national security letter

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pages: 629 words: 142,393

The Future of the Internet: And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain


A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man,, call centre, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, distributed generation,, Firefox, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, illegal immigration, index card, informal economy, Internet Archive, jimmy wales, license plate recognition, loose coupling, mail merge, national security letter, packet switching, Post-materialism, post-materialism, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert X Cringely, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, software patent, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, wikimedia commons

If the government has questions about the identity of a user of a particular Internet Protocol address, a national security letter could be used to match that address to a subscriber name. Under section 505 of the PATRIOT Act, national security letters do not need to meet the probable cause standard associated with a traditional warrant: the FBI merely needs to assert to the private recipients of such letters that the records are sought in connection with an investigation into international terrorism.55 Government officials have indicated that more than thirty thousand national security letters are issued per year.56 A recent internal FBI audit of 10 percent of the national security letters obtained since 2002 discovered more than a thousand potential violations of surveillance laws and agency rules.57 Recipients of FISA orders or national security letters may press challenges to be permitted to disclose to the public that they have received such mandates— just as an anonymous car manufacturer sued to prevent its onboard navigation system from being used to eavesdrop on the car’s occupants58—but there is no assurance that they will do so.

Roughly 1,700 applications to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court were lodged in each of 2003 and 2004 seeking records of some kind. Only four were rejected each year. In 2005, 2,074 applications were made, with 2 rejections, and in 2006, 2,181 were made, with 5 rejections.51 Any custodians might also be served a national security letter concerning the production of so-called envelope information. These letters are written and executed without judicial oversight, and those who receive such letters can be prohibited by law from telling anyone that they received them.52 National security letters may be used to solicit information held by particular kinds of private parties, including the records of telephone companies, financial institutions (now including such entities as pawnshops and travel agencies), as well as ISPs.53 For ISPs, the sorts of information that can be sought this way are “subscriber information and toll billing records information, or electronic communication transactional records.”54 This envelope information is not thought to extend to the contents of e-mail but includes such things as the “to” and “from” fields of e-mail—or perhaps even the search engine queries made by a subscriber, since such queries are usually embedded in the URLs visited by that subscriber.

Dennis Hastert, Speaker, U.S. House of Repres. (Apr. 1, 2005), available at; Letter from William E. Moschella, Assistant Att’y Gen., to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, U.S. House of Repres. (Apr. 27, 2007), available at; see also OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GEN., A REVIEW OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION’S USE OF NATIONAL SECURITY LETTERS (2007), available at Some have suggested that the Justice Department may have misused the authority granted to it by FISA. See, e.g., Dan Eggen & Susan Schmidt, Secret Court RebuVs Ashcroft, WASH. POST, Aug. 23, 2002, at A01, available at; Carol D. Leonnig, Secret Court’s Judges Were Warned About NSA Spy Data, WASH.


pages: 598 words: 134,339

Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World by Bruce Schneier


23andMe, Airbnb, airport security, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, augmented reality, Benjamin Mako Hill, Black Swan, Brewster Kahle, Brian Krebs, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, congestion charging, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, experimental subject, failed state, fault tolerance, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Firefox, friendly fire, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hindsight bias, informal economy, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, linked data, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, national security letter, Network effects, Occupy movement, payday loans, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, South China Sea, stealth mode startup, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, urban planning, WikiLeaks, zero day

The UK police won’t even admit: Joseph Cox (7 Aug 2014), “UK police won’t admit they’re tracking people’s phone calls,” Vice, Those who receive such a letter: This is a fascinating first-person account of what it’s like to receive a National Security Letter. It was published anonymously, but was later revealed to be the work of Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle. Anonymous (23 Mar 2007), “My National Security Letter gag order,” Washington Post, the reason the FBI: Kim Zetter (3 Mar 2014), “Florida cops’ secret weapon: Warrantless cellphone tracking,” Wired, Kim Zetter (4 Mar 2014), “Police contract with spy tool maker prohibits talking about device’s use,” Wired,

