By AJ Plus+ – National Security Agency whistleblower and former NSA senior executive Thomas Drake talks about how the U.S. government violates our privacy by accessing our data without our consent. National Security Agency whistleblower and former NSA senior executive Thomas Drake talks about how the U.S. government violates our privacy by accessing our data without our consent. After blowing the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse within the NSA, Thomas Drake was charged under the Espionage Act by the Obama Administration. This interactive short documentary tells his story. The project was created for AJ+ by Anna Flagg and Emily Bodenberg. Art direction by Moiz Syed. Senior producer Jeff Seelbach. Editing by Kristina Motwani. Additional editing byEuna Lee. Animation by Kai Tang. Sound mix by Mark Behm. Camera Marty Martin, Dave Aronson. Many thanks to Jigar Mehta and David Cohn for their help along the way.
By Jenna McLaughlin in The Intercept – As the Obama administration campaign to stop the commercialization of strong encryption heats up, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden is firing back on behalf of the companies like Apple and Google that are finding themselves under attack. “Technologists and companies working to protect ordinary citizens should be applauded, not sued or prosecuted,” Snowden wrote in an email through his lawyer. Snowden was asked by The Intercept to respond to the contentious suggestion — made Thursday on a blog that frequently promotes the interests of the national security establishment — that companies like Apple and Google might in certain cases be found legally liable for providing material aid to a terrorist organization because they provide encryption services to their users.
By Dan Froomkin in The Intercept – The White House on Tuesday ended two years of ignoring a hugely popular whitehouse.gov petition calling for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to be “immediately issued a full, free, and absolute pardon,” saying thanks for signing, but no. “We live in a dangerous world,” Lisa Monaco, President Obama’s adviser on homeland security and terrorism, said in a statement. More than 167,000 people signed the petition, which surpassed the 100,000 signatures that the White House’s “We the People” website said would garner a guaranteed response on June 24, 2013. In Tuesday’s response, the White House acknowledged that “This is an issue that many Americans feel strongly about.” Monaco then explained her position: “Instead of constructively addressing these issues, Mr. Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it.”
By Ryan Gallagher in The Intercept – A secretive British police investigation focusing on journalists working with Edward Snowden’s leaked documents remains ongoing two years after it was quietly launched, The Intercept can reveal. London’s Metropolitan Police Service has admitted it is still carrying out the probe, which is being led by its counterterrorism department, afterpreviously refusing to confirm or deny its existence on the grounds that doing so could be “detrimental to national security.” The disclosure was made by police in a letter sent to this reporter Tuesday, concluding a seven-month freedom of information battle that saw the London force repeatedly attempt to withhold basic details about the status of the case. It reversed its position this week only after an intervention from the Information Commissioner’s Office, the public body that enforces the U.K.’s freedom of information laws.
By Kieren McCarthy in The Register – NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has urged the world’s leading group of internet engineers to design a future ‘net that puts the user in the center, and so protects people’s privacy. Speaking via webcast to a meeting in Prague of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the former spy talked about a range of possible changes to the basic engineering of the global communications network that would make it harder for governments to carry out mass surveillance. The session was not recorded, but a number of attendees live-tweeted the confab. It was not an official IETF session, but one organized by attendees at the Prague event and using the IETF’s facilities.
By Michael Isikoff in Yahoo – Former Attorney General Eric Holder said today that a “possibility exists” for the Justice Department to cut a deal with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that would allow him to return to the United States from Moscow. In an interview with Yahoo News, Holder said “we are in a different place as a result of the Snowden disclosures” and that “his actions spurred a necessary debate” that prompted President Obama and Congress to change policies on the bulk collection of phone records of American citizens. Asked if that meant the Justice Department might now be open to a plea bargain that allows Snowden to return from his self-imposed exile in Moscow, Holder replied: “I certainly think there could be a basis for a resolution that everybody could ultimately be satisfied with. I think the possibility exists.”
Last summer, after months of encrypted emails, I spent three days in Moscow hanging out with Edward Snowden for a Wired cover story. Over pepperoni pizza, he told me that what finally drove him to leave his country and become a whistleblower was his conviction that the National Security Agency was conducting illegal surveillance on every American. Thursday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York agreed with him. In a long-awaited opinion, the three-judge panel ruled that the NSA program that secretly intercepts the telephone metadata of every American — who calls whom and when — was illegal.
