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Old 06-17-2013   #21
Firn
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Revealed: how the UK spied on its G20 allies at London summits

Nothing surprising from the technical side, at least in my humble opinion and a good deal of similar stuff has been obviously going on for a long time. Needless to say that even with very strong encryption preventing the quick analysis of the content itself the who phoned/texted/mailed whom, when, where, how long and so forth can offer lots of intel. This is why the it was done and will get done, ever leveraging the technological progress.

Quote:
Foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts, according to documents seen by the Guardian. Some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by British intelligence agencies to read their email traffic.

The revelation comes as Britain prepares to host another summit on Monday – for the G8 nations, all of whom attended the 2009 meetings which were the object of the systematic spying. It is likely to lead to some tension among visiting delegates who will want the prime minister to explain whether they were targets in 2009 and whether the exercise is to be repeated this week.

The disclosure raises new questions about the boundaries of surveillance by GCHQ and its American sister organisation, the National Security Agency, whose access to phone records and internet data has been defended as necessary in the fight against terrorism and serious crime. The G20 spying appears to have been organised for the more mundane purpose of securing an advantage in meetings. Named targets include long-standing allies such as South Africa and Turkey.

There have often been rumours of this kind of espionage at international conferences, but it is highly unusual for hard evidence to confirm it and spell out the detail. The evidence is contained in documents – classified as top secret – which were uncovered by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and seen by the Guardian. They reveal that during G20 meetings in April and September 2009 GCHQ used what one document calls "ground-breaking intelligence capabilities" to intercept the communications of visiting delegations.

This included:

• Setting up internet cafes where they used an email interception programme and key-logging software to spy on delegates' use of computers;

• Penetrating the security on delegates' BlackBerrys to monitor their email messages and phone calls;

• Supplying 45 analysts with a live round-the-clock summary of who was phoning who at the summit;

• Targeting the Turkish finance minister and possibly 15 others in his party;

• Receiving reports from an NSA attempt to eavesdrop on the Russian leader, Dmitry Medvedev, as his phone calls passed through satellite links to Moscow.
Personally I find it just amusing that the mighty spy masters have fallen into the same trap as many a lowly criminal. Sharing rather readily so much between so many to use an ever wider dragnet has resulted in the exposure a far greater amount by a single source.

I would love to hear the 'secret' interceptions of the upcoming G8 meeting in London. I'm pretty sure 'foreign' services have also come up with some interesting stuff in the last years and I wonder to which degree the interceptors were played. In any case it is a great success for the English-speaking diplomats, building up a lot of trust with their partners and allies.
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Old 06-17-2013   #22
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One of the recurring topics is incompetence of people who really shouldn't be incompetents.
Seriously, espionage at top members of government is totally predictable. It's astonishing that they didn't use one time pads for encryption.

Likewise, it's astonishing that anybody would use such just-in-time eavesdropping at all. There is no time to identify manipulated messages, and it's foolish to act on manipulated intelligence.

Finally, it's plain wrong to nurture an atmosphere of acting against each other on a summit that's meant to promote cooperation.
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Old 06-24-2013   #23
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Default Hong Kong speaks to America

http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/2...1306230476.htm

Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article news.gov.hk
HKSAR Government issues statement on Edward Snowden
************************************************** *

The HKSAR Government today (June 23) issued the following statement on Mr Edward Snowden:

Mr Edward Snowden left Hong Kong today (June 23) on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel.

The US Government earlier on made a request to the HKSAR Government for the issue of a provisional warrant of arrest against Mr Snowden. Since the documents provided by the US Government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the HKSAR Government has requested the US Government to provide additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US Government's request can meet the relevant legal conditions. As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.

The HKSAR Government has already informed the US Government of Mr Snowden's departure.

Meanwhile, the HKSAR Government has formally written to the US Government requesting clarification on earlier reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies. The HKSAR Government will continue to follow up on the matter so as to protect the legal rights of the people of Hong Kong.

