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NSA Dodges Questions About Controversial “Backdoors” In Tech Products

Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing campaign exposed the National Security Agency in 2013 for having “backdoors” into commercial technology products. The US spy agency worked with some Silicon Valley tech firms to develop covert methods of bypassing the standard authentication or encryption process of a network device so it could scan internet traffic without a warrant.

Snowden revealed the NSA’s special sauce in how it conducted domestic and foreign backdoor operations to collect vital intelligence, resulted in the agency reforming its spying process, and had to formulate new rules to limit future breaches and how it conducts spy operations, three former intelligence officials told Reuters.

However, a recent inquiry into the new guidelines by Senator Ron Wyden, a top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, yielded absolutely nothing as the spy agency dodged questions.

“Secret encryption back doors are a threat to national security and the safety of our families – it’s only a matter of time before foreign hackers or criminals exploit them in ways that undermine American national security,” Wyden told Reuters.

“The government shouldn’t have any role in planting secret back doors in encryption technology used by Americans,” he continued:

The agency refused to comment on its updated policies on current backdoor processes. NSA officials did say they were in the rebuilding trust phase with the private sector.

“At NSA, it’s common practice to constantly assess processes to identify and determine best practices,” said Anne Neuberger, who heads NSA’s year-old Cybersecurity Directorate. “We don’t share specific processes and procedures.”

Three former senior intelligence agency officials told Reuters that before a backdoor operation is conducted, the agency must “weigh the potential fallout and arrange for some kind of warning if the back door gets discovered and manipulated by adversaries.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

They Are Rolling Out The Architecture Of Oppression Now Because They Fear The People

They Are Rolling Out The Architecture Of Oppression Now Because They Fear The People

“As authoritarianism spreads, as emergency laws proliferate, as we sacrifice our rights, we also sacrifice our capability to arrest the slide into a less liberal and less free world,” NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said in a recent interview. “Do you truly believe that when the first wave, this second wave, the 16th wave of the coronavirus is a long-forgotten memory, that these capabilities will not be kept? That these datasets will not be kept? No matter how it is being used, what is being built is the architecture of oppression.”

“Apple Inc. and Google unveiled a rare partnership to add technology to their smartphone platforms that will alert users if they have come into contact with a person with Covid-19,” reads a new report from Bloomberg. “People must opt in to the system, but it has the potential to monitor about a third of the world’s population.”

“World Health Organization executive director Dr. Michael Ryan said surveillance is part of what’s required for life to return to normal in a world without a vaccine. However, civil liberties experts warn that the public has little recourse to challenge these digital exercises of power once the immediate threat has passed,” reads a recent VentureBeatarticle titled “After coronavirus, AI could be central to our new normal“.


He is not wrong!

“Snowden Warns Governments Are Using Coronavirus to Build ‘the Architecture of Oppression’ “https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/bvge5q/snowden-warns-governments-are-using-coronavirus-to-build-the-architecture-of-oppression …Snowden Warns Governments Are Using Coronavirus to Build ‘the Architecture of Oppression’VICE co-founder Shane Smith interviews famed whistleblower Edward Snowden in “Shelter in Place,” a new series on VICE TV.vice.com


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Permanent Record: A Book Anyone Who Uses the Internet MUST Read

Permanent Record: A Book Anyone Who Uses the Internet MUST Read

Most of us recall the day in 2013 when the outrageous invasions into our privacy by the NSA were suddenly brought to light. Soon it was discovered that a young man named Edward Snowden was the person who had blown the whistle on the things he’d seen while working in the Intelligence Community for the National Security Agency.

The articles, while thorough, don’t show the entire gamut of just how deeply invasive the NSA actually is. Nor do they fully convey Snowden’s decision to go public.

In his recently released book, Permanent Record, he gives you insight that is too deep to be covered in newspapers.

It’s an excellent read.

The book is very well-written in a conversational style. Snowden digs deep and discusses his despair to discover how some of the programs he created were being used. He paints such a vivid picture of his angst, I felt discomfort for him. Who among us would really be able to give up everything in the attempt to right an egregious wrong?

Snowden’s job put him in a unique position to see the abuses of which most of us were blissfully unaware. Even the most paranoid among us probably didn’t fathom exactly how much information was being stored about us.

