Please donate here to support this vital work.
Subscribe here to our free email list

Privacy News Stories
Excerpts of Key Privacy News Stories in Major Media


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

Note: This comprehensive list of privacy news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


Department Of Homeland Security Compiling Database Of Journalists And 'Media Influencers'
2018-04-06, Forbes
Posted: 2018-04-16 20:04:01
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michellefabio/2018/04/06/department-of-homeland-...

Bloomberg Government reports on a FedBizOpps.gov posting by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the relatively benign-sounding subject “Media Monitoring Services.” The details of the attached Statement of Work, however, outline a plan to gather and monitor the public activities of media professionals and influencers and are enough to cause nightmares of constitutional proportions, particularly as the freedom of the press is under attack worldwide. As part of its "media monitoring," the DHS seeks to track more than 290,000 global news sources as well as social media. The successful contracting company will have "24/7 access to a password protected, media influencer database" ... in order to "identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event." The database will be browsable by "location, beat and type of influencer," and for each influencer, the chosen contractor should "present contact details and ... an overview of the previous coverage published by the media influencer." Increasing government encroachment on the freedom of the press is the sinister backdrop to all of this. Freedom House ... recently concluded that global media freedom has reached its lowest level in the past 13 years. The independent watchdog organization blames "new threats to journalists and media outlets in major democracies" as well as "further crackdowns on independent media in authoritarian countries like Russia and China."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the manipulation of public perception.


I Downloaded the Information That Facebook Has on Me. Yikes.
2018-04-11, New York Times
Posted: 2018-04-16 20:00:15
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/11/technology/personaltech/i-downloaded-the-i...

I downloaded a copy of my Facebook data last week. I didn’t expect to see much. But when I opened my file, it was like opening Pandora’s box. I learned that about 500 advertisers - many that I had never heard of, like Bad Dad, a motorcycle parts store, and Space Jesus, an electronica band - had my contact information, which could include my email address, phone number and full name. Facebook also had my entire phone book, including the number to ring my apartment buzzer. The social network had even kept a permanent record of the roughly 100 people I had deleted from my friends list over the last 14 years. Facebook said unfamiliar advertisers might appear [in the file] because they might have obtained my contact information from elsewhere, compiled it into a list of people they wanted to target and uploaded that list into Facebook. Brands can obtain your information [by] buying ... from a data provider like Acxiom, which has amassed one of the world’s largest commercial databases on consumers. Let’s be clear: Facebook is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what information tech companies have collected on me. Knowing this, I also downloaded copies of my Google data with a tool called Google Takeout. The data sets were exponentially larger than my Facebook data. Here was the biggest surprise: In a folder labeled Ads, Google kept a history of many news articles I had read. Be warned: Once you see the vast amount of data that has been collected about you, you won’t be able to unsee it.

Note: Those who want to download their own Facebook data can use this link. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Are you ready? This is all the data Facebook and Google have on you
2018-03-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2018-04-02 02:36:59
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/28/all-the-data-facebook-g...

[Here's] how much of your information ... Facebook and Google store about you. Google stores your location ... every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where you’ve been from the very first day you started using Google on your phone. Google stores search history across all your devices. Even if you delete your search history and phone history on one device, it may still have data saved from other devices. Google creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight ... and income. Google offers an option to download all of the data it stores about you. I’ve requested to download it and the file is 5.5GB big, which is roughly 3m Word documents. Facebook offers a similar option to download all your information. Mine was roughly 600MB, which is roughly 400,000 Word documents. Facebook also stores what it thinks you might be interested in based off the things you’ve liked and what you and your friends talk about. The data they collect includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your emails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive, the files you download, the games you play, your photos and videos, your music, your search history, your browsing history, even what radio stations you listen to.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Cambridge Analytica, Trump-Tied Political Firm, Offered to Entrap Politicians
2018-03-19, New York Times
Posted: 2018-03-25 23:25:50
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/us/cambridge-analytica-alexander-nix.html

