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

    U.S. technology companies beef up security to thwart mass spying | Reuters

    A year after Edward Snowden exposed the National Security Agency's mass surveillance programs, the major U.S. technology companies suffering from the fallout are uniting to shore up their defenses against government intrusion.

    Instead of aggressively lobbying Washington for reform, Google Inc, Microsoft Corp and other tech companies have made security advancements their top priority, adopting tools that make blanket interception of Internet activity more difficult.

    "It's of course important for companies to do the things under our own control, and what we have under our own control is our own technology practices," Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith told Reuters. "I don't know that anyone believes that will be sufficient to allay everyone's concerns. There is a need for reform of government practices, but those will take longer."

    As part of a "Reset the Net" campaign now reaching a mainstream audience, Google on Wednesday said it was releasing a test version of a program allowing Gmail users to keep email encrypted until it reaches other Gmail users, without the company decrypting it in transit to display advertising.

    Google, Microsoft and Facebook Inc moved to encrypt internal traffic after revelations by Snowden, a former NSA contractor, that the spy agency hacked into their connections overseas. The companies have also smaller adjustments that together make sweeping collection more difficult.

    "Anyone trying to perform mass surveillance is going to have a much harder job today than they would have even six months ago," said Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney with the civil liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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  2. The Wrong Guy Member

    Bahamas lawyers up to deal with NSA spying | The Hill

    The government of the Bahamas has hired American lawyers to help with U.S. surveillance, after a report alleged that the National Security Agency was monitoring all the island nation's calls.

    A week after the report based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the Bahamas directed the law firm Hogan Lovells to advise and represent it on a range of government actions “that may affect or relate to [its] activities and interests... including but not limited to surveillance and privacy matters,” according to a federal disclosure document.

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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    Encouraging Words of Regret From Dean Baquet and Weasel Words From James Clapper

    By Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

    NPR’s David Folkenflik has a revealing new look at what I have long believed is one of the most important journalistic stories of the last decade: The New York Times‘ 2004 decision, at the behest of George W. Bush himself, to suppress for 15 months (through Bush’s re-election) its reporters’ discovery that the NSA was illegally eavesdropping on Americans without warrants. Folkenflik’s NPR story confirms what has long been clear: The only reason the Times eventually published that article was because one of its reporters, James Risen, had become so frustrated that he wrote a book that was about to break the story, leaving the paper with no choice (Risen’s co-reporter, Eric Lichtblau, is quoted this way: “‘He had a gun to their head,’ Lichtblau told Frontline. ‘They are really being forced to reconsider: The paper is going to look pretty bad’ if Risen’s book disclosed the wiretapping program before the Times“).

    As Folkenflik notes, this episode was one significant reason Edward Snowden purposely excluded the Times from his massive trove of documents. In an interview with Folkenflik, the paper’s new executive editor, Dean Baquet, describes the paper’s exclusion from the Snowden story as “really painful”. But, as I documented in my book and in recent interviews, Baquet has his own checkered history in suppressing plainly newsworthy stories at the government’s request, including a particularly inexcusable 2007 decision, when he was the managing editor of The Los Angeles Times, to kill a story based on AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein’s revelations that the NSA had built secret rooms at AT&T to siphon massive amounts of domestic telephone traffic.

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  4. DeathHamster Member

    One thing to consider about DuckDuckGo is that while my site now shows up in searches, there's never been any kind of duckbot crawling my site.

    So where do they get their data from?
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  5. The Wrong Guy Member

    Judge Asks for More Information About NSA Spying Evidence Destruction After Emergency Hearing

    A federal judge asked for more briefing today after an emergency court hearing over destruction in a case challenging NSA spying from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

    "We are pleased the court is receptive to our arguments – that this is the information that court ordered the government to retain, and is an important element of our litigation," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "It's unfortunate that the court's order today allows the government to continue destroying evidence that the government itself insists we need, but we are looking forward to giving the judge all the information he needs to come to a final decision."

    U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking evidence destruction in March. But yesterday afternoon, EFF filed an emergency motion, explaining that communications with government lawyers over the last week had revealed that the government has continued to destroy evidence relating to the mass interception of Internet communications it is conducting under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. Today, Judge White called an emergency hearing, where the government argued that preserving the surveillance data gathered under Section 702 would be gravely harmful to national security programs. While the TRO remains in effect, that Judge White ruled that the government nevertheless did not need to preserve data collected pursuant to Section 702 until the court makes a further ruling on the issue.

