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NSA pwns the internet

Written By: - Date published: 11:03 am, June 7th, 2013 - 74 comments
Categories: internet, Spying, telecommunications, us politics - Tags: ,

The NSA has direct access to servers at Google, Apple, Facebook, and other Internet giants, and they collect pretty much whatever data they like. We shouldn’t be surprised. The Guardian has the story:

NSA taps in to internet giants’ systems to mine user data, secret files reveal

• Top secret PRISM program claims direct access to servers of firms including Google, Facebook and Apple
• Companies deny any knowledge of program in operation since 2007

The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows them to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.

The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims “collection directly from the servers” of major US service providers.

Although the presentation claims the program is run with the assistance of the companies, all those who responded to a Guardian request for comment on Thursday denied knowledge of any such program.  …

The NSA access was enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under Obama in December 2012.

The program facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US.

It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants.  …

Prism

 

PRISM slide crop

74 comments on “NSA pwns the internet ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    No such thing as conspiracy theories eh?

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Long rumoured, but now this is a conspiracy fact.

      Your GMail, Facebook, Xtra (through Yahoo!), instant messaging, whatever, is an open book. Forget the GCSB scandal, they are just a small cog in this wheel allowing spying on any one deemed to be an enemy of the state…or of any incumbent government. Or if you are a friend, associate or family member of anyone under suspicion, sorry you are fair game too. We also know thanks to Julian Assange and Wikileaks that diplomatic negotiations, business deals, corporate activities etc. are all regularly spied upon by the US, these are just tools for them to do more of the same.

      I have also posted a link here previously from (popular mechanics?) on the new Utah data gathering site which attempts to capture and store in perpetuity every single electronic communication within, entering, and leaving the US (including messages from international sources going to non US destinations but simply routed through a US server).

      You may not be designated a protestor, activist or dissident now, but if any time down the track you are, or your children are, the archives of your previous communications are an open book for study.

      I believe a quote from that article is that the US is now a single turnkey away from being a totalitarian state.

    • weka 1.2

      “No such thing as conspiracy theories eh?”

      In light of the conversation a few days ago, +1 RL.

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.1

        there was a “conspiracy theory” going around a few years ago that one of FaceBook’s original investors was acting on behalf of the CIA; essentially that the CIA helped start FaceBook.

        Now it appears wherever there is “conspiracy smoke”, there is very likely to be “conspiracy fire”.

        I’m afraid in a world where real life is stranger than fiction, rationalists like Murray Olsen are going to be left far behind.

        • Murray Olsen 1.2.1.1

          Funnily enough, I’ve stated for years that we should act as if the government can and is reading all our electronic communications. I don’t see that as a conspiracy theory at all, it’s a realistic view of what intelligence agencies do. It also has nothing to do with chemtrails or the Illuminati.

          I also know in principle how to encode all my communications so they can’t be decrypted using presently available technology. I’ll stick to being rational, thank you very much.

          • weka 1.2.1.1.1

            “I also know in principle how to encode all my communications so they can’t be decrypted using presently available technology. I’ll stick to being rational, thank you very much.”

            You’re all right then Jack, good for you.

            You ok with your phone calls being recorded too? How about having a camera in your house?

            • Murray Olsen 1.2.1.1.1.1

              No.
              No.
              Any other ridiculous questions? I don’t eat human children either, in case that was next on your list.
              In fact, if you’d read anything I’ve written, you would have already known the answer to those questions, but I suppose it’s more entertaining to just make stuff up as you go.

              • weka

                I suppose that’s what happens when you comment smugly in a thread where other people might be concerned about their own safety.

                How come you are ok with your emails being recorded but not your phone calls?

                • Murray Olsen

                  I am not OK with my emails being recorded. I am not OK with anyone’s emails being recorded. The fact that I am not OK with it will not stop governments doing it. I also realise there are many paedophiles at large in society. Does that mean I’m OK with what they do? Following your specious logic, I’d have to conclude it does.

                  As for commenting, my name was brought up by CV in what seems a fairly smug manner. In fact, it was a direct attack. I don’t see how the hell I was being smug.

                  Anything else you’d like to find me guilty of while you’re at it? Or is selfishness (I’m alright, Jack), support of spy agencies, and being OK with having my emails recorded enough for one day?

                  By the way, plenty of people know how to encrypt their emails. Most don’t bother because it just attracts more attention. I don’t because I don’t put anything in my emails or on the internet that could compromise me in any way. The way things are these days, anyone using unbreakable encryption could well find themselves renditioned to warmer climes. Just to be clear, I’m not OK about that either.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    At least I didn’t call you an irrational paranoid conspiracy theorist. Or maybe I did? When I used your name I simply said that your rationalist approach was simply not going to keep up with a reality that was less than rational. I suppose as a scientist you may have seen that as an attack on the tenets of your world view belief system, but it wasn’t really an attack on you personally.