That said, unlike NSA surveillance, FBI surveillance is traditionally conducted with judicial oversight, through the warrant process. Under the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, the government must demonstrate to a judge that a search might reasonably reveal evidence of a crime. However, the FBI has the authority to collect, without a warrant, all sorts of personal information, either targeted or in bulk through the use of National Security Letters (NSLs). These are basically administrative subpoenas, issued by the FBI with no judicial oversight. They were greatly expanded in scope in 2001 under the USA PATRIOT Act (Section 505), although the initial legal basis for these letters originated in 1978. Today, NSLs are generally used to obtain data from third parties: email from Google, banking records from financial institutions, files from Dropbox.

Much government control of corporate communications infrastructure occurs in secret, and we only hear about it occasionally. Lavabit was an e-mail service that offered more security privacy than the large corporate e-mail services most of us use. It was a small company, owned and operated by a programmer named Ladar Levison, and it was popular among the tech-savvy. It had half a million users, Edward Snowden amongst them. Soon after Snowden fled to Hong Kong in 2013, Levison received a National Security Letter demanding that the company turn over the master encryption key that protected all of Lavabit’s users—and then not tell any of its customers that they could be monitored. Levison fought this order in court, and when it became clear that he had lost, he shut down his service rather than deceive and compromise his customers. The moral is clear. If you run a business, and the FBI or the NSA wants to turn it into a mass surveillance tool, it believes that it is entitled to do so, solely on its own authority.


pages: 390 words: 96,624

Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom by Rebecca MacKinnon


A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, digital Maoism, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Firefox, future of journalism, illegal immigration, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, national security letter, online collectivism, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, WikiLeaks

Giving police the right to install surveillance devices in the homes of all citizens would no doubt be very helpful in catching criminals too, but there are good reasons that is not permitted without probable cause. It is alarming that the Department of Justice suspends its concern for citizens’ privacy and civil liberties when it comes to their digital lives. Though the US government is required by law to document publicly its wiretapping of phone lines, as of mid-2011 it was not required to do so with Internet communications. Furthermore, until 2009, companies complying with National Security Letters (NSL)—a kind of administrative demand letter requiring no probable cause or judicial oversight—were barred by a provision of the Patriot Act from informing customers about the existence of the NSL requests. The constitutional challenge to this gag provision was not mounted by any of the large brand-name Internet and telecommunications companies, which are believed to have received hundreds of thousands of these secret letters over the past decade.

In January 2011, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) published a report concluding that, based on its analysis of FBI documents related to investigations from 2001 to 2008, “intelligence investigations have compromised the civil liberties of American citizens far more frequently, and to a greater extent, than was previously assumed.” The EFF estimated that based on analysis of documents it obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, as many as 40,000 violations of law may have occurred during that period. Judicial and congressional oversight of FBI intelligence investigations was found to be “ineffectual.” Furthermore, the EFF found that in nearly half of cases in which the FBI abused the use of National Security Letters requesting information, phone companies, Internet service providers, financial institutions, and credit agencies “contributed in some way to the FBI’s unauthorized receipt of personal information.” For Americans seeking to change existing laws that they believe are wrong, ill-advised, or unfair, or for anybody who happens to be engaged in dissent, activism, or whistle-blowing that powerful people would like to prevent or contain, such a situation is chilling.

