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EFF Reports GHCQ and NSA Keeping Tabs On Wikileaks Visitors and Reporters 82

Posted by samzenpus
from the lets-have-a-look dept.
sandbagger writes in with a story about U.S. and British government interest and involvement with journalists visiting the Wikileaks website. "The Intercept recently published an article and supporting documents indicating that the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ surveilled and even sought to have other countries prosecute the investigative journalism website WikiLeaks. GCHQ also surveilled the millions of people who merely read the WikiLeaks website. The article clarifies the lengths that these two spy organizations go to track their targets and confirms, once again, that they do not confine themselves to spying on to those accused of terrorism. One document contains a summary of an internal discussion in which officials from two NSA offices discuss whether to categorize WikiLeaks as a "malicious foreign actor" for surveillance targeting purposes. This would be an important categorization because agents have significantly more authority to engage in surveillance of malicious foreign actors."
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EFF Reports GHCQ and NSA Keeping Tabs On Wikileaks Visitors and Reporters

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  • Power Corrupts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nyder (754090) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @06:58AM (#46293431) Journal

    And Absolute Power Corrupts, mainly those who use "Secret Courts" and "National Security" as tools to get the power they want.

    Yes, our government is rotten. The Congress critters, the Senators, the White House. They have failed us on mainly levels. They all need to be impeached and we need to get new peeps in there who remember that the United States is made of of it's citizens, not the corporations.

    • The Congress critters, the Senators, the White House

      ...all know their secrets have been Hoovered up by the NSA during a decade of mining. Why else do you think there has been such a muted response to Mr. Snowden's discoveries? J Edgar was never really challenged either; most timidly waited until he died.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DNS-and-BIND (461968)
      Careful, citizen. Criticizing the President is racist. Trust the government. The government is your friend. Not trusting the President is sedition. Sedition is punishable by twenty years in federal prison. Any citizen that attempts to prove the President is wrong is a Commie mutant traitor.
    • Re:Power Corrupts (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jythie (914043) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @09:45AM (#46294063)
      The tricky part is, how to roll it back. One of the reasons that the government is the way it is, is, well, they get the votes. Politicians are not stupid (even though they often seem so) and are mostly filled with self interest. They generally only do what keeps themselves and their in-group in power, and much of that comes down to being sensitive to what the majority of voters want.

      In other words, our government is a reflection of its citizens, the government ha not forgotten that the US is made of citizens, it is a distilled representation of them. Unfortunately for us the voter base of the US is a highly conflicted and fragmented society with passionately mutually exclusive ideas about how to do things. In many ways the best way to fix things would be a one time massive tax, split the country up into maybe half a dozen or dozen countries, and pay moving expenses to anyone who wants to migrate to the region that best represents them. Much of the rottenness comes from our deeply conflicted philosophies, which I am not sure there is any way to reconcile.

      Of course it also does not help that so much of the population are arm-chair economists (or other such things) who believe that their basic idealistic understanding of problems (where they do not have to deal with the complexities or consequences) is more valid then people who spend decades examining them, so people passionately vote about things they do not actually understand all that well but really strongly believe that they do.

      Which is probably why so many fictional worlds go with guild-style governments where representation is built around professions rather then geographic regions.
  • ... Keeping Tabs ON Wikileaks Visitors...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The more I read the news the more I feel like I fell asleep after playing too much Deus Ex back in year 2000 and simply never woke up again. I wonder which levels of paranoia writers will have to appeal to in the coming decades to out do reality.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20, 2014 @07:02AM (#46293455)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20, 2014 @07:10AM (#46293467)
    If you read carefully all information on this topic the you will conclude that all visits to all websites are recorded by IP address, and this information is kept for ever. There are multiple and overlapping spying programs for that. In fact, every IP address has a profile, such as IP address 123.456.78.90 in requested period (such as a year) has visited following websites google (904 times), cnn (850), amazon (49), espn (545), facebook( 490), vevo (450), youtube (689), slashdot (365) etc. This profile of every IP address has it's own fingerprint, which is basically modified statistical distribution of the websites visited. There are even patents filed which allow identification of individual only by this fingerprint. Obviously, if you are visiting websites such as wikileaks, democracynow or any other that are designated as "malicious", your IP address is automatically flagged. What the slides show is duplication of efforts as a preventative measure to have a second, independent and precise record of visitors so that when the future whistle blowers will provide information, it will be easier to trace down to the origin. The real action, however, is not a collection itself, but what later happens with the data collected. You would be fool not to assume that analysts are not further analyzing the data and making conclusions. If, for example, someone from us military IP (or IP associated with miliatry) would start sending gigabytes of data, that someone would most certainly be getting extra attention.
    • by Alioth (221270)

      On a point of pedantry, you can't have 123.456.78.90 because 456 is greater than 255.

