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William Edward Binney is a former highly placed intelligence official with the United States National Security Agency (NSA) turned whistleblower who resigned on October 31, 2001, after more than 30 years with the agency. He was a high-profile critic of his former employers during the George W. Bush administration.Binney continues to speak out during Barack Obama's presidency about the NSA's data collection policies, and continues interviews in the media regarding his experiences and his views on communication intercepts by governmental agencies of American citizens. In a legal case, Binney has testified in a affidavit that the NSA is in deliberate violation of the U.S. Constitution.BiographyBinney grew up in rural Pennsylvania and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the Pennsylvania State University in 1970. He said that he volunteered for the Army during the Vietnam era in order to select work that would interest him rather than be drafted and have no input. He was found to have strong aptitudes for mathematics, analysis, and code-breaking, and served four years from 1965–1969 at the Army Security Agency before going to the NSA in 1970. Binney was a Russia specialist and worked in the operations side of intelligence, starting as an analyst and ending as Technical Director prior to becoming a geopolitical world Technical Director. In the 1990s, he co-founded a unit on automating signals intelligence with NSA research chief Dr. John Taggart. Binney's NSA career culminated as Technical Leader for intelligence in 2001. Having expertise in intelligence analysis, traffic analysis, systems analysis, knowledge management, and mathematics (including set theory, number theory, and probability), Binney has been described as one of the best analysts and code breakers in the NSA's history. After retiring from the NSA he founded “Entity Mapping, LLC”, a private intelligence agency together with fellow NSA whistleblower J. Kirk Wiebe to market their analysis program to government agencies. NSA continued to retaliate against them, ultimately preventing them from getting work, or causing contracts they had secured to be terminated abruptly.WhistleblowingBinney sitting in the offices of Democracy Now! in New York City, prior to appearing with hosts Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, and guest Jacob Appelbaum. Photo taken by Jacob Appelbaum.In September 2002, he, along with J. Kirk Wiebe and Edward Loomis, asked the U.S. Defense Department to investigate the NSA for allegedly wasting "millions and millions of dollars" on Trailblazer, a system intended to analyze data carried on communications networks such as the Internet. Binney had been one of the inventors of an alternative system, ThinThread, which was shelved when Trailblazer was chosen instead. Binney has also been publicly critical of the NSA for spying on U.S. citizens, saying of its expanded surveillance after the September 11, 2001 attacks that "it's better than anything that the KGB, the Stasi, or the Gestapo and SS ever had" as well as noting Trailblazer's ineffectiveness and unjustified high cost compared to the far less intrusive ThinThread. He was furious that the NSA hadn't uncovered the 9/11 plot and stated that intercepts it had collected but not analyzed likely would have garnered timely attention with his leaner more focused system.After he left the NSA in 2001, Binney was one of several people investigated as part of an inquiry into the 2005 New York Times exposé on the agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program. Binney was cleared of wrongdoing after three interviews with FBI agents beginning in March 2007, but one morning in July 2007, a dozen agents armed with rifles appeared at his house, one of whom entered the bathroom and pointed his gun at Binney, still towelling off from a shower. In that raid, the FBI confiscated a desktop computer, disks, and personal and business records. The NSA revoked his security clearance, forcing him to close a business he ran with former colleagues at a loss of a reported $300,000 in annual income. In 2012, Binney and his co-plaintiffs went to federal court to get the items back. Binney spent more than $7,000 on legal fees.During interviews on Democracy Now! in April and May 2012 with elaboration in July 2012 at 2600's hacker conference HOPE and at DEF CON a couple weeks later, Binney repeated estimates that the NSA (particularly its Stellar Wind project) had intercepted 20 trillion communications "transactions" of Americans such as phone calls, emails, and other forms of data (but not including financial data). This includes most of the emails of US citizens. Binney disclosed in an affidavit for Jewel v. NSA that the agency was "purposefully violating the Constitution". Binney also notes that he found out after retiring that NSA was pursuing collect-it-all vs. targeted surveillance even before the 9/11 attacks.Binney was invited as a witness by the NSA commission of the German Bundestag. On July 3, 2014 the Spiegel wrote, he said that the NSA wanted to have information about everything. In Binney's view this is a totalitarian approach, which had previously been seen only in dictatorships. Binney stated the goal was also to control people. Meanwhile, he said it is possible in principle to survey the whole population, abroad and in the US, which in his view contradicts the United States Constitution. In October 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the NSA began with its mass surveillance, he said. Therefore, he left the secret service shortly afterwards, after more than 30 years of employment. Binney mentioned that there were about 6000 analysts in the surveillance at NSA already during his tenure. According to him, everything changed after 9/11. The NSA used the attacks as a justification, to start a giant mass surveillance "This was a mistake. But they still do it", he said. The secret service was saving the data as long as possible: "They do not discard anything. If they have anything they keep it." The NSA was saving the data quasi infinitely. Binney said he deplored the NSA's development of the past few years, not only to collect data on groups who are suspicious for criminal or terrorist activities. "We have moved away from the collection of these data to the collection of data of the 7 billion people on our planet." Binney said he argued even then, to only pull relevant data from the cables. Access to the data was granted to departments of the government or the IRS.
