It’s Official: New Leaks Show US Government Using Fog Computing and Proprietary Computing Culture to Illegally Eavesdrop on Everyone Around the World
The NSA Mafia Don, Keith B. Alexander
Summary: What the newest NSA leaks teach us and why Microsoft is the most dangerous company in the food chain of this secret establishment of international surveillance
THE surveillance industrial complex is expanding very fast, with new datacentres and recruits being added to a secretive legion of almost 50,000 staff, plus the staff of data-hoarding technology corporations, notably in the United States (Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and beyond). Microsoft is a big component of it, especially with recent acquisitions like Skype and privacy-violating, living room-intruding spatial camera technology. This is not a theory but an established fact, although the corporate media often turns a blind eye (journalists are under war by the administration), which means that so-called ‘reporters’ omit details upon request, avoid covering some topics due to “national security”, and even plant disinformation, as we recently saw Murdoch’s press (Fox) doing for the NSA (more on that later).
“It is worth noting that the NSA is outsourcing the development of illegal spying software”It is worth noting that the NSA is outsourcing the development of illegal spying software. It should also be noted upfront that Microsoft is not alone in this, but Microsoft is worst when it comes to violations because on many computers Microsoft has its system running, and routinely (more often than not) the machine is left open to remote intrusion while connected to the Internet. We covered some examples before (see CIPAV for instance). People’s rights when put in the hands of companies like Microsoft are always bound to erode. Recently we explained how Xbox One removes people's control over games that they purchase (the computer will phone mother ship Microsoft routinely for no practical purpose as far as the user is concerned) and Tim Cushing speaks of this sacrifice of rights as follows: “As Microsoft stumbles towards the eventual release of the Xbox One (an all-in-one console apparently aimed at replacing all of your entertainment devices with a sleek black box equipped with eyes, ears and a frustrating inability to fire up a secondhand game without tossing some cash Points into the tollbooth), gamers (for the most part) have expressed their irritation and disbelief, even going so far as to call on Sony to not eff up the next Playstation with the same sort of purposefully limited feature set.”
This whole experiment known as Xbox has been a failed attempt to reposition Microsoft as an appliances company. Microsoft just lost billions of dollars and took a toll to its name when many people suffered from technical problems in the Xbox 360 (not just Red Rings of Death).
“That is why Microsoft feels like it needs to feed some patent trolls, extort numerous companies using patent terrorism, and bribe those among them which complain, notably B & N.”Based on a CBS article which cites another, things are not working for Microsoft at present, with Google and Android taking the lion’s share of the market. That is why Microsoft feels like it needs to feed some patent trolls, extort numerous companies using patent terrorism, and bribe those among them which complain, notably B & N.
The Microsoft-affiliated press engages in revisionism that misportrays computing history and helps boost software patents, showing a rather embarrassing disregard for facts. What Microsoft became better known for in recent years is censorship and surveillance, demonstrating the importance of software freedom. Here is some new example of Windows leaving the users open for intrusion by anyone:
Google security expert Tavis Ormandy has discovered a security vulnerability in Windows which can be exploited by any user on the system to obtain administrator privileges. Rather than reporting the vulnerability to Microsoft, he posted details to the Full Disclosure security mailing list in mid-May and has now published an exploit to the same mailing list.
Ormandy is a familiar figure in the security world. In recent years, the security expert has discovered many different vulnerabilities. He has also been known to take the shortest route when it comes to sharing information on vulnerabilities he has discovered: full disclosure, meaning rapid publication without informing the organisation behind the vulnerable software beforehand.
Sigh. Here we go again, a billion PCs with little or no security simply because they run M$’s OS. Even if you love M$’s software for other reason, no sane person should let all their IT rest on M$. They are an unreliable “partner”. With all the money they have they are not able to secure their OS because it is defective by design.
The NSA can now intrude any Windows-running PC, with impunity.
There are two types of controversy right now, both linked to the NSA and some new leaks. One is about Verizon phone records and another is about Fog Computing surveillance.
The FSF links to this report from The Guardian (I spoke to Richard Stallman about it last year), whereas the EFF focuses on another aspect of it. The good news is that the public all around the world is starting to catch up with the illegalities of the NSA (this is not news for many, but probably for most), which just like the CIA should be de-funded for engaging in criminal activities against whatever it perceives to be threat to “national interest”. Before he got assassinated President John Kennedy was quoted as saying he wanted to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.” Here is the latest news:
The U.S. government has obtained a top secret court order that requires Verizon to turn over the telephone records of millions of Americans to the National Security Agency on an “ongoing daily basis,” the UK-based Guardian newspaper reported.
The four-page order, which The Guardian published on its website Wednesday, requires the communications giant to turn over “originating and terminating” telephone numbers as well as the location, time and duration of the calls — and demands that the order be kept secret.
Top secret court order requiring Verizon to hand over all call data shows scale of domestic surveillance under Obama
The Obama administration called government review of complete phone records of U.S. customers a “critical tool” in protecting the public from terrorists.
It’s worse than we thought.
Just one day after disclosing the existence of a secret court order between the National Security Agency (NSA) and Verizon, The Guardian and The Washington Post both published secret presentation slides revealing the existence of a previously undisclosed massive surveillance program called PRISM. The program has the capability to collect data “directly from the servers” of major American tech companies, including Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook and Yahoo. (Dropbox is said to be “coming soon.”)
The newspapers describe the system as one giving the National Security Agency and the FBI direct access to a huge number of online commercial services, capable of “extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.”
To quote a key paragraph: “The Post describes the source who sent the slides as a “career intelligence officer” who had firsthand experience with PRISM and expressed “horror” at what it could do. “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” the officer said.”
This is still being covered by very large publications at this very moment, finally making a major public debate over issues we have covered here for a long time (in daily links I have included nearly one thousand news links about the NSA). When people realise they’re under constant surveillance they’re rather outraged. It’s no longer just those “terrorists”, it’s everyone. Everyone is treated like a terrorist.
“It’s no longer just those “terrorists”, it’s everyone. Everyone is treated like a terrorist.”As shown above, even CNN and Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) covered the Verizon news, so it is no longer as secretive as it used to be. They have no point hiding it, as it would damage their credibility now that it’s major worldwide news (one of our readers says it may all be a non-news distraction to move attention away from imminent US intervention in Syria). Funnily enough, it was Murdoch’s other press, Fox ‘news’, which helped the NSA deny the allegations that it was spying on Americans. Fox ran a story back in April, receiving many links from hundreds of resultant articles that helped whitewash the NSA. What does it feel like to have lied to the public at such a large scale, at great expense to civil liberties and dignity? The mistake of Binney and Drake is that they didn’t leak enough hard documents to support their claims, leaving Murdoch et al. (plutocrats-run press) to exploit the benefit of the doubt and resort to plausible deniability (“a term coined by the CIA”). The latest NSA leaks change that. █
“But rather than a search engine or even a “decision engine”, Bing also appears to be a spin engine, in that it provides partisan answers to controversial topics, such as Steve Ballmer’s propensity to throw chairs to blow off stress.”