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


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


Cyber experts warn of hacking capability of drones – FT.com

Hackers could employ flying drones to buzz office buildings and intercept corporate communications, cyber security researchers have warned ahead of the industry’s annual gathering.A simple drone can be used to attack WiFi, bluetooth and other wireless connections such as those used in contactless payment cards, making it as easy to intercept information in a private building as it is in a public café.

Fuente: Cyber experts warn of hacking capability of drones – FT.com


“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”


Snowden Debates CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Encryption

NSA whistleblower and privacy advocate Edward Snowden took part in his first public debate on encryption on Tuesday night, facing off against CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, a journalist and author known for his coverage of international affairs.

Fuente: Snowden Debates CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Encryption


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


GCHQ conducted illegal surveillance, investigatory powers tribunal rules | UK news | The Guardian

GCHQ conducted illegal surveillance, investigatory powers tribunal rules | UK news | The Guardian.

 Documents relating to Sami al-Saadi must be destroyed, tribunal has ruled.Documents relating to Sami al-Saadi must be destroyed, tribunal has ruled. Photograph: Marco Longari/AFP

GCHQ, Britain’s national security surveillance agency, has been ordered to destroy legally privileged communications it unlawfully collected from a Libyan rendition victim.

The ruling marks the first time in its 15-year history that the investigatory powers tribunal has upheld a specific complaint against the intelligence services, lawyers have said. It is also the first time the tribunal has ordered a security service to give up surveillance material.

The IPT says GCHQ must destroy two documents which are legally privileged communications belonging to a former opponent of the Gaddafi regime, Sami al-Saadi, who was sent back to Libya in 2004 in a joint MI6-CIA “rendition” operation with his wife and four children under 12.

The tribunal, chaired by Mr Justice Burton, ruled that GCHQ must give an undertaking that parts of those documents must be “destroyed or deleted so as to render such information inaccessible to the agency in the future”. The agency has to submit a secret report within 14 days confirming that the destruction has been carried out.

GCHQ has also been ordered to hand over a hard copy of the papers to the interception of communications commissioner within seven days. They will be kept safe for five years in case there are further legal proceedings or an inquiry.

The tribunal says that although the two documents contain information covered by legal privilege they did not disclose or refer to any legal advice: “The tribunal, after careful consideration, is [also] satisfied that there was no use or disclosure of the privileged information for the purpose of defending the civil claim brought by [Saadi] and others.”

This is a compensation claim against Jack Straw, the then foreign secretary, and the Foreign Office, being brought by Saadi along with another prominent opponent of Gaddafi, Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his family, for their role in their rendition and subsequent torture in Libya in 2004.


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).

 


Proceso de paz Colombia: Una negociación histórica sin tabletas ni celulares | Internacional | EL PAÍS

Proceso de paz Colombia: Una negociación histórica sin tabletas ni celulares | Internacional | EL PAÍS.

 

Alejandre, en una reunión del Estado Mayor en 2003. / Uly martín

 

El general español retirado Luis Alejandre, con años de experiencia en procesos de paz en Centroamérica, fue testigo a finales de la semana pasada de una jornada histórica en La Habana. Por primera vez, cinco generales y un contraalmirante colombianos en activo se veían cara a cara con sus viejos enemigos, los jefes de las FARC, en el marco de las negociaciones de paz. Unas conversaciones que se celebran en Cuba desde hace más de dos años con el fin de acabar con un conflicto iniciado hace medio siglo y que ha causado 220.000 muertos.

Alejandre, que fue seleccionado como experto por el Gobierno noruego e intervino en el encuentro, destaca “el clima de respeto entre las partes en una reunión donde lo más importante era transmitir confianza. Hablaron con el corazón e incluso hubo momentos de distensión. Todo el mundo tomaba notas en papel. Nada de tabletas o móviles.


British refusal to cooperate with spy inquiry causes row in Germany | World news | The Guardian

British refusal to cooperate with spy inquiry causes row in Germany | World news | The Guardian.

Angela Merkel Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Downing Street and the German chancellery are embroiled in a worsening dispute over intelligence-sharing and the covert counter-terrorism campaign because of conflicts arising from the surveillance scandals surrounding the US National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ.

According to German newspaper reports citing government and intelligence officials in Berlin, the Bundestag’s inquiry into the NSA controversy is being jeopardised by Britain’s refusal to cooperate and its threats to break off all intelligence-sharing with Berlin should the committee reveal any UK secrets.

The weekly magazine Focus reported last month that a national security aide to David Cameron had written to Peter Altmaier, Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, refusing all requests for help in the inquiry and warning that Britain would cease supplying terrorism-related intelligence to the Germans unless Berlin yielded.

It emerged during the NSA revelations that the Americans had hacked into Merkel’s mobile phone, generating outrage in Germany and feeding growing anti-American sentiment.

Internationally, the BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence service, is viewed as less than vigorous. In the secret war on terror, the Germans are said to be dependent on signals intelligence from the British and the Americans.


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.


