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08.24.13

The NSA ‘Violates’ Society Worldwide, But We Need to Fight It, Not Surrender to It

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke

Summary: A roundup of the latest NSA violations and what they mean to us

GROKLAW wrote a heart-breaking post, but I do not share Pamela’s views when it comes to the response. When anonymous E-mail services decided to shut down it was supposed to protect the services legally and also protect the users’ privacy. With Groklaw it is an inherently different problem, so comparing the shutdowns is impossible. As early as 2006 or 2007 myself and others in Techrights advised Pamela to encrypt her mails (I sent her around 1,000 messages), but she declined. When it comes to setting things up to receive encrypted mail on her Apple Mac, that too was not embraced. So in a way, E-mail privacy cannot be truly blamed; not when you’re refusing to embrace privacy-preserving hooks which are fully facilitated. My wife and I donated to Groklaw some months ago, but this wasn’t enough to keep the site going.

In any event, several months ago (before the NSA leaks) we asked readers if we should increase focus on privacy. Techrights helped defeat Novell, Microsoft is now rather feeble (poor prospects), software patents are not quite spreading as quickly as we feared, and Linux is a victor through Android, with GNU and Free software becoming so commonplace that they are taken for granted and hardly even named anymore (they are definitely more widely used than ever before).

Once in a day or two we will try to summarise the latest NSA abuses, highlighting everything which readers ought to know about the Espionage Department which has bases all around the world, protecting the empire and surveying populations in secrecy (it has to remain secret because it’s illegal, alas with no accountability).

Today’s most troubling story shows that the war on Tor is advancing [1], banning IP masking under some circumstances. The NSA would absolutely love that, criminalising Web use that subverts surveillance.

The second bunch of articles proved that the NSA deliberately broke the law, with impunity of course [2-8]. Obama tried to hide it on their behalf [9-10]. Some “Hope”, eh?

FAIR TV covered some of the latest [11] and we also found the CIA approaching the NSA’s territories [12-13] (remember when IBM helped the Nazis put ‘barcodes’ on people after surveying them?).

The latest revelations are likely to change legal cases [14-15] and some fake “investigations” are being used by government in an attempt to suppress scrutiny from the outside [16-19]. Some ‘investigators’ are from the CIA. That sure inspires confidence. Interestingly enough, the New York Times predicted 3 decades ago that this would happen [20-23]. NSA employees correctly feel like they are above the law [24].

According to Snowden, the ‘Independent‘ is now ‘leaking’ on behalf of Britain’s (NSA’s) GCHQ and the United States, trying to subvert publication by The Guardian [25-29].

Politicians and plutocrats still try to evoke “9/11″ to justify the NSA’s abusive acts [30-31] while Julian Assange deals a blow to the Chairman of Google, Mr. Schmidt [32]. There are a couple more posts that deal with general issues (not news) [33-34] and pro-FOSS sites cover these matters, also addressing no news in particular [35-37].

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. US court rules masking IP address to access blocked Website violates law

    But the verdict is probably far narrower in its implications that some believe. Still, it’s a troubling decision about a controversial law.

  2. The Trickle of NSA Revelations Now Includes Intentional Privacy Violations

    The giant jigsaw puzzle that is the NSA-led surveillance state had a few more pieces added on Friday, including the revelation that NSA analysts have intentionally violated privacy protections on multiple occasions.

    Despite repeated and adamant claims from the security agencies and members of Congress that any such violations have been accidental or technical, Bloomberg reports that’s not always the case.

  3. NSA analysts deliberately broke rules to spy on Americans, agency reveals

    US intelligence analysts have deliberately broken rules designed to prevent them from spying on Americans, according to an admission by the National Security Agency that undermines fresh insistences from Barack Obama on Friday that all breaches were inadvertent.

    A report by the NSA’s inspector general is understood to have uncovered a number of examples of analysts choosing to ignore so-called “minimisation procedures” aimed at protecting privacy, according to officials speaking to Bloomberg.

  4. NSA employees spied on their lovers using eavesdropping programme
  5. NSA officers ‘spy on love interests’

    NSA officers have been using agency tools to keep tabs on their partner or spouse for at least the past decade, according to a Wall Street Journal report Friday. The spying isn’t often, but is has been given its own code name, according to the Journal, ‘LOVEINT.’

