Home Tags Posts tagged with "national security agency"

national security agency


Senator Rand Paul sued the Obama administration Wednesday over the NSA’s mass collection of millions of Americans’ phone records.

Rand Paul , a possible Republican presidential candidate, said he and the conservative activist group FreedomWorks filed the suit for themselves and on behalf of “everyone in America that has a phone”.

The lawsuit argues that the bulk collection program that’s been in existence since 2006 violates the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches. It calls for an end to the program, which was revealed by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.

The Obama administration maintains that the program, begun under President George W. Bush, is legal. Courts have largely sided with the government.

Rand Paul sued the Obama administration over the NSA's mass collection of millions of Americans' phone records

Rand Paul sued the Obama administration over the NSA’s mass collection of millions of Americans’ phone records

President Barack Obama has called for reforms to the program in an effort to regain public trust. Others, like Rand Paul, have called for the end of this kind of surveillance.

Rand Paul dodged a question about his presidential ambitions during a news conference Wednesday. But his lawsuit is the latest effort to propel the debate over the once-secret surveillance program into the 2016 presidential campaign.

The surveillance debate has exposed intra-party tensions for Republicans. The party split on this issue between its leadership, which backs the program on security grounds, and libertarian-minded members who are more wary of government involvement in Americans’ private lives.

The Republican National Committee last month approved a resolution to end the surveillance programs. While some Republicans played down its significance, the nonbinding vote was seen as a nod to Republicans like Rand Paul.

The White House and Justice Department did not comment on the lawsuit specifically, but said they believe the bulk collection of phone records is legal.

[youtube WnJeOZIPM3Q 650]

Canada’s electronic spy agency, Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), collected data from travelers passing through a major airport, the CBC reports.

The CSEC collected information captured from unsuspecting passengers’ wireless devices by the airport’s free Wi-Fi system over two-weeks, the report says.

The revelations come from documents leaked by Edward Snowden, CBC says.

The CSEC is prohibited by law from targeting Canadians or anyone in Canada without an appropriate warrant.

Its primary mission is to collect foreign intelligence by intercepting overseas phone and internet traffic.

The CSEC, in a statement to CBC, reiterated that it is “mandated to collect foreign signals to protect Canada and Canadians.

“And in order to fulfill that key foreign intelligence role for the country, CSEC is legally authorized to collect and analyze metadata.”

Canada's electronic spy agency collected data from travelers passing through a major airport

Canada’s electronic spy agency collected data from travelers passing through a major airport

Metadata is the information about a communication – such as the date and location of a call or email – rather than the details of what was actually said or written.

The leaked document indicates the 2012 passenger tracking operation was a trial run of a powerful new software program being developed jointly with the National Security Agency (NSA), CBC reports.

It is now fully operational, CBC News quotes sources as saying.

Experts told the broadcaster that information captured from travelers’ devices would have enabled the agency to track them for a week or more as they showed up in other Wi-Fi “hot spots” around Canada, such as other airports, hotels or restaurants.

Such was the volume of data that CSEC could even track the travelers’ movements back to the days before they arrived at the airport, the experts say.

The document does not specify which airport was targeted or explain how CSEC was able to access the data.

Two airports – Vancouver and Toronto – and Boingo, an independent supplier of Wi-Fi services at other Canadian airports, have denied any involvement in supplying Wi-Fi information.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is currently living in Russia having fled the US in May 2013 after leaking thousands of documents that revealed extensive internet and phone surveillance by the US and other intelligence services.

[youtube V9FzWaHFDoQ 650]

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has demanded NSA leaker Edward Snowden return the documents he has “stolen”.

At a Senate hearing, James Clapper harshly condemned Edward Snowden, saying his leaks caused “profound damage”.

James Clapper said the leaks had gone “way beyond [Edward Snowden’s] professed concerns” about domestic spying.

Edward Snowden, 30, remains in Russia on asylum but faces espionage charges in the US.

The documents from the NSA that Edward Snowden has leaked to journalists have shed new light on electronic spying operations in the US and UK.

Among other revelations, the documents showed the NSA collected data on millions of phone calls, collected millions of text messages per day, tapped the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, sought to collect intelligence by spying on users’ mobile apps, and more.

Some of the intelligence was shared with British spies in the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), according to the documents.

Edward Snowden, who was a contract computer technician for the NSA before he fled the US last year, has said he no longer has copies of the documents.

“Snowden claims that he’s won and that his mission is accomplished,” James Clapper told the Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday.

James Clapper has demanded NSA leaker Edward Snowden return the documents he has stolen

James Clapper has demanded NSA leaker Edward Snowden return the documents he has stolen

“If that is so, I call on him and his accomplices to facilitate the return of the remaining stolen documents that have not yet been exposed to prevent even more damage to US security.”

James Clapper did not clarify whom he meant by “accomplices”, but his spokesman told the Associated Press news agency he “was referring to anyone who is assisting Edward Snowden to further threaten our national security through the unauthorized disclosure of stolen documents related to lawful foreign intelligence collection programs”.

The former NSA contractor has said in recent interviews he believes the leaks have prompted a global reaction and a political debate within the US over spying programs.

But James Clapper said on Wednesday the leaks had damaged US national security and undermined co-operation with the country’s foreign partners.

US enemies “are going to school on US intelligence sources, methods and trade craft and the insights that they are gaining are making our job much, much harder,” he said.

As the hearing opened on Wednesday, protesters heckled James Clapper – one saying: “Should we be asking for James Clapper’s resignation for lying to Congress?”

