decora writes: "The previous story I wrote that was posted to the slashdot front page is wrong. The memo that NSA declassified is actually about the Turbulence project, not about the Trailblazer project. This mistake also makes the two extra links in the story wrong as they applied mostly to Trailblazer and not to Turbulence. I apologize for the error and the confusion. They are similar projects, both criticized by congress, but they are distinct and happened under different NSA directors."
decora writes: "Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post reports that the NSA has just declassified one of the 5 documents NSA whistleblower Thomas Andrews Drake was charged under the Espionage Act for retaining in his basement. The document, which Drake previously faced years in prison for posessing, is essentially a cheerleading memo, complimenting the Trailblazer project team for a great presentation and demo. It stands in stark contrast to numerous other reports that described the NSA IT project as an overbudget, ineffective, billion dollar seven year boondoggle."
decora writes: "If you visit Russian Wikipedia today you will be forgiven for thinking the entire site has crashed. It is not a crash, but a protest of the Russian State Duma's Bill 89417-6 According to Ria Novosti, the bill is "proposing a unified digital blacklist of all websites containing pornography, drug ads and promoting suicide or extremist ideas." Russian Wikipedia's main page has been replaced with a redacted logo and a protest text, part of which says "The Wikipedia community protests against censorship, dangerous to free knowledge, open to all mankind. We ask you to support us in opposing this bill" (translation by Google Translate)"
decora writes: Porn actors do not typically receive medical insurance as part of their payment packages. So when Holly Stevens felt a lump in her breast, she avoided going to the doctor. When the lump didn't disappear on it's own, she finally went, and discovered she had cancer. Even with some health coverage from the City of San Francisco's quasi-public insurance program, she is facing extensive chemotherapy without anything like 'sick leave' or FMLA, and some of her medication is not covered. Friends of hers, including January Seraph, and the sex-worker group SolaceSF, have started an online movement to help take up the slack through the crowdsourced charity site giveforward.com. The first round attracted just $250 in donations, but the second effort improved that to $2,520. Now, round three has just brought in $15,000. The full story is at SFWeekly's 'Exhibitionst' blog.
decora writes: "The EFF reports on a internet censorship case in South Korea. The blog of Professor K.S. Park was recently brought up for consideration by the Korean Communication Standards Commission, which rules over South Korea's online censorship regime at a rate of 10,000 URLs per month. The unusual thing about this case is that Park himself is a member of the commission; he was appointed to it by the opposition party as a well known free-speech advocate. The other members of the committee allowed him to make changes to his blog for now, but have vowed to "take action" against it in the future."
decora writes: "Several years ago, writer Du Daobin posted several essays on the internet, protesting such things as unfair taxes and the corruption of the media. He was then charged with 'inciting subversion of state power', arrested, and after many legal twists and turns, tortured in prison. Daobin, along with several other dissidents with similar stories, decided to sue Cisco Systems earlier this year under the legal theory that it aided and abetted China's violation of the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991.
decora writes: "On several recent Wednesdays, Russian language social networking site Vkontakte has been blocked by the government of Belarus. The blocks are partly to prevent the organization of "Silent Protests", in which citizens gather in city squares, and clap in protest against president Alexander Lukashenko. The government has designated the people involved as "social network revolutionaries" and charged many with disorderly conduct. One VKontakte user, Mikhail Karatkevich, is to be put on trial August 10 for 'organizing a mass rally' after he posted a meeting notice onto his page. According to Charter 97, the regime has even set up fake proxy servers to capture the unwitting; Tor is the suggested solution."
decora writes: "Janet Tavakoli, who literally wrote the textbook on modern financial fraud, has posted a scathing excoriation of Facebook's business practices: ". . . after an impostor faked my identity, I was the one that had to put myself further at risk by providing a verifiable scanned government I.D. to prove I had the right to complain about the fraud enabled by Facebook." Ordinary writers would have stopped there, but Tavakoli analyzes corporations for a living: "What is Facebook's strategy? Where is its audited balance sheet? . . . Based on my experience, Facebook doesn't know who is real and who isn't real. . . Investors should take that into account when evaluating Facebook's "users" and the potential for revenues they represent.""
decora writes: "Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project has a summary of the newly released DoD Inspector General report (pdf) on NSA's Thinthread and Trailblazer programs. The DoD found that NSA "disregarded solutions to urgent national security needs" and that "TRAILBLAZER was poorly executed and overly expensive". NSA contractors had a "fear of management reprisal" for cooperating with the DoD audit. The FBI later raided the homes of several people involved with the report, and Thomas Drake faced Espionage Act charges for retaining information from it. Those charges were dropped two weeks ago. Radack and GAP represent Drake on whistleblower issues."
decora writes: "NPR, and dozens of other media sources, are reporting that NSA IT Whistleblower Thomas Andrews Drake is innocent of all 10 original charges against him; including the 5 Espionage Act charges for 'retention' of 'national defense information'. Drake stared down the government to the last minute, rejecting deal after deal, because he "refused to plea bargain with the truth". The judge had even recently ruled that there was no evidence that Drake passed classified information to a reporter. In the end, he has agreed that he committed a misdemeanor: "unauthorized access to a computer". It is unknown what this means for the other non-spy Espionage cases that Obama's DOJ currently has pending (Kim, Sterling, Manning), or the Grand Jury that is currently meeting to discuss Espionage Act charges related to Wikileaks. "
decora writes: "In the trial of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, (scheduled to begin June 13), the government wanted to introduce evidence about "NSA's targeting of a particular telecommunications technology". To hide details of the NSA's operations from the public, the government wanted to 'substitute' keywords in the evidence at trial. Judge Richard Bennett has just ruled that the 'substitution' for this particular evidence would violate Drake's rights. In response, the government has "decided to excise all reference to that technology from its case", including eliminating 4 exhibits and redacting two others."