NSA-USSA INTERNAL GESTAPO/STASI COMMUNIST POLICE STATE!
You Know Who Else Collected*Metadata? The Stasi.
by*Julia AngwinProPublica, Feb. 11, 2014, 4:02 p.m.
Feb. 13: This article has beencorrected.
The East German secret police, known as the Stasi, were an infamously intrusive secret police force. They amassed dossiers on about one quarter of the population of the country during the Communist regime.
But their spycraft — while incredibly invasive — was also technologically primitive by today’s standards.* While researching my book*Dragnet Nation, I obtained the above hand drawn social network graph and other files from the*Stasi Archive*in Berlin, where German citizens can see files kept about them and media can access some files, with the names of the people who were monitored removed.
The graphic shows forty-six connections, linking a target to various people (an “aunt,” “Operational Case Jentzsch,” presumably Bernd Jentzsch, an East German poet who defected to the West in 1976), places (“church”), and meetings (“by post, by phone, meeting in Hungary”).
Gary Bruce, an associate professor of history at the University of Waterloo and the author of “The Firm: The Inside Story of the Stasi,” helped me decode the graphic and other files. I was surprised at how crude the surveillance was. “Their main surveillance technology was mail, telephone, and informants,” Bruce said.
*Another*file revealed*a low-level surveillance operation called an*IM-vorgang*aimed at recruiting an unnamed target to become an informant. (The names of the targets were redacted; the names of the Stasi agents and informants were not.) In this case, the Stasi watched a rather boring high school student who lived with his mother and sister in a run-of-the-mill apartment. The Stasi obtained a report on him from the principal of his school and from a club where he was a member. But they didn’t have much on him — I’ve seen Facebook profiles with*far more information.
A third*file documented*a surveillance operation known as an OPK, forOperative Personenkontrolle, of a man who was writing oppositional poetry. The Stasi deployed three informants against him but did not steam open his mail or listen to his phone calls. The regime collapsed before the Stasi could do anything further.
I also obtained a file that contained an “observation report,” in which Stasi agents recorded the movements of a forty-year-old man for two days — September 28 and 29, 1979. They watched him as he dropped off his laundry, loaded up his car with rolls of wallpaper, and drove a child in a car “obeying the speed limit,” stopping for gas and delivering the wallpaper to an apartment building. The Stasi continued to follow the car as a woman drove the child back to Berlin.
Stasi style! How East Germany's secret police dressed their agents to ensure they could infiltrate the lives of suspects
By Sam Webb20:02 29 Jul 2013, updated 16:21 30 Jul 2013
With their ridiculous fur hats, conspicuous sunglasses, absurd facial hair and awkward catalogue poses, you'd be forgiven for laughing at these cringe-worthy retro pictures.But the reality behind the images is horrifying. These are agents of the dreaded Stasi, East Germany's startlingly effective secret police that turned the Communist country into a paranoid dystopia.The pictures show how agents dressed in an effort to remain inconspicuous as they attempted to invade the privacy of suspected dissenters and gather evidence, before ruthlessly interrogating them - often for days on end.
PHOTOS DECEMBER 4, 2013
Hilarious*Photos of the East German Secret Police at Work
If You Think You're Anonymous Online, Think Again
German*artist Simon Menner spent more than two years pouring through the Cold War-era archives of East Germany's secret police. His search turned up all kinds of formerly secret images, collected in his book*Top Secret: Images from the Archives of the Stasi. These photos show the details of the Stasi's vast surveillance operation, from seminars on disguises to a manual of combat techniques to Polaroids of apartments about to be ransacked.
February 24, 201411:00 AM ET
Investigative reporter Julia Angwin was curious what Google knew about her, so she asked the company for her search data. "It turns out I had been doing about 26,000 Google searches a month ... and I was amazed at how revealing they were," she tellsFresh Air's Dave Davies.
From NSA sweeps to commercial services scraping our Web browsing habits, to all kinds of people tracking us through our smartphones, Angwin says we've become a society where indiscriminate data-gathering has become the norm. Angwin has covered online privacy issues for years, and in her new book she describes what she did to try to escape the clutches of data scrapers, even to the point of creating a fake identity.
"I want all the benefits of the information society; all I was trying to do is mitigate some of the risk," she says.
Angwin's book is calledDragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance.*She considers dragnets — which she describes as "indiscriminate" and "vast in scope" — the "most unfair type of surveillance."
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NSA Uses Corporate News to Spread Propaganda and Silence Dissent
Investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald published an expose this week detailing how the NSA has been feeding “propaganda” to various news publications, which have happily played along. The propaganda isn’t limited just to schlock networks like Fox News, but is promulgated also by widely trusted newspapers, including The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.*
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