EU could give police direct access to cloud data in wake of terror attacks | Technology | The Guardian

The European Union is seeking to make it easier for police and law enforcement agencies to retrieve electronic evidence from US tech firms, including directly from cloud storage.

Fuente: EU could give police direct access to cloud data in wake of terror attacks | Technology | The Guardian


The U.S. Has Ramped Up Airstrikes Against ISIS in Raqqa, and Syrian Civilians Are Paying the Price

Thanks to camera phones and social media, the deadly consequences of U.S. military operations are indeed being recorded, shared, and watched around the world on an unprecedented scale. But while civilian deaths are regularly reported in local media outlets in the Middle East, they are seldom reported in detail by international media.

Fuente: The U.S. Has Ramped Up Airstrikes Against ISIS in Raqqa, and Syrian Civilians Are Paying the Price


Campaign group to challenge UK over surrender of passwords at border control | Politics | The Guardian

The move comes after its international director, Muhammad Rabbani, a UK citizen, was arrested at Heathrow airport in November for refusing to hand over passwords. Rabbani, 35, has been detained at least 20 times over the past decade when entering the UK, under schedule 7 of terrorism legislation that provides broad search powers, but this was the first time he had been arrested.

Fuente: Campaign group to challenge UK over surrender of passwords at border control | Politics | The Guardian


Ciberguerra: cuando el arma más poderosa es un ejército de hackers

La ciberguerra ha dejado de ser una excentricidad reservada a actos aislados, a pequeñas cosas. Las nuevas tecnologías forman parte de los civiles y sus ejércitos. Y atacarlas se ha puesto a la par de la guerra convencional.

Fuente: Ciberguerra: cuando el arma más poderosa es un ejército de hackers


The stench of the Iraq war lingers behind today’s preoccupation with fake news | Jeff Sparrow | Opinion | The Guardian

If world leaders can deceive voters about the greatest foreign policy debacle in a generation, why should a president today worry about casually lying about the crowds at his inauguration?

Fuente: The stench of the Iraq war lingers behind today’s preoccupation with fake news | Jeff Sparrow | Opinion | The Guardian


Julian Assange confirms he is willing to travel to US after Manning decision | Media | The Guardian

WikiLeaks tweeted last week that Assange would agree to US extradition if Obama granted Manning clemency. Asked during a web broadcast on Thursday if he would now leave the embassy, Assange said: “I stand by everything I said, including the offer to go to the United States if Chelsea Manning’s sentence was commuted.”

Fuente: Julian Assange confirms he is willing to travel to US after Manning decision | Media | The Guardian


Chelsea Manning did the right thing. Finally, Barack Obama has too | Trevor Timm | Opinion | The Guardian

At the time of her revelations, she was the most important whistleblower since Daniel Ellsberg. Upon hearing the news today, Ellsberg said this: “Once in a while, someone does what they ought to do. Some go to prison for it, for seven years; some accept exile for life. But sometimes even a president does it. And today, it was Obama.”

Fuente: Chelsea Manning did the right thing. Finally, Barack Obama has too | Trevor Timm | Opinion | The Guardian


Edward Snowden’s leave to remain in Russia extended for three years | US news | The Guardian

Earlier on Wednesday, Maria Zakharova, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, wrote on Facebook that Snowden’s right to stay had recently been extended “by a couple of years”. Her post came in response to a suggestion from the former acting CIA director Michael Morell that Vladimir Putin might hand over Snowden to the US, despite there being no extradition treaty between the countries.

Fuente: Edward Snowden’s leave to remain in Russia extended for three years | US news | The Guardian


Julian Assange ready for US extradition, one of his lawyers suggests | Media | The Guardian

A lawyer for Julian Assange has indicated that the WikiLeaks founder is ready to face extradition to the US after Barack Obama commuted the sentence of US army whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

Fuente: Julian Assange ready for US extradition, one of his lawyers suggests | Media | The Guardian


Chelsea Manning’s prison sentence commuted by Barack Obama | US news | The Guardian

The White House insisted on Tuesday that Assange’s offer to submit to extradition if Obama “grants Manning clemency” did not influence the president’s action.

Fuente: Chelsea Manning’s prison sentence commuted by Barack Obama | US news | The Guardian


Obama libera a exsoldado que actuó como fuente en caso WikiLeaks

El presidente estadounidense, Barack Obama, conmutó la pena de prisión a quien fuera fuente de Wikileaks, Chelsea Manning.Según la información de la Casa Blanca, la exsoldado será liberada el próximo 17 de mayo, aunque se encontraba condenada a una pena de cárcel de 35 años.

