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jueves, enero 22, 2015

Will Russia soon be taking US 9-1-1 calls?

If American astronauts hitching a ride from the Russians to the International Space Station didn't ruffle enough feathers, there's growing concern about a proposal to use Moscow's satellites to transmit America's 911 emergency calls. 
Wireless carriers and public safety organizations have pitched the idea of using Russia's system to the Federal Communications Commission, as part of their recommendations for improving 911 response. Part of the concern is that under the current system, operators have a hard time locating people calling from cell phones indoors -- and Russia's satellite system, called GLONASS, might be able to help. 
But Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., head of a House Armed Services subcommittee, has raised concerns about the influence that might give Vladimir Putin's Russia over the U.S. system. 
In a Jan. 21 letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Rogers specifically questioned whether Putin might be able to use GLONASS "as a weapon" against the U.S., holding the 911 system "hostage" if he wanted. 
He warned the U.S. could be poised to "disregard" the threat from Putin "so soon after Russia's illegal seizure of Ukrainian territory" -- a source of flaring tension between Russia and the United States. 
"In view of the threat posed to the world by Russia's Vladimir Putin, it cannot be seriously considered that the U.S. would rely on a system in that dictator's control for its wireless 911 location capability," Rogers wrote, adding: "Our response to Russia's hybrid warfare, arms control cheating, illegal invasions of sovereign nations, and energy-based extortion must be broad-based isolation and counter-leverage." 
The letter, obtained by, was first reported by The Washington Times
But Brian Fontes, CEO of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) which is among the groups pushing the new plan, described such concerns as "scare tactics." 
"They are spreading rumors that we are relying on the Russian government and doing harm, and on its face it's bogus," he told "They are projecting all this on a system that may be up and running in the future. It's hyperbole." 
The FCC plans to hold a meeting on Jan. 29, where the proposal could come up. The agency is reviewing the 911 service in light of difficulties first responders sometimes have finding people who call from wireless phones indoors under the United States' GPS system. Though the agency currently requires wireless providers to transmit location information to 911 call centers, there are still challenges in finding people -- particularly in large, multi-story buildings. The FCC wants wireless providers eventually to be able to transmit more accurate information. 
Retired Rear Adm. David Simpson, head of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, said in a statement the agency is "committed to protecting both public safety and national security as we continue to examine the input and issues in the proceeding, and will coordinate with our colleagues across the government to ensure that national security needs are addressed." 
He underscored the urgency of a 911 overhaul in a blog post last month. 
"The vast majority of 911 calls are from mobile phones, and we are not where we need to be on location accuracy for wireless 911 calls," he wrote. "This puts American lives at risk and requires swift action from the FCC, from wireless carriers, and from public safety officials." 
The four largest wireless carriers, joined by two public safety organizations including NENA, proposed the plan, which among other components suggests using Russia's GLONASS satellite system to help locate 911 callers. 
Fontes said the industry is interested in pursuing all manner of solutions for boosting location accuracy, including improved GPS, sensors and beacon technology -- but using other countries' capabilities should be on the table. 
"If there is any proven -- heavy on the word proven -- and secure -- heavy on the word secure -- means of identifying where a 911 call is originating, I think any of those secure and proven systems should be considered by wireless providers," he said. 
A Sprint representative reportedly said in a recent letter to FCC officials that their plan does not call for relying exclusively on the GLONASS system -- just using it to help improve location information. 
According to The Washington Times, The Association of Public-Safety Communications also penned a recent letter to the FCC describing the national security warnings as "plainly false statements that stretch the imagination."'s Kelley Vlahos contributed to this report.

sábado, abril 19, 2014

Google codifies its right to crawl through your emails..fuck you Google!

It’s no secret that Google keeps an eye on what users of its services are into. But on Monday, the company updated Gmail’s terms of service to spell out its relationship with users in no uncertain terms:
“Our automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.”
A Google spokesman told The New York Times that the changes “will give people even greater clarity and are based on feedback we’ve received over the last few months.”
By feedback, Google might mean a federal judge’s swift denial of the company’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Gmail users and non-users who’ve sent emails to Gmail accounts. The lawsuit claimed Google violated federal and state wiretapping laws by scanning emails without consent.
In its motion to dismiss, Google argued that Gmail and non-Gmail users had given express or implied consent to have their e-mails scanned. Northern California US District Judge Lucy Koh rejected Google’s claims, noting that Google’s terms of service didn’t explicitly say they scanned emails.

lunes, marzo 17, 2014

Venezuela: Maduro ordena un registro biometrico en tarjeta electrónica para la compra de alimentos

Maduro ordenó iniciar un "gran registro biométrico" a partir del domingo próximo que acompañará la creación de la "Tarjeta de Abastecimiento Seguro" para "proteger al pueblo" del contrabando, y desmintió que esto represente una forma de racionamiento, como señaló la oposición.

"Todo el sistema seguirá funcionando como lo conocemos, pero vamos en primer lugar a una masiva inscripción de usuarios de toda la misión alimentación a través de un registro biométrico con la huella dactilar", apuntó ayer durante un acto de apoyo a la "Misión Alimentación", que vende productos en mercados estatales.

El gobernamente indicó que el objetivo era hacer un censo con el fin de mejorar el seguimiento de los productos en las redes gubernamentales y reducir el contrabando que desvía a Colombia alimentos que el gobierno vende con subsidios en Venezuela, reportaron DPA y el diario El Universal.

"Buscamos cerrar toda posibilidad de que los productos, que son para la familia, se los lleven para Colombia los contrabandistas. Un 40 por ciento, hemos detectado, de toda la circulación de la Misión Alimentación se lo llevan por la frontera", advirtió.

Maduro señaló como ejemplo que un kilo de azúcar que en las redes gubernamentales se vende a dos bolívares (0,3 dólares) es contrabandeado a Colombia, donde es vendido a 150 bolívares (23,8 dólares), una actividad que "da más plata que la cocaína".

Insistió que los usuarios podrán "comprar lo que le haga falta a su familia sin restricciones", por lo que rechazó las "estupideces" de un supuesto racionamiento.

"Ya la derecha empezó a hablar estupideces, dejémoslos a ellos con su estupidez y nosotros sigamos construyendo patria", sentenció.

Con la implementación de la "Tarjeta de Abastecimiento Seguro", que mostró por primera vez al público, el Presidente aseguró que el contrabando de alimentos a Colombia se reduciría "a cero".

"Lo que sí les aseguro es que una vez que arranquemos, reduciremos a cero el contrabando. Y esos alimentos van a ir a las casas de los venezolanos, a las familias venezolanas, se los aseguro",  prometió el gobernante, que además aprobó nuevos recursos para fortalecer la red estatal de alimentos.

Maduro instruyó al ministro de Alimentación, Félix Osorio, para que mañana dé una rueda de prensa en la que se difundan todos los detalles de lo que será el uso de esta tarjeta electrónica.

jueves, enero 09, 2014

Today Google Starts Using Your Name and Face in GoogleAds

Google has officially updated their terms of service to allow the company to use your name and image on their ads that populate the internet. 

