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A digital magazine covering the intersection of technology, human rights and social change.

Post Tagged with: "wikileaks"

Assange circa 2007: NSA is funding academia

Assange circa 2007: NSA is funding academia

In a post over 6 years ago, Assange claimed to have found a link between the NSA and academia.

“During my investigation I discovered that many of the NSA’s research funding covers were essentially transparent. U.S intelligence agencies, in finding the ideological playing field to themselves, have little need of complex funding concealment. Efforts to hide the true source of intelligence derived academic funding are now minimal. Research funding cover names, at least for the NSA, are not directed at counter-intelligence, they are shields against cursory third-party social opprobium and apparently largely voluntary. I will mention a specific example” wrote Assange.

The NSA it appears, made no attempt at concealing their identity when distributing grants. Assange specifically pointed out an NSA grant-code prefix, MDA904, that could be used to identify research funded by the NSA. Several papers such as “Video Grammar for Locating People” and “Finding Person X: Correlating Names with Visual Appearances” were given as examples by Assange. Additionally, a paper from 2012 we discovered from Google Scholar writes on the footer, “Both authors were partially supported by NSA grant MDA 904-91-H-0055″.

Many of the papers, despite their esoteric nature, have direct applications to the surveillance programs conducted by the NSA. It’s easy to understand from the abstract of one of the papers that “a comprehensive approach for finding specific persons in broadcast news videos by exploring various clues such as names occurred in the transcript, face information, anchor scenes, and most importantly, the timing pattern between names and people” can be useful for the NSA.

The fact that many scholars willingly pursued research that had profound negative consequences for the rest of the world reflects a growing philosophy of growth and technological advancement without proper evaluation of the social implications. If the greatest minds in our society continue to fuel the advancement of the NSA efforts, expect the practices from the NSA to grow in sophistication and scale.

For more information, visit Assange’s post from 2007 here.

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November 3, 2013 Comments are Disabled Read More
WikiLeaks ‘Spy Files’ documentary exposes surveillance state

WikiLeaks ‘Spy Files’ documentary exposes surveillance state

Championing the anti-surveillance movement for the last two years, Wikileaks and founder Julian Assange have taken their message to a new digital platform – film. The release of their new documentary ‘Spy Films 3′ is a striking expose in the world of government surveillance, and it’s increased pervasiveness in modern society.

“Unequivocally, the newest ‘Spy Files’ documents show that this dark industry only continues to grow, in both technical capability and customer base, all while amassing billions in profits off the suffering of individuals,” Privacy International researcher Kenneth Page said.

Assange’s angle is that global surveillance efforts is primarily being driven by corporate interests rather than safety & security. New leaks and reports indicate that an international network of Western IT syndicates have contributed to a vast telecommunications surveillance network intent primarily on the institutionalized surveillance of online citizenry.

“And just like an advertisement you would see on television or in a magazine, spy firms are marketing these tools with flashy graphics, sales-speak and guarantees on effectiveness. It’s quite jarring to see such dangerous technologies being presented in such an unthreatening fashion, given that these products represent one of the biggest threats to human rights in the 21st century.”


September 5, 2013 Comments are Disabled Read More
Edward Snowden: “The Obama administration is afraid of you”

Edward Snowden: “The Obama administration is afraid of you”

In his statement from Moscow, Edward Snowden had the following words to say regarding himself, Bradley Manning and the Obama administration:

“In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.”

Snowden – the PRISM whistleblower and target of an international US manhunt – is reportedly seeking refuge in Equador, among other places. The Obama administration has been an outspoken critic of his actions, and has made requests to international parties to aid in his capture.

Snowden concluded with the following:

“I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.”

The full transcript of his statement can be found on Wikileaks:

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July 1, 2013 Comments are Disabled Read More

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