June 7, 2013

Constant Updates: 10 Things we need to know about the 1000s of things our Government Knows about Us.

Update 4/7/2015: A bust was erected in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene park in honor of Snowden earlier this week by an activist artist group. It was promptly removed by the authorities, though they couldn’t stop the movement. After sun set there was a hologram set up of Snowden. For the rest of the story check here or here.

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

Remember: Congress has the power to remove the NSA’s authority from President Obama. No one is saying this. And the people in the House or Senate who could introduce bills to end the NSA and secret courts’ legal authority, and make these activities illegal? They aren’t doing that, either.

“If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” Then why is the NSA so keen to hide what they are doing?




Non-US link to video.

Edward Snowden Explains How The Government Can Get Your ‘D**k Pic’ During Interview With John Oliver.”

“If you sacrifice your values because you’re afraid, you don’t care about those values very much.”

“As far as I’m concerned, all of this airport security—the cameras, the questions, the screenings, the searches—is just one more way of reducing your liberty and reminding you that they can fuck with you anytime they want. Because that’s the way Americans are now. They’re willing to trade away a little of their freedom in exchange for the feeling—the illusion—of security.”

  • George Carlin

Senator Ron Wyden (Senate Intelligence Committee) on NSA Surveillance and Government Transparency:

“These digital technologies have grown so rapidly, and we really can’t even get our arms around it. It used to be that the limits on technologies were to a great extent a form of protection for the American people. A lot of that seems to be going to the wind. We’re sitting here with computers in our pockets, smartphones, with the ability to track people 24/7. These issues are as important as it gets. And Americans have a right to real debate [on] the way you deal with the constitutional teeter-totter of liberty and security. It’s hard to think of anything more important to our country and our bedrock values. And I think what will protect people now will be the laws that we write to rein in this omnipresent, ever-expanding surveillance state. And if we don’t do it now – if we don’t recognize that this is a truly unique moment in America’s constitutional history – our generation’s going to regret it forever.


“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is freedom.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

“I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction.”

-Albert Einstein


New iPhone blocks out NSA. Eff you, overreach. 

NSA Tried To Delete Court Transcript In Lawsuit Over Deleting Evidence (news.yahoo.com) “More importantly, they were caught three times deleting information pertinent to the case after being told specifically not to do so. If I were the judge I would be issuing arrest warrants for some NSA agents/head of NSA for violation of a court order.”

Nude photos of strangers are a ‘fringe benefit’ for NSA employees, says Snowden | The former NSA contractor said that images of people in “sexually compromising situations” were regularly passed around by young employees (independent.co.uk)

The NSA: ‘The Abyss From Which There Is No Return’ — “[O]nce you allow the government to start breaking the law, no matter how seemingly justifiable the reason, you relinquish the contract between you and the government which establishes that the government works for and obeys you, the citizen” (njtoday.net)

NSA permanently targets the privacy-conscious: Merely searching the web for the privacy-enhancing software tools outlined in the XKeyscore rules causes the NSA to mark and track the IP address of the person doing the search. (daserste.ndr.de)

NSA whistle-blower William Binney: “At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.”Politics (theguardian.com)

New Snowden Doc Reveals How GCHQ/NSA Use The Internet To ‘Manipulate, Deceive And Destroy Reputations’ of activists. (techdirt.com)

NSA: We’re too complex to comply with law, so we’re destroying evidence in EFF lawsuit (boingboing.net)

Top-Secret Document Reveals NSA Spied On Porn Habits As Part Of Plan To Discredit ‘Radicalizers’ (huffingtonpost.com)

Snowden: NSA employees routinely pass around intercepted nude photosPolitics (ars.to)

Over NSA worries, Germany ends government contract with Verizon | Ars TechnicaPolitics(arstechnica.com)

Mozilla Calls On World To Protect Firefox Browser From the NSA (wired.com)

Note: There is only one browser out there with its code 100% Open Source, That’s Firefox.


Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) – NSA shouldn’t be trusted with Americans’ secrets when it can’t even keep them safe from “a 29-year-old subcontractor.” (politico.com)

NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say “The NSA has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Snowden..” (washingtonpost.com)

Angela Merkel called Barack Obama today to complain against NSA attempts to eavesdrop on her personal phone. Internal investigations done by german intelligence agencies clearly hinted at US attempts to break into her phone. [Source in German] (spiegel.de)

Obama Orders NSA To Stop Spying On The World Bank, IMF (businessinsider.com)

Inspired by Snowden, more NSA insiders are blowing the whistle (boingboing.net)

NSA Hacked Email Account of Mexican President “The NSA has been systematically eavesdropping on the Mexican govet for years. It hacked into the president’s public email account and gained deep insight into policy making and the political system.” (spiegel.de)

NSA mines Facebook for connections, including Americans’ profiles (edition.cnn.com)

Yahoo CEO Mayer: we faced jail if we revealed NSA surveillance secrets (theguardian.com)

NSA ‘routinely’ shares US intel with Israel – new Snowden leak (rt.com)

NSA reports were “a startling indication that the U.S. has been a remarkably irresponsible steward of the Internet”. Now, New Jersey Representative, Rush D. Holt, proposes legislation that would prohibit the NSA from installing “back doors” into encryption. (nytimes.com)

NSA Has Keys To Most Internet Encryption | ‘The New York Times also points out in its piece that the U.S. lost a “heated national debate in the 1990s about inserting into all encryption a government back door called the Clipper Chip.”….”They went and did it anyway, without telling anyone.”‘ (npr.org)

Time To Tame The NSA Behemoth Trampling Our Rights: “From leaks and Fisa court papers, it’s clear the NSA is a bloated spying bureaucracy out of control. It can’t be reformed by insiders” (guardian.co.uk)

Senators Announce Bill That Ends NSA Phone Records Collection (npr.org)

Brazilian president Rousseff launches tirade against US over NSA surveillance at United Nations (theguardian.com)


“Here’s the c-span video of the exchange. Jump to ~1h:27m


Sen. Udall:
“Is it the goal of the NSA to collect the phone records of all Americans? You talk about building a haystack, you want the haystack to be the ultimate size.”

Gen. Alexander:
“I believe it is in the nation’s best interest to put all the phone records into a lock-box, that we can search when the nation needs to do it, yes. And the reason — and the way we do it — and the way we comply would ensure better security for this nation. So the oversight and compliance regime we have is going to be key to that. And does this give us the authority to collect other records? Well, as I noted, footnote number five, the court has said, hold off if you want to do cell site data, or plan to do that, you have to come back to the court.”

I bolded “phone” in Sen. Udall’s question because for some reason the Guardian article dropped it.”

Fisa judge: Snowden’s NSA disclosures triggered important spying debate; orders government to review rules on surveillance, says further declassification would protect court’s integrity (theguardian.com)

WikiLeaks released 249 documents from 92 global intelligence contractors. These reveal how, US, EU and developing world intelligence agencies have rushed into spending millions on next-generation mass surveillance technology to target communities, groups and whole populations. (wikileaks.org)

Snowden Nominated for Freedom of Thought Prize “Members of the European Parliament are officially nominating fugitive US leaker Edward Snowden for a prize celebrating freedom of thought, a parliamentary representative said Wednesday.” (en.rian.ru)

Yahoo CEO Mayer: we faced jail if we revealed NSA surveillance secrets (theguardian.com)

NSA ‘routinely’ shares US intel with Israel – new Snowden leak (rt.com)

Latest Leak: NSA Can Spy On Almost Anything, Gets To Set Its Own Filters (techdirt.com)

British PM David Cameron told a member of his cabinet to warn the Guardian newspaper of serious consequences of publishing Snowden material (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)

“I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. “ (lavabit.com)

Lavabit, the private email service Snowden reportedly used, makes a decision between “becoming complicit in crimes against the American people or walking away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit”. So Lavabit will be shutting down (boingboing.net)

Two encrypted email services have closed down for reasons linked to US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden. (bbc.co.uk)

Snowden: “Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, and the rest of our internet titans must ask themselves why they aren’t fighting for our interests the same way” (theguardian.com)

“NSA reps currently on the receiving end of hearings and committee inquiries have repeatedly stressed this point: it’s all completely legal and subject to oversight. Glossed over is the fact that the legality can rarely be challenged because the spied-upon are rarely granted standing. Also routinely glossed over is the fact that Congress has been lied to repeatedly about the details and extent of these programs.”

