Let’s think through the troubling implications of the latest surveillance-state news. “The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches,” Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Gallagher, and Ryan Grim report.
NSA apologists would have us believe that only terrorists have cause to be worried. A surveillance-state spokesperson told the Huffington Post, “without discussing specific individuals, it should not be surprising that the US Government uses all of the lawful tools at our disposal to impede the efforts of valid terrorist targets who seek to harm the nation and radicalize others to violence.”
As the story notes, however, the targets are not necessarily terrorists. The term the NSA uses for them is “radicalizes,” and if you’re thinking of fiery orators urging people to strap on dynamite vests, know that the NSA chart accompanying the story includes one target who is a “well known media celebrity,” and whose offense is arguing that “the U.S. perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.” It makes one wonder if the NSA believes it would be justified in targeting any 9/11 truther. The chart* shows another target whose “writings appear on numerous jihadi websites” (it doesn’t specify whether the writings were produced for those websites or merely posted there), and whose offending argument is that “the U.S. brought the 9/11 attacks upon itself.” That could be a crude description of what the Reverend Jeremiah Wright or Ron Paul thinks about 9/11.
This month, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Department of Homeland Security must make its plan to shut off the internet and cellphone communications available to the American public. You, of course, may now be thinking: What plan?! Though President Barack Obama swiftly disapproved of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak turning off the internet in his country (to quell widespread civil disobedience) in 2011, the US government has the authority to do the same sort of thing, under a plan that was devised during the George W. Bush administration. Many details of the government’s controversial “kill switch” authority have been classified, such as the conditions under which it can be implemented and how the switch can be used. But thanks to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), DHS has to reveal those details by January 13—or mount an appeal. (The smart betting is on an appeal, since DHS has fought to release this information so far.) Yet here’s what we do know about the government’s “kill switch” plan
The TV business is having its worst year ever.
Audience ratings have collapsed: Aside from a brief respite during the Olympics, there has been only negative ratings growth on broadcast and cable TV since September 2011, according to Citi Research.
Media stock analysts Craig Moffett and Michael Nathanson recently noted, “The pay-TV industry has reported its worst 12-month stretch ever.” All the major TV providers lost a collective 113,000 subscribers in Q3 2013. That doesn’t sound like a huge deal — but it includes internet subscribers, too.
Cyber Monday is a sham and an anachronism. It’s the only fake holiday that’s even stupider than Black Friday, and we should all boycott this insult to our intelligence.
Four days ago, we gave thanks for what we had. The next day—nay, that very same night—we were implored to figuratively bust the doors of Best Buy and Wal-Mart in pursuit of sales, presumably so we’ll have something new to be thankful for next year. (“I’m thankful for my wonderful wife, this delicious turkey, and that incredible extra 30 percent off I took on a not-quite-flat screen around this time a year ago.”) Then came Small Business Saturday, a well-meaning yet fundamentally annoying effort to get people to patronize all the merchants they managed to avoid on Black Friday.
Now, on our first day back at work after stuffing our faces and unstuffing our wallets, we’re supposed to “log on” for yet more unbelievable, never-to-be-seen-again markdowns on the hottest remaining items of the holiday season. Humbug.
Almost 80% of the Bitcoins received by Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR), the pseudonymous head of the Silk Road digital black market, may not have been seized by the FBI, according to new research by two Israeli computer scientists.
When the FBI seized the Bitcoin wealth of DPR, believed to be 29-year-old San Franciscan Ross Ulbricht, it published the address to which it moved the money. Now, Dorit Ron and Adi Shamir have examined the “blockchain”, the public record of every Bitcoin transaction ever made, and identified not only the accounts from which the FBI transferred the 144,000 Bitcoins (presently worth $115m) it seized from DPR, but also several other accounts which appeared to be under his control.
Around a third of the Bitcoins which entered the accounts the FBI seized were moved back out of those accounts prior to the seizure. Some will have been spent, on running Silk Road and paying DPR’s living expenses. But the researchers also believe that he had other accounts which the authorities have failed to access entirely.
For the months of May, June and September 2013, the DPR-run accounts received no income from the Silk Road itself. As the site operated on a commission model, taking around 7% of each sale, they conclude that the money for those months must be hidden elsewhere.
The future of money has arrived, and it’s called Coin.
