Tuesday, November 12, 2013

603 Jimmy Carter backs Snowden. Surveillance via Drones & Electronic License Plates

Jimmy Carter backs Snowden. Surveillance via Drones & Electronic License

Newsletter published on 20 July 2013

(1) Merkel defends NSA surveillance, refutes Stasi comparison
(2) NSA sucks in data from 50 companies. "We get a tip. We vet it. Then
we mine the data"
(3) Australia: Telstra facilitates US electronic spying
(4) NSA: Before PRISM there was ECHELON
(5) Rand Paul: Government spied on Americans 'gazillions' of times
(6) Rand Paul takes on drone surveillance
(7) Spy drone could have almost brought down a plane in Colorado
(8) Police drones to be equipped with non-lethal weapons?
(9) Obama signs anti-protest Trespass Bill
(10) Huawei spying for China: former CIA head
(11) China is world's most malware-ridden nation
(12) Pentagon: The Chinese stole our newest weapons
(13) China blamed after ASIO blueprints stolen in major cyber attack on
Canberra HQ
(14) Chinese hackers steal ASIO blueprints, Defence docs
(15) Jimmy Carter backs Snowden - ‘America has no functioning democracy’
(16) Judge refuses to drop charge of aiding the enemy against Manning
(17) US government using license plates to track movements of millions
(18) 'You are being tracked': Police use License Plate Readers for mass
(19) Electronic License Plates spark concerns about Big Brother
(20) California May Issue Digital License Plates, Privacy Groups Concerned
(21) Invasion Of Privacy: Electronic License Plates That Track Your
Every Move
(22) Privacy Coalition Sues NSA to Halt Dragnet Surveillance
(23) EFF Sues NSA to Stop 'Dragnet' Surveillance
(24) Surveillance cameras can now zoom in on individual faces in a crowd
of thousands

(1) Merkel defends NSA surveillance, refutes Stasi comparison


German chancellor defends Western intelligence agencies

By Stefan Steinberg

13 July 2013

In a long interview with the weekly political magazine Die Zeit, German
Chancellor Angela Merkel vehemently defended the work of US and western
intelligence agencies and reaffirmed that her government was not
prepared to offer whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum in Germany. Merkel
used the interview to whitewash the activities of intelligence agencies,
and stressed that any discussions conducted over intelligence matters
would be held in a spirit recognising that the US: “was and is our most
trusted ally over decades.”

In recent weeks the German and sections of the international media have
sought to play up differences between the German government and the US
following the revelations of the extent of the NSA spying operation
revealed by Snowden. The data released by Snowden made clear that in
Europe Germany is the country that is most clearly subject to US

Praising Merkel’s “caustic” criticisms of US intelligence practices, Die
Tageszeitung welcomed one week ago what it referred to as a
“transatlantic wake up call.”

In fact, Merkel’s interview in Die Zeit makes clear that she will not
lift a finger to challenge the illegal activities of the American or
German intelligence agencies.

At one point in the interview the journalists from Die Zeit note that a
well-known German author, Uwe Tellkamp, had made a direct comparison
between the activities of the NSA and the State Security Service
(nicknamed Stasi) of the former Stalinist German Democratic Republic. In
his own interview with Die Zeit Tellkamp declared: “What the Stasi
carried out with enormous efforts is now completed with just 15 clicks
of the mouse.”

Merkel vigorously rejects such a comparison, declaring: “For me, there
is absolutely no comparison” between the Stasi and “the work of
intelligence agencies in a democratic state.” “Such a comparison”, she
continues, “leads to trivialising what the State Security in the GDR did
to people”. She concludes with a blanket justification of the work of
all western intelligence agencies: “A country without the work of
intelligence agencies would be too vulnerable.”

Merkel is well aware of the implications of a comparison between western
intelligence agencies and the notorious Stalinist Stasi secret police. ...

Following the reunification of Germany in 1990, the East German pastor’s
daughter and former secretary for agitation and propaganda in the FDJ,
(the East German youth organisation loyal to the SED regime) Angela
Merkel, made rapid progress inside the conservative Christian Democratic
Union based on her tirades against East German totalitarianism and
gushing praise for western democratic values and its alleged respect for
individual liberties. ...

When asked in the Die Zeit interview whether she agreed with the
treatment afforded to the Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose life was
put at risk recently when European nations refused to grant airspace to
his plane, Merkel declares she does not know the background to the case
and refuses to comment. ...

(2) NSA sucks in data from 50 companies. "We get a tip. We vet it. Then
we mine the data"


Sources: NSA sucks in data from 50 companies

JUNE 6, 2013, AT 8:02 PM

Ambinder is co-author of a new book about government secrecy and
surveillance, Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry. **

Analysts at the National Security Agency can now secretly access
real-time user data provided by as many as 50 American companies,
ranging from credit rating agencies to internet service providers, two
government officials familiar with the arrangements said.

Several of the companies have provided records continuously since 2006,
while others have given the agency sporadic access, these officials
said. These officials disclosed the number of participating companies in
order to provide context for a series of disclosures about the NSA's
domestic collection policies. The officials, contacted independently,
repeatedly said that "domestic collection" does not mean that the target
is based in the U.S. or is a U.S. citizen; rather, it refers only to the
origin of the data.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that U.S. credit card companies
had also provided customer information. The officials would not disclose
the names of the companies because, they said, doing so would provide
U.S. enemies with a list of companies to avoid. They declined to confirm
the list of participants in an internet monitoring program revealed by
the Washington Post and the Guardian, but both confirmed that the
program existed.

