Anniversary of the NSA revelations

This week marks the year of Edward Snowden NSA revelations began. I have covered news on NSA relevations on my blog pretty much (Security trends 2013 and Security trends 2014). Register magazine article NSA: Inside the FIVE-EYED VAMPIRE SQUID of the INTERNET is a good wrap-up of what has been revealed over the years and what it has caused. The evidence Snowden has provided, by the bucketload, has shown that no country, no network, no communications system, no type of communication has been too small or trivial or irrelevant to attract attention and the ingestion of data into huge and enduring archive.

Google, Mozilla and many other online companies and organizations to celebrate the anniversary of the revelations Snowden Reset the Net campaign: Don’t ask for your privacy. Take it back.

“On June 5, I will take strong steps to protect my freedom from government mass surveillance. I expect the services I use to do the same.” Once you pledge, get the privacy pack.

90 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    NSA working to repair relationships with U.S. tech firms
    http://venturebeat.com/2014/10/01/nsa-working-to-repair-relationships-with-u-s-tech-firms/

    The National Security Agency is working to repair its fractured relationship with major tech companies following disclosures by former agency contractor Edward Snowden that the NSA had been secretly pulling data from company servers for surveillance purposes.

    “The outreach is happening. It’s absolutely imperative. This is about the big guys of a big tech company sitting in a room saying ‘holy shit, we’ve been hacked. What the F#*& is going on?’ So they look around at who may be able to help, and it used to be they would call NSA,” a former agency official told VentureBeat.

    Not so much anymore. These days, the phones over at the NSA’s Commercial Solution Center, or NCSC, at Fort Meade aren’t ringing like they used to, and many U.S. tech operators, including Google and Apple, are pushing back hard against agency data requests through the super secret FISA court.

    The NCSC is tasked with protecting the standards and competitiveness of U.S. technology companies.

    Snowden’s leaks showed how the agency was routinely siphoning data from Apple, Google, Facebook, and Twitter servers without warrants, setting up phony Linkedin pages and boosting information from Yahoo servers at will, among many other secret programs.

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    To Russia With Love: Edward Snowden’s pole-dancer girlfriend is living with him in Moscow
    While the NSA is tapping your PC, he’s tapping … nevermind
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/10/11/edward_snowden_moscow_love_nest/

    If you’ve been worrying that NSA leaker Edward Snowden has been living a wretched existence in some horrible Moscow flat, shunned and alone, fear not. A new documentary on him claims that, on the contrary, he’s happy and healthy – as is his live-in girlfriend.

    According to the film Citizenfour by documentarian Laura Poitras, Snowden has spent the last few months shacked up with long-term belle Lindsay Mills, who moved to Russia to be with him in June of this year.

    And in other news, a new report by Poitras and Peter Maass reveals that the NSA uses undercover operatives to subvert foreign companies and telecommunications networks, having done so in China, Germany, and South Korea.

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Citizenfour review – Poitras’ victorious film shows Snowden vindicated
    http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/oct/11/citizenfour-review-snowden-vindicated-poitras-nsa-journalism

    Laura Poitras’ documentary disentangles NSA surveillance and plots the story of Edward Snowden in Hong Kong and Moscow

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Second leaker in US intelligence, says Glenn Greenwald
    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/oct/11/second-leaker-in-us-intelligence-says-glenn-greenwald

    Citizenfour, new film on spying whistleblower Edward Snowden, shows journalist Greenwald discussing other source

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    There Is An Edward Snowden Statue In New York City, But Hardly Anyone Recognizes Him
    http://www.businessinsider.com/there-is-an-edward-snowden-statue-in-union-square-and-no-one-could-recognize-him-2014-10

    Early Friday morning, a mysterious statue of Edward Snowden appeared in Union Square Park in New York City, opposite the Abraham Lincoln statue.

    Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill were on hand when the statue was unloaded, although they apparently had no connection with the statue’s appearance.

    Early Friday morning, a mysterious statue of Edward Snowden appeared in Union Square Park in New York City, opposite the Abraham Lincoln statue.

    Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill were on hand when the statue was unloaded, although they apparently had no connection with the statue’s appearance.

    “What he did is possibly the most significant act of anyone from my generation,” Dessicino told Business Insider. “He put truth over the rule of law and committed a huge self-sacrifice.”

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    NSA Sentry Eagle placed spies in private companies
    Latest docs show firms in Germany, South Korea, China targeted
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/10/14/nsa_sentry_eagle_placed_spies_in_private_companies/

    The National Security Agency (NSA) has since 2004 sent spies into private companies in a bid to compromise networks from within, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

    Agents sent in by the NSA targeted global communications firms under a highly classified ‘core secrets’ program dubbed Sentry Eagle previously known only to a handful of officials.

    The documents published by Snowden mouthpiece The Intercept indicate operatives in the core secrets program worked in concert with companies to weaken encryption and spent hundreds of millions of dollars to break security mechanisms.

    Reply
  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Snowden revelations effect: people’s online behavior to change

    More than half of network users would be willing to change to Google’s services such as the user’s privacy better protection services, security survives house in F-Secure’s new report.

    The recently released video interview tietovuotaja Edward Snowden called for all put an end to Dropbox, Facebook, and Google’s use of the services.

