The spying activities of two particular nations have been conspicuously ignored by Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden: Brazil and Russia. Chances are that no one wants to bite the hand that feeds, but given how Snowden and Greenwald are Americans attacking the U.S. government, it only seems fair to note how their current host nations are engaged in spying activities in far more egregious and unconstitutional ways.
Let’s begin in Russia where, in addition its countless other surveillance operations, it was reported today that the Russian government is eavesdropping on both spectators and journalists assigned to the Sochi Olympics beat — without warrants or court oversight. Via JM Ashby over at our Banter blog:
It should certainly be expected,” agreed a senior U.S. intelligence official, who told ABC News that the influx of tens of thousands of American spectators and dignitaries will be “an intelligence bonanza” for both Russian spies and organized crime groups. […]
The Russian electronic surveillance program, called SORM, rivals any American domestic FBI or NSA surveillance program — with one key difference: the Russians don’t need the formality of a court order to suck up all of the targeted person’s data, which is archived for three years. […]
“The Russians will own your communications when you go there. The only way to guard against that is to take a clean device and use a temporary email address,” Joel Brenner, who served as U.S. National Counterintelligence Executive from 2006-2009, told ABC News.
But Snowden needs Russia (and his FSB lawyer) so we shouldn’t hold our collective breath waiting for Snowden to condemn this.
What about Brazil?
In advance of the World Cup, Brazil is actively spying on protesters. Like it’s been doing for years.
Brazilian security forces are using undercover agents, intercepting e-mails, and rigorously monitoring social media to try to ensure that violent anti-government protesters do not ruin soccer’s World Cup this year, officials told Reuters. […]
But officials speaking on condition of anonymity described widespread and growing surveillance of Black Bloc members, the extent of which has not been previously reported.
In addition to monitoring the group’s communications on Facebook and other social media, intelligence agents have infiltrated the movement and passed along information to police before and during recent demonstrations, two officials said.
Authorities have also used advanced technology to locate the computers of violent protesters and gain access to their communications, with the intent of identifying leaders and monitoring their activities, one official said.
For more about Brazil’s surveillance operations, read this. I seem to recall Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff addressing the United Nations and condemning the United States for spying on Brazil. But I guess it’s permissible if Brazil spies on Brazil. Again, I wonder when hero Greenwald will condemn the Rousseff government with the same ferocity with which he’s condemning the U.S. and U.K. governments.