"The idea is to create a mosaic. We get a tip. We vet it. Then we mine
the data for intelligence," one of the officials said.

In a statement, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said
that programs collect communications "pursuant to section 702 of the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, " and "cannot be used to
intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S person, or anyone
within the United States."

He called the leaks "reprehensible" and said the program "is among the
most important" sources of "valuable" intelligence information the
government takes in.

One of the officials who spoke to me said that because data types are
not standardized, the NSA needs several different collection tools, of
which PRISM, disclosed today by the Guardian and the Washington Post, is
one. PRISM works well because it is able to handle several different
types of data streams using different basic encryption methods, the
person said. It is a "front end" system, or software, that allows an NSA
analyst to search through the data and pull out items of significance,
which are then stored in any number of databases. PRISM works with
another NSA program to encrypt and remove from the analysts' screen data
that a computer or the analyst deems to be from a U.S. person who is not
the subject of the investigation, the person said. A FISA order is
required to continue monitoring and analyzing these datasets, although
the monitoring can start before an application package is submitted to
the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. ...

This arrangement allows the U.S. companies to "stay out of the
intelligence business," one of the officials said. That is, the
government bears the responsibility for determining what's relevant, and
the company can plausibly deny that it subjected any particular customer
to unlawful government surveillance. Previously, Congressional authors
of the FAA said that such a "get out of jail free" card was insisted by
corporations after a wave of lawsuits revealed the extent of their
cooperation with the government. ...

(3) Australia: Telstra facilitates US electronic spying


By Peter Symonds

15 July 2013

Australian company Telstra signed a secret agreement in November 2001 to
ensure that US intelligence and police agencies had unrestricted access
to all electronic communications carried in its cables from the Asia
Pacific into the US.

The existence of the contract was first exposed by the Washington Post
on July 6 and subsequently in the Sydney Morning Herald. It is one of 28
national security agreements, involving foreign telecommunications
corporations with connections to the US, that have been published in
full on the Public Intelligence website. The American signatories vary
from contract to contract, but include the US Defence Department,
Justice Department, Homeland Security and the FBI. ...

The Telstra agreement has provided an alternative means for US spying on
American and foreign citizens, by allowing access to the vast amounts of
Internet and phone data passing through the backbone of international
telecommunications—undersea fibre optic cables.

The binding contract with the US Justice Department and the FBI involved
a joint venture company, Reach, between Telstra and its Hong Kong
partner, Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW). The joint venture has since
become the largest carrier of intercontinental telecommunications in
Asia. It operates 82,300 kilometres of undersea cables in the Pacific
linking China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji to Hawaii and the
continental US. It also has a major cable joining the US east coast to
Europe via Cornwall in the US and Brittany in France.

The network security agreement required the company to establish “a
facility... physically located in the United States, from which
electronic surveillance can be conducted pursuant to lawful US process.”

This facility had to be staffed by US citizens “eligible for appropriate
US security clearances”, who “shall be available 24 hours per day, seven
days per week, and shall be responsible for accepting service and
maintaining the security of classified information.” Reach and Telstra
were required to have the ability to provide:

* Any stored data involving anyone—including Australian and other non-US
citizens—making any form of communication with a point of contact in the US.

* Any stored meta-data or information about, rather than the content of,
Internet and telecommunications activity.

* Subscriber information and the billing records for any US-domiciled
customers, or customers who make a “domestic communication.” The latter
is broadly interpreted to extend to any electronic communications which
“originate or terminate” in the US. The company had to “take all
reasonable measures” to prevent the use of its infrastructure being used
for surveillance by a foreign government.

The contract also stipulated that Reach, Telstra and PCCW agreed that
non-fulfilment of its obligations would result in “irreparable injury”
to the US and “that monetary relief would not be an adequate remedy.” At
the time, Telstra was majority-owned by the Australian government. The
agreement was undoubtedly vetted and approved by the Howard government
and intelligence agencies, who work in the closest collaboration with
their counterparts in the US, Britain, Canada and New Zealand, as part
of the “Five Eyes” alliance.

The agreement undoubtedly remains in place, though possibly in revised
form after Telstra and PCCW restructured their partnership in 2011,
giving Telstra control of the majority of Reach’s undersea cables. ...

(4) NSA: Before PRISM there was ECHELON

From: Paul de Burgh-Day <pdeburgh@harboursat.com.au> Date: Mon, 15 Jul
2013 14:25:44 +1000


ECHELON Today: The Evolution of an NSA Black Program

by Tom Burghardt / July 12th, 2013

People are shocked by the scope of secret state spying on their private
communications, especially in light of documentary evidence leaked to
media outlets by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

While the public is rightly angered by the illegal, unconstitutional
nature of NSA programs which seize and store data for retrospective
harvesting by intelligence and law enforcement officials, including the
content of phone calls, emails, geolocational information, bank records,
credit card purchases, travel itineraries, even medical records–in
secret, and with little in the way of effective oversight–the historical
context of how, and why, this vast spying apparatus came to be is often
given short shrift.

Revelations about NSA spying didn’t begin June 5, 2013 however, the day
when The Guardian published a top secret FISA Court Order to Verizon,
ordering the firm turn over the telephone records on millions of its
customers “on an ongoing daily basis.”

Before PRISM there was ECHELON: the top secret surveillance program
whose all-encompassing “dictionaries” (high-speed computers powered by
complex algorithms) ingest and sort key words and text scooped-up by a
global network of satellites, from undersea cables and land-based
microwave towers. ...

