There are five items
today, that were gathered and produced a bit earlier than is usual, and
deal with the NSA, although the last one does so only very indirectly,
for it is about a new addon for Firefox, that traces who is tracing you
(and does so in Firefox, on a desktop computer).
I would guess that
today's video, in item 3, is
the most interesting, and you should definitely watch it: it is well
done and only a few minutes.
NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over
The first article today is by James Ball in the Guardian:
This starts as
follows (under a picture I don't reproduce):
The National Security
Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after
being given the numbers by an official in another US government
department, according to a classified document provided by
whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The confidential memo
reveals that the NSA encourages senior
officials in its "customer" departments, such as the White House, State
and the Pentagon, to share their "Rolodexes" so the agency can add the
phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance
The document notes that
one unnamed US official handed over 200 numbers, including those of the
35 world leaders, none of whom is named. These were immediately
"tasked" for monitoring by the NSA.
That is something,
but I do want to insist that my own main worry is not
the spying the NSA does on political leaders, although I reject that as
well, but the spying it does on hundreds of millions of ordinary
and German citizens and
firms. (And see item 3!)
That is, I do not
consider it a big step forward at all if I were to learn that, say from
next year on, the Western
leaders are not being spied upon, all by special
consent. In fact, that would only aggravate the problem.
2. Germany and France demand talks with US
over NSA spying
Next, another article in the
Guardian, by Sam Jones and James Ball:
The revelations are
threatening to create a major rift between the US and its European
allies. The former Belgian prime minister and leader of the Group of
the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European
parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that
such activities had to be curtailled. "There is no reason to spy on Angela Merkel.
It's a real scandal," he said. "A new agreement is needed between the
EU and the US; this cannot continue.
Again there is considerably more, and I could also repeat
the last note I made, but I will reproduce neither.
Stop Watching Us
Next, something I found on Common Dreams and take over:
star-studded, anti-NSA video from the
Electronic Frontier Foundation, just in time for the
largest rally yet
against mass surveillance slated for Saturday, the 12th anniversary of
the signing of the Patriot Act. Organized
by over 100 public advocacy groups, the event
will feature the delivery of over a half-million petitions to Congress
to remind them they work for us.
And this is the video, which
is quite good:
4. Proof that NSA Spying Is Not Very
Focused On Terrorism
Just who is looking over your shoulder when you browse
the Internet? Tomorrow, web users will be given a new tool to shine a
light on the commercial organisations which track your every movement
Lightbeam, a download
produced by Mozilla, the US free software community behind the popular
Firefox browser, claims to be a “watershed” moment in the battle for
Everyone who browses the
Internet leaves a digital trail used by advertisers to discover what
your interests are.
Users who activate
Lightbeam will be able to see a real-time visualisation of every site
they visit and every third-party that is active on those sites,
including commercial organisations which might potentially be sharing
Mozilla wants users who
install the Lightbeam add-on to Firefox, to crowd-source their data, to
produce the first “big picture” view of web tracking, revealing which
third-parties are most active.
Lightbeam promises a
“Wizard of Oz” moment for the web, “where users collectively provide a
way to pull back the curtains to see its inner workings,” Mozilla
There is considerably more,
but since I am using the latest
GNU/Linux.Ubuntu, that uses Firefox, I have downloaded it, and can
report it works, and looks OK.
I do think this is an advance, though I doubt it will do much or
anything about the NSA spying, since I was aware of all that Lightbeam
shows, indeed through other Addons.
But this is a good
Addon, and all I should add is that, at least now, you'll need a recent
Firefox to install and run it, and it runs only on desktop computers.
 Here it is necessary to insist, with
Aristotle, thay the governors do not rule, or at least, should
not rule: The laws rule, and the government, if good, is part
of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
It is more proper
that law should govern than any of the citizens: upon the same
principle, if it is advantageous to place supreme power in some
particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and
the servant of laws.
(And I note the whole file I
quote from is quite pertinent.)
About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.:
The "/CFS" is added to
facilitate search machine) which is a disease that I have since 1.1.