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FTR #774 The Adventures of Eddie the Friendly Spook, Part 14: The Corporate Connections and the Public vs. Private Dynamic

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. [1] (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

Listen: MP3

Side 1 [2]   Side 2 [3]

[4] [5]Introduction: Benito Mussolini, the world’s first fascist, defined fascism as “corporatism.” [6] Ronald Reagan’s signature political aphorism was: “Government isn’t the solution to your problems. Government IS the problem.”

Looming very large in the context of “L’Affaire Snowden” are the corporate connections to this political phenomenon and what we call the “public versus private dynamic.”

The keynote element of this discussion is a revealing analysis [7]of James Madison’s views on the intrusion into citizens privacy. As noted in this analysis, Madison was deficient in his prescription for protecting privacy. Madison was aware of the need to protect citizens’ privacy against governmental intrusion, but failed substantively to take into account the need to protect citizens against corporate intrusion into privacy. In the internet and cell phone age, that is of paramount significance.

The public vesus private dynamic and the corporate connections are particularly important in light of the decision to turn metadata over to a “third party” for safekeeping.

What we are seeing–to an extent–is privatization of the NSA.

In this ongo­ing series about L’Affaire Snow­den, we have dis­cussed the fact that the col­lec­tion of meta­data is rou­tine by Inter­net and cell­phone com­pa­nies, as well as retail out­lets that offer dis­count cards. (The har­vest­ing of meta­data is the focal point of what the NSA does and what lies at the cen­ter of the “controversy.”)

A recent post by PR Watch notes that Grover Norquist [8] has been among the recip­i­ents of Google money [9].

Hav­ing opined that he wanted to “drown” gov­ern­ment in the “bath­tub,” Norquist is a lynch­pin of the “Shut­down GOP” and the founder of the Islamic Free Mar­ket Insti­tute. [10] A syn­the­sis of the GOP and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood [11], the Insti­tute is inex­tri­ca­bly linked [12] with the Oper­a­tion Green Quest inves­ti­ga­tion [13] into ter­ror­ist financing.

Against the back­ground of Google’s financ­ing of Norquist’s cru­sades and other right-wing causes [14], one can but won­der what Google may be doing with the vast amounts of meta­data they harvest. Why aren’t more people alarmed about what Google may be doing with their information?

In addition to an accurate observation by WikiLeaks hacker Jacob Applebaum about Google having the information to topple governments, we note that Google, Apple, EBay and other key Silicon Valley companies have engaged in heavy-handed monopolistic practices [15] that have been the focal point of investigations by the Department of Justice.

A central point of analysis concerns just WHO authorized Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks and Citizen Greenwald to access the vast amounts of data that they have? What judicial or governmental authority oversees THEIR activities? Why is it OK for them to access vast amounts of data that might adversely affect the lives of millions?

Program Highlights Include:

1. The keynote element of this discussion is a revealing analysis of James Madison’s views on the intrusion into citizens privacy. As noted in this analysis, Madison was deficient in his prescription for protecting privacy. Madison was aware of the need to protect citizens’ privacy against governmental intrusion, but failed substantively to take into account the need to protect citizens against corporate intrusion into privacy. In the internet and cell phone age, that is of paramount significance.

The need to factor corporate intrusion into people’s lives is particularly important with the decision to have a “third party” store metadata instead of the NSA.

“Madison’s Privacy Blind Spot” by James Rosen; The New York Times; 1/18/2014. [7]

. . . Expect to hear a lot more about Madison in the coming year, as the issues surrounding the N.S.A. move toward what Justice Scalia has said will be a likely review by the Supreme Court. For that reason, it is important to explore what Madison does and doesn’t offer to this debate.

The apotheosis of Madison as an emblem for opposition to mass surveillance is welcome. But the reasoning behind his beliefs has been misunderstood. He believed that the preservation of people’s “different and unequal faculties of acquiring property” was “the first object of government,” but that a too-powerful government could undermine that goal. He was, therefore, more concerned with abuses of legislative and executive power than of unregulated commercial power.

