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.
“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,
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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 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?
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, 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.”
• 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.
EE UU y Reino Unido lanzan ejercicios y equipos mixtos de expertos para responder a la oleada de ataques informáticos
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.