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NSA Recorded the CONTENT of ‘EVERY SINGLE’ CALL in a Foreign Country … and Also In AMERICA? Washington’s Blog

NSA Recorded the CONTENT of ‘EVERY SINGLE’ CALL in a Foreign Country … and Also In AMERICA? Washington’s Blog.

Yes, They’re Doing It To Americans As Well…

The Washington Post reports – based upon documents leaked by Edward Snowden – that the NSA is recording “every single” phone call in one foreign country (at the request of the NSA, the Post is withholding the name of the country. However, the Post notes that the NSA is also planning on expanding the program to other nations).

The Post also reports that the NSA has the ability to “reach into the past” and retroactively go back and listen to the calls later.

Sadly, this is also occurring in America.

Specifically, there is substantial evidence from top NSA and FBI whistleblowers that the government is recording the content of our calls … word-for-word.

NSA whistleblower Russel Tice – a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping – says that the content and metadata of alldigital communications are being tapped by the NSA.

Tice notes:

They’re collecting content … word-for-word.

***

You can’t trust these people. They lie, and they lie a lot.

Documents leaked by Edward Snowden to Glenn Greenwald show:

But what we’re really talking about here is a localized system that prevents any form of electronic communication from taking place without its being stored and monitored by the National Security Agency.

It doesn’t mean that they’re listening to every call, it means they’re storing every call and have the capability to listen to them at any time, and it does mean that they’re collecting millions upon millions upon millions of our phone and email records.

CNET reported last year:

Earlier reports have indicated that the NSA has the ability to record nearly all domestic and international phone calls — in case an analyst needed to access the recordings in the future. A Wired magazine article last year disclosed that the NSA has established “listening posts” that allow the agency to collect and sift through billions of phone calls through a massive new data center in Utah, “whether they originate within the country or overseas.” That includes not just metadata, but also the contents of the communications.

***

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the head of the Senate Intelligence committee, separately acknowledged this week that the agency’s analysts have the ability to access the “content of a call.”

NBC News reported last year:

NBC News has learned that under the post-9/11 Patriot Act, the government has been collecting records on every phone call made in the U.S.

Former FBI counter-terrorism agent Tim Clemente told CNN:

There’s a way to look at digital communications in the past.

In other words, if an analyst wants to spy on you, he can pull up your past communications (Remember, the private Internet Archive has been archiving web pages since the  1990s. So the NSA has undoubtedly been doing the same thing with digital communications).

Tice and top NSA whistleblower William Binney confirmed to PBS that the NSA is recording every word of every phone call made within the United States:

[PBS INTERVIEWER] JUDY WOODRUFF: Both Binney and Tice suspect that today, the NSA is doing more than just collecting metadata on calls made in the U.S. They both point to this CNN interview by former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente days after the Boston Marathon bombing. Clemente was asked if the government had a way to get the recordings of the calls between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his wife.

TIM CLEMENTE, former FBI counterterrorism agent: On the national security side of the house, in the federal government, you know, we have assets. There are lots of assets at our disposal throughout the intelligence community and also not just domestically, but overseas. Those assets allow us to gain information, intelligence on things that we can’t use ordinarily in a criminal investigation.

All digital communications are — there’s a way to look at digital communications in the past. And I can’t go into detail of how that’s done or what’s done. But I can tell you that no digital communication is secure.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Tice says after he saw this interview on television, he called some former workmates at the NSA.

RUSSELL TICE: Well, two months ago, I contacted some colleagues at NSA. We had a little meeting, and the question came up, was NSA collecting everything now? Because we kind of figured that was the goal all along. And the answer came back. It was, yes, they are collecting everything, contents word for word, everything of every domestic communication in this country.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Both of you know what the government says is that we’re collecting this — we’re collecting the number of phone calls that are made, the e-mails, but we’re not listening to them.

WILLIAM BINNEY: Well, I don’t believe that for a minute. OK?

I mean, that’s why they had to build Bluffdale, that facility in Utah with that massive amount of storage that could store all these recordings and all the data being passed along the fiberoptic networks of the world. I mean, you could store 100 years of the world’s communications here. That’s for content storage. That’s not for metadata.

Metadata if you were doing it and putting it into the systems we built, you could do it in a 12-by-20-foot room for the world. That’s all the space you need. You don’t need 100,000 square feet of space that they have at Bluffdale to do that. You need that kind of storage for content.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what does that say, Russell Tice, about what the government — you’re saying — your understanding is of what the government does once these conversations take place, is it your understanding they’re recorded and kept?

RUSSELL TICE: Yes, digitized and recorded and archived in a facility that is now online. And they’re kind of fibbing about that as well, because Bluffdale is online right now.

And that’s where the information is going. Now, as far as being able to have an analyst look at all that, that’s impossible, of course. And I think, semantically, they’re trying to say that their definition of collection is having literally a physical analyst look or listen, which would be disingenuous.

 

Binney tells Washington’s Blog:

It would have to come from the upstream collection/recording “Fairview etc” [background here and here] with – probably – telcom cooperation. That’s how the former FBI agent Tim Clemente could say on CNN that they had ways of getting back to the content of the phone call from one of the bombers to his wife prior to the bombing. Now we are starting to see some of the monitoring of US citizens on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) [background]. Up till now it’s been mostly the internet that we hear about.

What’s new about the PSTN network is the content. We have heard a lot about phone metadata but not content. This is what I have been saying for a long time: that they are taking and storing content too. It’s not just about metadata. So [NSA’s claim that it doesn’t record the phonecalls of Americans is] just another government lie.