James Clapper has been criticized for telling legislators during a hearing last year the US did not collect data on millions of Americans, though Edward Snowden’s leak has suggested the NSA had indeed been gathering data on calls of many Americans.

[youtube JVF1rUiwrEg 650]

 

Angry Birds home pages have been hacked, two days after reports that the personal data of its customers might have been accessed by the NSA and British spy agency GCHQ, Rovio Entertainment Ltd. has announced.

Rovio spokeswoman says the hacking lasted a few minutes early Wednesday and that end-user data “was in no risk at any point”.

Angry Birds home pages have been hacked, two days after reports that the personal data of its customers might have been accessed by the NSA and GCHQ

Angry Birds home pages have been hacked, two days after reports that the personal data of its customers might have been accessed by the NSA and GCHQ

The hacking came after documents leaked by Edward Snowden suggested that the NSA and GCHQ had been able to extract information through a host of smartphone apps across the globe, including the Angry Birds game franchise.

Rovio has denied the claims, saying it does not “share data, collaborate or collude” with any spy agencies and that it would re-evaluate third-party advertising networks.

According to the latest Edward Snowden leaks, the UK intelligence agency , GCHQ, has monitored in real-time YouTube video views, Facebook “likes” and Blogger visits.

Details of an alleged GCHQ program codenamed Squeaky Dolphin have been published by NBC News.

It reports that the agency showed off its abilities to the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2012.

Facebook has since started encrypting its data, but Google’s YouTube and Blogger services remain unencrypted.

Both firms have said that they did not give GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) permission to access the data.

The alleged operation’s leaked logo – showing a dolphin holding a canister branded GTE – appears to refer to Global Telecoms Exploitation, a GCHQ division believed to be capable of collecting data from fibre-optic cables.

According to an earlier leak, published by the Guardian, GCHQ has been tapping fibre-optic cables to create a “buffer” of information it could search through since at least 2011, as part of a scheme called Tempora.

GCHQ has monitored in real-time YouTube video views, Facebook "likes" and Blogger visits

GCHQ has monitored in real-time YouTube video views, Facebook “likes” and Blogger visits

The newspaper said that by 2012 the agency had tapped more than 200 cables – including transatlantic communication links – and was able to process phone and internet data taken from up to 46 of them at a time.

GCHQ declined to comment on the specifics of the latest report.

The NBC report is based on a presentation entitled Psychology: A New Kind of Sigdev [signals development]. It was part of the trove of documents former NSA contractor Edward Snowden passed to journalist Glenn Greenwald, who contributed to NBC’s report.

The papers refer to the use of Splunk Dashboard to provide real-time analysis of how people use YouTube, Facebook and Blogger.

Splunk is commercially available software designed to let organisations “listen” to their own data.

Examples that GCHQ is said to have shown off include:

  • a table showing how many people based in the city of Lagos looked at a specific job vacancies blog over a 24-hour period
  • a graph showing how many London-based internet users “liked” links about former Defense Secretary Liam Fox on Facebook over a week-long period
  • a pie chart highlighting 20 trending YouTube video tags a day before planned anti-government protests in Bahrain

Although the examples provided do not identify specific users, NBC suggests this would have been possible to do if GCHQ had access to such data.

A spokesman for Facebook added: “Network security is an important part of the way we protect user information, which is why we finished moving our site traffic to HTTPS [encryption] by default last year, implemented Perfect Forward Secrecy, and continue to strengthen all aspects of our network.”

[youtube gpmA9ujR-cg 650]

According to a new report, the NSA and Britain’s GCHQ routinely try to gain access to personal data from Angry Birds and other mobile applications.

A NSA document shows location, websites visited and contacts are among the data targeted from mobile applications.

It is the latest revelation from documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

In a statement, the NSA said it was not interested in data beyond “valid foreign intelligence targets”.

“Any implication that NSA’s foreign intelligence collection is focused on the smartphone or social media communications of everyday Americans is not true,” the statement said.

The report, published by the New York Times, Pro Publica and the Guardian says the NSA and  GCHQ have worked together since 2007 to develop ways to gain access to information from applications for mobile phones and tablets.

The scale of data gathering is unclear.

But the reports suggest data is gained from a variety of mapping, gaming and social networking applications, using techniques similar to the ones used to intercept mobile internet traffic and text message data.

The documents also reveal the two agencies are increasingly convinced of the importance of mobile applications data.

The joint spying program “effectively means that anyone using Google Maps on a smartphone is working in support of a GCHQ system” one 2008 document from the British intelligence agency is quoted as saying.

Another GCHQ report, in 2012, laid out how to extract information from Angry Birds user information from phones on the Android operating system. The game has been download 1.7 billion times across the world.

The NSA and GCHQ routinely try to gain access to personal data from Angry Birds and other mobile applications

The NSA and GCHQ routinely try to gain access to personal data from Angry Birds and other mobile applications

The GCHQ said it would not comment on intelligence matters, but insisted that all of its activities were “authorized, necessary and proportionate”.

Another NSA document described a “golden nugget” – a perfect scenario where NSA analysts could get broad selections of information from the applications, including networks the phone had connected to, documents downloaded, websites visited and “buddy lists”.

Other applications mentioned by the documents include the photo-sharing site Flickr, movie-based social network Flixster and applications that connect to Facebook.

Developers are responsible for the information generated from each application, but there was no suggestion firms were actively agreeing to give the spy agencies data.

On Monday, the justice department announced it had reached agreement with five major internet firms over their request to share information about how they responded to orders from the NSA and other agencies.

