Edward Snowden,National Security Agency surveillance 2015-2016

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by The Wrong Guy, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. A.O.T.F Member

    Barrett was so goddam right! He has been warning us for fucking years about all of this. And he was quite literally railroaded for doing so. And we all fucking know it.

    In early 2011, when I began working out of the Anonops server in support of OpTunisia and then other matters, Project PM (the chief venue of which was simply an IRC channel on the Freenode server) became an extension of those efforts. Eventually it fell to the wayside as I became more heavily involved with Anonymous itself. A few months later, as a number of us continued to investigate the large mass of information that had stemmed from the HBGary hack, we turned Project PM into our shared venue/banner and re-purposed it into an informal association that would do two things: (1) disseminate information about the intelligence contracting industry and what is now being increasingly termed the "cyber-industrial complex," including specific firms/outfits known to be involved in one or more of certain activities we oppose,

    Barrett Brown - The Purpose of Project PM
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  2. The Wrong Guy Member

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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

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  4. The Wrong Guy Member

    Senate debates Patriot Act as expiration of surveillance provisions looms LIVE UPDATES | RT USA

    The US Senate is holding a rare Sunday session to try and prevent the expiration of several controversial provisions of the Patriot Act, which allows wide-scale spying on Americans. The Obama administration claims it is crucial to US national security.

    The NSA said its teams would be on "hot standby" from 4 pm to 8 pm today, in case the Senate re-authorized continued surveillance. If they have in fact begun shutting down the metadata collection, as of 8 pm local time (midnight GMT), that shutdown has become irreversible.

    Even if the Senate passes USA Freedom Act tonight, the NSA will still have to restart the computers, which will take time. Senators Wyden and Heinrich are still speaking, too.

    Roll Call reporter Niels Lesniewski says no more votes are expected tonight.

    No further roll call votes expected tonight in the Senate, folks.
    — Niels Lesniewski (@nielslesniewski) June 1, 2015
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  5. The Wrong Guy Member

    After the live broadcast, hopefully this video will appear in its entirety.

    Live Q&A: Edward Snowden

    Started by Amnesty International UK on June 2, 2015

    Join us for a live Q&A with Edward Snowden from the Human Rights Action Centre and Russia.

    You can ask questions beforehand. Send them in on Twitter using #AskSnowden and we'll pick a selection.
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  6. The Wrong Guy Member

    Congress passes bill to limit domestic surveillance | Reuters

    The U.S. Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that ends spy agencies' bulk collection of Americans' telephone records, a vote that reversed national security policy that had been in place since shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

    After weeks of often angry debate over how to balance concerns about privacy with worries about terrorist attacks, the Senate passed the USA Freedom Act by a vote of 67-32, with support from both Democrats and Republicans.

    Because the House of Representatives passed the bill last month, the Senate vote sends the bill to the White House, where President Barack Obama has promised to sign it into law.

    The measure replaces a program in which the National Security Agency sweeps up data about Americans' telephone calls with a more targeted system.
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  7. The Wrong Guy Member

    Apple boss Tim Cook hits out at Facebook and Google | BBC News

    Apple chief Tim Cook has made a thinly veiled attack on Facebook and Google for "gobbling up" users' personal data. In a speech, he said people should not have to "make trade-offs between privacy and security". While not naming Facebook and Google explicitly, he attacked companies that "built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency".

    Rights activists Privacy International told the BBC it had some scepticism about Mr Cook's comments. "It is encouraging to see Apple making the claim that they collect less information on us than their competitors," Privacy International's technologist Dr Richard Tynan said. "However, we have yet to see verifiable evidence of the implementation of these claims with regard to their hardware, firmware, software or online services. It is crucial that our devices do not betray us."

    Addressing an audience in Washington DC, Mr Cook said: "I'm speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information. They're gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetise it. We think that's wrong. And it's not the kind of company that Apple wants to be."

    Mr Cook had been given a corporate leadership award by the Electronic Privacy Information Centre, a US-based research group. According to TechCrunch, he later added that Apple "doesn't want your data".

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  8. The Wrong Guy Member

    Very Mention of Snowden's Name Makes Prosecutors Tremble | The Intercept

    NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has become such a powerful symbol of government overreach that federal prosecutors in a terror case in Chicago are asking the judge to forbid defense attorneys from even mentioning his name during trial, for fear that it would lead the jury to disregard their evidence.

    The upcoming trial is of Adel Daoud, a slow-witted Chicagoland teenager caught in yet another FBI terror sting aimed at someone vulnerable to manipulation. An undercover federal agent provided Daoud with a fake car bomb parked outside a downtown Chicago bar, and then let him push the detonator.

    Much of the evidence in the case – involving Daoud’s online explorations into Islam and Jihad – was gathered through surveillance conducted using secret warrants issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.

    Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago asked Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman on Wednesday to prohibit the defense from mentioning Snowden’s name – along with a number of other things, such as the existence of the National Security Agency, or a speech by Senator Dianne Feinstein in which she cited “a plot to bomb a downtown Chicago bar” as an example of one that was thwarted thanks to FISA authorities.

    Their concern: Those topics “are irrelevant and would tend to elicit jury nullification, so the defendant should be barred from inquiring of witnesses, presenting evidence, or arguing to the jury about them.”

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  9. The Wrong Guy Member

    Edward Snowden: The World Says No to Surveillance

    By Edward Snowden, The New York Times, June 4, 2015


    Two years ago today, three journalists and I worked nervously in a Hong Kong hotel room, waiting to see how the world would react to the revelation that the National Security Agency had been making records of nearly every phone call in the United States. In the days that followed, those journalists and others published documents revealing that democratic governments had been monitoring the private activities of ordinary citizens who had done nothing wrong.

