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British spies found themselves in a bizarre porn dilemma as they secretly monitored millions of Yahoo webchats.

Spies at the British surveillance agency GCHQ were startled to discover quite a lot of people were using the webchats for pornographic purposes.

“Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person,” says an internal document from GCHQ seen by Britain’s Guardian newspaper. “Also, the fact that the Yahoo software allows more than one person to view a webcam stream without necessarily sending a reciprocal stream means that it appears sometimes to be used for broadcasting pornography.”

Indiscriminately spying on millions of peoples’ Yahoo webcam sessions? Yeah, totally acceptable…

Snowden I believe mentioned way back in the beginning that the GCHQ were worse than the NSA w/r/t mass surveillance. I’m starting to see what he meant, given this and the latest revelations.

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I think it would be interesting and important if more privacy-oriented/privacy-first social networks started popping up in the aftermath of the NSA mass surveillance revelations. Maybe more things like the semi-anonymous service/network of Secret. Anyway, I was recently reading about how Facebook uses human-provided semantic info (tagging of photos) in combination with AI to do facial recognition on images - in service of making it easier to tag new photos. Who knows what else they use it or plan to use that for, or what the potential for government access and querying is. Just think of the billions of photos on Facebook, with multiple photos of varying angles linked to individuals, and the ramifications of that.

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jeepermtj:

The day we fight back - Don’t forget
Thedaywefightback.org

jeepermtj:

The day we fight back - Don’t forget

Thedaywefightback.org

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theatlantic:

Independent Federal Agency: The Phone Dragnet is Illegal, Shut It Down

The National Security Agency’s practice of collecting and storing data on all phone calls is illegal and should be shut down—that’s the conclusion of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent executive-branch agency. Its board members are empowered to investigate and analyze classified material. They’re the latest independent voice to cast doubt on various NSA claims.
Read more. [Image: Julian Carvajal/Flickr]

theatlantic:

Independent Federal Agency: The Phone Dragnet is Illegal, Shut It Down

The National Security Agency’s practice of collecting and storing data on all phone calls is illegal and should be shut down—that’s the conclusion of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent executive-branch agency. Its board members are empowered to investigate and analyze classified material. They’re the latest independent voice to cast doubt on various NSA claims.

Read more. [Image: Julian Carvajal/Flickr]

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Stop web companies from tracking your web-browsing activity and selling the data to advertisers. Get the open source browser extension here free (or pay-what-you-want): disconnect.me

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theatlantic:

The Supreme Court Logic That Could Destroy Privacy in America

Many Americans reacted with outrage when they learned that the NSA stores details about phone calls made by virtually everyone in the United States. They felt a strong, if vague, notion that the practice must violate their constitutional rights. Couldn’t NSA analysis of telephone metadata reveal sensitive, private details about most anyone in the country, like their network of friends, the identity of their sexual partners, or their contact with medical or mental health professionals? Aren’t mass searches of innocents anathema to the Fourth Amendment?
The legal response from NSA defenders has leaned heavily on the precedent set in Smith v. Maryland, a Supreme Court case decided in 1979, before the era of big data. 
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

theatlantic:

The Supreme Court Logic That Could Destroy Privacy in America

Many Americans reacted with outrage when they learned that the NSA stores details about phone calls made by virtually everyone in the United States. They felt a strong, if vague, notion that the practice must violate their constitutional rights. Couldn’t NSA analysis of telephone metadata reveal sensitive, private details about most anyone in the country, like their network of friends, the identity of their sexual partners, or their contact with medical or mental health professionals? Aren’t mass searches of innocents anathema to the Fourth Amendment?

The legal response from NSA defenders has leaned heavily on the precedent set in Smith v. Maryland, a Supreme Court case decided in 1979, before the era of big data.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

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Dear Mr. President and Members of Congress,

We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. But this summer’s revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide. The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual — rights that are enshrined in our Constitution. This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It’s time for a change.

For our part, we are focused on keeping users’ data secure — deploying the latest encryption technology to prevent unauthorized surveillance on our networks and by pushing back on government requests to ensure that they are legal and reasonable in scope.

We urge the US to take the lead and make reforms that ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight. To see the full set of principles we support, visit ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com

Sincerely,

AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo

Well, it looks like Snowden is well on his way to a Nobel Peace Prize. In light of this, maybe those companies should look inwardly and see what they can do to reform their own exploitation of private data.

