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In an exclusive tour of the new lab, Fortune got a glimpse of Law & Order in the digital age. The lab is Exhibit A in how America’s biggest city is embracing big data analytics and a dash of hacker culture to solve complex crimes. It also raises hard questions about how to balance these sophisticated crime-fighting tools with civil liberties.
The funds were blocked after the popular messaging service reportedly defied repeated orders to turn over messages sought in a drug case
Although the police in Cairo sealed off parts of the Egyptian capital where protests scheduled on Facebook were to have taken place on Monday, opposition activists managed to stage brief rallies that resembled flash mobs, calling for an end to military rule and the cancellation of a deal to surrender two islands to Saudi Arabia.The fact that Facebook is now so closely monitored by the security forces prompted one leading activist to offer an online tutorial in how to use a new tool, the encrypted messaging app Signal, to help protesters find each other on the city’s streets, and stay one step ahead of the authorities.
Appelbaum, una de las caras visibles del proyecto TOR, reclama que la sociedad sea consciente de que debe protegerse de los abusos del Estado con tecnología y nuevas leyes
“Están intentando asustar a la sociedad y decir a la ciudadanía que el uso de estas herramientas es terrorífico, pero lo que no nos cuentan es cómo ellos utilizan los sistemas de vigilancia para matar gente”
“Con las revelaciones de Snowden simplemente hemos pasado de la teoría a la certeza”
Silvia Font – Copenhague, Dinamarca
Cryptoparties hay muchas. Cientos de ellas se celebran cada hora en cualquier parte del mundo, en un café, en la parte trasera de una tienda o incluso off the radar si se trata de compartir conocimientos con activistas o periodistas que trabajan en condiciones de riesgo. Las hay que ya han pasado a la historia como la organizada en 2011 via Twitter por la activista austaliana Asher Wolf, considerada la chispa de lo que en apenas semanas pasó a convertirse en un movimiento social a escala global, o la promovida por un –entonces aún desconocido— Edward Snowden en un hacklab de Hawái cuando aún trabajaba para la NSA, y apenas un mes antes de contactar con Laura Poitras para revelarle el mayor escándalo de espionaje masivo conocido hasta el momento.
Sin embargo, una cryptoparty que reúna en una misma sala, precisamente, a la confidente de Snowden y directora del documental Citizenfour, Poitras; al activista, experto en seguridad informática y desarrollador de TOR, Jacob Appelbaum; y a William Binney –exoficial de inteligencia de la NSA convertido en whistleblower más de una década antes de que Snowden lo hiciera— solo hay una: la celebrada la semana pasada en el Bremen Theater de Copenhague con motivo del estreno del documental de Poitras en el festival internacional de cine documental CPH: DOX.
“Hace diez años nadie hubiera pensado en organizar un evento para hablar de esto, hubieran pensado que estábamos locos” comenta Jacob Appelbaum, uno de los gurús de la criptografía, miembro del equipo desarrollador de TOR y activista implacable en la lucha contra los sistemas de vigilancia masivos empleados por los gobiernos de distintos países. Eso demuestra que algo ha cambiado. Y lo dice la persona que precisamente inició en esto de la criptografía a la mismísima Poitras, cuyos conocimientos (y trayectoria cinematográfica, que incluía un corto documental sobre William Binney) fueron determinantes cuando Snowden eligió a quién revelaría su preciado secreto, aunque como el propio Citizenfour prefiere plantearlo, ella misma se eligió.
“Había empezado a utilizar criptografía cuando comencé a comunicarme con Jake”, contó Poitras. “Estaba muy interesada en su trabajo entrenando a activistas alrededor del mundo en cómo sortear los sistemas de vigilancia. Así que tuve que cargarme las pilas, me bajé algunas herramientas, en concreto usaba dos: PGP Email y chat OTR”, las mismas herramientas que Snowden enseñó a instalar a Glenn Greenwald para poder comunicarse de forma segura.
