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Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Least Secretive Of Nations Is The Strongest Of Nations Update-2

Originally Published October 28, 2013; Last Updated  November 19, 2017; Last Republished November 19, 2017: 

Our government's unmeasured and unconstrained psychotic pursuit of secret surveillance initiatives undermines and threatens both our democracy and its foundational First Amendment.

Only after the intervention of a courageous young whistleblower-leaker, competitive China and cantankerous Russia has some of our government's representatives begun to acknowledge that our government's secret surveillance initiatives require constraints.

Our government representatives' acknowledgement that its secret surveillance initiatives require constraints is a good beginning. However, the acknowledgement must be coupled with government transparency, significant whistleblower-leaker reforms and inviolable reporter shields, but that will require the intervention of our increasingly concerned citizenry.  

Res:

UPDATED 03/18/2016 CRS, Encryption: Selected Legal Issues Mar 2016 (courtesy FAS)
UPDATED 02/26/2016 Scribd, Apple's Motion to Vacate Magistrate Order Directing Apple to Render Technical Assistance to FBI Re Opening Encrypted Device ED No. CM 16-1(SP) and Wired, FBI Motion for Apple Assistance Re Opening Encrypted Device ED No. 15-0451M

UPDATED 02/25/2016 YouTube, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, World Wide Threats Hearing, February 25, 2016

UPDATED 02/23/2016 CRS, Encryption and Evolving Technology: Implications for U.S. Law Enforcement Investigations (courtesy, FAS)

UPDATED 06/29/2015 Intercept, How the NSA Started Investigating the New York Times’ Warrantless Wiretapping Story

UPDATED 06/24/2015 Independent, A Question of Trust, Report of the Investigatory Powers Review by David Anderson Q.C. Independent reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, June 2015 (pdf)

UPDATED 07/14/2014 IETF, RFC 7258, Pervasive Monitoring Is an Attack dated May 2014 (pdf) and IETF RFC 7258, Pervasive Monitoring Is an Attack dated May 2014 (txt)
enWikipedia, Protection of Sources

Web:

UPDATED 11/19/2017 SNL, WikiLeaks Cold Open



UPDATED 11/13/2017 NYT, Security Breach and Spilled Secrets Have Shaken the N.S.A. to Its Core and Atlantic, The NSA Should Delete Its Trove of Data on Americans

UPDATED 11/09/2017 GoogleTalk, Timothy Edgar: "Beyond Snowden: Privacy, Mass Surveillance, and the Struggle


UPDATED 09/21/2017 Reuters, Distrustful U.S. allies force spy agency to back down in encryption fight and ReutersTV, Distrustful U.S. allies force NSA To Retreat In Encryption Row



UPDATED 09/16/2017 HarvardCrimson, After Backlash, Kennedy School Withdraws Manning's Fellowship
"They all cowered silently in their places, seeming to know in advance that some terrible thing was about to happen." —George Orwell, Animal Farm—
The Dean of Harvard Kennedy School, Douglas W. Elmendorf  gets it wrong when confronted with the relatively simple call of supporting our First Amendment or cowering under a government threat or intimidation—honorific isn't the word that comes to mind when thinking of Harvard!†



† Other higher educational institutions are failing to make sure our First Amendment receives robust support, usually citing a variety of familiar "security impediments" to on campus appearances by controversial or deplorable speakers.

We arrest violent anarchists masquerading as modern-day Antifa or self-appointed saviors of our democracy, not cite them as justification for cancelling the on campus appearances by controversial or even deplorable speakers.

The standard for inviting on campus speakers is not whether those speakers will arouse sufficient passions such that it interferes with law enforcement's ability to stand around talking on their cellphones or will need overtime.

UPDATED 08/31/2017 TedxStanford, American Spies and CiS, Beyond Snowden: Privacy, Mass Surveillance And The Struggle To Reform The NSA and Worldcat, Beyond Snowden: Privacy, Mass Surveillance And The Struggle To Reform The NSA


UPDATED 06/13/2017 Bloomberg, Russian Cyber Hacks on U.S. Electoral System Far Wider Than Previously Known and Intercept, Top-Secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election and DocCloud, NSA Report on Russia Spearphishing

It is unclear why our governments persist with its opaque ways of governing, which contumeliously dares our citizenry to inform themselves, understand issues, or provide meaningful and timely feedback to their representatives!

National security is not a justification for opaque governance, but a source and method of ensuring and assuring open (i.e. transparent) governance.


(from the Bloomberg archive: SoundCloud, How Experts Traced The DNC Hack To Russian Spies [CrowdStrike and Fidelis Cybersecurity analysis] and Bloomberg, How to Hack an Election: Confessions of a Political Hacker)

It's worth noting that cyber hackers are a "dime a dozen"—elegant cyber hackers are dozens with signatures as unique as a set of folded proteins.

UPDATED 06/01/2017 Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation v. NSA and ACLU, Victory! Court Allows Wikimedia’s Challenge to NSA Surveillance to Go Forward and DocCloud, Report on the Special Study of NSA Controls to Comply with the FISA Amendments Act §§704 and 705(b) Targeting and Minimization Procedures ST-15-0002 dated 7 January 2016 and DocCloud, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ("FISC" or "Court") in the matter of the "Government's Ex Parte Submission of Reauthorization Certifications and Related Procedures, Ex Parte Submission of Amended Certifications, and Request for an Order Approving Such Certifications and Amended Certifications," which was filed on September 26, 2016 ("September 26, 2016 Submission"), and the "Government's Ex Parte Submission of Amendments to DNI/AG 702(g) Certifications and Ex Parte Submission of Amended Targeting and Minimization Procedures," which was filed on March 30, 2017 ("March 30, 2017 Submission"). (Collectively, the September 26, 2016 and March 30, 2017 Submissions will be referred to herein as the "2016 Certification Submissions." dated April 26, 2017 and DNI, IC on the Record (ICOTR) Transparency Tracker and Reuters, NSA sued by Wikimedia, rights groups over mass surveillance dated March 2015



Our government is taking nano-steps to increase transparency after it completely destroyed its credibility on the issues of "secrecy and surveillance".