Sitting in a hotel bar, Alexander Nix, who runs the political data firm Cambridge Analytica, had a few ideas for a prospective client looking for help in a foreign election. The firm could send an attractive woman to seduce a rival candidate and secretly videotape the encounter, Mr. Nix said, or send someone posing as a wealthy land developer to pass a bribe. “We have a long history of working behind the scenes,” Mr. Nix said. The prospective client, though, was actually a reporter. The encounter was secretly filmed as part of a monthslong investigation into Cambridge Analytica, the data firm with ties to President Trump’s 2016 campaign. The results of Channel 4’s work were broadcast ... days after reports ... that the firm had harvested the data from more than 50 million Facebook profiles in its bid to develop techniques for predicting the behavior of individual American voters. Less noticed has been the work that Cambridge Analytica and its parent company, the SCL Group, have done outside the United States. “Many of our clients don’t want to be seen to be working with a foreign company,” he told the Channel 4 reporter. “We can set up fake IDs and websites.” Mr. Nix ... boasted that Cambridge Analytica employs front companies and former spies on behalf of political clients. The information that is uncovered ... is then put “into the bloodstream to the internet,” said Mark Turnbull, another Cambridge executive. “Then watch it grow,” he added. “It has to happen without anyone thinking, ‘That’s propaganda.’”

Note: Watch an astounding video revealing how Cambridge Analytica has successfully manipulated national elections around the world using sleazy tactics like pretty women to entrap candidates and offering major bribes while recording the exchange. And here is a video featuring the whistleblower who exposed this.


‘I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: meet the data war whistleblower
2018-03-18, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2018-03-25 23:23:37
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/17/data-war-whistleblower-christoph...

At 24, [Christopher Wylie] came up with an idea that led to the foundation of a company called Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that went on to claim a major role in the Leave campaign for Britain’s EU membership referendum, and later became a key figure in digital operations during Donald Trump’s election campaign. In 2014, Steve Bannon ... was Wylie’s boss. And Robert Mercer, the secretive US hedge-fund billionaire and Republican donor, was Cambridge Analytica’s investor. The idea they bought into was to bring big data and social media to an established military methodology – “information operations” – then turn it on the US electorate. By [2017], Steve Bannon had become Trump’s chief strategist. Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL, had won contracts with the US State Department and was pitching to the Pentagon, and Wylie was genuinely freaked out. “It’s insane,” he told me one night. “The company has created psychological profiles of 230 million Americans. And now they want to work with the Pentagon? It’s like Nixon on steroids.” He ended up showing me a tranche of documents that laid out the secret workings behind Cambridge Analytica. Wylie ... came up with a plan to harvest the Facebook profiles of millions of people in the US, and to use their private and personal information to create sophisticated psychological and political profiles. And then target them with political ads designed to work on their particular psychological makeup.

Note: Billionaire Robert Mercer used this new new technology to build a corporate empire capable of swinging elections by using military propaganda strategies on civilian populations. The above article further details how mass media is being combined with Big Data to produce powerful new forms of mind control. Watch an astounding video revealing how Cambridge Analytica has successfully manipulated national elections around the world.


Monsanto demands Avaaz hands over all of its campaign data
2018-02-23, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2018-03-18 17:32:50
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/23/monsanto-demands-avaaz-ha...

A US court will today hear a request from Monsanto for access to a huge batch of internal communications by Avaaz, in a move that the campaign group says could have grave repercussions for online activism and data privacy. Monsanto is seeking the release of all lobby documents ... where the firm or its herbicide ingredient glyphosate have been mentioned. Avaaz says this would include personal information about its employees, as well as the email addresses of more than four million signatories to petitions against Monsanto’s GM and glyphosate policies. A victory for Monsanto in today’s hearing would cost the online advocacy group thousands of person-hours of work time, and hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Avaaz’s lawyers. It could even raise the prospect of a migration out of online activism by campaigners concerned about corporate surveillance. Monsanto’s [request] demands all documents Avaaz employees have created, maintained, received, sent or copied, where these involve discussion about glyphosate, Monsanto, or the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, which found glyphosate to probably be carcinogenic. Monsanto filed its request shortly after a bitter EU regulatory battle ended with its license for glyphosate – the core ingredient in Roundup – being extended by just five years, rather than the 15 years originally sought.

