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EFF on the White House's Big Data report: what about privacy and surveillance?

Last week, I wrote about danah boyd's analysis of the White House's Big Data report [PDF]. Now, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has added its analysis to the discussion. EFF finds much to like about the report, but raises two very important points:

* The report assumes that you won't be able to opt out of leaving behind personal information and implicitly dismisses the value of privacy tools like ad blockers, Do Not Track, Tor, etc

* The report is strangely silent on the relationship between Big Data and mass surveillance, except to the extent that it equates whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden with the Fort Hood shooter, lumping them all in as "internal threats"

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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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How to send mail to Chelsea Manning, if you are so inclined

The Army uses this name and address: Bradley E. Manning, 89289, 1300 N. Warehouse Road, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 66027-2304. (via Nathan Fuller)

CNN and NPR can't be bothered to address Manning as female (UPDATED)

[UPDATE BELOW]. A reader who works at CNN shares "the guidance the news folks are following" on how to refer to Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning--the transgender soldier who announced to the world she wished to be publicly seen as female one day after receiving a 35 year prison sentence for leaking secret US government documents to Wikileaks.

"Manning hasn't taken any steps yet toward gender transition so use masculine pronouns ('he' and 'him')," the internal guidance reads.

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Chelsea Manning's statement on sentencing

manning.jpgAfter Army judge Colonel Denise Lind announced the 35-year sentence for Bradley Manning on Wednesday, defense attorney David Coombs read a statement from the soldier that will be part of a pardon request to be submitted to President Barack Obama. That statement follows, below.

Speaking at a press conference after the sentencing Wednesday, Coombs also described Pfc. Manning's reaction as the sentence was announced. Coombs spoke about how he and his colleagues on the defense team were crying. Manning turned to them and said, “It’s okay. It’s alright. I know you did your best. I’m going to be okay. I’m going to get through this.”

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Opinion: History will pardon Manning, even if Obama doesn't

Was the "draconian sentence" delivered in Pfc. Manning's case simply a matter of deterrence, asks John Cassidy at the New Yorker? "From the beginning, the Pentagon has treated Manning extremely harshly, holding him in solitary confinement for almost a year and then accusing him of aiding the enemy—a charge that carries the death penalty...It certainly looked like an instance of powerful institutions and powerful people punishing a lowly private for revealing things that they would rather have kept hidden."

What is the point of Manning's 35-year sentence?

A deterrent, writes Amy Davidson. "A frightening, crippling sentence was the only way to make sure that no one leaked again, ever. What it seems likely to do is chill necessary whistle-blowing and push leakers to extremes. The lesson that Edward Snowden, the N.S.A. leaker, seems to have drawn from the prosecutions of Manning and others is that, if you have something you think people should know, take as many files as you can and leave the country." [The New Yorker]

Ecuador may criminalize the publication of classified government documents

In Ecuador, the nation's head of intelligence agency "has asked the legislature to draft a bill that would outlaw the publication of classified documents, amid growing concerns over a government clampdown on the media," writes Rosie Gray at Buzzfeed. The South American country has been in the news recently for providing shelter to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at its embassy in London, and for offering a travel document to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Pfc. Manning's gender transition could set a precedent for US military

At HuffPo, Matt Sledge writes, "Chelsea Manning's lack of access to hormone therapy in military prison could spark a lawsuit and potentially set a military-wide precedent for transgender servicemembers." The military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy ended in 2011, but the Army continues to ban transgender soldiers as "administratively unfit." As Sledge writes, "The official Army regulation uses medically outdated terminology referring to "transvestism, voyeurism, other paraphilias, or factitious disorders, psychosexual conditions, transsexual, (or) gender identity disorder."

New York Times struggles to figure out how to address Manning as female

"An article on The Times’s Web site on Thursday morning on the gender issue continued to use the masculine pronoun and courtesy title. That, said the associate managing editor Philip B. Corbett, will evolve over time." How much time does a New York Times editor need to write the word "she" or "her"?

Opinion: NSA's surveillance programs are the "most serious attacks on free speech we’ve ever seen."

The NSA's state surveillance programs are anti-democratic and unconstitutional. They could be the most serious attacks on free speech we’ve ever seen.

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Pfc. Manning transitions gender: 'I am Chelsea.'


A self-portrait snapshot Bradley Manning took, and emailed to his supervisor in the Army in April, 2010, prior to leaking government documents to Wikileaks.

