02.07.14

Links 7/2/2013: Surveillance, Censorship, Police Abuses, and Collusion Against Citizens

Posted in News Roundup at 11:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Privacy/Surveillance

  • More than 4,000 groups sign up to protest NSA

    More than 4,000 groups and websites have signed on to support a day of protest against U.S. National Security Agency surveillance programs, scheduled for Tuesday.

  • Fighting Back Against the N.S.A., Websites Organize to Protest the N.S.A. Surveillance

    Due to the overwhelming concern and outrage regarding all of the N.S.A. surveillance that has come to light in recent months, internet users and groups are taking a strong arm “internet approach”, and plan to fight back. February 11th has been designated as The Day We Fight Back against mass surveillance from the N.S.A.

  • Swatch chief executive ticked off about NSA spying scandal

    The eccentric chief executive officer of Swatch Group, one of the world’s top watchmakers, was so incensed by recent allegations of mass U.S. spying that he chastised a top New York official over the matter in a letter late last year.

  • FISA Court Approves Changes To The NSA
  • The Center for American Progress and the Nullify NSA Movement

    The premise of Offnow is local legislation in states, counties, and universities to make it policy to dis-invest in mass surveillance. Twelve state legislatures have introduced versions of the 4th Amendment Act (Alaska, Arizona, California, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington). The big target is Utah, home of the huge Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, where the provision of 1.7 million gallons of water by the state every day cools the huge supercomputers.

  • Back to the Future With the NSA

    In no time, helped by these brilliant minds, I figured out that the AI “secret” would be a military affair, and that meant the National Security Agency – already in the mid-1980s vaguely known as “no such agency”, with double the CIA’s annual budget and snooping the whole planet. The mission back then was to penetrate and monitor the global electronic net – that was years before all the hype over the “information highway” – and at the same time reassure the Pentagon over the inviolability of its lines of communication. For those comrades – remember, the Cold War, even with Gorbachev in power in the USSR, was still on – AI was a gift from God (beating Pope Francis by almost three decades).

    So what was the Pentagon/NSA up to, at the height of the star wars hype, and over a decade and a half before the Revolution in Military Affairs and the Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine?

    They already wanted to control their ships and planes and heavy weapons with their voices, not their hands; voice command just like Hal, the star computer in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Still, that was a faraway dream. Minsky believed “only in the next century” we would be able to talk to a computer. Others believed that would never happen. Anyway, IBM was already working on a system accepting dictation, and MIT on another system identifying words spoken by different people, while Intel was developing a special chip for all this.

  • Glassholes: A Mini NSA on Your Face, Recorded by the Spy Agency

    A new app will allow total strangers to ID you and pull up all your information…

  • NSA foe Greenwald, eBay’s Omidyar to launch digital magazine next week

    The digital magazine’s “initial focus will be in-depth reporting on the classified documents previously provided” by Snowden, according to Omidyar and former Rolling Stone Executive Editor Eric Bates, who posted a brief item about the launch on the First Look Media Web site today. Bates had been previously announced as a First Look team member, along with a handful of others.

  • Orwell Would Be Proud: NSA Defender Explains How Even Though NSA Spies On Americans, It’s OK To Say They Don’t

    Got that? Because there are some limitations on all the spying they do on Americans, and it’s too complicated to understand those limitations, so it’s okay to lie and say they don’t spy on Americans. Of course, in the very next paragraph, Wittes tries to effectively brush away the massive amount of surveillance done on Americans.

  • Between Illegality and Incompetence: Otis Pike and the NSA

    History is by some marvels of anti-institutional warriors. Now, the names of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden tend to find copy and coverage, leakers and soldiers against tight lipped secrecy. But last month, when former New York Congressman Otis G. Pike died, there was barely a murmur. Obituaries proved few in number. Most were colourless and unreflective.

    As Mark Ames of Pando Daily (Feb 4) quite rightly pointed out, the barely reported, and unremarked death of that great challenger of the national security complex was stunning, a “teachable moment” even as the Snowden snowstorm continues its effects. Such a moment was “probably not lost on today’s already spineless political class.” Wither, sadly, the denizens of genuine reform.

  • Dutch agency was intercepting phone data, not the NSA

    Dutch government ministers have admitted that it was not the American National Security Agency (NSA) that intercepted data from millions of Dutch phone calls in late 2012/early 2013, as was reported in October 2013.

  • Germany’s Protonet to protect servers from NSA

    Co-founder of German company Protonet, Ali Jelveh, poses with a server at their headquarters in Hamburg, January 30. Protonet and many other start-ups in the country offer data security “made in Germany” after former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden alleged the NSA is engaged in industrial espionage and put software in almost 100,000 computers around the world. Picture taken January 30.

  • Putting the German govt in dock over surveillance may strike back at NSA

    Founded over thirty years ago in Berlin, the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) is an institution in Europe. The CCC is Europe’s largest association of hackers, known for its annual shindig, the Chaos Communication Congress, as well as its involvement in numerous campaigns to raise awareness of digital security gaps, be these lapses in corporate software development or government-controlled spyware. Always imbued with a strong pro-privacy and anti-censorship orientation (previous members include Wau Holland and former Wikileaks spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg), Edward Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance in Germany have unsurprisingly proven of pivotal interest to the CCC’s membership.

