Author Topic: NSA taps in to internet giants' systems to mine user data, secret files reveal  (Read 12049 times)

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Offline mayya

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NSA taps in to internet giants' systems to mine user data, secret files reveal

• Top secret PRISM program claims direct access to servers of firms including Google, Facebook and Apple
• Companies deny any knowledge of program in operation since 2007

    Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill   
    The Guardian, Thursday 6 June 2013 23.05 BST   
    Jump to comments (1072)


A slide depicting the top-secret PRISM program

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.

Although the presentation claims the program is run with the assistance of the companies, all those who responded to a Guardian request for comment on Thursday denied knowledge of any such program.

In a statement, Google said: "Google cares deeply about the security of our users' data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government 'back door' into our systems, but Google does not have a back door for the government to access private user data."

Several senior tech executives insisted that they had no knowledge of PRISM or of any similar scheme. They said they would never have been involved in such a program. "If they are doing this, they are doing it without our knowledge," one said.

An Apple spokesman said it had "never heard" of PRISM.

The NSA access was enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under Obama in December 2012.

The program facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US.

It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants.

Disclosure of the PRISM program follows a leak to the Guardian on Wednesday of a top-secret court order compelling telecoms provider Verizon to turn over the telephone records of millions of US customers.

The participation of the internet companies in PRISM will add to the debate, ignited by the Verizon revelation, about the scale of surveillance by the intelligence services. Unlike the collection of those call records, this surveillance can include the content of communications and not just the metadata.

Some of the world's largest internet brands are claimed to be part of the information-sharing program since its introduction in 2007. Microsoft – which is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan "Your privacy is our priority" – was the first, with collection beginning in December 2007.

It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online.

Collectively, the companies cover the vast majority of online email, search, video and communications networks.

The extent and nature of the data collected from each company varies.

Companies are legally obliged to comply with requests for users' communications under US law, but the PRISM program allows the intelligence services direct access to the companies' servers. The NSA document notes the operations have "assistance of communications providers in the US".

The revelation also supports concerns raised by several US senators during the renewal of the Fisa Amendments Act in December 2012, who warned about the scale of surveillance the law might enable, and shortcomings in the safeguards it introduces.

When the FAA was first enacted, defenders of the statute argued that a significant check on abuse would be the NSA's inability to obtain electronic communications without the consent of the telecom and internet companies that control the data. But the PRISM program renders that consent unnecessary, as it allows the agency to directly and unilaterally seize the communications off the companies' servers.

A chart prepared by the NSA, contained within the top-secret document obtained by the Guardian, underscores the breadth of the data it is able to obtain: email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype, for example) chats, file transfers, social networking details, and more.
PRISM slide crop

The document is recent, dating to April 2013. Such a leak is extremely rare in the history of the NSA, which prides itself on maintaining a high level of secrecy.

The PRISM program allows the NSA, the world's largest surveillance organisation, to obtain targeted communications without having to request them from the service providers and without having to obtain individual court orders.

With this program, the NSA is able to reach directly into the servers of the participating companies and obtain both stored communications as well as perform real-time collection on targeted users.

The presentation claims PRISM was introduced to overcome what the NSA regarded as shortcomings of Fisa warrants in tracking suspected foreign terrorists. It noted that the US has a "home-field advantage" due to housing much of the internet's architecture. But the presentation claimed "Fisa constraints restricted our home-field advantage" because Fisa required individual warrants and confirmations that both the sender and receiver of a communication were outside the US.

"Fisa was broken because it provided privacy protections to people who were not entitled to them," the presentation claimed. "It took a Fisa court order to collect on foreigners overseas who were communicating with other foreigners overseas simply because the government was collecting off a wire in the United States. There were too many email accounts to be practical to seek Fisas for all."

The new measures introduced in the FAA redefines "electronic surveillance" to exclude anyone "reasonably believed" to be outside the USA – a technical change which reduces the bar to initiating surveillance.

