Firefox Plug-In Warns Users of NSA Surveillance

IntelliHub – by RT

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day? The government is likely logging even the most mundane day-to-day computer habits of millions of Americans, but there’s a way to stand up against surveillance while also rocking out.

According to leaked NSA documents published by The Guardian last week, the United States National Security Agency is conducting dragnet surveillance of the communications of Americans, regularly receiving phone records for millions of Verizon customers while also being capable of accessing the conversations that occur over Facebook, Google and several other major Internet names through a program called PRISM. Now a 28-year-old artist and developer from Brooklyn, New York has found a fun way of warning computer users about potential government surveillance, and he’s incorporated one of the best-selling rock albums ever in the process.

Justin Blinder released a plugin for the Web browser Firefox this week, and he’s already seeing a positive response in the press if not just based off of the idea alone. His “The Dark Side of the Prism” browser extension alerts Web surfers of possible surveillance by starting up a different song from Pink Floyd’s 1973 classic “The Dark Side of the Moon” each time a questionable site is crossed.

Blinder told the Guardian that he built the program over the course of four hours with the hopes he could “create some sort of ambient notification that you are on a site that is being surveiled by the NSA.”

I was really interested in the fact that, although the PRISM leaks were a shock to many of us, we pretty much already kind of know we’re being surveiled a lot of the time and giving away so much data,” he said.

Upon news of the phone tracking program, even members of Congress said they couldn’t get over how much information was being shared between the telecoms and the government. Walking out of a briefing this Wednesday, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-California) said, “What we learned in there is significantly more than what is out in the media today,” and described her reaction as “astounded.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said the program “represents an outrageous abuse of power and a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution,” and the American Civil Liberties Union has sued the government with a similar complaint filed in federal court.

Separate from leaking a document about the NSA’s access to phone records, former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden also gave The Guardian evidence of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL and others sharing private communications of customers with the government. When “The Dark Side of the Prism” is installed, users of those sites will be reminded with one of the most iconic albums of the twentieth century.

I just Googled ‘Prism’ and the cover came up,” Blinder said. It just so happened that the long-time best-seller also fits the mood for exactly what the programmer was looking for.

I didn’t want it to be too jarring because a lot of us seem to be giving in to being surveiled on a daily basis. I feel like people already know that. I didn’t want it to be alarming,” he said.

“The Dark Side of the Moon” was Pink Floyd’s eighth studio album and most commercially successfully, selling roughly 50 million copies and landing on the Billboard charts for 741 consecutive weeks. Surveillance, on the other hand, isn’t quite as popular: according to a Post/Washington Post poll released this week, 52 percent of Americans oppose the PRISM program.

With regards to Snowden, the American public is largely polarized on the issue. He’s been labeled as both a traitor and whistleblower and is currently the target of a Department of Justice investigation.

He’s not a whistleblower, by the way, because a whistleblower actually wants the rule of law to be enforced,” Jeremy Bash, the former chief of staff for then-CIA Director Leon Panetta, told Politics Confidential this week. “He copied documents and he made a run for it. He may be actually aiding our enemies.”

On his part, Snowden said he leaked the documents because, “I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”

Earlier this year, Pink Floyd lyricist Roger Waters lent his support to Army Private first class Bradley Manning, who is currently on trial for the largest intelligence leak in US history.

We need more whistl blowers,” Waters wrote in a statement. “Blowing the whistle on our behalf is not just brave, it is heroic and it is our duty.”

17 thoughts on “Firefox Plug-In Warns Users of NSA Surveillance

  1. Pretty good invention, but I’d get tired on hearing Pink Floyd the whole time I was on my computer (If they are really tracking Everything) and everytime I was on my computer. Maybe he could invent something that would give you a blip of the IP addy so you could check out who it was and where 🙂

    1. It isn’t deep enough to do that. I believe all it actually does is play the music if you surf to a website that is listed on NSA tracked lists. Nothing more.

      1. Darn, well I don’t have firefox. Hopefully someone will try it and let us know how it works for them & which lists are being tracked 🙂

    2. If you are running a linux based firewall check out psad at . It can be setup to alert you about suspicious firewall stuff(extremely configurable alerts) and automagically ferret out the data related to the infringing IP address and advise you via text file/email/pop up.

  2. Britain is going to be put in the vice if Germany gets their way and seeing as they are the EU “powerhouse” it is likely there will be a new raft and measures against American spying across the board and poor Britain will be caught between a rock and a hard place.

    From what I can gather, the US nor the UK are technically breaking any laws, for Menwith Hall is technically US territory but NOT classed legally as US soil hence no breaking of the law so they say and the UK government is keen to point out that they have no control over what the Americans do inside Menwith Hall nor any control over “intelligence” given to them through Echelon and other little schemes.

    But, the EU and the US signed a safe harbour treaty which was ratified into law on both sides to prevent either side using or exploiting information gathered by companies online or to prevent global corps simply handing records over to governments and that is a definite breach of law which the Germans are fuming about.

    Be warned too that this current “red alert” is all about legitimising the snooping, that a “plot” foiled by this listening in etc will no doubt hit the news and the sheep will buy it hook, line and sinker.

    1. “Be warned too that this current “red alert” is all about legitimising the snooping, that a “plot” foiled by this listening in etc will no doubt hit the news and the sheep will buy it hook, line and sinker.”

      Yep, I agree Angry G.
      There are only 2 things I can think of when they swallow the bait, hook and sinker. Step on the tail and yank it out with the needle nose or cut the line. I guess either would be appropriate if they do.

  3. Unless you’re using two cans and a string, I still say NOTHING is beyond the so-called ‘government’s’ ability to hack.

    1. Not really. I think they can even use HAARP to tune in on the frequency waves of that line of string if they really wanted to. lol

  4. And that’s the conundrum.
    Even if there were to be a general uprising, and the US Government relented and said, “Mea Culpa – we will respect the Constitution and spy no more….” how do we know? What safeguards can be put in place? If the spying is done by another country, UK or Israel, how do we call them to account? Do we nuke the Utah Data Center? They would only set up another one somewhere else.
    Unfortunately, the genie is out of the bottle, and the only solution now is workarounds. This means encryption, getting rid of your digital TV sets (can you handle it?), pay-as-you go cell phones, eschewing Smart Meters and installing analogue meters on your house, buying a pre-1980 automobile etc.
    I’m sure there are thousands of 14 year-olds working on this problem even as we speak. God love ’em!

  5. That comment from Leon (the peon) Panetta about Snowden
    aiding our enemies” is a load of BS!!!

    How is telling the American people about the NSA spying on us, giving aid to the enemy? Oh yeah – by telling the enemy already in the USA that their communications are been listened to by the NSA!!

    Well – WHO let the enemy into the USA? The USA BORDER PATROL. Those people (along with the TSA) do a lousy job of keeping enemies out of the USA thats for sure.

    1. Test Pilot Dummy, that site has some good articles on it, TY.
      I’m not the geek in the family, but used to know html like the back of my hand in the old days when ya “had” to use it, ah memories…. hehe!

  6. I tried and disabled the add on, because the music continually plays. There has to be someway of shutting off the song. I refuse to be intimidated and not go to pages that sets off the song.

  7. Firefox also has an add on HTTPs everywhere, search under security. There are many ways you can protect yourself. Also, try Immunicity~

    1. if you are sitting in your house using your internet connection then subterfuge is fairly pointless. The NSA owns the TOR network (anyone actually surprised?).
      Some data for your perusal.

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