With the latest WikiLeaks revelations about the CIA – is privacy really dead? | The Guardian

ComeyBy Olivia Solon

Comey, has said that Americans should not have expectations of “absolute privacy”.

“There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America: there is no place outside of judicial reach,” Comey said at a Boston College conference on cybersecurity. The remark came as he was discussing the rise of encryption since Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations of the NSA’s mass surveillance tools, used on citizens around the world.

Both the Snowden revelations and the CIA leak highlight the variety of creative techniques intelligence agencies can use to spy on individuals, at a time when many of us are voluntarily giving up our personal data to private companies and installing so-called “smart” devices with microphones (smart TVs, Amazon Echo) in our homes.

So, where does this leave us? Is privacy really dead, as Silicon Valley luminaries such as Mark Zuckerberg have previously declared?

Not according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s executive director, Cindy Cohn.

“The freedom to have a private conversation – free from the worry that a hostile government, a rogue government agent or a competitor or a criminal are listening – is central to a free society,” she said.

While not as strict as privacy laws in Europe, the fourth amendment to the US constitution does guarantee the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

That doesn’t mean citizens have “absolute privacy”.

“I don’t think there’s been absolute privacy in the history of mankind,” said Albert Gidari, director of privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. “You walk out in public and it’s no longer private. You shout from one window to another and someone will hear you in conversation.”

“At the same time things are more intrusive, persistent, searchable, they never die. So our conception of what is or isn’t risk from a privacy perspective does change and evolve over time.”

The law hasn’t kept pace with digital technologies. For example, there is a legal theory called the “third-party doctrine” that holds that people who give up their information to third parties like banks, phone companies, social networks and ISPs have “no reasonable expectation of privacy”. This has allowed the US government to obtain information without legal warrants.

Unlike the NSA techniques revealed by Snowden, the CIA appears to favour a more targeted approach: less dragnet, more spearfishing.

The WikiLeaks files show that the CIA has assembled a formidable arsenal of cyberweapons designed to target individuals’ devices such as mobile phones, laptops and TVs by targeting the operating systems such as Android, iOS and Windows with malware.

It’s encouraging to note that the government has yet to crack the encryption of secure messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Signal and Confide. However, it does not need to if it can instal malware on people’s devices that can collect audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.

Gidari isn’t that surprised. “It confirms what everyone saw in last week’s episode of 24. People expect these tools to exist,” he said, adding that people were more surprised that the FBI was initially incapable of breaking into the San Bernardino killer’s iPhone.

“People expect the government to have these magic tools,” he said.

American citizens should not be lulled into a false sense of security that the CIA only targets foreign nationals. The “Vault 7” documents show a broad exchange of tools and information between the CIA, the National Security Agency, and other US federal agencies, as well as intelligence services of close allies Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

“We can’t spy on our own citizens but we can spy on anyone else’s,” explained Neil Richards, a law professor from Washington University. “If agencies are friends with each other, they have everybody else do their work for them and they just share the data.”

“Dividing the world into American citizens and non-American citizens is a false dichotomy,” Gidari added. “We don’t have a monopoly on spy tools.”

This leaves us with a terrifying new prospect: government spies essentially deploying viruses and trojans against their own citizens.

The onus is now on the companies that make the devices to plug any holes in their operating systems – something they do regularly through bug bounty programs, where security researchers disclose vulnerabilities in return for rewards.

It’s clear from the CIA files that the US government has flouted this custom in order to stockpile “zero days” – undisclosed exploits – for its own advantage. This is a practice the US government has previously publicly denied.

“If companies aren’t aware that a vulnerability exists they can’t patch it. If it exists it can be exploited by any malicious actor – whether that’s a hacker, foreign state or criminal enterprise,” said Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union.

“I have a big problem with the government leaving us vulnerable to the same tools in hand so other nation states and hackers could exploit them,” Gidari said. “That isn’t protecting American citizens.”

Gidari’s view echoes Apple’s stance when the FBI demanded the company build a backdoor to the iPhone so they could access data on the San Bernardino killer’s phone.

