Page 30 of 49 FirstFirst ... 202728293031323340 ... LastLast
Results 291 to 300 of 486

Thread: US spy chief Clapper defends Prism and phone surveillance

  1. #291

    Default

    In another new revelation, leaks from Edward Snowden show the National Security Agency has paid millions of dollars to cover the tech companies’ expenses for complying with the PRISM surveillance program. Through PRISM, the NSA has reportedly tapped directly into the networks of tech giants including Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and Facebook to collect users’ data. The companies have denied direct involvement in PRISM, but the latest disclosures show they were paid millions of dollars for taking part.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  2. #292

    Default

    Outgoing FBI director uses fear-mongering to defend spying programs



    Original published at WSWS

    By Thomas Gaist

    FBI Director Robert Mueller alleged that new terrorism threats were emerging in Tunisia, Libya, Mali, Algeria, Syria, and Egypt, as well as in the United States during an interview with cable channel CNN on Thursday. The purpose of Mueller's statement is to stoke fear and apprehension in the American population to justify the police state surveillance programs set up by the government.

    "You have al Qaeda growing in countries like Somalia, but most particularly in Yemen. And there's still substantial threat out of Yemen," said Mueller. "And now you have the countries in the Arab Spring: Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Mali; Egypt most recently, where they're breeding grounds for radical extremists " you have, within the United States, the growth of homegrown, radicalized extremists who are radicalized on the Internet and then get their instructions for developing explosives on the Internet, as well."
    Mueller provided no facts to support his claims. Of course, even accepting this were all true, no American media interviewer would ask why so many in the Middle East hated and wanted to attack the US and whether or not that anything to do with predatory American military and foreign policy in the region.
    Overall, the FBI director's comments to CNN were a series of lies and distortions. For example, Mueller asserted that the NSA surveillance programs developed since the 2001 attacks could have prevented the 9/11 events by allowing the government to identify the individual plotters in advance: "I think there's a good chance we would have prevented at least a part of 9/11. In other words, there were four planes. There were almost 20 -- 19 persons involved. I think we would have had a much better chance of identifying those individuals who were contemplating that attack."
    The claim that NSA spying might have prevented 9/11, which is not original to Mueller, is contradicted by an entire body of evidence. Many, if not all, of the perpetrators were well known to the FBI and the CIA, who monitored and tracked the plotters for many months. The CIA and FBI ignored repeated warnings from local agents and agents abroad of the threat of an impending attack, including the use of aircraft against buildings. The preponderance of the evidence strongly suggests, in fact, that the Bush administration permitted some sort of terrorist attack to proceed, in order to provide it the pretext for the launching of wars in the Middle East and the passage of anti-democratic, repressive legislation.


    Mueller also claimed during the interview that the NSA surveillance programs only acquire metadata, saying that other types of data require a "court order."
    "I would think the programs [that] have come under scrutiny recently are designed to pick up, for the most part, metadata or to that extent that there is more than metadata, you have to do it by court order," Mueller said.
    Leaving aside what Mueller "would think," numerous reports released over the past months have shown that the NSA surveillance programs involve the collection and analysis of the content of vast numbers of communications in the US and abroad, without requiring specific warrants or specific court orders. Mass data collection targeting the American people, not confined to metadata, but encompassing many types of data, including the content of emails, telephone calls and text messages, is currently ongoing. For his part, Mueller has been a strong defender of surveillance, including bulk collection of US phone records.
    Prompted by the CNN host, "We've given up some civil liberties, though, since 2001. Do you agree?" Mueller answered, "Well, I would query about what do you mean in terms of civil liberties. Do we exchange information in ways we did not before? Absolutely. You can say that that is a ... to the extent that you exchange information between CIA, FBI, NSA and the like ... you could characterize that as somehow giving up liberties. But the fact of the matter is, it's understandable and absolutely necessary if you want to protect the security of the United States."
    Thus speaks the police-state personality. For Mueller, it is taken for granted that the various agencies should collect vast amounts of data on the US and foreign populations, and then share this data amongst themselves, as these measures are "absolutely necessary" to protect US security.
    When asked about the FBI's knowledge of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev's ties to extremist groups, Mueller claimed that a thorough investigation had been made into Tsarnaev and the inquiry was abandoned because no evidence of criminal activity was found:
    "We got notice from the Russians who looked at this particular individual and the agent who received that on the Joint Terrorism Task Force did a very thorough job in following up that. He ran all the -- all of the traces. [Went] to the college that he had attended [and] interviewed the parents and ultimately interviewed him and could not find any basis to do a further in -- investigation. So I think we did follow up on that," Mueller said.
    Despite Mueller's soothing assertions, evidence points to the fact that federal agents shut down an investigation of Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the aftermath of the September 12, 2011 triple homicide in Waltham, Massachusetts. Tsarnaev's regular visits to the crime scene in the years before the murder, his proficiency in martial arts and his suspicious behavior following the killings -- such as joking about one of the victims with whom he had supposedly been close friends -- should have made him a prime suspect.
    Instead, Tsarnaev was never even questioned by the agents investigating the murder, nor were the hang-out spots frequented by Tsarnaev and one of the victims visited even once by investigators. Tsarnaev was later allowed to travel to Dagestan in the North Caucasus in 2012, where he associated with separatist extremists, and then to re-enter the United States unmolested.
    Mueller acknowledged during recent congressional testimony that the FBI withheld information on the agency's investigation of Tamerlan Tsarnaev from state and local officials in the run-up to the Boston bombings. A crucial unanswered question thus continues to hang over the affair: Why was critical information on the Tsarnaev brothers, who were residing in the Boston metro area and acquiring detonators and explosive materials, intentionally not shared with state and local law enforcement?

    Mueller warned that a serious terrorist attack is more or less inevitable, saying "an attack will probably slip through at some point in time." If such an attack occurs, it will most likely be either directly planned by US intelligence as a "false flag" operation, or carried out by forces with ties to the CIA and the FBI, as has been the case with every attack or thwarted attack over the past decade.
    Mueller will be replaced by James Comey, who he referred to as "a good friend, an excellent choice and a superb prosecutor." Comey supported torture while serving as a top legal official for the Bush administration and has shown himself to be an enthusiastic defender of the spying programs.
    Asked about Edward Snowden, Mueller replied, "All I will tell you is that there are outstanding charges and our expectation is that he can and should be brought to justice."
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  3. #293

    Default "The Sky Is Falling" screamed Chicken Little

    UK took three weeks to act over data at New York Times, says Guardian

    Alan Rusbridger hits back at Downing Street's claims in high court that it 'urgently' needed access to leaked GCHQ files


    Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of Guardian News and Media, who said government delays 'belied the picture of urgency painted in court'. Photograph: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Getty

