Tag Archives | NSA

James Risen is about to go to jail for refusing to name his sources

140116_VOC_JamesRisen.jpg.CROP.promo-mediumlarge

I’m wondering if it’s time to enact a nationwide shield law.

via The Guardian:

If you blinked at the end of June, you may have missed one of the best pieces of journalism in 2014. The New York Times headline accompanying the story was almost criminally bland, but the content itself was extraordinary: A top manager at Blackwater, the notorious defense contractor, openly threatened to kill a US State Department official in 2007 if he continued to investigate Blackwater’s corrupt dealings in Iraq. Worse, the US government sided with Blackwater and halted the investigation. Blackwater would later go on to infamously wreak havoc in Iraq.

But what makes the story that much more remarkable is that its author, journalist James Risen, got it published amidst one the biggest legal battles over press freedom in decades – a battle that could end with the Justice Department forcing him into prison as early as this fall.

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How The NSA hacks your devices

NSA-octopusFrom The Register:

“It’s not as bad as you thought – it’s much worse.”

A leaked NSA cyber-arms catalog has shed light on the technologies US and UK spies use to infiltrate and remotely control PCs, routers, firewalls, phones and software from some of the biggest names in IT.

The exploits, often delivered via the web, provide clandestine backdoor access across networks, allowing the intelligence services to carry out man-in-the-middle attacks that conventional security software has no chance of stopping.

And if that fails, agents can simply intercept your hardware deliveries from Amazon to install hidden gadgets that rat you out via radio communications.

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A Hacker Artist Sent the NSA an ‘Uncrackable’ Encrypted Mixtape

The audio cassette greatly increased the distr...

The audio cassette greatly increased the distribution of bootleg recordings in the 1980s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (GNU)

Math evens the playing field and assists in sticking it to the man.

via Motherboard

In late May, hacker artist David Huerta, co-organizer of Art Hack Day and Cryptoparty, sent the NSA one hell of a snail mail. Huerta built a DIY encrypted mixtape using an Arduino board and a transparent acrylic case, containing a “soundtrack for the modern surveillance state.” It’s a mixtape the NSA won’t be able to listen to because of the power of private key-based cryptography.

Originally, Huerta wanted to make a traditional mixtape and share it with friends and co-workers. But, without a cassette recorder, he didn’t get very far. That’s when his DIY hacker artist instincts kicked in, and he started building the encrypted mixtape at NYC Resistor.

“I made my own version of a mixtape with an Arduino and wave shield sandwiched in between two laser-etched pieces of transparent acrylic,” he wrote. “The use of a giant-ass Arduino and wave shield was chosen since the (shitty) 44KHz wave file format gave it roughly the same audio quality I figured a wiretapped AT&T phone conversation would have.”

Huerta settled on the transparent acrylic cassette casing as a symbolic gesture of transparency.

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Does Uncle Sam Have a God Complex?

Uncle Sam (pointing finger)As a matter of faith, some people believe that God can see and hear everything. But as a matter of fact, the U.S. government now has the kind of surveillance powers formerly attributed only to a supreme being.

Top “national security” officials in Washington now have the determination and tech prowess to keep tabs on billions of people. No one elected Uncle Sam to play God. But a dire shortage of democratic constraints has enabled the U.S. surveillance state to keep expanding with steely resolve.

By the time Edward Snowden used NSA documents to expose — beyond any doubt — a global surveillance dragnet, the situation had deteriorated so badly because the Bush and Obama administrations were able to dismiss earlier warnings to the public as little more than heresy.

Eight years ago, in the book “State of War,” New York Times reporter James Risen devoted a chapter to the huge expansion of surveillance.… Read the rest

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Despite Public Condemnation, Germany Has A Tight Relationship With THE NSA

PIC; NSA (PD)

PIC; NSA (PD)

I hope that it comes as no surprise you that many of the world’s governments are carrying on passionate love affairs with the NSA even as they publicly condemn the agency. Disinfonauts probably knew as much already, but there are still a few people out there who think that their own nation is above such things. Maybe they’re right in that their government doesn’t run their own NSA-like program, but they might as well be doing so given the intimate nature of their relationships with the agency. Their public hypocrisy remind me of technical virgins: (Link goes to TVtropes.com. See you in a few hours.) young people who feel comfortable claiming that they’re sexually “pure” as long as Tab P doesn’t go into Slot V.

The NSA might not have gotten their Tab into Germany’s slot V, but it looks like everything else has been on the table for a long time.… Read the rest

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Al Gore on NSA: ‘A Threat to the Heart of Democracy’

Al’s just making quite sure that he’s unelectable in case the Clintons tap him as a running mate again. Right? From PandoDaily:

One of the most often-asked - and polled - questions in the whole debate about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is about his status. Is he a traitor or a hero? In the era of mass surveillance, it is the kind of query that may end up being one of those epochal Rorschach tests –  a question like, say, where you stood on the Vietnam or Iraq wars.

At Southland today, former Vice President Al Gore did not offer a definitive answer to the traitor-hero question, but he did weigh in more on one side than the other. After slamming both government and corporations for collecting too much information on individuals, Gore said this about the hero-traitor question:

I hear this question all the time…I’m like most people, I don’t put (Snowden) in either one of those categories.

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Reset The Net

It’s Reset The Net day:

The problem
The NSA is exploiting weak links in Internet security to spy on the entire world, twisting the Internet we love into something it was never meant to be: a panopticon.

The solution
We can’t stop targeted attacks, but we *can* stop mass surveillance, by building proven security into the everyday Internet.

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Oh, George (Orwell)

Review: Glenn Greenwald, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, Metropolitan Books, 2014

Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. – George Orwell

George Orwell press photo

George Orwell

Oh, George

We need you now,
more than ever, ever
to help us wade through
new words of war by wankers
high on high tech
& fudged perceptions
in a security bubble of insecurity

We need help, George,
penetrating acronyms
of government gone wild
of spies & lies
and the madness
of the overtly clever
and covertly maniacal

Hey, Hey, NSA
How many emails did you ‘process’ today?
How many calls did you convert
into acres of unread metadata
stored somewhere in Utah
until the big roundup
that’s coming soon

Hey, Hey, NSA, why do you play
with code names
coined with a clear intent
to maim
and restrain?… Read the rest

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