The act also gives the director of national intelligence and the attorney general power to permit obtaining intelligence information, and indemnifies internet companies against any actions arising as a result of co-operating with authorities' requests.

In short, where previously the NSA needed individual authorisations, and confirmation that all parties were outside the USA, they now need only reasonable suspicion that one of the parties was outside the country at the time of the records were collected by the NSA.

The document also shows the FBI acts as an intermediary between other agencies and the tech companies, and stresses its reliance on the participation of US internet firms, claiming "access is 100% dependent on ISP provisioning".

In the document, the NSA hails the PRISM program as "one of the most valuable, unique and productive accesses for NSA".

It boasts of what it calls "strong growth" in its use of the PRISM program to obtain communications. The document highlights the number of obtained communications increased in 2012 by 248% for Skype – leading the notes to remark there was "exponential growth in Skype reporting; looks like the word is getting out about our capability against Skype". There was also a 131% increase in requests for Facebook data, and 63% for Google.

The NSA document indicates that it is planning to add Dropbox as a PRISM provider. The agency also seeks, in its words, to "expand collection services from existing providers".

The revelations echo fears raised on the Senate floor last year during the expedited debate on the renewal of the FAA powers which underpin the PRISM program, which occurred just days before the act expired.

Senator Christopher Coons of Delaware specifically warned that the secrecy surrounding the various surveillance programs meant there was no way to know if safeguards within the act were working.

"The problem is: we here in the Senate and the citizens we represent don't know how well any of these safeguards actually work," he said.

"The law doesn't forbid purely domestic information from being collected. We know that at least one Fisa court has ruled that the surveillance program violated the law. Why? Those who know can't say and average Americans can't know."

Other senators also raised concerns. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon attempted, without success, to find out any information on how many phone calls or emails had been intercepted under the program.

When the law was enacted, defenders of the FAA argued that a significant check on abuse would be the NSA's inability to obtain electronic communications without the consent of the telecom and internet companies that control the data. But the PRISM program renders that consent unnecessary, as it allows the agency to directly and unilaterally seize the communications off the companies' servers.

When the NSA reviews a communication it believes merits further investigation, it issues what it calls a "report". According to the NSA, "over 2,000 PRISM-based reports" are now issued every month. There were 24,005 in 2012, a 27% increase on the previous year.

In total, more than 77,000 intelligence reports have cited the PRISM program.

Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU's Center for Democracy, that it was astonishing the NSA would even ask technology companies to grant direct access to user data.

"It's shocking enough just that the NSA is asking companies to do this," he said. "The NSA is part of the military. The military has been granted unprecedented access to civilian communications.

"This is unprecedented militarisation of domestic communications infrastructure. That's profoundly troubling to anyone who is concerned about that separation."

A senior administration official said in a statement: "The Guardian and Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. This law does not allow the targeting of any US citizen or of any person located within the United States.

"The program is subject to oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the Executive Branch, and Congress. It involves extensive procedures, specifically approved by the court, to ensure that only non-US persons outside the US are targeted, and that minimize the acquisition, retention and dissemination of incidentally acquired information about US persons.

"This program was recently reauthorized by Congress after extensive hearings and debate.

"Information collected under this program is among the most important and valuable intelligence information we collect, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats.

"The Government may only use Section 702 to acquire foreign intelligence information, which is specifically, and narrowly, defined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. This requirement applies across the board, regardless of the nationality of the target."

Additional reporting by James Ball and Dominic Rushe


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Stratfor files --> CIA is monitoring Facebook and Twitter - "similar to ours" Stratfor says


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The NSA surveillance story reinforces why an entity like WikiLeaks is so important

By Mathew Ingram

Summary: It may not have been involved in the latest revelations about the NSA’s spying program, but the existence of a stateless repository for leaks would make it easier for similar information to be made public.