NSA Recorded the CONTENT of 'EVERY SINGLE' CALL in a Foreign Country … and Also In AMERICA? Washington's Blog

NSA Recorded the CONTENT of ‘EVERY SINGLE’ CALL in a Foreign Country … and Also In AMERICA? Washington’s Blog.

Yes, They’re Doing It To Americans As Well…

The Washington Post reports – based upon documents leaked by Edward Snowden – that the NSA is recording “every single” phone call in one foreign country (at the request of the NSA, the Post is withholding the name of the country. However, the Post notes that the NSA is also planning on expanding the program to other nations).

The Post also reports that the NSA has the ability to “reach into the past” and retroactively go back and listen to the calls later.

Sadly, this is also occurring in America.

Specifically, there is substantial evidence from top NSA and FBI whistleblowers that the government is recording the content of our calls … word-for-word.

NSA whistleblower Russel Tice – a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping – says that the content and metadata of alldigital communications are being tapped by the NSA.

Tice notes:

They’re collecting content … word-for-word.

***

You can’t trust these people. They lie, and they lie a lot.

Documents leaked by Edward Snowden to Glenn Greenwald show:

But what we’re really talking about here is a localized system that prevents any form of electronic communication from taking place without its being stored and monitored by the National Security Agency.

It doesn’t mean that they’re listening to every call, it means they’re storing every call and have the capability to listen to them at any time, and it does mean that they’re collecting millions upon millions upon millions of our phone and email records.

CNET reported last year:

Earlier reports have indicated that the NSA has the ability to record nearly all domestic and international phone calls — in case an analyst needed to access the recordings in the future. A Wired magazine article last year disclosed that the NSA has established “listening posts” that allow the agency to collect and sift through billions of phone calls through a massive new data center in Utah, “whether they originate within the country or overseas.” That includes not just metadata, but also the contents of the communications.

***

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the head of the Senate Intelligence committee, separately acknowledged this week that the agency’s analysts have the ability to access the “content of a call.”

NBC News reported last year:

NBC News has learned that under the post-9/11 Patriot Act, the government has been collecting records on every phone call made in the U.S.

Former FBI counter-terrorism agent Tim Clemente told CNN:

There’s a way to look at digital communications in the past.

In other words, if an analyst wants to spy on you, he can pull up your past communications (Remember, the private Internet Archive has been archiving web pages since the  1990s. So the NSA has undoubtedly been doing the same thing with digital communications).

Tice and top NSA whistleblower William Binney confirmed to PBS that the NSA is recording every word of every phone call made within the United States:

[PBS INTERVIEWER] JUDY WOODRUFF: Both Binney and Tice suspect that today, the NSA is doing more than just collecting metadata on calls made in the U.S. They both point to this CNN interview by former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente days after the Boston Marathon bombing. Clemente was asked if the government had a way to get the recordings of the calls between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his wife.

TIM CLEMENTE, former FBI counterterrorism agent: On the national security side of the house, in the federal government, you know, we have assets. There are lots of assets at our disposal throughout the intelligence community and also not just domestically, but overseas. Those assets allow us to gain information, intelligence on things that we can’t use ordinarily in a criminal investigation.

All digital communications are — there’s a way to look at digital communications in the past. And I can’t go into detail of how that’s done or what’s done. But I can tell you that no digital communication is secure.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Tice says after he saw this interview on television, he called some former workmates at the NSA.

RUSSELL TICE: Well, two months ago, I contacted some colleagues at NSA. We had a little meeting, and the question came up, was NSA collecting everything now? Because we kind of figured that was the goal all along. And the answer came back. It was, yes, they are collecting everything, contents word for word, everything of every domestic communication in this country.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Both of you know what the government says is that we’re collecting this — we’re collecting the number of phone calls that are made, the e-mails, but we’re not listening to them.

WILLIAM BINNEY: Well, I don’t believe that for a minute. OK?

I mean, that’s why they had to build Bluffdale, that facility in Utah with that massive amount of storage that could store all these recordings and all the data being passed along the fiberoptic networks of the world. I mean, you could store 100 years of the world’s communications here. That’s for content storage. That’s not for metadata.

Metadata if you were doing it and putting it into the systems we built, you could do it in a 12-by-20-foot room for the world. That’s all the space you need. You don’t need 100,000 square feet of space that they have at Bluffdale to do that. You need that kind of storage for content.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what does that say, Russell Tice, about what the government — you’re saying — your understanding is of what the government does once these conversations take place, is it your understanding they’re recorded and kept?

RUSSELL TICE: Yes, digitized and recorded and archived in a facility that is now online. And they’re kind of fibbing about that as well, because Bluffdale is online right now.

And that’s where the information is going. Now, as far as being able to have an analyst look at all that, that’s impossible, of course. And I think, semantically, they’re trying to say that their definition of collection is having literally a physical analyst look or listen, which would be disingenuous.

 

Binney tells Washington’s Blog:

It would have to come from the upstream collection/recording “Fairview etc” [background here and here] with – probably – telcom cooperation. That’s how the former FBI agent Tim Clemente could say on CNN that they had ways of getting back to the content of the phone call from one of the bombers to his wife prior to the bombing. Now we are starting to see some of the monitoring of US citizens on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) [background]. Up till now it’s been mostly the internet that we hear about.

What’s new about the PSTN network is the content. We have heard a lot about phone metadata but not content. This is what I have been saying for a long time: that they are taking and storing content too. It’s not just about metadata. So [NSA’s claim that it doesn’t record the phonecalls of Americans is] just another government lie.