                    Anyways it seems to me like all the fears and suspicions you think are reasonable, even if they are vast in scope, are rational and well grounded, yet step outside those bounds, and they rapidly become “conspiracy theories”. Which I suppose is a fine way to view the order of things.

                    My observation: there’s a long grey scale of likely to unlikely, and there are a lot of surprises on that scale most of us are not yet aware of.

                  • RedLogix

                    As I said awhile back, us ordinary people know nutin’. As a result I try to take a middle road on this. Instead of taking black and white positions on these ‘conspiracy theories’, I mentally assign a probability to them.

                    Very few things are absolutely true or false, most things can be seen in some light between one extreme or another. NASA faking the moon landings is 99.999% untrue; the NSA comprehensively spying on us all; yesterday 95% true, is now 99.9999% true.

                    http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/misc/u05/ule-s.gif

                    What does annoy me is when people get all positional and confrontational about their personal perception of this probability. Fact is… to some extent or another we are all guessing.

                    http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2939#comic

                    • Murray Olsen

                      Fair enough, RL, that’s pretty much how most people decide stuff. I get more confrontational than I should for a number of reasons. The main one is that I get sick of being told I’m either brainwashed and believe everything on the news, or a paid disinformation agent, because I don’t agree that chemtrails exist or that 9/11 was a controlled demolition, for example. I also get upset at the number of times I’ve seen people hijack movements, meetings, or discussions by insisting that whatever they think is the most important issue be the sole topic.

                      I will say that we’re not always just guessing. When someone tells me that the CIA uses optical fibres to transmit microwaves for mind control purposes and I say that’s a load of crap, I’m not guessing. I generally try to make it clear when I’m expressing an opinion/guess.

                    • weka

                      +1.

                      My problem with most conspiracy theorists isn’t the theory so much as the lack of critical thinking skills by some of the major proponents (the theory is after all just a theory). And when the rationalists can’t see past their own belief systems. Most of us live in the middle ground looking both ways, but it seems prudent to stay open to the possibility of things we don’t yet know or understand (which doesn’t mean giving up critical analysis).

                    • Colonial Viper

                      USA now employing systems and laws East Germany’s Stasi could only dream of

                      http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2013-06-06/government-also-monitoring-content-our-phone-calls

          • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1.2

            I’ve stated for years that we should act as if the government can and is reading all our electronic communications. I don’t see that as a conspiracy theory at all, it’s a realistic view of what intelligence agencies do

            Lol conspiracy theory paranoid much?

            You left out the logical next step of what they do with that mass of data, and how the political powers in charge (who after all ordered and funded these activities in the first place) then use your information.

            Don’t say, maybe *that’s* when it finally becomes a “conspiracy theory” in your books?

            • Murray Olsen 1.2.1.1.2.1

              Just make up for yourself what I think. I’ve explained it before, but you’re more interested in scoring imaginary points. I can see how this is quite different from 9/11 stuff, chemtrails, HAARP, Illuminati, Hollow Earth etc. If you can’t, that’s not my problem.

        • Bill 1.2.1.2

          You do understand the difference between a suspicion (well grounded or otherwise) and a conspiracy theory CV, yes?

          • weka 1.2.1.2.1

            But who gets to judge which is which?

            • Bill 1.2.1.2.1.1

              You get to judge. And it’s fairly straight forward. It’s the difference between me suspecting you’re an alien on the one hane and announcing it as a matter of fact on the other.

          • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.2.2

            I think it takes secret agreement between multiple government agencies, senior political figures and business leaders to secretly fund and organise the mass capture and recording of every single electronic transmission made in a day within billion dollar data centres, for later use for any purpose they decide, completely outside of the realm of public, judicial or democratic oversight.

            You can tell me whether that is a conspiracy theory (now conspiracy fact) or whether that was a ‘plausible suspicion’.

            • Bill 1.2.1.2.2.1

              Do spy agencies employ undemocratic means to further information gathering agendas? I’d be surprised if that wasn’t the case. And what this NSA leek does is confirm the quite common sense suspicion that spy agencies do not operate in a transparent fashion and further (more importantly), give an insight to their capabilities and ways of operating.