When investigative journalist Duncan Campbell first blew the lid off
NSA’s ECHELON program, his 1988 piece for New Statesman revealed that a
whistleblower, Margaret Newsham, a software designer employed by
Lockheed at the giant agency listening post at Menwith Hill in North
Yorkshire, England, stepped forward and told the House Permanent Select
Committee on Intelligence in closed session, that NSA was using its
formidable intercept capabilities “to locate the telephone or other
messages of target individuals.”

Campbell’s reporting was followed in 1996 by New Zealand investigative
journalist Nicky Hager’s groundbreaking book, Secret Power, the first
detailed account of NSA’s global surveillance system. A summary of
Hager’s findings can be found in the 1997 piece that appeared in
CovertAction Quarterly. ...

In an 88-page report on ECHELON published in 2000 by the Electronic
Privacy Information Center (EPIC) Newsham said that when she worked on
the development of SILKWORTH at the secret US base, described as “a
system for processing information relayed from signals intelligence
satellites,” she told Campbell and other reporters, including CBS News’
60 Minutes, that “she witnessed and overheard” one of Thurman’s
intercepted phone calls. ...

ECHELON and the UKUSA Agreement

Lost in the historical mists surrounding the origins of the Cold War,
the close collaboration amongst Britain and the United States as they
waged war against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, by war’s end had
morphed into a permanent intelligence-military alliance which predated
the founding of NATO. With the defeat of the Axis powers, a new global
division of labor was in the offing led by the undisputed superpower
which emerged from the conflagration, the United States. ...

In 1946, Britain and the United States signed the United Kingdom-United
States of America Agreement (UKUSA), a multilateral treaty to share
signals intelligence amongst the two nations and Britain’s Commonwealth
partners, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Known as the “Five Eyes”
agreement, the treaty was such a closely-guarded secret that Australia’s
Prime Minister was kept in the dark until 1973! ...

Under terms of UKUSA, intelligence “products” are defined as “01.
Collection of traffic. 02. Acquisition of communications documents and
equipment. 03. Traffic analysis. 04. Cryptanalysis. 05. Decryption and
translation. 06. Acquisition of information regarding communications
organizations, procedures, practices and equipment.”

“Such exchange,” NSA informed us, “will be unrestricted on all work
undertaken except when specifically excluded from the agreement at the
request of either party and with the agreement of the other.”

“It is the intention of each party,” we’re told, “to limit such
exceptions to the absolute minimum and to exercise no restrictions other
than those reported and mutually agreed upon.”

This certainly leaves wide latitude for mischief as we learned with the
Snowden disclosures.

Amid serious charges that “Five Eyes” were illegally seizing industrial
and trade secrets from “3rd party” European partners such as France and
Germany, detailed in the European Parliament’s 2001 ECHELON report, it
should be clear by now that since its launch in 1968 when satellite
communications became a practical reality, ECHELON has evolved into a
global surveillance complex under US control.

The Global Surveillance System Today

The echoes of those earlier secret programs reverberate in today’s

Last month, The Guardian reported that the “collection of traffic” cited
in UKUSA has been expanded to GCHQ’s “ability to tap into and store huge
volumes of data drawn from fibre-optic cables for up to 30 days so that
it can be sifted and analysed. That operation, codenamed Tempora, has
been running for some 18 months.”

Then on July 6, The Washington Post disclosed that NSA has tapped
directly into those fiber optic cables, as AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein
described to Wired Magazine in 2006, and now scoops-up petabyte scale
communications flowing through the US internet backbone. The agency was
able to accomplish this due to the existence of “an internal corporate
cell of American citizens with government clearances.”

“Among their jobs documents show, was ensuring that surveillance
requests got fulfilled quickly and confidentially.”

Following up on July 10, the Post published a new PRISM slide from the
41-slide deck provided to the paper by Edward Snowden.

The slide revealed that “two types of collection” now occur. One is the
PRISM program that collects information from technology firms such as
Google, Apple and Microsoft. The second source is “a separate category
labeled ‘Upstream,’ described as accessing ‘communications on fiber
cables and infrastructure as data flows past’.” ...

(5) Rand Paul: Government spied on Americans 'gazillions' of times


Rand Paul: Government spied on Americans 'gazillions' of times

Published time: August 09, 2012 18:24

Edited time: August 09, 2012 22:24

Does the government really peer into the personal business of everyone
in America? According to Judge Andrew Napolitano, Senator Rand Paul
(R-Kentucky) has put the number of instances that the feds have spied on
Americans in the “gazillions.”

In a column published this week by the frequent cable news commentator,
Judge Napolitano explains that members of Congress are barred from
quoting certain statistics disclosed during secret security briefing, so
Sen. Paul — the son of GOP congressman and presidential candidate Rep.
Ron Paul (R-Texas) — has reportedly relayed the actual information as
accurately as he can without providing a real number.

Gazillion, suggests Napolitano, is close enough.

“[W]hen asked what he learned at these secret briefings and aware that
he could be prosecuted for telling the truth, [Sen. Paul] chose a
fictitious word to describe the vast number of violations of privacy at
the hands of federal agents: gazillions,” writes Naolitano in an op-ed
he has titled “What Rand Paul Learned From Secret Security Hearings.” ...

(6) Rand Paul takes on drone surveillance


Published time: June 13, 2012 17:13

Edited time: June 13, 2012 21:13

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to soon start approving
licenses that will allow unmanned aerial vehicles to patrol America’s
sky, but Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) wants to make sure that civil
liberties aren’t lost along the way.