Illegally querying an estimated 5% of collected upstream intelligence is astonishingly irreconcilable with all notions of democracy, privacy, government responsibility or restraint.

The ongoing debate over renewal of FISA Section 702 presents an opportunity to step up our government's transparency game on issues of "secrecy and surveillance". Restoration of its credibility on issues of "secrecy and surveillance" is more difficult and problematic.

UPDATED 05/25/2017 Atlantic, 'Arrogant, Wrong' : U.K. Blasts U.S. Leaks of Manchester Attack

Before Britian's Prime Minister Theresa May repeats ad nauseam the threat to withhold intelligence for our "leaking", she might consider whether we can see better with four-eyes or five-eyes?

Instead of threatening our increasingly transparent nation, how about if Britain becomes more transparent by abolishing your anachronistic "Official Secrets" law and stepping up Britain's transparent governance game?
UPDATED 05/19/2017 WP, Sweden Drops Assange Rape Allegation, But Britain Says WikiLeaks Founder Still Faces Arrest
UPDATED 05/17/2017 Guardian, Chelsea Manning Released from Military Prison UPDATED 05/04/2107 Time, FBI Director James Comey Testifies Before The Senate

The clear befuddlement about leaks, classification, declassification, secrecy, and transparency show our leaders will not soon be openly governing our nation and citizenry.


It's unclear whether the FBI and the senator from Nebraska are asserting or implying that there is no First Amendment value in intelligence porn or that intelligence is porn or they know intelligence porn when they see it or ...?

UPDATED 05/01/2017 Economist, In pursuit of WikiLeaks

What our intelligence community thinks about leaks is predictable and thus has little useful information. Contrarily, information, which helps our government learn how to govern transparently is infinitely more useful.

UPDATED 04/14/2017 Wired, Major Leak Suggests NSA Was Deep in Middle East Banking System
UPDATED 05/03/2017 Intercept, Trump’s CIA Director Pompeo, Targeting WikiLeaks, Explicitly Threatens Speech and Press Freedoms

A government, official or agency that perceives itself  a target of an open, free, and independent press will generally perceive that open, free, and independent press as hostile, usually in private.


The irony of our CIA publicly declaring the anti-secrecy Wikileaks platform a hostile intelligence agency is rich, to say the least. Although, it's disquieting to hear an intelligence official express dismay that governments would use a quasi-anonymous anti-secrecy platform as a cheap and efficient way to run propaganda campaigns!?


As our "new" alt-white-house and self-declared omniscience oracle demonstrates, sometimes you love anti-secrecy and sometimes you don't. Our "new" alt-white-house is Exhibit A for an open, free, and independent press or in newspeak "the enemy of the people"!


Governments, officials, and agencies on the right side of history will quickly learn how to govern openly and transparently instead of publicly declaring war on an open, free, and independent press.

UPDATED 03/14/2017 AP, WikiLeaks publishes CIA trove alleging wide scale hacking and NYT, WikiLeaks Releases Trove of Alleged C.I.A. Hacking Documents and Wikileaks, Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed


UPDATED 12/27/2016 CCTV, The Heat— Snowden 12/27/2016


UPDATED 12/17/2016 POGO, NSA Watchdog Removed for Whistleblower Retaliation
UPDATED 12/16/2016 Reuters, U.S. to disclose estimate of surveilled Americans by early 2017: letter

It's a start on a loooooooooong road...

UPDATED 12/05/2016 Yahoo, Exclusive: Face-to-face with Edward Snowden in Moscow on Trump, Putin and dwindling hopes of a presidential pardon
UPDATED 11/23/2016 SA, Trump Proposes an Advocate of Mass Public Surveillance as CIA Chief: Mike Pompeo wants to collect bulk data for detailed profiles of anyone who uses the Internet

You might suppose our successive governments could or would learn to lessen their pathological addiction to secrecy and mass surveillance. You'd be wrong, because, we're continuously and fervently told "their government" is "different" or "exceptional"11.

UPDATED 11/07/2016 WilsonCenter, Civil Liberties in the Age of Terrorism Part 1 and Civil Liberties in the Age of Terrorism Part 2



More video from WilsonCenter, Protecting Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law in the Age of Terrorism conference.

Those familiar with our nation's reasoned and unreasoned responses to perceived threats do not doubt its propensity for imbalanced and unbalanced overreactions. Rarely, if ever are these overreactions endogenously self-correcting in the opaque systems of national security secrecy.

The current processes (e.g. NSA minimization and FISA etc.) are neither endogenous nor self-correcting and amount to little more than gobbledygook and hocus pocus.10

UPDATED 10/17/2016 BBC, UK spy agencies broke privacy rules says tribunal
UPDATED 09/23/2016 FASSecrecy, When the President Pardoned a Leaker

Presidential pardons, whistle-blower protections, media-press shields, affirmative legal defenses, evidentiary exclusions, spying, leaks, and transparency are tools in the effective government-citizen's toolkit used to run, manage, and support a credible intelligence community.

Opacity9 is not part of an any democratic citizen-government's effective toolkit used to run, manage, and support a credible intelligence community.

UPDATED 09/20/2016 FASSecrecy, Sorting Through the Snowden Aftermath

Sorting through the Snowden aftermath (NSA leaks) will likely prove difficult or impossible for many years? Our government has determined a priori that our citizenry has not been "cleared" and does not have a "need to know" the information required for any meaningful analysis and debate! Fortunately, such drivel from our intelligence communities is often being met by our citizenry's increasingly vociferous demands for government transparency.


General Michael Hayden makes a strong case for pardoning Snowden and other NSA whistleblowers when he states:
"...it will take years, if not decades for us to return to the position we had prior to his disclosure..."
Notwithstanding the House of Representatives' letter, our nation must never return to place before the Snowden disclosures. Our nation must lead in field of transparent governance, not just lecture others on the subject!

UPDATED 08/24/2016 Guardian, WikiLeaks posted medical files of rape victims and children, investigation finds and NPR, Save The Children Ex-Employee Leaks Details About Refugee Abuse On Nauru
Governments, regimes, and failed states cite incidents of transparency, which results in perceived harm to persons, usually to justify, support, continue, or extend their policies of opaqueness.  Rarely, if ever do these entities voluntarily reveal and explain the more numerous (some might argue continuous) episodes of government opaqueness that result in harm.