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook and LinkedIn had previously sued the US government over being able to disclose to the public more information on what they have released to intelligence agencies.

Under the compromise announced, the firms will be able to release:

  • the number of criminal-related orders from the government
  • the number of secret national security-related orders from government investigators, rounded to the nearest thousand
  • how many national security-related orders came from the foreign service intelligence and the number of customers those orders affected
  • whether those orders were for just email addresses or covered additional information

As part of the deal, the firms will delay releases of the number of national security orders by six months and promise they cannot reveal government surveillance of new technology or forms of communications they create for two years.

[youtube 5zSXu2eCZlY 650]

Edward Snowden has alleged the National Security Agency (NSA) engaged in industrial espionage.

In an interview with Germany’s ARD TV channel, Edward Snowden said the agency would spy on big German companies that competed with US firms.

The former NSA contractor, who was granted temporary asylum by Russia, also said he believed that US officials wanted to kill him.

Edward Snowden’s leaks caused outrage in Germany when it came to light Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone had been bugged.

After the row broke out last year, Angela Merkel accused the US of an unacceptable breach of trust.

Last week President Barack Obama indicated to Germany’s ZDF TV that US bugging of Angela Merkel’s mobile phone had been a mistake and would not happen again.

Edward Snowden has alleged the NSA engaged in industrial espionage

Edward Snowden has alleged the NSA engaged in industrial espionage

Referring to the German engineering company Siemens, Edward Snowden told ARD: “If there is information at Siemens that they [the NSA] think would be beneficial to the national interests, not the national security, of the United States, they will go after that information and they’ll take it.”

Edward Snowden also said he believed US agents want to kill him, referring to an article published by the Buzzfeed website in which intelligence operatives are quoted as saying they want to see him dead.

In August, Russia granted Edward Snowden asylum for one year, after he leaked details of US electronic surveillance programs.

The US has charged Edward Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence.

[youtube qhKC5Dyiies 650]

[youtube f5S5I4o2MHI 650]

During an online Q&A session, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has said he has “no chance” of a fair trial in the US and has no plans to return there.

Edward Snowden, 30, said that the 100-year-old law under which he has been charged “forbids a public interest defense”.

“There’s no way I can come home and make my case to a jury,” he said.

Edward Snowden has temporary asylum in Russia after leaking details of NSA electronic surveillance programmes.

He said that his predicament over not having a fair trial was “especially frustrating”.

“Returning to the US, I think, is the best resolution for the government, the public, and myself, but it’s unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistleblower protection laws, which, through a failure in law, did not cover national security contractors like myself,” he told the Free Snowden website.

Edward Snowden has said he has "no chance" of a fair trial in the US and has no plans to return there

Edward Snowden has said he has “no chance” of a fair trial in the US and has no plans to return there

“Maybe when Congress comes together to end the programs… They’ll reform the Whistleblower Protection Act, and we’ll see a mechanism for all Americans, no matter who they work for, to get a fair trial.”

In December Edward Snowden delivered an “alternative” Christmas message to Britain’s Channel 4 TV, in which he called for an end to mass surveillance.

Earlier on Thursday an independent US privacy watchdog ruled that the bulk collection of phone call data by US intelligence agencies is illegal and has had only “minimal” benefits in preventing terrorism.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) advised by a 3-2 majority that the program should end.

The report from the PCLOB is the latest of several reviews of the NSA’s mass surveillance program, the details of which caused widespread anger after they were leaked by Edward Snowden.

In a separate development on Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder told MSNBC television that he was unlikely to consider clemency for Edward Snowden.

Eric Holder said that the US authorities “would engage in conversation” about a resolution of the case if Edward Snowden accepted responsibility for leaking government secrets.

[youtube 1e4D0Z6c76M 650]

During an interview with a German television, President Barack Obama has said he will not let controversial NSA surveillance undermine Washington’s ties with Germany.

Speaking to Germany’s ZDF TV, Barack Obama indicated that US bugging of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone had been a mistake and would not happen again.

After the row broke out last year, Angela Merkel accused the US of an unacceptable breach of trust.

On Friday, Barack Obama ordered curbs on how intelligence was being collected.

On Saturday, he told ZDF: “I don’t need and don’t want to harm that (US-German) relationship by a surveillance mechanism that somehow would impede the kind of communication and trust that we have.”

Speaking to Germany's ZDF TV, Barack Obama indicated that US bugging of Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone had been a mistake and would not happen again

Speaking to Germany’s ZDF TV, Barack Obama indicated that US bugging of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone had been a mistake and would not happen again

“As long as I’m president of the United States, the chancellor of Germany will not have to worry about this.”

Barack Obama added the US intelligence services, like all others, would continue to be interested in what world governments’ intentions were.

“There is no point in having an intelligence service if you are restricted to the things that you can read in the New York Times or Der Spiegel,” he said.

“The truth of the matter is that by definition the job of intelligence is to find out: Well, what are folks thinking? What are they doing?”

Barack Obama said he and Chancellor Angela Merkel might not always be of the same opinion but that was not a “reason to wiretap”.

The interview was broadcast a day after Barack Obama ordered restrictions on the use of bulk data collected by US intelligence agencies, saying civil liberties must be respected.

[youtube oT-PMEFg5C8 650]

President Barack Obama has announced he has ordered curbs on the use of bulk data collected by all US intelligence agencies, saying civil liberties must be respected.

Barack Obama said such data had prevented terror attacks at home and abroad, but that in tackling threats the government risked over-reaching itself.

