The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.
The value of a bitcoin has topped $1,000, a mere 11 months after the fledgling digital currency was worth little more than a $10 bill.
As of 7:25 a.m. Pacific time this morning, bitcoins were trading at $1,041 on Mt. Gox, the world’s most prominent bitcoin exchange, a place where you can swap federal monies, such as dollars and yen, for the digital currency.
The price of a bitcoin has surged in recent weeks, likely driven by heavy demand in China and by public statements from U.S. financial authorities that seemed to endorse the digital currency — at least in part. Bitcoin prices topped $1,000 on a Chinese exchange last week, before hitting that mark on Mt. Gox, which is based in Japan but is used worldwide, including here in the U.S.
“China is still driving overall demand,” says Dan Held, who runs ZeroBlock, a site that tracks bitcoin market data. “However, I think there has been a paradigm shift in how people think about Bitcoin in the U.S
The NSA has asked Linus Torvalds to inject covert backdoors into the free and open operating system GNU/Linux. This was revealed in this week’s hearing on mass surveillance in the European Parliament. Chalk another one up of the United States NSA trying to make information technology less secure for everyone.
Nils Torvalds’ revelation was presented in an episode which started (at 3:06:58) by me pointing out to the Microsoft representative in the panel, that in a system like GNU/Linux, built on open source, you can examine the source code to see that there aren’t any back doors. In Microsoft’s systems, this possibility is absent, since the source code is secret to outsiders.
Online surveillance by the United States was the main subject of a hearing on Monday evening organized by the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee. But one of the more noteworthy parts of the session was a presentation by a senior Facebook employee who described demands by European Union governments.
Richard Allan, the director for public policy for Facebook in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said Facebook received 8,500 requests from the European Union affecting 10,000 user accounts during the first six months of this year.
Reports this year about the scope of American online spying programs have become a worldwide topic of debate. But slowly, the spying done by Europeans is also getting more attention. On Monday evening, Mr. Allan called on governments everywhere to allow more transparency and flexibility around the national security-related orders his company must comply with.
The German Equivalent of the United States’ NSA known as the BND has implemented similar spying frameworks to those revealed by Edward Snowden. According to a “three-page confidential letter” intercepted by the German magazine Der Spiegel the program involves secret deals with more than 25 of the largest German ISPs. Particularly notable is the fact that the access was implemented at the largest Internet exchange point in the world, DE-CIX in Frankfurt, although the majority of traffic monitored is that of Germany’s own citizens.
“This revelation seems to be the rough German equivalent of the NSA’s own XKeyscore surveillance system. The BND, which is prevented by German law from conducting domestic spying, ostensibly has its attention turned toward Russia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. However, Der Spiegel does note that the BND is allowed to spy on Germans “in some cases.”