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GCHQ, European Spy Agencies Cooperate On Surveillance

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the albert-jay-nock-was-an-optimist dept.

United Kingdom 145

jones_supa writes "Edward Snowden papers unmask that the German, French, Spanish and Swedish intelligence services have all developed methods of mass surveillance of internet and phone traffic over the past five years in close partnership with Britain's GCHQ eavesdropping agency. The bulk monitoring is carried out through direct taps into fibre optic cables and the development of covert relationships with telecommunications companies. A loose but growing eavesdropping alliance has allowed intelligence agencies from one country to cultivate ties with corporations from another to facilitate the trawling of the web. The files also make clear that GCHQ played a leading role in advising its European counterparts how to work around national laws intended to restrict the surveillance power of intelligence agencies."

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Lies! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313015)

Everyone knows only the USA does this stuff.

Re:Lies! (3, Insightful)

prefec2 (875483) | about 10 months ago | (#45313079)

The statement is that the others are also spying on their population and that they are cooperation on that. However, this is different to spying on state personal, presidents or chancellors. That's why the German Chancellor had no problem when Snowden revealed that the world population is spied on by the US. We all assumed that she as any other government was in on it. Spying on herself and here government is a total different story for her. It is save to assume that Germany is not spying on the US government, as they do not have the capabilities.

 

Re:Lies! (4, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 10 months ago | (#45313151)

Maybe the German agencies don't have the capability to spy on the US government, maybe they do. You certainly don't know.

However there are plenty of other governments in the world, and I'd bet that the German agencies are spying on a significant number of them.

Don't put your head in the sand. This is a universal problem.

Re:Lies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313273)

The very fact that the German spy agency has being caught passing info outside the country to the GCHQ will no doubt cause a sea change when the German government gets to know about it.

Re:Lies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45314207)

Like they didn't know about it all the time...

Re:Lies! (3, Interesting)

b4upoo (166390) | about 10 months ago | (#45313771)

Are you serious? The Germans are hardly short on technology. Any nation that has long winters with brutal, cold weather, tends to have a surplus of uber-geeks. After all they can hardly be outdoors playing volleyball when it is minus 30 degrees F. over there. We found out in WWII that a tiny nation like Germany is capable of all kinds of bleeding edge tech.
                  And it is naive to think that economic advantage as well as economic harm are not part of the spy game. How many ideas and trade secrets are stolen by such spy work by governments? And if you start to develop a product that the government feels endangers the big boys wallets you just might suddenly pass away. Evil seems to distribute itself rather easily in all governments.

Re:Lies! (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 10 months ago | (#45314029)

There used to be a program where different countries volunteered to spy on each others country in order to skirt domestic laws. I think this was part of Echelon or maybe Magic Lantern. It could have been a precursor to those programs. The inclusions of dignitaries from citing the old conspiracies were a must as the cold war was a primary purpose of this type of spying. Of course these programs were started long before the internet was a passing fancy of the universities working with various military around the world. You had to look hard to find them, but they were around strong and hard even back in the 80's and before.

Re:Lies! (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 10 months ago | (#45314549)

I saw something like that on Craigslist, in the casual encounters section.
This guy actually wanted "you" to come over and play seduce his wife as a "plumber" or something, then he wants to watch through a window while you pump a baby into his "slut".
Funny how this is similar in circumstance as well as flavour. Well, vive le cooperation! I guess.

Re:Lies! (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 10 months ago | (#45314667)

Re:Lies! (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 10 months ago | (#45314315)

Of course, the power elite don't like it when the rules meant for everyone else are applied to them by their peer-competitors.

Everyone except the lawmakers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45314963)

"The document also makes clear that British intelligence agencies were helping their German counterparts change or bypass laws that restricted their ability to use their advanced surveillance technology."

Seems their loyalty isn't to their own countries....

Imagine that, spy agencies working with a foreign power to bypass their own legal/democratic processes. Who'd have thunk it!

It's all a sham (5, Informative)

msobkow (48369) | about 10 months ago | (#45313027)

The whole "anti-terrorism" excuse is a sham. The NSA has already been providing the DEA with information about drug deals they've intercepted. We know that for a fact.

But when pressured, they can't itemize a list of the terrorist operations they've intercepted and stopped. They toss out vague numbers in the 40s after over a decade of surveillance. So even if they're exagerrating, that's only 4 per year!

From a cruelly financial perspective, it would have been far cheaper to just pay the death benefits to the families of the few people who might have died than to pay the untold billions the NSA, GCHQ, CSEC, et. al. have cost to operate.

Re:It's all a sham (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313159)

"they can't itemize a list of the terrorist operations they've intercepted and stopped." - for obvious reasons.

But the real problem with it is that it's all self-certified, self-inspected and self-overseen, with secret courts and secret interpretations of existing law.

Re:It's all a sham (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 10 months ago | (#45313197)

But the real problem with it is that it's all self-certified, self-inspected and self-overseen, with secret courts and secret interpretations of existing law.

Of laws which the courts have been blocking examination of their constitutionality.

Re:It's all a sham (4, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#45313199)

"they can't itemize a list of the terrorist operations they've intercepted and stopped." - for obvious reasons

Bull. National security be damned - have you ever known a politician not to take credit? That's why I don't believe these operations are even effective. The biggest fish they've bragged about is some cabbie in LA and his friends who sent a whopping $8500 to some terrorist group in Africa. Are we willing to sell the Bill of Rights for that?

