Britain: Telecoms Companies Give Spy Agency GCHQ Secret Unlimited Access To Their Undersea Cables

Flashback:

UK’s Electronic Eavesdropping And Security Agency GCHQ Also Accesses NSA’s Secret PRISM Programme


Fears of customer backlash over breach of privacy as firms give GCHQ unlimited access to their undersea cables


Verizon, BT and Vodafone Cable have given GCHQ secret unlimited access to their network of undersea cable

BT and Vodafone among telecoms companies passing details to GCHQ (Guardian, Aug 2, 2013):

Some of the world’s leading telecoms firms, including BT and Vodafone, are secretly collaborating with Britain’s spy agency GCHQ, and are passing on details of their customers’ phone calls, email messages and Facebook entries, documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden show.

BT, Vodafone Cable, and the American firm Verizon Business – together with four other smaller providers – have given GCHQ secret unlimited access to their network of undersea cables. The cables carry much of the world’s phone calls and internet traffic.

Read moreBritain: Telecoms Companies Give Spy Agency GCHQ Secret Unlimited Access To Their Undersea Cables

The NSA IS Reading Your E-mails

The NSA IS Reading Your E-mails (The New American, July 31, 2013):

The London Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald revealed in a July 31 exposé that the NSA has indeed been collecting the full text of every American’s e-mails without a warrant under the “XKeyscore” program, flatly contradicting the claims of congressional opponents of the Amash amendment last week.

The Amash amendment would have denied the NSA the ability to snoop on Americans without a warrant or National Security letter under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The amendment by Michigan congressman Justin Amash failed by a mere seven-vote margin in the House of Representatives. In the wake of the vote, Amash has promised to sponsor legislation to ban the NSA from collecting telephone and Internet data on American citizens.

Using NSA PowerPoint presentations provided by whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Greenwald explained: “One presentation claims the [XKeyscore] program covers ‘nearly everything a typical user does on the internet,’ including the content of emails, websites visited and searches, as well as their metadata.” Greenwald added: “Analysts can also use XKeyscore and other NSA systems to obtain ongoing ‘real-time’ interception of an individual’s internet activity.”

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Facebook Says Technical Flaw Exposed 6 Million Users

Facebook Says Technical Flaw Exposed 6 Million Users (New York Times, June 21, 2013):

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook has inadvertently exposed six million users’ phone numbers and e-mail addresses to unauthorized viewers over the last year, the company said late Friday.

Facebook blamed the data leaks, which began in 2012, on a technical flaw in its huge archive of contact information collected from its 1.1 billion users worldwide. As a result of the problem, Facebook users who downloaded contact data for their list of friends obtained additional information that they were not supposed to have.

Read moreFacebook Says Technical Flaw Exposed 6 Million Users

Some Obama Top Political Appointees Using Secret Government Email Accounts – White House Defends Practice

Some Obama political appointees using secret email accounts; White House defends practice (Washington Post/AP, June 4, 2013):

WASHINGTON — Some of President Barack Obama’s political appointees are using secret government email accounts to conduct official business, The Associated Press found, a practice that complicates agencies’ legal responsibilities to find and turn over emails under public records requests and congressional inquiries.White House spokesman Jay Carney on Tuesday acknowledged the practice and said it made eminent sense for Cabinet secretaries and other high-profile officials to have what he called alternative email accounts that wouldn’t fill with unwanted messages. Carney said all their email accounts, public and otherwise, were subject to congressional oversight and requests by citizens under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

“There’s nothing secret,” Carney said.

The AP reviewed hundreds of pages of government emails released under the federal open records law and couldn’t independently find instances when material from any of the secret accounts it identified was turned over. Congressional oversight committees told the AP they were unfamiliar with the few nonpublic government addresses that AP identified so far, including one for Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Health and Human Services Department.

Read moreSome Obama Top Political Appointees Using Secret Government Email Accounts – White House Defends Practice

Judge Orders Google To Give Customer Data To FBI

Judge Orders Google To Give Customer Data To FBI (Huffingtion Post, June 1, 2013):

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has ruled that Google Inc. must comply with the FBI’s warrantless demands for customer data, rejecting the company’s argument that the government’s practice of issuing so-called national security letters to telecommunication companies, Internet service providers, banks and others was unconstitutional and unnecessary.

