Aug 16

Privacy-Black-Paper

PDF: NSA-Black-Paper

- CIA spies on Senate. Here’s how to take back your digital privacy [FREE] (Sovereign Man, Aug 14, 2014):

Back in March serious allegations came out of the Senate that the CIA was monitoring and even hacking Senate computers. They were denied vehemently at the time by CIA director John Brennan, who went so far as to say “that’s just beyond the scope of reason.”

Unsurprisingly, of course, the CIA has now come out saying that, yes, they did in fact spy on Senate aides’ computers. Oh, and that they’re sorry. Very sorry.

This is stuff that would have been a major scandal not too long ago, causing a public outcry for the heads of those responsible.

Today, it seems par for the course. It’s taken for granted that governments around the world, spearheaded by Uncle Sam, monitor communication via email, phone, social networks, webcam etc. en masse. Continue reading »

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Jun 30

- 4 Ways that Mass Surveillance Destroys the Economy (Washington’s Blog, June 29, 2014):

Prosperity Requires Privacy

Privacy is a prerequisite for a prosperous economy.    Even the White House admits:

People must have confidence that data will travel to its destination without disruption. Assuring the free flow of information, the security and privacy of data, and the integrity of the interconnected networks themselves are all essential to American and global economic prosperity, security, and the promotion of universal rights.

Below, we discuss four ways that mass surveillance hurts our economy. Continue reading »

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Jun 25

- ‘Get a warrant’ – Supreme Court rules against cell phone searches in ‘big win for digital privacy’ (RT, June 25, 2014):

The Supreme Court of the United States said Wednesday that police officers must have a warrant before searching the cell phone contents of an individual under arrest.

In a unanimous ruling announced early Wednesday, the high court settled two cases surrounding instances in which law enforcement officials scoured the mobile phones of suspects in custody and then used information contained therein to pursue further charges.

“The police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested,” the Supreme Court ruled.

“Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience,” the court continued. “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple — get a warrant.”

Orin Kerr, a Georgetown University law professor who focuses primarily on computer cases, wrote Wednesday morning on his Washington Post-hosted blog that the court’s decision was “a big win for digital privacy.” Continue reading »

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Jun 24

google111

- ‘You are unauthorized’: Nearly 50% of EU organizations deny access to personal data (RT, June 24, 2014):

Four out of ten organizations obstruct citizens from accessing their own personal data, says a recent study. Companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter also fail to fulfill their duty to be transparent.

The international study, conducted by experts from the University of Sheffield, has inspected at least 327 organizations across Europe, including the UK, Norway and Germany. Continue reading »

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Feb 05

- Chaos Computer Club files criminal complaint against the German Government (Chaos Computer Club, Feb 3, 2014):

On Monday, the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) and the International League for Human Rights (ILMR), have filed a criminal complaint with the Federal Prosecutor General’s office. The complaint is directed against the German federal government, the presidents of the German secret services, namely Bundesnachrichtendienst, Militärischer Abschirmdienst, Bundesamt für Verfassungschutz, and others. We accuse US, British and German secret agents, their supervisors, the German Minister of the Interior as well as the German Chancelor of illegal and prohibited covert intelligence activities, of aiding and abetting of those activities, of violation of the right to privacy and obstruction of justice in office by bearing and cooperating with the electronic surveillance of German citizens by NSA and GCHQ.

After months of press releases about mass surveillance by secret services and offensive attacks on information technology systems, we now have certainty that German and other countries’ secret services have violated the German criminal law. With this criminal complaint, we hope to finally initiate investigations by the Federal Prosecutor General against the German government. The CCC has learned with certainty that the leaders of the secret services and the federal government have aided and abetted the commission of these crimes.

Continue reading »

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Dec 11

- NSA uses Google cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking (Washington Post, Dec 10, 2013):

A slide from an internal NSA presentation indicating that the agency uses at least one Google cookie as a way to identify targets for exploitation. (Washington Post)

The National Security Agency is secretly piggybacking on the tools that enable Internet advertisers to track consumers, using “cookies” and location data to pinpoint targets for government hacking and to bolster surveillance.

