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Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced.

The Washington Post and The Guardian won the Pulitzer Prize in public service for their reporting on the widespread domestic spying by the US National Security Agency. A full list of the mentioned articles can be found here for the Washington Post, and here for the Guardian. Edward Snowden, who supplied the journalists with the leaked information, today said: "Today's decision is a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government. We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so many other means of pressure to get them to stop what the world now recognises was work of vital public importance." [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Apr 14, 2014 - 31 comments

 

What if Google was a guy? The questions continue.

More visualizations of the personification of our favorite search engine - now with added competitors! [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Mar 30, 2014 - 17 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

Codename: TURBINE. Your computer may already be owned.

Top-secret documents reveal that an elite unit at the National Security Agency has developed technology allowing it to automatically install malware on millions of computers worldwide in what it calls 'industrial-scale exploitation'. TURBINE, developed by the NSA's Tailored Access Operations unit (mentioned previusly here), is a command-and-control suite automating tasks that previously had to be performed manually: Using 'internet chokepoints' and a capability called SECONDDATE, the NSA can perform man-in-the-middle attacks to quietly redirect web browsers to FOXACID malware servers en masse.
posted by anemone of the state on Mar 12, 2014 - 115 comments

RSA Conference security breach! View the evidence!

Stephen Colbert, as "Stephen Colbert" gave the closing keynote speech at the 2014 RSA Conference in San Francisco. While this speech has not been made officially available, it has been posted in its entirety to YouTube. Part 1, Part 2 [total length <20m] [warning - audience video of conference hall video screens -- content overcomes video shortcomings]
posted by hippybear on Mar 10, 2014 - 27 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 disillusionment of Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden was politically conservative, a gun owner, a geek - and the man behind the biggest intelligence leak in history. In an exclusive extract from Luke Harding's new book, The Snowden Files, Harding looks at Edward Snowden's journey from patriot to America's most wanted. In the second exclusive extract, Harding looks at the role of Russia's intelligence agency (the FSB) in securing Snowden's exile - and whether they have been able to access his secret files.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Feb 12, 2014 - 84 comments

NSA operation ORCHESTRA: Annual Status Report (FOSDEM Keynote)

(TOP SECRET/COMINT) NSAs operation ORCHESTRA has been a resounding success again this year. This year's status report will update decision makers and programme liasons on the goals, achievements and means of ORCHESTRA. This is the NATO headquarters, right? Cool! No, no, I was just surprised that nobody was in uniform today, but I guess it's the weekend, eh? That's so cool -- I wish we were allowed to do that too. It's quite a crowd isn't it? I had no idea you had so many people with COMINT clearance over here... Amazing really. Anyway, lets get started, shall we? [more inside]
posted by Obscure Reference on Feb 12, 2014 - 21 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

Geo Cell: ‘We Track ’Em, You Whack ’Em.’

"The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people." - Scahill and Greenwald @ The Intercept [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Feb 10, 2014 - 77 comments

"Nothing. You're screwed."

During their Freedom Hosting investigation and malware attack last year, the FBI unintentionally obtained the entire e-mail database of popular anonymous webmail service Tor Mail. And now, they've used it in an unrelated investigation to bust a Florida man accused of stealing credit card numbers. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 27, 2014 - 39 comments

Peekaboo--I see you!

In an interview with German television station ARD TV, Edward Snowden has alleged that the NSA is actively engaged in industrial espionage on behalf of US economic interests, targeting German engineering firm, Siemens and other international industrial concerns in its data collection activities, with no legitimate intelligence aims in mind. While the international response to the new allegations is still developing, back home in the US, Snowden has already been accused of disloyalty by US officials on both sides of the aisle, and at least one NSA analyst is on record stating he would personally "love to put a bullet in his head." (Previously)
posted by saulgoodman on Jan 27, 2014 - 90 comments

Alan Rusbridger reveals his personal secret to survival

"I take no exercise, drink and listen to the radio all night, and I play the piano." [more inside]
posted by rhombus on Jan 26, 2014 - 4 comments

Pond, et al.