However, civil liberties groups have said the changes do not go far enough.

The announcement follows global anger after details of the work of the National Security Agency were leaked.

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked the information, is wanted in the US for espionage and is now living in exile in Russia.

The leaked documents revealed that the US collects massive amounts of electronic data from communications of private individuals around the world, and that it has spied on foreign leaders.

The latest revelations claim that US agencies have collected and stored almost 200 million text messages every day across the globe.

In his much-anticipated speech at the Department of Justice, Barack Obama said he would not apologize for the effectiveness of US intelligence operations, and insisted that nothing he had seen indicated they had sought to break the law.

It was necessary for the US to continue collecting large amounts of data, he said, but acknowledged that doing so allowed for “the potential of abuse”.

President Barack Obama has ordered curbs on the use of bulk data collected by all US intelligence agencies

President Barack Obama has ordered curbs on the use of bulk data collected by all US intelligence agencies

“The reforms I’m proposing today should give the American people greater confidence that their rights are being protected, even as our intelligence and law enforcement agencies maintain the tools they need to keep us safe,” he said.

Details of the times, numbers and durations of phone calls – known as metadata – are currently collected and held by the NSA. However, Barack Obama said he was ending that system “as it currently exists”.

He has asked the attorney general and the intelligence community to draw up plans for such metadata to be held by a third party, with the NSA required to seek legal permission before it could access them.

A panel of independent privacy advocates would also sit on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) which has responsibility for giving permission for mass surveillance programmes.

Barack Obama also offered assurances to non-Americans, saying people around the world “should know that the United States is not spying on ordinary people who don’t threaten our national security”.

“This applies to foreign leaders as well,” he said, promising that from now on the US “will not monitor the communications of heads of state and government of our close friends and allies”.

That announcement follows revelations that the US had spied on friendly foreign leaders, including the personal mobile of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Barack Obama was also critical of nations he said “feign surprise” over the leaks but “privately acknowledge that America has special responsibilities as the world’s only superpower” and have used the information gathered for their own purposes.

The president said he would not “dwell on Mr. Snowden’s actions or his motivations”, but warned that the “sensational way” the NSA details had come to light had potentially jeopardized US operations “for years to come”.

Civil liberties groups see Edward Snowden as a hero for exposing what they see as official intrusions into private lives, but many Americans believe he has endangered American lives.

[youtube 6XZLan1VkcY 650]

[youtube p4MKm2uFqVQ 650]

President Barack Obama is to announce changes to NSA’s electronic spy programs after revelations made by Edward Snowden.

The president aims to restore public confidence in the intelligence community.

Barack Obama is expected to create a public advocate at the secretive court that approves intelligence collection.

The president’s proposals come hours after UK media reports that the US has collected and stored almost 200 million text messages per day across the globe.

According to the Guardian newspaper and Channel Four News, the National Security Agency (NSA) program extracted and stored data from the SMS messages to gather location information, contacts and financial data.

The report is the latest in a series of revelations from files leaked by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor charged in the US with espionage and currently a fugitive in Russia.

Barack Obama’s speech on Friday at Department of Justice comes after a five-person White House panel given the job of reviewing US electronic spying programs in the wake of Edward Snowden’s disclosures presented their report in December.

President Barack Obama is to announce changes to NSA’s electronic spy programs after revelations made by Edward Snowden

President Barack Obama is to announce changes to NSA’s electronic spy programs after revelations made by Edward Snowden

Among their recommendations was the creation of a public advocate position at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), where judges have approved the mass spying program. Currently, only the US government is represented in front of FISC judges.

In details leaked to various US media by the White House, Barack Obama is expected to endorse that position, as well as extending some privacy protections for foreigners.

He is also expected to include increased oversight of how the US monitors foreign leaders and to limit how long some data can be stored.

However Barack Obama is not expected to endorse one of the panel’s headline recommendations – shifting the storage of phone records from the NSA to the telecommunications firm or a third party where it can be queried under limited conditions.

He is expected to leave the decision on whether that should be implemented to Congress.

Civil rights and privacy groups were wary ahead of the speech.

The Guardian report describes an NSA program called Dishfire, which analyses SMS messages to extract information including contacts from missed call alerts, location from roaming and travel alerts, financial information from bank alerts and payments and names from electronic business cards,

It also alleges that the NSA’s UK counterpart GCHQ searched the NSA’s database for information regarding people in the UK.

[youtube aIs5nKWCJN0 650]

The NSA used secret technology to spy on computers that were not even connected to the internet, it has been reported.

Citing documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden, the New York Times reported 100,000 machines were fitted with small devices that emitted radio waves.

Targets included the Chinese and Russian military as well as drug cartels, the newspaper claimed.

On Friday, President Barack Obamais expected to address concerns over NSA activity.

Quoting sources “briefed” on Barack Obama’s plans, the Times reported that restrictions on the scope of collecting bulk telephone data will feature, and that a person will be appointed to represent the views of the public in secret intelligence meetings.

Furthermore, tighter controls on foreign surveillance will be implemented – an attempt, the paper suggests, to dampen the political fall-out from revelations the US had obtained data from the communication tools of world leaders without their knowledge.

This latest leak details how the NSA accessed targets by inserting tiny circuit boards or USB cards into computers and using radio waves to transmit data without the need for the machine to be connected to a wider network.

It is a significant revelation in that it undermines what was seen to be one of the simplest but most effective methods of making a system secure: isolating it from the internet.

While the technology involved is not new, its apparent implementation by US security services was previously unknown.

Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA used secret technology to spy on computers that were not even connected to the internet

Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA used secret technology to spy on computers that were not even connected to the internet

In a statement made to the New York Times, an NSA spokeswoman said none of the targets were in the US, adding: “NSA’s activities are focused and specifically deployed against – and only against – valid foreign intelligence targets in response to intelligence requirements.”

“We do not use foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of – or give intelligence we collect to – US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line.”

The NSA used secret technology to spy on computers that were not even connected to the internet, it has been reported.

Citing documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden, the New York Times reported 100,000 machines were fitted with small devices that emitted radio waves.

Targets included the Chinese and Russian military as well as drug cartels, the newspaper claimed.

On Friday, President Barack Obamais expected to address concerns over NSA activity.

Quoting sources “briefed” on Barack Obama’s plans, the Times reported that restrictions on the scope of collecting bulk telephone data will feature, and that a person will be appointed to represent the views of the public in secret intelligence meetings.

Furthermore, tighter controls on foreign surveillance will be implemented – an attempt, the paper suggests, to dampen the political fall-out from revelations the US had obtained data from the communication tools of world leaders without their knowledge.

This latest leak details how the NSA accessed targets by inserting tiny circuit boards or USB cards into computers and using radio waves to transmit data without the need for the machine to be connected to a wider network.

It is a significant revelation in that it undermines what was seen to be one of the simplest but most effective methods of making a system secure: isolating it from the internet.

While the technology involved is not new, its apparent implementation by US security services was previously unknown.

In a statement made to the New York Times, an NSA spokeswoman said none of the targets were in the US, adding: “NSA’s activities are focused and specifically deployed against – and only against – valid foreign intelligence targets in response to intelligence requirements.”

“We do not use foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of – or give intelligence we collect to – US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line.”

[youtube pwUI6u8upFs 650]

According to new reports, the NSA is building a quantum computer to break the encryption that keeps messages secure.

The NSA project came to light in documents passed to the Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The agency hopes to harness the special qualities of quantum computers to speed up its code-cracking efforts.

The NSA is believed to have spent about $80 million on the project but it has yet to produce a working machine.

If the NSA managed to develop a working quantum computer it would be put to work breaking encryption systems used online and by foreign governments to keep official messages secure, suggest the documents excerpted in the Post.

The quantum computer is being developed under a research program called Penetrating Hard Targets and is believed to be conducted out of a lab in Maryland.

The NSA is building a quantum computer to break the encryption that keeps messages secure

The NSA is building a quantum computer to break the encryption that keeps messages secure

Many research groups around the world are pursuing the goal of creating a working quantum computer but those developed so far have not been able to run the algorithms required to break contemporary encryption systems.

Current computers attempt to crack encryption via many different means but they are limited to generating possible keys to unscramble data one at a time. Using big computers can speed this up but the huge numbers used as keys to lock away data limits the usefulness of this approach.

By contrast, quantum computers exploit properties of matter that, under certain conditions, mean the machine can carry out lots and lots of calculations simultaneously. This makes it practical to try all the possible keys protecting a particular message or stream of data.

The hard part of creating a working quantum computer is keeping enough of its constituent computational elements, called qubits, stable so they can interact and be put to useful work.

The NSA is not believed to have made significant breakthroughs in its work that would put it ahead of research efforts elsewhere in the US and Europe. However, the documents passed to the Post by Edward Snowden suggest the NSA’s researchers are having some success developing the basic building blocks for the machine.

[youtube mSLXf2UclKE 650]

In a recent interview, Edward Snowden – who leaked details of NSA electronic surveillance programs – says he’s achieved his aim.

“In terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he told the Washington Post.

“I already won,” said 30-year-old Edward Snowden, whose extensive leaks have caused a reassessment of US surveillance policy.

Edward Snowden was interviewed in Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum on August 1st.

The former NSA contractor fled the US in late May, taking a huge cache of secret documents with him. He faces espionage charges in the US.

Edward Snowden was interviewed in Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum

Edward Snowden was interviewed in Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum

“As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself,” Edward Snowden told the newspaper.

“All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed,” he said.

The NSA, accustomed to watching without being watched, faces scrutiny it has not endured since the 1970s, or perhaps ever, the Washington Post reports.

Edward Snowden told the newspaper he had no way of knowing whether the public would share his views.

“You recognize that you’re going in blind… But when you weigh that against the alternative, which is not to act, you realize that some analysis is better than no analysis.”

[youtube FWwDbN6Av68 650]

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has decided to declassify more information on the National Security Agency (NSA) spying, showing it started in October 2001

On Saturday, James Clapper declassified more documents that outline how the NSA was first authorized to start collecting bulk phone and Internet records in the hunt for al-Qaeda terrorists and how a court eventually gained oversight of the program.

The declassification came after the Justice Department complied with a federal court order to release its previous legal arguments for keeping the programs secret.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper showed the NSA spying started in October 2001

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper showed the NSA spying started in October 2001

James Clapper explained in a statement Saturday that President George W. Bush first authorized the spying in October 2001, as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, just after the September 11 attacks. President Bush disclosed the program in 2005. The Terrorist Surveillance Program – which had to be extended every 30-60 days by presidential order – eventually was replaced by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a law that requires a secret court to approve the bulk collection.

He also released federal court documents from successive intelligence directors arguing to keep the programs secret, after a California judge this fall ordered the administration to declassify whatever details already had been revealed as part of the White House’s campaign to justify the NSA surveillance.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden first made the surveillance programs public in leaks to the media.

