… Read the rest
It’s been known for a while that the NSA will intercept and bug equipment to spy on its soon-to-be owners, but the intellgency [sic] agency’s techniques are apparently more clever than first thought. Security researchers at Kaspersky Lab have discovered apparently state-created spyware buried in the firmware of hard drives from big names like Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital. When present, the code lets snoops collect data and map networks that would otherwise be inaccessible — all they need to retrieve info is for an unwitting user to insert infected storage (such as a CD or USB drive) into an internet-connected PC. The malware also isn’t sitting in regular storage, so you can’t easily get rid of it or even detect it.
Kaspersky isn’t explicitly naming the culprits, but it also isn’t shy about pointing a finger in the US government’s direction.
Tag Archives | NSA
We have a problem when it comes to stopping mass surveillance.
The entity that’s conducting the most extreme and far-reaching surveillance against most of the world’s communications—the National Security Agency—is bound by United States law.
That’s good news for Americans. U.S. law and the Constitution protect American citizens and legal residents from warrantless surveillance. That means we have a very strong legal case to challenge mass surveillance conducted domestically or that sweeps in Americans’ communications.
Similarly, the United States Congress is elected by American voters. That means Congressional representatives are beholden to the American people for their jobs, so public pressure from constituents can help influence future laws that might check some of the NSA’s most egregious practices.
But what about everyone else? What about the 96% of the world’s population who are citizens of other countries, living outside U.S. borders. They don’t get a vote in Congress. And current American legal protections generally only protect citizens, legal residents, or those physically located within the United States.… Read the rest
Michael Boldin writes at Tenth Amendment Center:
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State efforts to stop warrantless NSA spying are off to a fast start in the 2015 legislative session.
Just two weeks into this year’s legislative season, and with many legislatures not even in session yet, legislators in four states have already introduced bills to ban material support or resources to any federal agency engaged in warrantless spying.
These bills not only support efforts to turn off NSA’s water in Utah, but would also have practical effects on federal surveillance programs if passed.
Legislators in South Carolina, Missouri, Alaska and Indiana have all filed versions of the Fourth Amendment Protection Act, and representatives in seven other states have committed to introduce similar bills this year. Sources close to OffNow suggest even more bills will get introduced before the legislative season ends in spring.
“To have four bills already filed, and commitments from seven more legislators – on top of having a bill in Utah set to move forward that would set the stage to turn of the water at the Bluffdale data center – this is really beyond our expectations this early in the session,” OffNow executive director Mike Maharrey said.
Riseup, a tech collective that provides security-minded communications to activists worldwide, sounded the alarm last month when a judge in Spain stated that the use of their email service is a practice, he believes, associated with terrorism.
Javier Gómez Bermúdez is a judge of Audiencia Nacional, a special high court in Spain that deals with serious crimes such as terrorism and genocide. According to press reports, he ordered arrest warrants that were carried out on December 16th against alleged members of an anarchist group. The arrests were part of Operation Pandora, a coordinated campaign against “anarchist activity” that has been called an attempt “to criminalize anarchist social movements.” The police seized books, cell phones, and computers, and arrested 11 activists. Few details are known about the situation, since the judge has declared the case secret.
“Few people have lifted the veil on cyber warfare like Edward Snowden,” write James Bamford and Tim De Chant in the introduction to their exclusive interview with Snowden for PBS:
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Snowden: So this is really interesting. The NSA chief in this who replaced Keith Alexander, the former NSA director, is calling the alleged damage from the last year’s revelations to be much more insignificant than it was represented publicly over the last year. We were led to believe that the sky was going to fall, that the oceans were going to boil off, the atmosphere was going to ignite, the world would end as we know it. But what he’s saying is that it does not lead him to the conclusion that the sky is falling.
And that’s a significant departure from the claims of the former NSA director, Keith Alexander. And it’s sort of a pattern that we’ve seen where the only U.S.
via Tech Dirt:
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The attempt to nerf the NSA’s new data center in Utah continues. As we covered here at the beginning of this year, legislators and activists began pushing a bill that would cut off the NSA’s water supply if it continued to gather data on American citizens. It’s an interesting move, one that leverages the states’ abilities to combat overreaching federal laws, but one that has gone nowhere so far. The bill was discussed and then tabled indefinitely, supposedly for “further study.”
Apparently, some sort of studying has gone on during the intervening months, because it appears the bill is moving forward again.
On Wednesday, the Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee discussed the bill that “prohibits cooperation between a federal agency that collects electronic data and any political subdivisions of the state.”
Committee members expressed some concerns with the bill but no outright opposition.
Abby Martin speaks with Taylor Lincoln, Director of Research at Public Citizen’s Congressional Watch Division about a new report detailing how Google is invading users privacies and becoming the most powerful and influential political force in Washington.
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About three months ago, I published an article exploring the deeply conflicted ties between agencies of the U.S. National Security State, and the Tor Network—an online anonymity tool popular among anti-surveillance privacy groups and activists, including Edward Snowden.
My article traced the history of Tor and the US military-intelligence apparatus that spawned it—from Tor’s initial development by military researchers in the mid-1990s at the US Naval Laboratory in Washington DC, through its quasi-independent period after it was spun off as a nonprofit in 2004 but continued to receive most of its funding from a variety of government branches: Pentagon, State Department, USAID, Radio Free Asia. My article also revealed that Tor was created not to protect the public from government surveillance, but rather, to cloak the online identity of intelligence agents as they snooped on areas of interest. But in order to do that, Tor had to be released to the public and used by as diverse a group of people as possible: activists, dissidents, journalists, paranoiacs, kiddie porn scum, criminals and even would-be terrorists — the bigger and weirder the crowd, the easier it would be for agents to mix in and hide in plain sight.
It’s Monday morning and you’re preparing your first cup of coffee when the tanks roll into your neighborhood. Phone lines are cut, curfew is activated, and doors are broken down.
You sigh. It’s another “cleanout day” in the not too distant future.
The War On Terror has infiltrated every layer of society. Internet sites track the spread of extremism like the CDC tracks a lethal virus. The threat is pandemic and online news sources agree: In order to keep you safe, weekly cleanout campaigns must ramp up all across the nation – yet again.
Today you just happen to be in the red zone.
The main annoyance about being in a red zone is usually the loss of your phone signal. But today is different.
A close friend has gone missing – along with his past.… Read the rest
via The New York Times:
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WASHINGTON — Devoted customers of Apple products these days worry about whether the new iPhone 6 will bend in their jean pockets. The National Security Agency and the nation’s law enforcement agencies have a different concern: that the smartphone is the first of a post-Snowden generation of equipment that will disrupt their investigative abilities.
The phone encrypts emails, photos and contacts based on a complex mathematical algorithm that uses a code created by, and unique to, the phone’s user — and that Apple says it will not possess.
The result, the company is essentially saying, is that if Apple is sent a court order demanding that the contents of an iPhone 6 be provided to intelligence agencies or law enforcement, it will turn over gibberish, along with a note saying that to decode the phone’s emails, contacts and photos, investigators will have to break the code or get the code from the phone’s owner.