    56 percent of survey respondents stated that they were more aware of the US online drawbacks such as possible disclosure of information-state actors. The same number of respondents said the internet has changed the use of methods Snowden news as a result.

    Almost half of the respondents said they were willing to pay up in order to not communicate personal information through the United States.

    68 percent of respondents said they use applications that encrypt message traffic, or allow the use of the internet anonymously.

    F-Secure’s report said a total of 4800 people in six countries.

    Source: http://www.tivi.fi/kaikki_uutiset/snowdenin+paljastusten+vaikutus+ihmisten+kayttaytyminen+verkossa+muuttui/a1024125

    Reply
  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Don’t assume public trusts you, MI5. ‘Make a case’ for surveillance – Former security chief
    ‘Do you trust us… Snowden or …the Islamic State’?
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/11/10/chief_spooks_must_make_case_for_surveillance_says_former_mi5_head/

    Spooks and security agencies must openly debate the public’s concerns over surveillance following the Snowden revelations, former head of MI5 and current thriller writer Stella Rimington has said.

    “It is not enough nowadays for intelligence services to say we have your best interests at heart,” she told delegates at Microsoft’s Future Decoded event in London.

    Reply
  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    91% of US adults say consumers have lost control over how their personal info is collected and used by companies

    Public Perceptions of Privacy and Security in the Post-Snowden Era
    http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/11/12/public-privacy-perceptions/

    Privacy evokes a constellation of concepts for Americans—some of them tied to traditional notions of civil liberties and some of them driven by concerns about the surveillance of digital communications and the coming era of “big data.” While Americans’ associations with the topic of privacy are varied, the majority of adults in a new survey by the Pew Research Center feel that their privacy is being challenged along such core dimensions as the security of their personal information and their ability to retain confidentiality.

    Most are aware of government efforts to monitor communications

    Widespread concern about surveillance by government and businesses

    For example:

    91% of adults in the survey “agree” or “strongly agree” that consumers have lost control over how personal information is collected and used by companies.
    88% of adults “agree” or “strongly agree” that it would be very difficult to remove inaccurate information about them online.
    80% of those who use social networking sites say they are concerned about third parties like advertisers or businesses accessing the data they share on these sites.
    70% of social networking site users say that they are at least somewhat concerned about the government accessing some of the information they share on social networking sites without their knowledge.

    There is little confidence in the security of common communications channels, and those who have heard about government surveillance programs are the least confident

    Across six different methods of mediated communication, there is not one mode through which a majority of the American public feels “very secure” when sharing private information with another trusted person or organization:

    81% feel “not very” or “not at all secure” using social media sites when they want to share private information with another trusted person or organization.
    68% feel insecure using chat or instant messages to share private information.
    58% feel insecure sending private info via text messages.
    57% feel insecure sending private information via email.
    46% feel “not very” or “not at all secure” calling on their cell phone when they want to share private information.
    31% feel “not very” or “not at all secure” using a landline phone when they want to share private information.

    Americans’ lack of confidence in core communications channels tracks closely with how much they have heard about government surveillance programs.

    Reply
  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Edward Snowden: best … security … educator … EVER!
    Study finds those aware of leaker-at-large harden up and surf smarter
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/11/28/the_snowden_effect_not_just_diplomatic_drama/

    A good deal of folk aware of NSA leaker Edward Snowden have improved the security of their online activity after learning of his exploits, a large survey has found.

    Researchers from think tank The Centre for International Governance Innovation collected responses from 23,376 users between October and November and found 60 percent had heard of Snowden.

    among respondents, 39 per cent “have taken steps to protect their online privacy and security as a result of [Snowden's] revelations.” 43 per cent have “now avoid certain websites and applications and 39% now change their passwords regularly,” the survey finds.

    Security education is a tough gig: The Reg has been hearing the “better security comes from people, processes and technology” mantra for over a decade. Endless recitation of that message, and education campaigns galore, sometimes seem not to have much effect as weak passwords remain pitifully prevalent and scams proliferate daily.

    Snowden prompting four in ten of those surveyed – and more in places like India, Mexico and China – to take security more seriously is therefore a big win.

    Reply
  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Citizenfour Official Trailer 1 (2014) – Edward Snowden Documentary HD
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiGwAvd5mvM

    CITIZENFOUR is the never before seen, utterly riveting first-person look at how director Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald first met with whistleblower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong where he gave them documents showing widespread abuses of power by the National Security Administration. It is an unprecedented fly-on-the-wall account of one of the most groundbreaking moments in recent history.

    In January 2013, Poitras (recipient of the 2012 MacArthur Genius Fellowship and co-recipient of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service) was several years into making a film about surveillance in the post-9/11 era when she started receiving encrypted e-mails from someone identifying himself as “citizen four,” who was ready to blow the whistle on the massive covert surveillance programs run by the NSA and other intelligence agencies. In June 2013, she and Greenwald flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Snowden. She brought her camera with her. The film that resulted from this series of tense encounters is absolutely sui generis in the history of cinema: a 100% real-life thriller unfolding minute by minute before our eyes.

    Reply
  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Edward Snowden’s Speech on Moment of Truth
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWAZ8fr4MUE

    Edward Snowden talks about online surveillance on Kim Dotcom’s Moment of Truth event. Julian Assange and Glenn Greenwald were also present.