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  6. The Wrong Guy Member

    Glenn Greenwald @ggreenwald · 2h
    Take with a big grain of salt but still interesting: NYT: Internet Giants Erect Barriers to Spy Agencies

    Internet Giants Erect Barriers to Spy Agencies

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Just down the road from Google’s main campus here, engineers for the company are accelerating what has become the newest arms race in modern technology: They are making it far more difficult — and far more expensive — for the National Security Agency and the intelligence arms of other governments around the world to pierce their systems.

    As fast as it can, Google is sealing up cracks in its systems that Edward J. Snowden revealed the N.S.A. had brilliantly exploited. It is encrypting more data as it moves among its servers and helping customers encode their own emails. Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo are taking similar steps.

    After years of cooperating with the government, the immediate goal now is to thwart Washington — as well as Beijing and Moscow. The strategy is also intended to preserve business overseas in places like Brazil and Germany that have threatened to entrust data only to local providers.

    Google, for example, is laying its own fiber optic cable under the world’s oceans, a project that began as an effort to cut costs and extend its influence, but now has an added purpose: to assure that the company will have more control over the movement of its customer data.

    A year after Mr. Snowden’s revelations, the era of quiet cooperation is over. Telecommunications companies say they are denying requests to volunteer data not covered by existing law. A.T.&T., Verizon and others say that compared with a year ago, they are far more reluctant to cooperate with the United States government in “gray areas” where there is no explicit requirement for a legal warrant.

    But governments are fighting back, harder than ever. The cellphone giant Vodafone reported on Friday that a “small number” of governments around the world have demanded the ability to tap directly into its communication networks, a level of surveillance that elicited outrage from privacy advocates.

    Vodafone refused to name the nations on Friday for fear of putting its business and employees at risk there. But in an accounting of the number of legal demands for information that it receives from 14 companies, it noted that some countries did not issue warrants to obtain phone, email or web-searching traffic, because “the relevant agencies and authorities already have permanent access to customer communications via their own direct link.”

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  7. The Wrong Guy Member

    Apple adds private search engine DuckDuckGo as option on desktop and mobile

    Apple announced it will offer private search engine DuckDuckGo as a default option in future versions of Safari on iOS and OSX. The announcement was made at the Apple Worldwide Developers conference and makes DuckDuckGo the first private search engine to be added to a major browser.

    DuckDuckGo does not track users’ search queries nor does it record IP addresses. The decision to add DuckDuckGo as a optional default to Safari proves that privacy is a force to be reckoned with.


    DuckDuckGo illustrates it is possible to use the Internet and keep your information private. That is our goal at Abine: to allow people to use the web while keeping personal, private information just that — private.

    Abine’s popular product, DoNotTrackMe, allows you to create safe and protected “masked” email addresses, phone numbers, and credit card numbers. With DoNotTrackMe, you can feel safe knowing that your real personal information isn’t scattered across the web, vulnerable to attack.

    More at
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  8. That has always concerned me as well. I used Scroogle for years, now I use Startpage, but they are essentially scrapers for google and other big engines and using those services really only disguises your IP addy (and holds no info about the searches on their servers). I don't know how DDG is set up, but it could be similar.

    What always worries me about the scrapers is there is room for a lot of censoring/filtering that can go on before anything gets displayed on google, etc and you are still getting things from the scraper in the order of how much money whatever company spent on the big provider to push their goods to the top.
  9. Andy Downs Member

  10. Andy Downs Member

    I haven;t used AOL for at least 10 years....but I found this site that shows AOL searches by users that were "Accidentally" released by AOL
    It is interesting
  11. The Wrong Guy Member

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  12. The Wrong Guy Member

    17 Student Groups Pen Open Letters on the Toxicity of Mass Surveillance to Academic Freedom

    By April Glaser, Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Students are rising up and fighting to protect our Internet. In response to our call to action, seventeen university groups from across the United States have published open letters about the real chilling effects mass surveillance is having right now on academic freedom and life on campus.

    Universities are places where the free flow of new ideas and the discussion of controversial topics should be fostered, encouraged, and amplified. But when students and researchers know that the government is recording our communications, our data, and our online behavior, students can’t speak freely. Speech is chilled. In response, we launched our call for students across the country to write letters about the effects of illegal, unconstitutional government spying in their campus communities last month.

