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Shepherded, lovingly but firmly, away from harmful things like airlocks.

Tropical Islands is the mother of all water parks, built inside one of the world's largest buildings, with a separate play area for the kinder while the teens and adults discreetly down their pina coladas or Erdinger weissbiers in the thatch-roofed bars overlooking the beach. It's safe, and clean, and organized and curated and manicured to within an inch of its life. It's got that Malaysian high concept futurist vibe going, combined with German thoroughness and attention to detail, for an experience that's pretty much what you'd expect if Disneyworld opened a park in Singapore, only with fewer dire declarations of death to drug smugglers. It is in short thoroughly enjoyable if you're in Berlin and for some reason decide you want a relaxing tropical beach-side day out in an environment that's barely less artificial than an L5 space colony.
posted by vibratory manner of working on Nov 23, 2014 - 19 comments

interview with filmmaker Laura Poitras

A nicely lengthy interview with documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras. Poitras was one of the key figures involved in the revealing of Edward Snowden as the NSA whistleblower; she has a film (Citizenfour) opening this week. Poitras discusses her role as a documentary filmmaker, as well as her unique perspectives on the War on Terror, NSA surveillance, her status as a high-profile dissenter, and being on the receiving end of government harrassment.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Nov 11, 2014 - 16 comments

Industry and government say "Collect Everything".

"Sometimes, society gets it wrong... When that happens, strong privacy protections—including collection controls that let people pick who gets their data, and when—allow the persecuted and unpopular to survive."

What happens when we let industry and government collect all the data they want.

posted by anemone of the state on Nov 9, 2014 - 19 comments

The Evil Part (may not be evil in all jurisdictions)

The 7th Underhanded C Competition. "The underhanded goal is this: write surveil() in such a way that the act of surveillance is subtly leaked to the user or to the outside world. PiuPiu can not reveal the act of surveillance, but your function is technically able to edit the Piu or user structure during scanning. Find a way to alter that data (this alone is a bit of a challenge, since you are not supposed to alter the data, just scan it) in such a way that an informed outsider can tell if someone is being archived. The leakage should be subtle enough that it is not easily noticed. As always, the code should appear simple, innocent, readable and obvious." [more inside]
posted by Sebmojo on Nov 3, 2014 - 30 comments

Grooming Students for A Lifetime of Surveillance

The same technologists who protest against the NSA’s metadata collection programs are the ones profiting the most from the widespread surveillance of students.
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 24, 2014 - 27 comments

The Secret State and the Historians

The UK's National Archives has today released the formerly secret files detailing MI5's monitoring of the British Marxist historians Eric Hobsbawm and Christopher Hill [PDF downloads available]. The Guardian reports. An official historian explains. [more inside]
posted by bebrogued on Oct 24, 2014 - 40 comments

The NSA and me

The NSA and Me is an essay by James Bamford, author of The Puzzle Palace, an early book on the agency. It details how he came to write the book, and the NSA's efforts to keep him from publishing it in the late 70s/early 80s.
posted by Harald74 on Oct 13, 2014 - 13 comments

Adobe Digital Editions 4 spying on users

Adobe's Digital Editions 4 Epub app is spying on users by collecting data on all of the epub books on a users system and transmitting that data in plain text. Adobe's index of epub data includes title, publisher, and other metadata about the book. Digital Editions 4 also collects and transmits if the ebook has been opened, which pages were read, and in what order. [more inside]
posted by zenon on Oct 7, 2014 - 81 comments

Retired NSA Technical Director Explains Snowden Docs

"I had an opportunity to attend a presentation by retired NSA technical director, William Binney, which provided context for some of the published documents released by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden. Because of the public value of Binney's expertise on the subject, I decided to publish his presentation and comments on my website." Via Bruce Schneier. (Previously: We Are Watching; Not My Department.)
posted by MonkeyToes on Oct 4, 2014 - 21 comments

Who is really listening?

