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Category Archives: Patriot Act

Congress Tells DoD to Report on Leaks

Secrecy News – Steven Aftergood: For the next two years, Congress wants to receive quarterly reports from the Department of Defense on how the Pentagon is responding to leaks of classified information. The reporting requirement was included in the pending National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2015 (Sec. 1052).
“Compromises of classified information cause indiscriminate and long-lasting damage to United States national security and often have a direct impact on the safety of warfighters,” the Act states. “In 2010, hundreds of thousands of classified documents were illegally copied and disclosed across the Internet,” it says, presumably referring to the WikiLeaks disclosures of that year. “In 2013, nearly 1,700,000 files were downloaded from United States Government information systems, threatening the national security of the United States and placing the lives of United States personnel at extreme risk,” the Act states, in a presumed reference to the Snowden disclosures. “The majority of the information compromised relates to the capabilities, operations, tactics, techniques, and procedures of the Armed Forces of the United States, and is the single greatest quantitative compromise in the history of the United States.” The Secretary of Defense will be required to report on changes in policy and resource allocations that are adopted in response to significant compromises of classified information. The defense authorization act does not address irregularities in the classification system, such as overclassification or failure to timely declassify information. It does call for additional reporting on the Department of Defense “insider threat” program (Sec. 1628), and on “the adoption of an interim capability to continuously evaluate the security status of the employees and contractors of the Department who have been determined eligible for and granted access to classified information.” By definition, this continuous evaluation approach does not focus on suspicious individuals or activities, but rather is designed to monitor all security-cleared personnel.”

Investigative Report Claims NSA Hacking of Cellphone Networks Is Global

Ryan Gallagher – The Intercept: “The AURORAGOLD operation is carried out by specialist NSA surveillance units whose existence has not been publicly disclosed: the Wireless Portfolio Management Office, which defines and carries out the NSA’s strategy for exploiting wireless communications, and the Target Technology Trends Center, which monitors the development of new communication technology to ensureContinue Reading

Safeguarding the Personal Information of all People – ODNI

Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) – Safeguarding the Personal Information of all People, July 2014. “As the President said in his speech on January 17, 2014, “the challenges posed by threats like terrorism, proliferation, and cyber-attacks are not going away any time soon, and for our intelligence community to be effective over theContinue Reading

Twitter – Taking the fight for #transparency to court

Twitter news release: ” As part of our latest transparency report released in July, wedescribed how we were being prohibited from reporting on the actual scope of surveillance of Twitter users by the U.S. government. Our ability to speak has been restricted by laws that prohibit and even criminalize a service provider like us from disclosingContinue Reading

Retired NSA Technical Director Explains Snowden Docs

Appeals Court Limits Military Surveillance of Civilian Internet Use

“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in United States v. Dreyer that an agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service violated Defense Department regulations and the Posse Comitatus Act when he conducted a surveillance operation in Washington state to identify civilians who might be sharing illegal files. The 1878 Act prevents the U.S.Continue Reading

The Evolution of US Government Restrictions on Using and Exporting Encryption Technologies

CIA approved for release 9/12/2014 – redacted: The Evolution of US Government Restrictions on Using and Exporting Encryption Technologies, Michael Schwartzbeck. “In the last year, several academic, commercial, and free speech advocates have seriously jeopardized the US government’s legal right to control encryption.”

FBI Says Biometric Database has Reached “Full Operational Capability”

“The FBI announced that the Next Generation Identification system, one of the largest biometric databases in the world, has reached “full operational capability.” In 2013, EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit about the NGI program. EPIC obtained documents that revealed an acceptance of a 20% error rate in facial recognition searches. Earlier this year, EPIC joined a coalition ofContinue Reading

Treasure Map: The NSA Breach of Telekom and Other German Firms

Spiegel Online – Andy Müller-Maguhn, Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Michael Sontheimer:  [Treaure Map] “is the mandate for a massive raid on the digital world. It aims to map the Internet, and not just the large traffic channels, such as telecommunications cables. It also seeks to identify the devices across which our data flows, so-called routers. Furthermore, every single endContinue Reading

EPIC (Finally) Obtains Memos on Warrantless Wiretapping Program

“More than eight years after filing a Freedom of Information Act request for the legal justification behind the “Warrantless Wiretapping” program of President Bush, EPIC has now obtained a mostly unredacted version of two key memos (OLC54)and (OLC85) by former Justice Department official Jack Goldsmith. EPIC requested these memos just four hours after the New York Times broke the story about theContinue Reading

Newly Revealed NSA Program ICREACH Extends the NSA’s Reach Even Further

EFF:  Turns out, the DEA and FBI may know what medical conditions you have, whether you are having an affair, where you were last night, and more—all without any knowing that you have ever broken a law. That’s because the DEA and FBI, as part of over 1000 analysts at 23 U.S. intelligence agencies, have the abilityContinue Reading

The executive order that led to mass spying, as told by NSA alumni

Cyrus Farivar – Ars Technica: [Executive Order] 12333 is used to target foreigners abroad, and collection happens outside the US,” whistleblower John Tye, a former State Department official, told Ars recently. “My complaint is not that they’re using it to target Americans, my complaint is that the volume of incidental collection on US persons is unconstitutional.” The document, known inContinue Reading