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Interception of "in-transit" traffic as violation of human rights

[Apr 25, 2014]  US world's top aggressor in cyber espionage - researcher

The Voice of Russia 

"In light of Edward Snowden's revelations it's clear that the United States is the world's leading aggressor as far as cyber-espionage and mass interception are concerned. The NSA is without equal among nation-states in this regard," Blunden stated, elaborating on most recent court statements about an FBI informant extracting data from the government servers of a number of countries.

The alarming revelation of the US government's new foreign policy arsenal may be hinting at a massive and carefully planned cyberwar.

As a researcher currently looking into questions of informational security, Blunden stated that labelling these clearly outrageous political manipulations as warfare' is a hasty conclusion.

"While the United States is neck deep in covert operations which revolve around economic espionage, diplomatic manipulation, and social control, genuine acts of violence, and hence cyberwar, are conspicuously absent," he explained drawing on the US military's doctrinal definition of war as socially sanctioned violence to achieve a political purpose

[Dec 27, 2013] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/26/un-navi-pillay-internet-privacy?commentpage=2

Dec 26, 2013 | The Guardian

The UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay, has compared the uproar in the international community caused by revelations of mass surveillance with the collective response that helped bring down the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Pillay, the first non-white woman to serve as a high-court judge in South Africa, made the comments in an interview with Sir Tim Berners-Lee on a special edition of BBC Radio 4's Today programme, which the inventor of the world wide web was guest editing.

Pillay has been asked by the UN to prepare a report on protection of the right to privacy, in the wake of the former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden leaking classified documents about UK and US spying and the collection of personal data.

The former international criminal court judge said her encounters with serious human rights abuses, which included serving on the Rwanda tribunal, did not make her take online privacy less seriously. "I don't grade human rights," she said. "I feel I have to look after and promote the rights of all persons. I'm not put off by the lifetime experience of violations I have seen."

She said apartheid ended in South Africa principally because the international community co-operated to denounce it, adding: "Combined and collective action by everybody can end serious violations of human rights … That experience inspires me to go on and address the issue of internet [privacy], which right now is extremely troubling because the revelations of surveillance have implications for human rights … People are really afraid that all their personal details are being used in violation of traditional national protections."

The UN general assembly unanimously voted last week to adopt a resolution, introduced by Germany and Brazil, stating that "the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, including the right to privacy". Brazil's president, Dilma Rousseff, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, were among those spied on, according to the documents leaked by Snowden.

The resolution called on the 193 UN member states "to review their procedures, practices and legislation regarding the surveillance of communications, their interception and collection of personal data, with a view to upholding the right to privacy of all their obligations under international human rights law". It also directed Pillay to publish a report on the protection and promotion of privacy "in the context of domestic and extraterritorial surveillance ... including on a mass scale". She told Berners-Lee it was "very important that governments now want to discuss the matters of mass surveillance and right to privacy in a serious way".

Berners-Lee has warned that online surveillance undermines confidence in the internet, and last week published an open letter, with more than 100 free speech groups and leading activists, to protest against the routine interception of data by governments around the world.

Thub f33dback

Privacy is a fundamental part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Also too, in the European Convention of Human Rights. It's irrelevant whether your privacy is being interfered with, either "on the internet", or outside.

Right to privacy is a human right; you don't rank human rights on importance.

MelFarrellSr -> f33dback

I don't see it as a subset at all...

I think it’s a fundamental part of the idea of Human Rights; think about it “Privacy”, the myriad things, about one’s life and living, that one may or may not want to share with anyone or any entity, and which one rightly presumes is ones decision to make, since that right is inviolable.

The only instance wherein invasion of individual privacy should be allowed is when criminal intent or activity is occurring, and then only after issuance of a warrant by a court, or courts, of competent jurisdiction, such issuance predicated on the verifiable existence of probable cause.