Fuente: Obama libera a exsoldado que actuó como fuente en caso WikiLeaks


Obama escalates anti-Russian campaign with new sanctions and threats – World Socialist Web Site

In an executive order accompanied by a series of official statements, US President Barack Obama has sharply escalated the campaign against Russia, based on unsubstantiated claims of Russian government hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign in the presidential election.

Fuente: Obama escalates anti-Russian campaign with new sanctions and threats – World Socialist Web Site


Commander-In-Chief Donald Trump Will Have Terrifying Powers. Thanks, Obama.

He’ll control an unaccountable drone program, and the prison at Guantanamo Bay. His FBI, including a network of 15,000 paid informants, already has a record of spying on mosques and activists, and his NSA’s surveillance empire is ubiquitous and governed by arcane rules, most of which remain secret. He will inherit bombing campaigns in seven Muslim countries, the de facto ability to declare war unilaterally, and a massive nuclear arsenal — much of which is on hair-trigger alert.

Fuente: Commander-In-Chief Donald Trump Will Have Terrifying Powers. Thanks, Obama.


Snowden: ‘Politics of fear’ keep Trudeau from repealing Canada anti-terror law | US news | The Guardian

Edward Snowden has waded into the simmering debate over Canada’s controversial anti-terror law, saying that Justin Trudeau was reluctant to repeal the law out of a fear of appearing soft on terror.

Fuente: Snowden: ‘Politics of fear’ keep Trudeau from repealing Canada anti-terror law | US news | The Guardian


If the US hacks Russia for revenge, that could lead to cyberwar | Trevor Timm | Opinion | The Guardian

What’s the CIA’s brilliant plan for stopping Russian cyber-attacks on the US and their alleged interference with the US election? Apparently, some in the agency want to escalate tensions between the two superpowers even more and possibly do the same thing right back to them.

Fuente: If the US hacks Russia for revenge, that could lead to cyberwar | Trevor Timm | Opinion | The Guardian


NSA contractor arrested for alleged theft of top secret classified information | US news | The Guardian

Shares183Save for laterThe FBI has arrested a National Security Agency contractor on suspicion of the theft of top secret classified data and documents in an alleged security breach at the same intelligence agency whose spy secrets were exposed by Edward Snowden.

Fuente: NSA contractor arrested for alleged theft of top secret classified information | US news | The Guardian


Facebook is Collaborating with the Israeli Government to Determine What Should be Censored

Associated Press reports today from Jerusalem that “the Israeli government and Facebook have agreed to work together to determine how to tackle incitement on the social media network.” These meetings are taking place “as the government pushes ahead with legislative steps meant to force social networks to rein in content that Israel says incites violence.” In other words, Israel is about to legislatively force Facebook to censor content deemed by Israeli officials to be improper, and Facebook appears eager to appease those threats by working directly with the Israeli government to determine what content should be censored.

Fuente: Facebook is Collaborating with the Israeli Government to Determine What Should be Censored


The NSA’s British Base at the Heart of U.S. Targeted Killing

in the heart of the tranquil English countryside, is the National Security Agency’s largest overseas spying base. Originally used to monitor Soviet communications through the Cold War, its focus has since dramatically shifted, and today it is a vital part of the NSA’s sprawling global surveillance network.

Fuente: The NSA’s British Base at the Heart of U.S. Targeted Killing


How the U.S. Spies on Medical Nonprofits and Health Defenses Worldwide

As part of an ongoing effort to “exploit medical intelligence,” the National Security Agency teamed up with the military-focused Defense Intelligence Agency to extract “medical SIGINT” from the intercepted communications of nonprofit groups starting in the early 2000s, a top-secret document shows.

Fuente: How the U.S. Spies on Medical Nonprofits and Health Defenses Worldwide


Israeli firm accused of creating iPhone spyware | World news | The Guardian

An Israeli technology company has been accused of creating and supplying an aggressive interception program capable of taking over Apple’s iPhones and turning them into remote spying devices, after it was allegedly used to target a Middle Eastern human rights activist and others.

