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Under the direction of the Prime Minister of Britain, the GCHQ oversaw the destruction of computers owned by The Guardian on which files from Edward Snowden were kept. The Guardian today released a video of the event that took place back on Saturday, July 20, 2013. Despite the fact that the files exist elsewhere in the world, the GCHQ forced several Guardian editors to take dremels and other power tools to their computers.
To see the full video, you'll have to head over to The Guardian's website as they they don't allow their videos to be embedded. However, above and below, you can see some screen grabs from the video that detail the destruction done to the computers.
We were mostly alone when we posted a few stories from Edward Snowden's world-first interview with German TV outlet NDR, but that video was removed from YouTube a couple of hours ago.
Attempting to access the video results in the following message: "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by ARD". That's ok though, because some sites have a full transcript of it. It doesn't take away from the fact that the video was removed, and then more so, it was cut down from the reported 6 hours, to just 30 minutes long. You can read the transcript of Snowden's startling video interview, here.
Edward Snowden has been nominated by two Norwegian politicians for the 2014 Nobel peace prize. Baard Vegar Solhjell, a former environment minister, and Snorre Valen, politicians with the Socialist Left party, said the public debate and policy changes in the wake of Snowden's NSA revelations had "contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order".
The five-member panel will not confirm who has been nominated, but nominators include members of national parliaments and governments, university professors and previous laureates, must enter their submissions by February 1.
Do you use e-mail? If so, the NSA probably has your entire digital life tracked, and saved somewhere on its servers. During the 30-minute video of Edward Snowden and German TV station NDR, Snowden admitted:
Every time you pick up the phone, dial a number, write an email, make a purchase, travel on the bus carrying a cell phone, swipe a card somewhere, you leave a trace and the government has decided that it's a good idea to collect it all, everything, even if you've never been suspected of any crime. Traditionally the government would identify a suspect, they would go to a judge, they would say we suspect he's committed this crime, they would get a warrant and then they would be able to use the totality of their powers in pursuit of the investigation. Nowadays what we see is they want to apply the totality of their powers in advance - prior to an investigation.
Snowden's revelations are far reaching, especially as he has admitted that every e-mail, purchase, and move you do is tracked. It seems the government just has a large net where it collects any and all information, whether it needs it or not - as it could come in handy in the future.
The 30-minute interview with NDR and Snowden is hot right now, which leads to the question - does the Internet need to be rebuilt, so that it better serves the people and their privacy?
Snowden brings up XKeyscore, which is capable of just about anything. The NSA can use this program to access you personally, or any of their targets, and track you across the Internet, and the world.
How the NSA utilizes XKeyscore is by building what Snowden calls a "fingerprint" of you. This fingerprint will lead them to any network activity you create, unique to you, and the NSA can find you anywhere - no matter what hoops you jump through to hide from them. This can include spoofing your IP, and all sorts of Internet magic.
Snowden scares us all by saying "I can track your username on a website on a form somewhere, I can track your real name, I can track associations with your friends and I can build what's called a fingerprint which is network activity unique to you which means anywhere you go in the world anywhere you try to sort of hide your online presence hide your identity, the NSA can find you".
The Snowden revelations exploded today, with his interview on German TV station NDR. One of the more scary things he said is that the NSA - and even Snowden himself when he was still with the US spy agency - could wiretap or 'hack' virtually anyone, including President Obama or a Federal Judge.
Snowden said "When you are on the inside and you go into work everyday and you sit down at the desk and you realise the power you have - you can wire tap the President of the United States, you can wire tap a Federal Judge and if you do it carefully no one will ever know". I don't know what to be more worried with, that anyone can be wiretapped, or that "no one will ever know".
The ex-NSA employee goes into more detail, stating that most of these illegal NSA programs are useless. As they "have no value", and that "they've never stopped a terrorist attack in the United States and they have marginal utility at best for other things...The National Security agency operates under the President's executive authority alone. He can end of modify or direct a change of their policies at any time".
