Wikileaks staffers are SHOCKED that FBI read their Gmail

Wikileaks: Sick of Gmail?

Wikimedia
Credit: Wikimedia

Wikileaks really needs your donation -- to purchase an email server. Three Wikileaks staffers, working for an organization hated by the US government, led by a man highly critical of both the US and Google, decided to use Google's Gmail -- because its so good.

So, the FBI -- armed with secret warrants -- forced Google to hand over contents of the staffers' Gmail accounts. Wikileakers are now shocked, nay outraged, it took Google three years to reveal the disclosure. Surprise.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers take basic precautions.

Filling in for our humble blogwatcher Richi Jennings, is a humbler Stephen Glasskeys.


Ed Pilkington and Dominic Rushe took less than three years to disclose this:

Google took almost three years to disclose to the open information group WikiLeaks that it had handed over emails and other digital data belonging to three of its staffers to the US government, under a secret search warrant issued by a federal judge.  MORE


Andrew Griffin continues on, disclosing names:

Google handed over the data it held on WikiLeaks' investigations editor, British Sarah Harrison; spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson; and Joseph Farrell, a section editor. The warrant was acquired on the back of conspiracy and espionage charges that could carry up to 45 years in prison.  MORE


Philip Dorling receives an early notification:

Google notified the WikiLeaks staff of the warrants on December 23, 2014. It [handed] all the data to the US government by April 5, 2012, 32 months earlier.

Google has claimed the March 2012 search warrants were subject to secrecy orders, but has not indicated when any such gag ceased to apply.  MORE


Straight from the horse's leaky mouth:

Today, WikiLeaks' lawyers have written to Google and the US Department of Justice concerning a serious violation of the privacy and journalistic rights of WikiLeaks' staff.

The US government is claiming universal jurisdiction to apply the Espionage Act, general Conspiracy statute and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to journalists and publishers -- a horrifying precedent for press freedoms around the world. Once an offence is alleged...the whole media organisation, by the nature of its work flow, can be targeted as alleged 'conspiracy'.  MORE


Some people collect salt shakers, but John Glenday collects data:

Amongst the data collected by the FBI were draft and deleted emails, their source and destination as well as the date and time at which they were sent. Even message size and length information was passed along.

Justifying its actions Google said: "When we receive a subpoena or court order, we check to see if it meets both the letter and the spirit of the law before complying. And if it doesn’t we can object or ask that the request is narrowed. We have a track record of advocating on behalf of our users."  MORE


So now, David Meyer feels a bit uneasy:

Google and WikiLeaks have an uneasy relationship. Last year WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange published a book...based on...a lengthy conversation he had with [Google chairman] Eric Schmidt in 2011.

In his book...Assange maintained that Google's management is overly close with the U.S. authorities and that Schmidt and his advisor Jared Cohen have acted as agents for U.S. foreign policy in their overseas travels — he memorably called Cohen Google's "director of regime change".  MORE


Then Emily Bell values a lecture:

Today I'm giving the Cudlipp Lecture on why technology needs journalistic values..We can start with Google  MORE


Meanwhile @eva shares a great idea:

A reminder that if your threat model includes the US government, using Gmail may not be a great idea  MORE

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by and Stephen Glasskeys, who curate the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites…so you don't have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or itbw@richi.uk. Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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