It looks like a credit card. It’s the size of a credit card. It swipes in credit card machines. But it holds the information of up to eight of your debit, credit, rewards, or gift cards. And you can switch between cards by simply pressing a button.
The new product, launched recently, promises to change the way consumers spend money in a secure and efficient way.
The key technology is a Bluetooth signal. To load information from your different cards, just swipe them on a card reader into your Apple or Android phone and take a picture of the card. If you’re too far from your card—like, say, you leave it at the restaurant—your phone gets a notification. And the Coin’s battery lasts up to two years.
So, what does it cost someone to fundamentally change the way they pay for dinner? $100. Pre-ordering has already started (at the reduced price of $50), and Coin will ship out next summer.
But this San Francisco company is just one of many start-ups across the country that are finding new ways of developing the future of retail.
[...] As Professor Edward Felten, director of the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University, explains in a declaration filed in that phone records case, our metadata in fact tells the government a lot more about us than we might realize, especially when different types of metadata are aggregated together. Consider calls to single-purpose hotlines: NSA collection of our metadata means the government knows when we’ve called a rape hotline, a domestic violence hotline, an addiction hotline, or a support line for gay teens. Hotlines for whistleblowers in every agency are fair game, as are police hotlines for “anonymous” reports of crimes. Charities that make it possible to text a donation to a particular cause (say, Planned Parenthood) or political candidate or super PAC could reveal an enormous amount about our political activities. And calling patterns can reveal our religious beliefs (no calls on Sabbath? Heaps of calls on Christmas?) or new medical conditions. If, for instance, the government knows that, within an hour, we called an HIV testing service, then our doctor, and then our health insurance company, they may not “know” what was discussed, but anyone with common sense—even a government official—could probably figure it out.
But there’s more, says Felten: By analyzing our metadata over time, the government can separate the signal from the noise and use it to identify behavioral patterns. The government can determine whether someone is making lots of late-night calls to someone who isn’t his spouse, for example. When those calls cease, the government might reasonably conclude that the affair has ended. Metadata may reveal whether and how often someone calls her bookie or the American Civil Liberties Union or a defense attorney. And by analyzing the metadata of every American across a span of years, the NSA could learn almost as much about our health, our habits, our politics, and our relationships as it could by eavesdropping on our calls. It’s not the same thing, but the more data the government collects, the more the distinction between metadata and actual content disappears.
And that’s just telephony metadata.
The American intelligence service – NSA – infected more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide with malicious software designed to steal sensitive information. Documents provided by former NSA-employee Edward Snowden and seen by this newspaper, prove this.
A management presentation dating from 2012 explains how the NSA collects information worldwide. In addition, the presentation shows that the intelligence service uses ‘Computer Network Exploitation’ (CNE) in more than 50,000 locations. CNE is the secret infiltration of computer systems achieved by installing malware, malicious software.
One example of this type of hacking was discovered in September 2013 at the Belgium telecom provider Belgacom. For a number of years the British intelligence service – GCHQ – has been installing this malicious software in the Belgacom network in order to tap their customers’ telephone and data traffic. The Belgacom network was infiltrated by GCHQ through a process of luring employees to a false Linkedin page.
Ben Bernanke has an almost $75,000 price on his head, placed there by anonymous malcontents online. He’s the biggest—but far from the only—target on Assassination Market, a “dark web” site that lets users nominate targets and contribute money to the cause using theoretically untraceable bitcoins. Kill a target and prove it—by naming the time of death beforehand via encoded message—and you can claim the reward. The site is the work of a self-proclaimed “crypto-anarchist” who goes by the alias Kuwabatake Sanjuro, and he gave an email interview to Andy Greenberg at Forbes.
Sanjuro’s goal is to “destroy all governments, everywhere,” by making public office too dangerous to hold. He says he was pushed into action by the Edward Snowden leaks. “After about a week of muttering ‘they must all die’ under my breath every time I opened a newspaper or turned on the television, I decided something had to be done,” he says. He sees the market as a way to bring the democratizing effect of capitalism to politics. “One bitcoin paid is one vote closer to a veto of whatever legislation you dislike.” (In the site’s FAQ, Sanjuro notes that targets can only be added for “good reason,” meaning that no, you cannot put out a hit on “Justin Bieber for making annoying music.”) Asked whether they were investigating Sanjuro and his site, the Secret Service and FBI declined to comment. The site can only be viewed on the encrypted Tor network, the Daily Dot pointed out last month.