    The government took more than three weeks to act on authoritative information about the whereabouts of a collection of secret intelligence data leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, despite now claiming the information risks "grave damage" to the security of British intelligence and armed forces, the Guardian said on Friday.
    Guardian News and Media's editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, hit back at Downing Street's claims made in the high court that it "urgently" needed to access leaked intelligence data seized at Heathrow this month from the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist reporting on US and UK mass digital surveillance programmes.
    Rusbridger said that on 22 July, two days after the Guardian complied with a government request to destroy computer hardware containing encrypted GCHQ files from Snowden, a former CIA employee, executives at the newspaper directed the UK government towards the New York Times and ProPublica, US publishers with whom the paper had shared secret material from GCHQ.
    It took a further 23 days until the British embassy in Washington contacted Jill Abramson, the US paper's executive editor, by phone about the data. A meeting followed the next day. Since then there has been no further contact with the New York Times, the Guardian said.
    On Friday in the latest stage of a high court challenge by David Miranda, Greenwald's partner, over the legality of his detention for questioning on 18 August as he carried leaked data through Heathrow, Britain's deputy national security adviser, Oliver Robbins said in a written submission: "We urgently need to identify and to understand the entirety of the material … in order to assess the risks of sensitive intelligence sources and methods and the threat to intelligence agency staff should their identities or details of their operational tradecraft be obtained by hostile actors."
    David Miranda's lawyer Gwendolen Morgan outside the high court after it granted extended powers to police. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/ReutersBut Rusbridger said government delays in following up further UK intelligence files in New York "belied the picture of urgency and crisis painted in court".
    "The government wanted the judge to believe that they have at all times behaved with the utmost urgency because of a grave threat to national security represented by newspapers working responsibly on the Snowden documents and their implications for society," he said. "But for most of the time since early June little has happened.
    "On 22 July the Guardian directed the government towards the New York Times and ProPublica, both of whom had secret material from GCHQ. It was more than three weeks before anyone contacted the NYT. No one has contacted ProPublica, and there have been two weeks of further silence towards the NYT from the government.
    "This five weeks in which nothing has happened tells a different story from the alarmist claims before the court. The government's behaviour does not match their rhetoric in trying to justify and exploit this dismaying blurring of terror and journalism."
    A Cabinet Office spokesman declined to comment pending the ongoing legal action. The New York Times declined to comment on whether the UK authorities asked it to destroy the data.
    David Miranda, left, with his partner, the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald. Photograph: APThe high court granted the Metropolitan police extended powers to investigate whether crimes related to terrorism and breaches of the Official Secrets Act have been committed. Appearing for Miranda, Matthew Ryder QC said his client accepted the terms as part of "a pragmatic approach" to the dispute before a full hearing expected in October into the legality of Miranda's detention and the seizure of his data.
    Following a ruling by Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Kenneth Parker, the police will now investigate whether possession of the seized material constitutes a crime under the Terrorism Act 2000, which prohibits possessing information that might be useful to terrorists and specifically "eliciting, publishing or communicating" information about members of the armed forces, intelligence agencies and police which terrorists could use. They are also considering possible crimes under section 1 of the Official Secrets Act 1911, which deals with communication of material to an enemy, and "various offences" under the Official Secrets Act 1989.
    In his statement, Robbins claimed the encrypted material included personal information of UK intelligence officers, any compromise of which would result in a risk to the lives of them and their families and the risk their becoming recruitment targets for terrorists and hostile spy agencies. The hard drive seized from Miranda contained approximately 58,000 highly classified UK intelligence documents, the compromise of which "would do serious damage to UK national security and ultimately risk lives".
    He said a piece of paper with the password to part of the encrypted files was discovered along with the hard drive and Robbins criticised Miranda and his associates for "very poor judgment in their security arrangements with respect to the material rendering the appropriation of the material, or at least access to it by other, non-state actors, a real possibility". He said the government believes the data may have already been obtained by one or more of the countries through which Snowden has passed since he fled the US. They include China and Russia, where Snowden is living.
    A separate statement by the Met police counter-terrorism officer handling the police investigation, Det Supt Caroline Goode, said disclosure of the 58,000 documents on the hard drive "would be gravely injurious to UK interests". She said only 75 have so far been decrypted and reconstructed into a legible format.
    Gwendolen Morgan, solicitor for Miranda, disputed the evidence presented by the authorities. "The Home Office and Metropolitan police have lodged evidence with the court in which they make sweeping assertions about national security threats which they said entitled them to look at the materials seized, but they have said that they cannot provide further details in open court," she said. "Mr Miranda does not accept the assertions they have made and is disappointed that the UK government is attempting to justify the use of terrorist powers by making what appear to be unfounded assertions."


    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  4. #294

    Default Its getting nasty 'out there'....

    The End of Internet Privacy? Glenn Greenwald on Secret NSA Program to Crack Online Encryption


    A new exposé based on the leaks of Edward Snowden has revealed the National Security Agency has developed methods to crack online encryption used to protect emails, banking and medical records. "Encryption is really the system that lets the Internet function as an important commercial instrument all around the world," says Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian, which collaborated with The New York Times and ProPublica on the reporting. "It’s what lets you enter your credit card number, check your banking records, buy and sell things online, get your medical tests online, engage in private communications. It’s what protects the sanctity of the Internet." Documents leaked by Snowden reveal the NSA spends $250 million a year on a program which, among other goals, works with technology companies to "covertly influence" their product designs. "The entire system is now being compromised by the NSA and their British counterpart, the GCHQ," Greenwald says. "Systematic efforts to ensure that there is no form of human commerce, human electronic communication, that is ever invulnerable to their prying eyes."


