Items tagged with NSA

So it’s not just us then. While we seethe over NSA spying allegations here in the U.S., ISPs across the pond who believe they were spied upon by the UK’s intelligence agency GCHQ in the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaks are taking action. According to BBC News, seven Internet providers, in conjunction with Privacy International, have filed a lawsuit against GCHQ. "These widespread attacks on providers and collectives undermine the trust we all place on the internet and greatly endangers the world's most powerful tool for democracy and free expression," Eric King, deputy director... Read more...
Ever since Edward Snowden leaked details on how the government had forced various IT companies to disclose information (or secured their willing cooperation), companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have been desperate to regain their users' trust. Six months ago, Microsoft announced that it would reengineer its products and services to provide a much higher level of security -- today, the company revealed that its reached an important milestone in that process. As of now, Outlook.com uses TLS (Transport Layer Security) to provide end-to-end encryption for inbound and outbound email -- assuming... Read more...
Today, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision on data privacy, holding 9-0 that neither police officers nor federal law enforcement have a unilateral right to search cell phones without first procuring a warrant. Prior to today, the government had previously argued that the police could search a cell phone under previous court rulings that extended such rights in limited cases, including incidents where the officers on the scene had reason to believe evidence could be destroyed or that the evidence was on the individual (or within arms' reach). What the Court recognized today is that a cell... Read more...
In a lot of ways, the public is resigned to the fact that almost nothing is truly "private." We're given identification numbers from birth, nearly everything about us is volunteered online, and even our mobile devices have GPS modules in them. In a lot of ways, those things are worth the hassle, and worth giving up some level of privacy. But secret, unlawful data collection could turn into a larger deal in the future, at least according to Microsoft's general counsel Brad Smith. Per Smith, we could be looking at a "bleak" future if the privacy of citizens isn't elevated in importance. To quote:... Read more...
Even when the government conducts secret activities, those ventures have to be funded, and a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives last night took a swipe at the NSA’s domestic spying practices by cutting some of its funding. According to Ars Technica, Representatives James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Thomas Massie (R-KY) authored an amendment to a defense appropriations bill that “none of the funds made available by this Act may be used by an officer or employee of the United States to query a collection of foreign intelligence information acquired under section... Read more...
Ever since 9/11 and the passage of the Patriot Act, the federal government has pursued an aggressive set of data collection policies and surveillance practices. Edward Snowden's leaks last year may have raised public awareness of many of these events, but simply being aware of practices doesn't do a thing to stop them. Recent court decisions, however, could be a sign that the wall of secrecy the NSA has constructed to veil its actions is cracking -- with profound long-term implications. First, earlier this week, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in United States v. Davis that cell phone users... Read more...
When it comes to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, opinions vary, with some people viewing him a traitor to the U.S. and others viewing him as a hero for shining a light on the shadowy practices of the government. Former vice president Al Gore is on record with his take on Snowden, and although he wouldn’t specifically say that he’s a whistleblower, he did make it clear that he didn’t believe Snowden was a traitor. “What he revealed in the course of violating important laws included violations of the US constitution that were way more serious than the crimes he committed,”... Read more...
Facebook rolled out a new mobile feature that uses your device’s microphone to “hear” a song you’re listening to or a TV show you’re watching so you can append that item to a status post. Predictably, a lot of people believe that this is a feature designed for snooping and are not happy that it exists. They’re so unhappy, in fact, that they’ve created an online petition to get Facebook to remove the feature from the Facebook app. To date, there are over 580,000 signatures. “Facebook just announced a new feature to its app, which will let it listen... Read more...
Last week, the ACLU was scheduled to meet with local police in Sarasota Florida to discuss the use of cell phone interception towers, dubbed stingrays, that are an increasingly common feature of federal and local investigations. A stingray is a fake cell phone tower that law enforcement can configure to temporarily replace the real towers a device would normally connect to. In an astonishing turn of events, the US Marshals Service has acted to prevent the meeting from taking place -- seizing all of the relevant records and claiming that they're the property of the Marshals (and by extension, the... Read more...
One of the most troubling facts that came out of Edward Snowden's disclosures last year was the degree to which the government has relied on National Security Letters to compel companies to reveal information about their clients without producing a warrant. Many NSLs were accompanied by non-disclosure orders that forbade the receiving company from revealing to the accused that their information had been demanded. Microsoft had previously gone to court over such tactics and today, the details of the company's strategic victory became public for the first time. Last year, the FBI demanded information... Read more...
From Apple to Yahoo, tech companies have a great deal of our data in their hands, and thanks to whistleblower Edward Snowden, we know that the government wants as much of it as possible--and has been too successful in that regard. In some cases, there’s just nothing much a company can do when the NSA comes knocking with a warrant, but there is a spectrum of cooperation, protection, and advocacy that various companies employ. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has created a list of many tech companies and charted out a star rating system with six categories: -Requires a warrant for content... Read more...
Earlier this week, Apple released an updated set of legal guidelines spelling out exactly what it can and cannot access on your iDevice, what material it will turn over to the police, and under which circumstances it will surrender it. What's particularly interesting is the split response we've seen from different corners of the Internet. Everything Apple does tends to generate attention, but this particular set of announcements is getting a great deal of press -- and two very different narratives have emerged over what it means. Some readers and authors have reacted rather poorly to news that... Read more...
As Seth covered earlier today, Bloomberg has accused the NSA of benefiting from the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug. The NSA denies this in fairly strong terms. I'd like to draw attention to a different facet of the topic -- first, by discussing the semantics of the NSA's denial and then the wider impact of how that denial is perceived and what it means for the tech community as a whole. The NSA's Denial is Surprisingly Straightforward For the past year, the NSA's responses to the Snowden leaks have followed the same strategy: Either the organization claims that its activities are legal or it denies engaging... Read more...
The news of two truly horrible security breaches broke this year; one was the NSA’s shadowy data grabbing and surveillance program, and the other was the Heartbleed bug that left about two-thirds of the Internet utterly exposed to any bad actor. According to a Bloomberg report, these two stories have merged, as “two people familiar with the matter” have told the outlet that the NSA has known about the Heartbleed bug for at least two years and has regularly exploited it to gather intelligence. In an emailed statement to Bloomberg, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence... Read more...
First ... Prev 2 3 4 5 6 Next ... Last