GCSB “Justified”

The GCSB, in a leaked document, spell out how the leaking of information by Edward Snowden has harmed them, and that they fear that if this spirals out of control (their control that is), they can forsee being taken to court, and made to justify their actions. As they are paid for out of the public purse, I see this as only fear. At the moment, the only justifications we have their existence at all come from themselves, and it would outwardly appear that they answer to no one.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/25/leaked-memos-gchq-mass-surveillance-secret-snowden

Here are ten helpful recommendations from the Electronic Frontier Foundation to help keep you safe from surveillance (short of turning off everything electronic, and paying by cash …). Worth a read …

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/10/ten-steps-against-surveillance

This is pretty disgusting. The founder of Lavabit, the mail encryption service, despite closing, and even an offer to hand over the private key for Edward Snowden, is finding himself defending a charge of “contempt of court”. Not sure how much they want out of him, but if he has zeroed out the private keys, as he once claimed he had, there is little he can do. This will be an interesting case to watch, as it is being argued that the powers that be are in violation of the forth amendment. I just hope he doesn’t do time for this, as that will put the living fear into people brave enough to run these services, and we will see more and more people volunteering to close, rather than risk taking on the Government. So much for freedom of speech, but I don’t think the US government really cares much about little details like that.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/25/lavabit-fatally-undermined-encryption-request-aclu

And finally, this is a rather lengthy summary of what has been going on through the eyes of the Guardian. Quite a bit it would appear. And reading between the lines, the Europeans are rightly pissed off!!

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/21/nsa-files-live-coverage-developments-reaction

Grab bag

Got a number of articles to share today.

Ireland is challenging Facebooks involvement with the PRISM program. This could be a pretty big problem for Facebook, as they are registered in Ireland as a tax dodge.

http://www.techweekeurope.co.uk/news/facebook-could-face-investigation-in-ireland-over-prism-data-130250

It has been revealed that the NSA has been spying on 35 world leaders, all of which are unnamed. Apparently the numbers were obtained from other US departments, after requesting their “rolodexes”.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/24/nsa-surveillance-world-leaders-calls?CMP=twt_gu

Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden had the tables turned on him, as Tom Mattzie effectively looked over his shoulder, and revealed to the Internet what Michael Hayden was tweeting. Somewhat an act of Karma ….

http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/10/24/2835201/hayden-acela-nsa/

This article from LinuxCon. Mikko Hypponen argued that the Internet was nothing more than a “US Colony”, and that the US had a disproportionate amount of power world wide because of it. It doesn’t take much arguing that it certainly has made the task of spying just that much easier.

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/security/384973/the-internet-is-a-us-colony

“We spy, but not as much as the US”. I just cannot help but get the feeling the Europeans are almost jealous of the US’s capacity to spy, and given half the chance they would do so as well.

http://www.itworld.com/government/380167/eu-parliament-says-other-countries-spy-not-much-uk-or-us

Europe suspends Terrorist Finance Tracking Program

In a move that is bound to piss the US off in truck loads, the EU have suspended the TFTP. The US claim that this information is essential to track the money used to finance terrorists. As it stands, the US have been tapping the SWIFT finance system anyway (SWIFT is essentially a world wide currency clearing house. It deals in volumes of money in the billions. Oh, and Iran has been suspended from the system, forcing it to become a cash only economy), so surely the yanks have access to the information they need?

It would outwardly appear that the gloves are off in this spat over spying on the Europeans, and I can’t see this problem for this US going away.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24652419

US squirm over spying allegations

So the US propaganda machine goes into damage control over allegations of spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is going to be a pretty tough sell though, and the Europeans are NOT happy. There is now talk of suspending the EU-US free trade agreements, something the US can ill afford. Frankly, it would serve them right.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/9325815/Spying-on-friends-unacceptable

NSA tap Merkels cell

Tapping the German Chancellors cell phone would have to be the height of really bad ideas. Of course the Americans deny it, but it didn’t stop Merkel directly calling Obama to tell him exactly what she though (I wonder if the NSA were stupid enough to record that call as well). You would think with the number of friends the US can count on, that they would be less inclined to spy on the Europeans, but it would appear they simply don’t care. As it stands, the German Federal Government has banned the use of Windows 8, due to spying concerns. And it would appear they have good reason to be concerned …

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/10/23/3706236/in-nsa-spying-scandal-outrage.html

Airport security

This is just too much. American airport security, the TAS, are now able to pre-vet you, by looking into what car you own, what properties you won, and pretty much damn near anything else they please. Talk about frightening. Won’t be long before that happens here I guess. Enough to make you want to buy a large spread somewhere in Central Otago, miles away from anyone, go self sufficient in food, run power of off solar cells, no phone, no internet, and have a large stash of firearms in case anyone tries to take it all off of you ….

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/22/business/security-check-now-starts-long-before-you-fly.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

Bruce Schneier

Crypto expert Bruce Schneier gives his expert opinion on what crypto he considers conpremised, and what is not. Makes an interesting and worthwhile read, especially if you really care about your privacy, and want to get an idea of realistically can be done to fight the spooks.

https://www.schneier.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-search.cgi?tag=NSA