Tag Archives: government spying

Interview: ICloak CEO Eric Delisle on FBI, Apple and Zero Knowledge Systems

In an exclusive interview, Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook talks with ICLOAK founder and CEO Eric B. Delisle about the FBI, Apple and Zero Knowledge Systems.

In the interview, Delisle shares his thoughts with Cook about privacy and “zero knowledge” systems. Delisle also discusses with Cook his position on the FBI-Apple controversy and practical solutions on how to secure data from government spying.

(The encryption tool discussed in the interview is called ICLOAK Messages, which is free for anyone to use and it can be accessed from any web browser, including on a smartphone. It is currently in BETA and can be accessed at www.ICLOAK.me/im)

Justice Department Using Fake Cell Towers On Airplanes, Collecting Data From Countless Cell Phones

According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department has been operating a surveillance program that uses fake cell phone towers placed on airplanes to collect identifying data from a vast number of cell phones.

In this program, Cessna aircraft operated by the US Marshals Service fly over most of the United States, embedded with small devices called “dirtboxes” by insider sources familiar with the program. The dirtboxes mimic cell phone towers which prompt cell phones to reveal their identifying information and location, including phones with encryption technology. The program has been utilized by the Justice Department and US Marshals Service since 2007.

In September, Benswann.com reported that fake cell phone towers, or “interceptors,” had been discovered near military bases throughout the United States.

The program insiders have said that this program is in place for the purpose of “locating cellphones linked to individuals under investigation by the government, including fugitives and drug dealers, but it collects information on cellphones belonging to people who aren’t criminal suspects.” The individuals providing information about the program said that data from tens of thousands of phones can be collected after one flight.

The sources claimed that the dirtboxes are able to determine which phones belong to suspects, but did not disclose whether or not the data belonging to unsuspected individuals is stored.

These devices bypass requests for location and identifying data from phone companies such as Verizon and AT&T by gathering the information themselves. A spokesman for Verizon said the company was unaware of such an operation, while AT&T and Sprint declined to comment.

Germany asks US official to leave, while media likens US to “North Korea or Iran”

After German Chancellor Angela Merkel accused the NSA of wiretapping hers and millions of other German’s digital communication, the German government has asked the top CIA representative in the country to leave at once.

According to the Guardian, the CIA representative was responsible for coordinating secret service activities in Germany, and this representative was also the contact for two German officials recently arrested on charges of spying for the U.S.

“The representative of the U.S. intelligence services at the Embassy of the United States of America,” says German government spokesman Steffen Seibert according to the Washington Post, “has been requested to leave Germany.”

This all comes a year after whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked the evidence showing the NSA was wiretapping foreign citizen’s communications.

The German government has been frustrated, according to the New York Times, with the U.S. for not explaining their actions concerning the wiretapping as well as over assurances from President Obama that the government will no longer spy on German citizens despite the two arrested German officials.

The White House, earlier this week, said the relationship between the U.S. and German governments is one built on respect, but the German media has likened the actions taken by the U.S. government to those of “pariah states like North Korea or Iran.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest would not comment on the state of U.S. intelligence.  “Any sort of comment on any reported intelligence acts,” Earnest says according to the LA Times, “would put at risk U.S. assets, U.S. personnel and the United States national security.”

Catlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the NSA, said, “Our security and intelligence relationship with Germany is a very important one, and it keeps Germans and Americans safe… and we will continue to be in touch with the German government in appropriate channels.”

Snowden Urges Tech Companies to Create More Security Products

Edward Snowden urges tech companies to build more security products to help fight against government spying. Using better security technology that is easy to use, Snowden hopes to slow down government spying on innocent citizens.

“The people in the room in Austin, they’re the folks who can really fix things and enforce our rights through technical standards, even when Congress hasn’t yet gotten to the point of legislation that protects our rights,” Snowden said while speaking to the South by Southwest Conference in Austin via streaming video that was routed through seven proxies.

Snowden went on to criticize the volume of information that the NSA and other government agencies are collecting. He pointed out that “We’ve reached a point where the majority of Americans’ telephone communications are being recorded. We’ve all this metadata that is being stored for years and years and years.”

Snowden added that “We’ve actually had tremendous intelligence failures … because we’re monitoring everyone’s communications instead of suspects’ communications,” Snowden said. “That lack of focus has caused us to miss leads that we should have had.”

The entire Snowden talk:

Do you think using capitalism and better technology will slow down government spying? Let us know in the comments below.

NSA Collecting Millions of Untargeted Texts a Day, and More

Adding a little more fuel to President Obama’s growing fire around the National Security Agency (NSA) spying on American citizens, the Britain-based Guardian newspaper and Channel 4 News, in collaboration, published another pile of once-confidential information on NSA’s routine surveillance habits. Of course, what’s been learned in the past year about NSA spying should leave no one surprised to only learn more.


