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

Davi Kopenawa, the leader of the Yanomami people in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, who is internationally renowned for his struggle against encroachment on indigenous land by landowners and illegal mi

Cooperative Home Care Associates has 2,300 workers who enjoy good wages, regular hours and family health insurance.

In the past three years, 22 U.S. companies have relocated through mergers with or purchases of a foreign company, enabling them to escape American corporate tax laws. Learn how they're getting away with it.

11% of business leaders in Britain think that modern slavery is taking place somewhere within their company’s production of goods. Will the Modern Slavery Bill make a dent?

The Blair Mountain Battlefield was the scene of a 5-day clash in September 1921 between more than 5,000 West Virginia coal miners and 3,000 men backed by coal companies – the largest armed labor conflict in US history.

If we want a healthy society that follows its laws and applies them equally to everyone, we must demand a full investigation and criminal prosecutions for everyone involved in the mortgage backed securities fiasco.

Posted 5 days 4 hours ago

The vote on Independence is a moment of unprecedented possibility for Scotland to peacefully reject the U.K.'s failed neoliberal agenda.

Posted 4 days 9 hours ago

FarmDrop and Open Food Network stress the desire to create positive, systemic social change that disrupts the existing dominance of supermarket provision of food.

Posted 4 days 8 hours ago

On Sept. 7, people will host screenings of “Disruption" ahead of the People's Climate March - in living rooms and libraries, on campuses and in community centers, all across the country.

Posted 4 days 9 hours ago

Borrowers with federal student loans appear to be buckling under the weight of their debt, as more than half of Direct Loans – the most common type of federal student loan – aren't being repaid on time or as expected.

Posted 6 days 11 hours ago

"It's edgy out there," Mayor de Blasio told a group of people who associate "edgy" with booking a business clas

If the Keystone XL pipeline is approved, 90 percent of the tar sands crude that flows through it will be processed near an embattled Houston neighborhood called Manchester.

Paul Ryan Has a 20-Year Plan to Destroy the Government. Where's Ours?

Talk of presumptive Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan's budget plan is all over the place. He's hailed as a strategist, deep-thinker, policy-wonk, and the intellectual heart of the Republican Party. He's their theorist.

 

Community activist Michael Jimenez has been looking at the commons and asks: "Is this a shared economy for all, or are the big corporations attempting to take that away from us?”

A Hamas-style distribution campaign of food and clothes for the needy has topped the fascist party's outreach program – and increasingly added to its appeal.

Sign Up