Why Obama Should Pardon NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

Some people might not like his tactics, but Edward Snowden has done great things for privacy rights, says Freedom of the Press Foundation’s Trevor Timm. That’s why it’s time for him to come home.

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By Nerti U. Qatja@VOP_Today


In an article published on October 06  writes for Ideas TedSome of the biggest human rights organizations in the world — the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and others — recently launched a campaigncalling on President Obama to pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

I’m lucky enough to work with Snowden regularly. In 2014, he joined the board of directors at Freedom of the Press Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on protecting the rights of journalists and whistleblowers around the world, where I serve as executive director. Late last year, we named him our board president. He is currently working on several technology projects that aim to protect journalists in dangerous places around the world, such as war zones or authoritarian regimes. He already released a research project that aims to make a safer and more secure cell phone earlier this summer, and we plan on making some more announcements soon.

So with the campaign to pardon him picking up steam, I thought it might be a good time to look back on all of the good Snowden has done for our privacy rights.

One of Snowden’s first public appearances after he came forward as the whistleblower who revealed the US government’s vast and secret surveillance network was at TED in Vancouver, in 2014. TED curator Chris Anderson held an illuminating half-hour conversation with Snowden, in which he articulated why he decided to come forward and reveal to the public what our government was secretly doing under our name.

“The public has gotten to know him for the person that he is: thoughtful, articulate, empathetic, passionate, and someone who cares deeply about the rights of every citizen.”

Since then, a lot has happened as a direct result of the disclosures he made to the Guardian and the Washington Post — both of which would go on to win Pulitzer Prizes for Public Service. A federal appeals court ruled the NSA’s mass phone surveillance — the once-secret program that tracked every single phone call made in the US — was illegal. In June 2015, Congress, despite its inability to agree on virtually any issue facing our country, passed the first reform of the United States’ intelligence agencies since the 1970s. And his revelations shepherded in a sea change in public opinion about online privacy.

But his impact has probably most been felt in the technology sector: tech giants such as Apple and Facebook have started encrypting billions of people’s communications by default, providing a key protection that not only protects citizens against mass surveillance by governments around the world, but also acts as a bulwark against the sort of cybersecurity risks that seem to make headlines daily.

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Snowden has also become an accomplished public speaker, keynoting conferences around the world. In the process, the public has gotten to know him for the person he is: thoughtful, articulate, empathetic, passionate and someone who cares deeply about the rights of every citizen.

Naturally, a lot of people — even those who are sympathetic to Snowden — have suggested that if he truly is a whistleblower he should come back to the United States and make his case to a jury. Unfortunately, because of the draconian and unjust law he is charged under, the Espionage Act, this is impossible. Because of the way the law is written — it was meant for World War I spies, not journalists’ sources — a public interest defense is not allowed. He would be barred by the judge from telling the jury his motives for informing the American public. Neither would he be able to tell them how much the American public has benefitted from his leaks, nor that there was no evidence of harm to national security due to his actions.

Right now, his best hope lies in a pardon from President Obama in his final months in office. While we know the chances of a pardon are low, we also know that President Obama is looking towards his legacy. By considering a pardon for Snowden, he could start to reverse one of the most disappointing aspects of his presidency: the record number of prosecutions his Justice Department has conducted of whistleblowers.

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Microsoft Admits Windows 10 Auto-Spying Can’t Be Disabled

Much has been made about NSA spying and bulk data collection of American citizens, as well as an increasing loss of privacy in the face of the new digital Big Brother State – but amazingly, few are really aware of the fact that even the NSA needs working partners in crime to carry out their assault on American freedoms guaranteed in the US Constitution, specifically those enshrined in the 4th Amendment.

By Anthony Von Dari@VOP Today – Source: Forbes


One such partner in crime appears to be Microsoft Corporation based in Redmond, near Seattle. Upon further examination, it appears that Microsoft’s new “operating” (policing) system,Windows 10, has given itself permission to watch your every move through its built-in spying feature.

You have to ask yourself: how out of touch is Microsoft that, in light of the Edward Snowden revelations and the rest too – that it would have the outright gall to build a back door into its latest OS and make it a nonnegotiable clause in the customer’s the Terms and Conditions?

