Boing Boing 

Being followed? Here's how to shake your tail

At Hopes&Fears, Kristen Felicetti has tips from private dicks on how to lose someone who is following you, in a car, on foot, and on public transportation.

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Obama snubs NYC's Waldorf Astoria hotel over China bugging fears, scream tabloids

President Obama. WABC, July 17, 2015.


President Obama. WABC, July 17, 2015.

Most fears about bugs in New York City hotels involve the kind that live in beds. Today, another type of hotel bug is in the news.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel's rep to meet with U.S. ambassador over NSA spying charges

U.S. Ambassador to Germany John Emerson (C) is surrounded by body guards as he arrives at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, July 2, 2015.  REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch


U.S. Ambassador to Germany John Emerson (C) is surrounded by body guards as he arrives at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, July 2, 2015. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

The chief of staff for German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with the ambassador for the United States today to talk about allegations that U.S. spies bugged senior government ministers.

"The Chancellor's Chief of Staff has invited U.S. Ambassador John Emerson to a meeting because of the new bugging revelations. The conversation is due to take place on Thursday afternoon," a source told Reuters.

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New York nears settlement with local Muslim leaders over spying lawsuit

Muslim-Americans protesting NYPD surveillance. Image: Reuters


Muslim-Americans protesting NYPD surveillance. Image: Reuters

The NYC government has come to initial settlement terms with Muslims, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, who challenged police surveillance as an unconstitutional and stigmatizing intrusion on their religious rights.

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CNN interview with author of discredited Sunday Times story on Snowden is painful to watch

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If you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself to watch this video. It's CNN's George Howell interviewing Sunday Times buffoon Tom Harper about his now-discredited report that said the governments of Russia and China have decrypted files leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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NSA can't legally surveil Americans' every phone call, for now. Thanks, Edward Snowden.

GARY CAMERON/REUTERS


GARY CAMERON/REUTERS

nsa-eagle_0

Today is a big day for privacy in the United States: each of us can now call our mom, our best friend, or a pizza delivery service without the NSA automatically keeping a record of who we called, when, and how long the conversation lasts.

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Canada's spies surveil the whole world's downloads


A newly released Snowden leak jointly published by the CBC and The Intercept documents Canada's Communications Security Establishment's LEVITATION program, which spies on 15 million downloads from P2P, file lockers, and popular file distribution sites.

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US appeals court rules a warrant is required for cell phone location tracking

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Big news in the fight for security and privacy in the US: the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals this week ruled that a warrant is required for cell phone location tracking.

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'NSA vs. USA,' anti-spying dance music video

An anti-mass-surveillance music video by Shahid Buttar, director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.

Download the extended dance floor mix. Read the lyrics (annotated with hyperlinks to help you learn more). [HT: Rainey Reitman]

House approves 'media shield' amendment, as reporter reveals 2011 subpoena fight

houseofrep232way_wide-4bac6d92f39d630d0f94f3c708ca06710a717d2f-s6-c30The House of Representatives today voted 225-183 to approve an appropriations bill amendment that bars the Justice Department from forcing reporters to testify about their confidential sources.

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NBC airs Edward Snowden's first US TV interview

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NBC released a preview clip from a widely-promoted Brian Williams interview with whistleblower Edward Snowden, which airs tonight, Wednesday May 28, at 10pm EDT. The hour-long interview is the former NSA contractor’s first US television interview since leaking NSA documents to reporters.

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US gov may block Chinese nationals from Defcon hacker event

A map of China is seen through a magnifying glass on a computer screen showing binary digits in Singapore in this January 2, 2014 photo illustration. Picture taken January 2, 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su

The US government may use visa restrictions to ban hackers from China from participating in the 2014 Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas. The move is part of a larger effort by the US to combat Chinese internet espionage.

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New NYT editor spiked NSA spying story

Dean Baquet.


Dean Baquet.

Mostly lost in the past week's media gossip around NYT executive editor Jill Abramson's ouster, and Dean Baquet's promotion to her role: Baquet is the former LA Times editor who killed the biggest NSA leak pre-Edward Snowden.

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The lie about Edward Snowden that just won't die

Edward Snowden

We’ve fact-checked statements in the media about Edward Snowden and the NSA before, but by far the biggest falsehood being spread by government advocates is the alleged fact that he took 1.7 million documents from the NSA.