    Within days, the United States government responded by bringing charges against me under World War I-era espionage laws. The journalists were advised by lawyers that they risked arrest or subpoena if they returned to the United States. Politicians raced to condemn our efforts as un-American, even treasonous.

    Privately, there were moments when I worried that we might have put our privileged lives at risk for nothing — that the public would react with indifference, or practiced cynicism, to the revelations.

    Never have I been so grateful to have been so wrong.

    Two years on, the difference is profound. In a single month, the N.S.A.’s invasive call-tracking program was declared unlawful by the courts and disowned by Congress. After a White House-appointed oversight board investigation found that this program had not stopped a single terrorist attack, even the president who once defended its propriety and criticized its disclosure has now ordered it terminated.

    This is the power of an informed public.

    Ending the mass surveillance of private phone calls under the Patriot Act is a historic victory for the rights of every citizen, but it is only the latest product of a change in global awareness. Since 2013, institutions across Europe have ruled similar laws and operations illegal and imposed new restrictions on future activities. The United Nations declared mass surveillance an unambiguous violation of human rights. In Latin America, the efforts of citizens in Brazil led to the Marco Civil, an Internet Bill of Rights. Recognizing the critical role of informed citizens in correcting the excesses of government, the Council of Europe called for new laws to protect whistle-blowers.

    Beyond the frontiers of law, progress has come even more quickly. Technologists have worked tirelessly to re-engineer the security of the devices that surround us, along with the language of the Internet itself. Secret flaws in critical infrastructure that had been exploited by governments to facilitate mass surveillance have been detected and corrected. Basic technical safeguards such as encryption — once considered esoteric and unnecessary — are now enabled by default in the products of pioneering companies like Apple, ensuring that even if your phone is stolen, your private life remains private. Such structural technological changes can ensure access to basic privacies beyond borders, insulating ordinary citizens from the arbitrary passage of anti-privacy laws, such as those now descending upon Russia.

    Though we have come a long way, the right to privacy — the foundation of the freedoms enshrined in the United States Bill of Rights — remains under threat. Some of the world’s most popular online services have been enlisted as partners in the N.S.A.’s mass surveillance programs, and technology companies are being pressured by governments around the world to work against their customers rather than for them. Billions of cellphone location records are still being intercepted without regard for the guilt or innocence of those affected. We have learned that our government intentionally weakens the fundamental security of the Internet with “back doors” that transform private lives into open books. Metadata revealing the personal associations and interests of ordinary Internet users is still being intercepted and monitored on a scale unprecedented in history: As you read this online, the United States government makes a note.

    Spymasters in Australia, Canada and France have exploited recent tragedies to seek intrusive new powers despite evidence such programs would not have prevented attacks. Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain recently mused, “Do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?” He soon found his answer, proclaiming that “for too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: As long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.”

    At the turning of the millennium, few imagined that citizens of developed democracies would soon be required to defend the concept of an open society against their own leaders.

    Yet the balance of power is beginning to shift. We are witnessing the emergence of a post-terror generation, one that rejects a worldview defined by a singular tragedy. For the first time since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we see the outline of a politics that turns away from reaction and fear in favor of resilience and reason. With each court victory, with every change in the law, we demonstrate facts are more convincing than fear. As a society, we rediscover that the value of a right is not in what it hides, but in what it protects.

    Edward J. Snowden, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer and National Security Agency contractor, is a director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

    A version of this op-ed appears in print on June 5, 2015, on page A23 of the National edition with the headline: The World Says No to Surveillance.

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  10. The Wrong Guy Member

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  11. The Wrong Guy Member

    Life after Snowden: Journalists' new moral responsibility

    By Alan Rusbridger, Columbia Journalism Review

    Editor’s note: This is a chapter in Journalism After Snowden: The Future of Free Press in the Surveillance State, a forthcoming book from Columbia University Press. The book is part of the Journalism After Snowden initiative, a yearlong series of events and projects from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism in collaboration with CJR. The initiative is funded by The Tow Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
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  12. Disambiguation Global Moderator

    We would still be under the Patriot Act if it weren't for him.
  13. The Wrong Guy Member

    Media Lessons from Snowden Reporting: LA Times Editors Advocate Prosecution of Sources

    By Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

    Two years ago, the first story based on the Snowden archive was published in the Guardian, revealing a program of domestic mass surveillance which, at least in its original form, ended this week. To commemorate that anniversary, Edward Snowden himself reflected in a New York Times Op-Ed on the “power of an informed public” when it comes to the worldwide debate over surveillance and privacy.

    But we realized from the start that the debate provoked by these disclosures would be at least as much about journalism as privacy or state secrecy. And that was a debate we not only anticipated but actively sought, one that would examine the role journalism ought to play in a democracy and the proper relationship of journalists to those who wield the greatest political and economic power.

    That debate definitely happened, not just in the U.S. but around the world. And it was revealing in all sorts of ways. In fact, of all the revelations over the last two years, one of the most illuminating and stunning – at least for me – has been the reaction of many in the American media to Edward Snowden as a source.