The agency’s internal presentation slides, provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, show that when companies follow consumers on the Internet to better serve them advertising, the technique opens the door for similar tracking by the government. The slides also suggest that the agency is using these tracking techniques to help identify targets for offensive hacking operations.

Continue reading »

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Aug 18

- Meet the NSA’s “Fat Finger” (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Aug 16, 2013):

James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, has acknowledged that the court found the NSA in breach of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, but the Obama administration has fought a Freedom of Information lawsuit that seeks the opinion.

Generally, the NSA reveals nothing in public about its errors and infractions. The unclassified versions of the administration’s semiannual reports to Congress feature blacked-out pages under the headline “Statistical Data Relating to Compliance Incidents.”

From the Washington Post’s groundbreaking article from last evening

For those of you not familiar with Wall Street lingo, people in the financial industry refer to an outsized move in the markets resulting from a human error as a “fat finger,” ie someone pressed the wrong key when placing an order. Unfortunately for us all, it appears the NSA has a surveillance fat finger. Who would’ve guessed it!

Continue reading »

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Aug 16

- GOOGLE: If You Send To Gmail, You Have ‘No Legitimate Expectation Of Privacy’ (San Francisco Chronicle, Aug 13, 2013):

If you happen to send an email to one of the 400 million people who use Google’s Gmail service, you shouldn’t have any expectation of privacy, according to a court briefing obtained by the Consumer Watchdog website.

In a motion filed last month by Google to have a class action complaint dismissed, Google’s lawyers reference a 1979 ruling, holding that people who turn over information to third parties shouldn’t expect that information to remain private.

From the filing (emphasis added):

Continue reading »

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Jul 31

Hmmh.


- Google Engineer Wins Award from the NSA and then Slams it (Liberty Blitzkrieg, July 29, 2013):

“In accepting the award I don’t condone the NSA’s surveillance. Simply put, I don’t think a free society is compatible with an organisation like the NSA in its current form.”
- Dr. Joseph Bonneau

In case you weren’t aware, Dr. Joseph Bonneau, a google engineer, received an award for the Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper of 2012 from the National Security Agency’s first annual “Science of Security Competition” on July 19th. He experienced such mixed emotions upon its receipt that he felt the need to express them publicly in a blog post. We should all be thankful he had the courage to do so.

Continue reading »

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Jun 10

- The Essence of DNA Identity (Veterans Today, June 10, 2013):

Do you intrinsically possess individual privacy rights, based upon natural law authority, or are your civil liberties arbitrarily defined by the current whims of government?

How you answer, this question speaks loudly about your understanding of the nature of your very being. Those who deem that natural law is a myth or a superstition are poised for voluntary surrender of their vital identity. The cataloging of individual essence is aberrant.

Your deoxyribonucleic acid is the core element of personal uniqueness and human dignity. If your DNA is subject to government collection and storage, the right of personal privacy is destroyed.

Continue reading »

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Jun 01

- Judge Orders Google To Give Customer Data To FBI (Huffingtion Post, June 1, 2013):

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has ruled that Google Inc. must comply with the FBI’s warrantless demands for customer data, rejecting the company’s argument that the government’s practice of issuing so-called national security letters to telecommunication companies, Internet service providers, banks and others was unconstitutional and unnecessary.

FBI counter-terrorism agents began issuing the secret letters, which don’t require a judge’s approval, after Congress passed the USA Patriot Act in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Continue reading »

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Apr 11

- IRS: We can read emails without warrant (The Hill, April 10, 2013):

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has claimed that agents do not need warrants to read people’s emails, text messages and other private electronic communications, according to internal agency documents.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request, released the information on Wednesday.

