EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

09.25.13

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 this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Patent Maximalists Refuse to Accept That Their War on Patent Quality Also Dooms a Pan-European Patent Court System

    The EPO‘s embrace of patent maximalists’ agenda, which necessarily means significant decreases in patent quality (and deviation/departure from the EPC), dooms patent certainty; it also, however, dooms the Unitary Patent (UPC) because an extension of this rogue regime to the court system won’t be tolerated



  2. Links 24/8/2019: Wayland’s Weston 7.0 and More

    Links for the day



  3. Outsourcing to Microsoft and Openwashing as a Service (OaaS): This is the Linux Foundation in 2019

    The concept of "Open" at the Linux Foundation gives room for thought; are things really being opened or mostly marketed as "Open" and, if so, is the Foundation more like a marketing agency?



  4. Links 23/8/2019: Wine 4.0.2 Released, Removing Qt 4 From Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  5. Links 22/8/2019: KDE ISO Image Writer, GNU Parallel ‘Jesper Svarre’

    Links for the day



  6. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: A Free (as in Freedom) Library, and Federation of Advocates

    "This library is not just for cultural works, but also for software."



  7. Linux Foundation's Linux.com in 2019: Zero Articles (Nothing Original) and a Terrible, Rookie New Design

    Linux.com has become a curated syndicator of news (edited by one single Microsoft proponent); the site has also eliminated its traditional design in favour of something only 'hipsters' can appreciate



  8. Managing IP as Team UPC's Megaphone and Lobbying Front

    Managing IP is lying on behalf of Team UPC yet again; the site's long history promoting the UPC hasn't ended even when prospects of the UPC are slim to none



  9. No More Rights for EPO Staff?

    The oppression and the crackdown on labour rights in Europe's second-largest institution has deepened to the point where staff is paid as little as is legally possible



  10. Links 22/8/2019: GNOME 3.33.91, Systemd 243 RC2, Cockpit 201, Ubuntu Touch OTA-10, FreeIPMI 1.6.4

    Links for the day



  11. Some Patent Attorneys Dislike Techrights Not Because It's Wrong But Because Software Patents Are Wrong (and Sometimes Illegal)

    Odd rants which misuse common law and ignore alleged Fair Use (and misinterpretation of copyright law, for censorship purposes) would have people believe that we're wrong; but it's more likely that the person in question is jealous, insecure, or offended by our stance on patent scope, which is very much rooted in the law itself (and the views widely held by software developers globally)



  12. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Distro-libre and feature-schema

    "Every time a distro does not suit a user's purposes, and it is less work to adapt the distro on one's own than to affect the distro in any other way, a distro is born."



  13. Links 21/8/2019: Dell's XPS 13, Mesa 19.2 RC1, Librem Update

    Links for the day



  14. Links 21/8/2019: Open Source POWER, Alpine 3.10.2, Netrunner 19.08

    Links for the day



  15. Edward as a Nodder to Team UPC Kool-Aid

    Bristows LLP is at it again and it's getting pathetic, not just dishonest as usual



  16. Guest Post: António Campinos' European Patent Office Redefines Modern Slavery in the Heart of Europe in 2019

    The European Patent Office’s (EPO) President António Campinos — like his predecessor Battistelli — emulates Chinese labour practices



  17. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: There is More Than One Iceberg Ahead

    "This strategy is not far from when Microsoft talked about "de-commoditizing protocols" in the late 90s, as part of their plans to control, dominate, and end Open Source and Free software."



  18. EPO Cannot Handle Patent Justice With a Backlog of About 10,000 Cases at the Boards of Appeal

    The EPO's long war on judges and on the law has proven to be costly; it's difficult to pretend that the EPO functions like a first-world legal framework



  19. The European Patent Office Increases Surveillance: Can't Get Food Without Being Spied on

    The infamous "War on Cash" has been 'won' at Europe's second-largest institution, where people's diet can now be monitored and indefinitely retained on the system



  20. To GNU/Linux, the Operating System, GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) is Not the Threat. Microsoft is.

    Don't let Microsoft get away with its bogus narration; GNU/Linux is primarily under attack from Microsoft, whereas Software Freedom in general is under attack from many directions



  21. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Has the Full Support of Techrights

    Our support for the FSF is strong enough that we want to occasionally suggest improvements; there are growing frictions designed to isolate the FSF and cause self-restraint/censorship



  22. Why We Support Phoronix (Whereas Some Others Do Not)

    Some people try to characterise Michael Larabel as the 'bad boy' of Linux even though Michael is probably the hardest working Linux journalist out there



  23. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: The Simplest Ways that AI will Change Computing

    "AI is already used to help kill people. We should be cautious, and know that the best rules we come up with (like no doing magic outside the school grounds) won't be followed all the time."



  24. Links 20/8/2019: DragonFlyBSD Developing DSynth

    Links for the day



  25. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Narcissism in The Community

    "Narcissists are drawn to intelligent people. They take great pleasure in attacking, controlling and defeating intelligent people because it makes them feel smarter and more important."



  26. Breaking the Law Has Become the Norm at the European Patent Office

    The European Patent Office’s ongoing practice of destroying critics/whistleblowers and crushing unions, judges, examiners etc. — as well as threats and bribery of the media — ultimately mean a perpetual state of lawlessness that, if it prevails, will let patent trolls raid the European economy and stall innovation



  27. Links 20/8/2019: KMyMoney 5.0.6, Kdenlive 19.08

    Links for the day



  28. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Free Software in Education

    "If everyone learns to code, then everyone gains some understanding of how to code in other languages."



  29. Links 19/8/2019: Another Linux 5.3 RC, OpenSUSE's Richard Brown Steps Down, Slackware Creates Patreon Page, Qt 6 Initiated

    Links for the day



  30. Speaking Truth to Monopolies (or How to Write Guest Posts in Techrights)

    We need to have more articles tackling the passage of all power — especially when it comes to software — to few large monopolies that disregard human rights or actively participate in their abolishment in the digital realm


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