Sen. Paul, the son of Republican presidential candidate Congressman Ron
Paul (R-TX) introduced legislation before Congress on Tuesday that aims
to ensure that Americans aren’t unlawfully spied on by unmanned drone

In explaining his reasoning behind the creation of the bill, the
Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012, the
senator says that he isn’t adamantly opposed to drones themselves, but
instead is concerned over how the government may use the unmanned
vehicles to conduct clandestine surveillance of law-abiding citizens.

"Like other tools used to collect information in law enforcement, in
order to use drones a warrant needs to be issued. Americans going about
their everyday lives should not be treated like criminals or terrorists
and have their rights infringed upon by military tactics," Sen. Paul
writes in a statement published on his official website.

Offering further explanation this week to CNN, Sen. Paul says, “I’m not
against technology per se,” but rather, “What I am for are the
constitutional processes that protect our civil liberties. So, you know,
it’s not like I’m against the police using cars or against them using
airplanes or helicopters or robots. But I am for personal privacy for
saying that no policeman will ever do this without asking a judge for

Particularly, the legislation calls for a law that “prohibits the use of
drones by the government except when a warrant is issued for its use in
accordance with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.” ...

(7) Spy drone could have almost brought down a plane in Colorado


Published time: May 17, 2012 19:28

Edited time: May 17, 2012 23:28

An airline pilot came close to crashing his plane near Denver, Colorado
this week after encountering a mysterious object in the sky thought to
be an unmanned drone aircraft.

A tape recording made available this week confirms that the pilot of a
Cessna Citation 525 CJ1 radioed air traffic controllers outside of
Denver on Monday after nearly colliding with an unidentified flying
object. Several factors have suggested that the aircraft was most likely
a robotic drone aircraft.

According to the record, the pilot came close to hitting what he
described as “a large remote-controlled aircraft.”

The Cessna’s pilot says that the craft was encountered at around 8,000
feet above sea level, or 2,800 feet above the ground in near the highly
elevated city of Denver. ...

(8) Police drones to be equipped with non-lethal weapons?


Published time: March 13, 2012 21:31

Edited time: March 14, 2012 01:31

Law enforcement near Houston, Texas will soon have a $300,000 robotic
surveillance drone in their arsenal, and if Montgomery County’s chief
deputy has his say, it’s only a matter of time before that aircraft will
be equipped to fire from above.

Discussing a new deal that will give the Montgomery County Sheriff’s
Office near Houston, Texas an unmanned, robotic spy drone, Chief Deputy
Randy McDaniel tells The Daily that he hasn’t rule out adding weaponry
to the lightweight aircraft. The deputy says that while the department
doesn’t have any plans at the moment to acquire an army of drones
equipped with weapons, he opines that it could be advantageous for some

On the topic of tacking a tear gas dispenser or a firearm that shoots
non-lethal rubber bullets, McDaniel says it could eventually be an idea
the department decides to go with. ...

(9) Obama signs anti-protest Trespass Bill


Published time: March 09, 2012 20:52

Edited time: March 10, 2012 00:52

Only days after clearing Congress, US President Barack Obama signed his
name to H.R. 347 on Thursday, officially making it a federal offense to
cause a disturbance at certain political events — essentially
criminalizing protest in the States.

RT broke the news last month that H.R. 347, the Federal Restricted
Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011, had overwhelmingly passed
the US House of Representatives after only three lawmakers voted against
it. On Thursday this week, President Obama inked his name to the
legislation and authorized the government to start enforcing a law that
has many Americans concerned over how the bill could bury the rights to
assemble and protest as guaranteed in the US Constitution.

Under H.R. 347, which has more commonly been labeled the Trespass Bill
by Congress, knowingly entering a restricted area that is under the
jurisdiction of Secret Service protection can garner an arrest. The law
is actually only a slight change to earlier legislation that made it an
offense to knowingly and willfully commit such a crime. Under the
Trespass Bill’s latest language chance, however, someone could end up in
law enforcement custody for entering an area that they don’t realize is
Secret Service protected and “engages in disorderly or disruptive
conduct” or “impede[s] or disrupt[s] the orderly conduct of Government
business or official functions.” ...

(10) Huawei spying for China: former CIA head


China Featured World — 19 July 2013

The former head of the US Central Intelligence Agency and National
Security Agency said Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has spied
for Beijing.

Michael Hayden accused Huawei of supplying the Chinese government with
“intimate and extensive knowledge of the foreign telecommunications
systems it is involved in,” The Australian Financial Review reports.

He said it was his “professional judgement” that Huawei is a significant
threat to Australia and the US, and that intelligence agencies have
evidence of its clandestine activities.

The remarks could damage Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms
infrastructure supplier, which has constantly run into obstacles in
expanding its businesses in the US, the UK, Australia, and elsewhere.

Huawei embarked on an extensive lobbying campaign in Australia to bid
for work in building its National Broadband Network. The federal
government banned Huawei from the project in 2011.

John Suffolk, Huawei’s global security officer, rebuked Hayden’s
comments as “tired, unsubstantiated, and defamatory,” and said critics
should present evidence publicly.

Security analysts have long feared that the company’s links to the
Chinese government would make nations which embedded Huawei’s equipment
in its telecoms infrastructure vulnerable to cyber espionage by Beijing,
reports the Financial Times.

(11) China is world's most malware-ridden nation


By Phil Muncaster

7th February 2013 05:54 GMT

Some 55 per cent of Chinese computers are infected with malware, the
highest of any country worldwide, according to the latest Annual
Security Report from Panda Security.

The Spanish security vendor’s Panda Labs research team reported 27
million new strains of malware in 2012, bringing the total in its
database to 125m.

It said around one third of the PCs it scanned globally were infected,
with Trojans accounting for three-quarters of new threats.

