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The NSA wants front door access to your encrypted data

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Apr 142015
 

Last December, I had the opportunity to travel to the Netherlands to meet with multiple European tech companies, web hosts, and other infrastructure providers. The topic of intelligence agency backdoors and US corporate involvement with such policies came up more than once, often in not-entirely-friendly ways. Its therefore refreshing to see the head of the NSA, Admiral Michael S. Rogers, state up front that the NSA isnt interested in a backdoor solution to digital surveillance. Instead, he wants a so-called front-door solution which could be even worse.

Instead of handing the NSA a unilateral window into encrypted communications taking place at Google or Apple, Rogers suggested a future in which the encryption keys to access such information would be divided between at least two groups possibly more. In the simplest example, Google would retain half the key, while the NSA held the other half. Thus, the agency wouldnt be able to unilaterally snoop inside anyones files it would need Googles support.

I dont want a back door, Rogers, the director of the nations top electronic spy agency, said during a speech at Princeton University, according to the Washington Post. I want a front door. And I want the front door to have multiple locks. Big locks.

The first problem with Rogers proposed front-door solution is that its a meaningless feel-good measure given the current regulatory structure of our national security system. Before the Snowden leaks, Google, Microsoft, and other digital providers were forbidden from disclosing that theyd received national security letters, even in aggregate. Thanks to Snowden, we now know that Yahoo went to bat for users, challenging the legality and authority of the NSA and lost, every time.

Giving half a key to Google or Yahoo would be meaningless unless the company possesses the authority to refuse to use it. In theory, the court system offers robust oversight of how such capabilities are used. In practice, the FISA court has operated more like a rubber stamp body than an organization devoted to judicial oversight. The government, as a whole, doesnt currently have a great track record of respecting suspects rights the FBI is on record as ordering local police departments to drop cases rather than disclose how secret stingray hardware may have been used in ways that fundamentally violate those suspects Fourth Amendment rights.

The other systemic problem with Rogers suggestion is that it assumes a degree of trust between corporations and government at a time when such good feelings are at an all-time low. The NSA has demonstrated no practical ability to differentiate between friend and foe. Its decision to hoover up data running across Googles transatlantic cables may have been legal, but it illustrated a total lack of respect for Google and a willingness to resort to extrajudicial methods when it was convenient.

The NSA could avoid this problem by sharing the key with government-appointed escrows rather than corporations, but this simply hides the process from public view. Thats already extremely problematic.

The technological problems with the NSAs front-door policy are formidable. The divide the key among trusted parties, approach isnt new the NSA proposed exactly this method of securing its ill-fated Clipper Chip in the early 1990s. At the time, the newly-formed EFF and other consumer advocacy agencies battled the NSAs proposed system, noting that it exposed citizens to increased surveillance while providing no assurance that the cryptographic standard, dubbed Skipjack, was actually secure.

Many of these questions would remain in any escrow system the government dreamed up today. The basic question is, is it possible to design a completely secure system to hold a master key available to the U.S. government but not adversaries, said Donna Dodson, chief cybersecurity adviser at the Commerce Departments National Institute of Standards and Technologies. Theres no way to do this where you dont have unintentional vulnerabilities.

Hackers, generally speaking, dont go after the code itself or attempt to brute-force it instead, they work to compromise the organizations that hold the keys, or find other avenues of attack. Splitting the key into parts is only an advantage if the parts cant be combined or analyzed for clues to the final key structure. In order to function properly, every escrow needs to be secure, and every one-time access key needs to be destroyed.

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The NSA wants front door access to your encrypted data

Maine Police Pay Ransomware Demand in Bitcoin

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Apr 142015
 

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and four town police departments were infected with the “megacode” virus.

In an effort to keep their computer files from being destroyed, a group of cooperative police departments in Maine paid a $300 ransom demandin bitcoin.

According to local news station WCSH-TV, the shared computer system of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and four town police departments was infected with the “megacode” virus.