    Students and researchers get it. “Mass warrantless surveillance by the NSA has restricted our ability to freely think, act, research, innovate, and share ideas in a multitude of ways,” reads the letter from Stanford University students penned by student Devon Kristine Zuegel.

    Students have been central to the movement to put an end to illegal mass spying since Snowden’s leaks hit the press. As the letter from Temple University students notes, it was Temple student Ali Watkins, who broke the story last March about CIA surveillance of members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    The campus letters also call attention to the effects of mass government surveillance on international students and global collaboration in research. These international connections are a bragging point of many academic institutions. But as the letters from Purdue University students and Queens College students note, “NSA surveillance specifically targets foreign nationals, regardless of whether they have actually done anything wrong.”

    Both of these institutions are highly ranked, in part for their diverse, international student communities. And student activists on both campuses point out that mass government spying that targets non-US persons is not only discriminatory, but stifles student cross-cultural collaboration, especially on politically sensitive topics.

    “Certain demographics of students, such as the LGBTQ community that remain closeted, could be made public,” wrote Liz Hawkins in the letter she composed from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. “This also includes students in [search] of mental health care,” the UNLV student letter continues. And she’s right.

    Students often come to universities excited to explore their identity and find community that might not have been available back home. But when we know that the government is collecting information and storing it in a way that could be potentially used against us, we don’t say what we would say otherwise. Students are less likely to associate with campus groups and less likely to engage fully in campus life.

    Our call to write letters was assisted by the organizing prowess of the Student Net Alliance (the “SNA”), a group dedicated to bringing the fight for digital rights into campus communities all over the world. The SNA amplified the call to action into a campaign called Students Against Surveillance. And we’re glad they did. Students are powerful forces for change, and intuitively understand the potential of an open, free Internet, not hampered by intrusive government spying that undermines our basic rights, like our freedom of speech and freedom from unwarranted search and seizure.

    If you’re a student or a researcher and want to write an open letter to take a stand against NSA surveillance on your campus, see our letter-writing guide and get in touch with either the Student Net Alliance or with us. Writing a letter is a great way to spark debate on campus and build the foundation for future organizing. The fight against NSA spying is going to be a long one. And students will be a critical force in building a movement to raise awareness, push for change, and put an end to mass government surveillance.

    Major thanks to the Student Net Alliance and their founder Alec Foster; Tommy Collison, a student board member of the Student Net Alliance, who designed the website; and to Somerset Bean, the designer of the Students Against Surveillance logo.

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  13. The Wrong Guy Member

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  14. The Wrong Guy Member

    Electronic Frontier Foundation Asks Supreme Court to Decide Fight Over Secret Surveillance Memo

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today asked the Supreme Court of the United States to weigh in on a long-standing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in which EFF sought to obtain a secret legal memo authorizing the FBI to obtain phone records without any legal process.

    As part of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) issues opinions that provide the legal justification for a wide variety of executive branch activities, in ways that affect millions of Americans. The opinion sought by EFF appears to have authorized the federal government, specifically the FBI, to obtain call records without judicial approval and without citing an emergency to justify the data collection.

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  15. The Wrong Guy Member

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  16. The Wrong Guy Member

    An Umbrella in the Hurricane: Apple Limits Mobile Device Location Tracking | Electronic Frontier Foundation

    One of the most unnerving things about modern communications technology is the way devices constantly leak information about their physical whereabouts—to mobile carriers, network operators, e-mail providers, web sites, governments, even shopping mall owners. Many of these information leakages are simple historical accidents. The designers of technologies never considered that technical standards would let everyone around you notice your device's presence. They never considered that technical choices would let web sites infer when two people are (or aren't) spending the night in the same residence, or let your phone company follow you around virtually from moment to moment.

    This spring the Federal Trade Commission took a look at one surprising form of location tracking: the way the retail analytics industry is watching our mobile devices to produce reports about our behavior in retail spaces. (EFF presented at the FTC's workshop and filed comments.) Even our neighbors at Philz Coffee were using a retail analytics technology to track customers, but, following reporting by the San Francisco Appeal, they've agreed to stop. (Thanks, Philz!)

    Most of the retail analytics technologies take advantage of a weird combination of technical facts. First, Wi-fi devices each have a unique hardware serial number, called a MAC address. Second, the MAC address is broadcast whenever the Wi-fi device sends a signal of any kind. Third, Wi-fi devices (including smartphones) are constantly transmitting a signal in order to find familiar Wi-fi networks to join. That means that just by listening to these signals, you can tell whether particular devices are nearby—and retail analytics firms, among others, have done just that.