Pond provides end-to-end encrypted forward-secure asynchronous messaging that uses Tor to resist traffic analysis, i.e. metadata collection (threat model, technical, github). [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jan 21, 2014 - 24 comments

Plus ca change?

President Obama unveils new policy directives for the NSA. Full text of the speech. And for lols, here are some photos also from Slate.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering on Jan 17, 2014 - 142 comments

Could Unlimited Phone Surveillance Have Prevented 9/11?

The FBI could have stopped 9/11. There was no need for a metadata-collection program. What was needed was cooperation with other federal agencies.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jan 12, 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

m01$tRoACh31!4

Passweird - Passwords too gross to steal. This website will create for you a password that is not only secure*, but is also so utterly repulsive that not even the most hardened criminal, identity thief, NSA agent, or jealous boyfriend would ever want to use it. *ish, but probably not. Don't use these for real.
posted by Rock Steady on Dec 30, 2013 - 28 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

For everyone out there listening

Edward Snowden has delivered the UK Channel 4's Alternative Christmas Message (alternative links, transcript):
Together, we can find a better balance. End mass surveillance. And remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying.
This address follows Monday's interview with the Washington Post in which he explains his motives for releasing information he collected while working for the NSA.
posted by Joe in Australia on Dec 24, 2013 - 93 comments

RSA Paid by the NSA to screw the USA

"Undisclosed until now was that RSA received $10 million in a deal that set the NSA formula as the preferred, or default, method for number generation in the BSafe software, according to two sources familiar with the contract. Although that sum might seem paltry, it represented more than a third of the revenue that the relevant division at RSA had taken in during the entire previous year, securities filings show." Previous
posted by stoneweaver on Dec 20, 2013 - 74 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

The NSA Raven

Once upon a database query, while I pondered weak security,
And many avenues of access via backdoor,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a wiretapping,
As of some one gently sniffing, sniffing at our server's door.
“‘Tis some hacker,” I muttered, “tapping at our server door
Or just a virus, nothing more.” -- The NSA Raven
posted by Chocolate Pickle on Dec 11, 2013 - 9 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

It's coming just that much closer to reality

Curious as to what various legal and intelligence agencies can do with the data they are now currently collecting? They are collecting cell phone locations, there are currently license plate scanning vehicles in many larger cities, and Google Maps will gladly integrate with your location mapping systems to show you what type of business is at your coordinates. All state criminal databases are now nationally available. So the ACLU would like you to know what is going to happen in the possible near future.
posted by Purposeful Grimace on Dec 9, 2013 - 68 comments

Tech rivals unite against surveillance

Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, LinkedIn and Aol have all teamed up to oppose widespread government surveillance. In an open letter to the US president and members of congress, the companies urge the government to reform its digital spy apparatus. Live reactions at the Guardian.
posted by brina on Dec 9, 2013 - 126 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

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

Privacy is not an end in itself

"In 1967, The Public Interest, then a leading venue for highbrow policy debate, published a provocative essay by Paul Baran, one of the fathers of the data transmission method known as packet switching [and agent of RAND]. Titled “The Future Computer Utility," the essay speculated that someday a few big, centralized computers would provide 'information processing … the same way one now buys electricity. Highly sensitive personal and important business information will be stored in many of the contemplated systems … At present, nothing more than trust—or, at best, a lack of technical sophistication—stands in the way of a would-be eavesdropper.' To read Baran’s essay (just one of the many on utility computing published at the time) is to realize that our contemporary privacy problem is not contemporary. It’s not just a consequence of Mark Zuckerberg’s selling his soul and our profiles to the NSA. The problem was recognized early on, and little was done about it... It’s not enough for a website to prompt us to decide who should see our data. Instead it should reawaken our own imaginations. Designed right, sites would not nudge citizens to either guard or share their private information but would reveal the hidden political dimensions to various acts of information sharing." -- MIT Technology Review on The Real Privacy Problem
posted by Potomac Avenue on Nov 12, 2013 - 17 comments

‘PRISM: The SIGAD Used *Most* in NSA Reports!’