Krumholtz, Jack Kurtzman, Daniel Kyaboon La Quadrature du Net La Rue, Frank Lanier, Jaron Lantos, Tom Law Enforcement Work Party, Council of European Union Lawful intercept systems Lazaridis, Mike Leahy, Patrick Lee Myung-bak Lessig, Lawrence Level 3 Communications Levellers Li, Robin Libya, government shutdown of Internet service in Lieberman, Joseph Linux Liu Xiaobo LiveJournal Locke, John Lookout Lugar, Richard Madison, James Maduna, Taurai Magna Carta Makau, Tom Manning, Bradley Marx, Karl The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires (Wu) MasterCard McMahon, Mike McNamee, Joe Medvedev, Dmitry Merrill, Nick Mertha, Andrew Mesh networks MetroPCS Microsoft agreement to China’s censorship criteria Global Network Initiative (GNI) and lobby to update ECPA protection of human rights activists by Min Jiang Minerva (Park Dae-Sung) Mobile Active Mobile phones Android censorship and surveillance of iPhone mesh networks Mobile Active security and Tor Moglen, Eben Morozov, Evgeny Mozilla MSN Spaces Mubarak, Hosni Mubarak, Suzanne Mueller, Milton Mullenweg, Matt Munk Center, University of Toronto NARAL Pro-Choice America Narus Nashi National Religious Broadcasters National Security Letters (NSL), unconstitutionality of Navalny, Alexey Nawaat The Net Delusion (Morozov) Net neutrality abuse of arguments against Federal Communications Commission rules on laws promoting mobile access and in US Netflix Netherlands, net neutrality law in “Netizenship” Networked authoritarianism in Bahrain in China defined in Iran in Syria in Tunisia Networks and States (Mueller) Netzpolitik New America Foundation New York Times on website shutdown on illegal warrantless wiretapping on Microsoft censorship in China op-ed piece by Bono in on PROTECT IP bill on Russian raids on activist groups on Twitter’s refusal to provide account information New York Times “Bits” blog, on user feedback for Facebook Newseum Nike 1984 (Orwell) Nokia-Siemens Networks Noman, Helmi Noss, Eliot Nye, Joseph Obama, Barack OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) The Offensive Internet (Levmore and Nussbaum, eds.)


pages: 257 words: 72,251

Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff Between Privacy and Security by Daniel J. Solove


Albert Einstein, cloud computing, Columbine, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, invention of the telephone, Marshall McLuhan, national security letter, security theater, the medium is the message, traffic fines, urban planning

Also embedded in the definition of pen registers was the language (added by the Patriot Act) that the information they obtain “shall not include the contents of any communication.”15 If IP addresses and URLs contain content information, then they’re not covered by the Pen Register Act. But that’s the very issue that the expanded definition of a pen register was supposed to resolve! In the end, the Patriot Act just begged the question. Section 215 of the Patriot Act and National Security Letters One of the most criticized parts of the Patriot Act is Section 215, which states: The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or a designee of the Director (whose rank shall be no lower than Assistant Special Agent in Charge) may make an application for an order requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution.16 This part of the law raised considerable alarm, especially since it listed “books” and “papers.”

Congress later enacted a restriction that Section 215 not be used to obtain library records for books (but allowed it for information about computer use).17 Section 215 is problematic, but like much of the Patriot Act, it isn’t all that new. Many similar kinds of provisions already existed in electronic-surveillance law prior to the act. Before the Patriot Act, several federal laws permitted National Security Letters (NSLs), which function very similarly to Section 215.18 The recipient of an NSL must turn over various records and data pertaining to individuals. NSLs don’t require probable cause, a warrant, or even judicial oversight. Compliance is mandatory. According to one estimate, the FBI issues about thirty thousand NSLs per year.19 Getting rid of the Patriot Act will only eliminate Section 215; it won’t get rid of NSLs.

