From an end point of view, innocent users of digital age do not have any end point safety & privacy rights ….. 2013 is another defining moment in the digital information age and may be the old 20th century technologies time has come to an end?
The worst fears of many Americans were confirmed when new reports revealed that the telecommunications companies were turning over immense volumes of domestic and foreign phone call data to the U.S. National Security Agency. Under an electronic surveillance program called PRISM, NSA analyzed this data in an effort to find patterns of activity that the agency claims provided valuable intelligence in the fight against terrorism. The existence of this NSA data analysis program was revealed when The Guardian newspaper obtained a court order that directed Verizon Communications to turn over to the NSA the “metadata” records million of callers. Call metadata includes information that can identify the devices being used to complete the call, phone numbers and other session data, including information that can be used to determine the location of the callers. The PRISM program has been around since 2007, thanks The slides leaked to The Washington Post and the court order obtained by The Guardian have provoked a fresh round of arguments and outrage over the practice of broadly monitoring the communications of U.S. citizens and some of the public expressions of outrage released by human rights groups and individuals since the story broke last week
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time stated Washington Post
Who Is NSA whistleblower &Leaker Edward Snowden ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’ – video watch the full interview by: reporter Glenn Greenwald and The Guardian published a disturbing and eye-opening interview with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden telling us things wake up call and to open our eyes who are none USA citizens that we are also in many ways being tracked. I guess this is nothing new – although a wake up call for many of us & those globally who are educators, activists in their countries where they have no protection for end user digital rights in case they are bloggers, citizen journalists they have no rights …. if they say things against their government over the Internet telephony also and as of early March, 30 journalists and 69 bloggers had been jailed, more than anywhere else in the world, according to nonprofit Reporters Without Borders. Private Internet companies also help track and censor citizens or else face government sanctions
A journalist overheard some government intelligence officers suggest that Snowden and Greenwald should be “disappeared and assuming that things like these tend to happen all the time and we are blinded by the rules of the law.
“NSA Spying: An Obama Scandal? If this disclosure of an extensive domestic surveillance program leads to a real controversy, the White House says Congress should share the blame.The Senate and the House have known about it for years. You can read the fulldisturbing interview here. This should be thought provoking for many of us who assume we actually have “end point user safety or privacy rights” as we utilize various digital communication mediums and devices.
Snowden’s whistleblowing gives many the possibility to rethink our digital rights (or should I say civil society rights ) in ways that the same communication technologies & information mediums we are using is working against us, we have given our power away as we utilize technologies or our everyday lives to communicate with others.
I guess it is a wake call for many countries and off course digital activists and advocacy groups all who are utilizing technologies & mediums to communicate. We should all be fighting for our own digital rights, this includes end point digital safety & privacy rights as activists globally. If you don’t fight some of these powers, you giving away your own rights away & your digital rights and many of these powerful individuals control you and me at all levels……..Ashie Hirji
Snowden could join Daniel Ellsbert a whistleblowers and Bradley Manning as among the most consequential leakers in American history. Manning, who admitted sending military documents to WikiLeaks, is being court-martialed in Maryland.
A post written by Daniel Ellsberg
“Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us a chance to roll back what is tantamount to an ‘executive coup’ against the US constitution”
Ellsberg leaked what became known as the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times, documenting the government’s systematic misleading of the public about American involvement in Vietnam.
He said in an Op-Ed for The Guardian on Monday that he believed Snowden’s leaks to be the most important in American history, including the Pentagon Papers four decades ago.
“Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an ‘executive coup’ against the U.S. Constitution,” he wrote. “Since 9/11, there has been, at first secretly but increasingly openly, a revocation of the Bill of Rights for which this country fought over 200 years ago.”
“In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden’s release of NSA material – and that includes the Pentagon Papers, for which I was responsible 40 years ago. Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back what has amounted to an “executive coup” against the US constitution”.
Since 9/11, there has been, at first secretly but increasingly openly, a revocation of the bill of rights for which this country fought 200 years ago. In particular, the fourth and fifth amendments of the constitution, which safeguard citizens from unwarranted intrusion by the government into their private lives, have been virtually suspended.
