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Patriot Act Faces Revisions Backed by Both Parties

Patriot Act Faces Revisions Backed by Both Parties | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The push for reform is the strongest demonstration of a shift from a focus on national security at the expense of civil liberties to a new balance in the post-Edward J. Snowden era.
Artur Alves's insight:

«

After more than a decade of wrenching national debate over the intrusiveness of government intelligence agencies, a bipartisan wave of support has gathered to sharply limit the federal government’s sweeps of phone and Internet records.

On Thursday, a bill that would overhaul the Patriot Act and curtail the so-called metadata surveillance exposed by Edward J. Snowden was overwhelmingly passed by the House Judiciary Committee and was heading to almost certain passage in that chamber this month.

An identical bill in the Senate — introduced with the support of five Republicans — is gaining support over the objection of Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who is facing the prospect of his first policy defeat since ascending this year to majority leader.

The push for reform is the strongest demonstration yet of a decade-long shift from a singular focus on national security at the expense of civil liberties to a new balance in the post-Snowden era.

«

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Bugged Routers, Spy Sales Pitches, and Other New NSA PowerPoint Bangers

Bugged Routers, Spy Sales Pitches, and Other New NSA PowerPoint Bangers | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Glenn Greenwald's new book about the Edward Snowden affair is already breaking new revelations of NSA spying programs.
Artur Alves's insight:

«Just as Glenn Greenwald’s scoops on the Edward Snowden NSA revelations seemed to be quieting down, his new book No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the U.S. Surveillance State is already breaking new revelations about the American spy agency. 

In an excerpt from his book on the Guardian website published last night, Greenwald accuses the NSA of covertly installing backdoor interceptions to “routers, servers, and other computer network devices,” being exported from the US before delivery to international customers. Part of a wider NSA practice of supply-chain interdiction, the agency intercepts American products manufactured by companies like Cisco and physically tampers with products, installing beacons for surveillance transmissions. According to Greenwald, after the bugs are installed, the NSA “repackages the devices with a factory seal, and sends them on” to unsuspecting users.

In the same excerpt Greenwald cites the irony of American intelligence agencies warning users about backdoor bugging in Chinese-made technologies used for espionage. “American companies were being warned away from supposedly untrustworthy Chinese routers, foreign organizations would have been well advised to beware of American-made ones,” Greenwald says.«

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How the NSA Almost Killed the Internet | Threat Level | Wired.com

How the NSA Almost Killed the Internet | Threat Level | Wired.com | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and the other tech titans have had to fight for their lives against their own government. An exclusive look inside their year from hell—and why the Internet will never be the same.
Artur Alves's insight:

A very enterprise-friendly piece by Steven Levy. The transparency of Silicon Valley companies has always raised doubts and considered wanting.

 

"The clash illustrates a seemingly irresolvable conflict. While Silicon Valley must be transparent in many regards, spy agencies operate under a cloak of obfuscation. There is certainly a reason for the secrecy; evildoers who use an Internet service presumably would be less likely to keep using it if they were aware that the pro­vider was sharing communications with the NSA. But one of the disturbing conse­quences of secret programs is the destructive shroud of doubt they cast over every­thing they touch. Months after Snowden’s leak, basic facts about Prism remain elusive. How much information is actually collected by the program? Exactly what kind of cooperation did the companies offer after those dates specified on that NSA PowerPoint slide? The companies contend that in addition to what they can’t say, there’s plenty they don’t know.

...

But even if the spy programs are viewed as justified, and whether they are tempered or not, we’re still left with the most sickening aspect of the Snowden revelations: The vast troves of information gathered from our digital activities will forever be seen as potential fodder for government intelligence agencies. A lot of people became inured to worries about Little Brother—private companies—knowing what we bought, where we were, what we were saying, and what we were searching for. Now it turns out that Big Brother can access that data too. It could not have been otherwise. The wealth of data we share on our computers, phones, and tablets is irresistible to a government determined to prevent the next disaster, even if the effort stretches laws beyond the comprehension of those who voted for them. And even if it turns the US into the number one adversary of American tech companies and their privacy-seeking customers."

