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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
Primera vez que se toma esta medida a través de un decreto que no exige decisión judicial
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.
Algunos de los cambios anunciados por Obama no se han materializado
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.
• Agency includes investigative journalists on ‘threat’ list
• Editors call on Cameron to act against snooping on media
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.
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.