Half of all U.S. adults are in face-recognition databases, and Black people more likely to be targeted


One in two American adults is in a law enforcement face recognition network.

“The Perpetual Lineup” report out today from a Georgetown University thinktank makes a compelling case for greater oversight of police facial-recognition software that “makes the images of more than 117 million Americans — a disproportionate number of whom are black — searchable by law enforcement agencies across the nation,” as the New York Times account reads.

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5 companies now control 80% of America's contracted spying

America paid about $16 billion to five companies last year for 80% of our contracted domestic and international surveillance: Leidos Holdings, CSRA Inc., SAIC, CACI International, and Booz Allen Hamilton, recently in the news following an employee arrest on cyberweapons theft charges.

Tim Shorrock at The Nation did the legwork to to come up with the numbers.

“The problem with just five companies providing the lion’s share of contractors is that the client, the U.S. government, won’t have much alternative when a company screws up,” says David Isenberg, the author of Shadow Force: Private Security Contractors in Iraq. [...] “There comes a point when the marketplace is so concentrated that the service provider simply becomes too big to fail, no matter how lousy their performance,” says Isenberg, who closely monitors the privatization of national-security work. “If that makes you think of the financial-services industry, well, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.”

5 Corporations Now Dominate Our Privatized Intelligence Industry (The Nation)

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Baltimore police respond to report they secretly spied on city with aerial surveillance tech from Iraq War


A report out this week from Bloomberg says that since January, 2016, people in the city of Baltimore, Maryland have secretly and periodically been spied on by police using cameras in the sky. Authorities today effectively admitted that the report is accurate.

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Was NSA Hacked? Leak from 'Shadow Brokers' suggests so, Russian intelligence suspected


As our Cory Doctorow reported previously, a previously unheard of hacker group calling themselves The Shadow Brokers announced this week it had 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.

The Shadow Brokers are auctioning the weaponized malware off to the highest bidder. Read the rest

Leaked FBI documents reveal secret rules for spying on journalists with National Security Letters

Today, The Intercept published leaked documents that contain the FBI’s secret rules for targeting journalists and sources with National Security Letters (NSLs)—the controversial and unconstitutional warrantless tool the FBI uses to conduct surveillance without any court supervision whatsoever.

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How many US wiretap requests were rejected in 2015? Not a single one.

A new federal report shows that the number of surveillance requests skyrocketed in 2015, and that courts approved every single one of them. That's right, not one single wiretap request was rejected during 2015.

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Donald Trump spied on Mar-a-Lago guest phone calls, former staff says


Wonder what kind of NSA commander-in-chief Donald Trump would be? Well, he had a phone console near his bed that could connect to every phone in his Mar-a-Lago estate, reports Aram Roston at Buzzfeed. Several workers told Buzzfeed that Trump used the equipment to secretly listen in on phone calls in the mid-2000s.

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U.S. charges ex-IBM software developer from China with espionage over stolen code

Exterior of U.S. Department of Justice building in DC. Photo: Reuters.

The U.S. Justice Department is charging a Chinese national with economic espionage charges, saying he stole source code from an American company with the intent of transferring it to the Chinese government. He is reported to have been an employee of IBM at the time of the alleged crime.

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Microsoft sues US government for the right to tell you when the feds are reading your email


“We appreciate that there are times when secrecy around a government warrant is needed,” Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in a blog post Thursday. “But based on the many secrecy orders we have received, we question whether these orders are grounded in specific facts that truly demand secrecy. To the contrary, it appears that the issuance of secrecy orders has become too routine.”

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FBI may have dropped one iPhone case against Apple, but the battle is far from over

NYPD officer across the street from Apple's 5th Ave. store, NYC, March 11, 2016. REUTERS
The Justice Department says that security features on a San Bernardino attacker's iPhone were bypassed by an ‘outside party’, making that one important government case against Apple moot. But many other similar cases, including other cases involving Apple, are going forward. The war on your phone's security is just beginning.

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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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Today, Congress finally showed it's willing to fight the FBI on encryption

FBI Director James Comey arrives for a House Judiciary hearing on "The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans' Security and Privacy" on Capitol Hill in Washington March 1, 2016. REUTERS

It took a while, but FBI director Jim Comey got a little bit of the grilling he has earned in the FBI vs. Apple case. Freedom of the Press Foundation's Trevor Timm writes on today's House Judiciary Committee hearings on Capitol Hill, at which both the government and the Cupertino tech giant were represented.

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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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Rallies planned at Apple stores to protest the FBI's crusade to hack your iPhone


Fight For The Future is organizing rallies at Apple store locations nationwide to protest a court order pressuring the tech company to build a “backdoor” that would give the FBI the power to hack the iPhone. Today, it's the San Bernardino killers they're asking about, because who could argue with that? But tomorrow, maybe it'll be your phone.

“iPhone users will gather outside stores with a simple message for the government: 'Don’t Break Our Phones.'”

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Celebrity gossip site TMZ runs more like a global spying operation

Harvey Levin

How does TMZ get the videos and photos that celebrities want to hide? Because like any good intelligence operation, their spies aren't above paying for intelligence. TMZ pays its sources good money for tips on the dirty-doings of the rich and famous, and operates in Hollywood with the reach and stealth of an effective surveillance outfit.

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FBI's war on encryption is unnecessary because the Internet of Things will spy on us just fine


The war on encryption waged by the F.B.I. and other intelligence agencies is unnecessary, because the data trails we voluntarily leak allow “Internet of Things” devices and social media networks to track us in ways the government can access.

That's the short version of what's in “Don’t Panic: Making Progress on the ‘Going Dark’ Debate,” a study published today by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard.

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Clapper hacked: US Intelligence director’s personal e-mail and phone breached


The same entity that claims to be behind a recent hack of CIA Director John Brennan's personal email now claims to be behind a breach of the accounts of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed to Motherboard that Clapper had been targeted, and that the case has been forwarded to law enforcement.

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