VISITING WEBSITES ABOUT PRIVACY GETS YOU PUT IN AN NSA DATABASE OF “EXTREMISTS”

Merely expressing an interest in anonymity makes you a target

by PAUL JOSEPH WATSON | JULY 3, 2014

Searching for online articles about privacy is enough to get someone put in an NSA database of “extremists,” according to new revelations published today.

In an article for German news outlet Tagesschau (translation here), Lena Kampf, Jacob Appelbaum and John Goetz reveal how the NSA’s “deep packet inspection” rules, which it uses to determine who to target for deep surveillance, include looking for web users who search for articles about Tor and Tails, an anonymous browser and a privacy-friendly operating system.

Those whose Internet traffic patterns suggest merely an interest in Tor or Tails are immediately put on a list of “extremists,” as is anyone who actually uses the Tor network.

“Tor and Tails have been part of the mainstream discussion of online security, surveillance and privacy for years. It’s nothing short of bizarre to place people under suspicion for searching for these terms,” writes Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow, adding that the NSA’s goal is, “to split the entire population of the Internet into “people who have the technical know-how to be private” and “people who don’t” and then capture all the communications from the first group.”

The revelation once again highlights the fact that the NSA’s data dragnet has little to do with catching terrorists and everything to do with targeting anyone who values their right to privacy. The mass collection of such information only serves to make it easier for actual bad guys to evade detection since the federal agency is building such vast and unwieldy databases.

Earlier this week, journalist Glenn Greenwald announced that he was set to release new information based on leaked documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden which would reveal which individuals and institutions were the targets of NSA spying.

However, at the last minute Greenwald said the story would be postponed as a result of the U.S. government, “suddenly began making new last-minute claims which we intend to investigate before publishing.”

GOVERNMENT STOPS GLENN GREENWALD FROM PUBLISHING HIS BIG SNOWDEN REVELATION

GOVERNMENT STOPS GLENN GREENWALD FROM PUBLISHING HIS BIG SNOWDEN REVELATION

But Others Will Release ALL of the Snowden Documents to Prevent a War

by WASHINGTON’S BLOG | JULY 1, 2014

It’s been a dramatic day for whistleblowing news.

A month ago, Glenn Greenwald announced that he was going to publish his biggest story yet: the names of those the NSA has been spying on.

Earlier today, Greenwald tweeted that he would finally publish the story tonight at midnight.

8 hours later, he tweeted:

After 3 months working on our story, USG [the United States government] today suddenly began making new last-minute claims which we intend to investigate before publishing
Many responded that it’s a trap, and that the government is dishonestly and illegally censoring Greewald.

At the same time, Cryptome announced that all of the Snowden documents will be released in July … supposedly in order to avert a war.

As the Daily Register notes:

All the remaining Snowden documents will be released next month, according t‪o‬ whistle-blowing site ‪Cryptome, which said in a tweet that the release of the info by unnamed third parties would be necessary to head off an unnamed “war”.‬

‪Cryptome‬ said it would “aid and abet” the release of “57K to 1.7M” new documents that had been “withheld for national security-public debate [sic]“.

The site clarified that will not be publishing the documents itself.

***

“July is when war begins unless headed off by Snowden full release of crippling intel. After war begins not a chance of release,” Cryptome tweeted on its official feed. “Warmongerers are on a rampage. So, yes, citizens holding Snowden docs will do the right thing,” it said.

“For more on Snowden docs release in July watch for Ellsberg, special guest and others at HOPE, July 18-20: http://www.hope.net/schedule.html,” it added.

NSA can easily bug your switched-off iPhone: Here’s how you can stop them

NSA can easily bug your switched-off iPhone: Here's how you can stop them

Edward Snowden’s recent revelation that the NSA can bug cell phones even when they are turned off left some experts split on whether it is true or not. But a group of hackers claim that at least there is a way to protect your phone from spies’ ears.

Snowden, who exposed the American government’s secret mass surveillance program, has been making headlines in the media for almost a year with shocking details about the scale of snooping by the National Security Agency (NSA).

In last week’s interview with NBC, the former CIA employee yet again added to the spreading privacy panic when he said the NSA can actually eavesdrop on cellphones even when they are turned off.

