Friday, January 30, 2015

Canada engages in large-scale warrantless surveillance.

 This isn't Democracy, this is just another form of Dictatorship and if we don't stop them now we are going to lose what ever freedom we have left, FOREVER!!!



Canada Casts Global Surveillance Dragnet Over File Downloads

By Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald
@rj_gallagher@ggreenwald Wednesday at 2:01 AM

Canada’s leading surveillance agency is monitoring millions of Internet users’ file downloads in a dragnet search to identify extremists, according to top-secret documents.

The covert operation, revealed Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept, taps into Internet cables and analyzes records of up to 15 million downloads daily from popular websites commonly used to share videos, photographs, music, and other files.

The revelations about the spying initiative, codenamed LEVITATION, are the first from the trove of files provided by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden to show that the Canadian government has launched its own globe-spanning Internet mass surveillance system.

According to the documents, the LEVITATION program can monitor downloads in several countries across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and North America. It is led by the Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, Canada’s equivalent of the NSA. (The Canadian agency was formerly known as “CSEC” until a recent name change.)

The latest disclosure sheds light on Canada’s broad existing surveillance capabilities at a time when the country’s government is pushing for a further expansion of security powers following attacks in Ottawa and Quebec last year.

Ron Deibert, director of University of Toronto-based Internet security think tank Citizen Lab, said LEVITATION illustrates the “giant X-ray machine over all our digital lives.”

“Every single thing that you do – in this case uploading/downloading files to these sites – that act is being archived, collected and analyzed,” Deibert said, after reviewing documents about the online spying operation for CBC News.

David Christopher, a spokesman for Vancouver-based open Internet advocacy group, said the surveillance showed “robust action” was needed to rein in the Canadian agency’s operations.

“These revelations make clear that CSE engages in large-scale warrantless surveillance of our private online activities, despite repeated government assurances to the contrary,” Christopher told The Intercept.

The ostensible aim of the surveillance is to sift through vast amounts of data to identify people uploading or downloading content that could be connected to terrorism – such as bomb-making guides and hostage videos.

In the process, however, CSE combs through huge volumes of data showing uploads and downloads initiated by Internet users not suspected of any wrongdoing.

In a top-secret PowerPoint presentation, dated from mid-2012, an analyst from the agency jokes about how, while hunting for extremists, the LEVITATION system gets clogged with information on innocuous downloads of the musical TV series Glee.

CSE finds some 350 “interesting” downloads each month, the presentation notes, a number that amounts to less than 0.0001 per cent of the total collected data.

The agency stores details about downloads and uploads to and from 102 different popular file-sharing websites, according to the 2012 document, which describes the collected records as “free file upload,” or FFU, “events.” Only three of the websites are named: RapidShare, SendSpace, and the now defunct MegaUpload.

SendSpace said in a statement that “no organization has the ability/permission to trawl/search Sendspace for data,” adding that its policy is not to disclose user identities unless legally compelled. Representatives from RapidShare and MegaUpload had not responded to a request for comment at time of publication.

LEVITATION does not rely on cooperation from any of the file-sharing companies. A separate secret CSE operation codenamed ATOMIC BANJO obtains the data directly from internet cables that it has tapped into, and the agency then sifts out the unique IP address of each computer that downloaded files from the targeted websites.

The IP addresses are valuable pieces of information to CSE’s analysts, helping to identify people whose downloads have been flagged as suspicious. The analysts use the IP addresses as a kind of search term, entering them into other surveillance databases that they have access to, such as the vast repositories of intercepted Internet data shared with the Canadian agency by the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters.

If successful, the searches will return a list of results showing other websites visited by the people downloading the files – in some cases revealing associations with Facebook or Google accounts. In turn, these accounts may reveal the names and the locations of individual downloaders, opening the door for further surveillance of their activities.

Since the secret 2012 presentation about LEVITATION was authored, both RapidShare and SendSpace have toughened security by encrypting users’ connections to their websites, which may have thwarted CSE’s ability to target them for surveillance. But many other popular file-sharing sites have still not adopted encryption, meaning they remain vulnerable to the snooping.

As of mid-2012, CSE was maintaining a list of 2,200 particular download links that it regarded as connected to suspicious “documents of interest.” Anyone clicking on those links could have found themselves subject to extra scrutiny from the spies.

While LEVITATION is purportedly identifying potential terror threats, Canadian legal experts consulted by CBC News were concerned by the broad scope of the operation.

“The specific uses that they talk about in this [counter-terrorism] context may not be the problem, but it’s what else they can do,” said Tamir Israel, a lawyer with the University of Ottawa’s Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. Picking which downloads to monitor is essentially “completely at the discretion of CSE,” Israel added.

The file-sharing surveillance also raises questions about the number of Canadians whose downloading habits could have been swept up as part of LEVITATION’s dragnet.

By law, CSE isn’t allowed to target Canadians. In the LEVITATION presentation, however, two Canadian IP addresses that trace back to a web server in Montreal appear on a list of suspicious downloads found across the world. The same list includes downloads that CSE monitored in closely allied countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Spain, Brazil, Germany and Portugal.

