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Intelligence Abuses: Ombudsman Spied on, Phone Data Sold, Bugging by Media, Espionage, Monarchy, PRISM, Lawsuits…

Posted in News Roundup at 3:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News from the past couple of days, focusing on privacy, surveillance, and abuses of power

Ombudsman (Ireland)

  • Irish Police Ombudsman Office Bugged by Irish Police?

    Two weeks ago, the Sunday Times in Ireland broke a story claiming that the offices of the scrutiny body that monitors the Irish police force had been bugged. It has remained the main story in Ireland ever since. There are some elements of the story which appear undeniable. Sources close to this increasingly complex Dublin scandal are persuaded that there was a surveillance operation. Even government insiders are speculating privately about who may have been behind it, despite the justice minister publicly questioning whether it existed at all.

  • Dublin bugging scandal: Hi-tech surveillance and intrigue



  • Lipnitskaia’s coach blames Russian media for skater’s disappointing performance

    Eteri Tutberidze said reporters bugged the locker room at Lipnitskaia’s practice rink in Moscow with listening devices after the 15-year-old left the Winter Games to train for the ladies individual competition. The coach also accused the media of stalking Lipnitskaia’s family in her hometown of Nizhny Bardym, a village in the Ural Mountains with a population of just 300.


  • U.S. now bugging German ministers in place of Merkel – report

    The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has stepped up its surveillance of senior German government officials since being ordered by Barack Obama to halt its spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bild am Sonntag paper reported on Sunday.

    Revelations last year about mass U.S. surveillance in Germany, in particular of Merkel’s mobile phone, shocked Germans and sparked the most serious dispute between the transatlantic allies in a decade.

  • NSA now spying on German ministers instead of Chancellor Angela Merkel: Report

    The United States National Security Agency (NSA) has stepped up its surveillance of senior German government officials since being ordered by Barack Obama to halt its spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel, the German Bild am Sonntag paper reported on Sunday.

  • NSA still spying on hundreds of Germany’s political and economic elite

    Far from giving up on its habit, the US National Security Agency is reportedly still wiretapping some 320 prominent German economists and politicians. Although President Barack Obama has allegedly delivered on his promise to leave German Chancellor Angela Merkel alone, America’s omnipresent spy agency is still keeping tabs on hundreds of her compatriots, the crème de la crème of the German political and economic world, including Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière. This is according to the Bild am Sonntag.

  • Germany Embraces Creation of European Data Networks as Shield from NSA

    Still upset over the U.S. spying on her phone, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced this week that her country would consider establishing new data networks based in Europe that could shield individuals’ private communications from National Security Agency (NSA) prying.


  • Patriotic geek who blew the whistle on the NSA

    On December 3rd last year the editor of the Guardian newspaper, Alan Rusbridger, was questioned by the House of Commons select committee on home affairs. Its chairman, Keith Vaz, perhaps hoping to start Rusbridger off on an easy one, asked if he loved his country. It was an odd, and oddly un-British, question, and Rusbridger, frequently described as unflappable, admitted to surprise before declaring that, yes, he and his journalists saw themselves as patriots.

  • Queen and Prince Charles using power of veto over new laws, Whitehall documents reveal

    The Queen and Prince Charles are using their little-known power of veto over new laws more than was previously thought, according to Whitehall documents.

  • Secret papers show extent of senior royals’ veto over bills

    The extent of the Queen and Prince Charles’s secretive power of veto over new laws has been exposed after Downing Street lost its battle to keep information about its application secret.

    Whitehall papers prepared by Cabinet Office lawyers show that overall at least 39 bills have been subject to the most senior royals’ little-known power to consent to or block new laws. They also reveal the power has been used to torpedo proposed legislation relating to decisions about the country going to war.


PRISM Dropbox

  • Dropbox Addresses NSA Surveillance Fears in New Privacy Policy

    Dropbox has updated its privacy policy to address privacy concerns about the National Security Agency’s requests for user data.

  • Dropbox Addresses Government Spying

    Dropbox, a cloud storage app the government recommends for federal teleworkers, has revised its privacy policy to address concerns about other federal workers spying on users’ data.

    The new policy, which goes into effect March 24, acknowledges that Dropbox might share user data with outsiders to comply with the law, “if we determine that such disclosure is reasonably necessary.” An email to users immediately adds that the company will follow its own Government Request Principles, guidance that obliquely antagonizes the National Security Agency and includes fighting requests for bulk data.