An international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) is a unique number, usually fifteen digits, associated with Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) network mobile phone users. An IMSI catcher is a device, used by the NSA drone program, the police, criminals, Chinese spammers and spies all around Washington DC and the world to spoof the identity of a GSM cell tower and intercept cellular voice and data communication. They come in all sizes and flavors, from tiny or body-worn professional surveillance devices, to easy to order off the shelf solutions, to Chinese DIY (links in Chinese) and have spawned efforts to retaliate with an IMSI-catcher-catcher. IMSI-catcher technology has become increasingly widespread, with far-reaching constitutional and technical implications.
posted by T.D. Strange on Sep 22, 2014 - 13 comments

(watch very closely for removal of this title)

Radical Librarianship: how ninja librarians are ensuring patrons' electronic privacy [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 15, 2014 - 38 comments

Coveillance

Wired 'Senior Maverick' Kevin Kelly suggests: Why You Should Embrace Surveillance, Not Fight It.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Aug 26, 2014 - 45 comments

From "Not The Onion"

NSA Tried To Delete Court Transcript In Lawsuit Over Deleting Evidence On three separate occasions in the Jewel V. NSA case, the NSA sought to delete evidence. Then it sought to redact the transcript.
posted by Sleeper on Aug 9, 2014 - 43 comments

Snowden granted 3-year stay in Russia.

After several days in legal limbo, the world's most notorious whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has been granted a three-year stay in Russia. This is amid breaking news of Russia's issuing of a menu of its own sanctions against U.S./E.U. countries, et al. The former NSA employee has been stranded in Russia for more than a year. Recently, new leaks by other, as yet unknown whistle-blower(s) other than Snowden have surfaced, according to U.S. authorities. The leaks detail certain "rules" for targeting of people for surveillance (including merely searching for privacy software), as well as details on the kind of activity or relationships which may put innocent people on terrorist watch lists.
posted by fantodstic on Aug 7, 2014 - 54 comments

Fashion Solutions for Hiding from SkyNet

In Anti-Surveillance Camouflage for Your Face, technology reporter Robinson Meyer details an experiment in which he tried actually going about his day to day life in downtown Washington DC while wearing CV Dazzle, (previously on MeFi) makeup and hairstyles to confuse facial recognition software. The technique is inspired by the old naval technique of dazzle camouflage, which sought not to conceal a ship, but to confuse viewers as to its size and heading. Similarly, CV Dazzle aims to confuse software by making your face look less like a face and more like a confusing collection of shapes. This proves to have unanticipated effects on how Robinson is perceived by humans as well, leading to insights about how our appearance signals our privilege and place in the social hierarchy, and how that can overlap or conflict with the digital wakes we leave.
posted by Naberius on Jul 24, 2014 - 78 comments

The *first* revelation this week, at least

This week's Glenn Greenwald revelation is that Britain's GCHQ JTRIG intelligence organization offers its agents and planners tools with abilities to increase the search ranking of chosen web sites, “change outcome of online polls”, “masquerade Facebook Wall Posts for individuals or entire countries”, and accomplish “amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube).” [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Jul 16, 2014 - 54 comments

NSA gathers more data from non-targeted people than we thought.

In Snowden’s view, the PRISM and Upstream programs have “crossed the line of proportionality.” [SLWAPO] [more inside]
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering on Jul 6, 2014 - 58 comments

NSA: Linux Journal an 'extremist forum'

Use Linux or Tor? Search for information about online privacy? The NSA is keeping an eye on you [more inside]
posted by ryanshepard on Jul 3, 2014 - 56 comments

How difficult is it for the NSA to spy on your Internet use?

On a bright April morning in Menlo Park, California, I became an Internet spy. This was easier than it sounds because I had a willing target. I had partnered with National Public Radio (NPR) tech correspondent Steve Henn for an experiment in Internet surveillance. For one week, while Henn researched a story, he allowed himself to be watched—acting as a stand-in, in effect, for everyone who uses Internet-connected devices. How much of our lives do we really reveal simply by going online? Ars tests Internet surveillance—by spying on an NPR reporter.
posted by Johnny Wallflower on Jun 16, 2014 - 15 comments

The Adventures of Snowdenbot

Inside Edward Snowden’s Life as a Robot. "Since he first became a household name a year ago, Edward Snowden has been a modern Max Headroom, appearing only as a face on a screen broadcast from exile in Hong Kong or Russia. But in the age of the telepresence robot, being a face on a screen isn’t as restrictive as it used to be." Indeed: Snowdenbot performs tele-diagnosis and offers aid to reporter who had first epileptic seizure. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jun 13, 2014 - 20 comments

