Edward Snowden,National Security Agency surveillance 2015-2016

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by The Wrong Guy, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    There's a new thread here:

    WikiLeaks Vault 7 exposes "entire hacking capacity of the CIA"
  2. The Wrong Guy Member

    There's a follow-up to this in the WikiLeaks Vault 7 thread:

    Vault 7 leaks prompt fresh questions over the San Bernardino iPhone case
  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    Edward Snowden Has Some Advice for Donald Trump About Surveillance

    By Alex Emmons, The Intercept


    NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said on Tuesday that if Donald Trump is sincerely concerned about the government’s ability to listen in on his private communications, he should fix the NSA mass surveillance programs that collect data on every American.

    Snowden, speaking remotely from Moscow, was interviewed by The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill at the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas, for Scahill’s Intercepted podcast.

    Snowden did not validate Trump’s wild accusation that President Obama had “tapped” the wires in Trump Tower. “If Donald Trump or anyone else wants us to take this seriously, they have to show evidence,” Snowden said. “And the fact that they have not despite the severity of this allegation means that they’re trying to make political hay — I suspect — out of something that affects all of us, which is that mass surveillance is making all of us vulnerable.”

    Snowden explained that the NSA’s surveillance dragnet currently allows any analyst with an appropriate clearance to search a massive database of communications for phones or IP addresses related to anyone, including the president. He was describing the Upstream program conducted under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, in which the NSA collects a vast number of American communications from internet cables entering and exiting the United States, ostensibly only “targeting” foreigners.

    “If Donald Trump wants to take this seriously, he needs to fix the problem that everyone in America’s communications are being collected right now, without a warrant, and they’re going into the bucket, and they’re protected by very lax internal policy regulations, and this simply is not enough,” said Snowden.

    “The problem is not, ‘Oh, you know, poor Donald Trump.’ You’re the president. You should be asking questions about ‘Why was this possible in the first place?’ and ‘Why haven’t I fixed it?’”

    Far from trying to eliminate the NSA’s authorities under Section 702, Trump supports having Congress extend the programs past this year, when they would otherwise expire — while at the same time continuing President Obama’s refusal to give the legislative branch even a ballpark estimate of what proportion of domestic communications they capture.

    Listen to the entire interview Wednesday on the Intercepted podcast.

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    Shadow Brokers Release New Files Revealing Windows Exploits, SWIFT Attacks


    On Good Friday and ahead of the Easter holiday, the Shadow Brokers have dumped a new collection of files, containing what appears to be exploits and hacking tools targeting Microsoft's Windows OS and evidence the Equation Group had gained access to servers and targeted the SWIFT banking system of several banks across the world.

    The tools were dumped via the Shadow Brokers Twitter account and were accompanied by a blog post, as the group did in the past.

    Called "Lost in Translation," the blog post contains the usual indecipherable ramblings the Shadow Brokers have published in the past, and a link to a Yandex Disk file storage repo.

    Continued at

    NSA's arsenal of Windows hacking tools have leaked

    The Shadow Brokers Vulnerability Equities Process: NSA Has Had at Least 96 Days to Warn Microsoft about These Files

    Edward Snowden: Latest NSA leak is 'not a drill'

    Windows users should be really worried about the latest NSA leak

    Your Government's Hacking Tools Are Not Safe
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  7. The Wrong Guy Member

    NSA officials worried about the day its potent hacking tool would get loose. Then it did.

    By Ellen Nakashima and Craig Timberg, The Washington Post


    When the National Security Agency began using a new hacking tool called EternalBlue, those entrusted with deploying it marveled at both its uncommon power and the widespread havoc it could wreak if it ever got loose.

    Some officials even discussed whether the flaw was so dangerous they should reveal it to Microsoft, the company whose software the government was exploiting, according to former NSA employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the issue.

    But for more than five years, the NSA kept using it — through a time period that has seen several serious security breaches — and now the officials’ worst fears have been realized. The malicious code at the heart of the WannaCry virus that hit computer systems globally late last week was apparently stolen from the NSA, repackaged by cybercriminals and unleashed on the world for a cyberattack that now ranks as among the most disruptive in history.

    The failure to keep EternalBlue out of the hands of criminals and other adversaries casts the NSA’s decisions in a harsh new light, prompting critics to question anew whether the agency can be trusted to develop and protect such potent hacking tools.

    Current and former officials defended the agency’s handling of EternalBlue, saying that the NSA must use such volatile tools to fulfill its mission of gathering foreign intelligence. In the case of EternalBlue, the intelligence haul was “unreal,” said one former employee. “It was like fishing with dynamite,” said a second.

    The NSA did not respond to several requests for comment for this article.

    The consequences of the NSA’s decision to keep the flaw secret, combined with its failure to keep the tool secure, became clear Friday when reports began spreading of a massive cyberattack in which the WannaCry software encrypted data on hundreds of thousands of computers and demanded a ransom to decrypt it.

    The attack spread virally because the criminal hackers combined EternalBlue’s ability to penetrate systems with other code that caused it to spread quickly, like a computer worm, something the NSA never intended. The resulting digital concoction snarled hospitals in Britain, the Interior Ministry in Russia and tax offices in Brazil.

    An unlikely combination of voices, ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to a top Microsoft official to Russian President Vladmir Putin, has singled out the NSA for its role in creating and eventually losing control of computer code.