[youtube Pf7yNogMtdk 650]

President Barack Obama has suggested at his end-of-year news conference there may be a review of surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) in the wake of a series of spying revelations.

Barack Obama said in “light of disclosures that have taken place” and public concerns about the programmes “there may be another way of skinning the cat”.

However, the president said ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden had caused “unnecessary damage” by leaking documents.

He declined to say whether or not Edward Snowden could be offered an amnesty.

Edward Snowden fled the US in late May, taking a huge cache of secret documents with him. He faces espionage charges in the US and has been granted temporary asylum in Russia.

Barack Obama has suggested there may be a review of surveillance by the NSA in the wake of a series of spying revelations

Barack Obama has suggested there may be a review of surveillance by the NSA in the wake of a series of spying revelations

“There are ways we can do it, potentially, that gives people greater assurance that there are checks and balances, that there’s sufficient oversight and sufficient transparency,” Barack Obama said.

He said that programmes like the bulk collection of phone records “could be redesigned in ways that give you the same information when you need it without creating these potentials for abuse”.

Barack Obama said he would make a “definitive statement” in January about recommendations by the White House panel.

“I have confidence in the fact that the NSA is not engaging in domestic surveillance or snooping around,” he added.

“We may have to refine this further to give people more confidence. And I’m going to be working very hard on doing that.”

On the subject of possibly granting Edward Snowden an amnesty, Barack Obama said: “I will leave it up to the courts and the attorney general to weigh in on Mr. Snowden’s case.”

[youtube yDBEUYDU22I 650]

New details of people and institutions targeted by the US and UK surveillance have been published by The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel.

The papers say that the list of around 1,000 targets includes a EU commissioner, humanitarian organizations and an Israeli PM.

The secret documents were leaked by Edward Snowden, now a fugitive in Russia.

They suggest over 60 countries were targets of the NSA and Britain’s GCHQ.

Edward Snowden left the US in late May, taking a large cache of top secret documents with him

Edward Snowden left the US in late May, taking a large cache of top secret documents with him

The reports are likely to spark more international concern about the surveillance operations carried out by the US and the UK.

News that the National Security Agency (NSA) had monitored the phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel triggered a diplomatic row between Berlin and Washington in October.

The New York Times that GCHQ monitored the communications of foreign leaders – including African heads of state and sometimes their family members – and directors of UN and other relief programmes.

The paper reports that the emails of Israeli officials were monitored, including one listed as “Israeli prime minister”. The PM at the time, 2009, was Ehud Olmert.

The Guardian wrote that GCHQ targeted the UN development programme, UNICEF, German government buildings and the EU Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia.

The National Security Agency’s mass collection of telephone data unconstitutional, Federal District Judge Richard Leon has ruled.

Judge Richard Leon said the NSA’s practice was an “arbitrary invasion”.

The agency’s collection of “metadata” including telephone numbers and times and dates of calls was exposed by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The White House dismissed the suggestion Edward Snowden receive amnesty if he stopped leaking documents.

In his ruling in a Washington DC federal court on Monday, Richard Leon called the NSA’s surveillance programme “indiscriminate” and an “almost Orwellian technology that enables the government to store and analyze the phone metadata of every telephone user in the United States”.

The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by conservative activist Larry Klayman, a user of a Verizon mobile telephone who challenged the NSA’s collection of metadata on his behalf and that of a client.

The NSA had ordered Verizon – one of the largest phone companies in the US – to disclose to it metadata, including telephone numbers, calling card numbers and the serial numbers of phones, of millions of calls it processes in which at least one party is in the US.

Federal District Judge Richard Leon has ruled the NSA's mass collection of phone data unconstitutional

Federal District Judge Richard Leon has ruled the NSA’s mass collection of phone data unconstitutional

Judge Richard Leon ruled the plaintiffs had demonstrated “a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their Fourth Amendment claim and that they will suffer irreparable harm absent… relief”, referring to the clause in the US constitution that bars unreasonable search and seizure by the government.

He issued a preliminary injunction against the NSA surveillance programme but suspended the order to allow for an appeal by the justice department, thus enabling the programme to continue for now.

Through Glenn Greenwald, the former Guardian journalist with whom he has close ties, Edward Snowden issued a statement hailing the ruling.

“I acted on my belief that the NSA’s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts,” Edward Snowden wrote, according to the New York Times.

“Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights,” he added.

“It is the first of many.”

[youtube ucqVSKBn7Ww 650]

The National Security Agency (NSA) is considering offering an amnesty to fugitive intelligence contractor Edward Snowden if he agrees to stop leaking secret documents, an agency’s official says.

The man in charge of assessing the leaks’ damage, Richard Ledgett, said he could be open to an amnesty deal.

Disclosures by the former intelligence worker have revealed the extent of the NSA’s spying activity.

But NSA Director General Keith Alexander has dismissed the idea.

Richard Ledgett spoke to US television channel CBS about the possibility of an amnesty deal: “So my personal view is, yes it’s worth having a conversation about.

“I would need assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured, and my bar for those assurances would be very high, would be more than just an assertion on his part.”

But Gen. Keith Alexander, who is retiring early next year, rejected the idea of any amnesty for Edward Snowden.

The NSA is considering offering an amnesty to Edward Snowden if he agrees to stop leaking secret documents

The NSA is considering offering an amnesty to Edward Snowden if he agrees to stop leaking secret documents

“This is analogous to a hostage taker taking 50 people hostage, shooting 10, and then say, <<if you give me full amnesty, I’ll let the other 40 go>>. What do you do?”

