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Reposted from Dan Nott by koNko Editor's Note: Diarist nails it. Book 'em Danno. -- koNko
       The greatest threat to the freedom of the press and expression doesn't come from extremists -- it comes from government itself.

        Leaders and dignitaries from across the world convened in Paris on Sunday in a show of unity following the attacks on Charlie Hebdo. Unfortunately, many of the governments represented have atrocious records dealing with the press and freedom of expression in their own countries. To mention a few:

        Britain's government did it's best to hamper the Guardian's ability to report on state surveillance revelations from the Edward Snowden documents.

        Turkey's government just arrested the editor in chief of a leading newspaper and is constantly prosecuting cartoonists for drawing-related crimes.

    In a highly-flawed trial, Egypt's government jailed 3 Al Jazeera journalists for aiding the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The U.S. government -- and the Obama administration in particular -- has aggressively pursued and jailed whistleblowers that speak to journalists. The only CIA employee to face jail time for the torture program at the agency was John Kiriakou, who tried to expose it.


Sun Dec 14, 2014 at 04:59 AM PST

Suck on that, Orwell!

by gjohnsit

Reposted from gjohnsit by koNko Editor's Note: Because. -- koNko

 George Orwell once wrote about a perfect society where no one was a thought criminal, we were in a permanent state of war, and everyone loved Big Brother.

   Well, I read his book and it didn't contain something as awesome as this.

 The report suggests Abu Zubaydah was a broken man after his extensive interrogations. In CIA documents he is described as having become so compliant that “when the interrogator raised his eyebrows” he would walk to the “water table” and sit down. The interrogator only had to snap his fingers twice for Abu Zabaydah to lie down, ready for water-boarding, the report says.
 Self-torturing prisoners! How awesome is that!?!
Even Orwell couldn't dream that one up.

  Andrea Tantaros is right. America is totally awesome and this proves it!

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About that awesome time I was an "extremist":

My extremist profile:

• foreign national/foreign resident
• Linux user/coder
• occasional Linux Journal reader
• occasional Tor/TAILS user (past tense)
• occasional i2pMessenger user
• frequently read, write, email & blog on subject of security, encryption & anonymization
• frequently participate in forums on subject of security, encryption & anonymization

So how do I know this identifies me as member of an "extremist forum" and qualifies me for tracking by XKeyscore, potentially subjecting my communications to deep packet inspection?

Because these news stories published by Tagesschau [English] and Der Erste [English] ... [with English summary articles here, here, here, here, here and here] describe how NSA targets certain Tor relays to identify Tor and TAILS users as well as tracking the users of various websites and on-line forums and blogs that discuss these subjects using rules that exclude "5 Eyes" citizens/residents but fingerprint others for tracking.

In other words, if you merely read about these subjects on-line you are considered a suspect, "extremist" and fair game.

And, specifically, I know this because  ......

...... this section of published XKeyscore code says so:

As I've said here on numerous occasions, it is rather foolish to assume that any encryption or anonymization scheme is totally foolproof, either to brute force hacking (difficult for high level encryption) or other forms of hacks including social engineering.

Now I'm unhappy to be proven right again: in this case, given enough resources, identification of assets (Tor servers) and just some good old mass surveillance (filtering the traffic to/from sites where the subjects are discussed) users or potential users can be identified and then passively tracked by security agencies, and then data collected and stored for future use.

Keep in mind that, under the present rules, NSA treats any traffic that is encrypted, regardless of the origin, as "Foreign" and fair game.

And it would seem, if you are outside of the 5 Eyes countries (USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand), just reading about these subject in an open public forum can get you tagged as an "extremist" and subject to invasive, deep packet inspection.

Warning Daily Kos Members - be on the lookout for Tor and TAILS users, Linux users or readers of Linux Journal that maybe cruising the Internet:


So? I am ....

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Bipartisan majority cuts funding for warrantless spying on Americans and bans insertion of "Backdoor" surveillance measures on IT products and services

In an unexpected late vote Thursday 2014.06.19, a significant majority in the US House of Representatives voted to pass a bipartisan amendment to Military Funding Bill H.R. 4870 that defunds NSA and CIA surveillance operations targeting US Citizens except under certain emergency circumstances and to ban insertion of so-called "Backdoor" hardware or software hacks in IT products and services, which have come to haunt US IT Corporations.

