NSA taps in to systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and others, secret files reveal The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian. The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says. The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims "collection directly from the servers" of major US service providers.
NSA files decoded: Edward Snowden's surveillance revelations explained 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
Wiretaps through Software Hacks to Get Legal Scrutiny Earlier this year a group of researchers published a controversial idea for giving law enforcement access to suspicious electronic communications. Instead of forcing tech companies like Facebook and Google to build backdoors into their software, the researchers suggested law enforcement simply exploit existing vulnerabilities in Web software to plant their digital wiretaps. This approach would turn security-compromising software bugs—a bane of software companies and their customers for the past couple of decades—into a tool for gathering evidence against criminals communicating via voice-over-IP (VoIP) calls, instant messaging, some video game systems and other Internet-based channels. Although the researchers made clear that the FBI and other agencies should obtain a court order before placing their digital wiretaps, the proposal raises more than a few thorny legal questions. Skeptics say that much more scrutiny is necessary for a proposal as unorthodox as “Going Bright.”
Google, Facebook, Dropbox, Yahoo, Microsoft And Apple Deny Participation In NSA PRISM Surveillance Program The Washington Post today reported that Google, Apple, Facebook, Dropbox, Microsoft, Paltalk, AOL (TechCrunch’s parent company) and Yahoo participated in the so-called PRISM program which provided the NSA with what looks like virtually direct access to their servers and their users’ data. We have now reached out to all of these companies and all of them have categorically denied that they are participating. These denials are especially odd given that a number of publications, including USA Today, are now citing source that confirm the existence of this program. According to these reports, PRISM is not aimed at U.S. citizens or any person in the United States. Here is what we got so far: Facebook
The NSA's next move: silencing university professors? This actually happened yesterday: A professor in the computer science department at Johns Hopkins, a leading American university, had written a post on his blog, hosted on the university's servers, focused on his area of expertise, which is cryptography. The post was highly critical of the government, specifically the National Security Agency, whose reckless behavior in attacking online security astonished him. Professor Matthew Green wrote on 5 September: I was totally unprepared for today's bombshell revelations describing the NSA's efforts to defeat encryption. Not only does the worst possible hypothetical I discussed appear to be true, but it's true on a scale I couldn't even imagine. Race and class matters: All's not equal when it comes to the government's big data habit Above: Affected children protest the fingerscanning requirement in Jackson, MS (Note: This is somewhat unrelated, but for Apple iPhone users, very important. Click here to learn how to opt-out of automated tracking in iOS 6.)
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.
Nation Mostly Alarmed That Government’s Top Programs Handled By 29-Year-Olds WASHINGTON—Following reports Sunday that the source of the leaked National Security Agency surveillance practices is 29-year-old government contractor Edward Snowden, polls revealed today that beyond concerns about privacy, Americans are primarily distressed that sensitive government programs are apparently being managed by kids who were still in high school when 9/11 happened. “Sure, this raises troubling questions about liberty and security, but what’s really bothering me here is that there are people in very high positions handling national security matters of grave importance who are the same age as my son,” Virginia resident Karen Linder said of the Gen-Y whistleblower. “He’s had, what, six years of experience? Let’s get some older guys in there. How about someone in his 40s who’s lived a little bit, who’s maybe old enough to have voted in more than two elections.”
Parsing PRISM denials: Could everyone be telling the truth? A day after The Washington Post and Guardian published bombshell revelations that America’s biggest tech companies are allowing the U.S. government to constantly monitor highly personal data contained in their servers, the facts remain fuzzy and somewhat fluid—and the statements of the parties involved don’t add up. All the tech companies have issued denials , saying they haven't given the government “direct” access or a “back door” to their servers under a surveillance program called PRISM, as the Post and Guardian stories claim. Google Google’s Larry Page repeated his company’s denials in a blog post today: “First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers. Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a 'back door' to the information stored in our data centers." The National Security Administration is saying the news stories are “full of inaccuracies,” but isn’t saying what the inaccuracies are.
These are the companies alleged to have links to the NSA surveillance scandal The global surveillance scandal involves many players in the corporate world and — thanks to Edward Snowden — details of their identities and relationships with the NSA and other intelligence agencies continue to dribble out. Many publications are doing fine work carrying these stories, but the information is a tad scattered. So I thought it might be useful to compile a list of the companies that are thought to be involved in Prism, Tempora, Blarney and all the other mysteriously codenamed sub-programs that add up to a near-global surveillance network. This list will be updated as and when new information comes in (please do note omissions in the comments below). Web/mobile firms The companies named in the original Prism scandal are as follows:
A Timeline: Wiretapping’s Checkered Past, NSAgate, PRISM and Whistleblower Edward Snowden The National Security Agency and the US government in general is being bombarded with criticism regarding NSAgate. When news of the NSA’s data mining operations surfaced, not many news outlets or people were altogether surprised–having suspected something had been going on all along–however, the extent thereof and the type have been veiled in so much secrecy and had become so much more agressive since 9/11 it’s difficult to know what’s been done or how it’s been done and especially how that affects the very security and privacy of common citizens. Wiretapping itself (especially the secret type) goes far back, way back, to a time when you or I hadn’t even been born, heck even before our parents or grandparents haven’t been conceived. Wiretapping Timeline 1861-1865 – During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln reportedly read wiretapped messages sent from enemy camps’ telegraph lines.