Read

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.

Add new comment

Sign Up

Article Tabs

Brexit, British E.U. referendum, Remain camp, Leave camp, Boris Johnson, David Cameron, Brexit chaos, Bregret, buyer's remorse

A petition calling for a second E.U. referendum has garnered more than 4 million signatures.

wind power, wind energy, Texas wind power, renewable energy

Installation of wind turbines is already a multi-billion dollar industry in Texas, driven in part by federal and state subsidies through tax credits that have created thousands of construction jobs.

sustainability, Good Food Purchasing Policy. healthy foods, school food policy, Los Angeles Unified School District, Gold Star Foods, organic produce, National Food Day, Food Chain Workers Alliance, Center for Good Food Purchasing

The Good Food Purchasing Policy specifies that everything the students in L.A. Unified School District eat must be local, sustainable, humane, fair, and healthy — and it’s becoming a model for the nation.

When the NAFTA nations meet Wednesday for the annual Three Amigos Summit in Ottawa, climate change and clean energy goals may be overshadowed by TransCanada's use of NAFTA to sue the U.S. government over the Keystone pipeline.

No Confidence Vote, Wisconsin teachers movement, tenure changes, hire and fire policies, education privatization, corporatization of education, Scott Walker, University of Wisconsin System, no-confidence votes

Just as Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10 dismantled the security and stability of union protection in K-12 education, recent tenure changes threaten a fair hiring and firing process in the University of Wisconsin System.

Posted 3 days 23 hours ago
Brexit, E.U. Referendum, UKIP, British austerity policies

Scotland was told in 2014 that a vote for British unity was the only way to stay in the E.U. Now, the opposite is true, and along with Northern Ireland's growing call for independence, the fragmentation of the U.K. appears to have begun.

Posted 4 days 20 hours ago
Bernie Sanders, grassroots candidates Bernie candidates, Sanders supporters, political revolution

From deep blue California and New York to deep red Utah and Nebraska, Bernie supporters are answering his call by running for local office.

Posted 3 days 23 hours ago

When the NAFTA nations meet Wednesday for the annual Three Amigos Summit in Ottawa, climate change and clean energy goals may be overshadowed by TransCanada's use of NAFTA to sue the U.S. government over the Keystone pipeline.

Posted 2 days 19 hours ago

The new investment policy forces the city’s pension fund, worth $850 million, to divest from shares of European oil giants.

Posted 4 days 21 hours ago
Podemos, Spanish elections, Spanish populism, Pablo Iglesias, Spain austerity policies

Spain was plunged into the political unknown on Sunday night as no single party emerged as the winner in its closest general election since the end of the Franco dictatorship 40 years ago.

Bernie Sanders, grassroots candidates Bernie candidates, Sanders supporters, political revolution

From deep blue California and New York to deep red Utah and Nebraska, Bernie supporters are answering his call by running for local office.

Act Out, spoken word, poetry, art, creative activism, This War Of Mine, video games, single shooter games, war games, 11 Bit Studios, combat games, native advertising, native ads, paid posts, sponsored content, fake news, news ads, media manipulation

This week, a special look at the video game — yes video game — to take you inside what it's really like to live in war.

sustainability, Good Food Purchasing Policy. healthy foods, school food policy, Los Angeles Unified School District, Gold Star Foods, organic produce, National Food Day, Food Chain Workers Alliance, Center for Good Food Purchasing

The Good Food Purchasing Policy specifies that everything the students in L.A. Unified School District eat must be local, sustainable, humane, fair, and healthy — and it’s becoming a model for the nation.

When the NAFTA nations meet Wednesday for the annual Three Amigos Summit in Ottawa, climate change and clean energy goals may be overshadowed by TransCanada's use of NAFTA to sue the U.S. government over the Keystone pipeline.