In an earlier interview with the Reuters news agency, Richard Ledgett said he was deeply worried about highly classified documents not yet public that are among the 1.7 million files Edward Snowden is believed to have accessed.

Edward Snowden’s disclosures have been “cataclysmic” for the agency, Richard Ledgett told Reuters.

Earlier this month, The Guardian’s editor told UK MPs only 1% of files leaked by Edward Snowden had been published by the newspaper.

The state department says its position has not changed and that Edward Snowden must return to the US to face charges.

The US has charged Edward Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence.

Each of the charges carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.

At the weekend, the NSA allowed a CBS television crew into their headquarters for the first time in its history, in an effort to be more open about what the agency does with the data it collects.

[youtube Yt_SdCRgpIo 650]

0

According to new Washington Post report, the National Security Agency (NSA) tracks the locations of nearly 5 billion cellphones every day overseas, including those belonging to Americans abroad.

The NSA inadvertently gathers the location records of “tens of millions of Americans who travel abroad” annually, along with the billions of other records it collects by tapping into worldwide mobile network cables, the newspaper said in a report on its website.

Such data means the NSA can track the movements of almost any cellphone around the world, and map the relationships of the cellphone user. The Post said a powerful analytic computer program called CO-TRAVELER crunches the data of billions of unsuspecting people, building patterns of relationships between them by where their phones go. That can reveal a previously unknown terrorist suspect, in guilt by cellphone-location association, for instance.

Former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden

Former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden

As the NSA doesn’t know which part of the data it might need, the agency keeps up to 27 terabytes, or more than double the text content of the Library of Congress’ print collection, the Post said. A 2012 internal NSA document said the volumes of data from the location program were “outpacing our ability to ingest, process and store” it, the newspaper said.

The program is detailed in documents given to the newspaper by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden. The Post also quotes unidentified NSA officials, saying they spoke with the permission of their agency.

Shawn Turner, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, declined to comment on the report.

The DNI’s general counsel, Robert Litt, has said that NSA does not intentionally gather bulk location data on US cellphones inside the US — but NSA Director Keith Alexander testified before Congress his agency ran tests in 2010 and 2011 on “samples” of US cell-site data to see if it was technically possible to plug such data into NSA analysis systems.

Keith Alexander said that the information was never used for intelligence purposes and that the testing was reported to congressional intelligence committees. He said it was determined to be of little “operational value,” so the NSA did not ask for permission to gather such data.

[youtube V1pJ83G4GbY 650]

The US Congress and the White House have rejected clemency for former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.

“Mr. Snowden violated US law. He should return to the US and face justice,” said White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer.

Edward Snowden, 30, asked for international help to persuade the US to drop spying charges against him in a letter given to a German politician.

He fled to Russia in June after leaking details of far-reaching US telephone and internet espionage.

Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum, allowing him to live in Russia until July 2014.

In a surprise move last week, German Green MP Hans-Christian Stroebele met Edward Snowden in Moscow and revealed the former intelligence contractor’s readiness to brief the German government on NSA’s spying.

Edward Snowden set out his position in a letter, which Hans-Christian Stroebele showed to reporters at a news conference in Berlin on Friday.

The US Congress and the White House have rejected clemency for former NSA analyst Edward Snowden

The US Congress and the White House have rejected clemency for former NSA analyst Edward Snowden

“Speaking the truth is not a crime,” Edward Snowden wrote. He claimed that the US government was persecuting him by charging him with espionage.

On Sunday, the White House said that no offers for clemency were being discussed.

This view was echoed by the Republican Congressman Mike Rogers and Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein.

Dianne Feinstein said that if Edward Snowden had been a true whistleblower, he could have reported privately to her committee, but had chosen not to.

“We would have seen him and we would have looked at that information. That didn’t happen, and now he’s done this enormous disservice to our country,” Senator Dianne Feinstein said in an interview on CBS television.

“I think the answer is no clemency,” she said.

The scale of the alleged US espionage has provoked international concern and calls for tighter supervision.

Reports that the US bugged German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone for years have caused a diplomatic rift.

The head of US intelligence has defended the monitoring of foreign leaders as a key goal of operations but the US is facing growing anger over reports it spied on its allies abroad.

It has also been reported that the NSA monitored French diplomats in Washington and at the UN, and that it conducted surveillance on millions of French and Spanish telephone calls, among other operations against US allies.

[youtube 4LKz2XwsUSY 650]

Brazil and Germany have asked the UN General Assembly to adopt a draft resolution calling for the right to privacy in the digital age.

The draft calls for an end to excessive electronic surveillance, noting that the illegal collection of personal data “constitutes a highly intrusive act”.

Brazil and Germany have both been angered by allegations of large-scale US surveillance.

The allegations stem from revelations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The draft resolution, which does not name individual countries, will be debated by a General Assembly committee focusing on human rights.

The draft calls on the 193-member assembly to declare that it is “deeply concerned at human rights violations and abuses that may result from the conduct of any surveillance of communications”.

This includes “extraterritorial surveillance of communications, their interception, as well as the collection of personal data, in particular massive surveillance, interception and data collection”.

The resolution, which will be voted on later this month, calls on all countries to protect the right to privacy guaranteed under international law.

The UN draft resolution follows allegations that the US has been eavesdropping on foreign leaders, including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel

The UN draft resolution follows allegations that the US has been eavesdropping on foreign leaders, including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel

While General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, they can carry significant moral and political weight if they win enough support.

