On May 30th, 2013, Edward Snowden left behind his family, his country, and his lucrative job as a contractor for the National Security Agency to blow the whistle on the most far-reaching and invasive spying programs in human history. A year ago today journalist Glenn Greenwald, documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras and NSA contractor-turned whistleblower Edward Snowden were combing through the millions of documents Snowden brought with him to Hong Kong to reveal for the first time the inner workings of the most secretive government agency of the most powerful and monolithic government in history. The year that followed shed an unprecedented amount of light on some of the most egregious abuses of power ever committed against the citizens of a supposed free country. Below you will find the list I have compiled of more than one hundred news articles detailing the extent the NSA has gone to effectively eliminate privacy in the 21st century.
- On June 5th, 2013, Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian broke the first story from leaked NSA documents provided by Edward Snowden, the bulk collection of Verizon phone records.
- Shortly after the initial revelation that the NSA was bulk collecting all Verizon customers’ phone data, the Guardian published the Prism story.
- A Washington Post article would corroborate that the Prism program allows the NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ, to tap into the servers of 9 U.S. based internet companies
- Sunday June 9th, 2013 the Guardian releases the first interview with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
- These revelations prove that James Clapper, the U.S. director of national intelligence, lied under oath before Congress in months prior when asked about dragnet surveillance.
- Further revelations would go on to prove that President Obama blatantly lied to the American people when he told Charlie Rose of PBS that the NSA cannot and does not listen to the phone calls of American citizens.
- Greenwald details how the FISA court is nothing more than a rubber stamp on the NSA’s ability to monitor every form of communication.
- In 2012, the federal government submitted 1,856 requests for user data to the FISA court and 100% of those applications were approved.
- On June 21st, the federal government charged Edward Snowden under the World War I era Espionage Act.
- In an excellent interview with VICE, Greenwald explains how metadata can tell government snoops more about a person than if they were just listening or reading the content of our communications. (The whole interview is worth your time but the section on metadata begins around 09:45).
- Another document leaked by Snowden shows the level at which major tech companies cooperated with the U.S. government in handing over its customers’ private information.
- In Late July the Guardian posted the first story detailing the NSA program “XKeyscore” which allows the NSA to monitor “nearly everything a user does on the Internet.”
- David Gregory asks Glenn Greenwald why he shouldn’t be prosecuted for reporting on NSA leaks, Greenwald unloads.
- NSA loophole allows for the warrantless search of U.S. citizens emails and phone calls.
- On Sunday, August 18th, 2013, David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald’s partner, was detained for 14 hours by British authorities at Heathrow airport “under schedule 7 of the Terrorism act of 2000."
- NSA analysts channel broad powers to snoop on love interests.
- NSA analysts eavesdropped in on phone sex conversations between deployed troops in Iraq and their loved ones back home.
- Email service used by Edward Snowden, Lavabit, shuts down rather than comply with federal prosecutors and hand over encryption keys of over 400,000 customers.
- How NSA analysts spied on the UN and the EU.
- NSA used its powers to spy on media outlet Al Jazeera’s communications.
- US government spends $250,000,000 a year to work with tech companies to insert weaknesses into products.
- The NSA can tap directly into user data on iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices.
- In September of 2013 it was revealed that the Obama administration won a ruling in the FISA court in 2011 to remove restrictions on NSA searching of American citizens’ data.
- Reports detail how NSA and GCHQ attempted on multiple occasions to crack Tor email encryption services, exploiting vulnerabilities in the Firefox browser giving them access to an individual’s entire computer.
- President Obama insists NSA surveillance is essential, NSA oversight however is not.
- How the NSA deploys malware, revelations reveal how the NSA infects computers to take control
- Patriot Act author says James Clapper should be fired, prosecuted.
- Revealed: NSA spied directly on German Prime Minister Angela Merkel’s personal cell phone, President Obama having approved of it himself.
- "The NSA has been systematically eavesdropping on the Mexican gov’t for years. It hacked into the president’s public email account and gained deep insight into policy making and the political system.”
- NSA monitored the phone calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts.