It is unclear from the document whether LEVITATION has ever prevented any terrorist attacks. The agency cites only two successes of the program in the 2012 presentation: the discovery of a hostage video through a previously unknown target, and an uploaded document that contained the hostage strategy of a terrorist organization. The hostage in the discovered video was ultimately killed, according to public reports.

A CSE spokesman told The Intercept and CBC News in a statement: “CSE is legally authorized to collect and analyze metadata, including from parts of the Internet routinely used by terrorists. Some of CSE`s metadata analysis activities are designed to identify foreign terrorists who use the Internet to conduct activities that threaten the security of Canada and Canadian citizens.

“CSE does not direct its activities at Canadians or anyone in Canada, and, in accordance with our legislation, has a range of measures in place to protect the privacy of Canadians incidentally encountered in the course of these foreign intelligence operations.”

The spokesman declined to comment on whether LEVITATION remained active, and would not provide examples of useful intelligence gleaned from the spying, or explain how long data swept up under the operation is retained.

Discussion of “operations, methods or capabilities,” the spokesman said, would breach the Security of Information Act, a Canadian law designed to protect state secrets.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Canadian Cops Can Now Search Your Phone!!


Canadian Cops Can Now Search Your Phone if You’ve Been Arrested, so Slap a Password on it
Following a Supreme Court ruling, Canadian police can search your phone and computer when they arrest you. Even if you're released without charge or trial.
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Cry-Baby of the Week: A Guy Threw a Snake at a Restaurant Worker in a Dispute Over Onions
Also this week: A guy allegedly killed his ex-girlfriend's pet rabbit because she asked him to move out of their apartment.
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Luka Magnotta Might Not Go to Prison
He committed one of the most gruesome murders in recent Canadian history. That's not in dispute, but his mental state is.
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Don't buy your family members $5 umbrellas and strawberry Nesquik for Christmas this year.
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The VICE Albums of the Year 2014
If you don’t agree, you’re wrong.
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Elizabeth May Ushered a Group of 9/11 Truthers into Canadian Parliament
Bizarrely enough, Elizabeth May felt like it was her duty to bring the Truther message forward to the Canadian government.
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DOs & DON'Ts

Copyright © 2014 Vice Media Canada Inc., All rights reserved.

Friday, December 12, 2014

International Human Rights Day

Access celebrates International Human Rights Day... and 11 other stories 

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Access Express | 12/10/14
Today marks the 66th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Access is celebrating Human Rights Day by bringing you a series of blog posts spotlighting the digital rights challenges of 2015.
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There’s a new arms race taking place online. “Cyber” may soon join air, land, sea, and space as a new theatre of military warfare.
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Staff Picks
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U.S. Senator Ron Wyden introduced the Secure Data Act, a bill that would prohibit the government from creating "backdoors" in hardware and software that can be used by governments and criminals to attack users.
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The debate on how governments use the data of airline passengers rages in Europe after an EU Commissioner surprised legislators with some confusing statements.
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From the Access Community
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The Commission of Ecuador's National Assembly initiated an accelerated process to approve a draft Telecommunications Law with a provision that would give the Ministry of Defense increased powers in situations of “public calamity"--an overbroad authority.
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Global Voices calls attention to the cases of Alaa Abd El Fattah and Bassel Khartabil (aka Bassel Safadi), two jailed bloggers who are serving arbitrary sentences that will jeopardize their futures as innovative and free thinkers from the Arab region.
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Global internet freedom declined for a fourth consecutive year, as new laws criminalized online dissent and legitimized overbroad surveillance and data collection, while more people were arrested for legitimate online activities than ever before.
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Thailand ordered U.S. online taxi booking company Uber to cease operations on Tuesday, in the latest hit for the rideshare app that has been banned in the Indian capital of New Delhi and which faces further restrictions in Europe and Asia.
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The Investigatory Powers Tribunal, an independent judicial body set up to hear public complaints about secret intelligence programs in the UK, has ruled that bulk surveillance programs don’t necessarily violate the human rights of British citizens.
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Microsoft, which is fighting a U.S. warrant requiring it to hand over email from servers based in Ireland, urges the Obama Administration to consider what would happen if foreign governments demanded the same treatment.
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Notorious for its censorship of microblogs, China has stepped up its repression of dissidents with the arrests of writers and editors Xu Xiao, Xu Yue, Liu Jianshu, and He Zhengjun.
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The government's bulk collection of Americans’ call records was brought before a U.S. appeals court for the third time in as many months on Monday. The appeal comes after a lower court ruled that the collection did not violate the Fourth Amendment.
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Comcast customers have sued the company for turning their routers into public Wi-Fi hotspots, saying Comcast’s actions pose risks to subscribers and are taken without seeking their authorization.
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This week's Express was curated by Lee Gensler. Have a tip for a story, or suggestion for an article? Let us know! Contact us at:

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