Posts tagged NSA
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
According to reports, all personal information stored on major cloud computing services can be spied on by US agencies without users’ knowledge or even a search warrant.
This is all reportedly being done under the recently reauthorized Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and has led British Members of Parliament to call on the British government to not only end the use of cloud computing but also stop sharing intelligence services with the U.S, according to the Independent.
It’s worth pointing out that the US government has admitted breaching the Fourth Amendment under FISA while maintaining an absurd level of secrecy around the Act. Given the massive expansion of the Pentagon’s cyberwarfare forces and the exponential rise in surveillance overall, people around the world have a quite legitimate reason to be concerned.
As New Zealand’s IOL points out, under FISA “all documents uploaded on to cloud systems based in the US or falling under Washington’s jurisdiction can be accessed and analyzed without a warrant by American security agencies.”
Apparently, US agencies have been able to access private data stored on the cloud since 2008 while no one had any clue it was going on.
“What this legislation means is that the US has been able to mine any foreign data in US Clouds since 2008, and nobody noticed,” said Caspar Bowden, chief privacy adviser to Microsoft Europe for nine years until 2011.
According to IOL, US agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), the FBI and the CIA can all access information that potentially concerns American foreign policy for reasons which are purely political.
There is apparently no need for suspicion that national security issues are at stake which would mean that religious organizations, political campaigns and even journalists could have their data monitored by the US government.
Bowden, now working as an independent advocate for privacy rights, co-authored a report for the European Parliament which warns of the threat posed by FISA.
In the report, Bowden also criticized the UK Information Commissioner’s Office for giving the control over to the US government.
Perhaps even more concerning for the British, four of the suppliers of the UK Government’s G-Cloud system are indeed located in the US and thus under American control thanks to FISA, raising “questions over the security of information is being stored overseas,” as the Independent puts it.
“The Americans have got to remember who their allies are and who their enemies are,” said Tory MP David Davis.
“There are people like us who they rely on to provide them with listening stations, like Menwith Hill for example,” Davis said, referring to a Royal Air Force base which aids the US intelligence community by intercepting communications.
“Do they really want Parliament to start asking Government to limit what Menwith Hill can do? There are all sorts of possibilities if they carry on with this,” Davis said.
Davis further warned that there is “a whole cascade of constitutional and privacy concerns for ordinary British people.”
However, the UK government seems totally onboard as the entity responsible for policing the UK’s data protection laws “effectively ruled that companies were right to pass information over to foreign government requests as the disclosure was made ‘in accordance with a legal requirement,’ such as FISA,” according to IOL.
“Every time we make a bridge of trust, or commit an indiscretion, using a social network or webmail, think how a foreign country could use that information for its own purposes to influence policy and politics,” Bowden said. “Drafts of documents prepared online, who is in contact with each other, all of this can be captured and analyzed using data-mining algorithms much more advanced than those offered by public search engines.”
Bowden said in his report that the threat of “heavy-caliber mass-surveillance fire-power aimed at the cloud” is actually more significant than the threat posed by cybercrime.
“What’s different about this is that it’s a power in the US authorities to insist on real-time collection of information by any data processer within US jurisdiction,” said Gordon Nardell QC, a British barrister specializing in data protection.
“The US authorities basically grab everything that is going in and out,” Nardell said.
Dutch Member of European Parliament Sophie in’t Veld, vice chair of the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee urged the European authorities to act swiftly.
“Let’s turn this around and imagine this is not the United States having unlimited access to our data but the government of Mr. Putin or the Chinese government – would we still wonder if it’s an urgent issue? Nobody would ask that question,” she said.
“I have a particular concern about UK government data,” said Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert. “If the Government starts to do more work on a cloud system – which is being looked at for obvious reasons – have we had assurance that the US government would not access such data as foreign intelligence information, and whether there would there have to be unambiguous consent of UK citizens?”
“If the US will not give a clear assurance about government data then we will have to stop using the Cloud, as we cannot allow that to happen,” Huppert said.
“A lot of people wouldn’t realize where data is stored, and hence wouldn’t expect to be subject to US law,” Huppert continued. “The Government has a specific responsibility for personal data, and sensitive data can be stored offshore.”
“There is a very sensible increase in the government use of cloud computing, there are excellent reasons for cloud services, however there are concerns around security and this highlights one of them,” Huppert said, according to the Independent.