    When it comes to taking the lead in advocating for the criminalization of leaking and demanding the lengthy imprisonment of our source, it hasn’t been the U.S. Government performing that role but rather – just as was the case for WikiLeaks disclosures – those who call themselves “journalists.” Just think about what an amazing feat of propaganda that is, one of which most governments could only dream: let’s try to get journalists themselves to take the lead in demonizing whistleblowers and arguing that sources should be imprisoned! As much of an authoritarian pipe dream as that may seem to be, that is exactly what happened during the Snowden debate. As Digby put it yesterday:

    It remains to be seen if more members of the mainstream press will take its obligations seriously in the future. When the Snowden revelations came to light two years ago it was a very revealing moment. Let’s just say that we got a good look at people’s instincts. I know I’ll never forget what I saw.

    So many journalists were furious about the revelations, and were demanding prosecution for it, that there should have been a club created called Journalists Against Transparency or Journalists for State Secrecy and it would have been highly populated. They weren’t even embarrassed about it. There was no pretense, no notion that those who want to be regarded as “journalists” should at least pretend to favor transparency, disclosures, and sources. They were unabashed about their mentality that so identifies with and is subservient to the National Security State that they view controversies exactly the same way as those officials: someone who reveals information that the state has deemed should be secret belongs in prison – at least when those revelations reflect poorly on top U.S. officials.

    The reaction of American journalists was not monolithic. Large numbers of them expressed support for the revelations and for Snowden himself. Two of the most influential papers, the New York Times and the Washington Post, themselves published Snowden documents (including, ironically, most of the stories which Snowden critics typically cite as ones that should not have been published). In the wake of a court ruling finding the domestic mass surveillance program likely unconstitutional, the New York Times editorial page argued that Snowden should be given clemency. Journalists awarded the Snowden-based reporting the Pulitzer, the Polk, and most other journalism awards. So there was plenty of journalistic support for the disclosures, for journalism. Many have recently come around for the first time to advocating that Snowden should not face prosecution.

    But huge numbers of them went on the warpath against transparency. The Democrats’ favorite “legal analyst,” Jeffrey Toobin, repeatedly took to the airwaves of CNN and the pages of the New Yorker to vilify Snowden. The NSA whistleblower was so repeatedly and viciously maligned by MSNBC hosts such as Melissa Harris-Perry, Ed Schultz, Joy Ann Reid, and Lawrence O’Donnell that one would have thought he had desecrated an Obama shrine (had Snowden leaked during a GOP presidency, of course, MSNBC personalities would have erected a life-sized statue of him outside of 30 Rock). People like Bob Schieffer and David Brooks, within days of learning his name, purported to psychoanalyze him in the most banal yet demeaning ways. And national security journalists frozen out of the story continuously tried to insinuate themselves by speaking up in favor of state secrecy and arguing that Snowden should be imprisoned.

    I hadn’t intended to use the two-year anniversary to write about these media issues – until I read the editorial this week from the Los Angeles Times demanding that Snowden return to the U.S. and be prosecuted for his transparency crimes. Isn’t it extraordinary that people who want to be regarded as journalists would write an editorial calling for the criminal prosecution of a key source? Principles aside: just on grounds of self-interest, wouldn’t you think they’d want to avoid telling future sources that the Los Angeles Times believes leaking is criminal and those who do it belong in prison?

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  14. The Wrong Guy Member

    Kim Dotcom ‏@KimDotcom Jun 12
    NSA: Our hacking operations directly support murder and we love it.

    Kim Dotcom ‏@KimDotcom 38 minutes ago
    China and Russia cracked decryption of Snowden archive says anonymous UK Government source.
    I say they had those files long before Snowden did :)

    Kim Dotcom ‏@KimDotcom 19 minutes ago
    Truth: China is unimpressed with US Government data security efforts.
    There's little 'Top Secret' information that China hasn't accessed already.

    Kim Dotcom ‏@KimDotcom 9 minutes ago
    I know from a trusted hacker source that not only China has the names of most US Government agents and assets inside and outside the United States.
  15. Disambiguation Global Moderator

    No surprize surely.
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  16. demarquis Member

    There seems to be two sides to this story. On the one hand, GB's spy agencies are claiming that their agents are being targeted. On the other hand, there may be domestic politics external_link.gif behind the timing of these revelations:

    "...The revelations about the impact of Snowden on intelligence operations comes days after Britain's terrorism law watchdog said the rules governing the security services' abilities to spy on the public needed to be overhauled.

    Conservative lawmaker and former minister Andrew Mitchell said the timing of the report was "no accident."

    "There is a big debate going on," he told BBC radio. "We are going to have legislation bought back to parliament (...) about the way in which individual liberty and privacy is invaded in the interest of collective national security."
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  17. Sekee Member
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  18. The Wrong Guy Member

    Spies Hacked Computers Thanks to Sweeping Secret Warrants, Aggressively Stretching U.K. Law

    By Andrew Fishman and Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

    British spies have received government permission to intensively study software programs for ways to infiltrate and take control of computers. The GCHQ spy agency was vulnerable to legal action for the hacking efforts, known as “reverse engineering,” since such activity could have violated copyright law. But GCHQ sought and obtained a legally questionable warrant from the Foreign Secretary in an attempt to immunize itself from legal liability.
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  19. Sekee Member
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  20. The Wrong Guy Member

    Orwell's Triumph: Joshua Cohen and Novels of Surveillance

    By Sam Frank, The Intercept

    When government agencies and private companies access and synthesize our data, they take on the power to novelize our lives. Their profiles of our behavior are semi-fictional stories, pieced together from the digital traces we leave as we go about our days. No matter how many articles we read about this process, grasping its significance is no easy thing. It turns out that to understand the weird experience of being the target of all this surveillance — how we are characters in semi-true narratives constructed by algorithms and data analysts — an actual novel can be the best medium.