Germany Wants to Keep Data Away from the NSA with a Europe-Only Network | Motherboard

Germany Wants to Keep Data Away from the NSA with a Europe-Only Network | Motherboard.

By Victoria Turk

Pictured here together at the G20 summit last year, Angela Merkel will discuss proposals with Francois Hollande on Wednesday. Image: President of the European Council/Flickr

Last week we reported on the European Commission’s proposals to cut back the US’s influence over internet governance in face of NSA spying revelations. But it looks like German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants even stronger steps to combat US surveillance of European web users: she’s called for a kind of walled-off network that would keep European data away from prying American eyes.

Reuters reported that in Merkel’s weekly podcast on Saturday, she announced plans to talk with French President Francois Hollande about building a “communication network” to maintain a higher level of data security for Europe’s web users. “Above all, we’ll talk about European providers that offer security for our citizens, so that one shouldn’t have to send emails and other information across the Atlantic,” she said. “Rather, one could build up a communication network inside Europe.”

Germany has been a particularly outspoken critic of NSA and GCHQ surveillance tactics in the wake of revelations leaked by Edward Snowden, and for good reason. The country seems to have been heavily targeted in the spying allegations; even Merkel’s own cell phone was allegedly tapped by the US government, while a potential electronic “spying tent” was discovered on top of the British embassy in Berlin, not far from the German parliament.

Since then, Merkel has been trying to get the US to agree to a “no-spy” agreement, but it looks like Obama’s administration won’t play ball (and given the clandestine nature of spying it’s hard to fathom how much trust could realistically be invested in such an accord).

This latest announcement launches a new counter-espionage offensive, and according to the Independent, it could just be the first of many to come. They cite German magazine Der Spiegel, which claimed to have uncovered plans for a “massive” increase in German anti-spying measures, such as surveillance on the American and British embassies in Berlin—a kind of cycle of surveillance on surveillance that seems the inevitable farcical conclusion of a saga in whicheveryone’s spying on everyone else.

As for the communications network proposal, the idea is to keep Europeans’ data under European data protection regulations. The problem is that, while the internet is a global network, different countries have different laws on privacy. Germany has particularly strict rules on personal privacy—perhaps a result of its Nazi and Communist past, in which oppressive surveillance played a regrettable role.

When Germans’ data leaves the country, however, it’s not necessarily protected by those laws (and could, for instance, be creeped on by the NSA). Merkel also singled out Google and Facebook for basing their operations in places with much less stringent data protection. She didn’t name the country, but Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky points out both companies have their headquarters in Ireland.

Merkel will meet with Hollande on Wednesday to discuss the idea, and France has said they agree with the proposals. It’ll nevertheless take more than that to get anything off the ground. For a start, France and Germany only represent two companies out of Europe, albeit powerful ones. It’s not clear exactly how far their proposed European network would extend, but any closed networks like this risk undermining the global nature of the internet, which the European Commission last week emphasised it was keen to preserve. There are also practical questions, like what happens when you want to send emails from America to Europe, and vice versa?

Moreover, Germany and France have different data protection laws, and a shared policy would likely need to be adopted if a Europe-wide were scheme to work.

News agency UPI also points out that a European network likely wouldn’t be “NSA-proof” (a term we’ve seen bandied around a lot recently, not always very convincingly). They referred to a January interview with German broadcaster ARD in which Edward Snowden said that keeping data off US soil and in national cloud systems wouldn’t be enough. “The NSA goes where the data are,” he said. “If the NSA can pull text messages out of telecommunications networks in China, they can probably manage to get Facebook messages out of Germany.”

NSA Spying Poses “Direct Threat to Journalism,” Watchdog Group Warns | Global Research

NSA Spying Poses “Direct Threat to Journalism,” Watchdog Group Warns | Global Research.

Global Research, February 14, 2014
Spying on Americans:  A Multibillion Bonanza for the Telecoms

Massive spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) poses a “direct threat to journalism,” according to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released Wednesday. The CPJ is warning, in particular, that the agency’s dragnet of communications data threatens to make it “next to impossible for journalists to keep sources confidential.”

New York-based CPJ devotes the first two chapters of its annual report, entitled “Attacks on the Press,” to an assessment of the impact of the NSA’s vast data sweep, which has been exposed by Edward Snowden and reported by numerous media outlets. The report notes that by storing massive amounts of data for long periods, the spy agency could develop the capability to recreate a reporter’s research and retrace a source’s movements by listening in on past communications.

The report points to the threat to press freedom in the context of the revelations of illegal government spying and the Obama administration’s unprecedented campaign against whistle-blowers. It quotes William Binney, who resigned from the NSA in 2001 in protest over privacy violations the agency committed post-9/11. Binney believes that the government keeps tabs on all journalists and notes that they are “a much easier, smaller target set” to spy on than the general population.

Alex Abdo, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney, one of a team of lawyers who have litigated against the NSA for violating constitutional protections, told the CPJ that “all reporters should be worried” about the NSA’s vast collection and storage of data. “Reporters who work for the largest media organizations should be worried probably primarily because their sources will dry up as those sources recognize that there is not a way to cover their trail,” he said. He added that independent journalists should be concerned that “they themselves will be swept up in the course of their reporting.”

