The Intercept has a new story from the Snowden documents about the UK's surveillance of the Internet by the GCHQ:
The mass surveillance operation code-named KARMA POLICE was launched by British spies about seven years ago without any public debate or scrutiny. It was just one part of a giant global Internet spying apparatus built by the United Kingdom's electronic eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.
One system builds profiles showing people's web browsing histories. Another analyzes instant messenger communications, emails, Skype calls, text messages, cell phone locations, and social media interactions. Separate programs were built to keep tabs on "suspicious" Google searches and usage of Google Maps.
As of March 2009, the largest slice of data Black Hole held -- 41 percent -- was about people's Internet browsing histories. The rest included a combination of email and instant messenger records, details about search engine queries, information about social media activity, logs related to hacking operations, and data on people's use of tools to browse the Internet anonymously.
Lots more in the article. The Intercept also published 28 new top secret NSA and GCHQ documents.
Btw, I was looking over this article that I hadn't read until today, and looking over the last part of that article, I want to point out that any argument that allude to there being a 'balance', is probably nonsense, as if it could be a sensible argument when it's not.
At the very end of the article from Sept. 17, there is a quote from a Mr. Nicholas Lansman , a representative from ISPA (Internet Service Providers Association in UK):
"It is important to get the balance right between privacy, security, maintaining user trust and the cost to industry, as key issues such as retaining third party data, judicial oversight and data hosted abroad are discussed,"
The very absurdity of there possibly being a so called "balance" between such vague things like 'privacy, 'security', 'maintaining user trust', and 'the cost to industry' can be understood both as a lack of a stated 'problem', and as a use of a metaphor for try achieve some *other* metaphorical meaning (maybe similar to using a 'dead metaphor' that for itself has no meaning). I'd say that, for it to make sense that there to be a "balance" between such vague things, is wishful thinking, or simply being dirty damn lie. The word "balance" is thus just a "positive" word.
Like with the design and support for various computer games, "balancing" something usually means changing something about the gameplay, thus not being the alluded equilibrium that would otherwise be the only meaningful part of a act of balancing. The only equilibrium to be had with regard to being pragmatic that makes sense, would be the notion of simply solving a social/policy issue, by deciding on things, something that has nothing to do with using 'balance' as a metaphor at all.
It may be just me, but I feel anxious, frustrated, and increasingly suspicious that novel revelations are coming from the Snowden archive two and a half years later. I don't know what to make of it. Is there so much material that it is not feasible to go faster? Is the Intercept performing journalistic checks that are so rigorous that their staff can't manage any better? Is the Intercept stringing it out for profit? Are there some external forces deliberately causing slowdowns to publish?
At some point, these are going to be so stale that agencies will be able to say, "Yes, that was a dark time in our history, but that was our predecessors and we've changed." Then the whole problem gets swallowed by the magic of bureaucratic democracy.
I posted a link in the Friday Squid Blogging to a report on standards oversight of national intelligence agencies. It was quite late in the cycle so I do not think many have seen it. It is relevant as it quotes a lot of case law from the European Court of Human Rights who are not very pleased by such behavior.
Comparing the opinions of the court with the behavior of GCHQ leaves one with the opinion that, on the whole, GCHQ are run by criminals. Which is no news, I suppose.
Ten standards for oversight and transparency of national intelligence services: custodiet ipsos custodes [blog.cyberwar.nl]
1: Intelligence services need to be subject to oversight that is complete. 2: Oversight should encompass all stages of the intelligence cycle. 3: Oversight of the intelligence services should be independent. 4: Oversight should take place prior to the imposition of a measure. 5: Oversight bodies should be able to declare a measure unlawful and provide for redress. 6: Oversight should incorporate the adversary principle. 7: Oversight bodies should have sufficient resources to perform effective oversight. 8: Intelligence services and their oversight bodies should provide layered transparency. 9: Oversight bodies, civil society and individuals should be able to receive and access information about surveillance. 10: Companies and other private legal entities should be able to publish aggregate information on surveillance orders they receive.
Very strange that this is a much, much bigger story that telephony metadata yet has only received a passing mention by the mainstream press. I fear that these revelations are losing their impact and the public at large has internalized perpetual, worldwide surveillance as the new normal.
London used to attract its fair share of NGOs, international human rights activists and political refugees, reassured by the supposedly democratic foundations of the country and the tradition of respect towards personal liberties.
