Journalists will face jail over spy leaks under new security laws | The Guardian

Australian journalists could face prosecution and jail for reporting Snowden-style revelations about certain spy operations, in an “outrageous” expansion of the government’s national security powers, leading criminal lawyers have warned.

A bill presented to parliament on Wednesday by the attorney general, George Brandis, would expand the powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (Asio), including creation of a new offence punishable by five years in jail for “any person” who disclosed information relating to “special intelligence operations”.

The person would be liable for a 10-year term if the disclosure would “endanger the health or safety of any person or prejudice the effective conduct of a special intelligence operation”. [Read more]

Australia’s Prime Minister Gives a Master Class in Exploiting Terrorism Fears to Seize New Powers | The Intercept

If you’re an Australian citizen, you have a greater chance of being killed by the following causes than you do by a terrorist attack: slipping in the bathtub and hitting your head; contracting a lethal intestinal illness from the next dinner you eat at a restaurant; being struck by lightning. In the post-9/11 era, there has been no terrorist attack carried out on Australian soil: not one. The attack that most affected Australians was the 2002 bombing of a nightclub in Bali which killed 88 of its citizens; that was 12 years ago.

Despite all that, Australia’s political class is in the midst of an increasingly unhinged fear-mongering orgy over terrorism. The campaign has two prongs: ISIS (needless to say: it’s now an all-purpose, global source of fear-manufacturing), and the weekend arrest of 15 people on charges that they planned to behead an unknown, random individual based on exhortations from an Australian member of ISIS. [Read more]

Tech’s surveillance hopes stopped in their tracks | Politico

Silicon Valley had high hopes for surveillance reform this year — but that was before Congress headed for the midterm exits amid talk of increased global terrorist threats.

The Senate fled Washington last week without taking action on a bill to rein in the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection, a measure that topped the industry’s agenda after Edward Snowden’s leaks about the NSA’s expansive snooping programs. Tech giants like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have pushed the Senate to act on the legislation, which they regard as far tougher on the spy agency than what previously passed the House. [Read more]

A state within a state at an alarming rate: Assange says NSA just keeps on growing | RT

Julian Assange reminisced to RT’s Afshin Rattansi about a meeting he had with Google in 2011 and how the company is in bed with the State Department. He also mentioned that a state within a state is being developed within the USA.

For Assange, it was an interesting occasion, being given the opportunity to meet with Google. The company’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, was present, as well as three other executives who the Australian thought were of little importance at the time. However, Assange remembers that he could not resist asking Schmidt if he would like to reveal anything to WikiLeaks, the site which he founded. [Read more]

‘Normale Leute’ vs NSA spying: meet Germany’s ‘average’ data protesters | Deutsche Welle

It’s a late Saturday afternoon in the German capital, Berlin, where the iconic Brandenburg Gate is abuzz.

On its eastern side, hundreds of spectators have turned out to watch a summer long-jump competition called Berlin Fliegt.

But on the western side, bordering the Tiergarten Park, about 6000 people have assembled to express their outrage over United States National Security Agency (NSA) spying. [Read more]

Are Apple and Google Really on Your Side Against the NSA? | CounterPunch

In the past couple of days both Google[i] and Apple[ii] have announced that they’re enabling default encryption on their mobile devices so that only the user possessing a device’s password can access its local files. The public relations team at Apple makes the following claim:

    “Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data… So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8″

The marketing drones at Google issued a similar talking point:

    “For over three years Android has offered encryption, and keys are not stored off of the device, so they cannot be shared with law enforcement… As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won’t even have to think about turning it on.” [Read more]

CPJ Calls on Obama to Defend the Right to Report in the Digital Age | Global Voices

Global Voices is joining more than 60 other media and press freedom organizations in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists’ campaign for the Right to Report in the Digital Age, targeting the Obama administration. Revelations about surveillance, intimidation, and exploitation of the press have raised unsettling questions about the rights and safety of journalists’ ability to report in the digital age. The revelations also give ammunition to governments seeking to tighten restrictions on media and the Internet.

Although the petition is directed at Obama, journalists around the world are affected, both directly and indirectly. Reports that the NSA and allied spy agencies surveilled journalists–including a report that the NSA hacked Al-Jazeera–create a chilling effect on the press. Border crossing has long posed a risk for journalists, especially with respect to the search of electronic devices. [Read more]


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