By the way, there are many instances of abject failure by the United Nations, and perverse wrongdoing; nevertheless they are an entity set up by, and representing many nations, and consequently their issuance of a statement, against the wholesale abrogation of privacy and consequent weakening of Human Rights, will carry significant weight.


ellatynemouth

The surveillance state is the ruling class's key hole through which they monitor us and our potential dissent. It's now an integral part of capitalism and can't be removed.

The game has changed. It's now about convincing us as much as possible that they will stop snooping on us. They won't though. It will just become more heavily hidden.

Chatillon22

NSA surveillance goes beyond Orwell's imagination, said Alan Rusbridger Gardians editor. A lot of damage is done, not only in trust + confidence but also economically. US have invested 100''s of miliards of Euros of taxmoney to get political, militairy, infrastructural, economic+commercial advantages over the EU and rest of the world.

In order to repair these damages in all countries+on all levels it will take 5 to 10 years. ExpertCommunicationTeams should be formed to advice areas like political, militairy, EU country Governments, industry + commercial enterprises . Especially the smaller countries without expertise should be adviced. EU Tax advantages could be useful. Communication media, Internet, communication cables, digital infrastructure should be in neutral+european hands. Better laws for citizenrights. Imagine the number of jobs this will create.

Perhaps now europeans + rest of the world will understand why the US can afford so much in spite of crisis, debts, devastating governance

davidpear

The chicken-hawk who wouldn't fight in Vietnam and former US UN ambassador John Bolton says that Snowden should be hung for treason. HERE

Meanwhile the real criminals all go free. Nobody has even lost their job. They all lied to the American people and got away with it again.

CharlesSedley davidpear

Push your congressman and SEnators to vote to release the redacted portion of the 2002 Congressional Inquiry in 911 dealing with “specific sources of foreign support” for the 911 hijackers.

CharlesSedley

It is not a theory that their has been a conspiracy to cover-up 911.

Here is just one of many sources that reveals that there are so many questions left unanswered that the real "conspiracy theory" is the 911 Commission Report:

"9/11 Ten Years Later: When State Crimes against Democracy Succeed" by David Ray Griffin.

P.S. Senator Bob Graham is now saying publicly that the Saudi's funded the attacks of 911. Here

Graham was on the Senate Intelligence Committee and also on the 911 commission.
The question is are his revelations another effort to throw people off the track of the real conspirators?

StuartHX

The biggest problem is that it's not just internet communications such as e-mail and social network posting or even which sites you are visiting that are being monitored. You could make an active choice on how and if you use the internet.

It's also the fact that all phone calls, landline and mobile, go through the same IP based infrastructure and these are just as heavily monitored. If you pick up the phone you can't determine how your call will be connected and routed to the other party.

And while internet use could be considered non essential, the use of the phone is rather less so and that's the worrying thing. At one time telephone interceptions needed a warrant and, for the most part were genuinely necessary and appropriate to fight crime. Now we have a situation where every call is being monitored without the safeguards of a warrant and not even by our own security services. This must end.

And it will end because sooner or later a concerted effort will be made to obfuscate and obliterate the abilities of the security services to use mass surveillance by the deliberate dissemination of misinformation. It only takes a relatively small proportion of internet users to deliberately include 'watch words' at random in their communications to completely overload the security services ability to separate the wheat from the chaff, the vaguely useful from the useless. To send them off on wild goose chases over and over again.

The saddest thing will be that, in doing this, we will be severely depleting the ability of said security services to actually protect us from the real dangers in the world... but... that may be the risk we have to face to make them pause and think and behave, quite frankly, like civilised human beings and members of our society.

macktan894

The NSA and its equally evil twin, GCHQ, have ruined the internet for the entire planet using terrorist-hunting to mask their true aim of economic exploitation & gain.

It's deplorable that every time you use your computer or your cell phone, you create a profile for the govt that can be brought up and scrutinized by govt analysts. They was done regularly on the show 24--to be honest, I thought that was science fiction because it had to be clearly illegal to do so.

