Tor

Tor is free software for enabling anonymous communication. The name is an acronym derived from the original software project name The Onion Router,[7] however the correct spelling is “Tor”, capitalizing only the first letter.[8] Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer network consisting of more than seven thousand relays[9] to conceal a user’s … Continue reading Tor

Tor is free software for enabling anonymous communication. The name is an acronym derived from the original software project name The Onion Router,[7] however the correct spelling is “Tor”, capitalizing only the first letter.[8] Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer network consisting of more than seven thousand relays[9] to conceal a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Using Tor makes it more difficult for Internet activity to be traced back to the user: this includes “visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages, and other communication forms”.[10] Tor’s use is intended to protect the personal privacy of users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities from being monitored.

Onion routing is implemented by encryption in the application layer of a communication protocol stack, nested like the layers of anonion. Tor encrypts the data, including the destination IP address, multiple times and sends it through a virtual circuit comprising successive, randomly selected Tor relays. Each relay decrypts a layer of encryption to reveal only the next relay in the circuit in order to pass the remaining encrypted data on to it. The final relay decrypts the innermost layer of encryption and sends the original data to its destination without revealing, or even knowing, the source IP address. Because the routing of the communication is partly concealed at every hop in the Tor circuit, this method eliminates any single point at which the communicating peers can be determined through network surveillance that relies upon knowing its source and destination.

An adversary might try to de-anonymize the user by some means. One way this may be achieved is by exploiting vulnerable software on the user’s computer.[11] The NSA has a technique that targets outdated Firefox browsers codenamed EgotisticalGiraffe,[12] and targets Tor users in general for close monitoring under its XKeyscore program.[13] Attacks against Tor are an active area of academic research,[14][15] which is welcomed by the Tor Project itself.[16]

privacy laws

Nov. 18, 2013 6:53 PM EST

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is paying $17 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia to make amends for the Internet search leader’s snooping on millions of people using Safari Web browsers in 2011 and 2012.

The settlement announced Monday stems from a technological loophole that enabled Google’s DoubleClick advertising network to shadow unwitting Safari users, even though the browser’s maker, Apple Inc., prohibited the tracking without obtaining a person’s permission. By following what Safari users were doing online, DoubleClick could gain more insights about what types of ads were most likely to appeal to different Safari users.


We’re getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that’s a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google.
We believe this stuff matters, so please take a few minutes to read our updated Privacy Policy and Terms of Service at http://www.google.com/policies. These changes will take effect on March 1, 2012.
Got questions?
We’ve got answers.
Visit our FAQ at http://www.google.com/policies/faq to read more about the changes. (We figured our users might have a question or twenty-two.)

States Move on Privacy Law

By
Published: October 30, 2013
Over two dozen privacy laws have passed this year in more than 10 states, in places as different as Oklahoma and California. 
For Internet companies, the patchwork of rules across the country means keeping a close eye on evolving laws to avoid overstepping. 

For companies, it helps that state measures are limited in their scope by a federal law that prevents states from interfering with interstate commerce.
Some of the bills extend to surveillance beyond the web. Eight states, for example, have passed laws this year limiting the use of drones, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which has advocated such privacy laws. In Florida, a lawmaker has drafted a bill that would prohibit schools from collecting biometric data to verify who gets free lunches and who gets off at which bus stop. Vermont has limited the use of data collected by license plate readers, which are used mostly by police to record images of license plates.
California, long a pioneer on digital privacy laws, has passed three online privacy bills this year. One gives children the right to erase social media posts, another makes it a misdemeanor to publish identifiable nude pictures online without the subject’s permission, and a third requires companies to tell consumers whether they abide by “do not track” signals on web browsers.
But stiff lobbying efforts were able to stop a so-called right to know bill proposed in California this year that stood to hurt the online industry. The bill would have required any business that “retains a customer’s personal information” to share a copy of that information at the customer’s request, as well as disclose which third parties have received the information. The practice of sharing customer data is central to digital advertising and to the large Internet companies that rely on advertising revenue.
“ ‘Right to know’ is an example of something that’s not workable,” said Jim Halpert, a lawyer with the national firm DLA Piper, who leads an industry coalition that includes Amazon, Facebook and Verizon. “It covers such a broad range of disclosures. We advocated against it.”

According to a survey conducted in July by the Pew Internet Center, most Americans said they believed that existing laws were inadequate to protect their privacy online, and a clear majority reported making great efforts to mask their identities online. Some of those surveyed said they cleared browsing histories, deleted social media posts or used virtual networks to conceal their Internet Protocol addresses — and a few even said they used encryption tools.
Many states have already responded to those opinions. In the last couple of years, about 10 states have passed laws restricting employers from demanding access to their employees’ social media accounts.
California set the stage on digital privacy 10 years ago with a law that required organizations, whether public or private, to inform consumers if their personal data had been breached or stolen. Several states followed, and today, nearly every state has a data breach notification law.
A version of this article appears in print on October 31, 2013, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: No U.S. Action, So States Move On Privacy Law.

Nov. 18, 2013 6:53 PM EST

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is paying $17 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia to make amends for the Internet search leader’s snooping on millions of people using Safari Web browsers in 2011 and 2012.

The settlement announced Monday stems from a technological loophole that enabled Google’s DoubleClick advertising network to shadow unwitting Safari users, even though the browser’s maker, Apple Inc., prohibited the tracking without obtaining a person’s permission. By following what Safari users were doing online, DoubleClick could gain more insights about what types of ads were most likely to appeal to different Safari users.


We’re getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that’s a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google.
We believe this stuff matters, so please take a few minutes to read our updated Privacy Policy and Terms of Service at http://www.google.com/policies. These changes will take effect on March 1, 2012.
Got questions?
We’ve got answers.
Visit our FAQ at http://www.google.com/policies/faq to read more about the changes. (We figured our users might have a question or twenty-two.)

States Move on Privacy Law

Over two dozen privacy laws have passed this year in more than 10 states, in places as different as Oklahoma and California. 
For Internet companies, the patchwork of rules across the country means keeping a close eye on evolving laws to avoid overstepping. 

For companies, it helps that state measures are limited in their scope by a federal law that prevents states from interfering with interstate commerce.
Some of the bills extend to surveillance beyond the web. Eight states, for example, have passed laws this year limiting the use of drones, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which has advocated such privacy laws. In Florida, a lawmaker has drafted a bill that would prohibit schools from collecting biometric data to verify who gets free lunches and who gets off at which bus stop. Vermont has limited the use of data collected by license plate readers, which are used mostly by police to record images of license plates.
California, long a pioneer on digital privacy laws, has passed three online privacy bills this year. One gives children the right to erase social media posts, another makes it a misdemeanor to publish identifiable nude pictures online without the subject’s permission, and a third requires companies to tell consumers whether they abide by “do not track” signals on web browsers.
But stiff lobbying efforts were able to stop a so-called right to know bill proposed in California this year that stood to hurt the online industry. The bill would have required any business that “retains a customer’s personal information” to share a copy of that information at the customer’s request, as well as disclose which third parties have received the information. The practice of sharing customer data is central to digital advertising and to the large Internet companies that rely on advertising revenue.
“ ‘Right to know’ is an example of something that’s not workable,” said Jim Halpert, a lawyer with the national firm DLA Piper, who leads an industry coalition that includes Amazon, Facebook and Verizon. “It covers such a broad range of disclosures. We advocated against it.”

According to a survey conducted in July by the Pew Internet Center, most Americans said they believed that existing laws were inadequate to protect their privacy online, and a clear majority reported making great efforts to mask their identities online. Some of those surveyed said they cleared browsing histories, deleted social media posts or used virtual networks to conceal their Internet Protocol addresses — and a few even said they used encryption tools.
Many states have already responded to those opinions. In the last couple of years, about 10 states have passed laws restricting employers from demanding access to their employees’ social media accounts.
California set the stage on digital privacy 10 years ago with a law that required organizations, whether public or private, to inform consumers if their personal data had been breached or stolen. Several states followed, and today, nearly every state has a data breach notification law.

NSA spying

Paul Mason Culture and Digital Editor  
 
20 November 2013

Between 2004 and 2007 the Labour government gave the US National Security Agency permission to use information on innocent British people collected in the process of spying on actual targets.
According to a top secret memo I have seen, from within the NSA and dated June 2007, Britain agreed the Americans could “unminimise” British landline numbers as early as 2004. That means they were not obliged to delete them, and could now use their systems to analyse them.

By 2004 the Americans had clear reasons to be concerned about UK citizens and terror. Shoe bomber Richard Reid was in a US jail; there were nine Brits in Guantanamo.

These two documents are the first proof in black and white that an agreement exists between Britain and the USA on the targeting of each other’s citizens (on the assumption, not confirmed, that Britain gained the reciprocal right to use data collected on Americans in the 2007 agreement).


Edited time: July 26, 2013 05:49

The US House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to reject an attempt to reign in domestic spying by the National Security Agency following a storm of lobbying by the White House against the measure.

In a 205-217 vote the House defeated an amendment introduced by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) which would have prevented the NSA from collecting the phone data of individuals not currently under investigation.

Amash aimed to challenge the NSA’s program of widespread collection of phone records, specifically information known as ‘metadata,’ the details of which were revealed by The Guardian in June.

That newspaper was able to acquire and publish a copy of a top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinion which required the mobile carrier Verizon to provide the NSA with the phone numbers of both parties involved in calls, along with the time and duration of the calls as well as calling card numbers used, and the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number for mobile carriers.

Since that information was revealed, officials have both confirmed the authenticity of the leak and justified its actions, as well as suggested that many more telecom companies are involved.

Surveillance of phone communications was itself eclipsed by revelations then made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on an unimagined level of online surveillance being conducted by the intelligence agency in conjunction with a long list of major American companies, including Yahoo, Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

According to various experts on the matter, including analysis provided by Wired Magazine, the NSA’s indiscriminate collection of such data would thereby allow the government to build a massive database to map connections and relationships between callers.


Published time: October 31, 2013 07:55

EU leaders are calling for the suspension of a trade pact with the US worth billions of dollars over NSA spying. The 28-nation bloc suspects the so-called ‘Safe Harbor’ deal is being undermined by US espionage and has demanded safeguards for EU citizens.

The EU’s top politicians have slammed Washington for a “breakdown of trust” and seek guarantees for the safety of EU customer data.

“For ambitious and complex negotiations to succeed there needs to be trust among the negotiating partners,” EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said Wednesday in a speech at Yale University.

The Safe Harbor agreement has been in place for 13 years and it allows over 4,300 American companies to collect and process sales, emails and photos from EU customers. In order for firms to be able to collate this information they have to comply with seven directives to prevent data loss and disclosure.

However, EU officials believe the system is flawed and can be manipulated by the NSA.

“If you look at the US legal environment, there is no adequate legal protection for EU citizens,” said the European Parliament’s leading data protection lawmaker Jan Philipp Albrecht after talks with officials in Washington.

In the light of the spy scandal the EU has threatened to suspend the treaty pending stipulated changes that would sure up security. EU leaders are expected to urge the US to strengthen its privacy laws to allow European citizen more control over how their private data is used.

If the ‘Safe Harbor’ pact is suspended it could have a massive knock-on effect, costing the US and EU billions of dollars in trade. Moreover, the pact allows US companies to get around the lengthy approval procedure by the European data protection authorities, without it some US firms would be forced to stop doing business in the EU.

“I don’t think the US government can be convinced by arguments or outrage alone, but by making it clear that American interests will suffer if this global surveillance is simply continued,” said Peter Schaar, the head of Germany’s data protection watchdog.

Free trade deal

If Washington fails to comply with the EU’s demands then it could further endanger a free trade deal which could add an estimated $138 billion a year to each economy’s gross domestic product.

Reding warned that if changes were not made to US privacy regulations, negotiations for the free trade agreement could easily be “derailed.”

Negotiations on the conditions of the transatlantic agreement are due to resume in December and a decision is likely to be reached by the end of the year.

The revelations of the NSA’s spying activities in Europe scandalized the 28-nation bloc. Security leaks released by former CIA worker Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA taps millions of phone calls across the continent and stores the collected information in its data banks.

Furthermore, the security disclosures indicate the NSA not only monitors citizens it suspects are involved in terrorism, but also businessmen and high-profile politicians.


By Gregor Waschinski october 31, 2013

Washington (United States) (AFP) – Europe and Washington traded spying accusations, as envoys met to seek ways to rebuild trust after shock revelations about the scale and scope of US surveillance of its allies.

A German intelligence delegation and a separate group of EU lawmakers were in the US capital to confront their American allies about the alleged bugging of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone.

And the visit coincided with the latest in a series of newspaper reports based on leaked National Security Agency files, this one alleging US agents hacked into cables used by Google and Yahoo.

President Barack Obama’s spy chiefs are on the defensive over the reports, which have riled America’s allies and exposed the vast scale of the NSA’s snooping on telephone calls and Internet traffic.

The head of the NSA, General Keith Alexander, repeated the administration’s argument that all countries spy on one another, and said that the allies should discuss a new working relationship.

“I think this partnership with Europe is absolutely important,” he said. “But it has to do with everybody coming to the table and let’s put off all the sensationalism and say: ‘Is there a better way for our countries to work together?'”

US intelligence chiefs have said these reports are based on a misinterpretation of an NSA slide leaked to the media by fugitive former intelligence technician Edward Snowden.

Rather than siphoning off the records of tens of millions of calls in Europe, as the slide seems to suggest, they argue that the data was in many cases gathered and shared by European agencies.