When someone using the communal network accidentally downloaded the virus, an encryption code locked all the computer data, holding it for ransom. After the $300 fee was paid via a bitcoin transfer, the police received a code to unlock the encryption and restore their files.

“We needed our programs to get back online,” Damariscotta Police Chief Ron Young told WCSH-TV. “And that was a choice we all discussed and took to get back on line to get our information.”

There is no official word on who carried out the attack; the FBI could only track the bitcoin payment to a Swiss bank account.

The hackcommonly known as ransomwareis a virus that blackmails users by encrypting their hard drives or locking them out of their computer. The only way to gain access again: pay the monetary demand. There is no guarantee, however, that the machine will be restored.

A similar struggle was depicted in a fall episode of CBS drama The Good Wife. The hackers demanded $50,000 on the show, but real-life ransoms are typically a much less pricey $200 to $400.

A common currency for paying off hackers, bitcoin was named the world’s worst legal tender for 2014 by Bloomberg, which said bitcoin peaked at around $1,130 in 2013, landing at $320 by the end of last year.

For more, see Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin.

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Maine Police Pay Ransomware Demand in Bitcoin

Is encryption the Second Amendment for the Internet?

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Apr 112015
 

Last week, FBI Director James Comey once again campaigned for backdoors into the encryption programs of tech companies, writes Sunday Yokubaitis at the Daily Dot.

Tech execs say privacy should be the paramount virtue, he told the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee. When I hear that, I close my eyes and try to imagine what the world looks like where pedophiles cant be seen, kidnappers cant be seen, [and] drug dealers cant be seen.

The United States government is playing to fear, uncertainty, and doubt. The reality is the government already collects a tremendous amount of personal data about its citizens through the location data our phones give away, National Security Agency metadata programs and online shopping habits without our consent.

Encryption is how privacy-conscious Internet users fight back against the unblinking eye of government mass surveillance and protect themselves online. Even if the NSA can break some encryption technologies, were at least making it harder and more expensive for them to track law-abiding citizens en masse. When Comey asks for backdoors, he is really just asking to make his job easierwith dubious benefits and very serious risks.

We must protect encryption because backdoors are inherently insecure.

Todays Question: Is encryption the Second Amendment for the Internet?

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Is encryption the Second Amendment for the Internet?

A fatal wrong turn suspected at NSA – The Washington Post

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Apr 032015
 

Local television showed two damaged vehicles near a gate and emergency workers loading an injured uniformed man into an ambulance. (AP)

(Updated: FBI identifies man involved in deadly incident at NSA security gate)

The overnight tryst began in Baltimore, with three men, two dressed as women. It continued at a motel on U.S. 1, and when one of the men woke up Monday morning, his two cross-dressing companions, and his Ford Escape, were gone.

The dark-colored Escape was headed south on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Its driver, in what authorities believe could have been a mistake, took a restricted exit leading to a security post at the sprawling campus of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Md.

An NSA statement said the driver ignored police commands to stop and instead accelerated toward a police vehicle as at least one officer opened fire. The stolen SUV crashed into the cruiser. One man died at the scene, and the other was taken to a hospital for treatment. An NSA officer also was injured, though officials did not say how.

What had first appeared to be an attempt to breach security at the listening post that eavesdrops on communications throughout the world now appears to be a wrong turn by two men who police believe had robbed their companion of his vehicle and perhaps didnt stop because there were drugs inside.

A spokeswoman for the Baltimore office of the FBI, Amy J. Thoreson, said early in the investigation that authorities do not believe [the incident] is related to terrorism. A law enforcement official said: This was not a deliberate attempt to breach the security of NSA. This was not a planned attack.

Police have not released the identities of the people involved, or the conditions of the man who survived the incident and the injured NSA officer. The NSA statement did not say whether either person in the car was struck by gunfire or was injured as a result of the crash.

Details about how the incident began were pieced together with information from several law enforcement officials and others familiar with the case, who spoke on the condition they not be named in order to discuss a pending case.

A Howard County police spokeswoman confirmed that the men involved stayed at a Jessup motel and that the owner of the SUV called police Monday morning to report it stolen.