Fuente: Israeli firm accused of creating iPhone spyware | World news | The Guardian


Bulk data collection vital to prevent terrorism in UK, report finds | World news | The Guardian

The bulk collection of personal data by British spy agencies is vital in preventing terrorist attacks, an independent review of draft security legislation has found.David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, concluded that laws giving MI5, MI6 and GCHQ the right to gather large volumes of data from members of the public had a “clear operational purpose”.

Fuente: Bulk data collection vital to prevent terrorism in UK, report finds | World news | The Guardian


German proposals could see refugees’ phones searched by police | World news | The Guardian

Checking smartphones of those without passports among measures announced by the interior minister, Thomas de Maizière

Fuente: German proposals could see refugees’ phones searched by police | World news | The Guardian


Israel Targeting Palestinian Protesters on Facebook

Facebook represents a new battleground in the long-running Israel-Palestinian conflict. Israeli officials blame social media for inciting violence, and arrests of Palestinians for Facebook posts have dramatically increased.

Fuente: Israel Targeting Palestinian Protesters on Facebook


“La ciberguerra sería una forma de terrorismo de Estado”

El libro pretende incentivar la mirada crítica entre el gran público ante los acontecimientos calificados de “ciberguerra” y alertar de la coartada que puede proporcionar el tremendismo sensacionalista en estos temas a quienes pretenden recortar libertades o privacidad.

Fuente: “La ciberguerra sería una forma de terrorismo de Estado”


Israel action threatens to close down rights group and ‘chill’ free speech | World news | The Guardian

A high-profile Israeli human rights group that publishes the anonymous testimonies of soldiers in the Palestinian territories is facing a court hearing that threatens to shut down its work in what is being viewed as a crucial test case for civil society.The case, which will be heard in court next week, is being brought by the Israeli government, which is demanding that Breaking the Silence identify anonymous serving military personnel who have given it testimony relating to alleged crimes in the 2014 Gaza war. The group says this is likely to deter future potential testifiers coming forward.

Fuente: Israel action threatens to close down rights group and ‘chill’ free speech | World news | The Guardian


Chelsea Manning wins free speech award: ‘It’s easy to feel invisible’ – video | US news | The Guardian

Chelsea Manning, currently in a maximum security prison in Kansas, is awarded the Blueprint for Free Speech prize

Fuente: Chelsea Manning wins free speech award: ‘It’s easy to feel invisible’ – video | US news | The Guardian


Mis nueve meses en régimen de aislamiento fueron una tortura “sin contacto”

En 2010, el ejército estadounidense detuvo a una de sus analistas de inteligencia por filtrar documentos clasificados sobre las guerras de Irak y Afganistán a Wikileaks; hoy cumple una condena de 35 años de prisión. “Me llevaron a un solitario agujero negro de confinamiento. Dos semanas después empecé a pensar en suicidarme”, recuerda.

Fuente: Mis nueve meses en régimen de aislamiento fueron una tortura “sin contacto”


Exclusive: Snowden intelligence docs reveal UK spooks' malware checklist / Boing Boing

Boing Boing is proud to publish two original documents disclosed by Edward Snowden, in connection with “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Extraordinary Rendition,” a short story …

Fuente: Exclusive: Snowden intelligence docs reveal UK spooks’ malware checklist / Boing Boing


Those Demanding Free Speech Limits to Fight ISIS Pose a Greater Threat to U.S. Than ISIS

We’ve been told for years that The Terrorists “hate our freedoms,” yet we cannot seem to rid ourselves of those who think the solution is to voluntarily abolish those freedoms ourselves.

Fuente: Those Demanding Free Speech Limits to Fight ISIS Pose a Greater Threat to U.S. Than ISIS


US warns of risks from deeper encryption – FT.com

US warns of risks from deeper encryption – FT.com.

 

Jeh Johnson©Getty

Jeh Johnson

The head of the US Department of Homeland Security has warned the cyber security industry that encryption poses “real challenges” for law enforcement.

In a speech at a cyber security conference, RSA in San Francisco, Jeh Johnson called on the industry to find a solution that protected “the basic physical security of the American people” and the “liberties and freedoms we cherish”.

“The current course on deeper and deeper encryption is one that presents real challenges for those in law enforcement and national security,” he said.He said he understood the importance of encryption for privacy but asked the audience to imagine what it would have meant for law enforcement if, after the invention of the telephone, all the police could search was people’s letters.

Mr Johnson’s comments echo those of FBI director James Comey who called on Congress last year to stop the rise of encryption where no one held a key and so law enforcement agencies could not unlock it.