I wonder what all these vulnerable people are thinking now as they read that their extremely sensitive communications have been systematically targeted, recorded, cross-referenced and shipped around the world, shared with -- at the very least -- all members of the FEYES fraternity (which, according to the Snowden revelations, includes contractors and private deals that bring the number of people with clearance up to a few dozen million).
This vast intrusion doesn't speak well of the British government in relation to fundamental human rights. So much for the Magna Carta, etc. Indeed, the American Revolution was fought in part due to intrusive General Warrant physical searches of homes and businesses by the British government/corporation.
No chance of revolt here in the USA again however. Our government whole heartedly supports ransacking our electronic communications and devices using the excuse we are all targets or adversaries, euphemisms for the enemy.
No wonder Americans are so dissatisfied with Congress and government. As for the Brits, ....?
No word on how the American Government protects it's citizens from alien surveillance.
Presumably there is no NSA protection offered in order to get around the last vestiges of useless US law, therefore making US citizens vulnerable to every other bad guy and government on the planet.
Simply stated the US Government actively harms its citizenry, including sitting members of congress, because it can. Without the benefit of...any benefits or even due process, just the way the founding fathers wanted.
Thank God there is no 'evidence laundering' or 'parallel construction' whereby some faceless vindictive Government employee could abuse the domestic surveillance system to physically harm US Citizens.
Well, as a British citizen you know you're up the creek without a paddle when yuou read that the NSA guys praise their GCHQ counterparts for the amount of shit they can get away with! All I can say is I'm glad I don't live in the UK.
Makes you wonder what these scumbags tell their families when they get back home from work.
"Good day at the office?" "Yeah, the usual the usual stuff: I recorded the browsing history of a few million people in the country (none of whom have anything whatsoever to do with terrorism), I "hunted" a few dozen civilian sys admins to obtain access to their databases and steal their clients' data, I fucked up some critical infrastructure in Eastern Europe, hacked a few hundred unpatched Windows boxes belonging to completely innocent people around the world (in case we need to use them as unsuspecting launchpads to perform DDoS or spread malware), and recorded the IP addresses of several thousand people in the UK who visited YouPorn today, in case we need to blackmail our own citizens at some point in the near future."
As far as drip drip drip goes.. If they know you have, say, C:\FISACOURT\*.pdf and during two and a half years only one doc from that folder has been published, isn't there an inherent message that, hey, get your sh*t together before we publish another one?
I'm not sure whether people have given some thought to the implications of this bit: a system that automatically analyzes cell phone locations in real time. Until now, the official stand was that telecoms could sometimes triangulate a user's location based on cell phone signal and that this data could, under very special circumstances, be retrieved through a court order. What we're reading here paints a very different picture. GCHQ automatically records and analyzes the real-time location of every person in the country. Basically, we've all been fitted with an electronic tag, like pedophiles, beaming or exact location to the GCHQ (and presumably its foreign allies) every second of the day, every day of the year. I can't believe mainstream newspapers in the country are covering this one up!
Know what's worse? A nation of liars, cheats and thieves. An army of scumbags who can each be bought for a small amount of money, who knowingly participate in money laundering and identity theft and who know what they're doing, but later claim they didn't realize the money originated from fraud and extortion nor that the money was being sent overseas to some of the most wicked organizations on the planet. How 'bout them people?
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
The article talks about the Radiohead songs and notes the lyric “This is what you’ll get, when you mess with us.” The song it a bit more cynical than that though, especially in the current context - "arrest this man he talks in math" etc - and then also:
> Yorke explained that the song was about stress and "having people looking at you in that certain [malicious] way" ... "It's for someone who has to work for a large company. This is a song against bosses. F*ck the middle management!" ... "not entirely serious, I hope people will realize that."
It might be that some of the people doing the grunt work - writing the code and making the platform operational - knew that it was a terrible goal but reckoned they could slide an in-joke past a manager.
Those who don't live in the UK might not realise that, here, the internet comes censored out of the box, courtesy of David Cameron (joining the ranks of such freedom-loving nations as China, Iran, Syria, South Sudan and Yemen). It turns out that the very man who gave passionate speeches proudly defending what he euphemistically calls "family filters" spent his university years sticking his meat and two veg into severed pigs' heads. You couldn't make it up.
@Yes, we scan! "All I can say is I'm glad I don't live in the UK."
Lest you really do feel relief, understand that GCHQ readily shares this booty with the rest of Five Eyes. Besidees, because of the way the internet works, even your email to Aunt Tillie who lives across town might well travel through several foreign countries, G.B. among them..
If I recall correctly, upwards of 150 undersea cables land on G.B.'s shores. You can bet that every one of them feeds GCHQ's numerous maws.