    Transcript

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

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The Guardian, The New York Times and ProPublica have jointly revealed the National Security Agency is successfully waging a long-running secret war on encryption, jeopardizing hundreds of millions of people’s ability to protect their privacy online. The New York Times writes, quote, "The NSA has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world." Security experts say the NSA program "undermine[s] the fabric of the internet." The revelations are based on documents from the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
    AMY GOODMAN: The documents also show the NSA spends $250 million a year on a program which, among other goals, works with technology companies to covertly influence their product designs. The NSA has also been deliberately weakening the international encryption standards adopted by developers. And according to the documents, a GCHQ team has reportedly been working to develop ways into encrypted traffic on the "big four" service providers, named as Hotmail, Google, Yahoo and Facebook. The spy agencies insist that the ability to defeat encryption is vital to their core missions of counterterrorism and foreign intelligence gathering.
    Well, for more, we’re joined by Democracy Now! video stream by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian, co-author of the new article, "US and UK Spy Agencies Defeat Privacy and Security on the Internet." Glenn Greenwald first published Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA surveillance programs and continues to write extensively on the topic.
    Glenn, welcome back to Democracy Now! We haven’t spoken to you since your partner, David Miranda, was held at Heathrow for nine hours, the airport in Britain, and we want to get to that. But first, talk about the significance of this latest exposé that both The Guardian, The New York Times and ProPublica have published today.
    GLENN GREENWALD: First of all, I think there’s significance just in the partnership itself. It’s very unusual for three media organizations to work so closely on a story of this magnitude. And that happened because the U.K. government tried forcibly to prevent The Guardian from reporting on these documents by pressuring The Guardian editor-in-chief in London, Alan Rusbridger, to destroy the hard drives of The Guardian which contained these materials, which is why they ended up making their way to The New York Times and ProPublica. So I think it clearly backfired, now that there are other media organizations, including probably the most influential in the world, The New York Times, now vested in reporting on the story.
    The significance of the story itself, I think, is easy to see. When people hear encryption, they often think about what certain people who are very interested in maintaining the confidentiality of their communications use, whether it be lawyers talking to their clients, human rights activists dealing with sensitive matters, people working against oppressive governments. And those people do use encryption, and it’s extremely important that it be safeguarded. And the fact that the NSA is trying to not only break it for themselves, but to make it weaker and put backdoors into all these programs makes all of those very sensitive communications vulnerable to all sorts of people around the world, not just the NSA, endangering human rights activists and democracy activists and lawyers and their clients and a whole variety of other people engaged in sensitive work.
    But encryption is much more than that. Encryption is really the system that lets the Internet function as an important commercial instrument all around the world. It’s what lets you enter your credit card number, check your banking records, buy and sell things online, get your medical tests online, engage in private communications. It’s what protects the sanctity of the Internet. And what these documents show is not just that the NSA is trying to break the codes of encryption to let them get access to everything, but they’re forcing the companies that provide the encryption services to put backdoors into their programs, which means, again, that not only the NSA, but all sorts of hackers and other governments and all kinds of ill-motivated people, can have a weakness to exploit, a vulnerability to exploit, in these systems, which makes the entire Internet insecure for everybody. And the fact that it’s all being done as usual with no transparency or accountability makes this very newsworthy.
    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But, Glenn, going back to the mid-1990s in the Clinton administration, when the government tried to establish these backdoors into communications on the Internet, there was a public debate and a rejection of this. What has happened since then now in terms of how the NSA operates?
    GLENN GREENWALD: Right, it’s interesting. If you go back to the mid-'90s, that debate was really spawned by the attack on Oklahoma City, which the Clinton administration—on the Oklahoma City courthouse by Timothy McVeigh, which the Clinton administration immediately exploited to try and demand that every single form of computer security or human communication on the Internet be vulnerable to government intrusion, that it all—that there be no encryption to which the governments didn't have the key. And as you said, a combination of public backlash and industry pressure led to a rejection of that proposal, and the industries were particularly incensed by it, because they said if you put backdoors into this technology, it will make it completely vulnerable. If anyone gets that key, if anybody figures out how to crack it, it will mean that there’s no security anymore on the Internet.
    And so, since the NSA and the U.S. government couldn’t get its way that way, what they’ve done instead is they resorted to covert means to infiltrate these companies, to pressure and coerce them, to provide the very backdoors that they failed to compel through legislation and through public debate and accountability. And that is what this story essentially reveals, is that the entire system is now being compromised by the NSA and their British counterpart, the GCHQ, systematic efforts to ensure that there is no form of human commerce, human electronic communication, that is ever invulnerable to their prying eyes. And again, the danger is not just that they get into all of our transactions and human communications, but that they are making it much easier for all kinds of other entities to do the same thing.
    AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, in The Guardian piece, you write, "The NSA spends $250m a year on a program which, among other goals, works with technology companies to 'covertly influence' their product designs." How does the NSA do this?
    GLENN GREENWALD: So, one of the things that happens here is that a lot of these large technology companies sell products, expensive products, to their users based on the claim that these products will safeguard the privacy of people’s activities online or online communication through encryption. At the same time, these companies are working directly with the U.S. government and the NSA, either cooperatively or because they’re getting benefits from it or through coercion, to make these products vulnerable and insecure, exactly undermining the commitments that they’re making to their users that they will enable and safeguard the privacy of their communications. So it’s really a form of fraud that the—that the technology industry is perpetrating on its users, pretending that they’re offering security while at the same time working with the U.S. government to make sure that these products are being designed in a way that makes them actually vulnerable to invasion. And again, sometimes it’s the fault of the technology companies. They do it because they want good relationships with the U.S. government. They’re profit-motivated. They get benefits from it. But a lot of times there’s just pressure and coercion on the part of a very powerful, sprawling U.S. government that induces these companies to do it against their wishes.
    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And these revelations have some specifics in terms of those who are cooperating. Could you talk about Microsoft and its Outlook email?
    GLENN GREENWALD: Sure. We actually reported about a month ago an article that focused almost exclusively on Microsoft and the extraordinary collaboration that company engages in with the NSA to provide backdoor access to its very programs that they tout to the world as offering safe encryption. If you look at what—if you just go look at Outlook.com, what Microsoft says about its Outlook email server, which is now basically the program where, if you use Hotmail or any other Microsoft service, your email is routed through, they tout Outlook as this really great service that protects people’s communications through this strong encryption. And at the very same time, Microsoft is working in private with the NSA to ensure access by the NSA across all of their platforms, not just Outlook email, but Skype and a whole variety of other services that Microsoft offers to their users to basically ensure that it’s all completely vulnerable to NSA snooping. And again, one of the big problems with it is that when you allow—when you make these programs vulnerable to the NSA, you’re also making them vulnerable to other intelligence agencies around the world or to hackers or to corporate spies or to people who just wish you ill will for any number of reasons. It’s making the entire Internet insecure.
    AMY GOODMAN: After—after The Guardian revealed last month that it smashed several computers in its London office after the British government threatened legal action, editor Alan Rusbridger said he agreed to their demand in order to avoid the newspaper’s potential closure. This is what he said.
    ALAN RUSBRIDGER: We were faced, effectively, with an ultimatum from the British government that if we didn’t hand back the material or destroy it, they would move to law. That would mean prior restraint, a concept that is anathema in America and other parts of the world, in which the state can effectively prevent a news publisher from publishing, and I didn’t want to get into that position. And I also explained to the U.K. officials we were dealing with that there were other copies already in America and Brazil, so they wouldn’t be achieving anything. But once it was obvious that they would be going to law, I would rather destroy the copy than hand it back to them or allow the courts to freeze our reporting.
    AMY GOODMAN: Last month at a White House news briefing, the deputy spokesperson, Josh Earnest, was asked if the U.S. government would ever take similar actions against a media outlet. He said, quote, "It’s very difficult to imagine a scenario in which that would be appropriate." Glenn Greenwald, can you talk about what happened at your paper?
    GLENN GREENWALD: It should be a major scandal. I mean, the United States and the U.K. run around the world constantly denouncing other countries that aren’t friendly with it for abusing press freedoms or failing to protect them, and yet at the same time both of these countries are engaged in a major assault on journalism when it comes to those who are trying to report on what it is they’re doing. The idea that the U.K. government, at the behest of the highest levels of that government, the prime minister and their top—it’s his top security officials—went into The Guardian and threatened The Guardian's top editor repeatedly and ultimately forced him to destroy hard drives that contained the byproduct of our journalism is the stuff that, you know, the U.K. and the U.S. governments would like you to think happen only in Russia or China or other governments that they love to depict as tyrannical, and yet it's happening in the closest ally of the United States.
    And, of course, in the United States itself, there is a major war on the news-gathering process with the prosecution of whistleblowers, the people who serve as sources for journalists, the theories they flirted with to criminalize the process of journalism, with the criminal and grand jury investigation of WikiLeaks or the filing of an affidavit accusing a Fox News journalist of being a co-conspirator in felonies because he worked with his source.
    You really see these two governments working hand in hand to create this climate of fear in which even the largest media organizations, like The New York Times, whose celebrated reporter Jim Risen is being threatened with jail, or The Guardian, a 220-year-old newspaper, one of the most influential in the world, being threatened in the most thuggish and abusive ways to stop their reporting. And The Guardian had to take very extreme measures to evade those threats, including providing substantial numbers of documents to The New York Times and ProPublica to make sure that if they were ordered to destroy all of their sets, that there would be copies existing elsewhere in the world so that this material could continue to be reported.