    The inventors of these technologies probably never meant for them to be used to track individuals. The decision to make the MAC address unique and persistent, for example, was made when Ethernet was first invented, way back in the 1970s. But the technology was meant to be used in an office environment on computers that weren't portable at all, and that were laboriously wired into the network. The tradition of unique hardware identifiers was inherited by subsequent generations of Ethernet technology, including Wi-fi, until the devices with these identifiers ended up in our pockets, broadcasting a permanent and unique identifier wirelessly everywhere we go.

    This accident of history could be fixed if MAC addresses were instead temporary and randomly assigned—that way strangers would no longer be able to recognize you or figure out where you are or where you've been.1 We told the FTC that device makers could help fix this problem this way, but we didn't expect much progress any time soon. That's why we were extremely happy to learn that Apple announced this week that future iPhone and iPad operating systems will use a random MAC address, rather than a fixed one, when probing for Wi-fi networks. That makes it harder to identify particular devices, and is an important step in limiting the use of this technology to track iPhone and iPad users.

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  17. Kilia Member

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  18. Anonymous Member

  19. The Wrong Guy Member

    U.S. pushing local cops to stay mum on cellular surveillance | Associated Press

    The Obama administration has been quietly advising local police not to disclose details about surveillance technology they are using to sweep up basic cellphone data from entire neighborhoods, The Associated Press has learned.

    Trickle down surveillance | Al Jazeera America

    How the NSA’s covert surveillance tactics are being employed by local law enforcement
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  20. The Wrong Guy Member

    Inside Edward Snowden’s Life as a Robot | WIRED

    Since he first became a household name a year ago, Edward Snowden has been a modern Max Headroom, appearing only as a face on a screen broadcast from exile in Hong Kong or Russia. But in the age of the telepresence robot, being a face on a screen isn’t as restrictive as it used to be.

    For at least the past three months, Snowden and his supporters have been experimenting with a Beam Pro remote presence system, a Wi-Fi-connected screen and camera on wheels that Snowden can use to communicate with the staffers in the New York office of the American Civil Liberties Union, according to his ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner. From a computer in Moscow, Snowden can turn on the video bot and wheel around the ACLU’s office on a whim. And Snowden’s supporters hope the Beam system might be the first of several that could bring the distant whistleblower into the room with colleagues around the world, partially erasing the isolation enforced by the Espionage Act charges awaiting him if he leaves the relative safety of Russia.

    “He’s used it to roll out into the hallway and generously interact with large numbers of ACLU staff,” says Wizner. “I think it can be a profound response to exile.”

    Snowden’s Beam bot has been in the ACLU offices since before his TED talk in March, when he used the same $16,000 wheeled robot to speak on stage. Wizner says the TED organizers wanted to test the robot in New York before it was used at the Vancouver conference. “They brought a couple models to the office, and gave us a login,” says Wizner. “We found that it worked really well.”

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  21. Kilia Member

    I'm using 'Privacy Badger' now and it seems to work just fine. My browser cookie list has shortened by 1/2.
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  22. DeathHamster Member
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  23. The Wrong Guy Member

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  24. Kilia Member

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  25. The Wrong Guy Member

    Facebook will now track your browsing history on external sites & mobile apps

    Facebook has found new, far more intrusive ways to exploit your personal information. The company will now use information from your web browsing history to display tailored advertisements on its site.

    Until now, Facebook’s advertising system relied on an internal profile of its members. But soon, your profile will also take into account the external websites and mobile apps that each Facebook member users. Facebook is about to know A LOT about who you are and what you’re interested in.

    In an attempt to ease users’ concerns about privacy violations, Facebook is also introducing a feature called Ad Preferences, where users can edit the information Facebook has stored in its database. While the feature claims to “give users more control” over their information, the real motivation is to boost its ad revenue. The more fine tuned the information they have on users, the more relevant ads Facebook can display. If marketers know that the right audience will see their ads, they will be willing to pay Facebook more.

    Facebook has been attacked by critics for its privacy-violating ways, and while it claims to be more conscientious of its users’ right to privacy, at the end of the day its goal is to make money. Facebook will continue to exploit users’ personal information.


    Abine’s free DoNotTrackMe solution has protected over 11 million global users’ browsing activity and personal information and has already blocked over 10 billion Facebook button tracking attempts.

