showing that such programs are necessary. In the United States, the heads of our spying services once claimed that 54 terrorist attacks had been stopped by mass surveillance, but two independent White House reviews with access to the classified evidence on which this claim was founded concluded it was untrue, as did a Federal Court.
Looking at the US government's reports here is valuable. The most recent of these investigations, performed by the White House's Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, determined that the mass surveillance program investigated was not only ineffective -- they found it had never stopped even a single imminent terrorist attack -- but that it had no basis in law. In less diplomatic language, they discovered the United States was operating an unlawful mass surveillance program, and the greatest success the program had ever produced was discovering a taxi driver in the United States transferring $8,500 dollars to Somalia in 2007.
After noting that even this unimpressive success – uncovering evidence of a single unlawful bank transfer -- would have been achieved without bulk collection, the Board recommended that the unlawful mass surveillance program be ended. Unfortunately, we know from press reports that this program is still operating today.
I believe that suspicionless surveillance not only fails to make us safe, but it actually makes us less safe. By squandering precious, limited resources on "collecting it all," we end up with more analysts trying to make sense of harmless political dissent and fewer investigators running down real leads. I believe investing in mass surveillance at the expense of traditional, proven methods can cost lives, and history has shown my concerns are justified.
Despite the extraordinary intrusions of the NSA and EU national governments into private communications world-wide, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the "Underwear Bomber," was allowed to board an airplane traveling from Europe to the United States in 2009. The 290 persons on board were not saved by mass surveillance, but by his own incompetence, when he failed to detonate the device. While even Mutallab's own father warned the US government he was dangerous in November 2009, our resources were tied up monitoring online games and tapping German ministers. That extraordinary tip-off didn't get Mutallab a dedicated US investigator. All we gave him was a US visa.
Nor did the US government's comprehensive monitoring of Americans at home stop the Boston Bombers. Despite the Russians specifically warning us about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the FBI couldn't do more than a cursory investigation -- although they did plenty of worthless computer-based searching - and failed to discover the plot. 264 people were injured, and 3 died. The resources that could have paid for a real investigation had been spent on monitoring the call records of everyone in America.
This should not have happened. I worked for the United States' Central Intelligence Agency. The National Security Agency. The Defense Intelligence Agency. I love my country, and I believe that spying serves a vital purpose and must continue. And I have risked my life, my family, and my freedom to tell you the truth.
The NSA granted me the authority to monitor communications world-wide using its mass surveillance systems, including within the United States. I have personally targeted individuals using these systems under both the President of the United States' Executive Order 12333 and the US Congress' FAA 702. I know the good and the bad of these systems, and what they can and cannot do, and I am telling you that without getting out of my chair, I could have read the private communications of any member of this committee, as well as any ordinary citizen. I swear under penalty of perjury that this is true.
These are not the capabilities in which free societies invest. Mass surveillance violates our rights, risks our safety, and threatens our way of life.
If even the US government, after determining mass surveillance is unlawful and unnecessary, continues to operate to engage in mass surveillance, we have a problem. I consider the United States Government to be generally responsible, and I hope you will agree with me. Accordingly, this begs the question many legislative bodies implicated in mass surveillance have sought to avoid: if even the US is willing to knowingly violate the rights of billions of innocents -- and I say billions without exaggeration -- for nothing more substantial than a "potential" intelligence advantage that has never materialized, what are other governments going to do?
Whether we like it or not, the international norms of tomorrow are being constructed today, right now, by the work of bodies like this committee. If liberal states decide that the convenience of spies is more valuable than the rights of their citizens, the inevitable result will be states that are both less liberal and less safe. Thank you.
I will now respond to the submitted questions. Please bear in mind that I will not be disclosing new information about surveillance programs: I will be limiting my testimony to information regarding what responsible media organizations have entered into the public domain. For the record, I also repeat my willingness to provide testimony to the United States Congress, should they decide to consider the issue of unconstitutional mass surveillance.
--Rapporteur Claude Moraes MEP, S&D Group--
Given the focus of this Inquiry is on the impact of mass surveillance on EU citizens, could you elaborate on the extent of cooperation that exists between the NSA and EU Member States in terms of the transfer and collection of bulk data of EU citizens?
- A number of memos from the NSA's Foreign Affairs Directorate have been published in the press.
One of the foremost activities of the NSA's FAD, or Foreign Affairs Division, is to pressure or incentivize EU member states to change their laws to enable mass surveillance. Lawyers from the NSA, as well as the UK's GCHQ, work very hard to search for loopholes in laws and constitutional protections that they can use to justify indiscriminate, dragnet surveillance operations that were at best unwittingly authorized by lawmakers. These efforts to interpret new powers out of vague laws is an intentional strategy to avoid public opposition and lawmakers’ insistence that legal limits be respected, effects the GCHQ internally described in its own documents as "damaging public debate."
In recent public memory, we have seen these FAD "legal guidance" operations occur in both Sweden and the Netherlands, and also faraway New Zealand. Germany was pressured to modify its G-10 law to appease the NSA, and it eroded the rights of German citizens under their constitution. Each of these countries received instruction from the NSA, sometimes under the guise of the US Department of Defense and other bodies, on how to degrade the legal protections of their countries' communications. The ultimate result of the NSA's guidance is that the right of ordinary citizens to be free from unwarranted interference is degraded, and systems of intrusive mass surveillance are being constructed in secret within otherwise liberal states, often without the full awareness of the public.
Once the NSA has successfully subverted or helped repeal legal restrictions against unconstitutional mass surveillance in partner states, it encourages partners to perform “access operations.” Access operations are efforts to gain access to the bulk communications of all major telecommunications providers in their jurisdictions, normally beginning with those that handle the greatest volume of communications. Sometimes the NSA provides consultation, technology, or even the physical hardware itself for partners to "ingest" these massive amounts of data in a manner that allows processing, and it does not take long to access everything. Even in a country the size of the United States, gaining access to the circuits of as few as three companies can provide access to the majority of citizens' communications. In the UK, Verizon, British Telecommunications, Vodafone, Global Crossing, Level 3, Viatel, and Interoute all cooperate with the GCHQ, to include cooperation beyond what is legally required.
By the time this general process has occurred, it is very difficult for the citizens of a country to protect the privacy of their communications, and it is very easy for the intelligence services of that country to make those communications available to the NSA -- even without having explicitly shared them. The nature of the NSA's "NOFORN," or NO FOREIGN NATIONALS classification, when combined with the fact that the memorandum agreements between NSA and its foreign partners have a standard disclaimer stating they provide no enforceable rights, provides both the NSA with a means of monitoring its partner's citizens without informing the partner, and the partner with a means of plausible deniability.
The result is a European bazaar, where an EU member state like Denmark may give the NSA access to a tapping center on the (unenforceable) condition that NSA doesn't search it for Danes, and Germany may give the NSA access to another on the condition that it doesn't search for Germans. Yet the two tapping sites may be two points on the same cable, so the NSA simply captures the communications of the German citizens as they transit Denmark, and the Danish citizens as they transit Germany, all the while considering it entirely in accordance with their agreements. Ultimately, each EU national government's spy services are independently hawking domestic accesses to the NSA, GCHQ, FRA, and the like without having any awareness of how their individual contribution is enabling the greater patchwork of mass surveillance against ordinary citizens as a whole.
The Parliament should ask the NSA and GCHQ to deny that they monitor the communications of EU citizens, and in the absence of an informative response, I would suggest that the current state of affairs is the inevitable result of subordinating the rights of the voting public to the prerogatives of State Security Bureaus. The surest way for any nation to become subject to unnecessary surveillance is to allow its spies to dictate its policy.
The right to be free unwarranted intrusion into our private effects -- our lives and possessions, our thoughts and communications -- is a human right. It is not granted by national governments and it cannot be revoked by them out of convenience. Just as we do not allow police officers to enter every home to fish around for evidence of undiscovered crimes, we must not allow spies to rummage through our every communication for indications of disfavored activities.
Could you comment on the activities of EU Member States intelligence agencies in these operations and how advanced their capabilities have become in comparison with the NSA?
- The best testimony I can provide on this matter without pre-empting the work of journalists is to point to the indications that the NSA not only enables and guides, but shares some mass surveillance systems and technologies with the agencies of EU member states. As it pertains to the issue of mass surveillance, the difference between, for example, the NSA and FRA is not one of technology, but rather funding and manpower. Technology is agnostic of nationality, and the flag on the pole outside of the building makes systems of mass surveillance no more or less effective.
In terms of the mass surveillance programmes already revealed through the press, what proportion of the mass surveillance activities do these programmes account for? Are there many other programmes, undisclosed as of yet, that would impact on EU citizens rights?
- There are many other undisclosed programs that would impact EU citizens' rights, but I will leave the public interest determinations as to which of these may be safely disclosed to responsible journalists in coordination with government stakeholders.
--Shadow Rapporteur Sophie Int'Veld MEP, ALDE Group--
Are there adequate procedures in the NSA for staff to signal wrongdoing?
- Unfortunately not. The culture within the US Intelligence Community is such that reporting serious concerns about the legality or propriety of programs is much more likely to result in your being flagged as a troublemaker than to result in substantive reform. We should remember that many of these programs were well known to be problematic to the legal offices of agencies such as the GCHQ and other oversight officials. According to their own documents, the priority of the overseers is not to assure strict compliance with the law and accountability for violations of law, but rather to avoid, and I quote, "damaging public debate," to conceal the fact that for-profit companies have gone "well beyond" what is legally required of them, and to avoid legal review of questionable programs by open courts. (http://www.theguardian.com/uk- news/2013/oct/25/leaked-memos-gchq-mass-surveillance-secret-snowden) In my personal experience, repeatedly raising concerns about legal and policy matters with my co-workers and superiors resulted in two kinds of responses.
The first were well-meaning but hushed warnings not to "rock the boat," for fear of the sort of retaliation that befell former NSA whistleblowers like Wiebe, Binney, and Drake. All three men reported their concerns through the official, approved process, and all three men were subject to armed raids by the FBI and threats of criminal sanction. Everyone in the Intelligence Community is aware of what happens to people who report concerns about unlawful but authorized operations.
The second were similarly well-meaning but more pointed suggestions, typically from senior officials, that we should let the issue be someone else's problem. Even among the most senior individuals to whom I reported my concerns, no one at NSA could ever recall an instance where an official complaint had resulted in an unlawful program being ended, but there was a unanimous desire to avoid being associated with such a complaint in any form.
Do you feel you had exhausted all avenues before taking the decision to go public?
- Yes. I had reported these clearly problematic programs to more than ten distinct officials, none of whom took any action to address them. As an employee of a private company rather than a direct employee of the US government, I was not protected by US whistleblower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about lawbreaking in accordance with the recommended process.
It is important to remember that this is legal dilemma did not occur by mistake. US whistleblower reform laws were passed as recently as 2012, with the US Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, but they specifically chose to exclude Intelligence Agencies from being covered by the statute. President Obama also reformed a key executive Whistleblower regulation with his 2012 Presidential Policy Directive 19, but it exempted Intelligence Community contractors such as myself. The result was that individuals like me were left with no proper channels.
Do you think procedures for whistleblowing have been improved now?
- No. There has not yet been any substantive whistleblower reform in the US, and unfortunately my government has taken a number of disproportionate and persecutory actions against me. US government officials have declared me guilty of crimes in advance of any trial, they've called for me to be executed or assassinated in private and openly in the press, they revoked my passport and left me stranded in a foreign transit zone for six weeks, and even used NATO to ground the presidential plane of Evo Morales - the leader of Bolivia - on hearing that I might attempt to seek and enjoy asylum in Latin America.
What is your relationship with the Russian and Chinese authorities, and what are the terms on which you were allowed to stay originally in Hong Kong and now in Russia?
- I have no relationship with either government.
--Shadow Rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht MEP, Greens Group--
Could we help you in any way, and do you seek asylum in the EU?
- If you want to help me, help me by helping everyone: declare that the indiscriminate, bulk collection of private data by governments is a violation of our rights and must end. What happens to me as a person is less important than what happens to our common rights.
As for asylum, I do seek EU asylum, but I have yet to receive a positive response to the requests I sent to various EU member states. Parliamentarians in the national governments have told me that the US, and I quote, "will not allow" EU partners to offer political asylum to me, which is why the previous resolution on asylum ran into such mysterious opposition. I would welcome any offer of safe passage or permanent asylum, but I recognize that would require an act of extraordinary political courage.
Can you confirm cyber-attacks by the NSA or other intelligence agencies on EU institutions, telecommunications providers such as Belgacom and SWIFT, or any other EU-based companies?
- Yes. I don't want to outpace the efforts of journalists, here, but I can confirm that all documents reported thus far are authentic and unmodified, meaning the alleged operations against Belgacom, SWIFT, the EU as an institution, the United Nations, UNICEF, and others based on documents I provided have actually occurred. And I expect similar operations will be revealed in the future that affect many more ordinary citizens.
--Shadow Rapporteur Cornelia Ernst MEP, GUE Group--
In your view, how far can the surveillance measures you revealed be justified by national security and from your experience is the information being used for economic espionage? What could be done to resolve this?
- Surveillance against specific targets, for unquestionable reasons of national security while respecting human rights, is above reproach. Unfortunately, we've seen a growth in untargeted, extremely questionable surveillance for reasons entirely unrelated to national security. Most recently, the Prime Minister of Australia, caught red-handed engaging in the most blatant kind of economic espionage, sought to argue that the price of Indonesian shrimp and clove cigarettes was a "security matter." These are indications of a growing disinterest among governments for ensuring intelligence activities are justified, proportionate, and above all accountable. We should be concerned about the precedent our actions set.
The UK's GCHQ is the prime example of this, due to what they refer to as a "light oversight regime," which is a bureaucratic way of saying their spying activities are less restricted than is proper (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/21/legal-loopholes-gchq-spy-world). Since that light oversight regime was revealed, we have learned that the GCHQ is intercepting and storing unprecedented quantities of ordinary citizens' communications on a constant basis, both within the EU and without http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret- world-communications-nsa). There is no argument that could convince an open court that such activities were necessary and proportionate, and it is for this reason that such activities are shielded from the review of open courts.
In the United States, we use a secret, rubber-stamp Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that only hears arguments from the government. Out of approximately 34,000 government requests over 33 years, the secret court rejected only 11. It should raise serious concerns for this committee, and for society, that the GCHQ's lawyers consider themselves fortunate to avoid the kind of burdensome oversight regime that rejects 11 out of 34,000 requests. If that's what heavy oversight looks like, what, pray tell, does the GCHQ's "light oversight" look like?
Let's explore it. We learned only days ago that the GCHQ compromised a popular Yahoo service to collect images from web cameras inside citizens' homes, and around 10% of these images they take from within people's homes involve nudity or intimate activities (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/27/gchq-nsa-webcam-images-inte... (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/27/gchq-nsa-webcam-images-internet-yahoo)). In the same report, journalists revealed that this sort of webcam data was searchable via the NSA's XKEYSCORE system, which means the GCHQ's "light oversight regime" was used not only to capture bulk data that is clearly of limited intelligence value and most probably violates EU laws, but to then trade that data with foreign services without the knowledge or consent of any country's voting public.
We also learned last year that some of the partners with which the GCHQ was sharing this information, in this example the NSA, had made efforts to use evidence of religious conservatives' association with sexually explicit material of the sort GCHQ was collecting as a grounds for destroying their reputations and discrediting them (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/26/nsa-porn-muslims_n_4346128.html). The "Release to Five Eyes" classification of this particular report, dated 2012, reveals that the UK government was aware of the NSA's intent to use sexually explicit material in this manner, indicating a deepening and increasingly aggressive partnership. None of these religious conservatives were suspected of involvement in terrorist plots: they were targeted on the basis of their political beliefs and activism, as part of a class the NSA refers to as "radicalizers."
I wonder if any members of this committee have ever advocated a position that the NSA, GCHQ, or even the intelligence services of an EU member state might attempt to construe as "radical"? If you were targeted on the basis of your political beliefs, would you know? If they sought to discredit you on the basis of your private communications, could you discover the culprit and prove it was them? What would be your recourse?
And you are parliamentarians. Try to imagine the impact of such activities against ordinary citizens without power, privilege, or resources. Are these activities necessary, proportionate, and an unquestionable matter of national security? A few weeks ago we learned the GCHQ has hired scientists to study how to create divisions amongst activists and disfavored political groups, how they attempt to discredit and destroy private businesses, and how they knowingly plant false information to misdirect civil discourse (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipulation/).
To directly answer your question, yes, global surveillance capabilities are being used on a daily basis for the purpose of economic espionage. That a major goal of the US Intelligence Community is to produce economic intelligence is the worst kept secret in Washington.
In September, we learned the NSA had successfully targeted and compromised the world's major financial transaction facilitators, such as Visa and SWIFT, which released documents describe as providing "rich personal information," even data that "is not about our targets" (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/spiegel-exclusive-nsa-spies-on... (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/spiegel-exclusive-nsa-spies-on-international-bank-) transactions-a-922276.html). Again, these documents are authentic and unmodified - a fact the NSA itself has never once disputed.
In August, we learned the NSA had targeted Petrobras, an energy company (http://g1.globo.com/fantastico/noticia/2013/09/nsa-documents-show-united... (http://g1.globo.com/fantastico/noticia/2013/09/nsa-documents-show-united-states-spied-) brazilian-oil-giant.html). It would be the first of a long list of US energy targets. But we should be clear these activities are not unique to the NSA or GCHQ. Australia's DSD targeted Sri Mulyani Indrawati, a finance minister and Managing Director of the World Bank (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/18/australia-tried-to-monitor-... (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/18/australia-tried-to-monitor-indonesian-) presidents-phone). Report after report has revealed targeting of G-8 and G-20 summits. Mass surveillance capabilities have even been used against a climate change summit.
Recently, governments have shifted their talking points from claiming they only use mass surveillance for "national security" purposes to the more nebulous "valid foreign intelligence purposes." I suggest this committee consider that this rhetorical shift is a tacit acknowledgment by governments that they recognize they have crossed beyond the boundaries of justifiable activities. Every country believes its "foreign intelligence purposes" are "valid," but that does not make it so. If we are prepared to condemn the economic spying of our competitors, we must be prepared to do the same of our allies. Lasting peace is founded upon fundamental fairness.
The international community must agree to common standards of behavior, and jointly invest in the development of new technical standards to defend against mass surveillance. We rely on common systems, and the French will not be safe from mass surveillance until Americans, Argentines, and Chinese are as well.
The good news is that there are solutions. The weakness of mass surveillance is that it can very easily be made much more expensive through changes in technical standards: pervasive, end-to-end encryption can quickly make indiscriminate surveillance impossible on a cost- effective basis. The result is that governments are likely to fall back to traditional, targeted surveillance founded upon an individualized suspicion. Governments cannot risk the discovery of their exploits by simply throwing attacks at every "endpoint," or computer processor on the end of a network connection, in the world. Mass surveillance, passive surveillance, relies upon unencrypted or weakly encrypted communications at the global network level.
If there had been better independent and public oversight over the intelligence agencies, do you think this could have prevented this kind of mass surveillance? What conditions would need to be fulfilled, both nationally and internationally?
- Yes, better oversight could have prevented the mistakes that brought us to this point, as could an understanding that defense is always more important than offense when it comes to matters of national intelligence. The intentional weakening of the common security standards upon which we all rely is an action taken against the public good.
The oversight of intelligence agencies should always be performed by opposition parties, as under the democratic model, they always have the most to lose under a surveillance state. Additionally, we need better whistleblower protections, and a new commitment to the importance of international asylum. These are important safeguards that protect our collective human rights when the laws of national governments have failed.
European governments, which have traditionally been champions of human rights, should not be intimidated out of standing for the right of asylum against political charges, of which espionage has always been the traditional example. Journalism is not a crime, it is the foundation of free and informed societies, and no nation should look to others to bear the burden of defending its rights. Shadow Rapporteur Axel Voss MEP, EPP Group
Why did you choose to go public with your information?
- Secret laws and secret courts cannot authorize unconstitutional activities by fiat, nor can classification be used to shield an unjustified and embarrassing violation of human rights from democratic accountability. If the mass surveillance of an innocent public is to occur, it should be authorized as the result of an informed debate with the consent of the public, under a framework of laws that the government invites civil society to challenge in open courts.
That our governments are even today unwilling to allow independent review of the secret policies enabling mass surveillance of innocents underlines governments' lack of faith that these programs are lawful, and this provides stronger testimony in favor of the rightfulness of my actions than any words I might write.
Did you exhaust all possibilities before taking the decision to go public?
- Yes. I had reported these clearly problematic programs to more than ten distinct officials, none of whom took any action to address them. As an employee of a private company rather than a direct employee of the US government, I was not protected by US whistleblower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about lawbreaking in accordance with the recommended process.
It is important to remember that this is legal dilemma did not occur by mistake. US whistleblower reform laws were passed as recently as 2012, with the US Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, but they specifically chose to exclude Intelligence Agencies from being covered by the statute. President Obama also reformed a key executive Whistleblower regulation with his 2012 Presidential Policy Directive 19, but it exempted Intelligence Community contractors such as myself. The result was that individuals like me were left with no proper channels.
Are you aware that your revelations have the potential to put at risk lives of innocents and hamper efforts in the global fight against terrorism?
- Actually, no specific evidence has ever been offered, by any government, that even a single life has been put at risk by the award-winning journalism this question attempts to implicate.
The ongoing revelations about unlawful and improper surveillance are the product of a partnership between the world's leading journalistic outfits and national governments, and if you can show one of the governments consulted on these stories chose not to impede demonstrably fatal information from being published, I invite you to do so. The front page of every newspaper in the world stands open to you.
Did the Russian secret service approach you?
- Of course. Even the secret service of Andorra would have approached me, if they had had the chance: that's their job.
But I didn't take any documents with me from Hong Kong, and while I'm sure they were disappointed, it doesn't take long for an intelligence service to realize when they're out of luck. I was also accompanied at all times by an utterly fearless journalist with one of the biggest megaphones in the world, which is the equivalent of Kryptonite for spies. As a consequence, we spent the next 40 days trapped in an airport instead of sleeping on piles of money while waiting for the next parade. But we walked out with heads held high.
I would also add, for the record, that the United States government has repeatedly acknowledged that there is no evidence at all of any relationship between myself and the Russian intelligence service.
Who is currently financing your life?
- I am.
--Shadow Rapporteur, Timothy Kirkhope MEP, ECR Group--
You have stated previously that you want the intelligence agencies to be more accountable to citizens, however, why do you feel this accountability does not apply to you? Do you therefore, plan to return to the United States or Europe to face criminal charges and answer questions in an official capacity, and pursue the route as an official whistle-blower?
- Respectfully, I remind you that accountability cannot exist without the due process of law, and even Deutsche Welle has written about the well-known gap in US law that deprived me of vital legal protections due to nothing more meaningful than my status as an employee of a private company rather than of the government directly (http://www.dw.de/us-whistleblower-laws-offer- no-protection/a-17391500). Surely no one on the committee believes that the measure of one's political rights should be determined by their employer.
Fortunately, we live in a global, interconnected world where, when national laws fail like this, our international laws provide for another level of accountability, and the asylum process provides a means of due process for individuals who might otherwise be wrongly deprived of it. In the face of the extraordinary campaign of persecution brought against me by my the United States government on account of my political beliefs, which I remind you included the grounding of the President of Bolivia's plane by EU Member States, an increasing number of national governments have agreed that a grant of political asylum is lawful and appropriate.
Polling of public opinion in Europe indicates I am not alone in hoping to see EU governments agree that blowing the whistle on serious wrongdoing should be a protected act.
Do you still plan to release more files, and have you disclosed or been asked to disclose any information regarding the content of these files to Chinese and Russian authorities or any names contained within them?
As stated previously, there are many other undisclosed programs that would impact EU citizens' rights, but I will leave the public interest determinations as to which of these may be safely disclosed to responsible journalists in coordination with government stakeholders. I have not disclosed any information to anyone other than those responsible journalists. Thank you.

David Guyatt
03-08-2014, 09:23 AM
A most damning statement by Snowden, I thought. There have been no terrorists detected as a result of this global snooping network, according to him, not one. The system largely seems to be a blackmail operation, and oversight of it is awful, leaning towards non-existent. The whole apparatus justifies itself as it wishes.

Snowden also indicates that there are more revelations to come from journalists.

Peter Lemkin
03-17-2014, 07:36 PM
Compare the NSA’s Facebook Malware Denial to its Own Secret Documents By Ryan Gallagher (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/staff/ryan-gallagher/) 15 Mar 2014, 12:41 PM EDT 267 (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/03/15/nsa-facebook-malware-turbine-non-denial-denial/#comments)

https://prod01-cdn03.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2014/03/fb.png A top-secret NSA presentation reveals how the agency used Facebook to hack into targeted computers for surveillance.
On Wednesday, Glenn Greenwald and I revealed new details (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/03/12/nsa-plans-infect-millions-computers-malware/) about the National Security Agency’s efforts to radically expand its ability to hack into computers and networks across the world. The story has received a lot of attention, and one detail in particular has sparked controversy: specifically, that the NSA secretly pretended to be a Facebook server in order to covertly infect targets with malware (http://www.techterms.com/definition/malware) “implants” used for surveillance.
This revelation apparently infuriated Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg so much that he got on the phone (http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/mark-zuckerberg-barack-obama-nsa-104645.html) to President Barack Obama to complain about it. “I’ve been so confused and frustrated by the repeated reports of the behavior of the US government,” Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post Thursday (https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10101301165605491). “When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government.”
That wasn’t all. Wired ran a piece (http://www.wired.com/opinion/2014/03/quantum/) saying that the NSA’s widespread use of its malware tools “acts as implicit permission to others, both nation-state and criminal.” Slate noted (http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/03/12/nsa_tailored_access_operations_turbine_surveillanc e_looking_less_targeted.html) that the NSA’s hacking platform appears to be “becoming a bit more like the un-targeted dragnets everyone has been so upset about.” Meanwhile, Ars Technica wrote (http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/03/nsas-automated-hacking-engine-offers-hands-free-pwning-of-the-world/) that the surveillance technology we exposed “poses a risk to the entire Internet.”
In response, the NSA has attempted to quell the backlash by putting out a public statement (https://twitter.com/NSA_PAO/status/444198802694889472) dismissing what it called “inaccurate” media reports. The agency denied that it was “impersonating U.S. social media or other websites” and said that it had not “infected millions of computers around the world with malware.” The statement follows a trend that has repeatedly (http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/10/30/nsa-non-denial-denial-241352052/) been (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131023/10140424982/james-clapper-plays-more-word-games-official-denial-french-phone-data-collection-leak.shtml) seen (http://notes.rjgallagher.co.uk/2014/02/canada-wifi-airports-surveillance-denial-csec-snowden.html) in the aftermath of major disclosures from documents turned over by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, in which the NSA or one of its implicated allies issues a carefully worded non-denial denial that on the face of it seems to refute an allegation but on closer inspection does not refute it at all.
Prior to publishing our story, we asked the NSA to explain its use of Facebook to deploy malware as part of a top-secret initiative codenamed QUANTUMHAND. The NSA declined to answer all of our questions or offer context for the documents. We went into meticulous detail in our report, which went through a rigorous fact-checking process because of the gravity of the revelations. What we reported, accurately, was that the Snowden files showed how the agency had in some cases “masqueraded as a fake Facebook server, using the social media site as a launching pad to infect a target’s computer and exfiltrate files from a hard drive.” The source for that detail was not plucked from thin air; it was rooted in multiple documents (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/document/2014/03/12/one-way-quantum/) that refer to the technique in action, including the internal NSA animation (http://vimeo.com/88822483) that we published.
A particular short excerpt from one of the classified documents, however, has taken on new significance due to the NSA’s statement. The excerpt is worth drawing attention to here because of the clarity of the language it uses about the Facebook tactic and the light it shines on the NSA’s denial. Referencing the NSA’s Quantum malware initiative, the document, dated April 2011, explains how the NSA “pretends” to be Facebook servers to deploy its surveillance “implants” on target’s computers:
https://prod01-cdn03.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2014/03/quantumhand-server.png
It is difficult to square the NSA secretly saying that it “pretends to be the Facebook server” while publicly claiming that it “does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites.” Is the agency making a devious and unstated distinction in its denial between “websites” and “servers”? Was it deliberate that the agency used the present tense “does not” in its denial as opposed to the past tense “did not”? Has the Facebook QUANTUMHAND technique been shut down since our report? Either way, the language used in the NSA’s public statement seems highly misleading – which is why several (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/03/nsa-says-indiscriminate-facebook-hacking-allegations-are-simply-false/) tech (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/03/14/nsa_denies_spoofing_companies_in_surveillance_work/) writers (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140313/18534726575/nsa-denies-everything-about-latest-intercept-leak-including-denying-something-that-was-never-claimed.shtml) have rightly treated it with skepticism.
The same is true of the NSA’s denial that it has not “infected millions of computers around the world with malware” as part of its hacking efforts. Our report never actually accused the NSA of having achieved that milestone. Again, we reported exactly what the NSA’s own documents say: that the NSA isworking to “aggressively scale” its computer hacking missions and has built a system called TURBINE that it explicitly states (https://prod01-cdn02.cdn.firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2014/03/intelligent-command-and-control.jpg) will “allow the current implant network to scale to large size (millions of implants).” Only a decade ago, the number of implants deployed by the NSA was in the hundreds, according to the Snowden files. But the agency now reportedly manages a network of between 85,000 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-spy-agencies-mounted-231-offensive-cyber-operations-in-2011-documents-show/2013/08/30/d090a6ae-119e-11e3-b4cb-fd7ce041d814_story.html) and 100,000 (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/15/us/nsa-effort-pries-open-computers-not-connected-to-internet.html?_r=1) implants in computers systems worldwide (http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2013/11/23/nsa-infected-50000-computer-networks-with-malicious-software/) – and, if TURBINE’s capabilities and the NSA’s own documents are anything to go by, it is intent on substantially increasing those numbers.
The rapid proliferation of these hacking techniques in the past decade, under cover of intense secrecy, is extraordinary and unprecedented. The NSA insists in its denial that its hacking efforts are not “indiscriminate.” Yet how the agency defines “indiscriminate” in this context remains unclear. The Intercept asked the NSA to clarify some of these issues for this post. Does the agency deny that it has used the QUANTUMHAND method to pretend to be a Facebook server in order to deploy malware implants? How does the NSA distinguish “indiscriminate” from “discriminate”? In what specific legal, policy, and operational context does the implants system function? The agency declined to answer all of these questions. Instead, spokeswoman Vanee’ Vines said that the NSA stood by its original statement, adding only that “unauthorized and selective publication” of the documents “may lead to incorrect assumptions.”
The NSA’s outgoing chief has claimed (http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/10/08/nsa-director-welcomes-surveillance-transparency-oversight) that the agency supports increased transparency in the wake of the Snowden leaks – but its response to the latest disclosures illustrates that it is failing to live up to that commitment. If the NSA truly wants to gain citizens’ trust, it should rethink its slippery public relations strategy. A good first step would be to stop issuing dubious denials that seem to sit so starkly at odds with what its officials were saying in secret when they thought nobody would ever learn about what they were doing.