  • Jean-Jacques Quisquater on Alleged NSA-GCHQ Hack
  • NSA is collecting less than 30 percent of U.S. call data, officials say

    The National Security Agency is collecting less than 30 percent of all Americans’ call records because of an inability to keep pace with the explosion in cellphone use, according to current and former U.S. officials.

    The disclosure contradicts popular perceptions that the government is sweeping up virtually all domestic phone data. It is also likely to raise questions about the efficacy of a program that is premised on its breadth and depth, on collecting as close to a complete universe of data as possible in order to make sure that clues aren’t missed in counterterrorism investigations.

  • Selling Your Secrets

    There are three broad ways that these software companies collaborate with the state: a National Security Agency program called “Bullrun” through which that agency is alleged to pay off developers like RSA, a software security firm, to build “backdoors” into our computers; the use of “bounty hunters” like Endgame and Vupen that find exploitable flaws in existing software like Microsoft Office and our smartphones; and finally the use of data brokers like Millennial Media to harvest personal data on everybody on the Internet, especially when they go shopping or play games like Angry Birds, Farmville, or Call of Duty.

  • Travel to Sochi for the Olympics, Get Hacked?

    If you’re headed to Sochi for the Winter Olympics, it might be best to stay off the grid.

    The State Department has already warned travelers that they should have no expectation of privacy while in Russia. And now, NBC’s Richard Engel has demonstrated just how easy it is to get hacked while at the games.

  • Does Twitter Give Data to NSA?

    The microblogging service released new statistics Thursday on the amount of information it hands over to governments and the number of posts it removes at their request. (Governments worldwide are asking for more data, and Twitter removes relatively few, though some, posts in certain countries.)

  • 30-Second Tech Trick: How to Delete Your Facebook Account

Censorship

Police

TPP

  • FSF: Anti-Fast Track mobilization to be extended after more than half a million people take action

    Yesterday, a diverse network of organizations opposing Fast Track legislation, including the Free Software Foundation, announced they are extending their ten days of activism following massive and widespread public action. Since its inception on January 22nd, more than a hundred new groups have joined the effort at StopFastTrack.com, including Coalition for a Prosperous America, Ben & Jerry’s, SumOfUs, Democracy for America, Friends of the Earth, Namecheap, and CREDO — adding to an already impressive, and unlikely, list of groups like reddit, Sierra Club, AFL-CIO, MoveOn, LabelGMOs, and Fight for the Future.

  • Exclusive: EU ready to lift duties on most U.S. goods for trade pact

    The European Union will offer to lift tariffs on nearly all goods imported from the United States as part of negotiations towards the world’s largest free-trade deal, people familiar with the proposal have told Reuters.

    The offer will be made on Monday, a week ahead of face-to-face talks between EU trade chief Karel De Gucht and his U.S. counterpart Michael Froman in Washington, they said.

  • Tea Party teams with union leaders to fight Obama’s trade plan

    “This is one of those issues that 90 percent of the left and 90 percent of the right agree on,” Judson Phillips, president of Tea Party Nation, said.

    Obama dismayed union allies last week when he called for Congress to pass trade promotion authority legislation in his State of the Union address.

    The authority, which was last given to former President George W. Bush, would prevent Congress from amending trade deals in exchange for the administration achieving specific negotiating objectives. It also would impose time limits on congressional consideration of trade agreements.

    The authority is thought to make it much easier to negotiate trade deals, because foreign partners have more certainty that the deals will become U.S. law.

  • Studies Reveal Consensus: Trade Flows during “Free Trade” Era Have Exacerbated U.S. Income Inequality

    Tonight President Obama is expected to address two linked subjects in his State of the Union address: the historic rise in U.S. income inequality and a trade policy agenda that threatens to exacerbate inequality. As we’ve repeatedly pointed out, Obama cannot have it both ways: he cannot propose to close the yawning income gap while pushing to Fast Track through Congress a controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “free trade” deal that would widen the gap. The TPP would expand the status quo “free trade” model that study after study has found to be an increasingly significant contributor to U.S. income inequality.

Copyrights

  • Judge Understands BitTorrent, Kills Mass Piracy Lawsuits

    In the U.S. roughly half a million people have been sued for sharing copyrighted files in recent years, but filing of mass-lawsuits is not getting easier. A federal judge in Iowa has just issued a key order which makes mass-BitTorrent piracy lawsuits virtually impossible. The judge ruled that copyright holders can’t join multiple defendants in one suit, since there is no proof that they shared files with each other.

  • One Week Left To Give Input To Future European Copyright Monopoly Law

    The European Commission is planning an overhaul of the copyright monopoly laws in Europe, and is asking the public for input. The deadline for such input is February 5, one week from now. Activists have made it as easy as possible for you to submit meaningful input.

  • Crowdsourcing A List Of How Disney Uses The Public Domain

    We’ve written plenty of times about the importance of the public domain around here, and one of the biggest beneficiaries of the public domain has been Disney, a company which has regularly mined the public domain for the stories it then recreates and copyrights. Of course, somewhat depressingly, Disney also has been one of the most extreme players in keeping anything new out of the public domain, as pointed out by Tom Bell’s excellent “mickey mouse curve” showing how Disney has sought to push out the term of copyrights every time Mickey Mouse gets near the public domain.

  • Pirate Bay Founder’s Detention Extended, Investigation Continues

    Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm had his custody extended for four more weeks during a behind-closed-doors court hearing today. The investigation into Gottfrid’s alleged hacking activities is still ongoing, with the prosecution today revealing that police records obtained during the hack may have been transferred to servers abroad.

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