Boing Boing 

Huge trove of surveillance leaks coming

Al Jazeera and The Guardian are set to publish "the Spy Cables," a massive trove of South African intelligence cables detailing the over-classification of information and the corruption of post-Apartheid South Africa by US political interference.

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Telcos' anti-Net Neutrality argument may let the MPAA destroy DNS


The telcos' ongoing battle against Net Neutrality have led them to make a lot of silly legalistic arguments, but one in particular has opened the whole Internet to grave danger from a legal attack from the entertainment industry, which may finally realize its longstanding goal of subverting DNS to help it censor sites it dislikes, even if it makes life much easier for thieves and spies who use DNS tricks to rob and surveil.

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Feds given deadline to subpoena NYT reporter over CIA leak

Reporter James Risen of the New York Times and author of the book, "State of War" speaks during a taping of "Meet the Press" at NBC studios January 8, 2006 in Washington, DC.  Image: NBC


Reporter James Risen of the New York Times and author of the book, "State of War" speaks during a taping of "Meet the Press" at NBC studios January 8, 2006 in Washington, DC. Image: NBC

Now is not exactly the best time for Obama's Justice Department to be subpoenaing one of the nation's best journalists for reporting on a spectacularly botched CIA operation, but that's the decision Attorney General Eric Holder faces this week.

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Analysis of leaked logs from Syria's censoring national firewall


Syria's brutal Assad government uses censorware from California's Blue Coat System as part of its systematic suppression of dissent and to help it spy on dissidents; 600GB of 2011 logs from Syria's seven SG-9000 internet proxies were leaked by hacktivist group Telecomix and then analyzed by University College London's Emiliano De Cristofaro.

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Obama administration has secured 526 months of jail time for leakers


Up until Obama's "most transparent administration", and throughout the entire history of the USA, national security leakers had received a total of 24 months of jail time. There are many more cases pending.

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The Laura Poitras film on Snowden shows that only government transparency will stop leaks

Edward Snowden. Photo: Guardian.


Edward Snowden. Photo: Guardian.

As we've mentioned, filmmaker Laura Poitras has an important new documentary out about Edward Snowden, and the impact of his leaks on NSA surveillance.

In a review of the “Citizenfour” for The Guardian, Trevor Timm, Executive Director of Freedom of the Press Foundation (Laura Poitras is a board member, so am I) writes:

[W]hat the government has failed to grasp is that Chelsea Manning and Snowden’s leaks are not isolated incidents – or, at least they won’t be when we look back on this era 10 years from now. There are 5 million people with security clearances in this country, and many of them are part of a new generation that is far more critical of the blanket secrecy permeating government agencies than the old guard.

It’s only now that we are finally starting to see the reverberations of Manning’s and Snowden’s whistleblowing. But one thing is for sure: there are many more potential whistleblowers out there, and if government officials do not move to make their actions more transparent of their own volition, then their employees may well do it for them.

Previously: "Laura Poitras's Citizenfour: the real story of Edward Snowden"

Germany is NSA's largest listening post, according to new report based on Snowden leaks

A general view of the large former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) during break of dawn in Bad Aibling south of Munich, July 11, 2013. Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended Germany's cooperation with U.S. intelligence, dismissing comparisons of its techniques to those used in communist East Germany in an attempt to ease tensions a day before talks on the thorny issue in Washington.   REUTERS/Michael Dalder


A general view of the large former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) during break of dawn in Bad Aibling south of Munich, July 11, 2013. Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended Germany's cooperation with U.S. intelligence, dismissing comparisons of its techniques to those used in communist East Germany in an attempt to ease tensions a day before talks on the thorny issue in Washington. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

Using documents leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, Der Spiegel reports that the NSA has turned Germany into its most important base of operations in Europe. "NSA is more active in Germany than anywhere else in Europe," reports the paper, "And data collected here may have helped kill suspected terrorists."

The German archive provides the basis for a critical discussion on the necessity and limits of secret service work as well as on the protection of privacy in the age of digital communication. The documents complement the debate over a trans-Atlantic relationship that has been severely damaged by the NSA affair.