    Microsoft President Brad Smith, in a blog post Sunday, compared the mishap to “the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen.”

    Putin, for his part, echoed Microsoft: “They said that the first sources of this virus were the United States intelligence agencies. Russia has absolutely nothing to do with this.”

    While few critics are saying that the NSA should never develop malicious software — cracking into the computers of surveillance targets is key to its work — the WannaCry incident has revived concerns about internal security at an agency that in 2013 lost massive troves of secret documents to contractor Edward Snowden.

    “They’ve absolutely got to do a better job protecting [the hacking tools]. You can’t argue against that,” said former NSA director Keith B. Alexander, who ran the agency from 2005 to 2014 but said he was unable to comment on any particular tool. “You had somebody stealing you blind. The government has got to do better at that.”

    The global backlash to the Snowden revelations added urgency to the government’s efforts to revamp rules on when to report flaws to companies and when to use them for surveillance. Alexander said that about 90 percent of discovered flaws are reported to the companies that make the software.

    Richard Ledgett, who retired last month as the NSA’s deputy director, said disclosing all flaws would amount to “unilateral disarmament.” He said the idea that “everything would be just fine” if the NSA disclosed all the vulnerabilities it finds is “nonsense.”

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  8. The Wrong Guy Member

    Top-Secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election | The Intercept


    Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November’s presidential election, according to a highly classified intelligence report obtained by The Intercept.

    The top-secret National Security Agency document, which was provided anonymously to The Intercept and independently authenticated, analyzes intelligence very recently acquired by the agency about a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the U.S. election and voting infrastructure. The report, dated May 5, 2017, is the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light.

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    Here's a follow-up, from the Department of Justice:

    Federal Government Contractor in Georgia Charged With Removing and Mailing Classified Materials to a News Outlet

    A criminal complaint was filed in the Southern District of Georgia today charging Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor from Augusta, Georgia, with removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 793(e).

    Winner was arrested by the FBI at her home on Saturday, June 3, and appeared in federal court in Augusta this afternoon.

    “Exceptional law enforcement efforts allowed us quickly to identify and arrest the defendant,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. “Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation’s security and undermines public faith in government. People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation.”

    According to the allegations contained in the criminal complaint:

    Winner is a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation assigned to a U.S. government agency facility in Georgia. She has been employed at the facility since on or about February 13, and has held a Top Secret clearance during that time. On or about May 9, Winner printed and improperly removed classified intelligence reporting, which contained classified national defense information from an intelligence community agency, and unlawfully retained it. Approximately a few days later, Winner unlawfully transmitted by mail the intelligence reporting to an online news outlet.

    Once investigative efforts identified Winner as a suspect, the FBI obtained and executed a search warrant at her residence. According to the complaint, Winner agreed to talk with agents during the execution of the warrant. During that conversation, Winner admitted intentionally identifying and printing the classified intelligence reporting at issue despite not having a "need to know," and with knowledge that the intelligence reporting was classified. Winner further admitted removing the classified intelligence reporting from her office space, retaining it, and mailing it from Augusta, Georgia, to the news outlet, which she knew was not authorized to receive or possess the documents.

    An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

    The prosecution is being handled by Trial Attorney Julie A. Edelstein of the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Solari of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia. The investigation is being conducted by the FBI.

    More at

    The Smoking Gun‏ @tsgnews 29 minutes ago
    Meet Reality Leigh Winner. The 25-y-o was charged today with leaking top secret NSA report on Russian hacking to @theintercept

  9. The Wrong Guy Member

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  11. The Wrong Guy Member

    Trump CIA director blames 'worship of Edward Snowden' for rise in leaks | The Guardian

    Mike Pompeo said more needed to be done to stem what he called an increase in the leaking of state secrets to ‘undermine the United States and democracy’


    “In some ways, I do think [leaking has] accelerated,” Pompeo told MSNBC in an interview broadcast on Saturday. “I think there is a phenomenon, the worship of Edward Snowden, and those who steal American secrets for the purpose of self-aggrandizement or money or for whatever their motivation may be, does seem to be on the increase.”

    Pompeo added: “It’s tough. You now have not only nation states trying to steal our stuff, but non-state, hostile intelligence services, well-funded – folks like WikiLeaks, out there trying to steal American secrets for the sole purpose of undermining the United States and democracy.”

    In his MSNBC interview on Saturday, Pompeo predicted the Trump administration will have success in deterring leakers “as well as punishing those who we catch who have done it”.

    More at
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  13. The Wrong Guy Member

    Trial of Augusta NSA contractor Reality Winner set for October 23 | WXIA Atlanta


    Winner has been accused of leaking classified information about Russia to the media. Prosecutors say she emailed a highly classified document to The Intercept, who in turn published the report online.

    The report claims Russian military intelligence hacked at least one unnamed voting software supplier in the United States, and attempted to gain access to more than 100 local election officials prior to last November's general election.

    "What makes the case unique is that we're dealing with national security information," said defense attorney Titus Nichols. "We've been assigned a third-party, a confidential information security officer. That individual will have the responsibility of protecting and safeguarding any classified information."

