Even consumers who aren’t necessarily very technically-minded have at least a vague sense that an encrypted site is safer to use than one that isn’t. But encryption, alas, is never a permanent cure-all. And that’s why it’s troubling that new research has found it’s easier than anyone thought to put a backdoor into internet encryption that could let any big, surveillaince-minded entity (good morning, NSA) have a listen. [More]
It’s one thing to comply with a court order from law enforcement seeking access to a user’s email account; it’s another to build a tool specifically to help U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies eavesdrop on those online discussions. A new report claims that Yahoo did just that last year by creating a program that allowed the company to scour all of its messages on behalf of the government. [More]
A group of Senators has announced today that they are introducing a new bill into the Senate designed to prevent mass hacking of Americans’ digital devices. But the lawmakers aren’t targeting shadowy collectives or foreign nationals with their proposed legislation; they’re seeking to limit the scope of actual Federal agencies’ powers.
The federal court set up to review government requests for surveillance involving issues of national security is either rubber-stamping everything that it sees, or the FBI and the National Security Agency are incredibly good at filing these requests. A new report claims that the court approved every single one of the 1,457 requests it received last year. [More]
After several years of back-and-forth rulings, an appeals court in Washington, D.C. has ruled today that the NSA’s controversial bulk phone data collection program can indeed continue… at least until November, when it gets shut down anyway because Congress changed the law in June.
Oscar-Winning Director Of Snowden Documentary Trying To Find Out Why She’s Been Detained At Airports So Much
Laura Poitras recently won the Academy Award for CITIZENFOUR, her documentary on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, but the director claims that she’s long been hassled by U.S. federal authorities for years, resulting in multiple unmerited airport detentions. Now she’s suing the government to find out exactly why. [More]
Facial recognition still kind of sounds like science fiction, but is a tech reality. It is, however, still a fairly new and unregulated reality — nobody quite knows how to handle it. So the Commerce Department brought together privacy advocates and industry representatives to hammer out a new code of conduct… and it is not going well. In fact, several of the advocates claim, the process is so broken that it can’t be fixed, and they are walking out.
Last October, Twitter sued the Justice Department, the U.S. Attorney General, the FBI, and FBI Director James Comey, because the social media platform believed it has a First Amendment right to be fully transparent with its users about the number and nature of national security requests it receives from the government. But with the recent passing of the USA FREEDOM Act, the judge in the case says there may be no need for the lawsuit to move forward. [More]
As expected following the June 1 expiration of one of the PATRIOT Act’s most controversial privacy-invading provisions, the Senate today passed a substitute bill, the USA FREEDOM Act (or rather, deep breath… the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2015) that prohibits the sort of mass data collection the National Security Agency enjoyed under the recently sunset Patriot provisions, but still leaves in place many concerns for privacy advocates. [More]
As lawmakers in D.C. flipped over their calendars from May to June last night, the sun set — at least temporarily — on the National Security Agency’s ability to collect mass amounts of information from telephone companies about their customers’ calls. [More]
A federal appeals court has ruled this morning that the NSA’s controversial bulk phone data collection program is in violation of federal law.
It’s been two years since we found out that the NSA has been quietly scooping up basically everyone’s phone records, willy-nilly, without warrants. The revelations of widespread surveillance freaked plenty of people out, but under existing law, the agency has acted legally. To get change, then, you’d need to change the law… and Congress has 33 days remaining in which to do exactly that.
The backlash against the federal government’s surveillance programs continues. This time, the folks at Human Rights Watch have filed suit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, alleging that the DEA’s bulk collection of data related to certain phone calls made by the organization runs afoul of basic protections afforded by the Constitution.
By June 1, Congress must decide whether or not to reauthorize certain sections of the controversial USA Patriot Act (aka the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act), but even though it’s been nearly two years since former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed the NSA’s massive and far-reaching data collection programs, many Americans either are only vaguely aware or don’t understand because it’s not easy to immediately see how things like PRISM and MYSTIC affect your daily existence. That’s why John Oliver not only went straight to Snowden for an explanation of these programs, but to have him put the snooping in terms many Internet-era perverts can understand: penis photos. [More]
The foundation behind Wikipedia, along with several other high-profile non-profit organizations, has sued the National Security Agency challenging its “suspicionless seizure and searching of internet traffic” in the U.S., claiming that this mass data collection goes beyond what the law allows the NSA to collect and that it violates protections afforded by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. [More]
As you’ve probably heard, it was recently revealed that the National Security Agency has been scouring online images and using facial-recognition technology to track suspected terrorists, giving rise to justifiable concerns that the NSA has records of your every selfie, headshot, portrait, and drunken mugging. But the agency’s head is now attempting to do some damage control by saying that everything his people do is on the up-and-up. [More]