Category Archives: Surveillance & Privacy

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/

N.S.A. Often Broke Rules on Privacy, Audit Shows

The National Security Agency violated privacy rules protecting the communications of Americans and others on domestic soil 2,776 times over a one-year period, according to an internal audit leaked by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden and made public on Thursday night.The violations, according to the May 2012 audit, stemmed largely from operator and system errors like “inadequate or insufficient research” when selecting wiretap targets.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/16/us/nsa-often-broke-rules-on-privacy-audit-shows.htmlAlso see:Edward Snowden documents show NSA broke privacy rules
The US National Security Agency (NSA) broke privacy rules and overstepped its legal authority thousands of times in the past two years, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.The incidents resulted in the unauthorised electronic surveillance of US citizens, according to documents published by the Washington Post.Mr Snowden, a former NSA contractor, has leaked top secret documents to the US and British media.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23721818

Google: don’t expect privacy when sending to Gmail

People sending email to any of Google’s 425 million Gmail users have no “reasonable expectation” that their communications are confidential, the internet giant has said in a court filing.Consumer Watchdog, the advocacy group that uncovered the filing, called the revelation a “stunning admission.” It comes as Google and its peers are under pressure to explain their role in the National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance of US citizens and foreign nationals.
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/aug/14/google-gmail-users-privacy-email-lawsuitAlso see:Google tells US court: Gmail users can’t expect privacy
Users of Google’s email service Gmail should have no “legitimate expectation” that their emails will remain private, the company has said in a submission to a US court.Consumer Watchdog (CW), a US pressure group, described Google’s statement as a “stunning admission” of the extent to which internet users’ privacy is compromised.The document was lodged by Google in a California court in response to a lawsuit that accused the web giant of breaking US laws when it scans emails in order to target adverts to users.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/google-tells-us-court-gmail-users-cant-expect-privacy-8762280.html

US and Germany to Enter No-spying Agreement, German Government Says

[IDG] The U.S. has verbally committed to enter into a no-spying agreement with Germany in the wake of disclosures about the U.S. National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programs.The verbal commitment was given in talks with the German Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND), the sole foreign intelligence service of Germany, the German government said in a news release on Wednesday. This means that there must be no governmental or industrial espionage between the two countries, it said.
http://www.cio.com/article/738101/US_and_Germany_to_Enter_No_spying_Agreement_German_Government_Says
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9241625/U.S._and_Germany_agree_to_no_spying_pact

Germany plans boost to European IT after U.S. spy row

Responding to Germans’ unease over U.S. surveillance of the Internet, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet agreed initial plans on Wednesday to boost European technology companies and make them a more favourable alternative to U.S. peers.Merkel’s chief of staff said on Monday that fears of mass U.S. spying on Germans were unfounded, and Washington had assured Berlin it had upheld German law. But with an election looming in less than six weeks, the government has come under pressure to do more to protect citizens’ private data.
http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/08/14/usa-security-germany-idINDEE97D0BU20130814
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/08/14/uk-usa-security-germany-idUKBRE97D0SP20130814

N.S.A. Leaks Make Plan for Cyberdefense Unlikely

Even while rapidly expanding its electronic surveillance around the world, the National Security Agency has lobbied inside the government to deploy the equivalent of a “Star Wars” defense for America’s computer networks, designed to intercept cyberattacks before they could cripple power plants, banks or financial markets.But administration officials say the plan, championed by Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency and head of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command, has virtually no chance of moving forward given the backlash against the N.S.A. over the recent disclosures about its surveillance programs.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/13/us/nsa-leaks-make-plan-for-cyberdefense-unlikely.html

What NSA reforms?

President Obama’s message about the government’s massive electronic surveillance programs came through loud and clear: Get over it.The president used more soothing words in his pre-vacation news conference Friday, but that was the gist. With perhaps the application of a fig leaf here and a sheen of legalistic mumbo jumbo there, the snooping will continue.Unless, of course, we demand that it end.The modest reforms Obama proposed do not begin to address the fundamental question of whether we want the National Security Agency to log all of our phone calls and read at least some of our e-mails, relying on secret judicial orders from a secret court for permission. The president indicated he is willing to discuss how all this is done — but not whether.
www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-what-nsa-reforms/2013/08/12/62e04e0c-037f-11e3-9259-e2aafe5a5f84_story.html