Re:It's all a sham (3, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 10 months ago | (#45313981)

The biggest fish they've bragged about is some cabbie in LA and his friends who sent a whopping $8500 to some terrorist group in Africa

Not to mention that the reason he sent the money seems to have been a tribal issue, as in a bribe/tribute so his family back home would get better treatment from the guys running the town who also happened to be members of the terrorist group.

Meanwhile, under oath Alexander was forced to walk back their big claim of foiling 54 plots.

http://www.salon.com/2013/10/02/nsa_director_admits_to_misleading_public_on_terror_plots/ [salon.com]

Re:It's all a sham (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45314431)

Bull. National security be damned - have you ever known a politician not to take credit? That's why I don't believe these operations are even effective. The biggest fish they've bragged about is some cabbie in LA and his friends who sent a whopping $8500 to some terrorist group in Africa. Are we willing to sell the Bill of Rights for that?

Maybe you haven't paid any attention to the criticism leveled at the Obama administration from current or former members of the intelligence and special operations community for some of the details they have released over the last couple of years. When it comes to intelligence operations, the public tends to hear about the failures, but the successes are generally kept secret for a very long time, if they are ever acknowledged. Publicizing intelligence operations can destroy their value, and not just for that operation, but even for all current and future operations of the same type.

Intelligence operations aren't like building a new bridge in a congressional district. Chances are that most people want the bridge, welcome the jobs and spending in the district, will think highly of the congressman for getting it (if needed), many people will use the bridge when it's completed, and people might even vote for the congressman in the future. By definition the target of an intelligence operation isn't going to want it, will avoid its consequences if possible, might try to capture or kill the people involved with the operation, and might even completely avoid things associated with it in the future.

You can see that going on now, with the Snowden / Guardian leaks: Virtually every terrorist group in the world shifting tactics in wake of NSA leaks [nationalpost.com]
Snowden's leaks are far worse than some politician bragging, and it is having the anticipated affect.

The US isn't selling out the Bill of Rights, and it seems to me that politicians aren't the only ones with an attitude of, "National security be damned."

Re: It's all a sham (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45314507)

So the "terrorists" are doing something else now. OK fold this shit up. It had a good run. Now let's stop spying on our populace and redirect to what the "terrorists" are doing now then.

Re: It's all a sham (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45314661)

That is quite a "clever" comment, i.e. stupid.

Re:It's all a sham (3, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#45315021)

Cold we are seeing the boasting about successes getting smaller and smaller.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/2/nsa-chief-figures-foiled-terror-plots-misleading/ [washingtontimes.com]
As for tactics every State run group of freedom fighters usually gets some support as in
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunduz_airlift [wikipedia.org]
or http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10311007/Syria-nearly-half-rebel-fighters-are-jihadists-or-hardline-Islamists-says-IHS-Janes-report.html [telegraph.co.uk]
Snowden's leaks are from material given to people entering the system as contractors, of great use to historians and for getting global crypto usable again
The "freedom' fighters seem o be doing just fine with their own gov supporters.
So cold the the public is hearing about junk encryption, the brands that help with little worry about legality and vast domestic surveillance nets.

Re:It's all a sham (1)

Mandrel (765308) | about a year ago | (#45314823)

The biggest fish they've bragged about is some cabbie in LA and his friends who sent a whopping $8500 to some terrorist group in Africa. Are we willing to sell the Bill of Rights for that?

Yes, I would have thought that serious terrorists and crooks would be using long-key one-time-pad encryption with random transmission and reception locations and devices so that no amount of surveillance can tell who's talking to who about what.

Re:It's all a sham (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 10 months ago | (#45314655)

That's bullshit. The police brag about successful operations all the time after they're over. They seem to be able to release information without compromising other investigations.

Re:It's all a sham (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313245)

Or if you want a less callous attitude - spent the spies costs on medical support or road safety .. where they would actually have saved a significant number of lives.

Re:It's all a sham (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 10 months ago | (#45314669)

Or keep the food stamps flowing?

Re:It's all a sham (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313265)

From a cruelly financial perspective, it would have been far cheaper to just pay the death benefits to the families of the few people who might have died than to pay the untold billions the NSA, GCHQ, CSEC, et. al. have cost to operate.

The real concern has always been preventing the "terrorists" from coming to power in their own countries. For good or bad reasons, it's a war of domination, and money and lives are no object.

Re:It's all a sham (1)

jonfr (888673) | about 10 months ago | (#45314685)

The real issue is that terrorist networks tend not to use any sort of mobile or internet communication today. Some idiots do, but as the horrible Boston bombing did prove this surveillance did not change anything (dragnets never do). It is also fact that warnings that were issued got ignored by the FBI and NSA. I am not sure if any explanation for why that has has been given today.

This surveillance is excused by the "global war on terror(ism)". While the reality is that it is being used by governments around the world to spy on the population. All laws in the EU/EEA (not sure about Switzerland) have been adjusted so surveillance data is at minimal kept for 6 to 12 months.

What does the public about this. It's easy, nothing, it just yawns and moves on to whatever is popular today and tomorrow.

Re:It's all a sham & question of scope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45315199)

Additionally, how many crooked Politicians, Bankers and CEOs have been netted as a result of this? I would argue that the damage done by the aforementioned is significantly more impacting at the all levels of the socio-economic strata from the individual citizen to the entire economy. Just compare the monies and long term impacts involved and you can see that the threat is significantly bigger and more serious.

