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Old Aug 21, 2013, 10:22 AM   #1
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The UK really wants to hide it's dirty laundry.

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Officials from the British intelligence agency GCHQ raided The Guardian's offices to destroy hard drives related to the newspaper's stories about National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden — despite the fact that the information had already been disseminated to other sites around the world. In a chilling post today, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said the British government has put increasing pressure on editors to surrender all of the information that Snowden provided to the newspaper and its chief reporter on the stories, Glenn Greenwald. Prior to the destruction, an official reportedly told the paper, "You've had your fun. Now we want the stuff back." News of the raid comes a day after Greenwald's partner was detained for nine hours and questioned under terrorism statutes at Heathrow Airport.

Rusbridger said he explained to the unnamed government officials that there were other copies of the information they sought to destroy outside of England. But the officials insisted on destroying the drives anyway. Rusbridger said The Guardian would not be dissuaded from continuing to report the Snowden stories, but cautioned that intimidation tactics from government officials in Britain and the United States were making work increasingly difficult for journalists. "We are not there yet, but it may not be long before it will be impossible for journalists to have confidential sources," Rusbridger wrote. "Most reporting — indeed, most human life in 2013 — leaves too much of a digital fingerprint."
http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/19/46...effort-to-stop
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 10:39 AM   #2
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I heard this morning that this story was unraveling a bit.

I just got to work and don't have time to check into it, but can anybody corroborate either way?
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 10:41 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by citizenzen View Post
I heard this morning that this story was unraveling a bit.

I just got to work and don't have time to check into it, but can anybody corroborate either way?
First the UK stopped Greenwald's partner at the airport and detained him for 9 hours. The next day they raid The Guardians offices.


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Following the UK government’s decision to detain Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner at Heathrow Airport under the auspices of a counterterrorism law, the country’s Home Office is ramping up the rhetoric, saying that he had "highly sensitive stolen information" and suggesting journalists and critics do some soul searching before pointing fingers at law enforcement. The news follows an earlier Guardian report that a UK intelligence agency ordered it to destroy disk drives and flash storage containing leaked NSA files, the reason behind which ostensibly being that China or Russia could hack into the Guardian’s network and steal the data.

According to the Guardian, a UK Home Office spokesperson stated that "If the police believe that an individual is in possession of highly sensitive stolen information that would help terrorism, then they should act and the law provides them with a framework to do that. Those who oppose this sort of action need to think about what they are condoning." They declined to discuss specifics of the case, noting that the police inquiry is ongoing. Until now the Home Office had been refusing to comment on David Miranda’s detention, stating that it was an operational police matter.

The government has taken extraordinary measures to keep new materials out of the hands of Greenwald and the Guardian despite the files in Miranda’s possession clearly not being the only copies. At the same time, the organization has faced similar legal hurdles trying to keep the files it already had in its possession.

After Guardian employees argued that the files weren’t stored on a networked computer and therefore inaccessible from outside, intelligence officers reportedly explained that even having the files in the building posed a risk. "[The agent] said by way of example that if there was a plastic cup in the room … foreign agents could train a laser on it to pick up the vibrations of what was being said. Vibrations on windows could similarly be monitored remotely by laser," writes the Guardian’s Julian Borger. Ultimately, the drives were destroyed with angle grinders and drills while officials looked on.
http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/20/46...anda-detention
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 02:16 PM   #4
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 02:25 PM   #5
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"If the police believe that an individual is in possession of highly sensitive stolen information that would help terrorism, then they should act and the law provides them with a framework to do that"

Seems fair enough.

On TV tonight when asked if he (Miranda) was carrying classified documents that may have originated from Edward Snowden back to Brazil he said that he didn't know, that he was asked by Laura Poitras to take something back to his partner Glen Greenwald in Brazil and that he didn't ask or know what it was, and furthermore didn't want to know what was in the files.

Hmmmm....bit naive?
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 02:28 PM   #6
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 02:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by wrkactjob View Post
"If the police believe that an individual is in possession of highly sensitive stolen information that would help terrorism, then they should act and the law provides them with a framework to do that"
What is the terrorist activity? The leaked documents or the fact that the documents exist at all.
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 03:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by wrkactjob View Post
"If the police believe that an individual is in possession of highly sensitive stolen information that would help terrorism, then they should act and the law provides them with a framework to do that"
Yes, but that is unbelievably broad. If I somehow got ahold of the passcode to someone else's apartment building entry door, that information could be useful to terrorists.

