12.18.13

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Another 2 Reasons to Boycott BT: Censorship by Default, Back Doors for the US

Posted in Europe at 8:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Serving the Crown, not customers

English coins

Summary: BT finds itself embroiled in two more scandals, one relating to Internet censorship and another relating to back doors in people’s home networks (in the UK)

OVER the years I have composed about a dozen short articles condemning BT for their technical ineptitude (sometimes their staff wrongly blames connection issues on GNU/Linux), inability to send out repair engineers when they are needed (to reduce cost to themselves), poor service, etc. There was another angle to the criticism: BT’s special relationship with Microsoft and the patent attacks on Linux. Then there’s DPI/Phorm, but that’s mostly hidden by proxy (former BT staff creating companies for deep-packet inspection, supposedly for corporate gain). But today, now that BT is claimed to have lost their most famous member of staff (Bruce Schneier), there are two more reasons to condemn BT. The stories are self-explanatory and they can be summarised by “censorship” (the British press uses euphemism to dodge this word [1-5]) and apparent back doors, which facilitate surveillance even by foreign nations [6-10]. That’s quite an abuse of Linux, which powers the equipment and only acknowledges this after legal threats (BT didn’t want to comply with the GPL).

BT cannot be trusted anymore. It’s obvious who BT is serving, and it’s clearly not so-called ‘customers’ (the real customer is the government and those in power).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Torservers awarded $250,000 by Digital Defenders
  2. BT answers our questions about parental controls

    Today BT launched their new Parental Controls service, the latest ISP to roll out network level filters following the Government’s push this summer.

  3. BT will automatically block porn for new customers
  4. BT Forces Customers To Make Parental Controls Choice

    BT will offer network level parental controls to new and existing customers, which restrict or block access to pornography and other content deemed unsuitable for children.

    It is widely reported that BT Parental Controls are on by default; in fact, new customers will have to choose whether or not to enforce the block when they set up their Internet connection for the first time. On the set-up screen, the option to activate the controls is pre-selected by default. BT says this simply requires users to confirm whether or not they want them enforced.

  5. BT internet filter to protect all devices including smartphones and tablets
  6. Report accuses BT of supplying backdoors for GCHQ and NSA
  7. [As above] Report accuses BT of supplying backdoors for GCHQ and NSA

    A paper released earlier this month by a group of security researchers has outlined the technical details behind a potential Computer Network Exploitation (CNE) program likely used by the U.K. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and their American counterpart, the NSA.

  8. [As above] Report accuses BT of supplying backdoors for GCHQ and NSA
  9. BT modems have NSA back-door, claim researchers

    In what appears to be purely coincidental timing, Bruce Schneier has left his post of Security Futurologist at BT after seven years. According to an email sent to Ars Technica, the move has nothing to do with the supposed back-door or any potential NSA/GCHQ input into BT’s affairs: ‘No, they weren’t happy with me, but they knew that I am an independent thinker and they didn’t try to muzzle me in any way,’ Schneier wrote of his former employers. ‘It’s just time. I spent seven years at BT and seven years at Counterpane Internet Security, Inc before BT bought us. It’s past time for something new.’

  10. Do BT modems really contain NSA back-doors?
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