Ends/Sunday, June 23, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:05

NNNN

ie and eg 'FU George W Obama'
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Old 06-24-2013   #24
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Default To Equador,

via Aeroflot, with stops at Moscow, Havana and Caracas - per AP, WikiLeaks: Snowden going to Ecuador to seek asylum.

With thanks to Sen. Schumer for educating me on this point (from AP article):

Quote:
"Allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways, and Putin always seems almost eager to put a finger in the eye of the United States," Schumer said. "That's not how allies should treat one another, and I think it will have serious consequences for the United States-Russia relationship."
I didn't know that the US and Russia were "allies". One learns something every day.

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Old 06-24-2013   #25
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Default What 'metadata' can give

From Germany a graphic showing:
Quote:
We combined this geolocation data with information relating to his life as a politician, such as Twitter feeds, blog entries and websites, all of which is all freely available on the internet.

By pushing the play button, you will set off on a trip through Malte Spitz's life. The speed controller allows you to adjust how fast you travel, the pause button will let you stop at interesting points. In addition, a calendar at the bottom shows when he was in a particular location and can be used to jump to a specific time period.
Link:http://www.zeit.de/datenschutz/malte...data-retention
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Old 06-26-2013   #26
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An interesting, short Blomberg article by a Russian author, which starts with:
Quote:
The debate over the U.S. government’s monitoring of digital communications suggests that Americans are willing to allow it as long as it is genuinely targeted at terrorists. What they fail to realize is that the surveillance systems are best suited for gathering information on law-abiding citizens.
Link:http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-0...errorists.html

If this is true what is the system for? More general trawling for information, such as what is commercially valuable.
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Old 06-27-2013   #27
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Default Are we "honorary Jihadists" ?

David,

I also ran into the Bershidsky article (from another website; it's popular on the Internet today); and downloaded the Dutch intel report, Jihadism on the web, a breeding ground for jihad in the modern age (2012) (AIVD; the General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands).

The latter has quite a bit of meat for one (like JMM) who is not well acquainted with the "dark side" of the Interwebs. For example:

Quote:
What characterises jihadi cyberspace and how does it work?

The interactive possibilities of the Internet allow jihadists worldwide to find each other quickly. They meet in ‘public’ virtual places, for example on social media, on Internet forums and in chat rooms, but also in semi-public or private virtual places. This is where jihadist activities and processes unfold that constitute the greatest threat. These more private virtual places make up an important part of the Invisible Web (by scientists also referred to as the Deep Web, Da knet or Unde net). Unlike the visible part of the Internet, also called Subface Web or Indexable Web, this invisible Web refers to a part of the World Wide Web that has not (yet) been indexed and that cannot be found by readily accessible search engines such as Google. Scientists estimate that the invisible Web is 550 times larger than the visible Web.[1] In other words, the invisible Web makes up over 99.8% of the entire Web and less than 0.2% of the Web is visible.

1. See How much information? 2003, a study conducted by the University of California. As far as the AIVD can tell this is the latest scientific assessment.
See also, The dark side of the internet - In the 'deep web', Freenet software allows users complete anonymity as they share viruses, criminal contacts and child pornography (Andy Beckett, The Guardian, 25 Nov 2009).

Snowden's NSA "revelations" concern the visible Web. One hopes that the NSA is expending a much greater effort on the invisible Web and its more dangerous denizens.

Back to the 2012 Dutch report:

Quote:
1.3 Limited use of surface Web

Of course, jihadists are also active on the surface Web, where they use social media and various applications, such as email, Internet telephony and chat programmes, to name a few. They use these means of communication to actively spread jihadist ideas, recruit new jihadists and proactively distribute and promote propaganda material. Jihadists that are active on the surface Web are afraid of being detected, which is why there is no (or very limited) dynamic interaction, as opposed to what is observed on core forums.

Jihadists are also rather reluctant when it comes to using social media. The open, personal communication that characterises social media clashes with the clandestine and violent nature of online jihadist activities. The AIVD has found that radicalising persons erase their social media accounts sooner or later. They consider the (mostly American) social media to be kuffa (infidel) sites, and therefore unacceptable and unsafe.

