There are a lot more stories to come, a lot more documents that will be covered. It’s important that we understand what it is we’re publishing, so what we say about them is accurate.
The NSA has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times every year since 2008, according to an internal audit provided by Edward Snowden
It turns out that the NSA’s domestic and world-wide surveillance apparatus is even more extensive than we thought. Bluntly: The government has commandeered the Internet. Most of the largest Internet companies provide information to the NSA, betraying their users. Some, as we’ve learned, fight and lose. Others cooperate, either out of patriotism or because they believe it’s easier that way.
I have one message to the executives of those companies: fight.
Do you remember those old spy movies, when the higher ups in government decide that the mission is more important than the spy’s life? It’s going to be the same way with you. You might think that your friendly relationship with the government means that they’re going to protect you, but they won’t. The NSA doesn’t care about you or your customers, and will burn you the moment it’s convenient to do so.
We’re already starting to see that. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and others are pleading with the government to allow them to explain details of what information they provided in response to National Security Letters and other government demands. They’ve lost the trust of their customers, and explaining what they do — and don’t do — is how to get it back. The government has refused; they don’t care.
Read more. [Image: The Washington Post]
Let me go back to my unanswered question: Can there even be an informed public and consent-of-the-governed for decisions about electronic surveillance, or have we put those principles aside so that the state can have its freedom to maneuver?
People who make a career in journalism cannot pretend to neutrality on a matter like that. If a free society needs them — and I think it does — it needs them to stand strongly against the eclipse of informed consent.
Tool: Dynamic Network Analysis
Source: André Panisson
Description: Panisson created a real-time infographic mapping tweets and retweets the day Egypt’s Mubarak was forced out of office. While the visualization in and of itself is interesting. As a tool for verification it is particularly fascinating on a few levels. It helps you see the flow of information, or misinformation and track it back to its source. In addition, it helps you access who influential people are in a discussion, offering you leads and potential sources. Panisson described the project this way, “It was very interesting to see, in real time, the exact moment when Tahrir Square, from a mass protest demonstration, has been transformed in a giant party, and the burst in the Twitter’s activity. It was like covering in real time a virtual event, a big event that was happening in the Twitter virtual world.”
Panisson’s blog post: http://gephi.org/2011/the-egyptian-revolution-on-twitter/
TED Video of Storyful’s Markham Nolan talking about the tool: http://www.ted.com/talks/markham_nolan_how_to_separate_fact_and_fiction_online.html