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Surveillance - Spy

Who Controls Big Data?


The modern American surveillance state is not really the stuff of paranoid fantasies; it has arrived. The American Surveillance State owes the public an explanation. The public needs to decide if these policies are right or wrong.

4/15/2014 There'll be no escape from the FBI's new facial recognition system


Seven years after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the mass surveillance of Americans' telephone records, an appeals court has found the program was unlawful - and that the U.S. intelligence leaders who publicly defended it were not telling the truth. In a ruling handed down on Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said the warrantless telephone dragnet that secretly collected millions of Americans' telephone records violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and may well have been unconstitutional. Snowden, who fled to Russia in the aftermath of the 2013 disclosures and still faces U.S. espionage charges, said on Twitter that the ruling was a vindication of his decision to go public with evidence of the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping operation. “I never imagined that I would live to see our courts condemn the NSA's activities as unlawful and in the same ruling credit me for exposing them,” Snowden said in a message posted to Twitter. Evidence that the NSA was secretly building a vast database of U.S. telephone records - the who, the how, the when, and the where of millions of mobile calls - was the first and arguably the most explosive of the Snowden revelations published by the Guardian newspaper in 2013. Up until that moment, top intelligence officials publicly insisted the NSA never knowingly collected information on Americans at all. After the program's exposure, U.S. officials fell back on the argument that the spying had played a crucial role in fighting domestic extremism, citing in particular the case of four San Diego residents who were accused of providing aid to religious fanatics in Somalia. U.S. officials insisted that the four - Basaaly Saeed Moalin, Ahmed Nasir Taalil Mohamud, Mohamed Mohamud, and Issa Doreh - were convicted in 2013 thanks to the NSA's telephone record spying, but the Ninth Circuit ruled Wednesday that those claims were “inconsistent with the contents of the classified record.” The ruling will not affect the convictions of Moalin and his fellow defendants; the court ruled the illegal surveillance did not taint the evidence introduced at their trial. Nevertheless, watchdog groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, which helped bring the case to appeal, welcomed the judges' verdict on the NSA's spy program. “Today's ruling is a victory for our privacy rights,” the ACLU said in a statement, saying it “makes plain that the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' phone records violated the Constitution.” by Raphael Satter

Patriotism, Propoganda and Protest


Patriotic Dissent

Read aloud the entire text of the Declaration of Independence if we want to know what America is all about, the Declaration, rather than the U.S. Constitution, is the place to start. Dissent is central to democracy, and although I believe dissent should be civil, its centrality doesn't fade when it isn't. Insults aimed at government officials provide a check to those in power who may be tempted to think of themselves in grandiose terms, above the rest of humanity and hence not subject to insults. The essential function of dissent is to remind the rulers that they serve the ruled.

The 21st Century Schizoid Man appears on the cover of the 1969 record album "Court of the Crimson King" a dystopian montage of horrific images in which lyricist Pete Sinfield conflated the first world war with that of Vietnam. The song was dedicated to the former US vice president Spiro Agnew, bane of anti-war protestors in the first Nixon administration.

Bruce "Utah" Phillips a story that give the advice that you must make your own decisions and think for yourself.
"You know you love the country, you just can't stand the government. Get it straight!"
Anyone know and that name Ammon Hennacy? Utah wrote a song about him.


The promise of the individual, power to the people, the ideals of radical self-sufficiency that ruled the counter-culture movement became enshrined in the promise of the stand-alone Personal Computer.

Snowden's big truth: We are all less free and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, is in dire need of an update and our own passivity makes us all complicit with what is, in truth, a massive surrender of our Constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties.

The Googles of the world do not have the power to detain us under secret warrants. It is dangerous to believe in "restraints" upon government power, because, as many here have noted, we have applied the restraints again and again, only to find that what was made illegal (domestic spying) is now legal once again.

Everybody Sing: Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone.
~ Joni Mitchell

Use ixquick Encrypts All Searches

Tap It: The NSA Slow Jam goremy


#Privacy #warrantless surveillance #NSA
admits listening to phone calls without warrants NSA analysts also access the contents.

Secrets and Lies


Snowden has exposed the operation of the world's most powerful state-sponsored cyberespionage of a community that most prizes individual freedom. Hero or not, Snowden will go down in history as a whistle-blower who triggered a moral earthquake which few individuals in the world can escape.

A Long History of Untruthiness by U.S. Intelligence
America's chief intelligence officers have a longstanding history of untruthiness -- testifying falsely and fearlessly. They are caught in a dilemma -- sworn to secrecy yet sworn to tell the truth. Sometimes they get their facts wrong; that's human error. But sometimes their untruths are conscious. Soldiers can die as a consequence. This practice can slowly corrode a cornerstone of democracy, the rule of law. The question to Clapper from the Senate Intelligence Committee was straightforward: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper simply answered: “No.” Now, almost four months later, he concedes: “My response was clearly erroneous.” He corrected the record only after the metadata program was revealed by the meta-leaker Edward Snowden. Clapper joins a grand tradition. Allen Dulles, the Cold War commander of the Central Intelligence Agency, was a champion at untruthiness.

The most effective way for the United States to prevent Snowden from leaking more secrets is to collect and store fewer secrets. People can't keep secrets. Tell one person, you've told them all.

Soldiers in Iraq and elsewhere are presumably told they're getting their limbs blown off and their psyches devastated to defend freedom. But seems the freedom is a mirage in the first place, and they're not even allowed the freedom to inform themselves! US military blocks entire Guardian website for troops stationed abroad Troops deployed to Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East and South Asia have 'theater-wide block' to Guardian

Secrets and Lies:

Nothing happens without the law and the lawyers.
Law is the world's second oldest profession. These whores walk the halls of congress plying their trade and the hipocrites exist to take your money and property and thats all it is has been. How better for the greedy to endless take what they want except by the "law" or lack there of and secret courts.



Let's not forget Reagan-era PROMIS
Many may think the NSA's excesses are something new. But let's not forget the similar Reagan-Bush era scandal - about their more primitive PROMIS system and its [alleged] use in tracking citizens and political opponents.
PROMIS began as a potent Prosecutors Management Information System, for case-management system by prosecutors, created by Inslaw (Bill & Nancy Hamilton) in the 1970's under a DoJ contract. But it was later [allegedly] modified and used (at least by Israel and who knows who else) to track political opponents (which were, of course, called "terrorists").
Jim Warren, open-govt & tech-civlib advocate & columnist

John McMullen covered the whole Inslaw PROMIS story for Newsbytes and was even Martinsburg, WVA when journalist Danny Cassalaro (sp?) either committed suicide or was murdered as he tied together the whole mess under the name Octopus.
The story as he remembers it:
1. Bill Hamilton and his company, Inslaw, was putting together a database program for the Air Force -- and the Air Force stopped making payments.
2. Hamilton received a call from Canada's RCMP, asking for help with a problem in PROMIS -- surprising to Hamilton because he neither sold nor leased the program to the RMCP.
3. After investigating, Hamilton alleged that the Air Force had turning the program, a violation of Inslaw's contract, over to Earl Mann (?) who had the program modified by Waganut person on a Indian reservation to install a back door for access Mann then sold the program to Iran as part of Guns for the Contras deal and also sold it to Canada, Israel, and other counties, giving the US access to their files (supposedly, the Iranians would use the program to have a database on dissidents).
3. Hamilton hired ex-Attorney General Elliptt Richardson to pursue his case -- I interviewed him and he built a good case for his client.
4. Cassalaro, Hamilton, & Richardson are all dead -- when I raised "whatever happened to ,, " a number of years ago, Bill Hamilton's brother that the case still goes on "


Indefinite Surveillance: Say Hello to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 -- Search #NDAA
Passed in 1978, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) set the groundwork for surveillance, collection, and analysis of intelligence gathered from foreign powers and agents of foreign powers, up to and including any individual residing within the U.S., who were suspected of involvement in potential terrorist activity. On October 26, 2001, a little over a month after 9/11, President George W. Bush signed the USA Patriot Act into law. Two provisions, Sec. 206, permitting government to obtain secret court orders allowing roving wiretaps without requiring identification of the person, organization, or facility to be surveyed, and Sec. 215 authorizing government to access and obtain “any tangible thing” relevant to a terrorist investigation, transformed foreign intelligence into domestic intelligence. NDAA 2014 builds on the powers granted by both the Patriot Act and FISA by allowing unrestricted analysis and research of captured records pertaining to any organization or individual “now or once hostile to the United States”. Under the Patriot Act, the ability to obtain “any tangible thing” eliminated any expectation of privacy. Under NDAA 2014 Sec. 1061(g)(1), an overly vague definition of captured records enhances government power and guarantees indefinite surveillance.

Section 798 of the United States Code makes it a federal crime if a person "knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States" any classified information concerning communication intelligence.


Germany's interior minister has a solution to prevent the U.S. from spying on its citizens: Don't use Facebook, Google, Microsoft services, and so on. According to the Associated Press, Hans-Peter Friedrich told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday that "whoever fears their communication is being intercepted in any way should use services that don't go through American servers."


Joe Biden pro RIAA pro FBI tech voting record.
He Drafted the Core of the Patriot Act in 1995.Months before the Oklahoma City bombing took place, Biden introduced another bill called the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995... ...It previewed the 2001 Patriot Act by allowing secret evidence to be used in prosecutions, expanding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and wiretap laws, creating a new federal crime of “terrorism” that could be invoked based on political beliefs, permitting the U.S. military to be used in civilian law enforcement, and allowing permanent detention of non-U.S. citizens without judicial review.* The Center for National Security Studies said the bill would erode ---link---constitutional and statutory due process protections” and would “authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and associations.

If it's not in the newspaper,
that doesn't mean it didn't happen.


Questions that could help sort things out often get the same answer: "That's classified." "It's very, very difficult, I think, to have a transparent debate about secret programs approved by a secret court issuing secret court orders based on secret interpretations of the law," said Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.

Senators Need To Know


To paraphrase the Prussian military strategist Karl von Clausewitz, litigation is the continuation of politics by other means.

Misinformation on classified NSA programs includes statements by senior U.S. officials
Details that have emerged from the exposure of hundreds of pages of previously classified NSA documents indicate that public assertions about these programs by senior U.S. officials have also often been misleading, erroneous or simply false. The same day Litt spoke, the NSA quietly removed from its Web site a fact sheet about its collection activities because it contained inaccuracies discovered by lawmakers.


People change their opinions over time, by themselves, via a plethora of information. Once everybody sees everybody else is for it, they are too. Politicians are last. They stay far from the leading edge and are beholden to corporations. Discard the analysis, they say positive things about those who pay them or can jail them. Today, you must do your own analysis. In other words, you must be educated. Which most people are not. The mark of an educated person? Someone who can hold two opposing thoughts in their brain at one time.
If you're looking for leadership, you should look to whistle blowers.

Questions surround Snowden's motives and rationale over his decision to violate his oath.

- What about Joe Biden's Oath?
- General Keith Alexander Oath?
- James Clapper's Oath?
- What about Obama's Oath?

What about all the Senator's Oath who couldn't be bothered to show up to a classified meeting and find out what the NSA is doing?
the FBI is recommending to the Justice Department that Clinton NOT be charged with any crime. “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information.
Comey cited “the context of a person's actions” and her “intent.” Hillary showed no "intent." We guess that she accidentally installed a server in her home, then accidentally wiped it clean during an investigation.



Members of Congress complain that their constituents are baffled - and many lawmakers admit they are, too. Half the Senate ditched DIRNSA's special closed-door briefing on these surveillance programs so they could leave town for the weekend. Unfortunately the attendance roster for that meeting has not been released. That magnifies the confusion sown by misleading, retracted or inflated claims.

3/15/13 Senators skip classified briefing on #NSA snooping to catch flights home.
The Senate held its last vote of the week a little after noon on Thursday, and many lawmakers were eager to take advantage of the short day and head back to their home states for Father's Day weekend. Only 47 of 100 senators attended the 2:30 briefing, leaving dozens of chairs in the secure meeting room empty as Clapper, Alexander and other senior officials told lawmakers about classified programs to monitor millions of telephone calls and broad swaths of Internet activity.

NPR on why the FISC is hardly still a court at all...
by the country's most incisive Court watcher

The furor over recently exposed government surveillance programs has posed an abundance of political challenges for both President Obama and Congress. Relatively unmentioned in all of this, however, is the role of the courts — specifically, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, and how its role has changed since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Revealed: the top secret rules that allow NSA to use US data without a warrant Fisa court submissions show broad scope of procedures governing NSA's surveillance of Americans' communication

Procedures used by NSA to target non-US persons: Exhibit A - full document
Top-secret documents show Fisa judges have signed off on broad orders allowing the NSA to make use of information 'inadvertently' collected from domestic US communications without a warrant

Procedures used by NSA to minimize data collection from US persons: Exhibit B - full document
The documents detail the procedures the NSA is required to follow to target 'non-US persons' under its foreign intelligence powers - and what the agency does to minimize data collected on US citizens and residents


USA! USA! The NSA Can Hold Onto Americans' Communications for Years, Leaked Docs Say
The National Security Agency has promised over and over again that it only spies on foreigners, and throws out ordinary communications if they're caught in the surveillance driftnet. But a pair of newly-leaked documents appear to undermine that claim. They include provisions that let the electronic spy agency hang onto some communications of Americans for several years - and in the meantime, allow the NSA to share information about U.S. citizens and legal residents to the CIA and the FBI. And if the government suspects that an American might commit a crime or spy for a foreign power some day, those records can be kept, too.
The documents, which were approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in July 2009 and published Thursday by the Guardian. The document on minimization advises NSA personnel to "exercise reasonable judgment" in deciding whether to redact information about U.S. citizens or legal residents that is inadvertently collected during searches of foreigners' communications from intelligence reports or NSA databases. However, the agency is allowed to hang onto U.S. persons' communications for a period up to five years, the document says.
Analysts "will destroy" the information at the "earliest practicable point" that it can be determined to have no foreign intelligence value (for instance, it doesn't concern a spy or a terrorist) or that it doesn't contain any information about a crime, the document says. "The communications that may be retained include electronic communications acquired because of limitations on NSA's ability to filter communications." This appears to mean that the agency can hang onto information that it is unable to definitively determine is not foreign in nature. To help determine whether the target of surveillance is in fact a foreigner outside the United States, the NSA is allowed to use numerous databases, including those that contain phone numbers, Internet metadata, and human intelligence reports from the CIA. The documents indicate that the NSA is using its database of all domestic phone calls, known as Mainway, as well as metadata that's obtained during searches of Internet communications through the PRISM system. It's during those Internet searches that the communications of innocent Americans are most likely to be swept up and disseminated across the government in secret reports. But according to the NSA's minimization rules, the agency may hand over "unminimized communications" to the CIA and the FBI. Those agencies are supposed to follow their own minimization procedures, but they are not described in the NSA document. The NSA also is allowed to disseminate information on U.S. persons to foreign governments, so long as this is done in accordance with the agency's own minimization procedures. But these too raise puzzling questions. For instance, the agency can use the names of a U.S. person in a disseminated report if "the information of or concerning the United States person is available publicly..." The document defines this as "information that a member of the public could obtain upon request, by research in public sources, or by casual observation."
Does that mean the NSA can use a U.S. person's name if an analyst can Google it? Not exactly. But if the NSA inadvertently collected, say, the tweets of a U.S. person, it could apparently use that U.S. person's name in reference to the tweets, because they are publicly available. NSA also appears to be retain emails that use encryption, which is a common feature in some messaging services, such as Gmail. "They are allowed to gather every encrypted email message," said Amie Stepanovich, the Director of the Domestic Surveillance Project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Based on the minimization document, Stepanovich said the NSA appears to retain these message for the purposes of understanding how to decrypt them and future messages that it might want to intercept. "This document seems to allow the NSA to maintain a database of every encryption key to unlock any message that touches the United States," Stepanovich said. Names of government officials may also be used in reports. And the name of a U.S. person can be used if he or she appears to be an agent of a foreign power or engaging in terrorist activities. There's no indication that such a determination is made or approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which authorized the minimization procedures in the first place. The NSA can also retain information about U.S. persons if the information concerns a crime that has been or is about to be committed, or if the information appears relevant to a "current or future intelligence requirement." In other words, it's information that would be useful for future spying by the government. These may include communications that have some "secret meaning" or are encrypted and that the agency might need to hang onto for future reference. NSA can retain that information for five years, unless the directors of its Signals Intelligence directorate determines in writing that "retention for a longer period is required to respond to authorized foreign intelligence or counterintelligence requirements." If the NSA determines that a foreign target it's monitoring has entered the United States, it must terminate that monitoring "without delay," the document on targeting procedures says. However, if the agency can't be sure, it errs on the side of assuming that the target is a foreigner, and therefore fair game for collection. "In the absence of specific information" about whether the target is a U.S. person, a person believed to be outside the country, or "whose location is not known," the individual "will be presumed to be a non-United States person" until positively identified otherwise. Analysts may also use subjective judgments, and consider whether "the nature or circumstances of the person's communications give rise to a reasonable belief" that the individual is really a U.S. person.

