Archive | Snowden

German court makes U-turn in Snowden case

In November the BGH ruled that Snowden should be invited to Berlin and that the government make preparations to ensure his safety, raising the intriguing possibility that Berlin would have to provide protection to one of the most wanted men in the US. But then the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats appealed the decision. (…)

(T)he court made a U-turn in a ruling published Wednesday.

The Local: Snowden won’t be invited to Germany after all »


German mass surveillance: Business as usual

As Netzpolitik points out, while the committee was busy discussing the few things it could discuss, the German parliament was expanding BND’s legal authorities.

German citizens – along with everyone the government spies on – can rest assured nothing has changed. It’s only gotten worse.

Techdirt: Germany’s Spy Agency Walks Away From Three-Year Investigation With Expanded Spy Powers »


Trump, CIA, NSA, Palantir, Facebook & the common denominator

In the demo, Palantir engineers showed how their software could be used to identify Wikipedia users who belonged to a fictional radical religious sect and graph their social relationships. In Palantir’s pitch, its approach to the VAST Challenge involved using software to enable “many analysts working together [to] truly leverage their collective mind.” The fake scenario’s target, a cartoonishly sinister religious sect called “the Paraiso Movement,” was suspected of a terrorist bombing, but the unmentioned and obvious subtext of the experiment was the fact that such techniques could be applied to de-anonymize and track members of any political or ideological group.

The Intercept describes the (partly CIA financed) Palantir mass surveillance analysis software.

As if the above is not chilling enough, consider that Palantir owner Peter Thiel has become an advisor to President Trump and is on the board of directors at Facebook.

The Intercept: How Peter Thiel’s Palantir helped the NSA spy on the whole world »



Edward Snowden building safe communication tools for reporters

Since early last year, Snowden has quietly served as president of a small San Francisco–based nonprofit called the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Its mission: to equip the media to do its job at a time when state-­sponsored hackers and government surveillance threaten investigative reporting in ways Woodward and Bernstein never imagined. “Newsrooms don’t have the bud­get, the sophistication, or the skills to defend them­selves in the current environment,” says Snowden, who spoke to WIRED via encrypted video-chat from his home in Moscow. “We’re trying to provide a few niche tools to make the game a little more fair.”

Wired » Edward Snowden’s New Job: Protecting Reporters From Spies »


After Manning, let’s focus on Snowden

Yesterday we learned that Chelsea Manning will be released May 17 next year. Now, let’s keep an eye on the ball. Still, much can happen.

Given that Manning really will be released from prison – it’s time to boost the campaign for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Still, in theory, there is a possibility of a presidential pardon. But it is not very likely. Instead, the Snowden campaign will have to shift focus to asylum or sanctuary in a western democracy.

Needless to say, practically all western governments reject this proposal. If it is to happen, we will have to make them change their minds.

Politicians mostly care about their image and public opinion, i.e. votes. Factors that can make them more popular or unpopular and give them more or less public support are essential. So, it really should be possible to make them change their mind about Snowden.

The first thing should be to reach critical mass. Actually, this is the hardest phase. It requires hard work. But we know that focused campaigning can lead to a breakthrough. And we already have e.g. the European Parliament and several media organizations onboard.

Furthermore, politicians saying no to Snowden might stand out as elitist, shady and patrons of the deep state. The pro-Snowden campaign, on the other hand, is from the beginning perceived as fighting for a noble cause. We also have the psychological advantage of being the underdog, the people confronting the power elite.

We need to saturate the Internet and the media with pro-Snowden messages. But we also need action. Because action is a very effective tool for communication. We need to organize rallies, seminars, and media-friendly grass root activism. And we need to take every opportunity to bring this subject up when politicians meet the public.

It is possible to provide refuge for Edward Snowden in the western world. But to reach this goal, we will have to work really hard. Nothing will happen by itself.



Information trench war over Snowden

It seems to be open season for mudslinging against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The latest example is a widely spread article by Edward Jay Epstein in the Wall Street Journal. However, it seems to offer very little or nothing of substance.

The purpose of the piece might rather be to promote Epstein’s upcoming book »How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft«.

Epstein is no fool. But he is very much into certain… theories. In the quite entertaining book »Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB & the CIA« he rises to defend CIA:s former and widely criticized director of counterintelligence (1954-75), the late James Jesus Angleton. Epstein’s latest book is »The JFK Assassination Diary: My Search for Answers to the Mystery of the Century«.

I don’t say that Epstein is a conspiracy theorist. But it might be wise for those who are about to refer to him as an authority on Snowden, to be aware that he is a controversial author.


Also, read Errata Security: Your absurd story doesn’t make me a Snowden apologist »