One forum member issued a warning in a discussion about the use of ‘JewTube’, thereby referring to the Jewish background of one of YouTube’s founders. This discussion was shared by the SITE Intelligence Group, a commercial American think tank that analyses radical statements on the Internet. This forum member stated:

Quote:
“Your talk on YouTube can be monitored by the Kuffar. Many a brother were arrested based on intelligence from YouTube, they will not hesitate to handover your IP details to Kuffar. Therefore, it is NOT the place you should be social networking.”[3]
Another factor is that moderators actively monitor and remove inappropriate statements posted on social media. As a result of these restrictions, social media are mostly used for the (temporary) republication of jihadist propaganda.

3. Quote from a forum member in a publication of the SITE Intelligence Group: Jihadists strategize to evade YouTube censorship, 28 April 2011.

Quote:
Members of the password-protected English-language Ansar al-Mujahideen forum shared strategies for evading Youtube censorship of materials promoting jihad in a thread begun on April 19, 2011, after a user complained that his account on the popular video sharing website was removed.
The Dutch report has much more detailed information; but the above is enough to suggest an answer to David's question:

Quote:
If this is true what is the system for?
I believe the answer lies in US political analysis; and is simple (and simplistic) enough. The American public has expressed its zero tolerence for attacks in the US; and to politicians (including military and intel politicians), that means that all available means have to be used to prevent all terrorist attacks. The politicians know full well that a harsh reaction against them could result if a future attack were laid out in an undetected series of emails (part of the visible Web). On the other hand, if the same attack were laid out in an undetected segment of the invisible Web, the public reaction could be much less harsh.

Of course, the information gathered from non-terrorists might well be useful for present and future prosecutions of non-terrorist crimes disclosed in the content (I construe the Patriot Act to allow that, though of questionable constitutionality). However, that information could also be used for investigation of "suspicious" persons, or of "enemies of the state". It very much depends on whom you elect, and on whom he or she appoints.

Regards

Mike

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Old 06-27-2013   #28
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Default President Obama's Perception

My opinion of how current American politicians perceive the wishes of the American people - that is, 100% security as the elected end - has been very much shaped by the President's "100% Security" comment.

C-Span: 100% security and 100% privacy (C-Span video and transcript; 8 Jun 2013) - Clipped from: President Obama on Affordable Care Act (7 Jun 2013):

Quote:
00:01:00 SOME OTHER FOLKS MAY HAVE A DIFFERENT ASSESSMENT OF THAT, BUT I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE THAT YOU CAN'T HAVE 100% SECURITY AND ALSO THEN HAVE 100% PRIVACY, AND ZERO INCONVENIENCE.

00:01:23 WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE SOME CHOICES AS A SOCIETY.
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Old 06-27-2013   #29
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Default You know, for us, this would have been a dream come true

A very good article explaining why German memories of the Stasi influence their stance today:http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/06/2...l#.UcyNj3NwbqD

The title above is from a Stasi officer and so is this quotation, although I am not readily inclined to accept his apparent wisdom:
Quote:
It is the height of naivete to think that once collected this information won’t be used,” he said. “This is the nature of secret government organizations. The only way to protect the people’s privacy is not to allow the government to collect their information in the first place.
The article concludes with a far better quote, by the keeper of the Stasi Museum:
Quote:
The lesson, is that when a wide net is cast, almost all of what is caught is worthless. This was the case with the Stasi. This will certainly be the case with the NSA.
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Old 06-28-2013   #30
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I have to disagree, David.

Above, you quoted another article: "What they fail to realize is that the surveillance systems are best suited for gathering information on law-abiding citizens."

That information has already been used, by political activists who received it from political activists in government service. That's one of the topics of the current Congressional hearings on IRS activities. And it turns out that the "irregularities" at the IRS are only the tip of the iceberg.
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Old 06-28-2013   #31
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Default DNI & NSA Present

From DNI's Newsroom:

Quote:
Newseum Special Program: NSA Surveillance Leaks: Facts and Fiction

Location: Newseum Knight TV Studio, Washington, D.C.

