Edward Snowden exposes National Security Agency domestic surveillance

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by The Wrong Guy, Jun 5, 2013.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    Brian Williams Went Over His High School Graduation Speech With Edward Snowden | TVNewser

    You wouldn’t think Brian Williams and Edward Snowden had much time for small talk before taping their exclusive interview in Moscow earlier this week, but apparently Snowden was curious about a green folder in Williams’ hotel room.

    “I said I should probably explain what Hillwood High School is,” Williams said during his commencement speech yesterday at the Nashville school, recounting how he explained the folder holding his speech to Snowden.

    “To rewind a bit, I am explaining Hillwood High School to Edward Snowden, in a hotel room in Moscow, 32 hours ago,” Williams continued, drawing laughs from the crowd.

    Williams told students he explained everything about the commencement speech, including the video sent by students to lure him to speak, to Snowden before their interview. Williams urged them to watch the interview because Snowden “will play a role in all of your lives, and your country, because of what he’s exposed.”

    From Monday to Thursday, Williams flew 11,000 miles from New York, to Moscow, and finally, to Nashville. His interview with Snowden will air Wednesday night as an hour-long NBC News primetime special.

    Source, and video of his speech:
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  2. The Wrong Guy Member

    WikiLeaks@wikileaks 47m
    #Snowden in ongoing negotiations to return to USA

    Snowden ‘considers’ returning to US – report | RT News

    "There are negotiations," Snowden's German lawyer Wolfgang Kaleck told Der Spiegel. "Those who know the case are aware that an amicable agreement with the US authorities will be most reasonable.”

    More at
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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    The Washington Post’s ‘Fear-Driven Approach’ to NSA Files Infuriated Snowden | The Dissenter

    When National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden was working to convince journalists to cover NSA documents he taken with him to expose evidence of dragnet warrantless surveillance, he was especially frustrated with one media organization, which has actually received recognition for its work on the NSA files: The Washington Post.

    The story of how the Post became involved and, in many ways, let a whistleblower down is a testament to why future whistleblowers should be cautious when approaching such establishment media outlets. What happened is detailed in journalist Glenn Greenwald’s book, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA & the US Surveillance State.

    Journalist Laura Poitras was given permission by Snowden to give “some documents” to Barton Gellman, a reporter for the Post. In particular, Snowden convinced himself there could be some value if the Post reported on the PRISM program, which is a surveillance program that involved the NSA collecting in real-time the communications from companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Skype and Yahoo.

    Snowden found out through Poitras that the Post had “assembled a large team of lawyers who were making all kinds of demands and issuing all sorts of dire warnings.” Instead of quickly and aggressively getting the story out, this signaled to Snowden that the Post was going to take this “unprecedented journalistic opportunity” and allow their institution to be “driven by fear rather than conviction and determination.” He was also “livid that the Post involved so many people, afraid that these discussions might jeopardize his security.” The “fear demonstrated by endlessly convening with alarmist lawyers” truly upset him.

    Continued here:
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  4. The Wrong Guy Member

    Watch the First Footage of Brian Williams with Edward Snowden | NBC News

    After months of preparation and negotiation, "Nightly News" anchor and managing editor Brian Williams met former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last week in Moscow for his first interview with a U.S. television network.

    This video contains the first images of their five-hour meeting at the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski just across the Moscow River from the Kremlin and Red Square. The footage was shot as they walked in a hotel hallway near the library where the interview took place.

    The exclusive, wide-ranging interview with Snowden, who received asylum in Russia after leaking classified documents from NSA servers, will air in a one-hour NBC News primetime special on Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central.

    "The interview was months in the making and cloaked in the secrecy of his life as a fugitive living in exile overseas," said Williams. "As you will see and hear, Edward Snowden has a lot more to say."

    Continued here:
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  5. laughingsock Member

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  6. The Wrong Guy Member

    Snowden, Greenwald, Appelbaum, WikiLeaks 'blacklisted' from Stockholm Internet Forum | RT News

    Key digital rights activists – including Edward Snowden and hacker Jacob Appelbaum – have been blacklisted from the Stockholm Internet Forum (SIF) on internet openness and freedom. The move has caused a stir at the gathering and outraged Twitter users.

    The third annual European meeting of internet activists kicked off in Sweden on May 26, with its main theme being “Internet– privacy, transparency, surveillance and control.”

    But strangely enough, those whose names immediately spring to mind when it comes to the issue of surveillance are not allowed to attend the event.

