Edward Snowden on the accelerating pace of whistleblowing, and what it means for state secrecy

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After Daniel Ellsberg's astonishingly courageous release of the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, he waited 40 years to meet someone like Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning, someone else inside who risked everything to expose the wrongdoing they had sworn to oppose. Read the rest

James Clapper: Snowden accelerated crypto adoption by 7 years

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Apparently America's spy agencies have a seven-year plan for cryptographic adoption: James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, has credited Edward Snowden with the acceleration of commercial adoption of encryption by 7 years. Read the rest

Edward Snowden provides vocals on a beautiful new Jean-Michel Jarre composition

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Jarre tapped the whistleblower for vocals on "Exit," a track from Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise, a new electronic music album that drops in three weeks. Read the rest

Iceland's Prime Minister asks to dissolve Parliament

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Depending on whose estimate you believe, as much as 10% of the population of Iceland demonstrated outside Parliament yesterday, and everyone agrees that they were the largest demonstrations in Icelandic history (and possibly the largest demonstrations, proportionally of any country in history). Read the rest

FBI signals it has new iPhone-unlocking powers, and plans to use them: Xeni on KCRW's 'Press Play'

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On today's edition of the KCRW daily news program Press Play, I speak with host Madeleine Brand about what we know, as of today, about any new capabilities the FBI may have acquired in its quest to bypass the security features on Apple iOS devices in various investigations.

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Surveillance has reversed the net's capacity for social change

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Sociologists describe the "spiral of silence": people with socially unpopular ideas fear that they're the only ones who think that way, and say nothing, and their silence convinces others that they, too are alone, begetting yet more silence. Read the rest

Justice Department to drop 'FBI vs. Apple' case, because they've unlocked the iPhone

Tashfeen Malik, left, and Syed Farook died on Dec. 2, 2015, in a gun battle with authorities several hours after their assault on a gathering of Farook's colleagues in San Bernardino, Calif., that left 14 people dead.

The #FBIvsApple legal case may be over, but the fight over security, privacy, and the right to live free of surveillance has just begun. The Justice Department is expected to drop its legal action against Apple, possibly as soon as today, because an 'outside method' to bypass security on the San Bernardino gunman's iPhone has proven successful, a federal law enforcement official said Monday.

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Redaction fail: U.S. government admits it went after Lavabit looking for Snowden

Whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning in the installation "Anything to Say?" by Italian artist Davide Dormino. REUTERS

Ladar Levison shut down his secure email service Lavabit in 2013, when the Feds served a warrant and gag-order on him, seeking to get him to backdoor his service to let them snoop on someone. Everyone since then has known that the target of the order was Edward Snowden, but Levison faced jail time if he ever admitted it out loud, under the terms of the gag-order. Read the rest

The post-Snowden digital divide: the ability to understand and use privacy tools

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Ian Clark's long academic paper in the Journal of Radical Librarianship takes a while to get to the point, but when it arrives, it's a very, very good one: in the post-Snowden era, we can no longer address the "digital divide" just by providing access -- we also have to teach people how their online usage is spied on, how that will harm them, and what to do about it. Read the rest

BRITONS: Act now to kill the Snoopers Charter

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Ed from the UK Open Rights Group writes, "Right now, the Government is ramming a new snooping law through Parliament. The Investigatory Powers Bill would force companies such as Sky, BT, Google and Facebook to keep detailed records of what we do online for a year -- even if we are not suspected of committing any crime whatsoever." Read the rest

Snowden director Oliver Stone on concerns about the NSA

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On Sunday, Oliver Stone showed his Snowden film, due out this Christmas, to a group at the Sun Valley Film Festival with a Q&A following. From the Hollywood Reporter:

“We moved (filming) to Germany, because we did not feel comfortable in the U.S, (Stone said.) "We felt like we were at risk here. We didn’t know what the NSA might do, so we ended up in Munich, which was a beautiful experience...."

Despite the director’s involvement in the movie, which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Snowden and Shailene Woodley as Mills, “No studio would support it,” he said. “It was extremely difficult to finance, extremely difficult to cast. We were doing another one of these numbers I had done before, where pre-production is paid for by essentially the producer and myself, where you’re living on a credit card.”

Eventually, financing came through from France and Germany. “The contracts were signed, like eight days before we started,” he noted. “It’s a very strange thing to do [a story about] an American man, and not be able to finance this movie in America. And that’s very disturbing, if you think about its implications on any subject that is not overtly pro-American. They say we have freedom of expression; but thought is financed, and thought is controlled, and the media is controlled. This country is very tight on that, and there’s no criticism allowed at a certain level. You can make movies about civil rights leaders who are dead, but it’s not easy to make one about a current man.”

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Laura Poitras's Whitney show and book are a glimpse into life under full-strength, targeted US surveillance

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Laura Poitras, whose 2014 Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour won the Academy Award for best doc, has a show on at NYC's Whitney Museum called "Astro Noise," which attempts to capture the sense of overwhelming surveillance she's lived under since the US government targeted her while she was shooting a documentary in Iraq. Read the rest

On whistleblowers and secrecy: What author Barry Eisler said to a room of ex-intelligence officers

Whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning in the installation "Anything to Say?" by Italian artist Davide Dormino. REUTERS

Author and former CIA officer Barry Eisler spoke at the Association of Former Intelligence Officers opposite ex-CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden on Monday. Below, an adaptation of his opening remarks about the importance of whistleblowers and government transparency. Eisler's new novel, "God's Eye View," inspired by the Snowden revelations, is available now on Amazon.

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A brief history of the surveillance debate

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2012: "Mass surveillance is fine -- if it wasn't, you'd see major corporations trying to court new business by building in crypto tools that kept out the surveillance agencies. The fact that they're not doing this tells you that surveillance opponents are an out-of-touch, paranoid minority." Read the rest

The first-ever tech expert on Obama's NSA advisory board is *A*W*E*S*O*M*E*

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The president's NSA advisory board grew teeth in the wake of the Snowden revelations, and they have done good service in identifying the civil liberties issues raised by the NSA's program of secret mass surveillance. Read the rest

NSA and GCHQ's crappy Big Data techniques may be killing thousands of innocents

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Researchers have taken a second look at the NSA SKYNET leaks, as well as the GCHQ data-mining problem book first published on Boing Boing, and concluded that the spy agencies have made elementary errors in their machine-learning techniques, which are used to identify candidates for remote assassination by drone. Read the rest

Crowdfunding "The Haystack": an independent documentary on surveillance in the UK

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Edward Snowden said that Britain's spies have "some of the most extensive surveillance powers in the world," and those powers are about to be dramatically expanded if the Snoopers Charter passes Parliament. Read the rest

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