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Hissyspit

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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
Number of posts: 43,344

Journal Archives

Guardian: MI5 Feared GCHQ Went 'Too Far' Over Phone and Internet Monitoring

"Nothing new" here. Move along.

Saturday 22 June 2013 15.18 EDT

MI5 feared GCHQ went 'too far' over phone and internet monitoring

Amid leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, senior intelligence source reveals worries were voiced in 2008


Senior figures inside British intelligence have been alarmed by GCHQ's secret decision to tap into transatlantic cables in order to engage in the bulk interception of phone calls and internet traffic.

According to one source who has been directly involved in GCHQ operations, concerns were expressed when the project was being discussed internally in 2008: "We felt we were starting to overstep the mark with some of it. People from MI5 were complaining that they were going too far from a civil liberties perspective … We all had reservations about it, because we all thought: 'If this was used against us, we wouldn't stand a chance'."

The Guardian revealed on Friday that GCHQ has placed more than 200 probes on transatlantic cables and is processing 600m "telephone events" a day as well as up to 39m gigabytes of internet traffic. Using a programme codenamed Tempora, it can store and analyse voice recordings, the content of emails, entries on Facebook, the use of websites as well as the "metadata" which records who has contacted who. The programme is shared with GCHQ's American partner, the National Security Agency.

Interviews with the UK source and the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden raise questions about whether the programme:

■ Exploits existing law which was passed by parliament without any anticipation that it would be used for this purpose.

■ For the first time allows GCHQ to process bulk internal UK traffic which is routed overseas via these cables.

■ Allows the NSA to engage in bulk intercepts of internal US traffic which would be forbidden in its own territory.

■ Functions with no effective oversight.

The key law is the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Ripa, which requires the home secretary or foreign secretary to sign warrants for the interception of the communications of defined targets. But the law also allows the foreign secretary to sign certificates that authorise GCHQ to trawl for broad categories of information on condition that one end of the communication is outside the UK.

MORE

WikiLeaks Statement On Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong

http://wikileaks.org/WikiLeaks-Statement-On-Edward.html

WikiLeaks Statement On Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong

Sunday June 23, 12:00

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mr Edward Snowden, the American whistleblower who exposed evidence of a global surveillance regime conducted by US and UK intelligence agencies, has left Hong Kong legally. He is bound for a democratic nation via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.

Mr Snowden requested that WikiLeaks use its legal expertise and experience to secure his safety. Once Mr Snowden arrives at his final destination his request will be formally processed.

Former Spanish Judge Mr Baltasar Garzon, legal director of Wikileaks and lawyer for Julian Assange has made the following statement:

"The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr Snowden’s rights and protecting him as a person. What is being done to Mr Snowden and to Mr Julian Assange - for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest - is an assault against the people".

Digby: "When the Free Press Becomes Equivalent to an Enemy of the State..."

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com.br/2013/06/this-really-is-big-brother-leak-nobodys.html

This really is Big Brother: the leak nobody's noticed

by digby

This McClatchy piece (written by some of the same people who got the Iraq war run-up story so right while everyone else got it wrong) is as chilling to me as anything we've heard over the past few weeks about the NSA spying. In fact, it may be worse:

Even before a former U.S. intelligence contractor exposed the secret collection of Americans’ phone records, the Obama administration was pressing a government-wide crackdown on security threats that requires federal employees to keep closer tabs on their co-workers and exhorts managers to punish those who fail to report their suspicions.

President Barack Obama’s unprecedented initiative, known as the Insider Threat Program, is sweeping in its reach. It has received scant public attention even though it extends beyond the U.S. national security bureaucracies to most federal departments and agencies nationwide, including the Peace Corps, the Social Security Administration and the Education and Agriculture departments. It emphasizes leaks of classified material, but catchall definitions of “insider threat” give agencies latitude to pursue and penalize a range of other conduct.

Government documents reviewed by McClatchy illustrate how some agencies are using that latitude to pursue unauthorized disclosures of any information, not just classified material. They also show how millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers and could face penalties, including criminal charges, for failing to report them. Leaks to the media are equated with espionage.

“Hammer this fact home . . . leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States,” says a June 1, 2012, Defense Department strategy for the program that was obtained by McClatchy.

When the free free press, explicitly protected in the bill of rights becomes equivalent to an "enemy of the United States" something very, very bad is happening.

The administration says it's doing this to protect national security and that it is willing to protect those who blow the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse. But that is not how the effect of this sort of program is going to be felt. After all, it's being implemented across the federal government, not just in national security:

MORE

From Twitter: @wikileaks FLASH: WikiLeaks has assisted Mr. Snowden's political asylum

WikiLeaks ‏@wikileaks 2m
FLASH: WikiLeaks has assisted Mr. Snowden's political asylum in a democratic country, travel papers ans safe exit from Hong Kong. More soon.


