"In time of crisis, the government will exercise its power to conduct domestic intelligence activities to the fullest extent. The distinction between legal dissent and criminal conduct is easily forgotten," ~ The Senate panel, known as the "Church committee" after its chairman, Sen. Frank Church, D-Idaho, warned that technological advances would make it even harder for the government to stay within acceptable limits of respecting privacy rights, especially when the nation is at risk of attack.
"No one was surprised that the NSA was collecting phone records. What's surprising is that they were authorised to collect the records of an entire nation. The only reason the bulk collection lasted as long as it did is because it was under secret law."
“It’s just the excuse. It’s about social and economic control.” True, as was slavery in the U.S., the holocaust under Nazi Germany, apartheid in South Africa and so forth; U.S. mega surveillance is also legal. The definition of “wrong” can change very quickly, especially if you have no way to defend yourself, or even know you’re under suspicion.
The Alien & Sedition Acts were 4 bills, that challenged the Bill of Rights, and was passed by the Federalist-dominated 5th US Congress and signed into law by President John Adams in 1798. Clearly, the Federalists saw foreigners as a deep threat to American security. The Naturalization Act of 1798, increased the period necessary for “any alien, being a free white person” to become naturalized citizens in the United States from 5 to 14 years.
In the UK, for a population of 62 million, there are 6 million CCTVs throughout the country, with 6 lakh in Metropolitan London alone. This means for every 11 persons, there’s one CCTV camera.
Ralph Nader’s exposes, the My Lai massacre’s whistleblowers, Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers leaks, and Deep Throat, created a popular counter-narrative, turning turncoats into flag-wavers.
"What the Americans want is 2017 - drop a pin on Google maps and hit share. You know where your friend is and he knows where your house is and how to get to it."
U.S. snooping has a history older than the republic. With the help of a code-breaker, George Washington deciphered British messages during the critical siege of Yorktown. At least three times he planted false war plans and military documents on agents in successful bids to deceive the British.
The Cipher Bureau otherwise known as The Black Chamber was the United States' first peacetime cryptanalytic organization, and a forerunner of the National Security Agency. The only prior codes and cypher organizations maintained by the US government had been some intermittent, and always abandoned, attempts by Armed Forces branches prior to World War I.
Headed by Herbert O. Yardley (1889–1958), it was founded in May 1919 following World War I. Yardley had commanded the Army cryptographic section of Military Intelligence (MI-8) during World War I. MI-8 was disbanded after the war. Jointly funded by the Army and the State Department, the Cipher Bureau was disguised as a New York City commercial code company; it actually produced and sold such codes for business use. It’s true mission, however, was to break the communications (chiefly diplomatic) of other nations. Its most notable known success was during the Washington Naval Conference during which it aided American negotiators considerably by providing them with the decrypted traffic of many of the Conference delegations, most notably the Japanese.
In 1929, the State Department withdrew its share of the funding, the Army declined to bear the entire load, and the Black Chamber closed down the Cipher Bureau. In his much later memoirs, then new Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson said that: "Gentlemen do not read each other's mail." His views on the worth of cryptanalysis had changed by the time he became Secretary of War during World War II, before and during which he, and the entire US command structure, relied heavily on decrypted enemy communications.
In 1931, and in need of money, Yardley wrote a book about the Cipher Bureau, entitled The American Black Chamber. Yardley was the proud father of that surveillance state, creating the forerunner of the National Security Agency. (He had persuaded the head of military intelligence to admit him to the army to set up MI-8, a new cryptographic bureau.) He published a blockbuster book after the government decided that reading private messages was not in keeping with American values.
The term "Black Chamber" predates Yardley's use of it in the title of his book. The first in a long line of cabinet noirs was established by King Henry IV of France in 1590 as part of the Poste aux Lettres. Its mission was to open, read and reseal letters, and great expertise was developed in the restoration of broken seals. In the knowledge that mail was being opened, correspondents began to develop systems to encrypt and decrypt their letters, the breaking of these codes giving birth to modern systematic scientific code breaking.
The Black Chambers survived through to the Twentieth Century in a variety of guises and inspired similar organisations in other countries, such as the "Secret Office" of the British Post Office, and it is within this historical framework that Yardley uses the term. (Also in Britain after 1920 telegraph companies had to hand over telegrams requested with a warrant.) Britain’s military code-breaking operation, Room 40, helped usher the United States into the war, without American leaders having any idea of its precise role. The unit made copies of every message that went over America’s trans-Atlantic telegraph cable by tapping into all traffic that passed through a relay station at Porthcurno, on the western edge of England, before they travelled across the ocean.
It was also used at about that time in Poland.
William F. Friedman, Yardley's rival, was helping to prepare America for the age of (temporarily) unbreakable cipher machines, including Enigma, that would later play a vital role in the WW2.
In the 19th century – the first half of the 20th century the scholars debated the relative importance of land (Halford Mackinder, the heartland theory) or sea power (Nicolas John Spykman, the conception of Rimland) for global leadership.
The control over air and space started to be normally seen as crucial in the second half of the 20th century. The NSA was born in 1952, under Harry Truman.
The XXI century started with the maxim defining the control over cyberspace as the key to world dominance. The use of large-scale violence against civilians to achieve political goals was a hallmark of the Reagan "playbook," employed not just in Nicaragua but in countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and Angola.
United States' playbook during the Ronald Reagan presidency, when the Soviet empire began to unravel thanks to a relentless US covert-action campaign. Rather than confront Moscow head-on, Reagan nibbled at the edges, by supporting movements that destabilized Russian power in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Angola and, finally, Poland and Eastern Europe. After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, the United States funded guerrillas, many of them religious extremists, to fight the occupation government.
It was a clever American strategy back then, pushing a wounded Soviet Union and opportunistically exploiting local grievances wherever possible. And it’s an equally clever Russian approach now, offering maximum gain at minimum potential cost. It is a clever exploitation of local cultural and religious bias — the sort of “divide and rule” move favored by intelligence agencies for centuries.
In the early ’40s, the hysteria against right-wing supervision so penetrated American society that the left, practically paranoid concerning incipient fascism, lost its traditional commitment to civil liberties. Franklin Roosevelt wanted a file on Americans who sent him critical telegrams. In mid-May 1940, in asking Congress for additional defense appropriations, Roosevelt referred to “treacherous use of the fifth column,” noting in particular the possibility that refugees were enemy agents. In accepting the nomination for a third term, he claimed that he was duty-bound to lead the nation amid the threat of “unbelievable types of espionage and national treachery.”
In January 1941, while seeking public support for the Lend-Lease bill, he accused those encouraging “skepticism,” promoting “disunity,” or advocating “appeasement” as being fifth columnists. He warned against “those American citizens, many of them in high places,” who were often unwittingly “aiding and abetting” the work of destructive foreign agents.
Little wonder certain prominent administration members portrayed administration critics as fascist dupes, sometimes as little better than Nazis. Interior Secretary Harold Ickes, for example, called prominent FDR critics Nazi fellow-travelers. In Roosevelt & the Isolationists, 1932-45 (1983), historian Wayne S. Cole aptly points to a “guilt-by-association” approach, a phrase usually associated with the later tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Operation Mockingbird: Begun in the 1950s, it was initially organized by Cord Meyer and Allen W. Dulles, and was later led by Frank Wisner after Dulles became the head of the CIA. In 1948, Frank Wisner was appointed director of the Office of Special Projects (OSP). Soon afterwards, OSP was renamed the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), which became the CIA's covert action branch. The Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) was funded by siphoning off funds intended for the Marshall Plan.
