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nsa

The tech world is once again asking The Obama Administration to push for the end of mass data collection by the NSA on U.S. citizens, following the end of the Patriot Act Section 215 on June 8.

In a new open letter signed by some of the biggest multinational corporations in the world, including Apple, Microsoft and Google, it asks for The White House to push through new frameworks for handling surveillance and data collection.

The current way of handling data collection is to collect everyone’s, bundling the criminals and the innocent. This allows the NSA to hold data for years, even if the person has no criminal history.

Microsoft and other tech companies would like to see a new framework where the ability to collect data is done through a warrant, similar to installing cameras in a person’s house, or wiretapping a phone.

President Barack Obama seems to agree, pushing legislation last year to change the way the NSA conduct intelligence programs. The bill passed Congress, but failed to get passed the Senate. This is disappointing, considering a new bill would have to pass through a Republican backed Congress, less likely to push for new NSA laws.

The huge backlash to NSA surveillance should be enough to make some difference when Section 215 of the Patriot Act is overviewed on June 8. Whether we will see real change is still up for debate, considering how much time the NSA and other four nations in the ‘Five Eyes Defeat’ have put into making a global surveillance network.

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cse-director

Canada’s own surveillance agency has not been documented as much as the U.S. National Security Agency and U.K. Government Communications Headquarters, but in a new report from The Intercept citing Edward Snowden’s leaked documents, it shows Canada’s covert operations stretch across the globe and are a major player in the Five Eyes Defeat.

The Communications Security Establishment is the main intelligence agency for Canada. In previous reports, we found that the CSE has been the figurehead pushing surveillance Canada.

It looks like the CSE has done more than just push mass surveillance at home. In the report, Canada is responsible for covert hacking operations that go beyond the usual attacks, in order to gain information on a certain region.

These attacks extend far beyond North America, moving into Europe, Mexico, the Middle East and North Africa. The CSE attacked, controlled and sabotaged computers from organizations, companies and governments in the areas aforementioned.

Some of the attacks are state sponsored hacks against government enemies, similar to the Iranian nuclear centrifuges attack sponsored by the U.S. and Israel.

The introduction of the anti-terrorist law pushed into Canada a few weeks ago shows the CSE wants even more control over surveillance, both nationally and overseas. The NSA—in a previous report—claimed the CSE was a vital part of the Five Eyes Defeat’s operations.

Similar to the UK, citizens are not defended by the constitution, meaning the CSE can get away with even more surveillance at home. Canada has shown the same type of apathy to surveillance, but some pro-privacy organizations have tried to take down the CSE through new laws to protect Canadian citizens.

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police-uk

The UK metropolitan police force has declared Edward Snowden leaks to be a state secret, due to the potential terrorist threats if information is leaked out about government surveillance plans.

It follows a year long investigation into not only Edward Snowden, but The Guardian journalists responsible for leaking the information. The police force suggest releasing this information was a crime, and journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras should be put under trial for reporting.

This is a new segment in the case, but the UK police will not disclose any information, citing “terrorist threats” if it releases the subject matter. It makes covering the investigation highly difficult, especially since UK authorities have shown time and time again they will misuse the Terrorist Act in order to take down press.

The police investigation is being held in conjunction with over investigations from UK and European authorities. The UK has been less optimistic about changing mass surveillance, with most claiming it a necessary resource for the government to have.

Europe has been more defensive against mass surveillance, particularly in regards to the British intelligence unit GCHQ hacking into large corporations in Europe, like Belgacom and Gemalto.

The GCHQ has come under fire as well for the illegal mass surveillance, but the UK government has not done anything to change the tactics used by the group.

All across the UK, it seems apathy towards surveillance has allowed the GCHQ and UK police force to attack journalists, activists and other anti-government figures, without the movement seen in the U.S. and by several governments overseas.

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edward-snowden

When Edward Snowden left the Hong Kong hotel into the United Nations asylum, it took a few months for him to find a country willing to accept the baggage.

