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

On Sunday, hundreds of people milled around a protest site in the gentrifying, densely-populated district Mong Kok, manning aid stations and sitting in small circles on the pavement.

The California city of Rialto saw an 88% drop in claims of police misconduct within one year of officers wearing cameras.

"Peoples' movements will either succeed in transforming our economic and political systems to build a new world, or we will burn with the old one."

Florida has the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014, and also has a "foreclosure king" who is now disbarred for his failure to oversee employees accused of carrying out wrongful foreclosures.

More than 110 students were reportedly arrested by the military-backed authorities during the first days of the new academic year.

"What we are doing is taking back this bit of common land for a short amount of time to create a real debate – a real discussion that people want to be having.”

Posted 6 days 13 hours ago

“We wanted to take action to dramatize the betrayal of the American people and show that we will resist and attempt to disrupt or at least expose pro-corruption politicians' ability to raise big money.”

Posted 4 days 17 hours ago

After 13 years of militarized zealotry and fear-mongering in the name of fighting terrorism, Risen's new book, "Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War," unveils difficult post-9/11 truths.

Posted 5 days 17 hours ago

The oil giant, with $21.4 billion in 2013 revenue, is trying to buy upcoming municipal elections in Richmond that pit a pro-Chevron bloc of city council members against an anti-Chevron bloc.

Posted 5 days 15 hours ago

The Seattle festival showcases bold visions on the screen, with 50 films challenging societal structures through creative perspectives and a critical eye.

Posted 5 days 16 hours ago

Ohio is home to 190,000 of the 680,000 fracking fluid disposal wells nationwide. Last year, more than 14 million barrels of the toxic waste was injected into the ground in Ohio.

Until we slay the beast of corporate capitalism, our prison industry and the horror it perpetuates will only expand.

Photographer Will Winter Documents Occupy Vancouver

Will Winter, a photographer based in Victoria, British Columbia, was originally a commercial photographer before turning documentary work.

The Fourth Amendment Protection Act would prohibit state material support, participation or assistance to any federal agency that collects electronic data or metadata without a search warrant.

The Center for Public Integrity looks at what happened to five former Wall Street kingpins to see what they are up to these days. None are in jail, nor are any criminal charges expected to be filed.

Sign Up