More like the Internet of Surveillance

The more the Internet of Things knows about you, the more that insurance companies are able to slurp that data and incentivize you to walk the straight and narrow. [more inside]
posted by Bella Donna on May 27, 2014 - 48 comments

"None of the people are known to be troublemakers"

Purportedly anti-terrorism Fusion Centers allowed police, military and "private sector partners" to share material about surveilling the nationwide Occupy protests [more inside]
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles on May 23, 2014 - 34 comments

“The link between surveillance and fear"

A Suicide Bomber’s Guide to Online Privacy is the title of a keynote talk that Peter Watts (previously) gave to the International Association Of Privacy Professionals' Canada Symposium.
My immediate reaction was that this had to be some kind of cruel hoax. But they hooked me anyway, with what basically came down to a double-dare: “You’ve got a chance to talk to the regulators who enforce privacy law and the executives as big companies who make decisions about what to do with your data – what do you want to say to them?” Well. Since you ask.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 20, 2014 - 32 comments

NSA's SOMALGET recording every phone call in the Bahamas

The NSA is recording the audio of every phone call in the Bahamas and in another country which the article does not name "in response to specific, credible concerns that doing so could lead to increased violence." Previously
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles on May 19, 2014 - 86 comments

Be it resolved state surveillance is a legitimate defence of our freedom

Alan Dershowitz and Michael Hayden (for); Glenn Greenwald and Alexis Ohanian against. Tonight. “I consider him and Alan Dershowitz” – the two men Mr. Greenwald, 47, will face at Friday’s Munk Debates – “two of the most pernicious human beings on the planet. I find them morally offensive. There’s an element of hypocrisy to being in the same room with them, treating them as if I have outward respect, because I don’t.” [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on May 2, 2014 - 282 comments

Identity Dominance: The U.S. Military’s Biometric War in Afghanistan

As part of its effort to combat insurgent forces interspersed within an indigenous population, the use of biometrics has become a central component of the U.S. war effort. Having expanded heavily since its introduction during the war in Iraq, biometric identification and tracking of individuals has become a core mission in Afghanistan with initiatives sponsored by the U.S. and Afghan governments seeking to obtain the biometric identifiers of nearly everyone in the country. [more inside]
posted by gorbweaver on Apr 23, 2014 - 4 comments

Surveillance state reverse

Reuters: EU court rules against requirement to keep data of telecom users [different news sources: BBC, The Register] Considerably more detail is available in the ECJ press release (pdf) and the full judgement but the Court has invalidated Data Retention Directive 2006/24/EC and struck a very clear blow against metadata storage in national law as the authority of the directive will soon cease to exist. This has a particular impact for UK MeFites, as UK law was based on the Directive and crucially passed through Parliament via the European Communities Act and thus skipped some review steps but is founded on the validity of the directive being implemented. Remaining national law would of course also be open to challenge on the same grounds. [more inside]
posted by jaduncan on Apr 8, 2014 - 5 comments

I don't want to spend my life just breathing air, and doing nothing.

"The criminal's daughters" Mementos of childhood, meticulously documented by the secret police of Romania.
posted by bitmage on Apr 3, 2014 - 8 comments

NSA's MYSTIC and RETRO

New Snowden disclosures: "The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording '100 percent' of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place." [more inside]
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles on Mar 18, 2014 - 60 comments

"A Defining Moment"

United States Senator Dianne Feinstein Publicly Accuses C.I.A. of Spying on Congress. 'The chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday accused the Central Intelligence Agency of improperly removing documents from computers that committee staff members had been using to complete a report on the agency’s detention program, saying the move was part of an effort to intimidate the committee.' 'Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the committee, suggested on the Senate floor that the agency had violated federal law and said the C.I.A. had undermined Congress’s constitutional right to oversee the actions of the executive branch.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Mar 11, 2014 - 164 comments

Snowden To Address Audience in First Live Q&A, Days After EU Testimony

The good news is that there are solutions. The weakness of mass surveillance is that it can very easily be made much more expensive through changes in technical standards: pervasive end-to-end encryption can quickly make indiscriminate surveillance impossible on a cost-effective basis. The result is that governments are likely to fall back to traditional, targeted surveillance founded upon an individualized suspicion. Governments cannot risk the discovery of their exploits by simply throwing attacks at every “endpoint,” or computer processor on the end of a network connection, in the world. Mass surveillance, passive surveillance, relies upon unencrypted or weakly encrypted communications at the global network level.