    More at
  14. The Wrong Guy Member

    Rachel Maddow To News Orgs: Beware Of Forged Donald Trump Russia Documents! | MSNBC

    Rachel Maddow explains how an ostensible top secret NSA document submitted through the show's inbox is likely a fake, and points out the perils of such forgeries to news organizations trying to report out important stories like the Trump Russia story.

    Someone Sent Rachel Maddow Fake NSA Documents Alleging Trump-Russia Collusion | The Daily Caller

    MSNBC host Rachel Maddow gave a “heads up” to other news organizations on Thursday after she was sent what she believes are faked National Security Agency documents alleging collusion between a member of the Trump campaign and Russian government.

    “Somebody, for some reason, appears to be shopping a fairly convincing fake NSA document that purports to directly implicate somebody from the Trump campaign in working with the Russians in their attack in the election,” Maddow said in a lengthy segment on her show.

    She suggested that the unidentified muckraker who sent her the fake documents hopes to undermine news organizations in general and deflate the Trump-Russia collusion investigation, which has been going on for nearly a year.

    “This is news, because: why is someone shopping a forged document of this kind to news organizations covering the Trump-Russia affair?” Maddow asked.

    On June 7, an unidentified person sent documents to an online tip line for Maddow’s show, she said.

    That was two days after The Intercept published legitimate NSA documents that were stolen by Reality Winner, a contractor for the agency.

    Maddow said that the documents sent to her show appeared to have used The Intercept’s published documents as a template. Secret ID markings on The Intercept reports appeared on the documents passed to Maddow.

    She said that metadata from the set of documents sent to her show preceded the publication of the documents published in The Intercept. Maddow suggested that it was possible that whoever sent her the forgeries had access to The Intercept documents. But she also theorized that whoever sent her the fake documents could have changed the metadata somehow.

    The documents Maddow received appeared legitimate at first glance, she said, but several clues suggested that they were forgeries.

    Typos and spacing issues raised eyebrows, but it was secret markings on the documents as well as their contents that convinced Maddow and her staff that the records were fakes.

    But Maddow said that that “the big red flag” for her and her team was that the document she was given named an American citizen — a specific person from the Trump campaign — who allegedly cooperated with the Russians during the presidential campaign.

    “We believe that a U.S. citizen’s name would not appear in a document like this,” asserted Maddow, who said that her team consulted national security experts on the matter.

    “And so, heads up everybody,” Maddow warned.

    The host pointed to two recent retractions — one at CNN and the other at Vice News — and suggested that they were the result of a similar scheme to undermine news outlets covering Trump.

    In the case of CNN, three reporters were fired after the network retracted an article alleging that Trump transition team official Anthony Scaramucci was under investigation for ties to a Russian investment fund.

    CNN said that the three reporters were fired because of shortcomings in their reporting process, but the network has been tight-lipped about what those shortcomings were.

    Vice retracted two articles about a Trump robot display at Disney World.

    “One way to stab in the heart aggressive American reporting on [the subject of Trump-Russia collusion] is to lay traps for American journalists who are reporting on it,” said Maddow.

    “And then after the fact blow that reporting up. You then hurt the credibility of that news organization. You also cast a shadow over any similar reporting in the future…even if it’s true.”

    Maddow did not provide details about who sent her team the faked NSA documents.

    But she concluded her segment saying, “We don’t know who’s doing it, but we’re working on it.”

    Source, and video:
  15. RightOn Member

    Panic looks good on Trump
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    Hey you.
  17. The Wrong Guy Member


    The Intercept failed to shield its confidential source. Now it’s making amends.

    By Margaret Sullivan, The Washington Post


    The Intercept, a national-security news site, wouldn’t exist without the most famous leaker of the 21st Century, Edward Snowden. The organization was established in 2014 to publish material from the former National Security Agency contractor and to reveal other government secrets and push for press rights.

    It should have been the last place a news source would have to worry about protection and confidentiality. And indeed, the organization funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar includes some world-class security experts.

    But early last month, the site — founded by the crusading journalists Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras — came under fire for inadvertently failing in that core mission. Now, having taken a deep look at what happened, the Intercept has adopted some reforms and its parent company is helping a young whistleblower who has been charged under the Espionage Act.

    “It’s been an incredibly wrenching period here, and it was necessary to take the time to do a thorough review of what happened,” Intercept Editor-in-Chief Betsy Reed told me.

    To recap: The Trump administration charged 25-year-old Reality Leigh Winner, a former Air Force linguist, with leaking classified information — just hours after the Intercept published a story based on a National Security Agency document describing efforts by Russian military intelligence to hack into America’s voting system.

    Barton Gellman, a leading national-security journalist and former Washington Post staffer, pointed to “egregious mistakes” by the site’s reporters as they tried to verify the NSA document before publication. He called what happened “a catastrophic failure of source protection,” while acknowledging that Winner would have been the lead suspect under any circumstances.

    A month later, the Intercept and its parent company, First Look (both are funded by Omidyar) are taking steps to fix their mistakes and help defend Winner.

    “As the news outlet Winner is accused of leaking to, The Intercept has a unique perspective on her case and a passionate desire to see her receive a fair trial — even though we had no idea who our source was and still have no independent knowledge of the source’s identify,” Reed said in a statement Tuesday.

    Helping Winner’s case will take two forms, she said.

