This week Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and LinkedIn were finally able to release some data on requests by law enforcement agencies and federal authorities from January to June of 2013. Getting to this point was quite the fight, but something the aforementioned companies decided was important to pursue because the NSA files leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden said that some corporations were actively cooperating with government agencies. All flatly denied those allegations.
Rep. Peter King (R-New York) this week laid into the Republican National Committee (RNC) for its resolution stating that the National Security Agency's spying was unconstitutional, that various surveillance programs should be halted immediately, and that a "full public accounting" of those activities should take place. Rep. King described the resolution as a “hysterical” measure that could be a “death warrant” for the GOP. The RNC announced the resolution on Friday.
Following its report yesterday that the NSA and other spy agencies were exploiting "leaky apps" such as Rovio's Angry Birds to gather information on users around the world, ProPublica has released this handy FAQ to better explain exactly how the whole process works and what consumers can do to moderately protect their privacy.
Angry Birds maker Rovio issued a statement today (which they passed along to GamePolitics this morning following a request for comment yesterday) in response to a report from ProPublica that spy agencies were gathering information on users of its popular game. The company said in a statement that it does not share data about its users with government agencies such as the NSA or the UK's GCHQ.
It sounds far-fetched when someone says that playing something as innocent as Angry Birds is helping spy agencies gather information about you, but that is just what happens when users launch what this Pro Publica investigation claims is a "leaky app."
An ACLU attorney serving as a legal advisor to former NSA contractor and leaker Edward Snowden says that he would only take a plea deal with the U.S. government if the terms of the deal were solidified prior to his landing on U.S. soil.
"I can tell you now he is not going to return to the country and take his chances on what the details of a plea bargain might be or what might await him at a trial," American Civil Liberties Union attorney Ben Wizner said in an interview on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports."
The Republican National Committee passed a resolution today renouncing what it is calling "unconstitutional National Security Agency surveillance programs." This is quite a shift in position for the party which defended the ramping up of these programs after the 911 attacks. The resolution was affirmed by a voice vote at the GOP’s winter meeting.
The RNC called upon Republican lawmakers "to immediately take action to halt current unconstitutional surveillance programs and provide a full public accounting of the NSA’s data collection programs."
The great debate about the fate of the former NSA contractor who leaked documents detailing the agency's spying programs on the Internet, mobile phones and even in video games rages on. Some believe that Edward Snowden is a patriot and a whistleblower who deserves a full presidential pardon, while others believe that he should be get the maximum penalty under the law for treason and espionage.
On Friday President Barack Obama gave a speech laying out his plans to curtail the spying activities of the National Security Agency (NSA) on U.S. citizens and on targets abroad. The president promised to reform the agency's programs, but according to a new poll Americans aren't impressed with the president's plan or didn't pay attention to it.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said that President Barack Obama's speech on reforming the National Security Agency contained a lot of lies and that the president spent a lot of time saying nothing. Assange made his comments during an interview on CNN after the speech aired.
"We heard a lot of lies in this speech by Obama," Assange said. "I think it’s embarrassing for a head of state to go on like that for 45 minutes and say almost nothing."
Today at the Justice Department President Barack Obama delivered a speech announcing that the United States will stop collecting and storing phone metadata, even as he defended the programs run by the National Security Alliance. In a rather lengthy speech covering a number of issues related to the NSA's spying programs, the president emphasized that U.S. intelligence agencies have not broken the law and have not spied on the calls or e-mails of "ordinary people."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says that the National Security Agency's claims of secrecy on information that has already been widely released due to leaks by Edward Snowden are overblown and no longer "secret." The advocacy group made its comments in an official response in its ongoing court battle with the agency over the unconstitutionality of its surveillance programs.
Outgoing National Security Agency deputy director John C. Inglis tells National Public Radio that the spy agency would welcome the creation of a public advocate position to take part in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court deliberations as a check against NSA requests. Inglis, who is retiring after being the number 2 man in the agency for seven years says that an advocate for the constitutionality of requests to be included would be fine as long as it doesn't impede the expediency of the NSA's activities.
According to a Bloomberg report, President Obama will attempt to get out in front of recommendations by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board coming in late January or early February by announcing some changes of his own to the way the National Security Agency currently collects data as part of its massive surveillance programs.
Several states (or at least a handful of state lawmakers) have decided to fight against the federal government's surveillance activities in their own way. In California, two state senators have introduced a bill in Sacramento that would forbid state agencies from cooperating with the National Security Agency to collect "any electronic data or metadata... not based on a warrant." The bill sponsored by state senators Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) and Joel Anderson (R-San Diego), is the first state-level proposal to compel non-cooperation with the federal agency.
In an interview with Fox News on Friday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) said that National Intelligence chief James Clapper and NSA leaker Edward Snowden should "share a jail cell," intimating that Clapper is as much a criminal as the former NSA contractor turned whistleblower (or traitor depending on what school of opinion you subscribe to). Clapper testified before Congress denying that the NSA was not engaging in supposed dragnet surveillance of American citizens.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has officially appealed a recent decision by a New York District Court Judge that determined that the National Security Agency's (NSA) wide-scale surveillance of mobile phone data was legal and within the confines of the law. The filing with the Federal Appeals Court could ultimately lead to the case being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Apple has responded strongly to reports that the National Security Agency claims a "100-percent success rate" in attaching spyware to iOS apps. The revelation about the NSA's targeting of Apple products comes from a recent Der Speigel report featuring leaked documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided to various journalists. The NSA program targeting Apple products is called DROPOUTJEEP, and allows the agency to intercept SMS messages, access contact lists, locate a phone using cell tower data, and even activate the device’s microphone and camera.
According to an article published by Germany’s Der Spiegel newspaper on Sunday, the National Security Agency (NSA) has a catalog of "backdoors" that allows spies to infiltrate equipment from major computing and security vendors including firewalls from Juniper Networks, hard drives from Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor and Samsung, networking gear from Cisco and Huawei, and unspecified equipment from Dell.
Earlier this week we reported that Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of Finland-based antivirus provider F-Secure, had 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.
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.
Speaking to The Washington Post, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden said that his "mission's already accomplished" after leaking NSA secrets that have caused a reassessment of U.S. surveillance policies. Snowden told the publication in a recent interview published online Monday night that he was satisfied with the results of his disclosure because it has enabled journalists to tell the story of the government's collection of bulk Internet and phone records.
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.