His personality shines through on the page. He was in his late 20s, in a relationship with a woman he truly loved. He was on the fast-track to success, and he was making money hand over fist.  And still, the things he saw during the dark hours of his work shift in “The Tunnel” preyed on his conscience until eventually, he felt that he had to act.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Edward Snowden and Turnkey Tyranny

snowden
Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden recently talked to Joe Rogan for nearly three hours.  Snowden has a book out (“Permanent Record“) about his life and his decision to become a whistleblower who exposed lies and crimes by the U.S. national security state.  As I watched Snowden’s interview, I jotted down notes and thoughts I had.  (The interview itself has more than seven million views on YouTube and rising, which is great to see.)  The term in my title, “turnkey tyranny,” is taken from the interview.

My intent here is not to summarize Snowden’s entire interview.  I want to focus on some points he made that I found especially revealing, pertinent, and insightful.

Without further ado, here are 12 points I took from this interview:

1.  People who reach the highest levels of government do so by being risk-averse.  Their goal is never to screw-up in a major way.  This mentality breeds cautiousness, mediocrity, and buck-passing.  (I saw the same in my 20 years in the U.S. military.)

2.  The American people are no longer partners of government.  We are subjects.  Our rights are routinely violated even as we become accustomed (or largely oblivious) to a form of turnkey tyranny.

3.  Intelligence agencies in the U.S. used 9/11 to enlarge their power.  They argued that 9/11 happened because there were “too many restrictions” on them.  This led to the PATRIOT Act and unconstitutional global mass surveillance, disguised as the price of being kept “safe” from terrorism.  Simultaneously, America’s 17 intelligence agencies wanted most of all not to be blamed for 9/11.  They wanted to ensure the buck stopped nowhere.  This was a goal they achieved.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Edward Snowden on the Joe Rogan Podcast–Says US Government Could Have Prevented 9/11

EDWARD SNOWDEN ON THE JOE ROGAN PODCAST – SAYS US GOVERNMENT COULD HAVE PREVENTED 9/11

Edward Snowden on the Joe Rogan Podcast – Says US Government Could Have Prevented 9/11

Since 2013 the real government whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has been in political asylum in Russia, where he continues to write books and tell his story of how as an employee of the NSA he discovered that the government was breaking the law in constructing a massive surveillance state. Today, the surveillance is such a ubiquitous par of our lives, that people have come to see it as a normal part of everyday life, and hardly any politician bothers to work against it. It’s here to stay, sadly.

Recently, Snowden published a book entitled Permanent Record, which was immediately attacked by the US government, prompting them to sue Snowden for all of the profits related to the book. The government does not want you to hear his message. Ironically, though, Permanent Record became an instant bestseller, and Snowden’s popularity has only increased in recent years.

In a newly released podcast by Joe Rogan, Snowden calls in from Russia, talking about his understanding of how corruption from within has led the permanent establishment of the massive and highly profitable surveillance state which has filled the coffers of defense contractors and corrupt politicians. Snowden discusses the fact that all three branches of the U.S government are corrupt and that for admirable government employees who witness government agencies breaking the law have no available channels to blow the whistle and get the truth out to the American people.

Interestingly, in the podcast Snowden also talks about his experience on 9/11 when he was working for a small business out of a house on Fort Meade near the DC metro area. He describes how the base, which is home to a vast portion of the U.S. Military’s intelligence apparatus, was immediately dispatched and the base cleared as soon as the events of the day began to unfold.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Snowden Spills: Infamous Whistleblower Opines On Spycraft, AI, And Being Suicided

Snowden Spills: Infamous Whistleblower Opines On Spycraft, AI, And Being Suicided

Edward Snowden has finally laid it all out – documenting his memoires in a new 432-page book, Permanent Record, which will be published worldwide on Tuesday, September 17. 

Meeting with both The Guardian and Spiegel Online in Moscow as part of its promotion, the infamous whistleblower spent nearly five hours with the two media outlets – offering a taste of what’s in the book, details on his background, and his thoughts on artificial intelligence, facial recognition, and other intelligence gathering tools coming to a dystopia near you. 

While The Guardian interview is ‘okay,’ scroll down for the far more interesting Spiegel interview, where Snowden goes way deeper into his cloak-and-dagger life, including thoughts on getting suicided. 

Manufacturing Slump May Spill Over Into Services: Continuum Economics

First, The Guardian:

Snowden describes in detail for the first time his background, and what led him to leak details of the secret programmes being run by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK’s secret communication headquarters, GCHQ.

