British-Australian I.T. developer Nathan Hague was traveling through Australia's Sydney airport when authorities forcibly detained him and seized his devices, according to reports. Hague says his laptop password was cracked, and his digital files were accessed by Border Force officers. Read the rest
In secret court proceedings, the U.S. government is trying to force Facebook to help wiretap Messenger. Facebook has declined, so the Justice Department is asking a judge for an order of contempt. Read the rest
Amazon was the last major tech company to issue a "transparency report" detailing what kinds of law-enforcement requests they'd serviced, and where; when they finally did start issuing them, they buried them on obscure webpages deep in their corporate info site and released them late on Friday afternoons.
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As a safety measure, SNL writer Nick Kocher recently installed a Nest cam in his apartment.
He then left town for the weekend, letting his friend Jon Bass crash at his place.
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Undercover is a World War II training film from the OSS, precursor to the CIA, would be enough to dissuade most people from a career in espionage. They enact numerous examples of tiny slip-ups that ended up blowing the covers of various spies and secret agents. Read the rest
Intelligence officials from the so-called "Five Eyes" network, which includes the United States' FBI, CIA and National Security Agency, are gathering for an annual intelligence-sharing exchange today in New Zealand. Reuters confirmed the get-together, at which spy agency reps from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand will also gather.
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Officials with the British government complained to the White House today after Donald Trump's spokesliar Sean Spicer cited a bogus Fox News report claiming that former President Barack Obama got help from U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ to spy on Donald Trump.
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Last night, Kellyanne Conway, responding to a question about Trump's claim that Obama wiretapped him:
“What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other now, unfortunately...You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets — any number of different ways... and microwaves that turn into cameras, etc.”
This morning though she tried to correct herself:
"I'm not Inspector Gadget, I don't believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign, however, I'm not in the job of having evidence, that's what investigations are for."
See the clips here. Read the rest
“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. Read the rest
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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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. Read the rest
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
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. Read the rest
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. Read the rest
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. Read the rest
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. Read the rest
“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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