In addition to the NSA spying, which isn’t alone, is the NSA’s sister in Europe, particularly the UK’s Government Communications Headquarter (GCHQ). Simply put, both agencies have shared a mutual interest in watching the entire world. More NSA secrets were published just hours before President Obama gave his speech on NSA reform, adding some salt to the deepening wound for those loyal to the surveillance state.


Coming out of the Guardian and Channel 4 News are documents revealing the GCHQ and NSA’s program, which are working to consolidate and collect SMS messages. Leaked in last week’s documents is the realization that both agencies collect about 200 million SMS text messages a day, along with other phone data. Capable of pulling hundreds of millions of text messages, the NSA and GCHQ also extracts finance and contact data.


From location data to your contact list, the agencies have compromised the entirety of your phone’s information. Program tools involved with the collection of cell phone data include “Dishfire” and “Prefer”. Dishfire works to log the information into the agency’s database, while Prefer performs “automated analysis”, and all of the collection is done at random with no targeting of specific persons or data – making anyone vulnerable.


Journalist at the Guardian’s NYC-branch, James Ball said, “The Prefer program uses automated text messages such as missed call alerts or texts sent with international roaming charges to extract information, which the agency describes as content derived metadata, and explains that ‘such gems are not in current metadata stores and would enhance current analytics,’” better explaining the NSA/GCHQ process.


On an average day, the two surveillance programs collect over 5 million missed-alert calls, details on 1.6 million border crossings, more than 110,000 names from electronic business cards, 800,000 financial transactions and 76,000 geological locations from text message data.


Just hours after the latest release of surveillance secrets, President Obama took to the stage for a deliverance of reassurance, telling listeners that what Snowden has released will be changed, in terms of bulk data collection. Of course, getting high hopes for policy change from the same man, who in 2007 told Americans that unwarranted surveillance shouldn’t be a reality in the US, is loose-ended.

Hayden: NSA ‘Infinitely Weaker’ Because of Snowden Leaks

Former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden today declared Edward Snowden a “traitor” for leaking details on the NSA’s surveillance programs to the American public, declaring it the “most serious hemorrhaging of American secrets in the history of American espionage.”

Former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden Hayden went on to claim that the NSA was “infinitely weaker” now that everyone knows about what it is doing, insisting it would take “decades” for the NSA to return to the pre-Snowden era of unchecked power.

Snowden legal adviser Jesselyn Radack dismissed Hayden’s allegations, saying that both a federal court and President Obama’s own review panel have said what Snowden uncovered was likely unconstitutional, and that this vindicates him as a whistleblower.

Reactions like Hayden’s are all-too-common in the current administration, with officials declaring anyone who reports inconvenient facts to be guilty of treason, and blaming them for the inevitable fallout from illegal and unconscionable programs.



This article is from Antiwar.com. A friend in need is a friend indeed – and we need your help to fight this brazen state repression. We’re fighting to restore constitutional government in America – but we need your tax-deductible donation to do it. Please, make your contribution today!”

Only One Percent Of Snowden’s Leaks Published

The Guardian claims to have published only one percent of the material leaked by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Snowden’s leaks revealed government spying by the United States and British governments.

Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, said that although Snowden leaked about 58,000 files, his paper only published “about one percent” of the total material. “I would not expect us to be publishing a huge amount more,” Rusbridger said as he was questioned by Parliament’s home affairs committee.

The editor also insisted that The Guardian did not put national security at risk or assist terrorists, as some government officials have accused. Rather, Rusbridger argued that the leaks helped the public as a whole by igniting a world-wide conversation about government surveillance.

He said, “There is no doubt in my mind … that newspapers have done something that oversight has failed to do.”

Still, the British government was so convinced that the leaks aided terrorism that a criminal investigation was launched and David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, was detained. The British government will not disclose much information about the case, including the specific offenses The Guardian allegedly committed.

Rusbridger went on to say that his newspaper has been under immense pressure from government officials: “I feel that some of this activity has been designed to intimidate the Guardian.” He argued that this would be “inconceivable” in America, where journalists are protected by the First Amendment.

Britain has no constitutional right to free speech. The Guardian is a relatively small publication, with circulation just under 200,000 (although its online presence is fairly sizable). The government treatment of the paper exposes the way the British government views free speech — the freedom of expression is tolerated, so long as it does not “threaten” the public good.


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New Street Lights Can Hear & Record Pedestrians In Las Vegas


What happens in Vegas may not stay in Vegas anymore, thanks to new streetlights that are capable of watching and listening to random pedestrians.

