#AceSecurityNews says that AP reports that U.S. intelligence officials are planning a sweeping system of electronic monitoring that would tap into government, financial and other databases to scan the behaviour of many of the 5 million federal employees with secret clearances, current and former officials told The Associated Press.
The system is intended to identify rogue agents, corrupt officials and leaker’s, and draws on a Defence Department model under development for more than a decade, according to officials and documents reviewed by the AP.
#AceSecurityNews says that RT reported this week about the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (also known as the FISA Court) was established in 1978 as a gatekeeper that would approve or deny surveillance warrants against suspect foreign enemies living inside the United States.
Since that date, the court has denied 11 of the nearly 34,000 surveillance requests by the government.
While judges on the court have said that they force the government to make changes to approximately one-quarter of those requests, the .03 percent decline rate has been startling to civil liberties advocates.
#AceSecurityNews says that in an interview National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden answered questions before the European Parliament on Friday, and said that the United States spy agency pressures its allies to take steps further enabling widespread and indiscriminate surveillance.
“One of the foremost activities of the NSA’s FAD, or Foreign Affairs Division, is to pressure or incentivize EU member states to change their laws to enable mass surveillance,” Snowden said in a testimony delivered remotely from Russia. “Lawyers from the NSA, as well as the UK’s GCHQ, work very hard to search for loopholes in laws and constitutional protections that they can use to justify indiscriminate, dragnet surveillance operations that were at best unwittingly authorized by lawmakers.”
“These efforts to interpret new powers out of vague laws is an intentional strategy to avoid public opposition and lawmakers’ insistence that legal limits be respected,” Snowden insisted.
#AceSecurityNews says it will take two years of study and billions of dollars to overcome the loss of security to military operations that were revealed in documents taken by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, a top US military officer said.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey tells the House Armed Services Committee the Pentagon set up a task force to determine how the documents could be used, AP reported.
The task force will take two years due to the “magnitude of this challenge.”
The vast majority of the documents taken by Snowden reportedly related to US military capabilities.
#AceSecurityNews says that the former US security contractor Edward Snowden will participate remotely in a panel discussion next week in Texas about governmental intrusion into privacy, Reuters reported.
Snowden is in Russia and faces arrest if he sets foot on US soil.
He is expected to answer questions via video conference at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin on Monday, according to conference organizers. Snowden is to speak on how the US National Security Agency uses technology to keep tabs on people.
#AceSocialNews says that Facebook is reportedly in talks to take over an American-based aerospace company, and if so the social networking site could soon have its fleet of drones delivering the internet to currently unconnected people across the world.
TechCrunch was the first website to report this week on rumors that Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook is interesting in acquiring Titan Aerospace — a deal that is believed to be worth as much as $60 million.
But while that hefty sum is not exactly chump change, it’s just a fraction of what Facebook has spent on other acquisitions recently: Facebook bought mobile photo app Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock in 2012, and only weeks ago forked over nineteen-times that to acquire the rights to the WhatsApp program.
This time, however, Facebook could be getting its hands on some drones, and ideally harnessing the abilities of those unmanned aerial vehicles to bring the internet to the estimated 2.7 billion people currently without access.
Titan Aerospace is responsible for making near-orbital, solar-powered drones, and TechCrunch says Facebook could be spending millions of dollars to acquire the company and get around 11,000 of those small UAVs in return.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook’s new arsenal would be composed of Titan’s “Solara 60” UAVs, an aircraft that can carry a payload of 250 pounds apiece.
On the Titan website, the company explains that these drones can be used for anything from weather monitoring to disaster recovery to earth imaging, and provides customers with “easy access to real-time high-resolution images of the earth, voice and data services, and other atmospheric-based sensor systems.”
RT – TechCrunch – #ASN2014