The United State's Federal Communications Commission headed by former Cable lobbyist Tom Wheeler, has created a new proposal for "net neutrality" after throwing out the long-standing net neutrality rules that we have enjoyed for over a decade. Then senator Barack Obama pledged to pass net-neutrality legislation as one of the cornerstones of his "Change We Can Believe In" campaign.
Net neutrality has traditionally stood for a simple principal. No traffic on the internet, no matter where it is going, will be censored or throttled. This means that no traffic gets preferential treatment from ISPs whether it is E-mail, Netflix, Facebook, or grandma's peanut brittle recipe.
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The Guardian and The Washington post have been awarded Pulitzer Prizes for Journalism for their work done covering the Edward Snowden and National Security Agency disclosures.
Both publications have been instrumental in bringing the debate over privacy and dragnet surveillance to the center stage. The revelations have brought about sweeping changes to laws and policies in the EU and started a heated debate in the US and UK over their extensive intrusive programs.> read more
The FTC has issued a final ruling on the "Brightest Flashlight" app for Android that snooped on the real-time location data of 50 million users around the world.
The ruling said that the owner, Erik Geidl, has to delete all data that was collected with the app and has to register all new ventures he creates with the FTC for monitoring. There was no fine imposed on Geidl, and none of the money he made from selling the information was disclosed.
This ruling ultimately shows how weak privacy laws are for the internet and telecom companies in the United States.
The original source of the FTC ruling is here: http://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/cases/140409goldenshoresdo.pdf?Source=govdelivery> read more
Edward Snowden, speaking to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, revealed that as a contractor for the NSA he was tasked to spy on human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. He also added that not only did he spy on the sensitive communications of these groups, they were spying on them within the United States and abroad.
The full guardian article on Snowden's talk with the council is here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/08/edwards-snowden-us-government-spied-human-rights-workers> read more
The ACLU has posted an extensive archive in chronological order of the unfolding events of the NSA scandal. It is a very useful and intuitive tool which allows you to search for documents both by keywords and by dates. You can take a look here: https://www.aclu.org/nsa-documents-search?keyword=&sort=date_of_release&show=100
You can find a huge mountain of information on the programs that are discovered, and the discussion and discourse on the issue of mass surveillance.> read more
US Supreme Court Passes On Mass Phone Surveillance - While EU Passes Strong Anti-Surveillance Legislation
In nearly simultaneous moves this week, the US Supreme Court and the highest Court in the European Union gave opposite rulings on the issue of phone mass-surveillance.
In the United States, the Supreme Court passed on hearing the arguments for or against the mass collection of phone metadata on US citizens. By declining to expedite the process, the lower courts will now have to fight through the issue and it will likely ultimately wind up on the steps of the supreme court anyway. This is assuming that the issue at hand, named Patriot Act Section 215, is not changed by the legislative branch before it is up for renewal in 2015.
Meanwhile in the European Union, they threw out the legislation that required telecom companies to retain customer metadata for up to two years. The court claimed that it infringes basic rights. Their formal reasoning was that it "exceeded the limits of proportionality".> read more
Google released a new informational video about how they handle data requests from law enforcement agencies. The video, titled "The Way of the Warrant" gives you the impression that vigorous oversight and restraint are given by Google, and that they will only grant user data on a limited basis.
The problem is the video is a massive lie by omission. The video fails to acknowledge the core reason that people are leery of using services like Google's anymore.
The spying that everyone is concerned about is not done through traditional law enforcement techniques. They are delivered in secret, and with a gag order that stops Google from being able to discuss the provisions of the demands. These programs sweep up massive amounts of user data that are unrelated to any case, and on all of their respective users, not just users that are under suspicion.> read more
President John F. Kennedy
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City
April 27, 1961
Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen:
I appreciate very much your generous invitation to be here tonight.
You bear heavy responsibilities these days and an article I read some time ago reminded me of how particularly heavily the burdens of present day events bear upon your profession.
You may remember that in 1851 the New York Herald Tribune under the sponsorship and publishing of Horace Greeley, employed as its London correspondent an obscure journalist by the name of Karl Marx.
We are told that foreign correspondent Marx, stone broke, and with a family ill and undernourished, constantly appealed to Greeley and managing editor Charles Dana for an increase in his munificent salary of $5 per installment, a salary which he and Engels ungratefully labeled as the "lousiest petty bourgeois cheating."> read more
In Google's Transparency Report, they have shown a 120% surge in data requests by governments worldwide over the last four years.
However, the report still omits all data collection by programs operated by clandestine agencies. This makes the data in the Google Transparency Report largely worthless. We know about programs like Prism and Muscular. We know that Google isn't even allowed to acknowledge that dragnet surveillance programs exist and if someone were to release information about the surveillance they could face serious legal consequences.
The mostly symbolic gesture by Google to release these reports is a genuine attempt at telling us what they are allowed to. The problem is that they are gagged by the government and cannot tell us of the abusive and unconstitutional programs in operation at their datacenters.
Google Security Researchers Claim That 80 Percent of News Organizations Get Attacked by State Actors
Researches from Google, speaking at the Black Hat Conference 2014 in Singapore, have claimed that over eighty percent of news organizations get attacked by state actors. This represent a disproportionately large group of attacks by highly sophisticated hackers backed by large budgets and shielded legally by state sponsorship.
In the short stub written by The Guardian, they discuss loosely what kind of attacks these represent. It appears that Google has technology to detect attempts to spoof users into divulging information or opening malicious attachments in order to steal user information or directly steal data from the target computer.
If the technology is tripped, you are notified by a banner in your Gmail that says "Warning We believe that attackers backed by certain states may be attempting to compromise your account or computer" with a link to "protect yourself now" in the banner.> read more