Sweden Withdraws Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, but He Still Faces Serious Legal Jeopardy

The termination of the Swedish investigation is, in one sense, good news for Assange. But it is unlikely to change his inability to leave the embassy any time soon. If anything, given the apparent determination of the Trump administration to put him in a U.S. prison cell for the “crime” of publishing documents, his freedom appears further away than it has since 2010, when the Swedish case began.

Fuente: Sweden Withdraws Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, but He Still Faces Serious Legal Jeopardy


Julian Assange addresses media from Ecuadorian embassy in London – live | Media | The Guardian

“Today is an important victory for me,” Assange says, adding that his seven-year legal ordeal, which he calls unjust detention, “is not something that I can forgive.”It was “extremely regretful” that he was still being threatened with arrest if he leaves the embassy, he added,

Fuente: Julian Assange addresses media from Ecuadorian embassy in London – live | Media | The Guardian


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


WikiLeaks publishes ‘biggest ever leak of secret CIA documents’ | Media | The Guardian

The US intelligence agencies are facing fresh embarrassment after WikiLeaks published what it described as the biggest ever leak of confidential documents from the CIA detailing the tools it uses to break into phones, communication apps and other electronic devices.

Fuente: WikiLeaks publishes ‘biggest ever leak of secret CIA documents’ | Media | The Guardian


In Major Privacy Victory, Top EU Court Rules Against Mass Surveillance

The European Union’s top court has severely undermined the British government’s mass surveillance powers in a new ruling that could rein in police and spy agency investigations.In a judgment handed down in Luxembourg on Wednesday, the European Court of Justice declared that the “general and indiscriminate retention” of data about people’s communications and locations was inconsistent with privacy rights. The court stated that the “highly invasive” bulk storage of private data “exceeds the limits of what is strictly necessary and cannot be considered to be justified, within a democratic society.”

Fuente: In Major Privacy Victory, Top EU Court Rules Against Mass Surveillance


U.K. Parliament Approves Unprecedented New Hacking and Surveillance Powers

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the new law is that it will give the British government the authority to serve internet service providers with a “data retention notice,” forcing them to record and store for up to 12 months logs showing websites visited by all of their customers. Law enforcement agencies will then be able to obtain access to this data without any court order or warrant. In addition, the new powers will hand police and tax investigators the ability to, with the approval of a government minister, hack into targeted phones and computers.

Fuente: U.K. Parliament Approves Unprecedented New Hacking and Surveillance Powers


‘Extreme surveillance’ becomes UK law with barely a whimper | World news | The Guardian

A bill giving the UK intelligence agencies and police the most sweeping surveillance powers in the western world has passed into law with barely a whimper, meeting only token resistance over the past 12 months from inside parliament and barely any from outside.The Investigatory Powers Act, passed on Thursday, legalises a whole range of tools for snooping and hacking by the security services unmatched by any other country in western Europe or even the US.

Fuente: ‘Extreme surveillance’ becomes UK law with barely a whimper | World news | The Guardian


HELP US FIGHT SWEEPING STATE HACKING POWERS | Privacy International

Following on from our recent victory against unlawful surveillance by the British intelligence services, Privacy International is taking the British Government to court again. Why? Because it is using ‘general warrants’ to hack the electronic devices (computers, phones, tablets, and the increasing number of things that ‘connect’ to the internet) of sweeping groups of unidentified people at home and abroad. General warrants permit the government to target wide categories of people, places or property (e.g. all mobile phones in London) without any individualised suspicion of wrongdoing.

Fuente: HELP US FIGHT SWEEPING STATE HACKING POWERS | Privacy International


Three New Scandals Show How Pervasive and Dangerous Mass Surveillance Is in the West, Vindicating Snowden

While most eyes are focused on the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, three major events prove how widespread, and dangerous, mass surveillance has become in the West. Standing alone, each event highlights exactly the severe threats that motivated Edward Snowden to blow his whistle; taken together, they constitute full-scale vindication of everything he’s done.

Fuente: Three New Scandals Show How Pervasive and Dangerous Mass Surveillance Is in the West, Vindicating Snowden


Europe’s Top Human Rights Court Will Consider Legality of Surveillance Exposed by Edward Snowden

Ten organizations – including Privacy International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Amnesty International – are taking up the landmark case against the U.K. government in the European Court of Human Rights (pictured above). In a 115-page complaint released on Thursday, the groups allege that “blanket and indiscriminate” surveillance operations carried out by British spy agencies in collaboration with their U.S. counterparts violate privacy and freedom of expression rights.

