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secret-services
Jeeves, the excellent valet of Mr Wooster, had an ace up his sleeve: if going was tough, he had used his access to the records of the Junior Ganymede club, and there he could find embarrassing stuff against anybody who had ever employed a valet or a butler, for these gentleman’s gentlemen were obliged to... Read More
Years before Edward Snowden provided documented proof that the National Security Agency was really a national insecurity agency as it was violating law and the US Constitution and spying indiscriminately on American citizens, William Binney, who designed and developed the NSA spy program revealed the illegal and unconstitutional spying. Binney turned whistleblower, because NSA was... Read More
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A Private Investigator on Living in a Surveillance Culture
Now that we know we are surveilled 24/7 by the National Security Agency, the FBI, local police, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, hackers, the Russians, the Chinese, the North Koreans, data brokers, private spyware groups like Black Cube, and companies from which we've ordered swag on the Internet, is there still any "right to be forgotten," as... Read More
Last weekend, the FBI arrested an employee of a corporation in Augusta, Georgia, that had a contract with the National Security Agency and charged her with espionage. Espionage occurs when someone who has been entrusted to safeguard state secrets fails to do so. In this case, the government alleges that the person to whom state... Read More
“The makers of our Constitution … conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone -- the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.” -- Justice Louis D. Brandeis, 1928 After the Watergate era had ended and Jimmy Carter was in the White House and the Senate’s Church... Read More
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I have decided to share with you something which I originally sent out to the key members of the Saker community: my recommendation on how to keep your private communications private in the age of “Big Brother” aka NSA, ECHELON, GCHQ, Unit 8200, etc. I have been interested in the topic of encryption for many... Read More
There is no such thing as cyber security. The only choice is more security or less security, as the recent hack of the National Security Agency demonstrates. Hackers stole from NSA a cyber weapon, which has been used in attacks (at time of writing) on 150 countries, shutting down elements of the British National Health... Read More
Late last week, President Donald Trump told CBS News that domestic surveillance of American citizens should the “No. 1” topic of inquiry until we can find out “what the hell is going on” with it. Also late last week, the National Security Agency -- the federal government’s 60,000-person-strong domestic spying agency -- announced that it... Read More
The issue of federal government surveillance of Americans has largely occupied Washington politicians and the media since President Donald Trump first accused the administration of his predecessor of spying on him while he and his colleagues worked at Trump Tower in New York City during the presidential election campaign and during the presidential transition. Trump's... Read More
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The question of whether former President Barack Obama actually spied on President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition has been tantalizing Washington since President Trump first made the allegation nearly two weeks ago. Since then, three investigations have been launched -- one by the FBI, one by the House of Representatives and... Read More
NSA spying often occurs because the resources are in place, and have to be used for something
The drama of Edward Snowden’s exposure of wide-ranging National Security Agency (NSA) domestic spying has somewhat overshadowed the steady flow of somewhat lesser revelations derived from the massive cache of documents known as Wikileaks. The most recent news reports based on five Wikileaks documents, plus a list of targeted telephone numbers, detail how Washington spied... Read More
Last week, Republicans and Democrats in Congress joined President Barack Obama in congratulating themselves for taming the National Security Agency’s voracious appetite for spying. By permitting one section of the Patriot Act to expire and by replacing it with the USA Freedom Act, the federal government is taking credit for taming beasts of its own... Read More
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... Read More
With Republicans now ruling Congress, any momentum for surveillance state reform has been lost
Recent reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) appears to have installed a worm in computer hard drives that enables it to surreptitiously collect information, compartmentalize and conceal it, and later enable access without being detected have failed to produce much of a reaction in the media and from the public. This is possibly due... Read More
The Snowden camp did itself no favors with its critics and skeptics by revealing information from a highly classified NSA document concerning the use of “Targeted Exploitation” a.k.a. TAREX against the People’s Republic of China in a story published by The Intercept. Basic story: undercover operatives penetrate PRC telecommunications companies to bug their products. I’m... Read More
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How do you say that in Arabic?
