The latest Snowden revelations

The Guardian reveals how software companies secretly gave access to the NSA to their customers’ information. What is revealed includes things such as:

  • Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new portal;
  • The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on, including Hotmail;
  • The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;
  • Microsoft also worked with the FBI’s Data Intercept Unit to “understand” potential issues with a feature in that allows users to create email aliases;
  • In July last year, nine months after Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism;
  • Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a “team sport”.

    These revelations contradict the companies’ efforts to separate themselves from the NSA.

    Since Prism’s existence became public, Microsoft and the other companies listed on the NSA documents as providers have denied all knowledge of the program and insisted that the intelligence agencies do not have back doors into their systems.

    But internal NSA newsletters, marked top secret, suggest the co-operation between the intelligence community and the companies is deep and ongoing.

    Meanwhile Oliver Stone and the ACLU have teamed up to create an ad warning about the dangers of the NSA surveillance programs.


  1. slc1 says

    Oliver Stone, the man who wrote, produced and directed the abortion known as JFK, a pack o0f lies about the assassination of President Kennedy, from beginning to end.

    Anything involving Oliver Stone has no credibility, that’s automatic.

  2. Chiroptera says

    Is that commercial actually playing anywhere? I ask because the networks (cable and broadcast) have been pretty notorious at not airing advocacy ads that they deem “too controversial” (“controversial” often being a euphemism for “left wing” or “liberal”).

  3. Trickster Goddess says

    Anything involving Oliver Stone has no credibility, that’s automatic.

    Oh, so since it is Oliver Stone who is talking about the dangers of the US government spying on Americans, then that proves there’s actually no danger?

    Like, WTF?

    That’s the stupidest ad hominen I’ve heard this year.

  4. Brian E says

    Anything involving Oliver Stone has no credibility, that’s automatic.

    Ahh yes, the genetic fallacy. If the source is bad, then (il)logically everything the source does is bad. Hitler was bad, and he ate food, therefore, eating food is bad. I guess…

  5. Corvus illustris says

    Note that slc1 has successfully diverted attention from the substantive material in Greenwald’s column to old news about the producer of an ad that may or may not get air time.

  6. slc1 says

    That’s a terrible analogy. The two things have nothing in common. I would argue that Stone has a history of making discredited movies, of which JFK is a textbook example. Thus any movie or video he makes is not to be taken seriously unless there is independent verification.

    Now it might be asked what’s wrong with the movie, a fair question. The answer is that it attempts to make the late New Orleans DA Jim Garrison a hero. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that Garrison’s attempt to frame Clay Shaw as a conspirator in the Kennedy assassination was outrageous and based on manufactured evidence. When they finally got into the courtroom, Shaw was acquitted on al charges after a 50 minute jury deliberation. This was a textbook example of prosecutorial misconduct and Garrison should have gone to jail for attempting to frame an innocent man. If Garrison is a hero, so is Mike Nifong. Maybe Stone should make a movie claiming that the Duke lacrosse players were really guilty of a gang rape and that Nifong was unfairly given a bad rap in the press. Kevin Costner should hang his head in shame for ever agreeing to star in this abortion.

  7. slc1 says

    No, Oliver Stone is guilty of making a fraudulent movie which attempted to portray a felonious prosecutor, Jim Garrison, as a hero instead of the piece of filth he was. A prosecutor who manufactures evidence to frame an innocent man is no hero. My simple contention is that this abortion of a movie totally discredits Stone as a man who should be taken seriously.

  8. Corvus illustris says

    Two lines and an eminently-skippable video (arguably related to the heading topic) vs. the heading, the Greenwald link, and most of the entry.

    Totally off-subject: I apologize for inadvertently miscopying your identifier (on a comment on another post) as sic1, due to my crappy eyesight and a small monitor. No stupid pun was intended.

  9. Chiroptera says

    According to the article, Microsoft is claiming that they had no choice but to obey the law in this case.

    I’m not sure I buy that. US corporations fight every health, safety, and labor law tooth and nail. I have a hard time believing they’d just roll over on this unless they didn’t care.

