Caught With Their Pants Down

The Guardian reported today that “in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations, has begun notifying criminal defendants that Fisa surveillance material may be used against them at trial. While terrorism attorneys have long suspected that was the case, the public acknowledgement was another break from tradition. ”

Yet another example of how the Federal Government hasn’t been able to deny that they have blatantly violated the law.

Now the question is: how many cases and decisions are tainted by the Government’s misbehavior? I would guess the number to be huge. An avalanche of lawsuits to re-open cases or have decisions invalidated are likely to ensue.

It’s bad enough that our government has broken our laws, in the process violating the rights of countless citizens at high personal cost to them. The consequential cost that is yet to come will have a huge cost, and it will hurt every tax paying citizen in the wallet at some point.

The costs of the Snowden incident will be huge. We have no one to hold accountable other than the Government, which is clearly culpable. Will we accept some “gosh, I’m so sorry I knowingly broke laws and destroyed trust in the American government” and let the guitly waltz off into a well funded sunset? Or will we hold them accountable the same way that they would hold us.

We need to send a police force into Washington and have the criminals arrested and put through the system, just like any other person. Otherwise, we will have no justice, no peace, and no freedom.

Check out my recent Snowden-related radio broadcasts at DayPage.net

Government Legitimizes Bitcoin

A quick note here. You’ve probably see the recent stories about how the US Government has seized millions of Bitcoins, the virtual electronic currency, in its initial stages of prosecuting the Silk Road enterprise.

Just want to point out here that by seizing the Bitcoins, and attempting to access them, the Government is tacitly legitimizing them.

Given the Government’s orientation on Bitcoins, and its’ long tradition of quashing alternative currencies, it may live to rue this day.

A User Data Control and Freedom Manifesto

In a post entitled Security in a Post-PRISM World in eWeek today
by Sean Michael Kerner there’s an interesting Manifesto by Frank Karlitschek:

User Data Manifesto

Going a step further, Karlitschek has proposed what he is calling the “User Data Manifesto,” which outlines the characteristics that should apply to user data. “If I take a photo, it should be my photo,” Karlitschek said. The full User Data Manifesto includes eight key points:
1. Own the data
The data that someone directly or indirectly creates belongs to the person who created it.
2.Know where the data is stored
Everybody should be able to know where their personal data is physically stored, for how long, on which server, in what country and what laws apply.
3. Choose the storage location
Everybody should always be able to migrate their personal data to a different provider, server or their own machine at any time without being locked in to a specific vendor.
4. Control access
Everybody should be able to know, choose and control who has access to their own data to see or modify it.
5. Choose the conditions
If someone chooses to share their own data, then the owner of the data selects the sharing license and conditions.
6. Invulnerability of data
Everybody should be able to protect their own data against surveillance and to federate their own data for backups to prevent data loss or for any other reason.
7. Use it optimally
Everybody should be able to access and use their own data at all times with any device they choose and in the most convenient and easiest way for them.
8. Server software transparency
Server software should be free and open-source software so that the source code of the software can be inspected to confirm that it works as specified.


The Comment I Tried to Post on eWeek

Good stuff! I heartily support the Manifesto.

The NSA’s recent crackdown on itself makes it clear that it has no intention of scaling back its operations. It also clearly will continue to ignore and even flout its overseers and regulators. Thus, the FISA court is irrelevant and just a distraction.

President Obama has offered to make us “feel more comfortable” about the NSA’s total surveillance state. Another NOOP.

For those of use who would like to regain things like Democracy, Capitalism, and Justice (as in the system that allows for a defense)… and we must realize that these things can no longer exist thanks to the NSA… the only thing that will bring change is what most Americans loathe: taking action.

The Government is big, and it may appear resistance is futile, but there are those who have resisted, and they live. We outnumber those trying to saddle us with this total surveillance state. Take heart. Have no fear. Resist. Take action.

- Rex (w/ tip o’ the hat to “We Are Hugh”)

NSA: Mentally Diseased Agency

The NSA’s response to the Snowden disclosures show that it doesn’t get it, and probably won’t be getting it any time soon. This is bad news for Democracy, Capitalism, Freedom, and the American People.

By cracking down on staffers and taking draconian measures to reduce the possibility of future disclosures, the NSA is demonstrating that it has no intention of changing its ways, and wants to ratchet up its activities, if anything.

If the U.S. Federal government were an individual, and to be psychologically evaluated, there is no doubt what the conclusion would be: sociopathic paranoia and schitzophrenia. In short, mentally ill.