In some circumstances, NSA analysts also are allowed to listen to a phone call or read an email if they need to determine whether a target is actually in the United States. Analysts' monitoring of targets appears to be audited and maintained in a database of its own, according to the document. This allows for overseers to see the steps the analysts went through to determine whether the target was located outside the United States. The oversight is conducted by the NSA itself, through it Signals Intelligence Directorate, working with the general counsel, the document says. The signals directorate conducts "periodic spot checks" to ensure that analysts are following the rules. The Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence also conduct reviews at least once every sixty days. NSA is required to report to these agencies any instances of noncompliance within five business days of learning about the incident. NSA is allowed to use leads from other agencies that might indicate whether the target is outside the United States, as well as statement from the target himself about his location. The agency can also rely on information obtained from computer hard drives, as well as tips from a foreign government to determine whether the target is outside the country. When it comes to Internet communications, such as e-mails, the NSA can also consult its own database, which the document says includes "Internet communications metadata." This information may include IP addresses or "machine identifier information," which NSA compares to information in its "communication network databases" as well as commercially available sources of IP registrations.

The documents are dense and full of references to other authorities and orders that are not fully described. Bottom line, they appear to set some hard rules for avoiding targeting the communications of a U.S. person, but once that information is collected, even accidentally, there's a lot that the NSA can still do with it.Accidental collection of U.S. citizens' electronic communications happens fairly frequently, according to Jay Healey, director of the Atlantic Council's cyber statecraft initiative who served as a U.S. Air Force intelligence officer in the 1990s. "I started out my career as a signals intelligence officer, so I did my time listening to other people," said Healey during an event at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "I was, in that role, responsible at my unit if we gathered information on U.S. citizens, [while stationed at signals intelligence] site that actually happened to be on U.S. soil where it came up a couple of times a month where we actually would accidentally pick up someone, it was often a fishing boat or someone else doing other stuff."

He described the procedures then in place -- remember, this is before 9/11 and the Patriot Act -- to keep the eavesdroppers from including information on U.S. citizens in their intelligence reports. "Operators were trained not to open an official file until they were sure it wasn't a U.S. person, if it did, they weren't in trouble, but they were frowned at," said Healey. "We had procedures to then take care of this information and make sure that it certainly didn't make it into reports and that we would go about taking it out of the records so that it didn't stay collected. I'm pretty confident about the process that went into this being legal and constitutional with regards to U.S. citizens." Still, "I've gotta say the scope and scale of it leaves me, as a former SIGINT guy, leaves me gasping at the audacity and the scale of what happened," said Healey of the NSA's bulk collection of millions of American's cellphone records.Those records are supposed to be stored in a restricted file that only 22 NSA staff are allowed to access if they have "reasonable, articulable suspicion" that any of those numbers have had contact with a terrorism suspect outside the U.S. Healey also admitted that spies want to collect at much information as possible, allowing them, in essence, to have the entire haystack on hand as they look for needles inside it. "The analogy I look at if you're dealing with intel guys, especially collectors, whether that's NSA or any other country's, is that they want to collect -- as an analogy -- a copy of every book ever collected, even if they happen to get U.S. books in there. But, if they're gonna look at any single page that happens to be a U.S. citizen, the restrictions" come into play.
Healey's comments echo Deputy U.S. Attorney General Robert Cole's defense of the government's large-scale collection of cellphone and other business records. "If you're looking for a needle in a haystack, you've got to get the haystack first," said Cole during a June 18 House intelligence committee hearing on the matter. "That's why we have the ability under the [FISA] court order, to acquire . . . all of that data, we don't get to use all of that data, necissarily." Cole went on to insist that, "you have to have reasonable, arcticulable suscpision to actually use that data. If we want to find that there's a phone number that we believe is connected with terrorist organizations and terrorist activity, we need to have the rest of the haystack, all the other numbers, to find out which ones it was in contact with." This came during the same hearing that NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander had the following exchange with House intelligence committee chair Rep. Mike Rogers about collecting intelligence on Americans. "Is the NSA able to listen to phone calls or read American's emails?" asked Rogers. "No," replied Alexander.

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) has introduced the "Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2013" (S. 1193). it's reportedly the same bill he introduced in 2012

Each covered entity shall take reasonable measures to protect and secure data in electronic form containing personal information. What's “reasonable?” Why not specify “at least industry standard” or “follow best practices?” And why not cover data in non-electronic format? If a federal law is going to preempt state laws, it should include paper records, as at least seven states' data breach notification laws also apply to paper records or records in any format.

In the event of data breaches, “the bill would direct companies possessing personal data to notify consumers by mail, email or telephone if their information is stolen. Senator Toomey introduced an identical measure last year,” the office of bill sponsor Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said. It would also require companies to take “reasonable steps” to protect personal information. Bill co-sponsors include John Thune (R-S.D.) and Angus King (I-Maine).

US spying scandal and the military concept of "persistent surveillance." John Horgan

Data Breaches - Open Security Foundation

Edward Snowden former undercover CIA employee working for Booz Allan Hamilton was a System Admin.



System Admins like HAL, do what they want to do, and decide who else gets clearence to do anything in the Space Odyssey. John Schindler, a former N.S.A. counterintelligence officer and now a professor at the Naval War College, said that in the post-Sept. 11 age, the computer "systems administrators" had access to enormous amounts of classified information. "They can be a critical security gap because they see everything," he said. "They're like code clerks were in the 20th century. If a smart systems administrator went rogue, you'd be in trouble."


Legal Questions


Investigate Booz Allen Hamilton, not Edward Snowden The firm that formerly employed both the director of national intelligence and the NSA whistleblower merits closer scrutiny. Let's examine Booz Allen Hamilton's track record.

Many European countries punish leakers, but not for life, and they take into consideration how much harm the leak caused. A survey of the laws and practices of 20 European countries found that in at least 13 countries things are even more relaxed: a disclosure of classified information to the public would not result in any penalty in the absence of a showing of harm. Ten countries - Albania, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain, and Sweden - require the government to prove either actual or probable harm in order for any penalty to be imposed. An additional three countries - Denmark, France and Hungary - allow the lack of harm to be raised as a defense or mitigating circumstance.Under US law, the mere fact of a leak is sufficient cause for prosecution.

Outsourced Intelligence


Most intelligence work today is not carried out by government agencies but by private intelligence firms and that much of that work involves another common aspect of intelligence work: deception. That is, it is involved not just with the concealment of reality, but with the manufacture of it.

President Obama has the power to issue a pardon to Edward Snowden (or anybody else). President Ford pardoned ex-President Nixon, to end all political and criminal witch-hunts against the leader who had done
a very unpopular thing. Instead Ford tried to have the country focus on the issues raised, not on the personalities involved. However, if Obama was to pardon Snowden, it would disturb the massive spy bureacracies that report to Obama.

NSA Now Revealing A Lot More About What It Does Than Snowden Leaks Did; So Is That Harming America? We're actually learning much more about the various programs directly from the government, as information is now being "declassified." And, apparently, President Obama is asking the NSA and the Justice Department to look into declassifying even more. So while the initial shove to declassify information may have come via Snowden, the stuff that we're really learning about is coming through revelations following Snowden's leaks -- revelations that never would have happened without his leaks. The information Snowden leaked does not harm us at all, but has simply revealed that the government has kept classified information from the American public that never should have been classified at all. The fact that only now are they looking to declassify it (and then doing so) shows pretty clearly that the information was improperly classified in the first place.

The Real War on Reality
The manipulative role that private intelligence agencies play in our society

Epistemology — the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of knowledge. And philosophers interested in optimizing our knowledge should consider such surveillance and deception not just fodder for the next “Matrix” movie, but as real sort of epistemic warfare.

Former fed judge says "I can tell you that your faith in the FISA Court is dramatically misplaced" NatSec rubberstamp.

Why you Can't opt out of Big Brother by Jeff Rosen - We were not aware! See 4th Amendment.

Google challenges U.S. gag order, citing First Amendment
Google asked the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Tuesday to ease long-standing gag orders over data requests the court makes, arguing that the company has a constitutional right to speak about information it is forced to give the government. The legal filing, which invokes the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech, is the latest move by the California-based tech giant to protect its reputation in the aftermath of news reports about broad National Security Agency surveillance of Internet traffic. Revelations about the program, called PRISM, have opened fissures between U.S. officials and the involved companies, which have scrambled to reassure their users without violating strict rules against disclosing information that the government has classified as top secret. A high-profile legal showdown might help Google's efforts to portray itself as aggressively resisting government surveillance, and a victory could bolster the company's campaign to portray government surveillance requests as targeted narrowly and affecting only a small number of users. In its petition, Google sought permission to publish information about how many government data requests the surveillance court approves and how many user accounts are affected. Google long has made regular reports with regard to other data demands from the U.S. government and other governments worldwide, but it has been forced to exclude requests from the surveillance court, which oversees an array of official monitoring efforts that target foreigners.

The Prism: Privacy in an age of publicity The New Yorker

How can anyone think that it's remotely healthy in a democracy to have the NSA building a massive spying apparatus about which even members of Congress, including Senators on the Homeland Security Committee, are totally ignorant and find "astounding" when they learn of them!



Schrodinger's Catnip -- Legal Questions and Answers on NSA data collection: Mark Rasch
What's more, by taking custody of all of these records, the NSA abrogates the document retention and destruction policies of all of the phone companies. We can assume that the NSA keeps these records indefinitely. So long after Verizon decides it doesn't need to know what cell tower you pinged on July 4, 2005 at 6:15.22 PM EST, the NSA will retain this record. That's a problem for the NSA because now, instead of subpoenaing Verizon for these records (especially in a criminal case where the defendant has a constitutional right to the records if relevant to a defense), the NSA (or FBI who obtained the records for the NSA) can expect to get a subpoena for the records. While the NSA and FBI would undoubtedly claim that the program is classified, clearly my own phone records are not classified. A federal law called the Classified Information Procedures Act provides a mechanism to obtain unclassified versions of classified data. So if you were charged with a crime by the FBI, and the same FBI had records (in this database) that indicated that you did not commit the crime, they would have to search the database and produce the records. And when Verizon tells you that the records are gone, well… it aint true anymore.

Example: "Defense lawyers for Terrance Brown,
a south Florida man facing bank robbery charges, have asked for NSA mobile phone surveillance records to be supplied in order to support his claim that he was not in the vicinity of the bank at the time it was robbed. He's referring to the leaked court order revealing that the NSA requires American phone companies to turn over the complete records of all their calls, including the location data about the callers."


Pesky Constitutional Protections

What kind of country logs everything sent through the mail?
U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement


What could be better than being able to start listening to a conversation *before* a judge issues a warrant?

The NSA has the ability to listen in on conversations *before* one knew those conversations should be listened to. In short, if you record everything, everywhere, from everyone, on the assumption that you might need to listen to something somebody said in past, you essentially have the ability to time travel.

US prosecution of Snowden and Manning exceeds international norms. Many European countries punish leakers, but not for life, and they take into consideration how much harm the leak caused.



Turns out that the bankers phone calls have indeed been recorded and all one has to do to listen to them is fill out some paperwork and swear that the data won't be publicly divulged. Now there's no denying that such program would be useful. There's also no denying that it could be easily abused. Even if you assume that the guys currently in charge are not abusing these capabilities it seems inevitable that someday someone will realize that he's taken control of what could very easily be a turnkey totalitarian infrastructure. One *could* actually design a system for massive data collection and storage with multiple checks and balances that would be less likely to be abused -- for example, all the data would encrypted, and decryption keys from at least two FISA judges would be required to decrypt anything a researcher needs to listen to -- but it doesn't seem like those sorts of protections have been implemented. And that, I would argue, is what is really scary. Because there's aren't a lot of reasons to avoid baking those sorts of protections in unless you just want to keep all your options open.


According to the great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller, nephew of banker David Rockefeller, and former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller the internet represents a serious threat to national security. Rockefeller is not alone in this assessment. His belief that the internet is the “number one national hazard” to national security is shared by the former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and Obama's current director Admiral Dennis C. Blair.

We can do the exact same thing for the Wall Street Banksters and their secret tax haven offshore accounts "Offshore Leaks" database.
ICIJ Releases "Offshore Leaks" Database
Revealing Names Behind Secret Companies, Trusts the offshore system attractive to money launderers, fraudsters and other criminals. The Offshore Leaks web app allows readers to explore the relationships between clients, offshore entities and the lawyers, accountants, banks and other intermediaries who help keep these arrangements secret. The Offshore Leaks Database gives ICIJ an opportunity to reach journalists and regular citizens in every corner of the world, particularly in countries most affected by corruption and backroom deals. ICIJ believes many of the best stories may come from crowd sourcing, when readers explore the database.

The Missing Trillions 2005
The Post has learned that similar orders have been renewed every three months for other large U.S. phone companies, including Bell South and AT &T, since May 24, 2006.

$9 TRILLION missing from Federal Reserve - Fed Reserve Inspector | 2011

Insider Trading: The Hunt for Steve Cohen
With arrest after arrest in a massive, seven-year insider-trading investigation, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is getting closer to the biggest fish of them all: Steve Cohen, founder of SAC Capital, the $14 billion hedge fund, who some regard as the most successful stock picker of his time.

Judge T.S. Ellis, III
There are occasions when breaching restrictions on classified information may be necessary and appropriate, suggested Judge T.S. Ellis, III of the Eastern District of Virginia in a June 2009 sentencing hearing for Lawrence Franklin, who pleaded guilty to disclosing classified information in the “AIPAC” case. But in order to reconcile an unauthorized disclosure with the rule of law, he said, it must be done openly.
"I don't have a problem with people doing that [disclosing classified information to the press] if they are held accountable for it…," Judge Ellis said. "One might hope that, for example, someone might have the courage to do something that would break the law if it meant they're the savior of the country; but then one has to take the consequences, because the rule of law is so important."
"Simply because you believe that something that's going on that's classified should be revealed to the press and to the public, so that the public can know that its government is doing something you think is wrong, that doesn't justify it. Now, you may want to go ahead and do it, but you have to stand up and take the consequences," Judge Ellis said then.


Only One Big Telecom CEO Refused To Cave To The NSA ... And He's Been In Jail For 4 Years
Nacchio alleged that the government stopped offering the company lucrative contracts after Qwest refused to cooperate with a National Security Agency surveillance program in February 2001.

Why are privacy laws non existent in the U.S.?

Software that tracks people on social media created by defense firm 2013
Raytheon's Riot program mines social network data like a 'Google for spies', drawing ire from civil rights groups. A multinational security firm has secretly developed software capable of tracking people's movements and predicting future behaviour by mining data from social networking websites. A video obtained by the Guardian reveals how an "extreme-scale analytics" system created by Raytheon, the world's fifth largest defence contractor, can gather vast amounts of information about people from websites including Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. Raytheon says it has not sold the software - named Riot, or Rapid Information Overlay Technology - to any clients. But the Massachusetts-based company has acknowledged the technology was shared with US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analysing "trillions of entities" from cyberspace. The power of Riot to harness popular websites for surveillance offers a rare insight into controversial techniques that have attracted interest from intelligence and national security agencies, at the same time prompting civil liberties and online privacy concerns.

Facebook, Microsoft reveal surveillance request figures
Facebook says it received almost 10,000 US government requests for user data in the second half of 2012

Obama appointees using secret email accounts

America's founders would be horrified at this United States of Surveillance. How did we become so fearful and timid that we've given away essential liberties? Some are even afraid to speak up.

'No stopping' more Snowden revelations - Assange

EU orders global sweep of diplomatic missions after US spying reports

General Keith Alexander


The Supreme Power of 4 Star General Keith Alexander
Never before has anyone in America's intelligence sphere come close to his degree of power, the number of people under his command, the expanse of his rule, the length of his reign, or the depth of his secrecy. A four-star Army general, his authority extends across three domains: He is director of the world's largest intelligence service, the National Security Agency; chief of the Central Security Service; and commander of the US Cyber Command. As such, he has his own secret military, presiding over the Navy's 10th Fleet, the 24th Air Force, and the Second Army.
Alexander runs the nation's cyberwar efforts, an empire he has built over the past eight years by insisting that the US's inherent vulnerability to digital attacks requires him to amass more and more authority over the data zipping around the globe. In his telling, the threat is so mind-bogglingly huge that the nation has little option but to eventually put the entire civilian Internet under his protection, requiring tweets and emails to pass through his filters, and putting the kill switch under the government's forefinger.


