Jul 06

NSA intercept 2

What Your “Startlingly Intimate, Voyeristic” NSA File Looks Like (ZeroHedge, July 6, 2014):

A few days ago, we asked a simple rhetorical question: “Are you targeted by the NSA?

The answer, sadly for those reading this, is very likely yes, as it was revealed that as part of the NSA’s XKeyscore program “a computer network exploitation system, as described in an NSA presentation, devoted to gathering nearly everything a user does on the internet” all it takes for a user to be flagged by America’s superspooks is to go to a website the NSA finds less than “patriotic” and that user becomes a fixture for the NSA’s tracking algos.

So assuming one is being tracked by the NSA – or as it is also known for politically correct reasons “intercepted” – as a “person of interest” or worse, just what kind of data does the NSA collect? The latest report by the WaPo titled “In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are” sheds much needed light on just how extensive the NSA’s data collection effort is.

According to WaPo, the files on intercepted Americans “have a startlingly intimate, even voyeuristic quality. They tell stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes. The daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted are catalogued and recorded nevertheless.”

The Post reviewed roughly 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant-message conversations, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts.

Continue reading »

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Jul 03

How NSA tracks all German Tor users as extremists

XKeyscore exposed: How NSA tracks all German Tor users as ‘extremists’ (ZeroHedge, July 3, 2014):

The NSA has been revealed to mark and consider potential “extremists” all users of the internet anonymizer service Tor. Among those are hundreds of thousands of privacy concerned people like journalists, lawyers and rights activists.

Searching for encryption software like the Linux-based operating system Tails also places you on the NSA grid, as Lena Kampf, Jacob Appelbaum and John Goetz revealed on the German site Tagesschau. The report is based on analysis of the source code of the software used by NSA’s electronic surveillance program XKeyscore.

Tor is a system of servers, which routes user requests through a layer of secured connections to make it impossible to identify a user’s IP from the addresses of the websites he/she visits. The network of some 5,000 is operated by enthusiasts and used by hundreds of thousands of privacy-concerned people worldwide. Some of them live in countries with oppressive regimes, which punish citizens for visiting websites they deem inappropriate.

But merely visiting Tor project’s website puts you on the NSA’s red list, the report says. But more importantly it monitors connections to so-called Directory Authorities, the eight servers, which act as gateways for the entire system. The NSA was particularly surveilling German-based Tor Directory Authorities. One is operated by the Germany-based hacker group Chaos Computer Club, the other by computer science student Sebastian Hahn, who told journalists that the revelation is “shocking.” Continue reading »

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Aug 11

Research the connections between the Nazis, the BND and the CIA and you will not be surprised at all.

An aerial view of the construction site of the new Federal Intelligence Service (BND) headquarters in Chausseestrasse in the district of Mitte in Berlin.(Reuters / Robert Grahn)

Germany intelligence cooperated with NSA as Merkel denied knowledge – report (RT, July 21, 2013):

Der Spiegel magazine has revealed German intelligence operated one of NSA’s spying programs. Chancellor Angela Merkel had denied any previous knowledge of NSA’s tactics, adding that she first learned about them through the media.

Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the BND, along with the domestic intelligence agency the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), used American National Security Agency’s (NSA) XKeyScore program, according to Spiegel  which claims to have seen the US intelligence service’s secret documents.

The BfV office had the XKeyScore program, which was installed to “expand their ability to support NSA as we jointly prosecute CT (counterterrorism) targets.” And the BND office was tasked with showing the BfV how to operate the program, the secret documents said.

An internal NSA presentation from 2008 revealed that XKeyScore is able to expose any terms a person under surveillance has typed into a search engine and receive a “full intake” of all unfiltered data over a period of several days, including content of communications.

The program uses metadata – information about data connections – to access the targeted information.

The documents also disclosed that up to 500 million German data connections were accessed monthly by the NSA. The majority of the connections were collected through the XKeyScore program.

Documents also reveal  cooperation between the NSA and Germany recently strengthened, referencing BND head Gerhard Schindler’s “eagerness and desire”.

“The BND has been working to influence the German government to relax interpretation of the privacy laws to provide greater opportunities of intelligence sharing,” Spiegel quotes the NSA as saying in January. And in 2012 Germany showed a “willingness to take risks and to pursue new opportunities for cooperation with the US.”