Edward Snowden submits written testimony to an EU committee investigating mass surveillance, and answers questions. The testimony takes place 3 days ahead of his highly anticipated SXSW appearance, to take place later today. Snowden is expected to speak about privacy, security, mass surveillance programs, free speech and whistle-blowing in a rare remote video appearance before a live audience.
Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo finds this “deeply troubling” in a letter he's sent to the organizers of the conference.

Meanwhile, people who wish to #asksnowden questions can use the hashtag on Twitter. The talk is to take place at 12pm PT, today.
posted by fantodstic on Mar 10, 2014 - 89 comments

Outsourcing the surveillance state

A vast hidden surveillance network runs across America, powered by the repo industry
posted by shothotbot on Mar 5, 2014 - 46 comments

"Yahoo webcam images from millions of users intercepted"

Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal. "We were not aware of nor would we condone this reported activity," a Yahoo spokesperson says in a statement to The Verge. But...what about all the webcam sex?
posted by josher71 on Feb 27, 2014 - 39 comments

Technology concentrates power.

Our Comrade the Electron. Maciej Cegłowski (previously) delivered a talk at Webstock in Wellington, New Zealand on theremin inventor Lev Termen (previously), futurism, the Dutch Golden Age, and the modern surveillance state.
posted by Cash4Lead on Feb 26, 2014 - 14 comments

Codename: ANTICRISIS GIRL

Top-secret documents published by The Intercept reveal how GCHQ and the National Security Agency have targeted Wikileaks and "the human network that supports Wikileaks", with tactics ranging from covert surveillance to prosecution, targeting The Pirate Bay and Anonymous, urging countries to file criminal charges against Julian Assange, and secretly logging visitors to the Wikileaks website. [more inside]
posted by anemone of the state on Feb 18, 2014 - 178 comments

The Day We Fight Back

The Day We Fight Back is a protest against mass surveillance. "The SOPA and PIPA protests were successful because we all took part, as a community. As Aaron Swartz put it, everybody "made themselves the hero of their own story." We can set a date, but we need all of you, the users of the Internet, to make it a movement. [more inside]
posted by aniola on Feb 11, 2014 - 32 comments

You can’t see Buzz Lightyear while backpacking

You don’t want your privacy: Disney and the meat space data race
The bands are even uniquely colored and monogrammed with your family members’ names so that they won’t get switched up. Why? Because they don’t want their database to get confused and think that you, a 45-year-old man, rode the teacups instead of your little son Timmy. This is one of the first examples I’ve seen of physical design (e.g., monogramming and coloring) for the sake of digital data purity.
If ever there was a testimony to the importance big data has achieved in business it’s this: We will now shape our physical world to create better streams of digital information.

posted by frimble on Jan 27, 2014 - 74 comments

"Subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance"

The New York Times is reporting that anyone with a cell phone in the vicinity of Tuesday's anti-government demonstrations in Kiev received the following text message: “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.” [more inside]
posted by ryanshepard on Jan 21, 2014 - 65 comments

Liberalism, Libertarianism, and the Illiberal Security State

The defense of the illiberal activities of the actually-existing state cuts across superficial partisan lines, and the dominant political philosophy of both American parties is a venerable ideology of realpolitik imperial supremacy that deploys the rhetoric of liberalism as pacifying propaganda and recasts the completely mundane application of basic liberal-democratic principles–the kind at work in the activities of Wikileaks and Snowden–as irresponsibly adolescent, anarchical, and even libertarian (eww!) challenges to the very idea of the liberal state. “Liberal” apologists for the actually-existing criminal state spook actual liberals from the practice of actual liberalism by insinuating darkly that any doubts about the liberal legitimacy of the security state probably makes you a loathsome, possibly racist Paultard. Wil Wilkinson on why liberal critics of the "liberal" state seem "libertarian." [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Jan 21, 2014 - 49 comments

I just became aware ... ten minutes ago, from your link.

