You have a few options to protect the privacy of your Internet searches. You could log out of your Google account before using Google to perform a search. You could use an alternate browser to keep your searches separate from your primary browser. Or you could use a service such as Duck Duck Go. If you are set in your ways (and use Firefox as your primary browser), however, and want to search using Google like the rest of the world and want to do so without logging in and out of your account or switching browsers, there is a … Read more
Those of you angered over reports of NSA spying are being urged to add your voices to those of a group of 5,300 companies and Web sites staging a worldwide protest.
Dubbing February 11 "The Day We Fight Back," organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, Free Press, Mozilla, Reddit, and Tumblr want Internet users to call or e-mail their legislators to pressure them to end the National Security Agency's mass surveillance program. The groups also are asking Web site owners to set up banners on their pages to urge visitors … Read more
Edward Snowden used common "Web crawler" software to grab top secret NSA documents, according to unnamed intelligence officials cited in a New York Times report, a revelation that raises further questions about the efficacy of the agency's internal security measures.
The software was not named by the officials, but it's apparently similar to Googlebot, the program the search giant created to index new Web pages, as well as a program called "wget," which Chelsea Manning used to download the batches of secret files that were published by WikiLeaks several years back.
The crawler can … Read more
The NSA has been sweeping up significantly less phone-call metadata than previously thought. But the agency would like to get its hands on as much as possible.
That's the gist of a pair of reports published Friday, one in The Washington Post, the other in The Wall Street Journal. The Post article cites unnamed "current and former US officials" in reporting that the controversial spy agency is collecting "less than 30 percent of all Americans' call records because of an inability to keep pace with the explosion in cell phone use." The Journal story, which … Read more
The new journalism venture backed by millions from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and involving Glenn Greenwald -- the journalist to whom Edward Snowden entrusted many of his purloined NSA documents -- is set to launch its first publication early next week.
The digital magazine's "initial focus will be in-depth reporting on the classified documents previously provided" by Snowden, according to Omidyar and former Rolling Stone Executive Editor Eric Bates, who posted a brief item about the launch on the First Look Media Web site today. Bates had been previously announced as a First Look team member, along with a handful of others. … Read more
Google and other top tech firms are beginning to flex their transparency muscles a bit, following the resolution of a lawsuit last week against the US Department of Justice to allow them to reveal more about national security data demands made of them.
On Monday, six major companies -- Google, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, and LinkedIn -- revealed more information about government requests made with National Security Administration letters. The letters can request both content-related material, and non-content, which can refer to name, age, and location data of user accounts. Revealed customer account requests cannot be specific, and are limited … Read more
If you're a Facebook user who has never bothered to change the service's default privacy settings, you're not alone. In May 2012, Lance Whitney reported on a Consumer Reports study that found millions of Facebook users don't use, or aren't even aware of, the service's privacy controls.
The Facebook interface certainly doesn't make it easy to adjust your privacy settings. As I explained in last September's post on how to secure your Facebook account in six easy steps, the social network has 40 individual privacy settings listed in four separate categories.
Israeli … Read more
Canada's spy agency reportedly used information captured from the free Wi-Fi system at a "major Canadian airport" to track travelers for days after they left the terminal.
The Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) was allegedly provided with data captured over a two-week period by the airport's free Internet system from the wireless devices of ordinary airport visitors, reported CBC News on Thursday, citing a document leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The data was then used to track travelers "for a week or more" as their wireless devices showed up at free Wi-Fi hot … Read more
It looks like the NSA may soon be in the hands of a Navy officer who specialized in code-making and breaking.
The White House will name Vice Admiral Michael S. Rogers the new director of the National Security Agency, according to The New York Times, which cites unnamed senior officials with the Obama administration. (The Washington Post published a similar report earlier.) Rogers' appointment would be subject to Senate confirmation.
Rogers, presently the Navy's cybersecurity chief, would replace Army General Keith Alexander, who's retiring after eight years as the head of the NSA. Rogers would be stepping into … Read more
NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden has been nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
Two members of Norway's parliament put forward the nomination, saying Snowden has made "a critical contribution" to restoring the balance between "a country's legitimate need for reliable intelligence to preserve its own security" and "people's individual freedoms."
"There is no doubt that the actions of Edward Snowden may have damaged the security interests of several nations in the short term," the Norwegians -- Socialist Left party members Bård Vegar Solhjell and Snorre Valen -- … Read more