After China (54.89 per cent), the next-worst countries were South Korea
(54.15 per cent) and Taiwan (42.14 per cent).

The stats may lend some credence to the Chinese government’s oft-heard
refrain that it is a victim, not a perpetrator, of cyber crime.

In fact, some believe that Chinese hackers are disproportionately blamed
for many of the world’s cyber attacks, because the real perpetrators
disguise their true origin by using compromised PCs in the People’s

At the last count, in January 2013, the government-affiliated China
Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) said there were 564 million
internet users in the country. No figures were given for the number of
desktop PC users, but six month previously they stood at a whopping 380

China certainly has a problem with malware. Last September, Microsoft’s
Operation b70 team even discovered corrupt resellers were flogging
computers pre-loaded with the stuff. ...

(12) Pentagon: The Chinese stole our newest weapons


Published time: May 28, 2013 15:31

Reuters / Carlos Barria

The designs for more than two dozen major weapons systems used by the
United States military have fallen into the hands of the Chinese, US
Department of Defense officials say.

Blueprints for the Pentagon’s most advanced weaponry, including the
Black Hawk helicopter and the brand new Littoral Combat Ship used by the
Navy, have all been compromised, the Defense Science Board claims in a
new confidential report.

The Washington Post acknowledged late Monday that they have seen a copy
of the report and confirmed that the Chinese now have the know-how to
emulate some of the Pentagon’s most sophisticated programs.

“This is billions of dollars of combat advantage for China,” a senior
military official not authorized to speak on the record told Post
reporters. “They’ve just saved themselves 25 years of research and

  “It’s nuts,” the source said of the report.

The Defense Science Board, a civilian advisory committee within the
Pentagon, fell short of accusing the Chinese of stealing the designs.
However, the Post’s report comes on the heels of formal condemnation
courtesy of the DoD issued only earlier this month.

“In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those
owned by the US government, continued to be targeted for intrusions,
some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese
government and military,” the Defense Department alleged in a previous

Ellen Nakashima, the Post reporter who detailed the DSB analysis this
week, wrote that the computer systems at the Pentagon may not have
necessarily been breached. Instead, rather, she suggested that the
defense contractors who built these weapons programs have likely been
subjected to a security breach. US officials speaking on condition of
anonymity, she reported, said that a closed door meeting last year ended
with evidence being presented of major defense contractors suffering
from intrusions. When reached for comment, the largest defense
contractors — Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman —
all refused to weigh in.

Chinese hackers have previously been accused of waging cyberattacks on a
number of US entities, including billion-dollar corporations and
governmental departments. In 2007 it was reported that China accumulated
the blueprints for the Pentagon’s F-35 fighter jets, the most expensive
weapons program ever created, but the latest news from the DSB decries
that much more has been compromised.

According to the Post, the plans for the advanced Patriot missile
system, an Army anti-ballistic program and a number of aircraft have all
ended up in the hands of the Chinese. The result could mean the People’s
Republic is working towards recreating the hallmarks of America’s
military might for their own offensive purposes, while also putting
China in a position where even the most advanced weaponry in the world
won’t be able to withstand complex defensive capabilities once those
projects are reverse engineered.

“If they got into the combat systems, it enables them to understand it
to be able to jam it or otherwise disable it,” Winslow T. Wheeler,
director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on
Government Oversight, told the Post. “If they’ve got into the basic
algorithms for the missile and how they behave, somebody better get out
a clean piece of paper and start to design all over again.”

Mandiant, a US security firm located outside of Washington, reported
earlier this year that the China has enlisted an elite squadron of cyber
warrior to attack American computer systems and conduct espionage on
behalf of the People’s Liberation Army. When the report was released in
February, Mandiant said the PLA’s elusive Unit 61398 has successfully
compromised the networks of more than 141 companies across 20 major
industries, including Coca-Cola and a Canadian utility company. Those
hacks reportedly subsided after Mandiant went public with their claims,
but earlier this month the firm said those attacks have since been renewed.

“They dialed it back for a little while, though other groups that also
wear uniforms didn’t even bother to do that,” CEO Kevin Mandia told the
New York Times recently. “I think you have to view this as the new normal.”

On their part, China has adamantly denied all claims that they’ve waged
attacks on US networks. Following Mandiant’s initial report, a
spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry said the claims were
“irresponsible and unprofessional.”

“Hacking attacks are transnational and anonymous,” Hong Lei said.
“Determining their origins are extremely difficult. We don't know how
the evidence in this so-called report can be tenable.”

(13) China blamed after ASIO blueprints stolen in major cyber attack on
Canberra HQ


Updated Tue May 28, 2013 7:51am AEST

Classified blueprints of the new ASIO headquarters in Canberra have been
stolen in a cyber hit believed to have been mounted by hackers in China.

The ABC's Four Corners program has discovered the plans were taken in an
operation targeting a contractor involved with building the site.

The stolen blueprints included the building's security and
communications systems, its floor plan, and its server locations.

Experts say the theft exposes the spy agency to being spied upon and may
be a reason why construction costs have blown out enormously.

Four Corners said the attack came from a server in China, which appears
to be the main suspect behind the operation.

Four Corners also found the departments of Defence, Prime Minister and
Cabinet, and Foreign Affairs and Trade had all been breached in
sustained hacking operations.

The Reserve Bank and the Bureau of Statistics both confirmed recently
that they had been the targets of hacking attacks, which they said were

Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has declined to say if the breach
took place. ...

Professor Des Ball from the Australian National University's Strategic
and Defence Studies Centre has told the program the theft of the ASIO
building's blueprints is particularly significant.