They paint a picture of an all-powerful American intelligence agency that has developed an increasingly intimate relationship with Germany over the past 13 years while massively expanding its presence. No other country in Europe plays host to a secret NSA surveillance architecture comparable to the one in Germany. It is a web of sites defined as much by a thirst for total control as by the desire for security. In 2007, the NSA claimed to have at least a dozen active collection sites in Germany.

The documents indicate that the NSA uses its German sites to search for a potential target by analyzing a "Pattern of Life," in the words of one Snowden file. And one classified report suggests that information collected in Germany is used for the "capture or kill" of alleged terrorists.

"New NSA Revelations: Inside Snowden's Germany File" [Der Spiegel]

Related:

Majority of Americans think Snowden was right to leak


A forthcoming Yougov survey found that 55 percent of Americans believe Edward Snowden was right to leak the details of Prism (it's not clear whether they were surveyed on other leaks).

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Crowdfunding for Cryptome, oldest radical secrets-leaking site online

nya-kick.largeWithout Cryptome.org, there would have been no Wikileaks, though the two organizations' history and methods of operation couldn't be more different. I'm pretty sure it's the oldest continuously-running website devoted to the public exposure of secret documents for the public good, and has weathered constant attack and intimidation by entities who would rather that websites like Cryptome not exist.

The website run by John Young and Deborah Natsios has a kickstarter campaign, and it's worth considering kicking in if radical transparency is something you support.

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NBC airs Edward Snowden's first US TV interview

140527-edward-snowden-jms-1846_6908feb78dc51d2345105e53cf6cb759.nbcnews-fp-1440-600

NBC released a preview clip from a widely-promoted Brian Williams interview with whistleblower Edward Snowden, which airs tonight, Wednesday May 28, at 10pm EDT. The hour-long interview is the former NSA contractor’s first US television interview since leaking NSA documents to reporters.

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The VA whistleblower speaks out

The sign in the front of the headquarters building at the Department of Veteran Affairs is seen as a man walks past in Washington. (Reuters/Larry Downing)


The sign in the front of the headquarters building at the Department of Veteran Affairs in Washington, DC. (Reuters)

The Veterans Administration worker who leaked damning information about the federal agency has a name: Sam Foote. He is an internist, and for 19 years was a VA outpatient clinic director.

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White House leaks name of Kabul CIA chief, yet no one goes to prison

Soldiers take photos as U.S. President Barack Obama (C) shakes hands with troops after delivering remarks at Bagram Air Base in Kabul, May 25, 2014. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)


Soldiers take photos as U.S. President Barack Obama (C) shakes hands with troops after delivering remarks at Bagram Air Base in Kabul, May 25, 2014. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

The identity of the top CIA officer in Afghanistan was exposed over the weekend by the White House when his name was included by mistake on a list given to news organizations of senior officials participating in President Obama’s surprise visit with US troops.

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Guilty plea in Fox News leak case shows why Espionage Act prosecutions are unfair to reporters' sources


Stephen Jin-Woo Kim. Image: Stephen Kim Legal Defense Trust.

Former State Department official Stephen Kim announced today he will plead guilty to leaking classified information to Fox News journalist James Rosen and will serve 13 months in jail.

The case sparked controversy last year when it was revealed the Justice Department named Rosen a “co-conspirator” in court documents for essentially doing his job as a journalist. But a largely ignored ruling in Kim’s case may have far broader impact on how sources interact with journalists in the future.

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Snapchat apologizes for and patches leak

After a week of anger, "Team Snapchat" apologizes for letting hackers walk off with more than 4 million phone numbers: "This morning we released a Snapchat update for Android and iOS that improves Find Friends functionality and allows Snapchatters to opt-out of linking their phone number with their username. ... We are sorry for any problems this issue may have caused you and we really appreciate your patience and support."

Jacob Appelbaum's must-watch 30C3 talk: why NSA spying affects you, no matter who you are

Sunday's Snowden leaks detailing the Tailored Access Operations group -- the NSA's exploit-farming, computer-attacking "plumbers" -- and the ANT's catalog of attacks on common computer equipment and software -- were accompanied by a lecture by Jacob Appelbaum at the 30th Chaos Communications Congress. I have seen Jake speak many times, but this talk is extraordinary, even by his standards, and should by watched by anyone who's said, "Well, they're probably not spying on me, personally;" or "What's the big deal about spies figuring out how to attack computers used by bad guys?" or "It's OK if spies discover back-doors and keep them secret, because no one else will ever find them."

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Ben Franklin, whistleblowing leaker of government secrets

Benjamin Franklin was a leaker of government secrets, who circulated intercepted letters from the colonial lieutenant governor of Massachusetts Bay to the British government. The letters detailed a scheme to take away colonists' legally guaranteed freedoms "by degrees" and called for more troops to keep order during the process. After the letters were published, Franklin admitted to leaking them, but refused to give up his source. The crown called it "thievery and dishonor" and he was fired from his postmaster general gig (thankfully, there was no Espionage Act on the books at the time). (via Techdirt)

Amnesty petition to release Chelsea Manning

Alan sez, "Amnesty International have a petition up that asks for the release of Manning. The petition argues that both on humanitarian grounds and on account of the pre-trial treatment, Manning is deserving of a clemency release."

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Leaked UN document: countries want to end War on Drugs and prohibition


A rare, leaked UN document reveals deep divisions among member-states about the war on drugs, with many nations demanding treatment and decriminalization instead of prohibition. The draft document, dating from September, is from the UN's attempt to set a global policy on drugs and drug trafficking. The document shows Ecuador demanding an official statement "that the world needs to look beyond prohibition" and Venezuela seeking recognition of "the economic implications of the current dominating health and law enforcement approach in tackling the world drug problem." Other dissenters include Norway, Switzerland and the EU.

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Wikileaks publishes the "Internet Chapter" of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (SOPA's back)

Wikileaks has published the Internet Chapter of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade-deal negotiated between corporate leaders and government reps without any democratic oversight (the US Trade Rep wouldn't share TPP drafts with Congress, and now it is headed for fast-tracking into law). TorrentFreak has parsed out the text, and compares it to SOPA, the brutal US copyright law that collapsed in the face of massive public protest. The treaty is reportedly at a "negotiated stalemate" thanks to the US Trade Rep, who has refused to bend on treaty provisions that other nations objected to.

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Ex-NSA director jokes of placing Edward Snowden on kill list, Rep. Mike Rogers offers to help


Former NSA Director Michael Hayden.

Brendan Sasso of The Hill reports that during a Washington Post cybersecurity summit today, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden made a joke about putting Edward Snowden on a kill list.

Snowden, who leaked secret NSA documents to news reporters, has been nominated for the "Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought," considered to be Europe's most prominent human rights award.

According to Sasso Hayden quipped, "I must admit, in my darker moments over the past several months, I'd also thought of nominating Mr. Snowden, but it was for a different list."

"I can help you with that," added his fellow panel member Rep. Mike "CISPA" Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and longtime NSA ally. 

[The Hill's Hillicon Valley]

Rally against mass surveillance, DC, Oct. 26--'Stop Watching Us'

The team behind Stop Watching Us says:

"Since the Snowden leaks started, more than 569,000 people from all walks of life have signed the StopWatching.us petition telling the U.S. Congress that we want them to rein in the NSA. On October 26th, the 12th anniversary of the signing of the US Patriot Act, we're taking the next step and holding the largest rally yet against NSA surveillance. We’ll be handing the half-million petitions to Congress to remind them that they work for us -- and we won’t tolerate mass surveillance any longer."

You can donate to the organizational costs here.

Organizers are in a reddit AMA right now.

Manning’s gender hell: Shades of gray in a black-and-white world

We asked writer, film director, Boing Boing contributor, and transgender educator and activist Andrea James what she thought about the media confusion following Private Manning‘s gender transition revelation. Below, Andrea’s thoughts.

