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Another blow to privacy: NSA shares data on Americans Comment on this post ↓
September 11th, 2013 by Warren Swil

Snowden document

shows Israel knows

all about U.S. Citizens

Uber-leaker Edward Snowden is still in hiding somewhere in Russia. Click image to enlarge.

JERUSALEM – The headline to Glenn Greenwald’s column in the Guardian of the U.K. on Wednesday almost made me choke on my bagel when it landed in my in box. It was almost personal.
 NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans’ data with Israel was something I did not need to read as I am sitting in the heart of Jerusalem.
Interestingly, the story also is in the Los Angeles Times, my hometown paper across the Atlantic.
The most important journalist in the world right now continues to break news of vital importance to everyone based on data leaked to him by Edward Snowden.
It has become a torrent. Each episode gives the U.S. government another dose of acute indigestion. It has to run around its embassies all over the planet putting out fires.
First Brazil, now Israel. Allies and enemies alike.
One can only assume global sharing of intelligence will come to a grinding halt as countries everywhere no longer trust the U.S. with their secrets.

“THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens, a top secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals,” Greenwald reported on Wednesday.

Glenn Greenwald’s report in the Guardian on Wednesday. Click image to enlarge.

“Details of the intelligence-sharing agreement are laid out in a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and its Israeli counterpart that shows the US government handed over intercepted communications likely to contain phone calls and emails of American citizens. The agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis.”
Greenwald points out that this sharing of information on U.S. citizens flies on the face off Administration assurances that the privacy of Americans is highly protected.
Those citizens caught in the monitoring of emails and phone calls are not purged from the data shared with a foreign government; their information is included in the raw data handed over under the 2009 memorandum.

MEANWHILE, THE NEW YORK TIMES is reporting the government’s response to last week’s huge revelation, also broken by Greenwald based on documents provided by Snowden, that the NSA is able to crack almost all encryption codes, making defenses against government intrusion almost useless.
In Wednesday Bits blog, the story Government Announces Steps to Restore Confidence on Encryption Standards by Nichole Perlroth lays out what the government says it will do.

The Los Angeles Times’ version of of the lasts Snowden leak story. Click image to enlarge.

“The federal agency charged with recommending cybersecurity standards said Tuesday that it would reopen the public vetting process for an encryption standard, after reports that the National Security Agency had written the standard and could break it,” Perlroth wrote.
“We want to assure the I.T. cybersecurity community that the transparent, public process used to rigorously vet our standards is still in place,” The National Institute of Standards and Technology said in a public statement. “N.I.S.T. would not deliberately weaken a cryptographic standard.”
She adds the background leading to this feeble attempt at reassurance.
“The announcement followed reports published by The New York Times, The Guardian and ProPublica last Thursday about the N.S.A.’s success in foiling much of the encryption that protects vast amounts of information on the Web.
“The Times reported that as part of its efforts, the N.S.A. had inserted a back door into a 2006 standard adopted by N.I.S.T. and later by the International Organization for Standardization, which counts 163 countries as members.”

Glenn Greenwald, most important journalist in the world right now. Click image to enlarge.

It makes one wonder how ironic the name of one of the top encryption software programs from Symantec has become: PGP no longer stands for “Pretty Good Privacy” it seems. It’s useless.
One can only wonder about the long-term effect the Snowden disclosures reported fearlessly by Greenwald and the Guardian will have on how we all use the internet.
On the bright side, perhaps they will increase awareness amongst the vast majority of web users that nothing they transmit across the ether is private.
It should be a wake-up call to everyone. But who is paying attention with the all-Syria-all-the-time news? Not even The New York Times has carried this latest episode. It seems fewer people care – but everyone should.

 

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