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06.21.13

Links 21/6/2013: antiX 13.1, More NSA/FBI Revelations

Posted in News Roundup at 11:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Michael Hastings, Bridge-Burning Journalist (1980-2013)

    Hastings, a reporter for Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed who died in a car crash in L.A. yesterday at the age of 33, didn’t see it as his job to maintain “good media/military relations,” or to decide what is “necessary to report.” To the contrary–he told CounterSpin (1/27/12) that one of his golden rules for reporting was, “What does everybody know who’s on the inside, but no one’s willing to say or write.”

    Hastings never forgot that journalists’ loyalties are supposed to be with the public and not to the government officials whose actions they cover–and that approach distinguished him not only from Burns but from most of his colleagues.

  • Google Finally Admits That Its Infamous Brainteasers Were Completely Useless for Hiring

    Google has admitted that the headscratching questions it once used to quiz job applicants (How many piano tuners are there in the entire world? Why are manhole covers round?) were utterly useless as a predictor of who will be a good employee.

  • Science

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • House Rejects Farm Bill as Food Stamp Cuts Prove Divisive

      The surprise defeat of the farm bill in the House on Thursday underscored the ideological divide between the more conservative, antispending Republican lawmakers and their leadership, who failed to garner sufficient votes from their caucus as well as from Democrats.

      [...]

      The failure was a stinging defeat for Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, who continues to have trouble marshaling the Republican support he needs to pass major legislation. Without the solid backing of his party, Mr. Boehner has to rely on some Democratic support, which deserted him Thursday.

  • Security

    • NetTraveler using PRISM phishing lures

      Recent email found by blogger Brandon Dixon indicates that the latest spear-phishing campaigns from the group behind NetTraveler are using the PRISM controversy to lure victims into reading the booby-trapped email. The mail, which tells the tale of the disclosure of PRISM and other NSA programmes, offers a 2.5MB file – “Monitored List1.doc” – and implies that this contains a list of those monitored by the NSA. The file, of course, actually contains malware that exploits an older vulnerability CVE-2012-0158 to infect the computer.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Lies of Empire: Don’t Believe a Word They Say
    • Syria Is Becoming Obama’s Iraq

      In perfect Bush-like fashion, President Obama has invented a bogus pretense for military intervention in yet another Middle East country. The president’s claim that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons — and thus crossed Obama’s imaginary “red line” — will likely fool very few Americans, who already distrust their president after the massive NSA spying scandal.

    • The FBI’s Nearly Unbelievable Record of “Justified” Shootings

      We’re still waiting for the FBI to finish its internal investigation into exactly what happened in an Orlando apartment last month, when an FBI agent shot and killed Ibragim Todashev, a Chechan man who knew Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Since the shooting, unnamed officials have painted a number of different pictures of the scene in the room in the moments before the agent opened fire. Among them, that Todashev was unarmed, that he was brandishing a knife, and that he was carrying a pipe or maybe a broomstick.

    • Iraq Says Proxy War Over Syria Threatens Its Neutrality

      Iraq is being buffeted by both sides in the civil war raging across its border in Syria and Baghdad’s official policy of neutrality is at risk as the conflict spirals into a region-wide proxy war, its foreign minister said.

    • Michael Hastings researching Jill Kelley case before death

      During the weeks before he was killed in a car crash in Los Angeles, reporter Michael Hastings was researching a story about a privacy lawsuit brought by Florida socialite Jill Kelley against the Department of Defense and the FBI.

      Hastings, 33, was scheduled to meet with a representative of Kelley next week in Los Angeles to discuss the case, according to a person close to Kelley. Hastings wrote for Rolling Stone and the website BuzzFeed.

      Kelley alleges that military officials and the FBI leaked her name to the media to discredit her after she reported receiving a stream of emails that were traced to Paula Broadwell, a biographer of former CIA director David H. Petraeus, according to a lawsuit filed in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., on June 3.

    • If You Were Bradley Manning, What Would You Do?

      Some Bradley Manning supporters have put together a very compelling campaign, called I Am Bradley Manning, asking the government to drop the “aiding the enemy” charge against Bradley Manning and noting the chilling effects it has on whistleblowers. The key part of the campaign is a five minute video of various well-known people talking about Bradley Manning and asking what would you do if you were in his shoes, and saw that your government was lying to the public, and doing things that you believed went against the very values and principles you were supposed to be fighting for.

    • The US Uses Vulnerability Data for Offensive Purposes

      No word on whether these companies would delay a patch if asked nicely — or if there’s any way the government can require them to. Anyone feel safer because of this?

    • Former TWA 800 investigators claim crash details were covered up

      It was a central fuel tank explosion that sent TWA Flight 800 plummeting into the Atlantic Ocean in a 1996 crash that remains one of the country’s most devastating airline accidents.