‘Foreign nations spying on US’

“The perception that NSA is collecting 70 million phone calls in France or Spain or Italy is factually incorrect,” Alexander said at a conference organized by Bloomberg media group.

“This is actually countries working together to support military operations, collecting what they need to protect our forces in areas where we work together as nations.”

This argument, which Alexander and overall US spy chief James Clapper made on Tuesday before a Congressional committee, had already raised eyebrows in Europe.

French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, speaking after a cabinet meeting chaired by President Francois Hollande, said: “The NSA director’s denials don’t seem likely.”

Germany, angered by the revelation that the NSA tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone, also issued a stern response, denying US claims that the European allies spy on US targets in turn.

Elmar Brok, Chairman of the European Parliament’s committee on foreign affairs, told reporters that Alexander had admitted to an EU delegation that America had targeted Merkel.

The spy had shown the envoys evidence that much of the data from France, Spain and Germany referenced in the latest leaked slide had indeed been European intelligence shared with the NSA.

“This was given to the US by the French, Spanish or German authorities not spying on Germany, France or Spain, but on what was known in Afghanistan or Yemen,” Brok said.

But Brok also noted that Alexander had confirmed at the same time that the NSA and other US intelligence services also “work unilaterally” in Europe, without the knowledge of their local partners.

Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said German officials and intelligence officers were in Washington to discuss “a new basis of trust and new regulation for our cooperation in this area.”

“We are in a process of intensive contacts with US partners both at the intelligence as well as the political level,” he said.

Meanwhile, a new report in the Washington Post alleged that NSA technicians had tapped into Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, winning access to vast amounts of private data.

The report said a program dubbed MUSCULAR, operated with the NSA’s British counterpart GCHQ, can intercept data directly from the fiber-optic cables used by the US Internet giants.

The Post reported this is a secret program that is unlike PRISM, another NSA tool revealed by Snowden’s leaks, which relies on secret court orders to obtain data from technology firms.

According to a document cited by the newspaper dated January 9, 2013, some 181 million records were collected in the prior 30 days, ranging from email metadata to text, audio and video content.

Alexander protested “to my knowledge, this never happened.”

But a statement released later Wednesday by the NSA was somewhat more guarded and did not deny that foreign citizens’ data is targeted.

“NSA has multiple authorities that it uses to accomplish its mission, which is centered on defending the nation,” the statement said.”NSA is…focused on discovering and developing intelligence about valid foreign intelligence targets only.”

And, in another embarrassing chapter for Washington, the United Nations said it had received an assurance that US agencies would not bug its secret communications in the future.

Conspicuously, the United States could not promise the world body it had not been spied upon in the past.


The NSA has far too much power to spy on innocent Americans without any meaningful oversight.
It’s gotten so bad that even one of the original ultra-conservative authors of the Patriot Act, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, joined with progressive stalwart Rep. John Conyers and Senator Patrick Leahy in introducing a bipartisan NSA reform bill.
This bill, which they named the USA Freedom Act, would end the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records and provide a modest measure of needed transparency to the use of National Security Letters and other forms of warrantless wiretapping.
It’s a good first step, and we need to show the House and the Senate that there’s popular support for Congress starting the process of restoring our constitutional rights.


Let’s be clear. We support the full repeal of the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act. The only legislative vehicle for that is Rep. Rush Holt’s Surveillance State Repeal Act, which we will continue to fight for.
But until we succeed in repealing the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act, we should support anything that will start the process of reining in the NSA without making anything worse.
The Sensenbrenner-Leahy bill is a good move in that direction. It will at the very least stop the kind of bulk surveillance dragnets that allows the government to spy on millions of Americans who are not suspected of any wrongdoing. And it will take a minor step toward transparency by allowing companies to disclose the number of requests they get from the government that force them to turn over the private information of their users and customers without a court order and under a gag.
It’s important to note that this is far less than what we truly need to rein in the NSA. But it’s a good start. The bill preserves much of the status quo. Let’s remember, the problem of overbroad and unconstitutionally intrusive government surveillance is so vast that even the president didn’t know that the U.S. was tapping the phones of allied world leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
But while the Sensenbrenner-Leahy bill is a good first step, the same cannot be said for the bill proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein, which in the name of reform would simply codify the ability of the government to spy on innocent Americans without doing anything to prevent the rampant abuses that have become routine practices of a rogue NSA and other intelligence agencies.
That’s why we’re asking Congress to support Rep. Sensenbrenner and Sen. Leahy’s USA Freedom Act, and oppose Senator Feinstein’s sham bill which is meant to make the public think oversight is being strengthened over the NSA when there will be no meaningful reform established in the legislation.
Tell Congress: Rein in the NSA to stop its unconstitutional spying. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
http://act.credoaction.com/go/2449?t=5&akid=9309.5084505.aOO89Q
Thank you for taking a stand against unconstitutional government spying.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager


October 28, 2013

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German newspaper said on Sunday that U.S. President Barack Obama knew his intelligence service was eavesdropping on Angela Merkel as long ago as 2010, contradicting reports that he had told the German leader he did not know.

Germany received information this week that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had bugged Merkel’s mobile phone, prompting Berlin to summon the U.S. ambassador, a move unprecedented in post-war relations between the close allies.

Reuters was unable to confirm Sunday’s news report. The NSA denied that Obama had been informed about the operation by the NSA chief in 2010, as reported by the German newspaper. But the agency did not comment directly on whether Obama knew about the bugging of Merkel’s phone.

Both the White House and the German government declined comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the NSA ended the program that involved Merkel after the operation was uncovered in an Obama administration review that began this summer. The program also involved as many as 35 other world leaders, some of whom were still being monitored, according to the report, which was attributed to U.S. officials.

In response to the WSJ report, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden noted in a statement that Obama had ordered a review of U.S. surveillance capabilities.

“Through this review, led by the White House, the United States is reviewing the way that we gather intelligence to ensure that we properly account for the security concerns of our citizens and allies and the privacy concerns that all people share,” Hayden said, adding that she was not in a position to discuss the details.

Citing a source in Merkel’s office, some German media have reported that Obama apologized to Merkel when she called him on Wednesday, and told her that he would have stopped the bugging happening had he known about it.

But Bild am Sonntag, citing a “U.S. intelligence worker involved in the NSA operation against Merkel”, said NSA chief General Keith Alexander informed Obama in person about it in 2010.

“Obama didn’t stop the operation back then but let it continue,” the mass-market paper quoted the source as saying.

The NSA said, however, that Alexander had never discussed any intelligence operations involving Merkel with Obama.

“(General) Alexander did not discuss with President Obama in 2010 an alleged foreign intelligence operation involving German Chancellor Merkel, nor has he ever discussed alleged operations involving Chancellor Merkel”, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said in an emailed statement.

“News reports claiming otherwise are not true.”

Bild am Sonntag said Obama in fact wanted more material on Merkel, and ordered the NSA to compile a “comprehensive dossier” on her. “Obama, according to the NSA man, did not trust Merkel and wanted to know everything about the German,” the paper said.

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden declined to comment and reiterated the standard policy line that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.

Bild said the NSA had increased its surveillance, including the contents of Merkel’s text messages and phone calls, on Obama’s initiative and had started tapping a new, supposedly bug-proof mobile she acquired this summer, a sign the spying continued into the “recent past”.

The NSA first eavesdropped on Merkel’s predecessor Gerhard Schroeder after he refused to support President George W. Bush’s war in Iraq and was extended when Merkel took over in 2005, the paper said.

Eighteen NSA staff working in the U.S. embassy, some 800 meters (yards) from Merkel’s office, sent their findings straight to the White House, rather than to NSA headquarters, the paper said. Only Merkel’s encrypted landline in her office in the Chancellery had not been tapped, it added.

Bild said some NSA officials were becoming annoyed with the White House for creating the impression that U.S. spies had gone beyond what they had been ordered to do.

BREACH OF TRUST

Merkel has said she uses one mobile phone and that all state-related calls are made from encrypted lines.

The rift over U.S. surveillance activities first emerged this year with reports that Washington had bugged European Union offices and tapped half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany in a typical month.

Merkel’s government said in August – just weeks before a German election – that the United States had given sufficient assurances it was complying with German law.

This week’s news has reignited criticism of the U.S. surveillance. Volker Kauder, head of Merkel’s party in parliament, called it a “grave breach of trust” and said the United States should drop its “global power demeanor”.

Kauder said, however, that he was against halting negotiations on a European free trade agreement with the United States, a call made by Social Democrats and some of Merkel’s Bavarian allies.

Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told Bild am Sonntag: “Bugging is a crime and those responsible for it must be held to account.”

The Social Democrats, with whom Merkel is holding talks to form a new government, have joined calls from two smaller opposition parties for a parliamentary investigation into the U.S. surveillance, but Kauder has rejected the idea.

SPD parliamentary whip Thomas Oppermann said former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked many of the sensitive documents, could be called as a witness. Snowden is living in Russia, out of reach of U.S. attempts to arrest him.

(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt; Additional reporting by Anna Yukhananov in Washington; Editing by Robin Pomeroy, Alistair Lyon, Christopher Wilson and Paul Simao)


By John O’Donnell and Luke Baker
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded on Thursday that the United States strike a “no-spying” agreement with Berlin and Paris by the end of the year, saying alleged espionage against two of Washington’s closest EU allies had to be stopped.

Speaking after talks with EU leaders that were dominated by allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency had accessed tens of thousands of French phone records and monitored Merkel’s private mobile phone, the chancellor said she wanted action from President Barack Obama, not just apologetic words.
Germany and France would seek a “mutual understanding” with the United States on cooperation between their intelligence agencies, and other EU member states could eventually take part.
“That means a framework for cooperation between the relevant (intelligence) services. Germany and France have taken the initiative and other member states will join,” she said.
In a statement issued after the first day of the summit, the EU’s 28 leaders said they supported the Franco-German plan.
Merkel first raised the possibility of a “no-spying” agreement with Obama during a visit to Berlin in June this year, but nothing came of it. The latest revelations, part of the vast leaks made by former U.S. data analyst Edward Snowden, would appear to have renewed her determination for a pact.
The United States has a “no-spying” deal with Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, an alliance known as “Five Eyes” that was struck in the aftermath of World War Two.
But there has traditionally been a reluctance to make similar arrangements with other allies, despite the close relations that the United States and Germany now enjoy.
Merkel said an accord with Washington was long overdue, given the shared experiences the countries face.
“We are in Afghanistan together. Our soldiers experience life threatening situations. They sometimes die in the same battles,” she said.
“The friendship and partnership between the European member states, including Germany, and the United States is not a one-way street. We depend on it. But there are good reasons that the United States also needs friends in the world.”
COLLECTIVE ANGER
As EU leaders arrived for the two-day summit there was near-universal condemnation of the alleged activities by the NSA, particularly the monitoring of Merkel’s mobile phone, a sensitive issue for a woman who grew up in East Germany, living under the Stasi police force and its feared eavesdropping.
Some senior German officials, and the German president of the European Parliament, have called for talks between the EU and United States on a free-trade agreement, which began in July, to be suspended because of the spying allegations.
Merkel, whose country is one of the world’s leading exporters and stands to gain from any trade deal with Washington, said that was not the right path to take, saying the best way forward was to rebuild trust.
The series of Snowden-based leaks over the past three months have left Washington at odds with a host of important allies, from Brazil to Saudi Arabia, and there are few signs that the revelations are going to dry up anytime soon.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported on Thursday that one NSA contact, a U.S. official, had provided the telephone numbers of 35 world leaders that had then been monitored.
As well as raising questions about the EU-US trade negotiations, the spying furor could also have an impact on data-privacy legislation working its way through the EU.
The European Parliament this week backed legislation, proposed by the European Commission in early 2012, that would greatly toughen EU data protection rules dating from 1995.
The new rules would restrict how data collected in Europe by firms such as Google and Facebook is shared with non-EU countries, introduce the right of EU citizens to request that their digital traces be erased, and impose fines of 100 million euros ($138 million) or more on rule breakers.
The United States is concerned the regulations, if they enter into law, will raise the cost of handling data in Europe. Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and others have lobbied hard against the proposals.
Given the spying accusations, France and Germany – the two most influential countries in EU policy – may succeed in getting member states to push ahead on negotiations with the parliament to complete the new data regulations by 2015.
For the United States, it could substantially change how data privacy rules are implemented globally.
(Additional reporting by Madeline Chambers and Noah Barkin in Berlin, Julien Ponthus, Robin Emmott and John O’Donnell in Brussels and Alexandria Sage in Paris; Editing by Will Waterman)


NSA revelations made Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner reach out to Brazil to improve their cyber defense. Countries in the region are now paying attention to this project in order to develop their own email systems: specifically designed for those who don’t want Google and Yahoo accounts which allow US intelligence in. That is open retaliation, but much more might happen behind closed doors. American presence is still important; but now that China’s star is rising rapidly as Latin America’s trade partner, the pressure is on the US.

Paul Mason Culture and Digital Editor  
 
20 November 2013

Between 2004 and 2007 the Labour government gave the US National Security Agency permission to use information on innocent British people collected in the process of spying on actual targets.
According to a top secret memo I have seen, from within the NSA and dated June 2007, Britain agreed the Americans could “unminimise” British landline numbers as early as 2004. That means they were not obliged to delete them, and could now use their systems to analyse them.

By 2004 the Americans had clear reasons to be concerned about UK citizens and terror. Shoe bomber Richard Reid was in a US jail; there were nine Brits in Guantanamo.