The new terms of service read:
If you have a Google Account, we may display your Profile name, Profile photo, and actions you take on Google or on third-party applications connected to your Google Account (such as +1’s, reviews you write and comments you post) in our Services, including displaying in ads and other commercial contexts. We will respect the choices you make to limit sharing or visibility settings in your Google Account. For example, you can choose your settings so your name and photo do not appear in an ad.
The Wall Street Journal provides this nifty chart to see what your social networks are using you to promote. 
The new "shared endorsements" are ruffling some privacy feathers. "We think it's a problem," says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "It's a commercial endorsement without consent and that is not permissible in most states in the U.S."
Facebook tried something similar and was forced to pay a $20M settlement, when they were sued in a class action suit. Facebook had used "endorsements" in the ads run on the social network, but they did not provide a way for users to opt out. 

miércoles, diciembre 11, 2013

NSA Uses Google Tracking Cookies to Spy on Potential Targets

A new information leak from Edward Snowden reveals that the NSA is using Google's tracking cookies to identify targets for government hacking. The Washington Post reports that Snowden's documents "show that when companies follow consumers on the Internet to better serve them advertising, the technique opens the door for similar tracking by the government. The slides also suggest that the agency is using these tracking techniques to help identify targets for offensive hacking operations."

These tracking cookies allow a website to identify a user's browser, but do not contain any personal information.  "This cookie allows NSA to single out an individual's communications among the sea of Internet data in order to send out software that can hack that person's computer."
The slides released by Snowden do not say how the government accesses Google's tracking cookies, "but other documents reviewed by the Post indicate that cookie information is among the data NSA can obtain with a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act order."

lunes, diciembre 09, 2013

Report: NSA Spying on Virtual Worlds, Online Games
By RAPHAEL SATTER/ Associated Press
American and British intelligence operations have been spying on gamers across the world, media outlets reported, saying that the world's most powerful espionage agencies sent undercover agents into virtual universes to monitor activity in online fantasy games such as "World of Warcraft."

Stories carried Monday by The New York Times, the Guardian, and ProPublica said U.S. and U.K. spies have spent years trawling online games for terrorists or informants. The stories, based on documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, offer an unusual take on America's world-spanning surveillance campaign, suggesting that even the fantasy worlds popular with children, teens, and escapists of all ages aren't beyond the attention of the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ.

Virtual universes like "World of Warcraft" can be massively popular, drawing in millions of players who log months' worth of real-world time competing with other players for online glory, virtual treasure, and magical loot. At its height, "World of Warcraft" boasted some 12 million paying subscribers, more than the population of Greece. Other virtual worlds, like Linden Labs' "Second Life" or the various games hosted by Microsoft's Xbox _ home to the popular science fiction-themed shoot-em-up "Halo" _ host millions more.

Spy agencies have long worried that such games serve as a good cover for terrorists or other evildoers who could use in-game messaging systems to swap information. In one of the documents cited Monday by media outlets, the NSA warned that the games could give intelligence targets a place to "hide in plain sight."

Linden Labs and Microsoft Inc. did not immediately return messages seeking comment. In a statement, Blizzard Entertainment said that it is "unaware of any surveillance taking place. If it was, it would have been done without our knowledge or permission."

Microsoft issued a similar statement, saying it is "not aware of any surveillance activity. If it has occurred as reported, it certainly wasn't done with our consent."

The 82-page-document, published on The New York Times' website, also noted that opponents could use video games to recruit other users or carry out virtual weapons training _ pointing to the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers as examples of terrorists who had used flight simulation software to hone their skills.

Important details _ such as how the agencies secured access to gamers' data, how many players' information was compromised, or whether Americans were swept up in the spying _ were not clear, the Times and ProPublica said, but the reports point to a determined effort to infiltrate a world many people associate with adolescents and shut-ins.

At the request of GCHQ, the NSA began extracting "World of Warcraft" data from its global intelligence haul, trying to tie specific accounts and characters to Islamic extremism and arms dealing efforts, the Guardian reported. Intelligence on the fantasy world could eventually translate to real-world espionage success, one of the documents suggested, noting that "World of Warcraft" subscribers included "telecom engineers, embassy drivers, scientists, the military and other intelligence agencies."

"World of Warcraft" wasn't the only target. Another memo noted that GCHQ had "successfully been able to get the discussions between different game players on Xbox Live." Meanwhile, so many U.S. spies were roaming around "Second Life" that a special "deconfliction" unit was set up to prevent them from stepping on each other's toes.

Blizzard Entertainment is part of Santa Monica, Calif.-based Activision Blizzard Inc.

FBI can hijack webcams without users' knowledge

martes, noviembre 26, 2013

Suspecting NSA spying, Microsoft to ramp up efforts to encrypt its Internet traffic

Microsoft is moving toward a major new effort to encrypt its Internet traffic after concluding that the National Security Agency may have broken into its global communications systems, said people familiar with the emerging plans.

Suspicions at Microsoft, while building for several months, sharpened in October when it was reported that the NSA was intercepting traffic inside the private networks of Google and Yahoo, two industry rivals with similar global infrastructures, said people with direct knowledge of the company’s deliberations. They said top Microsoft executives are meeting this week to decide what encryption initiatives to deploy and how quickly.

Documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden suggest — though do not prove — that the company is right to be concerned. Two previously unreleased slides that describe operations against Google and Yahoo include references to Microsoft’s Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger services. A separate NSA e-mail mentions Microsoft Passport, a Web-based service formerly offered by Microsoft, as a possible target of that same surveillance project, called MUSCULAR, which was first disclosed by The Post last month.

Read more at:

domingo, noviembre 24, 2013

José Lavandero García, el cubano que diseñó el sistema de cédulas de identidad y pasaportes venezolanos