    • There are even patents filed which allow identification of individual only by this fingerprint.

      The government is doing things for which there are even patents? Wow. I had no idea.

      Geez, with IPv6 giving every single web client a distinct address, you'd think the NSA would be campaigning behind the scenes to have their carefully curated fat-pipe monopolists ramming IPv6 down our collective throats.

      And damn, what a surprising patent, with only about a thousand years of prior art.

      On 29 January 1697 Newton re

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20, 2014 @07:22AM (#46293499)

    Let's all go and visit wikileaks now, just to produce more noise in their statistics. Even better, visit wikileaks from different machines (home, work). Set up a cron job to "test network connection" by fetching a page from wikileaks every hour, on some old idle server at some random customer site...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ketomax (2859503)
      What about reading this slashdot discussion? Does that put me under surveillance too? Surely, more productive things can be run on these computing resources than looking into my boredom remedies.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      https://wikileaks.org/helloNSA_GCHQ/we_all_know_you_are_watching_and_dont_care.html

      • ROFLMAO

        404

        We are sorry, the file you have requested could not be found.

        Please wait few minutes and try again.

    • by Gr8Apes (679165)
      How long until the first virus / malware infects machines everywhere and does nothing other than visit random "malicious" web sites such as wikileaks or the wikipedia page on wikileaks and Snowden in irregular bursts, just like someone browsing?
  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 20, 2014 @07:35AM (#46293545)

    This part of the summary made me pause:

    and confirms, once again, that they do not confine themselves to spying on to those accused of terrorism.

    Nowhere can I find any indication that the mandates of the NSA, GCHQ, MI5, MI5, the CIA, the FBI (or any other of the organisations usually linked in these stories) are limited to anti-terrorism duties alone - it may form a large part of their activities, but its not their sole purpose.

    Putting everything else aside, that part of the article is ridiculous.

    • by Dunbal (464142) * on Thursday February 20, 2014 @07:56AM (#46293587)

      it may form a large part of their activities,

      No, it forms a large part of the political excuse to create and fund these entities.

      • No, it forms a large part of the political excuse to create and fund these entities.

        Those agencies all existed decades before 9/11, which I expect you knew. Do you want to guess again?

        • by Dunbal (464142) *
          Terrorism is just the latest incarnation of the boogeyman, it's always about "defending you" and "protecting you" from (Nazis/Japs/Commies/Soviets/Terrorists/Pedophiles/Eastasia).
          • That's an interesting insight you have there. Boogeymen are generally considered to be imaginary creatures that pose no genuine threat. Does that mean that you think that the Nazis, Imperial Japan, and the Soviet Union (and other communist nations) posed no genuine threat to either the US or UK?

        • by Uberbah (647458)

          Those agencies all existed decades before 9/11, which I expect you knew. Do you want to guess again?

          Which does nothing whatsoever to change his point, since ones ones HAVE been created - hello Fatherland Security - and it has been used to fund them. Like he said.

          Do you want to try not being willfully obtuse?

          • The Department of Homeland Security is almost entirely nothing but a regrouping of already existing agencies (FEMA, Coast Guard, Customs, border security, etc. ) under a new headquarters. You can panic about that if you want, but I don't think there is much reason for it. In fact DHS is mostly what the Ministry of Interior is in other countries. (That name was already taken in the US for a different purpose.)

            Do you want to try not being willfully obtuse?

            I think the most delicious irony is often the unintentional irony.

            • by Uberbah (647458)

              Which again does what to change the fact that it's a new agency with a new bureaucracy. Nothing.

              The Department of Homeland Security is almost entirely nothing but a regrouping of already existing agencies

              As if there wasn't already a great deal of redundancy amongst the various intelligence agencies [intelligence.gov] well before 911.

              I think the most delicious irony is often the unintentional irony.

              Probably because you're a highly dishonest person with extremely low intelligence. New agency? Check. Used as an excuse for fu

    • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @07:57AM (#46293591)
      Not mentioned in the summary, but ThePirateBay users are also included in that spying. Why do we give billions of taxpayers money to the NSA, GCHQ, MI5, MI5, CIA and the FBI again? Industrial Espionage for a few elite industry groups and to help corrupt politicians maintain power it would seem...
    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Nowhere can I find any indication that the mandates of the NSA, GCHQ, MI5, MI5, the CIA, the FBI (or any other of the organisations usually linked in these stories) are limited to anti-terrorism duties alone - it may form a large part of their activities, but its not their sole purpose.

