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GCHQ and European spy agencies worked together on mass surveillance

GCHQ and European spy agencies worked together on mass surveillance
The German, French, Spanish and Swedish intelligence services have all developed methods of mass surveillance of internet and phone traffic over the past five years in close partnership with Britain's GCHQ eavesdropping agency. The bulk monitoring is carried out through direct taps into fibre optic cables and the development of covert relationships with telecommunications companies. A loose but growing eavesdropping alliance has allowed intelligence agencies from one country to cultivate ties with corporations from another to facilitate the trawling of the web, according to GCHQ documents leaked by the former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. The files also make clear that GCHQ played a leading role in advising its European counterparts how to work around national laws intended to restrict the surveillance power of intelligence agencies. 'Huge potential' "Very friendly crypt meeting with DGSE in July," British officials reported. Fresh opportunities European allies Related:  The NSA Files: PRISM & Boundless Informationsurveillance

NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say According to a top-secret accounting dated Jan. 9, 2013, the NSA’s acquisitions directorate sends millions of records every day from internal Yahoo and Google networks to data warehouses at the agency’s headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. In the preceding 30 days, the report said, field collectors had processed and sent back 181,280,466 new records — including “metadata,” which would indicate who sent or received e-mails and when, as well as content such as text, audio and video. The NSA’s principal tool to exploit the data links is a project called MUSCULAR, operated jointly with the agency’s British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters. From undisclosed interception points, the NSA and the GCHQ are copying entire data flows across fiber-optic cables that carry information among the data centers of the Silicon Valley giants. The MUSCULAR project appears to be an unusually aggressive use of NSA tradecraft against flagship American companies.

Government Standards Agency “Strongly” Suggests Dropping its Own Encryption Standard The decision follows revelations about the NSA’s covert influence on computer security standards. Following revelations about the NSA’s covert influence on computer security standards, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, announced [1] earlier this week it is revisiting some of its encryption standards. But in a little-noticed footnote [2], NIST went a step further, saying it is “strongly” recommending against even using one of the standards. The institute sets standards for everything from the time [3] to weights [4] to computer security that are used by the government and widely adopted by industry. As ProPublica, the New York Times, and the Guardian reported [5] last week, documents provided by Edward Snowden suggest that the NSA has heavily influenced the standard, which has been used around the world. “We are not deliberately, knowingly, working to undermine or weaken encryption,” NIST chief Patrick Gallagher said at a public conference Tuesday.

'Courage Is Contagious': Additional NSA Employees Said to Be Following Snowden's Lead Homeland Security logo reflected in the eyeglasses of a cybersecurity analyst at the agency’s secretive cyber defense facility in Idaho. The Government Accountability Project's Jesselyn Raddack says that Snowden's courage has become contagious among other NSA employee.(Mark J. Terrill/AP)The "courage" of Edward Snowden is "contagious," according to lawyer and transparency advocate Jesselyn Radack, who says that additional employees at the National Security Agency are now coming forward with what they consider objectionable practices by their employer. Jesselyn Raddack, Government Accountability Project. According to Radack, several more whistleblowers have approached the Government Accountability Project (GAP)—the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization where she is the director of National Security and Human Rights—since Snowden's story broke earlier this year. The Obama administration's "war on whistleblowers" is backfiring, said Radack.

Cringely The Google File System makes NSA's hack blatantly illegal and they know it The latest Edward Snowden bombshell that the National Security Agency has been hacking foreign Google and Yahoo data centers is particularly disturbing. Plenty has been written about it so I normally wouldn’t comment except that the general press has, I think, too shallow an understanding of the technology involved. The hack is even more insidious than they know. The superficial story is in the NSA slide (above) that you’ve probably seen already. Yahoo has no such encryption. The major point being missed, I think, by the general press is how the Google File System and Yahoo’s Hadoop Distributed File System play into this story. Data replication, which is there for reasons of both performance and fault tolerance, means that when the GCHQ in London is accessing the Google data center there, they have access to all Google data, not just Google’s UK data or Google’s European data. Throw Mama from the train. Some kind of reform, eh? GCHQ could get the data from a network contractor like BT.

Moroccan website Mamfakinch targeted by government-grade spyware from Hacking Team? Photo by FADEL SENNA/AFP/GettyImages An email claiming to reveal a political scandal will grab the attention of almost any journalist. But what if the email was just a ruse to make you download government-grade spyware designed to take total control of your computer? It could happen—as a team of award-winning Moroccan reporters recently found out. Ryan Gallagher is a journalist who reports on surveillance, security, and civil liberties. Follow is a citizen media project that grew out of the Arab Spring in early 2011. The email, sent via the contact form on, was titled “Dénonciation” (denunciation). What the experts believe they found was, they said, “very advanced”—something out of the ordinary. Once installed, the Trojan tried to connect to an IP address that was traced to a U.S. hosting company, Linode, which provides “virtual private servers” that host files but help mask their origin. But there were a couple of clues.

Survey says 77% of Americans reject NSA mass electronic surveillance, of Americans [Update November 24: Added link to second part of "Snowden effect" survey results and a podcast: Is NSA Surveillance Affecting Online Behavior?] On October 26, the 12th anniversary of the signing of the USA Patriot Act, thousands of Americans joined the Stop Watching Us protest in Washington, D.C. The event garnered a lot of media attention and delivered 575,000 signatures on a petition demanding that the U.S. Congress reveal “the full extent of the NSA’s spying programs”. But do most Americans oppose the kind of mass electronic surveillance that has been revealed by “the Snowden papers”? The answer is a resounding Yes, according to recent survey commissioned by ESET 77% of American adults surveyed disagreed with the following statement: It is okay for my government secretly to monitor all of our communications. While one third said they simply disagreed, an impressive 44% said they strongly disagreed. The Terrorism Factor The Us v. The Economic Factor Author Stephen Cobb, ESET

How we know the NSA had access to internal Google and Yahoo cloud data The Washington Post reported last Wednesday that the National Security Agency has been tapping into the private links that connect Google and Yahoo data centers around the world. Today we offer additional background, with new evidence from the source documents and interviews with confidential sources, demonstrating that the NSA accessed data traveling between those centers. The background also helps explain the response of U.S. officials following the publication of the story. The U.S. government declined repeated requests to discuss the story beginning eight days before it was published. Immediately after the story posted online, a reporter asked NSA Director Keith B. General, we’re getting some news that’s crossing right now being reported in The Washington Post that there are new Snowden allegations that say the NSA broke into Yahoo and Google’s databases worldwide, that they infiltrated these databases? Alexander replied: Alexander also said: We go through a court order. Robert S.

Necessary and Proportionate