No shit.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313033)

When the Snowden info came out, people I know (I live in the UK) just shrugged their shoulders and said that it had been happening here for years.

Re:No shit.. (5, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#45313123)

Same thing happened in the US to a large extent, but there's a big difference between "everybody knows" and serious evidence. The former can be shrugged off a lot more easily.

P.S. Looks like us Yanks aren't the only ones who should be grateful to Snowden.

P.P.S. I do get some satisfaction from being able to shut up overly smug Europeans (I don't mean you). I can be very critical of my country, and except for stupid anti-American rants, I don't mind others doing so. What I hate is smug superiority - and this shows that their shit stinks too.

Re:No shit.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313295)

Ha! We all knew our shit stank long before this - here in Sweden the spying was mostly in the open - our govt enacted the "FRA-law" openly to allow the military signal intelligence agency FRA to tap all cables crossing our borders, and the EU enacted the Data retention Directive forcing ISPs to log all call meta data for an extended period of time.

This is a global problem. But, the US is also taking the lead. Most of this stuff originates from the US, but it infects everyone.

Re:No shit.. (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#45314237)

We all knew our shit stank long before this ... the US is also taking the lead. Most of this stuff originates from the US, but it infects everyone.

So your shit stinks, but it's still the fault of the US? Maybe you should tell your PM that Sweden is a sovereign country.

Re:No shit.. (1)

auric_dude (610172) | about 10 months ago | (#45313129)

Tax Euros well spent on standardisation within the United States Of Europe. What is not too like?

The NSA is reading this comment right now. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313039)

Blue Horseshoe loves Anacott Steel.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313055)

So, all this posturing by Europe's leaders was absurd, because they were spying themselves? Who would have ever thought that?
What's next? Will Snowden have the guts to reveal all the spying that China and Russia do?

I can't wait until his little "scandal-of-the-week" show is over, so we can calm down and focus on fixing the ACTUAL problems that exist with these spy agencies.

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313111)

Good job missing the essential point. The problem is that spies agency of our countries don't consider other spy agency as their enemies but as their allies. We citizens are considered the enemy by our own spy agencies and spy agencies around the world collaborate with each other to spy on normal citizens. I's not USA vs Europe. It's spy agencies vs citizens.

Re:Really? (3, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45314165)

We citizens are considered the enemy by our own spy agencies and spy agencies around the world collaborate with each other to spy on normal citizens.

Ordinary citizens aren't the enemy, but the enemy typically hides among them. Terrorists don't tend to live in their own private "terrorist army" barracks, they hide among ordinary citizens until they strike, which may not be in the same country in which they live. That is a crucial distinction that for some reason a lot of people seem to have a hard time understanding.

The Hamburg cell [bbc.co.uk] is a perfect example. They lived in Hamburg, Germany, plotting and preparing for their attack. The actual attacks they participated in were in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania, in the US on 9/11/2001.

If you think the struggle in the West is between spy agencies and citizens, you fail to understand this basic and easy to understand fact. I'm curious as to why?

'M' is for Military (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#45314721)

'I' is for "Industrial. The eves dropping by the MI complex is not primarily about terrorists, or Joe Random's hydroponic shed, it's economic/diplomatic espionage. The "five eyes" (Google it) have been cooperating on economic espionage since ww2, that's not to say they don't look for terrorist, just that they can do more than one thing at once.

That communications are monitored on a large scale for this sort of information has been common knowledge since the 70's. Doesn't anyone watch Robert Redford movies anymore? It's the same thing, except now they have much more powerful tools.

BTW: We are not "struggling" in the west, we are cock of the roost in the current international pecking order. What's happening here is just another periodic introspection on the practice before everyone forgets and a new Snowden shows up in 2025 and "shocks" us all over again. International politics is still at the level of medieval feudal warlords, with the security council playing the part of the Vatican. We have a long way to go before humans can walk the Earth and not bump into political/military walls.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45314831)

If you think the struggle in the West is between spy agencies and citizens, you fail to understand this basic and easy to understand fact. I'm curious as to why?

I'll jump in here. Primarily because the spy agencies and their associated organizations have cost the citizenry far more in life and money than terrorists ever have, or ever will.

Let's leave aside the morally-questionable, blowback-ridden "help" of the CIA in other countries. Let's do a simple calculation. Let's consider taking a person's -entire life productivity- in taxes to be equivalent to killing them. A simple "morality" mapping. Doing the math here, we have...

Yearly DoD budget: Over $500 billion. Population of the U.S.: Approximately 300 million.

500 billion dollars divided by 300 million = $1667 in taxes, per person, per year.

The median income for a U.S. worker is approximately $40K/year. Therefore dividing 40K by $1667, we can say that if we redistributed the tax burden, the Defense Department would be using up -the entire life production- of one in 24 people in the U.S.

Are these calculations precise? No. They don't even need to be precise to overwhelmingly demonstrate the point.

Some may consider there to be a moral distinction between "killing someone" and "using up the entirety of someone's life"--however, many would not.

And, currently, the Defense Department is "killing" one out of 24 Americans in this way, every single year. Show me how "terrorism" has or even could, rationally speaking, cause equivalent damage.

Refocusing on another country's government here, as I know you will do with the surety of yet another automaton, means nothing. It is all the same hegemony scam.

Excuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45315049)

Anti terror budget is $20 million vs $10 billion NSA budget.

Terrorism is just an excuse.

Re:Really? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#45315091)

Cold during EU history the "spy agencies"/police have often willingly worked for Germany (WW2) the US/UK or Soviet Union (post WW2) against their own citizens and gov over generations.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategy_of_tension [wikipedia.org]
So ordinary citizens most in the EU have a very good understanding of where their mil, gov, telco, contractors and academics loyalties can historically take them.
Junk encryption sets in, if your helping the US or UK or Russians - who else would your nations top cleared staff sell out to?
What price or 'gifts'?
The EU understands the boondoggle US mil spending, contractors cleared fast and without much background work. The same conflicted staff is now deep in their own mil/telco networks. Happily putting their political leaders on junk encryption over many years for distant foreign powers :)

Re:Really? (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about 10 months ago | (#45313157)

The European government are outraged on being spied on. The same government, however, cooperated with the US in spying on the whole world population. The outrage in Europe, for example in Germany, only appeared after it was found out that Merkel was spied on, the same person who decided that spying on the population is no big deal.

So there are two things:
a) Spying on population: good -> done by every state, and they cooperated on that
b) Spying on governments: bad -> done by the US (the other direction is very unlikely especially for small countries like Germany or France)

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313231)

So how upset is Cameron going to be when it comes out the NSA spied on him ?

Re:Really? (2)

blippo (158203) | about 10 months ago | (#45314105)

Uhm.

Germany has a population of 82 million. It's about 1/4 of the population in the US, and about 3/4 of Russias. Only US, India, China and Russia have larger economies. It is also one of the worlds most technically advanced countries. They certainly could have technical and economical capability to monitor american politicians.

  It is only for political reasons they probably not are doing that, but you can be certain that they monitor the political situation and the military capabilities of all relevant parties,

Re:Really? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#45314803)

There's a WW2 era agreement between the "five eyes" (US/UK/AU/Canada/France) to share intelligence and not to spy on each other. A post war "spy block" if you like. They are mainly concerned with economic/diplomatic espionage, the same thing made world headlines in the 60's and 70's when governments used it to infiltrate and disrupt anti-war groups, before that it was McCarthy vs the civil rights movement in the 50's and 60's. Have you seen the size of the FBI dossier on John Lennon or MLK, who both spent a great deal of time publically denouncing violent revolution?

Information is power and we in the west have had it in spades since 1945, the question is - what are we going to do with it in the next 70yrs?.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45315053)

There's a WW2 era agreement between the "five eyes" (US/UK/AU/Canada/France)

WTF? No, the FIVE EYES are the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Also known as the English-speaking Mafia. France has LONG been a rival and/or enemy of these nations, and would never be included in a blanket intelligence sharing program.
FFS, France withdrew from NATO during the Cold War because they were a political rival of the US and the UK.

Please try to keep your facts straight.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45314887)

Since when are Germany and France small countries? They are two of the largest countries in Europe.

Yawn (1)

eneville (745111) | about 10 months ago | (#45313085)

Is there anyone left in the world who doesn't think their government doesn't spy on their countrymen?

Re:Yawn (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about 10 months ago | (#45313167)

I guess Iceland is not spying on its population. As it is not really necessary on that small island.

Re:Yawn (1)

jonfr (888673) | about a year ago | (#45314719)

Iceland is spying on it's population and the laws have been adjusted to account for that several years ago.

Re:Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313867)

Probably most of Africa. I mean, not spying on telecommunications, at least. Mostly because their phones made out of sticks and mud don't function very well.

ping (2)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 10 months ago | (#45313087)

Thank you all, fuckers, for the increase of latency in my networked games.

Re:ping (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 10 months ago | (#45313633)

AFAIK a spying agency can just negotiate an extra wire from a router to which a copy of the data is being sent, thus no extra latency.

what a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313101)

One thing that wonders me is the recursive spying - spies need supervise themselves - how did they solved the problems that causes?

I'm curious - will the tone here change? (5, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 10 months ago | (#45313177)

One of the things we're learning from Snowden's releases is that, apparently, many/most European spy agencies are behaving much like the US and British agencies. So will people get as outraged about the behavior of their own country's government? Will they speak as disparagingly about their own fellow "sheeple" as they like to do about Americans? Or will they maybe pay a little lip service, then get back to droning on about the NSA and idiot Americans?

It seems to me we ALL need to let our own governments know this is intolerable. And the statement that "everyone else is doing it" is no more of an excuse for a country than it is for an 11 year old.

Re:I'm curious - will the tone here change? (-1, Troll)

ahabswhale (1189519) | about 10 months ago | (#45313323)

Don't worry, the good people of /. will make sure to remind you that regardless of how everyone else behaves, the US is still far more evil.

While this statement is completely true and everyone who reads the site on a regular basis knows it, this post will get modded down to 0-troll in about two seconds (not that I give a shit).

Re:I'm curious - will the tone here change? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313439)

So will people get as outraged about the behavior of their own country's government?

I very much hope so. Personally, I live in Germany and am thoroughly disgusted at Merkel's pretended indignation: I'm dead sure she knew more than she admits.

I sincerely hope we manage to reign in this rampant overreach of the secret services, in USA and elsewhere.

And no, I don't see any reason for smugness.