    Book of Numbers, released earlier this month, is the latest exhibit. Written by Joshua Cohen, the book has received enthusiastic notices from the New York Times and other outlets as an ambitious “Internet novel,” embedding the history of Silicon Valley in a dense narrative about a search engine called Tetration. Book of Numbers was written mostly in the wake of the emergence of WikiLeaks and was finished as a trove of NSA documents from Edward Snowden was coming to light. Cohen even adjusted last-minute details to better match XKeyscore, a secret NSA computer system that collects massive amounts of email and web data; in Book of Numbers, Tetration has a function secreted within it that automatically reports searches to the government. As Tetration’s founder puts it, “All who read us are read.”

    Ben Wizner of the ACLU, who is Cohen’s friend and Snowden’s lawyer, has praised the novel’s depiction of the “surveillance economy,” as he puts it. “There’s a frustration on the law and advocacy side about how abstract some of these issues can seem to the public,” Wizner told the Times. “For some people, the novelist’s eye can show the power and the danger of these systems in ways that we can’t.”

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  21. Disambiguation Global Moderator

    Thanks! No need to look for the next book.
  22. The Wrong Guy Member

    XKEYSCORE: NSA's Google for the World's Private Communications

    By Morgan Marquis-Boire, Glenn Greenwald, and Micah Lee, The Intercept

    One of the National Security Agency’s most powerful tools of mass surveillance makes tracking someone’s Internet usage as easy as entering an email address, and provides no built-in technology to prevent abuse. Today, The Intercept is publishing 48 top-secret and other classified documents about XKEYSCORE dated up to 2013, which shed new light on the breadth, depth and functionality of this critical spy system — one of the largest releases yet of documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    The NSA’s XKEYSCORE program, first revealed by The Guardian, sweeps up countless people’s Internet searches, emails, documents, usernames and passwords, and other private communications. XKEYSCORE is fed a constant flow of Internet traffic from fiber optic cables that make up the backbone of the world’s communication network, among other sources, for processing. As of 2008, the surveillance system boasted approximately 150 field sites in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, Spain, Russia, Nigeria, Somalia, Pakistan, Japan, Australia, as well as many other countries, consisting of over 700 servers.

    These servers store “full-take data” at the collection sites — meaning that they captured all of the traffic collected — and, as of 2009, stored content for 3 to 5 days and metadata for 30 to 45 days. NSA documents indicate that tens of billions of records are stored in its database. “It is a fully distributed processing and query system that runs on machines around the world,” an NSA briefing on XKEYSCORE says. “At field sites, XKEYSCORE can run on multiple computers that gives it the ability to scale in both processing power and storage.”


    XKEYSCORE also collects and processes Internet traffic from Americans, though NSA analysts are taught to avoid querying the system in ways that might result in spying on U.S. data. Experts and privacy activists, however, have long doubted that such exclusions are effective in preventing large amounts of American data from being swept up. One document The Intercept is publishing today suggests that FISA warrants have authorized “full-take” collection of traffic from at least some U.S. web forums.

    The system is not limited to collecting web traffic. The 2013 document, “VoIP Configuration and Forwarding Read Me,” details how to forward VoIP data from XKEYSCORE into NUCLEON, NSA’s repository for voice intercepts, facsimile, video and “pre-released transcription.” At the time, it supported more than 8,000 users globally and was made up of 75 servers absorbing 700,000 voice, fax, video and tag files per day.

    The reach and potency of XKEYSCORE as a surveillance instrument is astonishing. The Guardian report noted that NSA itself refers to the program as its “widest reaching” system. In February of this year, The Intercept reported that NSA and GCHQ hacked into the internal network of Gemalto, the world’s largest provider of cell phone SIM cards, in order to steal millions of encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cell phone communication. XKEYSCORE played a vital role in the spies’ hacking by providing government hackers access to the email accounts of Gemalto employees.

    Numerous key NSA partners, including Canada, New Zealand and the U.K., have access to the mass surveillance databases of XKEYSCORE. In March, the New Zealand Herald, in partnership with The Intercept, revealed that the New Zealand government used XKEYSCORE to spy on candidates for the position of World Trade Organization director general and also members of the Solomon Islands government.

    These newly published documents demonstrate that collected communications not only include emails, chats and web-browsing traffic, but also pictures, documents, voice calls, webcam photos, web searches, advertising analytics traffic, social media traffic, botnet traffic, logged keystrokes, computer network exploitation (CNE) targeting, intercepted username and password pairs, file uploads to online services, Skype sessions and more.

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    Micah Lee ‏@micahflee 10 minutes ago
    Want to stop NSA analysts from reading your email? Just include the words "viagra" and "herbal supplement".

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  23. The Wrong Guy Member

    Did You Enjoy the 28 Days the NSA Stopped Spying on You? | Motherboard

    The National Security Agency has just resumed the bulk collection of every American’s telephone call information, even though a Federal Appeals Court judge ruled the program illegal earlier this year and Congress just voted to end the program altogether.

    David Cameron is going to try and ban encryption in Britain | Business Insider

    David Cameron has signaled that he intends to ban strong encryption, putting the British government on a collision course with some of the biggest tech companies in the world.
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  24. The Wrong Guy Member

    Hacking Team hacked, attackers claim 400GB in dumped data | CSO Online

    On Sunday, while most of Twitter was watching the Women's World Cup – an amazing game from start to finish – one of the world's most notorious security firms was being hacked.

