After Edward Snowden's revelations, why trust US cloud providers? 'It's an ill bird," runs the adage, "that fouls its own nest." Cue the US National Security Agency (NSA), which, we now know, has been busily doing this for quite a while. As the Edward Snowden revelations tumbled out, the scale of the fouling slowly began to dawn on us. Outside of the United States, for example, people suddenly began to have doubts about the wisdom of entrusting their confidential data to cloud services operated by American companies on American soil. NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents. Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls. The documents, provided earlier this summer to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance. In one instance, the NSA decided that it need not report the unintended surveillance of Americans. Read the documents
Elonis v. United States and the Nuances of Threats on Facebook On Monday morning, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts got some attention for quoting Eminem during oral arguments in a case, Elonis v. United States, about the limits of free speech. The issue Roberts wanted to understand—when does communication cross the line into being an illegal threat?—is central to the case, which involves an aspiring rapper who used violent language on Facebook in reference to his wife, an elementary school, and an F.B.I. agent, among others. First, Roberts cited some lyrics from the Eminem song “’97 Bonnie and Clyde,” in which the narrator asks his young daughter to help him tie a rope around a rock and her mother’s foot, then help push her into a lake. (He calls the daughter Hai-Hai; Eminem’s daughter with his ex-wife, Kim, is named Hailie.)
Alleged subway 'Peeping Mike' appeals before Massachusetts SJC BOSTON — The lawyer for an Andover man argued before the state Supreme Judicial Court yesterday that women “can not expect privacy” in a subway from people like her client who is accused of using his cellphone camera to snap “up-skirt” pictures of female passengers. “If a clothed person reveals a body part whether it was intentional or unintentional, he or she can not expect privacy,” Attorney Michelle Menken told the seven justices on behalf of her client, Michael Robertson, 31. Robertson was arrested in August 2010 for allegedly trying to take photos up women’s dresses on Boston’s Green Line subway. Robertson’s trial in Boston Municipal Court has been stayed pending the appeal before the state’s highest court.
Snowden’s Secure Email Service UPDATE: On Tuesday, August 13, Ladar Levison made his first public appearance since he announced the shut down of Lavabit. In a 20-minute interview with Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman and Aaron Maté, Levison explained more of his philosophy in creating the secure email service in the wake of the birth of the Patriot Act, but stopped himself (and was stopped by his lawyer, Jesse Binnall) from elaborating on the specific laws that limited him from sharing details about the governmental request he received. Levison also commented on Lavabit’s connection to Edward Snowden, confirming that an email address attached to Snowden’s name was registered with his service. Snowden spoke in support of Levison’s decision last week through the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, stating that he found Levison’s stand "inspiring."
New NSA leaks show how US is bugging its European allies US intelligence services are spying on the European Union mission in New York and its embassy in Washington, according to the latest top secret US National Security Agency documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. One document lists 38 embassies and missions, describing them as "targets". It details an extraordinary range of spying methods used against each target, from bugs implanted in electronic communications gear to taps into cables to the collection of transmissions with specialised antennae. Along with traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries, the list of targets includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey. The list in the September 2010 document does not mention the UK, Germany or other western European states.
The year we get creeped out by algorithms It turns out computers have a built-in “uncanny valley” (that creepy feeling android robots generate when they kind of look human). Just like we don’t want robots too human-shaped — we want them to know their place — it turns out we aren’t too happy when our computers go from “smart” (as in automating things and connecting us to each other or information) to “smart” (as in “let me make that decision for you”). Algorithmic judgment is the uncanny valley of computing. Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security US and British intelligence agencies have successfully cracked much of the online encryption relied upon by hundreds of millions of people to protect the privacy of their personal data, online transactions and emails, according to top-secret documents revealed by former contractor Edward Snowden. The files show that the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have broadly compromised the guarantees that internet companies have given consumers to reassure them that their communications, online banking and medical records would be indecipherable to criminals or governments. The agencies, the documents reveal, have adopted a battery of methods in their systematic and ongoing assault on what they see as one of the biggest threats to their ability to access huge swathes of internet traffic – "the use of ubiquitous encryption across the internet". But security experts accused them of attacking the internet itself and the privacy of all users.
Snowden: UK government now leaking documents about itself (Updated below) The Independent this morning published an article - which it repeatedly claims comes from "documents obtained from the NSA by Edward Snowden" - disclosing that "Britain runs a secret internet-monitoring station in the Middle East to intercept and process vast quantities of emails, telephone calls and web traffic on behalf of Western intelligence agencies." This is the first time the Independent has published any revelations purportedly from the NSA documents, and it's the type of disclosure which journalists working directly with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have thus far avoided. That leads to the obvious question: who is the source for this disclosure? Snowden this morning said he wants it to be clear that he was not the source for the Independent, stating:
Anonymous To 'Lizard Squad': Stop Attacking Tor The international activist group Anonymous is telling the hacker collective “Lizard Squad” to “stand down” and stop attacking Tor. Anonymous, which has a long history of hacking and cyber attacking governments, corporations, and religions organizations, says, "We don't give a f--k about corporate bulls--t networks, we do care about 3rd world communications." The Tor Project is one of the most effective sites for encrypted communication, making it one of the most important internet services in the world. Whistleblowers like Edward Snowden have used the service, and it's proven pivotal in "dissident movements” in Iran and Egypt. Prior to allegedly attacking Tor, “Lizard Squad” had claimed responsibility for taking down Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve — to the dismay of millions of gamers — by allegedly launching massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that overload servers with bogus requests.
Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell. The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong," he said.