What do Google, AOL, Skype, Facebook, Apple, Hotmail and Yahoo all have in common? They have all been caught turning over private user data to the government’s spy agency, the NSA. All these companies routinely turn over the emails, voice calls, text chats, photos, files and even logins and passwords of their users, including Americans.
“There is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal,” journalist Glenn Greenwald recently told Piers Morgan (who knows all about spying and hacking people’s private data). “And that is to destroy privacy and anonymity not just in the United States but around the world.”
In the aftermath of the PRISM spying scandal, the first and logical response was an expected one: lie. Thepresident did it, and so did the various companies implicated in the biggest US surveillance scandal ever exposed. To wit:
Zuckerberg: “Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers.”
Google CEO Larry Page: “We have not joined any program that would give the US government – or any other government – direct access to our servers.”
Yahoo: “We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.”
One small problem: they are all lying.
The NYT explains just how the explicit handover of private customer data from Corporate Server X to NSA Server Y takes place.
The companies that negotiated with the government include Google, which owns YouTube; Microsoft, which owns Hotmail and Skype; Yahoo; Facebook; AOL; Apple; and Paltalk, according to one of the people briefed on the discussions. The companies were legally required to share the data under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. People briefed on the discussions spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are prohibited by law from discussing the content of FISA requests or even acknowledging their existence.
In at least two cases, at Google and Facebook, one of the plans discussed was to build separate, secure portals, like a digital version of the secure physical rooms that have long existed for classified information, in some instances on company servers. Through these online rooms, the government would request data, companies would deposit it and the government would retrieve it, people briefed on the discussions said.
The UK’s electronic eavesdropping and security agency, GCHQ, has been secretly gathering intelligence from the world’s biggest internet companies through a covertly run operation set up by America’s top spy agency, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.
The documents show that GCHQ, based in Cheltenham, has had access to the system since at least June 2010, and generated 197 intelligence reports from it last year.
The US-run programme, called Prism, would appear to allow GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to seek personal material such as emails, photos and videos from an internet company based outside the UK.
Classified information obtained by the Washington Post and The Guardian has revealed a massive, warrantless online surveillance system in use by a US military intelligence agency, giving access to Americans’ search history, emails, live chats and more.
The 41-page PowerPoint presentation, which has been verified by both papers and published almost concurrently on Thursday evening, outlines details of a previously undisclosed program known as PRISM, which allows the fabled military intelligence agency to harvest massive amounts of data on everything from electronic correspondence to file transfers.
The slides were meant to be declassified in 2036.
According to the documents, the program currently boasts access to some of the largest Internet companies in the world, with Microsoft thought to be the first corporation to sign onto the surveillance arrangement in 2007.
That company’s participation was followed by Yahoo in 2008, Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009, YouTube in 2010, Skype and AOL in 2011, and Apple joining in 2012. Meanwhile, cloud storage company Dropbox is described as “coming soon.”
With the participation of those companies, PRISM and thereby Washington intelligence workers have access to the bulk of Americans’ email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype) chats, file transfers, social networking details and more. Continue reading »
“Evil Facebook, now openly engaged in outrageous censorship and violations of the First Amendment, is suspending accounts that post photos of children holding up protest signs during the March Against Monsanto rally:”
The scandal surrounding the Internal Revenue Service’s illicit, politically-motivated scrutiny of conservative, patriot, Tea Party and pro-Israel groups continues to expand daily, as more information is learned about its depth, breadth and scope.
In addition to delaying tax-exempt status for these organizations, the IRS also demanded donor rolls and printouts of Facebook posts to determine who was contributing to the organizations and what sort of information they were putting out in regards to the current administration, and what books people were reading, according to a Politico review of documents from 11 of the targeted groups.
That review “shows the agency wanted to know everything – in some cases, it even seemed curious what members were thinking,” the website reported. “The review included interviews with groups or their representatives from Hawaii, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas and elsewhere.”