              But I’d prefer a more subtle example such as – ‘Is it believable that the US government would allow the death of thousands of relatively innocant people?’ (Answer =Yes) Against – ‘Did the US government knowingly and directly conspire in the demolition of the twin towers by, for example, planting explosives in the towers?’ (Answer =No)

              And those that hold the answer to the latter question to be ‘yes’ throw occams razor wa-a-ay out the window in their tireless efforts to construct a conspiracy from spurious so-called *facts* surrounding the collapse of those towers (that can be shown to be false by the application of engineering principles) or by employing *facts* that are so tenuous and outlandish as to be utterly laughable.

              But since it is reasonable and able to be demonstrated from the historical record that governments (the US included) have scant regard for human life – to what degree is it reasonable to suspect that the US government knew that some form of terrorist act was being considered and allowed things to unfold for political reasons but had no idea of the specific details or targets? I don’t think that’s an unreasonable thought/suspicion, but also think it’s not worth wasting any time on. The political aftermath…the launching of the ‘war on terror’ and all of its consequences is what matters

              • Colonial Viper

                throw occams razor wa-a-ay out the window in their tireless efforts to construct a conspiracy from spurious so-called *facts* surrounding the collapse of those towers (that can be shown to be false by the application of engineering principles)

                3 skyscrapers suffered widely varying and assymetrical damage that day. Two out of the three were hit by planes from different directions and at different levels; the third skyscraper was not hit by any plane.

                However all three of them collapsed vertically upon their own foot print.

                I’d love to know what “engineering princples” allowed that circumstance to happen.

    • Murray Olsen 1.3

      Of course there are. The question is not whether the theories exist, but whether they are plausible. An even more important question is whether they are used to make people feel helpless rather than organising against the mess we’re in.

      • weka 1.3.1

        Well I’ll agree with you on that one. I’m not sure what the point is of scaring people if you don’t give them tools to deal with the problem.

      • rosy 1.3.2

        +1 Murray Olsen
        I don’t recall anyone of the left stating conspiracies don’t exist, and there’s been plenty of agreement that it’s the plausibility/probability/evidence-gathering that is important.

        Talking across each other because some people can agree on the plausibility of some conspiracies but entirely disagree about the plausibility of other seems to me a complete waste of energy.

        I note that on this thread is seems all agree there has been a conspiracy to secretly collect electronic communications data. Isn’t who, why, where, when, what and how is much more important than point scoring?

        I for one, am pretty interested to know if our flash new GCSB laws were written with aiding the U.S. in collecting data on U.S. citizens in mind, and if so, is there a reciprocal agreement?

        • Murray Olsen 1.3.2.1

          If we’re lucky, Nicky Hagar might write another book soon. If we’re really unlucky, Ian Wishart might.

          I’d suspect the US had a huge input into our new laws, but seeing how the GCSB could collect stuff on non-residents/citizens legally already, I’m not sure how what you suggest would fit. As for reciprocal agreements, my understanding is that we send them a lot of raw data, they analyse it, and then tell us what they decide we need to know. The reciprocal agreement our craven intelligence community and politicians would have with the seppos is probably heavily weighted in favour of the US and A, and then breached by them at will anyway. A bit reminiscent of the TPPA would be my guess. I just hope we get a government that realises we’re a sovereign nation before that obscenity gets signed, but I won’t be holding my breath.

          • ghostrider888 1.3.2.1.1

            so Murray, with your expertise, what do you think of ‘The Coming Technological Singularity’ – Vernor Vinge (Professor of Mathematics, Computer Scientist; SDSU) , in 30 years, from his statement in 1993.

            • Murray Olsen 1.3.2.1.1.1

              None of my professional expertise is really relevant to his article, which seems to be a metaview of AI (also IA), ethics, and philosophy. What I do see is something quite scary – we create something that makes us redundant and, if what he says about further evolution is right, we will never even understand why we’re regarded as redundant. At the moment we seem to be intent on destroying ourselves via global warming, so from a purely selfish (and pessimistic) perspective, that may not change much.

              Moore’s Law seems to have held so far where processing is concerned, but must break down one day with improvements of present architecture to depend on. Quantum computing offers a way past this, but I have two problems with that concept. One is that I am dubious that it will ever work as promised and the second is that the day it does, the NSA will grab it for themselves and it’ll effectively disappear. The technological singularity could end up being like commercial fusion – always 20 years away.

              It was an interesting read at least. Thanks. I wonder if it came out of a wine and cheese session at an AI conference?

              • ghostrider888

                😀

              • RedLogix

                Vernor Vinge is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science (San Diego SU) and a well known hard-SF author.

                From the very beginning of his career he has addressed many aspects of the apparently inexorable impact of Moore’s Law and the many implications of this brings. He’s definitely one of the groundbreaking thinkers in this area.

                Plus I’m a big fan … having a complete collection and all.