I often take library books out online. Is that scutinizable, too?

I like the comparison of surveillance and apartheid because both aim to oppress people on the basis of some philosophy that only elites subscribe to.

Excuse me while I exchange my Guy Fawkes mask for that of Ed Snowden.

"People should not be afraid of their government, the govt should be afraid of the people." Simple truth.

DaddyPop

Economic espionage is at the heart of the NSA. Obama lied about all of this many times to the U.S public. At the same time increasing the NSA surveillance program 1000% since his Presidency began!

CharlesSedley DaddyPop

Economic espionage is at the heart of the NSA.

Agree with the first sentence* I've always felt that spying on Brazil
had more to do with Petrobas than Brazilian policy. If the NSA wanted to spy on terrorists why not spy on the country where 15 of the 911 hijackers came from?

*the rest is dreck

dedicatedtutoneilove

"That experience inspires me to go on and address the issue of internet [privacy], which right now is extremely troubling because the revelations of surveillance have implications for human rights … People are really afraid that all their personal details are being used in violation of traditional national protections."

At first glance one wonders how can privacy be an "issue" - what can issue forth from the private space if it is truly private in terms of one's integrity?

Also why has this publication put the word privacy in brackets? Privacy is not a dirty word. And surely data control in this day and age is best kept in one's private domain.

Viviene Reding ( EU Commissioner) has also been telling the world ( eg at the world economic forum in Davos ) how members of the public do not like the way our personal data is being handled.

If resolution 193 calls on UN member states "to review their procedures, practices and legislation regarding the surveillance of communications, their interception and collection of personal data, with a view to upholding the right to privacy of all their obligations under international human rights law", then;

One wonders how the powers that be handling personal data can reconcile the difficulty that is bound to happen when systems that are employed, elected, appointed or otherwise designed to be working "in the public interest" seem to fly in the face of particular members of the general public, who have every right to privacy?

How many times do front-line workers tell members of the public that intrusive forms must be filled in at the local level because of " data control", "health and safety" or other erroneous excuses?

On the contrary, members of the general public at least in my experience of living here in the UK, are in a position where one can actually use one's prerogative right to privacy, in order to achieve one's goals, given systems and technologies that are working properly. Surely the whole of a free market depends on one's rights to make decisions in private?

Unlike many who seem to believe otherwise, i don't think privacy needs to be set down explicitly in terms of a written constitution here in the UK because it is already supported, in my view, by all the laws and legislations and policies from the local to the national to the EU level..

But as a member of the general public, one can only trust that all those workers who are using and/or handling one's personal data, will not take any one's particulars for granted, or take one's particular position in vain, in order to get on with their job.

And if one doesn't trust the system one is faced with - in a free world one should be able to happily ignore it and find a better system that does respect one's prerogative position of privacy.

geoffreydegalles

Taking its cue from the trajectory of today's USA, the western world has come to consist of oligarchies in servitude to plutocracies, all of which seek to mollify and control the masses by dispensing to all an hallucinogenic placebo: viz., 'voici: democracy'.

Irrespective of their actual motives, what Snowden and Greenwald with the collaboration of Poitras, Gellman, and The Guardian are doing -- and this thanks to the examples of Ellsberg and Chomsky, Manning and Assange -- is, de facto, to subvert the very structures of totalitarian influence and power [Obama, Kerry, Feinstein / Hayden, Alexander, Clapper / DoD, CIA, NSA / Camoron, Hague, May / Rifkind, Dacre, Mensch / Gregory, Miller, Dershowitz / CNN, Fox, MSNBC, BBC, etc., etc.] by, in effect, exposing them all as shamelessly self-serving, mendacious, corrupt, and even moronic.

Trouble is, who & what will replace all these scumbags, douchebags, and arseholes? I'm 65, and by now the world is well on its way down the fucking tubes.

Is it even worth my hanging around to find out? --- I fear the future might prove Snowden to have been way too much of an idealist and optimist, bless his soul.

