British spying services violate human rights, court rules


This 13 September 2018 video says about itself:

UK mass surveillance regime violates human rights, declares landmark court ruling

The UK government’s mass surveillance regime violates human rights, Europe’s highest court ruled today. In a landmark 5-2 vote, the European Court of Human Rights declared there is “insufficient oversight” and “inadequate safeguards” over the government’s ‘bulk interception’ of its own citizens’ phone records.

It also found 6-1 that the UK’s regime for obtaining communications data from service providers “was not in accordance with the law”. And judges ruled there were “insufficient safeguards” for journalistic material in the UK government’s policy.

Today’s challenge, led by the campaign group Big Brother Watch, came in the wake of revelations about surveillance tactics by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Judges found aspects of the UK policy breached two articles of the European Convention on Human Rights – Article 8 (the right to private life) and Article 10 (free expression).

Not every aspect of the challenge was successful. Judges said the operation of a bulk interception regime would not in itself breach the Convention. And there was no breach in the UK’s regime for sharing intelligence with foreign governments, judges said.

The European Court of Human Rights is separate to the EU and has more member states. The Convention was written into British law two decades ago by the last Labour government in the Human Rights act.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

British intelligence service work violated human rights

The powers of the British intelligence services went too far and were in conflict with human rights. That is what the European Court of Human Rights judges. The verdict is a victory for the civil rights movements and journalist organizations that had filed the case.

The case was filed as a result of documents that were published via the American whistleblower Edward Snowden. This contained a lot of information about the activities of the British intelligence services.

The court ruled that intelligence services are allowed to collect private information on a large scale, but that there was too little oversight.

Journalists

In addition, too little attention was paid to protecting confidential information of journalists. There were not enough guarantees to ensure that this information was kept safe.

On another point, the complainants did not get what they wanted. According to the court there was nothing wrong with the information exchange with other countries.

British spooks breached citizens’ right to privacy: here.

Torture victims unlawfully excluded by Home Office‘s new definition, High Court hears, by Sam Tobin in London.

Advertisements

Trump’s Big Bother anti-immigrant witch-hunt


This video from the USA says about itself:

ICE Teams Up With Big Brother

7 June 2018

ICE is watching you. Ana Kasparian, Kim Horcher, and Mark Thompson, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has signed a $2.4 million contract with a little-known surveillance company that mines communications data and provides “real-time” tracking.

Data published on the U.S. government’s spending website shows the Department of Homeland Security contracted Pen-Link Ltd. (PenLink), a software company that develops communications surveillance collection systems, on June 4 with ICE listed as the contracting subagency.

PenLink provides software that allows enforcement bodies to collect and analyze “massive amounts of social media and internet communications data”, as well as collect wiretap intercepts “in real-time” for “tracking” and “live monitoring”, according to its website.

Julian Sanchez, a privacy and surveillance expert with the Cato Institute, said the company appears to specialize in telephone data analysis and geolocation data mining and tracking that could potentially determine where people are “within a block” of a cell tower.”

Read more here.

On Tuesday, some 200 agents from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) carried out Gestapo-style raids on two workplaces in northern Ohio. The heavily armed border agents arrested 114 people, including children and US citizens. Shocked and outraged co-workers shouted at the border police to let the arrested workers go, to no avail. By a single act of mass terror, the US government shattered the lives of hundreds of parents, children, spouses and siblings: here.

Trump administration, more NSA spying


This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Admin Puts Warrantless NSA Spying On Steroids

8 May 2018

The National Security Agency collected more than 530 million U.S. call records in 2017, representing a dramatic increase over the previous year.

According to an annual transparency report released Friday, the spy agency collected 534 million call records in 2017, more than three times the 151 million collected in 2016. The new statistics were first reported by Reuters.

The report, released Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is mandated by the USA Freedom Act passed by Congress in 2015 that aimed to restrict and boost oversight of the spy agency’s surveillance program.

Read more here.

New Facebook privacy scandal


This video says about itself:

Snowden’s Message on Facebook’s data leak scandal with Cambridge Analytica

23 March 2018

Whistleblower Edward Snowden speaks on Facebook’s data leak scandal with Cambridge Analytica within his recent interview on March 11, 2018. Snowden gives realistic understanding on the format of using user’s data by social networks, such as Facebook. So Snowden technically joined the #DELETEFACEBOOK movement.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

United States Facebook accused of harvesting Android users’ data

FACEBOOK faced new questions today about collecting phone numbers and text messages from Android devices.

The revelations are embarrassing following the US-based internet giant’s apologies in US and British newspapers for exposing users’ data to Cambridge Analytica, a consultancy firm which worked with the Donald Trump campaign in the US …

The website Ars Technica reports that Android users who checked data gathered by Facebook on them found that it had years of contact names, numbers, call lengths and text recipients.