El organismo que emite las cédulas de identidad y los pasaportes a los venezolanos tiene un padre cubano: José Lavandero García. Ese hombre, de 69 años de edad, es una de las figuras más importantes de la misión de Cuba en Venezuela. Su aprobación fue indispensable para el diseño y la puesta en marcha del Proyecto Identidad a partir del cual el gobierno del fallecido Hugo Chávez constituyó el Servicio Administrativo de Identificación, Migración y Extranjería, Saime, que fue concebido no sólo para mejorar la atención de la ciudadanía sino como una herramienta para apuntalar la base de apoyo electoral del gobernante y su partido político.
Lavandero es vicerrector de la Universidad de Ciencias Informáticas de La Habana, UCI, que depende del Ministerio de Informática y Comunicaciones que estuvo bajo la conducción del general Ramiro Valdés hasta 2012. El oficial –quien ahora ocupa la Vicepresidencia del Consejo de Ministros y del Consejo de Estado de Cuba– es considerado el artífice de los sistemas de inteligencia política de la isla conocidos como G-2 y era uno de los jefes de Lavandero para el momento en que el funcionario trabajaba en el diseño del Saime. El vicerrector revisó cinco borradores y dio el visto bueno al  proyecto definitivo para la constitución del organismo. La última versión, del 4 de agosto de 2006, tiene un casillero que corrobora su nivel de responsabilidad: “Aprobado por José Lavandero”.
El proyecto del vicerrector no dejó escapar detalle alguno. Tiene 218 páginas encabezadas por el logo de Albet Ingeniería y Sistemas, compañía que vende los programas informáticos elaborados por los estudiantes de la UCI y la cual se ha convertido en un contratista privilegiado del gobierno venezolano en el área del software. El documento señala de manera explícita que el nuevo Saime –que reemplazó a la extinta Oficina Nacional de Identificación y Extranjería– debía contribuir a la consolidación de la denominada “Nueva Estrategia Electoral”, un objetivo trazado por Chávez en 2005 cuando formuló el plan de la “Nueva Etapa de la Revolución Bolivariana”. “Para nosotros era importante incluir a nuestra base de apoyo, a los sectores excluidos a los que se les garantizó el acceso a las cédulas”, reconoce José Javier Morales, quien presidió la Onidex y fungió como gerente de la iniciativa para crear el Saime. El vocero no oculta la visión política. “Esta es una revolución de los más pobres y había que garantizar su derecho a participar”, añade el ahora diputado del PSUV a la  Asamblea Nacional por Trujillo, quien insiste en que el vicerrector cubano se limitó a tener un papel de asesor.
La propuesta de Lavandero especificó hasta las escalas salariales para los funcionarios del Saime. Se recomendaba pagar, por ejemplo, 1.061,99 bolívares mensuales a un analista en sus primeros dos años de servicio. Los isleños establecieron cómo debía funcionar cada área: los objetivos y valores, el organigrama, el perfil de los cargos, la planificación económica, la gestión de recursos humanos, los manuales e instrucciones de procedimientos, las relaciones con otros entes de la administración pública y hasta los nuevos proyectos tecnológicos. Nada quedó al azar.
Posición privilegiada. Lavandero tiene un papel clave en Venezuela: dirige al grupo de informáticos cubanos destacado en el país. El vicerrector ha dirigido trabajos de grado de universitarios que han desarrollado propuestas para la administración pública nacional. En 2008, fue tutor de la tesis de Ray Guadarrama Mieres cuyo título no deja de ser sugerente por lo cacofónico: “El cuadro de mando integral y la dirección integrada de proyectos: su integración en el proceso de dirección estratégica de la Misión de la UCI en Venezuela”. La investigación pretendía proponer una mejora en la capacidad de dirección del grupo de programadores antillanos en el país.  El autor –quien luego se convirtió en director de proyectos de Albet– afirma en un pasaje que las amenazas contra el gobierno de Chávez constituían una fuente de vulnerabilidad para los objetivos que él y sus colegas perseguían en el territorio venezolano.
La presencia de Albet, lograda en buena medida con el aporte de Lavandero, tiene muchas caras. Hace seis años, el Ministerio de Interior y Justicia suscribió con la empresa el contrato para la elaboración de la cédula electrónica por 172 millones de dólares.  Los programas de los registros y notarías, de la policía y del sistema carcelario, entre otros, también son diseñados por la firma cubana. La experiencia de los antillanos en Venezuela ha permitido acumular a otras empresas de tecnología de la isla exportar software para identidad y migraciones a países de Latinoamérica como Argentina y Bolivia.
Más de una década.  La llegada de Lavandero a Venezuela es ubicada en el año 2001 por fuentes consultadas para este trabajo. Anthony Daquin, ex asesor del Ministerio de Interior en materia de identificaciones electrónicas, lo explica así. “Fue el primer cubano con el que me reuní en 2001. Estaba interesado en saber cómo eran nuestros registros, qué era un registro principal, secundario, de identidad. Quería saber qué sistemas necesitaba manejar”, dice el ingeniero venezolano que solicita asilo político en Estados Unidos porque –asegura– fue perseguido por cuestionar la injerencia cubana en asuntos estratégicos venezolanos. Tras la experiencia de las reuniones con Lavandero durante año y medio, describe al cubano como un hombre de confianza de Ramiro Valdés e incluso afirma que es el responsable del G2 en el país.
El físico Luis Núñez, profesor de la Universidad de Los Andes, se cuenta en el pequeño grupo de venezolanos que ha visto al vicerrector antillano en el país.  Coincide con Daquin al señalar que Lavandero llegó en 2001: “Vino con una docena de programadores de la UCI y han desarrollado las principales bases de datos de las cédulas y los pasaportes”. El académico participó entre 1997 y 1998 en una comisión técnica que nombró el presidente Rafael Caldera para evaluar el sistema de identificación nacional. Núñez afirma que las recomendaciones de los expertos locales fueron desechadas y el proyecto le fue cedido a los cubanos en los albores del gobierno de Chávez:
Seguir el rastro de la trayectoria de Lavandero fuera de Venezuela no es sencillo. Las páginas web cubanas apenas muestran la hoja de vida del funcionario. Son escasas las declaraciones suyas que pueden rastrearse en medios de comunicación y son también difíciles de hallar fotografías de sus actividades en los 40 años que –según la versión oficial– ha dedicado a la academia. Elizardo Sánchez, presidente de la Comisión Cubana de Derechos Humanos y Reconciliación Nacional, dice que sus connacionales conocen poco al vicerrector de la UCI. “Sabemos que tiene un alto cargo ahí y se le vinculó a Valdés cuando era ministro de Informática. Pero nada más, no es un hombre que dé entrevistas”, señala la fuente vía telefónica desde La Habana.
Arranque oficial. La misión de Lavandero en Venezuela, sin embargo, comenzó oficialmente en 2003 con su participación en la Misión Identidad, el primer paso de Chávez para masificar la expedición de cédulas. Su presencia en esa iniciativa coincidió con un momento político de gran tensión en la víspera de un referendo revocatorio contra el presidente fallecido. El despliegue de las misiones sociales fue una de las estrategias del entonces jefe de Estado para asegurarse el salto de respaldo electoral que lo llevó a una victoria, cuestionada después por la oposición.
Una fuente cercana al Ejecutivo, que pidió resguardar su nombre, indica que conoció a Lavandero en esa época. El consultado afirma que el cubano también participaba en el estudio de las tendencias electorales. “Él estaba en un grupo que cruzaba información sobre quiénes votaban, de qué estratos sociales eran. Desmenuzaba el registro electoral para analizar escenarios en los comicios según resultados pasados. Era un asesor más de la sala situacional de Miraflores”, recuerda. Las conclusiones de ese grupo de entre 10 y 15 técnicos y estadísticos –precisa la fuente– se le presentaban al presidente Chávez y a sus ministros semanalmente, si había una elección cerca.
Lavandero asumió a partir de 2005 el proyecto para constituir el nuevo servicio de identificación. En el historial de observaciones de la cuarta versión del plan se leen las siguientes líneas: “Documento terminado presentado a la Onidex, MIJ (Ministerio de Interior y Justicia) y MPD (Ministerio de Planificación y Desarrollo) según los acuerdos de estas organizaciones y los asesores de Albet, conteniendo el diseño de la solución organizacional del Saime”.
El ex guerrillero Héctor Pérez Marcano nunca ha tenido en sus manos el texto, pero asegura conservar fuentes en la isla que le informan sobre las tareas que cumple el funcionario cubano en el país desde la víspera del referéndum revocatorio de 2004. “Los cubanos diseñaron el Saime, porque si tienen el control de ese sistema pueden manipular también el Registro Electoral y ese era su interés”, dice quien fuera uno de los miembros de la expedición que partió desde Cuba en 1967 con la intención de invadir Venezuela desde las playas de Machurucuto, Miranda. “Lavandero es el responsable de la entrada de todos los cubanos aquí”.
Núñez afirma que los antillanos, dirigidos por Lavandero, trabajan de manera encubierta en el manejo de las bases de datos de identidad. Este punto es rechazado por Morales: “Es falso que el sistema de identificación lo manejen cubanos y lo digo con toda propiedad. Los centros de datos funcionan todos en Venezuela. El cerebro de esa tecnología está manejado 100% por venezolanos”. El ex presidente de la Onidex dice que Lavandero fue responsable del proyecto por la parte cubana y que existía una contraparte venezolana que él mismo lideraba. “Fue así en todas las áreas del proyectos. En sistemas, estructura, organización y las demás. Cada fase requería aprobación de ambos lados. Los cubanos sólo dieron asesoría para ensamblar el proyecto”.
Lavandero ha tenido participaciones en foros internacionales sobre tecnología. Alberto Uribe Correa, rector de la Universidad de Antioquia de Colombia, coincidió con Lavandero en un encuentro académico en México en 2010. Recuerda que los rectores que estaban en esa reunión comentaron la presentación del cubano porque les extrañó que la UCI desarrollara programas y tecnologías. “Nos llamó la atención porque conocemos de las limitaciones de la isla en esas áreas”, dice. La fuente allegada a Miraflores recuerda que Lavandero trabajaba las estadísticas electorales en hojas de Excel, sin los programas avanzados de análisis y visualización que a los que los técnicos venezolanos estaban acostumbrados: “Él estaba aprendiendo aquí”.
Lavandero y una comisión de la UCI asistieron el año pasado a la conferencia anual de ingeniería que organiza la Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá. Ramfis Miguelena, profesor de esa casa de estudios, dice que comenzó a ver al antillano en esos encuentros desde 2009. “Diría que su enfoque es más del tipo curricular. El sector cubano habla siempre de modelos académicos”, sostiene. En esas citas internacionales, el cubano no se ha referido públicamente a sus proyectos en Venezuela, aunque ostenta el mérito de haber aprobado el diseño de la institución que ahora maneja los datos de identidad de 29 millones de venezolanos.

