By managing data for government agencies and Wall Street banks, Palantir Technologies has grown into one of the most valuable venture-backed companies in Silicon Valley. Now it is adding billions to its already rich valuation.
Palantir is raising up to $500 million in new capital at a valuation of $20 billion, people briefed on the matter told, insisting on security, anonymity to discuss the confidential deal. The 11-year-old company previously raised money late last year at a $15 billion valuation. Little is known about the details of Palantir’s business, beyond reports about its data-processing software being used to fight terror and catch financial criminals.Read more
A class action lawsuit over alleged breaches of EU privacy law, mass surveillance and involvement in the NSA’s Prism snooping programme has been filed against Facebook in Vienna.
The lawsuit, which was officially filed in a Vienna court on Thursday, is being spearheaded by 27-year-old Austrian law graduate and privacy campaigner Max Schrems. The closely-watched case sees users suing the social network for various rights violations, ranging from the “illegal” tracking of their data under EU law to Facebook’s involvement with the US National Security Agency. Basically they are asking Facebook to stop mass surveillance.Read more
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled that regulations covering access by Britain’s GCHQ to emails and phone records intercepted by the US National Security Agency breached human rights law.
Advocacy groups said the decision raised questions about the legality of intelligence-sharing operations between the UK and the USA. The ruling appears to suggest that aspects of the operations were illegal for at least seven years – between 2007, when the PRISM intercept programme was introduced, and 2014. The critical judgment marks the first time since the IPT was established that it has upheld a complaint relating to any of the UK’s intelligence agencies.Read more
The USA Freedom Act, blocked by the Senate, would have curbed powers granted under the Patriot Act, including bulk collection of Americans' phone records.
Lawmakers' efforts to overhaul some of the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance programs were dealt a setback Tuesday when a reform bill failed to garner enough votes to proceed in the Senate. The bill had the support of the White House, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, and a host of tech companies but was opposed by all but a handful of Republicans, some of whom were divided over the reason for their opposition.Read more
Google CEO Eric Schmidt warned Wednesday that the National Security Agency's online spying could "end up breaking the Internet". A large number of major tech firms, including Apple, Microsoft and Google, made headlines last year after they were revealed to have cooperated with the NSA in its extensive surveillance program called PRISM.
Longtime reporters who cover the NSA know that any time we ask the obstinate spy agency for information, we’re probably going to hit a brick wall. But who would have thought that trying to obtain information about information the agency has already given us would lead to the same wall?Read more
Twitter just sued the federal government over restrictions the government places on how much the company can disclose about surveillance requests it receives. For months, Twitter has tried to negotiate with the government to expand the kind of information that it and other companies are allowed to disclose. But it failed.
Twitter asserts in its suit that preventing the company from telling users how often the government submits national security requests for user data is a violation of the First Amendment. The move goes a step beyond a challenge filed by Google and other companies last year that also sought permission on First Amendment grounds to disclose how often it receives national security requests for data.Read more
A secret and scrappy court battle that Yahoo launched to resist the NSA’s PRISM spy program came to an end in 2008 after the Feds threatened the internet giant with a massive $250,000 a day fine if it didn’t comply and a court ruled that Yahoo’s arguments for resisting had no merit.
The detail of the threat became public after 1,500 pages worth of documents were unsealed in the case, revealing new information about the aggressive battle the Feds fought to force the company to bow to its demands. Yahoo fought to unseal the case documents to provide better transparency about the government’s data collection programs.Read more
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden dropped his two cents on file storage security in an interview with The Guardian on Thursday.
He thinks Dropbox, the cloud storage firm with over 200 million users, is “hostile to privacy,” and urged people to switch to what he calls more-secure storage services like SpiderOak. “Dropbox is a targeted wannabe PRISM partner,” Snowden told The Guardian. “They just put Condoleezza Rice on their board, who is probably the most anti-privacy official you can imagine … So they’re very hostile to privacy.” Snowden said that a company like SpiderOak is better because it offers “zero knowledge,” a term used to describe services that have zero access to the data they are storing on their servers.Read more
Representatives of Obama‘s Administration continue to insist that spying on Americans is not a violation of constitutional rights of citizens and carried out exclusively in the interests of national security.
However, Chris Kitts, the father of beforeitsnews.com, believes that the obtained information is used not only for security purposes.
According to Chris Kitts, Washington creates “The machine for the implementation blackmail. Now they have access to the emails of people who are in the data store in Utah.Read more
The US National Security Agency has collected sensitive data on key telecommunications cables between Europe, north Africa and Asia, German news magazine Der Spiegel reported Sunday citing classified documents. Spiegel quoted NSA papers dating from February and labelled "top secret" and "not for foreigners" describing the agency's success in spying on the so-called Sea-Me-We 4 undersea cable system.
The massive bundle of fibre optic cables originates near the southern French city of Marseille and links Europe with north Africa and the Gulf states, continuing through Pakistan and India to Malaysia and Thailand.Read more