Re:I'm curious - will the tone here change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45315081)

I very much hope so. Personally, I live in Germany and am thoroughly disgusted at Merkel's pretended indignation: I'm dead sure she knew more than she admits.

I sincerely hope we manage to reign in this rampant overreach of the secret services, in USA and elsewhere.

Good luck with that. The German government gets caught spying on its own citizens (especially journalists) about every 10 years or so. Remember the phone tapping revealed by a billing mistake? Remember the CCC finding malware on journalist's PCs?

If you do figure out how to do it, share with the rest of us, please?

Re:I'm curious - will the tone here change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313733)

We'll need to get some proof for that, like how they collect all text, video and audio and compress that into texts and contextual concept-graphs, that can later be searched, mined and used for scenario-testing, population control projection and war-games.

Until that, we have no reason to believe anything is going on.

Captcha: cameras

Re:I'm curious - will the tone here change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313887)

I live in sweden, FRA isn't something secret, it was heavily demonstrated once it passed and has been protested once in a while afterwards when it might get some media attention. Politicians don't really care though, they want to turn sweden into america with us vs them and terror/russia fear.

Re:I'm curious - will the tone here change? (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45314197)

Or will they maybe pay a little lip service, then get back to droning on about the NSA and idiot Americans?

Based on previous experience it will be this. There is a portion of Europe will be unhappy with the US no matter what it does, even if it is preserving European lives or liberty.

It seems to me we ALL need to let our own governments know this is intolerable.

You should also be prepared for little to change as long as it is both legal and a policy question with actual implications.

Re:I'm curious - will the tone here change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45315031)

There is a portion of Europe will be unhappy with the US no matter what it does, even if it is preserving European lives or liberty.

That is because the US government would only do that by accident. Generally, they are only interested in their own interests (or at least, what they think they are), whatever the cost.

Re:I'm curious - will the tone here change? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45314255)

They will be outraged. The problem is that the governments in Europe knew all this for a long time already and by now have had plenty of time to prepare their PR machinery for it to dowplay the problem like the US government. Merkel is the best example, she ignored possible mass surveillance of Germans right from the start and probably the only reason she is publicly outraged about the eavesdropping of US into her phone conversations is that it would appear strange to her voters not to be.

Re:I'm curious - will the tone here change? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#45315155)

The big problem for the European spy agencies is who is working for the US/UK on projects, who is working for the US/UK and who is beholden to the US/UK or Russia, China... or just likes cash.
What can the limited national counter surveillance teams do?
Thats Ok, they are working with the US - who in the US?
Thats Ok, they are working with the UK - - who in the UK?
Thats Ok, they are working with the UK/US and like taking work home...
Thats Ok, they are working with the UK and US and like taking work home and have debts, habits...
Thats Ok, they are working with our political encryption, the US and UK have cleared them.....
The internal struggle will be between the "we are fine" generational supporters of NATO and the UK/USA vs the more smarter people in domestic counter surveillance.
Staff willing serving two or more countries might just add to their sharing at any time for any reason.

Global 1% Subverting Western Democratic Ideals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313237)

GCHQ played a leading role in advising its European counterparts how to work around national laws intended to restrict the surveillance power of intelligence agencies."

It might not happen for another 50 or 100 years, but when the Revolution comes, it's gonna be glorious. To bad I won't be around to see it.

It's going to be alright... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#45314825)

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know we all wanna change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know we all wanna change the world

But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be alright, alright
Don't you know it's gonna be alright

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know we'd all love to see the plan, oh yeah
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know we're all doing what we can

But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is, brother, you have to wait

Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Know it's gonna be alright
Don't you know it's gonna be alright, hey, hey

You say you'll change the constitution
Well, you know we all wanna change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well, you know you better free your mind instead

But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain't gonna make it with anyone, anyhow

Don't you know it's gonna be alright.....

The only news is the supporting documentation (2)

pellik (193063) | about 10 months ago | (#45313317)

I've been assuming GCHQ has had their hands as dirty as they get in this ever since they detained Greenwald's partner a few months back. They were terribly concerned with seeing what exactly the Journalists had on them, so it's been reasonable to assume they've been figuring out whether they can cover this up or not. They've had months to prepare themselves for this revelation, I just hope they come up with a better plan then directing the attention to Snowden himself instead of what he's saying- that plan's getting old.

Pspht! So What. (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 10 months ago | (#45313319)

OK, we all now know that what ever we do is being watched, but what are the computers that are watching us? Could we take their abilities and address the problems in our community? Like Spell Checking. And where did I put my xBox remote?! You know, things that of a Vital Interest to me.

Yes, let others do what laws forbid you to do (1)

Danh (79528) | about 10 months ago | (#45313333)

Americans think themselves a bit safer because the NSA is not supposed to spy on them. But what tells me that the NSA is not letting a foreign partner agency collect and evaluate the data of the Americans for them and just gets back the hits? For these hits they would have no problems getting a warrant, even from a non-secret court.

Deja vu all over again (2)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 10 months ago | (#45313343)

British spying is a riddle wrapped inside an Enigma.

Re:Deja vu all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313451)

British spewing is a piddle crapped inside an enema

what's needed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313373)

What we need is a government-proof internet.

Yes, I'm aware of the irony given the origins of this internet. But that doesn't change the reality we are presently faced with.

