Ukraine-Konflikt - Der Vize-Kommandeur der Nato für Europa, Bradshaw, heizt Spannungen weiter an: Russische Truppen könnten Gebiete der Nato erobern .......... An der russischen Bedrohung gibt es für den britischen General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, derzeit Vize-Kommandeur der Nato für Europa, keine Zweifel. Den "threat from Russia" behandelt er in seiner Rede vor dem Think-Tank RUSI, als Fakt. Darum herum ist nach seiner Ansicht alles ein bisschen hybrid, ambivalent, voller Risken, die bei einer Fehleinschätzung - auch wenn dies derzeit noch nicht der Fall sei - eine "existenzielle Bedrohung für die Nato darstellen".
Die Rede des Nato-Generals zieht heute ihre Kreise. Weil er darin deutlich davor warnt, dass Russland es künftig nicht bei militärischen "Einschüchterungen und Nötigungen" belässt, sondern in Nato-Territorium einmarschieren und es besetzen könnte. "Russische Spannungen könnten zum totalen Krieg eskalieren", fasst der Daily Telegraph zusammen.
Dauernder Wettbewerb mit Russland ....... Man befinde sich in einer Ära des dauernden Wettbewerbs mit Russland, beobachtet Bradshaw an Stellen seiner Rede, die mehr einer realistischen Einschätzung verpflichtet sind, als dem Thrill nachzugeben, aus der Feldherrposition heraus die Lust an Krieggefahrspekulationen anzuwärmen.
Auf den Wettbewerb stieg auch Putin gestern ein, als er dem ständigen Verbalfeuer aus dem Westen entgegenhielt, dass es unmöglich sei, "eine militärische Überlegenheit über Russland zu erlangen und Russland unter Druck zu setzen ". Derartige Abenteuer würden "immer adäquat beantwortet".
Bei ihrer gestrigen Pressekonferenz hatte die Sprecherin des US-Außenministeriums, Jen Psaki, Russland vorgeworfen, dass seine fortdauernde Unterstützung der Angriffe der Separatisten, die auch während der Waffenruhe weitergingen, "die internationale Diplomatie und multilaterale Institutionen, die Fundamente unserer modernen globalen Ordnung, unterminiert". ........... http://www.heise.de/tp/artikel/44/44204/1.html ..............
European officials are demanding answers and investigations into a joint U.S. and U.K. hack of the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile SIM cards, following a report published by The Intercept Thursday.
The report, based on leaked documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, revealed the U.S. spy agency and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, hacked the Franco-Dutch digital security giant Gemalto in a sophisticated heist of encrypted cell-phone keys.
The European Parliament’s chief negotiator on the European Union’s data protection law, Jan Philipp Albrecht, said the hack was “obviously based on some illegal activities.”
“Member states like the U.K. are frankly not respecting the [law of the] Netherlands and partner states,” Albrecht told the Wall Street Journal.
Sophie in ’t Veld, an EU parliamentarian with D66, the Netherlands’ largest opposition party, added, “Year after year we have heard about cowboy practices of secret services, but governments did nothing and kept quiet […] In fact, those very same governments push for ever-more surveillance capabilities, while it remains unclear how effective these practices are.”
“If the average IT whizzkid breaks into a company system, he’ll end up behind bars,” In ’t Veld added in a tweet Friday.
The EU itself is barred from undertaking such investigations, leaving individual countries responsible for looking into cases that impact their national security matters. “We even get letters from the U.K. government saying we shouldn’t deal with these issues because it’s their own issue of national security,” Albrecht said.
Still, lawmakers in the Netherlands are seeking investigations. Gerard Schouw, a Dutch member of parliament, also with the D66 party, has called on Ronald Plasterk, the Dutch Minister of the Interior, to answer questions before parliament. On Tuesday, the Dutch parliament will debate Schouw’s request.
Additionally, European legal experts tell The Intercept, public prosecutors in EU member states that are both party to the Cybercrime Convention, which prohibits computer hacking, and home to Gemalto subsidiaries could pursue investigations into the breach of the company’s systems.
According to secret documents from 2010 and 2011, a joint NSA-GCHQ unit penetrated Gemalto’s internal networks and infiltrated the private communications of its employees in order to steal encryption keys, embedded on tiny SIM cards, which are used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the world. Gemalto produces some 2 billion SIM cards a year.
The company’s clients include AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and some 450 wireless network providers. “[We] believe we have their entire network,” GCHQ boasted in a leaked slide, referring to the Gemalto heist.
In a statement Friday, Gemalto said it was not the target of the attack “per se” but that the operation “was an attempt to try and cast the widest net possible to reach as many mobile phones as possible, with the aim to monitor mobile communications without mobile network operators and users consent.”
“We cannot at this early stage verify the findings of the publication and had no prior knowledge that these agencies were conducting this operation,” the company added. “We take this publication very seriously and will devote all resources necessary to fully investigate and understand the scope of such sophisticated techniques.”
While Gemalto was indeed another casualty in Western governments’ sweeping effort to gather as much global intelligence advantage as possible, the leaked documents make clear that the company was specifically targeted. According to the materials published Thursday, GCHQ used a specific codename–DAPINO GAMMA–to refer to the operations against Gemalto. The spies also actively penetrated the email and social media accounts of Gemalto employees across the world in an effort to steal the company’s encryption keys.
Evidence of the Gemalto breach rattled the digital security community.
“Almost everyone in the world carries cell phones and this is an unprecedented mass attack on the privacy of citizens worldwide,” said Greg Nojeim, Senior Counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology, a non-profit that advocates for digital privacy and free online expression. “While there is certainly value in targeted surveillance of cell phone communications, this coordinated subversion of the trusted technical security infrastructure of cell phones means the US and British governments now have easy access to our mobile communications.”
Dutch security officials have indicated that they had no part in the Gemalto hack. A spokesperson for the Dutch Interior Minister told The Intercept the country’s intelligence service “does not cooperate” with hacking attempts and other surveillance by “a foreign service to practices that are not allowed.”
For Gemalto, evidence that their vaunted security systems and the privacy of the customers had been compromised by the world’s top spy agencies made an immediate financial impact. The company’s shares took a dive on the Paris bourse Friday, falling $500 million. In the U.S., Gemalto’s shares fell as much 10 percent Friday morning. They had recovered somewhat—down four percent—by the close of trading on the Euronext stock exchange. Analysts at Dutch financial services company Rabobank speculated in a research note that Gemalto could be forced to recall “a large number” of SIM cards.
