U.S. Government Tracks Journalists in Database

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A startling investigation by NBC 7 journalists reveals how the U.S. government tracks journalists through use of a database.

Documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates show the U.S. government created a secret database of activists, journalists, and social media influencers tied to the migrant caravan and in some cases, placed alerts on their passports.

In fact, their own government had listed their names in a secret database of targets, where agents collected information on them. Some had alerts placed on their passports, keeping at least two photojournalists and an attorney from entering Mexico to work.

This is why private services like end-to-end encrypted messaging apps are so important. It’s bad enough if a foreign government is surveilling you. We don’t need our own government to do the same.

Huawei Suing U.S. Government Over Ban

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Huawei is suing the U.S. government because its products were banned from being used by federal agencies.

According to one of the people familiar with the matter, Huawei’s lawsuit is likely to argue that the provision is a “bill of attainder,” or a legislative act that singles out a person or group for punishment without trial. The Constitution forbids Congress from passing such bills.

Feds Share Terrorist Watch List With 1,400 Private Companies

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The federal government shares its terrorist watch list with over 1,400 private companies, including hospitals and universities. The government has insisted for years it doesn’t share it with private companies, only to have lied this whole time. Why would it be a big deal? It’s relatively easy for innocent people to end up on the list.

The government’s admission comes in a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in Alexandria by Muslims who say they regularly experience difficulties in travel, financial transactions and interactions with law enforcement because they have been wrongly added to the list. The Associated Press is the first to report on the disclosure after reviewing the case documents.

What Happens When U.S. Personnel Serve a Foreign Intelligence Agency?

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Remember that story about the iPhone hacking tool called Karma? Lawfare published a good piece detailing the consequences of U.S. spies working for a foreign intelligence agency.

Along the way, the Americans came to appreciate that their efforts at times did indeed include surveillance of political opponents of UAE authorities, and further that the UAE service at times targeted Americans despite assurances that this would not occur (or at least that the operations Project Raven in particular conducted or supported would not be directed at Americans).

That’s probably the biggest point of the story. Americans spying on Americans on behalf of another country.

Sorry, Facebook Messenger Decryption is Secret

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Yesterday a U.S. judge ruled that a secret government effort to compel Facebook to decrypt Messenger voice conversations won’t be revealed.

Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the public’s right to know the state of the law on encryption outweighed any reason the U.S. Justice Department might have for protecting a criminal probe or law-enforcement method.

One word: PRISM.

Apple Doesn't Treat Roger Stone Any Differently

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During Robert Mueller’s investigation they discovered Paul Manafort had tampered with witnesses. How was this discovered? Unencrypted WhatsApp messages that were backed up to iCloud. Apple handed over Roger Stone’s iCloud data, and apparently some people are angry. Stephen Silver breaks the issue down and says there is no double standard.

The argument went that Apple had refused to create a backdoor for the iPhone in the case of the one of the San Bernardino shooters following the December 2015 shooting. Yet, they were perfectly willing to easily hand over Manafort’s iCloud data. Why protect the privacy of terrorists, when they won’t do it for everybody?

Chinese Hackers Threaten the Internet and Democracy

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Over the past decade Chinese hackers have been increasingly attacking the United States and other countries that threaten the hegemony of The Party.

Many thought the internet would bring democracy to China. Instead it empowered rampant government oppression, and now the censors are turning their attention to the rest of the world.

Chinese hacking groups fall under the category of Advanced Persistent Threat (APT). The United States and China have this weird, sadomasochistic relationship, and while I don’t believe in trade wars, I think it’s important we send a message that the U.S. won’t tolerate such egregious behavior from our partners.