"Once you get those building plans you can start constructing your own
wiring diagrams, where the linkages are through telephone connections,
through wi-fi connections, which rooms are likely to be the ones that
are used for sensitive conversations, how to surreptitiously put devices
into the walls of those rooms," he said.

(14) Chinese hackers steal ASIO blueprints, Defence docs


By Darren Pauli on May 28, 2013 10:51 AM (21 hours ago)

Chinese hackers have stolen the blueprints for the new $630 million ASIO
building in Canberra and siphoned reams of emails from the Department of

The ABC's Four Corners program revealed the compromised blueprints
included details on the building's security systems, communications
networks and server room locations.

It said the plans were stolen from a contractor working on the site.

ASIO now faces a decision to either gut and redesign the building, or
continue at a heightened state of caution, according to the program.

The attack was cited as a reason for the delay to the building's completion.

In another attack, troves of unclassified Department of Defence emails
and reports were stolen, also allegedly by Chinese hackers.

A Four Corners source said the documents stolen over years from the
military-wide Defence Restricted network amounted to ten times the total
size of the database.

A highly classified document was also stolen from Defence after it was
sent off the corporate network to an officer's home computer.

Malware, previously installed on the officer's machine via a
spear-phishing attack, grabbed the document and sent it to China where
it was later discovered by a US intelligence agency that tipped off

Chinese attackers were also reportedly behind the theft of a highly
sensitive document from the Australian Secret Intelligence Service
(ASIS). The document, rated higher than confidential, detailed a project
that a Four Corners source said would give China a “significant
advantage when dealing with Australia.”

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet was also breached after
hackers, again reportedly linked to China, broke into a vulnerable
Department of Tourism portal and traversed from there into the core
network. ...

(15) Jimmy Carter backs Snowden - ‘America has no functioning democracy’


‘America has no functioning democracy’ – Jimmy Carter on NSA

July 18, 2013 12:15

Former US President Jimmy Carter lambasted US intelligence methods as
undemocratic and described Edward Snowden’s NSA leak as “beneficial” for
the country.

Carter lashed out at the US political system when the issue of the
previously top-secret NSA surveillance program was touched upon at the
Atlantic Bridge meeting on Tuesday in Atlanta, Georgia.

"America has no functioning democracy at this moment," Carter said,
according to Der Spiegel.

He also believes the spying-scandal is undermining democracy around the
world, as people become increasingly suspicious of US internet
platforms, such as Google and Facebook. While such mediums have normally
been associated with freedom of speech and have recently become a major
driving force behind emerging democratic movements, fallout from the NSA
spying scandal has dented their credibility.

It’s not the first time Carter has criticized US intelligence policies.
In a previous interview with CNN, he said the NSA leaks signified that
“the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far." He
added that although Snowden violated US law, he may have ultimately done
good for the country.

"I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of
privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the
public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial."

Jimmy Carter was President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. After
leaving office, he founded the Carter Center, an NGO advocating human
rights. The ex-president’s human rights credentials won him Nobel Peace
Prize in 2002.

Carter has frequently criticized his successors in the White House. Last
year, he condemned the Obama administration for the use of drone attacks
in his article "A Cruel and Unusual Record" published in the New York Times.

(16) Judge refuses to drop charge of aiding the enemy against Manning

Published time: July 18, 2013 14:10

July 18, 2013 16:30

Army Private first class Bradley Manning will continue to be tried for
aiding the enemy, a military judge ruled Thursday morning, leaving open
the possibility of life in prison for the admitted source of a major
intelligence leak.

Despite an attempt from the defense to have the most serious of charges
against Pfc. Manning dropped, Col. Denise Lind ruled from a Ft. Meade,
Maryland courtroom early Thursday that the former Army intelligence
analyst will continue to be tried for aiding the enemy.

Government prosecutors say Manning, 25, indirectly aided al-Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula by sharing hundreds of thousands of classified
documents with the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks in late 2009 and early
2010. In February of this year, Manning admitted to what’s been called
the largest intelligence leak in US history and pleaded guilty to 10
lesser-included offenses in hopes of receiving a lighter sentencing when
his military court-martial concludes later this summer. ...

Julian Assange, the Australian founder of WikiLeaks, said in a
conference call to RT last month that “The broad case establishes a
precedent that publishing national security related information about
the United States is espionage.”

Journalist Alexa O’Brien tweeted from Ft. Meade on Thursday that, if
convicted on all counts, Pfc. Manning could receive a sentence of 154
years-to-life. The lesser-or-included charges he pleaded guilty to
earlier this year would carry a maximum of only 20.

(17) US government using license plates to track movements of millions


By Eric London

18 July 2013

A report issued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on
Wednesday [ http://www.aclu.org/alpr ] details an immense operation
through which nearly 1 billion license plate records of hundreds of
millions of drivers are tracked and huge databases are amassed,
providing the American government with access to the history and recent
whereabouts of the majority of the US population.

For years, a network of federal security agencies, local police
departments and private companies have been using automatic license
plate readers on police cruisers, in parking lots, at traffic
intersections—even through smartphone apps—to photograph cars and their
drivers and to record license plate numbers with the matching time, date
and location.

“More and more cameras, longer retention periods, and widespread sharing
allow law enforcement agents to assemble the individual puzzle pieces of
where we have been over time into a single, high-resolution image of our
lives,” the report says. ...

