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Boundless Informant: the NSA's secret tool to track global surveillance data

Boundless Informant: the NSA's secret tool to track global surveillance data
The National Security Agency has developed a powerful tool for recording and analysing where its intelligence comes from, raising questions about its repeated assurances to Congress that it cannot keep track of all the surveillance it performs on American communications. The Guardian has acquired top-secret documents about the NSA datamining tool, called Boundless Informant, that details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks. The focus of the internal NSA tool is on counting and categorizing the records of communications, known as metadata, rather than the content of an email or instant message. The Boundless Informant documents show the agency collecting almost 3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks over a 30-day period ending in March 2013. Iran was the country where the largest amount of intelligence was gathered, with more than 14bn reports in that period, followed by 13.5bn from Pakistan.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/08/nsa-boundless-informant-global-datamining

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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.

Ted Rall's Prescient Take On Verizon And The NSA Several months ago employees of Verizon, the company that enjoys a monopoly on local telephone service where I live, confirmed that my telephone has been tapped by the government.“I don’t mind that Bush is listening to my calls,” I told the security department. “It’s not like I’m calling al Qaeda. And if they called me, I wouldn’t be able to hear them because of the noise on the line.”Most Americans feel the same as me. We’re not doing anything wrong, so why should we care if the government knows when we’re stuck on hold?

On 6/5, 65 Things We Know About NSA Surveillance That We Didn’t Know a Year Ago It’s been one year since the Guardian first published the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order, leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that demonstrated that the NSA was conducting dragnet surveillance on millions of innocent people. Since then, the onslaught of disturbing revelations, from disclosures, admissions from government officials, Freedom of Information Act requests, and lawsuits, has been nonstop. On the anniversary of that first leak, here are 65 things we know about NSA spying that we did not know a year ago: Retired Federal Judge: Your Faith In Secret Surveillance Court Is Dramatically Misplaced By Nicole Flatow "Retired Federal Judge: Your Faith In Secret Surveillance Court Is Dramatically Misplaced" A retired federal judge warned Friday against blind faith in the secret court deciding the scope of U.S. government surveillance. During a panel discussion on constitutional privacy protection in the wake of a leaked Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decision that revealed widespread NSA data collection, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner stood up in the audience to counter the statements of conservative law professor Nathan Sales that secret surveillance requests are subject to meaningful judicial review. She cautioned:

Amnesty: USA must not hunt down whistleblower Edward Snowden The US authorities must not prosecute anyone for disclosing information about the government’s human rights violations, Amnesty International said after Edward Snowden was charged under the Espionage Act. The organization also believes that the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower could be at risk of ill-treatment if extradited to the USA. "No one should be charged under any law for disclosing information of human rights violations by the US government. Such disclosures are protected under the rights to information and freedom of expression," said Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International. "It appears he is being charged by the US government primarily for revealing its and other governments’ unlawful actions that violate human rights.”

What the N.S.A. Wants in Brazil One of the more curious revelations from Edward Snowden’s trove of secret N.S.A. documents was a recent report that United States spy agencies have been vacuuming up communications in Brazil. Glenn Greenwald, who lives in Brazil, broke this story in O Globo, one of that country’s major newspapers, on July 6th. Greenwald, in an follow-up piece in the Guardian, pointed to a rough Google translation of his original July 6th report: In the last decade, people residing or in transit in Brazil, as well as companies operating in the country, have become targets of espionage National Security Agency of the United States (National Security Agency - NSA, its acronym in English). There are no precise figures, but last January Brazil was just behind the United States, which had 2.3 billion phone calls and messages spied.

ECHELON ECHELON[needs IPA], originally a code-name, is now used in global media and in popular culture to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory nations to the UKUSA Security Agreement[1] — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Referred to by a number of other abbreviations, including AUSCANNZUKUS[1] and Five Eyes,[2][3][4] it has also been described as the only software system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.[5] It was created in the early 1960s to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War, and was formally established in the year of 1971.[6][7] §Name[edit] Britain's The Guardian newspaper summarized the capabilities of the ECHELON system as follows:

subrealism: xkeyscore renders the security state more powerful than the 1% (deep state) targetfreedom | Apparently the criminals in the United States government now have a vested interest in keeping Edward Snowden alive and safe. A classified briefing was given to members of Congress on Wednesday Feb. 6, 2014. Leading members of the House Armed Services Committee emerged from the classified briefing “shocked” at the amount of information Edward Snowden reportedly took with him when he left the country. NSA scandal: Microsoft and Twitter join calls to disclose data requests Microsoft and Twitter have joined calls by Google and Facebook to be able to publish more detail about how many secret requests they receive to hand over user data under the controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa). "Permitting greater transparency on the aggregate volume and scope of national security requests, including Fisa orders, would help the community understand and debate these important issues," Microsoft said in an emailed statement to the Reuters news agency. At Twitter the chief lawyer, Alex Macgillivray, tweeted: "We'd like more NSL [national security letter] transparency and Twitter supports efforts to make that happen."

The real story in the NSA scandal is the collapse of journalism Updated June 9 to include details of the Guardian's coverage, a link to the Post's correction policy, and a quote from the Huffington Post. Updated June 10 to include a quote from a follow-up article in the Post directly contradicting its initial claims and another observation after the release of the leaker's identity. On Thursday, June 6, the Washington Post published a bombshell of a story, alleging that nine giants of the tech industry had “knowingly participated” in a widespread program by the United States National Security Agency (NSA). One day later, with no acknowledgment except for a change in the timestamp, the Post revised the story, backing down from sensational claims it made originally. But the damage was already done. The primary author of the story, Barton Gellman, is a Pulitzer Prize winner, and the Washington Post has a history in investigative journalism that goes back to Watergate and All the President’s Men.

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. Also playing a role in the search for bin Laden was an arm of the NSA known as the Tailored Access Operations group. That doctor was convicted by a Pakistani court in May 2012 of “conspiring against the state.”

No one understands what treason is The word “treason” has been thrown around a lot lately in relation to alleged leakers Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, but it turns out that no one accusing them of the crime actually seems to understands what it means. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein called Snowden’s leak an “act of treason,” as did Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, while House Speaker John Boehner called the leaker a “traitor.” NSA paying U.S. companies for access to communications networks New details of the corporate-partner project, which falls under the NSA’s Special Source Operations, confirm that the agency taps into “high volume circuit and packet-switched networks,” according to the spending blueprint for fiscal 2013. The program was expected to cost $278 million in the current fiscal year, down nearly one-third from its peak of $394 million in 2011. Voluntary cooperation from the “backbone” providers of global communications dates to the 1970s under the cover name BLARNEY, according to documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. These relationships long predate the PRISM program disclosed in June, under which American technology companies hand over customer data after receiving orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. In briefing slides, the NSA described BLARNEY and three other corporate projects — OAKSTAR, FAIRVIEW and STORMBREW — under the heading of “passive” or “upstream” collection.

Nine Companies Tied to PRISM, Obama Will Be Smacked With Class-Action Lawsuit Wednesday Former Justice Department prosecutor Larry Klayman amended an existing lawsuit against Verizon and a slew of Obama administration officials Monday to make it the first class-action lawsuit in response to the publication of a secret court order instructing Verizon to hand over the phone records of millions of American customers on an "ongoing, daily basis." Klayman told U.S. News he will file a second class-action lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia targeting government officials and each of the nine companies listed in a leaked National Security Agency slideshow as participants in the government's PRISM program.

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