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A fatal wrong turn suspected at NSA – The Washington Post

2 men dressed as women ram NSA gate

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Apr 032015
 

Story highlights Two people tried to enter the main gate to enter the headquarters of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade. One died at the scene, and another was wounded, the NSA says.

His passenger who remained hospitalized Tuesday has not been publicly identified.

On Monday morning, Hall attempted to gain entry at the National Security Agency headquarters, Jonathan Freed, NSA director of strategic communications, said in a statement.

“The driver failed to obey an NSA Police officer’s routine instructions for safely exiting the secure campus. The vehicle failed to stop and barriers were deployed.”

NSA police on the scene fired on the vehicle when it accelerated toward a police car, blocking its way, according to the NSA. An NSA police officer was also hospitalized but not identified.

The two men who officials say tried to ram the main gate at NSA headquarters were dressed as women, according to a federal law enforcement official.

Investigators are looking into whether the men were under the influence of drugs following a night of partying, a federal law enforcement official said.

A man reported his car stolen from a hotel not far away from NSA Headquarters and said he had been with two men who had taken his car. Cocaine was found in the vehicle. The Howard County Police Department confirms that a Ford Escape reported stolen in Howard County, Maryland, is the vehicle involved in the incident.

The FBI said Monday morning that it was conducting an investigation with NSA police and other law enforcement agencies, and interviewing witnesses on the scene. The incident took place near one of the gates to the complex, far from the main buildings. The FBI said they did not think terrorism was related to the incident.

“We are working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland to determine if federal charges are warranted,” the FBI said in a statement.

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2 men dressed as women ram NSA gate

Justice Department Won't Charge IRS' Lois Lerner With Criminal Contempt

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Apr 022015
 

Updated at 4:33 p.m. ET

The Justice Department will not pursue criminal contempt charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was at the center of a political storm over the agency’s alleged targeting of conservative groups. The announcement came from Ronald Machen, the outgoing U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, to House Speaker John Boehner. (The letter is embedded at the bottom of this story.)

Here’s the background: Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment rights and refused to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in March 2014. But Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who headed that panel, said at the time that Lerner had waived that right by making an opening statement at a May 2013 hearing in which she proclaimed her innocence in short opening remarks.

The House voted later in 2014 to hold Lerner in criminal contempt. Machen’s office was examining the case and, in the letter dated March 31, he disagreed with Issa’s interpretation.

“Ms. Lerner did not waive her Fifth Amendment privilege by making general claims of innocence,” his office said in a statement. “The Constitution would provide Ms. Lerner with an absolute defense if she were prosecuted for contempt.”

Wednesday’s announcement grants a reprieve to the former IRS official, who at the time of the controversy led the agency’s division that oversees tax-exempt groups. William Taylor, her attorney, said in a statement: “We are gratified but not surprised by today’s news.”

But as Politico notes, she and other officials from the Internal Revenue Service are still under investigation by the FBI for the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.

As NPR’s Mark Memmott reported at the time: “[A] report … concluded some conservative groups had been ‘deliberately targeted.’ (Democrats have released IRS documents showing liberal groups also came in for extra scrutiny.) A political furor erupted, eventually leading to the resignation of the agency’s acting director. Lerner retired from the agency later in the year.”

You can read the letter in full here:

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Justice Department Won't Charge IRS' Lois Lerner With Criminal Contempt

Cross-dressing man killed by NSA had lengthy record (+video)

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Apr 012015
 

Fort Meade, Md. Two cross-dressing men who were fired upon by National Security Agency police when they disobeyed orders at a heavily guarded gate had just stolen a car from a man who had picked them up and checked into a motel, police said Tuesday.

The FBI said the driver, Ricky Shawatza Hall, 27, died at the scene, and his passenger remained hospitalized Tuesday with unspecified injuries. An NSA police officer was treated for minor injuries and released.

NSA police opened fire on the stolen sports utility vehicle after Mr. Hall failed to follow instructions for leaving a restricted area, authorities said.

