NSA’s Use Of ‘Traffic Shaping’ Allows Unrestrained Spying On Americans

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By Zack Whittaker for Zero Day – By using a “traffic shaping” technique, the National Security Agency sidestepped legal restrictions imposed by lawmakers and the surveillance courts. A new analysis of documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden details a highly classified technique that allows the National Security Agency to “deliberately divert” US internet traffic, normally safeguarded by constitutional protections, overseas in order to conduct unrestrained data collection on Americans. According to the new analysis, the NSA has clandestine means of “diverting portions of the river of internet traffic that travels on global communications cables,” which allows it to bypass protections put into place by Congress to prevent domestic surveillance on Americans. The new findings, published Thursday, follows a 2014 paper by researchers Axel Arnbak and Sharon Goldberg, published on sister-site CBS News, which theorized that the NSA, whose job it is to produce intelligence from overseas targets, was using a “traffic shaping” technique to route US internet data overseas so that it could be incidentally collected under the authority of a largely unknown executive order. US citizens are afforded constitutional protections against surveillance or searches of their personal data. Any time the government wants to access an American’s data, they must follow the rules of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court, a Washington DC-based court that authorizes the government’s surveillance programs.

Transparency Needed, But Fought, Over NYPD Spying

John Miller appearing on his former employer, ABC News, representing his current employer, the NYPD.

By Josmar Trujillo for FAIR – Last week, the New York City Council held hearings on proposed legislation calling on the New York Police Department to be more transparent with how they surveil and spy on the public. Police officials, as they often do, proceeded to tell local lawmakers to get lost. Requests for more information and possibly a public comment period on NYPD spying tactics, which have reached sci-fi levels, were called “insane” and met with suggestions that ISIS terrorists would be given a “roadmap” to attacking the city. Conservative media outlets, predictably, came out shrieking in defense of the police and of surveillance. The New York Post (6/18/17) published the department’s testimony from the hearing and called it an op-ed, literally regurgitating the police line word for word for its readers. Not to be left behind by their fellow Rupert Murdoch employees, editorialists at the Wall Street Journal (“A Terrorist’s Guide to New York City: The Left Would Show Jihadists How the Cops Prevent Attacks,” 6/19/17) chimed in with admiration for police and full-throated disgust at those pushing the legislation

“Mainstream Media” Forced To Admit NSA Still Spying

From activistpost.com

By Derrick Broze for Activist Post – In 2015 the U.S. Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, a bill which was touted as a victory against the intrusive eyes and ears of the National Security Agency. The bill came about after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released classified documents regarding the agency’s massive spying programs. Democrats and Republicans came together to pass the Orwellianly named “USA Freedom Act. The bill was supposed to put an end to the monitoring of Americans’ phone calls. The politicians and compliant deadstream media applauded themselves for saving the day (while simultaneously condemning the man who exposed the spying) and everyone felt safer. The NSA promised to only inspect phone records of those suspected of terrorism, but they never stopped collecting emails. Also, the agency has a variety of other methods for accessing phone records of Americans. The reality is that the NSA never stopped spying. A new report released on Tuesday by the office of Director of National Intelligence confirms this reality. The report details how the NSA collected over 151 million phone records of Americans, even after the USA Freedom Act became law.

Lawsuit Attempts To Hold Foreign Governments Accountable For Spying On Americans

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By Derrick Broze for Activist Post – On Thursday April 13, the Electronic Frontier Foundation asked an appeals court to review a decision that will allow foreign governments to monitor the activities of Americans in America. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is calling on the court to reverse the decision made in a case involving an American living in Maryland and the Ethiopian government. The case, Kidane v. Ethiopia, relates to the Ethiopian government attaching a malware program known as FinSpy to Mr. Kidane’s computer. FinSpy is capable of copying every keystroke made by the user, as well as Skype calls, and sending all of the data back to Ethiopia. In March, a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against Mr. Kidane and stated that foreign governments could not be held accountable for surveillance in American courts if they did not send a human agent to perform the spying. “In essence, this would mean governments around the world have immunity for spying, attacking, and even murdering Americans on American soil, as long as the activity is performed with software, robots, drones, or other digital tools,” the EFF writes.

Multibillion-Dollar U.S. Spy Agency You Haven’t Heard Of

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore District/Getty Images/Foreign Policy illustration

By James Bamford for Foreign Policy – On a heavily protected military base some 15 miles south of Washington, D.C., sits the massive headquarters of a spy agency few know exists. Even Barack Obama, five months into his presidency, seemed not to have recognized its name. While shaking hands at a Five Guys hamburger restaurant in Washington in May 2009, he asked a customer seated at a table about his job. “What do you [do]?” the president inquired. “I work at NGA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency,” the man answered. Obama appeared dumbfounded. “So, explain to me exactly what this National Geospatial…” he said, unable to finish the name.

NYPD Must Release All Files About Undercover Spying On Black Lives Matter Protests

People protest in New York, November 25, 2014 © Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

By Staff of RT – A New York Supreme Court judge has ruled that the New York Police Department must comply with an information request for files and recordings of undercover surveillance of a Black Lives Matter protest that didn’t result in any arrests. The NYPD had sought to withhold its records from activist James Logue, who had attended a Black Lives Matter protest at Grand Central Station in November 2014. Logue filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for the files after noticing both uniformed and plainclothes officers “regularly and openly recording events as they were taking place,” court documents said.

