Mailtap – USPS documents expose how local police and the federal government spy on your mail

From Open Watch: For a very long time, the public has placed a tremendous amount of trust in the United States Postal Service. Even in 2013, the public voted USPS to be the most trusted Federal agency, and the fourth most-trusted company for privacy in the world. Because of their perceived respect for privacy, USPS is the go-to shipper of drugs used by Silk Road suppliers and customers, and even whistle-blowing organizations like Wikileaks have advised that “postal networks offer the strongest form of anonymity and are good for bulk truth-telling.”

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NSA bought hacking tools from Vupen, a French based zero-day exploit seller

From The Hacker News: The US government, particularly the National Security Agency has been paying a French security firm for backdoors and zero day hacks.

According to a contract newly released in response to a Freedom of Information request, last year the NSA purchased a 12-month subscription to a “binary analysis and exploits service” sold by Vupen, a zero-day Exploit Seller based in France.

Visit The Hacker News for more.

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In court today: continuing to challenge FBI secrecy on racial and ethnic profiling

From ACLU: The ACLU and the ACLU of New Jersey are in federal appeals court today in a second challenge to FBI claims of secrecy concerning its troubling nationwide racial and ethnic mapping program. The argument comes in a lawsuit filed in 2011, after the FBI refused to adequately respond to our Freedom of Information Act request for records about which American communities it’s spying on in New Jersey….

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US and UK spy agencies defeat Internet privacy and security

From The Guardian:  US and British intelligence agencies have successfully cracked much of the online encryption relied upon by hundreds of millions of people to protect the privacy of their personal data, online transactions and emails, according to top-secret documents revealed by former contractor Edward Snowden.

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U.S. spy network’s successes, failures and objectives detailed in ‘black budget’ summary

From The Washington Post: U.S. spy agencies have built an intelligence-gathering colossus since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but remain unable to provide critical information to the president on a range of national security threats, according to the government’s top-secret budget.

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Secret Court opinion finding NSA surveillance unconstitutional released

From Electronic Frontier Foundation:  For over a year, EFF has been fighting the government in federal court to force the public release of an 86-page opinion of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). Issued in October 2011, the secret court's opinion found that surveillance conducted by the NSA under the FISA Amendments Act was unconstitutional and violated "the spirit of" federal law.

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Ability to police U.S. spying program limited, says FISA court chief judge

From the Washington Post:  The chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said the court lacks the tools to independently verify how often the government’s surveillance breaks the court’s rules that aim to protect Americans’ privacy. Without taking drastic steps, it also cannot check the veracity of the government’s assertions that the violations its staff members report are unintentional mistakes.

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