This GCHQ presentation from March 2009 shows that the agency has targeted a number of popular websites in a concerted effort to harvest cookies (“target detection indentifiers”) on a massive scale: see the Intercept article Profiled: From Radio to Porn, British Spies Track Web Users’ Online Identities, 25 September 2015.
On 1 April 2015, Barack Obama signed into law an Executive Order “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities”
Media reports speculated that the new powers granted by this Executive Order would enable executive authorities to confiscate cryptocurrency holdings and even prohibit donations to Edward Snowden’s defence fund.
On the evening of Monday 23 Feburary, Edward Snowden joined Glenn Greenwald and Oscar-winning Citizenfour director Laura Poitras to answer questions submitted by reddit users. Edward Snowden’s answers covered NSA information management, his life in Russia, how whistleblowers can best be protected and making surveillance an important issue in the next US Presidential election, among other issues.
The discussion also touched on two recent news reports: the bulk seizure of SIM card encryption keys by the NSA and GCHQ; and the exposure of state-level Equation Group malware by the Kaspersky Group, which has widely been attributed to the NSA. A previous malware discovery, Regin, has been corroborated as having links to the NSA and its Five Eyes allies by documents disclosed by Snowden.
Reddit confirmed that the AMA was viewed over a million times on the evening it was published. A selection of Edward Snowden’s answers follows below.
A coalition of digital rights groups, media organisations, online platforms and activists have annouced a worldwide day of action against NSA surveillance on 11 February. The Day We Fight Back will take place two years after the enormous international and online protests that saw down SOPA and PIPA and will honour the memory of Aaron Swartz, one of the moving spirits behind those protests, who took his own life in January 2013.
Supporters are encouraged to change their online avatars and embed a banner on their websites. Other plans for the day are being discussed on a dedicated subreddit.