Aug 11

nsa-1234

NSA asked judge to delete ‘classified’ testimony without public awareness (RT, Aug 10, 2014):

The National Security Agency worked behind the scenes to remove a section of a court transcript after suspecting one of its lawyers inadvertently disclosed secret information in a court case over alleged illegal surveillance.

Has the wall of secrecy protecting US intelligence-gathering methods become so severe and repressive that even to acknowledge the redaction of sensitive information from public documents is now thought to be revealing too much?

It seems the United States may be heading in that dark direction following a recent session of the Jewel v. NSA case, in which the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is challenging the NSA’s power to monitor foreign citizens’ US-based communications and social media accounts. Continue reading »

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Jul 17


Germany out

Obama administration drowning in lawsuits filed over NSA surveillance (RT, July 16/17, 2013):

Attorneys for the Electronic Frontier Foundation have sued the Obama administration and are demanding the White House stop the dragnet surveillance programs operated by the National Security Agency.

Both the White House and Congress have weighed in on the case of Edward Snowden and the revelations he’s made by leaking National Security Agency documents. Now the courts are having their turn to opine, and with opportunities aplenty.

Day by day, new lawsuits waged against the United States government are being filed in federal court, and with the same regularity President Barack Obama and the preceding administration are being charged with vast constitutional violations alleged to have occurred through the NSA spy programs exposed by Mr. Snowden.

Continue reading »

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Jun 12

“Metadata” Can Tell the Government More About You Than the Content of Your Phonecalls (Washington’s Blog, June 12, 2013)

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Jun 04

Taiwanese Fight Back Against Internet Censorship and Win! (Liberty Blitzkrieg, June 3, 2013):

Great update here from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), of the outcome from government attempts to censor the internet in Taiwan in a similar manner to what was proposed in the U.S. with SOPA/PIPA. Just goes to show that we can stop these authoritarians if we stand up for ourselves.

From the EFF:

Taiwan’s intellectual property office proposed a new Internet blacklist law that would have targeted websites for their alleged use in copyright infringement. The initiative would have forced Internet Service Providers to block a list of domains or IP addresses connected to websites and services found to enable “illegal” file sharing. In the face of massive online opposition and a planned Internet blackout, the IP office has now backed down and abandoned support for the law.

Continue reading »

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Jun 01

Secret Court Document Finds Spy Techniques Unconstitutional, Justice Department Fights To Keep It Hidden (International Business Times, May 30, 2013):

The Justice Department may soon be forced to reveal a classified document that details unconstitutional surveillance of American citizens. The Justice Department has fought to keep the document secret for about a year, but a recent court order demands that they respond to a formal request filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation by next week, June 7, 2013.This document was first revealed last July by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., to call attention to an expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008 — which then-Sen. Barack Obama voted for . According to Wyden, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled that the government violated the Fourth Amendment. The FISC mostly operates in secret, so the actual court decision remained classified. Wyden was only able to say the FISC decision existed; he was unable to disclose any details about the actual surveillance techniques that were deemed unconstitutional or how many Americans they affected.

Continue reading »

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May 03

Now that US customs agents have unfettered access to laptops and other electronic devices at borders, a coalition of travel groups, civil liberties advocates and technologists is calling on Congress to rein in the Department of Homeland Security’s search and seizure practices. They’re also providing practical advice on how to prevent trade secrets and other sensitive data from being breached.

In a letter dated Thursday, the group, which includes the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the American Civil Liberties Union and the Business Travel Coalition, called on the House Committee on Homeland Security to ensure searches aren’t arbitrary or overly invasive. They also urged the passage of legislation outlawing abusive searches.

The letter comes 10 days after a US appeals court ruled Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have the right to rummage through electronic devices even if they have no reason to suspect the hardware holds illegal contents. Not only are they free to view the files during passage; they are also permitted to copy the entire contents of a device. There are no stated policies about what can and can’t be done with the data.

Over the past few months, several news reports have raised eyebrows after detailing border searches that involved electronic devices. The best known of them is this story from The Washington Post, which recounted the experiences of individuals who were forced to reveal data on cell phones and laptop devices when passing through US borders. One individual even reported some of the call history on her cell phone had been deleted.

“The Fourth Amendment protects us all against unreasonable government intrusions,” the letter, which was also signed by the Center for Democracy and Technology and security expert Bruce Schneier, states. “But this guarantee means nothing if CBP can arbitrarily search and seize our digital information at the border and indefinitely store and reuse it.”

Several of the groups are also providing advice to US-bound travelers carrying electronic devices. The Association of Corporate Travel Executives is encouraging members to remove photos, financial information and other personal data before leaving home. This is good advice even if you’re not traveling to the US. There is no reason to store five years worth of email on a portable machine.

In this posting, the EFF agrees that laptops, cell phones, digital cameras and other gizmos should be cleaned of any sensitive information. Then, after passing through customs, travelers can download the data they need, work on it, transmit it back and then digitally destroy the files before returning.

The post also urges the use of strong encryption to scramble sensitive data, although it warns this approach is by no means perfect. For one thing, CBP agents are free to deny entry to travelers who refuse to divulge their passwords. They may also be able to seize the laptop.

If it sounds like a lot of work, consider this: so far, the federal government has refused to reveal any information about border searches, including what it does with the electronic data it seizes. Under the circumstances, there’s no way of knowing what will happen to, say, source code or company memos that may get confiscated. Or the email sent to your lawyer.

By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
Published Thursday 1st May 2008 21:11 GMT

Source: The Register

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