Facebook’s outage exposes our digital fragility | Simon Jenkins | Comment is free | theguardian.com

Facebook’s outage exposes our digital fragility | Simon Jenkins | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

Today’s Facebook suspension shows how vulnerable digital information is – penetrable by hackers, governments or subject to random failures
Facebook logo as seen on its website
‘Any electronic device is subject to failure. Any locked door invites trespass.’ Photograph: Alamy

OMG Facebook is down! Down too went Instagram. It was just for an hour this morning, but the tweets screamed “Do I have to talk to someone real?”

In a manner of speaking, yes. Despite the hackers of Lizard Squad claiming credit, it is now clear that an outage at Facebook’s HQ was responsible. But the confusion was understandable after Lizard Squad had in recent weeks variously hit Sony executives and Microsoft products. It brought down PlayStation and Xbox platforms over Christmas.

Others such as Anonymous and LulSec have hit the FBI, the CIA, Britain’s NHS and the Australian government. North Korea appears to have hacked Hollywood and American security has hacked North Korea. Similar attacks are reported between Russia and Ukraine. Cyberwar is clearly in its infancy.

Admittedly, most such attacks are through denial of service rather than data theft, but as Wikileaks and Snowden showed, the thief is always a step ahead of the cop. Digital is inherently insecure. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying. Last year the NHS sought permission to store the personal data of every patient. It promised total security and guaranteed that any patient could opt out. Nothing would pass to insurers or drugs companies.

We now know it was not secure and that requests to opt out were simply disregarded. The NHS had lied.

The same must go for the Home Office’s desire to hoover up internet and phone records for “national security”, with the material going “only to the security services and the police”. What goes to the police goes to the public.


‘Freedom of expression’ anti-snooping campaign launched over Ripa changes | Politics | The Guardian

‘Freedom of expression’ anti-snooping campaign launched over Ripa changes | Politics | The Guardian.

Campaigners fear draft code of Ripa legislation will allow police sweeping powers to access phone and email records of journalists, lawyers and doctors
Armed police officers Houses of Parliament
Armed police officers inside the grounds of the Houses of Parliament in London. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

An urgent campaign has been launched for a “freedom of expression” law to protect confidential journalists’, MPs’ and lawyers’ phone and communications records being secretly snooped on by the police.

Senior editors and lawyers condemned as “wholly inadequate” safeguards put forward by Theresa May in December to meet concerns over the police use of surveillance powers in a code of practice linked to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (Ripa).

The critics of the draft code fear that the police will still have sweeping powers allowing them to authorise themselves to access the phone and email records of professionals such as journalists, lawyers, doctors, MPs and priests who handle privileged, confidential information.

More than 3,000 national and regional editors are being asked to sign a joint letter from the Society of Editors and Press Gazette, the industry’s journal, condemning the Home Office joint code for failing to recognise “the overarching importance of protecting journalists’ sources”.

The campaign comes as the prime minister, David Cameron, called for an extension of the laws that give snooping powers to security services with a plan to ban encrypted messages in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo Paris attacks.


Why MI5 does not need more surveillance powers after the Paris attacks | Henry Porter | Comment is free | The Guardian

Why MI5 does not need more surveillance powers after the Paris attacks | Henry Porter | Comment is free | The Guardian.


The terrorists wanted to undermine liberty and openness. We must resist the urge to do the same
Andrew Parker, MI5 director general
MI5 director general Andrew Parker. ‘Be it monitoring the Kouachi brothers or Lee Rigby’s killers, the authorities had all the powers they needed.’ Photograph: MI5/PA

Soon after the attacks in Paris last week, the director general of MI5, Andrew Parker, said of the jihadi threat: “Whenever we lose visibility of what they are saying to each other, so our ability to understand and mitigate the threat they pose is reduced.”

Few would disagree with this sentiment, or in any way underestimate the enormous responsibility counter-terrorist agencies face after the killings, but the coded suggestion that MI5 needs further sweeping surveillance powers to track down terrorists is more controversial, because it doesn’t take into account the facts.

The Kouachi brothers were part of what is known as the Buttes-Chaumont network and were being watched, on and off, as far back as 2005. In terms of monitoring, much the same is true of the killers of Lee Rigby, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale; the Boston bomber, Tamerlan Tsnarnaev; and the killer in the attack in Sydney late last year, Man Haron Monis. The authorities had all the powers they needed to monitor the activities of these men, both physically and electronically.

This is not to blame the agencies concerned, for it is impossible to predict the behaviour of any number of individuals – and agency resources, even in the US, are always going to be finite. The agencies have to make a call and sometimes that call will be wrong, which is all part of their extraordinarily difficult job. What is incoherent, and may be regarded as slightly opportunistic, is the agitation for new powers when they already have powers to observe and follow these individuals, and to intercept their communications.


How you could become a victim of cybercrime in 2015 | Technology | The Guardian

How you could become a victim of cybercrime in 2015 | Technology | The Guardian.

Cybersecurity experts’ predictions for the year ahead: from ransomware and healthcare hacks to social media scams and state-sponsored cyberwar

Will 2015 be a happy new year for cybercriminals?
 Will 2015 be a happy new year for cybercriminals? Photograph: Alamy

Will 2015 be a happy new year for internet users? Not if cybercriminals have their way.