These two documents are the first proof in black and white that an agreement exists between Britain and the USA on the targeting of each other’s citizens (on the assumption, not confirmed, that Britain gained the reciprocal right to use data collected on Americans in the 2007 agreement).


Edited time: July 26, 2013 05:49

The US House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to reject an attempt to reign in domestic spying by the National Security Agency following a storm of lobbying by the White House against the measure.

In a 205-217 vote the House defeated an amendment introduced by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) which would have prevented the NSA from collecting the phone data of individuals not currently under investigation.

Amash aimed to challenge the NSA’s program of widespread collection of phone records, specifically information known as ‘metadata,’ the details of which were revealed by The Guardian in June.

That newspaper was able to acquire and publish a copy of a top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinion which required the mobile carrier Verizon to provide the NSA with the phone numbers of both parties involved in calls, along with the time and duration of the calls as well as calling card numbers used, and the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number for mobile carriers.

Since that information was revealed, officials have both confirmed the authenticity of the leak and justified its actions, as well as suggested that many more telecom companies are involved.

Surveillance of phone communications was itself eclipsed by revelations then made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on an unimagined level of online surveillance being conducted by the intelligence agency in conjunction with a long list of major American companies, including Yahoo, Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

According to various experts on the matter, including analysis provided by Wired Magazine, the NSA’s indiscriminate collection of such data would thereby allow the government to build a massive database to map connections and relationships between callers.


Published time: October 31, 2013 07:55

EU leaders are calling for the suspension of a trade pact with the US worth billions of dollars over NSA spying. The 28-nation bloc suspects the so-called ‘Safe Harbor’ deal is being undermined by US espionage and has demanded safeguards for EU citizens.

The EU’s top politicians have slammed Washington for a “breakdown of trust” and seek guarantees for the safety of EU customer data.

“For ambitious and complex negotiations to succeed there needs to be trust among the negotiating partners,” EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said Wednesday in a speech at Yale University.

The Safe Harbor agreement has been in place for 13 years and it allows over 4,300 American companies to collect and process sales, emails and photos from EU customers. In order for firms to be able to collate this information they have to comply with seven directives to prevent data loss and disclosure.

However, EU officials believe the system is flawed and can be manipulated by the NSA.

“If you look at the US legal environment, there is no adequate legal protection for EU citizens,” said the European Parliament’s leading data protection lawmaker Jan Philipp Albrecht after talks with officials in Washington.

In the light of the spy scandal the EU has threatened to suspend the treaty pending stipulated changes that would sure up security. EU leaders are expected to urge the US to strengthen its privacy laws to allow European citizen more control over how their private data is used.

If the ‘Safe Harbor’ pact is suspended it could have a massive knock-on effect, costing the US and EU billions of dollars in trade. Moreover, the pact allows US companies to get around the lengthy approval procedure by the European data protection authorities, without it some US firms would be forced to stop doing business in the EU.

“I don’t think the US government can be convinced by arguments or outrage alone, but by making it clear that American interests will suffer if this global surveillance is simply continued,” said Peter Schaar, the head of Germany’s data protection watchdog.

Free trade deal

If Washington fails to comply with the EU’s demands then it could further endanger a free trade deal which could add an estimated $138 billion a year to each economy’s gross domestic product.

Reding warned that if changes were not made to US privacy regulations, negotiations for the free trade agreement could easily be “derailed.”

Negotiations on the conditions of the transatlantic agreement are due to resume in December and a decision is likely to be reached by the end of the year.

The revelations of the NSA’s spying activities in Europe scandalized the 28-nation bloc. Security leaks released by former CIA worker Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA taps millions of phone calls across the continent and stores the collected information in its data banks.

Furthermore, the security disclosures indicate the NSA not only monitors citizens it suspects are involved in terrorism, but also businessmen and high-profile politicians.


By Gregor Waschinski october 31, 2013

Washington (United States) (AFP) – Europe and Washington traded spying accusations, as envoys met to seek ways to rebuild trust after shock revelations about the scale and scope of US surveillance of its allies.

A German intelligence delegation and a separate group of EU lawmakers were in the US capital to confront their American allies about the alleged bugging of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone.

And the visit coincided with the latest in a series of newspaper reports based on leaked National Security Agency files, this one alleging US agents hacked into cables used by Google and Yahoo.

President Barack Obama’s spy chiefs are on the defensive over the reports, which have riled America’s allies and exposed the vast scale of the NSA’s snooping on telephone calls and Internet traffic.

The head of the NSA, General Keith Alexander, repeated the administration’s argument that all countries spy on one another, and said that the allies should discuss a new working relationship.

“I think this partnership with Europe is absolutely important,” he said. “But it has to do with everybody coming to the table and let’s put off all the sensationalism and say: ‘Is there a better way for our countries to work together?'”

US intelligence chiefs have said these reports are based on a misinterpretation of an NSA slide leaked to the media by fugitive former intelligence technician Edward Snowden.

Rather than siphoning off the records of tens of millions of calls in Europe, as the slide seems to suggest, they argue that the data was in many cases gathered and shared by European agencies.

‘Foreign nations spying on US’

“The perception that NSA is collecting 70 million phone calls in France or Spain or Italy is factually incorrect,” Alexander said at a conference organized by Bloomberg media group.

“This is actually countries working together to support military operations, collecting what they need to protect our forces in areas where we work together as nations.”

This argument, which Alexander and overall US spy chief James Clapper made on Tuesday before a Congressional committee, had already raised eyebrows in Europe.

French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, speaking after a cabinet meeting chaired by President Francois Hollande, said: “The NSA director’s denials don’t seem likely.”

Germany, angered by the revelation that the NSA tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone, also issued a stern response, denying US claims that the European allies spy on US targets in turn.

Elmar Brok, Chairman of the European Parliament’s committee on foreign affairs, told reporters that Alexander had admitted to an EU delegation that America had targeted Merkel.

The spy had shown the envoys evidence that much of the data from France, Spain and Germany referenced in the latest leaked slide had indeed been European intelligence shared with the NSA.

“This was given to the US by the French, Spanish or German authorities not spying on Germany, France or Spain, but on what was known in Afghanistan or Yemen,” Brok said.

But Brok also noted that Alexander had confirmed at the same time that the NSA and other US intelligence services also “work unilaterally” in Europe, without the knowledge of their local partners.

Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said German officials and intelligence officers were in Washington to discuss “a new basis of trust and new regulation for our cooperation in this area.”

“We are in a process of intensive contacts with US partners both at the intelligence as well as the political level,” he said.

Meanwhile, a new report in the Washington Post alleged that NSA technicians had tapped into Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, winning access to vast amounts of private data.

The report said a program dubbed MUSCULAR, operated with the NSA’s British counterpart GCHQ, can intercept data directly from the fiber-optic cables used by the US Internet giants.

The Post reported this is a secret program that is unlike PRISM, another NSA tool revealed by Snowden’s leaks, which relies on secret court orders to obtain data from technology firms.

According to a document cited by the newspaper dated January 9, 2013, some 181 million records were collected in the prior 30 days, ranging from email metadata to text, audio and video content.

Alexander protested “to my knowledge, this never happened.”

But a statement released later Wednesday by the NSA was somewhat more guarded and did not deny that foreign citizens’ data is targeted.

“NSA has multiple authorities that it uses to accomplish its mission, which is centered on defending the nation,” the statement said.”NSA is…focused on discovering and developing intelligence about valid foreign intelligence targets only.”

And, in another embarrassing chapter for Washington, the United Nations said it had received an assurance that US agencies would not bug its secret communications in the future.

Conspicuously, the United States could not promise the world body it had not been spied upon in the past.


The NSA has far too much power to spy on innocent Americans without any meaningful oversight.
It’s gotten so bad that even one of the original ultra-conservative authors of the Patriot Act, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, joined with progressive stalwart Rep. John Conyers and Senator Patrick Leahy in introducing a bipartisan NSA reform bill.
This bill, which they named the USA Freedom Act, would end the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records and provide a modest measure of needed transparency to the use of National Security Letters and other forms of warrantless wiretapping.
It’s a good first step, and we need to show the House and the Senate that there’s popular support for Congress starting the process of restoring our constitutional rights.


Let’s be clear. We support the full repeal of the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act. The only legislative vehicle for that is Rep. Rush Holt’s Surveillance State Repeal Act, which we will continue to fight for.
But until we succeed in repealing the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act, we should support anything that will start the process of reining in the NSA without making anything worse.
The Sensenbrenner-Leahy bill is a good move in that direction. It will at the very least stop the kind of bulk surveillance dragnets that allows the government to spy on millions of Americans who are not suspected of any wrongdoing. And it will take a minor step toward transparency by allowing companies to disclose the number of requests they get from the government that force them to turn over the private information of their users and customers without a court order and under a gag.
It’s important to note that this is far less than what we truly need to rein in the NSA. But it’s a good start. The bill preserves much of the status quo. Let’s remember, the problem of overbroad and unconstitutionally intrusive government surveillance is so vast that even the president didn’t know that the U.S. was tapping the phones of allied world leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
But while the Sensenbrenner-Leahy bill is a good first step, the same cannot be said for the bill proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein, which in the name of reform would simply codify the ability of the government to spy on innocent Americans without doing anything to prevent the rampant abuses that have become routine practices of a rogue NSA and other intelligence agencies.
That’s why we’re asking Congress to support Rep. Sensenbrenner and Sen. Leahy’s USA Freedom Act, and oppose Senator Feinstein’s sham bill which is meant to make the public think oversight is being strengthened over the NSA when there will be no meaningful reform established in the legislation.
Tell Congress: Rein in the NSA to stop its unconstitutional spying. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
http://act.credoaction.com/go/2449?t=5&akid=9309.5084505.aOO89Q
Thank you for taking a stand against unconstitutional government spying.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager


October 28, 2013

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German newspaper said on Sunday that U.S. President Barack Obama knew his intelligence service was eavesdropping on Angela Merkel as long ago as 2010, contradicting reports that he had told the German leader he did not know.

Germany received information this week that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had bugged Merkel’s mobile phone, prompting Berlin to summon the U.S. ambassador, a move unprecedented in post-war relations between the close allies.

Reuters was unable to confirm Sunday’s news report. The NSA denied that Obama had been informed about the operation by the NSA chief in 2010, as reported by the German newspaper. But the agency did not comment directly on whether Obama knew about the bugging of Merkel’s phone.

Both the White House and the German government declined comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the NSA ended the program that involved Merkel after the operation was uncovered in an Obama administration review that began this summer. The program also involved as many as 35 other world leaders, some of whom were still being monitored, according to the report, which was attributed to U.S. officials.

In response to the WSJ report, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden noted in a statement that Obama had ordered a review of U.S. surveillance capabilities.

“Through this review, led by the White House, the United States is reviewing the way that we gather intelligence to ensure that we properly account for the security concerns of our citizens and allies and the privacy concerns that all people share,” Hayden said, adding that she was not in a position to discuss the details.

Citing a source in Merkel’s office, some German media have reported that Obama apologized to Merkel when she called him on Wednesday, and told her that he would have stopped the bugging happening had he known about it.

But Bild am Sonntag, citing a “U.S. intelligence worker involved in the NSA operation against Merkel”, said NSA chief General Keith Alexander informed Obama in person about it in 2010.

“Obama didn’t stop the operation back then but let it continue,” the mass-market paper quoted the source as saying.

The NSA said, however, that Alexander had never discussed any intelligence operations involving Merkel with Obama.

“(General) Alexander did not discuss with President Obama in 2010 an alleged foreign intelligence operation involving German Chancellor Merkel, nor has he ever discussed alleged operations involving Chancellor Merkel”, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said in an emailed statement.

“News reports claiming otherwise are not true.”

Bild am Sonntag said Obama in fact wanted more material on Merkel, and ordered the NSA to compile a “comprehensive dossier” on her. “Obama, according to the NSA man, did not trust Merkel and wanted to know everything about the German,” the paper said.

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden declined to comment and reiterated the standard policy line that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.

Bild said the NSA had increased its surveillance, including the contents of Merkel’s text messages and phone calls, on Obama’s initiative and had started tapping a new, supposedly bug-proof mobile she acquired this summer, a sign the spying continued into the “recent past”.

The NSA first eavesdropped on Merkel’s predecessor Gerhard Schroeder after he refused to support President George W. Bush’s war in Iraq and was extended when Merkel took over in 2005, the paper said.

Eighteen NSA staff working in the U.S. embassy, some 800 meters (yards) from Merkel’s office, sent their findings straight to the White House, rather than to NSA headquarters, the paper said. Only Merkel’s encrypted landline in her office in the Chancellery had not been tapped, it added.

Bild said some NSA officials were becoming annoyed with the White House for creating the impression that U.S. spies had gone beyond what they had been ordered to do.

BREACH OF TRUST

Merkel has said she uses one mobile phone and that all state-related calls are made from encrypted lines.

The rift over U.S. surveillance activities first emerged this year with reports that Washington had bugged European Union offices and tapped half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany in a typical month.

Merkel’s government said in August – just weeks before a German election – that the United States had given sufficient assurances it was complying with German law.

This week’s news has reignited criticism of the U.S. surveillance. Volker Kauder, head of Merkel’s party in parliament, called it a “grave breach of trust” and said the United States should drop its “global power demeanor”.

Kauder said, however, that he was against halting negotiations on a European free trade agreement with the United States, a call made by Social Democrats and some of Merkel’s Bavarian allies.

Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told Bild am Sonntag: “Bugging is a crime and those responsible for it must be held to account.”

The Social Democrats, with whom Merkel is holding talks to form a new government, have joined calls from two smaller opposition parties for a parliamentary investigation into the U.S. surveillance, but Kauder has rejected the idea.

SPD parliamentary whip Thomas Oppermann said former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked many of the sensitive documents, could be called as a witness. Snowden is living in Russia, out of reach of U.S. attempts to arrest him.

(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt; Additional reporting by Anna Yukhananov in Washington; Editing by Robin Pomeroy, Alistair Lyon, Christopher Wilson and Paul Simao)


By John O’Donnell and Luke Baker
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded on Thursday that the United States strike a “no-spying” agreement with Berlin and Paris by the end of the year, saying alleged espionage against two of Washington’s closest EU allies had to be stopped.

Speaking after talks with EU leaders that were dominated by allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency had accessed tens of thousands of French phone records and monitored Merkel’s private mobile phone, the chancellor said she wanted action from President Barack Obama, not just apologetic words.
Germany and France would seek a “mutual understanding” with the United States on cooperation between their intelligence agencies, and other EU member states could eventually take part.
“That means a framework for cooperation between the relevant (intelligence) services. Germany and France have taken the initiative and other member states will join,” she said.
In a statement issued after the first day of the summit, the EU’s 28 leaders said they supported the Franco-German plan.
Merkel first raised the possibility of a “no-spying” agreement with Obama during a visit to Berlin in June this year, but nothing came of it. The latest revelations, part of the vast leaks made by former U.S. data analyst Edward Snowden, would appear to have renewed her determination for a pact.
The United States has a “no-spying” deal with Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, an alliance known as “Five Eyes” that was struck in the aftermath of World War Two.
But there has traditionally been a reluctance to make similar arrangements with other allies, despite the close relations that the United States and Germany now enjoy.
Merkel said an accord with Washington was long overdue, given the shared experiences the countries face.
“We are in Afghanistan together. Our soldiers experience life threatening situations. They sometimes die in the same battles,” she said.
“The friendship and partnership between the European member states, including Germany, and the United States is not a one-way street. We depend on it. But there are good reasons that the United States also needs friends in the world.”
COLLECTIVE ANGER
As EU leaders arrived for the two-day summit there was near-universal condemnation of the alleged activities by the NSA, particularly the monitoring of Merkel’s mobile phone, a sensitive issue for a woman who grew up in East Germany, living under the Stasi police force and its feared eavesdropping.
Some senior German officials, and the German president of the European Parliament, have called for talks between the EU and United States on a free-trade agreement, which began in July, to be suspended because of the spying allegations.
Merkel, whose country is one of the world’s leading exporters and stands to gain from any trade deal with Washington, said that was not the right path to take, saying the best way forward was to rebuild trust.
The series of Snowden-based leaks over the past three months have left Washington at odds with a host of important allies, from Brazil to Saudi Arabia, and there are few signs that the revelations are going to dry up anytime soon.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported on Thursday that one NSA contact, a U.S. official, had provided the telephone numbers of 35 world leaders that had then been monitored.
As well as raising questions about the EU-US trade negotiations, the spying furor could also have an impact on data-privacy legislation working its way through the EU.
The European Parliament this week backed legislation, proposed by the European Commission in early 2012, that would greatly toughen EU data protection rules dating from 1995.
The new rules would restrict how data collected in Europe by firms such as Google and Facebook is shared with non-EU countries, introduce the right of EU citizens to request that their digital traces be erased, and impose fines of 100 million euros ($138 million) or more on rule breakers.
The United States is concerned the regulations, if they enter into law, will raise the cost of handling data in Europe. Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and others have lobbied hard against the proposals.
Given the spying accusations, France and Germany – the two most influential countries in EU policy – may succeed in getting member states to push ahead on negotiations with the parliament to complete the new data regulations by 2015.
For the United States, it could substantially change how data privacy rules are implemented globally.
(Additional reporting by Madeline Chambers and Noah Barkin in Berlin, Julien Ponthus, Robin Emmott and John O’Donnell in Brussels and Alexandria Sage in Paris; Editing by Will Waterman)


NSA revelations made Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner reach out to Brazil to improve their cyber defense. Countries in the region are now paying attention to this project in order to develop their own email systems: specifically designed for those who don’t want Google and Yahoo accounts which allow US intelligence in. That is open retaliation, but much more might happen behind closed doors. American presence is still important; but now that China’s star is rising rapidly as Latin America’s trade partner, the pressure is on the US.

NSA Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Office

Published time: November 18, 2013 17:37

The number of Freedom of Information Act requests filed with the National Security Agency has increased by 888 percent this fiscal year, according to USA Today, indicating an even broader interest exists in the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs.

The newspaper reported on Monday that the amount of FOIA requests received by the NSA has surged exponentially in recent months, particularly after former contractor-turned-leaker Edward Snowden began releasing classified internal documents in June detailing the agency’s lesser-known intelligence gathering operations.

“Fueled by the Edward Snowden scandal, more Americans than ever are asking the National Security Agency if their personal life is being spied on,” Yamiche Alcindor wrote for USA Today.

Indeed, the thousands of FOIA requests filed by Americans since June far outnumber the mere hundreds that it received annually in previous years.

According to Alcindor, the NSA only received 257 FOIA requests during the last fiscal year. Shortly after the first Snowden leak appeared on June 6, however, the agency became flooded with 1,302 requests almost immediately. During the following three months, the paper reported, the NSA received 2,538 requests, the likes of which have inundated the government staffers tasked with responding for the open records requests.

Pamela Phillips, the chief of the NSA Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Office, told the paper that “This was the largest spike we’ve ever had.”

“We’ve had requests from individuals who want any records we have on their phone calls, their phone numbers, their e-mail addresses, their IP addresses, anything like that,” Phillips said.

Unfortunately for those thousands of Americans, however, the NSA isn’t being all that helpful. Even though the NSA is experiencing thousands of similar requests from Americans wanting to know if and how they’ve been targeted, the agency has been responding by refusing to admit what kind of intelligence, if any, it’s collected.

Thirty-five-year-old Joel Watts of West Virginia told the paper that he sent a request but was told in response that the NSA couldn’t say if they had any information on him.

“It’s a sign of disrespect to American citizens and the democratic process,” Watts, a health and safety administrator, told the paper. “I should have the right to know if I’m being surveyed if there’s no criminal procedures in process.”

That isn’t to say that the NSA is only now refusing to honor those requests, however. In August, Kevin Collier wrote for The Daily Dot that he filed a FOIA request with the agency for information on himself and was given a nearly identical response. Collier was quick to file a request shortly after Mr. Snowden first revealed proof of the NSA’s ever-expanding spy apparatus in June, only to be told by the NSA several weeks later that details about the agency’s programs cannot be discussed publically in order “to prevent harm to the national security of the United States.”

“[Y]our request is denied because the fact of the existence or non-existence of responsive records is a currently and properly classified matter,” the agency wrote him.

“Our adversaries are likely to evaluate all public responses related to these programs,” the NSA said at the time to Collier. “Were we to provide positive or negative responses to requests such as yours, our adversaries’ compilation of the information provided would reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.”

Months later, the NSA is apparently still giving concerned Americans the same runaround.

“We know we’re dealing with frustrated people and people who are upset by what they’re hearing,” Phillips explained to USA Today, “But that’s the only response that we’re able to provide them on that topic.”

“People are legitimately troubled by the idea that the government is monitoring and collecting information about their e-mail traffic, phone calls and who knows what else,” chimed in Anne Weismann, a chief counsel at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “There is a growing sense of horror every time there is a new report about the data.”


It’s outrageous and profoundly chilling. British authorities detained the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the NSA spying scandal by publishing documents from the whistleblower Edward Snowden in the UK’s Guardian newspaper.
David Miranda was flying to the home he shares in Brazil with journalist Glenn Greenwald after visiting Laura Poitras in Berlin. Poitras, an American filmmaker, has been working with Greenwald to produce reporting on the NSA’s secret domestic spying programs. He was carrying flash drives containing documents that were part of the investigative reporting by Greenwald and Poitras.1
Normally British authorities need probable cause to detain someone for hours at Heathrow airport in London, deny them access to an attorney and confiscate their belongings. But not if they say you are suspected of being involved in terrorism.
That’s just what happened to Miranda. He was detained under Schedule 7 of the British Terrorism Act and held for nearly nine hours — the maximum allowed without levying charges. When anti-terrorism powers are invoked, Schedule 7 allows British authorities to stop and search anyone without warrant or reasonable suspicion. Miranda was eventually released but his cellphone, flash drives and computers were confiscated.
Tell the UK: Journalists are not terrorists. Detaining their family members is unacceptable. Click here to automatically sign the petition.
Said Greenwald in reaction, “This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic.”2
The New York Times reports that Miranda was carrying as of yet unpublished documents from the Snowden trove of NSA evidence from Poitras back to Greenwald. He was clearly not targeted because he was a suspected terrorist — but rather because he was linked to investigative journalists working to expose the unconstitutional spying programs at NSA. But he was detained under a law intended to stop terrorism — a law that permits authorities to deny him access to a lawyer and take his possessions without a court order.
In the wake of the incident, Amnesty International charged, “It is utterly improbable that David Michael Miranda, a Brazilian national transiting through London, was detained at random, given the role his partner has played in revealing the truth about the unlawful nature of NSA surveillance… The only possible intent behind this detention was to harass him and his partner, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, for his role in analyzing the data released by Edward Snowden.”3
Tell the UK: Journalists are not terrorists. Stop the war on journalists. Click here to automatically sign the petition.
This is not an isolated incident. There is an escalating war on journalists and whistleblowers in the U.S. who are increasingly threatened with prosecution by the current administration for investigating the executive branch. 4 And now the British authorities are taking a leading role by using anti-terror laws to suppress the exercise of a free press.
The uncovering of a far-reaching domestic spy operation only underscores the need for a strong and independent press to help expose abuses of power at the highest levels of our government and give the public the information we need to hold our government accountable to the Constitution.
It should never be allowed in a democracy to use the security apparatus to intimidate and harass a journalist investigating government abuse. And the UK’s targeting of a journalist’s spouse under the guise of an anti-terrorism investigation is clearly an escalation of the security state’s war on journalism.
Americans need to send a direct message to British officials who may be acting in coordination with U.S. military and intelligence agencies that this is unacceptable. We’ll deliver your signatures directly to Sir Peter Westmacott, the British Ambassador to the U.S., Philip Barton, Deputy Head of Mission to the U.S., and Major General Buster Howes, the Defence Attache to the U.S. at the British embassy in Washington, DC.
Thank you for standing up for a free and independent press.
Becky Bond, Politcal Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets


Edward Snowden, 29, is described by the paper as an ex-CIA technical assistant, currently employed by defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

The Guardian said his identity was being revealed at his own request.

The recent revelations are that US agencies gathered millions of phone records and monitored internet data.

A spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the matter had now been referred to the Department of Justice as a criminal matter.

In a statement, Booz Allen Hamilton confirmed Mr Snowden had been an employee for less than three months.

“If accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm,” the statement said.


The US National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans, according to the Guardian newspaper.

The newspaper published what it said was a secret court order directing the Verizon company to hand over data on its customers on an “ongoing” basis.

Civil liberties groups said the details of the report were “stunning”.

The White House broadly defended the practice as a “critical” security tool but did not confirm the report.

US authorities need the information to protect the nation from terrorist threats, a senior Obama administration official told the BBC.

Published time: November 18, 2013 17:37

The number of Freedom of Information Act requests filed with the National Security Agency has increased by 888 percent this fiscal year, according to USA Today, indicating an even broader interest exists in the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs.

The newspaper reported on Monday that the amount of FOIA requests received by the NSA has surged exponentially in recent months, particularly after former contractor-turned-leaker Edward Snowden began releasing classified internal documents in June detailing the agency’s lesser-known intelligence gathering operations.

“Fueled by the Edward Snowden scandal, more Americans than ever are asking the National Security Agency if their personal life is being spied on,” Yamiche Alcindor wrote for USA Today.

Indeed, the thousands of FOIA requests filed by Americans since June far outnumber the mere hundreds that it received annually in previous years.

According to Alcindor, the NSA only received 257 FOIA requests during the last fiscal year. Shortly after the first Snowden leak appeared on June 6, however, the agency became flooded with 1,302 requests almost immediately. During the following three months, the paper reported, the NSA received 2,538 requests, the likes of which have inundated the government staffers tasked with responding for the open records requests.

Pamela Phillips, the chief of the NSA Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Office, told the paper that “This was the largest spike we’ve ever had.”

“We’ve had requests from individuals who want any records we have on their phone calls, their phone numbers, their e-mail addresses, their IP addresses, anything like that,” Phillips said.

Unfortunately for those thousands of Americans, however, the NSA isn’t being all that helpful. Even though the NSA is experiencing thousands of similar requests from Americans wanting to know if and how they’ve been targeted, the agency has been responding by refusing to admit what kind of intelligence, if any, it’s collected.

Thirty-five-year-old Joel Watts of West Virginia told the paper that he sent a request but was told in response that the NSA couldn’t say if they had any information on him.

“It’s a sign of disrespect to American citizens and the democratic process,” Watts, a health and safety administrator, told the paper. “I should have the right to know if I’m being surveyed if there’s no criminal procedures in process.”

