Starting late last week, with several small protests denouncing a hike in public transport fares, demonstrations flared up yesterday, encompassing larger public anger at poor public services, police violence and government corruption. More than 200,000 took to the streets of Brazil’s biggest cities yesterday, voicing frustration with the billions of dollars set aside for upcoming sports events like the World Cup and the 2014 Olympics, despite crushing levels of poverty in some places, and underfunded public education, health, security and transportation. Though the majority of the protests were peaceful, a few violent demonstrations were broken up by police in Rio de Janeiro.
See more. [Images: AP, Reuters, Getty]
You jut didn’t want it bad enough when you were conceived to be born into a rich white family.
The ballerinas weren’t the only tortured souls on the set of Black Swan. Some of the unpaid interns on the set found themselves doing the kind of menial labor (i.e. grabbing coffee) that they didn’t go to school for. And on Wednesday, a court agreed, ruling that 1) the interns should have been paid for their time and 2) opened up the company behind the film, Fox Entertainment Group, up for a class-action lawsuit. “Judge [William H.] Pauley’s ruling might still symbolize the tipping point in the battle over unpaid internships. Unless a higher court steps in, some judges might choose to follow his lead in the future,” The Atlantic’s Jordan Weissmann writes, noting that the case could scare some companies off from using unpaid interns for liability reasons. (Side note: We’ve been following the unpaid internship issue lately, and I wrote a Medium post about the topic you should read.)
(thanks Sara Schwartz)
The largest group of people likely to care about the NSA’s intrusions are non-American customers of U.S. Internet companies. Facebook alone has more than one billion of them. Google completely dominates search in most of the world, with its market share across Europe significantly exceeding 90%. And its YouTube distributes citizen videos worldwide. It will be hard now to ever again assure users of these services that their behavior or opinions can be protected from the U.S. government. Some reports on the NSA surveillance suggest that the court orders given these companies can be as broad as forcing them to turn over all traffic to and from a specific country.
It’s quite possible that Obama has undermined the effectiveness and attractiveness for political speech and protest of what have been the most potent communications tools for activism in history. Political and commercial opponents of the U.S. in every country as well as governments themselves will likely alert citizens to the potential that U.S. companies could pass their info back to US authorities.
Do we really want to impair such powerful tools for spreading dialogue, political discourse, and U.S. values? Is it worthwhile to impair the extraordinary financial and commercial success of these great flagships for the American economy? Does Obama want Facebook et al just to be seen as tools of American power? That is certainly not the way the average user in Bolivia sees it. They see it as a tool of their own personal power, and they don’t want governments interfering with that.
Graphics, Grids, And 4 More Secret Years of PRISM: What Anonymous Knows
In light of another breathtaking NSA revelation — from “a career intelligence officer” exposing the U.S. government’s PRISM collaboration with U.S. Internet companies based on “a gross intrusion on privacy” including a spy operation that “can watch your ideas form as you type” — the hacking collective Anonymous has retaliated, naturally, against the National Security Agency, a long-time nemesis. Friday morning’s leak of 13 NSA documents, which Anonymous claims “prove that the NSA is spying on you,” result in mostly intelligible government gibberish — goofy graphics included — but one of the most fascinating documents led us to a whistleblower site called Cryptome, which suggests the PRISM program has been around since at least 2006, and maybe as early as 2003.
PRISM, like the NSA’s phone metadata collection reported the night before, is thought to have started in 2007 under the Bush administration — as a technical fix to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, one of several measures by Congress after the creation of the PATRIOT Act. But according to a resumé apparently obtained by Cryptome — a site called the “Google of National Security” for hosting national-security documents, including this information relating to PRISM — the tech company/government PRISM data share has been around since 2003, as one of the bullet points reads:
Responsible for the collection of all imagery related intelligence requirements. Evaluated, edited, and drafted national and theater-level requirements for validation and approval via requirements tools, including PRISM and GIMS (RMS).
It’s unclear how seriously to take this information, of course. This government funded start-up allegedly behind the technology wasn’t founded until 2004 — though, the responsibilities of an applicant for this position with PRISM could have started in 2004 or 2005.
Other than that, the Anonymous documents don’t provide much more clarification on the PRISM program. None of the documents, all found here, specifically mentions PRISM, but as Bruce Schneier explained at The Atlantic, that’s just one of the many domestic-surveillance and data-mining programs at the NSA’s disposal. He says the government ”deliberately using different codenames for similar programs to stymie oversight and conceal what’s really going on.”
Many of the new PRISM documents, however, mention GiG — the Global Information Grid — which Anonymous alleges….
Will enable the secure, agile, robust, dependable, interoperable data sharing environment for the Department where warfighter, business, and intelligence users share knowledge on a global network that facilitates information superiority, accelerates decision-making, effective operations, and Net-Centric transformation.
On the NSA’s publicly accessible website, the agency describes GiG as such:
The overarching objective of the GIG vision is to provide the National Command Authority (NCA), warfighters, DoD personnel, Intelligence Community, business, policy-makers, and non-DoD users with information superiority, decision superiority, and full-spectrum dominance.
In other words, GiG is the means by which the government collects data, as the leaked 2008 Department of Defense NetOps Strategic Vision further explains:
The GIG includes all owned and leased communications and computing systems and services, software (including applications), data, security services, and other associated services necessary to achieve Information Superiority. It also includes National Security Systems as defined in section 5142 of the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996. The GIG supports all Department of Defense, National Security, and related Intelligence Community missions and functions (strategic, operational, tactical, and business), in war and in peace. The GIG provides capabilities from all operating locations (bases, posts, camps, stations, facilities, mobile platforms, and deployed sites). The GIG provides interfaces to coalition, allied, and non-DoD users and systems
While the documents spend a lot of time talking about the collection and processing of data (and metadata!), there is not much mention of who and where — so it’s hard to tell if anything illegal is going on. But if the last two days are any indication, the leakers might be coming out of the woodwork, and after the contentious relationship between Anonymous and the NSA over the years, the wooden walls may be crumbling fast.
While there has been due outrage about the news regarding the NSA’s Verizon surveillance program, there has also been a loud echo of Senator Lindsey Graham’s “I am a Verizon customer. It doesn’t bother me one bit for the NSA to have my phone number.” See this Twitter account for a collection…