The watchdog group chillingly notes that the NSA’s storage of metadata creates a “deep breeding ground for artificial intelligence systems, which may in the future lead to more efficient, even predictive, spying machines.” As capabilities evolve, CPJ warns, such systems could be utilized to identify patterns of journalistic activity, targeting reporters for surveillance, intimidation and potential prosecution long before they actually engage in any suspect reporting.

President Barack Obama has absurdly asserted that despite the exposure of programs to collect data on millions of Americans’ phone calls, emails and Internet activity, there is no evidence that the US intelligence complex “has sought to violate the law.”

Meanwhile, top NSA officials have indicated that the token reforms announced by the president last month will do little to curb the agency’s spying activities. “They’re not putting us out business,” commented NSA Deputy Director Rick Ledgett on the measures in a recent interview with the Washington Post. He added, “They’re not putting an unbearable burden on us.”

Obama has tasked Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper to develop options by March 28 for ending the NSA’s storage of data on Americans’ phone calls. So far, no such plan has been drawn up, and Congress must approve any changes to the agency’s operations.

The president’s measures also include a requirement that the NSA obtain pro forma court approval before it can run a suspect’s phone number against the agency’s database. However, even this largely cosmetic restriction is vitiated by a provision allowing the NSA to query the data without prior court approval by invoking an “emergency” exception.

In the wake of the Snowden revelations, the government is implementing measures to prevent similar exposures in the future. Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, DNI Director Clapper said Snowden had taken advantage of a “perfect storm” of security lapses to sweep up a trove of government documents with the use of a web crawler, a readily available piece of software.

Clapper said the government’s 16 intelligence agencies have in place a long-term plan to tag every piece of information in their databases and then tag the individual who accesses each one. The NSA is also implementing a “two-man rule,” based on the model of nuclear weapons handling, which requires two systems administrators to work simultaneously when accessing highly classified material.

In earlier testimony before Congress, the DNI director claimed that Snowden’s revelations had resulted in “profound damage” and were “putting the lives of members, or assets of, the intelligence community at risk.” Clapper demanded that “Snowden and his accomplices” return any documents they had taken to the NSA. In the view of the intelligence community, these “accomplices” include journalists who have gone public with these documents in press reports.

The Obama administration has filed charges against Snowden under the Espionage Act of 1917. It has prosecuted more cases under this act that all of its predecessors combined, criminalizing whistle-blowers as well as journalists who reveal state secrets.

Bradley Manning, the young Army private, is now serving 35 years for revealing US military war crimes. The US is seeking the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to face charges over the release of diplomatic cables exposing the US government’s intrigues. Snowden was forced to obtain asylum in Russia and faces death threats from current and former US intelligence personnel.

Last May, the Justice Department admitted to spying on at least 20 telephone lines used by the Associated Press to communicate with sources, in violation of First Amendment protections of freedom of the press.

The same month, it was revealed that the Justice Department had subpoenaed personal telephone and email records of Fox News Washington Bureau Chief James Rosen in connection with an investigation into the leaking of information about North Korea. The subpoenaed records included phone numbers registered to Rosen’s coworkers and parents, and even the White House’s own switchboard number.

The affidavit supporting the subpoena request for Rosen’s email and phone records specifically alleged that “there is probable cause to believe that the reporter has committed or is committing a violation [of the law] at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.”

There is no section of the political establishment that seriously challenges the supposed “right” of the government to prosecute whistle-blowers and collect data from the phones and computers of virtually every American. The prosecution of individuals such as Manning, Assange and Snowden is justified by politicians of both big business parties in the name of combating terrorism and maintaining “national security”—a blanket pretext for destroying democratic rights and establishing dictatorial rule.

Senator Rand Paul (Republican of Kentucky) announced Wednesday that he is filing a class-action lawsuit against the NSA’s phone surveillance operations, saying he hoped to “protect the Fourth Amendment,” which bars unreasonable searches and seizures. Announcing the suit, however, the right-wing Republican made clear that he is not opposed to government spying.

He told a press conference, “I’m not against the NSA. I’m not against spying. I’m not against looking at phone records.” Shortly after his announcement of the lawsuit, Paul had a private lunch with Attorney General Holder at the Justice Department.

Your secret permanent records that are up for sale every day | Deseret News

Your secret permanent records that are up for sale every day | Deseret News.

By , Deseret News National Edition

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 11 2014 4:00 a.m. MST

Updated: Tuesday, Feb. 11 2014 4:44 p.m. MST

Targeted junk mail marketing is just one way data brokers may affect people’s lives.

Devonyu, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Summary

Data brokers are gathering more information on people and packaging the data in ways that may surprise consumers.

This story is part of theDeseret News National Edition, which focuses on the issues that resonate with American families.

Which marketing list are you on?

Is it the list of seniors with dementia? Are you on the list of impulse buyers? Maybe you are on the list of people with “newly activated credit cards” or “obese and morbidly obese consumers.”

Maybe you show up on “badcustomer” or on people with “mental health problems.” There are even marketing lists of rape victims, people with addictive behaviors, people suffering from AIDS, and lists of police officers, according to testimony given before the U.S. Senate by World Privacy Forum’s executive director, Pam Dixon.

These are just a few of the many lists created by data brokers, companies that scour the Internet and other public and private records to compile everything from your age to what you bought, when you bought it, what you responded to, what you posted on Facebook, and on and on — anything that will give companies an edge when they try to sell you things.

The records data brokers create are permanent and under virtually no regulation.

Julia Angwin, author of the forthcoming book, “Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance,” tried to find out from multiple data brokers what kind of information they had about her.

