Yes, world, Google and Facebook are as powerful data collectors as the United States’ foremost spy agency, and what’s more, their data collection is legal because, unwittingly or not, users of both give them permission to do so (was there really ever a time Google lived up to its motto of “Don’t be evil”?).As reported by National Journal, both sites – and other social media destinations – continue to vacuum up data nearly as fast as it is created, and all in the name of selling you that next widget or product or service:
The private-sector tech companies that run the social networks and email services Americans use every day are relatively opaque when it comes to their data-collection and retention policies, which are engineered not to preserve national security but to bolster the companies’ bottom lines. Continue reading
The German news magazine Der Spiegel first outlined the extent of the BND’s partnership with the NSA last week. But details are continuing to emerge, suggesting that more than metadata was shared.
Germany’s federal intelligence agency, the BND, provided the US National Security Agency (NSA) with complete audio and text records of telephone calls and emails of people it had spied on, the Bild newspaper reported on Saturday. Continue reading
If you were still no sure about which side to take over Edward Snowden, this might help you take one. The amount of damage he has caused and lives he put at risk is enormous.
The intelligence community isn’t used to explaining itself in public, but over the past few months, with much prodding by Congress and the press, it has taken some small, tentative steps. Last week, I spent an hour with General Keith B. Alexander, who retired in March after eight years as the director of the N.S.A. The forces pushing for omnivorous data collection are larger than any one person, but General Alexander’s role has been significant. We met on Wednesday morning, in the conference room of a public-relations firm in the Flatiron District. He is a tall man with a firm handshake and steady eyes who speaks rapidly and directly.
Here are excerpts from the interview.
In January, President Obama claimed that the N.S.A. bulk-metadata program has disrupted fifty-four terrorist plots. Senator Patrick Leahy said the real number is zero. There’s a big difference between fifty-four and zero. Continue reading
The U.S. Senate confirmed a new Secretary of Homeland Security on Monday. Winning confirmation by an overwhelming vote of 78 to 16, Jeh Johnson is now the fourth person to lead the sprawling domestic security agency since its inception in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Although he has been an obscure figure thus far to both the general public and the law enforcement community, the American Civil Liberties Union has been voicing concerns about his human rights record. Continue reading