Category Archives: Surveillance & Privacy

Broader Sifting of Data Abroad Is Seen by N.S.A.

The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans’ e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials.The N.S.A. is not just intercepting the communications of Americans who are in direct contact with foreigners targeted overseas, a practice that government officials have openly acknowledged. It is also casting a far wider net for people who cite information linked to those foreigners, like a little used e-mail address, according to a senior intelligence official.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/08/us/broader-sifting-of-data-abroad-is-seen-by-nsa.html

NSA snooping could cost U.S. tech companies $35 billion over three years

U.S. cloud providers have already lost business over the NSA leaks, but now the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has a report putting a dollar amount on the short-term costs: $21.5 to $35 billion over the next three years.ITIF based these estimates in part on the Cloud Security Alliance survey showing that 10 percent of officials at non-U.S. companies cancelled contracts with U.S. providers and 56 percent of non-U.S. respondents are hesitant to work with U.S. cloud based operators after the leaks.
www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/08/07/nsa-snooping-could-cost-u-s-tech-companies-35-billion-over-three-years/

German justice minister proposes ban for US firms that don’t abide privacy laws

In an interview with a major newspaper in her home country, Germany’s justice minister said on Monday that she favored even stronger European Union rules that would enhance data protection. And Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger took her stance even further: “United States companies that don’t abide by these standards [they] should be denied doing business in the European market.”

NSA Aftermath: German Firms Scramble to Boost Data Protection

German companies have long suspected China and Russia of trying to steal their secrets. But the NSA scandal has turned their attention west, forcing them to worry about prying American eyes and to rapidly bolster security measures.Building No. 14 of SAP’s service center in St. Leon-Rot seems as secure as Fort Knox. But, in the end, it isn’t the exterior walls of meter-thick reinforced concrete that give off this impression. Nor is it the security cameras or the high-tech steel gate. In fact, the latter wasn’t even working a few weeks ago, as can be seen from the handwritten note taped to it, saying: “Gate broken. Please open manually.”What really makes this building in southwestern Germany secure is a state-of-the-art fingerprint verification system. The computer center is filled with servers containing data on this German software giant and thousands of other companies, together making up a giant library of secret company information spanning much of Europe. To get into it, visitors must pass through five security control points, each equipped with its own fingerprint scanner. Only authorized fingers are given access, and only when they are still attached to living individuals. No one gets into the building with severed fingers.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/companies-in-germany-scramble-to-strengthen-data-protection-abilities-a-914922.html

Other Agencies Clamor for Data N.S.A. Compiles

The National Security Agency’s dominant role as the nation’s spy warehouse has spurred frequent tensions and turf fights with other federal intelligence agencies that want to use its surveillance tools for their own investigations, officials say.Agencies working to curb drug trafficking, cyberattacks, money laundering, counterfeiting and even copyright infringement complain that their attempts to exploit the security agency’s vast resources have often been turned down because their own investigations are not considered a high enough priority, current and former government officials say.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/us/other-agencies-clamor-for-data-nsa-compiles.html

BT and Vodafone ‘gave users’ data to GCHQ’

BT and Vodafone are alleged to be among companies which have been passing users’ information to British spies.The two companies have – among others – passed details of their customers’ phone calls, email messages and Facebook postings to GCHQ, by giving the agency unfettered access to their undersea cables, according to Suddeutsche Zeitung. the German newspaper cited documents leaked by fugitive NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who was this week granted asylum in Russia.
www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/bt-and-vodafone-gave-users-data-to-gchq-8744677.htmlAlso see:BT and Vodafone among telecoms companies passing details to GCHQ
Some of the world’s leading telecoms firms, including BT and Vodafone, are secretly collaborating with Britain’s spy agency GCHQ, and are passing on details of their customers’ phone calls, email messages and Facebook entries, documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden show.BT, Vodafone Cable, and the American firm Verizon Business – together with four other smaller providers – have given GCHQ secret unlimited access to their network of undersea cables. The cables carry much of the world’s phone calls and internet traffic.
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/aug/02/telecoms-bt-vodafone-cables-gchq

FBI pressures Internet providers to install surveillance software

The U.S. government is quietly pressuring telecommunications providers to install eavesdropping technology deep inside companies’ internal networks to facilitate surveillance efforts.FBI officials have been sparring with carriers, a process that has on occasion included threats of contempt of court, in a bid to deploy government-provided software capable of intercepting and analyzing entire communications streams. The FBI’s legal position during these discussions is that the software’s real-time interception of metadata is authorized under the Patriot Act.
news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57596791-38/fbi-pressures-internet-providers-to-install-surveillance-software/

US Congress eyes renewed push for legislation to rein in the NSA

Members of Congress are considering 11 legislative measures to constrain the activities of the National Security Agency, in a major shift of political opinion in the eight weeks since the first revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden.The proposals range from repealing the legal foundations of key US surveillance powers to more moderate reforms of the secretive court proceedings for domestic spying. If enacted, the laws would represent the first rollback of the NSA’s powers since 9/11.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/02/congress-nsa-legislation-surveillance

GCHQ: inside the top secret world of Britain’s biggest spy agency

Files leaked by Edward Snowden reveal how the NSA pays for and influences some of the UK’s intelligence gathering programmes. The documents also give unique insights into the challenges faced by the agency and the concerns it has about how to tackle themTwo years ago, GCHQ’s annual sports day took place on Wednesday 15 June at the Civil Service Sports Club in London. A mixed six-a-side football tournament was the centrepiece of the day, with matches kicking off at 11am sharp.The event was a jolly for those routinely cooped up in the agency’s distinctive doughnut-shaped headquarters in Cheltenham, and they were furnished with six pages of rules and regulations to ensure fair play.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/02/gchq-spy-agency-nsa-snowden

XKeyscore: NSA tool collects ‘nearly everything a user does on the internet’

A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its “widest-reaching” system for developing intelligence from the internet.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/31/nsa-top-secret-program-online-data