FBI counter-terrorism agents began issuing the secret letters, which don’t require a judge’s approval, after Congress passed the USA Patriot Act in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

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DOJ Confirms: Eric Holder Vetted Search Warrant For James Rosen Emails

Eric Holder Vetted Search Warrant For James Rosen Emails, DOJ Confirms (Huffington Post, May 24, 2013):

Attorney General Eric Holder signed off on the decision to seek the personal emails of a Fox News reporter by suggesting he was a “co-conspirator” in a criminal leak case, the Department of Justice confirmed in a statement on Friday.

The department “took great care in deciding that a search warrant was necessary in the Kim matter, vetting the decision at the highest levels of the Department, including discussions with the Attorney General,” the DOJ said in a statement about the search warrant seeking James Rosen’s emails.

Read moreDOJ Confirms: Eric Holder Vetted Search Warrant For James Rosen Emails

IRS: We Do Not Need Warrants To Read People’s Emails

IRS: We can read emails without warrant (The Hill, April 10, 2013):

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has claimed that agents do not need warrants to read people’s emails, text messages and other private electronic communications, according to internal agency documents.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request, released the information on Wednesday.

In a 2009 handbook, the IRS said the Fourth Amendment does not protect emails because Internet users “do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications.” A 2010 presentation by the IRS Office of General Counsel reiterated the policy.

Read moreIRS: We Do Not Need Warrants To Read People’s Emails

U.S. Government Plan Calls For More Scanning Of Private Web Traffic, Email

US plan calls for more scanning of private Web traffic, email (Reuters, March 22, 2103):

The U.S. government is expanding a cybersecurity program that scans Internet traffic headed into and out of defense contractors to include far more of the country’s private, civilian-run infrastructure.

As a result, more private sector employees than ever before, including those at big banks, utilities and key transportation companies, will have their emails and Web surfing scanned as a precaution against cyber attacks.

Under last month’s White House executive order on cybersecurity, the scans will be driven by classified information provided by U.S. intelligence agencies — including data from the National Security Agency (NSA) — on new or especially serious espionage threats and other hacking attempts. U.S. spy chiefs said on March 12 that cyber attacks have supplanted terrorism as the top threat to the country.

The Department of Homeland Security will gather the secret data and pass it to a small group of telecommunication companies and cyber security providers that have employees holding security clearances, government and industry officials said. Those companies will then offer to process email and other Internet transmissions for critical infrastructure customers that choose to participate in the program.

DHS as the middleman

By using DHS as the middleman, the Obama administration hopes to bring the formidable overseas intelligence-gathering of the NSA closer to ordinary U.S. residents without triggering an outcry from privacy advocates who have long been leery of the spy agency’s eavesdropping.

Read moreU.S. Government Plan Calls For More Scanning Of Private Web Traffic, Email

Hacker Reveals George W. Bush’s Naked Self-Portraits

Hacker reveals George W. Bush’s naked self-portraits (The Raw Story, Feb 8, 2013):

Personal information stolen from several email accounts belonging to people close to the Bush family reveals the nation’s 43rd president has developed an affinity for painting himself bathing, of all things.

Photos included in an information dump turned over to The Smoking Gun include President George H.W. Bush in the hospital, the elder Bush posing with President Bill Clinton, a family photo of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and even President George W. Bush posing with a cardboard cutout of himself wearing a mustache and beret.

Three of the images also show paintings Bush created, including one of himself in the shower, another of himself in a bath, and a third of him crouched over a canvas depicting a church.

A hacker going by the name “Guccifer” claimed the stolen messages include addresses, phone numbers and email addresses that go directly to both former presidents and their families, along with a security code for a gate outside the younger Bush’s home in Dallas.

Read moreHacker Reveals George W. Bush’s Naked Self-Portraits

Bush Family Emails Hacked, Posted Online

Investigation launched into how Guccifer posted photos and personal emails of ex-US president George HW Bush online


George HW Bush: the emails were said to contain details of the state of the ex-president’s health and his family’s phone numbers. Photograph: Getty Images

George Bush’s family emails hacked (Guardian, Feb 8, 2013):

An investigation has been launched into how a hacker managed to access the email accounts of the former US president George HW Bush and members of his family.

A number of Bush family photographs and personal emails were posted online by the hacker, who goes by the name of Guccifer.

Read moreBush Family Emails Hacked, Posted Online