That isn’t to say that the NSA is only now refusing to honor those requests, however. In August, Kevin Collier wrote for The Daily Dot that he filed a FOIA request with the agency for information on himself and was given a nearly identical response. Collier was quick to file a request shortly after Mr. Snowden first revealed proof of the NSA’s ever-expanding spy apparatus in June, only to be told by the NSA several weeks later that details about the agency’s programs cannot be discussed publically in order “to prevent harm to the national security of the United States.”

“[Y]our request is denied because the fact of the existence or non-existence of responsive records is a currently and properly classified matter,” the agency wrote him.

“Our adversaries are likely to evaluate all public responses related to these programs,” the NSA said at the time to Collier. “Were we to provide positive or negative responses to requests such as yours, our adversaries’ compilation of the information provided would reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.”

Months later, the NSA is apparently still giving concerned Americans the same runaround.

“We know we’re dealing with frustrated people and people who are upset by what they’re hearing,” Phillips explained to USA Today, “But that’s the only response that we’re able to provide them on that topic.”

“People are legitimately troubled by the idea that the government is monitoring and collecting information about their e-mail traffic, phone calls and who knows what else,” chimed in Anne Weismann, a chief counsel at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “There is a growing sense of horror every time there is a new report about the data.”


It’s outrageous and profoundly chilling. British authorities detained the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the NSA spying scandal by publishing documents from the whistleblower Edward Snowden in the UK’s Guardian newspaper.
David Miranda was flying to the home he shares in Brazil with journalist Glenn Greenwald after visiting Laura Poitras in Berlin. Poitras, an American filmmaker, has been working with Greenwald to produce reporting on the NSA’s secret domestic spying programs. He was carrying flash drives containing documents that were part of the investigative reporting by Greenwald and Poitras.1
Normally British authorities need probable cause to detain someone for hours at Heathrow airport in London, deny them access to an attorney and confiscate their belongings. But not if they say you are suspected of being involved in terrorism.
That’s just what happened to Miranda. He was detained under Schedule 7 of the British Terrorism Act and held for nearly nine hours — the maximum allowed without levying charges. When anti-terrorism powers are invoked, Schedule 7 allows British authorities to stop and search anyone without warrant or reasonable suspicion. Miranda was eventually released but his cellphone, flash drives and computers were confiscated.
Tell the UK: Journalists are not terrorists. Detaining their family members is unacceptable. Click here to automatically sign the petition.
Said Greenwald in reaction, “This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic.”2
The New York Times reports that Miranda was carrying as of yet unpublished documents from the Snowden trove of NSA evidence from Poitras back to Greenwald. He was clearly not targeted because he was a suspected terrorist — but rather because he was linked to investigative journalists working to expose the unconstitutional spying programs at NSA. But he was detained under a law intended to stop terrorism — a law that permits authorities to deny him access to a lawyer and take his possessions without a court order.
In the wake of the incident, Amnesty International charged, “It is utterly improbable that David Michael Miranda, a Brazilian national transiting through London, was detained at random, given the role his partner has played in revealing the truth about the unlawful nature of NSA surveillance… The only possible intent behind this detention was to harass him and his partner, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, for his role in analyzing the data released by Edward Snowden.”3
Tell the UK: Journalists are not terrorists. Stop the war on journalists. Click here to automatically sign the petition.
This is not an isolated incident. There is an escalating war on journalists and whistleblowers in the U.S. who are increasingly threatened with prosecution by the current administration for investigating the executive branch. 4 And now the British authorities are taking a leading role by using anti-terror laws to suppress the exercise of a free press.
The uncovering of a far-reaching domestic spy operation only underscores the need for a strong and independent press to help expose abuses of power at the highest levels of our government and give the public the information we need to hold our government accountable to the Constitution.
It should never be allowed in a democracy to use the security apparatus to intimidate and harass a journalist investigating government abuse. And the UK’s targeting of a journalist’s spouse under the guise of an anti-terrorism investigation is clearly an escalation of the security state’s war on journalism.
Americans need to send a direct message to British officials who may be acting in coordination with U.S. military and intelligence agencies that this is unacceptable. We’ll deliver your signatures directly to Sir Peter Westmacott, the British Ambassador to the U.S., Philip Barton, Deputy Head of Mission to the U.S., and Major General Buster Howes, the Defence Attache to the U.S. at the British embassy in Washington, DC.
Thank you for standing up for a free and independent press.
Becky Bond, Politcal Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets


Edward Snowden, 29, is described by the paper as an ex-CIA technical assistant, currently employed by defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

The Guardian said his identity was being revealed at his own request.

The recent revelations are that US agencies gathered millions of phone records and monitored internet data.

A spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the matter had now been referred to the Department of Justice as a criminal matter.

In a statement, Booz Allen Hamilton confirmed Mr Snowden had been an employee for less than three months.

“If accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm,” the statement said.


The US National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans, according to the Guardian newspaper.

The newspaper published what it said was a secret court order directing the Verizon company to hand over data on its customers on an “ongoing” basis.

Civil liberties groups said the details of the report were “stunning”.

The White House broadly defended the practice as a “critical” security tool but did not confirm the report.

US authorities need the information to protect the nation from terrorist threats, a senior Obama administration official told the BBC.

La Agencia Nacional de Seguridad

Nueva York.- Los recientes escándalos en torno al espionaje de Estados Unidos contra España y Francia estuvieron basados en información entregada por los gobiernos de estos mismos países al servicio de inteligencia estadounidense, apuntó hoy martes The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
En una nota publicada en su versión electrónica, el diario destacó que de acuerdo con funcionarios del gobierno de Estados Unidos, los servicios de inteligencia de Francia y España fueron quienes obtuvieron los registros telefónicos que generaron los escándalos recientes.
La nota señaló que estos países europeos consiguieron registros telefónicos en zonas de guerra y fuera de sus fronteras, y luego los compartieron con la Agencia Nacional de Seguridad (NSA, por sus siglas en inglés), de Estados Unidos.


El diario indicó que esta revelación altera las versiones de eventos reportados en la prensa de Europa, y pone de relieve la cooperación entre los servicios de inteligencia europeos y Estados Unidos.
Destacó que la información “sugiere un mayor nivel de participación europeo en la vigilancia global”.
La nota asentó que el gobierno de Estados Unidos ha permanecido en silencio acerca del papel de sus socios europeos en recolectar información, con el fin de proteger sus relaciones.
Precisó, sin embargo, que estos esfuerzos coordinados son diferentes a los programas de espionaje de Estados Unidos, enfocados contra líderes mundiales, como contra la canciller alemana Angela Merkel, cuyos teléfonos fueron intervenidos por la NSA.
El Journal explicó que ni voceros de la NSA, de la cancillería española o de la embajada francesa en Estados Unidos, accedieron a reaccionar a la información. Sólo un portavoz de la inteligencia española señaló que la ley les impide revelar sus “métodos, procedimientos y relaciones”.
En días recientes, la prensa de Francia señaló que la NSA recolectó 70 millones de registros de llamadas telefónicas en ese país, en tanto que medios españoles consignaron que esta agencia interceptó 65 millones de llamadas en su territorio.
Hasta el momento el director de la NSA, James Clapper, sólo ha manifestado que la información publicada en Francia es “falsa” e “imprecisa”, y que confunde las tareas de inteligencia exterior de Estados Unidos.
mac


Ciudad de México.- Las presuntas acciones de espionaje realizadas por la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional de Estados Unidos (NSA, por sus siglas en inglés) constituyen una violación de la privacidad de las comunicaciones de instituciones y ciudadanos mexicanos, aseveró la tarde de este domingo la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE).

En un comunicado, la cancillería mexicana condenó categóricamente lo que consideró una práctica “inaceptable, ilegítima y contraria al derecho mexicano y al derecho internacional”, luego de darse a conocer en el diario alemán Der Spiegel que la NSA presuntamente espió las comunicaciones por correo electrónico del expresidente Felipe Calderón y otros miembros de su gabinete.

La SRE recordó que en el más reciente encuentro entre el presidente de Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, y su homólogo mexicano, Enrique Peña Nieto, el mandatario norteamericano se comprometió a efectuar una investigación exhaustiva en torno a presunto espionaje.

También refirió que este compromiso fue confirmado por el secretario de Estado de Estados Unidos, John Kerry, durante una reunión de trabajo en días recientes con el titular de la SRE, José Antonio Meade.

De esta manera, el Gobierno mexicano llamó a su vecino del norte a que la investigación se concluya a la brevedad.

“En una relación entre vecinos y socios no hay cabida a las prácticas que se alega tuvieron lugar. Por ello, el diálogo institucional que sostienen las instancias correspondientes es fundamental para mantener su relación de confianza y respeto”, indicó la cancillería mexicana.

Nueva York.- Los recientes escándalos en torno al espionaje de Estados Unidos contra España y Francia estuvieron basados en información entregada por los gobiernos de estos mismos países al servicio de inteligencia estadounidense, apuntó hoy martes The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
En una nota publicada en su versión electrónica, el diario destacó que de acuerdo con funcionarios del gobierno de Estados Unidos, los servicios de inteligencia de Francia y España fueron quienes obtuvieron los registros telefónicos que generaron los escándalos recientes.
La nota señaló que estos países europeos consiguieron registros telefónicos en zonas de guerra y fuera de sus fronteras, y luego los compartieron con la Agencia Nacional de Seguridad (NSA, por sus siglas en inglés), de Estados Unidos.


El diario indicó que esta revelación altera las versiones de eventos reportados en la prensa de Europa, y pone de relieve la cooperación entre los servicios de inteligencia europeos y Estados Unidos.
Destacó que la información “sugiere un mayor nivel de participación europeo en la vigilancia global”.
La nota asentó que el gobierno de Estados Unidos ha permanecido en silencio acerca del papel de sus socios europeos en recolectar información, con el fin de proteger sus relaciones.
Precisó, sin embargo, que estos esfuerzos coordinados son diferentes a los programas de espionaje de Estados Unidos, enfocados contra líderes mundiales, como contra la canciller alemana Angela Merkel, cuyos teléfonos fueron intervenidos por la NSA.
El Journal explicó que ni voceros de la NSA, de la cancillería española o de la embajada francesa en Estados Unidos, accedieron a reaccionar a la información. Sólo un portavoz de la inteligencia española señaló que la ley les impide revelar sus “métodos, procedimientos y relaciones”.
En días recientes, la prensa de Francia señaló que la NSA recolectó 70 millones de registros de llamadas telefónicas en ese país, en tanto que medios españoles consignaron que esta agencia interceptó 65 millones de llamadas en su territorio.
Hasta el momento el director de la NSA, James Clapper, sólo ha manifestado que la información publicada en Francia es “falsa” e “imprecisa”, y que confunde las tareas de inteligencia exterior de Estados Unidos.
mac


Ciudad de México.- Las presuntas acciones de espionaje realizadas por la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional de Estados Unidos (NSA, por sus siglas en inglés) constituyen una violación de la privacidad de las comunicaciones de instituciones y ciudadanos mexicanos, aseveró la tarde de este domingo la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE).

En un comunicado, la cancillería mexicana condenó categóricamente lo que consideró una práctica “inaceptable, ilegítima y contraria al derecho mexicano y al derecho internacional”, luego de darse a conocer en el diario alemán Der Spiegel que la NSA presuntamente espió las comunicaciones por correo electrónico del expresidente Felipe Calderón y otros miembros de su gabinete.

La SRE recordó que en el más reciente encuentro entre el presidente de Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, y su homólogo mexicano, Enrique Peña Nieto, el mandatario norteamericano se comprometió a efectuar una investigación exhaustiva en torno a presunto espionaje.

También refirió que este compromiso fue confirmado por el secretario de Estado de Estados Unidos, John Kerry, durante una reunión de trabajo en días recientes con el titular de la SRE, José Antonio Meade.

De esta manera, el Gobierno mexicano llamó a su vecino del norte a que la investigación se concluya a la brevedad.

“En una relación entre vecinos y socios no hay cabida a las prácticas que se alega tuvieron lugar. Por ello, el diálogo institucional que sostienen las instancias correspondientes es fundamental para mantener su relación de confianza y respeto”, indicó la cancillería mexicana.

Google Privacy Policy

We’re getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that’s a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google. We believe this stuff matters, so please take a few […]

We’re getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that’s a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google.
We believe this stuff matters, so please take a few minutes to read our updated Privacy Policy and Terms of Service at http://www.google.com/policies. These changes will take effect on March 1, 2012.
Got questions?
We’ve got answers.
Visit our FAQ at http://www.google.com/policies/faq to read more about the changes. (We figured our users might have a question or twenty-two.)

States Move on Privacy Law

Over two dozen privacy laws have passed this year in more than 10 states, in places as different as Oklahoma and California.
For Internet companies, the patchwork of rules across the country means keeping a close eye on evolving laws to avoid overstepping.

