Writers, media self-censoring because of NSA spying

This video says about itself:

Self-censored UK media frightened to show true outrage with global spying

27 October 2013

“The snowballing global surveillance scandal has left the world leaders with no choice other than express discontent with NSA programs, despite the fact their own intelligence agencies are involved, former MI-5 whistleblower Annie Machon told RT.

The latest Snowden revelation uncovered that the UK’s intelligence agency GCHQ was doing whatever it could to prevent the media from igniting a “damaging public debate” and the subsequent possibility of a legal threat over its own surveillance practices and cooperation with the NSA.

Annie Machon told RT that UK’s system of “self-censorship” when reporting on sensitive defense topics is somewhat unique in most Western democratic countries.”

From Crooks and Liars in the USA:

Writers: We’re Self-Censoring Because Of Government Surveillance

By Susie Madrak

January 5, 2015 2:00 pm

The survey, released Monday, was conducted anonymously online in fall 2014.

I’ve absolutely seen this with my writer friends, and I know I’m a lot less likely to put my thoughts in writing than I used to. Of course it creates a creative chill:

A survey of writers around the world by the PEN American Center has found that a significant majority said they were deeply concerned with government surveillance, with many reporting that they have avoided, or have considered avoiding, controversial topics in their work or in personal communications as a result.

The findings show that writers consider freedom of expression to be under significant threat around the world in democratic and nondemocratic countries. Some 75 percent of respondents in countries classified as “free,” 84 percent in “partly free” countries, and 80 percent in countries that were “not free” said that they were “very” or “somewhat” worried about government surveillance in their countries.

The survey, which will be released Monday, was conducted anonymously online in fall 2014 and yielded 772 responses from fiction and nonfiction writers and related professionals, including translators and editors, in 50 countries.

Smaller numbers said they avoided or considered avoiding writing or speaking on certain subjects, with 34 percent in countries classified as free, 44 percent in partly free countries and 61 percent in not free countries reporting self-censorship. Respondents in similar percentages reported curtailing social media activity, or said they were considering it, because of surveillance.

The survey included only writers affiliated with PEN, the writers’ group emphasizing freedom of expression, and others the group was able to contact, and did not necessarily reflect the views of all writers. But the executive director of the PEN American Center, Suzanne Nossel, said that the findings, taken together with those of a 2013 PEN survey of writers in the United States, indicate that mass surveillance is significantly damaging free expression and the free flow of information around the world.

ALL YOUR EMAILS OVER SIX MONTHS OLD ARE FAIR GAME FOR THE GOVERNMENT “The federal government can read any emails that are more than six months old without a warrant. Little known to most Americans, ambiguous language in a communications law passed in 1986 extends Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure only to electronic communications sent or received fewer than 180 days ago. The language, known as the ‘180-day rule,’ allows government officials to treat any emails, text messages or documents stored on remote servers — popularly known as the cloud — as ‘abandoned’ and therefore accessible using administrative subpoena power, a tactic that critics say circumvents due process.” [McClatchy]

NSA’S WORLDWIDE SPYING PROGRAM “The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.” [Reuters]

A shadowy hacking unit likely run by the US National Security Agency (NSA) or other spy agencies has deployed an arsenal of sophisticated spyware against computers and networks of foreign governments, research programs and corporations beginning in at least 2001, according to a report released Monday by Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky: here.

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 Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden: here.

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