    Former CIA employee Edward Snowden, who revealed the NSA's mass spying program, was not invited. Neither was journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story.

    Hacker Jacob Appelbaum, who found German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone number in Snowden’s database, didn't receive an invitation either.

    I have been silenced this year from attending #SIF14 in person as have others. This is the result of speaking out against mass surveillance.
    — Jacob Appelbaum (@ioerror) May 26, 2014

    The conference also failed to invite representatives of WikiLeaks, which repeatedly made headlines worldwide by leaking diplomatic cables.

    #SIF14 is a geopolitical tool and has banned #WikiLeaks and #Snowden:
    — WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 26, 2014

    According to German magazine Cicero Online, the only non-governmental organization among the hosts of the conference – .SE – had made a list of possible candidates and sent it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for approval. The ministry vetoed the activists from attending the SIF – the brainchild of Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. Snowden’s name was marked red, the magazine wrote, suggesting that could be code for “do not invite.”

    When asked to comment on the matter, the ministry stated that the conference’s main focus was to “represent a wide array of backgrounds, cultures and opinions.” It added that a key ambition was to have an equal number of male and female invitees and that at least a half of them had to be from developing countries. “We would also like to point out that those who haven’t been invited are able to follow the entire conference online and give opinions and raise questions during the discussions,” the ministry said, as quoted by Cicero.

    The decision to snub Snowden and other activists from the meeting sparked a wave of criticism among forum participants, while Twitter exploded with a stream of outrage and sarcastic comments under the hashtag #SIF14.

    Continued at
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  7. The Wrong Guy Member

    Edward Snowden Tells Brian Williams: 'I Was Trained as a Spy' | NBC News

    Edward Snowden, in an exclusive interview with "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams, is fighting back against critics who dismissed him as a low-level hacker — saying he was “trained as a spy” and offered technical expertise to high levels of government.

    Snowden defended his expertise in portions of the interview that aired at 6:30 pm ET on Nightly News. The extended, wide-ranging interview with Williams, his first with a U.S. television network, airs Wednesday at 10 pm ET on NBC.

    “I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word, in that I lived and worked undercover overseas — pretending to work in a job that I’m not — and even being assigned a name that was not mine,” Snowden said in the interview.

    Continued at
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  8. The Wrong Guy Member

    Edward Snowden, the patriotic traitor | Salon

    You won’t find a better summary of the state of modern journalism than NBC’s innovative approach to judging the legacy of Edward Snowden. As part of the network’s multi-prong promotional blitzkrieg for Wednesday night’s broadcast of anchor Brian William’s interview with the 21st century’s most famous whistle-blower, NBC is conducting a “hashtag poll.”

    Edward Snowden: #Traitor or #Patriot.

    If only it were so simple.

    Here’s a radical suggestion: Maybe he’s both. Maybe he’s someone who broke the law and betrayed his oath because he believed that the government abuses he was exposing were themselves an unconstitutional betrayal of the American people.

    Americans have never been particularly good at embracing contradictions and complexity. The notion that Edward Snowden could simultaneously be a traitor and a patriot disappoints and bewilders our primal Manichean impulses. But let’s try a little experiment.

    First, here is Secretary of State John Kerry’s response to the interview tidbits leaked by NBC so far.

    Continued at
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  9. John Kerry

    A comment so fucked up and insane, I don't even know where to begin.
  10. Anonymous Member

    It is fucked-up and has the spin that only America can give insane.

    Let's be able to read the whole statement here:

    ... here is Secretary of State John Kerry’s response to the interview tidbits leaked by NBC so far.

    The bottom line is this is a man who has betrayed his country, who is sitting in Russia, an authoritarian country, where he has taken refuge. He should man up and come back to the United States if he has a complaint about what’s the matter with American surveillance, come back here and stand in our system of justice and make his case. But instead he is just sitting there taking potshots at his country, violating his oath that he took when he took on the job he took, and betraying, I think, the fundamental agreement that he entered into when he became an employee. And the fact is he has damaged his country very significantly in many, many ways. He has hurt operational security. He has told terrorists what they can now do to be able to avoid detection. And I find it sad and disgraceful.

    A complaint?

    System of justice? Oh yeah, that... just like Valerie Plame got...
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  11. ^ Nice one Night Owl ;)

    John Kerry

    Transference and denial.

