Orwell Was an Optimist

In light of the recent release of Snowden, I thought I would try my hand at looking at the different surveillance technologies.  We are all surveyed 24/7.   Having the data of your life is one thing.  How it gets used is another.  Generally anyone having any information, compromising, embarrassing, or otherwise it is generally used to blackmail.  This is the real threat. But maybe Gary North is right–that there’s just too much data for the feds to do any damage. That there is no way that the government uses or accesses all their own data.  I have my doubts. Though the information is gathered on “everyone in the kingdom, Snow White,” it probably targets and is used against folks who’ve committed some federal crime. But given all of the laws on the books of the federal registry, it’s hard not to see how the feds if they wanted to could charge you for almost anything.  The local school district has this power; it’s not like it is difficult to charge someone.  I got it on good authority that LAUSD, Los Angeles’ main school district, threw trumped up charges on people it wanted to throw under the bus. The district has an agenda: ask peoole to leave.  If they don’t,  then destroy them by any means necessary. It is not your neighborhood school district. School district bureaucracies are a government unto themselves. They regularly receive federal dollars: take Satan’s money, and you have to do Satan’s bidding.

Telephone companies built surveillance technologies into the core of their networks.  That has to be a chilling concept.  So from the get-go, every time we dial a friend or Aunt Gertrude or Uncle Bob we are being listened to, watched, managed.

Our phones were wired for surveillance first . . . first and foremost. While the telephone companies have built surveillance as a priority, Silicon Valley has not. Yeah, right. Has he forgotten about DARPA? Increasingly Silicon Valley has built strong encryption technology into their communication products that make surveillance extremely difficult. If you use an iPhone to send a text message to another iPhone, those text messages cannot easily be wiretapped. In fact, according to Apple, they’re not even able to see the text message themselves.

Sending a text message cannot be wiretapped. I think they can and are. Based on everyone I listen to and talk to. The government is listening in on everything. WhatsApp also has strong encryption technology.

Tech companies have democratized encryption. Hmm. I have my doubts.

If the drug-dealer’s telephone calls and the terrorist’s telephone calls can be interrupted, so can the rest of our calls too.

Should a billion people around the world be using devices that are wire-tap friendly?

Hacking surveillance systems, those systems were compromised by the Chinese in 2009. When you build a back door, you have no way of knowing who is going to go through it. Police

He says that we probably already have the tools on your smartphone to thwart the government surveillance.  But what about private surveillance, the kind where employers snoop your phone contacts to see who is who.

We need to use these tools.  Secure telephone calls.  Secure text messages.

Malte Spitz: Your Phone Company Is Watching.

Mikko Hypponen: How the NSA betrayed the world’s trust–time to act.

Mikko Hypponen:  Living in a surveillance state.

PRISM, XKeyScore (which I’ve never heard of), and others.  The NSA doesn’t really hide their techniques, nor do they need to.

Christopher Soghoian: Government Surveillance–this is just the beginning.

George Orwell was an optimist.

Hypponen lists the different surveillance apps used by NSA.

1. Airgap
2. Blackpearl
3. Cineplex
4. XKeyscore
6. Creek
7. Crossbones
8. Cultweave
9. Cybertrans
10. Dishfire
11. Doublebarrow
12. Dragonfly
13. Wealthycluster
14. Hightide
15. Skywriter
16. Jollyroger
17. Kingfish
18. Liquidfire
19. Messiah
20. Nightsurf
21. Noralrun
22. Pinwale
23. Taperplay
24. Mailorder
25. Tarotcard
26. Twistedpath
27. Yellowstone

A few more code names released.

US intelligence only has a legal right to survey foreigners.  Wholesale, blanket surveillance as you use the internet and phone network.  Both speakers offered the concession that it’s important to let the government survey large swathes of the population.  They both gave the examples of drug-dealers and murderers.  Yes, I want protection, too, but at the expense of liberties to everyone else?  That IS THE cost.  No question.  No doubt.  So peaceable folks will get harassed if some local schmo has an ax to grind against a member of a group he doesn’t like.  If gossip circulates, which it inevitably does

sabotage encryption algorithm file, making all of us less secure as a result.  Spy agencies should be brought back under control.  They destroy everything.

Each of these companies claim that they are not giving backdoor access to their data.  But they are.   They claim that they’re not cooperating with the government, but are saying that they’ve been hacked, hacked by their own government.  Flame malware, authored by the US government to subvert MS updates.  Der Speigel leaked

Sweden has legal similarities on data to the United States.  Skype used to be secure.  It used to be end-to-end encrypted, then it was sold to the United States.  Today it is no longer secure.  Government makes it less secure and makes all of us less secure as an outcome.  The U.S. is only fighting terrorism, it’s the war on terrorism.  But we know that they’ve used the same techniques to listen to the phone calls of European leaders.  They’re not trying to find terrorists inside the EU Parliament.  There are terrorists, but are we ready to do anything at all just because there are terrorists?  Is terrorism such an existential threat that we’d really be willing to do anything to

People are brutally honest with the internet.  With these data leaks, I’m not doing anything bad or anything illegal, but nothing that I would feel comfortable sharing with an intelligence agency, especially a foreign intelligence agency.  If we do indeed do need a big brother, then I would much rather have a domestic big brother than a foreign big brother.


What I am sending is none of your business and none of your country’s business either.  We are brutally honest with search engines.  You show me your history, I’ll show you something incriminating, something embarrassing in 5 minutes.  We are more honest with search engines than we are with our families.  Search engines know more about you than your family knows about you.  This is all information we’re giving away . . . giving away to the United States.  Surveillance changes history.  We know that corrupt presidents, like Nixon wire-tapped his opponents.

President of Brazil, Dilma Roussef, “If there is no right to privacy, there can be no true freedom of expression and opinion, and therefore no effective democracy.”

Security Researcher, Marcos J. Ranum, said “The United States is treating the internet as it  would treating one of its colonies.”  So we’re back to the age of colonization.  So do foreigners, as users of the internet, think of America(ns), as our masters?

So Snowden is being blamed for problems of surveillance.  Equivalent to Al Gore of causing global warming.

What is to be done?  Should we worry?  No.  What’s going to change the situation is to steer away from systems made in the United States.  The solution is open source.  Open, free, secure systems.  One country doesn’t have to solve the problems by itself.  Hiran Meier. Not sure of the spelling and cannot find any reference to him online.




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