There, I said it. But I’m not alone. The Guardian is saying it too, and more eloquently than my low-budget allows for. In case you’ve missed it:

We have learned that in pursuit of its bureaucratic mission to obtain signals intelligence in a pervasively networked world, the NSA has mounted a systematic campaign against the foundations of American power: constitutional checks and balances, technological leadership, and market entrepreneurship. The NSA scandal is no longer about privacy, or a particular violation of constitutional or legislative obligations. The American body politic is suffering a severe case of auto-immune disease: our defense system is attacking other critical systems of our body.

 

First, the lying. The National Intelligence University, based in Washington, DC, offers a certificate program called the denial and deception advanced studies program. That’s not a farcical sci-fi dystopia; it’s a real program about countering denial and deception by other countries. The repeated misrepresentations suggest that the intelligence establishment has come to see its civilian bosses as adversaries to be managed through denial and deception.

 

- The Guardian

For more, see: Time to tame the NSA behemoth trampling our rights

Lamestream NSA Coverup?

Sometimes the Lamestream Media seem overly complicit with political leadership. It’s not their job, so they should really stop it! The power, money, fame, just aren’t worth it. Hey, are you still reading?

Lately there have been lame analyses of the situation with the NSA in the wake of the Snowden disclosures. Fussing about the FISA court, to be particular.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past few months, it’s that the NSA, by their own admission blatantly ignores the direction of the FISA court. The NSA is rampantly out-of-control, operating in a no-man’s land of their own creation that is lawless and without bounds (other than funding, of course, which doesn’t seem to be much of a limitation at present).

So it is that you don’t have to stay too far on top of this story for it to be obvious that the Lamestream is either totally incompetent or complicit. Which is it? What are we to believe under the circumstances.

In today’s New York Times blog Public Editor’s Journal, in a piece entitled “Guardian Story on Israel and N.S.A. Is Not ‘Surprising’ Enough to Cover“, Margaret Sullivan mentions that it was “good to see The Times getting more fully involved” [in the stories related to the Snowden NSA disclosures]. See also Decision to Publish Against Government Request Was ‘Not a Particularly Anguished One’.

In today’s piece, Sullivan relates how she exchanged email with Managing Editor, Dean Baquet asking why the times wasn’t covering the story about NSA’s connection with Israel. Baquet responded, she says, “I didn’t think it was a significant or surprising story”, and “I think the more energy we put into chasing the small ones, the less time we have to break our own. Not to mention cover the turmoil in Syria.”

Ms. Sullivan then asked her editor “… was this essentially a question of reporting resources?” to which Baquet responded “I’d say resources and news judgment”.

That news judgment practically puts Baquet in bed with the NSA, particularly considering the interest of Times readership in matters involving Israel.

But I digress by citing an example. The point here is that the NSA has, by its’ own admission, and as documented by itself in the Snowden disclosures, made clear that they seem themselves as above the law. They have no intention of abiding by the dictates of the FISA court, the Congress, Senate, or White House. In addition, the NSA clearly has gone to some length to spread disinformation about what they’re doing, as well as the scope of what they do.

With so much disinformation and false information swirling around, it would seem prudent to stick to what’s in the NSA’s own documentation, disclosed by Snowden. We can safely assume that, as with any large organization, those documents have been watered down and sanitized, and the truth is probably far worse than even the leaked documents suggest.

NSA: Invasiveness of Domestic Spying is Total; Absolute

http://daypage.net/ar/DayPage~2013-09-06~How_Deeply_NSA_Gets_Up_Your_Stuff.mp3


This is the DayPage I broadcast this morning on Radio InfoWeb

Just How Far the NSA Gets Into Your Stuff

DayPage 09/06/2013

DayPage – I’m Rex Latchford… more leakage from the NSA’s exiled contractor Edward Snowden. Published in the NY Times and the Guardian. The extent to which the Government has broken encryption methods used routinely on the Internet, and devised how to do so in real time has been known for some time by many, but as with previous revelations, the NSA’s own documents are more convincing to skeptics and provide some previously only suspected detail.

The entire list of how the details of NSA’s cryptanalysis for snooping Internet and other electronic data has been published by The Guardian’s website, theguardian.com, as images of documents marked “Top Secret”.

The Guardian writes:

The files show that the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have broadly compromised the guarantees that internet companies have given consumers to reassure them that their communications, online banking and medical records would be indecipherable to criminals or governments. The agencies, the documents reveal, have adopted a battery of methods in their systematic and ongoing assault on what they see as one of the biggest threats to their ability to access huge swathes of internet traffic – “the use of ubiquitous encryption across the internet”.

Those methods include covert measures to ensure NSA control over setting of international encryption standards, the use of supercomputers to break encryption with “brute force”, and – the most closely guarded secret of all – collaboration with technology companies and internet service providers themselves. Through these covert partnerships, the agencies have inserted secret vulnerabilities – known as backdoors or trapdoors – into commercial encryption software.

