NSA and the War on Our Privacy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

NSA and the War on Our Privacy

Saturday, 18 November, 2017 – 08:00

Since the former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures began showing up in the Washington Post and the Guardian, the political debate over the American surveillance state has been stuck in the 20th century.

The public has feared a secretive, all-seeing eye, a vast bureaucracy that could peer into our online lives and track the numbers our smartphones dialed. Privacy as we knew it was dead. The era of Big Brother was here.

President Barack Obama responded to the Snowden leaks by commissioning a blue-ribbon panel that ended up concluding the way the National Security Agency did business often trampled on legitimate civil liberties concerns. The government did not need to store our metadata or the numbers, times and dates of our phone calls.

It turns out though that the questions prompted by Snowden were only part of the story. A recent expose from the New York Times tells a very different, and more frightening, tale. In this case, the proper analogy is not Big Brother, but an outbreak. A shadowy network of hackers, known as the shadow brokers, stole the NSA’s toolbox of cyber weapons it had used to peer into the computers of our adversaries. This network then offered subscribers the fruits of powerful cyber weapons that the U.S. government was never supposed to even acknowledge. The virus is no longer confined to the lab. It’s out in the wild.

And while the cyber weapons appear to be dated from 2013, the extent of the damage is still being assessed. The Times reports that the NSA still hasn’t found the culprits. NSA cyber warriors are subjected to polygraphs, and morale at the agency is low. Was there a mole? Was there a hack? The world’s greatest surveillance organization still doesn’t know.

Aside from puncturing the aura of the NSA as an all-seeing eye, the Times story also shows that today the greatest threat to our privacy is not an organization with a monopoly of surveillance power, but rather the disaggregation of surveillance power. It is not the citizen versus the state. Rather it is a Hobbesian state of nature, a war of all against all. Today, foreign governments and private hackers can use the same tools we all feared the U.S. government would use.

It’s enough to make you wish for a simpler time when the greatest threat to our privacy came from our own government.

Bloomberg

FBI Director James Comey Warned Wednesday That Americans Should Not Have Expectations Of “absolute privacy,

 

(CNN) FBI Director James Comey warned Wednesday that Americans should not have expectations of “absolute privacy,” adding that he planned to finish his term leading the FBI.

“There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America; there is no place outside of judicial reach,” Comey said at a Boston College conference on cybersecurity. He made the remark as he discussed the rise of encryption since 2013 disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed sensitive US spy practices.
“Even our communications with our spouses, with our clergy members, with our attorneys are not absolutely private in America,” Comey added. “In appropriate circumstances, a judge can compel any one of us to testify in court about those very private communications.”
But, he also said Americans “have a reasonable expectation of privacy in our homes, in our cars, in our devices.
“It is a vital part of being an American. The government cannot invade our privacy without good reason, reviewable in court,” Comey continued.
In the last four months of 2016, the FBI lawfully gained access to 2,800 devices recovered in criminal, terrorism and counterintelligence investigations and the FBI was unable to open 43% of those devices, Comey said.
Americans’ desire for privacy and security should never be viewed as incompatible, he said.
“We all value privacy. We all value security. We should never have to sacrifice one for the other,” Comey said. “Our founders struck a bargain that is at the center of this amazing country of ours and has been for over two centuries.”
FBI director at center of many controversies
Comey’s leadership of the FBI has been marked by controversy in the wake of the bureau’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and President Donald Trump’s baseless accusations that President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of phones at Trump Tower.
He did not address the wiretapping claim nor WikiLeaks’ recent claim that it obtained internal CIA documents.
Comey did, however, say he plans to finish out his 10-year term.
“You’re stuck with me for about another 6 1/2 years, and so I’d love to be invited back again,” he said.

Privacy: Is There No Longer Is Such A Thing On Planet Earth?

 

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Opinion

Living with Our Privacy Violated

The rule has never changed: Every phenomenon or positive change has a tax to be paid, whether we like it or not.This rule also applies to the enormous technological progress we are witnessing and its unlimited positive outcomes on our lives, businesses and communities. Here, the tax users pay is represented by forbidden acts and taboos becoming accepted and incorporated into our lives.

People might not sense this gradual transformation but they eventually accept it in return for using technology. Speaking of attempts to maintain some privacy has become impossible – privacy has been violated with a knockdown.

A group of scientists from Harvard University has developed a mosquito-sized robot that can steal samples of your DNA without you feeling it. Professor of Computer Science Margo Seltzer said that the privacy we used to know before no more exists, adding that current techniques such as credit cards, internet networks, highway radars, cameras in streets, social media and emails can all leave a digital print of us by which we can be followed.

In 2013, more than five billion data records were lost or stolen, according to the Breach Level Index (BLI). This reveals that perhaps only those distant from the world of internet were not subject to violation of privacy– and they did not avoid it for fear or cautiousness but because they weren’t capable of affording such technology – yet, they are certainly on their way there.

Half the world’s population is constantly connected to the Internet while the other half is on its way. According to Gartner, Inc. there will be 25 billion smartphones by 2020. At that time, no one will be safe regardless if he uses a smartphone or not. Saudi Arabia, for example, has a population of 30 million people, having 24 million internet users and 48 million subscribers of mobile telecommunication services.

Violations taking place every second with data and information divulged have become manifest for anyone connected to the internet. And it is impossible to stop or block them.