Fuente: Europe’s Top Human Rights Court Will Consider Legality of Surveillance Exposed by Edward Snowden


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


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


Brexit Is Only the Latest Proof of the Insularity and Failure of Western Establishment Institutions

The decision by U.K. voters to leave the EU is such a glaring repudiation of the wisdom and relevance of elite political and media institutions that — for once — their failures have become a prominent part of the storyline.

Fuente: Brexit Is Only the Latest Proof of the Insularity and Failure of Western Establishment Institutions


Assange supporters condemn UK and Sweden in open letter | Media | The Guardian

Five hundred prominent names, including Ai Weiwei and Mairead Maguire, accuse countries of undermining UN human rights covenants

Fuente: Assange supporters condemn UK and Sweden in open letter | Media | The Guardian


Julian Assange: UN report is ‘victory that cannot be denied' – video | Media | The Guardian

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks on Friday from the balcony of the Ecuador embassy in London, where he has been holed up for over three years

Fuente: Julian Assange: UN report is ‘victory that cannot be denied’ – video | Media | The Guardian


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


Julian Assange accuses UK minister of insulting UN after detention finding | Media | The Guardian

Foreign secretary Philip Hammond dismisses panel’s finding as ‘ridiculous’ but WikiLeaks founder hails ‘sweet victory’

Fuente: Julian Assange accuses UK minister of insulting UN after detention finding | Media | The Guardian


Big tech groups warn UK against spy bill – FT.com

Silicon Valley’s biggest companies have urged the UK government to reconsider swaths of its proposed surveillance law, saying it will have far-reaching implications for how other countries upgrade their spying regimes. In a rare show of unity,

Fuente: Big tech groups warn UK against spy bill – FT.com


Apple's Tim Cook defends encryption. When will other tech CEOs do so? | Trevor Timm | Opinion | The Guardian

More high-profile titans need to use their platforms to make crystal clear how important encryption is to users everywhere

Fuente: Apple’s Tim Cook defends encryption. When will other tech CEOs do so? | Trevor Timm | Opinion | The Guardian


Apple believes bill creates ‘key under doormat for bad guys’ – FT.com

Shortly after Theresa May introduced the draft Investigatory Powers bill in November to update the UK’s surveillance laws for the internet age, the home secretary met privately with Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive. He laid out a number of

Fuente: Apple believes bill creates ‘key under doormat for bad guys’ – FT.com


The hype over metadata is a dangerous myth – FT.com

Communications data — and the government’s powers to collect them — are at the heart of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill introduced by Theresa May, UK home secretary, which is currently under scrutiny. Such metadata are the digital exhaust of our

Fuente: The hype over metadata is a dangerous myth – FT.com


Unconnected and out of work: the vicious circle of having no internet | Society | The Guardian

Unconnected and out of work: the vicious circle of having no internet | Society | The Guardian.

 A jobseeker uses a computer at a Citizens Advice office in Newcastle.A jobseeker uses a computer at a Citizens Advice office in Newcastle. Photograph: Mark Pinder/the Guardian

In a modern-day version of the old casual labour scrum outside the local docks, Nick East scrambles for a free computer screen when the doors of Newcastle’s city centre library open.

The fourth floor computer room of the glass-fronted library is stocked with 40 terminals, plus a handful of iMacs. Even so, it’s almost always packed, with people waiting for a computer to become free for a designated two-hour slot.

“You have to get there very early or all the screens will be gone and you have to hang around,” said the 24-year-old, who has been unemployed for 18 months. “And you can’t afford a city centre coffee [while waiting], so you just walk about the streets.”

East’s need for computer time has nothing to with catching up with friends on social media, online shopping or video downloads. He must apply for 24 jobs a week – with applications taking up to an hour each – on the government’s digital jobcentre looking for work, or lose his benefits. When you don’t own a computer, this is no mean feat – as East has found out.

In an increasingly digital society, large swaths of the population – lacking computers, broadband, email addresses or even phones that function without regular cash top-ups – are discovering harsh consequences to being unconnected. About one fifth of households have no internet access, according to most figures,including those of the Government Digital Service, although the Office for National Statistics put the figure at 16%. At any one time, there are an estimated 10m pay-as-you-go phones without the credit needed to make calls or pick up voicemail messages.