“Can anyone turn it on remotely if it’s off?” Williams asked Snowden referring to the smartphone he used for travel to Russia for the interview. “Can they turn on apps? Did anyone know or care that I Googled the final score of the Rangers-Canadiens game last night because I was traveling here?”

“I would say yes to all of those,” Snowden replied. “They can absolutely turn them on with the power turned off to the device,” he added.

It is not news that American (and possibly not only American) special services have been able to use mobile phones as a spying tool for at least a decade.

Back in 2006, media reported that the FBI applied a technique known as a “roving bug” which allowed them to remotely activate a cell phone’s microphone and listen to nearby conversations.

Pinpointing a person’s location to within just a few meters has not been a problem either thanks to a tracking device built into mobile phones. This option, a party-spoiler for criminals, has also been helpful in finding people who have gone missing or got into trouble. The general belief has been that removing a battery would make tracking impossible.

In July last year, Washington Post wrote that “By September 2004, a new NSA technique enabled the agency to find cellphones even when they were turned off.”

The agency used it to help American forces in Iraq. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) called the method “The Find,” and “it gave them thousands of new targets, including members of a burgeoning al-Qaeda-sponsored insurgency in Iraq,” the paper wrote.

It is very likely that the scale of the use of such techniques has grown much bigger and more sophisticated due to SciTech developments. And with millions of people getting addicted to their smartphones – which they carry with them literally everywhere – it is much easier to spy on them.

But, according to a piece published in Wired magazine, there is a way to make sure that no one is listening to you. The article, citing security researchers, says that if an attacker had a chance to install malware before the phone is turned off, the software could make it only look like the phone is shutting down. Instead, it “enters a low-power mode that leaves its baseband chip—which controls communication with the carrier—on”.

Such “playing dead” state would allow the phone to receive commands, including one to activate its microphone, says Eric McDonald, a hardware engineer in Los Angeles told the news outlet. It also gives practical advice on how to deal with the situation. Whether it works or not – is another question.

If you’ve got totally paranoid about your iPhone, you can try to put it into device firmware upgrade (DFU) mode, Eric McDonald, a hardware engineer, told Wired. In this mode, all elements of the phone are shut down except for the USB port which waits for iTunes to install new firmware.

To enter the mode, use any power outlet or computer USB port to plug in the iPhone. Then hold the power button for three seconds, after start holding the home button, too. After 10 seconds, release the power button, but not the home button. Wait for another 10-15 seconds.

The routine is to send “hardware reset” to the phone’s power management unit that overrides any running software, including any malware designed to fake a shutdown, McDonald says.

Now the phone won’t turn on when someone holds the power button or power up when the phone is plugged into a power source and you can leak some NSA secrets to a Glenn Greenwald. But if you decide to make a phone call at some point, you will have to hold the power button and home button together until the Apple logo appears.

The video below explains it with the use of a real iPhone.

There are easier ways to enter a complete shutdown, according to Wired. You can hold the home and power buttons simultaneously for 10 seconds without the DFU button sequence. This will put the phone in too low level a state for anything to able to interact with its baseband.

A SURVEILLANCE STATE BEYOND IMAGINATION IN ONE OF THE WORLD’S FREEST COUNTRIES

A SURVEILLANCE STATE BEYOND IMAGINATION IN ONE OF THE WORLD’S FREEST COUNTRIES

Defense of the fundamental right to privacy helped to spark the American Revolution

A White House lawyer seems determined to demolish our civil liberties.

June 2, 2014 |

In the past several months, we have been provided with instructive lessons on the nature of state power and the forces that drive state policy. And on a closely related matter: the subtle, differentiated concept of transparency.

The source of the instruction, of course, is the trove of documents about the National Security Agency surveillance system released by the courageous fighter for freedom Edward J. Snowden, expertly summarized and analyzed by his collaborator Glenn Greenwald in his new book, ” No Place to Hide.”

The documents unveil a remarkable project to expose to state scrutiny vital information about every person who falls within the grasp of the colossus – in principle, every person linked to the modern electronic society.

Nothing so ambitious was imagined by the dystopian prophets of grim totalitarian worlds ahead.

