” The pressure on the US government to reform the NSA’s surveillance programs is growing. Apple, Google, and Microsoft all called for change last month alongside apetition from international authors calling for an end to mass surveillance. President Obama announced big changes to government surveillance programs, but most of them centered around the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records, not its spying on internet communications. In an open letter published on Friday, more than 50 cryptography experts are asking the US government to make more changes to protect privacy.
” The value of society-wide surveillance in preventing terrorism is unclear, but the threat that such surveillance poses to privacy, democracy, and the US technology sector is readily apparent,” the authors of the open letter state. “Because transparency and public consent are at the core of our democracy, we call upon the US government to subject all mass-surveillance activities to public scrutiny and to resist the deployment of mass-surveillance programs in advance of sound technical and social controls.” “
Tag Archive: Spying
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Part 1 The Watchman
Click Pic For Video
” President Obama puts the N.S.A. controversy in context by pointing out other historical instances of American spycraft. (04:26) “
Part 2 Watchman – Surveillance State History
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” President Obama announces sweeping, loophole-filled changes to American intelligence oversight. (04:31)”
” The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.
While most of the software is inserted by gaining access to computer networks, the N.S.A. has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet, according to N.S.A. documents, computer experts and American officials.
The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target.
The radio frequency technology has helped solve one of the biggest problems facing American intelligence agencies for years: getting into computers that adversaries, and some American partners, have tried to make impervious to spying or cyberattack. In most cases, the radio frequency hardware must be physically inserted by a spy, a manufacturer or an unwitting user.”
NY Times provides more info
” Drones can essentially conduct perch and stare missions nearly endlessly. The technology is developing even more rapidly than the military can grasp, says the director of MIT’s Humans and Automation Laboratory.
In just the past two years, it seems as if drones are everywhere in the news. This technology has been around for more than 60 years, but has only recently captured both national and international attention. This is primarily because of the increasing use in the military, but also because of concerns that such technology will be turned on a country’s own citizens.
The average person thinks of a drone as a flying spy camera, loitering overhead waiting to spot a target and then possibly launching a weapon when that target is labeled as a threat. To be sure, this is indeed one mission of drones, typically of organizations like the CIA.
However, this is by far the least common mission. The vast majority of military drone missions today are data and image collection. Their ability to provide “situational awareness” to decision makers on the ground is unparalleled in military operations since drones can essentially conduct perch and stare missions nearly endlessly.
This is why their use and demand from the trenches has been so high – they provide an ability to watch as events unfold, providing some clarity to the fog of war, which is the Achilles Heel for military leaders.
However, in the very near future, these intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions will be dwarfed by other uses of drones in operations inconceivable to most military personnel today.
They will be used to enhance communications, patrol the skies, intercept incoming ballistic and short range missiles, dog fight with other aircraft in the sky, and deliver supplies. Indeed, currently the US Marine Corps has two robotic helicopters that have moved millions of pounds of goods and have been critical in current drawdown efforts.”
” Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.
Fearing that terrorist or criminal networks could use the games to communicate secretly, move money or plot attacks, the documents show, intelligence operatives have entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes and supermodels.
The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players, according to the documents, disclosed by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. Because militants often rely on features common to video games — fake identities, voice and text chats, a way to conduct financial transactions — American and British intelligence agencies worried that they might be operating there, according to the papers.
GATHERING INTELLIGENCE: U.S. and British intelligence agencies — including the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense intelligence agency and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters — have operated in virtual worlds and gaming communities to snoop and try to recruit informants. For example, according to Snowden documents, the U.S. has conducted spy operations in Second Life (pictured), where players create human avatars to socialize, buy and sell goods and explore exotic virtual destinations. (Second Life image via Linden Lab)
Online games might seem innocuous, a top-secret 2008 NSA document warned, but they had the potential to be a “target-rich communication network” allowing intelligence suspects “a way to hide in plain sight.” Virtual games “are an opportunity!,” another 2008 NSA document declared.”
” New revelations that the U.S. has been eavesdropping on world leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel aren’t simply straining Washington’s relationship with Berlin. They’re also sparking an increasingly public fight between the State Department and the NSA, with the nation’s spies and the nation’s diplomats trading shots about who’s responsible for the mess.
“This is a pretty serious embarrassment for the U.S., and as top officials try to protect their agencies and their reputations, they are not sticking with their talking points,” a former senior U.S. official told The Cable.