Did the police at Heathrow actually know for sure that Miranda was carrying stolen information?

Even more troubling to me is the fact that, under current British law, you cannot refuse to give up information.''

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Unlike British law in other cases, suspects held under Schedule 7 are committing an offence if they refuse to answer questions and police are also not required to have reasonable grounds to stop them.
I have little sympathy for Snowden, Greenwald, or anyone else who illegally discloses classified information. But at this point the terrorists have already won. Leakers can and should be prosecuted. But trashing any semblance of civil liberties, as the British security services and Government have just done, is too high a price to pay.
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 03:23 PM   #9
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Yes, but that is unbelievably broad. If I somehow got ahold of the passcode to someone else's apartment building entry door, that information could be useful to terrorists.

Did the police at Heathrow actually know for sure that Miranda was carrying stolen information?

Even more troubling to me is the fact that, under current British law, you cannot refuse to give up information.''



I have little sympathy for Snowden, Greenwald, or anyone else who illegally discloses classified information. But at this point the terrorists have already won. Leakers can and should be prosecuted. But trashing any semblance of civil liberties, as the British security services and Government have just done, is too high a price to pay.
The only thing that is illegal is the way these agencies got people's private data to begin with. They are more concerned with their deeds getting out than they are about stopping terrorists.
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 01:39 AM   #10
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 02:01 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by MacNut View Post
The only thing that is illegal is the way these agencies got people's private data to begin with. They are more concerned with their deeds getting out than they are about stopping terrorists.
You said it all right there. Well done.
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 02:21 AM   #12
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Well if it was the intention on UK government to bury this story. BIG FAIL.


In rare warning, European rights body says UK reaction to NSA leaks may have ‘chilling effect’




LONDON — In an unusual warning, Europe’s top human rights organization said Wednesday that Britain’s reaction to the exposure of the United States’ vast surveillance program had potentially troubling consequences for free expression.

Using language usually reserved for authoritarian holdouts in Eastern Europe or the Caucuses, the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe asked British authorities to explain why they ordered the destruction of computer equipment held by the Guardian newspaper — the publication at the center of the revelations — and the detention of a reporter’s partner at London’s Heathrow Airport.


“These measures, if confirmed, may have a potentially chilling effect on journalists’ freedom of expression as guaranteed by ... the European Convention on Human Rights,” Secretary General Thorbjoern Jagland said in an open letter to British Home Secretary Theresa May.

Britain’s Home Office declined to comment on the European Council’s letter late Wednesday.

The Council of Europe, a separate entity from the EU, runs the European Court of Human Rights, which enforces the rights code signed by the council’s 47 member states. The watchdog body regularly intervenes on human rights issues across the continent, but the language deployed in the letter was more familiar from council communications to countries with shaky records on the rule of law.

Council spokesman Daniel Holtgen said the words “chilling effect” had previously been used in reference to situations in Turkey and Azerbaijan.

“Rarely has there been the case that we’ve expressed concern over a Western state,” he said in a telephone interview. “The bottom line is: We have to have the same standards.”

Britain has been on the defensive since Sunday, when London police used anti-terrorism powers to detain David Miranda — the partner of reporter Glenn Greenwald — at Heathrow and seize disks carrying what his lawyers said was sensitive journalistic material.

Greenwald has been at the center of the Guardian’s reporting on the U.S. National Security Agency’s secret domestic espionage program, and Miranda’s detention drew outrage from many who saw the incident as a clumsy attempt to put an end to an embarrassing series of scoops.

The next day, Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger revealed that British spies had overseen the destruction of hard drives carrying the leaked material which has served as the basis for much of the paper’s reporting, sending intelligence agents into the newsroom’s basement to watch as the disks were smashed with angle grinders and drills.

Although Rusbridger said other copies of the leaks exist elsewhere and British officials defended the move as an attempt to keep the sensitive intelligence out of foreign hands, the image of spies overseeing the destruction of journalists’ hard drives rang alarm bells across Europe.

Holtgen posed a rhetorical question: What would have happened had a journalist’s partner been detained in Moscow, or if a Russian newspaper had had its hard drives smashed?

