Like most people, I’ve long known that factual falsehoods are routinely published in major media outlets. But as I’ve pointed out before, nothing makes you internalize just how often it really happens, how completely their editorial standards so often fail, like being personally involved in a story that receives substantial media coverage. I cannot count how many times I’ve read or heard claims from major media outlets about the Snowden story that I knew, from first-hand knowledge, were a total fabrication.We have a perfect example of how this happens from the New York Times today, in a book review by Nicholas Lemann, the Pulitzer-Moore professor of journalism at Columbia University as well as a long-time staff writer for The New Yorker.
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.
SOFT ROBOTS THAT can grasp delicate objects, computer algorithms designed to spot an “insider threat,” and artificial intelligence that will sift through large data sets — these are just a few of the technologies being pursued by companies with investment from In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm, according to a document obtained by The Intercept.
Problemas para BlackBerry. Mientras Apple lucha en los tribunales -y fuera de ellos- para proteger la privacidad de los usuarios, Vice News desvela, a través de documentos por un caso de asesinato, cómo la Policía Canadiense habría obtenido la clave de cifrado global de BlackBerry, haciendo de la seguridad del sistema… algo prácticamente inservible y al servicio de las fuerzas y cuerpos de seguridad de Canadá. ¿Y lo peor del asunto? según fuentes de Vice, poseen esta clave desde 2010.
La colaboración entre los servicios secretos de Alemania y EE UU desata una tormenta política
El escándalo va creciendo hasta convertirse en una seria amenaza para la canciller Angela Merkel. Todo comenzó hace una semana, con la publicación de que los servicios secretos alemanes habían colaborado con sus colegas estadounidenses para espiar a algunas empresas y políticos. Pero el goteo de revelaciones ha ido subiendo la temperatura política en Alemania hasta que el jueves estalló una bomba de gran potencial destructivo para las relaciones de Berlín con sus socios europeos.
Según el Süddeutsche Zeitung, los estadounidenses se valieron de las instalaciones del BND —los servicios secretos alemanes— para espiar a altos funcionarios de instituciones tan relevantes como la Presidencia de la República Francesa, el Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores francés o la Comisión Europea. Consultados por EL PAÍS, los portavoces del Gobierno ni confirman ni desmienten la información con el argumento de que no pueden interferir en una investigación parlamentaria.
La información, publicada también por las cadenas de televisión NDR y WDR, ha sacudido la política berlinesa. Ya no se trata solo de que los espías alemanes dieran alguna información aislada a la Agencia Nacional de Seguridadestadounidense, la famosa NSA. Las denuncias son ahora más graves. A la sospecha cada vez más fundada de queel ministro del Interior, Thomas de Maizière, mintió al Parlamento sobre el caso, se une la acusación de haber vulnerado la ley para pasar información sobre socios y teóricos amigos en un periodo indeterminado que podría ir de 2002 hasta 2013.
La líder alemana tiene ahora que decidir si cede a la presión y deja caer alguna cabeza. Podría ser la del presidente del BND, Gerhard Schindel. O incluso la del propio De Maizière, uno de sus hombres de confianza, que lo ha sido todo en los tres Gabinetes Merkel: primero jefe de la Cancillería, luego ministro de Defensa y en la última legislatura, titular de Interior.
Germany has been spying and eavesdropping on its closest partners in the EU and passing the information to the US for more than a decade, a parliamentary inquiry in Berlin has found, triggering allegations of lying and cover-ups reaching to the very top of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration.
There was outrage in Germany two years ago over the revelations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden of US and British surveillance activities in Europe. The fresh disclosures are embarrassing for Berlin, which stands accused of hypocrisy in its protests about America spying on its allies.
“You don’t spy on your friends,” said Merkel when it was made known to her that her mobile phone was being monitored by the US National Security Agency (NSA). Since then, both sides have been embroiled in arguments about data privacy, with much talk among officials and diplomats of a collapse of German trust in the Americans.
But according to reports on a confidential Bundestag committee of inquiry into the NSA scandal, under a 2002 pact between German intelligence (BND) and theNSA, Berlin used its largest electronic eavesdropping facility in Bavaria to monitor email and telephone traffic at the Élysée Palace, the offices of the French president, and of key EU institutions in Brussels including the European commission.
Thomas de Maizière, the interior minister and a Merkel confidant, is in the firing line for allegedly lying about or covering up the German collaboration with the Americans. The minister has denied the allegations robustly and promised to answer before the parliamentary inquiry “the sooner the better”.
The best-selling tabloid Bildzeitung depicted de Maiziere as Pinocchio this week and accused him of “lying with impunity”. From 2005-9 he served as Merkel’s chief of staff, the post in Berlin that exercises authority over the BND. He is said to have been told of the spying activities in 2008.
German media reports are asserting that if De Maizière knew what was going on he has covered it up, and that if he did not know he was failing in his job while the BND ranged out of political control.
According to the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and the public broadcasters WDR and NDR, citing information from the closed parliamentary inquiry, the BND’s biggest listening post at Bad Aibling in Bavaria “was abused for years for NSA spying on European states”.
A “smart” Barbie doll that can have “conversations” with children should not go on sale, privacy advocates have said.
Billed as the world’s first “interactive doll”, the toy uses voice recognition technology similar to that employed by Apple’s Siri and Google’s Now digital assistants to understand what a child is saying to Barbie and respond.
However, privacy advocates are worried about the use of voice recognition technology that sends recordings of children to third-party companies for processing, potentially revealing his or her intimate thoughts and details.
“If I had a young child, I would be very concerned that my child’s intimate conversations with her doll were being recorded and analysed,” said Professor Angela Campbell of Georgetown University law school.
“In Mattel’s demo, Barbie asks many questions that would elicit a great deal of information about a child, her interests, and her family. This information could be of great value to advertisers and be used to market unfairly to children.”
A spectacular exposé alleging prime minister John Key and his National party colleagues were involved in dirty tricks campaigns has created the most significant political maelstrom in nearly six years in office and blown the government’s re-election strategy dramatically off course, writes Toby Manhire
At the beginning of the month, the New Zealand National party looked all but unassailable. The centre-right party, led by the enormously popular trader-turned-politician John Key, seemed firmly in control as they approached a September election, helped by an opposition in disarray. If a third term was not yet guaranteed – New Zealand’s proportional electoral system makes landslide victories improbable – it was clear it would take some remarkable turn of events to shift the momentum.
What a difference a book makes. Investigative journalist Nicky Hager’s “Dirty Politics: How attack politics is poisoning New Zealand’s political environment” has blown the National party strategy dramatically off course, propelling the campaign into uncharted territory. Its allegations have dominated news bulletins for the 10 days since its publication, as accusations of dirty tricks, smear campaigns and conspiracy sally in every direction.
Many predicted Hager’s book, details of which remained a secret until launch to forestall any injunction, would return to the subject of an earlier work, New Zealand’s role in the Five Eyes spying network. But instead of leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Hager had something which, in domestic political terms at least, would prove even more explosive: a cache of correspondence from the computer of Cameron Slater, a vigorous, venomous rightwing blogger better known by his site’s title, Whale Oil.