As a result, the Bill of Rights, which he came to champion, constrains only government actors, not private ones. It applies to the government, not Google. Now that Google and AT&T can track us more closely than any N.S.A. agent, it appears that the Madisonian Constitution may be inadequate to defend our privacy and dignity in the 21st century. . . .

. . . . There is, therefore, a tension in modern libertarian appreciations of Madison. They exaggerate his opposition to abuse of federal power and ignore his failure to anticipate abuse of corporate power. . . .

. . . . But on the right, the Madisonian devotion to property rights, and Jeffersonian suspicion of regulation, are so strong that the same principled libertarians who oppose N.S.A. data collection shrink from efforts to regulate Google or AT&T.

In his speech on intelligence reform on Friday, President Obama called on Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to develop options for how the bulk telephone data collection program could continue without the metadata being held by the government itself. But telecom companies have resisted being the repository for the data, and an anti-regulatory Congress is unlikely to require them to do so or to impose meaningful limits on what they can do with the data they hold.

As a result, Internet service providers and telecoms are constrained neither by the Constitution nor, in meaningful ways, by federal privacy statutes. And they are free to engage in just the kind of intrusive surveillance that Judge Leon insisted was an unreasonable search and seizure when conducted by the N.S.A.

In practice, the neo-Madisonian distinction between surveillance by the government and surveillance by Google makes little sense. It is true that, as Judge Pauley concluded, “People voluntarily surrender personal and seemingly private information to trans-national corporations which exploit that data for profit. Few think twice about it.”

But why? Why is it O.K. for AT&T to know about our political, religious and sexual associations, but not the government? . . .

. . . . That distinction is unconvincing. Once data is collected by private parties, the government will inevitably demand access.

More fundamentally, continuously tracking my location, whether by the government or AT&T, is an affront to my dignity. When every step I take on- and off-line is recorded, so an algorithm can predict if I am a potential terrorist or a potential customer, I am being objectified and stereotyped, rather than treated as an individual, worthy of equal concern and respect. . . .

. . . . . . . What Americans may now need is a constitutional amendment to prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures of our persons and electronic effects, whether by the government or by private corporations like Google and AT&T.

Perhaps even Madison, who unsuccessfully proposed a preamble to the Constitution declaring “that all power is originally rested in, and consequently derived from the people,” and that all people have basic natural rights, including “the enjoyment of life and liberty” and the right of “pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety,” might have realized that our rights to enjoy liberty, and to obtain happiness and safety at the same time, are threatened as much by corporate as government surveillance.

2. In that same con­text, it is worth not­ing that the quasi-populist ide­o­log­i­cal rhetoric sur­round­ing the Pirate Bay embraces a conflict between two right-wing views. (Pirate Bay and WikiLeaks [23] are closely linked.)

“The Pirate Bay trial Is the Col­li­sion of ‘Can I?’ and ‘Should I?’ Cul­tures” by Andrew Brown; The Guardian; 2/26/2009. [24]

. . . . Their atti­tude of sneer­ing enti­tle­ment towards the gov­ern­ment is all of a piece with their atti­tude towards the big con­tent companies. . . .

. . . I know that a lit­tle bit of the rhetoric around The Pirate Bay sounds left­wing – the idea that it is wrong for “inter­na­tional cap­i­tal” to push Swe­den around – but that’s just pop­ulist, and could be found in the rhetoric of the kind of par­ties that Carl Lund­ström has sup­ported too.

The over­whelm­ing impres­sion is of a clash between two rightwing views, one that says it is all right to steal from the state, and one which says it is sin­ful to steal from corporations. . . .

3a. WikiLeaks hacker Jacob Applebaum noted Google’s capabilities:

“The Amer­i­can Wik­ileaks Hacker” by Nathaniel Rich; Rolling Stone; 12/01/2010. [25]

. . . . “It’s not just the state,” says Appel­baum. “If it wanted to, Google could over­throw any coun­try in the world. Google has enough dirt to destroy every mar­riage in America.”

But doesn’t Google pro­vide fund­ing for Tor?