One day after being sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking secret government files to Wikileaks, Pfc. Bradley Manning today announced via NBC TODAY the decision to live life as a woman.

We first wrote about this aspect of Manning's story in 2010, after realizing that a series of chat logs circulating on the internet--which we'd published without understanding the subtle references within--spoke to Manning's desire to transition.

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Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years in prison

In a courtroom at Fort Meade today, Judge Army. Col. Denise Lind delivered the sentence in the trial of Bradley Manning: 35 years in a military prison, less 1,294 days for time served, and a 112-day credit for enduring "unlawful pretrial punishment," when he was held for 9 months at a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, VA. During that stay, Manning was confined alone for more than 23 hours each day in an 8-by-6 foot cell.

The 25-year-old former intelligence analyst was convicted of charges related to sharing more than 700,000 secret government documents with Julian Assange and Wikileaks. The transparency group published those documents online, and shared them with various news organizations.

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Bradley Manning sentence to be delivered Aug. 21, 10am US Eastern


U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning arrives at the courthouse during his court martial at Fort Meade in Maryland August, 20, 2013. REUTERS/Jose Luis Magana

In a courtroom at Fort Meade on Wednesday, August 21, at 10am Eastern time, Judge Army. Col. Denise Lind will deliver the sentence in Bradley Manning's court-martial. The 25-year-old former intelligence analyst is charged with sharing more than 700,000 secret government documents with Julian Assange and Wikileaks. The transparency organization published those documents online, and shared them with news organizations.

Manning faces up to 90 years in prison, and will receive credit for 3.5 years already served in custody, some in solitary confinement. No minimum sentence applies; Judge Lind convicted him last month of most charges brought against him by the government, including 6 violations of the US Espionage Act of 1917.

Here is the latest transcript of court proceedings [PDF], captured by stenographers who were crowdfunded and hired by Freedom of the Press Foundation.

Manning's attorney will give a press conference after the sentence delivery. Follow this Twitter list, for updates from reporters who are there at the Fort Meade media operations center.

One of those reporters, Adam Klasfeld of Courthouse News, wrote an important piece today about the kind of treatment Manning is likely to receive in military prison as a transgender person.

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Facing life in prison, Manning apologizes for "hurting" U.S., supporters say leaks benefited America


Photo: "Free Bradley Manning" flyer on a pole, seen on 3rd Ave in Seattle, photo by Bryan W. Jones in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool.

Yesterday at Fort Meade, Maryland, Pfc. Bradley Manning spoke in his defense in the sentencing phase of his court-martial. Col. Denise Lind, the judge in this trial, may determine that Manning must be sentenced to up to 90 years in prison for leaking government documents to Julian Assange and Wikileaks. In his statement before the court, Manning apologized for the "hurt" he inflicted on the United States, and referenced the gender identity issues that triggered a personal crisis in Iraq. Snip from his unsworn testimony:

First your Honor. I want to start off with an apology. I am sorry. I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I am sorry that it hurt the United States. At the time of my decisions, as you know, I was dealing with a lot of issues-- issues that are ongoing and they are continuing to affect me.

Although they have caused me considerable difficulty in my life, these issues are not an excuse for my actions. I understood what I was doing and the decisions I made. However, I did not truly appreciate the broader effects of my actions. Those effects are clearer to me now through both self-reflection during my confinement in its various forms and through the merits and sentencing testimony that I have seen here.

Manning's defense is doing what any competent legal team would: trying to convince the judge to reduce the sentence as much as possible.

But Rainey Reitman at Freedom of the Press Foundation argues that while this strategy is understandable, the world should know that the 25 year old former Army intelligence analyst has nothing to apologize for because "The public has benefited tremendously as a result of Manning’s disclosures."

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Bradley Manning expected to speak at trial today; email with female selfie released


A self-portrait snapshot Bradley Manning took, and emailed to his supervisor in the Army in April, 2010, prior to leaking government documents to Wikileaks.