Suggesting how to deal with this new information, and the new world of Total Global Surveillance in which we find ourselves, the Guardian writes:

The primary way the NSA eavesdrops on internet communications is in the network. That’s where their capabilities best scale. They have invested in enormous programs to automatically collect and analyze network traffic. Anything that requires them to attack individual endpoint computers is significantly more costly and risky for them, and they will do those things carefully and sparingly.
Leveraging its secret agreements with telecommunications companies – all the US and UK ones, and many other “partners” around the world – the NSA gets access to the communications trunks that move internet traffic. In cases where it doesn’t have that sort of friendly access, it does its best to surreptitiously monitor communications channels: tapping undersea cables, intercepting satellite communications, and so on.

That’s an enormous amount of data, and the NSA has equivalently enormous capabilities to quickly sift through it all, looking for interesting traffic. “Interesting” can be defined in many ways: by the source, the destination, the content, the individuals involved, and so on. This data is funneled into the vast NSA system for future analysis. The NSA collects much more metadata about internet traffic: who is talking to whom, when, how much, and by what mode of communication. Metadata is a lot easier to store and analyze than content. It can be extremely personal to the individual, and is enormously valuable intelligence.

The NSA also devotes considerable resources to attacking endpoint computers. This kind of thing is done by its TAO – Tailored Access Operations – group. TAO has a menu of exploits it can serve up against your computer – whether you’re running Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, or something else – and a variety of tricks to get them on to your computer. Your anti-virus software won’t detect them, and you’d have trouble finding them even if you knew where to look. These are hacker tools designed by hackers with an essentially unlimited budget. What I took away from reading the Snowden documents was that if the NSA wants in to your computer, it’s in. Period.

That’s it for today’s DayPage, and there will be more in future DayPages. All monitored, of course, by the NSA. Daypage is produced by Peter Patriot. The Producer is Minka Bito. It’s a production of radio infoweb. [REDACTED] …even though nothing is safe. We’ll see you on the next DayPage…

US/NSA to Barrett Brown: We’re Throwing Away Your Key

Barrett Brown is the next visible victim of the Obama administration’s reign of terror after Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning. Nobel Peace Price not withstanding, if the President is loooking for terrorists, he need go no further than the nearest mirror.

As a followup to our story about Barrett Brown (Journalism Criminalized), we’re sorry to say the Administration has moved to bind, gag, and bury Barrett Brown alive without due process. All in the name of the War on Citizens (actually, the War on Citizens) and protecting the country from terrorists (like President Obama), at which it is an abject failure.

“A federal judge has imposed a sweeping gag order on Barrett Brown, a journalist covering online surveillance who has spent nearly a year behind bars. Brown faces 17 charges ranging from threatening an FBI agent to credit card fraud for posting a link online to a document that contained stolen credit card data. Supporters say he is being unfairly targeted for investigating the highly secretive world of private intelligence and military contractors. On Wednesday, a federal court granted prosecutors’ request to prevent Brown and his attorneys from discussing his case with the media. The order forbids “any statement to members of any television, radio, newspaper, magazine, internet (including, but not limited to, bloggers), or other media organization about this case, other than matters of public interest.” Brown faces up to 100 years behind bars.”

- Democracy Now!

How NSA Has Harmed the US Economy

Reports from various sources on the Internet indicate that Snowden documents show the U.S. was spying on China using a server located in China, and possibly via “back doors” in U.S. manufactured telcom equipment purchased by the Chinese for their own use.

China’s response is to rid itself of U.S. telcom providers and U.S. manufactured telecom equipment as quickly as possible, replacing it with either Chinese-built equipment, or, if that’s not possible, equipment built in Europe. The big loser? U.S. telcom equipment providers and the U.S. economy.

Estimates are circulating that the cost of NSA snooping to U.S.-based cloud computing companies could be $21.5 to $35 billion in worldwide contracts over the next three years. Non-U.S. companies are executing a cut-and-run strategy, scared away by the knowledge that the NSA has in place total surveillance of U.S. based servers and telecom infrastructure.

An ITIF (Information Technology & Innovation Foundation) report says 36 percent of U.S. residents surveyed said the NSA leaks have made it more difficult for them to “do business outside the United States”. The report found that Europeans are trying to edge out their American competitors, and are enlisting their governments in this effort. Even before the recent spying revelations, governments in France and Germany were advocating national cloud efforts to counteract concerns that the U.S. Patriot Act could compromise the security of data stored by U.S. companies. France’s second largest carrier, NFR, rounded up $300 million to invest in a French competitor to Amazon. A German minister’s call for a boycott of U.S. cloud companies has been reported.

The only hope for U.S. based companies may be the information coming out about other countries spying habits. If total surveillance is seen as a problem afflicting most governments, competition might be less affected.