In the UK, the director of GCHQ criticised US technology companies last year for becoming “the command and control networks of choice” for terrorists by protecting communications. Across Europe, police forces have become concerned by their inability to track the communications of people who plan to travel to the Middle East to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis).

 


Netanyahu's Spying Denials Contradicted by Secret NSA Documents – The Intercept

Netanyahu’s Spying Denials Contradicted by Secret NSA Documents – The Intercept.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday vehemently denied aWall Street Journal report, leaked by the Obama White House, that Israel spied on U.S. negotiations with Iran and then fed the intelligence to Congressional Republicans. His office’s denial was categorical and absolute, extending beyond this specific story to U.S.-targeted spying generally, claiming: “The state of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israel’s other allies.”

Featured photo - Netanyahu’s Spying Denials Contradicted by Secret NSA Documents

Israel’s claim is not only incredible on its face. It is also squarely contradicted by top-secret NSA documents, which state that Israel targets the U.S. government for invasive electronic surveillance, and does so more aggressively and threateningly than almost any other country in the world. Indeed, so concerted and aggressive are Israeli efforts against the U.S. that some key U.S. government documents — including the top secret 2013 intelligence budget — list Israel among the U.S.’s most threatening cyber-adversaries and as a “hostile” foreign intelligence service.


US accuses Israel of spying on nuclear talks with Iran | World news | The Guardian

US accuses Israel of spying on nuclear talks with Iran | World news | The Guardian.

Israel denies Wall Street Journal reports that it shared confidential information from talks with members of the US Congress in attempt to derail any deal

Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman
The Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, denied the Wall Street Journal report: ‘We reached a decision a long time ago not to spy on the US.’ Photograph: Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images

The US has accused Israel of spying on international negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme and using the intelligence gathered to persuade Congress to undermine the talks, according to a report on Tuesday.

The Wall Street Journal cited senior administration officials as saying the Israeli espionage operation began soon after the US opened up a secret channel of communications with Tehran in 2012, aimed at resolving the decade-long standoff over Iran’s nuclear aspirations.

The apparent decision by the White House to leak the allegations is the latest symptom of the growing gulf between Barack Obama’s administration and Binyamin Netanyahu’s government over the Iran talks, in which the Israeli leader suspects US officials of being ready to make too many concessions at the expense of Israeli security. Intelligence analysts suggested that the leak reflects the degree of anger in Washington at Netanyahu’s actions, and could mark a more serious blow to the already tottering relationship.

The leak has come exactly a week before a deadline for the US-Iranian negotiations in Lausanne to produce a framework agreement.

According to the report, the US has long been aware that Israel is among the shortlist of countries with the most aggressive intelligence operations targeting America, alongside Russia, China and France. It said American diplomats attending the talks in Austria and Switzerland were briefed by US counterintelligence officials about the threat of Israeli eavesdropping. It also raised the possibility that Israel gathered intelligence about the US position by spying on other participants in the negotiations, from western Europe, Russia, China or Iran. US intelligence had previously provided help to the Israelis to spy on the Iranians, the report said.

The US also conducts intelligence operations against Israel, and learned of the Israeli spying operation when it intercepted communication between Israeli officials exchanging classified information that US intelligence believed could only have been acquired by espionage.

However, what appears to have upset administration officials more than the spying is the use of the classified intelligence acquired to brief members of the US Congress and to persuade them to torpedo the talks. After Netanyahu addressed Congress this month, 47 Republican senators wrote an open letter to the Iranian leadership, warning it that a successor to Obama could refuse to honour any agreement reached.

“It is one thing for the US and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal US secrets and play them back to US legislators to undermine US diplomacy,” the Wall Street Journal quoted a senior US official as saying.


What's Scarier: Terrorism, or Governments Blocking Websites in its Name? – The Intercept

What’s Scarier: Terrorism, or Governments Blocking Websites in its Name? – The Intercept.

Featured photo - What’s Scarier: Terrorism, or Governments Blocking Websites in its Name?

The French Interior Ministry on Monday ordered that five websites be blocked on the grounds that they promote or advocate terrorism. “I do not want to see sites that could lead people to take up arms on the Internet,” proclaimed Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

When the block functions properly, visitors to those banned sites, rather than accessing the content of the sites they chose to visit, will be automatically redirected to the Interior Ministry website. There, they will be greeted by a graphic of a large red hand, and text informing them that they were attempting to access a site that causes or promotes terrorism: “you are being redirected to this official website since your computer was about to connect with a page that provokes terrorist acts or condones terrorism publicly.”