Wisner was told to create an organization that concentrated on "propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world".
Operation Mockingbird was a secret campaign by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to influence media. The organization recruited leading American journalists into a network to help present the CIA's views, and funded some student and cultural organizations, and magazines as fronts. After 1953, the network was overseen by CIA Director Allen Dulles, by which time Operation Mockingbird had major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies. As it developed, it also worked to influence foreign media and political campaigns, in addition to activities by other operating units of the CIA.
In addition to earlier exposés of CIA activities in foreign affairs, in 1966, Ramparts magazine published an article revealing that the National Student Association was funded by the CIA. The media operation was first called Mockingbird in Deborah Davis's 1979 book, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and The Washington Post.
Lyndon Johnson asked the FBI to get him the phone records of Republican vice presidential candidate Spiro Agnew. During the Cold War, the Federal Bureau of Investigation fed information concerning alleged subversives to Senator Joseph McCarthy and other enemies of the Truman administration. Revelations made during the ’70s showed that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had cast an extremely wide net, illegally wiretapping such figures as John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King and infiltrating such organizations as the Students for a Democratic Society, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, the Black Panther Party, and the Congress of Racial Equality.
Attorney General Robert Kennedy, remembered today as a champion of the underdog, approved wiretaps on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. In one of the most notorious examples, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover launched a campaign to discredit King that included an attempt to get him to commit suicide. After gathering evidence of King's extramarital affairs, the agency sent a compilation of incriminating audiotapes to King's wife and sent him a note suggesting that he take his own life.
Mass surveillance has been widely criticized on several grounds such as violations of privacy rights, illegality, and for preventing political and social freedoms, which some fear will ultimately lead to a totalitarian state where political dissent is crushed by COINTELPRO-like programs. Such a state may also be referred to as an Electronic Police State.
State enforced: Privacy International's 2007 survey, covering 47 countries, indicated that there had been an increase in surveillance and a decline in the performance of privacy safeguards, compared to the previous year. Balancing these factors, eight countries were rated as being 'endemic surveillance societies'. Of these eight, China, Malaysia and Russia scored lowest, followed jointly by Singapore and the United Kingdom, then jointly by Taiwan, Thailand and the United States. The best ranking was given to Greece, which was judged to have 'adequate safeguards against abuse'.
Many countries throughout the world have already been adding thousands of surveillance cameras to their urban, suburban and even rural areas. For example, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has directly stated that "we are fast approaching a genuine surveillance society in the United States - a dark future where our every move, our every transaction, our every communication is recorded, compiled, and stored away, ready to be examined and used against us by the authorities whenever they want."
The 21st century started with the maxim defining the control over cyberspace as the key to world dominance. Edward Snowden has revealed the extent of control exercised over countries and peoples, something that changes the very perception of the contemporary world. The first lesson of paramount importance to be drawn as a result of Snowden’s revelations is the fact that the United States is involved in overt and covert global cyberspace surveillance to maintain its leadership and gain foreign policy advantages. It’s not only the collection of confidential information about the humanity on an unprecedented scale. The US is using cyberspace to acquire the capability to inflict serious material and military damage to a potential enemy and exert influence on other world actors.
Asked about the United States formally complaining it was a victim of cyber spying conducted by a number of states with China at the top of the list, Snowden replied quite reasonably that the United States practically hacked all messages. No matter the US propensity to differentiate things, in reality it is America that is actually spying on everyone without distinction. US and UK intelligence services know how to break encryption codes that protect electronic messages and data related to banking accounts and medical records.
Suffice it to remember that Internet, a cornerstone of contemporary cyberspace, was created and funded as ARPANET project by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is part of the US Defense Department structure. There have always been doubts about its, now it has become clear the generic umbilical cord between US security agencies and the new information space has always remained intact. Internet is the basis for World Wide Web, WWW and a lot of other communications systems.
A special structure to carry out the mission – the United States Cyber Command – was established upon President Obama’s order in 2009. General Keith B. Alexander, (the head of the National Security Agency – the most secret entity of US intelligence community) was appointed the Commander, U.S. Cyber Command.
In 2010 the United States was the first country to regard cyber space as another domain adding to land, sea and airspace. In 2011 Congress approved funds for Cybercom’s offensive technologies development. In August 2012 it was reported for the first time that the Pentagon took practical steps to introduce them online.
The National Security Agency secretly worked to acquire the capability to crack the most widely spread encryption codes used in Internet to protect various data: from electronic messages to financial transactions. It used diversified methods to achieve the goal: from establishing so called «back doors» and «black boxes» in popular programs to using supercomputers, secret court warrants and manipulating international procedures of encryption standards. SSL is the most widely spread one, so it was paid special attention to. It was broken by specifically designed top secret Bullrun program. The similar British program is called Edgehill. 4G wireless technology was given priority. The NSA XKeyscore is another tool used.
According to Snowden, the NSA interests go far beyond the mission of countering «unfriendly penetration» or terrorism, something the White House officials constantly talk about to justify the activities. In reality they encompass the whole range of relevant information on key issues home and abroad.
In particular, this approach has been adopted by Americans recently to overcome the implications of world financial crisis at the expense of rivals and partners as well. Taking advantage of the fact it is closely acquainted with all ins and outs of world business situation, the US has managed to keep its economy afloat and redirect the process of its keeping one step ahead of others when it comes to making offers while competing.
Second lesson. The control over cyberspace is exercised in close alliance with the chosen countries of Anglo-Saxon world – Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In this case the interaction is much more extensive than with other partners, especially in the field of information exchange. In London it went as far as a team of special services agents breaking into the Guardian office and senselessly destroying the equipment to take revenge for making public what Snowden had said. Before the raid the Guardian published his revelations about Great Britain and the United States snooping together during the G20 London summit in 2009.
Top level foreign politicians and officials had their messages intercepted and phone calls tapped during the event. The operation was carried out by Britain’s electronic eavesdropping agency (GCHQ) and the US National Security Agency.
Brushing up on the fascinating masterpiece of anti-utopian vision 1984 by George Orwell, this community of nations could be compared with Oceania. The coalition of Anglo-Saxon nations is based on the interoperability of their armed forces. The idea to develop close military cooperation belongs to generals Dwight Eisenhower and Bernard Montgomery. The level of interoperability is even higher than in NATO.
Third lesson. Being a US ally is not a guarantee of a country’s information sovereignty being respected. The cyberspace control is not an end in itself. The real objective is carrying out the traditional strategic mission of gaining geo-political dominance over large spaces. The evidence adduced by Snowden proves that the United States closely monitors the European Union’s central structures as well as the communications of its closest allies among the EU member-states. Japan, Mexico, South Korea and Turkey are all under tight surveillance being non-European friends of the U.S. The United States tapped the phone calls of 35 world leaders, mainly those who headed US-allied states. The fact is corroborated by the recent publications by the Guardian based on the evidence produced by Snowden. According to the newspaper reports, the National Security Agency asked White House, State Department and Pentagon officials to share contact information on foreign politicians. The experts say the evidence obtained by Snowden shows Europeans are not US equal partners and do not enjoy full sovereignty
In a NSA document, that saw light in September 2010, Europeans are defined as a location target. The European Union’s embassy in Washington and the New York-based EU United Nations mission were for Americans from top to bottom as a result of the operation Perdido.