As it turns out, Hall and his passenger had just driven off in the SUV of a 60-year-old Baltimore man, who told investigators that he had picked up the two strangers in Baltimore and brought them to a Howard County motel.

“We can’t confirm there was any sexual activity involved,” a Howard County Police spokeswoman, Mary Phelan, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The SUV’s owner, who has not been publicly identified, said they checked into a room at the Terrace Motel in Elkridge at about 7:30 a.m. Monday, and that he used the bathroom about an hour later. When he came out, the men were gone, along with his car keys.

He called police to report the stolen car, and only minutes later, just before 9 a.m., the men took a highway exit that leads directly to a restricted area at the NSA entrance at Fort Meade.

The two men were dressed as women, but “not in an attempt to disguise themselves from authorities,” FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson said.

Hall has a lengthy criminal record that includes assault and robbery charges. In 2013, Hall was charged after he assaulted a woman and stole a bottle of methadone from her pocket. Court papers show that Hall had been wearing a yellow dress at the time of the assault and was mistaken for a woman. In 2014, Hall was charged with robbery after stealing a vest and skirt from a Baltimore clothing store.

The FBI has ruled out terrorism, and no one has explained yet why the men ended up in a restricted NSA area.

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Shooting At NSA Headquarters In Fort Meade After Driver Rams Gate, Man Shot Dead |VIDEO – Video

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Mar 312015
 



Shooting At NSA Headquarters In Fort Meade After Driver Rams Gate, Man Shot Dead |VIDEO
FBI says no link to terrorism in fatal shooting at gate of U.S. National Security Agency Guns were fired on Monday, when a car carrying two people tried to ram an entrance at Fort Meade in…

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Shooting At NSA Headquarters In Fort Meade After Driver Rams Gate, Man Shot Dead |VIDEO – Video

NSA: Car smashes into police vehicle at Fort Meade; 1 dead

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Mar 312015
 

By Meredith Somers And Lolita C. Baldor Associated Press

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) Two men dressed as women smashed a stolen car into a police vehicle after they disobeyed commands at the closely guarded gates of the National Security Agency on Monday, prompting police to open fire.

One of the men died, the other was injured and a police officer also was taken to a hospital. Details remained unclear hours later. Initial images from the scene showed emergency workers loading the uniformed officer into an ambulance. Nearby were a dark-colored SUV and an SUV emblazoned with “NSA Police,” both heavily damaged.

It was not known why the men wound up at the gate at Fort Meade, a sprawling military post that houses the National Security Agency, or why they did not obey orders from NSA police. Fort Meade is just off Interstate 295 between Baltimore and Washington.

A helicopter hovers over Fort Meade after a vehicle rammed a gate to the National Security Agency, Monday, March 30, 2015 in Fort Meade, Md. One person was killed in a firefight that erupted Monday after a car with two people tried to ram a gate at the Fort Meade, Md., military base near a gate to the National Security Agency, according to preliminary reports cited by two U.S. officials. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (Andrew Harnik/AP)

The men were dressed as women, said a senior defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing case. It also was unclear exactly what the men were wearing.

The NSA said in a news release that investigators have not yet determined how the man in the vehicle died, and the conditions of the wounded man and officer were not disclosed.

An agency officer gave the driver “routine instructions for safely exiting the secure campus,” but the driver disobeyed them, the release said. The driver then accelerated toward a police vehicle blocking the road, and police then opened fire.

An FBI spokeswoman said earlier in the day that the incident was not believed to be linked to terrorism. The NSA said the incident was contained to the perimeter of the secure campus.

The car that rammed the police vehicle had been stolen Monday morning from a hotel in Jessup, Maryland, said Mary Phelan, a spokeswoman for the Howard County Police Department. She declined to name the hotel, citing the ongoing investigation, or release any further details, referring all questions to the FBI.

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NSA: Car smashes into police vehicle at Fort Meade; 1 dead

Man dressed as woman killed at NSA

 NSA  Comments Off on Man dressed as woman killed at NSA
Mar 312015
 

Story highlights Two people tried to enter the main gate to enter the headquarters of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade. One died at the scene, and another was wounded, the NSA says.