The depth of the involvement of the national security apparatus is
evidenced by the “billions of dollars in grants” that the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) has provided through the DHS Security Grant
Program and the Infrastructure Protection Program. Remarkably, license
plate tracker manufacturers claim that the DHS is outdone by the Justice
Department, which is the “lead Federal funding agency” for the
license-tracking program. ...

(18) 'You are being tracked': Police use License Plate Readers for mass


'You are being tracked': ACLU reveals docs of mass license plate reader

Published time: July 17, 2013 14:30

Edited time: July 18, 2013 13:51

The American Civil Liberties Union has released documents confirming
that police license plate readers capture vast amounts of data on
innocent people, and in many instances this intelligence is kept forever.

According to documents obtained through a number of Freedom of
Information Act requests filed by ACLU offices across the United States,
law enforcement agencies are tracking the whereabouts of innocent
persons en masse by utilizing a still up-and-coming technology.

License place readers are among the latest items being regularly added
to the arsenal of law enforcement gizmos and gadgets, but documents
obtained through the FOIA requests have prompted the ACLU to acknowledge
that safeguards that would properly protect the privacy of Americans are
largely absent.

When a police department deploys license plate readers on top of patrol
cars or at fixed locations, it lets officers see a snapshot of every
vehicle that passes by a particular point. From there, that information
can be matched against a database that contains automobiles involved in
criminal investigations or cars whose owners may already be in trouble
with the law. According to the ACLU, though, the data that’s collected
and routinely stored reveal much more than the location of suspected

“At first the captured plate data was used just to check against lists
of cars law enforcement hoped to locate for various reasons,” ACLU staff
attorney Catherine Crump wrote on the non-profit group’s website
Wednesday morning. “But increasingly, all of this data is being fed into
massive databases that contain the location information of many millions
of innocent Americans stretching back for months or even years,”she wrote.

Crump and company filed FOIA requests to agencies in 38 states and
Washington, DC compelling police departments there to provide them with
information detailing their use of license plate readers. In response,
the ACLU received 26,000 pages of information that it has analyzed and
now made public.

Additionally, the ACLU has released “You Are Being Tracked,” a 37-page
report that offers the background on a technology that’s being regularly
used notwithstanding objections from civil libertarians and others.
Those objections, noted Crump, come amid two other large issues: the
government’s increasing use of significantly telling surveillance
devices and the public’s mass ignorance about the issue.

“As it becomes increasingly clear that ours is an era of mass
surveillance facilitated by ever cheaper and more powerful computing
technology, it is critical we learn how this technology is being used,”
Crump wrote. “License plate readers are just one example of a disturbing
phenomenon: the government is increasingly using new technology to
collect information about all of us, all the time and to store it
forever – providing a complete record of our lives for it to access at

And while telephony metadata, Internet inbox intelligence and IP records
can reveal an awful lot, scanning city streets and logging the locations
of cars can provide the police with more than just a lot of useless
data. License plate readers do occasionally prove effect with regards to
locating criminal suspects or cars involved in crimes, but they are also
allowing police to slowly build profiles painting a picture of the
daily, weekly or annual driving habits of anyone, anywhere.

“A person who knows all of another’s travels can deduce whether he is a
weekly church goer, a heavy drinker, a regular at the gym, an unfaithful
husband, an outpatient receiving medical treatment, an associate of
particular individuals or political groups — and not just one such fact
about a person, but all such facts,” the US Court of Appeals for the DC
Circuit ruled in 2010.

According to “You Are Being Tracked,” license plate readers are
configured to store not just snap shots of nearby autos, but also the
license plate number, the date, time and location. All of this data is
then placed into a local database that can in many instances by shared
with other regional systems across the country.

“As a result,” reads the report, “these data are retained permanently
and shared widely with few or no restrictions on how they can be used.” ...

(19) Electronic License Plates spark concerns about Big Brother


Published: 06/18/2013 - by Peter Gareffa, Correspondent

June 18, 2013

COLUMBIA, South Carolina — Electronic license plates, which could
broadcast sensitive information about the driver, are raising concerns
about privacy and the intrusion of Big Brother into the lives of consumers.

The South Carolina legislature is considering a proposal to switch to
electronic license plates, which can be changed wirelessly to display a
vehicle's current registration status, insurance compliance, or other

What was once just a piece of tin stuck on the back of a car might
become the next high-tech automotive gadget, thanks to Compliance
Innovations, a South Carolina company that has the electronic plates
under development.

They look like ordinary license plates until they're activated, after
which they light up, or even flash, with selected messages. According to
the company's Web site, those messages could read "Uninsured,"
"Expired," "Suspended," "Stolen," or even "Amber Alert." ...

As of now, the electronic plates are estimated to cost state governments
about $100 each, compared to $3-$7 for a metal plate. But the company
says South Carolina could save up to $150 million per year by
eliminating vehicles with no insurance or with expired plates.

The proposal being considered by the South Carolina legislature is in
its early stages, and Compliance Innovations still needs to work out a
few bugs, like reducing the per-unit cost and reducing the size of their
plates so they fit into the standard license-tag space on most cars. But
if adopted, a pilot program would be put in place to test out the
concept on state-owned vehicles before rolling it out more widely.

Edmunds says: Expect other states to follow South Carolina in
considering this high-tech alternative to tracking drivers.

(20) California May Issue Digital License Plates, Privacy Groups Concerned


CBS Local

July 18, 2013

State Senate Bill 806 would create a three-year pilot program to test up
to 160,000 cars with electronic license plates produced by San Francisco
startup smart plate. ...

