A leading ally of Angela Merkel has critically responded to the US government to provide adequate guarantees on its spying tactics. The expectations of making some progress in the bilateral talks have been set to the next month as the German leader visits Washington.
According to the classified information, provided last October by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, US intelligence agents were able "to bug” Ms. Merkel’s mobile phone from a listening post on the US Embassy roof. This caused outrage in Germany, where any surveillance actions are particularly sensitive because of the link to the East German Stasi secret police and the Nazis.Read more
President Barack Obama plans to ask Congress to end the bulk collection and storage of phone records by the National Security Agency but allow the government to access the "metadata" when needed, a senior administration official said on Monday.
If Congress approves, the Obama administration would stop collecting the information, known as metadata, which lists millions of phone calls made in the United States. The practice triggered a national debate over privacy rights when the extent of the surveillance program was exposed last year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.Read more
The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording “100 percent” of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden.
A senior manager for the program compares it to a time machine — one that can replay the voices from any call without requiring that a person be identified in advance for surveillance. On Jan. 17, President Obama called for significant changes to the way the NSA collects and uses telephone records of U.S. citizens.Read more
From his sanctuary in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, with roughly a dozen police officers outside, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Saturday that everyone in the world will be just as effectively monitored soon -- at least digitally.
"The ability to surveil everyone on the planet is almost there and, arguably, will be there in the next couple of years," said Assange, speaking to a large audience at the South by Southwest Interactive festival here.
Assange rocketed to international fame, and infamy, in 2010 after Wikileaks began helping publish secret government documents online.Read more
The Obama administration has asked a special surveillance court for approval to retain records of millions of Americans' phone calls stored by the National Security Agency — an unintended consequence of lawsuits seeking to stop the data-surveillance program.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Justice Department was considering such a move, which would end up expanding the controversial database by not routinely deleting older call records. Under the current system, the database is purged of phone records more than five years old. The Justice Department, in a filing made public Wednesday, said it needs to retain the older records to preserve evidence for law suits brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and others.Read more
The White House on Thursday disputed the findings of an independent review board that said the National Security Agency's mass data collection program is illegal and should be ended, indicating the administration would not be taking that advice.
"We simply disagree with the board's analysis on the legality of the program," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. He was responding to a scathing report from The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), which said the program ran afoul of the law on several fronts. "The ... bulk telephone records program lacks a viable legal foundation," the board's report said, adding that it raises "serious threats to privacy and civil liberties" and has "only limited value."Read more
President Barack Obama on Friday laid out a vision of modest changes for the National Security Agency in a speech that will likely please neither reformers nor agency defenders.
The speech, which took place in the Great Hall of the Justice Department building, came more than seven months after the leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden began. Acknowledging the public clamor those leaks have generated, the president nonetheless defended many of the agency's most controversial programs as necessary in the fight against terrorism. "The task before us now is greater than simply repairing the damage done to our operations; or preventing more disclosures from taking place in the future."Read more
As pretty much everyone has been sending over, a bunch of former NSA and intelligence community insiders who later went on to become whistleblowers (many of whom were then attacked or even prosecuted for their whistleblowing) have written quite an astounding open letter to President Obama, requesting that he allow them to brief him on the problems of the NSA.
The letter goes a bit overboard on the rhetoric (which actually pulls away from its important underlying message, unfortunately), but the key points are clear. From what they've seen, they know that not only have the NSA's efforts violated the 4th Amendment and been ineffective, they have actually made it more difficult for the NSA to do its job properly.Read more
Republican senator Rand Paul has announced plans to sue US President Barack Obama over Edward Snowden's revelations of unlawful spying by the National Security Agency (NSA).
Paul said he is urging all US citizens with mobile phones to join a group action aimed at preventing Obama from "snooping on the American people". Paul said the legal action is also aimed at protecting the Fourth Amendment to the US constitution, which prevents unreasonable searches and seizures, and sending a message to the US government that it cannot continue to access ordinary citizens' phone and email records without permission or a warrant.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