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Anonymous #OpGCHQ Protest @ UK Spy Base 08/29-09/01

In Activism, Anonymous, Archive, GCHQ, Surveillance on August 29, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Image via @Autonymousness


A four-day protest against GCHQ mass surveillance, organized by the hacktivist collective Anonymous, has begun outside Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters spy base in Cheltenham.

Anonymous has dubbed the protest ‘Operation GCHQ’, and is appealing to UK and international activists to attend the event. While a modest group of fifty to sixty campaigners had gathered outside the UK government’s listening post early on Friday evening, over 9,000 are expected to attend the demonstration this weekend. According to Anonymous UK, Saturday is set to be the main day of protest.

Anonymous is targeting the Cheltenham-based spy base to highlight grave concerns over an unwavering assault on Britons’ privacy rights in an increasing climate of mass surveillance. Privacy rights activists from France, Germany, Sweden and Ireland will attend the protest and join the collective in their call for a surveillance policy shift. Central to campaigners’ demands, is the prioritization of citizens’ right to privacy over the interests of security agencies.

A spokesperson for Anonymous’ media team told RT on Friday UK authorities’ insistence on spying on their own people with no legal justification was a primary motivation for holding the protest. “Innocent activists who have never broken any laws and act within the law are still targets of GCHQ and other spying agencies”, he said.

Although GCHQ attempted to liaise with Anonymous UK in advance of the four-day demonstration, a spokesperson for the collective who calls himself Ajacxuk said the group declined to respond.

“No correspondence is necessary. It’s our democratic right to protest. As long as the protest remains peaceful and respectful of GCHQ property there shouldn’t be a need to justify activists’ motivation to defend their right to privacy”, he said.

Probed on whether Anonymous hacktivists have been targeted by British authorities under UK terrorism legislation, a spokesperson for the group declined to comment but emphasized hacktivists are regularly targeted internationally on these grounds.

Ajacxuk, who runs the hacktivist collective’s radio station, insists Anonymous UK have been unjustly targeted by GCHQ on multiple occasions.“One of our servers was destroyed and our UK radio station has been shut down”, he said on Friday, adding the group’s site was also taken down following the launch of a campaign to feed homeless people throughout Britain.

The Gloucestershire Echo has been sent an anonymous email, which alleges that Gloucestershire police are not allocating enough of its resources to making sure that workers at “the Doughnut” on the A40 are harassed or put in danger.

It added: “Gloucestershire Police have decided they will allow the protesters to take photographs of GCHQ and it’s staff even though this is against the law. To prevent the photography would require far more police officers than Gloucestershire Police wish to use.”

Gloucestershire police Chief Inspector Mark Ravenscroft said: “We have been liaising with organizers to try and ensure they can exercise their right to lawful protest while bearing in mind the impact on the local community.

We know people will have cameras with them and we will be guiding protesters around the legality of taking pictures outside GCHQ as part of our ‘no surprises’ approach.

“While discretion will be used in each case, protesters should be aware that they could be breaking the law if they attempt to take photos of any GCHQ staff.”

*LeakSource will be monitoring the protest and will update this page with more news/live streams when available…

via Gloucestershire Echo:

Protesters Ethan McStravick and Gerald Macmillan said Gloucestershire police told them the protest had been cancelled and refused to give directions to GCHQ.

Are GCHQ working with a skeleton staff today? Outlying car park unusually empty. Mutual aid from Devon and Kent police have arrived.


Confidential Australia Data Retention Discussion Paper Leaked

In Archive, ASIO, Australia, Big Brother, Internet, Politics, Surveillance on August 27, 2014 at 5:19 PM


h/t Ben Grubb/SMH

It’s the secret industry consultation paper the Australian federal government didn’t want you to see.

Produced by the Attorney-General’s Department and distributed to telecommunications industry members on Friday, the nine-page document attempts to clarify what customer internet and phone records the government wants companies such as Telstra, Optus and iiNet to store for the purpose of law enforcement and counterterrorism.

The requirement is part of a proposed data retention regime, which has been given “in principle” approval by the Abbott government. It seeks to continue to allow law enforcement and spy agencies to access customer identifiable data without a warrant as prescribed by law, but would ensure the data is not deleted for a mandated period of two years.

When it comes to metadata, the AG’s department wants telcos to store a few things, including:

• present and past subscriber name
• address information
• 64-bit IMSI ID and other network identifiers
• financial/billing information
• account state and billing type
• upload/download volumes on mobile devices
• upload/download allowances on the plan
• phone number
• type of service used (network type, i.e. ADSL, 4G LTE)
IMEI device identifiers
• location of devices used

The paper explicitly rules out the retention of data that indicates what sites internet customers access but it does not rule out agencies asking for a customer’s web history if a telco does hold it for other purposes. Recently, it was revealed Telstra handed over URL information without a warrant to agencies.

Costs associated with storing the data are mentioned briefly, the paper does not go into detail on this. Internet and phone providers iiNet and Optus have previously estimated the costs could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars depending on the amount of data required.

The paper also concedes what many have known in industry circles for some time: that telecommunications data, commonly called metadata, is not defined in the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979. Instead, the paper states that such data is “negatively defined”. “The TIA Act does not positively define what is data; only what is not data,” it says.

On Wednesday afternoon when pressed for a definition of metadata by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, Attorney General George Brandis told parliament a “statutory definition” of metadata would be part of the legislation, meaning it would include technical specifications.

The leak comes the same day that the head of Australia’s largest spy agency, ASIO Director General David Irvine, admitted that without warrantless access to metadata, intelligence operations would “come to a halt“.

A similar paper distributed to telecommunications companies between 2009 and 2010 by the previous government explicitly included destination IP addresses in the data required to be stored. A copy of the 2009-10 document was obtained under freedom of information but was highly redacted out of fear it could cause “premature, unnecessary debate“.