“The primary reason people don’t have broadband is cost,” said Oliver Johnson, CEO of broadband analysts Point Topic. “It’s still expensive to buy all the kit you need, let alone the monthly subscription. Ironically, the cheapest rail fares and the cheapest goods are online – meaning poorer people suffer twice over.”

Meanwhile, the government is moving more and more services online. Significantly, universal credit, a benefit which will replace six means-tested allowances and tax credits, will be a digital-only service. Claimants are expected to apply online, manage any subsequent changes online, and contact between the government and the claimant will be made online.


A digital public space is Britain’s missing national institution | Technology | The Guardian

A digital public space is Britain’s missing national institution | Technology | The Guardian.

David BowieA costume from a David Bowie exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum in central London. The V&A is under-represented in the digital world. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

A cynic might say that we have the internet we deserve. We were promised a democratic platform for change, for equality, for collaboration, yet are faced with a reality of weary cynicism, as author Charles Leadbeater wrote last summer, and an assumption that we cannot trust any organisation with our personal data.

We were told of flourishing startups and opportunities for all, yet the internet has amplified global inequalities, says Andrew Keen, a writer on the internet revolution, using the parlance of openness and opportunity to create an industry of disproportionately wealthy entrepreneurs.

And as the meaningful engagement of governments in the lives of citizens diminishes, we stare into a dystopian future described by Evgeny Morozov: Silicon Valley is heading towards a “digital socialism”, where benevolent corporations provide all the health, education, travel and housing employees could ever desire, negating the need for state provision. Ice that cake with the unpalatable truth about the reach of our government’s surveillance services and we might think our internet is already beyond help.

Commercial interests have shaped the internet, and have created such powerful organisations that governments now struggle to keep up – out-funded, out-lobbied and outwitted. Rather than reflecting the real world, the internet absorbs and amplifies it, re-presenting a version of our lives, our work and our culture, from the gross disproportion of privilege and access afforded to those even able to access the internet to the misogyny that cripples meaningful debate. Even acknowledging its infancy, the internet does not represent a version of ourselves of which we can be proud. From privacy and surveillance to our collective cultural record, where is the internet we are truly capable of? Quietly, excitedly, and in a modestly British way, there is an alternative emerging. Rather than the internet as shopping mall – defined and dominated by commercial interests – how could we build the public park of the internet?


ARGENPRESS.info – Prensa argentina para todo el mundo: Espionaje de Estados Unidos: El cuento de nunca acabar

ARGENPRESS.info – Prensa argentina para todo el mundo: Espionaje de Estados Unidos: El cuento de nunca acabar.

lunes, 2 de marzo de 2015

Carmen Esquivel (PL)

Cuando aún está fresco en la memoria el escándalo por el espionaje masivo contra ciudadanos, instituciones y hasta dignatarios europeos, el tema vuelve a la palestra al revelarse ahora que otros objetivos estuvieron en la mira de los servicios de inteligencia estadounidenses.

El nuevo blanco de los ataques es la compañía holandesa Gemalto, primera de su tipo en el mundo en la fabricación de tarjetas SIM (Subscriber Identity Module), en español Módulo de Identificación de Abonados, usada en teléfonos celulares y módems.

Para dar una idea de la magnitud de lo que esto significa baste señalar que la firma produce cerca de dos mil millones de estos dispositivos al año para 450 empresas de telecomunicaciones, entre ellas T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange, Verizon y Sprint.

Gemalto trabaja, además, con unas tres mil instituciones financieras porque elabora chips para tarjetas de crédito.

De acuerdo con documentos filtrados recientemente por Edward Snowden, ex analista de la Agencia Nacional de Seguridad (NSA, por sus siglas en inglés), las inteligencias estadounidense y británica lograron apropiarse de las claves de la compañía, lo cual les abrió las puertas a los celulares de medio mundo.

La NSA y el Cuartel General de Comunicaciones del gobierno de Gran Bretaña (GCHQ) obtuvieron las llaves al acceder a los servidores centrales de Gemalto, valiéndose de información privada de algunos ingenieros, fabricantes de tarjetas y proveedores.

De esta manera pudieron espiar las llamadas, mensajes y correos electrónicos de una persona o empresa sin necesidad de pasar por una operadora o de obtener una orden judicial y, lo más alarmante, sin dejar ningún tipo de rastro.