The French daily L’Express noted today that Gemalto board member Alex Mandl was a founding trustee of the CIA-funded venture capital firm In-Q-Tel. Mandl resigned from In-Q-Tel’s board in 2002, when he was appointed CEO of Gemplus, which later merged with another company to become Gemalto. But the CIA connection still dogged Mandl, with the French press regularly insinuating that American spies could infiltrate the company. In 2003, a group of French lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to create a commission to investigate Gemplus’ ties to the CIA and its implications for the security of SIM cards. Mandl, an Austrian-American businessman who was once a top executive at AT&T, has denied that he had any relationship with the CIA beyond In-Q-Tel. In 2002, he said he did not even have a security clearance.
AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon could not be reached for comment Friday. Sprint declined to comment. Vodafone, the world’s second largest telecom provider by subscribers and a customer of Gemalto, said in a statement, “[W]e have no further details of these allegations which are industrywide in nature and are not focused on any one mobile operator. We will support industry bodies and Gemalto in their investigations.”
Deutsche Telekom AG, a German company, said it has changed encryption algorithms in its Gemalto SIM cards.
“We currently have no knowledge that this additional protection mechanism has been compromised,” the company said in a statement. “However, we cannot rule out this completely.”
Update: Asked about the SIM card heist, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said he did not expect the news would hurt relations with the tech industry:
“It’s hard for me to imagine that there are a lot of technology executives that are out there that are in a position of saying that they hope that people who wish harm to this country will be able to use their technology to do so. So, I do think in fact that there are opportunities for the private sector and the federal government to coordinate and to cooperate on these efforts, both to keep the country safe, but also to protect our civil liberties.”
Photo: Peter Dejong/AP
The post European Lawmakers Demand Answers on Phone Key Theft appeared first on The Intercept.
The state of New York is illegally shackling incarcerated women during childbirth, according to a new report on reproductive justice from the Correctional Association of New York.
“Women continue to be shackled on the way to the hospital (even when they are in labor), during recovery (even within hours after giving birth and for long periods of time), and on the way back to the prison (even with waist chains just days after having a C-section),” the report said. New York passed an anti-shackling statute in 2009, but according to the Correctional Association, “23 of 27 women the CA surveyed who gave birth after the law went into effect said they were shackled at least once in violation of the statute.”
In many ways, the state of New York is abusing pregnant, incarcerated women all over again, given that 90% of all incarcerated women experienced sexual and physical abuse before heading to prison, according to the report.
Every year nearly 2,000 women give birth in America’s prisons and jails. Being jailed is a traumatic experience for women in and of itself, given the lack of training and concern for incarcerated women. But “this trauma is compounded by the lack of supportive services to help women grapple with the issues that led them to prison and the challenges they face once inside, including being separated from their families,” the Correctional Association said. Dani McCalin, writing at Truthout, reported that, “Women who are not pregnant use newspaper and magazines while on their periods because they are not provided an adequate number of pads.”
Now, couple pregnancy with incarceration and one can only imagine the horror that pregnant inmates face. In New York, pregnant women complained that prison officials did not provide them with enough food, adequate prenatal care, vitamins, heat, ventilation or privacy. The report highlighted how such an environment left many women “feeling depressed and ill-equipped to find stable homes for their babies.”
Clearly, the shackling of pregnant of women is an incredibly painful experience. “Shackling causes physical and psychological pain. It heightens the risk of blood clots and limits the mobility that someone needs for a safe pregnancy and safe delivery. It can cause fetal death”, the Correctional Association’s Tamar Kraft-Stolar said.
Shackling can also cause pulled groin muscles and the separation of pubic bones. And because of the potential for injury, many states have restricted the practice. Yet some states, such as California, Texas, and New York, have struggled to fully ban such inhumane treatment, according to the New York Times. But the fact that many prison officials maintain the idea that it is okay to shackle pregnant women, speaks to a broader hatred and lack of compassion for women generally.
“We need to stop sending pregnant women to prison in the first place. It’s unacceptable that the law is being violated, but we need to stop locking up so many women, especially so many pregnant women”, said Kraft-Stolar.
Photo: Yanina Manolova/AP
The post New York Is Illegally Shackling Pregnant, Incarcerated Women appeared first on The Intercept.
Despite what its many critics (including President Obama) will tell you, the Islamic State is indeed Islamic, and actually very Islamic, according to ISIS itself — and also according to The Atlantic, which endorsed the group’s narrative in a widely circulated essay published this week entitled “What ISIS Really Wants.”
In the piece, author Graeme Wood makes the case that the militant group — whose actions have sparked protests and widespread revulsion around the world —represents a highly authentic version of Islam. Far from being an aberrant or deviant offshoot of traditional Islamic beliefs, it is described as being a faithful expression of them — representing “a coherent and even learned expression of Islam.” While the author notes that the overwhelming majority of Muslims do not share the views of Islamic State, and indeed see the group as un-Islamic, he denies that their version of the religion is more genuine.
“In the past, Westerners who accused Muslims of blindly following ancient scriptures came to deserved grief from academics,” Wood writes, citing the example of Edward Said and others who called for academics to focus on the social conditions in which religious extremism takes root. “But focusing on [social conditions] to the exclusion of ideology reflects another kind of Western bias: that if religious ideology doesn’t matter much in Washington or Berlin, surely it must be equally irrelevant in Raqqa or Mosul.”
Wood is right in pointing out that there are people in the world today — including those carrying black banners in places like Raqqa and Mosul — who take religion very seriously.
But just as a failure to recognize this fact may represent the bias of a Western observer, there is also a glaring bias in dismissing or ignoring the great mass of established and recognized religious scholars of Islam in the Muslim world whose theological conclusions are starkly at odds with the radical revisionism of Islamic State.
Indeed, there are actually people alive in our modern world who have spent their entire lives studying and practicing Islam in conjunction with philosophy, history, and linguistics, and who also take seriously the idea of being “very Islamic.” They also happen to represent an established tradition of mainstream religious scholarship which millenarian groups like ISIS have made it their stated mission to eradicate.