"Where I see it going is toward a totalitarian state," says William Binney. "You've got the NSA doing all this collecting of material on all of its citizens - that's what the SS, the Gestapo, the Stasi, the KGB, and the NKVD did."Binney is talking about the collection of various forms of personal data on American citizens by the National Security Agency (NSA), where he worked for 30 years before quitting in 2001 from his high-placed post as technical leader for intelligence. A registered Republican for most of his life, Binney volunteered for military service during the Vietnam War, which led to his being hired by the NSA in the early '70s.In 2002 - long before the revelations of Edward Snowden rocked the world - Binney and several former colleagues went to Congress and the Department of Defense, asking that the NSA be investigated. Not only was the super-secretive agency wasting taxpayer dollars on ineffective programs, they argued, it was broadly violating constitutional guarantees to privacy and due process.The government didn't just turn a blind eye to the agency's activities; it later accused the whistleblowers of leaking state secrets. A federal investigation of Binney - including an FBI search and seizure of his home and office computers that destroyed his consulting business - exonerated him on all charges."We are a clear example that [going through] the proper channels doesn't work," says Binney, who approves of Edward Snowden's strategy of going straight to the media. At the same time, Binney criticizes Snowden's leaking of documents not directly related to the NSA's surveillance of American citizens and violation of constitutional rights. Binney believes that the NSA is vital to national security but has been become unmoored due to technological advances that vastly extend its capabilities and leadership that has no use for limits on government power. "They took that program designed [to prevent terrorist attacks] and used it to spy on American citizens and everyone else in the world," flatly declares Binney (33:30).Binney sat down with Reason TV's Nick Gillespie to discuss "Trailblazer", a data-collection program which was used on American citizens (1:00), why he thinks the NSA had the capability to stop the 9/11 attacks (7:00), his experience being raided by the FBI in 2007 (12:50), and why former President Gerald Ford, usually regarded as a hapless time-server, is one of his personal villians (41:25).
Is whistle-blowing on government and corporate wrongdoing about to become a do-it-yourself industry? Big names like Edward Snowden already make headlines when they release documents revealing secret programs, including widespread domestic surveillance. Now, a new Web site, ExposeFacts.org, allows ordinary workers and managers the opportunity to expose misbehavior in their own organizations. Evidence can be submitted anonymously, using a SecureDrop system. Daniel Ellsberg, famous for exposing the Pentagon Papers in 1971, was the first member of the group's advisory board. William Binney was one of the pioneers of the new generation of whistleblowers. A former high-ranking member of the National Security Agency, he was well-versed in some of the nation's most secret programs. After retiring in 2001, he was the first person to inform the public that government was accessing all phone billing records. Binney's home was raided by government forces in 2007. Today, he also sits on the advisory board of the group that manages ExposeFacts. William Binney is our guest on the show today. He is here to talk to us about the rise of government surveillance, and how the government is using the data they collect. We will talk about his time at the NSA, and what led him to become a whistleblower. We'll also discuss ExposeFacts, and explore the future of secret information.
Alex Jones talks with William Binney about the growing corruption and power of the NSA and how they abuse their power behind the scenes to pull strings.
Wed, 27 Nov 2013 - 57:11 minutes - 41.84mbWilliam Binney was an NSA official for three decades before he turned his life upside down by becoming one of the most prominent whistle-blowers in the history of U.S. Intelligence. Dan Carlin talks to him about surveillance, spying, secrecy and Edward Snowden.http://dancarlin.com/disp.php/csarchive
Published on Jun 6, 2014 - It's a year since Edward Snowden first came out with revelations that turned the world upside down. What once sounded like Orwellian conspiracy theory turned out to be true - we all are being watched over by the Big Brother in Washington. Innumerable questions arise. What now? Has something changed 12 months later? Should we forget about privacy and safety when we are online? Sophie asks NSA veteran and whistleblower, the precursor of Snowden, Bill Binney.
