09.25.13

Gemini version available ♊︎

Linux Back Door Question Revisited in the Age of Government Surveillance Crimes

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Security at 7:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Parliament

Summary: In the age of government lawlessness regarding privacy we recall Torvalds’ sarcastic remarks

LINUX is commonly being run with many blobs in it. Some are very large, especially graphics drivers. Recently, Linus Torvalds was dodging a question regarding a backdoor in Linux and this was covered by the British press.

“The lust for surveillance is a national thing and the bigger the nation is, the more capable it is of carrying out surveillance at a massive scale.”Now that “The UN High Commissioner Says Privacy Is a Human Right” [1] we should take this matter seriously knowing that cross-national bodies stand not for surveillance. The UN, reveal recent leaks, was itself a victim of US/NSA espionage. The lust for surveillance is a national thing and the bigger the nation is, the more capable it is of carrying out surveillance at a massive scale. It’s not just a US thing. The NSA is probably interested in putting back doors in Linux [2] and now that complicity turns out to be behind some NSA back doors [3] Free software leaves more hope for some who appreciate privacy [4], not those who use social networks in an irresponsible way [5-8] or those who trust the keepers of medical records [9,10] (here in the UK there is currently a push to share more such data, with opt-out being an option, for now). The Brazilian president says US surveillance a “breach of international law” [11] and there is some talk about building a new ‘Internet’ alternative [12] as backlash increases [13] over the Pentagon-built Internet. Irrespective of the location of an Internet company, surveillance is unstoppable [14] on the Internet. The UK is part of the problem [15] because it’s part of the empire. Concerns are being raised here [16] because our government is breaking European laws and cracks systems in ally nations [17], showing just how corrupt a government can be when given the power to carry out surveillance [18]. Don’t buy this whole ‘metadata’ excuse. It’s essentially what makes a concise profile of all of us. A lot can be derived from metadata, which BT’s Bruce Schneier (BT is a massive surveillance entity) says “Equals Surveillance” [19].

Some graphics drivers for Linux were previously found to be severely flawed (even enabling remote access through compromise). If one looks for a Linux back door, that’s a good place to start. What’s reassuring, however, is the news that NVIDIA will begin publishing open GPU documentation [20], much like ATI/AMD. If underlying code is being released, then it gets harder to conceal back doors.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The UN High Commissioner Says Privacy Is a Human Right
  2. NSA: GNU/Linux TOO SECURE

    When did the role of the National Security agency change from keeping USA safe to sabotaging the world’s IT? From the beginning…

  3. Major US security company warns over NSA link to encryption formula
  4. Goodbye, Encryption; Hello, FOSS

    Indeed, the NSA has not cracked good crypto; what it has done is inserted backdoors and such in closed software,” Google+ blogger Kevin O’Brien pointed out. “The key word here is ‘closed.’ That makes Linux even more important since anyone can view the code.

  5. Redmond’s Used iPads, Spy Wars Escalate & More…

    If an employee makes a post on Facebook using a privacy setting that excludes the boss from seeing it, that post is off limits to the employer. Unless, that is, the poster has a turncoat friend who willingly supplies the post to the employer with no prodding to do so. That’s evidently the gist of a ruling handed down in August, as reported by PCWorld on Sunday.

  6. LinkedIn Accused of Hacking Customers’ E-Mails to Get Contacts
  7. ‘I only shared it with eight friends’ says Emily Sheffield after posting picture of napping PM

    Emily Sheffield uploaded the image of her sister Alice smiling for the camera and holding a glass of champagne ahead of her wedding two weeks ago.

  8. Viral pictures of politicians highlight dangers of revealing more than intended online

    On her wedding day, Alice Sheffield would have been entirely within her rights to expect to be the centre of attention.

    But a family photo of the bride-to-be smiling with a glass of champagne just hours before the ceremony ended up going viral due to her brother-in-law being pictured in the background, taking a nap on a four-poster hotel bed.

    While this may not sound to be too interesting in its own right, users of photo-sharing app Instagram who viewed the image were shocked to spot that the sleeping guest was none other than David Cameron. The British Prime Minister could clearly be seen dozing barefoot on the bed, curled up next to a red box of ministerial paperwork.