“Shortly before 9:00 AM today, a vehicle containing two individuals attempted an unauthorized entry at a National Security Agency gate,” Jonathan Freed, NSA director of strategic communications, said in a statement. “The driver failed to obey an NSA Police officer’s routine instructions for safely exiting the secure campus. The vehicle failed to stop and barriers were deployed.”

NSA police on the scene fired on the vehicle when it accelerated toward a police car, blocking its way, according to the NSA. One of the unauthorized vehicle’s two occupants died on the scene. The other was hospitalized, as was an NSA police officer.

The two men who officials say tried to ram the main gate at NSA headquarters were dressed as women, according to a federal law enforcement official.

Investigators are looking into whether the men were under the influence of drugs following a night of partying, a federal law enforcement official said.

A man reported his car stolen from a hotel not far away from NSA Headquarters and said he had been with two men who had taken his car. Cocaine was found in the vehicle. The Howard County Police Department confirms that a Ford Escape reported stolen in Howard County, Maryland, is the vehicle involved in the incident.

The FBI said Monday morning that it was conducting an investigation with NSA police and other law enforcement agencies, and interviewing witnesses on the scene. The incident took place near one of the gates to the complex, far from the main buildings. The FBI said they did not think terrorism was related to the incident.

“We are working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland to determine if federal charges are warranted,” the FBI said in a statement.

White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said President Barack Obama had been briefed on the incident this morning.

This is the second security incident this month involving the NSA. At the beginning of March, a former state correctional officer was arrested, accused in a string of Maryland shootings, including one at Fort Meade. Gunshots struck a building near the NSA office, according to a police report.

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Man dressed as woman killed at NSA

Undercover agents 'stole Bitcoin' while investigating Silk Road

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Mar 312015
 

Force, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, was the lead undercover agent in communication with Dread Pirate Roberts in the probe, which aimed to build evidence that Silk Road was a platform for drug deals financed by the crypto-currency Bitcoin.

With one of these identities he offered Dread Pirate Roberts protection from the FBI probe in exchange for $250,000-worth of Bitcoin, and with another he offered to sell information about the probe for $100,000 in the currency.

Meanwhile, he kept funds used in FBI transactions on Silk Road to build evidence against the website and Ulbricht.

Also as part of the investigation, Bridges, a special agent with the Secret Service, obtained access to a Silk Road website administrator account just before a huge theft of Bitcoin from the website.

The Justice Department said the stolen Bitcoin were moved to Tokyo-based Mt Gox, at the time the leading Bitcoin exchange. Weeks later Bridges began moving $820,000-worth of Bitcoin in several transfers from Mt Gox to a US account he controlled.

Bridges made the last transfer from Mt Gox to his US account just two days before he took part in a Justice Department order to seize millions of dollars from Mt Gox and its owner.

Force is being charged with wire fraud, theft of government property and money laundering, while Bridges is charged with wire fraud and money laundering.

In February this year in a New York trial, a jury found that Ulbricht was indeed Dread Pirate Roberts and found him guilty of drug trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering.

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Undercover agents 'stole Bitcoin' while investigating Silk Road

NSA considered scrapping phone program before Snowden leaks

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Mar 292015
 

National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers testifies before a House (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington November 20, 2014. The NSA considered abandoning its secret program to collect and store American call records before leaker Edward Snowden revealed the practice, intelligence officials say. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

WASHINGTON The National Security Agency considered abandoning its secret program to collect and store American calling records in the months before leaker Edward Snowden revealed the practice, current and former intelligence officials say, because some officials believed the costs outweighed the meager counterterrorism benefits.

After the leak and the collective surprise around the world, NSA leaders strongly defended the phone records program to Congress and the public, but without disclosing the internal debate.