It used to be that data brokers had limited information, Angwin says. They gathered home addresses, telephone numbers, car records and other public information such as property records. “But now they can put together a comprehensive picture of your life,” Angwin says. “And once you know everything about me, you have a lot of leverage on me. They are going to have an edge.”

Imagine walking in to buy a car, she says, and the salesman knows how much you make, how much you paid on your last car, even how often you make purchases.

Gathering data

Dixon, in her testimony in Washington, said even if people are careful with their information, “they will still have detailed information about their private and in some cases professional lives collected, bundled, bought, trade, sold … and used in various ways to target or to deny goods, services and opportunities.”

When Angwin gathered some reports from data brokers, she says she was horrified. “They knew I had bought underwear the week before,” she says. “Does anybody really need to know that? But it is in the report, and it is never going to be out of there.”

The use of data is illustrated by a New York Times article from 2012 that explained how Target was able to predict which female customers were pregnant by looking at their purchases. Women who switched to scent-free lotions and soaps and followed other patterns of sequenced buying behavior indicated they were expecting. Target then sent mailers to those women that included baby products.

But part of the problem isn’t just that data brokers get personal information about what type of underwear you are buying or that they can use patterns and data to predict your interest in various products but that they can get it wrong.

Sometimes they get bad information. As Dixon told Congress, sometimes thieves steal somebody’s identity and then their purchases and other illicit actions can get on their victims’ permanent data broker records.

Other times, data brokers make unwarranted assumptions about people based on what they know about those people.

For example, Angwin lives in Harlem, N.Y. — which makes some data brokers assume she is a single mother and has no college degree, neither of which are true.

“(The brokers’ data base) says more about what the list makers think about people who live in Harlem than it does about me,” she says. “I am almost as disturbed by what data brokers get wrong as when they get it right.”

As technology and improved algorithms help the data brokers improve their results, Angwin worries that the resulting lists will become more precise and personal. They aren’t just doing this to find the most accurate target market, she says. They are learning what people’s vulnerabilities are so they can exploit them.

The price we pay

Data brokers, for their part, say they are providing information that helps marketers target their products and services more accurately. The information they gather is available to anyone willing to do the research or pay for the access to private records such as those gathered by websites. Websites, in their “Terms of Service” or privacy policy statements, usually explain how the data they gather will be used.

Jeff Atwood, a blogger in El Cerrito, Calif., who co-founded the programmers website stackoverflow.com, says giving up personal information is the price people pay to do things on the Internet.

“I consider it standard practice,” he says. “So much that we do is free. That is the cost of free.”

Opt out

Angwin tried to get her data removed from various data brokers’ records. “I was not very successful,” she says. “They are not required by law to remove your data.”

She was only able to find information on less than half of the data brokers. Only about half of those offered opt out — 92 out of the 212 she identified.

She posted lists of the data broker information on her website, www.JuliaAngwin.com, identifying those who gave her information about what they knew about her and those that allowed her to opt out.

Some wanted money to remove the information. One wanted a copy of her driver’s license. Some required a mail form or fax. Others wanted too much information — such as a credit card number.

“They don’t make it easy to get out,” she says.

EMAIL: mdegroote@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @degroote

Facebook: facebook.com/madegroote

Privacy Versus Secrecy – International Man

Privacy Versus Secrecy – International Man.

 

By Jeff Thomas

The very idea that the individual has a natural-born right to his privacy and basic freedoms flies in the face of the collectivist ideal.

Government is all about control.

Every government, over time, increases its level of control over its population in every way it can. Given enough time, any government will nibble away at its people’s freedoms until it reaches the point that the people have so little freedom left that the government feels safe in taking the remaining freedoms in ever-larger gulps. Some nations are taking very large gulps indeed.

One of the primary freedoms is privacy. Under the British Constitution,

“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

Further,

“The common law allows people to speak and act in their own homes as they please and to carry on their daily business, provided that they do not infringe the rights of others or commit an offence.”

Sounds downright libertarian, does it not? And it should, as the people who originally collected the bits and pieces that make up the British Constitution were those who, having had enough of the vague and often draconian edicts of various governments, sought to define the rights of the British citizen once and for all.

Of course, “once and for all” did not last very long. Subsequent governments have done their best to slowly erode the basic rights of the British people.

This is consistent with the governments of the world in general.

If we look across the pond to the US, we find in their Bill of Rights, the rights to privacy in numerous amendments, particularly the Fourth Amendment, which states,

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

There can be little doubt that the political leaders of the UK and the US (and, let’s be fair, most of the world’s governments) have violated the basic right to privacy as often as they have been able.

In this, they generally stick together. Typically, international leaders offer no objection to other leaders (either their immediate political opponents or the leaders of other countries) infringing upon the privacy of their citizenries, no matter how extreme the intrusion. They do, however object quite strongly when they find that they themselves have had their own privacy infringed, such as Angela Merkel and Dilma Rousseff have, recently, after finding that the US was tapping their phones.

So, when the authors of the most central principles upon which the present-day UK and the US were founded, crafted their phrasings, what did they mean when they described such essential privacies as “daily business” and “papers and effects”?

Financial Privacy

Well, top of the list would surely be financial records, as, historically, these are considered to warrant greater privacy than most any other daily business, papers, and effects.

Yet, today, we are seeing ever-greater intrusion into our earnings, our investments, our savings, and the storage of our wealth. Much of the world—particularly under the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (read: International Ministry for Intrusion into Financial Privacy)—is doing all it can to eliminate any and all barriers to its pursuit of personal financial information.

