Snowden Claims NSA Knocked All of Syria’s Internet Offline | Time

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has claimed a team of NSA hackers was responsible for effectively knocking the entire country of Syria offline two years ago during a period of intense fighting in its still-ongoing civil war.

Snowden’s claim is significant because many observers believed one of several other parties to be responsible for the outage, including Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, hackers aligned with but perhaps not a part of Assad’s government, or Israel. [Read more]

Secret court slammed NSA over ‘systemic overcollection’ | IT Pro Portal

Recently declassified documents show that the NSA’s system of almost limitless collection of data through the PRISM and Boundless Informant programmes was highly criticised by the court responsible for approving its surveillance methods.

The 117-page decision by Judge John Bates of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (pictured) slammed the NSA for its “systemic over-collection” of metadata from online communications. One of the programmes that was the most heavily criticised was subsequently scrapped by the NSA after a 2011 review deemed it to be failing its mission. [Read more]

NSA works to automatically detect attacks, return strikes from foreign adversaries | SC Magazine

A developing NSA program called “MonsterMind” would allow the intelligence agency to automatically detect attacks from foreign adversaries, and even retaliate with cyber strikes as a means of defusing future attacks, new reports reveal.

On Wednesday, Wired published a profile of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who disclosed details on the MonsterMind operation. That day, the outlet also highlighted the program in a separate article by Kim Zetter. [Read more]

Sen. Ron Wyden Calls for Surveillance Policy Shift | ABC News

Americans are guaranteed the right to be secure in their paper correspondence, but online communication enjoys no such protection.

That’s because the Fourth Amendment requires police to obtain warrants to search houses, papers, property and your pockets. But information sent and received online goes through a third party, and anyone with a compelling government interest has a much easier time getting their hands on it. [Read more]

The surveillance debate, continued: Another response to the ACLU | Washington Post

Yesterday on this site, journalist Marcy Wheeler weighed in on a debate between myself and Gabe Rottman of the American Civil Liberties Union, regarding the robustness of the civil liberties protections in Sen. Patrick Leahy’s recent redraft of the USA Freedom Act, aimed at reining in the boundaries of NSA surveillance. The text of Leahy’s version of the bill is here.

In a nutshell, I argued that the bill contained some problematic language that could actually allow more access to data by NSA; Rottman agreed that scrutiny was warranted but suggested the situation was not so bad — and certainly better than the status quo; Wheeler suggested the ACLU was too optimistic and pointed to other parts of the bill as potentially open to abuse. [Read more]


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