    • Clear Evidence That Corporate America Wants the Govt. to Treat Protesters as ‘Terrorists’

      Corporations are trying to use the PATRIOT Act in ways that have nothing to do with Osama Bin Laden because the PATRIOT Act gives transnational corporations the power to snuff out the activism of all those who oppose them.

      Terrorism, as it is commonly considered, is the use of violence against civilians to achieve any number of political ends: the destruction of the federal government, the overturning of Roe V. Wade, the restoration of a Caliphate. If you try to kill people – or succeed in killing people for a political purpose – you’re a terrorist. If you blow up the Alfred P. Murrow Federal Building and kill 168 civilians, like Timothy McVeigh, you’ve committed an act of terrorism.

      Seems pretty self-explanatory – right? Not according to TransCanada Corp., the Canadian owned energy conglomerate that is the backer of the Keystone XL pipeline extension. A new set of documents obtained by the group Bold Nebraska shows that this foreign corporation is encouraging American law enforcement agencies to treat anti-pipeline protestors like terrorists. Yes, terrorists.

      The documents, which Bold Nebraska got a hold of through a FOIA request, were part of a briefing given to Nebraska law enforcement agents about the “emerging threat” of groups like Tar Sands Blockade and Rainforest Action.

    • Government Privatization Paves the Way for Crony Corruption

      It’s dangerous business when private contractors recruit top government employees and then effectively lease them back to the government.

    • Your Government on War

      That was President John F. Kennedy speaking to the 1963 graduating class of American University —announcing that the human race was ready to move beyond war. This was the speech in which he revealed that talks on a Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union had begun, and that the U.S. was unilaterally suspending atmospheric nuclear testing.

    • Why Won’t the FBI Tell the Public About its Drone Program?

      Today we’re publishing—for the first time—the FBI’s drone licenses and supporting records for the last several years. Unfortunately, to say that the FBI has been less than forthcoming with these records would be a gross understatement.

      Just yesterday, Wired broke the story that the FBI has been using drones to surveil Americans. Wired noted that, during an FBI oversight hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Robert Mueller let slip that the FBI flies surveillance drones on American soil. Mueller tried to reassure the senators that FBI’s drone program “is very narrowly focused on particularized cases and particularized leads.” However, there’s no way to check the Director on these statements, given the Bureau’s extreme lack of transparency about its program.

    • NYT Pays Tribute to Hastings by Attacking Him After Death

      When a journalist dies, how can you tell if they’ve had a career that’s upheld the proudest journalistic traditions of challenging the powerful and fearlessly exposing the truth?

      The New York Times will attempt to piss on that career in the journalist’s obituary.

    • Michael Hastings’ Wife Obliterates New York Times For Dismissive Obituary

      In the 24 hours since the tragic death of journalist and author Michael Hastings was first reported on Tuesday, those who knew him, worked with him, and covered his work have offered numerous remembrances of the man best known for his Polk Award-winning Rolling Stone piece, “The Runaway General.”

      That article, which presented a dim view of the U.S. strategy in the Afghanistan war and exposed a military command structure working to actively undermine its civilian leadership, also contained several accounts of less-than-professional behavior and comments by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the International Security Assistance Force commander, the disclosure of which led to McChrystal tendering his resignation in June 2010.

      But it’s an obituary in The New York Times that has sounded a discordant note amid the rest of the encomiums. And now Hastings’ widow, Elise Jordan, is firing back at Times brass.

    • Bill O’Reilly Thinks Drones Don’t Kill Civilians (VIDEO)

      Bill O’Reilly probably lost it during his sow O’Reilly Factor on Wednesday when he wondered why far-left loons who opposed drones and Gitmo detention are ‘so crazy.’

      Well, it appears it’s the other way round since O’Reilly did a really pathetic impression of a German reporter who quite rightly questioned Obama’s drone warfare policy in Berlin that day.

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Do Unpaid Internships Lead to Jobs? Not for College Students

      The common defense of the unpaid internship is that, even if the role doesn’t exactly pay, it will pay off eventually in the form of a job. Turns out, the data suggests that defense is wrong, at least when it comes to college students.

      For three years, the National Association of Colleges and Employers has asked graduating seniors if they’ve received a job offer and if they’ve ever had either a paid or unpaid internship. And for three years, it’s reached the same conclusion: Unpaid internships don’t seem to give college kids much of a leg up when it comes time to look for employment.

    • Decline and fall: how American society unravelled

      Americans were no less greedy, ignorant, selfish and violent then than they are today, and no more generous, fair-minded and idealistic.