    First Look’s Press Freedom Defense Fund will pay for a law firm to support her current defense lawyers. And it will give $50,000 in matching funds to Stand With Reality, a grass roots crowdfunding campaign intended to increase public awareness and support legal work for the young whistleblower.

    Winner has been charged under the 100-year-old Espionage Act, the same arcane law that the Obama administration began using to charge leakers, including Snowden.

    “The First Amendment, not the Espionage Act, should be the framework for viewing the act of whistleblowing,” Reed said.

    Reed said that the Intercept has been examining its practices for source protection, and, in this case, found them wanting.

    “At several points in the editorial process, our practices fell short of the standards to which we hold ourselves” for keeping risks to sources at a minimum, Reed said. “We should have taken greater precautions to protect the identity of a source who was anonymous even to us.”

    The Justice Department would have charged Winner without the Intercept’s mistakes. Still, the apparent sloppiness was regrettable, to say the least.

    Last month, the tech site Ars Technica wrote that the Intercept team inadvertently exposed its source because a hard copy, sent for verification purposes to an NSA source, provided physical clues to who may have leaked it. The journalists reportedly also let their NSA contact know where the document had been mailed from, which further pointed to Winner.

    Reed, who declined for legal reasons to go into detail about what happened, told me the entire staff would be retrained in best practices and that new levels of editorial scrutiny would be put in place. No staffers will be fired.

    The Intercept’s founding principles are transparency and accountability, and its mission remains important.

    So, it’s heartening to see the site, and its parent company, doing everything in their power to admit and make good on their own mistakes. And it’s important that they’ll help Winner be treated fairly at the hands of an administration that could hardly be more averse to press rights.

  18. She's only a girl that's why they didn't pay attention.
  19. The Wrong Guy Member

    Justice Department’s Demand for Extreme Secrecy in Reality Winner Trial Contested by Defense

    By Trevor Timm, The Intercept


    The Justice Department is seeking to impose extreme secrecy rules in the trial of alleged Intercept source and whistleblower Reality Winner that could prevent her defense team from citing countless publicly available news articles in appearances before the court — and even prevent Winner herself from seeing evidence relevant to her defense.

    On July 20, Winner’s defense lawyers moved to challenge those arguments, accusing the government in a court filing of attempting to use the pre-trial discovery process to unfairly gag them from discussing issues both vital to the case and the public at large.

    Winner was accused last month of leaking a classified National Security Agency document to The Intercept that describes attempts by alleged Russian hackers to gain access to election infrastructure in the United States. She faces charges under the Espionage Act, a 100-year-old law meant for spies and saboteurs, which the government has warped into an anti-leaking statute used to go after sources of journalists attempting to inform the American public. Winner’s trial is set for the end of October.

    Under the rules established under the Classified Information Procedures Act, the defense has the right to access certain classified documents from the government that may be relevant to Winner’s case. In response, the government filed for a protective order that will prevent the defense team from revealing the classified information in those documents in its legal filings or to the public.

    A protective order surrounding discovery material, by itself, is fairly standard procedure. However, the government is going a step further: They are arguing that the defense would be barred from discussing any information that has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, or any other newspaper if the defense “knows or have reason to know” any of that information is also contained in classified discovery documents they will receive.

    The protective order would restrict “our right to cite and quote information in the public domain, such as articles in newspapers, broadcast journalism and online publications,” the defense wrote in their brief. “The order proposed by the Government imposes upon Defense Counsel the duty to question the source of reports in the New York Times or matters discussed on Morning Joe and then to confer with the security officer before repeating or citing these facts even though the information is clearly in the public domain.”

    Essentially, the government is trying to bar Winner’s lawyers from discussing large swaths of journalism done around the election, cybersecurity, the Trump administration, and Russia in court, unless each time, they go back and scour thousands of pages of documents to make sure none of their references are also cited in the documents that were handed over.

    This is a critical point given that the trial may hinge on whether the prosecution can prove the document Winner is alleged to have leaked could have “damaged” national security. Winner’s team may want to use these stories to provide the jury with much-needed context around the document at issue — to show, for example, that the public interest in election security is extremely high, or that leaking the material in question couldn’t possibly have damaged national security given the mountains of stories about Russian hacking that came before it.

    Think about it: Literally everyone in the country has been talking about alleged Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election. It has not only been the subject of front page stories in the nation’s leading newspapers on an almost daily basis, but it has been publicly discussed by virtually every member of Congress, all the intelligence chiefs, and Presidents Obama and Trump. Yet much of this discussion could be barred from the public courtroom if the government has its way.

    What’s more, the government argues that Winner herself isn’t allowed to see any of the classified documents handed over to her lawyers at all. As the defense writes in their brief: “The Sixth Amendment right to counsel includes the right to confer with counsel.” What the government is essentially doing here is cutting Winner out from her own defense team, which may have to make key arguments in the case without being able to consult with her about the relevant facts. As her lawyers make clear, “Her telephone calls are taped, and all of her outgoing mail is being reviewed by Government agents. There is no risk to national security that could flow from her being allowed to view the evidence that may be used against her.”

    These tactics are likely just the beginning of the government’s attempts to cut off virtually every avenue of defense for Reality Winner. The Justice Department has been cruelly effective in all of the Espionage Act cases aimed at the sources of journalists in recent memory.

