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
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
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
The real threat from terrorism is not the harm it inflicts directly but the over-reaction it provokes. We saw that with the invasion of Iraq. We’re seeing it with security-state overreach.This column over the weekend, by the British academic John Naughton in the Guardian, takes us one more step in assessing the damage to American interests in the broadest sense– commercial, strategic, ideological – from the panopticon approach to “security” brought to us by NSA-style monitoring programs.Naughton’s essay doesn’t technically tell us anything new. For instance, see earlier reports like this, this, and this. But it does sharpen the focus in a useful way. Whoever wrote the headline and especially the subhead did a great job of capturing the gist: www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/07/why-nsa-surveillance-will-be-more-damaging-than-you-think/278181/
The pervasive bulk surveillance performed by the NSA and other government agencies that’s been revealed in recent weeks relies on court orders, as do other kinds of legal access operations, such as wiretapping or lawful intercepts. Those orders are shrouded in secrecy and the organizations that receive them often comply immediately without asking any questions, a response that can sometimes be a mistake.The FBI uses orders known as national security letters to request information from a variety of organizations as part of investigations relating to terrorism and other national security matters. In most cases, the recipients of those letters are not allowed to disclose that they received one or seek help from other people inside their own organizations. That was the case when Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive received a national security letter in 2008. The FBI was demanding information on searches performed on the site by a specific set of users. http://threatpost.com/surveillance-legal-access-could-weaken-internet-infrastructure/101549
The chasm between technology and the law continues to widen. On one side are massive stores of personal data maintained by the Internet services we use and the sophisticated analysis tools the companies apply to monetize that data. On the other are privacy advocates groping for legal protections against misuse of that private data — by government agencies and businesses alike.Regardless of where you stand on the freedom vs. security debate, one fact is clear: The disclosure of U.S. government surveillance programs has destroyed any remaining expectation of online privacy. http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57596008-285/internet-privacy-in-an-age-of-surveillance/
The scale of America’s surveillance state was laid bare on Thursday as senior politicians revealed that the US counter-terrorism effort had swept up swaths of personal data from the phone calls of millions of citizens for years.