Anonymous - Message to the American People


Digital Ethnic Cleansing



Council on Foreign Relations: Adam Segal is horrified.
Technology and development in China and India; East Asian security; Chinese domestic and foreign policy; cyberconflict, cybersecurity

China Daily Li Haidong, a researcher at China Foreign Affairs University, as saying: "Washington has been accusing China of cyber espionage, but it turns out that the biggest threat to the pursuit of individual freedom and privacy in the US is the unbridled power of the government."
The Net Rips Apart: Digital Ethnic Cleansing the revelations about US online surveillance may well accelerate the very fragmentation of the net.
The internet is at risk of transforming from an open platform to controlled national networks. More countries will try to ringfence their national networks, forcing internet companies to comply with local rules for protecting the personal data of citizens. Other countries will use revelations about NSA surveillance to build barriers around their national network. This kind of dragnet surveillance of non-Americans is just what the [European] privacy regulators feared as a theoretical matter. Now it's no longer theoretical


Top Security Clearance


Top secret clearance holders so numerous they include "packers/craters"
The U.S. intelligence community and its legions of private contractors has grown so vast, and has required so many of its employees to secure high-level security clearances, that even people whose job is to move boxes now hold top secret clearance. The CACI job listing, which is publicly viewable, says that the employee will "perform the full range of routine to moderately-complex packing and/or crating of various materials to include chillers, generators, boats, and vehicles for shipment domestically or overseas."

Contractors aren't part of the chain of command at the N.S.A. or other agencies and aren't subject to Congressional oversight. Officially, their only loyalty is to their company and its shareholders. 70% of America's intelligence budget flows to private contractors. Going by this year's estimated budget of about $80 billion, that makes private intelligence a $56 billion-a-year industry. 2003 Contractors simply shouldn't be in the business of managing large projects and providing procurement advice to intelligence agencies. Thomas A. Drake, one of the N.S.A. whistle-blowers exposed the waste and fraud in the N.S.A.'s Trailblazer program yet the contracts kept rolling in, and Mr. Hayden went on to head the C.I.A. Contractors conduct our most secret and sensitive operations with virtually no oversight. This is true not only at the N.S.A. Contractors now work alongside the C.I.A. in covert operations (two of the Americans killed in Benghazi were C.I.A. contractors; we still don't know who their employer was). Contractors were involved in secret and highly sensitive operations that by law are reserved for government operatives.

The average cost to process a TOP SECRET clearance is between $3,000 and about $15,000, depending upon individual factors. The government pays the cost of clearances for military personnel and civilian government employees. The law requires that contractors pay most of the costs of obtaining clearances for their employees, which cost - then they bill the... government ... with a markup. So the government pays all.
So, it's not that the government has become so "reflexive" about classifying information. With 4M people, this has created a lucrative opportunity -- a $40B government contract market that brings recurring revenue (with mandatory renewals).
Anyone who has worked creating a government contract budget knows why BAH reportedly paid $122,000/year to an IT maintenance worker. That's because that salary then BAH can bill the... government ... with a markup. In short, it seems that a wisely bigger government can actually cost less and have more accountability. ~ Ed Gerck

A new "two-man rule" will be put into place to stop administrators from having access to entire governmental systems. The situation between Snowden and the National Security Agency has placed scrutiny on information technology and system administrators worldwide. These IT staff are required to keep systems functional and working smoothly, and so often have unrestricted access to every part of a network. As 'super users,' system administrators do not always possess relevant security clearance, but are able to access files from a network's root, complete with full privileges. NSA director Gen. Keith B. Alexander acknowledged this issue, and has outlined plans to boost the security of networks containing sensitive information. The agency is soon to institute a "two-man rule" which would stop the institution's 1,000 system administrators from having complete freedom over a system. Instead, a second check will be required before sensitive information is accessed.

Justice Department Fought to Conceal NSA's Role in Terror Case From Defense Lawyers
"National security is about keeping illegal conduct concealed from the American public until you're forced to justify it because someone ratted you out." "Disclosure of the FISA applications to defense counsel - who possess the requisite security clearance - is also necessary to an accurate determination of the legality of the FISA surveillance, as otherwise the defense will be completely in the dark with respect to the basis for the FISA surveillance," wrote Dratel (.pdf)

How Much Data Can NSA Store



Aug 28 2012 Big Brother on a budget:
How Internet surveillance got so cheap. Deep packet inspection, petabyte-scale analytics create a "CCTV for networks."

How much storage to record all voice traffic
The Global Information Industry Center's report on "How Much Information?" consumed in 2008
The estimate of 20 minutes per person-day of phone use is low by a factor of two. We estimate that Americans averaged 1.6 hours per day conducting two-way communication, of which 57 percent was via the Internet, with the rest of the time on cellular or landline telephones. Correspondingly, the Internet provides 79 percent of the bytes and 73 percent of the words in two-way communication." These numbers are distorted by social networking, because the communication is asynchronous and includes a lot of photos and video. Social networking bytes have therefore grown much faster than hours since 2008. Social networking would presumably be the domain of PRISM.

How Much Big Data Can They Store in Utah?
1 million square feet of computers to store it all. A Prism is put on the front of a fiber optic cable . . . Last year, long-time spy-watcher James Bamford revealed in WIRED that the National Security Agency is building a vast, $2 billion facility in Utah “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." Bamford asserted that the facility, called the Utah Data Center, "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."

How much storage to record all voice traffic
To collect & store 100 TB/day (rounding up from 56), even mirrored, is not that difficult. It would be expensive, but $20M is likely more than enough to run the datacenter for a year (36 PB total). If you want off-site backup, etc., it would get more expensive, but not double.You are right that the initial build cost might be high, but that is actually impossible to estimate. It varies so much - location, "grade" of datacenter,the NSA's security features are secret.
Storing the data: the actual datacenter OpEx - power, cooling, lights, guys walking down the aisle to plug in cables, etc. - to satisfy these requirements should easily fit into $20M/year. The database to sort, analyze, etc. such data is out of scope since we don't know what they are doing with the data. Are they doing voice-to-text? Multiple languages? Searching for keywords? Or just storing it in time-and-number-stamped files to pull up later if necessary?
Finally, such a datacenter wouldn't even be a blip on the Internet. Consuming 100 TB/day works out to just under 10 Gbps of capacity. Obviously not every call is exactly evenly spaced, but getting 20 or 40 Gbps into a datacenter wouldn't be the slightest bit unusual, nor would it cost millions of dollars. The storage aspect is trivial by today's standards. The datacenter wouldn't even be that large. You mentioned 25K ft^2? Unless they are doing something insane on the analyzing side, that's WAY more than is needed.

Microsoft and Google claims right to publish surveillance data
Microsoft has filed a court motion demanding permission to publish statistics on the number of national security requests it receives for its users' information.The motion, filed before a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court, follows a similar request by Google last week. Both companies claim a First Amendment right to publish the aggregated statistics on the government surveillance.


Meta Data



The Raytheon RIOT social media data mining system.
The company boasts in a freakishly frank video about how it can track a fictional person as he goes about his daily life, simply using the information he posts to public facing social networks. The RIOT system is an example of a technology that collates and regroups large amounts of data to make information useful to human analysts. It's essentially an information management system, like a 21st century index card operation with brightly colored maps and drop down menus.

CIA Chief Technology Officer:
we collect everything we can and store it forever.

NSA collected US email records in bulk for more than two years under Obama

It's OK I've Got Nothing To Hide

Is For Dummies


If You're OK With Surveillance Because You Have "Nothing to Hide," Think Again Slate
[... And so what makes an audit intimidating and scary is not because I have something to hide but because proving oneself to be innocent takes time, money, effort, and emotional grit.] It's mind-blowing how hard it is to summon up the paperwork that “proves” to them that I'm telling the truth. But that's the funny thing about how data is used by our current government. It's used to create suspicion, not to confirm innocence. Guilt-through-association is a popular American pastime. The same media who tells them they have nothing to fear will turn on them if they happen to be in close contact with someone who is of interest to—or if they themselves are the subject of—state interest. And it's not just about now, but it's about always.The frameworks of “innocent until proven guilty” and “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” are really, really important to civil liberties, even if they mean that some criminals get away.

In Nathan Myhrvold's "Road Kill on the Information Highway" (1993) he mentions David Brin's 1990 "Earth" suggestion of similar, and then finishes a section with:
- "What do you mean, you don't record everything? Do you have something to hide?"
The memo is a good read, even 20 years later. I'm glad MSFT made THE CONFIDENTIAL PAPER public:


Metadata's value, visualised 4/12/13
Green party politician Malte Spitz sued to have German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom hand over six months of his phone data that he then made available to ZEIT ONLINE. We combined this geolocation data with information relating to his life as a politician, such as Twitter feeds, blog entries and websites, all of which is all freely available on the internet. By pushing the play button, you will set off on a trip through Malte Spitz's life. The speed controller allows you to adjust how fast you travel, the pause button will let you stop at interesting points. In addition, a calendar at the bottom shows when he was in a particular location and can be used to jump to a specific time period. Each column corresponds to one day.

Al Gore
I quite understand the viewpoint that many have expressed that they are fine with it and they just want to be safe but that is not really the American way," Gore said in a telephone interview. "Benjamin Franklin famously wrote that those who would give up essential liberty to try to gain some temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Secret Court



The National Institute of Health (NIH) announced last week that they were going to start using lawyers instead of rats in their experiments. Naturally, the American Bar Association was outraged and filed suit. Yet, the NIH presented some very good reasons for the switch.
1. The lab assistants were becoming very attached to their little rats. This emotional involvement was interfering with the research being conducted. No such attachment could form for a lawyer.
2. Lawyers breed faster and are in much greater supply.
3. Lawyers are much cheaper to care for and the humanitarian societies won't jump all over you no matter what you're studying.
4. There are some things even a rat won't do.


Current NSA programs still mine US internet metadata
How the NSA is still harvesting your online data.
iles show vast scale of current NSA metadata programs, with one stream alone celebrating 'one trillion records processed' The NSA called it the "One-End Foreign (1EF) solution". It intended the program, codenamed EvilOlive, for "broadening the scope" of what it is able to collect. It relied, legally, on "FAA Authority", a reference to the 2008 Fisa Amendments Act that relaxed surveillance restrictions. This new system, SSO stated in December, enables vastly increased collection by the NSA of internet traffic. "The 1EF solution is allowing more than 75% of the traffic to pass through the filter," the SSO December document reads. "This milestone not only opened the aperture of the access but allowed the possibility for more traffic to be identified, selected and forwarded to NSA repositories." It continued: "After the EvilOlive deployment, traffic has literally doubled." The scale of the NSA's metadata collection is highlighted by references in the documents to another NSA program, codenamed ShellTrumpet. On December 31, 2012, an SSO official wrote that ShellTrumpet had just "processed its One Trillionth metadata record".


"Only puny secrets need protection. Big discoveries are protected by public incredulity." ~ Marshall McLuhan

For secretive surveillance court, rare scrutiny in wake of NSA leaks
Wedged into a secure, windowless basement room deep below the Capitol Visitors Center, U.S. District Court Judge John Bates appeared before dozens of senators earlier this month for a highly unusual, top-secret briefing. The lawmakers pressed Bates, according to people familiar with the session, to discuss the inner workings of the United States' clandestine terrorism surveillance tribunal, which Bates oversaw from 2006 until earlier this year.The public is getting a peek into the little-known workings of a powerful and mostly invisible government entity. And it is seeing a court whose secret rulings have in effect created a body of law separate from the one on the books — one that gives U.S. spy agencies the authority to collect bulk information about Americans' medical care, firearms purchases, credit card usage and other interactions with business and commerce, according to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). "The government can get virtually anything," said Wyden, who as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee is allowed to read many of the court's classified rulings. "Health, guns, credit cards — my reading is not what has been done, it's what can be done." Surveillance court judges are selected from the pool of sitting federal judges by the chief justice of the United States, as is required by the law that established the panel. There is no additional confirmation process. Members serve staggered terms of up to seven years. The surveillance court is a different world of secret case law, non-adversarial proceedings, and rulings written by individual judges who rarely meet as a panel. Judges generally confer only with government lawyers, and out of public view. Yet the judges have the power to interpret the Constitution and set long-lasting and far-reaching precedent on matters involving Americans' rights to privacy and due process under the Fourth Amendment. And this fast-growing body of law is almost entirely out of view of legal scholars and the public. Most Americans do not have access to the judiciary's full interpretation of the Constitution on matters of surveillance, search and seizure when it comes to snooping for terrorist plots — and are limited in their ability to challenge it.

Justice Department Fights Release of Secret Court Opinion Finding Unconstitutional Surveillance Government lawyers are trying to keep buried a classified court finding that a domestic spying program went too far. MJ Currently, given the conflicting positions of the Justice Department and the FISA court, Sobel notes, "there is no court you can go to to challenge the secrecy" protecting an opinion noting that the government acted unconstitutionally. On its website, EFF observes, "Granted, it's likely that some of the information contained within FISC opinions should be kept secret; but, when the government hides court opinions describing unconstitutional government action, America's national security is harmed: not by disclosure of our intelligence capabilities, but through the erosion of our commitment to the rule of law."

The issue is what powers any particular outfit has once they get hold of the data. That's why I'm more scared of governments.

Secret Court Ruling Put Tech Companies in Data Bind
In a secret court in Washington, Yahoo's top lawyers made their case. The government had sought help in spying on certain foreign users, without a warrant, and Yahoo had refused, saying the broad requests were unconstitutional. The judges disagreed. That left Yahoo two choices: Hand over the data or break the law.
So Yahoo became part of the National Security Agency's secret Internet surveillance program, Prism, according to leaked N.S.A. documents, as did seven other Internet companies. Like almost all the actions of the secret court, which operates under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the details of its disagreement with Yahoo were never made public beyond a heavily redacted court order, one of the few public documents ever to emerge from the court. The name of the company had not been revealed until now. Yahoo's involvement was confirmed by two people with knowledge of the proceedings. Yahoo declined to comment.
But the decision has had lasting repercussions for the dozens of companies that store troves of their users' personal information and receive these national security requests — it puts them on notice that they need not even try to test their legality.
It also highlights a paradox of Silicon Valley: while tech companies eagerly vacuum up user data to track their users and sell ever more targeted ads, many also have a libertarian streak ingrained in their corporate cultures that resists sharing that data with the government.
"Even though they have an awful reputation on consumer privacy issues, when it comes to government privacy, they generally tend to put their users first," said Christopher Soghoian, a senior policy analyst studying technological surveillance at the American Civil Liberties Union. "There's this libertarian, pro-civil liberties vein that runs through the tech companies."
For many of the requests to tech companies, the government relies on a 2008 amendment to FISA. Even though the FISA court requires so-called minimization procedures to limit incidental eavesdropping on people not in the original order, including Americans, the scale of electronic communication is so vast that such information — say, on an e-mail string — is often picked up, lawyers say. Last year, the FISA court said the minimization rules were unconstitutional, and on Wednesday, ruled that it had no objection to sharing that opinion publicly. It is now up to a federal court.

John le Carré on secret courts, surveillance and the excessive influence of the CIA and MI6 on democratic institutions
What are secret courts? Why do we need them? To protect Britain's special relationship with the United States, we are officially told; to protect the credibility and integrity of our intelligence services. Never mind that for decades we have handled security-sensitive cases by clearing the court whenever necessary, and allowing our secret servants to withhold their names and testify from behind screens, real or virtual: now, all of a sudden, the credibility and integrity of our intelligence services are at stake, and need urgent and draconian protection.

If the tech industry wants to regain trust, it needs to recognize that its wholesale data collection is part of the problem.

Trading Privacy for Convenience
Ray Wang makes an important point about trust and our data: This is the paradox. The companies contending to win our trust to manage our digital identities all seem to have complementary (or competing) business models that breach that trust by selling our data.

...and by turning it over to the government.

The current surveillance state is a result of a government/corporate partnership, and our willingness to give up privacy for convenience.

If the government demanded that we all carry tracking devices 24/7, we would rebel. Yet we all carry cell phones. If the government demanded that we deposit copies of all of our messages to each other with the police, we'd declare their actions unconstitutional. Yet we all use Gmail and Facebook messaging and SMS. If the government demanded that we give them access to all the photographs we take, and that we identify all of the people in them and tag them with locations, we'd refuse. Yet we do exactly that on Flickr and other sites.
Ray Ozzie is right when he said that we got what we asked for when we told the government we were scared and that they should do whatever they wanted to make us feel safer. But we also got what we asked for when we traded our privacy for convenience, trusting these corporations to look out for our best interests. We're living in a world of feudal security. And if you watch Game of Thrones, you know that feudalism benefits the powerful -- at the expense of the peasants.

4th Amendment


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, andRead Full Text

Stephen Colbert tells Jeffrey Rosen why the NSA is spying on Americans

The National Constitution Center's President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen agrees with conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, about the government's invasion of privacy, citing a recent Scalia dissent to a court decision involving police taking the DNA of suspects.


IP-address does not equal a person

IP-Address Is Not a Person, BitTorrent Case Judge Says
2011 A possible landmark ruling in one of the mass-BitTorrent lawsuits in the U.S. may spell the end of the "pay-up-or-else-schemes" that have targeted over 100,000 Internet users in the last year. District Court Judge Harold Baker has denied a copyright holder the right to subpoena the ISPs of alleged copyright infringers, because an IP-address does not equal a person.
In the last year various copyright holders have sued well over 100,000 alleged file-sharers in the United States alone. The purpose of these lawsuits is to obtain the personal details of the alleged infringers, and use this information to negotiate a settlement offer ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
Lawyers, the public and consumer advocacy groups have compared these practices to extortion, but nonetheless new cases are still being filed every month. This week, however, an interesting ruling was handed down by District Court Judge Harold Baker that, if adopted by other judges, may become a major roadblock for similar mass-lawsuits.

