Hoe NSA Surveillance van Amerikanen Vanuit Buitenland de V.S. Grondwet Omzeilt [Nieuw Paper]

An English version of this post was published on Freedom to Tinker on 12 May 2014.

Vandaag komt het langverwachte boek van Glenn Greenwald uit, ‘No Place to Hide’. Naast persoonlijke verhalen over samenwerken met klokkenluider Edward Snowden, belooft Greenwald nieuwe onthullingen van surveillance praktijken van Westerse inlichtingendiensten. In de laatste weken, heb ik samen met Sharon Goldberg (Computer Science, Boston University) een publicatie voorbereid over ‘Executive Order 12333’. Volgens de NSA is dit besluit van President Reagan de ‘belangrijkste juridische grondslag’ voor massale surveillance buiten de V.S. In ons paper beargumenteren we dat ‘EO 12333’ juridische mazen mogelijk maakt in de Amerikaanse Grondwet, waardoor diensten als de NSA vrij van toezicht door het V.S. Congres of de rechter en andere juridische waarborgen Amerikaanse communicatie kunnen afluisteren en analyseren.

Als onafhankelijke onderzoeker, kunnen we natuurlijk  niet weten wat Amerikaanse diensten precies uitvoeren. Maar ons centrale punt is, dat de wetten en de techniek het mogelijk maken om de Amerikaanse Grondwet, die overigens alleen bescherming biedt voor Amerikanen, te omzeilen.  Hiermee willen we de wetenschappelijke en de politieke discussie in Amerika informeren: denk niet dat nationaliteit een waarborg is tegen de sleepnetten van je eigen diensten.

Sharon en ik vragen ons nu af: zal het nieuwe boek van Greenwald onze theoretische bevindingen bevestigen met nieuwe onthullingen? Gisteren publiceerde Greenwald ineens een flarde over het hacken van routers, die bestemd zijn voor het buitenland. Het zou dus zomaar kunnen. Hier de samenvatting van ons paper, volgende week de eerste versie online. Continue reading Hoe NSA Surveillance van Amerikanen Vanuit Buitenland de V.S. Grondwet Omzeilt [Nieuw Paper]

Mijn One-Pager voor Expertsessie Eerste Kamer Cyberintelligence en Publiek Belang

Op dinsdag 6 mei ben ik een van de genodigden voor een expertsessie in de Eerste Kamer over ‘cyberintelligence en publiek belang’. Ik ben specifiek gevraagd om in te gaan op economische spionage en backdoors. Ter voorbereiding is mij gevraagd in een one-pager in te gaan op twee algemene vragen; tijdens de bijeenkomst beantwoord ik vragen direct van de senatoren. Hier mijn one-pager [pdf].

Historic E.U. Net Neutrality Win Shows Maturing Digital Rights Advocacy

After a 5-year long campaign by European and U.S. digital rights NGOs, today the European Parliament turned a dubious Commission proposal on its head to safeguard the principle of net neutrality. It’s a historic win, and all over the news. It also shows how digital rights advocacy is maturing. Continue reading Historic E.U. Net Neutrality Win Shows Maturing Digital Rights Advocacy

Any Colour You Like: the History (and Future?) of Internet Security Policy [talk]

Yesterday, I did a first in a series of talks on over four decades of internet security policies. A tedious piece of research, that I don’t think anyone has done before.  It’s a cornerstone of my thesis, and I’m currently finishing a draft chapter/paper on the topic under the same title – borrowing names from Pink Floyd seems to become a tradition of sorts.

So here’s my slides for the 27 March Cyberscholars Working Group at Harvard’s Berkman Center [pdf]. The talk was aimed to be 15 minutes long for a small and general audience, so obviously it’s a bit shallow. Questions, feedback, all more than welcome! I hope to get the paper out by the end of April. The abstract: Continue reading Any Colour You Like: the History (and Future?) of Internet Security Policy [talk]

Governments Pwn The Web: A Constitutional Right to IT-Security? [talk]

The Berkman Center at Harvard has put my 18 March 2014 talk online. My aim was to get people new to the subject thinking about government hacking for spying and policing purposes, that is largely happening without public scrutiny or debate – particularly in the U.S. And what to do about it. States have been hacking since the 1970s, and prominently in the 80s, so my main message in the talk is that the policy debate lags at least three decades behind the technical reality. If you don’t have time to watch a one hour talk, here’s the slides [pdf] and a post for further reading. The talk develops the thoughts in the post a bit further, and sets an agenda for research, law and activism.