The proposal to kill the program was circulating among top managers but had not yet reached the desk of Gen. Keith Alexander, then the NSA director, according to current and former intelligence officials who would not be quoted because the details are sensitive. Two former senior NSA officials say they doubt Alexander would have approved it.

Still, the behind-the-scenes NSA concerns, which have not been reported previously, could be relevant as Congress decides whether to renew or modify the phone records collection when the law authorizing it expires in June.

The internal critics pointed out that the already high costs of vacuuming up and storing the to and from information from nearly every domestic landline call were rising, the system was not capturing most cellphone calls, and program was not central to unraveling terrorist plots, the officials said. They worried about public outrage if the program ever was revealed.

After the program was disclosed, civil liberties advocates attacked it, saying the records could give a secret intelligence agency a road map to Americans private activities. NSA officials presented a forceful rebuttal that helped shaped public opinion.

Responding to widespread criticism, President Barack Obama in January 2014 proposed that the NSA stop collecting the records, but instead request them when needed in terrorism investigations from telephone companies, which tend to keep them for 18 months.

Yet the president has insisted that legislation is required to adopt his proposal, and Congress has not acted. So the NSA continues to collect and store records of private U.S. phone calls for use in terrorism investigations under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Many lawmakers want the program to continue as is.

Alexander argued that the program was an essential tool because it allows the FBI and the NSA to hunt for domestic plots by searching American calling records against phone numbers associated with international terrorists. He and other NSA officials support Obamas plan to let the phone companies keep the data, as long as the government quickly can search it.

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NSA considered scrapping phone program before Snowden leaks

AP Exclusive: Some at NSA thought costs of collecting US calling records exceeded the benefits

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Mar 292015
 

WASHINGTON The National Security Agency considered abandoning its secret program to collect and store American calling records in the months before leaker Edward Snowden revealed the practice, current and former intelligence officials say, because some officials believed the costs outweighed the meager counterterrorism benefits.

After the leak and the collective surprise around the world, NSA leaders strongly defended the phone records program to Congress and the public, but without disclosing the internal debate.

The proposal to kill the program was circulating among top managers but had not yet reached the desk of Gen. Keith Alexander, then the NSA director, according to current and former intelligence officials who would not be quoted because the details are sensitive. Two former senior NSA officials say they doubt Alexander would have approved it.

Still, the behind-the-scenes NSA concerns, which have not been reported previously, could be relevant as Congress decides whether to renew or modify the phone records collection when the law authorizing it expires in June.

The internal critics pointed out that the already high costs of vacuuming up and storing the “to and from” information from nearly every domestic landline call were rising, the system was not capturing most cellphone calls, and program was not central to unraveling terrorist plots, the officials said. They worried about public outrage if the program ever was revealed.

After the program was disclosed, civil liberties advocates attacked it, saying the records could give a secret intelligence agency a road map to Americans’ private activities. NSA officials presented a forceful rebuttal that helped shaped public opinion.

Responding to widespread criticism, President Barack Obama in January 2014 proposed that the NSA stop collecting the records, but instead request them when needed in terrorism investigations from telephone companies, which tend to keep them for 18 months.

Yet the president has insisted that legislation is required to adopt his proposal, and Congress has not acted. So the NSA continues to collect and store records of private U.S. phone calls for use in terrorism investigations under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Many lawmakers want the program to continue as is.

Alexander argued that the program was an essential tool because it allows the FBI and the NSA to hunt for domestic plots by searching American calling records against phone numbers associated with international terrorists. He and other NSA officials support Obama’s plan to let the phone companies keep the data, as long as the government quickly can search it.

Civil liberties activists say it was never a good idea to allow a secret intelligence agency to store records of Americans’ private phone calls, and some are not sure the government should search them in bulk. They say government can point to only a single domestic terrorism defendant who was implicated by a phone records search under the program, a San Diego taxi driver who was convicted of raising $15,000 for a Somali terrorist group.