    I will say that the executive branch of the United States government needs to be psychologically assessed. A.S.A.P
  12. The Wrong Guy Member

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  13. The Wrong Guy Member

    The quality of this video isn't the best, but it's the first one that's been uploaded.

  14. Disambiguation Global Moderator

    The querulous remarks about why he went to Russia, our enemy, ignoring the fact it was the only place he could go.
  15. Disambiguation Global Moderator

    Thank you so much Wrong Guy, very interesting interview. He is well spoken and thoughtful. Considering how much people would love to get dirty stuff on him, there doesn't appear to be dirty stuff.
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  16. Rockyj Member
  17. The Wrong Guy Member

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  18. The Wrong Guy Member

    Court Hearing in Electronic Frontier Foundation Lawsuit to Uncover Secret Court Opinions Authorizing NSA Spying

    EFF Faces Off Against Department of Justice in Federal Court in Oakland

    At a hearing on Tuesday, June 3, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Staff Attorney Mark Rumold will argue before a judge that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) must release key legal opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) regarding Section 215 of the Patriot Act—the law the National Security Agency (NSA) uses to collect telephone records on a massive scale.

    EFF filed the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the DOJ to obtain "secret interpretations" of Section 215 in October 2011, 18 months before the public leak of the FISC order that showed how the NSA indiscriminately obtained call metadata from Verizon. So far, the court has ordered the government to release hundreds of pages of previously secret documents, including FISA court opinions that excoriated the NSA for misusing its mass surveillance database for years.

    The June 3 hearing may determine whether the DOJ will be forced to release further records, some of which may shine light on other undisclosed mass surveillance programs.

    "This hearing, almost a year to the day after the first article appeared in The Guardian about the NSA's use of Section 215, shows how far we've come in a year," Rumold said. "But it also shows how far we have left to go. Now, the public has much more information about the government's bulk collection of Americans' records, but other significant legal opinions and other collection programs still remain secret. The public needs access to this information, and the public needs that access now."

    What: Motion for Summary Judgment
    Date: Tuesday, June 3
    Time: 2:00 p.m.
    Place: Courtroom 1, 4th Floor
    Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building
    1301 Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94612
    Judge: Hon. Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers

    For more on EFF's 215 cases:

    Mark Rumold
    Staff Attorney
    Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Related Cases
    Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act

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  19. The Wrong Guy Member

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  20. The Wrong Guy Member

    Unnecessary and Disproportionate: How the NSA Violates International Human Rights Standards

    By David Greene and Katitza Rodriguez, Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Even before Ed Snowden leaked his first document, human rights lawyers and activists were concerned about law enforcement and intelligence agencies spying on the digital world. One of the tools developed to tackle those concerns was the development of the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance (the “Necessary and Proportionate Principles”). This set of principles was intended to guide governments in understanding how new surveillance technologies eat away at fundamental freedoms, and outlined how communications surveillance can be conducted consistent with human rights obligations. Furthermore, the Necessary and Proportionate Principles act as a resource for citizens—used to compare new tools of state surveillance to global expectations of privacy and due process.

    We are now able to look at how the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, which we have learned about in the past year, fare when compared to the Necessary and Proportionate Principles.

    As you might expect, the NSA programs do not fare well. To mark the first anniversary of the Snowden disclosures, we are releasing Unnecessary and Disproportionate, which details how some of the NSA spying operations violate both human rights standards and the Necessary and Proportionate Principles.

    Some of the conclusions are as follows:

    • The NSA surveillance lacks “legality” in that NSA surveillance laws are largely governed by a body of secret law developed by a secret court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which selectively publishes its legal interpretations of the law;
    • The NSA surveillance is neither “necessary,” nor “proportionate,” in that the various programs in which communications data are obtained in bulk violate the privacy rights of millions of persons who are not suspected of having any connection to international terrorism;
    • The NSA surveillance programs are not supported by competent judicial authority because the only judicial approval, if any, comes from the FISC, which operates outside of normal adversarial procedures such that the individuals whose data are collected lack access to the court;
    • The NSA surveillance programs lack due process because the FISC presents no opportunity for a public hearing;
    • The NSA surveillance programs lack user notification: those whose data is obtained do not know that their communications have been monitored and hence they cannot appeal the decision nor get legal representation to defend themselves;
    • The NSA surveillance programs lack the required transparency and public oversight, because they operate in secret and rely on gag orders against the entities from whom the data are obtained, along with secret, if any, court proceedings;
    • The NSA surveillance programs damage the integrity of communication systems by undermining security systems, such as encryption, requiring the insertion of surveillance back doors in communications technologies, including the installation of fiber optic splitters in transmission hubs; and
    • The US surveillance framework is illegitimate because it applies less favorable standards to non-US persons than its own citizens; this discrimination places it in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