Obama Expands Surveillance Powers On His Way Out

From eff.org

By Kate Tummarello for EFF – With mere days left before President-elect Donald Trump takes the White House, President Barack Obama’s administration just finalized rules to make it easier for the nation’s intelligence agencies to share unfiltered information about innocent people. New rules issued by the Obama administration under Executive Order 12333 will let the NSA—which collects information under that authority with little oversight, transparency, or concern for privacy—share the raw streams of communications it intercepts directly with agencies including the FBI, the DEA, and the Department of Homeland Security, according to a report today by the New York Times.

US Military In Okinawa Spy On Journalists

Bulletins internes compilés par la Division des enquêtes criminelles du corps des Marines des Etats-Unis (USMC) photo:Jon Mitchell

By Staff of RSF – The surveillance is revealed in 305 pages of documents published by British journalist Jon Mitchell, who obtained them under the US Freedom of Information Act. They consist of internal “intelligence bulletins” issued by the Criminal Investigation Division of the US Marine Corps in Okinawa Prefecture in May, June and July, emails written by senior officials and reports circulated by the US military police in one of the US camps.

Court: UK Mass Spying Was Unlawfully Conducted For Nearly Two Decades

A government legal panel said both the collection and holding of personal data breached the British people’s right to privacy. (Photograph: Andrew Bret Wallis/Getty Images)

By Jon Queally for Common Dreams – In what rights campaigners heralded as a “significant” reproach to government overreach, a British court which oversees the nation’s intelligence and clandestine services ruled Monday that mass surveillance by agencies—including the bulk collection of private data from unwitting citizens and residents—was unlawfully conducted for nearly two decades. Called the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the panel of judges which provides legal oversight and hears challenges submitted against the country’s Government Communications Headquarters

New DoD Policy Bans Spying Used Against Peace Activists

Police at 2007 anti-war protest in Olympia, WA. Photo: Jason Taellious

By Kris Hermes for BORDC DDF – Seattle, WA — Antiwar activists filed a brief today inPanagacos v. Towery, a widely watched military spying lawsuit from the Pacific Northwest currently on appeal before the Ninth Circuit. The brief draws attention to a recent policy change by the Department of Defense (DOD) prohibiting intelligence officials from engaging in the same type of questionable surveillance the Army has admitted to conducting for years against antiwar groups and other political organizations.

Latest NSA Hack Might Reveal Ugly Side Of US Spying, Snowden Says

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By Jose Pagliery for CNN Money – Over the weekend, a mysterious group called “The Shadow Brokers” leaked what appear to behacking tools that the U.S. National Security Agency uses to spy on people. This bundle of computer code is about three years old. But it’s still dangerous, since it puts a high-tech military arsenal online within reach of all kinds of criminals. They can use these tools to rob banks, steal government secrets or expose personal lives.

White Plains, NY, Spies On Residents With Drone

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By David Swanson for War Is A Crime – At right is a photo of a drone taken by Sue McAnanama at a July 14, 2016, march, in White Plains, N.Y. Nick Mottern of knowdrones.com says, “I just spoke with White Plains Assistant Chief of Police Anne Fitzsimmons who declined to acknowledge whether or not the White Plains Police have a drone much less whether the police used a drone to undertake surveillance of people at the County-wide March for Justice held in White Plains last Thursday, July 14.

Newsletter: Creating "Positive Peace"

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. This weekend the Bilderberg Group is holding its secretive annual retreat in Dresden, Germany. The invitation-only gathering of elites from North America and Northern Europe includes heads of finance and industry, heads of state and intelligence officials. Who knows what schemes they’ll cook up? They don’t keep minutes or allow the press in and attendees can’t quote what was said. It can’t be good for the people or the planet. The Global Peace Index was just released for 2016 and it shows that the decade-long trend of increasing violence is continuing. Of note, the inequality between countries is growing; the most violent countries deteriorated by a greater degree than in the past. Countries that are the most peaceful also have the greatest resilience.

Snowden Leaks Have Changed How World Sees NSA Surveillance

Photo of Edward Snowden streaming through a remote-controlled robot at a 2014 TED conference in Vancouver.

By Rainey Reitman for EFF – Three years ago today, the world got powerful confirmation that the NSA was spying on the digital lives of hundreds of millions of innocent people. It started with a secret order written by the FISA court authorizing the mass surveillance of Verizon Business telephone records—an order that members of Congress quickly confirmed was similar to orders that had been issued every 3 months for years. Over the next year, we saw a steady drumbeat of damning evidence, creating a detailed, horrifying picture of an intelligence agency unrestrained by Congress and shielded from public oversight by a broken classification system.

60 Groups Demand Investigation Of Spying On Political Groups

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By Chip Gibbons for Defending Dissent. Over 60 national and local groups have signed on to a letter initiated by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Defending Dissent Foundation, calling on the Senate and House Judiciary Committees to investigate the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) monitoring of political protests and social movements. Signatories include the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, Center for Constitutional Rights, ColorOfChange, Government Accountability Project, Greenpeace USA, National Lawyers Guild, Popular Resistance, Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, Rising Tide North America, School of the Americas Watch, US Uncut, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, and Veterans for Peace.