ZDNetGovWeek: NSA chaos continues, big tech fights back

ZDNetGovWeek: NSA chaos continues, big tech fights back

Summary: The ongoing chaos that is the NSA story continues. Google, Microsoft, and Facebook try to get permission to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That doesn't work out so well, and all we get are aggregated numbers and more aggravation.

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ZDNet's worldwide team provides global 24/7 technology news and analysis. In addition to my own coverage analysis here in the ZDNet Government column and on ZDNet's DIY-IT, every week I'll bring you a selection of the best government-related articles posted by our intrepid reporters and analysts. Here are some of the most interesting from the last week.

The NSA stories continue

Congressman denies report claiming NSA can listen to calls without warrants
The senator who allegedly said the U.S. National Security Agency can listen to phone calls of both U.S. residents and foreign nationals without a court order debunks the original report.

U.S. government loosens gag order on security-related data requests
In response to stories about widespread spying by the NSA, some giant tech companies asked the government for permission to disclose more details about national security orders. The government has now granted those requests, with significant restrictions that have Microsoft and Google agreeing they don't go far enough.

Six ways to protect yourself from the NSA and other eavesdroppers
Yes, you have many options for protecting your privacy on the Internet. But are these measures worth the time and sacrifice required? That's up to you.

Ad exec: Online ad industry complicit in NSA PRISM datamining
A leading figure in digital advertising says the ad industry is complicit in the NSA mass-data spying program, PRISM.

How did mainstream media get the NSA PRISM story so hopelessly wrong?
Last week's bombshell stories by The Guardian and The Washington Post accused some of the biggest names in tech of willingly working with the NSA to give up your data. It now appears that those stories misread the technical details and got the story wrong.

Google versus the NSA, choice versus trust
Why do we trust Google, Facebook, and other commercial operations to compile vast amounts of personal data, yet fear the NSA doing the same?

Facebook and Microsoft join call to disclose FISA requests
A trio of tech giants has called for the US government to allow for disclosure of total numbers of requests by US security agencies.

How secure is the National Security Agency?
We know that there's no such thing as a completely secure computer system. Is the NSA the nation's largest security risk of them all?

Other government coverage around ZDNet

G-20 encouraged to consider cyberattacks global economic threat
U.S. officials are urging G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to ramp up efforts to combat cybercrime.

Iranians are being phished ahead of election: Google
Google is warning Iranians that it is seeing a rise in what it believes are politically motivated phishing attacks ahead of the nation's presidential election.

EU 'assessing U.S. relationship' amid PRISM spying claims
In a letter obtained by ZDNet, the EU justice chief hints at consequences to come for the U.S. government if European citizens were targeted by the NSA's PRISM program.

How do you overlook 3,000 datacenters?
It takes a major bureaucracy to lose track of where their data processing resides.

Silicon Valley ramps up lobbying efforts
In support of a reformed U.S. immigration bill, tech firms in Silicon Valley have stepped up lobbying efforts.

Eight members of international cybercrime ring charged
After members of a cybercrime ring allegedly try to steal $15 million from U.S. banking customers, U.S. feds haven't taken the conspiracy lightly.

Asian govts' e-mails may be vulnerable to PRISM
Some officials in the region use e-mail services run by Yahoo or Gmail as their ministries lack proper IT infrastructure or due to personal preference, raising fears they may be monitored by the U.S. National Security Agency.

Prism heats up simmering tensions between US and Europe over privacy
European politicians ask for details of surveillance programme and assurances about privacy.

Data Security Council of India launches privacy training program
To address privacy breach concerns, the Data Security Council of India has announced a training program to educate assessors about how to protect personal information from disclosure, modification, or misuse.

Does Australia even know what it's doing with its cybers?
Another report, another 'cyber' initiative. But we've been putting these projects, proposals, and plans out for years with very little difference in results or agenda. Which makes me wonder: Do we even understand what the 'cybers' are?

Australia under attack from 'cyberspies'
Australia is under attack from dozens of malicious cyberattacks every week, many of them sponsored by foreign powers.

Australian government to review digital privacy protection
In the wake of the NSA PRISM scandal, Australian Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has called for the Australian Law Reform Commission to review privacy protection.

Australian government dusts off digital strategy
The Australian government has updated its two-year-old digital strategy and combined it with some new initiatives and a number of already-announced policies.

Australian govt pledges to right employee share scheme wrongs
Realising that former changes to the employee share scheme have negatively impacted startups, the government has said it will review the situation in order to encourage more tech businesses to contribute to the digital economy.

Topics: Government US, Government, Government Asia, Government AU, Government UK, Privacy, Security

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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4 comments
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  • Comment 1334.t_56a

    If you have nothing to hide why would you be upset about all this stuff?

    Go back to work, none of this ever happened .... ever happened ... ever happened ....
    NSAagent868
  • Notice the language of the statements from Google, Facebook, Apple, etc

    They talk about government "requests", not about court orders.

    The problem here is that under court gag orders companies can not admit even that order itself exists, let alone whether scope of it is narrow or super-broad. Telling even that would be violation of gag order.

    So basically "big tech" did not really fight back -- they can not.
    DDERSSS
  • "If you have nothing to hide..."

    Yes, I comprehend sarcasm. On the other hand, too many ignorant politicians & columnists are using this phrase without being sarcastic.

    I'm still waiting for those fools to provide me with handy web page links to their personal phone records, email, etc. After all, "If they have nothing to hide...", then what's their concern?
    SlimSam
  • Freedom on the Rocks - Tyranny versus Terrorism

    If you want to know what the NSA is REALLY doing with your life and communications, read
    Freedom on the Rocks - Tyranny versus Terrorism:

    http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/opinion/forum-freedom-on-the-rocks-tyranny-versus-terrorism/article_85f42746-9c81-598c-9e64-0db3ee978191.html
    sam2sam1