Ohio, 9, 136–38, 144 Matias, Maria, 74–75 May, Clifford, 125 Mayfield, Brandon, 78–79 McCarthy, Andrew, 62 McCarthyism, 59, 61 McLuhan, Marshall, 160, 230n11 McVeigh, Timothy, 65, 187 media, 68, 85, 127, 149, 184 Melville, Herman, Billy Budd, 57–58, 60, 62, 219nn9–10 metal detectors, 123 Middle Ages, 5 Minority Report (film), 202 mission creep, 181 Mitchell, John, 218n10 MobileMe, 106 Moore, Michael, 155 Mueller, John, 43 Muslims, 78–79, 186, 187, 195, 197 rights and, 91–152; definition of, 64–66; law on, in times of crisis, 53–90; misuse of, 66–70; NSA surveillance program, 33, 81–90; pendulum argument, 55–61; regulation of government surveillance for, 9–13, 36–40; war-powers argument and rule of law, 81–90. See also security; specific government organizations National Security Act (1947), 8 National Security Agency (NSA), 1, 3, 8, 12, 95; creation of, 8, 81; surveillance program, 33, 81–90 National Security Letters (NSLs), 163 new technology, 17–18, 95, 96, 98, 102, 153–205; biometric identification, 199–205; data mining, 182–98; law and, 153–205; law-and-technology problem and leave-it-to-the-legislature argument, 164–73; video surveillance and no-privacy-in-public argument, 174–81. See also specific technologies New York City, 38, 137, 140; colonial, 147; September 11 attacks, 11–12, 38; subway search program, 38–39, 44–45 New York Times, 67, 81, 104, 184, 218n10 9/11 Commission Report, 79 Nixon, Richard, 10, 63; abuses of surveillance, 10, 63–64 no-privacy-in-public argument, 174–81 North Briton, The, 147–48 nothing-to-hide argument, 21–32; injury and, 29–31; problem with, 26–29; silencing, 31–32; understanding privacy and, 24–26 nuclear weapons, 34, 43 national security, 7–8, 62–70; argument, 62–70; Cold War, 7–8; constitutional Office of Strategic Services (OSS), 8 Ohm, Paul, 226n24 12–13, 36–40, 51–52, 81–90, 156–81; rule of, 40, 81–90; suspicionlesssearches argument, 123–33; third party doctrine, 102–110 law-and-technology problem, 164–73; solving, 170–73 leave-it-to-the-legislature argument, 164–73 library records, 163 Lincoln, Abraham, 58 London, 147, 148, 174; subway bombing, 38, 180 Luddite argument, 199–205 Lyle, Roy, 97–98 241 Index Oklahoma City bombing, 65, 187 Olmstead, Roy, 97–98 Olmstead v.


pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman


23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Some of the NSA’s surveillance capacity derives from deals made with Internet firms—procedures for automating court-authorized information retrieval, direct access to central servers, and even (as in the case of Verizon) fiber optic cables piped from military bases into major Internet hubs. In the United States, the NSA uses the FBI to conduct surveillance authorized under the Patriot Act and to issue National Security Letters (NSLs)—subpoenas requiring recipients to turn over any information deemed relevant to an ongoing investigation. NSLs often come with gag orders preventing the recipient, such as an e-mail provider, from disclosing to anyone that they have been subpoenaed. The NSA and its partners in the Five Eyes—five English-speaking countries (USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand) that have agreed not to spy on one another—also hack into computer systems around the world, those of everyone from civilians to terrorists to heads of state to major cloud-storage systems and Internet backbones, the links between the major networks powering the Internet.