The bill, co-sponsored by Reps. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and others, was introduced as an amendment to a military funding in a tactical move clearly designed to bypass review by the Intelligence Committee, which typically acts as a proxy to defend Intel agency interests.

While the bill still needs to pass in the Senate, where it could be defanged or rejected, attaching it to a 2015 funding bill, the sponsors have improved chances to enact the rules as at least stop-gap measures until more substantial amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which it applies to.

In essence, the bill:

•  Prohibits using US Citizens as "selectors" for electronic surveillance except in the exceptional instances out lined in Section II. Notably, this does NOT apply to persons designated as "non-US persons" by the "51% rule" mandated by FISA.

•  Prohibits government officials or employees from inserting, or requiring other parties to insert hardware or software to facilitate clandestine "Backdoor" surveillance used against any US persons.  While this might seem to allow such methods to be used against foreign persons, in practice it would be impossible to exclude the potential impact on US persons except in very narrowly targeted circumstances.

The latter comes hot on the heels of revelations, this week, by Der Spiegal, that the NSA's Special Source Operations (SSO) gave plausible deniability cover to non-governmental "witting partners" in "exciting joint ventures" who aided the WHARPDRIVE program to tap optical cables, instructing them to lie and remove taps when discovered by third parties.

After the fold, the text of the bills and the usual fun poll for lovers of evil.


Best couple in the Obnoxious & Evil Masquerade Ball:

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Ruling rejects 3rd Party Doctrine underpining warrantless metatdata collection

On Wednesday, 2014.06.11, the United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals made a landmark ruling in United States v. Davis, Case No. 12-12928, effectively prohibiting the use of cell phone tracking metadata obtained without a court warrant, and opening the door to similar rulings in cases where internet metadata is at stake, including the passive and active interception of such data by the NSA.

While the ruling only applies at present to the 3 states of the court's jurisdiction - Florida, Georgia, and Alabama - it could have wide ranging effects and was lauded by civil liberties and constitutional lawyers as an important affirmation of 4th Amendment protections.

Writing in Just Security, Jennifer Granick, Civil Liberties Director at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, stated:

Today, the Eleventh Circuit rejected the exceedingly common law enforcement practice of warrantlessly tracking suspects’ physical location using cell phone tower data. The opinion, United States v. Davis, is both welcome and overdue. Defendants who have and will be physically tracked without a warrant have new legal support to challenge that surveillance. Additionally, because the case involved stored cell site data, Davis undermines the government’s legal arguments that other warrantless “metadata” collection practices are constitutional. [ ... ]

Other bulk “metadata” collection programs have included Internet transactional records, financial transactions and more. The similarities between these categories of information, consumer expectations and knowledge, and the phone numbers dialed in Smith is even more attenuated. Davis, by refusing to apply Smith [Smith v. Maryland] and Miller [United States v. Miller] in a stored phone records case, has taken a giant step away from the legal justification propping up many of the government’s targeted and bulk metadata collection practices.

Over the fold, let's explore some key points and how this could impact indiscriminate warrantless collection and use of electronic data.

OK, this time I'm going to make it easy - Ultimate Evil =

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One Year Ago ...

... in its 2013 June 06 UK edition, The Guardian published an article by Greenwald, MacAskill & Ackerman, "NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily", alleging mass-surveillance of Americans under a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) order requiring the company to hand over meta data of all calls for a specified period. While this followed the 2006 revelation of warrantless wire tapping by the Bush administration, the fact the order authorized targeting American citizens for mass-surveillance came as a surprise, as did the possession of a secret order compelling compliance and gagging Verizon disclosure.

Later that day, Washington Post and The Guardian published articles outlining the NSA PRISM program, by which the agency conducted global mass-surveillance on the internet of foreign and US citizens by accessing the servers of internet service providers, again citing secret documents including pages from PRISM Program slide decks internally documenting the program. More alarming still, it implied cooperation by major US corporations including Apple, Facebook, Google, Skype, Yahoo and others, which they quickly denied.

