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According to Classified documents obtained by The Intercept’ s Ryan Gallagher, “The National Security Agency is secretly providing data to nearly two dozen U.S. government agencies with a “Google-like” search engine built to share more than 850 billion records about phone calls, emails, cellphone locations, and internet chats.”
The documents provide the first definitive evidence that the NSA has for years made massive amounts of surveillance data directly accessible to domestic law enforcement agencies. Planning documents for ICREACH, as the search engine is called, cite the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration as key participants.
ICREACH contains information on the private communications of foreigners and, it appears, millions of records on American citizens who have not been accused of any wrongdoing. Details about its existence are contained in the archive of materials provided to The Intercept by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden…
“The ICREACH team delivered the first-ever wholesale sharing of communications metadata within the U.S. Intelligence Community,” noted a top-secret memo dated December 2007. “This team began over two years ago with a basic concept compelled by the IC’s increasing need for communications metadata and NSA’s ability to collect, process and store vast amounts of communications metadata related to worldwide intelligence targets.”
The search tool was designed to be the largest system for internally sharing secret surveillance records in the United States, capable of handling two to five billion new records every day, including more than 30 different kinds of metadata on emails, phone calls, faxes, internet chats, and text messages, as well as location information collected from cellphones. Metadata reveals information about a communication—such as the “to” and “from” parts of an email, and the time and date it was sent, or the phone numbers someone called and when they called—but not the content of the message or audio of the call…
We’ve been following [[Edward Snowden]] since his first leaks of NSA documents. But wow, this is quite the chart that ProPublica has put together. It’s really something to see all of the leaks in this visual format. Thanks ProPublica!
This is a plot of the NSA programs revealed in the past year according to whether they are bulk or targeted, and whether the targets of surveillance are foreign or domestic. Most of the programs fall squarely into the agency’s stated mission of foreign surveillance, but some – particularly those that are both domestic and broad – sweeping – are more controversial.
Hey, check out the new, hot-off-the-presses Radical Reference anti-surveillance zine! It’s chock full of information to keep individuals and libraries safe in our ubiquitous surveillance world. It’s under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA license so feel free to print and hand them out in your library.
Ever since the events of September 11th, something has been happening to our privacy rights. The aftermath of this national tragedy has been an unprecedented expansion of mass surveillance in the name of “national security.” Technological progress has enabled surveillance to be both ubiquitous and ultra-pervasive, seeping into all aspects of the public and private spheres. Recent revelations about dragnet surveillance prove that we are having our data collected, stored and analyzed, even if we’ve been charged with no crime. In this world of mass surveillance, we are all suspects.
Librarians have always been fierce defenders of privacy. As a profession, we’ve opposed undemocratic and illegal threats to 1st and 4th amendment rights from McCarthyism to the USA PATRIOT Act. It’s unsurprising that these issues are of paramount importance to us; as information professionals, we know that privacy is fundamental to freedom. Even more importantly, privacy is vital to human dignity, recognized by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Our freedoms of association, speech, and thought all depend on our privacy.
That’s why we’ve created this anti-surveillance, pro-privacy publication. Information and action is critical to the fight against surveillance. We hope that this publication will help.
Your anti-surveillance Radical Reference Librarians
What’s the opposite of “prestigious?” The National Security Archive today named DNI James Clapper as this year’s Rosemary Award winner. The award — named for Rosemary Woods, Richard Nixon’s secretary who erased 18 1/2 minutes of audio tape key to the Watergate investigation — is awarded each year for worst open government performance. The National Security Archive noted that this year’s award was a team effort as the National Security Agency, Justice Department National Security Division, FBI, and White House were all “awarded” for misleading the public, Congress, the Supreme Court, the wiretap court, and even each other.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has won the infamous Rosemary Award for worst open government performance in 2013, according to the citation published today by the National Security Archive at www.nsarchive.org. Despite heavy competition, Clapper’s “No, sir” lie to Senator Ron Wyden’s question: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” sealed his receipt of the dubious achievement award, which cites the vastly excessive secrecy of the entire U.S. surveillance establishment.
The Rosemary Award citation leads with what Clapper later called the “least untruthful” answer possible to congressional questions about the secret bulk collection of Americans’ phone call data. It further cites other Clapper claims later proved false, such as his 2012 statement that “we don’t hold data on U.S. citizens.” But the Award also recognizes Clapper’s fellow secrecy fetishists and enablers
ALA off target in giving Madison Award to Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies
I’m in 2 minds about this year’s James Madison Award given annually by the American Library Association to “honor individuals or groups who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know at the national level.” Last year’s award was given to computer programer and internet activist [[Aaron Swartz]], “an outspoken advocate for public participation in government and unrestricted access to peer-reviewed scholarly articles.” It was announced yesterday that the Obama administration’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies had received the award.
While I can appreciate that the Obama administration would set up this group to look into US security and surveillance programs, I believe it premature to give this group the Madison award before any of their suggested reforms have been put in place or analyzed for their efficacy at protecting the public’s privacy and 4th amendment rights. Additionally, I find it highly questionable to honor the Obama administration after it has been repeatedly shown to be hypocritical in terms of surveillance, privacy, and government transparency in general [update 2:45PM: case in point, this recent AP news article “Obama Administration Cites ‘National Security’ More Than Ever To Censor, Deny Records”].
Instead, this year’s award ought to have gone to whistleblower Edward Snowden who’s leaks of NSA documents brought to light the NSA’s systematic and unconstitutional surveillance programs and forced the Obama administration to set up the Review Group in the first place — lipstick on a pig?! — if for nothing else to have some positive PR. ALA was already on record in support of needs for reforms of US intelligence community with its Resolution on the Need for Reforms for the Intelligence Community to Support Privacy, Open Government, Government Transparency, and Accountability (Council Document 20.4) — which ironically replaced the Resolution in Support of Whistleblower Edward Snowden a day after that resolution passed and was then rescinded by ALA Council! — so they should have taken this opportunity to do the right thing and honor Mr Snowden with the Madison award.
Today, the American Library Association awarded President Barack Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies the 2014 James Madison Award during the 16th Annual Freedom of Information Day in Washington, D.C. The Presidential Review Group received the award for calling for dozens of urgent and practical reforms to the National Security Agency’s unlawful surveillance programs.
Calling on the government to enhance public trust, the President’s Review Group produced a thoughtful report (PDF) with a blueprint showing how the government can reaffirm its commitment to privacy and civil liberties—all without compromising national security. In the report, the Review Group emphasized the need for transparency and effective oversight, and made recommendations intended to protect U.S. national security and advance foreign policy. Additionally, the Review Group asked the U.S. government to demonstrate the validity of claims that secrecy is necessary.
Members of the Review Group include Richard Clarke, former national security official under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush; Michael Morell, former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency; Geoffrey Stone, law professor at the University of Chicago Law School; Cass Sunstein, professor at Harvard University and Peter Swire, professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology.