Russia’s “Carnivore” under fire

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Russia’s Supreme Court has taken aim at that government’s infamous surveillance program SORM (similar to the FBI’s controversial “Carnivore” technology), issuing a decision that could weaken the program’s frighteningly broad control over private correspondence, the MOSCOW TIMES reports.

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SORM — or System for Operational-Investigative Activities — requires communications companies to install equipment that allows Russia’s FSB (the KGB’s successor agency) to spy on its citizens’ transmissions, including those conducted over the Internet. (See Feb. 4 MoJo Wire story.) Though technically the FSB would need a warrant to survey any e-mails, critics charged that the organization would essentially be able to snoop on anyone.

In the recent court case, filed by a St. Petersburg journalist, the court ruled that law enforcement agencies must inform Internet providers and telephone and paging companies if they are listening in on their clients. Many critics remain skeptical, saying that the ruling does not necessarily mean communications companies will, in turn, tell their customers they are being spied upon. However, the case could potentially lead to more far-reaching prohibitions on government surveillance.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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