How International Treaties Gave NSA Back-Door Access for Surveillance
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How International Treaties Gave NSA Back-Door Access for Surveillance

How International Treaties Gave NSA Back-Door Access for Surveillance

Susanne Posel ,Chief Editor Occupy Corporatism | The US Independent

June 18, 2014

The High Court in Ireland (HCI) requested the European Court of Justice (ECJ) review the Safe Harbor Treaty (SHT) between the European Union (EU) and the US to protect private user data while Facebook was caught sharing digital communications from EU citizens with the National Security Agency (NSA).

HCI Justice Gerard Hogan ruled that “Facebook won’t need to face an investigation into its alleged activities, following a ruling made by Ireland’s data protection commissioner who said the same.”

Mark Schrems, post-graduate law student brought and member of the group Europe v. Facebook (EVF) which claims in court documents that Bill Hawkes, commissioner for data protection for the Irish government, “wrongly interpreted and applied the law governing the mass transfer of personal data of Facebook users to the NSA.”

Schrems showed that this data exchange from Facebook to the NSA was in compliance with the SHT, according to Hawkes.

EVF concludes that “enhanced threat to national and international security from rogue States, terrorist groups and organised crime, disclosures regarding mass and undifferentiated surveillance of personal data by US security forces, and the advent of social media” is being used to justify complete surveillance on the public in every country.

The “main development of the legal perspective” for protecting data is outlined in the Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR) of the EU; however Schrems states that Hawkes “did not adhere to the requirements” of the law and behaved with “scrupulous steadfastness” as far back as 1995.

In 2013, Viviane Reding, commissioner of the ECJ said the NSA spying is a “breakdown of trust” between the US and the EU and “for ambitious and complex negotiations to succeed there needs to be trust among the negotiating partners.”

Since 1998, the SHT has prohibited “the transfer of personal data to non-European Union countries that do not meet the European Union (EU) ‘adequacy’ standard for privacy protection.”

The NSA PRISM program is under fire in this case brought before the HCI.

Under program PRISM (which extends as far back as 2007), the federal government has been data mining from tech corporations such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, Youtube, Aol, Paltalk and Skype.

PRISM was created during the George W. Bush presidential administration and has expanded further by President Obama.

The Protect America Act of 2007 gave private corporations immunity.

PRISM collaborated with Microsoft first and conducted surveillance operations under the guise of searching for terrorist activity or cyber espionage.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the NSA have been acquiring “extracting audio, video, photographs, emails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.”

In the US, the NSA is empowered by the 2001 US Patriot Act , Sec. 215 (50 U.S.C. § 1861), that states the federal government can collect data on Americans if there is a claim of national security compromise.

Metadata was syphoned under this clause for nearly a decade (that we know of).

That innocuous metadata that the NSA has been collecting includes trunk identifiers which are used to gather the metadata.

In fact, when hacking into a call, a trunk identifier can be used to not only gather information about the call, but to listen in on the conversation from both the caller and receiver.

Trunking is the way that the police can change their signal when on the radio every few seconds so that it cannot be syphoned by hackers. It is used by cell phone towers to encrypt the signal for a secure line.

Trunking follows the sender and receiver when they change channels so that GPS-like surveillance is conducted.

This allows the surveillance apparatus to have a continues stream regardless of when the channel changes every few seconds, which in turn allow those listening in to have a steady signal without breaks. Effectively, they can listen to the entire conversation and follow the signal as it changes.

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