No judge reviews the Interior Ministry’s decisions. The minister first requests that the website owner voluntarily remove the content he deems transgressive; upon disobedience, the minister unilaterally issues the order to Internet service providers for the sites to be blocked. This censorship power is vested pursuant to a law recently enacted in France empowering the interior minister to block websites.

Forcibly taking down websites deemed to be supportive of terrorism, or criminalizing speech deemed to “advocate” terrorism, is a major trend in both Europe and the West generally. Last month in Brussels, the European Union’s counter-terrorism coordinator issued a memo proclaiming that “Europe is facing an unprecedented, diverse and serious terrorist threat,” and argued that increased state control over the Internet is crucial to combating it.

The memo noted that “the EU and its Member States have developed several initiatives related to countering radicalisation and terrorism on the Internet,” yet argued that more must be done. It argued that the focus should be on “working with the main players in the Internet industry [a]s the best way to limit the circulation of terrorist material online.” It specifically hailed the tactics of the U.K. Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU), which has succeeded in causing the removal of large amounts of material it deems “extremist”:

In addition to recommending the dissemination of “counter-narratives” by governments, the memo also urged EU member states to “examine the legal and technical possibilities to remove illegal content.”


Francia bloquea cinco páginas web por apología del terrorismo yihadista | Internacional | EL PAÍS

Francia bloquea cinco páginas web por apología del terrorismo yihadista | Internacional | EL PAÍS.

 

Primera vez que se toma esta medida a través de un decreto que no exige decisión judicial

 

 

 

Así sale el mensaje de censura emitido por el Ministerio del Interior francés. / Captura de imagen

El Gobierno francés ha aplicado este fin de semana por vez primera el decreto aprobado el 4 de febrero pasado y que le permite bloquear páginas web que hagan apología del terrorismo. Se trata de una decisión administrativa que no requiere decisión previa de un juez y que, a demanda del Ministerio del Interior, los proveedores de Internet deben aplicar en el plazo de 24 horas. En total, son cinco las páginas de presunta propaganda yihadista las que han quedado bloqueadas este lunes, según ha confirmado Interior.

La alerta la dio por la mañana el corresponsal en Túnez y Libia de la RFI, David Thomson, en su cuenta de Twitter. “¡Una página de información islámica censurada en Francia sin decisión judicial!”, anunció a primera hora de la mañana el periodista. Se trataba de una página web en la que se defendían las acciones yihadistas en Siria e Irak, según el mismo Thomson, autor del libro Los franceses yihadistas. La página cerrada era www.islamic-news.info. Tras la intervención gubernamental, al acceder a ella aparecen el logo del Ministerio del Interior y una leyenda en letras rojas que advierte de que dicha página provocaba acciones terroristas. Este ministerio informó unas horas más tarde la censura de un total de cinco páginas entre las que está también una de al-Hayat Media Center, que se encarga de la comunicación del Estado Islámico. El sitio web seguía por la tarde activo.


NSA Claims Iran Learned from Western Cyberattacks – The Intercept

NSA Claims Iran Learned from Western Cyberattacks – The Intercept.

Featured photo - NSA Claims Iran Learned from Western Cyberattacks

The U.S. Government often warns of increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks from adversaries, but it may have actually contributed to those capabilities in the case of Iran.

top secret National Security Agency document from April 2013 reveals that the U.S. intelligence community is worried that the West’s campaign of aggressive and sophisticated cyberattacks enabled Iran to improve its own capabilities by studying and then replicating those tactics.

The NSA is specifically concerned that Iran’s cyberweapons will become increasingly potent and sophisticated by virtue of learning from the attacks that have been launched against that country. “Iran’s destructive cyber attack against Saudi Aramco in August 2012, during which data was destroyed on tens of thousands of computers, was the first such attack NSA has observed from this adversary,” the NSA document states. “Iran, having been a victim of a similar cyber attack against its own oil industry in April 2012, has demonstrated a clear ability to learn from the capabilities and actions of others.”

The document was provided to The Intercept by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and was prepared in connection with a planned meeting with Government Communications Headquarters, the British surveillance agency. The document references joint surveillance successes such as “support to policymakers during the multiple rounds of P5 plus 1 negotiations,” referring to the ongoing talks between the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, Germany and Iran to forge an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program.


