Techtivist Report: Obama Launches Global Assault on the Cloud

Search form

Techtivist Report: Obama Launches Global Assault on the Cloud

Techtivist Report: Obama Launches Global Assault on the Cloud
Mon, 1/14/2013 - by Conrad Jaeger

U.S. intelligence agencies have been given carte blanche to monitor activists, journalists, politicians and others across Europe and elsewhere following an amendment to a spy law that legalizes “heavy-calibre mass-surveillance” of Cloud data, says the author of a new report for the European Parliament.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), originally introduced in 2008 to retroactively legalize “warrantless wiretapping,” has been amended to include Cloud services operated by U.S. companies such as Google and Facebook.

While U.S. citizens are excused this intrusion thanks to the Fourth Amendment, it now means the U.S. can legally access the personal data of any non-U.S. citizen outside of the U.S. if it is stored in a Cloud service run by a U.S. company.

“In other words, it is lawful in the U.S. to conduct purely political surveillance on foreigners’ data accessible in U.S. Clouds,” says the report, Fighting Cyber Crime and Protecting Privacy in the Cloud issued by the Centre for the Study of Conflicts, Liberty and Security.

Under the existing law, U.S. intelligence agencies legally monitor phone calls and emails in and out of the country without obtaining a warrant. Now “remote computing services” have been added to the list of targets.

This, says the report, has “very strong implications on EU data sovereignty and the protection of its citizens’ rights.” And it says the amendments specifically target real-time communications and Cloud data linked to “foreign-based political organizations.”

Although there were heated debates across Europe following the U.S. Patriot Act of 2001 authorizing direct access to EU data, little has appeared in the European Press about the latest move which the report says poses a far greater threat with its “heavy-calibre mass-surveillance fire-power aimed at the Cloud.”

According to Caspar Bowden, co-author of the report and former chief privacy adviser to Microsoft Europe, FISA is effectively “a carte blanche for anything that furthers U.S. foreign policy interests.”

In an interview with Slate, Bowden warns that the amendment now legalizes the monitoring of European activists, journalists and politicians engaged in any issue in which the United States has a stake.

Bowden says FISA specifically allows for “continuous mass-surveillance of ordinary, lawful democratic political activities” and warns that Cloud providers like Google and Facebook could be obliged to apply live “wiretaps” on European users’ data.

The report says EU citizens should be given clear warnings that any data they store in the Cloud is open to direct scrutiny by Federal authorities and it recommends that EU citizens be given the same rights as Americans in U.S. courts.

Read more by Conrad Jaeger at Techtivist.com and follow him at @conradjaeger.

Article Tabs

Ferguson

The full extent of the racial persecution of black residents in Ferguson, Missouri, by the city’s overwhelmingly white law enforcement authorities was disclosed on Wednesday in 

Trans-Pacific Partnership, corporate trade deal, TPP, outsourcing, fast track authority, fast track legislation

A fast-tracked TPP would lock in a rigged set of economic rules, lasting potentially forever, before most Americans — let alone some members of Congress — have had a chance to understand it thoroughly.

Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, SNAP, USDA

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act created anti-hunger programs by cutting food stamps by $5 billion.

Romanian corruption, kickbacks, Elena Udrea, Dorin Cocos

Big-time corruption and small-fry bribes have brought the whole country to a state of moral metastasis.

By taxing progressively, respecting worker rights, and rethinking economics, we could make a great start at creating a more equal world.

Occupy.com's New Original Series: Act Out! Premiers March 4th, Watch the Trailer Now!

Posted 4 days 3 hours ago
public banking, public banks, Bank of North Dakota, Ellen Brown

New bedfellows are writing what may be the next chapter in the story of our democracy: a network of public banks to facilitate a lateral, collaborative distribution of affordable credit that challenges Wall Street's control.

Posted 4 days 3 hours ago

"Under The Dome," which relates a mother's concerns about the effect of the country’s filthy air on her child, has been compared to Rachel Carson's seminal work "Silent Spring."

Posted 2 days 23 hours ago
Charlie Hebdo, ISIS killings, LGBT threats

A human rights commission report warns that anyone believed to be LGBT under the Islamic State control is likely at imminent risk of death.

Posted 4 days 3 hours ago
Boris Nemtsov, Russia repression, Russia protests, Russian opposition movement, Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Putin

"If political views are punished this way, then this country simply has no future," Sergei Mitrokhin, an opposition leader, said of Nemtsov's murder.

Posted 4 days 3 hours ago
recycled biofuel, Uptown Oil, Fatbergs, carbon emissions, clean burning fuel, biodiesel

Uptown Oil estimates London could produce around 50 million liters per year of recycled biodiesel, causing a major drop in greenhouse gas emissions. So why is government turning its head?

To combat the burgeoning wealth inequality that tax loopholes help create, Oxfam says it's essential that European legislators create greater transparency on tax matters.

public banking, public banks, Bank of Canada

Canada’s privatization of public finance in the last 40 years has led to an unprecedented level of debt – now, a scrappy legal case for economic justice is seeking to reverse that.

In-Q-Tel, intelligence outsourcing, Total Information Awareness, Palantir, Peter Thiel, surveillance programs, military-intelligence complex

Palantir – with its carefully honed image as a countercultural spy outfit committed to privacy in the pursuit of national security – is a monstrous government snoop, mining our most intimate data.

When I was in southern Pakistan last year, poor youths told me that constant police pressure combined with unrelenting unemployment made joining the militias the only viable means of survival.

Sign Up