One prominent example of this is the “Letter to al-Baghdadi,” in which some of the most prominent Islamic scholars in the world condemned the actions of ISIS on a purely theological basis as representing a heretical version of Islam. Far from being a reflexive or apologetic statement, the arguments contained therein are grounded in long-established precepts of religious jurisprudence intended to prescribe the rules and bases of personal and social conduct for practicing Muslims.
What makes groups like Islamic State “radical” in the first place is that they reject all these centuries of scholarship and tradition, and innovate a newly “reformed” Islam — often pieced together with concepts of ideology and organization drawn from contemporary fascist and Marxist-Leninist movements. Such freelancing is a common characteristic of Islamic extremist groups, and despite their pretensions to ancient revivalism it is also a reflection of their inescapably modern revolutionary heritage.
Unfortunately, however, The Atlantic chooses to elide this context and accept the self-definition of Islamic State without question. In the article, arguments put forward by I.S.’s Muslim critics are invoked without content, only to be dismissed as “embarrassed and politically correct” and a “cotton-candy view of their own religion.”
The beliefs of Islamic State on the other hand are expounded upon at length. In arguing the case for Islamic State’s religious legitimacy, The Atlantic quotes exactly one Western academic, Bernard Haykel, a Princeton scholar of Near Eastern Studies, whom the author says he approached because “every academic I asked about the Islamic State’s ideology sent me to [him].”
From there, Wood does a brief tour of several Western cities where he has serious sit-downs with the world’s most hyperbolic and media-friendly Islamic extremists. This entails traveling to places like London and Melbourne to seek out the opinions of people such as British radical Anjem Choudary and Musa Cerantonio who lack any religious credentials or mainstream following, and whose qualifications seemingly do not extend past their ability to behave provocatively in front of journalists.
Despite his extensive travels, however, Wood evidently did not deem it necessary to speak with anyone recognized by Muslims as an authority in their own religion, or to hear out any religiously-based arguments which might make a counterpoint to his thesis.
It seems like a fairly consequential oversight to ignore the views of influential and traditional scholarly figures like Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir and Sayyid Hossein Nasr — all of whom who have spoken at length in religious terms against the Islam preached by Islamic State, and who are easily accessible to an English-language, American publication.
At worst, such an approach replicates the irritating practice of writing about foreign or minority populations as though they are passive subjects with no voice of their own, save for fringe characters who can be relied upon to confirm a particular narrative.
Such a style of writing and argumentation may make for enjoyable reading to a casual observer attempting to gauge the relationship between ISIS and Islam from the outside. And indeed, the piece is erudite, well-written, and one may even say well-intentioned despite its flaws.
But the underlying premise is nonetheless poorly substantiated.
While Wood is correct to push back against the flawed notion that Islamic State has absolutely no relation to Islam, he neglects to engage the predominant view that the group embodies one of the heretical versions of the religion that have cropped up periodically throughout history.
The end result is a 10,000 word exercise in confirmation bias. If the Islamic State is indeed, as Wood claims, “very Islamic”, his essay makes an unconvincing case of it to anyone familiar with the historical and religious context in which the group has arisen.
Photo: The Atlantic
The post The Atlantic Ignores Muslim Intellectuals, Defines “True Islam” As ISIS appeared first on The Intercept.
Übersetzung eines Kommuniques der FARC-EP zur brüchigen Situation des Waffenstilstandes in Kolumbien.
Im bayrischen Elmau findet am 7. und 8. Juni 2015 der G7-Gipfel statt. Im Schlosshotel Elmau treffen sich die Staats- und Regierungschefs von Deutschland, USA, Großbritannien, Frankreich, Kanada, Italien und Japan. Die G7 sind die mächtigsten kapitalistischen Staaten, die führenden Militärmächte und die Standorte der größten Banken und Konzerne. Ihre Politik ist verantwortlich für Armut, Ausbeutung und Unterdrückung von Millionen Menschen, Hungerkatastrophen und Kriege. Wir wollen den Widerstand gegen den G7-Gipfel organisieren und deutlich machen, dass die Herrschenden uns nicht repräsentieren und auch in der Alpenidylle keine Ruhe finden werden.
Neulich mein erster Reflex: Nachdenken über ein Massaker - jetzt aus ganz anderer Richtung ein weiterer für mich höchst informativer Artikel zu Charlie Hebdo, vor allem für mich, nachdem ich all das nicht kannte:
- Speziell zu „Cabu“, aber auch mit viel Info drumherum!
Polen wird dem Europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte gehorchen und Schadenersatz an Gefangene in den CIA-Gefängnissen leisten .............. Wird $262.000 an Abu Zubaydah und Abdul Rahim Nashiri bezahlen ................
Der polnische Außenminister Grzegorz Schetyna hat bestätigt, dass seine Regierung sich an das Urteil des Europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte halten wird, in dem ihr eine finanzielle Schadensgutmachung für zwei Gefangene auferlegt wird, die in einem geheimen Gefängnis in dem Land festgehalten worden sind.
„Wir müssen das tun,” sagte Schetyna auf die Ablehnung der Berufung durch das Gericht am Dienstag hin. Sie werden $262.000 als Schadenersatz an die beiden Gefangenen zahlen, um die es in dem Verfahren ging, nämlich Abu Zubaydah und Abdul Rahim Nashiri.
Sowohl Zubaydah als auch Nashiri sind in Guantánamo eingesperrt aufgrund anhängiger Verfahren vor dem dortigen Militär“gericht“. Beide wurden von der CIA während ihrer Anhaltung in Polen gefoltert. ........ http://antikrieg.com/aktuell/2015_02_19_polen.htm ...........
AMERICAN AND BRITISH spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The hack was perpetrated by a joint unit consisting of operatives from the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. The breach, detailed in a secret 2010 GCHQ document, gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data.
The company targeted by the intelligence agencies, Gemalto, is a multinational firm incorporated in the Netherlands that makes the chips used in mobile phones and next-generation credit cards. Among its clients are AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and some 450 wireless network providers around the world. The company operates in 85 countries and has more than 40 manufacturing facilities. One of its three global headquarters is in Austin, Texas and it has a large factory in Pennsylvania.
In all, Gemalto produces some 2 billion SIM cards a year. Its motto is “Security to be Free.”
With these stolen encryption keys, intelligence agencies can monitor mobile communications without seeking or receiving approval from telecom companies and foreign governments. Possessing the keys also sidesteps the need to get a warrant or a wiretap, while leaving no trace on the wireless provider’s network that the communications were intercepted. Bulk key theft additionally enables the intelligence agencies to unlock any previously encrypted communications they had already intercepted, but did not yet have the ability to decrypt.