    Reply
  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Eric Schmidt: To Avoid NSA Spying, Keep Your Data In Google’s Services
    http://tech.slashdot.org/story/14/12/15/1243213/eric-schmidt-to-avoid-nsa-spying-keep-your-data-in-googles-services

    Edward Snowden’s revelations on NSA spying shocked the company’s engineers
    Now, after a year and a half of work, Schmidt says that Google’s services are the safest place to store your sensitive data.

    Schmidt: NSA revelations forced Google to lock down data
    http://www.itworld.com/article/2859355/schmidt-nsa-revelations-forced-google-to-lock-down-data.html

    Google had envisioned a complicated method to sniff traffic, but “the fact that it had been done so directly … was really a shock to the company,” Schmidt said.

    After reporters showed Google engineers a diagram of the intelligence agency’s methods to tap links between Google data centers, the engineers responded with a “fusillade of words that we could not print in our family newspaper,” Washington Post reporter Craig Timberg said.

    Google responded to the revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden by spending a lot of money to lock down its systems, including 2,048-bit encryption on its traffic, Schmidt said. “We massively encrypted our internal systems,” he said. “It’s generally viewed that this level of encryption is unbreakable in our lifetime by any sets of human beings in any way. We’ll see if that’s really true.”

    Schmidt told the audience that the safest place to keep important information is in Google services. “Anywhere else” is not the safest place to keep data, he said.

    Schmidt touted the incognito browsing feature in Google’s Chrome browser and Google’s Dashboard feature, which allows its users to set their privacy preferences. He noted that some security experts have questioned his claim that Android is the safest mobile operating system. Both Google and Apple are working “very, very hard” on security features in their mobile OSes, he said.

    Reply
  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Views of the NSA Little Changed from 2013

    NSA Viewed More Favorably By Those Under 30 Than Adults 65 and OlderFavorability ratings for the National Security Agency (NSA) have changed little since the fall of 2013, shortly after former NSA analyst Edward Snowden’s revelations of the agency’s data-mining activities. About half (51%) view the NSA favorably, compared with 37% who have an unfavorable view.

    Young people are more likely than older Americans to view the intelligence agency positively. About six-in-ten (61%) of those under 30 view the NSA favorably, compared with 40% of those 65 and older.

    Adults with a post-graduate degree have mixed views of the NSA (45% favorable vs. 43% unfavorable). Among those with less education, favorable opinions of the NSA outnumber unfavorable views.

    Source: http://www.people-press.org/2015/01/22/most-view-the-cdc-favorably-vas-image-slips/#views-of-the-nsa-little-changed-from-2013

    Reply
  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Angie Han / /Film:
    Oliver Stone to direct an Edward Snowden biopic, set for a Christmas 2015 release —

    Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Sets Christmas Release; Adds Timothy Olyphant and More
    http://www.slashfilm.com/snowden-release-date-casting/

    Every year, the studios release approximately 8 million prestige dramas between November and December, and it looks like this year’s slate is already getting crowded. The latest to join the year-end fray is Oliver Stone‘s Snowden, a biopic of the NSA whistleblower.

    In addition to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays the title character, Snowden also features an admirable supporting cast that now includes Timothy Olyphant, Rhys Ifans, and Joely Richardson. More on the Snowden release date and casting updates after the jump.

    Reply
  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Peter Maass / The Intercept:
    The Intercept’s Laura Poitras Wins Academy Award for ‘Citizenfour’ — Laura Poitras, a founding editor of The Intercept, won an Academy Award tonight for her documentary “Citizenfour,” an inside look at Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency whistleblower.
    http://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/02/22/poitras-wins-oscar-for-citizenfour/

    Reply
  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Snowden, Hawking, win Oscars
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/02/23/snowden_hawking_win_oscars/

    Citizen Four, the documentary about super-leaker Edward Snowden, and Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, have won Academy Awards.

    Reply
  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial
    http://news.slashdot.org/story/15/03/03/1826214/snowden-reportedly-in-talks-to-return-to-us-to-face-trial?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Slashdot%2Fslashdot%2Fto+%28%28Title%29Slashdot+%28rdf%29%29

    The Globe and Mail reports that Edward Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, says the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor is working with American and German lawyers to return home. “I won’t keep it secret that he wants to return back home.”

    Snowden in talks on returning to U.S., Russian lawyer says
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/snowden-in-talks-on-returning-to-us-russian-lawyer-says/article23261304/

    Reply
  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Senator: ‘Plenty’ of Domestic Surveillance We Still Don’t Know About
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/15/03/15/1351239/senator-plenty-of-domestic-surveillance-we-still-dont-know-about

    In a recent interview, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has complained about the Obama administration’s failure to shut down the NSA’s bulk collection of phone metadata.

    When asked if there were further domestic surveillance programs about which the public knows nothing, Senator Wyden said, “Yeah, there’s plenty of stuff.” The ones he knows about are classified, so he couldn’t elaborate.

    Ron Wyden: ‘Plenty’ Of Domestic Surveillance Programs Still Unexposed
    from the also:-screw-the-CIA dept
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150312/12563530305/ron-wyden-plenty-domestic-surveillance-programs-still-unexposed.shtml

    In a few months, we’ll be marking the second anniversary of the first Snowden leak. The outraged responses of citizens and politicians around the world to these revelations has resulted in approximately nothing in those 24 months. There have been bright spots here and there — where governments and their intelligence agencies were painted into corners by multiple leaks and forced to respond — but overall, the supposed debate on the balance between security and privacy has been largely ignored by those on Team National Security.