    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Glenn, what do you think needs to happen, given these continuing revelations about the NSA especially, but our government in general, being virtually out of control in terms of its surveillance of communications of—not only of Americans, but around the world? Do you think that the impact of all of these revelations is going to move, hopefully, Congress to act in a stronger way to control these activities?
    GLENN GREENWALD: I do. I think the impact of all of this reporting is often underappreciated, in part because the changes in public opinion are often imperceptible. They happen somewhat incrementally, and we don’t immediately notice the shifts. But certain polls that have been released since we began our reporting show some very radical changes in how Americans think about threats to their privacy. They now fear government assault on their civil liberties more than they fear the threat of terrorism, something that has never happened, at least since the 9/11 attacks.
    But I also think it’s important to appreciate just how global this story has resonated. There are countless countries around the world in which there are very intense debates taking place over the nature of U.S. surveillance, the value of Internet freedom and privacy. There are all kinds of pressure movements to demand that those people’s governments take serious action against the United States to protect the Internet from these kind of intrusions. You see an incredibly unprecedented, really, coalition of people across the spectrum in Congress banding together against NSA spying, insisting that they will continue to engage in reform movements, something that transcends partisan divisions or ideological divisions. It’s causing serious diplomatic tensions between the United States and allies in Germany, here in Brazil and other countries around the world, that will continue, as more reporting happens, on a country-by-country basis, as we partner with more and more media organizations around the world. So I think absolutely this has had a huge impact not just on the way that people think about surveillance and the NSA surveillance program, but, as importantly, the way they think about President Obama, the credibility of the United States government in terms of the claims it makes, one after the next of which have proven to be false, and, more generally, the role of the United States and its closest allies, including the U.K., in the world, and how much defiance and challenge they actually need.
    AMY GOODMAN: You know, you could, in an odd way, talk about how Syria is linked to these revelations. President Obama is pursuing a pro-strike strategy with Syria right now in Russia, as opposed to talking about, you know, using this moment at the G-20 summit to push for diplomacy. He was already isolated from Putin, angry at Putin because Putin gave temporary asylum to Ed Snowden, so he cancels his bilateral meeting with Putin, which could have been used to make a deal around Syria, since he’s the major sponsor of Syria. You also have, with the G-20, President Obama trying to get these countries to support a strike, but he’s up against—you could say, against a wall of BRICS, meaning BRICS, you know, the BRICS nations—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—who, it’s been revealed, that the NSA has been spying on, so there’s not a lot of friendliness there. Can you talk about your more recent—the piece you did before this one, around Brazil, which has caused a furor in your country, the country where you live right now, where we’re speaking to you?
    GLENN GREENWALD: Sure. We’ve been doing a lot of reporting in Brazil, in the same way that Laura Poitras, who lives in Germany because she’s afraid to edit her own film on U.S. soil because she thinks it will be seized, the footage will be, because it’s about the NSA, the way that she’s been teaming with Der Spiegel to report on U.S. spying on Germans. I’ve been teaming with British media outlets—Brazilian media outlets to report on what’s being done in Brazil and, more generally, to Latin America.
    And the stories that we started off with were about indiscriminate mass collection of the communications, data and voice and Internet emails, of literally tens of millions of Brazilians, literally stealing from the Brazilian telecommunications system all of this data on the part of the NSA, on behalf of a government over which Brazilians exercise no accountability, for which they don’t vote, to which they—and which owes them no obligation. That already created a huge scandal in Brazil. And the reporting talked about how that’s being done more broadly in Latin America, which made that scandal spread.
    And then, with the report that we did last week that Dilma herself, the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, had been a very personal, specific target, along with the Mexican president, where her personal communications had been analyzed and intercepted and listened to, created an enormous furor here. It caused the Brazilian government to threaten to cancel a state dinner, which is a huge matter between the U.S. and Brazil, the only state dinner that I believe the White House is having this year, to threaten to cancel large contracts. And now, this Sunday, on the same program, which is the largest, most-watched program in Brazil, we’re going to have another report that I think is even bigger, about what the NSA is doing in terms of spying on Brazilian citizens.
    And so, you know, I think that one of the things that’s happening here is that, at the very least, if the NSA wants to construct a massive spying system that literally has as its goal the complete elimination of privacy around the world, that people around the world ought to at least be aware that that’s taking place, so that they can have democratic and informed debates about what they want to do about it, about how they want to safeguard their privacy, just like Americans are entitled to know that the U.S. government is collecting all of their personal communications data, as well.
    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Glenn, I want to ask you about something closer to home, ask you about what happened to your partner, David Miranda, when he was detained last month by the British government at London’s Heathrow Airport for nine hours under a British anti-terrorism law. He faced repeated interrogation and had his belongings seized, including thumb drives carrying information you used in your reporting on NSA surveillance. Speaking on his return to Brazil, Miranda said he was subjected to psychological violence.
    DAVID MIRANDA: [translated] A Brazilian that travels to a country like this and is detained for nine hours in this way, it, I think, breaks a person, you understand? You break down completely and get very scared. They didn’t use any physical violence against me, but you can see that it was a fantastic use of psychological violence.
    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Glenn, could you talk about—about this incident?
    GLENN GREENWALD: Sure. I mean, first of all, what David was talking about there was the fact that they didn’t just detain him the way you sometimes get regularly detained at an airport when you visit another country for a few minutes or for even an hour to get secondarily screened. He was told right from the beginning that he was being detained under the Terrorism Act of 2000, which means that he was being detained under a law the purpose of which is to investigate people for ties to terrorism. And although it might be a little bit difficult for American citizens or for British citizens to understand, for people around the world who have seen what the U.S. and the U.K. governments do in the name of terrorism—they disappear people, they kidnap them, they torture them, they put them into cages for years at a time without so much as charges or even a lawyer—it’s an—not to mention the bombs they drop and the children they kill with drones—it’s an incredibly intimidating thing to be told that you’re being detained by a government with the behavioral record of the U.K. under a terrorism law.
    The fact that hour after hour after hour went by, when they refused to allow him to speak to me or anybody in the outside world other than a list that they gave him of what they said were their approved lawyers, who they said that he was free to talk to on the phone, and when he told them that he didn’t trust their lawyers, their list or their phones, that he wanted to speak in person with a lawyer sent by me or by The Guardian, and was told that he had no right to a lawyer, no right to outside contact, that’s what he meant by the psychological violence, that he was kept in this small room, repeatedly interrogated hour after hour under a terrorism law, denied the right to his independent lawyers, ones that he trusted, not ones provided by them, and had no idea what was going to be done to him.
    The entire day, I was being told by Guardian lawyers in Britain that it was likely that after the nine hours he would be arrested. That’s typically what they do. They barely ever hold anybody for more than an hour, and almost always when they do, it ends with an arrest. Sometimes they arrest them on terrorism charges, sometimes because there’s an obligation under this law to be fully cooperative, meaning answering all their questions fully, not refusing to answer anything, giving them passwords that they ask. If you even remotely refuse any of that, if they perceive that you’re not being cooperative, they will then charge you separately for a violation of that law, then will arrest you and put them in—put the person into the criminal justice system.
    All of this, combined with the fact that high-level Brazilian diplomats were unable to find out any information about where he was or what was being done to him, was absolutely designed to send a message—as Reuters reported, by quoting a U.S. official, a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the GCHQ and the NSA, that if we continue to do so, this is the sort of thing that we can expect. The idea that all they wanted to do was to take his USB drives is ludicrous, for a lot of reasons, including the fact that all kinds of Guardian reporters have flown in and out of Heathrow. Laura Poitras herself flew to London and back out again without incident. They had no idea what he would be carrying. How would they possibly know? But more to the point, if all they wanted to do was take his things, that would have taken nine minutes, not nine hours. They purposely kept him for nine hours, the full amount allowed under that law, because they wanted to be as thuggish and intimidating as possible.
    And the fact that he was helping Laura for a week in Berlin with our journalism, that he was carrying material back to me that Laura and I were working on journalistically, doesn’t make what they did better, it makes it worse. It shows how what the U.K. government is doing is specifically targeting the journalism process and trying to be intimidating and to force it to stop. And it’s clear it had no effect. If anything, it backfired, as I said from the beginning that it would. But I think their intent is completely clear to the world.
    AMY GOODMAN: Are you suing? And did David get his equipment back?
    GLENN GREENWALD: David is absolutely suing. He is pursuing a judgment in the British courts that, as even the author of that law in the U.K. said, it was a completely illegal detention because it was obvious they had no interest in investigating him about terrorism. They never asked him a single question about terrorism. There was obviously no—nobody thought he was connected to a terrorist organization. He was repeatedly questioned about everything but terrorism, including, primarily, our journalism.
    He hasn’t gotten any of his belongings back. And one of the things that happened is that the U.K. government just outright lied about what took place that day. They claimed he was carrying a password that allowed them access to 58,000 classified documents. He was not carrying any password that allowed them access to any documents. They actually filed an affidavit the same day they made that claim, saying—asking the court to let them continue to keep his belongings on the ground that all of the material he was carrying was heavily encrypted, that they couldn’t break the encryption, and they only got access to 75 of the documents that he was carrying, most of which are probably ones related to his school work and personal use. But, of course, media outlet has just uncritically repeated what the U.K. government had said, as though it were true. It wasn’t true; it was a pack of lies. But even if it were true, the idea that you’re going to detain somebody under a terrorism law who you think is working with journalists is incredibly menacing, as menacing as anything the U.K. government denounces when other countries do it.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  5. #295

