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The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.

[NYTimes] Mass Surveillance Isn’t the Answer to Fighting Terrorism

Most of the men who carried out the Paris attacks were already on the radar of intelligence officials in France and Belgium, where several of the attackers lived only hundreds of yards from the main police station, in a neighborhood known as a haven for extremists. As one French counterterrorism expert and former defense official said, this shows that “our intelligence is actually pretty good, but our ability to act on it is limited by the sheer numbers.” In other words, the problem in this case was not a lack of data, but a failure to act on information authorities already had.

In fact, indiscriminate bulk data sweeps have not been useful. In the more than two years since the N.S.A.’s data collection programs became known to the public, the intelligence community has failed to show that the phone program has thwarted a terrorist attack. Yet for years intelligence officials and members of Congress repeatedly misled the public by claiming that it was effective. [...]

Mr. Comey, for example, has said technology companies like Apple and Google should make it possible for law enforcement to decode encrypted messages the companies’ customers send and receive. But requiring that companies build such back doors into their devices and software could make those systems much more vulnerable to hacking by criminals and spies. Technology experts say that government could just as easily establish links between suspects, without the use of back doors, by examining who they call or message, how often and for how long. [...]

[Slate] The Paris attacks weren't stopped by metadata surveillance. That hasn't stopped officials from saying it might have. They're wrong.

Since terrorists struck Paris last Friday night, the debate over whether encryption prevents intelligence services from stopping attacks has reignited. [...]

France—which rewrote its surveillance laws after the Charlie Hebdo attack earlier this year—has its own surveillance system. Both are in place, yet neither detected the Nov. 13 plot. This means they failed to alert authorities to the people they should more closely target via both electronic and physical surveillance. In significant part, this system appears to have failed before it even got to the stage at which investigators would need to worry about terrorists’ use of encryption. [...]

If the metadata dragnet works, that can happen even with encrypted communication. [...]

It all comes back to this triage, which is in significant part about how well the intelligence community uses that forest of metadata to pick whom it should target.

“Knowing who someone communicates with is metadata, not content, and most encrypted protocols (e.g. WhatsApp, Telegram, etc.) don’t change this,” Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute at UC–Berkeley explains. [...]

The terrorists who conducted Friday’s attack may well have been using encryption. But if so, it appears that the metadata dragnet failed well before agencies got to any encrypted communications.

[TheIntercept] NYT Editorial Slams "Disgraceful" CIA Exploitation of Paris Attacks, But Submissive Media Role Is Key

A truly superb New York Times editorial this morning mercilessly shames the despicable effort by U.S. government officials to shamelessly exploit the Paris attacks to advance long-standing agendas. [...]

They point out that the NSA’s mass surveillance powers to be mildly curbed by post-Snowden reforms are ineffective and, in any event, have not yet stopped. [...]

To begin with, there’s literally zero evidence that the Paris attackers used encryption. There are reasons to believe they may not have (siblings and people who live near each other have things called “face-to-face communications”).

Even if they had used encryption (which, just by the way, the U.S. government funds and the GOP protected in the 1990s), that would not mean we should abolish it or give the U.S. government full backdoor access to it — any more than face-to-face plotting means we should allow the government to put monitors in everyone’s homes to prevent this type of “going dark.” Silicon Valley has repeatedly said there’s no way to build the U.S. government a “backdoor” that couldn’t also be used by any other state or stateless organization to invade. [...]

Why do the CIA and other U.S. government factions believe — accurately — that they can get away with such blatant misleading and lying? The answer is clear: because, particularly after a terror attack, large parts of the U.S. media treat U.S. intelligence and military officials with the reverence usually reserved for cult leaders, whereby their every utterance is treated as Gospel, no dissent or contradiction is aired, zero evidence is required to mindlessly swallow their decrees, anonymity is often provided to shield them from accountability, and every official assertion is equated with Truth, no matter how dubious, speculative, evidence-free, or self-serving. [...]

[TheGuardian] Broadband bills will have to increase to pay for snooper's charter, MPs are warned

ISPs tell Commons select committee that £175m budgeted by government for implementation will not cover ‘massive costs’ of collecting everyone’s data [...]

Internet service providers (ISP) told a Commons select committee that the legislation, commonly known as the snooper’s charter, does not properly acknowledge the “sheer quantity” of data generated by a typical internet user, nor the basic difficulty of distinguishing between content and metadata. [...]

“The indiscriminate collection of mass data is going to have a massive cost,” [...]

The law incorporates language which requires communications service providers to obey government requests for building ongoing technical capability for the enactment of interception warrants, including by removing “electronic protection” from their communications. [...]

Meanwhile, in a presentation in Brazil, the UN’s special rapporteur on privacy, Joe Cannataci, attacked the government’s defence of the data-collection aspects of the bill. [...]

[TheGuardian] Facebook says governments demanding more and more user data

Government requests for account data globally jumped 18% in the first half of 2015 to 41,214 accounts, up from 35,051 requests in the second half of 2014, Facebook said in a blogpost. [...]

Most government requests related to criminal cases, such as robberies or kidnappings, Facebook said. The government often requested basic subscriber information, IP addresses or account content, including people’s posts online. [...]

France, Germany and Britain also made up a large percentage of the requests and had far more content restricted in 2015. [...]

“Facebook does not provide any government with ‘back doors’ or direct access to people’s data,” Facebook wrote. [...]

[Fokus] Edward Snowden interview with Dagens Nyheter

The American tradition in regard to whistleblowers is to try to bury them, Edward Snowden says. [...]

