Israel Accused Of Spying On White House: Trump Ignores While Bibi Denies


12-09-19 07:30:00,

A shocking exposé in Politico reveals the Israelis have for years been planting spy devices near the White House. The report cites former senior US officials, who describe that forensic analysis of recovered cell phone surveillance devices point back to Israeli intelligence, which is believed to have conducted the operation for the past two years. 

“It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible,” one former senior intelligence official told Politico. The report spells out, citing officials, that the planted devices are believed by the FBI and US intelligence agencies “likely intended” to spy on President Trump and his top aides.

Via The Times of Israel

Though it’s easy to imagine the outpouring of fury and wall to wall media coverage complete with urgent Congressional hearings — should such allegations center on any other foreign country caught spying on the White House (let’s say Russia for example), the bombshell Politico report has barely made a dent in the mainstream media or big cable networks’ coverage.

This is partly because the administration’s own reaction has been muted, as the report notes that “the Trump administration took no action to punish or even privately scold the Israeli government” after being informed by US intelligence that Israel likely planted the devices. 

Politico’s sources in most instances held top intelligence and national security posts, who describe the following of the recovered spy devices

The miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as “StingRays,” mimic regular cell towers to fool cell phones into giving them their locations and identity information. Formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.

The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates  though it’s not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful.

From the moment the report was unveiled early Thursday, Israel’s stance has been to vehemently deny, and to even suggest the accusations are tinged with “anti-Semitism”. 

StingRay surveillance devices have long been known and used by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies,

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Google Accused Of Intentionally Breaking EU Data-Privacy Laws; YouTube Pays $170M Fine For US Violations


04-09-19 06:15:00,

Markets have only just opened in the US, and already Wednesday is shaping up to be a difficult day for Alphabet, the parent company of Google and YouTube.

First, the FT published a report based on leaks from the Irish data regulator, which has jurisdiction over Google’s European operations since the company’s European headquarters is based in Dublin. Google has allegedly been using ‘hidden’ web pages to feed personal data gleaned from its users to paying advertisers, circumventing the EU’s GDPR privacy regulations in the process.

Google rival Brave said it submitted evidence of this arrangement to the company’s regulators. Google collects sensitive user data, like the race, health status and political leanings of its users, then secretly harvests this data for use in targeting ads, something that’s illegal in Europe.

Johnny Ryan, Brave’s chief policy officer, told the FT that he discovered the secret web pages as he tried to monitor how his data were being accessed and used on Google’s advertising exchange, which is the largest marketplace for ad sales space across the web.

Ryan said he discovered that Google had labelled him with an identifying tracker that it fed to third-party companies, which logged on to a hidden web page. The page showed no content, but it tracked Ryan’s browsing activity.

This appears to violate Google’s own rules prohibiting ad buyers from matching different social media profiles for the same user, in addition to EU laws and regulations.

A spokesperson for Google said the company hadn’t seen the details of Ryan’s independent “investigation”, but added that it was cooperating with any and all investigations carried out by European regulators.

In other news, YouTube agreed to pay $170 million to the FTC and the AG of New York State to settle allegations that it illegally collected data from children younger than 13 who watched children’s content on the platform, according to  the Washington Post.

Regulators alleged that certain YouTube knew certain channels were popular among younger viewers, and that it touted this fact to brands and advertisers. To gather more data, YouTube tracked kids’ viewing histories for the purpose of serving them targeted advertisements, ultimately raking in “millions of dollars”

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UK’s MI5 Accused Of “Extraordinary & Persistent Illegality” Over Mishandling Of Bulk Data Collection


13-06-19 08:31:00,

By now, most people in the “free” European democracies and in the US have accepted that we now live in a de facto surveillance state, as government agencies like the NSA (in the US) and MI5 and GCHQ (in the UK) hoover up reams of personal data – everything from our log logs, texts and browser history – and dump it in a giant database.

This week, a civil rights group is making the latest effort to try and hold this vast and unchecked government bureaucracy accountable by challenging MI5, the British domestic intelligence service, in the country’s high court, accusing it of violating data collection and storage privileges by storing private citizens’ information in bulk without proper protections.


The suit, brought by the human rights organization Liberty, alleges that MI5 has no control of its storage of vast volumes of people’s calls, messages, web browsing history, as well as other personal data that the agency has managed to obtain on the basis of surveillance warrants, which were often issued under false pretext, according to RT.

Furthermore, MI5 routinely violates privileges obtained by the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA), which allows the security services to hack individuals computers and phones under the pretext of national security. And though the suit alleges that the agency has been aware of the breaches, it has purportedly done nothing to address them.

Liberty claims that the MI5 persistently violates privileges obtained by the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA), which allows the security services to hack individuals’ computers and phones in the name of national security. The agency’s failures have been identified by the head of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office (IPCO), Sir Adrian Fulford, who is tasked with safeguarding the storage and timely deletion of bulk data. A series of 10 documents and letters from MI5 and IPCO have been shared with the court in support of the claims.

The spy agency has been aware of breaches of compliance with the IPA for at least three years but has “kept the failings secret,” according to the evidence presented. The MI5 handling of people’s data was found to be “undoubtedly unlawful”by Fulford, who accused the intelligence service of “historical lack of compliance” with IPA safeguards.

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Facebook accused of promoting terrorism with auto-generated content

10-05-19 07:49:00,

After five months of research, a whistleblower says Facebook allows terrorist sympathizers to thrive not only by failing to remove their accounts, but also by auto-creating celebratory videos and pages for terrorist groups.

The National Whistleblower Center in Washington (NWC) has published a 48-page comprehensive study into how Facebook neglects to curb, and even boosts, Al-Qaeda affiliated militants’ outreach, arguing that Facebook’s lack of action facilitates the recruitment of terrorists.

The study, conducted by an unnamed whistleblower from August through December 2018, showed that out of 3,228 accounts belonging to ‘friends’ of self-identified terrorists, only 30 percent were removed by the platform.

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These “friends” hail from around the world. Those who were singled out for the survey are based in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Among them, “many openly identified as terrorists themselves and shared extremist content,” the executive summary of the report states.

The social media giant, which recently prided itself on taking down 99 percent of Al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) related content before it is reported by users, actually creates such content itself with its auto-generating tools, according to the report.

For example, it refers to an auto-generated page Facebook “set up” for Al-Shabaab militant group, complete with an ISIS logo. Somalia-based Al-Shabaab has long been associated with Al-Qaeda. In 2015, a splinter group of its fighters pledged allegiance to IS.

The page came about because some users listed their membership in the terrorist group as their job occupation, prompting Facebook’s AI to create a “local business” page.

Another popular feature embedded in the Facebook algorithm allows for glorification of terrorism and extremism, the report says, referring to “celebration” and “memories” videos. It turns out that the seemingly innocuous feature makes no distinction between a user sharing a video with, say, birthday celebrations, and violence-filled extremist content. One such chilling “celebration” video featuring puddles of blood racked up over 2,000 likes, the report notes.

The “frame” feature that allows users to pledge allegiance to a favorite sports team or express support for a country,

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