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A new report from The Washington Post is suggesting that the NSA has been harvesting hundreds of thousands of email addresses from contact list, online address books, and even instant messaging services. The report is based off of top-secret documents that were provided by senior intelligence officials as well as PRISM whistle blower Edward Snowden.
The report goes on to say that the NSA's Special Source Operations division acquired over 440,000 email address books from Yahoo, 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from Facebook, and 33,697 from Gmail. Those numbers were derived from an internal NSA powerpoint presentation and are said to represent just a single days worth of email collecting activity.
The Washington Post speculates that the NSA now has a sizeable database of most of the email addresses that exist on the internet today. What the agency plans on doing with these address books is anyones guess. Personally I feel that this is not that big of a deal as many of us openly post our email address online for all to see anyway. On the other hand, I feel that by collecting, storing, and building a database, the NSA is violating some form of my privacy rights.
There are hundreds of millions of people out there who use Facebook on the daily, who think that their profiles are safe because they know the passwords to their account, and others don't - and these people need to read this news, now.
The social network founded by Mark Zuckerberg has just forced a not-so-friendly anti-privacy rule, that stops you from being able to hide your profile from searches. Although, Facebook did say it was going to do this a year ago, so here we are. Last December, an option called "Who cal look up your Timeline by name" was removed for people who weren't using it.
But those who opted in for the feature continued on with it, until now. The social network has said that the small number of people still using the privacy setting will see reminders of its impending removal within the next couple of weeks.
We saw video of Edward Snowden earlier on, but now we have Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak chiming in regarding the NSA whistleblower. Wozniak spoke with RT's Oksana Boyko, where he said that he hopes to have the courage to make the same kind of sacrifice for his country if needed.
During an exclusive interview with RT on "Worlds Apart," Wozniak said "I believe he's a hero. I believe he is coming directly from his heart and he feels some goodness, he wants to be truthful to the American people." The Apple co-founder said he doesn't have the same cache of information Snowden does to expose the government's evilness toward its citizens, but said if "there was anything in my life that I could do equivalent to [Snowden's] sacrifice - I would do it."
I think it's great to have someone like Wozniak step forward and call Snowden a hero, and I'm even more impressed that he stated he'd love to do a Snowden equivalent event for his country. Now if we could just get a majority of the government and corporations to actually do this, the world might be a better place.
Under the US government shutdown, we have 800,000 'non-essential' government staff not being paid, but there's enough money to keep things spied on at the NSA. But, don't think about looking into the NSA spying if you're part of the NSA surveillance panel.
The funds to the NSA surveillance panel have been put on hold thanks to the government shutdown, which was one of president Obama's promises: to look into the NSA's spying system. The panel is now stopped until funds begin flowing again, which will require Congress to start deciding on something, and fast. Then we have the US debt ceiling to begin worrying about.
Do you think we'll get to the bottom of the NSA's PRISM system?
We know that Lavabit was forced to shut its doors after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden blew the lid on the NSA PRISM system, but now it looks like more of the story is finally leaking out, and it's quite bad.
According to court documents acquired by Wired, the FBI had served Lavabit with an order requiring it to hand over Snowden's encryption keys, helping the FBI install a device that would collect metadata from Snowden's e-mail connections. Lavabit refused, but did at one stage provide SSL keys to the FBI, printing them on 11 pages of 4pt type.
This eventuated in Lavabit being threatened with criminal contempt charges and fines. Lavabit's founder, Ladar Levison decided to close up shop after this, as you can imagine. This news helps us better understand why Lavabit decided to go dark, but what I don't understand is that Snowden revealed the NSA's PRISM system captured virtually everything, so why couldn't it use its own system to their advantage?
Most are impressed with
the NSA's Apple's TouchID fingerprint scanner, being the only real change on the iPhone 5S, but hacking collective Anonymous has come out with quite the claim: the US government is using the TouchID database to collect citizens' fingerprints.