Date: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 Time: 4:00 p.m. EDT
...
Panelists:

-Robert Litt, General Counsel, Office of the Director of National Intelligence;

-M.E (Spike) Bowman, Professorial Lecturer, The George Washington University; Former Deputy National Counterintelligence Executive;

-Kate Martin, Director, Center for National Security Studies;

-Gene Policinski, Executive Director, First Amendment Center;

-Ellen Shearer, William F. Thomas Professor of Journalism and Co-Director, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University;

-Joel Brenner, Former Inspector General, National Security Agency; Former National Counterintelligence Executive

-Stewart Baker, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson; Former General Counsel, National Security Agency
YouTube video (~1.5 hours).

The current position of the Obama administration was very ably defended and advocated by Messrs Litt, Bowman, Brenner and Baker. The "loyal opposition" (the other three panelists) was not up to the standard set by the opposition in the Oxford "killer drone" debate, for example.

If one takes the Litt, Bowman, Brenner and Baker presentations at face value, it is virtually impossible for the Patriot Act surveillance processes to be abused - i.e., the multiple levels of lawyerly and congressional oversight. So, John Wolfsberger, we in Michigan (and elsewhere) can rest easy - nothing to be seen here, please move on.

The question of using evidence of non-terrorist crimes against non-terrorists was discussed very briefly:

Quote:
MR. RISHIKOF: – if you come across something that is not tied directly to terrorism, but when you actually start looking at the content under 215, you may find something?

MR. LITT: So the statute and the orders allow us to disseminate information if it’s evidence of a crime. I actually think that most people would agree that’s probably the right policy decision. If you come across – if – criminal activity, and it’s information that you’ve lawfully collected, are we really comfortable with saying, oh, just stick that in the trash, because it doesn’t relate to terrorism? I don’t think that’s the right result as a nation, and generally speaking, it’s not the result that we have with other kinds of data.

That doesn’t mean you can look through the data for that; you have to be looking through the data for a foreign intelligence purpose.

MR. RISHIKOF: Does anyone else want to pick that up?
No one else wanted to pick that topic up.

The fact is that we have too many Federal crimes to count. See, e.g., Many Failed Efforts to Count Nation's Federal Criminal Laws (WSJ; by GARY FIELDS and JOHN R. EMSHWILLER, July 23, 2011).

Quote:
WASHINGTON—For decades, the task of counting the total number of federal criminal laws has bedeviled lawyers, academics and government officials.

"You will have died and resurrected three times," and still be trying to figure out the answer, said Ronald Gainer, a retired Justice Department official.

In 1982, while at the Justice Department, Mr. Gainer oversaw what still stands as the most comprehensive attempt to tote up a number. The effort came as part of a long and ultimately failed campaign to persuade Congress to revise the criminal code, which by the 1980s was scattered among 50 titles and 23,000 pages of federal law.

Justice Department lawyers undertook "the laborious counting" of the scattered statutes "for the express purpose of exposing the idiocy" of the system, said Mr. Gainer, now 76 years old.
The number then was 3,000 or more (see article for how to count). The ABA later took up where the DoJ left off:

Quote:
In 1998, the American Bar Association performed a computer search of the federal codes looking for the words "fine" and "imprison," as well as variations. The ABA study concluded the number of crimes was by then likely much higher than 3,000, but didn't give a specific estimate.

"We concluded that the hunt to say, 'Here is an exact number of federal crimes,' is likely to prove futile and inaccurate," says James Strazzella, who drafted the ABA report. The ABA felt "it was enough to picture the vast increase in federal crimes and identify certain important areas of overlap with state crimes," he said.

None of these studies broached the separate—and equally complex—question of crimes that stem from federal regulations, such as, for example, the rules written by a federal agency to enforce a given act of Congress. These rules can carry the force of federal criminal law. Estimates of the number of regulations range from 10,000 to 300,000. None of the legal groups who have studied the code have a firm number.