German minister proposes banning US companies that participate in US spying activities from doing business in the EU (spiegel.de)

NYTimes: Momentum Builds Against N.S.A. Surveillance

Letter to Barack Obama from Edward Snowden’s father and his legal counsel: ‘You are acutely aware that the history of liberty is a history of civil disobedience to unjust laws or practices. As Edmund Burke sermonized, ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’” (msnbcmedia.msn.com)

Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Received Double the Defense Industry Cash | Threat Level | Wired.com (wired.com)

Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and more join forces to request NSA data be made public (9to5mac.com)

Bipartisan pushback grows in Congress.

“The people of these United States are the rightful masters of both Congresses and courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” ~ Abraham Lincoln 

President Jimmy Carter comes out in support of Eric Snowden, and also says in the same announcement “America no longer has a functioning democracy.” I have yet to be able to find this story on any USA-based news sources. (I used Chrome to translate this article from Der Spiegel)/r/all (spiegel.de)

submitted ago by imautoparts to news

President Jimmy Carter has issued a statement in support of Eric Snowden in which he says America is no longer a democracy. The only way I know this is from European news sources – not a whisper from the press in the USA.” (spiegel.de)

Obama administration drowning in lawsuits filed over NSA surveillance (rt.com)

Snowden: I did not seek to enrich myself. I did not seek to sell US secrets. I did not partner with any foreign government to guarantee my safety. I took what I knew to the public, so what affects all of us can be discussed by all of us in the light of day, and I asked the world for justice. (informationclearinghouse.info)

Federal Judge Allows EFF’s NSA Mass Spying Case to Proceed (eff.org)

James Bamford: “The NSA has no constitutional right to secretly obtain the telephone records of every American citizen on a daily basis, subject them to sophisticated data mining and store them forever. It’s time government officials are charged with criminal conduct, including lying to Congress” (blog.sfgate.com)

Snowden made the right call when he fled the U.S. ~ Daniel Elsberg (the gent who released the Pentagon Papers) (washingtonpost.com)

Privacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center to file an emergency petition with the Supreme Court on Monday asking it to stop the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program that collects the telephone records of millions of Americans. (nytimes.com)

Update: U.S. has been signing agreements with fiber-optic cable owners to safeguard ability to conduct surveillance (washingtonpost.com)

If Only Ed Snowden Worked On Wall St. He’d Be Free From Prosecution Risk (techdirt.com)

“On security issues, we Americans need a rebalancing. …since 9/11, the United States has spent $8 trillion on the military and homeland security… More Americans die of falling televisions and other appliances than from terrorism. “ (nytimes.com)

Union Square, New York (photo)

Teddy Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Edward Snowden’s father “We the people” are sovereign under the U.S. Constitution, and government officials are entrusted with stewardship (not destruction) of our liberties. We leave it to the American people to decide whether you or Director Clapper is the superior patriot.” (washingtonpost.com)

Greenwald on ‘coming’ leak: NSA can obtain one billion cell phone calls a day, store them and listen (rt.com)

The United States taps half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany in a typical month and has classed its biggest European ally as a target similar to China.. (reuters.com)

Europe furious, ‘shocked’ by report of U.S. spying (cnn.com)

European officials reacted with fury Sunday after a report that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on EU offices. The European Union warned that if the report is accurate, it will have tremendous repercussions. (cnn.com)

Lawyers Said Bush Couldn’t Spy On Americans. He Did It Anyway. (washingtonpost.com)

The NSA built a $1.2 billion, 1.5 million square foot facility in Utah capable of storing a zettabyte of information. The facility is set to begin processing emails, phone records, text messages, and other electronic data this September. (npr.org)

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is leading a group of 26 senators — 21 Democrats, four Republicans and one Independent — in demanding answers from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper about the scope and focus of the NSA’s bulk collection of data authorized by the PATRIOT Act. (nationalmemo.com)