The phones were tapped, computers cracked, hard disks copied and inside office net communications intercepted. The interference was immune to all attempts to enhance protection systems and encompassed the European Union’s central servers in Brussels. The EU central office in the Belgian capital was monitored by the US mission at NATO headquarters.
Perhaps this kind of special attention was especially insulting for Francois Hollande who has always made a point of being close to the U.S.A. – a rare case for a French leader. No go. As it happened, he and French state agencies have regularly been targets for US snooping efforts. This espionage operation was described in the NSA memo, as a silent success in which SIGINT helped to shape U.S. foreign policy. To vaunt its merits, the intelligence agency even quoted the American Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice about the work carried out on this occasion by the NSA. According to her, the information she received, "helped me to know ….. the truth… revealed their real position on sanctions … gave us an upper hand in the negotiations".
According to the Spiegel investigation conducted jointly with the BND (the German Federal Intelligence Service) and BSI (the German Federal Office for Information Security), Angela Merkel has been under surveillance for many years.
The eavesdropping was not limited by those who were suspected of involvement in terrorist activities but also spread on prominent bankers and politicians. For instance, from December 10 2012 to January 8 2013 there were 70, 3 million recordings of French citizens’ telephone data were made by the NSA, text messages (SMS) were captured too. The NSA graph shows a peak of intercepts falls on December 24, 2012 (the Christmas eve) and January 7 2013.
Fourth lesson. China, India, Brazil, Mexico and other emerging world leaders are special targets. In this case the surveillance is even more imposing as these nations are viewed as game changers capable of exerting significant influence over world affairs.
The disclosed scale of US interference into their cyberspace has happened to be too large. For instance, upon getting the news on total surveillance President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff cancelled an official visit to the United States. She also demanded explanations from Ottawa, a part of Anglosphere, concerning the fact that Canadian spies targeted Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry. China and India have announced the implementation of large-scale countermeasures programs.
Fifth lesson. Russia is still a target of priority for US spying activities, no matter it has unilaterally abandoned the policy of global standoff against the United States. Unlike what is stated by US officials publicly, the National Security Agency secret documents define it as a partner of convenience and envisage taking the most extreme measures against it if need be. Due to the reasons stipulated by geographic realities (Russia is a huge space).
The Russia’s U.S. offices and missions are under total surveillance – this fact is confirmed by the recent row over the snooping on Rossotrudnichestvo. Besides the Guardian obtained from Edward Snowden a map with the National Security Agency’s foreign infrastructure, including the widest reaching system developing intelligence from computer networks called XKeyscoreis. According to it, one of the largest servers is installed in the US Moscow embassy.
Sixth lesson. The leading international organizations like the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and others are viewed by the United States as rivals in their aspiration to gain control over the world, they are seen as targets for surveillance efforts.
Striving for global dominance, Washington snoops on these international entities without looking back at international law or moral norms of diplomacy.
The National Security Agency has conducted total surveillance over everything happening in the United Nations headquarters providing an advantage for US diplomacy. The NSA operatives constantly work in the UN under the cover of diplomats getting reinforcements during the sessions of UN General Assembly.
The same thing applies to the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international bodies. There is one thing that makes the disclosures provided by Snowden even more delicate – the internal instructions say all US staffers of international bodies without exclusions (not the special services operatives only) are to collect and submit upon command all personal data on foreigners without making any distinction.
Seventh lesson. The cyberspace control exercised by the United States envisions not only the collection of information but also massive psycho-political operations of unparalleled scale aimed at acquisition of control over people’s behavior. It all leads to the conclusion: aside from the classic components of national might, any contemporary state that wants to be independent on international scene needs to have its own enhanced information space infrastructure and adequate means to protect it.
At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US, says whistleblower William Binney – that's a 'totalitarian mentality'
The U.S. 4th Amendment does not allow the government to conduct a general, suspicionless search in order to locate specific information or evidence. Instead, as the ACLU has explained at length elsewhere, the government is required to have probable cause — and a warrant — before it searches the contents of our communications. The FBI and government agencies are be able to search multiple computers across the country with a single warrant thanks to warrants obtained under Rule 41. Upstream surveillance reverses this logic, using the end results of the NSA’s searches to justify the continuous, bulk review of Americans’ Internet traffic. The ODNI General Counsel has effectively called for rewriting the Fourth Amendment to permit these types of searches.
While the Fourth Amendment concerns about 702 and mass surveillance are important, we must remember that First Amendment gives us the right to anonymously speak, associate, access information, and engage in political activism are the bedrock of our democracy. The surveillance of our communications systems, and thereby the surveillance of our communications, infringes on the very rights of private association upheld by the Supreme Court in 1958. The NSA’s digital surveillance of countless law-abiding Americans also indirectly affects another key First Amendment right: our right to assembly.
Digital surveillance challenges our values as a society that respects and safeguards the right to plan and participate in protests and other political activity. So how does the First Amendment come to apply to mass surveillance? To understand this, we need to begin with a little history of the civil rights movement. As part of the backlash to the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down segregation in schools, the Attorney General of Alabama, John Patterson, brought a lawsuit against a leading civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
At the end of 2006, the UK was described by the Surveillance Studies Network as being 'the most surveillanced country' among the industrialized Western states.
Regulation of investigatory power act 2000 (ripa) gives UK authorities the power to intercept communications data in bulk for national security reasons under warrants that would be issued by UK ministers. The Act will affect telecommunications operators, telecommunications service or systems providers and postal operators or postal service providers. It also obliges companies to keep a record and to decrypt that data on demand and it makes your web history readily available to almost 50 assorted police forces and government departments. These include the British Transport Police, the Department of Health, the Food Standards Agency, the Gambling Commission, and the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust.
On 6 February 2009 a report by the House of Lords Constitution Committee, Surveillance: Citizens and the State, warned that increasing use of surveillance by the government and private companies is a serious threat to freedoms and constitutional rights, stating that "The expansion in the use of surveillance represents one of the most significant changes in the life of the nation since the end of the Second World War. Mass surveillance has the potential to erode privacy. As privacy is an essential pre-requisite to the exercise of individual freedom, its erosion weakens the constitutional foundations on which democracy and good governance have traditionally been based in this country."
Public perception: A YouGov poll published on December 4, 2006, indicated that 79% of those interviewed agreed that Britain has become a 'surveillance society’ (51% were unhappy with this). In 2004 the Information Commissioner, talking about the proposed British national identity database gave a warning of this, stating, "My anxiety is that we don't sleepwalk into a surveillance society." Other databases causing him concern were the National Child Database (ContactPoint), the Office for National Statistics' Citizen Information Project, and the National Health Service National Programme for IT.
CCTV networks: A common estimate used is that made in 2002 where it was estimated that the United Kingdom was monitored by over 4.2 million CCTV cameras, some with a facial recognition capacity, with practically all cities and towns under 24-hour surveillance. However, many have strongly condemned the assumptions behind that estimate, noting that it involved the extrapolation of observation from one 1.5km long street in Putney, London to the entire population of the UK. In addition, the vast majority of cameras are not operated by the UK Government, but by private companies, especially to monitor the interiors of shops and businesses. According to 2009 Freedom of Information Act requests, the total number of local authority operated CCTV cameras was around 60,000 over the entirety of the UK.