    • Global markets fall as end to US stimulus beckons

      Global markets have fallen sharply after the Federal Reserve signalled it may begin to scale back its stimulus of the US economy later this year.

      On Wall Street, the Dow Jones dropped 354 points, or 2.3%, to close at 14,758, while the S&P 500 had its worst day since November 2011, shedding 2.5%.

    • Disunited Kingdom: Crisis Leaves Britain Deeply Fractured

      The economic crisis has caused the United Kingdom to drift apart, creating ever-widening rifts between rich and poor, native and immigrant, English and Scot. With the anti-Europe UKIP party on the rise, Great Britain stands at a crossroads.

    • U.S. wages fall amid overseas pressure

      Competition from China and other low-wage rivals, coupled with fallout from the 2007-09 financial crisis, has put American wages under such unprecedented strain that they have shifted into reverse — not merely stagnating, but falling.

      “Water finds its equilibrium, its own level,” said Jeff Joerres, chief executive of Milwaukee-based global staffing giant ManpowerGroup Inc., who refers to this accelerating leveling of wages as “global labor arbitrage.”

      Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/us-wages-fall-amid-overseas-pressure-692123/#ixzz2WpuIFBiI

    • JP Morgan’s man in the White House: Barack Obama’s legacy of ashes

      At one time, it seems decades ago now, the general thinking in the USA was that President Barack Obama would jolt the American political system into actually doing something beneficial for its citizens rather than spying on them, building F-35 aircraft, upgrading nuclear weapons, spending trillions of dollars (US) on national security, cutting unemployment benefits/food stamps, fomenting war with Iran, Syria, China and Russia; and dragging out the war in Afghanistan.

    • Why Cities Should Use Public Banks Instead of Big Banks

      Of all the public entities that have fallen victim to the big bank-induced economic downturn, cities have the most compelling stories of being burned. If “all politics is local,” this is even more true for economics, at least where people’s ordinary lives are concerned. City budgets contain the life blood of communities. School districts, contracts with utility companies, waste services, and street repairs all filter locally. City social services are often the first line of response for people in need. City councils also fund soup kitchens, domestic violence shelters, and animal shelters.

  • Privacy

    • Rand Paul: The Youth and I Agree That the NSA Stinks

      The libertarian senator picked up on the dip in support for the POTUS among younger Americans

      [...]

      Rand Paul is claiming that the youth of America have his back in his battle against Big Brother, reports Politico.

    • NSA snooping program ‘just one element of vast secrecy regime’

      The NSA warrantless spying program is only a part of a “vast” American secrecy regime that has developed and expanded since 9/11, former NSA senior official and a whistleblower Thomas Drake has told RT.

      Thomas Drake, who worked for the American National Security Agency (NSA) from 2001 to 2008, says he was at the place “from the very beginning” of the development of the mass surveillance program, PRISM, that grants the government access to Internet users’ emails, search results, video chats and other data.

    • Secret Sqrrl: NSA “spin-off” company releases data mining tool

      Recent revelations of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) data mining capabilities have come to the forefront recently, making “big data” a new subject of interest and concern for many people.

      So what better time than now to launch a data analytics tool based on the very technology that the NSA uses to perform its real-time analysis of massive amounts of data being pulled in from sources like the PRISM program?

    • What If The NSA Tracked Your Emotions?

      Last week, in Your Computer Is Watching You: AOL Rolls Out Emotion Tracking, I described how YouEye and other firms could use the webcam built into your computer to measure your emotional reactions to videos. There’s nothing nefarious about this program – the participants in the video testing explicitly opt-in to be part of the process. But, with the recent revelations about NSA vacuuming up phone and computer data, one wonders what might be possible with clever engineers and an unlimited budget…

    • Here’s how to ask the NSA for your records (but don’t hold your breath)

      After the PRISM leak, you probably want to know exactly what the NSA has on file about you. And here’s some good news amid all the are-we-living-in-a-surveillance-state hand-wringing: Civil rights advocate Jonathan Corbett put together a website called My NSA Records that wants to help you understand what your records looks like.

    • NSA whistleblower to tech firms, Obama: ‘Grow a pair!’

      Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old fugitive who revealed the NSA’s PRISM system, has told the technology companies involved in surveillance to stand up for users’ rights and demand a change in the current law.

      “If for example Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple refused to provide this cooperation with the Intelligence Community, what do you think the government would do? Shut them down?” he said, during a question and answer session hosted by The Guardian

    • The Terror Con, Booz Allen Hamilton and the NSA

      Booz Allen, whose top personnel served in key positions at the NSA and vice versa after the inconvenient collapse of the Cold War, has been attempting to substitute terrorist for communist as the enemy of choice. A difficult switch indeed for the military-industrial complex about which Dwight Eisenhower, the general-turned-president, had so eloquently warned us.