  9. NHS 111 workers may get access to private medical records

    The government has announced proposals that would provide thousands of unqualified NHS 111 workers access to our private medical records, posing a massive risk to patient privacy.

  10. GPs threaten to boycott NHS database

    Their concerns are entirely reasonable. Patients have had zero direct communication from the NHS about the program, patient information posters are wholly uninformative and have only been displayed in GP surgeries, rather than being sent to patients. If you don’t visit your GP every few weeks then it’s likely you wouldn’t see the poster before it was too late (and even if you did read the poster, it’s likely you’ll have no idea what it’s talking about.)

  11. Brazilian president: US surveillance a ‘breach of international law’
  12. The BRICS “Independent Internet” Cable. In Defiance of the “US-Centric Internet”

    Brazil plans to divorce itself from the U.S.-centric Internet over Washington’s widespread online spying, a move that many experts fear will be a potentially dangerous first step toward politically fracturing a global network built with minimal interference by governments.

    President Dilma Rousseff has ordered a series of measures aimed at greater Brazilian online independence and security following revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted her communications, hacked into the state-owned Petrobras oil company’s network and spied on Brazilians who entrusted their personal data to U.S. tech companies such as Facebook and Google.

  13. International Day of Privacy, Berlin Demo

    The Inter­na­tional Day of Pri­vacy was cel­eb­rated glob­ally on 31 August, with the cases of Chelsea Man­ning and Edward Snowden bring­ing extra energy and res­on­ance to the subject.

  14. The lunacy of trying to avoid NSA spying by moving e-mail and cloud out of the US

    Some people are ao much in a panic about the NSA spying on them that they’re going to move their e-mail and cloud services out of the US entirely to “safer” foreign companies.

  15. Yahoo! joins transparency club as more UK requests refused

    Yahoo! has just added its own statistics to those of Facebook, Microsoft, Google and others. We blogged last week on Facebook’s new data and the questions that now urgently need answering about how powers to access data are being used and the oversight of surveillance powers.

  16. Edward Snowden has raised ‘real issues’, says head of UK spy watchdog

    Sir Malcolm Rifkind defends UK intelligence agencies’ techniques but appears to concede laws may need review

  17. State sponsored cyber attack: Will we practice what we preach?

    GCHQ is responsible for a cyber attack on Belgacom.

    [...]

    It appears then that this message is only relevant to the countries that we seek, quite rightly, to condemn rather than to ourselves and our allies. The information leaked by Edward Snowden, and reported on by Der Spiegel, indicates that the goal of “Operation Socialist” was “to enable better exploitation of Belagcom” and to improve understanding of the provider’s infrastructure. It also appears that GCHQ used spying technology that had been developed by the NSA.

  18. Spy Agencies Are Doing WHAT?

    The government is spying on essentially everything we do.

  19. Metadata Equals Surveillance

    Back in June, when the contents of Edward Snowden’s cache of NSA documents were just starting to be revealed and we learned about the NSA collecting phone metadata of every American, many people — including President Obama — discounted the seriousness of the NSA’s actions by saying that it’s just metadata.

  20. NVIDIA To Begin Publishing Open GPU Documentation

    This week at XDC2013 NVIDIA made one of the biggest surprise announcements… NVIDIA will begin publishing NDA-free GPU programming documentation. They already have released some documentation and more is on the way as they seek to assist the Nouveau graphics driver developers in writing a full open-source 3D Linux graphics driver for GeForce GPUs.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. No Doubt Microsoft Unleashed Another 'Tay', Spreading Bigotry Under the Guise of Hey Hi (AI)

    Reprinted with permission from Ryan



  2. Links 07/02/2023: Fedora 39 Development Plans Outlines

    Links for the day



  3. IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 06, 2023

    IRC logs for Monday, February 06, 2023



  4. Links 06/02/2023: Escuelas Linux 8.0 and Many Political Issues

    Links for the day



  5. Links 06/02/2023: Sparky 6.6 and IPFire 2.27 – Core Update 173

    Links for the day



  6. Taking Back Control or Seizing Autonomy Over the News Cycle (Informing People, Culling the Marketing)





  7. Reality Versus Fiction: EPO Insiders Versus EPO Web Site and UPC 'Churnalists'

    The "official" sources of the European Patent Office (EPO), as well as the sedated "media" that the EPO is bribing for further bias, cannot tell the truth about this very large institution; for proper examination of Europe's largest patent office one must pursue the interpretation by longtime veterans and insiders, who are increasingly upset and abused (they're being pressured to grant patents in violation of the charter of the EPO)