Snowden admits, that President Obama could shut these programs down, or heavily modify them - so the question is, why doesn't he?
German TV station, NDR, sat down with NSA whisleblower Edward Snowden, in a world-first interview. The interview itself was reportedly a 6-hour stint, but the video was cut down to just 30 minutes.
Germany's broadcasting laws are different from the US, which is reportedly the reason behind this slice down of the interview. You can watch the 30 minutes above, where Snowden has some scary things to say such as "Every time you pick up the phone, dial a number, write an email, make a purchase, travel on the bus carrying a cell phone, swipe a card somewhere, you leave a trace and the government has decided that it's a good idea to collect it all, everything, even if you've never been suspected of any crime. Traditionally the government would identify a suspect, they would go to a judge, they would say we suspect he's committed this crime, they would get a warrant and then they would be able to use the totality of their powers in pursuit of the investigation. Nowadays what we see is they want to apply the totality of their powers in advance - prior to an investigation".
One of the major points of the interview, is the power that President Obama has to stop all of this, where Snowden says "But what (the review boards investigating the illegal NSA programs) found was that these programs have no value, they've never stopped a terrorist attack in the United States and they have marginal utility at best for other things... The National Security agency operates under the President's executive authority alone. He can end of modify or direct a change of their policies at any time".
30 years ago today a young Steve Jobs took the budding personal PC world by storm when he unveiled the original Macintosh to the world. The original Mac featured many new features that dazzled the crowd such as advanced graphics technology, text-to-speech, and a wealth of new fonts.
The original Macintosh was sold with just 128k of memory, an 8MHz Motorola 68000 processor, and a 9-inch black and white CRT display that featured a resolution of 512x324. A 3.5-inch floppy drive was present and the entire thing retailed for a whopping $2,495, a figure that equates to several thousand dollars today. I remember using these in first and second grade in the Computer Curriculum Class that my elementary school hosted. Stepping back I am truly amazed at how far personal computing has came in the last three decades. The sheer fact that a modern smartwatch has orders of magnitude more processing power than the original Macintosh had, boggles my mind.
Today is the Catholic Church's World Communications Day, and to celebrate the occasion, Pope Francis, has released a statement that gives us a clue on the church's official stance on the interwebs. The Pope said that the internet has lead to "unprecedented advances" in technology which has made it easier than ever before to communicate with one another.
The Pope continued to praise the internet and wet as far as to announce that the web is truly a gift from God. Not all was praise however, as he did say that the internet's fad of social media isolates individuals from real interaction with their friends and family. He went on to say that the internet makes it easy for users to wall themselves within circles where their opinions are echoed back without any new ideas being injected, but he did concede that the Internet's benefits far outweigh its drawbacks.
"The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity," Francis said. "This is something truly good, a gift from God," said the pope. "The desire for digital connectivity can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbors, from those closest to us. We should not overlook the fact that those who for whatever reason lack access to social media run the risk of being left behind. While these drawbacks are real, they do not justify rejecting social media," he added. "Rather, they remind us that communication is ultimately a human rather than technological achievement."
In a weird but not uncommon twist of events, Edward Snowden has agreed to stand for the post of Student Reactor at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. The position is basically a three-year position that sees its holder as the representative of the students to the management of the university.
Fortunately for Snowden, the position can be held remotely and never requires the holder to visit in person, unfortunately the position is unpaid. The position has historically been held by those directly involved with controversial political figures or others close to those figuresincluding: Winnie Mandela, Nelson Mandela's former wife and Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu. Charles Kennedy, the former Liberal Democrat leader, is the current incumbent.
The position is not locked in for Snowden just yet though as he will have to beat out former Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree, clergyman Kelvin Holdsworth, and author Alan Bissett. In any event, the position is mostly honorary, and avocation on the students behalf is a rare occurrence.