A legal website used by attorneys to privately discuss case law is shutting down after 10 years because the owner no longer feels the site's users are protected from government spying. After federal threats led to the closure of several secure email providers, the publisher of Groklaw closed her own operation last night, saying she could no longer promise security to the lawyers who had used the forum to openly discuss legal situations with other users. It's the latest repercussion from former NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations about the massive illegal spying operations American intelligence and law enforcement agencies have engaged in since the 9/11 terror attacks.
The fallout from Snowden's secrets is now affecting the reporter who first brought this summer's NSA spying scandal to the world, Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald—his partner was detained by British intelligence agents for nine hours at London's Heathrow Airport, not because of any suspicion of wrongdoing but simply because he lives with Greenwald.
Feds shut down Snowden's secure email
Friday, August 9, 2013 12:26PM—Users of the very secure email service Lavabit—including NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden—got a cryptic message from its founder saying that he would "strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States." And with that, Lavabit disappeared, apparently shut down under threat of the U.S. federal government. Other secure email services are also shutting down, meaning email privacy is now a thing of the past—even for users of these services specifically built with heavy encryption to ensure privacy.
The ongoing U.S. surveillance scandal that exploded when former NSA contractor Snowden provided damning evidence to the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers continues to affect national and international politics two months later. The NSA's chief spook, Keith Alexander, has become so rattled by the scandal that he went public this week with his plan to fire 90 percent of the NSA's 1,000 systems administrators. The tech contractors and employees will be replaced with computers that presumably operate without the need for humans who may someday decide to take a stand against the government's constant illegal activity.
Paranoid times call for paranoia, which is why even Washington establishment journalists began publicly talking about the likelihood that news website The Daily Beast was fed complete fiction by the CIA about electronic intelligence gathering and recent vague terror threats. The alphabet soup continues as both the DEA and FBI are implicated in additional illegal surveillance schemes and all the agencies target the gauzy leaderless movement known as Anonymous.
When Barack Obama canceled his planned talks with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, the friction was immediately blamed on Russia's temporary asylum for Snowden, even though White House sources claimed it was more about mistreatment of gay people under Putin's rule. At least on gay rights, America is not in danger of becoming the "new Russia"—but on the more widespread issue of constant surveillance of all citizens all the time, the United States has long surpassed the technical abilities of the old Soviet police state.
Snowden gets temporary asylum in Russia
Thursday, August 1, 2013 4 PM—Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who revealed so much about the U.S. government's system to spy on Americans without warrants, has finally escaped his tourist zone nightmare. Snowden had been trapped in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport for 39 days. According to Reuters, the 30-year-old American left by taxi and is now in a safe undisclosed location, having been granted temporary asylum in Russia.
Snowden Has "Map" of Entire NSA System
Monday, July 15, 2013 3:12 PM—To prove his revelations really come from secret NSA eavesdropping programs, whistleblower Edward Snowden provided The Guardian with intricate "maps" of the entire global surveillance system, including the ominous FAIRVIEW. But this stuff isn't being released, says Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald. How does Snowden communicate privately when all the world's espionage services are desperately trying to track him? With the same encryption you can use at home.
Edward Snowden Comes Out of Hiding In Moscow
Friday, July 12, 2013 2:00 PM—For the first time since arriving at Moscow's airport, Snowden appeared publicly with members of Human Rights Watch. Snowden has now applied for temporary asylum in Russia while he attempts to arrange a permanent safe haven in Latin America—the "world passport" issued in his name is unlikely to help in this regard. Meanwhile, the 30-year-old former intel contractor's revelations keep tricking out.
Microsoft Opened Email and Skype To NSA
6:40 PM, Thursday, July 11, 2103—Microsoft gave the National Security Agency the "keys" to its Outlook, Hotmail and Skype services, according to the newest revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden. Microsoft officials described the illegal partnership with the NSA as a "team sport." Why isn't the mafia called a "team sport," anyway? As for Snowden, a majority of Americans now identify the former intelligence contractor as a "whistleblower" and not a "traitor," which is important because public perceptions will influence the level of retribution out of Washington. And the man himself remains hidden at the Moscow airport, as Russian intelligence officials move back to typewriters to avoid Washington's worldwide electronic surveillance.
Pentagon Papers Leaker Praises Snowden
Monday, July 8, 2013 1:02 PM—The man who famously leaked the Pentagon Papers four decades ago says NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was smart to go on the run after exposing America's total surveillance of all Internet and telephone use. But where is the 30-year-old former intelligence contractor, and what's up with the asylum offer from Venezuela? And how can you monitor just what the spies see when they watch your email?
