Has Fighting Terrorism Turned the U.S. into a “Post-Constitutional” Country?
“One by one, the tools and attitudes of the war on terror, of a world in which the “gloves” are eternally off, have come home,” Van Buren wrote. “The comic strip character Pogo’s classic warning—“We have met the enemy and he is us”—seems ever less like a metaphor. According to the government, increasingly we are now indeed their enemy.”
Waiting for the Supreme Court to Decide if Cell Phone Use can be Private
Cell phone “information is, by and large, of a highly personal nature: photographs, videos, written and audio messages (text, email and voicemail), contacts, calendar appointments, web search and browsing history, purchases and financial and medical records.” Stahl also wrote: “It is the kind of information one would previously have stored in one’s home,” and accessing that by police has historically involved getting a warrant first.
Trail of U.S. Criminal Investigations Altered to Cover up DEA Unit’s Role as Data Source
(If true, this would mean thousands of Federal Agents, Police and Prosecutors and Judges have engaged in felonious activities on a massive scale. Criminals convicting the innocent.)
The DEA requires police who receive the agency’s help to cover up the fact that they were given the tips—and not even tell defense lawyers, prosecutors and judges that their investigations began with the DEA. Also, Reuters obtained DEA documents showing that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail in order to conceal the agency’s involvement in the arrests.
Does NSA Avoid U.S. Legal Restrictions by Hiring British Intelligence to Gather Information on Americans?
Seeking to evade even the weak limits placed on its spying by U.S. law, the National Security Agency (NSA) has paid at least £100 million ($155 million) to the British spy agency known as GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) over the last three years to conduct operations NSA legally cannot. In light of ongoing revelations regarding NSA domestic spying on Americans, the arrangement suggests that NSA is using GCHQ to break U.S. law.
Caustic Light on White House’s Reaction to a Terrorist Threat
Lavabit, email service Snowden reportedly used, abruptly shuts down
Founder of service reportedly used by Edward Snowden said he would not be complicit in ‘crimes against the American people’
Below, the full message from Lavabit’s founder and operator Ladar Levison:
My Fellow Users,
I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on–the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.
What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.
This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.
Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC
Defending the constitution is expensive! Help us by donating to the Lavabit Legal Defense Fund here.
Update: Spencer Ackerman at the Guardian has more:
Several technology companies that participate in the National Security Agency’s surveillance dragnets have filed legal requests to lift the secrecy restrictions that prevent them from explaining to their customers precisely what it is that they provide to the powerful intelligence service – either wittingly or due to a court order. Yahoo has sued for the disclosure of some of those court orders.
The presiding judge of the secret court that issues such orders, known as the Fisa court, has indicated to the Justice Department that he expects declassification in the Yahoo case. The department agreed last week to a review that will last into September about the issues surrounding the release of that information.
There are few internet and telecommunications companies known to have refused compliance with the NSA for its bulk surveillance efforts, which the NSA and the Obama administration assert are vital to protect Americans. One of them is Qwest Communications, whose former CEO Joseph Nacchio – convicted of insider trading – alleged that the government rejected it for lucrative contracts after Qwest became a rare holdout for post-9/11 surveillance.
“Without the companies’ participation,” former NSA codebreaker William Binney recently told the Guardian, “it would reduce the collection capability of the NSA significantly.”
Silent Circle follows Lavabit in shuttering encrypted e-mail
Provider of software that encrypts communications says it “sees the writing on the wall,” citing Lavabit closure in confirming a decision it had been mulling for weeks.
Texas-based Lavabit service has shut down but said legal reasons prevented it explaining why.
Correspondents say Lavabit appears to have been in a legal battle to stop US officials accessing customer details.
In addition, secure communications firm Silent Circle has shut its email service because messages cannot be kept wholly secret.
US businesses stand to lose up to $35B as a result of PRISM
How Much Will PRISM Cost the U.S. Cloud Computing Industry? [PDF], a report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation — a highly regarded DC think-tank — estimates that the US cloud computing companies will lose $22-$35 billion as a result of customers’ nervousness about PRISM and other spying programs. The US had been leading the world in cloud computing, but analysts are seeing a rush to European cloud providers that are (presumably) out of reach on the NSA and in jurisdictions with tighter rules on government spying.