Hurt Locker File Sharing Lawsuit Lists Hockey Stadium IP Address
I'm reminded of how the Blues Brothers listed Wrigley Field as their home address on their DMV records. Life imitating art?
It's a bit of a stereotype that Canadians love their hockey. But do they love it so much that they file share while attending hockey games? Recently, the movie studio Voltage Pictures decided to extend its braindead, shortsighted, shakedown of those it accuses (on weak evidence) of file sharing its movie, The Hurt Locker, to Canada. Voltage hired a law firm to go to court and identify who was behind 29 IP addresses. Of course, some individuals did a little investigating on the IP addresses and, as noted by Michael Geist, have apparently fingered one of the culprits: the Bell Centre in Montreal, better known as the home of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team. I'm guessing Voltage will just drop that IP address from the lawsuit, but it's another reminder that an IP address is not very useful evidence, in some cases. And, of course, anyone involved with the lawsuit could have c ecked the IP address themselves and realized what it resolved to -- providing yet more evidence that the folks filing these lawsuits aren't particularly clued in on the technology they're suing over.



Security vs. Privacy


False Choice

NYT Editors: Surveillance: A Threat to Democracy
A false Choice: The issue is not whether the government should vigorously pursue terrorists. The question is whether the security goals can be achieved by less-intrusive or sweeping means, without trampling on democratic freedoms and basic rights.
The surreptitious collection of "metadata" {Big Data} — every bit of information about every phone call except the word-by-word content of conversations — fundamentally alters the relationship between individuals and their government. Using such data, the government can discover intimate details about a person's lifestyle and beliefs — political leanings and associations, medical issues, sexual orientation, habits of religious worship, and even marital infidelities. The government's capacity to build extensive, secret digital dossiers on such a mass scale is totally at odds with the vision and intention of the nation's framers who crafted the Fourth Amendment precisely to outlaw indiscriminate searches that cast a wide net to see what can be caught. It also attacks First Amendment values of free speech and association. In a democracy, people are entitled to know what techniques are being used by the government to spy on them, how the records are being held and for how long, who will have access to them, and the safeguards in place to prevent abuse. Only then can they evaluate official claims that the correct balance between fighting terrorism and preserving individual liberty has been struck, and decide if they are willing to accept diminished privacy and liberty. If Americans have been slow to recognize the dangerous overreach of the N.S.A.'s phone surveillance, it is largely because they have scant information to judge the government's conduct.

Opt In @stopwatchingus #Stop Watching Us
That includes Google Facebook and Microsoft

Steven Aftergood
Runs the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, said: "If President Obama really welcomed a debate, there are all kinds of things he could do in terms of declassification and disclosure to foster it. But he's not doing any of them." Nor is it clear that political pressure from either Congress or the public will be sufficient to prompt the administration to open the door wider on government surveillance. Debate on Secret Data Looks Unlikely, Partly Due to Secrecy NYT

re: The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
Aftergood wonders: Will agencies respond -- as they are obliged to do -- to its inquiries? Will it be able to derive useful insights that can either correct surveillance policy, or else assure the public that the policy is sound?"

Feinstein appears to confirm that calls are being recorded
Analysts can look at the domestic calling data only if there is a reason to suspect it is "actually related to Al Qaeda or to Iran," (Feinstein) said, adding: "The vast majority of the records in the database are never accessed and are deleted after a period of five years. To look at or use the content of a call, a court warrant must be obtained."


First Law Suit Against NSAholes



The Criminal N.S.A.
Jennifer Stisa Granick is the director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. Christopher Jon Sprigman is a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law.
THE twin revelations that telecom carriers have been secretly giving the National Security Agency information about Americans' phone calls, and that the N.S.A. has been capturing e-mail and other private communications from Internet companies as part of a secret program called Prism, have not enraged most Americans. Lulled, perhaps, by the Obama administration's claims that these “modest encroachments on privacy” were approved by Congress and by federal judges, public opinion quickly migrated from shock to “meh.”
It didn't help that Congressional watchdogs — with a few exceptions, like Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky — have accepted the White House's claims of legality. The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, and Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia, have called the surveillance legal. So have liberal-leaning commentators like Hendrik Hertzberg and David Ignatius.
This view is wrong — and not only, or even mainly, because of the privacy issues raised by the American Civil Liberties Union and other critics. The two programs violate both the letter and the spirit of federal law. No statute explicitly authorizes mass surveillance.

Through a series of legal contortions, the Obama administration has argued that Congress, since 9/11, intended to implicitly authorize mass surveillance. But this strategy mostly consists of wordplay, fear-mongering and a highly selective reading of the law. Americans deserve better from the White House — and from President Obama, who has seemingly forgotten the constitutional law he once taught.

The administration has defended each of the two secret programs. Let's examine them in turn.

Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contract employee and whistle-blower, has provided evidence that the government has phone record metadata on all Verizon customers, and probably on every American, going back seven years. This metadata is extremely revealing; investigators mining it might be able to infer whether we have an illness or an addiction, what our religious affiliations and political activities are, and so on.

The law under which the government collected this data, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, allows the F.B.I. to obtain court orders demanding that a person or company produce “tangible things,” upon showing reasonable grounds that the things sought are “relevant” to an authorized foreign intelligence investigation. The F.B.I. does not need to demonstrate probable cause that a crime has been committed, or any connection to terrorism.
Even in the fearful time when the Patriot Act was enacted, in October 2001, lawmakers never contemplated that Section 215 would be used for phone metadata, or for mass surveillance of any sort. Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., a Wisconsin Republican and one of the architects of the Patriot Act, and a man not known as a civil libertarian, has said that “Congress intended to allow the intelligence communities to access targeted information for specific investigations.” The N.S.A.'s demand for information about every American's phone calls isn't “targeted” at all — it's a dragnet. “How can every call that every American makes or receives be relevant to a specific investigation?” Mr. Sensenbrenner has asked. The answer is simple: It's not.

The government claims that under Section 215 it may seize all of our phone call information now because it might conceivably be relevant to an investigation at some later date, even if there is no particular reason to believe that any but a tiny fraction of the data collected might possibly be suspicious. That is a shockingly flimsy argument — any data might be “relevant” to an investigation eventually, if by “eventually” you mean “sometime before the end of time.” If all data is “relevant,” it makes a mockery of the already shaky concept of relevance.

Let's turn to Prism: the streamlined, electronic seizure of communications from Internet companies. In combination with what we have already learned about the N.S.A.'s access to telecommunications and Internet infrastructure, Prism is further proof that the agency is collecting vast amounts of e-mails and other messages — including communications to, from and between Americans.
The government justifies Prism under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. Section 1881a of the act gave the president broad authority to conduct warrantless electronic surveillance. If the attorney general and the director of national intelligence certify that the purpose of the monitoring is to collect foreign intelligence information about any non­American individual or entity not known to be in the United States, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court can require companies to provide access to Americans' international communications. The court does not approve the target or the facilities to be monitored, nor does it assess whether the government is doing enough to minimize the intrusion, correct for collection mistakes and protect privacy. Once the court issues a surveillance order, the government can issue top-secret directives to Internet companies like Google and Facebook to turn over calls, e-mails, video and voice chats, photos, voice­over IP calls (like Skype) and social networking information.

Like the Patriot Act, the FISA Amendments Act gives the government very broad surveillance authority. And yet the Prism program appears to outstrip that authority. In particular, the government “may not intentionally acquire any communication as to which the sender and all intended recipients are known at the time of the acquisition to be located in the United States.”

The government knows that it regularly obtains Americans' protected communications. The Washington Post reported that Prism is designed to produce at least 51 percent confidence in a target's “foreignness” — as John Oliver of “The Daily Show” put it, “a coin flip plus 1 percent.” By turning a blind eye to the fact that 49-plus percent of the communications might be purely among Americans, the N.S.A. has intentionally acquired information it is not allowed to have, even under the terrifyingly broad auspices of the FISA Amendments Act.

How could vacuuming up Americans' communications conform with this legal limitation? Well, as James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, told Andrea Mitchell of NBC, the N.S.A. uses the word “acquire” only when it pulls information out of its gigantic database of communications and not when it first intercepts and stores the information.If there's a law against torturing the English language, James Clapper is in real trouble.

The administration hides the extent of its “incidental” surveillance of Americans behind fuzzy language. When Congress reauthorized the law at the end of 2012, legislators said Americans had nothing to worry about because the surveillance could not “target” American citizens or permanent residents. Mr. Clapper offered the same assurances. Based on these statements, an ordinary citizen might think the N.S.A. cannot read Americans' e-mails or online chats under the F.A.A. But that is a government ­fed misunderstanding.
A “target” under the act is a person or entity the government wants information on — not the people the government is trying to listen to. It's actually O.K. under the act to grab Americans' messages so long as they are communicating with the target, or anyone who is not in the United States.
Leave aside the Patriot Act and FISA Amendments Act for a moment, and turn to the Constitution.
The Fourth Amendment obliges the government to demonstrate probable cause before conducting invasive surveillance.
There is simply no precedent under the Constitution for the government's seizing such vast amounts of revealing data on innocent Americans' communications. The government has made a mockery of that protection by relying on select Supreme Court cases, decided before the era of the public Internet and cellphones, to argue that citizens have no expectation of privacy in either phone metadata or in e-mails or other private electronic messages that it stores with third parties.
This hairsplitting is inimical to privacy and contrary to what at least five justices ruled just last year in a case called United States v. Jones. One of the most conservative justices on the Court, Samuel A. Alito Jr., wrote that where even public information about individuals is monitored over the long term, at some point, government crosses a line and must comply with the protections of the Fourth Amendment. That principle is, if anything, even more true for Americans' sensitive nonpublic information like phone metadata and social networking activity.
We may never know all the details of the mass surveillance programs, but we know this: The administration has justified them through abuse of language, intentional evasion of statutory protections, secret, unreviewable investigative procedures and constitutional arguments that make a mockery of the government's professed concern with protecting Americans' privacy. It's time to call the N.S.A.'s mass surveillance programs what they are: criminal.


The first lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the NSA's dragnet phone surveillance program.
The suit names Larry Klayman, the former chairman of Judicial Watch, and two others who say the government has illegally spied on their Verizon accounts. The spy program, Klayman's suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia claims, "violates the U.S. Constitution and also federal laws, including, but not limited to, the outrageous breach of privacy, freedom of speech, freedom of association, and the due process rights of American citizens." Klayman, who founded Judicial Watch, said in the suit he was a Verizon Wireless customer, meaning it's questionable whether he has the legal standing to sue. The suit names Verizon, NSA, Justice Department, President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and others. The case comes as the American Civil Liberties Union and others are petitioning the FISA court to explain the legal rationale behind authorizing surveillance of this magnitude.




How Secure is the NSA Tom Foremski
If a foreign entity wanted to spy on US companies or individuals, would it try to tackle the problem directly by targeting the specific company or individual in its electronic spying attempts? It might, but that's a lot of work for an uncertain payoff.
A much more efficient approach would be to hack into a surveillance system that already has access to the information. Far better to hack into the NSA spying system at Google, or at Facebook, or at Microsoft (if such an NSA system exists, of course).
In early 2010 Google discovered that Chinese hackers had gotten into its systems. Who did it call to help deal with this problem? The NSA. [Google to enlist NSA to help it ward off cyberattacks.] Why didn't Google have the means, the expertise, to deal with this problem directly and solely? It makes sense if it was the NSA's spying system that got hacked within Google. The search giant knows its own systems and how they can be protected but it does't know the NSA's computer systems and how they protect themselves. It makes perfect sense to call in the NSA to help plug this hole because it's a hole created for the NSA which the NSA might have left vulnerable in some way.

FAA 702 Snowden accused Google and Facebook of revising their statements regarding the program, called PRISM, several times "as it became more and more clear they were misleading," and they also used "identical" language in their statements. "Their denials went through several revisions as it become more and more clear they were misleading and included identical, specific language across companies," Snowden said. "As a result of these disclosures and the clout of these companies, we're finally beginning to see more transparency and better details about these programs for the first time since their inception." While tech companies must maintain their silence about the surveillance program and comply with the government's requests for information, Snowden said they also have an "ethical obligation" to band together and refuse to cooperate with the government. "If for example Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple refused to provide this cooperation with the Intelligence Community, what do you think the government would do? Shut them down?" Snowden asked. "If I target for example an email address, for example under FAA 702, and that email address sent something to you, Joe America, the analyst gets it. All of it. IPs, raw data, content, headers, attachments, everything," Snowden said. "And it gets saved for a very long time — and can be extended further with waivers rather than warrants."

Big Spy Peter Andreas Theil born October 11, 1967
Family Crest - spying runs in the family


"it's just the metadata"



Two aspects of the DNI disclosure and this entire discussion trouble me greatly. The lesser concern is the "it's just the metadata" position.
That is an amazing position for the government to take. It takes something incredibly dangerous that the public does not understand, and presents it as if it's a safety feature. If that's not misleading the public, I'm not sure what is. I'm not sure how any Senator or Representative or member of the executive branch could possibly vote for this and remain faithful to their oath to support the Constitution of the United States. Ignorance is not a defense. In my opinion, this is an impeachment issue.
But since that concern has already been raised, let me turn instead to the close of the DNI statement, which is even more disturbing. Quoting from the release:
Discussing programs like this publicly will have an impact on the behavior of our adversaries and make it more difficult for us to understand their intentions. Surveillance programs like this one are consistently subject to safeguards that are designed to strike the appropriate balance between national security interests and civil liberties and privacy concerns.

What is really being said here?

1. We shouldn't talk about this, because it might change how are adversaries behave.

How, exactly, might their behavior change? There is no evidence that awareness of "big data spying" impacts the effectiveness of the method. On the contrary, the fundamental privacy concern of big data generally and this type of analysis specifically lies precisely in the fact that no participant in the current age can effectively guard against it. If a defense existed that the US Citizen could exercise effectively, it wouldn't be a big deal, would it? In light of which, the only reason to remain silent is fear that awareness of a grossly unconstitutional program of systematic domestic espionage might raise civil liberty concerns.

Democracy cannot exist without discussion and public consideration. It's a very problematic position to sacrifice democracy for safety, but there is at least a case to be made. The problem with DNI's statement is that there isn't any evidence for a benefit to democracy from non-disclosure.

What may happen, hypothetically, is that terrorists and their ilk will be forced to less efficient, lower profile means of communication and coordination. If somebody can suggest a practical way to achieve that, please let me know, because *I* want to use it. When I want my elected officials to know what I'm about, I'll tell them myself.

2. These programs are allegedly subject to safeguards, so don't worry about it.

There are a couple of problems with this. The first is that the current safeguards don't satisfy the fourth amendment. The second is that there are a number of cases that have come to light that suggest that current oversight is a rubber stamp and cannot be trusted. Anyone who has a problem with that should go talk to Eliot Spitzer. Who may be a jerk, but who was caught by inappropriate use of this kind of data. He isn't the only one, but nobody thinks that's a bad thing until it's applied to them.

Everybody who thinks Eliot Spitzer is a terrorist, raise your hands? Those of you in the New York financial community are obviously biased. Pipe down.

So he isn't a terrorist. So with all that oversight from FISA, none of this data should have been a threat to him. OK. So everybody who thinks our buddy Eliot Spitzer just got unlucky, and nobody was actually using the innocuous metadata to hunt him on purpose, raise your hand...

The problem with "just the metadata" is that using that metadata, I could run that search simultaneously on every citizen in America. For a depressingly small sum, I can do that in just a few hours. So can you. So can your neighbor. So can your boss, or your child, or the local cop who may not like you. Or the local school principal. Or the local fundamentalist. Or the local civil libertarian - though by their nature those don't frighten me.

