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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: 22,205

Journal Archives

UN Report: Mass Surveillance Violates International Treaties and Privacy Rights

From The Intercept.
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/15/un-investigator-report-condemns-mass-surveillance/

The United Nations’ top official for counter-terrorism and human rights (known as the “Special Rapporteur”) issued a formal report to the U.N. General Assembly today that condemns mass electronic surveillance as a clear violation of core privacy rights guaranteed by multiple treaties and conventions. “The hard truth is that the use of mass surveillance technology effectively does away with the right to privacy of communications on the Internet altogether,” the report concluded.

Central to the Rapporteur’s findings is the distinction between “targeted surveillance” — which “depend upon the existence of prior suspicion of the targeted individual or organization” — and “mass surveillance,” whereby “states with high levels of Internet penetration can [] gain access to the telephone and e-mail content of an effectively unlimited number of users and maintain an overview of Internet activity associated with particular websites.” In a system of “mass surveillance,” the report explained, “all of this is possible without any prior suspicion related to a specific individual or organization. The communications of literally every Internet user are potentially open for inspection by intelligence and law enforcement agencies in the States concerned.”

Mass surveillance thus “amounts to a systematic interference with the right to respect for the privacy of communications,” it declared. As a result, “it is incompatible with existing concepts of privacy for States to collect all communications or metadata all the time indiscriminately.”

In concluding that mass surveillance impinges core privacy rights, the report was primarily focused on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a treaty enacted by the General Assembly in 1966, to which all of the members of the “Five Eyes” alliance are signatories. The U.S. ratified the treaty in 1992, albeit with various reservations that allowed for the continuation of the death penalty and which rendered its domestic law supreme. With the exception of the U.S.’s Persian Gulf allies (Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar), virtually every major country has signed the treaty.


Posted by Luminous Animal | Wed Oct 15, 2014, 01:08 PM (1 replies)

Greenwald, Poitras and Scahill are working with a new NSA whistleblower.

A review of Poitras' documentary about Snowden, "Citizenfour" (can't wait to see it)...

Which reveals that Snowden's girlfriend has been living with him in Russia since July.

Citizenfour must have been a maddening documentary to film. Its subject is pervasive global surveillance, an enveloping digital act that spreads without visibility, so its scenes unfold in courtrooms, hearing chambers and hotels. Yet the virtuosity of Laura Poitras, its director and architect, makes its 114 minutes crackle with the nervous energy of revelation.

Poitras, the first journalist contacted by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, mirrors her topic. She rarely appears on news programs or chat shows. She is a mysterious character in her own movie, heard more than she is seen.

But surreptitiously, Poitras has been a commander of a stream of disclosures for 16 months that have forced the NSA into a new and infamous era. Citizenfour demonstrates to the public the prowess that those of us who have worked with her on the NSA stories encountered. Her movie, the culmination of a post-9/11 trilogy that spans a dark horizon from Iraq to Guantánamo, is a triumph of journalism and a triumph for journalism.


http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/oct/11/citizenfour-review-snowden-vindicated-poitras-nsa-journalism?CMP=twt_gu
Posted by Luminous Animal | Sun Oct 12, 2014, 03:26 AM (14 replies)

Hmmm? I wonder why people chose to leave off this part of Michael's interview

"And I think Obama, sadly, has been, you know, he's done many many good things.."

#t=145

And from Michael's Facebook page posted on the same day as the interview.

We were all overjoyed with President Obama's election. He's had to endure so much crap since. In spite of that he's done many good things. BUT there are still two yrs left -- and there are big disappointments amongst all of us. What would my fellow Obama voters like to see happen in his final two years? To be remembered a hundred years from now as the first African American president -- that's great, but it's not enough. And I know Mr. Obama agrees with that.


https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10152290725526857&id=24674986856
Posted by Luminous Animal | Thu Sep 11, 2014, 10:20 PM (171 replies)

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)
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