The furious pace continues, so on with the show.
First, the latest and very significant Snowden leak, via the Washington Post:
NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide, Snowden documents show
The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.
The records feed a vast database that stores information about the locations of at least hundreds of millions of devices, according to the officials and the documents, which were provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. New projects created to analyze that data have provided the intelligence community with what amounts to a mass surveillance tool.
From The Wire, an implication:
The NSA’s Ability to Track Cell Phone Locations Renders Privacy Protections ‘Futile’
The Washington Post’s new report detailing the NSA’s collection of location information on cell phones is blunt. The NSA’s ability to track location is “staggering,” meaning that it is “able to render most efforts at communications security effectively futile.” Including the efforts of Edward Snowden.
From Tomgram, heading a Peter Van Buren essay under the general headline “1984 Was an Instruction Manual”:
Welcome to the Memory Hole
Disappearing Edward Snowden
What if Edward Snowden was made to disappear? No, I’m not suggesting some future CIA rendition effort or a who-killed-Snowden conspiracy theory of a disappearance, but a more ominous kind.
What if everything a whistleblower had ever exposed could simply be made to go away? What if every National Security Agency (NSA) document Snowden released, every interview he gave, every documented trace of a national security state careening out of control could be made to disappear in real-time? What if the very posting of such revelations could be turned into a fruitless, record-less endeavor?
From The Hill, you can make book on it:
Libraries fear ‘ravenous’ NSA
Revelations about NSA surveillance have created a “climate of concern” for libraries, which are seeking to defend the freedom to read and research away from the government’s prying eyes.
“You need to have some freedom to learn about what you think is important without worrying about whether it ends up in some FBI file,” said Alan Inouye, director of the Office for Information Technology Policy at the American Library Association (ALA).
From TheLocal.de, a reminder of “traditional” terror:
UK soldier arrested in Germany in terror probe
A British soldier has been arrested in Germany on suspicion of terrorism offences after a nail bomb was found in a house on Thursday.
The 19-year-old from Eccles was arrested on Monday, Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.
The newspaper added that extreme right wing leaflets were discovered in a house in Eccles in Greater Manchester during a police raid on Thursday November 28th.
TheLocal.no covers a failure to communicate over communication:
No pledges from Sweden on email snooping
Norway has received no assurances from Sweden that it will not monitor and record the country’s phone and internet traffic, despite a high-level meeting on Tuesday.
Norway’s transport minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen on Tuesday met Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd, Sweden’s minister for infrastructure, partly to air concerns raised by documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a former contractor to the US’s National Security Agency.
From The Hindu, the blowback continues:
India raises snooping issue with U.S. afresh
India has once again recorded its opposition to the U.S. snooping.
In the latest instance about a week ago, India expressed its views to the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy. India was understood to have said this kind of spying was not acceptable, said informed sources in the Ministry of External Affairs.
The message to the U.S. diplomat was conveyed around the time NSA chief Gen. Keith Brian Alexander visited India.
From the New York Times, delayed blowback implementation:
Brazil Delays Vote on Anti-Spying Internet Bill – Lawmaker
A vote on a bill that would force Internet giants like Google and Facebook to keep Brazilians’ information inside the country will be delayed until next year over disagreements about its content, a senior lawmaker told Reuters on Wednesday.
The bill would give President Dilma Rousseff powers to order Internet companies to store users’ data in local servers, a move seen as response to allegations that the United States spied on her communications and that of thousands of regular Brazilians.
TheLocal.de covers mixed feelings:
Germans want greater state control of internet
More than half of Germans want greater state control over websites, but about the same share are worried about surveillance of their own online activity, a survey on Tuesday revealed.
Many users are concerned about the threats they face online, above all from computer viruses (72 percent), surveillance of their browsing activity (57 percent) and the misuse of personal data (50 percent), the survey conducted by the Allensbach Institute for the German Institute for Trust and Security in the Internet showed.
But there’s one country where the revelations haven’t raised much of a ruckus, reports PRI’s The World:
Why the British shrug at government surveillance… It’s Bond. James Bond
From Channel NewsAsia Singapore, blowback soothing down under:
Australian FM heads to Indonesia, China after spy row
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will hold talks with Indonesia on Thursday to help repair ties strained by a spying row and draw up a code of ethics to govern relations.
The Guardian covers a pitch:
David Cameron challenges China to be more open about cyber-security
Prime minister seeks talks on ‘issue of mutual concern’ amid western fears that Beijing is behind most aggressive online attacks
While PCWorld takes us to the flip side:
NSA spying scandal accelerating China’s push to favor local tech vendors
While China’s demand for electronics continues to soar, the tech services market may be shrinking for U.S. enterprise vendors. Security concerns over U.S. secret surveillance are giving the Chinese government and local companies more reason to trust domestic vendors, according to industry experts.
The country has always tried to support its homegrown tech industry, but lately it is increasingly favoring local brands over foreign competition.
Ars Technica covers a nightmare:
Flying hacker contraption hunts other drones, turns them into zombies
Ever wanted your own botnet of flying drones? SkyJack can help.
Serial hacker Samy Kamkar has released all the hardware and software specifications that hobbyists need to build an aerial drone that seeks out other drones in the air, hacks them, and turns them into a conscripted army of unmanned vehicles under the attacker’s control.