All the parties involved—Snowden, the journalists, and even the government—either deny it or have said they have no reason to believe it is true, yet it has become the go-to number when discussing Snowden's case. It's time news organizations start issuing corrections.

Glenn Greenwald wrote about this last week, showing that news outlets have taken the statement by an NSA official on 60 Minutes that Snowden—at one point or another in his career—“accessed” or “touched” millions of documents and warped it into a claim that he’d stolen that many:

Ever since then, that Snowden “stole” 1.7 or 1.8 million documents from the NSA has been repeated over and over again by US media outlets as verified fact. The Washington Post‘s Walter Pincus, citing an anonymous official source, purported to tell readers that “among the roughly 1.7 million documents he walked away with — the vast majority of which have not been made public — are highly sensitive, specific intelligence reports”. Reuters frequently includes in its reports the unchallenged assertion that “Snowden was believed to have taken 1.7 million computerized documents.” Just this week, the global news agency told its readers that “Snowden was believed to have taken 1.7 million computerized documents.”

As Greenwald pointed out, in an interview given to the Australian Financial Review, former NSA chief Keith Alexander was asked point blank if the NSA can really say how many documents Snowden took. Here's what he said:

Well, I don’t think anybody really knows what he actually took with him, because the way he did it, we don’t have an accurate way of counting. What we do have an accurate way of counting is what he touched, what he may have downloaded, and that was more than a million documents.

Read that again. They do not know how many documents he took. But this actually isn’t anything new, we’ve known this for months. After the New York Times reported Snowden “accessed” 1.7 million files in February, they also wrote, albeit a dozen paragraphs later, that DIA head General Michael Flynn admitted in Congressional testimony they still had “a great deal of uncertainty about what Mr. Snowden possessed. ‘Everything that he touched, we assume that he took,’ said General Flynn.” In other words, they have no idea.

Despite these known facts, even this week, the Wall Street Journal has published an incredibly irresponsible piece by Edward Jay Epstein, who based an entire op-ed around the false 1.7 million statement as a way to claim that Snowden is working for a foreign goverment. And look what happens when you Google the phrase “Snowden 1.7 million”: He either “took,” “has,” or “stole” nearly 2 million documents is all over the entire front page.

So to sum up, Edward Snowden has said the number is made up, the journalists involved deny they have 1.7 million documents, and the government has stated multiple times they do not know how many documents he took. Literally no party in the NSA story believes the 1.7 million number is true, yet most media organizations claim it’s a fact.

We look forward to Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, and others who have been peddling this fictitious number issuing corrections.

Former NSA head Keith Alexander interviewed by John Oliver

On "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver," a new HBO show starring the former Daily Show contributor, an interview with General Keith Alexander. There are a number of really weird and interesting thing about this interview with the former head of the US National Security Administration, one of which is that it was a hell of a lot more hard-hitting than an earlier interview with Alexander by "60 Minutes."
Alexander: I am the biggest advocate of freedom of the networks, the internet. If we could come up with a way of segregating all the terrorist communications, it would really help us, and civil liberties and privacy....There was a great statement by someone, all the bad guys need to be on this section of the internet and they only operate over here, and all good people operate over here.

Oliver: You mean Pinterest?

And the other is this.

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NYT to SCOTUS: Cops should get warrant before searching your cellphone after arrest

From an editorial by the New York Times editorial board:

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will consider whether law enforcement officers during an arrest may search the contents of a person’s mobile phone without a warrant. The court should recognize that new technologies do not alter basic Fourth Amendment principles, and should require a judicial warrant in such circumstances.

Read: "Smartphones and the 4th Amendment." NYTimes.com

US federal judges resisting law enforcement demands for electronic evidence

(Photo courtesy of Stephen Smith) - One of the shirts that Judge James Orenstein of Brooklyn designed.


Photo via Washington Post, courtesy of magistrate judge Stephen Smith: A t-shirt designed by Judge James Orenstein of Brooklyn.

"Judges at the lowest levels of the federal judiciary are balking at sweeping requests by law enforcement officials for cellphone and other sensitive personal data, declaring the demands overly broad and at odds with basic constitutional rights," reports the Washington Post.

"This rising assertiveness by magistrate judges — the worker bees of the federal court system — has produced rulings that elate civil libertarians and frustrate investigators, forcing them to meet or challenge tighter rules for collecting electronic evidence."

An interesting footnote observed by Freedom of the Press Foundation's Trevor Timm: "All federal magistrate judges are on a giant email list where they ask each other legal questions."