Ecuador president blasts coverage of Snowden case: “They’ve managed to focus attention on Snowden and on the ‘wicked’ countries that ‘support’ him, making us forget the terrible things against the U.S. people and the whole world that he denounced.” (newsday.com)

Ron Paul on Snowden – “My understanding is that espionage means giving secret or classified information to the enemy. Since Snowden shared information with the American people, his indictment for espionage could reveal (or confirm) that the US Government views you and me as the enemy.” (facebook.com)

Update: “Where are Snowden’s defenders in the media? The editorial pages of the Times and the Washington Post, the two most influential papers in the country, hadn’t even addressed the Obama Administration’s decision to charge Snowden with two counts of violating the Espionage Act and one count of theft.” (newyorker.com)

Update: Ecuador considering Snowden’s asylum, doubts fair trial in US: “Word ‘treason’ used, but who has betrayed whom? Is it people who’ve been betrayed, or certain elites?” asked Ecuador FM Patino (rt.com)

Update: Greenwald On the Espionage Act charges against Edward Snowden – Who is actually bringing “injury to America”: those who are secretly building a massive surveillance system or those who inform citizens that it’s being done?

“What is extraordinary is that the full rage and anger of Congress and the media are directed not against those responsible for carrying out massive violations of the US Constitution, but against the man who has exposed them.” (wsws.org)

“Could our worst enemy treat us more poorly then trying to separate us from our Constitution?”

“The NSA head was just before Congress asking for immunity for those who helped the NSA spy on Americans.

They know what Snowden has, and they tried to front-run this news and get immunity for violations of the 4th amendment, before we found out…”


Update: “British spy agency has secret access to the world’s Facebook posts, phone calls, emails and internet history.” Reddit comment: “Genius. We outsource data collection (i.e. spying) to Britain. And then they share everything with us. And vice versa. Avoids pesky things like warrants and due process.” (guardian.co.uk)

Update: Skype, utilizing a small person team, has a hidden backdoor allowing the NSA direct access to the program (nytimes.com)

Update: Within 11 days of the Bush administration (at least seven 7 months prior to the September 11 attacks), ATT began development of a center for monitoring calls, internet transmissions, and other digital information for the exclusive use of the NSA. (emptywheel.net)

No privacy for citizens, no transparency for government? JFK:

“The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. …there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.”

The President and the Press” address to the American Newspaper Publishers Association, John F. Kennedy, April 27, 1961

Update: Public wants congressional hearings on NSA surveillance “according to a new poll. Nearly two-thirds said they want open, public congressional hearings on the previously secret programs.” (washingtonpost.com)

NSA surveillance is an attack on American citizens | Noam Chomsky (guardian.co.uk)

Former NSA Employees Praise Edward Snowden, Corroborate Key Claims (theatlantic.com)

  • His disclosures did not cause grave damage to national security. What Snowden discovered is “material evidence of an institutional crime.”
  • As a system administrator, Snowden “could go on the network or go into any file or any system and change it or add to it or whatever, just to make sure — because he would be responsible to get it back up and running if, in fact, it failed. So that meant he had access to go in and put anything. That’s why he said, I think, ‘I can even target the president or a judge.’ If he knew their phone numbers or attributes, he could insert them into the target list which would be distributed worldwide. And then it would be collected, yeah, that’s right. As a super-user, he could do that.”
  • “The idea that we have robust checks and balances on this is a myth.”
  • Congressional overseers “have no real way of seeing into what these agencies are doing. They are totally dependent on the agencies briefing them on programs, telling them what they are doing.”
  • Lawmakers “don’t really don’t understand what the NSA does and how it operates. Even when they get briefings, they still don’t understand.”
  • Asked what Edward Snowden should expect to happen to him, one of the men, William Binney, answered, “first tortured, then maybe even rendered and tortured and then incarcerated and then tried and incarcerated or even executed.” Interesting that this is what a whistleblower thinks the U.S. government will do to a citizen. The abuse of Bradley Manning worked.
  • “There is no path for intelligence-community whistle-blowers who know wrong is being done. There is none. It’s a toss of the coin, and the odds are you are going to be hammered.”‘
  • By BILL BINNEY and J. KIRK WIEBE | 10/23/12 9:45 PM EDT