As part of the covert operations against Gemalto, spies from GCHQ — with support from the NSA — mined the private communications of unwitting engineers and other company employees in multiple countries.
Gemalto was totally oblivious to the penetration of its systems — and the spying on its employees. “I’m disturbed, quite concerned that this has happened,” Paul Beverly, a Gemalto executive vice president, told The Intercept. “The most important thing for me is to understand exactly how this was done, so we can take every measure to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, and also to make sure that there’s no impact on the telecom operators that we have served in a very trusted manner for many years. What I want to understand is what sort of ramifications it has, or could have, on any of our customers.” He added that “the most important thing for us now is to understand the degree” of the breach.
Leading privacy advocates and security experts say that the theft of encryption keys from major wireless network providers is tantamount to a thief obtaining the master ring of a building superintendent who holds the keys to every apartment. “Once you have the keys, decrypting traffic is trivial,” says Christopher Soghoian, the principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union. “The news of this key theft will send a shock wave through the security community.”The massive key theft is “bad news for phone security. Really bad news.”
Beverly said that after being contacted by The Intercept, Gemalto’s internal security team began on Wednesday to investigate how their system was penetrated and could find no trace of the hacks. When asked if the NSA or GCHQ had ever requested access to Gemalto-manufactured encryption keys, Beverly said, “I am totally unaware. To the best of my knowledge, no.”
According to one secret GCHQ slide, the British intelligence agency penetrated Gemalto’s internal networks, planting malware on several computers, giving GCHQ secret access. We “believe we have their entire network,” the slide’s author boasted about the operation against Gemalto.
Additionally, the spy agency targeted unnamed cellular companies’ core networks, giving it access to “sales staff machines for customer information and network engineers machines for network maps.” GCHQ also claimed the ability to manipulate the billing servers of cell companies to “suppress” charges in an effort to conceal the spy agency’s secret actions against an individual’s phone. Most significantly, GCHQ also penetrated “authentication servers,” allowing it to decrypt data and voice communications between a targeted individual’s phone and their telecom provider’s network. A note accompanying the slide asserted that the spy agency was “very happy with the data so far and [was] working through the vast quantity of product.”
The Mobile Handset Exploitation Team (MHET), whose existence has never before been disclosed, was formed in April 2010 to target vulnerabilities in cell phones. One of its main missions was to covertly penetrate computer networks of corporations that manufacture SIM cards, as well as those of wireless network providers. The team included operatives from both GCHQ and the NSA.
While the FBI and other U.S. agencies can obtain court orders compelling U.S.-based telecom companies to allow them to wiretap or intercept the communications of their customers, on the international front this type of data collection is much more challenging. Unless a foreign telecom or foreign government grants access to their citizens’ data to a U.S. intelligence agency, the NSA or CIA would have to hack into the network or specifically target the user’s device for a more risky “active” form of surveillance that could be detected by sophisticated targets. Moreover, foreign intelligence agencies would not allow U.S. or U.K. spy agencies access to the mobile communications of their heads of state or other government officials.
“It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable,” said Gerard Schouw, a member of the Dutch Parliament when told of the spy agencies’ actions. Schouw, the intelligence spokesperson for D66, the largest opposition party in the Netherlands, told The Intercept, “We don’t want to have the secret services from other countries doing things like this.” Schouw added that he and other lawmakers will ask the Dutch government to provide an official explanation and to clarify whether the country’s intelligence services were aware of the targeting of Gemalto, whose official headquarters is in Amsterdam.
Last November, the Dutch government amended its constitution to include explicit protection for the privacy of digital communications, including those made on mobile devices. “We have, in the Netherlands, a law on the [activities] of secret services. And hacking is not allowed,” he said. Under Dutch law, the interior minister would have to sign off on such operations by foreign governments’ intelligence agencies. “I don’t believe that he has given his permission for these kind of actions.”
The U.S. and British intelligence agencies pulled off the encryption key heist in great stealth, giving them the ability to intercept and decrypt communications without alerting the wireless network provider, the foreign government or the individual user that they have been targeted. “Gaining access to a database of keys is pretty much game over for cellular encryption,” says Matthew Green, a cryptography specialist at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute. The massive key theft is “bad news for phone security. Really bad news.”
AS CONSUMERS BEGAN to adopt cellular phones en masse in the mid-1990s, there were no effective privacy protections in place. Anyone could buy a cheap device from RadioShack capable of intercepting calls placed on mobile phones. The shift from analog to digital networks introduced basic encryption technology, though it was still crackable by tech savvy computer science graduate students, as well as the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, using readily available equipment.
Today, second-generation (2G) phone technology, which relies on a deeply flawed encryption system, remains the dominant platform globally, though U.S. and European cell phone companies now use 3G, 4G and LTE technology in urban areas. These include more secure, though not invincible, methods of encryption, and wireless carriers throughout the world are upgrading their networks to use these newer technologies.
It is in the context of such growing technical challenges to data collection that intelligence agencies, such as the NSA, have become interested in acquiring cellular encryption keys. “With old-fashioned [2G], there are other ways to work around cellphone security without those keys,” says Green, the Johns Hopkins cryptographer. “With newer 3G, 4G and LTE protocols, however, the algorithms aren’t as vulnerable, so getting those keys would be essential.”
The privacy of all mobile communications — voice calls, text messages and Internet access — depends on an encrypted connection between the cell phone and the wireless carrier’s network, using keys stored on the SIM, a tiny chip smaller than a postage stamp which is inserted into the phone. All mobile communications on the phone depend on the SIM, which stores and guards the encryption keys created by companies like Gemalto. SIM cards can be used to store contacts, text messages, and other important data, like one’s phone number. In some countries, SIM cards are used to transfer money. As The Intercept reported last year, having the wrong SIM card can make you the target of a drone strike.
SIM cards were not invented to protect individual communications — they were designed to do something much simpler: ensure proper billing and prevent fraud, which was pervasive in the early days of cell phones. Soghoian compares the use of encryption keys on SIM cards to the way Social Security numbers are used today. “Social security numbers were designed in the 1930s to track your contributions to your government pension,” he says. “Today they are used as a quasi national identity number, which was never their intended purpose.”