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Snowden leak examines gaming as a terrorist propaganda and training tool

Snowden leak examines gaming as a terrorist propaganda and training tool | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
66-page report lays out intelligence concerns both practical and fantastical.
Artur Alves's insight:

"The latest document dump from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is getting a lot of deserved attention for revelations that international security agencies are taking steps to monitor communications inside online games. But those leaked documents also include an in-depth report on the potential for games to be used as recruitment, training, and propaganda tools by extremist organizations.

Security contractor SAIC produced the 66-page report "Games: A look at emerging trends, users, threats and opportunities in influence activities" in early 2007, and the document gives a rare window into how the US intelligence community views interactive games as a potential tool to be used by foreign actors. While parts of the report seem pretty realistic about gaming's potential use as a propaganda and planning tool, other sections provide a more fantastical take on how video games can be used as potential weapons by America's enemies."

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How Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages

How Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Documents show company collaborated closely with NSA and FBI to help agencies intercept data
Artur Alves's insight:

"The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret Prism program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.

The documents show that:

• Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal;

• The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail;

• The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;

• Microsoft also worked with the FBI's Data Intercept Unit to "understand" potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases;

• In July last year, nine months after Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism;

• Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a "team sport"."

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Edward Snowden: The Untold Story | WIRED

Edward Snowden: The Untold Story | WIRED | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The message arrives on my “clean machine,” a MacBook Air loaded only with a sophisticated encryption package. “Change in plans,” my contact says. “Be in the lobby of the Hotel ______ by 1 pm. Bring a book and wait for ES to find you.”
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Edward Snowden: US government spied on human rights workers

Edward Snowden: US government spied on human rights workers | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it

Whistleblower tells Council of Europe NSA deliberately snooped on groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International

Artur Alves's insight:

«The US has spied on the staff of prominent human rights organisations,Edward Snowden has told the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, Europe's top human rights body.

Giving evidence via a videolink from Moscow, Snowden said the National Security Agency – for which he worked as a contractor – had deliberately snooped on bodies like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

He told council members: "The NSA has specifically targeted either leaders or staff members in a number of civil and non-governmental organisations … including domestically within the borders of the United States." Snowden did not reveal which groups the NSA had bugged.«

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NSA phone surveillance program likely unconstitutional, federal judge rules

NSA phone surveillance program likely unconstitutional, federal judge rules | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Collection of US phone metadata 'likely' in breach of fourth amendment as judge describes scope of programe as 'Orwellian'
Artur Alves's insight:

"A federal judge in Washington ruled on Monday that the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records by the National Security Agency is likely to violate the US constitution, in the most significant legal setback for the agency since the publication of the first surveillance disclosures by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Judge Richard Leon declared that the mass collection of metadata probably violates the fourth amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and was "almost Orwellian" in its scope. In a judgment replete with literary swipes against the NSA, he said James Madison, the architect of the US constitution, would be "aghast" at the scope of the agency’s collection of Americans' communications data."

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Snowden leaks open up the great question of our age | Index on Censorship

Snowden leaks open up the great question of our age | Index on Censorship | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Artur Alves's insight:

"Edward Snowden’s leaks have exposed an ideological chasm between the partisans of free information and liberty and the guardians of state security. They have also asked demanding questions of the public at large: when does intelligence gathering become an unwarranted intrusion into private lives? Is the first responsibility of an intelligence agent to the country he serves or to a — self defined — greater good? Can we have a free society without people who do dirty work like spying on our emails?"

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Edward Snowden Interview: The NSA and Its Willing Helpers - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Edward Snowden Interview: The NSA and Its Willing Helpers - SPIEGEL ONLINE | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
In an interview conducted using encrypted e-mails, whistleblower Edward Snowden discusses the power of the NSA, how it is "in bed together with the Germans" and the vast scope of Internet spying conducted by the United States and Britain.
Artur Alves's insight:

Yet another confirmation.

"Interviewer: Did the NSA help to create Stuxnet? (Stuxnet is the computer worm that was deployed against the Iranian nuclear program.)

Snowden: NSA and Israel co-wrote it."

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