“I love Google,” he says. “And I love the peo­ple there. Sergey Brin and Larry Page are cool. But I’m ter­ri­fied of the next gen­er­a­tion that takes over. A benev­o­lent dic­ta­tor­ship is still a dic­ta­tor­ship. At some point peo­ple are going to real­ize that Google has every­thing on every­one. Most of all, they can see what ques­tions you’re ask­ing, in real time. Quite lit­er­ally, they can read your mind.” . . . .

3b. In this ongo­ing series about L’Affaire Snow­den, we have dis­cussed the fact that the col­lec­tion of meta­data is rou­tine by Inter­net and cell­phone com­pa­nies, as well as retail out­lets that offer dis­count cards. (The har­vest­ing of meta­data is the focal point of what the NSA does and what lies at the cen­ter of the “controversy.”)

A recent post by PR Watch notes that Grover Norquist [8] has been among the recip­i­ents of Google money [9].

Hav­ing opined that he wanted to “drown” gov­ern­ment in the “bath­tub,” Norquist is a lynch­pin of the “Shut­down GOP” and the founder of the Islamic Free Mar­ket Insti­tute. [10] A syn­the­sis of the GOP and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood [11], the Insti­tute is inex­tri­ca­bly linked [12] with the Oper­a­tion Green Quest inves­ti­ga­tion [13] into ter­ror­ist financing.

Against the back­ground of Google’s financ­ing of Norquist’s cru­sades and other right-wing causes [14], one can but won­der what Google may be doing with the vast amounts of meta­data they harvest.

“The Googliza­tion of the Far Right: Why is Google Fund­ing Grover Norquist, Her­itage Action and ALEC?” by Nick Surgey; prwatch.org; 11/27/2013. [9]

Google, the tech giant sup­pos­edly guided by its “don’t be evil” motto, has been fund­ing a grow­ing list of groups advanc­ing the agenda of the Koch brothers.

Orga­ni­za­tions that received “sub­stan­tial” fund­ing from Google for the first time over the past year include Grover Norquist’s Amer­i­cans for Tax Reform, the Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety, the Amer­i­can Con­ser­v­a­tive Union (best known for its CPAC con­fer­ence), and the polit­i­cal arm of the Her­itage Foun­da­tion that led the charge to shut down the gov­ern­ment over the Afford­able Care Act: Her­itage Action . . . .

. . . . More than any other group work­ing to repeal the Afford­able Care Act, Her­itage Action pushed for a sus­tained gov­ern­ment shut­down in the fall of 2013, tak­ing the coun­try to the brink of a poten­tially cat­a­strophic debt default.

Lay­ing the ground for that strat­egy, Her­itage Action held a nine-city “Defund Oba­macare Town Hall Tour” in August 2013, pro­vid­ing a plat­form for Texas Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz to address crowds of cheer­ing tea party supporters.

For Cruz, increas­ingly spo­ken of as a 2016 Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, the gov­ern­ment shut­down helped raise his pro­file and build his sup­porter — and donor — base.

Notably, Her­itage Action received $500,000 from the Koch-funded and Koch-operative staffed Free­dom Part­ners in 2012. It is not yet known how much Her­itage Action received in 2013 from sources other than Google.

Per­haps sur­pris­ingly, Google has a his­tory of sup­port­ing Cruz. Via its Polit­i­cal Action Com­mit­tee – Google Inc. Net PAC – the PAC pro­vided the “Ted Cruz for Sen­ate” cam­paign with a $10,000 con­tri­bu­tion in 2012. Addi­tion­ally, despite being five years out from the fresh­man Senator’s next elec­tion, Google’s PAC has already made a $2,500 con­tri­bu­tion to the Cruz reelec­tion cam­paign for 2018, the largest amount that the PAC has given so far to any Sen­ate can­di­date run­ning that elec­tion year accord­ing to dis­clo­sures made by Google.