Published on Dec 2, 2012 - RT talks to William Binney, whistleblower and former NSA crypto-mathematician who served in the agency for decades. Virtual privacy in US, Petraeus affair and whistleblowers' odds in fight against the authorities are among key topics of this exclusive interview
Published on Apr 20, 2012 DemocracyNow.org - In his first television interview since he resigned from the National Security Agency over the its domestic surveillance program, William Binney discusses the NSA's massive power to spy on Americans and why the FBI raided his home after he became a whistleblower. Binney was a key source for investigative journalist James Bamford's recent exposé in Wired Magazine about how the NSA is quietly building the largest spy center in the country in Bluffdale, Utah. The Utah spy center will contain near-bottomless databases to store all forms of communication collected by the agency including private emails, cell phone calls and Google searches and other personal data.Binney served in the NSA for over 30 years, including a time as technical director of the NSA's World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group. Since retiring from the NSA in 2001 he has warned that the NSA's data-mining program has become so vast that it could "create an Orwellian state." Today marks the first time Binney has spoken on national television about NSA surveillance.
At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US, says whistleblower William Binney – that's a 'totalitarian mentality'William Binney testifies before a German inquiry into surveillance. Photograph: Getty ImagesWilliam Binney is one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA. He was a leading code-breaker against the Soviet Union during the Cold War but resigned soon after September 11, disgusted by Washington’s move towards mass surveillance.On 5 July he spoke at a conference in London organised by the Centre for Investigative Journalism and revealed the extent of the surveillance programs unleashed by the Bush and Obama administrations.“At least 80% of fibre-optic cables globally go via the US”, Binney said. “This is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in. At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.”The NSA will soon be able to collect 966 exabytes a year, the total of internet traffic annually. Former Google head Eric Schmidt once argued that the entire amount of knowledge from the beginning of humankind until 2003 amount to only five exabytes.Binney, who featured in a 2012 short film by Oscar-nominated US film-maker Laura Poitras, described a future where surveillance is ubiquitous and government intrusion unlimited.“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control”, Binney said, “but I’m a little optimistic with some recent Supreme Court decisions, such as law enforcement mostly now needing a warrant before searching a smartphone.”He praised the revelations and bravery of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and told me that he had indirect contact with a number of other NSA employees who felt disgusted with the agency’s work. They’re keen to speak out but fear retribution and exile, not unlike Snowden himself, who is likely to remain there for some time.Unlike Snowden, Binney didn’t take any documents with him when he left the NSA. He now says that hard evidence of illegal spying would have been invaluable. The latest Snowden leaks, featured in the Washington Post, detail private conversations of average Americans with no connection to extremism.It shows that the NSA is not just pursuing terrorism, as it claims, but ordinary citizens going about their daily communications. “The NSA is mass-collecting on everyone”, Binney said, “and it’s said to be about terrorism but inside the US it has stopped zero attacks.”The lack of official oversight is one of Binney’s key concerns, particularly of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa), which is held out by NSA defenders as a sign of the surveillance scheme's constitutionality.“The Fisa court has only the government’s point of view”, he argued. “There are no other views for the judges to consider. There have been at least 15-20 trillion constitutional violations for US domestic audiences and you can double that globally.”A Fisa court in 2010 allowed the NSA to spy on 193 countries around the world, plus the World Bank, though there’s evidence that even the nations the US isn’t supposed to monitor – Five Eyes allies Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – aren’t immune from being spied on. It’s why encryption is today so essential to transmit information safely.Binney recently told the German NSA inquiry committee that his former employer had a “totalitarian mentality” that was the "greatest threat" to US society since that country’s US Civil War in the 19th century. Despite this remarkable power, Binney still mocked the NSA’s failures, including missing this year’s Russian intervention in Ukraine and the Islamic State’s take-over of Iraq.The era of mass surveillance has gone from the fringes of public debate to the mainstream, where it belongs. The Pew Research Centre released a report this month, Digital Life in 2025, that predicted worsening state control and censorship, reduced public trust, and increased commercialisation of every aspect of web culture.It’s not just internet experts warning about the internet’s colonisation by state and corporate power. One of Europe’s leading web creators, Lena Thiele, presented her stunning series Netwars in London on the threat of cyber warfare. She showed how easy it is for governments and corporations to capture our personal information without us even realising.Thiele said that the US budget for cyber security was US$67 billion in 2013 and will