Without public notice or debate, the Obama administration has expanded the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance of Americans' international Internet traffic to search for evidence of malicious computer hacking, according to classified N.S.A. documents.
In mid-2012, Justice Department lawyers wrote two secret memos permitting the spy agency to begin hunting on Internet cables, without a warrant and on American soil, for data linked to computer intrusions originating abroad — including traffic that flows to suspicious Internet addresses or contains malware, the documents show.
The Justice Department allowed the agency to monitor only addresses and "cybersignatures" — patterns associated with computer intrusions — that it could tie to foreign governments. But the documents also note that the N.S.A. sought to target hackers even when it could not establish any links to foreign powers.
The disclosures, based on documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor, and shared with The New York Times and ProPublica, come at a time of unprecedented cyberattacks on American financial institutions, businesses and government agencies, but also of greater scrutiny of secret legal justifications for broader government surveillance.
Wikileaks has released 17 different relating to the so-called 'secret' negotiations for a massive global trade deal known as the Trade in Services Agreement, a lesser known cousin of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that US President Barack Obama has been campaigning heavily for in Washington.The leak has been timed to coincide with a meeting of leaders for the Trade in Services Agreement in Paris. TiSA is one of three trade treaties that global political leaders have been trying to agree on, alongside TTP and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Wikileaks published a draft financial services annex of the TISA negotiations a year ago, containing plans to deregulate the financial sector. It said the new confirms these plans, while also revealing new information about air traffic, maritime, professional services, e-commerce and domestic regulation.
There's been a fair share of leaked trade deals raising hackles in recent memory, but the latest could have some big repercussions for your data privacy. WikiLeaks has slipped out details of the in-progress Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), and one of its clauses would prevent the US, European Union and 23 other nations from controlling both where your data is stored as well as whether or not it's accessible from outside of the country. Germany, for example, couldn't demand that Facebook and Google store residents' account information on local servers.
The pact might also be bad news if you're a big fan of open source programs. One article would ban countries from requiring access to the code of "mass-market" software in order to provide services related to that software. A TISA partner could still use Linux, OpenOffice and other software with easy-to-dissect code, but it couldn't require that kind of software.
Negotiations for TISA are happening behind closed doors, and it's not clear whether or not these measures would make the final cut. However, they're definitely problematic. The restrictions on exports would prevent Russia-like control over data that makes it easier to censor and snoop on your communications, but they'd also make it hard to stop your info from traveling overseas. Likewise, while the open source clause would allow for more flexibility in software, it also risks weakening security by making it harder to check for spy agency back doors. As a whole, the agreement's tech-related elements favor businesses over privacy rights and transparency.
And the contents of TISA make interesting reading, particularly for anybody concerned about privacy. Under the draft agreement, the EU would be barred from requiring the personal data of its citizens to be held within European borders, an idea currently under discussion in Germany.
"No Party may require a service supplier, as a condition for supplying a service or investing in its territory, to: (a) use computing facilities located in the Party's territory," the leaked draft stipulates.
"No Party may require a service supplier, as a condition for supplying a service or investing in its territory, to: (a) use computing facilities located in the Party's territory."
One proposal from Turkey that came to light following a previous leak of documents would endorse health tourism across all the countries covered by the deal. Under the Turkish plan, people with health problems in the US and Europe would be encouraged to visit neighbouring countries for cheaper treatment, with the cost being reimbursed by their own health service or insurance provider. The plan implied that Turkey hopes to become a major provider of health services to Europe's ageing population, paid for by European taxpayers.
Money goes in, bullshit comes out.