Amer­i­cans for Tax Reform (ATR), the anti-government group run by Repub­li­can oper­a­tive Grover Norquist, was another new recip­i­ent of fund­ing from Google in 2013. ATR is best known for its “Tax­payer Pro­tec­tion Pledge,” and for its fun­da­men­tal­ist attacks on any Repub­li­can who might dare to vote for any increase in taxes. Accord­ing to the Cen­ter for Respon­sive Pol­i­tics, ATR received 85% of its fund­ing in 2012 ($26.4 mil­lion) from the ultra-partisan Karl Rove-run Cross­roads GPS, another dark money group.

ATR Pres­i­dent Grover Norquist infa­mously said that he wants to shrink gov­ern­ment “down to the size where we can drown it in the bath­tub.” Google’s posi­tion on the rel­a­tive size of gov­ern­ment ver­sus bath­tubs is not known, but accord­ing to a Bloomberg analy­sis of Google’s U.S. cor­po­rate fil­ings, it avoids approx­i­mately $2 bil­lion dol­lars glob­ally in tax pay­ments each year through the use of cre­ative tax shelters. . . .

4. A new “app” for Apple’s Iphone permits retail outlets to monitor customers–effectively taking those people under surveillance.

“Privacy Advocates Worry over New Apple iPhone Tracking Feature” by Aaron Pressman [The Exchange]; Yahoo News; 1/10/2014.  [17]

Barely noticed by most consumers, Apple’s (AAPL) latest software upgrade for iPhones, iOS 7, included a capability for malls, museums or stadiums to identify visitors and track their movements indoors with a startling degree of accuracy.

Known as iBeacons, the feature allows a store to pop up, say, a coupon offer for Coca Cola on a customer’s phone just as they pass by the soda aisle. It also allows the store to track and record a customer’s movements for later analysis.

The rapid growth of smartphone use has opened a huge new opportunity for marketers to collect detailed location data on consumers, so far mostly outdoors. But the sensitivity of the information has already sparked numerous controversies, including in 2011 when iPhone users discovered their phones were keeping a list of their movements in an unencrypted text file.

And Nordstrom (JWN) created a stir when it was caught last year secretly tracking shoppers’ mobile phones via Wifi in 17 stores. The department store chain quickly ended the practice, which did not include identifying the phones’ owners, after the controversy erupted.

With iBeacons, unlike some more-surreptitious retail location tracking systems that have come to light, however, iPhone users have to give their consent to be tracked by installing an app. So far, just Apple’s own Apple Store app on the iPhone, and coupon and rewards apps from a company called inMarket have disclosed they will use iBeacons for tracking customers.

The scope of risks

But some privacy advocates are concerned the simple explanations offered by the apps when they seek a consumer’s consent don’t come close to revealing just how much data could be collected or how it will be used.

“The scope and the risks and the sharing that takes place now is so far beyond the disclosures consumers typically see,” warns Fordham University law professor Joel Reidenberg. “They’re not in a position to really know.” . . . .

5. As we contemplate the integrity of high-tech corporations, note this article about monopolistic practices by Silicon Valley high-tech companies. Are these entities trustworthy? Do you trust them with your personal information?

“The Tech­to­pus: How Sil­i­con Valley’s Most Cel­e­brated CEOs Con­spired to Drive Down 100,000 Tech Engi­neers’ Wages” by Mark Ames; Pan­do­Daily; 1/23/2014. [15]

In early 2005, as demand for Sil­i­con Val­ley engi­neers began boom­ing [26]Apple’s Steve Jobs sealed a secret and ille­gal pact with Google’s Eric Schmidt to arti­fi­cially push their work­ers wages lower by agree­ing not to recruit each other’s employ­ees, shar­ing wage scale infor­ma­tion, and pun­ish­ing vio­la­tors. On Feb­ru­ary 27, 2005, Bill Camp­bell, a mem­ber of Apple’s board of direc­tors and senior advi­sor [27] to Google, emailed Jobs to con­firm that Eric Schmidt “got directly involved and firmly stopped all efforts to recruit any­one from Apple.”