Messages were left on Sunday seeking comment about security from Google officials, who make the Android operating system.

Reports of the data collection came as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took out ads in multiple US and British Sunday newspapers to apologise for the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The ads say the social media platform doesn’t deserve to hold personal information if it can’t protect it.

According to the ads, a quiz app built by a Cambridge University researcher leaked Facebook data of millions of people four years ago.

Cambridge Analytica got the data from a researcher who paid 270,000 Facebook users to complete a psychological profile quiz in 2014. But the quiz gathered information on their friends as well, bringing the total number of people affected to about 50 million.

The Trump campaign paid the firm $6 million (£4.2m) during the 2016 election.

Why Facebook’s scandals won’t go away.

Why people are staying on Facebook despite it’s obvious awfulness.

Britain: Police ‘hoovering up’ personal data from innocent’s mobile phones: here.

Young people don’t want to become spies


This video says about itself:

Welcome to Haven: Snowden launches spy-blocking smart phone app

26 December 2017

A new app developed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden promises to harness the surveillance power of your smart phone and turn it into a tiny security system to physically guard your data. Read more here.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

For the British intelligence service GCHQ finds it more and more difficult to recruit staff, because well-trained cyberspecialists more often opt for better paid jobs at tech giants like Facebook and Google. They pay up to five times more than the government, according to a study by a British parliamentary committee.

The GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) says they need more and more staff …

The staff shortage among cyberspecialists at the GHCQ is around 20 percent. In 2016, 51 experts worked at the service and by 2018, according to the service, they should be 110. …

The intelligence services in the Netherlands also find it difficult to find staff. The military spying service MIVD also said early this year that a lot of young talent chooses to work in business.

“After all the revelations by, for example, Snowden, which exposed secret spying activities of the American intelligence service NSA, many cyberspecialists in training have their reservations about being hired by national intelligence services. Do I really want to work for such an organization? they think”, says [Delft university cybersecurity professor] Van Eeten in the NOS Radio 1 news.

British, Dutch governments spying on citizens


This 2014 video is called NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden says UK surveillance law “defies belief” | Guardian Interview.

By Julian Vigo in Britain:

British and Dutch states challenged on snooping

Thursday 23rd November 2017

As Liberty in the UK and Sleepwet in the Netherlands challenge the extent of state surveillance, JULIAN VIGO calls for public advocacy and local activism to protect the rights of privacy

The UK’s new web spying rules are taking shape despite the legislation governing it, the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA), having become law late last year. There is so much left unresolved about what this Act represents.

For instance, the IPA, also known as the “snoopers’ charter”, represents a massive extension of the surveillance power of the state. It requires internet companies to keep customers’ web traffic history for 12 months.

It also gives spying agencies and police powers the ability to conduct the mass hacking of IT infrastructures, personal computers, smartphones and any electronic device.

Just a year ago, National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden labelled this as “the most extreme surveillance in the history of Western democracy. It goes further than many autocracies.”

So why are the British not reacting?

The Dutch are set to have a national referendum about similar mass-surveillance after opponents of this “dragnet law,” or Sleepwet, gained enough signatures to demand a public vote.

According to Dutch law the government must hold a non-binding referendum on any issue if the country’s voting commission receives 300,000 signatures in request of such a vote. The campaigners of Sleepwet got over 417,000 signatures of which, the commission said, 384,126 were valid.

The regulator recommended in October that the referendum should take place on March 21 in order to coincide with municipal elections.

In July of this year, the Dutch senate cleared the Intelligence and Security Agencies Act which is quite similar to the UK’s Investigatory Powers Act.

It expands the governments’ powers to monitor all the data which moves through the country’s internet infrastructure.

Like the IPA, this law would also grant the government broad device-hacking powers, which means, practically speaking, that the government would have the legal authority to hack an entire town if it so chooses.

The organisers of Sleepwet claim that they are not trying to abolish the law, but they insist that there needs to be a legal basis for any targeted surveillance and they worry about the infringement of the basic rights to privacy and security.

As in the UK, one of the major concerns is the “untargeted interception of cable traffic and automated analysis of that data, which is basically mass surveillance,” according to Nina Boelsums, one of the five university students who initiated the call for a referendum.

Boelsums also calls into the question the hacking of third parties which she calls “an incentive for the intelligence agencies to collect zero-day vulnerabilities,” adding, “security experts are worried that that will actually make us less secure.”

What this also means is that data from all personal social media accounts, banking details, online purchases, social media, and personal information (ie sexual preferences, where your children go to school, etc) will be accessible to the government.