Note: Read more on Avaaz and the power of online activism. Major lawsuits are beginning to unfold over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public on the dangers of its products, most notably Roundup. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and health.


Government spying on immigrants in America is now fair game.
2018-02-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2018-02-19 18:44:57
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/12/government-spying-immig...

Last week, the existence of a draft Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report came to light, which calls for long-term surveillance of Sunni Muslim immigrants. Internal documents obtained from the FBI and DHS last year also showed how the agencies are surveilling the Movement for Black Lives, bringing into mind tactics of Cointelpro, an FBI program which secretly and illegally conducted surveillance on the civil rights movement in order to disrupt Americans’ ability to organize politically. But these are not the only types of surveillance this administration is engaged in. On 18 October, DHS implemented a new rule to track the internet activity of all visa applicants, visa holders and legal permanent residents. The rule would also apply to naturalized US citizens. The new rule would track and store social media account information and other highly sensitive data as part of individuals’ immigration files. The policy would allow DHS to collect and track immigrants’ social media accounts handles as well as aliases, and search results from both public search engines as well as commercial databases. The rule ... seems like it was designed with the specific purpose of hampering our freedom of speech, in line with the Trump administration’s other chilling tactics of attacks on the press and crackdowns on protesters who do not fall in line with the policies of this administration. This covert surveillance, now culminating in overt spying on immigrants, is designed as a tactic to control and fracture dissent.

Note: Read more about the FBI's infamous Cointelpro program. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


NSA Deletes “Honesty” and “Openness” From Core Values
2018-01-24, The Intercept
Posted: 2018-02-05 13:56:27
https://theintercept.com/2018/01/24/nsa-core-values-honesty-deleted/

The National Security Agency maintains a page on its website that outlines its mission statement. Since at least May 2016, the surveillance agency had featured honesty as the first of four “core values” listed on NSA.gov, alongside “respect for the law,” “integrity,” and “transparency.” On January 12, however, the NSA removed the mission statement page – which can still be viewed through the Internet Archive – and replaced it with a new version. Now, the parts about honesty and the pledge to be truthful have been deleted. The agency’s new top value is “commitment to service,” which it says means “excellence in the pursuit of our critical mission.” Those are not the only striking alterations. All references to “trust,” “honor,” and “openness” have disappeared. The agency previously stated on its website that it embraced transparency and claimed that all of its activities were aimed at “ensuring the safety, security, and liberty of our fellow citizens.” That has also been discarded. The new list of values includes the additions “respect for people” and “accountability.” But the section on respecting people is a reference to diversity within the NSA workforce, not a general commitment to members of the public. Accountability is defined as taking “responsibility for our decisions.” The one core value that remains essentially unchanged is “respect for the law,” which the agency says means it is “grounded in our adherence to the U.S. Constitution and compliance with the U.S. laws, regulations and policies that govern our activities.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Spending bill limited Congress' oversight of secret intelligence activities
2018-01-23, USA Today
Posted: 2018-02-05 13:37:42
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/01/23/senate-intel-leaders-...