    • If your name is Ahmed or Fatima, you live in fear of NSA surveillance

      Muslim and Arab Americans have been targets of intrusive monitoring programs even when they ‘have nothing to hide’

    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warns ‘truth would emerge’ even if US govt murders him

      Answering the questions about him being a potential Chinese spy, Snowden said that by calling him a traitor, the US government has destroyed any possibility of a fair trial.

    • President Obama compares NSA to airport security
    • Does the NSA Really Need “Direct Access”?

      So, making the assumption that the NSA can eavesdrop on our Internet traffic already, does it really need access to Apple and Google’s server farms? After all, there’s nothing irreproducible about their systems—the rise of cloud computing technologies in recent years means that these companies’ servers are virtual constructs in any case, running on fungible hardware. With enough storage space and computing power, it is certainly technically possible to imagine shadow servers, emulating the relevant functions of a number of companies’ online services, and synchronized with data from Internet backbone taps at telcos. It might not be a perfect copy of what’s on the real servers, but such a system would still allow extensive historical searches in many cases. With such a system, “direct access” versus “intercepting traffic in transit” becomes a distinction without a difference.

    • Rieder: Why is NSA leaker Snowden demonized?
    • NSA PRISM, Edward Snowden, Who Are The Real Traitors?

      “I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American.” – Edward Snowden

      [...]

      There are weeks that change the course of human history. There are weeks when people must choose sides. There are weeks that expose the real American traitors. There is no middle ground in this debate. You are either on the side of freedom, liberty, truth, transparency and the U.S. Constitution or you are on the side of mindless obedience, oppression, deception, corruption and tyranny. A courageous young Millennial named Edward Snowden has risked his life and his future to expose the illegal, surreptitious surveillance programs being conducted by the United States government in clear violation of the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The NSA, with the full knowledge of Barack Obama and Congress, has been covertly collecting phone and internet records on millions of Americans with the full cooperation of Verizon and other mega media/data corporations. Our owners have been using the U.S. Constitution to wipe their asses. The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is so unambiguous that any intelligent politician, bright journalist or fifth grader in Miss Sabatini’s history class could interpret its meaning and intention. Our founding fathers believed in truth, clarity and simplicity. The traitorous sociopaths in control of our government today believe in obfuscation, ambiguity and complexity.

    • NSA surveillance played little role in foiling terror plots, experts say

      Michael Dowling, a Denver-based attorney who acted as Zazi’s defence counsel, said the full picture remained unclear as Zazi pleaded guilty before all details of the investigation were made public. But the lawyer said he was sceptical that mass data sweeps could explain what led law enforcement to Zazi.

      “The government says that it does not monitor content of these communications in its data collection. So I find it hard to believe that this would have uncovered Zazi’s contacts with a known terrorist in Pakistan,” Dowling said.

      Further scepticism has been expressed by David Davis, a former British foreign office minister who described the citing of the Zazi case as an example of the merits of data-mining as “misleading” and “an illusion”. Davis pointed out that Operation Pathway was prematurely aborted in April 2009 after Bob Quick, then the UK’s most senior counter-terrorism police officer, was pictured walking into Downing Street with top secret documents containing details of the operation in full view of cameras.

    • What Bothers me About NSA Data Collection: A Reply to Thomas Friedman

      One of the most articulate commentators to come to the defense of the NSA is Thomas Friedman. His recent column in the New York Times epitomizes what bothers me most about this whole affair—the readiness of people who claim to be defenders of an open society to make excuses for people and policies that undermine it.

      Friedman argues that although what the NSA is doing is distasteful, we should put up with it because it might stop some future terrorist attack, which in turn, would prompt even more intrusive violations of our freedoms.

    • Russia promises legal action over NSA surveillance scandal

      Russia will not ignore the actions of the US authorities who had admitted leaks of personal data of Russian citizens to which the US security services had access, the Foreign Ministry’s plenipotentiary for human rights, Konstantin Dolgov, said at a special meeting initiated by the Upper House of the Russian parliament.

