Posts tagged with 'Terror'

Spy Service with Trust Issues

  • Posted on June 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm

You really should have heard about PRISM and Tempora. You should know that this is only the part that was published with a source and some evidence of what’s going on. Keep in mind that there is a lot going on that we do not know about yet and probably never will. The fall-out of the scandal may be an eroded trust in IT staff and systems. The director of the N.S.A., Gen. Keith B. Alexander, has confirmed the lack of trust by establishing a buddy system for NSA’s IT staff. The concept isn’t new, and it’s used by the military, other agencies or in the field of cryptography.

The consequence rephrased reads like this: PRISM and Tempora have effectively destroyed the trust in IT systems – both for the people being victims of surveillance and the surveillants. The NSA now resorts to “a two-man rule” in order to restore trust internally (which will not prevent further whistle-blowers from leaking information). The victims try to restore trust by using encryption and tools to anonymise their communication. Both implications do not help either side. Furthermore the government agencies will continue their efforts and hide them from the general public in order to pursue their Greater Goal™ or the War on Stuff™.  Meanwhile everyone else is shopping ebay for slightly used civil rights.

A job well done. Let’s burn some books, basic liberties, journalists, and system administrators to make the world a better place.

“No wall can stand against the yearning of justice…”

  • Posted on June 19, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Barack “I know what you did last Summer!” Obama held a speech in Berlin today. The Guardian has published the full text of it (and will probably be closed down and its staff will be sent to Guantánamo) on its web site. The speech contains a unique gem of sarcasm.

No wall can stand against the yearning of justice, the yearnings for freedom, the yearnings for peace that burns in the human heart.

I fully agree, but one of us is lying. NSA Director Keith “I owe him another friggin’ beer” Alexander has no interest in justice, freedom, and peace. Congratulations! You should have saved yourself the trouble of the American Revolution.

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PRISM, the „Cloud“ and Espionage

  • Posted on June 19, 2013 at 12:47 pm

There should be no surprise about the PRISM initiative and NSA‘s activities. Some people became a member of the EFF on 12 September 2001. It is an illusion to believe that any collection of data is safe from access by third parties especially if it is stored in centralised locations. Sane critics have criticised the „Cloud“ since marketing departments discovered the brand name for centralised storage (the „Cloud“ may be dispersed, distributed, virtualised or whatever, but there are still „Cloud“ providers who hold the key access to the whole infrastructure). Right after 9/11 the term Total Information Awareness (TIA) was coined. Take a look at what TIA entails. This is what you see now, but don’t assume that only the USA do this.

Russia, China and the USA are the Axis of Surveillance. The differences are merely semantics. Some European states also pursue total information awareness. They just don’t talk about it, and there are no whistle-blowers – yet (hopefully). Once you rely on the infrastructure of other’s, be careful.

The next CryptoParty in Vienna will discuss countermeasures against surveillance by totalitarian regimes.

Somebody is lying

  • Posted on June 8, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Unless you have been living in a cave (or Abbottabad) for the past decade you have probably heard about NSA’s PRISM project. The security agencies have taken the „Cloud“ to the next level in order to access communication data and metadata. This is hardly a surprise for anyone keeping track of government activities. You don’t need strange conspiracy theories to stay sceptic. Provided someone wants to listen to the communication of non-US citizens and these non-US citizens use technology hosted in the US, then accessing the data gets a lot easier. The „Cloud“ is the best what could happen to agencies.

Of course the companies listed in the PRISM slide deck know nothing about it. Firstly everything except denying will hurt your business. Secondly all you need to not know anything any more is to receive a national security letter (NSL). Once you get this letter, you cannot say what’s going on behind the scenes. Too bad. Hence I’d take everything the compromised companies claim publicly with a large grain of salt. Press releases and speeches by CEOs usually have an agenda which doesn’t necessarily has something to do with truth.