US Hypersonic Weapon Destroyed Seconds After Test Launch; Can Strike Anywhere on Earth Within an Hour

In Air Force, Archive, Army, Military, Pentagon, Technology, USA on August 27, 2014 at 12:55 AM



A hypersonic weapon being developed by the U.S. military was destroyed four seconds after its launch from a test range in Alaska early on Monday after controllers detected a problem with the system, the Pentagon said.

The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon is being developed as a joint project between the Sandia National Laboratory, Army Space and Missile Defense Command and the Army Forces Strategic Command to form the Pentagon’s Prompt Global Strike initiative. It includes a glide body mounted on a three-stage, solid-propellant booster system known as STARS, for Strategic Target System.


The Defense Department wants a weapon that can strike targets anywhere in the world within hours using a conventionally armed missile traveling at Mach 5 or 3,500 miles an hour.

The missile would be used to hit terrorist targets identified on satellites thousands of miles away or weapons of mass destruction being moved in open ground that only have a small window within which to strike.


The mission was aborted to ensure public safety, and no one was injured in the incident, which occurred shortly after 4 a.m. EDT at the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska, said Maureen Schumann, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Defense Department.

“We had to terminate,” Schumann said. “The weapon exploded during takeoff and fell back down in the range complex,” she added.

The incident caused an undetermined amount of damage to the launch facility, Schumann said.

It was a setback for the U.S. program, which some analysts see as countering the growing development of ballistic missiles by Iran and North Korea but others say is part of an arms race with China, which successfully tested a hypersonic system in January.

The Wu-14 missile is being developed by China to launch nuclear warheads or to strike ships and is being designed to travel at speeds of up to Mach 10 or 8,000 miles-an-hour.

Chinese test of the Wu-14 three weeks ago failed in similar circumstances to the American test.

While hypersonic weapons are unlikely to be fielded for a decade, the fact that Washington and Beijing were both testing the weapons indicated there was a real potential for an arms race, said James Acton, a defense analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

In a previous test in November 2011, the US craft had successfully flown from Hawaii to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, she said. On Monday, it was supposed to fly from Alaska to the Kwajalein Atoll.


The Air Force has said it intends to study and invest in hypersonic weapons going forward, making that one of the key technology priorities laid out in its recent 30-year strategy.


In Archive, CIA, DEA, DIA, FBI, NSA, NSA Files, Surveillance on August 25, 2014 at 11:41 PM


Ryan Gallagher/TheIntercept:

The roots of ICREACH can be traced back more than two decades.

In the early 1990s, the CIA and the DEA embarked on a secret initiative called Project CRISSCROSS. The agencies built a database system to analyze phone billing records and phone directories, in order to identify links between intelligence targets and other persons of interest. At first, CRISSCROSS was used in Latin America and was “extremely successful” at identifying narcotics-related suspects. It stored only five kinds of metadata on phone calls: date, time, duration, called number, and calling number, according to an NSA memo.

The program rapidly grew in size and scope. By 1999, the NSA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the FBI had gained access to CRISSCROSS and were contributing information to it. As CRISSCROSS continued to expand, it was supplemented with a system called PROTON that enabled analysts to store and examine additional types of data. These included unique codes used to identify individual cellphones, location data, text messages, passport and flight records, visa application information, as well as excerpts culled from CIA intelligence reports.

An NSA memo noted that PROTON could identify people based on whether they behaved in a “similar manner to a specific target.” The memo also said the system “identifies correspondents in common with two or more targets, identifies potential new phone numbers when a target switches phones, and identifies networks of organizations based on communications within the group.” In July 2006, the NSA estimated that it was storing 149 billion phone records on PROTON.

According to the NSA documents, PROTON was used to track down “High Value Individuals” in the United States and Iraq, investigate front companies, and discover information about foreign government operatives. CRISSCROSS enabled major narcotics arrests and was integral to the CIA’s rendition program during the Bush Administration, which involved abducting terror suspects and flying them to secret “black site” prisons where they were brutally interrogated and sometimes tortured. One NSA document on the system, dated from July 2005, noted that the use of communications metadata “has been a contribution to virtually every successful rendition of suspects and often, the deciding factor.”

However, the NSA came to view CRISSCROSS/PROTON as insufficient, in part due to the aging standard of its technology. The intelligence community was sensitive to criticism that it had failed to share information that could potentially have helped prevent the 9/11 attacks, and it had been strongly criticized for intelligence failures before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. For the NSA, it was time to build a new and more advanced system to radically increase metadata sharing. See: ICREACH: NSA’s Surveillance Search Engine

Related Link via CryptomePROTON, CLEARWATER and Lexis-Nexis

ICREACH: NSA’s Surveillance Search Engine

In Archive, CIA, DEA, DIA, FBI, NSA, NSA Files, Surveillance on August 25, 2014 at 10:28 PM


Ryan Gallagher/TheIntercept:

The National Security Agency is secretly providing data to nearly two dozen U.S. government agencies with a “Google-like” search engine built to share more than 850 billion records about phone calls, emails, cellphone locations, and internet chats, according to classified documents obtained by The Intercept. The documents provide the first definitive evidence that the NSA has for years made massive amounts of surveillance data directly accessible to domestic law enforcement agencies.

ICREACH has been accessible to more than 1,000 analysts at 23 U.S. government agencies that perform intelligence work. A planning document (above) from 2007 lists the DEA, FBI, Central Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency as core members.

ICREACH contains information on the private communications of foreigners and, it appears, millions of records on American citizens who have not been accused of any wrongdoing. Information shared through ICREACH can be used to track people’s movements, map out their networks of associates, help predict future actions, and potentially reveal religious affiliations or political beliefs.




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