Because the SIM card wasn’t created with call confidentiality in mind, the manufacturers and wireless carriers don’t make a great effort to secure their supply chain. As a result, the SIM card is an extremely vulnerable component of a mobile phone. “I doubt anyone is treating those things very carefully,” says Green. “Cell companies probably don’t treat them as essential security tokens. They probably just care that nobody is defrauding their networks.” The ACLU’s Soghoian adds, “These keys are so valuable that it makes sense for intel agencies to go after them.”
As a general rule, phone companies do not manufacture SIM cards, nor program them with secret encryption keys. It is cheaper and more efficient for them to outsource this sensitive step in the SIM card production process. They purchase them in bulk with the keys pre-loaded by other corporations. Gemalto is the largest of these SIM “personalization” companies.
After a SIM card is manufactured, the encryption key, known as a “Ki,” is burned directly onto the chip. A copy of the key is also given to the cellular provider, allowing its network to recognize an individual’s phone. In order for the phone to be able to connect to the wireless carriers’ network, the phone — with the help of the SIM — authenticates itself using the Ki that has been programmed onto the SIM. The phone conducts a secret “handshake” that validates that the Ki on the SIM matches the Ki held by the mobile company. Once that happens, the communications between the phone and the network are encrypted. Even if GCHQ or the NSA were to intercept the phone signals as they are transmitted through the air, the intercepted data would be a garbled mess. Decrypting it can be challenging and time-consuming. Stealing the keys, on the other hand, is beautifully simple, from the intelligence agencies’ point of view, as the pipeline for producing and distributing SIM cards was never designed to thwart mass surveillance efforts.
One of the creators of the encryption protocol that is widely used today for securing emails, Adi Shamir, famously asserted: “Cryptography is typically bypassed, not penetrated.” In other words, it is much easier (and sneakier) to open a locked door when you have the key than it is to break down the door using brute force. While the NSA and GCHQ have substantial resources dedicated to breaking encryption, it is not the only way — and certainly not always the most efficient — to get at the data they want. “NSA has more mathematicians on its payroll than any other entity in the U.S.,” says the ACLU’s Soghoian. “But the NSA’s hackers are way busier than its mathematicians.”
GCHQ and the NSA could have taken any number of routes to steal SIM encryption keys and other data. They could have physically broken into a manufacturing plant. They could have broken into a wireless carrier’s office. They could have bribed, blackmailed or coerced an employee of the manufacturer or cell phone provider. But all of that comes with substantial risk of exposure. In the case of Gemalto, hackers working for GCHQ remotely penetrated the company’s computer network in order to steal the keys in bulk as they were en route to the wireless network providers.
SIM card “personalization” companies like Gemalto ship hundreds of thousands of SIM cards at a time to mobile phone operators across the world. International shipping records obtained by The Intercept show that in 2011, Gemalto shipped 450,000 smart cards from its plant in Mexico to Germany’s Deutsche Telekom in just one shipment.
In order for the cards to work and for the phones’ communications to be secure, Gemalto also needs to provide the mobile company with a file containing the encryption keys for each of the new SIM cards. These master key files could be shipped via FedEx, DHL, UPS or another snail mail provider. More commonly, they could be sent via email or through File Transfer Protocol, FTP, a method of sending files over the Internet.
The moment the master key set is generated by Gemalto or another personalization company, but before it is sent to the wireless carrier, is the most vulnerable moment for interception. “The value of getting them at the point of manufacture is you can presumably get a lot of keys in one go, since SIM chips get made in big batches,” says Green, the cryptographer. “SIM cards get made for lots of different carriers in one facility.” In Gemalto’s case, GCHQ hit the jackpot, as the company manufactures SIMs for hundreds of wireless network providers, including all of the leading U.S. — and many of the largest European — companies.
But obtaining the encryption keys while Gemalto still held them required finding a way into the company’s internal systems.
TOP-SECRET GCHQ documents reveal that the intelligence agencies accessed the email and Facebook accounts of engineers and other employees of major telecom corporations and SIM card manufacturers in an effort to secretly obtain information that could give them access to millions of encryption keys. They did this by utilizing the NSA’s X-KEYSCORE program, which allowed them access to private emails hosted by the SIM card and mobile companies’ servers, as well as those of major tech corporations, including Yahoo! and Google.
In effect, GCHQ clandestinely cyberstalked Gemalto employees, scouring their emails in an effort to find people who may have had access to the company’s core networks and Ki-generating systems. The intelligence agency’s goal was to find information that would aid in breaching Gemalto’s systems, making it possible to steal large quantities of encryption keys. The agency hoped to intercept the files containing the keys as they were transmitted between Gemalto and its wireless network provider customers.
GCHQ operatives identified key individuals and their positions within Gemalto and then dug into their emails. In one instance, GCHQ zeroed in on a Gemalto employee in Thailand who they observed sending PGP-encrypted files, noting that if GCHQ wanted to expand its Gemalto operations, “he would certainly be a good place to start.” They did not claim to have decrypted the employee’s communications, but noted that the use of PGP could mean the contents were potentially valuable.
The cyberstalking was not limited to Gemalto. GCHQ operatives wrote a script that allowed the agency to mine the private communications of employees of major telecommunications and SIM “personalization” companies for technical terms used in the assigning of secret keys to mobile phone customers. Employees for the SIM card manufacturers and wireless network providers were labeled as “known individuals and operators targeted” in a top-secret GCHQ document.
According to that April 2010 document, “PCS Harvesting at Scale,” hackers working for GCHQ focused on “harvesting” massive amounts of individual encryption keys “in transit between mobile network operators and SIM card personalisation centres” like Gemalto. The spies “developed a methodology for intercepting these keys as they are transferred between various network operators and SIM card providers.” By that time, GCHQ had developed “an automated technique with the aim of increasing the volume of keys that can be harvested.”
The PCS Harvesting document acknowledged that, in searching for information on encryption keys, GCHQ operatives would undoubtedly vacuum up “a large number of unrelated items” from the private communications of targeted employees. “[H]owever an analyst with good knowledge of the operators involved can perform this trawl regularly and spot the transfer of large batches of [keys].”