La reforma de la NSA se queda a medio camino un año después | Internacional | EL PAÍS

La reforma de la NSA se queda a medio camino un año después | Internacional | EL PAÍS.


Algunos de los cambios anunciados por Obama no se han materializado

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Centro de datos de la NSA, en Utah. / RICK BOWMER (AP)

El teléfono de J. Kirk Wiebe suena desde hace unos meses con menos frecuencia. Wiebe fue uno de los primeros filtradores de la Agencia Nacional de Seguridad. Tras jubilarse en 2001, denunció, junto a dos veteranos exanalistas, que la NSA tenía cada vez más acceso a datos personales. Lograron poca atención y fueron perseguidos en la justicia. Pero en junio de 2013, adquirieron notoriedad gracias a las revelaciones deEdward Snowden sobre los largos tentáculos de la NSA: empezaron a dar muchas más charlas en Estados Unidos y Europa sobre su experiencia e influencia.

“Snowden nos había visto diciendo que intentamos ir por los canales internos del Gobierno y no conseguimos nada”, subraya Wiebe en alusión a que, tras fracasar ellos, Snowden optase por filtrar secretos a la prensa en vez de formular una queja interna en la NSA.

Pero ahora, al año y medio de las filtraciones de Snowden y al año de anunciarse la reforma de los programas de vigilancia, se habla mucho menos del joven exanalista refugiado en Rusia y del espionaje masivo. “La excitación ha bajado un poco, pero a la gente sigue sin gustarle [la NSA]”, agrega en una entrevista telefónica Wiebe, de 70 años, 30 de ellos en la agencia. La percepción pública sobre la NSA apenas ha variado: en octubre de 2013, un 54% tenía una opinión favorable; en enero de este año, un 51% (sobre todo jóvenes), según una encuesta del centro Pew.

Al año y medio de las filtraciones de Snowden y al año de anunciarse la reforma de los programas de vigilancia, se habla mucho menos del joven exanalista refugiado en Rusia y del espionaje masivo

Sin embargo, buena parte del debate en EE UU sobre los límites de la recopilación masiva de datos ha quedado eclipsado. El contexto ha cambiado, lo que puede propiciar retrocesos: crecen las voces que, ante el auge del yihadismo, se oponen a restringir los programas de vigilancia, y reclaman que las autoridades tengan plenos poderes para desbloquear la encriptación de teléfonos móviles.

La reforma de la NSA se ha quedado, por ahora, a medio camino. En enero de 2014, el presidente de EE UU, Barack Obama, anunció un conjunto de cambios para limitar la interceptación de datos sin mermar la protección de la seguridad nacional. Su objetivo era atenuar las preocupaciones de ciudadanos estadounidenses y gobiernos extranjeros aliados sobre posibles injerencias a la privacidad.


GCHQ captured emails of journalists from top international media | UK news | The Guardian

GCHQ captured emails of journalists from top international media | UK news | The Guardian.

 

• Snowden files reveal emails of BBC, NY Times and more
• Agency includes investigative journalists on ‘threat’ list
• Editors call on Cameron to act against snooping on media

 

GCHQ
The journalists’ communications were among 70,000 emails harvested in less than 10 minutes on one day in November 2008 by GCHQ. Photograph: GCHQ/EPA

GCHQ’s bulk surveillance of electronic communications has scooped up emails to and from journalists working for some of the US and UK’s largest media organisations, analysis of documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

Emails from the BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Sun, NBC and the Washington Post were saved by GCHQ and shared on the agency’s intranet as part of a test exercise by the signals intelligence agency.

The disclosure comes as the British government faces intense pressure to protect the confidential communications of reporters, MPs and lawyers from snooping.

The journalists’ communications were among 70,000 emails harvested in the space of less than 10 minutes on one day in November 2008 by one of GCHQ’s numerous taps on the fibre-optic cables that make up the backbone of the internet.

The communications, which were sometimes simple mass-PR emails sent to dozens of journalists but also included correspondence between reporters and editors discussing stories, were retained by GCHQ and were available to all cleared staff on the agency intranet. There is nothing to indicate whether or not the journalists were intentionally targeted.

The mails appeared to have been captured and stored as the output of a then-new tool being used to strip irrelevant data out of the agency’s tapping process.

New evidence from other UK intelligence documents revealed by Snowden also shows that a GCHQ information security assessment listed “investigative journalists” as a threat in a hierarchy alongside terrorists or hackers.