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Techworm confirms the brazen move by Gatestown product engineers:

“As more and more users are jumping the queue to download the Windows 10 through the Windows Insider Program, almost all of them have forgotten to check the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions users accept while downloading the Windows 10.  If you study the privacy policy you will be startled at the amount of freedom you are giving Microsoft to spy on you.”

According to its Terms and Conditions, Microsoft has all but invited itself into your private domain 24/7:

Microsoft collects information about you, your devices, applications and networks, and your use of those devices, applications and networks. Examples of data we collect include your name, email address, preferences and interests; browsing, search and file history; phone call and SMS data; device configuration and sensor data; and application usage.”

According the Forbes writer Gordon Kelly, “.. despite offering some options to turn elements of tracking off, core data collection simply cannot be stopped.”

Speaking to PC World, Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore admitted, “In the cases where we’ve not provided options, we feel that those things have to do with the health of the system,” he said. “In the case of knowing that our system that we’ve created is crashing, or is having serious performance problems, we view that as so helpful to the ecosystem and so not an issue of personal privacy, that today we collect that data so that we make that experience better for everyone.”

Now you have to ask yourself the question: how tight is Microsoft’s top brass with spy chiefs at the NSA?

Earlier this summer, we learned how NSA spying relies on AT&T’s “extreme willingness to help”, which should give us an idea of the scale of corporate collusion with the NSA.

In the wake of the early Snowden releases, The Guardian laid the foundation to this narrative:

One slide in the undated PowerPoint presentation, published as part of the Guardian’s NSA Files: Decoded project, illustrates the number of intelligence reports being generated from data collected from the companies. In the five weeks from June 5 2010, the period covered by the document, data from Yahoo generated by far the most reports, followed by Microsoft and then Google. Between them, the three companies accounted for more than 2,000 reports in that period – all but a tiny fraction of the total produced under one of the NSA’s main foreign intelligence authorities, the Fisa Amendments Act (FAA).”

In addition to all this, you have the issue of whether or not Microsoft has embedded a heavy-handed ‘TPP‘ backdoor access clause in its privacy terms as well. The following was brought to light by a Reddit user recently:

Here is there Privacy Statement where they state:

Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to:

  1. comply with applicable law or respond to valid legal process, including from law enforcement or other government agencies;
  2. protect our customers, for example to prevent spam or attempts to defraud users of the services, or to help prevent the loss of life or serious injury of anyone;
  3. operate and maintain the security of our services, including to prevent or stop an attack on our computer systems or networks; or
  4. protect the rights or property of Microsoft, including enforcing the terms governing the use of the services – however, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property of Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves, but we may refer the matter to law enforcement.

Yeah I don’t want to give them access to ANY of my hard drives contents. Is there any way to turn this off?”

So, Microsoft has been at it for quite sometime.

Considering how this company has enjoyed a license to print money since the late 1980’s, you would think that they would be more appreciative of the millions of customers who have made so many millionaires, and billionaires in Seattle and beyond. You’d think that Microsoft might just stand up for the privacy of the little man, right?

Microsoft Admits Windows 10 Auto-Spying Can’t Be Disabled

You’d think so, but then again… you might be wrong.


 

Snowden Documents Proving ‘Alien Agenda’ is Driving US Gov Since 1945

Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden revealed documents providing incontrovertible proof that an alien/extraterrestrial intelligence agenda is driving US domestic and international policy, and has been doing so since at least 1945, some media reports said.

By Nerti U. Qatja@VOP_Today

Snowden Documents Proving ‘Alien Agenda’ is Driving US Gov Since 1945

A stunning Federal Security Services (FSB) report on the nearly two million highly classified top-secret documents obtained from the United States Department of Defense (DOD) run National Security Agency-Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) by the American ex-patriot Edward Snowden states that this information is providing “incontrovertible proof” that an “alien/extraterrestrial intelligence agenda” is driving US domestic and international policy, and has been doing so since at least 1945

Snowden: FBI can already unlock iPhone without Apple’s help – ‘That’s horse sh*t!’

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said that the FBI’s claim to need Apple to unlock the iPhone a San Bernardino shooter is a sham.

Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden © Vincent Kessler

By RT


The FBI says that only Apple has the ability to crack the work phone left behind by the San Bernardino terrorists, and last month convinced a federal judge to compel the tech giant to write a custom operating system with intentionally weakened security mechanisms. Apple is refusing to do so, and said that it is willing to take the fight to the Supreme Court.

