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Entries in NSA (3)


Wickr Your Way to Privacy

Wickr Transparency Report

By Jennifer DeTrani, Wickr General Counsel August 4, 2013

Our Philosophy:

Wickr received its first government request to hand over data in February of this year, however, because Wickr requires all data requests to go through the U.S. judicial system no information regarding the requested user account was disclosed.

We believe in maintaining a level of transparency with respect to government and court ordered requests and that your data belongs to you. Furthermore, because of the manner in which messages on Wickr are encrypted, even with a properly issued subpoena, Wickr can never provide the content of the messages. Content is protected in transit and at rest and is only readable by you and your intended recipient. We can only provide a snapshot of the account at a given moment and such details as the date of creation of an account, the type of device on which the account is used, and the date of last use of the account.

For more information on what type of information we collect related to your account, please read our privacy policy at

Wickr is committed to sharing the number of requests for user information that we receive from law enforcement and how we handle them.

Our Promise:

As the electronic landscape continues to expand and change with regard to user’s privacy rights, we remain committed to remaining transparent with our users and various government entities. That having been said, there are no back doors. What you see is what you get.

Prediction of the Future:

In light of recent events involving data-collection practices within the U.S., it is apparent that certain government organizations are eager to gain access to user information for various reasons pursuant to the PRISM Program. We at Wickr are cognizant of such practices but maintain that due to the specific architecture employed by Wickr there are no back-doors to our system. Therefore, should such lawful government requests arise, we will wholly comply, however, such compliance will be limited to metadata based on the specifics of the proprietary encryption process. In other words, while user data requests may certainly increase in the future, our goal is to address them honestly and openly with the understanding that such data requests will reveal only account information, never content, given the nature of our unique technology.



Everyone in U.S. Under Virtual Surveillance by NSA

As a former special agent with the the Departments of State and Treasury and Homeland Security, my ears perk up when I hear someone talk about domestic spying by the National Security Agency (NSA). The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and virtually all other federal law enforcement and investigative agencies have unlimited access to NSA information .  I will not disclose classified information that may have come to my attention during my career but I will say this report does not suprise me. 

NSA Whistleblower William Binney was recently interviewed by Russia Today.  I have been paying close attention to Binneys story.

Binney came to national attention earlier this year when he started telling the story of how NSA surveillance works to anyone who would listen. He is a crypto-mathematician and a codebreaker (described as one of the best in NSA history) and  his explanation of the spying program appeared in the New York Times in August 2012 . Binney spoke about “Stellar Wind” a top-secret domestic spying program developed by the NSA and its implications for civilian security and privacy.

After the recent General Petraeus scandal, the NSA has come under the spotlight as it pertains to domestic spying and the privacy of US citizens and their digital dealings.  Everyone should be aware that anything sent over the Internet can be intercepted. Everything send in the clear is largely unprotected; but the scale of surveillance of any individual citizen has always been something of a technical conundrum.

It’s unlikely that any one person (not already targeted) could have all their data ransacked by even an overfunded government agency because of the sheer volume but with the falling prices on big storage technology and the advent of Big Data fears of the NSA’s spying powers are less science fiction and more business fact. Massive storage of petabytes and the analytics necessary to process it are not uncommon today.

“He is [President Obama] supporting the building of the Buffdale (Utah) facility which is over 2 million dollars they’re spending on storage alone of data,” says Binney when asked about how the current administration may have changed the NSA’s mission. “Which means they’re collecting a lot more now and they need more storage for it. That facility, by my calculations, that I submitted in a sworn affidavit to the court for the EFF lawsuit against the NSA would hold on the order of would hold on the order of 5,000 exabytes or 5 zettabytes of data…and that’s not talking about what they might have in the future.”

Binney is alleging a great deal of surveillance that extends to billions of communications.

Even now, with Anonymous rattling around like the rats in the walls of the Internet, the youth of many countries are turning to the use of anonymizing services and VPN services to hide their cyber-activities from prying eyes. Although for the most part this cultural shift is due to ISPs throttling and essentially spying on their own customers as part of anti-copying regimes—we’ve seen the sudden up-thrust of more VPN use after the UK blocked The Pirate Bay, but using more security to hide communication would also tend to help shield against government surveillance to an extent as well.

