Privacy Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Privacy Media Articles from Major Media


Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important privacy articles reported in the mainstream media suggesting a cover-up. Links are provided to the full articles on major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These privacy articles are listed by article date. You can also explore the articles listed by order of importance or by date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.


Privacy Media Articles


Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.

US and UK struck secret deal to allow NSA to 'unmask' Britons' personal data
2013-11-20, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/20/us-uk-secret-deal-surveillance-p...

The phone, internet and email records of UK citizens not suspected of any wrongdoing have been analysed and stored by America's National Security Agency under a secret deal that was approved by British intelligence officials, according to documents from the whistleblower Edward Snowden. In the first explicit confirmation that UK citizens have been caught up in US mass surveillance programs, an NSA memo describes how in 2007 an agreement was reached that allowed the agency to "unmask" and hold on to personal data about Britons that had previously been off limits. The memo ... says the material is being put in databases where it can be made available to other members of the US intelligence and military community. Until now, it had been generally understood that the citizens of each country were protected from surveillance by any of the others. But the Snowden material reveals that: • In 2007, the rules were changed to allow the NSA to analyse and retain any British citizens' mobile phone and fax numbers, emails and IP addresses swept up by its dragnet. • These communications were "incidentally collected" by the NSA, meaning the individuals were not the initial targets of surveillance operations and therefore were not suspected of wrongdoing. • The NSA has been using the UK data to conduct so-called "pattern of life" or "contact-chaining" analyses, under which the agency can look up to three "hops" away from a target of interest – examining the communications of a friend of a friend of a friend. Three hops for a typical Facebook user could pull the data of more than 5 million people into the dragnet.

Note: For more on government threats to privacy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




FISA court order that allowed NSA surveillance is revealed for first time
2013-11-19, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/19/court-order-that-allowed-nsa-sur...

A secret court order that authorised a massive trawl by the National Security Agency of Americans' email and internet data was published for the first time on [November 18], among a trove of documents that also revealed a judge's concern that the NSA "continuously" and "systematically" violated the limits placed on the program. Another later court order found that what it called "systemic overcollection" had taken place. In a heavily redacted opinion Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, the former presiding judge of the FISA court, placed legal weight on the methods of surveillance employed by the NSA, which had never before collected the internet data of “an enormous volume of communications”. The methods, known as pen registers and trap-and-trace devices, record the incoming and outgoing routing information of communications. Kollar-Kotelly ruled that acquiring the metadata, and not the content, of email and internet usage in bulk was harmonious with the “purpose” of Congress and prior court rulings – even though no surveillance statute ever authorized it and top officials at the Justice Department and the FBI threatened to resign in 2004 over what they considered its dubious legality. The type of data collected under the program included information on the "to", "from" and "bcc" lines of an email rather than the content. Metadata, wrote Kollar-Kotelly, enjoyed no protection under the fourth amendment to the US constitution, a precedent established by the Supreme Court in 1979 in a single case on which the NSA relies currently.

Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




No Morsel Too Minuscule for All-Consuming N.S.A.
2013-11-03, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/03/world/no-morsel-too-minuscule-for-all-consu...

When Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, sat down with President Obama at the White House in April to discuss Syrian chemical weapons, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and climate change, it was a cordial, routine exchange. The National Security Agency nonetheless went to work in advance and intercepted Mr. Ban’s talking points for the meeting, a feat the agency later reported as an “operational highlight” in a weekly internal brag sheet. It was emblematic of an agency that for decades has operated on the principle that any eavesdropping that can be done on a foreign target of any conceivable interest — now or in the future — should be done. After all, American intelligence officials reasoned, who’s going to find out? From thousands of classified documents, the National Security Agency emerges as an electronic omnivore of staggering capabilities, eavesdropping and hacking its way around the world to strip governments and other targets of their secrets, all the while enforcing the utmost secrecy about its own operations. It spies routinely on friends as well as foes, as has become obvious in recent weeks; the agency’s official mission list includes using its surveillance powers to achieve “diplomatic advantage” over such allies as France and Germany and “economic advantage” over Japan and Brazil, among other countries. The scale of eavesdropping by the N.S.A., with 35,000 workers and $10.8 billion a year, sets it apart.

Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




GCHQ and European spy agencies worked together on mass surveillance
2013-11-01, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/nov/01/gchq-europe-spy-agencies-mass-...

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. US intelligence officials have insisted the mass monitoring was carried out by the security agencies in the countries involved and shared with the US. The Guardian revealed the existence of GCHQ's Tempora programme, in which the electronic intelligence agency tapped directly into the transatlantic fibre optic cables to carry out bulk surveillance. GCHQ officials expressed admiration for the technical capabilities of German intelligence to do the same thing, [saying] the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) had "huge technological potential and good access to the heart of the internet – they are already seeing some bearers running at 40Gbps and 100Gbps". Bearers is the GCHQ term for the fibre optic cables, and gigabits per second (Gbps) measures the speed at which data runs through them.

Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Spain colluded in NSA spying on its citizens, Spanish newspaper reports
2013-10-30, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/30/spain-colluded-nsa-spying-citize...

The widespread surveillance of Spanish citizens by the US National Security Agency, which caused outrage when it was reported this week, was the product of a collaboration with Spain's intelligence services, according to one Spanish newspaper. Spanish agents not only knew about the work of the NSA but also facilitated it, El Mundo reports. An NSA document entitled "Sharing computer network operations cryptologic information with foreign partners" reportedly shows how the US relies on the collaboration of many countries to give it access to intelligence information, including electronic metadata. According to the document seen by El Mundo, the US classifies cooperation with various countries on four different levels. In the first group – "Comprehensive Cooperation" – are the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The second group – "Focused Cooperation" – of which Spain is a member, includes 19 countries, all of them European, apart from Japan and South Korea. The third group – "Limited cooperation" – consists of countries such as France, Israel, India and Pakistan; while the fourth – "Exceptional Cooperation" – is made up of countries that the US considers to be hostile to its interests. The NSA documents [suggest] the Spanish intelligence services were working hand in hand with the NSA, as were other foreign agencies. But if there was any doubt as to who held the upper hand, the NSA documents make clear that any collaboration was always to serve the needs of protecting American interests.

Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency activities, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts
2013-10-24, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/24/nsa-surveillance-world-leaders-c...

The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department, according to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The confidential memo reveals that the NSA encourages senior officials in its "customer" departments, such as the White House, State and the Pentagon, to share their "Rolodexes" so the agency can add the phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems. The document notes that one unnamed US official handed over 200 numbers, including those of the 35 world leaders, none of whom is named. These were immediately "tasked" for monitoring by the NSA. The revelation is set to add to mounting diplomatic tensions between the US and its allies, after the German chancellor Angela Merkel ... accused the US of tapping her mobile phone. The NSA memo obtained by the Guardian suggests that such surveillance was not isolated, as the agency routinely monitors the phone numbers of world leaders – and even asks for the assistance of other US officials to do so. The memo, dated October 2006 and which was issued to staff in the agency's Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID), was titled "Customers Can Help SID Obtain Targetable Phone Numbers". In the wake of the Merkel row, the US is facing growing international criticism that any intelligence benefit from spying on friendly governments is far outweighed by the potential diplomatic damage.

Note: For more on the hidden realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Security Check Now Starts Long Before You Fly
2013-10-22, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/22/business/security-check-now-starts-long-bef...

The Transportation Security Administration is expanding its screening of passengers before they arrive at the airport by searching a wide array of government and private databases that can include records like car registrations and employment information. It is unclear precisely what information the agency is relying upon to make these risk assessments, given the extensive range of records it can access, including tax identification number, past travel itineraries, property records, physical characteristics, and law enforcement or intelligence information. The measures go beyond the background check the government has conducted for years, called Secure Flight, in which a passenger’s name, gender and date of birth are compared with terrorist watch lists. Now, the search includes using a traveler’s passport number, which is already used to screen people at the border, and other identifiers to access a system of databases maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. “I think the best way to look at it is as a pre-crime assessment every time you fly,” said Edward Hasbrouck, a consultant to the Identity Project, one of the groups that oppose the prescreening initiatives. “The default will be the highest, most intrusive level of search, and anything less will be conditioned on providing some additional information in some fashion.” Critics argue that the problem with what the agency calls an “intelligence-driven, risk-based analysis” of passenger data is that secret computer rules, not humans, make these determinations. Civil liberties groups have questioned whether the agency has the legal authority to make these assessments.

Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Edward Snowden is no traitor
2013-10-21, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/richard-cohen-edward-snowden-is-no-tra...

What are we to make of Edward Snowden? I know what I once made of him. He was no real whistleblower, I wrote, but “ridiculously cinematic” and “narcissistic” as well. As time has proved, my judgments were just plain wrong. Whatever Snowden is, he is curiously modest and has bent over backward to ensure that the information he has divulged has done as little damage as possible. As a “traitor,” he lacks the requisite intent and menace. But traitor is what Snowden has been roundly called. Harry Reid: “I think Snowden is a traitor.” John Boehner: “He’s a traitor.” Rep. Peter King: “This guy is a traitor; he’s a defector.” And Dick Cheney not only denounced Snowden as a “traitor” but also suggested that he might have shared information with the Chinese. This innuendo, as with Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, is more proof of Cheney’s unerring determination to be cosmically wrong. The early denunciations of Snowden now seem both over the top and beside the point. If he is a traitor, then which side did he betray and to whom does he now owe allegiance? Snowden seems to have sold out to no one. In fact, a knowledgeable source says that Snowden has not even sold his life story and has rebuffed offers of cash for interviews. Maybe his most un-American act is passing up a chance at easy money. Someone ought to look into this. Snowden’s residency in Russia has been forced upon him — he had nowhere else to go. Snowden insists that neither the Russians nor, before them, the Chinese have gotten their grubby hands on his top-secret material.

Note: For more on the hidden realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Snowden Says He Took No Secret Files to Russia
2013-10-17, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/world/snowden-says-he-took-no-secret-files-...

Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, said in an extensive interview this month that he did not take any secret N.S.A. documents with him to Russia when he fled there in June, assuring that Russian intelligence officials could not get access to them. He also asserted that he was able to protect the documents from China’s spies because he was familiar with that nation’s intelligence abilities, saying that as an N.S.A. contractor he had targeted Chinese operations and had taught a course on Chinese cybercounterintelligence. “There’s a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents,” he said. Mr. Snowden added that inside the spy agency “there’s a lot of dissent.” But he said that people were kept in line through “fear and a false image of patriotism,” which he described as “obedience to authority.” He said he believed that if he tried to question the N.S.A.’s surveillance operations as an insider, his efforts “would have been buried forever,” and he would “have been discredited and ruined.” Mr. Snowden said he finally decided to act when he discovered a copy of a classified 2009 inspector general’s report on the N.S.A.’s warrantless wiretapping program during the Bush administration. After reading about the program, which skirted the existing surveillance laws, he concluded that it had been illegal, he said. “If the highest officials in government can break the law without fearing punishment or even any repercussions at all,” he said, “secret powers become tremendously dangerous.”

Note: For more on the hidden realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Privacy Fears Grow as Cities Increase Surveillance
2013-10-14, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/14/technology/privacy-fears-as-surveillance-gr...

Federal grants of $7 million, initially intended to help thwart terror attacks at the port in Oakland, Calif., are instead going to a police initiative that will collect and analyze reams of surveillance data. The new system ... is the latest example of how cities are compiling and processing large amounts of information, known as big data, for routine law enforcement. And the system underscores how technology has enabled the tracking of people in many aspects of life. Like the Oakland effort, other pushes to use new surveillance tools in law enforcement are supported with federal dollars. The New York Police Department, aided by federal financing, has a big data system that links 3,000 surveillance cameras with license plate readers, radiation sensors, criminal databases and terror suspect lists. Police in Massachusetts have used federal money to buy automated license plate scanners. And police in Texas have bought a drone with homeland security money. [Critics] of the Oakland initiative, formally known as the Domain Awareness Center, [say] the program, which will create a central repository of surveillance information, will also gather data about the everyday movements and habits of law-abiding residents. Oakland has a contract with the Science Applications International Corporation, or SAIC, to build its system. That company has earned the bulk of its $12 billion in annual revenue from military contracts.