    More at
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  26. Rockyj Member

    Wow...Al Gore?
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  27. DeathHamster Member

    Fuck 'em! Block them at the router. Even the simplest router has a parental blocking feature, so just drop in and erase them from your Internet. (And if you don't have a router with a firewall, what's protecting your computer?)

    That way, when a third-party site passes your browser a link to a Facebook image as part of a page, the fetch will fail and Facebook won't get its tracking info.

    That should also block your phone apps if it automatically switches to wifi at home. (Even if you never use the Facebook app, it tries to connect back to Facebook in the middle of the night. Why?)
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  28. Anonymous Member

    A couple of interesting items from the end of last week:

    From - via Cryptome:


    And some notes from Bruce Schneier's Cryptogram:

    June 15th, 2014

    The NSA is Not Made of Magic

    I am regularly asked what is the most surprising thing about the Snowden NSA documents. It's this: the NSA is not made of magic. Its tools are no different from what we have in our world, it's just better-funded.

    X-KEYSCORE is Bro plus memory. FOXACID is Metasploit with a budget. QUANTUM is AirPwn with a seriously privileged position on the backbone.

    The NSA breaks crypto not with super-secret cryptanalysis, but by using standard hacking tricks such as exploiting weak implementations and default keys. Its TAO implants are straightforward enhancements of attack tools developed by researchers, academics, and hackers; you can buy a computer the size of a grain of rice, if you want to make your own such tools.

    The NSA's collection and analysis tools are basically what you'd expect if you thought about it for a while.

    That, fundamentally, is surprising.

    If you gave a super-secret Internet exploitation organization $10 billion annually, you'd expect some magic. And my guess is that there is some, around the edges, that has not become public yet. But that we haven't seen any yet is cause for optimism.

    - Bruce Schneirer

    CTO, Co3 Systems, Inc.
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  29. The Wrong Guy Member

    Help FOIA how police across the country are tracking cell phones | Muckrock

    We know it's happening - help us find where.

    By Michael Morisy

    It's clear that local police use advanced cell phone tracking — finding out where you are, who you are with, who you're talking to — a lot more than we know, and that they're holding on to that data with little or not oversight.

    Now, with a crowdsourced project to file targeted records requests across America, you can help fix that, in as little as 30 seconds.

    The Associated Press recently detailed the lengths to which the federal government is going to keep these programs secret, coaching local agencies to keep programs quiet, and even going so far as to seize records if it believes that these documents will bring these programs to light.

    This not only violates local public records law across the country, but a circuit court has found that many of these same techniques violate the Fourth Amendment. Un-Constitutional practices are being kept hidden from both democratic debate as well as court oversight.

    With your help, we can change that. First, Beacon Reader has adjusted our campaign minimum, and now we're just $1,250 away from funding original reporting into how far these practices have gone, and where they are taking place all across America. Over the past two years, MuckRock's Drone Census has shown, time and time again, the power of public records requests and original reporting to spark transparency and meaningful debate.

    Early indications are that cell phone tracking by local police is far more prevalent than drone usage — and far less reported on. Without your help, literally no one will be asking these questions in the hundreds of the cities and towns you're helping investigate.

    Even just $5 can make a huge difference in helping us reach our funding goals and helping us continue to file, track, and share our original reporting on this issue. So if you can, please donate today. It makes a real, tangible difference.

    And whether you can or can't afford to financially contribute, we need your help in deciding where to file and what tips to follow up on. Use the form below to submit a local agency's information if you think we should file there — we're primarily interested in law enforcement, but just like the Drone Census, the results can be surprising. And email with tips on news stories, police reports, and other information on cell phone tapping in your home town and around the country.

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  30. ^^

    I tossed my cellphone in a lake. And I won't have one on the premises. I tell my friends to either take the battery out of their cellphone, and leave it in their car, and not to bring it on to my property. I have had it with these fucking asshole alphabet agency, and police scumbags.
  31. Rockyj Member

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  32. The Wrong Guy Member

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  33. ^^^

    I bet that the car isn't his. (Bumper stickers) :D
  34. How to stay anonymous online

    One year after the first revelations of Edward Snowden, cryptography has shifted from an obscure branch of computer science to an almost mainstream notion: It's possible, user privacy groups and a growing industry of crypto-focused companies tell us, to encrypt everything from emails to IMs to a gif of a motorcycle jumping over a plane.

