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Category: Privacy

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Face-grab photos are ‘nonsense’, says Ben Stokes’s wife

Clare Stokes says images that seemed to show couple fighting were ‘twisted’ by paparazziThe wife of the cricketer Ben Stokes has dismissed allegations of a physical altercation between the couple at an awards ceremony.Pictures have emerged of Stokes an…

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Commonwealth Games wifi service will mine visitors’ Facebook data

The data mining, which the Gold Coast council says is legal, will be used to market the city to touristsThe Gold Coast council will use a new city wifi service to harvest Facebook data from visitors to next month’s Commonwealth Games.The data mining, w…

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Publication of hacked David Beckham emails renders injunction worthless

Beckham team left frustrated after ‘stolen information’ about celebrity’s tax affairs and failure to get knighthood made public

A high court injunction blocking the publication of David Beckham’s hacked personal emails has been rendered worthless after a consortium of European media outlets from Romania to France published anyway.

Beckham’s team expressed deep frustration that “stolen information”, which had been prohibited from publication by the high court, had come to light, and that it was no longer possible to keep the information confidential.

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Publication of hacked David Beckham emails renders injunction worthless

Beckham team left frustrated after ‘stolen information’ about celebrity’s tax affairs and failure to get knighthood made public

A high court injunction blocking the publication of David Beckham’s hacked personal emails has been rendered worthless after a consortium of European media outlets from Romania to France published anyway.

Beckham’s team expressed deep frustration that “stolen information”, which had been prohibited from publication by the high court, had come to light, and that it was no longer possible to keep the information confidential.

Continue reading…

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Max Mosley: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey? I’ve heard it’s very vanilla’

When a tabloid sting exposed his colourful sex life, Max Mosley – son of fascist leader Oswald and Mitford sister Diana – took on the News of the World and won. As his autobiography is published, the former Formula One boss talks openly about his politics, his parents – and his taste for S&M

The preparation for my interview with Max Mosley has been like no interview preparation I’ve ever done before. I read the subject’s new autobiography, Formula One and Beyond – so far, so normal. And then his interview cuts – ditto. And then I typed his name into YouTube and watch a video featuring covert footage of him being spanked by an assortment of partially clothed women.

Despite all his efforts, it’s still out there on the internet. It is a bit embarrassing. And that’s just for me, watching it. God knows what it’s like for him. How do you cope with knowing there’s a good chance that people you meet are already intimately acquainted with your naked bottom?

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Declassified NSA files show agency spied on Muhammad Ali and MLK

Operation Minaret set up in 1960s to monitor anti-Vietnam critics, branded ‘disreputable if not outright illegal’ by NSA itself

The National Security Agency secretly tapped into the overseas phone calls of prominent critics of the Vietnam War, including Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali and two actively serving US senators, newly declassified material has revealed.

The NSA has been forced to disclose previously secret passages in its own official four-volume history of its Cold War snooping activities. The newly-released material reveals the breathtaking – and probably illegal – lengths the agency went to in the late 1960s and 70s, in an attempt to try to hold back the rising tide of anti-Vietnam war sentiment.

That included tapping into the phone calls and cable communications of two serving senators – the Idaho Democrat Frank Church and Howard Baker, a Republican from Tennessee who, puzzlingly, was a firm supporter of the war effort in Vietnam. The NSA also intercepted the foreign communications of prominent journalists such as Tom Wicker of the New York Times and the popular satirical writer for the Washington Post, Art Buchwald.

Alongside King, a second leading civil rights figure, Whitney Young of the National Urban League, was also surreptitiously monitored. The heavyweight boxing champion, Muhammad Ali, was put on the watch list in about 1967 after he spoke out about Vietnam – he was jailed having refused to be drafted into the army, was stripped of his title, and banned from fighting – and is thought to have remained a target of surveillance for the next six years.

The agency went to great lengths to keep its activities, known as operation Minaret, from public view. All reports generated for Minaret were printed on plain paper unadorned with the NSA logo or other identifying markings other than the stamp “For Background Use Only”. They were delivered by hand directly to the White House, often going specifically to successive presidents Lyndon Johnson who set the programme up in 1967 and Richard Nixon.

The lack of judicial oversight of the snooping programme led even the NSA’s own history to conclude that Minaret was “disreputable if not outright illegal”.

The new disclosures were prized from the current NSA following an appeal to the Security Classification Appeals Panel by the National Security Archive, an independent research institute based at the George Washington university. “Clearly the NSA didn’t want to release this material but they were forced to do so by the American equivalent of the supreme court of freedom of information law,” said Matthew Aid, an intelligence historian specialising in the NSA.

Together with William Burr of the National Security Archive, Aid has co-authored an article in Foreign Policy that explores the significance of the new disclosures. In addition to the seven names of spying targets listed in the NSA history, the two authors confirmed the names of other targets on the watch list from a declassified document at the Gerald Ford presidential library in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

They include the actor Jane Fonda, Weather Underground member Kathy Boudin and black power activist Stokely Carmichael. In total, some 1,650 individuals were tracked by the NSA between 1967 and 1973, though the identities of most of those people remain unknown.

Aid told the Guardian that, in his view, the new material underscores the dangers of unfettered surveillance. Minaret was initially intended for drug traffickers and terrorist suspects, but was twisted, at the request of the White House, to become a tool for tracking legitimate political activities of war protesters.

“If there’s a lesson to be learned from all this, when we are dealing with a non-transparent society such as the intelligence community that has a vast amount of power, then abuses can and usually do happen.”

Public concern about the clandestine interception of anti-war protesters in Minaret helped prompt debate in Congress that in turn led to the formation in 1978 of the Foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court. Paradoxically, the Fisa court is now at the center of the furore surrounding NSA gathering of phone records and internet data following the disclosures of Edward Snowden.

In a further paradox, the Washington debate leading to the formation of the Fisa court was spearheaded by the Church Committee – a Congressional panel named after its chair, Senator Frank Church. That was the same Frank Church who a few years before had himself been placed on the NSA watch list.

“I suspect Senator Church never had any idea the NSA was tapping his phone,” Aid said.

In addition to the new details of Minaret, the declassified passages of the NSA history also disclose the more acceptable face of the agency’s work that played an important part in some of the biggest crises of the Cold War. Its signals tracking of the Soviet Union uncovered evidence in September 1962 that the USSR was put on high alert – a full month before the discovery of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles on Cuban soil provoked the Cuban missile crisis.

A year earlier, the NSA similarly picked up early warning signals that indicated the East German Communist Party was considering blocking all crossing by foot over the border between East and West Berlin – a presager of the building of the Berlin Wall.

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Is it OK to sell love letters?

Last week singer Marsha Hunt sold her 1969 love letters from Mick Jagger at Sotherby’s for close to £200,000. Was she right to do so?Anne de Courcy, writer, journalist and criticAmerican singer Marsha Hunt has sold the love letters written to her by M…