David Guyatt
03-18-2014, 08:47 AM
Re the above article, this is from Greenwald's new enterprise "The Intercept (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/about/)"

Peter Lemkin
03-21-2014, 04:12 PM
As Surveillance Costs Fall, Could the NSA Gain Ability to Record & Replay Every Call, Everywhere?


The latest disclosures from Edward Snowden show the National Security Agency is recording every single phone call made in an undisclosed foreign country. A surveillance system called MYSTIC stores the billions of phone conversations for up to 30 days. Agents are able to rewind and review any conversation within the previous month using a tool codenamed RETRO. One senior manager for the program compared it to a time machine. We speak to Ashkan Soltani, who co-wrote the Washington Post exposé on MYSTIC and has closely studied the cost of surveillance. He has co-written a series of other exposés for the Post that revealed how the NSA uses Google cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking and how the NSA secretly broke into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world.


Transcript This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The latest disclosures from Edward Snowden show the National Security Agency is recording every single phone call made in an undisclosed foreign country. A surveillance system called "MYSTIC" stores billions of phone conversations for up to 30 days. Agents are able to rewind and review any conversation within the previous month using a tool codenamed RETRO. One senior manager for the program compared it to a time machine. Michelle Richardson of the American Civil Liberties Union criticized the MYSTIC program.

MICHELLE RICHARDSON: Well, we’re concerned this is another example of U.S. government overreach and that instead of really targeting its very powerful surveillance authorities on terrorists and spies, that they’re doing this bulk collection that sweeps up a lot of innocent people. So if they’re targeting an entire country’s phone calls, collecting and recording all of them and searching through them later, that doesn’t violate just the privacy of the people in that country, but the Americans that communicate with them.
AMY GOODMAN: The Washington Post broke the story (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-surveillance-program-reaches-into-the-past-to-retrieve-replay-phone-calls/2014/03/18/226d2646-ade9-11e3-a49e-76adc9210f19_story.html) Tuesday. The paper said it withheld details that could be used to identify the country where the system is being employed at the request of the U.S. government. The paper also revealed last year’s secret intelligence budget named five more countries for which the MYSTIC program provides "comprehensive metadata access and content," with a sixth expected to be in place by last October.
Our first guest today is independent privacy and security researcher Ashkan Soltani, who co-wrote the Washington Post piece. He has also co-written a series (http://ashkansoltani.org/work/wapo-snowden-files/) of other exposés for the Post that revealed how the NSA uses Google cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking and how the NSA secretly broke into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world.
Ashkan Soltani, welcome to Democracy Now! Why don’t you lay out what you found? One hundred percent of the calls in a particular country are being recorded by the NSA?
ASHKAN SOLTANI: That’s right. So our reporting demonstrates the NSA’s capability in at least one country to capture the entire communications. And this is not targeted communications; this is communications in bulk. So people’s conversations to, from and inside the country are able—are available to the NSA to be kind of retroactively accessed, so they can later go back in time and say who was talking to whom or particularly—look up particular conversations of interest.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Now, your article seemed to indicate that the biggest problem the agency had was its storage capacity, its ability—how to mine this information, just because of the sheer volume involved. Could you talk about that?
ASHKAN SOLTANI: Yeah, that’s actually been a common thread in most of the stories that we’ve come out with, including the data center one. We previously covered the NSA’s accessing of address books. This is like who—the address books in your phone. And an often kind of—or a common theme is that the NSA hits up on technology barriers, so limits to storage, limits to bandwidth, limits to processing power. And that’s when we see the information in the slides that we have.
And that’s really telling, since it highlights a kind of a larger problem, which is that the limitations are not legal or policy restrictions, right? The limitations are technical restrictions. And as technical capacity goes up, I think the NSA will be kind of growing these programs. We’re already aware of one large data center being built in Utah, which will have kind of a very large capacity to store this type of communication. And again, we’re going to need to look to legal restrictions to kind of minimize this collection, rather than technical ones.
AMY GOODMAN: Ashkan, how does the conversation go with the U.S. government and The Washington Post when they make their case for you not identifying the country that is 100 percent monitored, all the phone calls?
ASHKAN SOLTANI: I can’t get too into the details, but typically there’s a conversation on both sides, of kind of—the editors, the writers, the government all kind of weigh in on what they think is and isn’t important to cover. We felt that kind of our representation, our highlighting the existence of this program—and it is an ongoing program; it’s in place still—we wanted to raise the policy implications or policy issues associated with bulk content collection, without necessarily blowing a capability that the government currently has.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Now, were you able to tell to what degree the NSA needed cooperation or complicity by the telecommunications companies that were actually providing this telephone service?
ASHKAN SOLTANI: Again, I can’t—I can’t kind of get into the how and the where. I can say, again, it’s comprehensive access in at least one country.
AMY GOODMAN: At least one country, explain that.
ASHKAN SOLTANI: So, we—so, the documents we had were from last year, and they indicated a system up and running. And they would kind of go from, you know, earlier coverage to 100 percent, once—when we saw the documents. But they hinted at the expansion of this program in at least one other place by October 2013, October of last year. And there was kind of hints in the documents and in the budget documents that this capacity would be growing to other places as soon as the technical capacity was there.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, during his recent TED Talk, Edward Snowden referenced you by name and talked about your work on the cost of surveillance.

EDWARD SNOWDEN: There is an argument to be made that the powers of Big Brother have increased enormously. There was a recent legal article at Yale that established something called the Bankston-Soltani principle, which is that our expectation of privacy is violated when the capabilities of government surveillance have become cheaper by an order of magnitude, and each time that occurs, we need to revisit and rebalance our privacy rights. Now, that hasn’t happened since the government’s surveillance powers have increased by several orders of magnitude, and that’s why we’re in the problem that we’re in today.

But there is still hope, because the power of individuals have also been increased by technology. I am living proof that an individual can go head to head against the most powerful adversaries and the most powerful intelligence agencies around the world—and win. And I think that’s something that we need to take hope from and we need to build on to make it accessible not just to technical experts, but to ordinary citizens around the world. Journalism is not a crime. Communication is not a crime.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Ashkan Soltani, your response to Edward Snowden?
ASHKAN SOLTANI: So, he was highlighting a paper (http://www.yalelawjournal.org/the-yale-law-journal-pocket-part/constitutional-law/tiny-constables-and-the-cost-of-surveillance:-making-cents-out-of-united-states-v.-jones/) that we wrote, I co-authored with Kevin Bankston, looking at the Supreme Court U.S. v. Jones decision. It was a landmark privacy decision where they found that 28 days of continuous surveillance, location surveillance, of an individual violated the Fourth Amendment. They actually kind of hung it on a particularity with regards to the access of the vehicle, but there was multiple concurring opinions of kind of describing this—the problem with mass prolonged surveillance. And so, what we tried to do, we tried to kind of figure out what was the—what was the hook.
There was a following—following that decision, there was a hearing in which, I think, Rep. Dowdy [sic] kind of went through a line of questioning, and saying, "Well, why do we need Fourth Amendment protections around location surveillance? Do I need—you know, is there—do I need a warrant? Do I need kind of probable cause to go and follow someone around on the street? Do I need to do so if I’m a police officer? Do I need to—do I need a warrant to follow them around by car, by air, etc.?" And the answer to this is, no, you do not, right? You can—a police officer can decide to follow you. He can decide to spend his time following you on the street, and to do his job. And I think the key of that assumption is that the police officer would find it worth his time to follow you. He would be not following someone else that might be kind of more likely to be a suspect, and he would be, you know, spending his own precious time doing it.
Technology has changed that. So what we looked at is we tried to highlight, in terms of just dollars, what would it cost to follow around someone on foot, traditionally, covertly, and what would—and how has technology changed that calculus. And so, for example, if a police officer wants to follow you around on foot, his average—an average salary of a police officer comes down to something like $50 with benefits, including kind of overtime and all this kind of stuff. And if he wanted to do so, or if they—if the police wanted follow you around covertly, they’d need five or so agents, in what’s known as a "floating box formation," so people could swap in and swap out and you wouldn’t know who’s following you. That’s somewhere on the order of $250 an hour to follow an individual throughout the day, right? And there’s like human limits to that, but let’s just, for the sake of argument, take that as a base number.
Now we compare that to what we know around what telephone providers, or telcos, charge the government for location tracking using your cellphone or using a GPS device. And that comes down to somewhere—to like $10 an hour, down to even four cents an hour, for an entire month, to track someone on Sprint’s network. So the government can pay a flat rate to Sprint, and it comes down to something around four cents a month to—for cents an hour to track an individual. That’s very different than $250 an hour to track an individual. And as such, the calculus is orders of magnitude less, right? They have orders of magnitude less barriers to be able to track you on the street, and therefore they’re more likely to do so.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: So, in other words, the cost-benefit analysis of a total police state, where people are following you around, is just too prohibitively expensive, but now, with technology, the cost-benefit has been reduced dramatically.
ASHKAN SOLTANI: Yeah. I mean, an example that we use at the very end of the paper is, right after the Supreme Court decision, an FBI official kind of announced that they had to request permission to turn on 3,000 devices that were in the field, so that they could go get them. Right after this decision, they had to disable those devices, and they needed permission to turn on those devices, they needed—from the courts, in order to go retrieve them. What’s interesting about that is that it indicates that, at that point in time, there was at least 3,000 devices in the field that they needed to go collect. And if you do the math, again, 3,000 kind of simultaneous targets would require somewhere on the order of 15,000 individuals full-time tracking those—the location of those targets. The FBI currently has something like 13,000 field agents that would be doing this work. And assuming that they did nothing else—they didn’t sleep, they didn’t shower, they didn’t—they did only surveillance, there would still not be enough FBI agents to surveil 3,000 people simultaneously. And I think that’s kind of the outcome, is, well, the technology allows a much greater capacity to do surveillance in bulk at a much lower cost, and so we’re going to just do it, because the technology can, and not kind of have a bigger policy debate of what is the right balance, right? How many agents should we have per person, per capita?
AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to link to your piece (http://www.yalelawjournal.org/the-yale-law-journal-pocket-part/constitutional-law/tiny-constables-and-the-cost-of-surveillance:-making-cents-out-of-united-states-v.-jones/) in The Yale Law Journal at democracynow.org. I wanted to turn to Deputy Director of National Security Agency Rick Ledgett, who gave a response to Snowden’s on-stage, virtual appearance at TED earlier in the week. Ledgett insisted the NSA believes in a right to privacy.

RICK LEDGETT: And we devote an inordinate amount of time and pressure—inordinate and appropriate, actually, I should say, amount of time and effort in order to ensure that we—that we protect that privacy—and beyond that, the privacy of citizens around the world. It’s not just Americans. You know, several—several things come into play here. First, we’re all on the same network. My communications—I’m a user of a particular Internet email service that is the number one email service of choice by terrorists around the world, number one, and so I’m there right beside them in email space in the Internet. And so, we need to be able to pick that apart and find the information that’s relevant. In doing so, we’re going to necessarily encounter Americans and innocent foreign citizens who are just going about their business, and so we have procedures in place that shreds that out, that says, "OK, when you find that—not if you find it, when you find it, because you’re certain to find it—here’s how you protect that." These are called minimization procedures. They’re approved by the attorney general and constitutionally based. And so, we protect those. And then, for people—you know, citizens of the world who are going about their lawful business on a day-to-day basis, the president, in his 17 January speech, laid out some additional protections that we are providing to them. So I think, absolutely, folks do have a right to privacy.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s the deputy director of the National Security Agency, Rick Ledgett, giving a TED Talk, actually, from Fort Meade, Maryland, in response to Edward Snowden’s TED Talk earlier this week. Your response to this, Ashkan Soltani?
ASHKAN SOLTANI: Well, the fact that he gave a TED Talk is amazing on a number of levels. But going to the kind of substance of his—of his speech there, one thing to realize is, in fact, yes, the NSA does employ minimization procedures when they encounter U.S. persons’ information. For example, in bulk surveillance, if they are to discover that voice communications or email communications belong to an American, and they determine that it is not of foreign intelligence or other kind of national security interests—right, so they could be under counterterrorism, counternarcotics—I think in that speech he describes human trafficking, he describes, you know, money laundering. There’s a number of kind of missions that the data could become useful for. But if it’s determined that it’s a U.S. person and it’s not viable to any of those broad missions, then there is minimization in place.
I think what the tension is, what the kind of disconnect is, that the—that kind of that minimization happens on access to the data, but not on collection, right? So in our—in our story, we describe bulk collection or bulk kind of storage of entire countries’ worth of communications. That communication will continue as persons’ information for that rolling buffer of 30 days, and it’s not considered collection, or these minimization procedures don’t fall into place, until someone looks at it. But all during this time, your information has been recorded and is accessible, right? So it’s one of these things where it’s essentially the government saying, "We want to be able to look, but we won’t look unless—you know, unless we really need to, and we’ll close our eyes." And I think a lot of people would say, "Well, no, you shouldn’t be able to look unless you need to," right? And that’s the disconnect.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask you about this whole issue of the government’s restrictions in terms of collecting material on Americans. In the articles that you did on Google and the ability of the U.S. government to access Google data centers, you raised a particular, I think, issue that most people are not aware of. If I write on a Gmail account an email to Amy here in New York City, that email can appear in a Google server somewhere else in the world. Could you talk about that?
ASHKAN SOLTANI: That’s right. So, as we’re moving to a cloud-based kind of architecture, as more of our services are cloud-based, what that means is the servers are distributed all over the world, and they replicate, and they’re redundant to one another, such that if California fell off the, you know, grid sometime, that your emails and your communications are still accessible, right? And so, what happens is, in the scenario you described, if you’re in New York, you might be talking to either a Mountain View data center or something—or something in North Carolina, a data center in North Carolina. Your emails and your activity, your login, your—kind of the data that you generate will be housed in North Carolina, but it will immediately get replicated to Google’s data centers all over the world, the ones in Iceland, the ones in Japan. And as that data gets replicated, the NSA is able to tap that communication, that replication, that transfer of data. And so, even though, under their Executive Order 12333, they’re collecting overseas, they’re going to be incidentally collecting a large number of U.S. persons’ information, given the global architecture that we’re moving to, this global cloud architecture that we’re moving to.
AMY GOODMAN: And this Executive Order 12333 was signed by Reagan in 1981?
ASHKAN SOLTANI: Yeah, that—what’s interesting about 12333, it’s the kind of president’s sole kind of guidance on collection overseas for the intel agencies. And it’s—not a lot is known around that particular program. In my opinion, it’s actually—you know, there’s been a lot of talk of Section 215, the bulk metadata program; Section 702, which is essentially the PRISM program, where they go to companies and get data from Google and Yahoo. The bulk kind of—almost all of our stories, or the ones that I’ve been involved in, have been focusing around this 12333 kind of international collection, since it allows the government, almost kind of with very few restrictions, to collect data internationally. And there’s minimization procedures that apply to U.S. persons’ information that is encountered internationally, but those are only after, as I said, the information is accessed or looked at. But in the machine processing of it, they’re able to collect, broadly, everyone’s data under this executive order.
AMY GOODMAN: Ashkan, very quickly, can you talk about Google cookies?
ASHKAN SOLTANI: Sure, absolutely. So, another one of the stories in—in the story we did on location tracking, we kind of highlighted the government collecting information broadly from mobile devices, from cellphone networks, a variety of sources to track people’s location—five billion records a day, I think, was what we described. One of the findings from that particular kind of line of research was that the government was also using or relying on Google cookies to identify individuals. And so, the kind of the purpose might seem strange, but this goes back to the costs of surveillance and the costs to do identification, right?
So, you guys at Democracy Now! might use the Internet, and all of you will be behind the Democracy Now! firewall, and you would appear as the same user, the same IP address, and so the government couldn’t identify one of you versus another, right? But because you use Google services, Google will essentially identify you guys individual. They’ll set cookies for each user that’s unique to that user.
And so, what we found is the government was in fact relying on Google cookies, Yahoo cookies, a bunch of services, to uniquely identify users that they couldn’t otherwise do—again, an indication of their growing capacity due to the kind of change in our global telecommunications network. They’re benefitting from it or they’re able to leverage it in a kind of a really interesting way.

Magda Hassan
03-22-2014, 10:53 PM
BY KEVIN COLLIER (http://dailydot.com/authors/kevin-collier/) AND FRAN BERKMAN (https://twitter.com/FranBerkman)
Microsoft (http://www.dailydot.com/tags/microsoft/) often charges the FBI's most secretive division hundreds of thousands of dollars a month to legally view customer information, according to documents allegedly hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (http://www.dailydot.com/tags/syrian-electronic-army/).
The SEA, a hacker group loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (http://www.dailydot.com/tags/bashar-al-assad/), is best known for hijacking Western media companies' social media accounts. (These companies include the Associated Press, CNN (http://www.dailydot.com/news/sea-syrian-electronic-army-hacks-cnn-twitter/), NPR, and even the Daily Dot (http://www.dailydot.com/news/syrian-electronic-army-hack/).) The SEA agreed to let the Daily Dot analyze the documents with experts before the group published them in full.
The documents consist of what appear to be invoices and emails between Microsoft's Global Criminal Compliance team and the FBI's Digital Intercept Technology Unit (DITU), and purport to show exactly how much money Microsoft charges DITU, in terms of compliance costs, when DITU provides warrants and court orders for customers' data.
In December 2012, for instance, Microsoft emailed DITU a PDF invoice for $145,100, broken down to $100 per request for information, the documents appear to show. In August 2013, Microsoft allegedly emailed a similar invoice, this time for $352,200, at a rate of $200 per request. The latest invoice provided, from November 2013, is for $281,000.
http://cdn0.dailydot.com/uploaded/images/original/2014/3/20/aug2013email.png
http://cdn0.dailydot.com/uploaded/images/original/2014/3/20/aug2013invoice.png

None of the technologists or lawyers consulted for this story thought that Microsoft would be in the wrong to charge the FBI for compliance, especially considering it's well within (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2518) the company's legal right to charge "reasonable expenses." Instead, they said, the documents are more of an indication of just how frequently the government wants information on customers. Some of the DITU invoices show hundreds of requests per month.
For ACLU Principal Technologist Christopher Soghoian, the documents reiterated his stance (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/18/microsoft_does_not_charge_for_government_surveilla nce/) that charging a small fee is a positive, in part because it creates more of a record of government tracking. In 2010, Soghoian actually chided Microsoft for not charging the Drug Enforcement Agency for turning over user records when instructed to by courts, noting that companies like Google (http://www.dailydot.com/communities/google/) and Yahoo (http://www.dailydot.com/tags/yahoo/) did.
Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (http://www.dailydot.com/tags/eff/), agreed, and told the Daily Dot the government should be transparent about how much it pays.
"Taxpayers should absolutely know how much money is going toward this," he said.
Compared with the National Security Agency (http://www.dailydot.com/tags/nsa/), which has seen many of its programs exposed by former systems analyst Edward Snowden (http://dailydot.com/tags/edward-snowden/), DITU has a low profile. But it runs in the same circles. Multiple law enforcement and technology industry representatives described (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/11/21/the_obscure_fbi_team_that_does_the_nsa_dirty_work) DITU to Foreign Policy as the FBI's liaison to the U.S.'s tech companies, and the agency's equivalent to the NSA.
To that note, DITU is mentioned as a little-noticed detail from Snowden slides that detail the NSA's notorious PRISM (http://www.dailydot.com/tags/prism/) program, which allows it to collect users' communications from nine American tech companies, including Microsoft. One slide explicitly mentions DITU's role in getting data from those companies.
http://cdn0.dailydot.com/uploaded/images/original/2014/3/20/prismscreengrab.png

PRISM screengrab via freesnowden.is (http://freesnowden.is/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/PRISM-Slides-re-Data-Acquisition.pdf) It's impossible to fully verify the documents' authenticity without confirmation from someone with direct knowledge of Microsoft and DITU compliance practices, and those parties refused to comment. But there are multiple signs that indicate the documents are legitimate.
"I don’t see any indication that they’re not real," Cardozo said. "If I was going to fake something like this, I would try to fake it up a lot more sensational than this."
That the SEA twice attacked Microsoft with a phishing attack before leaking these documents is well documented (http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/11/5299716/syrian-electronic-army-hijacks-microsoft-blog-and-twitter-account-for). On Jan. 11, the day of the second attack, the SEA hijacked the company's blog and Twitter (http://www.dailydot.com/communities/twitter/) account. One representative told the Verge that day that it was part of a bigger plan: "We are making some distraction for Microsoft employees so we can success in our main mission," the hacker said.
In a blog post nearly two weeks later, Microsoft admitted (http://blogs.technet.com/b/trustworthycomputing/archive/2014/01/24/post.aspx): "[W]e have learned that there was unauthorized access to certain employee email accounts, and information contained in those accounts could be disclosed. It appears that documents associated with law enforcement inquiries were stolen."
A source familiar with several of the email addresses of the Microsoft employees in the emails confirmed the addresses were authentic.
When reached for comment, the company reiterated its stance that it complies with government demands as required by law. A spokesperson added that "as pursuant to U.S. law, Microsoft is entitled to seek reimbursement for costs associated with compliance with a valid legal demands. ... To be clear, these reimbursements cover only a portion of the costs we actually incur to comply with legal orders."
A spokesperson for the FBI declined to comment and deferred questions to Microsoft, "given that SEA claims to have stolen the documents" from there.
Indeed, there's plenty of history for communications companies charging compliance costs for cooperating with intelligence agencies' request for people's information. The CIA pays AT&T more than $10 million annually for access to its phone records, government officials told (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/07/us/cia-is-said-to-pay-att-for-call-data.html) the New York Times. The Guardian, referencing other documents provided by Snowden, has reported (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/23/nsa-prism-costs-tech-companies-paid) that the NSA paid millions to Microsoft and the other eight companies used in PRISM for compliance costs.
Only the earliest of the Microsoft invoices provided by the SEA, dated May 10, 2012, breaks down requests by type of legal request, and it shows them to all explicitly come legally, though nothing in the documents indicates the later invoices refer to illegal surveillance. User information by a subpoena costs $50, a court order $75, and a search warrant $100. The requests come from FBI offices all around the U.S.
http://cdn0.dailydot.com/uploaded/images/original/2014/3/20/may10invoice.png

Later invoices to DITU don't break down requests to subpoena and court order, though the format is otherwise similar, and costs begin to rise to $100 and $200 per request.
And though the costs vacillate slightly depending on the invoice, they appear to be roughly in line with industry standards. Ashkan Soltani, who coauthored a Yale study on how much it costs agencies like the FBI to track targets by tapping phone companies for their cellphone locations, said that the range of costs seen in the SEA documents—$50 to $200 per order to Microsoft—"did seem a fair cost."
The invoices don't make explicit the exact type of information Microsoft charges DITU to provide, which may account for the price changes.
The biggest suspicion espoused by the experts we spoke with was just how apparently easy it was for the SEA to acquire this sort of information. If the documents aren't forged, that means Microsoft and the FBI simply email invoices and references to a presumably classified process.
"I’m surprised that they’re doing it by email," Soltani said. "I thought it would be a more secure system."
Illustration by Jason Reed

http://www.dailydot.com/news/microsoft-compliance-emails-fbi-ditu/

Peter Lemkin
03-25-2014, 08:18 AM
Edward Snowden exposes NSA spying against Chinese telecom firm Huawei By Tom Carter
24 March 2014 Documents released by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden and published in the New York Times over the weekend confirm that the US spy agency has been engaged for years in a campaign of industrial espionage against Huawei, the giant Chinese telecommunications firm. The documents expose a broad range of espionage activities, from spying on company executives to creating “back doors” into the company’s servers, routers and switches.
The documents, which date from 2010, reveal that a major spying operation against Huawei had been underway since at least 2007 under the codename “Shotgiant.” While the Times reported the existence of the program and published some of the PowerPoint slides provided by Snowden, the Times has “withheld technical details of the operation at the request of the Obama administration, which cited national security concerns.” The “newspaper of record” has once again bowed to the demands of the military-intelligence apparatus.
The NSA issued a statement claiming that the release of the PowerPoint slides “is detrimental to the security of the United States and our allies—and places at risk those we are sworn to protect.” Reuters reported the response of Huawei’s global cyber security officer John Suffolk: “If the actions in the report are true, Huawei condemns such activities that invaded and infiltrated into our internal corporate network and monitored our communications.”
In 2012, Huawei became the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker. Its products are in use in as many as 145 countries. For years, Washington has termed Huawei a “national security” concern, alleging that Huawei grants the Chinese government unauthorized access to its telecommunications infrastructure (i.e., exactly what the American telecommunications companies allow the NSA to do).
The Times quoted Huawei executive William Plummer as saying, “The irony is that exactly what they are doing to us is what they have always charged that the Chinese are doing through us.”
One PowerPoint slide released by Snowden and titled “Why We Care” explains that the NSA hacks into Huawei’s infrastructure in order to spy on its products’ users. “Many of our targets communicate over Huawei produced products, [so] we want to make sure that we know how to exploit these products—we also want to ensure that we retain access to these communication lines, etc.”
Notes accompanying another slide include a list of “what we are trying to accomplish.” One of the items on this list is to “[d]etermine if Huawei is doing SIGINT [signals intelligence, spying] for PRC [China].” In other words, the NSA’s own internal documents make clear that the NSA does not have any evidence that Huawei is engaged in the conduct for which American political functionaries routinely denounce the company.
The documents name the NSA’s “high priority targets” as “Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, [and] Cuba.” The NSA PowerPoint slide defines “success” as the following: “Obtaining actionable intelligence of Huawei’s (and potentially PRC’s) leadership plans and intentions” and “Enabl SIGINT collection through CNE tools.”
“CNE” or “Computer Network Exploitation” refers to the legion of malware programs with which the NSA has infected more than 50,000 computer networks around the world. (See: “New Snowden document reveals NSA’s international malware operation (https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/11/28/nsa-n28.html).”) These malware programs allow the NSA to take over networks and computers and use them to spy on their users.
The recently released PowerPoint slides feature the now-familiar concept of “intelligence gaps.” As far as the NSA is concerned, if anyone anywhere in the world is engaged in any kind of activity and the NSA does not know about it, then this represents an “intelligence gap” the spy agency is determined to close.
In the final analysis, the NSA spying campaign against Huawei has two fundamental purposes. First, Huawei (unlike the American telecommunications companies) does not allow the NSA free access to its infrastructure to conduct spying on its products’ users. Accordingly, as part of its mission of spying on the entire world’s population, the NSA hacked into Huawei’s systems in order to gather information traveling through its infrastructure.
Second, the spying campaign against Huawei is part of broader efforts to protect the profits and interests of American telecommunications companies at the expense of Huawei. This is the purpose of the NSA’s particular interest in Huawei’s executives and their “leadership plans and intentions.”
Indeed, the latest Snowden revelations cast fresh light on the US government’s repeated interventions around the world to undermine Huawei’s business. In 2008, the United States blocked Huawei’s participation in the purchase of 3Com Corporation, citing “national security” concerns. In 2012, the US government intervened in Australia to block Huawei from constructing a broadband network there. (See:“Australian government bars Chinese telco on ‛security’ grounds (https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2012/03/huaw-m28.html).” ) Also in 2012, Symantec ended a four-year partnership with Huawei under pressure from the US government, which threatened to cut off Symantec’s access to classified information. US Vice President Joseph Biden personally intervened in South Korea in 2013 to block Huawei from building a broadband telecommunications network in Seoul.
According to [I]Der Spiegel, the German news magazine, the fruits of the NSA spying program against Huawei included a list of 1,400 of the firm’s clients, as well as internal engineering documents. One of the documents released by Snowden reads, “If we can see how Huawei is marketing itself, and working to expand this will help us to understand the company’s plans and intentions.”
Among the PowerPoint slides just published, one sentence in particular stands out. Among the tasks the NSA is “hoping to accomplish” in its campaign against Huawei is to “[d]ocument processes to be used later for targeting other non-partnerable companies.” The description of Huawei as a “non-partnerable” company, together with the expressed intention of targeting other “non-partnerable” companies for spying, is full of significance.
Translated into plain English, what “non-partnerable” means is that Huawei does not “partner” with the NSA to carry out illegal spying. Companies that are “partnerable” are presumably those such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, AOL, Verizon, AT&T and others around the world, which are willing “partners” of the US government in its illegal spying on their users and customers.
The new revelation about Huawei is one of the many devastating exposures by Snowden of different features of the spying architecture that has been built up behind the backs of the American and world population. The cumulative effect of these disclosures is to paint a picture of a massive military-corporate-intelligence complex, totalitarian in its implications, loosed from all constitutional and democratic controls.
This apparatus—with the integral participation of its “partners” in the business and financial spheres—has for years been quietly working its tentacles into virtually every corner of the world. The purpose of this spying apparatus is to protect the profits and wealth of the American ruling class at any cost—from international rivals and, above all, from a movement from below.