    Continued here:
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  21. The Wrong Guy Member

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  22. The Wrong Guy Member

    Here's a press release from the Electronic Frontier Foundation today:

    EFF to Court: There's No Doubt the Government Destroyed NSA Spying Evidence

    EFF Urges Judge to Rule Destroyed Evidence Would Show Clients Were Surveilled

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told a federal court today that there was no doubt that the government has destroyed years of evidence of NSA spying – the government itself has admitted to it in recent court filings. In a brief filed today in response to this illegal destruction, EFF is asking that the court make an "adverse inference" that the destroyed evidence would show that plaintiffs communications and records were in fact swept up in the mass NSA spying programs.

    EFF filed its first lawsuit challenging illegal government spying in 2006. The current dispute arises from Jewel v. NSA, EFF's 2008 case that challenges the government's mass seizure of three kinds of information: Internet and telephone content, telephone records, and Internet records, all going back to 2001. EFF's brief notes that the government's own declarations make clear that the government has destroyed five years of the content it collected between 2007 and 2012, three years worth of the telephone records it seized between 2006 and 2009, and seven years of the Internet records it seized between 2004 and 2011, when it claims to have ended the Internet records seizures.

    "The court has issued a number of preservation orders over the years, but the government decided – without consent from the judge or even informing EFF – that those orders simply don't apply," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "Regular civil litigants would face severe sanctions if they so obviously destroyed relevant evidence. But we are asking for a modest remedy: a ruling that we can assume the destroyed records would show that our plaintiffs were in fact surveilled by the government."

    The government's reinterpretation of EFF's lawsuits and the preservation orders came to light in March, when government lawyers revealed secret court filings from 2007. In these filings, the government unilaterally claimed that EFF's lawsuits only concerned the original Bush-era spying program, which was done purely on claims of executive power. Without court approval, much less telling EFF, the government then decided that it did not need even to preserve evidence of the same mass spying done pursuant to FISA court orders, which were obtained in 2004 for Internet records, 2006 for telephone records, and 2007 for mass content collection from fiber optic cables.

    "EFF and our clients have always had the same simple claim: the government's mass, warrantless surveillance violates the rights of all Americans and must be stopped. The surveillance was warrantless under the executive's authority and it is still warrantless under the FISA court, as those orders are plainly not warrants." said Cohn. "The government's attempt to limit our claims based upon their secret, shifting rationales is nothing short of outrageous, and their clandestine decision to destroy evidence under this flimsy argument is rightly sanctionable. Nevertheless, we are simply asking the court to ensure that we are not harmed by the government's now-admitted destruction of this evidence."

    For the full brief on the government's non-compliance:

    For more on Jewel v. NSA:


    Cindy Cohn
    Legal Director
    Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Andrew Crocker
    Legal Fellow
    Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Related Cases:

    Jewel v. NSA
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  23. The Wrong Guy Member

    Glenn Greenwald @ggreenwald · 45m
    New from Jim Risen & Laura Poitras in the New York Times: N.S.A. Collecting Millions of Faces From Web Images

    New York Times: NSA Collecting Millions of Faces on Web

    In addition to sifting through metadata and collecting millions of phone records, the National Security Agency is also harvesting people’s faces from communication intercepts, according to The New York Times.

    Top-secret documents obtained by the Times from the archives of NSA turncoat Edward Snowden reveal that the agency has huge numbers of images of people lifted off of Skype and other web tools that it’s using with facial recognition software. Presumably, the images would aid in locating terrorists but it also represents a huge foray into average citizens’ lives, the Times reveals.

    The agency is grabbing “millions of images per day” — including about 55,000 “facial recognition quality images” — that are described in the stolen NSA documents as “tremendous untapped potential.” Like metadata, the agency is apparently storing this for use later after a court order is obtained.

    The Times report says that the N.S.A. now considers facial images just as important as fingerprints and other identifiers in tracking suspected terrorists and other intelligence targets.

    Meanwhile, the agency has also used the images to perfect facial recognition technology. It has turned to new software to exploit the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, videoconferences and other communications, the N.S.A. documents reveal, according to the Times.