      Indeed. I'm not sure of the complete history of most of those agencies but weren't a large number of them funded under the principle of domestic counter-intelligence? The NSA has it's history in breaking ciphers of WWI, the CIA espionage of Axis forces during WWII, MI5 heck that was formed on the basis of counterintelligence.

      All of these agencies and others around the world (ASIO was formed to eliminate Soviet spies from the Australian government), were formed on the basis of defending countries from foreig

    • by Tokolosh (1256448)

      Admins, please add a "Naïve" category to the moderation options.

    • by inhuman_4 (1294516) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @10:01AM (#46294179)

      A big part of the issue is that some of these organizations shouldn't be doing any of this at all.

      A big part missing the the discussion is that the NSA is a military outfit. It is part of the DoD and its commander is a serving member of the US armed forces. It is the signals intelligence branch of the US military. Their primay mission is ensure secure communications for the US command and control infastructure, and gather intelligence on foreign military powers.

      How did we get from spying on the Soviet Union, to monitoring the phones of every American citizen? As a military outfit they shouldn't be operating in the the US at all. You wouldn't let soldiers patrol the streets acting like cops, so why are thay taking on tasks the rightfully belong on the hands of the FBI? The simple answer is secrecy. Whatever legal games they want to play, at the end of the day they knew that they shouldn't be doing it, so the tasked it to the DoD so they can call it a matter of national security.

    • "It's illegal for the United States to spy on it's citizens. Likewise the same for Great Britain. But under the terms of the UK-USA agreement, Britain spies on Americans and America spies on British citizens and the two groups trade data."

      http://nstarzone.com/SPIES.htm... [nstarzone.com]

      You may or may not accept that link as any kind of a source - but you may take any bit of that page, and go in search of more authoritative sources, if you wish.

      Long story short, our governments have a long history of circumventing the law

  • Yes, NSA, we're watching you too.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @08:39AM (#46293745) Homepage Journal

    Anybody could be a terrorist if global pressures, governmental stupidity, and corporate greed cause them to snap.

    Anybody.

    So they're not "exceeding their mandate." You just don't realize that even John Q. Milquetoast is a potential terrorist.

    • by MRe_nl (306212)

      Nobody is a terrorist. Terrorism is a tactic. It's like calling the Nazis "Blitzkriegers" or the WW II Americans "Island hoppers" (or "Nukers" if you will). States/Organizations/People use terror as a tool to reach their objective. Terror is not the objective. Using such a blanket term is, in my opinion, just a sign of intellectual laziness and will bring us no closer to solutions. It leads to a lack of understanding of the base motivation for conflict.

      • by ledow (319597)

        By a certain definition, the War On Terror was - itself - terrorism. It's purpose was basically stated as making "terrorism" so scary to contemplate based on a threat of violence and economic destruction, that people wouldn't do it.

        It "worked" (for a certain definition of that word) only because the majority of places decided not to stand against the biggest guy in the room. That works only until those places change their mind, get together, or that guy isn't so big any more. Did it stop the overall exi

  • by ledow (319597)

    I'm almost certainly on one of their lists somewhere then. Makes me feel kinda important.

    - Mathematician and computer scientist.
    - Special personal interest in cryptography, peer-to-peer networking, etc.
    - Wikileaks visitor back in the early days. Not since the Julian Assange junk, though, it has to be said. Can't stand the guy.
    - I keep looking at MI5 / GCHQ jobs in the papers and on their website, and their online competitions, but far too peace-loving to actually apply to be one of them. That's gotta fl

  • Then they can bomb them out of existence.
  • TFT says GHCQ, but TFS accurately says GCHQ. I'm surprised no one else noticed.
  • They don't like wikileaks, or its peers. They also track things like visits to cryptome. They look for risk by people who go to sites that teach the substance of the anarchists cookbook. There are "finger-prints" or eigenvectors of site visitation that they associate with higher and lower risk. If you visit sites a,b, and c, then you are just a harmless teenager making a prank. If you visit sites a, b, not-c, and d, then you might be a threat.

    You aren't suprised that the evil empire doesn't like that S

  • The NSA...asked other governments without First Amendment protections to prosecute journalists?

    Ummm, I want someone to go to jail, but it sure as hell ain't journalists.

  • ... does this mean a DDoS attack on Wikileaks would leave the spooks chasing their own tails?

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir

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