Australia and other opaque governments, including the United States often use non-disclosure agreements, which include draconian penalties to coerce compliance with their policies of opaqueness, even  in the face of the most infandous harm. The rule of law demands that government non-disclosure agreements, which hide infandous harm are void ab initio.

Fortunately, most major nations agree to transparently govern, but argue ad infinitum whether transparent means translucent?!

UPDATED 08/24/2016 CSM, NSA leak rattles cybersecurity industry Really!? and Intercept, The NSA Leak Is Real, Snowden Documents Confirm NSA's unprecedented recklessness has turned it into a target!


UPDATED 05/31/2016 Guardian, Eric Holder says Edward Snowden performed 'public service' with NSA leak

Instead of calling a leaker a traitor we can refer to them as citizens' informants, guaranteeing them a proper level of protection?

A government secretly misbehaving is unlikely to fully appreciate the benefits of public disclosure, total transparency, or citizen disapprobation.

UPDATED 05/23/2016 Guardian, Future of national security whistleblowing at stake in US inquiry
UPDATED 05/22/2016  Reuters, U.S. targets spying threat on campus with proposed research clampdown

The burdens of such a program are likely to far outweigh any benefits (mostly imagined). Our universities must not be required to get a license from some anonymous military officer at the political desk of our State Department to teach students computational biology or any other subject or conduct laboratory experiments.

Just another dangerous and mischievous form of watch listing more indicative of fascist and dictatorial forms of governments than a leading democracy.

UPDATED 05/22/2016 SA, What the Apple vs. FBI Debacle Taught Us
UPDATED 05/17/2016 Intercept, Snowden Archive—The SIDToday Files  and NYT, Intercept Publishes N.S.A.'s Internal Articles Detailing Employee Life [or more appropriately lack thereof]

Only in the constipated compartments of our cloistered clandestine communities are these data considered classified!

The acronym SID substitutes for Signals  Intelligence Data

UPDATED 04/29/2016 Atlantic, The Supreme Court Expands FBI Hacking Powers Proposal to amend Rule 4, 41, and 45 of the Federal Federal Rules of Criminal Proceedure, effective Dec2016 unless changed by Congress.

UPDATED 04/04/2016 Panama Law Firm’s Leaked Files Detail Offshore Accounts Tied to World Leaders



The most important and interesting part of this leaked data and whistle-blowing story has not yet been told—law firm Mossack Fonseca's et al. assertion that what they've been doing is legal—sound familiar?

UPDATED 03/29/2016 WP, DOJ Motion to Vacate Search of Apple iPhoneUPDATED 03/19/2016 MB, Lavabit's Forgotten Encryption Fight Looms Over the Apple Case
UPDATED 03/15/2016 Crypto-gram, March 15, 2016 Includes a great survey of links related to Apple v FBI

UPDATED 03/14/2016 Deadline, President Obama’s SXSW Keynote: Call To Action, Memes Aimed At Tech World (includes transcript of the President's keynote interview/remarks)

Mr. President, "healthy skepticism" of trust in our government, really? How about catastrophic collapse of trust in  our government! Your SXSW appearance may be necessary, but grossly insufficient to repair the rapidly diminishing trust in our government.


SXSW (left video) Apple Encryption Question Begins at Approximately 34:10

Absolutist's logic is not required to decry any model that eliminates our citizenry's personal privacy based on outlier events.

It is useful to recall that pursuit of absolute encryption for personal privacy, if achievable, is likely potentiated and propelled by our government's propensity for unconstrained, unaccountable, unmeasured, or unconstitutional action.

Stated differently, Mr. President our FBI lost the current Apple encryption debate before it began.

UPDATED 03/08/2016 Guardian, FBI quietly changes its privacy rules for accessing NSA data on Americans
UPDATED 03/03/2016 NPR, FBI Chief And Apple's Top Lawyer Head Into First Encryption Hearing and NPR, New York Judge Sides With Apple In Another Legal Faceoff With The Government
and Wired, Top iPhone Hackers Ask Court to Protect Apple From the FBI
UPDATED 02/25/2016 NewYorker, Daily Cartoon, Thursday February 25th; "Apple Comes Up With a Phone That's Impossible To Unlock" and MoJo, FBI Director Ducks the Most Important Question in the Apple Fight and SA, Apple Defiant as FBI iPhone Deadline Approaches and LAT, FBI director calls Apple case 'hardest question' in government and WP, Apple says FBI seeks ‘dangerous power,’ files motion opposing court order to help unlock iPhone and Wired, Apple May Use a First Amendment Defense in That FBI Case. And It Just Might Work

UPDATED 02/24/2016 BBC, Bill Gates calls for terror data debate and HouseR, Congressman Ted Lieu Statement [to FBI Director] on Apple Court Order

"Should governments be able to access [all] information at all or should they be blind, that's essentially what we are talking about," he told the BBC.

Like all complex policy questions balanced responses are rarely binary; it depends on the competing interests.

Surely, our government (all three branches) must be completely disabused of any notions that it can chant what it considers talismanic words like "terror" or "national security" or "grave danger" or "existential threat" or "capable of chewing through hydraulic hoses" or  "[fill in your favorite secret, undisclosed or unsubstantiated hyperbole]" entitles it to (un)conditional access to any information.

UPDATED 02/22/2016 Atlantic, Apple vs. the FBI: James Comey Chimes In and Reuters, U.S. government, Apple take encryption case to court of public opinion

Law enforcement should never be ashamed to inform any victim(s) that they pursed all investigative leads as far as conflicting and competing public policy, interests, as represented by the law permitted.

Pursuing leads is not synonymous with obtaining (un)expected information—pursuit of leads is often truncated for a variety of limitations (e.g. mistake, ability, policy, economic, capability, technical, legal, chance, uncertainty, ignorance, irrelevance etc.).

