Everything we do online, and increasingly in the real world, is tracked, logged, analyzed, and often packaged and sold on to the highest bidder. Every time you visit a website, use a credit card, drive on the freeway, or go past a CCTV camera, you are logged and tracked. Every day billions of people choose to share their details on social media, which are then sold to advertisers.
The Edward Snowden revelations that governments - including those of the US and UK - have been snooping on their citizens, have rocked the world. But nobody seems to realize that this has already been happening for years, with firms such as Google capturing everything you type into a browser and selling it to the highest bidder. Apps take information about where you go, and your contact book details, harvest them and sell them on - and people just click the EULA without caring. No one is revealing the dirty secret that is the tech firms harvesting customers' personal data and selling it for vast profits - and people are totally unaware of the dangers.
You: For Sale is for anyone who is concerned about what corporate and government invasion of privacy means now and down the road. The book sets the scene by spelling out exactly what most users of the Internet and smart phones are exposing themselves to via commonly used sites and apps such as facebook and Google, and then tells you what you can do to protect yourself. The book also covers legal and government issues as well as future trends.
With interviews of leading security experts, black market data traders, law enforcement and privacy groups, You: For Sale will help you view your personal data in a new light, and understand both its value, and its danger.
- Provides a clear picture of how companies and governments harvest and use personal data every time someone logs on
- Describes exactly what these firms do with the data once they have it - and what you can do to stop it
- Learn about the dangers of unwittingly releasing private data to tech firms, including interviews with top security experts, black market data traders, law enforcement and privacy groups
- Understand the legal information and future trends that make this one of the most important issues today
The Snowden Revelations
This chapter discusses the revelations brought about by the documents leaked by former US government contractor Edward Snowden. It covers a discussion of the legality and ethics of government mass surveillance, including responses from governments, law firms, experts and privacy campaigners. It examines the history of the NSA in particular, with the aim of revealing that the organization has sought to spy on US citizens from the outset. It concludes with a discussion of recent EU Parliamentary arguments both for reform, and maintaining the status quo.
Privacy security internet GCHQ NSA PRISM MUSCULAR Snowden surveillance cloud technology Obama Tempora
A Glance at the History Books 17
You Say Incident, I Say Sham; Let's Call The Whole Thing Off 18
Revelations, or Just More of The Same? 20
Plus Ca Change 32
Snowden Who? 40
Five Reasons Not to Act 44
The 'Intelligence/National Security Argument': No Eu Competence 44
The 'Terrorism Argument': Danger of The Whistleblower 44
The 'Treason Argument: No Legitimacy for The Whistleblower 44
The 'Realism Argument': General Strategic Interests 44
The 'Good Government Argument': Trust your Government 45
Five Reasons to Act 45
The 'Mass Surveillance Argument': In Which Society Do We Want to Live? 45
The 'Fundamental Rights Argument' 46
The 'Eu Internal Security Argument' 46
The 'Deficient Oversight Argument' 46
The 'Chilling Effect On Media' And The Protection Of Whistleblowers 47
One of the greatest threats to our privacy comes not from cyber criminals, nor profiteering corporates, but from those we elect to govern us. When US government contractor Edward Snowden started releasing secret intelligence documents to the press in June 2013, the world was shocked and outraged at the revelations. The leaks showed that western governments, notably those of the so-called 'Five Eyes'; the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, although others across Europe were similarly implicated, conspired to illegally mine telecommunications networks (in part by tapping undersea cables carrying around 90 per cent of the world's communications traffic), install malware onto millions of personal devices, actively attempt to undermine encryption standards, and infiltrate various internet providers, in order to spy on their own citizens and indeed anyone who makes use of digital communications. The question on most people's lips was 'why'? Popular consensus held that this was the sort of behavior expected of totalitarian regimes, despots, and undemocratic governments of backward societies. Not our nice, socially aware, democratically elected western law-makers. But take a glance at the history books, and you'll quickly realize that the most surprising thing about the Snowden revelations was that any of us were surprised at all.