When Snowden receives the Nobel or is ultimately exonerated, a lot of the same people in government and his critics will turn around and hail him as a hero. It’s a tale as old as time it seems. How many people in the world considered Mandela a terrorist when he was stirring things up, and then conveniently flip-flopped out of political survival and reputation maintenance only when they realized they were losing the narrative/perception battle? (I think some US officials that are still around today did that.) Truth, perennial ideals - they don’t matter to them: only the prevailing, near-sighted, transient narrative they are caught up in does. And that’s why I hate politics, and that’s one reason why everyone should be automatically critical and wary of any authority, interest, stakeholder, or power in the world ever.

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kateoplis:

Starting today, your face, name, and personal information could appear in Google ads.
Read more about the new terms here. But most importantly: opt out here. 

Is it just me, or does anyone feel like Google and Facebook are in an arms race to create the most inauthentic climates on the Internet?

To ensure that your recommendations reach the people you care about, Google sometimes displays your reviews, recommendations and other relevant activity throughout its products and services. This sometimes includes shopping contexts, like the Google Play music store, and ads. Your profile name and photo may appear with the recommendation.

The first part of that first sentence (bolded by me) should read “to ensure that we earn ad revenue from you advertising to the people you care about”. Who in their right mind actually wants to work for Google for free without even recognition or prestige? Well, I guess maybe you could theoretically get some unique traffic to your profile and gain exposure that way, if that’s what you want. But that would almost by definition require Google using your stuff outside your network, anyway.
UPDATE: Reminds me, haha. The co-founder of Youtube left his first comment on there after 8 years of dormancy. Here it is, reflecting the stupid stuff that Google is up to these days:

optoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptout

kateoplis:

Starting todayyour face, name, and personal information could appear in Google ads.

Read more about the new terms here. But most importantly: opt out here

Is it just me, or does anyone feel like Google and Facebook are in an arms race to create the most inauthentic climates on the Internet?

To ensure that your recommendations reach the people you care about, Google sometimes displays your reviews, recommendations and other relevant activity throughout its products and services. This sometimes includes shopping contexts, like the Google Play music store, and ads. Your profile name and photo may appear with the recommendation.

The first part of that first sentence (bolded by me) should read “to ensure that we earn ad revenue from you advertising to the people you care about”. Who in their right mind actually wants to work for Google for free without even recognition or prestige? Well, I guess maybe you could theoretically get some unique traffic to your profile and gain exposure that way, if that’s what you want. But that would almost by definition require Google using your stuff outside your network, anyway.

UPDATE: Reminds me, haha. The co-founder of Youtube left his first comment on there after 8 years of dormancy. Here it is, reflecting the stupid stuff that Google is up to these days:

optoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptout

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"Right now, as soon as someone is encrypting, he gets flagged…We need to show that this [ubiquitous] surveillance practice is an unsustainable use of government resources…Banning cryptography is not an option, and we will never get the government to stop monitoring. But we can make it really expensive. If everyone is encrypting, then the government has to take more care with who it investigates."

— Alexander Morlang, ‘Pirates’ in Germany dodge the NSA’s watchful gaze

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niknak79:

iPhone 5s fingerprint scanner

(via teemingturtles)

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breakingnews:

US and UK spy agencies have unlocked encryption used to protect emails, banking and medical records, according to top-secret documents revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

According to the documents obtained by The Guardian and published in partnership with The New York Times and ProPublica

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Does this sort of “deny and disrupt” campaign sound familiar? It should: you’ve seen it before, deployed against terror networks. That’s because part of the value in targeting the electronic communications of actual terrorists is that the terrorists are forced to use far slower means of plotting. The NSA has learned this lesson well, and is now applying it to journalists. I suppose it’s fitting that Miranda was held pursuant to a law that is ostensibly limited to anti-terror efforts. The National Surveillance State understands that what works for one can be usefully directed against the other. In fact, it’s not clear the National Surveillance State even recognizes a meaningful difference.

The National Surveillance State doesn’t want anyone to be able to communicate without the authorities being able to monitor that communication. Think that’s too strong a statement? If so, you’re not paying attention. There’s a reason the government names its programs Total Information Awareness and Boundless Informant and acknowledges it wants to “collect it all” and build its own “haystack” and has redefined the word “relevant” to mean “everything.” The desire to spy on everything totally and boundlessly isn’t even new; what’s changed is just that it’s become more feasible of late. You can argue that the NSA’s nomenclature isn’t (at least not yet) properly descriptive; you can’t argue that it isn’t at least aspirational.

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— Barry Eisler, David Miranda and the Preclusion of Privacy

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vulgartrader:

Washington Post: NSA Broke Privacy Rules Thousands of Times per Year according to Top Secret Documents Provided By Edward Snowden