Trigger Alert: Powerpoint Train Wreck Ahead

June 8, The Guardian reported another secret NSA program in, Boundless Informant: the NSA's secret tool to track global surveillance data, complete with NSA heat maps showing the density of data collected, country by country around the globe, including the USA.

Where were they getting this secret information?

As Washington reeled from the disclosures, The Guardian reveled the source on June 9, naming a US citizen, Edward Snowden, age 29, as the source of the leaks.

As I stepped out into an early morning thunderstorm in Hong Kong June 11 and grabbed a copy of the SCMP, I suddenly came face to face with Mr. Snowden …

… well almost, as he sat in his room at The Mira Hotel 500m up the road and I slogged though the rain to the MTR station.

Memoranda and questions after the fold.



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Reposted from Tales From The Technomancer by koNko Editor's Note: The Technomancer puts ISP skullduggery aiming to kill net neutrality in a nutshell. -- koNko

They call it a warning.

What it is is a threat.

The major ISPs that make up the trade group Broadband for America had their CEOs lay it all out on the table in this letter to the FCC:

Not only is it questionable that the Commission could defensibly reclassify broadband service under Title II, but also such an action would greatly distort the future development of, and investment in, tomorrow’s broadband networks and services.
Translated from PR speak, this reads:
Nice Internet you've got there, bub.  Shame if something were to happen to it.
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Effective 2014 April 08, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) which oversees 16 US national intelligence agencies including the NSA, issued INSTRUCTION 80.04 (PDF),
an updated pre-publication clearance policy that significantly increases restrictions on what current and former members of the ODNI, its agencies, contractors and numerous other parties can reveal in any public document or discussion without prior clearance from ODNI.

This gag policy was the subject of diaries by Don midwest and David Harris Gershon

Significantly, this policy revision:

•  removed distinctions between "classified" and "unclassified" information, applying policy simply to "information", extending reach to virtually any and all information at ODNI discretion

•  prohibits acknowledging even the existence of information leaks in public regardless of whether it is public knowledge

•  requires any disclosures to be "consistent with the official ODNI position or message"

... as well as numerous other rule changes that merit consideration.

Since April 08, Gen. Michael Hayden and Gen. Keith Alexander, both former officials of/under the ODNI have participated in extensive public debates and press interviews where they openly discussed details of policy, procedure and methods used by the NSA as well as discoursing on NSA programs revealed in leaks made by Edward Snowden, the subject of the leaks themselves and Mr. Snowden's role.

We now should consider if they violated the ODNI rules and should be disciplined or if the ODNI pre-approved the complete content of their propaganda disclosures for purity compliance.

Report after the orange gag rag for a stroll down ODNI Memo Lane to the Inner Party.


Say I:

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Reposted from Don midwest by koNko Editor's Note: Don midwest asks the right questions about the newly articulated policy forbidding government officials to see, hear, speak or even acknowledge evil, all prettied-up in the doublespeak of "openness and transparency". Remember folks - Father Knows Best. -- koNko

in the days before the release of Glenn Greenwald's new book on May 13, the administration and the surveillance state seems to be more nervous than ever

now we also get official policy about "authorized leaks", aka propaganda, and "unauthorized leaks" aka, the truth.

does this mean that people like Jesselyn Radack, a former employee and whistle blower can be sent to jail?

does this mean that Thomas Drake, a former CIA employee and whistle blower can be sent to jail if they continue to speak out using what has been learned from Snowden documents?

In a new policy directive from the Obama administrative, national security and other government officials will no longer be allowed to publicly discuss or even reference news reporting that is based on "unauthorized leaks."

President Obama once promised the American people that his administration would be the most transparent in history, but after years of fights with civil libertarians trying to obtain legal memos used to justify the president's overseas assassination program, an unprecedented pattern of prosecuting government whistle blowers, the targeting of journalists, and all the secrecy and obfuscation related to the NSA's mass surveillance programs made public by Edward Snowden, that claim is now met with near universal laughter, if not scorn, by critics.

I added the bold. Maybe laughter will be enough to restore openness.