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AP Exclusive: Some at NSA thought costs of collecting US calling records exceeded the benefits

Rule 41 Change Could Allow FBI To Get Warrants To Remotely Search Suspects' Computers Without Notice

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Mar 222015
 

The Department of Justice recently edged closer to a rule change that would allow the FBI to track suspected criminals’ computer activity more easily. The Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules voted last week in favor of an update to Rule 41, which dictates how judges can issue search warrants on electronic devices, Government Executive reported. The new rule 41 would let judges OK warrants to examine computers remotely anywhere as opposed to only those in their districts. The FBI would also no longer would be required to give users notice ahead of its searches.

“The rule itself would be an acknowledgement that remote access searches are valid without notice, without special justification,” Electronic Privacy Information Center general counsel Alan Butler told Gizmodo. “Notice is one of the essential procedural protections of the Fourth Amendment. Validating a rule that implies that notice will never happen does not comport with the Fourth Amendment.”

The Fourth Amendment forbids unreasonable searches and seizures.

The FBI has requested the rule change to better function in the 21st-century world of technology, DefenseOnereported. The agency would have more options, like the authority to secretly install tracking software on the computers of alleged criminals.

Privacy groups are opposed to this. Google came out against the Rule 41 change last week, arguing it raises a number of monumental and highly complex constitutional, legal and geopolitical concerns that should be left to Congress to decide. The Department of Justice fired back, saying the amendment had been misread and would not authorize the government to undertake any search or seizure or use any remote search technique not already permitted under current law.

In any event, the proposal will next go before the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, then the Supreme Court. If approved, Gizmodo reported, Rule 41 could be updated by December 2016.

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Rule 41 Change Could Allow FBI To Get Warrants To Remotely Search Suspects' Computers Without Notice

The DOJ Is Sneaking in a Policy That'd Crap All Over the 4th Amendment

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Mar 192015
 

The rules for how the Department of Justice tracks down criminals in the digital age are woefully arcane, but the DoJ’s recent proposed changes to update those rules go way too far, using vague terms to grant sweeping remote search powers that would radically undermine the Fourth Amendment.

Under the auspices of probable cause, it’d give FBI agents the power to install tracking malware on computers all over the world, without telling people they’ve started surveillance. Even though it looks like a minor rule change, the proposal would make it much easier for FBI agents to get warrants on computers without first figuring out their exact location. It gives judges much more flexibility on handing out remote search warrants outside of their jurisdictions. And that would give federal agents way more power to search computers.

This proposal isn’t just the DOJ being Big Brothery for no reason. Remote computer searches are difficult to execute right now and that’s an obstacle for combating digital crime and hunting criminals who use anonymizing software. This is a real problem, and something that needs to be addressed. But not this way. This is like using a nuke instead of a sniper rifle, and it’s going to blow up our privacy rights.

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t think I’d ever write an article about a DOJ procedural change because frankly, that sounds like comically dull policy housekeeping. And comically dull is what they were going for: It’s a lot easier to slip in a major expansion of power if no one cares enough to pay attention.

But this proposal is way too big not to notice, no matter how boring-sounding and rote the DOJ tries to make it.

“Basically, we think this is a substantive legal change masquerading as a mere procedural rule change,” Electronic Frontier Foundation staff counsel Hanni Fakhoury told me via email. “The government is essentially pushing for approval of the idea that it should have the power to deploy malware and execute remote searches. To us, it seems like that’s a decision Congress should make.”

The vague language of these rules could galvanize an avalanche of covert government surveillance by making it totally OK in certain situations to search peoples’ computers without ever letting them know. And that’s a violation of the Bill of Rights hidden inside a wonky-sounding procedural adjustment.

Right now, law enforcement officials can get a warrant to search computers remotely, as long as they have probable cause. But, apart from rare, limited circumstances, they need to find the right jurisdiction to petition for a warrant, and they need to give notice of their searches to whoever they’re investigating. Notice is an important part of our Fourth Amendment privacy right. It’s generally not legal for FBI agents to search you and never tell you. Except this change would make it so.

“The rule itself would be an acknowledgement that remote access searches are valid without notice, without special justification,” Electronic Privacy Information Center general counsel Alan Butler told me. “Notice is one of the essential procedural protections of the Fourth Amendment. Validating a rule that implies that notice will never happen does not comport with the Fourth Amendment.”

