Archive for the ‘Anarchitext Files’ Category

XKeyscore: NSA tool collects ‘nearly everything you do on the internet’

01/08/2013 Leave a comment

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Just when you thought the scale of the NSA’s surveillance programs couldn’t get more superlative, new details about a special software suite show that analysts can access “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet.” If it uses HTTP, the NSA can get it.

The software’s known as X-Keyscore, and it’s gnarly. Not only does it let NSA agents and contractors like Edward Snowden (who leaked the documents detailing its existence) search the internet for a specific user, it also lets them learn the IP addresses of everybody who visited a particular website. Once users of interest are identified, X-Keyscore enables the agency to pull granular information on anything from email histories to social networking activity, even down to the user’s buddy lists and specific chats.

Legally, X-Keyscore can’t be used on Americans without a warrant, but as The Guardian’s Glenn Greewald points out, there are no technical specifications that would prevent them from doing so. Greenwald explains:

• XKeyscore gives ‘widest-reaching’ collection of online data
• NSA analysts require no prior authorization for searches
• Sweeps up emails, social media activity and browsing history

A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its “widest-reaching” system for developing intelligence from the internet.

The latest revelations will add to the intense public and congressional debate around the extent of NSA surveillance programs. They come as senior intelligence officials testify to the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday, releasing classified documents in response to the Guardian’s earlier stories on bulk collection of phone records and Fisa surveillance court oversight.

The files shed light on one of Snowden’s most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10.

“I, sitting at my desk,” said Snowden, could “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email”.

US officials vehemently denied this specific claim. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden’s assertion: “He’s lying. It’s impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do.”

But training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search. The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed.

XKeyscore, the documents boast, is the NSA’s “widest reaching” system developing intelligence from computer networks – what the agency calls Digital Network Intelligence (DNI). One presentation claims the program covers “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet”, including the content of emails, websites visited and searches, as well as their metadata.

Analysts can also use XKeyscore and other NSA systems to obtain ongoing “real-time” interception of an individual’s internet activity.

Under US law, the NSA is required to obtain an individualized Fisa warrant only if the target of their surveillance is a ‘US person’, though no such warrant is required for intercepting the communications of Americans with foreign targets. But XKeyscore provides the technological capability, if not the legal authority, to target even US persons for extensive electronic surveillance without a warrant provided that some identifying information, such as their email or IP address, is known to the analyst.

One training slide illustrates the digital activity constantly being collected by XKeyscore and the analyst’s ability to query the databases at any time.

KS1The purpose of XKeyscore is to allow analysts to search the metadata as well as the content of emails and other internet activity, such as browser history, even when there is no known email account (a “selector” in NSA parlance) associated with the individual being targeted.

Analysts can also search by name, telephone number, IP address, keywords, the language in which the internet activity was conducted or the type of browser used.

One document notes that this is because “strong selection [search by email address] itself gives us only a very limited capability” because “a large amount of time spent on the web is performing actions that are anonymous.”

The NSA documents assert that by 2008, 300 terrorists had been captured using intelligence from XKeyscore.

Analysts are warned that searching the full database for content will yield too many results to sift through. Instead they are advised to use the metadata also stored in the databases to narrow down what to review.

A slide entitled “plug-ins” in a December 2012 document describes the various fields of information that can be searched. It includes “every email address seen in a session by both username and domain”, “every phone number seen in a session (eg address book entries or signature block)” and user activity – “the webmail and chat activity to include username, buddylist, machine specific cookies etc”.

Email monitoring

In a second Guardian interview in June, Snowden elaborated on his statement about being able to read any individual’s email if he had their email address. He said the claim was based in part on the email search capabilities of XKeyscore, which Snowden says he was authorized to use while working as a Booz Allen contractor for the NSA.

One top-secret document describes how the program “searches within bodies of emails, webpages and documents”, including the “To, From, CC, BCC lines” and the ‘Contact Us’ pages on websites”.

To search for emails, an analyst using XKS enters the individual’s email address into a simple online search form, along with the “justification” for the search and the time period for which the emails are sought.

KS2KS3edit2The analyst then selects which of those returned emails they want to read by opening them in NSA reading software.

The system is similar to the way in which NSA analysts generally can intercept the communications of anyone they select, including, as one NSA document put it, “communications that transit the United States and communications that terminate in the United States”.

One document, a top secret 2010 guide describing the training received by NSA analysts for general surveillance under the Fisa Amendments Act of 2008, explains that analysts can begin surveillance on anyone by clicking a few simple pull-down menus designed to provide both legal and targeting justifications. Once options on the pull-down menus are selected, their target is marked for electronic surveillance and the analyst is able to review the content of their communications:


Chats, browsing history and other internet activity

Beyond emails, the XKeyscore system allows analysts to monitor a virtually unlimited array of other internet activities, including those within social media.

An NSA tool called DNI Presenter, used to read the content of stored emails, also enables an analyst using XKeyscore to read the content of Facebook chats or private messages.

KS55editAn analyst can monitor such Facebook chats by entering the Facebook user name and a date range into a simple search screen.

KS6Analysts can search for internet browsing activities using a wide range of information, including search terms entered by the user or the websites viewed.

KS7As one slide indicates, the ability to search HTTP activity by keyword permits the analyst access to what the NSA calls “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet”.

KS8The XKeyscore program also allows an analyst to learn the IP addresses of every person who visits any website the analyst specifies.

KS9The quantity of communications accessible through programs such as XKeyscore is staggeringly large. One NSA report from 2007 estimated that there were 850bn “call events” collected and stored in the NSA databases, and close to 150bn internet records. Each day, the document says, 1-2bn records were added.

William Binney, a former NSA mathematician, said last year that the agency had “assembled on the order of 20tn transactions about US citizens with other US citizens”, an estimate, he said, that “only was involving phone calls and emails”. A 2010 Washington Post article reported that “every day, collection systems at the [NSA] intercept and store 1.7bn emails, phone calls and other type of communications.”

The XKeyscore system is continuously collecting so much internet data that it can be stored only for short periods of time. Content remains on the system for only three to five days, while metadata is stored for 30 days. One document explains: “At some sites, the amount of data we receive per day (20+ terabytes) can only be stored for as little as 24 hours.”

To solve this problem, the NSA has created a multi-tiered system that allows analysts to store “interesting” content in other databases, such as one named Pinwale which can store material for up to five years.

It is the databases of XKeyscore, one document shows, that now contain the greatest amount of communications data collected by the NSA.

KS10In 2012, there were at least 41 billion total records collected and stored in XKeyscore for a single 30-day period.

KS11Legal v technical restrictions

While the Fisa Amendments Act of 2008 requires an individualized warrant for the targeting of US persons, NSA analysts are permitted to intercept the communications of such individuals without a warrant if they are in contact with one of the NSA’s foreign targets.

The ACLU’s deputy legal director, Jameel Jaffer, told the Guardian last month that national security officials expressly said that a primary purpose of the new law was to enable them to collect large amounts of Americans’ communications without individualized warrants.

“The government doesn’t need to ‘target’ Americans in order to collect huge volumes of their communications,” said Jaffer. “The government inevitably sweeps up the communications of many Americans” when targeting foreign nationals for surveillance.

An example is provided by one XKeyscore document showing an NSA target in Tehran communicating with people in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and New York.

KS12In recent years, the NSA has attempted to segregate exclusively domestic US communications in separate databases. But even NSA documents acknowledge that such efforts are imperfect, as even purely domestic communications can travel on foreign systems, and NSA tools are sometimes unable to identify the national origins of communications.

Moreover, all communications between Americans and someone on foreign soil are included in the same databases as foreign-to-foreign communications, making them readily searchable without warrants.