UPDATED 02/19/2016 NYT, Justice Department Calls Apple’s Refusal to Unlock iPhone a ‘Marketing Strategy’

How soon before, our duplicitous and now pouting proponents of secrecy, through their spokesperson(s) over at our FBI transparently inform our citizenry in court filings that anyone not cowering when confronted with the government's talismanic words "national security" has blood on their hands?

UPDATED 02/19/2016 WP, Apple vows to resist FBI demand to crack iPhone linked to San Bernardino attacks and NYT, Apple Fights Order to Unlock San Bernardino Gunman’s iPhone and Reuters, Apple phone ruling reignites privacy vs law enforcement debate and Wired, Apple’s FBI Battle Is Complicated. Here’s What’s Really Going On


How ironic that our government now seeks to rely on transparency and the law in its "fight against terrorism"—after our duplicitous proponents of secrecy effectively shredded all government  trust and credibility.

UPDATED 02/05/2016 Commonwealth, Barry Eisler, Former CIA Directorate of Operations


UPDATED 02/05/2016 Wired, Julian Assange’s 3.5-Year Detainment in Embassy Ruled Unlawful
UPDATED 02/01/2016 NYT, New Technologies Give Government Ample Means to Track Suspects, Study Finds

It's encouraging that some of our citizenry are beginning to challenge not only government opaqueness, but it’s routine forecasts of certain harm when required to operate transparently.


UPDATED 01/29/2016 Intercept, Spies in the Sky
UPDATED 12/31/2015 WSJ, U.S. Spy Net on Israel Snares Congress and NYT, House Intelligence Chair Seeks Answers on NSA Spying Report and Intercept, Spying on Congress and Israel: NSA Cheerleaders Discover Value of Privacy Only When Their Own Is Violated

The creators of a system of mass surveillance are surprised when it surveils them—really?

Transcripts and mp3s (will enable more efficient and effective parodies and jokes) of the the intercepted conversations should be made published in their entirety.

UPDATED 12/05/2015 Fortune, NSA Surveillance Programs Are Far From Over Despite New Limitations

UPDATED 11/28/2015 Reuters, NSA to shut down bulk phone surveillance program by Sunday

Oversight of our intelligence community cowboys, who tend to think any schemes they dream up are acceptable, provided they attach the talismanic phrase "national security", requires much more than terminating one unconstrained, unaccountable, unmeasured, and unconstitutional program.

UPDATED 11/20/2015 Ted, Art that lets you talk back to NSA spies


UPDATED 11/17/2015 SA, Weakening Encrypted Communications Would Do Little to Stop Terrorist Attacks, Experts Say

Unsurprisingly, some individuals in our intelligence components cite strong encryption for the inability to provide timely terrorist related data, which some individuals in our government seek ... wonder if these individuals are trying to govern using with an obsolete model?

...using an obsolete model to pursue counter (or defeat kill if you're a congressional religious zealot) those using an obsolete model—it would be hilarious absent the created carnage.

UPDATED 11/16/2015 SA, NSA Efforts to Evade Encryption Technology Damaged U.S. Cryptography Standard
 
This is an earlier article republished by Scientific American as a reminder of our government's efforts to intentionally weaken an encryption standard it promoted.

UPDATED 11/10/2015 U.S. judge rules against NSA in phone spying case
UPDATED 11/05/2015 Reveal, California increases scrutiny of cellphone surveillance

UPDATED 11/04/2015 Guardian, Theresa May unveils UK surveillance measures in wake of Snowden claims  MPs demonstrate how not to legislate for increased Internet security.

UPDATED 10/19/2015 NYT, The NYPD Is Using Mobile X-Ray Vans to Spy on Unknown Targets

Who could ever believe that a Bill Bratton bozo blueprint would include blasting urban bodies with ionizing radiation?

One begins to wonder whether "the terrorists" or well-intended, unconstrained, unmeasured, and unaccountable bozo blueprints surveilling "the terrorists" are more of a threat!

UPDATED 10/06/2015 Reuters, Schrems: the law student who brought down a transatlantic data pact
UPDATED 09/17/2015 Ted, How to Avoid Surveillance...With Your Phone | Christopher Soghoian | TED Talks; also, Wired, Christopher Soghoian: Encrypt Now or Surrender to Surveillance; also, Wired, NSA Boss: Encrypted Software Needs Government Backdoors; also, InfoWorld, Obama advisors: Encryption backdoors would hurt cyber security, Net infrastructure vendors

Past governance by surveillance does not mean future governance by surveillance—perhaps our government will learn and practice new methods of governance, like consent8 of the governed?


Lack of governance by surveillance does not imply criminal advantage, as this speaker asserts.

UPDATED 08/30/2015 CADC, Opinion; D.C United States Court of Appeals; Larry Elliot Layman; No. 14-5004; Decide August 28, 2015 (pdf)
"The court reverses the judgment of the district court, and for the reasons stated in the opinions of Judge Brown and Judge Williams orders the case remanded to the district court. (Judge Sentelle dissents from the order of remand and would order the case dismissed.) The opinions of the judges appear below after a brief explanation of why the case is not moot."
UPDATED 08/25/2015 WP, There’s a new crayfish species and it’s named after Edward Snowden


Powerful pinchers are likely required when challenging a government's whose practices have become unconstrained, unmeasured, and unaccountable. Particularly when that government has intentionally made those practices opaque by assertions of national security.

UPDATED 08/15/2015 NYT, AT&T Helped N.S.A. Spy on an Array of Internet Traffic

UPDATED 08/06/2015 Economist, Espionage: What laws in the jungle?
UPDATED 07/28/2015 NJ, NSA to Purge Database of Phone Records Collected Under Mass Surveillance

UPDATED 07/28/2015 WP, After two years, White House says ‘no’ to petition asking for pardon of Edward Snowden

UPDATED 06/09/2015 Guardian, Obama lawyers asked secret court to ignore public court's decision on spying
 
UPDATED 06/06/2015 Slate, Why Obama Should Offer Edward Snowden a Deal

Our government is likely incapable of governing transparently, which a public interest defense implies7.

A primary objective, if not the primary objective of our dysfunctional, if not defunct "classification system" is to obviate all public interest justification!

