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Category Archives: Patriot Act

Report – Metadata collection of Americans’ international calls began in 1992

Brad Health – USAToday: “The U.S. government started keeping secret records of Americans’ international telephone calls nearly a decade before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, harvesting billions of calls in a program that provided a blueprint for the far broader National Security Agency surveillance that followed. For more than two decades, the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed logs of virtually all telephone calls from the USA to as many as 116 countries linked to drug trafficking, current and former officials involved with the operation said. The targeted countries changed over time but included Canada, Mexico and most of Central and South America. Federal investigators used the call records to track drug cartels’ distribution networks in the USA, allowing agents to detect previously unknown trafficking rings and money handlers. They also used the records to help rule out foreign ties to the bombing in 1995 of a federal building in Oklahoma City and to identify U.S. suspects in a wide range of other investigations. The Justice Department revealed in January that the DEA had collected data about calls to “designated foreign countries.” But the history and vast scale of that operation have not been disclosed until now.”

CRS – Cyberwarfare and Cyberterrorism

Cyberwarfare and Cyberterrorism: In Brief, Catherine A. Theohary, Specialist in National Security, Policy and Information Operations. John W. Rollins, Specialist in Terrorism and National Security. March 27, 2015. “Recent incidents have highlighted the lack of consensus internationally on what defines a cyberattack, an act of war in cyberspace, or cyberterrorism. Cyberwar is typically conceptualized asContinue Reading

The Intercept – TSA’s Secret Behavior Checklist to Spot Terrorists

Jana Winter and Cora Currier – The Intercept: “Fidgeting, whistling, sweaty palms. Add one point each. Arrogance, a cold penetrating stare, and rigid posture, two points. These are just a few of the suspicious signs that the Transportation Security Administration directs its officers to look out for — and score — in airport travelers, accordingContinue Reading

StingRay surveillance device intercepts a cellphone signals, capture texts, calls, emails and other data

NYT – A Police Gadget Tracks Phones? Shhh! It’s Secret – “A powerful new surveillance tool being adopted by police departments across the country comes with an unusual requirement: To buy it, law enforcement officials must sign a nondisclosure agreement preventing them from saying almost anything about the technology… The technology goes by various names,Continue Reading

Senate Committee Approves Cyber Surveillance Bill

EPIC – “In a closed-door meeting, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence approved the Cyber Information Sharing Act of 2015. The bill would allow the government to obtain user information from private companies without judicial oversight. Companies would receive immunity for their disregard of existing privacy law. Senator Wyden, who opposed the measure, stated, “IfContinue Reading

Privacy elements of Apple mobile devices targeted in ongoing surveillance program

The Intercept: “Researchers working with the Central Intelligence Agency have conducted a multi-year, sustained effort to break the security of Apple’s iPhones and iPads, according to top-secret documents obtained by The Intercept. The security researchers presented their latest tactics and achievements at a secret annual gathering, called the “Jamboree,” where attendees discussed strategies for exploitingContinue Reading

Wikimeida Foundation joined by civil rights groups in lawsuit against NSA surveillance

The Guardian – “The Wikimedia Foundation, Amnesty International and a host of civil rights groups sued the National Security Agency and the US Department of Justice on Tuesday challenging the mass surveillance programme uncovered by whistleblower Edward Snowden. “We’re filing suit today on behalf of our readers and editors everywhere,” said Jimmy Wales, founder ofContinue Reading

Report – Largest global manufacturer of SIM cards hacked

The Intercept – Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley – “American and British spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security AgencyContinue Reading

EFF – In a First, Government Acknowledges the Limits of Section 215

“Following EFF’s victory in a four-year Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the government released an opinion, written by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in 2010, that concluded that Section 215—the provision of the Patriot Act the NSA relies on to collect millions of Americans’ phone records—does have a limit: census date The Commerce DepartmentContinue Reading

Council of Europe Report on Mass Surveillance

Provisional version – Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights – Mass surveillance. Rapporteur: Mr Pieter Omtzigt, Netherlands, Group of the European People’s Party. “Our freedom is built on what others do not know of our existences” Alexandr Solzhenitsyn. A Draft resolution 1. The Parliamentary Assembly is deeply concerned about mass surveillance practices disclosed sinceContinue Reading

EFF Joins Coalition to Launch Canarywatch.org

“Warrant canary” is a colloquial term for a regularly published statement that an internet service provider (ISP) has not received legal process that it would be prohibited from saying it had received, such as a national security letter. The term “warrant canary” is a reference to the canaries used to provide warnings in coalmines, whichContinue Reading

Privacy Board Renews Call for President Obama to End Bulk Collection

EPIC – “The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board released a report on prior recommendations regarding the NSA’s domestic and global surveillance programs. The Board stated that the Obama Administration has failed to end the domestic telephone collection program. The Board stated, “the Administration can end the bulk telephone records program at any time, withoutContinue Reading