“Es imposible saber cuántos códigos robaron la NSA y el GCHQ, pero si nos basamos en hipótesis modestas, el número es impresionante”, afirmó el sitio digital The Intercept, que filtró la información.


Gemalto Doesn't Know What It Doesn't Know – The Intercept

Gemalto Doesn’t Know What It Doesn’t Know – The Intercept.

Featured photo - Gemalto Doesn’t Know What It Doesn’t Know

Gemalto CEO Olivier Piou shows a cellphone SIM card before a press conference on February 25, 2015 in Paris.

Gemalto, the French-Dutch digital security giant, confirmed that it believes American and British spies were behind a “particularly sophisticated intrusion” of its internal computer networks, as reported by The Intercept last week.

This morning, the company tried to downplay the significance of NSA and GCHQ efforts against its mobile phone encryption keys — and, in the process, made erroneous statements about cellphone technology and sweeping claims about its own security that experts describe as highly questionable.

Gemalto, which is the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, launched an internal investigation after The Intercept six days ago revealed that the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ hacked the company and cyberstalked its employees. In the secret documents, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the intelligence agencies described a successful effort to obtain secret encryption keys used to protect hundreds of millions of mobile devices across the globe.

The company was eager to address the claims that its systems and encryption keys had been massively compromised. At one point in stock trading after publication of the report, Gemalto suffered a half billion dollar hit to its market capitalization. The stock only partially recovered in the following days.

After the brief investigation, Gemalto now says that the NSA and GCHQ operations in 2010-2011 would not allow the intelligence agencies to spy on 3G and 4G networks, and that theft would have been rare after 2010, when it deployed a “secure transfer system.” The company also said the spy agency hacks only affected “the outer parts of our networks — our office networks — which are in contact with the outside world.”

Security experts and cryptography specialists immediately challenged Gemalto’s claim to have done a “thorough” investigation into the state-sponsored attack in just six days, saying the company was greatly underestimating the abilities of the NSA and GCHQ to penetrate its systems without leaving detectable traces.

“Gemalto learned about this five-year-old hack by GCHQ when the The Intercept called them up for a comment last week. That doesn’t sound like they’re on top of things, and it certainly suggests they don’t have the in-house capability to detect and thwart sophisticated state-sponsored attacks,” says Christopher Soghoian, the chief technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union. He adds that Gemalto remains “a high-profile target for intelligence agencies.”

Matthew Green, a cryptography specialist at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute, said, “This is an investigation that seems mainly designed to produce positive statements. It is not an investigation at all.”


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.


Barack Obama and David Cameron fail to see eye to eye on surveillance | US news | The Guardian

Barack Obama and David Cameron fail to see eye to eye on surveillance | US news | The Guardian.


British prime minister takes tougher line on internet companies than US president at White House talks on Islamist threats

In Washington, David Cameron announces the creation of a joint group between the US and the UK to counter the rise of domestic violent extremism in the two countries

Barack Obama and David Cameron struck different notes on surveillance powers after the president conceded that there is an important balance to be struck between monitoring terror suspects and protecting civil liberties.

As Cameron warned the internet giants that they must do more to ensure they do not become platforms for terrorist communications, the US president said he welcomed the way in which civil liberties groups hold them to account by tapping them on the shoulder.

Obama agreed with the prime minister that there could be no spaces on the internet for terrorists to communicate that could not be monitored by the intelligences agencies, subject to proper oversight. But, unlike Cameron, the president encouraged groups to ensure that he and other leaders do not abandon civil liberties.

The prime minister adopted a harder stance on the need for big internet companies such as Facebook and Twitter to do more to cooperate with the surveillance of terror suspects. In an interview with Channel 4 News he said they had to be careful not to act as a communications platform for terrorists.


Maniobras de ciberguerra a orillas del Atlántico | Internacional | EL PAÍS

Maniobras de ciberguerra a orillas del Atlántico | Internacional | EL PAÍS.


EE UU y Reino Unido lanzan ejercicios y equipos mixtos de expertos para responder a la oleada de ataques informáticos

 /  /  Londres / Washington / Madrid 17 ENE 2015 – 02:33CET2

Cameron y Obama en Washington / E.V. (AP) / VÍDEO: REUTERS LIVE

A lo largo de 2015 los poderosos sectores financieros de Estados Unidos y Reino Unido, posiblemente el Banco de Inglaterra y Wall Street, serán objeto de un ciberataque. Será, en realidad, un ataque ficticio. Un simulacro. El primero de una serie de ejercicios conjuntos entre los servicios de espionaje, que se producirán en el marco de un acuerdo “sin precedentes” entre los dos aliados, para poner a prueba los mecanismos de seguridad en las “infraestructuras nacionales críticas” ante la amenaza de los cibercriminales.