    But it's also possible to go a step closer toward true privacy online. Mere encryption hides the content of messages, but not who's communicating. Use cryptographic anonymity tools to hide your identity, on the other hand, and network eavesdroppers may not even know where to find your communications, let alone snoop on them. "Hide in the network," security guru Bruce Schneier made his first tip for evading the NSA. "The less obvious you are, the safer you are."

    Though it's hardly the sole means of achieving online anonymity, the software known as Tor has become the most vouchsafed and developer-friendly method for using the Internet incognito. The free and open source program triple-encrypts your traffic and bounces it through computers around the globe, making tracing it vastly more difficult. Most Tor users know the program as a way to anonymously browse the Web. But it's much more. In fact, Tor's software runs in the background of your operating system and creates a proxy connection that links with the Tor network. A growing number of apps and even operating systems provide the option to route data over that connection, allowing you to obscure your identity for practically any kind of online service.

    More -


    Off-the-Record Messaging

    Password Safe

    Simple & Secure Password Management

    Whonix is an operating system focused on anonymity, privacy and security. It's based on the Tor anonymity network[1], Debian GNU/Linux[2] and security by isolation. DNS leaks are impossible, and not even malware with root privileges can find out the user's real IP.

    Whonix consists of two parts: One solely runs Tor and acts as a gateway, which we call Whonix-Gateway. The other, which we call Whonix-Workstation, is on a completely isolated network. Only connections through Tor are possible.

    To learn more about security and anonymity under Whonix, please continue to the About Whonix page.
  35. The Wrong Guy Member

  36. The Wrong Guy Member

    Electronic Frontier Foundation Statement on Massie-Lofgren Amendment Passing the House

    Today, the US House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill designed to cut funding for NSA backdoors. The amendment passed overwhelmingly with strong bipartisan support: 293 ayes, 123 nays, and 1 present.

    Currently, the NSA collects emails, browsing and chat history under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, and searches this information without a warrant for the communications of Americans—a practice known as "backdoor searches." The amendment would block the NSA from using any of its funding from this Defense Appropriations Bill to conduct such warrantless searches. In addition, the amendment would prohibit the NSA from using its budget to mandate or request that private companies and organizations add backdoors to the encryption standards that are meant to keep you safe on the web.

    Mark Rumold, staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, stated:

    Tonight, the House of Representatives took an important first step in reining in the NSA. The House voted overwhelmingly to cut funding for two of the NSA's invasive surveillance practices: the warrantless searching of Americans' international communications, and the practice of requiring companies to install vulnerabilities in communications products or services. We applaud the House for taking this important first step, and we look forward to other elected officials standing up for our right to privacy.

    Digital rights organizations, including EFF, strongly supported the amendment. We and other organizations — including Free Press, Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and — helped to organize a grassroots campaign to promote the amendment. The day before the vote, we urged friends and members to call their members of Congress through the website Thousands responded to the call to action. We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who spoke out on this issue. This is a great day in the fight to rein in NSA surveillance abuses, and we hope Congress will work to ensure this amendment is in the final version of the appropriations bill that is enacted.

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  37. The Wrong Guy Member

    "Since when do local courts have the power to censor domains worldwide? One Canadian court decides that it does. Not only did it order Google to delete the site from its search results on the Canadian “” domain, it went even further by demanding it censor the domain worldwide by deleting every instance of the site from its index. Such a ruling could have terrifying global consequences."

    Canadian Court to the Entire World: No Links For You! | Electronic Frontier Foundation

    The Supreme Court of British Columbia has ordered Google to remove entire domains from its search results—a decision that could have enormous global implications on free expression. This is the latest of several instances of courts exercising dangerous jurisdictional overreach, where they have applied local laws to remove content on the Internet. Not only did the Court order Google to delete the site from its search results on the Canadian “” domain, it went even further by demanding it censor the domain worldwide by deleting every instance of the site from its global index.

    The case, titled Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack, involved a trade secret fight between two Canadian companies. One sued the other for allegedly stealing the designs of some of their products and selling them on their website. The plaintiff claimed that Google facilitated access to this illegitimate online vendor through its search platform. Initially, Google voluntarily took down specific URLs that directed users to those products and ads under the local domains, but the Court decided that was not enough. The judge ultimately ruled that Google must delete the entire domain from its search results, including all other local domains such as “” and even the main site “”.