(21) Invasion Of Privacy: Electronic License Plates That Track Your
Every Move


Erik | Jul 05, 2013

A company in South Carolina wants Americans to be required to have
electronic license plates on their vehicles, which would allow our
beloved, spy-hungry government to track tax-paying citizen’s vehicles 24
hours a day, 7 days a week, wherever they may decide to travel.

Said electronic license plates would permit law enforcement and the
Department of Motor Vehicles to program messages like “stolen” or
“uninsured” on the plates in order to alert other drivers and police

That doesn’t sound that bad, does it? Well, how about the fact that the
plates would give the government and law enforcement the capability to
track every move you made in your car without necessitating a warrant to
do so? As if traffic light cameras aren’t bad enough!

Yeah, Big Brother seems to be getting a little too big for his
proverbial britches. So, how far is too far regarding the government’s
obsession with invading our personal privacy? Is making the claim that
these levels of intrusion are in the best interest of our nation’s
safety an acceptable justification?

Review the enclosed video clip and help us continue the conversation by
sharing your thoughts with us in the comment section below. Thanks for
your ongoing dedication to The 420 Times!

(22) Privacy Coalition Sues NSA to Halt Dragnet Surveillance


Wednesday, 17 July 2013 11:29

By Candice Bernd, Truthout | Report

A broad and seemingly unlikely coalition of 19 organizations including
church leaders alongside environmental and gun advocacy groups
represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit
against the National Security Agency (NSA) in a San Francisco federal
court Tuesday in a case that could determine the constitutionality of an
admitted dragnet surveillance program on the telephone records of
millions of Americans.

The lawsuit, First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA seeks an
injunction against the NSA, FBI and the Justice Department, alleging
that the government violated the plaintiffs’ First and Fourth Amendment
rights by collecting information about their phone calls. The lawsuit
focuses on an NSA surveillance program called the “Associational
Tracking Program,” which collects metadata on telephone calls from the
top U.S. telecommunications companies. The program is part of a vast
operation of NSA spying programs revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward

“For people who have engaged in grass-roots organizing, who are
committed to challenging the national security state in order to
preserve the promise of the Bill of Rights … the history of government
suppression of grass-roots movements is all too clear,” said Shahid
Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee,
during a news teleconference Tuesday. “[The history of the Occupy
movement] does a pretty good job of exemplifying what it looks like if
you do engage in grass-roots action to challenge the power establishment.”

The lawsuit argues that dragnet surveillance tracking associational ties
creates a chilling effect whereby individuals are dissuaded from taking
part in the activity of advocacy organizations for fear of disclosure.
The case follows on the precedent-setting NAACP v. Alabama, in which the
Supreme Court ruled in 1958 that membership lists of organizations were
protected under the First Amendment. The EFF hopes to apply that right
of association in the digital age. “Many potential supporters of our
work would find themselves intimidated from raising their voices,
knowing that the state is tracking who they talk to,” Buttar said. ...

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

(23) EFF Sues NSA to Stop 'Dragnet' Surveillance


By Chloe Albanesius

July 16, 2013 03:50pm EST

A group of 19 consumer and privacy groups today sued the National
Security Agency (NSA), arguing that the agency's data collection
processes violate the law and the Constitution.

The coalition is being led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF),
which is no stranger to tangling with the NSA. In 2008, it sued the
agency, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and several other
administration officials on behalf of AT&T customers in an effort to
stop the government's warrantless wiretapping program - a case that is
still ongoing.

Today's filing - which also targets the FBI and Justice Department - is
a companion to the 2008 case, EFF's legal director, Cindy Cohn, said
during a Tuesday conference call with reporters. But it focuses on the
more recent revelations about the NSA's data collection procedures,
which were revealed in documents leaked by Edward Snowden to The
Guardian and The Washington Post.

The first document published revealed that Verizon was ordered by the
secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to hand over all
telephone records for its customers over a three-month period. That, in
conjunction with the admission from James Clapper, director of national
intelligence, that Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows for metadata
collection on millions of Americans, is troubling, Cohn said.

Metadata collection "allows the government to learn and track the
associations of ... organizations and their members," Cohn said,
referring to the groups that have joined the lawsuit, like the First
Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, Calguns Foundation, and the Bill of
Rights Defense Committee. ...

The EFF is particularly concerned about the scope of the data
collection. There have been two metadata-related cases in the past, but
they were in the 1970s and they dealt with individual data collection,
not a widespread "dragnet," Cohn said.

Cohn likened the NSA's program to the writs of assistance used by the
British during the colonial era. The Brits "didn't have to specify whose
information was collected; [they got] a general warrant that let them
collect everything," Cohn said. The NSA's efforts are "the digital
equivalent of writs of assistance. They were wrong in the colonial era
and they're wrong now."

Given that the EFF is still fighting its 2008 case, Cohn was asked what
chance this particular challenge has of making any headway. "The
government has now admitted the telephone records program," Cohn said,
pointing to Clapper's statement, so they can't hide behind the secrecy
point, though they will likely try. But she acknowledged that there are
"lots of immunities in the law that we're going to have to navigate."
Constitutional cases are "always difficult."

(24) Surveillance cameras can now zoom in on individual faces in a crowd
of thousands

Forwarded from http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shamireaders/message/2232

 From Robert Leverant {to Israel Shamir}


This is tangential but relevant:



as Google Earth to track you, be warned it will be most difficult to
lose yourself in any crowd. This is the crowd before the riots in

Put your cursor anywhere in the crowd and double-click a couple of
times. To further help with image, use the scroll button in the centre
of your mouse. Zero in on any one specific single face.. The clarity is
incredible.. You can see perfectly the faces of every single individual
- and there were thousands. Just think what the police and the military
have at their disposal.

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