WikiLeaks, the secretive repository for government malfeasance, hasn’t been in the news much lately except for occasional updates about founder Julian Assange, who remains in exile inside the Ecuadorian embassy in Britain. And neither WikiLeaks nor its supporters had much to do with the latest blockbuster leak of government intelligence, which confirmed that the National Security Agency has been collecting phone-call data from Verizon customers thanks to a secret court order. But despite all that, the NSA story helps to highlight why having an independent repository for high-level leaks is a valuable thing.

The original report on the NSA’s surveillance effort came from Glenn Greenwald, who writes about politics for The Guardian, courtesy of a leaked document that confirmed the existence of an order signed by the ultra-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. As the New York Times explains, even the existence of this kind of order is subject to the highest levels of U.S. government secrecy — much higher, in fact, than the diplomatic cables that former Army private Bradley Manning is accused of providing to WikiLeaks.

Update: Both the Guardian and the Washington Post are reporting that the federal government has also been getting personal data from a number of large internet players for years — including Google, Facebook and Apple.

 Glenn Greenwald        ✔ @ggreenwald
The real story isn't just the spying itself: it's that we have this massive, ubiquitous Surillveance State, operating in total secrecy
5:48 PM - 6 Jun 2013

The government is cracking down on leaks

Even without the current Manning trial as a warning, the risks of a leak like the NSA court order would be abundantly obvious by now, given the Obama administration’s ongoing campaign against government leaks — a campaign that some argue has gone too far, with reporters being named as “co-conspirators” by the authorities (a charge that has echoes of the “aiding the enemy” accusations against Manning). Among other things, the government recently seized the phone records of Associated Press reporters.

This kind of cloak-and-dagger activity towards journalists — which some observers (including me, and former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller) have been warning might occur in the wake of the government’s pursuit of Manning and Assange — has likely thrown a substantial chill over the U.S. media when it comes to exposing government information. As if to reinforce that, within minutes of the Guardian story appearing online, sources said the Department of Justice would likely be investigating the leak and how it arrived in Greenwald’s inbox.

Assange and Wikileaks

There have always been leaks, of course, and there would no doubt continue to be leaks even if WikiLeaks didn’t exist. The legendary Watergate investigation and the release of the famous Pentagon Papers both happened without WikiLeaks, or even the internet. But there’s also no question that having a repository for such documents that is both anonymous (or as close as it is possible to get) and largely stateless would make it easier for such leaks to occur.

Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defence Department official who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971 — and later became part of one of the most ground-breaking First Amendment trials in history — has said that Manning and WikiLeaks are carrying on the same tradition he was a part of: namely, the quest to hold the government accountable for its actions. Since the media seem reluctant to play the role they should in this effort, Ellsberg says, WikiLeaks becomes even more necessary.

WikiLeaks continues to struggle to stay alive

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks itself is struggling — in part because of Assange’s legal issues, as well as a lack of funding that was exacerbated when PayPal, Visa and MasterCard cut off the ability to donate to the organization, despite the fact that WikiLeaks hasn’t been accused of a crime. And viable alternatives have not yet emerged (a splinter group headed by a former WikiLeaks lieutenant tried to set up a competitor called OpenLeaks without much success, and the New Yorker recently launched its own effort called StrongBox).

Greenwald suggested in a comment on Twitter that the Obama administration’s behavior towards government leakers may have actually encouraged sources like his to become even bolder, as a way of defying what they see as an unreasonable attack on freedom of speech and whistle-blowing. But if WikiLeaks were stronger, sources would have another place they could go to reveal important information — and one that would be more difficult to attack.

To that end, a group called Freedom of the Press was formed earlier this year by Ellsberg and a number of other free-speech advocates, including BoingBoing’s Xeni Jardin and actor John Cusack, which is designed to help support WikiLeaks and a number of other entities via crowdfunding. Freedom of the Press has also crowdfunded a number of stenographers to take notes about the Manning trial, since very few media organizations were allowed to attend and most have had restrictions placed on what they can and can’t report.