It is of no slight import that the project is being executed in one of the freest countries in the world, and in radical violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which protects citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures,” and guarantees the privacy of their “persons, houses, papers and effects.”

Much as government lawyers may try, there is no way to reconcile these principles with the assault on the population revealed in the Snowden documents.

It is also well to remember that defense of the fundamental right to privacy helped to spark the American Revolution. In the 18th century, the tyrant was the British government, which claimed the right to intrude freely into the homes and personal lives of American colonists. Today it is American citizens’ own government that arrogates to itself this authority.

Britain retains the stance that drove the colonists to rebellion, though on a more restricted scale, as power has shifted in world affairs. The British government has called on the NSA “to analyse and retain any British citizens’ mobile phone and fax numbers, emails and IP addresses, swept up by its dragnet,” The Guardian reports, working from documents provided by Snowden.

British citizens (like other international customers) will also doubtless be pleased to learn that the NSA routinely receives or intercepts routers, servers and other computer network devices exported from the United States so that it can implant surveillance tools, as Greenwald reports in his book.

As the colossus fulfills its visions, in principle every keystroke might be sent to President Obama’s huge and expanding databases in Utah.

In other ways too, the constitutional lawyer in the White House seems determined to demolish the foundations of our civil liberties. The principle of the presumption of innocence, which dates back to Magna Carta 800 years ago, has long been dismissed to oblivion.

Recently The New York Times reported the “anguish” of a federal judge who had to decide whether to allow the force-feeding of a Syrian prisoner who is on a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment.

No “anguish” was expressed over the fact that he has been held without trial for 12 years in Guantanamo, one of many victims of the leader of the Free World, who claims the right to hold prisoners without charges and to subject them to torture.

These exposures lead us to inquire into state policy more generally and the factors that drive it. The received standard version is that the primary goal of policy is security and defense against enemies.

The doctrine at once suggests a few questions: security for whom, and defense against which enemies? The answers are highlighted dramatically by the Snowden revelations.

Policy must assure the security of state authority and concentrations of domestic power, defending them from a frightening enemy: the domestic population, which can become a great danger if not controlled.

Greenwald’s Finale: Naming Victims of Surveillance

By Toby Harnden – May 26, 2014

The man who helped bring about the most significant leak in American intelligence history is to reveal names of US citizens targeted by their own government in what he promises will be the “biggest” revelation from nearly 2m classified files.

Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who received the trove of documents from Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, told The Sunday Times that Snowden’s legacy would be “shaped in large part” by this “finishing piece” still to come.

His plan to publish names will further unnerve an American intelligence establishment already reeling from 11 months of revelations about US government surveillance activities.

Greenwald, who is promoting his book No Place To Hide and is trailed by a documentary crew wherever he goes, was speaking in a boutique hotel near Harvard, where he was to appear with Noam Chomsky, the octogenarian leftist academic.

“One of the big questions when it comes to domestic spying is, ‘Who have been the NSA’s specific targets?’,” he said.

“Are they political critics and dissidents and activists? Are they genuinely people we’d regard as terrorists?

What are the metrics and calculations that go into choosing those targets and what is done with the surveillance that is conducted? Those are the kinds of questions that I want to still answer.”

Greenwald said the names would be published via The Intercept, a website funded by Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire founder and chairman of eBay. Greenwald left The Guardian, which published most of the Snowden revelations, last autumn to work for Omidyar.

“As with a fireworks show, you want to save your best for last,” Greenwald told GQ magazine. “The last one is the one where the sky is all covered in spectacular multicoloured hues.”

The publication last week of Greenwald’s book about the story behind Snowden’s leaks has re-ignited controversy about the motives of the young computer technician, who fled to Hong Kong nearly a year ago and was then given refuge by Russia, which has resisted US demands to extradite him.

Greenwald has even debated Gen Michael Hayden, a former NSA and CIA director, in Toronto. A famously aggressive and relentless former lawyer, Greenwald refused to engage in any social niceties with his adversary.

“I think that’s he’s a war criminal and belong in the Hague,” he explained. “And so to shake his hand or chat with him at a cocktail party is something really unpleasant to me.” Away from TV studios and debating chambers, however, Greenwald is affable and engaging.