Latest FBI Claim of Disrupted Terror Plot Deserves Much Scrutiny and Skepticism – The Intercept

Latest FBI Claim of Disrupted Terror Plot Deserves Much Scrutiny and Skepticism – The Intercept.

BY GLENN GREENWALD AND ANDREW FISHMAN 

Featured photo - Latest FBI Claim of Disrupted Terror Plot Deserves Much Scrutiny and Skepticism

The Justice Department on Wednesday issued a press release trumpeting its latest success in disrupting a domestic terrorism plot, announcing that “the Joint Terrorism Task Force has arrested a Cincinnati-area man for a plot to attack the U.S. Capitol and kill government officials.” The alleged would-be terrorist is 20-year-old Christopher Cornell (above), who is unemployed, lives at home, spends most of his time playing video games in his bedroom, still addresses his mother as “Mommy” and regards his cat as his best friend; he was described as “a typical student” and “quiet but not overly reserved” by the principal of the local high school he graduated in 2012.

The affidavit filed by an FBI investigative agent alleges Cornell had “posted comments and information supportive of [ISIS] through Twitter accounts.” The FBI learned about Cornell from an unnamed informant who, as the FBI put it, “began cooperating with the FBI in order to obtain favorable treatment with respect to his criminal exposure on an unrelated case.” Acting under the FBI’s direction, the informant arranged two in-person meetings with Cornell where they allegedly discussed an attack on the Capitol, and the FBI says it arrested Cornell to prevent him from carrying out the attack.

Family members say Cornell converted to Islam just six months ago and claimed he began attending a small local mosque. Yet The Cincinnati Enquirer could not find a single person at that mosque who had ever seen him before, and noted that a young, white, recent convert would have been quite conspicuous at a mosque largely populated by “immigrants from West Africa,” many of whom “speak little or no English.”

The DOJ’s press release predictably generated an avalanche of scary media headlines hailing the FBI. CNN: “FBI says plot to attack U.S. Capitol was ready to go.” MSNBC: “US terror plot foiled by FBI arrest of Ohio man.” Wall St. Journal: “Ohio Man Charged With Plotting ISIS-Inspired Attack on U.S. Capitol.”

Just as predictably, political officials instantly exploited the news to justify their powers of domestic surveillance. House Speaker John Boehner claimed yesterday that “the National Security Agency’s snooping powers helped stop a plot to attack the Capitol and that his colleagues need to keep that in mind as they debate whether to renew the law that allows the government to collect bulk information from its citizens.” He warned: “We live in a dangerous country, and we get reminded every week of the dangers that are out there.” 


Paris attacks: from solidarity to surveillance – video | World news | The Guardian

Paris attacks: from solidarity to surveillance – video | World news | The Guardian.

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The attacks in the French capital on the offices of a satirical magazine, in the streets and at a kosher supermarket prompted a wave of public outrage and solidarity. But in the days after the attacks politicians and others have seized on the events to push different agendas. Phoebe Greenwood recaps a febrile week in which solidarity and support for free expression began to give way to calls for wider surveillance

North Korea/Sony Story Shows How Eagerly U.S. Media Still Regurgitate Government Claims – The Intercept

North Korea/Sony Story Shows How Eagerly U.S. Media Still Regurgitate Government Claims – The Intercept.

BY GLENN GREENWALD 

Featured photo - North Korea/Sony Story Shows How Eagerly U.S. Media Still Regurgitate Government Claims

The identity of the Sony hackers is still unknown. President Obama, in a December 19 press conference, announced: “We can confirm that North Korea engaged in this attack.” He then vowed: “We will respond. . . . We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States.”

The U.S. Government’s campaign to blame North Korea actually began two days earlier, when The New York Times – as usual – corruptly granted anonymity to “senior administration officials” to disseminate their inflammatory claims with no accountability. These hidden “American officials” used the Paper of Record to announce that they “have concluded that North Korea was ‘centrally involved’ in the hacking of Sony Pictures computers.” With virtually no skepticism about the official accusation, reporters David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth deemed the incident a “cyberterrorism attack” and devoted the bulk of the article to examining the retaliatory actions the government could take against the North Koreans.

The same day, The Washington Post granted anonymity to officials in order to print this:

Other than noting in passing, deep down in the story, that North Korea denied responsibility, not a shred of skepticism was included byPost reporters Drew Harwell and Ellen Nakashima. Like the NYT, the Postdevoted most of its discussion to the “retaliation” available to the U.S.