“Apple believes deeply that people in the United States and around the world deserve data protection, security and privacy. Sacrificing one for the other only puts people and countries at greater risk,” the company said at the time. The iPhone maker was more muted in its response to the Vault 7 dump, vowing to “rapidly address” any security holes.

“There is nearly universal consensus from technologists that it’s impossible to build weaknesses or access mechanisms into technology that can only be used by the good guys and not the bad,” Cohn said.

This week’s revelations are sure to increase the strain on relations between Silicon Valley and the US government. While some of the older telephony companies such as AT&T and Verizon, which rely heavily on government contracts, have a history of compliance with government requests, tech giants Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple have proved to be less compliant.

It’s not possible to meaningfully participate in modern life without relationships with some or all of these technology companies processing our data, Richards added. So it’s important to know where their loyalties lie – to their customers or to government.

Since Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance, companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft have been working hard to rebuild trust with consumers through strengthening security, fighting government data requests and releasing transparency reports highlighting when and how many requests are made.

“It’s a very encouraging development if we care about civil liberties and the right to privacy, but at the same time it’s unsatisfying if the discretion of a company is the only real protection for our data,” Richards said.

“We need to build the digital society we want rather than the one handed to us by default,” he added.

This will require a complete overhaul of the laws relating to when the government can collect location and content information, something civil liberty campaigners have been pushing for.

“These decisions need to be made by the public, not by law enforcement or tech executives sitting in private,” Richards said.

Source:  The Guardian


State of Surveillance with Edward Snowden | VICE News

When NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked details of massive government surveillance programs in 2013, he ignited a raging debate over digital privacy and security. That debate came to a head this year, when Apple refused an FBI court order to access the iPhone of alleged San Bernardino Terrorist Syed Farook. Meanwhile, journalists and activists are under increasing attack from foreign agents. To find out the government’s real capabilities, and whether any of us can truly protect our sensitive information, VICE founder Shane Smith heads to Moscow to meet the man who started the conversation, Edward Snowden.

Source: VICE News

Global Financial Update with Foster Gamble | Thrive Movement Thrive Connect

Foster: Last November, when we finally felt that the research we’d been doing for several years since the film came out had progressed to the point where it was solid enough to begin to share publicly, we shared a bunch of things. Here are some of the things we were sharing then that have come to pass.

The BRICS bank has now been funded and is going operational. There is a Shanghai gold exchange. There is a new rating service, which provides an option to Fitch, Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and so forth that I think is going to be much more honest in its ratings given that it’s not beholden to the Western banking cabal to do their bidding on rating particular corporations and governments, especially the U.S. The AIIB, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, has now been launched with the participation of usual U.S. allies like the U.K. and Germany and over 50 other countries. The U.S. has chosen not to participate in the founding of that. Japan is the only other major country that has chosen not to participate at this time, most likely because Prime Minister Abe, as far as we can tell, is very much a puppet for the Rockefeller-Rothschild banking system so far. We have been told that there are deals going on behind closed doors that Japan is preparing to join but not until it is safe and appropriate to do that given their obligations.

Another one is that we had predicted (based on information from our sources) that there would be numerous banker and corporate CEO resignations. There have been over 500 of them worldwide. We also said that there would probably be suspicious deaths in the banking and corporate communities and we’ve been seeing those. I think there have been over 40 of those now in the European and U.S. banking communities. And there have been arrests of bankers in Iceland. Also, the U.S. has continued to stall the IMF 2010 reforms that would rebalance the representation of countries in the IMF in terms of decision-making and also include more currencies like the yuan in the international basket of currencies. The suppression of gold and silver prices has continued artificially and it looks from our sources we’re being told that that’s apt to continue until the yuan, the Chinese currency, is globally accepted because meanwhile they’re having the opportunity to buy gold and silver at low prices while the Western bankers are suppressing the prices in order to keep interest rates from going up which would so threaten the precarious situation of the major U.S. banks and governments themselves.