He describes the 18 years since the September 11 attacks as “a litany of American destruction by way of American self-destruction, with the promulgation of secret policies, secret laws, secret courts and secret wars”.

Snowden also said: “The greatest danger still lies ahead, with the refinement of artificial intelligence capabilities, such as facial and pattern recognition.

An AI-equipped surveillance camera would be not a mere recording device, but could be made into something closer to an automated police officer.”  –The Guardian

Other notables from the Guardian interview: 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Doubts at the NSA: Shelving a Mass Surveillance Program

Doubts at the NSA:  Shelving a Mass Surveillance Program

Earlier this year, Luke Murry, national security adviser for Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, revealed that the National Security Agency had been averse over the last six months to using the phone surveillance program that hoovers information from millions of US phone calls and text messages.  This was hardly a comforting point; the issue spoke as much to competence as it did to any broader issue of warrantless surveillance of the good people in Freedom’s land.  Vast, cumbersome, and generally self-defeating, the essence of such programs is paranoid inefficiency.  Put it down to “technical issues”, suggested Murry.

The Call Details Records (CDR) program, hostile to liberties in its warrantless nature, has been a fixture of the US security landscape since 2001, when that nasty piece of legislation known as the USA PATRIOT ACT found its way onto the statue books.  The program was given legal approval by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to Section 215 of that dastardly piece of penmanship.

The extent of its operation was unveiled in dramatic fashion by Edward Snowden to media outlets in 2013, the surveillance system specific to gathering the metadata of domestic phone calls, a mosaic of caller, recipient and time of contact, has been the subject of scrutiny. There are numerous others, but this one came in for special attention.

As Elliot Harmer of the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains, “While these records don’t contain the actual contents of telephone calls, they do include phone numbers and call times and length – more than enough information to prove the NSA with a clear picture of our social relationships, interests and affiliations.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Price of Participating in Society is the Sacrifice of Privacy and Self

The Price of Participating in Society is the Sacrifice of Privacy and Self

In what is arguably one of the most craven opportunistic moves by a business/media group to increase its circulation/profitability, on 10 April the New York Times (NYT) embarked on what it describes as its Privacy ProjectA day later on 11 April, no doubt with the NYT’s foreknowledge of what was to come thanks to an unofficial US government tip, Ecuador revoked Julian Assange’s (Wikileaks founder) asylum in its UK Embassy and fed him to the British Police dogs eagerly awaiting to arrest him and dump him in jail.

In May 2017 I wrote that Assange was doomed from the get-go to be arrested and handed over to the US Government and that it would only be a matter of time before Edward Snowden befell a similar fate.

Chelsea Manning’s leaked information made WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, a household name. It also made them permanent enemies of the US State. In 2010, Assange released a video that he called Collateral Murder. The video shows an airstrike in which Iraqi journalists are killed. Other releases based on Manning’s leak were known as the Afghan Diary and Iraq War Logs. The diplomatic cables exposed some of the silly machinations of the US State Department and the over classification of documents.

Meanwhile, mainstream media (MSM) outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post feasted on the leaks and gave them prominent coverage daily, even as they excoriated Assange and his merry band of leakers. The MSM believes that WikiLeaks is not “real” journalism even as they used the classified material Assange provided to bolster their subscription numbers. Aren’t they accessories to Assange’s crime? Apparently they are not.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Warning Mr. Trump

Warning Mr. Trump

Pablo Picasso Crucifixion 1930

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500.

Mr. President,

I write to you because I’m seeing something unfold that concerns you, and I have no way of knowing if you’re aware of it, nor have I seen anyone else mention it. That is, sir, you are being set up, a trap is being set for you, and unless you are aware of it, you may well walk into that trap eyes wide open.

It may not be in your briefing this morning, but the WikiLeaks organization has reported that high-ranking Ecuadorean state officials have told them Julian Assange will be expelled from their London embassy in a matter of “hours to days”. Now, I don’t know what your personal opinion is of Mr. Assange, maybe you think he deserves punishment for leaking secret files to the public.

Your personal opinion of Mr. Assange, however, is not the most important issue here, no offense. What’s most important to your own situation, as well as that of Mr. Assange, is that the people who are after him are the very same people who have been after you for 3 years, and who will double their efforts after suffering a huge loss due to Robert Mueller’s No Collusion report.