"There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime," said John Baker, a retired Louisiana State University law professor who has also tried counting the number of new federal crimes created in recent years. "That is not an exaggeration."
A more in-depth article by the same John Baker, Revisiting the Explosive Growth of Federal Crimes (2008).

A goodly number of Federal crimes (especially those stemming from regulations) are based in tax law. Of course, the IRS processes would never be used for political purposes.

As the DNI & NSA presentation drew to a close, a purely political thought, reared its (ugly?) head. The detailed presentation of the "failsafe" oversight procedures described layer after layer of oversight by agency lawyers (and judges are also lawyers) and congressional overseers. The trust level by the American people for lawyers and congresspersons generally runs in the low teens. Other than being compelled by a huge (excessive?) fear of terrorists, I'm hard pressed to see why the American people should, in this instance, trust those same generally distrusted lawyers and congresspersons.

Regards

Mike

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Old 06-29-2013   #32
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Default Plane & Wilson add

From a different angle, even if in The Guardian and some excerpts:
Quote:
The relevant issue should be: what exactly is the US government doing in the people's name to "keep us safe" from terrorists?

We are now dealing with a vast intelligence-industrial complex that is largely unaccountable to its citizens.
Link:http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...-complex-abuse
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Old 06-30-2013   #33
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Default 2009 NSA IG Report

From the NYT, New Leak Suggests Ashcroft Confrontation Was Over N.S.A. Program (by CHARLIE SAVAGE and JAMES RISEN; Published: June 27, 2013) (sourced from the Guardian, here):

Quote:
WASHINGTON — The March 2004 confrontation in the hospital room of Attorney General John Ashcroft — a dramatic point in the Bush administration’s internal debate over warrantless surveillance — was apparently set off by a secret National Security Agency program that was vacuuming up “metadata” logs of Internet communications, according to a draft of a 2009 N.S.A. inspector general report obtained by the British newspaper The Guardian.

The report, the latest document given to the paper by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, may clear up a long-running mystery over which program White House officials wanted Mr. Ashcroft and other Justice Department officials to sign off on when they went to his Washington hospital room. Because of their refusal, according to the report, the Bush administration shut down the metadata collection for several months, then re-established it under a secret order from a national-security court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. ...
Those DoJ officers opposed in March 2004 to the then-current metadata program were John Ashcroft, Jack Goldsmith (often cited in my posts) and Jim Comey (spanning a swath across the ideological spectrum). Their flank was soon turned by others in the Bush Admin.

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Old 06-30-2013   #34
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Good links. Sometimes some things happen which you really could not make up. I do understand the logic behind 'network hygiene' but certainly it is just too amusing from an outsiders point of view...

Quote:
But a spokesman for the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command (Netcom) in Arizona confirmed that this was a widespread policy, likely to be affecting hundreds of defence facilities.

"In response to your question about access to the guardian.co.uk website, the army is filtering some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks," said Gordon Van Vleet, a Netcom public affairs officer.

"The Department of Defense routinely takes preventative 'network hygiene' measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information onto DoD unclassified networks."

The army stressed its actions were automatic and would not affect computers outside military facilities.

"The department does not determine what sites its personnel can choose to visit while on a DoD system, but instead relies on automated filters that restrict access based on content concerns or malware threats," said Van Vleet. "The DoD is also not going to block websites from the American public in general, and to do so would violate our highest-held principle of upholding and defending the constitution and respecting civil liberties and privacy."
Once again, it is obviously important for all that important network security on DoD systems to create automated filters but once again the irony is amusing. The department 'clearly' does not determine what sites its personnel can choose to visit it just works hard to create those algorithms for those fully? automated filters which determine what sites its personnel can choose to visit.
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Old 07-04-2013   #35
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Default Alert! Geeks are about....