Make sure to undress when using Skype

  • Posted on November 4, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Communication is a basic need. This is why phone companies are in the best position to charge whatever they want and why others always try to cheat (others being other companies and clients of phone companies alike). Tapping phone lines is a basic need, too. Ever since people had communications, someone else was trying to eavesdrop. This tradition has been proudly continued with Internet technology. The sad part is that most of us are not aware of this.

Skype is a popular communication tool. It is being used for instant messaging, audio and video calls. At the same time it is a popular surveillance tool. It has been used for locating users way before Microsoft changed the network topology by hosting all Skype servers. Surveillance is the crucial point here. Of course only the “legitimate” cases are published in the media. You may feel safe, but mentioning the words “pork”, “cloud” or “Mexico” may get you on the target list. That could be all it takes, and there are a lot of cases that will never be discussed in public, because of matters of national security.

So if you use Skype or similar services, always bear in mind that you speak and chat in the middle of a public space completely naked. Once you start a communication, you have no privacy any more. There should be no surprise, even for the Web 2.0 generation. All communication services in the US are subject to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). CALEA was born in 1994, long before Skype. Which doesn’t matter since someone had sufficient foresight to ensure surveillance even today. Have fun with your naked phone calls!

Sick of History Lessons yet? Don’t be!

  • Posted on April 30, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Occasionally you will hear the statement „Haven’t we heard enough of World War II?“ or „Why do we still need to study the Nazi regime and its crimes against humanity?“. Phrases like this are not only popular with right-wing politicians and their flock. „Ordinary“ people say this, too. Are you also sick of history lessons? Well, you shouldn’t, and here’s why.

It is completely normal to shun bad news if you get an overdose of it. Even for a news addict like me it’s hard to digest the daily dose of absurdity and articles describing things preposterous to common sense. This is where you usually change the channel, so to speak. However this does not mean that you should stop educating yourself. The claim of the phrase „history repeats itself“ is fuelled by the statement „people stop to repeatedly educate themselves“. Once you stop, the historical memory effect sets in and the crimes done by nations, individuals and fanatics seem less and less cruel than they really were. We keep forgetting. You don’t even have to go back 70 years, there’s a lot of history in the past 60, 50, 30 or even 10 years.

So refresh your memory, compare the past with the present, and never stop this process! Otherwise history will most certainly repeat itself – since it is a completely new experience for you.

Vorratsdatenspeicherung startet in Österreich

  • Posted on April 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Wien. – Heute am 1. April 2012 startet die Vorratsdatenspeicherung in Österreich. In der ersten Phase werden die Kommunikationsgewohnheiten aller Bürger, Politiker, Touristen und Terroristen erfaßt und gemeinsam abgespeichert. Enthusiasten hatten gestern vor dem Parlament die Maßnahme mit Särgen, Osterblumen und lustigen Fahnen begrüßt. Die Überwachung wird zunächst nur auf Telekommunikation beschränkt. Diese erste Phase gilt als Test, und der Fortschritt sowie die Bewertung der gespeicherten Daten wird monatlich in den sogenannten „Minority Reports“ an die EU Kommission übermittelt. Dieser Feedback ist wichtig, um zukünftige Spionagetechniken besser in den Richtlinien abbilden zu können.

Die Datensammlung macht in dieser Phase natürlich keinen Halt. Laut dem Projektleiter Dr. Metternich wird das Vorratsdatenspeicherungs in den nächsten 3 Jahren stetig ausgebaut und auch in die analoge Welt ausgedehnt. Die Meilensteine aus dem internen Projektplan lesen sich wie folgt.