  8. Links 06/02/2023: Linux 6.2 RC7 and Fatal Earthquake

    Links for the day



  9. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 05, 2023

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 05, 2023



  10. Links 05/02/2023: Wayland in Bookworm and xvidtune 1.0.4

    Links for the day



  11. Links 05/02/2023: Pakistan Blocks Wikipedia, Musharraf Dies

    Links for the day



  12. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 04, 2023

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 04, 2023



  13. Links 04/02/2023: FOSDEM Happening and Ken Thompson in SoCal Linux Expo

    Links for the day



  14. 2023 is the Year Taxpayers' Money Goes to War and Energy Subsidies, Not Tech

    Now that a lot of powerful and omnipresent ‘tech’ (spying and policing) companies are rotting away we have golden opportunities to bring about positive change and maybe even recruit technical people for good causes



  15. Getting Back to Productive Computer Systems Would Benefit Public Health and Not Just Boost Productivity

    “Smartphoneshame” (shaming an unhealthy culture of obsession with “apps”) would potentially bring about a better, more sociable society with fewer mental health crises and higher productivity levels



  16. Links 04/02/2023: This Week in KDE and Many More Tech Layoffs

    Links for the day



  17. Dotcom Boom and Bust, Round 2

    The age of technology giants/monopolies devouring everything or military-funded (i.e. taxpayers-subsidised) surveillance/censorship tentacles, in effect privatised eyes of the state, may be ending; the United States can barely sustain that anymore and raising the debt ceiling won't solve that (buying time isn't the solution)



  18. Society Would Benefit From a Smartphoneshame Movement

    In a society plagued by blackmail, surveillance and frivolous lawsuits it is important to reconsider the notion of “smart” phone ownership; these devices give potentially authoritarian companies and governments far too much power over people (in the EU they want to introduce new legislation that would, in effect, ban Free software if it enables true privacy)



  19. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 03, 2023

    IRC logs for Friday, February 03, 2023



  20. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 02, 2023

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 02, 2023



  21. Links 03/02/2023: Proton 7.0-6 Released, ScummVM 2.7 Testing

    Links for the day



  22. Links 03/02/2023: OpenSSH 9.2 and OBS Studio 29.0.1

    Links for the day



  23. Links 03/02/2023: GNU C Library 2.37

    Links for the day



  24. Sirius Finished

    Yesterday I was sent a letter approving my resignation from Sirius ‘Open Source’, two months after I had already announced that I was resigning with immediate effect; they sent an identical letter to my wife (this time, unlike before, they remembered to also change the names!!)



  25. The Collapse of Sirius in a Nutshell: How to Identify the Symptoms and Decide When to Leave

    Sirius is finished, but it's important to share the lessons learned with other people; there might be other "pretenders" out there and they need to be abandoned



  26. Links 03/02/2023: WINE 8.1 and RapidDisk 9.0.0

    Links for the day



  27. Links 02/02/2023: KDE Gear 22.12.2 and LibreOffice 7.5

    Links for the day



  28. Linux News or Marketing Platform?

    Ads everywhere: Phoronix puts them at the top, bottom, navigation bar, left, and right just to read some Microsoft junk (puff pieces about something that nobody other than Microsoft even uses); in addition there are pop-ups asking for consent to send visitors’ data to hundreds of data brokers



  29. Daily Links at Techrights Turn 15, Time to Give Them an Upgrade

    This year we have several 15-year anniversaries; one of them is Daily Links (it turned 15 earlier this week) and we've been working to improve these batches of links, making them a lot more extensive and somewhat better structured/clustered



  30. Back to Focusing on Unified Patent Court (UPC) Crimes and Illegal Patent Agenda, Including the EPO's

    The EPO's (European Patent Office, Europe's second-largest institution) violations of constitutions, laws and so on merit more coverage, seeing that what's left of the "media" not only fails to cover scandalous things but is actively cheering for criminals (in exchange for money)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts