Five government contractors account for 80% of America's surveillance workforce

When Edward Snowden came in from the cold, it catapulted his employer, Booz Allen Hamilton -- a giant military/intelligence contractor -- into the public eye, but Booz is small potatoes, one of the Big Five in the intelligence contractor industry, but it's dwarfed by Leidos Holdings, which recently merged with Lockheed's  Information Systems & Global Solutions to become the largest business in the $50B industry. Read the rest

How Hong Kong's vulnerable, reviled refugee community saved Edward Snowden

When Edward Snowden flew to Hong Kong with thumb-drives full of damning US government documents, he assumed his freedom was forfeit: he didn't even make an escape plan. Read the rest

Leaked catalog from UK surveillance arms-dealer full of gadgets sold to US cops

Cobham PLC is a surveillance vendor who sells to some of the world's most egregious human rights abusing governments; in 2014, they provided a catalog of cyberweapons and spy tools to Florida Department of Law Enforcement, from whom it leaked. Read the rest

The Equation Group's sourcecode is totally fugly

With the leak of exploits developed by The Equation Group, the long-secret, NSA-adjacent super-elite hacking squad -- published by The Shadow Brokers, who have some extremely heterodox theories about auction design -- it's now possible to audit the source code of some of the NSA's crown-jewel cyberweapons. Read the rest

The NSA's program of tech sabotage created the Shadow Brokers

The more we learn about the Shadow Brokers, who claim to be auctioning off "cyberweapons" that crafted for the NSA's use, the scarier the breach gets: some of the world's biggest security companies are tacitly admitting that the exploits in the Shadow Brokers' initial release can successfully penetrate their products, and they have no fix at hand. Read the rest

Snowden explains the Shadow Brokers/Equation Group/NSA hack

The news that a group of anonymous hackers claimed to have stolen some of the NSA's most secret, valuable weaponized vulnerabilities and were auctioning them off for bitcoin triggered an epic tweetstorm from Edward Snowden, who sets out his hypothesis for how the exploits were captured and what relation that has to the revelations he made when he blew the whistle on illegal NSA spying in 2013. Read the rest

Hackers claim to have stolen NSA cyberweapons, auctioning them to highest bidder

The Shadow Brokers, a previously unknown hacker group, has announced that it has stolen a trove of ready-to-use cyber weapons from The Equation Group (previously), an advanced cyberweapons dealer believed to be operating on behalf of, or within, the NSA. Read the rest

After New Zealand spooks misidentified pro-democracy activist, NSA spied on him for them

Tony Fullman is one of the only people that we know to have been targeted by Prism, the NSA's signature mass-surveillance tool: he's a Fijian-born expatriate with New Zealand citizenship, and had his passport seized and his name added to terrorism watchlists after the NSA helped their New Zealand counterparts spy on him, intercepting his bank statements, Facebook posts, Gmail messages, recorded phone conversations, and more. Read the rest

Snowden's flesh is trapped in Russia, but his mind roams the world in a robot body

The Snowbot -- a $14,000 Beampro telepresence robot that Edward Snowden pilots from Moscow -- is becoming a fixture at conferences, meetings, and in the halls of power in the USA, where Snowden is a frequent invited guest. Read the rest

Stasi radio monitoring department, hard at work, 1980s

Here's a small gallery of the East German secret police's 26th Division, hard at work during the 1980s. Read the rest

Hong Kong bookseller: I was forced to confess on China TV

Lam Wing Kee, one of the dissident Hong Kong booksellers who was kidnapped to the mainland by Chinese spies, only to surface on TV confessing to "illegal trading," now says he was forced into the confession. (Image: BBC) Read the rest

Mounties used Stingrays to secretly surveil millions of Canadians for years

Motherboard used public records requests to extract 3,000+ pages of court docs from a massive 2010 RCMP mafia/drug bust in Montreal, codenamed "Project Clemenza," which revealed the full extent of the Mounties' secret use of Stingrays -- AKA "IMSI Catchers," the fake cellular towers that let cops covertly track whole populations by tricking their phones into revealing information about them. Read the rest

MI5 warning: we're gathering more than we can analyse, and will miss terrorist attacks

In 2010, the UK spy agency MI5 drafted memos informing top UK officials that its dragnet surveillance programme was gathering more information than it could make sense of, and warning that its indiscriminate approach to surveillance could put Britons at risk when signals about dangerous terror attacks were swamped by the noise of meaningless blips from the general population. Read the rest

NSA dumps docs about its Snowden response, reveals that Snowden repeatedly raised alarms about spying

Since the earliest days of the Snowden revelations, apologists for the NSA's criminal spying program have said that Snowden should have gone "through channels" to report his concerns, rather than giving evidence to journalists and going public. Read the rest

Untangling the Web: the NSA's supremely weird, florid guide to the Internet

Michael from Muckrock found a reference to "Untangling the Web," an internal NSA guide to the Internet, on Google Books, so he requisitioned a copy from the NSA under the Freedom of Information Act. Read the rest

Study shows detailed, compromising inferences can be readily made with metadata

In Evaluating the privacy properties of telephone metadata, a paper by researchers from Stanford's departments of Law and Computer Science published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors analyzed metadata from six months' worth of volunteers' phone logs to see what kind of compromising information they could extract from them. Read the rest

Edward Snowden performs radical surgery on a phone to make it "go black"

If you think that your phone may have been hacked so that your adversaries can watch you through the cameras and listen through the mics, one way to solve the problem is to remove the cameras and microphones, and only use the phone with a headset that you unplug when it's not in use. Read the rest

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