01.30.14

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NSA Watch: Climate as ‘Terrorism’, War on Journalism and Anonymity, Anger in Europe and Angry Birds

Posted in News Roundup at 7:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A roundup of yesterday’s and today’s news about the NSA

New Leaks

  • Snowden Docs: U.S. Spied on Negotiators At 2009 Climate Summit

    The document, with portions marked “top secret,” indicates that the NSA was monitoring the communications of other countries ahead of the conference, and intended to continue doing so throughout the meeting. Posted on an internal NSA website on Dec. 7, 2009, the first day of the Copenhagen summit, it states that “analysts here at NSA, as well as our Second Party partners, will continue to provide policymakers with unique, timely, and valuable insights into key countries’ preparations and goals for the conference, as well as the deliberations within countries on climate change policies and negotiation strategies.”

Illegal Collection of ‘Evidence’

  • Defendant challenges DOJ’s use of NSA surveillance

    A man charged with aiding a terrorist organization has asked a U.S. court to throw out information collected by the National Security Agency, saying the NSA’s surveillance of his Internet communications violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Prosecuting Anonymisers

  • Lavabit goes head-to-head with feds in contempt-of-court case

    In oral arguments heard on Tuesday, Lavabit and federal prosecutors each presented their cases in front of a three-judge panel at the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia. The case is an appeal of contempt-of-court charges against Lavabit, a now-defunct e-mail hosting service that once offered secure communication.

    In the summer of 2013, Lavabit was ordered to provide real-time e-mail monitoring of one of its users, widely believed to be Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor-turned-leaker. When Lavabit told the feds that the only way it could hand over communications was through an internal process that would deliver results 60 days after any communication was sent, the authorities returned with a search warrant for Lavabit’s SSL keys, which could decrypt the traffic of all of Lavabit’s users. Ladar Levison, the CEO of Lavabit, handed over the SSL keys but then shut down his 10-year-old business rather than expose all of Lavabit’s users.

War on Journalism

Europe

  • Russia Defers Aid to Ukraine, and Unrest Persists

    A former Ukrainian president warned on Wednesday that the country is now on “the brink of civil war,” and Russia added to the gloom by announcing the suspension of its financial aid package, which was all that had been keeping Ukraine solvent.

    [...]

    Protesters for weeks had suspected that the government was using location data from cellphones near the demonstration to pinpoint people for political profiling, and they received alarming confirmation when a court formally ordered a telephone company to hand over such data.

    Earlier this month, protesters at a clash with riot police officers received text messages on their phones saying they had been “registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

    Then, three cellphone companies — Kyivstar, MTS and Life — denied that they had provided the location data to the government or had sent the text messages. Kyivstar suggested that it was instead the work of a “pirate” cellphone tower set up in the area.

  • 28 January – Data Protection Day
  • Former CIA employee Edward Snowden to be invited to PACE

    Former employee of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Edward Snowden will be invited to the spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), APA’s Europe bureau reports.

  • Angela Merkel rebukes US and Britain over NSA surveillance

    Chancellor says Germany and US still ‘far apart’ on sweeping surveillance and spying activities revealed by Edward Snowden

  • Germany, US ‘far apart’ on NSA: Merkel

    Berlin and Washington are still “far apart” in their views on the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance of Germany but they remain close allies, Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament on Wednesday.

  • German government faces legal action over NSA spying

    The German government and the German Federal Intelligence Service are facing legal action because they allegedly aided the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) data collection program.

  • EU justice minister is as mad as Angry Birds over NSA snooping

    THE EUROPEAN UNION JUSTICE COMMISSIONER has spoken out on Data Protection Day about national security agency surveillance.

US Politics

  • Why Silicon Valley’s NSA deal helps them, but not you

    Ever since leaked NSA documents first started popping up this summer, the battle against NSA surveillance has proceeded on multiple fronts: legislators pushing for new laws, journalists pushing for new stories, and tech companies fighting to regain users’ trust. Yesterday, one of the major fronts closed down. Since July, tech companies had been putting pressure on the Department of Justice, fighting for the right to say more about their interactions with law enforcement. Yesterday they made peace, reaching a settlement and withdrawing a class action suit that had drawn in some of the most powerful companies in America. On this front at least, reformers have likely gotten all they’re going to get.

  • Senator pushes for an end to NSA phone records program

    Senator Patrick Leahy questioned how the Constitution allows the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of U.S. telephone records and repeated his calls for President Barack Obama’s administration to end the program during a hearing Wednesday.

    The Obama administration should heed the recent advice of the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) and end the phone records collection program, said Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.

  • More States Looking To Neutralize The NSA Through Local Legislation

    The NSA’s new data center in Utah has provided the flashpoint for legislation targeted at “nullifying” the agency by cutting off its access to public utilities and/or leveraging the powers granted to states to combat federal government overreach. An activist group known as The Tenth Amendment Center proposed a state law that would cut off the new data center’s much needed water supply, along with any other public utility or service, like sanitation and road repair, in hopes of (at minimum) forcing the NSA to reconsider its collection tactics, or failing that, to find a new home.

Angry Birds

BBC

  • NSA-GCHQ Snowden leaks: A glossary of the key terms

    When the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers published the first of Edward Snowden’s NSA-GCHQ leaks in June, it unleashed a stream of abbreviations, acronyms and jargon describing the cyberspies’ activities.

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