Sony hack: sacked employees could be to blame, researchers claim | Film | The Guardian

Sony hack: sacked employees could be to blame, researchers claim | Film | The Guardian.

Sony cancelled the release of the Interview in major cinemas, believing it had been hacked by North Korea in retaliation for the film’s depiction of its leader Kim Jong-un being assasinated Photograph: Veronique Dupont/Getty

Security experts investigating the devastating hack against Sony Pictures appear to be moving away from the theory that the attack was a carried out by North Korea, focusing instead on disgruntled former employees of the firm.

Researchers at Norse cybersecurity claim that six former employees could have compromised the company’s networks, arguing that accessing and navigating selective information would take a detailed knowledge of Sony’s systems.

Norse is not part of the official FBI investigation, but did brief the government on Monday, the company said. Though noting that the findings are “hardly conclusive”, Norse senior vice president Kurt Stammberger told the Security Ledger that nine researchers had begun to explore the theory that an insider with motive against Sony would be best placed to execute a hack.

“The FBI points to reused code from previous attacks associated with North Korea, as well as similarities in the networks used to launch the attacks,” said writer Bruce Schneier. “This sort of evidence is circumstantial at best. It’s easy to fake, and it’s even easier to interpret it wrong. In general, it’s a situation that rapidly devolves into storytelling, where analysts pick bits and pieces of the ‘evidence’ to suit the narrative they already have worked out in their heads.”

 

Schneier also said that diplomatically, it may suit the US government to be “overconfident in assigning blame for the attack” to try and discourage future attacks by nation states.

 

He also pointed to comments by Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain, who said Sony might be encouraged to present the hack as an act or terrorism to help fend of likely lawsuits from current and former employees damaged by leaked material.

“If Sony can characterize this as direct interference by or at the behest of a nation-state, might that somehow earn them the kind of immunity from liability that you might see other companies getting when there’s physical terrorism involved, sponsored by a state?” Zittrain told AP.


Enough with the Sony hack. Can we all calm down about cyberwar with North Korea already? | Trevor Timm | Comment is free | theguardian.com

Enough with the Sony hack. Can we all calm down about cyberwar with North Korea already? | Trevor Timm | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

Yes, the Interview was just a Seth Rogen stoner movie – and, no, privacy, free speech and World War III are not at stake

the interview movie poster
“We will respond proportionally,” Obama said on Friday. Why should the US be responding offensively at all? Photograph: Sony Pictures

The sanest thing anyone said in Washington this week was a reminder, on the Friday before Christmas, when Barack Obama took a break from oscillating between reassuring rationality and understated fear to make an accidental joke:

It says something about North Korea that it decided to mount an all-out attack about a satirical movie … starring Seth Rogen.

It also says something about the over-the-top rhetoric of United States cybersecurity paranoia that it took the President of the United States to remind us to take a deep breath and exhale, even if Sony abruptly scrapped its poorly reviewed Hollywood blockbuster after nebulous threats from alleged North Korean hackers.

Unfortunately, acting rational seems out of the question at this point. In between making a lot of sense about Sony’s cowardly “mistake” to pull a film based on a childish, unsubstantiated threat, Obama indicated the US planned to respond in some as-yet-unknown way, which sounds a lot like a cyberattack of our own.

“We will respond, we will respond proportionally, and in a place and time that we choose,” Obama said at his year-end news conference. Why should we be responding offensively at all? As the Wall Street Journal’s Danny Yadron reported, a movie studio doesn’t reach the US government’s definition of “critical infrastructure” that would allow its military to respond under existing rules, but that didn’t stop the White House from calling the Sony hack a “national security issue” just a day later.

Let’s put aside for a moment that many security experts haven’t exactly been rushing to agree with the FBI’s cut-and-dry conclusion that “the North Korean government is responsible” for the hack. Wired’s Kim Zetter wrote a detailed analysis about why the evidence accusing North Korea is really flimsy, while other security professionals have weighed in with similar research.

But whoever the hackers are, can we stop calling them “cyber-terrorists,”like Motion Picture Association of America chairman Chris Dodd did on Friday? They may be sadistic pranksters, extortionists and assholes, but anonymously posting a juvenile and vague word jumble incorporating “9/11” that has no connection to reality does not make them terrorist masterminds. That’s giving whoever did it way too much credit.