viernes, noviembre 01, 2013

Quiz: Spy thriller or real NSA snooping program?

Jaap Buitendijk
In the book and movie "World War Z," the first mention of the zombie epidemic comes thanks to a software decryption program spying on Chinese email. Brad Pitt stars as the former UN official who fights the epidemic.
Do recent revelations about the NSA’s surveillance programs have you spooked that Big Brother is watching? You’re not alone. Decades of movies, television shows, and Hollywood espionage flicks have fed our paranoid fantasies when it comes to fears that the government might be listening in on our phone calls, tracking our movements, perusing our sexts, and rifling through our emails. Even President Obama said in June that professed NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s flight from the U.S. had all the plot points of a summer spy thriller.
Test yourself. Can you sort out the fact from the fiction in the high-tech cloak-and-dagger scenarios outlined below?
A 'muscular' development
1. A national intelligence agency secretly breaks in to the main communication links at two major technology companies, positioning itself to collect information at will from millions of user accounts. But agency sources claim they're only looking at foreign data, filtering out anything with an American area code. One program is code-named "MUSCULAR." Fact or fiction?
A: Fact, according to this NBC News story.
Is that a code word for war?
2. An intelligence service using a software decryption program discovers that an Asian country is hiding a new viral outbreak, but the details are so horrific that the decoders believe the talk of illness must be code for a new weapons system or ultrasecret war plan. Fact or fiction?
A: Fiction. It happens in Max Brooks' "World War Z," a novel made into a movie starring Brad Pitt, and the virus is creating zombies.
Help us, rebel hacker, you're our only hope
3. Intelligence officers enlist an on-the-run hacker to steal a black box capable of breaking encryption on almost all computer systems, which the agency can then use to spy on other agencies. Fact or fiction?
A: Fiction. It was the central plot of the 1992 movie "Sneakers," starring Robert Redford.
IMAGE: Sneakers
The 1992 film "Sneakers" involved complicated computer hacking and espionage.
We're shocked, shocked about this
4. The nation's top intelligence official confirms they have been monitoring the phone calls of foreign leaders for years, and cites the false shock over gambling in the movie "Casablanca" to suggest international outrage is disingenuous. Fact or fiction?
A: Fact. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper cited the film when speaking to Congress, saying, "'My God, there's gambling going on here?' It's the same kind of thing," he said.
Little pitchers have big ears
5. It's revealed that a government agency has access to a program it calls XKeyscore, which can track Americans' email and online chat in real time. Fact or fiction?
A: Fact. According to information NSA leaker Edward Snowden shared with the U.K. Guardian, the program gathers data from across the Internet which can later be searched for names, phone numbers, keywords and more.
Interior motives
6. A NATO monitoring facility observes the troubling activities of a scientist and then enlists a British agent to implant a homing device inside the body of the scientist's co-worker. Fact or fiction?
A. Fiction. The "scientist" is Dr. Evil, the "British agent" Austin Powers, and the "co-worker" is Dr. Evil's henchman Fat Bastard, in "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me." You don't even want to know how Fat Bastard ejects the homing device from his body. Yeah, baby.

jueves, octubre 31, 2013

How the feds snoop: What happens when you hit send on your email
The Internet makes it easy to send information to far flung places in an instant – hit “send” and poof there it goes. But where does that information go, how does it get there and who gets access to the data?
Every second of every day billions of bits of data speed through an elaborate network, many created and controlled by companies such as Yahoo and Google.
Indeed, the latest leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, first reported by the Washington Post and confirmed by NBC News, say that NSA has tapped into Google and Yahoo's data cables and vacuumed up emails and phone records, although security official say Americans are filtered out.
Big tech companies — among them Facebook, Microsoft, AOL and Apple, in addition to Google and Yahoo — say the worry they’re losing an arms race to secure their users’ information and have called on new laws to stop U.S. intelligence agencies from breaking into data centers.
Those data centers, often misleadingly called the “cloud,” in reality have nothing ethereal about them. They’re thousands of miles of cables and high-tech switchers and computers. They’re warehouse-sized buildings that hum with servers to collect and store huge reams of data.
“For your email account you know you can have years worth of data stored in your account,” Kim Zetter of Wired magazine told NBC News.
Google alone has six such large datacenters in the United States, and another seven are overseas.
“A lot of people think if I'm in the U.S., my data is stored in the U.S., and that's really not the case,” Zetter said.
Jim Stickley, a cyber security expert, said it's those cables where the vulnerability lies.
“You have thousands and thousands of miles of cable out there of this fiber optic cable,” Stickley said. “And so presumably the NSA has founds somewhere to gain access to this cable and physically attach some sort of device to capture date on this network.”
On Thursday, Google issued a statement, which said, in part: "We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks
Google said it is now working to encrypt its high-speed fiber optic lines in order to counter NSA snooping.
But even if that company’s system is secure, it’s clear that these internet giants have become the gatekeepers of our digital lives.
“We have put all of our digital eggs into their baskets, they're not in ours anymore,” Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation told NBC News. “and whether that's wise in terms of privacy and security is, I think, a very open question.”
Bruce Schneier, a Harvard Law School fellow who writes frequently on cybersecurity, said there's only one sure fire way to protect yourself from snooping, and it’s an idea most people won’t like: Give up your email.
“You cannot be on the systems. That’s what you can do,” he said in a telephone interview. “Whenever you go into a cloud, you have to trust the cloud provider. There’s nothing you can do. It’s not your data. It’s their data.”
One reason there is so much data collection, Schneier said, is that “Surveillance is very, very cheap, that’s the problem."
He added, "Adding encryption makes surveillance more expensive, Which means they can’t do it as much.”
So, for anyone feeling a little digitally vulnerable, there appears to be only one way around it:  Write a letter and get a stamp.
Andrea Mitchell and Erin McClam of NBC News contributed to this report.
NSA, British intelligence secretly tapped into Google, Yahoo cable links, officials say

Also: PRISM (surveillance program) - Wikipedia

sábado, octubre 12, 2013

Google wants to use your face to sell ads

Google has made a fortune selling ads. Now it’s trying to put its hundreds of millions of users to work as company pitchmen, using the profiles, pictures and recommendations of ordinary people to endorse products and services across the Web.
After the policy takes effect Nov. 11, users who review a video on YouTube or a restaurant on could see their name, photo and comments show up in ads on any of the 2 million Web sites that are part of the company’s display advertising network.