Currently, in the City of Westminster, microphones are being fitted next to CCTV cameras. Westminster council claims that they are simply part of an initiative against urban noise, and will not "be used to snoop", but comments from a council spokesman appear to imply that they have been deliberately designed to capture an audio stream alongside the video stream, rather than simply reporting noise levels.
As of Feb 2010, many larger cities in the UK now have CCTV in which if an operator spots anything illegal or troubling, they are able to speak through the cameras via loudspeaker into the street, and some also have microphones to allow them to hear what the public are saying.
UAV systems: A consortium of government agencies and the arms manufacturer BAE Systems intend to begin using drones for the surveillance of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Police forces have signed on to a scheme of "surveillance, monitoring and evidence gathering" to introduce unmanned aerial vehicles "into the routine work of the police, border authorities and other government agencies" for the "routine" monitoring of antisocial motorists, protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers. The drones stay airborne for up to 15 hours with monitoring equipment such as high-definition cameras, radar devices and infrared sensors and reach heights of 20,000 feet. They could be used for road and railway monitoring, search and rescue, event security and covert urban surveillance. Other routine uses of the drones could include combating "fly-posting, fly-tipping, abandoned vehicles, abnormal loads, and waste management".
To offset some of the running costs it was proposed the aircraft could undertake commercial work during spare time and selling the surveillance data to private companies.
Public transport: In London, the Oyster card payment system can track the movement of individual people through the public transport system, although an anonymous option is available, while the London congestion charge uses computer imaging to track car number plates.
Communication: RIPA was introduced to take account of technological change such as the growth of the Internet and strong encryption. In 2002 the UK government announced plans to extend the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), so that at least 28 government departments would be given powers to browse citizens' web, email, and telephone and fax records, without a warrant and without a subject's knowledge.
Public and security authorities made a total of 440,000 requests to monitor people's phone and internet use in 2005-2006. In the period 11 April to 31 December 2006 the UK government issued 253,557 requests for communication data, which as defined by the RIPA includes who you phoned, when they phoned you, how long they phoned you for, subscriber information and associated addresses.
Since October 2007 telecommunication companies have been required to keep records of phone calls and text messages for twelve months under the Data Retention Directive. Though all telecoms firms already keep data for a period, the regulations are designed to ensure a uniform approach across the industry. This enables the Government and other selected authorities within the UK such as Police and Councils amongst others to monitor all phone calls made from a UK landline or Mobile upon request.
In 2008 plans were being made to collect data on all phone calls, emails, chat room discussions and web-browsing habits as part of the Government's Interception Modernisation Programme, thought likely to require the insertion of 'thousands' of black box probes into the country’s computer and telephone networks. The proposals were expected to be included in the Communications Data Bill. The "giant database" would include telephone numbers dialled, the websites visited and addresses to which e-mails are sent "but not the content of e-mails or telephone conversations."
Chris Huhne, Liberal Democrat Home affairs spokesman, said: "The government's Orwellian plans for a vast database of our private communications are deeply worrying." In November 2009, ministers confirmed that the estimated £2 billion project will proceed as planned. A consultation found that 40% of people were against the plans which will also include monitoring communications in online games.
Mobile phone tracking: Some shopping centres have tracked customers through mobile phone signals. A system can tell when people enter the centre, how long they stay in a particular shop, and what route each customer takes. The system works by monitoring the signals produced by mobile handsets and then locating the phone by triangulation.
Vehicle tracking: Across the country efforts are increasingly under way to track closely all road vehicle movements, initially using a nationwide network of roadside cameras connected to automatic number plate recognition systems. These tracks record and store the details of all journeys undertaken on major roads and through city centres and the information is stored for five years. In the longer term mandatory on-board vehicle telematics systems are also suggested, to facilitate road charging.
DNA Database: The British Police hold records of 5.5 million fingerprints and over 3.4 million DNA samples on the National DNA Database. There is increasing use of roadside fingerprinting - using new police powers to check identity. Concerns have been raised over the unregulated use of biometrics in schools, affecting children as young as three.
Overseas travel: In February 2009 it emerged that the government is planning a database to track and store records of all international travel into and out of the UK. The database will retain record of names, addresses, telephone numbers, seat reservations, travel itineraries and credit card details, which will be kept for 'no more than 10 years'.
Protest: Forward Intelligence Teams conduct mass surveillance of political and environmental protestors and of journalists. The information they gather is then stored on their database.
On 21 December 2010 the Identity Documents Act 2010, which scraps the impending mandatory ID card scheme, received Royal Assent. A further Great Repeal Bill which aims to restore some civil liberties is also in the pipeline.
The legislative body of the European Union passed the Data Retention Directive on 2005-12-15. It requires telecommunication operators to implement mass surveillance of the general public through retention of metadata on telecommunications and to keep the collected data at the disposal of various governmental bodies for substantially long times. Access to this information is not required to be limited to investigation of serious crimes, nor is a warrant required for access.
Undertaken under the Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development (FP7 - Science in Society) some multidisciplinary and mission oriented mass surveillance activities (for example INDECT and HIDE) are funded by the European Commission in association with industrial partners.
The INDECT Project ("Intelligent information system supporting observation, searching and detection for security of citizens in urban environment") develops an intelligent urban environment observation system to register and exchange operational data for the automatic detection, recognition and intelligent processing of all information of abnormal behaviour or violence.
The main expected results of the INDECT project are:
The SORM (and SORM-2) laws enable complete monitoring of any communication, electronic or traditional, by eight state agencies, without warrant. These SORM laws are believed by many to be against the Constitution of Russia:
Constitution of Russia. Article 23:1. Everyone shall have the right to the inviolability of private life, personal and family secrets, the protection of honour and good name.2. Everyone shall have the right to privacy of correspondence, of telephone conversations, postal, telegraph and other messages. Limitations of this right shall be allowed only by court decision.
Germany & Netherlands
In 2002 German citizens were tipped off about wiretapping, when a software error led to a phone number allocated to the German Secret Service being listed on mobile telephone bills.
Before the Digital Revolution, one of the world's biggest mass surveillance operations was carried out by the Stasi, the secret police of the former East Germany. By the time the state collapsed in 1989, the Stasi had built up an estimated civilian network of 300,000 informants (approximately one in fifty of the population), who monitored even minute hints of political dissent among other citizens. Many West Germans visiting friends and family in East Germany were also subject to Stasi spying, as well as many high-ranking West German politicians and persons in the public eye.
Most East German citizens were well aware that their government was spying on them, which led to a culture of mistrust: touchy political issues were only discussed in the comfort of their own four walls and only with the closest of friends and family members, while widely maintaining a façade of unquestioning followership in public.
The Indian parliament passed the Information Technology Act of 2008 with no debate, giving the government fiat power to tap all communications without a court order or a warrant. Section 69 of the act states "Section 69 empowers the Central Government/State Government/ its authorized agency to intercept, monitor or decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource if it is necessary or expedient so to do in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence or for investigation of any offence."
