Total Information Awareness’ surveillance program returns

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Total Information Awareness’ surveillance program returns

Postby harry ashburn » Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:59 pm

‘Total Information Awareness’ surveillance program returns, bigger than ever

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, March 16, 2012 16:08 EDT

A new feature story in this month’s Wired blows the lid off plans for a massive new National Security Agency data center in Utah that represents the resurrection of a program that Congress killed in 2003, known as “Total Information Awareness,” targeting literally all electronic communications all over the world — including those made by American citizens.

The proposal was to build computing systems that could suck up every electronic communication on the planet and filter them through a smart super-computer that would flag certain conversations, emails, transactions and other items of interest for further review. It was a program so monstrous in scope that after a brief legislative battle, Congress imposed strict regulations on the type of technology that could accomplish those ends, prohibiting it from ever being used against Americans.

But if well sourced intelligence reporter James Bamford is to be believed, as of this year, their efforts to stop it are moot.

According to Bamford, the NSA’s new data center in Utah will be the most all-encompassing spy machine ever conceived, capable of breaking almost any encryption, reading any email and recording any phone call anywhere in the world, even if it’s not made over the Internet. A network of ultra-sensitive satellites enhance the center’s intelligence-finding capabilities with the unique ability to sniff electronic communications from a massive distance.

More troubling still, Bamford’s three covert sources who worked for the NSA reportedly claim that the agency is dumping Americans’ communications into the mix, knowingly violating the U.S. Constitution in pursuit of a modern-day Manhattan Project.

When Congress struck down the Pentagon’s “Total Information Awareness” program, they did, however, authorize funding for ”processing, analysis, and collaboration tools for counter terrorism foreign intelligence,” which is precisely how the NSA describes this data center. Just a year after that authorization, Bamford notes that the Department of Energy founded a computing facility where scientists developed technology that was secretly being funneled to the NSA for the data center currently under construction.

Bamford’s sources are not the first to come forward with claims of dubious activity at the NSA. The Obama Administration prosecuted NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake for funneling secret data to a nameless reporter, and former NSA analyst Russell Tice came forward with other revelations in 2005, and again in 2009. Even back then he was warning that the NSA had access to all Americans’ communications and even private credit card information. That message was heard, and heard well, by lawmakers like Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), who said he would not be surprised to learn that the NSA was even spying on him.

In these latest revelations, one of Bamford’s covert sources claims that the NSA is on the verge of a massive coup, putting the U.S. inches away from “a turnkey totalitarian state.” A much smaller spying program that targeted top Democrats and reporters, uncovered amid an investigation into a burglary, was the impetus for impeachment proceedings against former President Richard M. Nixon, which caused him to resign part-way through his second term. At the time, Congress was concerned that such power would be wielded for political purposes.

Stephen C. Webster

Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster. ... than-ever/
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Re: Total Information Awareness’ surveillance program return

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:32 pm

"Returns" = "Never Left"
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Re: Total Information Awareness’ surveillance program return

Postby Hugh Manatee Wins » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:43 am

Wombaticus Rex wrote:"Returns" = "Never Left"

Yep. Never...Left. :coolshades

Warning about The Messenger: 'Wired' is a psyops magazine run by CIA to control the elite techno-nerds they want very much to recruit and therefore to steer away from Subversive Information.

So, like other CIA media, 'Wired' pretends to be The Source You Should Heed! to maintain credibility.
'Wired' is at the center of the framing up of Bradley Manning to obscure the David Manning memo of March 2002.
A very important psyops messenger.
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Re: Total Information Awareness’ surveillance program return

Postby Grizzly » Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:01 pm

Surveillance: a little-known Israeli surveillance vendor called NSO Group ... nt-spyware ... break-nso-

Government Hackers Caught Using Unprecedented iPhone Spy Tool ... 5-13-09-05

Aug 25, 8:03 PM EDT 2016

Activist discovers iPhone spyware, sparking security update

Associated Press
AP Photo
AP Photo/Jon Gambrell

Activist discovers iPhone spyware, sparking security update

AJMAN, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- The suspicious text message that appeared on Ahmed Mansoor's iPhone promised to reveal details about torture in the United Arab Emirates' prisons. All Mansoor had to do was click the link.

Mansoor, a human rights activist, didn't take the bait. Instead, he reported it to Citizen Lab, an internet watchdog, setting off a chain reaction that in two weeks exposed a secretive Israeli cyberespionage firm, defanged a powerful new piece of eavesdropping software and gave millions of iPhone users across the world an extra boost to their digital security.

"It feels really good," Mansoor said in an interview from his sand-colored apartment block in downtown Ajman, a small city-state in the United Arab Emirates. Cradling his iPhone to show The Associated Press screenshots of the rogue text, Mansoor said he hoped the developments "could save hundreds of people from being targets."

