Tag Archives: NSA

Former Google and NSA employees team up: Use Search Engines without Being Tracked

The fallout of “P.R.I.S.M.-gate” has lead to a floodgate of new data transfer apps, document securing and e-mail privacy technology. More interestingly, however, and perhaps more importantly, is the quest to make search engines secure and eliminate prying eyes. As advocated frequently in this magazine, privacy-oriented search engine Duck Duck Go has had a historic surge in traffic over the last 12 months.

Enter Disconnect.

Launched by a Google employee in 2010, Disconnect has built numerous browser apps and extension with the aim to secure data on popular services. Their most recent service, Disconnect Search, is an extension built into Chrome and Firefox that prevents all search queries run through popular services (Bing, Google, etc.) from being tracked by prying eyes. Recent employees include ex-Google and ex-NSA engineers. They have since raised funding twice.

via techcrunch

Will these anti-tracking apps become a mainstay of the next decade? Let us know your thoughts below.

BitTorrent releases alpha version of secure messaging app to combat NSA

BitTorrent Inc., creators of file-sharing services uTorrent and BitTorrent, are developing a secure (and free) messaging app which will allows users to privately send messages without any chance of them being intercepted by an external user.

“…we’re working on something that could solve for conversation security. BitTorrent Chat applies distributed technology to the idea of IM. Our goal is to ensure that your messages stay yours: private, secure, and free” writes on their blog.

There’s been a recent wave of private centric apps being developed with the revelations of the NSA surfacing to the general public. The founders of The Pirate Bay are also working secure messaging app called Hemlis, while The Pirate Bay recently released a custom browser that allows users in certain countries to circumvent privacy restrictions.

BitTorrent’s messaging app is currently in it’s alpha stage and has opened to the public for sign ups.

via BitTorrent

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Fearing privacy issues, US cloud customers slowly shifting towards eastern Europe

The economic backlash of the NSA privacy scandal has long been unclear. There have been reports cited on this magazine suggesting billions of dollars of potential losses and notable hits to customer psyche and confidence. Robert Jenkins, the CTO of a Swiss cloud service, has commented on a gradual increase in customers since the fiasco began.

“It has not been a profound surge, but there is definitely a measureable impact,” he says. “We’ve definitely seen cases where people are turning to us because of this.”

As mentioned in a previous post, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation has estimated that the US will suffer a net loss of $35 billion by 2016 — not a massive dent on the cloud computing industry (which is set to be the fastest growing industry of the next few years), but certainly one that will have an economic impact. Alexander Ljungberg, cofounder of WireLoad, is one of many such tech entrepreneurs and founers moving their service to the eastern shores.

“Privacy laws in Switzerland are internationally known to be very good, so we’re just more comfortable knowing that it’s less likely there will be some kind of prying by the government,” he says.

via itworld

Big Tech curbs to at least 80% of NSA’s requests

Yahoo recently released numbers of how often the U.S government made requests for data access, becoming the last in a long line of big tech companies to give up the information. The results are illuminating, and in many cases, frightening. Although there’s always been a suspicion, the data released confirms that nearly 80% of all data you transmit through big tech companies is sent and stored by the NSA and US gov’t.

The raw numbers released were as follows:

Yahoo: 12,444 requests affecting 40,322 accounts, 91 percent of requests granted
Facebook: 11,000 – 12,000 requests affecting 20,000 – 21,000 accounts, 79 percent of requests granted
Google*: 8,438 requests affecting 14,791 accounts, 88 percent of requests granted
Apple*: Between 4,000 and 5,000 requests affecting 9,000 to 10,000 accounts
Microsoft*: Between 6,000 and 7,000 requests affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 accounts

Interestingly, despite taking the heat of the scandal, Facebook has curbed to far less requests than other “gooder” counterparts in Google and Yahoo. Over 80% of requests, many deemed unconstitutional, made by the NSA have been responded to. Although it’s been assumed that the requests are made in criminal cases, recent allegation suggest a lot of the requests are made pedestrian for innocent civilians.

via bizjournals

NSA blackmailing revealed: “They went after antiwar groups. They went after NGOs like the Red Cross. They went after a few civil rights groups…”

While Edward Snowden continues to make nightly news on his whistleblowing of the National Security Agency, the original NSA whistleblower – ex intelligence analyst for the NSA, Russ Tice – has come out on the record again, this time accusing the NSA of systemic, unconstitutional blackmail of  top government officials, military officers and others.

“Okay. They went after–and I know this because I had my hands literally on the paperwork for these sort of things–they went after high-ranking military officers; they went after members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees and some of the–and judicial. But they went after other ones, too. They went after lawyers and law firms. All kinds of–heaps of lawyers and law firms. They went after judges. One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Courtthat I had his wiretap information in my hand. Two are former FISA court judges. They went after State Department officials. They went after people in theexecutive service that were part of the White House–their own people. They went after antiwar groups. They went after U.S. international–U.S. companies that that do international business, you know, business around the world. They went after U.S. banking firms and financial firms that do international business. They went after NGOs that–like the Red Cross, people like that that go overseas and do humanitarian work. They went after a few antiwar civil rights groups. So, you know, don’t tell me that there’s no abuse, because I’ve had this stuff in my hand and looked at it. And in some cases, I literally was involved in the technology that was going after this stuff. And you know, when I said to [former MSNBC show host Keith] Olbermann, I said, my particular thing is high tech and you know, what’s going on is the other thing, which is the dragnet. The dragnet is what Mark Klein is talking about, the terrestrial dragnet. Well my specialty is outer space. I deal with satellites, and everything that goes in and out of space. I did my spying via space. So that’s how I found out about this.”

Among his allegations, Russ Tice also said that part of his job back in 2004 (1 year before he was dismissed by the NSA for pushing for more regulation) involved wiretapping Illinois Senator and current head-of-state Barack Obama.

Russ Tice’s information isn’t new, although no source associated with these allegations has had the credibility that he does up until now. Despite his allegations, Tice has received limited recognition from mainstream media outlets, with the exception of Fox News broadcaster Bill O’Reilly who attacked Tice’s credibiliy and suggested he should be jailed for treason.

Tice further went on to testify before Congress about electronic intelligence programs carried out illegally by the NSA, however committee members didn’t have the clearance to adequately review the program.

“This thing is incredible what NSA has done. They’ve basically turned themselves – in my opinion – into a rogue agency that has J Edgar Hoover capabilities on a monstrous scale on steroids.”

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via Washingtons Blog