    • US lawmakers call for review of Patriot Act after NSA surveillance revelations
    • Fisa court oversight: a look inside a secret and empty process

      Obama and other NSA defenders insist there are robust limitations on surveillance but the documents show otherwise

    • Glenn Greenwald: As Obama Makes “False” Surveillance Claims, Snowden Risks Life to Spark NSA Debate

      Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who broke the NSA surveillance story earlier this month, joins us one day after both President Obama and whistleblower Edward Snowden gave extensive interviews on the surveillance programs Snowden exposed and Obama is now forced to defend. Speaking to PBS, Obama distinguished his surveillance efforts from those of the Bush administration and reaffirmed his insistence that no Americans’ phone calls or emails are being directly monitored without court orders. Greenwald calls Obama’s statements “outright false” for omitting the warrantless spying on phone calls between Americans and callers outside the United States. “It is true that the NSA can’t deliberately target U.S. citizens for [warrantless] surveillance, but it is also the case they are frequently engaged in surveillance of exactly that kind of invasive technique involving U.S. persons,” Greenwald says. After moderating Snowden’s online Q&A with Guardian readers, Greenwald says of the whistleblower: “I think what you see here is a person who was very disturbed by this massive surveillance apparatus built in the U.S. that spies not only on American citizens, but the world, with very little checks, very little oversight. He’s making clear his intention was to inform citizens even at the expense of his own liberty or even life.”

    • Edward Snowden stands by leak allegations

      The former intelligence contractor who leaked documents on US surveillance programmes has defended himself in an online chat, the Guardian reports.

    • NSA spying flap extends to contents of U.S. phone calls

      National Security Agency discloses in secret Capitol Hill briefing that thousands of analysts can listen to domestic phone calls. That authorization appears to extend to e-mail and text messages too.

    • Secret to Prism program: Even bigger data seizure

      “You have to assume everything is being collected,” said Bruce Schneier, who has been studying and writing about cryptography and computer security for two decades.

    • U.S. surveillance architecture includes collection of revealing Internet, phone metadata

      The other two types of collection, which operate on a much smaller scale, are aimed at content. One of them intercepts telephone calls and routes the spoken words to a system called ­NUCLEON.

    • The influence of spies has become too much. It’s time politicians said no

      What are secret courts? Why do we need them? To protect Britain’s special relationship with the United States, we are officially told; to protect the credibility and integrity of our intelligence services. Never mind that for decades we have handled security-sensitive cases by clearing the court whenever necessary, and allowing our secret servants to withhold their names and testify from behind screens, real or virtual: now, all of a sudden, the credibility and integrity of our intelligence services are at stake, and need urgent and draconian protection.

    • Connecting the Dots on PRISM, Phone Surveillance, and the NSA’s Massive Spy Center

      …massive operation to secretly keep track of everyone’s phone calls on a daily basis…

    • James Bamford on NSA Secrets, Keith Alexander’s Influence & Massive Growth of Surveillance, Cyberwar
    • NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Has a Higher Approval Rating Than Congress

      Polls conducted in the days since Glenn Greenwald and The Guardian pulled back the curtain on the NSA’s surveillance program have found that a majority of Americans are fine with said program so long as it targets suspected terrorists, but are less fine with being targeted themselves; and that they’re skeptical of the claim that leaking information about the NSA’s spying program will jeopardize the government’s ability to keep America safe.

    • Sweden’s data protection Authority bans Google cloud services over privacy concerns

      In a landmark ruling, Sweden’s data protection authority (the Swedish Data Inspection Board) this week issued a decision that prohibits the nation’s public sector bodies from using the cloud service Google Apps.

    • Texas Law Now Can’t Snoop in Email Without Warrant

      It’s a step closer to protecting your electronic privacy… in Texas.

    • WikiLeaks Says It Is Working to Negotiate Asylum in Iceland for Snowden

      WikiLeaks activists in Iceland are discussing with government officials there the possibility of asylum for Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who disclosed hundreds of classified documents on N.S.A. surveillance, Julian Assange, the founder of the antisecrecy group, said Wednesday.

    • ‘Anonymous’ search engine sees rocketing growth after NSA revelations

      An alternative search engine DuckDuckGo has enjoyed a record surge in traffic as NSA scandals spark fears and frighten away Internet users from the more popular Google or Yahoo!.

      Over the previous week DuckDuckGo, a private search engine, which claims not to collect users’ searches or create any personal user profile, has increased its traffic by 26 per cent and passed 3.1 million of direct queries.

    • PRISM – Where do we go from here?

      To make matters worse, DuckDuckGo are not audited by any external body, so we only have their word that they are not an NSA honeypot setup to monitor people that deliberately avoid Google on privacy grounds (exactly the type of people the NSA are interested in) and we only have their word that their privacy policy is upheld – frankly Gabriel, that is not good enough.