Lauren Johnson
03-25-2014, 12:45 PM
The recently released PowerPoint slides feature the now-familiar concept of “intelligence gaps.” As far as the NSA is concerned, if anyone anywhere in the world is engaged in any kind of activity and the NSA does not know about it, then this represents an “intelligence gap” the spy agency is determined to close.

The corollary to 'intelligence gaps' would be 'control gaps.'

Peter Lemkin
04-07-2014, 03:35 AM
Canadian Rights Advocates: Payout Warranted for Spying By Global News (http://www.constantinereport.com/canadian-rights-advocates-payout-warranted-spying/#) / April 6th, 2014








http://www.constantinereport.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/images-5.jpg?w=307&h=200&crop=1


VANCOUVER – Anyone who has used a cellphone, smartphone, laptop or tablet in Canada over the past 13 years deserves payment or other remedies for potentially having their privacy rights violated, says a proposed class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court.A Vancouver-based civil rights group is suing Canada’s national electronic spy agency on behalf of anyone who used a wireless device in the country since 2001.
The suit targets Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CSEC, which the association claims has been violating the constitutional rights of millions of Canadians.
“It’s certainly a large class of people, that’s for sure, but we also can’t be entirely sure who in Canada, which specific people have been targeted by this kind of electronic spying,” said Josh Paterson, B.C. Civil Liberties Association executive director.
“If this injustice has been committed … there does need to be some kind of remedy.”
The association filed the lawsuit as a companion to an earlier legal action it began in October. The primary suit aims to have laws struck down that the group claims allows CSEC to read emails, text messages and listen to calls with people outside Canada.
Such legislation violates Canadians’ Charter Rights, the group argues, by infringing on privacy.
Money, the funding of educational programming or any other tangible fixes should be considered as a potential remedy if the first court case is proven, Paterson said.
“Really, it’s up to the courts to decide, it could include money,” he said, noting history shows a host of other examples. “There’s actually quite a lot of scope to what it could be.”
http://www.constantinereport.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/131022_8176p_rci-bccl-csec_sn635.jpg (http://www.constantinereport.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/131022_8176p_rci-bccl-csec_sn635.jpg)But Paterson suggested specifics of the redress are less important than the lawsuit’s key intention of ensuring that Canadians’ constitutional rights are protected.
Although CSEC is not allowed to intentionally collect or analyze communications information from its citizens, the federal defence minister can give written authorization for unintentional interception. The provision for collecting foreign-signals intelligence falls under the National Defence Act.
The class action uses 2001 as its baseline because in December of that year, just months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, Canada changed the anti-terrorism laws to which the group now objects.
The class action must be approved by the federal court before it can proceed.
CSEC, on the other hand, maintains that its activities are legal.
“CSE’s activities are reviewed by the independent CSE Commissioner who has never found CSE to have acted unlawfully,” wrote CSEC spokesman Ryan Foreman in an email. “In fact, he has specifically noted CSE’s culture of lawful compliance and genuine concern for protecting the privacy of Canadians.”
“Under the law, this organization is prohibited from targeting Canadians,” the organization said in a previous statement.
The federal government has faced pressure to provide details about CSEC’s spying activities following debate over electronic privacy that’s been a hot issue south of the border.
The legal action resembles other cases by rights advocates in the United States launched after revelations of mass spying activity there by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
http://globalnews.ca/news/1244790/payout-warranted-for-spying-rights-advocates/

Peter Lemkin
04-17-2014, 08:59 AM
Snowden’s Email Provider Loses Appeal Over Encryption Keys (http://www.wired.com/2014/04/lavabit-ruling/)

http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2013/11/Ladar-Levison-660x440.jpg

Lavabit founder Ladar Levison. Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/9926144665/in/photolist-g89mEA-g89Wat-g895Zg-g89CKu-g89ruU-g89i6b-g8a2i4-g89bAs-g89foX-g898Vr-g6TzUA)

A federal appeals court has upheld a contempt citation against the founder of the defunct secure e-mail company Lavabit, finding that the weighty internet privacy issues he raised on appeal should have been brought up earlier in the legal process.
The decision (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1114321-lavabit-ruling.html) disposes of a closely watched privacy case on a technicality, without ruling one way or the other on the substantial issue: whether an internet company can be compelled to turn over the master encryption keys for its entire system to facilitate court-approved surveillance on a single user.
The case began in June, when Texas-based Lavabit was served with a “pen register” order requiring it to give the government (http://www.wired.com/2013/10/lavabit_unsealed/) a live feed of the email activity on a particular account. The feed would include metadata like the “from” and “to” lines on every message, and the IP addresses used to access the mailbox.
Because pen register orders provide only metadata, they can be obtained without probable cause that the target has committed a crime. But in this case the court filings suggest strongly that the target was indicted NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Lavabit’s most famous user.
Levison resisted the order on the grounds that he couldn’t comply without reprogramming the elaborate encryption system he’d built to protect his users’ privacy. He eventually relented and offered to gather up the email metadata and transmit it to the government after 60 days. Later he offered to engineer a faster solution. But by then, weeks had passed, and the FBI was determined to get what it wanted directly and in real time.
So in July the government served Levison with a search warrant striking at the Achilles’ heel of his system: the private SSL key that would allow the FBI to decrypt traffic to and from the site, and collect Snowden’s metadata directly. The government promised it wouldn’t use the key to spy on Lavabit’s other 400,000 users, which the key would technically enable them to do.
Levison turned over the keys as a nearly illegible computer printout in 4-point type. In early August, Hilton – who once served on the top-secret FISA court – ordered Levison to provide the keys instead in the industry-standard electronic format, and began fining him $5,000 a day for noncompliance.
After two days, Levison complied, but then immediately shuttered Lavabit altogether.
Levison appealed the contempt order to the 4th Circuit, and civil rights groups, including the ACLU and the EFF, filed briefs in support of his position.
But the appeals court today said that the bulk of Levison’s arguments couldn’t be considered, because he hadn’t clearly raised them in the lower court, where he represented himself without a lawyer for much of the proceedings.
Prior to appeal, Levison’s only voiced objection to turning over the SSL keys was this statement in court: “I have only ever objected to turning over the SSL keys because that would compromise all of the secure communications in and out of my network, including my own administrative traffic.”
“We cannot refashion this vague statement of personal preference into anything remotely close to the argument that Lavabit now raises on appeal: a statutory-text-based challenge to the district court’s fundamental authority under the Pen/Trap Statute,” wrote Judge G. Steven Agee, for the three appellate panel.
“Levison’s statement to the district court simply reflected his personal angst over complying with the Pen/Trap Order, not his present appellate argument that questions whether the district court possessed the authority to act at all,” wrote Agee.
The Lavabit case is the only publicly documented instance where a district judge ordered an internet company to hand over its SSL key to the U.S. government. If the practice had been given the imprimatur of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, it could have opened a new avenue for U.S. spies to expand their surveillance against users of U.S. internet services like Gmail and Dropbox.
“The court focused its decision on procedural aspects of the case unrelated to the merits of Lavabit’s claims,” says ACLU attorney Brian Hauss, in a statement. “On the merits, we believe it’s clear that there are limits on the government’s power to coerce innocent service providers into its surveillance activities.”
The 4th Circuit panel wasn’t terribly sympathetic to the privacy issues during oral arguments (http://www.wired.com/2014/02/courtint/) in the case. So today’s ruling on a procedural technicality is probably for the best. And the next time a secure e-mail provider tangles with the feds, you can bet it will get a lawyer earlier on in the process.

Peter Lemkin
04-26-2014, 07:28 AM
Google’s Deep CIA and NSA Connections By Eric Sommer (http://www.constantinereport.com/author/eric-sommer/) / April 25th, 2014








http://www.constantinereport.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/google_privacy-100030496-large1.jpg?w=307&h=200&crop=1 As Robert Steele, a former CIA case officer, has put it: Google is ‘in bed with’ the CIA. …”By Eric SommerThe Western media are currently full of articles reporting Google’s denial that it cooperated in a government program to massively spy on American and foreign citizens by accessing data from Googles servers and those of other U.S. software companies.The mainstream media has, however, almost completely failed to report that Google’s denial, and its surface concern over ‘human rights’, is historically belied by its their deep involvement with some of the worst human rights abuses on the planet:
Google is, in fact, is a key participant in U.S. military and CIA intelligence operations involving torture; subversion of foreign governments; illegal wars of aggression; military occupations of countries which have never attacked the U.S. and which have cost hundreds of thousands of lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and elsewhere.
To begin with, as reported previously in the Washington Post and elsewhere, Google is the supplier of the customized core search technology for ‘Intellipedia, a highly-secured online system where 37,000 U.S. spies and related personnel share information and collaborate on their devious errands.
Agencies such as the so-called ‘National Security Agency’, or NSA, which is implicated in the current ‘spying on Americans’ scandal, have also purchased servers using Google-supplied search technology which processes information gathered by U.S. spies operating all over the planet.
In addition, Google is linked to the U.S. spy and military systems through its Google Earth software venture. The technology behind this software was originally developed by Keyhole Inc., a company funded by In-Q-Te (http://www.iqt.org/)l, a venture capital firm which is in turn openly funded and operated on behalf of the CIA.
Google acquired Keyhole Inc. in 2004. The same base technology is currently employed by U.S. military and intelligence systems in their quest, in their own words, for “full-spectrum dominance” of the planet.
Moreover, Googles’ connection with the CIA and its venture capital firm extends to sharing at least one key member of personnel. In 2004, the Director of Technology Assessment at In-Q-Tel, Rob Painter, moved from his old job directly serving the CIA to become ‘Senior Federal Manager’ at Google.
As Robert Steele, a former CIA case officer has put it: Google is “in bed with” the CIA.
Googles Friends spy on millions of Internet UsersGiven Google’s supposed concern with ‘human rights’ and with user-privacy, it’s worth noting that Wired magazine reported some time ago that Google’s friends at In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA, invested in Visible Technologies, a software firm specialized in ‘monitoring social media’.
http://pravda-team.ru/eng/image/article/3/3/7/50337.jpegThe ‘Visible’ technology can automatically examine more than a million discussions and posts on blogs, online forums, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, Amazon, and so forth each day. The technology also ‘scores’ each online item, assigning it a positive, negative or mixed or neutral status, based on parameters and terms set by the technology operators. The information, thus boiled down, can then be more effectively scanned and read by human operators.
The CIA venture capitalists at In-Q-Tel previously said they will use the technology to monitor social media operating in other countries and give U.S. spies ¡°early-warning detection on how issues are playing internationally,¡± according to spokesperson Donald Tighe. There is every possibility that the technology can also be used by the U.S. intellligence operatives to spy on domestic social movements and individuals inside the U.S.
Finally, Obama during his recent meeting with Chinese president Xi, again more-or-less accused China of cyber intrusions into U.S. government computers. There has, however, been a curious absence from the statements emanating from Google, from U.S. government sources, and from U.S. media reports of truely substantive evidence linking the Chinese government with the alledged break-in attempts. Words like ‘sophisticated’ and ‘suspicion’ have appeared in the media to suggest that the Chinese government is responsible for the break-ins. That may be so. But it is striking that the media has seemingly asked no tough questions as to what the evidence behind the ‘suspicions’ might be.
It should be noted that the U.S. government and its intelligence agencies have a long history of rogue operations intended to discredit governments or social movements with whom they happen to disagree. To see how far this can go, one need only recall the sordid history of disinformation, lies, and deceit used to frighten people into supporting the Iraq war.
Whether the past attacks on U.S. government systems, Google email, et al originated from the Chinese government, from the U.S. intelligence operatives, or from elsewhere, one thing is clear: A company that supplies the CIA with key intelligence technology; supplies mapping software which can be used for barbarous wars of aggression and drone attacks which kill huge numbers of innocent civilians; and which in general is deeply intertwined with the CIA and the U.S. military machines, which spy on millions, the company cannot be motivated by real concern for the human rights and lives of the people in the U.S. and on the planet.
http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/17-06-2013/124841-google_cia_nsa-0/
From the Archive: Google, CIA Invest in ‘Future’ of Web MonitoringBY NOAH SHACHTMAN
Wired, July 28, 2010http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/dangerroom/2010/07/obama_schmidt.jpg (http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/dangerroom/2010/07/obama_schmidt.jpg)
The investment arms of the CIA and Google are both backing a company that monitors the web in real time — and says it uses that information to predict the future.The company is called Recorded Future, and it scours tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find the relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents — both present and still-to-come. In a white paper, the company says its temporal analytics engine “goes beyond search (http://blog.recordedfuture.com/2010/03/13/recorded-future-%E2%80%93-a-white-paper-on-temporal-analytics/)” by “looking at the ‘invisible links’ between documents that talk about the same, or related, entities and events.”
The idea is to figure out for each incident who was involved, where it happened and when it might go down. Recorded Future then plots that chatter, showing online “momentum” for any given event.
“The cool thing is, you can actually predict the curve, in many cases,” says company CEO Christopher Ahlberg, a former Swedish Army Ranger with a PhD in computer science.
Which naturally makes the 16-person Cambridge, Massachusetts, firm attractive to Google Ventures, the search giant’s investment division, and to In-Q-Tel (http://www.iqt.org/), which handles similar duties for the CIA and the wider intelligence community.
It’s not the very first time Google has done business with America’s spy agencies. Long before it reportedly enlisted the help of the National Security Agency (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/02/from-dont-be-evil-to-spy-on-everyone/) to secure its networks, Google sol dequipment to the secret signals-intelligence group (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/03/29/BUQLUAP8L.DTL). In-Q-Tel backed the mapping firm Keyhole, which was bought by Google in 2004 — and then became the backbone for Google Earth.
This appears to be the first time, however, that the intelligence community and Google have funded the same startup, at the same time. No one is accusing Google of directly collaborating with the CIA. But the investments are bound to be fodder for critics of Google, who already see the search giant as overly cozy with the U.S. government, and worry that the company is starting to forget its “don’t be evil” mantra.



America’s spy services have become increasingly interested in mining “open source intelligence” — information that’s publicly available, but often hidden in the daily avalanche of TV shows, newspaper articles, blog posts, online videos and radio reports.
“Secret information isn’t always the brass ring (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2008/09/download-hayden/) in our profession,” then CIA-director General Michael Hayden told a conference in 2008. “In fact, there’s a real satisfaction in solving a problem or answering a tough question with information that someone was dumb enough to leave out in the open.”
U.S. spy agencies, through In-Q-Tel, have invested in a number of firms to help them better find that information. Visible Technologies crawls over half a million web 2.0 sites a day (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/10/exclusive-us-spies-buy-stake-in-twitter-blog-monitoring-firm), scraping more than a million posts and conversations taking place on blogs, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon. Attensity applies the rules of grammar to the so-called “unstructured text” of the web to make it more easily digestible by government databases (http://www.noahshachtman.com/blog/archives/1416.html). Keyhole (now Google Earth) is a staple of the targeting cells in military-intelligence units.
Recorded Future strips from web pages the people, places and activities they mention. The company examines when and where these events happened (“spatial and temporal analysis”) and the tone of the document (“sentiment analysis”). Then it applies some artificial-intelligence algorithms to tease out connections between the players. Recorded Future maintains an index with more than 100 million events, hosted on Amazon.com servers. The analysis, however, is on the living web.
“We’re right there as it happens,” Ahlberg told Danger Room as he clicked through a demonstration. “We can assemble actual real-time dossiers on people.”
Recorded Future certainly has the potential to spot events and trends early. Take the case of Hezbollah’s long-range missiles. On March 21, Israeli President Shimon Peres leveled the allegation that the terror group had Scud-like weapons. Scouring Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s past statements, Recorded Future found corroborating evidence from a month prior that appeared to back up Peres’ accusations.
That’s one of several hypothetical cases Recorded Future runs in its blog devoted to intelligence analysis (http://www.analysisintelligence.com/?p=1059). But it’s safe to assume that the company already has at least one spy agency’s attention. In-Q-Tel doesn’t make investments in firms without an “end customer” ready to test out that company’s products.
Both Google Ventures and In-Q-Tel made their investments in 2009, shortly after the company was founded. The exact amounts weren’t disclosed, but were under $10 million each. Google’s investment came to light earlier this year (http://www.google.com/ventures/portfolio.html#recorded-future) online. In-Q-Tel, which often announces its new holdings in press releases, quietly uploaded a brief mention of its investment (http://www.iqt.org/technology-portfolio/Recorded%20Future.html) a few weeks ago.
Both In-Q-Tel and Google Ventures have seats on Recorded Future’s board. Ahlberg says those board members have been “very helpful,” providing business and technology advice, as well as introducing him to potential customers. Both organizations, it’s safe to say, will profit handsomely if Recorded Future is ever sold or taken public. Ahlberg’s last company, the corporate intelligence firm Spotfire, was acquired in 2007 for $195 million in cash.
Google Ventures did not return requests to comment for this article. In-Q-Tel Chief of Staff Lisbeth Poulos e-mailed a one-line statement: “We are pleased that Recorded Future is now part of IQT’s portfolio of innovative startup companies who support the mission of the U.S. Intelligence Community.”
Just because Google and In-Q-Tel have both invested in Recorded Future doesn’t mean Google is suddenly in bed with the government. Of course, to Google’s critics — including conservative legal groups (http://nlpc.org/cached/white-house-emails-show-more-extensive-improper-contact-google.html?q=stories/2010/07/22/white-house-emails-show-more-extensive-improper-contact-google), and Republican congressmen (http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/108183-issa-wants-answers-connected-to-white-houses-google-ties?page=1#comments) — the Obama Administration and the Mountain View, California, company slipped between the sheets a long time ago.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt hosted a town hall at company headquarters in the early days of Obama’s presidential campaign. Senior White House officials like economic chief Larry Summers give speeches at the New America Foundation, the left-of-center think tank chaired by Schmidt (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0710/39829_Page3.html). Former Google public policy chief Andrew McLaughlin is now the White House’s deputy CTO, and was publicly (if mildly) reprimanded by the administration for continuing to hash out issues with his former colleagues.
In some corners, the scrutiny of the company’s political ties have dovetailed with concerns about how Google collects and uses its enormous storehouse of search data, e-mail, maps and online documents. Google, as we all know, keeps a titanic amount of information about every aspect of our online lives. Customers largely have trusted the company so far, because of the quality of their products, and because of Google’s pledges not to misuse the information still ring true to many.
But unease has been growing. Thirty seven state Attorneys General are demanding answers (http://insidegoogle.com/2010/07/consumer-watchdog-praises-attorneys-general-for-google-probe-renews-call-for-congressional-hearing-on-wi-spy-scandal/) from the company after Google hoovered up 600 gigabytes of data from open Wi-Fi networks (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/google-wifi-debacle/) as it snapped pictures for its Street View project. (The company swears the incident was an accident.)
“Assurances from the likes of Google that the company can be trusted to respect consumers’ privacy because its corporate motto is ‘don’t be evil’ have been shown by recent events such as the ‘Wi-Spy’ debacle to be unwarranted (http://oversight.house.gov/images/stories/Hearings/Information_Policy/072210_Web_2.0/072010_IP_John_Simpson_072210.pdf),” long-time corporate gadfly John M. Simpson told a Congressional hearing in a prepared statement. Any business dealings with the CIA’s investment arm are unlikely to make critics like him more comfortable.
But Steven Aftergood (http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/), a critical observer of the intelligence community from his perch at the Federation of American Scientists, isn’t worried about the Recorded Future deal. Yet.
“To me, whether this is troublesome or not depends on the degree of transparency involved. If everything is aboveboard — from contracts to deliverables — I don’t see a problem with it,” he told Danger Room by e-mail. “But if there are blank spots in the record, then they will be filled with public skepticism or worse, both here and abroad, and not without reason.”

Magda Hassan
04-26-2014, 08:11 AM
Google did evil by joining with ALEC.

Peter Lemkin
04-26-2014, 10:35 AM
Google did evil by joining with ALEC.

I'd like to know if Google 'turned' or if some [or all] of the main people were already 'turned' when they started it.....::darthvader::

Magda Hassan
04-26-2014, 10:57 AM
Google did evil by joining with ALEC.

I'd like to know if Google 'turned' or if some [or all] of the main people were already 'turned' when they started it.....::darthvader::
I'll try and do dome research on who was instrumental; in that decision as I'd like to know too.

Magda Hassan
05-09-2014, 11:34 PM
National Security Agency head and Internet giant’s executives have coordinated through high-level policy discussions
May 6, 2014 5:00AM ET

Videos and Documents at this Link (http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/5/6/nsa-chief-google.html)


by Jason Leopold (http://america.aljazeera.com/profiles/l/jason-leopold.html) @JasonLeopold (http://www.twitter.com/JasonLeopold)


Email exchanges between National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander and Google executives Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt suggest a far cozier working relationship between some tech firms and the U.S. government (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/03/us-usa-security-siliconvalley-idUSBRE96214I20130703) than was implied by Silicon Valley brass after last year’s revelations about NSA spying.
Disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the agency’s vast capability for spying on Americans’ electronic communications prompted a number of tech executives whose firms cooperated with the government to insist they had done so only when compelled by a court of law.
But Al Jazeera has obtained two sets of email communications dating from a year before Snowden became a household name that suggest not all cooperation was under pressure.
On the morning of June 28, 2012, an email from Alexander invited Schmidt to attend a four-hour-long “classified threat briefing” on Aug. 8 at a “secure facility in proximity to the San Jose, CA airport.”
“The meeting discussion will be topic-specific, and decision-oriented, with a focus on Mobility Threats and Security (http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/052812-nsa-cloud-mobility-259601.html),” Alexander wrote in the email, obtained under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the first of dozens of communications between the NSA chief and Silicon Valley executives that the agency plans to turn over.
Alexander, Schmidt and other industry executives met earlier in the month, according to the email. But Alexander wanted another meeting with Schmidt and “a small group of CEOs” later that summer because the government needed Silicon Valley’s help.
“About six months ago, we began focusing on the security of mobility devices,” Alexander wrote. “A group (primarily Google, Apple and Microsoft) recently came to agreement on a set of core security principles. When we reach this point in our projects we schedule a classified briefing for the CEOs of key companies to provide them a brief on the specific threats we believe can be mitigated and to seek their commitment for their organization to move ahead … Google’s participation in refinement, engineering and deployment of the solutions will be essential.”
Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, said she believes information sharing between industry and the government is “absolutely essential” but “at the same time, there is some risk to user privacy and to user security from the way the vulnerability disclosure is done.”
The challenge facing government and industry was to enhance security without compromising privacy, Granick said. The emails between Alexander and Google executives, she said, show “how informal information sharing has been happening within this vacuum where there hasn’t been a known, transparent, concrete, established methodology for getting security information into the right hands.”
The classified briefing cited by Alexander was part of a secretive government initiative known as the Enduring Security Framework (ESF), and his email provides some rare information about what the ESF entails, the identities of some participant tech firms and the threats they discussed.

The classified briefing cited by Alexander was part of a secretive government initiative known as the Enduring Security Framework (ESF), and his email provides some rare information about what the ESF entails, the identity of some participant tech firms and the threats they discussed.



Examining the NSA's relationship with Google 4:12 (http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/5/6/nsa-chief-google.html) Al Jazeera America News (http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/live-news.html) | May 6, 2014














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Alexander explained that the deputy secretaries of the Department of Defense, Homeland Security and “18 US CEOs” launched the ESF in 2009 to “coordinate government/industry actions on important (generally classified) security issues that couldn’t be solved by individual actors alone.”
“For example, over the last 18 months, we (primarily Intel, AMD [Advanced Micro Devices], HP [Hewlett-Packard], Dell and Microsoft on the industry side) completed an effort to secure the BIOS of enterprise platforms to address a threat in that area.”
“BIOS” is an acronym for “basic input/output system,” the system software that initializes the hardware in a personal computer before the operating system starts up. NSA cyberdefense chief Debora Plunkett in December disclosed that the agency had thwarted a “BIOS plot” (http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/the-snowden-affair/) by a “nation-state,” identified as China, to brick U.S. computers. That plot, she said, could have destroyed the U.S. economy. “60 Minutes,” which broke the story, reported that the NSA worked with unnamed “computer manufacturers” to address the BIOS software vulnerability.





But some cybersecurity experts questioned the scenario (https://news.yahoo.com/60-minutes-bios-plot-may-214330769.html) outlined by Plunkett.
“There is probably some real event behind this, but it’s hard to tell, because we don’t have any details,” wrote Robert Graham, CEO of the penetration-testing firm Errata Security in Atlanta, on his blog in December. “It”s completely false in the message it is trying to convey. What comes out is gibberish, as any technical person can confirm.”
And by enlisting the NSA to shore up their defenses, those companies may have made themselves more vulnerable to the agency’s efforts to breach them for surveillance purposes.
“I think the public should be concerned about whether the NSA was really making its best efforts, as the emails claim, to help secure enterprise BIOS and mobile devices and not holding the best vulnerabilities close to their chest,” said Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s digital civil liberties team.
He doesn’t doubt that the NSA was trying to secure enterprise BIOS, but he suggested that the agency, for its own purposes, was “looking for weaknesses in the exact same products they’re trying to secure.”
The NSA “has no business helping Google secure its facilities from the Chinese and at the same time hacking in through the back doors and tapping the fiber connections between Google base centers,” Cardozo said. “The fact that it’s the same agency doing both of those things is in obvious contradiction and ridiculous.” He recommended dividing offensive and defensive functions between two agencies.

http://america.aljazeera.com/content/ajam/articles/2014/5/6/nsa-chief-google/_jcr_content/mainpar/textimage/image.img.png The government has asked for Silicon Valley’s help. Adam Berry / Getty Images
Two weeks after the “60 Minutes” broadcast, the German magazine Der Spiegel, citing documents obtained by Snowden, reported that the NSA inserted back doors into BIOS (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/catalog-reveals-nsa-has-back-doors-for-numerous-devices-a-940994.html), doing exactly what Plunkett accused a nation-state of doing during her interview.
Google’s Schmidt was unable to attend to the mobility security meeting in San Jose in August 2012.
“General Keith.. so great to see you.. !” Schmidt wrote. “I’m unlikely to be in California that week so I’m sorry I can’t attend (will be on the east coast). Would love to see you another time. Thank you !” Since the Snowden disclosures, Schmidt has been critical of the NSA and said its surveillance programs may be illegal (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304391204579177104151435042).
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did attend that briefing. Foreign Policy reported a month later that Dempsey and other government officials (http://complex.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/09/14/pentagon_brass_still_pursuing_info_sharing_with_in dustry_on_cyber_attacks) — no mention of Alexander — were in Silicon Valley “picking the brains of leaders throughout the valley and discussing the need to quickly share information on cyber threats.” Foreign Policy noted that the Silicon Valley executives in attendance belonged to the ESF. The story did not say mobility threats and security was the top agenda item along with a classified threat briefing.
A week after the gathering, Dempsey said during a Pentagon press briefing, “I was in Silicon Valley recently, for about a week, to discuss vulnerabilities and opportunities in cyber with industry leaders … They agreed — we all agreed on the need to share threat information at network speed.”
Google co-founder Sergey Brin attended previous meetings of the ESF group but because of a scheduling conflict, according to Alexander’s email, he also could not attend the Aug. 8 briefing in San Jose, and it’s unknown if someone else from Google was sent.
A few months earlier, Alexander had emailed Brin to thank him for Google’s participation in the ESF.
“I see ESF’s work as critical to the nation’s progress against the threat in cyberspace and really appreciate Vint Cerf [Google’s vice president and chief Internet evangelist], Eric Grosse [vice president of security engineering] and Adrian Ludwig’s [lead engineer for Android security] contributions to these efforts during the past year,” Alexander wrote in a Jan. 13, 2012, email.
“You recently received an invitation to the ESF Executive Steering Group meeting, which will be held on January 19, 2012. The meeting is an opportunity to recognize our 2012 accomplishments and set direction for the year to come. We will be discussing ESF’s goals and specific targets for 2012. We will also discuss some of the threats we see and what we are doing to mitigate those threats … Your insights, as a key member of the Defense Industrial Base, are valuable to ensure ESF’s efforts have measurable impact.”
A Google representative declined to answer specific questions about Brin’s and Schmidt’s relationship with Alexander or about Google’s work with the government.
“We work really hard to protect our users from cyberattacks, and we always talk to experts — including in the U.S. government — so we stay ahead of the game,” the representative said in a statement to Al Jazeera. “It’s why Sergey attended this NSA conference.”
Brin responded to Alexander the following day even though the head of the NSA didn’t use the appropriate email address when contacting the co-chairman.
“Hi Keith, looking forward to seeing you next week. FYI, my best email address to use is [redacted],” Brin wrote. “The one your email went to — sergey.brin@google.com — I don’t really check.”




