British spies want to be able to suck data out of US Internet giants

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As the UK government passes increasingly far-reaching surveillance laws that bind companies to capture, store and share data on their customers' activities, US tech giants like Facebook and Google are caught in a dilemma: much of what the UK government demands of them, the US government prohibits. Read the rest

Exclusive: Snowden intelligence docs reveal UK spooks' malware checklist

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Boing Boing is proud to publish two original documents disclosed by Edward Snowden, in connection with "Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Extraordinary Rendition," a short story written for Laura Poitras's Astro Noise exhibition, which runs at NYC's Whitney Museum of American Art from Feb 5 to May 1, 2016.

Congress wants to know if agencies were compromised by the backdoor in Juniper gear (and where it came from)

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The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has asked dozens of agencies in the US government to disclose whether they used switches made by Juniper, the disgraced US network technology giant that had at least two backdoors inserted into the software for one of its most popular product-lines. Read the rest

Head of NSA's hacker squad explains how to armor networks against the likes of him

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Rob Joyce runs the NSA's Tailored Access Operations group, the spies who figure out how to hack systems, publishing a spook's version of the Skymall catalog, filled with software and hardware that other spies can order for use. Read the rest

Swiss pro-privacy email provider forces a referendum on mass surveillance

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Protonmail is a Swiss pro-privacy email provider that offers end-to-end encyption to its customers. When the Swiss government proposed the Nachrichtendienstgesetzt -- a bill to create a "mini NSA" with the power to effect warrantless mass surveillance, including hacking residents' computers -- the company called on its users and supporters to petition the government for a referendum on the law. Read the rest

How the National Reconnaissance Office came to choose a sinister, planet-devouring octopus for a logo

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Michael from Muckrock writes, "When the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) announced the upcoming launch of their NROL-39 mission back in December 2013, they didn't get quite the response they hoped. That might have had something to do with the mission logo being a gigantic octopus devouring the Earth. Researcher Runa Sandvik wanted to know who approved this and why, so she filed a Freedom of Information Act with the NRO for the development materials that went into the logo. A few months later, the NRO delivered." Read the rest

NSA says it will take four years to answer questions about its kids' coloring book

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The NSA's Crypto Cat and her friends are a set of trademark-registered kids' characters who have appeared for more than a decade in promotional materials like coloring books that the NSA uses it to encourage kids to grow up to be spies. Read the rest

Juniper blinks: firewall will nuke the NSA's favorite random number generator

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In the month since network security giant Juniper Networks was forced to admit that its products had NSA-linked backdoors, the company's tried a lot of different strategies: minimizing assurances, apologies, firmware updates -- everything, that is, except for removing th Dual_EC random number generator that is widely understood to have been compromised by the NSA. Read the rest

Now that they know the NSA is spying on them, Congress is really worried about domestic surveillance

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It's not just Rep Pete Hoekstra [R-MI] who switched sides in the surveillance debate when he discovered that his beloved NSA had been spying on him -- a whole raft of Congressional NSA cheerleaders have followed the path that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the entire UK Parliament blazed when they learned that, as far as spies were concerned, no one was exempt. Read the rest

Juniper's products are still insecure; more evidence that the company was complicit

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It's been a month since Juniper admitted that its firewalls had back-doors in them, possibly inserted by (or to aid) US intelligence agencies. In the month since, Juniper has failed to comprehensively seal those doors, and more suspicious information has come to light. Read the rest

Free Stanford course on surveillance law UPDATED

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Aw, crap, this was last year

Stanford is offering a free online course by computer scientist/law professor Jonathan Mayer that surveys the baroque, interleaved world of US surveillance law through the Coursera MOOC platform. Read the rest

Recreating the CIA's "top secret" abstract painting collection

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In the 1980s, "controversial Republican art collector" Vincent Melzac donated 29 abstract paintings from the Washington Color School to the CIA, which now hang on the Agency's walls, but when asked for details about them, the CIA goes mum, claiming that the paintings are top secret. Read the rest

There is no record of US mass surveillance ever preventing a large terror attack

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CIA Director John Brennan wants you to think the Paris attacks were Snowden's fault -- the "hand wringing" over mass surveillance has ended his agency's ability to "thwart" terrorists attacks "before they're carried out." There's only one problem with that: there's no evidence that the US's mass surveillance programs have ever prevented a major terrorist attack. Read the rest

Big Data refusal: the nuclear disarmament movement of the 21st century

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James Bridle's new essay (adapted from a speech at the Through Post-Atomic Eyes event in Toronto last month) draws a connection between the terror of life in the nuclear shadow and the days we live in now, when we know that huge privacy disasters are looming, but are seemingly powerless to stop the proliferation of surveillance. Read the rest

Wikileaks hosting files from CIA director John Brennan's AOL account

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Wikileaks has posted a collection of documents ganked from CIA director John Brennan's email account, which was reportedly hacked by a "teen stoner" earlier this week. Read the rest

That "CIA veteran" who was always on Fox News? Arrested for lying about being in the CIA

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Despite his grandiose claims to having served as "an outside paramilitary special operations officer" for the CIA from 1973 to 2000, Wayne Simmons was really a shlub who'd once done a brief military intelligence stint. Read the rest

Snowden for drones: The Intercept's expose on US drone attacks, revealed by a new leaker

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The Drone Papers is The Intercept's collection of eight blockbuster articles analyzing a leaked 2013 Pentagon study that evaluated the US drone assassination campaigns in Yemen and Somalia. The documents come from a US intelligence source who said, "This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong."

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