Así lo confirmaron el viernes en Washington el primer ministro británico, el conservador David Cameron, y el presidente estadounidense, Barack Obama. “Dado el urgente y creciente peligro de los ciberataques, hemos decidido expandir nuestra cooperación en ciberseguridad para proteger nuestra infraestructura más crítica, nuestros negocios y la privacidad de nuestros pueblos”, dijo Obama.

A renglón seguido, el primer ministro británico coincidió en la necesidad de forjar una estructura conjunta que pueda proteger “mejor” a sus países ante los ciberataques, en referencia al asalto atribuido a Corea del Norte contra la compañía Sony a finales de año o el que esta semana afectó a la cuenta en Twitter del Mando Central de EE UU, lanzado presuntamente por simpatizantes del Estado Islámico (EI).

Cameron, que ya adelantó los planes conjuntos de ambos aliados antes de reunirse con Obama, ha intensificado, tras el ataque contra el semanario francés Charlie Hebdo, su campaña para lograr que los Gobiernos dispongan de más poderes para acceder a la actividad en Internet de los sospechosos de terrorismo, y busca aliados en su empeño.


With Power of Social Media Growing, Police Now Monitoring and Criminalizing Online Speech – The Intercept

With Power of Social Media Growing, Police Now Monitoring and Criminalizing Online Speech – The Intercept.

BY GLENN GREENWALD 

Featured photo - With Power of Social Media Growing, Police Now Monitoring and Criminalizing Online Speech

On March 6, 2012, six British soldiers were killed in Afghanistan by a roadside explosive device, and a national ritual of mourning and rage ensued. Prime Minister David Cameron called it a “desperately sad day for our country.” A British teenager, Azhar Ahmed, observed the reaction for two days and then went to Facebook to angrily object that the innocent Afghans killed by British soldiers receive almost no attention from British media. He opined that the UK’s soldiers in Afghanistan are guilty, their deaths deserved, and are therefore going to hell:

The following day, Ahmed was arrested and “charged with a racially aggravated public order offense.” The police spokesman explained that “he didn’t make his point very well and that is why he has landed himself in bother.” The state proceeded to prosecute him, and in October of that year, he was convicted “of sending a grossly offensive communication,” fined and sentenced to 240 hours of community service.

As demonstrators demanded he be imprisoned, the judge who sentenced Ahmed pronounced his opinions “beyond the pale of what’s tolerable in our society,” ruling: “I’m satisfied that the message was grossly offensive.” The Independent‘s Jerome Taylor noted that he “escaped jail partially because he quickly took down his unpleasant posting and tried to apologize to those he offended.” Apparently, heretics may be partially redeemed if theypublicly renounce their heresies.


Operation Socialist: How GCHQ Spies Hacked Belgium’s Largest Telco

Operation Socialist: How GCHQ Spies Hacked Belgium’s Largest Telco.

BY RYAN GALLAGHER 

When the incoming emails stopped arriving, it seemed innocuous at first. But it would eventually become clear that this was no routine technical problem. Inside a row of gray office buildings in Brussels, a major hacking attack was in progress. And the perpetrators were British government spies.

It was in the summer of 2012 that the anomalies were initially detected by employees at Belgium’s largest telecommunications provider, Belgacom. But it wasn’t until a year later, in June 2013, that the company’s security experts were able to figure out what was going on. The computer systems of Belgacom had been infected with a highly sophisticated malware, and it was disguising itself as legitimate Microsoft software while quietly stealing data.

Last year, documents from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden confirmed that British surveillance agency Government Communications Headquarters was behind the attack, codenamed Operation Socialist. And in November, The Intercept revealed that the malware found on Belgacom’s systems was one of the most advanced spy tools ever identified by security researchers, who named it “Regin.”

The full story about GCHQ’s infiltration of Belgacom, however, has never been told. Key details about the attack have remained shrouded in mystery—and the scope of the attack unclear.