Whether WikiLeaks can survive or prosper given the splintering of the organization (which appears to have been caused at least in part by Assange and his mercurial approach to running WikiLeaks) — remains to be seen. But having some kind of entity that performs the same function is a clear public good.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Shutterstock / Mmaxer and Flickr user Carolina Georgatu

Offline Riney

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Updated June 7, 2013, 2:36 a.m. ET
U.S. Collects Vast Data Trove
NSA Monitoring Includes Three Major Phone Companies, as Well as Online Activity


WASHINGTON—The National Security Agency's monitoring of Americans includes customer records from the three major phone networks as well as emails and Web searches, and the agency also has cataloged credit-card transactions, said people familiar with the agency's activities.

The disclosure this week of an order by a secret U.S. court for Verizon Communications Inc.'s VZ +3.46% phone records set off the latest public discussion of the program. But people familiar with the NSA's operations said the initiative also encompasses phone-call data from AT&T Inc. T +1.56% and Sprint Nextel Corp., S +1.94% records from Internet-service providers and purchase information from credit-card providers.

The agency is using its secret access to the communications of millions of Americans to target possible terrorists, said people familiar with the effort.

The NSA's efforts have become institutionalized—yet not so well known to the public—under laws passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Most members of Congress defended them Thursday as a way to root out terrorism, but civil-liberties groups decried the program.

"Everyone should just calm down and understand this isn't anything that is brand new,'' said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), who added that the phone-data program has "worked to prevent'' terrorist attacks.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) said the program is lawful and that it must be renewed by Congress every three months. She said the revelation about Verizon, reported by the London-based newspaper the Guardian, seemed to coincide with its latest renewal.

Civil-liberties advocates slammed the NSA's actions. "The most recent surveillance program is breathtaking. It shows absolutely no effort to narrow or tailor the surveillance of citizens," said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law expert at George Washington University.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration acknowledged Thursday a secret NSA program dubbed Prism, which a senior administration official said targets only foreigners and was authorized under U.S. surveillance law. The Washington Post and the Guardian reported earlier Thursday the existence of the previously undisclosed program, which was described as providing the NSA and FBI direct access to server systems operated by tech companies that include Google Inc., GOOG +0.57% Apple Inc., AAPL -1.52% Facebook Inc., FB +0.31% Yahoo Inc., YHOO +1.79% Microsoft Corp. MSFT +0.52% and Skype. The newspapers, citing what they said was an internal NSA document, said the agencies received the contents of emails, file transfers and live chats of the companies' customers as part of their surveillance activities of foreigners whose activity online is routed through the U.S. The companies mentioned denied knowledge or participation in the program.

The arrangement with Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, the country's three largest phone companies means, that every time the majority of Americans makes a call, NSA gets a record of the location, the number called, the time of the call and the length of the conversation, according to people familiar with the matter. The practice, which evolved out of warrantless wiretapping programs begun after 2001, is now approved by all three branches of the U.S. government.

AT&T has 107.3 million wireless customers and 31.2 million landline customers. Verizon has 98.9 million wireless customers and 22.2 million landline customers while Sprint has 55 million customers in total.

NSA also obtains access to data from Internet service providers on Internet use such as data about email or website visits, several former officials said. NSA has established similar relationships with credit-card companies, three former officials said.

It couldn't be determined if any of the Internet or credit-card arrangements are ongoing, as are the phone company efforts, or one-shot collection efforts. The credit-card firms, phone companies and NSA declined to comment for this article.

Though extensive, the data collection effort doesn't entail monitoring the content of emails or what is said in phone calls, said people familiar with the matter. Investigators gain access to so-called metadata, telling them who is communicating, through what medium, when, and where they are located.

But the disconnect between the program's supporters and detractors underscored the difficulty Congress has had navigating new technology, national security and privacy.

The Obama administration, which inherited and embraced the program from the George W. Bush administration, moved Thursday to forcefully defend it. White House spokesman Josh Earnest called it "a critical tool in protecting the nation from terror threats."

But Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), said he has warned about the breadth of the program for years, but only obliquely because of classification restrictions.

"When law-abiding Americans call their friends, who they call, when they call, and where they call from is private information," he said. "Collecting this data about every single phone call that every American makes every day would be a massive invasion of Americans' privacy."

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, phone records were collected without a court order as a component of the Bush-era warrantless surveillance program authorized by the 2001 USA Patriot Act, which permitted the collection of business records, former officials said.

The ad hoc nature of the NSA program changed after the Bush administration came under criticism for its handling of a separate, warrantless NSA eavesdropping program.

President Bush acknowledged its existence in late 2005, calling it the Terrorist Surveillance Program, or TSP.

When Democrats retook control of Congress in 2006, promising to investigate the administration's counterterrorism policies, Bush administration officials moved to formalize court oversight of the NSA programs, according to former U.S. officials.

Congress in 2006 also made changes to the Patriot Act that made it easier for the government to collect phone-subscriber data under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Those changes helped the NSA collection program become institutionalized, rather than one conducted only under the authority of the president, said people familiar with the program.

Along with the TSP, the NSA collection of phone company customer data was put under the jurisdiction of a secret court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, according to officials.

David Kris, a former top national security lawyer at the Justice Department, told a congressional hearing in 2009 that the government first used the so-called business records authority in 2004.

At the time he was urging the reauthorization of the business-records provisions, known as Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which Congress later approved.

The phone records allow investigators to establish a database used to run queries when there is "reasonable, articulable suspicion" that the records are relevant and related to terrorist activity, Ms. Feinstein said Thursday.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also issued a defense of the phone data surveillance program, saying it is governed by a "robust legal regime." Under the court order, the data can only "be queried when there is a reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts, that the particular basis for the query is associated with a foreign terrorist organization." When the data is searched, all information acquired is "subject to strict restrictions on handling" overseen by the Justice Department and the surveillance court, and the program is reviewed roughly every 90 days, he said. Another U.S. official said less than 1% of the records are accessed.

The database allows investigators to "map" individuals connected with that information, said Jeremy Bash, who until recently was chief of staff at the Pentagon and is a former chief counsel to the House Intelligence committee.

"We are trying to find a needle in a haystack, and this is the haystack," Mr. Bash said, referring to the database.

Sen. Wyden on Thursday questioned whether U.S. officials have been truthful in public descriptions of the program. In March, Mr. Wyden noted, he questioned Mr. Clapper, who said the NSA did not "wittingly" collect any type of data pertaining to millions Americans. Spokesmen for Mr. Clapper didn't respond to requests for comment.

For civil libertarians, this week's disclosure of the court authorization for part of the NSA program could offer new avenues for challenges. Federal courts largely have rebuffed efforts that target NSA surveillance programs, in part because no one could prove the information was being collected. The government, under both the Bush and Obama administrations, has successfully used its state-secrets privilege to block such lawsuits.

Jameel Jaffer, the American Civil Liberties Union's deputy legal director, said the fact the FISA court record has now become public could give phone-company customers standing to bring a lawsuit.

"Now we have a set of people who can show they have been monitored," he said.

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"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage" Anais Nin .. and yet we must arm ourselves with fear

Offline Riney

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     "Everyone should just calm down and understand this isn't anything that is brand new,''
                       said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

     OMG, that is almost laughable! So essentially we should all just calm down and shut up because actually we have been spied on all along and did not even know it so why should we care now! Give me a break!
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage" Anais Nin .. and yet we must arm ourselves with fear

Offline Riney

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‘Mass surveillance is never justified’
07 Jun 2013
X Index - The Voice of Free Expression

Index on Censorship is appalled at the reports of alleged US mass surveillance programmes sweeping up data from internet and communications firms.

CEO Kirsty Hughes said “Mass surveillance is never justified — democracies should be standing up for digital freedom at a time when it is under threat from countries like China and Iran, not undermining it.”