“US surveillance ambitions know no bounds,” said Isabella Sankey, director of Policy for Liberty.
If the growing use of governmental tip-toeing to wiretap phone lines and emails doesn’t seem serious, think again. So heightened lately are concerns over surveillance that two major organizations have published a primer on federal spy programs.
Both ProPublica and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have released thorough guides this week that explore what the US government can and can’t do in terms of tracking US citizens using an array of weirdly-worded wiretap laws currently on the books.
The EFF, a long-time opponent of the expanding evasive spy state, published on Thursday a collection of information they’re considering “Warrantless Surveillance 101: Introducing EFF’s New NSA Domestic Spying Guide.” Just two days earlier, the independent journalism project ProPublica released their own breakdown, “No Warrant, No Problem: How The Government Can Still Get Your Digital Data.”
In July of this year it became apparent through a flood of mainstream media reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) was “desperate to hire new hacking talent to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure” yet the NSA is notorious for its surveillance programs on American digital activity.
David Petraeus, former director of the CIA, said at a summit for In-Q-Tel, that he was speculating on the “internet of things” and that “‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies . . . particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft.”
Petraeus is seeking to better the CIA’s ability to create online identities for undercover spies. Currently, each internet user has a digital footprint that can trace the movements online to the person on the other end of the screen. Petraeus wants to utilize technology that will essentially erase a digital footprint; erasing all traces of anyone at the whim of the CIA.
In a possible preparation for the ability of the CIA to spy on American citizens with their household items, the NSA’s Utah Data Center is located in the Utah desert in the foot hills of the Wasatch mountain range. This is the centerpiece of the Global Information Grid; a military project that collects yottabytes of data. They are listening to every conversation, reading every post, intercepting every text message under the false flag of terrorism.
The facility has the technological ability to record and analyze every communication in the world. From emails to phone calls to text messages to chats; nothing is private anymore..
My favourite scene from Good Will Hunting and pertinent to the principles of liberty in its condemnation of killing people abroad who have done no harm to you personally. Taken to it’s logical conclusion this belief should lead anybody who holds it to a pure libertarian position; though most won’t, of course.
There was a time when we the people could expect privacy in our homes, in our conversations, in our everyday lives. As you’ll see in this video, your right to privacy has ended. Vast amounts of what you would assume to be your private information is being recorded and stored in computer banks.
If you found this video beneficial, helpful, interesting, and/or eye-opening, please share it with everyone you know. Help us get the word out.
Homeland Security boss Janet Napolitano told a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Wednesday that a blatantly unconstitutional Obama administration executive order is “still being drafted in the inter-agency process” and “is close to completion depending on a few issues that need to be resolved at the highest levels.”
The latest Obama EO – he has issued 135 thus far – is a response to the failure of a cybersecurity bill to pass in the Senate. The Lieberman-Collins Cyber-security bill failed 52-46. Following the vote, Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, said “the President is determined to do absolutely everything we can to better protect our nation against today’s cyber threats and we will do that” despite the will of the American people.
So-called cybersecurity is a crucial element of the surveillance state. “Cyber will overtake terrorism as the persistent, gnawing, constantly-at-us kind of threat and danger,” said Ashton Carter, deputy secretary of Defense, at a conference held in San Francisco in February.
The fight to stop the government’s sweeping surveillance of emails and phone calls will go all the way to the Supreme Court. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the warrantless wiretapping provisions included under the FISA Amendment Acts.
The US House of Representative voted last week to reauthorize the 2008 amendments added to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, that allow for blanketing surveillance and eavesdropping of any communication suspected to be sent outside of the United States. Under the FISA Amendment Act (FAA), the government is granted the power to peer into the inboxes of any American and listen in on long-distance calls without ever requiring a judge’s approval. Pending approval from the Senate, the FAA will be renewed this year and be left on the books for another five years. The American Civil Liberties Union is adamantly opposed, however, and has asked the highest court in America to intervene.
Facebook and its infiltration into our modern society is now the barometer of whether or not a person is “suspicious” or not. Some psychologists are even suggesting that not having a Facebook profile means that you are a psychopath.
By not following the mass of sheeple giving up their personal information to online social networking sites as well as leaving a small online footprint, this signals a person who is potentially dangerous.
Even becoming employed may hinge on your Facebook profile – as a way to monitor your personal life and where you fit into society. The CIA has a quite popular Facebook page that invites college student to apply for National Clandestine Service.