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Luminous Animal

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Current location: San Francisco
Member since: Thu Jul 24, 2003, 02:06 PM
Number of posts: 21,744

Journal Archives

Reporters Without Borders: U.S. is the enemy of the internet...

“U.S. surveillance practices and decryption activities are a direct threat to investigative journalists, especially those who work with sensitive sources for whom confidentiality is paramount and who are already under pressure,” the organization said.

The U.S. had never before been included on Reporters Without Borders’ "Enemies of the Internet" list. Other countries listed as enemies include Russia, Iran, Syria and North Korea, as well as the United Kingdom, which was criticized for its Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

....

In addition to the NSA, Reporters Without Borders also criticized the Obama administration for launching a “witch hunt” against Snowden and other leakers of confidential information.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/200866-us-labeled-enemy-of-internet#ixzz2wLfV09vj
Posted by Luminous Animal | Tue Mar 18, 2014, 04:33 PM (11 replies)

CPAC vs SXSW : Edward Snowden becoming the Face of Leadership in America

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/news/edward-snowden-leader

(Emphasis mine)


In Washington D.C., Sarah Palin delivered the keynote address to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday.

She literally read a children’s book to adults to raucous applause. It was a modified Dr. Seuss book that she got from an email chain letter.

In that other movement, there are meetings like the one today at SXSW. They talked about the complexities of data collection — and how to synthesize it, transparently, for good. It was about exposing data collection programs to scrutiny — to uncover abuse — so it can only be used for people, not against them. It was about, as Snowden said today, “how do you interpret (these communications), how do you understand them.”

All this tech talk is, invariably, filled with compassion.

It’s no longer a question of if we will or will not have a better America. It’s a question of how long it will take the younger and brighter and better to drown out the institution that is impeding American progress with grade school debate, bullying and pettiness. It’s a question of when they will be able to communicate to America that they are the only chance at a productive future.

Those communicators are just starting to surface now. Bill Nye is viewed as a cult hero because we allowed him into our classrooms with VHS tapes, then he refined and strengthened and sharpened his message as we refined and strengthened and sharpened along with him. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, one of the world’s first pop-astrophysicists, debuted a show last night solely about how our world was created. That show was the third-highest rated show on television last night.
Posted by Luminous Animal | Mon Mar 10, 2014, 10:41 PM (9 replies)

He never declared any such thing.

And he had never changed his story. The CIA and the Booz Allen are two distinct organizations.
Posted by Luminous Animal | Mon Mar 10, 2014, 07:17 PM (0 replies)

Reactionary Republican Rogers thinks Greenwald is a fence

Greenwald was not named specifically during the hearing, but Rogers pressed agency chiefs to say that reporters “selling the access of material that was stolen from the United States government … for personal gain and profit” was a criminal act.

FBI director James Comey said that a reporter “hawking stolen jewelry” was a crime, but it was “harder to say” journalism based off the Snowden leaks was criminal, since such a determination had “first amendment implications.”

“It’s an issue that can be complicated if it involves a news-gathering or a news promulgation function,” Comey said.
Rogers asked: “Entering into a commercial enterprise to sell stolen material is acceptable to a legitimate news organization?”

Corney replied: “I’m not sure I’m comfortable answering that in the abstract."
Posted by Luminous Animal | Tue Feb 4, 2014, 05:56 PM (5 replies)

WaPo: The NSA counterterrorism program “was not essential to preventing attacks”

An analysis of 225 terrorism cases inside the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has concluded that the bulk collection of phone records by the National Security Agency “has had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism.”

In the majority of cases, traditional law enforcement and investigative methods provided the tip or evidence to initiate the case, according to the study by the New America Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit group.

The study, to be released Monday, corroborates the findings of a White House-appointed review group, which said last month that the NSA counterterrorism program “was not essential to preventing attacks” and that much of the evidence it did turn up “could readily have been obtained in a timely manner using conventional orders.”

Under the program, the NSA amasses the metadata — records of phone numbers dialed and call lengths and times — of virtually every American. Analysts may search the data only with reasonable suspicion that a number is linked to a terrorist group. The content of calls is not collected.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-phone-record-collection-does-little-to-prevent-terrorist-attacks-group-says/2014/01/12/8aa860aa-77dd-11e3-8963-b4b654bcc9b2_story.html?tid=auto_complete
Posted by Luminous Animal | Mon Jan 13, 2014, 11:26 AM (10 replies)

EU committee of Civil Liberties: Detention of David Miranda, violation of EU Human Rights Convention

"Considers that the detention of Mr Miranda and the seizure of the material in his possession under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (and also the request to The Guardian to destroy or hand over the material) constitutes an interference with the right of freedom of expression as recognised by Article 10 of the ECHR and Article 11 of the EU Charter;"

Link to the pdf:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/documents/libe/dv/moraes_1014703_/moraes_1014703_en.pdf
Posted by Luminous Animal | Sun Jan 12, 2014, 11:42 AM (6 replies)

Rolling Stone: Barrett Brown Faces 105 Years in Jail. But no one can figure out what law he broke.

Introducing America's least likely political prisoner:

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/barrett-brown-faces-105-years-in-jail-20130905

Encountering Barrett Brown's story in passing, it is tempting to group him with other Anonymous associates who have popped up in the news for cutting pleas and changing sides. Brown's case, however, is a thing apart. Although he knew some of those involved in high-profile "hacktivism," he is no hacker. His situation is closer to the runaway prosecution that destroyed Aaron Swartz, the programmer-activist who committed suicide in the face of criminal charges similar to those now being leveled at Brown. But unlike Swartz, who illegally downloaded a large cache of academic articles, Brown never broke into a server; he never even leaked a document. His primary laptop, sought in two armed FBI raids, was a miniature Sony netbook that he used for legal communication, research and an obscene amount of video-game playing. The most serious charges against him relate not to hacking or theft, but to copying and pasting a link to data that had been hacked and released by others.