The Guardian and the Washington Post have reported on PRISM — a “top secret program that claims to have direct access to servers of firms including Google, Facebook and Apple.” The program allows officials to snoop into a range of web content — live chats, emails, file transfers and video calls, the papers wrote, drawing from a classified document about PRISM. The Guardian previously reported that the government had seized numbers from Verizon’s network.

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"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage" Anais Nin .. and yet we must arm ourselves with fear

Offline Riney

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The Friends and Family and Government Plan
Sign up today for Verizon’s exciting new phone service.
By Justin Peters|Posted Thursday, June 6, 2013, at 2:16 PM

Dear Justin Peters,

As a loyal, longtime customer, you know that we at Verizon Wireless are committed to leading the industry in high-quality service, technical support, and compliance with unconstitutional NSA directives. Today, we’re happy to announce our latest innovation: the friends and family and government plan. Now, it’s easier than ever to connect with the people you love the best, and with the government analysts who are interested in knowing exactly how and why you love them.

The new friends and family and government plan is tailored to your needs. It offers free roaming, which will come in handy when you’re “going up to Ithaca,” which you are planning to do this Friday, around 4 p.m. It also includes unlimited nighttime minutes, so you can call your friends as often as you like to let them know you’re “at that bar with the big backyard, at the table in the corner.” We’re also pleased to offer high-speed data access, so you can always connect to those porn sites you haven’t told your wife about—and that we certainly won’t tell your wife about, unless there’s a court order, which there probably is. And all this on our industry-leading, crystal-clear network so that you and many, many others will always be able to hear your calls.

Justin Peters, as a professional writer, you’ll be happy to know that the friends and family and government plan also includes unlimited text messages! So don’t be shy about asking your roommate, Joshua N. Young, if he might “wanna get dinner?” And as an added bonus, if you sign up now, our government partners will be happy to review every outgoing text message for spelling, and for content—and it’s all absolutely free!
As you know, Justin Peters, the right cellphone plan can also provide peace of mind. Remember back on Aug. 28, 2011, at 9:02 p.m., when you got lost in Livermore, Calif., and your sister, Mary “Molly” Peters, couldn’t be bothered to give you directions because she was “really drunk right now”? With the friends and family and government plan, the NSA agents monitoring your calls are always available to direct you back to the highway and also ask you why, exactly, you’re driving around by yourself so close to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Justin Peters, our records indicate that you are “worried about making ends meet.” So we’re happy to announce that, if you sign up now, you’ll also receive a brand-new state-of-the-art smartphone absolutely free! This phone, offered exclusively to friends and family and government plan members, includes: advanced GPS technology, so that you and other interested parties will always know exactly where you are; unlimited access to our cloud storage service, so that every call will be recorded for posterity, just in case; and a suite of high-tech, nonoptional apps that will run silently in the background as they collect data on your personal preferences—all to help us serve you better!

But hurry! This is a limited-time offer, so take advantage now, before you head out on that road trip you and your wife have been planning. Agents are standing by to sign you up and to ask you a few questions about those vaguely unpatriotic statements you made in passing last night. So act now!

Participation is mandatory.

the link:
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage" Anais Nin .. and yet we must arm ourselves with fear


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imagine: microsofts new xbox one allways online and kinect every console has a camera on board. google glass is allways online and records faces what you see and what you do...

and NSA even CIAs OSC and all those "Gus Hunts" out there has access to your data.

we all know trapwire and we know software exists only hardware is missing to get full established surveillance direct into your home.

this future is happening right now. and we need to fight this.

Offline Arduina

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     "Everyone should just calm down and understand this isn't anything that is brand new,''
                       said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

     OMG, that is almost laughable! So essentially we should all just calm down and shut up because actually we have been spied on all along and did not even know it so why should we care now! Give me a break!