    Specializing in surveillance technology, Hacking Team is now learning how it feels to have their internal matters exposed to the world, and privacy advocates are enjoying a bit of schadenfreude at their expense.

    Hacking Team is an Italian company that sells intrusion and surveillance tools to governments and law enforcement agencies.

    The lawful interception tools developed by this company have been linked to several cases of privacy invasion by researchers and the media.

    Reporters Without Borders has listed the company on its Enemies of the Internet index due largely to Hacking Teams' business practices and their primary surveillance tool Da Vinci.

    It isn't known who hacked Hacking Team; however, the attackers have published a Torrent file with 400GB of internal documents, source code, and email communications to the public at large.

    In addition, the attackers have taken to Twitter, defacing the Hacking Team account with a new logo, biography, and published messages with images of the compromised data.

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  25. The Wrong Guy Member

    Leaked Documents Show FBI, DEA and U.S. Army Buying Italian Spyware

    By Cora Currier, The Intercept

    The FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Army have all bought controversial software that allows users to take remote control of suspects’ computers, recording their calls, emails, keystrokes and even activating their cameras, according to internal documents hacked from the software’s Italian manufacturer.

    The company, Hacking Team, has also been aggressively marketing the software to other U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies, demonstrating their products to district attorneys in New York, San Bernardino, California, and Maricopa, Arizona; and multi-agency task forces like the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation in Florida and California’s Regional Enforcement Allied Computer Team. The company was also in conversation with various other agencies, including the CIA, the Pentagon’s Criminal Investigative Service, the New York Police Department, and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

    The revelations come from hundreds of gigabytes of company information, including emails and financial records, which were released online Sunday night and analyzed by The Intercept. Milan-based Hacking Team is one of a handful of companies that sell off-the-shelf spyware for hundreds of thousands of euros — a price point accessible to smaller countries and large police forces. Hacking Team has drawn fire from human rights and privacy activists who contend that the company’s aggressive malware, known as Remote Control System, or RCS, is being sold to countries that deploy it against activists, political opponents and journalists.

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  26. The Wrong Guy Member

    Eric Holder: The Justice Department could strike deal with Edward Snowden

    Former Attorney General Eric Holder said today that a “possibility exists” for the Justice Department to cut a deal with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that would allow him to return to the United States from Moscow.

    In an interview with Yahoo News, Holder said “we are in a different place as a result of the Snowden disclosures” and that “his actions spurred a necessary debate” that prompted President Obama and Congress to change policies on the bulk collection of phone records of American citizens.

    Asked if that meant the Justice Department might now be open to a plea bargain that allows Snowden to return from his self-imposed exile in Moscow, Holder replied: “I certainly think there could be a basis for a resolution that everybody could ultimately be satisfied with. I think the possibility exists.”

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    DOJ: No change in stance on Snowden

    The Justice Department continues to insist that Edward Snowden would face criminal prosecution were he to return to the U.S., even as former Attorney General Eric Holder said the former National Security Agency contractor "spurred a necessary debate" over government spying techniques, Obama administration officials said Tuesday.

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  27. The Wrong Guy Member

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  28. The Wrong Guy Member

    Hacking Team Plans to Continue Operations | Threatpost

    It has been absolutely brutal week for Hacking Team. All of the company’s documents, internal communications, emails with customers, and invoices have been published, including its dealings with oppressive regimes and customers in sanctioned countries. But even with all that, company officials said they have no plans to cease operations, even as they’re asking customers to stop using their surveillance products for the time being.

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  29. The Wrong Guy Member

    FBI and DOJ Target New Enemy In Encryption Wars: Apple and Google | The Intercept

    The FBI and Department of Justice on Wednesday targeted a new set of threats to national security and law enforcement: Not ISIS, or pedophiles, but Apple and Google.

    Those companies and other that provide or will soon provide end-to-end encryption make it impossible to read intercepted digital messages — and without naming names, FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates said that they will “work with” those companies to ensure access to their customers’ communications.

    In a Senate Judiciary hearing Wednesday morning, Yates and Comey said companies that “do not retain access” to consumers’ information can complicate authorized criminal and national security investigations.

    Google and Apple, in response to demands from consumers who request higher levels of privacy and security, have been slowly rolling out stronger end-to-end encryption on their devices and services such as Gmail and iPhones.

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  30. The Wrong Guy Member

    Hacking Team Emails Expose Proposed Death Squad Deal, Secret UK Sales Push, and Much More

    By Ryan Gallagher, The Intercept

    Late Sunday, hackers dumped online a massive trove of emails and other documents obtained from the systems of Italian surveillance firm Hacking Team. The company’s controversial technology is sold to governments around the world, enabling them to infect smartphones and computers with malware to covertly record conversations and steal data.

    For years, Hacking Team has been the subject of scrutiny from journalists and activists due to its suspected sales to despotic regimes. But the company has successfully managed to hide most of its dealings behind a wall of secrecy – until now.

    For the last few days, I have been reading through the hacked files, which give remarkable insight into Hacking Team, its blasé attitude toward human rights concerns, and the extent of its spyware sales to government agencies on every continent. Adding to the work of my colleagues to analyze the 400 gigabyte trove of hacked data, here’s a selection of the notable details I have found so far:

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  31. The Wrong Guy Member

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  32. The Wrong Guy Member

    Spying on the Internet is Orders of Magnitude More Invasive Than Phone Metadata

    By Micah Lee, The Intercept

    When you pick up the phone, who you’re calling is none of the government’s business. The NSA’s domestic surveillance of phone metadata was the first program to be disclosed based on documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden, and Americans have been furious about it ever since. The courts ruled it illegal, and Congress let the section of the Patriot Act that justified it expire (though the program lives on in a different form as part of the USA Freedom Act).