3. Civil liberties should yield to national security.

The entire *concept* of striking a balance between "national security interests" and "civil liberties and privacy concerns" should be ringing loud alarms. The reason we have a nation, and the reason we are concerned about national security, is that these things exist to serve, protect, defend, and extend the liberties and values of our society. The moment national security serves some other interest, it becomes not just evil, but treasonous.
Yes, treasonous. Because if we are to accept the rationale of the war on terrorism, then we are at war. And if we are at war, then acts of federal agents and elected officials that suborn the constitution are treason.
n response to those who wonder why Verizon executives did not resign, I would ask why is it that so many people in public service, under oath to serve the constitution, both in and out of one uniform or another, have conspired in treason without resigning en masse? Most, I suspect, because they didn't think it through. But some conspired actively.
If the metadata is so innocuous, then our elected and senior appointed officials should have no objection to offering the public the same level of access that is routinely granted to the government. So I have a modest proposal.
Let's make this data publicly visible to ALL viewers for a limited period of time, without any sort of warrant. Say a year. Let's let corporations and civil libertarians, and would-be legal trolls, and elected officials, and citizens of all forms have the opportunity to analyze the metadata of every American for one year and *find out* just how innocuous this data is or isn't. And lets let them do it under the same constraints that FISA provides in practice. Which is to say: you should have to ask, but if you claim the evidence is secret you get a rubber-stamp approval.
Except, of course, that we could be wrong. Or rather, that the government might indeed be misleading us about the innocuous character of metadata. Those honest critters who make up our government have never misled the public before, but perhaps they were misled themselves. Perhaps by the people who make money collecting this data for the government. Such things have been known to happen. And it might turn out that even one year's collection of metadata is unrecoverably destructive to our society. So it seems appropriate to run a smaller, longer experiment before subjecting the entire population to this, in much the same way that we test new vaccines on sample groups.
Thankfully, we have a particularly appropriate pool of people for this smaller test: the elected and appointed officials who lead our states and our nation. After all, these are public officials, so they're the good guys. And if the data is so harmless, then the good guys should have nothing to fear from it, and should have no objection to serving the country by acting as our test subjects. Especially so when they are already subject to such a high degree of public scrutiny by virtue of their existing positions and roles. What's a little bit more? Let's give the public the opportunity to see every affair, every illicit payoff rendezvous, every traffic violation, every grocery stop, and every type of public laundry (dirty or clean) that can be learned from metadata. Who slept in during the big vote. Oh. And every private individual during any time when they are standing within 100 feet of a public official. Let's test the hypothesis before we apply it to the public at large.
I'll go out on a limb and offer a prediction. I bet that, just like the government, the American public will become intoxicated by this ability to spy on their government. They won't give it up easily. They'll extend, and revise, and massage/abuse the data, and they'll never let their hooks out of the government again. A government that can be held accountable to the public. What a startling idea!
Somehow, I don't see our dear leaders going for this. If they won't, why should we?

Jonathan S. Shapiro


Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere - Kieran Healy
“Social Network Analysis,” a small encroachment on freedom, identifies terrorists in the Colonies.

Internet Society Statement on the Importance of Open Global Dialogue Regarding Online Privacy

Herb Lin
Chief Scientist, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board
The National Academies
(202) 841-0525 (always - use this one first)
(202) 334-3191 work messages|| (202) 540-9878 fax || hlin at || Where the nation turns for independent and informed assessments of computing, communications, and public policy

Where Should You Run?


Political Asylum

Snowden might have to settle in at the Russian Sheremetyevo airport for a while. O&DL is located in Terminal F (the 1st and 2nd floor) of Sheremetyevo International Airport, the left wing. The fashionable design of the lounge, exclusiveness of the audience (government delegations, foreign delegations, representatives of regional administration and Federal districts and their family members) ensure effectiveness of the target purpose. The Officials and Delegations Lounge is a departure lounge (the 2nd floor) and an arrival lounge (the 1st floor) which handles 5,000-7,000 persons per month. The lounge is open 24 hours.

Edward Snowden SAFEPASS No. RE038804
from the Consul of Ecuador in London
58-59 Trafalgar Square, "Uganda House" First Floor Londown WC2N 5DX
[p] 44 0 20 7451 0040

This country has a reputation of shielding those wanted in high-profile cases.
An Icelandic court gave WikiLeaks a victory in April, ruling that a financial firm in Iceland would have to continue handling transactions.

— There's more to come, according to Greenwald. that "the journalist who exposed classified U.S. surveillance programs leaked by an American defense contractor said Tuesday that there will be more 'significant revelations' to come from the documents. 'We are going to have a lot more significant revelations that have not yet been heard over the next several weeks and months."


Snowden's Greatest Fear Is Nothing Will Change



See Espionage: Individual privacy is a basic human right.
This is about the intersection of Legal, Social and Ethical Issues that are at the heart of Information Technology.

Section 215


Large amounts of data about Americans routinely are collected in dragnet searches, despite officials' denials. "The reality is this, ... [any U.S. intelligence agency] has access to query raw databases, they can enter and get results for anything they want. Phone number, email, user id, cell phone handset ID, and so on," Edward Snowden He said that, even though U.S. intelligence officials note that the warrantless monitoring of U.S. citizens' communications is illegal, "Americans' communications are collected and viewed on a daily basis on the certification of an analyst rather than a warrant." "The restrictions against this are policy based, not technically based," Mr. Snowden added.

The NSA is using Section 215 to vacuum up email and web browsing logs from ISPs as well. We can't separate the corporate data collection from the government uses/abuses. If you are providing data to a company, you are **by definition** making it available to government, too, with all the consequences that implies.

The Lockbox Lie
U.S. officials have told us that the National Security Agency's vast collection of phone “metadata”—which numbers have called which other numbers and when—is kept in a “lockbox.” They've implied that the data can't be searched without court approval. That's false. The records can be searched without a warrant. The “lockbox” has no lock.

Q: Is a court order necessary to query the metadata database?
Feinstein: Is a court order necessary to query
Q: The metadata database under 215. An individual court order for each query.
Feinstein: A court order—well, I don't know what you mean by a query. A court order
Q: To search the database.
Feinstein: To search the database, you have to have reasonable, articulable cause
Q: Certified by a judge?
Feinstein: - to believe that that individual is connected to a terrorist group. You cannot -
Q: But does that have to be determined by a judge? Feinstein: Could I answer? You may not like it, but I'll answer. Then you can query the numbers. The only numbers you have—there's no content. You have the name and the number called, whether it's one number or two numbers. That's all you have. Then you can get the numbers. If you want to collect content, then you get a court order.
Q: So you don't need a court order for the query itself. Feinstein: That's my understanding. That exchange punctured the government's story.


One of the basic rules of the internet: Not everyone is who they say they are.

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force.
Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. - George Washington

"There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment," George Orwell wrote in "1984." "How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to."

So.... Who's Watching the N.S.A. Watchers?
The crown jewel in government secrecy

Welcome to a world where Google knows exactly what sort of p0rn you like, and more about your interests than your partner does. Welcome to a world where your cell phone company knows exactly where you are all the time. Welcome to the end of private conversations, because increasingly your conversations are conducted by e-mail, text, or social networking sites. you do or is done on a computer, is saved, correlated, studied, passed around from company to company without your knowledge or consent; and where the government accesses it at will without a warrant.
The NSA receives copies of data which includes phone companies in addition to Verizon, plus Internet service providers and Apple through a system they set up with a court order. Federal law-enforcement agencies can issue data-disclosure orders to the tech companies under the FISA Amendments Act, a law that permits the government to obtain surveillance orders from a special court without warrants on specific people. The orders compel companies to provide data, such as the content of emails, files and photos, stored online. The technical mechanism through which the tech companies comply with foreign-surveillance orders is unclear.


Why Does a Terry Standard Apply to Querying the NSA Call Records Database?
- 4th Amendment vs. Massive Monitoring
- Minimization orders - placing limits on the use of the information. The Terry Standard a Fourth Amendment standard for when the police can stop a person temporarily and subject them to questioning introduced by Terry v. Ohio.
- What is in FISA that requires that standard? Nothing in the Fourth Amendment seems to require it, as the call records are unprotected under Smith v. Maryland.

James Clapper

What about His Oath?


James R. Clapper Jr. is a liar

No one has been charged with a crime for lying under oath to Congress.

America's most senior intelligence official lied to a Senate intelligence committee. He claims instead that he gave an 'erroneous' answer because he forgot about the Patriot Act. And you know he'll get away with it.

NSA fact sheet on surveillance program pulled from Web after senators' criticism
"National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith B. Alexander acknowledged Tuesday that a fact sheet on the agency's Web site inaccurately described the extent to which the communications of U.S. citizens are protected from the spy agency's collection of e-mail and other material from technology companies. The agency removed the four-page document Tuesday after lawmakers raised concerns about its accuracy ......
This month, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. acknowledged that he had given what he called the 'least most untruthful' response when he testified in March that the NSA does not collect data on millions of Americans." "least most untruthful"??? Isn't that the same as saying "I admit that I knowingly made untruthful statements under penalty of perjury when I lied to Congress about NSA's surveillance of millions of Americans"? If my name was Scooter Libbey, I would be furious that no one has been charged with a crime for lying under oath to Congress.


In the late 1990's their telephonic and radar based surveillance skills became obsolete. The outsourcing plan was finalized in 2000 by a special NSA Advisory Board set up to determine the agency's future and codified in a secret report written by a then-obscure intelligence officer named James Clapper. "Clapper did a one-man study for the NSA Advisory Board," recalls Ed Loomis, a 40-year NSA veteran who, along with Binney and two others, blew the whistle on corporate corruption at the NSA.
Despite the scandals and massive amount of money spent on private intelligence contractors, however, the mainstream media has been slow to report on the topic. It took until 2010, years after the spending spree began, for the Washington Post to highlight intelligence outsourcing in its famous series on "Top Secret America." The paper, despite its work on the PRISM story, is still behind the curve.

Data Leak Could Undermine Trust In Government Contractor
James Clapper used to work at Booz Allen which specializes in IT work, especially in the hot area of cyber security. Some of its biggest contracts are with military and intelligence services like the National Security Agency. Many of the firm's 25,000 employees are people who, like Snowden, are former government workers who come with security clearances.

As Gene Hackman, playing a disillusioned N.S.A. analyst in the 1998 movie "Enemy of the State" put it, the agency has been in bed with the telecommunications industry for decades, and "they can suck a salt grain off a beach."


Pentagon Five-Year Cybersecurity Plan Seeks $23 Billion of our tax money from the 99% while the 1% continue to hide their profits off shore.

Meet the Private companies who are Getting Rich
probing your personal information for the government. Call it Digital Blackwater. Read Spies for Hire. 70% of our national intelligence budgets being spent on the private sector, of $8 billion a year. Who's actually doing the work of analyzing all the data, meta-data and personal information pouring into the agency from Verizon and nine key Internet Service Providers for its ever-expanding surveillance of American citizens? Booz Allen Hamilton who is involved in virtually every aspect of intelligence and surveillance, from advising top officials on how to integrate the 16 U.S. spy agencies to detailed analysis of signals intelligence, imagery and other critical collections technologies. Narus a subsidiary of Boeing that makes a key telecommunications software that allows government agencies and corporations to monitor huge amounts of data flowing over fiber-optic cables, CSC, the "systems integrator" that runs NSA's internal IT system, SAIC stands like a private colossus across the whole intelligence industry. Of its 42,000 employees, more than 20,000 hold U.S. government security clearances, making it one of the largest private intelligence services in the world, to Northrop Grumman. One Narus device can analyze 1,250,000 1,000-character emails every second. That comes to over 100 billion emails a day. The Narus technology, he added, "reconstructs everything on the line and then passes it off to NSA for storage" and later analysis. That includes everything, he said, including email, cell phone calls, and voice over internet protocol calls such as those made on Skype. Palantir Technologies Inc. sells a powerful line of data-mining and analysis software that maps out human social networks that would be extremely useful to NSA.

Vendors who facilitate the NSA's intercept efforts
Narus, the company named for the Latin word for “all knowing.” Founded in the Silicon Valley in 1997 by Israeli expatriates with alleged ties to Israel's intelligence services, Ori Cohen and Stas Khirman, Narus has been shrouded in mystery since its inception. The information about Narus' sales to Egypt was not hard to find; Karr discovered it right on the company's website. Narus has also boasted about sales of DPI technology to serial human rights violators like the governments of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and telecom subsidiaries of the Chinese government. Egypt had purchased Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology from Narus the Mubarak regime was using it to target online dissidents. In 2006, an AT&T technician named Mark Klein discovered a secret room inside the company's windowless “Folsom Street Facility” in downtown San Francisco that was bristling with Narus machines. The now notorious Room 641A was controlled by the NSA, which was using it to collect AT&T customer data for data mining and real-time analysis. Thanks to the powerful NarusInsight system, the NSA was able to monitor 108 billion emails from AT&T customers per day. Thanks to PRISM, the NSA bas been able to “fill in the gaps,” Binney explained, gathering bulk data from communications the NSA might have missed with the NarusInsight system, especially those made between Americans and foreign countries.


The appearance of the law must be upheld, especially when it's broke.

Don't count on Congress to fix the assault on privacy.
Irrespective of the ethics of telco companies or their use of my data, surveillance of citizens by the US government is a very different issue. Neither Google, nor Apple, nor Facebook have the ability to direct their power to garnish my wages, take my property, or restrict my freedoms. The US government does.

Whistle blowers



The Known and Unknown Rules, becoming part of the borg. The Masters, The Humplings, and The Dregs but so what! You never get the truth from the company Memo ~ Timothy Leary.


The Irrationality of Giving Up This Much Liberty to Fight Terror.
When confronted by far deadlier threats, Americans are much less willing to cede freedom and privacy.

Dan Ellsberg
There will be a very big crackdown on leakers as a result of this, and possibly more but remember people said the same thing about Dan Ellsberg and Deep Throat.

READ Daniel Ellsberg on Edward Snowden: saving us from the United Stasi of America. Snowden's whistleblowing gives us a chance to roll back what is tantamount to an 'executive coup' against the US constitution.

Freedom of the Press Foundation a new organization devoted to whistle-blowers and transparency.


2013 Assange: US rule of law suffering 'calamitous collapse'
founder of the whistleblowing website accused the US government of trying to "launder" its activities with regard to the far-reaching electronic spying effort. The Obama administration was engaged in a bid to "criminalize all national security journalism in the United States". Assange blasted the court martial as a "show trial" and warned that the future of journalism was at stake.



Bradley Manning
Private Manning, who confessed to leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents made public by WikiLeaks, faces a possible life sentence in a court-martial.

Edward Snowden: HERO the whistleblower behind revelations of NSA surveillance.
The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.
The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong," he said.
If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards. "I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under." <more>
How Snowden Got Ready to Give Out His Story to Glenn Greenwald, a civil-liberties writer who recently moved his blog to The Guardian; Laura Poitras, a documentary filmmaker who specializes in surveillance; and Ewen MacAskill, a Guardian reporter.

Edward Snowden Q and A: "The US Government Destroyed Any Possibility of a Fair Trial at Home"

Edward Snowden: answers reader questions

1) Define in as much detail as you can what "direct access" means.

2) Can analysts listen to content of domestic calls without a warrant?

2) NSA likes to use "domestic" as a weasel word here for a number of reasons. The reality is that due to the FISA Amendments Act and its section 702 authorities, Americans' communications are collected and viewed on a daily basis on the certification of an analyst rather than a warrant. They excuse this as "incidental" collection, but at the end of the day, someone at NSA still has the content of your communications. Even in the event of "warranted" intercept, it's important to understand the intelligence community doesn't always deal with what you would consider a "real" warrant like a Police department would have to, the "warrant" is more of a templated form they fill out and send to a reliable judge with a rubber stamp.
Glenn Greenwald follow up: When you say "someone at NSA still has the content of your communications" - what do you mean? Do you mean they have a record of it, or the actual content?

Both. If I target for example an email address, for example under FAA 702, and that email address sent something to you, Joe America, the analyst gets it. All of it. IPs, raw data, content, headers, attachments, everything. And it gets saved for a very long time - and can be extended further with waivers rather than warrants

Three NSA Veterans Speak Out on Whistleblower Snowden: We Told You So If anyone has questions about why Edward Snowden chose not to go through the proper channels to try to get something done about the NSA datamining, it seems likely Snowden saw what happened to these former NSA whistleblowers and decided it would be a complete waste of time.

3 NSA veterans speak out on whistle-blower: We told you so Thomas Drake, William Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe belong to a select fraternity: the NSA officials who paved the way. When they became convinced that fundamental constitutional rights were being violated, they complained first to their superiors, then to federal investigators, congressional oversight committees and, finally, to the news media. They have been investigated as criminals and forced to give up careers, reputations and friendships built over a lifetime.


The Program 8/22/12 By LAURA POITRAS
It took me a few days to work up the nerve to phone William Binney. As someone already a "target" of the United States government, I found it difficult not to worry about the chain of unintended consequences I might unleash by calling Mr. Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency turned whistle-blower. He picked up. I nervously explained I was a documentary filmmaker and wanted to speak to him. To my surprise he replied: "I'm tired of my government harassing me and violating the Constitution. Yes, I'll talk to you."
Two weeks later, driving past the headquarters of the N.S.A. in Maryland, outside Washington, Mr. Binney described details about Stellar Wind, the N.S.A.'s top-secret domestic spying program begun after 9/11, which was so controversial that it nearly caused top Justice Department officials to resign in protest, in 2004.
"The decision must have been made in September 2001," Mr. Binney told me and the cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. "That's when the equipment started coming in." In this Op-Doc, Mr. Binney explains how the program he created for foreign intelligence gathering was turned inward on this country. He resigned over this in 2001 and began speaking out publicly in the last year. He is among a group of N.S.A. whistle-blowers, including Thomas A. Drake, who have each risked everything — their freedom, livelihoods and personal relationships — to warn Americans about the dangers of N.S.A. domestic spying.
To those who understand state surveillance as an abstraction, I will try to describe a little about how it has affected me. The United States apparently placed me on a "watch-list" in 2006 after I completed a film about the Iraq war. I have been detained at the border more than 40 times. Once, in 2011, when I was stopped at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and asserted my First Amendment right not to answer questions about my work, the border agent replied, "If you don't answer our questions, we'll find our answers on your electronics."' As a filmmaker and journalist entrusted to protect the people who share information with me, it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to work in the United States. Although I take every effort to secure my material, I know the N.S.A. has technical abilities that are nearly impossible to defend against if you are targeted.