Later that year, Schmidt instructed his Sr VP for Busi­ness Oper­a­tion Shona Brown to keep the pact a secret and only share infor­ma­tion “ver­bally, since I don’t want to cre­ate a paper trail over which we can be sued later?”

These secret con­ver­sa­tions and agree­ments between some of the biggest names in Sil­i­con Val­ley were first exposed in a Depart­ment of Jus­tice antitrust inves­ti­ga­tion [28] launched by the Obama Admin­is­tra­tion in 2010. That DOJ suit became the basis of a class action law­suit [29] filed on behalf of over 100,000 tech employ­ees whose wages were arti­fi­cially low­ered — an esti­mated $9 bil­lion [30] effec­tively stolen by the high-flying com­pa­nies from their work­ers to pad com­pany earn­ings — in the sec­ond half of the 2000s. Last week, the 9th Cir­cuit Court of Appeals denied attempts by Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe to have the law­suit tossed, and gave final approval for the class action suit to go for­ward. A jury trial date has been set for May 27 in San Jose, before US Dis­trict Court judge Lucy Koh, who presided over the Samsung-Apple patent suit.

In a related but sep­a­rate inves­ti­ga­tion and ongo­ing suit, eBay and its for­mer CEO Meg Whit­man, now CEO of HP, are being sued by both the fed­eral gov­ern­ment [31] and the state of Cal­i­for­nia [32] for arrang­ing a sim­i­lar, secret wage-theft agree­ment with Intuit (and pos­si­bly Google as well) dur­ing the same period.

The secret wage-theft agree­ments between Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar (now owned by Dis­ney) are described in court papers obtained by Pan­do­Daily as “an over­ar­ch­ing con­spir­acy” in vio­la­tion of the Sher­man Antitrust Act and the Clay­ton Antitrust Act, and at times it reads like some­thing lifted straight out of the rob­ber baron era that pro­duced those laws. Today’s inequal­ity cri­sis is America’sworst on record [33] since sta­tis­tics were first recorded a hun­dred years ago — the only com­par­i­son would be to the era of the rail­road tycoons in the late 19th century.

Shortly after seal­ing the pact with Google, Jobs strong-armed Adobe into join­ing after he com­plained to CEO Bruce Chizen that Adobe was recruit­ing Apple’s employ­ees. . . .

6. Bill Moyers has noted the sort of oppressive behavior that corproations are capable of manifesting.

“You Won’t Believe How One Chem­i­cal Com­pany Tried to Dis­credit a Scientist’s Research”;  [34]BillMoyers.com; 2/10/2014. [34]

Rachel Aviv has a reported piece in The New Yorker that reads like pulp fic­tion. She tells the tale of a sci­en­tist who dis­cov­ered that a pop­u­lar her­bi­cide may have harm­ful effects on the endocrine sys­tem. As he con­tin­ued to inves­ti­gate the mat­ter, he came to believe that the chemical’s man­u­fac­turer was out to get him. He thought they were fol­low­ing him to con­fer­ences, tap­ping his phones and sys­tem­at­i­cally try­ing to drive a wedge between him and the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity. Many of his col­leagues believed that he was para­noid until a law­suit yielded a slew of inter­nal cor­po­rate doc­u­ments show­ing that every­thing he imag­ined the com­pany had been doing to dis­credit his work had in fact been true.

As Kath­leen Geier put it [35] for the Wash­ing­ton Monthly, “This story reads like your most para­noid, far-out con­spir­a­to­r­ial left-wing night­mare come true.” . . .

7. In an inter­view with USA Today, for­mer NSA chief Michael Hay­den urged the rejec­tion of an advi­sory panel’s sug­ges­tions con­cern­ing the NSA.

He noted that meta­data would be far more secure with NSA than with inter­net and/or telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies and/or “third par­ties.” (Such stor­age was among the rec­om­men­da­tions of the panel.)

Hayden’s point is very well taken. In a future episode of “The Adven­tures of Eddie the Friendly Spook,” we will dis­cuss the “pub­lic ver­sus pri­vate” dynamic at play here.