Secretary of State John Kerry touched off the furor when he said some of the NSA’s overseas surveillance efforts — which also included tapping into tens of millions of calls in France and Spain — had been carried out without the Obama administration’s knowledge or explicit approval. The remarks highlighted what appears to the White House’s emerging strategy for dealing with widespread public fury over the programs: blame it on the NSA.”
Covert Action. Surveillance. Counterintelligence. The U.S. “Black Budget” Spans Over A Dozen Agencies That Make Up The National Intelligence Program
” Each agency has a unique breakdown of expenses that reflect the priorities of its mission. There is no specific entry for the CIA’s fleet of armed drones in the budget summary, but a broad line item hints at the dimensions of the agency’s expanded paramilitary role, providing more than $2.5 billion for “covert action programs” that would include drone operations in Pakistan and Yemen, payments to militias in Afghanistan and Africa, and attempts to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program.”
The article must be seen to be appreciated . It is comprised of more information than any blog post could possibly hope to capture along with multiple graphs , tables and links that help the reader come to understand what kind of surveillance nation the US has become .
The American spy agency monitored telephone calls made to and from the residence in Rome where the then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave, the secret election at which cardinals chose him as pontiff on March 13.
The claims were made by Panorama, an Italian weekly news magazine, which said that the NSA monitored the telephone calls of many bishops and cardinals at the Vatican in the lead-up to the conclave, which was held amid tight security in the Sistine Chapel.
The information gleaned was then reportedly divided into four categories — “leadership intentions”, “threats to financial system”, “foreign policy objectives” and “human rights”.
At that time, Benedict XVI was Pope, suggesting that the Vatican may also have been monitored during the last few weeks of his papacy.
The allegations follow a report on Cryptome, a website that gathers intelligence on surveillance and national security, which claimed the US intercepted 46 million telephone calls in Italy between Dec 10 2012 and Jan 8 January 2013.
The monitoring of communications, including emails, continued after Benedict’s resignation in February and encompassed the election of Pope Francis.”
Published on Oct 26, 2013
” On October 26, 2013, protesters from across the political spectrum gathered in Washington, D.C. to take part in the Stop Watching Us rally, a demonstration against the National Security Agency’s domestic and international surveillance programs.
Reason TV spoke with protesters – including 2012 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson and former Congressman Dennis Kucinich – to discuss the rally, why people should worry about the erosion of privacy, and President Barack Obama’s role in the growth of the surveillance state.
Produced by Joshua Swain, interviews by Todd Krainin.
About 3 minutes long.
Go to http://reason.com/reasontv/2013/10/26… for downloadable versions of this video and subscribe to ReasonTV’s YouTube channel to receive automatic notification when new material goes live.”
” The US National Security Agency has spied on French diplomats in Washington and at the UN, according to the latest claims in Le Monde newspaper.
NSA internal memos obtained by Le Monde detailed the use of a sophisticated surveillance programme, known as Genie.
US spies allegedly hacked foreign networks, introducing the spyware into the software, routers and firewalls of millions of machines.
It comes a day after claims the NSA tapped millions of phones in France.
The details in the latest Le Monde article are based on leaks from ex-intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, through Glen Greenwald, the outgoing Guardian journalist, who is feeding the material from Brazil, says the BBC’s Christian Fraser in Paris.”
” The NSA has been systematically eavesdropping on the Mexican government for years. It hacked into the president’s public email account and gained deep insight into policymaking and the political system. The news is likely to hurt ties between the US and Mexico.
The National Security Agency (NSA) has a division for particularly difficult missions. Called “Tailored Access Operations” (TAO), this department devises special methods for special targets.
That category includes surveillance of neighboring Mexico, and in May 2010, the division reported its mission accomplished. A report classified as “top secret” said: “TAO successfully exploited a key mail server in the Mexican Presidencia domain within the Mexican Presidential network to gain first-ever access to President Felipe Calderon’s public email account.” “
With friends like US , who needs enemies ? This must be more of that “smart diplomacy” we were promised . Add Mexico to the list with Brazil and Germany of former allies sure to take a much different view of the US than used to be the case .
” The National Security Agency has been collecting contacts from people’s personal e-mail address books and instant messaging accounts in an effort to detect relationships that might be crucial to government security, the Washington Post is reporting.
The agency is collecting the data from overseas points and many of the contacts belong to Americans, the Post reports.
The Post bases its report on word from senior intelligence officials and top secret documents, including a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden..