Anonymous the Modern Day American Folk Hero a decentralized, online community of individuals around the world who protect the defenseless.

Jim Sensenbrenner Republican: This abuse of the Patriot Act must End In 2001, he introduced the USA Patriot Act in the House.
President Obama has tried to deflect criticism by claiming "every member of Congress has been briefed on this program." While some members of Congress were briefed - particularly those on the intelligence committees - most, including myself, were not. ...In his press conference on Friday, President Obama described the massive collection of phone and digital records as "two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress". But Congress has never specifically authorized these programs, and the Patriot Act was never intended to allow the daily spying the Obama administration is conducting.
Technically, the administration's actions were lawful insofar as they were done pursuant to an order from the FISA court. But based on the scope of the released order, both the administration and the Fisa court are relying on an unbounded interpretation of the act that Congress never intended.
Congress intended to allow the intelligence communities to access targeted information for specific investigations. How can every call that every American makes or receives be relevant to a specific investigation? This is well beyond what the Patriot Act allows. The president should immediately direct his administration to stop abusing the US constitution.


Why Shouldn't I Work for the NSA? Good Will Hunting


@Madi_Hatter a 2008 slideshow for college seniors considering CIA careers asked potential applicants: “Are you good at manipulating people?”

The NSA is Recruiting and Being held accountable.
"The trouble is, we can't opt-out of NSA's not an option...If I could opt-out of NSA surveillance and it was no longer my business, that would be fine, but I can't," replied Tahir. A long and storied history of activist intervention and resistance against intelligence agency and military recruitment on university campuses. NSA Recruiters Taken Apart By Ravenous University Of Wisconsin Badgers (AUDIO)

NSA's Backdoor Key from Lotus-Notes
Before the US crypto export regulations were finally dissolved the export version of Lotus Notes used to include a key escrow / backdoor feature called differential cryptography. The idea was that they got permission to export 64 bit crypto if 24 of those bits were encrypted for the NSA's public key. The NSA would then only have the small matter of brute-forcing the remaining 40 bits to get the plaintext, and everyone else would get a not-that-great 64 bit key space (which probably already back then NSA would have had the compute power to brute force also, only at higher cost).
Anyway as clearly inside the application somewhere would be an NSA public key that the NSA had the private key for, I tried reverse engineering it to get the public key.
In doing this I discovered that the NSA public key had an organizational name of "MiniTruth", and a common name of "Big Brother". Specifically what I saw in my debugger late one night, which was spooky for a short moment was:

O=MiniTruth CN=Big Brother

Literary note: for those who have not read Orwell's prescient "1984" the Ministry of Truth was the agency who's job was propaganda and suppression of truths that did not suit the malignant fictional future government in the book, and "Big Brother" was the evil shadowy leader of this government. The whole book is online here.

The NSA's Public Key

I put this together some years after the reverse-engineering stint, so there could be errors, but this is from my notes, the raw public key modulus from the debugger:

8D9D6213D3EF03A7 A5CEAE99B8E9FF06
12E58ECAAB2939FE 72B41833B8B947A0
DF8111B561CE67FB 50844623CF88338C
E7BC80C5ECC31276 6075E13E12E956F6
59954F68B04F0FEA B6B82EFEC4E07BD8
4BC41FE3123AF70C 31688BCD5895BB00



2013 Corporate Governance and Surveillance


James R. Clapper
Director of National Intelligence is a Liar!

The wit of a nit = nitwit

Clapper reluctantly softened his answer somewhat: "Not wittingly," he said. "There are cases where they could, inadvertently perhaps, collect - but not wittingly."




On March 12 Ron Wyden who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee asked DNI James Clapper if the NSA collects data on millions of Americans.
Clapper answer that no the NSA does not at least not wittingly collect info on American. In light of the report about the NSA collecting phone records from Verizon.

June 11, 2013 U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) issued the following statement
regarding statements made by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper about collection on Americans. Wyden is a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
"One of the most important responsibilities a Senator has is oversight of the intelligence community. This job cannot be done responsibly if Senators aren't getting straight answers to direct questions. When NSA Director Alexander failed to clarify previous public statements about domestic surveillance, it was necessary to put the question to the Director of National Intelligence. So that he would be prepared to answer, I sent the question to Director Clapper's office a day in advance. After the hearing was over my staff and I gave his office a chance to amend his answer. Now public hearings are needed to address the recent disclosures and the American people have the right to expect straight answers from the intelligence leadership to the questions asked by their representatives."

"Trust us - we know what's good for you [and you don't]."

Unauthorized Disclosures of Classified Information

The real problem here is with Congress who passed these laws that allow this, and sit on the committees who get the secret briefings. We elect and pay them to look after our interests.

A true democracy does not operate in secret, or need to. Don't they remember the cold war and all the horrible things that were wrong with the Soviets?


The Director of National Intelligence (DNI)
referred to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) to justify Prism or Prism-like surveillance. The complexity of FISA and the FAA allows to offer non-denial denials which are parrotted in news articles, but actually mask the truth.
For example, on Thursday, DNI James Clapper issued a statement saying that Section 702 of FISA (part of the FAA) "cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States." The target is the individual or entity about which the United States seeks information. No one is saying that the NSA is targetting U.S. persons. Rather, the claim is that the NSA is intentionally monitoring Americans' communications.

Response: Ross Stapleton-Gray
Having served as an intelligence analyst for six years, and being a citizen, I think a reasonable response to DNI Clapper's statement is to say, "That may be, but
(1) there's no guarantee that we can trust you (and certainly no guarantee that any future administration could be trusted not to be worse); and
(2) if the survival of the Republic depends on secret laws, and such need for blind trust, perhaps it oughtn't to.
I have no problem with the idea that some of the "bad guys" out there will always be able to maintain their secrets in the face of government scrutiny, and really don't want to surrender so many fundamental rights (as I thought were being defended by the legislature and judiciary, but apparently not...) to try to ensure (or at least pretend) otherwise.
I was bothered from the point we started hearing about "national security letters"... "Not only are we compelling you to do something, but we're requiring that you not reveal it to anyone" is un-American. You want to ask the assistance of citizens, do so up front, and with the possibility that, if they don't trust you, everyone will hear about it. No trials based on secret evidence, no laws whose language can't be read in full by any child with a web browser, or a library card.




Infringed Adam Hart-Davis' Photograph For Its PRISM Logo
. The image is free for use via his gallery under some simple terms, including acknowledging the author. Damon jokingly suggests asking the NSA for a small donation, though he worries about any undue attention from the folks at the NSA. Of course, in a country where copyright laws trump all, perhaps Damon could sue for infringement and seek discovery to find out all the documentation on PRISM.

2013 Prism
The program facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US.It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants.




David Smith: Thinking sets the agenda for action, and thinking of humans as less than human paves the way for atrocity. Dehumanization is aroused, exacerbated, and exploited by propaganda. There is little awareness of the extent to which the mass media are instrumental for propagating dehumanizing stereotypes.
Journalists have always had an important role to play in disseminating falsehoods to mold public opinion, and this often involves dehumanizing military and political opponents. Aldous Huxley argued that dehumanization is the primary function of propaganda in a fascist state.


Stellarwind, Mainway, Marina, Nucleon, Prism
Two of the four collection programs, one each for telephony and the Internet, process trillions of "metadata" records for storage and analysis in systems called MAINWAY and MARINA, respectively. Metadata includes highly revealing information about the times, places, devices and participants in electronic communication, but not its contents. The bulk collection of telephone call records from Verizon Business Services, disclosed this month by the British newspaper the Guardian, is one source of raw intelligence for MAINWAY. The other two types of collection, which operate on a much smaller scale, are aimed at content. One of them intercepts telephone calls and routes the spoken words to a system called ­ NUCLEON.
For Internet content, the most important source collection is the PRISM project reported on June 6 by The Washington Post and the Guardian. It draws from data held by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and other Silicon Valley giants, collectively the richest depositories of personal information in history.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, 29, who unmasked himself as the source behind the PRISM and Verizon revelations, said he hoped for a systematic debate about the “danger to our freedom and way of life” posed by a surveillance apparatus “kept in check by nothing more than policy.”

  • Documents: U.S. mining data from 9 leading Internet firms; companies deny knowledge Microsoft Yahoo Google Facebook PalTalk YouTube Skype AOL Apple The companies reportedly compliant with the NSA's snooping look like a Who's Who of 21st-century American innovation: Silicon Valley is the Surveillance State.
  • Deny PRISM Your company's one-stop PRISM involvement denial statement generator.
  • Why Prism Kills the Cloud

The good side of #Prism


Financial Literacy
The #NSA has phone records & emails of bankers who caused the global financial crisis & stole billions. After stealing billions the Lords of Lust would probably 'invest' a few hundred to buy off the NSA and 'VOILA', a Nixonian 'blank tape' situation.

Comparing the two secret surveillance programs
The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Congress and the White House oversee both.

The role of Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board with PRISM
The scope of the warrant, as reported by The Guardian, is broad: "Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered."
A second set of stories emerged a day later, reporting that the NSA and the FBI have created a "PRISM" program, through which the agencies "are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies." PRISM reportedly extracts audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs. Several of the companies have issued denials. See Prism Fact Sheet
Among the many issues that arise from these revelations, this post recommends that investigating these revelations should become the first priority for the newly stood-up Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB)….


Questions About PRISM/NSA Data Collection
Answers See USACM-SECPRIV listservs of Law and Privacy and Security


What data is being monitored and how does it work?

Everything you need to know about data gathering from internet companies by the US National Security Agency.

Google categorically denies existence of government backdoors to user data. People need to think a bit harder about governments, and corporations and the words they choose to use in issuing denials.<more>

Google says:
> "First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government-or any other government-direct access to our servers.

Of course it hasn't. Prism is a tapping operation. It doesn't need companies to "join". The NSA runs it. So "Google hasn't joined a program that gives the US government direct access to its servers" is a true statement. It is also *different* in meaning from "a program exists that gives the US government direct [or indirect] access to traffic to and from Google's servers."

Prism Spin Wars

Tech Companies Concede to Surveillance Program

NSA has direct access to Google, Facebook and Apple Officials use little-known 'military and state secrets privilege' as civil liberties lawyers try to hold administration to account.

Boundless Informant


Another claimed NSA leak: Boundless Informant: the NSA's secret tool to track global surveillance data
The National Security Agency has developed a powerful tool for recording and analysing where its intelligence comes from, raising questions about its repeated assurances to Congress that it cannot keep track of all the surveillance it performs on American communications. The Guardian has acquired top-secret documents about the NSA datamining tool, called Boundless Informant, that details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks ... The focus of the internal NSA tool is on counting and categorizing the records of communications, known as metadata, rather than the content of an email or instant message. The Boundless Informant documents show the agency collecting almost 3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks over a 30-day period ending in March 2013. One document says it is designed to give NSA officials answers to questions like, "What type of coverage do we have on country X" in "near real-time by asking the SIGINT [signals intelligence] infrastructure." ...




Keep it secret, stupid! Security Secret Model
and the CALEA II Debate

Technologists released a report hosted by CDT, that showed the risks that follow from FBI proposals to address what it calls the "going dark" problem. The technologists emphasize how the lawful access requirements favored by the FBI can become security
The Post article is a vivid example of exactly that sort of vulnerability. And, if this can happen to Google, which has many resources devoted to its cybersecurity, it can occur even more so for the many other software and service providers who would need to create wiretap-ready products and services under CALEA II. In short, the lawful access requirements really do lead to security vulnerabilities.

(1) Technologists' report:
(2) NY Times editorial on CALEA
(3) "Going Dark vs. a Golden Age of Surveillance":

Feinstein Eyes Limit on Contractor Access After NSA Leaks
Reforming the scope, nature, and use of classification policies/needs would reduce the number of "contractors" (and gov folks!) that have access to classified information in the first place and be a better remedy to the current situation. But that would admit a problem exists, and addicts [to the cult of secrecy] rarely can do that on their own.
About 1.4 million Americans held Top Secret clearances as of October, including about 483,000 who worked for contractors, according to the Director of National Intelligence's office. Snowden held a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance, a classification above Top Secret.

"A Model for When Disclosure Helps Security: What is Different About Computer and Network Security?"
Main relevant points:
1. Secrecy works better for first-time attacks, often the case for physical intrusions.
2. Secrecy works badly where the attacker can attack many times, such as thousands of attacks on a piece of software or a computer system, where the hidden weakness eventually gets exploited.
3. Surveillance is a difficult middle case, depending in part on how well the attackers can figure out the black box of how the surveillance works. (E.g., use a sat phone in Afghanistan, receive a drone attack.)
4. Deterrence is a trade-off between the advantages of disclosing (they don't attack) and the disadvantages of disclosing (they learn a secret and attack more effectively). ~ Peter Prof. Peter P. Swire C. William O'Neill Professor of Law Ohio State University

Fight for your Right To Privacy



Facebook Releases Data, Including All National Security Requests
While The art of warfare: World War II's Ghost Army knew how to keep secrets Big ones - is an op-ed about the value of secrecy we can also read it as a reminder of the limits of surveillance and how it can be turned against the observer.

German Intelligence agencies can decrypt PGP google translate of a german article describing how the German government can decrypt PGP, and SSH. While this isn't really anything new, it's more been a matter of resources until now, a fancy new datacenter might help level the playing field in terms of time.

ECHELON At the time it was claimed that all intercepts were traded between the players to thus avoid laws on interception of citizens.

#1 Search using click on proxy.

#2 Enable Do Not Track in your browser.

#3 Privacy advocates must get Do Not Track adopted as a universal standard on the Internet, implemented by millions of websites, and enforced by the FTC (or another regulatory body).



SSL doesn't do anything to prevent a company like Google or Microsoft from handing over an archive of your e-mail in response to a court order. The e-mails are just lying around on some Google server somewhere. If you don't want a government, service provider, employer, or unauthorized party to have access to your mail at rest, you need to encrypt the mail itself. But most encryption algorithms are symmetric, meaning that the encryption key serves a dual purpose: it both encrypts and decrypts. As such, people encrypting mail with a symmetric key would be able to decrypt other mail that used the same symmetric key. While this would protect against anyone without the key, it wouldn't be very useful as an encrypted e-mail system.

Encryption Has Foiled Wiretaps for First Time Ever, Feds Say
For the first time, encryption is thwarting government surveillance efforts through court-approved wiretaps, U.S. officials said today. The disclosure, buried in a report by the U.S. agency that oversees federal courts, also showed that authorities armed with wiretap orders are encountering more encryption than before. The revelation comes as encryption has come front and center in the wake of the NSA Spygate scandal, and as Americans consider looking for effective ways to scramble their communications from the government's prying eyes.


Spying Software



WikiLeaks Volunteer Was a Paid Informant for the FBI
Thordarson's double-life illustrates the lengths to which the government was willing to go in its pursuit of Julian Assange, approaching WikiLeaks with the tactics honed during the FBI's work against organized crime and computer hacking — or, more darkly, the bureau's Hoover-era infiltration of civil rights groups. "It's a sign that the FBI views WikiLeaks as a suspected criminal organization rather than a news organization," says Stephen Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy.

2013 Sophisticated spying software is being abused by governments around the world. The findings by The Citizen Lab, a digital research laboratory at the University of Toronto, detail how the software marketed to track criminals is being used against dissidents and human rights activists. Titled "For Their Eyes Only: The Commercialization of Digital Spying," the report focuses on a type of surveillance software called FinSpy that can remotely monitor webmail and social networks in real time as well as collect encrypted data and communications of unsuspecting targets...

2013 Our Internet Surveillance State
The Internet is a surveillance state. Governments and corporations are working together to keep things that way. The powerful spy on the powerless, and they're not going to give up their positions of power, despite what the people want. We consumers have no choice in the matter. The director of the CIA can't maintain his privacy on the Internet. The full extent of such spying is deliberately hidden from us and there are few alternatives being marketed by companies that don't spy. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we're being tracked all the time and that data being stored forever. There are lots of ways to be tracked without cookies. This is what a surveillance state looks like, and it's efficient beyond the wildest dreams of George Orwell. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. Everything we do now involves computers, and computers produce data as a natural by-product. Everything is now being saved and correlated, and many big-data companies make money by building up intimate profiles of our lives from a variety of sources.


Total Information Awareness
The U.S. has been carrying out what is in effect a Total Information Awareness program is old news. long-time spy-watcher James Bamford revealed in WIRED that the National Security Agency is building a vast, $2 billion facility in Utah "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."
Bamford asserted that the facility, called the Utah Data Center, "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."


The NSA Built the Country's Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say) [1]

Former FBI counterterrorism agent: "Welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not."...