Hay­den also notes that the Fourth Amend­ment is not an inter­na­tional treaty. It does not, and never has, applied to U.S. citizens.

“For­mer NSA Chief: Reject Pro­pos­als” by Susan Page; USA Today; 12/31/2013; p. 4A. [16]

In the inter­view with USA Today’s weekly video news­maker series. Hayden:

  • Said the vast data on Amer­i­cans phone records are “far safer and pri­vacy is far more secured with NSA hold­ing the data than some third party.” The com­mis­sion rec­om­mended that the phone com­pa­nies or a third party take over stor­ing the data.” . . . .
  • . . . . Ridiculed a pro­posal to increase pro­tec­tions for per­sonal data about non-citizens abroad. “The Fourth Amend­ment to our Con­sti­tu­tion is not an inter­na­tional treaty,” he said. For those who aren’t cov­ered by its pro­tec­tions, he said, “if your com­mu­ni­ca­tions con­tain infor­ma­tion that make Amer­i­cans more safe and more free, game on.”

8. Michael del Castillo takes stock of the possibiltiy that Palantir might become the repository for the metadata. We analyzed Palantir in FTR #757 [36]. Palantir’s largest stock holder is Peter Thiel, whom we analyzed in FTR #718–In Your Facebook: A Virtual Panopticon [37]?

“Who will be Obama’s ‘Third Party?’” by Michael del Castillo; Upstart Busi­ness Jour­nal; 1/21/2014. [18]

The UpTake: Cit­i­zens of the world who were tired of how much of their per­sonal data the U.S. gov­ern­ment con­trolled may soon have to get used to a dif­fer­ent dilemma: That same infor­ma­tion being con­trolled by a pri­vate company.

There’s a startup in the rafters that’s just been wait­ing for this moment.

Last Fri­day, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama announced [38]sweep­ing changes to the way the gov­ern­ment stores and ana­lyzes infor­ma­tion about tele­phone calls both in the United States and around the world.

Though he [Obama] made it very clear that the National Secu­rity Agency will soon cease keep­ing a store of all those ones and zeros, he left his options open as to whether the new gate­keep­ers will be the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies them­selves, or some mys­te­ri­ous “third party.”

From the moment he said those two words I couldn’t get one word out of my head: Palantir.

Cofounded in 2004 by Pay­Pal cofounder Peter Thiel, who is also an investor through his Founders Fund ven­ture cap­i­tal firm, the Palo Alto, California-based com­pany that raised $605 mil­lion in ven­ture cap­i­tal accord­ing [39]to Crunch­base, took its seed round of fund­ing from In-Q-Tel, the ven­ture cap­i­tal branch of the U.S. intel­li­gence community.

Since then, Palantir’s tech­nol­ogy, which the Times called “the most effec­tive tool to date to inves­ti­gate ter­ror­ist net­works,” has been used to “detect and elim­i­nate sophis­ti­cated crim­i­nal activ­ity,” to “har­ness massive-scale cyber data to under­stand net­work activ­ity, limit expo­sure and harden secu­rity against cyber secu­rity threats,” and to “effi­ciently, effec­tively, and securely exploit and ana­lyze data to drive more informed oper­a­tion of plan­ning and strate­gic deci­sion mak­ing,” accord­ing to the company’s own site [40].

With employ­ees like for­mer CIA and FBI “coun­tert­er­ror­ist” Nada Nadim Prouty, who served the gov­ern­ment until it was dis­cov­ered [41]she wasn’t in the coun­try legally, for­mer U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Glenn Nye, and for­mer U.S. ambas­sador to Greece and Belarus Daniel Speck­hard all listed as cur­rent employ­ees of Palan­tir on LinkedIn, the com­pany would likely have few prob­lems serv­ing as a bridge between the pri­vate sec­tor and the public.

But what per­haps makes Palan­tir most inter­est­ing as a poten­tial “third party” to hold the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions industry’s meta­data is the company’s founders’ stated lib­er­tar­ian leanings.