    Then came the horrific crimes of Sept. 11, 2001, and we lost our moorings. Shortly after that terrible day, President George W. Bush authorized the NSA to wiretap Americans’ international communications without any warrant, suspicion of wrongdoing or court oversight at all. The Bush administration managed to keep this secret for years, but inside the NSA, we knew what was happening. Together with large numbers of our colleagues, we objected to the abandonment of constitutional protections. We were told to mind our own business. But this is exactly the kind of intrusion into our private lives that the Founding Fathers wanted to prevent. We resigned in protest.

“Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American” ~ Edward Snowden

Dick Cheney Calls Edward Snowden a Traitor — “Dick Cheney helped mislead the country into invading Iraq and has been convicted of war crimes, but he thinks Edward Snowden is a traitor” (politicususa.com)

Food for Thought in regard of NSA wiretapping everyone: How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did (forbes.com)

Multiple Polls Show Americans Reject Wholesale NSA Domestic Spying (eff.org)


Al Gore: NSA Surveillance Programs Violate The Constitution (thinkprogress.org)

Senators Skip Classified Briefing ON NSA Snooping To Catch Flights Home “It’s hard to get this story out. Even now we have this big briefing — we’ve got Alexander, we’ve got the FBI, we’ve got the Justice Department, we have the FISA Court there, we have Clapper there — and people are leaving,” (thehill.com)

Al Gore: NSA’s secret surveillance program ‘not really the American way’ Former vice-president – not persuaded by argument that program was legal – urges Congress and Obama to amend the laws (guardian.co.uk)

“NPR has learned that the Obama administration, under pressure to lift a cloak of secrecy, is considering whether to declassify a court order that gives the National Security Agency the power to gather phone call record information on millions of Americans.” (npr.org)

The NSA Surveillance Fallout Should Be A Turning Point For The Tech Industry: “Tech companies need to re-think their business of collecting so much data in the first place. This should be a wake-up call” (guardian.co.uk)

This is amazing: LEAKED: Internal NSA talking points on PRISM (dlvr.it)

Two comments via Reddit:

“There’s no secret program here. Also, we must investigate the criminal wrongdoing of the traitorous leaking of info about the programs’ existence.” And,

“That last point was such a blatant and fundamental contradiction…”

Today Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced the Restore Our Privacy Act (ROPA). The bill would put an end to open-ended court orders that have resulted in wholesale data mining by the NSA and FBI. (sanders.senate.gov)

Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Orlando) files legislation to prohibit the Department of Defense, which includes the secretive National Security Agency, from spying on Americans while they were inside U.S. borders (orlandosentinel.com)

“The government had sought help in spying on certain foreign users, without a warrant, and Yahoo had refused, saying the broad requests were unconstitutional. The judges disagreed. That left Yahoo two choices: Hand over the data or break the law.” (nytimes.com)

Senators Wyden And Udall Say They’ve Seen No Evidence That NSA Surveillance Stopped Dozens Of Terrorist Attacks (techdirt.com)

Chinese Dissident Ai Weiwei: “The U.S. Is Behaving Like China” (zerohedge.com)

In 2012, congress reauthorized FISA which allowed NSA’s wiretapping. Republicans overwhelming for it, democrats overwhelminly against. Here’s the votes link (govtrack.us)

After NSA Leaks, Senators Re-Introduce Bill To Reduce Patriot Act Secrecy (forbes.com)

Poll finds two-thirds of Americans want NSA’s role reviewed, and 56% find current congressional oversight insufficient

Poll: More Americans see man who leaked NSA secrets as ‘patriot’ than traitor (reuters.com)

“We can [combat terrorism] without living in an Orwellian world where the government and private corporations know every telephone call that we make, every website we visit, every place we go. Is that really the country we want to be?” – Bernie Sanders (sanders.enews.senate.gov)

NY Times: The surreptitious collection of “metadata” — every bit of information about every phone call except the word-by-word content of conversations — fundamentally alters the relationship between individuals and their government.

