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Death of Privacy: Lync in PRISM, Intel Dodges Questions on Back Doors, WhatsApp Joins PRISM, Censorship/Surveillance

Posted in News Roundup at 10:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News about mass surveillance and privacy, collected over the past 24 hours


  • Microsoft Lync gathers data just like NSA vacuums up info in its domestic surveillance program (as we noted days ago)

    Microsoft’s Lync communications platform gathers enough readily analyzable data to let corporations spy on their employees like the NSA can on U.S. citizens, and it’s based on the same type of information – call details.

  • Writing The Snowden Files: ‘The paragraph began to self-delete’ (don’t use Windows)

    One day last summer – a short while after Edward Snowden revealed himself as the source behind the momentous leak of classified intelligence – the Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger got in touch. Would I write a book on Snowden’s story and that of the journalists working with him? The answer, of course, was yes. At this point Snowden was still in Hong Kong. He was in hiding. He had leaked documents that revealed the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its British equivalent GCHQ were surveilling much of the planet.


    By September the book was going well – 30,000 words done. A Christmas deadline loomed. I was writing a chapter on the NSA’s close, and largely hidden, relationship with Silicon Valley. I wrote that Snowden’s revelations had damaged US tech companies and their bottom line. Something odd happened. The paragraph I had just written began to self-delete. The cursor moved rapidly from the left, gobbling text. I watched my words vanish. When I tried to close my OpenOffice file the keyboard began flashing and bleeping.

  • Intel chief dodges NSA questions in Reddit AMA

    One Redditer asked the Intel chief how the NSA revelations have impacted how Intel looks at hardware security, another asked for a response to questions of the security level of Intel processors. Krzanich issued no response to either question.




  • Why AT&T’s Surveillance Report Omits 80 Million NSA Targets

    AT&T this week released for the first time in the phone company’s 140-year history a rough accounting of how often the U.S. government secretly demands records on telephone customers. But to those who’ve been following the National Security Agency leaks, Ma Bell’s numbers come up short by more than 80 million spied-upon Americans.

    AT&T’s transparency report counts 301,816 total requests for information — spread between subpoenas, court orders and search warrants — in 2013. That includes between 2,000 and 4,000 under the category “national security demands,” which collectively gathered information on about 39,000 to 42,000 different accounts.

    There was a time when that number would have seemed high. Today, it’s suspiciously low, given the disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden about the NSA’s bulk metadata program. We now know that the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is ordering the major telecoms to provide the NSA a firehose of metadata covering every phone call that crosses their networks.

  • The NSA once banned Furbies as a threat to national security

    In 1999, after the Furby craze put tons of these talking toys beneath American Christmas trees, the NSA issued a memo banning them from its offices in Fort Meade. Because the commercials advertised Furbies as “learning” English over time, the folks in charge believed that Furbies contained an internal recording device, and they feared the toys would spill secrets in their cutesy voices. According to a 1999 BBC News article, anyone who came across a Furby on NSA premises was instructed to “contact their Staff Security Office for guidance.”


  • Rand Paul: The NSA is still violating our rights, despite what James Clapper says
  • NSA snooping must not disrupt global Internet governance model, warns EU politician

    Europe must ensure that fears of NSA-style government snooping do not disrupt its multi-stakeholder Internet governance model.

    That’s the verdict from this year’s FTTH Conference in Stockholm, as Sweden’s minister for information technology and energy, Anna-Karin Hatt, spoke candidly about the importance of securing a democratic future for the web.

    “We are all stakeholders in the development of the Internet, with legitimate interests and points-of-view that we want to – and need to – be able to pursue and protect,” she said.

    Hatt added: “The only logical way to continue developing the Internet is to protect and develop the multi-stakeholder model of decision-making we already have – a model that has been tried and proven to work.”

    “The revelations of the capacities and activities of the NSA is not a reason to abandon our multi-stakeholder model.”

  • Mikulski Denounces Bill That Would Deny NSA ‘Material Support’ in Maryland

    Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., isn’t pleased with a bill pending in her state’s legislature that would prohibit state and local support for the National Security Agency.

    The legislation was proposed Feb. 6 by eight Republicans in the 141-member Maryland House of Delegates and would deny the NSA “material support, participation or assistance in any form” from the state, its political subdivisions and companies with state contracts.

  • 15 Ways to Make Sense of Calls for NSA Reform

New PRISM Additions

Induced Censorship

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