After Edward Snowden's revelations, why trust US cloud providers? | Technology | The Observer '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. As Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice president responsible for digital affairs, put it in a speech on 4 July: "If businesses or governments think they might be spied on, they will have less reason to trust the cloud and it will be cloud providers who ultimately miss out. Which providers? I'll bet it was. That's why the discovery that the NSA abused that kind of trust is so depressing. Which brings us back to birds and their nests.
Lavabit--Snowden’s Secure Email Service--Is Gone: Here's Why 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." "[Edward Snowden] gave up his entire life … so that he could speak out," Levison said. At points in which the conversation steered toward specific laws, Levison stopped himself.
Edward Snowden's not the story. The fate of the internet is | Technology | The Observer Repeat after me: Edward Snowden is not the story. The story is what he has revealed about the hidden wiring of our networked world. This insight seems to have escaped most of the world's mainstream media, for reasons that escape me but would not have surprised Evelyn Waugh, whose contempt for journalists was one of his few endearing characteristics. In a way, it doesn't matter why the media lost the scent. Without him, we would not know how the National Security Agency (NSA) had been able to access the emails, Facebook accounts and videos of citizens across the world; or how it had secretly acquired the phone records of millions of Americans; or how, through a secret court, it has been able to bend nine US internet companies to its demands for access to their users' data. These are pretty significant outcomes and they're just the first-order consequences of Snowden's activities. The first is that the days of the internet as a truly global network are numbered. Spot on.
Snowden: UK government now leaking documents about itself | Glenn Greenwald (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: I have never spoken with, worked with, or provided any journalistic materials to the Independent. Related question Or is this some newly created standard of criminality that applies only to our NSA reporting?
British Spies Said to Intercept Yahoo Webcam Images SAN FRANCISCO — A British intelligence agency collected video webcam images — many of them sexually explicit — from millions of Yahoo users, regardless of whether they were suspected of illegal activity, according to accounts of documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden. The surveillance effort operated by Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, was code-named Optic Nerve. Images from Yahoo webcam chats were captured in bulk through the agency’s fiber-optic cable taps and saved to a GCHQ database. It is unclear how much of the data was shared with American officials at the National Security Agency, though the British ran queries of the data using a search tool provided by the N.S.A. called XKeyscore, according to a report on Thursday by The Guardian. The report did not indicate whether the agency also collected webcam images from similar services, such as Google Hangouts or Microsoft’s Skype. Photo The program posed unique challenges.
The Liberal Surveillance State Long time readers of Sean Wilentz will remember him for greatest hits like his notorious piece on the “cutthroat, fraudulent politics that lie at the foundation of Obama’s supposedly uplifting campaign,” involving “the most outrageous deployment of racial politics since the Willie Horton ad campaign in 1988 and the most insidious since Ronald Reagan kicked off his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, praising states’ rights,” or his claim that not only was Obama’s “most obvious change to liberal politics” the color of his skin, but Obama was the second coming of Jimmy Carter and a starry-eyed Russia-hugger to boot. So it’s very, very weird to see Wilentz criticizing Edward Snowden on the grounds that his “disgruntlement with Obama … was fueled by a deep disdain for progressive politics” – given his own track record on Obama’s brand of progressivism, why on earth would he believe this to be a problem? The article comes in three main parts. First – the promise:
What Obama Really Meant Was ... - Chris Hedges What Obama Really Meant Was ... Posted on Jan 19, 2014 By Chris Hedges (Page 2) In the 1960s, the U.S. government spied on civil rights leaders, the Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement and critics of the Vietnam War, just as today we are spying on Occupy activists, environmentalists, whistle-blowers and other dissidents. The fall of the Soviet Union left America without a competing superpower. Threats to the nation raised new legal and policy questions, which fortunately our courts, abject tools of the corporate state, solved by making lawful everything from torture to wholesale surveillance. New and Improved Comments If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page.
French prosecutor investigates U.S. Prism spying scheme Edward Snowden, A Truth Unveiled (Documentary) Snowden 2.0: New Active Duty NSA Whistleblower? Perhaps one of the most striking and revelatory aspects about the latest NSA surveillance news story, this one published Sunday by The Bild am Sonntag newspaper in Germany, was that it was not based on leaked documents from the now famous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. What the paper reported, based on information provided by a “high-ranking NSA employee in Germany,” was that the U.S. spy agency—after being outed for spying on German ChancellorAngela Merkel—responded to an order to refrain from spying directly on Merkel’s phone by intensifying its monitoring of other high-level officals her government. “We have had the order not to miss out on any information now that we are no longer able tomonitor the chancellor’s communication directly,” the source told the newspaper. And Seth Millstein, writing at the Bustle, explains why the importance of the Bild am Sonntagreporting is two-fold: First, if this report is true, the NSA is apparently hell-bent on spying on Germany’s top officials.
NSA files decoded: Edward Snowden's surveillance revelations explained | World news Two factors opened the way for the rapid expansion of surveillance over the past decade: the fear of terrorism created by the 9/11 attacks and the digital revolution that led to an explosion in cell phone and internet use. But along with these technologies came an extension in the NSA’s reach few in the early 1990s could have imagined. Details that in the past might have remained private were suddenly there for the taking. Chris Soghoian Principal technologist, ACLU NSA is helped by the fact that much of the world’s communications traffic passes through the US or its close ally the UK – what the agencies refer to as “home-field advantage”. The Snowden documents show that the NSA runs these surveillance programs through “partnerships” with major US telecom and internet companies. The division inside the NSA that deals with collection programs that focus on private companies is Special Source Operations, described by Snowden as the “crown jewels” of the NSA. Jeremy Scahill Fiber-optic cable
Tails: the operating system that blew open the NSA When NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden first emailed Glenn Greenwald, he insisted on using email encryption software called PGP for all communications. But this month, we learned that Snowden used another technology to keep his communications out of the NSA's prying eyes. It's called Tails. Tails is a kind of computer-in-a-box. Snowden, Greenwald and their collaborator, documentary film maker Laura Poitras, used it because, by design, Tails doesn't store any data locally. "The installation and verification has a learning curve to make sure it is installed correctly," Poitras told Wired by e-mail. An operating system for anonymity Originally developed as a research project by the U.S. Tails makes it much easier to use Tor and other privacy tools. The developers of Tails are, appropriately, anonymous. They're protecting their identities, in part, to help protect the code from government interference. According to the group, Tails began five years ago. Would you like to know more?