    Since Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg’s days, sources charged under the Espionage Act have been prohibited from explaining their motive to their jury — e.g., informing the public — for leaking information to journalists. Or take the example of Thomas Drake, the NSA executive who was indicted for allegedly giving information on NSA waste, fraud, and abuse to the Baltimore Sun in the mid-2000s. The Justice Department filed briefs in his case demanding that Drake not even be allowed to say the word “whistleblowing” or make any arguments related to the government’s rampant overclassification epidemic in front of the jury. In other cases, prosecutors have convinced judges they don’t have to show actual harm to national security, only the potential for such harm — a much lower bar.

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  20. The Wrong Guy Member

    Google Fights Against Canada's Order to Change Global Search Results | WIRED


    In June, Canada's Supreme Court came down on Google — hard. It ruled that the tech giant must take down certain Google search results for pirated products. And not just in Canada, but globally. Now, Google is going south of the Canadian border to push back on this landmark court ruling. The tech giant filed an injunction Monday with the US District Court for Northern California, arguing that globally removing the search results violates US law, and thus Google should not be forced to comply with the Canadian ruling.

    Because the case had already made its way to the highest court in Canada, Google should have not been able to fight the ruling. But Google is hoping to find a loophole on American soil by arguing this violates the First Amendment.

    “We’re taking this court action to defend the legal principle that one country shouldn’t be able to decide what information people in other countries can access online,” says David Price, senior product counsel at Google. “Undermining this core principle inevitably leads to a world where internet users are subject to the most restrictive content limitations from every country.”

    Google’s resistance to the ruling comes at a time when court orders to remove content worldwide are surging. Last month Germany passed a law ordering social media companies that operate in the country to delete hate speech within 24 hours of it being posted or face fines of up to $57 million. In May, an Austrian court ruled that Facebook must take down hateful posts directed at the country’s Green party leader. And the European Union’s top court is poised to decide whether the bloc’s “right to be forgotten” laws should extend beyond Europe’s borders. Around the world, there are dozens more cases around global takedown requests that are pending.

    The problem, according to internet law experts, is that allowing country-specific social media laws to stand worldwide could set a troubling precedent. One country’s idea of acceptable speech may be another’s idea of hate speech, for instance. Countries with sharply diverging definitions of what is allowable online speech could leave us with a fractured “splinternet,” where what you see online depends on what is OK, culturally, wherever you happen to be accessing the internet. And that could threaten the global internet itself.

    Tech companies — including Google, with its latest legal maneuvering — aren’t going down without a fight. But staunch resistance won’t solve its problems, says Vivek Krishnamurthy, assistant director of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, who specializes in international internet governance. “Yes, Google may end up getting a favorable decision from a US court. But it won’t stop the plaintiff from seeking enforcement in Canada,” says Krishnamurthy. “And Google faces legal and economic risks if they don’t comply with Canadian law. It adds up to a really hard business decision for the company.”

    Easy Peasy Piracy

    For the uninitiated: last month, a landmark decision was reached in Google v. Equustek, a case in which a British Columbia-based technology company called Equustek accused Datalink Technology Gateways, a distributor, of selling what was essentially a repackaged Equustek product. Datalink first denied any wrongdoing, then fled the country, never appearing in court — and it continued to do business outside of Canada.

    As the legal saga unfolded, Equustek asked Google to take down search results for Datalink websites, which Google voluntarily did — but only on, the country-specific version of the search engine. But Equustek appealed to higher courts and continued to pursue a global takedown of search results. The company scored big when the Supreme Court of Canada rejected Google’s argument that freedom of expression should have prevented Google from having to comply with the global order. “We have not, to date, accepted that freedom of expression requires the facilitation of the unlawful sale of goods,” the court wrote in its ruling. “The problem, in this case, is occurring online and globally. The internet has no borders; its natural habitat is global.”

    It’s tempting to view this as a cut-and-dry case in which the problem — piracy — is a clear enough crime that a global takedown of search results is deserved. But bad cases make for bad laws, Krishnamurthy argues. “It was easy for the Canadian court to say, ‘Hey, piracy! Of course take it down,’ over something else,” he says. “But you have to decide the case as it’s given to you.” Still, the ruling sets a bad precedent for other actors with other rationales trying to get Google to wipe search results globally.

    A Tough Business Decision

    Krishnamurthy says he’s reminded of a case that goes back to 2000, when a French nonprofit organization asked Yahoo to take down content and materials that promoted Nazism. The French court sided with the group, but Yahoo filed a follow-up complaint with the US District Court for Northern California, arguing that if the French judgment were to be enforced against the company, it would violate the US's First Amendment. (Sound familiar?)

    Yahoo ended up winning an early victory in court, but lost on appeal. It’s the same problem in the Equustek v. Google case, Krishnamurthy says: the burden is on Google to demonstrate to a US court that a Canadian actor will bring an enforcement action in the US. “Unless they can show that, a US court is likely to say the situation is hypothetical,” Krishnamurthy says. Still, if Google insisted on keeping the objectionable content available online, it doesn’t rid the company of the problem, he points out. “That doesn’t stop Equustek from going to Canadian court and saying, ‘Google didn’t comply, it is now in contempt. Seize its assets, throw its executives in jail,’” Krishnamurthy says. “There are any number of enforceable actions on the Canadian side of the border.” Looking at precedent, Krishnamurthy says it’s a risk Google likely won’t want to take.