    Default Great analyst...need to hear more from this man!

    n an effort to undermine cryptographic systems worldwide, the National Security Agency has manipulated global encryption standards, utilized supercomputers to crack encrypted communications, and has persuaded — sometimes coerced — Internet service providers to give it access to protected data. Is there any way to confidentially communicate online? We speak with security technologist and encryption specialist Bruce Schneier, who is a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He has been working with The Guardian on its recent NSA stories and has read hundreds of top-secret NSA documents provided by Edward Snowden. "I have resisted saying this up to now, and I am saddened to say it, but the U.S. has proved to be an unethical steward of the internet. The U.K. is no better. The NSA’s actions are legitimizing the internet abuses by China, Russia, Iran and others," wrote Schneier on Thursday.


    Transcript

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

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We continue our coverage of the latest revelations about the National Security Agency and how it has developed methods to crack online encryption used to protect emails, banking and medical records. Well, our next guest, Bruce Schneier, has read of top-secret NSA documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. He’s just written two articles for The Guardian. One is called "How to Remain Secure Against NSA Surveillance." The other is headlined "The US Government Has Betrayed the Internet. We Need to Take It Back."
    AMY GOODMAN: Bruce Schneier joins us now via Democracy Now! video stream. He’s a security technologist and encryption specialist, as well as a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
    Bruce, welcome to Democracy Now! How can you protect yourself online?
    BRUCE SCHNEIER: You know, for most people, it’s pretty impossible. The problem is, we don’t actually know the details of what exactly is being eavesdropped on and how. In my article, I give a bunch of suggestions on things you can do. Use encryption, because it’s better than nothing. Use products that are public domain, not controlled by large corporations, because they are less likely to be subverted. But these are all statements about playing the odds. We don’t know.
    But we do know that the NSA is constrained by economics. If you look at their techniques, they tend to go for techniques that have bulk payoff. And if they can subvert every copy of Windows encryption, they get a lot. If they have to go into individual computers to steal secrets, that’s expensive. So the more you can do to raise the cost of being eavesdropped on, the safer you are.
    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: What about this issue of the NSA trying to access the keys to encryption of various Internet and technology companies?
    BRUCE SCHNEIER: And they are. And again, the question is, what is the economics? So, for example, a lot of our electronic commerce is based on public key cryptography SSL and something called certificates. Certificates are trusted keys signed by some trusted authority, generally a large company. If you can get that master signing key, you can use that to break quite a lot of security. So, there, that’s likely to be much more vulnerable. If it’s an individual key—let’s say you have a encryption key protecting a main office and a branch office, and it’s based on a key you generated yourself—for the NSA to get that, they have to go in and hack the computer. Now, they do that. They have teams for that. But that’s resource-limited. You know, presumably, they’re going to go after the highest-profile, highest-value targets first. So, again, the matter is making yourself more expensive to hack.
    AMY GOODMAN: Bruce Schneier, you write, "I have resisted saying this up to now, and I am saddened to say it, but the U.S. has proved to be an unethical steward of the internet. The U.K. is no better. The NSA’s actions are legitimizing the internet abuses by China, Russia, Iran and others." Explain.
    BRUCE SCHNEIER: So this is a problem right now. We’re seeing some new nationalism rise on the Internet. Countries like Russia, China, Iran, Tunisia are trying to push a Internet sovereignty nationalism movement that gives them the ability and permission to subvert the Internet on their citizens, whether it’s surveillance, whether it’s propaganda, whether it’s censorship. These are all on the rise. And the United States is, quite sensibly, pushing back against that, that we need a free and open Internet. At the same time, it turns out, they are doing these exact same things. And now, when we go into international meetings and say, "We need an open Internet, we need a free Internet," the countries all look at each other and now going to say, "Well, you can’t trust the Americans." And guess what? You can’t trust the Americans. So what the U.S. is doing is actually undermining U.S. efforts to maintain a free and open Internet. That’s very frustrating. It’s counterproductive. It’s damaging to us, to the world. And, you know, I wish it wasn’t so, but it turns out we are not being good stewards of the Internet.
    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Do you see signs of a major pushback by American technology companies, who obviously are dependent on being able to sell their products internationally? For instance, Microsoft now, with these revelations about its cooperation with the government on its Outlook and other systems, whether they’re going to be basically rebelling now because their business model is going to be endangered by these continuing revelations?
    BRUCE SCHNEIER: I think so. We’ve already seen that with the leaks about PRISM. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple are all pushing back, demanding to be allowed to talk about what they’re giving the NSA. The problem is, as you said, their credibility is ruined. We’re not going to trust Apple with our data if we think the NSA is going to get it. These companies are losing enormous business especially overseas and in the U.S. because of this, and they are no longer willing allies, because it hurts their credibility. Now these new revelations appear, and again, you’re going to see this public-private surveillance partnership splitting, as there’s pressure on the corporations to come forward, to be forthright, and to protect their customers and users.
    So my hope is, as these stories come out, more will come out. Right? You know, these companies are not under confidentiality rules. They don’t have clearances. They’re cooperating either because they think it’s a good idea, because they’ve been coerced. But they can make their stories public. The more stories we know, the more we hear, the more we will hear, the more we’ll know what’s going on, and I think the more companies will start pushing back.
    AMY GOODMAN: Bruce Schneier, as we wrap up, what surprised you most about the NSA documents that were released?
    BRUCE SCHNEIER: Yeah, it’s funny. As security people, all of this we expected. I mean, there’s no real surprises here. What I guess is surprising is how pervasive it was, how large it was, and how much collusion there was between government and industry. We knew there was some, but we didn’t realize it was this incredibly widespread.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  6. #296

    Default its endless.....and endlessly BAD~!

    Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security

    Series: Glenn Greenwald

    • NSA and GCHQ unlock encryption used to protect emails, banking and medical records
    • $250m-a-year US program works covertly with tech companies to insert weaknesses into products
    • Security experts say programs 'undermine the fabric of the internet'






    Through covert partnerships with tech companies, the spy agencies have inserted secret vulnerabilities into encryption software. Photograph: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

    US and British intelligence agencies have successfully cracked much of the online encryption relied upon by hundreds of millions of people to protect the privacy of their personal data, online transactions and emails, according to top-secret documents revealed by former contractor Edward Snowden.
    This story has been reported in partnership between the New York Times, the Guardian and ProPublica based on documents obtained by the Guardian.

    For the Guardian: James Ball, Julian Borger, Glenn Greenwald


    1. For the New York Times: Nicole Perlroth, Scott Shane

      For ProPublica: Jeff Larson

      Read the New York Times story here


    The files show that the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have 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.
    The agencies, the documents reveal, have adopted a battery of methods in their systematic and ongoing assault on what they see as one of the biggest threats to their ability to access huge swathes of internet traffic – "the use of ubiquitous encryption across the internet".
    Those methods include covert measures to ensure NSA control over setting of international encryption standards, 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.
    Through these covert partnerships, the agencies have inserted secret vulnerabilities – known as backdoors or trapdoors – into commercial encryption software.
    The files, from both the NSA and GCHQ, were obtained by the Guardian, and the details are being published today in partnership with the New York Times and ProPublica. They reveal:
    • A 10-year NSA program against encryption technologies made a breakthrough in 2010 which made "vast amounts" of data collected through internet cable taps newly "exploitable".
    • The NSA spends $250m a year on a program which, among other goals, works with technology companies to "covertly influence" their product designs.
    • The secrecy of their capabilities against encryption is closely guarded, with analysts warned: "Do not ask about or speculate on sources or methods."
    • The NSA describes strong decryption programs as the "price of admission for the US to maintain unrestricted access to and use of cyberspace".
    • A GCHQ team has been working to develop ways into encrypted traffic on the "big four" service providers, named as Hotmail, Google, Yahoo and Facebook.
    This network diagram, from a GCHQ pilot program, shows how the agency proposed a system to identify encrypted traffic from its internet cable-tapping programs and decrypt what it could in near-real time. Photograph: Guardian The agencies insist that the ability to defeat encryption is vital to their core missions of counter-terrorism and foreign intelligence gathering.
    But security experts accused them of attacking the internet itself and the privacy of all users. "Cryptography forms the basis for trust online," said Bruce Schneier, an encryption specialist and fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. "By deliberately undermining online security in a short-sighted effort to eavesdrop, the NSA is undermining the very fabric of the internet." Classified briefings between the agencies celebrate their success at "defeating network security and privacy".
    "For the past decade, NSA has lead [sic] an aggressive, multi-pronged effort to break widely used internet encryption technologies," stated a 2010 GCHQ document. "Vast amounts of encrypted internet data which have up till now been discarded are now exploitable."
    An internal agency memo noted that among British analysts shown a presentation on the NSA's progress: "Those not already briefed were gobsmacked!"
    The breakthrough, which was not described in detail in the documents, meant the intelligence agencies were able to monitor "large amounts" of data flowing through the world's fibre-optic cables and break its encryption, despite assurances from internet company executives that this data was beyond the reach of government.
    The key component of the NSA's battle against encryption, its collaboration with technology companies, is detailed in the US intelligence community's top-secret 2013 budget request under the heading "Sigint [signals intelligence] enabling".
    Classified briefings between the NSA and GCHQ celebrate their success at 'defeating network security and privacy'. Photograph: Guardian Funding for the program – $254.9m for this year – dwarfs that of the Prism program, which operates at a cost of $20m a year, according to previous NSA documents. Since 2011, the total spending on Sigint enabling has topped $800m. The program "actively engages US and foreign IT industries to covertly influence and/or overtly leverage their commercial products' designs", the document states. None of the companies involved in such partnerships are named; these details are guarded by still higher levels of classification.
    Among other things, the program is designed to "insert vulnerabilities into commercial encryption systems". These would be known to the NSA, but to no one else, including ordinary customers, who are tellingly referred to in the document as "adversaries".
    "These design changes make the systems in question exploitable through Sigint collection … with foreknowledge of the modification. To the consumer and other adversaries, however, the systems' security remains intact."

    The document sets out in clear terms the program's broad aims, including making commercial encryption software "more tractable" to NSA attacks by "shaping" the worldwide marketplace and continuing efforts to break into the encryption used by the next generation of 4G phones.

    Among the specific accomplishments for 2013, the NSA expects the program to obtain access to "data flowing through a hub for a major communications provider" and to a "major internet peer-to-peer voice and text communications system".
    Technology companies maintain that they work with the intelligence agencies only when legally compelled to do so. The Guardian has previously reported that Microsoft co-operated with the NSA to circumvent encryption on the Outlook.com email and chat services. The company insisted that it was obliged to comply with "existing or future lawful demands" when designing its products.

    The documents show that the agency has already achieved another of the goals laid out in the budget request: to influence the international standards upon which encryption systems rely.

    Independent security experts have long suspected that the NSA has been introducing weaknesses into security standards, a fact confirmed for the first time by another secret document. It shows the agency worked covertly to get its own version of a draft security standard issued by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology approved for worldwide use in 2006.
    "Eventually, NSA became the sole editor," the document states.
    The NSA's codeword for its decryption program, Bullrun, is taken from a major battle of the American civil war. Its British counterpart, Edgehill, is named after the first major engagement of the English civil war, more than 200 years earlier.
    A classification guide for NSA employees and contractors on Bullrun outlines in broad terms its goals.
    "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." The document reveals that the agency has capabilities against widely used online protocols, such as HTTPS, voice-over-IP and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), used to protect online shopping and banking.

    The document also shows that the NSA's Commercial Solutions Center, ostensibly the body through which technology companies can have their security products assessed and presented to prospective government buyers, has another, more clandestine role.
    It is used by the NSA to "to leverage sensitive, co-operative relationships with specific industry partners" to insert vulnerabilities into security products. Operatives were warned that this information must be kept top secret "at a minimum".
    A more general NSA classification guide reveals more detail on the agency's deep partnerships with industry, and its ability to modify products. It cautions analysts that two facts must remain top secret: that NSA makes modifications to commercial encryption software and devices "to make them exploitable", and that NSA "obtains cryptographic details of commercial cryptographic information security systems through industry relationships".

