Tag Archives: Data

Top Secret! Feds Bury Agency’s Computer Failure, Lost Data

By Ethan Barton – Data was permanently lost after a computer network failed at the agency that protects federal employees against wrongful discipline, but officials there refuse to make public any documents related to the failure.

The Merit Systems Protection Board lost data when its online appeals system collapsed last July, which effected all 219 agency employees, FCW reported. The lost data concerned employee appeals, which could result in lost promotions or other career setbacks for thousands of workers.

The refusal to make public information about the failure comes as more federal employees are filing appeals against disciplinary action than ever before.

“Due to the unprecedented number of appeals being processed through e-Appeal Online, you may experience occasional slowness when using the system,” MSPB’s website says. “Thank you for your patience during this extraordinary time, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

MSPB officials drafted a report concerning July’s computer network failure but claimed they aren’t required to make it public, thanks to Exemption Five of the Freedom of Information Act. Exemption Five allows federal officials to withhold “pre-decisional” documents and is the most frequently abused of the law’s nine exemptions.

The documents related to the system failure “consider issues, present options and make policy recommendations for consideration by agency management,” according to an email obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

In other words, the report contains information that helps the agency make decisions and form policies. Agencies, however, typically release such reports while redacting only particular passages that are pre-decisional in nature.

“Any agency can only withhold the portions of the records that are covered by exemption,” Reporters Committee For Freedom of The Press attorney Adam Marshall told TheDCNF. “They have a duty to segregate all portions that aren’t covered by an exemption. If this is the final agency report … it’s not clear what’s pre-decisional about it.”

Marshall said “factual information cannot be withheld under Exemption Five and agencies are supposed to adopt a presumption of openness,” per former Attorney General Eric Holder’s 2009 guidance. President Barack Obama has often claimed during his tenure in the Oval Office that his is “the most transparent administration in history.”

Regardless, Exemption 5 under FOIA has plagued government transparency.

“Exemption 5 is also one of the most overused exemptions,” Marshall said. “It’s commonly referred to as the ‘withheld-because-we-want-to’ exemption. It can be used to withhold facts that should be released to the public” such as “a final report on an incident that affected the federal government.”

MSPB did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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At Least 15K Government Officials Among Ashley Madison Data Dump

August 19, 2015– On Tuesday, hackers made good on a promise that has left untold numbers of cheaters sweating bullets for weeks. The data of at least 32 million users of AshleyMadison.com, whose slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.“, has been published.

Among the entries from the Ashley Madison published data, more than 15,000 of the email addresses appear to be hosted on American government and military servers using the (.gov) and (.mil) top-level domains.

Last month, hackers who self-identify as The Impact Team successfully hacked into databases owned by Avid Life Media, a Canadian company that owns multiple dating sites including Ashley Madison, Cougar Life, and Established Men. Hackers claim they took action because Avid Life Media was lying to their customers about a “full delete service” that required a $19 fee to be paid in order to completely scrub a users data from the site. Hackers say Avid Life Media took the money, but still retained the data.

Shortly after gaining access to the databases last month, hackers fired the warning shot:

“Avid Life Media has been instructed to take Ashley Madison and Established Men offline permanently in all forms, or we will release all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails. The other websites may stay online.”

Several data security experts have confirmed that the dumped data is indeed authentic. In fact, a journalist working at The Guardian who set up an Ashley Madison account as part of an investigation found his data in the dump.

Although it has been published, your garden variety internet user will have a difficult time accessing the data. The file is almost 10 gigabytes in size and can be viewed on the dark web using an Onion address accessible only through the Tor browser.

Image shows how Impact Team hackers released Ashley Madison data dump.
Image shows how Impact Team hackers released Ashley Madison data dump.

“Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men,” hackers wrote in a statement accompanying Tuesday’s data dump. “We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data…. Keep in mind the site is a scam with thousands of fake female profiles. See ashley madison fake profile lawsuit; 90-95% of actual users are male. Chances are your man signed up on the world’s biggest affair site, but never had one. He just tried to. If that distinction matters.”

It should be noted that emails are not required to be validated to have an account on the website. The only way of validating whether or not the government email addresses were indeed real accounts would be to cross reference them with the credit cards on file.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.

Exclusive: Top 10 Flashlight Apps Are Stealing Your Data, Even Pics Off Your Phone

Nashua NH- The makers of some of the most widely used flashlight apps for smart phones are doing more than just helping you find your lost car keys, they are geo-locating you and stealing your data. At least, that is the claim being made by Snoopwall LLC. Snoopwall is the world’s first “counterveillance” company and according the founder, Gary Miliefsky in a web exclusive interview with Benswann.com, the top ten flashlight apps are stealing you data.