And TheLocal.it has more droneage:
Italy’s Finmeccanica builds UN’s first drone
A UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo has launched the organization’s first drone, an unmanned aircraft, made by a subsidiary of Italian aerospace and defence firm Finmeccanica.
And on the the latest Asia furor, the ongoing conflict over newly created air defense zones, first with a new player via Want China Times:
South Korea looks to expand its ADIZ
The South Korean government held a meeting on Dec. 1 to discuss the possibility of expanding its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) under the direction of Kim Jang-Soo, chief national security adviser to South Korean President Park Geun-hye, reports the Seoul-based Chosun Ilbo.
From Sina English, China eases up on the rhetoric about its own new ADIZ:
China says jets to be scrambled only when ‘real threat’ in zone
China will scramble military jets only when a foreign aircraft flying over its newly established air defense zone in the East China Sea poses a real threat, the defense ministry said yesterday.
US, Japanese and South Korean military aircraft all breached the zone last week without informing Beijing, and China later scrambled fighters to the area.
Xinhua reports compliance:
55 airlines report flight plans to China: FM
Fifty-five airlines in 19 countries and three regions have reported their flight plans to China over the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.
The Global Times notes a landmark day:
Japan launches US-style National Security Council
Japan launched on Wednesday a US- style National Security Council (NSC), which is designed to strengthen the leadership of the prime minister’s office in steering foreign and defense policies, local media reported.
The launch of the organization is seen as one of the main pillars of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to rework the country ‘s defense posture and strengthen the defense capabilities of the Self-Defense Forces, Kyodo News said.
And the Japan Times brings us to the most controversial piece of legislation shaping the new Japanese national security state:
Ruling bloc set to railroad secrets act into law
Opposition takes final swipe at bill
The Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling bloc and the opposition camp faced off again Wednesday over the contentious state secrets bill, even though it appears headed for passage by the Upper House before the Diet session ends Friday.
During the day’s debate between party leaders, LDP Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the bill is vital for national security, while Banri Kaieda, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, attacked the proposed legislation as draconian.
The Asahi Shimbun has more on the opposition:
Movie industry starts group against state secrets bill
The movie industry formed a group Dec. 3 to oppose the state secrets protection bill, saying the Abe administration is returning Japan to its dangerous World War II days.
“Based on the reflections of our predecessors, who were forced to support the war against their will, the Japanese movie industry started to walk on the postwar path (back to normalcy),” the group said in a statement.
More from NHK WORLD:
Demonstrators around Diet protest secrecy bill
People responding to calls by citizens’ groups and labor unions assembled and held hands, surrounding the roughly one-kilometer perimeter of the Diet building on Wednesday.
They shouted “The will of the people must not be ignored” and “Scrap the bill.”
And the Mainichi ponders a troubling question:
Editorial: Secrets protection bill could prevent local governments from sharing
One wonders whether the controversial special state secrets bill would affect local governments as such information pertains to national policy, such as diplomacy, defense and anti-terrorism and anti-espionage measures.
“The answer is yes,” says Sukeshiro Terata, 73, an opposition Your Party member of the House of Councillors. “I can never vote for the bill as someone who has experience in local autonomy.”
The Yomiuri Shimbun discusses implementation:
Govt to set up panel to check state secrets
The government plans to establish a subcabinet-level committee at the Cabinet Secretariat as a third-party body to check the validity of state secret designations before a secrecy bill comes into force, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday.
At a meeting of the House of Councillors Special Committee on National Security, Abe explained that the monitoring committee’s core members would include chief and deputy chief cabinet secretaries as well as vice ministers in charge of classified information.
From the Copenhagen Post, a resignation follows revelations that the top Danish spy ordered officers to take an illegal look at the calendar of right winder Dansk Folkeparti Member of Parliament Pia Kjærsgaard in order to thwart a rally:
Did justice minister know about plans to spy on Kjærsgaard?
Political parties from both wings want to know whether Morten Bødskov knew that PET wanted to illegally look in her calendar
Justice minister Morten Bødskov (S) is under pressure following yesterday’s resignation of Jakob Scharf, the head of the domestic intelligence agency, PET.
From France 24, another kind of privacy question:
Hollande’s surgery re-ignites privacy debate in France
The Elysée Palace confirmed Wednesday that French President François Hollande had prostate surgery in February 2011, relaunching a debate over whether the public has the right to know about the head of state’s health.
And from Ars Technica, privacy trashed:
Found: Hacker server storing two million pilfered passwords
Credentials belonged to users of Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Twitter, and more.
Spiegel covers the dark side of Rupter Murdoch’s British media machine:
Tabloid Espionage: Trial Exposes Darkest Corners of British Press
Former editors with newspaper News of the World are currently on trial in London, where they are accused of spying on private phone conversations for years. The unfolding testimony against close associates of publisher Rupert Murdoch shows just how far the British tabloid press has been willing to go for a scoop.
And for our final item, searching for the origin of the feces: with TheLocal.se:
Swedish ‘poop terrorist’ no show at trial
A Swedish man who laced his racist, threatening letters to journalists with his own faeces failed to show up in court on Wednesday.