For companies, it helps that state measures are limited in their scope by a federal law that prevents states from interfering with interstate commerce.
Some of the bills extend to surveillance beyond the web. Eight states, for example, have passed laws this year limiting the use of drones, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which has advocated such privacy laws. In Florida, a lawmaker has drafted a bill that would prohibit schools from collecting biometric data to verify who gets free lunches and who gets off at which bus stop. Vermont has limited the use of data collected by license plate readers, which are used mostly by police to record images of license plates.
California, long a pioneer on digital privacy laws, has passed three online privacy bills this year. One gives children the right to erase social media posts, another makes it a misdemeanor to publish identifiable nude pictures online without the subject’s permission, and a third requires companies to tell consumers whether they abide by “do not track” signals on web browsers.
But stiff lobbying efforts were able to stop a so-called right to know bill proposed in California this year that stood to hurt the online industry. The bill would have required any business that “retains a customer’s personal information” to share a copy of that information at the customer’s request, as well as disclose which third parties have received the information. The practice of sharing customer data is central to digital advertising and to the large Internet companies that rely on advertising revenue.
“ ‘Right to know’ is an example of something that’s not workable,” said Jim Halpert, a lawyer with the national firm DLA Piper, who leads an industry coalition that includes Amazon, Facebook and Verizon. “It covers such a broad range of disclosures. We advocated against it.”
According to a survey conducted in July by the Pew Internet Center, most Americans said they believed that existing laws were inadequate to protect their privacy online, and a clear majority reported making great efforts to mask their identities online. Some of those surveyed said they cleared browsing histories, deleted social media posts or used virtual networks to conceal their Internet Protocol addresses — and a few even said they used encryption tools.
Many states have already responded to those opinions. In the last couple of years, about 10 states have passed laws restricting employers from demanding access to their employees’ social media accounts.
California set the stage on digital privacy 10 years ago with a law that required organizations, whether public or private, to inform consumers if their personal data had been breached or stolen. Several states followed, and today, nearly every state has a data breach notification law.

Homeland Security

Oct 27 2013, 9:55 AM ET

(The Atlantic) -The Department of Homeland Security is using algorithms to “prescreen” travelers before they board domestic flights, reviewing government and private databases that include Americans’ tax identification numbers, car registrations and property records.

Documents leaked by whistleblower Edward J. Snowden emerged this week, revealing NSA phone monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, 35 unidentified heads of state, and 70 million calls in France.

The extent of the surveillance is sparking widespread indignation and endangering joint counter-terrorism operations among Germany, France and the United States.

Inside the United States, meanwhile, press reports emerged on Monday that the Transportation Security Administration is expanding its prescreening of airline passengers to include government and private databases that contain employment information, property records and physical characteristics.
Khaliah Barnes, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which opposes this prescreening, said many Americans do not grasp the current scale of domestic government data mining.
“The average person doesn’t understand how much intelligence-driven matching is going on and how this could be accessed for other purposes,” she said. “There’s no meaningful oversight, transparency or accountability.”
One critic called the new TSA program “a ‘pre-crime’ assessment every time you fly.”
A bipartisan proposal to rein in government surveillance unveiled last month by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is a good start. The measure would end the bulk collection of American’s communications records; limit Washington’s ability to obtain information from Google and other online providers, and make the secret court that oversees U.S. surveillance operations far more transparent.


Published on Mar 13, 2013

The Economy isn’t going to recover. The government knows this and is getting ready, but in ways that are very disturbing.
Follow us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/StormCloudsGathering


Links to get you started on your research:

NDAA 2013 passes with indefinite detention still intact
http://rt.com/usa/news/ndaa-indefinit…

The Patriot Act
http://thepage.time.com/2011/02/15/ho…
http://edition.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/…

Obama extends Patriot Act: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05…

Widespread abuse of patriot act: http://www.aclu.org/national-security…

Obama tries to hide information regarding rape and sexual abuse in Abu Ghraib: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/world…

Obama’s kill list: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/wor…

FBI finalizing its NGI Biometrics Database:
http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/fing…

Biometrics at departures: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/po…

http://rt.com/usa/us-foreigners-leave…

People placed on no-fly list for political reasons:

http://www.sfgate.com/politics/articl…

http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-sec…

Drones used to hunt Dorner: http://now.msn.com/christopher-dorner…

Dorner fire set intentionally:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02…
The police finally admit it: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow…

Leaked Document: Government setting up military detention centers for Activists: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfkZ1y…

FBI Murdered Todashev execution style:
http://www.usnews.com/news/newsgram/a…

http://rt.com/news/todashev-head-shot…

Senator Coburn points out the DHS “zombie” training exercise as wasteful: http://www.coburn.senate.gov/public/i…

But if you actually watch it it’s much more disturbing: http://stormcloudsgathering.com/dhs-t…

Yes this really happened (details about the exercise):
http://washingtonexaminer.com/your-ta…

Police admit Dorner fire was set on purpose: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow…

DHS buying billions of bullets (links to some of the purchase orders):
450 million rounds purchased by DHS earlier this year:
http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Secu…

Purchase order for additional 750 million rounds of ammunition
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportuni…

DHS buys even more bullets:
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportuni…

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editori…

Iris scanning from a distance:
http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/…

Biometrics checks at border… Already in place for immigrants entering, now to be added for exits.


The No Fly List is a list, created and maintained by the United States government’s Terrorist Screening Center (TSC),[1] of people who are not permitted to board a commercial aircraft for travel in or out of the United States. The list has also been used to divert away from U.S. airspace aircraft not flying to or from the U.S.[2] The number of people on the list rises and falls according to threat and intelligence reporting. As of 2011, the list contained about 10,000 names.[3][4] In 2012, the list doubled in size to about 21,000 names. [5] The list – along with the Secondary Security Screening Selection, which tags would-be passengers for extra inspection – was created after the September 11 attacks in 2001.
The No Fly List is different from the Terrorist Watch List, a much longer list of people said to be suspected of some involvement with terrorism.[6] The Terrorist Watch List contained around 400,000 names as of summer 2011, according to the TSC.[7][8] In 2013, the Terrorist Watch List had increased to 875,000 names. [9]
The list has been criticized on civil liberties and due process grounds, due in part to the potential for ethnic, religious, economic, political, or racial profiling and discrimination. It has also raised concerns about privacy and government secrecy. Finally, it has been criticized as costly,[10] prone to false positives,[11] and easily defeated.[12]
The No Fly List, the Selectee List and the Terrorist Watchlist were created by the administration of George W. Bush and retained by the administration of Barack Obama. U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said in May 2010: “The no-fly list itself is one of our best lines of defense.”[13]

On September 11, 2001, the FBI had a list of 16 people deemed “no transport” because they “presented a specific known or suspected threat to aviation.”[6] The list had grown to more than 400 names by November 2001, when responsibility for keeping it was transferred to the Federal Aviation Administration.[6]
In mid-December 2001, two lists were created: the “No Fly List” of 594 people to be denied air transport, and the “Selectee” list of 365 people who were to be more carefully searched at airports.[6] By December 2002, the No Fly List held more than 1,000 names.[citation needed]60 Minutes reported on 8 October 2006 that the news program had obtained a March 2006 copy of the list that contained 44,000 names.[14]TSA officials said that, as of November 2005, 30,000 people in 2005 had complained that their names were matched to a name on the list via the name matching software used by airlines.[15] In April 2007, the United States government “terrorist watch list” administered by the Terrorist Screening Center, which is managed principally by the FBI, contained 700,000 records.[16] A year later, the ACLU estimated the list to have grown to over 1,000,000 names and to be continually expanding.[17]
However, according to Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff, in October 2008 the No Fly list contained only 2,500 names, with an additional 16,000 “selectees”, who “represent a less specific security threat and receive extra scrutiny, but are allowed to fly.”

Among the complaints about the No Fly List is the use of credit reports in calculating the risk score. In response to the controversy, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials said in 2005 that they would not use credit scores to determine passengers’ risk score and that they would comply with all rights guaranteed by the First and Fourth Amendments.[28]
The European Union and other non-U.S. government entities have expressed concern about allowing the CAPPS II proposal to be implemented within their borders. During the early testing of the No Fly List and CAPPS II, the TSA privately asked airlines to disclose massive amounts of personal information about their passengers. This action has been said[who?] to be a violation of the Privacy Act of 1974, which forbids the government to compile secret databases on U.S. citizens.
In the midst of this controversy, the Government Accountability Office of the U.S. Congress produced a report critical of the CAPPS II system. It characterized the proposal as incomplete and seriously behind schedule, and noted that the TSA had failed to address “developmental, operational, and privacy issues identified by Congress”. On July 14, 2004, TSA officials announced that CAPPS II was being pulled from consideration without proceeding to full testing. Critics have alleged that the TSA has merely chosen to start with a less controversial entry point that they are calling the “Registered Traveler” program.[29] TSA has also begun testing of another program called “Secure Flight“, which is supposed to solve some of the problems of CAPPS I while avoiding the privacy issues of CAPPS II.
In January 2009, Marcus Holmes[30] conservatively estimated the total cost of the program to be $536 million since 9/11, with a reasonable estimation range that approaches $1 billion, and he questioned whether the benefits of the list outweigh the costs.[10]

A “false positive” occurs when a passenger who is not on the No Fly List has a name that matches or is similar to a name on the list. False positive passengers will not be allowed to board a flight unless they can differentiate themselves from the actual person on the list, usually by presenting ID showing their middle name or date of birth. In some cases, false positive passengers have been denied boarding or have missed flights because they could not easily prove that they were not the person on the No Fly List.
When an airline ticket is purchased, the reservation system uses software to compare the passenger’s name against the No Fly List. If the name matches, or is similar to a name on the No Fly List, a restriction is placed in their reservation that prevents them from being issued a boarding pass until the airline has determined whether or not they are the actual person whose name is on the No Fly List. Passengers are not told when a restriction has been placed on their reservation, and they normally do not find out that anything is unusual until they attempt to check in. “False positive” passengers cannot use Internet check-in or the automatic check-in kiosks in airports. Any attempt to use them will normally result in a message that the check-in cannot be completed and that the passenger needs to see a live check-in agent.
In order to be issued a boarding pass, a “false positive” passenger must present identification that sufficiently differentiates them from the person on the No Fly List. This can include, but is not limited to, date and place of birth, middle name, citizenship, passport number, etc. Depending on the airline, this clearance can be done either electronically, with the check-in agent keying the information into the system, or a manual procedure where the agent telephones a centralized security office to obtain clearance. Once a “false positive” passenger has been cleared for a flight, the clearance will usually, but not always, apply to the remaining flights on that reservation, including the return. However, the next time this passenger purchases an airline ticket, they will have to be cleared all over again. If a passenger’s identification is insufficient to differentiate that passenger from a name on the No-Fly List, the airline will refuse to issue a boarding pass and tell the passenger to contact the TSA.
Policies vary from airline to airline as to whether a check-in agent will tell passengers why they must always have additional steps performed when they check in, or why they are unable to check in via Internet, kiosk, or at curbside. In some cases, check-in agents will incorrectly tell passengers that they must be cleared because they are “on the No Fly List”, when in fact they are simply a “false positive” (having the same name as someone on the No-Fly List). False positive passengers who are ultimately issued boarding passes are not on the No Fly List. In the majority of instances, passengers are not told anything, and it is only through the repeated experience of needing to be cleared or being unable to use curbside, Internet or automatic check-in that they come to suspect that they are “false positives”.
In an effort to reduce the number of false positives, DHS announced on April 28, 2008 that each airline will be permitted to create a system to verify and store a passenger’s date of birth, to clear up watch list misidentifications. Passengers can voluntarily provide this information to the airline, which would have to be verified by presenting acceptable ID at the ticket counter. Once this data has been stored, travelers that were previously inconvenienced on every trip would be able to check in online or at remote kiosks.[31] It will be up to each individual airline to choose whether they wish to implement such a system.

False positives and abuses that have been in the news include:

