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Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security

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.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/05/nsa-gchq-encryption-codes-security

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The NSA's Secret Campaign to Crack, Undermine Internet Encryption The National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., in January 2010. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images Sept. 6: This story has been updated with a response from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence [2]. The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed documents. This story has been reported in partnership between The New York Times [3], the Guardian [4] and ProPublica based on documents obtained by The Guardian.

Project Bullrun – classification guide to the NSA's decryption program Turn autoplay off Edition: <span><a href=" Sign in Beta About us Today's paper Internet freedom in 'global decline,' report finds Internet freedom in countries around the world has declined sharply in the past year despite a pushback from activists that successfully blocked some governments’ repressive laws, according to a new report. The study, by advocacy group Freedom House, looked at online trends in 60 countries, evaluating each nation them based on obstacles to access, limits to content and violations of user rights. It found that in 35 of the countries monitored, governments had expanded their legal and technical surveillance powers in regards to citizen's online activities. “Broad surveillance, new laws controlling web content and growing arrests of social media users drove a worldwide decline in Internet freedom in the past year,” the authors of the report concluded. Of the countries included in the research, Iceland came top in terms of giving its citizens the highest level of freedom.

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. Snowden will go down in history as one of America's most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning.

To hunt Osama bin Laden, satellites watched over Abbottabad, Pakistan, and Navy SEALs The disclosures about the hunt for the elusive founder of al-Qaeda are contained in classified documents that detail the fiscal 2013 “black budget” for U.S. intelligence agencies, including the NSA and the CIA. The documents, provided to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, make only brief references to the bin Laden operation. But the mission is portrayed as a singular example of counterterrorism cooperation among the U.S. government’s numerous intelligence agencies. Eight hours after the raid, according to the documents, a forensic intelligence laboratory run by the Defense Intelligence Agency in Afghanistan had analyzed DNA from bin Laden’s corpse and “provided a conclusive match” confirming his identity.

GCHQ spied on millions of Yahoo video chats, harvested sexual images of chatters, compared itself to "Tom Cruise in Minority Report" A stunning new Snowden leak reveals that the UK spy agency GCHQ harvested images and text from millions of Yahoo video chats, including chats in which one or both of the participants was British or American. Between 3 and 11 percent of the chats they intercepted were sexual in nature, and revealing images of thousands of people were captured and displayed to spies. The programme, called OPTIC NERVE, focused on people whose usernames were similar to those of suspects, and ran from at least 2008 until at least 2010. The leak reveals that GCHQ intended to expand the programme to Xbox 360 Kinect cameras and "fairly normal webcam traffic." The programme was part of a facial recognition research effort that GCHQ compared to "Tom Cruise in Minority Report." UK spy agency intercepted webcam images of millions of Yahoo users [Spencer Ackerman and James Ball/The Guardian]

NSA considered spying on Australians 'unilaterally', leaked paper reveals The US National Security Agency has considered spying on Australian citizens without the knowledge or consent of the Australian intelligence organisations it partners with, according to a draft 2005 NSA directive kept secret from other countries. The draft directive leaked by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals how the NSA considered the possibility of "unilaterally" targeting citizens and communication systems of Australia, New Zealand and Canada – all "5-Eyes" partners which it refers to as “second party” countries. "Under certain circumstances, it may be advisable and allowable to target second party persons and second party communications systems unilaterally when it is in the best interests of the US and necessary for US national security,” says the directive, which was classified as “NF” for No Foreign and is titled Collection, Processing and Dissemination of Allied Communications.

Is Maryville, Missouri the Next Steubenville? Some of this is misleading or missing some very important points: 1) That was a curious quote to choose from the sheriff. The Gawker quotes were more accurate. "For his part, White, the sheriff, maintains “no doubt” a crime was committed that night. The doctor who treated Daisy the following morning called the prosecutor’s decision to drop the charges “surprising.” 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. He was not in the courtroom yesterday for the arguments.

Exclusive: NSA Spies on International Bank Transactions The National Security Agency (NSA) widely monitors international payments, banking and credit card transactions, according to documents seen by SPIEGEL. The information from the American foreign intelligence agency, acquired by former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, show that the spying is conducted by a branch called "Follow the Money" (FTM). The collected information then flows into the NSA's own financial databank, called "Tracfin," which in 2011 contained 180 million records. Some 84 percent of the data is from credit card transactions. Further NSA documents from 2010 show that the NSA also targets the transactions of customers of large credit card companies like VISA for surveillance.

The Incredible Power of XKeyscore By Richard Stiennon Der Spiegel makes light of an incredible tidbit they extracted from a 50-page catalog of exploit technology apparently developed by the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO). The German newspaper describes, and dismisses as not very threatening the ability of an analyst using XKeyscore to identify a target’s machine, probably by IP address. Then, if that machine ever files a crash report with Microsoft (or presumably any application such as Mozilla’s Firefox) the vast store of data that the NSA has collected is investigated with XKeyscore to recover a copy of that crash report --which was captured, along with everything else, by the NSA’s taps into most network traffic. Wait, what? Crash reports are not encrypted when sent to Microsoft or Mozilla?

Data Pirates of the Caribbean: The NSA Is Recording Every Cell Phone Call in the Bahamas Photo credit: Getty Images The National Security Agency is secretly intercepting, recording, and archiving the audio of virtually every cell phone conversation on the island nation of the Bahamas. According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the surveillance is part of a top-secret system – code-named SOMALGET – that was implemented without the knowledge or consent of the Bahamian government. Instead, the agency appears to have used access legally obtained in cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to open a backdoor to the country’s cellular telephone network, enabling it to covertly record and store the “full-take audio” of every mobile call made to, from and within the Bahamas – and to replay those calls for up to a month.

Related:  English pagesGlenn Greenwald on Liberty & SecurityEnglish pages