Now, in partnership with Dutch and Belgian newspapers NRC Handelsbladand De StandaardThe Intercept has pieced together the first full reconstruction of events that took place before, during, and after the secret GCHQ hacking operation.

Based on new documents from the Snowden archive and interviews with sources familiar with the malware investigation at Belgacom’s networks,The Intercept and its partners have established that the attack on Belgacom was more aggressive and far-reaching than previously thought. It occurred in stages between 2010 and 2011, each time penetrating deeper into Belgacom’s systems, eventually compromising the very core of the company’s networks.


Edward Snowden: state surveillance in Britain has no limits | World news | The Guardian

Edward Snowden: state surveillance in Britain has no limits | World news | The Guardian.

Whistleblower and former NSA analyst says UK regulation allows GCHQ snooping to go beyond anything seen in US
 Edward Snowden
John Naughton interviews Edward Snowden via Skype at the Observer Festival of Ideas Photograph: Alicia Canter For The Guardian for the Guardian

The UK authorities are operating a surveillance system where “anything goes” and their interceptions are more intrusive to people’s privacy than has been seen in the US, Edward Snowden said.

Speaking via Skype at the Observer Ideas festival, held in central London, the whistleblower and former National Security Agency specialist, said there were “really no limits” to the GCHQ’s surveillance capabilities.

He said: “In the UK … is the system of regulation where anything goes. They collect everything that might be interesting. It’s up to the government to justify why it needs this. It’s not up to you to justify why it doesn’t … This is where the danger is, when we think about … evidence being gathered against us but we don’t have the opportunity to challenge that in courts. It undermines the entire system of justice.”

He also said he thought that the lack of coverage by the UK papers of the story, or the hostile coverage of it, other than by the Guardian, “did a disservice to the public”.

His appearance at the festival on Sunday marked the end of a weekend of almost frenetic social activity by his highly reclusive standards: he appeared at two public events and was the absent star of Laura Poitras’ documentary, Citizenfour, which premiered in New York on Friday.

Collectively, the events revealed a more rounded, human, portrait of the former NSA analyst than had been seen before, and offered a few telling glimpses of what his life was now like in Moscow.


Isis in duel with Twitter and YouTube to spread extremist propaganda | World news | The Guardian

Isis in duel with Twitter and YouTube to spread extremist propaganda | World news | The Guardian.

Guardian investigation reveals subterfuge used by social media arm of Islamic State to hijack topics to spread jihadi views
An Isis propaganda video
An Isis propaganda video. The group’s media arm is using slick and fast techniques to spread its content online, Photograph: Screengrab/YouTube

Propaganda operatives from Islamic State (Isis) are piggybacking on popular internet hashtags and forums to secure the widest distribution of their videos, in an increasingly devious game of cat and mouse with police and internet companies, the Guardian can reveal.

An analysis of one of the most recent Isis video distributions shows the variety of techniques being used – including latching on to the huge interest in the Scottish independence referendum – to boost distribution of their extremist material on Twitter and YouTube.

The sophisticated strategies have prompted law enforcement agencies to work closer than ever with the world’s largest tech and social media companies to try to win the propaganda war. A specialist British police squad is working with companies including Twitter and YouTube to block and delete about 1,100 pieces of gruesome content a week, which they say contravene UK terror laws. The vast majority of the material – 800 items a week – relates to Syria and Iraq.

Officers from the UK’s counter-terrorism internet referral unit (CTIRU) acknowledge they are up against a slick and fast-moving dissemination of propaganda and much of the material being targeted involves suspending Twitter accounts or taking down videos of murder, torture, combat scenes, sniper attacks and suicide missions.


Forcing a generation to code is unprecedented, says Codecademy chief | Technology | theguardian.com

Forcing a generation to code is unprecedented, says Codecademy chief | Technology | theguardian.com.

The training company claims the school coding curriculum will improve England’s digital literacy – but it all depends on the skill of teachers

Codecademy’s Zach Sims: ‘We’ve struck oil and we want to make sure we get all of it’
Codecademy’s Zach Sims: ‘We’ve struck oil, and we want to make sure we get all of it’

When US-based website Codecademy was founded in 2011, its emphasis was on adults taking online courses to learn programming skills.

Three years and 25m users later, the company has found that it is not just useful for adults. In fact, one of its big pushes in 2014 is around children and coding.

That is partly because it realised lots of children were taking its existing courses but also through partnerships with schools. Particularly in England, where from this month, coding is part of the new computing curriculum for children as young as five.