- President Obama approved Angela Merkel’s phone tapping three years before it was revealed to the public by Snowden leaks.
- Spain summons US ambassador over claim that NSA tracks 60 millions Spanish calls per month.
- Greenwald to Christiane Amanpour: NSA has nothing to do with terrorism.
- NSA stores data to target any citizen at any time.
- NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers. (Reminder: Yahoo bought Tumblr just over a year ago, just weeks before the NSA revelations came to light).
- Experts warn NSA revelations may cause breakup of the Internet as Brazil, Germany and India move to establish separate networks to block U.S. spying.
- UK government accuses Guardian editor of risking national security for reporting on NSA, GCHQ surveillance programs.
- The edge of the abyss: Exposing the NSA’s all-seeing machine.
- C.I.A. collecting global data on money transfers under same law that permits NSA data collection.
- U.S. House of Representatives approves NSA funding bill with $75 million to prevent future Snowdens.
- NSA infected 50,000 computers with malware designed to steal sensitive information.
- NRA teams up with ACLU on NSA lawsuit claiming NSA beginning gun registry.
- NSA spied on porn habits in effort to discredit radicalizers.
- How spy agencies and corporations worked together to spy on activists and non-profits.
- Heading into the holiday season of 2013, NSA sent home talking points for employees to talk to their families.
- DROPOUTJEEP: The NSA program that grants total access to the Apple iPhone.
- Jeremy Scahill: There is a war on journalism.
- NSA morale down following Snowden leaks (boo hoo).
- The NSA is handing over your phone data to the DEA and the DEA is covering it up. Still think this is about terrorism?
- Lawmakers overseeing NSA receive millions from intelligence contractors.
- New Zealand backpacker stripped of all electronics at airport following attendance at a conference on leaked Snowden material.
- Senior White House official: We may never know true extent of Snowden NSA leaks.
- Obama appointed NSA review panel: End bulk collection of phone records.
- Obama administration rejected only substantive NSA reforms proposed by own review group.
- Mid-December 2013, federal judge Richard Leon found that NSA bulk data collection likely violates 4th amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Snowden says this vindicates his actions.
- How the NSA puts U.S. elections at risk.
- The NSA ‘probably’ collects data on Congress’ phone calls.
- The NSA’s secret role in the U.S. assassination program.
- Larry Klayman, the lawyer who won ruling against NSA claims U.S. government harassing him.
- Klayman: The NSA is a totalitarian attack on our human rights.
- Merkel compares NSA to the Stasi, the official state security force of totalitarian East Germany prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, in heated exchange with President Obama.
- Greenwald to European Union: NSA’s goal is total elimination of privacy.
- White House NSA Panel Member: Snowden leaks are treasonous.
- President Obama can’t point to a single terrorist attack thwarted by NSA.
- NSA intercepting laptops purchased online to install spyware.
- Different federal judge rules NSA mass collection is legal and dismisses lawsuit brought by ACLU.
- NSA hackers can hijack your Wi-Fi from 8 miles away.
- The NSA ‘can literally watch every keystroke you make.’
- Apple insists it did not assist NSA in backdoor access to iPhone, denies awareness of DROPOUTJEEP.
- NSA seeks to build quantum computer capable of cracking nearly all forms of encryption.
- Senator Bernie Sanders presses NSA to reveal if it spies on members of Congress.
- NSA responds: Congress afforded ‘same privacy protections as all US persons.’
- Senator Rand Paul plans to file class action lawsuit against NSA.
- Senator Dianne Feinstein admits her NSA reform bill designed to protect existing surveillance programs.
- Pentagon reports Snowden downloaded 1.7 million intelligence files.
- 500 years of history shows how mass surveillance is always aimed at silencing dissenting opinion.
- Analysis of 225 terrorist attacks since 9/11 shows NSA surveillance ‘has had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism.’
- President Obama’s NSA reform goal: no more Edward Snowdens.
- NSA devises radio pathway into computers.
- NSA collects millions of text messages daily in ‘untargeted global sweep.’
- Obama speech on NSA reforms affirms belief that mass spying has a future.
- Tech firms say Obama proposals fall short of expectations.