What the trap set for you consists of is that if you let these -largely anonymous- deep state actors get their hands on Mr. Assange, you will greatly empower them (even further). But, sir, his enemies inside US intelligence are the same as yours, and empowering one’s enemies is not the way to do battle.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Whistleblowers say NSA still spies on American phones in hidden program

Whistleblowers say NSA still spies on American phones in hidden program

Meanwhile, the bulk of the NSA’s surveillance and “offensive” information warfare capabilities remain completely unknown

On Monday 4th, the New York Times reported that the National Security Agency has “quietly” shut down a controversial phone records surveillance program revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.

The claim was made by a senior Republican congressional aide who told the newspaper that the Trump administration had stopped using the program, which analyses the domestic call and text logs of American citizens, due to technical problems.

On Twitter Snowden hailed the news as a “victory”, while Intercept journalist Glen Greenwald, who broke the Snowden story to international acclaim, took the story at face value. Neither of them raised the obvious question — is the “shut down” of this program merely a smokescreen to continue spying on American phones under new or different secretive programs?

I used to take a victory lap every time one of these stories came out. It felt good to see history vindicate my decision to expose the government’s wrongdoing. Nowadays I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long to speak up. If only I hadn’t been so afraid.https://www.politics/nsa-phone-records-program-shut-down.html 

Since then, further doubt was cast on the NYT report when NSA chief General Paul Nakasone refused to confirm or deny the story. But he did tell a major security conference on Wednesday that the agency was still “in a deliberative process” about whether to use a revamped version of the vast database of American phone records.

All of this, however, is an elaborate ruse. According to two former top NSA officials interviewed by INSURGE, there is no credible reason to believe that NSA phone surveillance has truly been shut down.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

NSA Abandons Part Of Mass Surveillance Program Exposed By Snowden

NSA Abandons Part Of Mass Surveillance Program Exposed By Snowden

The National Security Agency (NSA) has reportedly abandoned part of their infamous surveillance apparatus exposed by former contractor Edward Snowden, and used for the mass collection of Americans’ communications records; including phone logs, metadata and text messages. 

The New York Times noted that House minority leader national security adviser Luke Murry told The Lawfare Podcast that the NSA “hasn’t actually been using it for the past six months,” and that he’s “not certain that the [Trump] administration will want to start that back up” (despite collecting 530 million US phone records in 2017)

Keep in mind, the NYT report isn’t claiming the NSA has abandoned other programs such as XKeyscore – which the agency uses to search and analyze global internet data. When asked by German broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk “What could you do if you would use XKeyscore?” Edward Snowden replied: 

You could read anyone’s email in the world, anybody you’ve got an email address for. Any website: You can watch traffic to and from it. Any computer that an individual sits at: You can watch it. Any laptop that you’re tracking: you can follow it as it moves from place to place throughout the world. It’s a one-stop-shop for access to the NSA’s information.

… You can tag individuals … Let’s say you work at a major German corporation and I want access to that network, I can track your username on a website on a form somewhere, I can track your real name, I can track associations with your friends and I can build what’s called a fingerprint, which is network activity unique to you, which means anywhere you go in the world, anywhere you try to sort of hide your online presence, your identity. –Edward Snowden

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Technology: Distracting, Disturbing, Deceiving & Deluding Ourselves to Death

TECHNOLOGY: DISTRACTING, DISTURBING, DECEIVING & DELUDING OURSELVES TO DEATH

“What Huxley teaches is that in the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. 

When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility.” ― Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Image result for huxley amusing ourselves to death

Something as mundane as using the restroom at work sometimes ends up triggering deeper thoughts about technology – its benefits, deficiencies and danger to our culture. I’ve been using the same restroom at work for the last twelve years. They remodeled the restroom a few years ago with the latest technology – automatic flushers, automatic soap dispensers, automatic spigots, and automatic towel dispenser. This technology is supposed to make things better, but from my perspective the technology just added complexity, glitches and unnecessary complications.

