A decision last week about NSA spying by a panel of judges on the United States Court of Appeals in New York City sent shock waves through the government. The court ruled that a section of the Patriot Act that is due to expire at the end of this month and on which the government has relied as a basis for its bulk acquisition of telephone data in the past 14 years does not authorize that acquisition. This may sound like legal mumbo jumbo, but it goes to the heart of the relationship between the people and their government in a free society. Here is the backstory and the latest.
It was supposed to be the declawing of America’s biggest spy service. But “what no one wants to say out loud is that this is a big win for the NSA,” one former top spook says.
Civil libertarians and privacy advocates were applauding yesterday after the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation to stop the National Security Agency from collecting Americans’ phone records. But they’d best not break out the bubbly.
The National Security Agency and its closest allies planned to hijack data links to Google and Samsung app stores to infect smartphones with spyware, a top-secret document reveals.
The surveillance project was launched by a joint electronic eavesdropping unit called the Network Tradecraft Advancement Team, which includes spies from each of the countries in the “Five Eyes” alliance — the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.
Leaked documents reveal how the security agency converts speech into text as part of its Big Data collection program. Top-secret documents from the Edward Snowden archive show that the National Security Agency has developed technology allowing the U.S. government to automatically convert telephone conversations into text. The new technology, referred to as human language technology, uses a text analysis software that has significantly enhanced the U.S. government’s ability to listen in on telephone conversations.
WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Rand Paul lashed out against the federal government’s sweeping surveillance programs on Wednesday, staking an aggressive position on an issue already dividing the Republican presidential field.
The libertarian-leaning Kentucky Republican, who launched a White House bid earlier in the month, noted that members of his own party support programs that allow the National Security Agency to collect the phone records of millions of Americans.
With only a month until the scheduled trial of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged creator of the Silk Road drug site, Ulbricht’s defense lawyers have zeroed in on the argument that the U.S. government illegally hacked the billion-dollar black market site to expose the location of its hidden server. The prosecution’s latest rebuttal to that argument takes an unexpected tack: they claim that even if the FBI did hack the Silk Road without a warrant—and prosecutors are careful not to admit they did—that intrusion would be a perfectly law-abiding act of criminal investigation.
With nearly no public notice or debate, Congress on Wednesday approved legislation that critics say blesses the warrantless collection, dissemination and five-year retention of everyday Americans’ phone and Internet communications.
The controversial language was quietly incorporated into an intelligence authorization bill that passed the Senate on Tuesday and then the House on Wednesday.
A former CBS News reporter who quit the network over claims it kills stories that put President Obama in a bad light says she was spied on by a “government-related entity” that planted classified documents on her computer.
Prime Minister David Cameron has quite literally called for the end of privacy on the Internet as we know it: in a radical speech on Monday he said that, since threats of terrorism existed in the world, there should be no “means of communications” that the UK “cannot read.” He appears to be suggesting that he’s in favour of outlawing the use of end-to-end encryption – which, in turn, could ban some of the most popular texting messaging apps in the world, including WhatsApp and iMessage.
Google’s Safe Browsing List that blocks websites and flags them as containing malware is increasingly used as mechanism for the censoring of independent media and the falsification of history. It is an alarming development that, left unchallenged, puts the survival of any independent newspaper, blog, TV or radio station at risk.. Over the past months the list has apparently been used to target websites critical of U.S.’ involvement in the wars in the Middle East, U.S.’ involvement in Ukraine and independent media who are publishing material that is critical of Zionism.
A portion of a 1789 law signed by George Washington requires Apple Inc. to help decrypt information on smartphones and tablets marketed as protected against government intrusion, the feds say.
And federal magistrates in at least two states have agreed with government lawyers that, under the All Writs Act, companies including Apple have to provide “reasonable technical assistance” to help decrypt messages sent from their electronic devices, according to Ars Technica’s Law & Disorder blog of and the Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog.
After years of dithering, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has at last deposited the formal proposal to reclassify Internet as a public utility and subject it to federal regulation, championed by proponents as “net neutrality.”
Wheeler outlined the plan in an article for Wired magazine last week and it will be considered for a vote by the commission Feb. 26.
The plan has not yet been released to the public, but at least one FCC commissioner who has seen it isn’t taking the bait.