- Wikileaks founder Julian Assange slams Obama speech as full of lies.
- Electronic Freedom Foundation scores Obama’s NSA reform speech:3.5 out of 12.
- US surveillance imperils freedom of expression around the globe.
- Civil Liberties Oversight Group: NSA metadata collection is ‘screamingly’ illegal.
- Democratic Establishment Unmasked: Prime Defenders of NSA Bulk Spying
- Spy agencies exploit ‘leaky apps’ like Angry Birds to learn gender, income, age and more.
- A glossary of terms pertaining to NSA/GCHQ spy scandal.
- Tech companies’ ‘NSA Transparency Reports’ are largely PR stunts.
- While the NSA strives to learn every detail about us, it works to conceal its own actions from others.
- Footage released of Guardian editors destroying hard drives provided by Snowden under watchful eyes of GCHQ technicians.
- President Obama stands by James Clapper despite untruthful Senate testimony.
- NYT editor slams Obama administration, saying treatment of Snowden has scared sources resulting in a “real freeze” on reporting.
- David Miranda’s detention: a chilling attack on journalism
- How the NSA tracks people’s physical location.
- Watchdog group: NSA actions pose direct threat to journalists.
- Press freedom under attack - the risks journalists face by reporting.
- Snowden documents reveal covert surveillance and pressure tactics on Wikileaks and its supporters.
- How covert agents infiltrate the Internet to manipulate, deceive and destroy reputations.
- Optic Nerve: How UK spy agency collected millions of webcam images from Yahoo users.
- Snowden: I raised concerns internally 10 times before going rogue.
- Julian Assange: NSA has grown into a rogue agency.
- The NSA masqueraded as Facebook to infect millions of computers with malware.
- NSA contractors anonymously fantasize about killing Snowden.
- Quantum: The NSA’s Most Powerful Internet Attack Tool
- Mystic: 100% voice collection of phone calls for 30 day period
- Greenwald: President Obama’s proposed NSA reforms 'cosmetic, basically a PR gesture.'
- NSA “chilling effect” feared by writers.
- DOJ still ducking scrutiny after misleading the Supreme Court on surveillance. “Misleading” is putting it nicely. The DOJ lied to the Supreme Court in order to get them to dismiss a case brought by the ACLU.
- Compare NSA’s Facebook malware denial to its own classified documents.
- NSA put Merkel on list of 122 targeted world leaders.
- Greenwald on 'limitless' NSA ambitions.
- USA Freedom Act gutted, privacy advocates withdrawal support.
- The Guardian and New York Times win Pulitzer Prize for Greenwald’s NSA reporting.
- The NSA is recording every cell phone call in the Bahamas.
- Judge Andrew Napolitano’s review of Glenn Greenwald’s book ‘No Place to Hide’
- Full interview between Edward Snowden and Brian Williams.
- Glenn Greenwald to release names of Americans spied on by NSA.
- Unaired comments from Snowden’s interview with Brian Williams details how the U.S. government had the information to detect the 9/11 attacks.
Some takeaways: You can’t trust a single thing the government says. While it is spending tremendous amounts of resources attempting to eradicate privacy, it is working just as hard to shroud its own actions in secrecy. The surveillance state is not being erected around us for our own safety. It is a tool to crush dissent. The NSA’s mantra has been to “collect it all.” The programs are capable of seeing your very thought processes. Every keystroke you make, every link you click, every article you read, where you were and more. They have the capacity to know more about you than your therapist or your significant other. They know not only whom you associate with, but also who your associates associate with. It could be said they can know more about you than you know about you.
And the end result of this is that when people feel that they can be watched at any moment, they begin to police their own actions. It’s Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon transposed to the 21st century. When the government can know everything about a person, when privacy is effectively eliminated, it creates a subservient class. The telescreens of George Orwell’s “1984” exist today in the form of personal computers and smartphones. Big Brother is always present in our lives, capable of knowing the most intimate details of our lives. And the government treats the exposing of this fact to the general public as treason.