Pentagon papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg held a Reddit AMA this week, and found out something new about the whole affair - 43 years later.
posted by pjern on Jan 17, 2014 - 11 comments

The science-fiction part of the show is that the Machine is accurate

“Person Of Interest”: The TV Show That Predicted Edward Snowden
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jan 14, 2014 - 57 comments

30c3

While Jacob Appelbaum grabbed headlines with his NSA revelations at this year's Chaos Communication Congress, other presentations provided equally fascinating insight into how the world works. Learn how data mining is bringing perpetrators of genocide to justice (alt), how an artist uses different concepts of secrecy landscapes (alt) to keep tabs on clandestine activities, and how India's surveillance state continues to grow (alt). previously [more inside]
posted by antonymous on Jan 4, 2014 - 23 comments

Digital Black-Bag Ops:

Der Spiegel reports on the NSA's "plumbers" at the Office of Tailored Access Operations, who collect and deploy exploits to infiltrate computers and even redirect shipments so they can install malware and hardware backdoors on electronics ordered by those they are targeting. Jacob Appelbaum [AKA ioerror] reports on the NSA's 'catalog', which ranges from $30 monitor cables that send back screenshots, to exploits for network security hardware from Cisco and Huawei, to backdoored BIOS code and firmware for all major hard drive manucfacturers. While some of the NSA's malware requires physical access or proximity, much of it is remotely installable over the Internet.

At the 30c3 conference in Hamburg, Appelbaum gives an in-depth talk about the NSA's Tailored Access Operations hacking activities and its 'interdiction' process, whereby computers are tampered with during shipping or as part of a 'black-bag' operation. Appelbaum, a Wikileaks affiliate who has reported on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, has been personally targeted by such operations, as have his family members.
posted by anemone of the state on Dec 30, 2013 - 201 comments

Historic ruling: NSA Mass Phone Surveillance Likely Unconstitutional

A federal judge in Washington, DC ruled today that the mass phone records surveillance revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden is likely unconstitutional. [previously on Metafilter] Judge Leon wrote: “The question before me is not the same question that the Supreme Court confronted in Smith” and is “a far cry from the issue in this case.” [annotated by Spencer Ackerman, original PDF here.]
Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story, responds on MSNBC.
posted by anemone of the state on Dec 16, 2013 - 87 comments

"People in power ... will routinely lie to their population,"

The Men Who Leaked The Secrets
To the likes of Brooks, Snowden was a disconcerting mystery; Glenn Greenwald, though, got him right away. "He had no power, no prestige, he grew up in a lower-middle-class family, totally obscure, totally ordinary," Greenwald says. "He didn't even have a high school diploma. But he was going to change the world – and I knew that." And, Greenwald also believed, so would he. "In all kinds of ways, my whole life has been in preparation for this moment," he says.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 10, 2013 - 46 comments

Games are an opportunity!

CIA, FBI and Pentagon spies have infiltrated online games including World of Warcraft, Second Life and Xbox Live games.
posted by xowie on Dec 9, 2013 - 67 comments

Cell Phones: Tracking Devices That Make Phone Calls

The NSA is gathering nearly 5 billion cell phone location records a day, allowing the agency to track the movement of individuals and map their relationships in ways that would have been previously unimaginable. The bulk collection feeds CO-TRAVELER, an analytic tool that lets analysts identify relationships by tracking people whose movements intersect, and look back in time to see where people have been. TL:DR? The WaPo has a quick video explaining CO-TRAVELER here. [more inside]
posted by anemone of the state on Dec 4, 2013 - 134 comments

NSA SEXINT

NSA SEXINT is the Abuse You’ve All Been Waiting For. According to documents revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the NSA has been gathering records of online sexual activity and logging visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to blackmail and silence those advocating "radical" beliefs.
posted by anemone of the state on Nov 29, 2013 - 156 comments

We infiltrate, we duplicate like cells, we multiply!

"Puerto Rican rappers/rockers Calle 13 continue their fierce criticism of government systems and oppression in their latest track Multi_Viral... [more inside]
posted by jammy on Nov 14, 2013 - 6 comments

Chilling Effects: NSA Surveillance Drives U.S. Writers to Self-Censor

“I have dropped stories in the past and avoided research on the company telephone due to concerns over wiretapping or eavesdropping.”
“I have made a conscious, deliberate choice to avoid certain conversation topics in electronic emails out of concern that those communications may be surveilled.”
[PDF]
A survey by the literary organization PEN America shows the chilling effects NSA surveillance has had on writers in the United States.
posted by anemone of the state on Nov 12, 2013 - 39 comments

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