Update: This is awesome. Care about the NSA controversy? Not much? Well, care about liberty? Yes? Then use a (somewhat) independent browser–dump Safari, Chrome…go Firefox! Why? Mozilla wants 500M users to tell gov’t: “stop watching us” (arstechnica.com)

Amid Data Controversy, NSA Builds Its Biggest Data Farm: power use enough for 65,000 homes, 1.5 million gallons cooling water per day, 1.5 million square feet and still not enough (npr.org)

Update: The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its “dragnet” collection of logs of domestic phone calls (nytimes.com)

Update: Germans accuse U.S. of Stasi tactics before Obama visit: “The more a society monitors, controls and observes its citizens, the less free it is,” she said.

Good Guy Obama meme:

Funny comment via Reddit, and all the (deserved) blame going at Congress and Obama: “This is just another example of the goddam liberals taking credit for what Bush did!

Oh sure, it’s easy to say this NOW, but back when BUSH did it, no one cared.”

Update: I’m a Patriot, but F*ck our Government.

Update: “Can it really be a crime to expose crime?” -Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers, discusses his thoughts on the NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden (youtube.com)

Update: List of every Congress member who voted to renew the Patriot Act (shame on you, Senator Michael Bennet—you’ve lost my vote).

Update: NSA Surveillance Furor Shows We’re Ready for War on Terror to Be Over (thedailybeast.com)

Update: oh, GOP: NSA Leaker’s $200k: Why Are Federal Workers Being Replaced With Pricier Contractors? “Why is a 29-year-old high school drop-out making more as a low-level contractor than any senior manager in the federal government short of the President himself?” (forbes.com)

Update: Obama, NSA, Verizon and DoJ are being sued for $3 billion in a class action lawsuit over PRISM scandal (scribd.com)

“Democracy requires an informed citizenry in order to function properly, and transparency and accountability are essential parts of that. That means knowing what our government is doing to us, in our name…Otherwise, we’re living in a police state. We need whistle-blowers.” (schneier.com)

A nice Update: Sales of Orwell’s ’1984′ up 69 percent on Amazon. (washingtonexaminer.com)

Update: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden ‘missing’ in Hong Kong. (bbc.co.uk) Probably in hiding, or moving to Iceland.

Update: Edward Snowden, the NSA Whistleblower, speaks (if you’re American, watch this Video)

Update, via Reddit, where hundreds of broke-ass college students are donating:

Obligatory-more-than-ever link to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) donation page.

Don’t forget that your company may provide matching contributions to registered non-profits like the EFF, Tor, and the ACLU Foundation.

Update: NSA memo pushed government to ‘rethink’ 4th Amendment in 2001, before 9/11 even happened (politico.com)

Update: Congress has known about this for years. All of Congress.

From an interview with Senators Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss:

Question: Do you know how many of your Senate colleagues have actually looked at the classified information?

Feinstein: I do not. Certainly the Intelligence Committee should have. We’ve had long discussions. This has been argued on the floor. Mentioned in the article are two senators who’ve had concerns about it. Obviously when the second amendment came up there was considerable argument on the floor about this. The vote was taken and the measure passed and was continued. That’s the business records section.

Chambliss: Let me just add to what the chairman said. The Intelligence Committee takes its oversight authority and obligation very seriously. We review every program within the intelligence community on a regular basis, including this program. That’s why we took the liberty of explaining to our colleagues the substance of the program in the two “Dear Colleagues” that we handed out. And we’re going to continue to do that. Where we find abuses, we’re going to take corrective action.

Full interview here.

Update: Flashback: Obama told Bush that “no president is above the law” and was against NSA (westernjournalism.com)

Update: Fox Hosts Suddenly Hate Same Wiretapping They Supported Under Bush (aattp.org)

On the Fourth Amendment: “In modern society, it is easy to forget where many of our freedoms come from. It is also dangerous to turn a blind eye to history. Civilizations, military commanders, and leaders of nations have ignored history with devastating results.”