The controversial practice, announced Friday by Google, is part of an emerging trend on the Internet. Advertisers believe that consumers place enormous value on product endorsements that come from a friend or family member, and growing numbers of Web companies are trying to capture that social advertising in a systematic way.
But critics say tactics that further exploit the data people leave online amount to a bait-and-switch. People signed up for Google’s services because they were free and convenient. They probably never thought their words and identities would be put in front of strangers to sell a product.
Users who casually endorse a product or song on Facebook or Google “may be exposed to unwanted, and possibly misunderstood, implications,” said Eric Goldman, a professor of Internet law at Santa Clara University law school.
Google said the launch of “shared endorsements” will help consumers make better choices. “We want to give you — and your friends and connections — the most useful information. Recommendations from people you know can really help,” the company wrote in its announcement.
It added that users can opt out of the ads and that it will automatically exclude anyone under the age of 18.
The announcement follows a similar advertising feature by Facebook called “sponsored stories,” which turns a recommendation made through the social network’s “like” button into an advertising endorsement on a friend’s Facebook page. The company has said its users cannot opt out of the practice. About 1.2 billion people are on Facebook.
Last month, the Federal Trade Commission said it would review whether Facebook’s push into sponsored stories violated the company’s 2011 privacy settlement with the federal government. That agreement required Facebook to give adequate notice of changes in privacy policies and to make sure users aren’t misled about how their data is being used.
Due to the government shutdown, the FTC said it could not respond to a question on whether its investigators would also examine Google’s new advertising practice.
Google said its new advertising policy would apply only to the 390 million people who have signed up for Google Plus, the company’s social network. The company can also draw on endorsements made with Google’s +1 button, which is similar to Facebook’s “like” button and appears on sites across the Web.
A user who wants to limit the reach of his or her advertising endorsements could adjust settings so that a positive review for, say, a car is shared only with a small circle of friends on Google Plus, the company said.
Some privacy experts commended the way Google is rolling out the feature by giving users a month’s notice of the changes and options to decline.
“Some people may like the fact that their reviews will be promoted and more influential. Others have a pretty easy way to opt out,” said Jules Polonetsky, executive director of the Future of Privacy Forum.
In May 2012, Google agreed to a $22.5 million FTC fine for misrepresenting its tracking practices on the Safari browser used on Apple devices. The settlement included continued supervision of the firm’s disclosures about how it handles users’ data.
Google said it will display the latest change in its privacy policy on its main home page, through Google Plus notifications and in other prominent places.
Still, some privacy advocates remained skeptical of the search giant.
“This move by Google reflects the growing and unchecked expansion of online data collection by the industry,” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.

Hayley Tsukayama contributed to this report.

miércoles, septiembre 04, 2013

The Snowden Affair/ National Security Archive

Edited by Jeffrey T. Richelson/
Posted – September 4, 2013
On August 12, 2013, President Barack Obama announced (Document 118) the impending creation of a group to review U.S. signals intelligence capabilities and communications technologies. Its mandate would be to "assess whether, in light of advancements in communications technologies, the United States employs its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while appropriately accounting for other policy considerations, such as the risk of unauthorized disclosure and our need to maintain the public trust." That same day, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, Jr. announced (Document 119) that he would be establishing the review group and its final report would be due no later than December 15, 2013.
The catalyst for the president's announcement was an unexpected event that occurred just a little over two months previously. On June 5, a British newspaper, The Guardian, began publishing a series of articles disclosing highly classified aspects of, and documents about, certain National Security Agency (NSA) electronic surveillance operations involving not only extensive collection of foreign communications, including Internet traffic, but the collection of the metadata associated with phone calls (foreign and domestic) made by United States citizens. A few days later, The Guardian revealed its source to be Edward J. Snowden, a former CIA employee who had been working at a NSA facility in Hawaii as an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton.
On June 14, the United States filed a sealed criminal complaint against Snowden, releasing only one page (Document 74) to the public. Subsequently, Snowden departed Hong Kong, where he had been staying for the previous month (reportedly spending his final two days at the Russian consulate[1]), using a SAFEPASS (Document 83) issued by the Ecuadoran embassy in London. He arrived at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport while seeking asylum elsewhere. While in Russia, he issued several statements (Document 97). During that time, the United States sought to discourage nations offering Snowden asylum and pre-emptively requested his extradition (Document 81) from at least one nation.
Snowden's potential movements also became the subject of a letter (Document 91) from his father's lawyer to Attorney General Eric Holder asking for three guarantees to encourage his son to return home, including that he would not be detained or imprisoned prior to trial. Subsequently, in response to reported claims that Snowden feared being tortured if he returned, Holder wrote (Document 105) to the Russian Minister of Justice, assuring him that Snowden would not be tortured or face the death penalty if he returned (or was returned) to the United States.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (Photo: ODNI)
The controversy that has erupted over Snowden and his disclosures is not the first time NSA has been at the center of controversy. In the 1970s, through leaks, investigative reporting, and congressional inquiries, the public learned of projects SHAMROCK and MINARET. The SHAMROCK program (1945-1975) involved several U.S. companies turning over the telegraphic communications that passed over their networks. Project MINARET "was essentially the NSA's watch list" and "used existing SIGINT accesses" to search for "terms, names, and references associated with certain American citizens." While MINARET officially began in 1969, the watch list activity had started at least as early as 1960, and did not originally involve American citizens. In 1975, The Washington Post reported that the watch list had included prominent anti-Vietnam war activists such as Jane Fonda and Benjamin Spock.[2]
In the 1990s, major concern arose — more overseas than in the United States — about a program designated ECHELON. That program involved the installation of software at a select number of "COMSAT Intercept" sites operated by what are today designated the "FIVE EYES" nations — the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The sites intercepted the traffic flowing through communications satellites and the ECHELON software sorted through it (particularly printed fax transmissions), routing those containing pre-selected key words to analysts in whatever FIVE EYES nation had expressed interest. However, claims that ECHELON was a far more extensive global surveillance operation produced an international controversy and a European Parliament investigation.[3]
Perhaps the controversy around ECHELON would have had a significantly longer life had it not been for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. But those events presaged the more recent controversies. In May 2006, USA Today published an article titled "NSA Has Massive Database on Americans' Phone Calls: 3 Telecoms Help Government Collect Billions of Domestic Records."[4] One lawsuit that followed was based on the claims of an AT&T employee (Document 11) concerning a special room containing surveillance equipment at an AT&T San Francisco facility.
However, there was a lack of official acknowledgment or leaked documents to support the claims. Thus, an August 2007 Congressional Research Service examination of the issue (Document 15) noted that "the factual information available in the public domain with respect to any such alleged program is limited and in some instances inconsistent, and the application, if at all, of any possible relevant statutory provisions to any such program is likely a very fact specific inquiry." The CRS study also stated that "It is possible that any information provided to the NSA from the telephone service providers was provided in response to a request for information, not founded on a statutory basis."[5]