How would you, as a junior analyst in S2C41, the branch of the Signals Intelligence Directorate, navigate the millions of records logged daily, in order to find the nugget to get you noticed? “EVILOLIVE, MADCAPOCELOT, ORANGECRUSH, COBALTFALCON, DARKTHUNDER: the names are beguiling. But they don’t always tell us much, which is their reason for existing: covernames aren’t classified, and many of them – including the names of the NSA’s main databases for intercepted communications data, MAINWAY, MARINA, PINWALE and NUCLEON – have been seen in public before, in job ads and resumés posted online.” Daniel Soar sorts through the possibilities in the London Review of Books, 24 Oct 2013. (See also William Arkin's blog on codenames) [more inside]
posted by zbsachs on Nov 4, 2013 - 33 comments

Social Network Analysis Collaboration Knowledge Service (or, SNACKS)

No Morsel Too Minuscule for All-Consuming N.S.A.
posted by crossoverman on Nov 3, 2013 - 38 comments

Plot Heroin Lynch / Exposure Tornado Drug / Body scanner Chan

NSA Haiku Generator - "Create a poem out of the NSA search terms that flag you as a potential terrorist!
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 3, 2013 - 30 comments

NSA eavesdropped upon...

Former NSA director Michael Hayden overheard on train doing a phone interview... Tom Mattzie, previous MoveOn director DC, overhears Michael Hayden doing a phone interview on a train and retweets it.
posted by Samizdata on Oct 26, 2013 - 60 comments

France in the NSA's crosshairs

Using documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, Le Monde reports that the NSA has been intercepting French telephone communications on a massive scale. Under a programme called 'US-985D', the NSA is collecting not only metadata but recordings of telephone calls: From 10 December 2012 to 8 January 2013, 70.3 million French telephone calls were recorded.
These revelations came just as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris on a pre-scheduled visit. Francois Hollande is not pleased.
posted by anemone of the state on Oct 21, 2013 - 166 comments

“No other institution would have hired Glenn Greenwald.”

Freedom of Information. The New Yorker looks behind the scenes at The Guardian under current editor Alan Rusbridger, including the investigation of the News of the World phone hacking scandal (previously), overseeing the release of US diplomatic cables obtained by Wikileaks (previously), and the continuing reporting on NSA material obtained by Edward Snowden (previously).
posted by figurant on Oct 10, 2013 - 47 comments

Whose's afraid of the NSA?

Tired of having all your posts and emails read by people you don't know? Aware that Congress will do nothing to change domestic spying; your president will not to stop it. And technology seemingly unable to restore privacy? Well here is your chance to Occupy NSA
posted by Postroad on Oct 3, 2013 - 97 comments

Snowden documents shed light on Shiban, Akbar, and Trojanov cases

New documents released by Glenn Greenwald from trove leaked by Edward Snowden show that the agency officially viewed arguments about 'due process' to be an 'adversary propaganda theme', listed alongside military threats to drones. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Oct 1, 2013 - 80 comments

The NSA: We, too, are Americans.

NSA mathematician Roger Barkan's take on NSA survellance of Americans. "As someone deep in the trenches of NSA, where I work on a daily basis with data acquired from these programs, I, too, feel compelled to raise my voice. Do I, as an American, have any concerns about whether the NSA is illegally or surreptitiously targeting or tracking the communications of other Americans? The answer is emphatically, "No."
posted by markkraft on Sep 18, 2013 - 190 comments

All Your ***** Belong To Us

Google knows almost every wi-fi password. Of course this means that the NSA also has access to them. Apple might not be much better.
posted by blue shadows on Sep 16, 2013 - 97 comments

NSA may have secretly made major mathematics breakthrough

If the NSA is able to break through banks' computer security, does that mean it solved the prime factorization problem? The New York Times reported recently that “the agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems.” Since banks' encryption codes rely on the fact that nobody knows how to find the prime factors of really large numbers, it could mean that the NSA has found a way to do that. Or it could mean that the NSA has simply gotten lots of banks to give up their information, or found other ways around their encryption. But if they've cracked this long-standing math problem, might the secret leak? What would be the effects?
posted by Sleeper on Sep 12, 2013 - 60 comments