  • Numerous children (including many under the age of five, and some under the age of one) have generated false positives.[32][33][34]
  • Daniel Brown, a United States Marine returning from Iraq, was prevented from boarding a flight home in April 2006 because his name matched one on the No Fly List.[35]
  • David Fathi, an attorney for the ACLU of Iranian descent and a plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit.[36]
  • Asif Iqbal, a management consultant and legal resident of the United States born in Pakistan, plans to sue the U.S. government because he is regularly detained when he tries to fly, because he has the same name as a former Guantanamo detainee.[11][37] Iqbal’s work requires a lot of travel, and, even though the Guantanamo detainee has been released, his name remains on the No Fly List, and Iqbal the software consultant experiences frequent, unpredictable delays and missed flights.[38] He is pushing for a photo ID and birthdate matching system, in addition to the current system of checking names.[39]
  • Robert J. Johnson, a surgeon and a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, was told in 2006 that he was on the list, although he had had no problem in flying the month before. Johnson was running as a Democrat against U.S. Representative John McHugh, a Republican. Johnson wondered whether he was on the list because of his opposition to the Iraq War. He stated, “This could just be a government screw-up, but I don’t know, and they won’t tell me.”[40] Later, a 60 Minutes report brought together 12 men named Robert Johnson, all of whom had experienced problems in airports with being pulled aside and interrogated. The report suggested that the individual whose name was intended to be on the list was most likely the Robert Johnson who had been convicted of plotting to bomb a movie theater and a Hindu temple in Toronto.[14]
  • In August 2004, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) told a Senate Judiciary Committee discussing the No Fly List that he had appeared on the list and had been repeatedly delayed at airports. He said it had taken him three weeks of appeals directly to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to have him removed from the list. Kennedy said he was eventually told that the name “T Kennedy” was added to the list because it was once used as an alias of a suspected terrorist. There are an estimated 7,000 American men whose legal names correspond to “T Kennedy”. (Senator Kennedy, whose first name was Edward and for whom “Ted” was only a nickname, would not have been one of them.) Recognizing that as a U.S. Senator he was in a privileged position of being able to contact Ridge, Kennedy said of “ordinary citizens”: “How are they going to be able to get to be treated fairly and not have their rights abused?”[41] Former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani pointed to this incident as an example for the necessity to “rethink aviation security” in an essay on homeland security published while he was seeking the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential election.[42]
  • U.S. Representative, former Freedom Rider, and Chairman of SNCC John Lewis (politician) (D-GA) has been stopped many times.[43]
  • Canadian journalist Patrick Martin has been frequently interrogated while traveling, because of a suspicious individual with the same name.[44]
  • Walter F. Murphy, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton, reported that the following exchange took place at Newark on 1 March 2007, where he was denied a boarding pass “because I [Professor Murphy] was on the Terrorist Watch list.” The airline employee asked, “Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that.” “I explained,” said professor Murphy, “that I had not so marched but had, in September 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the constitution.” To which the airline employee responded, “That’ll do it.”[45]
  • David Nelson, the actor best known for his role on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, is among various persons named David Nelson who have been stopped at airports because their name apparently appears on the list.[46][47]
  • Jesselyn Radack, a former United States Department of Justice ethics adviser who argued that John Walker Lindh was entitled to an attorney, was placed on the No Fly List as part of what she [48] believes to be a reprisal for her whistle-blowing.
  • In September 2004, former pop singer Cat Stevens (who converted to Islam and changed his name to “Yusuf Islam” in 1978) was denied entry into the U.S. after his name was found on the list.[49]
  • In February 2006, U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) stated in a committee hearing that his wife Catherine had been subjected to questioning at an airport as to whether she was Cat Stevens due to the similarity of their names.[46][50]
  • U.S. Representative Don Young (R-AK), the third-most senior Republican in the House, was flagged in 2004 after he was mistaken for a “Donald Lee Young”.[51]
  • Some members of the Federal Air Marshal Service have been denied boarding on flights that they were assigned to protect because their names matched those of persons on the no-fly list.[52]
  • Until July 2008, Nelson Mandela and other members of the African National Congress were on the list, something that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called “rather embarrassing”.[53] On July 5, 2008, the U.S. removed Mandela and the ANC from the list.[54]
  • In August 2008, CNN reported that an airline captain and retired brigadier general for the United States Air Force has had numerous encounters with security officials when attempting to pilot his own plane.[55]
  • After frequent harassment at airport terminals, a Canadian businessman changed his name to avoid being delayed every time he took a flight.[56]
  • In October 2008, the Washington Post reported that Maryland State Police classified 53 nonviolent political activists as terrorists, and entered their names and personal information into state and federal databases, with labels indicating that they were terror suspects. The protest groups were also entered as terrorist organizations. During a hearing, it was revealed that these individuals and organizations had been placed in the databases because of a surveillance operation that targeted opponents of the death penalty and the Iraq war.[57]
  • In April 2009, TSA refused to allow an Air France flight from Paris to Mexico to cross U.S. airspace because it was carrying Colombian journalist Hernando Calvo Ospina. Air France did not send the passenger manifest to the US authorities, they did however send it to Mexico who forwarded it to the US.[2]
  • Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan was held for extensive questioning by US Immigration and Customs officials in August 2009, because as he reported, “his name came up on a computer alert list.” Customs officials claimed he “was questioned as part of a routine process that took 66 minutes.” Khan was visiting the United States to promote his film My Name Is Khan, which concerns racial profiling of Muslims in the United States.[58]
  • In June 2010, The New York Times reported Yahya Wehelie, a 26 year-old Muslim-American man was being prevented from returning to the United States, and trapped in Cairo. Despite Wehelie’s offer to FBI agents to allow them to accompany him in the plane, while shackled, he was not permitted to return. The ACLU has argued that this constitutes banishment.[59]
  • A U.S. citizen, stranded in Colombia after being placed on the no-fly list as a result of having studied in Yemen, sought to re-enter the U.S. through Mexico but was returned to Colombia by Mexican authorities.[59]
  • Michael Migliore, a 23-year-old Muslim convert and dual citizen of the United States and Italy, was detained in the United Kingdom after traveling there from the U.S. by train and then cruise ship because he was not permitted to fly. He said that he believes he was placed on the no-fly list because he refused to answer questions about a 2010 Portland car bomb plot without his lawyer present.[60] He was released eight or ten hours later, but authorities confiscated his electronic media items including a cell phone and media player.[61]
  • Abe Mashal, a 31-year-old Muslim and United States Marine Veteran, found himself on the No Fly List in April 2010 while attempting to board a plane out of Midway Airport. He was questioned by the TSA, FBI and Chicago Police at the airport and was told they had no clue why he was on the No Fly List. Once he arrived at home that day two other FBI agents came to his home and used a Do Not Fly question-and-answer sheet to question him. They informed him they had no idea why he was on the No Fly List. In June 2010 those same two FBI agents summoned Mashal to a local hotel and invited him to a private room. They told him that he was in no trouble and the reason he ended up on the No Fly List was because of possibly sending emails to an American imam they may have been monitoring. They then informed him that if he would go undercover at various local mosques, they could get him off the No Fly List immediately and he would be compensated for such actions. Mashal refused to answer any additional questions without a lawyer present and was told to leave the hotel. Mashal then contacted the ACLU and is now being represented in a class-action lawsuit filed against the TSA, FBI and DHS concerning the legality of the No Fly List and how people end up on it. Mashal feels as if he was blackmailed into becoming an informant by being placed on the No Fly List. Mashal has since appeared on ABC, NBC, PBS and Al Jazeera concerning his inclusion on the No Fly List. He has also written a book about his experience titled “No Spy No Fly.” [62]

The DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) is a procedure for travelers who are delayed or denied boarding of an aircraft, consistently receive excess scrutiny at security checkpoints, or are denied entry to the U.S. because they are believed to be or are told that they are on a government watch list. The traveler must complete an online application at the Department of Homeland Security website, print and sign the application, and then submit it with copies of several identifying documents. After reviewing their records, DHS notifies the traveler that if any corrections of data about them were warranted, they will be made.
Travelers who apply for redress through TRIP are assigned a record identifier called a “Redress Control Number”. Airline reservations systems allow passengers who have a Redress Control Number to enter it when making their reservation.
DHS TRIP may make it easier for an airline to confirm a traveler’s identity. False-positive travelers, whose names match or are similar to the names of persons on the No Fly List, will continue to match that name even after using DHS TRIP, so it will not restore a traveler’s ability to use Internet or curbside check-in or to use an automated kiosk. It does usually help the airline identify the traveler as not being the actual person on the No Fly List, after an airline agent has reviewed their identity documents at check-in.
DHS TRIP is often accused of being defunct and existing only to appease civil rights organizations without having any actual effect.[63]

(The Atlantic) -The Department of Homeland Security is using algorithms to “prescreen” travelers before they board domestic flights, reviewing government and private databases that include Americans’ tax identification numbers, car registrations and property records.

Documents leaked by whistleblower Edward J. Snowden emerged this week, revealing NSA phone monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, 35 unidentified heads of state, and 70 million calls in France.

The extent of the surveillance is sparking widespread indignation and endangering joint counter-terrorism operations among Germany, France and the United States.

Inside the United States, meanwhile, press reports emerged on Monday that the Transportation Security Administration is expanding its prescreening of airline passengers to include government and private databases that contain employment information, property records and physical characteristics.
Khaliah Barnes, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which opposes this prescreening, said many Americans do not grasp the current scale of domestic government data mining.
“The average person doesn’t understand how much intelligence-driven matching is going on and how this could be accessed for other purposes,” she said. “There’s no meaningful oversight, transparency or accountability.”
One critic called the new TSA program “a ‘pre-crime’ assessment every time you fly.”
A bipartisan proposal to rein in government surveillance unveiled last month by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is a good start. The measure would end the bulk collection of American’s communications records; limit Washington’s ability to obtain information from Google and other online providers, and make the secret court that oversees U.S. surveillance operations far more transparent.


Published on Mar 13, 2013

The Economy isn’t going to recover. The government knows this and is getting ready, but in ways that are very disturbing.
Follow us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/StormCloudsGathering


Links to get you started on your research:

NDAA 2013 passes with indefinite detention still intact
http://rt.com/usa/news/ndaa-indefinit…

The Patriot Act
http://thepage.time.com/2011/02/15/ho…
http://edition.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/…

Obama extends Patriot Act: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05…

Widespread abuse of patriot act: http://www.aclu.org/national-security…

Obama tries to hide information regarding rape and sexual abuse in Abu Ghraib: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/world…

Obama’s kill list: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/wor…

FBI finalizing its NGI Biometrics Database:
http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/fing…

Biometrics at departures: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/po…

http://rt.com/usa/us-foreigners-leave…

People placed on no-fly list for political reasons:

http://www.sfgate.com/politics/articl…

http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-sec…

Drones used to hunt Dorner: http://now.msn.com/christopher-dorner…

Dorner fire set intentionally:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02…
The police finally admit it: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow…

Leaked Document: Government setting up military detention centers for Activists: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfkZ1y…

FBI Murdered Todashev execution style:
http://www.usnews.com/news/newsgram/a…

http://rt.com/news/todashev-head-shot…

Senator Coburn points out the DHS “zombie” training exercise as wasteful: http://www.coburn.senate.gov/public/i…

But if you actually watch it it’s much more disturbing: http://stormcloudsgathering.com/dhs-t…

Yes this really happened (details about the exercise):
http://washingtonexaminer.com/your-ta…

Police admit Dorner fire was set on purpose: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow…

DHS buying billions of bullets (links to some of the purchase orders):
450 million rounds purchased by DHS earlier this year:
http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Secu…

Purchase order for additional 750 million rounds of ammunition
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportuni…

DHS buys even more bullets:
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportuni…

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editori…

Iris scanning from a distance:
http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/…

Biometrics checks at border… Already in place for immigrants entering, now to be added for exits.


The No Fly List is a list, created and maintained by the United States government’s Terrorist Screening Center (TSC),[1] of people who are not permitted to board a commercial aircraft for travel in or out of the United States. The list has also been used to divert away from U.S. airspace aircraft not flying to or from the U.S.[2] The number of people on the list rises and falls according to threat and intelligence reporting. As of 2011, the list contained about 10,000 names.[3][4] In 2012, the list doubled in size to about 21,000 names. [5] The list – along with the Secondary Security Screening Selection, which tags would-be passengers for extra inspection – was created after the September 11 attacks in 2001.
The No Fly List is different from the Terrorist Watch List, a much longer list of people said to be suspected of some involvement with terrorism.[6] The Terrorist Watch List contained around 400,000 names as of summer 2011, according to the TSC.[7][8] In 2013, the Terrorist Watch List had increased to 875,000 names. [9]
The list has been criticized on civil liberties and due process grounds, due in part to the potential for ethnic, religious, economic, political, or racial profiling and discrimination. It has also raised concerns about privacy and government secrecy. Finally, it has been criticized as costly,[10] prone to false positives,[11] and easily defeated.[12]
The No Fly List, the Selectee List and the Terrorist Watchlist were created by the administration of George W. Bush and retained by the administration of Barack Obama. U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said in May 2010: “The no-fly list itself is one of our best lines of defense.”[13]

On September 11, 2001, the FBI had a list of 16 people deemed “no transport” because they “presented a specific known or suspected threat to aviation.”[6] The list had grown to more than 400 names by November 2001, when responsibility for keeping it was transferred to the Federal Aviation Administration.[6]
In mid-December 2001, two lists were created: the “No Fly List” of 594 people to be denied air transport, and the “Selectee” list of 365 people who were to be more carefully searched at airports.[6] By December 2002, the No Fly List held more than 1,000 names.[citation needed] 60 Minutes reported on 8 October 2006 that the news program had obtained a March 2006 copy of the list that contained 44,000 names.[14] TSA officials said that, as of November 2005, 30,000 people in 2005 had complained that their names were matched to a name on the list via the name matching software used by airlines.[15] In April 2007, the United States government “terrorist watch list” administered by the Terrorist Screening Center, which is managed principally by the FBI, contained 700,000 records.[16] A year later, the ACLU estimated the list to have grown to over 1,000,000 names and to be continually expanding.[17]
However, according to Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff, in October 2008 the No Fly list contained only 2,500 names, with an additional 16,000 “selectees”, who “represent a less specific security threat and receive extra scrutiny, but are allowed to fly.”