double by 2016. Much of this money is wasted and doesn't protect online infrastructure. This fact doesn’t worry the multinationals making a killing from the gross exaggeration of fear that permeates the public domain.Wikileaks understands this reality better than most. Founder Julian Assange and investigative editor Sarah Harrison both remain in legal limbo. I spent time with Assange in his current home at the Ecuadorian embassy in London last week, where he continues to work, release leaks, and fight various legal battles. He hopes to resolve his predicament soon.At the Centre for Investigative Journalism conference, Harrison stressed the importance of journalists who work with technologists to best report the NSA stories. “It’s no accident”, she said, “that some of the best stories on the NSA are in Germany, where there’s technical assistance from people like Jacob Appelbaum.”A core Wikileaks belief, she stressed, is releasing all documents in their entirety, something the group criticised the news site The Intercept for not doing on a recent story. “The full archive should always be published”, Harrison said.With 8m documents on its website after years of leaking, the importance of publishing and maintaining source documents for the media, general public and court cases can’t be under-estimated. “I see Wikileaks as a library”, Assange said. “We’re the librarians who can’t say no.”With evidence that there could be a second NSA leaker, the time for more aggressive reporting is now. As Binney said: “I call people who are covering up NSA crimes traitors”.
NSA global reach is omnipresent. The US intelligence controls the entire cyber network across the globe, violating individual piracy by storing endless data on its increasingly enlarged servers, former NSA crypto-mathematician, William Binney, told RT.
NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCYSworn Declaration of Whistleblower William Binney on NSA Domestic Surveillance CapabilitiesJuly 16, 2012The following sworn declaration of William Binney, a former employee of the NSA and specialist in traffic analysis, was filed July 2, 2012 in support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s case against the National Security Agency (Jewel v. NSA) regarding their illegal domestic surveillance programs which, according to Binney “are consistent, as a mathematical matter, with seizing both the routing information and the contents of all electronic communications” inside the U.S. Thanks to Jacob Appelbaum for originally drawing attention to the declaration.DECLARATION OF WILLIAM E. BINNEY IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT REJECTING THE GOVERNMENT DEFENDANTS’ STATE SECRET DEFENSE10 pagesJuly 2, 2012I, William Binney, declare:1. I am a former employee of the National Security Agency (“NSA”), the signals intelligence agency within the Department of Defense. Unless otherwise indicated, I have personal knowledge of each and every fact set forth below and can competently testify thereto.2. A true and correct copy of my resume is attached hereto as Exhibit A.3. In the late 1990′s, the increasing use of the Internet for communications presented the NSA with a special kind of problem: The NSA could not collect and smartly select from the large volume of data traversing the Internet the nuggets of needed information about “Entities of Interest” or “Communities of Interest,” while protecting the privacy of U.S. persons. Human analysts had to manually identify the groups and entities associated with activities that the NSA sought to monitor. That process was so laborious that it significantly hampered the NSA’s ability to do large scale data analysis.4. One of my roles at the NSA was to find a means of automating the work of human analysts. I supervised and participated in the development of a program called “Thin Thread” within the NSA. Thin Thread was designed to identify networks of connections between individuals from their electronic communications over the Internet in an automated fashion in real time. The concept was for devices running Thin Thread to monitor international communications traffic passing over the Internet. Where one side of an international communication was domestic, the NSA had to comply with the requirements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”). With Thin Thread, the data would be encrypted (and the privacy of U.S. citizens protected) until such time as a warrant could be obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Comi.5. The advent of the September 11 attacks brought a complete change in the approach 18 of the NSA toward doing its job. FISA ceased to be an operative concern, and the individual liberties preserved in the U.S. Constitution were no longer a consideration. It was at that time that the NSA began to implement the group of intelligence activities now known as the President’s Surveillance Program (“PSP”). While I was not personally read into the PSP, various members of my Thin Thread team were given the task of implementing various aspects of the PSP. They confided in me and told me that the PSP involved the collection of domestic electronic communications traffic without any of the privacy protections built into Thin Thread.6. I resigned from the NSA in late 2001. I could not stay after the NSA began purposefully violating the Constitution.7. The NSA chose not to implement Thin Thread. To the best of my knowledge, the NSA does not have a means of analyzing Internet data for the purpose of identifying Entities or Communities of Interest in real time. The NSA has the capability to do individualized searches, similar to Google, for particular electronic communications in real time through such criteria as target addresses, locations, countries and phone numbers, as well as