    Here in the US, multiple surveillance reforms were promised. So far, very little has been put into practice.

    Reply
  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Pew Internet:
    Pew survey examines changes in American attitudes about online privacy post-Snowden

    Americans’ Privacy Strategies Post-Snowden
    http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/03/16/Americans-Privacy-Strategies-Post-Snowden/

    It has been nearly two years since the first disclosures of government surveillance programs by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and Americans are still coming to terms with how they feel about the programs and how to live in light of them.

    A new survey by the Pew Research Center asked American adults what they think of the programs, the way they are run and monitored, and whether they have altered their communication habits and online activities since learning about the details of the surveillance. The notable findings in this survey fall into two broad categories: 1) the ways people have personally responded in light of their awareness of the government surveillance programs and 2) their views about the way the programs are run and the people who should be targeted by government surveillance.
    Some people have changed their behaviors in response to surveillance

    Overall, nearly nine-in-ten respondents say they have heard at least a bit about the government surveillance programs to monitor phone use and internet use. Some 31% say they have heard a lot about the government surveillance programs and another 56% say they had heard a little. Just 6% suggested that they have heard “nothing at all” about the programs. The 87% of those who had heard at least something about the programs were asked follow-up questions about their own behaviors and privacy strategies:

    34% of those who are aware of the surveillance programs (30% of all adults) have taken at least one step to hide or shield their information from the government.

    25% of those who are aware of the surveillance programs (22% of all adults) say they have changed the patterns of their own use of various technological platforms “a great deal” or “somewhat” since the Snowden revelations.

    Many have not considered or are not aware of some of the more commonly available tools that could make their communications and activities more private

    Still, notable numbers of citizens say they have not adopted or even considered some of the more commonly available tools that can be used to make online communications and activities more private:

    53% have not adopted or considered using a search engine that doesn’t keep track of a user’s search history and another 13% do not know about these tools.
    46% have not adopted or considered using email encryption programs such as Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) and another 31% do not know about such programs.
    43% have not adopted or considered adding privacy-enhancing browser plug-ins like DoNotTrackMe (now known as Blur) or Privacy Badger and another 31% do not know such plug-ins.
    41% have not adopted or considered using proxy servers that can help them avoid surveillance and another 33% do not know about this.
    40% have not adopted or considered using anonymity software such as Tor and another 39% do not know about what that is.

    Reply
  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    NSA Worried About Recruitment, Post-Snowden
    http://science.slashdot.org/story/15/03/31/2210205/nsa-worried-about-recruitment-post-snowden

    The NSA employs tens of thousands of people, and they’re constantly recruiting more. They’re looking for 1,600 new workers this year alone. Now that their reputation has taken a major hit with the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden, they aren’t sure they’ll be able to meet that goal.

    Not only that, but the NSA has to compete with other companies, and they Snowden leaks made many of them more competitive

    After Snowden, The NSA Faces Recruitment Challenge
    http://www.npr.org/2015/03/31/395829446/after-snowden-the-nsa-faces-recruitment-challenge

    Reply
  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Snowden didn’t scare many out of US clouds says Forrester
    A quarter of CIOs bail from US clouds, but only a third of those leave for fear of spooks
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/04/02/snowden_didnt_scare_many_out_of_us_clouds_says_forrester/

    Analyst outfit Forrester has asked the question “Did PRISM Cause An Exodus From US Clouds?” and found the answer is yes. At least a bit.

    The firm asked “1,668 non-US technology and business decision-makers” whether “In the past year, has your company explicitly halted or reduced your spending with US-based companies for Internet-based services (e.g., cloud, online service/outsourcing) due to these security concerns?”

    26 per cent said yes, they had.

    But the company’s next question, “What are the reasons you have decided to move away from using US-based companies for Internet-based services?” found 34 per cent of those asked said “Fear of intelligence community spying” was the reason for their departure. Others reasons for repatriating data or services included local laws, or greater comfort doing business with domestic providers.

    The second question was answered by “427 non-US technology and business decision-makers whose firms have explicitly halted or reduced their spending with US-based companies for Internet-based services due to PRISM-related security concerns.” We’re not sure it is sound to do the math on this one and declare that a 34 per cent of 26 per cent means about eight per cent of people pulled data from clouds for fear of spying, because the exact nature of the samples isn’t explained.

    The study concludes that organisations using any cloud service providers from any nation need to look for suppliers who give them more control over security, because if the spooks don’t get you, the crims will.

    “Your business partners are accountable to their governments, and you can’t expect them to put your interests above their own or those of their government.”

    Reply
  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Cat Zakrzewski / TechCrunch:
    In Snowden interview, John Oliver makes surveillance debate relatable by avoiding civil liberty hypotheticals, focusing on NSA’s ease of access to “dick pics”

    John Oliver Just Changed The Surveillance Reform Debate
    http://techcrunch.com/2015/04/06/john-oliver-just-changed-the-surveillance-reform-debate/#.utwu3c:WeKK

    Remember Edward Snowden?

    For many Americans who talked to John Oliver on Last Week Tonight, the answer is no.

