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TechBytes Episode 83: Richard Stallman on Data Collection and Encryption


Direct download as Ogg (00:09:59, 5.7 MB)



Summary: Stallman speaks about encryption, privacy, and data collection as the main problem

THE problem with data collection and at times indefinite retention of data in very colossal datacentres is a very real problem. The target datacentres are coupled with NSA/GCHQ/other datacentres, perhaps built with functionality to mimic the original systems (e.g. Facebook, Google search, Skype) by intercepting packets over the networks (at the exchanges), then assembling/decrypting those in private/secretive databases (based on Bill Binney's repeated claims as an NSA whistleblower, yet to be confirmed by Snowden's leaks).

"...if packets get multiplexed at router-level and then stored in another, external system, then approaching companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple etc. is not even necessary."Statements about FISA courts, national security letters, etc. are being used as a distraction from what can be characterised as direct access even though it is not direct access per se. After all, if packets get multiplexed at router-level and then stored in another, external system, then approaching companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple etc. is not even necessary. This bypasses the need for warrants, which would basically be needed only when data hoarding failed to get the entire signal (Binney estimates that about 60% of the data gets hoarded and stored in the US).

All the vague claims about foiling of terror plots, where some of the named examples were famously stopped not by the NSA but by other means, do make one wonder if there is a way to stop surveillance without getting characterised as "aiding the enemy." Citing civil rights issues (such as indefinite detention as per NDAA 2013), I recently spoke to Stallman about data collection and found that his solution would be to limit data collection, not just retention. This recording is 10 minutes long and it deals with the topic at hand quite concisely.

We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

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