National Security Agency headquarters (Photo: National Security Agency)
In contrast, the pre-August 12 disclosures in The Guardian, as well in The Washington Post and the Brazilian media, were based on a variety of document sources. Further, the online stories provided links to many of the key leaked documents, including an inspector general's report on the STELLARWIND Program (Document 23) — also known as the President's Surveillance Program (Document 24) — as well as Top Secret documents specifying procedures concerned with targeting (Document 25) and the 'minimization of data' about U.S. persons (Document 26). Also appearing on the web were selected slides from a 41-slide presentation (Document 55) on a program referred to as PRISM — involving the collection of Internet traffic from a variety of service providers — as well as a presentation on XKEYSCORE (Document 18), which sorts through intercepted traffic.
Along with the PRISM revelations, charges that the U.S. had bugged the facilities of European governments produced the greatest reaction in Europe — and the announcement (Document 95) of an investigation. However, the focus in the United States revolved around two programs, the Section 215 Bulk Collection Program and the 'PRISM' program, the latter based on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act (Document 20).
Among the first documents The Guardian disclosed was a 4-page Top Secret 'Secondary Order' (Document 59) from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that commanded Verizon Business Network Services to provide an electronic copy of two 'tangible' things: "all call detail records or 'telephony metadata' created by Verizon for (i) communications between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States." The government subsequently released a heavily redacted version of the Primary Order (Document 58) from the surveillance court.
The leak of documents concerning the Bulk Collection program had a number of consequences leading up to the review ordered by President Obama. The leaks provided new data on the evolution of the program (Document 12, Document 17), reporting to Congress (Document 28, Document 32), challenges by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and others to the legal interpretations employed to justify the program (Document 10, Document 34, Document 63, Document 90a), as well as official reaction to those challenges (Document 37, Document 90b). The leaks also resulted in attempts by the government (Document 79, Document 92) to provide public reassurance — both with regard to the legality and utility of the program — including a single-spaced 22-page white paper (Document 115). Labeled "Administration White Paper" and lacking any specific agency source, the document seems to include the kind of legal language and justifications that would likely appear in the still-Secret Office of Legal Counsel opinions describing the government's legal bases for the programs. Such attempts also met with rebuttals ( Document 68) by those less convinced of the utility of the Bulk Collection effort.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Photo:
Because of the leaks, DNI James Clapper had to provide various explanations (Document 71, Document 82) for his "no" response to a question Wyden had posed to him at a public hearing in March. Wyden had inquired whether the NSA collected "any kind of data at all" on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.
In addition, there were amendments introduced in Congress that would have terminated the program — including Sen. Rand Paul's (R-KY) "Fourth Amendment Restoration Act" (Document 67) and an amendment (Document 101) by Representatives Justin Amash (R-MI) and John Conyers (D-MI) that would have prohibited funding for execution of any FISA order that did not limit collection to data that pertained to an individual who was the subject of an investigation. Objections to the amendment, which was ultimately defeated by the unexpectedly close margin of 217-205, came from Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Dianne Feinstein (Document 106), the White House (Document 107), and DNI Clapper (Document 108).
The contrast between the Bulk Collection program and the Section 702 'PRISM' program was that there was little dispute that the latter had produced significant intelligence that could be employed in operations against terrorist activities. Still, disclosure of the program was accompanied by the publication of relevant, sometimes Top Secret, documents (Document 18, Document 25, Document 26, Document 55) that produced significant controversy. One element of controversy concerned the specifics of the involvement of key communications providers (e.g. Yahoo, Google, Facebook) in the program — particularly if NSA had direct access to their servers.

National Security Agency director Gen. Keith B. Alexander (Photo: National Security Agency)
A second source of controversy concerned a number of NSA claims made in a fact sheet it had posted on the Web about the 702 program (Document 78). The fact sheet sparked a letter from Senators Wyden and Udall (D-CO) (Document 85) to NSA director Keith Alexander with two objections. The senators wrote to dispute what they considered "an inaccurate statement about how section 702 authority has been interpreted by the U.S. government." In addition, they objected to the statement in the fact sheet that any inadvertently acquired communication concerning a U.S. person that was not relevant to the purpose of the intercept, or evidence of a crime, had to be promptly destroyed. They characterized the statement as "somewhat misleading in that it implies that the NSA had the ability to determine how many American communications it has collected under section 702, or that the law does not allow NSA to deliberately search for the records of particular Americans." In his response (Document 87), Alexander noted that "the fact sheet ... could have more precisely described the requirements for collection under Section 702." Shortly thereafter, the NSA removed both the Section 215 and Section 702 fact sheets from its website.
A number of disclosures and declassifications occurred subsequent to the president's August 12 announcement — primarily from The Washington Post and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Among the documents provided by Snowden to the Post was a Top Secret report (Document 44) on the Washington-based activities of the NSA's Signals Intelligence Directorate, with collection limitations imposed by Executive Order 12333, the FISA, and other regulations. Over the course of a year starting April 2011, it noted 2,776 incidents (2,057 related to the executive order and 719 with regard to FISA). The report attributed the incidents mostly to "roamers" (foreign targets that entered the United States), but they also involved cases of a lack of proper FISC authority, database queries, errors in tasking or detasking, and collection at international transit switches. The Post also first disclosed a 4-page document (Document 125) titled "Targeting Rationale," which focused on what information should, and should not, be provided to FISA Amendments Act "overseers."
On August 21, 2013, the Office of the DNI declassified a collection of relevant documents with Clapper providing an overview in a release letter (Document 123). Included in the documents were a directive on minimization (Document 38) — which was a more recent version of one of the documents that first appeared in The Guardian (Document 26) — as well as testimony before closed Congressional hearings (Document 41) and a semiannual compliance report (Document 113). In addition, there were three 2011-2012 opinions (Document 35, Document 40, Document 48) from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The first of the opinions had been the subject of a lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It noted that "one aspect of the proposed collection — the 'upstream collection' of Internet transactions — is in some respects, deficient on statutory and constitutional grounds." The subsequent opinions (Document 40, Document 48) discussed the adequacy of the government's response to the court's criticism.
Compliance violations had been noted several days before the release in a press briefing (Document 120) by John DeLong, NSA's director of compliance. His disclosures produced reactions from Senate intelligence chairman Feinstein and committee members Wyden and Udall. Feinstein stated (Document 122) that her committee had "never identified an instance in which the NSA has intentionally abused its authority to conduct surveillance for inappropriate purposes," while Wyden and Udall wrote (Document 121) that "we believe Americans should know that this confirmation is just the tip of a larger iceberg."

martes, septiembre 03, 2013

ClubOrlov: Undermining the Surveillance State

[Guest post by Keith Farnish, who has a new book out.]
Some people are prone to sleepwalking. The zombie-fuelled idea of a sleepwalker, with arms outstretched and eyes closed, magically avoiding contact with walls and tables, really isn’t the way people do it. More truthfully, their eyes are open with a level of awareness usually sufficient to avoid serious injury, but with actions more akin to a computer program than a fully aware individual. Many can communicate, of a fashion, but it is cursory and stilted. It’s an appropriate metaphor when describing the functional level of a typical citizen, compared to the fully connected and aware pre-industrial human.