WikiLeaks ‏@wikileaks 19s
FLASH: Mr. Snowden is currently over Russian airspace accompanied by WikiLeaks legal advisors.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/23/edward-snowden-leaves-hong-kong-moscow?CMP=twt_fd

According to the South China Morning Post he boarded an Aeroflot flight to Moscow, although the newspaper said Russia was not his ultimate destination. It suggested he might go to Ecuador or Iceland – having cited the latter as a possible refuge in an interview with the Guardian.

The newspaper claimed he took off from the airport at 10.55am on flight SU213 on Sunday morning and was due to arrive at Moscow's Shermetyevo International Airport at 5.15pm.

It added that the Russian embassy in Beijing would neither confirm nor deny he was on a flight to Moscow and the Russian consulate in Hong Kong declined to comment.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin, said: "I don't . I heard about the potential from the press. I know nothing."

On whether Moscow would still consider a request for asylum from Snowden: "Every application is considered so it's standard procedure … We are not tracing his movements and I know nothing."

US authorities could not be reached for comment immediately.

WikiLeaks said on its Twitter feed that it had "assisted Mr Snowden's political asylum in a democratic country, travel papers and safe exit from Hong Kong".

On Friday, an Icelandic businessman linked to WikiLeaks told Reuters he had prepared a private plane for Snowden's use if the government was willing to give him asylum.

"A private jet is in place in China and we could fly Snowden over tomorrow if we get positive reaction from the interior ministry. We need to get confirmation of asylum and that he will not be extradited to the US. We would most want him to get a citizenship as well," said Olafur Vignir Sigurvinsson, a director of DataCell, which processed payments for WikiLeaks.

Krugman: "Hard to Escape the Bottom Decile, But Turns Out Also Much Easier to Stay in Top Decile"

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/23/we-were-middle-class-once-and-young

June 23, 2013, 12:34 amComment

We Were Middle-Class Once, And Young

As I noted the other day, Greg Mankiw (pdf), in his defense of the one percent, seems oddly oblivious, among other things, to the extent to which America has changed since he was young. We are a much more unequal society now, and as a consequence arguably one with a lot less intergenerational mobility too.

- snip -



Not only do the affluent spend much more on their children, but the gap has grown a lot since Greg and I were young. Maybe all that spending is wasted — but I doubt it. We have become both a more unequal society and a society with more unequal opportunities.

There’s a lot more in the Corak paper, by the way. I was especially struck by the comparison of mobility in the US and Canada. I wasn’t surprised that America has less mobility, and certainly not that in America it’s hard to escape the bottom decile. But it turns out that in America it’s also much easier to stay in the top decile — hardly the image of a meritocractic society, unless you believe that America’s top decile is genetically superior to Canada’s.

Anyway, we are not the society we once were — and baby boomers should realize that.

Snowden Says Leaks Didn’t Disclose U.S. Military Targets

Source: Bloomberg

Snowden Says Leaks Didn’t Disclose U.S. Military Targets

By Phil Mattingly and Chris Strohm
June 17, 2013 1:25 PM EDT 30 Comments

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified documents about government surveillance programs, said he didn’t reveal any U.S. operations “against legitimate military targets.”

“I pointed out where the NSA has hacked civilian infrastructure such as universities, hospitals, and private businesses because it is dangerous,” Snowden said during an Internet question-and-answer session today on the website of U.K.’s Guardian newspaper.

Snowden’s identity on the chat couldn’t be independently verified.

- snip -

He said he has “had no contact with the Chinese government” and speculation that he would provide classified information to foreign governments in exchange for asylum is “a predictable smear” that he anticipated. “Just like with the Guardian and the Washington Post, I only work with journalists,” Snowden said.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-17/snowden-says-he-did-not-reveal-military-targets-in-disclosures.html

Snowden: "I Had No Contact with the Chinese Government," "Predictable Smear."

He said he has “had no contact with the Chinese government” and speculation that he would provide classified information to foreign governments in exchange for asylum is “a predictable smear” that he anticipated.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-17/snowden-says-he-did-not-reveal-military-targets-in-disclosures.html

Snowden Says Leaks Didn’t Disclose U.S. Military Targets

By Phil Mattingly and Chris Strohm
June 17, 2013 1:25 PM EDT

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified documents about government surveillance programs, said he didn’t reveal any U.S. operations “against legitimate military targets.”

“I pointed out where the NSA has hacked civilian infrastructure such as universities, hospitals, and private businesses because it is dangerous,” Snowden said during an Internet question-and-answer session today on the website of U.K.’s Guardian newspaper.