The document noted that many SIM card manufacturers transferred the encryption keys to wireless network providers “by email or FTP with simple encryption methods that can be broken … or occasionally with no encryption at all.” To get bulk access to encryption keys, all the NSA or GCHQ needed to do was intercept emails or file transfers as they were sent over the Internet — something both agencies already do millions of times per day. A footnote in the 2010 document observed that the use of “strong encryption products … is becoming increasingly common” in transferring the keys.
In its key harvesting “trial” operations in the first quarter of 2010, GCHQ successfully intercepted keys used by wireless network providers in Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, India, Serbia, Iceland and Tajikistan. But, the agency noted, its automated key harvesting system failed to produce results against Pakistani networks, denoted as “priority targets” in the document, despite the fact that GCHQ had a store of Kis from two providers in the country, Mobilink and Telenor. “[I]t is possible that these networks now use more secure methods to transfer Kis,” the document concluded.
From December 2009 through March 2010, a month before the Mobile Handset Exploitation Team was formed, GCHQ conducted a number of trials aimed at extracting encryption keys and other personalized data for individual phones. In one two-week period, they accessed the emails of 130 people associated with wireless network providers or SIM card manufacturing and personalization. This operation produced nearly 8,000 keys matched to specific phones in 10 countries. In another two-week period, by mining just 6 email addresses, they produced 85,000 keys. At one point in March 2010, GCHQ intercepted nearly 100,000 keys for mobile phone users in Somalia. By June, they’d compiled 300,000. “Somali providers are not on GCHQ’s list of interest,” the document noted. “[H]owever, this was usefully shared with NSA.”
The GCHQ documents only contain statistics for three months of encryption key theft in 2010. During this period, millions of keys were harvested. The documents stated explicitly that GCHQ had already created a constantly evolving automated process for bulk harvesting of keys. They describe active operations targeting Gemalto’s personalization centers across the globe, as well as other major SIM card manufacturers and the private communications of their employees.
A top-secret NSA document asserted that, as of 2009, the U.S. spy agency already had the capacity to process between 12 and 22 million keys per second for later use against surveillance targets. In the future, the agency predicted, it would be capable of processing more than 50 million per second. The document did not state how many keys were actually processed, just that the NSA had the technology to perform such swift, bulk operations. It is impossible to know how many keys have been stolen by the NSA and GCHQ to date, but, even using conservative math, the numbers are likely staggering.
GCHQ assigned “scores” to more than 150 individual email addresses based on how often the users mentioned certain technical terms, and then intensified the mining of those individuals’ accounts based on priority. The highest scoring email address was that of an employee of Chinese tech giant Huawei, which the U.S. has repeatedly accused of collaborating with Chinese intelligence. In all, GCHQ harvested the emails of employees of hardware companies that manufacture phones, such as Ericsson and Nokia; operators of mobile networks, such as MTN Irancell and Belgacom; SIM card providers, such as Bluefish and Gemalto; and employees of targeted companies who used email providers such as Yahoo! and Google. During the three-month trial, the largest number of email addresses harvested were those belonging to Huawei employees, followed by MTN Irancell. The third largest class of emails harvested in the trial were private Gmail accounts, presumably belonging to employees at targeted companies.
The GCHQ program targeting Gemalto was called DAPINO GAMMA. In 2011, GCHQ launched operation HIGHLAND FLING to mine the email accounts of Gemalto employees in France and Poland. A top-secret document on the operation stated that one of the aims was “getting into French HQ” of Gemalto “to get in to core data repositories.” France, home to one of Gemalto’s global headquarters, is the nerve center of the company’s worldwide operations. Another goal was to intercept private communications of employees in Poland that “could lead to penetration into one or more personalisation centers” — the factories where the encryption keys are burned onto SIM cards.
As part of these operations, GCHQ operatives acquired the usernames and passwords for Facebook accounts of Gemalto targets. An internal top-secret GCHQ wiki on the program from May 2011 indicated that GCHQ was in the process of “targeting” more than a dozen Gemalto facilities across the globe, including in Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Spain, Japan and Singapore.
The document also stated that GCHQ was preparing similar key theft operations against one of Gemalto’s competitors, Germany-based SIM card giant Giesecke and Devrient.
On January 17, 2014, President Barack Obama gave a major address on the NSA spying scandal. “The bottom line is that people around the world, regardless of their nationality, should know that the United States is not spying on ordinary people who don’t threaten our national security and that we take their privacy concerns into account in our policies and procedures,” he said.
The monitoring of the lawful communications of employees of major international corporations shows that such statements by Obama, other U.S. officials and British leaders — that they only intercept and monitor the communications of known or suspected criminals or terrorists — were untrue. “The NSA and GCHQ view the private communications of people who work for these companies as fair game,” says the ACLU’s Soghoian. “These people were specifically hunted and targeted by intelligence agencies, not because they did anything wrong, but because they could be used as a means to an end.”
THERE ARE TWO basic types of electronic or digital surveillance: passive and active. All intelligence agencies engage in extensive passive surveillance, which means they collect bulk data by intercepting communications sent over fiber optic cables, radio waves or wireless devices.
Intelligence agencies place high power antennas, known as “spy nests,” on the top of their countries’ embassies and consulates, which are capable of vacuuming up data sent to or from mobile phones in the surrounding area. The joint NSA/CIA Special Collection Service is the lead entity that installs and mans these nests for the United States. An embassy situated near a parliament or government agency could easily intercept the phone calls and data transfers of the mobile phones used by foreign government officials. The U.S. embassy in Berlin, for instance, is located a stone’s throw from the Bundestag. But if the wireless carriers are using stronger encryption, which is built into modern 3G, 4G and LTE networks, then intercepted calls and other data would be more difficult to crack, particularly in bulk. If the intelligence agency wants to actually listen to or read what is being transmitted, they would need to decrypt the encrypted data.
Active surveillance is another option. This would require government agencies to “jam” a 3G or 4G network, forcing nearby phones onto 2G. Once forced down to the less secure 2G technology, the phone can be tricked into connecting to a fake cell tower operated by an intelligence agency. This method of surveillance, though effective, is risky, as it leaves a digital trace that counter-surveillance experts from foreign governments could detect.
Stealing the Kis solves all of these problems. This way, intelligence agencies can safely engage in passive, bulk surveillance without having to decrypt data and without leaving any trace whatsoever.
“Key theft enables the bulk, low-risk surveillance of encrypted communications,” the ACLU’s Soghoian says. “Agencies can collect all the communications and then look through them later. With the keys, they can decrypt whatever they want, whenever they want. It’s like a time machine, enabling the surveillance of communications that occurred before someone was even a target.”