    Yet XKEYSCORE, the secret program that converts all the data it can see into searchable events like web pages loaded, files downloaded, forms submitted, emails and attachments sent, porn videos watched, TV shows streamed, and advertisements loaded, demonstrates how Internet traffic can be even more sensitive than phone calls. And unlike the Patriot Act’s phone metadata program, Congress has failed to limit the scope of programs like XKEYSCORE, which is presumably still operating at full speed. Maybe Verizon stopped giving phone metadata to the NSA, but if a Verizon engineer uploads a spreadsheet full of this metadata without proper encryption, the NSA may well get it anyway by spying directly on the cables that the spreadsheet travels over.

    The outrage over bulk collection of our phone metadata makes sense: Metadata is private. Americans call suicide prevention hotlines, HIV testing services, phone sex services, advocacy groups for gun rights and for abortion rights, and the people they’re having affairs with. We use the phone to schedule job interviews without letting our current employer know, and to manage long-distance relationships. Most of us, at one point or another, have spent long hours on the phone discussing the most intimate details about our lives. There isn’t an American alive today who didn’t grow up with at least some access to a telephone, so Americans understand this well.

    But Americans don’t understand the Internet yet. Bulk collection of phone metadata is, without a doubt, a violation of your privacy, but bulk surveillance of Internet traffic is orders of magnitude more invasive. People also use the Internet in all the ways they use phones — often inadvertently sharing even more intimate details through online searches. In fact, the phone network itself is starting to go over the Internet, without customers even noticing.

    XKEYSCORE, as well as NSA’s programs that tap the Internet directly and feed data into it, have some legal problems: They violate First Amendment rights to freedom of association; they violate the Wiretap Act. But the biggest and most obvious concerns are with the Fourth Amendment.

    The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is short and concise:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    It means that Americans have a right to privacy. If government agents want to search you or seize your data, they must have a warrant. The warrant can only be issued if they have probable cause, and the warrant must be specific. It can’t say, “We want to seize everyone’s Internet traffic to see what’s in it.” Instead, it must say something like, “We want to seize a specific incriminating document from a specific suspect.”

    But this is exactly what’s happening:

    The government is indiscriminately seizing Internet traffic to see what’s in it, without probable cause. The ostensible justification is that, while tens of millions of Americans may be swept up in this dragnet, the real targets are foreigners. In a legal document called USSID 18, the NSA sets out policies and procedures that purportedly prevent unreasonable searches of data from U.S. persons.

    But it doesn’t prevent, or even claim to prevent, unreasonable seizures.

    Kurt Opsahl, general counsel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, explains: “We have a fundamental disagreement with the government about whether [data] acquisition is a problem. Acquisition is a seizure and has to be compliant with the Fourth Amendment.”

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  33. The Wrong Guy Member

    Hacking Team Email Jokes About Killing ACLU's Chris Soghoian

    By Micah Lee, The Intercept

    One thing that’s clear from reading through the trove of over one million emails from Italian surveillance firm Hacking Team is that its employees despise activists, many of whom have been criticizing them for years about their disregard for human rights.

    Christopher Soghoian, the ACLU’s Principal Technologist and an outspoken advocate for privacy and free speech, noticed Thursday that Hacking Team employee Daniele Milan joked about gathering enough Bitcoins to pay for his assassination. His email was dated April 16.

    Translated to English, this says:

    I’m very tempted to respond, but we would only unleash hell. I think it’s self evident what a inbecile Soghoian is. If I could gather up enough Bitcoin I would use a service from the DarkNet and eliminate him. An asshole of this caliber doesn’t deserve to continue to consume oxygen.

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  34. The Wrong Guy Member

    WhatsApp And Facebook Messenger Ban Could Be Just Weeks Away Under 'Snoopers Charter'

    By Thomas Tamblyn, Huffington Post UK

    WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat could all potentially be banned under the controversial so-called new 'Snoopers Charter' that's being drafted at the moment.

    The Investigatory Powers Bill, mentioned in the 2015 Queen's Speech, would allow the government to ban instant messaging apps that refuse to remove end-to-end encryption.

    Home Secretary Theresa May reportedly plans to push the bill forward as quickly as possible, putting it in front of the Government by the Autumn.

    There have been reports that the Government might even have the bill enforced by the end of this year, however the Home Secretary gives the bill an official deadline of December 2016, allowing time for debate and re-drafting.

    The risk of a potential ban has caused an outcry on social media with reactions ranging from anger to disbelief that the Government would be able to take on and beat companies like Apple, Google and Facebook.

    Prime Minister David Cameron hinted at a crackdown earlier this year in the aftermath of the Paris shootings when he claimed that when implementing new surveillance powers he would have no problem banning services like Snapchat if they didn't comply.

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  35. The Wrong Guy Member

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  36. The Wrong Guy Member

    Pentagon Transfers HAARP to University of Alaska

    It’s been a suspected death beam, a secret tool to control the weather and even a weapon to manipulate the human mind. Now, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, better known by its acronym, HAARP, has reached the final stage of its strange journey that began with Cold War concerns about nuclear war: Next month, the Alaska-based research station will be transferred to civilian control.

    HAARP will be handed over in August to the University of Alaska, confirmed Othana Zuch, an Air Force spokesperson. A ceremony for the handover is also scheduled for that month.