India is setting up a national intelligence grid called NATGRID, which would be fully set up by May 2011 where each individual's data ranging from land records, internet logs, air and rail PNR, phone records, gun records, driving license, property records, insurance, and income tax records would be available in real time and with no oversight. With a UID from the Unique Identification Authority of India being given to every Indian from February 2011, the government would be able track people in real time. A national population registry of all citizens will be established by the 2011 census, during which fingerprints and iris scans would be taken along with GPS records of each household.
As per the initial plan, access to the combined data will be given to 11 agencies, including the Research and Analysis Wing, the Intelligence Bureau, the Enforcement Directorate, the National Investigation Agency, the Central bureau of Investigation, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and the Narcotics Control Bureau.
In 2008 a law was passed allowing warrantless wiretapping of all communications (including internet and telephone calls) crossing the border. This law went to effect on the 1st December 2009 when all affected ISPs had to provide a copy of border crossing traffic to the authorities. While it is believed that other states have similar wiretapping programs, Sweden is the first nation to publicize it.
Due to the architecture of internet backbones in the Nordic area, a large portion of Norwegian and Finnish traffic will also be affected by the Swedish wiretapping.
Commercial mass surveillance
As a result of the digital revolution, many aspects of life are now captured and stored in digital form. Concern has been expressed that governments may use this information to conduct mass surveillance on their populations. Commercial mass surveillance often makes use of copyright laws and "user agreements" to obtain (typically uninformed) 'consent' to surveillance from consumers who use their software or other related materials. This allows gathering of information which would be technically illegal if performed by government agencies. This data is then often shared with government agencies - thereby - in practice - defeating the purpose of such privacy protections.
One of the most common forms of mass surveillance is carried out by commercial organizations. Many people are willing to join supermarket and grocery loyalty card programs, trading their personal information and surveillance of their shopping habits in exchange for a discount on their groceries, although base prices might be increased to encourage participation in the program. Since a significant proportion of purchases are carried out by credit or debit cards, which can also be easily tracked, it is questionable whether loyalty cards provide any significant additional privacy threat.
Through programs like Google's AdSense, OpenSocial and their increasing pool of so called "web gadgets", "social gadgets" and other Google-hosted services many web sites on the Internet are effectively feeding user information about sites visited by the users, and now also their social connections, to Google. Facebook also keep this information, although its acquisition is limited to page views within Facebook. This data is valuable for authorities, advertisers and others interested in profiling users, trends and web site marketing performance. Google, Facebook and others are increasingly becoming more guarded about this data as their reach increases and the data becomes more all-inclusive, making it more valuable.
New features like geo-location give an even increased admission of monitoring capabilities to large service providers like Google, where they also are enable to track one's physical movements while users are using mobile devices, especially those which are syncing without any user interaction. Google's Gmail service is increasingly employing features to work as a stand-alone application which also might activate while a web browser is not even active for synchronizing; a feature mentioned on the Google I/O 2009 developer conference while showing the upcoming HTML5 features which Google and others are actively defining and promoting.
In 2008 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, said: "The arrival of a truly mobile Web, offering a new generation of location-based advertising, is set to unleash a 'huge revolution'". At the 2010 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 16, Google presented their vision of a new business model for mobile operators and trying to convince mobile operators to embrace location-based services and advertising. With Google as the advertising provider, it would mean that every mobile operator using their location-based advertising service would be revealing the location of their mobile customers to Google.
“Google will also know more about the customer - because it benefits the customer to tell Google more about them. The more we know about the customer, the better the quality of searches, the better the quality of the apps. The operator one is "required", if you will, and the Google one will be optional. And today I would say, a minority choose to do that, but I think over time a majority will... because of the stored values in the servers and so forth and so on....” —2010 Mobile World Congress keynote speech, Google CEO Eric Schmidt
Google China has a history of cooperating with the wishes of the authorities. Organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation are constantly informing users on the importance of privacy, and considerations about technologies like geo-location.
Kennedy's family knew that he planned to announce, like his father, that he was going to run for President. His relatives, however, warned him that the U.S. Secret Service would not and could not protect him and they did not protect his father. The head of what is now called the U.S. Secret Service, Lafayette C. Baker, was part of the plot to murder President Abraham Lincoln.
Now, as John Newman notes in his book Oswald and the CIA, most insiders expected Nixon to become president in 1961. And he was important to the anti-Castro operations already being planned. But Kennedy pulled off an upset. And therefore, this did much to upset the CIA plans against Cuba.
Hancock now introduces the figure of CIA officer William Harvey, who he clearly suspects as being a significant figure in the JFK case. Harvey was involved in two Top Secret CIA operations: Staff D and ZR Rifle. The former was an attempt to use the NSA to figure out opposing nations secret transmittal codes. But it also served as a cover for the latter operation, which was aimed at assassinating foreign leaders. Hancock notes that CIA Director of Plans Richard Helms personally placed Harvey in that position.
All of these various elements—deniability, assassination targets, covert acts done outside the law, a holy war against communism—were now to be mixed into a swirling cauldron with many of these same players: Harvey, Bissell, Barnes, Phillips, Dulles and Hunt. The cauldron was called the Bay of Pigs operations, codenamed Operation Zapata. But, as noted, there was one notable alteration to the cast. It was not going to be run by Richard Nixon, who originated much of the official antipathy toward Castro’s revolutionary regime. The responsible officer was going to be John Kennedy.That was going to make a big difference.
From here, Hancock now describes what some previous writers have called, “The Perfect Failure”, and others have termed, “A Brilliant Disaster”. I am referring, of course, to the Bay of Pigs operation. CIA Director Allen Dulles and Bissell both thought that Kennedy would change his mind about direct American involvement in the operation once he was confronted with the stark alternative of defeat. There is no doubt that Nixon would have committed American power: he told Kennedy that is what he would have done. And Dulles later admitted that this was something he had actually relied upon with Kennedy, that the president would not accept an American humiliation.
The author begins with an observation first originated by Fletcher Prouty. Namely that between the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, the operation seemed to morph from what was essentially intended as a guerilla/infiltration project, until by November of 1960, it became a full fledged amphibious assault. Why this was done has never been fully explained.
Marine Corps Col. Jack Hawkins—who was an expert in amphibious assaults—told Bissell that if this was the route he wanted to go then it was necessary to have strong air support. If that was not approved in advance, then the project in that form should be abandoned. The author then notes that this memo, by the project’s main military planner, never got to Kennedy’s desk. It got as high up the chain as Bissell. Hawkins was also against the use of tanks and planes. He thought this would all but eliminate the CIA’s plausible deniability. Therefore their use would expose the project as sponsored by the USA.
It is important to note here that the two men closest to the operation on the ground, Hawkins and Esterline, are cut off from the White House. Sensing their isolation, as the actual invasion day approached, both Esterline and Hawkins told Bissell that they would resign if the air attacks were not guaranteed.
With the CIA’s allies in the media, the failure for the operation was switched to President Kennedy. As far as Hancock’s narrative goes, the reason this reversal is important is that now the CIA had forged a permanent alliance with the Cuban exiles involved with the Bay of Pigs. That bonding was strongly based on their mutual antipathy for the president. In Hancock’s outline of the actual assassination maneuvering, some of these very same Cubans would be used in what they perceived as a retaliation against the man they thought had betrayed them at the Bay of Pigs. And this suspicion and distrust was also felt by Kennedy in reverse. He began to feel as if he could not work with the leaders of the CIA.