                • ghostrider888

                  gee, you guys (and gals) and your Science Fiction; I hardly find time to read the non-fiction I’m interested in, and then there’s that new-fangled magic-realism, and all those classics, modern literature and old; God, let the Internet crash soon, please.

    • Poission 1.4

      No such thing as conspiracy theories eh?

      Oh it gets better.The US DOJ is appealing (in secret) the secret findings of a us secret court’ that found the secret surveillance was unconstitutional ie PRISM.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/07/justice-department-prism_n_3405101.html

      • ghostrider888 1.4.1

        a raft of articles in the Herald ‘World’ section today, eeevin.

      • Murray Olsen 1.4.2

        Ironic that the fuss over there is about US agencies spying on US citizens when they were only supposed to spy on foreigners. Same script, different country.

        • ghostrider888 1.4.2.1

          Thanks for the reply; I appreciate the amplified architecture of your comments, and one can never be certain 😉 of the probabilities of having ones own Horrorscope read.

  2. ghostrider888 2

    Rev. 13:7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast- all whose names have not been written ( in another) book of life…

  3. RJL 3

    It could be interesting to know whether MegaUpload was “invited” to join PRISM. And whether or not it refused.

    • weka 3.1

      I’m a little confused. Are you saying the FB, google, apple etc have given permission?

      Does this open them up to lawsuits?

      edit – it’s been a long time since I actually read a privacy policy when signing up to something online.

      • RJL 3.1.1

        Read the Guardian article.

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          I have read the article. Is there a reason you won’t answer a straight forward request for clarification?

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            Although lprent could answer more fully, I’d say yes all those large companies will have given permission to the NSA etc. But more than that, the corporates will have actually co-operated with the intelligence agencies to develop the applications and interfaces needed by the intelligence agencies to access every part of their databases and other systems.

            Google will no doubt have helped refine the intelligence agencies search strategies. (Google has previously been contracted to build proprietary search apps for military and government use).

            The corporates will have co-operated for many reasons, not the least of which that they didn’t want the intelligence agencies using ad-hoc “hacks” to get the information that they wanted, bad programming which might have inadvertently slowed down or even crashed the corporation’s commercial systems.

            btw when you look at news stories describing how the Chinese Government has previously blocked GMAIL in their country…I guess they figured this stuff out some time back.

            • weka 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks CV. I had taken the bit quoted in the post above about the companies denying knowledge at face value. I guess they’re lying then.

              • Colonial Viper

                it’s absolutely likely that only a couple of dozen people inside each of these companies has any exposure whatsoever to the work which has been done. And even then, they may have no idea that the work was done for an intelligence agency. Just another job from management refining a new set of database administrative tools.

                As an aside, Russia Today reports that senior executives from Google, Amazon, etc are a key part of the Bilderberg meetings. And that both the UK Tories and UK Labour have representatives there.

            • ghostrider888 3.1.1.1.1.2

              you guys (and gals) could be watching The Mechanic (for free on 2) in the ads. 😉

              there was a former Drone Pilot, Brandon Bryant on the News; 1626 documented ‘kills’ with a diploma to verify them.
              http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249252/Brandon-Bryant-Drone-operator-followed-orders-shoot-child–decided-quit.html

          • joe90 3.1.1.1.2

            Denials galore.

            http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57588337-38/no-evidence-of-nsas-direct-access-to-tech-companies/

            The National Security Agency has not obtained direct access to the systems of Apple, Google, Facebook, and other major Internet companies, CNET has learned.

            Recent reports in the Washington Post and the Guardian claimed a classified program called PRISM grants “intelligence services direct access to the companies’ servers” and that “from inside a company’s data stream the NSA is capable of pulling out anything it likes.”

            Those reports are incorrect and appear to be based on a misreading of a leaked Powerpoint document, according to a former government official who is intimately familiar with this process of data acquisition and spoke today on condition of anonymity.

            “It’s not as described in the histrionics in the Washington Post or the Guardian,” the person said. “None of it’s true. It’s a very formalized legal process that companies are obliged to do.”

            http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/07/in-response-to-prism-anonymous-leaks-classified-dod-documents/

            http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/06/google-facebook-apple-deny-participation-in-nsa-prism-program/

            http://googleblog.blogspot.co.nz/2013/06/what.html

    • Murray Olsen 3.2

      I assume that anything sourced via MegaUpload would have gone through other servers anyway, so I doubt if this is why Kim attracted so much attention.

  4. weka 4

    If you’ve got nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.

    /sarc

  5. Jacobin 5

    Wow. Just wow. The worst that privacy advocates have been alleging for years, particularly Glenn Greenwald who has often stood out like a lone pariah, turns out to be true and more.