See also sentiment analysis Moran, Robert, 191 Morozov, Evgeny, 4–5, 84, 322 Moves fitness app, 305–6 mugshot Web sites, 207–9, 210–11, 213–14, 217 multitasking, 51–52 Mun, Sang, 358, 210 Myspace, 9 Nambikwara tribe, Brazil, 167–68, 356 narcissism of the social media experience, 61–62 National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite, 314 National Science Foundation (NSF), 279 National Security Agency (NSA), 129–32, 312, 314 National Security Letters (NSLs), 130 NEC, 299, 301 negative sentiments and sharing, 24, 31, 203–4, 305 Negri, Toni, 264 networked privacy model, 291–92 network effects, 13–14, 47, 272–73, 275–76, 295, 327 news consumers’ culpability, 109 news organizations algorithms rating news outlet importance, 84–85 and audience metrics, 101–2, 103 and embeddable media, 259–60 firehose approach to news, 112 as invasion of privacy, 288 memes from local newscasts, 69–72 presidential press conferences, 105 pushing articles selectively, 98 social media/viral editor, 122–23 trawling social media, 113 trending articles as premium journalism, 101 See also BuzzFeed; journalism New Times newspaper, 67–68 New York City and Uber, 237 New York Comic Con 2013, 34 New York Post, 113 New York Times Magazine, 75 Nike, 139 Niquille, Simone C., 356–57 Nissenbaum, Helen, 284, 297 notifications and alerts, 50–53, 214 NSA (National Security Agency), 129–32, 312, 314 NSF (National Science Foundation), 279 NSLs (National Security Letters), 130 Obama, Barack, 134, 169, 194 “Obama Is Wrong” (Hayes), 105–6 ObscuraCam, 357 Occupy movement, 136–37 OCR (optical character recognition) software, 260, 358 O’Donnell, Robert, 152 Office Max, 279–80 OkCupid, 204 Old Spice advertising campaign, 93–94 Omidyar, Pierre, 239 online persona, 344–45 online recommendations, 201–2 online reputation.

See also sentiment analysis Moran, Robert, 191 Morozov, Evgeny, 4–5, 84, 322 Moves fitness app, 305–6 mugshot Web sites, 207–9, 210–11, 213–14, 217 multitasking, 51–52 Mun, Sang, 358, 210 Myspace, 9 Nambikwara tribe, Brazil, 167–68, 356 narcissism of the social media experience, 61–62 National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite, 314 National Science Foundation (NSF), 279 National Security Agency (NSA), 129–32, 312, 314 National Security Letters (NSLs), 130 NEC, 299, 301 negative sentiments and sharing, 24, 31, 203–4, 305 Negri, Toni, 264 networked privacy model, 291–92 network effects, 13–14, 47, 272–73, 275–76, 295, 327 news consumers’ culpability, 109 news organizations algorithms rating news outlet importance, 84–85 and audience metrics, 101–2, 103 and embeddable media, 259–60 firehose approach to news, 112 as invasion of privacy, 288 memes from local newscasts, 69–72 presidential press conferences, 105 pushing articles selectively, 98 social media/viral editor, 122–23 trawling social media, 113 trending articles as premium journalism, 101 See also BuzzFeed; journalism New Times newspaper, 67–68 New York City and Uber, 237 New York Comic Con 2013, 34 New York Post, 113 New York Times Magazine, 75 Nike, 139 Niquille, Simone C., 356–57 Nissenbaum, Helen, 284, 297 notifications and alerts, 50–53, 214 NSA (National Security Agency), 129–32, 312, 314 NSF (National Science Foundation), 279 NSLs (National Security Letters), 130 Obama, Barack, 134, 169, 194 “Obama Is Wrong” (Hayes), 105–6 ObscuraCam, 357 Occupy movement, 136–37 OCR (optical character recognition) software, 260, 358 O’Donnell, Robert, 152 Office Max, 279–80 OkCupid, 204 Old Spice advertising campaign, 93–94 Omidyar, Pierre, 239 online persona, 344–45 online recommendations, 201–2 online reputation. See reputation On the Media radio program, 109 Open Graph, 11–12 opting out of advertising-based social networks, 275–77 cost of, 295 difficulty finding option for, 32, 33 of friends adding you to a group, 92 of Google Shared Endorsements, 33 of including your location in messages, 177 of Klout, 195 opt-in vs., 7–8 of social media, 272, 340–41, 342, 346, 347 oral storytelling, 62, 63 Oremus, Will, 106–7, 265 outing students via privacy faux pas, 286 ownership of your identity, 256–57, 273–74, 275–77, 311, 360 Page, Larry, 250 page views overview, 95–96, 98 and advertising dollars, 71, 93, 97 Facebook-ready content for generating, 115 and invented controversy, 107 meme-related, 84, 103–4, 105 new outlets’ boosting of, 122–23 Palihapitiya, Chamath, 249 Pandora, 303 paparazzos, 211–12 parents, scrapbooking about their children, 46, 55–60 Pariser, Eli, 122 Paris, France, 267, 268 Patriot Act, 130 pay-per-gaze advertising, 302 Peers, 238–39, 244 peer-to-peer social networks, 311 Peretti, Jonah, 114–15 personal care, 224 personal endorsements, 31–35 personal graph, 18–19 Persson, Markus, 164–65 Pezold, John, 187 PGP, 368–69 PHD, 304 PhoneID Score, TeleSign, 40 phones.