Snowden is playing a good game (4, Insightful)

turp182 (1020263) | about 10 months ago | (#45313435)

He's exposing things we all figured were true and then some.

And the release order is also well thought out, expose the US's complete global surveillance operation, wait for EU leaders to react, and then release that those EU leaders are effectively doing the same thing.

Given the level of surveillance, which at this point makes conspiracy theorist's claims seem conservative, this seems to be THE chance for actual change.

I doubt it though, Newspeak will be provided - "We are no longer monitoring you", while the truth will be that they are. Everyone will still be.

The real question will be whether people buy into the "open" future, seek to protect their privacy, or just don't give a shit.

The real problem is that most people just won't give a shit. This is the result of an educational system that doesn't promote thinking. The masters have won the game.

Re:Snowden is playing a good game (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 10 months ago | (#45313661)

A good thing to start doing right now would be to educate people to use end-to-end encryption for all their communications (or as much as they can). HTTPS, IMAPS, etc. It's not the ultimate solution but will make a good portion of MiTM attacks conducted by spying agencies useless.

Re:Snowden is playing a good game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313949)

What good does HTTPS do? No, really. Once it gets to the datacenter, it (the data) will be passed around unencrypted between servers internally because of too much overhead. That is where the data is being scooped up. Oh, that, and cert providers are in on it anyways.

As for IMAPS, I don't know anything about that. What's the benefit?

Re:Snowden is playing a good game (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 10 months ago | (#45313985)

that is not a solution, it's a stopgap. a solution requires a global overhaul in our war driven societies. unfortunately, these changes challenge the existing dogma that is being drilled into everyone on the planet. in the evolutionary sense, the human race is still a race of children. it might be thousands of years before people stop trying to harm each other... assuming we survive that long.

Re:Snowden is playing a good game (3, Interesting)

Teckla (630646) | about 10 months ago | (#45314045)

A good thing to start doing right now would be to educate people to use end-to-end encryption for all their communications (or as much as they can).

End-to-end encryption is a great idea, but technical people need to make this as simple and idiot proof as possible to maximize adoption. Let me repeat that: it needs to be simple and idiot proof. I know it's popular around here to accuse everyone in the world of being a drooling dolt, especially where technical matters are concerned, but the fact is, people are busy living their lives, working hard, spending time with their family, etc., and have little time left over for technical geekery. A ten page guide that walks you through all kinds of technical jargon and details is not going to cut the mustard. It must be nearly "click, click, click, done" simple.

HTTPS, IMAPS, etc. It's not the ultimate solution but will make a good portion of MiTM attacks conducted by spying agencies useless.

https is broken by design: it trusts anything the root CAs trust, and you can be sure most or all the CAs around the world are in bed with all the big intelligence agencies.

Re:Snowden is playing a good game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45314113)

Befördert youporn Do Thatcher i.e. convince people to Do something to protect private you would need explain them how is this important. You can try by approaching them on fb with some fancy anti-spy message and request to like it.

Global education is playing a good game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313953)

Everyone will still be.

The real question will be whether people buy into the "open" future, seek to protect their privacy, or just don't give a shit.

The real problem is that most people just won't give a shit. This is the result of an educational system that doesn't promote thinking. The masters have won the game.

Would that be the "global" education system, or did you have something closer to home in mind?

Re:Global education is playing a good game (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about 10 months ago | (#45314083)

The US system, it's the only one I am familiar with. Although the other Slashdot post about the 1st grade math test will lead me to read about Singapore's approach to education. I'd love to home school but do not have the opportunity. Instead I spent 19 nights camping in 2013 with my kids, teaching them about nature and clouds.

The current US education system seems to be focused on "put the X in the correct spot".

Re:Snowden is playing a good game (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#45315197)

A good interview to ~spy "masters have won the game" http://cryptome.org/2013/11/cryptome-la-repubblica.htm [cryptome.org]
People are now aware of junk encryption, the gov standards groups that set it, the academics that taught it, the developers that promoted it, the brands that sold/rented it.
The trust in the US/UK is gone. Enjoy the products for fun. Staff will be looking to new domestic solutions where real quality is needed.
The sock puppets can no longer have equal standing with 'no surveillance", surveillance is not legal, domestic surveillance is never done, the stock market would correct surveillance, lawyers would notice surveillance, the press would write about surveillance, political leaders would expose surveillance by the other parties, surveillance hardware would never work at that scale...over generations..
So we have won against the sock puppets, the rest is with good people in many different govs to work out if they like junk encryption and their local staff that maintains it.

European governments stonewalling ... (4, Insightful)

garry_g (106621) | about 10 months ago | (#45313445)

Not very surprisingly, the news about European countries' secret agencies cooperating with GCHQ and NSA easily explain the reluctance of said countries' politicians to really go after the US and UK for spying on them and their citizens ... after all, it's the local agencies that do the work ... too bad that too few of the citizens care ... ("I have nothing to hide")

Guess what they say is true: Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean you're not being watched ...

How you know it's not about anti-terrorism (2)

MikeRT (947531) | about 10 months ago | (#45313491)

If the threat was as real as they say it is, the CIA's clandestine service would be the largest it's ever been since the agency was founded and Bush/Obama would have told them to take the kid gloves off in dealing with Al Qaeda. By that I mean the CIA (or MI6 here) would have been given carte blanche to go abroad and use the full playbook of nasty espionage tactics. You'd think a "Mossad times ten" had suddenly hit the major terrorist networks.

