Earlier in the week we briefly mentioned former NSA contractor and leaker Edward Snowden's interview with the Washington Post where he noted that his mission "was already accomplished" because the press and the public are talking about the spy agency's various intelligence gathering operations.
Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of Finland-based antivirus provider F-Secure, has publicly canceled a talk (entitled, "Governments as Malware Authors") at the upcoming RSA Conference USA 2014 in protest of news that the RSA received $10 million to make an NSA-favored random number generator the default setting in its BSAFE crypto tool.
Google passed along a note letting us know that its petition on the White House web site has surpassed 107,000 signatures. The "We The People" petition calls for the White House and lawmakers to give the stuff we store online the same legal protections (Fourth Amendment) as the stuff we store offline. The petition only needed 100,000 signatures to ellicit a response from the White House at some point in the future, so it is good that it has passed this particular milestone.
Over the weekend the United States government filed documents in two cases (in California's Northern District) related to NSA surveillance - for the first time revealing that its spying activities go all the way back to the days shortly after September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center by terrorists that killed thousands of people.
A committee put together by President Barack Obama in August to investigate the government's vast surveillance operations and how it goes about collecting information here and abroad, delivered a 300 page report outlining why U.S. surveillance programs are "broken" and what can be done to fix them. The committee was put together following damaging document leaks about the NSA's various secret spying programs from former NSA contractor Snowden.
This week 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly unanimously approved a UN privacy resolution called "The right to privacy in the digital age." The resolution was introduced by Brazil and Germany and sponsored by more than 50 member states. The goal of the resolution is to uphold the right to privacy for everyone around the world. No doubt the resolution is in response to spying activities being conducted by the United States and the United Kingdom.
Here's an excerpt from the resolution:
At a meeting with President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden yesterday, executives from America's top technology companies urged the administration to reform the National Security Agency spying programs because they are "damaging their reputations" abroad and could ultimately "harm the broader economy."
Last night on Comedy Central's the Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert spent a bit of time picking on the idea of the National Security Agency snooping around Second Life. Recently reports revealed that new documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showed that the NSA was lurking in World of Warcraft, on Xbox Live, and in Second Life (of all places) to keep tabs on terrorists who they believed might be organizing attacks in these virtual worlds. Stephen Colbert poked fun at the recent revelation, showing clips from the game while cracking jokes like this one:
A federal judge ruled on Monday that the NSA's broad and massive surveillance of Americans' phone records is likely unconstitutional, but put aside his decision to allow the government to appeal. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled in a lawsuit brought by a conservative activist named Larry Klayman that the legal challenge to the massive surveillance program would likely succeed on the grounds that it violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
United States President Barack Obama is expected to meet with Microsoft executive vice president Brad Smith, Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus, and executives from Facebook, Apple, Comcast, Netflix, and Google. The President will discuss the roll-out of the HealthCare.gov web site and how the government can partner with technology companies in the future (something that probably should have been discussed prior to the website's less-than-stellar launch earlier this year), and about surveillance issues.
Last week we asked our readers, "Do Publishers Know the NSA Is Conducting Surveillance Operations In Their Games?" An overwhelming majority of voters believe that publishers are lying about their knowledge of the NSA's activities in games like World of Warcraft and Second Life, or they are blissfully unaware of what's going on.
An interesting report on Ars Technica reveals that the National Security Agency would continue bulk spying activities even if Congress passes a law forbidding them to do so. In fact, the agency would likely take the fight to court - though which court that would be remains uncertain.
A few days ago we talked about a report that showed that American and British spy agencies are playing World of Warcraft, Second Life and various Xbox Live games to spy on us.
Do you think the publishers of those titles know about the surveillance ops being conducted in their games?
Eight software technology companies have called on the United States government to limit its spying activities to specific targets, to overhaul the country's secret spy courts, and let service providers publish more detailed information about surveillance requests from the government. Companies signing the letter include Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, AOL, and LinkedIn. The open letter was sent to President Obama and members of Congress as well as being reprinted in a full-page ad in The New York Times and other newspapers.