Neither the NSA nor GCHQ would comment specifically on the key theft operations. In the past, they have argued more broadly that breaking encryption is a necessary part of tracking terrorists and other criminals. “It is longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters,” a GCHQ official stated in an email, adding that the agency’s work is conducted within a “strict legal and policy framework” that ensures its activities are “authorized, necessary and proportionate,” with proper oversight, which is the standard response the agency has provided for previous stories published by The Intercept. The agency also said, “[T]he UK’s interception regime is entirely compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.” The NSA declined to offer any comment.
It is unlikely that GCHQ’s pronouncement about the legality of its operations will be universally embraced in Europe. “It is governments massively engaging in illegal activities,” says Sophie in’t Veld, a Dutch member of the European Parliament. “If you are not a government and you are a student doing this, you will end up in jail for 30 years.” Veld, who chaired the European Parliament’s recent inquiry into mass surveillance exposed by Snowden, told The Intercept: “The secret services are just behaving like cowboys. Governments are behaving like cowboys and nobody is holding them to account.”
The Intercept’s Laura Poitras has previously reported that in 2013 Australia’s signals intelligence agency, a close partner of the NSA, stole some 1.8 million encryption keys from an Indonesian wireless carrier.
A few years ago, the FBI reportedly dismantled several of transmitters set up by foreign intelligence agencies around the Washington DC area, which could be used to intercept cell phone communications. Russia, China, Israel and other nations use similar technology as the NSA across the world. If those governments had the encryption keys for major U.S. cell phone companies’ customers, such as those manufactured by Gemalto, mass snooping would be simple. “It would mean that with a few antennas placed around Washington DC, the Chinese or Russian governments could sweep up and decrypt the communications of members of Congress, U.S. agency heads, reporters, lobbyists and everyone else involved in the policymaking process and decrypt their telephone conversations,” says Soghoian.
“Put a device in front of the UN, record every bit you see going over the air. Steal some keys, you have all those conversations,” says Green, the Johns Hopkins cryptographer. And it’s not just spy agencies that would benefit from stealing encryption keys. “I can only imagine how much money you could make if you had access to the calls made around Wall Street,” he adds.
THE BREACH OF Gemalto’s computer network by GCHQ has far-reaching global implications. The company, which brought in $2.7 billion in revenue in 2013, is a global leader in digital security, producing banking cards, mobile payment systems, two-factor authentication devices used for online security, hardware tokens used for securing buildings and offices, electronic passports and identification cards. It provides chips to Vodafone in Europe and France’s Orange, as well as EE, a joint venture in the U.K. between France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom. Royal KPN, the largest Dutch wireless network provider, also uses Gemalto technology.
In Asia, Gemalto’s chips are used by China Unicom, Japan’s NTT and Taiwan’s Chungwa Telecom, as well as scores of wireless network providers throughout Africa and the Middle East. The company’s security technology is used by more than 3,000 financial institutions and 80 government organizations. Among its clients are Visa, Mastercard, American Express, JP Morgan Chase and Barclays. It also provides chips for use in luxury cars, including those made by Audi and BMW.
In 2012, Gemalto won a sizable contract, worth $175 million, from the U.S. government to produce the covers for electronic U.S. passports, which contain chips and antennas that can be used to better authenticate travelers. As part of its contract, Gemalto provides the personalization and software for the microchips implanted in the passports. The U.S. represents Gemalto’s single largest market, accounting for some 15 percent of its total business. This raises the question of whether GCHQ, which was able to bypass encryption on mobile networks, has the ability to access private data protected by other Gemalto products created for banks and governments.
As smart phones become smarter, they are increasingly replacing credit cards and cash as a means of paying for goods and services. When Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile formed an alliance in 2010 to jointly build an electronic pay system to challenge Google Wallet and Apple Pay, they purchased Gemalto’s technology for their program, known as Softcard. (Until July 2014, it previously went by the unfortunate name of “ISIS Mobile Wallet.”) Whether data relating to that, and other Gemalto security products, has been compromised by the GCHQ and NSA is unclear. Both intelligence agencies declined to answer any specific questions for this story.
PRIVACY ADVOCATES and security experts say it would take billions of dollars, significant political pressure, and several years to fix the fundamental security flaws in the current mobile phone system that NSA, GCHQ and other intelligence agencies regularly exploit.
A current gaping hole in the protection of mobile communications is that cell phones and wireless network providers do not support the use of Perfect Forward Security (PFS), a form of encryption designed to limit the damage caused by theft or disclosure of encryption keys. PFS, which is now built into modern web browsers and used by sites like Google and Twitter, works by generating unique encryption keys for each communication or message, which are then discarded. Rather than using the same encryption key to protect years’ worth of data, as the permanent Kis on SIM cards can, a new key might be generated each minute, hour or day, and then promptly destroyed. Because cell phone communications do not utilize PFS, if an intelligence agency has been “passively” intercepting someone’s communications for a year and later acquires the permanent encryption key, it can go back and decrypt all of those communications. If mobile phone networks were using PFS, that would not be possible — even if the permanent keys were later stolen.
The only effective way for individuals to protect themselves from Ki theft-enabled surveillance is to use secure communications software, rather than relying on SIM card-based security. Secure software includes email and other apps that use Transport Layer Security (TLS), the mechanism underlying the secure HTTPS web protocol. The email clients included with Android phones and iPhones support TLS, as do large email providers like Yahoo! and Google.
Apps like TextSecure and Silent Text are secure alternatives to SMS messages, while Signal, RedPhone and Silent Phone encrypt voice communications. Governments still may be able to intercept communications, but reading or listening to them would require hacking a specific handset, obtaining internal data from an email provider, or installing a bug in a room to record the conversations.
“We need to stop assuming that the phone companies will provide us with a secure method of making calls or exchanging text messages,” says Soghoian.
Documents published with this article:
- CNE Access to Core Mobile Networks
- Where Are These Keys?