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Peter Lemkin
05-10-2014, 04:16 AM
While it is CLEAR that Google is now in bed [daily and in every way] with the National Security State, I think someone needs to find out if it was or was not actually a 'creature OF' the NSA from the get go...... even though the end result would be the same. The very motto of Google is suspect as an 180-degree diversion. Al Jazeera is not beloved by the NSA [either sense of those letters], and will drop another notch, if that is possible.

Peter Lemkin
05-10-2014, 06:42 AM
MPs: Snowden files are 'embarrassing indictment' of British spying oversight All-party committee demands reforms to make security and intelligence services accountable in wake of disclosures




Alan Travis (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/alantravis), home affairs editor


The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian), Friday 9 May 2014

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/5/9/1399591344542/GCHQ-011.jpg The report says the current system of oversight of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, pictured, is 'designed to scrutinise the work of George Smiley, not the 21st-century reality'. Photograph: Reuters

Edward Snowden (http://www.theguardian.com/world/edward-snowden)'s disclosures of the scale of mass surveillance (http://www.theguardian.com/world/surveillance) are "an embarrassing indictment" of the weak nature of the oversight and legal accountability of Britain's security and intelligence agencies, MPs have concluded.
A highly critical report by the Commons home affairs select committee (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmhaff/231/23102.htm) published on Friday calls for a radical reform of the current system of oversight of MI5 (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/mi5), MI6 (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/mi6) and GCHQ (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/gchq), arguing that the current system is so ineffective it is undermining the credibility of the intelligence agencies and parliament itself.
The MPs say the current system was designed in a pre-internet age when a person's word was accepted without question. "It is designed to scrutinise the work of George Smiley, not the 21st-century reality of the security and intelligence services," said committee chairman, Keith Vaz. "The agencies are at the cutting edge of sophistication and are owed an equally refined system of democratic scrutiny. It is an embarrassing indictment of our system that some in the media felt compelled to publish leaked information to ensure that matters were heard in parliament."
The cross-party report is the first British parliamentary acknowledgement that Snowden's disclosures of the mass harvesting of personal phone and internet data need to lead to serious improvements in the oversight and accountability of the security services.
The MPs call for radical reform of the system of oversight including the election of the membership of the intelligence and security committee, including its chairman, and an end to their exclusive oversight role. Its chairman should also be a member of the largest opposition party, the MPs say, in direct criticism of its current head, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who is a former Conservative foreign secretary.
Rifkind, however, said he had read the report, and had concluded: "The recommendations regarding the ISC are old hat. For several years, Mr Vaz has been trying to expand the powers of his committee so that they can take evidence from MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. This is what this bit of his report is all about."
Rifkind attempted to head off some of the MPs' conclusions by announcing that the ISC would conduct its own inquiry into personal privacy and state surveillance. He also attacked Snowden and his supporters for their "insidious use of language such as mass surveillance and Orwellian" – which, he argued, "blurs, unforgivably, the distinction between a system that uses the state to protect the people, and one that uses the state to protect itself against the people".
However, a complete overhaul of the "part-time" and under-resourced system of oversight commissioners is recommended by the MPs, as is an end to some of the secrecy surrounding the Investigatory Powers Tribunal – the only body that is able to investigate individual complaints against the security agencies.
A parliamentary inquiry into the principal legal framework that legitimises state communications surveillance, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, should be launched, they say, to bring it up to date with modern technology and improve its oversight safeguards.
The committee also voices strong concerns that a data protection ruling by the European court of justice last month has left the legality of the bulk collection of communications data by the phone and internet companies in serious doubt. "It is essential that the legal position be resolved clearly and promptly," say the MPs, who reveal that the home secretary, Theresa May, has ordered urgent work into the ruling's full implications for the police and security services.
The MPs say they decided to look at the oversight of the intelligence agencies following the theft of a number of National Security Agency documents by Snowden in order to publicise the mass surveillance programmes run by a number of national intelligence agencies.
Their report says Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, responded to criticism of newspapers that decided to publish Snowden's disclosures, including the head of MI6's claim that it was "a gift to terrorists", by saying that the alternative would be that the next Snowden would just "dump the stuff on the internet".
The MPs say: "One of the reasons that Edward Snowden has cited for releasing the documents is that he believes the oversight of security and intelligence agencies is not effective. It is important to note that when we asked British civil servants – the national security adviser and the head of MI5 – to give evidence to us they refused. In contrast, Mr Rusbridger came before us and provided open and transparent evidence."
The report makes clear the intelligence chiefs should drop their boycott of wider parliamentary scrutiny. "Engagement with elected representatives is not, in itself, a danger to national security and to continue to insist so is hyperbole," it says.
But a move by Labour and Lib Dem MPs to congratulate the Guardian and other media outlets for "responsibly reporting" the disclosures – saying they had opened a "wide and international public debate" – was voted down by four Tory MPs.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said the report showed there was a cross-party consensus behind Labour's proposals, including reform of the commissioners system and an opposition chair of the ISC. "The government should now set out plans for oversight reforms," she said.
Nick Clegg has also outlined proposals for reforming the oversight system.
Cooper added that the select committee had added their voice to the growing number of MPs, who were calling for reform. She said that the police and security services needed to keep up with the challenges of the digital age but stronger safeguards and limits to protect personal privacy and sustain confidence in their vital were also needed: "The oversight and legal frameworks are now out of date," said the shadow home secretary.Emma Carr, of Big Brother Watch, the privacy campaign group, said: "When a senior committee of parliament says that the current oversight of our intelligence agencies is not fit for purpose, ineffective and undermines the credibility of parliament, the government cannot and must not continue to bury its head in the sand."
Last night, a statement by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) and the Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM) Board – consisting of assistant commissioner Cressida Dick, chief constable Sara Thornton, chief constable Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable Chris Sims, chief constable Mark Gilmore and chief constable Matt Baggott – said they were "concerned" the committee had recommended that responsibility for counter-terrorism policing should be moved to the National Crime Agency.
The statement described it as "a decision that does not appear to supported by the evidence and is based on an apparent misunderstanding of the role played by the Metropolitan Police Service."Counter-terrorism policing is not directed through a single lead force but rather has responsibility vested in nine chief constables across the UK in areas where the threat is considered to be the greatest. These chief constables act collaboratively and effectively on behalf of all forces, while at the same time maintaining close and critical links into local policing."
The statement added: "The Home Secretary has previously confirmed that she will conduct a review of counter-terrorism structures. We welcome any such review and look forward to participating fully and constructively in it. "
The Home Office said: "Our security agencies and law enforcement agencies operate within a strict legal and policy framework and under the tightest of controls and oversight mechanisms. This represents one of the strongest systems of checks and balances and democratic accountability for secret intelligence anywhere in the world."

Peter Lemkin
05-13-2014, 04:34 AM
Inside the NSA’s Secret Efforts to Hunt and Hack System Administrators
By Ryan Gallagher and Peter Maass
20 Mar 2014, 7:07 PM EDT
A secret document reveals how the NSA tracks down system administrators for surveillance. Illustration: Josh Begley.

Across the world, people who work as system administrators keep computer networks in order – and this has turned them into unwitting targets of the National Security Agency for simply doing their jobs. According to a secret document provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the agency tracks down the private email and Facebook accounts of system administrators (or sys admins, as they are often called), before hacking their computers to gain access to the networks they control.

The document consists of several posts – one of them is titled “I hunt sys admins” – that were published in 2012 on an internal discussion board hosted on the agency’s classified servers. They were written by an NSA official involved in the agency’s effort to break into foreign network routers, the devices that connect computer networks and transport data across the Internet. By infiltrating the computers of system administrators who work for foreign phone and Internet companies, the NSA can gain access to the calls and emails that flow over their networks.

The classified posts reveal how the NSA official aspired to create a database that would function as an international hit list of sys admins to potentially target. Yet the document makes clear that the admins are not suspected of any criminal activity – they are targeted only because they control access to networks the agency wants to infiltrate. “Who better to target than the person that already has the ‘keys to the kingdom’?” one of the posts says.

The NSA wants more than just passwords. The document includes a list of other data that can be harvested from computers belonging to sys admins, including network maps, customer lists, business correspondence and, the author jokes, “pictures of cats in funny poses with amusing captions.” The posts, boastful and casual in tone, contain hacker jargon (pwn, skillz, zomg, internetz) and are punctuated with expressions of mischief. “Current mood: devious,” reads one, while another signs off, “Current mood: scheming.”

The author of the posts, whose name is being withheld by The Intercept, is a network specialist in the agency’s Signals Intelligence Directorate, according to other NSA documents. The same author wrote secret presentations related to the NSA’s controversial program to identify users of the Tor browser – a privacy-enhancing tool that allows people to browse the Internet anonymously. The network specialist, who served as a private contractor prior to joining the NSA, shows little respect for hackers who do not work for the government. One post expresses disdain for the quality of presentations at Blackhat and Defcon, the computer world’s premier security and hacker conferences:



It is unclear how precise the NSA’s hacking attacks are or how the agency ensures that it excludes Americans from the intrusions. The author explains in one post that the NSA scours the Internet to find people it deems “probable” administrators, suggesting a lack of certainty in the process and implying that the wrong person could be targeted. It is illegal for the NSA to deliberately target Americans for surveillance without explicit prior authorization. But the employee’s posts make no mention of any measures that might be taken to prevent hacking the computers of Americans who work as sys admins for foreign networks. Without such measures, Americans who work on such networks could potentially fall victim to an NSA infiltration attempt.

The NSA declined to answer questions about its efforts to hack system administrators or explain how it ensures Americans are not mistakenly targeted. Agency spokeswoman Vanee’ Vines said in an email statement: “A key part of the protections that apply to both U.S. persons and citizens of other countries is the mandate that information be in support of a valid foreign intelligence requirement, and comply with U.S. Attorney General-approved procedures to protect privacy rights.”

As The Intercept revealed last week, clandestine hacking has become central to the NSA’s mission in the past decade. The agency is working to aggressively scale its ability to break into computers to perform what it calls “computer network exploitation,” or CNE: the collection of intelligence from covertly infiltrated computer systems. Hacking into the computers of sys admins is particularly controversial because unlike conventional targets – people who are regarded as threats – sys admins are not suspected of any wrongdoing.

In a post calling sys admins “a means to an end,” the NSA employee writes, “Up front, sys admins generally are not my end target. My end target is the extremist/terrorist or government official that happens to be using the network some admin takes care of.”

The first step, according to the posts, is to collect IP addresses that are believed to be linked to a network’s sys admin. An IP address is a series of numbers allocated to every computer that connects to the Internet. Using this identifier, the NSA can then run an IP address through the vast amount of signals intelligence data, or SIGINT, that it collects every day, trying to match the IP address to personal accounts.

“What we’d really like is a personal webmail or Facebook account to target,” one of the posts explains, presumably because, whereas IP addresses can be shared by multiple people, “alternative selectors” like a webmail or Facebook account can be linked to a particular target. You can “dumpster-dive for alternate selectors in the big SIGINT trash can” the author suggests. Or “pull out your wicked Google-fu” (slang for efficient Googling) to search for any “official and non-official e-mails” that the targets may have posted online.

Once the agency believes it has identified a sys admin’s personal accounts, according to the posts, it can target them with its so-called QUANTUM hacking techniques. The Snowden files reveal that the QUANTUM methods have been used to secretly inject surveillance malware into a Facebook page by sending malicious NSA data packets that appear to originate from a genuine Facebook server. This method tricks a target’s computer into accepting the malicious packets, allowing the NSA to infect the targeted computer with a malware “implant” and gain unfettered access to the data stored on its hard drive.

“Just pull those selectors, queue them up for QUANTUM, and proceed with the pwnage,” the author of the posts writes. (“Pwnage,” short for “pure ownage,” is gamer-speak for defeating opponents.) The author adds, triumphantly, “Yay! /throws confetti in the air.”

In one case, these tactics were used by the NSA’s British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, to infiltrate the Belgian telecommunications company Belgacom. As Der Speigel revealed last year, Belgacom’s network engineers were targeted by GCHQ in a QUANTUM mission named “Operation Socialist” – with the British agency hacking into the company’s systems in an effort to monitor smartphones.

While targeting innocent sys admins may be surprising on its own, the “hunt sys admins” document reveals how the NSA network specialist secretly discussed building a “master list” of sys admins across the world, which would enable an attack to be initiated on one of them the moment their network was thought to be used by a person of interest. One post outlines how this process would make it easier for the NSA’s specialist hacking unit, Tailored Access Operations (TAO), to infiltrate networks and begin collecting, or “tasking,” data:



Aside from offering up thoughts on covert hacking tactics, the author of these posts also provides a glimpse into internal employee complaints at the NSA. The posts describe how the agency’s spies gripe about having “dismal infrastructure” and a “Big Data Problem” because of the massive volume of information being collected by NSA surveillance systems. For the author, however, the vast data troves are actually something to be enthusiastic about.

“Our ability to pull bits out of random places of the Internet, bring them back to the mother-base to evaluate and build intelligence off of is just plain awesome!” the author writes. “One of the coolest things about it is how much data we have at our fingertips.”

Micah Lee contributed to this report.

Magda Hassan
05-13-2014, 04:49 AM
It's one of their Achilles heels. They need us to run their system. They are powerless with out us.

Peter Lemkin
05-13-2014, 04:57 AM
The document can be found here http://firstlook.org/theintercept/document/2014/03/20/hunt-sys-admins/

Magda Hassan
05-19-2014, 11:21 PM
(http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/) Photos of an NSA “upgrade” factory show Cisco router getting implant Servers, routers get “beacons” implanted at secret locations by NSA’s TAO team. by Sean Gallagher (http://arstechnica.com/author/sean-gallagher/) - May 15 2014, 5:30am AEST


Hacking (http://arstechnica.com/discipline/hacking-2)
National Security (http://arstechnica.com/discipline/national-security-2)

254 (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/05/photos-of-an-nsa-upgrade-factory-show-cisco-router-getting-implant/?comments=1)

http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/nsa-pwn-cisco-640x373.jpg NSA techs perform an unauthorized field upgrade to Cisco hardware in these 2010 photos from an NSA document.

A document included in the trove of National Security Agency files released with Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide details how the agency’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) unit and other NSA employees intercept servers, routers, and other network gear being shipped to organizations targeted for surveillance and install covert implant firmware onto them before they’re delivered.
These Trojan horse systems were described by an NSA manager as being “some of the most productive operations in TAO because they pre-position access points into hard target networks around the world.”
The document, a June 2010 internal newsletter article by the chief of the NSA’s Access and Target Development department (S3261) includes photos (above) of NSA employees opening the shipping box for a Cisco router and installing beacon firmware with a “load station” designed specifically for the task.
The NSA manager described the process:

Here’s how it works: shipments of computer network devices (servers, routers, etc,) being delivered to our targets throughout the world are intercepted. Next, they are redirected to a secret location where Tailored Access Operations/Access Operations (AO-S326) employees, with the support of the Remote Operations Center (S321), enable the installation of beacon implants directly into our targets’ electronic devices. These devices are then re-packaged and placed back into transit to the original destination. All of this happens with the support of Intelligence Community partners and the technical wizards in TAO.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/05/photos-of-an-nsa-upgrade-factory-show-cisco-router-getting-implant/

Peter Lemkin
05-24-2014, 09:44 AM
https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=205824102380903447554.0004c626e1398e3b46f7 1&msa=0&ll=40.480381,-93.911133&spn=28.154265,67.631836

[all inter-coordinated, along with mobile ones in police vehicles and sometimes set up and moved by police and other agencies]; all fed into a single database that can be 'mined' to know where you have traveled, who and where you have gone, done and visited, etc.

Drew Phipps
05-24-2014, 01:10 PM
In Texas, it is illegal for customized license plate frames to come too close or obscure any part of the official plate letters/numbers, so automated license plate reading has been planned for some time.

Magda Hassan
05-24-2014, 03:01 PM
What do they do for motorcycles? Here the cameras can't scan them to collect the tolls. There are other ways of tracking them I suppose.

Peter Lemkin
05-25-2014, 07:36 AM
Police State America Spies Mostly on Americans By Sherwood Ross (http://www.opednews.com/author/author4140.html)








One characteristic of a totalitarian state is that it is as determined to subjugate its own citizens as it is to conquer foreigners. That's why Edward Snowden could tell the National Press Club by live video link from his Russian exile that when he was a contractor for the National Security Agency(NSA) he was appalled to see NSA "collecting more information about Americans in America than it is about Russians in Russia."



"When you pick up the phone and when you make a phone call, when you make a purchase, when you buy a book---all of that is collected. And I could see it at my desk, crossing my screen"NSA analysts"were abusing these tools to monitor their wives, their girlfriends, their lovers," Snowden said.


According to the May 26 issue of "The Nation," whistleblower Snowden thought NSA had become "a runaway surveillance train"without an emergency brake on the inside" and so passed the documentary evidence of its vast wrong-doing on to journalist Glenn Greenwald and documentary film maker Laura Poitras, to be made public.


Defending NSA in Capitol Hill testimony, its former Director Gen. Keith Alexander said, "Take away the National Security Agency's ability to tap into telephone records, and the nation is left unsecure."


Journalist James Bamford said that when he visited Greenwald in Rio, he was shown a memo (apparently uncovered by Snowden) in which Gen. Alexander suggested going not after terrorists or criminals but "radicalizers," including innocent Americans, by searching the Internet for their vulnerabilities, such as visits to porn sites."


Then, by secretly leaking this information, Alexander said, "the NSA could discredit them in the eyes of their followers." (Doesn't a response this foolish make you wonder how the man ever got to run an intelligence agency?)


Of course, many Americans think, "I've done nothing wrong. Why should I care if the NSA taps my phone?" This response, however, puts their private information in the hands of officials who secretly break the law daily.


Their repeated crimes against the innocent, at home and abroad, make them dangerous. The question Americans should be asking, is, "Do I want the staffs of these high officials monitoring my private conversations and those of my children?" Remember, President Obama has already killed Americans without legal authorization.


John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties organization based in Charlottesville, Va., says, "Thanks to an insidious partnership between Google and the National Security Agency (NSA) that grows more invasive and more subtle with every passing day, "we the people" have become little more than data consumer commodities to be bought, sold and paid for over and over again."


Whitehead warns, "With every smartphone we buy, every GPS device we install, every Twitter, Facebook, and Google account we open, every frequent buyer card we use for purchases--whether at the grocer's, the yogurt shop, the airlines or the department store, and every credit and debit card we use to pay for our transactions, we're helping Corporate America build a dossier for its government counterparts on who we know, what we think, how we spend our money, and how we spend our time."


As for the benefits of NSA's vast spy operation, they have yet to appear. Activist David Swanson of Charlottesville, asserts, "Obama's own panel and every other panel that has looked into it found zero evidence that the new abusive NSA programs have prevented any violent attacks."


"Far from halting or apologizing for the abuses of the NSA, Obama defends them as necessitated by the danger of a new 911," says Swanson, of "War is a Crime.org".


"While drones over Yemen and troops in Afghanistan and 'special' forces in three-quarters of the world are widely understood to endanger us, and while alternatives that upheld the rule of law and made us safer would not require secrecy or human rights violations, Obama wants to continue the counterproductive and immoral militarism while holding off all blowback through the omniscience of Big Brother." Swanson adds, "Massive bulk collection of everybody's data will continue unconstitutionally."#

Peter Lemkin
06-07-2014, 07:41 AM
Edward Snowden, a year on: reformers frustrated as NSA preserves its power A year ago, Edward Snowden exposed the NSA's widespread surveillance practices. Privacy advocates demanded a change in the law – but today, the agency's powers remain largely intact
• Trevor Timm: four ways Edward Snowden changed the world (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/05/what-snowden-revealed-changed-nsa-reform)





http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2013/6/7/1370612137660/SpencerAckerman.png (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/spencerackerman)


Spencer Ackerman (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/spencerackerman) in Washington


theguardian.com (http://www.theguardian.com/), Thursday 5 June 2014 14.01 BST



http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/6/4/1401913622295/95974276-7ead-47f8-92b6-8a685782832d-460x276.jpeg Senior leaders at the agency say that Edward Snowden thrust them into a new era. Photograph: Itar-Tass/Barcroft Media

For two weeks in May, it looked as though privacy advocates had scored a tenuous victory against the widespread surveillance practices exposed by Edward Snowden a year ago. Then came a resurgent intelligence community, armed with pens, and dry, legislative language.
During several protracted sessions in secure rooms in the Capitol, intelligence veterans, often backed by the congressional leadership, sparred with House aides to abridge privacy and transparency provisions contained in the first bill rolling back National Security Agency spying powers in more than three decades. The revisions took place in secret after two congressional committees had passed the bill. The NSA and its allies took creative advantage of a twilight legislative period permitting technical or cosmetic language changes.
The episode shows the lengths to which the architects and advocates of bulk surveillance have gone to preserve their authorities in the time since the Guardian, 12 months ago today, began disclosing the scope of NSA data collection (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order). That resistance to change,aided by the power and trust enjoyed by the NSA on Capitol Hill, helps explain why most NSA powers remain intact a year after the largest leak in the agency's history.
"This is not how American democracy is supposed to work," said congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat who had supported the bill but ultimately voted against it.
Senior leaders at the agency say that Snowden thrust them into a new era. The NSA, adept at cultivating a low profile, is now globally infamous – so much so that even Snowden, in his recent NBC interview, cautioned against writing the agency off as a voracious privacy-killing monstrosity. James Clapper, the director of US national intelligence, said the intelligence agencies need to grant a greater degree of transparency (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/17/spy-chief-we-should-ve-told-you-we-track-your-calls.html) or risk losing public confidence permanently.
But exactly one year on, the NSA’s greatest wound so far has been its PR difficulties. The agency, under public pressure, has divested itself of exactly one activity, the bulk collection of US phone data. Yet while the NSA will not itself continue to gather the data directly, the major post-Snowden legislative fix grants the agency wide berth in accessing and searching large volumes of phone records, and even wider latitude in collecting other kinds of data.
There are no other mandated reforms. President Obama in January added restrictions on the dissemination of non-Americans' "personal information (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/01/17/presidential-policy-directive-signals-intelligence-activities)", but that has not been codified in law. The coalition of large internet firms demanding greater safeguards around their customers’ email, browsing and search histories have received nothing from the government for their effort. A recent move (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/13/nsa-surveillance-usa-freedom-act-encryption-amendment-zoe-lofgren) to block the NSA from undermining commercial encryption and amassing a library of software vulnerabilities never received a legislative hearing. (Obama, in defiance of a government privacy board (http://www.wired.com/2014/04/obama-zero-day/), permits the NSA to exploit some software flaws for national security purposes (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/13/us/politics/obama-lets-nsa-exploit-some-internet-flaws-officials-say.html?_r=0).)
Even Clapper’s transparency call is questionable after the director recently clamped down (http://nationalinterest.org/feature/clappers-media-crackdown-gone-too-far-10312) on intelligence officials’ ability to speak to the press without the approval of their public-affairs shops, even when not discussing classified material (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/21/james-clapper-bans-us-intelligence-community-unauthorized-media-contact).
Some NSA critics look to the courts for a fuller tally of their victories in the wake of the Snowden disclosures. Judges have begun to permit (http://www.theguardian.com/law/2014/jan/29/defence-terrorism-case-fisa-documents-surveillance) defendants to see evidence gathered against them that had its origins in NSA email or call intercepts, which could disrupt prosecutions or invalidate convictions. At least one such defendant, in Colorado, is seeking the exclusion of such evidence (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/30/us/warrantless-surveillance-challenged-by-defendant.html), arguing that its use in court is illegal.
Still other cases challenging the surveillance efforts have gotten beyond the government’s longtime insistence that accusers cannot prove they were spied upon, as the Snowden trove demonstrated a dragnet that presumptively touched every American’s phone records. This week, an Idaho federal judge implored (http://online.wsj.com/articles/idaho-judge-suggests-supreme-court-end-nsa-phone-surveillance-1401824175) the supreme court to settle the question of the bulk surveillance's constitutionality.
"The litigation now is about the merits. It’s about the lawfulness of the surveillance program," said Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU’s deputy legal director.
There have also been significant commercial changes brought by companies that fear the revelations imperiling their businesses. Google's Gmail service broadened its use of encryption (https://twitter.com/csoghoian/status/474167024298758144) and the company will soon present end-to-end encryption for its Chrome browser (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/04/google-email-privacy-encryption). After the Washington Post revealed (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-infiltrates-links-to-yahoo-google-data-centers-worldwide-snowden-documents-say/2013/10/30/e51d661e-4166-11e3-8b74-d89d714ca4dd_story.html) that the NSA intercepts data transiting between Google and Yahoo storage centers, Google expanded encryption for Gmail data flowing across the internet (http://www.google.com/transparencyreport/saferemail/) and Yahoo implemented default email encryption (http://www.pcworld.com/article/2085700/as-yahoo-makes-encryption-standard-for-email-weak-implementation-seen.html).
But perhaps the bitterest disappointment has been the diminished ambitions for surveillance reform contained in the USA Freedom Act. "That," Jaffer said, "was a very frustrating process for us."
http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/6/4/1401917021558/12e16e7d-d27b-42a0-a256-758681b7e916-460x276.jpeg California congresswoman Zoe Lofgren: 'This is not how American democracy is supposed to work.' Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP Scaling back
The price of moving the bill toward passage – still an incomplete task – has been the gradual loosening of its privacy and disclosure measures. Its original version, introduced in Congress in October, went beyond ending the bulk domestic phone records collection. It prevented the NSA from warrantlessly combing through its troves of ostensibly foreign-focused email and phone content for Americans' information; curbed the FBI's use of a kind of non-judicial subpoena called a National Security Letter; and created a permanent public advocate on the secret Fisa Court to push back against government surveillance demands.
All of that was scaled back significantly as part of a compromise in the House of Representatives (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/05/house-committee-chairman-agrees-nsa-reform-bill) to turn the Freedom Act into the sole legislative vehicle for surveillance reform. "Call data records" became what the NSA could no longer collect in bulk, leaving other records – potentially including internet data – insufficiently protected from mass collection.
Importantly, even the original bill never addressed other aspects of the Snowden disclosures that have riled the world. Its privacy protections have only ever applied to Americans, as US legislators have been consistently disinclined to abridge the NSA's ability to conduct foreign spying, even in bulk. It also left the NSA free to undermine encryption standards.
But civil libertarians, wary of an alternative bill with weaker privacy safeguards, continued to cautiously support the bill. It passed the House judiciary committee on May 7 unanimously, and the House intelligence committee, a hotbed of NSA support, the following day, also without dissent.
Then the lawyers and the negotiators got involved, seizing a parliamentary opportunity to make technical fixes to the bill between its committee passage and arrival on the House floor.
Major divisions
Over the next two weeks, according to sources familiar with the discussions, attorneys for the government presented legislative aides with a series of changes they desired the text of the Freedom Act to include. Negotiations took place in secured rooms in the Capitol basement, in the suite of majority leader Eric Cantor and especially over the phone. Taking point for the government delegation was Robert Litt, Clapper's combative senior lawyer.
No one who discussed the negotiations said the meetings became heated. Nor were voices said to have been raised. Even congressional staffers who sought to constrain NSA's powers were uninterested in antagonizing the agency, which they considered unproductive. Still, the relative conviviality concealed major divisions between the security agencies and their congressional overseers.
Litt, who would not comment for this piece, was not alone. Representatives for the NSA, FBI, the Justice Department, and the White House assisted. But it was the FBI's operations, not the NSA's, that Litt and others relied on to jar open the text of the bill. They expressed concern that the parameters of what the Freedom Act permitted the government to collect would inhibit the FBI's counter-terrorism and cybersecurity operations, an argument that NSA critics in the room were wary of rejecting.
The biggest sticking point, and perhaps the most consequential change, concerned the definition of what it is the government must specify to a judge it is interested in collecting, known as a specific selection term. The version of the bill passed by the two committees defined a specific selection term as "a term used to uniquely describe a person, entity, or account."
Litt and his allies argued that the term might inhibit the FBI in its hunt for potential terrorists. A judge might not permit, for instance, a search for hotel records in part of a major city during the early stages of an investigation. Congressional negotiators were simultaneously worried about introducing loopholes into their bulk-collection prohibitions and inadvertently over-restricting the FBI from pursuing legitimate investigations.
Litt's team wanted the selection-term definition to exclude restricting adjectives and adverbs like "uniquely" and "specifically." They wanted to add the words "facility" and "location".
Negotiations on the language outlasted discussions on all other subjects. It was not until May 20 that a deal was struck and the bill text published. Specific selection term now meant "a discrete term, such as a term specifically identifying a person, entity, account, address, or device, used by the government to limit the scope of the information or tangible things sought."
The Freedom Act ultimately sped to passage in the House on May 22 by a bipartisan 303-121 vote (http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll230.xml). NSA advocates who had blasted its earlier version (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/14/nsa-reform-proposal-house-intelligence-committee-ruppersberger) as hazardous to national security dropped their objections – largely because they had no more reason.
Accordingly, the compromise language caused civil libertarians and technology groups not just to abandon the Freedom Act that they had long championed, but to question whether it actually banned bulk data collection. The government could acquire call-records data up to two degrees of separation from any "reasonable articulable suspicion" of wrongdoing, potentially representing hundreds or thousands of people on a single judicial order." That was not all.
http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/6/5/1401967826179/b24efd23-7fed-455c-a76b-a7c8e81108ed-460x276.jpeg Jim Sensenbrenner speaks the media after the House passed the bill. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA 'There has still been no real progress'
"As the bill stands today, it could still permit the collection of email records from everyone who uses a particular email service," warned a Google legislative action alert (https://takeaction.withgoogle.com/page/s/usa-freedom-act) after the bill passed the House. In a recent statement, cloud-storage firm Tresorit lamented that "there still has been no real progress in achieving truly effective security for consumer and corporate information."
No one familiar with the negotiations alleges the NSA or its allies broke the law by amending the bill during the technical-fix period. But it is unusual for substantive changes to be introduced secretly after a bill has cleared committee and before its open debate by the full Senate or House.
"It is not out of order, but major changes in substance are rare, and appropriately so," said Norman Ornstein, an expert on congressional procedure at the American Enterprise Institute.
Steve Aftergood, an intelligence policy analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, said the rewrites to the bill were an "invitation to cynicism."
"There does seem to be a sort of gamesmanship to it. Why go through all the troubling of crafting legislation, enlisting support and co-sponsorship, and adopting compromises if the bill is just going to be rewritten behind closed doors anyway?" Aftergood said.
Congressional sources, who would not speak for the record, insist the legislative negotiators got the best deal that they could. But at least one believes they could have tightened the selection-term definition. They felt under pressure by a multi-committee deal with the administration and the congressional leadership to get a surveillance bill done – and particularly to do it before the House considered the annual defense funding authorization bill, a leadership priority. That turned out to introduce a critical dynamic: by passing the Freedom Act first, the House leadership forestalled deeper restrictions to surveillance getting attached to the must-pass defense bill by frustrated civil libertarians.
But they feel that the restrictions on call records bulk collection make the bill worthwhile from a privacy standpoint, and believe Congress must now be notified if the government seeks before the Fisa Court to expand the boundaries of collectable data.
Civil libertarians and activists now hope to strengthen the bill in the Senate. Its chief sponsor, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, vowed to take it up this month, and to push for "meaningful reforms" he said he was "disappointed" the House excluded. Obama administration officials will testify in the Senate intelligence committee about the bill on Thursday afternoon, the first anniversary of the Guardian's disclosure of bulk domestic phone records collection. That same day, Reddit, Imgur and other large websites will stage an online "Reset The Net (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/02/reddit-imgur-boing-boing-reset-the-net-campaign-nsa-surveillance-privacy)" protest of NSA bulk surveillance.
But the way the bill "morphed behind the scenes," as Lofgren put it, points to the obstacles such efforts face. It also points to a continuing opportunity for the NSA to say that Congress has actually blessed widespread data collection – a claim made after the Snowden leaks, despite most members of Congress and the public not knowing that NSA and the Fisa court secretly reinterpreted the Patriot Act in order to collect all US phone records.
"Many members of Congress may not have realized that what they thought was a vote to end unwarranted spying against Americans with the USA Freedom Act was actually a vote to reauthorize the Patriot Act," Lofgren said, "and will likely not end bulk collection."