Germany was reportedly looking into housing Snowden, but the United States warned them to not accept the whistleblower into the country. The threat came with removed military intel, if Germany supported Snowden.

It is not the only country to feel the wrath of the United States as Edward Snowden tries to find somewhere safe, several flights from Hong Kong to countries like Bulgaria and Ecuador were searched by U.S. authorities to see if Snowden was on-board.

In the past, Germany has been extremely supportive of journalist freedom and whistleblowers. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also against the U.S. surveillance implanted worldwide, and has actively removed U.S. corporations from German government programs in the past year.

Even though it is a shame Edward Snowden is located in Russia instead of Germany, where his freedoms are limited, it is better than having him behind bars in a U.S. maximum security prison.

Russia were one of the few countries to accept Snowden’s asylum, first as a short-term measure, but when things got even worse Snowden decided to appeal for long-term asylum in the country.

It works for Russia, making them look more hospitable than the United States. The U.S. has not shown any signs of working with Snowden to bring him back home for an open trial, even as some of the programs Snowden leaked turn out to be against the law.

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new-zealand

One of the arguments put forward by the surveillance groups in Five Eyes Defeat—consisting of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S.—is that it does not target any individual that goes against the government, it is simply used for terrorist monitoring.

In a new report from Edward Snowden’s leaked NSA documents, it shows that New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) targeted six ministers in the Prime Minister’s inner circle, alongside an anti-government activist.

Benjamin Afuga is an anti-corruption activist based in the Solomon Islands, and runs a popular Facebook group leaking the corruption inside the government and corporations of New Zealand.

Afuga has been a pain in the backside of authorities and government personnel in New Zealand. Under the jurisdiction several surveillance groups claim they use, this would be a breach of ethical conduct and freedom of the press, but GCSB has failed to comment the allegations.

It is yet another showing that surveillance groups cannot be in control of millions of people’s personal and private information. XKEYSCORE allows all Five Eyes Defeat members to check the world’s biggest databank of surveillance, and since it is monitored by humans with no real oversight, it does start to become a bit worrisome who the government is keeping its eye on.

The UK government has been overviewing various journalists involved in the original Edward Snowden leak to The Guardian, alongside any other “activist” that might cause problems in the future.

A recent report claimed the FBI kept track of several “Black Lives Matter” campaigners, following several murders of black men by police officers. Even though the campaigners were staging harmless protests against police brutality, the FBI deemed it necessary to tap into the wide surveillance network to make sure nothing serious came out of the “terror threat”.

This sort of instant surveillance makes protest, whistleblowers, and any other issue to government control easy to shut down. It removes freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of protest and the freedom to privacy — but this is what we have been saying from the beginning.

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gchq

The GCHQ (Government Communication Headquarters) is under a series of investigations from various UK and European organizations, following Edward Snowden’s mass surveillance leaks showing the British intelligence service’s involvement in all stages, helping the NSA and Five Eyes Defeat.

Snowden even claimed the GCHQ was far worse than the National Security Agency (NSA) in the U.S., due to the fact no constitution blocks the intelligence agency from deploying even more surveillance programs to gain ever more metadata.

In one of the most recent investigations, the court agreed that GCHQ’s actions were illegal under the context of human rights violations, and a full reform of the surveillance network should be introduced and publicly shown.

This could hurt the ‘Five Eyes Defeat’, a group consisting of Canada, U.S., Australia and New Zealand’s intelligence groups to establish global surveillance, supposedly to better understand terrorist activity online and spot it.

There is no public evidence of these mass surveillance programs actually leading to any progress on the terrorism front, although one investigation in the UK showed a ton of redacted evidence claiming otherwise.

Even though the UK Parliament remains cautious to say anything on the matter of mass surveillance, the same Parliament that keeps things like child rape gangs in Rotherham and the illegalities of the Iraq war hidden from its own people, for their safety of course.