We've been following the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning here at Boing Boing, and I have visited the trial periodically to live-blog the proceedings in person. Today is expected to be a significant day at Fort Meade: the 25-year-old former Army intel analyst is expected to make a statement to the court, as Judge Col. Denise Lind weighs the sentence he will receive. Kevin Gosztola, Nathan Fuller, and Alexa O'Brien are among the few reporters/bloggers who have been there daily, for months. Alexa says:

Kevin is liveblogging here, at Firedoglake. I've gathered some of their tweets from the Fort Meade media operations center below, summarizing witnesses' statements and the vibe around the press center (in a word, tense). Look for today's transcripts at the Freedom of the Press Foundation website later today (the court isn't releasing official transcripts, but we've sent stenographers, crowd-funded and permitted by the judge with your help). Here are yesterday's transcripts: morning, afternoon.

One of the big reveals over the last few days of the trial: "My Problem" [PDF] an email Manning sent on Saturday, April 24, 2010 to his then-supervisor, former Master Sgt. Paul Adkins. The message amounted to a confession that Manning was transgender, and felt unable to transition within the military environment in Iraq.

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Criminalizing Journalism: Manning, Media and You


Illustration: Reuters/William Hennessy

On Tuesday, Bradley Manning was acquitted of “aiding the enemy” for leaking 700,000 classified government documents, including a video of an American airstrike in Baghdad that killed 12 civilians, among them two Reuters journalists.

While aiding the enemy was the most serious charge he faced, Manning was still found guilty of numerous counts of espionage and other charges, which could land him in jail for the rest of his life.

And while many journalists are breathing a sigh of relief about the aiding-the-enemy decision, we shouldn’t forget how hard the government pushed for that particular conviction.

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Stephen Colbert on Bradley Manning trial: "We, the American People, Are the Enemy"

On the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert nails it on the Bradley Manning verdict: we have met the enemy, and he is us.

UPDATED: Extra charges for Bradley Manning because he used a computer


Update: EFF has retracted this post.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Trevor Timm explains a disturbing and overlooked fact about the trial of Bradley Manning; the charge-sheet against him included two separate felonies under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, an ancient anti-hacking statute that has been used as a club to threaten security researchers and activists like Aaron Swartz. The CFAA makes it a separate offense to leak classified information using a computer, such that anyone caught doing so can be charged twice: first under the Espionage Act and again under the CFAA.

This gives tremendous and terrible leverage to prosecutors, who come to the negotiating table with double the ammo: "We'll drop the CFAA charges if you plead guilty to the Espionage Act charges" (or vice-versa). The reality is that there's nothing special about using a computer to leak documents -- indeed, these days you'd be hard pressed not to use a computer -- now that photocopiers, fax machines, phones, cameras and even the daily paper are all built out of computers.

Several Congresses have failed to modernize the CFAA, because the DoJ has forcefully argued that the ability to threaten people with decades in jail for simply using computers has given them the leverage to force "bad guys" to plead guilty, rather than getting a day in court.

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Manning court-martial: sentencing phase continues, with government witnesses


My copy of Bradley Manning's charge sheet, handed to me by an Army public affairs officer as I was escorted into Judge Lind's courtroom to hear the verdict on July 30, 2013. I scribbled "guilty/not guilty" next to each charge as she read her verdict. [XJ].

The sentencing phase in the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning is ongoing at Fort Meade, Maryland. On Tuesday, judge Col. Denise R. Lind found the 25-year-old former Army intelligence analyst guilty of 20 of the 22 charges the government brought against him. Manning was convicted on six counts of violating the 1917 Espionage Act. He was found not guilty of the most serious charge, "aiding the enemy," which carried a possible life sentence--but the guilty charges add up to a potential 136 years in prison. The actual sentence he receives is likely to be shorter, according to military law experts.

I've created a Twitter list of reporters who are at Fort Meade in the media operations center, about a quarter-mile away from the closed courtroom where the proceedings are taking place. Absolutely no laptops, phones, or other communication devices allowed inside court, but back at the media center, press can use laptops to transmit updates when court is not in session (more on restrictions ">in this previous post). On the Twitter list, I included other central figures in the trial like Manning's attorney, David Coombs, and reporters who aren't there every day but are producing notably reliable reporting on the trial.

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After Bradley Manning's mixed verdict, trial moves to sentencing phase

On Tuesday, Col. Denise Lind, the military judge in Bradley Manning's court-martial, found the former Army intelligence officer guilty of 20 of 22 charges brought by the government against him.

The 25-year-old Oklahoma native was accused of leaking classified information while stationed in Iraq to Julian Assange, who published it at Wikileaks.org and provided news organizations with access. Manning was found not guilty of "aiding the enemy," the most serious charge which carried a possible life sentence, but was found guilty of 6 Espionage Act charges and other offenses that could add up to 136 years of prison time.

Today, at 930am Eastern time, Judge Lind reconvened court at Fort Meade to begin the sentencing phase of the trial.

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Yes, there's a Taiwanese animated explainer video of the Bradley Manning verdict

Thanks to Jessica Wu of nma.com.tw for pointing us to this (inevitable) video explainer of yesterday's news in the Bradley Manning trial. I was there, right in the courtroom as the verdict was read, and I can tell you it looked exactly like this.

Bradley Manning verdict: transcript, via Freedom of the Press Foundation

Here is a transcript of today's verdict in the Bradley Manning case, provided by Freedom of the Press Foundation court stenographers: PDF link.

FotPF's Trevor Timm writes that the military court's "decision is a terrible blow to both investigative journalists and the sources they rely on to inform the public."

Our Boing Boing coverage of the verdict is here, and my notes from this morning at Ft. Meade are here.

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EFF on Bradley Manning verdict, and Hacker Madness

Electronic Frontier Foundation legal director Cindy Cohn has published an original take on the Bradley Manning prosecution at the EFF's blog. In it, she recounts how government prosecutors portrayed the 25 year old former Army intelligence specialist as uniquely menacing because of his knowledge of computers and digital tools. In other words, exploiting the judge's lack of familiarity with technology. Cohn describes this as "Hacker madness."
[T]he decision today continues a trend of government prosecutions that use familiarity with digital tools and knowledge of computers as a scare tactic and a basis for obtaining grossly disproportionate and unfair punishments, strategies enabled by broad, vague laws like the CFAA and the Espionage Act. Let's call this the “hacker madness” strategy. Using it, the prosecution portrays actions taken by someone using a computer as more dangerous or scary than they actually are by highlighting the digital tools used to a nontechnical or even technophobic judge.
Bradley Manning Verdict and the Dangerous “Hacker Madness” Prosecution Strategy [eff.org, via Trevor Timm]

Link: Boing Boing's Bradley Manning trial coverage archives.

Bradley Manning found not guilty of aiding enemy, but convicted on lesser charges, faces up to 136 years

Pvt. Bradley Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy today, but convicted on multiple lesser counts, including violating the Espionage Act.

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World awaits verdict in Bradley Manning's trial

Xeni Jardin reports from Ft. Meade, Md., on the trial of the accused Wikileaks whistleblowerRead the rest

Manning trial judge: verdict coming 1 p.m. Tuesday

Presiding judge Col. Denise Lind says that a verdict in the trial of Pvt. Bradley Manning will be delivered at 1 p.m. EST Tuesday. Follow Xeni on Twitter for the latest from Fort Meade.

Notes from the ducking stool: wget as evidence of guilt at the Manning trial


A moment of outstanding absurdity from the Manning trial: prosecutors inquiring in tones of menace whether a witness is familiar with "wget" -- a standard Unix command for fetching a file from the Web ("wget" = "Web get") that many of us use routinely.

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Closing arguments continue in Bradley Manning trial, verdict may come as soon as weekend

A ruling in the Bradley Manning court-martial could come as early as this weekend from the military Judge, Col. Denise Lind. Reporters are back at Ft. Meade for what is likely to be the final day of closing arguments and proceedings before that decision happens. Yesterday, press reported of newly extreme policing of their activities by armed military guards, which was later found to be the result of an order by the judge. Below, a few morning tweets from news reporters, bloggers, and artists who are back at it again today. Army Internet has been periodically shut off for press, and they're not allowed to bring their own mobile internet devices.

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Bradley Manning trial judge increased press security "because of repeat violations of the rules of court”


Col. Denise Lind, the Judge in the Bradley Manning military trial. Pic by Clark Stoeckley (twitter: @wikileakstruck).

Huffington Post reporter Matt Sledge read my Boing Boing post earlier today about reports from the Bradley Manning trial of dramatically-increased security measures for press. Those measures including armed military police standing behind journalists at their laptops, snooping on their screens.

He reports that the new, oppressive security measures were ordered directly by the judge because reporters were violating court rules (which no one can find a copy of), and carrying "prohibited electronics." For this, the government needs armed military police standing right behind reporters as they type, in the media room.

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