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Every breath you take

The Creepy Surveillance of Elf on a Shelf. How does the ubiquitous holiday tattletale work its behavioral magic? By teaching kids to expect that there's always someone watching.
posted by gottabefunky on Dec 25, 2014 - 92 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 - 19 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 - 21 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 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

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

The real problem with Big Data and ubiquitous surveillance

The question is not so much “do you trust the CIA/NSA/MI6/etc?”. It’s “Do you trust every single sysadmin working for these organisations? Every single analyst? Every single middle manager?”
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 24, 2014 - 23 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

clearly a lab computer!

Sentenced in a Swedish court, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg gets extradited to Denmark to stand trial for another case of system intrusion.

Mefi's Own, Jacob Applebaum has some choice words after his testimony in the Danish court. [more inside]
posted by xcasex on Sep 21, 2014 - 25 comments

"The present I was in right then didn’t make a lot of sense."

A Day of Speaking Truth to Power - Quinn Norton visits the Office of the Director of National Intelligence
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 3, 2014 - 20 comments

HJ! BI....BI....BI...Hotshot!

Crypto machines.
posted by pjern on Aug 31, 2014 - 9 comments

What's the matter with PGP?

If your cryptography predates The Fresh Prince, you need better cryptography. With recognition of the need for secure communication standards finally going mainstream, crypto researcher and Johns Hopkins University professor Matthew Green takes a hard look at the de facto standard everyone is jumping on, and suggests that we can and should do a lot better. [more inside]
posted by George_Spiggott on Aug 25, 2014 - 23 comments

The most wanted man in the world

Edward Snowden - The Untold Story, from Wired's Threat Level.
posted by nevercalm on Aug 13, 2014 - 103 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

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

NSA spies on mainstream muslim US citizens

In one of the most damning Snowden leaks yet revealed, Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain show that the NSA targets prominent Muslim-Americans under the FISA secret court program. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has in response issued a denial that any Americans were targeted for exercising their constitutional rights via its tumblr.
posted by p3on on Jul 9, 2014 - 93 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

Don't Leak National Secrets Unless It's For Wall Street

"What could he possibly have that's worth $1 million a month other than classified information?" Former NSA head Keith Alexander goes directly into consulting for large financial associations, with a potential Congressional investigation to follow.
posted by blankdawn on Jul 2, 2014 - 44 comments

Hong Kong, on the ocean. Snowden and Greenwald, in Hong Kong.

In what early press reports call a "surprise vote" in a "late night session," the US House of Representatives voted to defund controversial NSA surveillance activities. [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Jun 20, 2014 - 57 comments

The Secret to Getting Top-Secret Secrets

How a journalist with a dark past learned to pry info from the government—and redeemed himself in the process.
posted by valkane on Jun 19, 2014 - 12 comments

spiegel has opened fire on the NSA

New NSA Revelations: Inside Snowden's Germany File [more inside]
posted by bukvich on Jun 19, 2014 - 48 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

I am the eye in the sky, looking at you, I can read your mind

Google just bought out skybox for $500MN. Skybox is a startup with grand amibitions: create cheap satellites which can be used to provide almost real time-time, sub one meter resolution imagery of earth. Even with six small satellites orbiting Earth, Skybox could provide practically real-time images of the same spot twice a day at a fraction of the current cost. The startup sent up its first satellite SkySat-1 last November. The satellite can provide HD images and videos (90 sec clips at 30 frames/second) The start-up hopes to combine its satellites with software which can analyze the visual data to collect information. It hopes that it can use its combination of hardware and software capabilities to gather real time information to estimate oil reserves in saudi Arabia, track fuel tankers in China's 3 main economic zones, rate of increase of electricity usage in India, number of cars in all wallmart parking lots. [more inside]
posted by TheLittlePrince on Jun 12, 2014 - 100 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

Real title: I Am Infallible; You Are Lucky To Receive My Wisdom

James Mickens (previously) gives a talk at Monitorama 2014 about distributed computing and security.
posted by A dead Quaker on May 13, 2014 - 10 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

"An argument that has the characterizing flavor of bullshit."

The entire first episode of John Oliver's new current-events comedy show on HBO, Last Week Tonight, is viewable on its official YouTube Channel. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 28, 2014 - 99 comments

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 - 36 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

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