    It’s been almost two years since the world was captivated by Snowden’s leaks to The Guardian and The Washington Post about American surveillance programs. For weeks it seemed there was a new headline everyday about another previously classified surveillance program or another government official calling for action on this issue.

    Although the Snowden leaks certainly proved to be much more than a “three-day story,” American surveillance practices remain largely the same two years later. The main difference is this issue no longer dominates our political discourse. In November, the FREEDOM Act — legislation under development for two years that would have overhauled NSA surveillance programs — died in a Senate procedural vote to little display.

    Last night we found out Oliver’s HBO program was off last week because he was in Russia interviewing “the most famous hero and/or traitor in recent American history.” Oliver hit on many points that have been lacking in past interviews with the former government contractor

    Oliver’s interview is timely as we approach an important deadline for surveillance reform on June 1.

    Online this morning, Twitter, Reddit and the expected publications were abuzz with how “John Oliver killed it” and or “slayed it” in this new segment.

    Last summer we saw Oliver’s ability to captivate the public’s attention when it came to the complex, technical issue of net neutrality.

    So what will the 33 minutes he spent on government surveillance reform do?

    Ever able to make us laugh about even the driest news topics, Oliver changed the topic of discussion from vague hypotheticals about civil liberties to something tangible he knew many Americans would care about — dick pics.

    “Well the good news is there’s no program named, ‘the dick pic program,’” Snowden said. “The bad news is they are still collecting everybody’s information, including your dick pics.”

    Reply
  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    NSA bulk phone records collection to end despite USA Freedom Act failure
    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/23/nsa-bulk-phone-records-collection-usa-freedom-act-senate

    Administration has not applied to secret court for 90-day extension
    USA Freedom Act fails in early hours after long Senate session

    Even as the Senate remains at an impasse over the future of US domestic surveillance powers, the National Security Agency will be legally unable to collect US phone records in bulk by the time Congress returns from its Memorial Day vacation.

    The administration decision ensures that beginning at 5pm ET on 1 June, for the first time since October 2001 the NSA will no longer collect en masse Americans’ phone records.

    It represents a quiet, unceremonious end to the most domestically acrimonious NSA program revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, in a June 2013 exposé in the Guardian

    The NSA and the Obama administration have conceded that the bulk domestic phone records collection has never stopped a terrorist attack.

    “Those who helm the government’s surveillance apparatus have engaged in craven abuse of already overly-expansive spying powers that do nothing to reduce the threat of terrorism, but pose ongoing threats to privacy, freedom, and democratic governance.”

    Reply
  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Guardian:
    Senate advances USA Freedom Act, but vote on bill likely won’t come for several days, causing temporary shutdown of some Patriot Act powers — Patriot Act powers to lapse at midnight as Senate fails to agree on NSA reform — Surveillance hawks concede defeat as Rand Paul forces shutdown …

    NSA programme: Bush-era powers expire as US prepares to roll back surveillance
    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/31/nsa-reform-senate-deal-as-patriot-act

    Sweeping intelligence capabilities exposed by Edward Snowden shut down as hawks concede defeat on first major surveillance reform in a generation

    Sweeping US surveillance powers, enjoyed by the National Security Agency since the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks, are to shut down at midnight on Monday after a dramatic Senate showdown in which even the NSA’s biggest supporters conceded that substantial reforms were inevitable.

    Reply
  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why did Snowden swipe 900k+ US DoD files? (Or so Uncle Sam claims)
    Secret memos snaffled using Freedom-of-Info law reveal govt official talking points
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/06/05/snowden_docs_vice/

    Edward Snowden made off with “over 900,000″ highly sensitive US Department of Defense documents, according to American government officials whose private memos were published today.

    The figures were obtained by Vice News following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) battle with Uncle Sam.

    According to the undated memos, agents at the Department of Defense’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) claimed that Snowden, a contractor who got admin status on NSA networks and turned whistleblower, was able to access and copy at least 900,000 classified DoD documents.

    The wording is ambiguous due to redactions made prior to the FOIA release, but Vice journo Jason Leopold reckons “Snowden took 900,000 Department of Defense (DoD) files — more documents than he downloaded from the NSA about the agency’s surveillance programs.” We note that the NSA is part of the DoD.

    Meanwhile, the memos also show where the infamous claim that Snowden stole 1.7 million files came from: talking points issued to politicians, and ultimately passed on to the media as fact.

    Glenn Greenwald, one of the journalists given copies of the leaked files by Snowden, has repeatedly claimed the figure of 1.7m is way off. It is believed to be much lower – possibly 200,000 – but no one knows for sure, it seems.

    The compromise of NSA systems led the government to hire approximately 200 to 250 people who “triage, analyze, and assess DoD impacts related to the Snowden compromise,” it is claimed.

    If the 900,000 figure is correct then there are lots of interesting nuggets of information yet to emerge from the Snowden trove.

    Reply
  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    US Tech Companies Expected To Lose More Than $35 Billion Over NSA Spying
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/15/06/09/1235221/us-tech-companies-expected-to-lose-more-than-35-billion-over-nsa-spying

    Citing significant sales hits taken by big American firms like Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, Salesforce, Qualcomm, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard, a new report says losses by U.S. tech companies as a result of NSA spying and Snowden’s whistleblowing “will likely far exceed” $35 billion

    U.S. tech companies expected to lose more than $35 billion due to NSA spying
    http://www.dailydot.com/politics/nsa-prism-fallout-35-billion-us-tech-firms/

    U.S. companies will likely lose more than $35 billion in foreign business as a result of the vast NSA-surveillance operations revealed by Edward Snowden, according to a new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

    “Foreign customers are shunning U.S. companies,” the report asserts, causing American businesses to lose out on foreign contracts and pushing other countries to create protectionist policies that block American businesses out of foreign markets.