One of the more reflective articles on what happened within NSA and looking to the future by Joshua Foust . The title being 'The Geek Awakening' and sub-titled 'Edward Snowden is the vanguard of a broader challenge':https://medium.com/state-of-play/379fa6f59327
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Old 07-04-2013   #36
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1. From a purely economic point of view Internet has increasingly linked the world into a huge, surprisingly integrated market of various goods, among them ideas. Wikileaks&Co have a much higher probability to reach critical mass under such circumstances. A bit of a dark Wikipedia, the name of the leaks is clearly not a case.

2. I'm just amazed by the amount of people working for the intelligence community of the USA. With a million people cleared 'top' secret it ain't. In full cyber warfare against a capable enemy even less so.

Quote:
It’s no surprise that governments have had a hard time adapting to rapid technological change. By design, they are institutionally conservative (that is, they are resistant to too much change too quickly). The incredible growth of the intelligence community is a prime example. As Washington Post Dana Priest reported three years ago, it has grown monumentally since the 9/11 attacks. The U.S. intelligence budget topped $75 billion in 2010, 2.5 times larger than it was in 2001. “In all, at least 263 organizations have been created or reorganized as a response to 9/11,” she wrote. Nearly a million people have top secret clearances.
Oh I should have finished the article before writing as it states right there what I also put down before...

Quote:
When many secrets are available to many people, one of them will not keep secrets very well. It is a fundamental weakness of the national security state: If a million people cleared to handle secrets, someone, somewhere is going to leak. When asked about leaks at the Aspen Ideas forum last year, Admiral William McRaven said that sooner or later, the growth of leaks and the culture promoting them “is going to cost us our national security.”
Quite ironic, isn't it?

3. A quick look at history, from Wikipedia:

Quote:
The Enigma machines were a family of portable cipher machines with rotor scramblers.[2] Good operating procedures, properly enforced, would have made the cipher unbreakable.[3][4] However, most of the German armed and secret services and civilian agencies that used Enigma employed poor procedures and it was these that allowed the cipher to be broken.
It is also not surprising that in our modern world social engineering is an effective mean to get a foot into the door. Poor human operating procedures have certainly been blamed for failure many times in the last couple of thousend years...
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Old 07-05-2013   #37
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Default Forget GCHQ, the real surveillance state is yet to come

A commentary a month ago by Professor Richard Aldrich, who has written a tome on GCHQ (The UK's equivalent of NSA and close ally), has appeared a few times as the revelations have appeared:http://theconversation.com/forget-gc...-to-come-15073

Almost his last words:
Quote:
.....the transparent society will be with us sooner than we think.
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Old 07-09-2013   #38
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Default Your data belongs to.......(insert choice)

Id'd via Twitter an American perspective on using metadata, with links to some of the tools commercially available and as a bonus the CIA's Chief Technical Officer explaining in a podcast what he wants (in March 2013):
Quote:
It’s amazing what a little — or a lot — of metadata can tell you about a person. I visualized a bunch of my own to show a sample of what’s available to agencies like the NSA and what even a wannabe data analyst can do with it.
Link:http://gigaom.com/2013/07/08/your-me...-look-at-mine/
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Old 07-28-2013   #39
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Default Bamford on NSA

They Know Much More Than You Think.

A logical question is how many targets are being actively followed:

Quote:
According to a recent slide released by Snowden, the NSA on April 5, 2013, had 117,675 active surveillance targets in the program and was able to access real-time data on live voice, text, e-mail, or Internet chat services, in addition to analyzing stored data.
but, that number may have already increased:

Quote:
In the end, both UPSTREAM and PRISM may be only the tips of a much larger system. Another new document released by Snowden says that on New Year’s Eve, 2012, SHELLTRUMPET, a metadata program targeting international communications, had just “processed its One Trillionth metadata record.” Started five years ago, it noted that half of that trillion was added in 2012. It also noted that two more new programs, MOONLIGHTPATH and SPINNERET, “are planned to be added by September 2013.”
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Mike
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Old 07-31-2013   #40
jmm99
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Default Greenwald on NSA

XKeyscore: NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet'.

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Mike
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