edward snowden whistleblower

Obama Commutes Bulk of Chelsea Manning’s Sentence
The Army intelligence analyst convicted in a massive 2010 leak of security documents is set to be freed in five months instead of in 2045.
By Charlie Savage

President Obama on Tuesday largely commuted the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the army intelligence analyst convicted of an enormous 2010 leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities around the world, disrupted the administration, and made WikiLeaks, the recipients of those disclosures, famous.

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Thanks, Obama. #FreedChelseaManning

'Extreme surveillance' becomes UK law with barely a whimper
Investigatory Powers Act legalises range of tools for snooping and hacking by the security services
By Ewen MacAskill

A bill giving the UK intelligence agencies and police the most sweeping surveillance powers in the western world has passed into law with barely a whimper, meeting only token resistance over the past 12 months from inside parliament and barely any from outside.

The Investigatory Powers Act, given royal assent on Thursday, legalises a whole range of tools for snooping and hacking by the security services unmatched by any other country in western Europe or even the US.

The security agencies and police began the year braced for at least some opposition, rehearsing arguments for the debate. In the end, faced with public apathy and an opposition in disarray, the government did not have to make a single substantial concession to the privacy lobby.

US whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted: “The UK has just legalised the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy. It goes further than many autocracies.”

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NSA contractor indicted for stealing more than 50TB of government secrets
The largest ever trove of stolen classified documents
By Nick Statt

Former National Security Agency contractor Harold Martin was indicted today on 20 criminal counts for stealing government documents and data in his capacity as a Booz Allen Hamilton employee, according to Reuters. Each of the 20 charges carries with it a sentence of up to 10 years. Despite obvious similarities to whistleblower Edward Snowden, who also worked as a NSA contractor employed by Booz Allen Hamilton, the government is not saying what whether 52-year-old Martin actually did anything with the classified info he took. Martin’s arrest was first made public last October.

The Washington Post reported earlier this week that Martin may have stolen up to 50TB of classified data, which would make it the largest trove of government secrets ever stolen. US officials allege that some of that data included at least 75 percent of an elite hacking toolset used by the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO). That would make Martin’s trove of classified data highly valuable, as TAO is tasked with developing exploits for foreign espionage.

The indictment says that Martin’s trove of stolen data also included documents from the CIA, the US Cyber Command, and the National Reconnaissance Office. It was allegedly all kept on computers and drives at Martin’s Glen Burnie, Maryland home. Martin was able to do this because of the security clearances granted to him as a contractor with at least seven different government agencies, work he began back in 1993 after serving in the US Navy, Reuters says. Martin is set to appear before a federal judge in Baltimore next week on Tuesday, February 14th.

Internet freedom and digital privacy will come about only through the design of better tools for civil disobedience and direct action. 

Do you agree or disagree?

Watch tonight’s Design and Violence Debate live on YouTube at 6:30 pm EST. 

Debate motions will be delivered by Gabriella Coleman (the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University, and author of Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous) and Larry Lessig (the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University). 

NSA and FBI fight to retain spy powers as surveillance law nears expiration

With about 45 days remaining before a major post-9/11 surveillance authorization expires, representatives of the National Security Agency and the FBI are taking to Capitol Hill to convince legislators to preserve their sweeping spy powers.

That effort effectively re-inaugurates a surveillance debate in Congress that has spent much of 2015 behind closed doors. Within days, congressional sources tell the Guardian, the premiere NSA reform bill of the last Congress, known as the USA Freedom Act, is set for reintroduction – and this time, some former supporters fear the latest version of the bill will squander an opportunity for even broader surveillance reform.

On 1 June, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which permits US law enforcement and surveillance agencies to collect business records, expires.

Section 215 is the authority claimed by the NSA since 2006 for its ongoing daily bulk collection of US phone records revealed by the Guardian in 2013 thanks to leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden. While the Obama administration and US intelligence agencies last year supported divesting the NSA of its domestic phone metadata collection, a bill to do so failed in November.

But the FBI and its supporters fear that the expiration of Section 215 will cut deeper than the loss of bulk collection. The FBI is warning that it will lose access to investigative leads for domestic terrorism and espionage, such as credit card information, hotel records and more, outside normal warrant or subpoena channels.

Documents: U.S., British spies steal encryption keys from world’s largest SIM card manufacturer

The Intercept: American and British spies reportedly hacked into the network of the world’s largest manufacturer of SIM cards, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications, according to documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Follow updates on BreakingNews.com.

Photo Illustration via The Intercept.

Watch Edward Snowden Teach Vice How to Make a Phone ‘Go Black’
Shane Smith interviewed the whistleblower in Moscow and got the details on how to hack into smartphones so they can't be used for surveillance.

When whistleblower Edward Snowden told people just how easily the government could compromise their technology and spy on them, the immediate response was some variation on “Oh, crap! My laptop? My cell phone? People can see that?!”

OK, that’s a bit hyperbolic, but you catch our drift. People immediately sought ways of securing their data and protecting their gadgets from prying eyes. Now, Snowden is here to help. On tomorrow’s episode of Vice, the man himself shows correspondent Shane Smith how to make a smartphone go black by removing the cameras and microphones so they can’t be used against you. Find out how to do it yourself in the clip above from Vice, which airs on HBO.

"Break classification rules for the public's benefit, and you could be exiled. Do it for personal benefit, and you could be President" - Edward Snowden

“Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden has criticized the double standards of the United States’ authorities since US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s email controversy has not led to any form of prosecution unlike his instance of the classification rules violation.”

Context: An investigation into the matter revealed that Clinton shared more than 100 emails about highly classified US government programs and other sensitive information via her unsecured communications in breach of the established rules.


Canada: ‘Be extraordinarily cautious’ Snowden slams Harper’s terror bill

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warned Canadians against a new anti-terror bill proposed by Stephen Harper’s government in a live video link address to Toronto on Monday.

Russia and China 'broke into Snowden files to identify British and US spies'
Sunday Times says Downing Street believes both nations have hacked into American whistleblower’s files, and that agents have been put in peril

Downing Street believes that Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies have used documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden to identify British and US secret agents, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

The newspaper says MI6, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, has withdrawn agents from overseas operations because Russian security services had broken into encrypted files held by American computer analyst Snowden.