Case 9 Security vs Privacy


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Background information on Ethics Bowl case 9, Security vs. Privacy, regarding Edward Snowden

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Case 9 Security vs Privacy

  1. 1. Case 9: Security vs. Privacy Edward Snowden and the NSA
  2. 2. NSA and Verizon  FISC issued a secret order requiring Verizon to hand over vast metadata to the NSA  Order specified that Verizon was required to share the information on an “ongoing, daily basis”  Encompassed the phone records pertaining to all of Verizon's American customers, whether the communications were between US-based callers or between a US caller and an international caller  Verizon is only one officially published to date; working assumption that other American telephone companies have been served with similar orders
  3. 3.  Partnership between government and industry to spy on anyone who uses popular Internet services  Grants the NSA access to conversations, not just records, including full emails, chat conversations, voice calls, and file transfers  Microsoft (2007), Yahoo (2008), Google (2009), Facebook (2009), YouTube (2010), AOL (2011), Skype (2011), and Apple (2012) all participate  Dropbox, the cloud storage service, may soon be added to that list  NSA seeks to “expand collection services from existing providers”  Started under the Bush administration and has continued under Obama
  4. 4. Boundless Informant: The NSA’s Secret Tool to Track Global Surveillance Data  Records and analyzes where the NSA’s intelligence comes from  Details and even maps by country the information it collects from computer and telephone networks  Designed to give NSA officials answers to questions like, “What type of coverage do we have on country X” in “near real-time”  NSA’s focus is on counting and categorizing records of communications, known as metadata, rather than the content of an e-mail or an instant message  Allows users to select a country on a map, view the metadata volume, and select details about the collections against that country, including how many records and what type
  5. 5. How much data is Boundless Informant collecting?  In March 2013, 97 billion pieces of intelligence was collected from computer networks world wide.  Top 5 Countries Where the Largest Amount of Intelligence Was Gathered: a. Iran: 14 billion reports b. Pakistan: 13.5 billion reports c. Jordan*: 12.7 billion reports d. Egypt: 7.6 billion reports e. India: 6.3 billion reports *one of America’s closest Arab allies
  6. 6. Iran Pakistan Jordan India Egypt Heatmap gives each nation a color code based on how extensively it is subjected to NSA surveillance; ranges from green (least subjected to surveillance) through yellow and orange to red (most surveillance)
  7. 7. How does Boundless Informant impact American citizens?  NSA is able to determine the individual IP addresses of reports  “IP address is not a perfect proxy for someone’s physical location but it is rather close. If you don’t take steps to hide it…it will certainly tell you what country, state, and typically city you are in”.-Chris Soghoian, principal technologist with the Speech Privacy and Technology Project of the American Civil Liberties Union  Ongoing oversight battle between intelligence agencies and Congress  Senators frustrated with NSA for refusing to supply statistics, sating “it is not possible to provide even a rough estimate of how many American communications have been collected…and [have] even declined to estimate the scale of this collection” –Senator Mark Udall
  8. 8. NSA’s Response to Exposure of Boundless Informant
  9. 9. Whistleblower: Yes or No?     Those who believe he has shed light on improper government actions believe he deserves to be called a “whistleblower.” Not covered under legal whistle-blower protection because he was not a government employee, he is a contractor Intelligence contractors instructed to report wrongdoing to Congress or their agency’s inspector general Not covered under Intelligence Community Whistle-blower Protection Act either    Did not expose type of actions covered by the act: illegal conduct, fraud, waste, or abuse Only applies if public disclosure “if such disclosure is not specifically prohibited by law”; would only cover Snowden if he had taken his concerns to the NSA’s inspector general or a member of one of the Congressional intelligence committees with the proper security clearances More accurately a “leaker”
  10. 10. Charges Against Edward Snowden  Embezzlement:  maximum 10 years in jail and a fine  Unauthorized Espionage Act  theft of government property communication of national defense information under the maximum 10 years in jail and a fine  Willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person under the Espionage Act  maximum 10 years in jail and a fine
  11. 11. Is it justifiable to charge Snowden with espionage?  Espionage is defined as disclosing information “with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States.”  “He could have—but chose not to—sold the information he had to a foreign intelligence service for vast sums of money, or covertly passed it to one of America’s enemies, or worked at the direction of a foreign government. That is espionage. He did none of those things” (Greenwald).  Snowden is the 8th person to be charged under the Espionage Act under Obama. Prior to Obama’s administration, only three people had been charged under the Espionage Act since it’s inception in 1917.  “The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald wonders how these prosecutions are even remotely defensible coming from a president who vowed to usher in an era of transparency in Washington….’The irony is obvious…the same people who are building a ubiquitous surveillance system to spy on everyone in the world, including their own citizens are now accusing the person who exposed it of ‘espionage” (Politi).
  12. 12.             June 21, 2013: U.S. filed espionage charges and requested that Hong Kong detain him for extradition June 23, 2013: Snowden left Hong Kong for Moscow, aided by WikiLeaks June 25, 2013: Obama vows to extradite Snowden. June 26, 2013: Putin says Snowden will not be extradited to America. June 27, 2013: Obama declares he will not spend much capital on apprehending Snowden. June 28, 2013: Ecuador denies Snowden’s request for asylum. The next day, President Correa reveals that Biden asked him to deny Snowden’s request. July 1, 2013: Snowden applies for asylum in Russia. July 2, 2013: Brazil, India, Norway, Poland, Ecuador, Austria, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland have refused Snowden asylum. July 6, 2013: Venezuela offers Snowden asylum July 12, 2013: Snowden says in a letter to human rights groups that there is “an unlawful campaign by officials in the U.S. government to deny my right to seek and enjoy asylum,” and that he will accept temporary asylum in Russia while applying for permanent asylum in a Latin American country. July 24, 2013: Snowden’s lawyer claims Snowden “intends to stay in Russia, study Russian culture” implying he may live in Russia for good. August 2013: Snowden’s father visits him in Russia.