NSA Shares US Citizens' Communications with Israel

A new story in The Guardian shows how the NSA routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first filtering it to remove information about US citizens. The memorandum of understanding (published here in full) shows that the US government handed over intercepted communications likely to contain the phone calls and emails of US citizens. This goes against earlier Obama administration claims that there were strong safeguards in place to protect Amercans' communications.
posted by anemone of the state on Sep 11, 2013 - 115 comments

We'd be happy to help you out with that spec....

The NSA has been spending $250 million a year on its "Sigint Enabling Project". The purpose of this project is to "actively engage[s] the U.S. and foreign IT industries to covertly influence and/or overtly leverage their commercial products’ designs' to make them 'exploitable."

Classified N.S.A. memos appear to confirm that the fatal weakness, discovered by two Microsoft cryptographers in 2007, was engineered by the agency. The N.S.A. wrote the standard and aggressively pushed it on the international group, privately calling the effort “a challenge in finesse.” “Eventually, N.S.A. became the sole editor,” the memo says.

The NSA requested that these reports not be published. [more inside]
posted by lattiboy on Sep 5, 2013 - 450 comments

NSA BANGERS

DJ Hennessy Youngman follows up CVS BANGERS [prev.] with his new Soundcloud mix, NSA BANGERS. NSA BANGERS is an audio landscape full of paranoia, espionage, epic snooping, unhealthy obsession, and the stress of being a contemporary type human being. Basically, NSA BANGERS is the soundtrack of Freedom! And Freedom is expensive y'all! Apparently, it like, costs your Freedom!
posted by porn in the woods on Sep 2, 2013 - 13 comments

NSA stands for No Sense of Humor

The NSA: The only part of the government that actually listens. The NSA seal is protected by Public Law 86-36, which states that it is not permitted for “…any person to use the initials ‘NSA,’ the words ‘National Security Agency’ and the NSA seal without first acquiring written permission from the Director of NSA."
posted by three blind mice on Sep 1, 2013 - 72 comments

"He did away with the propaganda machine and did it for all of us"

(MeFi's own) Jacob Appelbaum receives Transparency International's (DE) 2013 Whistleblower Prize on behalf of Edward Snowden (statement from Snowden starts here) joined remotely by Glenn Greenwald.
posted by anemone of the state on Aug 31, 2013 - 24 comments

USG Black Budget Revealed.

Using documents obtained from whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Washington Post reports on the United States' $52.6 billion "black budget" for 2013.
posted by anemone of the state on Aug 29, 2013 - 77 comments

"the boomers and their institutions look like parasitic aliens"

"Generation Z will arrive brutalized and atomized by three generations of diminished expectations and dog-eat-dog economic liberalism. Most of them will be so deracinated that they identify with their peers and the global Internet culture more than their great-grandparents' post-Westphalian nation-state. The machineries of the security state may well find them unemployable, their values too alien to assimilate into a model still rooted in the early 20th century. But if you turn the Internet into a panopticon prison and put everyone inside it, where else are you going to be able to recruit the jailers? And how do you ensure their loyalty?" Charlie Stross on the future demographic peril faced by spy agencies.
posted by Pope Guilty on Aug 29, 2013 - 86 comments

To make journalism harder, slower, less secure

"Making journalism harder, slower and less secure, throwing sand in the gears, is fully within the capacity of the surveillance state. It has the means, the will and the latitude to go after journalism the way it went after terrorism... Only if they can turn a mostly passive public into a more active one can journalists come out ahead in this fight. I know they don’t think of mobilization as their job, and there are good reasons for that, but they didn’t think editors would be destroying hard drives under the gaze of the authorities, either! Journalism almost has to be brought closer to activism to stand a chance of prevailing in its current struggle with the state." [more inside]
posted by felch on Aug 27, 2013 - 32 comments

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