A year ago, hardly anyone, save for cryptographers, had heard of Perfect Forward Secrecy. Now, some customers are demanding it, and technology companies are adding it, one by one, in large part to make government eavesdropping more difficult.
On Friday, Twitter will announce that it has added Perfect Forward Secrecy, after similar announcements by Google, Mozilla and Facebook. The technology adds an extra layer of security to Web encryption to thwart eavesdropping, or at least make the National Security Agency’s job much, much harder. (Update: Twitter has announced the security change on its blog.)
Until Edward J. Snowden began leaking classified documents last summer, billions of people relied on a more common type of security called Transport Layer Security or Secure Sockets Layer (S.S.L.) technology to protect the transmission of sensitive data like passwords, financial details, intellectual property and personal information. That technology is familiar to many Web users through the “https” and padlock symbol at the beginning of Web addresses that are encrypted.
The scientist credited with inventing the World Wide Web spoke out Friday against what he called a “growing tide of surveillance and censorship,” warning that it is threatening the future of democracy.
Tim Berners-Lee, who launched the Web in 1990, made the remarks as he released his World Wide Web Foundation’s annual report tracking the Web’s impact and global censorship. The index ranked Sweden first in Web access, openness and freedom, followed by Norway, the U.K. and the United States.
“One of the most encouraging findings of this year’s Web Index is how the Web and social media are increasingly spurring people to organize, take action and try to expose wrongdoing in every region of the world,” said Berners-Lee, 58.
“But some governments are threatened by this, and a growing tide of surveillance and censorship now threatens the future of democracy,” he said, adding that steps need to be taken to protect privacy rights and ensure users can continue to gather and speak out freely online.
The phone, internet and email records of UK citizens not suspected of any wrongdoing have been analysed and stored by America’s National Security Agency under a secret deal that was approved by British intelligence officials, according to documents from the whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In the first explicit confirmation that UK citizens have been caught up in US mass surveillance programs, an NSA memo describes how in 2007 an agreement was reached that allowed the agency to “unmask” and hold on to personal data about Britons that had previously been off limits.
The memo, published in a joint investigation by the Guardian and Britain’s Channel 4 News, says the material is being put in databases where it can be made available to other members of the US intelligence and military community.
Britain and the US are the main two partners in the ‘Five-Eyes’ intelligence-sharing alliance, which also includes Australia, New Zealandand Canada. Until now, it had been generally understood that the citizens of each country were protected from surveillance by any of the others.
It appears the UK Conservative Party isn’t quite finished “archiving” its history into the nearest memory hole. Last week, it was discovered that PM David Cameron’s party’s webmasters had sent speeches made from 2000-2010 into the ether, aided by an altered robots.txt that kept Google from crawling its pages and prompted a retroactive deletion of the corresponding pages from the Internet Archive.
The Guardian passes on the news that the same behavior is being observed over at the Conservative’s YouTube account.
Now it has emerged that every video on the Conservatives’ YouTube page that dates from before 2010 has been removed or marked as private. Videos such as Ask David Cameron: Shared ownership, EU referendum, PMQs are now marked as unavailable on YouTube. Others, such as Boris Johnson at the pre-election rally in Swindon, and David Cameron down on the farm, are now unlisted, ensuring that only users with a direct link can see them.
WebcameronUK, the official YouTube channel now hosts only 60 videos. At the moment, 296 videos are still listed at the Conservative’s official site. However, videos created previous to the party’s arbitrary cutoff date will not load (which, in this case, appears to be April 24, 2009).
[...] Sadly, it’s not just one political party refurbishing its past. The Labour party has been busy as well.
Labour has also edited its news archive. The party’s new website only goes back to September 2010, leaving Ed Miliband’s keynote at the party conference that year the oldest speech available. But unlike the Conservatives, Labour didn’t require internet archivists to remove stored versions, leaving pages dating back to July 2002 in the database.
Archives for both are still available elsewhere, but the public-facing sites themselves are now willfully incomplete. The digital age may have promised a future of transparency and openness, but both parties have chosen to use these tools to craft flattering narratives and spirit away inconsistencies.