    ITIF, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based technology think tank founded my members of Congress, first estimated in 2013 that American losses as a result of the National Security Agency’s PRISM program, which centers on the collection of Internet communications from major American technology firms, would tally between $21.5 billion and $35 billion, with the U.S. cloud-computing industry bearing the brunt of the fallout.

    The actual losses “will likely far exceed $35 billion,” according to the ITIF report, because the entire American tech industry has performed worse than expected as a result of the Snowden leaks.

    The massive financial hit is likely one key reason leading major American tech firms, like Apple and Google, to not only include strong encryption in their smartphones, tablets, and services, but to also publicly oppose the outlawing of strong encryption by law-enforcement authorities like James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.

    Since the first Snowden leaks became public in 2013, foreign businesses and civilians around the world have repeatedly said in polls that American surveillance will cause them to abandon (or at least be extremely wary of) American tech products. U.S.-based companies, including Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, Salesforce, Qualcomm, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard, have reportedly suffered sales hits in Asia, Europe, and North America as a result of blowback against NSA spying.

    In particular, European cloud companies, like Cloudwatt, Hortnetsecurity, and F-Secure, proudly boast of their non-American credentials and their resistance to NSA spying against foreigners. And the French government has invested $150 million into two cloud startups designed to keep data out of U.S. hands.

    Reply
  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Glen Greenwald: Don’t Trust Anonymous Anti-Snowden Claims
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/15/06/15/0727211/glen-greenwald-dont-trust-anonymous-anti-snowden-claims

    Glen Greenwald casts a scathing look at the claims (such as by the Sunday Times) that Edward Snowden’s leaked information had been cracked by Russian and Chinese spy agencies.

    The Sunday Times’ Snowden Story is Journalism at its Worst — and Filled with Falsehoods
    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/06/14/sunday-times-report-snowden-files-journalism-worst-also-filled-falsehoods/

    Reply
  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Reporter Who Wrote Sunday Times ‘Snowden’ Propaganda Admits That He’s Just Writing What UK Gov’t Told Him
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150615/11565531344/reporter-who-wrote-sunday-times-snowden-propaganda-admits-that-hes-just-writing-what-uk-govt-told-him.shtml

    So we’ve already written about the massive problems with the Sunday Times’ big report claiming that the Russians and Chinese had “cracked” the encryption on the Snowden files (or possibly just been handed those files by Snowden) and that he had “blood on his hands” even though no one has come to any harm. It also argued that David Miranda was detained after he got documents from Snowden in Moscow, despite the fact that he was neither in Moscow, nor had met Snowden (a claim the article quietly deleted). That same report also claimed that UK intelligence agency MI6 had to remove “agents” from Moscow because of this leak, despite the fact that they’re not called “agents” and there’s no evidence of any actual risk.

    Either way, one of the journalists who wrote the story, Tom Harper, gave an interview to CNN which is quite incredible to watch. Harper just keeps repeating that he doesn’t know what’s actually true, and that he was just saying what the government told him — more or less admitting that his role here was not as a reporter, but as a propagandist or a stenographer

    If you can’t see or hear that, it’s Harper saying “we just publish what we believe to be the position of the British government.” This is a claim that he repeats throughout the interview, pleading ignorance to anything factual about the story. ”

    CNN’s George Howell kicks it off by asking how UK officials could possibly know that the Chinese and Russians got access to the files, and Harper immediately resorts to the “hey, I just write down what they tell me!”

    http://edition.cnn.com/videos/us/2015/06/14/tom-harper-nsa-files-snowden-howell-intv-nr.cnn/video/playlists/intl-latest-world-videos/

    Reply
  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Snowden receives Norwegian freedom of speech award
    http://www.nationmultimedia.com/breakingnews/Snowden-receives-Norwegian-freedom-of-speech-award-30268242.html

    Stockholm (dpa) – Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden said he had “no regrets” about disclosing mass surveillance programmes that forced him into exile, he said Saturday on receiving a Norwegian freedom of speech prize.
    “We will honour you as the most important whistleblower of ourtimes,” said Hege Newth Nouri, head of the board of the Bjornson Academy.

    The Bjornson Prize award is worth 100,000 kroner (12,000 dollars).

    Nouri said she hoped Snowden would be able to receive his diploma and statue next year – in Norway.

    She said an empty chair on the stage in Molde, western Norway symbolised that the organisers had failed to secure guarantees Snowden would not be arrested and possibly be extradited to the United States.

    In its citation, the jury said Snowden had “shown how the electronic integrated information world can be a threat to personal integrity, and also might pose a threat against freedom of expression.”

    In an interview conducted via videolink from Russia, Snowden said he loved the United States and his actions were not anti-American.

    “I knew the consequences of my actions when I took them,” he said.