The White House can now direct US intelligence agencies to spend money and take covert action without approval of congressional oversight committees under a provision slipped into the bill that ended the government shutdown, leaders of the Senate intelligence committee say. A provision in the bill - requested by the White House and Pentagon - gives intelligence agencies an exemption from the law that requires them to get authorization from the intelligence committees before they spend taxpayer money, said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and chairman of the Senate panel. Section 504 of the National Security Act gives the committees the power to withhold money from the intelligence agencies if they object to surveillance programs or other intelligence activities. Burr and [Sen. Mark] Warner said the provision to weaken their oversight power comes just after they promised civil liberties advocates in the Senate that they would ensure that the FBI and other intelligence agencies don't overstep their bounds in carrying out a controversial surveillance program recently renewed by Congress. That surveillance program, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ... sweeps up emails, text messages, photos and other communication from an unknown number of Americans, and allows federal agents to search that data without a warrant. Burr and Warner both supported a six-year renewal of the program earlier this month.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


The NSA knows who you are just by the sound of your voice—and their tech predates Apple and Amazon
2018-01-20, CNBC News
Posted: 2018-01-29 17:58:20
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/20/the-nsa-can-recognize-you-by-just-your-voice-...

The National Security Agency has apparently been way ahead of Apple or Amazon. The agency has at its disposal voice recognition technology that it employs to identify terrorists, government spies, or anyone they choose — with just a phone call, according to a report by The Intercept. By using recorded audio, the NSA is able to create a "voiceprint," or a map of qualities that mark a voice as singular, and identify the person speaking. According to a classified memo ... the agency has employed this technology since at least 2006, with the document referencing technology "that identifies people by the sound of their voices." In fact, the NSA used such technology during Operation Iraqi Freedom, when analysts were able to verify audio thought to be of Saddam Hussein speaking. It suggests that national security operatives had access to high-level voice technology long before Amazon, Apple and Google's solutions became cultural touchstones. A "voiceprint" is "a dynamic computer model of the individual's vocal characteristics," the publication explained, created by an algorithm analyzing features like pitch and mouth shape. Then, using the NSA's formidable bank of recorded audio files, the agency is able to match the speaker to an identity. Identifying people through their voiceprints is a skill at which the "NSA reigns supreme," according to a leaked document from 2008. And, they're only getting better.

Note: As this BBC article from 1999 shows, mass surveillance systems with voice recognition capability have been in use for many years. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


GOP lawmakers demand that 'alarming' memo on FISA abuses be made public
2018-01-19, MSN/Fox News
Posted: 2018-01-29 17:46:59
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/gop-lawmakers-demand-that-alarming-me...

A four-page memo circulating in Congress that reveals alleged United States government surveillance abuses is being described by lawmakers as “shocking.” The lawmakers said they could not yet discuss the contents of the memo they reviewed on Thursday after it was released to members by the House Intelligence Committee. But they say the memo should be immediately made public. “It is so alarming the American people have to see this,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan said. “It's troubling,” North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows said. “Part of me wishes that I didn't read it because I don’t want to believe that those kinds of things could be happening in this country that I call home and love so much.” The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday approved a motion by New York Rep. Pete King to release the memo on abuses of FISA, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, to all House members. The memo details the Intelligence Committee’s oversight work for the FBI and Justice, including the controversy over unmasking and FISA surveillance. The process for releasing it to the public involves a committee vote. If approved, it could be released as long as there are no objections from the White House within five days. On Thursday, the Senate voted 65-34 to reauthorize a FISA provision that allows U.S. spy agencies to conduct surveillance on foreign targets abroad for six years.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Hackers are flooding the internet with more fake domain names. Here’s how you can protect yourself
2018-01-18, PBS
Posted: 2018-01-22 15:25:37
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/hackers-are-flooding-the-internet-with-mo...

The use of fake internet domain names to trick consumers into giving up personal information is more widespread than experts originally thought. This is largely because of the heightened use of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), which use homographs carefully crafted to look exactly like their English counterparts. Hackers create domain names that replace an English-language character with a look-alike character from another language - replacing the Latin letter ‘a’ with the Cyrillic letter ‘a,’ for instance - as a way of luring users to fake websites where they’re prompted to enter their personal information. [A new] report from ... Farsight Security identified 125 different websites, from social networking giants like Facebook and Twitter to luxury brands like Gucci and financial websites like Wells Fargo, being imitated by fake domain addresses. Between Oct. 17 and Jan. 10, the group observed more than 116,000 imitator domains of these sites in real time. Take a popular financial site like BankofAmerica.com. Cybercriminals take this domain and ... create a website that looks strikingly similar to the original Bank of America page. A user types in their login information and password on this fake Bank of America site, automatically giving cybercriminals their credentials to log in to the real thing. Most phishing attempts reach internet users through email, so you should be suspicious of any emails that include ... login links to different accounts combined with demands to update information.