watch-listed names, keywords, and phrases in email. The NSA also has the capability to seize and store most electronic communications passing through its U.S. intercept centers. The wholesale collection of data allows the NSA to identify and analyze Entities or Communities of interest later in a static database. Based on my proximity to the PSP and my years of experience at the NSA, I can draw informed conclusions from the available facts. Those facts indicate that the NSA is doing both.8. The NSA could have installed its intercept equipment at the nation’s fiber-optic cable landing stations. See Greg’s Cable Map, cablemap.info. There are more than two dozen such sites on the U.S. coasts where fiber-optic cables come ashore. If the NSA had taken that route, it would have been able to limit its interception of electronic communications to international/international and international/domestic communications and exclude domestic/domestic communications. Instead the NSA chose to put its intercept equipment at key junction points (for example Folsom Street) and probably throughout the nation, thereby giving itself access to purely domestic communications. The conclusion of J. Scott Marcus in his declaration that the “collection of infrastructure … has all the capability necessary to conduct large scale covert gathering of IP-based communications information, not only for communications to overseas locations, but .for purely domestic communications as well,” is correct.9. I estimate that the NSA installed no fewer than ten and possibly in excess of twenty intercept centers within the United States. I am familiar with the contents of Mark Klein’s declaration. The AT&T center on Folsom Street in San Francisco is one of the NSA intercept centers. Mr. Klein indicated that the NSA’s equipment intercepted Internet traffic on AT&T’s peering network. It makes sense for the NSA to intercept traffic on AT &T’s peering network. The idea would be to avoid having to install interception equipment on each of the thousands of parallel data lines that eventually lead into and out of peering networks. By focusing on peering networks, the NSA intercepts data at the choke point in the system through which all data must pass in order to move from one party’s network to another’s. This is particularly important because a block data is often broken up into many smaller packets for transmission. These packets may traverse different routes before reaching the destination computer which gathers them and reassembles the original block.10. One of the most notable pieces of equipment identified in Mr. Klein’s declaration is the NARUS Semantic Traffic Analyzer. According to the NARUS website, each NARUS device collects telecommunications data at the rate of ten gigabits per second and organizes the data into coherent streams based on the protocol associated with a specific type of collected data. A protocol is an agreed-upon way for data to be broken down into packets for transmission over the Internet, for the packets to be routed over the Internet to a designated destination and for the packets to be re-assembled at its destination. Protocols exist at each layer of the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) 7-layer telecommunications model and are used for a wide variety of data, not just electronic communications. That means that NARUS can reconstruct all information transmitted through the peering network and forward all of the electronic communications to a database for analysis. The NARUS device can also select predetermined data from that path and forward the data to organizations having interest in the data. As I indicated above, the predetermined data would involve target addresses, locations, countries, and phone numbers, as well as watch-listed names, keywords, and phrases.11. A further notable development has been the NSA’s public announcement in October 2009 that it was building a massive, $1.2 billion digital storage facility in Ft. Williams, Utah. According to some reports, the Utah facility will eventually have a data storage capacity measured in yottabytes (1024 bytes). Even if the Utah facility were to have no more than the amount of data storage that is presently commercially available, then one would expect the data storage to be in the range of multiples often exebytes (1018 bytes). See www.cleversafe.com. (According to Cleversafe, its ten exebyte storage solution fills no more than two hundred square feet). In April 2011, the NSA also announced that it would build a new supercomputing center at its Ft. Meade, Maryland headquarters.12. The amount of data that each NARUS device can process per second is large (10 gigabits is 10 billion bits). To illustrate the sheer size of the data storage capacity ofthe Utah facility, one could assume the installation of twenty-five NARUS devices in the U.S. and that all of 2 the NARUS-processed data is sent via fiber-optic cable to Utah. That means that the NARUS processing rate of 10 billion bits per second means that one machine can produce approximately 4 x 1016 bytes per year. That in turn means that it would take twenty-five devices one year to fill an exebyte or ten years to fill ten exebytes.13. The sheer size of that capacity indicates that the NSA is not filtering personal electronic communications such as email before storage but is, in fact, storing all that they are collecting. The capacity of NSA’s planned infrastructure far exceeds the capacity necessary for the storage of discreet, targeted communications or even for the storage of the routing information from all electronic communications. The capacity of NSA’s planned infrastructure is consistent, as a mathematical matter, with seizing both the routing information and the contents of all electronic communications.
