by Patrick O'Brien

A selection of references and articles about the monitoring
of all our electronic communications by Government . . .



•  US spy device ‘tested on NZ public ~ David Fisher | NZ Herald

May 25, 2013 — “A high-tech United States surveillance tool which sweeps up all communications without a warrant was sent to New Zealand for testing on the public, according to an espionage expert. The tool was called ThinThread and it worked by automatically intercepting phone, email and internet information. ThinThread was highly valued by those who created it because it could handle massive amounts of intercepted information. It then used snippets of data to automatically build a detailed picture of targets, their contacts and their habits for the spy organisation using it.”


Spooks sift through digital footprints ~ New Zealand Herald

May 25, 2013 — “The GCSB doesn’t talk about how it spies on people. If it did, Kiwis would find themselves grappling with some uncomfortable truths.”


NZ Government caught illegally spying on its citizens:

An extensive collection of earlier articles and references which I’ve posted to my wall at Google-Plus:


GCSB refuses to confirm or deny they’ve been illegally spying on NZ citizens:

A selection of related articles and references which I’ve posted to my NOTES:


The Surveillance State:

January 31, 2012  ― It has arrived … uglier and more intrusive than anything that George Orwell described, and it’s only going to get worse. Here’s a selection of related commentaries and references on my Wall at Google-Plus:




Media reports . . .

‘NSA taps in to Google, Facebook, Apple and others, secret files reveal’ ~ UK Guardian

June 07, 2013 ― “The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.”

◦ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data

‘Documents: U.S. mining data from 9 leading Internet firms; companies deny knowledge’ ~ Washington Post

June 07, 2013 ― “The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track one target or trace a whole network of associates, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post.”

◦ http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/us-intelligence-mining-data-from-nine-us-internet-companies-in-broad-secret-program/2013/06/06/3a0c0da8-cebf-11e2-8845-d970ccb04497_story.html

UK gathering secret intelligence via covert NSA operation ~ UK Guardian

June 07, 2013 — “The UK’s electronic eavesdropping and security agency, GCHQ, has been secretly gathering intelligence from the world’s biggest internet companies through a covertly run operation set up by America’s top spy agency, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.”


Time lines . . .

• Timeline of NSA Domestic Spying’ ~ Electronic Frontier Foundation

June 07, 2013 ― “All of the evidence found in this timeline can also be found in the Summary of Evidence we submitted to the court in Jewel v. NSA. It is intended to recall all the credible accounts and information of the NSA’s domestic spying program found in the media, congressional testimony, books, and court actions. For a short description of the people involved in the spying you can look at our Profiles page, which includes many of the key characters from the NSA Domestic Spying program.”

◦ https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying/timeline

• Mass Surveillance in America ~ ProPublica

June 07, 2013 — “A Timeline of Loosening Laws and Practices …”


•  US officials long denied massive data trawling ~ New Zealand Herald | via AFP

June 09, 2013 — “For years, top officials of the Bush and Obama administrations dismissed fears about secret government data-mining by reassuring Congress that there were no secret nets trawling for Americans’ phone and Internet records […] But on Friday, President Barack Obama himself acknowledged the existence of such programs even as he gave the government’s standard rationale to ease fears that Americans’ privacy rights are being violated.”


Commentary . . .

GCSB mum on use of private info by US spies ~ David Fisher | New Zealand Herald

June 08, 2013 — “The GCSB is refusing to say whether private information from Gmail, Facebook and other other online accounts has been captured by United States spy bosses and whether they can access it.”


• On whistleblowers and government threats of investigation ~ Glenn Greenwald | UK Guardian

June 07, 2013 — “No healthy democracy can endure when the most consequential acts of those in power remain secret and unaccountable (and) I do want to make two points. One is about whistleblowers, and the other is about threats of investigations emanating from Washington …”


Conspiracy theorists no longer look so crazy ~ Tim Stanley | NZ Herald

June 08, 2013 — “Those crazy American conspiracy theorists who live up trees with guns and drink their own pee don’t seem quite so crazy any more. It turns out a “secret court order” has empowered the United States Government to collect the phone records of millions of users of Verizon, one of the most popular telephone providers – a huge domestic surveillance programme and a shocking intrusion into the lives of others.”