However, the prize for Most Invasive Act of Privacy Destruction must go to the US, whose Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) literally seeks to force financial institutionsin other countries to turn over their records to the US.

And much of the world has caved in to this act. So, how is it that this has even been possible, given the fact that it blatantly opposes the founding principles of the US? Well, in a word: marketing.

(Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out: FATCA Watch: List of Countries That Signed Agreements and Those That Will Not Comply with US Dictates)

Banking Secrecy

The OECD countries have done a bang-up job in recent years in attacking the very concept of financial privacy by referring to it by a similar but more sinister term: “secrecy.”

Secrecy, of course, implies that something rather underhanded is taking place and needs routing out. And the world’s low-tax jurisdictions do commit the unforgiveable sin of maintaining the principle that the depositor is entitled to privacy.

In each of these jurisdictions, it is the norm for the average banker to feel that a client’s account is nobody’s bloody business but his own. Whilst they can be quite vehement in this belief, it is also true that they are labouring under increasing pressure from the OECD (and now, FATCA) to compromise the privacy of their clients.

And, in doing so, the OECD has gained quite a following in the form of the media and the average person, as the very term “banking secrecy” now tends to falsely imply criminal acts. This is interesting, as the average person does still believe in privacy. He believes firmly that it is his right to maintain privacy in his bedroom or a public loo, or to draw the drapes in his living room in the evening. Yet these same people have been programmed to mentally remove financial privacy from other privacies.

Clearly, the OECD is going to continue in its intention to convince the world that the individual (unless he holds political office) has an obligation to relinquish his privacy with regard to his financial dealings. And, along the way, its marketing programme will succeed, through endless repetition, of convincing boobus humanus that this is altogether correct.

This suggests that the reader should simply give up and allow his government to invade his privacy at will. However, as those of us who are firm believers in internationalisation often comment, “There is no perfect jurisdiction; there are only jurisdictions that may be more favourable than the home jurisdiction.”

As Doug Casey outlined in his visionary book, The International Man, in 1978, the concept of internationalising is not simply to pick up stakes and move to another country. Rather, it is the concept of “planting flags.” Investigate possible countries in which to live, to hold citizenship, to invest, in which to gain an income, and plant flags in each. Live in one, become a citizen in another, bank in a third, etc.

Some countries still do believe that it is your right to maintain financial privacy and, whilst they may feel pressure from your home country, they are more likely to do all they can to protect your privacy.

As in other concerns, there is no ideal country, but there are those that are decidedlybetter, where the term privacy still retains its original meaning and individual privacy is still respected.

Editor’s Note: You can find the most up-to-date, accurate, and comprehensive information from Casey Research on internationalization by clicking here.

CSEC used airport Wi-Fi to track Canadian travellers: Edward Snowden documents – Politics – CBC News

CSEC used airport Wi-Fi to track Canadian travellers: Edward Snowden documents – Politics – CBC News.

Privacy and security experts on CSEC

Privacy and security experts on CSEC 2:32

Airport Wi-Fi used to track Canadians

Airport Wi-Fi used to track Canadians 4:16

About The Author

Photo of Greg Weston

Greg Weston
National Affairs Specialist

Greg Weston is an investigative reporter and a regular political commentator on CBC Radio and Television. Based in Ottawa, he has afflicted governments of all stripes for over three decades. His investigative work has won awards including the coveted Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism. He is also the author of two best-selling books, Reign of Error and The Stopwatch Gang.

A top secret document retrieved by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowdenand obtained by CBC News shows that Canada’s electronic spy agency used information from the free internet service at a major Canadian airport to track the wireless devices of thousands of ordinary airline passengers for days after they left the terminal.

After reviewing the document, one of Canada’s foremost authorities on cyber-security says the clandestine operation by the Communications Security Establishment Canada ( CSEC) was almost certainly illegal.

Ronald Deibert told CBC News: “I can’t see any circumstance in which this would not be unlawful, under current Canadian law, under our Charter, under CSEC’s mandates.”

The spy agency is supposed to be collecting primarily foreign intelligence by intercepting overseas phone and internet traffic, and is prohibited by law from targeting Canadians or anyone in Canada without a judicial warrant.

As CSEC chief John Forster recently stated: “I can tell you that we do not target Canadians at home or abroad in our foreign intelligence activities, nor do we target anyone in Canada.

“In fact, it’s prohibited by law. Protecting the privacy of Canadians is our most important principle.”

But security experts who have been apprised of the document point out the airline passengers in a Canadian airport were clearly in Canada.

CSEC said in a written statement to CBC News that it is “mandated to collect foreign signals intelligence to protect Canada and Canadians. And in order to fulfill that key foreign intelligence role for the country, CSEC is legally authorized to collect and analyze metadata.”

Metadata reveals a trove of information including, for example, the location and telephone numbers of all calls a person makes and receives — but not the content of the call, which would legally be considered a private communication and cannot be intercepted without a warrant.

“No Canadian communications were (or are) targeted, collected or used,” the agency says.

In the case of the airport tracking operation, the metadata apparently identified travelers’ wireless devices, but not the content of calls made or emails sent from them.

Black Code

Diebert is author of the book Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace, which is about internet surveillance, and he heads the world-renowned Citizen Lab cyber research program at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

He says that whatever CSEC calls it, the tracking of those passengers was nothing less than an “indiscriminate collection and analysis of Canadians’ communications data,” and he could not imagine any circumstances that would have convinced a judge to authorize it.