The majority of the contacts harvested come from Yahoo and Hotmail accounts, but others also come from Facebook, Google and unspecified other providers, the Post reports. The contacts amount to a sizeable portion of the world’s e-mail and instant messaging accounts, according to the news organization.”
” Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has scrapped a scheduled state visit to the White House amid Brazilian outrage over news that the U.S. spied on her and a Brazilian oil company.
The cancellation of the Oct. 23 visit is the first public diplomatic fallout prompted by the revelations of National Security Agency spying and represents a serious rift between the two economic powerhouses and trading partners.
Obama has sought repeatedly to allay Brazil’s concerns, meeting privately with Rousseff at an economic summit in St. Petersburg, and dispatching several top members of his administration to speak to the Brazilians. Obama spoke with Rousseff by phone Monday, and White House spokesman Jay Carney said they agreed to postpone the state visit – which would have been the first of Obama’s second term.
Carney said the two presidents believed the visit “should not be overshadowed by a single bilateral issue, no matter how important or challenging the issue may be.”
But the Brazilian government said Tuesday the issue has yet to be resolved to its satisfaction.
“The illegal practice of intercepting communications and data of citizens, businesses and members of the Brazilian government constitute(s) a serious act which threatens national sovereignty and individual rights, and which is incompatible with democratic coexistence between friendly countries,” it said in a statement.”—
” Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has canceled a state visit to Washington in October over reports that the United States spied on her personal communications and those of other Brazilians, a leading Brazilian newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Rousseff, who was infuriated by the spying reports, decided to cancel despite a 20-minute telephone call from President Barack Obama on Monday night in a last-minute attempt to salvage the trip, O Globo newspaper said.
Rousseff is expected to announce whether or not she is going to Washington at a news conference later on Tuesday.
If she confirms she will not go, it would be a big blow to U.S.-Brazilian relations. Ties had been improving steadily since Rousseff took office in 2011 but were upset by reports that the National Security Agency snooped on emails, text messages and calls between the president and her aides.”
“ John Schindler, a National Security Agency veteran and now a professor at the Naval War College, tweeted out a series of what he calls Spy Rules today that we consider a must read.
Schindler spent ten years in the NSA as an analyst and counterintelligence officer, and has been outspoken about the Snowden leaks – particularly because he contends that spying on foreign countries is a legitimate form of government.
First he tweeted this story about U.S. intelligence not connecting the dots of the August 21 chemical attack in Syria, saying: “Wait, you’re saying intelligence work IRL is hard, complex and difficult to decipher? #noway“
” When NSA Director Keith Alexander appeared at the Las Vegas security conference Black Hat Wednesday morning, he hoped to mend the NSA’s reputation in the eyes of thousands of the conference’s hackers and security professionals. It didn’t go exactly as planned.
Alexander was about a half hour into his talk when a 30-year-old security consultant named Jon McCoy shouted “Freedom!”
“Exactly,” responded Alexander. “We stand for freedom.”
“Bullshit!” McCoy shouted.”
Yesterday we brought to your attention part one of an article from the von Mises Institute ” The Ethics Of Whistleblowing “ . Today we are pleased to bring you part two …
” The foregoing principles discussed in Part I of our analysis vitiate any allegation of criminal conduct by Snowden resting on his alleged contractual duties to the NSA. His disclosures of NSA documents were certainly “unauthorized disclosures” as has been charged, but there is no reason that any government authorization should be required. Indeed, it is quite absurd to suggest that government permission should be required to disclose evidence of government criminality. But what of the remaining property-based claim that Snowden’s actions involve the “theft” of government property?
This question can be dealt with in a similar manner, by consideration of the ordinary rules pertaining to the use of property in criminal dealings. When a private firm commits a crime using its own property as an instrument of wrongdoing it loses the right to claim ownership as a safeguard against investigation. If an investigator confiscates digging equipment and barrels of toxic waste from a private firm accused of dumping these on the property of others it is no bar to this action if the firm presents a receipt showing that the equipment belongs to them. (Indeed, this would be taken as further evidence linking them to the alleged crime.) The same applies to documentary evidence of a crime — it may legitimately be taken by an investigator as a means of proving criminal wrongdoing, notwithstanding the normal ownership claim that would apply to the item. ”
” The United States has bugged European Union offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks, according to secret documents cited in a German magazine on Saturday, the latest in a series of exposures of alleged U.S. spy programs.