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Over a video link appearance at Blueprint for a Great Democracy conference on Tuesday, Snowden took Apple’s side.

“The FBI says Apple has the ‘exclusive technical means’ to unlock the phone,” Snowden told the audience from Moscow.“Respectfully, that’s horse sh*t.”

Snowden later tweeted a link to an American Civil Liberties Union blog post titled “One of the FBI’s Major Claims in the iPhone Case Is Fraudulent,” which argues that the government doesn’t actually need Apple’s help to bypass the “auto-erase” feature on the iPhone in question.

This sentiment echoes that of many tech experts, as well as some lawmakers.

At a hearing last week, Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican who made his fortune in electronic car alarms, asked FBI Director James Comey if he considered the possibility of creating enough copies of the phone’s data to try hundreds of passwords. Apple likely wouldn’t have objected to this simple method, and the FBI couldn’t answer why they didn’t consider it.

Comey also acknowledged that the FBI made the mistake of changing the iCloud password on Farook’s account, security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski wrote in a blog post.

“In other words, the mistake of trying to break into the safe caused the safe to lock down in a way that made it more difficult to get evidence out of it,” Zdziarski said.

Snowden has previously applauded Apple for its defense of privacy and strong encryption, even before their current battle with the FBI.

“We should support vendors who are willing to [say], ‘You know, just because it’s popular to collect everybody’s information and resell it to advertisers and whatever, it’s going to serve our reputation, it’s going to serve our relationship with our customers, and it’s going to serve society better. If instead we just align ourselves with our customers and what they really want, if we can outcompete people on the value of our products without needing to subsidize that by information that we’ve basically stolen from our customers’,” he told TechCrunch in June, months before the December massacre in San Bernardino. “That’s absolutely something that should be supported.”

Edward Snowden: “Global Warming Is An Invention Of The CIA”

Moscow | National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, has made a new controversial claim yesterday during an interview, saying that he possesses some classified information proving that the CIA is behind the “theory of Global Warming”.

Edward Snowden: “Global Warming is an invention of the CIA”

By Barbara JohnsonWorld News Daily Report


Snowden, who lives as a fugitive in Russia after leaking documents about the NSA’s surveillance programs, has made some previously unreported allegations during an interview with the Moscow Tribune.

Mr. Snowden says the CIA first orchestrated the spread of the “Global Warming scare” in the 1950s, in order to divert the attention of the scientific community, from the dangers of the weapons race and reinforce its control over research institutes.

I have documents showing that the CIA invented the whole thing,” claims Edward Snowden. “Global Warming was invented to both scare people, and divert their attention from other human-made dangers like nuclear weapons. The CIA gave millions of dollars to any scientist who would confirm the theory, so many unscrupulous scientists did what they were told in order to get the money. Now, there is so much fake data to confirm that Global Warming “exists”, that they actually convinced everyone that it was real.”

Edward Snowden was hired by an NSA contractor in 2013 after previous employment with Dell and the CIA. In the month of June of the same year, he revealed thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists. He also claims to be in possession of CIA documents, linking the agency to many illegal activities.

The US government filed espionage charges against him shortly after his revelations were made public. He has been living under asylum in Moscow, after fleeing the US for Hong Kong in the wake of the leaks.

On July 28 2015, the White House has rejected a “We the People” petition of nearly 168,000 signatories, to pardon him.

He has since threatened to release other documents in his possession, which he claims would be far more embarrassing for the American government than the ones he has already rendered public.

Edward Snowden just destroyed Jeb Bush and Kanye West with one tweet

If you haven’t been on the internet for a while, you’ll have missed Kanye West having a little bit of a meltdown. Welcome back.

In the last few days, Kanye has held a fashion show for his third “Yeezy” collection, performed on Saturday Night Live, dropped The Life of Pablo, said he’s $53m in debt, appealed to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to invest $1bn in his ‘ideas’, kicked up a feud with Taylor Swift with misogynistic lyrics, claimed that Bill Cosby is innocent and said he is more in need of charity than Africa.

If we’ve missed something, we’re sorry, but you can see how it’s a little difficult to keep up.

Former CIA employee and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden had probably the best takedown of West’s misguided rant:

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He is of course referencing possibly the most cringeworthy moment of the presidential race so far, when Republican nominee Jeb Bush actually requested applause from a clearly bored audience:

Watch the full video, below:

 

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