Some tea party groups even worried they’d be punished for followers’ Facebook comments, Politico reported – a chilling prospect, given the huge First Amendment implications of any such shenanigans. Continue reading »
Guess why 18 year old Cameron D’Ambrosio is being held on one-million dollars bail and faces twenty years in prison? The answer is “terror charges.” This case is a perfect example of why I am so against using the word “terrorist” in general at this point. Think about all the pointless wars and erosion of domestic civil liberties that have been justified in the name of this never-ending Orwellian “war on terror.” We’ve been tricked, and in the future anyone that does anything the oligarchs and politicians don’t like will be named a “terrorist” and be subject to the aggressive terror laws that most states passed after 9/11. We need to take a giant cultural deep breath and react to terrorism in a sane way before we lose what’s left of our dignity and freedom. Be very suspicious of anyone who uses the word “terror” too often. They are trying to keep you in fear, and if you are in fear, you are easily controlled.
Yesterday, D’Ambrosio was absent from school, but messing around online, changing his profile photos and tweaking his status updates. At approximately 12:20 pm, one of his peers alerted MHS administration that the Methuen native had posted “disturbing verbiage” on Facebook, lyrics menacing enough for the school to call the city police.
The increasing amount of personal information that can be gleaned by computer programs that track how people use Facebook has been revealed by an extensive academic study.
Such programs can discern undisclosed private information such as Facebook users’ sexuality, drug-use habits and even whether their parents separated when they were young, according to the study by the University of Cambridge academics.
In one of the biggest studies of its kind, scientists from the university’s psychometrics team and a Microsoft-funded research centre analysed data from 58,000 Facebook users to predict traits and other information that were not provided in their profiles.The algorithms were 88 per cent accurate in predicting male sexual orientation, 95 per cent for race and 80 per cent for religion and political leanings. Personality types and emotional stability were also predicted with accuracy ranging from 62-75 per cent.
It hasn’t drawn much attention, but Facebook’s first annual earnings report contains an accounting gem:a multibillion-dollar tax deduction for the cost of executive stock options and share awards.
Even though Facebook (FB) reported $1.1 billion in pre-tax profits from U.S. operations in 2012, it will probably pay zero federal and state taxes—and even receive a federal tax refund of about $429 million—according to a Feb. 14 statement from Citizens for Tax Justice.
Summary: President Obama unexpectedly signed an executive Order on cybersecurity prior to tonight’s State of the Union address. UPDATED: Links to the Order and “new” CISPA added.
President Obama signed an executive order aimed at bolstering U.S. cybersecurity prior to tonight’s State of the Union address. The Order precedes a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on “new threats.”
It is the government’s latest move in attempting to deal with cyber threats, and the order has not undergone any public technical, rights-based, or privacy review.
The Order “enables the government to share more information with private industry partners and developing a new framework of practices to reduce cybersecurity risks.” Continue reading »
First TRAPWIRE, now RIOT, the new product from the defence company, Raytheon, and which is featured in the above video. RIOT will use GPS and other technologies to track people anywhere in the world. It also boast predictive capabilities (work out the most likely location the target will go to next). RIOT will basically search, analyse and organise all social network content globally.
MPs’ report outlines spooks’ take on the draft Communications Data Bill
It shows they are keen to implement nationwide surveillance regime
They want ISPs to install ‘black boxes’ that can inspect all internet traffic
Spies claim they are only interested in ‘communications data’
Campaigners warn it will give spies unprecedented surveillance powers
UK spy agencies want to install ‘black box’ surveillance devices across the country’s communications networks to monitor internet use, it emerged today.
A report by an influential committee of MPs tells how spooks are keen to implement a nationwide surveillance regime aimed at logging nearly everything Britons do and say online.
The spy network will rely on a technology known as Deep Packet Inspection to log data from communications ranging from online services like Facebook and Twitter, Skype calls with family members and visits to pornographic websites.
App intended to alert users when Facebook ‘friends’ are nearby
It will also help the social network target localised adverts
Privacy campaigners warn it is ‘profit trumping privacy’
Facebook is developing a new smartphone app to track the location of users in an effort to target them with localised adverts, according to reports.The app will help users to find friends who are nearby, alert them when it detects one in close proximity even when the app is not open on the handset, it is claimed.
The reports are absolutely true. Facebook suspended the Natural News account earlier today after we posted an historical quote from Mohandas Gandhi. The quote reads:
“Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.”- Mohandas Gandhi, an Autobiography, page 446.