Snowden Seeks Asylum In Another Six Nations
Friday, July 5, 2013 3:55 PM—The whereabouts and destinations of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden are even more mysterious today, as the former U.S. intelligence contractor has reportedly asked another six nations for asylum while Iceland considers (and reconsiders) his request for citizenship there. And why was the Bolivian president's official plane "stopped and frisked" in Austria if Snowden was never anywhere near it? What does the Argentine president have to do with this? Did the CIA bug the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where Julian Assange is still exiled? Does this have anything to do with Rolling Stone investigative reporter Michael Hastings' death in a fiery car crash?
Tuesday, July 2, 2013 6:41 PM—Doors kept closing for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden tonight, as the former U.S. government contractor withdrew his request for asylum in Russia and got a new batch of refusals from some of the 19 countries he has reportedly begged for mercy. In his appeal to the Polish government, which was rejected, he said he fears execution or life imprisonment in the United States. Meanwhile, the Bolivian president's jet made an unexpected stop in Vienna after leaving Moscow today, leading to rumors that Snowden was aboard.
Snowden Betrayed, Washington Post Attacks Whistleblower
2:46 PM—Along with The Guardian, a more popular newspaper based in England, the Washington Post first published the surveillance revelations from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Now that Snowden's in limbo and the U.S. government is making threats around the world to keep the 30-year-old former intelligence contractor from asylum, the cowardly Washington establishment paper has gone on the offensive—against Snowden, who gave the paper one of its few big stories of this century.
Snowden Breaks Silence ... Or Does He?
Monday, July 1, 2013 7:55 PM—For the first time since he dragged the NSA's surveillance machine into the light, Edward Snowden has released a statement to the public. But did he write the strangely structured missive, or is it a hoax? Snowden remains in Moscow, reportedly still within the transit zone of the international airport there, a month since his revelations to The Guardian and Washington Post brought the extent of Silicon Valley and British cooperation with the NSA and FBI's widespread, wholesale monitoring of all telephone and Internet activity.
Snowden Asks For Asylum In Russia
2:02 PM—Surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden has applied for political asylum in Russia, U.S. news agencies are now reporting. Russian President Vladimir Putin now says he'll never give Snowden to the Americans, while also warning Snowden against harming Russia's "American partners" with more NSA leaks. But Snowden has officially asked to stay, Putin says.
Did WikiLeaks Get Snowden Stuck In Moscow?
1:14 PM—Surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden might have left his safe haven in Hong Kong thanks to some bad advice from the WikiLeaks team, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. Russian President And new details of the Prism program revealed by the former NSA contractor now show at least 117,675 individuals are "targets" of a system that can watch users in real time as they send texts and emails. Developing...
Thursday, June 27, 2013 12:09 PM—With NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden still in hiding at the Moscow airport, the writer who broke the story is now being targeted by the tabloids. Glenn Greenwald, the American lawyer and blogger who now works for The Guardian, was once a business partner in a porn company and owes back taxes. Meanwhile, Barack Obama is downplaying the U.S. pursuit of Snowden, telling his press pool that he wouldn't "scramble jets" to catch the 30-year-old former intelligence contractor. Snowden has been on the run since he first revealed details of Verizon's participation in a telecommunications industry program to store information on all telephone calls, and then broke news of the NSA/Silicon Valley PRISM system that watches over the whole Internet.
Snowden Hides In Moscow Airport
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 3:01 PM—The former NSA contractor who turned the world's attention to widespread surveillance of telephone and Internet users is still within the "transit zone" of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. Snowden, the 30-year-old American who leaked details of the NSA's massive electronic spying operation to The Guardian and Washington Post, is now the subject of an international struggle between the United States, China and Russia.
11:45 AM—Russian president Vladimir Putin has flatly rejected Washington's demands that Snowden be handed over to the Americans, describing Snowden as a "transit passenger" and "free man" who could travel wherever he liked. But Putin encouraged Snowden to move fast to his destination, whether Ecuador or another nation friendly to Snowden's cause.
Snowden a No-Show On His Flight To Cuba
Monday, June 25, 2013 11:56 AM—Edward Snowden's seat on the Russian airliner to Cuba was empty today, with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange announcing that the NSA whistleblower is safe but giving no other details. Snowden is seeking political asylum in Ecuador after fleeing Hong Kong and reportedly arriving in Moscow on Sunday. Washington has revoked Snowden's U.S. passport and Secretary of State John Kerry is demanding that the Russians hand over the former intelligence contractor.
