The terrorists apparently would win if Google told you the exact number of times the Federal Bureau of Investigation invoked a secret process to extract data about the media giant’s customers.
That’s why it is unlawful for any record-keeper to disclose it has received a so-called National Security Letter. But under a deal brokered with the President Barack Obama administration, Google on Tuesday published a “range” of times it received National Security Letters demanding it divulge account information to the authorities without warrants.
It was the first time a company has ever released data chronicling the volume of National Security Letter requests.
National Security Letters allow the government to get detailed information on Americans’ finances and communications without oversight from a judge. The FBI has issued hundreds of thousands of NSLs and has even been reprimanded for abusing them. The NSLs are written demands from the FBI that compel internet service providers, credit companies, financial institutions and businesses like Google to hand over confidential records about their customers, such as subscriber information, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, websites visited and more as long as the FBI says the information is “relevant” to an investigation.
In each year from 2009 to 2012, Google said it received “0-999″ National Security Letters.
But in its talks with the authorities over releasing figures, Google said national security was on the mind of the Obama administration.
“You’ll notice that we’re reporting numerical ranges rather than exact numbers. This is to address concerns raised by the FBI, Justice Department and other agencies that releasing exact numbers might reveal information about investigations. We plan to update these figures annually,” Richard Salgado, a Google legal director, wrote in a blog post.
What makes the government’s position questionable is that it is required by Congress to disclose the number of times the bureau issues National Security Letters. In 2011, the year with the latest available figures, the FBI issued 16,511 National Security Letters pertaining to 7,201 different persons. (.pdf)
Google said the number of accounts connected to National Security letters ranged between “1000-1999″ for each of the reported years other than 2010. In that year, the range was “2000-2999.”
Google noted that the FBI may “obtain ‘the name, address, length of service, and local and long distance toll billing records’ of a subscriber to a wire or electronic communications service. The FBI can’t use NSLs to obtain anything else from Google, such as Gmail content, search queries, YouTube videos or user IP addresses.”
Google often must disclose that data via other means, as described here.
Under the Patriot Act, Google or others who receive a NSL must disclose the sought-after information if the authorities say the request is “relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”
National Security Letters are a powerful tool because they do not require court approval, and they come with a built-in gag order, preventing recipients from disclosing to anyone that they have even received an NSL. An FBI agent looking into a possible anti-terrorism case can self-issue an NSL to a credit bureau, ISP or phone company with only the sign-off of the special agent in charge of their office.
What’s more, the lack of court oversight raises the possibility for extensive abuse.
In 2007 a Justice Department Inspector General audit found that the FBI had indeed abused its authority and misused NSLs on many occasions. After 9/11, for example, the FBI paid multimillion-dollar contracts to AT&T and Verizon requiring the companies to station employees inside the FBI and to give these employees access to the telecom databases so they could immediately service FBI requests for telephone records. The IG found that the employees let FBI agents illegally look at customer records without paperwork and even wrote NSLs for the FBI.
GoogleGoogle Transparency ReportTransparency ReportFBINSAGovernment SurveillancePrivacyWarrantless WiretappingObamaBarack ObamaObama Administration
We Must Dig Deeper of the Day: Student Expelled For Finding Bug in School System
Ahmed Al-Khabaz, a 20-year-old computer science student at Dawson College in Montreal, Canada, was expelled last week for apparently reporting and doing a follow-up check on a major bug that he had found in the school’s student information system earlier last October. Upon initial discovery, Al-Khabaz met with the Director of Information Services and Technology François Paradis, who thanked him for his work and promised Omnivox’s distributor, Skytech, would fix the error.
Two days after this meeting, Al-Khabaz tested Omnivox to see if the fixes had been made. Minutes later, he received a phone call from Skytech’s president who accused Al-Khabaz of orchestrating an attack against the system and threatened him with jail time if he didn’t agree to sign a non-disclosure agreement about the bug. When Al-Khabaz reluctantly signed the documents, he was promptly expelled for “unprofessional conduct,” barring him from enrollment at any other college in the region.
… what’s going on here?
A hacker group has claimed to have obtained personal data from 12 million Apple iPhone and iPad users by breaching
a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) computer, raising concerns about government tracking.