Re:How you know it's not about anti-terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45314299)

It's not as if the CIA was more harmless than Mossad in terms of illegal mass killings.There are not only more illegal drone strikes than Mossad's killer commandos, but also that the numbers of total casualties and of civilian casulties are much higher for the former than for the latter.

Re:How you know it's not about anti-terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45314301)

Bin Laden is dead. The current leader used to be in Guantanamo and supposedly he was turned. That would explain a lot about western support for Al-Qaeda events in Syria and Libya...

Re:How you know it's not about anti-terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45314343)

They might have, but bureaucratic infighting and entrenched institutional inertia might have similarly made them ineffective.

Ahoy for a free market in spy agencies. I want the market to choose the best one.

AC

Czech rep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313667)

I concur, our spies are well known for spying on expremiers wife not on US agencies or any other country.

Encrypt everything. (4, Interesting)

ByTor-2112 (313205) | about 10 months ago | (#45313679)

End to end encryption is the only answer here. Maybe instead of relying on server certificates, which could be compromised, do the reverse -- the client certificate is used to secure the connection. That way everyone can use a CA (or even issue their own) that they trust. It puts the client in the driver seat, so instead of just stealing Google's key (or tapping Google's fiber), they have to get yours... One might argue that they could target you with advanced malware and steal your private key, but that is no different than what could happen today if they REALLY target you.

Makes sense that if you trust no one, why do you trust their SSL certificate? Why not make them use yours. In the case of on-line purchases, you trust the server based on their certificate but the client still controls the session key. And they trust you based on your login rather than the certificate.

Shrug... Something has to be done by the users. These governments are never, ever going to stop spying.

Re:Encrypt everything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45314055)

You will just become an obvious target if you encrypt everything. It will just lead to more surveillance of you.

But, thanks for trying.

Re:Encrypt everything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45314805)

That's why we want to everyone encrypt everything (or as much as possible).

Re:Encrypt everything. (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | about 10 months ago | (#45314287)

Encryption is not the only answer, because it's hardly the answer at all.

The metadata they collect would still be exactly the same in most cases.

We have to disguise source and destination as well, or it's all almost for naught.

Re:Encrypt everything. (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#45314781)

Well, it's not perfect solution, but that doesn't mean that it can't make things a bit better.

Re:Encrypt everything. (3)

louarnkoz (805588) | about a year ago | (#45314939)

End to end encryption is the only answer here. Maybe instead of relying on server certificates, which could be compromised, do the reverse -- the client certificate is used to secure the connection. That way everyone can use a CA (or even issue their own) that they trust. ...

Have you looked at the work going on in the IETF and other places to deploy "perfect forward secrecy?" The idea is to use a Diffie-Hellman exchange to negotiate a random key, and then only use the server certificate to prove the server's identity and knowledge of the key. Pretty much the same result as client certificates, easier to deploy, and with the added advantage that even if the server's key is compromised, the sessions' keys remain secret.

Geeks Implement this Stuff - Geeks Could Stop It (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313717)

Most of us [geeks] think the blanket surveillance is not just evil, but is also a danger to democratic governance. Yet, we are the only ones who can implement it. Certainly, politicians and attorneys wouldn't have a clue about how to do it. So why do only a a few like Snowden take a stand?

The Big Questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45313785)

Who is actually benefiting from all this spying - that's a lot of data collection and a lot of money to only stop a few terrorists.
How are they benefiting - that much data from that many countries would be more appropriate to the needs of governmental programs for social control not terrorism. Except that governments do not seem to be fully aware of purpose or extent.
Why do the agencies need so much data - localization of a threat does not require records for every citizen - in fact as has been pointed out many times they would be counter productive to finding anything.
Where is the benefit - has anyone seen evidence of any tangible benefit as a result of all the money spent, trillions of dollars.
What is the really benefiting - all of these agencies have and continue to lie about the extent and purpose of their surveillance. What is it really being used for. This seems to be an onion problem. Strip one layer of lies away only to find another layer underneath and the process has just started. I do not think anyone has come close to the truth yet.
        I think Snowden's timed release is more so that everyone can see the layers being peeled and accept them. The truth without preparation and context may not be believable flat out.

        Should research data, aka NSA spying, funded by taxpayer dollars be freely available to taxpayers. When do the databases get opened up?

Re:The Big Questions (2)

ByTor-2112 (313205) | about 10 months ago | (#45313879)

It's a big hole to pour money in. Governments are always looking for those, especially ones that no political party will argue against.

Sweden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45314027)

I heard a Swed say that when the US says to 'jump', Sweden says 'how high'?

Ahem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45314103)

The files also make clear that GCHQ played a leading role in advising its European counterparts how to work around national laws intended to restrict the surveillance power of intelligence agencies

What work around? The collaboration is legislated already in the laws regulating telecommunication actors. Perhaps working around legislation is something of a British legal system style of problem. That what you get when you didn't surrender at the Waterloo and assimilate Napoleon's style of justice. Or didn't surrender to Hitler and get the Austrian or German style of system.

Comon... (1)

photosonic (830763) | about 10 months ago | (#45314209)

There are no surprises here.

These agencies use Google hardware + software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45314445)

Google was created to be the R&D arm of the NSA. You've all witnessed the disaster of 'Obamacare' IT systems. This disaster is the enduring story of ALL major Government funded IT projects across the Western World. Google was one of a number of projects to provide state-of-the-art hardware and software designs to Western Intelligence agencies, without the usual overspend, and under-deliver.