First off, these technological “improvements” did not eliminate any humans from the equation. The housekeepers responsible for the restrooms continued to be employed. Prior to the remodel they would fill a metal bin with individual paper towels and fill the soap dispenser with liquid soap. Now they have to insert a roll of paper towels in the electronic dispenser and a cartridge of soap in the electronic soap dispenser.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The National Security Agency Is A Criminal Organization

The National Security Agency Is A Criminal Organization

Years before Edward Snowden provided documented proof that the National Security Agency was really a national insecurity agency as it was violating law and the US Constitution and spying indiscriminately on American citizens, William Binney, who designed and developed the NSA spy program revealed the illegal and unconstitutional spying. Binney turned whistleblower, because NSA was using the program to spy on Americans. As Binney was well known to the US Congress, he did not think he needed any NSA document to make his case. But what he found out was “Congress would never hear me because then they’d lose plausible deniability. That was really their key. They needed to have plausible deniability so they can continue this massive spying program because it gave them power over everybody in the world. Even the members of Congress had power against others [in Congress]; they had power on judges on the Supreme Court, the federal judges, all of them. That’s why they’re so afraid. Everybody’s afraid because all this data that’s about them, the central agencies — the intelligence agencies — they have it. And that’s why Senator Schumer warned President Trump earlier, a few months ago, that he shouldn’t attack the intelligence community because they’ve got six ways to Sunday to come at you. That’s because it’s like J. Edgar Hoover on super steroids. . . . it’s leverage against every member of parliament and every government in the world.”

To prevent whistle-blowing, NSA has “a program now called ‘see something, say something’ about your fellow workers. That’s what the Stasi did. That’s why I call [NSA] the new New Stasi Agency. They’re picking up all the techniques from the Stasi and the KGB and the Gestapo and the SS. They just aren’t getting violent yet that we know of — internally in the US, outside is another story.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers

How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers

Speaking truth to power has ruined Darin Jones, a former FBI contract specialist who reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties. He should be the last federal whistleblower victimized, writes John Kiriakou.


The idea of “whistleblowing” has been in the news a great deal.

Is the anonymous author of a recent New York Times op-ed eviscerating the president a whistleblower?

Is the victim of an alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh a whistleblower?

I’m fortunate to have access to the media to talk about torture after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s program. I think Ed Snowden, Tom Drake and others would say the same thing about the aftermath of their own whistleblowing.

Cost of Doing the Right Thing

The problem is that we are the exception to the rule. Most whistleblowers either suffer in anonymity or are personally, professionally, socially and financially ruined for speaking truth to power. Darin Jones is one of those people. He’s one of the people silenced in Barack Obama’s war on whistleblowers. And he continues to suffer under Donald Trump.

Jones was an FBI supervisory contract specialist who in 2012 reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties to his superior. Jones maintained that Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) had been awarded a $40 million contract improperly because a former FBI official with responsibility for granting the contract then was hired as a consultant at CSC. Jones said, rightly, that this was a violation of the Procurement Integrity Act. He made seven other disclosures alleging financial improprieties in the FBI, and he was promptly fired for his troubles.

Remember, the United States has a Whistleblower Protection Act.  Any federal employee who brings to light evidence of waste, fraud, abuse, illegality, or threats to the public health or public safety is protected under federal statute.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Being Julian Assange

Being Julian Assange

As Julian Assange’s fate may soon be resolved, here’s an in-depth look at the history of WikiLeaks, the infiltration of activist communities and the strength & vulnerability of the world-changing publisher whose freedom is at stake, by Suzie Dawson.


Certain journalists would consult an almanac for Washington DC on the night of the 2016 election, and begin this article with a few picturesque, scene-setting words about the chill winds whipping the capital as it lay poised, awaiting the results with bated breath.

But I have more respect for my readers than that.

So I’ll cut to the chase.

That Election

In 2016 an accused serial sexual predator ran for the US presidency against the notoriously corrupt wife of a previously impeached President – who is also an accused serial sexual predator.

That these facts alone were insufficient to invalidate the entire race is testament to the audacity with which corrupt power operates in the West, and how conditioned the public is to consuming the warped byproducts of its naked machinations.

Arguably the most contentious election in recent history, the accused serial sexual predator won.

During the race, WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange aptly described the two candidates as “cholera vs gonorrhoea.” Edward Snowden ran a Twitter poll asking his followers whether they would rather vote for a “calculating villain”, an “unthinking monster” or “literally anyone else”. 67% chose the latter. Yet those who didn’t want to be forced into a false choice between Clinton or Trump became the forgotten voices, the silent majority; largely excluded from the endless, vapid mainstream media debates about the outcome.

Julian and Edward’s descriptors were flawless metaphors for the Presidential contestants; cartoon-like characters that when paired together and portrayed as a legitimate democratic choice, made a mockery of the entire concept of political representation.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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