“You would have the Western press all over Russia,” he said.

“We need to apply the same standards to Western countries — including founding members of the Council of Europe, such as France, the U.K., or Germany,” he said. “It’s not an explicit, harsh criticism, but it is a reminder that we are following this.”

U.K. officials have previously justified the detention of Miranda on the grounds that he was believed to be carrying classified documents which could be useful to terrorists.

British officials have also made no apology for smashing the Guardian’s computers.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg argued the leaked data being kept by in the Guardian’s newsroom could have seriously damaged national security if it had to fallen into the wrong hands.

The European Council isn’t the only one asking questions.

Keith Vaz, chairman of Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee, has demanded that Prime Minister David Cameron make a statement about the issue to Parliament when it returns from summer recess next month.

And lawyers acting for Miranda say they plan to go to London’s High Court on Thursday to demand an injunction preventing British authorities from using or sharing the data they seized during Sunday’s detention.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...014_story.html
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 02:41 AM   #13
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 04:04 AM   #14
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People do seem to think the government should not keep any secrets from us whatsoever. There are some things the public just don't need to know.
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 04:09 AM   #15
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People do seem to think the government should not keep any secrets from us whatsoever. There are some things the public just don't need to know.
Like the Truth about Hillsbrough, or the facts about Bloody Sunday, the Parlimentary Expenses, or Jimmy Savile?
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 04:16 AM   #16
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Like the Truth about Hillsbrough, or the facts about Bloody Sunday, the Parlimentary Expenses, or Jimmy Savile?
'Some things'
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 04:21 AM   #17
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'Some things'
Right but who gets to decide what is seen, and what is not.

Without journalistic coverage there would be no control over what governments could do, which would lead to a police state.
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 04:27 AM   #18
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I suppose most people know this but Rusbridger decided to destroy the computer rather than hand it over and go to court because the "law" in the UK would prevent publication while the case chundered on.As there are copies allover it was the best move.
The complete paranoia of the spooks is shown by the fact they didn't just insist on the drive being destroyed but the memory,GPU and any other chip in the computer.
It's to be hoped that Greenwalds reputed distrust of encryption isn't true and that he has everything spread around if he hasn't got an encrypted torrent out there and half a dozen people with the password to act as a deadmans handle he should have.
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 04:42 AM   #19
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This is really dodgy.
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 05:43 AM   #20
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... The complete paranoia of the spooks is shown by the fact they didn't just insist on the drive being destroyed but the memory,GPU and any other chip in the computer. ...
Was it the spooks or the Guardian's staff that insisted on destroying the chips?

From the Guardian's point-of-view, it might have seemed like a good idea to destroy the RAM. Strangely enough, under certain conditions at least, RAM has been shown to have some data remanence properties which may leave its memory contents readable for a few seconds or even a few minutes after power has been shut off. For example, a cold boot attack relies on the data remanence property of RAM to retrieve encryption keys. Supposedly, if you cool the RAM (e.g., by using a refrigerant), the RAM's data degradation rate can slowed down, extending its data remanence from a few minutes to a few hours.
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 06:10 AM   #21
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I think we're not going to like the outcome of this governments seem to be scrambling to cover this stuff up it really must not be pretty.
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 06:22 AM   #22
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Since I have been in the UK civil rights have eroded considerably. Not many people know this, but rights that the US holds as 'unalienable' are being denied in the UK. Right now there are isolated reports of the government int he UK abusing its power, but my worry is that nothing currently is stopping them from going down the slippery slope to being an authoritarian state. EU regulations and inefficiency: costly; EU oversight of human rights: priceless.
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 07:15 AM   #23
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Was it the spooks or the Guardian's staff that insisted on destroying the chips?
It's all a bit murky but this is from Borger's article:

The intelligence men stood over Johnson and Blishen as they went to work on the hard drives and memory chips with angle grinders and drills, pointing out the critical points on circuit boards to attack. They took pictures as the debris was swept up but took nothing away.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...stroyed-london

It's further clouded by the Guardian using a photo of old PC bits as well as the Mac motherboard as its illustration.
Presumably as they took nothing away other than photos they were trying to prevent highly unlikely scenarios such as sticking a file in the GPU's memory.
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