    “It’s not just the traditional communications we’re after: It’s taking a full-arsenal approach that digitally exploits the clues a target leaves behind in their regular activities on the net to compile biographic and biometric information” that can help “implement precision targeting,” noted a 2010 document obtained by the Times.

    An NSA spokesperson told The Times the agency is required to get a court order to collect imagery of U.S. citizens, however.

    Continued at
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  24. Boris Korczak Member

    DDR domestic spying by Stasi was probably a model for NSA. The Stasi employed one full-time agent for every 166 East Germans. How many NSA/CIA/FBI + other agencies spy on us? The United States Intelligence Community (I.C.) is a federation of 17 separate United States government agencies that work separately and together.
    Ergo- Communist methods are being applied in US.
    Stay safe,
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  25. DeathHamster Member

    My truth-checker fixed it.
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  26. I don't remember giving my permission to be an unwilling guinea pig. Did you?
  27. DeathHamster Member

    Yes, it was excellent when they detected the heartbleed bug a couple years ago and immediately sent out a warning so that it could be quickly and quietly patched and counteract the efforts of foreign intelligence to harm the United States and its allies.

    I mean, if they had just grabbed it and used it for their own purposes, leaving everyone open to foreign intelligence and criminal activities until it was found by whitehats, then people would have a right to suspect that statements like those are just self-serving, cover your ass bullshit.

    Good thing they kept focused on the bigger picture eh?
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  28. Rockyj Member

    Excellent reaction from Sam Seder's You Tube!

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  29. The Wrong Guy Member

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  30. The Wrong Guy Member

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  31. The Wrong Guy Member

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  32. The Wrong Guy Member

    Here are three good articles that were published today by the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

    New Gmail data shows the rise of backbone email encryption

    We're winning! New Gmail data shows EFF's campaign to promote email encryption is producing results

    The Top 5 Claims That Defenders of the NSA Have to Stop Making to Remain Credible

    Tired of hearing the same old arguments in defense of NSA spying? So are we — especially since they're so wrong.

    Join Us on June 5th to Reset the Net

    In two days we will mark the year anniversary of the first Snowden disclosure. Join us on June 5th to Reset the Net.
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  33. The Wrong Guy Member

    June 5th is Coming: Actions on the Anniversary of the First Snowden Release | Electronic Frontier Foundation

    June 5, 2013 was when the world heard from Snowden. This year, it's your turn to speak out.

    On June 5, 2013 the Guardian newspaper published the first of Edward Snowden's astounding revelations. The secret court order that conclusively showed that the US government was collecting the phone records of millions of innocent Verizon customers. It was the first of a continuous stream of stories that pointed out what we’ve suspected for a long time: that the world’s digital communications are being continuously spied upon by nation states with precious little oversight.

    A year later, we're still learning about operations conducted globally by the United States and its closest allies in defiance of billions of people's fundamental freedoms. We've discovered that the US government has confidential systems in place to scoop up data from American Internet companies. We've learned that the British equivalent, GCHQ, has taken millions of snapshots of Webcam images as they eavesdrop on the Internet backbone. We've seen encryption standards undermined, an entire country's telephone conversations recorded, and five billion records of phone locations globally recorded per day.

    June 5, 2014 marks a new year: a year that will not just be about listening to the inside story of mass surveillance, but a new year of fighting back. We know you were listening on June 5th last year. Now it's time for you to tell others. Tell your family and friends. Tell the politicians you trust to stand up to their own out-of-control spies. Tell the companies to fix the security holes and business practices that make them a honey-pot of personal information for the intelligence services to plunder. Help the free software community to develop decentralized end-to-end Internet infrastructure.

    What else can you do? Here’s some of what’s happening around the first Snowden anniversary.

    The international coalition behind the Necessary and Proportionate Principles against unchecked surveillance will be holding actions in their own countries from Colombia to the European Union.

    United Kingdom: On June 7, the Don't Spy On Us Coalition will be expanding their battle to stop GCHQ spying on Britons and they will be holding a major public event in central London, with The Guardian as hosts. Speakers include Cory Doctorow, Alan Rusbridger, Bruce Schneier, Neil Tennant, Shami Chakribarti, Lord Richard Allan, Baroness Helena Kennedy, Claude Moraes MEP, Ian Brown, Caspar Bowden, Gabrielle Guillemin, and more. You can join the coalition here.