    However there is nothing stopping Google from leaving the search results as is; it's a private actor and can do whatever it wants under the First Amendment. But take the Yahoo case. The company ended up voluntarily complying with the takedown request on a global policy. “It ultimately decided that it was bad for business for the platform to keep selling the Nazi stuff,” says Krishnamurthy. Removing the results might be the easier option for Google. “The First Amendment is a shield, not a sword,” says Krishnamurthy.

    So why make the noise about filing the injunction in the first place? “It’s the thin edge of the wedge problem,” says Krishnamurthy. Google wants to push back for principled reasons, for business reasons, and to signal to others that it won’t bend over and take potentially worse decisions — like the one coming up in the EU’s top court enforcing its “right to be forgotten” laws globally. But most importantly, Google likely won’t want to turn itself into a less useful product for people. “There’s a bit of enlightened self-interest here,” says Krishnamurthy. As more and more countries make more demands of Google and mess with its results, the quality of the search tool itself declines.

    Yet Google faces legal and economic risks if it doesn’t comply with Canadian law. Whatever the tech giant ultimately decides to do, the company is contending with a very difficult business decision.

  21. Efteling Member

    text to long
  22. *too*
  23. Read more learn more.
  24. The Wrong Guy Member

    Judge: FBI Doesn't Have to Reveal How It Unlocked iPhone Used by San Bernardino Terrorist

    By Swati Khandelwal, The Hacker News


    Remember the infamous encryption fight between the FBI and Apple for unlocking an iPhone belonging to terrorist Syed Farook behind the San Bernardino 2015 mass shooting that killed 14 people?

    The same Apple vs. FBI case where Apple refused to help feds access data on the locked iPhone and, later the Federal Bureau of Investigation reportedly paid over a million dollars to a vendor for unlocking the shooter's iPhone.

    For keeping the iPhone hack secret, three news organizations—The Associated Press, USA Today, and Vice Media—sued the FBI last year under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and forced the agency to reveal the name of the company and the amount it was paid to unlock the iPhone.

    However, unfortunately, they failed.

    A US federal judge ruled Saturday that the FBI does not have to disclose the name of or how much it paid a private company for an iPhone hacking tool that unlocked Farook's iPhone.


    ...U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the District of Columbia ruled this weekend that the information on vendor and hacking tool used is exempt from mandatory disclosure under the government transparency law.

    "It is logical and plausible that the vendor may be less capable than the FBI of protecting its proprietary information in the face of a cyber attack," the judge said.

    "The FBI's conclusion that releasing the name of the vendor to the general public could put the vendor's systems, and thereby crucial information about the technology, at risk of incursion is a reasonable one."

    Regarding the cost of the hacking tool, the federal judge also agreed with the US government that revealing the price the government paid for unlocking iPhone could harm national security.

    "Releasing the purchase price would designate a finite value for the technology and help adversaries determine whether the FBI can broadly utilise the technology to access their encrypted devices," Chutkan said.

    "Since the release of this information might 'reduce the effectiveness of a critical classified source and method', it is reasonable to expect that disclosure could endanger national security."

    Last year, former FBI Director James Comey indirectly disclosed that the agency reportedly paid around $1.3 Million for the hacking tool that helped the agency break into Farook's iPhone 5C.

    Although Comey said the hacking tool the FBI bought was only effective against an iPhone 5C running iOS 9 and not on later versions of iPhone such as the 5S, 6 and 6S, the agency could theoretically find a way to expand the tool's effort or build a similar implementation to hack higher models.

    More at
  25. The Wrong Guy Member

    U.S. Believes Russian Spies Used Kaspersky Antivirus to Steal NSA Secrets | The Hacker News


    Do you know—United States Government has banned federal agencies from using Kaspersky antivirus software over spying fear?

    Though there's no solid evidence yet available, an article published by WSJ claims that the Russian state-sponsored hackers stole highly classified NSA documents from a contractor in 2015 with the help of a security program made by Russia-based security firm Kaspersky Lab.

    Currently, there is no way to independently confirm if the claims on the popular security vendor published by the Wall Street Journal is accurate—and the story does not even prove the involvement of Kaspersky.

    "As a private company, Kaspersky Lab does not have inappropriate ties to any government, including Russia, and the only conclusion seems to be that Kaspersky Lab is caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight," Kaspersky said in a statement.

    The NSA contractor working with the American intelligence agency, whose identity has not yet been disclosed, reportedly downloaded a cache of highly classified information from government systems and moved it to a personal computer at home, which is clear violation of known security procedures.

    Citing some anonymous sources, the Journal says that the targeted computer was running Kaspersky antivirus—the same app the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently banned from all government computer systems over spying fear.

    The classified documents taken to home by the contractor contained details about how the NSA breaks into foreign computer networks for cyber espionage operations as well as defends its systems against cyber attacks.

    Although what role Kaspersky played in the breach is not entirely clear, US officials believe antivirus scan performed by Kaspersky Lab’s security software on the contractor's computer helped Russian hackers in identifying the files containing sensitive information.

    In response to the WSJ story, Kaspersky CEO Eugene Kaspersky said his company "has not been provided with any evidence substantiating the company's involvement in the alleged incident. The only conclusion sees to be that Kaspersky Lab is caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight."

