05.09.11

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Proprietary Software Against Civil Rights

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 4:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Co-authored with G. Forbes

Welding

Summary: How Windows is used to suppress activists

We at Techrights have long recommended against Windows use for activists and progressive organisations like Greenpeace. While ideally Windows should be frowned upon by all, it is especially dangerous for this purpose where the activist and/or organisation may be a potential target by political/corporate interference. The NSA wants you to drop Windows XP. “Did NSA Put a Secret Backdoor in New Encryption Standard” (maybe just partly true)? “Microsoft Denies Windows 7 Has NSA Backdoor” said one article after a recent storm all over the Web, alleging that the evidence had been manufactured and is therefore false. But we have evidence which is suggesting otherwise. The NSA does not want people to use systems where the code can be audited. Apparently it makes it too secure, even for secret agencies to set up back doors without getting caught

In the latest round of speculative concerns turning into reality, a British company, Gamma, is seen breaking the law just like the BBC. When the BBC accumulated PCs that are part of a botnet and even used taxpayers’ money to pay a gangs of cyber-criminals, it showed that it too was immune from the law, for mysterious reasons [1, 2, 3].

There’s unrest in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain and elsewhere in the Arab world.

Two days ago, protesters in Nasr, Egypt took over the Headquarters of the Egyptian State Security.

Inside the HQ, the protesters gained access to loads of confidential state documents.

Now, consider this article titled “British firm offered spying software to Egyptian regime – documents”

A British company offered to sell a program to the Egyptian security services that experts say could infect computers, hack into web-based email and communications tools such as Skype and even take control of other groups’ systems remotely, according to documents seen by the Guardian.

Two Egyptian human rights activists found the documents amid hundreds of batons and torture equipment when they broke into the headquarters of the regime’s State Security Investigations service (SSI) last month.

Just like the BBC, it seems to be breaking the law and getting away with it:

This is a direct C&P from my post on the Egypt thread, I’m hoping some of the legal types who frequent Urban may be able to give some insight/advice:

The lastest can of worms to be unearthed from State Security is an apparent purchase of a malware/trojan/spyware suite from a British subsidiary of a German company.

This is a Windows problem.

As one security blog put it, “Documents spilled into public by the political unrest in Egypt in recent months has shone a spotlight on the shadowy world of for-profit, custom malware creation for governments around the world.

“The anti malware firm F-Secure first called attention to documents uncovered by protesting Egyptians back in March. They included a proposal to sell a product dubbed “Finfisher” to the Mubarak regime.”

Not so long ago Russian activists got arrested, with Windows licensing as an excuse [1, 2]. When will people lean that activism and Windows are incompatible?

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