The group called AntiSec, linked to the hacking collective known as Anonymous, posted one million Apple user identifiers on Monday purported to be part of a larger group of 12 million obtained from an FBI laptop.
In the posting, AntiSec said the original file “contained around 12,000,000 devices” and that “we decided a million would be enough to release”.
The group said it “trimmed out other personal data as, full names, cell numbers, addresses, zipcodes, etc”.
Contacted by AFP news agency, FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer said: “We’re not commenting.”
It also raises question over why the FBI had held the details of consumers of Apple produc
At the core is a single beating heart – a unified computer database that gathers and refines information on millions of committed and potential Obama voters. The database will allow staff and volunteers at all levels of the campaign – from the top strategists answering directly to Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina to the lowliest canvasser on the doorsteps of Ohio – to unlock knowledge about individual voters and use it to target personalised messages that they hope will mobilise voters where it counts most.
Every time an individual volunteers to help out – for instance by offering to host a fundraising party for the president – he or she will be asked to log onto the re-election website with their Facebook credentials. That in turn will engage Facebook Connect, the digital interface that shares a user’s personal information with a third party.
Consciously or otherwise, the individual volunteer will be injecting all the information they store publicly on their Facebook page – home location, date of birth, interests and, crucially, network of friends – directly into the central Obama database.
The centralised nature of the database may raise privacy issues as the election cycle progresses. Jeff Chester of the digital advertising watchdog Center for Digital Democracy, which has been calling for regulators to review the growth of digital marketing in politics, said that “this is beyond J Edgar Hoover’s dream. In its rush to exploit the power of digital data to win re-election, the Obama campaign appears to be ignoring the ethical and moral implications.”"
The Guardian on the way the Obama campaign intends to use facebook. Lets be honest. Republicans would (and likely do) do it too. But welcome to the era of big brother.
Country’s strict laws against insulting the monarch have been used to jail a man for 20 years for sending text messages
In 1957, Czechoslovak Airlines - ČSA, (now Czech Airlines) became the first airline in the world to fly routes exclusively with jet airliners, using the Tu-104A variant. In civil service, the Tu-104 carried over 90 million passengers with Aeroflot (then the world’s largest airline), and a lesser number with ČSA, while it also saw operations with the Soviet Air Force. Its successors include the Tu-124 (the first turbofan-powered airliner), the Tu-134 and the Tu-154."
A cheap and portable blood test could provide a breakthrough for diagnosing infections in remote areas of the world, a scientific study says.
The mChip is about the size of a credit card and can diagnose infections within minutes, according to a study in the journal Nature Medicine.
Prototype tests for diseases such as HIV and syphilis in Rwanda showed almost 100% accuracy, it said.
The US-developed device has a projected cost of $1 (60p).
This would make it much cheaper than the lab-based tests currently used.
The plastic chip contains 10 detection zones, and can test for multiple diseases with only a pinprick of blood.
Results can be seen with the naked eye or with a low-cost detector.
“The idea is to make a large class of diagnostic tests accessible to patients in any setting in the world, rather than forcing them to go to a clinic to draw blood and then wait days for their results,” said Samuel Sia, a professor at New York’s Columbia University who is a lead developer of the device.
Hundreds of tests using a prototype of the device were carried out in Kigali, Rwanda. They showed 95% accuracy for HIV and 76% accuracy for syphilis, the study says.
Researchers hope to use the mChip to help increase testing of sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) in pregnant women, particularly in Africa.
A version of the device has also been designed to test for prostate cancer.
Anonymous asked: how does one get over an ex boyfriend? I'm literally going insane. its been more than a year since we broke up. he's with someone else now. and i cant stop thinking about him. what the fuck do i do?
Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy.
Leftists are not liberals.
Leftists are not liberals.
Leftists are not liberals.
Leftists are not liberals.
One of the worst things to happen to Islam is the Islamic revolution in Iran.
For all you undecided voters out there...
Take a look at Jill Stein in the Green Party… someone who has truly stood by her...
For the upcoming US elections, think about the way in which the American elites have been able to exclude a large and important amount of people...
Oh, snap.ROMNEY: Let's talk about the other big one --LEHRER (interrupting): No, let's not.