“What’s going on here is unprecedented. It hasn’t happened in any other G8 or major economy: forcing an entire country to learn programming,” says Zach Sims, Codecademy’s chief executive.

“The results will be pretty extraordinary. You’ll solve a couple of problems pretty much immediately: the IT skills gap and, hopefully, the gender gap in technology. And hopefully, you’ll raise a more digitally literate generation.”

Obvious caveats: Codecademy wants to work with more schools, so it is hardly surprising that it would talk up the curriculum changes. Meanwhile, if these changes are going to solve skill and gender gaps for the UK workforce, that is a long-term rather than immediate effect.

Still, Sims’ enthusiasm provokes some important talking points. “There’s been this persistent voicing of ‘no one really needs to learn to program’, and we always said that someday it would be in schools, but we never assumed it would be required,” says Sims.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for students to learn a skill that isn’t being taught effectively anywhere else in the world at this scale. And for us, it’s very interesting in so much as it’s the first time a state has mandated blended learning.”

Blended learning is education involving students studying courses online at their own pace, alongside traditional classroom teaching.

“It’s impossible to scale teachers at the rate at which this policy requires them to scale. So it’s the first real at-scale test of [whether] you effectively have teachers acting as facilitators with an online tool,” says Sims.


Coding at school: a parent's guide to England's new computing curriculum | Technology | theguardian.com

Coding at school: a parent’s guide to England’s new computing curriculum | Technology | theguardian.com.

From the start of the new term, children as young as five will be learning programming skills in the classroom

Coding is on the curriculum for primary and secondary school pupils in the UK.
Coding is on the curriculum for primary and secondary school pupils in the UK.Photograph: Alamy

Getting more kids to code has been a cause célèbre for the technology industry for some time. Teaching programming skills to children is seen as a long-term solution to the “skills gap” between the number of technology jobs and the people qualified to fill them.

From this month, the UK is the guinea pig for the most ambitious attempt yet to get kids coding, with changes to the national curriculum. ICT – Information and Communications Technology – is out, replaced by a new “computing” curriculum including coding lessons for children as young as five.

This has been coming for a while: the new curriculum was published in September 2013 to fanfare within the technology industry. But it seems many parents will be surprised when their children come home from school talking about algorithms, debugging and Boolean logic.

A survey of 1,020 parents of 5-18 year-olds in England commissioned by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, found that 60% were unaware or unsure about the changes to the curriculum. Similar surveys by tech firms O2 and Ocado Technology yielded similar results: 64% and 65% of parents (respectively) who were unaware of the changes.

If you’re one of those parents, here’s a guide to what your children will be studying under the new computing curriculum; why there is more of an emphasis on programming skills; how teachers have been preparing for the changes; and how you can support your children and their schools over the coming months.

Why is this happening?

The shakeup of computer studies in schools has been trailed for a while, after criticism from ministers and technology companies of the existing ICT curriculum. The education secretary (at the time), Michael Gove, outlined the political rationale for the changes in a speech this January:

“ICT used to focus purely on computer literacy – teaching pupils, over and over again, how to word-process, how to work a spreadsheet, how to use programs already creaking into obsolescence; about as much use as teaching children to send a telex or travel in a zeppelin.

Our new curriculum teaches children computer science, information technology and digital literacy: teaching them how to code,and how to create their own programs; not just how to work a computer, but how a computer works and how to make it work for you.”

This plays directly in to the complaints of technology companies that the UK has not been producing enough graduates qualified to fill vacancies. Microsoft and Google, along with BCS and its Computing at School working group, and the Royal Academy of Engineering were all involved in the new curriculum.


Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet – The Intercept

Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet – The Intercept.

By 390
Featured photo - Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet

The secretive British spy agency GCHQ has developed covert tools to seed the internet with false information, including the ability to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on web sites, “amplif[y]” sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be “extremist.” The capabilities, detailed in documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, even include an old standby for pre-adolescent prank callers everywhere: A way to connect two unsuspecting phone users together in a call.

The tools were created by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), and constitute some of the most startling methods of propaganda and internet deception contained within the Snowden archive. Previously disclosed documents have detailed JTRIG’s use of “fake victim blog posts,” “false flag operations,” “honey traps” and psychological manipulation to target online activists, monitor visitors to WikiLeaks, and spy on YouTube and Facebook users.