Hell, it's likely that "repurposing" the entire NSA's computational capacity to, say, computational biology is more in the public interest than collecting and analyzing signals intelligence from terrorists and other religious-wackos?

UPDATED 06/06/2015 NYT, Edward Snowden: The World Says No to Surveillance 
UPDATED 06/01/2015 CBS, After the Patriot Act Provisions Sunset, What's Next?
UPDATED 05/30/2015 WH, Pass the USA Freedom Act

Mr. President, we're not surrendering tools for tracking terrorists. We're demanding transparent and knowledgeable debate, which objectively demonstrates that our government is continuously utilizing a minimally effective set of tools that our citizenry have knowingly authorized. Not any set of tools which an unconstrained, unmeasured, and unaccountable national security community can dream up or imagine might possibly be useful for tracking terrorists.

It's unfortunate that our national security community has behaved with such recklessness that it has jeopardized, if not entirely forfeited all its credibility.

Yet, another "national security plea" is unlikely to restore that lost credibility.

UPDATED 05/23/2015 Atlantic, The Weird End of the NSA's Phone Dragnet
UPDATED 05/19/2015  WP, Tech giants don’t want Obama to give police access to encrypted phone data and Cnet, Google, Apple among tech giants urging US to support encryption and Atlantic, The Last Defenders of the NSA

Governing transparently will not be easily advocated, mastered, or practiced by proponents of opaque governance. Ironically, these same proponents are some of our most strident advocates of democracy!?

UPDATED 05/18/2015 NYT, A Debate Over How Long Democracy Can Wage Battles in Shadows
UPDATED 05/16/2015 SeattleTimes, Former NSA official: Secret phone records grab was mistake

“How could anyone think the bulk collection program would remain secret? ... It’s not that there no longer can be national security secrets, ... the idea that the broad rules governing your activities —not specific operations, but the broad rules can be kept secret is a delusion. And they should not be kept secret.” --Joel Brenner, Former Inspector General, NSA--
Any national security secret should be rare, require extraordinary justification, and of minimal duration measured in hours and days, not months and years.

UPDATED 05/08/2015 NYT, N.S.A. Phone Data Collection Illegal, Appeals Court Rules and WP, Appeals court blunts NSA phone snooping program

Unfortunately, during periods of perceive or declared exigent circumstances (e.g. national application of force or one of our numerous quasi-wars) our appellate courts suffer a self-induced ignorance until the exigency subsides.

Fortunately, our appellate courts eventually restore, return or revert to the rule-of-law.


UPDATED 04/27/2015 AP, US unveils 6-year-old report on NSA surveillance
UPDATED 01/20/2015 UPI, Snowden Documents Show China Stole Fighter Jet plans, U.S. Gearing Up for Cyber War

So, let's bill China for their prorata research and development costs, annual licensing fees, cross-licensing fees for all design and manufacturing improvements, and logistics support!

Minus the the costs saved from not having to steal the aircraft design or hardware for reverse engineering and threat assessment analysis.

UPDATED 12/25/2014 Ted, The Year in Ideas TED Talks of 2014

 Ongoing NSA Spy vs. Citizenry Tragicomedy
UPDATED 12/25/2014 CSM, Regin spying tool linked to NSA among first malware meant for espionage
UPDATED 12/08/2014 BBC, Surveillance laws 'not fit for purpose', MPs say
UPDATED 12/07/2014 FirstLook, Operation Auroragold How the NSA Hacks Cellphone Networks Worldwide 
UPDATED 11/04/2014 ProPublica, The Best Secure Messaging Tools
UPDATED 10/19/2014 ProPublica, NSA Documents Suggest a Close Working Relationship Between NSA, U.S. Companies

Our national security components appear to have "accomplished" the extraordinarily fascinating, albeit destructive feat of transitioning from "spy vs. spy" to "spy vs. citizen".

Much future research and study will be required to understand this transition? To date our government's "research and study" appears to consist of superficial and self-serving accusations focused at leakers and whistleblowers. However, nothing of value will be learned by continued pursuit of this path of "research and study".

UPDATED 10/13/2014 TedTalk, Glen Greenwald, Why Privacy Matters

Greenwald boldly asserts privacy matters. Fundamentally, his assertion can be expressed more powerfully, not as trades between security and privacy or good and bad behavior, but as trading privacy for the destruction of our civil society.

How ironic that those supposedly working to preserve our civil society would destroy it!

The good news is that a significant number of our citizenry has demanded and continues demanding that our government dismantle6 its secretly constructed and continuously operated mass surveillance apparatus.

Additionally, our government must continuously and transparently constrain, measure and account for all its past and future surveillance activity.


It's likely not chance that our government has begun complaining about its surveillance activity going dark.

UPDATED 10/08/2014 FAS SecrecyNews, Gov’t Resists Court Review of State Secrets

UPDATED 09/06/2014 VOA, Surveillance Software Key Concern at Internet Governance Meeting

Wonder why governments (particularly ours) find it difficult or impossible to govern transparently and without ubiquitous surveillance? Opaque and ubiquitous surveillance seems like the antithesis of freedom, not to mention optimal, good and preferred democratic governance.

UPDATED 08/06/2014 Ted, Hubertus Knabe: The dark secrets of a surveillance state


UPDATED 07/07/2014 WP, In NSA-intercepted Data, Those Not Targeted Far Outnumber the Foreigners Who Are

Our intelligence community is secretly smothering (and smoldering) under haystacks of irrelevant data.

A significant benefit of constitutionally collecting data is that analysts are not required to spend significant time focused on the irrelevant.

Unfortunately, inefficiencies and storage costs are not the only downsides and negatives that result from our nation operating secretly undefined, unmeasured, unaccountable and unconstitutional program(s).

UPDATED 07/03/2016 PCLOB, Report on the Surveillance Program Operated Pursuant to Sec 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act5

Welcomed recommendations by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. However, the reasonable inferences of the recommendations belie the report's constitutional conclusion.

A conclusion that agencies' section 702 actions passed constitutional muster requires, at a minimum, transparently defined, measured and accountable actions—boldly or baldly asserted conclusory statements notwithstanding.