    All the more reason we need to get our own GCSB house in order/investigations need to be cleaner than they have been

    • Murray Olsen 5.1

      We need to abolish the GCSB. They are an American/British intelligence agency, staffed by and paid for by Kiwis. This is one case where I support economic austerity. The SIS can go as well.

  6. joe90 6

    So who’s going to stop voluntarily handing over their personal information because their service provider might be legally obliged to hand it over to those who request it?.

    • weka 6.1

      The way I read it, it’s not about a company legally handing over information. It’s about the NSA having free access to those companies’ databases.

        • weka 6.1.1.1

          That doesn’t address my point.

          This was interesting though –

          5. The information the NSA is collecting is metadata, not content (like a wiretap), and not account names. Uncovering personally identifiable information would require separate warrants to do so. This was a pattern analysis, not really mass surveillance as we traditionally understand it. Anyone who calls this a “wiretap” is probably stupid or didn’t read the order.

          That is different from the Guardian is saying.

          • karol 6.1.1.1.1

            This is looking like the “Thin Thread” that I posted about a couple of weeks back. It is a metadata gathering programme that the GCSB supposedly trialed for the NSA:

            William Binney, a whistle blower from the US NSA (National Security Agency) claims that a surveillance device, Thin Thread was sent to spy agencies in places like NZ, Canada,, Australia, Germany and the UK in 2000-2001 for testing. According to author Tim Shorrock, ThinThread monitors the meta data of phone, internet and email communications, at first masking the identities of the participants in the communications. It only reveals these identities when the spies decide they are concerned enough to apply for a warrant.

            • freedom 6.1.1.1.1.1

              The NSA simply use whatever they want. The metadata collected with PRISM is most likely used in conjunction with other [fascist] tools such as ThinThread to create whatever they require, to do whatever they want. This admission though, is a smokescreen at best.

              Folk may wish to pause and reflect on this ‘forced’ declaration. What does it really mean in the wider context of the ugly hate machine the US has become. The NSA would by no means be the most extreme of US agencies involved. It has been widely discussed that since 9-11 over 1000 new Agencies have been added to the US Administration’s lexicon of acronyms. Since 2002, mostly throughout Virginia, there has been a massive ongoing construction programme, where some very large compounds have been planted deep into some very out of the way places. Some are said to challenge Langley for sheer scale of construction. Though unlike Langley many of these compounds are completely anonymous. These enormous glass and concrete bunkers, styled with a ‘YOU THERE! look away from here!’ attention to detail, are said to collectively house the biggest threat on the planet, to our privacy our security and our democracy.

              It is suspected the majority are officially assigned to assisting with Defense, The War on Terror and National Security. As far as the US is concerned, that ‘National Security’ bit involves controlling enslaving or simply destroying any bits of Earth that have the temerity to disagree with what it is doing. These largely unknown agencies all act under an umbrella yielded by DHS jurisdiction, thus are exempt from full public disclosure as to purpose budget and accountability. It sure is a wonderful world we are leaving the children.

        • joe90 6.1.1.2

          To me it appears that they have free access because congress legislated that they can.

          edit: The full court ruling.

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2013/jun/06/verizon-telephone-data-court-order

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.2.1

            Even totalitarian states need a legal framework to operate in.

            And which Bill was that authorising this?

            And isn’t it interesting that a company with the might and size of Google etc didn’t block it at every turn.

            Bye bye US constitution.

            • Poission 6.1.1.2.1.1

              tradeoff in exchange for your global information we will overlook your tax avoidance.

              • Colonial Viper

                Which we happen to know all about in the first place because we have the emails and phone recordings between you and your accountant. And you and your next prospective employer you are negotiating with. And you and your spouse. And you and your lover. And you and your ex.

                Good fun days.

                • Poission

                  Sergei Brin was given “temporary high security” clearance with regard to operation aurora.

                  There are suggestions also that a substantial part of the google gathering information (under the guise of google maps) was imparted to other parties (sic) prior to being destroyed.

          • joe90 6.1.1.2.2

            Bye bye US constitution.

            I think this is the end run around the fourth.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_v._Maryland

            • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.2.2.1

              Ahhhh thanks. So the same principle would apply to email addresses, instant messaging user names, login IDs and passwords, any pin verification, addresses on letters you write etc.

  7. the central scutinizer 7

    https://www.eff.org/

  8. ghostrider888 8

    …now, who were those sociologist prophets who predicted The Technological Society would witness the end of democracy.hmmm.