  • Erfassung der Paket- und Briefpost (inklusive Öffnen verdächtiger Pakete)
  • Einbindung des Stromverbrauchs über Smartmeter (Stichwort „Smart Grid“)
  • Einbindung der Zusammensetzung von Abwässern einzelner Haushalte über Analysegeräte (Stichwort „Smart Shit“)
  • Erfassen der Abfallzusammensetzung einzelner Haushalte
  • Erfassen von Parteienverkehr an Wohnhäusern, Büros und öffentlicher Gebäude
  • Erfassen von Fußgängerverkehr an strategischen wichtigen Kreuzungen
  • Publikation aller Datenbanken im Rahmen eines Open Data Projekts (z.B. für nachbarschaftliche Wachsamkeit, …)

Das erklärte Ziel des Projekts ist die vollständige Aufklärung sämtlicher Straftaten und kleinerer Vergehen nach Implementation aller Meilensteine. Es ist davon auszugehen, dass durch das rapide Sinken unaufgeklärter Fälle die Anzahl der Beamten und Mitarbeiter in der Exekutive stark reduziert werden wird. Dr. Metternich erklärte telefonisch, dass dadurch die Kosten der Überwachungsmaßnahmen langfristig ausgeglichen werden. Er gehe von 10 Mitarbeitern für ganz Österreich ab 2020 aus.

Der Touristikverband sieht die Initiative positiv. Er werde gerade an einer Broschüre gearbeitet, um die Vorratsdatenspeicherung in Österreich für Gäste kompakt darzustellen. „Endlich fühlen sich Flüchtlinge und Touristen aus totalitären Staaten auch bei uns ganz wie zu Hause.“, so ein Vertreter der Branche.

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OS X 10.8 removes Support for critical News Sites

  • Posted on February 21, 2012 at 12:15 pm

The long awaited update of Mapple‘s OS X to the 10.8. Mountain Lion edition brings solace to distressed web surfers. The new operating system will block any news site on the web that criticises Mapple or any of its products. For example if you want to open the web site of the New York Times in Mapple’s Safari browser (of course the word safari being a synonym for hunting expedition), then you will be redirected to the iTunes store. „We get a lot of complaints by our users that fake news and independent journalists freak them out.“, a spokesperson was quoted.

While fake news, rumours and outright lies can lead to a very emotional experience on the Internet, they are basic ingredients of everyday life and politics. It’s hard to tell what the impact will be. The new features could lead to a massive decline of memes. Paired with Mapple’s power to stop alternative web browsers (unofficially also known as „these aren’t the browsers you are looking for“) computing will become a lot more conservative in the future.

TomTon to include Ambush Warning in latest Updates

  • Posted on December 19, 2011 at 12:47 am

Amsterdam. – TomTon, producer of sat-nav systems, has been hit by decreasing sales and is restructuring its workforce. The company announced to have some new products in the pipeline which will be put on the market in 2012. Journalists have been supplied by prototypes enabling a sneak preview of features to come.

Following the footsteps of many other companies the new map updates target the military market. Users of the new maps will now have the option of subscribing to ambush warnings. The information will be presented just like the traffic warnings customers are already used to. Currently TomTon’s R&D department works on live updates. The ambush data is provided by terrorist groups who sell their schedule of ambushes. The payment is in turn provided by the customers using the subscriptions. The innovative technology is hailed to make both supply lines and terrorism safer. ISAF has expressed great interest in the sat-nav devices and the new subscriptions. This could be good news for tourists travelling through remote and dangerous areas, too.

The new product would give sat-navs an edge over mobile phones equipped with map software and route planners. Mobile phones have been subjected to network failures in some countries recently.

Of senseless Terror and how to retain Sanity

  • Posted on July 24, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I’ve been loosely connected to the news in the past two days. I only got information about the Oslo bombing and the massacre at the you camp through tweets and occasional peeks at news sites on my mobile phone. After catching up I am none the wiser and send my heartfelt condolences to the victims of the tragedy. It’s hard to comprehend, because the is no sensible reason and no justification for the murders of this madman. I don’t expect a major follow-up during the court hearings.

However I truly admire the reaction of Norway’s politicians. Fabian Stang, the mayor of Oslo, said on Friday: „We must not let fear determine what we do, because then the terrorists have won.“ Jens Stoltenberg, the Norwegian prime minister, said in his speech: „We must never cease to stand up for our values. We have to show that our open society can pass this test, too, And that the answer to violence is even more democracy, even more humanity, but never naïveté.“ In addition there is no outcry about „killer video games“ or „killer movies“: „Mr O’Connor [the Norwegian Home Affairs Minister] said the government would not be moved to impose further restrictions on games or films following reforms announced in Friday to tighten up access to some violent and explicit games.“ This reaction sets Norway apart from any other Western state.