10 Things Americans Underestimate About Our Massive Surveillance State ~ AlterNet

June 08, 2013 — “Americans may be upset about the latest revelations in the government’s ability to spy on citizens via their online lives, but no one should be surprised. We’ve underestimated and overlooked many key aspects of the government’s ability to track our lives for years (and) the latest revelations are just the tip of the iceberg.”


White House invokes ‘state privilege’ to halt inquiries into data mining ~ Rawstory

June 07, 2013 — “Civil liberties lawyers trying to hold the administration to account through the courts for its surveillance of phone calls and emails of American citizens have been repeatedly stymied by the government’s recourse to the “military and state secrets privilege”. The precedent, rarely used but devastating in its legal impact, allows the government to claim that it cannot be submitted to judicial oversight because to do so it would have to compromise national security.”


Who rules America? ~ Barry Grey | WSWS

June 10, 2013 — “President Barack Obama’s defense of secret government programs to spy not only on the American people but also countless millions all over the world has been followed by threats from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to prosecute those involved in leaking information about the massive surveillance operations.”


John Key: No GCSB legal loophole ~ David Fisher | New Zealand Herald

June 11, 2013 — “Prime Minister John Key has categorically denied that the Government Communications Security Bureau has been circumventing New Zealand law by accessing information from an international spying network […] But crucially he has yet to make a statement on whether the spy bureau actually uses or has access to the Prism system which the US uses to harvest information from Facebook, Gmail and other technology giants.”




27 Edward Snowden Quotes About U.S. Government Spying That Should Send A Chill Up Your Spine:

10 Dumbest Pundit Reactions to NSA Revelations:

•  22 Nauseating Quotes From Hypocritical Establishment Politicians About The NSA Spying Scandal:

• Quotable Quotes on the NSA’s Illegal Surveillance Program:



• Everything you need to know about PRISM ~ The Verge

July 17, 2013 — “A cheat sheet for the NSA’s unprecedented surveillance programs …”


“Boundless Informant”: the NSA’s secret tool to track global surveillance data ~ UK Guardian

June 08, 2013 — “The National Security Agency has developed a powerful tool for recording and analysing where its intelligence comes from, raising questions about its repeated assurances to Congress that it cannot keep track of all the surveillance it performs on American communications. The Guardian has acquired top-secret documents about the NSA datamining tool, called Boundless Informant, that details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks.”


• How the NSA Targets Germany and Europe ~ Cover Story | SPIEGEL

July 01, 2013 — “Top secret documents detail the mass scope of efforts by the United States to spy on Germany and Europe. Each month, the NSA monitors a half a billion communications and EU buildings are bugged. The scandal poses a threat to trans-Atlantic relations.”


NSA Centres in the United States ~ Tony Semerad | The Salt Lake Tribune

June 29, 2013 — “An (excellent) overview of the NSA’s many data storage facilities and installations in the United States. The piece goes into some depth regarding the technical specifications required to power and operate such an extensive, global surveillance architecture. It also includes fascinating detail on “cloud-centric” technology which allows outside agencies (presumably the FBI and CIA) to reach remotely into its enormous data pools.”


A Massive Surveillance State ~ Democracy Now

June 09, 2013 — “An interview with Glenn Greenwald who broke this story …”


UK Guardian article archive:







The Whistleblower

A selection of articles on Edward Snowden — the brave young man who blew the whistle on PRISM:




‘NSA tool collects ‘nearly everything a user does on the internet’ ~ UK Guardian

August 01, 2013 — “A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals. The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its “widest-reaching” system for developing intelligence from the internet.”


X-Keyscore Presentations:




( … Ongoing … )



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