Hidden behind the link in the text message was a highly targeted form of spyware crafted to take advantage of three previously undisclosed weaknesses in Apple's mobile operating system.

Two reports issued Thursday, one by Lookout, a San Francisco mobile security company, and another by Citizen Lab, based at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs, outlined how the program could completely compromise a device at the tap of a finger. If Mansoor had touched the link, he would have given his hackers free reign to eavesdrop on calls, harvest messages, activate his camera and drain the phone's trove of personal data.

Apple Inc. issued a fix for the vulnerabilities Thursday, just ahead of the reports' release, working at a blistering pace for which the Cupertino, California-based company was widely praised.

Arie van Deursen, a professor of software engineering at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, said the reports were disturbing. Forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski described the malicious program targeting Mansoor as a "serious piece of spyware."

A soft-spoken man who dresses in traditional white robes, Mansoor has repeatedly drawn the ire of authorities in the United Arab Emirates, calling for a free press and democratic freedoms. He is one of the country's few human rights defenders with an international profile, close links to foreign media and a network of sources. Mansoor's work has, at various times, cost him his job, his passport and even his liberty.

Online, Mansoor repeatedly found himself in the crosshairs of electronic eavesdropping operations. Even before the first rogue text message pinged across his phone on Aug. 10, Mansoor already had weathered attacks from two separate brands of commercial spyware.

When he shared the suspicious text with Citizen Lab researcher Bill Marczak, they realized he'd been targeted by a third.

Citizen Lab and Lookout both fingered a secretive Israeli firm, NSO Group, as the author of the spyware. Citizen Lab said that past targeting of Mansoor by the United Arab Emirates' government suggested that it was likely behind the latest hacking attempt as well.

Executives at the company declined to comment, and a visit to NSO's address in Herzliya showed that the firm had recently vacated its old headquarters - a move recent enough that the building still bore its logo.

In a statement released Thursday which stopped short of acknowledging that the spyware was its own, the NSO Group said its mission was to provide "authorized governments with technology that helps them combat terror and crime."

The company said it couldn't comment on specific cases.

Marczak said he and fellow-researcher John Scott-Railton turned to Lookout for help to pick apart the malicious program, a process which Murray compared to "defusing a bomb."

"It is amazing the level they've gone through to avoid detection," Murray said of the software's makers. "They have a hair-trigger self-destruct."

Working over a two-week period, the researchers found that Mansoor had been targeted by an unusually sophisticated piece of software which some have valued at $1 million. He told AP he was amused by the idea that so much money was being poured into watching him.

"If you would give me probably 10 percent of that I would write the report about myself for you!"

The apparent discovery of Israeli-made spyware being used to target a dissident in the United Arab Emirates raises awkward questions for both countries. The use of Israeli technology to police its own citizens is an uncomfortable strategy for an Arab country with no formal diplomatic ties to the Jewish state. And Israeli complicity in a cyberattack on an Arab dissident would seem to run counter to the country's self-description as a bastion of democracy in the Middle East.

There are awkward questions, too, for Francisco Partners, the private equity firm which owns the NSO Group. Francisco is only an hour's drive from the headquarters of Apple, whose products the cybersecurity firm is accused of hacking.

Messages left with Francisco partners' offices in London and San Francisco went unreturned. Israeli and Emirati authorities did not return calls seeking comment.

Attorney Eitay Mack, who advocates for more transparency in Israeli arms exports, said his country's sales of surveillance software are not closely policed.

He also noted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cultivated warmer ties with Arab Gulf states.

"Israel is looking for allies," Mack said. "And when Israel finds allies, it does not ask too many questions."


Satter reported from Paris. Cheslow reported from Herzliya, Israel. Fay Abuelgasim in Ajman contributed to this report.


This story has been corrected to show the spelling of the researcher's surname is Murray, not Murrary.

also see, ... ght_using/

p.s, does anyone remember when articles were formatted specifically so you could print re-print or send them?
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Re: Total Information Awareness’ surveillance program return

Postby Grizzly » Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:56 am

More: ... ck#6684343

From the technical report from security firm Lookout:

Based on artifacts in the code, this spyware has been in the wild for more than two years. The exploits have configuration settings that go all the way back to iOS 7, which was released in 2013 and superseded in 2014.


NSO Group reportedly has hundreds of employees and makes millions of dollars in annual revenue, effectively as a cyber arms dealer, from the sale of its sophisticated mobile attack software. NSO is only one example of this type of cyber mercenary: we know that it is not the only one, as we’ve seen with the Hacking Team, Finfisher, and other organizations that compete in this space.

While this report is focused on the iOS version of the software, Lookout and Citizen Lab are aware that NSO Group advertises Android and Blackberry versions and are investigating those as well.
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