pages: 266 words: 80,018

The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding


affirmative action, airport security, Anton Chekhov, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Berlin Wall, Chelsea Manning, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Etonian, Firefox, Google Earth, Jacob Appelbaum, job-hopping, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, kremlinology, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, national security letter, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, web application, WikiLeaks

Another was Jay Rockefeller, who held the position at the time – and who had denounced the same surveillance activities when the Times exposed them. A third was the liberal hope of the early 21st century, a first-term senator from Illinois and constitutional law professor. Barack Obama, in a 2007 stump speech for his nascent presidential campaign, had pledged, ‘No more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more National Security Letters to spy on American citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do no more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient.’ Obama, the Democratic nomination in sight, and from there the presidency, voted for the FAA on 9 July 2008. With the passage of the FAA, political controversy over warrantless surveillance became marginal, the preoccupation of those already invested in one outcome or another.


pages: 286 words: 79,601

Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics by Glenn Greenwald


affirmative action, anti-communist, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, national security letter, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

If that sounds hyperbolic, just review the disclosures over the course of recent years concerning what databases the federal government has created and maintained—everything from records of all domestic telephone calls we make and receive, to the content of our international calls, to risk-assessment records based on our travel activities, to all sorts of new categories of information about our activities obtainable by the FBI through the use of so-called National Security Letters. And none of that includes, obviously, the as-yet-undisclosed surveillance programs undertaken by the most secretive administration in history. This endless expansion of federal government power by the small-government, states-rights wing of the Republican Party is no longer even news. They barely bother to espouse these principles except when it comes time to win elections. In April 2007, leading conservatives Andy McCarthy, David Frum, and John Yoo participated in an event to argue for this Orwellian proposition: “Better More Surveillance Than Another 9/11.”


pages: 349 words: 114,038

Culture & Empire: Digital Revolution by Pieter Hintjens


4chan, airport security, anti-communist, anti-pattern, barriers to entry, Bill Duvall, bitcoin, blockchain, business climate, business intelligence, business process, Chelsea Manning, clean water, congestion charging, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, Debian, Edward Snowden, failed state, financial independence, Firefox, full text search, German hyperinflation, global village, GnuPG, Google Chrome, greed is good, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, informal economy, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Rulifson, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, national security letter, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, packet switching, patent troll, peak oil, pre–internet, private military company, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Satoshi Nakamoto, security theater, Skype, slashdot, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route, transaction costs, union organizing, web application, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero day, Zipf's Law

The simpler explanation is: you work with us, and we'll take care of the legalities afterwards. You'll get market share and secret cash. And if you resist, or if you talk about this deal, your company will die, and you will go to prison. When you hear the CEOs and spokespeople of thriving corporations denying their level of cooperation with the NSA, you need to question their freedom to tell the truth. When a firm receives a National Security Letter, it is obliged by law to deny that fact. The tragic irony is that it's the nicer business executives, the 96% or so who are not psychopaths, who buckle under such threats. It takes a peculiarly tough disregard for authority and their sanctions, one close to a mental disorder, to stand up and fight bribery and corruption when all those around you are losing their heads, as it were. Analysts Retentive In the hot summer of 2013, following the Snowden leaks, European governments angrily denounced the American surveillance state.