Yes, it is indeed that kind of sentiment from people in power that is a way for them to further desensitise people into becoming bots that can be controlled and their rights infringed upon  :-\. It reminds me of an abusive and controlling person using propaganda to control their victim... it's interesting when you notice the words carefully used by people in power, to shape people's thinking into what they want it to be.
Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government,owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship.FDR

Offline Arduina

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T, I'm not sure if it's true, but someone I know and trust who knew someone who did intelligence and hacking work for a government (I'm not kidding) told me that there's a way for them to be able to spy on people through TVs if they want to. I've heard that elsewhere too; I wouldn't doubt it, especially nowadays with the kinds of TVs that exist, especially if they have an Xbox and/or Kinect like you said. Or maybe they didn't mean visually spying, but tracking like a GPS device would, via your connection through cable/satellite or something. Like a mobile phone can be used as a GPS tracking device.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2013, 19:55:17 PM by Arduina »
Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government,owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship.FDR


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On whistleblowers and government threats of investigation

No healthy democracy can endure when the most consequential acts of those in power remain secret and unaccountable

Glenn Greenwald   -, Friday 7 June 2013 13.04 BST   

James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, who called the Guardian's revelations 'reprehensible'. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

We followed Wednesday's story about the NSA's bulk telephone record-gathering with one yesterday about the agency's direct access to the servers of the world's largest internet companies. I don't have time at the moment to address all of the fallout because - to borrow someone else's phrase - I'm Looking Forward to future revelations that are coming (and coming shortly), not Looking Backward to ones that have already come.

But I do want to make two points. One is about whistleblowers, and the other is about threats of investigations emanating from Washington:

1) Ever since the Nixon administration broke into the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychoanalyst's office, the tactic of the US government has been to attack and demonize whistleblowers as a means of distracting attention from their own exposed wrongdoing and destroying the credibility of the messenger so that everyone tunes out the message. That attempt will undoubtedly be made here.

I'll say more about all that shortly, but for now: as these whistleblowing acts becoming increasingly demonized ("reprehensible", declared Director of National Intelligence James Clapper yesterday), please just spend a moment considering the options available to someone with access to numerous Top Secret documents.

They could easily enrich themselves by selling those documents for huge sums of money to foreign intelligence services. They could seek to harm the US government by acting at the direction of a foreign adversary and covertly pass those secrets to them. They could gratuitously expose the identity of covert agents.

None of the whistleblowers persecuted by the Obama administration as part of its unprecedented attack on whistleblowers has done any of that: not one of them. Nor have those who are responsible for these current disclosures.

They did not act with any self-interest in mind. The opposite is true: they undertook great personal risk and sacrifice for one overarching reason: to make their fellow citizens aware of what their government is doing in the dark. Their objective is to educate, to democratize, to create accountability for those in power.

The people who do this are heroes. They are the embodiment of heroism. They do it knowing exactly what is likely to be done to them by the planet's most powerful government, but they do it regardless. They don't benefit in any way from these acts. I don't want to over-simplify: human beings are complex, and usually act with multiple, mixed motives. But read this outstanding essay on this week's disclosures from The Atlantic's security expert, Bruce Schneier, to understand why these brave acts are so crucial.

Those who step forward to blow these whistles rarely benefit at all. The ones who benefit are you. You discover what you should know but what is hidden from you: namely, the most consequential acts being taken by those with the greatest power, and how those actions are affecting your life, your country and your world.

In 2008, candidate Obama decreed that "often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out," and he hailed whistleblowing as:

    "acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled as they have been during the Bush administration."

The current incarnation of Obama prosecutes those same whistlelblowers at double the number of all previous presidents combined, and spent the campaign season boasting about it.

The 2008 version of Obama was right. As the various attacks are inevitably unleashed on the whistleblower(s) here, they deserve the gratitude and - especially - the support of everyone, including media outlets, for the noble acts that they have undertaken for the good of all of us. When it comes to what the Surveillance State is building and doing in the dark, we are much more informed today than we were yesterday, and will be much more informed tomorrow than we are today, thanks to them.