But as the U.K. Parliament today debates a fast-tracked bill to provide the government with greater surveillance powers, one which Prime Minister David Cameron has justified as an “emergency” to “help keep us safe,” a newly released top-secret GCHQ document called “JTRIG Tools and Techniques” provides a comprehensive, birds-eye view of just how underhanded and invasive this unit’s operations are. The document—available in full here—is designed to notify other GCHQ units of JTRIG’s “weaponised capability” when it comes to the dark internet arts, and serves as a sort of hacker’s buffet for wreaking online havoc.


Edward Snowden condemns Britain's emergency surveillance bill | World news | The Guardian

Edward Snowden condemns Britain’s emergency surveillance bill | World news | The Guardian.

be rushed through after government ignored issue for a year

Link to video: Edward Snowden: rush to pass British surveillance law is extraordinary

The NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has condemned the newsurveillance bill being pushed through the UK’s parliament this week, expressing concern about the speed at which it is being done, lack of public debate, fear-mongering and what he described as increased powers of intrusion.

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian in Moscow, Snowden said it was very unusual for a public body to pass an emergency law such as this in circumstances other than a time of total war. “I mean we don’t have bombs falling. We don’t have U-boats in the harbour.”

Suddenly it is a priority, he said, after the government had ignored it for an entire year. “It defies belief.”

He found the urgency with which the British government was moving extraordinary and said it mirrored a similar move in the US in 2007 when the Bush administration was forced to introduce legislation, the Protect America Act, citing the same concerns about terrorist threats and theNSA losing cooperation from telecom and internet companies.

“I mean the NSA could have written this draft,” he said. “They passed it under the same sort of emergency justification. They said we would be at risk. They said companies will no longer cooperate with us. We’re losing valuable intelligence that puts the nation at risk.”

His comments chime with British civil liberties groups who, having had time to read the small print, are growing increasingly sceptical about government claims last week that the bill is a stop-gap that will not increase the powers of the surveillance agencies.

David Cameron, searching for cross-party support, assured the Liberal Democrats and Labour that there would be no extension of the powers.

But internal Home Office papers seen by the Guardian appear to confirm that there would be an expansion of powers. Campaigners argue that the bill contains new and unprecedented powers for the UK to require overseas companies to comply with interception warrants and communications data acquisition requests and build interception capabilities into their products and infrastructure.

The interview with Snowden, in a city centre hotel, lasted seven hours. One of only a handful of interviews since he sought asylum in Russia a year ago, it was wide-ranging, from the impact of the global debate he unleashed on surveillance and privacy to fresh insights into life inside theNSA. The full interview will be published later this week.


The "Cuban Twitter" Scam Is a Drop in the Internet Propaganda Bucket – The Intercept

The “Cuban Twitter” Scam Is a Drop in the Internet Propaganda Bucket – The Intercept.

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Featured photo - The “Cuban Twitter” Scam Is a Drop in the Internet Propaganda BucketA woman uses her cellphone as she sits on the Malecon in Havana, Cuba. Image credit: Franklin Reyes/AP

This week, the Associated Press exposed a secret program run by the U.S. Agency for International Development to create “a Twitter-like Cuban communications network” run through “secret shell companies” in order to create the false appearance of being a privately owned operation. Unbeknownst to the service’s Cuban users was the fact that “American contractors were gathering their private data in the hope that it might be used for political purposes”–specifically, to manipulate those users in order to foment dissent in Cuba and subvert its government. According to top-secret documents published today by The Intercept, this sort of operation is frequently discussed at western intelligence agencies, which have plotted ways to covertly use social media for ”propaganda,” “deception,” “mass messaging,” and “pushing stories.”

These ideas–discussions of how to exploit the internet, specifically social media, to surreptitiously disseminate viewpoints friendly to western interests and spread false or damaging information about targets–appear repeatedly throughout the archive of materials provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Documents prepared by NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ–and previously published by The Intercept as well as some by NBC News–detailed several of those programs, including a unit devoted in part to “discrediting” the agency’s enemies with false information spread online.

The documents in the archive show that the British are particularly aggressive and eager in this regard, and formally shared their methods with their U.S. counterparts. One previously undisclosed top-secret documentprepared by GCHQ for the 2010 annual “SIGDEV” gathering of the “Five Eyes” surveillance alliance comprising the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S.–explicitly discusses ways to exploit Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media as secret platforms for propaganda.