pages: 322 words: 84,752

Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up by Philip N. Howard


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, Brian Krebs, British Empire, call centre, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Edward Snowden,, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Julian Assange, Kibera, Kickstarter, land reform, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, national security letter, Network effects, obamacare, Occupy movement, packet switching, pension reform, prediction markets, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, spectrum auction, statistical model, Stuxnet, trade route, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, zero day

WIRED, September 4, 2013, accessed September 30, 2014, 21. Declan McCullagh, “How the U.S. Forces Net Firms to Cooperate on Surveillance,” CNET, July 12, 2013, accessed September 30, 2014, 22. Kim Zetter, “Google Takes on Rare Fight Against National Security Letters,” Wired, April 4, 2013, accessed September 30, 2014, 23. “Lavabit,” accessed June 16, 2014,; “Silent Circle,” accessed June 16, 2014, 24. Author’s calculations based on the transparency reports available from Facebook (, accessed September 24, 2014), Google (, accessed September 24, 2014), and Twitter (, accessed September 21, 2014). 25.


Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents by Lisa Gitelman


Andrew Keen, computer age, corporate governance, deskilling, Douglas Engelbart, East Village,, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, Jaron Lanier, knowledge economy, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, national security letter, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, optical character recognition, profit motive, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Turing test, Works Progress Administration

(Ford vetoed the bill at the urging of his chief of staff, Donald Rumsfeld, and his deputy, Richard Cheney, who had consulted with Antonin Scalia, then a government lawyer.)48 In the face of growing anxiety about computer databases, Congress also passed the Privacy Act of 1974, which requires federal agencies to inform the public about the systems of records they use at the same time that it establishes rules for the protection of personally identifiable information. Both gestures by Congress helped initiate the information regime in which Americans have continued to live, a regime additionally structured by an extended sequence of laws of fluctuating strictness and enforcement and, in some cases, evasion, if one thinks of the Patriot Act of 2001 and the expanded powers of the Bush presidency, with its national security letters and avoidance of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or if one thinks of questions raised under the Obama administration about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency. Privacy and the retention or destruction of paperwork in the private sector are governed by a related body of law that includes everything from rules about privacy in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 to laws like the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002 (popularly known as Sarbanes-­Oxley), which strengthened corporate accounting standards after the collapse of Enron.


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Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman


23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

The IRS too began training its investigators on how to use social networks to investigate taxpayers back in 2009, and Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Service instructed its agents in 2010 to use social media sites to “observe the daily life of petitioners and beneficiaries suspected of fraud.” Federal agents can readily access your social data through a variety of means, by serving subpoenas, national security letters, and other administrative orders on your service providers, who under the third-party doctrine exception to the Fourth Amendment needn’t even notify you of the request. For example, AT&T revealed that in 2013 it received more than 300,000 requests for data relating to both civil and criminal cases. The demands for information came from state, federal, and local authorities and included nearly “248,000 subpoenas, nearly 37,000 court orders and more than 16,000 search warrants.”


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Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World by Timothy Garton Ash


A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Clapham omnibus, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Etonian, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, financial independence, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, global village, index card, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, mutually assured destruction, national security letter, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War

The telecommunications report also reveals another variant of the Pinteresque, encountered in one of the world’s most democratic, rule-of-law states: carefully drafted laws that prohibit the disclosure even of the mere fact that a company or other body has disclosed information to the government under that law. Thanks to Snowden, the politically informed public would become familiar with such secret FISA court orders and National Security Letters. But a few years earlier, when I heard about them for the first time, I asked senior figures at both Facebook and Twitter whether they could at least give me some idea of the number of such orders they had received and complied with. Tens? Hundreds? Thousands? Shifting in their seats and looking deeply uncomfortable, these faithful sons of the Church of the First Amendment said they would be breaking the law if they did that.