Update: Creator of The Wire calls “bullshit” at the response to the NSA’s actions. (davidsimon.com)

Via Reddit: “Considering the NSA revelations, may I suggest PBS Nova’s ‘The Spy Factory'” (2009) (movies.netflix.com)

Update: Why shouldn’t I work for the NSA? (Good Will Hunting) (video)

Update: Bill Maher points out that we have known about the NSA collecting data for 7 years now. (youtube.com)

Update: Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) says he “did everything short of leaking classified information” to bring attention to the National Security Administration’s seizure of Americans’ phone records. (washingtonpost.com)

“Mark Udall, Ron Wyden, Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, are American heros. Most of Congress went along with the abuse of civil liberties, but I believe those few who didn’t, deserve credit.”

Map of Senators who voted to expand NSA’s power

Update: Why Spy With Your Little Eye? “Despite all this intrusion into our lives and violations of the Fourth Amendment, the system completely missed the Boston bombers, two of the dumbest, least sophisticated bro’ terrorists in the world.” (huffingtonpost.com)

Update: Julian Assange: Facebook in cooperating with the NSA has become the “most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented.” Facebook, Google and Yahoo (Twitter alone refused) all provide automated interfaces for the U.S. intelligence. “Here we have the world’s most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations, their communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to U.S. intelligence….When they add their friends to Facebook, they are doing free work for United States intelligence agencies.”

Update: NSA’s mass surveillance includes credit card data, says Wall Street Journal.

Update, from five years ago. This is not funny, or cool:

Update: VP Al Gore calls secret surveillance “obscenely outrageous.”

Excerpt via CNN:

“It also contains a gag order prohibiting Verizon from disclosing information about the order to anyone other than their counsel.”

Former Vice President Al Gore also criticized the move.

“In the digital era, privacy must be a priority. Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?” he said in a post on Twitter.

The order is allowed under the Patriot Act, and it is not the first time such an action has been taken.

In 2006, it was revealed that the NSA was secretly collecting telephone records as part of an effort to root out potential terror plots…” …read the rest.


Update, via the Register:

“…While I do not believe in overarching conspiracies of evil, I do believe that the structure and format of the American political system has become so damaged that the corruption of some individuals in positions of power is inevitable.

Transparency is virtually non-existent, accountability laughable and at the end of the day people unworthy of the power and responsibility they obtain are repeatedly given absolute control over the lives of millions: let’s not forget that the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act forces internet giants to share their users’ data with government agents and forbids those companies from talking about it.

For all that I am frequently accused of being “anti-American” I hold the US Constitution up as one of the most sacred documents ever written by mankind. (The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights would be the item I consider to be the single most important document in our history as a species.)…” read the full thing, it’s worth it.

Update: Colbert:

Update, from 2007:David Foster Wallace: “Assume for a moment that some of these measures really have helped make our persons and property safer—are they worth it? Where and when was the public debate on whether they’re worth it? Was there no such debate because we’re not capable of having or demanding one? Why not?” (theatlantic.com)

Update: “When government officials came to Silicon Valley to demand easier ways for the world’s largest Internet companies to turn over user data as part of a secret surveillance program, the companies bristled. In the end, though, many cooperated at least a bit…”

Relephant via The Newsroom:

Top 10 Things you need to Know about what the Government that we Fund wants to Know about Us.

All your communications are belong to us.

1. This is real, not just fodder for bored whacko conspiracy nutjobs.

2. That said, the government is not looking at your info. Via Reddit:

Here’s a good summary. But the main theme is that the government is collecting a lot of data, but not looking at it. I’ve organized the most important facts below.

Legal Authority: Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the government to get any personal information from anyone if they can prove to a special court that they need this information to investigate terrorism or spies. The Patriot Act is complex and I’m a little drunk, but I recall there being other provisions, too.

Timing: The NSA makes an application to a special “FISA” court every 90 days, showing why this data needs to be collected. Once they get the data, the NSA retains it for 5 years in a separate database (MARINA) accessible by only a special, authorized group (people in the RAGTIME P program).