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The DOJ Is Sneaking in a Policy That'd Crap All Over the 4th Amendment

"Illuminati Exposed" | FBI VAULT UTAH UFO CASE INTERVIEW _ FOOTAGE 1949 – Video

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Mar 132015
 



“Illuminati Exposed” | FBI VAULT UTAH UFO CASE INTERVIEW _ FOOTAGE 1949
“Illuminati Exposed” | FBI VAULT UTAH UFO CASE INTERVIEW _ FOOTAGE 1949 , Revealing the truth about “The Greater Darkness” In Our World Today… Watch: …

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Mobile Security And The Fourth Amendment – Video

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on Mobile Security And The Fourth Amendment – Video
Mar 062015
 



Mobile Security And The Fourth Amendment
There are a lot of things going on with mobile security that could be used against the American people. Stingray implementation, the FBI being able to spy on…

By: Bill Wynne

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Mobile Security And The Fourth Amendment – Video

NSA Shooting Suspect in Custody: FBI

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Mar 052015
 

The FBI said Wednesday that a suspect has been arrested in connection with a string of shootings near the nation’s capital including around the National Security Agency.

Around 3 p.m. Tuesday, two men driving along the Maryland Intercounty Connector (ICC) near Interstate 95 were struck by bullets, according to NBC Washington. Their injuries were minor. About two hours later, there was a report of shots fired near the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade. No one was injured in that incident.

It was initially unclear if the two incidents were linked, but the FBI early Wednesday connected the shootings.

“We believe the subject responsible for shooting incidents on the ICC, near Fort Meade Army installation and other locations around the Baltimore-Washington metro area in the last two weeks is in custody,” the FBI said in a statement early Wednesday. It did not provide further details.

The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland.

First published March 4 2015, 1:34 AM

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NSA Shooting Suspect in Custody: FBI

Facing criminal investigations, Cylvia Hayes asserts Fifth Amendment rights in hopes of keeping emails private

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Feb 272015
 

Cylvia Hayes is asserting her constitutional right against self-incrimination in an attempt to block the release of work-relatedemails she sent from her personal accounts.

Hayes asserted that right in a lawsuit filed Thursday against The Oregonian/OregonLive in Marion County Circuit Court. She has been under a state order to turn the emails over to the news organization.

That order is one of the several legal fronts on which Hayes and her fiance, former Gov. John Kitzhaber, are battling. The couple is the target of a joint investigation by the FBI and the IRS, which have sought records from 11 state agencies and organizations, and a separate state criminal investigation.

The lawsuit is the only legal remedy open to Hayes to escape complying with Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s order that she turn over the emails.

The Oregonian/OregonLive first requested that Kitzhaber’s office provide Hayes’ state-related emails as questions arose last October about her consulting work and her roles as first lady and as a volunteer policy adviser to Kitzhaber. His staff repeatedly said it was working on complying with the request, but said in January it had no access to Hayes’ records.

Rosenblum subsequently granted a petition from the news organization that she order Hayes to provide the records. Rosenblum ruled Feb.12 that Hayes was a public official subject to the Oregon Public Records Law.

As first lady and a volunteer policy adviser, Hayes regularly communicated with state employees and agency leaders through two personal email accounts and one from her Bend-based consulting business, 3E Strategies. In court filings she said she wasn’t issued a state email account because she wasn’t an employee.

Hayes and her attorney, Whitney Boise, argued in the lawsuit the same point they had made with Rosenblum – that Hayes is not subject to the state public records law because she is not a public official.

Rosenblum concluded otherwise, writing that she was persuaded that the former first lady earned public official status from her “extensive, high-level involvement in the executive branch of Oregon’s state government.”

The order noted that Hayes had said she asked for a state email but was ineligible without employee status.

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Facing criminal investigations, Cylvia Hayes asserts Fifth Amendment rights in hopes of keeping emails private




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