  9. Bill 9

    Maybe ‘faceleft’ or similar networking sites are the answer for those of a political persuasion? Of course, since they don’t sell your data or carry advertising, they do look to charge a small monthly subscription. And I’m only putting this here because maybe you are one of the people who ‘should’ take a closer look and consider it as a much safer alternative to the likes of facebook etc. Here’s a link to the FAQ page for those who might be interested http://www.zsocial.org/help

    My personal take is that, given its currently limited size, that it could be a valuable resource for any pre-existing groups that use internet based organising or communication tools.

    Anyways….

  10. xtasy 10

    To all those that may be “surprised”, I am not, and I have warned before of what is actually going on already with Facebook, Twitter, Google and others very actively harvesting your own info, including user profiles, your emails, your names and more. This is not a joke, it is real, and it is done so for “advertising purposes”, and if you look more closely at what you click and sign when registering for various services, you condone to be tracked and traced day in and out.

    So the NSA does spy on the services you use, big deal.

    You should have known this from the start, before using Facebook and allowing their cookies and else to connect to your browser and follow you, yes follow you, onto other websites, and onto whatever you click. The same applies to the Standard, and this site is being tracked by the ones I just mentioned constantly, same as most websites and forums.

    Try to get some Google blocking software and others, and then you will see your browser slowing down, as it has already been compromised, to only function if you allow all the track and spyware to follow you. If you block it, they try to slow your usage.

    That is capitalism and control on the web now. So dream of the freedom of the web, it is all commercialised, like the rest of this society and system. Dream on, dream on about “freedom”!

    The NSA have it so easy, and they are everywhere, so mind your language and comments, as they will take note and maybe get back at you, that is while we have a government so friendly with Washington and Hollywood, right?!

    • kiwicommie 10.1

      *shrug* They will learn less reading my mail than talking to me, also most users (like myself) these days create personas which are totally different to what they believe in real life. Then there are people just out to troll. Create useless information, then they have more to sift through. 😉

      • xtasy 10.1.1

        kiwicommie

        Every computer has its own identifiable number. So people may use different “personas” or profiles in social media and other communications, but that does not mean they cannot be identified. Most people have their own laptop, desktop or other computers, and they all are identifiable.

        And every website and function on a website that is clicked, does get recorded and can be tracked.

        Naturally most tracked and gathered information is only used for collecting browsing behaviour and sold encoded to advertisers, but if an agency like the NSA or GCSB takes an interest that goes deeper into “suspicious” or “undesirable” browsing behaviour, then they will have means to find out more about persons.

        There will always be limits to what they can do, and some software can limit what can be tracked and traced, but the way things are going certainly give sufficient reasons to be highly concerned.