"What is most concerning about Barrett's case is the disconnect between his conduct and the charged crime," says Ghappour. "He copy-pasted a publicly available link containing publicly available data that he was researching in his capacity as a journalist. The charges require twisting the relevant statutes beyond recognition and have serious implications for journalists as well as academics. Who's allowed to look at document dumps?"

Brown's case is a bellwether for press freedoms in the new century, where hacks and leaks provide some of our only glimpses into the technologies and policies of an increasingly privatized national security-and-surveillance state. What Brown did through his organization Project PM was attempt to expand these peepholes. He did this by leading group investigations into the world of private intelligence and cybersecurity contracting, a $56 billion industry that consumes 70 percent of the U.S. intelligence budget.

"Barrett was an investigative journalist who was merely doing his professional duty," says Christophe Deloire of Reporters Without Borders. "The sentence that he is facing is absurd and dangerous."



Posted by Luminous Animal | Mon Dec 23, 2013, 11:34 AM (65 replies)

Snowden: A Genious Among Geniuses

http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/12/16/an-nsa-coworker-remembers-the-real-edward-snowden-a-genius-among-geniuses/

Months after Snowden leaked tens of thousands of the NSA’s most highly classified documents to the media, the former intelligence contractor has stayed out of the limelight, rarely granting interviews or sharing personal details. A 60 Minutes episode Sunday night, meanwhile, aired NSA’s officials descriptions of Snowden as a malicious hacker who cheated on an NSA entrance exam and whose work computers had to be destroyed after his departure for fear he had infected them with malware.

But an NSA staffer who contacted me last month and asked not to be identified–and whose claims we checked with Snowden himself via his ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner—offered me a very different, firsthand portrait of how Snowden was seen by his colleagues in the agency’s Hawaii office: A principled and ultra-competent, if somewhat eccentric employee, and one who earned the access used to pull off his leak by impressing superiors with sheer talent.

The anonymous NSA staffer’s priority in contacting me, in fact, was to refute stories that have surfaced as the NSA and the media attempt to explain how a contractor was able to obtain and leak the tens of thousands of highly classified documents that have become the biggest public disclosure of NSA secrets in history. According to the source, Snowden didn’t dupe coworkers into handing over their passwords, as one report has claimed. Nor did Snowden fabricate SSH keys to gain unauthorized access, he or she says.

Instead, there’s little mystery as to how Snowden gained his access: It was given to him.
Posted by Luminous Animal | Mon Dec 16, 2013, 09:19 AM (1 replies)

Metadata: How govt can discover your health problems, political beliefs, and religious practices

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2013/11/nsa_and_metadata_how_the_government_can_spy_on_your_health_political_beliefs.html?wpisrc=burger_bar

Consider calls to single-purpose hotlines: NSA collection of our metadata means the government knows when we’ve called a rape hotline, a domestic violence hotline, an addiction hotline, or a support line for gay teens. Hotlines for whistleblowers in every agency are fair game, as are police hotlines for “anonymous” reports of crimes. Charities that make it possible to text a donation to a particular cause (say, Planned Parenthood) or political candidate or super PAC could reveal an enormous amount about our political activities. And calling patterns can reveal our religious beliefs (no calls on Sabbath? Heaps of calls on Christmas?) or new medical conditions. If, for instance, the government knows that, within an hour, we called an HIV testing service, then our doctor, and then our health insurance company, they may not “know” what was discussed, but anyone with common sense—even a government official—could probably figure it out.

But there’s more, says Felten: By analyzing our metadata over time, the government can separate the signal from the noise and use it to identify behavioral patterns. The government can determine whether someone is making lots of late-night calls to someone who isn’t his spouse, for example. When those calls cease, the government might reasonably conclude that the affair has ended. Metadata may reveal whether and how often someone calls her bookie or the American Civil Liberties Union or a defense attorney. And by analyzing the metadata of every American across a span of years, the NSA could learn almost as much about our health, our habits, our politics, and our relationships as it could by eavesdropping on our calls. It’s not the same thing, but the more data the government collects, the more the distinction between metadata and actual content disappears.


Posted by Luminous Animal | Sat Nov 23, 2013, 03:38 PM (3 replies)

70 (That is SEVENTY) rights groups warn UK government reaction to NSA leaks eroding freedom

Which side of history are you on?

Seventy of the world's leading human rights organisations have written to David Cameron to warn that the government's reaction to the mass surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden is leading to an erosion of fundamental rights and freedoms in the UK.

The coalition, which includes organisations from 40 countries, said it had become increasingly alarmed at the way the UK government had applied pressure on media groups covering the leaks and its use of national security concerns to close down important public interest debates.

"We have joined together as an international coalition because we believe that the United Kingdom government's response to the revelations of mass surveillance of digital communications is eroding fundamental human rights in the country," the letter states. "The government's response has been to condemn, rather than celebrate investigative journalism, which plays a crucial role in a healthy democratic society."

The intervention comes five months after the Guardian, and major media organisations in other countries, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, began disclosing details of the extent and reach of secret surveillance programmes run by Britain's eavesdropping centre, GCHQ, and its US counterpart, the National Security Agency. The revelations – now appearing in European media outlets – have sparked a huge debate on the scale and oversight of surveillance by the US and UK intelligence agencies.



http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/03/uk-reaction-nsa-leaks-human-rights
Posted by Luminous Animal | Sun Nov 3, 2013, 10:42 PM (6 replies)
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