Finally, I just want to add in terms of the validation of the number of our insider sources that some of the things they say, we were like “What?” and then a few weeks or a few months later it happens again and again. Our sources predicted the end of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve, which was pretty outrageous given that the Federal Reserve was still printing between $50 and $70 billion dollars of new fake money a month and now they have suspended that right on schedule. We are told that’s because their franchise to print money has been suspended by the Asian Elders to whom they’re indebted. They also predicted the revaluation of the Swiss Franc and a few days later that happened. Then, we were told that China would be making major infrastructure investments in Brazil. We were just told that about a week and a half to two weeks ago and then, sure enough, a few days later it started coming out in the mainstream news that that is in fact going on to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.

So that’s a sample of the things that might have sounded outrageous when we said them (or when people said them to us), but now they are in fact occurring and it certainly provides pieces of the puzzle showing the trends that are emerging.

So let’s move on to trends next. What are some of the trends that we’re seeing that are in the public view that have to do with global finance? First of all, negative interest rates, or what Chase Bank has taken to calling “balance sheet utilization fees” (BSUFs). What that really means is rather than getting interest on your deposits at the bank, now you’re going to have to pay them for them to keep your money while they fractionally multiply it for their own benefit. You can tell this is getting quite Orwellian and yet whatever they can get away with they’re obviously going to continue to do.

Meanwhile, Citigroup, Chase, Barclays, and the Royal Bank of Scotland have been fined a total of $9 billion, which is a lot of money, for their participation in rigging international markets. Again, that’s a lot of money and it’s good to see that there are some fines and so forth, but if you stand back and put this into context, there are no individual prosecutions, no jail time, no companies shut down, and meanwhile, during that same time, those same banks made an estimated $85 billion on their actions. Some wag might call this merely the cost of doing business and, of course, to the banks that is all it seems. It’s a little slap on the wrist publicly to keep the people quiet and keep them from revolting. They pay under 10% (or around 10%) basically as a fee to the government to let them keep rigging things and then business goes on as usual.

All of the major banks have also had to comply with a government requirement to submit plans for their own economic collapse, which of course, could lead to larger economic collapses and they’ve all done that. And there’s good reason for them to do that because the numbers I’ve heard are north of $700 trillion in derivatives debt that they’re currently holding on their books. Obviously, they’re not a solvent institution if that were to be taken seriously. Read more…

Source: Thrive Movement Thrive Connect

2014 Term Opinions of the Supreme Court of the United States


The “slip” opinion is the second version of an opinion. It is sent to the printer later in the day on which the “bench” opinion is released by the Court. Each slip opinion has the same elements as the bench opinion–majority or plurality opinion, concurrences or dissents, and a prefatory syllabus–but may contain corrections not appearing in the bench opinion. The slip opinions collected here are those issued during October Term 2014 (October 6, 2014, through October 4, 2015).

These opinions are posted on the Website within minutes after the bench opinions are issued and will remain posted until the opinions for the entire Term are published in the bound volumes of the United States Reports. For further information, see Column Header Definitions and the file entitled Information About Opinions.

Caution: These electronic opinions may contain computer-generated errors or other deviations from the official printed slip opinion pamphlets. Moreover, a slip opinion is replaced within a few months by a paginated version of the case in the preliminary print, and–one year after the issuance of that print–by the final version of the case in a U. S. Reports bound volume. In case of discrepancies between the print and electronic versions of a slip opinion, the print version controls. In case of discrepancies between the slip opinion and any later official version of the opinion, the later version controls.

