Press review about Privacy - Personal Data

[TheGuardian] Xbox Live among game services targeted by US and UK spy agencies

NSA and GCHQ collect gamers' chats and deploy real-life agents into World of Warcraft and Second Life. [...]

The agencies, the documents show, have built mass-collection capabilities against the Xbox Live console network, which has more than 48 million players. Real-life agents have been deployed into virtual realms, from those Orc hordes in World of Warcraft to the human avatars of Second Life. There were attempts, too, to recruit potential informants from the games' tech-friendly users.

[RT] France hands down data privacy fine to Google

French data protection watchdog CNIL [Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés] fined Google 150,000 euros ($204,000) for ignoring its three-month deadline to align its practice of tracking and storing user information with the country’s law.

[...] Back in June CNIL ruled that Google has breached six counts of the country’s privacy laws. The biggest concern was that the company did not provide “sufficient” information to users in terms of how their information was being used and stored.

[Quarz] How a bureaucrat in a struggling country at the edge of Europe found himself safeguarding the world’s data

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) of Ireland was established in 1989. When Ireland lowered its corporate tax rate, Google, Facebook, Apple, LinkedIn, Twitter, eBay and PayPal set up shop.

[WashingtonPost] NSA seeks to build quantum computer that could crack most types of encryption

An article on how quantum computers and computations could be used to break strong encryption and who is working on this. The National Security Agency [NSA], according to documents released by Edward Snowden, is not ahead than their counter parts in private research.

[NYTimes] Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower

This editorial by the New York Times calls on the USA to offer the whistleblower Edward Snowden "a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home [...]."

"Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service."

[Spiegel] Catalog Reveals NSA Has Back Doors for Numerous Devices

The article describes a 50-page catalog that lists devices that support the work of the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) unit of the NSA.

"After years of speculation that electronics can be accessed by intelligence agencies through a back door, an internal NSA catalog reveals that such methods already exist for numerous end-user devices."

[Spiegel] Inside TAO: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit

Three-page article on new revelations about a hacking unit in the National Security Agency (NSA) and a summary of the surveillance already uncovered.

"The NSA's TAO [Tailored Access Operations] hacking unit is considered to be the intelligence agency's top secret weapon. It maintains its own covert network, infiltrates computers around the world and even intercepts shipping deliveries to plant back doors in electronics ordered by those it is targeting."

[BBC] GCHQ and NSA 'track Google cookies'

The latest Snowden leak suggests US and UK cyberspies are taking advantage of Google's proprietary cookie technology in an effort to track suspects.

Documents published by the Washington Post refer to the NSA and GCHQ's use of "GooglePrefIDs" - files containing a numeric code placed on
computers to help the search firm remember users. [...]

[TheGuardian] Edward Snowden to broadcast Channel 4's alternative Christmas Day message

NSA whistleblower records message from Russia, filmed by Laura Poitras, warning of the dangers of a loss of privacy. [...]

Snowden says: [...] "A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They'll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves an unrecorded, unanalysed thought. And that's a problem because privacy matters; privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be." [...]

[TheGuardian] GCHQ and NSA targeted charities, Germans, Israeli PM and EU chief

British and American intelligence agencies had a comprehensive list of surveillance targets that included the EU's competition commissioner, German government buildings in Berlin and overseas, and the heads of institutions that provide humanitarian and financial help to Africa, top-secret documents reveal.

[BBC] Spain levies maximum fine over Google privacy policy

Google has been fined 900,000 euros (£751,000) for breaking Spanish data protection laws. The fine is the maximum it is possible to levy on a firm that has broken the nation's privacy laws. It was imposed after Google changed its privacy policy and started combining personal information across its online services. Google said it had co-operated with the Spanish inquiry and would act once it had seen the agency's full report. [...]

[WashingtonPost] UN votes to protect privacy in digital age

The U.N. General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution [introduced by Brazil and Germany] aimed at protecting the right to privacy against unlawful surveillance in the digital age on Wednesday in the most vocal global criticism of U.S. eavesdropping.

[ArsTechnica] Updated: Federal judge finds NSA phone spying likely unconstitutional

[A federal judge in Washington D.C. has ruled that the National Security Agency (NSA) spying revealed this year violated and violates the U.S. constitution. This might force some NSA programmes to be shut down.]

In Leon's reading of the record, the government isn't merely trying to investigate possible terrorists. It's trying to do so as fast as it possibly can. [...] "But the Government can't cite a single instance where the bulk metadata program" actually stopped an imminent attack. [...]

[NYTimes] Judge Questions Legality of N.S.A. Phone Records

A federal district judge ruled on Monday that the National Security Agency program that is systematically keeping records of all Americans’ phone calls most likely violates the Constitution, describing its technology as “al most Orwellian” and suggesting that James Madison would be “aghast” to learn that the government was encroaching on liberty in such a way.

[Reuters] Opponents of French surveillance law race to get support for review

Opponents of a new law in France that expands government powers to monitor phone and Internet connection data without judicial review scrambled for support on Thursday to force a review by the Constitutional Council.

The measure, tucked in a military budget law passed on Tuesday, grants monitoring powers to more agencies such as tax and finance authorities, broadens the grounds for surveillance, and strips judges of the power to review monitoring requests. […]