Peter Lemkin
06-08-2014, 03:02 PM
Highly commercial video - but scary none the less...it shows that with minimal hacking skills anyone can hack your webcam - not just the NSA!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX1LfCX0JCs

Peter Lemkin
06-08-2014, 03:54 PM
65 Things We Know About NSA Surveillance That We Didn’t Know a Year Ago


https://www.eff.org/files/2014/06/04/banner.jpg
It’s been one year since the Guardian first published the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order, leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that demonstrated that the NSA was conducting dragnet surveillance on millions of innocent people. Since then, the onslaught of disturbing revelations, from disclosures, admissions from government officials, Freedom of Information Act requests, and lawsuits, has been nonstop. On the anniversary of that first leak, here are 65 things we know about NSA spying that we did not know a year ago:
1. We saw an example of the court orders that authorize the NSA to collect virtually every phone call record (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order) in the United States—that’s who you call, who calls you, when, for how long, and sometimes where.
2. We saw NSA Powerpoint slides documenting how the NSA conducts “upstream” collection (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/03/sunshine-week-recap-how-effs-foia-litigation-helped-expose-nsas-domestic-spying), gathering intelligence information directly from the infrastructure of telecommunications providers.https://www.eff.org/files/2014/06/04/prismupstream2.png
3. The NSA has created a “content dragnet” (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/07/what-it-means-be-target-or-why-we-once-again-stopped-believing-government-and-once) by asserting that it can intercept not only communications where a target is a party to a communication but also communications “about a target, even if the target isn’t a party to the communication.”
4. The NSA has confirmed (http://www.wyden.senate.gov/news/press-releases/wyden-udall-on-revelations-that-intelligence-agencies-have-exploited-foreign-intelligence-surveillance-act-loophole) that it is searching data collected under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act to access American’s communications without a warrant, in what Senator Ron Wyden called the "back door search loophole."
5. Although the NSA has repeatedly stated it does not target Americans, its own documents show that searches of data collected under Section 702 are designed simply to determine with 51 percent confidence a target’s “foreignness (http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/us-intelligence-mining-data-from-nine-us-internet-companies-in-broad-secret-program/2013/06/06/3a0c0da8-cebf-11e2-8845-d970ccb04497_story_2.html).’”
6. If the NSA does not determine a target’s foreignness, it will not stop spying (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/06/depth-review-new-nsa-documents-expose-how-americans-can-be-spied-without-warrant) on that target. Instead the NSA will presume that target to be foreign unless they “can be positively identified as a United States person.”
7. A leaked internal NSA audit detailed 2,776 violations of rules or court orders (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-broke-privacy-rules-thousands-of-times-per-year-audit-finds/2013/08/15/3310e554-05ca-11e3-a07f-49ddc7417125_story.html) in just a one-year period.
8. Hackers at the NSA target sysadmins (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/03/20/inside-nsa-secret-efforts-hunt-hack-system-administrators/), regardless of the fact that these sysadmins themselves may be completely innocent of any wrongdoing.
https://www.eff.org/files/2014/06/04/second-life.jpg9. The NSA and CIA infiltrated games and online communities (http://www.propublica.org/article/world-of-spycraft-intelligence-agencies-spied-in-online-games) like World of Warcraft and Second Life to gather data and conduct surveillance.
10. The government has destroyed evidence in EFF’s cases against NSA spying. (https://www.eff.org/press/releases/eff-court-theres-no-doubt-government-destroyed-nsa-spying-evidence) This is incredibly ironic, considering that the government has also claimed EFF’s clients need this evidence to prove standing.
11. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress (http://www.dni.gov/files/documents/2013-06-21%20DNI%20Ltr%20to%20Sen.%20Feinstein.pdf) when asked directly by Sen. Ron Wyden whether the NSA was gathering any sort of data on millions of Americans (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/06/11/sen-wyden-clapper-didnt-give-straight-answer-on-nsa-programs/).
12. Microsoft, like other companies, has cooperated closely with the FBI (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/11/microsoft-nsa-collaboration-user-data) to allow the NSA to “circumvent its encryption and gain access to users’ data.”
13. The intelligence budget in 2013 alone was $52.6 billion— this number was revealed by a leaked document, not by the government. Of that budget, $10.8 billion went to the NSA (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/black-budget-summary-details-us-spy-networks-successes-failures-and-objectives/2013/08/29/7e57bb78-10ab-11e3-8cdd-bcdc09410972_story.html). That’s approximately $167 per person in the United States.
14. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has issued orders that allow the NSA to share raw data (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/12/us/how-a-courts-secret-evolution-extended-spies-reach.html)—without personally identifying information stripped out— with the FBI, CIA, and the National Counterterrorism Center.
15. Pursuant to a memorandum of understanding (http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/sep/11/nsa-israel-intelligence-memorandum-understanding-document), the NSA regularly shares raw data with Israel without stripping out personally identifying information about U.S. persons.
16. The Snowden disclosures have made it clear the Obama administration misled the Supreme Court (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/14/us/justice-dept-criticized-on-spying-statements.html?_r=1) about key issues in ACLU’s case against NSA spying, Clapper v. Amnesty International, leading to the dismissal of the case for lack of standing.
17. The NSA “hacked into Al Jazeera (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/nsa-spied-on-al-jazeera-communications-snowden-document-a-919681.html)'s internal communications system.” NSA documents stated that “selected targets had ‘high potential as sources of intelligence.’”
18. The NSA used supposedly anonymous Google cookies as beacons for surveillance (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/12/nsa-turns-cookies-and-more-surveillance-beacons), helping them to track individual users.
https://www.eff.org/files/2014/06/04/facial-recog.png19. The NSA “intercepts ‘millions of images per day’ (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/us/nsa-collecting-millions-of-faces-from-web-images.html?_r=0&referrer=) — including about 55,000 ‘facial recognition quality images’” and processes them with powerful facial recognition software.
20. The NSA facial recognition program (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/us/nsa-collecting-millions-of-faces-from-web-images.html?_r=0&referrer=) “can now compare spy satellite photographs with intercepted personal photographs taken outdoors to determine the location.”
21. Although most NSA reform has focused on Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, and most advocates have also pushed for reform of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, some of the worst NSA spying happens under the authority of Executive Order 12333 (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/10/three-leaks-three-weeks-and-what-weve-learned-about-governments-other-spying), which President Obama could repeal or modify today.
22. The NSA collected Americans’ cell phone location (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/03/us/nsa-experiment-traced-us-cellphone-locations.html?hp&_r=1&) information for two years as part of a pilot project to see how it could use such information in its massive databases.
23. In one month, March 2013, the NSA collected 97 billion pieces of intelligence (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/08/nsa-boundless-informant-global-datamining) from computer networks worldwide, including 3 billion pieces of intelligence (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/08/nsa-boundless-informant-global-datamining) from US computer networks.
https://www.eff.org/files/2014/06/04/tor_logo_vector.png24. The NSA has targeted Tor (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/04/nsa-gchq-attack-tor-network-encryption), a set of tools that allow Internet users to browse the net anonymously.
25. The NSA program MUSCULAR infiltrates links (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/11/04/how-we-know-the-nsa-had-access-to-internal-google-and-yahoo-cloud-data/) between the global data centers of technology companies such as Google and Yahoo. Many companies have responded to MUSCULAR by encrypting traffic over their internal networks.
26. The XKEYSCORE program analyzes (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/31/nsa-top-secret-program-online-data) emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals anywhere in the world.
27. NSA undermines the encryption tools (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/09/crucial-unanswered-questions-about-nsa-bullrun-program) relied upon by ordinary users, companies, financial institutions, targets, and non-targets as part of BULLRUN, an unparalleled effort to weaken the security of all Internet users, including you.
28. The NSA’s Dishfire operation has collected 200 million text messages (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/16/nsa-collects-millions-text-messages-daily-untargeted-global-sweep) daily from users around the globe, which can be used to extract valuable information such as location data, contact retrievals, credit card details, missed call alerts, roaming alerts (which indicate border crossings), electronic business cards, credit card payment notifications, travel itinerary alerts, and meeting information.
29. Under the CO-TRAVELER operation, the US collects location information (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/12/meet-co-traveler-nsas-cell-phone-location-tracking-program) from global cell towers, Wi-Fi, and GPS hubs, which is then information analyzed over time, in part in order to determine a target’s traveling companions.
30. A 2004 memo (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1164085-sidtoday-dea-the-other-warfighter.html) entitled “DEA- The ‘Other’ Warfighter”, states that the DEA and NSA “enjoy a vibrant two-way information-sharing relationship.”https://www.eff.org/files/2014/06/04/dea.jpg
31. When the DEA acts on information its Special Operations Division receives from the NSA, it cloaks the source of the information (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/05/us-dea-sod-idUSBRE97409R20130805) through “parallel construction,” going through the charade of recreating an imaginary investigation to hide the source of the tip, not only from the defendant, but from the court. This was intended to ensure that no court rules on the legality or scope of how NSA data is used in ordinary investigations.
32. The fruits of NSA surveillance routinely end up in the hands of the IRS (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/07/us-dea-irs-idUSBRE9761AZ20130807). Like the DEA, the IRS uses parallel construction to cloak the source of the tip.
33. Even the President’s handpicked Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board recommended that the government end Section 215 (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/01/privacy-oversight-board-agrees-eff-mass-surveillance-illegal-and-must-end) mass telephone records collection, because that collection is ineffective, illegal, and likely unconstitutional.
34. The NSA has plans to infect potentially millions (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/03/new-nsa-slides-reveal-tailored-access-run-amok) of computers with malware implants as part of its Tailored Access Operations.
35. The NSA had a secret $10 million contract with security firm RSA to create a “back door” (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/20/us-usa-security-rsa-idUSBRE9BJ1C220131220) in the company’s widely used encryption products.
36. The NSA tracked access to porn (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/26/nsa-porn-muslims_n_4346128.html?1385526024) and gathered other sexually explicit information “as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches.”
37. The NSA and its partners exploited mobile apps (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/27/nsa-gchq-smartphone-app-angry-birds-personal-data), such as the popular Angry Birds game, to access users’ private information such as location, home address, gender, and more.
38. The Washington Post revealed that the NSA harvests “hundreds of millions of contact lists (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-collects-millions-of-e-mail-address-books-globally/2013/10/14/8e58b5be-34f9-11e3-80c6-7e6dd8d22d8f_story.html) from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world, many of them belonging to Americans.”
Many of the Snowden revelations have concerned the NSA’s activities overseas, as well as the activities of some of the NSA’s closest allies, such as the its UK counterpart GCHQ. Some of these have been cooperative ventures. In particular, the “Five Eyes”— The United States, New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada— share citizen data amongst themselves - providing loopholes that might undermine national legislation.
39. The NSA paid its British counterpart (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/aug/01/nsa-paid-gchq-spying-edward-snowden) GCHQ $155 million over the last three years “to secure access to and influence over Britain's intelligence gathering programmes.”
40. The Guardian reported: “In one six-month period in 2008 alone, [GCHQ] collected webcam imagery (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/27/gchq-nsa-webcam-images-internet-yahoo) – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8-million Yahoo user accounts globally.”https://www.eff.org/files/2014/06/04/gchq.jpg
41. GCHQ used malware to compromise (http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/british-spy-agency-gchq-hacked-belgian-telecoms-firm-a-923406.html) networks belonging to the Belgian telecommunications company Belgacom.
42. Major telecommunications companies including BT, Vodafone, and Verizon business have given GCHQ unlimited access (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/aug/02/telecoms-bt-vodafone-cables-gchq) to their fiberoptic cables
43. GCHQ used DDoS attacks and other methods to interrupt Anonymous and LulzSec communications (http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/edward-snowden-interview/war-anonymous-british-spies-attacked-hackers-snowden-docs-show-n21361), including communications of people not charged with any crime.
44. GCHQ’s Bude station monitored leaders (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/snowden-documents-show-gchq-targeted-european-and-german-politicians-a-940135.html) from the EU, Germany, and Israel. It also targeted non-governmental organizations (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/dec/20/gchq-targeted-aid-agencies-german-government-eu-commissioner) such as Doctors of the World.
45. The NSA’s partners Down Under, the Australian Signals Directorate, has been implicated in breaches of attorney-client privileged communications, undermining a foundational principle (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/03/tepid-nsa-american-bar-association-dialogue-around-spying-lawyers) of our shared criminal justice system.
46. Australian intelligence officials spied on the cell phones of Indonesian cabinet ministers (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/18/indonesia-recalls-ambassador-yudhoyono-phone-tapping-australia) and President Susilo Bambang (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/18/australia-tried-to-monitor-indonesian-presidents-phone).
47. In 2008, Australia offered to share its citizens (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/02/revealed-australian-spy-agency-offered-to-share-data-about-ordinary-citizens)’ raw information with intelligence partners.
48. CSEC helped the NSA spy on political officials (http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/new-snowden-docs-show-u-s-spied-during-g20-in-toronto-1.2442448) during the G20 meeting in Canada.
49. CSEC and CSIS were recently rebuked (http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/11/25/court-rebukes-csis-for-secretly-asking-international-allies-to-spy-on-canadian-terror-suspects:) by a federal court judge for misleading him (http://www.thestar.com/business/2014/01/03/csis_should_be_subject_of_independent_investigatio n_geist.html) in a warrant application five years ago with respect to their use of Five Eyes resources in order to track Canadians abroad.
Ironically, some of the NSA’s operations have been targeted at countries that have worked directly with the agency in other instances. And some simply seemed unnecessary and disproportionate (https://necessaryandproportionate.org/).
50. NSA documents show that not all governments are clear about their own level of cooperation (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/03/13/nsa-elected-officials-foreign-countries-unaware-countries-cooperation-us) with the NSA. As the Intercept reports, “Few, if any, elected leaders have any knowledge of the surveillance.”
51. The NSA is intercepting, recording, and archiving every single cell phone call (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/05/19/data-pirates-caribbean-nsa-recording-every-cell-phone-call-bahamas/) in the Bahamas.
52. The NSA monitored phone calls (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/24/nsa-surveillance-world-leaders-calls) of at least 35 world leaders.
53. The NSA spied on French diplomats (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24628947) in Washington and at the UN.
54. The NSA hacked in to Chinese company Huawei's (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/nsa-spied-on-chinese-government-and-networking-firm-huawei-a-960199.html) networks and stole its source code. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24628947)
55. The NSA bugged EU embassies (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/secret-nsa-documents-show-how-the-us-spies-on-europe-and-the-un-a-918625.html) in both New York and Washington. It copied hard drives from the New York office of the EU, and tapped the internal computer network from the Washington embassies.
56. The NSA collected the metadata of more than 45-million Italian phone calls (http://espresso.repubblica.it/inchieste/2013/12/05/news/revealed-how-the-nsa-targets-italy-1.144428) over a 30 day period. It also maintained monitoring sites in Rome and Milan.
57. The NSA stored data from approximately 500-million German communications (http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/nsa-spies-on-500-million-german-data-connections-a-908648.html) connections per month.
58. The NSA collected data from over-60 million (http://www.elmundo.es/espana/2013/10/28/526dcbad61fd3d07678b456b.html) Spanish telephone calls over a 30-day period in late 2012 and early 2013 and spied on members (http://elpais.com/elpais/2013/10/25/inenglish/1382703360_329586.html) of the Spanish government.
59. The NSA collected data from over 70-million French telephone calls (http://www.lemonde.fr/technologies/article/2013/10/21/france-in-the-nsa-s-crosshair-phone-networks-under-surveillance_3499741_651865.html) over a 30-day period in late 2012 and early 2013.
60. The Hindu reported that, based on NSA documents: “In the overall list of countries spied on by NSA programs, India stands at fifth place (http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-among-top-targets-of-spying-by-nsa/article5157526.ece).”
61. The NSA hacked into former Mexican President (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/nsa-hacked-email-account-of-mexican-president-a-928817.html) Felipe Calderon’s official email account.
62. The Guardian reported: “The NSA has, for years, systematically tapped into the Brazilian telecommunication network and indiscriminately intercepted, collected and stored (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/07/nsa-brazilians-globo-spying) the email and telephone records of millions of Brazilians.”
63. The NSA monitored emails (http://g1.globo.com/fantastico/noticia/2013/09/documentos-revelam-esquema-de-agencia-dos-eua-para-espionar-dilma-rousseff.html) (link in Portuguese), telephone calls, and text messages of Brazilian President Dilma Roussef (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/03/world/americas/brazil-angered-over-report-nsa-spied-on-president.html?_r=1&) and her top aides.
64. Germany’s intelligence agencies cooperated (http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-intelligence-agencies-used-nsa-spying-program-a-912173.html) with the NSA and implemented the NSA (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/german-intelligence-sends-massive-amounts-of-data-to-the-nsa-a-914821.html)’s XKeyscore program, while NSA was in turn spying on German leaders.
65. Norwegian daily Dagbladet reported (http://www.dagbladet.no/2013/11/19/nyheter/pluss/samfunn/politikk/utenriks/30383890/) (Link in Norwegian) that the NSA acquired data on 33 million Norwegian cell phone calls (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/19/norway-usa-snowden-idUSL5N0J41LU20131119) in one 30-day period.”
There’s no question that the international relationships Obama pledged to repair, as well as the confidence of the American people in their privacy and constitutional rights, have been damaged by the NSAs dragnet surveillance. But one year later, both the United States and international governments have not taken the steps necessary to ensure that this surveillance ends. That’s why everyone must take action— contact your elected representative (https://action.eff.org/o/9042/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=9642), join Reset the Net (https://www.resetthenet.org/), and learn about how international law applies to U.S. surveillance (https://necessaryandproportionate.org/) today.

Peter Lemkin
06-08-2014, 03:57 PM
5,000 Years of History Shows that Mass Spying is Always Aimed at Crushing DissentTyrants Have Always Spied On Their Own PeopleBy Washington's Blog (http://www.globalresearch.ca/author/washington-s-blog)
Global Research, June 05, 2014






http://www.globalresearch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/120029.jpg
Spying has been around since the dawn of civilization. Keith Laidler – a PhD anthropologist, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a past member of the Scientific Exploration Society – explains (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Surveillance-Unlimited-Become-Watched-People/dp/1840468777):

Spying and surveillance are at least as old as civilization itself.
University of Tennessee history professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius agrees (http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/Courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=8922):

Espionage and intelligence have been around since human beings first began organizing themselves into distinct societies, cities, states, nations, and civilizations.
Unfortunately, spying hasn’t been limited to defense against external enemies. As documented below, tyrants have long spied on their own people in order to maintain power and control … and crush dissent.
Laidler notes:

The rise of city states and empires … meant that each needed to know not only the disposition and morale of their enemy, but also the loyalty and general sentiment of their own population.
Benevolent rulers don’t need to spy on their own people like tyrants do. Even the quintessential defender of the status quo for the powers-that-be (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/03/government-hack-trying-squash-discussion-government-corruption-cass-sunstein-doesnt-understand-basic-math.html) – Cass Sunstein – writes (http://books.google.com/books?id=0yvPaXt3lyoC&pg=PA45&lpg=PA45&dq=tyrants+spies+dissent&source=bl&ots=MJzbKQqIbi&sig=yw_dXNvDpXNdUYwzV45ppjg_p0k&hl=en&sa=X&ei=-dqPU7XhLcOeyATu8ICQBg&ved=0CHMQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=tyrants%20spies%20dissent&f=false):

As a general rule, tyrants, far more than democratic rulers, need guns, ammunition, spies, and police officers. Their decrees will rarely be self-implementing. Terror is required.
From Ancient Egypt to Modern America …
The Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence and Security notes (http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Espionage-Intelligence-Security-Lerner/dp/0787675466):

Espionage is one of the oldest, and most well documented, political and military arts. The rise of the great ancient civilizations, beginning 6,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, begat institutions and persons devoted to the security and preservation of their ruling regimes.
***
Early Egyptian pharos [some 5,000 years ago (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pharaohs#Early_Dynastic:_Lower_Egypt)] employed agents of espionage to ferret-out disloyal subject and to locate tribes that could be conquered and enslaved.
***
The Roman Empire possessed a fondness for the practice of political espionage. Spies engaged in both foreign and domestic political operations, gauging the political climate of the Empire and surrounding lands by eavesdropping in the Forum or in public market spaces. Several ancient accounts, especially those of the A.D. first century, mention the presence of a secret police force, the frumentarii . By the third century, Roman authors noted the pervasiveness and excessive censorship of the secret police forces, likening them to an authoritative force or an occupational army.
The BBC notes (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24749166):

In the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church was more powerful than most governments – and it had a powerful surveillance network to match.
French Bishop Bernard Gui was a noted author and one of the leading architects of the Inquisition in the late 13th and early 14th Centuries. For 15 years, he served as head inquisitor of Toulouse, where he convicted more than 900 individuals of heresy.
A noted author and historian, Gui was best known for the Conduct of the Inquisition into Heretical Depravity, written in 1323-24, in which he outlined the means for identifying, interrogating and punishing heretics.
The U.S. Supreme Court noted (http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/379/476/case.html) in Stanford v. Texas (1965):

While the Fourth Amendment [of the U.S. Constitution] was most immediately the product of contemporary revulsion against a regime of writs of assistance, its roots go far deeper. Its adoption in the Constitution of this new Nation reflected the culmination in England a few years earlier of a struggle against oppression which had endured for centuries. The story of that struggle has been fully chronicled in the pages of this Court’s reports, and it would be a needless exercise in pedantry to review again the detailed history of the use of general warrants as instruments of oppression from the time of the Tudors, through the Star Chamber, the Long Parliament, the Restoration, and beyond.
What is significant to note is that this history is largely a history of conflict between the Crown and the press. It was in enforcing the laws licensing the publication of literature and, later, in prosecutions for seditious libel, that general warrants were systematically used in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. In Tudor England, officers of the Crown were given roving commissions to search where they pleased in order to suppress and destroy the literature of dissent, both Catholic and Puritan. In later years, warrants were sometimes more specific in content, but they typically authorized of all persons connected of the premises of all persons connected with the publication of a particular libel, or the arrest and seizure of all the papers of a named person thought to be connected with a libel.
By “libel”, the court is referring to a critique of the British government which the King or his ministers didn’t like … they would label such criticism “libel” and then seize all of the author’s papers.
The Supreme Court provided interesting historical details (http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/367/717/case.html) in the case of Marcus v. Search Warrant(1961):

The use by government of the power of search and seizure as an adjunct to a system for the suppression of objectionable publications … was a principal instrument for the enforcement of the Tudor licensing system. The Stationers’ Company was incorporated in 1557 to help implement that system, and was empowered
“to make search whenever it shall please them in any place, shop, house, chamber, or building or any printer, binder or bookseller whatever within our kingdom of England or the dominions of the same of or for any books or things printed, or to be printed, and to seize, take hold, burn, or turn to the proper use of the aforesaid community, all and several those books and things which are or shall be printed contrary to the form of any statute, act, or proclamation, made or to be made. . . .
An order of counsel confirmed and expanded the Company’s power in 1566, and the Star Chamber reaffirmed it in 1586 by a decree
“That it shall be lawful for the wardens of the said Company for the time being or any two of the said Company thereto deputed by the said wardens, to make search in all workhouses, shops, warehouses of printers, booksellers, bookbinders, or where they shall have reasonable cause of suspicion, and all books [etc.] . . . contrary to . . . these present ordinances to stay and take to her Majesty’s use. . . . ”
Books thus seized were taken to Stationers’ Hall where they were inspected by ecclesiastical officers, who decided whether they should be burnt. These powers were exercised under the Tudor censorship to suppress both Catholic and Puritan dissenting literature.
Each succeeding regime during turbulent Seventeenth Century England used the search and seizure power to suppress publications. James I commissioned the ecclesiastical judges comprising the Court of High Commission
“to enquire and search for . . . all heretical, schismatical and seditious books, libels, and writings, and all other books, pamphlets and portraitures offensive to the state or set forth without sufficient and lawful authority in that behalf, . . . and the same books [etc.] and their printing presses themselves likewise to seize and so to order and dispose of them . . . as they may not after serve or be employed for any such unlawful use. . . .”
The Star Chamber decree of 1637, reenacting the requirement that all books be licensed, continued the broad powers of the Stationers’ Company to enforce the licensing laws. During the political overturn of the 1640′s, Parliament on several occasions asserted the necessity of a broad search and seizure power to control printing. Thus, an order of 1648 gave power to the searchers
“to search in any house or place where there is just cause of suspicion that Presses are kept and employed in the printing of Scandalous and lying Pamphlets, . . . [and] to seize such scandalous and lying pamphlets as they find upon search. . . .”
The Restoration brought a new licensing act in 1662. Under its authority, “messengers of the press” operated under the secretaries of state, who issued executive warrants for the seizure of persons and papers. These warrants, while sometimes specific in content, often gave the most general discretionary authority. For example, a warrant to Roger L’Estrange, the Surveyor of the Press, empowered him to “seize all seditious books and libels and to apprehend the authors, contrivers, printers, publishers, and dispersers of them,” and to
“search any house, shop, printing room, chamber, warehouse, etc. for seditious, scandalous or unlicensed pictures, books, or papers, to bring away or deface the same, and the letter press, taking away all the copies. . . .]”
***
Although increasingly attacked, the licensing system was continued in effect for a time even after the Revolution of 1688, and executive warrants continued to issue for the search for and seizure of offending books. The Stationers’ Company was also ordered
“to make often and diligent searches in all such places you or any of you shall know or have any probable reason to suspect, and to seize all unlicensed, scandalous books and pamphlets. . . .”
And even when the device of prosecution for seditious libel replaced licensing as the principal governmental control of the press, it too was enforced with the aid of general warrants — authorizing either the arrest of all persons connected with the publication of a particular libel and the search of their premises or the seizure of all the papers of a named person alleged to be connected with the publication of a libel.
And see this (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/07/congressmen-nsa-spying-illegal-subject-to-abuse-like-the-star-chamber.html).
General warrants were largely declared illegal in Britain in 1765 (http://www.constitution.org/trials/entick/entick_v_carrington.htm). But the British continued to use general warrants in the American colonies. In fact, the Revolutionary War was largely launched (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/07/nsa-spying-is-exactly-the-kind-of-thing-which-caused-the-revolutionary-war-against-king-george.html) to stop the use of general warrants in the colonies. King George gave various excuses of why general warrants were needed for the public good, of course … but such excuses were all hollow.
The New York Review of Books notes (http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2013/jun/18/spying-americans-very-old-story/) that the American government did not start to conduct mass surveillance against the American people until long after the Revolutionary War ended … but once started, the purpose was to crush dissent:

In the United States, political spying by the federal government began in the early part of the twentieth century, with the creation of the Bureau of Investigation in the Department of Justice on July 1, 1908. In more than one sense, the new agency was a descendant of the surveillance practices developed in France a century earlier, since it was initiated by US Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte, a great nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, who created it during a Congressional recess. Its establishment was denounced by Congressman Walter Smith of Iowa, who argued that “No general system of spying upon and espionage of the people, such as has prevailed in Russia, in France under the Empire, and at one time in Ireland, should be allowed to grow up.”
Nonetheless,the new Bureau became deeply engaged in political surveillance during World War I when federal authorities sought to gather information on those opposing American entry into the war and those opposing the draft. As a result of this surveillance, many hundreds of people were prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act and the 1918 Sedition Act for the peaceful expression of opinion about the war and the draft.
Butit was during the Vietnam War that political surveillance in the United States reached its peak. Under Presidents Lyndon Johnson and, to an even greater extent, Richard Nixon, there was a systematic effort by various agencies, including the United States Army, to gather information on those involved in anti-war protests. Millions of Americans took part in such protests and the federal government—as well as many state and local agencies—gathered enormous amounts of information on them. Here are just three of the numerous examples of political surveillance in that era:


In the 1960s in Rochester, New York, the local police department launched Operation SAFE (Scout Awareness for Emergency). It involved twenty thousand boy scouts living in the vicinity of Rochester. They got identification cards marked with their thumb prints. On the cards were the telephone numbers of the local police and the FBI. The scouts participating in the program were given a list of suspicious activities that they were to report.