Kennedy's promise to "shatter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter the remnants to the wind" was being carried out and this infuriated almost everyone at the agency. Classified documents uncovered in 2000 revealed that the CIA had discovered that the Soviets had learned of the date of the invasion more than a week in advance, had informed Castro, but – and here is a startling fact that should make people’s hair stand on end - never told the President. The CIA knew the invasion was doomed before the fact but went ahead with it anyway. Why? So they could and did afterwards blame JFK for the failure. Speaking to his friends Dave Powers and Ken O’Donnell about those who planned the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, JFK said, “They couldn’t believe that a new president like me wouldn’t panic and try to save his own face. Well, they had me figured all wrong.”
Kennedy fired the top level of the Agency—Dulles, Bissell and Deputy Director Charles Cabell-and placed his own man in charge, John McCone. McCone was not part of the so-called Old Boys network. But he also then supplemented McCone with Robert Kennedy, who served as a sort of ombudsman over Cuban operations. As the author notes, RFK’s presence, and his insistence at reviewing each aspect of each proposed raid on Cuba, greatly agitated William Harvey. Word got out that Kennedy had made a “no invasion” pledge to the Russians over Cuba as part of the resolution to the crisis. That pledge seemed to seal any further hope of the exiles taking back the island. This further exacerbated the hatred felt by the Cubans against Kennedy. They now called him a “traitor”.
"If the United States ever experiences an attempt at a coup to overthrow the government, it will come from the CIA. The agency represents a tremendous power and total unaccountability to anyone."--JFK
Then came the icing on the cake: the back channel. This refers to Kennedy’s negotiations with Castro through reporter Lisa Howard, diplomat William Attwood, and French journalist Jean Daniel. The goal was to normalize relations with Cuba. This began in January 1963 and continued all the way up to Kennedy’s death. National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy and Helms were opposed to it. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara looked at it as a way of weaning Castro from the Soviets. Since Angleton and Helms were good friends, and since Angleton’s domain was counter-intelligence, Angleton very likely knew about the back channel through both Helms and the NSA. Since he and Harvey were close in 1963, Angleton had to have told him.
Kennedy wanted the oil cartel's tax dodge, the oil depletion allowance, to be cancelled. In 1963 Kennedy refuses to sign any security arrangement with Israel. That JFK was engaged in a bitter secret conflict with Israel over U.S. East policy and that Israel's prime minister resigned in disgust, saying JFK's stance threatened Israel's very survival? Former CIA agent and Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt admited to his son that he was approached to be part of a CIA assassination team to kill JFK. Military-industrial fingerprints are all over the hit. After Kennedy assassination brings the very pro-Israel Lyndon Johnson to power.
United States “roving wiretaps”
Historically, mass surveillance has been used during wartime censorship to control communications of the populace. For example, in the United States during the World Wars, every international telegram sent through companies like Western Union was reviewed by the US military.
After the wars were over, the mass surveillance continued, via programs such as Black Chamber and Shamrock. Project SHAMROCK, considered to be the sister project for Project MINARET, was an espionage exercise, started in August 1945 that involved the accumulation of all telegraphic data entering into or exiting from the United States. The Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA) and its successor NSA were given direct access to daily microfilm copies of all incoming, outgoing, and transiting telegraphs via the Western Union and its associates RCA and ITT. The U.S. Signal Intelligence Directive 18, an internal NSA and intelligence community set of procedures, originally issued in 1980 and updated in 1993. USSID 18 was the general guideline for handling signal intelligence SIGINT inadvertently collected on US citizens, without a warrant, prior to the George W. Bush Administration. Interpretations of FISA and the principles of USSID 18, by the Bush administration assume the Executive Branch has unitary authority for warrantless surveillance, which is under Congressional investigation as an apparent violation of the intent of FISA.
COINTELPRO projects from 1956—1971 targeted various "subversive" organizations, including various peaceful anti-war, racial equality and civil rights groups including Martin Luther King Jr. and Albert Einstein. COINTELPRO was a series of covert, and often illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic political organizations. Its tactics included discrediting targets through psychological warfare; smearing individuals and groups using forged documents and by planting false reports in the media; harassment; wrongful imprisonment; and illegal violence, including assassination. The FBI's stated motivation at the time was "protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order." FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover issued directives governing COINTELPRO, ordering FBI agents to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize" the activities of these movements and their leaders.
The Foreign Intelligence Security Act of 1978, widely referred to as FISA, created a secret court that blesses information requests. The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 carved out a new section of the law, 702, which gave legal cover to the warrantless surveillance programs operated in total secrecy under President Bush; queries are often called 702s. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is responsible for the majority of information that the NSA collects on global communications networks.
The NSA cites the FISA Amendments Act as the specific legal basis for Prism. More covert surveillance practices (outside of Prism) are justified under Reagan-era Executive Order 12333, which authorized the NSA to collect pretty much any data from outside the US that concerns foreign persons.
National security letters was around before but it became law in 2001, but the legislation lowered the standard that the government must meet to obtain them. They are search procedure which gives the FBI the power to compel the disclosure of customer records held by banks, telephone companies, Internet Service Providers, and others.
Yahoo waged a secret battle in the FISA court to resist turning over user data. But it was for naught. An August 22, 2008, order determined that the government’s interest in national security, along with safeguards in the program, outweighed privacy concerns in a manner consistent with the law. A subsequent appeal went nowhere. Yahoo’s unsuccessful challenge set a marker for those who might resist in the future: The FISA request program was legal, and any company that failed to cooperate would risk the contempt charges specified in the law.
Internet communications: The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) requires that all U.S. telecommunications companies modify their equipment to allow easy wire-tapping of telephone, VoIP, and broadband internet traffic.
Billions of dollars per year are spent, by agencies such as the Information Awareness Office, National Security Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to develop, purchase, implement, and operate systems such as Carnivore, ECHELON (or Five Eyes), and NarusInsight to intercept and analyse the immense amount of data that traverses the Internet and telephone system every day. The FBI developed the computer programs "Magic Lantern" and CIPAV, which they can remotely install on a computer system, in order to monitor a person's computer activity. Carnivore was a system implemented by the FBI that was designed to monitor email and electronic communications. It used a customizable packet sniffer that can monitor all of a target user's Internet traffic. Carnivore was implemented in October 1997 and replaced in 2005 with improved commercial software such as Narus’s (subsidiary of Boeing) NarusInsight.
The Total Information Awareness program, of the Information Awareness Office, designed numerous technologies to be used to perform mass surveillance. Examples include advanced speech-to-text programs (so that phone conversations can be monitored en-masse by a computer, instead of requiring human operators to listen to them), social network analysis software to monitor groups of people and their interactions with each other, and “Human identification at a distance" software which allows computers to identify people on surveillance cameras by their facial features and gait (the way they walk). The program was later renamed "Terrorism Information Awareness", after a negative public reaction.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has an on-going lawsuit (Hepting v. AT&T) against the telecom giant AT&T for its assistance of the U.S. government in monitoring the communications of millions of American citizens. It has managed thus far to keep the proceedings open. Recently the documents, exposed by a whistle-blower who previously worked for AT&T, showing schematics of the massive data mining system were made public.
