Snowden vindicated


When the courts ruled NSA domestic spying illegal last week, it was the plain fact of that surveillance that was most important. But it also means that whistleblower Ed Snowden, cast as a traitor and spy by his critics, is vindicated.

Conor Friedersdorf, at The Atlantic, writes that "the wrongheadedness of the national-security state’s position has been confirmed."

Snowden undeniably violated his promise to keep the NSA’s secrets. But doing so was the only way to fulfill his higher obligation to protect and defend the Constitution, which was being violated by an executive branch exceeding its rightful authority and usurping the lawmaking function that belongs to the legislature. This analysis pertains only to the leaked documents that exposed the phone dragnet, not the whole trove of Snowden leaks, but with respect to that one set of documents there ought to be unanimous support for pardoning his disclosure.

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What did the courts just do to NSA spying?

When a panel of federal judges from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the NSA's bulk-phone records spying program was illegal, it was a legal game-changer, but what, exactly, does it all mean? Read the rest

Appeals Court rejects NSA's bulk phone-record collection program

A panel of judges from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the NSA's mass phone-record collection program was not authorized by Congress in the Patriot Act. Read the rest

Translation: once they learn the truth, techies hate and fear us

US Defense Secretary: Snowden Caused Tensions With Techies Read the rest

NSA-proof passwords

The Intercept's Micah Lee explains how to use Diceware's to generate a passphrase that can survive the NSA's trillion-guess-per-second cracking attempts -- but which can still be easily memorized. Read the rest

Wikimedia sues the NSA

The Wikimedia Foundation -- which oversees Wikipedia -- eight other organizations, and the ACLU have filed a lawsuit against the DoJ and the NSA, contesting the spy agency's program of mass "upstream" surveillance. Read the rest

IT feudalism: the surveillance state and wealth gaps

My latest Guardian column examines the relationship between technology, surveillance and wealth disparity -- specifically the way that cheap mass surveillance makes it possible to sustain more unequal societies because it makes it cheaper to find and catch the dissidents who foment rebellion over the creation of hereditary elites. Read the rest

Ed Snowden says he'll face trial in the US

But only if he's guaranteed a "legal and impartial trial" -- that is, not a trial under ancient law like the Espionage Act. Read the rest

Bruce Schneier's Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World

No one explains security, privacy, crypto and safety better.

Mass surveillance hip-hop from the director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Shahid Buttar -- the rapper who created the amazing NSA vs USA track/video -- is also a constitutional lawyer who serves as executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Read the rest

Shining light on the shadowy, "superhuman" state-level Equation Group hackers

For more than decade, a shadowy, heavily resourced, sophisticated hacker group that Kaspersky Labs calls the Equation Group has committed a string of daring, cutting-edge information attacks, likely at the behest of the NSA. Read the rest

Tone-deaf Valentines tweets from the NSA

"Roses are red, violets are blue, #NSA loves privacy rights and you." No, seriously. Read the rest

Obama's empty surveillance promises

A year after the president's promise to rein in warrantless, illegal mass surveillance, he's revealed a plan that does nothing to fix the most egregious elements of American spying. Read the rest

Security presentations from Shmoocon

The amazing, always-sold out security conference Shmooocon has posted the videos from its latest event, held earlier this month. Read the rest

NSA-themed art

This lovely piece of NSA-surveillance-themed art comes from Anthony Freda, previously featured here for his Normal Rockwell/Ferguson piece.

(Thanks, Hugh and Anthony!) Read the rest

Ecstatic NSA spooks delight in spying on spies who are spying on spies

A tranche of fresh Snowden leaks published in Der Spiegel by Laura Poitras, Jacob Appelbaum and others detail the NSA's infiltration of other countries' intelligence services, detailing the bizarre, fractal practices of "fourth-party collection" and "fifth-party collection." Read the rest

What's in the files the NSA dribbled out after its Xmas dump?

Patrick writes, "The NSA dumped its IOB reports on Christmas Eve, except that it was short 15 files, I pointed that out, next dump was silent but an additional 12 files, I pointed out the three missing files, and as of today, the three extra files were added, but the extra 3 files have a different naming convention." Read the rest

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