Palantir’s biggest rival, I2, was acquired by IBM in 2011, leav­ing pri­vate defense con­trac­tors and a hand­ful of other In-Q-Tel-funded big data star­tups as what we con­sider top con­tenders for the “third party” position.

Unless of course, the gov­ern­ment (and those who elected the gov­ern­ment) don’t mind hav­ing IBM or another mas­sive con­glom­er­ate hold­ing onto their pri­vate data.

Either way, some com­pany, or group of com­pa­nies, is about to take cen­ter stage in the pri­vacy debate in a pretty big way.

Per­haps the sin­gle most impor­tant ques­tion in the entire debate is this: Who would we really pre­fer holds onto all that meta­data that paints a per­sonal pic­ture of our lives, but can also be used to pro­tect us? The gov­ern­ment, the phone com­pa­nies, old-school big data firms, or a newby to the game with some seri­ous startup cred?

We reached out to Palan­tir for com­ment and will keep you posted as we learn more.

9. With regard to due legal process and judicial oversight, WHAT court of judicial body authorized Edward Snowden or Bradley Manning to do what they did? They are NOT whistleblowers! They used web-crawling technology to vacuum a number of files far too voluminous for them to have read. Who authorized THEM to do what they did?

What judicial authority oversees who gets that information or what is done with that!

“Snowden Used Low-Cost Tool to Best N.S.A.” by David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt; The New York Times; 2/8/2014. [19]

Intelligence officials investigating how Edward J. Snowden gained access to a huge trove of the country’s most highly classified documents say they have determined that he used inexpensive and widely available software to “scrape” the National Security Agency’s networks, and kept at it even after he was briefly challenged by agency officials.

Using “web crawler” software designed to search, index and back up a website, Mr. Snowden “scraped data out of our systems” while he went about his day job, according to a senior intelligence official. “We do not believe this was an individual sitting at a machine and downloading this much material in sequence,” the official said. The process, he added, was “quite automated.” . . . .

. . . . Similar techniques were used by Chelsea Manning, then known as Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was convicted of turning documents and videos over to WikiLeaks in 2010. . . .

10. John Young, an orig­i­nal Wik­iLeaks founder, on why he broke with the group: [22]

Again, what judicial or governmental/civic authority has sanctioned WikiLeaks’ activities?

“Wikileaks’ Estranged Co-Founder Becomes a Critic (Q&A)” by Declan McCullagh; C/Net; 7/20/2010. [22]

“. . . they’re act­ing like a cult. They’re act­ing like a reli­gion. They’re act­ing like a gov­ern­ment. They’re act­ing like a bunch of spies. They’re hid­ing their iden­tity. They don’t account for the money. They promise all sorts of good things. They sel­dom let you know what they’re really up to. . . There was sus­pi­cion from day one that this was entrap­ment run by some­one unknown to suck a num­ber of peo­ple into a trap. So we actu­ally don’t know. But it’s cer­tainly a stan­dard coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence tech­nique. . . .” 

11. WikiLeaks is partnered with the Russian “phishing mafia”–sophisticated internet criminals who datamine for criminal purposes.

Note, also, the enormous body of information that Assange claims he has amassed. What judicial or governmental authority has sanctioned WikiLeaks [42]to utilize this information?

Notice in the following passage how much data WikiLeaks seems to have. Do YOU trust them with that information? What court authorization do they have to amass so much data about so many people?

http://cryptome.org/wikileaks/wikileaks-leak.htm [21]

To: John Young
From: Wik­ileaks
Sub­ject: martha stu­art pgp
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 12:20:25 –0500

J. We are going to fuck them all. Chi­nese mostly, but not entirely a feint. Inven­tion abounds. Lies, twists and dis­torts every­where needed for pro­tec­tion. Hack­ers mon­i­tor Chi­nese and other intel as they bur­row into their tar­gets, when they pull, so do we.