Snowden’s identity on the chat couldn’t be independently verified.

- snip -

“These nakedly, aggressively criminal acts are wrong no matter the target,” Snowden said on the website. Snowden added that after his leak, the government “immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home, openly declaring me guilty of treason and that the disclosure of secret, criminal and even unconstitutional acts is an unforgivable crime.”

- snip -

He said he has “had no contact with the Chinese government” and speculation that he would provide classified information to foreign governments in exchange for asylum is “a predictable smear” that he anticipated.

“Just like with the Guardian and the Washington Post, I only work with journalists,” Snowden said.

MORE

FISC Will Not Object to Release of 2011 Court Opinion That Confirmed NSA’s Illegal Surveillance

Source: International Business Times

FISC Will Not Object To Release of 2011 Court Opinion That Confirmed NSA’s Illegal Surveillance

By Sreeja VN | June 13 2013 1:32 AM

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISC, ruled Wednesday that it has no objection to the release of a 2011 opinion of the court, which found that some of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs under the FISA Amendments Act, were unconstitutional.

A 2011 FISC court ruling had concluded that some of the NSA’s surveillance programs had violated sections of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, a law aimed at protecting American citizens from surveillance programs targeted at foreigners.

The nation’s most secretive court, as it has been called in the media, said that the 86-page classified opinion can be made public if a district court orders it.

- snip -

The ruling is significant as the NSA’s PRISM program, which has sparked public outrage over Internet users’ privacy rights, is based on the same sections that the FISC found was circumvented by the security agency.


Read more: http://www.ibtimes.com/fisc-will-not-object-release-2011-court-opinion-confirmed-nsas-illegal-surveillance-1305023

The Nation: Google Handed Over Personal Data of Two WikiLeaks Volunteers to Grand Jury

@kgosztola: Google handed over personal data of two WikiLeaks volunteers to grand jury:

http://www.thenation.com/article/174933/court-documents-reveal-extent-federal-investigation-wikileaks#axzz2WtBnHpNO

The Dragnet at the Edge of Forever

Amidst the havoc surrounding the earth-shattering revelations being made about the massive catch-all surveillance being conducted by the US government against virtually everybody with an Internet connection, a set of relatively unremarkable letters arrived in our GMail inboxes on Tuesday evening, containing a series of attachments.

These attachments were scanned court orders, sealed and later unsealed, issued to Google by the United States District Court for the eastern district of Virginia. These orders demanded that Google hand over to the United States (yes, they were that specific), various information relating to accounts we hold with Google, including whom we communicated with, when, from where, and for how long.

The court orders were almost certainly related to the Grand Jury investigation of the unauthorized public disclosure of information showing considerable misconduct, including a number of probable cases of war crimes, by US military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan during their wars in these countries, a list of people being held without trial or legal recourse in Guantanamo Bay, and a trove of diplomatic cables detailing the ways the US government have conducted themselves – both good and bad – over many years.

This investigation, which appears to be winding down as Justice Liam O’Grady felt it safe to unseal the orders, appears to have been conducted not for the purpose of attributing criminal behavior to those guilty of conducting said war crimes and violations of fundamental human rights, but to punish those who performed the public service of making the world aware of them.

- snip -

And yet more get introduced to this saga all the time. Over the last several years we have seen many of our friends, colleagues and allies pestered – for lack of a better term – by overzealous law enforcement, prosecutorial overreach, and misapplication of laws which at one point may have been intended to protect democratic values. They have been hunted down, imprisoned, and sometimes killed directly or indirectly, all for nothing but their desire to uphold the values our societies hold dear.

MORE

Facebook Admits Year-Long Data Breach Exposed 6 Million Users

Source: Reuters

Facebook admits year-long data breach exposed 6 million users

SAN FRANCISCO | Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:08pm EDT

By Gerry Shih

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc has inadvertently exposed 6 million users' phone numbers and email addresses to unauthorized viewers over the past year, the world's largest social networking company disclosed late Friday.

Facebook blamed the data leaks, which began in 2012, on a technical glitch in its massive archive of contact information collected from its 1.1 billion users worldwide. As a result of the glitch, Facebook users who downloaded contact data for their list of friends obtained additional information that they were not supposed to have.

Facebook's security team was alerted to the bug last week and fixed it within 24 hours. But Facebook did not publicly acknowledge the bug until Friday afternoon, when it published an "important message" on its blog explaining the issue.

A Facebook spokesman said the delay was due to company procedure stipulating that regulators and affected users be notified before making a public announcement.

"We currently have no evidence that this bug has been exploited maliciously and we have not received complaints from users or seen anomalous behavior on the tool or site to suggest wrongdoing," Facebook said on its blog.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE95K18Y20130621
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