Monday, June 24, 2013 10:26AM—Was Snowden's purchased seat on the Aeroflot jet to Havana just a trick to fool reporters? Dozens of journalists were on the flight, but he wasn't.
Sunday, June 23, 2013 1:00PM—Russian media has confirmed that Edward Snowden is now in Moscow after leaving his secret Hong Kong hideout. The same sources reported he has a ticket for an Aeroflot flight to Havana, Cuba, leaving tomorrow at 2PM.
Snowden's final destination may not be Havana, however. The current speculation is that he may go to Caracas after landing in Havana. Other rumors point to Iceland. Wikileaks claims his final destination is Ecuador. Julian Assange and his organization claim they are helping him.
U.K. Internet Spying & U.S. Drone Evidence
Friday, June 21, 2013 3:40 PM—The extent of the FBI's domestic drone spying is revealed by "drone licenses" released to the Electronic Freedom Foundation. News of the drone documents follow FBI Director Robert Mueller's admission to U.S. senators that drones are already spying on Americans on U.S. soil. The Guardian continues revealing details of the massive spying operations, with new evidence showing the U.K. intelligence services tapped into the same Internet pipelines fully monitored by the NSA.
NSA and Silicon Valley In Same Business
Thursday, June 20, 3:25 PM—The National Security Agency wants information on everybody. Tech giants such as Facebook and Apple and Google have information on everybody. They're all in the same business, and the subject of this massive combined technology-intelligence operation is you. Using Prism, the NSA snatches all Internet traffic as it flows in and out of the United States, which violates the U.S. Constitution.
And it's not just data that flows between the California technology giants and the NSA. Facebook's former security chief, Max Kelly, left the social network to take a similar job with the National Security Agency.
Snowden's "Wargame," FBI Drones Over USA
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 3:39 PM—The veteran leaks site Cryptome.org calls Edward Snowden's NSA leaks part of a growing "wargame," while the FBI's director has admitted to the Senate that drones are currently spying on Americans from the skies above the United States.
Tuesday, June 18, 10:45 PM—The surveillance of Americans' phone calls and Internet activity is "transparent," President Barack Obama said on television Monday night. The names of these secret programs revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden are turning up on job sites all over the Internet.
The NSA and FBI has had access to private accounts on Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Apple during the last six months, and appears to be expanding and extending online surveillance that first began with the controversial Patriot Act programs launched after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
Monday, June 17, 10:45 PM—Edward Snowden—the NSA contractor employee who revealed the secret US government spy program Prism on June 6—now says that more details are coming.
11:23 AM—Answering The Guardian readers' questions, Prism whistleblower Edward Snowden claims that more details are coming no matter what happens to him: "All I can say right now is the US Government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped."
10:42 AM—Apple has admitted that the government obtained data from 9,000 to 10,000 devices as part of investigations on "robberies and other crimes, searching for missing children, trying to locate a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, or hoping to prevent a suicide." The company also claims it doesn't chat messages or videoconferences and that "it doesn't store Maps, location, or Siri data in any way that could identify you."
Saturday, June 15, 2013 3:00 PM—The Associated Press has numerous sources detailing that Prism's collaboration with tech companies is just the tip of the iceberg—the NSA actually captures every single bit of data that comes in and out the United States, storing it for analysis:
...larger NSA effort that snatches data as it passes through the fiber optic cables that make up the Internet's backbone. That program, which has been known for years, copies Internet traffic as it enters and leaves the United States, then routes it to the NSA for analysis.
Thursday, June 13, 2013 1:55 PM—The Silicon Valley giants are telling a very different story than the NSA, which explained in top secret Power Point presentations exactly how the data comes from the biggest Internet companies to the government's massive spying operations.
Patriot Or Traitor: Edward Snowden and the NSA Prism Surveillance Web
Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 7:25 PM—More Americans see Prism whistleblower Edward Snowden as a patriot than as a traitor, according to a new opinion poll. But the 29-year-old former intelligence contractor who leaked the details of the NSA's massive data mining operation is still unknown to most Americans—46% have no opinion on his motivations.
1:40 PM—Prism whistleblower Edward Snowden has resurfaced in Hong Kong, telling the South China Morning Post that he's "revealing criminality" and has no other motives. He plans to stay in Hong Kong and has more secrets to reveal.
Since the shocking revelations were revealed a week ago, Snowden has been vilified as a defector but also hailed by supporters such as WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange.
“I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American,” he said, adding that he was proud to be an American. “I believe in freedom of expression. I acted in good faith but it is only right that the public form its own opinion.”
Snowden tells the Hong Kong paper, “I will never feel safe."