Inex­haustible sup­ply of mate­r­ial. Near 100,000 documents/emails a day. [Ital­ics are mine–D.E.] We’re going to crack the world open and let it flower into some­thing new. If fleec­ing the CIA will assist us, then fleece we will. We have pull­backs from NED, CFR, Free­dom­house and other CIA teats. We have all of pre 2005 Afghanistan. Almost all of India fed. Half a dozen for­eign min­istries. Dozens of polit­i­cal par­ties and con­sulates, World­bank, apec, UN sec­tions, trade groups, Tibet and Fulan Dafa asso­ci­a­tions and… Russ­ian phish­ing mafia who pull data every­where. We’re drown­ing. We don’t even know a tenth of what we have or who it belongs to. We stopped stor­ing it at 1Tb.” . . . .

12. More about the ele­ment of Russ­ian orga­nized crime involved with WikiLeaks–what Assange in an inter­view called “Russ­ian phish­ing mafia.” [21] In what may be a log­i­cal devel­op­ment from WikiLeaks’ partnership with the “phishers,” a Russ­ian mafia data theft con­sor­tium is host­ing their OWN wik­iLeaks! And Assange and co are appar­ently not com­ment­ing on it or doing any­thing to redi­rect those look­ing for the “Real” Wik­iLeaks to the right sites.

“Wik­iLeaks Mir­ror Mal­ware Warn­ing” by Quentin Jenk­ins; Spamhaus; 12/14/2010. [20]

…Spamhaus has for over a year regarded Hei­hachi as an out­fit run ‘by crim­i­nals for crim­i­nals’ in the same mould as the crim­i­nal Est­do­mains. The Panama-registered but Russian-run heihachi.net is highly involved in bot­net com­mand and con­trol and the host­ing of Russ­ian cyber­crime. We also note that the con­tent at mirror.wikileaks.info is rather unlike what’s at the real Wik­ileaks mir­rors which sug­gests that the wikileaks.info site may not be under the con­trol of Wik­ileaks itself, but rather some other group. You can find the real site at wikileaks.ch, wikileaks.is, wikileaks.nl, and many other mir­ror sites around the world.

…Cur­rently wikileaks.info is serv­ing leaked doc­u­ments to the world, from a server con­trolled by Russ­ian cyber­crim­i­nals, to an audi­ence that faith­fully believes any­thing with a ‘Wik­ileaks’ logo on it. That has got to send shiv­ers down the spines of ratio­nal minds.

…In a state­ment released today on wikileaks.info enti­tled “Spamhaus’ False Alle­ga­tions Against wikileaks.info”, the per­son run­ning the wikileaks.info site (which is not con­nected with Julian Assange or the real Wik­ileaks orga­ni­za­tion) called Spamhaus’s infor­ma­tion on his cyber­crime host “false” and “none of our busi­ness” and called on peo­ple to con­tact Spamhaus and “voice your opin­ion”. Con­se­quently Spamhaus has now received a num­ber of emails some ask­ing if we “want to be next”, some telling us to stop black­list­ing Wik­ileaks (obvi­ously they don’t under­stand that we never did) and oth­ers claim­ing we are “a pawn of US Gov­ern­ment Agencies”.

…Few of the peo­ple who con­tacted us realised that the ‘press release’ they had read was not writ­ten by Wik­ileaks and not issued by Wik­ileaks — but by the wikileaks.info site only — the very site we are warn­ing about (which by no coin­ci­dence is hosted on the same Russ­ian based cybercrime-run heihachi.net server as irc.anonops.net). Many peo­ple thought that the “press release” was issued “by Wik­ileaks”. In fact there has been no press release about this by Wik­ileaks and none of the offi­cial Wik­ileaks mir­rors sites even recog­nise the wikileaks.info mir­ror. We won­der how long it will be before Wik­ileaks sup­port­ers wake up and start to ques­tion why wikileaks.info is not on the list of real Wik­ileaks mir­rors at wikileaks.ch.

… Spamhaus con­tin­ues to warn Wik­ileaks read­ers to make sure they are view­ing and down­load­ing doc­u­ments only from an offi­cial Wik­ileaks mir­ror site. Mean­while, despite many attempts to con­tact the real Wik­ileaks, there has been no word from Wik­ileaks itself. . . .