The draft follows allegations that the US has been eavesdropping on foreign leaders, including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, angering US allies in Europe and Asia.

Disclosures about the extent of US spying activity came from documents leaked to media organizations by Edward Snowden.

Angela Merkel’s anxiety about US spying overshadowed last week’s EU summit, when she remarked with irritation that spying on friends is “really not on”.

Dilma Rousseff was angered by revelations that the NSA had hacked the computer network of Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras to collect data on emails and telephone calls.

[youtube f3hPQGCO-eE 650]

India will impose a ban on the use of foreign cloud-based email services to send official communications, before the end of the year.

It would prevent civil servants using Gmail, Yahoo! or Outlook.com.

Instead they would be required to use a service provided by the country’s own National Informatics Centre (NIC).

The move follows the publication of leaks about US cyber-spying operations.

According to documents given to the Guardian and subsequently reported by The Hindu newspaper in June, 6.3 billion pieces of information were collected from India’s computer and telephone networks over the course of a month by the US NSA, making it the fifth most “intensively watched” country.

India’s communications and IT minister first announced his intention to restrict which email services officials could use in August.

He added that staff working outside the country should use virtual private networks and one-time passwords when accessing NIC servers to further protect themselves.

India will impose a ban on the use of foreign cloud-based email services to send official communications, before the end of the year

India will impose a ban on the use of foreign cloud-based email services to send official communications, before the end of the year

“It is imperative in view of the security concerns that exist in other countries,” Kapil Sibal said at the time.

One of the minister’s officials has now confirmed the plan is close to implementation.

“Our effort will be to operationalise the policy by mid or end-December,” said J Satyanarayana, secretary at the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, at a conference in Delhi.

India is not the only country implementing such measures.

Earlier this month Brazil’s president confirmed her country planned to set up its own secure, encrypted email service to “prevent possible espionage”.

The move would prevent the NSA and GCHQ (the UK Government Communications Headquarters) monitoring locally sent and received messages unless Brazilians allowed them access to their servers or if the emails were sent to an account belonging to a non-protected service.

President Dilma Rousseff, in a speech at the UN. described the suspected interception of Brazilian diplomats’ data as “a breach of international law”.

However, India’s ministers have been less vocal about the issue.

“This is not scrutiny and access to actual messages,” said India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid in July when questioned about the alleged surveillance of his country.

“It is only computer analysis of patterns of calls and emails that are being sent. It is not actually snooping specifically on content of anybody’s message or conversation.”

India is in the process of creating its own data intercept scheme called the Centralized Monitoring System.

Local telecoms operators have been told they must co-operate with the surveillance effort, which involves a variety of local security agencies.

German intelligence officials are in Washington for talks at the White House on Wednesday following claims that the US monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

Angela Merkel’s foreign policy adviser and Germany’s intelligence co-ordinator will hold talks at the White House.

The head of US intelligence has defended the monitoring of foreign leaders as a key goal of operations.

The US is facing growing anger over reports it spied on its allies abroad.

It has also been reported that the NSA monitored French diplomats in Washington and at the UN, and that it conducted surveillance on millions of French and Spanish telephone calls, among other operations against US allies.

German intelligence officials are in Washington for talks at the White House following claims that the US monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone

German intelligence officials are in Washington for talks at the White House following claims that the US monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone

However, NSA director General Keith Alexander said “the assertions… that NSA collected tens of millions of phone calls are completely false”.

The revelations stem from documents leaked by fugitive ex-US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who now lives in Russia and is wanted in the US in connection with the unauthorised disclosures.

German media have reported that the US bugged Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone for more than a decade – and that the surveillance only ended a few months ago.

Germany’s delegation includes Christoph Heusgen, Angela Merkel’s foreign policy adviser, and Guenter Heiss, the secret service co-ordinator, said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the US National Security Council.

US National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, are also expected to take part.

Caitlin Hayden said the meeting was part of the agreement reached between President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel last week to deepen US-German cooperation on intelligence matters.

The meeting comes just hours after James Clapper and Gen. Keith Alexander testified before the intelligence panel of the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Gen. Keith Alexander said much of the data cited by non-US news outlets was actually collected by European intelligence services and later shared with the NSA.

[youtube JDDIESu-6G4 650]

0

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has told a House committee that discerning foreign leaders’ intentions is a key goal of US spying operations.

James Clapper described such efforts as a “top tenet” of US intelligence policy.

However, he told the House intelligence panel the US did not “indiscriminately” spy on other nations.

James Clapper was reacting to a growing international row over reports the US eavesdropped on foreign allies.

“Leadership intentions is kind of a basic tenet of what we collect and analyze,” he said, adding that foreign allies spy on US officials and intelligence agencies as a matter of routine.

James Clapper has told a House committee that discerning foreign leaders' intentions is a key goal of US spying operations

James Clapper has told a House committee that discerning foreign leaders’ intentions is a key goal of US spying operations

Also testifying before the House intelligence committee on Tuesday was NSA Director General Keith Alexander, who called media reports in France, Spain and Italy that the NSA collected millions of telephone calls “completely false”.

The information “that lead people to believe that the NSA or United States collected that information is false, and it’s false that it was collected on European citizens,” he added.

“It was neither.”

Tuesday’s hearing followed calls by US Senate intelligence committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein to end eavesdropping on leaders of the nation’s allies.

Dianne Feinstein said the White House had told her such surveillance would stop.

President Barack Obama has faced significant criticism over reports he was unaware of the extent of the spying.