Hi rez images from NASA's 1967/8 Lunar Orbiters were withheld to hide US spying capabilities

In 1967, the Lunar Orbiter missions sent back exciting -- but grainy and low-rez -- photos of the moon's surface. Read the rest

Turning the NSA's vintage internal security posters into t-shirts

Techdirt is in the throes of a two-part revelation: 1. the US government's works are public domain and can be freely commercialized, and; 2. many of the weird things that spy agencies make can be turned into ironic, cool, and sometimes fun and/or beautiful objects of commerce. Read the rest

Vintage internal security posters, pried loose from the NSA's archives

Government Attic used the Freedom of Information Act to force the NSA to cough up its "old security posters from the 1950s and 1960s"; after two years' delay, the NSA finally delivered 139 pages' worth of gorgeous, weird, revealingly paranoid internal materials, produced by an incredibly prolific internal security office who constantly refreshed their poster designs (presumably to keep them from disappearing into the background), all funded with US public money and thus in the public domain for your remixing pleasure (a few dozen of my favorites below!). Read the rest

Governments all over the world buy spy products that let them track and eavesdrop on global cellphones, especially US phones

Senator Ron Wyden [D-OR] has sent a letter to the DHS with his view that "nefarious actors may have exploited" the cellular phone system "to target the communications of American citizens." Read the rest

Torturer and coverup artist Gina Haspel tried to bow out of CIA Directorship to avoid Senate questioning

Gina Haspel is a 33-year veteran of the CIA, notorious for overseeing a torture camp in Thailand where rendered suspects were subjected to simulated executions; Haspel is also notorious for participating in a mass coverup of CIA torture, helping to destroy over 100 videotapes of abuses that took place under her direction. Read the rest

NSA report discloses that the agency tripled its surveillance of Americans in 2017

One effect of the Snowden leaks is that the NSA now makes an annual disclosure of the extent of its domestic surveillance operations; that's how we know that the NSA collected 534 million phone call and text message records (time, date, location, from, to -- but not the content), which more than triples its surveillance takings in 2016. Read the rest

ISO rejects the NSA's IoT crypto standard, believing it to be backdoored

For three years, International Standards Organization has been wrangling over which cryptographic algorithms will be incorporated into a standard for interoperability in "Internet of Things" gadgets; at issue has been the NSA's insistence that "Simon" and "Speck" would be the standard block cipher algorithms in these devices. Read the rest

Kickstarting a playable version of the CIA's previously secret training card-game

When Freedom of Information Act enthusiast Douglas Palmer used public records requests to explore the games that the CIA uses to train its analysts, he laid the groundwork for republishing these games for general use. Read the rest

The BBC finally admits that MI5 secretly vetted its employees, an open secret for generations

My wife -- whose father is a TV director who'd worked for the BBC -- learned as a little girl that the British spy agency MI5 secretly vetted people who applied for work at the BBC and denoted possible subversives by putting a doodle of a Christmas tree on their personnel files; people who were thus blacklisted were discriminated against within the Beeb. Read the rest

"Kingpin: The Hunt for El Chapo": Game designers review the CIA's declassified tabletop training game

Douglas Palmer got wind of a classified CIA program to create board games to train spies, so he used a series of Freedom of Information Act requests to get copies of two of these games: the first is called "Kingpin: The Hunt for El Chapo" and the second (which the CIA revealed to a SXSW audience in 2017) is called "Collection Deck." Read the rest

White House Chief of Staff in a rage after leak reveals that Trump congratulated Putin against Cabinet advice

After Vladimir Putin stole another Russian election, Trump placed an official call to the Kremlin; his national security advisors' briefing notes for the call included the all-caps instruction "DO NOT CONGRATULATE" -- naturally, Trump congratulated Putin. Read the rest

Before standing for the Democratic nomination in a NY congressional race, Patrick Ryan was in business spying on union organizers and left-wing activists

Patrick Ryan wants to be the Democratic nominee for New York's 19th district in the Hudson Valley, a Republican seat that Dems hope to flip; he's gone on record stating that he can do the job because of his entrepreneurial success -- but he didn't mention that he built his career at Berico Technologies by pitching a product to help businesses spy on union organizers and left-wing activists, a plan that included spying on left-wing Democrats and planting fake documents in order to discredit labor unions. Read the rest

Epidemic of cryptojacking can be traced to escaped NSA superweapon

The epidemic of cryptojacking malware isn't merely an outgrowth of the incentive created by the cryptocurrency bubble -- that's just the motive, and the all-important the means and opportunity were provided by the same leaked NSA superweapon that powered last year's Wannacry ransomware epidemic. Read the rest

The first-ever independent audit of whistleblower retaliation in US spy agencies was looking bad for the agencies, so it was shut down

For six months, the Intelligence Community Inspector General office investigated the cases of 190 whistleblowers who went through US spy agency channels to report corruption, waste, fraud, abuse and criminality, discovering that the overwhelming majority had faced some combination of indefinite delays and retaliation (being fired, facing paycuts and demotions, being passed over for promotions, etc) -- only one of the 190 whistleblowers had their case upheld, and that took 742 days. Read the rest

News report claims Dutch spies hacked Russian cyberwar operation and pwned their CCTVs, then recorded video of Russian government hackers attacking the DNC

Dutch left-leaning daily de Volkskrant has published a remarkable -- but thinly sourced -- report claiming that a Dutch spy agency called the General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands (AIVD) hacked into the network of a notorious Russian spy group called "Cozy Bear" or APT29, thought to be an arm of the Russian spy apparatus, and obtained direct evidence of Russian state involvement in the hacking of the DNC during the 2016 US election campaign. Read the rest

The NSA's new "core values" statement no longer includes "honor," "honesty" or "openness"

Ironically, the most honest thing the NSA has done since its founding might just be deleting the word "honesty" from its statement of core values, in January 12th's revisions to the earlier version that also once included "openness." Read the rest

EFF to NSA: you scammed your way to another six years of warrantless spying, and you'd better enjoy it while it lasts

Last week, cowards from both sides of the aisle caved into America's lawless spy agencies, and today bipartisan senators reprised that cowardice to ensure that the Senate would not get a chance to vote on amendments to the renewal of Section 702, the rule that has allowed the NSA to conduct mass, warrantless surveillance on Americans in secret, without meaningful oversight or limits. Read the rest

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