Some people who sleepwalk also have night terrors. They report seeing strange figures looming over them, as if watching their every move – silent, dark, conspiratorial. Not so strange, given the circumstances...
The New Secrecy
I have spent a great deal of time, perhaps too long, pondering conspiracy theories and the vast range of plots being overseen by “those in control” against the ordinary person. It wasn’t so much the nature of these conspiracies, as the nature of the belief in such conspiracies that most interested me. This came to a head when I discovered yet another apparent plot against humanity related to that old chestnut Chemtrails. Apparently people exposed to the precisely-targeted-toxins-from-thirty-thousand-feet are finding strange threads emerging from wounds that HAVE NO EARTHLY ORIGIN! The previous emphasis is that of the Conspiracy Theorists (the capitalization of the previous two words is mine—there has to be some way of identifying crackpot theories from sensible ones).
So, about two-thirds of the way through writing my most recent book, I had a pop at the whole idea of Conspiracy Theories, with the express purpose of clarifying the real dangers we face from those who purport to control our behaviour. If we can learn to look towards that which is obvious and tangible, rather than being distracted by the ethereal and, frankly, bizarre, then we will learn an awful lot and perhaps do something about it. 
Bradley Manning (soon to be Chelsea Manning, which should throw a few libertarians into apoplexy) knew that vast amounts of data were being kept out of the public realm, for no better reason than to protect the murderous activities of those keeping the information secret. His conscience, and his obvious intelligence, gave him little other option than to release what he knew – and conveniently, Wikileaks was in a position to receive that information, and channel it on to the wider media.
Keep reading on ClubOrlov >>

lunes, agosto 26, 2013

How Snowden did it
When Edward Snowden stole the crown jewels of the National Security Agency, he didn’t need to use any sophisticated devices or software or go around any computer firewall.
All he needed, said multiple intelligence community sources, was a few thumb drives and the willingness to exploit a gaping hole in an antiquated security system to rummage at will through the NSA’s servers and take 20,000 documents without leaving a trace.
“It’s 2013 and the NSA is stuck in 2003 technology,” said an intelligence official.
Jason Healey, a former cyber-security official in the Bush Administration, said the Defense Department and the NSA have “frittered away years” trying to catch up to the security technology and practices used in private industry.  “The DoD and especially NSA are known for awesome cyber security, but this seems somewhat misplaced,” said Healey, now a cyber expert at the Atlantic Council. “They are great at some sophisticated tasks but oddly bad at many of the simplest.”
As a Honolulu-based employee of Booz Allen Hamilton doing contract work for the NSA, Snowden had access to the NSA servers via "thin client" computer. The outdated set-up meant that he had direct access to the NSA servers at headquarters in Ft. Meade, Md., 5,000 miles away.
In a “thin client” system, each remote computer is essentially a glorified monitor, with most of the computing power in the central server. The individual computers tend to be assigned to specific individuals, and access for most users can be limited to specific types of files based on a user profile.
But Snowden was not most users. A typical NSA worker has a “top secret” security clearance, which gives access to most, but not all, classified information. Snowden also had the enhanced privileges of a “system administrator.” The NSA, which has as many as 40,000 employees, has 1,000 system administrators, most of them contractors.
As a system administrator, Snowden was allowed to look at any file he wanted, and his actions were largely unaudited. “At certain levels, you are the audit,” said an intelligence official.
He was also able to access NSAnet, the agency’s intranet, without leaving any signature, said a person briefed on the postmortem of Snowden’s theft. He was essentially a “ghost user,” said the source, making it difficult to trace when he signed on or what files he accessed.
If he wanted, he would even have been able to pose as any other user with access to NSAnet, said the source.
The “thin client” system and system administrator job description also provided Snowden with a possible cover for using thumb drives.
The system is intentionally closed off from the outside world, and most users are not allowed to remove information from the server and copy it onto any kind of storage device. This physical isolation – which creates a so-called “air gap" between the NSA intranet and the public internet -- is supposed to ensure that classified information is not taken off premises.
But a system administrator has the right to copy, to take information from one computer and move it to another. If his supervisor had caught him downloading files, Snowden could, for example, have claimed he was using a thumb drive to move information to correct a corrupted user profile.
“He was an authorized air gap,” said an intelligence official.
Finally, Snowden’s physical location worked to his advantage. In a contractor’s office 5,000 miles and six time zones from headquarters, he was free from prying eyes. Much of his workday occurred after the masses at Ft. Meade had already gone home for dinner. Had he been in Maryland, someone who couldn’t audit his activities electronically still might have noticed his use of thumb drives.
It’s not yet certain when Snowden began exploiting the gaps in NSA security. Snowden worked for Booz Allen Hamilton for less than three months, and says he took the job in order to have access to documents. But he may have begun taking documents many months before that, while working with the NSA via a different firm. According to Reuters, U.S. officials said he downloaded documents in April 2012, while working for Dell.
Snowden is thought to have made his initial attempt to offer documents to the media in late 2012, while at Dell.  According to published accounts, he tried to contact Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald in December and started talking to filmmaker Laura Poitras in January.
He began working for Booz Allen in March. In May, he told his supervisor he needed to take time off to deal with a health issue, and then flew to Hong Kong, where he met with Poitras and Greenwald, on May 20. He later told the Guardian that he was downloading documents on his last day at work. The revelations based on his documents started appearing in the Guardian and the Washington Post within weeks.
Snowden is currently living in Russia, where he’s been granted temporary asylum. The U.S. government has charged him with theft and violations of the Espionage Act.
U.S. intelligence officials said recently that they plan to significantly reduce the number of individuals with system administrator privileges.
“U.S. intelligence has invited so many people into the secret realm,” said an intelligence official. “There are potentially tons of Edward Snowdens. But most people aren’t willing to vacuum everything up and break the law.”
The NSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Richard Esposito is the Senior Executive Producer for Investigations at NBC News. Matthew Cole is an investigative reporter at NBC News. He can be reached at
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Retratos de fusilados por el Castrismo - Juan Abreu


"EN TIEMPOS DIFÍCILES" - Heberto Padilla

A aquel hombre le pidieron su tiempo

para que lo juntara al tiempo de la Historia.

Le pidieron las manos,

porque para una época difícil

nada hay mejor que un par de buenas manos.

Le pidieron los ojos

que alguna vez tuvieron lágrimas

para que contemplara el lado claro

(especialmente el lado claro de la vida)

porque para el horror basta un ojo de asombro.

Le pidieron sus labios

resecos y cuarteados para afirmar,

para erigir, con cada afirmación, un sueño


le pidieron las piernas

duras y nudosas

(sus viejas piernas andariegas),

porque en tiempos difíciles

¿algo hay mejor que un par de piernas

para la construcción o la trinchera?

Le pidieron el bosque que lo nutrió de niño,

con su árbol obediente.

Le pidieron el pecho, el corazón, los hombros.

Le dijeron

que eso era estrictamente necesario.

Le explicaron después

que toda esta donación resultaria inútil.

sin entregar la lengua,

porque en tiempos difíciles

nada es tan útil para atajar el odio o la mentira.

Y finalmente le rogaron

que, por favor, echase a andar,

porque en tiempos difíciles

esta es, sin duda, la prueba decisiva.