    Also, it is not clear exactly how the files were stolen, but it has been speculated that the antivirus’ practice of uploading suspicious files (malware executables) on the company's server, located in Russia, may have granted the Russian government access to the data.

    Another possibility is that Russian hackers stole the confidential data by exploiting vulnerabilities in Kaspersky Lab software installed on the targeted system, according to the person, who asked not to be identified.

  26. Bump.

    For good measure and keeping our minds focused on privacy and the sacrifice Edward Snowden made for all of us.
  27. If anyone can flush out the latest news it's The Wrong Guy and while I hesitate to lay this one on you Wrong Guy what's the latest on Edward Snowden and his current status in Russia?
  28. The Wrong Guy Member

    This was published January 18, 2017:

    Edward Snowden's leave to remain in Russia extended for three years | The Guardian

    Former US intelligence contractor’s Russian lawyer also says Snowden can apply for country’s citizenship from next year


    Edward Snowden’s leave to remain in Russia has been extended for three years, his lawyer has said, as a Russian official said the whistleblower would not be extradited to the US even if relations improved under the incoming president, Donald Trump.


    Snowden arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong in June 2013, and spent five weeks at the airport before he was eventually given the right to remain in Russia temporarily. He was granted a three-year residence permit in August 2014.

    During his early period in Moscow, Snowden did not criticise Putin or the Russian system, but he has recently become more outspoken about his adopted country. He has been strongly critical of Russian laws to police the internet and has also allowed for the possibility that Russian government hackers broke into Democratic party servers, as US intelligence believes but Russia has repeatedly denied.

    More at
  29. The Wrong Guy Member

    FBI appears to have investigated - and considered prosecuting - FOIA requesters

    Heavily redacted emails discussing the potential investigation conceal the identities of the FBI officials while exposing personal info of requesters

    By Emma Best, MuckRock, December 13, 2017


    A new FOIA release shows the FBI Director’s Office responded to FOIA requests for known files on deceased FBI officials by presenting options that seemingly included a law enforcement investigation/proceeding against the requesters, with one email calling the requests “SUSPICIOUS.” While the emails are heavily redacted to conceal the identities of the FBI officials involved in the discussions, the Bureau repeatedly left personal information of the different FOIA requesters unredacted, despite having clear guidelines and no privacy waivers.

    Continued at
  30. The Wrong Guy Member

    It’s Official: North Korea Is Behind WannaCry

    The massive cyberattack cost billions and put lives at risk. Pyongyang will be held accountable.

    By Thomas P. Bossert, The Wall Street Journal


    Cybersecurity isn’t easy, but simple principles still apply. Accountability is one, cooperation another. They are the cornerstones of security and resilience in any society. In furtherance of both, and after careful investigation, the U.S. today publicly attributes the massive “WannaCry” cyberattack to North Korea.

    Continued at

    North Korea says it 'will take revenge' for US saying it is developing biological weapons

    Pyongyang says the claims laid out in the Trump administration's national security plan are false

    By Mythili Sampathkumar, The Independent


    North Korea said it will “take revenge” on the US for saying Pyongyang is developing biological weapons.

    North Korea said via its state media Korean Central News Agency that: “as a state party to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), [it] maintains its consistent stand to oppose development, manufacture, stockpiling and possession of biological weapons."

    "The more the US clings to the anti-[North Korea] stifling move...the more hardened the determination of our entire military personnel and people to take revenge will be,” said the KCNA.

    ​KCNA called the US claims "groundless" and said it was just an excuse for harsher sanctions after President Donald Trump labelled North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

    The Trump administration made the assertion that the isolated Asian country was developing a missile capable of carrying the biological weapons as well in its National Security Strategy document.

    The 55-page document focused on Mr Trump's "America First" approach to security and stated: "North Korea—a country that starves its own people—has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that could threaten our homeland."

    The administration also wrote that: "North Korea is also pursuing chemical and biological weapons which could also be delivered by missile."

    According to a 2016 report by the Korea Institute for Defence Analyses, North Korea has 13 types of pathogens that can be weaponised such as anthrax and clostridium botulinum.

    The US claims and subsequent North Korean denial come at a time when South Korean officials proposed a delay in military drills with the US in order to ensure a peaceful 2018 Winter Olympics, not ease tensions with North Korea and China.

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in is seeking to soothe relations with Pyongyang and with China, the North's lone major ally, before the Olympics begin in South Korea in February.

    Continued at

    North Korea Is Reportedly Testing Anthrax-Tipped Missiles

    The country allegedly wants to see if the deadly bacteria can survive a flight on an ICBM.

    By River Donaghey, VICE


    As tensions continue to rise on the Korean peninsula, North Korea has begun to experiment with loading anthrax onto intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reports.

    According to an unidentified South Korean source, the rogue nation is currently conducting heat and pressure tests to see whether anthrax can survive the extreme temperatures the bacteria would face during a missile's reentry into the atmosphere. Compared to similar biological agents, anthrax is particularly dangerous—aside from being deadly, it's difficult to see, smell, taste, or otherwise detect, according to the CDC.

