Category Archives: Surveillance & Privacy

New Zealand rights group blasts new law extending surveillance powers

A New Zealand civil liberties group denounced a new law permitting wider surveillance of citizens on Thursday, saying authorities were “buying into” the monitoring exposed by fugitive former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.Media were less critical of the legislation, passed by two votes in parliament on Wednesday after a heated debate, but said Prime Minister John Key’s minority government had misjudged public opposition to the measure.
http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/08/22/newzealand-security-idINDEE97L06J20130822

Coalition battle looms over anti-terror laws after Greenwald partner detention

Nick Clegg and Theresa May are heading for a confrontation over the future of Britain’s anti-terror laws in the aftermath of the controversy over the detention of the partner of the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald.As Europe’s human rights watchdog warned that the treatment of David Miranda could have a “chilling effect” on press freedom, senior Liberal Democrat sources indicated they were prepared to press for major revisions to the Terrorism Act 2000.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/aug/21/coalition-debate-detention-laws-miranda

New Details Show Broader NSA Surveillance Reach – Programs Cover 75% of Nation’s Traffic, Can Snare Emails

The National Security Agency — which possesses only limited legal authority to spy on U.S. citizens — has built a surveillance network that covers more Americans’ Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed, current and former officials say.The system has the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic in the hunt for foreign intelligence, including a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans. In some cases, it retains the written content of emails sent between citizens within the U.S. and also filters domestic phone calls made with Internet technology, these people say.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324108204579022874091732470.htmlAlso see:Report: NSA can see 75% of U.S. Web messages
The National Security Agency has built a network that can access as much as 75% of all U.S. Web traffic — a larger amount than has been publicly announced — according to a new report.Citing current and former officials, The Wall Street Journal reported that the agency sometimes retains the content of e-mails between United States citizens and filters some domestic phone calls that use Internet connections.
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/21/tech/web/nsa-spying-75-percent/index.htmlNSA surveillance covers 75 per cent of US internet traffic
The National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance network has the capacity to reach around 75 per cent of all US internet communications in the hunt for foreign intelligence, according to the Wall Street Journal.Citing current and former NSA officials, the newspaper says the 75 per cent coverage is more than officials have publicly disclosed.
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/08/21/uk-usa-security-nsa-idUKBRE97K03620130821
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-21/nsa-surveillance-covers-75-per-cent-of-us-internet-traffic/4902444

The FISA court got really upset when the NSA didn’t tell the truth on surveillance

For weeks, we’ve all been trying to determine whether the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is a rubber stamp or an effective check on the NSA’s broad surveillance powers. The Obama administration insists that FISC’s existence is evidence that the system works. Critics of the court say it is either complicit with the NSA or powerless to resist it.

PRISM works because a ton of data moves through U.S. servers. That’s also why it could fail.

The White House really doesn’t want you to know what it knows about you. The risk, supposedly, is that disclosing how the nation’s intelligence apparatus works would give terrorists and criminals an advantage. But in the long run, the government’s penchant for secretiveness could actually undermine its ability to spy on terrorists.One of the reasons electronic surveillance tools such as PRISM work so well is because much of the world’s Internet traffic goes through U.S. servers. The American companies that own and operate that equipment can be subpoenaed and the data handed over to the government. Voila — intelligence secured!
www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/08/20/prism-works-because-a-ton-of-data-moves-through-u-s-servers-thats-also-why-it-could-fail/

Groklaw news website abandoned over US surveillance

An award-winning legal news website has stopped work, saying it cannot operate under current US surveillance policies.Pamela Jones, Groklaw’s founder, cited the alleged US practice of screening emails from abroad and storing messages “enciphered or otherwise thought to contain secret meaning” for five years.Groklaw had promised its sources anonymity, but said it could not now ensure contributors would stay secret.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23768810Also see:Groklaw legal site shuts over fears of NSA email snooping
The award-winning legal analysis site Groklaw is shutting because its founder says that “there is no way” to continue to run it without using secure email – and that the threat of NSA spying means that could be compromised.”There is now no shield from forced exposure,” writes the site’s founder, Pamela Jones, an American paralegal who has run the site from its start in 2003, in a farewell message on the site.
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/aug/20/groklaw-shuts-nsa-surveillanceGroklaw Closing Ends Decade-Long Run Atop the World of Tech Law Journalism
The closure of Groklaw the technology world’s primary source of legal analysis for a decade has sent shock waves across the Internet.Citing the perceived impossibility of secure communication via the Internet, founder Pamela Jones wrote that the site which relies heavily on correspondents and sources would cease publication immediately.
http://www.networkworld.com/news/2013/082013-groklaw-273012.html
http://www.cio.com/article/738510/Groklaw_Closing_Ends_Decade_Long_Run_Atop_the_World_of_Tech_Law_Journalism

Australian website privacy policies need overhaul: experts

Regulation may be the only way to improve website privacy policies according to former Australian Privacy Commissioner, Malcolm Crompton.Speaking at the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit in Sydney, Crompton was responding to the results of a privacy sweep by current Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, which found that nearly 50 per cent of website privacy policies were difficult to read. On average, policies were over 2600 words long.
http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/524170/website_privacy_policies_need_overhaul_experts_/

Google trying to evade UK privacy laws, campaigners claim

Privacy campaigners have slammed Google for claiming that UK laws don’t apply to it, after British users claimed the search giant illicitly tracked their web browsing.In a response to legal documents filed by a group of British users seeking to sue Google, the company has said that the case should be served in California, where it has its world headquarters, and refused to accept the lawsuit in the UK. It also aims to contest the right of British users to bring a case in the country where they live and use Google’s services.
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/aug/19/google-privacy-laws-uk-lawsuit

N.S.A. Calls Violations of Privacy ‘Minuscule’

The top National Security Agency official charged with making sure analysts comply with rules protecting the privacy of Americans pushed back on Friday against reports that the N.S.A. had frequently violated privacy rules, after the publication of a leaked internal audit showing that there had been 2,776 such “incidents” in a one-year period.The official, John DeLong, the N.S.A. director of compliance, said that the number of mistakes by the agency was extremely low compared with its overall activities. The report showed about 100 errors by analysts in making queries of databases of already-collected communications data; by comparison, he said, the agency performs about 20 million such queries each month.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/us/nsa-calls-violations-of-privacy-minuscule.htmlAlso see:Did President Obama know about the NSA’s privacy problems?
We now know that President Obama’s assurances that the NSA wasn’t “actually abusing” its surveillance programs are untrue. A leaked audit shows the NSA violated its own privacy rules, and in some cases the law, thousands of times over a one-year period.
www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/08/16/did-president-obama-know-about-the-nsas-privacy-problems/