In a 2009 handbook, the IRS said the Fourth Amendment does not protect emails because Internet users “do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications.” A 2010 presentation by the IRS Office of General Counsel reiterated the policy. Continue reading »

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Mar 09

- 9th Circuit Appeals Court: 4th Amendment Applies At The Border; Also: Password Protected Files Shouldn’t Arouse Suspicion (TechDirt, March 8, 2013):

Here’s a surprise ruling. For many years we’ve written about how troubling it is that Homeland Security agents are able to search the contents of electronic devices, such as computers and phones at the border, without any reason. The 4th Amendment only allows reasonable searches, usually with a warrant. But the general argument has long been that, when you’re at the border, you’re not in the country and the 4th Amendment doesn’t apply. This rule has been stretched at times, including the ability to take your computer and devices into the country and search it there, while still considering it a “border search,” for which the lower standards apply. Just about a month ago, we noted that Homeland Security saw no reason to change this policy. 

Well, now they might have to.

Continue reading »

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Feb 09

- UK government plans to track ALL web use: MI5 to install ‘black box’ spy devices to monitor British internet traffic (Daily Mail, Feb 6, 2013):

  • 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.

    Continue reading »

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    Feb 06

    - Congratulations Charlottesville, Virginia! The First City to Pass Anti-Drone Legislation (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Feb 5, 2013):

    This simple piece of legislation proves that you can make a difference at the local level.  We need a lot more of this type of thing all over these United States.  As I have said many times, it’s not that I am against drones in all capacities; however, we must be vigilant about how these things are used and must have serious safeguards in place to protect civil liberties.  Kudos to the Rutherford Institute for leading the charge here.

    From US News:

    Charlottesville, Va., has become the first city in the United States to formally pass an anti-drone resolution.

    Continue reading »

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    Jan 10

    - Cloud surfing: US surveilance act ‘grave threat’ to EU sovereignty (RT, Jan 9, 2013):

    An intelligence bill has put the frighteners on EU citizens as it allows the US access to their personal data stored in internet clouds like those used on Facebook and Google. The law is a ‘grave risk’ to the rights of EU citizens, says an EU report.

    ­The amendments to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Monday.

    Continue reading »

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    Nov 14

    - Judge Napolitano: ‘What Were FBI Agents Doing Monitoring Petraeus’ Private Emails?’ (FOX News, Nov 12, 2012):

    Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano joined Studio B to discuss Gen. David Petraeus’ resignation as CIA Director and pointedly asked, “What were FBI agents doing monitoring the secret emails of the director of the CIA? And, how is it the CIA didn’t know about it?”

    According to Napolitano, in order for the FBI to be reading Petraeus’ emails, they would either need a search warrant from a federal judge or they’d have to write their own search warrant under the Patriot Act providing sufficient reason to believe the general was involved in terrorist activities. The only other way that they could have been monitoring his emails is by hacking into his computer, which would be a crime.

    Napolitano argued, “General Petraeus just because he’s an adulterer doesn’t lose his constitutional rights. And he has the right to be protected from an unwarranted, unjustified investigation by the FBI or anyone.”


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    Oct 21


    YouTube Added: 18.10.2012

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    Sep 23

    - Facebook: snitchgate! (Paul Bernal’s Blog, Sep 21, 2012):

    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:

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    Sep 08

    Don’t miss:

    - Pulitzer Prize Journalist Chris Hedges Warns of Physical Roundups Under Obama (Video)

    - Secret, Beyond Facial Recognition Surveillance Technology ALREADY INSTALLED Across the US


    - FBI begins installation of $1 billion face recognition system across America (RT, Sep 8, 2012):

    Birthmarks, be damned: the FBI has officially started rolling out a state-of-the-art face recognition project that will assist in their effort to accumulate and archive information about each and every American at a cost of a billion dollars.

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reached a milestone in the development of their Next Generation Identification (NGI) program and is now implementing the intelligence database in unidentified locales across the country, New Scientist reports in an article this week. The FBI first outlined the project back in 2005, explaining to the Justice Department in an August 2006 document (.pdf) that their new system will eventually serve as an upgrade to the current Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) that keeps track of citizens with criminal records across America .