MrDamage

The internet is new territory, for the law, for human rights, and for the security and intelligence agencies. No one wants an Orwellian world where your thoughts are policed. But also, we can't just cede the territory to organised crime, failed states, terrorists, and child pornographers. To suggest there will be no monitoring of the internet is daft. The law, human rights, and security and intelligence agencies are going to have to come to a settlement of some sort, and there will be a lot of posturing as this necessary process plays out.

Hottentot MrDamage

But also, we can't just cede the territory to organised crime, failed states, terrorists, and child pornographers

Agree however, what the NSA and GCHQ have been doing is mass surveillance, they have NOT targeted organised crime, child pornographers etc. if they had, Cameron would have had no need to meet recently with the internet companies to help stop such things happening, and that's the key issue. We have governments and secret services totally out of control, and by the evidence to date, unable, or unwilling, to devise programme that target specifics.

fauxtronic Jimmyji

This is about blanket surveillance of citizens at home and abroad, not foreign diplomacy or international espionage.

Hottentot

This is very interesting, Sir Berners-Lee inventor of the world wide web interviews Ms Pillay, the UN Human Rights Chief on the Today programme.... could it be that the editors of the Today programme skilfully 'managed' this issue so that it could be discussed by both these 'authoritative' parties who could communicate 'the message' to a wider audience? - hope so.

Well, the pressure now seems to be unrelenting, which is excellent, on Obama, Cameron, May, Hague the NSA and GCHQ to have an 'open' and 'honest' discussion about the utterly unethical mass surveillance of the public. These self-appointed boys and girls need to understand that the public no-longer 'buy into' the waffle of terrorism & national security, and that people have a right to privacy.

Catori Shadi Hottentot

Unfortunately, Sir Berners-Lee is no more an expert on all things internet, than Henry Ford would be an expert on the modern automobile.

What Tim Berners-Lee did was groundbreaking & revolutionary. But even if you brought together 100 people - all experts in different aspects of the internet & it's uses, you still are not going to have a complete set of knowledge.

I've worked in IT for 30 years & handled everything from assembler to J2EE. I work in ETL Information Security. But I don't know 1% of what's going on on. No-one does. Yet people are still trying to make up rules, without collaborating with others.

RealSirIvor Hottentot

The collecting of mega data has had no impact on my life. I doubt the NSA has even looked at my info. Harm done? Zero. However, wait until you see how corporations will use the info to sell us more stuff, decide on who to employ, decide on whether they will give us credit or not, let us open a bank account or not, etc.

Corporations are behind spreading the fear of government in hopes to discredit anything and everything they do for the public good, leaving them in charge of running things. For profit health care, for profit education, for profit prisons, unsafe food. The future doesn't look good. We will not be able to vote them out.


Camsean

Why were they spying on Angela Merkel if this was really about terrorism? Did they really think she was likely to join Al-Qaeda? It is a load of rubbish they are trying to feed us. It is all about business and money and maintaining America's commercial advantages. The Neo-Cons are all about preserving America's superpower status as long as possible by whatever means. The NSA has made USA more like China and Russia in the process. It needs to end.

CharlesSedley Camsean

Why were they spying on Angela Merkel if this was really about terrorism?

And why are they (NSA/Booz Allen/Carlyle Group) not spying on Saudi Arabia?

Catori Shadi

The problem is not the idea of being monitored surfing the internet. The internet IS a public place, just as the high street is a public place.

The problem is when monitoring is excessive & unreasonable. For a police officer to stand on a street & watch people walk down that street is not unreasonable - it's not intrusive and the information gained is not subject to gross misuse. To put up CCTV every 10 yards with facial recognition and the ability to even run at night, recording everything seen - THAT is excessive.

What we need to do, as the internet matures, is to establish common ground rules. Rules that allow for policing to protect the public, while allowing privacy AND anonymity in most cases.



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