  6. NSA admits rare willful surveillance violations
  7. NSA analysts ‘wilfully’ skirted policy to spy on Americans, agency admits
  8. NSA Admits: Okay, Okay, There Have Been A Bunch Of Intentional Abuses, Including Spying On Love Interests

    So, this week, we wrote about the NSA quietly admitting that there had been intentional abuses of its surveillance infrastructure, despite earlier claims by NSA boss Keith Alexander and various folks in Congress that there had been absolutely no “intentional” abuses. Late on Friday (of course) the NSA finally put out an official statement admitting to an average of one intentional abuser per year over the past ten years. The AP is reporting that at least one of the abuses involved an NSA employee spying on a former spouse.

  9. NSA report reveals some agents abused power, while Obama says improvements needed
  10. NSA Admits Abusing Spy Powers, Contradicts Obama, NSA Head, Members of Congress

    The National Security Agency (NSA) admitted today that some NSA employees have abused their power to spy on the American people.

    This statement contradicts President Obama, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and National Security Agency head Army General Keith Alexander, who have all denied the NSA has abused its spying powers on Americans.

  11. FAIR TV: Snowden the ‘Spy,’ Stop-and-Frisk Factcheck, Student Loan Rates
  12. CIA Wrestles With Analytics Challenges

    While there is a lot of controversy these days about the amount of data that the National Security Agency and other intelligence groups are collecting, analyzing all that data in ways that make it actionable is still a major challenge, regardless of how omnipotent an organization is perceived to be.

  13. Amazon legal filing flames IBM’s ‘materially deficient’ CIA cloud

    Redacted document reveals seething hatred in spook cloud battle

  14. Ruling Reveals NSA Lies to Courts, Congress About Scope of Surveillance

    In an 85-page ruling handed down by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (commonly known as the FISA court) judge John D. Bates, the NSA was called out “for repeatedly misleading the court that oversees its surveillance on domestic soil, including a program that is collecting tens of thousands of domestic e-mails and other Internet communications of Americans each year,” the New York Times reported on Thursday.

  15. Latest NSA revelations could help pending lawsuits

    On Wednesday, the Obama administration released three opinions issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

  16. NSA Abuses of Spying Power Probed by U.S. Lawmakers

    The leaders of U.S. congressional intelligence committees said they want to probe the intentional abuses of surveillance authority committed by some National Security Agency analysts in the past decade.

    [...]

    Most of the cases didn’t involve the communications of Americans, Feinstein said.

  17. Three Illusory “Investigations” of the NSA Spying Are Unable to Succeed

    Since the revelations of confirmed National Security Agency spying in June, three different “investigations” have been announced. One by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), another by the Director of National Intelligence, Gen. James Clapper, and the third by the Senate Intelligence Committee, formally called the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI).

  18. White House picks names for NSA review panel, led by former CIA chief

    The White House has named its choices for the NSA review panel, charged with investigating data collection practices in the wake of the Snowden leaks. According to an ABC News report, the panel will be lead by Michael Morell, who served as acting director of the CIA until March of this year. Morell will be joined on the panel by legal scholar Cass Sunstein, State Department veteran Richard Clarke, and privacy advocate Peter Swire. The group plans to file an interim report to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in 60 days, followed by a full report to be filed by the end of the year. As per earlier White House statements, the panel will not officially report to Clapper, but file its findings directly to the president.

  19. Obama Appoints Four White House Insiders To NSA Review Panel

    Two weeks ago today, President Obama proposed a number of reforms to the NSA and FISA court in response to the Snowden leak. The reforms were largely cosmetic changes meant to give the illusion of real change, but there was one proposal that could actually do some good. He proposed the creation of an independent review board that would determine if the NSA ever overstepped its boundaries.

  20. The New York Times Predicted the NSA Scandal 30 Years Ago
  21. This Incredible Last Paragraph From A 1983 New York Times Article Predicted The NSA Scandal
  22. No laws define the limits of NSA’s power – David Burnham, 1983
  23. The silent power of the NSA, circa 1983
  24. NSA admits to some deliberate privacy violations

    Despite characterizations of domestic data-gathering as accidental, the agency says some of its analysts engaged in “willful violations” of legal restrictions.