Cellphone-travelA passenger checks his cellphone while boarding a flight in Boston in October. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued new guidelines under which passengers will be able to use electronic devices from the time they board to the time they leave the plane, which will also help electronic spies to keep tabs on them. (Associated Press)

The latest Snowden document indicates the spy service was provided with information captured from unsuspecting travellers’ wireless devices by the airport’s free Wi-Fi system over a two-week period.

Experts say that probably included many Canadians whose smartphone and laptop signals were intercepted without their knowledge as they passed through the terminal.

The document shows the federal intelligence agency was then able to track the travellers for a week or more as they — and their wireless devices — showed up in other Wi-Fi “hot spots” in cities across Canada and even at U.S. airports.

That included people visiting other airports, hotels, coffee shops and restaurants, libraries, ground transportation hubs, and any number of places among the literally thousands with public wireless internet access.

The document shows CSEC had so much data it could even track the travellers back in time through the days leading up to their arrival at the airport, these experts say.

While the documents make no mention of specific individuals, Deibert and other cyber experts say it would be simple for the spy agency to have put names to all the Canadians swept up in the operation.

All Canadians with a smartphone, tablet or laptop are “essentially carrying around digital dog tags as we go about our daily lives,” Deibert says.

Anyone able to access the data that those devices leave behind on wireless hotspots, he says, can obtain “extraordinarily precise information about our movements and social relationships.”

Trial run for NSA

The document indicates the passenger tracking operation was a trial run of a powerful new software program CSEC was developing with help from its U.S. counterpart, the National Security Agency.

In the document, CSEC called the new technologies “game-changing,” and said they could be used for tracking “any target that makes occasional forays into other cities/regions.”

Sources tell CBC News the technologies tested on Canadians in 2012 have since become fully operational.

CSEC claims “no Canadian or foreign travellers’ movements were ‘tracked,'” although it does not explain why it put the word “tracked” in quotation marks.

Deibert says metadata is “way more powerful that the content of communications. You can tell a lot more about people, their habits, their relationships, their friendships, even their political preferences, based on that type of metadata.”

The document does not say exactly how the Canadian spy service managed to get its hands on two weeks’ of travellers’ wireless data from the airport Wi-Fi system, although there are indications it was provided voluntarily by a “special source.”

The country’s two largest airports — Toronto and Vancouver — both say they have never supplied CSEC or other Canadian intelligence agency with information on passengers’ Wi-Fi use.

Alana Lawrence, a spokesperson for the Vancouver Airport Authority, says it operates the free Wi-Fi there, but does “not in any way store any personal data associated with it,” and has never received a request from any Canadian intelligence agency for it.

A U.S.-based company, Boingo, is the largest independent supplier of Wi-Fi services at other Canadian airports, including Pearson International in Toronto.

Spokesperson Katie O’Neill tells CBC News: “To the best of our knowledge, [Boingo] has not provided any information about any of our users to the Canadian government, law enforcement or intelligence agencies.”

It is also unclear from the document how CSEC managed to penetrate so many wireless systems to see who was using them — specifically, to know every time someone targeted at the airport showed up on one of those other Wi-Fi networks elsewhere.

Deibert and other experts say the federal intelligence agency must have gained direct access to at least some of the country’s main telephone and internet pipelines, allowing the mass-surveillance of Canadian emails and phone calls.

‘Blown away’

Ontario’s privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian says she is “blown away” by the revelations.

“It is really unbelievable that CSEC would engage in that kind of surveillance of Canadians. Of us.

“I mean that could have been me at the airport walking around… This resembles the activities of a totalitarian state, not a free and open society.”

 Ann CavoukianPrivacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian. (Colin Perkel/Canadian Press)

Experts say the document makes clear CSEC intended to share both the technologies and future information generated by it with Canada’s official spying partners — the U.S., Britain, New Zealand and Australia, the so-called Five Eyes intelligence network.

Indeed, the spy agency boasts in its leaked document that, in an apparently separate pilot project, it obtained access to two communications systems with more than 300,000 users, and was then able to “sweep” an entire mid-sized Canadian city to pinpoint a specific imaginary target in a fictional kidnapping.

The document dated May 2012 is a 27-page power-point presentation by CSEC describing its airport tracking operation.

While the document was in the trove of secret NSA files retrieved by Snowden, it bears CSEC’s logo and clearly originated with the Canadian spy service.

Wesley Wark, a renowned authority on international security and intelligence, agrees with Deibert.

“I cannot see any way in which it fits CSEC’s legal mandate.”

Wark says the document suggests CSEC was “trying to push the technological boundaries” in part to impress its other international counterparts in the Five-Eyes intelligence network.

“This document is kind of suffused with the language of technological gee-whiz.”

Wark says if CSEC’s use of “very powerful and intrusive technological tools” puts it outside its mandate and even the law, “then you are in a situation for democracy where you simply don’t want to be.”

Like Wark and other experts interviewed for this story, Deibert says there’s no question Canada needs CSEC to be gathering foreign intelligence, “but they must do it within a framework of proper checks and balances so their formidable powers can never be abused. And that’s the missing ingredient right now in Canada.”

The only official oversight of CSEC’s spying operations is a retired judge appointed by the prime minister, and reporting to the minister of defence who is also responsible for the intelligence agency.

“Here we clearly have an agency of the state collecting in an indiscriminate and bulk fashion all of Canadian communications and the oversight mechanism is flimsy at best,” Deibert says.

“Those to me are circumstances ripe for potential abuse.”

CSEC spends over $400 million a year, and employs about 2,000 people, almost half of whom are involved in intercepting phone conversations, and hacking into computer systems supposedly in other countries.