Ron Paul Fears Edward Snowden Will Be Assassinated
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 11:39 PM—Congressman Ron Paul, the Texas Republican who first became a hero to young computer technicians in 2007, said today that he fears that the United States government will assassinate Edward Snowden using either a "cruise missile or a drone missile."
Google, Microsoft and Facebook released open letters today asking the U.S. government to get the tech firms off the hook for cooperating with widespread electronic spying on Americans by the biggest tech firms as revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In Maryland, the father of Snowden's girlfriend described Snowden as a man of "strong convictions of right and wrong." But because Snowden is generally "shy and reserved," Jonathan Mills said he was shocked by the revelations.
Lindsay Mills, the 29-year-old girlfriend of Snowden, reportedly texted her father but did not reveal her whereabouts. Snowden disappeared from his Hong Kong hotel at least a day ago, and has yet to surface.
6:40 PM—While the world's attention turned to Edward Snowden's pole-dancing ballerina girlfriend today, the American Civil Liberties Union launched a legal backlash against the NSA and FBI's widespread domestic spying as Google and Apple sought permission from the U.S. government to disclose at least some of what's going on.
The ACLU lawsuit is the first challenge to the widespread phone company spying revealed by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old American who has single-handedly brought the nation's attention back to the long forgotten issue of constant surveillance.
2:31 PM—The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald wrote the shocking stories based on Snowden's leaks, but Greenwald knows firsthand that surveillance dragnets allegedy created to target foreign terrorists are just as easily—and clumsily—turned on U.S. citizens critical of an overreaching government that increasingly seems to exist only to protect itself from the nation it ostensibly serves. The Nation's Lee Fang describes what was revealed just two years ago:
Two years ago, a batch of stolen e-mails revealed a plot by a set of three defense contractors (Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies, and HBGary Federal) to target activists, reporters, labor unions, and political organizations. The plans — one concocted in concert with lawyers for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to sabotage left-leaning critics, like the Center for American Progress and the SEIU, and a separate proposal to "combat" WikiLeaks and its supporters, including Glenn Greenwald, on behalf of Bank of America — fell apart after reports of their existence were published online. But the episode serves as a reminder that the expanding spy industry could use its government-backed cyber tools to harm ordinary Americans and political dissident groups.
The episode also shows that Greenwald, who helped Snowden expose massive spying efforts in the U.S., had been targetted by spy agency contractors in the past for supporting whistleblowers and WikiLeaks.
Majority of Americans Support NSA Spying
Monday, June 10, 2013 5:42 PM—NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has left his Hong Kong hotel as Republican members of Congress call for his extradition and the White House. The 29-year-old contractor for U.S. intelligence services provided details of Washington's decade-long spree of data collection on the phone calls and Internet use of all Americans, and now fears for his life.
Nearly 19,000 people have signed the "Pardon Edward Snowden" petition at WhiteHouse.gov. Daniel Ellsberg, whose life was upended by his decision to leak the Pentagon's bleak assessment of its war in Vietnam, today is praising Snowden's "conscience and patriotism."
Meanwhile, a solid majority of Americans surveyed by Pew Research Center say they're just fine with the constant surveillance of telephone calls and Internet use—56% of Americans support the illegal domestic spying, but only 27% of Americans claim to be closely following the scandal.
3:04 PM—Palantir, the Silicon Valley startup named for an evil all-seeing rock from Lord of the Rings reportedly behind the NSA's Prism program to spy on all Internet activity, takes the hobbit life very seriously. A company director explained in 2010 that a surveillance program called "Save the Shire" saw America's perceived enemies as orcs and dark wizards.
Sunday, June 9, 10:00PM—Edward Snowden: This is the man who told the world about PRISM, the NSA spy network capable of grabbing all your personal data—including private messages, photos and videos—with the help of America's top tech companies.
According to the Guardian, Snowden worked for the last four years at the National Security Agency. "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong," Snowden told The Guardian. “I don’t want public attention because I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the U.S. government is doing.”
Following the revelation of his identity, Edward Snowden was hiding in a Hong Kong hotel.
Despite Denials, Tech Companies Collaborated With NSA
Saturday, June 8, 3:30 PM—The Guardian has revealed the existence of a second NSA surveillance network. Its name is Boundless Informant and, unlike PRISM, it covers the entire planet. Unlike PRISM, however, this network doesn't capture the data but merely organizes it, indexing countries by the metadata obtained from local phone and computer networks.
3:10 AM—The New York Times says that Facebook, Google and Apple are collaborating with the NSA, rebutting the companies' carefully worded statements. According to their sources, companies like Facebook built specific systems so the government could easily request and access their data.