“Recuerdo que mandé un email a Jake explicándole quién era y el documental en el que estaba trabajando. Enseguida me contestó y me dijo que teníamos verificar las fingerprints, yo no tenía ni idea de lo que estaba hablando, así que me hice la entendida, le pedí unos minutos para ganar tiempo y me puse a buscar online de qué iba eso de las fingerprints“. “La verdad es que fue muy buen profesor y luego me enseñó muchas más cosas, que luego aparentemente fueron bastante oportunas cuando en enero de 2013 recibí el primer email de un tal Citizenfour pidiéndome mi clave pública”.
iction and films, the nearest most of us knowingly get to the world of espionage, give us a series of reliable stereotypes. British spies are hard-bitten, libidinous he-men. Russian agents are thickset, low-browed and facially scarred. And defectors end up as tragic old soaks in Moscow, scanning old copies of the Times for news of the Test match.
Such a fate was anticipated for Edward Snowden by Michael Hayden, a former NSA and CIA chief, who predicted last September that the former NSA analyst would be stranded in Moscow for the rest of his days – “isolated, bored, lonely, depressed… and alcoholic”.
But the Edward Snowden who materialises in our hotel room shortly after noon on the appointed day seems none of those things. A year into his exile in Moscow, he feels less, not more, isolated. If he is depressed, he doesn’t show it. And, at the end of seven hours of conversation, he refuses a beer. “I actually don’t drink.” He smiles when repeating Hayden’s jibe. “I was like, wow, their intelligence is worse than I thought.”
Oliver Stone, who is working on a film about the man now standing in room 615 of the Golden Apple hotel on Moscow’s Malaya Dmitrovka, might struggle to make his subject live up to the canon of great movie spies. The American director has visited Snowden in Moscow, and wants to portray him as an out-and-out hero, but he is an unconventional one: quiet, disciplined, unshowy, almost academic in his speech. If Snowden has vices – and God knows they must have been looking for them – none has emerged in the 13 months since he slipped away from his life as a contracted NSA analyst in Hawaii, intent on sharing the biggest cache of top-secret material the world has ever seen.
Since arriving in Moscow, Snowden has been keeping late and solitary hours – effectively living on US time, tapping away on one of his three computers (three to be safe; he uses encrypted chat, too). If anything, he appears more connected and outgoing than he could be in his former life as an agent. Of his life now, he says, “There’s actually not that much difference. You know, I think there are guys who are just hoping to see me sad. And they’re going to continue to be disappointed.”
When the Guardian first spoke to Snowden a year ago in Hong Kong, he had been dishevelled, his hair uncombed, wearing jeans and a T-shirt. The 31-year-old who materialised last week was smartly, if anonymously, dressed in black trousers and grey jacket, his hair tidily cut. He is jockey-light – even skinnier than a year ago. And he looks pale: “Probably three steps from death,” he jokes. “I mean, I don’t eat a whole lot. I keep a weird schedule. I used to be very active, but just in the recent period I’ve had too much work to focus on.”
There was no advance warning of where we would meet: his only US television interview, with NBC’s Brian Williams in May, was conducted in an anonymous hotel room of Snowden’s choosing. This time, he prefers to come to us. On his arrival, there is a warm handshake for Guardian reporter Ewen MacAskill, whom he last saw in Hong Kong – a Sunday night after a week of intense work in a frowsty hotel room, a few hours before the video revealing his identity to the world went public. Neither man knew if they would ever meet again.
Snowden orders chicken curry from room service and, as he forks it down, is immediately into the finer points of the story that yanked him from a life of undercover anonymity to global fame. The Snowden-as-alcoholic jibe is not the only moment when he reflects wryly on his former colleagues’ patchy ability to get on top of events over the past year. There was, for instance, the incident last July when a plane carrying President Evo Morales back to Bolivia from Moscow was forced down in Vienna and searched for a stowaway Snowden. “I was like, first off, wow, their intelligence sucks, from listening to everything. But, two, are they really going to the point of just completely humiliating the president of a Latin American nation, the representative of so many people? It was just shockingly poorly thought out, and yet they did it anyway, and they keep at these sort of mistakes.” It was as if they were trying not to find him. “I almost felt like I had some sort of friend in government.”
The NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has urged lawyers, journalists, doctors, accountants, priests and others with a duty to protect confidentiality to upgrade security in the wake of the spy surveillance revelations.
Snowden said professionals were failing in their obligations to their clients, sources, patients and parishioners in what he described as a new and challenging world.
“What last year’s revelations showed us was irrefutable evidence that unencrypted communications on the internet are no longer safe. Any communications should be encrypted by default,” he said.
The response of professional bodies has so far been patchy.
A minister at the Home Office in London, James Brokenshire, said during a Commons debate about a new surveillance bill on Tuesday that a code of practice to protect legal professional privilege and others requiring professional secrecy was under review.
Snowden’s plea for the professions to tighten security came during an extensive and revealing interview with the Guardian in Moscow.
The former National Security Agency and CIA computer specialist, wanted by the US under the Espionage Act after leaking tens of thousands of top secret documents, has given only a handful of interviews since seeking temporary asylum in Russia a year ago.
During the seven hours of interview, Snowden:
• Said if he ended up in US detention in Guantánamo Bay he could live with it.
• Offered rare glimpses into his daily life in Russia, insisting that, contrary to reports that he is depressed, he is not sad and does not have any regrets. He rejected various conspiracy theories surrounding him, describing as “bullshit” suggestions he is a Russian spy.
• Said that, contrary to a claim he works for a Russian organisation, he was independently secure, living on savings, and money from awards and speeches he has delivered online round the world.
• Made a startling claim that a culture exists within the NSA in which, during surveillance, nude photographs picked up of people in “sexually compromising” situations are routinely passed around.
• Spoke at length about his future, which seems destined to be spent in Russia for the foreseeable future after expressing disappointment over the failure of western European governments to offer him a home.
• Said he was holding out for a jury trial in the US rather a judge-only one, hopeful that it would be hard to find 12 jurors who would convict him if he was charged with an offence to which there was a public interest defence. Negotiations with the US government on a return to his country appear to be stalled.
The dogs can smell Glenn Greenwald long before they see him. As we drive up the hill to his house, a cacophony of barking greets us. The chorus is so overwhelming it makes me think of the National Security Agency (NSA) chiefs who Greenwald has tormented over the past year.”They don’t bite,” Greenwald says as we are engulfed by the pack of strays that he and his partner, David Miranda, have rescued. After a beat, he adds: “… as long as you don’t show any fear.” I’m not certain he’s joking, which is awkward, given that there are 12 of them, ranging from an 80lb Burmese mountain dog to a rat-sized miniature pinscher.
The image of Greenwald and his dogs has been beamed around the world by news organisations since his first NSA revelations were published by the Guardian last year. A writer with a devoted following even before the revelations, he now enjoys more widespread exposure, particularly in the US where his brand of aggressive campaigning journalism has attracted both paeans and condemnation.
But the sight of him surrounded by the animals still comes as a shock. It underlines how dramatically the internet has revolutionised journalism and the nature of the newsroom.
Think of that legendary 1973 photograph of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein at the height of Watergate. They are sitting at manual typewriters under neon lights in the Washington Post newsroom. The photo speaks to the power of institutions – that of their newspaper just as much as the White House they were investigating.
Now think of where I’m standing in Glenn Greenwald’s retreat, shrouded in jackfruit, banana and lemon trees, where monkeys call in daily and only yesterday a lethal spider the size of a fist was discovered in the bathroom. This is the newsroom of 2014, almost 5,000 miles from Washington DC, the jungle office of the journalist that the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden handpicked to be his conduit to the outside world.
