"I don't think the report is true, but these crises work for those who want to make fights between people." Kulam Dastagir, 28, a bird seller in Afghanistan
[liberationtech] Why we can't go back to business as usual post-PRISM.
10:52 am EDT, Jun 11, 2013
Before the capability was made public, it _likely_ wouldn't have been used against mere political nuisances, at least not without the additional cost of creating a solid pretext for the resulting intelligence. But now this deterrent is gone: the burden of utter secrecy is reduced. And if these programs are not eliminated, greatly curtailed, or made moot, we can expect them to be employed much more freely.
This is an important point. I would add that a lot of people who might want to use the data in this database couldn't because they didn't know that it existed. Can any court in the land issue a court order subpoenaing records from this database? If so, its going to become a massive liability.
This abuse of the Patriot Act must end | Jim Sensenbrenner | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
10:40 am EDT, Jun 11, 2013
In his press conference on Friday, President Obama described the massive collection of phone and digital records as "two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress". But Congress has never specifically authorized these programs, and the Patriot Act was never intended to allow the daily spying the Obama administration is conducting.
Edward Snowden: Why the NSA whistleblower fled to Hong Kong - CSMonitor.com
12:16 am EDT, Jun 11, 2013
In the wake of the court ruling last March, the government cannot continue simply to follow rulings by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on the merits of an asylum claimant’s case, as it has always done until now.
The Court of Final Appeal ruled that the government must independently determine the validity of asylum claims, but the authorities have devised no system for doing so. Legislation setting up such a system would take “months if not years,” says Young, and any administrative plan the government instituted before a law was passed would be subject to challenge in the courts.
“Short of a criminal group getting to him, I think he is safe here,” Young adds.
Secrecy Undermines the Ability of Congress to Function as the Framers Intended - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic
11:58 pm EDT, Jun 10, 2013
The Senate, intended as a deliberative body, cannot deliberate when only the folks on the right committees are fully briefed, and the Ron Wyden types among them think what's happening is horribly wrong, but can't tell anyone why because it's illegal just to air the basic facts.
First-- as I said, I have great respect for Senator Wyden. I thought, though in retrospect, I was asked-- "When are you going to start-- stop beating your wife" kind of question, which is meaning not-- answerable necessarily by a simple yes or no. So I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner by saying no.
And again, to go back to my metaphor. What I was thinking of is looking at the Dewey Decimal numbers-- of those books in that metaphorical library-- to me, collection of U.S. persons' data would mean taking the book off the shelf and opening it up and reading it.
Apparently, "any data at all" does not include call record information, just content. Also,
And this has to do with of course somewhat of a semantic, perhaps some would say too-- too cute by half. But it is-- there are honest differences on the semantics of what-- when someone says "collection" to me, that has a specific meaning, which may have a different meaning to him.
PRISM tech exports: Will NSA revelations block American companies abroad.
9:25 am EDT, Jun 8, 2013
The wording here is cumbersome and typo pocked but this is an important observation:
Google Glass + NSA PRISM essentially amounts to a vision in which a foreign country is suddenly going to be flooded with American spy cameras. It seems easy to imagine any number of foreign governments having a problem with that idea.
More broadly, Google is already facing a variety of anti-trust issues in Europe, where basic economic nationalism is mixing with competition policy concerns. Basically, various European mapping and comparison and shopping firms don't want to be crushed by Google, and European officials are naturally sympathetic to the idea of not letting local firms be crushed by California-based ones. There is legitimate concern that U.S. tech companies are essentially a giant periscope for American intelligence agencies and seem like they'd be a very powerful new weapon in the hands of European companies that want to persuade EU authorities to shackle American firms.
Imagine if it had come out in the 1980s that Japanese intelligence agencies were tracking the location of ever Toyota and Honda vehicle, and then the big response from the Japanese government was to reassure people that Japanese citizens weren't being spied upon this way. There would have been—legitimately—massive political pressure to get Japanese cars out of foreign markets.
American dominance in the high-tech sector is first and foremost a source of national economic advantage, one that could be undone by excessive security involvement.
Officials: NSA mistakenly intercepted emails, phone calls of innocent Americans - Open Channel
7:44 am EDT, Jun 8, 2013
Apparently the word "collection" does not mean collection.
Asked by Wyden, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper replied, “Not wittingly. There are cases where they could, inadvertently perhaps collect-but not wittingly.”
Blair drew a distinction between the “collection” or mining of data on specific U.S. citizens by NSA and the massive trove of phone call information that was turned over to the NSA under a negotiated agreement among intelligence officials, the telecommunications companies and the FISA judges. The purpose of the FISA order was to store information in the event that U.S. intelligence agencies need to access it after getting specific intelligence that somebody in the U.S. might be tied to terrorism. It is only at that point, he explained, that the NSA goes back to the court to get permission to mine or “collect” the data.
DNI Statement on Recent Unauthorized Disclosures of Classified Information
4:26 pm EDT, Jun 7, 2013
By order of the FISC, the Government is prohibited from indiscriminately sifting through the telephony metadata acquired under the program. All information that is acquired under this program is subject to strict, court-imposed restrictions on review and handling. The court only allows the data to be queried when there is a reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts, that the particular basis for the query is associated with a foreign terrorist organization. Only specially cleared counterterrorism personnel specifically trained in the Court-approved procedures may even access the records.