- CCNE Successes Jan10-Mar10 Trial
- DAPINO GAMMA CNE Presence Wiki
- DAPINO GAMMA Gemalto Yuaawaa Wiki
- DAPINO GAMMA Target Personalisation Centres Gemalto Wiki
- IMSIs Identified with Ki Data for Network Providers Jan10-Mar10 Trial
- CCNE Stats Summaries Jan10-Mar10 Trial
- CCNE Email Harvesting Jan10-Mar10 Trial
- CCNE Email Addresses Jan10-Mar10 Trial
- PCS Harvesting at Scale
Additional reporting by Andrew Fishman and Ryan Gallagher. Sheelagh McNeill, Morgan Marquis-Boire, Alleen Brown, Margot Williams, Ryan Devereaux and Andrea Jones contributed to this story.
Top photo: Shutterstock
Deutschland lehnt den Antrag der griechischen Regierung für eine Verlängerung von Finanzhilfen ab. Der Sprecher des Bundesfinanzministeriums, Martin Jäger, sagte am Donnerstag der Deutschen Presse-Agentur in Berlin: „Der Brief aus Athen ist kein substanzieller Lösungsvorschlag.“ In Wahrheit ziele er auf eine Brückenfinanzierung, ohne die Anforderungen des Programms zu erfüllen: „Das Schreiben entspricht nicht den am Montag in der Eurogruppe vereinbarten Kriterien.“ EU-Kommissionspräsident Jean-Claude Juncker hatte sich zuvor noch optimistisch gezeigt, dass der griechische Antrag für weitere Kredite eine Lösung des Schuldenstreits ermöglicht. Griechenland habe die von der Eurogruppe geforderte Verlängerung des aktuellen „Hilfsprogramms“ beantragt, sagte ein Sprecher am Donnerstag in
Angesichts einer wachsenden Kluft zwischen Arm und Reich in Deutschland fordern Gewerkschaften und Experten zügige Schritte gegen prekäre Beschäftigung. Aktuelle Entwicklungen bei der Armut in Deutschland stellt der Paritätische Gesamtverband am Donnerstag mit einer Studie „Die zerklüftete Republik“ in Berlin vor. (1)
„Deutschland ist ein reiches Land im Schnitt werden hier über 30 000 Euro pro Jahr und Einwohner erwirtschaftet“, sagte der Gießener Politikwissenschaftler und Armutsforscher Ernst-Ulrich Huster. „Doch 8 Prozent der Bevölkerung sind völlig abgehängt, und zwischen 16 und 20 Prozent leben unterhalb der Armutsgrenze.“ Gleichzeitig würden die Reichen laut den offiziellen Statistiken immer reicher. „Die obersten zehn
Louisiana — a state whose motto is Union, Justice and Confidence — is known for many things. The Bayou State is the birthplace of jazz, Creole, and Cajun food, and New Orleans is the site of the country’s largest annual Mardi Gras Carnival. But as the Times-Picayune found in a major series years ago, Louisiana is also “the world’s prison capital,” with an incarceration rate that is “nearly five times Iran’s, 13 times China’s and 20 times Germany’s.”
Last week, a new study from the Brennan Center for Justice reaffirmed Louisiana’s grim status as the world’s leading jailer. “Louisiana incarcerates 1 in 75 adults, that’s twice the national average [496 people per 100,000] and the highest in the world,” said the Brennan Center’s Lauren-Brooke Eisen. But the crux of the study was not the state’s prison boom. Instead, researchers sought to explain what caused the dramatic drop in crime in the United States over the past couple decades — and to what extent the decline can be linked to the expansion of the prison industrial complex. In the past 20 years, Louisiana — in tandem with the rest of the country — has experienced a drastic drop in crime at the same time the state’s prison population has doubled.
The 139-page report found numerous leading factors that contributed to the crime drop — but contrary to tough-on-crime rhetoric, the prison boom was not among then. Like other studies before it, the Brennan report rejects the argument that an increased prison populace makes society much safer. While mass incarceration has had a limited role in lower crime rates, other factors are much more important. The Brennan Center found that, “police officers, some data-driven policing techniques, changes in income, decreased alcohol consumption, and an aging population played a role in reducing crime.” In fact, Eisen believes that mass incarceration in Louisiana is now delivering negligible returns. “Since 2000 [Louisiana] imprisonment has increased four fold to over 35,000 prisoners. The effectiveness on crime has declined to zero and that’s because of the marginal effect of adding more people to prison.”
Louisiana’s figure of 1 in 75 people in prison comes out to approximately 850 people per 100,000 in a state with a population of nearly 4.65 million. Nearly 40,000 incarcerated people now sit in Louisiana’s prisons and jails. For perspective, Ireland, which also has 4.6 million citizens, locks up only 89 people per 100,000; while Germany, a much larger country, imprisons 470 people.
The state’s staggering incarceration rate is partly due to the fact that, as Eisen points out, “Louisiana’s prison sentences are among the harshest in the country,” with a large percentage of inmates serving life without parole. Brutal mandatory minimums are also behind Louisiana’s prodigious prison boom. And if Louisiana’s elected officials have their way, said boom will continue. Just last year Governor Bobby Jindal signed legislation that imposes a ten year sentence — without the possibility of probation or a suspended sentence — on anyone convicted of selling any amount of heroin as a first offense.
Louisiana, along with the rest of the South, has a long history of being “tough on crime,” which helps explain why the states with the highest rates of incarceration fall below the Maxon-Dixon line. Trailing Louisiana are Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. It is also no coincidence that the country’s black population is highly concentrated in Southern states, particularly in Georgia and Texas.
While Law and order politicians certainly deserve blame for Louisiana’s massive prison population, the anti-black prison industrial complex, and the for-profit jail industry, have proven to be lucrative hustles for local authorities. “Additionally, the sheriffs are given financial incentive in order to keep their local jails full. They are actually paid per inmate,” Eisen said.
Three years ago, following the Times-Picayune series, NPR interviewed reporter Cindy Chang, who recounted how a Jackson Parish jail housed hundreds of mostly low level offenders in large dormitories with dozens of bunk beds. Meanwhile an audacious sheriff freely admitted to using the expansion of the jail to dispense patronage jobs in order to ensure his reelection.
Importantly, Brennan researchers found that mass incarceration is actually counterproductive and can lead to increased crime by transforming low level offenders in to criminogenic persons. “Those who are in prison sometimes gain additional criminal tendencies because they’re separated from their families and surrounded by other people who have committed crimes,” said Eisen. “So there is no evidence that locking more people up makes America safer.”
Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty
The post Did the US Prison Boom Lead to the Crime Drop? New Study Says No appeared first on The Intercept.