Take what has been published by founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange in 2013 as an example – he published a huge archive of correspondences for former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger since 1973 till 1976. These correspondences were classified as top secret and totaled 1.7 million, five-fold what has been previously published in WikiLeaks.

Another example is former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Edward Snowden, currently residing in Russia, who has unveiled that the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Britain have jointly developed a technology that permits access to many global internet activity, call logs, individuals’ emails and a huge content of other digital telecommunications.

Misuse of personal data is a growing challenge all over the world. Requests were made to governments to take charge of protecting the future of citizens’ privacy and their social prosperity. However, it seems that none is capable of that, with governments themselves failing to protect their own classified data. So, how would a normal individual be able to do that?!

Till now there are no realistic solutions that show optimism in ending the violation of our privacy. Given that we have agreed to be connected to the Internet and to use smartphones, we should admit that our privacy has been violated irreversibly, even if we try to convince ourselves otherwise.

Salman Al-dossary

Salman Al-dossary

Salman Aldosary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

More Posts

Can The People Of Iceland Take Their Country Back From The Political Mafia?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME)

ICELAND

Everything You Need to Know About Iceland’s Pirate Party

Iceland MP Birgitta Jonsdottir at Home
Giles Clarke—Getty ImagesBirgitta Jonsdottir, activist member of the Icelandic parliament representing the Pirate Party, stands in front of a sculpture at an Icelandic sculpture park on July 9, 2015

Will this insurgent party sail to victory in Oct. 29 elections?

Iceland’s Pirate Party is hoping to win the largest share of the vote in the country’s Oct. 29 general election, not even four years after the fringe political group formed.

Until this week the esoteric political party had led the polls in Iceland, though the latest opinion poll puts the group a single pointbehind the center-right Independence Party, which is currently a junior member in the country’s coalition government.

The Pirate Party’s rise against the perceived corruption of Iceland’s political elite is the latest— and perhaps most colorful— in a string of anti-establishment insurgencies throughout globe, from the far left to the far right. Here’s a bit more about the group:

Anchors aweigh

The Pirate Party formed in 2012, in the wake of the collapse of Iceland’s hugely over leveraged banking industry following the 2008 financial crisis. The Party and its motley group of of anarchists, libertarians and internet activists is led by Birgitta Jonsdottir. The 49-year-old former Wikileaks activists, web programmer and “poetician” has been an MP for different parties since 2009, but decided to help start the party, which part of an international anti-copyright movement that originates in Sweden, because “I’m often crossing paths with nerds as I’m such a nerd myself” she told the Financial Times.

Jonsdottir thinks Iceland’s population of about 300,000 are sick of corruption and “nepotism.” She also likens the country to Sicily and claims it is controlled by a handful of “mafia-style families” and their friends. “That might explain why, when the banks were privatized in 2005, stern laws and promises of professionalism were tossed aside and the banks were handed over to bosses who pleased the ‘mafia’ families” she writes in the New Internationalist.

This anti-establishment message resonated with some Icelanders and the Pirates gained a seat in parliament in 2013. Support for the movement surged to 43% in an April poll after the Panama Papers revealed that former Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson held investments in offshore accounts— which led to some of the largest protests the country has ever seen.

Gunnlaugsson stepped down as leader, and his replacement called early elections. His party, the Progressives, is now wallowing at 8% in the polls.

An ‘aye on power

While slim on policies, the Pirates espouse a set of core values, which include direct democracy, pushing civil rights and more transparency from companies and the creation of informed decisions. The party wants to be the “Robin Hood” of politics by handing power back to Icelanders, and seeks to make the country a haven for hackers and whistle-blowers (including Edward Snowden). It also hopes to make cryptocurrency bitcoin legal tender.

The Pirates have also created a crowd sourced draft of the constitution, which includes provisos to create new rules for governance and to re-nationalize the natural-resource industries of the small country. Like other European populist parties, the Pirates want a referendum on Iceland’s relationship with the E.U., but promise to not conduct the nativist, anti-immigrant stance seen in U.K.’s iteration. “We don’t want to make the same mistakes that happened in Britain” Jonsdottir told the Washington Post. “You have to make sure that it is an informed campaign. People need to know what [membership] implies.”

Close quarters

But forming a stable government could present a challenge for the company of radicals. Jonsdottir has no intention to become prime minister and the party has ruled out working with the current center-right coalition, which includes Gunnlaugsson’s Progressive Party. Jonsdottir has conceded in the past that once in power the Pirates might have to temper their idealism.

It currently looks like Saturday’s vote may leave Iceland with a center-left coalition of the Pirates and three, or possibly four, other parties. Iceland has historically never had a coalition government consisting of more than two parties survive a full four-year term says the BBC.

If the Pirates do plunder a win, it will be one more example of an outsider turning into the champion of establishment-weary voters.

PccWebWorld

A Captive Unit Providing Web & IT Solutions

Moon Clippers

Music ,fashion,talent,life skil

Jana's Mummy

Finding Sanity Through Blogging

Chasing Jameson

The Adventures of Motherhood

silkroad-online pharmacy

Overseas best cheap pharmacy

Les méditations du marcheur solitaire

Où allons-nous par cette route où nous marchons depuis des temps si longs sans demander à personne où elle mène ?

%d bloggers like this: