Tuesday, October 22, 2013

More blowback

The latest NSALeaks. First, the NSA spied on France, tapping and recording tens of millions of phone calls a month:

According to the documents retrieved from the NSA database by its ex-analyst, telephone communications of French citizens are intercepted on a massive scale. Le Monde has been able to obtain access to documents which describe the techniques used to violate the secrets or simply the private life of French people. Some elements of information about this espionage have been referred to by Der Speigel and The Guardian, but others are, to date, unpublished.

Amongst the thousands of documents extracted from the NSA by its ex-employee there is a graph which describes the extent of telephone monitoring and tapping (DNR – Dial Number Recognition) carried out in France. It can be seen that over a period of thirty days – from 10 December 2012 to 8 January 2013, 70,3 million recordings of French citizens' telephone data were made by the NSA. This agency has several methods of data collection. According to the elements obtained by Le Monde, when a telephone number is used in France, it activates a signal which automatically triggers the recording of the call. Apparently this surveillance system also picks up SMS messages and their content using key words. Finally, the NSA apparently stores the history of the connections of each target – or the meta-data.

And they hacked the email of Mexican President Felipe Calderon:
Der Spiegel said in May 2010, an NSA division known as "Tailored Access Operations" reported it had gained access to then-president Calderon's email account, and turned his office into a "lucrative" source of information.

It said details of the alleged NSA hacking of Calderon's account were contained in a document leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Snowden's leaked information has prompted angry recriminations against Washington in Latin America, particularly Brazil.

According to Der Spiegel, the NSA succeeded in hacking a central server in the network of the Mexican presidency that was also used by other members of Calderon's cabinet, yielding a trove of information on diplomatic and economic matters.

Both revelations are causing significant diplomatic blowback for the US. And no wonder - these countries are US allies. And yet the US is spying on them as if they are enemies. And the US's only response is that its all legal (which rather misses the point).

Just another example of how US spying harms US interests...