The National Security Agency created a "secret backdoor" so its massive databases could be searched for the contents of U.S. citizens' confidential phone calls and e-mail messages without a warrant, according to the latest classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
A report in the Guardian on Friday quoted Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, as saying the secret rule offers a loophole allowing "warrantless searches for the phone calls or emails of law-abiding Americans."
That appears to confirm what Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, said in … Read more
U.S. President Barack Obama met with a number of tech figures Thursday to discuss the future of technology and its role in surveillance.
According to Politico, anonymous sources say the meeting was a closed-door affair, following a similar, off-the-record meeting between U.S. administrators, lobbyists and leading privacy campaigners. Both secretive meetings focused on the NSA controversy, as well as broader issues -- including the online tracking of consumer behavior and patterns.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Google computer scientist Vint Cerf were present at Thursday's gathering, according to the report. In … Read more
With the goal of avoiding a massive cyberattack on U.S. infrastructure, the White House has proposed a handful of incentives to get power plants, water companies, and transportation networks to join a national cybersecurity program.
"The systems that run our nation's critical infrastructure such as the electric grid, our drinking water, our trains, and other transportation are increasingly networked," the White House wrote in a blog post Tuesday. "As with any networked system, these systems are potentially vulnerable to a wide range of threats, and protecting this critical infrastructure from cyber threats is among our … Read more
Update, June 8 at 2:45 p.m. PT: In response to outcry over PRISM, the U.S. director of national intelligence has released some details. Among other things, he says the government "does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers" and that PRISM-related activities are conducted "under court supervision." More here.
The National Security Agency has not obtained direct access to the systems of Apple, Google, Facebook, and other major Internet companies, CNET has learned.
President Obama offered a lawyerly defense of the National Security Agency this morning that can be summarized in two words: Trust us.
"The people involved in America's national security they take this work very seriously," he said. "The last thing they'd be doing is taking programs like this to listen to people's phone calls."
The president, whose administration has been buffeted by a series of disclosures in the last two days about warrantless NSA surveillance, was supposed to be speaking to reporters in the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, Calif., about health care. … Read more
Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other Internet companies and e-mail providers will be prohibited from making legally binding promises to protect your privacy, thanks to a vote this afternoon in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The vote came after Rep. Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican who's the committee's influential chairman, urged his colleagues to vote against … Read more
The White House today delivered a formal veto threat against a controversial data-sharing bill called CISPA that would allow intelligence agencies to collect personal information about Americans from private companies.
In a statement this afternoon, President Obama's aides said they "would recommend that he veto the bill," which is scheduled for a House of Representatives floor vote this week.
A House committee approved CISPA last week without four key privacy amendments. Sought by CISPA opponents, the amendments would have curbed the National Security Agency's ability to collect confidential data. (See CNET's CISPA FAQ.)
The White … Read more
Silicon Valley firms are presenting a rare united front in an effort to end a political logjam that has blocked high-tech immigration reform.
In an unusual show of support that underscores how important the topic has become, executives from Facebook, Google, eBay and other major tech companies sent a letter today to President Obama and congressional leaders asking them to fix immigration law by the end of 2013. The current system is broken, they say, blaming visa shortages, long waits for green cards, and difficulties bringing spouses and children to the United States.
"Because our current immigration system is … Read more
It's not exactly a secret where President Obama stands on a controversial Republican-backed cybersecurity bill: he's already promised to veto it.
But a cadre of Internet activists opposed to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act nevertheless created a petition to the president asking him to "stop CISPA" -- and it has crossed the 100,000-signature threshold necessary to secure a response from the administration.
In reality, there's little Obama can do to stop CISPA that he hasn't already done. The administration offered a stark warning in last year's veto threat, which talked … Read more