Snoopwall has just released a THREAT ASSESSMENT REPORT
Summarizing privacy and risk Analysis of top 10 Android flashlight Apps. According to Snoopwall, all of the top 10 apps are doing more than what consumers are expecting from a flashlight. For instance, the number 1 flashlight app for Android is the “Super Bright LED Flashlight”. This app has between 100 million and 500 million installs worldwide. So what does the app actually have the ability to do?
• retrieve running apps
• modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
• test access to protected storage
• take pictures and videos
• view Wi-Fi connections
• read phone status and identity
• receive data from Internet
• control flashlight
• change system display settings
• modify system settings
• prevent device from sleeping
• view network connections
• full network access

Others like the Brightest Flashlight Free App, have been sued by the FTC . According to Snoopwall, “But while the FTC.gov has gone after Flashlight Free App, it seems they are still at it and the other 9, as well.  It seems time to ask “where’s the outrage?” – shouldn’t you UNINSTALL your FLASHLIGHT APP today?  The answer is yes!  You might also want to contact the FTC and tell them you are concerned.”

If you are looking for a flashlight app that won’t steal your information, Snoopwall is providing a solution.

“We developed the SnoopWall Privacy Flashlight for Google Android, Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows smartphones and tablets.  The file size of the SnoopWall Privacy Flashlight application is approximately 72 kilobytes.  It only accesses the light of the webcam and the screen display which is all a flashlight app should be doing anyway.”

Get it today at: http://privacyflashlight.snoopwall.com

Does the NSA have a facility in your state? You may be surprised


The National Security Agency (NSA) has a global spy network which is far more expansive than many realize. With the help of the Tenth Amendment Center, a national think-tank, many states are fighting back with state level legislation that cuts the NSA off from state resources.

The idea behind the legislation is that, if enacted, states will be able to keep the NSA from commandeering state resources. This will force NSA facilities to look for other locations, making it far more difficult to operate.

As of now, here is a list of geographical locations:

1.) Utah Data Center, Bluffdale, Utah

This location is the NSA’s main hub. The center stands at more than one million square feet, this $2 billion digital storage facility outside Salt Lake City is the centerpiece of the NSA’s cloud-based data strategy and essential in its plans for decryption of previously uncrackable documents.

2.) NSA headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland

Analysts here will access material stored at Bluffdale to prepare reports and recommendations that are sent to policymakers. To handle the increased data load, the NSA is also building an $896 million supercomputer center here.

3.) Aerospace Data Facility, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado

Intelligence collected from  satellites, and signals from other spacecraft, as well as, overseas listening posts, is relayed to this facility outside Denver. Approximately 850 employees track these satellites, transmit target information, and download the intelligence data.

4.) NSA Georgia, Fort Gordon, Augusta, Georgia

Focuses on intercepts from Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Codenamed Sweet Tea, the facility has been massively expanded and now consists of a 604,000-square-foot operations building for up to 4,000 intercept operators, analysts, and other specialists.

5.) NSA Texas, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio

This location recently underwent a $100 million renovation. The center functions as a data backup center for the Utah center. Also, the center focuses on intercepts from Latin America and, since 9/11, the Middle East and Europe. Some 2,000 workers staff the operation.

6.) Multiprogram Research Facility, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Approximately 300 scientists and computer engineers with top security clearance spend their day here. They are currently tasked with building the fastest quantum supercomputers in the world and working on cryptanalytic applications and other secret projects which are unknown to the public.

7.) NSA Hawaii, Oahu

This center intercepts data from Asia. The center was built to house an aircraft assembly plant during World War II, the 250,000-square-foot bunker is nicknamed the Hole. Its 2,700 employees now do their work above-ground from a new 234,000-square-foot facility.

The NSA also controls four satellites and has multiple international data centers. Many are wondering what the solution is. As mentioned before, the Tenth Amendment Center has provided one. View the below video to learn more.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook and on Twitter: @MichaelLotfi

Information Overload? NSA Can’t Make Sense of All That Data

This article was submitted by guest contributor Jason Ditz.

William Binney, a former NSA coder behind some of the surveillance program’s algorithms, is warning that the agency’s interest in mass surveillance is coming at a grave cost in efficiency.

While the agency sees value in taking in any data it can get, “just in case,” sorting through a stockpile of unrelated data is soaking up so many resources that what relevant data they might have is getting less focus.

Binney’s comments mirror warnings in some of the Snowden documents, which show the NSA is also concern about their data collection programs far outpacing their ability to process that data.

Indeed, in March some NSA analysts were asking for permission to collect less data with some of the programs, saying that they are collecting a lot of data with “relatively small intelligence value.”





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Government Demands Facebook Hand Over Data On 38K Users

According to a report from Facebook, more than 70 countries are hitting the social giant up for its data on users. The report confirms what many have been worried about for years now. The US is responsible for approximately 1/2 of  the 26,000 requests reflecting facebook38,000 users. The report confirming the data handover does not specify the type of data released. It does show that the United States is at the very top of intrusion.

The US sent out 11,000-12,000 total requests on 20,000-21,000 users. The United States government got exactly what it wanted 79% of the time. Only India came close to America with 3,245 total requests on 4,144 users. This is only a 6 month report. Facebook is the most recent tech company to release such data. Twitter also releases a transparency report along with Google.

Are you concerned with the US government requesting so much data through Facebook?

Let us know what you think in the comments below-