Note: For more on government privacy invasions, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




The Snowden files: why the British public should be worried about GCHQ
2013-10-03, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/03/edward-snowden-files-john-lanche...

The problem and the risk [with surveillance by GCHQ] comes in the area of mass capture of data, or strategic surveillance. This is the kind of intelligence gathering that sucks in data from everyone, everywhere: from phones, internet use from email to website visits, social networking, instant messaging and video calls, and even areas such as video gaming; in short, everything digital. In the US, the Prism programme may have given the NSA access to the servers of companies such as Google and Facebook; in the UK, GCHQ has gained a similar degree of access via its Tempora programme, and the two of them together have a cable- and network-tapping capabilities collectively called Upstream, which have the ability to intercept anything that travels over the internet. This data is fed into a database called XKeyscore, which allows analysts to extract information "in real time", ie immediately. What this adds up to is a new thing in human history: with a couple of clicks of a mouse, an agent of the state can target your home phone, or your mobile, or your email, or your passport number, or any of your credit card numbers, or your address, or any of your log-ins to a web service. Using that "selector", the state can get access to all the content of your communications, via any of those channels; can gather information about anyone you communicate with, can get a full picture of all your internet use, can track your location online and offline. It can, in essence, know everything about you, including – thanks to the ability to look at your internet searches – what's on your mind.

Note: For an excellent 15-minute BBC Newsnight interview with Glenn Greenwald defending Edward Snowden's release of secret documents, click here. For more on government privacy invasions, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




As F.B.I. Pursued Snowden, an E-Mail Service Stood Firm
2013-10-03, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/03/us/snowdens-e-mail-provider-discusses-press...

The owner of the e-mail service [Lavabit, Ladar Levison,] said he closed it down after the government, in pursuit of Edward J. Snowden, sought untrammeled access to the protected messages of all his customers. Mr. Levison was willing to allow investigators with a court order to tap Mr. Snowden’s e-mail account; he had complied with similar narrowly targeted requests involving other customers about two dozen times. But they wanted more, he said: the passwords, encryption keys and computer code that would essentially allow the government untrammeled access to the protected messages of all his customers. That, he said, was too much. On Aug. 8, Mr. Levison closed Lavabit rather than, in his view, betray his promise of secure e-mail to his customers. On [October 2], a federal judge unsealed documents in the case, allowing the tech entrepreneur to speak candidly for the first time about his experiences. He had been summoned to testify to a grand jury in Virginia; forbidden to discuss his case; held in contempt of court and fined $10,000 for handing over his private encryption keys on paper and not in digital form; and, finally, threatened with arrest for saying too much when he shuttered his business. While Mr. Levison’s struggles have been with the F.B.I., hovering in the background is the N.S.A., which has worked secretly for years to undermine or bypass encrypted services like Lavabit so that their electronic message scrambling cannot obstruct the agency’s spying. Mr. Levison’s case shows how law enforcement officials can use legal tools to pry open messages, no matter how well protected.

Note: For an excellent 15-minute BBC Newsnight interview with Glenn Greenwald defending Edward Snowden's release of secret documents, click here. For more on government privacy invasions, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens
2013-09-29, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/us/nsa-examines-social-networks-of-us-citiz...

Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials. The spy agency began allowing the analysis of phone call and e-mail logs in November 2010 to examine Americans’ networks of associations for foreign intelligence purposes after N.S.A. officials lifted restrictions on the practice, according to documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. The agency was authorized to conduct “large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness” of every e-mail address, phone number or other identifier, the document said. The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such “enrichment” data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners. Almost everything about the agency’s operations is hidden, and the decision to revise the limits concerning Americans was made in secret, without review by the nation’s intelligence court or any public debate.