Among the complaints about the No Fly List is the use of credit reports in calculating the risk score. In response to the controversy, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials said in 2005 that they would not use credit scores to determine passengers’ risk score and that they would comply with all rights guaranteed by the First and Fourth Amendments.[28]
The European Union and other non-U.S. government entities have expressed concern about allowing the CAPPS II proposal to be implemented within their borders. During the early testing of the No Fly List and CAPPS II, the TSA privately asked airlines to disclose massive amounts of personal information about their passengers. This action has been said[who?] to be a violation of the Privacy Act of 1974, which forbids the government to compile secret databases on U.S. citizens.
In the midst of this controversy, the Government Accountability Office of the U.S. Congress produced a report critical of the CAPPS II system. It characterized the proposal as incomplete and seriously behind schedule, and noted that the TSA had failed to address “developmental, operational, and privacy issues identified by Congress”. On July 14, 2004, TSA officials announced that CAPPS II was being pulled from consideration without proceeding to full testing. Critics have alleged that the TSA has merely chosen to start with a less controversial entry point that they are calling the “Registered Traveler” program.[29] TSA has also begun testing of another program called “Secure Flight“, which is supposed to solve some of the problems of CAPPS I while avoiding the privacy issues of CAPPS II.
In January 2009, Marcus Holmes[30] conservatively estimated the total cost of the program to be $536 million since 9/11, with a reasonable estimation range that approaches $1 billion, and he questioned whether the benefits of the list outweigh the costs.[10]

A “false positive” occurs when a passenger who is not on the No Fly List has a name that matches or is similar to a name on the list. False positive passengers will not be allowed to board a flight unless they can differentiate themselves from the actual person on the list, usually by presenting ID showing their middle name or date of birth. In some cases, false positive passengers have been denied boarding or have missed flights because they could not easily prove that they were not the person on the No Fly List.
When an airline ticket is purchased, the reservation system uses software to compare the passenger’s name against the No Fly List. If the name matches, or is similar to a name on the No Fly List, a restriction is placed in their reservation that prevents them from being issued a boarding pass until the airline has determined whether or not they are the actual person whose name is on the No Fly List. Passengers are not told when a restriction has been placed on their reservation, and they normally do not find out that anything is unusual until they attempt to check in. “False positive” passengers cannot use Internet check-in or the automatic check-in kiosks in airports. Any attempt to use them will normally result in a message that the check-in cannot be completed and that the passenger needs to see a live check-in agent.
In order to be issued a boarding pass, a “false positive” passenger must present identification that sufficiently differentiates them from the person on the No Fly List. This can include, but is not limited to, date and place of birth, middle name, citizenship, passport number, etc. Depending on the airline, this clearance can be done either electronically, with the check-in agent keying the information into the system, or a manual procedure where the agent telephones a centralized security office to obtain clearance. Once a “false positive” passenger has been cleared for a flight, the clearance will usually, but not always, apply to the remaining flights on that reservation, including the return. However, the next time this passenger purchases an airline ticket, they will have to be cleared all over again. If a passenger’s identification is insufficient to differentiate that passenger from a name on the No-Fly List, the airline will refuse to issue a boarding pass and tell the passenger to contact the TSA.
Policies vary from airline to airline as to whether a check-in agent will tell passengers why they must always have additional steps performed when they check in, or why they are unable to check in via Internet, kiosk, or at curbside. In some cases, check-in agents will incorrectly tell passengers that they must be cleared because they are “on the No Fly List”, when in fact they are simply a “false positive” (having the same name as someone on the No-Fly List). False positive passengers who are ultimately issued boarding passes are not on the No Fly List. In the majority of instances, passengers are not told anything, and it is only through the repeated experience of needing to be cleared or being unable to use curbside, Internet or automatic check-in that they come to suspect that they are “false positives”.
In an effort to reduce the number of false positives, DHS announced on April 28, 2008 that each airline will be permitted to create a system to verify and store a passenger’s date of birth, to clear up watch list misidentifications. Passengers can voluntarily provide this information to the airline, which would have to be verified by presenting acceptable ID at the ticket counter. Once this data has been stored, travelers that were previously inconvenienced on every trip would be able to check in online or at remote kiosks.[31] It will be up to each individual airline to choose whether they wish to implement such a system.

False positives and abuses that have been in the news include:

  • Numerous children (including many under the age of five, and some under the age of one) have generated false positives.[32][33][34]
  • Daniel Brown, a United States Marine returning from Iraq, was prevented from boarding a flight home in April 2006 because his name matched one on the No Fly List.[35]
  • David Fathi, an attorney for the ACLU of Iranian descent and a plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit.[36]
  • Asif Iqbal, a management consultant and legal resident of the United States born in Pakistan, plans to sue the U.S. government because he is regularly detained when he tries to fly, because he has the same name as a former Guantanamo detainee.[11][37] Iqbal’s work requires a lot of travel, and, even though the Guantanamo detainee has been released, his name remains on the No Fly List, and Iqbal the software consultant experiences frequent, unpredictable delays and missed flights.[38] He is pushing for a photo ID and birthdate matching system, in addition to the current system of checking names.[39]
  • Robert J. Johnson, a surgeon and a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, was told in 2006 that he was on the list, although he had had no problem in flying the month before. Johnson was running as a Democrat against U.S. Representative John McHugh, a Republican. Johnson wondered whether he was on the list because of his opposition to the Iraq War. He stated, “This could just be a government screw-up, but I don’t know, and they won’t tell me.”[40] Later, a 60 Minutes report brought together 12 men named Robert Johnson, all of whom had experienced problems in airports with being pulled aside and interrogated. The report suggested that the individual whose name was intended to be on the list was most likely the Robert Johnson who had been convicted of plotting to bomb a movie theater and a Hindu temple in Toronto.[14]
  • In August 2004, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) told a Senate Judiciary Committee discussing the No Fly List that he had appeared on the list and had been repeatedly delayed at airports. He said it had taken him three weeks of appeals directly to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to have him removed from the list. Kennedy said he was eventually told that the name “T Kennedy” was added to the list because it was once used as an alias of a suspected terrorist. There are an estimated 7,000 American men whose legal names correspond to “T Kennedy”. (Senator Kennedy, whose first name was Edward and for whom “Ted” was only a nickname, would not have been one of them.) Recognizing that as a U.S. Senator he was in a privileged position of being able to contact Ridge, Kennedy said of “ordinary citizens”: “How are they going to be able to get to be treated fairly and not have their rights abused?”[41] Former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani pointed to this incident as an example for the necessity to “rethink aviation security” in an essay on homeland security published while he was seeking the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential election.[42]
  • U.S. Representative, former Freedom Rider, and Chairman of SNCC John Lewis (politician) (D-GA) has been stopped many times.[43]
  • Canadian journalist Patrick Martin has been frequently interrogated while traveling, because of a suspicious individual with the same name.[44]
  • Walter F. Murphy, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton, reported that the following exchange took place at Newark on 1 March 2007, where he was denied a boarding pass “because I [Professor Murphy] was on the Terrorist Watch list.” The airline employee asked, “Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that.” “I explained,” said professor Murphy, “that I had not so marched but had, in September 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the constitution.” To which the airline employee responded, “That’ll do it.”[45]
  • David Nelson, the actor best known for his role on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, is among various persons named David Nelson who have been stopped at airports because their name apparently appears on the list.[46][47]
  • Jesselyn Radack, a former United States Department of Justice ethics adviser who argued that John Walker Lindh was entitled to an attorney, was placed on the No Fly List as part of what she [48] believes to be a reprisal for her whistle-blowing.
  • In September 2004, former pop singer Cat Stevens (who converted to Islam and changed his name to “Yusuf Islam” in 1978) was denied entry into the U.S. after his name was found on the list.[49]
  • In February 2006, U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) stated in a committee hearing that his wife Catherine had been subjected to questioning at an airport as to whether she was Cat Stevens due to the similarity of their names.[46][50]
  • U.S. Representative Don Young (R-AK), the third-most senior Republican in the House, was flagged in 2004 after he was mistaken for a “Donald Lee Young”.[51]
  • Some members of the Federal Air Marshal Service have been denied boarding on flights that they were assigned to protect because their names matched those of persons on the no-fly list.[52]
  • Until July 2008, Nelson Mandela and other members of the African National Congress were on the list, something that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called “rather embarrassing”.[53] On July 5, 2008, the U.S. removed Mandela and the ANC from the list.[54]
  • In August 2008, CNN reported that an airline captain and retired brigadier general for the United States Air Force has had numerous encounters with security officials when attempting to pilot his own plane.[55]
  • After frequent harassment at airport terminals, a Canadian businessman changed his name to avoid being delayed every time he took a flight.[56]
  • In October 2008, the Washington Post reported that Maryland State Police classified 53 nonviolent political activists as terrorists, and entered their names and personal information into state and federal databases, with labels indicating that they were terror suspects. The protest groups were also entered as terrorist organizations. During a hearing, it was revealed that these individuals and organizations had been placed in the databases because of a surveillance operation that targeted opponents of the death penalty and the Iraq war.[57]
  • In April 2009, TSA refused to allow an Air France flight from Paris to Mexico to cross U.S. airspace because it was carrying Colombian journalist Hernando Calvo Ospina. Air France did not send the passenger manifest to the US authorities, they did however send it to Mexico who forwarded it to the US.[2]
  • Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan was held for extensive questioning by US Immigration and Customs officials in August 2009, because as he reported, “his name came up on a computer alert list.” Customs officials claimed he “was questioned as part of a routine process that took 66 minutes.” Khan was visiting the United States to promote his film My Name Is Khan, which concerns racial profiling of Muslims in the United States.[58]
  • In June 2010, The New York Times reported Yahya Wehelie, a 26 year-old Muslim-American man was being prevented from returning to the United States, and trapped in Cairo. Despite Wehelie’s offer to FBI agents to allow them to accompany him in the plane, while shackled, he was not permitted to return. The ACLU has argued that this constitutes banishment.[59]
  • A U.S. citizen, stranded in Colombia after being placed on the no-fly list as a result of having studied in Yemen, sought to re-enter the U.S. through Mexico but was returned to Colombia by Mexican authorities.[59]
  • Michael Migliore, a 23-year-old Muslim convert and dual citizen of the United States and Italy, was detained in the United Kingdom after traveling there from the U.S. by train and then cruise ship because he was not permitted to fly. He said that he believes he was placed on the no-fly list because he refused to answer questions about a 2010 Portland car bomb plot without his lawyer present.[60] He was released eight or ten hours later, but authorities confiscated his electronic media items including a cell phone and media player.[61]
  • Abe Mashal, a 31-year-old Muslim and United States Marine Veteran, found himself on the No Fly List in April 2010 while attempting to board a plane out of Midway Airport. He was questioned by the TSA, FBI and Chicago Police at the airport and was told they had no clue why he was on the No Fly List. Once he arrived at home that day two other FBI agents came to his home and used a Do Not Fly question-and-answer sheet to question him. They informed him they had no idea why he was on the No Fly List. In June 2010 those same two FBI agents summoned Mashal to a local hotel and invited him to a private room. They told him that he was in no trouble and the reason he ended up on the No Fly List was because of possibly sending emails to an American imam they may have been monitoring. They then informed him that if he would go undercover at various local mosques, they could get him off the No Fly List immediately and he would be compensated for such actions. Mashal refused to answer any additional questions without a lawyer present and was told to leave the hotel. Mashal then contacted the ACLU and is now being represented in a class-action lawsuit filed against the TSA, FBI and DHS concerning the legality of the No Fly List and how people end up on it. Mashal feels as if he was blackmailed into becoming an informant by being placed on the No Fly List. Mashal has since appeared on ABC, NBC, PBS and Al Jazeera concerning his inclusion on the No Fly List. He has also written a book about his experience titled “No Spy No Fly.” [62]

The DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) is a procedure for travelers who are delayed or denied boarding of an aircraft, consistently receive excess scrutiny at security checkpoints, or are denied entry to the U.S. because they are believed to be or are told that they are on a government watch list. The traveler must complete an online application at the Department of Homeland Security website, print and sign the application, and then submit it with copies of several identifying documents. After reviewing their records, DHS notifies the traveler that if any corrections of data about them were warranted, they will be made.
Travelers who apply for redress through TRIP are assigned a record identifier called a “Redress Control Number”. Airline reservations systems allow passengers who have a Redress Control Number to enter it when making their reservation.
DHS TRIP may make it easier for an airline to confirm a traveler’s identity. False-positive travelers, whose names match or are similar to the names of persons on the No Fly List, will continue to match that name even after using DHS TRIP, so it will not restore a traveler’s ability to use Internet or curbside check-in or to use an automated kiosk. It does usually help the airline identify the traveler as not being the actual person on the No Fly List, after an airline agent has reviewed their identity documents at check-in.
DHS TRIP is often accused of being defunct and existing only to appease civil rights organizations without having any actual effect.[63]

Megaupload

De acuerdo a la más reciente investigación de un periodista de Nueva Zelanda, el servicio de inteligencia de aquél país, la GCSB, trabajó en conjunto con la red de vigilancia de la NSA para investigar y atrapar al fundador del portal Megaupload, Kim Dotcom.

Según el informe que cuenta con declaraciones juradas de empleados de la NSA, existe un acuerdo de intercambio de inteligencia y de datos entre Estados Unidos, Australia, Canadá, Nueva Zelanda y Reino Unido. El documento sugiere que fue esta iniciativa la que se aprovechó para atrapar al supuesto cibercriminal de origen alemán.

La relevancia del caso reside en que, al contrario de lo que sugiere el gobierno estadounidense acerca del uso de la información recopilada por la NSA, ésta puede usarse en contra de individuos que no afectan situaciones militares, de contraespionaje o entorpecen la lucha contra el terrorismo, supuestos únicos objetivos de la cibervigilancia emprendida por el gobierno estadounidense.

De acuerdo a la más reciente investigación de un periodista de Nueva Zelanda, el servicio de inteligencia de aquél país, la GCSB, trabajó en conjunto con la red de vigilancia de la NSA para investigar y atrapar al fundador del portal Megaupload, Kim Dotcom.

Según el informe que cuenta con declaraciones juradas de empleados de la NSA, existe un acuerdo de intercambio de inteligencia y de datos entre Estados Unidos, Australia, Canadá, Nueva Zelanda y Reino Unido. El documento sugiere que fue esta iniciativa la que se aprovechó para atrapar al supuesto cibercriminal de origen alemán.

La relevancia del caso reside en que, al contrario de lo que sugiere el gobierno estadounidense acerca del uso de la información recopilada por la NSA, ésta puede usarse en contra de individuos que no afectan situaciones militares, de contraespionaje o entorpecen la lucha contra el terrorismo, supuestos únicos objetivos de la cibervigilancia emprendida por el gobierno estadounidense.