What do the controls for two hydroelectric plants in New York, a generator at a Los Angeles foundry, and an automated feed system at a Pennsylvania pig farm all have in common? What about a Los Angeles pharmacy’s prescription system and the surveillance cameras at a casino in the Czech Republic?
They’re all exposed on the internet, without so much as a password to block intruders from accessing them.
Despite all of the warnings in recent years about poorly configured systems exposing sensitive data and controls to the internet, researchers continue to find machines with gaping doors left open and a welcome mat laid out for hackers.
After years of litigation, Judge Denny Chin has ruled that the Google Books project does not infringe copyright. Readers, authors, librarians and future fair users can rejoice.
For years, Google has been cooperating with libraries to digitize books and create massive, publicly available and searchable books database. Users can search the database, which includes millions of works for keywords. Results include titles, page numbers, and small snippets of text. It has become an extraordinarily valuable tool for librarians, scholars, and amateur researchers of all kinds. As the court noted (citing an amicus brief EFF filed jointly with several library associations) librarians use the service for a variety of research purposes. Many librarians reported that they have purchased new books for their collections after discovering them through Google Books. Nonetheless, the Authors Guild argues that its members are owed compensation in exchange for their books being digitized and included in the database – even though blocking Google Book Search’s digitization wouldn’t bring any author any additional revenue.
The court made short shrift of the Authors Guild’s arguments on each of the four statutory fair use factors (the purpose of the use, the nature of the original work, the amount used, and the existence of market harm).
Banking giant JPMorgan Chase was forced into a humiliating climbdown over its plans to hold a question-and-answer session on Twitter today after receiving a barrage of abusive tweets.
The bank had arranged an event where top executive Jimmy Lee would field questions from users in what it hoped would be a positive public relations stunt.
But the company said it had scrapped the session after being flooded with insults, confirming the decision with the matter-of-fact tweet: ‘Tomorrow’s Q&A is cancelled. Bad Idea. Back to the drawing board.’
Malware made its way aboard the International Space Station (ISS) causing “virus epidemics” in space, according to security expert Eugene Kaspersky.
Kaspersky, head of security firm Kaspersky labs, revealed at the Canberra Press Club 2013 in Australia that before the ISS switched from Windows XP to Linux computers, Russian cosmonauts managed to carry infected USB storage devices aboard the station spreading computer viruses to the connected computers.
The damage done by the malware to the computer systems of the ISS is unknown. However, Kaspersky said virus epidemics took hold of the space-based computers, including dozens of laptops.
The Conservative Party has attempted to erase a 10-year backlog of speeches from the internet, including pledges for a new kind of transparent politics the prime minister and chancellor made when they were campaigning for election.
Prime minister David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne campaigned on a promise to democratise information held by those in power, so people could hold them to account. They wanted to use the internet transform politics.
But the Conservative Party has removed the archive from its public facing website, erasing records of speeches and press releases going back to the year 2000 and up until it was elected in May 2010.
It also struck the record of their past speeches off internet engines including Google, which had been a role model for Cameron and Osborne’s “open source politics”.
And it erased the official record of their speeches from the Internet Archive, the public record of the net – with an effect as alarming as sending Men in Black to strip history books from a public library and burn them in the car park.
Just as parents are grappling with how to keep their kids safe on social media, schools are increasingly confronting a controversial question: Should they do more to monitor students’ online interactions off-campus to protect them from dangers such as bullying, drug use, violence and suicide?
This summer, the Glendale school district in suburban Los Angeles captured headlines with its decision to pay a tech firm $40,500 to monitor what middle and high school students post publicly on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
The school district went with the firm Geo Listening after a pilot program with the company last spring helped a student who was talking on social media about “ending his life,” company CEO Chris Frydrych told CNN’s Michael Martinez in September.
“We were able to save a life,” said Richard Sheehan, the Glendale superintendent, adding that two students in the school district had committed suicide the past two years.
“It’s just another avenue to open up a dialogue with parents about safety,” he said.
[...] Mosley has acknowledged that he engaged in sadomasochistic activity with five women and paid them £2,500 ($4,000), but denied the orgy was Nazi-themed and said showing the images breached his privacy. The 73-year-old won earlier privacy cases against the tabloid both in Britain and in France.
The decision is a setback to Google as it tries to defend a global stance that the search engine is merely a platform that delivers links to content and it should not be responsible for policing them.