Some searches conducted by NSA analysts are periodically reviewed by their supervisors within the NSA. “It’s very rare to be questioned on our searches,” Snowden told the Guardian in June, “and even when we are, it’s usually along the lines of: ‘let’s bulk up the justification’.”

In a letter this week to senator Ron Wyden, director of national intelligence James Clapper acknowledged that NSA analysts have exceeded even legal limits as interpreted by the NSA in domestic surveillance.

Acknowledging what he called “a number of compliance problems”, Clapper attributed them to “human error” or “highly sophisticated technology issues” rather than “bad faith”.

However, Wyden said on the Senate floor on Tuesday: “These violations are more serious than those stated by the intelligence community, and are troubling.”

In a statement to the Guardian, the NSA said: “NSA’s activities are focused and specifically deployed against – and only against – legitimate foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements that our leaders need for information necessary to protect our nation and its interests.

“XKeyscore is used as a part of NSA’s lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system.

“Allegations of widespread, unchecked analyst access to NSA collection data are simply not true. Access to XKeyscore, as well as all of NSA’s analytic tools, is limited to only those personnel who require access for their assigned tasks … In addition, there are multiple technical, manual and supervisory checks and balances within the system to prevent deliberate misuse from occurring.”

“Every search by an NSA analyst is fully auditable, to ensure that they are proper and within the law.

“These types of programs allow us to collect the information that enables us to perform our missions successfully – to defend the nation and to protect US and allied troops abroad.”



NSA’s XKeyscore program – read one of the presentations


Google’s Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’

03/06/2013 Leave a comment


Published: June 1, 2013 in The New York Times

“THE New Digital Age” is a startlingly clear and provocative blueprint for technocratic imperialism, from two of its leading witch doctors, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, who construct a new idiom for United States global power in the 21st century. This idiom reflects the ever closer union between the State Department and Silicon Valley, as personified by Mr. Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, and Mr. Cohen, a former adviser to Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton who is now director of Google Ideas.

The authors met in occupied Baghdad in 2009, when the book was conceived. Strolling among the ruins, the two became excited that consumer technology was transforming a society flattened by United States military occupation. They decided the tech industry could be a powerful agent of American foreign policy.

The book proselytizes the role of technology in reshaping the world’s people and nations into likenesses of the world’s dominant superpower, whether they want to be reshaped or not. The prose is terse, the argument confident and the wisdom — banal. But this isn’t a book designed to be read. It is a major declaration designed to foster alliances.

“The New Digital Age” is, beyond anything else, an attempt by Google to position itself as America’s geopolitical visionary — the one company that can answer the question “Where should America go?” It is not surprising that a respectable cast of the world’s most famous warmongers has been trotted out to give its stamp of approval to this enticement to Western soft power. The acknowledgments give pride of place to Henry Kissinger, who along with Tony Blair and the former C.I.A. director Michael Hayden provided advance praise for the book. Read more…

تقرير مراسلون بلا حدود السنوي عن حرية الصحافة لعام 2013

03/05/2013 Leave a comment


أصدرت منظمة مراسلون بلا حدود تقريرها السنوي عن حرية الصحافة في العالم، متضمناً تصنيف لحرية الصحافة في دول الربيع العربي، و أظهر التصنيف أن حرية الصحافة في تلك الدول (خاصة التي تغيرت الأنظمة الحاكمة بها مثل مصر و ليبيا و تونس) لم تتحسن بالقدر المتوقع بعد الثورات التي هزت أركانها. و إحتلت مصر المركز 158 بتحسن 8 طفيف عن العام السابق، بينما تراجعت تونس 4 مراكز لتحتل المركز 138، و جاءت سوريا في ذيل القائمة لتحتل المركز 176 و هو المركز الأخير قبل ما يسمى بالمثلث الشيطاني و هو تركمستان و شمال كوريا و أريتريا.