The most shameful thing is Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Labour leader Ed Miliband all seem to not care or not have differing opinions on the subject of mass surveillance, more than happy to see all of their people subjected to unwarranted tapping of phones, laptops and networks.

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Wikipedia Sues NSA Over Mass Surveillance

wikimedia

The Wikimedia Foundation is going on an all-out offensive against the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Justice (DOJ) for the global surveillance network created by the NSA with partners in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, essentially covering the entire world.

The surveillance works by tapping into the underwater pipelines of the internet, which connect island-to-island. Instead of wiretapping or back-door connections into social networks, this pipeline surveillance takes everything coming out of a country.

It is the first time a complaint has been issued on the tapping of underwater pipelines, although similar complaints have been filed for tapping into wireless carrier networks and both Yahoo and Twitter have fought back against back-door surveillance.

Wikimedia and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) claim the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act (FAA) violates the US Constitution’s First and Fourth Amendments, and removes the freedoms and human rights of billions of internet users worldwide by capturing all data in a wide network.

The evidence put forward comes from NSA contactor Edward Snowden’s leaked documents, which detail multiple routes the NSA and other surveillance groups have used to gain access to unprecedented amounts of information on innocent users.

Not only is the US threatening the basic privacy and human rights of every person on the planet, but it is potentially threatening activists, journalists and anyone else defying government control.

Wikimedia give the example of the 2011 Arab Uprising, where the Egyptian government claimed to be in contact with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), capable of gaining information on rebels in the country.

This type of classified information, which is given to countries allied with the US, UK, Australia, Canada or New Zealand, could remove all freedom of expression and protest. Wikimedia argues that removing freedom of speech could cause extreme harm to the state of humanity, and makes the US just as totalitarian as Russia, China, and other countries embezzled in censorship and human rights violations.

It is hard for anyone to win in court however, due to the fact the NSA denies any of these surveillance technologies exist. Other than the Edward Snowden documents, there is no actual way to show that the surveillance technologies have affected any Wikimedia employee, due to them being completely secretive.

This article also appeared on TechBeat News.

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apple-event

Apple has announced several products at the March 9 event, including a new 12-inch MacBook, the Apple Watch prices and a new ResearchKit for a fundamental leap in medical research.

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Kicking the event off was HBO’s CEO Richard Plepler, announcing that the standalone streaming service HBO Now would be available on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. It is part of a three month exclusivity deal, although HBO does state it will be available on PC on its website FAQ.

HBO Now will launch a week before the premiere of Game of Thrones on April 12, and will cost $14.99 per month.

researchkit-five-new-apps

Apple is launching a new software framework called ResearchKit, a follow up from the HealthKit launched in October; which already has 900 verified apps.

ResearchKit will allow Apple’s 700 million active iPhones to send health information to doctors, scientists and researchers, working on cures for common diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, breast cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and asthma, by taking a wide range of health information from all corners of the world.

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The new 12-inch MacBook was announced at the event, featuring a complete redesign of the internals to create the thinnest and lightest MacBook ever. It is 13.1mm thin at its thickest point, and Apple claims the notebook is only 2 pounds light.

Apple has essentially scrapped anything deemed unnecessary internally, including the fan and several ports. Everything will go through the one USB-C port on the side of the device, capable of charging and supporting USB, VGA, display and other connectors.

The 12-inch MacBook features an edge-to-edge ‘retina’ display with 2304 x 1440 resolution. Apple has stuffed eight battery components into the MacBook, with a new technology allowing batteries to have layers, it will last 8 hours.

Internals include a 1.3GHz Intel Core M processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD, WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0. Apple is offering an upgraded version with more RAM and SSD storage, for $300 extra.

The original unit will be available for $1299.

apple-watch

We finally found out what the prices are for the Apple Watch too, starting at $349 for the Sport, $549 for the original and $10,000 for the Edition. The Watch Sport will feature an aluminium build, the original will feature a stainless steel build and the Watch Edition will feature an 18-karat gold body.

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