    European Union: European Digital Rights, a network of 36 European civil rights organizations and activists that have joined forces in Brussels have launched the campaign WePromise.EU in the run of the European Parliament elections that will be held in the European Union. If you are a citizen eligible to vote this week, you can promise to vote in favour of a candidate that opposes mass surveillance, and supports digital rights.

    United States (and anywhere that weakened Internet security has compromised your privacy): We're taking technical steps to take our privacy back with Reset The Net. Thousands have already pledged to take steps to protect their freedom from government mass surveillance. We're going to push for companies to add government-proof security to their sites and apps, and we've pledged to spread NSA-resistant privacy tools to our friends and neighbours. Access's Encrypt All The Things is another initiative that will be ramping up the pressure on Internet platforms to lock down their data against spying on June 5th.

    Canada: In Canada, and the Protect Our Privacy Coalition will be ramping up their campaign for effective legal measures to protect every resident of Canada from government surveillance. will be supporting the Reset The Net initiative, and encouraging use of encryption as another way people can speak out about mass surveillance. They will also be intensifying efforts aimed at Canadian MPs and at Prime Minister Stephen Harper, urging him to take responsibility for his government’s actions and defend online privacy.


    Simon Davies, one of the pioneers of the global privacy movement, will be reporting how governments in several countries have responded to the Snowden revelations — and how they can do more.

    Let us know how you’re fighting surveillance in your country, whether it’s on June 5th, or afterwards. Just email, and we’ll spread the word.

    More at
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  34. The Wrong Guy Member

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  35. The Wrong Guy Member

    On 6/5, 65 Things We Know About NSA Surveillance That We Didn’t Know a Year Ago

    By Nadia Kayyali and Katitza Rodriguez, Electronic Frontier Foundation

    It’s been one year since the Guardian first published the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order, leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that demonstrated that the NSA was conducting dragnet surveillance on millions of innocent people. Since then, the onslaught of disturbing revelations, from disclosures, admissions from government officials, Freedom of Information Act requests, and lawsuits, has been nonstop. On the anniversary of that first leak , here are 65 things we know about NSA spying that we did not know a year ago:
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  36. The Wrong Guy Member

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  37. sallysock Member

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  38. The Wrong Guy Member

    Here's a new press release from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Quote:

    Court Again Orders Government Not to Destroy Evidence in NSA Spying Case

    Judge Requires Explanation by Friday About Whether Government Is Still Destroying Evidence Despite Court Order

    San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked a judge today to schedule an emergency hearing, after learning that the government is apparently still destroying evidence of NSA spying despite a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the court in March. In an order issued in response this afternoon, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White instructed the government not to destroy any more materials and file a brief responding to EFF's allegations by 12 p.m PT on Friday.

    "In communications with the government this week, EFF was surprised to learn that the government has been continuing to destroy evidence relating to the mass interception of Internet communications it is conducting under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act even though the court explicitly ordered it to stop in March," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "Specifically, the government is destroying content gathered through tapping into the fiberoptic cables of AT&T."

    She added: "Once again, the government has apparently secretly and unilaterally reinterpreted its obligations about the evidence preservation orders, and has determined that it need not comply. Today marks a year to the day that Edward Snowden leaked documents confirming the NSA's massive spying, yet the government is still engaging in outlandish claims and gamesmanship – even destroying evidence – to block an adversarial court ruling on whether its mass spying is legal or constitutional."

    EFF filed its Jewel v. NSA lawsuit in 2008. In recent weeks, declarations from the government in the Jewel case made it clear that the government has destroyed five years of the content it collected between 2007 and 2012, three years worth of the telephone records it seized between 2006 and 2009, and seven years of the Internet records it seized between 2004 and 2011, when it claims to have ended the Internet records seizures. In an emergency hearing last March over that evidence destruction, Judge White issued the current TRO, ordering the government to stop any further destruction of records or content until the matter could be sorted out.

    "There can be no dispute that the government was aware of broad scope of this TRO, and in his order this afternoon, Judge White confirmed that it reached materials gathered under Section 702," Cohn said. "We're asking Judge White to enforce the his order and impose on the government whatever further measures are necessary to ensure that no further destruction of evidence occurs. It will be very interesting to see what the government says in its defense in its briefing tomorrow."

    For EFF's full emergency application:

    For the judge's order:

    For more on Jewel v. NSA:


    Cindy Cohn
    Legal Director
    Electronic Frontier Foundation


    Earlier mentions:
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