The government claims it has a court warrant under Fisa – but that warrant is from a secret court, shielded from effective oversight, and with the broadest possible interpretation. This makes mockery of the rule of law, let alone of the bill of rights. As Russell Tice, a former National Security Agency analyst, put it: “It is a kangaroo court with a rubber stamp.”
For the president then to say that there is judicial oversight is a nonsense – as is the oversight function of the intelligence committees in Congress. The fact that their leaders were briefed on this and went along with it, without question, only shows how broken the system of accountability is in this country. As the founder James Madison wrote:
“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
When national security is invoked in the United States, that is what we now have. In effect, Congress has delegated its responsibilities and powers to the executive. The oversight structure has been shown to be a total sham: the congressional committees concerned have been totally co-opted. They are simply black holes of information that the public needs to know.
The surveillance revealed by Snowden’s disclosures exposes this executive coup: that this is done with Congress briefed, but without the ability to resist or even debate the measures openly, makes a mockery of the separation of powers. What has been created is the infrastructure of a police state.
I do not say that the United States is a police state. We have not seen the mass detentions that would complete that process. But given the extent of this invasion of people’s privacy, we do have the electronic and legislative infrastructure of one. If, for instance, there was now a war that led to a large-scale anti-war movement – like the one we had against the war in Vietnam – I fear for our democracy. If the government had then had the capability that it has now, I do not doubt there would have been mass detentions. These powers are extremely dangerous.
“I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”
The National Security Agency’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.” —Senator Frank Church, 1975
I would say we have, in fact, fallen into that abyss. The NSA, FBI and CIA have, with the new digital technology, surveillance powers that the Stasi in the former East Germany could only have dreamed of. What has been feared and warned about has come to pass. The so-called intelligence community has become the United Stasi of America.
The question now is whether Senator Church was right or wrong that crossing the abyss was irreversible. Three days ago, I would have agreed that effective democracy was now impossible. But with this brave man Snowden willing to put his life on the line to get this information out, creating the possibility that others will join him, I think we can get back across the abyss.
Whereas Bradley Manning‘s access was very much more limited, to field-level information, Snowden’s knowledge of his field is deep and extensive. The material he has released is higher in classification than what I had with the Pentagon Papers.
There are reasons for secrecy that have legitimacy, but what is not legitimate is to use that secrecy to hide action that is unconstitutional. Neither the president nor Congress may revoke the fourth amendment – but that’s why what Snowden revealed was secret. His action does not deserve prosecution or punishment; rather, he deserves our thanks and admiration. “Courage on the battlefield,” said Bismarck, “is a common possession”, but even “respectable people are lacking in civil courage.” Snowden has displayed enormous civil courage.
What I said 40 years ago was that I didn’t care what they said about me; “just read the documents”. To protect other people, I revealed what I had done so that I could say, “I did this on my own,” without the knowledge or help of other people who might be suspected. We already know that the Department of Justice has ordered an investigation into the leak. So Snowden has done the same.
By being out in the open, Snowden could now testify before Congress under oath – if it calls on him. He could not do that if he were still anonymous, or if he were in this country. In 1971, I was on a $50,000 bond for my role in the release of the Pentagon Papers, but in this climate Snowden would not be on a bond; he would be in jail – just like Brad Manning – without bail and incommunicado.
Snowden did what he did because he recognised the NSA’s surveillance programs for what they are: dangerous, unconstitutional activity. This wholesale invasion of Americans’ and foreign citizens’ privacy does not contribute to our our security; it puts in danger the very liberties we’re trying to protect. Source Edward Snowden: saving us from the United Stasi of America
Edward Snowden: experts divided over extradition of NSA whistleblower Hong Kong’s former security secretary Regina Ip and academic Simon Young give their views
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange praises Edward Snowden and has taken the opportunity of NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s self-outing to say I told you so. Government spying is “something that I and many other journalists and civil libertarians have been campaigning about for a long time. It is very pleasing to see such clear and concrete proof presented to the public,” said Assange, according to the Guardian, noting cryptically (how else?) that he has been in “indirect communication with [Snowden’s] people.” From his home-for-now at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Assange added, “It will be really telling to see which countries really protect human rights, the privacy of the public, asylum rights, or which countries are scared of the United States or are in bed with this surveillance complex.” The White House, for now, has no comment.