In 1969, the FBI learned that one of the sponsors of an anti-war demonstration in Washington, DC, was a New York City-based organization, the Fifth Avenue Peace Parade Committee, that chartered buses to take protesters to the event. The FBI visited the bank where the organization maintained its account to get photocopies of the checks written to reserve places on the buses and, thereby, to identify participants in the demonstration. One of the other federal agencies given the information by the FBI was the Internal Revenue Service.

***
The National Security Agency was involved in the domestic political surveillance of that era as well. Decades before the Internet, under the direction of President Nixon, the NSA made arrangements with the major communications firms of the time such as RCA Global and Western Union to obtain copies of telegrams. When the matter came before the courts, the Nixon Administration argued that the president had inherent authority to protect the country against subversion. In a unanimous decision in 1972, however, the US Supreme Court rejected the claim that the president had the authority to disregard the requirement of the Fourth Amendment for a judicial warrant.
***
Much of the political surveillance of the 1960s and the 1970s and of the period going back to World War I consisted in efforts to identifyorganizations that were critical of government policies, or that were proponents of various causes the government didn’t like, and to gather information on their adherents. It was not always clear how this information was used. As best it is possible to establish, the main use was to block some of those who were identified with certain causes from obtaining public employment or some kinds of private employment. Those who were victimized in this way rarely discovered the reason they had been excluded.
Efforts to protect civil liberties during that era eventually led to the destruction of many of these records, sometimes after those whose activities were monitored were given an opportunity to examine them. In many cases, this prevented surveillance records from being used to harm those who were spied on. Yet great vigilance by organizations such as the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights, which brought a large number of court cases challenging political surveillance, was required to safeguard rights.The collection of data concerning the activities of US citizens did not take place for benign purposes.
***
Between 1956 and 1971, the FBI operated a program known as COINTELPRO, for Counter Intelligence Program. Its purpose was to interfere with the activities of the organizations and individuals who were its targets or, in the words of long-time FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit or otherwise neutralize” them. The first target was the Communist Party of the United States, but subsequent targets ranged from the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference to organizations espousing women’s rights to right wing organizations such as the National States Rights Party.
A well-known example of COINTELPRO was the FBI’s planting in 1964 of false documents about William Albertson, a long-time Communist Party official, that persuaded the Communist Party that Albertson was an FBI informant. Amid major publicity, Albertson was expelled from the party, lost all his friends, and was fired from his job. Until his death in an automobile accident in 1972, he tried to prove that he was not a snitch, but the case was not resolved until 1989, when the FBI agreed to pay (http://articles.philly.com/1989-10-27/news/26119465_1_fbi-cointelpro-albertson-case)Albertson’s widow $170,000 to settle her lawsuit against the government.
COINTELPRO was eventually halted by J. Edgar Hoover after activists broke into a small FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, in 1971, and released stolen documents about the program to the press. The lesson of COINTELPRO is that any government agency that is able to gather information through political surveillance will be tempted to use that information. After a time, the passive accumulation of data may seem insufficient and it may be used aggressively. This may take place long after the information is initially collected and may involve officials who had nothing to do with the original decision to engage in surveillance.
In 1972, the CIA director relabeled “dissidents” as “terrorists” so he could continue spying on them (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/02/u-s-government-labels-dissent-terrorism.html).
During the Vietnam war, the NSA spied on (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/09/25/it_happened_here_NSA_spied_on_senators_1970s#sthas h.hQkqSpyu.dpbs) Senator Frank Church because of his criticism of the Vietnam War. The NSA also spied on Senator Howard Baker.
Senator Church – the head of a congressional committee investigating Cointelpro – warned (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/weekinreview/25bamford.html?pagewanted=print) in 1975:

[NSA's] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, andno American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. [If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.
This is, in fact, what’s happened …
Initially, American constitutional law experts say (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/07/nsa-spying-is-exactly-the-kind-of-thing-which-caused-the-revolutionary-war-against-king-george.html) that the NSA is doing exactly the same thing to the American people today which King George did to the Colonists … using “general warrant” type spying.
And it is clear that the government is using its massive spy programs in order to track those who question government policies. See this (http://antiwar.com/blog/2014/01/07/is-domestic-surveillance-today-less-intrusive-than-the-age-of-cointelpro/), this (http://www.aclu.org/files/assets/spying_on_first_amendment_activity_12.19.12_update .pdf#page=1&zoom=auto,0,792), this (http://reason.com/archives/2013/12/25/fusion-centers-expensive-and-dangerous-t) and this (http://www.dailydot.com/politics/bank-of-america-monitoring-activists-online/).
Todd Gitlin – chair of the PhD program in communications at Columbia University, and a professor of journalism and sociology – notes (http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/not-just-nsa-super-secret-world-low-tech-spying?paging=off):

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (http://www.justiceonline.org/our-work/ows-foia.html) (PCJF) has unearthed documents showing that, in 2011 and 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other federal agencies were busy surveilling and worrying about a good number of Occupy groups — during the very time that they were missing actual warnings about actual terrorist actions.
From its beginnings, the Occupy movement was of considerable interest to the DHS, the FBI, and other law enforcement and intelligence agencies, while true terrorists were slipping past the nets they cast in the wrong places. In the fall of 2011, the DHS specifically asked (http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/10/18152849-unaware-of-tsarnaev-warnings-boston-counterterror-unit-tracked-protesters?lite) its regional affiliates to report on “Peaceful Activist Demonstrations, in addition to reporting on domestic terrorist acts and ‘significant criminal activity.’”
Aware that Occupy was overwhelmingly peaceful, the federally funded Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), one of 77 coordination centers known generically as “fusion centers,” was busy monitoring (http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/10/18152849-unaware-of-tsarnaev-warnings-boston-counterterror-unit-tracked-protesters?lite) Occupy Boston daily. As the investigative journalist Michael Isikoff recently reported (http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/10/18152849-unaware-of-tsarnaev-warnings-boston-counterterror-unit-tracked-protesters?lite), they were not only tracking Occupy-related Facebook pages and websites but “writing reports on the movement’s potential impact on ‘commercial and financial sector assets.’”
It was in this period that the FBI received the second of two Russian police warnings about the extremist Islamist activities of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the future Boston Marathon bomber. That city’s police commissioner later testified that the federal authorities did not pass any information at all about the Tsarnaev brothers on to him, though there’s no point in letting the Boston police off the hook either. The ACLU has uncovered documents showing that, during the same period, they were paying close attention (http://rt.com/usa/boston-police-protest-aclu-757/) to the internal workings of…Code Pink and Veterans for Peace.
***
In Alaska, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, intelligence was not only pooled among public law enforcement agencies, but shared with private corporations — and vice versa.
Nationally, in 2011, the FBI and DHS were, in the words of Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, “treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity.” Last December using FOIA, PCJF obtained (http://www.justiceonline.org/commentary/fbi-files-ows.html) 112 pages of documents (heavily redacted) revealing a good deal of evidence for what might otherwise seem like an outlandish charge: that federal authorities were, in Verheyden-Hilliard’s words, “functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.” Consider these examples from PCJF’s summary of federal agencies working directly not only with local authorities but on behalf of the private sector:
• “As early as August 19, 2011, the FBI in New York was meeting with the New York Stock Exchange to discuss the Occupy Wall Street protests that wouldn’t start for another month. By September, prior to the start of the OWS, the FBI was notifying businesses that they might be the focus of an OWS protest.”
• “The FBI in Albany and the Syracuse Joint Terrorism Task Force disseminated information to… [22] campus police officials… A representative of the State University of New York at Oswego contacted the FBI for information on the OWS protests and reported to the FBI on the SUNY-Oswego Occupy encampment made up of students and professors.”
• An entity called the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the private sector,” sent around information regarding Occupy protests at West Coast ports [on Nov. 2, 2011] to “raise awareness concerning this type of criminal activity.” The DSAC report contained “a ‘handling notice’ that the information is ‘meant for use primarily within the corporate security community. Such messages shall not be released in either written or oral form to the media, the general public or other personnel…’ Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) reported to DSAC on the relationship between OWS and organized labor.”
• DSAC gave tips to its corporate clients on “civil unrest,” which it defined as running the gamut from “small, organized rallies to large-scale demonstrations and rioting.” ***
• The FBI in Anchorage, Jacksonville, Tampa, Richmond, Memphis, Milwaukee, and Birmingham also gathered information and briefed local officials on wholly peaceful Occupy activities.
• In Jackson, Mississippi, FBI agents “attended a meeting with the Bank Security Group in Biloxi, MS with multiple private banks and the Biloxi Police Department, in which they discussed an announced protest for ‘National Bad Bank Sit-In-Day’ on December 7, 2011.” Also in Jackson, “the Joint Terrorism Task Force issued a ‘Counterterrorism Preparedness’ alert” that, despite heavy redactions, notes the need to ‘document…the Occupy Wall Street Movement.’”
***
In 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (http://www.aclu-tn.org/release122110.htm) learned … that the Tennessee Fusion Center was “highlighting on its website map of ‘Terrorism Events and Other Suspicious Activity’ a recent ACLU-TN letter to school superintendents. The letter encourages schools to be supportive of all religious beliefs during the holiday season.”
***
Consider an “intelligence report” from the North Central Texas fusion center, which in a 2009 “Prevention Awareness Bulletin” described, in the ACLU’s words (http://www.aclu.org/files/images/asset_upload_file376_39222.pdf), “a purported conspiracy between Muslim civil rights organizations, lobbying groups, the anti-war movement, a former U.S. Congresswoman, the U.S. Treasury Department, and hip hop bands to spread tolerance in the United States, which would ‘provide an environment for terrorist organizations to flourish.’”
***
And those Virginia and Texas fusion centers were hardly alone in expanding the definition of “terrorist” to fit just about anyone who might oppose government policies. According to a 2010 report in the Los Angeles Times (http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/21/nation/la-na-fbi-activists-20100921), the Justice Department Inspector General found that “FBI agents improperly opened investigations into Greenpeace and several other domestic advocacy groups after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, and put the names of some of their members on terrorist watch lists based on evidence that turned out to be ‘factually weak.’” The Inspector General called “troubling” what the Los Angeles Times described as “singling out some of the domestic groups for investigations that lasted up to five years, and were extended ‘without adequate basis.’
Subsequently, the FBI continued to maintain investigative files on groups like Greenpeace, the Catholic Worker, and the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, cases where (in the politely put words of the Inspector General’s report) “there was little indication of any possible federal crimes… In some cases, the FBI classified some investigations relating to nonviolent civil disobedience under its ‘acts of terrorism’ classification.”
***
In Pittsburgh, (http://blog.washingtonpost.com/spy-talk/2010/09/fbi_cover-up_turns_laughable_s.html) on the day after Thanksgiving 2002 (“a slow work day” in the Justice Department Inspector General’s estimation), a rookie FBI agent was outfitted with a camera, sent to an antiwar rally, and told to look for terrorism suspects. The “possibility that any useful information would result from this make-work assignment was remote,” the report added drily.
“The agent was unable to identify any terrorism subjects at the event, but he photographed a woman in order to have something to show his supervisor. He told us he had spoken to a woman leafletter at the rally who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent, and that she was probably the person he photographed.”
The sequel was not quite so droll. The Inspector General found that FBI officials, including their chief lawyer in Pittsburgh, manufactured postdated “routing slips” and the rest of a phony paper trail to justify this surveillance retroactively.
Moreover, at least one fusion center has involved military intelligence in civilian law enforcement. In 2009, a military operative from Fort Lewis, Washington, worked undercover (http://www.democracynow.org/2009/7/28/broadcast_exclusive_declassified_docs_reveal_milit ary) collecting information on peace groups in the Northwest. In fact, he helped run the Port Militarization Resistance group’s Listserv. Once uncovered, he told activists there were others doing similar work in the Army. How much the military spies on American citizens is unknown and, at the moment at least, unknowable.
Do we hear an echo from the abyss of the counterintelligence programs of the 1960s and 1970s, when FBI memos — I have some in my own heavily redacted files obtained through an FOIA request — were routinely copied to military intelligence units? Then, too, military intelligence operatives spied on activists who violated no laws, were not suspected of violating laws, and had they violated laws, would not have been under military jurisdiction in any case. During those years, more than 1,500 Army intelligence agents in plain clothes were spying, undercover, on domestic political groups (according to Military Surveillance of Civilian Politics, 1967-70, an unpublished dissertation by former Army intelligence captain Christopher H. Pyle). They posed as students, sometimes growing long hair and beards for the purpose, or as reporters and camera crews. They recorded speeches and conversations on concealed tape recorders. The Army lied about their purposes, claiming they were interested solely in “civil disturbance planning.”
(More (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/06/government-treated-boycott-terrorism.html).)
Yes, we hear echoes to the Cointelpro program (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/us/burglars-who-took-on-fbi-abandon-shadows.html?src=vidm&_r=0) of the 60s and 70s … as well as King George’s General Warrants to the Colonies … the Star Chamber of 15th century England … the frumentarii of Ancient Rome … and the spies of the earliest pharaohs some 5,000 years ago.
Because – whatever governments may say – mass surveillance is always used to crush dissent.

Notes:
1. Spying is also aimed at keeping politicians in check (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/01/spying-congress.html).
2. The East German Stasi obviously used mass surveillance to crush dissent and keep it’s officials in check (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi) … and falsely claimed that spying was necessary to protect people against vague threats (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/06/26/195045/memories-of-stasi-color-germans.html). But poking holes in the excuses of a communist tyranny is too easy. The focus of this essay is to show that governments have used this same cynical ruse for over 5,000 years.
3. This essay focuses solely on domestic surveillance. Spying outside of one’s country is a different matter altogether.
4. For ease of reading, we deleted the footnotes from the two Supreme Court opinions.

Peter Lemkin
06-08-2014, 04:07 PM
Documents Reveal NSA Can Crack Online Encryption

By Cully Downer (http://www.opednews.com/author/author4520.html)


6/8/14





(http://www.opednews.com/author/author4520.html)













http://www.opednews.com/populum/cachedimages/s_500_core4_staticworld_net_0_ransomware-100025456-large.gif
(http://core4.staticworld.net/images/article/2013/02/ransomware-100025456-large.jpg)

This is not a new report. Despite our reassurances from some of the free encryption services we cannot know at this point what exactly the NSA can penetrate.
Is it possible that the 'Reset the Net' project is already behind the times as far as encryption is concerned?

Experimental Evidence Confirms That D-Wave Systems' Quantum Computers Are Truly 'Quantum' (http://www.businessinsider.com/d-wave-systems-2014-6)
NSA seeks to build quantum computers that could crack most types of encryption (http://ahaadotme.wordpress.com/NSA%20seeks%20to%20build%20quantum%20computer%20th at%20could%20crack%20most%20types%20of%20encryptio n)

The Washington Post uses a source to say that we are years away from Quantum computers yet, so what's the truth?
A working quantum computer would open the door to easily breaking the strongest encryption tools in use today, including a standard known as RSA, named for the initials of its creators. RSA scrambles communications, making them unreadable to anyone but the intended recipient, without requiring the use of a shared password. It is commonly used in Web browsers to secure financial transactions and in encrypted e-mails. RSA is used because of the difficulty of factoring the product of two large prime numbers. Breaking the encryption involves finding those two numbers. This cannot be done in a reasonable amount of time on a classical computer.
In 2009, computer scientists using classical methods were able to discover the primes (http://eprint.iacr.org/2010/006.pdf) within a 768-bit number, but it took almost two years and hundreds of computers to factor it. The scientists estimated that it would take 1,000 times longer to break a 1,024-bit encryption key, which is commonly used for online transactions.
A large-scale quantum computer, however, could theoretically break a 1,024-bit encryption much faster. Some leading Internet companies are moving to 2,048-bit keys, but even those are thought to be vulnerable to rapid decryption with a quantum computer should one be built successfully. Evidence suggests that at least one type has already been built in the private sector. It would be a stretch for anyone to suggest that the NSA didn't already have at least one itself.::ninja::::idea::::nazis::

Peter Lemkin
06-12-2014, 12:29 PM
This summary report is about a year old, but still does a good job of what was then known. Now we know more [and worse]...... In a year nothing good has happened with/to the Surveillance State[s]; they have only grown larger and more invasive, even as more of their secrets become more commonly known.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8TdOoS6zew

Peter Lemkin
06-27-2014, 06:48 PM
TomDispatch.com



Surveillance: It's Worse Than You Think

Posted: 06/26/2014 10:07 am EDT Updated: 06/26/2014 10:59 am EDT


http://i1.huffpost.com/gen/1101318/thumbs/r-SURVEILANCE-large570.jpg







When it comes to spying, surveillance, and privacy, a simple rule applies to our world: However bad you think it is, it's worse. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we've learned an enormous amount about the global surveillance regime (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175713/tomgram%3A_engelhardt,_you_are_our_secret/) that one of America's 17 intelligence outfits (http://www.intelligence.gov/mission/member-agencies.html) has created to suck into its maw (and its storage facilities) all communications on the planet, no matter their form. We certainly know a lot more than we did a year ago about what the government is capable of knowing about us. We've also recently learned a good deal about "big data (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175822/tomgram%3A_crump_and_harwood,_the_net_closes_aroun d_us/)" and what corporations can now know about us, as well as how much more they may know once your house is filled with "smart" technology.
Less is understood about how corporate surveillance is coming to (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/22/technology/workplace-surveillance-sees-good-and-bad.html) the workplace, but sooner or later -- count on it -- the company or business you work for will be capable, via intelligent software, of monitoring every move you make, not to speak of everyone you may be in touch with while on the clock. The truth is, whatever the euphemisms, just about every imaginable way of knowing and surveilling you is here or on its way. In Oakland, California, for instance, you could mistake the anodyne name of "the Domain Awareness Center (http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/26/tech/city-of-tomorrow-video-data-surveillance/)" for the latest in New Age spiritualism. In fact, as CNN recently reported, it's a "proposed central surveillance facility where authorities can monitor the Port of Oakland and the city's airport to protect against potential terrorism." Someday, it may integrate "live, 24/7 data streams from closed circuit traffic cameras, police license plate readers, gunshot detectors, and other sources from all over the entire city of Oakland." This means that, despite theoretically being on the lookout for terrorists (how many of those are there in Oakland?), it will be able to track you anywhere in the area.
It's no exaggeration to say that in our developing brave new world of surveillance, inside or outside your house, there will be nowhere that you aren't potentially trackable and surveillable, no space that is just yours and no one else's. This also means that, however bad you think it is, government and corporate employees somewhere are already creating the next set of processes, technologies, and facilities to monitor you in yet more vivid detail.
Now, let's add rule two: However bad you think it is, you don't know the half of it. Yes, you've been following the Snowden NSA revelations (http://www.theguardian.com/world/the-nsa-files), but no Snowden has stepped forward (yet) to reveal what the CIA or FBI or Defense Intelligence Agency or Department of Homeland Security or National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is doing. And as far as the national security state is concerned, the less you know, the better. Take, for example, a recent Associated Press story (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/obama-administration-advising-cops-cellphone-surveillance-tech-quiet-article-1.1827776) with this revelation: citing "security reasons" (as always), the Obama administration "has been quietly advising local police not to disclose details about surveillance technology they are using to sweep up basic cellphone data from entire neighborhoods."
It might even be your neighborhood. In such a situation, it will be easy enough perhaps to forget the value of the sense of privacy in your life, whether you feel you have something to hide or not. Just yesterday, the Supreme Court put a rare brake on the loss of privacy, ruling (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/26/us/supreme-court-cellphones-search-privacy.html) that the police must have a warrant to search your cell phone after your arrest. In the second of a three-part series (http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175856/tomgram%3A_peter_van_buren,_rip,_the_bill_of_right s/) on the shredding of the Bill of Rights (amendment by amendment), State Department whistleblower takes on the destruction of the protections for American privacy in the Fourth Amendment (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-van-buren/shredding-the-fourth-amendment_b_5533052.html?1403789595) -- destruction that, if we're not careful, could soon seem as American as apple pie.

Peter Lemkin
07-05-2014, 07:32 PM
Is There a Second NSA Leaker Besides Edward Snowden? By Donn Marten (http://www.opednews.com/author/author5421.html)







http://www.opednews.com/populum/uploadphotos/s_300_upload_wikimedia_org_5421_XKeyscore_logo_315 .gif
XKeyscore logo



A very interesting question has come out regarding a story on the NSA's targeting (http://www.wired.com/2014/07/nsa-targets-users-of-privacy-services/) of those who utilize internet privacy tools, specifically the browser Tor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tor_%28anonymity_network%29)(The Onion Router) and portable Linux based operating system Tails (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tails_%28operating_system%29) (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) as potential "terrorists" and "extremists". The question being is that the copy of the XKeyscore code (http://daserste.ndr.de/panorama/xkeyscorerules100.txt) published by German website Das Erste (http://daserste.ndr.de/panorama/aktuell/nsa230_page-1.html) apparently was not a part of the collection of NSA documents procured by whistleblower Edward Snowden but may actually have come from a second leaker (http://news.firedoglake.com/2014/07/04/xkeyscore-story-might-mean-there-is-second-nsa-leaker/). If true this would be a bombshell as well as a game-changer that could reverberate throughout the world and shake the US national surveillance state to its very roots.
The story, by Lena Kampf, Jacob Appelbaum and John Goetz originally broke in Germany's Tagesschau (http://www.tagesschau.de/inland/nsa-xkeyscore-100.html) (you will need Google Translate (https://translate.google.com/)) and cites the NSA targeting of a German student and internet privacy activist (http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/report-nsa-targeted-german-privacy-activist-24414743) named Sebastian Hahn who is involved with the Tor Project. The NSA has clearly determined that anyone who even searches for information on internet encryption and privacy tools is deemed to be an "extremist". They are then flagged for a higher level of monitoring, data-mining and retention of content instead of the limited hangout of only the metadata. This goes far beyond what has been openly admitted to by the Obama administration and the array of national intelligence goons - even if they did manage to retroactively legalize their snooping as divulged (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/02/nsa-data-collection-legal-independent-board) in the report by that independent executive branch internal oversight office the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privacy_and_Civil_Liberties_Oversight_Board).
This is where it begins to get really scary now that NSA has been outed for officially crossing over into thought crime. Internet privacy advocacy organization the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) (https://www.eff.org/) has called out NSA for infringing upon the First Amendment "Dear NSA, Privacy is a Fundamental Right, Not Reasonable Suspicion" (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/07/dear-nsa-privacy-fundamental-right-not-reasonable-suspicion):
Learning about Linux is not a crime--but don't tell the NSA that. A story published in German on Tagesschau, and followed up by an article in English on DasErste.de today, has revealed that the NSA is scrutinizing people who visit websites such as the Tor Project's home page and even Linux Journal. This is disturbing in a number of ways, but the bottom line is this: the procedures outlined in the articles show the NSA is adding "fingerprints"--like a scarlet letter for the information age--to activities that go hand in hand with First Amendment protected activities and freedom of expression across the globe.
The EFF also encourages the continued use of Tor and Tails:

One question that is sure to come up is whether this means people desiring anonymity should stop using Tor or Tails. Here's the bottom line: If you're using Tor or Tails, there is a possibility that you will be subject to greater NSA scrutiny. But we believe that the benefits outweigh the burdens.
In fact, the more people use Tor, the safer you are. That's why we're continuing to run the Tor Challenge (https://www.eff.org/torchallenge/). The ubiquitous use of privacy and security tools is our best hope for protecting the people who really need those tools--people for whom the consequences of being caught speaking out against their government can be imprisonment or death. The more ordinary people use Tor and Tails, the harder it is for the NSA to make the case that reading about or using these tools is de facto suspicious.
My personal take on this is that if you are currently using these tools or otherwise engaged in fighting the surveillance state then you are already on their list so just f*ck the NSA. At this point activists and those who challenge the system still have a relative degree of freedom to do exactly that so why retreat into the sheep pack when you have a vested interest in challenging the bastards - especially when that vested interest is in saving one's own skin. If someone is already on the pickup list, the primary objective is to do everything possible to keep the black vans from rolling on that day when it becomes politically acceptable to give the order - such as the next "terrorist" attack like the one that Dick Cheney has promised (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/06/25/dick-cheney-predicts-attack-this-decade-far-deadlier-than-911/).
The key aspect of this story - anyone who gets it has understood for a long time that the NSA is lying their asses off and has been using their surveillance systems to build electronic dossiers on journalists, activists, bloggers, political dissidents and anyone who may one day pose a threat to the gangster state - is that the code apparently did not come from Mr. Snowden. According to a piece at the blog Boing Boing, written by Cory Doctorow and entitled "If you read Boing Boing, the NSA considers you a target for deep surveillance" (http://boingboing.net/2014/07/03/if-you-read-boing-boing-the-n.html) I except the following:
I have known that this story was coming for some time now, having learned about its broad contours under embargo from a trusted source. Since then, I've discussed it in confidence with some of the technical experts who have worked on the full set of Snowden docs, and they were as shocked as I was.
One expert suggested that the NSA's intention here was to separate the sheep from the goats -- to split the entire population of the Internet into "people who have the technical know-how to be private" and "people who don't" and then capture all the communications from the first group.
Another expert said that s/he believed that this leak may come from a second source, not Edward Snowden, as s/he had not seen this in the original Snowden docs; and had seen other revelations that also appeared independent of the Snowden materials. If that's true, it's big news, as Snowden was the first person to ever leak docs from the NSA. The existence of a potential second source means that Snowden may have inspired some of his former colleagues to take a long, hard look at the agency's cavalier attitude to the law and decency.
Doctorow then cites security expert Bruce Schneier (who has worked with Glenn Greenwald (http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/03/bruce-schneier-glenn-greenwald-encryption-104705.html#.U7gI2fldXTo)) who writes at the blog Schneier on Security (https://www.schneier.com/) who has stated in his recent post "NSA Targets the Privacy-Conscious for Surveillance" (https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2014/07/nsa_targets_pri.html) that "And, since Cory said it, I do not believe that this came from the Snowden documents. I also don't believe the TAO catalog (http://leaksource.info/2013/12/30/nsas-ant-division-catalog-of-exploits-for-nearly-every-major-software-hardware-firmware/) came from the Snowden documents. I think there's a second leaker out there." Greenwald himself seems to acknowledge this possibility in a Tweet (https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/485081861119832064).
That would be huge - particularly now that Greenwald's big story -that promised (http://www.gq.com/news-politics/newsmakers/201406/glenn-greenwald-edward-snowden-no-place-to-hide) "fireworks show" - has been shut down by the US government (https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/483800358893150209) which has gotten to either the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist himself or to the decision makers at the abysmal (at least to this point) Pierre Omidyar backed venture The Intercept. The prospect of a second NSA leaker - who if he/she is smart, will avoid outing themselves and then being subjected to the concerted campaigns of media and establishment demonization and vilification - must send cold chills up the spines of the American Stasi high command over at Ft. Meade and the rotten to the core political class that protects it from any form of oversight.
It would be even better if there were even more than two and with the website Cryptome having alluded (http://rt.com/usa/169700-cryptome-war-snowden-docs/) to the coming release of all the Snowden material nothing could make for a bigger and better party than a couple of wild cards floating around out there with more seriously explosive evidence like the set of XKeyscore instructions (http://daserste.ndr.de/panorama/xkeyscorerules100.txt) that shows the lengths to which this monstrous surveillance colossus is prepared to go in order to lock down its gains.