According to a lengthy report co-published by Pro Publica and the New York Times, American and British spy agencies have infiltrated World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and collecting data in the games played by millions of people around the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents. Agents supposedly created characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, and collected data and contents of communications between players, according to the documents disclosed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden.
The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee has attached his cybersecurity bill (S.1353) as an amendment to next year’s National Defense Authorization Act. If the amendment manages to survive the approval process Sen. Rockefeller’s Cybersecurity Act of 2013 may finally become law. S.1353, was unanimously approved by the Commerce Committee in July but has been stalled since then.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is warning the public that the "reform bill" being pushed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA.) does nothing to curtail the questionable surveillance activities of the National Security Agency; in fact the watchdog group says that the new bill entrenches many of the practices the NSA is engaging in already.
Microsoft, trying to get a grip on the controversy surrounding just what its Kinect peripheral will capture, collect, and save, has released a page dedicated to explaining just what it will do when it is connected to the Xbox One launching later this month. Microsoft hopes that these disclosures related to the Kinect and its privacy policies will ease consumers who are concerned about the security of their information and activities recorded by Kinect.
Reuters is reporting that the UK government is threatening to move to stop papers in the country from publishing further leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. According to Reuters, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday that his government was "likely" to move towards putting a stop to newspapers from publishing "damaging leaks" from Edward Snowden unless they started to "behave more responsibly."
In a rare public statement yesterday, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden (now exiled in Moscow) urged American citizens to take part in a protest in Washington D.C. this weekend being put on by the members of the Stop Watching Us coalition. The group includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the Mozilla Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, social news website Reddit, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Demand Progress, Students for Liberty and the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA).
In the latest issue of The Advocate, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald talks about his work on unearthing the massive domestic surveillance programs run by the Nation Security Agency and how it has affected his and his husband David Miranda's life.
More importantly (for us at least), the article reveals what inspired former NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden (now exiled in Moscow) to reveal information on the NSA's questionable activities.
While watchdog groups, activists, and everyday citizens are speaking out about the NSA's domestic surveillance programs in the U.S., it turns out that our neighbors to the north have one of their own engaging in very similar activities. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association claims that the Attorney General of Canada violated the country's Constitution by authorizing CSEC to intercept emails, telephone calls, text messages, and other data using the country's anti-terrorism act. The Civil Liberties Association has sued the government in B.C. Supreme Court.
US Rep. John Conyers Jr., “Pentagon Papers” whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and actress Maggie Gyllenhaal are taking part in a new PSA calling for an end to mass "suspicionless" surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA). The new short video released by the StopWatching.us coalition was directed by Brian Knappenberger (We Are Legion: The Story of the Hackivists) and produced by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
The Southern District of New York has ruled that the U.S. government cannot use the government shutdown as an excuse to delay proceedings in a lawsuit filed against the National Security Agency (NSA) by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In a lawsuit filed in June of this year, the ACLU and its New York affiliate called the surveillance of (collection of phone and Internet data) Americans illegal and asked the court to force the NSA to halt its activities because they are unconstitutional.
A new video detailing the National Security Agency's (NSA) broad spying programs on Americans will be on display tonight at 9:00 PM ET in Manhattan, projected onto a building for everyone to see. Internet freedom groups Fight for the Future and Demand Progress have teamed up with Golden Globe nominee Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit) to produce a 5-minute crowd funded video that explains the NSA’s surveillance programs and calls for an end to them.
The battle over the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is far from over and lawmakers and leaders in the government's various security agencies are pushing hard to get legislation in the Senate passed. Earlier this year the House of Representatives passed CISPA with the hopes of the Senate putting together a bill of its own. At the time the Senate let that hot potato cool by saying that it had no plans to pursue such legislation.
Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said today that the Senate is "very close" to introducing legislation that would encourage the private sector to share information with federal agencies. A counterpart to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) that passed the House in April of this year, the as-of-yet unnamed bill would also provide blanket immunity to corporations that share data so they wouldn't have to worry about getting sued by customers.