R- Date Docket Name J. Pt.
73 6/26/15 14-556 Obergefell v. Hodges K 576/2
72 6/26/15 13-7120 Johnson v. United States AS 576/2
71 6/25/15 13-1371 Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. K 576/2
70 6/25/15 14-114 King v. Burwell R 576/2
69 6/22/15 13-720 Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, LLC EK 576/1
68 6/22/15 13-1175 Los Angeles v. Patel SS 576/1
67 6/22/15 14-6368 Kingsley v. Hendrickson B 576/1
66 6/22/15 14-275 Horne v. Department of Agriculture R 576/1
65 6/18/15 13-1433 Brumfield v. Cain SS 576/1
64 6/18/15 13-1428 Davis v. Ayala A 576/1
63 6/18/15 13-1352 Ohio v. Clark A 576/1
62 6/18/15 14-144 Walker v. Texas Div., Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. B 576/1
61 6/18/15 14-378 McFadden v. United States T 576/1
60 6/18/15 13-502 Reed v. Town of Gilbert T 576/1
59 6/15/15 14-185 Reyes Mata v. Lynch EK 576/1
58 6/15/15 14-103 Baker Botts L.L.P. v. ASARCO LLC T 576/1
57 6/15/15 13-1402 Kerry v. Din AS 576/1
56 6/08/15 13-628 Zivotofsky v. Kerry K 576/1
55 6/01/15 14-939 Taylor v. Barkes PC 575/2
54 6/01/15 13-1034 Mellouli v. Lynch G 575/2
53 6/01/15 13-1421 Bank of America, N. A. v. Caulkett T 575/2
52 6/01/15 14-86 EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. AS 575/2
51 6/01/15 13-983 Elonis v. United States R 575/2
50 5/26/15 13-935 Wellness Int’l Network, Ltd. v. Sharif SS 575/2
49 5/26/15 12-1497 Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Carter A 575/2
48 5/26/15 13-896 Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc. K 575/2
47 5/18/15 13-1487 Henderson v. United States EK 575/2
46 5/18/15 13-1412 City and County of San Francisco v. Sheehan A 575/2
45 5/18/15 13-485 Comptroller of Treasury of Md. v. Wynne A 575/2
44 5/18/15 13-1333 Coleman v. Tollefson B 575/2
43 5/18/15 13-550 Tibble v. Edison Int’l B 575/2
42 5/18/15 14-400 Harris v. Viegelahn G 575/2
41 5/04/15 14-116 Bullard v. Blue Hills Bank R 575/2
40 4/29/15 13-1019 Mach Mining, LLC v. EEOC EK 575/1
39 4/29/15 13-1499 Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar R 575/1
38 4/22/15 13-1074 United States v. Kwai Fun Wong EK 575/1
37 4/21/15 13-271 Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet, Inc. B 575/1
36 4/21/15 13-9972 Rodriguez v. United States G 575/1
35 3/31/15 14-15 Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Center, Inc. AS 575/1
34 3/30/15 14-618 Woods v. Donald PC 575/1
33 3/30/15 14-593 Grady v. North Carolina PC 575/1
32 3/25/15 13-895 Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama B 575/1
31 3/25/15 12-1226 Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. B 575/1
30 3/24/15 13-435 Omnicare, Inc. v. Laborers Dist. Council Constr. Industry Pension Fund EK 575/1
29 3/24/15 13-352 B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc. A 575/1
28 3/09/15 126, Orig. Kansas v. Nebraska D 575/1
27 3/09/15 13-1041 Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Assn. SS 575/1
26 3/09/15 13-1080 Department of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads K 575/1
25 3/04/15 13-553 Alabama Dept. of Revenue v. CSX Transp., Inc. AS 575/1
24 3/03/15 13-1032 Direct Marketing Assn. v. Brohl T 575/1
23 2/25/15 13-7451 Yates v. United States G 574/2
22 2/25/15 13-534 North Carolina Bd. of Dental Examiners v. FTC K 574/2
21 2/24/15 126, Orig. Kansas v. Nebraska EK 574/2
20 1/26/15 13-1010 M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett T 574/2
19 1/21/15 13-1211 Hana Financial, Inc. v. Hana Bank SS 574/2
18 1/21/15 13-1174 Gelboim v. Bank of America Corp. G 574/2
17 1/21/15 13-894 Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean R 574/2
16 1/20/15 14-6873 Christeson v. Roper PC 574/2
15 1/20/15 13-6827 Holt v. Hobbs A 574/2
14 1/20/15 13-854 Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc. B 574/2
13 1/14/15 13-975 T-Mobile South, LLC v. City of Roswell SS 574/2
12 1/14/15 13-7211 Jennings v. Stephens AS 574/2
11 1/13/15 13-9026 Whitfield v. United States AS 574/2
10 1/13/15 13-684 Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. AS 574/2
9 12/15/14 5, Orig. United States v. California D 574/1
8 12/15/14 13-719 Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. v. Owens G 574/1
7 12/15/14 13-604 Heien v. North Carolina R 574/1
6 12/09/14 13-517 Warger v. Shauers SS 574/1
5 12/09/14 13-433 Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk T 574/1
4 11/17/14 14-95 Glebe v. Frost PC 574/1
3 11/10/14 14-212 Carroll v. Carman PC 574/1
2 11/10/14 13-1318 Johnson v. City of Shelby PC 574/1
1 10/06/14 13-946 Lopez v. Smith PC 574/1