    Oddly, the judge in this case seemed unfazed by the wide-ranging implications of this order. Based upon the assumption that users would simply switch to other variants of the Google domain, she decided that for any blockage ruling “to be effective, even within Canada, Google must block search results on all of its websites” and that any other external impacts are a “separate issue.”

    The decision is a massive overreach. The removal of the defendant's entire domain from Google's local Canadian sites would have already been excessive. Although it cannot be confirmed from official reports, this one could have carried other legitimate products unrelated to the plaintiff's designs, or even hosted a blog or discussion forum with other users' comments and submissions. For example, the U.S. seized and took down the hip-hop culture website,, due to some allegedly copyright infringing works that was shared on the platform even while most of the site’s pages contained lawful content. It's not clear whether such considerations were made at all, and that is terrifying on its own.

    But the court went even further, ordering Google—a company based outside its jurisdiction in California—to censor the site worldwide. If left unchallenged, this could leading to a slippery slope of ever more countries feeling empowered to mandate global online censorship. If a Turkish court were to find that a certain protest site was illegal, would intermediary services like Google be forced to remove all references of the domain name from its site? Or if Ethiopia mandated the deletion of all sites referring to imprisoned journalist, Eskinder Nega, would online platforms be forced to comply with that order?

    Those are only a few examples of how such a precedent could dangerously expand. If courts become empowered to demand intermediary platforms remove and take down domains worldwide, that could be the end of online free expression as we know it. And if history has taught us anything, authorities are very good at creatively constructing legitimacy to shut down speech. This case alone is evidence of that: the judge mentioned that she was inspired by the recent EU rulings on the “right to be forgotten,” and felt that forcing global removals was just a way to “keep up with the times.

    We can imagine how problematic this would be if it were applied to copyright infringement. There is already a history of cases in which government agencies have taken down entire domains over allegations of content piracy. The United States has been especially guilty of this. One of the most glaring cases involve Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), when it took down a Spanish sports streaming site, Rojadirecta. It is alarming that any government agency, anywhere in the world, would have the authority to unilaterally remove an entire website, especially when doing so may violate another country's strong legal protections for the right to free expression. This kind of forceful takedown of domains is exactly the kind of sweeping censorship that what we fought against in the SOPA and PIPA bills defeated over two years ago. No matter what the charges are, there is no reasonable justification for intermediaries to block an entire website over content that only some of the pages contain.

    Thankfully, Google has indicated that it intends to appeal the decision to prevent this from becoming a dangerous new precedent. It is as important as ever that intermediaries, such as search engines, Internet service providers, and domain name registrars, be protected as neutral platforms. They are often attractive targets for those who want those services to help them remedy alleged wrongdoing. But dragging intermediaries into court as implicit facilitators of unlawful activity creates a wide range of negative, unintended consequences for the Internet. Just because a party has been wronged does not mean that they are entitled to any and all remedies. Going after intermediaries is an easy shortcut, but one with too many costly ramifications.

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  38. The Wrong Guy Member

    From November 26, 2013:

    From today:

    Glenn Greenwald @ggreenwald · 2h
    From everything that we know, John Schindler did nothing that should trigger any public judgments.

    Woman At Center Of NSA Defender's Twitter Scandal Apologizes

    The woman who says she received explicit photos and messages from a well-known former intelligence officer and defender of NSA surveillance policies has apologized for releasing the photos.

    The national security community on Twitter was sent into a frenzy on Monday after John Schindler, a Naval War College professor and former NSA intelligence and counterintelligence officer who is well-known on the internet as a vehement defender of NSA surveillance and foe of Edward Snowden, was accused of sending a photo of his penis and a flirtatious email to a woman who lists her name as Lesley on Twitter and uses the handle @Currahee88.

    Lesley allegedly gave screenshots of both to @T3H_ARCH3R, a self-described Internet troll she is friends with, and he posted the photos online. Naval War College said that it was investigating Schindler and put him on leave.

    Lesley tweeted on Tuesday that she was “truly sorry” and that “if I could go back and change this I would do so immediately.” She also stated that the photo was not unsolicited and that her aim had been to embarrass Schindler and inform his wife. She then deactivated her Twitter account.

    @T3H_ARCH3R, whose real name is Trent Jensen and who has also deleted his Twitter account, told BuzzFeed that he was surprised when Lesley apologized.

    Continued at

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  39. DeathHamster Member

    Not the sort of exposé I was hoping for.
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