The NSA made the most boring and controversial Tumblr in the United States; also, best news reads on spying

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Screen capture of National Intelligence Tumblr site

Tumblr is a hub for social media literate millenials, a magical place for Doctor Who animated GIFs, reblogged Instagram photos of your lunch and an endless sea of porn. But Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has a new use for it: boilerplate press releases meant to stem the tide of negative news against the National Security Agency’s spying practices.

Here’s an excerpt from their Tumblr blog addressing their bad press: 

"While the specifics of how our intelligence agencies carry out this cryptanalytic mission have been kept secret, the fact that NSA’s mission includes deciphering enciphered communications is not a secret, and is not news. Indeed, NSA’s public website states that its mission includes leading 'the U.S. Government in cryptology … in order to gain a decision advantage for the Nation and our allies.'"

Well of course it’s not news that the NSA spies on folks, that’s their purpose. But when the federal government can read the emails and digital records of ordinary citizens without so much as a constitutional please-and-thank you, something is definitely wrong. And thanks to a bombshell dropped by The UK Guardian, the New York Times and Pro Publica partnering to release Edward Snowden's newest leak, we now know that the NSA can decrypt just about anything on the internet. 

And sometimes the NSA uses it to spy on their love interests. 

Luckily, there are folks who are on this. The Electronic Frontier Foundation just achieved a major victory by suing the government under the Freedom of Information Act, known as FOIA, to get their hands on documents related to the government’s secret interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the law the NSA has used to justify searching through the digital lives of Americans. 

You can read more about their victory here.

The EFF is based in San Francisco, which of course means that there is a video of them at Comic-Con.

And the EFF even outlined ways citizens can help: 

"Faced with so much bad news, it's easy to give in to privacy nihilism and despair. After all, if the NSA has found ways to decrypt a significant portion of encrypted online communications, why should we bother using encryption at all? But this massive disruption of communications infrastructure need not be tolerated. Here are some of the steps you can take to fight back:

  • Sign the petition to stop NSA spying. Let Congress know that It's time for a full accounting of America's secret spying programs—and an end to unconstitutional surveillance. If you are not in the US, please take the time to sign our international petition.
  • In addition to signing our petition, take the time to call your elected representative using the dedicated call line: 1-STOP-323-NSA (1-786-732-3672) to voice your opposition.
  • Use secure communications tools (read some useful tips by security expert Bruce Schneier). Your communications are still significantly more protected if you are using encrypted communications tools such as messaging over OTR or browsing the web usingHTTPS Everywhere than if you are sending your communications in the clear.
  • Finally, the engineers responsible for building our infrastructure can fight back by building and deploying better and more usable cryptosystems.

The NSA is attacking our secure communications on many fronts and we must oppose them using every method we have at our disposal. Engineers, policy makers, and netizens all have key roles to play in standing up to the unchecked surveillance state. The more we learn about the extent of the NSA's abuses, the more important it is for us to take steps to take back our privacy. Don't let the NSA's attack on secure communications be the end game. Let it be a call to arms."

Get educated, and bone up on the most recent news on the NSA's spying tactics and policies:

 


Pro Publica, New York Times, Guardian UK  

Revealed: The NSA’s Secret Campaign to Crack, Undermine Internet Security

http://www.propublica.org/article/the-nsas-secret-campaign-to-crack-undermine-internet-encryption

 


Electronic Frontier Foundation

NSA Spying on Americans, Full timeline of events

https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying

 


Guardian.co.uk

The NSA Files -- All UK Guardian stories on the NSA spying program

http://www.theguardian.com/world/the-nsa-files


And until everything gets better, I'm going to keep using Tumblr the way it was intended: reblogging GIFs of the best Doctor, David Tennant.

Screen shot of Doctor Who Tumblr post

Comments

leaving your office. Or maybe even without ever leaving your home. Please tell me that I'm wrong and that you actually go out there occasionally and, you know, interview people, chase down stories and leads, buy people a few drinks to get them to loosen up, you know, newspaper stuff?

You don't just gaze into the internet and react to it, surely now?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 09, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

troll barrier

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into petty, mean spirited, irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 09, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

troll barrier

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into petty, mean spirited, irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 09, 2013 @ 8:39 pm

... the post I did just before this has video and a photo I captured while out at City Hall... just a few hours before this post. But keep trying! You'll find a factual insult someday.

That and my last piece on Richmond, which you know, required trucking all over the city of Richmond. Sometimes a blog is a blog.

Posted by Joe Fitz on Sep. 09, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

pieces and, on behalf of the owners, I wanted to make sure that you're earning your pay. Just because the SFBG is free doesn't mean it has to constantly feel like it.

You went to Richmond and came back alive? You're obviously a fearless intrepid reporter and I withdraw my allegation.

Posted by anon on Sep. 09, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

troll barrier

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into petty, mean spirited, irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 09, 2013 @ 8:26 pm

... it's all a balance you know. I'd rather work on a few briefer, snappier pieces, leaving me time more time to develop a strong weekly piece for the paper than take away from the time I spend developing that one piece. There's only so many hours in the day. 

As for the social media, I'm under 30, so isn't there a law that I have to live and breathe it? And in posts like the Lusty Lady Eulogy, it's social media I'm making myself... video I'm shooting, audio I'm recording.  

But the social-media-only posts might be too "Gawker"-esque for the SFBG? I dunno, you've been here awhile, what do you think?  

Posted by Joe Fitzgerald on Sep. 09, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

meaning that he wrote long bitter screeds denouncing articles in the Chronicle, rather than initiating stories himself. Perhaps he was demoralized in the lead up to his being canned, but he was widely and accurately categorized as being reactive rather than active.

Of course he is older and so perhaps felt a greater affinity for old-school journalistic organs rather than tweets and blogs. But I'd hate for a clearly talented and energetic writer such as yourself to be stereotyped as one who sees cruising the internet as a substitute for the hard work of investigative reporting.

So, balance, I guess is the thing.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 10, 2013 @ 6:19 am

Encourage everyone to sign their electronic communications with NSA search keywords like "terror," "bomb," "death," "infidel," "plot," etc.

The NSA snooping systems will then be overwhelmed rendering them useless.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 10, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

Say it again and again: O-bomb-a!!

Posted by Guest on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 9:55 am

Might be a good idea if you want people to sign it.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 9:59 am

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