Data collected: The government has to follow very different procedures for “wiretapping” phone calls. The data they’re collecting is much less invasive, but still really serious. Basically, they get the telephone records that Verizon is already keeping about those calls. This includes who made and received phone calls; when they were made; how long they lasted; and sometimes, where the phones were during the calls.

Sources of the data: It’s unclear who is giving information to the government. Verizon gives all of the above data to the government. But it doesn’t want to, and refused until the government got a FISA court order.

  • The government says that they’re collecting data from 9 US internet companies, including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple.
  • Apple, Google, and Microsoft have all responded that they don’t give this sort of information to the government, or they don’t know what’s going on.
  • I suspect they’re both right, because of the technical procedure of FISA applications, but I’ll post about that later if you’re interested.

Consumer Protections: The government can collect all of this data, and keep it in storage. But they can’t look at any of these records unless they can prove that a specific phone number is connected to terrorism or spies. They have to jump through several steps to use the data:

  • The attorney general needs to ‘certify’ looking at specific phone records.
  • The NSA submits an application to a FISA court.
  • The FISA court approves the application. This court can ask for more information before they approve anything, and they can order the NSA to stop looking at the records at any time.

So, what have we learned? The government has a huge, huge amount of information about you, and they’re getting it from more than just Verizon. But legally, they’re not allowed to actually look at any of your phone records unless they can link your phone calls to terrorism or spies. Really, the government is using this as a way to hold on to as much data as possible in case they need it later.

Government is taking a lot of data from a lot of people, but they’re not allowed to look at what they’ve taken unless your name comes up when fightin’ terr’rists.

3. The “EFF has so much evidence of the NSA surveillance now that they’ve created a timeline.” Here’s the deal: The NSA has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants allowing them to freely obtain the content of emails, video and voice chat, videos, photos, Skype chats, file transfers, social networking details, and more. (guardian.co.uk) And, U.S. intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program (washingtonpost.com)

4. Don’t forget that the NSA built a 100,000 sqft server campus. What did people think they were farming. (wired.com)

5. This is un-American. Why? Civil liberties: American freedom on the line. The fact that police have the right to monitor the communications of all its citizens – in secret – is a classic hallmark of a state that fears freedom. (guardian.co.uk) “To casually permit this surveillance — with the American public having no idea that the executive branch is now exercising this power — fundamentally shifts power between the individual and the state, and repudiates constitutional principles governing search, seizure and privacy” – New York Times (nytimes.com)

6. The Scandal Is Congress, Not the NSA — “Rather than challenging the administration’s authority to secretly interpret and enact laws, however, Congress instead twice authorized them to keep everything a secret.” (nationalmemo.com) Boehner declines to comment on NSA powers. “Why isn’t the burden also on you to explain why this act was passed?” a reporter pressed.

7. Surprise, Surprise! All Occupiers’ Phones Were Logged – Security expert says anyone engaging in protesting will have their data tracked, and more. What about the tea party? This seems like the reverse of the IRS dealio.

8. Let’s pressure President Obama to fix this. His heart’s in the right place, and this goes back to President Bush, so let’s make sure Obama can and must change this shiite. Obama (2007): “That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing but protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient.” [VIDEO] (youtube.com)

9. Support this gentleman. Video: As one of the few members of Congress who have consistently voted against the Patriot Act, I believe the United States should not be accumulating phone records on tens of millions of innocent Americans. Congress must address this issue and protect the constitutional rights of the American people. (sanders.senate.gov) And, this hero: In the wake of reports that the NSA has collected millions of phone records, Sen. Paul introduces bill that “would extend Fourth Amendment guarantees to electronic communications and requires specific warrants granted by judges in order to obtain this information.” (reason.com) And: Al Gore calls Verizon NSA surveillance “obscenely outrageous.” (cnn.com)

10. It’s been known about for some time. This dates back to 2001. This is not, really, news. It’s been going on for at least seven years. It’s called the effing Patriot Act. Sen. Dianne Feinstein on NSA violating 4th Amendment protections of millions of Verizon U.S. subscribers: ‘It’s called protecting America.’go to /r/politics for more (politico.com)

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