Der Spiegel quoted from a September 2010 “top secret” U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) document that it said fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden had taken with him, and the weekly’s journalists had seen in part.”
Photo: Name Withheld; Digital Manipulation: Jesse Lenz
” Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.
But “this is more than just a data center,” says one senior intelligence official who until recently was involved with the program. The mammoth Bluffdale center will have another important and far more secret role that until now has gone unrevealed. It is also critical, he says, for breaking codes. And code-breaking is crucial, because much of the data that the center will handle—financial information, stock transactions, business deals, foreign military and diplomatic secrets, legal documents, confidential personal communications—will be heavily encrypted. According to another top official also involved with the program, the NSA made an enormous breakthrough several years ago in its ability to cryptanalyze, or break, unfathomably complex encryption systems employed by not only governments around the world but also many average computer users in the US. The upshot, according to this official: “Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.” “
While this article is a couple months old we thought it more relevant than ever given recent revelations of the NSA demanding ALL Verizon phone records .
We are in a battle for our privacy and the adversary is not international … no , the enemy is our own government . We are paying for the weapons of the destruction of liberty . Our fore-fathers would be appalled . The federal government makes King George look like a benevolent uncle in comparison .
” The Justice Department sought the authority to spy on several thousand “United States persons” in 2012, according to a letter the department recently sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“These sought information pertaining to 6,233 different United States persons,” wrote Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik in the letter.
The report does not specify how many of these National Security Letter requests were granted. The requests differ from typical subpoenas, because they seek only non-content information (such as phone numbers, instead of the content of phone conversations) and do not require approval from the judicial branch. “
- Surveillance State Unchecked: Secret Spy Court Rejected Zero Requests in 2012 (dissenter.firedoglake.com)
- Holder Personally Approved Seizing AP Phone Records (patdollard.com)
- Three Questions about Government Spying on the Press (cato.org)
- Harry Reid Slams Obama Admin: ‘I Have Trouble Defending What The Justice Department Did’ (patdollard.com)
- DOJ Asks D.C. Circuit to Keep Surveillance Law Memo Secret (legaltimes.typepad.com)
- Progressives to Obama: Say it ain’t so (tv.msnbc.com)
- Obama Supporters Suggest Holder May Need to Take a Fall to Correct Course of Presidency (joemiller.us)
“A team of engineers from Harvard University have built the world’s smallest aerial drones that are half the size of a paper clip and weigh less than a tenth of a gram after a decade of hard work.
Inspired by the biology of a fly, the world’s first smallest controllable, flying, insect-sized robot known as ‘RoboBee’ was designed using a technique known as ‘smart composite microstructure’ (SCM). It consists of a submillimeter scale anatomy and two wafer-thin wings that have the capacity to flap 129 times per second.
This fascinating device was built by a mechanical engineer Robert Wood from Harvard University, together with Harvard grad student Kevin Ma.”
” As various time zones begin ticking over to April 22, an Anonymous-led Web blackout has begun that will reportedly include over 200 sites suspending regular operations in protest of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) that recently passed the US House of Representatives.
Anonymous and other groups called for the blackout last week using the hashtags #CISPAblackout and #StopCISPA.
While the action is meant to be a repeat of last year’s anti-SOPA blackout, which included participation from Wikipedia and Google, Monday’s CISPA protest appears to be mostly limited to the hacker and Anonymous circles. At present, no major mainstream websites appear on the list of participants.
Beyond just standalone websites, some Anonymous and Occupy Facebook and Twitter accounts have agreed to go silent for the day. Others are using a twibbon campaign or a #StopCISPA profile picture.”” THIS WEBSITE IS OFFLINE IN PROTEST OF CISPA
this is a list of other websites that have stated they will be joining in on the #CISPABlackout.
Check out what they’ve done to have their voice heard! If you would like to add your site to the list, feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org://friendlyneighborhoodanarchist.com/
http://www.reduxdirect.com/A total of 394 websites have pledged to join the protest against CISPA.
In a addition, there are a number of Facebook pages and Twitter accounts that will be going silent all day. Some of these include Occupy Wall Street’s Facebook, and other Anonymous related Twitter / Facebook accounts.
What if I don’t have a website and want to help?
If you don’t own a website, you can help out by spreading awareness of CISPA. You can also assist by generally informing people about #CISPABlackout.
There has also been a twibbon campaign started to raise awareness about CISPA, and some people are changing their profile pictures on social networks to the one below!