Being a whistleblower is not about who you are; it’s about what you’ve seen. Whistleblowers are elected by circumstance, anybody can do it. It’s about people who watch, who think, and who eventually respond. [...]

It’s not like anybody at the NSA is a villain. No one’s sitting there thinking ”how can I destroy democracy?” They’re good people doing bad things for what they believe is a good reason. They think the end justifies the means. [...]

When they use the word security, they’re not talking about safety. What they’re talking about is stability. Like when they’re saying that they’re saving lives by bombing them. Stability is the new highest value. It’s not about freedom, it’s not about liberty, it’s not even about safety. It’s about avoiding change. It’s about ensuring that things are predictable, shapeable, because then they are controllable. [...]

Journalists should feel at least some sense of obligation that corresponds to performing a public service. Helping people understand what they need to know, just as much as what they want to know. They can only govern with the consent of the governed. But consent isn’t consent if it isn’t informed. [...]

CIA, NSA and DIA (Defence Intelligence Agency) Directors all have been brought on the floor of the congress and they have been asked by my strongest critics, begged for any evidence, that any national security interest has been harmed, that any individual has come to harm. And not in any single case have they shown concrete evidence that this occurred. [...]

A federal judge noted that the US does not cite a single case ”in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection” actually stopped an imminent terrorist attack. [...]

Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide, is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say, or the freedom of press because you’re not a journalist, or the freedom of religion because you’re not a Christian. Rights in societies are collective, and individual. You can’t give away the rights of a minority, even if you vote as a majority. Rights are inherent to our nature, they’re not granted by governments, they’re guaranteed by governments. They’re protected by governments. [...]

[Reuters] UK unveils powers to spy on Web use, raising privacy fears

Britain unveiled plans on Wednesday for sweeping new surveillance powers, including the right to find out which websites people visit, measures ministers say are vital to keep the country safe but which critics denounce as an assault on freedoms. [...]

May said that many of the new bill's measures merely updated existing powers or spelled them out. [...]

May said there would be no new ban on encryption, but in its guide to the bill, the Home office said there was an existing requirement on CSPs "to maintain permanent interception capabilities, including maintaining the ability to remove any encryption applied by the CSP".

The bill would also place explicit obligations on service providers to help intercept data and hack suspects' devices, which U.S. experts said might defeat any encryption that remains, such as the end-to-end encryption on Apple's iMessages.

As well as being able to carry out bulk interception of communications data, the security services would be allowed to perform "equipment interference", whereby spies take over computers or smartphones to access their data. [...]

[TheGuardian] Theresa May unveils UK surveillance measures in wake of Snowden claims

New surveillance powers will be given to the police and security services, allowing them to access records tracking every UK citizen’s use of the internet without any judicial check, under the provisions of the draft investigatory powers bill unveiled by Theresa May. [...]

The draft bill explicitly includes in statute for the first time powers for the bulk collection of large volumes of communications and other personal data by MI5, GCHQ, MI6 and for their use of “equipment interference powers” – the ability to hack computers and phones around the world – for purposes of national security, serious crime and economic wellbeing. [...]

In her statement, May also revealed for the first time that successive governments since 2001 have issued secret directions to internet and phone companies to hand over the communications data of British citizens in bulk to the security services. [...]

May revealed that the use of these powers – which show that GCHQ was also engaged in mass surveillance programmes on British citizens using their communications data – under the 1984 Telecommunications Act will be put on a more explicit footing in the new legislation and be subject to the same safeguards as other bulk powers. [...]

Jim Killock, the executive director of the privacy campaigning body Open Rights Group, sees the draft bill as an attempt to secure even more intrusive powers. “At first glance, it appears that this bill is an attempt to grab even more intrusive surveillance powers and does not do enough to restrain the bulk collection of our personal data by the secret services,” he said. [...]

[DW] Report: NSA electronic catchword targeting in EU nations widespread

An NSA catchword surveillance list contains numerous European and German targets, according to a German news magazine. According to its report, a German federal investigator has concluded that US spying was widespread. [...]

Almost 70 percent of those catchwords supposedly prohibited by the BND related to government institutions as well as firms located in EU countries. Sixteen percent of the list related to telecommunications users within Germany, "Spiegel" added.

Reuters subsequently reported that Graulich had found listings with the email addresses of the "whole" headquarters staff of European governments. [...]

PKG vice chairman Clemens Binniger, a member of Merkel's Christian Democrats, told DPA that it was assumed that some of the BND's catchword usage had not been legally covered.

"Spiegel" reported at the time that the BND had spied on embassies and institutions of other EU nations and partner countries, including those of France and the US. [...]

[TheIntercept] European Parliament Says Snowden Should Be Welcomed in Europe

The European Parliament voted on Thursday to call on its member states to welcome “human rights defender” Edward Snowden to Europe with open arms. [...]

The resolution is a purely symbolic move, with no legal weight. Although a majority of the Parliament voted in favor, the body has only an advisory role in the European Union’s complicated system of governance — and no direct control over its member states. [...]

The language adopted on Thursday also requests that a study of whistleblower protections be conducted in the European Union, and that there be more direct protections for whistleblowers and journalists alike. [...]

Meanwhile, however, heightened surveillance laws are being approved in various European countries, including France, the U.K. and the Netherlands. Just this week, the French Senate passed an international surveillance law that would allow French spy agencies to indiscriminately collect foreigners’ communications.

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