The new streetlights, called Intellistreets, were manufactured by a company called Illuminating Concepts. The lights, which use Wi-Fi to operate, are able to detect pollution and can have emergency call buttons installed on them. Each light is controlled remotely and individually.

The city government claims the streetlight were installed for entertainment purposes — each lamp has an attached screen that displays ads or plays music. Neil Rohleder, a spokesman from the Publics Works Department, said, “We want to develop more than just the street lighting component. We want to develop an experience for the people who come downtown.”

Still, the lights have caused many to express privacy concerns. Civil Rights activist Daphne Lee said, “This technology is taking us to a place where you’ll essentially be monitored from the moment you leave your home until the moment you get home. People have a right to a reasonable amount of privacy.”

In Europe, streetlights of this kind have been in place for years in cities such as Middlesbrough, England. When one Middlesbrough man rode his bike into a pedestrian-only area, officials said over a loudspeaker, “Would the young man on the bike please get off and walk, as he is riding in a pedestrian area?” The government workers were able to spot the man through video cameras installed in streetlights.

It is easy to surmise that Big Brother could now be watching at all times in Las Vegas. But Las Vegas officials insist that although the streetlights are able to record audio and video, they will not be specifically equipped to do so — “for now.”

But many think that just the capability to spy on citizens is too much power to put in the hands of government officials. ACLU general counsel Allen Lichtenstein said, “The ‘trust us, we’re from the government and are going to gather this material but not use it’ is a nonsensical statement.”

White House: NSA Surveillance Transparency Would Be Too Much Work

When the first leaks began to come out about NSA surveillance, the Obama Administration sought to replace demands for reform with promises of increased transparency. Apparently even that’s too much to hope for now

With Congressional bills from pro-surveillance factions pushing transparency, Obama Administration officials are now condemning those plans as well, insisting they are a threat to national security.

Providing any details about the programs, they insist, “crosses the line of the appropriate balance between transparency and national security.” They provided no alternative beyond the status quo, however.

Any change at all appears too much like trying from the Obama Administration’s point of view: as a proposal to have the NSA estimate how often they accidentally swept up Americans in their surveillance was condemned as “time consuming,” and a waste of resources.


This article is from Antiwar.com.  A friend in need is a friend indeed – and we need your help to fight this brazen state repression. We’re fighting to restore constitutional government in America – but we need your tax-deductible donation to do it. Please, make your contribution today!”

More Leaks From Edward Snowden: NSA Spied On Mexican President, Read His Emails

The United States National Security Agency (NSA) is under scrutiny once again for eavesdropping.

This time, however, it is not American citizens that the NSA is accused of spying on.

According to new evidence obtained by Spiegel Online, the NSA hacked into the email of Mexico’s former president, Felipe Calderon. Spiegel claims the information comes from documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

According to Spiegel, a report from May 2010 claims that by hacking into Calderon’s email, the government agency was able to learn details about “diplomatic, economic and leadership communications which continue to provide insight into Mexico’s political system and internal stability.”

The U.S. also used the information obtained to monitor Mexico’s drug trade and economic status.

Then during the summer of 2012, the NSA “took its activities to new heights as elections took place in Mexico. Despite having access to the presidential computer network, the US knew little about Enrique Peña Nieto, designated successor to Felipe Calderón.”

The U.S. government snooped on 85,489 text messages of Peña Nieto, who is currently Mexico’s president, and those in his “inner circle.”


The NSA has spied on Brazilian politicians, too, which has caused an outrage in Latin America. Spiegel reports, “According to one internal NSA presentation, the agency investigated “the communication methods and associated selectors of Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff and her key advisers.” It also said it found potential “high-value targets” among her inner circle.”

Spiegel contacted the NSA for a comment on the new bombshell report. In response, the agency released the following statement:

“We are not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity, and as a matter of policy we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations. As the President said in his speech at the UN General Assembly, we’ve begun to review the way that we gather intelligence, so that we properly balance the legitimate security concerns of our citizens and allies with the privacy concerns that all people share.”

Some argue that the leaking of information regarding NSA spying is straining our relationships with other countries.

Do you think that such spying is better kept secret, as to not hurt ties with allies? Or do you believe in a more transparent government, where citizens area aware of all government doings?

Then again, that question could be avoided altogether if the U.S. hadn’t spied in the first place.

WikiLeaks Releases Video Of Snowden Speaking Out Against Govt. Surveillance

As we reported earlier this week, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden recently emerged from hiding to receive the Sam Adams Associates Integrity in Intelligence Award.


Now, video footage of Snowden speaking has been released on the WikiLeaks website.

The whistleblower asserted that when the U.S. government taps into phone and Internet connections around the world, we are “at risk of coming into conflict with our own government.”

Snowden said the spying puts “entire populations under sort of an eye that sees everything even when it’s not needed.” He continued, “They hurt our economy. They hurt our country. They limit our ability to speak and think and live and be creative, to have relationships and to associate freely.”

He slammed the U.S. government for attempting to punish him for the leaking. Government officials are “unwilling to prosecute high officials who lied to Congress and the country on camera, but they’ll stop at nothing to persecute someone who told them the truth,” he said.

On the day that the video was recorded, Snowden was given the Sam Adams Associates Integrity and Intelligence Award by a group of retired CIA officers. It is awarded each year to an individual who takes a stand against abuse of information gathering. Many of the award’s past recipients have been whistleblowers — in fact, the award itself is named after Vietnam whistleblower Samuel A. Adams. Wikileak’s Julian Assange received the award in 2010.

8 Crazy Ways The Government Watches Us

Since whistleblower Edward Snowden released unsettling documents regarding NSA spying, Americans have become concerned about privacy… And they should be. The federal government has increasingly taken steps to invade our privacy in the past few decades — they listen to us, watch us, and photograph us on a daily basis.

Here are just a few of the ways that Big Brother is watching:


1. Taking Photos Of Your License Plate 

Many towns have installed cameras on the road to crack down on traffic violations. When a photo is taken of a license plate, the photo and ticket are sent to the car owner’s home address.


2. Recording You In Public Places

Dozens of cities have installed surveillance cameras in their public areas to catch and prevent crime. But innocent, law-abiding citizens also get recorded. Most of these people have no idea they are being watched.


3. Tracking Your Location Using Cell Phone Data

Smart phones allow us to do lots of neat things, but they are also Big Brother’s dream come true. The GPS built into your phone allows officials to know your location at all times.


4. Reading Your Emails And Text Messages Sent Abroad 

In order to seek out suspicious foreigners, Obama’s NSA reads some “private” emails and texts sent abroad. According to the New York Times, the NSA is “copying and then sifting through the contents of what is apparently most e-mails and other text-based communications that cross the border.”


5. Snooping On Your Phone Records

Earlier this summer, it surfaced that the NSA had collected Verizon phone records from millions of unknowing Americans. The Guardian reported that the government agency was doing this “indiscriminately and in bulk — regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.”


6. Watching You From The Sky

FBI director Robert Mueller admitted that the government spies on Americans with drones “in a very, very minimal way, very seldom.” Why is this happening at all?! Mueller said he has no idea what happens with the images collected by the drones. Drone spying can show officials exactly where you are, and when.

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7. Spying On You… Through Your Fridge

No, this is not a joke. More and more household appliances are connected to the internet, which is convenient for us. But it’s also useful for government officials, who want to watch “suspicious” Americans. CIA director David Petraeus said, “Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters.”


8. Listen To You Through Streetlights

Special streetlights on countless American streets allow government officials to monitor citizens. The Daily Mail reported each federally-funded streetlight “contains a speaker system to broadcast emergency alerts, and a video display and is also equipped with proximity sensors capable of recording both pedestrian and road traffic.”

Snowden Gives First Interview Since Government Leaks

Edward Snowden gave his first interview since he leaked NSA documents.

The interview, which was published in the New York Times, was done through encrypted emails and focused on government and the media. Lara Poitras is a filmmaker who won Snowden’s trust many months ago — she served as the intermediary. Snowden said, “Laura was more suspicious of me than I was of her, and I’m famously paranoid.”

As reported by the Daily Mail:

“Snowden, in describing his methods for choosing a reporter to work with while searching for a way to tell the world what he knew, said that basically all emails are possible targets for government surveillance

Those from news organizations, he suggested, are all the more likely to be read.

‘Assume that your adversary is capable of a trillion guesses per second,’ he wrote to Poitras at the start of their work together, a relationship the New York Times documents alongside the Snowden interview.”

“It should be clear that unencrypted journalist-source communication is unforgivably reckless,” Snowden said.


The whistleblower asserted that the media does not do an adequate job of holding government accountable. This allows government to remain unchecked and become out-of-control, he argued.

“The most important news outlets in America abdicated their role as a check to power for fear of being seen as unpatriotic and punished in the market during a period of heightened nationalism,” he said. “From a business perspective, this was the obvious strategy, but what benefited the institutions ended up costing the public dearly.”

Snowden, who now has asylum in Russia, said the media often turns a blind eye to government spying. “Any unencrypted message sent over the Internet is being delivered to every intelligence service in the world,” he said.

The whistleblower does have hope for the future, however. He thinks that major media outlets are beginning to recover from what he calls a “cold period” of not holding government accountable. He thinks this period began after the 9/11 attacks.

There is no doubt that Snowden himself has been a wakeup call for journalists who work in the mainstream media, who so rarely question things.