Note: For an excellent 15-minute BBC Newsnight interview with Glenn Greenwald defending Edward Snowden's release of secret documents, click here. For more on government surveillance, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




NSA spied on Martin Luther King, documents reveal
2013-09-25, USA Today
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-24279394

The US National Security Agency spied on civil rights leader Martin Luther King and boxer Muhammad Ali during the height of the Vietnam War protests, declassified documents reveal. The documents show the NSA also tracked journalists from the New York Times and the Washington Post and two senators. Some NSA officials later described the programme as "disreputable if not outright illegal", the documents show. The operation, dubbed "Minaret", was originally exposed in the 1970s. However, the names of those on the phone-tapping "watch list" had been kept secret until now. The secret papers were published after a government panel ruled in favour of researchers at George Washington University. The university's National Security Archive - a research institute that seeks to check government secrecy - described the names on the NSA's watch-list as "eye-popping". The agency eavesdropped on civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Whitney Young as well as boxing champion Muhammad Ali, New York Times journalist Tom Wicker and Washington Post columnist Art Buchwald. The NSA also monitored the overseas phone calls of two prominent US senators - Democrat Frank Church and Republican Howard Baker. In 1967 the strength of the anti-war campaign led President Lyndon Johnson to ask US intelligence agencies to find out if some protests were being stoked by foreign governments. Many of those targeted were considered to be critics of US involvement in the Vietnam War. The NSA worked with other spy agencies to draw up the "watch lists" of anti-war critics, tapping their phone calls. The programme continued after Richard Nixon entered the White House in 1969.

Note: These names were kept secret until now allegedly for reason of "national security." Note how this term is repeatedly used to cover up illegal government activity solely to protect those who commit these crimes. For more on the hidden realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




NSA stories around the world
2013-09-23, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/23/various-items-nsa-india-...

One of the most overlooked aspects of the NSA reporting in the US has been just how global of a story this has become. Last week it was revealed that Belgium's largest telecom, Belgacom, was the victim of a massive hacking attack which systematically compromised its system for as long as two years. Last week, using documents obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Laura Poitras and other Der Spiegel journalists reported in that paper that it was the GCHQ, Britain's intelligence agency, that was behind the attack. According to that report, the attack was carried out by targeting individual engineers at the telecom with malware that allowed GCHQ agents to "own" their computer and thus exploit their access to the telecommunications system. As the US and UK run around the world protesting the hacking activities of others and warning of the dangers of cyber-attacks, that duo is one of the most aggressive and malicious, if not the most aggressive and malicious, perpetrators of those attacks of anyone on the planet. Nobody hacks as prolifically and aggressively as the two countries who most vocally warn of the dangers of hacking. A coalition called Stop Watching Us has been formed by privacy and civil liberties groups from across the political spectrum. On October 26, the 12th anniversary of the enactment of the Patriot Act, they will hold an anti-surveillance rally in Washington DC.

Note: For more on the hidden realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




N.S.A. Able to Foil Basic Safeguards of Privacy on Web
2013-09-06, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/06/us/nsa-foils-much-internet-encryption.html

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. The agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world, the documents show. Many users assume — or have been assured by Internet companies — that their data is safe from prying eyes, including those of the government, and the N.S.A. wants to keep it that way. The agency treats its recent successes in deciphering protected information as among its most closely guarded secrets, restricted to those cleared for a highly classified program code-named Bullrun, according to the documents, provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. Beginning in 2000, as encryption tools were gradually blanketing the Web, the N.S.A. invested billions of dollars in a clandestine campaign to preserve its ability to eavesdrop. Having lost a public battle in the 1990s to insert its own “back door” in all encryption, it set out to accomplish the same goal by stealth. The agency ... deployed custom-built, superfast computers to break codes, and began collaborating with technology companies in the United States and abroad to build entry points into their products [called "backdoors"].