    “I honestly never expected to be free today, I expected to be inprison, I didn’t expect to get awards, I expected my reputation to be ruined because a number of incredibly powerful officials around the world were personally embarrassed because of these revelations,”

    Reply
  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    End mass snooping and protect whistleblowers, MEPs yell at EU
    Lest we pass another legally unenforceable resolution
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/09/09/eu_meps_endorse_anti_mass_surveillance_report/

    The European Parliament on Tuesday voted to adopt the conclusions of a report – as a non-legally binding resolution – that defends encryption, anonymity and digital freedom.

    The report (PDF), which was narrowly approved by 371 votes in favour to 293 against, said “the active complicity of certain EU member states in the NSA’s mass surveillance of citizens and spying on political leaders, as revealed by Edward Snowden, has caused serious damage to the credibility of the EU’s human rights policy.”

    However, it’s not just the US that has come in for a bashing in the resolution that was drafted by Dutch Liberal MEP Marietje Schaake. David Cameron’s ideas about banning encryption or allowing backdoor exploits for spying are also roundly condemned.

    The European Parliament said the EU should “counter the criminalisation of the use of encryption, anti-censorship and privacy tools by refusing to limit the use of encryption within the EU, and by challenging third-country governments that criminalise such tools.”

    “It also condemns the weakening and undermining of encryption protocols and products, particularly by intelligence services seeking to intercept encrypted communications,” said the institution, which, despite being one of the legislative bodies of the EU, cannot initiate legislation.

    Schaake wants “end-to-end” encryption standards as a matter of course for all communication services.

    The resolution also pushes open source and open standards, wants the possibility of granting whistleblowers international protection from prosecution (here’s looking at you, Snowden), and warns against the privatisation of law enforcement through internet companies and ISPs.

    Reply
  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Europe’s Parliament Just Voted to Grant Asylum to Edward Snowden
    http://gizmodo.com/europes-parliament-just-voted-to-grant-asylum-to-edward-1739434838?utm_campaign=socialflow_gizmodo_facebook&utm_source=gizmodo_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

    Well this is something. After years of pressure from activists, the European Parliament just passed a resolution urging its member states to offer protection to Edward Snowden. That would mean dropping all charges against the whistleblower and shielding him from extradition to the United States.

    For Snowden, who’s been holed up in Russia for as long as anybody can remember, this is really great news. The former NSA contractor said as much on Twitter:

    “Hearing reports EU just voted 285-281, overcoming huge pressure, to cancel all charges against me and prevent extradition. Game-changer.
    4:16 PM – 29 Oct 2015 ”

    The extent to which the European parliament’s actions will actually help to keep Snowden out of U.S. prison, however, remains to be seen. The resolution itself is non-binding, and all of the European nations involved in passing it have extradition treaties with the U.S. However, the world will take notice, now that a (slight) majority of MEPs voted to “grant [Snowden] protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender.”

    https://twitter.com/Snowden?ref_src=twsrc^tfw

    Reply
  33. Tomi Engdahl says:

    European Parliament Urges Protection for Edward Snowden
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/30/world/europe/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower.html?_r=1

    BRUSSELS — The European Parliament narrowly adopted a nonbinding but nonetheless forceful resolution on Thursday urging the 28 nations of the European Union to recognize Edward J. Snowden as a “whistle-blower and international human rights defender” and shield him from prosecution.

    On Twitter, Mr. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked millions of documents about electronic surveillance by the United States government, called the vote a “game-changer.” But the resolution has no legal force and limited practical effect for Mr. Snowden, who is living in Russia on a three-year residency permit.

    Whether to grant Mr. Snowden asylum remains a decision for the individual European governments, and none have done so thus far.

    The White House, which has used diplomatic efforts to discourage even symbolic resolutions of support for Mr. Snowden, immediately criticized the resolution.

    “Our position has not changed,” said Ned Price, a spokesman for the National Security Council in Washington.

    “Mr. Snowden is accused of leaking classified information and faces felony charges here in the United States. As such, he should be returned to the U.S. as soon as possible, where he will be accorded full due process.”

    Reply
  34. Tomi Engdahl says:

    HTTP/2.0 Opens Every New Connection It Makes With the Word ‘PRISM’
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/15/11/30/2046216/http20-opens-every-new-connection-it-makes-with-the-word-prism

    British programmer and writer John Graham-Cumming has spotted what appears to be a ‘code-protest’ in the next generation of the hypertext protocol. Each new connection forged by the HTTP/2.0 protocol spells out the word ‘PRISM’ obliquely, though the word itself is obscured to the casual observer by coded returns and line-breaks. Work on the hidden message in HTTP/2.0 seems to date back to nine days after the Snowden revelations broke, with the final commit completed by July of 2013.

    The secret message hidden in every HTTP/2 connection
    http://blog.jgc.org/2015/11/the-secret-message-hidden-in-every.html

    Reply
  35. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Kim Zetter / Wired:
    Erroneously unredacted court document confirms Edward Snowden was the target in Lavabit case — A Government Error Just Revealed Snowden Was the Target in the Lavabit Case — It’s been one of the worst-kept secrets for years: the identity of the person the government was investigating …

    A Government Error Just Revealed Snowden Was the Target in the Lavabit Case
    http://www.wired.com/2016/03/government-error-just-revealed-snowden-target-lavabit-case/

    It’s been one of the worst-kept secrets for years: the identity of the person the government was investigating in 2013 when it served the secure email firm Lavabit with a court order demanding help spying on a particular customer.