UPDATED 06/06/2014 CSM, NSA leaks: A year later, US tech leaders demand quicker surveillance reform

Substantial and significant shifts to our government surveillance paradigm are required to accommodate modern corporate entities methodologies—these shifts conflict with our mature corporate entities methodologies (sound familiar?).

Resolving these conflicts will require more than a letter from our modern corporate entities, arguably our best experts on the requirements for designing, operating and maintaining a successful 21st century information economy infrastructure, or a set of senate hearings on the USA Freedom Act (S. 1599, H.R. 3361)4.

UPDATED 06/06/2014 Guardian, Pentagon report: scope of intelligence compromised by Snowden 'staggering'

After every transparency event (leak) our intelligence community or government spokesperson will always assert that the "compromise" has caused "serious" (term used when transparency event involves documents classified secret) or "grave" (term used when transparency event involves documents classified top-secret) damage.

These are reactionary assertions that occur by definition of the leaked document's classification level. Asserting otherwise would be to acknowledge that the secret or top-secret document was improperly classified!

Those familiar with our classification system: will not assume any document is properly classified; will be routinely amused by the quantity and quality of improperly classified documents; will discount all G-Gordon-Liddy-like pronouncements of "serious" or "grave" damage, which are supported by reams of redacted pages; and will be staggered, not by the results of a transparency event, but by the sums spent on secret and opaque governance!

UPDATED 06/06/2014 MSNBC, The House committee on intelligence needs oversight of its own

Congress's hostility to transparency and transparent governance will not bode well for our intelligence community and nation.

Continued opacity will likely further erode any residual confidence in our intelligence community and those pretending to oversee its actions.

UPDATED 05/21/2014 PBS Frontline, United States of Secrets
UPDATED 05/21/2014 Reuters, In cyber spying row, Chinese media call U.S. a 'mincing rascal' and Reuters, China confronts U.S. envoy over cyber-spying accusations and NYT, Fine Line Seen in U.S. Spying on Companies

Kudos to our President and DOJ for obviating the traditional "spy vs spy" extrajudicial approach that has balefully prevailed among nation states—nations need not publicly protest but rather publicly present facts to a routinely convened court of law complying with common international standards.

Some proponents of partially perpetuating the "spy vs spy" extrajudicial paradigm make the illusory distinction between economic and non-economic spying—asserting the former purpose is impermissible while the later is ok?

The illusion works only if you think there exists a bright line between our government spies and our private enterprises—such a bright line does not exist.

For example, suppose our intelligence collectors physically or virtually collect an exotic piece of hardware, firmware or software—the collectors will directly or indirectly use our private enterprises to analyze and understand that hardware, firmware or software. If the collected hardware, firmware or software advances the state of art (improbable but not impossible, if you're collecting against mostly developing nations) our private enterprises will economically and non-economically exploit that advance.

UPDATED 05/19/2014 Reuters, Post-Snowden, the NSA's future rests on Admiral Rogers' shoulders

A more relevant question is not whether Rogers can salvage a non-salvageable-agency, but whether our nation and its leaders can learn to govern under 21st century transparency? To date, their efforts mostly seem futilely focused on salvaging opaque governance and secrecy!

UPDATED 04/14/2014 Pulitzer Prize, The 2014 Pulitzer Prize Winners, Public Service
Awarded to The Washington Post for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.
and
Awarded to The Guardian US for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.
UPDATED 04/11/2014 NYT, Journalists Who Broke News on N.S.A. Surveillance Return to the U.S.

Presentation for national security reporting category of George Polk Awards:


UPDATED 04/03/2014 WP, Germany opens hearings on U.S. spying

UPDATED 03/12/2014 NYT, How a Court Secretly Evolved, Extending U.S. Spies’ Reach

Even the chairwoman of our Senate Intelligence [over, under or no sight?] Committee has begun expressing "shock, amazement and outrage" over our intelligence community's "off leash" or more appropriately "unleashed" behavior.

Reportedly, the "off leash" or "unleashed" behavior has been or will be referred to our Justice Department (for what?)—bleating echoes of "its never bitten before" can't be far-off?


UPDATED 03/11/2014 CSM, Listening to Edward Snowden at SXSW The poor quality video link's audio is garbled and echos—have a transcript of the video conference handy.

UPDATED 03/10/2014 WT, US Network to Scan Workers with Secret Clearances

We can only hope our government stumbles upon transparency while staggering toward increased secrecy.

UPDATED 01/26/2014 NPR, Transcript: NSA Deputy Director John Inglis

An interesting Kabuki dance between NSA's Inglis and NPR's Inskeep—evidently NSA's new strategy is to pursue transparent secrecy.

There is much to parse, discuss and debate from the transcript (e.g.):
Inglis: "...The FISA Amendments Act that came in in 2008 essentially made it clear that no matter where you are on the planet earth, if you're a U.S. person, if you have U.S. person status, if NSA or any other foreign intelligence organization within the U.S. is going to target them, they must first get a probable cause statement from the court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court..."
Is the secret FISA court probable cause statement substituting for individualized searches of American citizens based on probable cause, specificity and a warrant?

UPDATED 01/24/2014 Reuters, In China, U.S. tech firms weigh 'Snowden Effect

It seems a stretch to ascribe fluctuations in corporate earnings to a "Snowden Effect"—let's ascribe corporate earnings fluctuations to an "NSA Effect" or "Secrecy and Opaque Effect", or "Panda Effect or [insert your favorite effect].

UPDATED 01/23/2014 UPI, Snowden seeks extra Russian protection after U.S. threats

Hopefully, these alleged threats, if made originate from blathering idiots and not our government?

UPDATED 01/19/2014 WP, NSA program defenders question Snowden’s motives and NYT, Congressional Leaders Suggest Earlier Snowden Link to Russia

Debating whether recent NSA leaks contain more heat than light or policymakers' reciprocating castigations contain more mud than meaning distracts from urgently needed efforts to constitutionally constrain our secret opaque national security hydra.