    Located on a site near the town of Gakona, Alaska, HAARP consists of 360 radio transmitters and 180 antennas, which are used to generate radio waves that heat up the ionosphere by accelerating electrons, allowing scientists to conduct experiments.

    When it was first conceived during the Cold War, HAARP was going to study whether currents of charged particles traveling through the ionosphere, a region of the upper atmosphere, could be used to transmit messages to nuclear submarines lurking deep underwater. When the Cold War ended, HAARP supporters offered up other uses, like examining ways to detect underground facilities in countries like North Korea.

    In 2002, the Pentagon grew interested in using HAARP to study ways to counter high-altitude nuclear detonations. That plan, too, eventually fell to the wayside, and funding dried up.

    The Defense Department spent almost $300 million — most of it provided through congressional add-ons — over two decades to build the site, which was finally completed in 2007. Less than seven years later, the Air Force announced it would close and dismantle it.

    Given its seeming esoteric goal — studying the ionosphere — the facility received outsized attention from those who believed it is a classified military facility. Over the years, HAARP strove to break free of the conspiracy theories that surrounded it, even holding annual open houses for the public to allow people to view the facility.

    It didn’t work, and the conspiracy theories continued, including allegations that HAARP was the cause of the massive 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti.

    Last summer, the Air Force announced that it was getting ready to dismantle HAARP. The facility’s most obvious application — as a tool for scientists to study the ionosphere — wasn’t enough to attract federal funding.

    Physicist Dennis Papadopoulos, a professor at the University of Maryland and longtime proponent of HAARP, said the agreement that was worked out would transfer the facility from the Defense Department to the state of Alaska, and then over to the University of Alaska, which has long been involved in research at the site.

    HAARP will then operate, like other ionosphere research sites, as a scientific facility supported by those conducting experiments there. Papadopoulos said that the state of Alaska will put in about $2 million, and some additional funding may come from the National Science Foundation and the Pentagon.

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  37. The Wrong Guy Member

    The Turing Phone Is Built to Be Unhackable and Unbreakable | WIRED



    The Turing Phone is a 5.5-inch smartphone, running Android 5.1, but it’s like nothing you’ve seen before. It has a sharply curved, multi-colored shell, and a patterned back, borrowed from spaceship designs and the result of “thousands, literally thousands” of sketches. (The spaceship “Endurance” from Interstellar was particularly inspirational.) It comes in three models: Pharaoh, Cardinal, and Beowulf. Each one takes color and texture cues from the source material, like the scales from Grendel’s Mother in Beowulf. It’s actually a little under-specced, with an older Snapdragon processor and only 16GB of storage in the entry-level model, though it does have a 13-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel model on the front.

    The phone has no USB port, and no headphone jack. There’s just a single, proprietary jack that looks a little like the MacBook’s MagSafe, and Bluetooth.

    Its software is completely, entirely customized; all Chao had to show in a demo were a few homescreens, but he’s supremely confident it’s going to be “a masterpiece.” He promises a total overhaul of Android, a giant improvement on Google’s vision across the board. He imagines the phone is for designers — Chao is an architect both by disposition and training — as well as anyone who wants something a little different from the black rectangles that blanket the world’s carrier stores.

    Turing won’t market the phone this way, but the phone is designed with security very much in mind. End-to-end encryption is built into most of the core apps on the phone.


    Remember these three features, Chao says: privacy keys, liquid metal, nano-coating. “These features are like the GPS, Wi-Fi, and camera of the early days of smartphones. People were like, ‘Why do I need that?’ But then they were standardized. In the future, if you don’t have liquid metal, nano-coating, and a privacy key, you’ll be phased out right away.” Oh, and just in case you didn’t believe him: “I can assure you,” he says, “the three things I’m talking about are the same things Apple is considering right now.”

    The phone is available for pre-order starting July 31, beginning at $610 for a 16GB model. It’ll be available unlocked, though Chao says Turing is working with carriers to make it available more widely.
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  38. The Wrong Guy Member

    FBI Throws Fit Because Encryption is Making it Too Hard to Spy on You

    By Claire Bernish, The Anti Media, July 13, 2015

    As if the government’s ubiquitous prying eyes weren’t intolerable enough already, now they’ve started complaining — rather, whining — about the difficulty of cracking end-to-end encryption in the interest of criminal and terror investigations. In fact, FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates appeared before two Senate committees to do exactly that—leaving privacy advocates and technology experts convinced that legally required backdoors are in the works.

    Not only are grievances about encryption wholly unjustified, but the proposed solution — for companies to insert backdoors allowing government access to encrypted communications — is both technologically illiterate and contrary to the purported agenda. From what Comey and Yates explained to the judiciary and intelligence committees, they are ostensibly targeting apps like WhatsApp — and even huge companies, like Apple and Google. No matter the aim, the proposed solution is illogical and threatens privacy rights in an alarming way.

    As could be predicted, Comey used the overbroad, fear-based “terrorism” excuse to attempt to prove the need for government access to, well, everything Americans want to keep private. While the FBI, Comey explained, has thus far been able to foil ISIS plots, “I cannot see me stopping these indefinitely.” Texas Senator John Cornyn — sounding like a paranoid fanatic — urged Comey to emphasize to lawmakers that lack of a solution would cause U.S. residents to die; but Comey vowed, “I am not trying to scare folks.”

    In a blog post in Lawfare two days before his appearance before the committees, Comey pushed the encryption issue, writing, “[M]y job is to try to keep people safe. In universal strong encryption, I see something that is with us already and growing every day that will inexorably affect my ability to do that job.”