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La columna de Cubanalisis

NEOCASTRISMO [Hacer click en la imagen]

NEOCASTRISMO [Hacer click en la imagen]
¨Saturno jugando con sus hijos¨/ Pedro Pablo Oliva


Carta desde la carcel de Fidel Castro Ruz

“…después de todo, para mí la cárcel es un buen descanso, que sólo tiene de malo el que es obligatorio. Leo mucho y estudio mucho. Parece increíble, las horas pasan como si fuesen minutos y yo, que soy de temperamento intranquilo, me paso el día leyendo, apenas sin moverme para nada. La correspondencia llega normalmente…”

“…Como soy cocinero, de vez en cuando me entretengo preparando algún pisto. Hace poco me mandó mi hermana desde Oriente un pequeño jamón y preparé un bisté con jalea de guayaba. También preparo spaghettis de vez en cuando, de distintas formas, inventadas todas por mí; o bien tortilla de queso. ¡Ah! ¡Qué bien me quedan! por supuesto, que el repertorio no se queda ahí. Cuelo también café que me queda muy sabroso”.
“…En cuanto a fumar, en estos días pasados he estado rico: una caja de tabacos H. Upman del doctor Miró Cardona, dos cajas muy buenas de mi hermano Ramón….”.
“Me voy a cenar: spaghettis con calamares, bombones italianos de postre, café acabadito de colar y después un H. Upman #4. ¿No me envidias?”.
“…Me cuidan, me cuidan un poquito entre todos. No le hacen caso a uno, siempre estoy peleando para que no me manden nada. Cuando cojo el sol por la mañana en shorts y siento el aire de mar, me parece que estoy en una playa… ¡Me van a hacer creer que estoy de vacaciones! ¿Qué diría Carlos Marx de semejantes revolucionarios?”.


¨La patria es dicha de todos, y dolor de todos, y cielo para todos, y no feudo ni capellaní­a de nadie¨ - Marti

"No temas ni a la prision, ni a la pobreza, ni a la muerte. Teme al miedo"
Giacomo Leopardi

¨Por eso es muy importante, Vicky, hijo mío, que recuerdes siempre para qué sirve la cabeza: para atravesar paredes¨Halvar de Flake [El vikingo]

"Como no me he preocupado de nacer, no me preocupo de morir" - Lorca

"Al final, no os preguntarán qué habéis sabido, sino qué habéis hecho" - Jean de Gerson

"Si queremos que todo siga como está, es necesario que todo cambie" - Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

"Todo hombre paga su grandeza con muchas pequeñeces, su victoria con muchas derrotas, su riqueza con múltiples quiebras" - Giovanni Papini

"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans" - John Lennon

"Habla bajo, lleva siempre un gran palo y llegarás lejos" - Proverbio Africano

"No hay medicina para el miedo" - Proverbio escoces

"El supremo arte de la guerra es doblegar al enemigo sin luchar"
- Sun Tzu

"You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother" - Albert Einstein

"It is inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office" - H. L. Menken

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented" - Elie Wiesel

"Stay hungry, stay foolish" -
Steve Jobs

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert , in five years ther'ed be a shortage of sand" - Milton Friedman

"The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less" - Vaclav Havel

"No se puede controlar el resultado, pero si lo que uno haga para alcanzarlo" -
Vitor Belfort [MMA Fighter]


A la puerta de la gloria está San Pedro sentado y ve llegar a su lado a un hombre de cierta historia. No consigue hacer memoria y le pregunta con celo: ¿Quién eras allá en el suelo? Era Liborio mi nombre. Has sufrido mucho, hombre, entra, te has ganado el cielo.

Para Raul Castro

Cuba ocupa el penultimo lugar en el mundo en libertad economica solo superada por Corea del Norte.

Cuba ocupa el lugar 147 entre 153 paises evaluados en "Democracia, Mercado y Transparencia 2007"

Cuando vinieron

Cuando vinieron a buscar a los comunistas, Callé: yo no soy comunista.
Cuando vinieron a buscar a los sindicalistas, Callé: yo no soy sindicalista.
Cuando vinieron a buscar a los judíos, Callé: yo no soy judío. Cuando vinieron a buscar a los católicos, Callé: yo no soy “tan católico”.
Cuando vinieron a buscarme a mí, Callé: no había quien me escuchara.

Reverendo Martin Niemöller

Martha Colmenares

Martha Colmenares
Un sitio donde los hechos y sus huellas nos conmueven o cautivan


Donde esta el Mundo, donde los Democratas, donde los Liberales? El pueblo de Cuba llora y nadie escucha.
Donde estan los Green, los Socialdemocratas, los Ricos y los Pobres, los Con Voz y Sin Voz? Cuba llora y nadie escucha.
Donde estan el Jet Set, los Reyes y Principes, Patricios y Plebeyos? Cuba desesperada clama por solidaridad.
Donde Bob Dylan, donde Martin Luther King, donde Hollywood y sus estrellas? Donde la Middle Class democrata y conservadora, o acaso tambien liberal a ratos? Y Gandhi? Y el Dios de Todos?
Donde los Santos y Virgenes; los Dioses de Cristianos, Protestantes, Musulmanes, Budistas, Testigos de Jehova y Adventistas del Septimo Dia. Donde estan Ochun y todas las deidades del Panteon Yoruba que no acuden a nuestro llanto? Donde Juan Pablo II que no exige mas que Cuba se abra al Mundo y que el Mundo se abra a Cuba?
Que hacen ahora mismo Alberto de Monaco y el Principe Felipe que no los escuchamos? Donde Madonna, donde Angelina Jolie y sus adoptados around de world; o nos hara falta un Brando erguido en un Oscar por Cuba? Donde Sean Penn?
Donde esta la Aristocracia Obrera y los Obreros menos Aristocraticos, donde los Working Class que no estan junto a un pueblo que lanquidece, sufre y llora por la ignominia?
Que hacen ahora mismo Zapatero y Rajoy que no los escuchamos, y Harper y Dion, e Hillary y Obama; donde McCain que no los escuchamos? Y los muertos? Y los que estan muriendo? Y los que van a morir? Y los que se lanzan desesperados al mar?
Donde estan el minero cantabrico o el pescador de percebes gijonese? Los Canarios donde estan? A los africanos no los oimos, y a los australianos con su acento de hombres duros tampoco. Y aquellos chinos milenarios de Canton que fundaron raices eternas en la Isla? Y que de la Queen Elizabeth y los Lords y Gentlemen? Que hace ahora mismo el combativo Principe Harry que no lo escuchamos?
Donde los Rockefellers? Donde los Duponts? Donde Kate Moss? Donde el Presidente de la ONU? Y Solana donde esta? Y los Generales y Doctores? Y los Lam y los Fabelo, y los Sivio y los Fito Paez?
Y que de Canseco y Miñoso? Y de los veteranos de Bahia de Cochinos y de los balseros y de los recien llegados? Y Carlos Otero y Susana Perez? Y el Bola, y Pancho Cespedes? Y YO y TU?
Y todos nosotros que estamos aqui y alla rumiando frustaciones y resquemores, envidias y sinsabores; autoelogios y nostalgias, en tanto Louis Michel comulga con Perez Roque mientras Biscet y una NACION lanquidecen?
Donde Maceo, donde Marti; donde aquel Villena con su carga para matar bribones?
Cuba llora y clama y el Mundo NO ESCUCHA!!!

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