The document further stated that BND was NSA’s “most prolific partner” in information gathering in Afghanistan.

The magazine reports that the relationship between the two is close “on a personal level” and at the end of April, just before Edward Snowden’s first revelations about NSA spying programs, a 12-member high-level BND delegation was invited to the NSA to meet specialists on the subject of “data acquisition.”

The BND, BfV and the NSA have refused to comment about their connection.

In the meantime, Chancellor Merkel spoke out strongly in favor of an international agreement to protect electronic data.

“We should be able, in the 21st century, to sign global agreements,” Merkel told the weekly Welt am Sonntag in an interview published on Sunday. “If digital communication raises new questions worldwide, then we should take up the challenge. Germany is working for that.”

Angela Merkel is facing re-election on September 22 and has received pressure from critics to admit what she knew about the US online surveillance.

It emerged recently that Germany happens to be the most-snooped-on EU country by the American National Security Agency (NSA). The NSA’s real-time online surveillance PRISM program allows US intelligence agencies to intercept virtually any communications over the internet, phone calls and makes possible direct access to files stored on the servers of major internet companies.In early July, US fugitive Edward Snowden accused Germany and the US of partnering in spy intelligence operations, revealing that cooperation between the countries is closer than German indignation would indicate.

Chancellor Merkel declared that she learnt about the US surveillance programs, such as the NSA’s PRISM spy program, “through the current reporting” in the media.

Yet, Angela Merkel in interview to Die Zeit weekly stressed that “America has been, and is, our most loyal ally over the decades,” but pointed out that Washington should clear up the situation with the US allegedly bugging the embassies of European countries and EU facilities, noting that “the Cold War is over.”

The German government subsequently summoned US Ambassador Philip Murphy to Berlin to explain the incendiary reports.

Elsa Rassbach, an anti-war activist with the organization Code Pink, told RT that Germany is caught in the middle when it comes to Washington’s choice of overseas military and intelligence bases.

“On the one hand, Germany is the most important military base in Europe for the US. They have the Central Command for Europe and the Central Command for Africa in Stuttgart, which report directly to the Pentagon as the main military commands for those areas,” she said, listing a number of other examples, including the Ramstein Air Force and intelligence base. “But on the other hand, as a result of German history, we have this great concern about maintaining international law. The Germans I believe came to feel that they had learned from what happened in World War II that this was very important. So there’s a contradiction, because the US is using these bases in Germany to violate international law.”

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Aug 03

The NSA IS Reading Your E-mails (The New American, July 31, 2013):

The London Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald revealed in a July 31 exposé that the NSA has indeed been collecting the full text of every American’s e-mails without a warrant under the “XKeyscore” program, flatly contradicting the claims of congressional opponents of the Amash amendment last week.

The Amash amendment would have denied the NSA the ability to snoop on Americans without a warrant or National Security letter under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The amendment by Michigan congressman Justin Amash failed by a mere seven-vote margin in the House of Representatives. In the wake of the vote, Amash has promised to sponsor legislation to ban the NSA from collecting telephone and Internet data on American citizens.

Using NSA PowerPoint presentations provided by whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Greenwald explained: “One presentation claims the [XKeyscore] program covers ‘nearly everything a typical user does on the internet,’ including the content of emails, websites visited and searches, as well as their metadata.” Greenwald added: “Analysts can also use XKeyscore and other NSA systems to obtain ongoing ‘real-time’ interception of an individual’s internet activity.”

Continue reading »

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Aug 01

XKeyscore: NSA tool collects ‘nearly everything a user does on the internet’ (Guardian, July 31, 2013):

• XKeyscore gives ‘widest-reaching’ collection of online data
• NSA analysts require no prior authorization for searches
• Sweeps up emails, social media activity and browsing history
NSA’s XKeyscore program – read one of the presentations

A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its “widest-reaching” system for developing intelligence from the internet.

The latest revelations will add to the intense public and congressional debate around the extent of NSA surveillance programs. They come as senior intelligence officials testify to the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday, releasing classified documents in response to the Guardian’s earlier stories on bulk collection of phone records and Fisa surveillance court oversight.

The files shed light on one of Snowden’s most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10.

“I, sitting at my desk,” said Snowden, could “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email”.

US officials vehemently denied this specific claim. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden’s assertion: “He’s lying. It’s impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do.”

But training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search. The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed.

Continue reading »

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