Skyway Global LLC, the St. Petersburg, FL company that owned the DC-9 airline busted in Mexico carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine, made its headquarters in a 79,000 sq ft building owned by Verint Systems (NASDAQ: VRNT), a foreign tele-communications company with a contract to wiretap the U.S. for the NSA through the communication lines of Verizon, which handles almost half of all landline and cell phone calls in the U.S. Read original article at www.madcowprod.com
One firm says its “massive passive monitoring” equipment can “capture up to 1bn intercepts a day”.
Data is the currency of surveillance, and it’s not just the NSA and GCHQ looking to cash in. As a newly released cache of documents and presentation materials highlights, the private surveillance industry is booming. More shocking is that many firms claim in their own corporate PowerPoints that they’ve got capabilities that rival that of the government giants.
by Edward Snowden, November 04, 2013
This article by Edward Snowden was published a week ago Sunday in Der Spiegel.
In a very short time, the world has learned much about unaccountable secret agencies and about sometimes illegal surveillance programs. Sometimes the agencies even deliberately try to hide their surveillance of high officials or the public. While the NSA and GCHQ seem to be the worst offenders – this is what the currently available documents suggest – we must not forget that mass surveillance is a global problem in need of global solutions.
Such programs are not only a threat to privacy, they also threaten freedom of speech and open societies. The existence of spy technology should not determine policy. We have a moral duty to ensure that our laws and values limit monitoring programs and protect human rights.
Society can only understand and control these problems through an open, respectful and informed debate. At first, some governments feeling embarrassed by the revelations of mass surveillance initiated an unprecedented campaign of persecution to supress this debate. They intimidated journalists and criminalized publishing the truth. At this point, the public was not yet able to evaluate the benefits of the revelations. They relied on their governments to decide correctly.
Today we know that this was a mistake and that such action does not serve the public interest. The debate which they wanted to prevent will now take place in countries around the world. And instead of doing harm, the societal benefits of this new public knowledge is now clear, since reforms are now proposed in the form of increased oversight and new legislation.
Citizens have to fight suppression of information on matters of vital public importance. To tell the truth is not a crime.
Good article By Patrick Smith on the role of our press in the face of the Surveillance State:
The second half of the question, then. It appears that many among us are not prepared to consider as we should what the country is doing in our names and what we are allowing to be done to us (and others, of course). This matter extends well beyond secrets and intrusions. Snowden’s most fundamental threat—or value, depending on where one sits—is to show us the true extent of our democracy’s subversion and the collapse of the ethos that must be in place to propel it.
There is definitely a motivation for major technology companies to provide a verifiably secure means of allowing users to communicate securely without an ability for the companies to provide access to security agencies, even if requested to. Two companies, Silent Circle and Lavabit, have come together to form the Dark Mail alliance in an attempt to do exactly this.
Security analyst Bruce Schneier has outlined five pieces of advice for those wishing to remain secure from the NSA and other agencies.
You and I can’t read the text of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, and presumably neither have the editors of The Times. But that is not stopping them from endorsing it. This reminds me of how some legislators are endorsing NSA spying tactics without knowing what those tactics are.
Via EFF.org: The New York Times’ editorial board has made a disappointing endorsement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), even as the actual text of the agreement remains secret. That raises two distressing possibilities: either in an act of extraordinary subservience, the Times has endorsed an agreement that neither the public nor its editors have the ability to read. Or, in an act of extraordinary cowardice, it has obtained a copy of the secret text and hasn’t yet fulfilled its duty to the public interest to publish it.
You do have something to hide, and you should be worried. But more about you in a minute.
More importantly, lot’s of people that directly effect your life have something to hide. Or someone they love does. And they can be controlled far more certainly by misuse of the surveillance state than by a stockholder or a voter.
The political leaders you vote for can be controlled by the surveillance state at even the highest level. They can be bribed by feeding them dirt on an opponent. They can be blackmailed to vote a certain way, award a contract to a certain company, or to generally support the interest of the blackmailer over the voters.
The leaders of businesses in which you invest can be controlled by the surveillance state. They can be spied upon by private workers contracted to the NSA. Contractors paid by conglomerates that also hold interests in other businesses, businesses that might compete with those in which you invest. Insider trading on a massive scale would be a snap as well.
Eric Snowden is proof that there is little oversight within the agency to keep these things from happening. Considering the events within the financial and political world in recent years, it doesn’t seem far fetched to think that some of them have already happened.
And now back to you. Maybe you don’t have anything to hide, or do anything illegal right now. But with unlimited data retention it doesn’t matter. Because the political beliefs you hold right now could be considered treasonous in the future. Because a website you visit right now, could be deemed dangerously radical in the future. And just because all of your social behaviors fall within the norm right now, does not mean they will in twenty years. A future reality of retroactive criminal prosecution seems to align quite well in a state that conducts total surveillance and holds the data forever.
via rt.com: Only 35 percent still see Washington as a reliable partner – a drop of 14 percent since July, according to a survey conducted by public broadcaster ARD and Die Welt daily. This year’s figures are a massive drop from the situation at the start of President Barack Obama’s presidency, when he was given an enthusiastic welcome on his first official visit to Berlin, and 76 percent of Germans said they trusted the US government in a Nov. 2009 poll.
Via Just Security.org, Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director at the American Civil Liberties Union and Director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy writes:
There’s a significant discrepancy, one that deserves more attention, between what the NSA told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court five years ago about the call-tracking program and what the agency is telling ordinary federal courts about the program now. It told the FISC five years ago that the program was indispensable, but it’s saying something quite different today.