    Ladar Levison, owner of the now defunct email service, has been forbidden since then, under threat of contempt and possibly jail time, from identifying who the government was investigating. In court documents from the case unsealed in late 2013, all information that could identify the customer was redacted.

    But federal authorities recently screwed up and revealed the secret themselves when they published a cache of case documents but failed to redact one identifying piece of information about the target: his email address, Ed_Snowden@lavabit.com. With that, the very authorities holding the threat of jail time over Levison’s head if he said anything have confirmed what everyone had long ago presumed: that the target account was Snowden’s.

    Here’s a quick recap of that case: On June 28, 2013, shortly after newspapers published the first NSA leaks from Snowden, FBI agents showed up at Levison’s door in Texas and served him with a pen register order requiring him to give the government metadata for the email activity of one customer’s account.

    The case was initially sealed and the public didn’t learn about it and the fight over Levison’s customer until after he had shuttered his email service in defiance of the government.

    Reply
  36. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Edward Snowden sues Norway to prevent extradition
    Leading leaker wants to visit Oslo trip to pick up freedom prize without being picked up
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/04/22/edward_snowden_sues_norway_to_prevent_extradition/

    Super-leaker Edward Snowden is suing the government of Norway.

    What? Isn’t Snowden in Russia? And isn’t his beef with the United States?

    Yes, on both counts. But Snowden has just been awarded something called the Ossietzky Prize, an award named after German pacifist, journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Carl von Ossietzky.

    Ossietzky won the Nobel for revealing details of Germany’s re-armament, which violated the Treaty of Versailles.

    The Ossietzky Prize is awarded by an organisation called Norsk PEN, the Norwegian branch of freedom of speech promotion body PEN International. Norsk Pen says it chose Snowden “to pay respect to the unique role he has undertaken as a whistle blower.” Having made its choice, the organisation “will do our utmost to ensure that Snowden may receive the prize in person.”

    Snowden fears that if leaves Russia he will be apprehended by United States authorities, extradited and put on trial back home.

    Reply
  37. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Intercept:
    The Intercept begins releasing installments of NSA’s internal newsletters starting from 2003

    Snowden Archive
    ——The SidToday
    Files
    https://theintercept.com/snowden-sidtoday/

    SIDtoday is the internal newsletter for the NSA’s most important division, the Signals Intelligence Directorate. After editorial review, The Intercept is releasing nine years’ worth of newsletters in batches, starting with 2003. The agency’s spies explain a surprising amount about what they were doing, how they were doing it, and why.

    Reply
  38. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Eric Holder says Edward Snowden performed a ‘public service’
    http://edition.cnn.com/2016/05/30/politics/axe-files-axelrod-eric-holder/index.html

    Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says Edward Snowden performed a “public service” by triggering a debate over surveillance techniques, but still must pay a penalty for illegally leaking a trove of classified intelligence documents.
    “We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made,”

    “Now I would say that doing what he did — and the way he did it — was inappropriate and illegal,” Holder added.

    Holder said Snowden jeopardized America’s security interests by leaking classified information while working as a contractor for the National Security Agency in 2013.

    “He harmed American interests,”

    Snowden, who has spent the last few years in exile in Russia, should return to the U.S. to deal with the consequences, Holder noted.

    “I think that he’s got to make a decision. He’s broken the law in my view.”

    “But,” Holder emphasized, “I think in deciding what an appropriate sentence should be, I think a judge could take into account the usefulness of having had that national debate.”

    Reply
  39. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Snowden: Donald Trump could get pal Putin to kick me out of Russia
    Ex-NSA geek is trying not to let extradition possibility worry him
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/12/13/snowden_not_worried_trump_deal_to_extradite/

    NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has warned Donald Trump, as US President, could do a deal with Russian leader Vladimir Putin to extradite or imprison the whistleblower.

    In an hour-long live-streamed video interview on Periscope with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey today, Snowden argued the US had trapped him in Russia when it cancelled his passport. The ex-NSA IT nerd added the incoming White House administration – which seemingly has better relations with the Russian government than the Obama regime – may be able to get him kicked out of the country and delivered into the hands of Uncle Sam, or otherwise imprisoned.

    “It could happen, sure, but am I worried? Not really – I am very comfortable with decisions I made and know I did the right thing,” he said.

    Reply
  40. Tomi Engdahl says:

    NBC: Russia ‘considers’ sending Snowden back to US
    Snowden: ‘Irrefutable’ proof I didn’t cooperate with Russian intelligence.
    https://www.engadget.com/2017/02/10/nbc-russia-considers-sending-snowden-back-to-us/

    A report by NBC News cites unnamed US intelligence sources claiming that Russian officials are deliberating a handover of Edward Snowden as a “gift” to the Trump administration. Since leaking information on the NSA’s “PRISM” surveillance, the former government contractor has been living in Russia since 2013 on a permit and is a year away from being able to apply for citizenship. He still faces federal charges, and previously, Donald Trump has called Snowden a “traitor,” and a “spy who should be executed.”

    Snowden himself tweeted out the NBC report, along with a claim that it represents “irrefutable evidence that I never cooperated with Russian intel. No country trades away spies, as the rest would fear they’re next.”

    Reply

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