UPDATED 01/18/2014 YouTube, President Obama Speaks on U.S. Intelligence Programs and ProPublica, Four Questionable Claims Obama Has Made on NSA Surveillance and WP, Obama calls for significant changes in collection of phone records of U.S. citizens and WP, Tepid global reaction to Obama’s NSA vow

President Obama proposes to partially restore some constraints on our secret opaque national security hydra while retaining nearly ubiquitous surveillance. Implicitly citing as justification the standard dystopian tripartite bogeymen of fear, perpetual conflict and potential war.


President Obama's noble efforts at rehabilitating our national security hydra's fidelity and simultaneously maintain its opaque secrecy is likely to be unsuccessful.

Hopefully, "Plan B" includes an options for total transparently monitoring, measuring and constraining each national security program?

Interestingly and surprisingly, President Obama is seems unable to imagine projecting our national power using transparently operated national security assets.

UPDATED 01/14/2014 WT, Spy court judge slams proposed privacy advocate

FISA court proceedings must not only be opposed they must be open and transparent! It's insufficient to assert secrecy or “operational security reasons”.

Additionally, there is no reason not to appoint, as FISA court judges, persons with advanced training in privacy, security, programming, algorithms, digital hardware and software, engineering, mathematics, etc.

It's unclear why we associate security with secrecy or vice versa.

UPDATED 01/14/2014 CSM, NSA snooping didn't make America much safer, report says

Unsurprisingly, those erecting and perpetuating our opaque secret national security hydra find it difficult to articulate the benefits from the bulk collection of communications. One suspects that quantifying, measuring and monitoring other individual components of our opaque secret national security hydra would quickly demonstrate a similar lack of benefits, likely by orders of magnitudes.

Unfortunately, in the absence a transparent national security apparatus we must learn these data, after the fact, from whistle-blowers and leakers. How much better for our nation if our citizens openly discussed and debated the benefits and burdens, before the fact?

UPDATED 01/12/2014 CSM, Five overlooked costs of the NSA surveillance flap
UPDATED 01/05/2014 UPI, What Snowden hath wrought
UPDATED 01/03/2014 eCommerceTimes, Surveillance Rights and Wrongs, Part 1: Begging the Questions

UPDATED 12/29/2013 Der Spiegel, Inside TAO: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit
UPDATED 12/28/2013 ProPublica, Judge on NSA Case Cites 9/11 Report, But It Doesn’t Actually Support His Ruling

UPDATED 12/28/2013 UPI, Judge rules NSA Surveillance Programs to be Constitutional and NYSD Court Opinion, ACLU v. Clapper Declined to enjoin NSA's mass collection of metadata for domestic calls.

Only in fairy tale do kings bulk collect straw or hay believing that sprites can turn it in to gold for profit while relying on spies to discover the codeword, Rumpelstiltskin, to avoid any costs.

One expects a certain amount of unproved threat hyperbole from our national security apparatus—many do not expect our judiciary to parrot their hyperbole.

Admittedly, perspective and national security threats are not often difficult to simultaneously combined, but orders of magnitude more Americans die annually from shootings, suicides or flu viruses than a relatively rare "terrorists attacks"!

One wonders what gains could be achieved by repurposing our national security apparatus's capabilities and resources to solving marginally greater threats than regressing over five years of mass collected communication records for any statistically significant parameters (patterns)?

Then again, it may be significantly easier to justify "big data capability" costs using national security threat hyperbole than computational molecular biology; human connectome; climatology; particle physics or [your insert] hyperbole?

UPDATED 12/25/2013 UPI, Snowden: Orwell's '1984' 'nothing' compared to NSA spying and WP, Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished
UPDATED 12/23/2013 Propublica, Surveillance Articles Series
UPDATED 12/23/2013 WP, Peter King: Obama should ‘stop apologizing’ for NSA

Apologists for our opaque secret national security apparatus' most recently discovered abuses should at least hold a leash attached to an empty dangling collar in their hands when making their assertions. The prop will add some comedy to an otherwise developing tragedy and obscure the reason for any subsequent laughter.

UPDATED 12/21/2013 CSM, NSA surveillance: Revelations damaged US security, Obama says (+video)

Mr. President, how can we meaningfully debate and arrive at an optimal balance for our national security apparatus in the absence of total transparency?

Are you really justifying our national security apparatus's unconstrained, unmeasured, unlawful, unconstitutional, undemocratic, unproven, unnecessary, and imbalanced ( independent psychiatrists will have to determine if some the cowboy's are unbalanced?) collection methodologies by pointing out that Russia's regime is more repressive!!? 

UPDATED 12/20/2013 YahooNews, Obama hints at changing phone records collection and Reuters, Exclusive: Secret contract tied NSA and security industry pioneer and Reuters, Insight: How U.S. spying cost Boeing multibillion-dollar jet contract

Mr. President, seems like an opportune time to transition away from covert opaque unilateral competitive cowboy collection methodologies toward open transparent multilateral cooperative cowgirl collection methodologies. 

UPDATED 12/19/2013 Reuters, Analysis - U.S. surveillance case: Tech may clash with 18th Century right and WH PressRelease, President Obama’s Meeting with the Review Group on Intelligence Communications Technologies and WH PressRelease, [Aug 2013] Statement by the Press Secretary on the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology

Group participants publish 46 tepid recommendations mostly focused on adding players and functionality to an already costly and dysfunctional national security apparatus game of  whack-a-mole (or find-a-needle-in-the-haystack, if you prefer).

Even if fully implemented, the group's recommendations will do little to ensure a default national security apparatus capable of effectively and transparently delivering more benefits than burdens.

Our president should publish the group's recommendations in the Federal Register for the purpose of seeking public input specifically focused on what can be subtracted (not added)3 to improve our costly and dysfunctional national security apparatus.

UPDATED 12/16/2013 NYT, Federal Judge Rules Against N.S.A. Phone Data Program and NYT, Obama Panel Said to Urge N.S.A. Curbs and YouTube, 60 Minutes Inside the NSA Part 1 and 60 Minutes, The Snowden Affair Part 2 2 and Cryptome, Transcript of 60 Minutes NSA Part 1 and 2

Well it's been slightly over a decade since King Bush the Idiot kicked-off his Global War on Terror (substantially continued by President Obama) in retaliation for the acts of a relatively few terrorists.