    “The NGI Program is a compilation of initiatives that will either improve or expand existing biometric identification services,” its administrator explained to the Department of Justice at the time, adding that  the project, “will accommodate increased information processing and sharing demands in support of anti-terrorism.”

    “The NGI Program Office mission is to reduce terrorist and criminal activities by improving and expanding biometric identification and criminal history information services through research, evaluation and implementation of advanced technology within the IAFIS environment.”

    The agency insists, “As a result of the NGI initiatives, the FBI will be able to provide services to enhance interoperability between stakeholders at all levels of government, including local, state, federal, and international partners.” In doing as such, though, the government is now going ahead with linking a database of images and personally identifiable information of anyone in their records with departments around the world thanks to technology that makes fingerprint tracking seem like kids’ stuff.

    Continue reading »

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    Sep 05

    - Roxon edges towards keeping online data for two years (Sydney Morning Herald, Sep. 4, 2012):

    The Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, appears to have swung her support behind a controversial plan to capture the online data of all Australians, despite only six weeks ago saying ”the case had yet to be made” for the policy.

    The data retention plan – which would force all Australian telcos and internet service providers to store the online data of all Australians for up to two years – is the most controversial element of a package of more than 40 proposed changes to national security legislation.

    If passed, the proposals would be the most significant expansion of national security powers since the Howard-era reforms of the early 2000s.

    In a speech to be delivered at the Security in Government conference in Canberra today, Ms Roxon will say that law enforcement agencies need the data retention policy in order to be able to effectively target criminals.

    Continue reading »

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    Sep 04

    - Find Out If Your Apple Device Was Among The 12 Million Units Hacked And Tracked By The FBI (ZeroHedge, Sep 4, 2012)

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    Aug 26


    A pilot flies over Lancaster in a Cessna equipped with a surveillance system. The city appears to be the first to have a camera sending video continuously to the ground, to be used as an integral part of daily policing. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times / August 24, 2012)

    - Lancaster takes to the skies to get a view on crime (Los Angeles Times, Aug 25, 2012):

    Police continuously track activity on the city’s streets with aerial video. Officials say guarding privacy is a priority.

    The residents of Lancaster probably didn’t notice it, but a small Cessna aircraft on Friday flew high above the desert city, capturing hours of video and ushering in a new era in law enforcement surveillance.

    The plane, equipped with sophisticated video equipment, is set fly a loop above the city for up to 10 hours a day, beaming a live video feed of what’s going on below to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department dispatch center.

    The camera will inevitably pick up scenes of mundane day-to-day life. But officials said they plan to use the video only to track reports of crimes in progress, traffic collisions and other emergency situations.

    Continue reading »

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    Aug 08

    - Appeals Court OKs Warrantless Wiretapping (Wired, Aug 7, 2012):

    The federal government may spy on Americans’ communications without warrants and without fear of being sued, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in a decision reversing the first and only case that successfully challenged President George W. Bush’s once-secret Terrorist Surveillance Program.

    “This case effectively brings to an end the plaintiffs’ ongoing attempts to hold the executive branch responsible for intercepting telephone conversations without judicial authorization,” a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote. (.pdf)

    Continue reading »

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    Aug 08

    - Now White House collecting your personal info (WND, Aug 7, 2012):

    A lawsuit has been filed by a consumer-privacy organization demanding answers from the federal government about a program by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, an executive branch office under the control of the Obama White House, to collect database information about Americans from the CIA, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

    According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which for nearly 20 years has focused its attention on the civil liberties, privacy, First Amendment and constitutional issues related to electronic data, under Washington’s revised guidelines, “The ODNI plans to obtain and integrate databases containing detailed personal information from across the federal government.

    “The data will be kept for up to five years without the legal safeguards typically in place for personal data held by government agencies,” the organization explained.

    The complaint was filed under the Freedom of Information Act after the Obama administration didn’t respond to questions from the group about how it plans to collect personal data “from across the federal government” and how the privacy of Americans will be protected.

    Continue reading »

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    Aug 02

    Flashback.