    I realize the security agencies are in a different class from our despised and underfunded regulatory agencies, but I still can’t help but believe that if Microsoft wanted to, their lawyers could run interference while the CEO contacts the Congressional representatives to whose campaigns they contributed.

  10. says

    My simple contention is that this abortion of a movie totally discredits Stone as a man who should be taken seriously.

    So you agree that your stupid recommendation to use nuclear weapons against Iran totally discredits everything you say about any other topic whatsoever? Even your taste in food?

  11. says

    I only bring these points up, not in an attempt to discredit you, but out of fear that someone who isn’t familiar with your blog-presence might mistake you for a sane or decent human being. Can’t have that!

  12. says

    I don’t think you can argue inductively that “food is bad” because Hitler ate food. But, by slc1’s reasoning you could argue that because Hitler’s political methods were extremely unsound, his preferences in beer were unsound as well. It’s not that beer is bad, but rather that Hitler has discredited his beer preferences. It is possible that social scientists might experimentally tease out the data and discover that totalitarians prefer lager to stout, in which case Hitler’s beer preferences might be legitimately linked to his politics. But until someone does that work, we’re best off assuming they’re not connected.

    It’d be like someone advocating nuking civilians, and then assuming that because they had discredited themselves there, that their opinion about Justin Beiber’s music was also, therefore, discredited. The only thing we could legitimately conclude would actually be that musical preference (just for example) doesn’t appear to have much to do with being a murderous fuckwit.

    So we might hypothesize (as slc1 does) that Stone’s overall suspicion of government, as displayed in Platoon and JFK, indicates he is possibly gullible regarding the NSA disclosures. … That might even make sense except that Stone is not apparently introducing his own extrapolations as “facts” like he arguably did in JFK. This is why, when one is publicly presenting an opinion about something complicated where there are matters of interpretation, it’s good to bolster one’s arguments with facts, provide an interpretive framework that embraces them, and hope they speak for themselves.

  13. says

    Microsoft is claiming that they had no choice but to obey the law in this case

    Well, Microsoft is always very careful to obey all laws in spirit as well as letter – especially laws regarding competitive trade practices and taxation.

  14. slc1 says

    You know, if a prosecutor can do it to Clay Shaw and get away with it, he/she could do it to Marcus Ranum and get away with it.

    And just for the record, I don’t have any opinion about Justin Bieber’s music, never having heard any of it and not being interested in that kind of music to begin with. However, I will say that Bieber has been the subject of a hate campaign propagated by outlets such as TMZ, which have blown all his relatively minor transgressions into a bacchanalian revel worthy of a serial killer. The talkbacks on these articles must be seen to be believed. One would think that calling for somebody to be gang raped, assassinated, or beaten to a pulp would be grounds for banishment from commenting and removal of the offending comments but the TMZs of the world seem to believe otherwise. No wonder the guy has to have multiple bodyguards.

  15. slc1 says

    I proudly stand with Harry Truman relative to his decision to drop the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan sowed the wind at Pearl Harbor and reaped the whirlwind at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  16. Mano Singham says

    You know, you can stop trying to convince us that your moral compass is seriously askew. We believe you.

  17. slc1 says

    Perhaps when Prof. Singham argues that Iran has the right to develop nuclear weapons because Israel has them indicates a certain askewness on his part.

  18. Mano Singham says

    What I said is that if Israel has the right to nuclear weapons, so has Iran.

    You, on the other hand, heartily approve of president Truman causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people by nuclear weapons and are urging the deaths of hundreds of thousands more in Iran. You do not see the difference?

  19. slc1 says

    Re Mano Singham

    The use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, IMHO, saved millions of lives on both sides because absent their use, the Emperor, who favored capitulation, would have been overthrown by a coup d’etat and replaced with a military junta who believed in fighting to the bitter end, as their Bushido ideology taught. In fact, the coup plot was well along even as the Enola Gay winged its way to Hiroshima.

  20. Mano Singham says

    And what is your justification for calling for the massive bombing of cities in Iran that would result in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths?

  21. Mano Singham says

    If you cannot see that such a statement is morally depraved, then there is really no point continuing this discussion.

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