Art as Mirror – Slab City Internet Cafe [Pic]

Reminded of the dark side of the web by all the news lately, we’re all trying to make some sense of it all. Amidst kazillions of conferences, papers, OpEds and what have you, art can offer a more captivating snapshot of the dynamics of net technology, politics and culture. And hold up a mirror to confront you with all the madness, if you like. ‘Slab City Internet Cafe’ is a funny and quite accurate installation that captures how many feel about the web today. Continue reading Art as Mirror – Slab City Internet Cafe [Pic]

Translation Dutch Net Freedom Laws 2011: Net Neutrality, No Commercial Wiretapping, No 3 Strikes

If there’s one thing U.S. researchers know about the state of the web in The Netherlands, it’s that those Lower Countries got their act together when net neutrality became law in 2012. Hell, even the New York Times ran a story, as it was the first net neutrality law in Europe, the second in the world after Chile. These days, net neutrality is the talk of the town both in the U.S. and the E.U., but it seems further away than ever: the U.S. Senate has scheduled a hearing about the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, creating a telco giant with huge power of internet access provision. And at the E.U. level, the issue is up for vote in the Pariament – and it doesn’t look too good. The key provisions from the Dutch internet freedom legislative package may provide some inspiration in times of desperation. They cover net neutrality, a prohibition on commercial wiretapping (DPI), and one on three strikes copyright enforcement. Continue reading Translation Dutch Net Freedom Laws 2011: Net Neutrality, No Commercial Wiretapping, No 3 Strikes

9 Problems of Government Hacking: Why IT-Systems Deserve Constitutional Protection

Published 20 February 2014 on Freedom to Tinker.

Governments around the world are increasingly hacking into IT-systems. But for every apparent benefit, government hacking creates deeper problems. Time to unpack 9 of them, and to discuss one unique perspective: in response to a proposed hacking law in 2008, the German Constitutional Court created a new human right protecting the ‘confidentiality and integrity of IT-systems’. The rest of the world should follow suit, and outlaw government hacking until its deep problems are addressed. Continue reading 9 Problems of Government Hacking: Why IT-Systems Deserve Constitutional Protection

Watch Your Mouth: Why Talking ‘(Cyber-)Security’ Is Popular, Complex and Deeply Political

Everybody immediately relates to ‘security’, but may mean something profoundly different. This makes researching ‘security’ both difficult and important. My main concern is that we need a better understanding of what ‘(cyber-)security’ is and what it’s not, precisely because of it’s popular, complex and deeply political properties. Until then, we need to watch our mouth when we talk ‘(cyber-)security’, as ambigous concepts are a battleground for political exploitation.  Continue reading Watch Your Mouth: Why Talking ‘(Cyber-)Security’ Is Popular, Complex and Deeply Political

Law and Justice: Breaking One Stupid Rule A Day for Moral Fitness

If something is legal, it doesn’t follow that it is just. A simple observation, but so often neglected. Failing to continuously question the tension between actual law and justice or morality is omnipresent. Take surveillance; whatever moustache-twirlingly evil practice is revealed, authorities across the globe primarily defend systematic spying by refering to deeply flawed and even secret law. Today, I read a passage of James Scott’s new book, in which he outlines ‘Scott’s Law of Anarchist Calisthenics’. It’s a hilarious and deeply inspiring way to reveal fundmantal tensions between law and justice – and my way to train moral fitness. Continue reading Law and Justice: Breaking One Stupid Rule A Day for Moral Fitness

ECHR Fast-tracks Court Case on PRISM and TEMPORA (and VERYANGRYBIRDS?)

So. The NSA and GCHQ piggyback on Angry Birds to spy on its 1.7 billion users. potential terrorists. Not only that, but everything on smartphones can be compromised: “if its on the phone, we can get it”. Will it ever stop? A few days ago, the European Court of Human Rights (‘ECHR’) made the unique move to fast-track a case on the legality of mass surveillance practices by the GCHQ. A judgement is now expected in months, rather than years – in time to have a huge impact on the global debate on mass surveillance. Time for some analysis. Continue reading ECHR Fast-tracks Court Case on PRISM and TEMPORA (and VERYANGRYBIRDS?)