The NSA collects and stores most Americans’ phone conversations, according to NSA whistleblower William Binney.At Timetable 2014, a Center for Investigative Journalism conference, Binney said, “At least 80% of fiber optic cables globally go via the U.S. This is no accident and allows the U.S. to view all communication coming in. At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the U.S. The NSA lies about what it stores.”Also according to The Guardian, Binney stated, “The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control, but I’m a little optimistic with some recent Supreme Court decisions, such as law enforcement mostly now needing a warrant before searching a smartphone.”Binney’s claim of the NSA recording and storing calls falls in line with what former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente told CNN after the Boston marathon bombings last year. Clemente claimed that in the course of a national security investigation, law enforcement could find out what was said in phone conversations between Katherine Russell and Tamarlan Tsarnaev. When CNN asked if FBI could “actually get that,” Clemente responded, “Welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not.”When asked about it the next day, if Clemente had meant voice mail audio recordings to determine if Tsarnaev’s widow knew about the bombing, Clemente clarified:I'm talking about all digital communications are -- there's a way to look at digital communications in the past. I can't go into detail of how that's done or what's done. But I can tell you that no digital communication is secure. So these communications will be found out. The conversation will be known.The NSA wants “total information control” over American citizens “in breach of the U.S. Constitution,” Binney testified before the German parliament this month. The NSA represents “the ‘greatest threat’ to American society since the US Civil War of the 19th century.”How many times do we need to hear this to believe it? Over a year ago, there was more than enough leaked information to apply the Rule of Seven to domestic surveillance. Snowden’s leaks may have put NSA spying in the headlines and gained mainstream media attention, but Binney has been sounding the alarm for years.Binney came forward in 2012 at the last Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference to say the NSA has dossiers on nearly every U.S. citizen. Later that year, Binney claimed everyone in the U.S. is under virtual surveillance. "Where I see it going is toward a totalitarian state," Binney previously told Reason. "You've got the NSA doing all this collecting of material on all of its citizens - that's what the SS, the Gestapo, the Stasi, the KGB, and the NKVD did."For a while it seemed as if President Obama’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board would help tip the scales and bring about changes to end unconstitutional NSA spying, seeing how PCLOB found “no instance” in which the telephone records collected by the NSA under its Section 215 program “directly contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown terrorist plot or the disruption of a terrorist attack." But, disappointingly, PCLOB did an about-face in its latest report (pdf), claiming the NSA’s spying, via its bulk collection of Internet data, is constitutional.CISAOn Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee approved CISPA’s successor CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014. Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall oppose the bill and issued this warning: “We have seen how the federal government has exploited loopholes to collect Americans' private information in the name of security. The only way to make cybersecurity information-sharing effective and acceptable is to ensure that there are strong protections for Americans’ constitutional privacy rights.” They added, “We are concerned that the bill the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reported today lacks adequate protections for the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans, and that it will not materially improve cybersecurity.”"Users' communications information will continue to flow to the NSA under a cybersecurity umbrella even when it is irrelevant to a cyber threat. This is unacceptable," Greg Nojeim, a lawyer with the Center for Democracy and Technology, told Motherboard.CISA, according to the ACLU, “would create a massive loophole in our existing privacy laws by allowing the government to ask companies for ‘voluntary’ cooperation in sharing information, including the content of our communications, for cybersecurity purposes. But the definition they are using for the so-called ‘cybersecurity information’ is so broad it could sweep up huge amounts of innocent Americans' personal data.”The Fourth Amendment protects Americans' personal data and communications from undue government access and monitoring without suspicion of criminal activity. The point of a warrant is to guard that protection. CISA would circumvent the warrant requirement by allowing the government to approach companies directly to collect personal information, including telephonic or internet communications, based on the new broadly drawn definition of "cybersecurity information."It remains to be seen if "real" changes to better protect Americans' electronic privacy will come about this year, or if 2014 will continue the march toward America being a police state and her citizens protected by a constitution that is increasingly being sidestepped for "security."
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