      For the above reasons, I once again turn my old friends at Ixquick. If you are looking for a private search engine, you cannot do better than Ixquick and Startpage at this time – they have been audited and certified by Europrise, they are not based in the US and therefore not under the jurisdiction of FISC and I know them personally and know that they stand by their word. They haven’t paid me to say this, so no, this isn’t some profit making scheme by me, but the facts are as they stand – it is literally impossible to trust that your data is private and secure if you use a company that has any legal ties to the United States. That means Cloud, Email, Blogs, ECommerce, Hosting, Image Galleries, Microblogs, Voice over IP, Instant Messaging, Social Networking – yes absolutely -everything- which makes up our digital society. If you still don’t quite understand what that means, GMail, Hotmail, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Crashplan, Blogger, Google Search, Bing, Yahoo Mail etc. are all inherently insecure as a direct result of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the PATRIOT Act, the National Security Agency and PRISM – and that is before we even start to discuss CALEA and whether or not your broadband router has a built in back door…

    • Revealed: the top secret rules that allow NSA to use US data without a warrant

      Fisa court submissions show broad scope of procedures governing NSA’s surveillance of Americans’ communication

    • India sets up nationwide snooping programme to tap your emails, phones
    • Uncle Sam and Corporate Tech: Domestic Partners Raising Digital Big Brother

      “National security” agencies and major tech sectors have teamed up to make Big Brother a reality. “Of the estimated $80 billion the government will spend on intelligence this year, most is spent on private contractors,” the New York Times noted. The synergy is great for war-crazed snoops in Washington and profit-crazed moguls in Silicon Valley, but poisonous for civil liberties and democracy.

    • PRISM: EU citizens’ data must be properly protected against US surveillance

      The US PRISM internet surveillance case highlights the urgent need to pass legislation to protect EU citizens’ personal data, most MEPs agreed in Wednesday’s Civil Liberties Committee debate with Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. MEPs also called for safeguards for personal data transferred outside the EU.

    • 3 Former NSA Employees Praise Edward Snowden, Corroborate Key Claims

      USA Today has published an extraordinary interview with three former NSA employees who praise Edward Snowden’s leaks, corroborate some of his claims, and warn about unlawful government acts.

    • Use of Tor and e-mail crypto could increase chances that NSA keeps your data

      When it comes to surveillance rules, some US people are more equal than others.

    • How Today’s NSA Is Much, Much Worse Than Stasi Or Orwell’s “1984”

      There are still people warning us of sleepwalking into a Stasi or “1984” society. They missed the boat by a long shot: we are already far, far past the point of Stasi or “1984”. The apparatus that governments have built to trace, track, and record citizens is the stuff of nightmares.

    • Why NSA surveillance is a threat to British doctors and lawyers

      So now the penny drops, and we all know why GCHQ has long refused to allow government departments to store information classified at “Restricted” or above in US cloud computing services. But what about the private sector? Well, Edward Snowden’s revelations are now causing something of a crisis in the IT industry as its international customers start thinking through the implications. In the past week I’ve heard of big firms reconsidering plans to spend hundreds of millions on services that would have been hosted in the US, as they start to realise that US agencies might snoop on their data and use it to tip off their competitors. US service firms now fear this will harm their growth, and it’s not just Microsoft and Google; many other companies such as Amazon, Salesforce and Rackspace could lose out.

    • In Germany, Merkel has blunt words for Obama on right to privacy

      President Obama, the former college lecturer on constitutional law, got a lecture on privacy rights Wednesday from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and faced tough questions from the German press about his perceived failure to be less warlike after winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

      Mrs. Merkel raised the subject of National Security Agency surveillance of the Internet in a private meeting with Mr. Obama in Berlin, where she emphasized the need for “proportionality.”

    • Bush-Era NSA Whistleblower Makes Most Explosive Allegations Yet About True Extent of Gov’t Surveillance

      Russ Tice, a former intelligence analyst and Bush-era NSA whistleblower, claimed Wednesday that the intelligence community has ordered surveillance on a wide range of groups and individuals, including high-ranking military officials, lawmakers and diplomats.

      He also made another stunning allegation. He says the NSA had ordered wiretaps on phones connected to then-Senate candidate Barack Obama back in 2004.

      “They went after–and I know this because I had my hands literally on the paperwork for these sort of things–they went after high-ranking military officers; they went after members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees and some of the–and judicial,” Tice told Peter B. Collins on Boiling Frog Post News.

    • Leaked NSA Doc Says It Can Collect And Keep Your Encrypted Data As Long As It Takes To Crack It

      If you use privacy tools, according to the apparent logic of the National Security Agency, it doesn’t much matter if you’re a foreigner or an American: Your communications are subject to an extra dose of surveillance.

      Since 29-year-old systems administrator Edward Snowden began leaking secret documentation of the NSA’s broad surveillance programs, the agency has reassured Americans that it doesn’t indiscriminately collect their data without a warrant, and that what it does collect is deleted after five years. But according to a document signed by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and published Thursday by the Guardian, it seems the NSA is allowed to make ambiguous exceptions for a laundry list of data it gathers from Internet and phone companies. One of those exceptions applies specifically to encrypted information, allowing it to gather the data regardless of its U.S. or foreign origin and to hold it for as long as it takes to crack the data’s privacy protections.

