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Privacy Links 10/2/2013: State Surveillance, Private Surveillance, and ‘Dirty Tricks’

Posted in News Roundup at 4:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News which shows the importance of privacy (collected during the weekend and early Monday)

  • Snowden Docs: British Spies Used Sex and ‘Dirty Tricks’

    British spies have developed “dirty tricks” for use against nations, hackers, terror groups, suspected criminals and arms dealers that include releasing computer viruses, spying on journalists and diplomats, jamming phones and computers, and using sex to lure targets into “honey traps.”

    Documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden and exclusively obtained by NBC News describe techniques developed by a secret British spy unit called the Joint Threat Research and Intelligence Group (JTRIG) as part of a growing mission to go on offense and attack adversaries ranging from Iran to the hacktivists of Anonymous. According to the documents, which come from presentations prepped in 2010 and 2012 for NSA cyber spy conferences, the agency’s goal was to “destroy, deny, degrade [and] disrupt” enemies by “discrediting” them, planting misinformation and shutting down their communications.

  • New bill demands that smartphones have “kill switch” in case of theft

    A California state legislator has introduced SB 962, a bill that would require smartphones sold in the state to include a “kill switch” that would “render inoperable” the phone if it’s not in the possession of the rightful owner.

  • PGP Web of Trust: Core Concepts Behind Trusted Communication

    If you’ve ever used Linux, you’ve most likely used OpenPGP without even realizing it. The open-source implementation of OpenPGP is called GnuPG (stands for “GNU Privacy Guard”), and nearly all distributions rely on GnuPG for package integrity verification. Next time you run “yum install” or “yum update”, each package will be verified against its cryptographic signature before it is allowed to be installed on your system. This assures that the software has not been altered between the time it was cryptographically signed by distribution developers on the master server, and the time it was downloaded to your system.

  • NBC News’ Richard Engel: My Computers, Cellphone Were Hacked ‘Almost Immediately’ In Sochi

    NBC News’ Richard Engel said that upon arriving in Russia to cover the upcoming event, he was hacked “almost immediately” — and privacy is not something visitors should expect to have.

  • Police will have ‘backdoor’ access to health records despite opt-out, says MP

    David Davis says police would be able to approach central NHS database without a warrant as critics warn of catastrophic breach of trust

  • Don’t Spy On Us – Help get the word out!

    On Tuesday, internet users all over the world are standing up to say no to GCHQ and the NSA’s mass surveillance. Over the last eight months we’ve heard plenty about how intelligence agencies monitor us on the Internet.

  • The People Vs the NSA
  • Tuesday declared ‘The Day we Fight Back’ against NSA et al

    A broad coalition of technology companies and activist groups has declared Tuesday, February 11th 2014 has been “The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance”.

  • Media sometimes try, fail to keep NSA’s secrets

    News organizations publishing leaked National Security Agency documents have inadvertently disclosed the names of at least six intelligence workers and other government secrets they never intended to give away, an Associated Press review has found.

  • Media has disclosed intelligence workers names in NSA coverage
  • An Open Letter to Advertisers in the NSA Era

    Along these lines, a recent Pew Internet Center survey found that the clear majority of respondents are making great efforts to mask their identities online. Looking at this data, we need to be frank: We have long had a contentious relationship with the public, and this fundamentally doesn’t help any brand’s bottom line. In the interest of rebuilding consumer trust, which is so essential to the bottom line, we need to be proactive about addressing privacy concerns in personalization, targeting and measurement.

  • Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The NSA

    Even before the Snowden leaks of last year, the EFF had their suspicions in regards to what the NSA was up to. The group even tried to get the government to spill the beans a few times through lawsuits that never went anyway. As you can imagine, the Snowden leaks helped their cause greatly, and now they’re trying to educate the public on just how far the NSA goes.

  • Google, Facebook, Microsoft hire first anti-NSA lobbyist in Washington

    Technology powers like Apple and Google have coalesced to register a lobbyist in Washington to focus on government surveillance reform in an effort to maintain credibility following NSA spying disclosures that often implicated them as accomplices.

  • More NSA outrage: spying violates attorney-client privilege

    Reporter Nick Nicharios asks a very simple but extremely important question in his latest article for The Nation: “Has the NSA wiretapping violated attorney-client privilege?” Evidence leaked by Edward Snowden seems to prove just that when it comes to some terrorism cases. Nick Nicharios talks to host Rob Sachs about how in many cases there was no clear protocol as to when to turn off the monitoring of phone calls, which has led to monitoring of phone calls between lawyers and their clients.

  • Turning table on NSA, US diplomats’ phone call is bugged, leaked to YouTube

    US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine, clearly thought they were speaking on a secure line when discussing the political unrest in Ukraine and how the US government should help resolve the crisis. At one point during the January 25 call, Nuland colorfully rejected recent overtures from European Union leaders by telling her colleague: “Fuck the EU.”

  • Protesters Take to the Web to Address NSA Surveillance Concerns

    Thousands are scheduled to gather on Tuesday to protest the surveillance state, but don’t expect any news of riots at the White House gates or marches on the National Mall.