This historical quote was apparently too much for Facebook’s censors to bear. They suspended our account and gave us a “final warning” that one more violation of their so-called “community guidelines” would result in our account being permanently deactivated.
They then demanded we send them a color copy of a “government issued identification” in order to reactivate our account. Our account was removed from suspension just minutes before InfoWars posted its article on this Facebook censorship, and the Facebook page is now functioning at: Continue reading »
I’m not talking about censoring specific websites (For example, I was informed today that Reddit’s News category censors all stories from this website. But that’s just an example). I’m talking about censoring entire categories of news media.
The National Security Agency has refused to release details of a secret presidential directive which experts believe could allow the military and intelligence agencies to operate on the networks of private companies, such as Google and Facebook.
As we reported last week, an article in the Washington Post, cited several US officials saying that Obama signed off on the secret cybersecurity order, believed to widely expand NSA’s spying authorities, in mid-October.
“The new directive is the most extensive White House effort to date to wrestle with what constitutes an “offensive” and a “defensive” action in the rapidly evolving world of cyberwar and cyberterrorism.” the report states.
In response to the move, lawyers with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request (PDF) demanding that the Obama administration make public the text of the directive.
United Nations report calls for Internet surveillance, saying lack of “internationally agreed framework for retention of data” is a problem, as are open Wi-Fi networks in airports, cafes, and libraries.
The United Nations is calling for more surveillance of Internet users, saying it would help to investigate and prosecute terrorists.
A 148-page report (PDF) released today titled “The Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes” warns that terrorists are using social networks and other sharing sites including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Dropbox, to spread “propaganda.”
“Potential terrorists use advanced communications technology often involving the Internet to reach a worldwide audience with relative anonymity and at a low cost,” said Yury Fedotov, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Central online identity scheme ‘will be a target for criminals’
The Government will announce details this month of a controversial national identity scheme which will allow people to use their mobile phones and social media profiles as official identification documents for accessing public services.
People wishing to apply for services ranging from tax credits to fishing licences and passports will be asked to choose from a list of familiar online log-ins, including those they already use on social media sites, banks, and large retailers such as supermarkets, to prove their identity.
Once they have logged in correctly by computer or mobile phone, the site will send a message to the government agency authenticating that user’s identity.
The Cabinet Office is understood to have held discussions with the Post Office, high street banks, mobile phone companies and technology giants ranging from Facebook and Microsoft to Google, PayPal and BT.
Ministers are anxious that the identity programme is not denounced as a “Big Brother” national ID card by the back door, which is why data will not be kept centrally by any government department. Indeed, it is hoped the Identity Assurance Programme, which is being led by the Cabinet Office, will mean the end to any prospect of a physical national ID card being introduced in the UK.
A Dutch girl had a most memorable, if unpleasant, birthday party when some 3,000 people showed up in her small hometown. The crowd – attracted by her invitation, which accidentally went viral – looted shops and clashed with riot police.
Six people were reportedly injured overnight in the town of Haren in the north of the country, as violence raged across the normally sleepy community. A car was set on fire, several shops looted and street signs and lampposts vandalized.
Dutch police eventually broke up the crowd, which was throwing stones, bottles and flower pots at the officers. Some 20 people were arrested.
The rioting was the culmination of an online campaign, which started when a girl posted a video invitation to her 16th birthday party on her Facebook page and forgot to mark it as private.
The news went viral, and several sites dedicated to the forthcoming event popped up. The party was dubbed “Project X Haren” by some, in reference to a US-made comedy film about a similarly disastrous incident. Continue reading »
A story about Facebook went around twitter last night that provoked quite a reaction in privacy advocates like me: Facebook, it seems, is experimenting with getting people to ‘snitch’ on any of their friends who don’t use their real names. Take a look at this:
Many psychologists and psychiatrists are good people, who are only trying to help their patients.But the Nazi government substantially supported psychologists … many of whom, in turn, espoused extermination of the people they considered to be “racially and cognitively compromised”.
And authoritarian American psychologists are eager to label anyone “taking a cynical stance toward politics, mistrusting authority, endorsing democratic practices, … and displaying an inquisitive, imaginative outlook” as worthy of a trip to the insane asylum. (Those traits may also get one labeled as a potential terrorist.) Continue reading »