There are even flashes of self-doubt. He confided that when he first met Snowden in Hong Kong “I wanted him to be this really presentable reliable figure so badly I was a little bit concerned my desires would influence or muddy my perceptions”.

Some senior intelligence figures claim Snowden could have been a spy for China, Russia or even both — a notion that Greenwald rejects as “just a standard demonisation tactic”.

Gen Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said the vast majority of what Snowden stole related to “military capabilities, operations, tactics, techniques and procedures” – something the fugitive vehemently denies.

James Clapper, director of National Intelligence and another figure Greenwald wants jailed, has described Snowden’s actions as the “most massive and damaging theft of intelligence” ever carried out.

Snowden is believed to have used a “spider” such as Googlebot, an easily available automated web crawler that Google developed to find and index new pages on the web. After Snowden set parameters for how far the spider should range, investigators have concluded, it was able to collect data when he wasn’t present.

Jack Devine, a former CIA director of operations, said he did not believe Snowden had been a spy, but that he shared many psychological characteristics of American traitors such as his former colleague Aldrich Ames, who spent years betraying secrets to Russia and is now serving life in prison.

These included an inflated sense of cleverness and self-importance, clashes with superiors at work, a dissatisfaction with carrying out mundane tasks and a sense of being under-appreciated.

“If I saw it and I were [the Russians or the Chinese] I’d come running for him,” said Devine. “But I don’t think the system worked that well. Even if you spot a bad apple, it takes a lot to get them.”

Devine, author of the forthcoming Good Hunting: An American Spymaster’s Story, said Snowden’s current situation bore similarities to that of Kim Philby, the MI6 officer who spied for the Soviet Union and ended up in Russia, alone and vulnerable.

“The Russians have been doing espionage for a long time. They understand the psychology of discontented people. It would be most unusual if he were allowed to remain there as a guest for free.

“I don’t think he was a controlled asset but I think at the end of the day he will be.”

Greenwald said he and Snowden still speak nearly every day via an encrypted computer link. “Literally of all the people that I’ve ever met and now know in the world, Edward Snowden is by far the person most at peace and fulfilled as a human being,” he said.

Greenwald said the NSA’s failure to catch Snowden was part of the paradox that “there is this genuinely menacing system and at the same time are really inept about how they operate it’.

“Not only was he out there under their noses downloading huge amounts of documents without being detected but to this day they’re incapable of finding out what he took.”

Greenwald, who has 12 dogs, ranging in size from a Bernese mountain dog to a miniature pinscher, at his home in Brazil, also promised further revelations about GCHQ, the NSA’s British sister agency.

“The British are more unrestrained and vicious in their surveillance mindset than even the US.” he said. “When you go to the park in New York, you see these built-up muscular guys and they have these tiny Shih Tzu dogs.

“It will seem like a mismatch but the Shih Tzu is super-vicious and yapping. That’s how I see the relationship between the GCHQ and the NSA.”

Read more: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/05/26/greenwalds_finale_naming_victims_of_surveillance_122747.html#ixzz32rdfruEJ
Follow us: @RCP_Articles on Twitter

NO END IN SIGHT FOR SURVEILLANCE POLICE STATE

Obama administration and Congress work to seriously weaken bill designed to rein in NSA
No End in Sight for Surveillance Police State
by KURT NIMMO | INFOWARS.COM | MAY 21, 2014

On Tuesday the House of Representatives gutted the so-called USA Freedom Act designed to curb surveillance abuse by the NSA.

The version that emerged from Rules Committee is substantially different than the version approved by the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees two weeks ago. The watered down and weakened version is the result of the Obama administration leaning on House leaders behind closed doors.

“The USA FREEDOM Act had previously passed through two committees before being secretly watered down behind closed doors,” notes Amie Stepanovich, Senior Policy Counsel at Access, a digital rights organization. “The version we fear could now be negotiated in secret and introduced on the House floor may not move us forward on NSA reform.”

“Before this bill becomes law, Congress must make clear – either through amendments to the bill, through statements in the legislative record, or both – that mass collection of innocent people’s records isn’t allowed,” the New America Foundation writes in a statement.