PRISM WhatsApp


  • Attorney Bruce Fein discusses NSA lawsuit, DHS spying, and FCC intrusions

    In an interview with the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner just before his presentation, Fein said he would also comment on events since the book’s 2009 publication, events that illustrate how “violations of the constitution have become so chronic that they numb the public and even elected officials to the danger we encounter as we move toward what I call ‘one branch tyranny’ – secret government, [with] everything subordinated to a risk-free existence and absolute executive power.”

  • Editorial: NSA can’t justify phone data program

    Of the many questions that still surround the National Security Agency’s vast global spying operations, one seems especially pertinent: Do they actually work? That is, have they helped to prevent terrorist attacks against Americans?

    In the case of the NSA’s phone-data program – in which the agency vacuums up information about essentially every call made by Americans – it’s getting harder and harder for the government to answer yes. The latest evidence comes from a report last week by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent federal agency established on the recommendation of the Sept. 11 Commission to balance the right to liberty against the need to prevent terrorism.

  • ABA Asks NSA To Explain Attorney-Client Privilege Policies
  • ABA asks NSA to explain how intelligence agency deals with attorney-client privilege

    Following news reports that a foreign ally of a U.S. intelligence agency may have spied on a BigLaw firm, the American Bar Association has asked the director of the National Security Agency and its general counsel for an explanation of how it deals with attorney-client privilege.

  • NSA spying damaging, not helpful
  • NSA spy case heats up!

    On Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2014, the individual Government Defendants, Barack H. Obama, Eric H. Holder, Keith B. Alexander, Roger Vinson, the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Security Agency (NSA), in our initial lawsuit over the NSA spying on the American people – the one that produced a great victory last December when Judge Richard J. Leon ruled that President Obama and the NSA had egregiously violated the Fourth Amendment and the U.S. Constitution – presented me and the other plaintiffs with the gift that may keep on giving. In response to a court order issued about 10 days earlier, wherein Judge Leon testily told the Obama Justice Department lawyers to get the show on the road and finally file an answer to the complaint as they were in default for not having responded timely, President Obama’s lawyers stonewalled the judge in the answer they later filed on the day reserved for love, not obstruction of justice.

  • NSA slayer wants default against feds

    An attorney suing the federal government over the National Security Agency’s spy programs says the Obama administration is delaying and obstructing the court, and a default judgment against the individual defendants would be an appropriate remedy.

    The case was brought by attorney Larry Klayman in U.S. District Court in Washington over the NSA’s PRISM spy program that gathers details about the telephone calls and contacts of innocent Americans.


  • Documents Reveal NSA and GCHQ Efforts to Destroy Assange and Track Wikileaks Supporters
  • The Surveillance of WikiLeaks

    Another document, from July 2011, details discussions between NSA offices as to whether WikiLeaks might be designated a “malicious foreign actor” for reasons of surveillance (the language in the document is “targeting with no defeats”). Such a designation would simply broaden the scope of activities available to the agency. “No defeats are needed when querying against a known foreign malicious actor.” The response from the agency’s general counsel on the subject of WikiLeaks’ status is tentative – “Let us get back to you.”



  • It’s time to break up the NSA

    The NSA has become too big and too powerful. What was supposed to be a single agency with a dual mission — protecting the security of U.S. communications and eavesdropping on the communications of our enemies — has become unbalanced in the post-Cold War, all-terrorism-all-the-time era.

    Putting the U.S. Cyber Command, the military’s cyberwar wing, in the same location and under the same commander, expanded the NSA’s power. The result is an agency that prioritizes intelligence gathering over security, and that’s increasingly putting us all at risk. It’s time we thought about breaking up the National Security Agency.

  • Break up the NSA and save American spooks from themselves

Edward Snowden

  • Group rallies in Naples for NSA whistleblower

    People marched through Naples Saturday in support NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Constitution and the 4th Amendment. At the same time, they were protesting a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. speaking in Naples, for his comments against Snowden. We heard from both sides about why they feel so strongly.

  • NSA spying revelations cause stir in privacy and security markets

    Following former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosure of widespread spying by the U.S. government, there has been a massive push to develop privacy-centric software and hardware. During the 2014 RSA Conference, which begins on Monday in San Francisco, data security and privacy solutions will be demonstrated at a frantic time in the industry.

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