Here are some related reports from across the web:

Desperation: Syrian War Distraction, Stoning for Submission

http://daypage.net/ar/DayPage~2013-09-03~Bombing_for_Compliance_-_Stoning_for_Submission_-_Fork_in_the_Road.mp3

In a DayPage I recorded this morning for Radio InfoWeb, I talk about the desperate disinformation campaign the Obama Administration has engaged itself in.

Can the U.S. stand alone against the rest of civilization and demand acceptance of American total global surveillance? Too much primo weed at the White House?

The U.S. is apparently at its’ wits end over its inability to control the narrative. Unable to control the drip-drip-drip leaking of NSA details — most recently about the NSA’s burgeoning budget, making it the most funded intelligence organization in the US, — and also the countless millions the NSA has paid to the nations telecommunications firms to purchase domestic telecommunications data — such as voice phone call content, web surfing habits, emails, text messages, photos, instant messages and more — all in an end-run around basic U.S. rights such as the prohibition on search and seizure, and the right to be “left alone” by the government … for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The biggest story is the story still being skirted by the government and lamestream media. It’s that Democracy, Capitalism, Free Markets, Due Process, and other foundational concepts that make up the world we have come to take for granted cannot function in a world of total, global surveillance in which we suddenly find ourselves. How will the world respond? Will we meekly lay down and accept totalitarian government, complete with big-brother and war disinformation straight out of Orwell’s 1984 playbook, or will we insist on continuing the direction of civilization, hopefully to a more peaceful and prosperous world not just for the elite, but for everyone?

Lamestream Drops NSA Snoopergate Story

Not surprisingly, the lamestream media have begun the burial process for the NSA Snooper-gate Story. One likely reason is that the administration has dug its heels in and steadfastly refused the possibility that bulk domestic spying might ever end. Ultimately, the lamestream media are brown-nosers, and without a path for the story that resolves in favor of the Government’s omnipotence, they see no other alternative than burial.

Europe, on the other hand, is not so keen to just roll over and accept that they’re being relentlessly spied on by the U.S. government. Here’s today’s DayPage, which I host over on Radio InfoWeb every morning. It features a look at today’s German paper, Der Spiegel

http://daypage.net/ar/DayPage~2013-08-27~NSA_Story_Lives_On_In_Europe.mp3

 

Now, to be fair, the Washington Post had an article on today’s edition, page A3, regarding Edward Snowden visiting the Russian Embassy in Hong Kong prior to his departure for Russia to evade the full anger and rage of the U.S. A search of the online edition of today’s New York Times, however, received no hits.

Outside the lamestream media, today’s Democracy Now! was chock-full of snooper-gate related news:

  • NSA Spied on UN

The United Nations has confirmed plans to ask the Obama administration about reports of U.S. spying on top U.N. officials. Citing leaks from Edward Snowden, the German magazine Der Spiegel has revealed the National Security Agency decoded the United Nations’ internal video conferencing system to eavesdrop last year. The spying on U.N. communications would violate the United Nations’ 1961 Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

  • NSA/Intelligence Disinformation to Discredit Critics

Snowden denies a leak credited to him by Britain’s Independent. The Independent of London reported on Friday that the British government is running “a secret internet-monitoring station in the Middle East to intercept and process vast quantities of emails, telephone calls and web traffic on behalf of Western intelligence.” The article cites documents leaked by Snowden. But in a statement, Snowden denied leaking that information or working with The Independent. In a statement, Snowden said the British government may have deliberately leaked that information itself in a bid to convince the public that the National Security Agency leaks have been harmful. The article appears just as the British government faces widespread criticism for its detention of David Miranda, the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, under an anti-terrorism law last week. Snowden said: “It appears that the UK government is now seeking to create an appearance that The Guardian and Washington Post’s disclosures are harmful, and they are doing so by intentionally leaking harmful information to The Independent and attributing it to others.”

  • NSA: Willful Violations and Illegal Distribution of Snoop Data

The National Security Agency has acknowledged new abuses of its surveillance powers. In a statement, the NSA said it had uncovered “very rare instances of willful violations of NSA’s authorities” by agency operatives. Some NSA officials were found to have spied on love interests, with one monitoring a former spouse. According to the Wall Street Journal, the practice is “common enough to garner its own spycraft label: LOVEINT.”

The National Security Agency has also been found to be providing illegally collected information about U.S. citizens to the Drug Enforcement Agency and Internal Revenue Service in order to assist in prosecutions. Such information would be inadmissible in court. Because it is illegal and violates due process, the results would be devastating to those accused.

On a related note: when the going get’s rough, the U.S. historically starts a war. Syria, perhaps? The lamestream media have been keeping up the drumbeat of war for several days now. But it’s a new day, and there is some question as to whether a war can completely bury the snooper-gate story.