Although Google can delete images on its website, it cannot prevent others reposting them, resulting in a constant game of catch-up.
In a statement, Google said the court’s request would require it to build a new software filter to continuously catch new versions of the posted images and remove them.
“This is a troubling ruling with serious consequences for free expression and we will appeal it,” said Google’s associate general counsel Daphne Keller in a statement.
[...] The Internet has emboldened traditional power…. On the corporate side, power is consolidating, a result of two current trends in computing. First, the rise of cloud computing means that we no longer have control of our data. Our e-mail, photos, calendars, address books, messages, and documents are on servers belonging to Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and so on. And second, we are increasingly accessing our data using devices that we have much less control over: iPhones, iPads, Android phones, Kindles, ChromeBooks, and so on. Unlike traditional operating systems, those devices are controlled much more tightly by the vendors, who limit what software can run, what they can do, how they’re updated, and so on. Even Windows 8 and Apple’s Mountain Lion operating system are heading in the direction of more vendor control.
I have previously characterized this model of computing as “feudal.” Users pledge their allegiance to more powerful companies who, in turn, promise to protect them from both sysadmin duties and security threats. It’s a metaphor that’s rich in history and in fiction, and a model that’s increasingly permeating computing today.
[...] The more destabilizing the technologies, the greater the rhetoric of fear, and the stronger institutional powers will get. This means increasingly repressive security measures, even if the security gap means that such measures become increasingly ineffective.
A cadre of moderators and veterans from the now-shuttered Deep Web black market Silk Road have just launched Silk Road 2.0, a new online drug market made in the image of the trailblazing operation seized by the FBI on Oct. 2.
While Ross Ulbricht remains in custody, accused of starting a $1 billion black market under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts, there was never a question about whether a successor would fill the void. It was only a matter of time.
[...] For many, event pages on Facebook were the sole source of information for many of the demonstrations. A website, millionmaskmarch.org, also sprang up, displaying a world map that reportedly showed 477 cities scheduled to take part.
The first of the protests started in the east, where anywhere from a dozen to several thousand activists wearing Guy Fawkes masks appeared in various cities in Thailand and Indonesia, among others.
As many of the protests in Australia, South Africa, and Southeast Asia began to disperse, anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand activists were starting to line up in London, Dublin, New York City and eventually Los Angeles. Similar protests took place, albeit in a smaller form, in many other countries, as well as throughout the United States.
Net neutrality is a dead man walking. The execution date isn’t set, but it could be days, or months (at best). And since net neutrality is the principle forbidding huge telecommunications companies from treating users, websites, or apps differently — say, by letting some work better than others over their pipes — the dead man walking isn’t some abstract or far-removed principle just for wonks: It affects the internet as we all know it.
Once upon a time, companies like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and others declared a war on the internet’s foundational principle: that its networks should be “neutral” and users don’t need anyone’s permission to invent, create, communicate, broadcast, or share online. The neutral and level playing field provided by permissionless innovation has empowered all of us with the freedom to express ourselves and innovate online without having to seek the permission of a remote telecom executive.
But today, that freedom won’t survive much longer if a federal court — the second most powerful court in the nation behind the Supreme Court, the DC Circuit — is set to strike down the nation’s net neutrality law, a rule adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in 2010. Some will claim the new solution “splits the baby” in a way that somehow doesn’t kill net neutrality and so we should be grateful. But make no mistake: Despite eight years of public and political activism by multitudes fighting for freedom on the internet, a court decision may soon take it away.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called for the liberation of Latin America from Twitter, arguing that the American company attacked 6,600 accounts, including his own.
[...] According to a Thursday statement from the president, Maduro’s Twitter account was attacked to spark unrest and suspend the upcoming December 8 elections.
Communications Minister Delsy Rodriguez stated that nearly 6,600 of the leader’s Twitter followers disappeared from the president’s account within 10 minutes. No details were provided regarding the time of the attack. As of Friday, Maduro had 1.4 million followers.
The opposition has been criticizing the president for obsessing over social media and not paying enough attention to the country’s economic problems.
Since his election as Venezuelan president in April, Maduro has spoken about a number of alleged plots against his government – including five attempts on his life.