Note: Read the complete Farsight Security report for more information on these common cyberattacks and how to protect yourself from them.


How ex-congresswoman helped squelch reports of secret government surveillance
2018-01-15, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2018-01-22 15:18:26
http://www.sfchronicle.com/nation/article/Ex-congresswoman-helped-squelch-sto...

Two New York Times reporters learned in 2004 that the George W. Bush administration was secretly wiretapping Americans, and collecting their phone and email records. The reporters’ attempt to publish their findings were thwarted by the administration’s intense and successful lobbying of their editors. That effort ... had an unlikely ally: Rep. Jane Harman of Los Angeles, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Details of the far-reaching, legally unauthorized surveillance program remained secret until the Times published the article in late 2005. The newspaper’s interactions with administration officials, and Harman’s role, were described by former Times reporter James Risen this month in the Intercept, the investigative publication where he now works. The story on the program known as Stellar Wind was ready for publication before the November 2004 election, when Bush was on the ballot, but NSA Director Michael Hayden and other administration officials told Times editors, in phone calls and face-to-face meetings, that publication would damage national security and endanger lives, Risen said. He said the officials were joined in that effort by Harman, one of a handful of congressional leaders who had been briefed on the program and were enlisted by the White House to contact the Times. Members of Congress learned later that the NSA had not been seeking warrants from a secret court, as required by law, before wiretapping calls.

Note: James Risen is a courageous hero who shared two Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting around 9/11 and massive government surveillance. His recent article in The Intercept describes how a "marketplace of secrets in Washington" supports the US national security apparatus, and is used by corrupt government officials to manipulate the news.


Special Report: How the Federal Reserve serves U.S. foreign intelligence
2017-06-26, Reuters
Posted: 2018-01-07 23:19:20
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-fed-accounts-intelligence-specialrepo/spec...

The Federal Reserve’s little-known role housing the assets of other central banks comes with a unique benefit to the United States: It serves as a source of foreign intelligence for Washington. Senior officials from the U.S. Treasury and other government departments have turned to these otherwise confidential accounts several times a year to analyze the asset holdings of the central banks of Russia, China, Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, Libya and others, according to more than a dozen current and former senior Fed and Treasury officials. The U.S. central bank keeps a tight lid on information contained in these accounts. But according to the officials interviewed by Reuters, U.S. authorities regularly use a “need to know” confidentiality exception in the Fed’s service contracts with foreign central banks. Some 250 foreign central banks and governments keep $3.3 trillion of their assets at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, about half of the world’s official dollar reserves, using a service advertised in a 2015 slide presentation as “safe and confidential.” Other major central banks and some commercial banks offer similar services. But only the Fed offers direct access to U.S. debt markets and to the world’s reserve currency, the dollar. In all, the people interviewed by Reuters identified seven instances in the last 15 years in which the accounts gave U.S. authorities insights into the actions of foreign counterparts or market movements, at times leading to a specific U.S. response.