As the anniversary approaches of Greenwald’s first Guardian scoop on 5 June 2013, revealing that the NSA was collecting the telephone records of millions of Americans, his life appears to have calmed a bit. He’s taking the time to get his fitness back after a stressful period, doing yoga by a stream in the garden and eating calorie-controlled ready meals in an attempt to shed the 12lbs he put on.
Charlie Shrem stands accused of knowingly selling over $1m of bitcoins to users of the Silk Road online black-marketplace
The vice chair of the Bitcoin Foundation, Charlie Shrem, has been arrested for conspiracy to commit money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.
The arrest comes as a major blow for the digital currency lobby group. Bitcoin Foundation staff have been working hard to distance the digital currency from its links to crime. They testified to the Senate last year and have been lobbying regulators in Washington.
Patrick Murck, Bitcoin’s general counsel, said: “I don’t think it’s damaging for the Foundation. Foundation wasn’t involved in any of the allegations.”
The charges stem from Shrem’s ownership of the BitInstant bitcoin exchange, of which he is the chief executive, co-founder and compliance officer. The exchange hit the headlines in May 2013 when the Winklevoss brothers led a seed round which raised $1.5m of investment.
A second man, Robert Faiella, has also been arrested and charged for the same crimes relating to his operation of a small bitcoin exchange under the name BTCKing.
The charges, unsealed by the Manhattan distort attorney Preet Bharara, accuse the pair of “engaging in a scheme to sell over $1m in bitcoins to users of Silk Road”, the online black marketplace which was closed by the FBI in October 2013.
Shrem is additionally charged with “wilfully failing to file any suspicious activity report regarding Faiella’s illegal transactions through the company,” the documents reveal.
Si las autoridades estadounidenses lo desean, pueden confiscar su ordenador cuando usted ingrese dentro de los límites del país, para buscar allí evidencia de actividad delictiva, vínculos con servicios de inteligencia en el extranjero o conexiones extremistas.
Un juez federal en Nueva York dictaminó que las autoridades estadounidenses pueden incautar la computadora portátil de un viajero cuando cruza la frontera, sin tener un motivo legal, sin que se sospeche que la persona haya cometido algún delito y sin dar ninguna clase de explicación. ¿Qué pasa si confiscan la suya?
El año pasado, los medios dedicaron gran parte de su cobertura a historias sobre la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional (NSA, por sus siglas en inglés) de Estados Unidos y sus operaciones de vigilancia, y los riesgos de estas actividades para la privacidad de los usuarios en internet.
La publicación de documentos obtenidos por el exanalista de la NSA Edward Snowden arrojó nueva luz sobre el programa global de espionaje electrónico.
Sin embargo, las autoridades pueden averiguar información sobre usted de una forma más tradicional: confiscando sus posesiones en la frontera.
A Johns Hopkins computer science professor blogs on the NSA and is asked to take it down. I fear for academic freedom
This actually happened yesterday:
A professor in the computer science department at Johns Hopkins, a leading American university, had written a post on his blog, hosted on the university’s servers, focused on his area of expertise, which is cryptography. The post was highly critical of the government, specifically the National Security Agency, whose reckless behavior in attacking online security astonished him.
Professor Matthew Green wrote on 5 September:
I was totally unprepared for today’s bombshell revelations describing the NSA’s efforts to defeat encryption. Not only does the worst possible hypothetical I discussed appear to be true, but it’s true on a scale I couldn’t even imagine.
The post was widely circulated online because it is about the sense of betrayal within a community of technical people who had often collaborated with the government. (I linked to it myself.)
On Monday, he gets a note from the acting dean of the engineering school asking him to take the post down and stop using the NSA logo as clip art in his posts. The email also informs him that if he resists he will need a lawyer. The professor runs two versions of the same site: one hosted on the university’s servers, one on Google’s blogger.com service. He tells the dean that he will take down the site mirrored on the university’s system but not the one on blogger.com. He also removes the NSA logo from the post.