This information contradicts Zuckerberg's denial, posted on his Facebook page Friday afternoon, which has the vague sound of many, many lawyers parsing their own language:
Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access [added emphasis] to our servers. We have never received a blanket request or court order from any government agency asking for information or metadata in bulk, like the one Verizon reportedly received. And if we did, we would fight it aggressively. We hadn't even heard of PRISM before yesterday.
Google's Larry Page posted something that sounds remarkably similar to Zuckerberg's statement:
First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access [emphasis added] to our servers. Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a “back door” to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday.
According to the Times, the key words here are direct access. The government didn't have a backdoor to access the data, but these companies built a system for them:
[C]ompanies were essentially asked to erect a locked mailbox and give the government the key, people briefed on the negotiations said. Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information, they said.
Obama Says PRISM Exists To "Keep Us Safe"
Friday, June 7, 3:31 PM—A mysterious Facebook-connected startup called Palantir—a Lord of the Rings reference to a magical method of surveillance—appears to be the entity that runs the NSA's PRISM program just revealed to be spying on all Americans at all times, with Barack Obama's approval. Obama was in Silicon Valley this morning shaking down the tech billionaires for campaign money:
1:36 PM—Obama claimed the massive, unprecedented national surveillance system involves only "modest encroachments on privacy." As for any political fallout in Congress, Obama also made it clear that "your duly elected representatives have been consistently informed on exactly what we're doing."
12:41 AM—Barack Obama, speaking live in Silicon Valley right now, said the electronic snooping "helps protect us from terrorism" and insists all the eavesdropping of every mobile call, email, instant message and file attachment is completely legal. Obama is in San Jose raising campaign money from the Internet billionaires who allow the NSA to spy on all Americans.
11:18 AM—The nine major tech companies letting the U.S. government spy on all Americans all the time have denied being part of the wholesale surveillance program run by the National Security Agency and the FBI. The spies have full access to all Internet communications and mobile call data coming in and out of the United States and Britain—but the online collective known as Anonymous has already retaliated by dumping a huge trove of NSA documents on the Internet.
NSA Surveillance Program Is Called PRISM
Thursday, June 6, 2013 10:29 PM—The Washington Post reports that the NSA and FBI are working with the top nine U.S. tech companies—including Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Apple—to capture all your e-mails, photographs, audio, video, and documents, in addition to wiretapping all your calls.
Their spying system is called PRISM. As a response, hackers group Anonymous have published 13 secret US government documents, including documents about PRISM and the Department of Defense's Strategic Vision for controlling the internet.
Newly exposed proof that all the major telecommunication companies in America continue to hand over all phone data to the National Security Agency means that the White House's illegal mass wiretapping of people suspected of no crime has continued for a dozen years.
Along with monitoring of web traffic, email and searches through the major telecom carriers, all phone calls been wiretapped with full cooperation of the communications companies since at least 2001. That the practice is illegal hasn't stopped the White House or NSA from continuing the wholesale surveillance. Congress reliably moves to make illegal spying legal whenever there's a scandal like the current Verizon outrage.
White House Says Spying On Millions of Verizon Calls a "Critical Tool"
Wednesday, June 6, 2013 9:03 AM—America's spy agencies have had full access to US cellphone call data to and from Verizon customers since April, the Guardian reports. The Obama Administration is defending the National Security Agency phone spying as a "critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats to the United States."
The secret order was obtained by the British newspaper and reported Wednesday night.
The Obama administration on Thursday acknowledged that it is collecting a massive amount of telephone records from at least one carrier, reopening the debate over privacy even as it defended the practice as necessary to protect Americans against attack. Read...
The White House on Thursday defended the National Security Agency's need to collect telephone records of U.S. citizens, calling such information "a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats." Read...
[T]he extent of the NSA’s surveillance shows that it has focused specifically on Americans, to the degree that its data collection has in at least one major spying incident explicitlyexcluded those outside the United States. Read...
A senior Obama administration official [...] stressed that the information acquired by the purported order "does not include the content of any communications or the name of any subscriber. It relates exclusively to metadata, such as a telephone number or the length of a call." Read...
Data from all incoming and outgoing calls is provided to the NSA under the top secret order, which the Washington Post describes as a "routine renewal of a similar order first issued in 2006." The White House did not specifically address the Verizon order this morning, but referred to at least one telecommunications company.
Past revelations of major U.S. telecommunications companies spying on Americans suspected of no crimes has shown that the other carriers have consistently opened their lines and data banks to America's spy agencies since 2001.
[Photos by the Associated Press and Getty Images. Illustrations by Front]
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