Bet there is a rational for not providing other-site indirection, it may lie with you to determine the reason for this non-appropriation. My apologizes for commenting here, torn between subjective observation and a general notice to the comm.
We need to realize that once people become aware of the hanky-panky occurring they take counter measures to circumvent the eavesdropping. Here is just one BIG example:
All the eavesdropping by England and the USA could not even detect the 21 million Top Secret Investigations being stolen. Now China, Russia, Iraq and Iran have reached a comprehensive accord to fight the Islamic State leaving the USA military and Intelligence clueless.
Whatever happened to the “the War on Terror” fight guys?
Instead our huge security apparatus is being used to control the USA population (the Pope’s visit) and fight petty internal crime.
Is spying (even on friends) a way to build a productive relationship? Who’s proud to be an American?
We need to realize that once people become aware of the hanky-panky occurring
There was a brief moment with the Snowden revelations where the general public's perception almost aligned with those in the security and privacy communities. These days if you mention Snowden all most remember is something about metadata at best.
Besidees, because of the way the internet works, even your email to Aunt Tillie who lives across town might well travel through several foreign countries, G.B. among them..
You need to go take a closer look at RIPA.
Basically it's any part of the infrastructure that can be reached from the UK. That is your air-gapped home network in the deepest darkest cave in the most remote part of the globe, is fair game if it connects in some way to a network that can be reached from the UK no matter how improbably.
Thus your air-gaped network with the usuall PC speakers and microphone, and where there is a phone in the same room at some point is as far as the UK is concerned covered by RIPA...
I cannot think of a more horrible job than rummaging though the contents of the crap on the Net for some scrap that might be useful (for some values of useful). For every spark of real information you'd have to wade the stream of porn, cookie recipes, spam, Nigerian prince Phishing, and the totally boring shite that is most peoples email exchanges. The Spooks deserve to spend their time doing this while the world falls apart around them. Anyone assigned to read the Tor and Bruce material probably thinks they have died and gone to an imagined heaven. I read a lot of comment threads and you won't find much there unless you're a Kraft-Ebbing fanboy. This Blog is different.
There's not much commentary about the SOF deployments to 135 different countries which seem to be clandestine and without much in the way of oversight. The IC seem to have positioned themselves as a world government without the consent of the governed. Like the Ancien Regime of France who thought they had it made, hubris isn't a real gameplan for long term viability.
We learned that every digital form of communication in Afghanistan was being monitored by American British Intelligence years ago. So how were 500 Taliban able to take over a city and send 3000 Afghanistan police and soldiers running away? Do you become invisible once you remove your cell phone battery? LOL!
After the wimp attack was over they turned on their cell phones and took selfies for all the world to see! The humiliation and impotency of our intelligence services was highlighted by the American national news.
Yes, the internet is totally pwned by the military-spook-corporate buddies complex.
Everything they can get their hands on will be monitored in real time and fed into their monstrous systems in the final end-game. There is simply no longer any doubt.
Until the night of the long knives and we see enemies of the state strung up by their feet (like those old black and white photos they should be taking note of), there will be no end to the data harvesting.
The rank abuses we face in the meantime will simply boggle the mind, let alone the full realisation by the people that the shadow government is actually being fully run by the intelligence agencies everywhere.
Corrupt and perverted as they already are.
Notice they never catch a filthy financial fraudster, king-pin CIA traffickers, 'The Fast and the Furious' scandal-makers, or take-down their buddy cartel members etc. Funny that.
This is not possible with the technology already at their disposal, unless it is purposeful avoidance and wasting their time on those that challenge the status quo i.e. anyone who is not a .01%er.
This is the reason no bastard ever pulls the plug on these shit-eaters, and that is because they are already subject to blackmail e.g. think of Cameron-style photos with your crown jewels in the maw of an animal....
Agreed, and I think the metadata story was probably not the right one with which to lead. It's hard to explain why people should care about metadata. The first Snowden story was always going to stick in the public's mind better than the rest. It should have been something easier to care about.
Apparently the Rus military has unplugged their cellphone batteries. The cries of we didn't know about their airstrkes in Syria make the entire IC bunch look like idiots again. You'd think that 5 years would be long enough to get some surveillance in place around and over Syria. It seems the hunt for teenaged girlie selfies has consumed their time.
Expect pleas for more money because their data haystack is too big to manage thanks to Spandam Alexanders clown act.
(mandatory scurrilous ant-Brit sarcasm goes here to waste GCHQs time) Snouting is the new outing for the posh