    • Bush-Cheney began illegal NSA spying before 9/11, says telcom CEO

      Contradicting a statement by ex-vice president Dick Cheney on Sunday that warrantless domestic surveillance might have prevented 9/11, 2007 court records indicate that the Bush-Cheney administration began such surveillance at least 7 months prior to 9/11.

      The Bush administration bypassed the law requiring such actions to be authorized by FISA court warrants, the body set up in the Seventies to oversee Executive Branch spying powers after abuses by Richard Nixon. Former QWest CEO John Nacchios said that at a meeting with the NSA on February 27, 2001, he and other QWest officials declined to participate. AT&T, Verizon and Bellsouth all agreed to shunt customer communications records to an NSA database.

    • The Terror Con: How Keeping Americans Terrified Is Making Corporations Big Bucks

      For defense contractors, the government officials who write them mega checks, and the hawks in the media who cheer them on, the name of the game is threat inflation. And no one has been better at it than the folks at Booz Allen Hamilton, the inventors of the new boondoggle called cyber warfare.

    • US House bill would force Obama to declassify Fisa court decisions

      Two US congressmen introduced a bill on Thursday compelling the Obama administration to declassify the secret legal justifications for the wide-ranging surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency.

      The disclosure bill, a complement to one pushed in the Senate last week, is the latest in a series of legislative attempts to rein in the NSA’s collection and analysis of Americans’ phone records and, potentially, Internet usage.

    • Latest Guardian Scoop: When the NSA Can Use U.S. Data Without a Warrant
    • Revealed: the top secret rules that allow NSA to use US data without a warrant
    • Break free of PRISM with the EFFs PRISM Break site

      Avoid Prism and the NSA with the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s guide to maintaining your privacy – comprised of free and open source software

    • Linux Format 173 On Sale Today – Escape Google!
    • Google-a-go-go
    • France sets Google deadline for privacy changes

      The French data protection authority, CNIL, has today announced that Data Protection Authorities from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom have respectively launched enforcement actions against Google.

    • Apple co-founder says he admires Edward Snowden as much as Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg

      The Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has backed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and admitted he feels “a little bit guilty” that new technologies had introduced new ways for governments to monitor people.

      “I felt about Edward Snowden the same way I felt about Daniel Ellsberg, who changed my life, who taught me a lot,” he said.

      Speaking to Piers Morgan on CNN he said he was not the kind of person to “just take sides in the world – ‘I’m always against anything government, any three letter agency,’ or ‘I’m for them’.”

    • How to fight PRISM

      Thursday 6 June, the day the PRISM story broke, was a good day to be a cryptographer. The sudden prospect of mass, unwarranted surveillance delivered an electric shock to thousands who were now looking for ways to protect their privacy online. At Cryptocat, we saw nearly 5,000 new individuals starting to use our free encrypted chat software. Other privacy and encryption services saw a rise of as much as 3,000 per cent in new users. – See more at: http://newint.org/blog/2013/06/21/prism-surveillance-nsa-software/#sthash.bP6q2IQe.dpuf

    • Lou Reed: NSA scandal is ‘very disturbing’

      Music veteran also says MP3s ‘sound like shit’ and journalists are ‘very problematic’ in first appearance since liver transplant

    • Lou Reed’s shock at Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations – video
    • Britain’s response to the NSA story? Back off and shut up
    • NSA revelations prompt questions about Australian intelligence agencies

      The independent senator Nick Xenophon is pressing for answers about whether Australian parliamentarians are being watched by intelligence agencies in the wake of revelations in the Guardian about the US Prism programme.

    • NSA Prism programme a game changer on web privacy, says Sir Martin Sorrell

      The founder of the world’s biggest marketing services company, Sir Martin Sorrell, has said he believes revelations about the National Security Agency’s Prism internet surveillance programme are a “game changer” that will spark a fundamental rethink of web privacy by web users.

    • Sir Martin Sorrell: The NSA’s Prism programme surprised even me – video
    • How NSA Spies on US Citizens Revealed in New Leaks

      Leaked documents have revealed how the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) is able to gather and use information on US citizens.

    • NSA surveillance: don’t underestimate the extraordinary power of metadata
    • New NSA Warrantless Tactics Reveal Little Room For Presumption Of Innocence

      The Guardian released new details about the National Security Agency’s spying practices, which reveals how analysts can store vast sums of data without a warrant. Specifically, if the NSA “inadvertently” stumbles upon anything related to a potential crime, it can store the data for later investigations.