Peter Lemkin
07-13-2014, 05:16 AM
NSA chief knew of Snowden file destruction by Guardian in UK Revelation contrasts markedly with White House efforts to distance itself from UK government pressure to destroy disks!




James Ball (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/jamesball)


theguardian.com (http://www.theguardian.com/), Friday 11 July 2014 11.10 BST

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/7/11/1405073395829/General-Keith-Alexander-N-011.jpg General Keith Alexander, who was NSA director at the time the Guardian destroyed files from Edward Snowden. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

General Keith Alexander, the then director of the NSA (http://www.theguardian.com/world/nsa), was briefed that the Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/media/theguardian) was prepared to make a largely symbolic act of destroying documents from Edward Snowden (http://www.theguardian.com/world/edward-snowden) last July, new documents reveal.
The revelation that Alexander and Obama's director of national intelligence, James Clapper, were advised on the Guardian's destruction of several hard disks and laptops contrasts markedly with public White House statements that distanced the US from the decision.
White House and NSA emails obtained by Associated Press (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1214273-nsa-emails-about-guardian-hard-drive-destruction.html) under freedom of information legislation demonstrate how pleased Alexander and his colleagues were with the developments. At times the correspondence takes a celebratory tone, with one official describing the anticipated destruction as "good news".
On 20 July 2013, three Guardian editors destroyed all copies of the its Snowden material held in London (video) (http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/jan/31/snowden-files-computer-destroyed-guardian-gchq-basement-video), under the supervision of two GCHQ staff following a period of intense political pressure in the UK.




Link to video: Revealed: the day Guardian destroyed Snowden hard drives under watchful eye of GCHQ (http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/jan/31/snowden-files-computer-destroyed-guardian-gchq-basement-video) The decision to destroy the UK copies of the material was taken in a climate of advancing legal threats from Cabinet Office and intelligence officials. The Guardian and its publishing partners, which included the New York Times and the not-for-profit news organisation ProPublica, held other copies of the material in the US, and continued reporting revelations from the documents.
When the Guardian revealed it had destroyed several computers a month later in August, the White House spokesman Josh Earnest initially remarked it was hard to "evaluate the propriety of what they did based on incomplete knowledge of what happened" but said it would be hard to imagine the same events occurring in the US.
"That's very difficult to imagine a scenario in which that would be appropriate," he concluded.
However, heavily redacted email correspondence obtained by AP reporter Jack Gillum shows senior NSA officials celebrating the destruction of the material, even before it had occurred.
An email to Alexander from Rick Ledgett, now deputy director of the NSA, has the subject line "Guardian data being destroyed", and is dated 19 July, a day before the destruction of the files. Most is heavily redacted, but Ledgett remarks: "Good news, at least on this front."
A day later, hours after the material was destroyed, Alexander follows up with Ledgett, asking: "Can you confirm this actually occurred?"
Later that day, Clapper emails Alexander under the same subject line, saying: "Thanks Keith … appreciate the conversation today".
The remainder of the emails are redacted, including the subject lines in many cases, meaning it is unclear who from the British government briefed the senior NSA and White House staff on the destruction, or whether US officials had any input to the decision to encourage destruction of journalistic material.
A spokeswoman for the Guardian said the revelation of the US-UK correspondence on the destruction was disappointing.
"We're disappointed to learn that cross-Atlantic conversations were taking place at the very highest levels of government ahead of the bizarre destruction of journalistic material that took place in the Guardian's basement last July," she said. "What's perhaps most concerning is that the disclosure of these emails appears to contradict the White House's comments about these events last year, when they questioned the appropriateness of the UK government's intervention."
The NSA and GCHQ declined to respond to AP's requests for comment on the email exchange.

David Guyatt
07-14-2014, 08:08 AM
When we in the UK learned a week or two ago that the three main political parries had cut a secret deal to rush through an emergency surveillance bill, the conclusion as to why seemed quite obvious.

Back in April the European Court of Justice had struck down existing powers that allowed telephone and internet data to be collected. This was followed by a three month stasis when nobody seemed to give a toss. Then suddenly this new law was announced and is being rushed through Parliament --- with the bloody lying Cameron scaring the natives by saying that he was "protecting the public" from terrorists and paedophiles (yes, he actually said that the lying bastard).

Why would something like this happen so quickly when a week earlier no one seemed to care a jot? I can only conclude that the Americans told Cameron that unless he did this, they would withdraw the intelligence sharing arrangement. What else could it be? They want access to the UK's access to telephone and internet communications. For me, that would be the only reason that would bring all three political parties to the table with their knees knocking sufficiently to make them so timid and compliant.

And so to this Guardian article:




Edward Snowden condemns Britain's emergency surveillance bill

Exclusive: NSA whistleblower says it 'defies belief' that bill must be rushed through after government ignored issue for a year



Ewen MacAskill (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/ewenmacaskill)
Follow @ewenmacaskill (https://twitter.com/ewenmacaskill)Follow @guardian (https://twitter.com/guardian)
The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian), Sunday 13 July 2014 17.33 BST
Jump to comments (1488) (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/13/edward-snowden-condemns-britain-emergency-surveillance-bill-nsa#start-of-comments)


Link to video: Edward Snowden: rush to pass British surveillance law is extraordinary (http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/jul/13/edward-snowden-british-surveillance-law-video)The NSA (http://www.theguardian.com/world/nsa) whistleblower Edward Snowden (http://www.theguardian.com/world/edward-snowden) has condemned the newsurveillance (http://www.theguardian.com/world/surveillance) bill being pushed through the UK's parliament this week, expressing concern about the speed at which it is being done, lack of public debate, fear-mongering and what he described as increased powers of intrusion.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian in Moscow, Snowden said it was very unusual for a public body to pass an emergency law such as this in circumstances other than a time of total war. "I mean we don't have bombs falling. We don't have U-boats in the harbour."
Suddenly it is a priority, he said, after the government had ignored it for an entire year. "It defies belief."
He found the urgency with which the British government was moving extraordinary and said it mirrored a similar move in the US in 2007 when the Bush administration was forced to introduce legislation, the Protect America Act, citing the same concerns about terrorist threats and the NSAlosing cooperation from telecom and internet companies.
"I mean the NSA could have written this draft," he said. "They passed it under the same sort of emergency justification. They said we would be at risk. They said companies will no longer cooperate with us. We're losing valuable intelligence that puts the nation at risk."
His comments chime with British civil liberties groups who, having had time to read the small print, are growing increasingly sceptical about government claims last week that the bill is a stop-gap that will not increase the powers of the surveillance agencies.
David Cameron, searching for cross-party support (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/10/surveillance-legislation-commons-support-critics-stitch-up), assured the Liberal Democrats and Labour that there would be no extension of the powers.
But internal Home Office papers seen by the Guardian appear to confirm that there would be an expansion of powers. Campaigners argue that the bill contains new and unprecedented powers for the UK to require overseas companies to comply with interception warrants and communications data acquisition requests and build interception capabilities into their products and infrastructure.
The interview with Snowden, in a city centre hotel, lasted seven hours. One of only a handful of interviews since he sought asylum in Russia a year ago, it was wide-ranging, from the impact of the global debate he unleashed on surveillance and privacy to fresh insights into life inside theNSA. The full interview will be published later this week.
http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/7/13/1405263342987/Edward-Snowden--011.jpg
Edward Snowden with a framed piece of a computer that was destroyed in the Guardian basement at the request of the British government. Photograph: Alan RusbridgerHis year-long asylum is due to expire on 31 July but is almost certain to be extended (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-applies-extend-russia-stay-permit). Even in the unlikely event of a political decision to send him to the US, he would be entitled to a year-long appeal process.
During the interview, Snowden was taken aback on learning about the speed at which the British government is moving on new legislation and described it as "a significant change". He questioned why it was doing so now, more than a year after his initial revelations about the scale of government surveillance in the US, the UK and elsewhere around the world, a year in which the government had been largely silent.
He also questioned why there had been a move in the aftermath of aruling by the European court of justice in April (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/apr/08/eu-court-overturns-law-snoopers-charter-data-phones-isps) that declared some of the existing surveillance measures were invalid.
He said the government was asking for these "new authorities immediately without any debate, just taking their word for it, despite the fact that these exact same authorities were just declared unlawful by the European court of justice".
He added: "Is it really going to be so costly for us to take a few days to debate where the line should be drawn about the authority and what really serves the public interest?
"If these surveillance authorities are so interested, so invasive, the courts are actually saying they violate fundamental rights, do we really want to authorise them on a new, increased and more intrusive scale without any public debate?"
He said there had been government silence for the last year since he had exposed the scale of surveillance by the NSA and its British partnerGCHQ. "And yet suddenly we're told there's a brand new bill that looks like it was written by the National Security Agency that has to be passed in the same manner that a surveillance bill in the United States (http://www.theguardian.com/world/usa) was passed in 2007, and it has to happen now. And we don't have time to debate it, despite the fact that this was not a priority, this was not an issue that needed to be discussed at all, for an entire year. It defies belief."
It is questionable how much impact his comments will have on parliamentarians, even though he is an expert witness, with inside knowledge of the surveillance agencies.
Snowden has become a champion for privacy campaigners. But, though his revelations prompted inquiries by two parliamentary committees, he has won little vocal support among parliamentarians.
The Conservatives deny there is any need for a debate on surveillance versus privacy. Labour and Liberal Democrats have been hesitant too about joining the debate, fearful of a backlash in the event of a terrorist attack.
Even backbench MPs who think the intelligence agencies have a case to answer hold back from public expressions of support for a whistleblower sought by the US government.
The British government is justifying the proposed new legislation on the grounds not only of the European court ruling but of US intelligence fears of a terrorist attack, in particular concerns of an attempt to blow up a transatlantic airliner (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/08/britain-tells-air-passengers-mobile-phones-must-work-security) said to be emanating from an alleged al-Qaida bombmaker in Yemen linked to hardline Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq.
Snowden said the Bush administration had used the threat of another terrorist attack on America after 9/11 to push through the Protect America Act. The bill had to be brought in after the New York Times disclosed the surveillance agencies had been secretly engaged in wiretapping without a warrant.
Snowden said: "So what's extraordinary about this law being passed in the UK is that it very closely mirrors the Protect America Act 2007 that was passed in the United States at the request of the National Security Agency, after the warrantless wire-tapping programme, which was unlawful and unconstitutional, was revealed."
He said the bill was introduced into Congress on 1 August 2007 and signed into law on 5 August without any substantial open public debate. A year later it was renewed and the new version was even worse, he said, granting immunity to all the companies that had been breaking the law for the previous decade.

Peter Lemkin
07-15-2014, 07:32 PM
GCHQ has tools to manipulate online information, leaked documents show Documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal programs to track targets, spread information and manipulate online debates




James Ball (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/jamesball)


theguardian.com (http://www.theguardian.com/), Monday 14 July 2014 19.22 BST

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/7/14/1405362019914/GCHQ--011.jpg The leaked document details a range of programs designed to collect and store public postings from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ and to make automated postings on several of the social networks. Photograph: Greg Blatchford/Barcroft Media

The UK intelligence agency GCHQ (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/gchq) has developed sophisticated tools to manipulate online polls, spam targets with SMS messages, track people by impersonating spammers and monitor social media postings, according to newly-published documents leaked by NSA (http://www.theguardian.com/world/nsa) whistleblower Edward Snowden (http://www.theguardian.com/world/edward-snowden).
The documents – which were published on First Look Media (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/07/14/manipulating-online-polls-ways-british-spies-seek-control-internet/) with accompanying analysis from Glenn Greenwald – disclose a range of GCHQ "effects" programs aimed at tracking targets, spreading information, and manipulating online debates and statistics.
The disclosure comes the day before the UK parliament is due to begin up to three days' debate on emergency legislation governing British surveillance (http://www.theguardian.com/world/surveillance) capabilities. With cross-party support the bill is expected to be voted through this week.
Among the programs revealed in the document are:
• GATEWAY: the "ability to artificially increase traffic to a website".
• CLEAN SWEEP which "masquerade[s] Facebook wall posts for individuals or entire countries".
• SCRAPHEAP CHALLENGE for "perfect spoofing of emails from BlackBerry targets".
• UNDERPASS to "change outcome of online polls".
• SPRING BISHOP to find "private photos of targets on Facebook".
The document also details a range of programs designed to collect and store public postings from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, and to make automated postings on several of the social networks.
Capabilities to boost views of YouTube videos, or to boost the circulation of particular messages are also detailed.
GCHQ has also, the document suggests, developed capabilities to scan and geolocate the IPs of entire cities at a time.
The document does not detail the legal restrictions on using any of the programs, nor state how often any were deployed. Several of the programs, though, are described as being at "pilot" stage.
GCHQ declined to provide First Look Media with a detailed statement, but told the outlet all its programs were "in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework" with "rigorous oversight".
Greenwald characterised the GCHQ statement as "questionable" in his article.

David Guyatt
07-19-2014, 08:34 AM
Intelligence services 'creating vast databases' of intercepted emails

Government told internet surveillance tribunal that gathering material 'may be permissible', say human rights groups



Owen Bowcott (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/owenbowcott), legal affairs correspondent
Follow @owenbowcott (https://twitter.com/owenbowcott) Follow @guardian (https://twitter.com/guardian)
The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian), Friday 18 July 2014 19.19 BST
Jump to comments (61) (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/18/intelligence-services-email-database-internet-tribunal#start-of-comments)

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/7/18/1405708176782/GCHQ-011.jpg
The headquarters of GCHQ in Cheltenham. Human rights groups are bringing a case against it and other intelligence services over internet monitoring. Photograph: Alamy

The intelligence services are constructing "vast databases" out of accumulated interceptions of emails, a tribunal investigating mass surveillance of the internet (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jan/08/surveillance-security-review-lib-dems-gchq-snowden) has been told.
The claim emerged during a ground-breaking case against the monitoring agency GCHQ (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/gchq), MI5 (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/mi5), MI6 (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/mi6) and the government at the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT).
Matthew Ryder QC, for Liberty (https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/) and other human rights (http://www.theguardian.com/law/human-rights) groups, told a hearing the government had not disputed "that databases gathering material that may be useful for the future is something that may be permissible under Ripa [the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/13/surveillance-bill-new-powers)2000]".
If they are deemed under the legislation to be "necessary", he said, that may mean their use "can stretch far into the future".
Ryder added: "The government is now conceding it can gather such databases."
The court heard that the intelligence services might be accumulating databases in that way about persistent security threats. Lawyers for the government would not confirm nor deny this but conceded it would be permissible under Ripa.
Developing such a capability, human rights groups argue, was explicitly rejected by parliament when the communications data bill, nicknamed the snooper's charter (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/sep/05/wikipedia-jimmy-wales-snoopers-charter), was defeated last year.
Ryder said: "There must be accessible guidelines in relation to how both the content and communications data [of any email] are treated … The [government] is setting up vast databases of all our communications that have been collected.
"What we may have now is a database system which is far beyond what was envisaged. Is there sufficient constraint in law if that is what is going on?"
Ben Jaffey, for Privacy International (https://www.privacyinternational.org/), said Ripa had ceased providing the significant safeguards it once guaranteed against interception of communications without an individual warrant.
"A statute which in 2000 afforded quite strong protection no longer affords such protection," Jaffey said. The law has stayed the same, he added, but had lost its force because more and more internet traffic involved being routed through foreign websites and online servers.
The government's senior security advisor, Charles Farr (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/nov/12/counter-terror-chief-charles-farr-snoopers-charter), has submitted a lengthy defence of interception surveillance (http://www.theguardian.com/world/surveillance) policy, explaining that emails, online searches and communications that touch foreign servers are deemed to be external, not internal, and so do not require an individual warrant to be intercepted.
Jaffey said: "[That fact] was kept confidential until Mr Farr's witness statement was produced."
The case has been brought by Privacy (http://www.theguardian.com/world/privacy) International, Liberty, Amnesty International (http://www.amnesty.org/), the American Civil Liberties Union (https://www.aclu.org/) and other overseas human rights groups following revelations by the US whistleblowerEdward Snowden (http://www.theguardian.com/world/edward-snowden).
It is the first of dozens of GCHQ-related claims to be examined by the IPT, which hears complaints against British intelligence agencies and government bodies that carry out surveillance under Ripa.
The civil liberties organisations are concerned that their private communications have been monitored under GCHQ's electronic surveillance programme Tempora, whose existence was revealed by Snowden. They also complain that information obtained through theNSA (http://www.theguardian.com/world/nsa)'s Prism (http://www.theguardian.com/world/prism) and upstream programmes may have been shared with the British intelligence services, side-stepping protections provided by the UK legal system.
The five-day hearing has fought its way through the dense undergrowth of overlapping clauses and subsections of Ripa. One member of the tribunal bench described the act as a "difficult if not impenetrable statute". James Eadie, QC, for the government, admitted that it is "convoluted legislation".
The different levels of regulatory protection afforded to those who communicate only inside the UK and those whose emails are deemed to go overseas as they roam the internet has raised concerns over whether the legislation might be discriminatory.
If the IPT rejects the NGOs' complaints, they may take their claims to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg.
The IPT has been asked by government lawyers to hold a secret hearing, from which the claimants and the media will be excluded, before the tribunal delivers its judgment.
That session would consider the secret codes of practice and internal arrangements regulating the way in which MI5, MI6 and GCHQ staff carry out interceptions. Government lawyers say "they cannot be safely put into the public domain".
Written submissions for the government have accepted that, under the "alleged" Tempora operation: "The claimants' [the civil liberty organisations'] communications might in principle have been intercepted in the UK … and at least some of those intercepted communications might in principle have been read, looked at or listened [to]."
Judgment was reserved.
.

Carsten Wiethoff
08-10-2014, 08:45 PM
http://porkinspolicyreview.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/porkins-policy-radio-episode-26-peeling-the-onion-behind-tor-eff-and-john-perry-barlow/

Multiple ways that Pierre Omidyar and Snowden are connected via different organizations and people laid out in this podcast. I also recommend Pearse Redmonds other podcasts about various political or cultural issues.

Peter Lemkin
08-11-2014, 05:12 AM
http://porkinspolicyreview.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/porkins-policy-radio-episode-26-peeling-the-onion-behind-tor-eff-and-john-perry-barlow/

Multiple ways that Pierre Omidyar and Snowden are connected via different organizations and people laid out in this podcast. I also recommend Pearse Redmonds other podcasts about various political or cultural issues.

Interesting and potentially disturbing. I think it is worthy of further research and his 'take' would not be beyond the possible. I think the reality might be something part way between the commonly held belief and what he discusses on this interesting and well-researched show....that some of the persons are being used, rather than 'conspirators' per se...but time will tell. As for the organizations involved, they are more likely than not guilty of promoting general fear and furthering the wishes of the power elites and their Praetorian Guards [including intelligence agencies]. Well worth a listen and then decide for yourself. What a dangerous and sinister World we live in now!

Peter Lemkin
09-02-2014, 05:02 AM
NSA Whistleblower: Agency’s Prime Concerns are Money & Power, US is “Totalitarian” By Deutsche Welle (http://www.constantinereport.com/author/deutsche-welle/) / August 31st, 2014





Binney: ‘The NSA’s main motives: power and money’Whistleblower William Binney recently made headlines when he told the German parliament that the NSA, his former employer, had become “totalitarian.” DW spoke to him about NSA overrreach and the agency’s power.DW: In your testimony (http://www.dw.de/nsa-totalitarian-ex-staffer-tells-german-parliament/a-17757008), you described the NSA as “totalitarian,” and many commentators say that Germany’s Stasi history has made the country more sensitive to NSA revelations. But others have suggested this comparison is too easy. After all, the Stasi also targeted intellectuals and general writers opposed to the East German regime.
Sure, they haven’t gone that far yet, but they tried to shut down newspaper reporters like Jim Risen [who is fighting legal action by the Department of Justice to testify against an alleged source - the eds.]. Look at the NDAA Section 1021, that gave President Obama the ability to define someone as a terrorist threat and have the military incarcerate them indefinitely without due process. That’s the same as the special order 48 issued in 1933 by the Nazis, [the so-called Reichstag Fire Decree]. Read that – it says exactly the same thing.
These were totalitarian processes that were instituted. And it’s not just us – it’s happening around the world. Totalitarianism comes in the form first of knowledge of people and what they’re doing, and then it starts to transition into using that power against people. That’s what’s happening – in terms of newspaper reporters, in terms of crimes. That’s a direct violation of our constitution.
But surely the difference is that there was an ideological regime behind the Stasi and the Nazis.
You mean like putting people like John Kiriakou in prison for exposing torture [the former CIA officer was the first to discuss waterboarding of terrorism suspects with the press. He is serving a 30-month prison term for leaking the name of an undercover agency operative to a reporter - the eds.], and giving the torturers immunity? That’s what our country’s coming to. That’s what we did. That’s disgraceful. The motives of totalitarian states are not exactly the same every time, but they’re very similar: power, control and money.
What’s changed in the NSA’s methodology since you were working there, until 2001?
We’re focusing now on everyone on the planet – that’s a change from focusing on organizations that were attempting to do nasty things. When you focus on everybody, you’re moving down that path towards population control.
But is that the intention, or just a consequence of the new methods?
Well, otherwise you don’t have secret interpretations of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, or Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, nor do you use Executive Order 12333 in a general way, which says you can collect and keep data on US citizens if you’re acquiring them in the process of investigations for terrorism or international dope-smuggling. And they’re collecting this data incidentally, but they’re allowed to keep it according to their interpretation of that executive order. Which means they copy everything in the pipe. That means everybody and all their content.
You argue that mass data collection is a very inefficient way to catch terrorists, but can’t the NSA legitimately argue that mass data collection works?
They’ve had it for 13 years and they haven’t done it [caught terrorists]. Not in the mass domestic collection – in the targeted approach, yes. If you separate out all the targeted individuals, what did the rest contribute to anything? The answer is zero. It contributes to law enforcement, not intelligence against terror. That’s the whole point. When you do the things that they do – dictionary select, like a Google query, you throw a bunch of words in and get a return. And if you do that for terrorism, you get everything in the haystack that has those words. So now you’re buried – by orders of magnitude worse than you used to be. So you don’t find them.
So why do they keep doing it?
http://www.constantinereport.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/aa15.jpg (http://www.constantinereport.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/aa15.jpg)Money. It takes a lot of money, you have to build up Bluffdale [the location of the NSA's data storage center, in Utah] to store all the data. If you collect all the data, you’ve got to store it, you have to hire more people to analyze it, you have to hire more contractors, managers to manage the flow. You have to start a big data initiative. It’s an empire. Look at what they’ve built! Have you ever looked around all the buildings they’ve built up because of 9/11?
So that’s what it’s all about, expanding the budget for the intelligence community?
If you have a problem, you need money to solve it. But if you solve that problem, you no longer have the justification to get money. That’s the way they view it – keep the problem going, so the money keeps flowing. Once you build up this big empire, you have to sustain it. … Look at the influence and power the intelligence community has over the government. They [the government] are giving them everything they want, they’re trying to cover up all their tracks and their crimes. Look at the influence and power they’re gaining.
This was presumably the reason why you left the NSA. How long did it take you to decide to leave? You left very quickly after the new programs were introduced following 9/11.
The acquisition of data was such that it was pretty clear that I couldn’t stick around at that point, but the slow process, starting in 80s and going into the 90s, was seeing the focus more on acquiring money to get contracts to build up the empire, as opposed to actually doing the mission. I watched that evolution from an organization that was unified – all skills were unified, then in the late 60s/early 70s they separated them – operations was here, technology moved over here. That created two separate camps with two different motives. One motive was to answer the questions in real life and deal with crises – that was the operations. On the other hand, you had the technology people who wanted to play around in the lab and build things. But the focus became getting money, because you need money to get contracts to buy equipment.
As someone who was instrumental in designing the NSA’s programs, do you sometimes feel like the man who invented the atom bomb?
No, because I designed it to do a proper job. These people subverted it. They corrupted it to violate the law and the constitution. The design I did followed all that … and I was open with Congress about what I was doing. … These cowards downtown in DC are changing our constitution – they’re scrapping the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments primarily. If you want to change the constitution, there’s a process to do that. That process means putting a proposal in Congress, get Congress to pass it and then you pass it around all the states, and if 75 percent of the states ratify it, then it’s a Constitutional Amendment. That’s the process. These cowards are doing it all in secret.
William Binney had a 30-year-career at the National Security Agency, which culminated in becoming its technical director. He resigned from the agency in October 2001 and became an outspoken critic of his former employers.

Peter Lemkin
09-25-2014, 05:13 AM
Fake Cell Phone Towers, Many on Military Bases, are Intercepting Calls Across the U.S.
By NORVELL ROSE / Western JournalismSeptember 22nd, 2014

BY NORVELL ROSE
Have you ever stopped to think that your cell phone conversations might be intercepted by so-called “fake” or “interceptor” cell towers? Could domestic surveillance and law enforcement agencies be using such towers to spy on people?

According to a recent investigative piece on newsweek.com, the answer is “yes” — cell towers operated by, or in service of, the government could well be messing with your private communications.

The Internet is abuzz with reports of mysterious devices sprinkled across America—many of them on military bases—that connect to your phone by mimicking cell phone towers and sucking up your data. There is little public information about these devices, but they are the new favorite toy of government agencies of all stripes; everyone from the National Security Agency to local police forces are using them.

Now the Washington Times reports that suspicious cell towers have been discovered not where they could be used by the government, but could present a real threat to government operations as well as to national security.

According to the Times article, experts have identified interceptor towers near locations where privileged communications are extremely sensitive — the White House and the U.S. Capitol. And who’s secretly doing the listening? Probably foreign agents, says one expert.

Cell Phone Tower Keithius Fake Cell Phone Towers, Many on Military Bases, are Intercepting Calls Across the U.S.“It’s highly unlikely that federal law enforcement would be using mobile interceptors near the Senate,” ESD America CEO Les Goldsmith told the technology website Venture Beat on Thursday.

The towers are also capable of loading spyware onto a mobile device before passing off a victim’s call to a legitimate network.

“My suspicion is that it is a foreign entity,” he told Venture Beat.

The reason Mr. Goldsmith doesn’t suspect U.S. agencies of placing the interceptors is that the federal government already has the capability of tapping directly into the carriers.

After a separate investigation, theblaze.com says that mysterious intercept devices — not necessarily large towers — have been located around the Russian embassy.

“In several locations including on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown D.C. someone is operating a full-blown intercept where whenever you walk past they actually break open your communications and look at what’s going on on the device,” [Aaron Turner, an expert in mobile security] said.