Such broad powers cannot be trusted with anyone. The NSA’s surveillance powers elevate the executive branch to a level unimaginable by the Founders. The president can and likely does track the communications of members of the legislature and judiciary. The checks and balances of the Constitution are rendered hollow and irrelevant by the size and scope of the NSA’s powers. It poses a threat to the liberties and freedoms of everyone in the world.
Since education is the whole point of Edward Snowden’s leaks I want you all to reblog this post and to tweet it on Twitter and share it on Facebook. Spread this list far and wide. The more people know the more likely they are to engage on the issues and actually bring about substantive reform.
Photo credit to the great amphigoryglory.
I wish our law enforcement was able to take threats from the mentally ill (or concerns from those around them) even half as serious as they take NSA and Homeland Security concerns related to my bottle of sunscreen over 4oz and the inherent danger of my souvenir snow globe.
(Photo courtesy Everett Collection / Paramount)
U.N. officials, scientists and activists have gathered this week to debate a not-so-distant tomorrow filled with autonomous robot warriors — but machines that can kill without human guidance are already here.
In fact, they are already being tested by militaries across the world.
We’re so screwed.
My sis Rell (Twitter: Awkward_Duck, Tumblr: swearimnotangry), did some investigative work today and found that Donald Sterling has ties to private prison investments, which led the two of us to an excellent discussion about the private prison industry.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. With contract mandates specifying 90% occupancy rates, private prisons feed directly into our problem with mass incarceration.
The private prison industry has become a lucrative business with some of our financial institutions heavily investing in them (Not to mention the music industry invests in them also, but I wont go there today).
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) & GEO are the nations leading providers of correctional services. CCA has flourished as a business and has done so well ensuring that states maintain that 90% occupancy rate, that last year their Board of Directors authorized a $675 MILLION dividend to its shareholders. -_____-
I don’t even need to tell you who these prison beds are occupied by as I’m sure you all know the stats and demographics, but feel free to check out the links below.
Financial institutions that invest in private prisons: http://bit.ly/14rfwu9
CCA authorizes $675 million dividend to shareholders: http://yhoo.it/1ml7V4u
CCA being sued for widespread abuse in prisons: http://bit.ly/18uso3n
Elizabeth Warren for everything 2016.
I spent 20 years as a foreign correspondent, 15 of them with The New York Times. I interviewed numerous individuals deemed by the U.S. government to be terrorists and traveled with armed groups, including units of al-Qaida, labeled as terrorist organizations. When I reported the statements and activities of these individuals and groups, U.S. officialdom often made little distinction between them and me. This was true during the wars in Central America. It was true in the Middle East. And it was true when I covered global terrorism. There was no law at the time that permitted the government, because of my work as a reporter, to order the military to seize and detain me. Now there is. This law, if it is not struck down, will essentially replace our civilian judiciary with a military one. Those targeted under this law will not be warned beforehand that they will be arrested. They will not have a chance to get a lawyer. They will not see the inside of a courtroom. They will simply vanish.
Don’t drink the water, don’t eat the fish, don’t breathe the ash.
Check out the restrictions on residents across the country after chemical and oil spills in their backyards.
(related to my previous post)
Google’s Machine Learning Algorithms Outpacing Engineers’ Ability to Understand How they Work
“Google no longer understands how its “deep learning” decision-making computer systems have made themselves so good at recognizing things in photos.
What stunned [Google Software Engineer] Quoc V. Le is that the software has learned to pick out features in things like paper shredders that people can’t easily spot – you’ve seen one shredder, you’ve seen them all, practically. But not so for Google’s monster.
Many of Quoc’s pals had trouble identifying paper shredders when he showed them pictures of the machines, he said. The computer system has a greater success rate, and he isn’t quite sure how he could write a program to do this.
Google researchers can no longer explain exactly how the system has learned to spot certain objects, because the programming appears to think independently from its creators, and its complex cognitive processes are inscrutable. "
All those gigantic server farms… they’ve accidentally exceeded the critical synapse number, haven’t they.
Life is stirring in the depths…
I keep telling you: sooner or later, Skynet is going to become self-aware…..it may not be August 29, 1997, but at this rate, I won’t be surprised when it comes.
Paging Ray Kurzweil.