  • How Hackers and Software Companies are Beefing Up NSA Surveillance

    Imagine that you could wander unseen through a city, sneaking into houses and offices of your choosing at any time, day or night. Imagine that, once inside, you could observe everything happening, unnoticed by others—from the combinations used to secure bank safes to the clandestine rendezvous of lovers. Imagine also that you have the ability to silently record everybody’s actions, whether they are at work or play without leaving a trace. Such omniscience could, of course, make you rich, but perhaps more important, it could make you very powerful.

  • Torvald’s Thumbs Up, Gates’ Computer Skills & More…

    In more Snowden news, we learned on Wednesday from PCWorld that the Brit spy agency GCHQ has been engaging in a game of tit-for-tat with the hacker groups Anonymous and LulzSec. Evidently they’ve used DDOS attacks and other techniques to an attempt to disrupt the organizations activities. They’ve also managed to do a bit of infiltrating.

  • NSA Whistleblower Thomas DrakeTranscript: Obama’s NSA Policy, Benghazi, 911, Problems with NSA…

    In 2010 the government alleged that Drake mishandled documents, one of the few such espionage cases in the US history, where he was tried under the Espionage Act. The fact is that 60 Minutes did a story on him and shortly after, almost every single charge was dropped except for “misuse of a computer”, for which Drake paid incredibly dearly. So, we’re going to talk about a whole lot of topics about NSA, about the President’s new speech today and a whole lot more.

  • Former NSA official Thomas Drake to speak at Tacoma event

    Drake since has traveled the nation talking about government surveillance efforts and his contention that they violate the U.S. Constitution and the fundamental rights of all Americans.

  • Websites look to ‘harness the outrage’

    Thousands of websites on Tuesday will take a stand against government surveillance by plastering protests across their home pages.

    Tech companies and civil liberties organizations are hoping the demonstration, called The Day We Fight Back, will replicate their success in defeating the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) in 2012.

  • Facebook leaks Private Messages by because of Typo

    Facebook is not secure after all, as users of this social network, we have private settings where by we can change our private setting and regulate the people who can see our personal information and those who are not allowed to see the information. But is this truly what happens.

  • What Facebook knows about you

    Facebook has spent the past 10 years building a business upon your personal information.

  • Yet Another Surveillance Tool in FBI Hands. But How Are They Using It?

    Yesterday, we filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI asking for details about a surveillance tool we know too little about, called a port reader. According to news reports, port readers copy entire emails and instant messages as they move through networks, in real time. They then delete the contents of the messages, leaving only the “metadata” — the sender, recipient, and time of a message, and maybe even the location from which it was sent — behind for the government. According to the same reports, the FBI is taking steps to install port readers on the networks of major U.S. phone and Internet companies, going so far as to make threats of contempt of court to providers that don’t cooperate.

  • Overhead: New Photos of the NSA and Other Top Intelligence Agencies Revealed for First Time
  • Rep. Peter King: Security Reforms At The NSA Will Prevent Future Snowdens

    Following a stinging report in the New York Times explaining how Edward Snowden was able to collect his trove of top-secret government documents, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y) this morning took to the Sunday show Face The Nation to make the following claim (full transcript): “A lot that have has been changed; there is monitoring now of what goes on. Snowden would not be able to do it again in the future.”

  • States Step Up Efforts to Stymie NSA Surveillance

    Ironically, as many conservatives have given up hope on nullification as a way to fight back against federal overreach, several national news stories are highlighting those very state efforts.

    For example, in a big story for February 5, the Associated Press reports, “State lawmakers around the nation are proposing bills to curtail the powers of law enforcement to monitor and track citizens.”

    The message from these states to Capitol Hill, the story says, is “if you don’t take action to strengthen privacy, we will.”

  • Shunned as NSA Advisers, Academics Question Their Ties to the Agency
  • NSA Maintains Secret ‘Five Eyes’ Satellite Facility In Israel – OpEd

    If this is the message, it’s not being broadcast in a way that will find a receptive ear in Washington. American spooks don’t like their cover blown, no matter the reason or motivation. If Bibi thought this would make a positive impression on the Obama administration, he’s naïve. But my guess is that this isn’t intended for Obama’s ears. It’s intended as ammunition for the Lobby in making its case both about Iran sanctions and the Kerry peace talks. Members on Capitol Hill can use this new development as grist for the pro-Israel mill in their future Israel-related legislative deliberations.

    This is yet another example of how out of synch Israel is with the U.S. administration. Bibi speaks over Obama’s head instead of directly to him. There is no direct communication. No point of common contact.

  • Wave of NSA Reports Strain Ties With Europe

    A furor in Europe over new reports of National Security Agency surveillance is undermining U.S. efforts to move beyond the affair and has thrown plans for a trans-Atlantic trade agreement into question just weeks before talks are scheduled to resume.

    U.S. officials, including President Barack Obama, have engaged in a diplomatic offensive in recent weeks aimed at putting European fears over the data collection to rest. But a wave of European media reports based on information provided by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden have provided further details of the U.S. surveillance programs, confounding Washington’s efforts.

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