How do you process 1.7 billion pieces of information in a day? You can’t, so if you are the National Security Agency (NSA) you screen through it insofar as you are able to do so using computers with sophisticated algorithms to identify key words and then store it somewhere so you can always check back... Read More
Craig Murray caused quite a fuss in 2004 when, as UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, he openly criticized the systemic and severe human rights abuses of the Karimov regime.  He was publicly and pointedly stomped on by the British government, with the full encouragement of the Bush administration, for complicating Western access to the Karshi-Khanabad airbase... Read More
Since I pretty much made a meal out of this issue over on Twitter, I’m returning from 140-character land to the reassuringly logorrheic surroundings of my blog to share my thoughts on the Fred Kaplan think piece that made the case for denying clemency to Edward Snowden. I was rather bemused by the hosannas this... Read More
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The “unitary executive” crowd that came to the fore under George W. Bush argue basically that because the government does something it is therefore ipso facto legal. It is not a new concept though one heard only intermittently in the United States where constitutional checks and balances were long the Gospel prior to 9/11. Ironically,... Read More
Gadzooks! They've cracked the iPhone!? If you're wondering how the NSA developed this fiendish capability, fingers are being pointed at Apple, but a trip through the Wayback machine suggests another possible culprit: From a 2011 article by Mark Elgan at Computerworld: Cellphone users say they want more privacy, and app makers are listening. No, they're... Read More
With RSA, a big and respected name (actually initials) in cryptography, currently getting flayed in the public press for taking $10 million from the NSA and, in return, embedding a dodgy, NSA-compromised random number generator a.k.a. DUAL EC EBRG in its products (RNGs help generate encryption keys; a compromised RNG yields a limited, more crackable... Read More
What rights do humans have? On a global scale, zip, actually. One of the by-products of an increasingly interconnected and interpenetrated world is that the difference between the way nations treat their citizens and the way they treat the rest of the world is becoming more apparent. The issue has been brought into sharp relief... Read More
I’ve come up with a new coinage FUSMAL, “Fucked Up on So Many Levels” to describe the NSA follies. I took note of the recent Washington Post poll which found that 60% of respondents believe that Edward Snowden’s revelations had “harmed U.S. security.” This represented an 11% jump over July, when 49% thought his revelations... Read More
Well, the guy who said this was full of crap: Actual situation, as per the Guardian today, the NSA honored its no-spy-on-five-eye pledge in the breach: Britain and the US are the main two partners in the 'Five-Eyes' intelligence-sharing alliance, which also includes Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Until now, it had been generally understood... Read More
The Internet has been good to me this day. I recently wrote a post on the (to me) unconvincing hero-splaining of the privacy commitments espoused by Google, Yahoo! Et al. in the wake of revelations of “MUSCULAR” NSA intrusions into their data backbones: Publish what? Evidence that Google's security is cracked? Or document Google's hyperbolic... Read More
Back in August, I e-mailed a Guy Who Knows Stuff: And he replied: But then I came across: Poked around a bit, came up empty, didn’t pursue it. Then, today, courtesy of Barton Gellman at the Washington Post,
Also, Snowden Derangement Syndrome and Andrea Merkel’s Phone
I have an article in the current subscription-only CounterPunch magazine on the NSA encryption follies. The takeaway from the article is that, thanks to fiddling by the NSA and its corporate partners, Internet security is a jury-rigged omnishambles. It’s as if the National Transportation Safety Board, with the garages and auto parts suppliers playing along,... Read More
The NSA war on Internet integrity [This piece appeared at Asia Times Online in a slightly different form on October 15, 2013.  It can be reproduced if China Matters is credited and a link provided.  This article is a companion piece to an article appearing in an upcoming issue of CounterPunch magazine, which discusses the... Read More
[Alert Reader pointed out the correct name for the Google Maps program as developed by the US government is "Keyhole", not "Keystone".  Herewith corrected.  Thank you, AR.] On the rational left, Edward Snowden is close to losing the support of Kevin Drum because the most recent revelation—that the government has all sorts of ways and... Read More
[This piece originally appeared at Asia Times Online on June 28, 2013.  It can be reposted if ATOl is acknowledged and a link provided.]  The main problem for Edward Snowden is that he ran away. That's not Edward Snowden's problem; it's America's problem. The idea that Edward Snowden decided to flee overseas in order to... Read More
[This piece originally appeared at Asia Times Online on June 21, 2013.  It can be reposted if ATOl is credited and a link provided.  Thanks to some missed connections during the editing process, in one passage in the ATOl piece, the Daily Caller is misidentified as the Daily Beast...and in another passage the Daily Caller... Read More
[Edited this post lightly for clarity/typos after I sent out the e-mail notice. Be warned!] First, why Hong Kong? My answer: Because he’s a spook. There has been no end of sniggering from the liberal Colonel Blimps that Snowden chose to reveal his identity in Hong Kong. As in (from the Twitter feed of a... Read More
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