    These are interesting statements for the director of the FBI to make, considering what the recent analysis of all wiretaps in 2014 by the Federal Courts actually revealed: of 3,554 total conversations subject to wiretaps, encryption managed to stymie government access in just four cases. In fact, state wiretaps encountered encrypted communications in just 22 instances (down from 41 in 2013), accounting for two of the four instances where the government wasn’t able to crack encryption. Federal wiretaps had even lower numbers — making Comey’s statement downright illogical — though the feds were unable to crack encryption twice, they only encountered scrambled communications three times.

    But the idea that Comey and the government need to protect Americans from the unrelenting ISIS threat by having guaranteed access to private communications is indisputably absurd. Wiretaps, in general, increased by 78% in a decade according to the report. But a striking majority weren’t even used to prevent the terror threat the FBI director claims is so crucial, that it must have access to encryption to prevent — drug investigations accounted for 89% of all wiretaps last year.

    Of course, these figures account for reported wiretaps — and vastly understate a much higher total. After the release of the official federal total, four providers called bullshit. Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile said together that they, alone, had implemented 10,712 wiretaps pursuant to orders to do so. Without accounting for other carriers around the country, that discrepancy is already triple what the FBI claims — and almost certainly represents a higher percentage of encrypted communications the agency had difficulty with. This makes Comey’s complaint not just ridiculous, but disingenuous, as well.

    Giving law enforcement “exceptional access” to data storage and communications systems through a backdoor would open those platforms to hackers, criminals, and foreign or enemy agents — not to mention the very terrorist groups Comey is claiming the need to monitor. When experts explained the contradiction — that government access would open the door for everyone else — Comey replied, “Really?” He also added, “Maybe no one will be creative enough unless you force them to” — intimating the possibility of not-too-distant legislation mandating backdoor access as experts have widely theorized and warned about.

    “These proposals [for exceptional access] are unworkable in practice, raise enormous legal and ethical questions, and would undo progress on security at a time when internet vulnerabilities are causing extreme economic harm,” states the report “Keys Under Doormats” by a group of computer scientists and security experts about the requirement government access via backdoors. “[N]ew law enforcement requirements are likely to introduce unanticipated, hard to detect security flaws. Beyond these and other technical vulnerabilities, the prospect [raises the issues of] how such an environment would be governed and how to ensure that such systems would respect human rights and the rule of law.”

    In an interview on Democracy Now! one of the report’s authors, computer technologist Bruce Schneier, advised, “It’s extraordinary that free governments are demanding that security be weakened because the government might want to have access. This is the kind of thing we see out of Russia and China and Syria.” Referring to Comey’s desire for the availability to access when called for by a warrant, he said, “I can’t design a computer that operates differently when a piece of paper is nearby.”

    Senator Ron Wyden has vocally and persistently criticized the government’s premise for ever-expanding surveillance tactics and domestic surveillance, in general. He used “Genius” — a platform more often used for annotating song lyrics that allows comments and notes in a sidebar — to critically tear apart the arguments in Comey’s blog post.

    “Undermining encryption will not solve the tension between those seeking to enforce the law and those seeking to break it,” he noted. “What will change is that good, law-abiding Americans will lose their ability to communicate privately without breaking the law. And trying to restrict the use of encryption would cast suspicion on those who legitimately seek protected communications, such as journalists, whistleblowers, attorneys, and human rights activists […] It’s time to stop attacking the technology and start focusing on real solutions to the threats facing our nation.”

    As the public becomes increasingly alerted to the inarguable fact that the U.S. government has an unquenchable thirst for power and hegemony, dissent and calls to revolt — even by a former senator — are gaining momentum. And this increasingly paranoid, money-hungry control-freak posing as our government consistently displays oppressive and fascist tendencies that belie what is perhaps the most dangerous threat of all — the government, itself.

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  39. The Wrong Guy Member

    Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government to Find Out Why She Was Repeatedly Stopped at the Border

    Over six years, filmmaker Laura Poitras was searched, interrogated, and detained more than 50 times at U.S. and foreign airports. When she asked why, U.S. agencies wouldn’t say.

    Now, after receiving no response to her Freedom of Information Act requests for documents pertaining to her systemic targeting, Poitras is suing the U.S. government. In a complaint filed on Monday afternoon, Poitras demanded that the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Security release any and all documentation pertaining to her tracking, targeting, and questioning while traveling between 2006 and 2012.

    “I’m filing this lawsuit because the government uses the U.S. border to bypass the rule of law,” Poitras said in a statement. Poitras co-founded The Intercept with Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill. She said she hopes to draw attention to how other people, who aren’t as well known, “are also subjected to years of Kafkaesque harassment at the borders.”

    Poitras has been the subject of government monitoring since 2006, when she was working on a documentary film, My Country, My Country, the story of the Iraq War told from the perspective of an Iraqi doctor.

    Airport security informed her that the Department of Homeland Security assigned her the highest “threat rating” possible, despite the fact that she has never been charged with a crime. She described the government’s inspection and forceful seizure of her notebooks, laptop, cellphone, and other personal items as “shameful” in an interview with Democracy Now in 2012. On one occasion, security officers at the airport refused to allow her to take notes on her interrogation, arguing that her pen could be used as a weapon.

    Poitras was only freed from the constant harassment after Glenn Greenwald published an article about her plight in 2012, and a group of filmmakers united to write a petition against the government’s monitoring.

    Continued here:
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