      Quite reasonably, the Supreme Court has declared that law enforcement can charge citizens with a crime if it’s being conducted in “plain sight“–e.g. if cops see pot sitting in the passenger seat of a car during a traffic stop. That is, the presumption of innocence doesn’t apply to if police inadvertent witness a crime. Unfortunately, the scope of the presumption of innocence gets tinier as the government’s eyes get bigger.

    • Secret rules let NSA keep U.S. data without warrant

      The National Security Agency may keep Americans’ emails and phone calls if they’re “believed to contain significant foreign intelligence,” secret papers show.

      The world’s largest spy agency may also keep U.S. citizens and legal residents’ domestic communications if NSA analysts believe the communications could suggest evidence of a crime, the documents published Friday by British newspaper The Guardian and The Washington Post indicated.

    • Provisions under which NSA can collect, retain data on U.S. residents revealed

      Two secret documents describing the procedures the National Security Agency (NSA) is required to follow when spying on foreign terror suspects reveal the provisions that allow the agency to collect, retain and use information on U.S residents without a warrant, The Guardian newspaper reported today.

    • ‘Indefinite Surveillance’ Under the 2014 NDAA?

      The National Defense Authorization Act recently approved by the House would build on powers currently available to government to allow unrestricted access to all personal data collected “during combat operations from countries, organizations, or individuals, now or once hostile to the United States,” political analyst Stephen Benavides reports at Truthout.

      The data are known officially as “captured records” and include any kind of personal file belonging to parties deemed to be in conflict with the United States. Of course, the war on terror’s expanding battlefield means those records do not have to be collected outside of the United States.

    • Indefinite Surveillance: Say Hello to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014

      Passed in 1978, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) set the groundwork for surveillance, collection, and analysis of intelligence gathered from foreign powers and agents of foreign powers, up to and including any individual residing within the U.S., who were suspected of involvement in potential terrorist activity. On October 26, 2001, a little over a month after 9/11, President George W. Bush signed the USA Patriot Act into law. Two provisions, Sec. 206, permitting government to obtain secret court orders allowing roving wiretaps without requiring identification of the person, organization, or facility to be surveyed, and Sec. 215 authorizing government to access and obtain “any tangible thing” relevant to a terrorist investigation, transformed foreign intelligence into domestic intelligence.

    • 2014 NDAA Passes the House, With Many Amendments
  • Civil Rights

    • FBI Admits It Surveils U.S. With Drones
    • Brazil protests expand to over one million people
    • Brazil erupts in protest: more than a million on the streets

      The streets of central Rio de Janeiro and dozens of other cities echoed with percussion grenades and swirled with teargas last night as ranks of riot police scattered the biggest demonstrations Brazil has seen for more than two decades.

      As a minority of protesters threw rocks, torched cars and pulled down lamp-posts, the police fired volleys of pepper spray and rubber bullets into the crowd and up onto overpasses where car drivers and bus passengers were stuck in traffic jams. At least 40 people were injured in the city and many more elsewhere.

      A vast crowd – estimated by the authorities at 300,000 and more than a million by participants – filled Rio’s streets, one of a wave of huge nationwide marches against corruption, police brutality, poor public services and excess spending on the World Cup.

    • Brazil’s president meets protests with an anti-Erdogan response

      Protests have popped up across the globe in recent years, but government response has varied. Rousseff’s approach contrasted with the adversarial position of Turkey’s Erdogan, for example.

    • Judges order California to immediately release prisoners

      For decades, California’s political leaders have tried every imaginable approach to dealing with its overcrowded prisons – sending inmates out of state, fighting the federal courts all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, promising more prison beds and insisting that it has done plenty to cut inmate populations and improve health care.

    • Guantánamo force-feeding does not trouble prison doctors

      Calls for the doctors who force-feed hunger-striking prisoners at Guantánamo Bay to refuse to perform the practice on ethical grounds have got nowhere, a spokesman for the prison said on Thursday.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Verizon accused of intentionally slowing Netflix video streaming

      In a user forum on Verizon’s website, a couple users claim their Netflix instant streaming quality has been on the decline. Some claim to continue to experience problems even after contacting Verizon’s customer service agents and working with them to resolve it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Canadian Government Maps Plan for Future Intellectual Property Reform

      The House of Commons may have adjourned for the summer, but just hours before breaking, the government filed its response to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology’s report on the Intellectual Property Regime in Canada. That may sound dry, but the document provides a clear indication of what the government has planned for the coming years on IP reform.

      So what’s in store? Leaving aside an assortment of promised studies on international best practices, improving patent quality, and improving research and development, the government response includes five notable plans (or non-plans).

    • Copyrights

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