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11.07.13

The Latest NSA Ugliness: Skype Gets Worse, Snowden Speaks to Germany, New Zealand Becomes NSA’s Little Brother, and ‘Paedophilia’ Used to Defend the NSA

Posted in Microsoft at 7:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Big Brother gets even more aggressive amid the departure of Snooper in Chief

Keith B. Alexander

Summary: The Mafia of Keith B. Alexander (outgoing NSA head) is facing more public shaming as surveillance grows and the public pushes back

THE NSA, the criminal and murderous organisation which we are supposed to think of as “against terrorism” when it’s actually about espionage, finance, and imperial militarism, can’t get a break. It’s probably one of the most appalling monsters to have silently developed behind closed doors for several decades, enjoying journalists’ inability to cover the simple facts (newspapers would not publish these). Here are some of the latest tidbits which people ought to be aware of.

Pro-privacy groups like Big Brother Watch warn us that even the elderly may soon be under constant (24/7) surveillance at home ‘for their own protection’ [1], showing that there’s no limit to how far Big Brother goes [2]. Anyone up for Xbox One/Kinect now? In a sense, Facebook already acts like in-house surveillance (photos, videos, geo-tagging, face recognition, inter-person connections), but apparently that’s not enough. If we don’t submit to the equivalent of full rectal examination, the “terrorists” will win!!!

Microsoft will soon be making it possible only for the NSA et al. to record people’s video and audio chats in Skype (inside their homes) [3], showing again what type of monster Skype has become since it left Europe (through a rather worried Luxembourg). The only thing worse than Skype surveillance in one’s own home would be a wireless-accessible chip implant in every person, or a microphone in every ear, not just every phone (which has back doors for authorities to eavesdrop through).

In a sort of ironic turn of events, Snowden now turns his attention to Germany (made infamous for what the Nazis did) [4,5], perhaps hoping — like Tor developer and Wikileaks activist Jacob Appelbaum — that Germany would grant him asylum after his one-year asylum in Russia expires. Despite the fact that Snowden’s actions have helped the US by reforming unconstitutional laws and practices [6], the US still treats him like a criminal and abuses anyone who ‘dares’ to respect his freedom of speech. Here in Techrights we generally regret to see that the US has become similar to the USSR when it comes to its attitude towards journalism. Techrights will soon move off WordPress because of back doors which are now being acknowledged elsewhere [7] and it will continue to cover matters of privacy more than ever before. If the US government wants privacy crushed, then we should fight with a strong passion for privacy and against those who oppose it. It turns out that former British colonies, like Britain itself, are still going along with the NSA/USA. In New Zealand, for example, people in power are legalising what they did (for Hollywood/NSA/USA) which was illegal [8]. They simply show their total disregard for the law and not just for human dignity. Here in the UK, the government is attacking the messenger (Greenwald or Snowden) by associating him with paedophilia [9]. Old tactics. As for Lavabit’s Dark Mail, which seeks support from the public [10], Ars Technica helps the NSA by attacking the messenger (Ladar Levison) [11]. This wouldn’t be the first time Ars Technica does this. It also attacked Snowden by digging up irrelevant dirt about him from the past; completely off-topic ad hominem that was (we would rather not link to that). And watch the hypocrites from Google berating the NSA [12]. Well, nobody forces them to work with Google, just as nobody is born a Microsoft employee. If they are against the NSA, then they can quit their job and stop helping the NSA. All of us are consciously obliged to weaken those who abuse power or help those who abuse power.

One thing is clear now. The NSA views the population as the enemy. We, in turn, must view the NSA as the enemy.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. CQC asks whether CCTV should be used in care homes

    The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has announced plans to install hidden cameras and ‘mystery shoppers’ in care homes in a bid to increase the regulations of social care. Care homes and social care premises are home for some of society’s most vulnerable people. To subject them to covert surveillance where there is not reasonable cause for suspicion would be both an attack on their privacy and dignity.

  2. Ideas to start the debate and reform surveillance

    Yesterday you said that you would be happy to listen to ideas to improve the oversight and operation of safeguards concerning our intelligence agencies.

  3. Microsoft kills Skype third-party tools for the desktop

    Skype has confirmed it’s shutting down all third-party access to its desktop API at the end of the year

  4. Edward Snowdens letter to German government/Authorities
  5. US officials say forget about clemency for Snowden

    But Snowden tells Der Spiegel he’s justified due to the call for reform he sparked.

  6. Three Leaks, Three Weeks, and What We’ve Learned About the US Government’s Other Spying Authority: Executive Order 12333

    A Washington Post article reveals that the National Security Agency has been siphoning off data from the links between Yahoo and Google data centers, which include the fiber optic connections between company servers at various points around the world. While the user may have an encrypted connection to the website, the internal data flows were not encrypted and allowed the NSA to obtain millions of records each month, including both metadata and content like audio, video and text. This is not part of the PRISM collection under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act or the business records program under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, but a separate program called MUSCULAR under what appears to be Executive Order 12333 (“12333″).1

  7. WordPress Becomes Big Brother & More…

    The latest and greatest version of WordPress has been released, a major point upgrade, and within days after that a security/bugfix followed, bringing the version number up to 3.7.1. The most interesting thing with this release is that it autoupdates everything without requiring any prompting from the site administrator. If there’s a new version of a plugin available, WordPress updates it silently in the background. Ditto if a new minor or security release of WordPress itself is released.

    [...]

    In our opinion, this is not good as it takes control away from the user, especially users with limited technical skills. We’d have no problem whatsoever with this feature if it could easily be disabled through the interface. Unfortunately, the folks at WordPress don’t want to trust their users with this ability.

  8. New Zealand Approves New Law Granting NSA-Like Capability To Intel Agency

    The New Zealand parliament on Tuesday narrowly approved a new series of measures designed to provide their version of the National Security Agency greater access to the country’s telecommunications companies’ data.

  9. Edward Snowden leaks could help paedophiles escape police, says government
  10. Lavabit’s Dark Mail Initiative
  11. Op-ed: Lavabit’s primary security claim wasn’t actually true

    Ladar Levison stood up for users’ privacy—but perhaps a little too late.

  12. Google engineers: Fuck you NSA

    If Snowden revelations are ‘assisting’ companies like Google and countries like Germany, should not these companies and countries defend Snowden?

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2 Comments

  1. Jack Harkness said,

    November 7, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    Gravatar

    I could swear I read a few years ago that 20,000 brits who are on probation or something similar in the judicial systems have CCTV cameras INSIDE their house and that they foresaw having 200,000+ within 10yrs. (I could be wrong but numbers but im pretty sure about the home CCTV thing)

    These people are criminals after all so thats why ‘its ok’ to do it to them. Then you just keep adding groups who need policing or ‘help’/

    Isnt that a continuation of the same program but now moved on to seniors?

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I remember this debate going about a decade back. A quick Web search brings up an article from the Daily Fail (2009), but I’m sure there’s lots of earlier ones. Remember the ID cards?

    A few minutes ago I got an E-mail from NatWest promoting the new program for tracking your shopping even when you pay in cash.

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