Our daily trip to the dark side begins with a case of chutzpah personified via Wired:
NSA Transparency Hurts Americans’ Privacy, Feds Say With Straight Face
Adding limited public accountability to the NSA’s vast electronic spying programs would actually harm the privacy of Americans, Obama administration officials told a Senate hearing today.
Along the same line, there’s this gem from Techdirt:
Michael Hayden Admits That He Can’t Prove Stories Revealing NSA Snooping Have Harmed National Security
from the oh-now-he-tells-us dept
And from RT, blowback that could really blow [up]:
Germany warns US facilities could be targeted in wake of NSA leaks
Officials in Germany have cautioned authorities to prepare for possible attacks against United States facilities overseas as revelations continue to emerge about America’s secretive National Security Agency.
The Verge answers a question:
Smooth operators: why phone companies don’t fight the NSA
Will AT&T and Verizon ever push back against NSA surveillance? Don’t bet on it
In part, the problem is the weird structure of American phone companies, which have always operated more like the postal service than an independent business.
And from Slashdot, why Zuck sux:
Facebook Patented Making NSA Data Handoffs Easier
Dianne Feinstein Receives Three Times More Cash From Intelligence Contractors Than Patrick Leahy
from the funny-how-that-works dept
Techdirt again, covering curious omissions:
Cell Phone Manufacturers Offer Carefully Worded Denials To Question Of Whether NSA Can Track Powered-Down Cell Phones
from the it’s-not-so-much-what’s-being-said,-it’s-how-it’s-being-said dept
From Slashdot, a little help:
Stanford’s MetaPhone Project: Crowdsourcing Metadata To Challenge the NSA
And the view from Poland in the form of an editorial from Krytyka Polityczna translated by the estimable folk at Watching America:
Stop Watching Us!
Only when Obama promised improvement to the world did the subject of tapping European leaders stop being taboo.
From Watching America again, this time a Yomiuri Shimbun editorial from Japan:
US Intelligence Agency Wiretapping: We Need Rules that Won’t Invite Distrust
This is an age in which communications can be intercepted at any time, in any place. It is crucial to base one’s diplomacy on this premise.
From the Sydney Morning Herald, a partner in crime:
Australian spy agency helped BHP negotiate trade deals
BHP was among the companies helped by Australian spy agencies as they negotiated trade deals with Japan, a former Australian Secret Intelligence Service officer says.
From the Washington Post, another case of Spooks Behaving Badly:
Senior Navy civilians investigated in alleged scheme to defraud military for $1.6 million
Federal authorities are investigating three senior Navy intelligence officials as part of a probe into an alleged contracting scheme that charged the military $1.6 million for homemade firearm silencers that cost only $8,000 to manufacture, court records show.
And the scent of another via The Guardian:
The real question about the terror suspect who fled in a burqa: did MI5 bring him here illegally?
Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed’s escape was an embarrassment. The alleged torture and rendition that came before it might just be a major scandal
From the Washington Post, some accident, eh?:
UK police: Spy whose body was found in padlocked gym bag probably died by accident
More than three years after the naked, decomposing body of British spy Gareth Williams was discovered stuffed inside a locked gym bag at the bottom of his bathtub, the mystery over his bizarre death lingers, and a police investigation has done little to clear it up.
The Japan Daily Press covers yet another assault on the press in the interests of national security:
Japanese justice minister says that news organizations could be raided under secrets bill
Japan’s Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki had suggested in a Diet session on Nov. 12 that news organizations could undergo government sanctioned searches and raids if they are suspected of leaking special state secrets, saying this under the deliberations toward the controversial confidentiality bill that the lawmakers are pursuing. His statements contradict those of Masako Mori, state minister in charge of the bill, who had earlier said that there can be no such possibility.
From Want China Times, the panopticon evolves:
Chinese cities investing in ‘skynet’ surveillance networks
Various cities across China are building “skynet” networks that can achieve full coverage of a fixed area with real-time monitoring and recorded video surveillance, reports Duowei News, an outlet run by overseas Chinese.
And not just in China, as Storyleak reports:
Las Vegas Installs “Intellistreets” Light Fixtures Capable Of Audio Recording
The Las Vegas Public Works Department has begun testing a newly installed street light system around City Hall with wide-ranging capabilities including audio and video recording.
From The Verge, a case of “security” that’s more placebo:
TSA screening works only ‘a little better than chance,’ according to government report
And from Quartz, Orwellian realization, corporate style:
This company promises it can delete slanderous results from Google—for $7,500 (and up)
Brand.com knows the value of brands. That’s why it spent a US dollar amount reported to be in the six figures to change its own name from “Reputation Changer” to “Brand.com.” It expects its clients will spend just as happily to safeguard their online reputations.
From Slashdot, possible customers:
Britain’s Conservatives Scrub Speeches from the Internet
The Guardian, with the head of India’s FBI counterpart inserting foot in mouth:
‘If you can’t prevent rape, you enjoy it,’ says India’s top police official
Ranjit Sinha, chief of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, apologises for remark that causes outrage across country
And from Salon, an ominous story about a doctoral candidate research government treatment of animal rights activists:
FBI calls Ph.D. FOIA research a national security risk
Activist researcher Ryan Shapiro, whose FOIA research at MIT is entirely legal, faces dangerous government backlash
Finally, just a reminder of the sort of thing security stories used to cover, via Want China Times:
PLA Navy soon capable of nuclear strike against continental US
A soon-to-be-released US congressional report reveals that China’s sea-based nuclear deterrent has nearly reached its initial operational stage, the Washington-based Defense News reports.