Note: It's quite telling that no other major media picked up this important piece. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Bank Data Is Sifted by U.S. in Secret to Block Terror
2006-06-23, New York Times
Posted: 2018-01-07 23:03:10
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/23/washington/23intel.html

Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States. The program, run out of the Central Intelligence Agency and overseen by the Treasury Department ... is a significant departure from typical practice in how the government acquires Americans' financial records. Treasury officials did not seek individual court-approved warrants or subpoenas to examine specific transactions, instead relying on broad administrative subpoenas for millions of records. That access to large amounts of confidential data was highly unusual, several officials said, and stirred concerns inside the administration about legal and privacy issues. "The capability here is awesome or, depending on where you're sitting, troubling," said one former senior counterterrorism official who considers the program valuable. While tight controls are in place, the official added, "the potential for abuse is enormous." The program is separate from the National Security Agency's efforts to eavesdrop without warrants and collect domestic phone records, operations that have provoked fierce public debate and spurred lawsuits against the government and telecommunications companies.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


First digital pill approved despite worries about biomedical Big Brother
2017-11-14, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2017-11-20 00:25:02
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/First-digital-pill-approved-despite-wo...

Regulators have approved the first drug with a sensor that alerts doctors when the medication has been taken. The digital pill combines two existing products: the former blockbuster psychiatric medication Abilify - long used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - with a sensor tracking system first approved in 2012. Experts say the technology could be a useful tool, but it will also change how doctors relate to their patients as they’re able to see whether they are following instructions. The pill has not yet been shown to actually improve patients’ medication compliance, a feature insurers are likely to insist on before paying for the pill. Additionally, patients must be willing to allow their doctors and caregivers to access the digital information. The technology carries risks for patient privacy, too, if there are breaches of medical data or unauthorized use as a surveillance tool, said James Giordano, a professor of neurology at Georgetown University Medical Center. “Could this type of device be used for real-time surveillance? The answer is of course it could,” said Giordano. The new pill, Abilify MyCite, is embedded with a digital sensor that is activated by stomach fluids, sending a signal to a patch worn by the patient and notifying a digital smartphone app that the medication has been taken.

Note: In 2010, it was quietly reported that Novartis AG would be seeking regulatory approval for such "chip-in-a-pill technology". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on microchip implants and the disappearance of privacy.


The White House's Leak Hunt Is Battling the Wrong Enemy With the Wrong Weapons
2017-11-05, NBC News
Posted: 2017-11-20 00:19:13
https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/why-white-house-searching-leakers-inste...

The Trump administration has declared all-out war on leakers. But the administration is battling the wrong enemy with the wrong weapons. Digital secrets stolen from the National Security Agency represent the real ... security problem. More than half a billion pages have been swiped. The stolen data includes some of the NSA’s most prized cyber weapons. Most were created by the agency’s own hacker team, the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) unit. Government hackers search for ways to crack into widely used computer operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows. When they discover a way in ... rather than notify the companies that their products are dangerously flawed, the NSA often secretly stores these vulnerabilities and later converts them into powerful cyber weapons, known as “exploits.” Like burglar’s tools, the exploits can secretly open a crack in a system, such as Windows, and insert an “implant” containing NSA malware - enabling the agency to take control of any computer using that Windows program. Unknown to the public, the NSA has for years been negligent in protecting its top-secret material, including these cyber weapons. Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues searching for someone who passed a few tidbits about White House bickering to a reporter, rather than focus on the NSA losing potentially deadly cyber weapons.

Note: In 2014, it was reported that the NSA was developing tools to make it relatively easy to hack millions of computers at once. Two years later, a large collection of NSA hacking tools was leaked. Now, these tools are being used by criminals against people all over the world. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


The N.S.A.’s Chief Chronicler
2013-06-10, New Yorker
Posted: 2017-11-13 02:27:03
https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-n-s-a-s-chief-chronicler