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Closing arguments in Bradley Manning court-martial paint Wikileaks source as glory-seeking traitor

Inside a small courthouse on the Army base in Fort Meade, Maryland, Army prosecutors are presenting closing arguments in their case against Pfc. Bradley Manning, who leaked hundreds of thousands of government documents to Wikileaks.

According to Maj. Ashden Fein today, the 25-year-old former intel analyst betrayed his country’s trust and handed government secrets to Julian Assange in search of fame and glory, knowing that in doing so, the material would be made visible to Al Qaeda and its then-leader Osama bin Laden.

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Holder tightens rules for secretly obtaining reporters' phone logs, emails

Charlie Savage at the NY Times writes about Friday's announcement by US Attorney General Eric Holder of "new guidelines that would significantly narrow the circumstances under which journalists’ records could be obtained." Here's a PDF of the new guidelines.

Edward Snowden's statement on seeking asylum in Russia, as published by Wikileaks


Photoshop by @Darth.

Earlier today, NSA leaker Edward Snowden met with human rights groups and other supporters at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, where he has been holed up for weeks, in a stateless legal limbo.

Wikileaks, which has been working to facilitate his safe passage to a country where he will not be punished for his whistleblowing efforts, says the meeting lasted 45 minutes and included the participation of reps from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

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Snowden should seek asylum in the one place safe from US prosecution: Wall Street

Spotted on @dangillmor's feed, via Rick Falkvinge, photoshopper unknown.

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou has advice for NSA leaker Edward Snowden

John Kiriakou, the former CIA officer serving a thirty-month sentence in prison for leaking the name of an officer involved in the USA's torture program has written an open letter to Edward Snowden. His “most important advice” as he writes, is to “not, under any circumstances, cooperate with the FBI....FBI agents will lie, trick and deceive you. They will twist your words and play on your patriotism to entrap you.” Read it at The Dissenter (FDL)

Updated: Bolivian President's plane diverted on flight from Russia over suspicions Snowden was on board


L: Bolivian President Evo Morales. R: NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Bolivian officials say President Evo Morales' private plane was rerouted to Vienna, Austria last night after France and Portugal refused to allow it into their airspace over concerns NSA leaker Edward Snowden was on board. Italy shut the door, too. By various reports, the plane was searched, and Snowden was nowhere to be found. A Bolivian official said the South American nation is outraged, and they "have the suspicion" the US is to blame for the unprecedented decision to close airspace to the president's plane. The flight was eventually allowed to continue, after Spain granted them permission to refuel in the Canary Islands. As of 10am ET, the plane is en route over the Atlantic, and you can track it here.

The Guardian has a liveblog with good coverage. Less than a week ago, US President Barack Obama said, "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker." As many Twitter comedians have pointed out, Snowden just turned 30, so that may explain last night's drama.

If the story is as it appears, the United States has the power to compel other nations to ground a plane carrying a head of state, on the suspicion that it is carrying a whistleblower who says he exposed unjust secrets in an act of conscience. But the story may not be as it appears.

Here's the official statement from the Bolivian government, denouncing what it describes as an unprecedented act of "imperialist" aggression, and the effective "kidnapping" of its president, in violation of international law. Morales calls on the leaders of the countries that denied his plane to explain their "repressive policies."

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Snowden's Run

Click to enlarge.

Based on this classic movie poster. Photoshopped by Rob Beschizza. Read coverage of NSA leaker Edward Snowden in Boing Boing's archives.

Edward's Snowden's search for political asylum is not going well


Image: The Guardian

Wikileaks and various news agencies report that NSA leaker Edward Snowden has prepared asylum requests for (at least) 21 nations, including Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.

The government of Ecuador said they couldn't consider his request unless he was in Ecuador or inside one of their embassies. The US has revoked his passport, which makes getting anywhere difficult from his current (presumed) location: an international no-mans-land connected to Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.

The AP's Eastern Europe News Director, Ian Phillips, flew there to try and find Snowden. He didn't, despite wardialing all floors of the prison-hotel where stateless passengers are held. But his surreal account of 21 hours in Snowden's shoes is a must-read.

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