Tag Archives: snowden

Free Snowden website launches to help him cover legal costs

The Free Snowden website launched today to help the whistleblower cover his legal costs. The Journalistic Source Protection Defence Fund trustees commissioned the website which provides a plethora of detail about Snowden’s revelations, threats from the US government, and his arduous journey to finally reaching asylum in Russia.

We’ve covered the Snowden debacle closely when it broke back in June (see here). Snowden handed over documents to Glenn Grunwald, at the time journalist for The Guardian who recently left to pursue a “once in a lifetime opportunity”. Snowden’s documents revealed  warantless mass surveillance from the US, UK, Israel, and Germany on both domestic and international citizens – including organizations such as the UN and and EU.

Snowden is currently residing in Russia with Wikileaks reporter Sarah Harrisson, where he was granted a year-long asylum which is to end on July 31, 2014.

For more information and to donate, visit the Free Snowden website.

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Australian government briefed on PRISM prior to leaks from Snowden

The Australian Attorney’s General Department prepared a censored brief to then attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, two months prior to the leaks from Edward Snowden.

Snowden released slides in June revealing that the NSA was collecting real-time data from major tech companies including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Facebook.  Australia’s foreign affairs minister at the time, Bob Carr, said that they would examine the implications of PRISM on the security and privacy of Australians.

No news has been reported on the new governments decision to implement the changes to the telecom security legislation proposed by the former government.

via zdnet

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Founder of Snowden’s e-mail speaks out: “If the American public knew what the gov’t was doing, they wouldn’t be allowed to do it anymore”

As The Grand Signal recently reported, the owner of the encrypted e-mail service Lavabit — the one which Edward Snowden reportedly used to leak  the NSA scandal — has been coerced by the US government into taking his service down. His cryptic e-mail suggested unethical coercion in the government’s part that he was unwilling and unable to elaborate on.

Democracy Now recently featured an exclusive video interview with owner Ladar Levison to explain his predicament.

Speaking beside his lawyer in measured words, Levison expressed serious concerns about the US gov’ts conduct with regards to his company. He expressed that there are details with the case that he isn’t allowed even to share with his lawyer.

Hesitant to elaborate, Levison concluded with: “I think you should assume any communication that is electronic is being monitored.”

[iframe width="400" height="225" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2013/8/13/exclusive_owner_of_snowdens_email_service"]

via Democracy Now

Edward Snowden’s email mysteriously destroyed

As another point of intrigue in the slowly unraveling international game of ‘Where’s Snowden?’, the e-mail service Lavabit – the one which Snowden reportedly used to leak NSA documents – has been shut down. Although a lot of blogosphere speculation has pointed fingers to the US government and the NSA, no real evidence exists to back this claim.

Lavabit owner Ladar Levison offered this cryptic reason for the site’s closure:

“I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on–the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.”

The letter, notably, doesn’t offer any real indication of who it was, however the following line seriously indicates US involvement:

“This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.”

via GigaOM

NSA has successfully diverted all media attention away from their surveillance program

For the past 3 weeks, an IT contractor has become the target of the biggest international manhunt since Osama Bin Laden. Somehow, a guy that looks more like an actor cast to play the protagonist in the live-action film rendition of Dilbert than a high-profile criminal, has dominated the air waves in the most recent news sky-rocketing internet outcry contributing little more than a spike in 1984 sales.

I admit, The Grand Signal hasn’t been much better. A lot of our recent posts have looked like an Edward Snowden Twitter feed.

In our defense, that’s literally the only bit of world news that’s regularly hit the airwaves for the past 3 weeks. It’s certainly a good thing that the issue is getting attention — Bradley Manning and WikiLeak’s case didn’t get nearly as much press coverage — but the attention is being diverted in entirely the wrong direction. By engaging in an absurd international manhunt, the USA has successfully diverted attention from an NSA espionage scandal to a glorified game of Where’s Waldo being played by the entire planet.

The word Snowden is “trending” on CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, Fox News and practically every other major news outlet, whereas any discussion about the NSA revelations are being buried in the tech section, tied to the ‘Restore the Fourth’ protests.

Let’s put this in perspective: a man has leaked government information so sensitive that it’s made him the most important figure in foreign policymaking for nearly a month, and almost nobody is talking about the leaks. PRISM dominated mainstream news on the day of it’s revelation – since then, it’s turned entirely into a Friday night Broadway feature on Where in the World is Edward Snowden?

Snowden is either a hero, or a traitor, and it’s not my position to either glorify or vilify him — but instead of engaging in legitimate conversation about the fact that the NSA considers it normal to spy on what it’s citizens had for breakfast, we’re obsessed on up-to-the-minute updates on his life. It’s become one big tabloid story.

It’s time we shifted the discussion to something far more prevalent. The fact of the matter is, the NSA can and has actively engaged in real-time surveillance of our emails, Facebook conversations, mail packages, phone calls, etc. for a number of years using shady legal channels. In the name of safety and security, an unconsenting electorate has been the target of the biggest espionage operation since the USSR. Post-911 America has made the shift into a surveillance state, the ethics of which have been heavily discussed over the last half a century. Not only has the NSA refused to give an official rebuke or statement regarding concerns of the program, their response to the EU’s anger at surveillance of foreign diplomats practically amounted to “well everyone else does it too”.

It’s time to stop this nonsense and start asking the real questions about one of the biggest national security controversies of the modern era.