Obama Directive Makes Mere Citing of Snowden Leaks Punishable Offense
Once promising the most transparent administration in history, White House reins in free speech of employees

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Wed May 07, 2014 at 08:04 AM PDT

NSA Reform Bills Suddenly Appear !

by koNko

As we crawl toward the one year anniversary of the end of The Pre-Snowden Era, suddenly, after a long pause of the sausage grinder, the sort-of and not-really NSA reform bills (USA Freedom Act - H.R. 3361)  and (FISA Transparency and Modernization Act - H.R. 4291) are expected to come to votes on the House floor today and Friday.

If you have not already wonked your way through the bills, Harley Geiger of the Center for Democracy & Technology has written this concise and informative Overview of the Major Proposals to End NSA Bulk Collection in contrast to the White House proposal.

Of the two, the Sensenbrenner Bill, which was widely supported by reformers as the best available option before it was watered-down to what Marcy Wheeler has now dubbed The US Freedumb Act, would require NSA to go to FISA to obtain a warrant for metadata, but falls short of Fourth Amendment protections.  It would, however, end indiscriminate bulk metadata collections (or "Passive Surveillance" in the parlance of out times).

On the other hand, the FTMA co-sponsored by Reps. Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersbkerger (that Mike Rogers, not newly appointed NSA chief Admiral Mike Rogers, LOL) would actually weaken oversight providing the NSA a streamlined rubber stamp (guess that's the "modernization" thingy) to continue business as usual and then some. Go figure.

It looks like the Sensenbrenner Bill just might have enough votes to pass in the House.

But is it worth it?


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Reposted from Daily Kos by koNko Editor's Note: Egberto suggests plutocrats are putting Democracy at risk by killing Net Neutrality and taking over what they already own: the internet tubes. OK, all points considered. -- koNko
This week Net Neutrality was once again placed on notice. The door is being opened to a privileged network in which those with money may be afforded smooth, speedy access to the Internet while those without will be doomed to marginality. The Internet is an integral part of American life—itt is how we communicate, how we entertain ourselves and others, how we do business. It is a utility and should be regulated as such, with equal access for all.

The encroachment on our liberty continues. This is not one of the standard right-wing tea party “don’t tread on me” baseless phrases. This one is real. It is not the government overtly treading on us—it's government policy paid for by the plutocracy, legalizing the theft of our democracy by all means necessary. It is the rebirth of the American oligarchy.

Follow below the fold to learn more.

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Reposted from Joan McCarter by koNko Editor's Note: So, Tom Wheeler turns out to be a dirty liar and a complete wimp, caving into the telecoms just as we all expected. Well, at least he didn't do anything unexpected and shocking like have a backbone or keep his promises to use the power of FCC rules to maintain Net Neutrality. JERK. -- koNko
U.S. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler testifies before the House Communications and Technology panel on Capitol Hill in Washington December 12, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS TRANSPORT BUSINESS TELECOMS) - RTX16FJ9
FCC Chair Tom Wheeler
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler will propose a new set of rules issued in response to a January federal court decision that tossed out the agency's prior Open Internet rules, The New York Times reports. It also reports that the proposed rules will essentially gut net neutrality, allowing Internet service providers what they've always wanted—the ability to charge content companies extra for preferential treatment. Pay, and you get more bandwidth, a bigger tube to send yourself out. Don't pay, you'll be last on the priority list for having your content distributed.
The new rules, according to the people briefed on them, will allow a company like Comcast or Verizon to negotiate separately with each content company – like Netflix, Amazon, Disney or Google – and charge different companies different amounts for priority service.

That, of course, could increase costs for content companies, which would then have an incentive to pass on those costs to consumers as part of their subscription prices.

Proponents of net neutrality have feared that such a framework would empower large, wealthy companies and prevent small start-ups, which might otherwise be the next Twitter or Facebook, for example, from gaining any traction in the market.

That's not the only fear. It will also be a potential disaster for sites like this one, and for nonprofits, for small businesses, for any content provider that doesn't have the big bucks to pay for priority treatment. That in turn will hurt you, the consumer of information and services via the Internet.

The rules will be considered by the commissioners for the next two weeks, before a vote on them on May 15. Stay tuned for our action to fight this proposed rule.

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