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    22 hours ago
  • World Soil Day: valuing our soils key to a better world
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has marked World Soil Day (5 December) with a $6.25 million investment in mapping New Zealand’s most valuable soils which are vital to our economic, environmental and social wellbeing. “The more we know about our natural resources, including soils, the better we can make good sustainable ...
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    1 day ago
  • Government receives interim report from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Government has received an interim report from the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-Based Institutions. The terms of reference for the Royal Commission required a progress report on the inquiry‘s work to date to be delivered to the Government by the ...
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    2 days ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs announces diplomatic appointments to Malaysia and Austria
    Foreign Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta has announced Pam Dunn as New Zealand’s next High Commissioner to Malaysia and Brian Hewson as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Austria and UN Permanent Representative, Vienna. Malaysia “New Zealand and Malaysia enjoy a warm bilateral relationship. We have had diplomatic relations for more than 60 years, ...
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    2 days ago
  • Intention to appoint a Commission for Tauranga City Council
    Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta, has confirmed the Tauranga City Council has been advised of her intention to appoint a Commission in response to significant governance problems among the Council’s elected representatives and the findings of an independent review. “I have been closely watching the conduct of the ...
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    2 days ago
  • Pacific Health Scholarships 2021 about improving access to healthcare for Pacific communities
    Associate Minister of Health, Aupito William Sio is calling on any Pacific students studying health or disability-related courses to apply now for a Ministry of Health Pacific Health Scholarship. “These scholarships acknowledge the vital role Pacific people play in our health workforce. This was most visible through our Pacific workforce's ...
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    2 days ago
  • Speech to Auckland Trade and Economic Policy School
    CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY   Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. I want to recognise the hard work of the University of Auckland’s Public Policy Institute in putting on this event. Bringing together internationally recognised leaders and thinkers on trade and economic policy, with exporters, business leaders, diplomats, economists, ...
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    2 days ago
  • NCEA Level 1 changes give students a broader foundation
    The Government is making changes to NCEA Level 1 to ensure it remains a strong, credible qualification that supports young people into employment and further education, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Last term, the Government initiated a wide-scale review of the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA), involving consultation ...
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    3 days ago
  • Crown accounts reflect positive economic trend
    The Government’s books were again better than expected as the economy continued to recover post COVID lockdown, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Crown Accounts for the four months to the end of October were far more favourable than what was forecast in the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update ...
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    3 days ago
  • Increase to supplier diversity through new procurement target for Maori Business
    Māori enterprises are in line for greater opportunities to do business with government agencies under an initiative to spread the benefits of the economic recovery.  The Ministers for Māori Development and Economic and Regional Development have announced a new target to encourage public service agencies to cast the net ...
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    4 days ago
  • Climate emergency declaration will be matched with long-term action
    Today’s climate emergency declaration will be backed with ambitious plans to reduce emissions, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw today. “Our Government has put New Zealand at the forefront of climate action over the last three years. Declaring a climate emergency and backing this with long-term action to reduce ...
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    4 days ago
  • Celebrating the success of Prime Minister’s Oranga Tamariki Award winners
    28 young achievers who have been in the care of Oranga Tamariki or involved with the youth justice system have received Oranga Tamariki Prime Minister Awards in recognition of their success and potential, Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. At the awards ceremony in Parliament, Kelvin Davis congratulated the rangatahi ...
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    4 days ago
  • Public sector to be carbon neutral by 2025
    Public sector to be carbon neutral by 2025 Immediate focus on phasing out largest and most active coal boilers Government agencies required to purchase electric vehicles and reduce the size of their car fleet Green standard required for public sector buildings The Government has launched a major new initiative to ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government fulfils election undertaking on new top tax rate
    The Government will today keep its election promise to put in place a new top tax rate of 39 per cent on income earned over $180,000. “This will only affect the top two per cent of earners. It is a balanced measure that is about sharing the load so everyone ...
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    4 days ago
  • Sir Robert Martin re-elected to UN Committee
    New Zealand welcomes the news that Sir Robert Martin has been re-elected to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, says Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni. “Sir Robert has been a lifetime advocate for persons with disabilities and his experience brings a ...
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    4 days ago
  • New rules to protect Kiwis from unaffordable loans
    The Government is making sure all consumers who borrow money get the same protections, regardless of where they get their loans.   “Building on the work to crack down on loan sharks last year, we’re now making the rules clearer for all lenders to help protect borrowers from unaffordable loans” ...
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    4 days ago
  • New visitor attraction to boost tourism
    The opening of the first major new tourism attraction since the global outbreak of COVID-19 closed borders to international travellers will provide a welcome boost to visitor numbers in our largest city, says Tourism Minister Stuart Nash. Mr Nash has this afternoon taken part in the official opening ceremony of ...
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    5 days ago
  • Govt moves on drug checking to keep young New Zealanders safer this summer
    The Government will pass time limited legislation to give legal certainty to drug checking services, so they can carry out their work to keep New Zealanders safer this summer at festivals without fear of prosecution, Health Minister Andrew Little says. Next year the Government will develop and consult on regulations ...
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    5 days ago
  • Public Service Commissioner reappointed
    Minister for the Public Service Chris Hipkins announced today that Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes CNZM has been reappointed for three years. The Public Service Commissioner is appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. “Mr Hughes’ reappointment reflects the need for strong leadership and continuity to ...
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    5 days ago
  • Pōwhiri marks the start of a critical year for APEC