Utah Data Center in Bluffdale sits in the shadow of Utah's Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. It's the heart of Mormon country, Once built, it will be more than five times the size of the US Capitol.
2013 databases will contain complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails like parking receipts, travel itineraries. 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.
Everybody's a target; everybody with communication is a targetUtah Data Center is for breaking codes. Code-breaking Crypto 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 all will be heavily encrypted.

The NSA Is Building the Country's Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say) The Utah Data Center, also known as the Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center, is a data storage facility for the United States Intelligence Community that is designed to be a primary storage resource capable of storing data on the scale of yottabytes (1 yottabyte = 1 trillion terabytes, or 1 quadrillion gigabytes). Its purpose — as the name implies — is to support the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI), though its precise mission is secret.

John Gilmore

John Gilmore Writes:

Doug Humphrey said:

I just want to note that IF you take the position that recording "under seal" and not listening (except for strict "quality control" functions) and just storing the call content, and then only listening to the data when you DO have the correct court orders is OK, then you have completely turned this into a technical issue, and frankly the technology is there now.No "whistle blowers" problems because you are breaking NO law.

One of EFF's longest running court cases
is testing this legal question about whether "recording without listening" violates the law. It's Jewel v. NSA, filed in 2008, challenging NSA's wiretapping of domestic Internet traffic with AT&T's cooperation, as documented by whistleblower Mark Klein and others.
The structure of the technical tap was an optical splitter in an AT&T building that sends part of the signal on a fiber on to its destination and part of it to a room full of NSA equipment, including a Narus STA 6400 "semantic traffic analyzer". These splitters were placed on the fibers that connect AT&T with many other ISPs.
EFF's lawsuit alleges that for AT&T to merely deliver its customers' Internet traffic to the NSA-controlled room in its building violates the wiretap laws. For example, see footnotes 2 and 3 in EFF's Supplemental Brief re Clapper ; whole document here: ):
"Thus, any government INTERCEPTION of domestic electronic communications OR ACQUISITION of communications records, OR DISCLOSURE OR USE of that information, that is not authorized by one of the express exceptions ... violates the general prohibitions found in the Wiretap Act and the SCA..."
"Previously, the government has argued that, contrary to its plain language, section 2712 does not include 'any willful violation' of the Wiretap Act or the SCA, but extends only to those violations involving the USE OR DISCLOSURE of the information. The government's rewriting of section 2712 would exclude violations involving the INTERCEPTION OR ACQUISITION of information. Dkt #102 at 8-9." (uppercase emphasis added by gnu)
NSA's (the Justice Department's) public and courtroom responses suggest that merely intercepting or acquiring your communications doesn't violate the wiretap laws -- that the laws are only violated if the government "looks at" the information that they intercept. See:
So, what have real judges said about this? So far, nothing. The government's "state secrets" and other allegations have delayed any judge making an actual decision about the issue of whether merely recording everyone's Internet traffic and/or phone calls is illegal -- for five years so far. One might even surmise that the reason why the government is being so obstructive about this case is because if they lose it, their multi-billion dollar domestic surveillance scheme in Utah and elsewhere is illegal and unconstitutional.
If you are concerned about this issue, I suggest becoming an EFF member and tracking the Jewel case more closely. It's easy to get lost in the details of the case, and the government is expert at trying to make the fight be all about something other than the key issue -- whether they are actually collecting our communications in a "dragnet" and storing them for later use.

Total Information Awareness12/15/02
Early this year, the Department of Defense disclosed the most sweeping effort to monitor the activity of Americans since the 1960's, a program called Total Information Awareness.
IN March 2002, John M. Poindexter, a former national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan, sat down with Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the director of the National Security Agency. Mr. Poindexter sketched out a new Pentagon program called Total Information Awareness, that proposed to scan the world's electronic information — including phone calls, e-mails and financial and travel records — looking for transactions associated with terrorist plots. The N.S.A., the government's chief eavesdropper, routinely collected and analyzed such signals, so Mr. Poindexter thought the agency was an obvious place to test his ideas.

Under Bush we had the attorney general signing off on the warrantless wiretapping program, which was illegal, but AT&T and other telecom executives received a get-out-of-jail-free-card in the form of retroactive immunity despite Congress not even knowing what illegal activities they were immunizing.
Under Obama we have the attorney general signing off on the secret interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act to obtain Verizon (and reportedly AT&T and Sprint records), which is an illegal general warrant. And it now looks like the NSA is using Section 215 to vacuum up email and web browsing logs from ISPs as well:

Corporations, by contrast, are subject to actual legal constraints with teeth. The FTC, FCC, SEC, and DOJ are constantly looking for reasons to file lawsuits or launch investigations. So are 50 state attorneys general. So is the plaintiff's bar. So are advocacy groups well represented here on IP. And, as a practical matter, companies that operate in the daylight fear negative publicity far more than the NSA director, who made a point of saying yesterday that he was not going to bow to it.
James Bamford wrote today in Wired, about NSA director Keith Alexander: general-keith-alexander-cyberwar/
"Never before has anyone in America's intelligence sphere come close to his degree of power, the number of people under his command, the expanse of his rule, the length of his reign, or the depth of his secrecy. A four-star Army general, his authority extends across three domains: He is director of the world's largest intelligence service, the National Security Agency; chief of the Central Security Service; and commander of the US Cyber Command. As such, he has his own secret military, presiding over the Navy's 10th Fleet, the 24th Air Force, and the Second Army." Get back to me when Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Facebook have their own fleets, air forces, and armies.


Warrant Canary
A warrant canary is a method used by an Internet service provider to inform their customers that the provider has not been served with a secret government subpoena. Such subpoenas, including those covered under the USA Patriot Act, provide criminal penalties for revealing the existence of the warrant to any third party, including the service provider's customers. A warrant canary may be posted by the provider to inform customers of dates that they haven't been served a secret subpoena. If the canary has not been updated in the time period specified by the host, customers are to assume that the host has been served with such a subpoena. The intention is to allow the provider to inform customers of the existence of a subpoena passively, without violating any laws. The legality of this has not been tested in any court. The idea of such a negative pronouncement being used to thwart secret warrants was first proposed by Steven Schear on the cypherpunks mailing list,[1] and was first implemented by public libraries in response to the USA Patriot Act. The first commercial use of a warrant canary was by In addition to a digital signature, they provide a recent news headline as proof that the warrant canary was recently posted[2] as well as mirroring the posting internationally.[3] [snip]


The UK



"The government will be able to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK under new legislation set to be announced soon." Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch campaign group, called the move "an unprecedented step that will see Britain adopt the same kind of surveillance seen in China and Iran".


Spy In The Sky

DigitalGlobe to buy GeoEye for $453 million Mon Jul 23, 2012

Satellite imagery provider DigitalGlobe Inc (DGI.N) said it will buy rival GeoEye Inc (GEOY.O) in a $453 million deal that would create the world's largest fleet of high-resolution commercial imagery satellites. The companies, which are the only two suppliers of commercial satellite imagery to U.S. spy and military agencies, are set to join forces ahead of drastic cuts expected in the U.S. defense budget. DigitalGlobe CEO Jeffrey Tarr will head the new company, while GeoEye CEO Matt O'Connell will have an advisory role. Tarr said the new company would be "better positioned to thrive in a time of unprecedented pressure on our nation's defense budget."
The cash-and-stock offer is 34 percent higher than GeoEye's stock's Friday closing price of $15.17 per share, the companies said. DigitalGlobe shares were up 16 percent at $16.50, while those of GeoEye were up 37 percent at $20.74 in premarket trade on Monday. GeoEye stockholders can opt for 1.137 shares of DigitalGlobe stock and $4.10 per share in cash or 100 percent of the consideration in cash at $20.27 per share. They can also choose 100 percent of the consideration in stock at 1.425 shares of DigitalGlobe stock. GeoEye shareholders are expected to own 36 percent of the new company under the deal, which caps the cash portion of the offer.


Sift Through Video Data

7/23/2012 'Minority Report' software hits the real world
The software behind the film "Minority Report" -- where Tom Cruise speeds through video on a large screen using only hand gestures -- is making its way into the real world.The interface developed by scientist John Underkoffler has been commercialized by the Los Angeles firm Oblong Industries as a way to sift through massive amounts of video a other data. And yes, the software can be used by law enforcement and intelligence services. But no, it is not the "pre-crime" detection program illustrated in the 2002 Steven Spielberg sci-fi film. Kwin Kramer, chief executive of Oblong, said the software can help in searching through "big data" for information. It can also create souped-up video-conference capabilities where participants share data from multiple devices like smartphones and tablets, integrated into a large video display. "We think the future of computing is multiuser, multiscreen, multidevice," Kramer told AFP. "This system helps with big workflow problems." A key part of the system is the gesture interface, which the company calls the "g-speak" spatial operating environment. That grew out of a project by Underkoffler -- then a scientist at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- for "Minority Report," before he became chief scientist at startup Oblong.
"We have demo versions of this kind of software which show exactly the 'Minority Report' user experience, allowing you to move back and forth in time, or to zoom in to look at details," Kramer said. He said the same software can help businesses to "allow better collaboration, visualization and analysis of large amounts of data. "You can have a lot of data but it's hard to make use of that," Kramer said. "It can be on different machines and hard to access. This allows multiple people to look at that."
Gestural interfaces have been developed for other firms including Microsoft's Kinect but Oblong says it has far more sophisticated systems which can use Kinect and more. Some highly sensitive systems use a data glove which can be more precise than ordinary hand movements. Oblong has contracts with firms such as Boeing, General Electric and Saudi Aramco to help in analyzing large amounts of data. It is also developing a gestural interface for onboard computers with automaker Audi. It has raised an unspecified amount of venture capital from investors including Foundry Group, Energy Technology Ventures and Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners.
Brad Feld, managing director at Foundry Group, said Oblong offers "a path to fundamentally change the way we interact with computers." Yet the question Oblong often gets is how users can get the "Minority Report" software. David Schwartz, the company's vice president for sales, said "We get calls from people in the military who say, 'I want the 'Minority Report' interface." He said the systems could be used for a realistic version of high-tech software interfaces on TV shows like "CSI." "They would like to get it for free," he added. What makes the real-life version of the software different from the one seen on film is that Oblong does not supply the analytics of the futuristic "pre-crime" division. That does not prevent a company or law enforcement agency from using the software and adding its own analytics.
"We think law enforcement and intelligence are big data users and we think our technology is the leader," Kramer said. He said Oblong currently has no government customers in the United States or abroad but offers itself as "a core technology provider." Still, Oblong leverages its role in the movies to get in the door, even if the software is not quite the same. "I think most people look at those 'Minority Report' interfaces and imagine how they could use that flexible system in their own office or designs studio," Kramer said. "It isn't science fiction, it's real."


A Fake Personna = HoneyPot / HoneyTrap: an agent of a foreign power.
People try to look sexy. They flirt. Others flirt with them. It all seems so harmless until you realize it's too late. People in the national security world to be extremely cautious about what they say on social media under the mistaken assumption that it's either private or anonymous.

OGA, or Other Government Agency, a euphemism for the CIA. WINPAC CIA's arm for weapons and arms control intelligence


Software that will Monitor, Students, Employees, Dissadents and Protestors.

"I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study matematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study matematics and philosphy, geography, natual history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture....." -- This was written in a letter to Abigail Adams from John Adams on May 12, 1780.

SELF PROTECTION: This is the story of your own anti-social behavior and that of people like you.
Eben Moglen a law professor at Columbia University: "Spying for Free" a militant digital privacy advocate, founder of the uber-secure personal server FreedomBox, and the inspiration for the decentralized social network Diaspora. Everyone who uses Facebook, Twitter and the like shares the blame for the serious and ongoing global erosion of privacy enabled by the internet, he said. Banks aren't the problem, he said; the users tempting banks with their Twitter and Facebook postings are the problem. As are reporters who write about privacy issues with social media without first closing their Facebook accounts.

The U.S. Secret Service is mandated by Congress to carry out two significant objectives: protection and investigations.

  • Tweet @SecretService

FBI seeks system to monitor social networking sites
The FBI is the latest in a long line of federal agencies seeking to monitor conversations on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The bureau recently placed a request for information from technology companies to develop a system capable of automatically sifting through the torrents of "publicly available"data for keywords relating to terrorism, crime, and other matters of national security.


U.S. Spies Buy Stake in Firm That Monitors Blogs, Tweets

CIA Director David Petraeus cannot wait to spy on you.
Petraeus mused about the emergence of an "Internet of Things" — that is, wired devices — at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital firm." 'Transformational' is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies," Petraeus enthused, "particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft." With the rise of the "smart home," you'd be sending tagged, geolocated data that a spy agency can intercept in real time when you use the lighting app on your phone to adjust your living room's ambiance. "Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing," Petraeus said, "the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing."
The CIA has a lot of legal restrictions against spying on American citizens. But collecting ambient geolocation data from devices is a grayer area, especially after the 2008 carve-outs to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Hardware manufacturers, it turns out, store a trove of geolocation data; and some legislators have grown alarmed at how easy it is for the government to track you through your phone or PlayStation.

Microsoft and Skype set to allow backdoor eavesdropping

Skype and Microsoft have managed to leapfrog common sense and build a backdoor into your favourite VOIP application. It is called Lawful Interception and is part of a new patent which Microsoft filed back in 2009. Lawful Interception means that government agencies can, without your permission, track your Skype conversations. The US law, set by CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act), states that all telecommunications operators must enable their hardware and software for surveillance tracking. Legal Intercept Legal Interception application exists with Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and various other webmail providers. The software then has the further option of planting its own version of a Trojan horse executable which can be passed on to any computer via social sharing, or portable drives. Legal Interception will also allow targeted ads based on our user preferences to invade our screens.

Data Is A
Privacy issue

Data is a privacy issue because we have an enormous ecological disaster created by badly-designed social media now being used by people to control and exploit human beings in all sorts of ways. That's the consequence of social media structures which encourage people to share using centralized databases, and everything they share is held by someone who is no friend of theirs who also runs the servers and collects the logs which contain all the information about who accesses what, the consequences of which is that we are creating systems of comprehensive surveillance in which a billion people are involved and those people's lives are being lived under a kind of scrutiny which no secret police service is the 20th century could ever have aspired to achieve. And all of that data is being collected and sold by people whose goal it is to make a profit selling the ability to control human beings by knowing more about themselves than they know. Okay? That's true of all this information all the time everywhere. The thing you're working on is simply one of 100,000 implications of that disaster.

FBI's Data Mining Needs Scrutiny, Too
We recently learned that the National Security Agency has a database with the records of almost every phone call made in the U.S. To address public concerns over its surveillance activities, the agency has begun to explain how it uses the metadata -- information including when calls are made, how long they last and to whom they are placed -- it has accumulated over the last seven years. Although Americans deserve this explanation, they shouldn't delude themselves. Even if the NSA's controversial program were shut down tomorrow, another government agency that is busy collecting and retaining personal data would keep humming along. True accountability for the government's surveillance activities should also include an airing of -- and tighter restrictions on -- the Federal Bureau of Investigation's power to collect and store substantial amounts of innocuous information about Americans.

Top-secret documents detail how NSA interfaces with tech giants such as Google, Apple and Microsoft


Did You Close Your Stupid Facebook Account?

Of course you can close your facebook account
if you don't want to be in a situation in which you are more heavily surveilled than the KGB or Stasi or Securitate or any other secret police ever surveilled anybody (indistinguishable) and what do you mean you 'can't'?

But you're not going to do anything about that. So you're using them and every time you tag anything or respond to anything or link to anything, you're informing on your friends. You're part of the problem, you're not part of the answer. Why are you calling up to ask me about the problem you're creating? Civic journalism should result in a better world. Journalists aren't closing their Facebook accounts. They are the problem. You know what the problem is. The problem is, even though you know what the problem is you're continuing to make it worse. The problem is people like you who do know and go on making it worse. Right? Well, now you know. So you should stop now. And not only should you stop, you should get the people around you to stop. If you get the people around you to stop, they'll get the people around them to stop and we'll fix the problem. It's like littering. You injure other people today also using social media. You've informed on them. You've created more records about them. You've added to the problems not of yourself but of other people. If it were as simple as just you're only hurting yourself I wouldn't bother pointing it out to you. See, that's the difference, okay? The reason that this all works is that even when you know you're hurting other people, you're too selfish to stop. And there are hundreds of millions of people like you. That's why it works. What's the damage?



