GCHQ and the NSA are consequently able to access and process vast quantities of communications between entirely innocent people, as well as targeted suspects.

June 22, 2013
Hot Air (Britain’s spy agency GCHQ has secretly gained access to the network of cables which carry the world’s phone calls and internet traffic and has started to process vast streams of sensitive personal information which it is sharing with its American partner, the National Security Agency (NSA).

The sheer scale of the agency’s ambition is reflected in the titles of its two principal components: Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation, aimed at scooping up as much online and telephone traffic as possible. This is all being carried out without any form of public acknowledgement or debate.
One key innovation has been GCHQ’s ability to tap into and store huge volumes of data drawn from fibre-optic cables for up to 30 days so that it can be sifted and analysed. That operation, codenamed Tempora, has been running for some 18 months.
GCHQ and the NSA are consequently able to access and process vast quantities of communications between entirely innocent people, as well as targeted suspects.

This includes recordings of phone calls, the content of email messages, entries on Facebook and the history of any internet user’s access to websites – all of which is deemed legal, even though the warrant system was supposed to limit interception to a specified range of targets.)

the program disregarded P2P downloads, even though one might presume that this would be a potential method to use for illicit communication over the open-source Internet.


Cooperation on cybercrime, maritime security and infrastructure protection, and cooperation on cyber security

January 20, 2013

(Saudi interior minister Prince Mohammed bin Naif. This first cousin of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was last noted in this blog for ordering the arrest last month of a Saudi novelist, Turki al Hamad, for tweeting that Islam required a “correction.” Al Hamad now faces the death penalty for apostasy.)
From Al Arabiya: Saudi Arabia and the United States have signed a “Trusted Traveler” agreement to facilitate and accelerate the trusted passenger screening on the principle of reciprocity in both Saudi and U.S. airports. The Saudi state agency reported that Minister of Interior Prince Mohammed bin Naif and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano “signed an agreement on arrangements relating to the implementation of a program of the ‘Trusted Traveler’ between the two countries.” Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Naif and Secretary Napolitano also released a joint statement affirming ongoing cooperation on cybercrime, maritime security and infrastructure protection, and cooperation on cyber security, which is critical to both nations’ economic competitiveness and national security. (Does “cybercrime include “tweeting”?)

US, Russia work to expand cyberspace cooperation #JIDF #JPost

December 10, 2011
Media_http1bpblogspot_lphqg(uk.reuters.com via jpost.com H/T @TheJewess) – Russia and the United States are planning a regular exchange on “technical threats” that appear to come from computers in each other’s territories, a White House spokeswoman said on Friday, even as bilateral ties have come under growing strains.

A range of mechanisms aimed at confidence building and crisis prevention are being planned to cope with alarming events in cyberspace, said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.
These include “regular exchanges on technical threats that appear to emanate from one another’s territory” as well as “no-fail communications mechanisms to help prevent crisis escalation and build confidence,” she said in an emailed reply to a query.
Some such links have existed for years, including the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, but others are “cyber-specific and would begin working with Moscow for the first time,” Hayden said, without giving a projected start date.
A representative of the Russian Embassy in Washington did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Vice President Joe Biden said last month the United States was working with Moscow to link computer emergency response teams and the nuclear risk reduction centres and setting up lines of communication in case of “an alarming incident.”
“It’s a great deal harder to assess another nation’s cyber-capabilities than to count their tanks,” he told the London Conference on Cyberspace on November 1 by videocast.
Howard Schmidt, the White House cybersecurity coordinator, said in a July 12 blog that the United States and Russia planned to have three types of cybersecurity-related cooperative mechanisms in place by the end of this month, including special “24/7” communications links.
Hayden, the spokeswoman, declined to spell out the status of the talks with Russia, referring only to “ongoing diplomatic discussions.” No such links were being announced for now with China or any other country, she said.
Strains between Washington and Moscow over Russia’s disputed parliamentary elections are threatening U.S. President Barack Obama’s “reset” policy, and the two countries remain at odds over NATO missile defence plans in Europe.
In another sore point, a U.S. intelligence report to Congress in October said Russia’s intelligence services “are conducting a range of activities to collect economic information and technology from U.S. targets.”
“We judge that the governments of China and Russia will remain aggressive and capable collectors of sensitive U.S. economic information and technologies, particularly in cyberspace,” the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, a U.S. intelligence arm, said.
Schmidt, in his blog, did not speak of any attempt to reduce the risk of spying but rather of heading off threats to both sides such as “botnets,” a collection of computers that can be used to swamp a web site with incoming traffic or other malicious action.
Another goal, he said at the time, was to better understand each other’s military view on operating in cyberspace.
“It’s a prime example of the ‘reset’ in relations taking on a new and important dimension,” Schmidt wrote then.
(With additional reporting by Diane Bartz)
(Reporting by Jim Wolf; editing by Todd Eastham)