…it could be anyone “sitting up in an apartment building, it could be a device embedded in a copy machine inside of an office, these cell ‘towers’ don’t have to be big, they don’t have to be sitting on top of a roof. They can be embedded in another piece of equipment or be inside of a wall.”


http://www.westernjournalism.com/fake-cell-towers-possible-interceptors-have-just-been-discovered-in-a-very-scary-place/#m8soOj50i12D3K8D.99

Peter Lemkin
11-04-2014, 06:20 AM
GCHQ head says tech firms 'in denial' on extremism http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/78736000/jpg/_78736593_gchq_reuters.jpg





US technology companies have become "the command and control networks of choice" for extremists, the new head of GCHQ has claimed.
Writing in the Financial Times, (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/c89b6c58-6342-11e4-8a63-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3I2F0l6FM) Robert Hannigan says some US tech companies are "in denial" about how their services are being misused.
He also said UK security agencies needed support from "the largest US tech companies which dominate the web".
Extremist groups in Syria and Iraq had "embraced the web", he added.
Mr Hannigan argues that the big internet firms must work more closely with the intelligence services, warning that "privacy has never been an absolute right".
"However much they may dislike it, [US technology companies] have become the command and control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals, who find their services as transformational as the rest of us," he writes.
"The challenge to governments and their intelligence agencies is huge - and it can only be met with greater co-operation from technology companies.
"GCHQ and its sister agencies, MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service, cannot tackle these challenges at scale without greater support from the private sector, including the largest US technology companies which dominate the web."
The debate about whether security agencies should be allowed to access personal data through social-networking sites like Google and Facebook was brought to the fore in 2013 after Edward Snowden leaked details of alleged internet and phone surveillance by US intelligence.
Mr Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, faces espionage charges over his actions.
http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/75306000/jpg/_75306516_line976.jpg
Analysis http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/78737000/jpg/_78737133_78737132.jpg
Gordon Corera, BBC security correspondent
This is a hard-hitting article from the new GCHQ director in his first move on taking up the role. His aim is clear - to pressure tech companies to work more with government.
Following the Edward Snowden disclosures last year, some of those companies have been less willing to share data with intelligence and law enforcement and more inclined to encrypt it - making it harder for authorities to gain access.
Tech companies may be surprised by the ferocity of the attack. And they - and privacy activists - may also argue that the spies started this fight with the scale of their intelligence collection and by hacking into some of those companies.
But Robert Hannigan has wasted no time in wading into the debate over security and privacy and making clear he will not shy away from a fight.
http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/75306000/jpg/_75306516_line976.jpg
Mr Hannigan goes on to say that Islamic State (IS), also known as Isil, has a different approach to using the internet than other extremist groups have had.
"Where al-Qaeda and its affiliates saw the internet as a place to disseminate material anonymously or meet in 'dark spaces', Isis has embraced the web as a noisy channel in which to promote itself, intimidate people, and radicalise new recruits."
He also says most internet users "would be comfortable with a better and more sustainable relationship between the [intelligence] agencies and the tech companies".
Brent Hoberman, founder of lastminute.com, said he thought there should be a compromise.
He said: "We need more trust in the security services, I agree, and there were too many people that had access to Snowden files - 800,000 people or something - that's too many for high level security.
http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/78737000/jpg/_78737139_78737138.jpg Mr Hannigan was appointed as the new director of GCHQ in April
"But if we had enough confidence that they were only under due process with a warrant that was specific in limited cases - I want the security services to be able to get into my phone."
Rachel O'Connell, a former chief security officer at social networking site Bebo, said the security services were taking a "polarised position".
She said this was the case "particularly post-Snowden, where we were realising that there was a suspicion, in some cases substantiated, that the security services have total access to whatever is happening online.
"And that's a situation that's untenable if you are thinking about a democracy."
Hashtags strategy Earlier in the year an investigation by the Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/24/isis-twitter-youtube-message-social-media-jihadi) revealed how IS was using popular hashtags - including ones used during the Scottish Referendum - to boost the popularity of its material on Twitter.
Security minister James Brokenshire met recently with representatives from technology companies - including Google, Microsoft and Facebook - in Luxembourg to discuss ways to tackle online extremism.
The government's Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU), set up in 2010, has removed more than 49,000 pieces of content that "encourages or glorifies acts of terrorism" - 30,000 of which have been removed since December 2013.
Scotland Yard's head of counter-terrorism, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, has previously said that officers are removing more than 1,000 online postings a week, including graphic and violent videos and images.

Peter Lemkin
11-14-2014, 05:28 PM
A new report reveals the Justice Department is sweeping up data from vast swaths of the population by flying planes equipped with devices that mimic cellphone towers. According to The Wall Street Journal, the seven-year-old program, run by the U.S. Marshals Service, allows the government to trick tens of thousands of cellphones into reporting their location and identifying information over the course of a single flight. While the program is designed to target criminal suspects, it is reportedly ensnaring massive numbers of innocent Americans. The device can also interrupt calls on certain phones.

Peter Lemkin
11-23-2014, 06:17 AM
British telecom firm helped government spy on millions, TV station claims Reuters



Nov 21, 2014






LONDON – Telecommunications firm Cable & Wireless helped Britain eavesdrop on millions of Internet users worldwide, a British TV channel reported Thursday, citing previously secret documents leaked by a fugitive former U.S. National Security Agency contractor.
Cable & Wireless, which was bought by Vodafone in 2012, provided British spies with traffic from rival foreign communications companies, Channel 4 television said, citing documents stolen by Edward Snowden.
Channel 4 said Cable & Wireless gave Britain’s GCHQ eavesdropping agency access by renting space on one of the arteries of global communications, a cable that runs to the southern English region of Cornwall.
The Channel 4 report, which was impossible to immediately verify given the secrecy of the surveillance programs, said Cable & Wireless carried out surveillance on Internet traffic through its networks on behalf of British spies.
The documents cited in the report were not shown on Channel 4′s website. But previous disclosures by Snowden have illustrated the scale of U.S. and British eavesdropping on everything from phone calls and emails to Internet and social media.
Some telecommunications and Internet companies in Britain and the United States were asked or forced to cooperate with the eavesdropping programs, according to previous media reports.
When asked for comment on the Channel 4 report, Vodafone said in a statement that it had examined the history of Cable & Wireless compliance and found no evidence that would substantiate the allegations.
“We have found no indication whatsoever of unlawful activity within Vodafone or Cable & Wireless and we do not recognize any of the U.K. intelligence agency programs identified,” it said in a statement. “Furthermore, Vodafone does not own or operate the cables referred to.”
It added that national laws require it to disclose some information about its customers to law enforcement agencies or other government authorities when asked to do so.
In the wake of the Snowden revelations, GCHQ was accused by privacy groups and some lawmakers of illegally monitoring electronic communications.
British ministers denied any illegality and top spies dismissed suspicions of sinister intent, saying they sought only to defend the liberties of Western democracies. GCHQ declined to comment on the Channel 4 report.
Andrew Parker, director general of MI5, Britain’s domestic security service, warned last year that the revelations from Snowden, who now lives in Moscow, were a gift to terrorists because they had exposed GCHQ’s ability to track, listen and watch plotters.

David Guyatt
11-23-2014, 08:43 AM
When asked for comment on the Channel 4 report, Vodafone said in a statement that it had examined the history of Cable & Wireless compliance and found no evidence that would substantiate the allegations.
“We have found no indication whatsoever of unlawful activity within Vodafone or Cable & Wireless and we do not recognize any of the U.K. intelligence agency programs identified,” it said in a statement. “Furthermore, Vodafone does not own or operate the cables referred to.”


A classic non denial denial. "We have not found", "we have found no indication", we do not recognise", "Vodafone does not own or operate"...

PR lie-speak.

Magda Hassan
11-23-2014, 10:04 AM
Would go a long way to to explain the reluctance of the authorities to go after them for all the tax they owe.

Peter Lemkin
12-08-2014, 09:45 AM
Auroragold: Cellular Spying Operation Infiltrates 70 Percent Of Global Networks http://cdn.inquisitr.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/snowden-665x385.jpg

Edward Snowden says that the National Security Agency has a secret program called Auroragold. The program was designed so that the agency could take control of every telecommunication network across the globe to obtain full access to every mobile phone user on Earth.

According to Computer World (http://www.computerworld.com/article/2855651/nsa-spy-program-targets-mobile-networks.html), the NSA has conducted a covert campaign to intercept internal communications of operators and trade groups in order to infiltrate mobile networks worldwide, according to the latest revelations from documents supplied by Edward Snowden (http://www.inquisitr.com/1179873/edward-snowden-talks-to-ted-about-what-the-nsa-doesnt-want-us-to-know/).

“The NSA documents show that as of May 2012 the agency had collected technical information on about 70 percent of the estimated 985 mobile phone networks worldwide.”
The Intercept (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/04/nsa-auroragold-hack-cellphones/), a publication that has played in integral role in helping Snowden leak NSA documents to the public through various media outlets, posted the information surrounding Auroragold in piece titled “Operation Auroragold: How The NSA Hacks Cellphone Networks Worldwide. (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/04/nsa-auroragold-hack-cellphones/)” Snowden notes that in March 2011, two weeks before the Western intervention in Libya, a secret message was delivered to the National Security Agency. An intelligence unit within the U.S. military’s Africa Command needed help to hack into Libya’s cellphone networks and monitor text messages.
For the NSA, the task was easy. The agency had already obtained technical information about the cellphone carriers’ internal systems by spying on documents sent among company employees, and these details would provide the perfect blueprint to help the military break into the networks. The NSA’s assistance in the Libya operation, however, was not an isolated case. It was part of a much larger surveillance program—global in its scope and ramifications—targeted not just at hostile countries.
In fact, documents provided to The Intercept by Edward Snowden show that the NSA has spied on hundreds of companies and organizations internationally. However, it was not just hostile countries that were included in the program, the US even included countries with close ties to the US in an effort to find security weaknesses in cellphone technology as a whole. In turn, the NSA hoped to exploit the weaknesses found for surveillance purposes if needed.
If you look at the documents provided by Snowden, you can see that as of May 15, 2012, the Auroragold project touted that it had collected the technical information on 701 of the estimated 985 working networks. They also note that they have 1201 actively managed email selectors. This means that the NSA has actively monitored the content of messages sent and received of more than 1,200 email accounts associated with major cellphone network operators, intercepting confidential company planning papers that help the NSA hack into phone networks.
The Auroragold documents speak a lot to the GSM Association, or GSMA, which is an influential UK-headquartered trade group. The Intercept notes that the GSM Association works closely with large US-based firms including Microsoft, Facebook, AT&T, and Cisco, and is currently being funded by the US government to develop privacy-enhancing technologies.
When the Aurorogold documents were shown to cellphone security experts they were alarmed at what they saw. The Snowden documents show that the NSA is actively adding “security flaws” in to the cellphone networks to gain access to the systems. In the process they are opening the doors to other hackers. Karsten Nohl, a leading cellphone security expert and cryptographer who was consulted by The Intercept (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/04/nsa-auroragold-hack-cellphones/) about details contained in the Auroragold documents, put it bluntly.

“Collecting an inventory [like this] on world networks has big ramifications. Even if you love the NSA and you say you have nothing to hide, you should be against a policy that introduces security vulnerabilities because once NSA introduces a weakness, a vulnerability, it’s not only the NSA that can exploit it.”

Peter Lemkin
12-30-2014, 07:16 AM
A new wave of U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) document leaks show the agency wasn’t able to spy on everyone thanks to some encryption tools several programs use that successfully thwart digital espionage.
German magazine Der Spiegel reported (http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/inside-the-nsa-s-war-on-internet-security-a-1010361.html) the NSA couldn’t decipher communications such as emails and online chat messages from a handful of services that use encryption beyond the NSA’s code-cracking abilities, based on documents obtained from former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013. Der Spiegel recently analyzed NSA documents Snowden previously released to news outlets in 2013.
“[U]biquitous encryption on the Internet is a major threat to NSA’s ability to prosecute digital-network intelligence (DNI) traffic or defeat adversary malware,” an NSA employee said in an internal training (http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/bild-1010361-793528.html) document from 2012.

Programs that used OTR or off-the-record or end-to-end encryption such as the anonymous network Tor and professional software company Zoho’s email and chat services proved to be major challenges (http://www.theverge.com/2014/12/28/7458159/encryption-standards-the-nsa-cant-crack-pgp-tor-otr-snowden) for the NSA. The agency also reported that it couldn’t break into files using TrueCrypt, a recently decommissioned open-source, whole disk-encryption service, along with other encryption tools that kept some messages unreadable.
The NSA was stumped further if users incorporated a variety of security measures, such as using Tor to connect to the internet, CSpace to send online messages and ZRTP to make phone calls. That combination made individuals nearly invisible to the NSA, Der Spiegel reported.
But the leaked documents also revealed which services provide little privacy protections. The NSA labeled the services and files such as “trivial,” “moderate” or “catastrophic” based on how easy they were to decrypt. Hacking into Facebook chats were considered “minor,” Der Spiegel reported, while getting emails through “mail.ru,” a Moscow internet service provider was a “moderate” task.
Moreover, using a virtual private network or VPN provides minimal security. VPNs, which can be used to circumvent online government censorship and surveillance, is exploited by the NSA thanks to a team dedicated to hacking VPN connections such as the ones used by Greek government agencies.
Public concerns over government surveillance have swelled and fueled a global push for better privacy practices, including standardized encryption across the internet since last year’s Snowden revelations. The NSA released a slew of redacted documents Christmas Eve detailing how the agency and others in the intelligence community knowingly or unwittingly violated privacy laws to collect data (http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/12/26/3606958/nsa-violations-christmas-eve-dump/). The document release confirms earlier reports and suspicions that the agency’s spy programs mainly collected private online communications from ordinary citizens (http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/07/06/3456733/snowden-emails-report/) rather than suspected terrorists.
Earlier this year, Snowden encouraged (http://thinkprogress.org/media/2014/03/10/3384291/snowden-sxsw/) tech companies at the SXSW conference to take the lead by encrypting all of their services to combat government surveillance. Everyday citizens have heeded Snowden’s advice (http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/05/17/3438919/more-people-turn-to-encryption-after-snowden-leaks/), increasing encryption use more than 60 percent since news of the NSA’s spy program hit in 2013. Tech companies such as WordPress, Tumblr and Google have also boosted their web security (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/12/2014-web-encryption-roundup) with tougher encryption measures.
International governments have also taken more precautions to prevent U.S. intelligence agencies from eavesdropping on official communications. Germany and Russia vowed earlier this year to switch to paper communications (http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/07/15/3460244/typewriters-nsa/) including handwritten notes and typewriters to avoid detection. Other countries have responded by beefing up their own spy programs (http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/09/25/3572142/australia-government-surveillance-laws/) or doubling down on American tech companies operating overseas.
Companies such as Google and Facebook have had to combat international threats to ban their services if the companies fail to adhere to strict privacy guidelines. European regulators have chastised the companies for disregarding consumer privacy, and have moved to reign in indiscriminate voracious data collection practices. Italy recently gave the company 18 months to adopt newly imposed privacy policies (http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/07/22/3462593/google-faces-tougher-privacy-regulations-in-italy-has-18-months-to-comply/) that would require the company to routinely purge user data and get expressed permission before tracking consumers’ internet activity for advertisements.
Facebook is awaiting a controversial European Union high court ruling that could determine whether the social network illegally let the NSA spy on European users. If the company loses, other tech companies could be face tougher privacy laws, like getting expressed permission to collect and store consumer data, if they want to do business in Europe.

David Guyatt
01-20-2015, 08:52 AM
A class apart. Calls for GCHQ to leave alone journalists, MPs and lawyers. The rest of us are fair game for snooping.

I do so love double standards. Nice one Rusbridger.



GCHQ captured emails of journalists from top international media

• Snowden files reveal emails of BBC, NY Times and more
• Agency includes investigative journalists on ‘threat’ list
• Editors call on Cameron to act against snooping on media







James Ball (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/jamesball)
Follow @jamesrbuk (https://twitter.com/jamesrbuk) Follow @GuardianUS (https://twitter.com/GuardianUS)
The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian), Monday 19 January 2015 15.04 GMT
Jump to comments (568) (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/19/gchq-intercepted-emails-journalists-ny-times-bbc-guardian-le-monde-reuters-nbc-washington-post#start-of-comments)

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/1/19/1421677388050/GCHQ-011.jpgThe journalists’ communications were among 70,000 emails harvested in less than 10 minutes on one day in November 2008 by GCHQ. Photograph: GCHQ/EPA

GCHQ’s bulk surveillance of electronic communications has scooped up emails to and from journalists working for some of the US and UK’s largest media organisations, analysis of documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.
Emails from the BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Sun, NBC and the Washington Post were saved by GCHQ and shared on the agency’s intranet as part of a test exercise by the signals intelligence agency.
The disclosure comes as the British government faces intense pressure to protect the confidential communications of reporters, MPs and lawyers from snooping.
The journalists’ communications were among 70,000 emails harvested in the space of less than 10 minutes on one day in November 2008 by one of GCHQ’s numerous taps on the fibre-optic cables that make up the backbone of the internet.
The communications, which were sometimes simple mass-PR emails sent to dozens of journalists but also included correspondence between reporters and editors discussing stories, were retained by GCHQ and were available to all cleared staff on the agency intranet. There is nothing to indicate whether or not the journalists were intentionally targeted.
The mails appeared to have been captured and stored as the output of a then-new tool being used to strip irrelevant data out of the agency’s tapping process.
New evidence from other UK intelligence documents revealed by Snowden also shows that a GCHQ information security assessment listed “investigative journalists” as a threat in a hierarchy alongside terrorists or hackers.
Senior editors and lawyers in the UK have called for the urgent introduction of a freedom of expression law amid growing concern over safeguards proposed by ministers to meet concerns over the police use of surveillance powers linked to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (Ripa).
More than 100 editors, including those from all the national newspapers, have signed a letter, coordinated by the Society of Editors and Press Gazette, to the UK prime minister, David Cameron, protesting at snooping on journalists’ communications.
In the wake of terror attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices and a Jewish grocer in Paris, Cameron has renewed calls for further bulk-surveillance powers, such as those which netted these journalistic communications.
Ripa has been used to access journalists’ communications without a warrrant, with recent cases including police accessing the phone records of Tom Newton-Dunn, the Sun’s political editor, over the Plebgate investigation. The call records of Mail on Sunday reporters involved in the paper’s coverage of Chris Huhne’s speeding row were also accessed in this fashion.
Under Ripa, neither the police nor the security services need to seek the permission of a judge to investigate any UK national’s phone records – instead, they must obtain permission from an appointed staff member from the same organisation, not involved in their investigation.
However, there are some suggestions in the documents that the collection of billing data by GCHQ under Ripa goes wider – and that it may not be confined to specific target individuals.
A top secret document discussing Ripa initially explains the fact that billing records captured under Ripa are available to any government agency is “unclassified” provided that there is “no mention of bulk”.
The GCHQ document goes on to warn that the fact that billing records “kept under Ripa are not limited to warranted targets” must be kept as one of the agency’s most tightly guarded secrets, at a classification known as “Top secret strap 2”.
That is two levels higher than a normal top secret classification – as it refers to “HMG [Her Majesty’s government] relationships with industry that have areas of extreme sensitivity”.
Internal security advice shared among the intelligence agencies was often as preoccupied with the activities of journalists as with more conventional threats such as foreign intelligence, hackers or criminals.
One restricted document intended for those in army intelligence warned that “journalists and reporters representing all types of news media represent a potential threat to security”.
It continued: “Of specific concern are ‘investigative journalists’ who specialise in defence-related exposés either for profit or what they deem to be of the public interest.
“All classes of journalists and reporters may try either a formal approach or an informal approach, possibly with off-duty personnel, in their attempts to gain official information to which they are not entitled.”
It goes on to caution “such approaches pose a real threat”, and tells staff they must be “immediately reported” to the chain-of-command.
GCHQ information security assessments, meanwhile, routinely list journalists between “terrorism” and “hackers” as “influencing threat sources”, with one matrix scoring journalists as having a “capability” score of two out of five, and a “priority” of three out of five, scoring an overall “low” information security risk.
Terrorists, listed immediately above investigative journalists on the document, were given a much higher “capability” score of four out of five, but a lower “priority” of two. The matrix concluded terrorists were therefore a “moderate” information security risk.
A spokesman for GCHQ said: “It is longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters. Furthermore, all of GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework, which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the secretary of state, the interception and intelligence services commissioners and the parliamentary intelligence and security committee.
“All our operational processes rigorously support this position. In addition, the UK’s interception regime is entirely compatible with the European convention on human rights.”

Peter Lemkin
01-28-2015, 10:03 AM
Forget Your Smartphone, the Government Is Secretly Tracking Where You Drive By Jason Duaine Hahn (http://www.complex.com/author/jason-duaine-hahn)
















If something can be spied upon, bet that the American government is already spying on it.
After filing dozens of Freedom of Information Act requests, the American Civil Liberties Union (https://www.aclu.org/blog/technology-and-liberty-criminal-law-reform/foia-documents-reveal-massive-dea-program-record-ame) uncovered a secret Drug Enforcement Administration program that tracks drivers in real-time using license plate scanners. It launched in 2008, and uses DEA-owned scanners and devices used by local law enforcement to create a nationwide database that catalogs hundreds of millions of cars and "identifies the travel patterns (https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/33568%20Pages%20from%2033552-33575%202014.01.31%20-%20DEA%20Response.pdf#page=2)" of drivers.
Though the documents were heavily censored by the government—and many had their dates redacted—they showed that the DEA set up at least 100 of their own scanners in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey. If you're wondering why the DEA and not the NSA is running the program, that's because it was originally meant to be a weapon in the War on Drugs. The program initially monitored vehicles used by drug cartels near the border, but it expanded to allow local and state officials to tap into the database and track vehicles involved in kidnappings, rape, and murder across the country. A scanner on a police vehicle can collect information on more than 14,000 plates during (https://www.eff.org/file/36979#page/8/mode/1up)a single shift.
According to the documents, one of the tracking program's main goals is "asset forfeiture," which lets agencies keep "cars, cash and other valuables" they come across when stopping suspected criminals. "Criminal" becomes a flexible word in a lot of these cases. Here's John Oliver's segment on the abuse of civil forfeiture:





"It’s unconscionable that technology with such far-reaching potential would be deployed in such secrecy," the ACLU's Jay Stanley told the Wall Street Journal (http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-spies-on-millions-of-cars-1422314779). "People might disagree about exactly how we should use such powerful surveillance technologies, but it should be democratically decided, it shouldn’t be done in secret."
Luckily the DEA shortened the time it keeps the information from two years to three months. But if a driver isn't flagged for committing a crime, why not delete this data immediately? This is the same agency that admitted to keeping phone data for 15 years (http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/17/dea-kept-records-of-us-phone-calls/) without any judicial oversight. During that time they "recreated" trails of evidence to hide the fact that they used phone data to get it.
You might feel it's not a big deal if the government knows you went to Target everyday this week, but don't forget that this is just one slice of information they collect—which already includes phone metadata and GPS-tracking (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order). This information adds up and can paint a more revealing profile of you than anything you've ever put on Facebook.
http://images.complex.com/complex/image/upload/t_in_content_image/rks4lis0lpakuqs5f1al.png
License plate scanner out in the wild.It's completely legal to record things that are in public view, like a license plate on a car traveling down a freeway, but it's creepy to think that your location is being logged and can be viewed by a collection of law enforcement agencies. While using this technology to find kidnappers, rapists, and murderers might seem like a good benefit, surveillance programs are usually clogged with abuse.
Edward Snowden's NSA leaks revealed that agencies constantly exploited their power. In one case, Snowden saw employees at the NSA sharing images they intercepted of naked women. NSA agents also regularly collected data (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/in-nsa-intercepted-data-those-not-targeted-far-outnumber-the-foreigners-who-are/2014/07/05/8139adf8-045a-11e4-8572-4b1b969b6322_story.html)on Internet users who had nothing to do with illegal activities, or used their tools to spy on love interests (http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/08/23/nsa-officers-sometimes-spy-on-love-interests/). It isn't clear if any court oversees the license plate program, and none of the documents say how much it's even working.
It's a little ironic that cops recently asked Google to disable Waze (http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/01/27/police-google-waze/22394629/), an app that lets users tag the locations of cop cars, but they're cool with using a program to track millions of drivers.
Just wait until Wi-Fi becomes a regular thing in cars (http://jalopnik.com/gms-4g-in-car-wifi-works-surprisingly-well-1643947979). That'll be fun.

Peter Lemkin
02-08-2015, 06:29 AM
In Latest Vindication Of Snowden, Court Rules UK Mass Surveillance Illegal
'We must not allow agencies to continue justifying mass surveillance programmes using secret interpretations of secret laws,' said Privacy International director Eric King.
By Nadia Prupis for Common Dreams (http://www.mintpressnews.com/author/nadia-prupis/) @nadiaprupis | February 7, 2015 (http://www.mintpressnews.com/latest-vindication-snowden-court-rules-uk-mass-surveillance-illegal/201949/)


http://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/AP050726016574.jpg
In the latest vindication of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, a U.K. ruled (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/feb/06/gchq-mass-internet-surveillance-unlawful-court-nsa) on Friday that the British government violated human rights law by failing to safeguard some aspects of its intelligence-sharing operations until December 2014.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal found that the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) accessed information obtained by the National Security Agency (NSA) without sufficient oversight, violating Articles 8 and 10 of the European convention on human rights. According (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/02/06/uk-britain-surveillance-idUKKBN0LA14520150206) to Reuters, “The tribunal’s concern, addressed in the new ruling, was that until details of how GCHQ and the NSA shared data were made public in the course of the court proceedings, the legal safeguards provided by British law were being side-stepped.”
The Guardian adds, “The ruling appears to suggest that aspects of the operations were illegal for at least seven years—between 2007, when the Prism intercept [program] was introduced, and 2014.”
Article 8 guarantees the right to privacy; Article 10 protects free expression.
“For far too long, intelligence agencies like GCHQ and NSA have acted like they are above the law,” said Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, one of the human rights groups that brought the case to the IPT. “Today’s decision confirms to the public what many have said all along—over the past decade, GCHQ and the NSA have been engaged in an illegal mass surveillance sharing program that has affected millions of people around the world.”
The New York Times reports (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/07/world/europe/electronic-surveillance-by-spy-agencies-was-illegal-british-court-says.html):

Although privacy campaigners claimed the decision as a victory, many experts said the British and American intelligence agencies would continue to share information obtained with electronic surveillance, even if they had to slightly alter their techniques to comply with human rights law.
Named in the decision (http://www.ipt-uk.com/docs/Liberty_Ors_Judgment_6Feb15.pdf) (pdf) were the NSA’s controversial PRISM program, which whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed in 2013 as the invasive spying operations being conducted on U.S. citizens.
Investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald, who reported on Snowden’s document leak, tweeted on Friday:


“We must not allow agencies to continue justifying mass surveillance programmes using secret interpretations of secret laws,” King continued. “The world owes Edward Snowden a great debt for blowing the whistle, and today’s decision is a vindication of his actions.”
IPT’s decision marks the first time that the highly-secretive court has ever ruled against any of the U.K.’s intelligence services in its entire 15-year existence.
During IPT hearings in 2014, Matthew Ryder, a lawyer for civil rights group Liberty, charged that intelligence agencies were building vast databases from unlawfully obtained emails and other communications.
However, the IPT ruled in December last year that British and American intelligence agencies had brought their oversight policies in line with European law, and could continue sharing information legally.
A GCHQ spokesperson did not address the IPT’s new ruling in a statement on Friday, focusing only on the court’s December decision which allowed the agency to continue its spying operations. “We are pleased that the court has once again ruled that the U.K.’s bulk interception regime is fully lawful,” the spokesperson said. “By its nature, much of GCHQ’s work must remain secret. But we are working with the rest of government to improve public understanding about what we do.”
The privacy and human rights groups who brought the case against GCHQ to the IPT last year have also appealed that ruling.
“After a decade and a half of siding with the Government, it is welcome that the IPT is beginning to hold our spies to account,” said Cori Crider, director of legal charity Reprieve. “But stark problems with the UK’s surveillance system remain: for years the government has written itself a blank cheque to eavesdrop on confidential communications between lawyers and clients – even in cases where the Government itself is in the dock. This is totally unfair and undermines the core premise of our legal system.”
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France will hear the appeal by the end of the year at the earliest. It will potentially allow citizens who believe they were targeted by surveillance programs before December 2014 to petition the court for the information that has been collected about them.

Peter Lemkin
02-10-2015, 08:08 AM
Samsung (http://data.cnbc.com/quotes/593%27A-KR)'s Smart TV may be a little too smart for its own good.
Tucked into the privacy policy (https://www.samsung.com/uk/info/privacy-SmartTV.html) of the South Korean electronics behemoth's Smart TV are a few paragraphs that may send chills down the spine of some consumers. According to the document, the unit's voice recognition protocols can "capture voice c