In 1982, long before most Americans ever had to think about warrantless eavesdropping, the journalist James Bamford published “The Puzzle Palace: A Report on N.S.A., America’s Most Secret Agency,” the first book to be written about the National Security Agency. In the book, Bamford describes the agency as “free of legal restrictions” while wielding “technological capabilities for eavesdropping beyond imagination.” He concludes with an ominous warning: “Like an ever-widening sinkhole, N.S.A.’s surveillance technology will continue to expand, quietly pulling in more and more communications and gradually eliminating more and more privacy.” Three decades later, this pronouncement feels uncomfortably prescient: we were warned. Incredibly enough, the Department of Justice, under Jimmy Carter, complied with Bamford’s Freedom of Information Act requests, supplying him with secret documents related to the Church Committee, the Senate group that, in 1975, investigated American intelligence agencies for potential transgression of their mandates. That the government would hand over sensitive information to Bamford predictably infuriated the N.S.A.; Reagan Administration lawyers tried to bully Bamford into ceding his goods, threatening him with the Espionage Act, while the N.S.A. attempted to sequester the documents he’d uncovered. But because he was a lawyer, Bamford knew that he had done nothing wrong.

Note: As a producer for ABC News, Bamford was also the one who obtained startling declassified documents showing that the top Pentagon generals signed off on plans in the early 1960s to blow up a US ship in the Havana harbor or incite violent terrorism in US cities and blame it on Cuba. Strangely, ABC's article "U.S. Military Wanted to Provoke War With Cuba" was the only media report on this incredibly revealing document release. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Critics fault FBI over domestic terrorist threats
2017-10-20, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2017-11-06 16:54:03
http://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Critics-fault-FBI-over-domestic-terroris...

The FBI counterterrorism division’s identification of a movement it calls “black identity extremists” is the latest addition to the list of protesters and dissidents the agency puts under the “domestic terrorism” umbrella. But many national security experts say the designation [is] simply a label that allows the FBI to conduct additional surveillance on “basically anyone who’s black and politically active,” said Michael German, who left the FBI in 2004. While the practice of labeling certain protest groups as domestic terrorists is not unique to President Trump’s administration, Hina Shamsi ... at the American Civil Liberties Union, said there’s concern that “abusive and unjustified investigations” by the FBI are rising. The problem, Shamsi said, is partly in the overly broad definition of domestic terrorism in the Patriot Act as a violation of the criminal laws ... intended to “influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.” Eighty-four members of Congress cited that intention to intimidate or coerce in a letter to the Justice Department last week that asked whether the department had labeled Dakota Access Pipeline protesters domestic terrorists. The Justice Department did not respond to questions about the letter. The FBI report that focused on black identity extremists ... had interest groups questioning whether the designation has been used to single out members of Black Lives Matter.

Note: The Department of Homeland Security has reportedly been monitoring the Black Lives Matter movement since 2014, in some cases producing "minute-by-minute reports on protesters’ movements". For more along these lines, read about Cointelpro, the program used by corrupt intelligence agencies to spy on and attack the U.S. civil rights movement beginning in the 1960's. See also concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the erosion of civil liberties.


DOJ demands Facebook information from 'anti-administration activists'
2017-09-30, CNN News
Posted: 2017-10-09 02:10:18
http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/28/politics/facebook-anti-administration-activists...

Trump administration lawyers are demanding the private account information of potentially thousands of Facebook users in three separate search warrants served on the social media giant. The warrants specifically target the accounts of three Facebook users who are described ... as "anti-administration activists who have spoken out at organized events, and who are generally very critical of this administration's policies." One of those users, Emmelia Talarico, operated the disruptj20 page where Inauguration Day protests were organized and discussed; the page was visited by an estimated 6,000 users whose identities the government would have access to if Facebook hands over the information. Talarico says if her account information was given to the government, officials would have access to her "personal passwords, security questions and answers, and credit card information," plus "the private lists of invitees and attendees to multiple political events." The American Civil Liberties Union, representing the three Facebook users, filed a motion to quash the warrants Thursday. "What is particularly chilling about these warrants is that anti-administration political activists are going to [be] scrutinized by the very administration they are protesting," said ACLU attorney Scott Michelman. Facebook was initially served the warrants in February 2017 along with a gag order which barred the social media company from alerting the three users that the government was seeking their private information.

Note: United Nations officials recently said that the US government's treatment of activists was increasingly "incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


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