So I ask you all to work on this open society Mr Stoltenberg was talking about, and not only in Norway.

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Terror- und Pornolügen

  • Posted on June 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Es wird mit ziemlicher Sicherheit oft wiederholt werden, und ich habe es ohnehin aus der Bild-Zeitung für Nerds, aber die Terror- und Pornolügen der Politik gibt es jetzt als Statistik. Richard Gutjahr hat sich mal die Mühe gemacht und Telekommunikationsüberwachungen recherchiert (an dieser Stelle einen herzlichen Dank, Recherche ist nicht mehr selbstverständlich). Die vielbeschworene Gefahr von Terrorismus und (Kinder)Pornographie kommt in den tatsächlich angeforderten Überwachungen kaum zur Geltung. Das steht im krassen Widerspruch zu den Begründungen für die ganzen Überwachungsgesetze und -ermächtigungen. Darüber hinaus sieht man schön, was sich alles mit haltloser Panikmache erreichen läßt. Wi-der-lich!

Lauschangriffstatistik

Lauschangriffstatistik des deutschen Bundesamts für Justiz

Man achte darauf, daß die Daten aus dem Jahre 2009 stammen. Seit dieser Zeit wurde noch so manche Terrorpanikdiskussion losgetreten, und ich glaube nicht, daß Zensursula daran viel geändert hat. Immerhin wollte Frau von der Leyen ja keine Kinderpornographie löschen, sondern diese Inhalte nur markieren, damit man sie besser findet.

Dabei waren das nur die Highlights. Es ist wirklich zu empfehlen auf Richard Gutjahrs Blog mal die gesammelten Aushöhlungen des Grundgesetzes als Liste zu sehen. Da wird einem schlecht, ganz ohne EHEC. Es wird Zeit sich wieder auf Fakten zu besinnen. Leider fällt mir schon seit Jahren keine Partei mehr ein, die Fakten, Verstand und Umsichtigkeit im Wahlprogramm hat. Deutschland schafft sich eben geistig ab und demontiert die Verfassung. Steter Tropfen höhlt die Menschenrechte.

The End of the War against Terror

  • Posted on May 2, 2011 at 10:06 am

Osama bin Laden has been killed by US Special Forces. Basically this is good news. A religious fanatic killed by religious fanatics (with some politics thrown in for good measure). So can we now get rid of all the terror warnings, anti-terror laws and get back our civil liberty rights? Especially the anti-terror laws controlling the use of telephones and Internet seem now a bit overblown since Mr. bin Laden had no phones and no Internet access in his mansion.

Ah, yes, no body will be found. This will be a big relief for all sceptics and avid fans of Wag The Dog.

USA abolishes the Internet economy

  • Posted on September 27, 2010 at 9:55 pm

WASHINGTON. – In a surprise move to speed up the ongoing recession president Obama has abolished all commercial use of the Internet. The change of mind came with a proposal to banish all encrypted data transmissions entering the USA, including online shopping carts and payments. At the same time foreign companies were told to open their data communication completely, enabling US companies to get advance warnings about the business strategies of their competitors. Obama defended the policy by stressing that spying must be openly and freely possible, just what the Founding Fathers had in mind when creating the Land of the Free Agencies.

Any non-compliance will be met with deadly financial force. Any company not having a branch in the US will be forced to open a branch office at gunpoint. Independent observers comment the new regulations as an improved way of getting a global wiretap without having to host the whole Internet, as Saudi-Arabia and India have planned. „You can only flush out the terrorists by reducing vital infrastructure to rubble. The shock and awe bombing strategy has worked brilliantly in the past, so we simply extend it to cryptography”, an official stated in an interview.

We’re eager to see the Internet reduced to the capabilities of the telephone network. This will put an end to anything the bill is trying to stop.

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