    - Law Professor: Counter Terrorism Czar Told Me There Is Going To Be An i-9/11 And An i-Patriot Act


    - NSA Boss Wants More Control Over the ‘Net (Technology Review, July 27, 2012):

    The Internet should be adapted to allow for oversight by the National Security Agency, the organization’s boss says.

    The U.S. Internet’s infrastructure needs to be redesigned to allow the NSA to know instantly when overseas hackers might be attacking public or private infrastructure and computer networks, the agency’s leader, General Keith Alexander, said today.

    Alexander spoke at the annual Def Con computer hacking conference in Las Vegas. It was a symbolic appearance that he said was motivated by a need to interest the hacker community in helping to make the Internet more secure.

    Alexander, who is also commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, described the Internet as “at great risk from exploitation, disruption, and destruction.”

    In recent years, many Internet users have become familiar with the idea that websites can be knocked offline by denial of service attacks, such as those employed by online activist groups such as Anonymous. “My concern is that it’s going to flow into destructive attacks that could have consequences for our critical national infrastructure and the Internet itself,” said Alexander.

    Continue reading »

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    Jul 21

    - It’s legal: cops seize cell phone, impersonate owner (Ars Technica, July 19, 2012):

    Court says sending texts using a seized iPhone doesn’t violate privacy rights.

    In November 2009, police officers in the state of Washington seized an iPhone belonging to suspected drug dealer Daniel Lee. While the phone was in police custody, a man named Shawn Hinton sent a text message to the device, reading, “Hey whats up dogg can you call me i need to talk to you.” Suspecting that Hinton was looking to buy drugs from Lee, Detective Kevin Sawyer replied to the message, posing as Lee. With a series of text messages, he arranged to meet Hinton in the parking lot of a local grocery store—where Hinton was arrested and charged with attempted possession of heroin.

    Continue reading »

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    Jul 04

    - Osaka Mayor Hashimoto: ‘You have no fundamental human rights’ (Japan Today, July 4, 2012):

    OSAKA – Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, who recently clashed with city employees and human rights lawyers over his “tattoo inquisition,” has disturbed commentators again this week with his comments about human rights and personal privacy.

    At a meeting attended by 22 newly appointed ward mayors in Osaka on Monday, Hashimoto reportedly told attendees, “I want you to consider your lifestyle and behavior differently now than before you became a public servant,” TV Asahi reported.

    “I want each of you to see yourself as a person who now has no personal privacy and no fundamental human rights. I won’t investigate what you did before you became a public servant; the battle begins once you take on the position,” he told the successful applicants, TV Asahi reported.

    The ward mayors are due to take office in August.

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    Jun 29

    - Your FTC Privacy Watchdogs: Low-Tech, Defensive, Toothless (Wired/ProPublica, June 28, 2012):

    Jonathan Mayer had a hunch.

    The young computer scientist suspected that online advertisers might be following consumers around the web — even when they set their browsers to block the snippets of tracking code called cookies. If Mayer’s instinct was right, advertisers were eying people as they moved from one website to another even though their browsers were configured to prevent this sort of digital shadowing. Working long hours at his office, Mayer ran a series of clever tests in which he purchased ads that acted as sniffers for the sort of unauthorized cookies he was looking for. He hit the jackpot, unearthing one of the biggest privacy scandals of the past year: Google was secretly planting cookies on a vast number of iPhone browsers. Mayer thinks millions of iPhones were targeted by Google.

    The feds are often the last to know about digital invasions of your privacy.

    Continue reading »

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    Jun 06

    - EPA Drones Now Spying On Midwest Farmers Livestock Activity (Alexandr Higgins, June 3, 2012):

    Congress has launched an inquiry into the EPA’s use of drones to monitor the livestock activities of farmers in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

    In the latest escalation of the government’s all out assault on freedom and liberty in America farmers have become the latest target Uncle Sam’s multibillion dollar spy-machine.

    The EPA is now using the same drones the military uses to track and assassinate people overseas to spy on the livestock activities of farmers throughout the Section 7 area of the midwest United States which includes Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and  Missouri.

    Continue reading »

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