و جاء في القرير:

بعض الحكومات التي أفرزتها هذه الأحداث انقلبت على الصحافيين والمواطنين الذين نقلوا صدى المطالب والطموحات من أجل الحريات على نطاق واسع. تونس، ومصر، جاءا في مرتبتين غير مشرفتين بسبب ما حصل فيهما من فراغ قانوني، وتعيينات على رأس وسائل الاعلام العمومية واعتداءات جسدية، ومحاكمات متكررة. في حين جاءت ليبيا التي سجلت تقدما هذا العام (المركز 131)، فكرة عن المطبات التي
عليها أن تتفادى الوقوع فيها لتضمن انتقالا نحو صحافة حرة وتحافظ على ذلك.
سوريا (المرتية 176)، البلد اكثر دموية للصحافيين في عام 2012، حيث تشهد حربا إعلامية شعواء لم ترحم أ الصحافيين ولا المواطنين، وهي لا تزال واقعة بين براثن نظام بشار الاسد الذي لا يتردد في شيء من آجل القمع في صمت، وأيضا فصائل المعارضة الغير المتسامحة مع
الأصوات المخالفة لها.

و من الجدير بالذكر أيضاً أن إسرائيل قد تراجعت في الترتيب 20 مركز لتحتل المركز 112 بسبب إنتهاكات الجيش الإسرائيلي و التي تمت هذا العام على نطاق أوسع.

قراءة التقرير كاملاً:



Social Media Election

29/01/2013 Leave a comment


Anyone with a Facebook or Twitter account has probably noticed an increase in the number of political postings over the past few years. This is due, in part, to the explosive rise in social media outlets and users. But voters are not the only people who use social media; among politicians, 9 out of 10 Senators and Representatives have Twitter accounts. However, many are starting to wonder if social media is becoming less a reporter of political races and more of a predictor of the results. In Senate races, the candidate with more Facebook friends than his or her opponent has won 81% of the time. And one email sent to 60 million Facebook users prompted an additional 340,000 people to vote in the 2010 election. This infographic illustrates just how politics and social media are affecting each other.


Info-graphic & post by

More Stencils to say “No” to the Egyptian Constitution Draft – استنسلات جديدة لدعم “لا لمسودة” الدستور المصري

20/12/2012 Leave a comment

New Stencils to campaign for  “No” to the Egyptian Constitution Draft & for raising awareness before the 2nd round of the National referendum of 22 December.
Save, Print, Cutout and Spray.

المزيد من الاستنسلات للترويج للتصويت بلا لمسودة الدستور المصري و نشر التوعية قبل المرحلة الثانية من الإستفتاء على مسودة الدستور 22 ديسمبر 2012.

إحفظ، إطبع، قطع و رش


PDF version available here: No Dostor 2


PDF version available here: Dostor Poison


PDF version available here: Army Beard

لمعرفة ليه لأ، إقرأ: لا لمسودة الدستور المصري

AnarchitexT Graffiti gets Published on Guardian and Al Arabiya

13/12/2012 Leave a comment

The outcome of two heavy weeks at Ithadia (Egyptian Presidential Palace), protesting the New Presidential constitutional amendments of November 22, which effectively Made Morsi an undisputed dictator; and the Referendum on the New Egyptian Constitution Draft set for December 15.

These were the Graffitis we painted on the Ithadia Palace walls, saying :
No to the Pharoah Morsi
No to the Ikhwani Constitution






The Graffitis were published in two new outlets, Al Arabiya & Guardian.








Here are the links for the Stencils used for the graffitis if anyone would like to spread the Joy!

No Stencil



Video: No to the Egyptian Constitution Referendum – رموز مصر بجد قالو لأ [HD]

12/12/2012 Leave a comment

A little something we made hastily to counter Ikhwani propaganda!

الإعنرضات على نصوص المسودة الباطلة فموجودة بالتفصيل في هذه القائمة:

إعتراضات على مسودة الدستور

 و الملخص للتوزيع:

ملخص الإعترضات على المسودة