Anonymous has released a video, above, with several documents supporting its claim. Anonymous claims to have uncovered evidence of a "corrupt alliance" between the US government and a bunch of its contractors. AuthenTec, the company who made Apple's TouchID technology, reportedly has strong ties to "the most powerful and corrupt Defense Department and Intelligence Community contractors and figures." This is an interesting quote from the piece:
In brief, the claims the group make concerning Touch ID seem to focus on Authentec director, Robert E Grady, who appears to have been a prominent figure within the George Bush administration and (Anonymous claim) was connected with The Carlyle Group, which Anonymous also claim is a majority shareholder in Booz Allen Hamilton, the NSA contractor with which whistleblower Edward Snowden worked.
The group also claims Authentec was keen on Apple acquiring the company, thinking that as it adopted the biometric technology other firm's would follow suit. This doesn't ring true, by the way, as Apple is incredibly unlikely to license its new technology. It is possible other firms may attempt to emulate the tech.
Caspar Bowden worked for Microsoft between 2002 and 2011 as its Chief Privacy Adviser, but now says he doesn't trust Microsoft's security after he read the stories about the NSA PRISM system after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden stepped up with the leaks.
The former privacy adviser to Microsoft said that the NSA PRISM system was undermining democracy by sharing citizens' private information with the UK's GCHQ and intelligence agencies in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. He added: "The public now has to think about the fact that anybody in public life, or person in a position of influence in government, business or bureaucracy, now is thinking about what the NSA knows about them. So how can we trust that the decisions that they make are objective and that they aren't changing the decisions that they make to protect their career? That strikes at any system of representative government."
John McAfee, modern day eccentric millionaire and founder of McAfee Antivirus, announced over the weekend that he has devised a plan to block the illegal--and legal--spying from the NSA once and for all. McAfee outlined his plan on Saturday while speaking at an event in San Jose, California.
The big plan involves a device created by McAfee which he calls "D-Central." The gadget is essentially a wireless networking hub that allows smartphones, tablets, laptops, and any other Wi-Fi connected device to access what is basically a darkweb-like network that blocks mainstream intrusion from the government. The D-Central device would retail for $100 or less and McAfee says that he has been planning the device for several years now.
D-Central will provide not only a private (darkweb) connection, but will provide a public one as well and can be used to share files, chat, and research without ever unveiling your identity. McAfee said that the device has a range of about three blocks, and at the moment D-Central "is round in shape" and features "no screens". A working prototype is said to be just six months away and McAfee is actively searching for partners to help with development. Anyone looking for more information can hit up the source below to check out the official D-Central website.
It looks like some NSA agents would be hanging their heads in shame, if they weren't already over the PRISM scandal, after it has been outed that some of them used their powers to spy on love interests.
The Hill reports that the US spy agency admitted in a letter to Sensor Chuck Grassley (R - Iowa) that it's "identified 12 incidents since 2003 in which analysts intentionally misused their intelligence gathering powers" to spy on love interests. The NSA also admitted that it has opened two investigations into similar abuses of intelligence, and a third is being reviewed as another possible investigation.
This all reminds me of Men in Black, the movie, when K used the technology he had at his disposal to use a satellite to spy on his ex-wife. I can see it now, the NSA is using its vast technology - of which the US tax payer funded - to spy on love interests, the next-generation of Facebook stalking.
Dropbox has jumped onto the transparency bandwagon with fellow tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook. Today, Dropbox announced that it has filed an amicus brief with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
The brief requests that the court give permission to all Internet companies to disclose all requests for information regarding their users when it comes to matters of national security. This would allow Dropbox to publish a list of every information request it has received regarding its users from governments both foreign and domestic.
Dropbox says that "the Court should not permit the government to invoke the mere label of 'national security' to justify the speech restraints it seeks." Currently tech companies can publish how many requests they received, but only on non-gag law enforcement requests, and can only disclose a vague number range when dealing with national security requests.