    The agencies have not yet cracked all encryption technologies, however, the documents suggest. Snowden appeared to confirm this during a live Q&A with Guardian readers in June. "Encryption works. Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on," he said before warning that NSA can frequently find ways around it as a result of weak security on the computers at either end of the communication.
    The documents are scattered with warnings over the importance of maintaining absolute secrecy around decryption capabilities.
    A slide showing that the secrecy of the agencies' capabilities against encryption is closely guarded. Photograph: Guardian Strict guidelines were laid down at the GCHQ complex in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, on how to discuss projects relating to decryption. Analysts were instructed: "Do not ask about or speculate on sources or methods underpinning Bullrun." This informaton was so closely guarded, according to one document, that even those with access to aspects of the program were warned: "There will be no 'need to know'."
    The agencies were supposed to be "selective in which contractors are given exposure to this information", but it was ultimately seen by Snowden, one of 850,000 people in the US with top-secret clearance.A 2009 GCHQ document spells out the significant potential consequences of any leaks, including "damage to industry relationships".

    "Loss of confidence in our ability to adhere to confidentiality agreements would lead to loss of access to proprietary information that can save time when developing new capability," intelligence workers were told. Somewhat less important to GCHQ was the public's trust which was marked as a moderate risk, the document stated.
    "Some exploitable products are used by the general public; some exploitable weaknesses are well known eg possibility of recovering poorly chosen passwords," it said. "Knowledge that GCHQ exploits these products and the scale of our capability would raise public awareness generating unwelcome publicity for us and our political masters."
    The decryption effort is particularly important to GCHQ. Its strategic advantage from its Tempora program – direct taps on transatlantic fibre-optic cables of major telecommunications corporations – was in danger of eroding as more and more big internet companies encrypted their traffic, responding to customer demands for guaranteed privacy.
    Without attention, the 2010 GCHQ document warned, the UK's "Sigint utility will degrade as information flows changes, new applications are developed (and deployed) at pace and widespread encryption becomes more commonplace." Documents show that Edgehill's initial aim was to decode the encrypted traffic certified by three major (unnamed) internet companies and 30 types of Virtual Private Network (VPN) – used by businesses to provide secure remote access to their systems. By 2015, GCHQ hoped to have cracked the codes used by 15 major internet companies, and 300 VPNs.

    Another program, codenamed Cheesy Name, was aimed at singling out encryption keys, known as 'certificates', that might be vulnerable to being cracked by GCHQ supercomputers.
    Analysts on the Edgehill project were working on ways into the networks of major webmail providers as part of the decryption project. A quarterly update from 2012 notes the project's team "continue to work on understanding" the big four communication providers, named in the document as Hotmail, Google, Yahoo and Facebook, adding "work has predominantly been focused this quarter on Google due to new access opportunities being developed".
    To help secure an insider advantage, GCHQ also established a Humint Operations Team (HOT). Humint, short for "human intelligence" refers to information gleaned directly from sources or undercover agents.
    This GCHQ team was, according to an internal document, "responsible for identifying, recruiting and running covert agents in the global telecommunications industry."
    "This enables GCHQ to tackle some of its most challenging targets," the report said. The efforts made by the NSA and GCHQ against encryption technologies may have negative consequences for all internet users, experts warn.
    "Backdoors are fundamentally in conflict with good security," said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist and senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union. "Backdoors expose all users of a backdoored system, not just intelligence agency targets, to heightened risk of data compromise." This is because the insertion of backdoors in a software product, particularly those that can be used to obtain unencrypted user communications or data, significantly increases the difficulty of designing a secure product."
    This was a view echoed in a recent paper by Stephanie Pell, a former prosecutor at the US Department of Justice and non-resident fellow at the Center for Internet and Security at Stanford Law School.
    "[An] encrypted communications system with a lawful interception back door is far more likely to result in the catastrophic loss of communications confidentiality than a system that never has access to the unencrypted communications of its users," she states.
    Intelligence officials asked the Guardian, New York Times and ProPublica not to publish this article, saying that it might prompt foreign targets to switch to new forms of encryption or communications that would be harder to collect or read.
    The three organisations removed some specific facts but decided to publish the story because of the value of a public debate about government actions that weaken the most powerful tools for protecting the privacy of internet users in the US and worldwide.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  7. #297

    Default Beam me up Scotty - But its no joke - or the joke is on US!!!!!!!!

    Inside the mind of NSA chief Gen Keith Alexander

    A lavish Star Trek room he had built as part of his 'Information Dominance Center' is endlessly revealing.




    (updated below)
    It has been previously reported that the mentality of NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander is captured by his motto "Collect it All". It's a get-everything approach he pioneered first when aimed at an enemy population in the middle of a war zone in Iraq, one he has now imported onto US soil, aimed at the domestic population and everyone else.
    But a perhaps even more disturbing and revealing vignette into the spy chief's mind comes from a new Foreign Policy article describing what the journal calls his "all-out, barely-legal drive to build the ultimate spy machine". The article describes how even his NSA peers see him as a "cowboy" willing to play fast and loose with legal limits in order to construct a system of ubiquitous surveillance. But the personality driving all of this - not just Alexander's but much of Washington's - is perhaps best captured by this one passage, highlighted by PBS' News Hour in a post entitled: "NSA director modeled war room after Star Trek's Enterprise". The room was christened as part of the "Information Dominance Center":
    "When he was running the Army's Intelligence and Security Command, Alexander brought many of his future allies down to Fort Belvoir for a tour of his base of operations, a facility known as the Information Dominance Center. It had been designed by a Hollywood set designer to mimic the bridge of the starship Enterprise from Star Trek, complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall, and doors that made a 'whoosh' sound when they slid open and closed. Lawmakers and other important officials took turns sitting in a leather 'captain's chair' in the center of the room and watched as Alexander, a lover of science-fiction movies, showed off his data tools on the big screen.
    "'Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard,' says a retired officer in charge of VIP visits."
    Numerous commentators remarked yesterday on the meaning of all that (note, too, how "Total Information Awareness" was a major scandal in the Bush years, but "Information Dominance Center" - along with things like "Boundless Informant" - are treated as benign or even noble programs in the age of Obama).
    But now, on the website of DBI Architects, Inc. of Washington and Reston, Virginia, there are what purports to be photographs of the actual Star-Trek-like headquarters commissioned by Gen. Alexander that so impressed his Congressional overseers. It's a 10,740 square foot labyrinth in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The brochure touts how "the prominently positioned chair provides the commanding officer an uninterrupted field of vision to a 22'-0" wide projection screen":
    The glossy display further describes how "this project involved the renovation of standard office space into a highly classified, ultramodern operations center." Its "primary function is to enable 24-hour worldwide
    visualization, planning, and execution of coordinated information operations for the US Army and other federal agencies." It gushes: "The
    futuristic, yet distinctly military, setting is further reinforced by the Commander's console, which gives the illusion that one has boarded
    a star ship":
    Other photographs of Gen. Alexander's personal Star Trek Captain fantasy come-to-life (courtesy of public funds) are here. Any casual review of human history proves how deeply irrational it is to believe that powerful factions can be trusted to exercise vast surveillance power with little accountability or transparency. But the more they proudly flaunt their warped imperial hubris, the more irrational it becomes.