Note: For an excellent article in the UK's respected Guardian on this, click here. For a guide from the Guardian on "How to remain secure against NSA surveillance", click here.




Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security
2013-09-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/05/nsa-gchq-encryption-codes-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". Those methods include covert measures to ensure NSA control over setting of international encryption standards, the use of supercomputers to break encryption with "brute force", and – the most closely guarded secret of all – collaboration with technology companies and internet service providers themselves. Through these covert partnerships, the agencies have inserted secret vulnerabilities – known as backdoors or trapdoors – into commercial encryption software. "Backdoors are fundamentally in conflict with good security," said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist and senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union. "Backdoors expose all users of a backdoored system, not just intelligence agency targets, to heightened risk of data compromise."

Note: For an excellent article in the New York Times on this, click here. For a guide from the Guardian on "How to remain secure against NSA surveillance", click here.




NYPD's massive mosque spying operations revealed
2013-08-28, MSN/Associated Press
http://news.msn.com/us/nypds-massive-mosque-spying-operations-revealed

The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorism organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance. Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen "terrorism enterprise investigations" into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents. Many TEIs stretch for years, allowing surveillance to continue even though the NYPD has never criminally charged a mosque or Islamic organization with operating as a terrorism enterprise. The documents show in detail how, in its hunt for terrorists, the NYPD investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files. As a tactic, opening an enterprise investigation on a mosque is so potentially invasive that while the NYPD conducted at least a dozen, the FBI never did one, according to interviews with federal law enforcement officials. The revelations about the NYPD's massive spying operations are in documents recently obtained by The Associated Press and part of a new book, Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD's Secret Spying Unit... The book ... is based on hundreds of previously unpublished police files and interviews with current and former NYPD, CIA and FBI officials.

Note: For more on the realities of intelligence operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




U.S. spy agency edges into the light after Snowden revelations
2013-08-25, MSN/Reuters
http://money.msn.com/business-news/article.aspx?feed=OBR&date=20130825&id=168...

There was a time when the U.S. National Security Agency was so secretive that government officials dared not speak its name in public. NSA, the joke went, stood for "No Such Agency." That same agency this month held an on-the-record conference call with reporters, issued a lengthy press release to rebut a newspaper story, and posted documents on a newly launched open website - icontherecord.tumblr.com (which stands for intelligence community on the record). The steps were taken under pressure as President Barack Obama's administration tries to calm a public storm over disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The NSA's moves out of the shadows were meant to show that it operates lawfully..., but not everyone is convinced that it is a fundamental shift toward more openness at the intelligence agencies. Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union, said the [disclosures] should not be viewed as a huge shift toward transparency by the administration. "In fact, on the same day the president promised more transparency on surveillance issues, the CIA filed a brief in one of our 'targeted killing' cases arguing that it could not release legal memos about the drone program, could not release civilian casualty numbers, and for that matter could not even acknowledge that the agency had played any role in targeted killings," Jaffer said.

Note: For more on the realities of intelligence operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Guardian teams up with New York Times over Snowden documents
2013-08-23, MSN/Reuters
http://money.msn.com/business-news/article.aspx?feed=OBR&date=20130823&id=168...

The Guardian has agreed with the New York Times to give the U.S. newspaper access to some classified documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, both papers said on [August 23]. In a brief story posted on its website, the Guardian said it "struck a partnership" with the Times after the British government threatened the Guardian with legal action unless it either surrendered or destroyed files it received from Snowden about Government Communications Headquarters - Britain's equivalent of NSA. The Times' executive editor, Jill Abramson, confirmed the collaboration. A source familiar with the matter said the partnership deal had been struck several weeks ago and that Abramson was personally involved in negotiating it. The Guardian said in its story that its partnership with the Times would enable it to "continue exposing mass surveillance by putting the Snowden documents on GCHQ beyond government reach." The Times and the Guardian previously collaborated on stories related to alleged phone hacking by British tabloid newspapers and on coverage of secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents made available by U.S. Army soldier Bradley Manning to the WikiLeaks website.

Note: For more on the NSA spying scandal, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.





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