A Glance at the History Books
We begin this glance almost a century ago, in early April 1917, when the US Congress declared war on Germany, signaling the nation's involvement in World War I. Communications are critical in any military activity, the difference in World War I was that there were new ways to glean crucial information from enemy broadcasts. The problem was that since the enemy was simultaneously trying to eavesdrop on your communications, each side was all too aware that its own exchanges were far from secure, and so encrypted them. The 'Cipher Bureau and Military Intelligence Branch Section 8' was set up in Washington D.C. on April 28 1917, with the aim of cracking the coded transmissions from foreign powers. For an organization that was to eventually become the National Security Agency (NSA) and employ over 93,000 people at its peak, it had humble origins. Originally it comprised merely of three people: cryptographer Herbert O Yardley and two clerks. In 1919 Yardley's group set up the appropriately sinister sounding 'Black Chamber', which was located on East 37th Street in Manhattan. Its goal was to monitor communications from foreign governments and crack their codes. The Chamber made a deal with Western Union, the largest US telegram company of the day, to be allowed to monitor the supposedly private communications passing across the organization's networks. It was a sign of things to come. Western Union allowed this to go on for ten years, until 1929 when the chamber was shut down by US Secretary of State Henry L Stimson, who gave his wonderfully genteel reasoning as: "Gentlemen do not read each other's mail". Other nations seemed less concerned by such refined codes of conduct. 'Black Chambers' were also set up by the British and French governments, with the rather less sophisticated designs of steaming open and reading written letters, before resealing them and sending them on, they hoped surreptitiously. We'll now skip forward to World War II, specifically 1941 when an informal agreement was set up under the Atlantic Charter (which described Allied goals for the post-war era) for the UK and USA (or more accurately the organizations that were to become Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the National Security Agency (NSA)) to collaborate and share signals intelligence. Shortly after the war the other members of the Five Eyes were included. Around the same time as the Atlantic Charter was being developed, the Signal Security Agency (SSA) was set up to gather and decipher communications between the Axis powers. After the war it was reformed into the Army Security Agency (ASA), then just months later, because there are never enough acronyms in government, it became part of the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA). But the AFSA's remit outstripped its abilities, and in 1951 President Harry S Truman ordered an investigation into its failings. The results of this investigation led to the formation of the NSA, although this was all utterly opaque to the US public, since the Presidential memo ordering the agency's creation was a classified document. In fact, members of the intelligence service began referring to the NSA as 'No Such Agency'. Now let's jump forward to another war, this time Vietnam. In the 1960s the NSA was heavily involved in determining the US' involvement in the conflict, principally by gathering information on a North Vietnamese attack on the American destroyer USS Maddox during what became known as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident.
You Say Incident, I Say Sham; Let's Call The Whole Thing Off
Confusingly, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident refers to two separate confrontations involving the USS Maddox and the North Vietnamese navy within two days of August 1964. On the 2nd August, the Maddox engaged three North Vietnamese torpedo boats from the 135th Torpedo Squadron. In the ensuing battle, the Maddox peppered the Torpedo Boats with shells, and four US Navy F-8 Crusader jet fighter bombers joined the fray, also firing on the boats. One of the jets was damaged in the fighting, as was the Maddox, whilst all three North Vietnamese Torpedo Boats took a pummeling, with four North Vietnamese sailors killed and six wounded. There were no US casualties. Two days later came the second incident, with another tussle between the USS Maddox and North Vietnamese Torpedo Boats. These events resulted in the US Congress passing the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which enabled President Lyndon B Johnson to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was potentially being "jeopardized by communist aggression". And the result of that was the Vietnam War. It wasn't until 41-years later, in 2005, that the US public was to learn the truth about the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, when an internal NSA historical study was declassified. The document stated that although the Maddox had indeed engaged the North Vietnamese Navy in the first incident, the second battle had been entirely fictitious; there had been no North Vietnamese boats present. Furthermore, the Maddox had actually fired first in the battle of the August 2nd, a fact misreported to the Johnson administration at the time, who had been led to believe that it had been the Vietnamese to initiate the aggression. This was considered to be a crucial point determining further US involvement. And the NSA's interest in the Vietnam War does not end there. In 1967 it launched a secret project code-named 'MINARET' in order to intercept electronic communications that contained the names of certain US citizens, then pass those communications on to other law enforcement and intelligence bodies within the US government. Two of those US citizens were Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker. Another was civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, and there were also various other well-known US journalists and athletes...