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. Links 7/4/2020: Firefox 75, Python 2.7.1 RC1

    Links for the day



  2. The Fall of the UPC - Part XIV: Media Owned and Controlled by Law Firms Did Not Properly Cover the Decision of the German Constitutional Court (FCC)

    We take another look at the shallow if not deliberately misleading coverage in sites that are literally owned and run by law firms, for the benefit of law firms rather than informing the public



  3. The Media Paints Bill Gates as the Man Who Will Save the World While Seattle's Police Department Obstructs Access to Documents About Pedophilia Arrest at His Home

    We're still unable to receive even one single page of the police report about arrest for pedophilia at the home of Bill and Melinda Gates; the media says nothing about this and instead it paints Gates as a national or international hero



  4. IRC Proceedings: Monday, April 06, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, April 06, 2020



  5. Software Patents Remain Junk Patents in the United States (Not Enforceable), Whereas the EPO Keeps Granting Them and Promoting Them

    We take note of the positive outcomes in the US, where courts continue to reject software patents, but in Europe the largest patent office, which sought to replace all the courts, still acts as if patent law does not exist and patents can be endlessly printed irrespective of their merit (or validity as judged by actual courts)



  6. The Fall of the UPC - Part XIII: A Death Worth Celebrating and Many Lies Worth Debunking

    We take stock of positive responses to the decision made by the German constitutional court (FCC) 2.5 weeks ago; we also explain why it has taken so long to piece together firm-by-firm scoresheet for UPC lies



  7. GitHub is Moving the Free Software Movement Into “Check”

    GitHub's growing levels of control over Free software projects (GitHub itself is proprietary and Microsoft-controlled) ought to alarm the community; it's a lot worse than most people care to acknowledge, based on weeks of detailed analysis of GNU/Linux distros



  8. Links 6/4/2020: New Red Hat CEO, elementary OS Hera Updates

    Links for the day



  9. When the Decision is OK and the Judge's Motivations Are Also OK

    Justice Huber made the right call; but the bullies and charlatans who conspired to undermine laws and constitutions will never be satisfied



  10. The Fall of the UPC - Part XII: Doing the Unthinkable by Blaming the Judge's (Justice's) Wife?

    Team UPC and its media partners never cease to amaze us; anybody who stands in their way is either portrayed as a Russian stooge or too ignorant to be worth talking to



  11. The Fall of the UPC - Part XI: Lies Told by Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (BDI) in Süddeutsche Zeitung

    Today we look at misleading claims (or lies) published by Süddeutsche Zeitung after the Germans' constitutional court (FCC) had pointed out the obvious, namely that UPC ratification would be in violation of the German constitution



  12. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, April 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, April 05, 2020



  13. Links 5/4/2020: MindSpore, Covid-19 Projects and More

    Links for the day



  14. EPO is Just Like Some Cruel Political Party and Not a Patent Office

    The "cabal" which runs today's EPO (even the word "Mafia" seems suitable here) isn't acting -- not even remotely -- like a patent office; it's a patent-printing operation ("protection money" as income) that uses shallow political stunts to manufacture consent with the EU's 'generous' assistance



  15. Digitalisation and Digital Technologies as a Ploy to Justify Illegal Software Patents

    Say "hello" to the next weasel word/s; from the "hey hi" hype wave we've now moved to something "digital" (which can mean just about anything, including algorithms of all sorts)



  16. The Fall of the UPC - Part X: How We Shall Catalogue UPC Lies

    The cult that Team UPC became (one member lying to another member, maintaining a false version of reality) will be judged based on underlying facts, not lying about facts; we start with a token of contempt for IP Kat and Bristows LLP (there are overlaps)



  17. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 04, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, April 04, 2020



  18. Major Revelation: Microsoft Blackmail Against LAMP (GNU/Linux and Free Stacks for Servers) Goes At Least 16 Years Back, Predating the Novell Patent Deal

    (Techno-)Anthropological analyses of Microsoft's patent war on Free/libre software must take into account what Microsoft did to MySQL, a Swedish company at the time



  19. Links 4/4/2020: Sparky 5.11, Firefox 74.0.1, POCL 1.5

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 03, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, April 03, 2020



  21. Links 3/4/2020: Ubuntu Beta, GNOME 3.36.1, ExTiX LXQt Mini, NetBSD 8.2 Released

    Links for the day



  22. Digital Communication, Digitalisation and Videogaming Among the EPO's Latest Smokescreens for Illegal and Abstract Patents on Algorithms

    The EPO keeps liaising with the EU to promote patents which EU officials have themselves said were illegal; to make matters worse, the EPO's violations of its own laws inspire the United States to do the same



  23. Emotional Blackmail for Illegal Software Patents

    Semantic tactics the European Patent Office (EPO) uses to promote software patents in Europe and may theoretically use in the future (satire)



  24. Clear Linux is to GNU/Linux What Clearly Defined is to Open Source

    The idea that we need Intel to take GNU/Linux ‘mainstream’ is ludicrous; as OSDL co-founder (now succeeded in the flesh of the Corporate Linux Foundation), Intel is more about Linux (with DRM, “secure boot” and everything that lets it be remotely controlled) than about GNU and it’s not too keen on GPL (copyleft), either



  25. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 02, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, April 02, 2020



  26. Links 2/4/2020: Linux 5.6.2, Qt Creator 4.11.2, LineageOS ROM Based on Android 10

    Links for the day



  27. OIN in 2020 Resembles Linux Foundation in 2020 (Corporate Front Group Piggybacking the Linux Brand)

    We regret to say that the Open Invention Network seems not to care at all about Software Freedom; to make matters worse, it is a proponent of software patents and a voice for companies like IBM and Microsoft, not the "Community" it fancies misrepresenting



  28. Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF) - Part IX: Semi-Happy Ending

    Richard Stallman is here to stay and the FSF will let him stay (as chief of GNU); we want to close the series on a positive note



  29. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 01, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, April 01, 2020



  30. Upcoming Articles and Research Areas

    Although we've failed to write as much as usual, we're still preparing some in-depth articles and maintaining Daily Links (in spite of unforeseen ordeals like a forced laptop migration)


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