… Read the rest
The debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance.
The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest.
Tag Archives | NSA
It really hasn’t been a great year or two for the NSA, has it? The once secret American spy agency is getting slammed from all sides with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit piling on and overruling a lower court that decided to look the other way on the NSA’s massive collection of private phone conversations. From the Washington Post:
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A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that the National Security Agency’s collection of millions of Americans’ phone records violates the Patriot Act, the first appeals court to weigh in on a controversial surveillance program that has divided Congress and ignited a national debate over the proper scope of the government’s spy powers.
In a blistering 97-page opinion, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned a lower court and determined that the government had stretched the meaning of the statute to enable “sweeping surveillance” of Americans’ data in “staggering” volumes.
via Snowden Archive:
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This archive is a collection of all documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that have subsequently been published by news media.
Our aim in creating this archive is to provide a tool that would facilitate citizen, researcher and journalist access to these important documents. Indexes, document descriptions, links to original documents and to related news stories, a glossary and comprehensive search features are all designed to enable a better understanding of state surveillance programs within the wider context of surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) along with its partners in the Five Eyes countries – U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Our hope is that this resource will contribute to greater awareness of the broad scope, intimate reach and profound implications of the global surveillance infrastructures and practices that Edward Snowden’s historic document leak reveals.
The Snowden Archive is the result of a research collaboration between Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and the Politics of Surveillance Project at the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto.
Republished from Occupy.com/actout with permission.
On this “Front Lines” segment of Act Out! Eleanor dives into the shadowy expanses of mass surveillance – highlights include the zombie bill CISPA, serial killers, NSA raps and Chamber of Commerce orgies!
See the full episode
One of our favorite Internet resources, Wikimedia, is suing the NSA. Here’s their statement:
Today, the Wikimedia Foundation is filing suit against the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the United States . The lawsuit challenges the NSA’s mass surveillance program, and specifically its large-scale search and seizure of internet communications — frequently referred to as “upstream” surveillance. Our aim in filing this suit is to end this mass surveillance program in order to protect the rights of our users around the world. We are joined by eight other organizations  and represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The full complaint can be found here.
“We’re filing suit today on behalf of our readers and editors everywhere,” said Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia.… Read the rest
Cory Doctorow via The Guardian:
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Why spy? That’s the several-million pound question, in the wake of the Snowden revelations. Why would the US continue to wiretap its entire population, given that the only “terrorism” they caught with it was a single attempt to send a small amount of money to Al Shabab?
One obvious answer is: because they can. Spying is cheap, and cheaper every day. Many people have compared NSA/GCHQ mass spying to the surveillance programme of East Germany’s notorious Stasi, but the differences between theNSA and the Stasi are more interesting than the similarities.
The most important difference is size. The Stasi employed one snitch for every 50 or 60 people it watched. We can’t be sure of the size of the entire Five Eyes global surveillance workforce, but there are only about 1.4 million Americans with Top Secret clearance, and many of them don’t work at or for the NSA, which means that the number is smaller than that (the other Five Eyes states have much smaller workforces than the US).
Yesterday, shots were fired at the NSA headquarters and into traffic on the Intercounty Connector (ICC) in Fort Meade, MD. No one was seriously injured, but the ICC was shut down pending investigation.
As of this morning, the FBI’s Baltimore office has issued a statement stating that a man potentially related to the shootings is in custody.
According to Amy Thoreson, the FBI’s spokeswoman, “We believe the subject responsible for shooting incidents on the ICC, near Fort Meade Army installation and other locations around the Baltimore-Washington metro area in the last two weeks is in custody.”
The two incidents happened hours apart. The first shooting happened the ICC around 2:40pm, “when the window of a truck traveling east on the ICC near Interstate 95 in Prince George’s County was struck by gunfire, authorities said.” About two hours later, shots were fired at a NSA building in Anne Arundel County.… Read the rest
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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.
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.