Like Sleepwet in the Netherlands, Liberty in the United Kingdom received more than 200,000 signatures on a petition calling for the repeal of the IPA after it became law last year.

Liberty has launched a legal challenge against the British government and this summer received the go-ahead from the High Court to challenge part of the government’s extreme mass surveillance regime with a judicial review of the IPA.

While groups like Amnesty International have called for an end to such legislation in the UK, they have been equally active in the Netherlands where the referendum was welcomed as a victory, albeit temporary, over the mass surveillance of people who pose no threat to national security.

The outcomes of Liberty’s lawsuit in the UK and Sleepwet’s referendum in the Netherlands are yet to be seen. But it will take public advocacy and local activism if we are to protect the basic rights of privacy and freedom from surveillance.

Britain: Liberty battles to stop ‘illegal’ state snooping. Human Rights Group heads to High Court for landmark bid to halt ‘intrusive’ Investigatory Power Act: here.

Britain: The dangers of data collection. JULIAN VIGO assesses the importance of Liberty’s challenge to the government’s Investigatory Powers Act.

United States NSA-derived malware damaging Internet again


This video says about itself:

28 June 2017

The latest cyberattack has spread rapidly across the world, affecting banks, retailers and major energy firms. Experts say ransomware known as Petya appears to be behind the computer meltdown. And whistleblower Edward Snowden says the US government [the NSA] developed the sophisticated hacking tools that are being used in this attack. Sara Firth reports.

By Kevin Reed:

Petya ransomware attack shuts down computers in 65 countries

29 June 2017

In the second massive cyberattack in 44 days, both originating from malicious software developed by the US National Security Agency, personal computers in at least 65 countries were shut down Tuesday by an epidemic of ransomware known as Petya.

The attack had its greatest impact and first manifestation in Ukraine, where an estimated 12,500 computer systems were infected. Initial reports of the malware came when Ukrainian computer users attempted to update their copies of the tax and accounting software MeDoc. From there, the ransomware spread quickly all over the world, with major outages reported in Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Russia and the United States.

Among the corporations hit by the attack were the American pharmaceutical giant Merck, the British advertising agency WPP, the French multinational Saint-Gobain, the Russian steel and mining company Evraz and the Australian factory of the chocolate company Cadbury. In Ukraine, government ministries, ATMs and transit and airports systems were paralyzed and workers at the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site were forced to monitor radiation levels manually because their computers became inoperable.

In the US, Heritage Valley Health Systems, a Pennsylvania health care provider, was forced to cancel operations at its hospitals in Beaver and Sewickley due to the computer outage caused by Petya. According to some security experts, the latest ransomware attack represents a more sophisticated and lethal application of the malware than previously encountered.

The Petya ransomware causes computers to stop functioning and brings up a red screen with white letters that says the hard disks on the system have been encrypted with “military grade encryption.” The files on the system will be restored, the message explains, only in exchange for a payment of $300 in bitcoin electronic currency to a specified email address. It is not clear if making the ransom payment leads to the restoration of file access.

Once cybersecurity experts identified the email account, it was shut down.

The virus attacks Windows-based computers by taking advantage of the EternalBlue vulnerability. EternalBlue is known as an “exploit” or “bug” in the Windows operating system that can be used to cause unexpected behavior. Although Microsoft had released security updates to address the EternalBlue issue when they became aware of the problem last March, the latest attack is a “new variant” of Petya that can circumvent previous software patches.

Once a single system has been infected, the ransomware has the ability to move from computer to computer on a network without users doing anything. The Petya virus also has the ability to utilize unprotected machines to access networking features and infect machines that have been previously protected. Because of these innovations, some security experts are referring to the new ransomware as GoldenEye.

It is well known that the EternalBlue exploit was developed by the NSA as part of its arsenal of cyberwarfare weaponry for use against the rivals of US imperialism. Due to a combination of recklessness and stupidity, however, the NSA’s arsenal servers were hacked earlier this year and the tools were stolen by as-of-yet unidentified hackers.

In April, an Internet group known as Shadow Brokers published information about the NSA arsenal, including details about exploits that take advantage of vulnerabilities in enterprise firewalls, anti-virus products and Microsoft software.

The Petya attack comes less than two months after the outbreak in early May of the WannaCry ransomware, which spread around the world in a similar manner. In that instance, the malware shut down hundreds of thousands of computers in more than 150 countries.

So far, the NSA has not acknowledged any responsibility for the malware code that has now disrupted the economy in countless countries and endangered the lives of millions of people on two separate occasions. Computer security experts are coming forward in increasing numbers to demand that the NSA work with specialists to help defend computer systems from the destructive mayhem that the agency has unleashed upon society.

Mexican government uses malware to spy on journalists and political opponents: here.