The Actual 2015 DHS Report On Sovereign Citizens Does Not Contain The Claims Made by CNN | Conservative Treehouse


Editor’s Note: Department of Homeland Security (DHS) & Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) characterizations of sovereign citizens are extremely simple-minded. Furthermore the CNN spin on the report as noted below was grossly distorted. Most of the sovereign citizens I’ve had contact with over the years were non-violent, posed no threat to the government, were sincere in their efforts to restore accountability in government, justice in the courts and liberty to the country. For the record the founding fathers were sovereign citizens of their respective states.

Within the CNN analysis they claim serious threats:

[…] ”from sovereign citizen groups as equal to — and in some cases greater than — the threat from foreign Islamic terror groups, such as ISIS”.

Except, there’s something very divergent – The actual report does not claim that the threat to police is growing, it does not conflate sovereigns with other anti-government groups, it makes no broad claims about terror on the right,  and it does not compare the sovereigns to ISIS or to any other foreign terrorists.

There is absolutely nothing in the report to suggest such an interpretation.  Heck, the words “right-wing” do not even show up in the report anywhere. 

As Reason.Com outlines:

[…]  The document declares on its first page that most sovereign citizens are nonviolent, and that it will focus only on the violent fringe within a fringe—the people it calls “sovereign citizen extremists,” or SCEs. It describes their violence as “sporadic,” and it does not expect its rate to rise, predicting instead that the violence will stay “at the same sporadic level” in 2015. The author or authors add that most of the violence consists of “unplanned, reactive” clashes with police officers, not preplanned attacks. (more)

Here is the actual report. You can compare it to the CNN interpretation and decide for yourself.

Download: Sovereign Citizen Extremist Ideology Report (February 5, 2015)
Source: Conservative Treehouse


Paris attack designed to shore up France’s vassal status: Roberts | PressTV

DrPaulCraigRobertsA former White House official says the terrorist attack that killed 12 people on Wednesday in Paris was a false flag operation “designed to shore up France’s vassal status to Washington.”

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, who was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, made the remarks in an article published on Thursday.

“The suspects can be both guilty and patsies. Just remember all the terrorist plots created by the FBI that served to make the terrorism threat real to Americans,” he wrote.

He said that the French economy is suffering from the US-imposed sanctions against Russia. “Shipyards are impacted from being unable to deliver Russian orders due to France’s vassalage status to Washington, and other aspects of the French economy are being adversely impacted by sanctions that Washington forced its NATO puppet states to apply to Russia.”

Dr. Roberts stated that French President Francois Hollande this week said that the sanctions against Russia should end. “This is too much foreign policy independence on France’s part for Washington.”

He added that the CIA has apparently resurrected a policy that it followed against Europeans during the post-WW II era when the US spy agency would carry out attacks in European states and blame them on communist groups.

Dr. Roberts said now the US agencies have planned false flag operations in Europe to create hatred against Muslims and bring European countries under Washington’s sphere of influence.

He noted that “the attack on Charlie Hebdo was an inside job and that people identified by NSA as hostile to the Western wars against Muslims are going to be framed for an inside job designed to pull France firmly back under Washington’s thumb.”

The widely read columnist stated that the US “government tells Americans whatever story the government puts together and sits and laughs at the gullibility of the public.”

Source: PressTV