Not long after the Petraeus scandal hit the airwaves,  it sparked a debate about domestic government spying and much of the media circled back to Google’s most recent semiannual Transparency Report. In that, Google revealed that they’d received over 20,000 requests from governments around the world and complied with almost 90% of them. This doesn’t even cover covert surveillance of the type that Binney speaks about in his interview.

Much of this behavior, and the radical transparency of Internet communications may lead to a paradigm shift among the wired-and-wise to migrate to more secure communication, use more cryptography in their daily communications, and watch what they say online. Of course, the opposite is also true: as the Internet integrates more fully into our daily lives, it’s easy to be more cavalier about what we say online, what information we boast across the wires, and recklessly abandon in dusty 3rd party storage silos.

Of course, a person targeted for surveillance by a large agency wouldn’t be able to hide their activity even if they encrypted everything online—spies capably sussed out communications long before the arrival of the Internet.

Binney believes that he’s definitely a “target” and takes a bit of humor in his being in the NSA’s spotlight:

“So I keep telling them everything I think of them in my e-mail, so when they read it they know everything I think of them,” he says.

Binney - The FBI has access to the data collected, which is basically the emails of virtually everybody in the country. And the FBI has access to it. All the congressional members are on the surveillance too, no one is excluded. They are all included. So, yes, this can happen to anyone. If they become a target for whatever reason - they are targeted by the government, the government can go in, or the FBI, or other agencies of the government, they can go into their database, pull all that data collected on them over the years, and we analyze it all. So, we have to actively analyze everything theyve done for the last 10 years at least.

If you are using an iPad, iPhone or other device without FLASH, view interview here

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall issue, but upon probably cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. -4th Amendment


Feds Watching You Via the U.S. Health Care System

What will it take for Americans to realize that the federal government is out of control, way to expensive and the most inefficient administrator of ANYTHING they control. 

Obamacare is the federal bureaucracy on steroids. 

In todays Wall Steet Journal, Anna Wilde Mathews (not relation to the most despicable Chris Matthews) has an excellent piece on the new Medical code system that the Obama Administration is mandating though the Department Health and Human Services. 

Today, hospitals and doctors use a system of about 18,000 codes to describe medical services in bills they send to insurers.  Under Obamacare the number is increasing to 140,000.  Big brother wants to know EVERYTHING about you and your health. 

There are codes for injuries in opera houses, art galleries, squash courts and nine locations in and around a mobile home, from the bathroom to the bedroom. R46.1 is bizarre personal appearance, while R46.0 is very low level of personal hygiene.

Code V91.07XA, a burn due to water-skis on fire, is one of my favorite Obamacare additions.  How does this happen and more importantly how often could it possible happen?

There codes for injuries received while sewing, ironing, playing a brass instrument, crocheting, doing handcrafts, or knitting—but not while shopping?  There are 312 animal codes in all, compared to nine in the international version. There are separate codes for bitten by turtle and struck by turtle.

With the move to ICD-10, the one code for suturing an artery will become 195 codes, designating every single artery, among other variables, according to OptumInsight, a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc. A single code for a badly healed fracture could now translate to 2,595 different codes, the firm calculates.

The most significant lines in the article: Being able to tabulate risks tied to locations such as chicken coops could be important as far as surveillance activities for public health research, says Donna Pickett, a medical systems administrator at the CDC. She says the current code for a badly healed fracture is so vague it isnt useful.

But its not just medical surveillance, its the total surveillance that the government seeks on each and every citizen that should scare the crap out of all Americans.  The NSA monitors virtually every cell phone and internet connection in the world via their super computers.  The government is not only capable of tracking every conversation, message or web site you visit, they can also track your location via GPS and cell tower location, that is all monitored 24/7/365 by the NSA and other federal agencies. 

Big brother is watching, because we gave Feds the power to invade the privacy of each and everyone of us.  If you dont think that bureaucrats will misuse this information, youre either a naive fool or part of the ruling class propaganda machine.  Wake up America.