    Continued at
  31. The Wrong Guy Member

    Edward Snowden and human rights groups slam NSA bill that's rushing through Congress

    By Tim Chester, Mashable


    The law that gives the National Security Agency the legal authority to spy on millions of Americans is set to expire at the end of the year.

    That might sound like good news, a chance to perhaps scale back the agency's far-reaching powers and rethink how far its tentacles are allowed to reach into the lives of private citizens across the US.

    Not so much. In fact, Congress is rushing through a bill that will expand the NSA's legal authority to collect, analyze, and act on the digital communications of American citizens.

    Rep. Devin Nunes is pushing the innocuous-sounding "FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017," based on another bill submitted by Sen. Richard Burr. The bill looks to maintain and potentially expand the NSA's powers for the next seven years.

    It's troubling, and a vote is expected to be rushed through this week.

    The main issue with the new bill up for vote, which intelligence officials say is vital for preventing terror attacks, is its provisions for "about" collection, which allows the NSA to look through communications that merely mention a target, not those that were sent or received by that target.

    The NSA rolled back this provision in April this year, but the bill would cement this kind of surveillance as being well within the agency's legal authority. The agency could restart "about" collection after giving Congress 30 days notice, The Hill reports.

    The bill also aims to codify a controversial provision in the law that allows the NSA to collect texts, emails, and social media content of Americans who have been communicating with foreigners abroad — at to do so without a warrant. It's a dicey loophole that plays fast and loose with the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protections.

    Oh, and just like the healthcare bill, this one has been "jammed through" without enough time for members to read the thing and debate the implications, Daniel Schuman, policy director for grassroots organization Demand Progress, says.

    If passed, the legislation would renew the program until 2025. The Trump administration initially hoped to have it renewed in perpetuity.

    "Unconstitutional surveillance"

    Privacy and human rights groups alike have slammed the bill. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) warned that if it passed, "nothing will be done to rein in the massive, unconstitutional surveillance of the NSA on Americans or innocent technology users worldwide."

    The group has set up a tool to allow you to easily tweet at your member of Congress. All it takes is a zip code.

    Continued at
  32. The Wrong Guy Member

    Snowden's New App Turns Your Phone Into a Home Security System | WIRED


    Your digital security, any sufficiently paranoid person will remind you, is only as good as your physical security. The world's most sensitive users of technology, like dissidents, activists, or journalists in repressive regimes, have to fear not just hacking and online surveillance, but the reality that police, intelligence agents, or other intruders can simply break into your home, office, or hotel room. They can tamper with your computers, steal them, or bodily detain you until you cough up passwords or other secrets.

    To help combat that threat, one of the world's most well-known activists against digital surveillance has released what's intended to be a cheap, mobile, and flexible version of a physical security system. On Friday, the Freedom of the Press Foundation and its president, famed NSA leaker Edward Snowden, launched Haven, an app designed to transform any Android phone into a kind of all-purpose sensor for detecting intrusions.

    Safe Haven

    Designed to be installed on a cheap Android burner, Haven uses the phone's cameras, microphones and even accelerometers to monitor for any motion, sound or disturbance of the phone. Leave the app running in your hotel room, for instance, and it can capture photos and audio of anyone entering the room while you're out, whether an innocent housekeeper or an intelligence agent trying to use his alone time with your laptop to install spyware on it. It can then instantly send pictures and sound clips of those visitors to your primary phone, alerting you to the disturbance. The app even uses the phone's light sensor to trigger an alert if the room goes dark, or an unexpected flashlight flickers.

    "Imagine if you had a guard dog you could take with you to any hotel room and leave it in your room when you’re not there. And it’s actually smart, and it witnesses everything that happens and creates a record of it," Snowden said in an encrypted phone call with WIRED from Moscow, where he has lived in exile since 2013. "The real idea is to establish that the physical spaces around you can be trusted."

    Continued at
  33. Glenn Greenwald has written more about this app in The Intercept if anyone is interested.

    Thanks again The Wrong Guy for your willingness to keep all of us updated on what matters in this thread and every other you post in.
  34. Snowden was interviewed by Wikipedia, he is going to be on a virtual panel for Tulane University
    Q&A: Edward Snowden on rights, privacy, secrets and leaks in conversation with Jimmy Wales
  35. There's a whole new tranche of leaks Snowden related just published on The Intercept this week if anyone is interested.
  36. The Wrong Guy Member

  37. The Wrong Guy Member

    Edward Snowden on Privacy in the Age of Trump and Facebook | The Intercept


    Exactly five years ago this week, Edward Snowden absconded to Hong Kong with a trove of documents detailing the extent of the U.S. government’s global and domestic surveillance programs. He soon found himself in exile in Russia and dubbed “the most wanted man in the world.” The Snowden leaks started a new conversation about digital privacy and online security, and even led to changes in the law. But more recently we’ve discovered it isn’t just Big Government that poses a massive threat to our privacy, but also Big Tech. Facebook, for example, exposed data on up to 87 million Facebook users to a researcher who worked at Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy employed by the Trump campaign. The issues of surveillance and privacy and mass data collection, not just by the government but by Big Tech firms like Facebook, are still as live and and as contentious as ever. On this week’s episode of Deconstructed, Edward Snowden joins Mehdi Hasan from Moscow to discuss surveillance, tools that can help protect people’s privacy, and the likelihood of a Trump-Putin deal to extradite him.

    Continued at
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