“The Leadership of the House is demonstrating that it wants to end the debate about surveillance, rather than end bulk collection,” said Harley Geiger, Senior Counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology. “As amended, the bill may not prevent collection of data on a very large scale in a manner that infringes upon the privacy of Americans with no connection to a crime or terrorism. This is quite disappointing given the consensus by the public, Congress, the President, and two independent review groups that ending bulk collection is necessary.”

The gutting of the USA Freedom Act was virtually ignored by the establishment media – and for good reason: the national security state needs all-encompassing surveillance to retain its hold on power.

A document released by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals the real reason the national security state has built and continues to build an unprecedented surveillance grid. “It revealed that the agency has been monitoring the online activities of individuals it believes express ‘radical’ ideas and who have a ‘radicalizing’ influence on others,” writes Glenn Greenwald for The Guardian.

Because the NSA targets “broad categories of people,” it is capable and willing to conduct surveillance on “anyone anywhere, including in the US, whose ideas the government finds threatening,” Greenwald notes.

Obama and the establishment media routinely criticize the panopticon surveillance state, but such criticism is less than worthless. The Obama administration, as noted above, has worked behind closed doors to make sure any legislation designed to rollback NSA violations of the Constitution and the privacy of the American people is seriously weakened.

NSA collecting content of all phone calls in the Bahamas, according to Snowden leak

NSA collecting content of all phone calls in the Bahamas, according to Snowden leak

The United States National Security Agency is reportedly collecting the contents of effectively every phone call dialed or received within the Bahamas, putting the conversations of countless residents and tourists into the hands of the NSA.

Journalists at The Intercept on Monday accused the secretive American spy agency of participating in this massive but previously undisclosed dragnet surveillance system after being supplied with classified documentation provided to them by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

“According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the surveillance is part of a top-secret system – code-named SOMALGET – that was implemented without the knowledge or consent of the Bahamian government,” Ryan Devereaux, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras wrote for The Intercept. “Instead, the agency appears to have used access legally obtained in cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration to open a backdoor to the country’s cellular telephone network, enabling it to covertly record and store the ‘full-take audio’ of every mobile call made to, from and within the Bahamas – and to replay those calls for up to a month.”

In one of those documents, The Intercept acknowledged, the NSA boasts of being able to log “over 100 million call events per day.”

Previously, Mr. Snowden’s NSA disclosures have led national security reporters to reveal how the US intelligence community has been collecting in bulk the raw metadata pertaining to millions of phone calls domestically, and similar records abroad are collected and stored by a program codenamed MYSTIC: “a surveillance system capable of recording ’100 percent’ of a foreign country’s telephone calls,” according to a Washington Post report published in March using documents supplied by Snowden. In the Bahamas and another, unnamed country, however, The Intercept reports that the NSA is allegedly recording the actual contents of every conversation, then storing it for analysts to review at a later date using a specialized project known only as SOMALGET.

“Documents show that the NSA has been generating intelligence reports from MYSTIC surveillance in the Bahamas, Mexico, Kenya, the Philippines and one other country, which The Intercept is not naming in response to specific, credible concerns that doing so could lead to increased violence,” the website reported. “The more expansive full-take recording capability has been deployed in both the Bahamas and the unnamed country.”

“If an entire nation’s cell-phone calls were a menu of TV shows, MYSTIC would be a cable programming guide showing which channels offer which shows, and when,” The Intercept reported this week. “SOMALGET would be the DVR that automatically records every show on every channel and stores them for a month. MYSTIC provides the access; SOMALGET provides the massive amounts of storage needed to archive all those calls so that analysts can listen to them at will after the fact.”

When reached for comment by The Intercept, the agency reportedly said in a statement that “the implication that NSA’s foreign intelligence collection is arbitrary and unconstrained is false.” The office of the Bahamian prime minister and another government official failed to comment ahead of The Intercept’s report, but journalists say that the documentation supplied by Mr. Snowden makes it clear that the NSA implemented this surveillance system unbeknownst to any officials in the Bahamas.

Key to the news, Greenwald tweeted on Monday, “isn’t just [that the] NSA is targeting country unrelated to terrorism, but the sweeping call-storing capability they’ve implemented.”