    New Zealand kicked off its APEC host year today, with a pōwhiri taking place on Wellington’s waterfront with local iwi Te Atiawa, and a number of Government ministers welcoming representatives from the other 20 APEC economies. “APEC is a hugely important international event, and New Zealand is hosting amidst the ...
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    5 days ago
  • Speech at APEC 21 Opening Pōwhiri
    9am, Tuesday 1 DecemberTe Whare Waka o Pōneke, Wellington Central He Mihi Kei aku rangatira no ngātapito e whā o te ao huri noa, tātou e huihui mai nei. Tēnā rā kōutou katoa. He tangiapakura ki ngā tini aituā kei waenganui i a tātou, ka tangi tonu te ngākau ki ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government extends business debt relief to October 2021
    To assist with the ongoing economic recovery from COVID-19, rules allowing affected businesses to put their debt on hold have been extended by 10 months. “New Zealand’s economy is recovering better than we expected, but the impacts of the pandemic are far-reaching and some businesses need continued support to keep ...
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    5 days ago
  • Bill introduced to support workers with 10 days sick leave
    The Government is delivering on a key commitment by introducing a Bill to Parliament to expand sick leave entitlements from five days to ten days a year, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. “COVID-19 has shown how important it is to stay at home when people are ...
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    6 days ago
  • Progress on pay equity for DHB staff
    Today’s initial agreement between DHBs and the PSA on pay equity for clerical and administration staff is an important step toward better, fairer pay for this crucial and largely female workforce, Health Minister Andrew Little says. If ratified, the agreement between the Public Service Association and the country’s 20 District ...
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    6 days ago
  • Iconic Milford Track officially reopens
    One of New Zealand’s premier hikes and a cornerstone of the Te Anau community, the Milford Track has officially reopened, “From today, hikers booked on the popular Great Walk will be able to complete the walk end-to-end for the first time since early February,” Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. ...
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    6 days ago
  • Support for farmers beefed up ahead of La Niña
    Further funding for feed support services and new animal welfare coordinators will help farmers who continue to feel the effects of an extended drought, says Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor. “In March this year, I classified the drought in the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chathams ...
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    1 week ago
  • Next steps for Christchurch Hospital campus redevelopment
    Canterbury DHB will be better placed to respond to future demand for services and continue to deliver high quality care, with the next stage of the campus redevelopment programme confirmed, Health Minister Andrew Little says. The Government has approved $154 million in funding for the construction of a third tower ...
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    1 week ago
  • Five Power Defence Arrangements Defence Ministers’ Joint Statement
    The Defence Ministers from Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and United Kingdom reaffirmed their nations’ continued commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), and commended the achievements over the past 49 years as the FPDA moves towards its 50th Anniversary in 2021.  The Ministers recognised the FPDA’s significant role ...
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    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding protects health of Hawke’s Bay waterways
    A joint Government and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council project will invest $4.2 million to protect local waterways, enhance biodiversity and employ local people, Environment Minister David Parker announced today.   Over two years, the Hāpara Takatū Jobs for Nature project will fence 195km of private land to exclude stock from vulnerable ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Year border exception for seasonal workers in the horticulture and wine industries
    2000 additional RSE workers to enter New Zealand early next year employers must pay these workers at least $22.10 an hour employers will cover costs of managed isolation for the RSE workers RSE workers will be paid the equivalent of 30 hours work a week while in isolation From January ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government increases support for New Zealanders to work in seasonal jobs
    The Government is offering further financial support for unemployed New Zealanders to take on seasonal work. These new incentives include: Up to $200 per week for accommodation costs $1000 incentive payment for workers who complete jobs of six weeks or longer increasing wet weather payments when people can’t work to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government receives Royal Commission of Inquiry report into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Mos...
    Minister for Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti has today received the Royal Commission of Inquiry report into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Mosques, and will table it in Parliament on Tuesday December 8. “I know this will have been a challenging process for whānau, survivors and witnesses of the terrorist attack ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Government to declare a climate emergency
    The Government will declare a climate emergency next week, Climate Change Minister James Shaw said today.                                       “We are in the midst of a climate crisis that will impact on nearly every ...
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    1 week ago
  • Call for urgent action on Pacific conservation
    A declaration on the urgency of the global biodiversity crisis and the need for immediate, transformative action in the Pacific was agreed at a pan-Pacific conference today. The 10th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas is taking place this week across the Pacific.  Minister of Conservation Kiritapu ...
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    1 week ago
  • Speech from the throne
    E aku hoa i te ara o te whai, Kia kotahi tā tātou takahi i te kō, ko tōku whiwhi kei tō koutou tautoko mai. Ko tāku ki a koutou, hei whakapiki manawa mōku. He horomata rangatira te mahi, e rite ai te whiwhinga a te ringatuku, me te ringakape ...
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    1 week ago
  • Keynote address to Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand conference
    Speech to the CAANZ conference - November 19, 2020 Thank you, Greg, (Greg Haddon, MC) for the welcome. I’d like to acknowledge John Cuthbertson from CAANZ, the Commissioner of Inland Revenue Naomi Ferguson, former fellow MP and former Minister of Revenue, Peter Dunne, other guest speakers and CAANZ members. I ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Expert independent advisory group appointed to strengthen the future of Māori broadcasting
    A panel of seven experts are adding their support to help shape the future of Māori broadcasting, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson has announced today. “Today I will meet with some of the most experienced Māori broadcasters, commentators and practitioners in the field. They have practical insights on the ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Government to review housing settings
    New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus is on improving access to the housing market for first home buyers and ensuring house price growth ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Crown accounts reflect Govt’s careful economic management
    The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance before gains and losses, or OBEGAL, was in deficit. However that ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Community launch marks next step in addressing racism in education
    The launch of Te Hurihanganui in Porirua today is another important milestone in the work needed to address racism in the education system and improve outcomes for Māori learners and their whānau, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis says. Budget 2019 included $42 million over three years to put Te Hurihanganui ...
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    2 weeks ago