(2) Like puppets reading from a script, various Washington officials almost immediately began spouting all sorts of threats about "investigations" they intend to launch about these disclosures. This has been their playbook for several years now: they want to deter and intimidate anyone and everyone who might shed light on what they're doing with their abusive, manipulative exploitation of the power of law to punish those who bring about transparency.

That isn't going to work. It's beginning completely to backfire on them. It's precisely because such behavior reveals their true character, their propensity to abuse power, that more and more people are determined to bring about accountability and transparency for what they do.

They can threaten to investigate all they want. But as this week makes clear, and will continue to make clear, the ones who will actually be investigated are them.

The way things are supposed to work is that we're supposed to know virtually everything about what they do: that's why they're called public servants. They're supposed to know virtually nothing about what we do: that's why we're called private individuals.

This dynamic - the hallmark of a healthy and free society - has been radically reversed. Now, they know everything about what we do, and are constantly building systems to know more. Meanwhile, we know less and less about what they do, as they build walls of secrecy behind which they function. That's the imbalance that needs to come to an end. No democracy can be healthy and functional if the most consequential acts of those who wield political power are completely unknown to those to whom they are supposed to be accountable.

There seems to be this mentality in Washington that as soon as they stamp TOP SECRET on something they've done we're all supposed to quiver and allow them to do whatever they want without transparency or accountability under its banner. These endless investigations and prosecutions and threats are designed to bolster that fear-driven dynamic. But it isn't working. It's doing the opposite.

The times in American history when political power was constrained was when they went too far and the system backlashed and imposed limits. That's what happened in the mid-1970s when the excesses of J Edgar Hoover and Richard Nixon became so extreme that the legitimacy of the political system depended upon it imposing restraints on itself. And that's what is happening now as the government continues on its orgies of whistleblower prosecutions, trying to criminalize journalism, and building a massive surveillance apparatus that destroys privacy, all in the dark. The more they overreact to measures of accountability and transparency - the more they so flagrantly abuse their power of secrecy and investigations and prosecutions - the more quickly that backlash will arrive.

I'm going to go ahead and take the Constitution at its word that we're guaranteed the right of a free press. So, obviously, are other people doing so. And that means that it isn't the people who are being threatened who deserve and will get the investigations, but those issuing the threats who will get that. That's why there's a free press. That's what adversarial journalism means.


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your mobile device can be located even if it is turned off.
Gus Hunt, CTO of CIA (I dont know if CIAs OSC also) said this - from what I knew on Big Data CIAs all collecting mechanism new Project means collecting all data of everyone and hold on it forever (don´t forget about the langley guys, whilst you hear a lot of NSA today there are lot agencys out there...),

to be anonymous means - turn off your phone take out the cards and the battery = best keep it away from all data that could be confidential to anyone else.

where is the problem,l if you have nothing to hide
- i read and hear those lines often these days - buit if you have nothing hide can be mirrored to all governmental agencys on that planet. as long they hide in the the dark, people, hackers, coders, ,acivists, anyone else who could has access to confidential data that maybe belong to the first intelligence agency of the people, will hide too.

there is also the non electronic way - don´t forgert about the pen and papers  8)
« Last Edit: June 08, 2013, 13:55:42 PM by T®²³ »

Offline mayya

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where is the problem if you have nothing to hide ?
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2013, 14:41:15 PM »
nothing to hide ?

This is an example of what the  whichever-agency  can track , creating a 'story' around an individual's on line activity :

- a 30 year old female living at x, in a three bedroom house
- uses her internet access to search for pregnancy test
- a few weeks later, searches for twins pregnancy
- a few months later, searches for divorce procedure

nothing to hide ? certainly nothing that she wants shared or stored on some government's server and certainly nothing to do with terrorism.

this example is based on a true story , not tracked by a government agency, but by an info gathering data/marketing company who sells  aggregated data files to customers who like to target their audience with meaningful online advertising : because we all like to receive the right kind of ad, don't we? Saves on all those tiresome searches.