Since then our nation continues struggling through the Great Recession, Great Renege (pensions), Great Democracy Decline and now the Great Rein In of a nascent secret opaque Orwellian national security state apparatus.

In summary our nation has struggle through close to a decade of self-inflicted disaster! Oh, almost forgot to mention that the head spook over at our NSA, General Keith Alexander, recently informed our nation (6o Minutes) that the probability of a terrorist attack is increasing2! To borrow a recent out burst from House Speaker, John Boehner, "are you kidding me"!

Let's see if we can avoid turning our nation's decade of self-inflicted disaster in to a dozen years Great Demise! Firstly, by immediately and transparently transfiguring General Alexander's et al. vision of a nascent secret opaque Orwellian national security state apparatus in to open, transparent and constitutionally constrained tools for informing our citizenry.

UPDATED 12/08/2013 NYT, Tech Giants Issue Call for Limits on Government Surveillance of Users and Reform Government Surveillance
UPDATED 12/05/2013 Rueters, Sweden key partner for U.S. spying on Russia: TV and WP, NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide, Snowden documents show and UPI, Report: NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide
 
UPDATED 11/26/2013 WP, Julian Assange unlikely to face U.S. charges over publishing classified documents

When our government learns (an admittedly steep learning curve) how to govern transparently there will be nothing to leak and no leakers to prosecute!

Unfortunately, until our government climbs the learning curve some will suffer (including our nation as a whole) from the many methods, myths and diversions dreamed up to maintain and justify opaque governance.


UPDATED 11/07/2013 YouTube, Living in a Security State Mikko Hypponen's Ted talk on how to live above a surveillance state.


When you're building or participating in a secret surveillance state (and they're always secret, initially) it's extraordinarily difficult to perceive the dysfunctional environment, not unlike battered spouses secretly participating in a dysfunctional environment. Only when a spouse voluntarily or involuntarily exits the dysfunctional environment or its opacity otherwise becomes transparent1 are the dysfunctional properties properly perceived.

UPDATED 11/06/2013 Reuters, U.S. Power to Shape Global Web Seen Undermined by NSA Spying
and FP, Does Listening to Angela Merkel's Phone Calls Make America Safer?

It's unclear whether our government ever had the power to shape the global web or that  nations' spying produces any meaningful transparency or greater global stability

VoiceOfRussia , Free Snowden: JSPDF Launches Website to Fund Whistleblower’s Defense Campaign


-----notes-----

1. Fortunately, disclosure of dysfunctional environments has become more common. However, a perpetrator rarely appreciates, acknowledges or learns from these disclosures, so it may be necessary to protect a discloser from retaliation.

2. Part 2 opens with a couple of cheap shots by career NSA Snowden Leak Task Force Coordinator, Rick Ledgett. Outsiders familiar with the paranoid and pathological environments existing within our national security apparatus will amusingly recall the asymptotic mental compartmentalization that's required for a  25 year veteran insider to criticize unusual behavior (viewing a video terminal under black felt) and stealing secrets (key to a test) for advantage!

Part 2 closes with head spook General Keith B. Alexander's statement on the increased probability of terrorism.

Between Part 2's opening and closing is a continuing NSA promo that could be titled the "Refocusing on NSA Basics, Really!". How NSA lost its focus, constraints and measures will require another James Risen tome (perhaps a well resourced joint endeavor with James Bamford!).

3. Additions simply increase the number of  possible failure paths.

4. Even more substantial and significant shifts will be required to accommodate the citizenry of modern civil societies. It's not without irony that those whose information is, has been, or will be bulk collected by our government are not participating in the hearings (e.g. German Chancellor Merkel).

Perhaps, these participants must await further government transparency events?

5. A companion report was released early 2014; Report on the Telephone Records Program Conducted under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and on the Operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court date January 23, 2014.

6. As an alternative to dismantling these assets they can be entirely or partially repurposed, minus the generals (e.g. quantitative and synthetic biology, emergence, materials, spectral, and chaos etc.). Cost-benefit analyses must replace chants of "the terrorists are coming" and "God [insert your favorite verb] America".

7. Of course if our government could govern transparently there would be no espionage prosecution and thus no need for a public interest defense.

8. It can be useful to view government governance on a coercion-consent continuum with greater government coercion required to sustain greater societal imbalances.

A decaying government will ignore destabilizing societal imbalances and cite these destabilizing societal imbalances as justification for utilizing greater government coercion, thereby accelerating its further decay and eventual destruction.

9. Our government has been slow to acknowledge that opacity is primarily used as a convenient societal management tool—national security is the cover story.

10. Our government rarely, if ever treats leaks (i.e. a transparent exogenous correction stabilizer) as its failure to set up credible and meaningful endogenous self-correcting processes.

11.  President Obama's putative titular successor is now designating the "first-string" players of our next "different and exceptional" government (regime?). Trump's propensity for public and unpredictable megalomaniacal eruptions has continued post-election.

UPDATED 12/20/2016 Most Americans are keeping an "open mind", but not an empty one. Brookings, Trump, no ordinary president, requires an extraordinary response and Reuters, Senators call for probe of cyber attacks by Russia and (FP, 10 Ways to Tell if Your President Is a Dictator by Stephen M. Walt and Atlantic, How to Deal With the Lies of Donald Trump: Guidelines for the Media) and NYorker, Trump's Challenge to American Democracy

The "Trump challenge" is for all Americans. Hey, on the bright-side, the 2017 inaugural could be of a presidential-elect brandishing Rodrigo Duterte-like propensities (i.e. summarily shoot those engaged in behavior you've condemned; flag burning)?

Huh..., can we begin impeachment proceedings on January 21, 2017 or must we await the shame, embarrassment, and damage to accumulate beyond repair?

Or better yet, can our Presidential Election of 2016 be annulled for improper conduct (e.g. if Trump joined Putin et al. to meddle in the Presidential Election of 2016) AND require Trump to pay for the rerun election? Our current Vice President can serve as President while the rerun election occurs to avoid President Obama serving more than two consecutive four-year terms.


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