In 1999 two models of mandatory data retention were suggested for the US: What IP address was assigned to a customer at a specific time. In the second model, "which is closer to what Europe adopted", telephone numbers dialled, contents of Web pages visited, and recipients of e-mail messages must be retained by the ISP for an unspecified amount of time. In 2006 the International Association of Chiefs of Police adopted a resolution calling for a “uniform data retention mandate" for "customer subscriber information and source and destination information." The U.S. Department of Justice announced in 2011 that criminal investigations "are being frustrated" because no law currently exists to force Internet providers to keep track of what their customers are doing.
The Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today's Youth (SAFETY) Act of 2009 also known as H.R. 1076 and S.436 would require providers of "electronic communication or remote computing services" to "retain for a period of at least two years all records or other information pertaining to the identity of a user of a temporarily assigned network address the service assigns to that user."
Playpen investigation: While the FBI was running Playpen, it began sending malware to visitors of the site, exploiting (we believe) a vulnerability in Firefox bundled in the Tor browser. The government, in an effort to downplay the intrusiveness of its technique, euphemistically calls the malware it used a “NIT”—short for “Network Investigative Technique.” The NIT copied certain identifying information from a user’s computer and sent it back to the FBI in Alexandria, Virginia. Over a thousand computers, located around the world, were searched in this way.
As far as we are aware, this is the most extensive use of malware a U.S. law enforcement agency has ever employed in a domestic criminal investigation. And, to top it all off, all of the hacking was done on the basis of a single warrant.
These cases raise serious questions related to the Fourth Amendment, Rule 41 (an important rule of criminal procedure, which the Department of Justice is in the process of trying to change), and the government’s obligation to disclose information to criminal defendants and about vulnerabilities in widely used software products. The FBI and government agencies are now able to search multiple computers across the country with a single warrant thanks to warrants obtained under Rule 41.
Intelligence apparatus to monitor American citizens
Obama permitted the NSA to gather Americans’ internet records in bulk until 2011. His own advisory body of intelligence veterans, told him in December 2013 to end the program. It remains unclear why Obama ended it. He disclosed that he shut the program down in response to the Guardian’s post-Snowden queries. Since September 2001, a vast domestic intelligence apparatus has been built to collect information using FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators. The intelligence apparatus collects, analyses and stores information about thousands of American citizens, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing. Every state and local law enforcement agency is to feed information to federal authorities to support the work of the FBI.
Telephones: NSA had highly secured rooms that tap into major switches, and satellite communications at both AT&T and Verizon. In early 2006, USA Today reported that several major telephone companies were cooperating illegally with the National Security Agency to monitor the phone records of U.S. citizens, and storing them in a large database known as the NSA call database. This report came on the heels of allegations that the U.S. government had been conducting electronic surveillance of domestic telephone calls without warrants.
Law enforcement and intelligence services in the United States possess technology to remotely activate the microphones in cell phones in order to listen to conversations that take place nearby the person who holds the phone.
U.S. federal agents regularly use mobile phones to collect location data. The geographical location of a mobile phone (and thus the person carrying it) can be determined easily (whether it is being used or not), using a technique known multilateration to calculate the differences in time for a signal to travel from the cell phone to each of several cell towers near the owner of the phone.
Surveillance cameras: Traffic cameras, which were meant to help enforce traffic laws at intersections, have also sparked some controversy, due to their use by law enforcement agencies for purposes unrelated to traffic violations.
The Department of Homeland Security is funding networks of surveillance cameras in cities and towns as part of its efforts to combat terrorism. In February 2009, Cambridge, MA rejected the cameras due to privacy concerns.
Data mining: International Cooperation for Assigned Names and Numbers (a non-profit private organisation based in Los Angeles) is supported by the US commerce department. It largely governs the internet by managing critical resources including the domain name system. It was found that it favours multilateral actors in the field of internet governance with the US government playing a proactive role.
Stellarwind is the code name of information collected for data mining under the President's Surveillance Program (PSP). The NSA has been gathering information on financial records, internet surfing habits, and monitoring e-mails. They have also performed extensive surveillance on social networks such as Myspace & Facebook.
The FBI collected nearly all hotel, airline, rental car, gift shop, and casino records in Las Vegas during the last two weeks of 2003. The FBI requested all electronic data of hundreds of thousands of people based on a very general lead for the Las Vegas New Year's celebration. The Senior VP of The Mirage went on record with PBS' Frontline describing the first time they were requested to help in the mass collection of personal information.
There were internal disputes within the Justice Department about the legality of the program, because data are collected for large numbers of people, not just the subjects of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.
Infiltration of activist groups
The New York City Police Department infiltrated and compiled dossiers on protest groups (most of whom were doing nothing illegal) before the 2004 Republican National Convention, leading to over 1,800 arrests and subsequent fingerprinting.
Key parts of the Patriot Act are retained in the USA Freedom Act. They include the provision allowing the monitoring of "lone wolf" suspects - potential attackers not linked to foreign terror groups, despite the US authorities admitting the powers have never been used. However, if it’s for an investigation that had already begun before June 1, 2015, it can remain forever. Under the Freedom Act, the agency will still have access to not only the same set of data, but potentially more, because the original NSA program didn’t collect information about cell phone calls.
The Freedom Act also maintains a provision allowing investigators to monitor travel and business records of individuals, something law officers says is more effective than bulk collection. In this new law, records must be held by telecommunications companies and investigators need a court order to access specific information. Technology companies will be given greater leeway to reveal data requests.
Freedom act bill includes new transparency provisions requiring declassification of significant Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court opinions currently withheld from the public. The FISA court, there's a good reason it's been perceived as a "rubber stamp" for NSA requests. In fact, soon NSA would actually restart the bulk surveillance the bill bans – for another six months, to “transition” to a system where the telecom companies retain control of the data and provide it to the NSA or the FBI based on a court order that does not even require the typical probable-cause standard.
Section 214 of the Patriot Act, even if the program expires, it will allows so-called “pen register/trap & trace” that could be used to collect phone and even email records. It allows the collection of the phone records of Americans’ land-line calls, and even has the potential to expand the government’s collection.
Another loophole in the Patriot Act provision that more or less will stay alive is Section 215. In the current version of the law allows the government to obtain any records deemed “relevant” to an investigation of a terrorist or a spy. A grandfather clause in the law,” allows it to “remain available for investigations already open at the time of sunset, as well as new investigations into offences committed before the sunset”. FISA court judge did discover the NSA's Stellar Wind program, although to him it appeared to be an extensive string of telephone metadata abuses by the NSA. Judge Reggie Walton threatened to shut down the Section 215 collection entirely in 2009, concerned about the agency's deliberate misleading of the court on the program's inner workings and its extent.
Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-28 acknowledging that the nation’s intelligence-gathering activities risk “a potential loss of international trust in U.S. firms [and]…the credibility of our commitment to an open, interoperable, and secure global Internet.”
US President Barack Obama has unveiled new NSA measures which he says will increase transparency and build public trust in government surveillance programs. He told journalists that he will work to reform Section 215 of the Patriot Act - the provision which currently allows the federal government’s intelligence agencies to collect domestic phone data.
The President also said that he will work to increase oversight with regards to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court - the secretive judicial body that authorizes the government to collect data on communications coming in and out of the United States.
Obama said the reform will be accompanied with the roll-out of a new website which will provide Americans and people around the world the ability to learn more about the surveillance programs. Meanwhile, the President said the US will “make public as much information about these programs as possible.”