It has long been Canada’s most secretive spy agency, responding to almost all questions about its operations with reassurances it is doing nothing wrong.

Privacy watchdog Cavoukian says there has to be “greater openness and transparency because without that there can be no accountability.

“This trust-me model that the government is advancing and CSEC is advancing – ‘Oh just trust us, we’re doing the right thing, don’t worry’ — yes, worry! We have very good reason to worry.”

In the U.S., Snowden exposed massive metadata collection by the National Security Agency, which is said to have scooped up private phone and internet records of more than 100 million Americans.

A U.S. judge recently called the NSA’s metadata collection an Orwellian surveillance program that is likely unconstitutional.

The public furor over NSA snooping prompted a White House review of the American spy agency’s operations, and President Barack Obama recently vowed to clamp down on the collection and use of metadata.

Cavoukian says Canadians deserve nothing less.

“Look at the U.S. — they’ve been talking about these matters involving national security for months now very publicly because the public deserves answers.

“And that’s what I would tell our government, our minister of national defence and our prime minister: We demand some answers to this.”

Group Calls for Formal Ethics Inquiry into Spy Watchdog Turned Enbridge Lobbyist Chuck Strahl | DeSmog Canada

Group Calls for Formal Ethics Inquiry into Spy Watchdog Turned Enbridge Lobbyist Chuck Strahl | DeSmog Canada.

Public interest group Democracy Watch released a letter (link to pdf) to ethics commissioner Mary Dawson Friday, requesting she launch an inquiry into former Conservative cabinet minister Chuck Strahl in the wake of revelations that he’s working as an Enbridge lobbyist while also serving as Canada’s top spy watchdog.

The letter points to rules in the Conflict of Interest Act that require public office holders to manage their private life to avoid conflicts of interest. Strahl’s work as a lobbyist, Democracy Watch suggests, invites conflicts of interest, rather than prevents them.

Recently the Vancouver Observer revealed Strahl had registered in B.C. as an Enbridge lobbyist. As the chair of theSecurity Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), some questioned Strahl’s suitability to judiciously oversee the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the spy agency involved in the monitoring of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline hearings.

Democracy Watch also notes that Strahl violated the waiting period meant to prevent former public office holders from using their government contacts to advance private corporate interests.

Enbridge met with Strahl in his role as a cabinet minister on April 29, 2010. Strahl left his position on May 17, 2011. Five months later, in October 2011, Strahl signed an open letter in support of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline. In December of 2013, Strahl registered as a B.C. lobbyist listing Northern Gateway Pipelines L.P. as his client.

According to Duff Conacher, board member of Democracy Watch and adjunct professor with the University of Toronto faculty of law, Strahl is allowing his work with government departments and Enbridge to overlap in illegal ways.

“There’s a rule that you cannot work for any entity, or any organization, or anyone, that you had significant dealings with during your last year in office… And therefore Strahl should not have been dealing with Enbridge until May 18, 2013, which would have been two years after he left office,” he told DeSmog Canada.

“The open letter Strahl signed on to was illegal,” Conacher said. “You’re not allowed to make representations to anyone for any entity that you had significant official dealings with during your last year in office.”

Yet signing an open letter in favour of Enbridge projects is just the beginning of Strahl’s misdeeds, according to Conacher. Far more serious is Strahl’s position with the oversight committee tasked with protecting citizen rights from CSIS.

“Beyond that though there is a general rule about preventing conflicts of interest…so I don’t think he can work for Enbridge as chair of SIRC because that causes conflicts; it does not prevent them.”

In addition, Conacher worries Strahl’s cabinet position may have exposed him to government information that could be used to benefit Enbridge’s push for the Northern Gateway pipeline.

“There is another rule, that never ever in your entire life after you leave cabinet can you give advice using secret information that you’ve learned on the job,” he said.

“It’s not only that your not allowed to share the secret information; you’re not allowed to do that. But you’re not allowed to even give advice using the secret information. He can’t un-know what he knows and so his advice is based on what he knows. What he knows is secret information, therefore he’s prohibited from giving that advice.”

Canada’s ethics commissioner Mary Dawson has been politely side-stepping the issue, Conacher says. Her track record shows she tends to avoid controversy as well, with over 80 former ethics rulings made in secret. Conacher’s concern is that Dawson, a Conservative-appointed commissioner, is avoiding the hard questions — questions Democracy Watch details in its eight-page letter to her.

“It’s beyond conflict of interest. It’s also these other rules that apply and it’s not resolved by Strahl just recusing himself if a complaint comes forward about CSIS and Enbridge,” he said. “And that’s what Mary Dawson has been dodging.”

Dawson is not required to investigate ethics complaints filed by members of the public. She would be required to investigate, however, if a member of parliament made the same complaint.

Strahl’s behaviour, Conacher says, is “very dangerously undemocratic” and “unethical” because it places “the interests of a few private companies way above the public interest.”

“That’s why it’s illegal,” he says. “Thankfully, it’s illegal.”

The Conflict of Interests Act has been reviewed over the past year by the House of Commons ethics committee. A full report outlining the position of each federal party on ethics issues is due out this week or when parliament resumes.

“You don’t have democracy if these rules are not strict, strong and enforced. As everyone knows: if you allow private interests to trump public interests then you don’t have democracy,” Conacher said.

Activist Post: Judge Napolitano: NSA Spies On All Members Of Congress

Activist Post: Judge Napolitano: NSA Spies On All Members Of Congress.

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