    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  8. Default

    "The useful idiots of the security classes".

    Now there's a resonant phrase.


    Edward Snowden has raised 'real issues', says head of UK spy watchdog

    Sir Malcolm Rifkind defends UK intelligence agencies' techniques but appears to concede laws may need review


    Nick Hopkins and Matthew Taylor
    The Guardian, Friday 20 September 2013 18.09 BST
    Jump to comments (213)

    Sir Malcolm Rifkind, head of the intelligence and security committee, who said agencies had no interest in the communications of 99% of people. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

    The head of the watchdog responsible for scrutinising Britain's intelligence agencies has defended their spying techniques but admitted that the whistleblower Edward Snowden has raised "real issues" about safeguarding privacy in the 21st century.

    Sir Malcolm Rifkind argued that the UK had an "effective and extensive system of independent oversight" of the three services – GCHQ, MI5 and MI6.

    He also claimed people were "well aware British intelligence agencies have neither the time nor the remotest interest in the emails or telephone conversations of well over 99% of the population".

    However, he appeared to concede that the laws governing the agencies may need to be refreshed in the light of revelations about the intelligence-gathering programmes run by GCHQ and its US counterpart, the National Security Agency.

    "There are real issues that do arise out of the Snowden affair in Britain, as elsewhere," said Rifkind, who chairs the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC).

    "Even if the intelligence agencies always act within the law it must be right for that law to be reviewed from time to time to see whether the safeguards are adequate. Sometimes they are not."

    The ISC is currently reviewing the three laws governing Britain's spy services – the Intelligence Services Act, the Human Rights Act and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

    His concession came amid further claims about GCHQ published in the German magazine Spiegel Online. In a piece published on Friday, it said GCHQ had been targeting the Belgian telecoms giant Belgacom, whose major customers include the European parliament and the European commission. The operation, codenamed "Socialist", had given GCHQ the ability to secretly hack into Belgacom for at least three years.

    Rifkind wrote to the Guardian in response to a comment piece by Simon Jenkins, who condemned the lack of proper debate in the UK about the Snowden disclosures.

    Highly classified files have revealed secret capabilities to undertake mass surveillance of the web and mobile phone networks. This is done by trawling the servers of internet companies and collecting raw data from the undersea cables that carry web traffic.

    These programmes, called Prism and Tempora, revealed GCHQ and the NSA can sweep up and store vast amounts of personal data. The Guardian recently revealed how GCHQ and the NSA have successfully cracked much of the online encryption relied upon by hundreds of millions of people to protect their privacy.

    Jenkins accused Rifkind of having a grovelling attitude towards GCHQ and said the ISC was incapable of providing proper levels of scrutiny in the face of such ambitious spying projects.

    He described Rifkind and the foreign secretary, William Hague, as "the useful idiots of the security classes" and added: "We have created a monster that has overwhelmed the defences put in place to regulate it."

    In his riposte Rifkind said it was "absolute rubbish" to suggest Britain's intelligence services could spy on people without regard to their privacy. He also defended the ISC, saying it had more powers and a bigger budget to provide more effective scrutiny.

    "Our system is not perfect," said Rifkind. "There are occasions when the intelligence obtained may be of such little value as not to justify the diminution in privacy associated with obtaining it. But I have yet to hear of any other country, either democratic or authoritarian, that has both significant intelligence agencies and a more effective and extensive system of independent oversight than the UK and the US."

    Eric King, head of research at Privacy International, said Rifkind and his committee were part of the problem, not the solution. "Stating that British intelligence agencies have "neither the time nor the remotest interest" in the communications of the 99% of the public, but acknowledging that regardless those communications are swept up and monitored, should not offer any comfort to the public whose fundamental right to privacy remains violated. Intelligence agencies are there to protect citizens, but in placing those same citizens under suspicion-less surveillance and inserting back doors in the very security standards we rely on to communicate with confidence, the agencies have lost the trust of those they are meant to serve."

    King said that mass surveillance "must never be accepted as legitimate in a democratic society.

    "The current legal framework is not fit for purpose, and the ISC's credibility as an independent oversight committee will continue to decline until this fundamental fact is accepted."

    Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "Sir Malcolm's personal attack on Simon Jenkins was unbecoming. That critics of blanket surveillance have touched such a raw nerve highlights the woeful inadequacy of checks and balances, including the ISC itself."

    Human Rights Watch said governments had to "aggressively protect online privacy through stronger laws and policies". Without this, the internet could be severely compromised.

    "The shocking revelations of mass monitoring by the US and UK show how privacy protections have not kept pace with technology," said Cynthia Wong, a researcher at Human Rights Watch.

    "As our lives become more digitised, unchecked surveillance can corrode everyone's rights and the rule of law."

    The organisation has endorsed a set of international principles on the application of human rights to communications surveillance.
    "It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
    "Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
    "They are in Love. Fuck the War."

    Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

    "Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
    The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war

  9. #299

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Klimkowski View Post

    Jenkins accused Rifkind of having a grovelling attitude towards GCHQ and said the ISC was incapable of providing proper levels of scrutiny in the face of such ambitious spying projects.

    He described Rifkind and the foreign secretary, William Hague, as "the useful idiots of the security classes" and added: "We have created a monster that has overwhelmed the defences put in place to regulate it."
    Applause for Jenkins. The words, head, nail, hit, the and on spring to mind.
    The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
    Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by David Guyatt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Klimkowski View Post

    Jenkins accused Rifkind of having a grovelling attitude towards GCHQ and said the ISC was incapable of providing proper levels of scrutiny in the face of such ambitious spying projects.

    He described Rifkind and the foreign secretary, William Hague, as "the useful idiots of the security classes" and added: "We have created a monster that has overwhelmed the defences put in place to regulate it."
    Applause for Jenkins. The words, head, nail, hit, the and on spring to mind.
    Below are some excerpts from Rifkind's attack on Jenkins:

    I usually am impressed by Simon Jenkins, but his polemic in today's Guardian on the Edward Snowden affair was well below par and full of howlers. If his emails are like that he can relax. No intelligence agency will waste its time trying to read them.

    He repeats the original accusation that GCHQ used the Americans' Prism programme to "circumvent" British law. If he had done his homework he would be aware that the intelligence and security committee, which I chair, has investigated that very claim, seen GCHQ's secret files, and been able to report to parliament that GCHQ had legal warrants from the secretary of state in every case.

    (snip)

    His finest diatribe is to accuse "parliament, the courts and most of the media", as well as "Britons generally", of being indifferent to privacy and liberty because they refuse to treat GCHQ, MI6 and MI5 as public enemies. The whole nation, it appears, has got it wrong. Only Simon Jenkins and the Guardian care about these things.

    And then Sir Simon (as he is actually called) says it is all the fault of "the British establishment", which will not "get excited" on these matters. Sir Simon, you are part of the British establishment, as I am reminded every time I read your excellent contributions to Country Life.
    "Useful idiot" seems fair.
    "It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
    "Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
    "They are in Love. Fuck the War."

    Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

    "Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
    The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •