"Thomas Paine, the voice of the American Revolution, trumpeted that a patriot saves his country from his government. What you have done and are doing has awakened congressional oversight of the intelligence community from deep slumber; and, has already provoked the introduction of remedial legislation in Congress to curtail spying abuses under section 215 of the Patriot Act and section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. You have forced onto the national agenda the question of whether the American people prefer the right to be left alone from government snooping." Read the full letter published by Edward Snowden's dad, addressed to his son
. [www.guardian.co.uk] — Xeni
Representatives of the government of Ecuador in London claim to have discovered a hidden microphone inside its London embassy
where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is living. The bug is being analyzed by forensics experts, and Ecuador intends to diclose more information on who controlled or planted it as they are available. It "was found inside the office of the Ecuadorean ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ana Alban, at the time of a visit to the embassy by Patino to meet with Assange on June 16."
[Reuters] — Xeni
"China’s surveillance system is extremely wild, there are no rules governing it that are worth speaking of,” says
a Beijing lawyer named Xie Yanyi, who filed a public information request with the police to reveal how China’s own surveillance operations work. The New York Times reports that
"he filed the request as a private citizen, said there were three programs in particular he wanted to know more about: Golden Shield, Great Wall and Green Dam." — Xeni
About this nifty "Onion Pi" HOWTO just published at Adafruit, Phil Torrone says, "Limor and I cooked up this project for folks. We are donating a portion of any sales for the pack we sell that helps do this to the EFF and Tor."
Browse anonymously anywhere you go with the Onion Pi Tor proxy. This is fun weekend project that uses a Raspberry Pi, a USB WiFi adapter and Ethernet cable to create a small, low-power and portable privacy Pi. Using it is easy-as-pie. First, plug the Ethernet cable into any Internet provider in your home, work, hotel or conference/event. Next, power up the Pi with the micro USB cable to your laptop or to the wall adapter. The Pi will boot up and create a new secure wireless access point called Onion Pi. Connecting to that access point will automatically route any web browsing from your computer through the anonymizing Tor network.
John Cusack, actor, filmmaker, and board member of journalism advocacy group Freedom of the Press Foundation, on the ethics of civil disobedience in whistleblowing.
Read the rest
Parody, obviously. 'shoop: XJ
Facebook and Microsoft have reached a agreements with the U.S. government "to release limited information about the number of surveillance requests they receive," which Reuters' Joe Menn and Gerry Shih report is a partial victory
for the companies struggling with "fallout from recent disclosures about the NSA's secret program. "
Facebook and Microsoft released some information about the scope of secret orders with which each company has complied.
Google said Friday it is "negotiating with the government and that the sticking point was whether it could only publish a combined figure for all requests," adding that this would be "a step back for users," because it "already breaks out criminal requests and National Security Letters, another type of intelligence inquiry."
In the one unencrypted line of this publication, Kevin Poulsen of Wired News writes, "Don’t read this if you aren’t him.
." — Xeni
A lengthy profile in the New York Times of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden
, who recently leaked information about the agency's secret domestic spying program, paints the young man as an self-driven but drifting autodidact.
From Mr. Snowden’s friends and his own voluminous Web postings emerges a portrait of a talented young man who did not finish high school but bragged online that employers “fight over me.”...“Great minds do not need a university to make them any more credible: they get what they need and quietly blaze their trails into history,” he wrote online at age 20.
A briefing offered to US senators by senior intelligence officials on the NSA surveillance programs "failed to attract even half of the Senate, showing the lack of enthusiasm
in Congress for learning about classified security programs." [TheHill.com] — Xeni
Amy Fiscus of the AP tweets
, "Worried by Prism? It's actually part of a bigger effort. Not worried by Prism? It's actually part of a bigger effort." She's referring to this AP story, a good explainer of Prism
and the NSA practices that preceded it post-9/11.
Inside Microsoft, some called it "Hoovering" - not after the vacuum cleaner, but after J. Edgar Hoover, the first FBI director, who gathered dirt on countless Americans. This frenetic, manual process was the forerunner to Prism, the recently revealed highly classified National Security Agency program that seizes records from Internet companies.
Related: In Vanity Fair, Eichenwald writes "I can't stand it any more," and details what he claims are "falsehoods" in coverage of the surveillance scandal, to date.
Given the recent news about the NSA's domestic surveillance programs
, this PBS FRONTLINE documentary hour from 2007 is worth revisiting: "Spying On The Home Front
. In the report, Former CIA Assistant General Counsel Suzanne Spaulding tells correspondent Hedrick Smith, "So many people in America think this does not affect them. They've been convinced that these programs are only targeted at suspected terrorists. I think that's wrong. Our programs are not perfect, and it is inevitable that totally innocent Americans are going to be affected by these programs."
Watch then-Senator Joe Biden from 2006 directly refute each point made by his now-boss, President Barack Obama, about the NSA surveillance program at a news conference last week.
Dave Maass and Trevor Timm at the Electronic Frontier Foundation write:
After a leaked FISA court document revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) is vacuuming up private data on millions of innocent Americans by collecting all the phone records of Verizon customers, President Obama responded by saying "let's have a debate" about the scope of US surveillance powers.
At EFF, we couldn't agree more. It turns out, President Obama's most formative debate partner over the invasiveness of NSA domestic surveillance could his Vice President Joe Biden.
Read the rest
Michael Isikoff at NBC News reports that the FBI
has "dramatically increased its use of a controversial provision of the Patriot Act to secretly obtain a vast store of business records of U.S. citizens under President Barack Obama." The FBI filed 212 requests for this kind of data in a national security court last year, which represents a 1,000-percent increase from the number of similar requests four years prior. — Xeni
"An odd thing is happening in the world’s self-declared pinnacle of democracy," writes David Rohde at Reuters
. "No one — except a handful of elected officials and an army of contractors — is allowed to know how America’s surveillance leviathan works." — Xeni