You know what the problem is. People lost their homes. People lose their money. People lose their freedom. (??? -ed.)
You know because you saw it, because you're following this, that Facebook now acknowledges what we said for a long time and they didn't acknowledge, that every single photograph uploaded to Facebook is put through facial recognition software they call PhotoDNA which is used to find people for whom any law enforcement agency in the world is looking. You understand? So every time you upload a photograph to Facebook or put one on Twitter for that matter you are now ratting out anybody in that frame to any police agency in the world that's looking for them. Some police agencies in the world are evil. That's a pretty serious thing you've just done. But you do it all the time. And when I asked you to stop you tell me you can't. You're not going to do anything about fixing this problem. You're going to claim that it's just something you're reporting and then you're going to go right back to making it worse. And if you ever call me up again to ask me about yet another one of these things you'll still be making it worse, because although you can report the problem you can't take social responsibility for your part in causing the problem.
What you want to know is that somewhere there's a regulator who might stop the bank. But you don't want to hear that the regulator we really need to call upon is you, yourself. Right? You don't want to write that in the newspaper. I guarantee you whatever story you file will treat this as a problem caused by everyone except the readers at The Observer and that will be false. The problem is caused by people who would like a little help spying on their friends. And in a genteel way, that's what the social media offers. They get to surveil other people. In return for a little bit of the product, they assist the growth of these immense commercial spying operations. The commercial spying operations are used to empower people who have lots to get more from people who have less. They lead to a more unequal society. More unequal in economic terms and more unequal in political terms. The users, as with most stuff that's dangerous that's sold to people, the users are the victims and even the stuff you write which purports to be critical will do everything except telling people the central fact, which is they have to stop using.

K-16 Surveillance



Facebook Timeline is crazy and scary.

"There's no act too small to record on your permanent record," said Jonathan Zittrain, a law professor at Harvard who studies how the Internet affects society. "All of the mouse droppings that appear as we migrate around the Web will be saved."

800 million facebook idiots - Your own personal history laid out on a month by month timeline back to your birth.
What most users don't know is that the new features being introduced are all centered around increasing the value of Facebook to advertisers, to the point where Facebook representatives have been selling the idea that Timeline is actually about re-conceptualizing users around their consumer preferences, or as they put it, "brands are now an essential part of people's identities."


K12 Surveillance and College Surveillance Privacy Nightmare: Data Mine & Analyze all College Students' Online Activities

1984 surveillance tactics continue in schools by suggestions of sharing collected student data with fusion centers. There is another particularly invasive security idea being pitched to universities as a "crystal ball" to stop future violence — to data mine and analyze all college students' online activities.
It is not uncommon for schools to be equipped with metal detectors, cameras for video surveillance, motion detectors, RFID badge tracking, computer programs to check school visitors against sex offender lists, and infrared systems to track body heat after school hours and potentially hunt down intruders. No parent ever wants any possibility of a school tragedy, so other biometric systems in the name of security have been introduced. Iris recognition and fingerprint scans are being used to monitor students' Internet usage. In K - 12 schools, "new military and corrections technologies are quietly moving into the classroom with little oversight." It's making our schools a "fertile ground for prison tech," Mother Jones reported. "For millions of children, being scanned and monitored has become as much a part of their daily education as learning to read and write." All of this surveillance is supposed to keep students safe, but there are some states that would like to dump public school surveillance data into federally-funded fusion centers.
In fact, KC Education Enterprise reported that the "Kansas Fusion center wants to gather intelligence in public schools." At a Kansas Safe and Prepared School conference, Jeremy Jackson, who is associated with the Kansas Intelligence Fusion Center (KIFC), spoke on how schools could participate in and benefit from KIFC's "intelligence analysis and information sharing capabilities."

intelligence analysis and information sharing capabilities








AxXiom for Liberty took it one step further by posting Oklahoma Fusion Center slides [PDF] like this one that listed schools as "nontraditional collectors of intelligence." The Oklahoma Information Fusion Center website called for entities from "primary and secondary schools, post-secondary schools, colleges and universities, and technical schools" to "provide information related to suspicious activities occurring on and around school grounds and campuses." But there are plenty of potential privacy problems like mission creep in regard to fusion centers.


Call for College Campuses to increase school surveillance.
In The Chronicle of Higher Education, Michael Morris, a lieutenant with the University Police, proposed that colleges should collect and data mine their students' online activities as a potential way to predict and thereby prevent "large-scale acts of violence on campus." Just because companies and others already data mine publicly available information or services like Gmail include targeted advertising based on email contents, that makes it okay for colleges - academia - the sanctuary of intellectual and private thought - to data mine?

We the Tweeple have the power to swarm Congress with Tweets letting them know what we want them to do and follow what they are saying.

Application Platforms like Twitter are like sharecropping. You are the sharecropper. You get to work on the farm, but you don't get to own the farm. The owners of the social networking platforms, get to call the shots, and at any point you can lose your farm which is the same thing as losing your domain name, access to your accrued data, and any kind of community you may have created. We are treated like sharecroppers on social networks. Learn About Twitter and social networks

Facebook Is Using You --
and so is every other FREE internet service, including Twitter!

Hate Facebook want privacy?
anti-oversharing start-ups include GroupMe, Frenzy, Rally Up, Shizzlr, Huddl and Bubbla

Censorware vs. privacy & anonymity


Who has an iPhone, BlackBerry, or uses Gmail," then said: "you're all screwed. The reality is intelligence contractors are selling right now to countries across the world mass surveillance systems for all those products.

The proper iTunes is not a Trojan but there is an fake update in the wild that installs the FinFisher software.

Wikileaks docs reveal that governments use malware for surveillance

The latest round of documents published by Wikileaks offers a rare glimpse into the world of surveillance products. The collection—which Wikileaks calls the Spy Files—includes confidential brochures and slide presentations that companies use to market intrusive surveillance tools to governments and law enforcement agencies. A report that Wikileaks published alongside the documents raises concern about the growing use of mass surveillance tools that indiscriminately monitor and analyze entire populations. The group also points out that some of the products described in the documents are sold to authoritarian regimes, which use them to hunt and track political dissidents. The details revealed by Wikileaks echo a recent report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that discussed the surveillance industry. The publication analyzed approximately 200 documents from 36 separate companies as part of a special investigative project called The Surveillance Catalog. The material released by Wikileaks corroborates much of what the WSJ reported, but includes a broader range of material.

American firm, Narus of Sunnyvale, Calif., which has sold Telecom Egypt "real-time traffic intelligence" equipment. Narus, now owned by Boeing, was founded in 1997 by Israeli security experts to create and sell mass surveillance systems for governments and large corporate clients. The company is best known for creating NarusInsight, a supercomputer system which is allegedly used by the National Security Agency and other entities to perform mass, real-time surveillance and monitoring of public and corporate Internet communications in real time. Narus provides Egypt Telecom with Deep Packet Inspection equipment (DPI), a content-filtering technology that allows network managers to inspect, track and target content from users of the Internet and mobile phones, as it passes through routers on the information superhighway. Other Narus global customers include the national telecommunications authorities in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia -- two countries that regularly register alongside Egypt near the bottom of Human Rights Watch's world report. "Anything that comes through (an Internet protocol network), we can record," Steve Bannerman, Narus' marketing vice president, once boasted to Wired about the service. "We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they clicked on; we can reconstruct their (Voice Over Internet Protocol) calls." Other North American and European companies are selling DPI to enable their business customers "to see, manage and monetize individual flows to individual subscribers." But this "Internet-enhancing" technology has been sought out by regimes in Iran, China and Burma for more brutal purposes.
In addition to Narus, there are a number of companies, including many others in the United States, that produce and traffic in similar spying and control technology. This list of DPI providers includes Procera Networks (USA), Allot (Israel), Ixia (USA), AdvancedIO (Canada) and Sandvine (Canada), among others. These companies typically partner with Internet Service Providers to insert DPI along the main arteries of the Web. All Net traffic in and out of Iran, for example, travels through one portal -- the Telecommunications Company of Iran -- which facilitates the use of DPI. <more>

Surveillance: Cell Phone Data Mapping

State Farm app uses iPhone sensors to grade your driving habits
2011 State Farm claims it doesn't collect any information and won't adjust your insurance rates based on your score.

Cities Should Stop Short of Selling Traffic Data: Peter Orszag 2013
In the midst of new revelations about federal government surveillance, cities are increasing their own monitoring programs: using traffic cameras to fight speeding. The result is that cities have ever more information about how and where we drive. The issue is what cities should do with all that data. That question is anything but hypothetical: At the Clinton Global Initiative America gathering last week in Chicago, the central concern of the infrastructure task force was the desire for innovative revenue streams, possibly including traffic camera data, to pay for much-needed new projects. Google Inc.'s recently announced $1.1 billion acquisition of Waze, a traffic application, adds a new twist to the debate, by giving us a hint of just how valuable such data might be. Camera use is spreading rapidly in the U.S. By 2012, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, about two dozen states used traffic cameras, and about 700 municipalities had installed such systems or were in the process of doing so. The institute estimates that about a fifth of the U.S. population lives in areas where the cameras have been or are being installed.




Packet-sniffing software can intercept, analyze, and archive all communications on a network, including employee e-mail, chat sessions, file sharing, and Internet browsing. Employees who use the workplace network to access personal e-mail accounts not provided by the company are not protected. Their private accounts, as long as they are accessed on workplace network or phone lines, can be monitored.

  • Keystroke loggers can be employed to capture every key pressed on a computer keyboard. These systems will even record information that is typed and then deleted.
  • Phone monitoring is pervasive in the American workplace as well. Some companies employ systems that automatically monitor call content and breaks between receiving calls.
  • Video surveillance is also widely deployed in the American workplace. In a number of cases, video surveillance has been used in employee bathrooms, rest areas, and changing areas. Video surveillance, under federal law, is acceptable where the camera focuses on publicly-accessible areas. However, installment in areas where employees or customers have a legitimate expectation of privacy, such as inside bathroom stalls, can give the employee a cause of action under tort law.
  • "Smart" ID cards can track an employee's location while she moves through the workplace. By using location tracking, an employer can even monitor whether employees spend enough time in front of the bathroom sink to wash their hands. New employee ID cards can even determine the direction the worker is facing at any given time.
  • Psychometric or aptitude testing to evaluate potential employees. Such tests purport to assess intelligence, personality traits, religious belief, character, and skills.
  • Satellite or Global Positioning System (GPS) Surveillance Technology is now incorporated into cell phones, and vehicle tracking technology. GPS is a global navigation tracking system deployed by the Department of Defense, later used extensively for air travel, and has now become available for personal communication devices and service features for personal ground transportation. Now the technology is being used by employers to keep track of employees who are in distributed work environments (construction, delivery, service providers, etc).
  • Employee Background Checks are increasingly used to screen perspective employees and current employees for criminal and credit histories. Adverse employment decisions based on the results of a criminal background check are not federally regulated, so employers in states without laws governing notice are not required to tell applicants about the negative reports.

In Pratt & Whitney, 26 AMR 36322, 12-CA-18446 (Feb. 23, 1998), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reported in an advice memorandum that a company's computer network was a "work area." Accordingly, rules prohibiting all nonbusiness use of e-mail on a company's network could be unlawful. The NLRB has found that policies discriminating against union activity on computer networks run afoul of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Employee monitoring that has the effect of selectively punishing labor organizing activities could violate the NLRA.

  • Mark E. Schreiber, Employee E-mail and Internet Risks: Policy Guidelines and Investigations (PDF), 2001 Elron Software.
  • Report of the NLRB General Counsel on Employer Rules Limiting Employee Use of Company Computers and E-Mail, September 2000.
  • Timekeeping Systems v. Leinweber, 323 NLRB 30 (1997)(cited in Schreiber). In Timekeeper, a employee who sent an e-mail criticizing workplace privacy to all co-workers engaged in protected concerted activity.
  • Kim M. Tran, Union Activity by Email: Another Topic for the Employee Handbook, Fall 1997.
  • E. I. DU PONT & CO., 311 NLRB 893 (1993)(cited in Schreiber). In Du Pont, the NLRB held that a employer's policy of allowing personal use of e-mail but prohibiting union use violated the NLRA.
  • National Labor Relations Act, 29 USCA Secs. 151-169.




Video Surveillance

Employers increasingly attempt to install hidden surveillance cameras.

Surveillance: Raven Drones Long Range, Non-cooperative, Biometric Tagging, Tracking and Location Digital Drones that never forget a face and track you, based on how you look. If the military machines assemble enough information, and spot adversarial intent.

The term 'drone' refers to unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. They are aircraft equipped with cameras, sensors, and in some cases, weapons. They have no on-board pilot and are either operated remotely by a human or are equipped with artificial intelligence, allowing for completely autonomous flight. They range in size to the relatively large Predator drones used in the theater of war to tiny craft that can fit in the palm of your hand. Future development promises drones that mimic insects in both size and appearance, making them virtually undetectable.
Find the latitude and longitude of a point on a map. and report where you saw one.

U.S. Border Agency Is a Frequent Lender of Its Drones The Customs and Border Protection Agency owns 10 Predator drones, and last year lent them out 250 times to domestic law-enforcement agencies.

Your driver's license essentially becomes a national ID card.
Police are now using driver's license photos in the US to identify suspects in criminal cases.
A database containing information on more than 120 million people, originally created to prevent fraudulent driver's licenses in the United States, is now being used to “identify suspects, accomplices and even innocent bystanders” in numerous criminal investigations. The new use-case in the United States could mean that a huge number of civilians - those with no criminal record or relation to an active case being investigated by the police - are being displayed as part of 'digital lineups' when identifying potential suspects. The Washington Post reports that some of the force's most advanced technology also allows them to dive into this database and search for individuals from a laptop in their patrol car. Based on this information an officer can then contact or ask for the expertise of the FBI and other federal authorities. <snip>

Naked Citizens May 7 2013 Video: 32 min
Increasing numbers of 'terror suspects' are being arrested on the basis of online and CCTV surveillance data. Authorities claim they act in the public interest, but does this intense surveillance keep us safer? "I woke up to pounding on my door", says Andrej Holm, a sociologist from the Humboldt University. In what felt like a scene from a movie, he was taken from his Berlin home by armed men after a systematic monitoring of his academic research deemed him the probable leader of a militant group. After 30 days in solitary confinement, he was released without charges. Across Western Europe and the USA, surveillance of civilians has become a major business. With one camera for every 14 people in London and drones being used by police to track individuals, the threat of living in a Big Brother state is becoming a reality. At an annual conference of hackers, keynote speaker Jacob Appelbaum asserts, "to be free of suspicion is the most important right to be truly free". But with most people having a limited understanding of this world of cyber surveillance and how to protect ourselves, are our basic freedoms already being lost?

NYT February 20, 2005 New Nuclear Sub Is Said to Have Special Eavesdropping Ability
The submarine Jimmy Carter is able to tap undersea cables and eavesdrop on the communications passing through them, intelligence experts say.



The country that attacks first will die 27 minutes later Stanislav Petrov 2/19/13

The International Peace Prize ceremony was held in Dresden. Soviet officer Stanislav Petrov became the prize-winner this year. On September 26, 1983, Stanislav Petrov prevented the beginning of a potential nuclear war. During his shift on the night of September 26, the airspace control system received a report that the US was planning an attack against the Soviet Union. In an interview with Voice of Russia Petrov remembers that there was shock, bewilderment, and confusion that could easily grow into panic when the 'red button' could be pushed.

Lieutenant Colonel Petrov immediately reported the message to senior commanders, but he thought it was perhaps an error and decided to perform a diagnostic systems check. After his decision to further investigate, it turned out that the system had failed and the alarm was false. Stanislav Petrov has shared the memories of this event with our correspondent Oksana Tsenner.

- What were your feelings when you learned that the Dresden Peace Prize was awarded to you?

- Frankly speaking, I was a bit stunned, because in two years I was awarded two prizes in Germany; I've broken some records already.

- And do you discuss this event with your friends or relatives, do you recall it?

- Of course not. It is an event that happened long ago, as I say, I've completely forgotten about it; they have just reminded me, and I was not even thinking about it.

- How long was the computer system that failed in operation?

- The testing of the system began in 1976.

- What would have happened if you acted differently on the night of September 26?

- Well, with all these missiles being thrown in all directions, the country that attacks first will die 27 minutes later. Why? Because as soon as the attacking country finds it out, it will fire its missiles. And it will only be a matter of time until the attacking country gets struck shortly after.

- If you decided that the alarm was real, how would the events have developed?

- I can't say what would have happened next. I only know what happened in reality. Excuse me, but this “if” is really out of place here.

- During the presentation of the prize you busted the myth about the red button, which with just one push was allegedly able to strike a retaliatory blow at the enemy...

- There was such a button, because the manufacturer designed the control panel according to the previous draft project. But later computers were supplied, the latest computers: while the works were carried out, they didn't have any software. And at the same time scientists asked: can we entrust a man with this?

- In your opinion, would this be possible today?

- That's no longer possible, as measures were taken to calculate when this kind of situation would arise, and space detection equipment immediately takes over.

- Does it mean that modern systems of early warning are almost perfect?

- Let's say, it's a myth that there could be a perfect system, ideal systems do not exist.

- Stanislav Yevgrafovich, can you describe that night of September 26?

- Lots of emotions. When this happened during the trainings, it was not unexpected, so even despite of the roaring siren, everything was okay. It was a quiet, peaceful night: there was a working atmosphere, negotiations were audible and suddenly a siren sounded - that was not for nervous people. There was such a shock, bewilderment, and confusion that it could easily grow into panic.

- So, was there a panic?

- No, there was no panic, I was busy preventing it. I shouted at them with a few choice words of my own.

Interview with former Soviet officer Stanislav Petrov, Dresden Peace Prize laureate