Cabinet was told nothing about GCHQ spying programmes, says Chris Huhne | The Guardian
Cabinet ministers and members of the national security council were told nothing about the existence and scale of the vast data-gathering programmes run by British and American intelligence agencies, a former member of the government has revealed.
Chris Huhne, who was in the cabinet for two years until 2012, said ministers were in “utter ignorance” of the two biggest covert operations, Prism and Tempora. The former Liberal Democrat MP admitted he was shocked and mystified by the surveillance capabilities disclosed by the Guardian from files leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. [Read the full article]
Russia to monitor ‘all communications’ at Winter Olympics in Sochi | The Guardian
Athletes and spectators attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February will face some of the most invasive and systematic spying and surveillance in the history of the Games, documents shared with the Guardian show.
Russia’s powerful FSB security service plans to ensure that no communication by competitors or spectators goes unmonitored during the event, according to a dossier compiled by a team of Russian investigative journalists looking into preparations for the 2014 Games. [Read the full article]
NSA Director Alexander Admits He Lied about Phone Surveillance Stopping 54 Terror Plots | AllGov
The head of the National Security Agency (NSA) admitted before a congressional committee this week that he lied back in June when he claimed the agency’s phone surveillance program had thwarted 54 terrorist “plots or events.”
NSA Director Keith Alexander gave out the erroneous number while the Obama administration was defending its domestic spying operations exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden. He said surveillance data collected that led to 53 of those 54 plots had provided the initial tips to “unravel the threat stream.” [Read the full article]
Disconnect Search, Built By Ex-Google And Ex-NSA Engineers, Lets You Use Google, Bing And Yahoo Without Tracking | TechCrunch
Started as a side project by then-Googler Brian Kennish back in 2010 to cut out ad tracking during a person’s Facebook browsing session, Disconnect has gone on to raise funding (twice), to work on multiple browsers and sites, and create apps for specific users (e.g., kids), and take on more engineers, including two more from Google and one from the NSA. With its apps now used by 1 million people every week, Disconnect is now tackling the most popular way that people discover content online today: search engines. Today, the company is launching Disconnect Search, an extension for Chrome and Firefox browsers that lets users searching on Google, Bing and Yahoo, as well as Blekko and DuckDuckGo, remain private while doing so. [Read the full article]
White House pursues online privacy bill amid NSA efforts | Politico
Even as it defends the National Security Agency’s controversial Internet surveillance programs, the Obama administration has been working on legislation to boost online privacy safeguards for consumers.
The fact that the administration is trying to advance such a measure — amid reports that the government can access people’s online communications — speaks to growing tensions with Europe over privacy. Top European Union officials have called for tighter data rules for U.S. Internet companies, and a base-line privacy bill would strengthen the administration’s hand in negotiating with Europe. [Read the full article]
Sorry NSA, but the Tor network is secure – and it’s here to stay | The Conversation
You may have seen reports over the weekend about yet another instalment of the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance system – this time a set of slides focused on cracking the Tor network, a popular method of staying anonymous online.
Developed at different stages with financing from the US military’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Tor is a network of mutual anonymity. [Read the full article]
Want to Evade NSA Spying? Don’t Connect to the Internet | Wired
Since I started working with Snowden’s documents, I have been using a number of tools to try to stay secure from the NSA. The advice I shared included using Tor, preferring certain cryptography over others, and using public-domain encryption wherever possible.
I also recommended using an air gap, which physically isolates a computer or local network of computers from the internet. (The name comes from the literal gap of air between the computer and the internet; the word predates wireless networks.) [Read the full article]
Could the revelations regarding the NSA PRISM program hinder U.S. relations around the world? | Council on Foreign Relations
Revelations about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) electronic surveillance program were met with tough words from many of the United States’ allies. German leaders criticized the United States and France threatened to delay the start of U.S.-EU trade talks. More recently, Brazilian president DilmaRousseff delivered a searing address to the United Nations General Assembly after canceling a state visit to the White House.
However, these same leaders are aware, as President Obama has pointed out, that their security intelligence services engage in similar activities and, so far, despite the criticism, diplomatic and trade relations have remained largely on track. Russian-U.S. negotiations over Syrian chemical weapons were undeterred, for example, and U.S.-EU trade talks proceeded as scheduled. [Read the full article]
When the U.S. Transforms Journalists Into Spies | Moscow Times
The recent guilty plea by Donald Sachtleben, a former FBI bomb technician charged with leaking classified information, after government investigators identified him by secretly obtaining the phone logs of some Associated Press reporters, represents the latest chapter in the ongoing drama over U.S. security officials’ behavior.
A few days earlier, another chapter played out in a New York City television studio: Spies and recipients of leaked information confronted each other onstage. It was a remarkable event for an audience of 400 journalists. I was present. [Read the full article]
Spying on ‘friends’ | The News
Prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Manmohan Singh had talks in a New York hotel last week and no doubt every word was recorded by the US National Security Agency (NSA). There is no doubt about it, because it has been revealed that the US spies on India’s embassy in Washington and its offices in New York, and, anyway, the crafty antics of listening spooks have been obvious for years.
The US and its patsies invaded Iraq in April 2003. Before that shambolic disaster I wrote a piece in the web journal Counterpunch of January 28 casting doubt on Washington’s claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). I noted the lack of evidence and pointed out that “US agencies (and their colleagues in Israel, the UK and Australia) can listen to every telephone and radio conversation in the world. They can examine every fax and email, assess Airbus production facilities and similar anti-American activities (the French found out about this economic spying but can’t do anything about it), analyse the defences of friend and foe alike, and are in general an Olympic-class nosy parker.” [Read the full article]