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Snowden, John Oliver Explain NSA Spying in Terms of Dirty Pics

HBO host traveled to Russia to meet with whistleblower

(Newser) - Not long ago, Edward Snowden's NSA leaks were the focus of vast media attention. But two years later, "it seems like we've kind of forgotten to have a debate over the content of what Snowden leaked," John Oliver tells his HBO audience, showing them a series... More »

US to Yahoo: Hand Over Data or Pay $250K a Day

Court documents show government pressure in 2008

(Newser) - Just how badly did the federal government want data about Yahoo users for its now-notorious PRISM surveillance program ? It threatened to fine the company $250,000 a day in 2008 if it didn't comply, reports the Washington Post . The revelation comes from newly declassified court documents detailing the... More »

NSA Confirms 'Back Door' Used to Spy on Americans

Sen. Ron Wyden wants to shut it quickly

(Newser) - It took a few months, but Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon finally got his answer from national intelligence chief James Clapper. Yes, Clapper wrote in a letter , the NSA does indeed spy on Americans' emails and phone calls—without a warrant—thanks to a revision in a law originally... More »

NSA Has Hacked Google, Yahoo: Report

Snowden scoop: 'MUSCULAR' program allows access of all data, without court order

(Newser) - If you thought PRISM was bad, wait until you get a load of MUSCULAR. Documents from Edward Snowden reveal that the NSA has hacked the cables Google and Yahoo use to shuttle information between their massive cloud databases, giving them unfettered access to data from hundreds of millions of users,... More »

Zuckerberg on NSA: 'Government Blew It'

Marissa Mayer also talks government surveillance

(Newser) - Mark Zuckerberg and Marissa Mayer were both asked about the newly revealed NSA surveillance programs at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference yesterday, and neither had anything positive to say, the Guardian reports. "Frankly, I think the government blew it," Zuckerberg said, adding that he believes the government did a... More »

Google Attempts to NSA-Proof Its Data

Working to strongly encrypt its data amid PRISM fallout

(Newser) - Amid the fallout from the NSA's PRISM surveillance program , Google is scrambling to encrypt its data, in an effort to hide it from the prying eyes of intelligence agencies, the Washington Post reports. Of course, as we learned this week , the NSA can crack encrypted data too, but the... More »

Judge Scraps Own Ruling on Surveillance Evidence

Feds might have to reveal whether it used controversial NSA programs

(Newser) - A federal judge in a Chicago terrorism case has undone a key ruling saying the government needn't divulge whether its investigation relied on expanded phone and Internet surveillance programs revealed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Adel Daoud denies trying to ignite what he thought was a bomb in Chicago.... More »

Yes, NSA Spying Is a Big Deal

Your liberties are disappearing even if you haven't noticed, Elizabeth Goitein argues

(Newser) - Half of America seems outraged by the NSA's surveillance activities. But the other half seems to be heeding Harry Reid's advice to "just calm down." A court approved this stuff, and Congress knew about it, so what's the big deal? "The most obvious answer... More »

Microsoft Pens 'Unusually Dramatic' Letter on PRISM

Brad Smith tells Eric Holder 'the Constitution is suffering'

(Newser) - Add Microsoft's general counsel to the list of people not happy about PRISM and other government surveillance programs. Brad Smith wrote a letter to Eric Holder yesterday—a letter Business Insider calls "unusually dramatic" in its tone—asking the attorney general to convince President Obama that he should... More »

NSA Is Watching Skype, Too

Guardian report says Microsoft helped feds spy

(Newser) - Microsoft has no problem handing over your emails—or even your Skype calls—to the NSA, according to new documents from Edward Snowden, per the Guardian . In fact, the software company is working closely with the NSA to help it get around Microsoft's encryption. While Microsoft is arguing it'... More »

WikiLeaks to Iceland: Grant Snowden Asylum

Assange cites 'personal sympathy' for leaker

(Newser) - After a year in Ecuador's embassy , Julian Assange is now seeking asylum for someone else. WikiLeaks is in talks with Iceland's government to secure asylum for Edward Snowden, Assange said; an Iceland spokeswoman said Snowden supporters have indeed been pushing for it, the New York Times reports. The... More »

Google Fighting Gag Order on Surveillance Data

Company wants secret FISA court to let it disclose more details

(Newser) - Google is going to court to try to bring more transparency to the government's surveillance program—and maybe to beef up its public image on privacy along the way. The company will file a petition with the top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court demanding that it be allowed to provide... More »

NSA: Spying Foiled Stock Exchange Bomb Plot

Agency defends itself in congressional hearing

(Newser) - The NSA's controversial spying activities have prevented more than 50 terror attacks since 9/11, the agency's director told the House Intelligence Committee today, including attempted bombings of the New York Stock Exchange and, as previously disclosed , the New York City Subway. Gen. Keith Alexander said he'd go... More »

Obama: I'm Not 'Bush- Cheney Lite'

President refutes charge in Charlie Rose interview

(Newser) - Appearing on Charlie Rose last night, President Obama had a few things to clear up: First, he's not, as Rose put it, "Bush-Cheney lite." "Some people say, 'Well, you know, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he’s, you know, Dick Cheney,'"... More »

Apple: Feds Made 5K Data Requests Since December

Plus: China urges US to open up on surveillance

(Newser) - After revelations from Facebook and Microsoft , Apple is offering the public some details on government information requests. The US made between 4,000 and 5,000 requests to Apple for user data from December through May, the firm says; the requests were tied to between 9,000 and 10,000... More »

Forget Prism: NSA Is Tapped Straight Into the Internet Pipeline

Prism is just part of a much broader spying program, says the AP

(Newser) - The existence of Prism has shocked many Americans, but perhaps it shouldn't have, because the program is a direct result of two things we already knew about, the AP says in an extensive new report. Firstly, the NSA is tapped straight into the fiber optic cables that carry a... More »

Facebook, Microsoft Unveil Thousands of User Data Requests

Just "a tiny fraction of 1% of our user accounts" targeted: social network

(Newser) - In the second half of last year, Facebook got between 9,000 and 10,000 requests from local, state, and federal officials for user data on 18,000 to 19,000 accounts, the company says. It complied with 79% of the requests, it says. Under fire, Facebook released the data... More »

On NSA Spying, Yahoo Fought Law (Law Won)

Secret court bid to reject spying on foreign clients failed in 2008

(Newser) - When the government came to Yahoo with a request that Yahoo help it spy on foreign users without a warrant, the company refused and sent its top lawyers to argue the case in a secret court proceeding, sources tell the New York Times . Its argument: users' Fourth Amendment rights would... More »

Tech Giants to Feds: Let Us Air Our Role in NSA Spying

Google, Facebook urge feds to lift gag orders

(Newser) - Google and other tech giants are far from happy about being seen as willing partners in the NSA's Internet surveillance program and they want the government to lift gag orders so they can show otherwise. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo have requested secrecy orders be eased so that they... More »

How to Block NSA Spying

Timothy B. Lee offers up 5 ideas

(Newser) - Don't like the idea of the NSA spying on your phone calls and emails? In the Washington Post , Timothy B. Lee offers five ways for you to protect yourself:
  • Tor : This Internet browser lets you remain anonymous, and does not reveal your IP address or other identifiers. One fan:
... More »

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