Online security companies have been making their predictions for 2015, from the malware that will be trying to weasel its way onto our computers and smartphones to the prospect of cyberwar involving state-sponsored hackers.

Here’s a summary of what you should be watching out for online in 2015, based on the predictions of companies including BitDefender, KPMGAdaptiveMobile,Trend MicroBAE SystemsWebSenseInfoSec InstituteSymantecKaspersky,Proofpoint and Sophos. The links lead to their full predictions.


Liam Fox calls for greater surveillance powers for security services | UK news | The Guardian

Liam Fox calls for greater surveillance powers for security services | UK news | The Guardian.

Former defence secretary says intelligence agencies must be allowed to gather more data on British citizens fighting abroad
Liam Fox

Liam Fox on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: ‘The whole area of intercept needs to be looked at.’ Photograph: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA

Britain’s security services may need greater powers of surveillance to monitor British citizens who have gone to join the fighting in Syria andIraq, according to the former Conservative defence secretary Liam Fox.

As further details emerged about the latest young Britons to join Sunni insurgents, Fox said that the majority of people in the UK would accept that the level of the threat meant that officials would need greater powers to intercept the communications of extremists.

“The whole area of intercept needs to be looked at,” he said. “We have got a real debate, and it is a genuine debate in a democracy, between the libertarians who say the state must not get too powerful and pretty much the rest of us who say the state must protect itself.”

Asked whether this meant more surveillance and increasing the resources for the intelligence agencies, Fox told the BBC: “If required, it is the first duty of the state to protect its citizens … it is a real worry and it is a problem that is going to be with us for a very long time. At heart it is an ideological battle and we have to realise that we have to win the ideological battle as well.”


Privacy under attack: the NSA files revealed new threats to democracy | Technology | The Guardian

Privacy under attack: the NSA files revealed new threats to democracy | Technology | The Guardian.

Thanks to Edward Snowden, we know the apparatus of repression has been covertly attached to the democratic state. However, our struggle to retain privacy is far from hopeless

US National Security Agency
The US National Security Agency threat operations centre in Fort Meade, Maryland, in 2006. Photograph: Paul Richards/AFP/Getty Images

In the third chapter of his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon gave two reasons why the slavery into which the Romans had tumbled under Augustus and his successors left them more wretched than any previous human slavery. In the first place, Gibbon said, the Romans had carried with them into slavery the culture of a free people: their language and their conception of themselves as human beings presupposed freedom. And thus, says Gibbon, for a long time the Romans preserved the sentiments – or at least the ideas – of a freeborn people. In the second place, the empire of the Romans filled all the world, and when that empire fell into the hands of a single person, the world was a safe and dreary prison for his enemies. As Gibbon wrote, to resist was fatal, and it was impossible to fly.

The power of that Roman empire rested in its leaders’ control of communications. The Mediterranean was their lake. Across their European empire, from Scotland to Syria, they pushed roads that 15 centuries later were still primary arteries of European transportation. Down those roads the emperor marched his armies. Up those roads he gathered his intelligence. The emperors invented the posts to move couriers and messages at the fastest possible speed.

Using that infrastructure, with respect to everything that involved the administration of power, the emperor made himself the best-informed person in the history of the world.

That power eradicated human freedom. “Remember,” said Cicero to Marcellus in exile, “wherever you are, you are equally within the power of the conqueror.”

The empire of the United States after the second world war also depended upon control of communications. This was more evident when, a mere 20 years later, the United States was locked in a confrontation of nuclear annihilation with the Soviet Union. In a war of submarines hidden in the dark below the continents, capable of eradicating human civilisation in less than an hour, the rule of engagement was “launch on warning”. Thus the United States valued control of communications as highly as the Emperor Augustus. Its listeners too aspired to know everything.

We all know that the United States has for decades spent as much on its military might as all other powers in the world combined. Americans are now realising what it means that we applied to the stealing of signals and the breaking of codes a similar proportion of our resources in relation to the rest of the world.

The US system of listening comprises a military command controlling a large civilian workforce. That structure presupposes the foreign intelligence nature of listening activities. Military control was a symbol and guarantee of the nature of the activity being pursued. Wide-scale domestic surveillance under military command would have violated the fundamental principle of civilian control.

Instead what it had was a foreign intelligence service responsible to the president as military commander-in-chief. The chain of military command absolutely ensured respect for the fundamental principle “no listening here”. The boundary between home and away distinguished the permissible from the unconstitutional.

The distinction between home and away was at least technically credible, given the reality of 20th-century communications media, which were hierarchically organised and very often state-controlled.

When the US government chose to listen to other governments abroad – to their militaries, to their diplomatic communications, to their policymakers where possible – they were listening in a world of defined targets. The basic principle was: hack, tap, steal. We listened, we hacked in, we traded, we stole.

In the beginning we listened to militaries and their governments. Later we monitored the flow of international trade as far as it engaged American national security interests.