Additionally, Obama said he is forming an outside advisory panel to review the surveillance programs, assigning a privacy officer at the National Security Agency and creating an independent attorney to challenge the government’s spy policies in court.
Commenting on the leaked NSA documents that sparked widespread public discussion on government surveillance practices in June, the President had harsh words for Edward Snowden and challenged the method in which he went about disclosing them.
“No, I don't think Mr. Snowden was a patriot,” Obama said. “I called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before Mr. Snowden made these leaks.
“So the fact is that Mr. Snowden has been charged with three felonies,” added Obama. “If in fact he believes that what he did was right, then like every American citizen he can come here, appear before a court with a lawyer and make his case. If the concern was that somehow this was the only way to get this information out to the public, I signed an executive order well before Mr. Snowden leaked this information that provided whistleblower protection to the intelligence community for the first time. So there were other avenues available for someone whose conscious was stirred.”
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the newly declassified documents related to the domestic phone logging program at the start of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the topic. Simultaneously, The Guardian published a still-classified 32-page presentation leaked by Snowden that describes the NSA's XKeyscore program, which mines internet browsing information that the agency is apparently vacuuming up at 150 network sites around the world.
The documents released by the government include an April ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that supported a secondary order - also leaked by Mr Snowden - requiring a Verizon subsidiary to turn over all of its customers' phone logs for a three-month period.
It said the government may access the logs only when an executive branch official determines that there are "facts giving rise to a reasonable, articulable suspicion" that the number searched is associated with terrorism. The releases also included two formerly classified briefing papers to Congress from 2009 and 2011, when the provision of the Patriot Act that the court relied upon to issue that order was up for reauthorisation. The papers outlined the bulk collection of "metadata" logging all domestic phone calls and emails of Americans and are portrayed as an "early warning system" that allowed the government to quickly see who was linked to a terrorism suspect.
“If you are outside of the intelligence community, if you are the ordinary person, and you start seeing a bunch of headlines saying, ‘US, Big Brother looking down on you, collecting telephone records, etc.,’ well, understandably people would be concerned. I would be too if I wasn’t inside the government.”
"It's not enough for me to have confidence in these programs," Obama said. "The American people have to have confidence in them as well."
But since the surveillance programs have only largely been discussed due to leaked reports, the President said that the public's perception of how the US conducts spying missions has been skewed. “Drip-by-drip” leaks, said Obama, are being used by the media “to kind of maximize attention.”
“I think the main thing I want to emphasize is I don't have an interest and the people in the NSA don’t have an interest in doing anything other than making sure that where we can prevent a terrorist attack, where we can prevent information ahead of time, that we’re able to carry out that critical task. We do not have an interest in doing anything other than that,” he said. “I am comfortable that the program is currently not being abused,” said the President.
Obama described principles for “restricting the use of this information” — but not for gathering less of it. Alongside the invocation of privacy and restraint, Obama gave his plainest endorsement yet of “bulk collection,” a term he used more than once and authorized explicitly in Presidential Policy Directive 28.
The Washington Post has disclosed, based in part on the Snowden documents, that the NSA is gathering hundreds of millions of e-mail address books, breaking into private networks that link the overseas data centers of Google and Yahoo, and building a database of trillions of location records transmitted by cellphones around the world.
The NSA term for those high-volume programs is “full take” collection — the interception of entire data flows from the fiber optic cables that carry telephone calls, emails, faxes and video chats around the world at the speed of light. Unless Obama says otherwise in the classified annex to this directive, those programs will carry on unabated.
“The United States does not collect intelligence to suppress criticism or dissent, nor do we collect intelligence to disadvantage people on the basis of their ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation or religious beliefs,” he said. “And we do not collect intelligence to provide a competitive advantage to U.S. companies or U.S. commercial sectors.”
“The challenges to our privacy do not come from government alone,” he said. “Corporations of all shapes and sizes track what you buy, store and analyze our data, and use it for commercial purposes; that’s how those targeted ads pop up on your computer or smartphone.”
The FBI referred to this as COINTELPRO, or Counter-intelligence Programs, specifically those targeted at activists of almost any organization from 1956 to 1971. During those years of turmoil, Martin Luther King was the primary spokesperson for civil rights in America, and the FBI considered him and his movement equivalent to the Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement, the NAACP, the Congress for Racial Equality, and dozens of others all striving to attain equal rights for all races. COINTELPRO referred to all of these groups and movements as “black hate groups,” even the American Indian Movement, and spent 85% of its money on attempts to subvert them; the remaining 15% it spent on the subversion of “white hate groups” like the KKK.
It is highly possible, albeit very unlikely, that the FBI in some way coerced James Earl Ray into killing Martin Luther King, or simply did the job themselves and pinned it on Ray. King’s family concluded in 1998 that Ray had nothing at all to do with the assassination.
All these domestic political organizations and movements, as the FBI labeled them, were deemed threats to national security. If he had done his thing in America in the 20th Century, it is probable that the FBI would have considered Jesus guilty of the same kind of sedition. In general, COINTELPRO targeted the entire left wing of political thought; anyone liberal was seen as a danger to American society and slandered in print, sued or threatened with imprisonment, imprisoned, and illegally wiretapped.
What may well be the FBI’s most shocking atrocity occurred on 4 December 1969, when the home of Fred Hampton, a Black Panther Party officer, was invaded by the Chicago Police, who used deadly force against him and Mark Clark. Clark was shot first, and Hampton was unable to wake to the sound of gunfire because FBI agent William O’Neal had infiltrated their organization and spiked Hampton’s supper with barbiturates. The police shot him to death while he slept unarmed in bed.
Conspiracy theorists like to point out that the government (usually the U. S. government) is poisoning the national populace, which is blissfully unaware, via chemtrails and/or flouridation. How laughable, most of us say, and yet, although there is no proof of these two, the FBI did, in truth, poison liquor stores during Prohibition for the purpose of “dissuading” people from that demon hooch.
Prohibition lasted from 1920 to 1933 in the U. S., and was absolutely unenforceable. Everyone of the public knew perfectly well that a drink now and then was not at all harmful, and refused to accept its absence. Prohibition was impelled by the Temperance Movement, which promoted teetotalism, or utter abstinence from alcohol. Its most prominent activist was Carrie Nation, a 6-foot, 180-pound, blue-haired battle axe, who stormed into bars and smashed their kegs open with a hatchet. Amazingly, no drunks ever beat her up for this.
Once Prohibition went into effect, the FBI saw fit to enforce it as well as possible, since the law is the law, and, by adding potentially fatal impurities to it, endeavored to teach the public that it was going to lose with Mr. Booze. These impurities included methane, formaldehyde, ammonia, and even arsenic and kerosene. But the FBI’s usual method, without informing the populace, of course, was to denature drinkable alcohol, which is called ethanol, by adding rubbing alcohol, which is made of water and propene. Propene is distilled from natural gas and oil; rubbing alcohol does a fine job cleaning wounds and preventing infection, but will destroy your intestines, kidneys, and liver if you drink it. The FBI also added acetone, which is paint thinner.
Not surprisingly, people started dying quite readily from what seemed alcohol intoxication, and this only fueled the Temperance Movement’s assertion that alcohol is the Devil.