  25. Exclusive: UK’s secret Mid-East internet surveillance base is revealed in Edward Snowden leaks

    Data-gathering operation is part of a £1bn web project still being assembled by GCHQ

  26. Four ways the Guardian could have protected Snowden – by THE NSA
  27. Edward Snowden: Guardian and Independent Row over NSA and GCHQ Middle East Leaks

    The Guardian and the Independent newspapers are embroiled in a row over the latter’s exclusive story which claims the UK runs a secret internet monitoring station in the Middle East to intercept data on behalf of Britain’s GCHQ and America’s National Security Agency (NSA).

  28. Snowden accuses UK government of leaking documents about itself in smear campaign

    This morning, Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden responded, bluntly denying that Snowden had worked with The Independent and suggesting that the UK government intentionally leaked information in a smear campaign. “I have never spoken with, worked with, or provided any journalistic materials to the Independent. The journalists I have worked with have, at my request, been judicious and careful in ensuring that the only things disclosed are what the public should know but that does not place any person in danger,” said Snowden in a statement. While Snowden has revealed details of several surveillance programs, he has stopped short of describing anything as concrete as a base location.

  29. NSA leaks reveal UK passes ‘snoop-data’ through secret Middle East station

    London: The leaked NSA documents have brought forth another key element to the US’ mega ‘snoop-op’ suggesting that UK’s spy agency runs a secret internet monitoring station in the Middle East and passes the surveillance data through its channel and shares it with the US.

  30. The Defense of NSA Spying that Wasn’t

    Mueller vaguely cited “various programs,” giving them a retroactive chance of preventing “a part of 9/11.” But even this defense of post-9/11 powers is insufficient.

    [...]

    That absence of foresight is a twin with retrospective assessments like Mueller’s, which fail to account for the fact that nobody knew ahead of 9/11 what devastation might occur. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, everybody knew what such an attack could cause, and everybody began responding to the problem of terrorism.

    Would Patriot Act programs have prevented at least a part of 9/11? Almost certainly not, given pre-9/11 perceptions that terrorism was at the low end of threats to safety and security. A dozen years since 9/11, terrorism is again at the low end of threats to safety and security because of multiplicitous efforts worldwide and among all segments of society. It is not Patriot Act programs and certainly not mass domestic surveillance that make us safe. Even Mueller didn’t defend NSA spying.

  31. NSA spied on Americans to prevent another 9/11 attack, Bloomberg reports

    About 10 times in the past decade, National Security Agency employees intentionally abused access to the organization’s surveillance systems to spy on Americans, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.

  32. Google and the NSA: Who’s holding the ‘shit-bag’ now?

    So just how close is Google to the US securitocracy? Back in 2011 I had a meeting with Eric Schmidt, the then Chairman of Google, who came out to see me with three other people while I was under house arrest. You might suppose that coming to see me was gesture that he and the other big boys at Google were secretly on our side: that they support what we at WikiLeaks are struggling for: justice, government transparency, and privacy for individuals. But that would be a false supposition. Their agenda was much more complex, and as we found out, was inextricable from that of the US State Department. The full transcript of our meeting is available online through the WikiLeaks website.

    The pretext for their visit was that Schmidt was then researching a new book, a banal tome which has since come out as The New Digital Age. My less than enthusiastic review of this book was published in the New York Times in late May of this year. On the back of that book are a series of pre-publication endorsements: Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Michael Hayden (former head of the CIA and NSA) and Tony Blair. Inside the book Henry Kissinger appears once again, this time given pride of place in the acknowledgements.

  33. US publishes revealing review on NSA surveillance

    Surveillance conducted by the NSA under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act was unconstitutional and violated ‘the spirit’ of federal law, the ruling found.

  34. This NSA Twitter Parody Account Is Both Hilarious And Upsetting

    When the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence launched its Tumblr account and accompanying Twitter feed two days ago, it was a little hard to believe that transparency initiative would truly shed light on the inner workings of the country’s spy programs. As with many of the recent National Security Agency developments, an online parody was born. And it’s pretty good, if not a bit unsettling.

  35. The End of the Internet…
  36. Paranoia Optimization for Our Modern Times
  37. Groklaw, Domestic Surveillance and the True Measure of Risk
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