The Edward Snowden bust that was illegally affixed to a war monument in Fort Greene Park has been recovered from the NYPD. The statue, which sat on a column in the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument for just a few hours on April 6 before park officials took it down, had been in police custody for exactly one month. “We are pleased that we could resolve this matter without litigation, and appreciate the City’s commitment to artistic expression, even though the artists failed to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ when initially erecting their sculpture,” said Ronald L. Kuby, the civil rights lawyer representing the artists behind the sculpture. Kuby successfully argued that the artwork, while illegally placed,was not inherently contraband. The artists, who installed the piece at dawn, were fined $50 each for entering the park after hours.
National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden was interviewed on the German television network ARD. What many Americans may be unaware of is that the Edward Snowden interview was intentionally blocked from the US public with none of the major new outlets covering the interview or its contents. YouTube has even taken steps to remove the post as soon as it is reposted. The video got a wide viewing in Europe and it is not only an important interview when it comes to the vast surveillance state that is currently constructed, but is also still future. Snowden explained to German television (oh the irony here is rich) how tyrannical surveillance programs erode human rights and individual liberty and freedom.
This week, we dive into the shallow waters of California’s extreme drought and what you can do about it CA (hint: it’s not just about cutting back on personal hygiene). From extreme drought to extreme measures, we take a look at Baltimore’s notice to over 25,000 people that their water will be shut-off. Is water a human right? Are low income residents all to blame? Could there be some low life scum lurking in these murky waters? From murky waters to gallery art shows, we shift to some Art with Teeth, interviewing founder Keef Ward on why he handpicks thousands of social and political artists to showcase on his page, why art in activism is so important and some artists you absolutely have to check out now.
By Memorial Day weekend, Congress will likely have decided whether the federal government’s mass surveillance programs — exposed first by The New York Times in December 2005 and more broadly by National Security Agency contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 — will be partially reined in or will instead become a dominant, permanent feature of American life. The creation of what many refer to as the “American Surveillance State” began in secret, just days after the Sept. 11 attacks. As the wreckage of the Twin Towers smoldered, President Bush and his top national security and intelligence advisers were making decisions that would trigger a constitutional crisis over surveillance programs that the public was told was essential to combating terrorism.
The comedian surprised viewers on Sunday night by revealing that he visited Russia last week and met with Snowden, who leaked a trove of documents about the American government’s mass surveillance programs to journalists in 2013. The result was a half humorous, half serious R-rated conversation about surveillance, centering around one specific possibility: Can the government secretly access Americans’ naked selfies? Snowden’s answer was: yes. “If you have your email somewhere like Gmail, hosted on a server overseas or transferred overseas or [if it] at anytime crosses outside the borders of the United States, your junk ends up in the database.”
In a statement about the project, which they have entitled, “Prison Ship Martyrs Monument 2.0,” they wrote: Fort Greene’s Prison Ship Martyrs Monument is a memorial to American POWs who lost their lives during the Revolutionary War. We have updated this monument to highlight those who sacrifice their safety in the fight against modern-day tyrannies. It would be a dishonor to those memorialized here to not laud those who protect the ideals they fought for, as Edward Snowden has by bringing the NSA’s 4th-Amendment-violating surveillance programs to light. All too often, figures who strive to uphold these ideals have been cast as criminals rather than in bronze. Our goal is to bring a renewed vitality to the space and prompt even more visitors to ponder the sacrifices made for their freedoms. We hope this inspires them to reflect upon the responsibility we all bear to ensure our liberties exist long into the future.
Canada’s electronic spy agency sifts through millions of videos and documents downloaded online every day by people around the world, as part of a sweeping bid to find extremist plots and suspects, CBC News has learned. Details of the Communications Security Establishment project dubbed “Levitation” are revealed in a document obtained by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden and recently released to CBC News. Under Levitation, analysts with the electronic eavesdropping service can access information on about 10 to 15 million uploads and downloads of files from free websites each day, the document says. “Every single thing that you do — in this case uploading/downloading files to these sites — that act is being archived, collected and analyzed,” says Ron Deibert, director of the University of Toronto-based internet security think-tank Citizen Lab, who reviewed the document.
Every time you email someone overseas, the NSA copies and searches your message. It makes no difference if you or the person you’re communicating with has done anything wrong. If the NSA believes your message could contain information relating to the foreign affairs of the United States – because of whom you’re talking to, or whom you’re talking about – it may hold on to it for as long as three years and sometimes much longer. A new ACLU lawsuit filed today challenges this dragnet spying, called “upstream” surveillance, on behalf of Wikimedia and a broad coalition of educational, human rights, legal, and media organizations whose work depends on the privacy of their communications. The plaintiffs include Amnesty International USA, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and The Nation magazine, and many other organizations whose work is critical to the functioning of our democracy.