[...] The NY Times has an article by James Risen and Laura Poitras detailing how the NSA has basically built its own “shadow” social network in which it tries to create a “social graph” of pretty much everyone that everyone knows, foreign or American, and it all happens (of course) without a warrant. And, note, this is relatively new:
The agency was authorized to conduct “large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness” of every e-mail address, phone number or other identifier, the document said. Because of concerns about infringing on the privacy of American citizens, the computer analysis of such data had previously been permitted only for foreigners.
The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such “enrichment” data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners.
[...] Somewhat amazingly, the new report notes that in 2006, the NSA asked the Justice Department for permission to do exactly this sort of thing, and was rejected, saying that a “misuse” of that kind of data “could raise serious concerns.” Indeed, it could, and does raise serious concerns, but apparently the current administration just doesn’t give a crap.
If all of this sounds familiar, it’s almost exactly what the feds tried to setup in 2002 with the Orwellian name Total Information Awareness. Except that time (right after 9/11, when you’d think the public would be at its most receptive to such programs), as word got out about the program, the public rightly flipped out, and we were told the program was shuttered. Except, as some have been arguing for years, it was never shuttered, it was just rebuilt in secret.
[...] The reason this is so scary is because virtually every bit of kit that runs the internet – the machine on which you compose your emails, the tablet or smartphone with which you browse the net, the routers that pass on the data packets that comprise your email or your web search, everything – is a computer. So the thought that all this stuff might covertly be compromised in ways that are impossible to detect is terrifying. It’s this fear that underpins American (and British) reservations about network products made by the Chinese company Huawei – the suspicions (vehemently denied by Huawei, of course) that the kit has secret back doors installed in it to facilitate the Chinese’s cyber-army’s penetration of western networks.
So Hayden was right: it is a problem from hell. If the hardware that runs the internet has been polluted or infiltrated then we’re all screwed, because there’s no bit of cyberspace you can trust. And I know, I know: it sounds like paranoia – until you discover that Darpa, the research arm of the US department of defence (DoD), has launched a massive research project into compromised hardware.
[...] At this point we enter a Kafkaesque world of smoke and mirrors. Because one of the most obvious inferences from the Snowden revelations published by the Guardian, New York Times and ProPublica recently is that the NSA has indeed been up to the business of inserting covert back doors in networking and other computing kit.
The reports say that, in addition to undermining all of the mainstream cryptographic software used to protect online commerce, the NSA has been “collaborating with technology companies in the United States and abroad to build entry points into their products”.
These reports have, needless to say, been strenuously denied by the companies, such as Cisco, that make this networking kit. Perhaps the NSA omitted to tell Darpa what it was up to?
[...] Yahoo, Microsoft and Google deny they co-operate voluntarily with the intelligence agencies, and say they hand over data only after being forced to do so when served with warrants. The NSA told the Guardian that the companies’ co-operation was “legally compelled”.
But this week the Washington Post reported that the NSA and its UK equivalent GCHQ has been secretly intercepting the main communication links carrying Google and Yahoo users’ data around the world, and could collect information “at will” from among hundreds of millions of user accounts.
The NSA’s ability to collect vast quantities of data from the fibre-optic cables relies on relationships with the companies, the document published on Friday shows.
The presentation, titled “Corporate Partner Access” was prepared by the agency’s Special Source Operations division, which is responsible for running those programs.
In an opening section that deals primarily with the telecom companies, the SSO baldly sets out its mission: “Leverage unique key corporate partnerships to gain access to high-capacity international fiber-optic cables, switches and/or routes throughout the world.”
The NSA is helped by the fact that much of the world’s communications traffic passes through the US or its close ally the UK – what the agencies refer to as “home-field advantage”.
The new revelations come at a time of increasing strain in relations between the intelligence community and the private sector. Google and Yahoo reacted angrily on Wednesday to the Washington Post’s report on the interception of their data.
- PRISM already gave the NSA access to tech giants. Here’s why it wanted more (Washington Post)
- Reports that NSA taps into Google and Yahoo data hubs infuriate tech giants (Guardian)
- 6 steps Silicon Valley can take to protect users from NSA spying (CNet)
- NSA surveillance revelations hobble AT&T’s attempts at a European expansion (The Verge)
- Lavabit And Silent Circle Join Forces To Make All Email Surveillance-Proof (Forbes)
- Google uProxy lets you surf securely through a friend’s connection (Geek)