Before the usual vile shills step in, Google personnel do NOT run these shadow-Google sites. Google test-beds hardware and software engineering at its OBVIOUS public facilities, while focusing on direct usefulness to the intelligence communities. Google's data-mining that drive its significant ad-based revenue, for instance, is a direct spin-off of the data-mining algorithms Google created for 'intelligence' purposes.

It takes no genius to comprehend why machine translation of language (voice and text) was a Google priority. In the commercial world, this has near zero use (from a profit POV). But for intelligence agencies collecting EVERYTHING possible on other nations, and foreign-speaking residents of their own nations, such an ability is essential.

As the third wave of computing took hold, the biggest problem faced by GCHQ, the NSA, and all their Western partners was firstly storing ALL forms of data FOREVER in a scalable, searchable, mineable construct. Every existing IT company at the time DEMANDED that most data reside on useless media like tape, so mega-expensive robotic facilities would be needed to select, load, deselect and store physical tape units. Every existing IT company declared the long term storage of data on Hard-drives to be a utter joke.

Google employed mathematicians and statisticians WITHOUT decades of brain-dead (and erroneous) pseudo-computer-science conditioning. They simply proved that no storage system available then, now or in any immediate future could come close to a properly designed, scalable system of COMMODITY hard-drives, with the security of data being guaranteed to a required percentage of probability by redundancy of storage, and a continuous replacement of drives as they expectedly failed.

Just as going to FLAT memory models revolutionised programming on modern hardware, having ALL long term storage on permanently powered, accessible drives, each linked to their own powerful general purpose computers, revolutionised the business of FULL SURVEILLANCE, and allowed your masters, for the first time, to anticipate the collection and storage of EVERY piece of data potentially available in the world.

Your masters long ago slurped up EVERY piece of visible electronic data, including ALL your financial transactions, ALL your phone calls (landlines and mobile), and the addresses, weight, and a high-powered paper penetrating photo of ALL your snail-mail. Yes, most of the contents of your ordinary mail are found on intelligence agency databases as well. Most mail has only a few layers of text, and a bright enough light, combined with a bit of clever software, reads the contents of most unopened envelopes quite successfully.

Today, Google (and Microsoft) are all about NEW forms of intelligence gathering from YOUR life. Gates created the Xbox One Kinect 2, at a cost of billions of dollars, to place 1984+ style spying into the homes of every American. The Kinect 2 spying platform is the most sophisticated ever devised by the NSA, outside of their space satellites, and yet will be willingly set up in optimum fashion (at their own expense) by millions of American sheeple. A psychological victory that your masters state PROVE that the sheeple are so pathetic and stupid that they fully deserve their fate (a willing slave deserves no respect).

Social network systems exist entirely for the purpose of having people declare their own relationships with others to the NSA.

Snowden's revelations were arranged by those that rule you at the HIGHEST level. They needed you, the sheeple, to be aware of the extent that your masters abuse you, to gain your PASSIVE consent. Beneath this highest class of ruling monsters are loads of lesser monsters that serve them, and they are genuinely outraged at Snowden's actions, being incapable of perceiving the greater purpose such revelations serve. These lesser monsters include the worthless scum that appear to visibly rule in nations like Germany, France and Spain. These quislings are terrified that their own peoples will rebel at the thought of THEIR masters working with powers in the UK and USA to operate local full surveillance projects in Europe, and thus they PRETEND all of this happened without their knowledge.

Tony Blair and his US allies don't care, though. If one government falls in some no-hoper nation like France, for instance, Blair will ensure the sheeple there vote in another quisling authority. Google's work means that whoever the people vote for, they keep the exact same people in real positions of power. In the UK, Labour, Liberal and Conservative are all names for the same thing, and the same applies to Republican and Democrat in the USA.

You sheeple are so thick, you never notice that the SAME mid-term and long-term policies and societal changes progress no matter how the people feel, or what regimes they vote into power in the intermediate years. You are ALWAYS encouraged to see 'trees', never the 'forest' by your 'news' outlets of choice. For instance, 99.99% of you sheeple are so moronic, you think Russia's Putin is AGAINST gay rights, but he is following the exact same strategy that played out in the UK, - pass some irrelevant minor anti-gay rules that become a cause celebre, so that a near future government can claim a societal backlash that requires an excessive and extraordinary package of pro-gay changes, moving society far more in that direction than the general population would ever have accepted in that timeframe under normal circumstances (in the UK, the pro-gay move was so extreme that large numbers of public toilets were closed down to avoid the controversy caused when gays are arrested for having sex in public toilets- it became impossible to arrest gays for this abuse, and impossible to allow the abuse to continue with no police action, so the simplest answer for many councils was to close the toilets altogether- the expense of converting them to completely private individual units being too high).

Full surveillance eliminates any possibility of genuine grass-roots activism beyond anything but a minor and localised level. Therefore, so-called people movements, like the 'demand' for gay marriage or action against 'climate change' are orchestrated by the exact same people responsible for the wars and mass murder seen in so many nations today, like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. You sheeple merely jump on band-wagons crafted for you by psychologists vastly smarter than any of you individually, operating with the advantage of 'reading' your collective minds in near real-time using the facilities provided by organisations like Google.

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